Warburton, Eliot
Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land, or, The crescent and the cross: comprising the romance and realities of eastern travel — Philadelphia, 1859

Page: 73
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License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
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and saw its green folds reflected in the waters of the Nile.
Pleasanter would it be to go back to the old times of Egypt's
mysterious history, when men were blended and confounded
with the Gods, and the dreamlike glories of Karnak seemed
almost to justify such presumption. However visionary the pur-
suit, and however faint the approximation to the truth, it is still
pleasant to be humbugged by the priests with Herodotus; to go
" body-snatching " in kingly tombs with brave Belzoni • or even
to pick beetles, and read " handwriting on the walls " with Ro-
zellini, Champollion, and Sir Gardner Wilkinson—pleasanter
would any of these subjects be than the dry discussion of com-
mon-place life in these common-place times. But the attempt
to introduce such subjects into these slight pages would be as
vain as to embroider tapestry with Cleopatra's Needle : glimpses
of men and things in our own time is all that I can hope to offer ;
and if not vivid and comprehensive, they shall be at least faith-
ful, as far as in me lies.

The graceful garb, the flowing beard, and the majestic ap-
pearance of Orientals, are very imposing to a stranger's eye.
The rich coloring, the antique attitudes, the various complexions,
that continually present themselves, form an unceasing series of
" tableaux vivans " in an Eastern city. And when over these is
poured the brilliant sunshine of their climate, now making strong
shadow of a palm-tree, or a pile of Saracenic architecture, now
gleaming upon jewel-hilted scimitar or gorgeous draperies, daib
life wears an interest and picturesqueness unknown in this
cloud-stricken land of hats and macintoshes.

The population of Cairo is composed of the descendants of
./Ethiopians, Romans, Greeks, Persians, Saracens, Arabs, and
modern Europeans : the general maternity of the middle classes
is Abyssinian. The variety of feature, form, color, and charac-
ter, resulting from such a mingling of races, may be easily con-
ceived. With respect to color, the effect is pretty much the
same as if all the tints in a paint-box were mixed up together, a
variously modified brown being the result. In the women espe-
cially, the eye soon becomes accustomed to this complexion;
and, as the Eastern people never become reconciled to ours, it
would appear that we are not of the " right color," after all;
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