Cairo to Kisumu : Egypt—The Sudan—Kenya Colony

By Frank G. Carpenter

The Project Gutenberg eBook of Cairo to Kisumu
This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and
most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online
at If you are not located in the United States,
you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located
before using this eBook.

Title: Cairo to Kisumu
        Egypt—The Sudan—Kenya Colony

Author: Frank G. Carpenter

Release date: September 14, 2023 [eBook #71651]

Language: English

Original publication: Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1923

Credits: Peter Becker and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)


                              WORLD TRAVELS

                     _Familiar Talks About Countries
                               and Peoples_

                     WITH THE AUTHOR ON THE SPOT AND
                      THE READER IN HIS HOME, BASED
                        ON THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND
                             MILES OF TRAVEL
                              OVER THE GLOBE




“The dam serves also as a bridge over the Nile. I crossed on a car, my
motive power being two Arab boys who trotted behind.”]

                       _CARPENTER’S WORLD TRAVELS_

                             CAIRO TO KISUMU

                          _Egypt—The Sudan—Kenya

                            FRANK G. CARPENTER
                            LITT.D., F.R.G.S.


                          WITH 115 ILLUSTRATIONS
                        FROM ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS
                          AND TWO MAPS IN COLOUR

                           GARDEN CITY NEW YORK
                        DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

                           COPYRIGHT, 1923, BY
                            FRANK G. CARPENTER

                       PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES

                             _First Edition_


In the publication of this book on Egypt, the Sudan, and Kenya Colony,
I wish to thank the Secretary of State for letters which have given me
the assistance of the official representatives of our government in
the countries visited. I thank also our Secretary of Agriculture and
our Secretary of Labour for appointing me an Honorary Commissioner of
their Departments in foreign lands. Their credentials have been of the
greatest value, making available sources of information seldom open to
the ordinary traveller. To the British authorities in the regions covered
by these travels I desire to express my thanks for exceptional courtesies
which have greatly aided my investigations.

I would also thank Mr. Dudley Harmon, my editor, and Miss Ellen McBryde
Brown and Miss Josephine Lehmann for their assistance and coöperation in
the revision of the notes dictated or penned by me on the ground.

While most of the illustrations are from my own negatives, these have
been supplemented by photographs from the Publishers’ Photo Service and
the American Geographic Society.

                                                                  F. G. C.


    CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

         I. JUST A WORD BEFORE WE START                                  1

        II. THE GATEWAY TO EGYPT                                         3

       III. KING COTTON ON THE NILE                                     13

        IV. THROUGH OLD EGYPT TO CAIRO                                  22

         V. FELLAHEEN ON THEIR FARMS                                    29

        VI. THE PROPHET’S BIRTHDAY                                      41

       VII. IN THE BAZAARS OF CAIRO                                     49

      VIII. INTIMATE TALKS WITH TWO KHEDIVES                            58


         X. CLIMBING THE GREAT PYRAMID                                  79

        XI. THE PYRAMIDS REVISITED                                      87

       XII. FACE TO FACE WITH THE PHARAOHS                              96

      XIII. THE AMERICAN COLLEGE AT ASYUT                              106

       XIV. THE CHRISTIAN COPTS                                        112

        XV. OLD THEBES AND THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS                     117

       XVI. THE NILE IN HARNESS                                        128

      XVII. STEAMING THROUGH THE LAND OF CUSH                          140

     XVIII. FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN TO THE SUDAN                        149

       XIX. ACROSS AFRICA BY AIR AND RAIL                              160

        XX. KHARTUM                                                    167

       XXI. EMPIRE BUILDING IN THE SUDAN                               175

      XXII. WHY GENERAL GORDON HAD NO FEAR                             181

     XXIII. OMDURMAN, STRONGHOLD OF THE MAHDI                          187


       XXV. THROUGH THE SUEZ CANAL                                     208

      XXVI. DOWN THE RED SEA                                           218

     XXVII. ALONG THE AFRICAN COAST                                    224

    XXVIII. ADEN                                                       229

      XXIX. IN MOMBASA                                                 236

      XXX. THE UGANDA RAILWAY                                          243

      XXXI. THE CAPITAL OF KENYA COLONY                                252

     XXXII. JOHN BULL IN EAST AFRICA                                   261

    XXXIII. WITH THE BIG-GAME HUNTERS                                  269

     XXXIV. AMONG THE KIKUYUS AND THE NANDI                            277

      XXXV. THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY AND THE MASAI                        285

      XXXVI. WHERE MEN GO NAKED AND WOMEN WEAR TAILS                   293

    SEE THE WORLD WITH CARPENTER                                       303

    BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                       305

    INDEX                                                              309


    On the great Aswan Dam                                   _Frontispiece_

                                                               FACING PAGE

    The bead sellers of Cairo                                            2

    The veiled women                                                     3

    On the cotton docks of Alexandria                                    6

    Nubian girls selling fruit                                           7

    Woman making woollen yarn                                           14

    Fresh-cut sugar cane                                                15

    One of the mill bridges                                             18

    The ancient sakieh                                                  19

    The native ox                                                       19

    Water peddlers at the river                                         22

    Women burden bearers                                                23

    Threshing wheat with norag                                          30

    A corn field in the delta                                           30

    The pigeon towers                                                   31

    In the sugar market                                                 38

    Flat roofs and mosque towers of Cairo                               39

    Tent of the sacred carpet                                           46

    The Alabaster Mosque                                                47

    “Buy my lemonade!”                                                  54

    A street in old Cairo                                               55

    Gates of the Abdin Palace                                           62

    The essential kavass                                                63

    In the palace conservatory                                          66

    The famous Shepheard’s Hotel                                        67

    Learning the Koran                                                  67

    Approaching El-Azhar                                                70

    In the porticos of El-Azhar                                         71

    The Pyramids                                                        78

    Mr. Carpenter climbing the Pyramids                                 79

    Standing on the Sphinx’s neck                                       82

    Taking it easy at Helouan                                           83

    View of the Pyramids                                                86

    Uncovering tombs of ancient kings                                   87

    The alabaster Sphinx                                                94

    The great museum at Cairo                                           95

    Students at Asyut College                                          102

    American College at Asyut                                          103

    Between classes at the college                                     103

    In the bazaars                                                     110

    A native school in an illiterate land                              111

    The greatest egoist of Egypt                                       118

    The temple tomb of Hatshepsut                                      119

    Sacred lake before the temple                                      119

    The avenue of sphinxes                                             126

    The dam is over a mile long                                        127

    Lifting water from level to level                                  134

    Where the fellaheen live                                           135

    A Nubian pilot guides our ship                                     142

    Pharaoh’s Bed half submerged                                       143

    An aged warrior of the Bisharin                                    150

    A mud village on the Nile                                          151

    Where the Bisharin live                                            151

    A safe place for babies                                            158

    Mother and child                                                   159

    A bad landing place for aviators                                   162

    Over the native villages                                           162

    The first king of free Egypt                                       163

    Soldiers guard the mails                                           166

    An American locomotive in the Sudan                                167

    Light railways still are used                                      167

    Along the river in Khartum                                         174

    Where the Blue and the White Nile meet                             175

    The modern city of Khartum                                         175

    A white negro of the Sudan                                         178

    Where worshippers stand barefooted for hours                       179

    Grain awaiting shipment down river                                 182

    “Backsheesh!” is the cry of the children                           182

    Cotton culture in the Sudan                                        183

    The Sirdar’s palace                                                183

    The bride and her husband                                          190

    Omdurman, city of mud                                              191

    Huts of the natives                                                191

    A Shilouk warrior                                                  198

    In Gordon College                                                  199

    Teaching the boys manual arts                                      206

    View of Gordon College                                             207

    On the docks at Port Said                                          207

    Fresh water in the desert                                          210

    The entrance to the Suez Canal                                     211

    A street in dreary Suez                                            226

    Ships passing in the canal                                         227

    Pilgrims at Mecca                                                  230

    Camel market in Aden                                               231

    Harbour of Mombasa                                                 238

    Where the Hindus sell cotton prints                                239

    The merchants are mostly East Indians                              239

    A Swahili beauty                                                   242

    Passengers on the Uganda Railroad                                  243

    An American bridge in East Africa                                  246

    Native workers on the railway                                      246

    Why the natives steal telephone wire                               247

    In Nairobi                                                         254

    The hotel                                                          255

    Jinrikisha boys                                                    255

    A native servant                                                   258

    Naivasha                                                           259

    The court for white and black                                      259

    Motor trucks are coming in                                         262

    How the natives live                                               263

    Native taste in dress goods                                        266

    The Kikuyus                                                        266

    Wealth is measured in cattle                                       267

    Zebras are frequently seen                                         270

    Even the lions are protected                                       271

    Giraffes are plentiful                                             271

    Elephant tusks for the ivory market                                278

    How the mothers carry babies                                       279

    Mr. Carpenter in the elephant grass                                286

    Nandi warriors                                                     287

    Woman wearing a tail                                               290

    How they stretch their ears                                        291

    The witch doctor                                                   298

    Home of an official                                                299

    The mud huts of the Masai                                          299


    Africa                                                              34

    From Cairo to Kisumu                                                50





This volume on Egypt, Nubia, the Sudan, and Kenya Colony is based upon
notes made during my several trips to this part of the world. At times
the notes are published just as they came hot from my pen, taking you
back, as it were, to the occasion on which they were written. Again they
are modified somewhat to accord with present conditions.

For instance, I made my first visit to Egypt as a boy, when Arabi Pasha
was fomenting the rebellion that resulted in that country’s being taken
over by the British. I narrowly escaped being in the bombardment of
Alexandria and having a part in the wars of the Mahdi, which came a short
time thereafter. Again, I was in Egypt when the British had brought order
out of chaos, and put Tewfik Pasha on the throne as Khedive. I had then
the talk with Tewfik, which I give from the notes I made when I returned
from the palace, and I follow it with a description of my audience with
his son and successor, Abbas Hilmi, sixteen years later. Now the British
have given Egypt a nominal independence, and the Khedive has the title of

In the Sudan I learned much of the Mahdi through my interview with Sir
Francis Reginald Wingate, then the Governor General of the Sudan and
Sirdar of the British army at Khartum, and later gained an insight into
the relations of the British and the natives from Earl Cromer, whom I met
at Cairo. These talks enable one to understand the Nationalist problems
of the present and to appreciate some of the changes now going on.

In Kenya Colony, which was known as British East Africa until after the
World War, I was given especial favours by the English officials, and
many of the plans that have since come to pass were spread out before me.
I then tramped over the ground where Theodore Roosevelt made his hunting
trips through the wilds, and went on into Uganda and to the source of the

These travels have been made under all sorts of conditions, but with pen
and camera hourly in hand. The talks about the Pyramids were written on
the top and at the foot of old Cheops, those about the Nile in harness
on the great Aswan Dam, and those on the Suez Canal either on that great
waterway or on the Red Sea immediately thereafter. The matter thus
partakes of the old and the new, and of the new based upon what I have
seen of the old. If it be too personal in character and at times seems
egotistic, I can only beg pardon by saying—the story is mine, and as such
the speaker must hold his place in the front of the stage.

[Illustration: Beggars and street sellers alike believe that every
foreigner visiting Egypt is not only as rich as Crœsus but also a little
touched in the head where spending is concerned, and therefore fair game
for their extravagant demands.]

[Illustration: Among the upper classes an ever-lighter face covering is
being adopted. This is indicative of the advance of the Egyptian woman
toward greater freedom.]



I am again in Alexandria, the great sea-port of the valley of the Nile.
My first visit to it was just before Arabi Pasha started the rebellion
which threw Egypt into the hands of the British. I saw it again seven
years later on my way around the world. I find now a new city, which has
risen up and swallowed the Alexandria of the past.

The Alexandria of to-day stands upon the site of the greatest of the
commercial centres of antiquity, but its present buildings are as young
as those of New York, Chicago, or Boston. It is one of the boom towns
of the Old World, and has all grown up within a century. When George
Washington was president it was little more than a village; it has now
approximately a half million inhabitants.

This is a city with all modern improvements. It has wide streets as well
paved as those of Washington, public squares that compare favourably
with many in Europe, and buildings that would be an ornament to any
metropolis on our continent. It is now a city of street cars and
automobiles. Its citizens walk or ride to its theatres by the light of
electricity, and its rich men gamble by reading the ticker in its stock
exchange. It is a town of big hotels, gay cafés, and palaces galore. In
addition to its several hundred thousand Mohammedans, it has a large
population of Greeks, Italians, and other Europeans, among them some
of the sharpest business men of the Mediterranean lands. Alexandria has
become commercial, money making, and fortune hunting. The rise and fall
of stocks, the boom in real estate, and the modern methods of getting
something for nothing are its chief subjects of conversation, and the
whole population is after the elusive piastre and the Egyptian pound as
earnestly as the American is chasing the nickel and the dollar.

The city grows because it is at the sea-gate to Egypt and the Sudan.
It waxes fat on the trade of the Nile valley and takes toll of every
cent’s worth of goods that comes in and goes out. More than four thousand
vessels enter the port every year and in the harbour there are steamers
from every part of the world. I came to Egypt from Tripoli via Malta,
where I took passage on a steamer bound for India and Australia, and any
week I can get a ship which within fifteen days will carry me back to New

One of the things to which Alexandria owes its greatness is the canal
that Mehemet Ali, founder of the present ruling dynasty of Egypt, had
dug from this place to the Nile. This remarkable man was born the son
of a poor Albanian farmer and lived for a number of years in his little
native port as a petty official and tobacco trader. He first came into
prominence when he led a band of volunteers against Napoleon in Egypt.
Later still he joined the Sultan of Turkey in fighting the Mamelukes
for the control of the country. The massacre of the Mamelukes in 1811
left the shrewd Albanian supreme in the land, and, after stirring up an
Egyptian question that set the Powers of Europe more or less by the ears
with each other and with the Sultan of Turkey, he was made Viceroy of
Egypt, with nominal allegiance to the Turkish ruler. When he selected
Alexandria as his capital, it was a village having no connection with the
Nile. He dug a canal fifty miles long to that great waterway, through
which a stream of vessels is now ever passing, carrying goods to the
towns of the valley and bringing out cotton, sugar, grain, and other
products, for export to Europe. The canal was constructed by forced
labour. The peasants, or _fellaheen_, to the number of a quarter of a
million, scooped the sand out with their hands and carried it away in
baskets on their backs. It took them a year to dig that fifty-mile ditch,
and they were so overworked that thirty thousand of them died on the job.

Ismail Pasha, grandson of Mehemet Ali, made other improvements on the
canal and harbour, and after the British took control of Egypt they
bettered Alexandria in every possible way.

It has now one of the best of modern harbours. The port is protected by
a breakwater two miles in length, and the biggest ocean steamers come to
the quays. There are twenty-five hundred acres of safe anchorage inside
its haven, while the arrangements for coaling and for handling goods are

These conditions are typical of the New Egypt. Old Mother Nile, with
her great dams and new irrigation works, has renewed her youth and is
growing in wealth like a jimson weed in an asparagus bed. When I first
saw the Nile, its valley was a country of the dead, with obelisks and
pyramids as its chief landmarks. Then its most interesting characters
were the mummified kings of more than twenty centuries ago and the
principal visitors were antiquity hunters and one-lunged tourists
seeking a warm winter climate. These same characters are here to-day,
but in addition have come the ardent dollar chaser, the capitalist, and
the syndicate. Egypt is now a land of banks and stock exchanges. It is
thronged with civil engineers, irrigation experts, and men interested
in the development of the country by electricity and steam. The delta,
or the great fan of land which begins at Cairo and stretches out to the
Mediterranean, is gridironed with steel tracks and railroad trains,
continuing almost to the heart of central Africa.

I find Egypt changing in character. The Mohammedans are being corrupted
by the Christians, and the simple living taught by the Koran, which
commands the believer to abstain from strong drink and other vices, has
become infected with the gay and giddy pleasures of the French. In many
cases the system of the harem is being exchanged for something worse.
The average Moslem now has but one wife, but in many cases he has a
sweetheart in a house around the corner, “and the last state of that man
is worse than the first.”

The ghouls of modern science are robbing the graves of those who made the
Pyramids. A telephone line has been stretched out of Cairo almost to the
ear of the Sphinx, and there is a hotel at the base of the Pyramid of
Cheops where English men and women drink brandy and soda between games of
tennis and golf.

[Illustration: Cotton warehouses and docks extend for a mile along the
Mahmudiyeh Canal connecting the port of Alexandria with the Nile River,
and the prosperity of the city rises and falls with the price of cotton
in the world’s markets.]

[Illustration: Nubian women sell fruit and flowers on the streets of
Alexandria to-day, but once their kings ruled all Egypt and defeated the
armies of Rome. They became early converts to Christianity but later
adopted Mohammedanism.]

The Egypt of to-day is a land of mighty hotels and multitudinous
tourists. For years it has been estimated that Americans alone spend
several million dollars here every winter, and the English, French, and
other tourists almost as much. It is said that in the average season ten
thousand Americans visit the Nile valley and that it costs each one of
them at least ten dollars for every day of his stay.

When I first visited this country the donkey was the chief means of
transport, and men, women, and children went about on long-eared beasts,
with Arab boys in blue gowns following behind and urging the animals
along by poking sharp sticks into patches of bare flesh, as big as a
dollar, which had been denuded of skin for the purpose. The donkey and
the donkey boy are here still, but I can get a street car in Alexandria
that will take me to any part of the town, and I frequently have to jump
to get out of the way of an automobile. There are cabs everywhere, both
Alexandria and Cairo having them by thousands.

The new hotels are extravagant beyond description. In the one where I
am now writing the rates are from eighty to one hundred piastres per
day. Inside its walls I am as far from Old Egypt as I would be in the
Waldorf Astoria in New York. The servants are French-speaking Swiss in
“swallow-tails”, with palms itching for fees just as do those of their
class in any modern city. In my bedroom there is an electric bell, and
I can talk over the telephone to our Consul General at Cairo. On the
register of the hotel, which is packed with guests, I see names of counts
by the score and lords by the dozen. The men come to dinner in steel-pen
coats and the women in low-cut evening frocks of silk and satin. There
is a babel of English, French, and German in the lounge while the guests
drink coffee after dinner, and the only evidences one perceives of a land
of North Africa and the Moslems are the tall minarets which here and
there reach above the other buildings of the city, and the voices of the
muezzins as they stand beneath them and call the Mohammedans to prayer.

The financial changes that I have mentioned are by no means confined to
the Christians. The natives have been growing rich, and the Mohammedans
for the first time in the history of Egypt have been piling up money.
Since banking and money lending are contrary to the Koran, the Moslems
invest their surplus in real estate, a practice which has done much to
swell all land values.

Egypt is still a country of the Egyptians, notwithstanding the
overlordship of the British and the influx of foreigners. It has now more
than ten million people. Of these, three out of every four are either
Arabs or Copts. Most of them are Mohammedans, although there are, all
told, something like eight hundred and sixty thousand Copts, descendants
of the ancient Egyptians, who have a rude kind of Christianity, and are,
as a body, better educated and wealthier than the Mussulmans.

The greater part of the foreign population of Egypt is to be found in
Alexandria and Cairo, and in the other towns of the Nile valley, as well
as in Suez and Port Said. There are more of the Greeks than of any other
nation. For more than two thousand years they have been exploiting the
Egyptians and the Nile valley and are to-day the sharpest, shrewdest,
and most unscrupulous business men in it. They do much of the banking
and money lending and until the government established banks of its own
and brought down the interest rate they demanded enormous usury from the
Egyptian peasants. It is said that they loaned money on lands and crops
at an average charge of one hundred and fifty per cent. per annum.

This was changed, however, by the establishment of the Agricultural
Bank. The government, which controls that bank, lends money to the
farmers at eight per cent. to within half of the value of their farms.
To-day, since the peasants all over Egypt can get money at this rate, the
Greeks have had to reduce theirs.

The Italians number about forty thousand and the French twenty thousand.
There are many Italian shops here in Alexandria, while there are hundreds
of Italians doing business in Cairo. They also furnish some of the best
mechanics. Many of them are masons and the greater part of the Aswan Dam
and similar works were constructed by them.

There are also Germans, Austrians, and Russians, together with a few
Americans and Belgians. The British community numbers a little over
twenty thousand. Among the other foreigners are some Maltese and a few
hundred British East Indians.

Sitting here at Alexandria in a modern hotel surrounded by the luxuries
of Paris or New York, I find it hard to realize that I am in one of
the very oldest cities of history. Yesterday I started out to look up
relics of the past, going by mile after mile of modern buildings, though
I was travelling over the site of the metropolis that flourished here
long before Christ was born. From the antiquarian’s point of view, the
only object of note still left is Pompey’s Pillar and that is new in
comparison with the earliest history of Old Egypt, as it was put up
only sixteen hundred years ago, when Alexandria was already one of the
greatest cities of the world. The monument was supposed to stand over
the grave of Pompey, but it was really erected by an Egyptian prefect in
honour of the Roman emperor, Diocletian. It was at one time a landmark
for sailors, for there was always upon its top a burning fire which was
visible for miles over the Mediterranean Sea. The pillar is a massive
Corinthian column of beautifully polished red granite as big around as
the boiler of a railroad locomotive and as high as a ten-story apartment
house. It consists of one solid block of stone, standing straight up on a
pedestal. It was dug out of the quarries far up the Nile valley, brought
down the river on rafts and in some way lifted to its present position.
In their excavations about the pedestal, the archæologists learned of
its comparatively modern origin and, digging down into the earth far
below its foundation, discovered several massive stone sphinxes. These
date back to old Alexandria and were chiselled several hundreds of years
before Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus on an ass, across the
desert, into the valley of the Nile that he might not be killed by Herod
the King.

This city was founded by Alexander the Great three hundred and thirty-two
years before Christ was born. It probably had then more people than
it has to-day, for it was not only a great commercial port, but also
a centre of learning, religion, and art. It is said to have had the
grandest library of antiquity. The manuscripts numbered nine hundred
thousand and artists and students came from all parts to study here. At
the time of the Cæsars it was as big as Boston, and when it was taken
by the Arabs, along about 641 A.D., it had four thousand palaces, four
hundred public baths, four hundred places of amusement, and twelve
thousand gardens. When Alexander the Great founded it he brought in a
colony of Jews, and at the time the Mohammedans came the Jewish quarter
numbered forty thousand.

At Alexandria St. Mark first preached Christianity to the Egyptians, and
subsequently the city became one of the Christian centres of the world.
Here Hypatia lived, and here, as she was about to enter a heathen temple
to worship, the Christian monks, led by Peter the Reader, tore her from
her chariot and massacred her. They scraped her live flesh from her bones
with oyster shells, and then tore her body limb from limb.

Here, too, Cleopatra corrupted Cæsar and later brought Marc Antony to a
suicidal grave. There are carvings of the enchantress of the Nile still
to be seen on some of the Egyptian temples far up the river valley. I
have a photograph of one which is in good preservation in the Temple of
Denderah. Its features are Greek rather than Egyptian, for she was more
of a Greek than a Simon-pure daughter of the Nile. She was not noted for
beauty, but she had such wonderful charm of manner, sweetness of voice,
and brilliancy of intellect, that she was able to allure and captivate
the greatest men of her time.

Cleopatra’s first Roman lover was Julius Cæsar, who came to Alexandria to
settle the claims of herself and her brother to the throne of Egypt. Her
father, who was one of the Ptolemies, had at his death left his throne to
her younger brother and herself, and according to the custom the two were
to marry and reign together. One of the brother’s guardians, however, had
dethroned and banished Cleopatra. She was not in Egypt when Cæsar came.
It is not known whether it was at Cæsar’s request or not, but the story
goes that she secretly made her way back to Alexandria, and was carried
inside a roll of rich Syrian rugs on the back of a servant to Cæsar’s
apartments. Thus she was presented to the mighty Roman and so delighted
him that he restored her to the throne. When he left for Rome some
time later he took her with him and kept her there for a year or two.
After the murder of Cæsar, Cleopatra, who had returned to Egypt, made a
conquest of Marc Antony and remained his sweetheart to the day when he
committed suicide upon the report that she had killed herself. Antony had
then been conquered by Octavianus, his brother-in-law, and it is said
that Cleopatra tried to capture the heart of Octavianus before she took
her own life by putting the poisonous asp to her breast.



The whole of to-day has been spent wandering about the cotton wharves
of Alexandria. They extend for a mile or so up and down the Mahmudiyeh
Canal, which joins the city to the Nile, and are flanked on the other
side by railroads filled with cotton trains from every part of Egypt.
These wharves lie under the shadow of Pompey’s Pillar and line the canal
almost to the harbour. Upon them are great warehouses filled with bales
and bags. Near by are cotton presses, while in the city itself is a great
cotton exchange where the people buy and sell, as they do at Liverpool,
from the samples of lint which show the quality of the bales brought in
from the plantations.

Indeed, cotton is as big a factor here as it is in New Orleans, and the
banks of this canal make one think of that city’s great cotton market.
The warehouses are of vast extent, and the road between them and the
waterway is covered with bales of lint and great bags of cotton seed.
Skullcapped blue-gowned Egyptians sit high up on the bales on long-bedded
wagons hauled by mules. Other Egyptians unload the bales from the cars
and the boats and others carry them to the warehouses. They bear the
bales and the bags on their backs, while now and then a man may be seen
carrying upon his head a bag of loose cotton weighing a couple of hundred
pounds. The cotton seed is taken from the boats in the same way, seed to
the amount of three hundred pounds often making one man’s load.

Late in the afternoon I went down to the harbour to see the cotton
steamers. They were taking on cargoes for Great Britain, Russia, France,
Germany, and the United States. This staple forms three fourths of the
exports of Egypt. Millions of pounds of it are annually shipped to the
United States, notwithstanding the fact that we raise more than two
thirds of all the cotton of the world. Because of its long fibre, there
is always a great demand for Egyptian cotton, which is worth more on the
average than that of any other country.

For hundreds of years before the reign of that wily old tyrant, Mehemet
Ali, whose rule ended with the middle of the nineteenth century, Egypt
had gone along with the vast majority of her people poor, working for a
wage of ten cents or so a day, and barely out of reach of starvation all
the time. Mehemet Ali saw that what she needed to become truly prosperous
and raise the standard of living was some crop in which she might be the
leader. It was he who introduced long-staple cotton, a product worth
three times as much as the common sort, and showed what it could do for
his country. Since then King Cotton has been the money maker of the Nile
valley, the great White Pharaoh whom the modern Egyptians worship. He has
the majority of the Nile farmers in his employ and pays them royally.
He has rolled up a wave of prosperity that has engulfed the Nile valley
from the Mediterranean to the cataracts and the prospects are that he
will continue to make the country richer from year to year. The yield is
steadily increasing and with the improved irrigation methods it will
soon be greater than ever. From 1895 to 1900 its average annual value was
only forty-five million dollars; but after the Aswan Dam was completed it
jumped to double that sum.

[Illustration: Though cotton is the big cash crop of Egypt, small flocks
of sheep are kept on many of the farms and the women spin the wool for
the use of the family.]

[Illustration: Sugar is Egypt’s crop of second importance. Heavy
investments of French and British capital in the Egyptian industry were
first made when political troubles curtailed Cuba’s production.]

The greater part of Upper and Lower Egypt can be made to grow cotton, and
cotton plantations may eventually cover over five million five hundred
thousand acres. If only fifty per cent. of this area is annually put
into cotton it will produce upward of two million bales per annum, or
more than one sixth as much as the present cotton crop of the world. In
addition to this, there might be a further increase by putting water into
some of the oases that lie in the valley of the Nile outside the river
bottom, and also by draining the great lakes about Alexandria and in
other parts of the lower delta.

Egypt has already risen to a high place among the world’s cotton
countries. The United States stands first, British India second, and
Egypt third. Yet Egypt grows more of this staple for its size and the
area planted than any other country on the globe. Its average yield is
around four hundred and fifty pounds per acre, which is far in excess of
ours. Our Department of Agriculture says that our average is only one
hundred and ninety pounds per acre, although we have, of course, many
acres which produce five hundred pounds and more.

It is, however, because of its quality rather than its quantity that
Egyptian cotton holds such a commanding position in the world’s markets.
Cotton-manufacturing countries must depend on Egypt for their chief
supply of long-staple fibre. There are some kinds that sell for double
the amount our product brings. It is, in fact, the best cotton grown
with the exception of the Sea Island raised on the islands off the
coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. The Sea Island cotton has a rather
longer fibre than the Egyptian. The latter is usually brown in colour and
is noted for its silkiness, which makes it valuable for manufacturing
mercerized goods. We import an enormous quantity of it to mix with our
cotton, and we have used the Egyptian seed to develop a species known as
American-Egyptian, which possesses the virtues of both kinds.

There is a great difference in the varieties raised, according to the
part of the Nile valley from which each kind comes. The best cotton grows
in the delta, which produces more than four fifths of the output.

A trip through the Nile cotton fields is an interesting one. The scenes
there are not in the least like those of our Southern states. Much of
the crop is raised on small farms and every field is marked out with
little canals into which the water is introduced from time to time. There
are no great farm houses in the landscape and no barns. The people live
in mud villages from which they go out to work in the fields. They use
odd animals for ploughing and harrowing and the crop is handled in a
different way from ours.

Let me give you a few of the pictures I have seen while travelling
through the country. Take a look over the delta. It is a wide expanse
of green, spotted here and there with white patches. The green consists
of alfalfa, Indian corn, or beans. The white is cotton, stretching out
before me as far as my eye can follow it.

Here is a field where the lint has been gathered. The earth is black,
with windrows of dry stalks running across it. Every stalk has been
pulled out by the roots and piled up. Farther on we see another field
in which the stalks have been tied into bundles. They will be sold as
fuel and will produce a full ton of dry wood to the acre. There are no
forests in Egypt, where all sorts of fuel are scarce. The stalks from
one acre will sell for two dollars or more. They are used for cooking,
for the farm engines on the larger plantations, and even for running
the machinery of the ginning establishments. In that village over there
one may see great bundles of them stored away on the flat roofs of the
houses. Corn fodder is piled up beside them, the leaves having been torn
off for stock feed. A queer country this, where the people keep their
wood piles on their roofs!

In that field over there they are picking cotton. There are scores of
little Egyptian boys and girls bending their dark brown faces above the
white bolls. The boys for the most part wear blue gowns and dirty white
skullcaps, though some are almost naked. The little girls have cloths
over their heads. All are barefooted. They are picking the fibre in
baskets and are paid so much per hundred pounds. A boy will gather thirty
or forty pounds in a day and does well if he earns as much as ten cents.

The first picking begins in September. After that the land is watered,
and a second picking takes place in October. There is a third in
November, the soil being irrigated between times. The first and second
pickings, which yield the best fibre, are kept apart from the third and
sold separately.

After the cotton is picked it is put into great bags and loaded upon
camels. They are loading four in that field at the side of the road. The
camels lie flat on the ground, with their long necks stretched out. Two
bags, which together weigh about six hundred pounds, make a load for
each beast. Every bag is as long and wide as the mattress of a single
bed and about four feet thick. Listen to the groans of the camels as the
freight is piled on. There is one actually weeping. We can see the tears
run down his cheeks.

Now watch the awkward beasts get up. Each rises back end first, the bags
swaying to and fro as he does so. How angry he is! He goes off with his
lower lip hanging down, grumbling and groaning like a spoiled child. The
camels make queer figures as they travel. The bags on each side their
backs reach almost to the ground, so that the lumbering creatures seem to
be walking on six legs apiece.

Looking down the road, we see long caravans of camels loaded with bales,
while on the other side of that little canal is a small drove of donkeys
bringing in cotton. Each donkey is hidden by a bag that completely covers
its back and hides all but its little legs.

In these ways the crop is brought to the railroad stations and to the
boats on the canals. The boats go from one little waterway to another
until they come into the Mahmudiyeh Canal, and thence to Alexandria.
During the harvesting season the railroads are filled with cotton trains.
Some of the cotton has been ginned and baled upon the plantations, and
the rest is in the seed to be ginned at Alexandria. There are ginning
establishments also at the larger cotton markets of the interior. Many
of them are run by steam and have as up-to-date machinery as we have. At
these gins the seed is carefully saved and shipped to Alexandria by rail
or by boat.

[Illustration: The Nile bridge swings back to let through the native
boats sailing down to Alexandria with cargoes of cotton and sugar grown
on the irrigated lands farther upstream.]

[Illustration: A rainless country, Egypt must dip up most of its water
from the Nile, usually by the crude methods of thousands of years ago.
Here an ox is turning the creaking _sakieh_, a wheel with jars fastened
to its rim.]

[Illustration: Egypt is a land that resists change, where even the native
ox, despite the frequent importation of foreign breeds, has the same
features as are found in the picture writings of ancient times. He is a
cousin of the zebu.]

The Egyptians put more work on their crop than our Southern farmers do.
In the first place, the land has to be ploughed with camels or buffaloes
and prepared for the planting. It must be divided into basins, each
walled around so that it will hold water, and inside each basin little
canals are so arranged that the water will run in and out through every
row. The whole field is cut up into these beds, ranging in size from
twenty-four to seventy-five feet square.

The cotton plants are from fourteen to twenty inches apart and set in
rows thirty-five inches from each other. It takes a little more than
a bushel of seed to the acre. The seeds are soaked in water before
planting, any which rise to the surface being thrown away. The planting
is done by men and boys at a cost of something like a dollar an acre. The
seeds soon sprout and the plants appear in ten or twelve days. They are
thinned by hand and water is let in upon them, the farmers taking care
not to give them too much. The plants are frequently hoed and have water
every week or so, almost to the time of picking. The planting is usually
done in the month of March, and, as I have said, the first picking begins
along in September.

I have been told that cotton, as it is grown here, exhausts the soil and
that the people injure the staple and reduce the yield by overcropping.
It was formerly planted on the same ground only every third year, the
ground being used in the interval for other crops or allowed to lie
fallow. At present some of the cotton fields are worked every year and
others two years out of three. On most of the farms cotton is planted
every other year, whereas the authorities say that in order to have
a good yield not more than forty per cent. of a man’s farm should be
kept to this crop from year to year. Just as in our Southern states,
a year of high cotton prices is likely to lead to overcropping and
reduced profits, and _vice versa_. Another trouble in Egypt, and one
which it would seem impossible to get around, is the fact that cotton is
practically the only farm crop. This puts the _fellaheen_ more or less
at the mercy of fluctuating prices and changing business conditions; so
that, like our cotton farmers of the South, they have their lean years
and their fat years.

Egypt also has had a lot of trouble with the pink boll weevil. This
pestiferous cotton worm, which is to be found all along the valley of
the Nile, has also done great damage on the plantations of the Sudan,
a thousand miles south of Alexandria. It is said that in one year it
destroyed more than ten million dollars’ worth of cotton and that
hundreds of the smaller farmers were ruined. The government has been
doing all it can to wipe out the plague, but is working under great
disadvantages. The Egyptian Mohammedans are fatalists, looking upon such
things as the boll weevil as a judgment of God and believing they can do
nothing to avert the evil. Consequently, the government had to inaugurate
a system of forced labour. It made the boys and men of the cotton region
turn out by the thousands to kill the worms under the superintendence of
officials. The results were excellent, and as those who were forced into
the work were well paid the farmers are beginning to appreciate what has
been done for them.

The government helps the cotton planters in other ways. Its agricultural
department sends out selected seed for planting a few thousand acres to
cotton, contracting with each man who takes it that the government will
buy his seed at a price above that of the market. The seed coming in
from that venture is enough to plant many more thousands of acres, and
this is distributed at cost to such of the farmers as want it. More than
one quarter of all seed used has latterly been supplied in this way.

The government has also induced the planters to use artificial
fertilizers. It began this some years ago, when it was able to distribute
thirty thousand dollars’ worth of chemical fertilizer, and the demand
so increased that within a few years more than ten times as much was
distributed annually.



On my way to Cairo I have taken a run through the delta, crossing Lower
Egypt to the Suez Canal and returning through the Land of Goshen.

The soil is as rich and the grass is as green now as it was when Joseph
picked out this land as the best in Egypt for his famine-stricken father
Jacob. Fat cattle by the hundreds grazed upon the fields, camels with
loads of hay weighing about a ton upon their backs staggered along the
black roads. Turbaned Egyptians rode donkeys through the fields, and the
veiled women of this Moslem land crowded about the train at the villages.
On one side a great waste of dazzling yellow sand came close to the edge
of the green fields, and we passed grove after grove of date-palm trees
holding their heads proudly in the air, and shaking their fan-like leaves
to every passing breeze. They seemed to whisper a requiem over the dead
past of this oldest of the old lands of the world.

[Illustration: The _sakka_, or water carrier, fills his pigskin bag at
the river, and then peddles it out, with the cry: “O! may God recompense
me,” announcing his passage through the streets of village or town.]

[Illustration: Up and down the slippery banks of the Nile goes
the centuries-long procession of _fellah_ women bearing head
burdens—water-jars or baskets of earth from excavations.]

As we neared Cairo and skirted the edge of the desert, away off to the
right against the hazy horizon rose three ghost-like cones of gray out
of the golden sand. These were the Pyramids, and the steam engine of the
twentieth century whistled out a terrible shriek as we came in sight of
them. To the left were the Mokattam Hills, with the citadel which Saladin
built upon them, while to the right flowed the great broad-bosomed Nile,
the mother of the land of Egypt, whose earth-laden waters have been
creating soil throughout the ages, and which to-day are still its source
of life.

Egypt, in the words of Herodotus, is the gift of the Nile. This whole
rainless country was once a bed of sterile sand so bleak and bare that
not a blade of grass nor a shrub of cactus would grow upon it. This
mighty river, rising in the heights of Africa and cutting its way through
rocks and hills, has brought down enough sediment to form the tillable
area of Egypt. South of Cairo, for nearly a thousand miles along its
banks, there extends a strip of rich black earth which is only from three
to nine miles wide. Below the city the land spreads out in a delta shaped
somewhat like the segment of a circle, the radii of which jut out from
Cairo, while the blue waters of the Mediterranean edge its arc. This
narrow strip and fan form the arable land of Egypt. The soil is nowhere
more than thirty-five feet deep. It rests on a bed of sand. On each side
of it are vast wastes of sand and rock, with not a spot of green to
relieve the ceaseless glare of the sun. The green goes close to the edge
of the desert, where it stops as abruptly as though it were cut off by a
gardener. Nearly everywhere up the Nile from Cairo the strip is so narrow
that you can stand at one side of the valley and see clear across it.

Thus, in one sense, Egypt is the leanest country in the world, but it is
the fattest in the quality of the food that nature gives it. Through the
ages it has had one big meal every year. At the inundation of the Nile,
for several months the waters spread over the land and were allowed to
stand there until they dropped the rich, black fertilizing sediment
brought down from the African mountains. This sediment has produced from
two to three crops a year for Egypt through the centuries and for a long
time was the sole manure that the land had. The hundreds of thousands of
cattle, donkeys, camels, and sheep that feed off the soil give nothing
back to it, for their droppings are gathered up by the peasant women and
girls, patted into shape, and dried for use as fuel. Until late years
the only manure that was used in any part of the country was that of
pigeons and chickens, or the crumbled ruins of ancient towns, which,
lying through thousands of years, have become rubbish full of fertilizing
properties. Recently, as I have said, the use of artificial fertilizers
has been encouraged with excellent results.

The irrigation of Egypt is now conducted on scientific lines. The water
is not allowed to spread over the country as it was years ago, but the
arable area is cut up by canals, and there are immense irrigating works
in the delta, to manage which during the inundation hundreds of thousands
of men are required. Just at the point of the delta, about twelve miles
above Cairo, is a great dam, or barrage, that raises the waters of the
Nile into a vast canal from which they flow over the fan-like territory
of Lower Egypt. All through Egypt one sees men scooping the water up in
baskets from one level to another, and everywhere he finds the buffalo,
the camel, or donkey turning the wheels that operate the crude apparatus
for getting the water out of the river and onto the land.

But let me put into a nutshell the kernel of information we need to
understand this wonderful country. We all know how Egypt lies on the map
of northeastern Africa, extending a thousand miles or more southward from
the Mediterranean Sea. The total area, including the Nubian Desert, the
region between the Nile and the Red Sea, and the Sinai Peninsula, is more
than seven times as large as the State of New York, but the real Egypt,
that is, the cultivated and settled portion comprising the Nile valley
and delta, lacks just four square miles of being as large as our State of
Maryland. Of this portion, fully one third is taken up in swamps, lakes,
and the surface of the Nile, as well as in canals, roads, and plantations
of dates, so that the Egypt of farms that actually supports the people is
only about as big as Massachusetts. Though this contains little more than
eight thousand square miles, nevertheless its population is nearly one
eighth of ours. Crowd every man, woman, and child who lives in the United
States into four states the size of Maryland, and you have some idea of
the density of the population here. Belgium, that hive of industry, with
its mines of iron and coal and its myriad factories, has only about six
hundred people per square mile; and China, the leviathan of Asia, has
less than two hundred and fifty. Little Egypt is supporting something
like one thousand per square mile of its arable area; and nearly all of
them are crowded down near the Mediterranean.

Of these people, about nine tenths are Mohammedans, one twelfth
Christians, Copts, and others; and less than one half of one per cent.
Jews. Among the Christians are many Greeks of the Orthodox Church and
Italian Roman Catholics from the countries on the Mediterranean Sea.

Nature has much to do with forming the character and physique of the men
who live close to her, and in Egypt the unvarying soil, desert, sky,
and river, make the people who have settled in the country become, in
the course of a few generations, just like the Egyptians themselves.
Scientists say that the Egyptian peasantry of to-day is the same as in
the past, and that this is true even of the cattle. Different breeds have
been imported from time to time only to change into the Egyptian type,
and the cow to-day is the same as that pictured in the hieroglyphics
of the tombs made thousands of years ago. The Egyptian cow is like the
Jersey in shape and form save that its neck is not quite so delicate
and its horns are a trifle shorter. Its colour is a rich red. Its milk
is full of oil, and its butter is yellow. It has been asserted that the
Jersey cow originally came from Egypt, and was taken to the Island of
Jersey by the Phœnicians in some of their voyages ages ago.

But to return to the Nile, the source of existence of this great
population. Next to the Mississippi, with the Missouri, it is the longest
river of the world. The geographers put its length at from thirty-seven
hundred to four thousand miles. It is a hundred miles or so longer than
the Amazon, and during the last seventeen hundred miles of its course
not a single branch comes in to add to its volume. For most of the way
it flows through a desert of rock and sand as dry as the Sahara. In the
summer many of the winds that sweep over Cairo are like the blast from a
furnace, and in Upper Egypt a dead dog thrown into the fields will turn
to dust without an offensive odour. The dry air sucks the moisture out of
the carcass so that there is no corruption.

Nearly all of the cultivated lands lie along the Nile banks and depend
for their supply of water on the rise of the river, caused by the rains
in the region around its sources. When the Nile is in flood the waters
are coloured dark brown by the silt brought down from the high lands of
Abyssinia. When it is low, as in June, they are green, because of the
growth of water plants in the upper parts of the river. At flood time the
water is higher than the land and the fields are protected by banks or
dikes along the river. If these banks break, the fields are flooded and
the crops destroyed.

We are accustomed to look upon Egypt as a very hot country. This is not
so. The greater part of it lies just outside the tropics, so that it has
a warm climate and a sub-tropical plant life. The hottest month is June
and the coldest is January. Ice sometimes forms on shallow pools in the
delta, but there is no snow, although hail storms occur occasionally,
with very large stones. There is no rain except near the coast and a
little near Cairo. Fogs are common in January and February and it is
frequently damp in the cultivated tracts.

For centuries Egypt has been in the hands of other nations. The
Mohammedan Arabs and the Ottoman Turks have been bleeding her since their
conquest. Greece once fed off her. Rome ate up her substance in the
days of the Cæsars and she has had to stake the wildest extravagancies
of the khedives of the past. It must be remembered that Egypt is almost
altogether agricultural, and that all of the money spent in and by it
must come from what the people can raise on the land. The khedives and
officials have piped, and Egypt’s farmers have had to pay.

It was not long before my second visit to Egypt that the wastefulness
and misrule of her officials had practically put her in the hands of a
receiver. She had gone into debt for half a billion dollars to European
creditors—English, French, German, and Spanish—and England and France had
arranged between them to pull her out. Later France withdrew from the
agreement and Great Britain undertook the job alone.

At that time the people were ground down to the earth and had barely
enough for mere existence. Taxes were frightfully high and wages
pitifully low. The proceeds from the crops went mostly to Turkey and to
the bankers of Europe who had obtained the bonds given by the government
to foreigners living in Egypt. In fact, they had as hard lives as in the
days of the most tyrannical of the Pharaohs.

But since that time the British have had a chance to show what they could
do, irrigation projects and railroad schemes have been put through,
cotton has come into its own, and I see to-day a far more prosperous land
and people than I did at the end of the last century.



For the last month I have been travelling through the farms of the Nile
valley. I have visited many parts of the delta, a region where the
tourist seldom stops, and have followed the narrow strip that borders the
river for several hundred miles above Cairo.

The delta is the heart of Egypt. It has the bulk of the population, most
of the arable land, the richest soil, and the biggest crops. While it is
one of the most thickly settled parts of the world, it yields more to
the acre than any other region on earth, and its farm lands are the most
valuable. I am told that the average agricultural yield for all Europe
nets a profit of thirty-five dollars per acre, but that of Lower Egypt
amounts to a great deal more. Some lands produce so much that they are
renting for fifty dollars an acre, and there are instances where one
hundred dollars is paid.

I saw in to-day’s newspapers an advertisement of an Egyptian land
company, announcing an issue of two and one half million dollars’ worth
of stock. The syndicate says in its prospectus that it expects to buy
five thousand acres of land at “the low rate of two hundred dollars per
acre,” and that by spending one hundred and fifty thousand dollars it can
make that land worth four hundred dollars per acre within three years.
Some of this land would now bring from two hundred and fifty to three
hundred dollars per acre, and is renting for twenty dollars per acre
per annum. The tract lies fifty miles north of Cairo and is planted in
cotton, wheat, and barley.

Such estates as the above do not often come into the market, however.
Most of Egypt is in small farms, and little of it is owned by foreigners.
Six sevenths of the farms belong to the Egyptians, and there are more
than a million native land owners. Over one million acres are in tracts
of from five to twenty acres each. Many are even less than an acre
in size. The number of proprietors is increasing every year and the
_fellaheen_, or _fellahs_, are eager to possess land of their own. It
used to be that the Khedive had enormous estates, but when the British
Government took possession some of the khedivial acres came to it. These
large holdings have been divided and have been sold to the _fellaheen_ on
long-time and easy payments. Many who then bought these lands have paid
for them out of their crops and are now rich. As it is to-day there are
but a few thousand foreigners who own real estate in the valley of the

The farmers who live here in the delta have one of the garden spots of
the globe to cultivate. The Nile is building up more rich soil every
year, and the land, if carefully handled, needs but little fertilization.
It is yielding two or three crops every twelve months and is seldom idle.
Under the old system of basin irrigation the fields lay fallow during
the hot months of the summer, but the canals and dams that have now been
constructed enable much of the country to have water all the year round,
so that as soon as one crop is harvested another is planted.

[Illustration: The primitive _norag_ is still seen in Egypt threshing
the grain and cutting up the straw for fodder. It moves on small iron
wheels or thin circular plates and is drawn in a circle over the wheat or

[Illustration: The Egyptian agricultural year has three seasons. Cereal
crops are sown in November and harvested in May; the summer crops are
cotton, sugar, and rice; the fall crops, sown in July, are corn, millet,
and vegetables.]

[Illustration: The mud of the annual inundations is no longer sufficient
fertilizer for the Nile farm. The _fellaheen_ often use pigeon manure on
their lands and there are hundreds of pigeon towers above the peasants’
mud huts.]

The whole of the delta is one big farm dotted with farm villages and
little farm cities. There are mud towns everywhere, and there are
half-a-dozen big agricultural centres outside the cities of Alexandria
and Cairo. Take, for instance, Tanta, where I am at this writing. It is
a good-sized city and is supported by the farmers. It is a cotton market
and it has a great fair, now and then, to which the people come from all
over Egypt to buy and sell. A little to the east of it is Zagazig, which
is nearly as large, while farther north, upon the east branch of the
Nile, is Mansura, another cotton market, with a rich farming district
about it. Damietta and Rosetta, at the two mouths of the Nile, and
Damanhur, which lies west of the Rosetta branch of the Nile, not far from
Lake Edku, are also big places. There are a number of towns ranging in
population from five to ten thousand.

The farms are nothing like those of the United States. We should have to
change the look of our landscape to imitate them. There are no fences,
no barns, and no haystacks. The country is as bare of such things as
an undeveloped prairie. The only boundaries of the estates are little
mud walls; and the fields are divided into patches some of which are no
bigger than a tablecloth. Each patch has furrows so made that the water
from the canals can irrigate every inch.

The whole country is cut up by canals. There are large waterways running
along the branches of the Nile, and smaller ones connecting with them,
to such an extent that the face of the land is covered with a lacework
veil of little streams from which the water can be let in and out. The
draining of the farms is quite as important as watering, and the system
of irrigation is perfect, inasmuch as it brings the Nile to every part
of the country without letting it flood and swamp the lands.

Few people have any idea of the work the Egyptians have to do in
irrigating and taking care of their farms. The task of keeping these
basins in order is herculean. As the Nile rushes in, the embankments are
watched as the Dutch watch the dikes of Holland. They are patrolled by
the village headmen and the least break is filled with stalks of millet
and earth. The town officials have the right to call out the people
to help, and no one refuses. If the Nile gets too high it sometimes
overflows into the settlements and the mud huts crumble. During the
flood the people go out in boats from village to village. The donkeys,
buffaloes, and bullocks live on the dikes, as do also the goats, sheep,
and camels.

The people sow their crops as soon as the floods subside. Harvest comes
on within a few months, and unless they have some means of irrigation,
in addition to the Nile floods, they must wait until the following year
before they can plant again. With a dam like the one at Aswan, the water
supply can be so regulated that they can grow crops all the year round.
This is already the condition in a great part of the delta, and it is
planned to make the same true of the farms of Upper Egypt.

As for methods of raising the water from the river and canals and from
one level to another, they vary from the most modern of steam pumps and
windmills to the clumsy _sakieh_ and _shadoof_, which are as old as Egypt
itself. All the large land owners are now using steam pumps. There are
many estates, owned by syndicates, which are irrigated by this means, and
there are men who are buying portable engines and pumps and hiring them
out to the smaller farmers in much the same way that threshing machines
are rented in the United States and Canada. Quite a number of American
windmills are already installed. Indeed, it seems to me almost the whole
pumping of the Nile valley might be done by the wind. The breezes from
the desert as strong as those from the sea sweep across the valley with
such regularity that wind pumps could be relied upon to do efficient work.

At present, however, water is raised in Egypt mostly by its cheap man
power or by animals. Millions of gallons are lifted by the _shadoof_.
This is a long pole balanced on a support. From one end of the pole hangs
a bucket, and from the other a heavy weight of clay or stone, about equal
to the weight of the bucket when it is full of water. A man pulls the
bucket down into the water, and by the help of the weight on the other
end, raises it and empties it into a canal higher up. He does this all
day long for a few cents, and it is estimated that he can in ten days
lift enough water to irrigate an acre of corn or cotton. At this rate
there is no doubt it could be done much cheaper by pumps.

Another rude irrigation machine found throughout the Nile valley from
Alexandria to Khartum is the _sakieh_, which is operated by a blindfolded
bullock, buffalo, donkey, or camel. It consists of a vertical wheel with
a string of buckets attached to its rim. As the wheel turns round in the
water the buckets dip and fill, and as it comes up they discharge their
contents into a canal. This vertical wheel is moved by another wheel set
horizontally, the two running in cogs, and the latter being turned by
some beast of burden. There is usually a boy, a girl, or an old man, who
sits on the shaft and drives the animal round.

The screech of these _sakiehs_ is loud in the land and almost breaks the
ear drums of the tourists who come near them. I remember a remark that
one of the Justices of our Supreme Court made while we were stopping
together at a hotel at Aswan with one of these water-wheels in plain
sight and hearing. He declared he should like to give an appropriation to
Egypt large enough to enable the people to oil every _sakieh_ up and down
the Nile valley. I doubt, however, whether the _fellaheen_ would use the
oil, if they had it, for they say that the blindfolded cattle will not
turn the wheel when the noise stops.

I also saw half-naked men scooping up the water in baskets and pouring it
into the little ditches, into which the fields are cut up. Sometimes men
will spend not only days, but months on end in this most primitive method
of irrigation.

The American farmer would sneer at the old-fashioned way in which these
Egyptians cultivate the soil. He would tell them that they were two
thousand years behind the time, and, still, if he were allowed to take
their places he would probably ruin the country and himself. Most of the
Egyptian farming methods are the result of long experience. In ploughing,
the land is only scratched. This is because the Nile mud is full of
salts, and the silt from Abyssinia is of such a nature that the people
have to be careful not to plough so deep that the salts are raised from
below and the crop thereby ruined. In many cases there is no ploughing at
all. The seed is sown on the soft mud after the water is taken off, and
pressed into it with a wooden roller or trodden in by oxen or buffaloes.

[Illustration: AFRICA

Last of the continents to be conquered by the explorers, and last to be
divided up among the land-hungry powers, is now slowly yielding to the
white man’s civilization.]

Where ploughs are used they are just the same as those of five thousand
years ago. I have seen carvings on the tombs of the ancient Egyptians
representing the farm tools used then, and they are about the same as
those I see in use to-day. The average plough consists of a pole about
six feet long fastened to a piece of wood bent inward at an acute angle.
The end piece, which is shod with iron, does the ploughing. The pole is
hitched to a buffalo or ox by means of a yoke, and the farmer walks along
behind the plough holding its single handle, which is merely a stick set
almost upright into the pole. The harrow of Egypt is a roller provided
with iron spikes. Much of the land is dug over with a mattock-like hoe.

