My Life and My Travels by Heinrich Brugsch, 1894, Berlin
Free As A Bird, Chapter VII
MY FRIEND MARIETTE DIES
My Egyptian savings and a small compensation paid me by the government in Cairo enabled me at that time to make the journey to the Nile Valley at my own expense. At the same time, it offered me the best opportunity to sell my property I had left behind, after I had set up a home for a short time in a modest rented house in the vicinity of the Sweetwater Canal, which leads from Cairo to Suez by way of Hellopolis.
On my arrival, Mariette had not yet come, but the latest news announced his arrival soon, while at the same time, contained the sad message that his days were numbered and his demise imminent.
When he finally landed, a violent hemorrhage robbed him of his last strength. In Cairo I daily sat at his sickbed, to clasp his hand and to raise his completely sunken vitality through comforting words. Plans for the immediate future and for the scientific explorations of the latest excavations still occupied him.
Two Arabian sheiks, old people who were still known to us both from the excavations in the Serapeum, had undertaken the task to open a row of smaller pyramids in the vicinity of the excavations uncovered earlier, in order to look for coffins of ancient kings in the tomb chambers. The entrance of three pyramids was laid bare with the greatest danger for the workers, but their labors were richly rewarded, for the sides of the long corridors and the surfaces of the walls in the actual tomb chambers were found covered from top to bottom with hieroglyphic inscriptions in the oldest style, and the discovered coffins, of Nubian granite, were furnished with engraved royal texts. Of course, there was also convincing proof that, already in the Middle Ages, the pyramids had been opened by booty-seeking Arabs, inhabitants of the nearby villages, but nevertheless, the scientific gain was enormous. Inscribed pyramids had not previously been known, and Mariette had constantly denied their existence.
The impressions of the inscriptions from the pyramid opened first had reached Mariette already in Paris. He considered the frequently appearing king's name Piope (Phiops) in them to be that of a private man. The texts of the two remaining pyramids he did not yet know. They had only been by the sheiks at the time of his landing in Egypt, and the inscriptions had to decide the important question whether private persons also, or only the kings, had been buried in pyramids. With a weak voice, my sick friend begged me to do him the favor of setting out for the spot in the company of my brother Emil, who had been employed as conservator in the Museum for about fifteen years, in order to examine the opened pyramids and to bring him a report on them.
On the next morning, we took the road to the south on the railway that runs on the left side of the Nile a one-hour distance as far as the ruin-site of old Memphis, mounted the donkeys standing ready at the railroad station of Bedreschein, and after a ride of two hours, arrived at the pyramid area, west of the village of Sakkarah.
Together with the Egyptian sheiks of the excavations we went laboriously into the passage of the western pyramid, in constant danger of being crushed and ground to pieces at the slightest touch, by the stone blocks suspended above our bodies. At last we obtained air in the innermost tomb chamber, whose walls were covered with the richest inscriptions in vertical columns. I recognized in many passages of the text the name and the title of Pharaoh Methesuphis, of the sixth dynasty of kings of Old Memphis.
At the west wide of the chamber stood a well preserved sarcophagus in the form of a chest, made of a dark, red-speckled granite. The inscriptions on the shoved-back lid and on the upper edge of the stone chest bore the same name of the mentioned king, along with his title and auxiliary designations. There was no longer any doubt that the inscribed pyramid, like its other sisters with inscriptions, belonged in fact to a king of the oldest dynasty.
Beside the stone coffin, on the floor of the tomb chamber, lay the well preserved mummy of Pharaoh Methesuphis, as he is named in Manethos' Lists of Kings, a fairly exact transcription of his true Egyptian name, Mehtemsuf. According to its outer appearance and bodily structure, the corpse could only have belonged to a person who died at a youthful age.
The very fine byssus bindings, with which it had once been wrapped, the Arabian treasure-seekers had torn off the body, so that the shreds of the almost transparent and cobweblike linen material lay strewn about everywhere.
After I had searched through the two remaining opened pyramids, and had discovered in their inscriptions the names of their builders, I set out with my brother on the return trip, in order to inform Mariette on the evening of the same day the results of my investigations on the spot. Perhaps, I said to myself, it will afford the dying friend a last pleasure, to be able to see with his own eyes the mummy of one of the oldest kings of Egypt and indeed of the world.
I had it laid in a narrow wooden coffin, which the excavations in the desert floor had brought to light besides dozens of others at a place in the Memphis necropolis. My brother laid the strange burden diagonally in front of him on his mounted donkey and so, after a two-hour ride, we reached the railroad station near the Nile a few minutes before the departure of the train for Cairo.
Great astonishment of the railroad officials concerning our dead companion, whom we designated as a very old embalmed magistrate (Schech-el-beled) of the village of Sakkarah. Since we did not want to be separated from our fellow traveller, we did not travel first class, but boarded the baggage car with him.
The train started moving, but stopped long before the actual terminal of Dakrur, in sight of the Caliph city of Cairo. Some kind of damage to the iron rails prevented any further movement toward the station. Each and every one was obliged to get out, in order to make the long, half-hour way as far as the carriage-stand.
We brothers grasped the wooden coffin at its two ends, to carry it as far as the station. The sun went down, the perspiration ran from our foreheads, the dead Pharaoh seemed to become heavier from minute to minute. In order to lighten the load, we left the coffin behind and held His dead Majesty at the head end and at the feet. Then the Pharaoh broke through in the middle and each of us took his half under his arm.
After half an hour walking, we two Berliners with the halved Pharaoh climbed into a droshky. A new obstacle met us at the customs building directly in front of the great iron bridge of Kasr enj-Nil. "Nothing taxable in the carriage?" asked the customs officer in the Arabic language. "No, nothing at all, nafisch!" "But what is this here?" Di-e-di, and with these words he pointed to the two halves of the royal corpse. "Salted meat," I answered, and secretly pressed a coin into his hand. "Jallah, go on!" called the officer to the coachman, and our carriage with the three of us rolled across the bridge.
My story seemed to entertain Mariette, yet the sight of the corpse of the king in two parts made a repulsive impression on him, whereas formerly a mummy left him completely indifferent.
"And so there really are inscribed kings' pyramids!" he exclaimed with a hoarse voice, "I had never been willing to believe it."
A few days after the event described, the most frightful death-struggle set in for my poor friend, until finally on January 17, 1880, he took leave of this world forever.
Born on February 12, 1821, in Boulogne-sur-mer, he died in the sixtieth year of his life as a result of diabetes, which had tortured him unspeakably the entire second half of his earthly journey. His vigorous body offered the strongest resistance up to the last moment, but the mental sufferings in the last years of his life had shaken his nervous system, which hastened the progress of the treacherous illness and brought about his death. Of eleven children, seven had been snatched away from him by death in the bloom of their existence, and ultimately, one year before his own death, a beloved son full of promise, who had just on the point of devoting himself to an honorable profession.
The death of Mariette was the sign for the French present in Cairo to solemnize in the most noticeable manner his funeral taking place the next day. The entire population of the city, native and foreign, was to learn that France was determined to take possession of the ancient Egyptian legacy of the Museum, and not to give up to any outsider the now empty position of the Director of the Museums and Excavations. Already on the day of Mariette's death his successor, Professor Maspero, a French subject, though of Italian origin, had arrived in Egypt, to place himself at the head of the administration of the "Antika."
The Egyptian government and the Khedive let themselves be intimated, and my own person which, according to the intention and the declaration of the Viceroy himself, alone possessed the right of succession, was pushed back for the sole reason that I had the honor to be a German, and only as such to displease the great nation. Lesseps' opinion on this subject I have already described word for word.
I attended the funeral; going alone I accompanied the body of Mariette from the Museum to the Catholic Church, regarded askance by all the French, even those who, at the times of the exhibitions, belonged among my officials and had been overwhelmed with favors by me. I granted them the small national triumph and thought with melancholy of the faithful thirty-year-old friendship which had bound me with the deceased. In more than a thousand letters he had addressed to me there was mirrored his heart, which beat fully and completely for me, and which he had so often unburdened to me in the most touching way, in order to describe his mental torments and to direct to me his calls for help. And I had never deceived him in his hopes, for I remained at all times 'le Prussian de son coeur," as he in words and in writing preferred to describe me. Peace be to his ashes!
