My Life and My Travels by Heinrich Brugsch, 1894, Berlin
My Call To Cairo
Hardly had I become warm in Gottingen, and accustomed to the new circumstances, when quite unexpectedly there came a letter to me from Egypt which was of the most official nature, and seemed worth searching deliberation. It came neither from Mariette nor from another European in the Nile Valley, but bore the signature and the title Ali-Pasha Mubarek, Minister of Public Instruction.
On the order of His Viceregal Highness, Ismail Pasha, the "Vizier of Knowledge" honored me through the proposal to come to Egypt, first of all for five years, in order to establish in Cairo a European-Oriental school, in which selected youths of Egyptian race should be initiated into the subjects of higher instruction and into the knowledge of hieroglyphic decipherment. Along with a very respectable salary, there would be placed at my disposal an official dwelling in the middle of a beautiful garden, and in other respects every sort of amenity would be granted me, such as I could not wish better for myself. Since in the given case it was a question not of my person alone, but of the reputation of the Prussian system of education, which the prospect had opened to me to represent in the East, I communicated the contents of the letter to the higher authorities, leaving it to them to reach their decision. I was granted, on the order of the King, a five-year leave of absence, which I myself later shortened, however, in such a way that I returned to Gottingen in the hot season, in order to continue at the regular hour my public lectures in the summer theater, "On the Manners and Customs of the Peoples of the East." On my arrival in Egypt, I encountered from all sides the signs of the greatest good will. The Viceroy thanked me personally for my willingness to respond to his wishes, and the "Vizier of Knowledge" welcomed me in the most fluent French, as one receives a dear old friend. He was at that time approaching forty, lean and towering in height, brown as a fellah, and of an extraordinary liveliness in conversation, in which he took pains to express the clarity of a thought mostly by the indirect means of the Arabic parable. Son of a fellah from Upper Egypt and later sent to the government schools in Cairo, he had attracted the attention of his teachers through his diligence and his ease of comprehension, so that finally he was assigned to a student mission to Paris. In the great modem Babel, he studied the sciences according to the French method, attained the best grade in every subject, and was later assigned as artillery officer to the military school in Metz. After his return to his native land, he climbed in the fastest sequence the steps of the ladder of the Egyptian official hierarchy, to shine at last as the radiant sun in the heaven of education in Cairo.
I can boast of having enjoyed his friendship in the broadest measure, which, led him on his part to the request that I be willing to work out for him in the French language, during my leisure hours, a survey of the history of Egypt in the periods of the Ptolemies and Romans, furthermore, the numismatics of the Nile Valley in those same epochs, the ancient geography of the country, etc., in the shortest possible time. His intention was, so he assured me, to write for the use of the native youth-also for the adults this could do no harm-an encyclopedic work in the Arabic language, which would bring before the reader in understandable style Egypt's position in world history, its learning, its arts, its inventions, its manners and customs-in a word, anything and everything as it had developed in the course of the centuries and millenia. My Vizier was a highly cultivated man, but he had one failing, which belonged not to him alone, but to his entire race, namely in oral and written presentation to throw things pell-mell and with abandon all together. Even Ismail Pasha knew this hereditary failing of his people very well, and in reference to his Vizier he remarked to me once: "You see, he and I were together at the school in Paris and were instructed in the same subjects, only with the difference in the result, that he received the best mark and I the worst, in the report-cards. But in spite of his acquired knowledge, his confusion prevented him from really doing good, while I myself, the poorer student-indeed I possess less knowledge than he does-have at least kept my sound common sense. I see clearly and do not judge things distortedly." The high school for which I had been selected as General Director was situated outside the city of Cairo and in the vicinity of the suburb of Bulak. The building belonging to it, with the outbuildings and a front garden, all surrounded by a high white wall, displayed the old Turkish architectural style, in which even the harem windows with their latticework were not lacking. The house obviously dated from the Mameluke Period.
Irregularly laid out, each of the rooms had a different elevation, and a great number of steps and corridors connected the individual ones with each other. For my arrival, everything had been whitewashed and painted, yet they did not avoid leaving the old dirt under the plaster. Bats in the rooms, mice and rats in the cellars and kitchens, were the co-occupants of the Turkish palace, from whose roof, with its Chinese umbrella-like projections, I was daily witness of the most magnificent sunsets. The front garden was charming in its tropical aspect; tall fruit-bearing date palms and blossoming mulberry trees formed transparent small groups, the paths were bordered by immensely tall, dark cypresses, the beds were cultivated with bright-colored ornamental plants or household vegetables, and a government buffalo, as always with eyes blindfolded, turned the creaking water-wheel in the comer from earl y morning until the setting of the sun. My wife was quite enchanted by the genuinely Oriental garden-idyll under the ever-blue sky of the East; but when, on one beautiful morning, she had the occasion to witness with her own eyes from the balcony the fight of our Egyptian house-cat with a one-and-a-half-meter-Iong snake, there was an end to all garden poetry for her. She gave up her daily walks between the flower-beds and satisfied herself with standing behind the harem lattices of the wide reception hall, to cast a look at the lost paradise beyond. "It is really true," she expressed to me, "that no one wanders under palms unpunished." My pupils were, like the Apostles, twelve in number, all natives, who differed from one another only in color, so that the sons of Turkish mothers could be recognized by a lighter, those of Egyptian ones by a darker skin. There had ostensibly been put at my disposal a selection of the most qualified students, but a closer examination of their attainments soon convinced me that it was actually only the lame and the blind in knowledge whom "the High Oiwan" had sent me from the city of learning to the Schech-Gollal. That was the official and popular name of my house, in whose neighborhood was the tomb of a holy man of this name, at which the sons of the land, in passing by, used to offer a short, perfunctory prayer. Too late, I realized that the teachers of the government school had cunningly guarded against depriving themselves of the best of their students, and on the contrary had forwarded to me in the house only the stale dregs of their living wares.
I can easily understand that the instruction which Eastern students receive from European teachers always leads to only moderate success, since the means are, for the most part, completely lacking for the teachers to make themselves sufficiently intelligible to the students, to be comprehended by them. Most Europeans, who not even in their country have undergone a school examination, are assigned to make use of interpreters in teaching-interpreters who themselves, on the other hand, lack the capacity to understand the meaning of the technical expressions in the various branches of instruction, and to introduce a word-structure for the Arabic language which coincides to some comprehensible degree with the foreign expression. The French language, which at that time was taught to the students, they knew only halfway, so that also in this direction, difficulties of every sort stood in the way of the instruction.
My task, which I had to fulfill, was no easy one under such circumstances, and to this day, I do not know how I succeeded, with the help of German teachers and an Abyssinian lecturer, in imparting to my students the German, French, English and Abyssinian languages, introducing them to the understanding of the hieroglyphs, and in teaching them the elements of the auxiliary sciences. The Viceroy seemed to be satisfied in the highest degree by my skill, the "Vizier of Knowledge" was delighted, and the Directors of the government schools nearly burst with envy. Not to be forgotten, even myoid friend Mariette began to be worried by the thought that the Viceroy might have the secret plan to appoint in his museum native officials familiar with hieroglyphic studies. Much as I endeavored to pacify him about it, he remained distrustful in his mind, so that he even had the order given to the museum attendants not to permit any native to copy hieroglyphic inscriptions. Those concerned were simply pushed out of the temple.
Before I relate the conclusion of my later school successes, I must mention an event which at that time kept all Europe most busily occupied, and made the newspapers speak of it as with the tongues of angels. I mean the formal opening of the Suez Canal, in which I participated in an official capacity as Egyptian Commissar. Ever since I had taken my position as Director of an Oriental Academy in Cairo, I now qualified as a "servant" of the government, and therefore had to conform by putting on the black "Stambulin" coat and setting the red tarboosh on my head. Since at that time, I already had a mastery of the Arabic language sufficient to make use of it in my hieroglyphic instruction, and even to give public lectures in Arabic, most Egyptians regarded me as an official who had already spent long years of his life on the banks of the Nile.
THE OPENING OF THE SUEZ CANAL
November 17, 1869, had been set for the celebration in which the opening of the Suez Canal was to take place in the most stately manner. The intention was to conjure up a festival for princes-and-people such as had never existed in the world. At the proper time, the invitations had been dispatched to the ruling princes of Europe, no less to a number of prominent persons in European society, and certainly it had not been forgotten to honor the gentlemen of the mighty "Press" with a special invitation. Expenses were under no circumstances imposed on the travellers, for railroads, steamships, coaches, hotels, in a word, everything stood at their disposal, whereby the maintenance, even to the finest wines, could be described as truly regal. The dilapidated buildings from older and more recent times in Alexandria, Cairo, and at other points in the country usually visited by travellers had been newly painted upon the command of the Viceroy, in order to offer the strangers a pleasing view, and my "Vizier of Knowledge," who showed off as a great connoisseur of Arabian architecture, had been busy for weeks, disfiguring in the most frightful way, the wonderful mosques and buildings from the older Arabian Period of Egypt. The surfaces of the splendid monuments were covered, that is, with white, red, blue, green, and black stripes, like colored music-staves, the sight of which, as could not be otherwise, evoked a horrible impression. Upon the arrival of the invited guests in Cairo a cry of indignation was wrung from the mouths of the travellers, and they would not believe that an enlightened Vizier could consider it an honor to have the monuments of Cairo daubed from top to bottom with the help of a paintbrush.
In the hotels there was not the smallest place any longer to be had, for the government had rented every available room at high prices, in order to receive the arriving guests in the most worthy manner. Countless steamers lay heated up on the river or in the harbors of Alexandria and Port Said, awaiting the moment to receive the invited guests. Everything that could move at all was on its feet, in order to hurry toward the great festival of Suez or, under false colors, to squeeze into the midst of the great crowd of participants.
The closer the great day came, the more the excitement grew, especially when the first foreigners came flying in like migratory birds. Those who had made their way to Alexandria were conveyed farther east from there, and it became my job, in such a case, to conduct the German and Austrian guests on an Egyptian warship to Port Said and to let them pass through the entire length of the Canal. It was in the night from the 15th to the 16th of November when the ship laden with the precious living cargo passed along the Egyptian seacoast on a very agitated waterway, for the sea was restless and the weather promised to be rather overcast.
In the harbor of Port Said were anchored warships of all nations, which had brought princely personages of first rank from their native lands to Egypt's coast, and on the riggings and yardarms fluttered hundreds and hundreds of bright-colored flags as a nautical expression of greeting and highest festive mood. The Empress Eugenie of France and the Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary stood at the head of the crowned guests, while it did my Prussian heart good to be able to greet the representatives of my German homeland in the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, our later Emperor Friedrich III. He had come to Egypt not merely to help embellish the planned celebration of the Canal-opening by his presence, but at the same time with the intention, in spite of the short time allowed, to become acquainted, by personal observation, with the Caliph city of Cairo and the wonderland of Upper Egypt. As escort and guide through the monumental upper country the Professors Lepsius and Dfunichen had attached themselves to the princely hero, but meanwhile had made their way to Cairo by the usual travel-route. For the Crown Prince, to whom I was sufficiently known from earlier times, it was obviously a pleasure to receive the first greetings of the Viceroy through a Prussian-Egyptian official, and to be able to converse with me about the things to come in the next days.