Most of the grain here is cut with sickles or pulled out by the
roots. Wheat and barley are threshed by laying them inside a ring of
well-pounded ground and driving over them a sledge that rests on a roller
with sharp semicircular pieces of iron set into it. It is drawn by oxen,
buffaloes, or camels. Sometimes the grain is trodden out by the feet
of the animals without the use of the rollers, and sometimes there are
wheels of stone between the sled-runners which aid in hulling the grain.
Peas and beans are also threshed in this way. The grain is winnowed by
the wind. The ears are spread out on the threshing floor and the grains
pounded off with clubs or shelled by hand. Much of the corn is cut and
laid on the banks of the canal until the people have time to husk and
shell it.

The chief means of carrying farm produce from one place to another is on
bullocks and camels. The camel is taken out into the corn field while
the harvesting is going on. As the men cut the corn they tie it up into
great bundles and hang one bundle on each side of his hump. The average
camel can carry about one fifth as much as one horse hitched to a wagon
or one tenth as much as a two-horse team. Hay, straw, and green clover
are often taken from the fields to the markets on camels. Such crops are
put up in a baglike network that fits over the beast’s hump and makes him
look like a hay or straw-stack walking off upon legs. Some of the poorer
farmers use donkeys for such purposes, and these little animals may often
be seen going along the narrow roads with bags of grain balanced upon
their backs.

I have always looked upon Egypt as devoted mostly to sugar and cotton.
I find it a land of wheat and barley as well. It has also a big yield
of clover and corn. The delta raises almost all of the cotton and some
of the sugar. Central and Upper Egypt are grain countries, and in the
central part Indian and Kaffir corn are the chief summer crops. Kaffir
corn is, to a large extent, the food of the poorer _fellaheen_, and is
also eaten by the Bedouins who live in the desert along the edges of the
Nile valley. Besides a great deal of hay, Egypt produces some of the
very best clover, which is known as bersine. It has such rich feeding
qualities that a small bundle of it is enough to satisfy a camel.

This is also a great stock country. The Nile valley is peppered with
camels, donkeys, buffaloes, and sheep, either watched by herders or tied
to stakes, grazing on clover and other grasses. No animal is allowed to
run at large, for there are no fences and the cattle thief is everywhere
in evidence. The _fellaheen_ are as shrewd as any people the world over,
so a strayed animal would be difficult to recover. Much of the stock is
watched by children. I have seen buffaloes feeding in the green fields
with naked brown boys sitting on their backs and whipping them this way
and that if they attempt to get into the crops adjoining. The sheep and
the goats are often watched by the children or by men who are too old to
do hard work. The donkeys, camels, and cows are usually tied to stakes
and can feed only as far as their ropes will reach.

The sheep of Egypt are fine. Many of them are of the fat-tailed variety,
some brown and some white. The goats and sheep feed together, there being
some goats in almost every flock of sheep.

The donkey is the chief riding animal. It is used by men, women,
and children, and a common sight is the veiled wife of one of these
Mohammedan farmers seated astride one of the little fellows with her feet
high up on its sides in the short stirrups. But few camels are used for
riding except by the Bedouins out in the desert, and it is only in the
cities that many wheeled vehicles are to be seen.

Suppose we go into one of the villages and see how these Egyptian farmers
live. The towns are collections of mud huts with holes in the walls for
windows. They are scattered along narrow roadways at the mercy of thick
clouds of dust. The average hut is so low that one can look over its roof
when seated on a camel. It seldom contains more than one or two rooms,
and usually has a little yard outside where the children and the chickens
roll about in the dust and where the donkey is sometimes tied.

Above some of the houses are towers of mud with holes around their sides.
These towers are devoted to pigeons, which are kept by the hundreds and
which are sold in the markets as we sell chickens. The pigeons furnish a
large part of the manure of Egypt both for gardens and fields. The manure
is mixed with earth and scattered over the soil.

Almost every village has its mosque, or church, and often, in addition,
the tomb of some saint or holy man who lived there in the past. The
people worship at such tombs, believing that prayers made there avail
more than those made out in the fields or in their own huts.

There are no water works in the ordinary country village. If the locality
is close to the Nile the drinking and washing water is brought from there
to the huts by the women, and if not it comes from the village well. It
is not difficult to get water by digging down a few feet anywhere in the
Nile valley; and every town has its well, which is usually shaded by palm
trees. It is there that the men gather about and gossip at night, and
there the women come to draw water and carry it home upon their heads.

The farmers’ houses have no gardens about them, and no flowers or other
ornamental decoration. The surroundings of the towns are squalid and
mean, for the peasants have no comforts in our sense of the word. They
have but little furniture inside their houses. Many of them sleep on
the ground or on mats, and many wear the same clothing at night that
they wear in the daytime. Out in the country shoes, stockings, and
underclothes are comparatively unknown. Only upon dress-up occasions does
a man or woman put on slippers.

The cooking and housekeeping are done entirely by the women. The chief
food is a coarse bread made of corn or millet baked in thick cakes. This
is broken up and dipped into a kind of a bean stew seasoned with salt,
pepper, and onions. The ordinary peasant seldom has meat, for it is only
the rich who can afford mutton or beef. At a big feast on the occasion
of a wedding, a farming nabob sometimes brings in a sheep which has been
cooked whole. It is eaten without forks, and is torn limb from limb,
pieces being cut out by the guests with their knives.

[Illustration: Next to the market where sugar cane is sold is the “Superb
Mosque,” built by Sultan Hassan nearly 600 years ago. Besides being a
centre for religious activities, it is also a gathering place for popular
demonstrations and political agitation.]

[Illustration: Cairo is the largest city on the African continent, and
one of the capitals of the Mohammedan world. Its flat-roofed buildings
are a yellowish-white, with the towers and domes of hundreds of mosques
rising above them.]

Of late Egypt has begun to raise vegetables for Europe. The fast boats
from Alexandria to Italy carry green stuff, especially onions, of which
the Nile valley is now exporting several million dollars’ worth per
annum. Some of these are sent to England, and others to Austria and

As for tobacco, Egypt is both an exporter and importer. “Egyptian”
cigarettes are sold all over the world, but Egypt does not raise the
tobacco of which they are made. Its cultivation has been forbidden for
many years, and all that is used is imported from Turkey, Greece, and
Bosnia. About four fifths of it comes from Turkey.

Everyone in Egypt who can afford it smokes. The men have pipes of various
kinds, and of late many cigarettes have been coming into use. A favourite
smoke is with a water pipe, the vapour from the burning tobacco being
drawn by means of a long tube through a bowl of water upon which the pipe
sits, so that it comes cool into the mouth.

The chicken industry of Egypt is worth investigation by our Department
of Agriculture. Since the youth of the Pyramids, these people have been
famous egg merchants and the helpful hen is still an important part of
their stock. She brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, for
her eggs form one of the items of national export. During the last twelve
months enough Egyptian eggs have been shipped across the Mediterranean to
England and other parts of Europe to have given one to every man, woman,
and child in the United States. Most of them went to Great Britain.

The Egyptians, moreover, had incubators long before artificial egg
hatching was known to the rest of the world. There is a hatchery near
the Pyramids where the farmers trade fresh eggs for young chicks at two
eggs per chick, and there is another, farther down the Nile valley, which
produces a half million little chickens every season. It is estimated
that the oven crop of chickens amounts to thirty or forty millions a
year, that number of little fowls being sold by the incubator owners when
the baby chicks are about able to walk.

Most of our incubators are of metal and many are kept warm by oil lamps.
Those used here are one-story buildings made of sun-dried bricks. They
contain ovens which are fired during the hatching seasons. The eggs
are laid upon cut straw in racks near the oven, and the firing is so
carefully done that the temperature is kept just right from week to
week. The heat is not gauged by the thermometer, but by the judgment and
experience of the man who runs the establishment. A fire is started eight
or ten days before the eggs are put in, and from that time on it is not
allowed to go out until the hatching season is over. The eggs are turned
four times a day while hatching. Such establishments are cheaply built,
and so arranged that it costs almost nothing to run them. One that will
hatch two hundred thousand chickens a year can be built for less than
fifty dollars, while for about a dollar and a half per day an experienced
man can be hired to tend the fires, turn the eggs, and sell the chickens.



Stand with me on the Hill of the Citadel and take a look over Cairo.
We are away up over the river Nile, and far above the minarets of the
mosques that rise out of the vast plain of houses below. We are at a
height as great as the tops of the Pyramids, which stand out upon the
yellow desert off to the left. The sun is blazing and there is a smoky
haze over the Nile valley, but it is not dense enough to hide Cairo. The
city lying beneath us is the largest on the African continent and one of
the mightiest of the world. It now contains about eight hundred thousand
inhabitants; and in size is rapidly approximating Heliopolis and Memphis
in the height of their ancient glory.

Of all the Mohammedan cities of the globe, Cairo is growing the fastest.
It is more than three times as big as Damascus and twenty times the size
of Medina, where the Prophet Mohammed died. The town covers an area equal
to fifty quarter-section farms; and its buildings are so close together
that they form an almost continuous structure. The only trees to be seen
are those in the French quarter, which lies on the outskirts.

The larger part of the city is of Arabian architecture. It is made up of
flat-roofed, yellowish-white buildings so crowded along narrow streets
that they can hardly be seen at this distance. Here and there, out of
the field of white, rise tall, round stone towers with galleries about
them. They dominate the whole city, and under each is a mosque, or
Mohammedan church. There are hundreds of them in Cairo. Every one has
its worshippers, and from every tower, five times a day, a shrill-voiced
priest calls the people to prayers. There is a man now calling from the
Mosque of Sultan Hasan, just under us. The mosque itself covers more
than two acres, and the minaret is about half as high as the Washington
Monument. So delighted was Hasan with the loveliness of this structure
that when it was finished he cut off the right hand of the architect so
that it would be impossible for him to design another and perhaps more
beautiful building. Next it is another mosque, and all about us we can
see evidences that Mohammedanism is by no means dead, and that these
people worship God with their pockets as well as with their tongues.

In the Alabaster Mosque, which stands at my back, fifty men are now
praying, while in the courtyard a score of others are washing themselves
before they go in to make their vows of repentance to God and the
Prophet. Not far below me I can see the Mosque El-Azhar, which has been
a Moslem university for more than a thousand years, and where something
like ten thousand students are now learning the Koran and Koranic law.

Here at Cairo I have seen the people preparing to take their pilgrimage
to Mecca, rich and poor starting out on that long journey into the
Arabian desert. Many go part of the way by water. The ships leaving
Alexandria and Suez are crowded with pilgrims and there is a regular
exodus from Port Sudan and other places on this side of the Red Sea. They
go across to Jidda and there lay off their costly clothing before they
make their way inland, each clad only in an apron with a piece of cloth
over the left shoulder. Rich and poor dress alike. Many of the former
carry gifts and other offerings for the sacred city. Such presents cost
the Egyptian government alone a quarter of a million dollars a year;
for not only the Khedive but the Mohammedan rulers of the Sudan send
donations. The railroad running from far up the Nile to the Red Sea makes
special rates to pilgrimage parties.

Yet I wonder whether this Mohammedanism is not a religion of the lips
rather than of the heart. These people are so accustomed to uttering
prayers that they forget the sense. The word God is heard everywhere in
the bazaars. The water carrier, who goes about with a pigskin upon his
back, jingling his brass cups to announce his business, cries out: “May
God recompense me!” and his customer replies, as he drinks, by giving him
a copper in the name of the Lord. The lemonade peddler, who carries a
glass bottle as big as a four-gallon crock, does the same, and I venture
to say that the name of the Deity is uttered here more frequently than in
any other part of the world. It is through this custom of empty religious
formulas that I am able to free myself of the beggars of the city. I have
learned two Arab words: “Allah yatik,” which mean: “May God give thee
enough and to spare.” When a beggar pesters me I say these words gently.
He looks upon me in astonishment, then touches his forehead in a polite
Mohammedan salute and goes away.

On my second visit to Egypt I was fortunate in being in Cairo on the
birthday of the Prophet. It was a feast day among the Mohammedans, and
at night there was a grand religious celebration at the Alabaster Mosque
which Mehemet Ali, that Napoleon of Egypt, built on the Citadel above
Cairo. Its minarets, overlooking the Nile valley, the great deserts and
the vast city of Cairo, blazed with light, and from them the cry of the
muezzins sounded shrill on the dusky air: “Allah is great! There is no
God but Allah, and Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah! Come to worship!
Allah is great! There is no God but Allah!”

As this call reverberated through the city, Mohammedans of all classes
started for the Citadel. Some came in magnificent turnouts, bare-legged,
gaudily dressed _syces_ with wands in their hands running in front of
them to clear the way. Some came upon donkeys. Some moved along in groups
of three or four on foot. The Khedive came with the rest, soldiers with
drawn swords going in front of his carriage and a retinue of cavalry
following behind.

The Alabaster Mosque covers many acres. It has a paved marble court, as
big as a good-sized field, around which are cloisters. This is roofed
with the sky, and in the midst of it is a great marble fountain where the
worshippers bathe their feet and hands before they go in to pray. The
mosque is at the back of this court, facing Mecca. Its many domes rise to
a great height and its minarets seem to pierce the sky. It is built of
alabaster, but its exterior has become worn and pitted by the sands of
the desert, which have been blown against its walls until it has nothing
of the grandeur which it must have shown when its founder worshipped
within it.

The interior, however, was wonderfully beautiful that night, when its
gorgeous decorations were shown off by the thousands of lights of this
great service. Under the gaslight and lamplight the tinsel which during
the day shocks the taste was softened and beautified. The alabaster of
the walls became as pure as Mexican onyx, and the rare Persian rugs that
lay upon the floor took on a more velvety tint.

See it all again with me. In the eye of your mind cover an acre field
with the richest of oriental rugs; erect about it walls of pure white
alabaster with veins as delicate as those of the moss agate; let these
walls run up for hundreds of feet; build galleries around them and
roof the whole with great domes in which are windows of stained glass;
hang lamps by the thousands from the ceiling, place here and there an
alabaster column. Now you have some idea of this mosque as it looked on
the night of Mohammed’s birthday.

You must, however, add the worshippers to the picture. Thousands of
oriental costumes; turbans of white, black, and green; rich gowns and
sober, long-bearded, dark faces, shine out under the lights in every
part of the building. Add likewise the mass of Egyptian soldiers in
gold lace and modern uniforms, with red fezzes on their heads, and the
hundreds of noble Egyptians in European clothes. There are no shoes in
the assemblage, and the crowd moves about on the rugs in bare feet or

What a babel of sounds goes up from the different parts of the building,
and how strange are the sights! Here a dozen old men squat on their
haunches, facing each other, and rock back and forth as they recite
passages of the Koran. Here is a man worshipping all alone; there is a
crowd of long-haired, wild-eyed ascetics with faces of all shades of
black, yellow, and white. They are so dirty and emaciated they make one
think of the hermits of fiction. They stand in a ring and go through
the queerest of antics to the weird music of three great tambourines and
two drums played by worshippers quite as wild looking as themselves. It
is a religious gymnastic show, the horrible nature of which cannot be
described upon paper.

When I first entered the mosque, these Howling Dervishes were squatted
on the floor, moving their bodies up and down in unison, and grunting
and gasping as though the whole band had been attacked with the colic.
A moment later they arose and began to bob their heads from one side to
the other until I thought their necks would be dislocated by the jerks
they gave them. They swung their ears nearly down to their shoulders. The
leader stood in the centre, setting the time to the music. Now he bent
over so that his head was almost level with his knees, then snapped his
body back to an erect position. The whole band did likewise, keeping up
this back-breaking motion for fifteen minutes. All the time they howled
out “Allah, Allah!” Their motions increased in wildness. With every stoop
the music grew louder and faster. They threw off their turbans, and their
long hair, half matted, now brushed the floor as they bent down in front,
now cut the air like whips as they threw themselves back. Their eyes
began to protrude, one man frothed at the mouth. At last they reached
such a state of fanatical ecstasy that not for several minutes after
the leader ordered them to stop, were they able to do so. The Howling
Dervishes used to cut themselves in their rites and often they fall down
in fits in their frenzy. They believe that such actions are passports to

[Illustration: A great occasion in Cairo is the sending of a new
gold-embroidered carpet to the sanctuary in Mecca, there to absorb
holiness at the shrine of the Prophet. The old carpet is brought back
each year, and its shreds are distributed among the Faithful.]

[Illustration: The mosque of the Citadel in Cairo was built of alabaster
by Mehemet Ali, the “Napoleon of Egypt.” When Mohammed’s birthday is
celebrated, its halls and courts are choked with thousands of Moslem
worshippers and are the scene of fanatical religious exercises.]

In another part of the room was a band of Whirling Dervishes, who,
dressed in high sugar-loaf hats and long white gowns, whirled about in
a ring, with their arms outstretched, going faster and faster, until
their skirts stood out from their waists like those of a circus performer
mounted on a bareback steed, as she dances over the banners and through
the hoops.

There were Mohammedans of all sects in the mosque, each going through
his own pious performances without paying any attention to the crowds
that surrounded him. In his religious life the Mussulman is a much braver
man than the Christian. At the hours for prayer he will flop down on his
knees and touch his head on the ground in the direction of Mecca, no
matter who are his companions or what his surroundings. He must take off
his shoes before praying, and I saw yesterday in the bazaars of Cairo a
man clad in European clothes who was praying in his little box-like shop
with his stocking feet turned out toward the street, which was just then
full of people. In the heel of each stocking there was a hole as big as a
dollar, and the bare skin looked out at the crowds.

The Moslems of Egypt, like those elsewhere, have their fast days, during
which, from sunrise to sunset, they do not allow a bit of food nor a
drop of water to touch their lips. Some of them carry the fast to such
an extent that they will not even swallow their saliva, and in this dry
climate their thirst must be terrible. The moment the cannon booms out
the hour of sunset, however, they dash for water and food, and often
gorge themselves half the night. You may see a man with a cigarette in
his hand waiting until the sun goes down in order that he may light it,
or another holding a cup of water ready while he listens for the sound of
the cannon. This fasting is very severe upon the poor people of Egypt,
who have to work all day without eating. The rich often stay up for the
whole night preceding a fast day, and by going to bed toward morning they
are able to sleep the day through and get up in time for a big meal after

The poor are the best Mohammedans, and many of the more faithful are much
alarmed at the laxity in religious duty that comes through contact with
Europeans. A missionary friend told me of a Moslem sheik who was offered
a glass of cognac by a brother believer on a fast day. Shortly after this
he met my friend and spoke of the incident, saying: “I don’t know what we
are coming to. Good Mohammedans think they can drink without sinning, and
this man laughed when I told him it was fast day and said that fasts were
for common people, and that religion was not of much account, anyhow. We
have many infidels among us, and it seems to me that the world is in a
very bad way.”

The Moslems have many doctrines worthy of admiration and the morals of
the towns of Egypt which have not been affected by European civilization
are, I am told, far better than those of Cairo or Alexandria. A traveller
to a town on the Red Sea, which is purely Mohammedan, says that the place
has had no litigation for years, and there is no drunkenness or disorder.
The people move on in a quiet, simple way, with their sheik settling all
their troubles. Mohammedan Cairo is quite as orderly as the part in which
the nobility and the Europeans live. It contains the bazaars and the old
buildings of the Arabian part of the city, and is by all odds the most
interesting section.



Cairo is the biggest city in Africa. It is larger than St. Louis and one
of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Orient. The Christians and the
Mohammedans here come together, and the civilizations of the East and the
West touch each other. The modern part of Cairo has put on the airs of
European capitals. It has as wide streets as Paris, and a park, full of
beautiful flowers and all varieties of shrubs and trees, lies in its very
centre. Here every night the military bands play European and American
airs, and veiled Mohammedan women walk about with white-faced French or
Italian babies, of which they are the nurses. People from every part
of the world listen to the music. The American jostles the Englishman
while the German and the Frenchman scowl at each other; the Greek and
the Italian move along side by side, as they did in the days when this
country was ruled by Rome, and now and then you see an old Turk in his
turban and gown, or a Bedouin Arab, or a white-robed, fair-faced heathen
from Tunis.

The European section of Cairo now has magnificent hotels. It is many
a year since the foreign traveller in Egypt has had to eat with his
fingers, or has seen a whole sheep served up to him by his Egyptian
host as used to be the case. To-day the food is the same as that you
get in Paris, and is served in the same way. One can buy anything he
wants in European Cairo, from a gas-range to a glove-buttoner, and from
a set of diamond earrings to a pair of shoestrings. Yesterday I had a
suit of clothes made by an English tailor, and I drive about every day
in an American motor car. There are, perhaps, fifty thousand Europeans
living in the city, and many American visitors have learned the way
to this great winter resort. The bulk of the Europeans are French and
Italian, and the Mouski, one of the main business streets, is lined for
a mile with French and Italian shops. There are thousands of Greeks,
and hundreds of Jews from Palestine, the states of southern Europe, and
Asia Minor. One sees every type of Caucasian moving about under dark red
fezzes and dressed in black clothes with coats buttoned to the chin.

The foreign part of Cairo is one of great wealth. There are mansions and
palaces here that would be called handsome in the suburbs of New York,
and property has greatly risen in value. Many of the finest houses are
owned by Greeks, whose shrewd brains are working now as in the classic
days. The Greeks look not unlike us and most of them talk both English
and French. They constitute the money aristocracy of Alexandria, and
many of the rich Greek merchants of that city have palatial winter homes
here. As I have said, they are famed as bankers and are the note-shavers
of Egypt. They lend money at high rates of interest, and I am told that
perhaps one fifth of the lands of the country belong to them. They have
bought them in under mortgages to save their notes. The lower classes of
the Greeks are the most turbulent of Egypt’s population.


Embraces the right shoulder of Africa which for centuries withstood the
attempts of rulers and traders to establish their dominion over the

The tourist who passes through Cairo and stays at one of the big hotels
is apt to think that the city is rapidly becoming a Christian one. As he
drives over asphalt streets lined with the fine buildings of the European
quarter, it seems altogether English and French. If he is acquainted with
many foreigners he finds them living in beautiful villas, or in apartment
houses like those of our own cities. He does his shopping in modern
stores and comes to the conclusion that the Arab element is passing away.

This is not so. Cairo is a city of the Egyptians. Not one tenth of
its inhabitants are Christians and it is the hundreds of thousands of
natives who make up the life blood of this metropolis. They are people
of a different world from ours, as we can see if we go down for a stroll
through their quarters. They do business in different ways and trade much
as they have been trading for generations. Their stores are crowded along
narrow streets that wind this way and that until one may lose himself in
them. Nearly every store is a factory, and most of the goods offered are
made in the shop where they are sold.

Although the foreigner and his innovations are in evidence, native Cairo
is much the same now in characters, customs, and dress as it was in the
days of Haroun Al Raschid. Here the visionary Alnaschar squats in his
narrow, cell-like store, with his basket of glass before him. He holds
the tube of a long water pipe in his mouth and is musing on the profits
he will make from peddling his glass, growing richer and richer, until
his sovereign will be glad to offer him his daughter in marriage and
he will spurn her as she kneels before him. We almost expect to see
the glass turned over as it is in the story, and his castles in the
air shattered with his kick. Next to him is a turbaned Mohammedan who
reminds us of Sinbad the Sailor, and a little farther on is a Barmecide
washing his hands with invisible soap in invisible water, and apparently
inviting his friends to come and have a great feast with him. Here two
long-gowned, gray-bearded men are sitting on a bench drinking coffee
together; and there a straight, tall maiden, robed in a gown which falls
from her head to her feet, with a long black veil covering all of her
face but her eyes, looks over the wares of a handsome young Syrian,
reminding us of how the houris shopped in the days of the “Thousand and
One Nights.”

Oriental Cairo is a city of donkeys and camels. In the French quarter
you may have a ride on an electric street car for a few cents, or you
may hire an automobile to carry you over the asphalt. The streets of the
native city are too narrow for such things, and again and again we are
crowded to the wall for fear that the spongy feet of the great camels may
tread upon us. We are grazed by loaded donkeys, carrying grain, bricks,
or bags on their backs, and the donkey boy trotting behind an animal
ridden by some rich Egyptian or his wife calls upon us to get out of the

The donkeys of Egypt are small, rugged animals. One sees them everywhere
with all sorts of odd figures mounted on them. Here is an Egyptian woman
sitting astride of one, her legs bent up like a spring and her black feet
sticking out in the stirrups. She is dressed in black, in a gown which
makes her look like a balloon. There is a long veil over her face with a
slit at the eyes, where a brass spool separates it from the head-dress
and you see nothing but strips of bare skin an inch wide above and below.
Here is a sheik with a great turban and a long gown; his legs, ending
in big yellow slippers, reach almost to the ground on each side of his
donkey. He has no bridle, but guides the beast with a stick. A donkey-boy
in bare feet, whose sole clothing consists of a blue cotton nightgown and
a brown skullcap, runs behind poking up the donkey with a stick. Now he
gives it a cut, and the donkey jerks its hinder part from one side to the
other as it scallops the road in attempting to get out of the way of the
rod. Here is a drove of donkeys laden with bags for the market. They are
not harnessed, and the bags are balanced upon their backs without ropes
or saddles.

The ordinary donkey of Egypt is very cheap indeed, but the country has
some of the finest asses and mules I have ever seen, and there are royal
white jackasses ridden by wealthy Mohammedans which are worth from
five hundred to a thousand dollars per beast. The best of these come
from Mecca. They are pacers, fourteen hands high, and very swift. The
pedigrees of some of them are nearly as long as those of Arabian horses.
It is said that the Arabs who raise them will never sell a female of this

But to return to the characters of the bazaar. They are of the oddest,
and one must have an educated eye to know who they are. Take that man in
a green turban, who is looked up to by his fellows. The dragoman tells
us that he has a sure passport to Heaven, and that the green turban is
a sign that he has made the pilgrimage to Mecca and thus earned the
right to the colours of the Prophet. Behind him comes a fine-featured,
yellow-faced man in a blue gown wearing a turban of blue. We ask our
guide who he may be and are told, with a sneer, that he is a Copt. He is
one of the Christians of modern Egypt, descended from the fanatical band
described by Charles Kingsley in his novel “Hypatia.” Like all his class
he is intelligent, and like most of them well dressed. The Copts are
among the shrewdest of the business Egyptians, and with prosperity they
have grown in wealth. They are money lenders and land speculators. Many
of them have offices under the government, and not a few have amassed
fortunes. Some of them are very religious and some can recite the Bible
by heart. They differ from their neighbours in that they believe in
having only one wife.

The crowd in these streets is by no means all men, however. There are
women scattered through it, and such women! We look at them, and as their
large soulful eyes, fringed with dark lashes, smile back at us, we wish
that the veils would drop from their faces. The complexions which can be
seen in the slit in the veils are of all colours from black to brunette,
and from brown to the creamy white of the fairest Circassian. We are
not particularly pleased with their costume, but our dragoman tells us
that they dress better at home. The better classes wear black bombazine
garments made so full that they hide every outline of the figure. Some of
them have their cloaks tied in at the waist so that they look like black
bed ticks on legs. Here, as one raises her skirt, we see that she wears
bloomers falling to her ankles, which make us think of the fourteen-yard
breeches worn by the girls of Algiers. The poorer women wear gowns of
blue cotton, a single garment and the veil making up a whole costume.
Astride their shoulders or their hips some of them carry babies, many of
whom are as naked as when they were born.

[Illustration: The streets of old Cairo resound with the cries of vendors
of sweetmeats and drinks. Lemonade is dispensed from a great brass bottle
on the back of the seller, while around his waist is a tin tray of
glasses or cups.]

[Illustration: Over many warehouses, shops, and even stables of old Cairo
are homes of the well-to-do with marble floors covered with fine rugs.
The supporting arch is much used because long timbers are not available.]

Here is a lady with a eunuch, who, as black as your hat and as sombre as
the Sphinx, guards the high-born dame lest she should flirt with that
handsome young man from Tunis sitting cross-legged in the midst of his
bottles of attar of roses. He offers a bottle to the lady while he talks
of its merits in the most flowery terms. Here is a barefooted girl, who,
strange to say, has no veil over her face, but whose comely features
might be considered by a jealous lover to warrant such protection. Her
chin is tattooed and the nails of her fingers and toes are stained deep
orange with henna. She has a great tray on her head and is calling out
her wares in the strangest language: “Buy my oranges! They are sweet as
honey, and I know that God will make my basket light.”

This is in Arabic, and one hears the same extravagant sort of talk all
about him. Here two Turks meet and salute each other. They almost fight
in their struggle each to humble himself first by kissing the hand of the
other. After they have done so a third passes and they all say: “_Naharak
sayed_”—“May thy day be happy and blessed.” There are no more polite
people on earth than these Mohammedans, whose everyday talk is poetry.

I can always amuse myself for days in watching the trading in the
bazaars. I saw an Egyptian woman buying some meat to-day. The butcher’s
whole stock consisted of a couple of sheep, one of which hung from a nail
on the wall. The woman drew her finger nail along the piece she wished to
take home, and the butcher sawed it off with a clasp knife. He weighed
it on a pair of rude scales, and the woman objected, saying that he had
given her too much. He then took one end of the strip of meat in his
hand, and putting the other end in his mouth, severed it by drawing the
knife quickly across it. He handed the piece he had held in his mouth to
the woman, who took it and paid for it, evidently seeing nothing out of
the way in his methods.

In the bazaars the merchants sit in little booths no bigger than the
packing-box of a piano. A ledge about two feet high, and of about the
same width, runs along the front of the store, on which the customers
sit. A purchaser is usually offered coffee, and asked to take a smoke
out of the long-stemmed water pipe of the proprietor. It takes a
great time to make a deal, for the Mohammedan always asks three times
what he expects to get, and never comes down without bargaining. The
better merchants all keep book accounts, which they foot up in Arabic
characters, taking the ink out of a brass inkstand with a handle a foot
long which is so made that it will contain the pen as well as the ink.
This inkwell is thrust into the belt of the gown when the proprietor
leaves his shop.

If one is not satisfied at one place he can go to another. In the
Cinnamon Bazaar there are dozens of stores that sell nothing but spices,
and in the Shoemakers’ Bazaar are the gorgeously embroidered slippers and
red-leather shoes, turned up at the toes, worn by all good Mohammedans.
In the Silver Bazaar the jewellers are at work. They use no tools of
modern invention. Their bellows is a bag of goatskin with a piece of
gun-barrel for the mouth and two sticks like those used for the ordinary
fire bellows at the end. One’s only guarantee of getting a good article
is to buy the silver, have it tested by the government assayer, and let
the jeweller make it up under his own eyes. Poor jewellery is often sold,
and I remember buying a silver bracelet for a friend during a visit to
Cairo which looked very pretty and very barbaric, but six months after
its presentation it began to change colour, and proved to be brass washed
with silver.

I see many watches displayed, for there is now a craze among the
peasants of Egypt to own watches. They want a cheap article, and in many
cases buy a fresh watch every year. As a result the Swiss and Germans
have been flooding the country with poor movements, put up in fancy
German silver, nickel, and gun-metal cases, and are selling them at two
dollars and upward apiece. They are not equal to our timepieces which
sell at one dollar. Some of these watches are advertised as of American
make, and sell the quicker on that account. I doubt not that a good
American watch would sell well and displace the poor stuff now sent in by
the Swiss. In one bazaar only brass articles are shown, while in another
nothing but rugs are sold. The Persian Bazaar and the Turkish Bazaar are
managed by men of these nations. In fact, wandering through the business
parts of Cairo, one can see types of every oriental people on the globe.



To-day Egypt is governed by a king. Her last sovereign had the title of
sultan, and for fifty years before that she was ruled by khedives. There
were four khedives in that time, and with two of them I had face-to-face
chats. The first was with Tewfik Pasha, whom I met in the Abdin Palace
during my second visit to Cairo. The other was with Abbas Hilmi, the son
and successor of Tewfik, with whom I talked sixteen years later. Abbas
Hilmi’s pro-German intrigues finally led to his being deposed by the
British and to the establishment of the Protectorate, which ended in the
nationalization of Egypt under a ruler with the title of king.

I give you here the stories of the two interviews, reproducing the notes
I made at the time.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have just returned from a long audience with the Khedive of Egypt.
Khedive is a Persian-Arabic word, meaning “king,” and Mohammed Tewfik
occupies much the same position now as the Pharaohs did in the days of
Moses. It is true that he is in a measure the vassal of the Sultan of
Turkey to whom he pays a tribute of about three and three quarter million
dollars a year, and that he has also several European advisers who keep
sharp watch over the revenues of his kingdom to see that a great part
of them go to the interest on the debts that he and his predecessors
have contracted with the bankers of Europe. But he is, nevertheless, the
king of Egypt, and as kings go to-day, he has more power than many other
monarchs. His residence in Cairo is a grand palace with hundreds of rooms
filled with magnificent furniture. He drives about the city with soldiers
carrying swords, riding prancing horses in front of his carriage, and
with a score of cavalry following behind. He has five hundred thousand
dollars a year for his personal expenses, and he has several palaces
besides the one he occupies in Cairo.

It was at the Abdin Palace that I met His Highness to-day. The interview
had been arranged by the American consul general. We left his office
together in the consular carriage. The dragoman of the legation, a
bright-eyed Syrian in the most gorgeous of Turkish clothes of brown
covered with gold embroidery and with a great sword shaped like a
scimitar clanking at his side, opened the carriage door for us and took
his seat by the coachman. The Arabian Jehu cracked his whip and away
we went through the narrow streets. We drove by the modern European
mansions of the rich Greeks, past the palaces of Egyptian princes from
which came the sweet smell of orange flowers and over which whispered
broad spreading palms. We then went through a business street amid
droves of donkeys, through a caravan of camels, by veiled women clad
in black, past the palace in which Ismail Pasha had his harem when he
was khedive, and on into a great square of many acres. On the right of
this square were vast barracks filled with Arab troops in blue uniforms
and fezzes. A regiment of Egyptian troops was going through a gymnastic
drill, performing the motions as well to-day as they did at the time
when our American General Stone was their commander and when General
Grant reviewed them and said that they seemed to be good soldiers for
everything except fighting.

The Abdin Palace, built in the form of a great horseshoe, is at the end
of this square. It is a vast building of two stories, of brown stucco,
with many windows and a grand entrance way in the centre. At the left
there is a door leading to the harem, and as our carriage drove up we
were passed by a closed coach drawn by two magnificent Arabian horses. On
the box beside the liveried coachman sat a scowling eunuch whose black
skin and dark clothes were all the more sombre by contrast with his
bright red skullcap. In front of the carriage ran two fleet _syces_ with
wands or staffs held up in the air in front of them, warning plebeians
to get out of the way. I was told that the carriage was that of a
princess who was about to make a call upon the Khedivieh, or queen. These
runners, who are a part of every nobleman’s turnout, are among the most
picturesque sights of Egypt.

At the door of the palace stood two pompous soldiers with great swords
in their hands. They were in Turkish costumes with embroidered jackets
of blue and gold and full zouave trousers of blue broadcloth. Upon their
heads were turbans, and their faces made me think of the fierce troops
that conquered this land in the days of the Prophet. Passing up the
massive steps we came to the palace door which was opened by an Arab
clad in European clothes and wearing the red fez, which the Egyptian
never takes off in the house or out of it. We were ushered into a grand
entrance hall, floored with marble mosaic, the walls of which were
finished in cream and gold. In front of us a staircase so wide that
two wagonloads of hay could be drawn up it without touching led by easy
flights to the second floor, while at the right and the left were the
reception rooms for visitors and halls leading to the apartments reserved
for the chamberlains, masters of ceremonies, and other officers of the
royal household. After chatting a moment with one or two of the cabinet
ministers, who were just passing out after a council with His Highness,
we moved on up the stairs. In one of the drawing rooms on the second
floor we were met by another Egyptian official in black clothes and red
fez who conducted us to a reception room, the door of which stood open,
and motioned us to enter.

In the centre of this room, which was not larger than a good-sized
American parlour, there stood all alone a man of about thirty-six years
of age. He was dressed in a black broadcloth coat buttoning close up at
the neck like that of a preacher. Lavender pantaloons showed below this,
fitting well down over a pair of gaiter-like pumps. On the top of his
rather handsome head was a fez of dark red with a black silk tassel.
This man was the Khedive of Egypt. He is, I judge, about five feet six
inches in height and while rather thick-set, does not weigh more than one
hundred and fifty pounds. His frame is well rounded, his head is large,
and his features are clean cut. He has a nose slightly inclined to the
Roman. His forehead is high, and the dark brown eyes that shine from
under it change from the grave to the smiling during his conversation.
The Khedive extended his hand and said he was glad to see me and that he
liked to have Americans come to Cairo. Seating himself on a divan, with
one leg doubled up under him, he motioned me to join him. There was an
absence of pomp or snobbishness in his manner, and though dignified he
did not put on half the airs of the average backwoods member of our House
of Representatives. As he seated himself, his black coat opened so that
I had a chance to note the contrast between his costume and that of the
gorgeous rajahs whom I have met in India. His only jewellery consisted
of a set of pearl studs the size of the smallest of peas and a watch
chain of thin links of gold. He wore a cheap black bow tie in his white
turnover collar, and his cuffs, though scrupulously clean, had not the
polish of the American laundry.

Besides being a good French scholar, Tewfik Pasha speaks English, and
that was the language used in our conversation. In speaking of his life
as Khedive, he said:

“I am told that many people envy me my position. They say that I am a
young man whose lot must be a pleasant one. They do not understand the
troubles that surround me. Many a time I would have been glad to lay down
all the honours I have for rest and peace. The ten years of my reign have
been equal to forty years of work and of worry. If life were a matter of
pleasure I would be a fool to remain on the throne. I believe, however,
that God put man on the world for a purpose. Duty, not pleasure, is the
chief end of man. I do the best I can for my country and my people, and I
feel happiest when I do the most work and when my work is the hardest.”

[Illustration: “In the famous Abdin Palace I interviewed Tewfik Pasha,
when he was Khedive of Egypt, and later, in the same audience room,
talked with Abbas Hilmi, his son and successor.”]

[Illustration: The gorgeous kavass is essential to the official dignity
of the representative of foreign governments in Cairo. Besides attending
on the person of minister or consul general on state occasions, he also
serves as major domo and general “fixer.”]

As the Khedive said these words I thought of the thorns which have filled
the pillow of his reign. I thought of how, upon his entering manhood,
his father Ismail was deposed and he was put upon the throne. I thought
of how he boxed the ears of the messenger who came to tell him he had
succeeded to that uncomfortable seat. I thought of his trouble under
foreign dictation. I thought of the plots and nearly successful rebellion
of Arabi Pasha, of the revolution of the Mahdi, of the creditors who
to-day are grinding Egypt between their upper and nether millstones,
of the danger of assassination, and of the other perils that are ever
present about the throne of an oriental monarch. Recalling all these
things, I could appreciate why his mouth hardened and his eyes grew sad
when he spoke thus to me.

The talk then turned upon the condition of Egypt and its future, but as
to these matters Tewfik was reticent. He spoke proudly of the reforms
which he had inaugurated in government and of the fact that now, though
the taxes were heavy, every peasant knew just what he would have to pay
and that the taxes were honestly collected. He spoke of the improvement
of the courts and said that the _pasha_ and the _fellah_ were equal
before the law. “When I came to the throne,” said he, “the people were
surprised that I put the prince on the same footing as other people. Now,
there is no difference in justice. The prince and the peasant are the
same in our courts, and the former may be punished like the latter.”

At this point, coffee and cigarettes were brought in by the servants of
the palace. The coffee was _à la Turque_. It was served in little china
cups shaped like egg cups, in holders of gold filigree, each holding
about three tablespoonfuls of rich black coffee as thick as chocolate and
as sweet as molasses. There were neither saucers nor spoons. Trying to
follow the Khedive’s example I gulped down half the contents of the cup
at a swallow. It was as hot as liquid fire. I could feel the top of my
mouth rising in a blister, the tears came into my eyes, and my stomach
felt as though it had taken an internal Turkish bath. Tewfik Pasha
took the boiling mixture without winking and went on talking as though
his throat were used to scalding fluids. Surprised to see him refuse a
cigarette, I asked him if he did not smoke. He replied:

“No! I neither smoke nor drink. I do not drink for two reasons. I believe
a man is better off without it, and, what is of more moment to me, it is
against the laws of life as laid down in the Koran. We do not believe it
right to drink anything intoxicating and good Moslems drink neither wine
nor liquor. I believe that every man should be faithful to the religion
which he professes. My faith is that of Islam and I try to follow it
as well as I can. I am not illiberal in it, however, for I tolerate
all religions and all sects in my kingdom. We have Copts, Jews, and
Christians, and your missionaries are at work in the land. They make very
few converts, if any, among the people of my faith, but they have schools
in Upper Egypt that are doing much in the way of education.”

The consul general here spoke of the Khedive’s knowledge of the Koran,
mentioning the fact that His Majesty knows the whole book by heart. There
is no doubt that Tewfik has as much faith in his religion as we have in
ours. He spoke with some pride of the Mohammedan conversions in Africa
and the fact that there are more than one hundred millions of people in
the world who believe the same as he does. We talked of the band of one
hundred American Catholics, who are stopping in Egypt on their way to
the Holy Land, and the Khedive said he was interested in these pilgrims
who are following the footsteps of Joseph and Mary. He spoke of the
immense sums brought into Egypt by tourists and said that it bettered
the business of his country.

Throughout our whole conversation the talk was of the most cordial and
unceremonious character and I left the palace with the impression that
the Khedive of Egypt is a man of great sense and of more than ordinary
ability. He stands well with his people. Indeed, the leading men in
Cairo tell me he would do much for Egypt if he were not hampered by
foreign intervention. He gave up a number of his palaces a year or so
ago and he is, for a king, most economical. Had other rulers of the past
been equally careful, Egypt would be a rich country to-day instead of
being ridden with debts. He is a man of domestic tastes, and though a
Mohammedan and an oriental king, he is the husband of but one wife to
whom he is as true as the most chaste American. A friend of Tewfik Pasha
reported to me a talk he recently had with him upon this subject in which
the Khedive expressed himself strongly in favour of monogamy: “I saw,”
said he, “in my father’s harem the disadvantages of a plurality of wives
and of having children by different wives, so I decided before I came to
manhood that I would marry but one woman and would be true to her. I have
done so, and I have had no reason to regret it.”

From what I can learn the ruler’s family life is a happy one. He is much
in love with his wife, who is said to be one of the cleverest women of
Egypt. A woman friend of hers, who visits often at the royal harem, tells
me that this queen of Egypt is both beautiful and accomplished. She keeps
up a big establishment separate from that of the Khedive, and when she
sits down to dinner or breakfast it is not with her husband, but with her
own ladies. The Khedive eats with his officers, according to Mohammedan
etiquette, and his apartments, or the _salumlik_, are separate from hers.
Both she and her husband have done much to break down the rigidity of
Mohammedan social customs. Tewfik Pasha takes the Khedivieh with him
wherever he goes, though she usually travels in a separate train or car.
She has stuck to the Khedive through the stormiest days of his reign.
During the last war she refused to take refuge on the English gunboats
when invited to do so.

Both the Khedive and the Khedivieh are wrapped up in their four children.
They have two boys and two girls. The boys are Abbas Hilmi, who will be
fifteen years old in July, and Mehemet Ali, who is two years younger.
These boys are now at school in Berlin. They speak French, English,
German, and Arabic, and they are, I am told, very clever. The girls are
rather pretty, cream-complexioned maidens of eight and ten, who are as
much like American girls as they can be considering their surroundings.
They wear European clothes and may be seen along the sea shore at
Alexandria, walking together and swinging their hats in their hands like
other little girls at our summer resorts. They have European governesses
and talk French quite well.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Cairo sixteen years later I found on the throne Abbas Hilmi who was a
boy at school when I had my interview with his father. Again through the
courtesy of our consul general an audience with the Khedive was arranged
for me, and together we went to the palace to pay our respects. Here is
the story of my visit:

In the very room where I met Tewfik Pasha I was received in the same
cordial and informal manner by his son, the present Khedive. He does
not look much like his father. He is a trifle taller and seems to have
more dignity, perhaps because in place of his father’s simple garb Abbas
Hilmi wears the more formal frock coat and striped trousers of modern

[Illustration: Though stripped of most of their political powers, the
khedives surrounded themselves with all the trappings of rulership, and
made the most of the magnificence of the Abdin Palace in Cairo, where
they granted audiences and gave grand balls.]

[Illustration: One of the most famous hotels in the world is Shepheard’s,
at Cairo, through which for many years leading characters of all nations
have passed on their way to the East or to the West. Its site was once
part of the garden of Princess Kiamil, daughter of Mehemet Ali.]

[Illustration: A school among the Moslems is a simple matter, consisting
usually of young men sitting at the feet of a teacher whose sole textbook
and equipment are the Koran, lengthy passages of which are learned by

My conversation with His Highness covered a wide range. It dealt with the
present prosperity of Egypt, and I could see that he understands both his
country and its people. He thinks that the Nile valley has by no means
reached the maximum of its development, and says that by increasing the
dams and drainage facilities Egypt might yield much greater crops than
she does now. I spoke to him about having met his father, mentioning the
great interest that Tewfik Pasha showed in Egypt and its future. The
Khedive expressed a similar desire to do all he could for the Egyptians,
but practically the only matters in which he has full sway are those
regarding his own estates, his management of which shows great business
capacity. He has an allowance of five hundred thousand dollars a year out
of the public treasury, but in addition he owns thousands of acres of
valuable lands, so his private property must be worth many millions of
dollars. He handles this in such a way that it pays well, his experiments
and improvements being the talk of farmers and business men throughout
the Nile valley.

I have heard a great deal of these khedivial farms since I have been in
Egypt. Abbas Hilmi inherited much land from his father, but he has other
large tracts, which he himself has redeemed from the desert, and yet
others which he has made good by draining. Not far from Cairo he owns
twenty-five hundred acres which a few years ago were covered with swamps,
quagmires, and hillocks. He bought this cheap and then began to improve
it. He cut down the hills, drained the swamps, and put water on the land.
At present that estate is paying over sixty thousand dollars a year,
bringing His Highness thirty per cent. and upward on his investment.

He has another great farm not far from Alexandria which was all desert
not long ago. The Khedive has irrigated it and thus turned four thousand
waste acres into cultivated fields. Farm villages have grown up about
them and His Highness has so laid out the estate with trees and flowers
that it is said to be like an earthly paradise. In one place he has a
plantation of fifteen thousand mulberry bushes, the leaves of which
furnish food for his silkworms. This estate is at Montzah, a few miles
out of Alexandria, on a beautiful bay of the Mediterranean Sea. Abbas
Hilmi has built a palace there, or rather two palaces, a little one for
himself and a larger one for his family. In other parts of the estate he
is carrying on all sorts of breeding experiments. He has chicken houses
and rabbit hutches as well as a tower containing thousands of pigeons.

The Khedive is interested in fine stock and is doing much to improve
that of Egypt. On his various farms he has high-bred horses, cattle, and
sheep. He has a large number of Arabian thoroughbred horses, and some
Jersey, Swiss, and other fine breeds of cows. His water buffaloes, known
here as _gamoushes_, are far better than any others of the Nile valley.
He is also breeding cattle for oxen and mules for draft animals. He has a
school on his estate near Cairo where two hundred boys are being educated
to take places on his various properties. This school is run at his own
expense, the boys being taught farming and surveying as well as reading,
writing, and arithmetic. The course of study lasts for five years, at the
end of which the graduate is pretty sure of a good position as a steward
or overseer on one of the khedivial farms.

Abbas Hilmi has made a great deal of money within the last three or four
years. He is investing largely in Cairo and is building apartment houses
with elevators, telephones, electric lights, bathrooms, and all other
modern improvements. He has a brick factory on one of his estates near
here, and his profits from cotton and other crops must be very large.

Abbas Hilmi’s wife is the Princess Ikbal Hanem, whom he married when he
was about twenty. She is said to be both accomplished and beautiful,
but like all Mohammedan ladies, she leads a secluded life, and does not
appear at the great functions at the palace. She is not seen at the
Khedive’s grand ball, given to his officials and the foreigners about
once a year, to which something like fifteen hundred guests are invited.
She is present, all the same, however, for she has a screened chamber
looking down upon the ballroom, with the curtains so arranged that she
can watch the dancing and flirting while she herself is unseen. Her
Majesty has gorgeous apartments in each of the palaces and a little court
of her own of which the noble ladies of Egypt are a part.



The biggest university of the Mohammedan world is situated in Cairo. It
has, all told, over ten thousand students, and its professors number
more than four hundred. Its students come from every country where
Mohammedanism flourishes. There are hundreds here from India, and
some from Malaya and Java. There are large numbers from Morocco, as
well as from Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripoli. There are black Nubians,
yellow-skinned Syrians and Turks, and boys from southeastern Europe with
faces as fair as our own. There are long-gowned, turbaned Persians,
fierce-eyed Afghans, and brown-skinned men from the Sudan and from about
Kuka, Bornu, and Timbuktu. The students are of all ages from fifteen to
seventy-five, and some have spent their lives in the college.

This university has been in existence for almost a thousand years. It
was founded A.D. 972, and from that time to this it has been educating
the followers of the Prophet. It is to-day perhaps the strongest force
among these people in Egypt. Ninety-two per cent. of the inhabitants of
the Nile valley are Mohammedans and most of the native officials have
been educated here. There are at least thirty thousand men in the public
service among its graduates, while the judges of the villages, the
teachers in the mosque schools, and the _imams_, or priests, who serve
throughout Egypt are connected with it. They hold the university in such
high regard that an order from its professors would be as much respected
as one from the government, if not more.

[Illustration: A fifteen-minutes drive from the hotel quarter through the
bazaars of the Mouski and the narrow “Street of the Booksellers” brings
one to the university of El-Azhar, for 900 years the educational centre
of the Moslem world.]

[Illustration: The various nationalities are segregated in the courtyard
porticos of El-Azhar. Instruction is free and almost entirely in the
Koran. If a student doesn’t like one professor, he moves on to another.]

The university education is almost altogether Mohammedan. Its curriculum
is about the same as it was a thousand years ago, the chief studies being
the Koran and the Koranic law, together with the sacred traditions of the
religion and perhaps a little grammar, prosody, and rhetoric. A number
of the professors also teach in the schools connected with the mosques
of the Egyptian villages, which are inspected, but not managed, by the
government. Even there the Koran takes up half the time, and religion is
considered far more important than science.

Indeed, it is wonderful how much time these Egyptians spend on their
bible. The Koran is their primer, their first and second reader, and
their college text book. As soon as a baby is born, the call to prayer is
shouted in its ear, and when it begins to speak, its father first teaches
it to say the creed of Islam, which runs somewhat as follows:

“There is no God but God; Mohammed is the Apostle of God,” and also
“Wherefore exalted be God, the King, the Truth! There is no God but Him!
The Lord of the glorious Throne.”

When the boy reaches five or six he goes to the mosque school, where
he squats down, cross-legged, and sways to and fro as he yells aloud
passages from the Koran. He studies the alphabet by writing texts with a
black brush on a slate of wood or tin. Year after year he pounds away,
committing the Koran to memory. There are more than two hundred and fifty
thousand pupils in the Egyptian schools, of whom a majority are under
thirteen years of age. It was brought out by a school census some years
ago that over fifty thousand of these boys could recite a good part of
the Mohammedan bible, and that forty-five hundred had memorized the whole
from beginning to end. Another forty-five hundred were able to recite
one half of it from memory, while thirty-eight hundred could correctly
give three fourths of it. When it is remembered that the Koran contains
one hundred and fourteen divisions and in the neighbourhood of eighty
thousand words, it will be seen what this means. I’m willing to bet that
there are not four thousand children in the United States who can reel
off the New Testament without looking at the book, and that with our vast
population we have not fifty thousand boys who can recite even one book
of our Bible from memory and not mispronounce a word.

The Mohammedans reverence their bible quite as much as we do ours. While
it is being read they will not allow it to lie upon the floor, and no
one may read or touch it without first washing himself. It is written
in Arabic and the Moslems consider its style a model. They believe that
it was revealed by God to Mohammed, and that it is eternal. It was not
written at first, but was entirely committed to memory, and it is to a
large extent in that way that it is still taught. The better classes of
Mohammedans have beautiful copies of this book. They have some bound in
gold with the texts illuminated, and the university has a collection of
fine editions which is looked upon as one of its greatest treasures.

This famous Mohammedan university is situated in the heart of business
Cairo. When I rode to it to-day (on my donkey) I passed through a mile or
more of covered bazaars, thronged with turbaned men and veiled women and
walled with shops in which Egyptians were selling goods and plying their
trades. Known as the Mosque of El-Azhar, or “The Resplendent,” it is one
of the oldest mosques of Cairo. It covers several acres, and the streets
about it are taken up largely with industries connected with the college.
One of the bazaars is devoted to bookselling and bookbinding and another
to head dressing. Since every Mohammedan has his head shaved several
times a week, there are in this institution ten thousand bald-headed
students. The men wear turbans of white, black, or green, and there is
not a hair under them except on the top of the crown, where a little tuft
may be left that the owner may be the more easily pulled into heaven.

My way was through this street of the barbers, where I saw students
kneeling down while being shaved. One or two were lying with their heads
in the laps of the barbers at work on their faces. The barbers used no
paper, wiping the shavings on the faces of their victims instead. At the
end they gave the head, face, and ears a good washing.

As I approached the entrance of the university I saw many young men
standing about, with their books under their arms, and some carrying
manuscripts in and out. Each student has his shoes in his hand when he
enters the gates, and before I went in I was made to put on a pair of
slippers over my boots. The slippers were of yellow sheepskin and a
turbaned servant tied them on with red strings.

