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Ingraham, J. H. (Joseph Holt), 1809-1860 [1859], The pillar of fire, or, Israel in bondage. (Pudney & Russell [and] H. Dayton, New York) [word count] [eaf611T].
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Prince Sesostris
To his royal Mother, Epiphia,
Queen of Phœnicia.

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At length, my dear mother, I have reached the
`Land of the Seven Rivers,” and do now write to you
from her gorgeous capital, On, The City of the Sun.

How shall I describe to you the grand and solemn
magnificence of this city of divine temples, and convey
to you a just idea of its palaces that seem rather
to have been erected for the abodes of gods than of

Wheresoever I turn my eyes, I realize that I am in
mighty Egypt; for everywhere I behold grandeur and
glory, excellency and perfection. Every object illustrates
the power, munificence, and taste of the imperial
princess who now sits on the throne of the Pharaohs,
and the splendor of whose reign has raised Egypt above
the mightiest empires of the earth.

And all that I behold recalls the ancient glory, my

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dear mother, of our own land, the once princely Palestina
and Phœnicia,—twin kingdoms which of old gave
conquerors, and rulers, and laws to Egypt, under the
short but brilliant dynasty of her Shepherd Kings! But,
though fading with age, Phœnicia still lives in the
beauty, pride, and power of her daughter Egypt.

I will not lament over the waning glory of my own
dear land, my royal mother, while I can see it revived
here with increased magnificence. Phœnicia is not
dead while Egypt lives. Every ruin in my own kingdom
is restored with augmented beauty and splendor on
the green plains of this land of the shining River, whose
fountain-head is underneath the throne of Thoth, far in
the southern sky.

How shall I describe what I behold? Every new
object enchants me, and moves my soul with a fresh
pleasure. I am intoxicated, not with wine, but with
the splendor of art and scenes of beauty, and with manifestations
of human glory and power hitherto inconceivable.
I have heard my royal father describe the
glory of Salem in Palestine, under the princes of the
dynasty of Melchisedec, with its gorgeous temples to
the Sun, and its palaces of marble, its hanging gardens,
and noble terraces overlooking its flower-enamelled
valleys; but the cities of Egypt surpass this Syriac

In coming hither, across the Levantine seas, from
Syria, I seem to have crossed to the shores of that mystic
world where dwell the sacred divinities, rather than
only to another land of the plane of the earth; for
Egypt, compared with the kingdom of Phœnicia seems
truly the land of the blessed. What far-famed

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warriors! what stately priests, clothed with power from the
gods! what superb princes! what a majestic queen!
what grace and dignity in the virgins of the Sun! what
a stupendous system of worship! what mighty mausolenms,
both tomb and temple, rising like mountains hewn
into solid triangles everywhere over the illimitable
plain! What a land of verdure and of flowers!—land
of gardens and palaces, obelisks and fountains, fanes
and altars, sphinxes and gigantic statues!—land, comprising
all that can delight the heart or take captive the

I ask myself—Am I, indeed, in Egypt, the “Land
shadowing with wings,” as those proud Pharaohs,
Thothmeses I. and II., termed it, upon their winged
globe-carved shields?—am I in Egypt, the glory of the
earth, the kingdom above all kingdoms, whose queen is
above all the monarchs that reign, and before the elevation
of whose golden sceptre all sceptres fall?

I have not yet, my dearest mother, seen, save at a
distance, as she was ascending the steps of her palace,
this mighty queen of the ancient house of the Pharaohs;
but the third day hence I shall be formally presented to
her in the throne-room, where she receives the ambassadors
and princes of the nations who come into Egypt
either to learn arts or arms, or to behold the magnificence
of her empire, or to study the religion, laws, and
government of a nation, the fame of which has filled
the earth.

Upon my arrival with my galleys off the mouths of
the Nile, I forwarded to her, by a private messenger in
my gilded barge, the letters written by your loving
hand and sealed with the regal signet of your kingdom.

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commending me to her personal favor and royal consideration.

Although I have not yet been presented to the court,
I have seen, and must describe to you, the royal son of
Queen Amense—this proud daughter of the Pharaohs—
Prince Remeses. Never did the gods set their seal
upon a nobler and truer prince. Every movement of
his stately and graceful person, his rich voice, his superb
height, his lordly eyes, his majestic yet winning carriage,
all bespeak a youth born to empire—created for dominion
over men.

He is now in his thirty-fourth year, and is in the full
glory of manhood. He is skilled in all the arts of war,
and not less celebrated for his learning in all the wisdom
of the Egyptians. Sages and philosophers listen to his
words when he converses, not so much with the deference
that is the homage due to rank, as with the attention
which intelligence lends to superior wisdom.

He received me with kindness and embraced me with
affection, inquiring after the welfare of my royal mother,
and welcoming me to his country with gracious and
courteous words. Notwithstanding there is a difference
of six years in our ages, I feel that I shall be regarded
by him on terms of equal friendship, and that to his companionship
I shall owe the happiest hours I may pass in
the land of Egypt.

But, dear mother, as I promised to write you an
account of my voyage hither, with the adventures and
scenes thereof worthy of your notice, I will devote the
remainder of my letter to this subject.

When I took leave of you on the marble steps of the
stately pier which extends along the front of our palace,

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and had stepped upon the deck of my galley, I felt that
a twofold cord had parted at my heart,—one which
bound me to thee, O mother, from whom I had never
before been separated, and one which tied me to my
native land.

Although for the first time in command of a beautiful
fleet, numbering a score and ten galleys, and about to visit
the fairest of all realms under the sunny skies of Afric,
yet the pang of this twofold separation deeply grieved
my soul. It was with tears glittering upon my eyelids
that I gazed upon you, as you waved your adieux and
called on the god of our race to bless me! It was with
a voice thick with emotion that I gave orders to the admiral
to spread the purple sails of my golden galley to
the favoring breezes which seemed to be sent in answer
to your prayers.

Long I stood upon the lofty poop of my ship, gazing
towards the receding city, with its noble lines of palaces,
its crowning temples, its familiar groves, and pleasant
gardens. (Even now I am moved as I recall the sweet
emotions of that time.) As I surveyed the fleets of merchantmen
from all lands gathered about her piers and
anchored in the haven, I felt my sorrow at parting, yielding
gradually to a feeling of pride that I was the prince
of the great city to which these argosies came bearing
the merchants of all the earth. Indeed it was a noble
and stirring sight, dear mother, and calculated to divert
my thoughts, to see these ships, as my galley passed
through them, lower their banners, or elevate their rows
of shining oars high in the air, both in homage and farewell
to the departing lord of the port. There were vessels
for bringing the merchandise of gold, and silver, and

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precious stones from unknown seas; galleys from Tarsus
and the isles of the West, bearing pearls, and coral, and
precious woods, and thyme-wood; gayly decked barges,
that carry fine liuen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet
down to Egypt from Syria; painted ships from the Nile,
that receive by caravans from Ind and the East cinnamon,
and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and
ivory, and diamonds; the low dark galleys from Afric,
that bring Ethiopian slaves; and the broad heavier vessels
from the Delta, laden with wheat and fine flour!
There were also the strong craft from Colchis and the
North, with iron, and brass, and marble; and oaken
argosies from further Britannia, bringing tin; tall ships
from Græcia with horses and chariots; while from the
south shores of the summery seas were light, graceful
vessels laden with dainty and goodly fruits, and birds of
gorgeous plumes and of ravishing songs! All these annually
lay their treasures at thy feet!

As I moved slowly in my galley through the rich
fleet of ships which filled your haven, I felt my heart
beat quicker, and I returned the salutations of the shipmasters
and of the foreign merchants on their decks;
with smiles of gratification at the prosperity still at least
of our port of Tyre; though the half our realm has been
lost by invasion and our interior cities are decaying. So
long as Damascus and Tyre remain, dear mother, those
two eyes of your kingdom, your power and throne will
stand. The decadence of our sister city Sidon will not
affect our prosperity, since her ships will flock to Tyre.
Yet Sidon will rise again, if in my power to restore it.

