My Life and My Travels by Heinrich Brugsch, 1894, Berlin

My First Persian Journey, Chapter V

It was after his return from Spain that the Baron von Minutoli surprised me one day with his visit, in order to place before me the proposal to set out with him upon a several years' journey to Persia. He explained to me that he had been appointed Resident Minister, and had been offered the free choice of a post in three exotic lands. Among them was Persia.

He wanted to undertake the journey if I could decide to accompany him, naturally in an official capacity and with the title of a Royal Prussian Vice-Consul. He argued that the modem Persia was a little-known country, which did not lack a poetic flavor, so that the journey, beside the fulfillment of the patriotic purpose of the mission, might also offer a certain enjoyment. What had I to lose or to gain in Berlin? I accepted the proposal without long deliberation, convinced that I would find in the presence of an amiable and humane chief a compensation for the separation from home and family. Of course, I felt it like a stab in the heart, that I would be forced to say farewell to my Egyptian studies for a long time, but I was comforted by the thought of entering into a new world in the East, and there forgetting many a humiliation that, especially lately, had embittered my stay in my own homeland. It had indeed gone so far, that the skillful draughtsman Weidenbach, who was working on the great publication of Egyptian monuments, received the order not to draw a stroke for me, and the hieroglyphic characters of the academic printing-office here were not permitted to be employed for the printing of my own books. In about one month, I learned the Persian language, in which Pietrazewski, the sixty five-year old teacher here at the University, gave me the first instructions. He is the same >one who served as dragoman on our mission in the Land of the Sun. He, too, has long since descended into the realm of shadows, but I may still today boast of having been his brave pupil who, right after our arrival in Persia, took over the task of sharing the labor of interpreter with the teacher.

The preparations for departure were soon accomplished, although it was somewhat difficult in Berlin to judge the travel requirements of a European for the capital city of Teheran in the heart of Asia. My friends, headed by the sculptors Blaser and Affinger and the painter W.A. Meyerheim, gave me a farewell party that would have to search for its equal in gaiety. It consisted of an evening feast combined with meaningful wall-pictures which, with the help of a magic lantern whose slides Master Meyerheim had painted in bright colors, attained a highly artistic correctness in the representation.

On February 5, 1860, at seven o'clock in the evening I left Berlin, in order to join the other members of the mission in Vienna on the next day. Among the fellow travellers was a Galician who spoke ill of his government with its paper florin notes and who incessantly put before me the question, "Can a servant be happy if his master has no money?" whereupon I answered him simply: "Yes, if the servant himself has money."

In Trieste I visited myoid friend, the court-painter Fiedler, a native Prussian, who at that time had just completed his large and magnificent picture, "The Desert near Assuan." We crossed over by Lloyd ship to Stambul, anything but pleased at the vast mountains of filth and the dirty torrents that filled the network of streets. The inspection of the city, which I was visiting for the first time in my life, took up a few days, and as member of the first Prussian mission to Persia, I had the honor to be presented to the most celebrated persons of the Eastern diplomatic world. I count among them the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fuad-Pasha, the President of the Tansimat and true reformer of Turkey, Ali-Pasha, the President of the State Council, Kiamil-Pasha, the young Prince Alexis Labanoff, who resided in Stambul as Russian Ambassador, Muchlis-Pasha, a Prussian military man in Turkish service, whose real name was Kuzkowski, and many other persons of rank and position within or outside of Turkey.

The 26th of February was the great day on which the members of our mission were presented by the Prussian Ambassador, Count von der Goltz, and by Fuad Pasha according to the Turkish Court ceremony to the Great Sultan Abdul-Medschid-Chan. The Ruler of all the Faithful was at that time in his thirty-seventh year, but he already gave the impression of a man aged through illness.

We left Constantinople on March 2 on an Austrian Lloyd ship, to set out on the real journey to Persia on the Asiatic side of our globe. We reached Trebizond, where at that time the learned Orientalist, Dr. Blau maintained his office as Prussian Consul. Before our own mission he had undertaken an official journey to the Turkish-Persian frontier, had extended his way as far as the great Persian commercial city of Tabriz, and had set down his observations and experiences in a commercial-political report which appeared in print.

From Trebizond a caravan route leads still today to the above-mentioned city. Bad weather conditions, which prevail about this time in the harsh mountain country, as well as the slowness of movement of the caravans, had induced our chief to give up this route and take the way to Persia through Russian Caucasia. We continued the journey by sea, landed at Batum, at that time a miserable Turkish settlement consisting of a few huts and houses, which today has passed into the possession of Russia and has developed into an important Russian commercial town, the starting-point of a railroad to the Caspian Sea. After a further journey of a few hours, we arrived at the Rion River, the Phasis of the Ancients, spent the night in the fever-ridden military station of Poti, in order later, by river steamer and finally by Russian "kibitka," to travel the last stretch to Tiflis. Foot-high snow filled the mountain passes, a fierce cold made our limbs tremble, but fortunately we reached the capital of the Caucasus, in which the Russian army, shortly after the conquest of the Cherkessen region, had set up its headquarters.

