Bartlett, William Henry
Forty days in the desert, on the track of the Israelites: or a journey from Cairo by Wady Feiran, to Mount Sinai and Petra — London, [1840]

Page: 191
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THE "GISll" OK DYKE. 191

Kant and glittering in the morning beams, begins to flow again
through the streets.

The moonlight nights were glorious, and before I made over the
old tent in which I had dwelt for so many weeks in the Desert to my
faithful follower Komeh, I remembered a little oasis near the Great
Pyramid, where I had a strange fancy to pitch it for the last

The necessary preparations made, we set out in the afternoon for
the ferry at Ghizeh, somewhat early, as at this season of inundation
the distance from the latter place to the pyramids is increased from
about five to nearer twenty miles. In about half-an-hour we
reached the Nile at Old Cairo. The broad river, reflecting the
calm glowing sky, came down in its majestic flow, animated by the
constant flitting about of the large white bird-like sails of the
numerous boats. The angle of the island of Rhoda with the
Nilometer, here divides it into two branches, and the scattered
palm-groves of Ghizeh paint their tall stems and graceful fans
against the warm transparent sky, opening, as it were, to afford
an unequalled view across the rich green level extending to the
Libyan Desert and to the pyramids seated in serene grandeur on
its rising edge. After much scuffling and haggling among the boat-
men for the prize of an extra piastre, we fell into the hands of one
of them, rapidly gained the opposite shore, and marshalling in
order, took our course along the raised bank of the river, it being
necessary at this season, when the inundation had but partially
subsided, to follow a circuitous course along the " Gisr" or Dyke,
which, as in Holland, affords the only communication from one village
to another. Sometimes we turned our backs altogether upon the pyra-
mids, the object of our journey, and after long turnings and windings,
they appeared as far or further off than ever. Eager to make more
rapid progress, we listened to the delusive representations of one of
our boys, who engaged us to descend into the watery level in a
bye-path, which after many adventures in the mire, occasioned us
only loss of time. The soil of Egypt is either mud or dust, and
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