I remained upon the poop of my ship until we had
passed, not only the fleet of merchant galleys, but the

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fourscore war-ships with their hundred banks of oars,
that ever guard the entrance to the port with vigilant
eyes and arms. The sun was gilding with his setting
beams the battlements of the temple of Hercules; and
the columns of the graceful temple of Io were richly
roseate in the blushing glory of his radiance. The last
object on which my eye rested was the gilded gate of
the gorgeous Fane of Nyeth on Lebanon; and I sent
from my lips a prayer to the fair and kind-hearted goddess
to guard thee, mother, and me for thy sake.

We soon passed the bright red Pharos, from the lofty
lantern of which, as the shades of evening rapidly fell
around us, streamed forth like a new-born star its cheering
splendor for the haven-bound mariner. Soon in the
heavens over us other lights were kindled by the gods;
and the moon, rising over the lofty mountain-range of
Libanus, made far out upon the sea a path of light, that
seemed like a band of silver with which she would bind
me still to the shores I was leaving! But in Egypt I
yet behold the same moon shine down upon me with
familiar radiance; and as I gaze upon her I can feel,
that even here she is a link to bind me to my native
land—that upon her winged beams I can send a thought
to my dear mother, on whom also she shines.

My whole fleet got well out of the port before the star
Aldebaran rose; and as the breeze was light, the governors
of the rowers commanded them to ply their oars.
Thus with the fall of a thousand sweeps into the blue
sea at one motion, keeping time to the voice of a singer
who stood upon the bridge across the mid-ship, we
kept our course down the coast of Palestine. We
would have steered directly for the Delta of the Nile,

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but had knowledge, by a vessel that met us, of a fleet
of Rhodian pirates, which lay wait, in that vicinity, for
the Egyptian merchant-ships; and, as my galleys were
rather an escort of honor than a war-fleet, I did not wish
to measure my strength with them, but dispatched one
of my ships, the same night, back to Tyre, to the admiral
of your Tyrian fleet, who, no doubt, has gone out ere
this in pursuit of these sea-rovers and enemies of our

Nevertheless, after we had passed Jaffa, and the next
day Ascalon in lower Philistia, we beheld half a score
of ships of doubtful appearance, and, by my orders, six
galleys were detached from the fleet and gave chase.
They proved to be fast-sailing Ionian pirates, for one of
them, being crippled, was overtaken. They had been
many weeks on the sea, and were returning to their own
distant and barbarous islands, richly laden. The captain
of the galley took out her merchandise, and precious
stones, and spices, of which she had robbed other ships,
and burned her on the sea, with all the wretches who
appertained to her.

The shores of Egypt were reached by us on the seventh
day, without any accident to my fleet. It was two
hours after the sun rose that we came in view of the low
line of land which marks the entrance to the “Garden
of the World,” and from which open the seven gates of
the Nile into the great blue sea.

Upon ascending to the castle for bowmen on the highest
mast of the ship, I could discern the tall columns
erected by King Menes at the chief entrance of the
river, from the summit of each of which at night blazes
a wonderful flame, said to have been invented by the

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Magi of Egypt. As our galley rowed nearer the faint
line of coast, I could see numerous ships coming out and
entering the Pelusian branch of the Nile,—some of them
in the interior so far, that only their tops could be seen
above the level land. I was now suddenly surprised
with a change in the color of the sea, which, from an
emerald green, became clouded with an intermixture of
tawny water, thick with mud, that seemed to flow upon
the surface of the sea, as if lighter than itself. I soon
perceived that this was the outrush of the river against
the sea, with which it refused wholly to intermingle
and lose itself,—as if the proud Father Nilus reluctantly
yielded his power, so long wielded for a thousand miles,
to the sceptre and dominion of the god of the Mediterranean.
Yet the latter—so vast was the volume of the
yellow waves of the former—was forced a league from
the shore before the conquered Nile ceased to resist his

The sun shone upon the battlements of the great city
of Pelusium—the oldest fortified place in Egypt, and
called “the Key of Egypt,” and also “the Strength of
Egypt”—and lighted up the terraces of its gardens and
temples; but the admiral told me that every year the
deposit of the Nile is covering them, and that ere many
centuries no trace will be left of a city which is older
than On or Memphis. We saw, from the deck, palaces
and obelisks and groves in the suburbs, and further inland
a country of wonderful beauty and of the highest
cultivation, but as level as the sea, from which it is elevated
but a few feet. The muddy and wonderful Nile
is overflowing annually these pleasant maritime plains;
and as the plane of the Delta is steadily raised, these

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ancient cities and palaces and this fair land will become
a fen for the stork and the sea-mew! How different
the site of Tyre, my dear mother! Built upon the firm
coast, and defended by nature, it will stand forever as
the key of Syria and of the East; and to the end of time
the commerce of the world will flow into the palace-like
warehouses of its opulent merchants!

As we drew near the port, one of the large fishing
eagles which have their home in the Delta soared above
our heads, scanning our deck with his piercing glances:
and snow-white birds with black-tipped wings skimmed
past from wave to wave; while others, resting upon the
crest of a shining billow, rocked gracefully with the motion
of its undulations. An ibis stalked upon the shore,
and numerous aquatic birds, unknown to us, soared about
our galleys with sharp and strange outcries.

The atmosphere of the morning was slightly hazy,
and, suffused by the sunbeams, cast a soft veil over the
land, investing galley, pharos, and fane with the hues of
gold. It was a scene of novel beauty, and I hailed the
very first view of Egypt with delight. It was a happy
omen of the future.

As my galley advanced before the fleet, a large war-ship
with a triple poop-deck, and propelled by three
hundred oars, swept like a swift dark cloud out of the
mouth of the river and bore down towards me in hostile
attitude. I displayed the insignia of my kingdom
at the top of the chief mast, and awaited the Egyptian
guard-ship. The vessel was brought to, a bow-shot from
my own, and I was asked by the governor thereof, who
I was, whence I came, and my destination? To these
inquiries I gave satisfactory replies through my

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admiral; whereupon the Egyptian captain, commanding
an elegant barge to be made ready, came on board,
attended by his suite, to pay his respects to me as
Prince of Tyre. I came forth from my state-room to
receive him, my dear mother, attired as became my
rank. In the most courteous language, and with an
elegance of manners unsurpassed save in the polite land
of Egypt, he assured me of the pleasure it would give
his royal mistress, Queen Amense, “The Support of
Worlds,” as he termed her, to have me visit her court.
He said she was just then returning from a visit to the
temple of Isis and Nephthys, at Philæ, with a vast
retinue of state and sacred galleys, and by the time I
arrived at Memphis she would be either there or at her
private palace at On.

By his advice, I dispatched, in our handsomest galley,
my secretary, Acherres, with a copy of the letter to the
queen, which you gave to me, sealed with my own signet.
This done, I entertained the Egyptian officer with
a magnificence becoming my position and his own. He
was much pleased with the elegance of my ship, and the
complete appointment of my fleet. He said he had never
seen a Tyrian squadron before, but had heard much of
our luxury and perfection in maritime affairs.

His ship was stately in height, and terrible with its
warlike aspect. The poop bristled with armed warriors
in polished helms of brass. It had four short masts,
and upon each top thereof a huge castle containing
a score of Libyan bowmen with steel-headed arrows.
Upon the prow was a sort of fortress, on which stood a
group of soldiers armed with long spears and with large
oval shields, on which were painted hieroglyphic devices

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in brilliant colors. Arranged on the sides above the
rowers were black Ethiopians, gigantic men in steel
cuirasses, with long swords held before them. The
captains of these warriors were stationed at various
points, arrayed in rich armor of varied fashion, according
to the class of soldiers that were under them. The
prow of this mighty battle-ship, which carried one thousand
fighting men, besides three hundred rowers, was
ornamented with a lion's head and shoulders of colossal
size; while across the stern stretched the broad, gilded
wings of the feathered globe of the Sun, which is the
emblem of the kingdom of Egypt. Besides this gorgeous
and majestic galley, there were many lesser ones
near, having but a single mast and fifty oars. This fleet
ever kept guard at the mouth of the Nile, and thus defended
the gates of Egypt on the sea against foes.