MY JOURNEY WITH THE CROWN PRINCE RUDOLPH OF AUSTRIA
A few months had elapsed since the death of Mariette, when Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria addressed the inquiry by telegraph to me in Cairo, whether I would agree to escort him on his forthcoming Nile journey to Upper Egypt. To decline such an honor could all the less occur to me, since the recollection of his father's sojourn in Egypt and my humble services during it imposed on me the due obligation of warmest gratitude. The reputation of high intellectual endowment and the love of knowledge which was connected with the person of the Crown Prince could only heighten my own wishes to approach more closely the young Prince whose first acquaintance I had the good fortune to make at the time of the Vienna World Exposition. Unforgettable to me had remained the last hour in which Crown Prince Rudolf and the young Prince Wilhelm, my present Imperial Lord and Master, took leave of each other in the court of my Egyptial buildings with words of heartiest friendship and with the promise on both sides of a frequent exchange of letters in the future.
The Egyptian journey of the Crown Prince has been recorded by his own hand and published. It forms the first volume of his vivid and excellently composed work Eine Orientreise," which was published in Vienna in the year 1881. The words which the Crown Prince wrote with his own hand on the first page of the copy destined for me: "To the faithful guide and teacher in the land of the Pharaohs, the helpful collaborator, in grateful friendship! Rudolf" provide the most eloquent evidence, with what kindness and indulgence the amiable Prince understood how to recognize my humble services. A series of letters which he later addressed to me and which, especially after h is departure from this earth, I read again and again not without the deepest feeling, confirms the unassuming character and the sober view of the world of their princely author, who found his highest satisfaction in the purely human and his richest enjoyment in intellectual work. For the journey to Upper Egypt as far as its end point, the island of Philae on the southern border, a viceregal steamer had been placed at the disposal of the Imperial Prince. Among the companions of His Highness were his uncle, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the General Count Waldburg, member of a Wurttemberg family, the Court chaplain Abbot Mayer, the Major von Eschenbach, a cavalier handsome as a picture, and furthermore the Hungarian Count Josef Hoyos and the painter Pausinger from Salzburg. All the members of the expedition, only my humble self excluded, were excellent huntsmen, and the Crown Prince himself enjoyed the reputation of being one of the most successful shots.
The hunting of predatory creatures alone seemed to him worthy of a real hunter, since it contributes to exterminating destructive animals, and above all things, to protecting the cultivated fields of the countryman and his herds of cattle. He assured me that he felt not even the slightest pleasure in hunting red deer and chamois, since the killing of harmless animals, but most of all a mass destruction, was downright repugnant to him. His inclination to study the animal kingdom, especially the winged inhabitants of the air, had been richly nourished through his acquaintance with "Tier-Brehm,." The well known scholar of this name, whose zoological works and books still enjoy a world reputation, had already for several years been close to Crown Prince Rudolf. He had contributed to awakening in the young Prince a hardly believable inclination for his own investigations, and I myself can testify with what zeal the studious pupil applied himself, after finishing a hunting expedition, to examine scientifically, according to Dr. Brehm's tables, the booty brought home. Neither fatigue nor hunger and thirst could cause him to let his booty wait even for a moment. He measured the length of the bodies and wingspread of the hawks, eagles, and falcons he had shot, he entered the numbers in his hunt-book, added other peculiarities in the bodily structure or in the coloring of the birds, and kept as exact a register as though the Crown Prince of Austria were furnishing the model of a thoroughly learned zoologist.
On the other hand, he revealed his grasp of science in the eagerness with which he listened to my daily discourses on ancient Egyptian history, geography, mythology, architecture, etc. His remarks, which he interposed here and there, were to the point, and comparisons with other branches of the history of the peoples of Antiquity or of modern times showed the expert who was sure of his subject. A special feature which I discovered with real pleasure in the character of the Crown Prince, and found confirmed daily, was the simplicity of his manners and expressing no wants, a rare quality of the great ones of the earth. Far from life at Court, the stay in Egypt offered him an incredible enjoyment, since at every step, he met in the natives the simplest human beings with whom he conversed in the kindest way through my mediation, and he always gave friendly answers and information to their questions. His slim body was like steel and he was able to endure the greatest exertions with ease. Hunting expeditions lasting for hours in the sand of the desert or on the steep paths of the rocky mountains, covered with boulders and bare of vegetation, mostly in the burning sun, gave him not the slightest trouble, while I myself lost my breath, so that I frequently begged him to adopt a slower tempo.
In his conversation the Crown Prince displayed intelligence, keenness and wit. At the same time, he maintained a calm which had to impress even the older man. When he found himself in official company, he suddenly changed his nature as though by magic; his entire bearing showed a stiff formality which otherwise was not at all characteristic of him. From head to foot, he revealed the Crown Prince, the future Emperor, and his conversations were measured and brief in their sentences.
When I left Egypt, I had to give him the promise to pay him a visit any time I was in Europe, and to spend a longer time with him as a guest. The first opportunity offered itself when, in the spring of the year 1881, I returned home, and in my letter I informed him that I was ready to deliver to him the contributions he wished for the publication of his travel book. Even the smallest communications of scientific content, which had reference to our joint journey, were printed verbatim by the Crown Prince, and with citation of their author, and he found this such a matter of course, that not even one passage in his work could be found, in which he had tacitly made use of my own knowledge.
As one knows, directly after his return from Egypt to h is home, his marriage to Princess Stephanie, daughter of the King of the Belgians, took place. Soon after the wedding, the crown-princely pair moved to Prague, the capital of the kingdom of Bohemia, to set up their residence there for some time in the old castle of Hradschin. Following a handwritten invitation of my princely patron, I took up my abode for a few weeks in the Prague castle, whereby I had the honor to have daily contact with the noble princely couple. In this way, I had the opportunity to learn to know both in their domestic life and to admire the cordiality of their mutual relations. The wife of the Crown Prince, at that time only seventeen years old, was charming not only through the grace of her aristocratic youthful appearance, but still more through the modesty, almost shyness of her nature, a consequence of her cloistered upbringing in the parental house, far from the noisy pleasures of the great world. On the excursions we made together by carriage or by railroad, it was neither village nor city, neither forest nor mountain, which held my attention, but rather the intimate relationship of the young couple, which I had the fortune to share.
In the Prague castle the working hours and the social meetings were strictly separated from one another. The Crown Prince made use of every free period to indulge in his scientific studies and his literary activity with all fervor. It is generally known that his productions have been as fruitful according to their content as they were tasteful and pleasing in their form. The magnificently projected work on the peoples of Austria originated under his aegis, and many contributions from his pen have lent it a distinguished embellishment.
Not infrequently, it happened that the Crown Prince appeared in my room close to midnight and often sat at my bed in order, while enjoying a good cigar - he smoked a great deal and with pleasure - to talk for hours about the most serious problems and to get my own opinion on the most difficult questions. Science and art, politics and religion furnished the material, and I was astonished to encounter the most liberal views in the prince who had grown up under the strictest protection - views which he represented with all warmth in his "academic" dialogues.
The recollections of our days together bring back to me many unforgettable hours, of which I could not call one of them wasted. Even the ordinary life and activity of men and their social condition elicited from the Crown Prince judgments which revealed the keen and good observer and affirmed his wide-range view.