It cannot occur to me to weary the reader by a recital of the festivities in the city of Ismailia and at other points on the Suez Canal. The Canal was consecrated by Mohammedan, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish religious leaders, the cannon thundered, the invited guests uttered their cries of joy, in a word, the celebration was carried out in the most brilliant way according to plan. Next to the Viceroy, the old Lesseps, as he was then already called, attracted the highest attention on all sides. They crowded around him, shook his hands, and congratulated him on the great success of his achievement. At that time, I considered him the most celebrated hero of peace of our time, and did not remember the words of Solon, that no one may be called fortunate before his death. The Panama scandals have sullied also his name, even though it must be admitted that he managed haphazardly, without closer examination of the state of the funds, only in order to gain time to prolong the canal transaction. He acted like the ostrich which, according to the saying, sticks its head into the sand, so as not to see a threatening danger.
The princely persons and the other invited guests were quartered in the castles, private buildings or in tents, fed most sumptuously and entertained by amusements of every sort, such as balls, fireworks, public dances until late in the night. I saw on this occasion, the Empress Eugenie in the company of the Austrian Princess Metternich standing before an open tent in which Arabian dancing girls were performing the so-called belly-dance, without taking the slightest offense at the sight which was anything but suitable for ladies.
For the rest, the whole numerous company, insofar as it had to do with the Europeans, consisted of two almost equal halves. One of them was served, the other took over the business of serving. The employees of the Viceregal court were not sufficient by far to offer the requisite skills for the service of foreigners; therefore the expedient had been grasped, to put into uniforms or into black dress-coats and white ties all Europeans in Alexandria and Cairo who were in any degree useful. I discovered a great number of German artisans among them, as for example a cobbler from Potsdam who, with the greatest dignity, filled the guests' glasses from one champagne bottle, while a second betrayed him by showing its silvery top out of his coat pocket. I did not hold the secret desire for champagne against the man at all, for even many an honored guest was following the same example, and I was no less amused when I saw how this and that member of the invited company betook himself into the background of a buffet tent, in order to let disappear into his pocket the contents of a box of genuine Havana cigars. Man is, in certain cases, plainly a greedy beast of prey, even when there are no young ones to feed. It can be no wonder that the costs of the festival later turned out to be quite considerable. If I cite the figure of one hundred million marks, I have still remained far below the truth, but naturally only about one-third of this sum can be regarded as actual expenditure. The rest, as they say, evaporated along the way, whereby theft, without distinction of religion or race flourished in its fullest bloom.
My trip on the Suez Canal, on which I had set up my living and sleeping quarters under the cannon-barrel of an Egyptian gunboat-for my foreign ship had remained stuck fast-my arrival in Suez, and my return to Cairo proceeded happily. The highlights during these quick tours were seeing again dear acquaintances and friends from home. Among them were L. Pietsch, who at that time had fallen into the water of the Red Sea and fortunately was pulled out again, the energetic dragoon captain, Baron van Korff, and the present Under Secretary of State, His Excellency von Stephan who, after his return home, wrote an excellent and widely read book on Egypt.
Already in Port Said a friend, the Austrian Consul General von Schreiner, had looked for me in every nook and comer in order to give me an important message. When he caught up with me, he called to me, already from afar: "The Emperor wants to have you, he wishes you as guide during his stay in Egypt." Upon my cabled inquiry of the Viceroy, permission for this honorary service was granted and so the unexpected distinction became mine, to belong to the daily attendants of the Sovereign of Austria-Hungary, as long as he remained on Egyptian soil. I had opportunity to admire the amiable simplicity of his nature, and by his energy for work -he arose regularly at four 0' clock in the morning-frankly to be put to shame. His conversations with my humble self were of genuine Austrian goodnaturedness, often spiced by witty remarks, to which the Berliner, even though in all modesty, never failed to give the powerful Emperor his due reply. It was particularly the short word "lackiert!" invented by me, that highly amused the Emperor. In his entourage, there were men whose historical importance instilled me with a certain awe, even though I was permitted to associate with them in the closest circle. There were three personalities in particular who attracted me, and whose names I need only utter, to have their importance recognized. The Minister Andrassy, a superior horseman and Hungarian cavalier, as the saying goes; the Saxon, at that time in Austrian service, Minister von Beust, who actually gave me the impression of an old schoolmaster and, enveloped in a blue silk, gold-embroidered Arabian burnoose, let himself be carried overland on a small Egyptian donkey; and third, the Admiral von Tegetthoff, of celebrated memory as victor in the sea-battle of Lissa, who on all excursions was accustomed to make use of the dromedary as mount. I have seldom seen an African Bedouin who, with the same ease and elegance as the Austrian Admiral, stretched his path behind him on the ship of the desert, often with the speed of wind, so that he aroused general astonishment even when among the natives.
The Emperor had declined, considering his limited time, to undertake a journey to Upper Egypt, all the more so, since one was not sure whether the stormy season would not hinder the fast passage of his warship during the approaching return-voyage to Trieste.
Already on the voyage to Egypt furious storms had raged on the sea, so that Herr von Beust, who was on the second warship, in answer to the Emperor's question as to his wellbeing, signaled by semaphore: "Morituturi te sa/utant, Caesar," Back came the Caesar's reply: "Requiescant in pace." The excursions which I recollect vividly were a trip to Sakkarah and the ascent of the largest pyramid of Gizeh. During his Egyptian sojourn, the Emperor occupied the charming Palace of Gesireh, situated in the middle of a lovely garden on the west bank of the Nile and opposite the old Museum of Bulak. One morning at six o'clock he, with all his attendants, boarded one of the most beautiful Viceregal Nile steamers, which lay anchored at the garden quay to receive the noble traveller. The Nile billowed in the heavy fullness of the flood waters, the morning air was cold and windy, but one remained on the deck of the ship in order to view on the left hand the waterfront of Cairo, the buildings of Old Cairo with the citadel in the background, and the high range of the Mokkatam Mountains with their stone-quarries already hollowed out in Antiquity, and to follow with eyes on the right side the whole series of the pyramids across the yellow strip of desert in the background, and the green fields of grain, meadows of clover, and forests of palms in the foreground.
Notwithstanding the fact that the steamer belonged to the fast-runners of the Viceroy, three full hours were needed to cut through the waves of the Nile swell until the moment of our arrival at the landing-stage at the village of Bedrescheuin. Horses, dromedaries, and donkeys stood beautifully harnessed and saddled near the port, and a white tent was set up, to offer the noble traveller and his following a morning snack before the ride. But the tables inside showed only their blank wooden surfaces, for the steamer with the breakfast was late, and since even a half-hour wait would not bring its arrival, the Emperor ordered the horses to be mounted, in order to travel the two-hour way to Sakkarah in fast time, at first on the dams which passed through the region of the ruins of Memphis.
The remains of the latest inundation were still visible in the form of larger and smaller lakes, where on the edges a countless flock of birds had alighted. The Emperor was at once seized with the desire to hunt; he had a gun handed to him, and shot upon shot was fired into the air, out of which fell the stricken bodies of the winged creatures. The hunt might have lasted an hour, when the Emperor complained to me that he was afflicted with the most unbelievable hunger, since he had not yet had a bite to eat. Smiling, I put my hand into the pocket of my overcoat and drew out the crusted piece of a loaf of black bread, which my wife, out of foresight, had stuck in the pocket. Gratefully he reached for the piece of bread and broke it into two equal halves, one of which he handed back to me. After he had consumed his portion, he asserted to me candidly, that never in his life had a little piece of bread tasted so good to him. My own half of the bread was thereupon promptly divided further into three pieces, of which Count Andrassy ate the one, Admiral Tegetthoff the other, and I myself the third with truly wolfish hunger.
For our arrival in the Serapeum of Memphis, on which now the Egyptian flag was flown-for the French tricolor had taken its departure since Mariette's entry into Viceregal service--everything naturally had been prepared in the most dignified manner, in order to show the Emperor the subterranean wonders of the desert in their magic lighting. An opulent breakfast was served in the meantime, after the French lackeys of the Viceroy had made up for their delay by mounting ready dromedaries, with boxes and chests, and making their way to the desert at the fastest trot. At my suggestion to wait for another half hour after eating, before the ride was to be continued, since in Egypt going out in the blazing sun on a full stomach may often cause sunstroke, there was a rest-interval, at the end of which the horses were mounted once more.
The ride from the pyramids of Sakkarah to those of Gizeh in the north usually takes three hours' time. It leads through the midst of very ancient grave sites in the form of open or filled-in wells across the undulating tract of the desert, to continue later, on the desert's edge, to the cultivated land on less sandy soil. In spite of my warning, the Emperor led his horse at the fastest trot and gallop through the dangerous region of the wells, not infrequently springing across the yawning openings with a leap. Frankly, my hair stood on end, yet I summoned all my strength to remain at his side and to follow the tracks of the Bedouins' footpaths in the sand. Toward five o'clock, after hardly an hour's ride, the party arrived before the pyramids of Gizeh, where, on the height of the plateau and directly at the foot of the largest pyramid, were stationed the number of Viceregal carriages intended for the Emperor, as well as a curious crowd from the city.
The ascent of the immense stepped structure which King Cheops had had erected over his grave-chamber is neither easy nor especially pleasant. Two Bedouins usually pull up the climber by the hands from step to step, while a third pushes the body of the mounter from behind, so that one is actually raised and pushed, without one's self performing the activity of climbing according to his own will. The Austrian Emperor stubbornly refused to accept Bedouin support, since, as he assured me, he w~s a good mountain climber, and in the Tirol on the chamois hunt was known as one of the best climbers. In fact, the lmperial ruler reached about one-half the height without having accepted even the slightest help; but then he declared to me that he now had enough and wanted to start back down. At that, I called to the Emperor's attention that from the top of the pyramid a magnificent panorama presented itself over the desert and the cultivated land, and that it was advisable, in order to reach the goal more quickly, not to reject the help of the Bedouins. Almost at the same time, we both reached the top, whereupon the Minister Andrassy and Admiral Tegetthoff soon carne up to join us. At the sight of the many carriages at the foot of the pyramids, Andrassy turned to the Emperor with the joking remark in the French language, "Sire, quarante voitures vous regardent d' en bas de cette pyramide?" This was a play on the well-known words of General Napoleon Bonaparte, who, at the assault of the Mamelukes near Embabe at the foot of the pyramids, shouted to his soldiers with a loud voice: "Soldats, quarante sieles vous regardent du haut de cette pyramide?" General merriment followed the witty expression of the Minister.