When I had sufficiently admired his ship from my
own, the admiral, whose name is Pathromenes, invited
me to go on board. After viewing all the parts of the
ship, and especially the noble apartments devoted to him
and his officers, I was entertained with musical instruments
by players of infinite skill. Then I was amused
with the performances of jugglers and the wonderful
antics of grotesque deformed dwarfs, who seemed kept
on board only for the entertainment of these Egyptian
nobles. Towards evening, a banquet was offered me.
Among other rare dishes were gazelles. Before the
feast, the admiral made a signal to a priest of Osiris,
who presided over the sacred rites on board, and inaugurated
it by a prayer to the god for the welfare of the
queen and the prosperity of the kingdom. This custom
recalled our own, of offering first a libation of wine to

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the gods. During the banquet, sweet strains of music
floated around us. After we had closed the feast, and
were drinking wine, an attendant entered, bearing a
miniature mummy, elaborately painted and gilded.
Holding this emblem of mortality before me and the
admiral, he said solemnly:

“Behold this, and drink and be happy; for such thou
shalt be when thou art dead!”

I was not a little surprised at this unwelcome, and, as
it seemed to me, unseasonable intrusion. Pathromenes,
observing my looks, said with a smile: “This introduction
of a memorial of death to our feasts, O prince,
is not unseasonable. It is designed to exhort us to enjoy
life while we possess it, for when we are no more,
enjoyment will be past.” Thus saying, he poured out
a vase of wine into our golden cups, and pledged me
“Thy health, my mother!” So I drank to thee, and
the glory of thy reign. Nevertheless, I do not agree
with the admiral, but think, rather, that the intention
of this exhibition of Death to guests, is to warn
them that, while life is so short, it ought not to be spent
wholly in pleasure and festivities.

At length, night coming on, I returned to my ship,
and the next day, with a light wind and aided by but
one bank of rowers, entered the mighty Nile, and
slowly ascended its powerful but sluggish stream. The
courtly Pathromenes escorted me past Pelusium, and
then took leave of me, embracing me more like a father
than a friend. I left my fleet at the Pelusian Delta, to
return to Tyre after it shall have received fresh water
on board from the Nile. The only galleys I took with
me are the one I came in, and that on board of which I

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sent my secretary to the capital in advance of me. I
trust the remainder will safely reach Syria.

The shores of the Eastern Nile, as we ascended, presented
an unchanging scene of gardens, verdant fields
of corn, villages, temples, and tombs, all united in one
unbroken belt for leagues. The river was dotted with
fishers in their slender boats, and we constantly met vessels
descending, bound to the open sea: some for Afric,
for gold-dust and ivory; others to Philistia, for copper
and iron; others to Colchis, for silver, or to the Isle of
Thasos. The evening of the day we entered the river,
we beheld the sacred crocodile. It was a vast scaly
monster, basking on the shore. I gazed upon him with
wonder and fear. If he be a god, his votaries worship
him rather through terror than from love. But to my
senses all the minor deities of Egypt are gross and
revolting. Yet I must not dare to be impious while in
the very land of these gods.

The next day, after sailing for hours between gardens,
we drew near the City of On, on the east bank. Our
approach to it was marked by the increased size and
grandeur of the palaces and temples, and the life and
activity on the shores. Before reaching the city, I
caught view of Memphis on the west side of the river,
and far beyond towered the apex of one of those mighty
pyramids whose age is lost in the oblivion of the past.

Farewell, dear mother. In my next letter I will
describe my arrival and debarking at the terrace of the
City of the Sun, and my gratifying reception by the
Prince Remeses.

Your affectionate son,

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City of the Sun. My dear and royal Mother:

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Think not that the splendors of the Court of
“Pharaoh's Daughter,” as the Egyptians still love
to call their queen, will lead me to forget my own
royal home and the dear scenes in which I have passed
my life—scenes that memory will ever cherish, as they
are associated with the love and care of a mother, such
as a prince was never before blessed with by the gods.
Think not, my queenly mother, that while I describe
with pleasure the magnificence of Queen Amense's
realm, I think less of your own kingdom; but, rather,
all I behold only causes me to love my native land the
more; for the glory of Tyre, my home, is my mother's
presence—and my mother is not here! Queen Amense
may have the homage of my intellect, but that of my
heart is reserved only for thee!

I have prefaced my letter in this manner, dear mother,
lest you should jealously read the glowing descriptions
I give of what I behold, and may fear that the luxuries
and grandeur of Egypt will make me dissatisfied with
the lesser splendor of the Court of Phœnicia. Fear not.
I shall bring back to thee a son's faithful love, and to my
people the loyal affection due to them from their prince.

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I closed my letter to you in sight, as I thought, of the
City of the Sun. But what I believed to be the capital
of the gods, was but the colossal gateway leading from
the river to the city, which is half an hour's ride inland.
Yet from the Nile to the city there is a continuous
avenue of temples, such as earth has never beheld—not
even Nineveh or Babylon, in all their glory. For a
mile fronting the river extends a row of palaces, which,
stupendous as they are, form but wings to a central temple
of vaster dimensions. The palaces that guard it, as
it were, are adorned with sculptured columns of the
most elegant description. They are three hundred in
number, covered with gorgeous paintings in the richest
tints, and carved with the most finished art. The beautiful
capitals of these columns are shaped alternately
like a flower-bud, not yet expanded, or like the open
flower of the lotus, and the sides formed of imitations,
by the wonderful artist, of leaves and flowers indigenous
to Egypt. The columns and capitals, thus exquisitely
fashioned, are gigantic in size, and of the grandest

The central temple is a lofty and wonderful edifice of
brilliant red sandstone, with sixty columns of marble
enriching its façades; these, with the three hundred,
representing the three hundred and sixty days of the
ancient Egyptian year. The front of this sublime temple
is pierced by three colossal gateways, broad enough for
four chariots to pass abreast. These gateways are
adorned with paintings, in the brightest tints, representing
processions of priests, sacrifices, offering of incense,
and all the imposing religious ceremonies appertaining
to the worship of the Sun.

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Above the centre gateway, between the noble wings
of the propyla which flank it, is a representative emblem
of Osiris, in the shape of a splendid shield of the
sun, a half-sphere of gold, from which extend wings for
many yards, each feather glittering with precious stones.
Around the globe are entwined two brazen asps, emblems
of which I have not yet learned the signification.

Imagine, my dear mother, this stupendous and noble
temple, with its vast wings facing the river, and reflected
upon its sunny surface. Fancy the river itself, flowing
laterally through these gateways into an artificial
canal, lined with trees, and bordered by lesser temples,
which recede in long lines of diminishing columns.
Behold oranges swinging in clusters from branches bending
over the water, while scarlet pomegranates, figs, and
olives fill trees innumerable that shade the terraces; and
vines, either gorgeous with flowers of wonderful beauty
and form, or pendent with purple grapes, entwine the
columns, and depend from the carved abacus of the

Into this canal my beautiful galley was received, in
the sight of thousands of admiring gazers standing upon
the steps of the terrace which led down to the entrance,
and on which I had landed to pay my homage to the
chief captain at the propylon, who, magnificently attired,
waited, by the queen's command, to receive me
and conduct me to the city.

Returning with me on board my galley, he gave orders
for it to be taken in charge by two royal barges,
with prows of silver, and golden banners waving above
the heads of the rowers, who were Nubian slaves clothed
in scarlet tunics. Thus, in state, my dear mother, as

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became a prince, was I borne along this avenue of
palaces and fanes, and fragrant gardens. The vanishing
line of columns was, at short intervals, interrupted by
gateways, above which were statues of Osiris and Isis.