During my stay in Prague, occurred my first acquaintance with the painter Canon, an artist of great talent and reputation who was close to the Crown Prince (the latter had drawn him out of his voluntary isolation) and who at that time had received the commission from him to execute the life-size oil portrait of the Crown Princess in the Hradschin. It was not only a good likeness but also in comprehension and execution a model of perfection. When I made the acquaintance of the artist, who has died in the meantime, he was in a state of suffering. As a result of a fall during a hunt which the Crown Prince had arranged, he was forced to stay in bed. I saw him surrounded by an entire library, which did not pertain in any way to entertaining literature, but consisted only of philosophical works and treatises. Canon was well versed in all the systems of the older and modern philosophers, and I was frankly astonished to recognize in the painter my master in this field. "What do you want?" he exclaimed to me at my expression of surprise, "My life and my entire existence have thrown me into the arms of philosophy. Listen to my sad fate and you will understand that I had to become a philosopher."
And I listened to his story, which could provide a writer with the material for a novel of several volumes. Three women, one after another, play a decisive role in it, and each time to plunge the painter into the most bitter despair. For two hours he unburdened his overflowing heart to me, happy to have relieved his soul, as he assured me, and to have found in me an understanding listener. The Crown Prince, to whom I later imparted Canon's relieved frame of mind, could not resist an almost unbridled merriment. He too had been initiated into the mental distress of the philosophical painter, yet he viewed the chief events in Canon's fate from a less philosophical standpoint. "He was always a good fellow," said he, "whom the women treated abominably." The appearance of the perhaps fifty-year-old man taught me that Canon was unwillingly in a position to exert a certain power of attraction on women. He was of stately height, and his features still showed the traces of a former masculine beauty, which a yard-long beard served as a special ornament.
My relations with the Crown Prince Rudolf were later terminated by my transfer to Persia. When having returned home again, I learned from the newspapers of the death of the unfortunate Prince in the year 1889, I felt it like a stab in the heart. Whatever may have been the causes of his tragic end, he died in any case as victim of a terrible destiny whose secret will never be lifted. It fills me even now with deepest grief, to have lost a sincere patron and friend in the Crown Prince, although the differences of position and of age seemed to have created an unbridgeable gulf between us.
WITH PRINCE FRIEDRICH KARL OF PRUSSIA
I had carried out my move to Charlottenburg and set up my permanent residence in a one-story house on Leibniz Street in the hope of spending the rest of my days in the lap of my family and at the side of my second wife, the daughter of an Austrian gendarmerie major. In Egypt, I had been obliged to keep open house throughout eight months of the year, since already at that time foreign visitors swarmed in the dark country and the city of Cairo in particular had become a rendezvous of the most distinguished European world. My residence in the Fagala, or "Radish Street" seemed to be a kind of dovecote, for the foreign birds flew in and out of my house for the best part of the day, and my wife, moreover, had great difficulty and trouble when invitations were issued, to satisfy the anticipated demands and to supervise kitchen and cellar. When it was a question of princely persons and their entourage, there was added the really difficult task of committing no blunders in the seating arrangements at the table. All of that all at once came to an end, and only the memory of the great world compensated us for the missing guests in our own quiet home. Travelling also, as I had intended, was once and for all to be put on the shelf, and my wanderings were to remain limited only to the road between Charlottenburg and the nearby young metropolis of Berlin. Fate again ordained it otherwise, for shortly after my settling down was completed, I had to grasp the pilgrim's staff once more and renew my acquaintance with Egyptian Africans and Persian Asiatics.
The other guests present belonged in the majority to the military. As war comrades or as able officers, they had become loved and esteemed by the Prince, who recalled common campaign memories and exchanged with all of them his ideas on modern warfare, or interwove into the conversation persons and things of the past and the present.
The conversation at the princely table at which twelve persons took their places each according to rank, was led by the princely host, who allotted its fitting place to seriousness and to jesting, and who plainly exerted a beguiling spell upon those present through his simple, straightforward nature. To the guests who were far from military status belonged scholars, schoolmasters, artists, writers and poets, who received an invitation from time to time and through their instructive communications brought the charm of variety into the conversation.
Whoever came to the hunting lodge of Dreilinden for the first time to take his place at the table, had to write his name in an open memory book and do justice to the old custom by drinking his first champagne out of the stag horn chosen for it. The interior of the mighty horn was hollowed out for this purpose, and at various places between the prongs, openings were made, close to which the drinker had to bring his mouth in order to let the flowing contents wash over his tongue. That was not easy at any time, according to the placing of the prongs. The military order of rank determined the choice of the imbibing-hole. I was given the privilege of being permitted to bring my lips to the general bunghole. I set to and drank, in my opinion, about a half-bottle of champagne, while in fact there was only one full glass in the stag horn. With this welcome, I joined the round table in Dreilinden as a guest of equal birth, to enjoy the presence of the princely hero and his paladins through a series of years.
My unforgettable protector led a contemplative, quiet life in the confined rooms of his hunting lodge, interrupted at the most twice a week through the presence of the invited guests. Among the non-military guests I count, in the foremost rank, Master Anton von Werner, the Doctors Gussfeldt and Schottmuller, the poets and writers von Bodenstedt, Fontane and Mollhausen, to recall only the most prominent spirits. Among the officers, there were not a few who distinguished themselves not only in their profession, but equally through their literary productions. I mention only General von Spitz, the poetically highly gifted author of "Udo mit dem Tuchlein."
The conversation, as I said, turned to all fields of human knowledge and understanding, and it was always a true pleasure to me to admire the keen and pertinent judgments of the noble host. Many fine remarks of his have remained alive in my recollection. Although a warrior of the first magnitude, he hated war and regarded it only as a necessary evil. His modesty led him even to the confession that he had really missed his calling, that he was in fact born to be only a seaman. As such he would have accomplished something really significant. One must know that he loved the navy above all, and in seamanship, even to the technical terms, he possessed quite extraordinary knowledge. In this respect, the Prince had everything to find fault with in me, and the only thing he could praise, on the occasion of a later voyage we took together, was my complete indifference to the spectre of seasickness.
After rising from the table, the Prince felt an incredible pleasure in the presentation of folk songs, which, with piano accompaniment, resounded through the halls of Dreilinden from the rich choral voices of officers - Baron von Dincklage was a master of this. The power of the singing occasionally had so deep an effect on the field-marshal Prince, that I saw a quiet tear in his veiled eye. Otherwise, concerts and theater left him completely indifferent, so that many doubted the musical taste of the great Commander-in-Chief.
All those, like my humble self, who were closer to him could tell of his kindness, his childlike heart, and his lack of pretension, which stood in noticeable contrast to the strict field-marshal. Compassion was enthroned in his inner being, and the many benefactions and quiet support which he provided to the oppressed and those in need of help are known only to the ones who received the commission to transmit them. He strictly forbade talking about it at all.
In the summer, the Prince used to make his abode for a few weeks in Sassnitz on the island of Rugen, and to invite his privileged friends for a longer or shorter stay in his company. The living quarters consisted of three Swedish wooden houses, which were erected in the green meadow on the steep edge of the seashore and afforded the widest view across the Bay of Sassnitz. German warships used to lie at anchor in the middle of the Bay. Early in the morning, even in spite of storm and tempest, they received the visit of the Prince and his guests. Sea maneuvers and military inspections took the entire morning, after which, about one o'clock, the return trip to land took place. The idyllic life on the beach gave the noble lord unequalled pleasure, yet he scrupulously avoided going outside the enclosed space of his settlement, to be greeted by bathing guests and honored by ovations. I shall later cite a striking proof of the way in which the Prince avoided directing public attention to himself.
My invitations to Sassnitz were repeated through several years, and I need not assert with what joy I complied with them. The quiet hours I spent in earnest conversation beside the Prince, who used to sit under the front of his Swedich house, have remained unforgettable to me. Often, in sight of the agitated sea, he unburdened his whole heart to me, and not infrequently confided to me a secret sorrow which oppressed his mind at the moment. Each time there came over me the sensation of deepest melancholy, since my own grounds for consolation did not suffice to sweeten the bitterness of his painful feelings. In the never empty conversation, Prince Friedrich Karl, who has made history himself through his exploits, loved to have me instruct him concerning the most ancient history of the Orient, especially Egypt, and I might be justly proud to be able to reveal to the unconquered field-marshal my humble knowledge on the background of Antiquity. It is known to only a few that the Prince engaged in very serious numismatic studies and possessed a choice collection of coins and medals from the periods of Antiquity. From the Roman Imperial Period, there were unique pieces in gold among them, which had been presented to him by King Victor Emmanuel of Italy and which in themselves along formed a small treasure. The Prince regarded numismatics as a particularly important part of history and collected eagerly, as soon as the opportunity for new acquisitions offered itself to him.
