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been visited by any other traveller until last year. There is, besides, a correspondence between him and Professor White, on the subject of Abdallatii's account of the pyramids; and a description of the catacombs of Alexandria, of which very little seems then to have been known, as they scarcely appear to have been noticed by preceding travellers. The only portion of these Papers which it is our intention to examine, is the account of the Well and the new chamber in the great pyramid, as preliminary to some recent and unpublished discoveries, which we are about to lay before our readers.
In a short but comprehensive letter addressed to M. Varsy, the author observes that, as he conceived the supposed Well to be of vast depth, he provided himself with a large quantity of rope, which turned out to be no useless precaution-for though he found a sort of steps or holes in the rock, yet the lower part of them were so worn away, as to risk a fall and consequent destruction by trusting to them alone. To avoid so calamitous an event, Mr. Davison tied a rope round his middle; and previously to his descent, let down a lantern attached to the end of a small cord, which, on finding it soon to stop, he prepared to follow. With much persuasion he prevailed on two of his servants and three Arabs to hold the rope ;the Arabs assured him there were ghosts below, and that he never could hope to return. Mr. Davison laughed at their timidity; and taking with him a few sheets of paper, a compass, a measure,
and another lighted candle, commenced the descent, and soon reached the bottom of the first well or shaft. Here he found, on the south side, at the distance of about eight feet from the first shaft, a second opening which descended perpendicularly, to the depth of five feet only; and at four feet ten inches from the bottom of this, a third shaft, the mouth of which was nearly choaked up with a large stone, leaving only a small opening, barely sufficient to allow a man to pass. Here he thought it prudent to let down bis lantern, not only to discover to what depth he was about to proceed, but also to ascertain if the air was pernicious. The shaft, however, was so tortuous that the candle soon became invisible; but Mr. Davison was not to be discouraged—nothing less than a journey to the bottom would satisfy bis eager curiosity: the difficulty was how to prevail on the Arabs to come down and hold the
To all his entreaties they only answered, that, a few years before, a Frank having got to the place where he then was, let down a rope to discover the depth, when the devil caught hold of it, and plucked it out of his hands. • I was well aware,' says Mr. Davison, 'to whom they were indebted for this story—the Dutch consul swore that the thing happened to bimself.' After many prayers, and threats, and
promises of money, and of all the treasure that might be discovered at the bottom of the well, the avarice of one man got the better, in some degree, of his terrors, and he ventured to descend; on reaching the bottom,' says Mr. Davison," he stared about him, pale and trembling, appearing more like a spectre than a human being.'
Our enterprizing adventurer now hastened on his journey, with the rope round his body; and the sight of the lantern, which he had let down, convinced him that this well was somewhat deeper than the first. Having proceeded a little farther than half-way down to the spot where the candle rested, as it afterwards appeared, he came to a grotto, about fifteen feet long, four or five wide, and about the height of a man : from this place the third shaft or well was sloping, and by throwing down a stone he ascertained it to be of much greater depth than the others : pushing the lantern a little before him, he set out afresh on his journey; and calling to the Arab to loosen the rope gently, with the help of the little holes made in the rock, he gradually proceeded, without the least pearance of reaching his
journey's end. At length the shaft beginning to incline a little more to the perpendicular, brought him speedily to the bottom, where he ascertained it to be completely closed by sand and rubbish.
Having reached this point, Mr. Davison now began to reflect on two circumstances which had not before occurred to him, and neither of which was very consoling. The first was, that the multitude of bats which he had disturbed might put out his candle; and the second, that the immense stone in the mouth of the shaft might slip down and close the passage for ever. On looking about the bottom, he found a rope ladder, which, though it had lain there sixteen years, was as fresh and strong as if perfectly new. It had been used, as it seems, by. Mr. Wood (who published an account of the ruins of Balbec and Palmyra) to aid his descent; but he had stopped short at the grotto.' When Mr. Davison, on his return, had reached the bottom of the first shaft, the candles fell and went out;- then,' says he, the poor Arab thought himself lost. He laid hold of the rope as I was about to ascend, declaring that he would rather have his brains blown out than be left alone there with the devil. I therefore permitted him to go before, and though it was much more difficult to ascend than to descend, I know not how it was, but he scrambled up a hundred times more quickly than he had come down.'
The depth of the first shaft was 22 feet; of the second 29; and of the third 99; if the five feet between the first and second shaft be added, the whole depth will be found to be 155 feet.
Of his discovery of a second chamber in the great pyramid, Mr. Davison gives the following account.