I was almost bewildered by the novelty and splendor
of these varied scenes, and was thinking that nothing
could surpass in magnificence this mighty avenue to
a city, when all at once the canal expanded into a circular
lake completely inclosed by columns, forming
majestic colonnades on all sides, in which were walking
and conversing innumerable richly dressed persons,
while others were grouped around noble-looking
ancient men, listening to their discourses. The chief
captain, who was with me in my galley, informed me
that these columned halls were the favorite resort of
the eminent philosophers and scholars of all lands, who
came hither to be taught in the learning and wisdom of
the Egyptians. I then looked a little closer, when he
was pleased to point out to me several great philosophers,
who, called wise men in their own kingdom, yet
had come hither to learn at the feet of these masters of the
world's wisdom, the wise men of Egypt. As we were
rowed past and around this majestic circle of columns,
I saw two noble youths from Damascus, who came last
year to Tyre, in order to embark for Memphis. I beheld
also Prince Melchor of the City of Salem, in Syria, the
descendant of the great king Melchisedec, whose wise
reign, about three centuries ago, is still remembered
with glory and honor to his name. The prince recognized
me, and returned my salutation, and leaving the
group with which he stood, hastened around the terrace
to meet me at the place of debarkation; for this

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delightful lake, dear mother, terminated the noble canal
which united it with the river. Beyond it, the galleys
and barges did not go. Instead of water, this mighty
avenue to On was now to be continued by land. At
the place opposite the inlet rose two lofty obelisks a hundred
feet in the air, of incomparable elegance and
beauty. They were dedicated to Osiris and Isis. Elevated
upon pedestals of porphyry, they formed the
graceful entrance to a semicircular flight of marble
steps which led from the lake to a broad terrace interlaid
with parti-colored marbles, in every variety of device
which taste could conceive, or art execute. Landing
upon these steps, I ascended to the terrace, and was
there met and embraced by the Prince of Salem. Here
the chief captain took leave of me, and immediately
there advanced towards me a noble person, wearing a
chain of gold about his neck, and clothed in purple silk,
richly embroidered, and who carried in his right hand a
long silver wand, with the head of an ibis, cut out of a
precious stone, upon it. He said that he was an officer
of the court of the queen, and had come to conduct me
on my way to the city.

“Her majesty,” he said, with dignity becoming one
who served so mighty a monarch, “has received your
letter, royal prince, and has directed her servants to pay
you all honor!”

I acknowledged the grace of the queenly Amense in
this courteous reception of a stranger, and followed him
across the terrace, which I perceived was encircled by
statues of all the divinities of the earth; and I was
gratified to see that Io, and Hercules, and the favored
deity of Phœnicia, Athyris, had conspicuous pedestals

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allotted to their sacred images, near the Theban god

Indeed, dear mother, this fact, and the manner of my
reception, shows that the present dynasty has graciously
forgotten the conquest of Egypt by the warlike hosts of
Phœnicia. But when we recollect that the first Amosis
of the present house of Pharaohs had for his queen the
beautiful Ephtha, daughter of the last Phœnician Pharaoh,
taking her captive when he expelled the father
from the throne of Memphis, we need not be surprised
at the favor shown us by the noble Queen Amense, for,
fourth only in descent from the fair Phœnician, who was
of our own blood, she is our cousin by just hereditary

When I had traversed the “Hall of the Gods,” we
came to a lofty two-leaved gate of brass, which stood
between two sculptured propyla of Libyan stone. At
a wave of the wand of my escorter, they flew wide
open, and revealed the most magnificent and awe-inspiring
spectacle that it was possible to conceive the world
could present.

Before me was revealed an avenue, more than a mile
in length to the eye, leading straight to the City of
the Sun, which rose, temple rising beyond temple,
shining like gold in the sunbeams, a mountain of architecture,
fashioned as if by the hands of gods rather than
of men. In the midst stood, elevated above all surrounding
edifices, the great temple of Osiris itself, encircled
by a belt of twelve glittering obelisks, representing
the twelve months. In the centre of this wonderful
girdle, upon the apex of a pyramid rising within the
walls of the temple, two hundred feet high, blazed that

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sacred gold shield of the sun—the shield of Osiris—the
fame of which has filled the world. It was like the sun
itself for glory and splendor! Oh, how can I describe
all this! My pen refuses to find language to record
what I wish to write.

But I will be brief, lest I overpower you with
gorgeousness, and blind you with glory. Verily, the
Egyptians seem resolved to rob the heavens of their
celestial architecture, and set up a rival heaven on

From the open gateway of brass I beheld the city
thus described, with its temple, obelisks, pyramid, and
countless palaces, while the whole was encircled by a
green belt of gardens, which shut it in from the desert,
like a setting of Indian diamonds in a bed of Assyrian

The avenue itself was paved with red-colored Syene
stones from the isles of the Cataracts, and on each side
was a gigantic row of sphinxes, reposing on broad, elevated
dromoi. Some of these represented lions, leopards,
and other beasts of the African and Nubian deserts.
Some of them had the head of a ram, with the body of
a lion, the fore-paws extended upon the terrace, the vast
body resting upon the hind-paws, all presenting aspects
of majestic repose. There were one hundred of these
stone effigies, in a double row twenty feet apart, facing
the avenue, and fastening upon the passer-by their stony
eyes in immovable watchfulness. This avenue I walked
up, preceded by the queen's officer, and escorted by a
retinue, which fell in behind me.

Having passed this row of crio-sphinxes we ascended
three broad steps, on each side of which towered a lofty

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pylon, elaborately adorned with costly paintings of
colossal size, representing sacred scenes. Another
dromo bordered with fourscore andro-sphinxes, having
alternate faces of Osiris and Isis, the one stamped with
majesty, the other with beauty, now began, and passing
this solemn and awful range of gigantic faces we came
to another ascent of marble steps, flanked by obelisks:
four lofty pylones, and three spacious courts were at
the end of the dromos of sphinxes, also a vast arena
inclosed by palaces. Crossing this noble square, we
came to two colossi of granite, representing Cheops and
Nilus, their shields covered with hieroglyphics wrought
with the highest degree of perfection, each cartouch
recording their titles and deeds.

At this point there met me a superbly caparisoned
Arabian charger, held by two pages; while a young
noble, bearing upon his breast the insignia of a prince
of the queen's palace, addressed me, and invited me to
mount the beautiful and fiery animal.

I obeyed, leaping into the saddle with delight at once
more being upon horseback. Scarcely had I pressed
the bit with the gilded bridle, ere a score of horsemen,
in splendid armor, issued from the propylon on my left,
in two columns, and, melosing me between them, escorted
me through several magnificent courts, in which
I caught glimpses of obelisks, monoliths of kings, pylones
sixty feet in height with pyramidal wings, giving entrance
to courts each more magnificent than the last.

At length I saw before me the great and splendid
pylon which gives admission to the city. In front of
it, raised upon a throne of crimson stone, stood, with
his ibis head fifty feet in the air, a monolith statue of

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Thoth. In his outstretched right hand he held a pair of
scales, and in his left a tablet.

At this gate, the city is entered in its central point.
Two obelisks, ninety feet in height, towered on each side
of the entrance. Here I was received by a venerable
noble, who was mounted upon a snow-white horse, and
attended by a brilliant retinue, all superbly mounted.
This personage extended to me the same hospitable and
courteous welcome from his queen, which had been presented
to me from the others. He rode by my side,
and we took our way at a rapid trot along an avenue of
alternate obelisks and sphinxes, until we passed through
a pylon which opened into the streets of the city. The
splendor around bewildered me. Palaces, with gorgeous
façades and triple stories of colonnades, composed
street after street, while fountains and statues and propyla,
temples, monoliths, andro-sphinxes and crio-sphinxes
presented, as I rode along through this superb “City of
the Sun,” an endless spectacle of architectural grandeur
and marble magnificence. The streets were thronged
with handsomely attired citizens, either in the pursuit of
pleasure or business, while priestly processions, festival
parties crowned with flowers and attended by musicians,
and bodies of horse, were met by us. Gilded chariots,
palanquins, and vehicles of rare and graceful forms, were
numerous. The whole city wore an air of pleasure and
life, and impressed me with the idea that the Egyptians
are not only master-builders in architecture, but know
how to enjoy the splendid cities they erect with such
costly care.