It was generally noted that the General Field Marshal possessed a curious shyness before the eternal feminine, and when, one fine day facing the calm mirror of the sea in the Bay of Sassnitz, I took the liberty of making a gentle allusion to his aversion, he smilingly admitted it, but then his features assumed the expression of deep gravity, and he openly confessed to me that his strict upbringing in the paternal house was solely to blame for it. And yet it was well known to all those who were closer to him what pleasure the mostly unexpected visits of the charming young princesses, daughters of the then Crown Prince, afforded him in Dreilinden, and with what tenderness he loved his own daughters. His eyes shone when he spoke of them and he felt proud to be the father of such splendid children.
Toward the end of the year 1882 - his "Herr Vater" was already at that time beginning to be ill - he decided upon a journey to the East if I, "the Basse," as he used to call me in jest, could decide to count among his companions. I gladly agreed to the proposal, and toward the close of the same year (from December 27th on) the Prince, along with his fellow travellers - Colonel von Natzmer, Major von Garnier, Captain von Kaickstein, and my own humble self - was already on the way to the port city of Trieste.
The Prince made the journey in strictest incognito, and not one of the Orient travellers, either boarding or leaving the train, suspected what noble person was among them on the railway. Even upon arrival in Trieste any reception was forbidden, and early on the morning of December 29, 1882, the Prince went on foot, in my company, from the station to the Lloyd ship "Ettore," which was steaming in the harbor, to set out on his voyage to Alexandria at the hour of midnight. In the vicinity of Ithaca, of Odyssean memory, on the stroke of twelve o'clock midnight, the New Year was celebrated by punch and "Krapfen," and Herr von Garnier competed with the Lloyd Captain Goll, a native of Steier, in drawing forth melodious songs from the zither.
I cannot consider it my task to reprint for the reader in this place the description of the Prince's journey, even if only the chief events and chief stopping-points. The travel book published later, which I wrote under the title: Prinz Friedrich Karl im Morgenlande, and to which the drawings of our travelling-companion, Major von Garnier, lent the highest value through the rich, artistic contributions made on the spot, tells all the experiences with all possible fidelity and minuteness of detail. The Nile trip in Egypt ended at the first waterfall between the town of Assuan and the Isis Island of Philae. Hardly had this southern boundary been reached, on January 23, 1883, when the sad news, announced by telegraph, of the death of Prince Karl in Berlin cast a heavy gloom over the journey, and above all, changed h is princely son into a silent, taciturn man. Under these circumstances, the immediate return home would have been undertaken, had not the Emperor's wish advised its continuation.
During an eight-day rest period, which I spent in Cairo, the Prince and the members of his retinue had set out on their way by water and by land to the Sinai Mountains, whereby Lieutenant Wissmann, just back from his crossing of Africa and fortunately happening to be in Cairo, filled the gap caused by my absence. It is not necessary especially to state that the acquaintance of the intrepid traveller afforded the highest pleasure to the Prince, and that all of us, still during our joint stay in the city of Caliphs, devoured, as it were, with understandable eagerness the oral reports of Wissmann, for which my friend Schweinfurth had made a special map.
After the departure of the Prince for the Sinai the French papers, which appeared in Alexandria and Cairo and pursued not merely anti-English but also anti-German tendencies, spread the false report that the German Commander-in-Chief, along with his companions, had been killed by the desert Arabs. Naturally, there was no truth in the matter, and it bordered upon permitting the wish to be regarded as the father of the report. Thank God, the Prince enjoyed the best of good health. He had entered his name in the visitors' book of the Sinai monastery under that of the murdered Englishman Palmer, and had appeared on the German gunboat "Cyclop" at the right time on the blue Crocodile Lake near the Ismailia Station of the Suez Canal, in order to take me aboard and also the Major Baron von Maltzahn, who had just landed in Egypt. It was on the 18th of February about nine-thirty in the evening, and early the next day, in the most beautiful weather, the journey continued by way of Port Said to Jaffa. At four o'clock in the afternoon of the following day, the landing on the rocky roadstead of the old city of Joppe took place, and the journey through Palestine began, under the wettest weather conditions, to be sure. In Palestine, the month of February and the period until March belong, as we know, to the dominion of Jupiter Pluvius, and the king of the gods did not fail to let us experience his worst temper for almost thirty days.
The Prince was travelling as guest of the Sultan, and an adjutant-Pasha, in the name of his master, rendered the Prince the highest honors: a troop of Turkish gendarmes and Tscherkessen served as escort on the long way through mountain and valley, and the imposing train of riders with the Prince at the head trotted at a jolly pace, despite rain and bad weather, through the Holy Land from the Dead Sea as far as beirut in the North. At Mt. Tabor the road turned into an absolute morass; therefore, the course by way of Nazareth to the Phoenician coast had to be taken, on the sandy shores of which, from Akka on through Tyre and Sidon, we at last reached the wave-washed foot of snow-covered Lebanon. After a one-day rest, we reached Damascus on the French post-road, and there the horses were waiting for us, to carry us through the Syrian steppe to the ruins of the city of Palmyra. In Damascus the Prince's visit with Emir Abd-el-Kader formed the high point of his stay in the city of Fanaticism. The return across Anti-Lebanon, above all to Baalbek, through the midst of snow and ice, will remain unforgettable to me all my life.
The entire journey as far as the chief site of the veneration of the ancient Sun-Baal resembled a campaign, at least for me. Nevertheless, I held out bravely, and I was finally astonished myself, that my strength resisted it and had suffered only little under the daily hardships. For a scholar whose chief activity belongs to the study-room, it was in fact no easy task, in wind and weather and high on a horse to storm the most untrodden ways in flight, as it were, but a look at the Prince steeled my wavering courage anew, and quickly dispelled my worst mood.
A holiday for us came on the 20th of March, which was celebrated in the most elated frame of mind in Baalbek, at the conclusion of our life of riding. It was intended to give to the honored Prince an expression of joy at the return of his birthday in the presence of the Temple of Baal. We learned from him that he had been born at eleven o'clock "during the parade of the guard," whereby he added: "Bellona sometimes arranges it peculiarly."
On the French post-coach from Baalbek by way of Schtora we reached the city of Beirut just on the birthday of our Emperor and King, which was observed in the most exalted mood and with due ceremony in the house of the German Deaconesses. The sea ran high and a stiff wind blew from the land side. On the roadstead rocked a German corvette, His Majesty's ship "Nymphe," which had received the order to bring the Prince by way of Rhodes and Athens to Genoa. The voyage to the island of Rhodes was the worst imaginable. The warship danced on the waves and sometimes progressed only one knot per hour. Notwithstanding, the customary maneuvers on the corvette were carried out by the ship's company, and even shooting-practice was set up. My poor brain throbbed each time, but I consoled myself with the honor of being numbered among the guests of the "Nymphe." On the 25th of March, one of the worst days, not even the observance of Easter Sunday could be celebrated, and not until the second holiday did the divine service take place in uplifting manner on deck. Soon after that, the island of Rhodes came into sight, the weather changed for the better, and toward three o'clock in the after, the "Nymphe" entered one of the two harbors of the picturesquely situated city.
On the 27th of March the corvette flew along on waters which had become calm. A strong southeast wind swelled the spread sails, and the "Nymphe" whizzed between the islands of the Greek archipelago as fast as an arrow, for she made up to sixteen knots per hour. In twenty-six hours we reached Athens, and two hundred sixty knots from Rhodes lay behind us.
