May 6, 2012

Where is the Queen? 1882 | Walking Through Egypt

Where is the Queen? 1882
Samuel Cox

Cheops Tomb
Let us enter: not without hope! The slippery path inward slopes downward until it meets a great gallery, which runs upward at an angle of forty-five degrees. Then, on a level, it runs to the Queen’s Chamber. Returning on this level, at the same angle, and about half-way up the inside, you enter the King’s Chamber. But it is no time or place for photographing this picture. Nor, if I were a poet, could I set a single airy sentiment in time, under the yawning, cavernous gap which opens as we enter.

“Take care, head!” I hear the Arabs say to my wife. She bows to Cheops. I do the same. We go up and down, sliding on polished stones, and in peril of tumbling into dark vaults. Our tapers give a sort of ‘clear obscure’ Rembrandtish aspect to the stony horror about us. After much lifting, pushing and tugging, relying upon the prehensile grip of the naked Arab foot, and the grasp of the steady Arab hand, now being carried and now pulled, now groping along perilous and slippery edges, we come to the Queen’s Chamber. Its sarcophagus has been removed. But where is the queen? Doubtless the soothsayers told her, five thousand years ago, that she would be safe forever in this grand mausoleum.

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