Entering the gate, I came into a great stone-flagged court upon which
the study halls face. The court was surrounded by arcades upheld by
marble pillars, and in the arcades and in the immense rooms beyond were
thousands upon thousands of seekers after Koranic learning. They sat in
groups on the floor, listening to the professors, who were lecturing on
various subjects, swaying back and forth as they chanted their words of
wisdom. Some of the groups were studying aloud, until the confusion was
as great as that at the Tower of Babel when the tongues of the builders
were multiplied. There were at least five thousand men all talking at
once, and all, as it seemed to me, were shouting at the tops of their
voices. As I made my way through the mass, I had many unfriendly looks
and narrowly escaped being mobbed when I took snapshots of the professors
and students at work under the bright sun which beat down upon the
court. The inmates of this school are among the most fanatical of the
Mohammedans, and I have since learned that the Christian who ventures
among them may be in danger of personal violence.

I spent some time going from hall to hall and making notes. In one
section I found a class of blind boys who were learning the Koran, and I
am told that they are more fanatical than any of the others. In another
place I saw forty Persians listening to a professor. They were sitting
on the ground, and the professor himself sat flat on the floor with his
bare feet doubled up under him. I could see his yellow toes sticking out
of his black gown. He was lecturing on theology and the students were

Another class near by was taking down the notes of a lecture. Each had a
sheet of tin, which looked as though it might have been cut from an oil
can, and he wrote upon this in ink with a reed stylus. The letters were
in Arabic so I could not tell what they meant.

I looked about in vain for school furniture such as we have at home.
There was not a chair or a table in the halls; there were no maps or
diagrams and no scientific instruments. There were no libraries visible;
the books used were mostly pamphlets.

There is no charge for tuition and the poor and the rich are on much the
same level. Many of the undergraduates are partially supported by the
university; it is no disgrace to be without money. Some of the students
and professors live in the university. They sleep in the schoolrooms
where they study or teach, lying down upon mats and covering themselves
with their blankets. They eat there, peddlers bringing in food and
selling it to them. Their diet is plain, a bowl of bean soup and a cake
of pounded grain, together with some garlic or dates, forming the most
common meal. These things cost little, but to those who are unable to
buy, the university gives food. Nine hundred loaves of bread are supplied
without charge to needy students every day.

As I passed through the halls I saw some of the boys mending their
clothes and others spreading their wash out in the sun to dry. They did
not seem ashamed of their poverty and I saw much to admire in their

The professors serve for nothing, supporting themselves by teaching in
private houses or by reading the prayers at the mosques. It is considered
such a great honour to be a professor here that the most learned men of
the Mohammedan world are glad to lecture in the El-Azhar without reward.
In fact, the only man about the institution who receives a salary is the
president, who has ten thousand piastres a year. This seems much until
one knows that the piastre is only five cents, and that it takes ten
thousand of them to make five hundred dollars.

I asked about the government of the university, and was told that it had
a principal and assistant professors. All students are under the direct
control of the university, so if they misbehave outside its walls, the
police hand them over to the collegiate authorities for punishment. The
students are exempt from military service, and it is said that many enter
the institution for that reason alone. There seem to be no limitations
as to age or as to the time one may spend at the college. I saw boys
between six and eight studying the Koran in one corner of the building,
and gray-bearded men sitting around a professor in another. Most of the
scholars, however, are from sixteen to twenty-two or of about the same
age as our college boys at home.

This university has little to do with the great movement of modern
education now going on in Egypt. It is religious rather than academic,
and the live, active educational forces outside it are two. One of these
is the United Presbyterian Church and its mission school at Asyut, about
three hundred miles farther up the Nile valley, and the other is the
government. There are besides about one thousand schools supported by the
Copts, the most intelligent of the native population.

When the British took over the administration Egypt was very illiterate,
and even now not more than six per cent. of the natives can read and
write. But the desire for learning is increasing and the system of common
schools which has been inaugurated is being developed. There are now
about four thousand five hundred schools in the country, with over three
hundred thousand pupils. There are a number of private schools, several
normal schools, and schools devoted to special training. A system
of technical education has been started and the government has model
workshops at Bulak and Asyut. At Cairo it has a school of agriculture, a
school of engineering, and schools of law and medicine.

An important movement has been the introduction of modern studies into
the village schools belonging to the Mohammedans. These were formerly,
and are to some extent now, under the university of El-Azhar. They were
connected with the mosques and taught by Mohammedan priests. They were
supported by the people themselves and also by a Mohammedan religious
organization known as the Wakf, which has an enormous endowment. There
were something like ten thousand of these schools scattered over the
lower part of the Nile valley, with an attendance of nearly two hundred
thousand. They taught little more than the Arabic language, the Koran,
and reading, writing, and arithmetic. Lord Cromer wanted to bring these
schools under the ministry of public instruction and introduce our modern
studies. When the teachers refused to accept supervision, he offered to
give every mosque school that would come in an appropriation of fifty
cents for every boy and seventy-five cents for every girl. This brought
good results. At present only half of each school day is set apart for
the study of the Koran and the precepts of Islam, and I am told that such
of the Mohammedan pupils as do well are more likely to get appointments
under the government than if they were Christians or Copts.

The girls of Egypt are beginning to get an education. For a long time it
was hard to persuade their parents to send them either to the government
or the private schools, but of late some of the native educated women
have taken places as teachers and many girls are now preparing
themselves for school work. Other parents send their daughters to school
to give them a good general education, because the educated boys want
educated women for wives. There are at present something like two hundred
girls’ schools, with an attendance of nearly fifty thousand pupils. An
effort is being made to establish village schools for girls, and the
time will come when there will be girls’ schools all over Egypt and the
Mohammedan women may become educated.

We are apt to think that the only kind of charity is Christian charity.
I find that there is a great deal of Mohammedan charity as well, and
that many of the richer Moslems give money toward education and other
public welfare work. The endowment of the El-Azhar university is almost
entirely of this nature. Some of the village schools are aided by native
charity as are also some high schools. A Mohammedan benevolent society at
Alexandria raised fifty thousand dollars for an industrial school there.
That school accommodates over five hundred pupils, and has an endowment
of about four thousand dollars per year. In the industrial school at
Abu Tig, founded and liberally endowed by Mahmoud Suleiman, weaving,
carpentry, blacksmithing, and turning are taught free of charge. Towns
of the Faiyum and Beni-Suef have raised money for industrial schools and
the government gives assistance to twenty-two such institutions. There is
also talk of a national university along modern lines, to be supported
by the government. This university will be absolutely scientific and
literary and its doors will be wide open to all desirous of learning,
irrespective of their origin or religion.

[Illustration: A house thirty feet square might rest on the flattened
apex of the Great Pyramid, but originally it was much higher and came to
a sharp point. All the pyramids have been robbed of their stones by house
builders in Cairo.]

[Illustration: “If you will climb upon your dining room table 250 times
you will have an idea of my ascent of the stepping-stone sides of the
Great Pyramid. At the base the huge blocks are waist-high.”]



On my second trip to Egypt I followed a telephone line in going from
Cairo to the Pyramids and as I waded through the sands from the edge of
the Nile valley up the plateau where old Cheops stands, I could see a
party of foreigners playing lawn-tennis in the court of the hotel which
has been built near its base. The next improvement in modernizing Egypt
will probably be cable roads running to the top of these great piles
of stone. Already a flagstaff has been planted on the very apex of the
biggest of them.

In driving to the Pyramids I passed along an avenue of acacia trees, the
intertwining branches of which formed a grand arbour extending to the
desert seven miles away. This splendid road was made in a few weeks by
order of the extravagant Khedive Ismail Pasha at the time of the opening
of the Suez Canal. He had it constructed so that his distinguished
visitor, the Empress Eugénie, might drive comfortably to the Pyramids!
It is built ten feet above the fields of the Nile valley and on each
side the green stretches away to the north and south until it is lost in
the horizon. One sees groves of palm trees, camels and donkeys, farmers
ploughing and women carrying water, together with the other strange
scenes that make up the oriental setting of this land of the Arabian

Leaving Cairo, I crossed the fine iron bridge which spans the Nile and
is guarded by great bronze lions at each end. I passed the tax office;
I saw farmers bringing chickens, pigeons, and grass or vegetables into
Cairo and stopping to pay a tax upon them before they could offer them
for sale. On I went past a branch of the Nile, where naked men stood in
the water and slapped clothes up and down on stones in washing them; by
wells where women were filling great jars with water and bearing them
away upon their heads, as they did in the days of Rachel when Jacob
gave her that kiss and made the scene which the Italian artists love to
paint; and on out into the country, through this greenest of the green
valley of Egypt. I went by caravans of camels ridden by Bedouins who were
carrying merchandise into Cairo to sell. The air was as fresh as America
in springtime, and the sweet scent of the grass and the clover was blown
into my face by the bracing wind from the desert.

I saw the Pyramids when I left the city. They increased rapidly in size
as I came nearer to them, and at the edge of the desert they looked at
first like huge heaps of stone. Disappointment came over me. I felt that
the travellers of all ages had lied.

Half a mile farther and I was at their base. Now I changed my opinion.
The Pyramids are more wonderful than they have ever been painted, and
their immensity grows upon one more and more as he looks. As I stood in
the middle of one of the sides of the Great Pyramid, it seemed as though
the whole sky were walled with stone. The top towered above my head,
almost kissing the white clouds which sometimes float in this clear
Egyptian sky.

The Great Pyramid has a base covering thirteen acres, and if Herodotus
told the truth, it was during his lifetime about half as high again as
the Washington Monument. The stones in it to-day would make eight hundred
and fifty such monuments, yet fully one half of it, I should judge, has
been carted away for buildings in Cairo. To-day it is over three hundred
feet lower than Herodotus described it, and its sides do not measure more
than seven hundred and fifty feet. It is an almost solid mass of stone,
cut in mighty blocks, which are piled up in the shape of steps, growing
smaller in size as they reach the top, and terminating in a flat platform
large enough to build upon it a house thirty feet square. Such a house
would be four hundred and eighty-two feet above the desert. It would
command a view of the Nile valley for miles, and its back windows would
look out upon the great, billowy plains of golden sand. This pyramid is
built right in the desert, as are, indeed, all of the sixty pyramids of
greater or less size found in different parts of Egypt. The south windows
of the house would have a good view of the Pyramids of Sakkarah, which
stand out in geometrical figures of blue upon the site of old Memphis,
while on the front porch you could have as an ornament in your great yard
below, the old stony-eyed Sphinx who sat with her paws stretched out
before her in this same position when these mighty monuments were built,
and who is one of the few females in the world who grows old without
losing her beauty.

The Pyramids themselves are by no means young. The king who built the
Great Pyramid for his tomb lived some three thousand odd years before
Christ. Now, five thousand years later, we Americans climb to the top of
the huge pile of stones he put up to contain his royal bones and go into
the chambers in its interior, which he thought would outlast the ages.
With magnesium lights we explore the recesses of the rooms in which he
expected to be secluded for eternity, and take photographs in the heart
of this old ruler’s tomb.

[Illustration: Mr. Carpenter and his son are standing on the nape of the
neck of the Sphinx. She has seen more years than the Pyramids and has
been mutilated by successive conquerors and vandals and worn away by the
sand blasts of the desert.]

[Illustration: Helouan and its sulphur springs, once the resort of the
Pharaohs, is again fashionable, and a princess’ palace now serves as
hotel. The porch canopy is of what is called tentwork, made of coloured
pieces applied in elaborate designs.]

The corpse of the king was taken out long ago and history does not
record what became of it. All we know of him comes from Herodotus, who
says he was a vicious, bad man, and that during the fifty years he ruled
the Egyptians he oppressed the people terribly. He built the Pyramid by
forced labour, keeping a gang of more than one hundred thousand workmen
at it for over twenty years. The stones forming the outside, which have
now been taken away, were even larger than those still standing, but many
of those that are left are as high as a table and many feet in length.
The sides of this Pyramid are in the form of immense stairs, which narrow
as they go upward. There are two hundred and fifty of these high steps.
If one will go to his dining room and climb upon the table two hundred
and fifty-two times he will experience something of the work I had in
climbing up the Pyramid. His exertion will be harder, however, for he
will not have the help of three half-naked Arabs who were given to me by
the Sheik of the Pyramids, and who almost worried the life out of me in
their demands for _backsheesh_ all the way up. My wife happened to call
me by my given name and during the remainder of that trip I was “Mr.
Frank” to these heathen. While they jerked my arms nearly off in pulling
me from one ledge to another, they howled out in a barbaric sing-song a
gibberish of English, interspersing it with Cherokee whoops, something
like this:

    “All right! Very good!!
    Hard work. Good boys!!
    Mr. Frank satisfied!!
    On top pay money.”

This was a continual reminder of my indebtedness to them, and they
enforced their song with more numerous jerks the higher we rose. They
were surprised when I refused to give them any _backsheesh_ until we got
to the bottom, and lifted me down about as jerkily as they had pulled me

I went inside the Pyramid to examine the great chambers, which are quite
as wonderful as the outside construction. They are built of granite
blocks so closely joined that one cannot put a pin between the crevices.
The Queen’s Chamber is seventeen feet wide by eighteen feet long, and
its ceiling is twenty feet high. It is as dark as the night which the
Lord spread over Egypt when He wanted to soften the heart of Pharaoh,
but the night was turned into day by the burning of magnesium, and we
could see the wonderful polish on the walls. The King’s Chamber is lined
entirely with granite and is as big as a country church. It would take
one hundred and twenty-five yards of carpet to cover its floor. Its
ceiling, which is nineteen feet high, is roofed with nine enormous slabs
of granite, each of which is eighteen feet long. The only thing within
the chamber is a great sarcophagus about three feet wide and three feet
deep, and just long enough to contain the body of a man. There are also
other chambers in this Pyramid. When one considers the machinery of the
times, its structure is a marvel. Its cost can hardly be estimated in the
money of to-day. Before it was mutilated, there was on it a record of
the radishes, onions, and garlic which had been distributed among the
workmen. These alone cost one million seven hundred and fifty thousand
dollars, so the monument itself must have cost many millions more. Yet,
after all, it is nothing but the tomb of a king.

In coming down from the top of the Pyramid my Bedouin guides landed me
at the opposite corner from whence I started, and here was a camel ready
to take me to the Sphinx. It is only about a quarter of a mile from one
to the other, but few ever think of walking through the sand, especially
after the Pyramid exercise.

The Sphinx seems bigger, more sombre, and more wonderful than ever. Her
face is that of a remarkably good-looking Negro girl, though it is said
that her complexion was originally of a beautiful pink. All of this pink
has now been worn away by the sands of the desert, which have for more
than six thousand years been showering their amorous kisses upon it,
until all that is left is a little red paint just under the left eye.
That figure with the head and bust of a woman upon the body of a lion,
carved out of the ages-old rock which stood here upon the desert, has
been noted among the peoples of the world as far back as history extends,
and those stony eyes have seen civilization after civilization rise and

It would take a good-sized city lot to hold the Sphinx. The body is one
hundred and forty feet long, and the paws each measure fifty feet. Her
head alone is so big that a vault fourteen feet square and the height
of a three-story house would be just large enough to contain it. Though
you measure six feet in your stockings and have arms as long as those of
Abraham Lincoln, if you stood on the tip of this old lady’s ear you could
hardly touch the crown of her head. The ear by actual measurement has a
length of over four feet, and if that mouth would open it could swallow
an ox. The nose is five feet seven inches long, and originally partook
of an Ethiopian character. Now, however, it is sadly mutilated, for it
has formed a target both for the conquering Mohammedans of the past and
the vandal Bedouins of a later day. Tradition says, too, that Napoleon
cut off the nose to spite Egypt when he was forced to retreat from the
country. In front of the Sphinx lies a temple, in the ruins of which one
moves about under ground through a series of dark chambers where some
wonderful statues and mummies were found. Among the halls there is one
room seventy-nine feet long and twenty-three feet wide.

From Cairo I drove out five miles to the site of Heliopolis, the ancient
City of the Sun, where stands the oldest obelisk in the world. This
monument was very old when Abraham came down into Egypt, and under its
shadow Joseph, when he was manager of Pharaoh’s estates, came to court
Asenath, the daughter of a priest in the great temple to which the
obelisk belonged. Near it Mary rested with the child Jesus during the
flight from the wrath of Herod the King. Heliopolis, first set up for
the worship of the sun-god Ra, the ancestor of all the Pharaohs, later
became the Boston of Egypt where two thousand years ago the wise men
studied logic, and it was in the Temple of Heliopolis that Plato taught
philosophy and Herodotus studied history. We learn from some of the
hieroglyphics of Egypt that the temple had more than twelve thousand
employees connected with it. The road to it leads through a long avenue
of acacia trees past the royal summer palace, and the city stood in one
of the most fertile portions of the valley of the Nile. Not a vestige of
its ruins now remains save this obelisk, which stands sixty feet above
the ground in the midst of green crops. Not far from it two buffaloes,
with cloths over their faces, went round and round pulling the bar which
turns the great water-wheel of a squeaking _sakieh_. I found a few
beggars asking for _backsheesh_ and saw half-a-dozen Mohammedans sitting
gossiping by the roadside; but there was nothing else except the green of
the fields, with a bleak and bare desert stretching away beyond them and
the shadowy ghosts of the Pyramids looming large on the distant horizon.
The obelisk is almost the twin of the one in Central Park, New York, save
that the hieroglyphics on its sides are more deeply cut and the bees have
made their nests in many of the figures. Bees very like our honey bees
swarm over the monuments of Egypt. I saw one colony living on the side of
the Sphinx, and the whole of one surface of this obelisk is covered with
their cells.

[Illustration: Seen from a distance, the Pyramids are like gray cones
rising above the horizon and are frequently disappointing in their first
impression. It is only on closer view that their enormous size and the
miracle of their ever being built are realized.]

[Illustration: Gangs of brown-skinned _fellaheen_ dig day after day,
uncovering the tombs and the history of centuries ago. Contractors say
that the Egyptian peasant prefers a basket to a wheelbarrow for dirt
carrying, solely because his grandfather used a basket.]



This is the third time that I have made lengthy visits to the Pyramids
of Egypt. On my first trip I rode to them on a donkey. The next time I
came out from Cairo in a comfortable carriage, and to-day I passed over
the same route on an electric trolley, paying seven and a half cents for
the trip. The street cars to the Pyramids start at the end of the bridge,
opposite Cairo, and pass along the side of the wide avenue shaded by
acacia trees. The cars are open so that one can look out over the Nile
valley as he goes. We whizzed by caravans of donkeys, loaded with all
sorts of farm products, and by camels, ridden by gowned men, bobbing up
and down in the saddles as they went. There were men, women, and children
on foot, and veiled women on donkeys.

The cars were filled with Egyptians. Two dark-faced men in black
gowns and white turbans sat on the seat beside me. In front was a
yellow-skinned Arab dandy in a red fez and long gown, while just behind
me sat a woman with a black veil fastened to her head-dress by a brass
spool. As we neared the Pyramids we stopped at a café where American
drinks were sold, and a little farther on was a great modern hotel with
telephones and electric lights.

When I previously visited Egypt, the sands about the Pyramids were
almost as smooth as those of the seashore. I galloped on my donkey over
them and had no idea that I was tramping down innumerable graves.

But now—what changes the excavators and archæologists have made! I n
walking over the same ground to-day I had to pick my way in and out
through a vast network of half-broken-down tombs, from which the sands
had been shovelled, and climb across piles of sun-dried brick which were
made by the Egyptians at the time old King Cheops reigned. In one place
I saw a gang of half-naked, brown-skinned _fellaheen_ shovelling the
earth into the cars in which it is carried far out in the desert. When
the work is in full play an endless chain of cars of sand moves across
this cemetery. There is a double track with turntables at the ends, and
the arrangements are such that the sand can be taken out at the rate of
half a ton per minute. For a long time seventy-two men were employed, and
the result is that some most interesting historical material has been

Some of the most important archæological work now going on in Egypt is
in the hands of the Americans. Our scientists are making explorations
in Nubia, away up the Nile, and are opening up temples and tombs in the
desert near Luxor. They have already discovered the burial places of
several kings who reigned over four thousand years ago, and unearthed the
tomb of Queen Hatshepsut, whose sarcophagus is now on view in the museum
at Cairo.

Right here two American institutions have a large force of natives at
work and have uncovered a cemetery under the shadow of the Pyramids of
the time when the greatest of them was built. This cemetery includes
the tombs not only of the rich, but also of the poor, and the relics,
statues, and other things found in it enable one to reconstruct the
lives of those who were buried here forty centuries ago.

The excavations which are being made near the Great Pyramid are in the
interest of Harvard College and the Boston Museum. They furnish the money
and Dr. George Reisner, one of the most efficient archæologists of the
day, has charge of the work. Dr. Reisner came to Egypt as the head of
the Hearst Expedition. He worked for it several years, making valuable
explorations far up the Nile. He discovered there the flint-working camps
of the people of the prehistoric period, and he explored the quarries
which date back to the time of the Ptolemies. He also unearthed the site
of a large town which was in existence fifteen hundred years before
Christ and excavated a mass of valuable material therefrom. He then came
nearer Cairo and uncovered cemeteries of ancient times, which give us a
new view of Egyptian civilization.

It was in connection with the Boston Museum that he began his work at
the Pyramids. As it is now carried on, of the share which falls to the
United States the museum gets the art discoveries, while Harvard receives
everything found bearing upon history and ethnology. One half of all that
is unearthed goes to the Egyptian government and the other half to the
United States.

The story of the allotment of the archæological territory about the
Pyramids is interesting. The Egyptian government was anxious to have the
country excavated, and there were three nations ready to do the work.
The three were Germany, Italy, and the United States. Archæologists came
here as representatives from each of these countries and the whole of
the Gizeh Pyramid field was turned over to them with the understanding
that Egypt was to have half of the discoveries. Then the question came
up as to how the site should be divided. As it was then, it was a great
area of sand not far from the banks of the Nile with the big Pyramid of
Cheops and the smaller ones of Khefren and Mycerinus rising out of it,
each being quite a distance apart from the others. Each nation wished to
do independent work; so the archæologists finally agreed to divide the
territory into three sections and cast lots for them. I am told that Mrs.
Reisner held the straws. In the drawing, the United States got the tract
just north of the Great Pyramid and Germany and Italy the tracts to the
south of it. Our area was thought to be the best of all and Uncle Sam’s
luck has been nowhere better evidenced than right here. We are making
more finds than both the other nations put together and are bringing new
life to the pages of history.

I went out to the Pyramids to-day and called upon the chief of the
American excavation works. I find he has built himself a home under the
shadow of old Cheops. He is beyond the greatest of the Pyramids, with
the sands reaching out for miles away on the north, south, and west
of him. His house is built of stones which probably came from these
ancient monuments. It is a long, one-story structure, not over twelve
feet in height, but large enough to contain a laboratory, a photographic
establishment, and the necessary equipment of an archæologist.

One part of it is the living quarters of Dr. Reisner and his family. He
has his wife and baby with him, and as we chatted together his little
daughter, a bright-eyed infant not more than a year or so old, played
about our feet. The baby was born here on the edge of the Libyan Desert,
and her youth and the age of old Cheops, that great tomb of more than
four thousand years ago, were striking in their contrast. As I looked at
the little one I thought of the tombs of the babies which her father is
now excavating.

During my stay we examined some photographs of the recent discoveries.
One represented three statues of a well-to-do couple who lived here in
those bygone ages. They were Teti and his wife. The faces were life-like
and I doubt not that Mr. and Mrs. Teti sat for them.

There were other photographs of objects found in the cemetery of the
rich, as well as of some found in the cemetery of the poor. The higher
classes of that time were buried nearer the Pyramids, while beyond them,
farther up the desert, were the burial places of the poor. Each poor
person had a little coffin-like hole in the ground built round with
stones. These holes were close together, making a great series of stone
boxes that remind one of the compartments of an egg crate.

I took a donkey for my ride to the Great Pyramid of Cheops, and went
clear around the huge mass, climbing again up the stones. As I sat on the
top I could see the work going on in the sands below me, and I repeopled
them with the men now being dug up under the superintendence of our
Americans. In my mind’s eye I could see them as they toiled. I could see
them dragging the great blocks over the road of polished stone, which
had been made for the purpose, and observe the sweat rolling down their
dusty faces in this blazing sun of Egypt as, under the lashes of their
taskmasters, the great pile grew.

Most of the great stone blocks of which the Pyramid was built weigh at
least two tons, while some of the larger ones which cover the King’s
Chamber inside the structure weigh sixty tons. It is estimated that the
Great Pyramid contains nearly ninety million cubic feet of limestone.
This is so much that if it could be split into flags four inches thick,
it would furnish enough to make a pavement two feet wide reaching over
sea and land clear around the globe.

When Cheops completed this great structure he faced the exterior with
limestone and granite slabs. The sides were as smooth as glass and met
in a point at the top. The length of each side was eighteen feet greater
than it is now. Indeed, as the bright sun played upon its polished
surface the Pyramid must have formed a magnificent sight.

As it is to-day, when one views it from afar, the Great Pyramid still
looks like one smooth block of stone. It is only when he comes closer
that he sees it is made of many blocks. The Pyramid is built of yellow
limestone and conglomerate. The stones are piled one on the other in
regular layers. There is no cement between them, but they are chinked
with a rough mortar which has withstood the weather for all these ages.
I dug at some of this mortar with my knife, but could not loosen it, and
went from block to block along the great structure on the side facing the
western desert, finding the mortar everywhere solid.

And this huge pile was built over forty centuries ago. It seems a long
time, but when you figure out how many lives it means it is not so old
after all. Every one of us knows one hundred men who have reached forty
years. Their aggregate lives, if patched together, would go back to the
beginning of this monument. In other words, if a man at forty should have
a child and that child should live to be forty and then have a child, and
the programme of life should so continue, it would take only one hundred
such generations to reach to the days when the breath from the garlic and
onions eaten by those one hundred thousand men polluted this desert air.

Indeed, the world is not old, and it is not hard to realize that those
people of the past had the same troubles, the same worries, and the same
tastes as we have. I can take you through tombs not far from Cairo upon
the walls of which are portrayed the life work of the men of ancient
Egypt. You may see them using the same farm tools that the _fellaheen_
use now. They plough, they reap, and thresh. They drink wine and gorge
themselves with food. In one of the tombs I saw the picture of a woman
milking a cow while her daughter held the calf back by the knees to
prevent it from sucking. In another painting I saw the method of cooking,
and in another observed those old Egyptians stuffing live geese with food
to enlarge their livers. They were making _pâté de foie gras_, just as
the Germans stuff geese for the same purpose to-day.

Leaving the Pyramid of Cheops, I crossed over to take a look at the other
two which form the rest of the great trio of Gizeh, and I have since been
up to the site of old Memphis, where are the Pyramids of Sakkarah, eleven
in number. Along this plateau, running up the Nile, are to be found the
remains of a large number of Pyramids. There are also some in the Faiyum,
and others far up the river in ancient Ethiopia. The latter are taller in
proportion to their bases than the Egyptian Pyramids, and they generally
have a hall with sculptures facing the east to commemorate the dead.

Most of the stones of the Pyramids here came from the plateau upon which
they stand or from the Mokattam hills about twelve miles away on the
other side of the Nile. There was an inclined plane leading to the river,
on which are still to be seen the ruts in the stone road cut out by the
runners of the sledges carrying these great blocks. There are pictures on
some of the monuments which show how the stones were drawn on sledges by
oxen and men. In one of the pictures a man is pouring oil on the roadbed.
On the Island of Madeira, where the natives drag sleds by hand up and
down the hills, they grease their sled runners, but the ancient Egyptians
greased not only the runners but the roads as well.

I was much interested in the interior of the Great Pyramid. The mighty
structure is supposed to be solid, with the exception of three chambers,
connected with the outside by passageways and ventilated by air-shafts.
These chambers undoubtedly once contained great treasures of gold and
silver, but they were robbed in the first instance over three thousand
years ago and it is known that the Persians, the Romans, and the Arabs
all tried to dig into them to find the valuables they were supposed to

It was with three half-naked Bedouins that I climbed up to the entrance
which leads into old Cheops. There is a hole about forty-five feet above
the desert on the north side. Going in here, we came into a narrow stone
passage so low that I had to crawl on my hands and knees. The passage
first sloped downward and then up, and finally, pushed and pulled by my
dark guides, I got into a great narrow hall. After passing through this,
I entered again the room where old Cheops, the king, rested undisturbed
for a thousand years or so before the looters came.

[Illustration: The Alabaster Sphinx is one of the evidences of splendour
of the ancient city of Memphis, seat of kings, with streets so long that
to walk from end to end was said to be half a day’s journey.]

[Illustration: Inside the great museum at Cairo are the mummies of
Egyptian royalty, which, with countless relics and records and the new
discoveries of the archæologists, reveal in intimate detail the life of
these people of thousands of years ago.]

By going back through the hall one reaches another passageway which
slopes downward to the Queen’s Chamber. Below this, reached by another
passage connecting with that I first entered, there is a subterranean
chamber far under the base of the Pyramid itself. The whole structure is
intensely interesting, and if it could be explored by diamond drills or
in some other way, other chambers might possibly be found in the parts
now looked upon as solid.



How would you like to own an Egyptian mummy princess, perhaps two
thousand years old? On my second visit to Egypt I was offered one at the
museum. The price was just one hundred dollars in cash, and accompanying
it was a certificate showing that it had not been made in Germany. The
excavations going on in the valley of the Nile had unearthed so many
relics that the museum at Cairo had mummies and other antiques to sell.
Hundreds of the ancient dead were being shipped to all parts of the
world, and the ghoul-like officials added to their revenues by disposing
of the surplus bodies of nobles who lived and ruled ages ago. The lady
who was offered to me, with the usual accompaniment of a certificate of
age, lay in the clothes in which she was buried. She was wrapped around
with linen as yellow as saffron and her black face appeared to smile as
I looked at her. She had been put up in spices, and I could almost smell
the perfumes with which she was embalmed.

There is no place like this Museum of Cairo in which to study the Egypt
of the past. Room after room is walled with the coffins of monarchs who
reigned thousands of years ago, and in other caskets the bodies embalmed
are exposed to view. I looked a long time upon the face of King Rameses
who is supposed to have gone to school with Moses. The king who built
Thebes, Karnak, and other great cities, was the man who oppressed the
Israelites, although not the one whom the Lord afflicted with plagues
thereby causing the Exodus. He was the Alexander of Egypt, the Napoleon
of the Nile valley three thousand odd years ago. He conquered the
countries about him and was rolling in wealth. “... now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence.”

Rameses is remarkably well preserved. His iron jaw is as firm as when he
uttered commands in his capital, the hundred-gated city of Thebes. His
enormous nose is still prominent. The face, though black, is wonderfully
life-like and the teeth shine out as white as when he brushed them after
his morning tub, something like four thousand years ago. I noted the
silky, fuzzy hair over his black ears and longed for a lock of it for my
collection of relics.

Then I looked up and saw a great curled wig of black hair which the
records state was made for King Rameses, and wondered why the spiced old
gentleman below did not match his wig to his natural flaxen hair.

Near this casket is one containing Seti I, the Pharaoh who preceded
Rameses, another great warrior and conqueror, who is said to have made
a canal from the Nile to the Red Sea. Not so far away is the mummy of
Meneptah, the tyrant who hardened his heart against the Israelites and
would not let them go. Seti lies in his coffin with his black arms
crossed and his black head cushioned on yellow grave clothes. His
features are as peaceful as perhaps they seldom were in life and he
appears to sleep well.

The dead past became marvellously real when I looked at another box in
which lay a mummied princess with the body of her tiny baby, not many
days old, in the coffin beside her, and when I saw gold bracelets of the
same patterns that our belles wear to-day and earrings quite as beautiful
as those made by Tiffany, I felt that human nature was the same six
thousand years ago as it is now, and that these people of the past had
the loves and hates, the cares and the vanities of the world of to-day.
I wondered what Rameses took for the colic and whether Queen Akhotupu,
who lived before Moses, and who now lies here, had hysterics. I noted the
flowers which were put in another mummy case beside a king and I could
not reconcile the beautiful teeth and the fine intellectual face of King
Seti, whose daughter is supposed to have found Moses in the bulrushes,
with the fat, bloated fingers, showing that he had the gout. There was as
good living in the days of the Israelites as there is in Egypt to-day,
but then as now, only the rich had fancy cooks and the poor ate scraps.
In the tomb of Ti near Memphis I saw in chambers of granite down under
the sands of the desert, wall after wall covered with painted pictures
of the life of the time when the tomb was made thousands of years before

I saw the body of a princess standing upright against the side of the
wall. Her face was plated with gold, and the mummy cloths which wrapped
her round and round were embroidered. One might make a similar bundle of
any modern girl. Another of these ladies had hair which appeared to have
been done up in curl papers, and its colour was as red as my own.

Many of the mummy caskets are splendid. They are made of fine woods,
painted inside and out with pictures describing the life of the
occupants. Some are covered with carvings and some with heads which may
have been likenesses of those who lay within.

It costs much to die now. It must have cost more then. The expense of
making a first-class mummy was twelve hundred dollars, and the money of
that day was worth ten times what it is now. The caskets, which were
more expensive than any of the coffins we have to-day, were incased in
great sarcophagi of stone or wood, a single one of which must have cost a

I have asked the archæologists why the Egyptians made their mummies.
Their reply is that the desire for mummification came from the religion
of the ancient Egyptians, who believed in the transmigration of souls.
They thought that the spirit wandered about for several thousand years
after death and then came back to the home it had upon earth. For this
reason it was desirable to keep the body intact, for every one looked to
his mummihood as his only chance of re-creation hereafter.

When the art of embalming began no one knows, but it certainly dates
back to the building of the Pyramids. We know that when Jacob died in
Egypt, his son Joseph had him embalmed and the Bible says it took forty
days to do the job properly. It also relates that when Joseph died the
Egyptians embalmed him and put him away in a coffin. Herodotus, who was
one of the best travel writers of all times, describes how embalming was
done and tells the details of mummy-making. He says the art was carried
on by a special guild, whose members were appointed by the government
and who had to work at fixed prices. The bodies were mummified in three
different ways. By the first and most costly method, the brains were
extracted through the nose by means of an iron probe, and the intestines
were taken out through an incision made in the side. The intestines were
cleaned and washed in palm wine, covered with aromatic gum, and set aside
in jars. The cavity of the body was next filled with spices, including
myrrh, cassia, and other fragrant substances, and it was then sewn up.
After this it was soaked in a solution of natron, a kind of carbonate of
soda, being allowed to lie in it for a couple of months or more. When it
had been taken out and wrapped in fine linen so smeared over with gum
that it stuck to the skin, the mummy was ready for burial.

The second process, though cheaper, took about the same time. In this the
brains were not extracted and the body was so treated in a solution that
everything except the skin and bones was dissolved. There was a third
process which consisted of cleaning the corpse and laying it down in salt
for seventy days. The first process cost about twelve hundred dollars;
the second, one hundred dollars; and the third, considerably less.

Other authorities describe different methods of mummification. Most of
the mummies discovered, however, have been preserved by means of gums
of some kind and by pitch and carbonate of soda. The mummies prepared
with gums are usually green in colour with skins which look as though
they were tanned. They often break when they are unrolled. The bodies
preserved with pitch are black and hard, but the features are intact, and
it is said that such mummies will last forever. In those treated with
soda the skin is hard and rather loose, and the hair falls off when it is
touched. The pitch mummy ordinarily keeps its hair and teeth.

There are mummies of children in this Egyptian museum. There are some
also in London, but I know of none anywhere else. The children were
embalmed for the same reason as the grown-ups, the parents believing
that they could have no union with their little ones unless they met
them in their original bodies after the resurrection. The faces on some
of these are gilded, while the pictures on the bandages represent the
children offering sacrifices to the gods. Above the feet is sometimes
seen the funeral boat, showing the little child lying upon its bier, and
upon other parts of the coffin are tiny people who seem to be engaged in
propelling the boat. This probably represents the ferry of the dead to
their tombs in the mountains on the banks of the Nile. In other cases
the caskets of the children are beautifully decorated and some are even
plated with gold.

I mused long over two statues as old as any in the world. These are
life-size sitting figures, representing Prince Ra-Hotep and his wife,
the Princess Nefert, who lived something like four thousand years before
Christ, and whose statues are as perfect now as when they were made,
before the Pyramids were built. The Prince has African features, and
his light attire reminds one of the inhabitants of the valley of the
Congo. The Princess is dressed in a sheet, and looks as though she were
just out of her bath. Her husband evidently cut her hair, and it takes
considerable imagination to believe that she can be so old and still look
so young. There is no doubt of her age, however, for the scientists say
that she has seen over six thousand years, and the scientists know.

One of the most important records of the customs and beliefs of the
Pharaohs concerning the dead has been taken away from Egypt. This is a
papyrus manuscript which is now in the British Museum. It is known as
the Book of the Dead and contains two hundred chapters. It is written in
hieroglyphics, but many of the passages have been translated. It sets
forth that every man was believed to consist of seven different parts of
which the actual body was only one and the other parts related to the
soul and its transmigration. Upon the preservation of the body depended
the bringing together of these seven parts in the after life. On this
account corpses were mummified, and for the same reason they were hidden
away in tombs under the desert and in the great Pyramids, which their
owners believed would be inaccessible to the men of the future.

This Book of the Dead contains, also, some of the Egyptian ideals of
right living, reminding one of the Psalm which, in Rouse’s version,

    That man hath perfect blessedness
      Who walketh not astray
    In counsel of ungodly men,
      Nor stands in sinner’s way.
    Nor sitteth in the scorner’s chair,
      But placeth his delight
    Upon God’s law, and meditates
      On that law day and night.

The Book of the Dead reads:

    I am not a plunderer; nor a niggard; nor the cause of others’
    tears. I am not unchaste; nor hot in speech. I am not fraudulent.
    I do not take away the cakes of a child, or profane the gods of
    my locality.

[Illustration: Some of the boys at the Asyut college bring enough bread
baked in big, hard cakes to last several months. When they go in to their
meals they take this bread along with them, softening it in buckets of
water furnished for the purpose.]

[Illustration: The American College founded at Asyut by the Presbyterians
has become an important training school for young Egypt. Many of its
graduates go into government service as well as business and professional

[Illustration: Boys from all parts and classes of Egypt, Moslems and
Christian Copts, come by the hundreds to the American College, most of
them paying for their tuition, some in cash and some in work.]

There is no doubt that the Egyptians believed in the immortality of the
soul. They thought man would live again, and gave the soul the name of
Bai, representing it in the form of a human-headed hawk. They had their
own ideas of heaven which one of their pictures of the future state
represents as follows:

    In heaven the dead eat bread which never grows stale and drink
    wine which is never musty. They wear white apparel and sit upon
    thrones among the gods, who cluster around the tree of life
    near the lake in the field of peace. They wear the crowns which
    the gods give them, and no evil being or thing has any power
    to harm them in their new abode, where they will live with God

According to one opinion, the Egyptian heaven was situated above the sky.
It was separated from the earth by a great iron plate, to which lamps
were fastened, these lamps being the stars. According to another theory,
the heaven was in the delta, or in one of the oases. The sky was thought
to be a cow, Hathor, whose four feet stood firm upon the soil; or else
a vast face, in which the right eye was the sun and the left eye the
moon. Some thought that the sky was the goddess Nut, whom the god of the
atmosphere, Show, held aloof from her husband Keb, the earth, on whose
back grew the plants and trees.

The ancient Egyptian idea of creation was that it began with the rising
of the sun, which was brought about by a god, and men and women came
from the tears which dropped from the eyes of that god. This is somewhat
better than the old Chinese tradition of the world’s making. According to
the latter, the god Pwanku chiselled out the universe, putting eighteen
thousand years on the job. At the end of that time he died, and his head
turned into mountains, his breath became the wind, and his voice the
thunder. From his flesh came the fields, from his beard the stars, and
from his skin and hair the trees. All minerals originated from his teeth
and bones. The rain is his sweat, and, lastly, man was created from the
insects that stuck to his body!

In examining these gods of the ancient Egyptians as shown in the relics
from the tombs, it is easy to see where the Israelites got their ideas
of the golden calf. The oppressors from whom they were fleeing revered
certain animals. They looked upon hawks as emblems of the sun, moon,
and stars, and at their death often turned them to mummies. The cat was
sacred to one of their gods. They had also statues of cows, the cow being
considered emblematic of Hathor, the goddess of beauty, love, and joy.
You may see her statues scattered up and down the Nile valley. Sometimes
she is depicted as a cow and at others as a woman wearing cow horns with
the sun hung between them. There is a carving of Queen Cleopatra decked
out in that way.

But the jewels of which the Israelites made that calf! If you will
look up the Bible record in Exodus you will see that Moses advised the
Israelites that every man should borrow of his Egyptian neighbour jewels
of silver and jewels of gold. A little farther on it is stated that they
did so, the paragraph concluding as follows:

    And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the
    Egyptians, so that they lent unto them. And they spoiled the

In the museums here in Cairo you may see pints and quarts of jewellery
such as the Israelites borrowed and took with them into the wilderness
to melt down to make that golden calf. The place is filled with great
cases containing ornaments of gold and silver taken from the tombs. Some
date back almost to the early days of the Pyramids, and many were in
use before the Israelites left Egypt. Some are golden snakes with spring
coils so that they will fit any arm; others are solid rings of massive
gold. I saw armlets to be worn above the elbow, golden girdles for the
waist, and a chain of gold with a goose head at each end. Among the
finest of these ornaments are those owned by a queen who lived 600 B.C.
and whose mummy came from a tomb not far from Thebes.



At Asyut up the Nile valley about as far south of the Mediterranean as
Washington is south of Buffalo, the United Presbyterians of the United
States have established a training college for young Egyptians which is
doing a wonderful work. I came from Cairo to see it, winding my way in
and out along the great river. The valley is narrow above Cairo, being
only from three to nine miles in width, so that from the railroad I
could see the yellow sand on both sides of the green, watered strip. We
were sometimes far out in the desert, and sometimes moving in and out
of the irrigated lands. We passed mud villages which border the river
and the larger canals. The date trees hanging over them were loaded with
honey-coloured fruit. Upper Egypt has vast numbers of dates. There are in
the whole country something like eight million of these palms, which, at
a rough estimate, bring in one dollar annually for every tree.

Asyut is the largest city in Egypt south of Cairo. It is the capital
of this part of the Nile valley and the chief centre of its commerce
and trade. Before the railroad was built, caravans from the Sudan
brought great quantities of merchandise from Central Africa to Asyut and
transferred it to other camel trains bound for Tripoli, Cairo, or Suez.
The railroad now carries this trade, and the iron tracks have been
extended southward beyond the city of Khartum. The gap in the railroad
between Shellal and Wady Halfa is filled by steamers on the river.

Asyut itself has many good buildings. Not far from the railroad station
are brick houses of two and three stories which would be considered fine
anywhere. They are owned by Copts, who started life poor and have become
millionaires. Most of the houses of the city are Egyptian in character,
flat-roofed buildings of one, two, and three stories, facing the street.
Many of them are new and substantially built. The bazaars are far better
than when first I visited Asyut, and the town, which has now over fifty
thousand people, is double the size it was then.

The Asyut Training College is a missionary institution, but it gives a
good general education. It is run upon broad lines and has among its
students Mohammedans, Copts, and other Christians. This is about the only
one of our Protestant denominations that is working here, the other sects
having apparently given up Egypt to it. This Church has mission stations
scattered throughout the Nile valley, and schools not only in Lower and
Upper Egypt but also in the Sudan, and even on the borders of Abyssinia.
There are more than fifteen thousand boys now being taught in its various
institutions. It is surprising that a large part of the money that the
mission is spending upon education comes from the natives themselves. In
one year over one hundred thousand dollars was spent, of which almost
eighty thousand was subscribed by the Egyptians. Of the fifteen thousand
in the schools, more than thirteen thousand are paying for tuition, so
that the institutions are largely self-supporting. The Egyptians of
to-day have learned the value of modern school training and are anxious
to have their sons go to college. They want them taught English and are
willing to pay something in order that they may get a good education.

I went through the college with its president, John Alexander, D.D., who
has been in charge for almost a generation. To him it is largely due that
it is the most successful institution of its kind in northern Africa. Dr.
Alexander is by birth an Ohioan. He was educated at Wooster University
and shortly after he left there he came to Egypt. He has lived here ever
since and he knows the people and their wants as well as any man. He
says that the natives are thoroughly alive to the advantages of modern
education and that they could use more schools and better facilities than
either the government or the mission can supply. He tells me that he has
to refuse many applications for entrance to the training school for lack
of room and that the college stands ready to erect new buildings as soon
as it can raise the money. It has already bought twenty acres of land at
the junction of the Nile and the great irrigating canal which runs from
here to the Faiyum, and it now needs only an appropriation for additional
buildings. My examination shows me that the institution is ably and
economically managed, and I know of no place where any one of our rich
men can better invest his surplus and have it pay big dividends in a
charitable way than right here.

This college is conducted on the dormitory plan. The majority of its
students live in the buildings and are continually under the eyes of
their professors. The training partakes somewhat of a military character.
The boys not only go to classrooms, but they have to attend chapel,
weekly prayer meeting, and Sunday-school. They are also compelled to take
part in college athletics. Twice a week they must engage in football and
tennis and every effort is made to develop them as our boys are being
developed. They study well and do good work on track and football field.

I should like to show you these Egyptian boys as I saw them to-day.
There were seven hundred and thirty of them in the campus when I went
through—bright-eyed, dark-faced young fellows, ranging in age from ten
to twenty years and coming from every class of Egyptian life. Some were
Mohammedans, the fatalistic, sober followers of the Prophet; others were
Copts, having the bronze faces, the high cheekbones, and the black eyes
which mark them as the descendants of those who oppressed the Israelites
when Pharaoh ruled. All the students wear red fezzes that extend about
eight inches above their heads and are kept on both in classroom and
chapel. They wear long gowns, often belted in at the waist, and look more
dignified than the college boy of America.

The students are of all classes and conditions. Many are working their
way through school. There are three scales of expense, graduated
according to the tables at which the boys eat. One class has a table
where all have knives and forks and the food furnished is as good and as
varied as can be found anywhere. This is for the rich, who can pay as
much as one hundred dollars a year for room and board. The second table
is filled by students who can afford to pay only fifty dollars a year,
and the third by those who cannot spare more than thirty-five dollars a
year. Of the students of the first class only two or three live in one
room, and of the second from four to eight, while those of the third are
lodged in large rooms accommodating twenty or thirty, each of whom has
his own bed, which he furnishes himself.

The boys of the second class have simpler food than those of the first
and eat with their fingers in native style. Those of the third class have
still cheaper food, but in all cases it is as good as or better than the
boys get at home, for here they have wheat bread and meat at least once a

A pupil must pay a minimum fee of one dollar a session in money, but as
far as is possible he may work out the rest of his expenses. The average
tuition is only ten dollars a year.

This big American college is doing so much good for Egypt that it is
commended by the government and by every tourist who learns anything of
Egyptian affairs. It was founded in 1865 and its first work was done in
a donkey stable with five students. Dr. Hogg, a Scotch missionary, then
constituted the entire faculty. It has now seven large buildings, which
cover two acres, built around a campus shaded by date palms, and among
its professors are graduates from the best of our colleges, including
men from Princeton and Yale. It has not far from one thousand students,
who come from all parts of Egypt and even from the Sudan and the other
countries of northern Africa. These youths represent more than one
hundred towns throughout the Nile valley and the graduates are scattered
all over Egypt. Many of them are influential business men; some are
lawyers, doctors, and teachers, and others are government officials. The
graduates of the school are anxiously sought by the government as clerks.
Their training is considered better than that of the Mohammedan colleges,
where little except the Koranic law is taught, and they are found to be
trustworthy and of high moral character.

[Illustration: From Asyut come the famous metal shawls of silver or gold
on black or white. The bazaar is over a mile long, and before the days of
railroads was the trading place of caravan merchants from the south and
buyers from the north.]

[Illustration: The Egyptian complained that under British rule not enough
of his tax money was spent on native schools. Only twelve per cent of the
men and less than two per cent of the women can read and write.]



Many of the students of the Asyut Training College are Copts. They
belong to that class of natives who are said to be the only direct
descendants of the ancient Egyptians. The Copts are more intelligent
than the Mohammedans. They take naturally to education, and about four
Copts go to school to every one Moslem. They are also shrewd clerks and,
many of them being educated men, they have a large number of the minor
government appointments. The British, however, tried to be partial to the
Mohammedans because they form the great majority of the population, and
to give them offices in preference to the Copts. During Lord Cromer’s
administration, a committee of Copts objected to his crowding out these
native Christians and giving their places to the followers of the
Prophet. Applicants for any government posts or for training schools have
to give their names, and the Copts can thus be easily distinguished from
the Mohammedans. The Christian boys get their names from the characters
of the Bible, while the names of the Mohammedan boys come from the Koran.
When the examination papers were turned in, the judges were said to have
been instructed to mark down all those bearing such names as Moses and
Jacob, Peter and Paul, and to recommend for appointment the Mohammeds,
the Alis, and the Hassans. The British governing class considered that
the Copt and the Mussulman, being alike natives, were generally not
capable of holding any responsible position. And now it is said also that
it would be bad policy to put the Christian Egyptian over the Moslem.

The Copts are the sharpest business men of Egypt. It is a common saying
here that no Jew can compete with them and they have driven the Jews out
of the upper part of the Nile valley. In Asyut there are a number of rich
Copts who have become Protestant Christians, and some of these men are
very charitable. One, for instance, built a Protestant native church,
after a visit to England, where he was much impressed by Westminster
Abbey. Upon his return he said he was going to build a church for Asyut
on the plan of Westminster. The missionaries advised him to make his
building rectangular instead. But no! it must be Westminster Abbey or
nothing; and the result is a great T-shaped structure of wood with a
long hall in the centre and wings at the end. The church cost about
twenty thousand dollars and will seat one thousand five hundred people.
I attended it last Sunday and found the main hall filled with dark-faced
men in gowns and fezzes. The wings were shut off by curtains, but I
was seated in front and so near one side that I could look through the
cracks. Each wing was filled with women clad in black balloon-like
garments and veiled so as to conceal all but their eyes. Yet a few women
wore European clothes and French hats, showing how the new civilization
is coming in.

Another rich Copt established two large primary schools at Asyut, one for
boys and the other for girls. In the boys’ school there are five hundred
and fifty pupils, and in that for the girls more than two hundred. These
schools are taught by native Protestants, and not one cent of American
money is spent upon them.

I am much interested in the Copts. There are about eight hundred and
fifty thousand of them in the country. They look very much like the
Egyptians and dress in about the same fashion. The women veil their
faces, both in public and private, and until about a generation ago the
unmarried women wore white veils.

These people believe in the ancient form of Christianity. They are indeed
the same Christians that Egypt had in Roman times. They claim St. Mark as
their first patriarch and say that he preached the Gospel at Alexandria
and started the sect there. They have a patriarch to-day, with twelve
bishops and a large number of priests and deacons under him. They have
their monks and nuns, who lead rigorous lives; they fast and pray, wear
shirts of rough wool, and live upon vegetables.

The Copts believe in God the Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ as his
Son. They believe in prayer, and like the Mohammedans, pray five or six
times a day. They begin their devotions at daybreak and are supposed to
make five separate petitions before dark and to close with a final prayer
at midnight. As they pray they recite a Psalm or chapter from the Gospel,
and some have rosaries of beads on which they count forty-one times,
saying the words:

“Oh! my Lord, have mercy.”

After this they end with a short petition. They wash before praying, and
worship with their faces turned toward the east. They believe in baptism
and think that an unbaptized child will be blind in the next life. They
have fixed times for baptism, a boy baby being baptized at forty days
and a girl baby at eighty days after birth.

There are Coptic churches all over Egypt, and I find several here at
Asyut. The church usually consists of four or five buildings surrounding
a court, and includes a chapel, a hall of worship, the residence of the
bishop, and other rooms. The sanctuary proper contains an altar separated
from the rest of the rooms by a screen, covered by a curtain with a cross
worked upon it. Before this curtain stand the priest, the choir, and the
more influential members of the congregation. Beyond them is a lattice
work, on the other side of which are the less important men, with the
women in the rear. Everyone is expected to take off his shoes when he
comes in, and in many of the halls of worship, as there are no seats, the
people lean upon sticks while the sermon is preached. The service begins
at daybreak and often lasts four or five hours, so that it is no wonder
that some of the members of the congregation fall to chatting during the
preaching, and discuss business and social matters.

I am told that the Copts do not trust their wives any too much. Each
has but one, but he does not make her his confidante, never tells her
his business secrets, and pays her much less respect than the native
Protestant Christians show their wives. He seldom sees his wife until he
is married and is forbidden by his religion to marry any one but a Copt.
As among the Mohammedans, marriages are usually a matter of business,
with a dowry bargained for beforehand. The favourite wedding time is
Saturday night, and the marriage feasts last through the following
week. When the marriage contract is made all the parties to it say the
Lord’s Prayer three times. Before the ceremonies are completed the
bride and the bridegroom go separately to church where the Eucharist
is administered to them. Just before her marriage, the bride is given
a steam bath, and her finger nails and toe nails are stained red with
henna. Immediately before the ceremony she sends the groom a suit of
clothing, and a woman from her house goes to him to see that it is
delivered properly and that he is taken to the bath. This provision
ensures that both start the married life comparatively clean.



All day long I have been wandering about through the tombs of the kings
who ruled Egypt three or four thousand years ago. I have gone into the
subterranean chambers which the Pharaohs dug out of the solid rocks for
their burial vaults, and I have visited the tombs of kings older than
they. The last resting places of more than fifty of these monarchs of
early Egypt have been discovered, and the work is still going on. Some
of the best work of excavation all along the Nile valley is being done
by Americans. While at Cairo I found the money of Harvard College and
the Boston Museum uncovering the cemeteries of the nabobs and paupers
who were buried at the time of King Cheops under the shadow of the Great
Pyramid of Gizeh. The Egyptian Exploration Fund, which is supported by
Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, has a small army of workmen
operating near Luxor, the University of Pennsylvania has made important
discoveries, and a large part of the uncovering of the valley in which
these royal tombs lie has been done by the Americans.