In Athens the arrival of the princely field-marshal was celebrated in the most cordial manner by the royal family and the entourage shared the honor of being presented to the King of the Hellenes, the Queen, and the other members of the royal house. The exceedingly bright and witty Grand Prince Constantin of Russia was also there. As a former student of the Oriental Academy of Petersburg, he was intimately familiar with Eastern languages and studies, and I had the opportunity to carry on long and searching conversations with him concerning the Orient and its future.
Among the other persons with whom the Prince and his companions came into contact with were Dr. Luders and the honorary citizen of Berlin, Dr. Schliemann. Naturally, both served as guides through ancient Athens, with its valuable collections in the newly-built museums. Schliemann's house also enjoyed the visit of our Prince, who inspected with interest the antiquities displayed there from Schliemann's finds in Troy. For myself, seeing Schliemann again in his second home afforded a great pleasure. Already in the first years of my settling in Charlottenburg I had the opportunity for his closer acquaintance, and a cordial friendship had sprung up between us, which only shortly before his death suffered a decline for reasons unknown to me. The celebrated man, whose discoveries have rightly caused such an extraordinary sensation, possessed the naive views and childlike disposition of an Odysseus, which alone procured for him his later renown, even though strict philologists, at least the classical ones, at first denied to his finds the significance which the lucky discoverer himself assigned to them. His firm belief was hardly shaken by it, and he joyfully undertook the struggle to defend his views and opinions against the host of unbelievers.
Since the departure from Rhodes the weather and the ocean passage had changed for the better, and in five days the "Nymphe" travelled the distance from Athens to Naples. A stay of barely two days in sight of the smoking Vesuvius had to suffice, in order to inspect the chief objects of interest in the city, above all, the antiquities of the National Museum. An excursion by carriage was also made to Pompeii. The curiosity of the Neapolitan populace to see the ever-victorious field-marshal face to face was extremely repugnant to the Prince, and he commissioned me to remain on his right during the visit in Pompeii, in order thus to arouse the notion that I myself was Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia. I did not dare to resist or make any remonstrance at all, and so the unbelievable happened, that my humble self was most respectfully greeted by the military sentries and civic officials in Pompeii in place of the celebrated Prince.
By way of Livorno and Genoa we reached Berlin again on the 11th of April, 1883, full of unforgettable impressions and recollections of all that had passed before our eyes in the short space of four and a half months in the region of the East. But in the center of all experiences on the widely extended travels, stood the image of Prince Friedrich Karl, to whom, according to God's inscrutable decree, it was unfortunately not to be granted to spend further long years among the living, in full possession of health which seemed to be equal to even the strongest exertions. Despite his moderation in partaking of food and drink, the Prince suffered from a plethora, which with time visibly gave him trouble. It was like a premonition of his imminent departure from this world, when he asked me the often repeated question: "Isn't it true, old man, we two shall live a long time together?" I always replied to that with an Oriental "Inschallah," or "Please God!" and, satisfied, he laid his hand on my shoulder with a smiling expression. His friendly features were able to exert an overpowering impression on me, and I felt it as the highest favor of fate, to be permitted to look into his faithful eyes.
For a long time, the journey to the Orient formed the subject of conversation at the round table of Dreilinden or wherever else the Prince used to stay, and his routinely kept diaries in miniature format were frequently looked into and consulted by him. The arrival in Berlin of the purchases which he had acquired in the Eastern countries he had visited, and their distribution to his humorous friends, belonged to the happiest moments of his life. Not a single one of them had been forgotten.
MY SECOND JOURNEY TO THE LAND OF THE SUN
In August of the year 1885 I was in the Bohemian town of Marienbad, in order to find a cure for an incipient liver ailment in the waters of this highly renowned health-resort. It is the distressing consequence of a longer stay under the Oriental sky that liver and kidneys of European settlers not infrequently become seriously afflicted by pains. In such a case the above-mentioned health-resort near Karlsbad offers the almost certain prospect of deliverance from suffering.
I had hardly drunk the first cup from the Kreuzbrunnen, when an official inquiry came to me from Berlin, whether I would be willing, for Emperor and Empire, to place my Persian knowledge and experience at the disposal of the Foreign Office and become a member of the first extraordinary delegation to the court of the Shah of Shahs in the land of Iran.
I must openly confess that the honorable proposal at first plunged me into a certain embarrassment. I had already left behind me the fifty-eighth year of my life; besides, the dismal recollections of my first Persian journey were not of the sort to arouse particular enthusiasm in me for the distant trek to the heart of Asia. Also the expected long separation from my family troubled me a little, and yet the call to Emperor and Empire gave the decisive stroke in all my considerations. I sang with the French grenadier: "Was schiert mich Weib, was schiert mich Kind," slammed shut my old Egyptian writings, packed my few things together, and prepared for the approaching departure to the distant land of Iran.
I almost regretted my decision when, directly before my departure, an event occurred which I could hardly have foreseen. The Old Master of Egyptology, Professor Lepsius, had ended his pilgrimage on earth, after he had finally enjoyed the happiness, along with his honor as member of the Royal Academy, of occupying in the last years of his life the positions of Head Librarian of the Royal Library, Director of the Egyptian Museum, and full Professor of Egyptology at the Friedrich Wilhelms University. Was it presumptuous of me to hope that one of the two last-mentioned positions would be transferred to me, the corresponding member of the Academy? Through my numerous works in the ancient Egyptian field I believed I was worthy of consideration, but my hopes deceived me again this time most profoundly, and to all earlier defeats which I had endured, was added a new one for mein my own Fatherland, of which I did not know how to say: was it deserved or not? I know only that it caused me deep sorrow, because it impressed upon me the conviction that I had completely overestimated the value of my nearly fifty years' labors. I bitterly deplored, at that time, having wasted all my energy, so to speak, on useless things, and until the evening of my life pursued an empty phantom.
My noble patron Prince Friedrich Karl was frankly dismayed when I informed him of my intention to travel to Persia. But considerations of state stood higher for him than feelings of personal friendship, and so he gave me his parting blessing, in the hope of a happy reunion. "Who knows, my dear Basse," sounded his last words of farewell, which he addressed to me in his rooms in the royal castle in Berlin, "whether you will again find me living. Here (and he laid his right hand on the left side of his breast), here it has not felt right, singe - you know very well -. I beg you in the meantime to cheer me often with news by letter, and to be certain of my answers." He pressed my hand at parting, without my having a presentiment that I had looked into the faithful eyes of the noble-hearted Prince for the last time. For myself, it was very painful upon stepping out of the castle, for the recollection of the past brought back to me all the abundance of benevolence with which the field-marshal had overwhelmed me, and I almost repented the hour in which I had obligated myself to undertake the assigned mission to Persia.
The extraordinary delegation, consisting, in addition to its chief, of three members, a first secretary of the legation, a military attache, and my own person, started off in September of the year 1885, in order to take the road by way of Breslau to Odessa, and on one of the Russian steamers which navigate the Russian coast of the Black Sea to reach the seaport of Batum its east side. I was not a little astonished to find, in the same place which I had come to know twenty-five years before as a wretched Turkish spot covered with only a few houses and huts, a flourishing Russian commercial town in which, to judge by the business signboards, the French element was represented in the foremost rank. From the seacoast and the landing-place of the steamships a railway ran in the direction toward the east. It connects the Black Sea by way of Tiflis with the Caspian Sea, at which it ends near the oil city of Baku. The journey from here to the land of Iran is made on small steamers whose boilers are heated with burning petroleum. Such cheap fuel, because of the proximity of Baku, proves to be quite advantageous, yet suffers the disadvantage that an unbearable smell permeates the entire ship, even to the food and drink.
Everything was new to me on this part of the journey and surprised me to the point of the most justified astonishment. I could not conceal from myself the fact that, since my last presence in the Caucasus region, Russia had made extraordinary efforts to open to traffic the formerly desolate steppe on the Kura River as far as Baku,. and at individual places to create absolute miracles. Even the Russian coastal region on the west bank of the Caspian Sea, in whose backwoods the Persian tiger has established its northernmost lair, showed well-built settlements in the customary country style, whose neat, bright appearance must entice the foreign traveller to a visit.