My senses sated with luxury, I was not unwilling to
alight at the entrance of a beautiful palace, which the

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venerable horseman said the queen had placed at my
service. Upon its portico I was met by my private
secretary, Acherres, who, in his joy at beholding me
again, forgot for a moment my rank, and embraced me
with tears of delight; for, in this foreign land, he saw
in me alone the link which bound him to his native

I have now been two days in this palace, wherein
is furnished me, by the queen, the attendance of
slaves; and every luxury of Egypt is at my command.
As I said to you, dear mother, in my first letter, I have
yet only seen the Queen of Egypt at a distance, as she
was ascending the steps of her palace, but to-morrow I
am formally to be presented to her, for on that day of
the week alone she receives princes and ambassadors.
She had returned four days before to Memphis, from
Philæ, with a great retinue of the lords and officers of
her realm, and yesterday, crossing the Nile in her barge
of state, she entered this sacred city, which she visits for
three days every month to perform in the great temple
the sacred rites of her gorgeous religion. Of this worship
I will soon write you more fully. It is an error,
however, to suppose that these enlightened Egyptians
worship the sun, or any other objects, as such, of mere
matter. Their fundamental doctrine is the unity of the
deity, whose attributes are represented under positive
and material forms. The common people perhaps never
go beyond these forms, and their minds never are admitted
to a knowledge of the truth of the mysteries; but
the priests, and the high in rank, look upon the sun, and
moon, and animals, and the fecund Nile, only as so
many attributes of a one infinite deity. The sun—

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believed to possess much of the divine influence in its
vivifying power and its various other effects—is regarded
as one of the grandest agents of the one deity. The
moon is another direct manifestation of the invisible
author, and as the regulator of time, say their sacred
books, is figured in painting and sculpture as the ibisheaded
Thoth, and the deity who records, as time flies,
the actions of men's lives. Osiris, if I understand their
mythology, is this supreme god (symbolized here by the
sun), who is also the judge of the souls of the dead, rewarding
or punishing hereafter the creatures he has created,
according to their lives. But when I learn more
fully their system of religion, I will explain it to you,
dear mother.

Although I have not seen, to speak with her, the
august lady who reigns over Egypt, I have been visited
by her son, the lord Prince Remeses. I have already
written of him. He is in his thirty-fourth year, and the
noblest appearing man my eyes ever beheld. Upon his
brow the gods have set the seal and impress of command.
I will narrate the manner of our first intercourse.

I was standing by the window of the stately apartment,
which overlooks one of the squares of the city,
interested in watching the toils of several hundred men,
coarsely attired in blue aprons or loin-cloths, and gray
breeches reaching only to the knee, the upper part of
their bodies being naked, who were at work constructing
a wall which was to inclose a new lake before the
temple of Apis, in the midst of the square; for On is a
city of alternate lakes (all of great beauty and adorned
with trees), temples, squares, and palaces, interspersed

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with dromos of sphinxes connecting court after court,
through lofty pylones; while obelisks, statues, and fountains
fill up the interspaces.

My window not only commanded a view of these laborers
with their heavy burdens of bricks, borne on their
shoulders to the top of the wall they were building, but
also, beyond the wall and distant temples, a glimpse of the
yellow expanse of the desert. How mighty, and grand,
and solemn it looked in its loneliness and ocean-like
vastness! A faint dark line that I at length perceived
in motion, was, doubtless, a caravan coming from the
haven of the Red Sea, where the galleys from Farther
Ind land their precious freights of untold wealth. This
caravan seeks the port of On, six miles below on the Nile,
whence sail ships, laden with the treasures of the caravan,
to all parts of the known earth. Sesostris, Thothmes,
Menes, all planned a canal from the Nile to this
sea; but the camels are the only ships, to this day, that
cross this desert waste. Again my eyes rested upon the
laborers, seeing that they were sorely pressed by cruel
task-masters, who, with long rods, urged them to their
ceaseless toil. I perceived, then, that they were men
with Syrian features, arched eagle noses, long black
beards, and narrow but fine eyes, which seemed to have
a strange expression of tears in them There were
among them noble and manly men, handsome youths,
though pale with toil, and bent forms of aged men. I
marvelled to see so fine a race thus in bondage, as slaves
under task-masters, for in the day of the Phœnician
Pharaohs, there were no such bondmen in the land of
Egypt. From their remarkable likeness to some natives
of Mesopotamia I had seen in Tyre, I judged that they

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must be captives of that ancient Orient people, taken in
the wars of Amunoph.

While I was regarding them, and especially an interesting
youth, whose dark eyes, as he staggered under a
heavy burden of bricks, were turned up to me as if seeking
sympathy, Acherres entered and said:

“My lord Sesostris, the mighty Prince Remeses is
alighting from his chariot upon the steps of your palace!”

Upon hearing this news I hastened to the portico,
wondering if I were to be honored with a personal visit
from the lord of Egypt, ere the queen mother should receive
me in state.

Upon reaching the circular peristyle hall within the
portico, the ædile of my palace opened the gilded
doors, and there stood before me the Prince of Egypt.
I have already described his noble presence and personal
appearance. Upon seeing me he advanced, waving
his attendants to withdraw, and with mingled dignity
and sweetness, that at once won my heart, said:

“I welcome you, noble Prince of Tyre, to Egypt! I
have been engaged in reviewing the army of the Nile,
a day's march hence, and heard but yesterday of your
arrival. I hail you, not as a stranger, but as cousin,
dear Sesostris; for are we not allied by blood?”

“You, my lord prince,” I said, “are descended from
two lines of kings—the Syrian and Theban—I from but
one. But by that one we are indeed of the same blood.
But what is a prince of Tyre, compared with the heir to
the throne of Egypt?”

“We are to be friends and equals,” he said, smiling,
as he pressed my hands. I accepted this pledge of

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friendship with grateful emotion, my dear mother; and
from that moment we became as brothers,—he the elder,
I the younger, and looking up to him with admiration
and pride, as henceforth my model of what a prince
should be.

He remained with me three hours. We discoursed of
you, of Tyre, of the beautiful city of Damascus,—my
sword of Damascene steel attracting his notice (for he
is a famous soldier), and leading to the mention of
this city. We talked also of Egypt, and her glory, and
her power; of the queen, his mother, and the manners,
religion, and policy of the kingdom.

But, my dear mother, I will here close this letter, and
in another relate to you what passed at our interview,
and the most interesting portion of his conversation.

Your devoted son,

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The City of the Sun. My dear Mother:

[figure description] Page 053.[end figure description]

The climate of this land of the Sun is so delightful
to the senses that one feels a constant buoyancy of the
heart, and experiences in the consciousness of mere
existence, an undefinable and delicious joy; and herein
I discover the key to the cheerful gayety of the Egyptians.
The skies are blue with eternal sunshine. The
atmosphere, free from moisture, is so transparent and
crystalline, that distant objects lose one half their distance
to the eye. The sun rises ever with cloudless
splendor, and sets in a sea of golden glory, without a
shadow of a cloud falling upon his fiery disk. The moon
sails by night across the starry ocean of the heavens,
with a brilliancy unknown in other lands; while the
stars burn with an increased intensity, and seem enlarged
by means of the purity of the upper air through
which we behold them. It is no marvel that the
dwellers in this happy land are wise, and love art, and
delight in forms of beauty, and build palaces for gods!

But I promised in my last letter, dear mother, to
describe what particularly passed in the long and interesting
interview which the Prince Remeses had with
me on his first visit to my palace. I have already

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described his personal appearance; but, as ladies are
always interested in costume, I will relate to you how
he was attired.

The Egyptians, you are aware, always shave the head
and beard closely, save when in mourning. They have
nevertheless a plaited lock of hair on the height of the
forehead, which falls down over the ear. Such is the
fashion with which the youthful god Horus is represented
in paintings and statues, though the beautiful
locks of this deity are not so closely removed but that a
crest of golden tresses covers the top of his head like
the plume of a helmet. Something in this manner
Prince Remeses wore the lock of jet-black hair which
remained. But upon his head he had a rich cap or
kaftan of green silk, the front of which was shaped like
the beak of an eagle, while behind, it fell to the shoulders
in a sort of cape, fashioned like drooping wings—
the whole most becoming and striking. In the eyes of
the eagle, blazed diamonds, and his plumage was studded
with precious stones, beryls, sardine gems, and the onyxstone.
This head-costume, in varied forms, is worn by
all the nobles and men of high rank. With some the
ibis or the vulture, with others the lion or the hawk,
form the insignia. I have seen him since in his chariot,
in a close-fitting helmet-cap of burnished gold, resembling
that of the Egyptian god of war, which, with his
martial form and commanding glance, lent to him the
aspect of the god himself!