A few years later, I stood on the same spot beside a second Emperor who, in spite of his age, had not shrunk from the trouble of climbing the steps of the tomb-mountain, in order to cast a look from the height into the depth and of the surroundings. Hardly had he begun to turn his eyes toward the eastern horizon, when a true sea-serpent of American ladies wound itself up to the top-there were at least twenty of them-each of whom drew an album out of her travelling bag and expressed the request that the Emperor be so gracious as to inscribe it. Smiling, he took his pencil and wrote on a page of each album the words, "Dom Pedro d' Alcantara." He was none other than the Emperor of Brazil.
Following the departure of the Emperor Franz Josef from Egypt, our Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm carne to Cairo, after he had made his Upper Egyptian journey, on one of the Viceroy's steamers happily and to his highest satisfaction. The Crown Prince could stay only a few days in the city of the Caliphs, but the allotted time was quite enough to inspect its sights worth seeing and the objects of interest in its surroundings, and through his presence to lend a patriotic consecration to the laying of the cornerstone of the Evangelical Church in Cairo. The German Club, consisting at that time of artisans and merchants, did not refrain from honoring the Crown Prince by a torchlight procession and addressing words of the most respectful greeting to the celebrated hero. The conversation of the Crown Prince with individual artisans was not without a humorous tinge. I remember that the then very well-known figure of "the cobbler," in reply to the question as to his birthplace, answered the Prince: "We are compatriots" -"How is that?" -"We are both Potsdamers." -"Well, I thank you!" The Crown Prince burst into a hearty laugh.
Was it any wonder that, in the mass of invitations to the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal, this or that literary notable felt offended, to have been overlooked and to have received no free ticket? Certain patrons of those overlooked even called this negligence to the attention of the Viceroy later, with a gentle suggestion to make up for it subsequently, that is, to honor the persons concerned by an extra invitation. The ways and means which the forgotten ones took, in order to have their complaints and their wishes reach the ultimate address, are no concern of mine and I have no right, even today, to pass judgement on the correctness or crookedness of the same. Only one special case stands out in my recollection.
One day, when I was received by the Viceroy in an audience, he put before me the question whether I was acquainted with the German George Sand, a famous authoress who seemed to have been forgotten in the invitations, and who had been especially recommended to him, that he might make amends for the offense committed. I frankly confessed my ignorance in regard to a George Sand in Germany, until the Viceroy finally stammered her name with the expression, "il s'agit d'une Madame Mulbaque." Now I knew all at once where I was. "The person of the writer stands so high," remarked the Viceroy to me, "that in fact, I have had to have the desired invitation issued.
The lady will arrive in the next days and take her winter abode here." And she did indeed arrive with bag and baggage and accompanied by her" doe eyed" daughter and the attendant domestic staff, to take up her six-month stay, at Viceregal expense, in the first hotel of Cairo, where the handsomest carriages of the Viceroy and other honors rendered to distinguished travellers were placed at her disposal.
I received, to my surprise, the first visit of my famous authoress-compatriot, a corpulent lady who was perhaps in the mid-fifties and who displayed on her bracelets several large gold medals for art and science. In the most affable way, she unfolded to me her plans to write a long, naturally "historical" novel, which would have the family of Mehemmed Ali as its subject, and which her Egyptian journey had in general brought into existence. But since, as she said, she was little acquainted with the manners and customs of the Orientals, and did not even have a mastery of the Arabic language, she entreated me to give her the necessary notes about them, to guard her against possible errors. I sincerely regretted that I was unable to place myself completely at her disposal, since my office claimed my entire time, and in the evenings I belonged to my family.
After a stay of six months, the German George Sand left Egypt, overwhelmed by favors of the Khedive, to whom, incidentally, she presented a bill, in order to be compensated to some degree for the loss of her precious time in the writing of her historical Egyptian novel. The Viceroy had the sum paid through the French Banker Oppenheim, and Madame Mulbaque returned the following year, her household court augmented by a German stenographer, to claim the hospitality of the Viceroy anew, and to complete her novel in manuscript. The departure was combined with a new demand, for which again the amount of money was granted. When, in the third year, Madame once more addressed a letter to the Viceroy, to be permitted to return to Egypt, the Prince whose kindness was so abused was wise enough to let her have the short answer by wire, that the Viceroy prevented no one from undertaking a journey to his country. I have neither seen nor read anything of her Egyptian historical work, but from her Reisebriefen aus Agypten, which appeared in Jena in the year 1871, I derived much instruction and much amusement in hours of rest. How true, for example, is her statement with regard to Egypt: "Money actually lies on the street; whoever understands how to look for it, finds it," and then, three lines after that: "Money lies, moreover, also buried in the earth from very ancient times. The wandering tribes who once passed through the land, before the days of the pyramids and the Pharaohs, used to bury their gold and silver, in order to insure themselves against thieving neighbors and travelling companions. They meant to find it again, when they returned home from some migration or other; but then the wind of the desert had passed along over them, or the water of the Nile had covered the places with its mud, or, since the vast steppes here are so completely similar and differentiated by nothing, they themselves could not find again the places where they left their treasure." Now one knows where all the good money of the Viceroy comes from, but not yet for a long time where it goes, in order to be safe from being found again.
The travel letters of the German George Sand have, frankly, such a secondary literary importance that no one speaks of them; indeed at the time of their appearance, moreover, they had the unpleasant consequence for the authoress, that she was obliged publicly to retract certain slanderous statements, in order to avoid an accusation of defamation of character. There was no lack, besides, of individual German stragglers who landed in Egypt with almost nothing but an umbrella in their hands, provided with written recommendations, to throw themselves into the arms of the Viceroy's most extended hospitality. For their modest claims it was an easy thing for me to move the Viceroy to meet their hotel bills and the costs of their travels back and forth, for which I was praised by the wanderers, among whom was a poet, as a true savior.
VICEREGAL COURT LIFE
The stay of the foreigners in Cairo, after their return from the upper country, gave to the daily workaday life of the Europeans settled in Cairo an uncomfortable flavor.
Prolonged festive moods, expressed particularly in oppressive evening sessions in the beerhalls, assume an intolerable and wearisome character, at least for respectable people, and one is glad when the wandering plague turns homeward. For myself, it was always a pleasure to receive dear compatriots in my own home, and at the family table to be able to talk with them "of over there" and of everything that stirs and refreshes our hearts. My friend and contemporary L. Pietsch, will not have forgotten in what manner, truly German, truly thoughtful and longing for home, we spent Christmas Eve of the year 1869, and how unique the Christmas tree was. It was a simple broomstick, stuck upright on a pedestal, but covered with blooming myrtle branches from my garden, between which Arabian candles spread their shimmering brightness. We celebrated the festival of the blessed, joyful childhood on African soil surely with greater warmth than we would have done at the same hour in our own native land.
I myself, after the exciting festival days, had again taken up myoid activity at the school, and that was necessary, for the native youth had also been strongly infected with the water spectacle. The students made the best progress, each according t? his capability, and I can testify by experience that, in the facility for learning by heart, they far surpassed the average student in Germany. A particular difficulty for me was to initiate them into the mysteries that are inseparable from the ancient Egyptian mythology. "There is no God but God" is, as is well known, the rallying cry of Islam, and any reminder of gods a sin against the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed. Ancient Egypt was swarming with divinities, old and young even to childhood, male and female, who married, produced children, and led a common family life. How was I to make it clear to my students that their ancestors were in the most complete contradiction to them in religious matters, and how to bring the essential nature of each individual deity closer to their conception? How often had I to resort, even here, to a trick, which permitted me to speak to my students of a multitude of Egyptian divinities, but not to let their Islamic "La illah'il Allah" run into too much of a dilemma, and burden their faith. Since, as is known, the Arabs attribute to their Allah ninety-nine great qualities under as many names, I taught my students to recognize the designations of the ancient Egyptian gods as merely distinctive names of this one indivisible God, of whom even the pagan inscriptions say: "He is unique and alone, and there is no other God except him." Names of gods like Amon, that is, "the Hidden One," in Thebes, Ptah, that is "the Creator," in Memphis, among others, began to exert even a certain power of attraction on my students, and fundamentally my explanation and conception were not too far from the truth.
It was a kind of idyllic repose which I felt in my house in the midst of the palm garden, in which at the same time were my students. The blue sky, the nodding of the palm branches in the gently stirred air, the creaking of the water-wheel, but apart from this, the sacred stillness of the entire environment, did not fail to work their spell on me, and sitting in the comer of my divan on the broad balcony, which actually represented a room with the front wall broken through, I often had that blissful, indescribable feeling which the Eastern languages are accustomed to describe with the word "Kef." One dreams with open eyes, and the god of sleep taps gently on our brow, to embrace us with his arms. "Kef" produces no poets, to be sure, but I can imagine that formerly it exerted its full influence on the prophets.
Whoever lives in the East, and above all, is obliged to live in contact with the great ones of the country, never dares to leave out the fulfillment of one obligation whid1 for us Europeans might seem inexplicable. It consists in paying a courtesy visit to the reigning Prince and his Viziers at least once a week-a visit that demands five or more hours. One is received in the ante-chamber by a Secretary and requested to register his name in a book lying open, coffee in little cups is offered to the guests by uniformed subordinates or by kawasses, the Master of Ceremonies appears, in order to greet those present and to note their names. He disappears again in order to go to his master, give him the names of the visitors and receive his further orders. He comes back to the waiting room, begs this one or that, or perhaps an entire group, to follow him to be presented to his noble master. The waiting occasionally can stretch from nine o'clock in the morning to nine o'clock in the evening. Hence whoever has a sensitive nature like my own humble self, he can be sincerely provoked, when he observes that much later arrivals are at once admitted while he himself must endure waiting for hours. The ill-humor grows proportionately as the visitors, coming and leaving with pleased or malicious expressions, regard the one crouched on the divan like a poor sinner in disgrace.
In spite of everything; the European finds various opportunities to amuse himself in the waiting room, especially in the case when great ones of the realm, of Egyptian or Turkish origin, enter the waiting hall and distinguish themselves from Europeans by their peculiar actions and questions. Isn't it very comical, for example, when a fat Pasha suddenly opens his vest coat in order to look for a living louse and having happily caught the prey leaves it on his left thumb and views it with a magnifying glass which he had bought previously somewhere or had received as a gift? "Schuf agaib!", that is, "See how wonderful," he calls out and turns the thumb with the louse on it to his neighbor. I could tell the most precious stories which have remained in my memories from hours of waiting, but for lack of space, must be satisfied with the one example. In any case, it was not the worst.