From the Persian port city of Enseli, at the southwest corner of the Caspian Sea on, the journey of the first German delegation resembled a true triumphal march, and its members could feel proud to be enjoys of the first German Emperor and belonging to a mighty Empire. The names of Emperor Wilhelm and Schahfadeh (meaning actually King's son, then as much as prince) Bismark were on all lips, and I had plenty to do to answer in the Persian tongue the countless questions as to the well-being of the great Emperor and his valiant Chancellor. I must mention, by the way, a special circumstance which concerned myself, and which in the beginning caused me embarrassment. Many Persians, who knew the Prince only from pictures, as they are plentifully circulated in the Persian cities and villages, took me for even a brother or a son of the great Chancellor. The similarity of my features to those of the Chancellor struck even the Shah of Persia, and he came back to it again and again in his conversations with me. Even my acquaintances and friends in Europe give me the same assurance still today, to which I want to add that only a few years ago the illustrious ruler of two great empires in the north of Europe remarked to me in a conversation that I was quite similar to an only "toned-down Bismarck."
From the city of Kaswinan, on the other side of the Elburs Mountains, the Persian domain as far as the capital, Teheran, was well known to me from my first journey, yet it surprised me that in this earlier residence city of the future Great King, a splendid hotel in the European style had been build on imperial order and at state expense, a regular postal service to Teheran had been set up as well, with the help of four-wheeled vehicles on rather well maintained highways. The Shah, after returning from his second journey abroad, had given the order for this improvement in public transportation, and also in other respects in the present capital of Teheran itself, he had made many renovations for which his visit in the capitals of Europe had offered the inducement. The paving of the streets with blocks of stone and their illumination by gas, and, in some places at least, electric light was alone enough to astonish me and to make me sincerely admire the energy of the Shah of Shahs. That not everything worked as it ought to, or sounded as well as it ought to, need not diminish his merit, nor furnish ground for sarcastic ridicule by European critics. Let it suffice to know that to me Persia appeared in a decidedly new light, even to the advanced degree of education in which the majority of the higher office-holders confronted me in the most favorable light. They had shaken off a great number of traditional old prejudices, become completely familiar with European views, and gained a fluency in the knowledge and in the oral expression of European languages which only increased my astonishment from day to day. I even learned to know younger Persians - they were the two sons of the Persian Minister of Education - who mastered our German mother tongue in its full range and were better acquainted with Berlin and Charlottenburg than with Teheran and the immediate surroundings. Both children of Iran had acquired their wonderful Germanness in the family of my old friend Professor Dieterici in Charlottenburg.
But since the arrival of the first German delegation in Persia my mind was captivated by other impressions also. They gave me the pleasure of being able to feel proud to be a German, even in the heart of Asia. Under the rule and leadership of Emperor Wilhelm, I, at whose side his paladins, Prince Bismarck and Count Moltke, stood loyal guardians and protectors of the United German Empire, the Fatherland had attained an importance over the entire globe which evoked the feeling of admiration and respect among its many honest friends, envy and fear among its few foes. The name "Aleman" was known in the most remote Persian village, and had become a watchword for all greatness and every virtue. Alemania sat at the head in the council of nations, and Iran must have felt in its deepest being that the German friendship was not merely an empty illusion. Hence the sincere cordiality and the highest honors with which the first German Delegation was received in Teheran by the Shah and the entire population. It need not be said that every member of the Delegation bore his share of the sincere enthusiasms of the Persian people. Even our Persian servants received their small part of it, as soon as they let themselves be seen on the street with the embroidered German Imperial Eagle on their service-coats.
My short diplomatic career was not without a poetic flavor, at least I sought to embellish the prosaic daily life with the flowers of Persian poetry. The cradle of my book Die Muse in Teheran was in the modern residence of the Shah of Shahs. Thus I almost forgot my ancient Egyptian researches. Not a single sheet covered with hieroglyphics had accompanied me to Persia. Only the Persians, and at their head "the center of the universe," Shah Nasr-ed-din, and with them all the cultured Europeans - only a single one was excluded, to my sorrow - reminded me that the name of the German "musteschar," as they entitled me in Persian, was inseparable from Egyptian Antiquity.
To my closest friends in Teheran belonged the Russian Ambassador Meinikoff and the French physician-in-ordinary of the Shah, Dr. Tholozan. Our friendship dated back to the years 1860 and 1861. It was old, and each of us three had become old and gray with it, but it rejuvenated us again, and our hearts were bound to one another. We felt happy in the recollections of the long vanished past, of our youth.
A heavy fever seized me and confined me to the sickbed for weeks. My life hung on a thread. From all sides, I was shown proof of the greatest sympathy; the Shah, the Viziers, and "The pillars of the Government," even the Princesses of the Court had daily reports on my condition brought to them. In the meantime, I lay in feverish dreams on my bed of pain and longed for the end of my sufferings. The care of Dr. Tholozan and of the German physician Dr. Albu, who at that time was teacher at the medical school in Teheran, and the dedicated nursing of a faithful German servant saved me from the claws of death. With the curious longing for a Berliner - potato soup began my recovery. Frau Albu satisfied my culinary desires day after day and I gained health in order, weeks later, to be sure, to make weak attempts at walking while supported by two servants, before I regained the old strength.
All the winter was devoted to embassy life. Work in one's own house, audiences, visits, banquets, balls and large and small social gatherings formed the chief activities of the international world, which in toto consisted of about sixty persons of both sexes. Also, the military furnished its contributions to the official invitations; German, Austrian, Italian, Russian, and French officers along with their Persian colleagues helped to glorify the festivities.
After a stay of seven months, I preferred to return to my family and to the old Egyptian wisdom at home. I had discharged the chief task connected with my mission to the best of my powers, and fulfilled my obligations to Emperor and Empire. At the end, I still celebrated the glorious spring festival of the Persians, I still heard the nightingale singing in the thicket, breathed the fragrance of roses in paradise gardens, lamented having to part from dear friends, but absolutely did not let myself be moved to prolong my stay further.
A chief reason for the haste with which I took my departure came from a postcard which was covered with closely written lines by the hand of Prince Friedrich Karl. It informed me of his treatment in Marienbad and asked me to return home with all possible speed. I read between the lines and rushed back to Germany.
On the same route by which I had come, I finally reached Breslau, Hawkers in the station were selling black-bordered printed sheets. I hardly trusted my ears when their voices announced the death of the Prince. The printed words on the sheet confirmed their words.
I had arrived too late to find the Prince still living, and could only participate in the church consecration of the body in Potsdam and in its solemn burial. Deeply shaken, I followed in the procession and tried to suppress my tears as well as I could. Why did he, too, have to be snatched from me? The great lights which brightened my path of life with their glow were being extinguished, one after the other, and it was becoming darker and darker around me.
Three years after my departure from Persia and my return home, the newspapers announced the arrival of the Shah in Berlin. It was the third time that the Iranian Majesty had decided to pay a visit to the capital. The Castle of Bellevue, on the cool bank of the Spree, was prepared as headquarters for him and his numerous entourage during h is stay. I did not consider it fitting, as a retired legation councillor, to make an official call on the King of Kings, and remained modestly in the background. That I had thereby made a mistake, I recognized unfortunately too late.
Already on the second day of his Berlin stay there appeared, to my surprise, two royal carriages in front of my house. From one alighted my old friend, the physician-in-ordinary of the Shah, Dr. Tholozan, from the other, the highly cultivated Persian under State Secretary Mohammed-Chan. Both were fulfilling a commission of the Shah, in which they requested me to present my entire family, wife and children, to his Majesty.
My embarrassment was as great as my surprise, yet the order had to be followed. In the castle of Bellevue there appeared the family of eight, consisting of six male and two female members, to be received in the most gracious manner by the Shah, surrounded by his noblest retinue of Persian stock, and for half an hour to be distinguished by conversation and questions.