The Egyptologists of the Metropolitan Museum in New York and Lord
Carnarvon of England are responsible for some of the most remarkable
finds of this generation. During my trip of to-day I met a young
archæologist, in charge of the American operations, who showed me
through the tombs of the kings and explained the symbols and pictures on
the walls. I went to that part of the valley where the excavation is now
going on and took pictures of a gang of one hundred and fifty Egyptian
men and boys who are working there.

Let me describe the place that the ancient Egyptian monarchs selected for
their burials, the Valley of the Kings. They wanted to hide their remains
so that posterity could never find them, and to cover them so that future
generations would have no idea that they and their treasures lay beneath.
Our cemeteries are chosen for the beauty of their surroundings. We like
to turn up our toes to the daisies and to have leafy trees whisper a
requiem over our heads. The old Egyptian kings wanted to lie under the
sterile desert waste and chose a region about as far up the Nile valley
as Cleveland is inland from the Atlantic, and fully six miles back from
the fertile strip on which their people lived. I can imagine no place
more dreary. At this point the Nile is walled on the west by limestone
mountains. As far as the moisture reaches, the valley is the greenest
of green, but beyond lies a desert as brown as any part of the Sahara.
There is not a blade of grass, nor a sprig of vegetation of any kind.
There is nothing but sand and arid mountains, the latter almost as ragged
in outline as the wildest parts of the Rockies. Some of their stony
sides are built up in great precipices while in other places there are
fort-like bluffs and similar convulsions of nature.

[Illustration: Rameses II, the greatest egoist of Egyptian history,
covered his dominions with his monuments and inscriptions. Standing
against the colossal leg of this statue is the figure of his sister,
Nefertari, who was also his favourite wife.]

[Illustration: Hatshepsut, the Queen Elizabeth of Egypt, reserved for
herself the best space in the splendid temple-tomb at Deir-el-Bahari,
tucking away in small quarters the bodies of her male relatives. A
brother later retaliated by removing her name from the inscriptions.]

[Illustration: Every great temple in ancient Egypt had its sacred lake,
where the worshippers performed their ablutions and the religious
processions of boats took place. The banks of this lake at Karnak were
originally lined with smooth-cut stone.]

To visit this valley one first comes to Luxor, which is very nearly on
the site of Old Thebes, the capital of Egypt in the days of its most
brilliant past. The ancient city lay on both sides of the Nile, but Luxor
is on the east bank. Crossing the river in a ferry boat, I rode for an
hour or more through the desert before I came into the Valley of the
Kings. My donkey boy was a good one and his donkeys were young. His name
was Joseph, and the brute I bestrode was called “Gingerbread.”

We traversed green fields, winding in and out along the canals, until
we came to the desert and entered a gorge walled with rocks of yellow
limestone and a conglomerate mixture of flint and limestone of curious
formation. The gorge shows evidences of having been cut out by some
mighty stream of the past. There are masses of débris along the sides,
and the way is rough except on the road which has been made by the

Looking at the valley from the Nile one would not suppose it to be
anything other than a desert ravine, so I did not at first realize that
it was a cemetery. There are neither gravestones nor monuments, for the
kings obliterated every sign that might indicate their burial places.
They dug out great chambers under the bed of this dried-up river and
built cisterns for their proper drainage, but when they had finished they
did all they could to make the spot look as it was in nature. For this
reason their tombs remained for ages untouched and unknown.

From time to time, however, one or another was discovered. Strabo, the
Greek geographer, who was alive when Christ was born, speaks of forty of
them as being worthy of a visit, and others are mentioned by subsequent
writers. Later they were again lost, and not until in our generation when
some Arabs began to sell curious antiquities was it learned that the
tombs had been rediscovered and were being rifled by these vandals. The
archæologists then went to work on their explorations which resulted in
the opening up of tomb after tomb, until we now have what might almost be
called a subterranean city of the dead in the heart of the desert.

The tombs are nothing like our burial vaults. They are large rooms cut
out of the solid rock, with walls straight and smooth. They are reached
by many steps, going down inclined planes until they bring one far below
the surface of the valley and deep under the mountains. Each king had his
own tomb, which he decorated with sketches and paintings representing
the life of his time and the achievements of his reign. The ceilings
are beautiful. From some of them the figures of gods and goddesses look
down upon us. Others are decorated with geometric designs in beautiful
colours. In some, men and women are carved in bas-relief out of the
solid rock and then coloured. Many of the scenes are religious, so that
from them the Egyptologist is able to learn what the people of that
day believed. The carvings show, too, how they lived when our remotest
ancestors were savages in the wilds of Europe and Asia.

The Americans have had remarkably good luck in their finds. One of them
was the tomb of the parents of Queen Tiy in which all the objects were
in as good condition as if they had been in a house just closed for
the summer. There were armchairs beautifully carved and decorated with
gold. The cushion on one of them was stuffed with down and covered with
linen perfectly preserved. In another part of the chamber were two beds
decorated with gold, while a light chariot stood in a corner. But most
wonderful of all was the discovery in this tomb of a jar of honey, still
liquid and still fragrant after thirty-three hundred years.

In some of the tombs I saw the massive stone boxes in which lay the
mummies of the dead kings. I measured one ten feet long, six feet wide,
and eight feet high. It was hollowed out of a block of granite, and would
weigh many tons. That mighty burial casket was cut out of the quarries of
Aswan far above here, on the banks of the Nile. It must have been brought
down the river on a barge and carried to this place. When it was finally
on the ground it had to be lowered into the vault. All these feats were
done without modern machinery. As I went through the tombs I saw several
such caskets, and the archæologist who guided me showed me the holes in
the stone walls of the entrance ways where beams had been put across in
order that ropes might be used to prevent these stone masses from sliding
too far when let down. It is a difficult job for us to handle safes. One
of these stone boxes would weigh as much as several safes, yet the old
Egyptians moved them about as they pleased.

Indeed, I venture to say that the civil engineers of the Pharaohs could
teach us much. All through this region there are enormous monuments which
it would puzzle the engineers of to-day to handle. For instance, there
are the Colossi of Memnon, the two mammoth stone statues that sit upon
pedestals in the Nile valley within a few miles of where I am writing.
Each is as high as a six-story building, and the stone pedestals rise
thirteen feet above the ground. As I rode by them on my way home from the
Valley of the Kings I climbed up and ran a tape measure over their legs.
Each leg is nineteen feet from sole to knee. The feet are each over three
yards in length, so long that one would fill the box of a farm wagon from
end to end, and so wide that it could hardly be fitted within it. Each
arm from finger tips to elbow measures five yards, and the middle finger
of each hand is a yard and a half long. As I stood beside the pedestal,
with my feet on Gingerbread’s saddle, I could not reach the top.

These two colossal figures sit side by side on the edge of the Nile
valley with the desert mountains at their backs. They were set up in
honour of an Egyptian king who lived more than thirty-five centuries
ago. The temple he constructed behind them has now entirely disappeared.
The statues overlook green fields, and as I gazed at the giant shapes I
thought how they had watched the people sowing and reaping through all
these centuries.

Not far from these monuments are the ruins of the temple of Rameses II,
according to some authorities the Pharaoh who “would not let the people
go.” Among them I saw the remains of a statue of that old king, once part
of a structure at least sixty feet high. There is no granite nearer here
than in the quarries of Aswan, so this mighty monument must have been cut
there and brought down the Nile to Thebes, a distance of one hundred and
thirty-five miles.

Consider the obelisks which the Egyptians made at those quarries and
carried down the Nile to Thebes, to Cairo, and to Alexandria. There are
two of them still at this place. You may see them in the great Temple
of Karnak, which is not more than a twenty-minute walk from Luxor. They
weigh something like four hundred tons each, and if they were broken up
and loaded upon wagons it would take one thousand six hundred horses to
haul them. Each is a single block of granite, and each was carried in
that shape to this place. There are inscriptions on the Deir-el-Bahari
Temple here which show that these two shafts were dug out of the
quarries, covered with hieroglyphic carvings, brought here, and put up
all in the space of seven months. I doubt whether our engineers could do
such a job as quickly or as well.

We thought it a wonderful work to bring the Alexandria obelisk from Egypt
to New York in the hold of a steamer. To load it a hole had to be cut
in the bow of the vessel and the pillar dragged through. The Egyptian
obelisk at Paris was carried across the Mediterranean on a barge, while
that which now stands in London was taken there in an iron watertight
cylinder which was shipped to Alexandria in pieces and built around the
column as it lay upon the shore. When the great stone was thoroughly
encased, the whole was rolled into the sea and thus towed to London.
After the huge monoliths were landed, the modern engineers had great
trouble to get them where they wanted them. The New York obelisk was
rolled along upon iron balls running in iron grooves laid down for the
purpose, while that of London was hauled over greased ways to the place
where it now stands on the banks of the Thames.

The oldest temple of Egypt by five hundred years was unearthed here by
the agents of the Egyptian Exploration Fund. This lies near the famous
temple of Deir-el-Bahari, and in a valley which is a branch of that of
the tombs of the kings. When I visited it to-day the excavators were
at work, and the men in charge told me they had great hopes of making
valuable discoveries. It was with the American representative of the
Exploration Fund, that I went over the temple. I met him at the little
one-story house which forms the laboratory and home of the foreign
explorers, and had a chat with the other members as to the progress of
the work. A number of specialists from Canada, England, and the United
States, supported by the fund, are superintending the Egyptians, who do
the hard labour. They have quite an army of men at work and have been
successful. Of what they find one half goes to the museum at Cairo and
the rest to the countries which subscribe to the fund in proportion to
the amount of their subscriptions. The chief money from America has come
from Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Washington, so that our share of
what is now being unearthed will go to the museums of those cities.

More famous than this ancient temple itself is its shrine of the cow
goddess, Hathor, from which the noted statue was excavated by the
Egyptian Exploration Fund and taken to Cairo. I saw the place whence
it came and talked to the men who dug it out of the earth. The statue,
which is life-sized, is a perfect likeness of a beautiful cow carved
out of stone. It is reddish-brown in colour, with spots shaped like a
four-leaved clover. Traces still remain of the gold that once covered the
head, neck, and horns. The head is crowned with lotus flowers and lotus
stalks hang down each side the neck almost to the ground. Beneath the
head stands the dead king whom Hathor protects, while the living king,
whom she nourishes, kneels beneath her form. That image was probably
worshipped at the time the Israelites were working in the valley of the
Nile, and it may have been after one like her that they modelled their
calf of gold.

Near the site of this oldest temple are the ruins of the great temple
of Hatshepsut, the Queen Elizabeth of Egypt, who ruled fifteen hundred
years before Christ was born. Her epitaph says that “Egypt was made to
labour with bowed head for her.” The temple is really a tomb-chapel in
memory of the royalties buried there—her father, her two brothers, and
herself. Hatshepsut took most of the space, however, and put the bodies
of her male relatives into as small quarters as she could. She called her
temple “most splendid of all” and covered its walls with engravings and
paintings showing her principal acts. Hers is a long record of kingly
deeds. She discarded the dress of a woman, wore the crown, attached an
artificial beard to her chin, and let it be known that she liked to be
addressed as _His_ Majesty by her courtiers and subjects. The New Woman
is apparently as old as civilization itself!

It was the work of Americans, again, that unearthed here the tomb of
the first great pacifist, Pharaoh Akhnaton, who reigned from 1375 to
1358 B.C. When he came to the throne Egypt, in the height of her power,
was mistress of the chief parts of the civilized world. But the country
was then ridden by the priesthood of Amon with its hosts of gods and
its degraded worship. According to the inscriptions which have been
deciphered young Akhnaton defied the priests of Amon and declared his
belief in one God, a “tender and merciful Father and Mother of all that
He had made,” the “Lord of Love,” the “Comforter of them that weep.” It
is thought that he was the Pharaoh in Egypt when the Children of Israel
came into the land and that the One Hundred and Fourth Psalm in our Bible
was written by him. He did not believe that warfare or military conquests
were consistent with his creed and when revolts broke out in his Syrian
provinces he refused to fight, though his soldiers tried desperately hard
to hold the different people of his empire faithful to their king.

Breaking entirely with the priests, Akhnaton left Thebes and set up
his capital at Aton, one hundred and sixty miles south of Cairo on the
eastern bank of the Nile. He died at the age of twenty-eight, leaving
only daughters to succeed him. They reëstablished the court at Thebes,
the city of Aton was abandoned, and its temples and palaces were left to
crumble and decay.

I had thought of the Pharaoh who forced the Israelites to make bricks
without straw as living at Memphis, near where Cairo now stands. The
truth is, he had a great city there, but his capital and favourite home
was at Thebes, over four hundred and fifty miles farther up the Nile
valley. Thebes was one of the greatest cities of antiquity. It covered
almost as much ground as Paris does now and is said to have had more than
a million people. The metropolis had walls so thick that chariots drawn
by half-a-dozen horses abreast could easily pass as they galloped along
them. It had one hundred gates, and temples and residences which were
the wonder of the world. Some of the houses were five stories high, the
skyscrapers of those days. The riches of Thebes were increased by the
successful wars which the kings waged with other nations. The monarchs
of that day had mighty armies of infantry and cavalry. Some of the kings
had twenty thousand war chariots, and ancient writers say that there were
scattered along the Nile from here to Memphis one hundred stone stables,
each large enough to accommodate two hundred horses.

[Illustration: Avenues of sphinxes guarded the approach to the ancient
Egyptian temple. Between the paws of each of the ram-headed sphinxes at
the great temple at Karnak, Rameses II placed a statue of one of his

[Illustration: The Aswan Dam is a huge granite barrier a mile and a
quarter long which now controls the waters of the Nile after centuries of
alternate flood and drought, saves Egypt from famine, and adds millions
of acres to her irrigable lands.]

It brings one close to the days of the Scriptures when he can put his
hand on the very same things that were touched by old Pharaoh; and can
visit the temples in which he worshipped, or sit on the monuments erected
in his honour, and look at the tomb in which his royal bones were laid
away. One feels closer still when he can look at the royal mummy itself
and actually see the hardhearted old heathen almost as he was when alive,
as I did at the museum the other day.

This Pharaoh, Rameses II, was one of the greatest kings of ancient Egypt.
His temples are scattered throughout the Nile valley and his statues
are the largest ever discovered. One was found in the Nile delta which
measures forty-two feet in height, and there are others sixty-six feet
high at Abu Simbel in Nubia, about as far up the Nile as Chicago is
distant from the mouth of the Hudson. They are seated on thrones and are
hewn from the solid rocks. These figures stand in front of the temple,
also cut out of rock. This building is said to have been erected by him
in honour of his favourite wife, Nefertari, and there are statues of his
children about it. These show that he was very much of a family man, for
inscriptions on the various monuments mention one hundred and sixty-two
of his children by name.



Within a mile or so of the red granite quarries, out of which Pompey’s
Pillar and the obelisks were taken by the ancient Egyptians, just below
the island of Philæ, with its stone temples built ages ago to the Goddess
Isis, far up the Nile valley, on the edge of Lower Nubia, I write these
notes for my American readers. I am in the heart of the desert, seven
hundred miles south of the Mediterranean Sea, at the point where the
great river drops down over the first cataract. I have come here to
describe the Aswan Dam, which the British built to harness the Nile and
thereby save Egypt from famine.

We all look upon this as the oldest of rivers, but the Nile god of to-day
has many new aspects. For ages he has been ramping and charging at his
own sweet will, but he is now being harnessed and will have to work in
the traces like an old plough mule. In the past he has been feeding his
daughter Egypt or not, as he pleased. He has sometimes stuffed her to
repletion, and at others has held back his supplies of water and mud,
causing a famine. This was the case during the seven hungry years of
Joseph’s time, and the fat years of that day were undoubtedly produced by
high Niles. Such ups and downs have occurred in Egypt from time to time
since the dawn of her history, and it is only in comparatively recent
years that man has attempted to control the old river and by a system of
dams hold back the waters and let them out over the farms as needed. To
master the Nile has cost many millions of dollars which have gone into
building the great barrages in the lower river, and more important than
all, the mighty dam away up here at Aswan.

Egypt is almost rainless and the Nile gives both land and people their
food and drink. I have already described some of the wonders of the
stream and what it does for Egypt. It rises in Lake Victoria, in Central
Africa, and drops a distance greater than the altitude of the highest
of the Alleghanies before it flows into the Mediterranean Sea. In the
upper part of its course it is known as the White Nile, and this should
be called the main stream of the river. At Khartum, thirteen hundred and
fifty miles from the Mediterranean, the Blue Nile, which rises in the
Abyssinian Mountains, comes in, while about one hundred and forty miles
farther north the Atbara, or Black Nile, which is also from Abyssinia,
joins the main stream. From the mouth of the Atbara to the sea there is
not a tributary of any kind connected with the river. It ploughs its way
through the desert valley, in which it has built up Egypt, narrowing and
widening, until a few miles below Cairo, where it divides into two great
branches and flows off into the sea.

The volume of the Nile is enormous. At flood times, a billion tons of
water go by at Aswan every day. The river then rises twenty-five feet
at Cairo, thirty-eight feet at Old Thebes, and almost fifty feet at the
first cataract, where I now am. There is so much water that no dam could
hold it, hence all of these great works had to be made so that the water
can be let in and out and allowed to pass through at will.

It is at flood time that the Nile valley gets its rich feed of Abyssinian
mud. This is brought down in part by the Blue Nile, but more abundantly
by the Atbara, or Black Nile. It is carried by the inundation all over
Egypt and by means of irrigation conducted to nearly every farm. After
the floods subside the muddy waters grow clear again. The Blue Nile and
the Black Nile become almost dry, and the white water of the main, or
Victoria Nile, is about all that Egypt has. It is this white water that
is stored up by the Aswan Dam, and it feeds the country in much the same
way as our irrigation canals do, with water only and not with a thick
mixture of water and mud as in the times of the overflow.

For thousands of years these rivers have been pouring down through this
Nile valley; but whenever the rains have been scanty in the highlands of
Abyssinia and in Central Africa the main stream has not been high enough
to reach the whole country. Most of the lands could be inundated only
once a year, and if the Nile was especially low some could have no water
at all. By the present system Egypt has water all the year round, and
enough to make it produce two or three crops every twelve months.

I have been much interested in the irrigation works of the past. The
whole of the Nile valley above Cairo is cut up into a series of basins.
For six hundred or seven hundred miles north of this point the valley
slopes very gradually and, in order to save the water, dikes have been
made across it and embankments run parallel with the river, turning the
whole country into a series of basin-like terraces, each containing from
five thousand to fifteen thousand acres. These basins, which are often
subdivided, are so connected that the water flows from one to the other
until it finally passes out of the lower basin back into the Nile. When
the floods come, the lowest basins are filled first and then those higher
up, until at last all have become great ponds and Egypt is one vast
inland sea cut up by the embankments and islands upon which the villages

There are many such systems of basins in Upper Egypt, some large and
some small. There are also basins higher up and closer to the river
which are filled with _sakiebs_ or _shadoofs_. When I tell you that the
fall of this valley from here to Cairo is only seven inches to the mile
you will see how carefully these basins must be graduated in order to
take advantage of the flow of the river. They have to be so constructed
that the water can be drained off as rapidly as it is let on. As I have
already said, the Abyssinian mud contains a great quantity of salts,
and it is just as bad to have too much of it as too little. If the land
is over-watered the salts dissolve from the soil, the over-soaked land
becomes wormy, and the crops are often sown too late. The red water, or
that containing the silt, is allowed to stand just about forty days.
During this time it drops a great deal of sediment and furnishes enough
moisture for the crops.

But the Aswan Dam has so regulated the river flow that the Egyptian
farmer is far less at the mercy of low Niles or high Niles than in the
past. The dam is one of the wonders of modern Egypt. It is in full sight
of me as I sit here on the left bank of the Nile, with the desert at my
back. It looks like a great stone viaduct crossing the rocky bed of the
river, joining the stony hills which wall the Nile on both sides, and
holding back a portion of its mighty waters. It is a huge granite barrier
a mile and a quarter long. There is now a roadway guarded by walls on its
top, and there is a miniature railway, the cars of which are pushed by
men from one end to the other. The dam serves as a bridge as well, and
donkeys, camels, and men are allowed to pass over it from bank to bank. I
crossed on the car at a cost of twenty-five cents, my motive power being
two Arab boys who trotted behind.

As I came over, I stopped from time to time to examine the construction.
The dam is made of big blocks of red granite as fine as that of any
tombstone in the United States. They are beautifully cut, and fitted as
closely as the walls of a palace. On the upper side or south face the
wall is perpendicular, forming a straight up-and-down barrier against the
waters of the Nile. I climbed down a ladder on that side at one place
almost to the river, and could see that the blocks are fitted so closely
that the cement does not show. The masonry seems almost one solid stone
throughout, with the exception of where the great sluices are cut, to
allow the river to flow through at the times of the flood, and as the
floods subside to shut back the waters to form the reservoir for the dry

There are one hundred and eighty of these sluice gates in the dam, each
of which has steel doors that can be raised or lowered to allow the
whole river to flow through or to hold back as much or as little as the
engineers will. The dam is thus a great stone wall pierced by these gates.

The Nile never flows over the top of the dam, but always through the
gates and the canal at one side. When the gates are closed during the
dry season, enough water is held back by this structure of steel and
granite to form a lake over one hundred miles long, and this is let
out as needed to supplement the ordinary flow of the river and give the
crops plenty of water all summer through. There is water enough in the
reservoir to give all the families of the United States all they could
use for four or five months, and enough to supply Great Britain and
Ireland the entire year.

The weight of this water is stupendous and its force inconceivable.
Nevertheless, during the floods fully as much runs through the dam
every day as the whole supply kept back during the dry season; and the
structure had to be made so that it would retain this huge lake and at
flood time let a lake equal to it pass through.

Talk about the Pyramids! The Aswan Dam is far more wonderful than they
are. The Pyramid of Cheops required one hundred thousand men and over
twenty years in its building. The Aswan Dam was constructed by about
eleven thousand men in four years. The Pyramid of Cheops was made by
forced labour and impoverished the people. The Aswan Dam cost about
twelve million dollars and the men who worked upon it were better
paid than any others who had ever laboured in the valley of the Nile.
Moreover, the dam has meant prosperity for Egypt. It has added to it more
than one million five hundred thousand acres of tillable land and has
increased the value of its crops by over thirteen million dollars per
annum. It has more than paid for its cost every year. Since it has been
built the yearly tax revenues have gained by two million dollars, and the
lands owned by the government have become worth five million dollars more.

The dam is also more wonderful than the Pyramids in its construction. Old
Cheops is built on the edge of the desert on a solid stone platform,
and is little more than the piling of one stone upon another. For the
Aswan Dam a trench a hundred feet wide and a hundred feet deep had to be
excavated in the granite rock. This was bedded with concreted rubble to
form the substructure upon which the masonry was raised. The dam itself
contains more than a million tons of granite and about fifteen thousand
tons of steel, and the calculations of the engineers are so exact that
they know just how much every ounce of stone and steel will hold back.

I have had some talks here with the engineer-in-chief of the dam, and am
surprised at the wonderful intelligence bureau that has been created in
connection with the control of the Nile. Its officials know the exact
weight of the river at every hour of the day. They have telegraphic
reports on what the Nile is doing in Abyssinia, in Central Africa, and
in the Sudan. They have dispatches as to every great rain, and they know
to a ton just how fast Lower Egypt is using the water, so they can tell
how much or how little to let out for the farms. They even estimate the
force of the sun on the water and know how much it drinks up every day.
When the reservoir is full Old Sol takes a million and a half tons from
it every twenty-four hours. They know what the evaporation is, not only
at Aswan, but all along the great stream and throughout its swamps to its
source in Lake Victoria.

[Illustration: The gift of the Nile is not had without work. _Fellaheen_
too poor to own camels or bullocks lift the river water from level to
level and pour it into the irrigation ditches.]

[Illustration: The _fellaheen_ live in villages and go out to work on the
farms. The average mud hut seldom contains more than one or two rooms and
is at the mercy of thick clouds of dust from the road.]

I am also amazed at the strength and delicacy of the machinery of this
remarkable structure. The great sluice gates are each as high as a
two-story house, and so wide that you could drive a hay wagon through
them without touching the walls. They are cut right through the granite
dam and are closed or opened by steel doors, which slide up and down
inside the wall on rollers. Upon the top of the dam there are machines
for moving these gates, so made that a child could operate them. They are
equipped to be operated by electricity, but they are now worked by hand,
and this mighty force, so tremendous that two billion horses would be
required to move it, is now controlled at will by the muscular power of a
single man.

This thought was impressive as I sat below the dam, where the eight
central sluices pressed by the millions of tons of water lying behind
them poured forth their mighty flood. I had climbed down the steps at the
north side of the centre of the dam to make a photograph of the streams
flowing through. They come forth with a rush like that of Niagara and
go foaming over the rocks with a force that might generate thousands of
horsepower. The noise is like thunder and the torrents fairly shake the
earth. Each is about fifteen feet in height and yellow with mud. There
were eight such streams of golden foam at my right, and farther over I
could see the spray from others all dashing through the dam until they
met in a yellow frothing mass several hundred feet below me and rolled
onward down the rocks to Egypt. They flow out with such a force that they
tear up the rocky bed of the Nile, lifting stones weighing many tons and
carrying them some distance down the river. They have done so much damage
of this nature that a cement foundation has now been made below the dam
itself in order to prevent the gouging out of the bed which would mean
the undermining of the main structure.

But the thirsty land and its teeming millions forever clamour for more
water. Even this great Aswan Dam has not nearly solved the irrigation
problem of Egypt. There are always too many would-be farmers for the
watered area. At the present rate of growth, it is estimated, the
population will have increased by the middle of the century to twenty
millions of people, practically all of them dependent on agriculture,
and so on this one river system. The government has yet more ambitious
schemes for hoarding and meting out its precious waters.

At Wady Halfa, about two hundred miles up the river from Aswan, begins
the Sudan, which extends for thousands of miles southward. In controlling
this vast territory, Great Britain has hold also of the upper reaches of
the Nile from the south boundary of Egypt proper into the Great Lakes of
Central Africa where the river has its source. The irrigation works, new
dams, and reservoirs planned or building on the Upper Nile are intended
to increase the arable lands not only in the Sudan but in Egypt as well.
The projects which the British have for the improvement of the Nile will
rank as the most daring of the engineering plans of the century. To carry
them out will cost as much as the Suez Canal, but they will build up
fifteen hundred or two thousand miles south of the Mediterranean Sea,
several other Egypts twice or thrice as rich as the lower Nile valley,
each supporting its millions of people.

The projects include schemes for the regulation of the Great Lakes on the
highlands of Central Africa, to make them serve as reservoirs for the
Nile. They include, also, plans for the embankment of the tributaries of
the White Nile flowing through the great swamps on the northern slope
of the Congo watershed, and the digging of over two hundred miles of
new channel, whereby the main stream of the White Nile will be greatly
shortened and its bed fitted to carrying the enormous volume of its
waters down to Khartum. Another scheme contemplates the erection of a dam
at Lake Tsana, on the highlands of Abyssinia, which will make that lake
a reservoir for the Blue Nile and enable it to water the fertile plain
which lies between the Blue and White Niles, ending at Khartum.

The great trouble now is that a large part of the waters of the Nile go
to waste, particularly in the swamps of the Sudd region. These mighty
swamps lie on the northern slope of the Congo watershed and are fed by
the branches of the White Nile known as the Bahr el Jebel, the Bahr el
Ghazal, and the Bahr el Zaraf. They begin where the River Sobat flows
into the Nile and form an irregular triangle, the base running from that
point two hundred miles westward, with the southern apex at Bor, which
is two or three hundred miles farther south. They lie on the bed of what
in prehistoric times was a great lake, and are composed of masses of
reeds, papyrus, and other swamp grasses, so interlaced that they soak up
the water like a huge sponge. Imagine a sponge as big as the State of
Indiana, from two to six feet in thickness, and so situated that it is
always filled by the waters of the Nile and you will have some idea of
this region. This sponge is near the Equator where the tropical sun beats
down upon it, so that steam is always rising. It sucks up the waters of
the Nile and gives them out into the air. The evaporation in the Sudd
and along the courses of the Nile is so great that an amount equal to
half the capacity of the Aswan reservoir is lost every day. In the summer
fully fifty per cent. of the water supplied by the Great Lakes never gets
into the main stream of the Nile. The water of this swamp is nowhere much
above a man’s head, and in most places, except where the main stream
flows through, it is only waist-deep. The evaporation increases at the
time of the flood, when more land is covered, so that no matter how much
water flows into the swamp, only about the same amount flows out.

The vast masses of floating weeds break up and burst into the channels,
and when an obstruction is encountered they pile up on one another just
as ice does. In the hot, dry season, when the stems of the papyrus are
ten or fifteen feet high, the natives start fires which sweep the region
from end to end, destroying all other vegetation. The ashes and burnt
stems add to the floating mass, which after a time becomes five or six
feet in thickness and almost like peat.

In clearing this Sudd and reopening the channels, the first step is to
cut down the vegetation. The sponge-like mass is then cut with long saws
into blocks, much as ice is harvested on our ponds. The blocks are pulled
out into the current by steel cables attached to the engines on the
steamers and float down the stream. An immense deal of this kind of work
is going on all along the Upper Nile, for it is only in this way that
navigation is kept open.

I have met some of the surveyors who are breaking a way through the Sudd.
They describe it as a vast sheet of brilliant green made up of papyrus,
feathery reeds, and sword grass. These rise from five to fifteen feet
above the water and are broken here and there by patches of ambatch trees
and by channels, pools, and lagoons. The greater part of the region has
no human inhabitants, especially that along the Bahr el Ghazal.

Big game is to be seen only to the south of the swamp area. There the
land is a little higher, and elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes inhabit
the edges of the swamps. In the heart of it, in fact, in all parts of it,
there are vast numbers of hippopotami, and there are all sorts of swamp
birds everywhere. From the reeds and the mud banks clouds of wild cranes,
geese, storks, herons, pelicans, and ducks of every description rise up
as the boats approach, and there are insects by millions—mosquitoes,
moths, spiders, and flies. There are other insects that carry fevers, and
the tsetse fly, which causes the sleeping sickness.

When all the Upper Nile plans and projects have been put through, the
whole river will indeed be a magically powerful, yet tamed and harnessed,
domestic animal at the command of the farmers of a greater Egypt and a
greater Sudan.



For the last two days I have been steaming through one of the oldest
lands of the globe. I have been travelling up the Nile through the
country which belonged to Noah’s grandson, Cush, who was Ham’s eldest
son, and which was known to the Greeks and Romans in later days as
Ethiopia. The Egyptians called it Nubia, from their word _noub_, which
means gold, and it is known that a large part of the gold of ancient time
came from it.

Ancient Nubia had a considerable population, and was noted for its
riches and power. It was already a flourishing country about the time
of the Pyramid builders, while in the most prosperous days of Old Egypt
it had large towns and magnificent temples dedicated to the worship of
the Egyptian gods. On my way here I passed Abu Simbel, a great temple
on the bank of the Nile, which was cut out of the rocks by Rameses II,
the Pharaoh of the Bible. Farther down the river lies the Temple of the
Lions, where that same old king was himself worshipped as a god.

Until 1100 B.C. this country was a dependency of the Pharaohs. It then
became independent, and later its armies overran and conquered Egypt.
As other nations came into this part of the Nile valley they sent
their armies against the Nubians, but were driven back, and at the
time the Romans came the country was ruled by a succession of queens
named Candace, one of whom made war upon the Romans. The Nubian people
very early adopted Christianity, but later, when the Mohammedans took
possession of Egypt and the Upper Nile valley, they were converted to
Islam. They are still followers of the Prophet, and were among the
boldest soldiers of the fanatical Mahdi in his fights against the troops
of Egypt and Great Britain.

A land with such a history ought to be a rich one. The Nubia of to-day is
about as barren as any country on earth. With the exception of a narrow
band along the Nile, it is altogether desert. Beginning in the sands of
Libya, it extends several hundred miles eastward to the Red Sea, but only
in a few places has the soil enough moisture to furnish even a scanty
pasturage for camels and sheep. The bulk of the desert population is made
up of Bisharin Bedouins, living in tents made of matting and moving about
from place to place with their flocks. Each tribe has a certain number of
wells, and water is the principal part of its visible wealth. The British
officials of the Sudan have surveyed these wells and investigated their
depth and the quality of the flow of the water. The government has also
sunk some new wells and found water at a depth of about one hundred feet.

Nubia is now a part of the Upper Nile valley, a cultivated strip, in
places only a quarter of a mile wide, winding its way like a snake from
north to south as far as from New York City to Detroit, and extending on
both sides of the river. It is of irregular width, for in some places the
desert comes close to the river, while in others the stream winds through
black rocky hills which rise straight above it a thousand feet. Farther
on, one sees yellow sand, spotted with black rocks, which show signs of
volcanic origin, and then at a low bend in the river the water may be
conducted out over the sands and create a cultivated patch three miles in

The Nile is so walled in by hills that its waters have to be lifted
in order to flow over any level place. This is done chiefly by the
_sakiehs_, of which there are something like four thousand on the Nubian
Nile. The great wheels, moving in cogs, can be seen high up on the banks,
with their strings of buckets hanging to them. As the buckets descend,
each dips into the water and carries to the top a few quarts at a time.
In some places men raise the water in baskets or buckets, and in others,
the river slopes at such an angle that they carry it up by hand and water
little patches twenty or thirty feet wide. Every low place along the
river is farmed, and when the Nile falls, the sand banks and islands are
planted to crops.

Wherever there is a stretch of cultivated land, a village of mud and
stone huts has grown up, and such villages spot the banks for hundreds
of miles. At times there is no green except between village and river,
and one wonders how men can be born and live and die there. Nevertheless,
there are more than one hundred thousand people to whom this region is
the centre of the world.

Though much of this Nile border is too narrow for profitable cultivation,
it is very fertile and raises excellent cotton. At present the other
chief crops are wheat, barley, and millet, and the chief fruit is dates,
which are sweeter and larger than those grown farther down the Nile
valley. Indeed, the date trees that one sees almost everywhere along the
banks are a source of revenue for the government, which taxes them at the
rate of ten cents per tree.

[Illustration: “On the _Ibis_ we make about six miles an hour as our
dusky Nubian pilot corkscrews up the Nile. Fortunately we are almost free
from the myriad flies, the modern plague of Egypt.”]

[Illustration: Though the Aswan Dam has been of inestimable benefit to
Egypt, the whole world shares regret that when the sluice gates are
closed the water backs up and submerges Pharaoh’s Bed and other ancient
ruins on the Island of Philæ.]

The steamer _Ibis_, on which I have been travelling, is one of the little
vessels of the Sudan government which go twice a week from Shellal,
just above the Aswan Dam, to Wady Halfa, where the railroad across the
desert begins. The ship is a sternwheeler, much like those on some of our
rivers. It is about twenty feet wide, one hundred and fifty feet long,
and draws only six inches. We make about six miles per hour, and our
pilot, a dark-faced, short-bearded Nubian in turban and gown, corkscrews
his course from one side of the river to the other as we wind our way up
the stream.

We fly the Egyptian and Sudanese flags, but the steamer belongs to the
government of the Sudan which means it is British. The captain, however,
is a German, and the rest of the crew are Nubians, most of whom are as
black as your shoes. The captain speaks German, French, English, and
Arabic. He attends to everything connected with the steamer, even to the
meals and the proper table service. Our waiters are black-faced Nubians
in long white gowns and sashes of bright red. They wear white turbans,
and their feet are either bare or shod in red slippers.

I find the steamer comfortable and the company agreeable. The boat has
two decks. On the lower one are thirty cabins and the dining room, where
our meals are served table d’hôte. Over the upper deck an awning is
stretched, so that we can sit and watch the scenery as we go up the river.

Our party consists of several commercial travellers, bound for the Sudan
and Central Africa; two missionaries who are going up the Sobat River;
a capitalist, largely interested in land development enterprises about
Khartum, and several people who are on their way to the Blue Nile to
hunt big game. Although we are far away in the wilds of Nubia, with
nothing but desert on each side, most of us appear in evening clothes
at dinner. Our meals are served in courses with half-a-dozen changes of
plates, knives, and forks.

Here is our bill of fare for one day. At seven this morning, while I
was yet in bed, my black boy appeared and handed me a cup of hot tea,
with two sweet crackers on each side of the saucer. At eight o’clock the
bell rang for breakfast in the dining room. The meal consisted of fried
fish fresh from the Nile, bacon and eggs, bread and butter and jam, with
tea or coffee. At one o’clock came luncheon, a bountiful meal of rice,
giblets, chicken, mutton chops, and fruit, with bread and butter and
cheese. Coffee, of course. At eight o’clock we had dinner, and the menu
was as follows: An excellent soup, then a boiled fish just out of the
Nile, followed by a salmi of pigeons, roast lamb and mint sauce, with
potatoes and string beans. Then there was a course of tomato salad, and
after that a pudding and fruit.

I do not find travel in Africa at all cheap. If one travels along the
Nile he must expect to spend about fifteen dollars a day, the cost
increasing as he goes up the river. My trip from Shellal to Khartum and
back by rail and steamer, a distance not very much greater than from New
York to Chicago, will be one hundred and fifteen dollars, or about six
cents per mile, and I shall pay at Khartum a hotel rate of at least five
dollars per day.

If one attempts to travel economically he must expect many discomforts.
On this boat first-class passengers only are carried. We have some
second- and third-class passengers, but they stay on a low barge which
we tow alongside. This barge has a flat deck of rough boards covered by a
roof. The people carry their own bedding and lay it down on the boards.
They must supply their own food, and as the servants of the first-class
passengers, and natives, who are far from clean, travel in that way, the
company is not desirable. Besides, it is very cold at night, and those
who sleep on the decks have the desert breezes blowing over them all
night long. It is cooler here than in Egypt, although we are nearer the
Equator. I have a woollen blanket on my bed, with a heavy travelling rug
on top of that, but still I am none too warm. In the early morning I wear
an overcoat on deck, although at noon it is so hot out of the breeze that
I would fain take off my flesh and sit in my bones.

Sailing up the Nubian Nile we are almost free from the flies such as are
found by millions in Egypt, but Nubia has a little fly of its own which
is almost unbearable. This is known as the _nimetta_, a small midge,
which appears in myriads during the winter season. Its bite causes a
slight fever, and the natives sometimes wear bunches of smouldering grass
twisted about their heads to keep it away.

The flies of Egypt are probably the descendants of those which the Lord
sent to afflict Pharaoh when he would not let the Children of Israel go.
They look not unlike the common fly of our country, but they are bolder
and hungrier. Their feet stick to one as though they were glued and they
will not move until forcibly brushed off, but the Egyptian peasants have
become so used to them that they let them stick at will. Their favourite
feeding place seems to be on one’s eyes. This is especially true of
the children, and it is a common sight to see a child with its eyes so
fringed with flies that it seems to have double eyelashes. The flies
cover the meat in the markets, they roost on the buffaloes, camels, and
donkeys, and attack the tourist to such an extent that the selling of
fly brushes has become an Egyptian industry. The brushes are tassel-like
affairs with long strings similar to the hairs of a horse’s tail.

Everyone knows that flies carry disease and many of the troubles of the
Egyptians are due to them. Ophthalmia is especially prevalent. There
are blind people everywhere, while one-eyed men and women are common.
Diseases of the eye are so universal that one of the charities of Lower
Egypt is a company of travelling eye doctors, who are supported by a rich
Englishman. The doctors go from village to village, carrying their tents
with them. As they enter a town, word goes out that the poor will be
treated without charge, and crowds come to their tents to have their eyes
examined and cured. They remain in one town for a month or so, serving
the poor without money and without price. The institution does great good.

The port of Shellal, where I took the steamer for Wady Halfa, lies
opposite the island of Philæ, and during my stay there I made several
trips to the island to take photographs of the ruined temples, which have
already been more or less affected by the backing up of the water of the
Aswan Dam. When the Aswan Dam was first proposed a great outcry came from
the savants and archæologists of the world on account of the injury that
it would do to Philæ, but the material results have been so valuable
to Egypt that the dam went ahead, regardless of the preservation of
these ancient ruins. Something like one hundred thousand dollars was
spent in fortifying the structure during the building of the dam, and it
is probable that twice this amount would have sufficed to take up the
temples and carry them to the mainland, or even transport them to Cairo,
where all the world might see them.

The island of Philæ, which is on the edge of lower Nubia in the centre
of the Nile just above the first cataract, is reached by ferry boat from
Shellal or from Aswan and the dam. It is about fifteen hundred feet long
and five hundred feet wide, and almost covered with temples built by the
Ptolemies and others two or three centuries before Christ.

The chief deity of Philæ was the goddess Isis, though Osiris, Hathor, and
the gods of the cataracts were also worshipped there. Under the Roman
emperors the temples were enlarged, but when Egypt was converted to
Christianity, the hermits and other fanatics made their way into Nubia
and took possession of it. They turned some of the temples into Christian
churches and their mutilations of the splendid carvings made in honour of
the gods of Old Egypt can be plainly seen at low water.

The ruins are well worth a visit. Some of the structures have a forest
of columns about them. The Kiosk, which is known as Pharaoh’s Bed, is
one of the most beautiful of the Egyptian temples. The stones are all
of great size. They probably came from the Aswan quarries, or it may be
from the granite rocks that abound in the desert. That region is almost
all granite. I rode over it for thirty miles on donkey back, making my
way through the desert around and about granite boulders worn smooth by
the sandstorms of thousands of years. The rocks are of all shapes and
are piled, one upon another, as if by the hands of a race of Titans.
Here one stands high over those surrounding it, as though on a pedestal;
there others are massed like fortifications; in another spot they rise in

I visited the Aswan quarries, the great stone yards from which the
obelisks were taken, and from which came the mighty statues of Rameses
and the massive blocks of the greatest of the Theban temples. The
quarries to-day are much the same as they were when the Egyptians left
them two or three thousand years ago. One can see the marks of their
wedges on the rocks and the markings of the old stone-cutters are plain.
In one place there is an obelisk half finished, lying on its side, just
as the masons of the Pharaohs left it ages ago. When the granite was
taken out for the Aswan Dam, the Italian workmen used many of the blocks
that the ancient Egyptian mechanics had begun to cut; indeed, that great
granite structure was made in partnership by two sets of mechanics born
thousands of years apart.



I am in the Sudan on the northern section of the Cape-to-Cairo railroad.
I am in the upper end of Nubia at the railroad station of Halfaya, just
opposite Khartum, and as far south of Alexandria as the distance from New
York to Denver.

In imagination come with me on the trip from the Mediterranean to
Khartum. We shall need four days to go from the sea to the junction of
the White and Blue Niles, where I now am, but the journey will for the
most part be comfortable and there are interesting sights for at least
part of the way. We start at Alexandria, the chief sea-port of the whole
valley, and in three hours our train carries us across through the delta
to Cairo, for there is frequent and rapid train service between these two
chief cities of Egypt.

As we go first class, we must pay three cents a mile. The second-class
fare is only half as much as the first, and the third is still cheaper.
Every train has first-, second-, and third-class cars. Those of the
first, which are divided into compartments, are patronized by tourists
and officials. The second-class car is much like the coach of our
American train, having an aisle through the centre. These cars are
used by merchants, commercial travellers, and well-to-do natives. The
third-class cars are cheaply made and their seats are wooden benches.
They are always filled with the common Egyptians, and foreigners seldom
travel in them. Our tickets are little blue cards with the price printed
upon them in English and Arabic. We have to show them to the guard as we
enter the train, and they are not examined again until they are taken up
at the gates of the station as we go out.

We have some trouble with our baggage, for as usual with Americans, we
are loaded with trunks. Only fifty-five pounds can be checked without
extra charge, and my trunks often cost me more than my fare. We notice
that the English and Egyptian passengers put most of their belongings
into bundles and bags, which they can bring into the cars with them. Many
a single passenger is carrying four or five valises, each holding as much
as a small steamer trunk, and the compartments are half filled with such
luggage. Every first-class car has a guard, or porter, who helps us off
and on, and there are always _fellaheen_ at the depot ready to carry our
effects for five cents apiece.

Most of the Egyptian trains have a small car next to the engine, an
express car back of that, and also cars for animals. Our train carries
one in which are two blanketed horses, with Egyptian grooms to take care
of them. They probably belong to some rich nabob of Cairo, and are going
south by express.

The postal cars are carefully watched. The bags of mail are carried to
them on red trucks made for the purpose. The trucks are pushed by the
Arabs and mail is handled by them; but a dark-faced soldier with rifle
and sword marches along to see the bags taken in and out. When a truck
is loaded, the soldier goes with it to the post-office wagons. There is
always a guard on such Nile steamers as carry mail, and the letters are
never left without some armed official to watch over them.

[Illustration: The Bisharin are desert folk, whose chief possessions are
their wells and flocks. They pity city dwellers and scorn those who till
the soil. This aged warrior has his short spear and rawhide shield.]

[Illustration: Villages of mud huts spot the banks of the Upper Nile for
hundreds of miles. The dates grown along here are sweeter and larger than
those from farther down the river.]

[Illustration: The Bisharin inhabit the desert beyond the narrow green
strip along the Nile. Their matting tents are easily moved from place to
place in their search for pasturage.]

The railroads of Egypt and the Sudan are under the government, and I
find both systems pay. Those of Egypt earn about six per cent. on their
capital stock and their working expenses are only about seventy-three per
cent. of the gross receipts. The business is rapidly increasing. They
carry some twenty-six million passengers a year and some five million
tons of freight. Egypt now has something like fifteen hundred miles of
railroads which belong to the government, and in addition more than seven
hundred miles of agricultural roads managed by private parties. The
earnings of the latter are increasing, for they carry more freight and
passengers from year to year.

The main lines are managed by Egyptian and European officials. The
superintendents of departments, who receive three thousand dollars and
upward a year each, are mainly Europeans, while the inspectors and
sub-inspectors, who get from eighty dollars to two hundred and forty
dollars a month, are in the main foreigners. Under these men are the
native guards, track workers, and mechanics of various kinds, who
receive smaller wages. They are almost all Egyptians, there being some
twenty-four hundred of them to about one hundred and fifty Europeans.

The Sudan roads go through a thinly populated country, but the receipts
are already considerably more than their working expenses and are rapidly

The Alexandria-Cairo division of the Cape-to-Cairo road taps one of the
richest countries on earth. I mean the delta of Egypt, which is more
thickly populated than most other parts of the globe. The distance from
Alexandria to Cairo is one hundred and thirty-three miles, and all the
way is through rich farm lands. There is no desert in sight until you
reach Cairo. Cotton is piled up at every depot, there are vast loads of
it on the canals which the track crosses, and at the stations cars of
cotton bales fill the side tracks.

The next division above Cairo goes to Asyut, which is two or three
hundred miles farther south. Then comes the road from Asyut to Luxor,
ending with the narrow-gauge line from Luxor to Aswan. These divisions
are through the narrow part of the Nile valley, with the desert in sight
all the time. The river winds this way and that, but the railroad is
comparatively straight, and is often far off from the river amid the
sand and rocks. Such parts of the line are uncomfortable going. At times
the sands are blinding, the dust fills the cars, and our eyes smart.
These discomforts are somewhat less in the first-class cars. All of them
have shutters and double windows to keep out the dust, and the inner
window panes are of smoked glass to lessen the glare. With the shutters
up it is almost dark and when both windows are down the interior has
the appearance of twilight. When clear glass alone is used the rays are
blinding and the sun comes through with such strength that it is not
safe to have it strike the back of one’s neck. In addition to the double
windows and shutters there are wooden hoods over the car windows, so that
the direct rays of the sun may not shine in. The cars have also double
roofs, and the doors have windows of smoked glass. There is so much dust
that it comes in when everything is shut tight, and the porter has to
sweep up every hour.

I found the conditions even worse in the Nubian Desert, which I crossed
on the railroad from Wady Haifa, where I left the steamer _Ibis_, to
Berber. That region is about the dreariest and most desolate on earth.
It is all sand and rocks, with here and there a low barren mountain. The
Nubians themselves call it “the stone belly,” and the name is well chosen.

The road through Nubia is a part of the Sudan military railway that
extends from Wady Halfa to Khartum. It is one of the iron gateways to
the Sudan, the other being the railway which the British have built from
Atbara to Port Sudan and Suakim on the Red Sea. The military line is
almost as long as from New York to Detroit and the Port Sudan line from
the Red Sea to Atbara, where it connects with the military line, is less
than half that length.

The Port Sudan road vies with the military railways in being one of the
dirtiest railroads ever constructed. Its whole route is across the Nubian
Desert. There is no vegetation at all between Atbara and the Red Sea
until within about nine miles of the coast, and then only a scanty growth
of thorn bush and scrub that feeds small flocks of camels and sheep.

This Red Sea road was opened about 1905. Since then it has been carrying
a large part of the trade of the Sudan. Mohammedan pilgrims from Central
Africa and the Lower Nile valley use it on their way to and from Mecca,
and occasionally tourists come to Khartum via the Suez Canal, the Red
Sea, and this railroad.

The military line from Wady Halfa is the one built by General Kitchener
during the war with the Mahdi. Constructed in less than eighteen months
by the British engineers and soldiers, it is one of the most remarkable
examples of railroad building on record. A large part of it was laid in
the hottest time of the year and at the rate of one and a quarter miles
per day, and once, more than three miles were laid in one day. Yet the
work was so well done that heavy trains could travel safely over it even
when making twenty-five miles an hour. It was built through a waterless
desert which had never been mapped until the railroad surveyors went over
it. During its construction the survey camp was kept about six miles in
advance of the rail head. The road was built through a hostile country
where there was constant danger of attack by the Dervishes.

To-day the cars move as smoothly over those tracks as they do over those
of Egypt, and give that country regular connection with the Sudan. There
is now a train de luxe connecting Khartum with Wady Halfa equipped with
sleeping and dining cars.

The sleepers are divided into compartments about seven feet square
with two berths to each. There is an aisle along the side of the car
from which the compartments are entered, and each of the latter is
large enough to enable one to have a wicker chair in it in addition to
the berths. Every little room has an electric fan and is lighted by

The dining-car service is good and comparatively cheap. The meals consist
of a cup of tea and some crackers brought in by a Nubian porter at
daybreak; a breakfast in the dining car at eight o’clock; a table d’hôte
luncheon at one, and a dinner in the evening.

In riding over the Sudan military road we stopped for a time at Atbara,
where the Black Nile from Abyssinia flows into the main stream. Here
is the famous bridge built by Americans upon orders given by General
Kitchener. The contract was first offered to the English, but they were
not able to build the bridge in the time required, so the Americans took
the job and finished it. Atbara is now an important division point where
the road across the desert to the Red Sea branches off. As we stopped at
the station our engine struck me as looking familiar. I walked to the
front of the train and examined it. Sure enough, it was a Baldwin, with
the name “Philadelphia” standing out in the full blaze of the Nubian
sun. Later on, when I crossed the Black Nile over the steel bridge put
up by our builders, I felt that I was not out of touch with home, after
all. I was being hauled by an American engine over an American bridge,
though I was in the heart of the Nubian Desert more than a thousand miles
up the Nile. The thought makes one proud of our American enterprise and
mechanical genius.

At Atbara I learned a great deal about the road, which starts here on its
three hundred and thirty mile journey through the Nubian Desert to the
Red Sea. This little town might be called one of the railway centres of
the Sudan. Lying at the junction of the two chief railways, it has the
principal railroad offices and shops and is the home of the director,
with whom I had a long talk about his line to the Red Sea. He had a part
in building the road and is now its manager. We first visited the shops,
which cover two or three acres of sandy waste. They are great sheds with
walls of galvanized iron and roofs of iron and plate glass. I saw many
locomotives, cars and steel ties, and telegraph poles outside. Going in,
I found all sorts of railway repair and construction work under way. The
machinists were a mixture of whites, blacks, and yellows, representing
a half-dozen different nations and tribes. There were British overseers,
Greek and Italian mechanics, some Nubian blacksmiths, and many Nubian
boys taking a sort of manual-training course in order that they may serve
as locomotive engineers, under machinists and trackmen. The machinery is
of modern make and the shops are well equipped.

As we walked among the lathes and planing machines the director pointed
out to me some of the peculiarities of the wear and tear of the desert
upon railway materials.

“Here,” said he, as he pointed to the wheel of an American locomotive,
in which was cut a groove so deep and wide that I could lay my three
fingers in it, “is an example of how the sands ruin our car wheels.
The flint-like grains from the desert blow over the rails, and as the
cars move they grind out the steel as though they were emery powder.
Consequently, the life of a wheel is short, and we have to cut down its
tire every few months. Moreover, the sand gets into the bearings, and
there is a continual wearing which necessitates almost constant repair.”

“How about your sandstorms? Are they serious obstacles to traffic?”

“At times, yes. They come with such violence that they cover the tracks;
they cloud the sun so that when you are in one you cannot see your hand
before your face. They often spring up afar off, so that you can watch
them coming. At such times the sand gets into everything and cuts its way
through all parts of the machinery.

“Another thing we have to contend with,” continued the railway manager,
“is the extraordinary dryness of the air, which shrinks our rolling stock
so that it has to be tightened up again and again. One of our passenger
cars will shrink as much as eighteen inches in one wall alone, and we
have to put in extra boards to fill up the gaps. The same is true of all
sorts of woodwork.