His vesture was of fine linen, worn in numerous
folds about his form; and a surcoat embroidered with
gold in royal devices, left open in front, displayed
a girdle of links of steel and gold, exquisitely and

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cunningly woven, to which hung his jewelled sword.
About his neck was fastened, by a pearl of price, a
collar of the red-hued gold of Ophir, massive and large;
and upon his manly chest glittered a breastplate, sparkling
with the enamelled cartouch of the god Athothis,
the deity who presided at his birth, and who is the same
as our Taut, the inventor of letters.

And here let me remark, that writing by letters is
scarcely yet known in Egypt, the hieroglyphic form
being still in current use; but Remeses has cultivated
the Phœnician art, and writes with a character of his
own construction, with the facility and beauty of one of
our own men of letters. Ere long, through his influence,
this form of writing will supersede wholly the
hieroglyph, which is cumbersome and difficult to be
understood, save by a native-born Egyptian; yet I have
commenced the study of it, and can read already the
cartouch of Mitres, on his obelisk over against the portico
of my residence. Of this obelisk, which is ninety-nine
feet high, it is said that when it was about to be
elevated to its position, he employed 20,000 workmen,
and apprehensive that the engineer would not raise it
with sufficient care, he bound the prince his son to the
apex while it lay on the ground, and thus effectually
guaranteed the safety of his monument. This was many
centuries ago; but, as I gazed to-day upon the towering
apex, I could not but think, with a tremor of the nerves,
of the hapless young prince as he mounted into the sky,
on that slow and perilous journey!

Have I not been digressing, dear mother? But you
must not, in familiar letters, look for artistic continuity
of narrative. I shall digress, or go from subject

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to subject, as collateral objects suggest themselves in
passing them; but, nevertheless, I shall not leave your
curiosity unsatisfied upon any matter which I have
commenced, but in due time, from every digression,
shall return to it. I will, therefore, this apology once
for all, return to the princely Remeses.

He wore upon his right hand a signet-ring of silver,
once belonging to his ancestor, Amosis, the leader of
the XVIIIth dynasty; and also a large ring of pure
gold, set with a chrysoprasus, and bearing the shield of
Osirtasen I., or Sesostris—for he has both names in
history—for whom I am named.

In all respects he was attired with magnificence, and
yet with simplicity, as became a man of taste and a
prince. The profuse ornaments of jewelry, with which
I perceive the nobles about the court load themselves,
his good sense disdains. He retains only the insignia
belonging to his high rank.

I have said that his hair is raven-black, and may add
that his eyes are large, expressive, heavily-lidded, and
with a peculiar expression of mingled softness and brilliancy.
Unlike the Egyptians, his features are truly
Syriac, with the high arched nose and full red lips of the
inhabitants of the city of Damascus. Do you remember
when we last year visited Damascus, seeing, in the
painted chamber of the adytum of the mausoleum of Eliezer,
a representation of the Hebrew prince Abram, of
Syria? To that venerable prince, whose virtues and
wisdom tradition would have preserved, even if he had
not crected this tomb to his own and his master's
memory, Eliezer was chamberlain or steward for many
years. Returning to Damascus with great wealth, which

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Abram had bestowed upon him, he brought with him
from Egypt, where he had once been, a cunning artist in
colors, who decorated the tomb he erected for himself,
in that wonderful manner which has excited the admiration
of all beholders. But, dear mother, beautiful as
that is, and well preserved as it has been for four hundred
years, it is not to be compared with art in Egypt at the
present day. You remember you were struck with the
majesty and almost celestial sublimity of the old shepherd
prince's face, which the affection of his steward has
preserved. You spoke of the eagle-like nose, the dark,
yet tearful-looking eyes, with the drooping lid just
casting into shadow the depth of its inner light. You
remember the nobly shaped head and commanding
brow. Such a head and profile is that of Remeses, the
Prince of Egypt. My first look at his face recalled the
portrait in the tomb, which its founder has so beautifully
and modestly inscribed:


After I had received Remeses into my house, I conducted
him through a two-valved door, opened before
us by my chief butler, into the superb apartment allotted
for recreation and repose. My mansion consisted of a
court encircled by columns, and from it extended corridors
to various chambers. The court is crossed by
avenues of trees, while fountains and flowering plants
refresh the eye in every direction.

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The apartment into which Remeses came with me,
was divided into tall panels, upon which were executed,
in the most brilliant colors, the fairest pictures. These
panels were intercolumnar, each column adorned with
carvings of leaves and flowers, and terminating in a
capital in imitation of an open lotus. This room was
open to the air, but shielded from the sun by a purple
awning that extended to its four sides, and was a little
raised above the walls upon the columns, so that the
breezes, which were wafted over the gardens of flowers,
might freely enter.

This was my reception-room, or mándara, as it is
termed. A beautiful cornice surrounds the whole room.
The furniture is of the most tasteful and luxurious description,
and of forms and uses unknown to our severer
Syrians. There are tables of Arabian wood, inlaid with
ivory; sofas of ebony and other rare materials, covered
with silken cushions; a chair ornamented with the skin
of a leopard; another, of still more graceful outline, embroidered
with silk and threads of gold; another, the
frame of which recedes gradually, terminating at its
summit in a graceful curve, and supported by resting
upon the back of a swan with feathers of ivory. A
chair for repose is covered with gilded leather, and
arched by a rich canopy of painted flowers, birds, and
fancy devices. The legs of all these chairs were in
imitation of some wild beast, while the arms represented
in ivory or ebony the beaks of birds,—that of the ibis,
sacred as it is, being the favorite. There are couches,
too, which are nothing more nor less than crouching
lions gilded, upon the backs of which the sleeper reposes
on gorgeous housings stuffed with the softest down.

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The shapes of the furniture exhaust all forms. There
are, in some of my rooms, chairs shaped like harps,
others like leaves of the fig-tree, others like birds.
Tables of ebony are supported on the heads of naked
Nubian slaves two feet high, carved in ebony, while the
bronze lamps are uplifted upon the palm of a dancing
girl cast in bronze, who seems to hold the light for you
while you read or write. Carpets and foot-stools, covered
with embroidery, are not wanting; and I have
three round tables—one of metal, one of ivory, one of
ebony—polished like mirrors of steel. These are covered
with ornaments of the most exquisite finish and
beauty; and before my window where I write is a sort
of bureau ornamented with hieroglyphics, carved in
intaglio, inlaid with sycamore, tamarisk, and palm
woods, and enriched with bosses of solid gold.

In this apartment I received Remeses. Placing a seat
by the window, I sat near him. For a moment he surveyed
me with a close but courteous scrutiny, such as strangers
irresistibly cast upon each other after a first meeting.

“I hope you are at home here, noble Sesostris,” he said.
“This is one of my palaces, but I have more than I can
make use of, such is the bounty and affection of my

“I have every comfort and luxury—more than I
desire,” I answered. “I was not prepared to find in
Egypt such splendor and magnificence. The half, my
noble prince, has not been told the world.”

“And yet you have seen but a small portion of this
kingdom,” he said, with a smile of pardonable pride.
“Although On is the city of palaces and temples, for
there is a temple to each of the three hundred and sixty

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[figure description] Page 060.[end figure description]

gods of our calendar year, yet Memphis is the true seat
of our empire. We rule Egypt from Memphis: we
worship the gods from On.”

“But is not the great god Apis the peculiar deity of
Memphis?” I asked; “and is not his worship the most
magnificent and imposing on earth?”

“Yet here in the City of the Sun is the temple of
Mnevis, the sacred ox of On, honored with a worship as
profound and universal as that of Apis.”

“But do the more polished Egyptians indeed worship
the ox, either here or in Memphis?” I asked with some
hesitation, for, as prince, Remeses is first priest of the
realm, next to the high-priest of Osiris.

“Do not fear to ask freely any questions, my dear
Sesostris,” he said. “We do not worship these animals.
They are but the embodiment of attributes. Under
both of these gods, at On and at Memphis, Osiris the
great Judge of men is veiled. They are but the living
images of Osiris. The origin of their introduction is
unknown save to the priests, whose office it is to keep
the records of all things appertaining to religion.”