And so, once or twice weekly, I had to pay my obligatory visit above all to the then ruling Viceroy Ismail Pasha, whereby in the winter, I had to travel by carriage to the city palace of Abdin, and in the summer, to the country villas of Gesireh or Gizeh, on the other side of the Nile and opposite the city of Cairo. The Viceroy was a thoroughly European educated man, who did not lack sagacity and acuteness, even though the particularly sly French bankers in Cairo were far above his imagined cleverness. He was a devoted admirer of European ladies, when they were distinguished not merely by beauty, but also by culture and charm in conversation; he was a patron of art and science, as far as it served his purposes, and all in all, a gentleman with whom it was possible to get along well, as long as one did not contradict him or find any fault with his plans. It is a pleasant recollection for me, to have been received by him almost always immediately after my appearance, and to have been kept near him.
His conversations with me, which he carefully defined as "academic," concerned everything possible in the world, but alluded with particular preference to our great Emperor Wilhelm I and his paladins, among whom Prince Bismarck and Count von Molkte appeared to him as the shining stars. "His Majesty, your Emperor," he often repeated to me, "is one of the greatest men of the time, and in history his name will shine to eternity in the heaven of renown, but do you know wherein his true greatness lies? In the fortunate ability to have recognized among his officials the talent and the fitness of the individual for the solution of the state problems, and to have put the man of his choice in the right position. How many princes of powerful and great kingdoms have there not been, who, themselves gifted, were full of great plans but yet did not possess the accurate vision in order to choose their tools out of the multitude and thereby attain the set goals?" I'll just call attention to the fact that the Franco-Prussian War in the years 1870-1871 had not failed to bring the greatest disillusionment to the Viceroy. Until then he, like so many other princes, was firm in the belief, not only that the French nation marched at the head of the rest of the peoples and was downright invincible, but also that the Emperor of the French, Napoleon III, had all the other rulers in the world in his pocket, as they say.
Such a view had induced him, as already his predecessor Sajid, to yield completely to French methods, in the firm belief in the prestige and the infallibility of the French nation. The Egyptian army was organized after the French model and commanded by French officers; in the Ministries the greater part of the higher officials consisted of Frendunen; the offices of the Court were likewise filled by Frenchmen, among whom the Secretary of the Cabinet Barrot, a nephew of the famous French statesman Odilon Barrot, occupied the most prominent position. He was the real adviser of the Viceroy, as his beautiful wife was the adviser of the ladies, also in their orders in Paris for the Viceregal harem. Court life, even to the table service, was fashioned after French style, for which the sympathy of the Viceroy was expressed when, after the war so unfortunate for France, he took almost all of Napoleon's servants into his own service. French gratitude, in my opinion, did not particularly prove itself. When the money crisis had driven the Viceroy into a comer and the flow of gold began to dry up, the fattened French rats abandoned the sinking ship of Ismail. From Barrot and the French court-physician of the Khedive down, they betook themselves to the steamers in the harbor of Alexandria, to embark for France and to eat up the sweat of the fellahs in high living in Paris. That there were also honorable people among the French was proved by my friend at that time, the architect Rousseau, who ultimately accepted a position as Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Public Works, and only under the successor of the Viceroy left Egypt as a poor man. I believe he is the same one who, in the Panama scandal, emerged as almost the only upright man among the many culprits.
It was natural that my contacts with the Court led me often, sometimes daily, up there with the French society, but they, even after the year 1871, prudently guarded against letting me feel in any way their own ill-feeling. In the only case in which it did happen, I gained the greatest satisfaction from the Viceroy. In other respects he had become a little bit cured of his preference for the French by the latest events, and he preferred to dismiss the French officers of his army and to replace them by representatives from so-called neutral states.
Ismail chose for that purpose Sweden, Norway, Denmark, but above all, North America, from where he engaged a group of officers who had particularly distinguished themselves for their military qualities in the war of the Northern against the Southern states. At their head was the American General Stone, with whom I had the most friendly relations. And among the officers, I remember with pleasure Colonel Long, who had the courage to undertake the journey from Cairo to Uganda, accompanied by a few Negro soldiers, to bring the greetings and gifts of the Egyptian Khedive to King Mtesa, and to conclude a friendly alliance with him. Among the gifts King Mtesa sent back to his brother the Khedive, there was a cotton cap which the King had stitched entirely by his own hand with needle and thread. It formed, in my opinion, a splendid exhibit in the World Exposition in Vienna, after it had been delivered to me by the Viceroy, but it attracted no one's attention unless he had been informed of its history beforehand.
THE KHEDIVE AS CONQUEROR
The increase of the troops and the installation of European and American "neutral" officers sprang not merely from a whim of the Viceroy, but had its good foundation in the design he had planned, to gain possession of the lands of the entire Nile region as far as the Equator, and to establish a great Egyptian Empire which was to exist independently of the Sublime Porte. It was the sore point in the Khedive's ambition to know himself to be independent, at the head of a powerful empire whose extent, according to his intentions, was almost equivalent to that of European Russia. Military expeditions were sent to all parts of the Nile lands of the south, in order to incorporate them into the Egyptian Empire and to provide them with fortifications and with telegraphic lines. The war campaigns had demanded little human blood. Even the great kingdoms of Kordofan and Darfur, on the west side of Khartoum, passed over into Egyptian possession. In the east, on the west coast of the Red Sea, the two seaports of Suakin and the island of Massawa were acquired by purchase from Turkey, naturally for a high payment of cash; and the African Switzerland, or the highland of Abyssinia, was shortly to enter the ranks of lands conquered and subjugated by Egyptian troops, since in the year 1872 Warner Munzinger had acquired the. northern regions, Bobos and Mensa, for Egypt.
The soul of the numerous expeditions was of course the Khedive, while the Egyptian General Staff, under the leadership of the American General Stone, carried out the plans of his Lord and Master and took into his custody the incoming reports along with maps.
It seemed to me at that time that the opportunity had come, to warm the Khedive up to a subject which was well suited to deserve his attention, since he stood in close association with the newly-opened regions of inner Africa and a series of important geographical discoveries. I mean the establishment of a geographical society in Cairo. At my proposal, the Khedive approved the appointment of Doctor Schweinfurth, the famous African traveller who was in Egypt at the time, to be the salaried Director of the Society, and granted in addition the means for the foundation of a geographical library. With this, fresh life entered into the better society of Cairo, for a center of association was found, where one could receive information about the latest and newest discoveries still warm, as it were, from the lips of Schweinfurth, General Stone or the officers just back from their expeditions. Unfortunately, as seems to be unavoidable among Europeans in Egypt, discord soon set in, and with a split in the Society, after General Stone had declared that certain reports and cartographic surveys were to be regarded as General Staff secrets and by no means to be exposed to the public. Schweinfurth on that account resigned his office, and the dying Society managed, as well as it could, with his successors. I myself, at the invitation and in the presence of the Viceroy, was glad to inspect the types of captive men and women from the heart of the dark continent, who had been sent to him as samples of his newest subjects. Usually the men performed wild war dances, while the women crouched motionless in a comer of the square in front of the Viceregal palace and gazed about with staring eyes at the world foreign to them. The enormous sums that were sacrificed for the equipment of the military expedition to the Sudan, and the defeat suffered in Abyssinia, combined with a payment of the war costs, increased from month to month the accounts of debts of the Egyptian government, while on the other hand, the Viceroy's plan to transform the city of Cairo into an African Paris and to beautify it with palaces, theaters, garden arrangements, tree plantings and similar expensive undertakings, made the existing debts rise immeasurably. It is true that the new creations, as for example the European town-quarter of Ismailia, which rose as if by magic on former bulrush ground, contributed substantially to the embellishment of the Khedive's Capital, but to every prudent person, it became clear that Egypt was in a state of indescribable exhaustion, and that the resources on hand no longer sufficed, even to guarantee cover for the most necessary expenditures. The speculating banking houses, Oppenheim at their head, were obliging enough to make loan upon loan against mortgages, and Egypt entered the ranks of those countries which open gate and door to the most foolhardy speculation.
It was ruinous for the country that the so-called Mufettisch Ismail, a foster brother of the Viceroy, had taken upon himself the arrangement of financial affairs, whereby the inhabitants, above all the fellahs, were burdened with the most extreme taxation, indeed even had to pay their quotas for several years in advance. The exceedingly crafty Ismail, himself the son of a common fellah, understood, through his sly management and his accomplices, how to draw off the greatest part of the revenues to himself, in order to collect treasures and to be able to defray the truly princely expense of his household from month to month. Every day he had no less than a thousand persons to feed, and for the legitimate wives as well as the concubines of his harem, even their shoes shone with sparkling brilliants and precious stones, set from the heels to the tips of the toes. Nobody dared to open the eyes of the Viceroy concerning his faithless Minister, until he himself caught him in the very act, and mercilessly condemned him to death. The event, frightful as only an Oriental story can be, will occupy me once more further on.
MY SERVICE AS SCIENTIFIC TRAVEL MARSHAL
While I was in the middle of the best efforts, opening the gates of knowledge to my students and letting them enter into its temple, there came up, almost every week, obstacles which took me away from the school more than I liked, and threw me into Court life. I received commissions of every sort, which had not the slightest thing to do with the school, and in the first rank were the obligations I had to fulfill as official guide of princely persons on their journeys to Upper Egypt and Nubia and not infrequently also to the Sinai Peninsula. Three and more weeks, indeed even months long, I remained away from Cairo, and had to be satisfied to entrust the fate of my students to tried German teachers. My journeys into the highlands on Viceregal steamers of course offered me the opportunity to seek out the world of monuments and to greet them again like old acquaintances, but the high and highest-ranking persons whom I served as scientific guide could not linger for hours and days at one and the same spot to please me, and so I had to satisfy myself to pay my visits to the remains of Antiquity in the still night, often until past the witching hour, in order to enter into my copy-books the inscriptions illuminated with the help of candles.
Notwithstanding, it was granted me in this privacy to make many a fine discovery, and to enlarge in its size and its content my dictionary which was already in the printing. The princely persons whom I had the honor to accompany were almost all of German stock, so in conversation I never came into the position to use other than my mother tongue. The expeditions which I had occasion to lead were, in the course of the years, placed at the disposal of the following princely persons: the Austrian Archduke Rainer and his wife Marie, also the brother of the former, the Archduke Ernst; the reigning Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Franz Friedrich and his noble young wife Marie (among the entourage of the sovereign at that time was Baron von Schack, whose personal acquaintance I had the happiness to make here); the hereditary Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and of Oldenburg; the Austrian Archduke Johann Salvator; the Emperor of Brazil Dom Pedro d' Alcantara and his wife; the Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, etc. It will be clear that the modest scholar in the environment of such noble personalities and their distinguished escorts received a glimpse into the great world as is only granted to few mortals. From daily contacts with them, I have had the experience that even in the highest circles of human society, in which position and etiquette play so influential a role, and outward appearance is subjected to the law of strict ceremonial, the heart enjoys the quiet happiness of feeling human with everyone else on a distant beautiful piece of earth, and of expressing thoughts in plain words. Seriousness and jest appear in their full right, and express themselves unaffectedly, without regard for courtly forms. How happy the great ones of this world felt, to have run away from the parquet floors of the palaces and to know that on the black banks of the Nile River they were free from every burdensome restraint!
