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His host receives him with the customary compliments of the palm-leaf fan, (no contemptible offering in Mizraim), with the bowl of clear water for the ablution so necessary to health and comfort alike, with the tray of fruits and light wine and sweet cakes, with fresh bunches of flowers and lotus garlands too, if he is indeed a true lover of Khem, the god of gardens, with flatteries gravely uttered and staid courtesies soberly offered; with all the still and quiet reverence with which society, even among young "bloods," is carried on in Egypt. Our dandy, leaving his cherry-wood stick in charge of the slaves at the door, and returning with equal gravity the sober compliments so stiffly offered, talks learnedly on the merits of the new dancing men and women which some enterprising "choragos" has obtained, or else he discusses the wares of the foreign merchants, the voices of the choristers, and in a lower tone, the meaning of the public omens, the health of the Holy Bull, and the wisdom of the last procession. then takes leave, mounts his chariot, and speeds away to his farm.



He first hears from the scribe, or overseer, the state of the stock and crops; whether sickness has attacked the young heifers or if the tender calves have died, whether the sheep have failed and the goats forgotten to live; however bad may be the news, the unlucky overseer must repeat it all, even if the thousand eggs sent to the public oven have been spoiled in the baking, and so no chickens are hatched this time, or if the best heifer on the farm, which had been piously destined for holy sacrifice, has fallen sick and refused its food, and hence is unfit for god or man. that which had once been consecrate by its dedication to the deities was afterwards unfit, because too holy, for human use. He next inspects the gardens, cross or glad, as the scribe's tale has been one of failure or success. He visits the vineyards and the orchards and the wine-press. If it is the vintage-time, he wishes that his wine could be procured without all those naked feet being first bathed in its ruddy drops: the custom of "treading out the grape," though so universal, displeases his aristocratic mind; and he wishes that the gods had made him a genius (in his language a prophet or a priest), and so he might invent some better and more cleanly mode of wine-making. He then selects those of the young kids which his overseer points out as most fit to browse off the superfluous buds and shoots of the growing fruit-trees; and he believes, poor harmless puppet, when he obeys the directing mind of the scribe with such solemn inanity as makes the very agent smile in secret at his master, that he himself has been the originator of such-and-such ideas, the organ of such-and-such commands. Poor dandified land-owner that he is! He knows infinitely more of precious stones, and fine linen, and handsome women, than he does of the rougher details of a farm-yard.

Having given his orders slowly and deliberately he prepares to visit the preserved and well-stocked fishery on his property. The river is to the Egyptian what the moor is to the European. There he takes his sport both singly and en battue.

The byblus boat is launched (it is so light that it can be carried on the shoulders and removed from place to place like a folding-stool); the gamekeeper attends; fish-hooks, nets, and spears are thrown into the boat; and slings and stones and curved or straight sticks show that he intends to diversify his day's sport. Worst of all, a faithless bird, taught by her captors one of their own vices, flies to the boat's-head, where she

stands to lure her unsuspecting kind into the same power as that which has enslaved herself. Faithless bird, with thy tender cries, thy voice of pity and of prayer, thy fluttering wings of entreaty, thy bending head of caressing love; false, lying, treacherous bird! thy deceitfulness hath passed into a proverb which, originated beneath the shadow of the pyramids, has come down in all its force even to us, northern barbarians of the island of the far West!

Our young heir is far too deeply steeped in luxury and idleness to venture on the rougher chase of the hippopotamos, or of the crocodile. He is too foppishly staid to disturb the stern serenity of his appearance by that vigorous throw of the barbed spear and the rapid cast of the noosed rope which such chase requires. Why, he would ruffle his garments, discompose his flowing hair, disarrange his flowery garlands, and make himself excessively hot and uncomfortable for no good! No; the gentle sport of angling, the tranquil cast and drag of the net, lazily and sleepily, or at most the stronger exertion of bringing down the water-fowl by means of the slings, stones, and sticks before mentioned, these are the utmost efforts of which his energies admit. And these weary him soon and long. And there he sits, while his slaves row the light boat, or keep her steady against the bank, or moor her to the strong reeds which grow up in a marine forest about him; and lying thus beneath the shadow of the awning, or within the protection of the high gunwale, he watches the stealthy steps of his trained cat and favourite ichneumon as they plunge among the game, or he lazily listens to the cries of the decoy-bird as she calls her wilder kind to come admire her nest of eggs, or come help to feed her brood of young. Perhaps if not over-stupified by luxury he makes some internal reflection on her treachery; then turns away thinking that all is good, even an ichneumon's craft, and a decoy-bird's falsehood.

