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to those sometimes set off in Europe, were extremely fine; and the illumination was brilliant and ingenious. However, the most curious part of the spectacle, in the opinion of Hasselquist, were the spectators themselves, who, seated in a ring on the ground, looked with invincible gravity at the various efforts which were made to amuse them. The Christian guests, immediately on their arrival, were presented with coffee and carpets, and they sat down and imitated the silent manner of the other guests. Hasselquist was assured that the expense of this feast of thirty days would not amount to less than eight thousand ducats; but, in return, the master of the house received presents of immense value on the occasion, not less, it was reported, than thirty camelloads.

A few days after this circumcision-feast our hakim enjoyed an opportunity of observing one of the inconsistencies of Mohammedan manners. A company of almé, or dancing-girls, came to perform before the window of the consul's house, and, in a country where other women never go out without a veil, exhibited themselves in a state bordering upon that of nature. From the age of Herodotus down to the present day, the Egyptians have always possessed the reputation of being among the most lascivious nations upon earth, and their patronising the performance of these dancing-girls, who exhibit themselves with an effrontery which our opera dancers have not hitherto ventured to imitate, is a proof of it. These almé, whose ability is estimated by the greater or less facility with which they inflame the passions of the spectators, are generally country girls, and sometimes married women. They are of a dark complexion. Their dress consists of a single tunic, round the edges of which are suspended a number of small bells and hollow pieces of silver, which, tinkling as they proceed through their voluptuous movements, serve instead of music.

Dr. Southey, a man of universal reading, laments that we have been less curious respecting the modes by which the human body is rendered proof against the poison of venomous serpents, than in learning from savages the modes of preparing their destructive drugs. Hasselquist, who was altogether of the same opinion, assiduously endeavoured, during his residence in Egypt, to extract from the Psylli the secret of their profession, a secret which has been religiously preserved during two thousand years ; but, as he could offer these serpent-charmers no equivalent for the danger they would have incurred by imparting it, for they must inevitably have provoked the enmity of their brethren, his efforts were necessarily unsuccessful. It is customary with persons who affect superior wisdom to make short work with all affairs of this kind, by putting on an air of absolute incredulity, by which they would intimate that they have fathomed the secrets of nature, and are perfectly competent to prescribe the limits beyond which her operations cannot pass. These sages, on the subject of the Psylli, at once cut the Gordian knot by asserting that before they take any liberties with venomous serpents, they carefully extract the tooth to which the poison bag is attached, and thus, with all their boasted skill, perform nothing more marvellous than those who handle live eels. This, however, is not the fact. Hasselquist examined the serpents upon which they had exerted the force of their charms, and found that the poisontooth had not been extracted.

The most favourable time for observing the performances of these singular people is in the month of July, when the violent heat of summer hatches myriads of serpents, scorpions, lizards, and every abominable reptile among the sands of Egypt, and sends them forth rejoicing in the vigour of their youth and the potency of their virgin poisons. About the beginning of this month a female serpent. charmer, understanding his desire to possess specimens of some of the most deadly of the subjects, went forth into the fields, accompanied by an Arab, and took up specimens of four different species, that is, of the common viper, the cerastes of Alpinus, the jaculus, and a kind of sea-serpent, which she brought to our traveller. The French consul, and all the French in Cairo who happened to be present on her arrival, were struck with terror; and crowds of people immediately collected to behold this daring magician, for as such she was regarded, handle with careless impunity reptiles which no other person present would have touched for the wealth of the universe. In thrusting them into a bottle she held them in her hand as she would have held her staylace (if she had had one); and when they crept out again, not admiring their close lodgings, and apparently irritated at the attempt to imprison them, she still seized them with the same coolness, and thrust them in as before.

That these Psylli, for they are doubtless the same race with those who exhibited the force of their spells over the serpent tribes in ancient Rome, possess some important secret there seems to be no reasonable ground for doubting, and it seems equally probable that it might be extorted from them by the force of that golden spell which commands all others; but all that Hasselquist was able to learn was, that the serpent-charmers carefully avoided all other venomous reptiles, such as scorpions, lizards, &c., while those whose profession it was to deal with the latter kept aloof with equal solicitude from the contact of serpents; that, previously to their going out in quest of their prey, they never failed to devour a quantity of serpents' flesh, both boiled and roasted; and that, in addition to all this, they had a number of superstitious practices, among which the most efficacious was the being spitten upon by their sheikh; though Husselquist seriouslv opines that this last circumstance could be of no manner of utility! Perhaps, however, the whole secret lies in the using of serpents, or whatever other reptiles they profess to charm, for food; for by this practice they communicate to their perspiration, and, in fact, to their whole body, a snakish odour, which reconciles the reptiles to their touch, and causes them to regard their charmers and destroyers as genuine members of their body politic.

Hasselquist could not, of course, omit while at Cairo to visit the pyramids. The country about Gizeh, to which he proceeded by water, was so fertile and so admirably cultivated, that it was an object of perpetual admiration; and in winter the whole of this part of Egypt appears, when contemplated from an eminence, to be nothing but one vast sea of verdure, extending in every direction farther than the eye can reach. On arriving in the neighbour. hood of the pyramids, he was hospitably entertained by an Arab sheikh, who was encamped there with his tribe. Two kids were slain, and reduced to an admirable pilau ; and with a rough board for a table, a rush mat for a table-cloth, and their fingers for spoons, the whole party made a frugal but whole. some supper. It is necessary, says our traveller, that in such cases we should accommodate ourselves to the ways of the people, which if we do, there is no nation upon earth among whom we shall find so much friendship, frankness, and benevolence as the Arabs.

Having passed the night with these hospitable Bedouins, he pushed on to the pyramids over a plain covered with villages, and was soon standing in wonder and admiration at the base of the principal of these gigantic temples of Venus. When the effervescence

of his astonishment had somewhat subsided, he entered with his Arab guides into the interior, which, no less than the external appearance, he found greatly to exceed the most exaggerated idea he had formed of their prodigious grandeur from descriptions or designs. After groping about for an hour and a half by torchlight through those mysterious chambers sacred to the generative power of nature, of which beauty has always been one of the princi. pal symbols, from the sting which its appearance infixes in the human soul, he issued forth filled with enthusiasm, under the influence of which he attempted to climb up to the apex of the temple. The sun, however, had rendered the granite steps burning hot, so that when he had ascended about halfway he began to imagine he was treading on fire, and relinquished his design. On another occasion, during the inundation, when he made a second attempt, a violent wind arose, and swept with so much fury round the pyramids, that Hasselquist began to fear it might convert him into a bird, and whirl him off to the Red Sea or Nubia, and finally gave up his undertaking. The fact is, his bodily strength failed him in both cases.

He had been assured at Cairo and elsewhere that in the burning sands surrounding the pyramids no Jiving thing, whether animal or vegetable, was to be found. This account he did not altogether credit, believing that Providence had condemned no spot on earth to utter sterility; and on narrowly examining the sands, he found among them one plant, the chondrilla juncea, a species of small lizard, and the formica-leo, or lion-ant, which had formed considerable establishments in the neighbourhood of the pyramids. These laborious little insects were running by thousands over the sands, each having in his claws a small bit of fint, a grain of sand, or a tiny morsel of wood, to be used in the construction of their dwellings. Several of these Hasselquist discovered. They were built in round holes in the loose soil, in a globular form, about twice the size of a man's fist, and were entered by a cylindrical opening at the top not larger than the hollow of a goose

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