As great an honor as a surprise came to me when one fine day, my brown servant announced visitors whom two Arabian droshkies had driven to the high school. The names of the visitors he was not able to tell me. While I bade him to show them into my reception room, I glanced down into the garden, in the middle of which older and younger gentlemen and ladies in simple civilian costume were slowly moving about. At their head was a gentleman of about fifty years, with a full beard, who had offered his arm to an older lady in simple travelling-dress. How astonished I was, when in the reception room the dignified pair approached me with the words: "The Emperor and the Empress of Brazil have come here to make your acquaintance." They presented their entourage to me, Ministers and Court ladies whose names I later had frequent occasion to read in the newspapers. The Emperor asked me to serve him as guide during his three-week sojourn in Egypt; he was staying in the New Hotel in Cairo, and would be grateful to me, if I would be at his side from early morning at four o'clock until ten o'clock in the evening. He had come to study the slave question in Egypt and besides, to become acquainted with land and people and the monuments of the past. I felt compelled to express to the Emperor the request to move the Viceroy to give me the order to attach myself to him as official guide. At the same time I let it be known that, for reasons unclear to me, I had fallen into disfavor and could not wish to offer new food for the Khedive's ill-humor. "Leave that to me," said Dom Pedro smiling, "I only entreat you to make your appearance at my place tomorrow about nine; everything else will follow of itself." On the next morning, I was there on time. The Emperor descended the steps with me, while he had me go on the right and with his right arm linked my left. In the carriage standing in front of the outside staircase, I had to take the right side of the seat, on his further express order, while the Emperor satisfied himself with the left. "It is my intention," said he smiling, "to show the Khedive and the Court staff in what manner the Emperor wishes to honor a king of science." And so it went through the streets of Cairo to the Abdin Palace. I was deeply ashamed and touched, and had to submit to my fate.
Still on the same evening, the Viceroy's Master of Ceremonies appeared in my house, requesting me on the order of his master, to accompany the Emperor of Brazil, asking me to move with caution in my utterances concerning Egyptian slavery, and to keep silent on Egyptian conditions insofar as they might give cause for censure. The Viceroy, he added, would regard it as a special service rendered to him, if I bound myself to this obligation, and would know how to reward me and my children.
I could only reply that I stood presently at the service of the Viceroy and as his official, felt the obligation to preserve under all circumstances the most considerate respect toward my master. I was a Prussian, and my nation regarded loyalty as its badge of honor. The Viceroy might depend upon me under all circumstances.
The communication with the Emperor of Brazil from early morning until late evening gave me occasion to become most closely acquainted with his characteristic qualities and to admire his scientific zeal in all fields of human knowledge. Simple and natural in his whole approach, and in almost no way different from an unassuming private person, he loved to inform himself concerning everything that interested him, and to write down in his book very precise notes pertaining to it. It was a peculiarity which in the beginning frightened me but later on no longer astonished me at all, that the Emperor in the middle of his conversation fell into a deep, five to ten-minute sleep, suddenly awakened out of it, and finished the last half of an interrupted sentence with complete grammatical accuracy.
The Emperor was not what one could call a learned man, but on the contrary an amateur, who was well informed on the most varied fields of the sciences, communicated with the most famous scholars, and possessed a sound judgment on men and things. His ideal seemed to be be the quiet life of a man enthusiastic for everything beautiful and good, whom the trouble and care of existence do not oppress too much, and he assured me that he almost envied the Emperor Napoleon, not for his frightful defeat, not for his ignominious downfall, but for the pleasantness of his private life in quiet seclusion. "If it were possible," he remarked to me, "I'd gladly lay down my crown in order to lead my life as first citizen even in a republic, and devote all my time to the sciences and the fine arts." At our parting, the Emperor made the touching confession that he was conferring no order upon me, since one could not reward the services of a sincere friend with an order.
Shortly before his departure, he informed me at the station that, on his farewell visit, the Viceroy had put before him the question how he, a great and wise Emperor, would advise him, the Viceroy, in order to make his Egyptian people happy. "I answered him," said the Emperor, "Live and act according to the words of the Koran, and you will make your people unquestionably happy." On the same day, I presented myself to the Khedive.
He told me the same story, confirmed his question but, according to his account, the Emperor had answered him: "If you want to make your people happy, become Catholic along with your subjects." After the Emperor's departure, I had the honor in the course of the years to receive written communications from his hand, which related to most recent scientific works and discoveries, and which in their content testified to the full interest of a connoisseur in the field of art and science.
Dom Pedro d' Alcantara represented the type of noble human being who, as I already remarked, through his simplicity in approach and his affable nature, had to win hearts to him. I saw him again later only once more, at the time when I had gone to Philadelphia as Egyptian Commissioner General at the World Exposition (1876). A few days before its opening, the Emperor informed me by wire of his arrival in New York, and I betook myself there, in order to greet him and his noble wife and to make the return trip to Philadelphia in his company. At the ceremonial opening of the "Centennial Exhibition" the stately figure of the Emperor in simple evening clothes constituted a center of attraction for all, and the American Republic seemed to be proud to see the Emperor appear in its midst as representative of the most powerful empire in the southern half of the American continent.
What struck me above all in his character was the indescribable calm and patience with which he let everything take its course, as it were. His ceremonial passage through the far- stretching galleries of the exhibition building under the guidance of the American Commissioner General Mr. Goshorn, combined with the presentation of hundreds of persons, headed by the general commissioners of the governments, might rightly be regarded as an extraordinary performance.
The days and weeks I spent as guide of the Brazilian imperial couple in Egypt, in their immediate proximity, have the value of dear recollections for me. I deplored it bitterly when the daily papers of his time announced the abdication of the Emperor, for although it corresponded to his own wishes, in its form it repudiated the feeling of gratitude which the Brazilian people owed their Emperor, who only wanted to be the first citizen of his state. Gently rest the ashes of the unforgettable one!
THE WORLD EXPOSITION IN VIENNA
In the first years of the seventies my school, in spite of my frequent absence, nevertheless made valuable progress, and my students exerted themselves to make the best use of the means offered them to broaden their know ledge and cultivate their minds according to European methods. Then, contrary to expectation, came a dissolution of the entire school, as a consequence, to be sure, of a mission with which the Viceroy had very suddenly entrusted me. In the year 1873 a great World Exposition was to take place in Vienna. The invitation had been issued to the Egyptian government to participate and to contribute to it in the most brilliant way possible. Nubar Pasha, the then all-powerful Vizier of Viziers in the modern empire of the Pharaohs, was appointed President of the Exhibition Commission and to me, to my own astonishment, was assigned the position of Commissioner General. I felt uneasy about this to some degree, for even though the old saying "to whom God gives a charge, He also gives understanding," afforded a certain consolation, yet the new honor demanded a great deal of knowledge of a practical and technical sort which I was convinced I completely lacked. I in no way concealed my apprehensions from the Viceroy, but he smilingly reproached me for having become only half an Oriental; otherwise I must know that a man of understanding and knowledge in one department also adapts himself to all professions, since he would soon gain the necessary insight to carry out plans charged to him, and for example to organize an exhibition. This, of course, I had already long known, but I remembered the doubtful consequences of a general understanding and its usefulness. An old friend of mine, Kassim Pasha (our German workers in Cairo called him, in all seriousness, "Katzenpascha"), occupied at the same time the office of Minister of War. The Viceroy commissioned him one day with the planning and the building of a Viceregal palace in the middle of the desert.
The old Pasha drew lines in all directions with a pencil on a large sheet of paper, had the building carried out according to this group plan by his soldiers, and "when the castle was ready" and was to be inspected by the Viceroy, it was accidentally destroyed in a blazing fire.
On the return from the site of the fire, the Viceroy called across to me on the street from his carriage the words: "Imagine, he has smoked me out." With the support of the Viceroy, I entered into the spirit of my new task, proposed commissioners for the individual departments of the Egyptian exhibition, whom I chose from German, French, and Arabian officials of the government, and examined more closely the task the Viceroy had given me, to have model buildings in the Arabic style erected on the arena of the World Exposition in Vienna. It was his wish that no costs were to be spared, in order, through them, to achieve an extraordinary effect. Monseigneur wished thus to obligate the Austrian government to him, in order to gain its consent, then still lacking, for the foundation of the lnternational Tribunal in Egypt. A credit of one million francs was placed at my disposal for this task.
To the Viceroy it was important to receive sketches of the planned buildings for inspection within a few days. It was a critical situation. In my need I turned to a German extolled by Frau Muhlbach, a man who had risen from home tutor to private architect, and who was of the opinion that he had the whole of Arabic architecture in the bag. The Viceroy, to whom I displayed the production, hardly glanced at it, and abruptly dismissed me with the remark that it was a bungling job and not Arabic architecture.
When the need is greatest, help is nearest, and a native Bohemian was my savior. Schmoranz was the excellent man's name, an Austrian architect who had been for several years in Cairo, in order to make a thorough study of old Arabic architecture from the still preserved mosques. In his happy grasp of the Arabic style of building, strange to us with its oppressive wealth of decorative details, he displayed such fine feeling and such deep understanding, that without hesitation I call him the greatest master in his field. His copies of Arabic monuments, from the constructive to the multi-colored ornament, were of a perfection which put all other productions far into the shade. My poor friend, who was later appointed Director of the Technical School in Prague, lost his life a few years ago. I do not know what has become of the architectonic treasures which his diligent and skillful hand had conjured up on paper.
The plans which Schmoranz had drawn up: two mosques, an Egyptian noble residence with an interior court, and an Arabian fellah village, found the Viceroy's fullest approval, and so, as early as 1872, we both set out for Vienna, to begin ,the preparations and to obtain the necessary help for the construction of the planned buildings and to close contracts. To the commissioners in Egypt I had at the same time given directions to combine into an instructive whole the objects necessary for the individual sections of the exhibition itself, partly produce of the earth, partly productions of the native art and industry. Each one had plenty to do, and the months flowed by like weeks, until in May of 1873 the Egyptian exhibition had reached its completion in all magnificence and splendor in accordance with the Viceroy's wish. What lent the exhibition a special stamp were the objects of domestic life, from the costumes to the most insignificant pot, which the scouts of the Khedive had sent to Cairo from the lands of the upper Nile, and which in their completeness left hardly anything to be desired. Among the curiosities, in particular, was a potato which, on the sandy bank of the Suez Canal, had developed to a size of a half meter in diameter. The monster attracted attention from all sides and fanned at that time the subject of scientific discussions.