The sun shines down through the tall reeds and water-plants; his glossy hair runs thick with perfumed oil; his servants bring him fruits in small baskets covered with leaves and flowers to make the purple figs and golden grapes yet more tempting; and some fan away the flies which crowd in myriads from the marsh, or lower the awning checquered with bright colours, which screens away the sun: and he lies in that byblus bark the ideal of Egyptian luxuriousness. We will not ask his thoughts as he thus rests, holding the line and rod so carelessly; we will not inquire what fair form his visions take, as he wraps his linen robe decorously graceful about him, and composes himself to sleep with the thick rushes bending over him. Be she some proud Isiac priestess, regal in her birth and glorious in her beauty, or be she some simple country maid, worshipping at the shrine of his refinement, and loving him with that intense unasking love which only women feel, and which women of every land and faith and climate do feel, be she loveliest dancer or sweetest songstress of the choir whom to love with devotion would be a stain on his gallantry, be she high or low, rich or poor, patrician or plebeian, he were no true man if she did not fill his dreaming thoughts as he rests there within his byblus bark on the dancing waters of the blue river!

The fish are caught, the birds struck down in sufficient quantities; the sun rides high, and our dandy must away to the gay banquet to which he has invited his guests this noon-day. His boatmen pull the lord of

all this wealth back to his own domain: again he traverses his well-kept farm, passing through orchards rich in fruit trees, and through gardens gay with flowers, cooled by water-tanks and fountains all about; and once again he enters that ancient cottage ornée of old Egypt, while his car is harnessing to bear him back to the grandeur of the Eternal City of the Gods.

Surely we must admire that elegant and graceful chariot. Where can we find a lighter shape? where a more gorgeous equipment? The large wheels are bound with metal; the sides are painted, gilded, and carved; the beautiful bow-case, richly ornamented, hangs with studied negligence from the rail of the frame; the harness is embossed, painted, and studded; the horses are trapped with magnificent caparisons, gay plumes float over their proud heads and mingle with their flowing manes; the bronze nails set every where in the harness and the car flash and glitter in the sun; and the whole equipage is one of beauty, elegance, and colour unequalled throughout all Mizraim. The Nubian horses too, large, black, and powerful, might well make the Cushite dandy proud as they fly with him through the broad paved roads, and make the simple peasantry compare him to some god on a rainbow-meteor, passing swiftly through the air.

After the bath, after fresh ointments are poured over his supple body and a whole alabaster vase of precious oil is lavished on his false tresses, after he is wreathed with young flowers, gay chaplets, garlands, and loose bunches all before him, after he has put on other and more costly garments, and changed the fashion of his jewellery for gems more brilliant even than those he now wears, after, in a word, he has exhausted all that Egyptian gold can buy, and all that Egpytian luxury can command, he repairs to the gorgeous chamber where his expected guests would assemble.

The furniture of this room surpasses all that we have yet seen. The linen is the finest which Egyptian looms can produce; the tapestry came from Babylon; the carpets are Lydian; the tables are of expensive foreign woods, or if of native, then brightly painted and thickly gilded; the chairs are hung with gold and scarlet and deep blue; their frame-work is a very study of elegance in design. Some are massive, covered throughout with rich drapery; others are light, with lotus buds and flowers, volutes, scrolls, and ornaments, forming the sides; some have captives, others birds, gazelles, lions, and goats, as their supports; all are rich, elegant, and splendid; all suit well with the heavy Egyptian luxury. Each smallest box is a gem for artistic beauty; each vase and cup and basket of gold, or porcelain, or the true and the false murrhine, (the last is the production of Theban workshops), is a thing to be examined for ever; while those of the "pigeon's neck" manufacture, that strange substance of such varied dyes which change in every light till you may not tell what the original hue, are sure to attract crowds of the idly curious to gaze and still gaze on the wonders of light and colour. Splendid lamps of glass and porcelain ; statues of ivory, stained wood, false emerald, and vitrified pottery; the coloured ceiling, where the eye is lost in the maze of scrolls and arabesques and many-shaped borderings; the massive columns with their painted lotus-capitals; all these, and more than we can enumerate, speak of the Mizraimite's wealth, and luxury, and


And many a fair maid among the gathering guests would not be ill pleased were the owner of so much beauty to call her "sister."*

Wine is handed round, after each guest has received from the slaves the usual courtesies of water, ointments, lotus-garlands, and sweet nosegays. The wine, and that undressed cabbage in a glass dish, are to stimulate the appetite; and even dainty female lips do not refuse their provocatives.