It cannot be my task to describe the individual personalities, from the Governor General of the Caucasus Prince Bariatinsky on, with whom we came in contact. It may suffice to know that everywhere we enjoyed a kind reception, and that my name was well known to the Prince himself, since, through the purchase of the great library of a Russian Egyptologist, he had come into possession of a collection of Egyptian books that could hardly be surpassed in completeness. Our journey by land from Thlis through the mountainous Armenian region as far as the Russian-Persian border on the Araxes proceeded smoothly without incident, and it offered us daily the richest opportunity to learn to know land and people most accurately in all details. On the far side of the Araxes, we touched the actual domain of Persia. We had the good fortune to be received by a Persian travel-marshal, and to be conducted on the three-week-long way through Tabriz to the capital city and residence of the Shah of Persia. In a two-volume work which appeared right after my return home, under the title, Journey of the First Prussian Embassy to Persia, I made the attempt to compile in all possible completeness the events, the observations and the experiences of our mission, in order to give the German reader a picture of Persia as it confronts us today, with all its intrinsic qualities and peculiarities.

The ruler of this great land, which surpasses Germany three times in size, but numbers at the most, seven million inhabitants, was the then thirty-year-old Shah Nasred-Din, who still at present wields the scepter over his "blessed kingdom" and has drawn public attention to himself through his repeated journeys to Europe. For my part, I cannot resist the pleasure of expressing my frank opinion of this Prince, who has experienced the most harsh and unjust judgments abroad. It has been forgotten that the Shah is an Asian and not a European, that manners and customs of the Persians rest upon AsiaticMohammedan conceptions, but it is not known that the Shah can indeed be called the best Persian, whose repeated trips to Europe pursued the sole object of becoming more closely acquainted with the state of European culture and the progress of our industry through personal observation, and, if possible, of transposing them to Persian conditions. In the royal palace garden at Teheran, on my second official journey to Teheran a few years ago, I often had occasion to hear in more detail the statements of the Shah concerning culture and civilization, and each time I enjoyed encountering in them the soundest views. I was no less surprised to learn from his own lips how much it had pained him to read in German, English, French newspapers the most unjust and sarcastic judgments of his actions and customs, and to be met with reproach, as though he alone were to blame, that his subjects were in a half-barbaric state. He told me he had two tasks to fulfill: on the one hand to preserve in his people the genuine Persian quality in purity of language, in excellent customs and good practices, but on the other hand, to leave nothing untried in order to introduce into his land culture according to European conceptions. At that time, as a thirty year-old, he had already learned the French language, in order to teach and instruct himself from French books; he himself had drawn up and put into print a French-Persian dictionary, in order to facilitate the knowledge of this language for the Persians; he composed writings and poetry, to offer a model to his people also in their own language, only he must leave it to time, to see his endeavors crowned by lasting, visible results. These and similar expressions of His Iranian Majesty were not merely calculated to bribe me and to produce a favorable judgment on their author, but they sprang from his sincere intention, as I myself later had occasion to be convinced by the facts.

Thirty years later, after the return from my second journey to Persia, the honor fell to me to hear from the lips of our great Emperor Wilhelm I a judgment on the Shah of Persia which coincided completely with my own. Also in this case, my Imperial Lord revealed the deep knowledge of hwnan nature which distinguished him, and the rare quality of sharply discriminating, with one glance as it were, between outward appearance and inner worth. At the state dinner to which I had the honor to receive an invitation shortly after my return from Teheran, the Emperor expressed himself in these words: "I have learned to know the Shah of Persia as a man of fine tact, which has never been contradicted on his frequent visits in Berlin. Did I not have to feel deeply moved, that on that day when the shot of a madman wounded me, the Shah immediately ordered his departure, thinking that his arrival on the same day had brought me bad luck?" Shortly after our arrival in Teheran, the Prussian mission was augmented by a new member for whom I felt the greatest affection during all his life, although the paths of our professions diverged and a reunion after returning home was only seldom realized. He was the nephew of the Resident Minister, Herr von Grolmann, who at that time, belonged to the first Regimental Guard in Potsdam as First Lieutenant, and who was assigned to the Embassy in Teheran as military attache. Duties in service had prevented him from departing from Berlin at the same time we did, and so he was obliged to follow our tracks from place to place in flying haste, to join us in Teheran only a few days after our own arrival. Without knowledge of the Turkish, Russian, and Persian languages, the cool and clever officer had accomplished the feat of forcing his way everywhere and finally, in six days, of completing a courier ride in scorching heat in the midst of the Asiatic steppes from the Russian-Persian border as far as the capital city of Teheran. The performance was an extraordinary one, even though on the forced ride, two horses were left lying on the road.

Diplomatic intercourse in Teheran taught me, for the first time, to know international embassy life, far from the European homeland and among a half-barbarian population. The national distinctions disappeared, the feeling of the European community carne to the foreground. Although the French language served as the medium of conversation and official international correspondence, the influence of France upon the European nationals extended in no further tangible way. Among the acquaintances I had the opportunity to make at that time, there belonged in the first rank, the celebrated cuneiform researcher, Colonel Sir Hemy Rawlinson, who had taken up his residence in Teheran as plenipotentiary Ambassador of England, the Russian Legation Secretary Jessen, well known to us Germans as the poet who wrote many songs, the court physician of the Shah, Dr. Pollack, a native Austrian, as well as his successor, the French Dr. Tholozan, one of the most amiable of persons and most friendly to Germans. Finally, I do not want to forget the young Melnikoff, who at that time was attached to the Russian Embassy, because I had the happiness of greeting him again as Minister and Ambassador of his government in Teheran on my second stay in Persia, after the course of almost thirty years.