The success of the Egyptian exhibition was outstanding. The Imperial Court in Vienna was frankly changed by its beauty, and the representatives of architecture, above all, found in the buildings of the architect Schmoranz, material for study such as never before in Europe had been offered in such plastic form to the eye of the expert. To me on this occasion, fell the undeserved honor to escort into the rooms of the Viceregal house, and to serve as guide and commentator, to the crowned heads and princes who .had accepted the imperial invitation to grace the exhibition by their visit. It was my great pride to be permitted to escort the Empress Augusta of Gennany, and in the great Oriental hall to invite her for an hour's stay in the house of the Khedive. With the sincerest satisfaction I heard the highest praise from the true connoisseur in all that related to art and science and if I mention particularly that among the commissioners of the Egyptian department who were presented to the Empress my French friend Mariette enjoyed an especially gracious reception, I know that the Empress received a special pleasure at the presentation of the famous discoverer of the Serapeum.
No less precious to me is the recollection of the visit together of two Princes at that time still young, our present Emperor Wilhelm II and the meanwhile deceased Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. In the gayest mood both inspected the Egyptian animals, consisting of camels, dromedaries, buffaloes, donkeys, sheep and goats, in the courtyard in front of the fellah village, and exchanged their personal opinions in deepest friendship.
I had also the good fortune to offer my humble services as guide to the Empress of Austria, Elisabeth, and to be able to respond to her wish, by relinquishing my own servant, a bronze skinned genuine Nubian, to become hers. Not less in my recollection lives the meeting with the ex-Queen of Spain, Isabella, who assured me that she found a quite striking similarity of taste in Arabian industry with that of "her subjects," the Spaniards, and it gives me just as much pleasure to think of the midday meal which I was privileged to share with the then about eighteen-year-old Prince Milan of Serbia under the tent-roof of the Paris restaurant fides trois freres Provencaux." I will also mention the Shah of Persia, who likewise honored the Egyptian exhibition with his visit, and seemed to derive a particular pleasure, to find again in me an old acquaintance from the years 1860 and 1861.
Although it was a period of excitement for me to fulfill my obligation completely in regard to such outstanding visitors, I had also the satisfaction, from the communications of the Khedive, who was at that time in Constantinople as guest of the Sultan, to read the highest recognition of the services I had rendered him, after he had been informed of the brilliant success of the Egyptian exhibition through reports and from the newspapers. I had to regret subsequently that his intended arrival in Vienna was abandoned for compelling circumstances, even though I had received the order to rent for several months a well furnished house with garden on Praterstrasse, for which I had to pay the trifling sum of 40,000 gulden. The house remained unused and unoccupied, and only in the last days of the exposition I moved into it, in order to offer hospitality in a palace, unfortunately only briefly, to myoid friend L. Pietsch. It was truly deplorable that the great crash, which had already begun before the opening of the Exposition in Vienna, and the appearance of the cholera in the middle of the exhibition time, deterred a large part of the visitors from giving in to their love of spectacle and undertaking the journey to Vienna. In Vienna itself, as a result of this, the mood was depressed, and one did not conceal the fact that a part of the press had contributed the most to frighten away the exhibition-loving wanderers, through unnecessary blowing-up of the cholera danger. Added to this, the unusual increase in the costs for rents and the most necessary provisions brought about a situation of high prices which, even after the close of the exposition, failed to come down. Speculation on an extraordinary attendance was frustrated, and for the inhabitants an irreparable damage was inflicted upon themselves.
The dismantling of the exhibition and settling the last business delayed my return to Egypt until January, 1874. Into this same period falls my visit in Pest, for which the Hungarian Exhibition Committee had issued me a special invitation. The inspection of the city and its factories took nearly a full week, whereby I may not hide the fact that I was almost never free from daily distress, for to survive four to six midday meals at which the strongest Hungarian wines were served demanded a more than Egyptian stomach. I was therefore glad in my heart when, from my coupe on the return trip, I saw the spire of St. Stephan in the distance.
MY RETURN FROM THE VIENNA WORLD EXPOSITION
Overwhelmed with honors, I returned to Cairo at the beginning of the year 1874, and my first visit was to the Khedive who, through my appointment as Commissioner General, had placed such high confidence in me. I could testify to myself that I had worked to the best of my powers, in order to justify this confidence, and with a happy heart I entered the Abdin palace to present myself to my high Oriental patron and first of all to give my general report orally. The Master of Ceremonies, myoid friend Tonino Salomone, well known to all travellers of that time for his amiable nature, informed me that the Viceroy wanted to receive me at once. As I was mounting the staircase I was surprised to hear the voice of the Viceroy very clearly in the closest proximity. Contrary to all Oriental court custom, the Khedive had come to me as far as the balcony landing, stretched out both his hands to me on the top step, and called to me the words: "Welcome, my dear Bey, and receive my heartiest thanks. You have rendered me and my country a great service, for the gold mines, in spite of my disbelief, have really been found." I was quite confused, because to me the connection between the success of the Egyptian exhibit in Vienna and the discovery of gold mines made no sense. As we entered the reception room I obtained, through the further conversation of the Khedive, the clarification I lacked until then. In order not to withhold it from my readers, I must begin about one and a half years earlier.
Before my departure for Vienna, as well as later, after my return to Egypt, I was not infrequently rewarded for my four-and five-hour wait in the audience-room by the invitation to partake in the Viceroy's breakfast. Usually there were, besides himself, five persons present, who collectively enjoyed his princely favor, among them his Egyptian adjutant, his French physician-in-ordinary, the Turkish Pasha and Artillery General, a D. Sefer Pasha, a former Prussian officer from the Province of Posen, who occupied somewhat the position of a "Maitre de plaisir" at Court, or other guests just as it happened to please the prince. The conversation at the table used to be extremely lively, the stiff court tone was altogether abolished, and talk of the day or opinions on personalities and things provided material for the conversation. The Khedive could be very serious, but occasionally also exuberantly gay, when his flashes of wit and small needle-pricks did not fail him.
On a day shortly before my departure for Vienna, I found myself at the breakfast table and the Viceroy put before me the serious question, what actual use my hieroglyphic knowledge offered the world; he understood that Egyptian history, the teaching of the gods, and other theoretical things gave a special pleasure to this one and the other, but in practice all my knowledge was something dead. "Yes," he added verbatim, "if one could learn by it in which places the buried gold treasures were to be found, or from where the ancient Egyptians had gotten all their gold, that of course would be something else." Smiling, I answered him that I would satisfy his desire for knowledge of the former gold mines in the land of Egypt, if he could make up his mind to send an expedition, in which real miners must also take part, to the region I would define more exactly. The Khedive seemed to be unbelieving, but gave his assent, and so I described to him with all exactness the gold-bearing region of the so-called Valley of Hamrnarnat, which I myself had visited in earlier years, situated between the Nile and the coast of the Red Sea, and out of which, according to assertions of hieroglyphic inscriptions from the earliest times, the Egyptians had extracted gold. I added that, on the long way to the sea there must have been a series of artesian wells with clear drinking-water, which nowadays, to be sure, are filled up, so that the caravans travel along almost seven days on a nearly waterless route. The Khedive seemed to place no faith at all in my words, for, as he remarked, I could well have made a mistake in the reading of the text, and anyway, he doubted that such things would be handed down by the Ancients. "In the meantime," he said, "deliver a short memorandum, which contains all the data, to General Stone, to serve as director and leader of an expedition. " During my absence in Vienna, the exploration of the desert valley was actually begun.
They discovered the abandoned gold mines and found the wells, which at that time, were still filled up by the sand of the desert, but which were at once cleaned and showed clear, drinkable water at the bottom. To the Khedive the solution of the water question seemed so important, that he gave the order to have the town of Kasser at the opening of the gold valley toward the coast of the Red Sea fortified and armed with cannon, in order to prevent a possible landing of the English from India, after the formerly waterless desert route had lost its inhospitality for a larger army.
It was that, for which the Khedive had thanked me on my first reception. Even though later, under the pressure of affairs and of impending disaster, the idea of risking an attempt to work the mines escaped his mind, nevertheless he had gained the conviction that the deciphering of the hieroglyphic texts rested on a correct foundation. As for the rest, the Viceroy distinguished me for the good services in Vienna by an elevation in rank and conferring of a decoration. I remained thereafter a welcome guest in the house of Pharaoh, was invited to his table at every opportunity, and often engaged in "academic" discourses with him.
The Khedive had a keen mind and possessed a more than ordinary culture according to European views. He himself professed to be a great judge of men, but he always agreed with the last speaker in a conversation, usually to his great disadvantage.
How much he regretted-unfortunately too late-having favored the Europeans, and particularly the French, at his court and in government positions, at the expense of his Egyptians. Proof of this is the bitter complaint which he felt compelled to express to me during the decline of his power, on one of my visits.
I found him at the time seated in the comer of a small European sofa, sunk into a melancholy mood and his eyes fixed on a bunch of asparagus which he held clutched in his right hand. After a minute's silence, he turned to me with the words: "Look, this bunch of asparagus calls my attention to an error I have committed against my Egyptians, and which is hardly to be made good again. It is just too late! I had stated my surprise to my French court gardener, that, despite the high expenditures for my gardens, I could not obtain fresh asparagus from them even at the end of the month of February, while the Europeans had already received the same from Europe long before. The court gardener answered me, that the thing was easy to do, only first a hot-house for growing the asparagus must be built, in order to fulfill my wish. The glass house was built in the past year at a cost of 80,000 francs, naturally for the purpose of providing me with asparagus at the end of the month of February. We are just at the beginning of the month and already, not my French court gardener, but a poor Arabian gardener's helper, brings me today this bunch of asparagus, because he heard that I wished to eat it at this season. I asked him how he had gone about it, to grow such excellent stalks. 'Effendina,' he answered me, 'I stuck asparagus quite secretly in a comer of the garden, covered it with palm branches as soon as raw wind set in and cold prevailed, but lifted the branches every time the bright, warm sun shone. This asparagus is the product of my care.'-You understand," the Viceroy turned to me, "that this fact gives me something to think about, for I have failed to recognize the good qualities of my subjects, underestimated their efficiency, and bestowed confidence only in the European. The former provides me with the best asparagus without cost in the beginning of the month of February, the latter has an expensive hothouse built, with the promise to deliver the asparagus to me at the end of the month. That is the picture of the fate which has befallen me." In the Orient, it is not easy to express one's self in opposition to the reigning sovereign by way of the press, for it is at the risk of the author's neck. Even though in Egypt, according to the wish of the first Khedive, a parliament was created in which the Schech-el-Beled, or village magistrates, formed the majority of the delegates, it never occurred to the house to set itself in opposition to the government. The representatives of the people found it improper to doubt the wisdom of the leaders of state affairs even in the smallest points.
Outside the Chamber, to be sure, there was no lack of mangy sheep who, by the roundabout way of Paris, felt compelled to deliver rebellious opinions even in print. To them belonged an Egyptian afflicted by Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity who regularly corresponded from Cairo, anonymously and in the Arabic language, with the opposition newspaper on the Seine, and who cast the darkest shadows on the actions of the Khedive.