“Another trouble is the white ant. That little termite eats anything
wooden. It chews up the insides of our cars and even attacks the
furniture. Where there is the least moisture the ants will go for the
railroad ties, and they will chew out the insides of the wooden telegraph
poles. They always work under cover, leaving a thin shell of wood
outside. The result is that a tie or pole may look sound then all at once
it will crumble to pieces. We have to inspect the road very carefully at
regular intervals and watch out for weak points. We now use hollow steel
tubes as ties. They do not make so smooth a road as the wooden ties, but
the ants cannot eat them. We also have steel telegraph poles.”

“I noticed my train was pulled by an American locomotive. How do they
compare with those from Great Britain?” I inquired.

“Not well,” replied the railroad director. “We have some of your engines
which we bought seven years ago. We are still using them, but most of
them have been repaired and made over. You people make locomotives,
expecting to run them to their full capacity for four or five years and
then throw them on the scrap heap. This is not advisable out here in
the desert, where freight costs so much and the trouble of getting our
rolling stock is so great. We want machinery that will stand all sorts
of trials, including the climate. We want it rustproof and rotproof and
heavily made all around. We have here not only the dry air and the sand
to contend with, but also in the neighbourhood of the Red Sea the salt
air and the alkali water.”

“I suppose the lack of water is one of your chief difficulties, is it
not?” I asked.

“Yes. This railroad is over three hundred miles long and the track is
laid through the sand. For about one third of the distance inland from
the Red Sea the country is mountainous, but the rest of it is flat.
There are no streams, so we have to rely on artesian wells for our water
supply. We have bored a number, but we find that the water in many places
is salt. We struck one well which had three per cent. of salt in it, and
another in which the water was one per cent. salt. Of course such water
is useless for our locomotives.

“We are having trouble also in getting a good water supply at Port Sudan.
We sunk one well to a depth of eight hundred feet and struck a good flow
of fresh water. We had hardly completed, it, however, before the salt
water began to seep in, and we are now drilling again. There are some
stretches along the route where there is no water whatever. In such
places we have to carry our supply with us. For this we have tanks of
galvanized iron, each of which will hold about fifteen hundred gallons.”

From Atbara I took a later train to continue my journey on toward
Khartum. About one hundred miles south of Atbara we stopped at Shendi,
where the Queen of Sheba is said to have lived. This is a station on
the east bank of the Nile five hours or more from Khartum. It is a
considerable town with railroad shops. I saw great piles of steel ties
such as Captain Midwinter mentioned.

[Illustration: The mud towers outside some Egyptian huts are used by
whole families as cool sleeping places out of reach of scorpions.
Sometimes mothers leave their babies in them while they are working in
the fields.]

[Illustration: The child so contentedly sucking sugar cane is, like four
out of every hundred children in Egypt, blind in one eye. This is due
chiefly to the superstition and ignorance of their parents.]

Shendi consists of an old and a new town. The latter has been laid out by
the British and has a park in the centre watered by the Nile. In ancient
times there was a great city here, for it was the capital of the country
and the supposed residence of the Queen of Sheba, who went from here down
the Nile and crossed to Palestine. There she had her famous flirtation
with King Solomon. The Abyssinians say that she went back by the Red Sea
and stopped in their country; and that while there she bore a son whose
father was Solomon and who became the head of the line of kings which
rule Abyssinia to-day. The Mohammedans, on the other hand, say that the
Queen of Sheba did not live here at all. They claim that her residence
was in Yemen, Arabia, and that Solomon went there to visit her. The
queen’s name was Balkis. As witty as she was beautiful, she gave the wise
Solomon many a riddle which he was puzzled to answer.



The airplane has completed the conquest of the Dark Continent. A
two-months’ journey from Cairo to the Cape of Good Hope has been reduced
to a possible fifty-two hours of flying, each hour representing one
hundred miles through the skies.

Cecil Rhodes died hoping that one day his countrymen would finish the
greatest of his African projects, an all-British route traversing the
continent. His dreams were based upon steam, and compassed a route of
rail and water transport taking advantage of the Nile and the Great
Lakes. Those dreams are becoming realities, and to-day only a few gaps
remain unfilled on the long way from the north to the south. In the
meantime, aircraft has sprung almost full fledged into the skies, and the
gasoline engine and the airplane have beaten the steam locomotive and its
steel track through the wilds.

The first flight from Cairo to the Cape was made by two officers of
the South African Air Force, Colonel P. Van Ryneveld and Lieutenant C.
J. Q. Brand. Of four competitors who started from Cairo, they were the
only ones to land at Cape Town. They had several accidents and wrecked
two machines on the way. Leaving Cairo on February 10, 1920, they took
twenty-eight days to reach Cape Town, although their actual flying time
was counted in hours. Their nearest competitor covered only half the
distance, while the two others did not succeed in getting across the
desert wastes of the Sudan.

In the airplane of our imagination, let us take the trip they made. We
may be sure of excitement, for even under favourable conditions we are
starting out on one of the most dangerous air journeys known to the
world. But let us first look at a map and pick out our route. It is a
jagged line, extending from north to south, the length of the continent.
It is marked with dots and triangles, each showing a place where we may
land. As we look at the map it seems quite simple and easy, but actual
experience proves its great difficulties.

We shall leave Cairo at dawn and follow the Nile to Khartum. This is a
flight of one thousand miles, but landing places have been prepared along
the entire route at intervals of two hundred miles. We shall stop at one
of these long before noon and spend several hours to avoid the heat of
the day, when gusts of hot air, rising from the sun-baked desert, make it
dangerous to fly at low altitudes. At the start of our flight we shall
rise a mile or more to avoid these treacherous currents, which frequently
take the form of “air spouts,” often visible on account of the dust and
sand they have sucked up with them. Such currents have force enough to
toss our plane about like a leaf in the wind. With these great gusts
of hot air spouting upward are cold currents rushing downward. These
are even more dangerous, as they are always invisible. Consequently, we
shall fly high, to avoid a “bumpy” passage, as our pilot calls it, and in
landing must be careful lest we get caught in an air pocket.

From Khartum we start on the second, longest, and most dangerous leg
of the journey. This covers a distance of twenty-six hundred miles,
extending to Livingstone near Victoria Falls in northern Rhodesia. We
shall follow, in a general way, the Blue Nile to Ehri, and then go almost
due south to Uganda and Lake Victoria, the second largest lake of the
world. We shall skirt the eastern edge of the Sudd, in which there is
hardly a single safe landing place. Except in the main channels, masses
of papyrus completely hide the water, and if we should come down in that
treacherous region we could hardly hope to get out alive. We should be
unable to walk, swim, or float in the dense tangle.

This second leg of our journey takes us into the heart of Africa. The
country is wooded and mountainous. It is very hot, for we are nearing
the Equator, which cuts across the upper edge of Lake Victoria. In fact,
our pilot will not fly after nine in the morning nor earlier than four
o’clock in the afternoon. The air is more “bumpy,” and often terrific
thunderstorms seem to fill the sky with sheets of water. In dodging these
storms, we must be careful not to fly so far off our course as to be
forced to land in the wilds. The country here is a mile or more above sea
level, and if we should fly too high in order to avoid the heat gusts, we
may have trouble with our engines in the rarefied air. Below us are dense
forests and rocky hillsides, and natural landing places hardly exist. As
we go down the eastern shore of Lake Victoria we see new sights. These
are the water-spouts, great spiral columns whirled up from the lake into
the air by the eddying winds.

[Illustration: Swamps, huge anthills, scrub bush, outcroppings of rock;
and stretches of tall, rank elephant grass combine to make natural
landing places exceedingly rare on the second stage of the airplane
journey, which is most difficult and dangerous.]

[Illustration: The flight from Cairo to the Cape takes the aviator over
clusters of native huts, dwarfed to the size of anthills, through which
run the signs of civilization—ribbons of well-constructed road.]

[Illustration: Fuad I, who became the first king when Egypt was declared
a sovereign nation, came of the same family as the khedives of the last
hundred years. He gave Egypt its flag, three white crescents and stars on
a red field.]

Our route from Kisumu, on Lake Victoria, is to the southwest, and we
land at Mwanza, on the south shore. This is one of the outposts of the
white man’s civilization in “darkest Africa,” From Mwanza we continue
southwest across Tanganyika Territory to Abercorn at the lower end of
Lake Tanganyika, and then fly on to Broken Hill in northern Rhodesia,
where once more we see a railroad.

Preparing landing places in this part of Africa was a big job in itself.
Not only were thousands of trees cut down to make clear spaces, but they
were dug up by the roots to prevent them from sprouting again. Many
of the native chieftains take great interest in keeping clear these
airdromes, which would soon be gobbled up by the jungles if left to
themselves. They have also broken up and carried away from these spaces
the giant ant hills that cover the land of Central Africa like freckles
on a boy’s face. These hills, which are often twenty-five or thirty feet
high, and forty or fifty feet thick, are the home of the white ant. To
make one airdrome in northern Rhodesia a force of seven hundred natives
worked five months taking out twenty-five thousand tons of the heavy,
rock-like clay with which the ants, grain by grain, had built their
African apartment houses. Were our airplane to strike an ant hill in
landing, it would surely be wrecked.

From northern Rhodesia down into Cape Colony our flight is not quite
so difficult. The country is lower, and there are more open spaces. At
Livingstone we begin the third stage of the journey, and there cross the
Zambesi, looking down upon its wonderful falls, larger than Niagara. From
Bulawayo, the next important stop, we bear to the east as we go south,
passing over the Transvaal, with its diamonds and gold mines. We stop
at Johannesburg and then fly to the westward on down to Bloemfontein.
Our last flight takes us to Table Mountain, with Cape Town and the
Atlantic Ocean at its foot. We are at the end of the continent, and have
completed our fifty-two hundred miles through the air.

Those who know best the conditions in Africa believe that the
establishment of a regular air service along the Cape-to-Cairo route
will be difficult. During the rainy season dense fogs are common, making
flying uncertain and dangerous, while at times the smoke from forest
fires causes great trouble. On account of the rapid evaporation, the
storage of gasoline in the tropical belt is extremely difficult. Sudden
changes in atmospheric conditions form another serious danger; but with
the development of wireless stations along the route, and the use of the
radio telephone, aviators can be warned while in flight of the weather
conditions ahead and shape their courses accordingly.

Meantime, that all-British line that Cecil Rhodes planned comes nearer to
completion each year.

In thinking of the famous Cape-to-Cairo route most people consider it as
a continuous railway trip, or as an iron track spanning Africa from south
to north. This it will perhaps never be. We shall go by steam from Cairo
to the Cape of Good Hope, but almost one third of the way will be over
navigable rivers and lakes. This was Rhodes’s idea, and it is also that
of every practical engineer who has examined the country and its traffic

The journey from Cairo to the Cape is now made by rail, boat, and ground
transport. These overland gaps are the ones which will one day be filled
with railways, but the water sections will remain as a part of the
completed route.

The railroad from Cairo has been extended two hundred and forty miles
south from Khartum to Sennar, on the Blue Nile, where a great new dam,
which is to furnish more water for irrigating Egypt and the Sudan, is now
under construction. The British have also built a railway from Sennar
west to El Obeid, in Khordofan. This line crosses the Blue Nile at Kosti.
From Sennar, the fourteen hundred miles to Lake Albert is covered by Nile
steamers and by ground transport, which may be automobile, horseback,
or bullock wagon. From the southern shore of Lake Albert is another gap
which must be covered with ground transport to gain the shores of Lake
Victoria, and after Victoria is crossed by steamer, Lake Tanganyika
must be reached overland. From Lake Tanganyika to Broken Hill is a gap
of four hundred and fifty miles which will soon be bridged by railroad
construction. From Broken Hill we have the railway to Cape Town. A
railroad extends northward from Broken Hill to Bukama in the Congo
copper-mining district of Katanga, but it does not fit into the scheme of
an all-British steam route to Cairo.

Another important railway development, also the work of the British,
resulted from the World War. The Turks had organized an army to capture
control of the Suez Canal, and to meet this attack the British pushed
a great expeditionary force into Palestine. They did this by building
a swinging railroad bridge across the canal at Kantara and laying a
railroad two hundred and fifty-six miles through the Sinai and Palestine
deserts to Haifa. During these operations, Kantara, normally a small
garrisoned railroad town, mostly sand and cinders, became the greatest
military base in all history. Besides the soldiers, brought from all
corners of the British Empire, the British organized the Egyptian Labour
Corps, for which more than twelve hundred thousand Egyptian natives were
recruited. This vast army of workers built the railway, and kept the
stream of men and supplies moving on to meet the attack of the Turks.
The Egyptians did not like this service much better than the Children of
Israel liked toiling without wages for the Pharaohs nearly four thousand
years ago.

These operations resulted in the defeat of the Turks and saved the
canal. Moreover, they linked Africa and Asia by rail and one may now go
on comfortable cars all the way from Cairo to Constantinople, and on to
Paris. In reality, three continents have been joined together by the
Kantara bridge and the Palestine Military Railway. This new link in the
chain of the world’s railway systems was part of the Kaiser’s dream of
empire. But he had no part in making it come true, and it now adds to the
glory and strength of the very nations he hoped to conquer.

[Illustration: The mails are carefully guarded on all trains, a soldier
with rifle and sword always being present when the sacks are loaded or
unloaded. Armed guards also travel with the mail on the Nile steamers.]

[Illustration: Far up in the Sudan American engines are found pulling
British trains, while the famous bridge at Atbara, which Kitchener said
he must have in less time than the English could manufacture it, was made
in the United States.]

[Illustration: While the British have established first-class railroad
service from Cairo and lower Egypt up into the Sudan, there also remain
in this region some of the light military railways built during the wars
with the Mahdi.]



After the intensely hot and dust-filled six-hundred-mile journey across
the desert from Wady Halfa it is good to be here amid the palm gardens
and the lime trees of Khartum. I am in the flourishing capital of the
Sudan, once, and not so long ago at that, the centre of an exceedingly
prosperous slave trade and later the scene of the massacre of General
Gordon and of Kitchener’s fierce fights with the Mohammedan fanatics.

Khartum lies at the junction of two of the chief rivers of North Africa,
giving it navigable highways to Abyssinia and to the rich lands along the
watershed of the Belgian Congo. It has railroads connecting it with the
Mediterranean, and with the exception of one stretch of less than six
hundred miles, where the cataracts are, it has the main stream of the
Nile to give it cheap freight rates to Europe. It has opened a railroad
to Suakim, on the Red Sea, and in time it will undoubtedly be one of the
great stations on the principal route by steamer and rail from Cairo to
the Cape.

I called upon the Governor of Khartum this afternoon and asked him to
tell me the story of the city. Said he: “The buildings which you see here
are all new, but the town is older than some of the mushroom cities of
the United States. It was born before Chicago, being founded by Mehemet
Ali a century ago. It grew remarkably fast, so that at ten years of
age it was made the seat of the government of the Sudan and became an
important commercial centre. It was here that Gordon made his effort to
break up the slave trade and here that he was killed. He was butchered
on the steps of a building on the site of the present Governor-General’s
palace. Then the Mahdist leader declared that Khartum should be wiped
out. He destroyed all the houses and made the inhabitants come to his new
capital, Omdurman, which he had laid out on the other side of the White
Nile about five miles to the south. When the people left they tore off
the roofs and pulled out the doors of their houses and carried them along
to use in their new houses at Omdurman.

“After that, for years, and until Kitchener came, Khartum was nothing
but a brick pile and a dust heap. Omdurman had swallowed up not only
its whole population, but that of a great part of the Sudan; for the
Khalifa forced the tribes to come there to live, in order that he might
have their men ready for his army in times of war. The result was that
Omdurman had more than a half million inhabitants while Khartum had none.

“Then we had the war with the Khalifa, whom we finally conquered,” the
Governor continued. “After we had reduced the greater part of Omdurman
to ruins, we began planning the building of a great city. The idea at
first was to force the people to move from Omdurman to Khartum, but it
was finally decided that it would be far better to have a native city
there, and to make this place the government and foreign centre, with a
manufacturing and commercial town at Halfaya, or Khartum, North, on the
northern bank of the Blue Nile.

“The Khartum of to-day was laid out after somewhat the same plan as your
capital at Washington; at least the reasons that determined the plans
were the same. As I recall it, Washington was plotted at about the time
of the French Revolution by a French engineer. Major L’Enfant laid out
the city so that it could be easily defended in case of a rebellion and
at the same time be beautiful. For that reason the streets were made to
cut one another at right angles with avenues running diagonally through
them, forming squares and circles, where one cannon could command many
streets. Lord Kitchener had the same idea as to Khartum. He directed his
architects to make the streets wide, with several large squares, and to
have the whole so arranged that guns placed at the chief crossings could
command the whole city. The result is Khartum as you now see it.

“The town is laid out in three great sections, and all building plans
must be submitted to the government architects before permits of
construction can be issued. The section along the Nile is devoted to
the government buildings and the residences of the officials and others
who can afford good houses. Back of that there are streets where less
pretentious houses may be built, while farther back still and more to the
south is a third section of houses for natives. The town is so planned
that it can grow along these lines, and we believe it will some day be
one of the largest and most beautiful of the cities of interior Africa.”

I have now been in Khartum over a week and find it most interesting. In
coming to it, I rode for hours and hours through the sands and rocks of
Nubia, and it was not until I was within a few miles of Halfaya that I
saw signs of vegetation. The train then entered a region of thorn bushes
ten or fifteen feet high; farther on patches of grass bleached by the sun
were to be seen, and closer still other evidences of cultivation. The
Arabs were digging out the thorn bushes on the edge of the desert and
stacking them up in piles for fuel. There were a few animals grazing on
the scanty grass.

Out of such dull and cheerless desert surroundings rises a city of
green. All along the river, for a distance of more than two miles,
runs a wide avenue shaded by trees and backed by buildings and private
houses in beautiful gardens. From one end of it to the other this avenue
is a succession of parks. It begins with the botanical and zoölogical
gardens, where all the trees of the tropical and sub-tropical regions
grow luxuriantly and where one may see the soap tree, the monkey-bread
tree, and other curious examples of Sudanese flora. There are several
lions and tigers in the garden, and there is also a mighty giraffe which
I photographed this afternoon as he was taking a bite out of a branch at
the height of a two-story house.

Next to the zoölogical garden is the Grand Hotel, a long, bungalow-shaped
structure shaded by date palms, while beyond are the two-story homes
of many officials, all well shaded. The first public building on this
avenue is the post and telegraph office. Beyond it are the offices of the
Military Bureaus with public gardens behind them. Directly on the river
and in front of a wonderful garden is the great white palace in which the
Governor-General of the Sudan lives and has his offices. Farther along
the avenue are the Sudan Club and the hospital. Away at the south rise
the large buildings of the Gordon Memorial College, with the British
barracks at the end of the street. On the edge of the river are the
inevitable _sakiehs_ raising the water to the tune of their monotonous
creakings. They start at seven o’clock every morning. Their wheels are
never greased and as they move they screech and groan and sigh. There is
one in front of the Grand Hotel which serves as my alarm clock, for sleep
is murdered at the moment it begins.

In Khedive Avenue, which runs parallel with the embankment, is a statue
by E. Onslow Ford, of General Gordon on an Indian camel. So far as I know
this is the world’s only camelestrian statue. It is a work of fine art
and full of the spirit of the famous hero it represents.

The business parts of Khartum are on the streets back from the river.
There is one great square devoted to the markets. This must cover ten
or more acres, and the Abbas Square, a little farther west, in which
the mosque stands, is fully twice as large. The business section has
two banks and a large number of stores managed chiefly by Greeks. There
are more Greeks here than any other foreigners, and next to them come
the Italians, some of whom have important establishments. One of the
biggest of all is the house of Angelo Capato, a man who might be called
the Marshall Field of the Sudan, for he has a large business here, with
branches all over the country and desert stores far up the Nile. The
stores have covered porches in front of them or they face arcades which
keep off the sun.

The mosque of Khartum is one of the most beautiful buildings in Africa.
It is a great two-story structure of white stone with minarets rising
high above it. The galleries of the minarets have a lacework of stone
around them and the towers are covered with Arabic carvings. The
building is named after Khedive Abbas Hilmi who, I am told, furnished
much of the money for its erection.

Khartum has also a big Coptic church as well as one built by the Church
of England and the schools and chapels of the United Presbyterian Mission
of our country. So, you see, notwithstanding its position on this
far-away part of the globe, it has abundant religious facilities.

I have been interested in watching the women doing construction work here
in Khartum. Wherever new houses and business blocks are going up, the
masons and mechanics have their women helpers. The labourers come from
all parts of the Sudan, so that the women of a half-dozen tribes may
be working on the same building. The wages are far beyond those of the
past, and, although they are still but a few cents a day, here in Central
Africa they mean riches.

These women labourers are strapping black girls, straight and plump, and
so lightly dressed that one can see all the outlines of their forms. Some
have but a thin sheet of blue cotton wrapped loosely around the shoulders
with another wound about the waist so that it falls to the feet. The
upper garment is off half the time, leaving the girl bare to the waist.
Her plump bust shows out in the bright sun as she raises her arms high to
steady the load on her head. These African natives, both men and women,
pull out all the hair on their bodies, going over them once a month
for this purpose. This custom is common in many parts of the world. It
is done among some of the Indians of the Amazon, among the Jewesses of
Tunis, who are shaved from head to foot just before marriage, and among
the Moros of our Philippine Islands, who carry along little tweezers to
jerk out the hairs.

The wages these women receive are pitifully low. Ten or fifteen cents a
day is big money for a woman, while even a man can be hired for twenty
cents or less. For such sums the women unload the stone boats on the
Nile, wading out into the river and coming back up the banks with two
or three great rocks piled high on their heads. They carry sand in
baskets, and spread it over the stones on the highways, and sit down on
the roadsides and break stones for macadamizing. They carry the mortar
up the scaffolding to the masons, and quite an army of them is employed
in bringing water in five-gallon kerosene oil cans from the Nile. Some
of the streets are sprinkled with this water, and many of the gardens
of Khartum are kept moist in this way. At the Grand Hotel we have a
half-dozen women who carry water all day long to irrigate the garden.
Some of the girls are tall. To-day I had a photograph taken of myself
standing beside one who overtopped me some inches. She objected to my
having her picture, and as she was a husky young negress it was for a
time undecided whether I should succeed.

I have asked some questions here as to labour. The builders tell me it
is almost impossible to get what they want, and that the more wages they
pay the greater the danger of a labour famine. The trouble is that the
natives will not work if they have money, and when wages are high they
work so much the less. All they need is their food, and a family can
live on five cents and less per day. The food consists chiefly of boiled
dura or sorghum meal and the drink is a native beer which costs almost
nothing. A man can get a suit of clothes for a dollar, while a woman can
be outfitted for less. When food is cheap, the prices of labour rise, and
when it is dear, they fall. The native reasons that he ought to be paid
more for his work when the food prices are low, for in such a case he can
easily get food ahead, and why should he work at the ordinary wage when
he has all he wants? When the food goes up the labourers need the work to
pay for it and their competition brings wages down.

[Illustration: The British believe Khartum will some day be one of the
largest and most beautiful cities of Africa. They have made along the
river front a boulevard and park, in which are the government offices and
the residences of officials and others.]

[Illustration: From Khartum, where the Blue and the White Nile come
together, navigable waterways extend into Abyssinia and the rich lands
of the watershed of the Belgian Congo, while to the north flows the main
stream of the Nile.]

[Illustration: Founded only one hundred years ago, Khartum rapidly became
a slave-trade centre but was utterly wiped out by the Mahdists who killed
Gordon. Not until Kitchener came was the city built anew on modern



I am just back from the palace at Khartum where I have had a long talk
with Sir Francis Reginald Wingate, the Sirdar of the Egyptian army and
the Governor-General of the Sudan. He is the ruler of a land one fourth
as large as all Europe and four times the size of any country in it
excepting Russia. He has great power and can do almost anything he likes
with this country and people. One of the chief officers in the wars
with the Mahdi and the Khalifa, he won decoration after decoration for
his bravery and military services, and was in command of the operations
which finally resulted in the death of the Khalifa. It was in that year
that he became Sirdar, and since then he has been bringing order out of
the chaos of this part of Africa. He has pacified the warring tribes,
has turned their lances and guns into ploughshares and shepherds’
crooks, and is now creating civilized conditions where before have been
barbarism, injustice, slavery, and war. An explorer of note before he
became Governor-General, he has his prospectors travelling through every
part of this vast region, and is laying out and starting the railroad,
canal, irrigation, and other projects which will open it up to trade and
progressive development.

The Sirdar is now in his prime. He has seen perhaps fifty years of
hard-working life, but he does not look over forty-five, and were it not
that his hair and moustache are mixed with silver, one would think him
much younger. His face is free from wrinkles and his complexion rosy,
his eyes are full of light, and his whole appearance indicates health
and strength. A great part of his career has been spent in the saddle.
He has not only travelled over most of Egypt and the Sudan, but has gone
on diplomatic missions to Abyssinia. He spends a portion of every year
travelling by boat or on camels through his far-away provinces, and has
just recently returned from a long trip to Kordofan. He talks freely
about his country, which he knows so well that what he says is of special

During my conversations with His Excellency I asked him about the
possibilities of the Sudan, reminding him that most people looked upon it
as nothing more than a vast desert. He replied:[1]

“That idea comes largely from the desolate sands through which the
railroad takes travellers on their way to Khartum. They have also read of
the immense swamps of the Upper Nile, and, putting the two together, they
look upon the country as only swamp and desert. The truth is the Sudan is
an undeveloped empire so far as its natural resources are concerned. It
is a land of many climates and of all sorts of soils. The desert stops
not far from Khartum, beyond which is a region where the rainfall is
sufficient for regular crops. Still farther south the country has more
rain than is needed. In the west are great areas fitted for stock raising.

“Take, for instance, the country along the Abyssinian border and that
which lies between the White and Blue Niles. Those regions have been
built up in the same manner as Egypt, and they contain all the rich
fertilizing materials which have made the Lower Nile valley one of the
great grain lands of the world. The only difference is that the Egyptian
soil, by the cultivation and the watering of thousands of years, has been
leached of its best fertilizing elements; while the soil of the Gezirah,
as the region I have referred to is called, has hardly been touched.
Indeed, the plain between the White and Blue Niles is so rich that, if
water is put upon it, it will produce four or five crops every year, and
that for many years in succession. We have millions of acres of such soil
awaiting only the hand of man to bring them into the world’s markets as
live commercial factors.”

“What kind of crops can be raised in that country, your Excellency?” I

“Almost anything that is now produced in Egypt,” was the reply. “The
Gezirah is already growing a great deal of dura, or millet. It produces
an excellent wheat and also maize. In fact, that plain is now the chief
granary of this part of the world. It raises so much that, when the
season is good, the crops are more than the people consume, so the grain
is stored away in great pits. I have seen dura pits forty feet deep and
about fifty feet in diameter. They are to be found about almost every
village. At ordinary times they are kept full of grain for fear of a
famine, but while the Mahdi reigned, his soldiers used to rob them. The
result was that whole communities were wiped out by starvation.”

“But if the bad years eat up the good ones, where is the Sudan to get its
grain for export?” I inquired.

“That will come by irrigation and better transportation. Until the Upper
Nile irrigation projects can be put through the people must rely, as they
do now, upon the rainfall, which is uncertain. When those plans have
been carried out the country can be irrigated by the two Niles without
diminishing the supply of water required for Egypt. Then the land will
have water all the year round. Improved methods of cultivation will
enormously increase the crops. At present the native merely walks over
the ground after a rain and stirs it up with a stick while his wife or
children follow behind dropping the seeds and covering them with their
feet. Nothing more is done until two months later, when the crop is ready
for reaping.”

“How about cotton?”

“I see no reason why the Sudan should not eventually be one of the big
cotton countries of the globe. We are experimenting with it in all the
provinces and are meeting with success. The land between the White and
Blue Niles might be made one great cotton plantation, and the quality of
the crop would be excellent. We are now raising fine cotton on the Red
Sea near Suakim, and the crop is a profitable one. Plantations are also
being set out by foreigners near Khartum. The cotton raised is fully
equal to the best Egyptian.”

“But how about your labour, your Excellency; have you the workmen
necessary to cultivate such crops?”

“That is a problem which only the future can solve,” replied the Sirdar.
“We have all kinds of natives here, representing the different stages of
savagery and semi-civilization. While there are a great many tribes whose
people can be taught to work, others will need many years of training
before they can be made into such farmers as we have in Egypt and India.
We have some who will work only long enough to get food and supplies for
their immediate needs and who, when a little ahead, will spend their time
in dancing and drinking the native beer until they become poor again. We
have also a large admixture of Arabs and other races who are of a far
higher character and of whom we expect much.”

[Illustration: There is at least one white Negro in Africa. The man in
the centre, who said both his parents were as black as the women beside
him, is pure Sudanese, yet he has a fair skin, rosy cheeks, and flaxen

[Illustration: Services at the Coptic Church at Khartum sometimes last
five hours, while the worshippers stand barefooted on the cold floors.
The Copts, direct descendants of the ancient Egyptians, have been
Christians since St. Mark preached at Alexandria.]

“Do you see many changes in the condition of the natives since the
British occupation?”

“Yes. They are doing far better than in the past. They wear more
clothing, they have more wants, and are working to supply them. Formerly
many went naked, and as there was no security of property and few wants,
they had no incentives to save. When we came here the taxes were levied
at the will of the rulers, so the rich native was sure to be persecuted.
Now since the taxes are fairly levied, the people are learning that
their savings will be respected. They are coming to have faith in us.
Our first business was to make them realize that we intended to treat
them fairly and honestly, and I believe we have succeeded. We had also to
organize the country, so that it might be able to pay the expenses of its
government. We are fast reaching that stage.”

“Is your native population increasing?”

“Very rapidly,” replied Sir Reginald. “I am surprised at the large number
of children that have been born since we took possession of the Sudan.
The provinces fairly swarm with little ones. During a recent trip through
Kordofan I carried a lot of small coin with me to give to the children.
The news of this travelled ahead, so as soon as we approached a village
we would be met by the babies in force. Nearly every peasant woman came
forward with a half dozen or more little naked blacks and browns hanging
about her, and the children ran out of the tents as we passed on the way.
The Sudanese are naturally fond of children, especially so when times are
good and conditions settled as they are now. They want as many children
and grandchildren as the Lord will give them, and as most of the men have
two or three wives, it is not an uncommon thing for a father to have
several additions to his family per year.”

“Your Excellency has been travelling on camel back through Kordofan. Is
that country likely to be valuable in the future?”

“I do not see why it should not be,” replied the Governor-General. “It is
one of the stock-raising regions of this part of the world, producing a
great number of cattle and camels. Much of the meat now used in Khartum
comes from Kordofan, and camels are bred there for use throughout the
Libyan and Nubian deserts. The southern half of the country, which is
devoted to cattle, is inhabited by stock-raising people. Every tribe has
its herds, and many tribes are nomadic, driving their stock from pasture
to pasture. North of latitude thirteen, where the camel country begins,
one finds camels by the thousands. That section seems to be especially
adapted to them.”

“What is the nature of the land west of Kordofan?”

“I suppose you mean Darfur. That country is a hilly land traversed by a
mountain range furnishing numerous streams. It is well populated, and
was for a long time a centre of the slave trade. The natives there are
comparatively quiet at present, although every now and then a war breaks
out between some of the tribes. This is true, too, in Kordofan. The
people are brave and proud, and they have frequent vendettas.”

[1] Since this interview with Sir Reginald occurred he has retired from
office at the end of a lifetime spent in the Sudan. He will always be
considered one of the best authorities on that vast and comparatively
unknown region, and his views, especially when expressed, as here, in the
height of his activities, are of perennial value.



One of my talks with Sir Francis Reginald Wingate was of a more personal
nature dealing with some of the events in which he was an historic
figure. I had asked His Excellency if he would not some day write a
new book on the Sudan. He wrote “Mahdism and the Egyptian Sudan” some
years ago; and a few years later published a work entitled “Ten Years’
Captivity in the Mahdi’s Camp.” He also translated and edited Slatin
Pasha’s “Fire and Sword in the Sudan” and for years his life has been a
part of the history of the country and his experiences such that no man
living can tell about it better than he. The Sirdar replied:

“I may write another book some day. I have kept notes of things which
I have observed and which have occurred from time to time, and putting
them together may give me occupation when I retire. At present my chief
interest is in the development of the country, and I am too much occupied
with that and with my duties here to find any time for literary work.”

Afterward our conversation turned to the conditions which prevailed here
while the Mahdi was waging war against the English. Sir Reginald, then
General Wingate, was one of the officers in command of the British troops
and is full of vivid stories of those terrible times. As we talked we
were standing on the portico jutting out from the second story of the
government palace. We were looking down the Nile and in plain view of the
little island of Tuti over the way. General Wingate went on to tell a
story of General Gordon’s bravery and absolute lack of fear:

“It was on this site that Gordon had his headquarters during a siege
of the Mahdi. He lived in a rough building with windows opening toward
that island, upon which the enemy had an encampment. It was his custom
of an evening to sit in his room facing the river and write in his
diary. The Mahdists saw his light and shot at it again and again but,
notwithstanding this, General Gordon did not change his place for
writing. His friends remonstrated and the citizens of Khartum sent in a
petition to him either to write in the back of the house or to hide his
light behind a screen. This petition was brought in by a delegation from
the town, which had assembled in front of the headquarters awaiting an
answer. As they stood there, lights were put in every front window and
they saw General Gordon go from window to window making himself, as they
thought, a fair mark for the Dervishes on the island. At last he came out
and standing in the full blaze of the light said:

“‘Gentlemen, there is an old story that when the Lord made mankind He
did so with two great piles of material before Him. One of the piles
was composed of the clay of which man is made and the other of the fear
that often makes one less than a man. As the Lord worked, He took up a
handful of clay, shaped it into a human form, and then sprinkled it over
with a handful from the pile of fear. And so He went on making man after
man until at last He took up the stuff of which He made me. There was
plenty of clay for my body but when He looked about for fear with which
to sprinkle it, He found that the pile of fear had all been used up, so
the result is I do not know what fear is.’”

[Illustration: In the dry Upper Nile valley piled-up grain awaits
unprotected the boats which will distribute it along the river. The
provinces of Darfur and Kordofan alone can produce enough dura to feed
the entire Sudan.]

[Illustration: No matter how far up the Nile or how deep in the desert
they live, “_backsheesh_” is the cry of the children of Egypt and the
Sudan. Young and old alike have learned the trick of asking a fee for

[Illustration: British experiments in cotton culture in the Sudan have
been most successful and the quality of the product compares favourably
with Egyptian varieties. Irrigation projects under construction will
shortly add 100,000 acres to the cotton-growing area.]

[Illustration: The chief public building in Khartum is the Sirdar’s
palace, built by Kitchener on the site of Gordon’s murder. Over it float
British and Egyptian flags and two sentries guard its door, one British,
one Sudanese.]

General Gordon’s bravery was far beyond that of other world heroes. He
fought here until the last. When the Arabs finally overcame his troops
and entered his palace, he sternly demanded of them where their master
was. They replied by plunging their spears into his body. As he fell,
they dragged him down the steps and cut off his head to be sent to the
Mahdi. His body was left to the mercy of the fanatics, who rushed forward
by thousands to dip their swords and spears in his blood. They fairly cut
it to pieces, and the blood, which had stained the steps and walls of the
palace, remained there until the Khalifa decided to make that place a
dwelling for his harem and had it washed away.

The British have done all they could to carry out Gordon’s mission in
the Sudan; that is, to break up slavery. This region was once one of the
chief slave markets of the continent. The poor wretches were brought by
the thousands from Central Africa to Khartum and Omdurman, and taken
thence down to Egypt. Before the British rule there were military
stations in different parts of the country, which became centres of the
trade, and the White Nile was a famous slave route. Later on the Arabs
raided the natives of Central Africa and sent up their captives to
Khartum. The trade was somewhat checked while Gordon ruled, but it broke
out again under the Mahdi. When the British took hold, Omdurman was one
of the chief markets, slaves being brought in in droves from all parts
of the country. Since then the buying and selling of the blacks has
been stopped, as far as possible, but it is still carried on in some of
the provinces, and it will be a long time before it can be absolutely
eradicated. Sixty-seven slave dealers were captured and tried not so long
ago. Fifty-eight were convicted, more than fifty receiving sentences of
from one to seven years each.

While I was at Asyut, Dr. Alexander, president of the Training College
there, told me how a poor Swiss boy broke up the slave trade of Upper
Egypt. Said he: “This incident occurred just before the British
occupation. The boy, whose name was Roth, got the idea that it was his
mission to aid in abolishing slavery, and that his field lay in the
Sudan. He had no money, but he worked his way to Alexandria and thence
up the Nile to Asyut, landing here without a cent. He applied for work
at the mission schools, telling us his plans, and we finally arranged
for him to teach French. While doing so he studied Arabic and went out
through the country to learn all he could about slavery. He spent his
vacations living with the people, travelling about and visiting the
villages. It was then contrary to law to sell slaves in Egypt, but Roth
learned that the trade was going on, and that caravans were bringing them
from the Sudan into Upper Egypt. They were sent from here to Tunis and
Tripoli and thence to Constantinople. One day he came into the mission
and said that a big slave caravan was encamped outside Asyut, and that
the men hid their prisoners in caves during the day and sold them at
night. He begged me to go with him to the governor and demand that they
be punished. I did go, but was not able to do anything.

“After this,” continued Dr. Alexander, “Roth despaired somewhat, but
said he intended to go to Cairo to get the English consul-general to
help him. He did so and convinced the consul-general that his story was
true. The two demanded of Riaz Pasha, then foreign minister, that the
sale of slaves be stopped. Since Roth had the English Government behind
him, the Egyptian government had to respect him. Giving him a company of
two hundred soldiers, they told him to go back to Asyut and capture the
caravan. It was probably their intention to notify the slave dealers in
time, so they could get away. But Roth defeated this move. He stopped
his special train outside the town, divided his company into two bands,
surrounded the caravan and took the traders and the sixty-seven slaves
they had with them. He brought the poor creatures here to the mission
school saying he wanted me to hold them as the Egyptians would not dare
to take them from under the American flag.

“Shortly after this there came a message from the governor of the
province ordering that the slaves be given up. The messengers were backed
by soldiers, but nevertheless I refused, declaring it was impossible on
account of the absence of Dr. Hogg, the superintendent of the mission.
The next day, when Dr. Hogg arrived, the governor sent for him and abused
him for not giving up the slaves. Thereupon Dr. Hogg charged him with
wanting to evade the law, and told him that if Asyut had any respect
for the law or had a governor who was anything of a man, the caravan
would have been arrested sooner and the owners punished. He demanded
that this be done, and as a result the slave dealers and slaves were
taken to Cairo to be tried there. The government of Egypt, not daring to
whitewash the transaction, was forced to dismiss the governor and punish
the slave dealers. Roth was afterward appointed an agent of the Egyptian
government to keep down the slave trade. He came to the Sudan and carried
on his work there in connection with Gordon and Slatin Pasha. Slatin
speaks of him in his book entitled Fire and Sword in the Sudan. He died
while fighting the trade there.”



One of the queerest cities I have ever visited is Omdurman, once the
capital of the Mahdi and to-day the great native commercial centre of
the Sudan. Omdurman stretches for more than six miles along the Nile
at the point where the Blue Nile flows in from the distant Abyssinian
hills. Opposite the city is Tuti Island, while beyond the island on the
farther bank of the White Nile is Khartum. Founded by the Mahdi, or the
Mohammedan Messiah, and the scene of the most atrocious cruelties and
extravagances of the Khalifa who succeeded him, Omdurman once contained
about one million of African Sudanese. It was then a great military camp,
composed of one hundred thousand mud houses and inhabited by tribes from
all parts of the million square miles embraced in the realm of that
savage ruler. The Khalifa forced the people to come here to live that he
might have their services in time of war, allowing them to go home only
to cultivate and harvest their crops, which they were obliged to bring
back for sale. He made Omdurman his seat of government, and he had his
own residence here inside a great wall of sun-dried brick which enclosed
about sixty acres, and in which was an open-air mosque of ten acres or
more. Here he had his palace and here he kept his four hundred wives.
Just outside the city he fought the great battle which ended in his
downfall and the destruction of his capital.

According to Mohammedan tradition, the Prophet said that there would
arise among the Faithful a sort of Messiah, or Mahdi, which means in
Arabic “he who is guided aright.” Mohammed Ahmed, later known as the
Mahdi, claimed to be such a leader, and so he founded the empire which
lasted until the Battle of Omdurman. He got the people to believe he had
been appointed Mahdi by God, and that he had been taken by the Prophet
himself into the presence of the apostles and saints, and by them
commanded to cleanse and purify the Mohammedan religion.

He did anything, however, but practise what he preached. By the Koran,
smoking and drinking are strictly prohibited, and extravagance is frowned
upon, but in the height of his power the Mahdi and his chiefs lived
lives of the most horrible drunkenness, extravagance, and vice. Mohammed
Ahmed is described by Slatin Pasha, who was for years a prisoner of the
Mahdists in Omdurman, as a tall, broad-shouldered, powerfully built man,
with a black beard and the usual three scars on each cheek. He had the
V-shaped gap between his two front teeth which the Sudanese consider
a sign of good luck and which is said to have been the cause of his
popularity among women. Their name for him was Abu Falja, “the man with
the separated teeth.” His beautifully washed woollen garments were always
scented with a mixture of musk, sandalwood, and attar of roses. This
perfume, which was known as the “odour of the Mahdi,” was supposed to
equal, if not surpass, that of the dwellers of Paradise.

After the siege and capture of Khartum the people who had held out
against the Mahdists were put to the most unspeakable tortures, all of
them, that is, except the young women and girls. These were reserved
for the Mahdi’s harem. For weeks after the battle there went on in his
camp at Omdurman the business of choosing from the fairest for his own
establishment, while the ones he rejected were turned over to his chief
favourites and advisers. After Mohammed Ahmed’s death, which occurred
close on the heels of his victory, the Khalifa had the Mahdi’s widows and
all the women of his harem imprisoned in a high-walled compound guarded
by eunuchs. None was allowed to marry or go out into the world again.

The Omdurman of the present, which is laid on practically the same lines
as that of the past, covers almost the same ground, although it has much
fewer people. During my trip of to-day I climbed to the top of the old
palace of the Khalifa, and took a look over the city.

The houses stretch along the Nile for seven or eight miles, and the water
front is fringed with a thicket of boats. Some of the town is on the main
stream, and reaches out from the river in all directions. It is a city
of mud in every sense of the word. Of its many thousand houses there are
not a score which are of more than one story, and you can count on your
fingers the houses made of burnt brick. When I first rode through it I
asked my guide if the holes in the walls had been made by cannon-balls
at the time of the fighting. “Why, man,” he replied, “those are the
windows.” Most of the houses are flat roofed, with drain pipes extending
out over the street so that when it rains the water pours down on the
necks of the passers-by. The one-story mud houses have mud walls about
them, and the mud stores face streets paved only with mud. The walls
of the vast inclosure of the Khalifa are made of mud bricks, while the
houses inside, which now form the quarters of the Anglo-Egyptian soldiers
and officers, are of sun-baked dirt.

The Khalifa was so afraid of being assassinated that he had all the
houses near his palace torn down, shut himself up in his walled
inclosure, and kept at his side a great bodyguard, to which he was
forever adding more soldiers. His special apartments in the palace were
considered the last word in luxury. They had beautiful curtains and
carpets of silk and actually boasted big brass beds with mosquito nets,
spoils from the European houses at Khartum.

Standing on the Khalifa’s palace, one can follow many of the streets
with one’s eye. Some of them are of great width, but the majority are
narrow and winding. The whole city, in fact, is a labyrinth cut up by
new avenues laid out by the British, with the holy buildings and the
Khalifa’s old government structures in the middle. But the British are
improving conditions in Omdurman, and have elaborate plans for its
development, including a fine park in the centre of the city.

Each of the towns of the Sudan has a British official to rule it; but
under each such governor is a sub-governor who must be a native Egyptian.
This man is called the _mamour_ and is the real executive as far as
carrying out the orders of the government is concerned. He represents the
natives, and understands all about them and their ways. The _mamour_ at
Omdurman is an ex-cavalry officer of the army of the Khedive who fought
with the British in their wars against the Khalifa. He speaks English
well, and as he understands both Turkish and Arabic, he was able to tell
me all about the city as we went through.

[Illustration: Being followers of the Prophet, the Bisharin consider a
difference of fifty years in ages no bar to matrimony. This girl wife
probably spent a whole day in straightening out her kinky hair with a
mixture of grease and clay, and adorning it with beads.]

[Illustration: Omdurman, which once had a population of a million, is
a strange city of mud. The houses and stores are one-story flat-roofed
buildings with drain pipes extending out over the street that drip on the
passers-by when it rains.]

[Illustration: Within sight of the British and their civilization, the
Sudanese blacks live miserably, crowded into their burrow-like mud huts,
possessing only a few pots and bowls and the sheets of calico in which
many of the women wrap themselves.]

I came down the Blue Nile from Khartum in a skiff. The distance is about
five miles, but we had to tack back and forth all the way, so that the
trip took over two hours. The _mamour_ met me on landing. He had a good
donkey for me, and we spent the whole day in going through the city,
making notes, and taking the photographs which now lie before me.

The people are stranger than any I have ever seen so far in my African
travels. They come from all parts of the Sudan and represent forty or
fifty-odd tribes. Some of the faces are black, some are dark brown, and
others are a rich cream colour. One of the queerest men I met during my
journey was an African with a complexion as rosy as that of a tow-headed
American baby and hair quite as white. He was a water carrier, dressed
in a red cap and long gown. He had two great cans on the ends of a pole
which rested on his shoulder, and was trotting through the streets
carrying water from one of the wells to his Sudanese customers. His feet
and hands, which were bare, were as white as my own. Stopping him, I
made him lift his red fez to see whether his hair was white from age. It
was flaxen, however, rather than silver, and he told me that his years
numbered only twenty-five. The _mamour_, talking with him in Arabic,
learned that he was a pure Sudanese, coming from one of the provinces
near the watershed of the Congo. He said that his parents were jet-black
but that many men of his colour lived in the region from whence he came.
I stood him up against the mud wall in the street with two Sudanese
women, each blacker than the ink with which this paper is printed, and
made their photographs. The man did not like this at first, but when at
the close I gave him a coin worth about twenty-five cents he salaamed to
the ground and went away happy.

I am surprised to see how many of these Sudanese have scars on their
faces and bodies. Nearly every other man I meet has the marks of great
gashes on his cheeks, forehead, or breast, and some of the women are
scarred so as to give the idea that terrible brutalities have been
perpetrated upon them. As a rule, however, these scars have been
self-inflicted. They are to show the tribe and family to which their
owners belong. The _mamour_ tells me that every tribe has its own special
cut, and that he can tell just where a man comes from by such marks.
The scars are of all shapes. Sometimes a cheek will have three parallel
gashes, at another time you will notice that the cuts are crossed, while
at others they look like a Chinese puzzle.

The dress of the people is strange. Those of the better classes wear long
gowns, being clad not unlike the Egyptians. Many of the poor are almost
naked, and the boys and girls often go about with only a belt of strings
around the waist. The strings, which are like tassels, fall to the middle
of the thigh. Very small children wear nothing whatever.

A number of the women wear no clothing above the waist, yet they do not
seem to feel that they are immodest. I saw one near the ferry as I landed
this morning. She was a good-looking girl about eighteen, as black as
oiled ebony, as straight as an arrow, and as plump as a partridge. She
was standing outside a mud hut shaking a sieve containing sesame seed.
She held the sieve with both hands high up over her head so that the wind
might blow away the chaff as the seed fell to the ground. She was naked
to the waist, and her pose was almost exactly that of the famed “Vestal
Virgin” in the Corcoran Art Gallery at Washington.

Omdurman is the business centre of the Sudan. Goods are sent from here
to all parts of the country, and grain, gum arabic, ostrich feathers,
ivory, and native cotton are brought in for sale. The town has one
hundred restaurants, twenty coffee houses, and three hundred wells. It
has markets of various kinds, and there are long streets of bazaars or
stores in which each trade has its own section, many of the articles
sold being made on the spot. One of the most interesting places is the
woman’s market. This consists of a vast number of mat tents or shelters
under each of which a woman sits with her wares piled about her. She may
have vegetables, grain, or fowls, or articles of native cloth and other
things made by the people. The women have the monopoly of the sales here.
Men may come and buy, but they cannot peddle anything within the women’s
precincts nor can they open stands there. I understand that the women are
shrewd traders. Their markets cover several acres and were thronged with
black and brown natives as the _mamour_ and I went through.

Not far from the market I came into the great ten-acre square upon which
centre the streets of the stores. There are a number of restaurants
facing it. In one corner there is a cattle market where donkeys, camels,
and horses are sold. The sales are under the government, to the extent
that an animal must be sold there if a good title is to go with it.
If the transfer is made elsewhere the terms of the bargain may be
questioned, so the traders come to the square to do their buying and

It is strange to have shops that sell money. I do not mean stock
exchanges or banks, but real stores with money on the counters, stacked
up in bundles, or laid away in piles on the shelves. That is what they
have in Omdurman. There are caravans going out from here to all parts of
north central Africa, and before one starts away it must have the right
currency for the journey. In financial matters these people are not far
from the Dark Ages. Many of the tribes do not know what coinage means;
they use neither copper, silver, nor gold, and one of our dollars would
be worth nothing to them. Among many of the people brass wire and beads
are the only currency. Strange to say, every locality has its own style
of beads, and its favourite wire. If blue beads are popular you can buy
nothing with red ones, while if the people want beads of metal it is
useless to offer them glass.

In some sections cloth is used as money; in others salt is the medium of
exchange. The salt is moulded or cut out of the rocks in sticks, and so
many sticks will buy a cow or a camel. The owner of one of the largest
money stores of the Sudan is a Syrian, whose shop is not far from the
great market. He told me that he would be glad to outfit me if I went
into the wilds. I priced some of his beads. Those made of amber were
especially costly. He had one string of amber lumps, five in number. Each
bead was the size of a black walnut, and he asked for the string the
equivalent of about fifteen American dollars. The string will be worn
around some woman’s bare waist, and may form the whole wardrobe of the
maiden who gets it.

Not far from this bead money establishment the _mamour_ and I entered the
street of the silversmiths. This contains many shops in which black men
and boys are busy making the barbaric ornaments of the Sudan. Jewellery
is the savings bank of this region, and many of the articles are of pure
silver and pure gold. Some are very heavy. I priced rings of silver
worth five dollars apiece and handled a pair of gold earrings which the
jeweller said were worth sixty dollars. The earrings were each as big
around as a coffee cup, and about as thick as a lead pencil at the place
where they are fastened into the ear. The man who had them for sale was
barefooted, and wore a long white gown and a cap of white cotton. His
whole dress could not have cost more than ten dollars. He was a black,
and he had half-a-dozen black boys and men working away in his shop. Each
smith sat on the ground before a little anvil about eight inches high and
six inches wide, and pounded at the silver or gold object he was making.

In another shop I saw them making silver anklets as thick as my thumb,
while in another they were turning out silver filigree work as fine as
any from Genoa or Bangkok. The _mamour_ asked two of the jewellers to
bring their anvils out in the sun in order that I might photograph them
and they kindly complied.

A little farther on we entered the shoe bazaar, where scores of merchants
were selling red leather slippers turned up at the toes, and in a court
not far away we found merchants selling hides and leather fresh from the
tanneries. They were salting the hides in the square, and laying them out
in the sun to dry.

During my stay in this section I bought some ostrich feathers of a
merchant who sold nothing else. He had a large stock and his prices were
fixed. My feathers cost me about two dollars apiece, but they are the
long white plumes of the wild ostrich, which are far finer than any of
those from South Africa, where the birds are reared upon farms.

In the Manchester bazaar I found them selling cottons of many kinds
and calicoes of gay patterns. There were but few American goods among
them, the chief importations being from England and Germany. I saw some
American sewing machines in the bazaar of the tailors, and I understand
that they are generally used throughout the Nile valley.

A good deal of cotton is being grown throughout the Sudan nowadays and
there is a whole street in Omdurman devoted to the manufacture and sale
of the native product. This market at Omdurman serves a large district
beyond the city, and consists of many little sheds covered with mats
facing a dirt road. It is situated not far from the centre of the city,
and there are several thousand acres of mud huts reaching out on all
sides of it. Both the sheds and the streets are filled with cotton. It is
brought in in bags of matting, and sold just as it is when picked from
the plants. The samples are displayed in flat, round baskets, each of
which holds perhaps a bushel; and when carried away it is put up in bags
and not in bales. A great part of it goes to the native weavers, who turn
it into cloth, using the smallest factories one can imagine.

Not far from the street where the cotton is sold I found one of these
tiny factories. The establishment consisted of a half-dozen mud huts,
shut off from the street by a mud wall, which, with the huts, formed a
court. In the court a dozen black-skinned women were sitting on mats on
the ground, ginning and spinning, while the weaving went on in the huts
at the back. The gin was somewhat like a clothes wringer save that the
rolls were about as big around as the ordinary candle, and the whole
machine was so small that it could have fitted into a peck measure. One
woman turned the machine while another put in the cotton and picked
out the seeds as they failed to go through. Near the gin sat two women
who were snapping the lint with bowstrings to separate the fibres, and
farther over there were a half-dozen others, sitting cross-legged, and
spinning the lint into yarn by hand.

I went to the mud huts at the back to look in at the weavers. They were
black boys and men, who sat before rude looms on the edge of holes in
the ground. The looms were so made that they could be worked with the
feet, the shuttles being thrown back and forth by hand. The latter moved
through the cloth with a whistling noise, which was about the only sound
to be heard. The cloth turned out is very good. It is well woven and
soft, and brings good prices. Its wearing qualities are better than
those of the Manchester and American cottons. I asked what wages the boy
weavers received, and was told ten cents a day.