The sufferings and joys of the sojourn in Teheran in the summer season at the foot of the snow-capped Elburz Mountains I gladly pass over, because the sufferings, mostly caused by the unhealthy influences of the Iranian climate, by far outweighed the joys. Yet we spent the entire summer up in the so-called cool foothills of the Elburz, in order, at its end in the autumn season, to set out on the journey planned by the Baron von Minutoli, through Hamadan (the old Ecbatana), Isfahan and Shiraz to the Persian Gulf. This was against all the advice of informed persons, who called the journey to the south in the autumn season a plainly dangerous undertaking. The Baron was of the opposite opinion, since he had the faith that the excursion we made to the Laar Valley for the ascent of the 18,000 foot Mount Demawend must have completely prepared and fortified us for the longer distance to the Persian Gulf.

Our caravan consisted of seven Europeans, approximately twenty Persian soldiers, servants and caravan boys, as well as nine saddle-horses and twenty-two mules for the transport of the riders and the baggage. The apprehensions expressed unfortunately came true in the fullest measure. The heat, the eating of fruits, then especially the bad and mostly salty water, peculiar to the majority of the Persian brooks, and the lack of any medical help, made their effects felt on our European bodies. We fell ill by turns, and faced with dread the last part of the journey in the South, where, according to the reports of all travellers, plague and cholera, focusing in Shiraz, claimed numerous victims. In the presence of the ruins of Persepolis I felt that my last hour had come. Fever and dysentery racked my body, and only with pain and distress was I able to mount my horse in order to travel the last martyr's way to Shiraz.

Upon our entrance into the city of the poets and of learning, in which the cholera was raging with all thoroughness, we had the surprise of meeting a pallid Persian on horseback before whom everyone on the street vanished into the side alleys with loud cries, and who, at my question, had been curiously designated as the "cholera man." As soon as he appears in any part of Persia, according to the tales, the cholera is said to break out there, and not to decline until the cholera man has again turned his back. I shall come back once more to this remarkable person, since I had the surprise, during my later consular service in Cairo, of meeting him at the sickbed of a Prussian attacked by cholera.

The worsening of my illness prevented me from taking part in the ride of the Baron von Minutoli and his nephew von Grolmann to Benderbushir on the Persian Gulf. My unfortunate chief lost his life on the way, after the fever had seized him with full violence, and not even on the English ships in the harbor of the Persian Gulf had they been able to cure and save the seriously ill man. The former Chief of Police of Berlin, Baron von Minutoli, lies buried in a rock tomb of the Christian Armenian cemetery outside of the city of Shiraz, far from family and homeland on Asiatic soil, near the princely poets Hafiz and Saadi.

The return to Teheran was a journey of mourning under such circumstances, and our arrival in the capital anything but a happy reunion of acquaintances and friends. Moreover, it happened that the cholera had made its way to the metropolis behind our backs, and at the same time, a famine had broken out, which for the Europeans living there-about sixty in number-was cause to fear the worst. The people stormed the bakery shops, ran through the streets with threatening yells, planted themselves in front of the Shah's castle, and thousands of women tore the veils from their faces on the public street, in order to burst out in the cry for bread with shrill voices and menacingly raised hands.

The personnel of the embassies had placed themselves in a state of defense in their houses and awaited the outcome with anxiety. But that also passed, and gradually one began to breathe again, after the Shah and his Ministers had opened the granaries and distributed the grain among the starving crowd.


The death of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and the accession to the throne, which followed on January 2,1861, of the Prince Regent of Prussia as King Wilhelm I, I had the honor to communicate to the Shah of Persia, and to combine with it the announcement of the dissolution of the mission in Persia. The departure was expedited as quickly as possible, and the remaining members of the mission set out on their return home by various routes.

The aged dragoman Pietrazewski chose the long but, because of the slower tempo, more comfortable road through Asia Minor; Herr von Grolmann and my humble self did not hesitate to take a fast courier ride from Teheran to the Araxes, averaging twenty German miles a day, then to hasten through Armenia by "kibitka" and "tarantas" and to make a stop in the heart of Caucasia. From Tiflis we crossed the snow-capped heights of the Caucasus together and separated at their foot, to meet again at home. My military friend had the intention to take part in the last battle against the Cherkessens, and to earn for himself the Russian Caucasus-cross for proven bravery. I remark by way of supplement that my amiable travelling companion is the same von Grolmann who distinguished himself by his military services to the state as commanding General in Erfurt.

Unfortunately, I experienced the sorrow in this current year of learning of his departure from this world.

It was a kind of dread of the waters of the Black Sea that had induced me to complete my own return to Berlin by the land route. From the Caucasus as far as Moscow my coach sped furiously through all of southern Russia; only from Moscow on did I have the opportunity to proceed to Petersburg on the wings of the iron horse, and to present myself most dutifully, as discharged Vice-consul, to our then Ambassador, Herr von BismarckSchonhausen. The hour had remained unforgettable to me, in which I had the privilege of being able to make my ceremonial call for the first time upon the Representative of Prussia at the Russian Court. The present-day Prince was at that time in the prime of manhood, and his serious features, as he looked at me, gave me the impression of a test which I had to undergo. The official coldness with which he spoke to me chilled me somewhat, but his invitation to come to his house and present myself to his family made me at once forget the first impression. My humble self enjoyed there also an undeservedly amiable reception.

