| Feb. 1st
– Another lovely morning. We have seen some Arabs, about twenty or
thirty being on board. I saw one wash himself and afterward count his beads.
Feb. 4th – Sunday, arrived at Alexandria this morning. We are at the Peninsular, an Oriental Hotel. The charges are very exorbitant, being four dollars a piece a day. We will not remain long, but continue our journey as soon as possible. At half past ten this morning we went to the English Church, the first service we have been able to hear since we left home. Sermon, subject, Wheat and Tares, Matt. Chap. 13.
Feb. 6th – Yesterday we went to Cleopatra’s Needle, which is an obelisk of red granite, in good preservation, covered with hieroglyphics. It was brought to Alexandria from Heliopolis by one of the Caesars; then to Pompey Pillars, which is also of red granite. It is ninety-eight feet high and is situated on a hill overlooking the City. We walked along the canal and went aboard one of the Nile boats, which go up to the third cataract. The city is supplied with water from the canal. We went through the summer palace of the Pasha, the furnishing of which was quite elegant. We walked through a large garden which did not compare with those of Spain. This is certainly the most disgusting place we can imagine; dogs barking hideously at night, fleas are abundant. We met a train of camels. Our guide asked the driver to let us take a ride. He made one kneel and Nora got on astride. After she had ridden a few paces, I tried sitting side ways, which I preferred, though she said she could hold on better. The mounting and getting down was the worst part of the performance. The costumes we saw in Arabic and Turkish quarters were amusing, Jewish, Grecian, Arabic, Coptic, African, John Bull. The fez cap is very much worn by others besides the natives, especially, John Bull. The Arabs put their children to work very soon, indeed they appear to be the most industrious class here. We saw a little child about five years’ of age sewing a hair bottom on a sieve as demurely as possible. I saw a man making vermicelli. He had a tin cup with holes in the bottom like dredging box into which he put a ladle or two of batter and then sprinkled it on a hot pan, well greased and as soon as it commenced to dry took it off. We were delighted with the groves of Palm trees. We saw also some of the fresh dates, which were very nice. Left Alexandria this morning at nine and arrived at three o’clock. The country looked beautiful. It is exceedingly fertile along the railroad and canal. Saw numbers of cotton fields. Their manner of irrigating is with a basket with a rope tied at each side, two men sitting or standing opposite to each other dip it up and throw it over into a ditch.
Feb. 7th – This morning we rode to Heliopolis on donkeys; saw the obelisk, which was covered with hieroglyphics on all four sides. It is built of red granite. It was situated before the temple of the sun. From thence we visited the mosque and temples of the Califs. The country all along the road to Heliopolis is beautiful, two rows of trees, Gum acacia or olives; figs or pines. We gathered some of the gum arabic from the former. Saw an Arab plowing. Mr. M. took hold of the plow. The wheat fields looked lovely. Went to a garden where we saw the sycamore tree under which the Holy Family are said to have sat and there caused the water of the fountain of the sun to become sweet. We went inside three of the mosques. There are said to be more than 400 in Cairo. We ascended the minaret of the mosque of El Barock. Had a fine view from it. The interior of the mosque was very handsome, especially the windows of colored glass. The sides of the room and window seats were mosaic consisting of small pieces of white and black marble and red brick, the floor the same on a larger scale. They are crumbling in many places. The outside of the walls and windows are a mass of ruins in many places. The mosque at the citadel is magnificent. Besides the many lights and chandeliers in the middle of the building there are two galleries near the roof which are hung with lanterns about two or three feet apart. They are all lit on grand occasions. All the sides of the walls were of variegated alabaster. The floors were covered with Turkish carpets. In the Court of the Citadel is a magnificent fountain, built of alabaster and marble baskets of grapes and leaves carved upon it. The water was turned on by a fount, below which were seats all around it where the Arabs sat to wash themselves. From there we went down to Joseph’s well a distance of 260 ft. from the surface. There we saw the water drawn by two mules, carried up to the fountain by a chain of crockery pots and emptied in the tanks above. We then returned to the city and went through the Arab and Turkish and French Saw peach trees in bloom in the harem garden citadel, bazaars and purchased photographs and a pair of slippers, stereoscope views, colors. The bazaars look like large open cupboards. They sit in them to sell and generally on the outside when at work; saw them making shoes, dyeing.