« VorigeDoorgaan »
there was an end of the matter. I even set off from Thebes sooner than
Having no longer any desire to look at any thing, I departed that very
A smart English waiting-maid in a rose-colour spencer! Well might the gallant spirit that was so desirous of serving in the very rump of Buonaparte's army in Egypt be appalled.-We see him at this moment starting back in visible trepidation, and exclaiming to the unconscious damsel,
'Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear, -
If it were worth while to be serious upon so ridiculous a subject, we might ask the Count what, since the Anglophobia had such an effect on his delicate nerves, induced him to leave the purlieus of the Palais Royal? If he ever read at all, even the periodical journals of his own country, he must have known that every spot within his intended voyage had already been defiled, and rendered unworthy of his grand enterprize, by the presence of Englishmen, aye, and English women too. But here again we have what the lawyers call a lapse de facto: Count Forbin neither did nor could see Lord Belmore's family arrive at Thebes; for on the very day (the 13th of January) that his lordship reached Thebes, he was, by his own account, at Cairo. Two English servants, a lady's maid, two seamen belonging to his lordship's yacht, and an Arab procured at Esnè, composed the whole of Lord Belmore's suit; and two boats only made up his formidable fleet! That the Count should mistake blue for rose-colour, (after the example set him at home,) need not excite much surprize, especially when his situation is considered:that he has done so, we can take upon us to affrm-Et nos in Arcadia. We happen to know that this rose-coloured spencer, which had such important effects on the Count's destiny, and deprived France, and the world, of almost all that he would have seen,' is a pale blue pelisse, not much unlike the outer robe of a
These ludicrous embarrassments of the poor Count have found a sympathizing English critic, who bewails the practice of suffering nursery-maids and boarding-school misses to tread on classic ground, and to disturb the antiquary in his profound researches; and in a high strain of mawkish affectation repines that so many of his countrymen should record their names in depositories of the effusions of travelling folly and egotism,' or in the police books of the continent.'
Turkish lady, and very well adapted to the purposes of oriental travelling.
But misfortunes never come alone.-To aggravate his distress in the fatal neighbourhood of Thebes, he discovered, on the leg of the colossal statue of Memnon, the name and London residence of an 'obscure English baronet,' close by the side of that of Cæsar; but not that of General Rapp,- because' (as the Count opportunely assures us) a truly honest ambition is modest.'-Honesty and modesty associated with the name of Rapp!-But he is right— Rapp, as well as his master, employed his short leisure in Egypt in plundering and cutting the throats of the unoffending natives,—a matter far more to the taste of both than engraving their names on granite.
The 'unpardonable egotism of Mr. Salt,' whom the Count, with his usual accuracy, designates as a person employed 'to make discoveries for la Société des Antiquaires de Londres,' is the last of his tirades which we shall notice.* The specific crime laid to the charge of this gentleman is that of filling up the space round the lower part of the Sphinx, which, under his superintendence, had been opened by Caviglia; and not waiting for the arrival of our learned antiquary, that an active and vigorous investigation might have been entered upon, which could not fail to throw great light on the history of the arts in ancient days.' However well qualified the Director of Museums may be for assisting in such an investigation, he is completely ignorant of the nature of the undertaking. Had he thought proper to inquire, he would have learned that so difficult was it to keep out the sand, that the labours of the day were frequently frustrated by its falling in during the night, and that in a very few days it would have nearly acquired its former level. Before this took place, Mr. Salt caused accurate drawings to be made of the ground-plan, the temples, the paws, and the inscriptions upon them; (See our No. XXXVIII. p. 409. 416.) but having heard, on his return to Cairo, that the Arabs had, as usual, commenced the work of destruction, and that the women were breaking off fragments to wear as amulets or charms, he immediately dispatched, in concert with Caviglia, some workmen to
We understand that Count Forbin is again pricked forth in quest of adventures in 'countries far away.' He has outstript our advice on the present occasion; but we hope to be in time to advise him, ere his next appearance, to take the opinion of some discreet friend, as he was prudent enough to do on a former occasion at Parma, where he intended to print his Travels in Sicily.' This friend, having attentively perused his manuscript, conjured him by no means to commit his character with the literary world, as something of history, science, or antiquity, would be expected from a man of his rank and station:-' But,' continued he, your work is light and amusing enough, and you need only add a few pretty prints, and change the title to that of " a Sicilian Romance," and will do very well as a book for the ladies:—and as a romance it was accordingly published; but we believe not much read even by the ladies.'
cover up, without delay, what the winds would have accomplished in the course of a week. Having thus preserved this ancient monument, after an active and vigorous investigation,' it remains for the French consul to uncover it again; if his countrymen are not satisfied with the account of it which we have already given.
The situation which Count Forbin fills ought to set him above those paltry feelings of jealousy which he every where discovers. He cannot possibly expect to gain any credit with the thinking part of mankind for his fretful calumnies against the English. We, however, are fully capable of defending ourselves; but we observe, in addition, an ungenerous and unmanly endeavour (for such we must think it) to depreciate the valuable labours of an unobtrusive foreigner, simply because he happens to be assisted by the British Consul. In this, indeed, the Count is not singular: others of his countrymen have manifested the same unworthy feeling, and one of their journalists, now before us, sobs out that it is quite painful to think that all the discoveries of Belzoni should go to the British Museum.'