The wife of the Ambassador received me with sincere sympathy for the wandering life of a Prussian scholar, felt sorry for my family, from whom fate separated me so unmercifully, and her words affected me all the more deeply when her two sons Herbert and Wilhelm, then at the beginning of the second decade of their lives, awakened the memory of my own children. During the few days of my stay in Petersburg, I had the happiness to be regarded as a member of the family, to find myself regularly at their table, and to admire sincerely the almost simple burgher life in the house of the strict Ambassador. The conversation of the Minister with the table companions possessed the attraction of the opinions of a man of the world, and was spiced by the speaker's fine wit, which always hit the nail on the head. Had I possessed at that time a presentiment of what a great role was allotted to the Ambassador for the destiny of Prussia and Germany in the future, I would have envied myself, regarded the hours spent in the Bismarck house as the most inspiring of my life, and would have kept a precise diary of every minute. In addition to the Legation Secretary, Von Holstein, to whom, according to the pronunciation of the Russian Hand G, it brought no particular pleasure to be designated as "von Golstein" in Petersburg society, I became acquainted with a dear friend in the person of the theological candidate Braun, the excellent teacher and tutor of the two sons of Bismarck. He later occupied a position as prison chaplain in G6rlitz, and in the years which followed, I had the most cordial relations with him.

My journey from Petersburg, which at that time still had no direct rail connection with the Prussian east border, proceeded under the most favorable circumstances, and upon crossing the frontier, I was really surprised when I learned that the Prussian customs officials were already informed of my arrival. By way of Danzig, I finally reached my beloved Berlin, and upon seeing my own family again, all Persian recollections appeared to me like a long, dark dream, which reality let me only gradually forget.

My friends received me with the most sincere cordiality, and the streets of Berlin, through which I wandered almost daily, seemed to greet me like an acquaintance and to tell me old stories again and again. My settled life began anew. I worked on a book about the journey of the first Prussian mission to Persia, which, as I have already said, later appeared in print in two volumes, and found respite from the tedious activity in minor studies of old Egyptian inscriptions or in carrying on the correspondence which had already assumed vast proportions. I am still proud today to have been honored by communications from the hands of the Ambassador von Bismarck and his wife, which demonstrate to me the lasting sympathy of both, and which until now form a shining treasure in my collection of letters.

Prince PiickIer-Muskau was sincerely delighted to know that, after my fortunate return home, I was again in his neighborhood during his stay in Berlin, and every week I received his visits, which were usually combined with a drive to his friends and acquaintances. Also his charming banquets in the Hotel de Russie began again, and his witty conversation, as before, exerted its full stimulating effect on me, especially after my wild life among the Persians. The Prince's interest in my fate had remained the same. It expressed itself, above all, in the wish to see me in a secure position and in the service of the State in the place where I would be closest to Egyptian studies and could, as it were, draw the water of instruction at the source. Without my doing anything, my noble patron was working for me silently, in order to bring about my transfer to Egypt in a consular capacity. His efforts bore a splendid result when, in September of the year 1862, Herr von Bismarck left his post as Ambassador in Paris in order to become Minister of Foreign Affairs at the head of a newly formed Cabinet. The Prince was a friend of the Minister and his family, and I still remember with pleasure the intimate evening gatherings at which, as modest appendage to my princely patron, I had the honor to participate in such select society in the official residence or in the garden behind.


My appointment as Prussian Consul in Cairo actually resulted with the commission to take over the affairs of the Vice-consul in the city of the Caliphs. With the most joyful hopes in my heart, I set out with kith and kin on my third tour of the Nile Valley, in order to establish myself in my new residence in the month of September of the year 1864. Unfortunately, I had, as they say, reckoned the bill without the host, and had brought myself almost tl1oughtlessly into a situation which, during my entire stay, until the year 1866, imposed upon me nearly exorbitant sacrifices.

One will recall the war which, at the beginning of the 60' s, the northern and southern states in the United States of North America waged against each other on account of the slave question. As a result of the bloody events going on in America, the life-lines for trade and industry were severed and the export of the most important agricultural products to Europe was completely cut off for years. To the articles of highest importance belonged, above all, cotton, whose price, from lack of supply to cover demands, increased in unbelievable measure from month to month. It was natural that the buyers and the factories turned their attention to Egypt, where cotton culture had already been introduced in its lower and upper regions under the government of Mehemmed Ali. If it had provided the greatest source of income for the country before, the war in the States of North America became the motive for the Egyptians to turn their entire attention to the cultivation of cotton, whereby the earlier prices for the hundred-weight were raised about five and six times. The black soil of Egypt was covered with cotton plantations from one end to the other, an unbelievable influx of European speculators flooded the country, and anyone who had only a groschen to spare "played," as one calls it, in cotton. Whereas one had formerly spoken of groschen and thaler in society, during the cotton period, the gold napoleon or the English pound became the standard for the simplest money value.

But the bad news was not far behind. The most essential necessaries of life reached an extraordinary height in price, and the rents for dwellings understandably did not remain behind. It was altogether an impossibility for a newcomer to procure domestic accommodations for himself without agreeing to pay the so-called buona sortita-not to the landlord, but to the tenant for his voluntary removal, that is, compensation money, the amount to be determined at the pleasure of the apartment's occupant.