The banquet passes, while singers trill out their sweet melodies, and buffoons repeat their merry tales and racy jests; while jugglers perform their magic feats, and dancing girls flit like young goddesses about the halls; while mirth and gaiety, love and beauty, enchant the dazzled senses, those grave staid guests carry out their hours. Oh, believe me well, life in Ancient Egypt, despite all the gravity of the nation, was filled with the same passions and allurements as now! We do but change the fashion; the thing remains the same.

And hours pass on, until the near approach of the evening and the latest meal separates the revellers. Some are bound homeward to the still duties of domestic life, in strong contrast to the pleasures tasted now; others to scenes perhaps more free, more burning in their delights than these. Our dandy is one of this class. Another banquet made up as this has been of wine and perfumes and dainty meats, of sweetmeats, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, of music, the dance, and the song, and the jest, and, dearest of all, of women's beauty and of woman's love, succeeds the departure of his guests, and closes the day so deliciously spent. And then our Egyptian commends himself to his gods, to the Ibis and the bull, and the cynocephalus, and the crocodile, and the onion; and once more sleeps beneath the scented linen of the chased bronze bedstead, to rise on the morrow, and pursue the same round of vacant pleasure.

He sleeps. Hush! let the gods of his faith, nay, let the One God of the Universe watch over him; for he is man, therefore equal participator with all men in the love of the Awful Name. Let his sins of frivolity in a life so full of earnest things be pardoned; let him sleep, to waken in another world to a truer knowledge of the value of being. Gently leave his bed. Vain and harmless, a thing of folly not of crime, we may well spare thee, frail son of Khemi! Thou hast nobler brethren-men whose lives are of thought and action-men who know what life demands, and of what awfulness are its requirements-men who have left behind them eternal monuments of their power and majesty ; but even among all this majesty, all this power, we have space in our regard and place in our love

for thee! Sleep! sleep! thou art the child of our common Father; and though erring, blind, and wandering now, thou hast long since wakened to the light of truth and to the reality of the hereafter !

* A synonome with wife; perhaps from the early customs of fraternal marriages.






It was my fortune a few years ago to be on terms of intimate acquaintance with a French gentleman of high literary attainments and some singularity of character. He had fully developed the first in the arduous prosecution of severe antiquarian studies, the reward for which had at length reached him in the shape of a professorship of languages at one of the royal colleges in the South of France; and whoever was thrown much into contact with him became perfectly satisfied of the existence of the last.

Similar pursuits at a former period had led to a regular correspondence, which, however, related entirely to literary subjects. We were in the habit of communicating any matter of interest to our mutual pursuits; the discovery of a curious manuscript, the progress of a long-undertaken work, what the philologists of this place were engaged in, and what occupied the antiquarians of another, asking occasionally for the collation of certain passages and, in short, going through a complete interchange of literary civilities.

It was many years since we had met, and the whims and oddities of my friend never exhibiting themselves on paper, save when he pushed some favourite theory a little too far (a pardonable eccentricity to which we are all somewhat prone), I had forgotten how frequently he used to excite my surprise by the adoption of the most out-of-the-way projects, when one morning about the beginning of the year 18-, as I was seated at breakfast, leisurely discussing my muffins and coffee while my eye wandered over the pages of the metrical version of "Le Roman du SaintGraal," then only just published, I heard the postman's double knock at the door of my chambers, and found that he was lingering for the payment of a foreign letter. This was an unusual occurrence, for we whose pursuits are antiquarian generally contrive to find an official medium of communication, an ambassador's bag, the Minister of Public Instruction, or some such channel, a most justifiable evasion of the tax on letters, as all who are familiar with the nature of our correspondence will at once admit. Here, however, was a letter of this description unpaid, and the address was in the hand-writing of my learned friend Professor Panurge of Bordeaux. With something akin to a sigh, I dropped the amount into the postman's hand and returned to the breakfast-table, inwardly speculating on the cause of this unaccustomed mode of proceeding.

It is, I believe, within everybody's experience, if the superscription of a letter be in an unknown hand, how, instead of at once opening it and satisfying one's curiosity as to the writer, one turns it over and over, examining first the seal and then the postmark, and wondering all the while who it can possibly come from. I was in no such doubt about the missive from Professor Panurge, but I acted much in the same way with respect to its contents.

"What can possibly have made him write again so soon ?" I asked myself; "it is only a month since I heard from him; he can't have finished his essay on the long-toed shoes of the fifteenth century in which he clearly intends to prove that the Vidame de Chartres could not possibly have worn the poulaine when he gave the Damoiseau de Soubriac that famous kicking which was one of the most striking events of the history of that time; has he settled the disputed question about the Reine Pédauque,

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