A large part of the grain of the Upper Sudan comes down the Blue and
White Niles to Omdurman. The grain markets are close to the river and
since there is no rain here at this time of the year, there is no need
for warehouses or sheds. The grain is poured out on the hard ground
in great piles and left there until sold. If you will imagine several
hundred little mountains of white or red sand with wooden measures of
various sizes lying at their feet or stuck into their sloping sides,
you may have some idea of this Central African grain market. You
must add the tents of canvas or the mat shelters in which the native
merchants stay while waiting for their customers, as well as a crowd of
black-skinned, white-gowned men and women moving about sampling the wares
and buying or selling.

The merchants watch the grain all day, and if they are forced to go away
at nightfall they smooth the hills out and make cabalistic marks upon
them so that they can easily tell if their property has been disturbed
during their absence. The most common grains sold here are wheat, barley,
and dura. The last named is ground to a flour either in hand mills or
between stones moved about by bullocks or camels, and is eaten in the
shape of round loaves of about the circumference of a tea plate and
perhaps two inches thick. The wheat is of the macaroni variety, which
grows well in these dry regions wherever irrigation is possible.

Speaking of the flour of the Sudan, I visited one of the largest milling
establishments of the country during my stay in Omdurman. The owner is
among the richest and most influential of the Sudanese. He is an emir,
and as such is a leading citizen of the town. His mills were in a great
mud-walled compound, which contained also his garden and home. The garden
was irrigated by a well, and upon entering it I saw two black slave girls
turning the wheels which furnished the water supply.

The mills were three in number. Each was in a mud stable-like one-story
building just large enough to hold the millstones and the track for the
animals which turned them. The stones were similar to the old-fashioned
grinding machines of our own country. They rested one upon the other and
were so made that the grain flowed from a hopper on to the top stone. The
motive power for each mill was a blindfolded camel, who moved around in a
circle, turning the top stone. The camels were driven by black boys, who
sat on the bars of the mills and rode there as they whipped them along.
The flour so ground was fine. Picking up a handful, I tasted it and found
it quite good.

[Illustration: The Shilouks are among the most powerful Sudanese tribes.
The men are usually over six feet tall and well formed. They stiffen
their hair with grease and clay and then cut it into fantastic shapes
much as a privet hedge is trimmed.]

[Illustration: When the Khalifa ruled he feared education and had all the
books in his dominions destroyed. Hence not one Sudanese in a hundred
can read and write. But the natives respect learning and those at Gordon
College are good students.]



Away up the Nile valley, so far from the Mediterranean that it took me
four days by steamship and railroad to reach it, almost within a stone’s
throw of where whole tribes are going naked, and near the site of what
was one of the slave centres of Africa, the English have built up a
school that is turning out native teachers and judges, government clerks
and bookkeepers, mechanics of all sorts, and within certain limits, civil
engineers. It has already several acres of college buildings, including
large dormitories, well equipped classrooms, a library, a museum, and one
of the most remarkable research laboratories of the world.

I refer to Gordon College, which was founded just after the Battle of
Omdurman and named in honour of the great general who was killed in sight
of where it now stands. The idea was suggested by Lord Kitchener, and the
money was contributed by the people of England. The amount raised was
seven hundred thousand dollars, to which has been added the munificent
gift of Mr. Henry S. Wellcome, an American, who has established the
famous Wellcome Laboratory as a part of this institution.

It was through a note of introduction from Sir Reginald Wingate to Dr.
James Currie, the president of the college, that I was taken through it
and given an insight into its workings and possibilities. The institution
stands on the bank of the Blue Nile at the southern end of Khartum,
between the British barracks and the palace of the Sirdar. It is a
handsome structure of dark red brick of Moorish architecture, built
around three sides of a square, with the front facing the river. At the
back are beautiful gardens and an experiment plantation where Dr. Currie
is testing whether tea and certain other shrubs can be successfully grown.

The college building is of two stories with a tower over the centre.
About the inside run wide corridors, or galleries, separated from the
gardens by great columns forming cloisters where the students walk
between their hours of recitation and study. In the wing at the left of
the entrance are the laboratories, museum, and libraries, while in the
front and in the wing at the right are the many classrooms which, during
my stay, were filled with students.

After I had chatted for a time with Dr. Currie about the college we
took a walk through it, visiting the various rooms. I found the college
has something like three hundred students, ranging in age from ten to
eighteen years and over. The students come from every part of the Sudan.
They are of all colours, some having faces as white as our own, while
others are the deepest and shiniest of stove-black. Many of them bear
gashes and scars, denoting the tribe to which they belong, so that could
we read the “trade-marks” we should find that their homes are located in
all parts of the regions tapped by the Blue and White Niles. I saw some
who came from the province of the Bahr el Ghazal, far up on the edge
of the Belgian Congo. Others were from villages in Fashoda, near the
River Sobat, while yet others came from the borders of Abyssinia and
from the regions along the Red Sea. Quite a number were the sons of the
richer chiefs of Kordofan and Darfur, and not a few came from Dongola
and Berber. Some of the boys were dressed in the fezzes and gowns of
Egypt, others wore the white turbans and long robes of the people of
Central Africa. Among them were Coptic and Mohammedan Egyptians, some few
Bedouins, and here and there a Negro.

Many of the students have features like ours. Their noses are straight,
their lips are thin, and their hair is not kinky, although they are
black. Such boys are not Negroes, but the descendants of people from
Arabia. Their ancestors had reached a high degree of civilization during
the Middle Ages when the Arabic schools and universities were noted over
the world.

The college is divided into three departments. The first, which is for
the sons of sheiks, is devoted to the training of teachers for the
Mohammedan schools and of judges and other officials for the Mohammedan
courts. Following their usual colonial policy, the British are governing
the Sudan as far as possible through the natives. They respect the native
religions and the native language, therefore the instruction in this part
of the college is altogether in Arabic. The students write all their
exercises in Arabic and take their dictation in that tongue. Along with
other subjects the students are taught the Koran and the Koranic law—and
they are well grounded in the Mohammedan religion, especially as it bears
upon the government of the people. The students of this department are
fine-looking fellows, dressed almost uniformly in turbans and gowns, and
have the aristocratic bearing which shows them to be the sons of chiefs.

The second department of the college is filled by those who hope to get
minor appointments under the government or who want a general education
to fit themselves for business and citizenship. In this department
both English and Arabic are taught. Many of the boys are young. In one
classroom I found a score of brown- and black-faced pupils, none of them
over twelve years of age, learning to write English. They stood up as I
entered in company with the president of the college, and rose to their
feet again as we left. In this college surveying is taught. I was shown
some excellent mechanical drawings, and some plans worked up from field
notes. These were, of course, in the higher classes. The education is
thorough and a boy can get a training that will fit him for almost any
branch of life and for any profession which can be followed in the Sudan.

I was especially interested in the manual-training school, which is well
equipped, with blacksmith and carpenter shops. I found a score or so of
young Arabs making various things of wrought iron. They were turning out
fences and ornamental iron gates. In the carpenter shops they were making
library cases and other furniture and learning about house building
and finishing. There are also machine shops where the students work at
lathes. Every workshop is under the charge of an English professor who
is a practical mechanic, and the boys are given such instruction that as
soon as they are graduated they can find places on the plantations of the
Sudan. Indeed, the demand for such workers is far in excess of the supply.

The natives of the Sudan are illiterate. The Mahdi and the Khalifa
discouraged learning of all kinds, because they knew that the educated
people would repudiate the doctrines upon which their government was
founded. During his rule over the Sudan the Khalifa ordered that all
books should be destroyed. He had no schools worthy of the name, and as
a result not one Sudanese in a hundred can read and write. The officials
say it is useless to post up government proclamations unless they station
a man beside each one to read it out to the passers-by. At the same time
the natives respect learning. They think that anything written must be
true, so that swindlers sometimes go about and extort money by showing
documents which they claim are orders to pay issued by the government.

The British are doing all they can to change these conditions. They are
trying to educate the people, and are gradually establishing higher
primary schools. Most of the schools are connected with the mosques and
teach little more than reading and writing. The others give the rudiments
of an education along western lines, while the higher primary schools
teach English, mathematics, drawing, and other branches as well.

I went through a higher primary school with the Egyptian governor of
Omdurman. It consisted of many one-story structures built around a
walled inclosure. Each building is a schoolroom. The boys study at desks
just like those used by our schoolboys at home, and have the same kind
of modern classroom equipment. The students are of all ages, from boys
of six learning to read to young men of eighteen or twenty ready to
graduate. I heard some of the latter recite in English, and they seemed
to me quite as bright as our boys at home. In one room I heard the
recitation of the scene from “William Tell,” in which Gessler makes the
Swiss hero shoot the apple from his boy’s head. Four black boys took
part in the dialogue. They declaimed in English, and although they had
an Arabic accent they recited with wonderful feeling and with a full
appreciation of the sentiment of the story. In another building I met
some of the sons of the sheiks and photographed them out in the open. The
pupils of all the schools are polite, and their natural ability is much
above that of the African natives who live farther south.

But to return to the Wellcome Laboratory. Mr. Henry S. Wellcome is a
rich Philadelphian, a member of the famous firm of Burroughs & Wellcome,
manufacturing chemists and druggists of London. This firm makes a special
study of tropical diseases and tropical medicines. A part of its business
is outfitting missionaries and exploring parties. It furnished to Henry
M. Stanley and others their medical supplies for travel throughout
the world. It was probably through the study of such matters that Mr.
Wellcome became interested in the Sudan and was induced to furnish,
equip, and sustain this great laboratory. The objects of the institution
are to promote the study of tropical disorders, especially those of man
and beast peculiar to the Sudan, as well as to render assistance to the
health officers and the civil and military hospitals. The laboratory
experts are carrying on investigations regarding the poisons used by the
natives and the chemical and bacteriological condition of the waters.
They are also making studies of foodstuffs and sanitary improvements.
They are testing and assaying the various minerals and are looking up all
matters relating to the industrial development of the country.

The main offices of the laboratory are in the college, but its explorers
are sent out in every direction to make all sorts of researches. They
are studying the mosquitoes of the country and are investigating the
tsetse fly and other pests. Among other evils they are fighting the
sleeping sickness, that horrible disease communicated by the tsetse
fly which has killed its thousands throughout Central Africa. They are
trying to rout the boll weevil and other insects which ruin the crops,
and they are aiding the Cancer Research Fund and the Carnegie Institute
in their inquiries. I have met a number of the scientists connected
with this institution and I find them able men. They tell me that the
Sudan has almost every noxious insect and pest known to man. It has
worms and weevils which affect the cotton crop, and it has mosquitoes
which carry malaria and which would carry yellow-fever if they were once
inoculated by feeding upon a yellow-fever patient. Indeed, the stegomyia,
or yellow-fever mosquito, swarms here, and if one of them should be
impregnated with these disease germs it might start an endless chain of
the scourge which could hardly be broken.

The chemists here tell me that one of the principal money crops of this
part of the world is gum arabic. We know this gum chiefly in connection
with mucilage, but it is also widely used in the arts. It is employed for
making water colours and certain kinds of inks as well as in dyeing and
finishing silks and other fabrics. Some of the better grades are used in
confectionery, and the pearly teeth of many an American girl have done
their work in the chewing of this exudation of the trees of the Sudan.
The gum, which comes from the acacia tree, is said to be due to a microbe
which feeds upon the sap and causes the gum to ooze out on the bark in
the form of tears when the bark is cut or partially stripped. It is
collected by the native women and packed up and shipped to Omdurman for
sale and export. During my visit to the markets of that city I saw great
piles of it which had been brought in to be sent down the Nile or over
the railroad to the Red Sea. There were hundreds of tons of it lying out
in the open, and I was told that within a few weeks it would all be on
its way to Europe or the United States.

[Illustration: In each of the workshops an English teacher who is a
practical mechanic gives the boys such instruction that on graduation
they immediately find places on the plantations where the demand for them
is in excess of the supply.]

[Illustration: Immediately after the death of Gordon, generous
contributions were collected by Kitchener for the Gordon Memorial College
at Khartum. Here Egyptians, Arabs, Syrians, and Sudanese are taught the
three R’s and the useful arts.]

[Illustration: From one year’s end to another the harbour of Port Said,
at the north end of the Suez Canal is filled with the world’s shipping
and travellers of all nations crowd its docks.]

In closing this chapter I should like to add my tribute to the many
well-deserved eulogies accorded Mr. Henry S. Wellcome. The value of the
work already done is so great that it cannot be estimated, and every
American should be proud of the fact that the founder of this institution
was born in the United States, and that, although the greater part of his
time is spent in connection with his great factories in London, he has
remained an American citizen.



Bring your steamer chair to the rail and look out from the deck of our
ship over the Red Sea as we sail southward along the coast of East
Africa. The sun is hot but we have an awning above us, and the salt
breeze cools our cheeks. We have returned by rail and by river from
Khartum to Cairo, have gone over the Nile delta to Port Said, have passed
through the Suez Canal, and have sailed south into the Red Sea. We are
now off the coast of Arabia, on our way into the Indian Ocean, bound for
the port of Mombasa, whence we shall go across a mighty plateau to the
great African lakes. Mombasa is within a rifle shot of the Equator and
only a few miles north of Zanzibar. It is at the southeastern end of
Kenya Colony and is the terminus of the Uganda Railway which crosses that
country to Kisumu, the chief port of Lake Victoria.

My original intention was to have reached Lake Victoria by taking the
mail steamer at Khartum to Gondokoro, and following the Nile by boat and
on foot to its source where it pours out of the lake, but owing to the
run-down condition of my son Jack, caused by the dengue fever which he
caught in Egypt, I have not dared to risk the dangers of the malaria,
black-water fever, and sleeping sickness so common in the wilds of the
upper Sudan, and therefore have changed my route to the Suez Canal, Red
Sea, and Indian Ocean.

All travel in East Africa was reorganized when the Suez Canal was built.
About three thousand years ago, when the Phœnicians had settled on the
north coast, founding Carthage, they had pushed their way into Egypt and
even into Abyssinia, and a little later had come down along the east
coast of the Indian Ocean, forming settlements probably as far south
as Mozambique. After Carthage was conquered by the Romans, these East
African settlements were seized by the Arabs, who colonized the coast
of the Indian Ocean as far south as Sofala. Later still, under the
Ptolemies, Greek traders visited many of these Arab settlements, and in
the twelfth century Zanzibar first appeared on European maps of the world
as one of the Mohammedan colonies. Then Columbus discovered America and
Vasco da Gama, who was the first to round the Cape of Good Hope, anchored
at Mombasa in 1498. Until the Suez Canal was constructed, the only sea
route from Europe to the ports of the Indian Ocean was by the Cape of
Good Hope. There are ships still making the voyage that way, but for
the most part they end their trips at one of the eastern ports of South

The ships that formerly went to China and India had to go around Africa,
the trip to Bombay from London being over eleven thousand miles. By the
Suez Canal it is just about seven thousand miles, making a saving of four
thousand miles, or a thousand miles more than the distance from New York
to Liverpool.

I have before me the figures giving the traffic of the Suez Canal in a
typical year. Four thousand vessels and five hundred thousand travellers
passed through. Supposing that each made a saving of four thousand miles
only, the total gain for the year would have been sixteen million miles
or enough to reach six hundred and forty times around the world at the

The gain is even greater at the Panama Canal. It is hard to estimate how
much time and distance have been saved for the world by these two great

My investigations at Port Said and Suez show that not only will the
Panama Canal pay, but that Uncle Sam will some day find it his most
profitable investment.

Our trip from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Suez took just eighteen
hours, and it cost the ship a toll of four hundred dollars per hour.
For the privilege of passing through it had to pay seventy-five hundred
dollars, and, in addition, two dollars for every man, woman, and child on
board. All the canal company did in this case was to reach out its hand
and take in the money. The ship had to furnish its own coal and steam its
way through, the toll being merely for the right of passage.

But this ship is comparatively small. Its tonnage is only five thousand,
and many of the vessels now using the canal are much larger. Nearly every
day steamers pay ten thousand dollars each for their passage, and tolls
of fifteen and twenty thousand dollars are not uncommon. When an army
transport goes through, the men on board are charged two dollars a head,
and this adds enormously to the canal receipts. Indeed, a war, which
knocks so many other stocks flat, sends those of the Suez Canal sky-high.

[Illustration: Beside the Suez Canal runs a fresh-water canal built to
supply the workmen digging the big ditch. The trees lining its banks are
striking proof that the desert needs only moisture to make it bloom.]

[Illustration: The traffic and earnings of the Suez Canal have far
exceeded the hopes of even De Lesseps, whose statue now stands at the
entrance of the great ditch through the desert which changed the shipping
routes of the world.]

The Suez Canal is controlled by the British. It was planned out by a
Frenchman, financed by French bankers, and engineered by French brains,
but the bulk of the profits go to John Bull. When Ferdinand de Lesseps
proposed to build it, the English sneered at the suggestion. When he got
a concession from the Khedive, Said Pasha, they actually opposed its
construction, doing everything they could to clog the work. The French
received no help from other European nations, but they went on. They
began digging in 1859, and just about ten years later the waters of the
Mediterranean were allowed to flow into the Red Sea.

The opening of the Suez Canal cost Ismail Pasha more than twenty millions
of dollars. Among the notables who were present was the Empress Eugénie,
for whose entertainment a grand palace was fitted out at Cairo. My old
dragoman told me that he had seen Eugénie during her visit to Egypt
and that she had climbed the Pyramids, taken the fatiguing trip to the
interior of the greatest of them, and had ridden on a camel to the Sphinx.

In the year following its opening some five hundred thousand tons of
shipping went through the canal. In less than five years this had
increased to more than two million tons and the gross income to almost
five million dollars per annum. The British, then seeing that it was a
good thing, cast about to find some method of control. They succeeded
through Ismail Pasha, who was on the throne of Egypt. Old Ismail was one
of the most extravagant tyrants who has ever squeezed money out of an
oppressed people. He had aided the French in building the canal. In the
allotment of shares, one hundred and seventy-six thousand out of the four
hundred thousand had gone to the Egyptian government, so when the Khedive
got hard up he concluded to put them on the market. The English cabinet
got wind of the matter, and at the same time the French minister at Cairo
telegraphed Paris that “unless France buys the Egyptian shares to-morrow,
they will be purchased by England.”

At that time Parliament was not in session, but Lord Beaconsfield and
one or two others took the responsibility of making the trade. Borrowing
twenty million dollars from the Rothschilds, they had the whole of
Ismail’s stock in the British treasury and John Bull had the control
before the world outside had any idea that the bargain was even pending.
He had not, it is true, fifty-one per cent. of the entire capital stock,
but the other holdings were so scattered that the seven sixteenths which
he owned gave him the whip hand, and that he has held ever since.

Now, no large block of common stock appears to be held by any individual,
corporation, or other government. Indeed, at a meeting some years ago the
largest shareholder outside of Great Britain was a Frenchman, who had a
little more than fifteen hundred shares.

That twenty million dollars was one of the best investments John Bull
has ever made, his holdings to-day being worth many times what he paid
for them. He has already received from it many millions of dollars in
dividends, and by his control of the canal has enormously increased
his power and prestige among the nations of the world. His money gain,
however, is not quite as great as that of the original stockholders. They
paid only about one hundred dollars per share while he paid a little more
than one hundred and thirteen dollars.

I know the Panama Canal well. I visited it when it was in the hands of
the French, and I have spent several weeks there during American control.
I went over it from end to end with our engineers; watched the steam
shovels gouging the earth out of the Culebra Cut, and travelled in a
canoe down that part of it which was once the Chagres River. I have also
gone through the Suez Canal at three different times and have made many
notes of its construction.

The two undertakings are vitally different. The Suez Canal is little
more than a great ditch through the desert, and although it is just
about twice as big as Panama it does not compare with the latter in
the engineering difficulties of its construction. The ground here is
comparatively level. That of the Panama Canal route is up hill and down,
going right across the backbone of the Andes. The amount excavated
here was one hundred million cubic yards, or just about one hundred
million tons of dead weight. On one of my visits to Panama I figured
that the excavation of Culebra would just equal a ditch three feet
wide and three feet deep and long enough to go two times around this
twenty-five-thousand-mile globe with ten thousand miles of ditch to spare.

Twenty thousand and more of the Egyptian _fellahs_ were employed upon
the Suez Canal at a time, and they scooped up much of the dirt in their
hands and carried it away in baskets. At the start men were paid from
ten to fifteen cents a day and boys under twelve only five cents. After
a time they were not paid at all. The Khedive agreed to furnish all the
labourers, and they worked for the French under the lash just as the
Hebrews did for the Egyptians in the days of Pharaoh ages ago. With
up-to-date canal-dredging machinery and steam shovels the work of digging
the canal at Suez could perhaps be reproduced at one half its original
cost. The actual cost was probably quadrupled through the money spent in
graft, extravagance, and high interest rates by the French and Egyptians
in connection with it. When Ismail Pasha was forced from the throne he
left Egypt in debt to the amount of five hundred million dollars, most of
which was directly or indirectly caused by canal expenditures.

One would think that Egypt ought to receive a big revenue for the right
of way through her country and for the canal which her money and her
people practically built. By the original concession with Said Pasha she
was to receive fifteen percent of the net profits for the entire term of
the concession, which was ninety-nine years. But after Ismail Pasha was
deposed, the Egyptian government, finding itself without money or credit,
sold this claim on the canal profits to the Crédit Foncier of France for
a little more than four million dollars, and the only interest it now has
in the canal is in the trade which the ships passing through bring to the
country. Had Egypt retained that fifteen per cent. it would have been
receiving millions of dollars a year from the tolls, and within a short
time it could have recouped itself for all Ismail Pasha’s extravagances.
During the term of the concession it could easily have repaid its debt to
Turkey, and could have made itself one of the richest countries of the
world. As it is, the canal, with all its property, becomes the possession
of Egypt in 1968, when the receipts at the present ratio of increase will
be so enormous as to make it, in proportion to its population, a Crœsus
among the nations of the world.

I spent all of last night on the Suez Canal. It was afternoon when our
ship left Port Said, and as the darkness came on we were in the heart
of the Arabian Desert. The air was clear, and the scenes were weird but
beautiful. The stars of the tropics, brighter by far than our stars at
home, made the heavens resplendent, while a great round moon of burning
copper turned the famous waterway into a stream of molten silver. As
we ploughed our way through, we could look out over the silent desert
of Arabia, and now and then see a caravan of long-legged camels with
their ghost-like riders bobbing up and down under the moon. Our own
pathway was made brighter by electric lights. We had one blazing globe
at our masthead, fed by a dynamo on deck, and another at our prow. The
latter threw its rays this way and that across the channel in front of
the steamer, making the waters an opalescent blue like that of the Blue
Grotto of Capri. We passed many ships. In the distance they appeared only
as two blazing eyes—the reflectors which all vessels are required to keep
lighted as they pass through. As the ships came nearer they rose up like
spectres from the water, the masses of hulls and rigging back of the
fiery eyes making one think of demons about to attack.

The trip through the canal is slow, for the ships are allowed to go only
five or six miles an hour. Now and then they have to tie up to posts,
which have been set along both sides of the canal all the way from Port
Said to Suez. The canal rules require that when two ships meet one must
stop and hug the bank until the other has passed by.

Parts of the banks are walled with stones to prevent the sand from
falling in and filling up the canal, but notwithstanding this the dredges
have to be kept at work all the year round. Not far from Port Said I saw
great steam pumps sucking the sand from the bottom of the channel and
carrying it through pipes far out over the desert, and I am told that the
process of cleaning and deepening the waterway is always going on.

There are stations, or guard houses, at intervals along the course of
the waterway and a few small towns have grown up here and there. While
the boat was stopping at one of these, a dirty Arab brought alongside a
leg of raw mutton. He offered to sell it to the passengers but found no
buyer. Outside of these towns and the guard houses we see few signs of
life. Here a camel caravan trots along over the desert. There a flock of
long-necked cranes springs from the water into the air. When the sun is
right, away across the hot desert at the side of the ship there looms up
out of the sands a strange ship on other waters, apparently as real as
those through which we are moving. That is the wonderful mirage of the
desert, which so often deceives the thirsty traveller passing through
it on camels. As we approach it, it soon fades and disappears like a
veritable castle of the air.

The Suez Canal of to-day is far different from that which was opened in
1869. As originally planned, the channel was less than twenty-five feet
deep and so narrow that it could not have accommodated the shipping which
goes through it nowadays. It has since been widened so that its average
width at the surface is about three hundred feet, and the curves in it
have been straightened so as to shorten the time of transit and enable
ships to pass the more easily. The shipping facilities have been greatly
improved both at Port Tewfik and at Port Said. At Port Said the coaling
arrangements have been so improved that the largest steamers can load
thousands of tons in a very few hours.

The chief towns on the canal are Port Said, Ismailia, and Suez. Port Said
is at the northern end of the canal where we took the steamer. This city,
long said to be the wickedest and most dissipated station on the way from
London to the Far East, was made and lives by the canal, the harbour
being full of shipping from one year’s end to another.

Ismailia, midway of the canal, is still scarcely more than a small town.
It is now said to be a healthful place, although at one time it was
malarial. The Arabs call it the “cleansed tomb.” This town is at the end
of the fresh-water canal which was made during the building of the Suez
Canal to supply the workmen with water, and is not far from Zagazig and
the old Land of Goshen.

Suez, which is a small-sized city with several thousand Europeans, is
connected by train with Port Said, and also with Cairo and other parts of
Egypt. The city is about thirteen hundred miles from Aden, Arabia, and
just twenty-nine hundred and nineteen miles from Mombasa, where we are to
enter the Colony of Kenya and make our way by rail across country to the
Great Lakes.



The Red Sea is red hot! I have steamed many miles along the Equator, but
this salt-water corridor leading to the Indian Ocean is much hotter. As
deserts shut in the Red Sea on both sides, there are no fresh streams
to cool it, and the tropical sun beats down upon the waters and sands
from January to December. As a result, the temperature of the water
at the surface is often one hundred degrees above zero, and it steams
the air like a vast hot-water plant. The sun’s rays are bottled up by
the deserts, which then act as enormous radiators. Consequently, the
atmosphere is suffocating, and there seems to be only a trembling sheet
of blue steel between us and the lower regions. Indeed, were it not for
the electric fan in my cabin I should be unable to write. Outside upon
deck we have double roofs of canvas to protect us from the sun, and many
of the passengers sleep up there to escape the heat of the rooms below.
Last night, in addition to the heat, we had to contend with a sandstorm,
which covered our ship with red dust so fine that it got through the
portholes and even into our beds. That storm came from Arabia, and may
have swallowed some of the thousands of Mohammedan pilgrims on their way
to Mecca.

As our ship went through this mighty cauldron we passed Jidda, in Arabia,
where, according to the Mohammedans, Eve lies buried. With the ship’s
glass we could almost see the place where lies the greatest grandmother
of all mankind. She rests outside the city wall in a tomb four hundred
feet long and a mosque rises over her dust. The Mohammedan story has it
that when Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden a strong
west wind wafted the fairy form of Eve to Arabia, while Adam, with his
heavier weight, fell down in Ceylon. There is a string of coral keys
running from Ceylon to Hindustan, still known as Adam’s Bridge, over
which he started out on his long hunt for Eve. It took him two hundred
years to find her, and the meeting was somewhere near Mecca. What became
of Adam’s bones the story does not say.

On the map, the Red Sea looks like a slit between Asia and Africa, but
this slit is actually two hundred miles wide in some places and twelve
hundred miles long, or nearly half the distance from Suez to Mombasa, my
destination on the east coast of Africa. Much of it is so deep that if
the Blue Ridge Mountains were set in it only their higher peaks would
show. It is so long that if it began at Ireland and extended westward
across the Atlantic, it would reach halfway to Canada. If it could be
lifted up and laid down upon the United States with Suez at Philadelphia,
Bab-el-Mandeb would be a hundred miles or so beyond Omaha, Nebraska,
and all the way between would be a canal as wide as from New York to
Washington, or wide enough to accommodate all the navies of the world
abreast, and leave a hundred miles or more to spare.

This great waterway narrows almost to a point at each end. At
Bab-el-Mandeb, where it leaves the Indian Ocean, it is no wider than
the English Channel at Dover; at the north it is lost at the Suez Canal.
Starting at Bab-el-Mandeb, the coasts broaden out and then run almost
straight to the upper end, where they fork into two gulfs inclosing the
lower part of the Sinai Peninsula. These two gulfs are those of Suez and
Akabah. The Gulf of Suez is one hundred and seventy miles long, and has
been joined to the Mediterranean by the Suez Canal. The Gulf of Akabah is
one hundred and ten miles long, and for a time there was talk of making a
canal from it to the Mediterranean.

The air on the Red Sea is so salty that one can almost eat eggs without
seasoning. If one hundred pounds of its waters are boiled down, four
pounds of salt will be found in the bottom of the kettle. The evaporation
is so great that were it not for the inflow of the Indian Ocean the sea
would, within less than a century, vanish in the air and leave in its
place one immense block of salt.

I had expected to find the Red Sea coasts more thickly populated. There
are no cities of any size and very few villages. Suez has large docks,
but its trade is small, and it has nothing like the growth which men
thought would come with the use of the canal.

Have you ever heard of the town of Kosseir? It is a Red Sea port on the
west coast some distance south of Suez which at one time had a great
trade. It was formerly the end of a caravan route from the Nile, and the
Children of Israel crossed over that way and took boats for the Sinai
Peninsula to reach the mountains where Moses received the Commandments.

To-day Kosseir is a stopping place for Egyptian pilgrims on their way to
Jidda. It used to be much more important in that respect than now. It
had many inns and hotel tents outside, and was well supplied with dancing
girls and the other side-show features of a true pilgrimage centre. Then
the Suez Canal came and killed it. Its big houses fallen to ruins, the
port has become a village of one-story huts. There are emerald mines near
it, however, and the desert about shows evidences of having been once
worked for gold.

I regret that I was not able to stop at Jidda, the port of Mecca, to
which I have already referred. It is one of the most interesting places
on the Red Sea, for one hundred thousand or more pilgrims pass through
it every year. While at Omdurman, in the Sudan, I saw something like
fourteen hundred Mohammedans on their way by railroad across the Nubian
Desert to Port Sudan where they expected to get a ship for Jidda. Some of
them had been ten years on the way, yet their religious enthusiasm had
not waned. They had started out upon camels from the borders of Timbuktu
and had been forced to sell their mounts to buy food. After that they had
walked from oasis to oasis earning enough money to carry them onward.
There were so many in the party that the British government officials had
to divide them up into batches and send on a trainload or so at a time.

In the centuries since the worship of Mohammed began millions of pilgrims
have walked over the sixty-five miles of hot sand from Jidda to Mecca.
Worshippers go thither from all parts of North Africa and from the
eastern coast of the Mediterranean as well as from India and southern
Arabia. Jidda takes her toll from each of them. The people live by
fleecing the devotees. The town, though full of hotels, is noted for its
discomforts. It has a poor water supply and after each big rain there is
an epidemic of fever.

The projected railroad from Jidda to Mecca will probably pay well, for
the travel is enormous. Twenty-five years ago more than sixty thousand
Mohammedans came annually by sea to make their way over the sands to
Mecca and Medina. There are perhaps half again as many more to-day, and
the railroad will so reduce the cost of the trip that the number of
worshippers will be greatly increased. Indeed, the day may come when some
Mohammedan tourist agent will be selling to pilgrims from all parts of
the Moslem world round-trip tickets to the birthplace of the Prophet,
including admission to the Kaaba.

With Mecca accessible by railroad there may be a chance for Christians to
visit the holy city of Islam. All who have been there in the past have
had to go in disguise, and the man who would attempt it to-day takes his
life in his hand. The railroad will be officered by Mohammedans, and it
is doubtful whether they will take Christians as passengers. They will
have to cater to the pilgrims, as it is from them that their traffic must

Meantime, without wishing to act as did the fox who called the grapes
sour, I do not believe there is much to see in Mecca, after all. The town
lies in a hot, arid valley watered for most of the year by a few brackish
wells and some cisterns. The best water, which comes in from Arafat
through a little aqueduct, is sold at high prices by a water trust at the
head of which is the governor of the city.

Mecca, I am told, has only about fifty thousand inhabitants. It fills the
valley and runs up the sides of the hills. The houses are of dark stone,
built in one, two, and three stories overhanging close to the streets.
There are no pavements; it is often dusty, and one would have to feel all
the holiness of the surroundings to make life agreeable for him in such
an unattractive spot.

The most important place in Mecca is the sacred mosque and the most
important thing in the mosque is the Kaaba, a cube-shaped stone building
which stands in its centre. In the southeast corner of this building,
at about five feet from the ground, is the black meteorite that the
Mohammedans say was once a part of the Gates of Paradise. When Adam was
cast out, this stone fell with him, dropping down near Mecca. At that
time, they say, it was a beautiful white colour, but it is now turned to
jet, having been blackened by the kisses of sinners. Every pilgrim who
comes to Mecca presses his lips to it again and again, imagining that as
he does so his sins go out of him into the stone, and his soul becomes
as pure as it was when he was a baby. There are several hundred thousand
pilgrims who perform this act every season, so that the holy stone of the
Kaaba gets its millions of kisses each year. What a load of sin it must



The two chief ports on the African coast of the Red Sea are Port Sudan
and Suakim. They were nothing until the completion of the Red Sea road.
The original plan was to use Suakim as the terminus of the Sudan railway.
The English surveyors, however, finding a much better harbour at Port
Sudan, extended the railroad to that point. The town which was a mere
village a few years ago has now several thousand people, and grows like
one of the mushroom settlements of the Canadian west.

Going on southward we passed the Italian possessions on the west coast
of the Red Sea, where they have a colony known as Eritrea. This colony
begins about one hundred and fifty miles south of Suakim and runs down
almost to the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb. It is not wide, extending back
from the coast only to where the Abyssinian hills begin. The Italians
tried to add to Eritrea a large part of Abyssinia but failed, owing to
the resistance of King Menelik. The land they have now is of small value.
There are only a few tracts that can be irrigated, and the exports are
unimportant. The strip is inhabited by nomads, who raise camels, oxen,
sheep, and goats. As the pasturage is scanty, the shepherds have to move
about from place to place with their stock. Some of the tribes live in
tents. Their wants are simple to an extreme.

The chief Italian port is Massawa, a little town situated on a coral
island joined to the mainland by a causeway. Its two short railways,
which connect it with the Abyssinian hills, comprise about forty-eight
miles of track. One road is to be continued to the town of Asmara, near
which some gold mines have been opened.

The Italians have built a telegraph line from their port to Addis Abbaba,
the capital of Abyssinia, and they are trying to increase their trade
with that country. They are shipping considerable salt, which, strange
to say, is so relished by the Abyssinians that it brings more than sugar
and takes much the same place among them as candy and tobacco with us.
The average Abyssinian carries a stick of rock salt with him and takes a
suck of it between whiles. If he meets a friend, he asks him to have a
taste of his salt stick and his friend brings out his individual stick
and they take lick about. It is just as it was with snuff in the days of
our forefathers, when everyone offered his friends a pinch of his choice

Besides Eritrea Italy owns another and larger strip of East Africa. This
is Italian Somaliland, which begins at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden and
runs down to the border of the British coast possessions. We shall pass
it on our way to Mombasa. Italian Somaliland, though about three times
as large as Ohio, has a population only two thirds that of the city of
Cleveland, and is of little value. The people, who are largely nomadic,
are engaged in cattle raising and agriculture.

If you will look on the map, you will see that the Gulf of Aden seems to
rest on a shelf-like projection jutting out from the African continent.
This projection reaches into the Indian Ocean for a distance of seven
hundred and eighty miles, and is sometimes called the “Great Horn of
Africa.” It ends in Cape Guardafui, of which we shall have a good view
from our steamer as it leaves the gulf and starts south.

The cape is a mighty bluff rising almost straight up from the blue waters
of the Indian Ocean. Its sides are of black rock, ragged and rugged, and
its top is covered with sand. There is sand at its foot and lodged in
the crevices, making yellow streaks against the black background. Beyond
the cape extend sandy hills which swell over one another until they are
lost in the distance. The country all about is desert. Neither trees,
bushes, habitations, nor animals are to be seen. The clouds hang low
over the cape, and out at sea the air is as moist as that of Virginia in
April. Seen from the ocean, the bluff assumes the outlines of a sleeping
lion with its tail in the sand. Still farther out it looks like a
fortification towering over the sea. One hundred and thirty miles to the
eastward, on the direct route to India, is Sokotra Island, owned by the

We went on southward, passing British Somaliland, a country a little
larger than the State of Missouri, with a population of several thousand
Mohammedan nomads who roam about from pasture to pasture with their
cattle and camels. The colony came into the hands of the British after
the war with the Mahdi, having belonged before that to Egypt. It was
first administered by the government of India, but it is now managed
directly from London.

[Illustration: Fifty years ago Suez, where canal and Red Sea meet and
“East of Suez” begins, was a miserable Arab village. Now it is a city
where several thousand Europeans share the general dreariness of this hot
and desolate spot.]

[Illustration: When two ships meet, one usually stops close to the bank
and lets the other pass. In places the sides are lined with stones to
prevent slides, and dredges are at work all the time keeping the channel

Back of the European colonies that fringe the coast lies Abyssinia,
one of the most interesting countries of the Black Continent. With the
exception of Liberia, it is the only one that is independent of Europe.
Recognized by the Powers as a self-governing state, it has been able to
preserve its native monarchy. Everyone in America has heard of the famous
King Menelik II, founder of the present government, and the name is still
one to conjure with in that country. It is said that an Abyssinian can
stop another from whatever he happens to be doing by calling out to him:
“Ba Menelik,” or “In the name of Menelik.” There are penalties for using
this formula frivolously, and the one so doing may be called upon to
justify his action before a judge.

The empire of Abyssinia consists of a mighty plateau ten times as large
as the State of Ohio, from which rise many high mountains. The country
might be called the roof of the continent, and has so much beautiful
scenery that it has been dubbed the African Switzerland. The plateau
consists of great tablelands rising one above the other and cut up by
great gorges and mighty canyons somewhat like those of the Rockies. In
the centre of the plateau is Lake Tsana, and down its sides flow great
rivers, some of which are lost in the sands while others, such as the
Atbara and the Blue Nile, give food and water to Egypt. The Blue Nile has
its source in Lake Tsana.

Abyssinia has some of the best soil of Africa. It is, in fact, a fertile
island in the midst of a sea of deserts and swamps. It will grow almost
anything, including sugar and cotton in the lowlands, coffee higher up,
and still higher the hardy grains of the temperate zone.

This country is said to be the first home of the coffee plant. It has
a province called Kaffa, whence the first coffee beans were carried to
Arabia. The word “coffee” comes from the name of that province. In Kaffa,
coffee trees grow so large that they are used for timber. In some places
they grow wild. In others the coffee is cultivated.

At present Abyssinia is almost unexplored, but its opening and
development are assured, and it may become one of the tourist and hunting
resorts of the future. The land is especially interesting to us in that
most of the Abyssinians are Christians, their religion being about the
same as that of the Copts of Egypt.



Leaving the Red Sea at the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, we came to Aden,
Arabia, and thence went on down along the coast of the Indian Ocean to
Mombasa. The very best of our Mocha coffee is shipped from Aden to the
United States. It comes here on camels from the province of Yemen, where
it is raised by the natives, each family having a few bushes about its
hut and producing only enough for home use and a little for trading.

There are no big plantations and no coffee factories. When ripe the
berries are gathered and dried in the sun. After this they are put up in
bales, and carried on camelback over the hills to this place. They are
then hulled between millstones turned by hand, and winnowed and sorted
for shipment. The latter work is done by the women, who look over each
grain carefully, taking out the bad ones. Labour is cheap, but the coffee
has to go through many hands. It has to pay toll to the chiefs of the
tribes who own the country through which it is carried, so it must be
sold at high prices. For this reason we have imitations of Mocha coffee
from all parts of the world.

For many years this port of Aden has belonged to John Bull, who took
possession of it in 1839, and later got hold of the island of Perim in
the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb also. That island is about a hundred miles
from Aden and the two places practically control the entrance to the
Red Sea and the Suez Canal. As for Aden, it is the Gibraltar of this
part of the world, as well as one of the greatest of the British coaling
stations. The harbour is excellent, and the outer entrance is more than
three miles wide. The inner waters have been dredged so that steamers of
twenty-six feet draft can go everywhere, and there is room enough for all
the vessels that pass through the canal to anchor here at one time.

Aden is strongly fortified. The town, which stands on a volcanic isthmus,
is guarded by a broad ditch cut out of the solid rock. It has a garrison
of several thousand soldiers, guns of the latest pattern, and no one
knows how many submarine mines and other defences against attack.

But no matter what its military importance, Aden is the sorriest city I
have ever seen. There is nothing like it except Iquique on the nitrate
coast of South America, and Iquique is a paradise compared with Aden.
Imagine a great harbour of sea-green water, the shores of which rise
almost abruptly into ragged mountains of brown rock and white sand.
There is not a blade of grass to be seen, there are no trees, and even
the cactus and sage brush of our American desert are absent. The town is
without vegetation. It is as bare as the bones of the dead camels in the
sandy waste behind it, and its tropical sun beats down out of a cloudless
African sky. Everything is gray or a dazzling white. The houses on the
sides of the hills are white, the rocks throw back the rays of the sun,
and the huts upon their sides are of the same gray colour as themselves.

[Illustration: Each year thousands of Moslems from North and East Africa
make the pilgrimage to this city of Mecca. They worship at the shrines
sacred to Islam, chief among which is the Kaaba, containing the Holy

[Illustration: Aden is in the land of the camel, and processions of them
come into the city every day, bringing coffee and gums. Eighteen miles is
a day’s journey for the average freight animal, but those used for riding
go much farther.]

The city looks thirsty and dry. It is dry. There is only a well or so
in the place, and these, I am told, the English bought of their owners
for something like one million dollars. Almost all of the water used is
condensed from the sea, and fresh water always brings a big price. There
are no streams anywhere for miles around. The town is situated in the
crater of an extinct volcano, and there is one great depression near by
in which some famous stone tanks were made a thousand or so years ago.
These tanks are so big that if they were cleaned out they might hold
thirty million gallons of water. The water is caught when it rains, and
is sometimes auctioned off to the highest bidder. The receipts go to the
British Government, to which a good rain may bring in fifteen or twenty
thousand dollars or more.

This is my second visit to Aden. My first was sixteen years ago when I
stopped here on my way around the world. I do not see that the town has
changed and I doubt whether it has any more people than it had then.
The population is made up of all the nations and tribes common to the
Indian Ocean. It contains Arabs, Africans, Jews, Portuguese, and East
Indians. There are about four thousand Europeans, including merchants,
officials, and soldiers. The majority of the people are Arabs and the
prevailing colour is black. There are tall, lean, skinny black Bedouins
from interior Arabia, who believe in the Prophet, and go through their
prayers five times a day. There are black Mohammedans from Somaliland and
black Christians from Abyssinia. In addition there are Parsees, Hindus,
and East Indian Mohammedans of various shades of yellow and brown. A few
of the Africans are woolly-headed, but more of them have wavy hair. The
hair of the women hangs down in corkscrew curls on both sides of their
faces. Of these people neither sex wears much clothing. The men have rags
around the waist, while the women’s sole garments are skirts which reach
to the feet.

The East Indians, who are everywhere, do most of the retail business
and trading. They are found peddling on every street corner. They
dress according to their caste and religion. The Parsees, who are
fire-worshippers, wear black preacher-like coats and tall hats of the
style of an inverted coal scuttle. The East Indian Mohammedans wear
turbans and the Hindus wrap themselves up in great sheets of white
cotton. There are besides many Greeks and Italians, and not a few
Persians. The English dress in white and wear big helmets to keep off the

This is the land of the camel. Caravans are coming in and going out of
the city every day bringing in bags of Mocha coffee and gums and taking
out European goods and other supplies to the various oases. There is a
considerable trade with Yemen as well as with the tribes of southeastern
Arabia. There are always camels lying in the market places, and one sees
them blubbering and crying as they are loaded and unloaded. They are the
most discontented beasts upon earth, and are as mean as they look. One
bit at me this afternoon as I passed it, and I am told that they never
become reconciled to their masters. Nevertheless, they are the freight
animals of this part of the world, and the desert could not get along
without them. They furnish the greater part of the milk for the various
Arab settlements, and the people make their tents of camel’s hair. They
are, in fact, the cows of the desert. They are of many different breeds,
varying as much in character as horses. There are some breeds that
correspond to the Percheron, and the best among them can carry half a
ton at a load. There are others fitted solely for riding and passenger
travel. The ordinary freight camel makes only about three miles an hour
and eighteen miles is a good day’s work. The best racing camels will
travel twenty hours at a stretch, and will cover one hundred miles in
a day. Seventy-five miles in ten hours is not an uncommon journey for
an Arabian racer, and much better speed has been made. As to prices, an
ordinary freight camel brings about thirty dollars, but a good riding
camel costs one hundred dollars and upward.

Have you ever heard how the camel was created? Here is the story of its
origin as told by the Arabs. They say that God first formed the horse
by taking up a handful of the swift south wind and blowing upon it. The
horse, however, was not satisfied with his making. He complained to God
that his neck was too short for easy grazing and that his hoofs were so
hard that they sank in the sand. Moreover, he said there was no hump
on his back to steady the saddle. Thereupon, to satisfy the horse, God
created the camel, making him according to the equine’s suggestions. And
when the horse saw his ideal in flesh and blood he was frightened at its
ugliness and galloped away. Since then there is no horse that is not
scared when it first sees a camel.

This story makes me think of the Arab tradition as to how God first made
the water buffalo, which, as you know, is about the ugliest beast that
ever wore horns, hair, and skin. God’s first creation was the beautiful
cow. When He had finished it the devil happened that way, and as he saw
it he laughed at the job, and sneered out that he could make a better
beast with his eyes shut. Thereupon the Lord gave him some material such
as He had put into the cow and told him to go to work. The devil wrought
all day and all night, and the result was the water buffalo.

I have made inquiries here and elsewhere as to the Arabian horse. He is
a comparatively scarce animal and he does not run wild in the desert,
as some people suppose. Indeed, comparatively few of the Arabian tribes
have horses, and the best are kept on the plateau of Najd, in the centre
of the peninsula. They belong to the Anazah tribe, which is one of the
oldest of all, and which claims to date back to the Flood. It is a
wealthy tribe, and it has been breeding horses for many generations. The
best stock has pedigrees going back to the time of Mohammed, and the very
choicest come from five mares which were owned by the Prophet and blessed
by him. These horses seldom go out of Arabia. They are owned by the
chiefs, and are not sold, except in times of the direst necessity. Now
and then a few get into Egypt and other parts of North Africa, and the
Sultan of Turkey has usually had some for his stables.

It is only occasionally that a pure-bred Arabian goes to Europe or the
United States. Two of the best stallions we ever imported were those
which General Grant brought from Constantinople. This was, I think,
during his tour around the world. While in Turkey he and the Sultan
visited the royal stables together. As they looked over the horses the
Sultan told Grant to pick out the one he liked best, and he designated a
dapple gray called the Leopard. “It is yours,” said the Sultan, “and this
also,” pointing to a four-year-old colt called Linden Tree. In due time
these two horses arrived in the United States and were put on General
Ed Beale’s farm near Washington. They were used for breeding, and they
produced about fifty fine colts.



Mombasa is the terminus of the Uganda Railway as it comes down from Lake
Victoria. It is the port of entry for all the sea-borne trade of the
seven provinces of British East Africa, or Kenya Colony, as it is now
called, Uganda, and adjacent territory. It is on an island halfway down
the coast of East Africa and just below the Equator, where old Mother
Earth is widest and thickest. If I should stick a peg down under the
chair in which I am writing into the old lady’s waist, and then travel
westward in a straight line I would soon reach the upper end of Lake
Tanganyika, and a little later come out on the Atlantic Ocean just above
the mouth of the Congo. Crossing that great sea, I should make my next
landing in South America, at the mouth of the Amazon, and, going up the
Amazon valley, I should pass Quito, in Ecuador, and then drop down to
the Pacific. From there on the trip to the peg stuck in at Mombasa would
comprise sixteen or more thousand miles of water travel. I should cross
the Pacific and Indian oceans, and the only solid ground on the way would
be the islands of New Guinea, Borneo, and Sumatra.

Three thousand miles from Port Said and more than six thousand miles from
London, Mombasa is far below the latitude of the Philippines. It is just
about a day by ship north of Zanzibar and thirty days’ sailing from New

So far, most of my travels in Africa have been in the sands, with only a
patch of green now and then. I was close to the Sahara in Morocco, and I
travelled many hundreds of miles over it while in Algeria and Tunisia.
In Tripoli my eyes were made sore by the glare of the Libyan wastes and
their dust blew across the Nile valley during my stay in Egypt and the
British Sudan. The Arabian desert was on both sides of us as we came
down the Red Sea and its sands several times covered the ship. We had
the rockiest of all deserts in southern Arabia while that of Italian
Somaliland was not any better.

Here at Mombasa we are in the luxuriant tropics where the surroundings
remind me of Solomon’s song. All nature seems joyful. The rain has
conquered the sun and there are mosses, vines, and trees everywhere, The
shores of the mainland are bordered with coconuts, we have mighty baobab
trees loaded with green scattered over the island, and even its cliffs
are moss grown.

A jungle of green on a foundation of coral, Mombasa is only a mile or
so wide and three miles in length, but it rises well up out of the sea
and is so close to the continent that one can almost hear the wind blow
through the coconut groves over the way. On the island itself the jungle
has been cut up into wide roads. There is a lively town with a polyglot
population at one end of it, and the hills are spotted with the homes of
the British officials. The island has two good harbours, a little one
and a big one. The little one, which is in the main part of the town,
is frequented by small craft. The big one could hold all the ships that
sail the East Coast, and the people here say it is to be the great port
of this side of the continent. The larger harbour is called Kilindini, a
word that means “the deep place,” It has only a few warehouse sheds and
a pier above it, the main settlements being across the island four miles

It was in Kilindini that I landed, and that under difficulties. Our ship
was anchored far out and our baggage was taken ashore in native boats.
Finding the main quay was crowded, I had my boatman go direct to the
custom house and let us out on the beach. The custom house is a little
shed about big enough for one cow situated so high up above the water
that our trunks had to be carried out upon the heads of the Negroes. The
water came up to their middles, but nevertheless they waded through it
and brought both us and our baggage to the land. The customs examination
was lenient. The officers looked through our trunks for guns and
ammunition and warned us that we could not hunt elephants and hippopotami
without a two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar license. A little later the
natives again took our trunks and lugged them about a quarter of a mile
to the top of a hill, where we got the cars for Mombasa.

The word “cars” savours of electricity or steam. The cars I took were
run by men. Here in East Africa human muscle forms the cheapest power.
The wages of the natives run from five cents a day upward, while in the
interior there are many who will work eight or nine hours for three
cents. The result is that the trolley cars are propelled by men. Each
car consists of a platform about as big as a kitchen table, with wheels
underneath and an awning overhead. In the middle of the platform there
is a bench accommodating two to four persons. The wheels run on a track
about two feet in width, and each car is pushed from behind by one or
more bare-legged and bare-headed men who run as they shove it up hill
and down. There are such car tracks all over the island, with switches
to the homes of the various officials. There are private cars as well as
public ones, and everyone who is anybody has his own private car with his
coolies to push him to and from work. At the beginning and closing of his
office hours, which here are from eight until twelve and from two until
four, the tracks are filled with these little cars, each having one or
more officials riding in state to or from the government buildings.

[Illustration: Kilindini harbour, or “the deep place”, is connected with
the town of Mombasa by a mile-long tramway, the cars of which are pushed
by native runners. Mombasa is the chief port of Kenya Colony.]

[Illustration: In this African village there are 25,000 natives,
representing perhaps a hundred tribes, each with its own dress and
customs. All, however, are eager buyers of the gaudy print cloths in the
bazaars of the Hindu merchants.]

[Illustration: In Kenya Colony the East Indians complicate matters for
the British government. They practically control the retail trade and,
having grown rich and prosperous, have begun to raise embarrassing
political issues.]

I wish I could show you this old town of Mombasa. It began before
Columbus discovered America, and the citizens can show you the very spot
where Vasco da Gama landed when he came here from India shortly after
he discovered the new route to Asia by the Cape of Good Hope. He landed
here in 1498 at just about the time that Columbus was making his third
voyage to America. Even then Mombasa was a city and Da Gama describes
it. A little later it became the property of the Portuguese. The most
prominent building in the town is the great red Fort of Jesus, built
by the Portuguese in 1593, when the city was made the capital of their
East African possessions. It was later the scene of massacres and bloody
fights between Portuguese and Arabs. To-day the red flag of the Sultan
of Zanzibar flies over the old fort, now used as a prison, admission to
which is forbidden.

After the Portuguese were driven out the Arabs held Mombasa for many
years, and it was an Arab ruler, the Sultan of Zanzibar, who owned it
when the British came in. It still belongs to him in a nominal way. He
has leased it to the British for so much a year, but his flag floats
above John Bull’s ensign everywhere on the island.

Most of the population of Mombasa is African. Of the twenty-six thousand
inhabitants, only about three hundred and fifty are white. There are
people here from all parts of the interior, some of them as black as jet,
and a scattering few who are chocolate brown or yellow. These natives
live in huts off by themselves in a large village adjoining the European
and Asiatic quarters. Their houses are of mud plastered upon a framework
of poles and thatched with straw. The poles are put together without
nails. There is not a piece of metal in any of them, except on the roof,
where here and there a hole has been patched up with a rusty Standard
Oil can. Very few of the huts are more than eight feet high, while some
are so low that one has to stoop to enter them. They are so small that
the beds are usually left outside the house during the daytime, and the
majority of each family sleep on the floor.

I find this African village the most interesting part of Mombasa. Its
inhabitants number over twenty-five thousand and comprise natives of
perhaps one hundred tribes, each of which has its own dress and its own
customs. Most of the women are bare-headed and bare-legged; and some of
the men are clad in little more than breech cloths. Now and then one sees
a girl bare to the waist, and the little ones wear only jewellery. On the
mainland all go more or less naked.