I had come to Egypt not to speculate in cotton and acquire a fortune for myself, but on the order of my government and to discharge my office honestly; and since I could not encamp on the street with my family of six, or dwell in a cave or under a tent, there remained nothing else for me to do, but to pay exactly 3370 thaler, 20 groschen as buona sort ita-in other words, more than double my yearly salary-for a very modest apartment consisting of five rooms, of which the largest was allotted to the Chancellery of the Consulate. Since living requirements of the simplest sort, including the expense for servants, amounted to an expenditure of 3000 thaler per year, one will understand that Sajid Pasha's magnanimous contribution of 20,000 francs for my Egyptian research was so completely spent, that not only was there not a theller left for me, but gradually a disturbing deficit resulted.

It is endurable to suffer with those who suffer when dealing with one's equals, but it becomes an unbearable torture in one's own need, to see one's self surrounded by the superabundance of others who, according to their position, could only be described as adventurers and fortune-hunters.

The cotton-kings reveled in gold; high living and luxury hardly found a limit anymore, while for me and mine, there was only allotted the doubtful pleasure of standing far in the background of a modest existence, witnessing the nouveaux riches.

The trials that were dealt to me during my consular activity in Egypt had with this not yet reached their end by far. Cholera suddenly made its entrance into Egypt and for eight months, the illness raged in frightful extent among the natives no less than among the Europeans. There were no longer enough coffins at the cabinet-maker's, to bear the corpses to their last resting-place, and ordinary chests from the tradesmen's warehouses finally had to be used as beds for the dead. In the few hospitals which then existed in Cairo, and which were managed mostly by self-sacrificing French sisters, there was ultimately a lack of beds to accept the sick, and on going past the cemeteries, Christian as well as Mohammedan, the contaminated air issuing from the bodies only superficially buried in mass-graves presented an unequalled horror and danger for the living. Medical help was almost totally in vain, for in a few hours, death snatched the sick one away, and the general panic seized even a considerable part of the less courageous practitioners, who sought to save their precious lives through hasty flight. The places on the European post-steamers in the harbor of Alexandria were worth their weight in gold, and even the third class on the ships was occupied by travellers who belonged to the most distinguished European society.

To my deceased friend, Dr. H. Sachs, a former Prussian army doctor who had settled in Cairo a few years before and had acquired a well-deserved reputation for his successful cures and self-sacrifice, I must still offer praise after his death, that he stuck to his post and granted his help, day and night, to poor and rich without discrimination.

In the Prussian Vice-consulate in Cairo, it looked sad enough. The cholera had in a short time snatched away the secretary, a young German jurist, a Turkish kawass was killed by the same illness in the midst of service, the cowardly Levantine dragoman, forgetful of duty, had taken flight, and so I was the only official representative left, who as Consul, secretary and dragoman had to stick to his post. Almost daily I was called to the bed of dying Prussians and Germans, in order to receive their last wishes, be it to their own houses, which I mostly found deserted by their inhabitants, or in the hospitals which, although only few in number, existed in the European quarter.

In one of these, I had the great surprise to see, sitting at the bed of a sick Prussian subject, the Persian "cholera man" who had met me on our mission's entry into Shiraz.

Fleeting as our first encounter had been, he resembled the picture that had remained in my memory. He felt the pulse of the dying man, who soon thereafter breathed his last. Already at the onset of the illness in Cairo, the then Turkish Prefect of Police had informed me with anxious manner that the cholera was on the advance, since the cholera man had already been seen in the city. To my further curious questions he could give me no answer other than that the entire population had known the man for years and regarded him as a precursor of the sickness, but that everyone, at sight of him, took flight with the utmost dispatch, in order to escape his evil glance. From the French sisters of the hospital, I received the information that the sinister person was a Persian doctor who for many years travelled through the Orient in order, at all the larger places where the seat of the sickness developed, to study it more closely.

In the very first days of its outbreak no fewer than thirty persons were snatched away from the small colony that belonged to the Consulate, and I accompanied every single one of them on his last journey to the cemetery. I sat in the bottom of a Cairo droshky, the coffin or the tradesman's chest with the corpse laying diagonally across the back seat of the carriage, and so I conducted it to the Catholic or Protestant churchyard, to deliver it to the earth. There was even a shortage of hearses, and the open droshky had to be used to take their place.

Among the dead I had to mourn was also the amiable wife of my friend Auguste Mariette. When the sickness was already on the decline, I paid a visit to the two of them and found them sitting in an arbor of their garden in front of the Museum. I joined them and soon a lively conversation was underway. It was toward evening, the sun was already sinking in the west and the twilight coming on, when suddenly an owl, which had alighted on a ledge of the cornice above the Museum door, raised repeatedly its hoarse call. Madame Mariette seemed frightened, and with an almost fearful voice, addressed me with the few words: "Suppose it wants to call one of us?" Three hours later, she fell ill; I was called to the Museum by a message in the middle of the night and found the poor woman already in her last gasps. The cholera had snatched her away. One will understand that under such circumstances, my stay in Cairo did not belong to the amenities of this world, and that, at the very least, I had neither the time, nor did I feel the desire, to occupy myself with old Egyptian studies.

Nevertheless, I must mark it as a small triumph that I found the opportunity to discover, in a long demotic papyrus, an old Egyptian Novel of the Dead which, through its language and its content, has nowadays attained a certain renown in my science as an ancient ghost story.