One day 1 found myself with Monseigneur when the person under discussion, a young Egyptian, was brought forward by a kawasse, after he had been tracked down. Pale faced and trembling in his whole body, he stood before his Prince, who put the question to him, whether he confessed to the authorship of the malicious articles. "1 have requested Brugsch Bey," he interposed, "to be witness to our conversation. Answer my questions, therefore, without hesitation. I assure you of my protection." The unhappy one stammered a few apologies which, however, only increased his guilt.
"You have spoken ill of my government and defined my measures as tyrannical. If your allegations are true, you have only done your duty. Yet you owe me the proof. I therefore challenge you to state to me what I, as Regent of Egypt, must do or not do, in order to deserve, in your opinion, the name of a just and wise Prince. If you convince me of the justness of your advice, I promise you, in the presence of the Bey, to follow it. I do not punish you for your boldness. Leave me now and always remember, that it is easier to criticize and to blame another while hidden, than to discharge a difficult task one's self and at the same time to please everyone." Like one freed from a nightmare, the Egyptian critic bowed in deepest humility before his master, and I have never heard anything of his attacks since then.
MY JOURNEY TO NORTH AMERICA
Hardly two years had passed since the Vienna World Exposition, when, in the State of Pennsylvania of the United States, the idea emerged and developed to create, for the hundredth anniversary of its existence, a World Exposition in the Quaker city of Philadelphia. The invitation was also issued to the Khedive of Egypt to contribute to it in the most extensive way, in order to win new laurels in the competition for world industry.
Asked for my own opinion, I tried to advise the Viceroy against letting Egypt enter this competition. I based my view on the fact that his country possessed no industry ready to participate in the competition of the nations, that the former collections from the regions of the Sudan had been presented to Austria as a gift, and the time no longer sufficed to plan a second, which at best would pass as a curiosity; furthermore that it was not advisable to allow selected monuments from the Museum to make the long journey to America, and finally that, in the momentarily difficult financial situation, the required cost was to be considered. My arguments were wrecked by the urging of the American Consul General, and I was once more entrusted with the task of organizing an Egyptian exhibition, although on a smaller scale. A credit of 10,000 pounds sterling was opened for me at a banking house in New York.
The preparations and the assembling of the objects destined for the exhibition again claimed all my time and activity. Moreover, an incident occurred which threatened to make the exhibition impossible at all. As the crates stood ready to be transported to America, a bailiff of the International Tribunal presented me with a legal order, according to which the sealing and confiscation of the exhibition cases were to be transferred to him. In case of refusal, military help would be drawn upon, to lend emphasis to his order. I asked for an hour's time for reflection and hurried to the Viceroy, who flew into a great rage, all the more so, since the court had made the same attempt at his palace with threat of the military. "My own soldiers" he exclaimed, "are to march in hostility against me? That is impossible! A Khedive stands above the International TribunaL" Fortunately they were prevailed upon, in consideration of the international interests of an exhibition, to deliver the cases to me, with the shipment of which I did not delay a moment. I myself made my way to Gottingen, to take leave of my family which was there, and without a longer stay to continue the journey on a Bremen steamer. As I was on the point of going to the nearby station to take the early train leaving for Bremen, I received a telegram, which I opened at once, to learn its contents before departure. It was short and to the point: "The Khedive begs you to return to Cairo instantly." By the next express train, I set out in the direction of Trieste, in order to go back to Egypt on the Lloyd steamer due to leave. I had not read a newspaper since my departure, and was not a little surprised when the news was given me by the captain of the ship that on the last Bremen steamer, the same one on which I wanted to make the voyage, a bomb constructed by an American named Thomas had exploded prematurely and several travellers and other persons had been killed and wounded. I silently thanked God, to have escaped possible danger to life and limb through my recall, and on my arrival in Cairo presented myself to the Viceroy immediately. In the expectation of receiving from him special additional orders which he could only give me verbally, I was not a little astonished to receive from his lips the assurance that he was highly pleased to see me sound and healthy, but had absolutely nothing to say tome. He had felt induced to call me back immediately by cable because in the night a vision had advised him to have me come at once, since otherwise a great disaster would befall me.
With the next steamer I set out on my return trip to Europe, reached Gottingen once more, and preferred this time to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to the west not by way of Bremen but via Liverpool on a ship of the Cunard Line.
It was a sea voyage which I shall remember all my life. The waves rolled high as houses across the strong ship, for which a stiff west wind during the entire twelve-day voyage rendered smooth movement difficult. No one was able to leave his cabin without holding fast to stretched-out ropes. Already on the second day, the mountains of water had washed away the kitchen from the deck, so that our food during the entire passage consisted only of bread and fried fish. Toward the end of the month of December, 1875, we entered at last the harbor of New York, and a few hours later I reached the goal of my journey, the city of Philadelphia.
Work for the exhibition began at once. With the help of my brother, who was attached to me as commissioner, I drew up the requisite plans and signed contracts, in order to insure the punctual delivery of the articles, at the same time with the obligation to pay for them on the day of delivery.
Who can describe my horror when, on a trip to New York, I received from the banker to whom my letter of credit had been directed, in place of the sum of money to be advanced, a telegram with the fateful brief French words: "Credit suspendu." I returned in an indescribably troubled mood to Philadelphia, dashed off the costly cable to distant Cairo, sent letter upon letter to the Egyptian government, without receiving even a single line in reply. I had incurred obligations, saw myself surrounded by five officials for whom I had to provide, was finally compelled to borrow large sums of money and to leave Philadelphia again after a seven-month stay, in order to hasten from New York by way of Bremen to Egypt, and personally to make my complaint known on the spot.
The voyage was favored by the most beautiful weather, so that after fifteen days' travel, I entered Cairo safe and sound toward the end of the month of September. It was natural that my unexpected arrival afforded no particular pleasure to the finance Minister, for he had to pay promissory notes and to fulfill all the obligations toward me which the government had imposed upon him before my departure. I well understood that the Mufettisch and Vizier of the finances refused me any audience, and I felt the embarrassment of the Khedive, when I complained and did not refrain from describing my own distress. The period in which the bills were due threatened to expire shortly, and so there remained nothing else for me to do, than to call upon the help and intervention of the representative of Germany, in order to have my just demands recognized and to abolish the debt problem.
THE DEATH OF THE MUFETTISCH AND THE BEGINNING OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
Now began a difficult period for Egypt and still more for the Khedive, after the coffers were emptied and the coupons of the creditors could no longer be paid. The burden of debt had by this time piled up to the two billion mark. The creditors demanded settlement of their claims, and finally appealed to the International Tribunal for their protection. They went to court for the claims, and ways and means had to be devised in order to find reimbllT'sement for them. As for the expenditures themselves, which had led to such an enormous burden of debt, few trustworthy accounts, or none at all, had been kept, and least of all was the Mufettisch in the position, or perhaps he did not want to be, to give information concerning appropriation or payment of the individual items.
I have already indicated above, what a questionable role the Mufettisch, a foster brother of the Viceroy, played in all money matters, and what sums he had unjustly withdrawn from the Viceregal coffers, in order to employ them for his own profit. He himself felt that the requital for his deeds would shortly reach him, and so he grasped at the last straw to avoid the threat of punishment. In true Oriental style he began to address inflammatory, inciting speeches to the assembled crowd of the faithful in the mosques, and to accuse the Viceroy of having done, through his patronage of the Europeans, the most unspeakable wrongs to the country and of having sold it outright to Europe. He conspired in the most contemptible way against the Khedive, whose abdication or downfall he regarded as an already settled matter. His unjust conduct against his benefactor, the Viceroy, did not remain concealed from the latter, who, however, laid a trap for him, which the Mufettisch entered, to atone for his avarice by death.
On a visit which in this course of events I paid to the Khedive in his castle of Abdin, he put to me in the middle of the conversation the curious question: "00 you believe, my Bey, that a man can die from a bottle of cognac?" Without waiting for my answer, he continued with the words: "There has occurred an event painful for me, which I impart to you in order, if it must be, to make public use of its contents and to forestall any false interpretation beforehand. The Mufettisch Ismail Pasha planned to weave a plot against me, after he has cheated the government out of millions and behind my back has misused his office as finance Minister in the most deceitful way, only in order to suck the blood of the fellahs through unjust tax levies which he even collected in advance. Not until the past weeks has his activity come to my know ledge. Instead of presenting himself personally, he was so imprudent as to address rebellious speeches, which were aimed at my person, to the assembled crowd in the mosques. With inflammatory words, he described the miserable condition of the country, brought about solely through me, because I favored only the Europeans, in order to deliver Egypt into their hands. A few days ago, he sent me a letter through his nephew, in which he was so shameless as to repeat the same reproaches, at the same time challenging me to depart from my erroneous way and to restore the confidence of the population in me.
"Do you know what is written in this letter?" I asked the bearer. At his answer, which he gave me trembling: "Effendina, I do not know," I ordered him to summon his uncle to me instantly, in order to take a drive in company with me in my carriage through the most populated streets of Cairo. The Mufettisch presented himself promptly, pale and trembling in his whole body. He took his place with me in the carriage and I ordered the coachman to take the road to my castle in Gesireh. I spoke not a syllable to him until he, like a child, anxiously addressed to me the words: "Effendina is silent, is Effendina angry with me?" "That you will best know why," I replied to him abruptly and tersely.
The carriage drove up before the entrance of the garden castle, on the steps of which my son Hassan Pasha was already awaiting us. He begged the Mufettisch to alight alone and led him into the interior of the entrance hall. My second son Hussein Pasha seized the sinner after his entrance, had him bound by several kawasses and conducted to the heated steamer at the garden landing. His abode was assigned to him in the salon of the steamer, and he was informed that he would be transported to Upper Egypt, to be put on a camel in Edfu and sent into exile in Dongola. natural that my unexpected arrival afforded no particular pleasure to the finance Minister, for he had to pay promissory notes and to fulfill all the obligations toward me which the government had imposed upon him before my departure. I well understood that the Mufettisch and Vizier of the finances refused me any audience, and I felt the embarrassment of the Khedive, when I complained and did not refrain from describing my own distress. The period in which the bills were due threatened to expire shortly, and so there remained nothing else for me to do, than to call upon the help and intervention of the representative of Germany, in order to have my just demands recognized and to abolish the debt problem.
"According to the reports that have come to me from Upper Egypt and the main stations of the steamer, he refused to take any food and was satisfied solely with drinking cognac. Upon his debarkation in Edfu, he mounted his camel, asked for a bottle of cognac, drained it with one gulp and, bending backwards convulsively, fell dead from the camel down onto the sand." The Viceroy's narrative had shaken me deeply.
I knew the Muffetisch personally. He had risen from a fellah to the position of a finance Minister, and distinguished himself by anything but amiable conduct. He was coarse and uncultivated, loved to drink, and understood in a masterly fashion the art of feathering his own nest, in spite of the financial straits of his country. His death, to be sure, freed the Khedive of a faithless official in whom he had placed his complete confidence, but the financial difficulty of the government was thereby not removed.