But detraction, it would appear, is not all that Mr. Belzoni has had to sustain from this irrational jealousy. M. Drovetti, French consul, has, as Count Forbin informs us, two agents at Thebes; the one a Mameluke named Yousef, originally a drummer in the French army; the other a Marseillese renegade of the name of Riffo, 'small in stature, bold, enterprizing, and choleric, beating the Arabs because they had neither time nor taste to understand the Provençal language.' These persons are more than suspected of being concerned in a plot against the life of Mr. Belzoni, who was recently fired at from behind a wall, while employed in his researches among the ruins of Carnac, where these two fellows were then known to be lurking. The affair has been brought before the Consular Court at Cairo, and we trust that M. Drovetti, for the sake of his own character, and that of his country, will not interfere with the judicial proceedings, nor attempt to shelter his agents from the punishment which awaits them.
But Mr. Belzoni had committed an unpardonable offence. A French mineralogist of the name of Caillaud had accompanied some Arab soldiers sent by the Pasha of Egypt in search of emeralds among the mountains between the Nile and the Red Sea. On. their return, this person gave out (as we learn from an intelligent correspondent in the Malta Gazette) that, in this expedition, he had discovered the ancient city of the Ptolemies, the celebrated Berenicè, the great emporium of Europe and the Indies, of which he gave a magnificent description. Mr. Belzoni, doubtful of the accuof the story, set cut from Edfoo, with one of the former party, to visit the supposed Berenicè, where, instead of the ruins of SOO
houses and three teniples, as stated by M. Caillaud, he could find no more than 87 scattered houses, or rather cells, the greater number of which did not exceed ten feet square, built with unhewn stones, and without cement; and the only appearance of a temple was a niche in the rock, without inscription or sculpture of any kind: there was no land for cultivation, nor any water within twenty-four miles; no communication with the sea but by a rough road over the mountains of twenty-five miles, and the shore was so covered with projecting rocks for twenty or thirty miles on each side, that there was no security even for the smallest boats, much less for ships trading to India. These, therefore, he was quite certain, could not be the remains of Berenice.
As, however, the site of this celebrated city had been fully described by the ancient writers, Mr. Belzoni determined to prosecute his researches; and at the end of twenty days, he discovered, close to the shore, the extensive ruins of an ancient city near the Cape Lepte Extrema, the Ras el Auf of the present day; the projection of which forms an ample bay, (now named Foul Bay,) having, at the bottom, an excellent harbour for vessels of small burden. These ruins, which are, beyond question, those of the celebrated emporium founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus, were four days' journey from the rude cells of the quarrymen or miners, which M. Caillaud is stated to have so strangely mistaken for the magnificent vestiges of the ancient Berenicè. Several wells of bitter water were found among the ruins; and between them and the mountains was an extensive plain fit for cultivation. The remains of more than 3,000 houses were counted, about the centre of which were those of a temple with sculptured figures and hieroglyphics. The temple alone was built of calcareous stone; the materials of the houses consisting of coral rock and other beautiful petrifications; a mixture of Greek and Egyptian remains was observable both in the ruins of the temple and the houses.
Before we quit the subject of Mr. Belzoni, we shall just mention that, previously to his leaving Egypt, he made a tour to El Wah (the bushes), the northern Oasis. He found, as Hornemann had done, the tops of the hills of the desert encrusted with salt, and wells of sweet water rising out of a surface overspread with masses of salt; as Herodotus related two and twenty centuries ago. He found also the remains of what has been considered as the Temple of Jupiter Ammon; but the natives were as jealous and as unwilling to let him see this work of the infidels,' as Hornemann had found them to be. The fine rivulet of sweet water, whose source this traveller describes as being in a grove of date trees, and which Brown was told by the people was sometimes cold and sometimes warm,' was also visited by Mr. Belzoni; who says he proved the truth of
what is stated by Herodotus, that this spring is warm in the mornings and evenings, much more so at midnight, and cold in the middle of the day. He procured some of the water, which he means to send to London to be analysed. Had Mr. Belzoni possessed a thermometer, he would have found that it was the temperature of the air which had changed, while that of the Fountain of the Sun' remained the same. The fact, however, of the great change of temperature in the twenty-four hours, which is always the case where beds of nitre are found, adds another to the many wonderful instances adduced of the minute attention and accurate observation of the most ancient and valuable writer of profane history.
ART. IV. 1. Report from the Select Committee on the Highways of the Kingdom, together with the Minutes of Evidence taken before them. pp. 58.
2. A Practical Essay on the scientific Repair and Preservation of Public Roads,-presented to the Board of Agriculture by John Loudon M'Adam, Esq. pp. 18.
3. Remarks on the present System of Road Making, with Observations deduced from Practice and Experience, &c. By John Loudon M'Adam, Esq. General Surveyor of the Roads in the Bristol District. pp. 47.
4. An Essay on the Construction of Roads and Carriages. By Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Esq. F.R.S. M.R.I.A.
5. A Practical Treatise on the making and upholding of Public Roads, with a few Remarks on forming Approaches to Gentlemen's Houses; and a Dissertation on the Utility of Broad Wheels and other Improvements. By James Paterson, Road Surveyor, Montrose."
AMONG the various branches of rural economy which claim
the attention of the public, the state of the roads is not one of the least important. All classes of his Majesty's subjects, from the driver of the barouche and four down to the humble cottager who, on the Saturday evening, trudges to the nearest markettown for her weekly supply of tea and sugar, are interested in performing their respective journies with as much facility as possible.
The increased population and internal commerce of the country, of course occasion an increased wear of the roads, which, in a variety of instances, are still further deteriorated by circumstances of a local nature. Inclosures, paradoxical as at first sight it may appear, have, we believe, in some cases produced this effect. While the greater part of any given district was in a state of uncultivated nature, the inhabitants maintained one or two formed