"The chief reason of my returning now to the pyramid was to en. deavour, if possible, to mount up to the hole I had discovered at the top of the gallery the last time I was there. For this purpose
I had made seven short ladders in such a manner as to fasten one to another by means of four wooden pins, the whole together, when joined, being about twenty-six feet long. As soon as the rubbish was cleared from the straight passage at the bottom, I caused the ladders to be brought in by two carpenters who accompanied me. When they had conveyed them to the platform at the top of the gallery, tying two long canes together, I placed a candle at one end, and gave it to a servant to hold near the hole in question. The platform being very small there was no thinking of fixing the ladders on the ground, as it would have been very difficult, not to say impossible to raise them. We took the only method which seemed practicable; namely, that of placing the first ladder against the wall; two men raising it up, a third placed another below it, and having fastened them together by the wooden pins, the two together were raised from the ground, and the rest in the same manner fixed one after another. The ladder entered enough into the hole, when all parts were joined together, to prevent it from sliding on the side of the gallery. I then instantly mounted, and found a passage two feet four inches square, which turned immediately to the right. I entered a little
with my face on the ground, but was obliged to retire, on account of the passage being in a great measure choaked with dust, and bats' dung, which, in some places, was near a foot deep. I first thought of clearing it by throwing the dirt down into the gallery, but foreseeing that this would be a work of some time, besides the inconvenience of filling the gallery with rubbish, and perhaps rendering the descent more difficult, I determined to make another effort to enter, which was accompanied with more success than the first. I was enabled to creep in, though with much difficulty, not only on account of the lowness of the passage, but likewise the quantity of dust which I raised. When I had advanced a little way, I discovered what I supposed to be the end of the passage. My surprize was great, when I reached it, to find to the right a straight entrance into a long, broad, but low place, which I knew, as well by the length as the direction of the passage I had entered at, to be immediately above the large room. The stones of gravite, which are at the top of the latter, form the bottom of this, but are uneven, being of unequal thickness. is four feet longer than the one below; in the latter, you see only seven stones, and a half of one, on each side of them ; but in that above, the nine are entire, the two halves resting on the wall at each end. The breadth is equal with that of the room below. The covering of this, as of the other, is of beautiful granite; but it is composed of eight stones instead of nine, the number in the room below. One of the carpenters entered with me, and Mr. Meynard came into the passage, near the door, but being a good deal troubled with the dust, and want of air, he
retired. Having measured and examined the different parts of it we came out, and descended by the ladder.'-pp. 354–356.
This brief account of Mr. Davison's discoveries will enable us to appreciate the labours of another enterprizing traveller, of whose extraordinary exertions, courage, and perseverance, and the brilliant discoveries to which they led, we have been favoured with a very interesting account, drawn up roughly by our consul-general, Mr. Salt, by whose zeal, personal exertions, influence with the pashaw, and great pecuniary liberality, many of the hidden treasures of Egypt have been brought to light; some of which have already found their way, and others are following, to that magnificent depository of nature and art, the British Museum. The person
to whom we allude is Mr. Caviglia, the master and, we believe, owner of a mercantile vessel in the Mediterranean trade, who, Mr. Salt informs us, was most actively employed, for a period of nearly six months, in carrying on his researches with a disinterested zeal that merits general adıniration, and will ensure him the gratitude of all who take pleasure in the studies of the antiquarian. In tracing the progress of those researches, we cannot do better than adhere as ciosely to the words of Mr. Salt as our necessarily abridged narrative will admit.
Mr. Caviglia (who is described as a gentleman with whose amiable character is blevded an ardent enthusiasm for such pursuits) had long entertained an opinion that, among the antiquities so justly celebrated in Egypt, much yet remained to be explored that might throw a light upon the peculiar rites and usages of its ancient inhabitants; and as nothing had excited his attention more than the stupendous pyranids of Gizeh, he had determined, whenever the opportunity occurred, to exert his utmost efforts in clearing up the mystery which still hangs over the real intention of the numerous passages and the interior chambers of those venerable structures. With this determination he set out from Alexandria for Cairo, where he arrived on the 26th December, 1816, and immediately entered into an arrangement with two gentlemen of the names of Kabitziet and La Fuentes, in consequence of which they were to accompany him, with ropes and other necessary apparatus, to the grand pyramid; this they accordingly did on the Sth January following.
The first object which Mr. Caviglia had in view was to examine the “ Well in the chamber of the great pyramid, the descent of which, as it would seem, both he and Mr. Salt considered as an enterprize never yet accomplished ;-that Well (it is Mr. Salt who speaks) which had so long baffled all research, and respecting which various rumours had been propagated of persons having been let down at different times, who never had returned to explain the
mystery in which it was enveloped, a circumstance that had deterred many others from what was so generally considered as a desperate attempt.'
Mr. Caviglia, on reaching the chamber into which the mouth opens, fixed a rope round his waist, and, with a lamp in his hand, immediately began to descend, his friends remaining above to secure the
He describes the several shafts of this Well pretty nearly in the same terms as Mr. Davison ; and he met with the same difficulty in persuading an Arab to go down and assist him in the removal of several stones of granite which had choaked up the second shaft. The only novelty which we perceive is the fact of the shaft being lined with masonry above and below the grotto, to support, as was supposed, one of those insulated beds of gravel which are frequently found in rock, and which the masons call flaws. There was no difficulty in reaching the bottom; but the heat was found to be excessive, the air very impure; and the lamp soon began to burn with a faint and glimmering light. Finding nothing there but a collection of loose stones and rabbish, he hastened to return to his companions, but had scarcely time to reach the grotto, when all the lamps went out in rapid succession ;-a circumstance that occasioned considerable alarm, and obliged the whole party to make a precipitate retreat.
On their arrival at Cairo, Mr. Salt says, they were overwhelmed with congratulations from those who had blamed their rashness and predicted their failure: those,' he adds, who have visited the pyramids and have seen the stoutest men faint in getting up even to the gallery, who have experienced the enervating effect of the foul air in these subterranean chaunels, and have heard the various histories current at Cairo of persons supposed to have formerly perished in the attempt, will know how to appreciate the firmness of nerve, undaunted resolution, and admirable presence of mind displayed through this adventure; the rare union of which could alone have brought it to a successful termination.'
Mr. Caviglia, however, was by no means satisfied with the result of this supposed first discovery of the bottom of the Well; but from the circumstance of the ground giving a hollow sound under his feet, he was satisfied that there must be some concealed outlet. With the view of making further discovery, he pitched his tent in front of the entrance of the great pyramid, determined to set about excavating the bottom of the Well. He hired some Arabs to draw up the rubbish with baskets and cords ; but from the extreme reluctance of these people to work, notwithstanding the enormous wages given to them, he was compelled to suspend his operations and give up the enterprize, till an order from the Kiaya-bey had been procured, which had the effect of subduing their indolence, and, to a certain