To my remark that the confiscation of the property of the Muffetisch would restore at least a part of the embezzled sum of money to the Viceroy, he replied: "1 have done that, of course, but not a piaster has come to light, although I even had the marble slabs of the floors of his palace ripped up, in order to search for possible hidden money. I suspect that he has deposited his entire stolen wealth in the Bank of England and had it entered in the books under a false name." I could only sincerely commiserate with the Viceroy. Whatever judgment one might have of him, one thing remains certain to me, that he never intended to be a deceiver, but that his innate credulity, good nature, ambition and his magnanimity, besides his undoubted keenness and cunning, laid the ground for all the later financial misery. Speculating banking houses, well served by spies and agents from the Court, insipid flatterers, fortune-hunters with brilliant names, and other creatures of the European society knew how to exploit the weak sides of his character and his generosity in an indescribable way, or to lead him into enterprises whose success, to the initiated, must have been doubtful from the start. Each one thought of filling his own pockets, unconcerned about the future, which could only be an end full of financial horror. Driven into the comer by the arm y of his creditors, at the same time too proud to permit a control of the Egyptian finances by European commissioners, and not convinced that even a Khedive must submit to the legal decisions of the International Tribunal convoked by him and sanctioned by the great European Powers, Ismail Pasha had to bear the consequences of his own obstinacy. It may have been hard for him to give up his independence and to submit to European control in all financial affairs, but after all, prudence demanded that he prefer a lesser evil, in order not to suffer a far greater one. The distressing question was only for the Great Powersand in the first rank, England and France were involved-to offer an indubitable guarantee for the regular payment of the coupons to the creditors of the Egyptian state and possessors of Egyptian loans.
In the last two years of the reign of the deposed Khedive the financial difficulties in which the government incessantly found itself had reached their highest point. For months, indeed even for years, the officials and officers waited for the payment of their salaries, and it was no wonder that the dissatisfaction evoked revolutionary intentions, which broke out, for example, among the officers of the Cairo garrison in the armed assault on the finance Ministry and actual insults to the Minister on February 18, 1879. Even the English Chief Comptroller, a Mr. Wilson, until then an employee of the British Office of finance in London, could not protect himself from the insults, in spite of his status as English subject and delegate, and only the sudden appearance of the Viceroy prevented the outbreak of further violence. Those in the know even asserted that the Khedive had been the actual instigator of the whole comedy, for the purpose of diverting the odium from himself to the British Investigation Commission.
THE END OF THE SONG
Meanwhile things took their further course, and measures were taken next to create a system of saving, by which a great number of employed Europeans were hit the hardest.
In return for a small compensation, they were discharged. At the same time, the army of Egyptian officials was reduced, or a considerable part of the salary hitherto paid was struck off.
I myself was also not spared by the new measures. I must remark beforehand that, after my great success attained in VieIU1a on behalf of the Egyptian government, the Khedive had most urgently invited me to remain in his service. My five-year imperial leave of absence had expired, and my decision was firm, to return to Gottingen and take up my lectures once more. The Viceroy was so little in agreement with my resolve, that he entreated me to hasten home immediately, and at his expense, in order to lay at the feet of the Emperor Wilhelm I my petition to extend the leave for an indefinite time.
At my arrival in the Fatherland, both Their Majesties, the Emperor and the Empress, were in Koblenz. I made my way to the Rhine, had the distinction to be received and invited to the table, and seized the opportunity to express to my Emperor the wishes of the Khedive in regard to my humble person. "I wish it myself" came the answer from his lips, "that my subjects bring credit to the German name also in the Orient and in the service of Oriental princes. Remain with the Khedive as long as circumstances permit it." In the further course of the conversation, I felt deeply ashamed when my Emperor and master, in his well known kindness smilingly remarked: "I am almost afraid to converse with you. I am only a soldier, and you a thoroughly learned man." I think that I turned blood-red. It seemed to me, the son of a simple soldier, that I should fall at the feet of the heroic Emperor and kiss his hands in deepest emotion and gratitude. Had I, one of the lowest, deserved such recognition from the magnanimous sovereign to whom all the world looked up with admiration?
I went back to Egypt, after I had dissolved my household in Gottingen and had out of hand sold my mighty home fortress. As the summer abode for my family of children I had chosen Graz, the capital of the Austrian Province of Steiermark, so rich in scenic beauty, for the special reason that the journey to and from Egypt was considerably shortened. I procured the so-called Hallerschlossl on the Ruckerlberg outside the town, since the rent asked for it was moderate and the panorama across the mountainous country from the balconies of the widespread building was thoroughly delightful.
The disadvantages of my European residence my family was to experience with all thoroughness in the course of the next seasons. In the summer the heaviest thunderstorms and cooling torrents of rain alternated in a moment with the most scorching heat. In the winter the most bitter cold set in, and the fallen snow lay meter-high in the castle garden and on the highway close by. The provisions, which were procured from the town, were taxed at the customs close to the house, and there were other evils. In return for this, Graz, the Austrian "pensionopolis," offered me not the slightest intellectual pleasures; but "Tratsch," or gossip, flourished in full bloom, and no one felt safe from the tongue of his nearest neighbor. To the Berliner it was hard, moreover, nowhere to run into a compatriot or to hear native sounds. The Steier dialect, in spite of its originality, could offer me no compensation, and if I carne into close contact with the country folk, I could not understand their words in the slightest. To me it was as if I were hearing an unknown Negro language.
The bottom of the barrel was completely knocked out when, at a Graz social gathering of the best style, I was introduced as Br. Bey from Egypt, to a professor of history from whose pen have issued many books of historical content. At the table conversation, he casually brought the discussion to the Egyptian King Ramses II with the epithet 'the Great.' When I took the liberty of correcting some of his boldest statements, he was obviously confounded and stared at me. Upon my allusion to my own historical studies in the ancient Egyptian field and to the basis of my hieroglyphic experiences, he seemed to be quite beside himself. "What! You have occupied yourself with this and have even written about it?""At your service, Herr Professor, since I myself am a university professor." -His astonishment was so extraordinary, that he asked for my closer acquaintance, in order to hear more details of my works.
When I left the hospitable house and had hardly stepped out the door, I asked my wife the serious question: "Is it agreeable to you, if we leave "Pensionopolis?" -"But why, dear husband?" -"Because!" -" And whither?" -"To the city of intelligence, to Berlin! In Graz I am a dead man in a living body" After my arrival in Cairo, to resume the thread of my narrative at the right place, I found the Viceroy in the best mood, and he solemnly promised me to confirm in writing to the Emperor of Germany his thanks for the gracious sanction of my unlimited leave of absence. I myself belonged thenceforth to the Court of the Khedive, even though my salary came from the funds of the Ministry of Education.
The next few years slipped by in peaceful scientific activity, until the hour had come, when my name too fell under the eye of the British investigation commissioner arid a decision was made concerning my future employment. I received the polite request to place myself at the disposal of the Ministry of finance as a future official. Mr. Wilson seemed to be little pleased by the expression of my misgivings concerning my qualification as a financial official. After I had made the honest confession to him that I understood as good as nothing about it, there ensued between us a dialogue which for me did not turn out pleasantly. From my recollection, I quote its essential points.
"What are you really?" "A loyal subject of His Majesty the Emperor of Germany." "No, I mean what have you learned, whereby you are useful in the service of the government ?" "1 am a scholar, and in my native land a university professor." "Here we cannot use them; in England there are people of your knowledge by the hundreds." I felt this utterance like a stab in the heart, for its originator so little displayed the courtesy of an English gentleman, as it had been shown to me everywhere on my travels by his countrymen, that I almost doubted recognizing in him a true son of Albion. There remained nothing further to do than to bid farewell, hurry home, present immediately in writing my departure from Egyptian service, and to make preparations for my return from Egypt to Europe. I left my house behind in safe custody, took my place on the next Lloyd steamer, and with the bitterest feelings left Egypt, which, in the days of Ismail, had become a second home to me.
After my departure, disaster overwhelmed the Khedive. His eldest son, Mohammed Tewfik, was named his successor according to the changed right of succession, and a new, although difficult period was soon thereafter to begin across the land.
I hastened to Graz to my family, and immediately carried out my previous resolution to move my permanent residence to Berlin in order to forget, in the midst of my countrymen, the insult which had been dealt to me in Cairo by an English commissioner.
With all my flock, I moved north and breathed more freely only when the train from Vienna pulled into the Anhalt Station, and the first sounds of home struck my ear. Even if they carne from porters, I had the feeling of being among my own, and with true delight I shook the dust from my feet.
But what a changed picture offered my beloved Berlin! Out of myoid native city with its confined and cramped conditions, with its rough stone pavements and odorous gutters, its modest, smooth-walled houses and unadorned marketplaces, its familiar rows of streets along with its stiff, old-fashioned gates which pierced the half-ruined encircling wall with its customs-houses and sentry-boxes, and not least, its old Berliners, among whom I came across so many known faces on my walks, with all those recollections which had remained indelibly fixed in my memory from youth-out of this native city of mine there had come into being not only the capital of the German Empire and the Residence of a German Emperor, but a true world-city, which had begun to enter into competition with Paris and London, as to size and beauty. Everything I found changed in the determined assault to achieve perfection, and in the immensely mounting growth of a population to which the constant immigration from outside brought from month to month an almost unbelievable increase. The circular wall had fallen down; Berlin was too much confined by the old wall.
New streets appeared as if by magic on the grounds of the former suburbs, of which the lion's share belonged to the west; in a word, Berlin had sprung up like the phoenix out of the ashes of the old, only it had become larger, more beautiful than the father. Railways were run through the middle of the city and around it, and a wide-branching network of streetcars and omnibus lines was created almost overnight in order to facilitate traffic in the youngest metropolis and to transport its inhabitants in the shortest time to the most distant points. A city of a million, full of wealth, good living and luxury, had just celebrated its resurrection, and even though the true Berliner, down to the witty shoemaker's apprentice, belonged only to the minority in the population, the essence of Berlin overflowed into the flesh and blood of the newcomers, and the Berlin spirit was transmitted even to the strangers.
Don't ask whether I felt happy in my native city. Living long years abroad, I had learned to appreciate its worth to its full extent, and it felt like a reward, after the struggles in three continents, to be permitted again to stay among my countrymen as one of them. Of course, many of my older friends had entered the harbor which grants no return; even my own dear mother had departed this life right after my return, happy to find her last resting-place in the Fatherland but I was no longer anxious at heart, after I had established my home once more on the banks of the Spree. I settled in Charlottenburg, owned my own house with a little garden behind it, and in undisturbed peace, I planted my cabbage, that is, I opened my chests, in order to take out myoid Egyptian paper-treasures and resume my studies with youthful enthusiasm, and before everything, to bring to an end my great dictionary. Then there reached me a letter from France, written by the hand of my friend Mariette. He felt himself to be near death, and implored me to come to Paris or Egypt, in order to discuss important questions with him.