At the same time, I did not neglect delivering regular contributions to my periodical (founded in 1863 and still existing after thirty years), since Professor Lepsius had the kindness to take over the editorship of it right after my emigration to African soil. Rich material for it was offered me, above all, by the communications of my former pupil and later friend, Johannes Diimichen, the present Professor of Egyptology at Strasbourg in Alsace. In the year 1862, provided with only slender means, he had undertaken a study trip to Egypt, Nubia and the Sudan, and in the fall of the year 1864 had returned to Cairo laden with rich treasures. To the most important finds which he had made, almost without knowing it, on his wanderings, belonged the great Kings' List of Abydos, which caused the most extraordinary sensation in the science. A transcript of it was immediately published in the periodical, soon afterward to evoke bitter disputes between Lepsius and Mariette regarding priority of discovery of the monument.

A gratifying interruption during my professional activity in Cairo was the arrival of the young Prince Anton von Hohenzollern who, accompanied by the then Captain Mischke (now raised to the rank of General) had undertaken a journey to Egypt. I had the fortune of receiving from his hands a letter from the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, in which His Highness particularly entrusted the most warmly recommended Prince to me. The recollections of the days spent with him during his stay of about six weeks in Cairo and the environs still fill me with sincere pleasure today, but unfortunately, mixed with them is the pain of sorrow, for a few months later the newspapers announced the sad news that Prince Anton von Hohenzollern died a hero's death in the Battle of Koniggratz. He was a wonderful young man, who all too early, for his people and for the Fatherland, expired on the field of honor.

Not without the most heartfelt pity I must mention a second German prince who visited Egypt shortly after that, and came to Cairo for the cure of a serious chest ailment.

He called himself jokingly the "KIingelprinz" after the designation of his peasants, who derived the odd name from the tinkling bells of his carriage horses. He had poisoned his own youthful existence, and wished for nothing more longingly than death, which should free him from all sufferings. His wish was all too soon fulfilled, and I had the sorrow of having to take leave of him forever. The confessions of his bruised and tom heart shall be buried with me. Let it suffice to know that he felt himself utterly unhappy and experienced a relief, in the many hours of our being together, to confide to a sympathetic soul his bitter complaints concerning a lost earthly existence. His embalmed body was sent to the reigning brother after his death, in order to find its last resting place in German soil.

In the year 1866 I returned to Berlin, to enjoy a short furlough in the homeland and to consider more closely the question of my remaining in Cairo. I witnessed the departure from Berlin of the troops who were marching against Austria in the war to steer the fate of Prussia into a new course under the leadership of its Prime Minister von Bismarck. Still before the battle was ended, I set out on the return journey to Cairo, forced this time to make my way to Egypt through France via Paris and Marseille, since at that time Austria, as enemy country, remained closed to me. Before my departure from Berlin, the Princess Pless had expressed to me the wish to make the last attempts to obtain full certainty as to the fate of her son, the African traveller Baron von der Decken. It will be known to many readers that the amiable researcher, with whom I had earlier had intercourse in Berlin, left home in October of the year 1864, in order to set out for Zanzibar and from there to travel up the Dschuba River on East African territory.

In early 1865 he carried out his plan on a small steamer and reached the town of Bardera, was, however, with the majority of the members of his party, attacked on the 25th of September by the Somali, and treacherously murdered. Although his death could hardly be doubted, nevertheless the deeply afflicted mother wished to leave no means untried, in order to find, if perhaps not the living son, yet to recover his last mortal remains.

In the service of the Prussian Vice-consulate there was at that time a Wiirttemberger named Kinzelbach who had acquired an esteemed name for himself in the field of geographical discoveries through his journeys in Abyssinia in the company of Werner Munzinger and in the lands lying to the south. His stay in Cairo, where he finally carried on a mercantile business, had become repugnant to him through the perversities of fate, and he cherished the urgent wish to set out anew on his wanderings in the region of the East African coastal lands, which at that time had still evaded a closer knowledge. He gladly agreed to my proposal that he travel the dangerous route by way of Zanzibar to Bardera, in order to collect more exact information concerning the fate of the unfortunate Baron. On the commission of the Princess, and equipped with ample means, he courageously set out on his way, and his letters and reports which he sent me from Zanzibar and the East African coast expressed the fullest hope of attaining his journey's goal in the most peaceful manner. Suddenly his written communications stopped, for he, too, had become a victim of the blood-thirsty Somali. For my part, I had left nothing unattended to in order to provide him with the warmest recommendations at the main points of his journey. I had even succeeded in obtaining from the Grand Sherif of Mecca a forceful safe-conduct for the Christian travellers directed to the strict Mohammedan leaders of the Somali of Bardera. But his fate was sealed, and he perished under the arrows and lances of the Somali.


My Consular activity reached its end, after I had learned to recognize that I was not at all made for it, and, incidentally, my material means had come to an end also. The office of the Consul is one of the most honorable I know, for it must fill its bearer with pride, to be the representative of a great and powerful government. His invulnerability on foreign territory surrounds him with a nimbus, which incites ambition and imposes on him the obligation to carry out the activity connected with his office with all strictness and conscientiousness. Behind him stands a protector and avenger more powerful than can be imagined, and the lowering of his country's flag is synonymous with a threat of war. I endeavored to fulfill my obligations in so honorable a position according to my humble strength, but I would have had to be only Consul and not Egyptologist, in order to devote my activity exclusively to my profession.