My harem and our children had fabulous conceptions of a Persian Shah and trembled like aspen leaves when his fiery black eye rested on them one by one. Gradually they lost their fear, for they looked into the cheerful and smiling face of the King of Kings who, far from Persian etiquette, conversed with them most intimately and held up the learned father as model for his children.
It is understandable that in my house there was talk for weeks about the visit with the Shah of Shahs, whereby we all reached the conviction that a human heart beat in the bosom of the dreaded ruler of Iran. How otherwise, would it have occurred to him to call us all to him, in order to address friendly and amiable words to the German Musteschar and his entire family?
AFTER MY MOVE FROM CHARLOTTENBURG
Throughout eight years I had made my home in Charlottenburg, and during this time had realized the little sorrows and joys of a quiet, settled burgher. Finally it became too confined for me in the rooms we occupied. With time there turned out to be faults which I first began to realize when, at the homes of my friends in the capital, I became better acquainted with the advantages of a Berlin domicile. Not even running water was at the family's disposal. Besides, new buildings later began to limit the freedom of my view. Dust-raising wagons and carts filled with stones and building material rattled daily past my otherwise quiet retreat, and even the little garden behind the house, with my favorite spot in my family's leaf-enclosed arbor, was not spared, by a neighbor's building which robbed the trees and plant-beds of the necessary light. I sold my property, even at a loss, and moved to the west of Berlin, although to that section which was still situated in the Charlottenburg district. Thus I have the honor, until now, to have remained a Charlottenburger in Berlin.
As private scholar and private tutor at the Alma Mater in Berlin, I sought to disseminate my ancient Egyptial studies through written and oral instruction. I did not shrink from going like a travelling preacher through the provinces of the German Fatherland, and as speaker presenting in an understandable and rounded form, to an eager and educated audience, the most outstanding results of intellectual work in the various branches of my science, or the impressions of my travels and my stay among the peoples of the present-day Orient. The lecture evenings on my circuit generally fell in the winter season, but neither cold nor bad weather could make me give up my voluntarily assumed obligations, even at the risk of occasionally sounding my voice for several days in succession.
I know very well that many learned heads were shaken at my decision to unveil the ancient Egyptian secrets before profane eyes, and that high-salaried priests of wisdom, who lived in clover in their warm rooms, indulged in sharp words concerning the paid wanderings of the father of a family. But I myself was of the opposite opinion, since to me no truth of any sort of scientific knowledge stood too high, not to be understood in its simple form, without learned embellishment, even by the uninitiated of my people.
For the same reason, I did not cease from reprinting, in the most widely-read journals, the same subjects which I used to treat in my public lectures, often accompanied by pictorial representations which were derived from photographic prints and drawings in the regions I had visited. Above all, it required no particular art of persuasion on my part, to convince my old friend from student days, Friedrich Stephany, editor-in-chief of the widely read "Vossische Zeitung," which covered all fields of art and science, that the legacy of the oldest civilized people on earth had a right to be understood and comprehended by the youngest epigones of human history. And so, for a decade now, the Vossisch "Sunday Supplement" has opened its columns to print my regularly arriving contributions. Oral and written communications or inquiries from a great number of readers gave me the proof that my seed had fallen onto good soil. Should I conceal, incidentally, what joy it afforded me, to make use of my rich and pregnant mother tongue in all my works, and to strive, as far as it was admissible, to reject foreign word forms? In German literature I occupy no place in the foremost rank, yet I have the conviction that nobody will deny me the praise of having written down my thoughts in all possible clarity and purity of language.
It cannot be wondered at, that at home as well as abroad, I have been given numerous demonstrations of the fullest recognition of my purely scientific productions in the course of a more than fifty-year activity. From three continents I received honors such as are customarily bestowed upon other deserving benefactors of science by their appointment as members of academies and scientific societies. The distinctions, I willingly confess, afforded me great pleasure, for they compensated me for the bitter disappointments which I encountered in life, put to rest my own quiet doubts as to the value of my scientific endeavors, and gave me the courage to remain true to the banner to which I had sworn an oath.
The past years 1891 and 1892 granted me a surprise for which I am obligated with the deepest gratitude to its originators in the name of the science I represented "privatim." Enlightened spirits and managers of the Ministry of Education, headed by the three last Ministers, tested my Egyptian wisdom and my knowledge of the ancient land of the Pharaohs, to place me twice, through special support, in the position to enrich the royal museums in a suitable way through purchases of valuable papyrus and through independent excavations for the seeking of monuments (a noble-minded Berlin citizen and provided the funds for it). I took this mission with all ardor, and the mummy-pictures, paintings, sculptures, bronzes, and other remains of Antiquity, mostly belonging to the Greco-Roman period, which have been exhibited in the light-court of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin in the past years, have offered the numerous visitors the opportunity to form their judgment on the individual finds of my excavation work. The fact that the Emperor inspected the collection I brought home, and with the judgment of the true connoisseur distinguished individual outstanding pieces in it from an artistic standpoint, consecrated it for me for all time.
The two years in which I had the good fortune to stay in Egypt for the last time offered me the favorable opportunity not only to view the region of the ancient ground, but also to give my whole attention to the present conditions in the modern land of the Pharaohs. I had already at the time of Prince Friedrich Karl's journey in the historic Nile Valley reached the conviction, step by step, that, since the occupation of the country by the British troops conditions had undergone a thorough change compared to earlier times. I saw my second homeland, in which I had stayed and worked, in all, almost a quarter-century under the most varied living conditions, showing the sign of real progress under the English administration. The French veneer had already as good as completely faded, and British energy, combined with the necessary strictness, had worked hardly believable wonders. From a conversation which I had the honor to hold with Lord Dufferin in January of the year 1883, I could already make out with all distinctness the direction of the political course which England had decided to enter upon with regard to the inner administration of the severely indebted country.
On my later journey to Egypt, in the year 1891, I had the pleasure, immediately after my arrival in Cairo, to be invited to the breakfast table of the Khedive Mohammed Tewfik, who unfortunately died soon after. I had known him from his tenth year, often spent time in his company in the crown prince's castle of Kubbeh, in the vicinity of the once highly renowned Sun-city of On, and had thereby had the opportunity to learn to appreciate highly his honorable disposition and his love for the Egyptian people. To be sure, he lacked the liveliness of spirit and the force of will of his shrewd father; on the other hand, he distinguished himself by the calls and prudence with which, right at the beginning of his rule, he knew how to become reconciled to the changed state of things after the landing of the English troops in Alexandria and after the battle of Tell el-Kebir. He confessed to me openly that only the British intervention was to be thanked for the deliverance of the country, and that he felt the obligation to provide h is honorable support to the mediations, even to the re-establishment of orderly conditions. The fact that the hitherto existing administration of his country was having to undergo thorough reforms was quite clear to him, although the difficulties in pleasing the Britons on the one hand, and the natives at all times on the other, did not escape him.
What beneficial influence the British power had exerted upon the Egyptian population in the course of hardly ten years could escape me all the less, as I had become sufficiently acquainted with the earlier slovenly management in the French period. Even though until now it does not seem evident to the young Egyptians that, under the British influence, the well-being and the welfare of the country has risen in a hardly believable degree, this fact is no longer in any way to be denied. Trade in general is engaged in increasing growth; the administration, freed from the former humdrum time-wasting and baksheesh excesses, goes its regulated way, thorough improvements in canalization conditions will, from year to year, encourage agriculture - in a word, the European standard according to British style has been applied to Egyptian conditions, as I may affirm, to the true blessing of the country. My judgment on this matter may be regarded as all the more impartial, the less I have had personal grounds to congratulate myself particularly concerning my own treatment on the part of a British official.