“What is revealed concerning the history of Osiris?”
I asked; “for I am at a loss to understand the exact
relation a deity known over the world by name, but of
whose worship little is understood, holds to Egypt and to
the other gods. At home, in Syria, I have marvelled
how the Egyptian mythology could stand, when made
up of such contradictory elements,—a part directing the
worship of an invisible divinity, and a part directing
the adoration of the hosts of heaven and beasts of the
earth. In Phœnicia we worship the Invisible through
the sun, as his representative. We worship nothing

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earthly. In Palestine, south of us, Ashteroth, Belus,
and images of stone and brass are adored, but not with

“The Egyptians, through all their forms, and by all
their gods, adore the Supreme Infinite, my Sesostris,”
said the prince. “The history of our faith is briefly
this, according to common tradition: Osiris was in the
beginning the one lord of worlds; the sun of truth and
the glory of his universe. He came upon earth for the
benefit of mankind. Before his coming, the ox and all
other animals were wild, and of no service to man.
The Nile was a terror to Egypt. Vegetation had perished.
He came as a `manifester of good and truth,' as
saith the great golden book in the Hall of Books. He
entered into all things, and infused his life, and good,
and uses into all. He bound the Nile to its banks, by
breasting its flood and subduing it. His spirit passed
into the bull, and all cattle. He tempered the heat of
the sun, and drew the poison from the moon. The
earth became his bride, under the name of Isis; and
brought forth Horus, and the order of equal times, and
thus man was benefited and the earth made habitable.
Upon this, his brother Sethis, who represented `evil,' as
Osiris did `good,' sought his destruction, and caused him
to be hated and put to death. He was buried, and rose
again, and became the judge of the dead. And this
legend or fable is the foundation, noble Sesostris, of our
mythology. The sun, moon, Nile, animals, and vegetables
even, are regarded as sacred, therefore, because the
spirit or soul of Osiris had been infused into them, to
change them from evil to good. Thus one god is worshipped
through visible objects, which he has

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consecrated,—objects once his temples and abodes; for, says the
sacred record, he had to enter into every thing which he
restored to the use of man.”

“The mythology of Egypt,” I said, “is at once relieved,
O prince, from the charge of grossness and superstition
which has been attached to it. I can now
understand more clearly your system of religion.”

“The mysteries of our religion are still unfathomable,”
answered Remeses. “It is doubtful if they are
fully comprehended by the priests. In the multiplicity
and diversity of objects of worship I am often confounded,
and it is a relief to me to pass by all material forms
of Osiris, and send my mind upward only to himself!”

“That is a noble conception, great prince,” I said,
admiring the lofty and almost divine expression with
which this pure sentiment lighted up his fine countenance.

“But the people of Egypt are not able to comprehend
Deity except through visible forms; and, in order to
convey an impression of the abstract notions men form
of the attributes of Deity, it will always be necessary,
perhaps, to distinguish them by some fixed representation;
hence the figures of Osiris under the various forms
in which he is worshipped, of Pthah, of Amun, Neith,
and other gods and goddesses, were invented by the ancient
priests as the signs of the various attributes of the
Deity. And as the subtlety of speculation expanded
the simple principles of our mythology, the divine nature
was divided and subdivided, until any thing which
seemed to bear any analogy to it was deified, received
a figure or form as a god, and was admitted into the

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Pantheon of the kingdom, to a share of the worship of
the people.”

“And this nicety of philosophical speculation,” I said,
“must have given rise to the several grades of deities in

“Yes; the gods of the first, second, and third orders:
each with its system of priesthood and rituals.”

“In all this, I see you give no divine honors to departed
heroes,” I remarked.

“No. Our gods are none of them deified men. They
are not like Bacchus, and Hercules, and other of the
ancient and Syriac deities, who were human heroes. Our
mythology is a pure spiritualism: its object, Divinity,
worshipped by emblems, symbols, signs, figures, and representative

“It is a pantheism, then, rather than a polytheism,” I

“You speak justly, Sesostris,” he said. “The figures
of our gods, which you see hewn in marble, painted on
temples, standing colossal monoliths in the entrance of
the city, are but vicarious forms, not intended to be
looked upon as real divine personages. Not a child in
Egypt believes that a being exists, with the head of a
bird joined to the human form—as the statue of Thoth,
with the ibis head, in front of the temple; or under the
form of a Cynocephalus, having the horns of the moon
upon his head; or as the goddess Justice, without a
head; or a bird with the head of a woman; or a god
with a ram-headed vulture's head, or that of a hawk,
like the deity Horus; or Anubis, with the head of a
dog. Why these unnatural forms were chosen as emblems
of these gods, the priests fancifully explain, and

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perhaps in many cases truly. They are all, simply personifications
of divine attributes.”

“Abuses,” I remarked, when he had thus eloquently
spoken, “must naturally flow from such representations,
and these emblems, among the people, soon assume the
importance of the divine personages to which they appertain.
The mass of the population must be idolaters.”

“You speak truly. They are. The distinction between
the image and the idea which it represents is too
subtle for the ignorant; they lose sight of the attribute,
by filling the whole horizon of their minds with
its image. Thus the Egyptian mind is clearly more and
more being drawn away from its ancient spiritual worship,
to a superstitious veneration for images, which
originally were intended only to control and fix attention,
or to represent some religious tradition or idea of

“Are not Apis, the sacred bull, at Memphis, and
Mnevis at On, regarded as gods?” I asked.

“Only as the soul of Osiris. The bull is the most
powerful animal in all Egypt, and hence a type of the
Deity. But this subject, my dear Sesostris,” added the
prince, with a fine look of friendship, “you will know
more of by and by, as you dwell among us. I will
command that you shall have every facility from the
priests, and also from the philosophers and wise men,
in your further studies of our people. I am happy to
have given you your first lesson in Egyptian lore.”

“You have done me infinite honor, noble Remeses,”
I replied, returning with gratitude his looks of kindness.
“I hope ere long so to profit by your information as to
understand your ancient system of religion. From what

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[figure description] Page 065.[end figure description]

you have said, I perceive that it stands above all others
on earth, rightly interpreted; and before its spiritual
essence, our worship in Phœnicia—which is chiefly a
union of idolatry and Sabæanism—is pure materialism.”

At this moment we rose, as by one impulse, and
walked out upon the terrace to enjoy the breeze which
was waving refreshingly, to our eyes, the branches of
a palm that stood before the door. The day was intensely
hot. In the shade of the columns on the square,
many of the citizens had gathered for shelter from the
sun's beams. But still in its burning heat the bondmen
of whom I have spoken, toiled on, with their burdens
of brick. Not far off were a score under one task-master,
who stood by with a long staff with which
he severely beat an old man, who had sunk to the earth
under the combined heat of the sun and the weight he
was compelled to bear. My heart was touched at once
with pity and indignation.

“What unhappy people are these, O prince,” I said,
“who endure such heavy labor?”

“Hebrews!” he answered, haughtily and indifferently.
“Hast thou not heard of these bond-slaves of our land?
They have been in Egypt several generations. They
build our cities, our walls, our canals. They number two
millions, and are the hereditary slaves of the Pharaohs.”

“To what circumstances do they owe their captivity?”
I asked.

“If it will interest you, my Sesostris,” he said, “I will
at another time relate their history.”

“It will gratify me to listen to it,” I answered. “I
am struck with the Syriac cast of their features”

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[figure description] Page 066.[end figure description]

“Indeed! They originally came from Syria. Do
they preserve still the lineaments of their country?”

“Strikingly so,” I answered.

We now walked the noble terrace together, while he
pointed out to me the prospect from it. In view was
one half the city, and the dark “Lake of the Dead,” of
which I will speak hereafter; the avenues of sphinxes;
the gigantic gateways or pylones and obelisks on the
river; and the mighty Nile itself, flowing like an everlengthening
sea amid the fairest scenery of earth. Reposing
upon its bosom, like a gigantic floating garden,
was visible the noble isle of Rhoda, decked with gorgeous
palaces,—one of which, said Remeses, is the
favorite home of his royal mother. Still beyond this
lovely island rose from the water the gardens, villas,
palaces, temples, and propyla which lay between Memphis
and the river; while the city of Apis, “the diadem
of Egypt,” in all the glory of architectural majesty and
beauty, reposed on the plain beyond; the mighty pyramids,
with their winged temples and colossal dromos of
sphinxes, filling the background of this matchless scene.