It is amazing how these people mutilate themselves so as to be what
they consider beautiful. The ears of many of the women are punched like
sieves, in order that they may hold rings of various kinds. At one place
I saw a girl with a ring of corks, each about as big around as my little
finger, put through holes in the rims of her ears. She had a great cork
in each lobe and three above that in each ear. There was a man beside her
who had two long sticks in his ears; and in another place I saw one who
had so stretched the lobe holes that a good-sized tumbler could have been
passed through them. Indeed, I have a photograph of a man carrying a jam
pot in his ear.

The most numerous of the natives here in Mombasa are the Swahilis. These
are of a mixed breed found all along the central coast of East Africa.
They are said to have some Arab blood and for this reason, perhaps, are
brighter and more businesslike than the ordinary native. The Swahilis are
found everywhere. They have little settlements in the interior in the
midst of other tribes, and the Swahili language will carry one through
the greater part of Central and East Africa. The British officials are
required to learn it, and one can buy Swahili dictionaries and phrase
books. During most of my journey I shall take a Swahili guide with me, or
rather a black Swahili boy, who will act as a servant as well as guide.

Let me give you a picture of the Swahili women as I see them here. Their
skins are of a rich chocolate brown and shine as though oiled. They have
woolly hair, but they comb it in a most extraordinary way, using a razor
to shave out partings between the rows of plaited locks so that when
the hair is properly dressed the woman seems to have on a hood of black
wool. I took a snapshot of two girls who were undergoing the process of
hairdressing yesterday, fearing the while that their calico gowns, which
were fastened by a single twist under the armpits, might slip. A little
farther on Jack took a photograph of another giddy maiden clad in two
strips of bright-coloured calico and numerous earrings, while I gave her
a few coppers to pose for the picture. At the same time on the opposite
side of the street stood a black girl gorgeous with jewellery. In her
nose she had a brass ring as big around as the bottom of a dinner bucket,
and her ears had holes in their lobes so big that a hen’s egg could be
put through them without trouble. Not only the lobes, but the rims also
were punctured, each ear having around the edges five little holes of
about the size of my little finger. These holes were filled with rolls of
bright-coloured paper cut off so smoothly that they seemed almost a part
of the ear. The paper was of red, green, and blue and looked very quaint.

[Illustration: The coast Negroes of East Africa are often Swahilis,
descendants of Arab traders and their native wives. They have a dialect
of their own and pride themselves on being more intelligent than the
pure-bred Africans.]

[Illustration: The Uganda Railroad plunges the traveller into the
blackest of the Black Continent, where the natives seem people of another
world. The few clothes they wear are a recent acquisition from the white



Travelling by railway through the wilds of East Africa! Steaming for
hundreds of miles among zebras, gnus, ostriches, and giraffes! Rolling
along through jungles which are the haunts of the rhinoceros and where
the lion and the leopard wait for their prey! These were some of my
experiences during my trip over the Uganda Railway from Mombasa to

Only a few years ago it took a month to cover the distance between these
two points. To-day I made it in less than twenty-four hours, and that
in a comfortable car. The railroad fare, travelling first-class, was
fifty-eight rupees, which at normal exchange would total about thirty
dollars, and I had good meals on the way. The distance is over three
hundred miles, just about half the length of the railroad.

Wood-burning locomotives of the American type are largely used. The
maximum scheduled speed is twenty-five miles an hour. Trains leave
Mombasa daily for Nairobi and three times a week for Kisumu on Lake
Victoria, which is five hundred and eighty-four miles from Mombasa.

Leaving Mombasa, our train carried us across a great steel bridge to the
mainland, and we climbed through a jungle up to the plateau. We passed
baobab trees, with trunks like hogsheads, bursting out at the top into
branches. They made me think of the frog who tried to blow himself to
the size of a bull and exploded in the attempt. We went through coconut
groves, by mango trees loaded with fruit, and across plantations of
bananas, whose long green leaves quivered in the breeze made by the train
as it passed. Now we saw a gingerbread palm, and now strange flowers and
plants, the names of which we did not know. As we went upward we could
see the strait that separates Mombasa from the mainland, and higher still
caught a view of the broad expanse of the Indian Ocean. For the first one
hundred miles the climb is almost steady, and we were about one third of
a mile above the sea when we reached the station at Voi. Here the country
is more open, and far off in the distance one can see a patch of snow
floating like a cloud. That patch is the mountain of Kilimanjaro, the top
of which is more than nineteen thousand feet above the sea. It is the
loftiest mountain on the continent yet is not much higher than Mt. Kenya,
that other giant of British East Africa, which rises out of the plateau
some distance north of Nairobi.

After the jungle of the coast line, the country becomes comparatively
open and soon begins to look like parts of America where the woods have
been cut away and the brush allowed to grow up in the fields. Here the
land is carpeted with grass about a foot or so high. Thousands of square
miles of such grass are going to waste. I saw no stock to speak of, and
at that place but little wild game. Without knowing anything about the
tsetse fly and other cattle pests, I should say that the pastures just
back of the coast might feed many thousands of cattle and hogs. The soil
seems rich. It is a fat clay, the colour of well-burnt brick, which turns
everything red. The dust filled our car; it coated our faces, and crept
through our clothes. When we attempted to wash, the water soon became a
bright vermilion, and the towels upon which we dried were brick-red. My
pillow, after I had travelled all night through such dust, had changed
from white to terracotta, and there was a Venetian red spot where my head
had lain. The wisest travellers cleansed eyes and nostrils several times
a day with an antiseptic solution.

It is a strange thing to go to sleep in the woods and then awake to
find one’s self rolling over a high, treeless country with game by the
thousand gambolling along the car tracks. We awoke on the Kapiti plains,
which are about a mile above the sea and two hundred and sixty-eight
miles from Mombasa. These plains are of a black sandy loam and covered
with a thick grass. They look much as Iowa, Kansas, or Nebraska did when
the railroads were first built through them and the buffaloes galloped
along with the cars. The same conditions prevail here save that the game
is of a half-dozen big kinds, and most of it is such as one can see only
in our zoölogical gardens at home. According to law no shooting may be
done for a mile on each side of the track, so that the road has become
a great game preserve two miles in width and about six hundred miles
long. The animals seem to know that they are safe when they are near the
railroad, for most of them are as quiet as our domestic beasts when in
the fields.

Let me give you some notes which I made with these wild animals on all
sides of me. I copy: “These Kapiti plains are flat and I am riding
through vast herds of antelopes and zebras. Some of them are within
pistol shot of the cars. There are fifty-odd zebras feeding on the grass
not one hundred feet away. Their black and white stripes shine in the
sunlight. Their bodies are round, plump, and beautiful. They raise their
heads as the train goes by and then continue their grazing. Farther on
we see antelopes, some as big as two-year-old calves and others the size
of goats. The little ones have horns almost as long as their bodies.
There is one variety which has a white patch on its rump. This antelope
looks as though it had a baby’s bib tied to its stubby tail or had been
splashed with a whitewash brush. Many of the antelopes are yellow or fawn
coloured, and some of the smaller ones are beautifully striped.

“Among the most curious animals to be seen are the gnus, which are
sometimes called wilde-beeste. As I write this there are some galloping
along with the train. They are great beasts as big as a moose, with the
horns of a cow and the mane and tail of a horse. Hunting them is good

“But look, there are some ostriches! The flock contains a dozen or more
birds, which stand like interrogation points away off there on the plain.
They turn toward the cars as we approach, then spread their wings and
skim away at great speed. Giraffes are frequently seen. They are more
timid than the antelope, and by no means so brave as the zebras.”

[Illustration: All the steel in the bridges on the Uganda Railway was
made in the United States and put in place under American direction,
because the British bidders wanted three times as long and double the
price for the job.]

[Illustration: Built primarily to break up the slave-trade in East
Africa, the Uganda Railroad has also proved that the natives, under
proper direction, can become useful workers. Thousands of them have been
employed in the construction and maintenance of the line.]

[Illustration: The natives rob the railroad of quantities of wire, which
to them is like jewellery. Both men and women load themselves down with
pounds of it coiled around their arms, legs, and necks, and even through
their ears.]

The Uganda Railway begins at the Indian Ocean and climbs over some of
the roughest parts of the African continent before it ends at Lake
Victoria, one of the two greatest fresh-water lakes of the world. Leaving
the seacoast, the rise is almost continuous until it reaches the high
plains of Kenya Colony. Here at Nairobi, where this chapter is written,
I am more than a mile above the sea, and, about fifteen miles farther
on at the station of Kikuyu, the road reaches an altitude seven hundred
feet above the top of Mt. Washington. From there the ascent is steady
to a point a mile and a half above the sea. Then there is a great drop
into a wide, ditch-like valley two thousand feet deep. Crossing this
valley, the railway again rises until it is far higher than any mountain
in the United States east of the Rockies. It attains an elevation of
eighty-three hundred feet, and then falls down to Lake Victoria, which is
just about as high as the highest of the Alleghanies. The line was built
by the British Government in less than five years and has cost altogether
some thirty-five million dollars. It has a gauge of forty inches, rails
which weigh fifty pounds to the yard, and tracks which are well laid and
well ballasted. In an average year almost two hundred and fifty thousand
tons of goods and five hundred thousand passengers are carried over it,
and its earnings are more than its operating expenses.

It does not yet pay any interest on the capital invested, but it is of
enormous value in the way of opening up, developing, and protecting the
country. It was not constructed as a commercial project but to combat the
slave trade which flourished beyond the reach of the British warships.
To-day the Uganda line is the dominant influence of Kenya Colony.

Among the most interesting features are the American bridges, which
cross all the great ravines between Nairobi and Lake Victoria. Every
bit of steel and every bolt and rivet in them was made by American
workmen in American factories, and taken out here and put up under
the superintendence of Americans. This was because of John Bull’s
desire to have the work done quickly and cheaply and at the same time
substantially. While he had been laying the tracks from here to the sea
our bridge companies had surprised the English by putting up the steel
viaduct across the Atbara River in the Sudan within a much shorter time
and far more cheaply than the best British builders could possibly do.
Therefore, when the British Government asked for bids for these Uganda
bridges, they sent the plans and specifications to the English and to
some of our American firms as well. The best British bids provided that
the shops should have two or three years to make the steel work, and
longer still to erect it in Africa. The American Bridge Company offered
to complete the whole job within seven months after the foundations were
laid, and that at a charge of ninety dollars per ton, to be paid when all
was in place and in working order. This price was about half that of the
British estimates and the time was less than one third that in which the
eight bridges already constructed had been built, so the American company
got the contract. It carried it out to the letter, and had the government
done its part, the work would have been completed in the time specified.
Owing to delays of one kind and another, it really consumed five months
longer, but it was all done within the space of one year, which was just
about half the time that the British contractors asked to get their goods
ready for shipment.

The English were surprised at how easily and quickly the Americans
carried out their contract and how little they seemed to make of it.
A. B. Lueder, the civil engineer who was sent out to take charge of
the construction, was little more than a boy and had graduated at
Cornell University only a year or so before. There were about twenty
bridge builders and foremen from different parts of the United States,
and a Pennsylvania man named Jarrett who acted as superintendent of
construction. Arriving at Mombasa in December, 1900, these men had
completed their work before the following Christmas. They acted merely as
superintendents and fancy workmen. All the rough labour was done by East
Indians and native Africans, furnished by the British. When the road was
started, the government planned to use only Africans, but finding this
impossible, they imported twenty thousand coolies from India. The coolies
came on contracts of from two to five years, at wages of from four to
fifteen dollars a month and rations. The native labourers were paid about
ten cents a day.

Before the workmen from the United States arrived here a large part of
the bridge material was already in Mombasa. The Americans left one man
there to see that additional materials were forwarded promptly, and came
at once to the scene of action. They put up the bridges at the rate
of something like one a week, and constructed the longest viaduct in
sixty-nine and one half working hours.

What they did forms one of the wonders of civil and mechanical
engineering. The bridge material was so made that its pieces fitted
together like clockwork, notwithstanding the fact that it was put into
shape away off here, thousands of miles from the place of construction
and in one of the most uncivilized parts of the world. The materials in
the viaducts included about half a million feet of southern pine lumber
and over thirteen million pounds of steel. The steel was in more than one
hundred thousand pieces and the heaviest piece weighed five tons. The
average weight was about one hundred pounds. The greatest care had to be
taken to keep the parts together and in their own places. Every piece
was numbered and those of different bridges were painted in different
colours. At that, it was hard to keep all the parts together, for, since
most of the natives here look upon steel as so much jewellery, it was all
but impossible to keep them from filching some of the smaller pieces for
ear bobs and telegraph wire to make into bracelets.

Besides all the other tremendous difficulties in building this road,
there were the wild beasts. There are a hundred places along it where
one might get off and start up a lion. Rhinoceroses have butted the
freight cars along the track, and infest much of the country through
which it goes. I was shown a station yesterday where twenty-nine
Hindus were carried off by two man-eating lions. Night after night the
man-eaters came, taking away each time one or two of the workmen from the
construction camp. They were finally killed by an English overseer, who
sat up with his gun and watched for them.

It was not far from this station of Nairobi that a man was taken out of
a special car while it stopped overnight on the side track. The windows
and doors of the car had been left open for air, and the three men who
were its only inmates had gone to sleep. Two were in the berths while
the other, who had sat up to watch, was on the floor with his gun on his
knees. As the night went on he fell asleep, and woke to find himself
under the belly of a lion. The beast had slipped in through the door,
and, jumping over him, seized the man in the lower berth and leaped out
of the window, carrying him along. The other two men followed, but they
failed to discover the lion that night. The bones of the man, picked
clean, were found the next day.

An interesting “by-product” of the construction of the Uganda road has
been the development of the native labourer. Twenty years ago the saying
was: “Native labour is of little value, no dependence can be placed upon
it, and even famine fails to force the tribesmen to seek work.” To-day
that opinion has yielded to the belief that, if he is properly trained
and educated to it, the native can supply labour, skilled and unskilled,
for all manufacturing and industrial enterprises of Kenya Colony.
Remarkable progress in industrial education is shown by the nine thousand
African workers on the Uganda line.



Nairobi is the capital and administrative centre of Kenya Colony, one
of the most interesting and prosperous of Great Britain’s African
possessions. It lies three hundred and twenty-seven miles from the sea in
the very heart of British East Africa, about halfway between the Indian
Ocean and Lake Victoria. It is situated on a plateau at an altitude
higher than Denver, with mountains in sight far above any we have in

When the sun is just right at Nairobi, I can get a glimpse here of Mt.
Kilimanjaro and I can plainly see the peak of Mt. Kenya. Kilimanjaro is
about a hundred and fifty miles distant and Kenya, as the crow flies,
not more than one hundred miles. It is from Mt. Kenya that Kenya Colony
is named. Mt. Kenya is one of the giants of the African continent, and
is only three thousand feet lower than our own Mt. McKinley. It is a
dead volcano and is supposed to have once been three thousand feet
higher than it is now. The great peak, seamed with no less than fifteen
glaciers, is a mass of rocks covered with snow, but the lower slopes are
heavily wooded with forests of cedar, camphor, and bamboo. Above the
woods are pastures fit for sheep, while in and below them are all sorts
of wild game, including lions and elephants, and even rhinoceroses and

In some respects Nairobi reminds one of our frontier towns of the West.
The high plain upon which it is situated has a climate in which white
men can live and work the year around, and farms are springing up almost

The city is comparatively new. Fifteen or more years ago it had hardly
a house. To-day streets have been laid out over an area ten miles in
circumference and hundreds of buildings of tin, wood, and stone have
been erected. The chief building material is galvanized iron, which is
so prevalent that Nairobi has been nicknamed the “tin city.” There are
no saw mills or planing mills worth mentioning, as the forests have not
been exploited, and about the only lumber available is that brought from
the United States and Norway and landed at Mombasa. The ocean freight
rates are heavy, and in addition there is the cost of bringing the
lumber to Nairobi by railroad. Hence the galvanized iron, which comes
here in sheets from England and Belgium. Almost all the buildings are of
iron, put up just as it comes from the factory, giving the whole town a
silver-gray colour. The post office is of iron, the depot has an iron
roof, and the same is true of the governor’s offices. Many of the houses
have iron ceilings and iron walls, and the chief retail business section
is a collection of one-story iron booths, open at the front, in which
Hindus stand or sit surrounded by their goods. My hotel is half iron. The
government treasury near by, a shed not over fifteen feet square, is of
tin and has a tin roof. I could chop it to pieces with a butcher knife;
and the only sign of policing about it is the Negro who, gun in hand,
stands outside guarding the door. The office of the land surveyor is of
tin, and so are the police headquarters and the house where the supreme
court is held. The more fancy dwellings are now being painted, and some
stone and brick buildings are rising.

The Nairobi of to-day is largely cow pastures. It is a city of
magnificent distances. All the places of importance seem to be several
miles from each other and the patches between are often grazing ground.
The houses are of one and two stories, and are scattered along wide
streets which run for an indefinite distance out into the prairie. The
chief ways of getting about are on foot, on horseback, or in jinrikishas,
the last being by far the most popular. The jinrikishas are much like
those used in Japan, save that they are larger and wider. I am told
they are made in America. They are pushed and pulled by black Africans,
two to each vehicle. One man goes in the shafts and the other pushes
behind. They are each clad in a single cotton cloth which flaps back and
forth as they run, exposing their nakedness. The streets are unpaved and
frequently masses of dust. Along many of them eucalyptus trees have been
planted and have grown so rapidly that most of the roads are now shaded
by this mournfully drooping foliage.

The population of Nairobi is about twenty thousand, of which only a
tenth are Europeans. Of the remainder, about a third are Asiatics from
Hindustan, and the others are the queerest Africans one can imagine.
I speak of them first, because they are everywhere; one stumbles over
them on the street; they wait upon him in the hotels; they carry burdens
for him and clog his footsteps when he goes outside the town. Many of
them wear dirty, greasy cloths not more than a yard wide and two yards
long. They hang them about their shoulders and let them fall down on
each side, so that they flap this way and that in the breeze. Some wear
breech cloths, and not a few are bare to the waist. In the early morning,
when the air is still sharp, many of these people, clad in red flannel
blankets, go stalking along with their legs uncovered to the thighs. I
have already spoken of the ear plugs. Some have the holes in the lobes of
their ears so stretched that I can put my fist through them. The loops
are so long that when a man takes out his ear plug he hangs the loop of
skin over the top of his ear to prevent its catching on something and
tearing. The loop looks just like a leather strap about as wide as one’s
little finger nail. I have handled many of them, twisting them this way
and that to be sure they were genuine.

[Illustration: Nairobi, on a plateau higher than Denver, is the
administrative centre of Kenya Colony and a healthful place for white
men. Farms are springing up about it, and there are already 2,000
Europeans in this African outpost.]

[Illustration: “My room at the Norfolk looks out on a stable yard where a
baby lion as big as a Newfoundland dog is tied up. He is much too playful
to suit me and, besides, he roars at night.”]

[Illustration: In Nairobi the popular way to travel is in jinrikishas
much like those of Japan but sometimes made in America. Two good-natured
Negroes man each one and sing a monotonous song as they trot uphill and

The African smell is everywhere. It burdens the air of the market places,
and I verily think it might be chopped up into blocks and sold as a new
kind of phosphate. The natives cover themselves with hair oil and body
grease, and the combination of this when it turns rancid with the natural
effluvia which exhales from their persons is indescribable. Some of the
blacks smear their faces with a mixture of grease and red clay, and cover
their hair with the same material, so that they look more like copper
Indians than Africans.

These Africans do all the hard work of Nairobi. They are hewers of wood
and drawers of water. I see scores of them, carrying baskets of dirt on
their heads and bundles of wood on their backs and pushing and pulling
carts and wagons through the streets. Most of my trips from one place to
another are made in two-wheeled carts hauled by wire-bedecked natives.

The retail business is done by East Indians, as is also the case at
Mombasa. I am told this is so in every settlement on this part of the
continent. The Hindus have made their way along all the travelled
routes, until their little stores may be found in every large African
village. They have trading stations upon Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika.
They are very enterprising, and as they live upon almost nothing they
can undersell the whites. They sell cotton of bright colours and of the
most gorgeous patterns, wire for jewellery, and all sorts of knickknacks
that the African wants. They deal also in European goods, and one can
buy of them almost anything from a needle to a sewing machine. Here at
Nairobi there is an Indian bazaar covering nine acres which is quite
as interesting as any similar institution in Tunis, Cairo, Bombay, or
Calcutta. The stores are all open at the front, and the men squat in them
with their gay goods piled about them. These Hindus dress in a quaint
costume not unlike that of the English clergyman who wears a long black
coat buttoned up to the throat. The only difference is that the Hindu’s
trousers may be of bright-coloured calico, cut very tight, and his head
may be covered with a flat skullcap of velvet embroidered in gold.
Moreover, his feet are usually bare.

But Nairobi is a British city, notwithstanding its African and Asiatic
inhabitants; the English form the ruling class. They are divided into
castes, almost as much as are the East Indians. At the head are the
government officials, the swells of the town. They dress well and spend
a great deal of time out of office hours playing tennis and golf, which
have already been introduced into this part of the black continent.
They also ride about on horseback and in carriages, and manage to make
a good show upon very low salaries. Allied to them are the sportsmen
and the noble visitors from abroad. A scattering element of dukes,
lords, and second sons of noble families has come out to invest, or to
hunt big game. They are usually men of means, for the prices of large
tracts of land are high and it also costs considerable money to fit out
a game-shooting expedition. In addition, there are land speculators, who
are chiefly young men from England or South Africa. Dressed in riding
clothes, big helmet hats, and top boots, they dash about the country on
ponies, and are especially in evidence around the bars of the hotels.
There are but few white women here. Some of the government officials have
their wives with them, and now and then a titled lady comes out to hunt
with her friends. I met three women who had themselves shot lions.

Nairobi has English doctors, dentists, and lawyers. It has one
photographer and two firms which advertise themselves as _safari_
outfitters. These men supply sportsmen with tents, provisions, and other
things for shooting trips, as well as porters to carry their stuff and
chase the lions out of the jungles so that the hunters may get a shot at

It seems strange to have newspapers under the shadow of Mt. Kenya, and
within a half day’s ride on horseback to lion and rhinoceros hunting.
Nevertheless, Nairobi has three dailies, which also issue weekly
editions. They are all banking on the future of the town and all claim
to be prosperous. They are good-sized journals, selling for from two to
three annas, or from four to six cents each. They have regular cable
dispatches giving them the big news of the world, and they furnish full
reports of the local cricket, polo, tennis, and golf matches. As for
the advertisements, most of them come from the local merchants and some
are odd to an extreme. One of to-day’s papers carries an advertisement
signed by a well-known American circus company which wants to buy a white
rhinoceros, a giant hog, some wild dogs, a wild-tailed mongoose, and a
bongo. Another advertisement, one made along farming lines, is that of
the Homestead Dairy, and others state that certain merchants will outfit
hunters for shooting. There are many land sales advertised, as well as
machinery, American wagons, and all sorts of agricultural implements.

Nairobi has several hotels, the accommodations in which are comfortable.
I am stopping at the Norfolk at the upper end of the town. It is a low
one-story building with a wide porch in front, separated from the dirt
street by a picket fence, and shaded by eucalyptus trees through which
the wind seems to be ever sighing and moaning. The charges are three
dollars and thirty-three cents a day, including meals, but I have to
have my own servant to make my bed and run my errands. I have a room at
the back with a fine view of the stable. A German sportsman next door
has a little cub lion, about as big as a Newfoundland dog, tied in a box
outside his window. During a part of the day he lets the baby lion out,
and ties him by a rope to one of the pillars of the porch. The animal
seems harmless, but its teeth are sharp, and it is entirely too playful
to suit me. Besides, it roars at night.

[Illustration: To be a Swahili, a professing Mohammedan, and boy to a
white man give three strong claims to distinction in African society.
This chap is proud of his white men’s clothes and will steal soap to wash

[Illustration: Many Europeans have taken up farms in the vicinity of
Naivasha, where the flat, grassy land is suitable for sheep. Though
almost on the Equator, the altitude of more than 6,000 feet makes the
climate tolerable for white men.]

[Illustration: John Bull designs his public buildings in Africa with a
view to making an impression on the native. His Majesty’s High Court of
Kenya Colony, sitting at Mombasa, administers both British and Koranic

The horses are fairly good here, but the charges for them are steep. When
I ride out on horseback it costs me a dollar and sixty-five cents an
hour, and the carriage rates are still higher. The best way to get about
is in the jinrikishas, using the natives as beasts of burden, but for a
long ride over the plains horses are necessary.

The heavy hauling of this part of East Africa is done mostly by the
sacred cattle of India. I mean the clean-cut animals with great humps
on their backs. They are fine-looking and are apparently well-bred.
Some of these beasts are hitched to American wagons brought out here
from Wisconsin. I saw such a team hauling a Kentucky plough through the
streets of Nairobi yesterday.

Indeed, I find that American goods are slowly making their way into
these wilds. American axes and sewing machines, and American sowers and
planters are sold by the East Indians. The drug stores carry our patent
medicines and every market has more or less American cottons. The wood
cutters are using American axes, but they complain of the flat or oval
holes made for the handles. They say that a round hole would be better,
as the natives who do the wood cutting are very clumsy and the handles
snap off at the axe. If round holes were used, heavier handles could be
put in and the Negroes could make them themselves.

Nairobi promises to become one of the railroad centres of this part of
the world. It is the chief station between the Indian Ocean and Lake
Victoria, and a road is now proposed from here to Mt. Kenya. The Uganda
Railway goes through some of the poorest country in the colony, and the
Mt. Kenya road will open up a rich agricultural region which is thickly
populated by tribes more than ordinarily industrious. The railroad shops
are here, and the employees have a large collection of tin cottages for
their homes. The headquarters of the railroad, where the chief officers
stay, are one-story tin buildings. The telegraphic offices are connected
with them.

Both railroad and telegraph are run by the government. The telegraphic
rates are comparatively low. Far off here in the jungles of Africa one
can send messages much more cheaply than in the United States. A message
of eight words from here to Uganda costs thirty-three cents, and one can
telegraph to London about as cheaply as from New York to San Francisco.
This is so notwithstanding the difficulty which the linemen have to keep
up the wires, which the jewellery-loving natives steal. During the Nandi
rebellion, forty-odd miles of it were carried away and never recovered,
and in one of the provinces adjoining Uganda, above Lake Victoria, the
natives are so crazy after the copper wire there used that it is almost
impossible to keep the lines in shape.

Another serious danger to the telegraph is the big game. The giraffes
reach up and play with the brackets and pull the wire this way and that.
At Naivasha the hippopotami have once or twice butted down the poles,
and I hear they have been doing considerable damage to the lines along
the coast near the Tana River. In the heart of Uganda the monkeys have a
way of swinging on the wires and twisting them together, which stops the
transmission of messages, so that the way of the lineman is indeed hard.



I have just had a long talk with Mr. Frederick J. Jackson, the acting
governor and commander-in-chief of this big territory which John Bull
owns in the heart of East Africa. Mr. Jackson came out here to hunt big
game years ago, and he has been on the ground from that time to this. He
has long been employed by the British Government in the administration
of Uganda and of the protectorate of East Africa, and he is now
lieutenant-governor in the absence of Colonel Sadler, the acting governor
of the country.

Let me give you some idea of this vast region which the British are
opening up in the midst of the black continent. This country altogether
is larger than the combined states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and
Wisconsin. It has a population of four million natives, most of whom not
so long ago were warring with one another. Some of the tribes made their
living by preying upon their neighbours. Slavery was everywhere common,
and one of the great slave routes to the coast was not far from the line
where the Uganda railway now runs. To-day all these evils have been done
away with. The warlike tribes have been conquered, and are turning their
attention to stock raising and farming. Slavery has been practically
abolished, and peace prevails everywhere. The whole country is now kept
in good order by only about eighteen hundred police and less than two
thousand English and East Indian soldiers. A large part of the region
along the line of the railroad has been divided into ranches and farms.
Small towns are springing up here and there, and in time the greater part
of the plateau will be settled.

There is no doubt that white men can live here. The children I see are
rosy with health, and the farmers claim that, with care, they are as
well as they were when back home in England. There are some Europeans
here who have had their homes on the highlands for over twelve years,
and they report that the climate is healthful and invigorating. They are
able to work out of doors from six until ten o’clock in the morning and
from three to six o’clock in the afternoon, and during a part of the year
all the day through. As a rule, however, the sun is so hot at midday
that one should not go out unless his head is well protected. The heat
here is dry. The nights are usually so cool that a blanket is needed.
Notwithstanding the fact that we are almost on the Equator, at any
altitude above eight thousand feet ice may be found in the early morning.
Nearer the coast the land drops and the climate is tropical. For two
hundred miles back from the Indian Ocean there are practically no white
settlers, except at Mombasa, for it is only on this high plateau that
they are as yet attempting to live.

But let me continue my description in the words of the man who governs
the country. My conversation took place in a long, blue, iron-roofed
building known as the Commissioner’s office, situated on the hill above
Nairobi. I had asked as to the colony’s future. Mr. Jackson replied:

“It is all problematical. We have an enormous territory and millions of
people. We have not yet prospected the country, nor have we dealt long
enough with the natives to know what we can do with the people. We have
really no idea as yet as to just what our resources are, or the labour we
can secure to exploit them.”

[Illustration: Not long ago the great plateau of Kenya Colony was
inaccessible and unknown and its four million blacks were in continual
war with one another. Now, besides the railway, it is being opened up
with roads permitting the use of motor transport.]

[Illustration: Each group of huts is usually surrounded by a thatched
wall, making an inclosure into which cattle, sheep, and goats are driven
at night. Some of the tribes are practically vegetarians, living mostly
on corn, beans, sweet potatoes, millet, and milk.]

“How many inhabitants have you?”

“We do not know. We can get some idea from the taxes, for most of the
provinces have to pay so much per hut. In other places the natives have
hardly been subdued, and of no province have we an accurate census. The
number has been estimated at from two to four millions, but I believe it
is nearer five millions, and possibly more.”

“How about your white settlers? Will this country ever be inhabited by

“That, again, is difficult to say,” replied the conservative governor.
“We have a few European settlers already, but whether we can make this
colony a second South Africa remains to be seen. I have lived here for
over twenty years, and I am not sure as to how much hard manual labour
any white man can do in this latitude. It is true we are more than a mile
above the sea, but nevertheless we are on the Equator, and the climate on
the Equator is not suited to the white man. The only Europeans who will
succeed here will be those who bring some money with them, and who will
use the native labour in their work. I don’t think any settler should
come to East Africa without as much as three thousand dollars, reckoning
the amount in your money. He should have enough to buy his land, stock
it, build his house, and then have something to go on. He should not
start out with a very small tract. Much of the grazing land is now being
divided up into tracts of five thousand acres. If a man takes the first
thousand and pays for it, the other four thousand are held for him
subject to certain improvements and developments upon the first thousand.
After these are completed he may buy the remaining tract at the price of
the first thousand acres.”

“I understand much of your land is being taken up in large holdings.”

“That is so to a certain extent,” replied Mr. Jackson, “but we are now
discouraging such allotments, and would rather have the land apportioned
in tracts of from six hundred and forty acres to about five thousand
acres each. If the land is for grazing the larger area is desirable.
If it is for grain farming or dairying, it is better that it should be
small. As to our large landholders, the British East African Company owns
about five hundred square miles, Lord Delamere has about one hundred
thousand acres, and Lord Hindlip a little less. There are a number of
settlers who have twenty thousand acres or more.”

“How about your ranching possibilities? I understand that your stock
growers expect to found a great meat industry here which will crowd our
Chicago packers out of the markets of England.”

“I do not think there is room for alarm about that matter as yet,”
replied the official. “This country is just in the making, and we know
practically nothing about it. We realize that we have some of the richest
grasses of the world—grasses which have supported vast herds of game, and
upon which cattle, sheep, goats, and hogs will thrive. But we do not know
whether we can conquer the diseases and insect pests which attack all the
animals we have so far imported. We seem to have every disease to which
cows, horses, or sheep are subject in other parts of the world, and I
believe we have some peculiarly our own. We have ticks by the millions
and flies by the myriads. So far, however, our experiments with cattle
are turning out well, and we know that we can produce excellent beef and
good butter. We hope to find our first market for our meats and dairy
products in South Africa, and later on to ship such things to Europe.
The creation of an industry of that kind, though, is a matter of gradual
development. We shall have to arrange about proper transportation, which
means cold-storage cars and cold-storage ships. We have not gone far
enough as yet to be able to predict what we can do.”

“What other possibilities have you?” I asked.

“I think we may eventually be able to raise coffee, and we are already
exploiting certain fibres which grow well between here and the coast. The
plant which produces the Sansivera fibre is indigenous to this country
and is being exploited by Americans who are working not far from the
station of Voi, about one hundred miles from the Indian Ocean. I have no
doubt we can raise sisal hemp, and know that we can grow ramie without

“As to minerals, a great deal of prospecting has already been done,
but the results have not been satisfactory. We know that we have gold,
silver, and copper, but the deposits so far discovered have not been
valuable enough to pay for their mining. This whole country is volcanic.
We lie here in a basin surrounded by volcanoes. We have Mt. Kenya on the
north, Kilimanjaro on the south, and Mt. Elgon away off to the northwest.
The eruptions of these mountains have been so comparatively recent that
some believe that they have buried the precious metals so deep down in
the earth that we shall never get at them.”

“How about your timber?”

“We have fine forests, containing both hard and soft woods, among them
a great deal of cedar such as is used for making cigar boxes and lead
pencils. Most of such wood, however, is inland and at long distance from
streams upon which it could be floated down to the sea. At present, our
timber resources are practically inaccessible by railroad.”

Speaking of the possibilities of this East African colony, it may be one
of the coffee lands of the future. Several plantations which have been
set out not far from here are doing well. There is one coffee estate
within five miles of Nairobi which belongs to the Catholic Mission of the
Holy Ghost. Yesterday I rode out on horseback over the prairie to have
a look at it. The way to the estate is through fenced fields, which are
spotted here and there with the sheet-iron cottages of English settlers.
As I rode on I saw many humped cattle grazing in the pastures. The
grass is everywhere tall and thick, and the red soil, although not much
cultivated as yet, seems rich.

Arriving at the plantation, I was met by Father Tom Burke and walked
with him through his coffee plantation. It covers something like fifteen
acres, and has now more than eight thousand trees in full bearing. The
yield is so good that the plantation is supplying not only the town of
Nairobi with all the coffee it needs, but is shipping several tons every
year to Europe. Father Burke tells me that the coffee trees begin to bear
at a year and a half, and that they are in full bearing within about four
years. As the ripening season is long, the berries have to be picked
many times. I saw blossoms and green and ripe berries on the same tree.
In one place the natives were picking, at another they were hoeing the
plants, while in a third place they were pulping the berries in a pulper
turned by hand. The trees seem thrifty. Father Burke says that the young
plants grow easily, and that where the birds carry the berries away
and drop the seeds the plants will sprout up of themselves. There is a
plantation near by of thirty thousand trees, and I am told that there is
a fair prospect of a considerable coffee industry springing up.

[Illustration: Contact with the white man’s institutions of work, wages,
and money usually leads to an interest in clothing. The demand from East
Africa will some day add millions of yards of cotton cloth to the output
of American mills.]

[Illustration: The Kikuyus are highlanders and number more than a
million. The men coat their bodies and fill their hair with rancid fat
and coloured clay, giving themselves a weird appearance and a worse

[Illustration: Cattle are the wealth of such tribes as the Masai, who own
great numbers of them. The young men especially covet them, for cattle
buy them brides. Sometimes the horns measure fifty-four inches from tip
to tip.]

I saw many Negroes at work in the fields. They were Kikuyus, and were
really fine-looking fellows. They were clearing up new ground, chopping
down the weeds with mattocks, and digging up the soil and turning it
over. The sweat stood in beads upon their brows and backs and ran down
their bare legs. I asked the priest what wages they got, and was told
that they each received the equivalent of about five cents for a day of
ten hours. I suggested to the reverend father that the pay was small, but
he said that the natives could not earn more than that sum and even at
those wages it was difficult to keep them at work.

I hear this same statement made everywhere. The English people here think
that the native Africans are well enough paid at the rate of a half cent
per hour or of a rupee per month. If you protest they will say that that
sum is sufficient to supply all the wants of a black man and ask why he
should be paid more. Think of it, ye American toilers who belong to our
labour unions. Think of five cents a day for carrying bricks or stone,
for chopping up ground under the eyes of a taskmaster, or for trotting
along through the grass, hour after hour, with a load of sixty pounds on
your head! Think of it, and you may get an idea of how the English white
man here is carrying the black man’s burden! Indeed, as the Frenchman
says, “it is to laugh!”



Kenya Colony is in the land of big game, and Nairobi is the chief place
where parties are fitted out for hunting. As I write this chapter several
large parties are here preparing to go out “on safari,” as such hunts are
called. The Norfolk Hotel is filled with hunters and behind it are scores
of black, half-naked porters and tent boys, packing sporting goods into
boxes, laying in provisions and arranging things for the march. There
are headmen rounding up the porters and giving each his load. There are
gunbearers seeing to the arms and ammunition, and there are the sportsmen
themselves, some clad all in khaki, some wearing riding breeches and
leggings, and all in thick helmets.

First in the normal personnel of a _safari_ comes the headman, who is
supposed to be in full charge, except for the gunbearers and tent boy,
who are personal servants and under the immediate direction of their
masters. The _askaris_ are armed soldiers to guard the camp at night and
look after the porters on the route. There is one _askari_ to every ten
or twenty porters. The cook has a staff of assistants. Each sportsman’s
tent boy must look after his tent and clothing and serve him at meals.
The _syces_, or pony boys, look after the horses and equipment.

In the big yard upon which my hotel rooms look I can see piles of tusks,
heads, horns, and skins brought in by parties which have just returned,
and in one corner is the baby lion whose roars have pestered my sleep.
Among the hunters are several eminent and titled English men and women,
some of the latter having come out to try a shot at a lion or so. During
this last year two women have shot lions here, and one of the biggest
man-eaters ever killed in East Africa came down through a bullet from a
gun in the hands of an American girl.

There is so much game that almost any one who goes out can bring back
something. Last year’s bag, numbering many thousand head, was shot
by sportsmen from England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, India,
Australia, North America, and New Zealand. We have all read the stories
of Theodore Roosevelt who shot lions and elephants here and in Uganda,
and we know that British East Africa has supplied the Chicago Museum and
the National Museum at Washington with some of their finest zoölogical

The hunting laws here are rigid. No one can shoot without a license,
and the man who kills young elephants, cow elephants, or baby giraffes
will pay a big fine and spend a long term in jail. Shooting big game is
regulated by license.

The sportsman’s license, with certain restrictions, gives the right
to shoot or capture two bull buffaloes, four lions, one rhinoceros,
two hippopotami, ten Colobi monkeys, four marabout, and a limited and
specified number of other game, such as antelope, bongos, reedbucks,
and cheetahs. A special license costing a hundred and fifty rupees,
about fifty dollars, is required for one elephant, while the privilege
of killing two elephants costs three times as much. Only two elephants
are allowed every year. It costs fifty dollars to get a permit to
kill or capture a giraffe and the hunter is allowed only one a year. A
traveller’s license, available for a month, costs five dollars and gives
the right to kill or capture four zebra and not over five antelopes out
of eight named varieties. Animals killed on private land on either the
traveller’s or sportsman’s license do not count in the total authorized.
A register must be kept of all kills or captures under license. As for
leopards and crocodiles, no permit is required to shoot them.

[Illustration: “Some of the zebras are within pistol shot of my train.
Their black and white stripes shine in the sunlight. They raise their
heads as the train passes, then continue their grazing.”]

[Illustration: While game is abundant it is also protected by rigid laws.
Every hunter must have a license and none may shoot more than four lions.
A special license is required to kill the maximum of two elephants a

[Illustration: Sportsmen of a dozen different nationalities come here
every year to hunt the giraffes and all sorts of other big game, which
is so plentiful that almost any one can get something. Women are often
included in the hunting parties.]

There is such a great variety of game that there is no need of chasing
over the swamps or tramping about over the plains for days before one
gets a shot. One sees a dozen different kinds of beasts on the plains at
the same time, and can change his sport from day to day. The sportsman
will find antelopes almost everywhere and will not infrequently be in
sight of an ostrich or so. These birds are big game and are hunted
largely on ponies. They are very speedy, and, however it may be
elsewhere, here they do not poke their heads down in the sand and wait
for the hunter to come. On the other hand, they spread out their wings
and go off on the trot, swimming, as it were, over the ground. They can
run faster than a horse, but they actually run in large circles and the
hunters catch them by cutting across the arcs of the circles or running
around in smaller circles inside. It is a great thing here to shoot a
cock ostrich in order that you may give your sweetheart or wife the
beautiful white feathers from his wings.

And then there is the zebra! His black and white stripes shine out so
plainly in the brilliant sun that he is to be seen by the thousand on
the Athi plains, and not far from the railroad all the way from Voi to
Uganda—a distance greater than from New York to Pittsburgh. Had it not
been against the law, I could have picked off some with my revolver as
I rode through on the cars. The zebra is rather shyer when found far
from the railroad, but on the whole he is easy to kill. Away from the
game reservations on the railroad he will run like a deer, and as zebras
usually go in droves the excitement of following them over the plain is
intense. Zebra skins tanned with the hair on are fine trophies, and I am
told that zebra steak is excellent eating. The flesh tastes like beef
with a gamier flavour. The animals are so beautiful, however, and so much
like horses, that only a brute would kill them for sport.

In hunting elephants many a sportsman makes enough to pay a good share
of his African expenses. He can shoot only two bull elephants, but if
he gets good ones their four tusks may bring him fifteen hundred or two
thousand dollars. The African elephants have the largest tusks of their
kind. I have seen some which weighed one hundred and fifty pounds each,
and tusks have been taken which weigh up to two hundred pounds. African
ivory is the best and fetches the highest prices. It is difficult to get
the tusks out. The porters may be half a day chopping away the meat, and
it will take about four men to carry a tusk of the size I have mentioned.
There are men here who hunt elephants for their ivory, but most of the
licenses are issued to sportsmen, who care more for the honour of having
made a good shot than anything else.

One of the best places to shoot an elephant is through the eye or halfway
between the ear and the eye. Another good shot is just back of the flap
of the ear, and a third is in a place on one side of the tail so that
the ball will run along the spine and enter the lungs. Large bullets and
heavy guns are used. When the animal is close it is exceedingly dangerous
to shoot and not kill. When injured the elephant is very revengeful. He
will throw his trunk into the air, scream, hiss, and snort and rush after
the hunter, knocking him down with a blow of his trunk and charging upon
him with his great tusks. If the man falls, the huge beast is liable to
kneel upon him and mash him to a jelly.

One of the difficulties of hunting elephants is the fact that it is not
easy to distinguish them in the woods, as they are of much the same
colour as the trees. A traveller here tells me that he once almost walked
into a big elephant while going through the forest. He was stooping down
and looking straight before him when he saw the beast’s legs and took
them for tree trunks.

The average elephants of this region can easily make six miles an hour
while on the march. They usually travel in herds, young and old moving
along together. Notwithstanding their enormous weight, the animals can
swim well, and can cross the largest rivers without any trouble.

Most of those which used to overrun these plains have been driven
away and must now be hunted in the woods; but there are plenty in the
forests between here and Uganda, and about the slopes of Mt. Kenya and
Mt. Kilimanjaro. There are also many in the south near the Zambezi, and
west of Lake Tanganyika, in the forests along the Congo. Some years ago
they were being killed off at such a rapid rate, and the ivory output
was decreasing so fast, that strict rules for their preservation were
inaugurated and are being enforced.

As for hippos and rhinos, there are plenty of them still left along the
streams and about the great lakes of the tropical parts of the continent.
There are rhinoceroses almost everywhere in the woods between Nairobi
and Uganda. I have seen a number of hippos, and were I a hunter, which
I am not, I could, I venture to say, bag enough of their hides to make
riding whips for all the hunt clubs of Virginia. The settlers tell me
the animals come in and root up their gardens, and that it is almost
impossible to fence against them.

Both rhinos and hippos are hard to kill. Each has a skin about half an
inch thick, and there are only a few places upon them where a ball will
go through. Hippos can be hunted in boats on the lakes, but they swim
rapidly and dive deep, remaining under the surface a long time. They
move along through the water, showing only their ears and nose. They are
so wary that it is difficult to get a shot at just the right place. One
of the best points at which to aim is under the eye or back of the head
between the ears. These animals are sometimes harpooned, but such hunting
is dangerous, as they are liable to crush one’s boat.

The rhinos also have to be approached very carefully. They have a keen
sense of smell, although they cannot see to any great distance and their
hearing is not good. They are usually hunted on foot, and one must be
careful to get on the windward side of them. A rhinoceros does not
hesitate to charge an enemy. He uses the great horn on his nose, which is
a terrible weapon, and enables him to kill a horse at one blow. Most of
these beasts are black, but now and then a white one is found. I met a
man the other day who claimed to have killed a white rhinoceros.

Since I have been in Africa I have received a number of letters from
American sportsmen asking the cost of shooting big game in this part of
the world. The question is hard to answer. It depends on the man and to
some extent on the bargains he makes. There are business firms in Nairobi
and in Mombasa which specialize in outfitting hunting parties, making
all arrangements for guides, food, and porters somewhat as Cook does for
tourists. The prices, in such cases, depend upon the length and character
of the tour and the size of the party. There is a young American here now
whose mother calls him “Dodo,” who paid five hundred dollars for a three
days’ hunt after leopards, and this did not necessitate a permit, as
they are on the free list. The young man tramped about with his porters
through the tall grass, and was given a shot or so at two leopards, both
of which he missed. Had he tried for big game it would have cost him at
the least two hundred and fifty dollars more.

On a long hunt the expenses of all kinds can be considerably reduced,
and I should think that forty dollars a day for each sportsman in the
party would be a fair estimate. I am told that a man can be fitted out
with porters, gunbearers and personal servants for two hundred and fifty
dollars a month. One can get a good cook for from five to eight dollars a
month, a gunbearer for about ten dollars, and a personal servant for from
eight to ten dollars.

The question of provisions for the trip depends much upon the tastes of
the individual sportsman. There are native villages almost everywhere
at which some fresh food can be bought at cheap rates. Chickens are
plentiful at eight cents a pound and meats cost the same. In the streams
and lakes there are fish; the guns of the party ought to supply plenty of
game; and one need never suffer for the want of antelope or zebra steak.

Other food should be packed up in boxes of sixty pounds each; and in
case the outfit is prepared at Nairobi, each box will have sufficient
for one man’s requirements for one week. Most of the stuff is in tins,
and usually includes plenty of Chicago canned beef, Canadian bacon, and
London biscuits, jams, and marmalades. Such boxes are labelled with
numbers, No. 1 containing the first week’s supply, No. 2 the second
week’s, and so on. Each box weighs just sixty pounds, as no more than
that can be carried on the head of one porter.

I would advise the American sportsman who intends coming out here to
shoot, to stop off on the way in England for most of his supplies.
Several London firms make a specialty of outfitting for African travel
and for hunting expeditions. One should have double-roofed tents, the
square tents being the best. It will be well to bring a mackintosh or
rubber blanket, one foot wider all around than the floor of the tent, for
many of the camps may be soggy and marshy. One should also have a folding
bedstead, a cork bed, and warm blankets. A folding chair and table will
not be found amiss.



Shortly after leaving Nairobi by train for Lake Victoria I came into the
land of the Kikuyus, where I stopped off for a while. Over a million of
these native people live in the country about two thousand feet above
Nairobi. We could see their farms and villages everywhere as we rode by
on the railway. In clearing the land they first burn off the trees and
other vegetation, then work the ground until it is barren. After that
they clear more land, letting the first tracts lie fallow until Nature
revives them. Some of the Kikuyu farms are no bigger than a bed quilt;
others cover a quarter of an acre, and some twice as much. The fields are
not fenced, and now and then a rhino or hippo gets in and wallows, while
near the woodlands the monkeys pull up the crops. The chief thing raised
is Indian corn.

The dress of the Kikuyus consists mostly of grease, clay, and telegraph
wire. The grease makes their brown skins shine, the red clay gives it a
copper hue, and the telegraph wire loads their arms, necks, and ankles.
The grease is usually mutton fat and the clay is the red earth found
everywhere. The more rancid the fat the better they seem to like it.
The average man or woman so smells to heaven that one can distinguish a
native’s existence long before he sees him. They soak their hair with
this tallow until under the tropical sun you can almost hear the stuff
sizzle. They stiffen their hair with clay so that it can be put up in all
sorts of shapes. I examined one man’s head the other day. It was a pale
brick-rust colour and covered with something like ten thousand individual
curls which stood out over his pate like the snakes of the Medusa. Each
curl was an inch long and had been twisted by a professional hairdresser.

This man had six long pipe stems in his ears. Each was as big around
as a lead pencil and about the same length, and was fastened through a
hole made in the rim of the ear by a kind of brass button. These stems
standing out at the sides of his head looked almost like horns, save that
they projected from the ears. He had beads in the lobes. One of the men
with him had the lobe of his ear so stretched that it held a plug as big
as an apple. I bought the plug of him for three cents, and the man then
took the two lobes of his ears and joined them together under his chin,
tying them there with a bit of fibre in order that they might not catch
on a branch as he went through the forest.

The Kikuyus live in small villages that look like collections of haycocks
until one comes close to them. When one gets inside he finds they contain
as many animals as men. The houses are thatched huts built about six
feet apart in circles around an inclosure in which the cattle, sheep,
and goats are kept at night. The sheep and goats often get inside the
huts. Each circle of houses usually belongs to one family, a chief and
his relatives thus living together. The huts have wooden walls about four
feet high with conical roofs. The boards, which are about eighteen inches
or two feet wide, are chopped out of the trees with the native axes. A
native and his wives will require about ten days to build a shelter. The
wood used is soft, and the kind is regulated by the government, which
charges sixty-six cents for enough lumber to build one shack.

[Illustration: From the Uganda and Kenya jungles thousands of pounds of
ivory go down to Mombasa. The best tusks come from the uplands of British
East Africa, and the ivory from one bull elephant may pay a hunter’s

[Illustration: The Kikuyu woman, as in most African tribes, is privileged
to do all of the work. When going to the fields she often carries her
baby in a sort of pouch, or sling, suspended from her shoulders.]

Besides its huts, each family has two or three granaries for its supply
of Indian corn. These are made with thatched roofs, wicker walls and
wicker floors, and are raised a foot or eighteen inches off the ground.
They are usually about as big around as a hogshead and six feet high.

The Kikuyus are practically vegetarians. They live on corn, beans, sweet
potatoes, and a kind of millet. They have a few cattle and some sheep,
but they consider them too valuable to be slaughtered and only eat them
when the cattle are sick or become injured in some way and have to be
killed. They have no chickens, and eat neither fowls nor eggs. This is
because, in the past, the crowing of cocks would give away the locality
of a village, thereby bringing down its enemies and the slave traders
upon it.

These people have many dishes like ours. They eat roasting ears off the
cob, and they boil beans and corn together to make a kind of succotash.
They have also a gruel made of millet and milk, and if one of the family
becomes sick he is sometimes given mutton broth. In their cooking they
use clay jars which they rest upon stones above fires built on the
ground. They use gourds for carrying milk and water, and bags of woven
bark ranging in size from a pint to four bushels are used for all sorts
of purposes. The larger ones serve for the transportation of their grain
to the markets.

The Kikuyu looks upon the females of his family as so much available
capital. If a man has fifteen or twenty wives, he is supposed to be rich
beyond the dreams of avarice. I hear that many of the chiefs have a dozen
or more, and that since the British have begun to exploit the forests,
the more industrious of the native men have been rapidly increasing their
families. A good girl, large and healthy, will bring as much as fifty
sheep. A maiden is supposed to be ready for sale at twelve years, and
twenty dollars in cattle or sheep is an average price. For this sum the
woman should be large, well formed, and fairly good looking. Homely or
lean girls go cheap and often remain single, in which case they have to
work for their parents. A man may pay down ten sheep and agree to bring
in the balance from month to month as he and his wives earn the money
for them. He goes into the woods and cuts down trees, being paid so much
per stick. If he works hard, he may make three or four dollars a month,
and if, in addition, he has several women to help him, his income may be
doubled or trebled.

In such work the men cut the wood and the women carry it on their backs
to the market. They are loaded up by their husbands, a piece of goat skin
separating the rough sticks from the woman’s bare skin, and the burden
being tied on by a rope of vines which rests on the forehead. In addition
to this goat skin on her back, the woman usually has an apron or skirt of
skin tied about the waist and reaching to the knees and sometimes below
them. A strong, lusty girl can carry as much as two hundred pounds of
wood in this way, and her husband does not scruple to pile on all she can

In coming from the plains over the mountains into the Great Rift Valley
I rode for miles through the woods and had a chance to see what the
British Government is doing to save the forests.

The wooded area of Kenya extends over three thousand two hundred
square miles, of which the tropical forest covers about a hundred and
eighty-three square miles, the remainder being upland or highland,
containing valuable trees. Transportation facilities are so limited,
however, and much of the country is so little known that the British have
only made a good beginning in exploiting the timber resources and in
scientific forestry work.

Lumber is high. Leaving the Kikuyu hills, one finds that there are woods
all the way to the ridge known as the Escarpment and they extend for
some distance down the sides of the Rift Valley. Here in the valley
itself the country is mostly pasture and there is no timber of any
account. In the forest region above referred to the woods are thin, and
in many places the original growth has been cleared by the Kikuyus. The
government is now prohibiting their practice of burning the wood, and
doing all it can to save the trees remaining and to build up new wood
lands. I met at Naivasha an Australian, one of the heads of the forestry
department, who told me that the government had nurseries at Mombasa,
Nairobi, Escarpment, and Landaivi. Near Mombasa they are setting out teak
trees, while at Nairobi they have planted a large number of acacia and
eucalyptus trees, imported from Australia. The eucalyptus grows well at
Nairobi. I saw trees there seventy-five feet high although they were only
five years old.