I left Egypt after a short period, in order to make my way this time by way of Berlin to Paris. Mariette, who was completely familiar with my situation, for I had unburdened my whole heavy heart to him, had not lacked good advice, and invited me to direct my way to Paris, to join him there, and quietly to take part in the work for the planned World Exposition in the year 1867. He had rented a villa in Passy in the middle of a pretty garden, I was his guest and fellow-resident of his house, and so we lived in daily and friendly contact with each other, occupied with the preparations for the World Exposition. I had abundant opportunity and time, withal, to renew connections with the French scholars who had befriended me on my first journey there, and to find, above all, in the Count Emmanuel de Rouge, who at that time already occupied the rank of a State Councillor, a patron as warm as he was generous. The Count occupied the position of a Professor at the College de France, with which came a salary of 12,000 francs. He made the proposal to me that I hold lectures on the Egyptian-demotic script and literature at the same College, for which he voluntarily relinquished to me his salary as Professor, but, as he added, it would require the approval of the Emperor Napoleon, in order to change my position into a permanent one.

As for the Imperial approval, Mariette pledged himself to obtain this in a very short time through an elderly friend, a lady who had performed the most excellent services for himself and who was on intimate terms with the Emperor. She was the Emperor's foster sister, Madame Cornu, whose name I have already had occasion to mention above. The lady, married to a painter of mediocre talent, had earlier lived for a long time on the Rhine, and had complete mastery of the German language. She occupied a modest house with her husband in Versailles, in which I had frequent opportunity to see and to speak with the sixty-year-old lady. She was thoroughly familiar with the history of the Napoleon family, and told me particulars which one is accustomed to confide only tete-a-tete to a good friend. Of Madame Eugenie she spoke extremely ill, since she attributed to the former the blame for having caused her foster brother to break an oath. Madame Cornu, as one must know, was an Arch-Rebublican, and his elevation to the imperial throne went against the grain with her. She had therefore declined to accept any support offered her from his hands, and preferred, together with her husband, to gain their livelihood through their own work. Nevertheless, she was permitted to approach the Imperial foster brother at any time and to partake of the evening tea, indeed even to give him advice, when it did not have to do with state affairs. Her recollections of the family of the Napoleons reached back to the time of Madame Laetitia, the mother of Napoleon Bonaparte. I can still hear her story of how she, as a four-year-old child, was taken by her mother to the house in which Madame Laetitia had taken up her residence in Rome. The rooms, from the staircase on, were all hung with mourning-crepe and all decorative parts were carried out in black. As children are in the habit of doing, she was laughing with a loud voice, when there appeared the figure of a dignified, aged lady dressed in deepest mourning, who called to the child the words: "My daughter, you are in the house of the mother of the great Emperor, in which laughing is unknown." She spoke and disappeared as she had come.

Madame Cornu, who overwhelmed me with the most flattering demonstrations of her confidence, undertook with pleasure the mission of informing the Emperor of the proposed entry of a demotic German into French service and to ask his approval of the provisionally made agreement. A result of this mediation was my presentation directly thereafter, when I had the opportunity to carryon a long conversation with the at that time all-powerful ruler of France. It concerned my life, my destiny, and above all, my scientific works, of which he possessed a general know ledge, whereupon he alluded to his favorite subject, Julius Caesar and the conquest of Alexandria by this Roman commander. He stood in a window niche, spoke to me in the German language, put before me questions which I, without interruption from him, answered fluently. The Emperor then broke his customary long silence and informed me, as to my future position in France, that the naturalization as a Frenchman which, according to the law, required not less than a ten-year stay in France, should for me, on his order, be granted after one year. I must say, that the speed with which my naturalization threatened to take place frightened me a little. I remembered very well, to be sure, that in Berlin, shortly before my departure for Paris, the cheap advice was given me by a highly-placed person, to look about for a position abroad, since in Berlin there was neither the desire, nor the means, to cultivate Egyptologists. I told myself further, for my own consolation, that a number of German scholars of best reputation lived abroad-I need only recall the names of the Hellenist Hase, the Iranian scholar Julius Mohl, the cuneiform decipherer Julius Oppert in France, the philologist Max Muller in England, etc.-all of whom were born of German mothers, without the transfer to a foreign citizenship ever having been charged as a reproach against them or as a crime. Nevertheless one does not, without serious reasons, exchange his native right for another, as one puts on a new coat and throws the old one into the comer. Even though, as a son of Berlin, I was one of the most travel-loving inhabitants of my dear native city, yet the thought had never occurred to me, of dying in misery as a foreigner.

The last resort should not remain untried, I resolved, in order to keep Prussian citizenship for myself and my children. After I had addressed to the proper place in Paris the request to be permitted to withhold my decision until after the lapse of fourteen days, I travelled to Berlin as Professor in spe of the College de France, to place my decision in the hands of the Ministry of Education and to spare myself the reproach of having capriciously broken with my Fatherland. I am grateful principally to the intervention of Professor Lepsius, who was little in favor of my emigration to France, that a secure position as full Professor at the Georgia Augusta University in Gottingen was conferred on me by the Ministry of Education. It is a peculiar phenomenon in our Fatherland, that the prophet is without honor in his own country until he is in demand abroad. The old experience proved true in my own case, and I appeared to myself as a "something," as the Persians say, since I felt that I had attained the value of a desired article. I am still grateful today to the highest educational authorities of my Fatherland, for having offered me, through my transfer to Gottingen, the opportunity to keep Prussian citizenship for myself and my family.