The residence of the Khedive, the city of Cairo, above all, teaches every newcomer with what success the British influence has worked in the past ten years. The old Caliph city has become, as overnight, an African metropolis, new buildings and street layouts according to European model extend their range from year to year, and it reminds the foreigners of home, not to miss in any direction the benefits of being in their own country. Public security leaves nothing to be desired, and if the inexorable strictness of the British authorities, at their head the all-powerful Cromer, is felt to be hard by the Egyptians, it may be remembered that, already under Greeks and Romans, a similar procedure had to be taken, in order to keep in check to some degree the people who were constantly inclined to revolt and insurrection. One easily understands that the present sons of Mizraim, dissatisfied with the existing conditions, bear a bitter resentment in their hearts against everything European, and that they would like to let their religious feelings, actually nowhere and never violated, take the field against the Christian opponents in the dispute over the unlimited domination of the land, in order to invoke fanaticism as a confederate. But they do not understand that it is the European spirit of progress which exerts its effects on the new Egyptian "Agathodaimon (good genius)" with irresistible power.
Of my Egyptian Islamic acquaintances, I saw only a few again. Everywhere I encountered a new young world, which confronted me as courteous as it was reserved. My former pupils were scattered everywhere, and only one I had the pleasure to greet again as one of the conservators of the Museum.
Even the Museum had not remained in its old place in the suburb of Bulak. The pressing abundance of monuments which had piled up after the death of Mariette dictated its move to large and extensive rooms. The earlier castle which the former Khedive Ismail had erected in the vicinity of the village of Gizeh, at a cost of one hundred million marks, was decided upon for the saving of the monuments. The great fire danger of the extensive building, mostly of wooden construction, before whose main entrance a granite sarcophagus encloses the body of Mariette, has recently brought up the question of the fireproof monumental construction of a museum. In any case its fate, that the mummies of the most famous kings of Egyptian Antiquity rest in the middle of the castle of Gizeh, in a wooden room in which beautiful harem ladies led their gilded existence, unconcerned about the boundless banter of being consumed alive by fire in the space of a few minutes.
In the year 1891 the learned French Egyptologist M. Grebaut officiated as General Director of the Museum and the excavations in Egypt. In the following year, 1892, he was relieved by his compatriot Mons. de Morgan, who lacked any knowledge of the old Egyptian language and literature. "The less I understand of the hieroglyphics, the more I shall be able to take care of the real administration of the Museum," M. de Morgan remarked to me, and perhaps he was not wrong, since the administration was stuck in a dubious bog. I feel obligated to both gentlemen for the permission granted me, to conduct excavations in Lower Egypt and in the Fayum, and to take to my homeland without any interference the monuments found. "On ne refuse rien a notre cher maitre" they remarked to me with genuine French amiability.
Egypt in the winter season has become a rendezvous of the travel-loving world. In the first rank and in overwhelming number appear the English and Americans; as soon as the so-called season begins, they are followed by the migrating birds from the states of Europe, to which Germany furnishes an annually growing contribution. For a long series of years, Strangen's well-known travel bureau has been contending most successfully also in Egypt with the English travel firm of Cook. On my last trip I found in Cairo no small number of Berlin friends and acquaintances, meeting whom gave me the greatest surprise. I discovered that Germany too, had begun to share the wanderlust of the other nations of Europe and to let its sons, like Greeks and Romans of yore, travel to the school of the past in Egypt and other regions of the historic East. But one reunion remains unforgettable to me. A benevolent fate had reserved for me the most heartfelt joy, after a fifty-three-year separation, to meet Hermann Gruson in the city of Caliphs. To him may the concluding chapter be dedicated in grateful friendship.
The one whom heaven's decree has allotted to attain two generations and more, is not spared the bitter experience that year out, and year in, the ranks of the old guard grow thin. The acquaintances and friends of our youth, one after the other, forsake the scene of their live and works. We accompany them on their last journey. It begins to become more and more lonely around us. The young generations are not able to fill the gaps that have formed; our recollection clings to the companions of our youth, and the past appears with its bright and lively pictures in vivid strokes before our minds.
Wherever they find each other again, the old men of the mountain, be it in Berlin, be it out in the great world, they come closer together and their talk is drawn, best of all, from the well of common recollections of the old days.
AT THE BROCKEN
And evening is coming. I am sitting in front of the open window in the west wing of a stately, extensive wooden building, on a beautiful autumn day in the year of grace 1893. Balsam breezes pour into my room. The melodious tinkle of bells of the returning cattle alone interrupts the sacred stillness which prevails in the entire neighborhood of the building. The sun is sinking, and with its flaming rays gilds the crowns of the dark-green pines and fir trees which, behind the house from the edge of a meadow, climb like forest above forest as far as the peak of the "Wurmbgerg." On the left hand, above the forest range are enthroned the rocky cones of the two "Snorers," of Goethe memory, while opposite them to the north, the mountain road winds its serpentine course at the foot of the stony clearing behind the village of Schierke, past the little church, up as far as the Brocken.
The Brocken house and the new observation tower show from here in fullest clarity to the glance of the passing wanderer, while at its feet, at the beginning of the valley, the wooden structure in simple but tasteful style and in charming form stands out against the green background. That is the villa of Hermann Gruson, which has hospitably opened to me forever its gates with the thoughtful inscription above: "Gruss Gott, tritt ein, bring 'Gluck herein!"
My noble friend, whose name I have just mentioned, can easily do without the report of renown from my pen. At home as well as abroad the inventor of steel-casting who, for the defense and defiance of the German Fatherland, has made refractory iron subject to his will, is deservedly celebrated. Withdrawn from the noisy activity of the great world, and at the side of a beloved wife - both generous benefactors of suffering humanity outside - Gruson seeks in the idyllic forest solitude to gain the requisite time for the quiet work of the mind. Enthusiastic for the bright-colored children of mother earth, for whom he had erected a series of splendid glass houses in Buckau near the industrial location of the Gruson works, he roams all over his green preserve at the foot of the Brocken with the delight and joy of the sportsman familiar with plants. At the same time, his eye is directed to the sky, whose miracle of light it has long been a chief problem of his existence to unravel. The red hot, fluid masses of iron in the caldrons of his workshops elevated him, as if by magic power, to the sun, the source of all heat and all light.
In February of the year 1892 we met again on Egyptian soil, as though fate had decreed it so, after a fifty-three year period of separation. Things long since past and almost forgotten gained fresh form and new life. Gruson the young man - I have described him in the beginning chapters - saw the boy Heinrich standing before him again, and as the poet sings, so it happened in reality.
"In den Armen lagen sich beide
Even though inclination and profession had separated our paths of life in opposite directions, our aspiration was directed to the same goal: to truth and clarity, to the good in its most perfect form, in spite of Typhon and his companions.
As a seventy-two-year old full of youthful energy and fire, Gruson had undertaken the journey to Egypt in order to put under closer examination the wonderful phenomenon of the triangular form of the Zodiac light on the clear sky over the Nile Valley. According to his more than merely probably comprehension, the remarkable pattern of light is caused by the reflection on the earth's atmosphere of the first rays of the morning sun in the east, and the last rays of the evening sun in the west, each depending in its height according to the attraction of the sun and the moon. His conjecture of the reproduced appearance of this triangle of light on the ancient Egyptian monuments was completely confirmed by my own investigations, after having devoted the past year of my life to them. Gruson's most recently published work: In Reiche des Lichtes, written in clear, excellent language understandable to every layman, contains at the same time my first modest contributions on the subject, and with them the gratitude of the one-time pupil to his great master.
The mutual interest of the investigations concerning the enigmatic light-formation, which linked the very old with the very new, and led to the same results by different routes, became the firm cement of an indissoluble bond.
From then on, I became a dear member of his house, over whose gate my eyes read the invisible words: "Here dwells happiness!"
Yes, the evening is coming, but the dark clouds in the west are burnished by the glowing red of a friendship which put down its first roots in the morning gleam of youth.
The splendor of the evening sun on the Harz reconciles me to everything hard I have endured in life. It gives me back the lost courage, the almost broken strength, to stand up once more for light and truth, as long as it pleases God.