May 5, 2012

The Country Prospers, 1817 | Walking through Egypt

The Country Prospers, 1817
Captains Charles Irby and James Mangles

Egyptian Prospers
We went the other day to the island of Rhoda to see the Mekias, but the column of graduation was wholly covered by water; so that we might have spared ourselves the trouble. The island, however, now presents a complete carpet of verdure, with beautiful sycamore trees and well recompensed us. There are no bams in Egypt: the peasant being sure of fair weather at harvest-home, the com is immediately threshed, and the grain is piled up in immense hills, encircled by a wall.

The birds are freely allowed their share, though, during the time it is ripening, their claims are disputed by children, who are placed on elevated mud-hillocks, scattered in all directions throughout the plains; here they bawl and fling stones by means of a sling, to deter the feathered robbers from their depredations.

The other day we went to Boulac, situated on the banks of the Nile; it is, properly speaking, the port of Cairo, and the best scene it presents at this time of year, is not exceeded by any of our quays in Europe. The large djerms some of forty and fifty tons, make an immense profit during the overflowing of the Nile; the stream brings them down with great rapidity, and the strong north breeze takes them up again with equal speed. It is said these boats sometimes clear half their original cost the first season; a great part of the year, when the Nile is in its bed, they are laid up in ordinary, as their great draught of water prevents them navigating at that season.

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