My move to Gottingen and my stay in that city were linked with individual odd incidents which I often recalled later with pleasure. It may be remembered that Gottingen was a university city of the Kingdom of Hannover, and that after the annexation of Hannover, the venerable Alma Mater was obliged to receive its funds and directions from Berlin. Hardly three years had passed since the incorporation of Hannover into Prussia. It could therefore not be surprising that the sentiments of the inhabitants of Gottingen, headed by the Hannoverian bearers of wisdom, were anything but friendly toward Prussia and its rulers. On my first orientation-trip to the banks of the Leine I myself experienced the antagonism of the native inhabitants of the city, for nowhere were they inclined to let an apartment to me at a suitable price. By chance, it had happened that a few months before my arrival, a law teacher of Prussian origin at the University, Herr von der Knesebeck, had departed this life, and after his death the widow wished to sell a property left to her in the form of a solid, two-story house on Unter Maschstrasse. The rear side looked out toward the so-called "rampart," which at that time girded the good city of Gottingen, but nowadays is broken through in various places. At one point on it there stood, at least still at the time of my sojourn in Gottingen, a small house whose door one reached across a small wooden bridge. It was pointed out to me as the fortress-like dwelling with the drawbridge occupied by the Prince Bismarck during his student period in Gottingen.

Because of the aversion toward the immigrant Prussian professor, to whom the need of a dwelling was beginning to bring distinct anxiety, there remained nothing else for me to do than to acquire the above-mentioned house by purchase, for which an installment of several thousand thaler was the first requisite. The lack of money was, however, my least concern, for after a few days I was already in the position to pay the required amount to the lady, cash down. My great Hieroglyphic Lexicon lay completed in manuscript before me;

I delivered it to the J.e. Himich Bookseller's in Leipzig for publication, and this latter was willingly prepared to hand over to me, in advance, a part of the requested fee. To be sure, it brought me hard months and years of labor. I was obliged to write down the entire work with my own hand, in constant struggle with obstinate pen and thick, greasy ink, in order to prepare it for reprint. From the year 1867 until March 19, 1882, I was able to complete the seven-volume work. On 3146 pages there were executed approximately 8400 words in hieroglyphic and demotic script characters, discussed and for the greatest part explained.

I may not bestow on myself the self-praise for having carried out a prodigious work, yet may admit openly that the greatest acknowledgement was rendered to the work by scholars at home and abroad, already at the appearance of the first issues. It lies in the nature of the difficult task, that errors and faults in it were unavoidable, but these defects have not until now been able to diminish the value of the dictionary. I observed with pleasure that since the publication of the comprehensive work, the decipherings of ancient Egyptian inscriptions and texts occupied the activity of the scholars in ever increasing measure. Even Lepsius wrote to me about it on April 22, 1882: "This is a lifework, to which nothing similar can be compared in Egyptology." So I settled, then, in my own house, and had plenty of time to become familiar with the Gottingen citizenry, without feeling the slightest annoyance that my good neighbors never wearied of scattering yellow and white sand on both sides, or decorating their windows with flowers which showed the same colors. It annoyed my dear wife more, that the dealers in provisions passed by our house without entering, and that at the market the prices demanded of the immigrant Prussians were double and three times those asked of the Hannoverian cooks.

The reception I enjoyed on the part of my new colleagues was anything but Hannoverian, but showed a genuine German character. Even Ewald, the great Hebrew scholar, irritable in politics as in science, and generally feared, did not let me feel his antiPrussian sentiments in any way, and even entered into a closer scientific relation with me, which certainly did no harm to the increase of my knowledge. Among my sincere friends and patrons, I counted at that time Professor Curtius, the former teacher of Emperor Friedrich, the Sanskrit researcher Benfey, the physicists Wohler, Weber, and Listing, not to mention others who stood closer to me in companionable contact. In my honored colleague Dr. Klinkerfues I learned at that time to admire an incomparable wit.

The lectures which I held publicly in the largest hall of the University enjoyed a huge attendance, for not infrequently I found myself facing more than five hundred attentive listeners. Small minds, which seemed to be plagued by envy, could for this reason not resist the joke of designating my lectures as the "summer theater" of the Alma Mater in Gottingen.

Upon a younger, life-loving person, who has seen the world and its greatest cities, and in travelling has com~ in contact with men of various nations, Gottingen in time exerts a depressing impression. It lies not in the natural surroundings, the mountains and woods in the environs of the city, not in its small size and the constraining collar of the rampart, but rather in the character of its inhabitants who seem to have changed little since the time of Heine. Indeed their wishes for a happy existence are modest, for they are limited to the desired possession of a student able to pay for a front room of the house, and a dreadful stinking pig in the backhouse. At least, so it was in my time. My olfactory nerves could testify daily and hourly, what a disagreeable, grunting company carried on its excesses directly beside my little garden. Especially in the summer season, it was hardly any longer endurable, not to speak at all of the countless flies, which the proximity of the bristled animals attracted. The windows of my house remained closed day and night. How I longed for the pure breezes under the blue sky of the Nile Valley!

My Life and My Travels, by Heinrich Brugsch (English version, 1992), edited by George Laughead Jr. and Sarah Panarity. Used with permission of Dr. Heinrich George Brugsch, M.D., Waban, MA