The forest manager told me he was labouring under the greatest of
disadvantages in his efforts to raise new trees. He said he had to fight
not only the natives, but also the monkeys, baboons, and other wild
animals. The woods are full of monkeys, among them a dog-faced baboon
which grows as big as a ten-year-old boy. This creature barks like a
dog and acts like a devil. It watches the planting, then sneaks in at
night and digs up the trees. If seeds are put in, it digs them up and
bites them in two, and if the trees should sprout it pulls the sprouts
out of the ground and breaks them up and throws them away. As a result,
the nurseries have to be watched all the time by men with guns in their
hands. If the men have no guns the baboons will jump for the nearest tree
and grin from the branches, only to return to their devastating work
as soon as the watchmen go away. If guns are brought out, the animals
realize their danger and run for their lives. These monkeys also dig up
the Indian corn planted by the Kikuyus, and are said to be far worse than
crows and blackbirds combined.

At one of the stations between Naivasha and the Escarpment I saw a
half-dozen Nandi, including two women. The men were almost naked, save
that they wore cloaks of monkey skins with the fur on and strips of
cowskin about the waist. The women had on waist cloths and blankets of
cowhides tanned with the hair on. These blankets were fastened over one
shoulder, leaving the arms and half of the breasts bare. The Nandi were
walking along the railroad track, and were closely watched by the station
agents, for they are great thieves, and the British have had trouble with
them because they steal the bolts and rivets which hold the rails to the
ties, and even climb the telegraph poles after the wire. The native men
are crazy for iron. They can use the bolts and rivets for slingshots
to brain their enemies. All the iron they have had in the past has
come from digging up the ore and smelting it, so you can imagine how
delightful it is to a Nandi warrior to pick up a fine, death-dealing iron
bolt all ready for his sling. The Nandi live northwest of Naivasha, on a
plateau which contains iron deposits, and they make a business of mining
and smelting. Since the railroad has been built, they have come down from
time to time and raided the tracks, and the British have had several
little fights with them to drive them off.

These Nandi are among the bravest of the African natives. They are
much like the Masai, delighting in warfare, and ready to fight at the
least provocation. They are more civilized than the Kikuyus, and do
considerable work in iron and leather. They have cattle, sheep, and
goats, while a few do some farming. Like the Masai, they bleed their
cattle and drink the blood hot, sometimes mixing it with their porridge.
After bleeding, they close the wounds so that the cattle grow well again.
They are good hunters and have large dogs with which they run down the
game, so that it can be killed with spears. They also trap game by
digging wedge-shaped pits and covering them over with grass. They have
donkeys to carry the iron ore from the mines to their furnaces, where
they turn it into pig metal.

I understand that the Nandi live about the same as the other natives
about here. They have circular huts of boards roofed with thatch. Each
hut has a fireplace in the centre on each side of which is a little bed
consisting of a platform of mud built along the wall of the hut. The
people sleep on the mud, using round blocks of wood for pillows. The
children sleep with their parents until they are six years of age, when
they are shoved off into a smaller hut outside built especially for
them. The Nandi believe in witches and medicine men, and have a sky god
to whom they pray every morning and to whom they sacrifice when times are

Nearly all of these Africans believe in witch doctors. The Wakamba, whose
country I passed through on my way to Nairobi, not infrequently kill the
women of their tribe when they are charged with witchcraft, and there is
a record of something like forty having been murdered this way within the
last few years.

I saw these Wakamba on the Athi plains and in and about Nairobi. They are
tall and fine looking, with woolly hair, rather thick lips, and almost
straight noses.



In the heart of the East African highlands, as far south of the
Mediterranean Sea as New York is distant from Denver, and as far west of
the Indian Ocean as Pittsburgh is west of the Atlantic, I am writing this
chapter. Lake Naivasha, which is spread out before me, is in the Great
Rift Valley, a mighty trough that runs almost north and south through
this part of the continent. This great rift begins, it is now believed,
south of the Zambezi and embraces Lake Rudolf on the north. Traces of it
are to be found even in Palestine. It is supposed to have been formed
by the earth’s folding up after a stupendous volcanic eruption, which
left the craters of Kilimanjaro, Kenya, and Elgon touching the clouds at
altitudes of from fourteen thousand to nearly twenty thousand feet.

The valley was named by Professor J. W. Gregory, the famous British
geologist, who came out to East Africa in order to explore its system of
valleys and to discover their origin. For many months he disappeared.
There were rumours that he had been killed and cut to pieces by the
Masai. But one day he turned up, looking ill and worn but triumphant. The
results of his trip were published in a book now historical, “The Great
Rift Valley,” from which this huge trough got its name. To-day one sees
everywhere in this part of the country notices of “Rift Valley” farms or
“Rift Valley” hotels. It is still an objective of scientific explorations
and the subject of scientific discussions.

This mighty valley narrows and widens, it rises and falls, and it has
many big lakes. Broadly speaking, all the great lakes of East Africa are
in it or in its spurs. North of here are Lakes Baringo and Rudolf, and
still farther north in Abyssinia is Lake Tsana, the source of the Blue
Nile. As I write I am looking out on Lake Naivasha, a beautiful sheet
of blue water over which white cranes are flying. I can see zebras and
buck feeding not far from the water, and with my glass can watch the ugly
black heads of three hippopotami bobbing up and down like giant fishing
corks upon the surface. The swampy shores are lined with masses of reeds.
Just back of them the ground rises into rich pastures which are protected
from sportsmen by the reservations allotted to the Uganda Railway and
which fairly swarm with big game.

The weather here is delightful. We are so near the Equator that we can
almost straddle it, but the altitude is such that blankets are needed
at night and it is never excessively hot during the day. Naivasha is
a little higher up in the air than the top of Mt. Washington. Indeed,
the climate of the whole Rift Valley is said to be suited to white men.
This matter is being tested by settlers, for large tracts of land have
been taken up in different places not far from the railroad, and there
are many Englishmen who are going into stock raising. Near the lake,
at Morendat, the government of Kenya Colony has started an experiment
farm and there are big ranches in the immediate vicinity. There are no
tsetse flies here, for even in the tropics the tsetse is seldom found at
an altitude over four thousand feet. The zebras, which one sees by the
hundreds in almost any ride over the valley, are evidences that horses
will thrive. There are also many ostriches, and in time we may have
ostrich farming here as in South Africa. The average elevation of the
lake valley is something like six thousand feet, and the grass is said to
be luxuriant everywhere.

[Illustration: Mr. Carpenter, who is five feet eight inches tall, cannot
reach more than half way up the tall stalk of the elephant grass. It has
been introduced from Africa into some of our Southern States and makes a
coarse forage crop.]

[Illustration: The Nandi are among the most warlike of the tribes, and
before they were overcome by the British were the terror of more peaceful
neighbours. Like the Masai, they bleed their cattle and drink the blood

This is one of the strongholds of the Masai race, who have always been
noted as warriors and stock raisers. I see them about Naivasha, and not
a few still carry spears and shields. They have many little towns near
by, and their settlements are scattered throughout the Rift Valley. They
live in huts about four feet high, six feet wide, and nine feet long.
The huts, which look like great bake ovens, are made of branches woven
together and plastered with mud. Sometimes they are smeared over with
cow dung, which material often forms the floors. When it rains, skins
are laid over the roofs to protect them. The houses are usually built in
a circle about an inclosure, in which the cattle are kept at night. The
sheep and goats are allowed to run in and out of the huts. Some of the
towns have fences of thorns around them to keep out the wild beasts.

These Masai are a fierce-looking people. The men are tall and straight,
and walk as though they owned the earth. When they have their war paint
on, they use a decoration of ostrich feathers which surrounds their
faces, and is supposed to carry terror to the souls of their enemies.

These natives are by no means pure Negroes, but belong to the
Hamitic-negroid or non-Bantu group. Their skins are dark brown, their
noses are often straight, and their lips not very thick. I can’t tell
you whether their hair is woolly or not, for the women shave it close to
the scalp, using razors of iron or glass, and polish their heads with
grease so that they fairly shine in the sun. I understand they pull out
the hair from all parts of their bodies and that even the babies are
shaved. Many of the men carry about tweezers of iron to pull the hairs
from their chins, cheeks, and nostrils, and they keep themselves shaved
until they are old enough to be warriors. This comes along about the time
they reach manhood. They then let the hair of their heads grow and plait
it into pigtails, which they frequently wear down over the forehead. The
head, along with the rest of the body, is often anointed with oil and red
clay. The warrior sometimes wears a lion’s head and mane in addition to
the circle of ostrich feathers about the face. His arms are a sword and
a club. He has a spear with a very long blade and an oval shield bearing
figures which indicate his clan.

Like the Kikuyus and Nandi, these people buy their wives. Marriage,
however, is not supposed to take place until the Masai becomes an
elder—that is, until he reaches the age of about twenty-seven or thirty.
This is after his fighting days are over and he is ready to settle down,
as it were. The warriors and the young girls of the tribe live together
up to that time in a separate establishment apart from the rest of the

In order to marry, a warrior has to ask permission of the elders of
the tribe. If this is given, he straightway buys his wife. If she is a
good-looking girl she will cost him two cows, two bullocks, two sheep,
and some goatskins. This money goes to the nearest relative of the woman
he has selected, who may lower the price if he will. Divorces may be had
for laziness and bad temper on the part of the wife; and in such cases
a part of the marriage fee is sometimes returned. A widow cannot marry
again. If her husband dies, the relict goes back to her mother, or to her
brother if her mother be dead.

As far as I can learn these Masai girls have a soft snap. They are
required to do nothing until they are married. Before that they play
with the warriors, spending their time in dancing and singing and
loafing about. The unmarried girl often does not do her own cooking.
This condition continues for a long time after marriage and up until
all the babies of the family are fairly well grown. As soon as that is
accomplished, however, the hard-working period begins. Almost all the
hard labour of the tribe is done by the older women, who collect the
firewood, build the mud houses, and gather the cow manure with which
their walls are smeared. When the villages are moved from place to place,
these withered dames take the parts of donkeys and bullocks in carrying
the burdens, and then erect the new huts.

These Masai are a nation of stock raisers and own herds of cattle, sheep,
and goats, which they drive about from pasture to pasture in the Southern
Reservation where the British Government has put them. The cattle are
of the humped variety like the sacred cows of India, many of them being
fat, sleek, and fine looking. Some of the animals are branded, and not
a few have rude bells of iron so they may be traced if they stray. Most
of the cattle are watched by half-naked boys, who drive them about with
sticks. Morning and evening the cows are brought into the villages to be
milked, and nearly every town of mud huts has its cow houses. The women
do the milking. This is contrary to the custom in some parts of Africa,
where it is thought the cows will go dry if any female touches them. The
milk is caught in gourds which are afterward cleaned with handfuls of
burnt grass. The people always drink their milk fresh, but their method
of cleaning the gourds gives it a smoky flavour. If a calf dies, it is
skinned and stuffed with straw and then placed under the cow’s nose at
milking time, for the natives say the cow will not “let down” her milk
unless the calf is alongside.

The Masai are blood drinkers. Their country has practically no salt,
and I am told that they make up for this lack and keep healthy by blood

The people eat but few vegetables and, strangely enough, do not kill or
eat game. They do no farming whatever. Their cooking is usually done in
pots of burnt clay varying from eight to twenty inches in height. The
larger pots are not placed over the fire, but at the side of it, and are
turned around, now and then, in order that they may be evenly heated.

Much of my information about the Masai comes from Captain Sidney L.
Hinde, who has had a long experience in Africa as an official, explorer,
and lion hunter. He has written some books upon the Congo and other
African countries, and knows much concerning this part of the world.
My talk with Captain Hinde was at Mombasa, in a beautiful cottage
overlooking the Indian Ocean. Upon the floors were skins of lions and
leopards killed by Captain or Mrs. Hinde, and on the walls were the heads
of giraffes, antelope, and gnus shot by her.

[Illustration: The Kavirondo wear little in town and less in the country.
The tassel hanging from the waist at the back is the tribal mark of a
married woman, while anklets of telephone wire are the style for both men
and women.]

[Illustration: By putting larger and larger objects in the lobes of their
ears the natives stretch them into great loops of flesh, sometimes so
long as to be tied under the chin to keep them from catching in going
through the bush.]

The evolution of a British colony and how John Bull assumes the white
man’s burden can be read between the lines of my conversation with these
people. Said Captain Hinde:

“When Mrs. Hinde and I first came into the province the country was in
the same condition it had been in for ages. We found that it contained
about a million people, who lived in little villages, each containing
about ten huts or so. There were no great chiefs. Each village was
independent and almost constantly at war with the neighbouring villages.
The citizens of one settlement knew nothing of those of the other
settlements about. A man dared not venture more than ten miles from his
home, and he had little knowledge of the country outside that radius.
There were no roads whatever excepting trails which wound this way and
that over the land. The only meeting places were at the markets, which
were held at fixed points on certain days of the week or month. It is a
rule throughout Africa that warfare and fighting must be suspended on
market days, and no one dares bring arms to a market or fight there. If
he should engage in fighting and be killed, his relatives cannot claim
blood money.

“When we took possession of the Kenya province we had to fight our way
in. As soon as we had subdued the people, we made them work at making
roads as a penalty for their insurrection. We connected all the villages
by roadways and gave each town so much to take care of. As a result we
now have in that province alone several hundred miles of good wagon roads
each ten feet wide. We have also made it the law that all roads shall be
treated in one respect like a market place. This means that no native can
assault another while walking upon them and that all feuds must be buried
when travelling over the highways. Many of these roads connect villages
which were formerly at war with each other, and the result of the law is
that they have become peaceful and the citizens can now pass safely from
one town to another. They are really changing their natures and are going
through a process of travel-education. As I have already said, five years
ago they never left home. Now thousands of them go over our thoroughfares
down to the seacoast, and we have something like eighteen hundred natives
of Kenya here at Mombasa.”

The British have found the Masai such good cattlemen that they believe
they can train them into good grooms for horses. Another feature of
British dealings with the natives is the establishment of trading posts
in the native reserves. Here the Africans are encouraged to set up little
stores of their own. It is hoped that this will develop wants and help
civilize the more backward groups, like the Masai, until they become as
enterprising as the Bagandas and Kavirondos.



Unfurl your fans and take out your kerchiefs to hide your blushes. We
are about to have a stroll among the Kavirondo, who inhabit the eastern
shores of Lake Victoria on the western edge of Kenya Colony. These people
are all more or less naked, and some of the sights we dare not describe.
We have our cameras with us, but our Postmaster General would not allow
some of our films to go through the mails, and no newspaper would publish
certain pictures we take.

We are in the heart of the continent, on the wide Gulf of Kavirondo on
the eastern shore of the second greatest fresh-water lake of the world.
That island-studded sea in front of us is Lake Victoria; and over there
at the northwest, less than a week’s march on foot and less than two
days by the small steamers which ply on the lake, is Napoleon Gulf, out
of which flows that great river, the Nile. With the glass one may see
the hippopotami swimming near the shores of Kavirondo Bay, while behind
us are plains covered with pastures and spotted with droves of cattle,
antelope, and gnu, grazing not far from the queerly thatched huts of the
stark-naked natives.

The plains have a sparse growth of tropical trees, and looking over them
we can catch sight of the hills which steadily rise to the Mau Escarpment
of the Great Rift Valley. Still farther east are the level highlands of
Kenya Colony, the whole extending on and on to Mombasa and the Indian
Ocean, as far distant from Kisumu as Cleveland is from New York. I have
been travelling for days in coming the five hundred and eighty-four miles
which lie between us and the ocean.

Kisumu, formerly known as Port Florence, is the terminus of the Uganda
Railway, the principal port of Lake Victoria, and quite a commercial
centre. Steamers sail from Kisumu weekly to Uganda ports and back, and
fortnightly round the lake by alternate routes, i.e., north and south.
The trade is greatly increasing, and ivory, hides, grain, and rubber from
Tanganyika Territory, the Upper Congo, and the lands to the north of the
lake are shipped through here to the coast. The cars come right down to a
wooden wharf which extends well out into the Kavirondo Gulf. On the lake
are several small steamers, brought up here in pieces and put together,
which are now bringing in freight from all parts of this big inland sea.

At the custom house inside an enclosure close to the wharf the travellers
had to pay a fee of fifty cents a package on all parcels except personal
luggage. I was glad we got in before six-thirty, the closing hour for all
custom houses in Uganda ports, for after that if I were carrying a parcel
I should have to slip five rupees to the official in charge.

Kisumu is just a little tin town in the African wilds, yet there is a
hotel where one can stay quite comfortably until he takes the steamer
for the lake trip. There is an Indian bazaar near the station, but the
post office, the few government buildings, and most of the residences are
built on the hill to get the breeze from the lake. The Victoria Road and
the Connaught Promenade are well laid out. Near the station there is a
cotton ginnery where considerable quantities of cotton from Uganda are
ginned and baled for export. A trail leads across country from Kisumu to
Mumias, forty-eight miles away, and to Jinja, the source of the Nile.

The European population consists of some soldiers belonging to the King’s
African Rifles, of the government officials, and of some employees of the
railroad. The officials put on great airs. Among the passengers who came
in with me yesterday was a judge who will settle the disputes among the
natives. He was met at the cars by some soldiers and a gang of convicts
in chains. The latter had come to carry his baggage and other belongings
to his galvanized iron house on the hill and each was dressed in a heavy
iron collar with iron chains extending from it to his wrists and ankles.
Nevertheless, they were able to aid in lifting the boxes and in pushing
them off on trucks, prodded to their work all the while by the guns of
the soldiers on guard.

But let us “take our feet in our hands,” as Uncle Remus says, and tramp
about. Later on we may march off into the country through which I
travelled for about fifty miles on my way here. In the town itself we
may now and then see a man with a blanket wrapped around him, and the
men frequently wear waist cloths behind or in front. Outside of the town
they are stark naked. All have skins of a dark chocolate brown. They have
rather intelligent faces, woolly hair, and lips and noses like those of a
Negro. They belong to the Bantu family and are among the best formed of
the peoples of Africa. Some one has said that travelling through their
country is like walking through miles of living statuary.

Take these Kavirondo men who have gathered about me just now as I write.
Some of them look as though they might have been cut from black marble
by a sculptor. Look at those three brown bucks at my left. They are
as straight as Michelangelo’s famed statue of David and about as well
formed. See how firmly they stand on their black feet. Their heads are
thrown back and two have burst out laughing as I turn my camera toward
them. With my eye I can follow the play of all their muscles as they slip
beneath those smooth ebony skins. The Kavirondo seem the perfection of
physical manhood. That nude fellow next me has a coil of wire about his
biceps and a pound of wire on his right wrist. He is smoking a pipe, but
it just hangs between his teeth, which shine out, flashing white as he

The man next him has two brass rings on each of his black thumbs, bands
of telegraph wire around his wrists, and two wide coils of wire above and
below the biceps of his left arm. He has five wire bands about his neck,
circles of wire under each knee, and great anklets of twisted wire on
each of his feet. As I look I can see the calloused places where the wire
has worn into his instep. There are worse ones on that third man whose
ankles are loaded with twisted wire. The latter must have several pounds
on each leg, and the wire on the right leg extends from the foot to the
middle of the calf.

Now look at their heads. The first man has short wool which hugs the
scalp, and the other two have twisted their hair so that it hangs down
about the head like Medusa’s locks.

Stopping for a moment, I ask the men to turn around so I may get a view
from the rear. They are not quite so naked as I had supposed, for each
has an apron of deerskin as big as a lady’s pocket handkerchief fastened
to his waistband behind. The aprons, tanned with the fur on, are tied to
the belts with deerskin straps. As far as decency goes, they are of no
value at all, and they seem to be used more for ornament than anything

Let us train our cameras now on the women. They are by no means so fine
looking as the men, being shorter and not so well formed. The younger
girls are clad in bead waist belts, while the older ones have each a
tassel of fibre tied to a girdle about the waist. This tassel is fastened
just at the small of the back and hangs down behind. At a short distance
it looks like a cow’s tail. I am told that it is an indispensable article
of dress for every married woman, and that it is improper for a stranger
to touch it. Sir Harry Johnston, who once governed these people, says
that even a husband dares not touch this caudal appendage worn by his
wife, and if, by mistake, it is touched, a goat must be sacrificed or the
woman will die from the insult.

Some of the native women here in Kisumu wear little aprons of fibre,
about six inches long, extending down at the front. I can see dozens of
them so clad all about me, and for a penny or so can get any of them
to pose for my camera. The young girls have no clothes at all. This is
the custom throughout the country. Indeed, farther back in the interior
the fringe aprons are removed, and both sexes are clad chiefly in wire
jewellery of various kinds.

The strangest thing about the nudity of these savages is that they are
absolutely unconscious of any strangeness in it. Such of them as have not
met Europeans do not know they are naked; and a married woman with her
tail of palm fibre feels fully dressed. A traveller tells how he tried
to introduce clothing to a gang of naked young women whom he met out in
the country. He cut up some American sheeting and gave each girl a piece.
They looked at the cloths with interest, but evidently did not know what
to do with them. Thereupon the white man took a strip and tied it about
the waist of one of the party. Upon this the other girls wrapped their
pieces about their waists, but a moment later took them off, saying:
“These are foreign customs and we do not want them.”

During my stay in the Kavirondo country I have gone out among the
villages and have seen the natives in their homes and at work. The land
is thickly populated. The people are good natured, enterprising, and
quiet. One can go anywhere without danger, and there is no difficulty in
getting photographs of whatever one wants.

I am surprised at the great number of married women. One knows their
status from those sacred tails. The Kavirondo girls marry very early.
They are often betrothed at the age of six years; but in such case the
girl stays with her parents for five or six years afterward. The parents
sell their girls for a price, a good wife being purchasable for forty
hoes, twenty goats, and a cow. In the case of an early betrothal the
suitor pays down part of the fixed sum and the rest in installments until
all is paid. If the father refuses to give up the girl when the time
comes for marriage, the payments having been made, the suitor organizes
a band of his friends, captures her, and carries her home. A man usually
takes his wife from a different village from that in which he lives. When
he comes with his band to the bride’s village, her gentlemen friends
often resist the invasion and fight the suitor’s party with sticks. At
such times the girl screams, but I understand that she usually allows
herself to be captured.

[Illustration: The witch doctor’s life is safe only so long as the people
believe he has power to break up spells cast upon men or cattle by evil
spirits. Most of them come to their end by violence.]

[Illustration: The British provide for the men who uphold the banner of
empire in East Africa homes that are not only clean but attractive. They
have succeeded far beyond any other nationality as administrators over
the millions of primitive blacks.]

[Illustration: The Masai, long noted as warriors and cattlemen, live in
huts made of branches woven together and plastered with mud, so that
their homes look from a distance like so many bake-ovens.]

I hear that old maids are not popular and that the average Kavirondo girl
is just as anxious to be married as are our maidens at home. Indeed, she
is usually so uneasy that, if she does not get a bid in the ordinary way,
she will pick out a man and arrange to have herself offered to him at
a reduced rate. There are plenty of plump Kavirondo maidens now on the
bargain counter.

Another queer marriage custom here affects a man’s sister-in-law. The
man who gets the eldest girl in a family is supposed to have the refusal
of all the younger ones as they come to marriageable age. The polygamous
Kavirondo may thus have several sisters among his wives.

One would suppose that these girls might be rather loose in their morals.
On the contrary, I am told that they rank much better in this regard than
the maidens of Uganda in the province adjoining, nearly all of whom wear
clothing. Virtue stands high here, and infractions of its laws are always
punished, though less severely now than in the past. Divorces are not
common, but a man can get rid of his wives if he will. One curious custom
decrees that if a husband and wife have a quarrel, and she leaves the hut
and he shuts the door after her, that action alone is equivalent to a
divorce and the woman goes back to her own people at once.

But let us go out into the country and look at some of the Kavirondo
villages. I have visited many and have had no trouble whatever in going
into the houses. There are numerous little settlements scattered over
the plains between here and the hills, with footpaths running from
village to village. Most of them are small, a dozen huts or so forming a
good-sized settlement.

The roof usually projects beyond the walls of the hut, covering a sort of
veranda, a part of which is inclosed. There are poles outside supporting
the roof of the veranda.

The huts are usually built around an open space and are joined by
fences of rough limbs and roots, so that each collection of huts forms
a stockade in which the animals belonging to the village can be kept at
night. Sometimes a village may be made of a number of such circles, each
collection of huts belonging to one family. One of the shacks is for the
polygamous husband and one for each of his wives.

Let us go inside one of the houses. We stoop low as we enter. The floor
is of mud, with a few skins scattered over it. The skins are the sleeping
places. Notice that little pen at the back, littered with dirt. That is
where the goats sleep. The chickens are put in that tall basket over
there in the corner and are covered up until morning. Except for a few
pots, there is practically no furniture. The cooking is done in clay
vessels over that fire in the centre of the hut, and the food is served
in small baskets, the men eating first and the women taking what is left.

Outside each house, under the veranda, is the mill of the family, which
consists of a great stone with a hole chipped out of the centre. The
women grind Indian corn or sorghum seed in such mills, pounding or
rubbing the grain with a second stone just a little smaller than the
hole. In the grinding, bits of the stone come off and are mixed with the
meal, often causing chronic indigestion.

Some of the older Kavirondo villages are nothing but cemeteries. The
people are superstitious and want to be buried in the places in which
they have lived. When a chief dies, his body is interred in the centre of
his hut. He is placed in the grave in a sitting posture, just deep enough
to allow his head and neck to be above ground. The head is then covered
with an earthen pot, which is left there until the ants get in and clean
off the skull. After this the skull is buried close to the hut or within
it and the skeleton is taken out and reburied on some hilltop or other
sacred place.

Ordinary people are buried in their own huts lying on their right sides
with their legs doubled up under their chins. The hut is then left and
forms a monument to the dear departed. Where there have been epidemic
diseases one may sometimes find a whole village of such houses occupied
only by the dead. The huts are left until they fall to pieces.

The Kavirondos are a stock-raising people. I see their little flocks of
sheep and goats everywhere, and frequently pass droves of humped cattle.
Fat cows graze over the plains, usually in droves watched by cowherds.
Every drove has a flock of white birds about it. Some of the birds are
on the ground, and some are perched on the backs of the cattle, eating
the insects and vermin they find there. They are probably the rhinoceros
birds, which feed on the flies and other insects preying on those great
beasts and which, by their flying, warn them of the approach of danger.
The cattle are driven into the villages at night or into small inclosures
outside. The women do the milking, but are not allowed to drink the milk,
although they may mix it with flour into a soup.

This Kavirondo country is very rich. All over the plains from here to the
mountains the trees have been cut off, but the ground is covered with
luxuriant grass. Near the villages are little cultivated patches in which
the natives raise peanuts, Indian corn, and a millet-like sorghum. I see
them everywhere digging up the black soil. Their naked bodies are almost
as dark as the dirt they are hoeing. The British are developing the
Kavirondos as general farm workers. Their wages range from three to five
rupees a month.

Around Lake Victoria and all along the Uganda Railway large tracts of
land have been taken up by Europeans, and some of this is being ditched
and drained. I gather that it is the intention to turn the whole into one
great cotton plantation, and see no reason why that should not be done.

                                 THE END


You can go round the world under your own living-room lamp by reading the
travels of Frank G. Carpenter.

Millions of Americans have already found him their ideal fellow
traveller, and have enjoyed visiting with him all the corners of the
globe. He tells his readers what they want to know, shows them what they
want to see, and makes them feel that they are there.

Doubleday, Page & Company, in response to the demand from Carpenter
readers, are now publishing, for the first time, the complete story of
CARPENTER’S WORLD TRAVELS, of which this book is the fifth in the series.
Those now available are:

  _1._ “_The Holy Land and Syria_”
  _2._ “_From Tangier to Tripoli_” Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripoli.
  _3._ “_Alaska, Our Northern Wonderland_”
  _4._ “_The Tail of the Hemisphere_” Chile and Argentina.
  _5._ “_From Cairo to Kisumu_” Egypt, The Sudan, and Kenya Colony.

The sixth book is about Java, which Mr. Carpenter found to be “the most
beautiful land in all the world.” It is now on the press and will be
followed in rapid succession by additional volumes until the series is

CARPENTER’S WORLD TRAVELS is the only work of its kind. These books
are familiar talks about the countries and peoples of the earth, with
the author on the spot and the reader in his home. No other man has
visited all parts of the globe and written on the ground, in plain and
simple language, the story of what he has found. CARPENTER’S WORLD
TRAVELS are not the casual record of incidents of the journey, but the
painstaking study of a trained observer, devoting his life to the task
of international reporting. Each book is complete in itself; together
they form the most vivid, interesting, and understandable picture of our
modern world yet published. They are the fruit of more than thirty years
of unparalleled success in writing for the American people. They are the
capstone of distinguished services to the teaching of geography in our
public schools, which have used some four million copies of the Carpenter
Geographical Readers.

In the present state of affairs, a knowledge of nations and peoples is
essential to an understanding of what is going on, of how all that is
happening affects us, and why. Carpenter takes his readers to the lands
of the news, and makes more real the daily flashes by cable and radio.

A word to your bookseller will enable you to get the books of CARPENTER’S
WORLD TRAVELS already published and to learn how you may arrange to
secure the entire set.


During recent years there has been an extensive official literature
concerning Egypt and the Sudan, as well as an enormous number of private
publications, descriptive, scientific, and archæological. All the
makers of guidebooks publish handbooks of the country: Baedeker, Cook,
Macmillan, and Murray, and the French “Guides Joanne.”


    ARTIN, Y. P. “England in the Sudan.” London, 1911.

    BALLS, WILLIAM L. “Egypt of the Egyptians.” London, 1915.

    BRIGGS, M. S. “Through Egypt in War-Time.” London, 1919.

    BUDGE, SIR E. A. W. “By Nile and Tigris.” London, 1920.

        “Egyptian Sudan; Its History and Monuments.” 2 vols.
        London, 1907.

    BUTLER, LADY ELIZABETH S. “From Sketch-book and Diary.” London,

    CHIROL, VALENTINE. “The Egyptian Problem.” New York, 1920.

    CLARKE. “Trading with Egypt.” Canadian Trade Commissioner’s
    official report. Department of Trade and Commerce, Ottawa, 1921.

    COLVIN, SIR A. “Making of Modern Egypt.” London, 1906.

    CROMER, EARL OF. “Modern Egypt.” 2 vols. London, 1908.

    FOTHERGILL, E. “Five Years in the Sudan.” London, 1910.

    GREAT BRITAIN. Reports of His Majesty’s Commissioner on the
    finances, administration, and condition of Egypt. 1914-1919.
    London, 1920.

        War Office. “Handbook of the Sudan.”

    HICHENS, ROBERT. “Egypt and Its Monuments.” Illustrated by
    Jules Guérin. New York, 1908.

    HORSLEY, CAPT. A. B. “Round About Egypt.” London, 1920.

    LEEDER, S. H. “Modern Sons of the Pharaohs.” London, 1919.

    LOTI, PIERRE (pseudonym of Viaud, Julien). “Egypt.” London,

    LOW, SIDNEY. “Egypt in Transition.” London, 1914.

    MACDONALD, SIR M. “Nile Control Works.” Cairo, 1919.

    MARTIN, P. F. “Sudan in Evolution.” London, 1921.

    MASPERO, SIR GASTON (Elizabeth Lee, trans.) “Egypt; Ancient
    Sites and Modern Scenes.” London, 1910.

    MOSLEY, S. A. “With Kitchener in Cairo.” London, 1917.

    REYNOLDS-BALLS, E. “Cairo of To-day.” London, 1913.

    SLADEN, DOUGLAS. “Egypt and the English.” London, 1908.

        “Oriental Cairo, the City of the Arabian Nights.”
        London, 1911.

    SLATIN PASHA. “Fire and Sword in the Sudan.” N. Y., 1896.

    TRAVERS-SYMONS, M. “The Riddle of Egypt.” London, 1914.

    TYNDALE, WALTER. “Below the Cataracts.” Philadelphia, 1907.

    WILLCOCKS, SIR W. “Nile Projects.” Cairo, 1919.

    WILLCOCKS, SIR W. and CRAIG, J. I. “Egyptian Irrigation.” 2
    vols. N. Y., 1913.


    ATHILL, L. F. I. “Through South West Abyssinia to the Nile.” In
    _Geographical Journal_, November, 1920.

    CASTRO, LINCOLN DE. “Nella terra del Negus.” Milan, 1915.

    GREAT BRITAIN. “Foreign Office Reports.” London.

    HALLÉ, CLIFFORD. “To Menelik in a Motor Car.” London, 1913.

    HAYES, A. J. “Sources of the Blue Nile.” London, 1905.

    HODSON, ARNOLD. “Southern Abyssinia.” In _Geographical
    Journal_, February, 1919.

    MONTAUDON, G. “Au Pays Ghimirra: voyage à travers le Massif
    ethiopien.” Neufchatel, 1913.

    SKINNER, R. P. “Abyssinia of To-day.” London, 1906.

    STIGAND, CAPT. “To Abyssinia through an Unknown Land.” London,


The Italian Government has published frequent reports and accounts of
Eritrea covering its geography, resources, characteristics, and customs,
and the annual reports are quite full.

    CUFINO, LUIGI. “Nel mar Rosso.” Naples, 1914.

    MELLI, B. “L’Eritrea dalle sue origine a tutto l’anno 1901.”
    Milan, 1902.

    SOUTHARD, ADDISON E. U. S. Bureau of Foreign & Domestic
    Commerce. “Eritrea, Red Sea Italian Colony, of increasing
    interest to Americans.” Washington, 1920.


    Annual Reports Administration of East Africa. London.

    ARBELL-HARDWICK, A. “An Ivory Trader in North Kenia.” London,

    CRANWORTH (LORD). “Profit and Sport in British East Africa.”
    London, 1919.

    DRACOPOLI, I. N. “Through Jubaland to the Lorian Swamp.”
    London, 1914.

    ELIOT, SIR C. N. “The East African Protectorate.” London, 1905.
    “Handbook of Kenya Colony and Protectorate.” London, 1920.
    “Kenya Annual and Directory.” London, 1921.

    PLAYNE, SOMERSET. “East Africa (British).” London, 1910.

In books on Uganda there are usually several chapters devoted to Kenya
Colony as the approach to Uganda.


  Abbas Hilmi, talk with, 58, 66.

  Abbas Hilmi Mosque at Khartum, 171.

  Abu Simbel, Temple of, 140.

  Abu Tig, industrial school at, 78.

  Abyssinia, Italy fails to gain territory in, 224;
    only country in Africa independent of Europe, 226;
    future development assured, 228.

  Aden, shipping point for Mocha coffee, 229;
    the Gibraltar of the Red Sea, 230.

  Agricultural Bank, benefit of to Egyptian farmers, 9.

  Agriculture, possibilities of, in Kenya Colony, 263.

  Airplane, possibilities in Africa, 160.

  Akabah, Gulf of, canal from, to Mediterranean Sea proposed, 220.

  Akhotupu, Queen, mummy of in Cairo Museum, 98.

  Akhnaton, Pharaoh, tomb of, 125.

  Alabaster Mosque, Cairo, 42, 43.

  Alexander, Dr. John, president of American College at Asyut, 108;
    on breaking up of the slave trade, 184.

  Alexandria, a modern city, 3.

  American College at Asyut, 106.

  American-built bridges: at Atbara, 154;
    on Uganda Railway, 247.

  American goods in East Africa, 259.

  Archæological researches in Egypt, 88;
    how territory was allotted to representatives of the different
        countries, 89.

  Aswan Dam, for harnessing the Nile, 128;
    Low constructed, 132.

  Asyut, United Presbyterian mission school at, 76;
    the American College at, 106.

  Atbara, on Sudan military railroad, 155.

  Bab-el-Mandeb, on the Red Sea, 219.

  Bazaars of Cairo, trading in the, 55.

  Bead money of the Sudan, 194.

  Bees, on the obelisks, 86.

  Bridges, American built, at Atbara, 154;
    on Uganda Railway, 247.

  British control of East Africa, 261.

  Boll weevil, in Egypt, 20.

  Book of the Dead, a record of the beliefs of the Pharaohs, 101.

  Boston Museum, archæological research work in Egypt, 89, 117.

  Buffalo, the Water, Arab tradition of its creation, 233.

  Cairo, largest city on African continent, 41, 49;
    in the bazaars of, 55.

  Cairo Museum, archæological treasures on exhibit at, 96.

  Camels, as farm animals, 35;
    use of, in Cairo, 52;
    in Arabia, 232.

  Cape-to-Cairo Railroad, travelling on the, 149.

  Cape-to-Cairo route, not a continuous railway trip, 164.

  Cattle, Egyptian, of same type through the centuries, 26.

  Cattle, humped, the beasts of burden of East Africa, 259.

  Cattle raising, possibilities in East Africa, 264.

  Central Africa, new irrigation projects for, 136.

  Charity, among Mohammedans, 78.

  Cheops, Pyramid of, 79.

  Cleopatra, in ancient Alexandria, 11.

  Coffee, first grown in Abyssinia, 227;
    produced in East Africa, 266.

  Coffee, Mocha, marketed through Aden, Arabia, 229.

  Colossi of Memnon, size of the statues, 121.

  Copts, number of, in Egypt, 8;
    shrewdest of Egyptians in business, 54;
    more intelligent than the Mohammedans, 112;
    the Jews of Egypt, 113;
    religious belief, 114;
    marriage customs, 116.

  Cotton, production of, on the Nile, 13;
    possibilities for, in the Sudan, 178;
    production and home manufacture in the Sudan, 196.

  Cotton Boll Weevil, does great damage in Egypt, 20.

  Creation, ancient Egyptian idea of the, 103.

  Cromer, Lord, efforts in behalf of public schools in Egypt, 77.

  Currie, Dr. James, president of Gordon College at Khartum, 200.

  Cush, Nubia, the land of, 140.

  Damanhur, agricultural centre in Nile valley, 31.

  Damietta, agricultural centre in Nile valley, 31.

  Darfur, warlike natives of, 180.

  Deir-el-Bahari Temple, inscriptions at, giving details of
        construction of obelisks, 122.

  Dervishes, fanatical actions of, 46.

  Diocletian, Pompey’s Pillar a monument to, 9.

  Donkeys, in Cairo, 52.

  East Africa, agricultural possibilities in, 263.

  Egypt, the development of, 5;
    area and population, 25;
    climate, 27;
    long under foreign control, 27;
    benefits under British, 28.

  Egyptian Exploration Fund, archæological excavations at Luxor, 117;
    unearths oldest known temple, 123.

  Egyptian farmers, archaic processes of, 34.

  Egyptians, ancient, their religious beliefs, 102.

  El-Azhar, Mohammedan university at Cairo, 70.

  Elephants, hunting of, in East Africa, 272.

  Embalming, beginning of the art, 99.

  Eritrea, Italian colony on the Red Sea, 224.

  Excavations, archæological in Egypt, 88.

  Farm land, value of, along the Nile, 29.

  Farming, in the Nile Valley, 14, 29, 34.

  Fast days of Mohammedans, observance of, 47.

  Fellaheen, on their farms, 29.

  Flies, pest of, in Egypt, 145.

  Flour mills, primitive, of Omdurman, 198.

  Forestry in Kenya Colony, 281.

  Fuel, scarcity of, in Egypt, 17.

  Game, East African, abundant along Uganda Railway, 243;
    outfitting hunters at Nairobi, 257, 269;
    destructive to telegraph lines, 260;
    rigid hunting laws, 270;
    great variety of game to be found, 271;
    cost of an expedition, 275.

  Game preserve, one mile each side of Uganda Railway, 245, 286.

  Gezirah, the granary of Central Africa, 177.

  Girls, schooling for, in Egypt, 77.

  Gizeh, Pyramids of, 79.

  Gordon, General, statue of, at Khartum, 171;
    story of his bravery, and his death, 182.

  Gordon College, at Khartum, 200.

  Goshen, through the Land of, 22.

  Grain market at Omdurman, 198.

  Greeks, the money lenders of Egypt, 50.

  Gregory, Professor J. W., explores and names the Great Rift Valley,

  Guardafui, Cape, a desolate rock, 226.

  Gum arabic, one of the money crops of the Sudan, 206.

  Harvard College, archæological research work in Egypt, 89, 117.

  Hatcheries, chicken, in Egypt, 40.

  Hathor, excavation of statue of, 124.

  Hatshepsut, Queen, tomb of, at Luxor, 88;
    ruins of her great temple, 124.

  Heliopolis, visit to site of ancient city, 85.

  Herodotus, description of the Great Pyramid, 81, 82.

  Hinde, Capt. Sidney L., explorer and hunter, 290.

  Hippopotamuses, hunting of, in East Africa, 274.

  Horses, Arabian, comparatively scarce, 234.

  Howling Dervishes, fanatical antics of the, 46.

  Incubators, long in use in Egypt, 39.

  Irrigation, raising cotton under, 19;
    conducted on scientific lines, 24, 30;
    the system of canals, 31;
    methods of raising the water to upper levels, 32;
    ancient works along the Nile, 130;
    new projects in the Sudan, and in Central Africa, 136, 178.

  Ismail Pasha, builds road to the Pyramids, 79;
    great aid to French in building of Suez Canal, 211.

  Ismailia, on the Suez Canal, 217.

  Italian colonies in East Africa, 225.

  Ivory, Elephant, from East Africa, 272.

  Jackson, Frederick J., acting governor of Kenya Colony, 261.

  Jewellery, ancient Egyptian, in Cairo Museum, 104;
    fine work of native artisans in the Sudan, 195;
    telegraph wire in great demand in Uganda, 250, 255, 256, 260, 277,
        282, 296, 297.

  Jidda, “the burial place of Eve,” 218;
    the port for Mecca, 221.

  Kaaba, sacred meteorite in the, at Mecca, 223.

  Kantara, greatest military base in all history, 165.

  Karnak, obelisks at Temple of, 122.

  Kavirondo, among the naked, 293.

  Kenya, Mount, as seen from Nairobi, 244, 252.

  Khartum, the story of the city, 167.

  Kikuyus, among the, 277.

  Kilimanjaro, highest mountain on African continent, 244, 252.

  Kisumu, terminus of the Uganda Railway, 294.

  Kitchener, General, remarkable achievement in building of military
        railroad through desert, 153.

  Koran, early study of the, by Mohammedan children, 71.

  Kordofan, a stock raising region, 180.

  Kosseir, a Red Sea port, 220.

  Labour, difficulty of obtaining, in the Sudan, 173, 178;
    poorly paid in East Africa, 238, 249, 267.

  Lions, Temple of the, 140.

  Lions, carry off many workmen during construction of Uganda Railway,
    hunting in East Africa, 270.

  Live stock in the Nile valley, 36.

  Locomotives, American, in Nubian desert, 155, 157.

  Lueder, A. B., American civil engineer in charge of construction of
        Uganda Railway bridges, 248.

  Luxor, archæological excavations at, 118.

  Mahdi, rise and fall of the, 188.

  Mahmudiyeh Canal, at Alexandria, 4, 18.

  Mansura, agricultural centre in Nile Valley, 31.

  Masai, a race of warriors and stock raisers, 287.

  Meat, scarcity of, in Egypt, 38;
    as sold in the bazaars, 55.

  Mecca, pilgrimages to, 42, 221;
    inaccessible to Christians, 222.

  Medina, extent of pilgrimages to, 222.

  Mehemet Ali, constructs canal from Alexandria to the Nile, 4;
    introduces long staple cotton, 14.

  Memnon, Colossi of, size of the statues, 121.

  Meneptah, mummy of, in Cairo Museum, 97.

  Metropolitan Museum, archæological excavations at Luxor, 117.

  Midwinter, Captain, manager of Sudan military railroad, 155.

  Mocha coffee, chiefly marketed through Aden, Arabia, 229.

  Mombasa, port for Equatorial Africa, 208;
    terminus of Uganda Railway and port of entry for British East
        Africa, 236;
    history dates back to fifteenth century, 239.

  Money of the Sudan, the different media of exchange, 194.

  Morendat, Kenya Colony experimental farm at, 286.

  Mosques, of Cairo, 42, 43.

  Mummies, in Cairo Museum, 96;
    why and how bodies were so prepared, 99.

  Nairobi, more than a mile above sea level, 247;
    the capital of Kenya Colony, 252.

  Naivasha, Lake, possibilities for settlers on, 286.

  Nandi, more civilized than other East Africans, 282.

  Nefert, Princess, statue of, in Cairo Museum, 101.

  Nefertari, temple of, 127.

  Nile, dams and irrigation works of the, upbuilding Egypt, 5;
    Cotton production along the, 13;
    all tillable land in Egypt formed by, 23;
    length of, 26.

  Nile River, source and tributaries, 129.

  Nubia, travelling through, 140.

  Obelisks, how made and transported, 122.

  Omdurman, stronghold of the Mahdi, 168, 187.

  Ophthalmia, prevalent in Egypt, 146.

  Ostriches, hunting of, in East Africa, 271.

  Palestine Military Railway, a great feat of construction, 165.

  Panama Canal, compared to the Suez Canal, 212.

  Perim, Island of, a British possession, 229.

  Philæ, temples on the Island of, 146.

  Pompey’s Pillar, at Alexandria, 9.

  Poultry industry, of Egypt, 39.

  Port Said, “wickedest city from London to the Far East,” 217.

  Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, 224.

  Pyramids, the, 6, 22;
    visit to the, 79;
    revisited under more modern conditions, 87;
    how constructed, 91, 93;
    other Egyptian pyramids, 93.

  Quarries of Aswan, furnished the stone for obelisks and temples of
        ancient Egypt, 148.

  Ra-Hotep, Prince, statue of, in Cairo Museum, 101.

  Railroad fares in Egypt and the Sudan, 149, 154.

  Railroads of Egypt and the Sudan, 151;
    difficulties with desert sand, 157.

  Rameses, King, mummy in Cairo Museum, 96.

  Rameses II, Temple of, 122;
    gigantic statues of, 127;
    temple of Abu Simbel, 140.

  Red Sea, travelling on the, 208, 218.

  Reisner, Dr. George, archæological research work, in Egypt, 89.

  Religion of the ancient Egyptians, 102.

  Rhinoceroses, hunting in East Africa, 274.

  Rift Valley, the Great, a trough through the African continent, 285.

  Rosetta, agricultural centre in Nile valley, 31.

  Roth, a young Swiss who broke up the slave trade of Upper Egypt, 184.

  Sakkarah, Pyramids of, 81, 93.

  Schools, in Egypt, Mohammedan, 71;
    common and private, 76;
    of the Sudan, 204.

  Sennar, great dam under construction at, 165.

  Seti I, mummy of, in Cairo Museum, 97, 98.

  Sewing machines, American, sold in the Sudan, 196.

  Sheep, fat-tailed, of Egypt, 37.

  Shellal, the port of, 146.

  Shendi, on Sudan military railroad, 158.

  Slatin Pasha, author of “Fire and Sword in the Sudan”, 181, 186.

  Slave traffic, breaking up the, 183.

  Somaliland, British, formerly belonging to Egypt, 226.

  Somaliland, Italian, a possession of little value, 225.

  Sphinx, view of from the Great Pyramid, 81;
    visit to, 84.

  Suakim, on the Red Sea, 224.

  Sudan, projected irrigation works in the, 136;
    agricultural possibilities of the, 176.

  Sudan, Port, on the Red Sea, 224.

  Sudanese, a strange people, 191.

  Sudd, immense swamps of the, 137.

  Suez, at end of the Canal, 217.

  Suez Canal, diversion of traffic to, 209;
    cost of toll, 210;
    its history, 210;
    compared to Panama Canal, 212.

  Suez, Gulf of, length, 220.

  Swahili, principal native language of Central and East Africa, 241.

  Tanta, agricultural centre, on the Nile, 31.

  Temple of Karnak, obelisks at, 122.

  Tewfik Pasha, talk with, 58.

  Thebes, archæological excavations at, 117;
    greatest city of antiquity, 126.

  Tobacco, production of, in Egypt, 39.

  Travel, cost of, in Africa, 144.

  Tuti Island, a Mahdist position facing Khartum, 182, 187.

  Uganda Railway, travel on the, 243;
    cost of construction, 247;
    American bridges used, 247;
    lions kill many during construction of railroad, 250.

  United Presbyterian Church mission school at Asyut, 76.

  Valley of the Kings, archæological excavations in the, 117.

  Victoria, Lake, altitude, 247;
    cotton plantations being established around, 302.

  Wakamba, tribe of East Africans, 284.

  Wellcome, Henry S., founder of research laboratories at Khartum, 200,

  Whirling Dervishes, fanatical actions of, 46.

  Windmills, American, used for pumping water along the Nile, 33.

  Wingate, Sir Francis Reginald, Governor-General of the Sudan,
        interviews with, 175, 181.

  Women, as labourers in Central Africa, 172.

  Zagazig, agricultural centre, on the Nile, 31.

  Zebra, in East Africa, 271.



Updated editions will replace the previous one—the old editions will
be renamed.

Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyright
law means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works,
so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United
States without permission and without paying copyright
royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part
of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project
Gutenberg™ electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG™
concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark,
and may not be used if you charge for an eBook, except by following
the terms of the trademark license, including paying royalties for use
of the Project Gutenberg trademark. If you do not charge anything for
copies of this eBook, complying with the trademark license is very
easy. You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose such as creation
of derivative works, reports, performances and research. Project
Gutenberg eBooks may be modified and printed and given away—you may
do practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks not protected
by U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the trademark
license, especially commercial redistribution.




To protect the Project Gutenberg™ mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase “Project
Gutenberg”), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full
Project Gutenberg™ License available with this file or online at

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg™
electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg™
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or
destroy all copies of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works in your
possession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a
Project Gutenberg™ electronic work and you do not agree to be bound
by the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person
or entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B. “Project Gutenberg” is a registered trademark. It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg™ electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See
paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg™ electronic works if you follow the terms of this
agreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg™
electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation (“the
Foundation” or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection
of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works. Nearly all the individual
works in the collection are in the public domain in the United
States. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in the
United States and you are located in the United States, we do not
claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing,
displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as
all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hope
that you will support the Project Gutenberg™ mission of promoting
free access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg™
works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping the
Project Gutenberg™ name associated with the work. You can easily
comply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in the
same format with its attached full Project Gutenberg™ License when
you share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are
in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States,
check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this
agreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing,
distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or any
other Project Gutenberg™ work. The Foundation makes no
representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any
country other than the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other
immediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg™ License must appear
prominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg™ work (any work
on which the phrase “Project Gutenberg” appears, or with which the
phrase “Project Gutenberg” is associated) is accessed, displayed,
performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

    This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most
    other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions
    whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
    of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online
    at If you
    are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws
    of the country where you are located before using this eBook.
1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg™ electronic work is
derived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does not
contain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of the
copyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone in
the United States without paying any fees or charges. If you are
redistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase “Project
Gutenberg” associated with or appearing on the work, you must comply
either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 or
obtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg™
trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg™ electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any
additional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms
will be linked to the Project Gutenberg™ License for all works
posted with the permission of the copyright holder found at the
beginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg™
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg™.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg™ License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including
any word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access
to or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg™ work in a format
other than “Plain Vanilla ASCII” or other format used in the official
version posted on the official Project Gutenberg™ website
(, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense
to the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means
of obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original “Plain
Vanilla ASCII” or other form. Any alternate format must include the
full Project Gutenberg™ License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg™ works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg™ electronic works
provided that:

    • You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
        the use of Project Gutenberg™ works calculated using the method
        you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed
        to the owner of the Project Gutenberg™ trademark, but he has
        agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project
        Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid
        within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are
        legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty
        payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project
        Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in
        Section 4, “Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg
        Literary Archive Foundation.”
    • You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
        you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
        does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg™
        License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all
        copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue
        all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg™
    • You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of
        any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
        electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of
        receipt of the work.
    • You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
        distribution of Project Gutenberg™ works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project
Gutenberg™ electronic work or group of works on different terms than
are set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing
from the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the manager of
the Project Gutenberg™ trademark. Contact the Foundation as set
forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
works not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the Project
Gutenberg™ collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg™
electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may
contain “Defects,” such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate
or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or
other medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or
cannot be read by your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund” described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg™ trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg™ electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium
with your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you
with the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in
lieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the person
or entity providing it to you may choose to give you a second
opportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If
the second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing
without further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you ‘AS-IS’, WITH NO

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of
damages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement
violates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, the
agreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or
limitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity or
unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void the
remaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg™ electronic works in
accordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the
production, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg™
electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses,
including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of
the following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this
or any Project Gutenberg™ work, (b) alteration, modification, or
additions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg™ work, and (c) any
Defect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg™

Project Gutenberg™ is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of
computers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It
exists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations
from people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg™’s
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg™ collection will
remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg™ and future
generations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, see
Sections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non-profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service. The Foundation’s EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by
U.S. federal laws and your state’s laws.

The Foundation’s business office is located at 809 North 1500 West,
Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and up
to date contact information can be found at the Foundation’s website
and official page at

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg™ depends upon and cannot survive without widespread
public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine-readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SEND
DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular state

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg web pages for current donation
methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. To
donate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg™ electronic works

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project
Gutenberg™ concept of a library of electronic works that could be
freely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced and
distributed Project Gutenberg™ eBooks with only a loose network of
volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg™ eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright in
the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not
necessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper

Most people start at our website which has the main PG search

This website includes information about Project Gutenberg™,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.