Your affectionate son,

-- 067 --


City of On. Dear and royal Mother:

[figure description] Page 067.[end figure description]

I am still in the City of the Sun, or Re, as I find
it is often called by the Egyptians, and I write to you
from the palace of Remeses, not the abode which
was first allotted me, but in apartments in his own
imperial residence, an honored sharer of his table and

Here, in a sumptuous chamber, the walls of which are
intercolumnar panels, enriched by paintings on gold and
blue grounds, tastefully bordered by flowers and fruit, I
once more resume my pen to write to you about this
wonderful land.

The day after I closed my last letter, dear mother, a
high officer from the Queen Amense alighted from his
chariot at my palace, and placed in my hands the signet
of his royal mistress, with a message that she desired me
to be presented to her.

I had already received an intimation from the prince
of this intended honor, and had made myself ready,
being attired, when the messenger came, in the full costume
of a prince of Tyre, save the golden crown; instead
of which I wore the helmet-shaped cap of Tyrian gold-thread,
which was presented to me by your own loved

-- 068 --

[figure description] Page 068.[end figure description]

hands. Over my shoulders I clasped the cloak of Tyrian
purple, embroidered by the hands of the fair princess
Thamonda; and instead of my sword I held a gold-tipped
wand, as no one is permitted to appear before the queen
with arms. These wands or rods are carried by all
Egyptians, of every rank, as constant companions; but
their value and beauty are regulated by the position and
wealth of the person,—those of nobles being tipped
with gold, while ivory, ebony, palm-wood, and common
woods, are the materials of which others are made.
The rod borne by me was a present from Remeses, and
near the burnished gold head of it was a massive ring of
great price, bearing his royal cartouch, in which he is
called “Remeses-Moses, Son of Pharaoh's Daughter,
and Prince of Re, Memphis, and Thebes, Son of the
god Nilus, and Leader of the Sacred Hosts.”

There stood in front of my palace three chariots, two
of them drawn by a pair of beautifully spotted horses,
while to the third, and most elegant, were harnessed
four snow-white steeds. A burnished shield rising
above the gracefully curved back, showed that it was a
royal chariot. The charioteer was a Nubian, wearing
bracelets of gold, as well as otherwise richly attired. The
chariot was gorgeously ornamented at the sides with
ornaments of light open-work. It was lined with crimson
silk, which was visible through the interstices of the
open carvings. These chariots had two wheels; the
pole projected from the middle of the axle, and was
bent upwards at a short distance from the body of the
carriage. At the end of the pole the yoke was fastened,
and each horse attached to the car by a single trace,
extending on his inner side from the base of the pole to

-- 069 --

[figure description] Page 069.[end figure description]

the saddle. I noticed, too, that the heads of the spirited
horses were borne up tight by a rein made fast to a
hook in front of the saddle, and the long reins passed
through a loop or ring at the side. Also, that the heads
of the horses were adorned with lofty plumes; that the
harness was ornamented with silver and gold, or burnished
brass, while upon their bodies were housings of
the most elaborate and beautiful workmanship, representing
royal devices.

One of these superb chariots was that in which the
queen's officer came. In the other sat the grand-chamberlain,
behind his charioteer. The third, I found, was
for my use. Drawn up, hard by, there were not less
than threescore footmen of the queen's guard, who,
ranging themselves from the door, paid me the lowest
obeisance as I passed to my chariot, at the side of
which stood the venerable and stately grand-chamberlain,
to assist me to enter it.

There was no seat; for the Egyptians stand in their
chariots, as a more dignified and commanding attitude,—
a custom probably derived from the necessity of doing
so in their war-chariots, in order to combat. I have,
however, seen three or four very light and elegant
pleasure-chariots, in which ladies of high rank were
seated, but one only in each. But when the queen
rides, she stands upon a dais in her chariot, and, as
she is borne at speed by six horses harnessed abreast,
she has the air and port of a flying goddess. The eyes
of her subjects follow her as if she were a meteor, and
gaze after her with admiration and awe.

The day was bright, as it always is in Egypt, with a
cloudless sun. It lighted up the long lines of palaces

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[figure description] Page 070.[end figure description]

where dwelt priests and nobles, illumined the propyla
of the temples, burnished the lakes, gilded the obelisks,
and flooded the whole City of the Sun with magnificence;—
for there is a splendor and glory in the sunshine
of Egypt unknown in other lands, the result of the
purity of the crystalline atmosphere.

My charioteer dashed onward as if great speed was a
royal pace. Before me ran footmen with wands clearing
the avenue, and behind came the swift-footed retainers,
while on each side of me rolled the two
chariots. Acherres, my secretary, rode near upon an
Arabian courser; and his superb seat in the saddle
and his masterly horsemanship drew the applause of
the Egyptians, who are better charioteers than horsemen.

After a dashing ride of a mile, we entered a vast
square which I had not before seen. It extended two
thousand feet each way. In the centre was a calm lake
basking in the sunshine. Around this lake was a border
of palm-trees, then a border of orange-trees filled
with singing birds, while in their shade walked groups
of handsomely attired people, and children enjoyed themselves
in play. Upon the lake, ornamented pleasure galleys
were moving in various directions, and a spirit of
enjoyment pervaded the whole scene. Around this grand
square with its central lake were arranged as follows: on
the north side a superb colonnade of sculptured columns,
forming the façade of the Temple of Mnevis, the sacred
ox of On, at the gate or propyla of which crouched two
sphinxes, with majestic human heads. On the west side
was a vast paved area, in the centre of which towered
the obelisk of Thothmes the Great. This area is inclosed

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by the royal armory, an edifice expressive of strength
and grandeur in its massive and warlike proportions.
On the east is a pyramid two hundred feet high,
in front of which two sphinxes with heads of women
and bodies of birds repose, while on each side extends a
range of noble pylones opening into avenues that lead
to interior courts. This singular edifice is the temple
of Re, and sometimes gives its name to the city, Re
being also another name for the sun. On the fourth
side of this stupendous area rises a grand palace, which
occupies the whole space of the breadth of the square.
I can only describe the front of this royal palace by
representing it as a city of columns, interspaced at
regular intervals by noble propyla, which, in their turn,
are sculptured and adorned in such profusion as to
bewilder the eye with forms of beauty. Two sphinxes
of colossal proportions, with the bodies of lions and the
heads of beautiful women wearing double crowns,
guard the entrance to this august palace. Upon the
terrace, to which a flight of broad steps ascended,
stood the royal guard of the palace like statues, each of
the one hundred Theban soldiers leaning upon his spear,
with his oval shield resting against his side.

We drove up in front, and between the heads of the
sphinxes I alighted. The moment I did so, the Theban
guard stood to their arms, and their captain, with a
glittering helmet upon his head and holding his sword
in his hand reversed, descended to receive me. Escorted
by him, and followed by the grand-chamberlain, I
ascended to the terrace saluted by the guard with the
honors paid to royalty. The terrace was surrounded
with the statues of the kings of this dynasty, and of the

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[figure description] Page 072.[end figure description]

Theban Pharaohs; but the Phœnician Pharaohs are
not now numbered among the kings of Egypt. The
terrace led into a circular hall which was richly carved,
gilded, and painted with historic scenes, battle-pieces,
and naval combats. Conspicuous upon a panel, directly
in front of the entrance, was the representation of the
expulsion of the Shepherd Kings from Memphis. In the
faces of the monarchs Amosis and Amunophis, the immediate
ancestors of Prince Remeses, I see no resemblance
to him. His style of face is wholly different
from the heroes of the dynasty to which he belongs. His
features have a nobler cast, and seem to belong to a man
of a higher intellectual development, and no doubt he is
superior to all other Egyptians; for, young as he is, his
name is already associated with all that is wise, and
great, and true.

The entablature of the next hall we entered was a
wonderful sculpture. It represented a circle of beautiful
girls chained together by wreaths of flowers, and
with interlaced arms, bending over and smiling down
upon those in the hall, each extending a hand holding a
vase. There was a unity of design in the whole of the
interior of this adytum or presence-chamber, with the
distribution of light and the groups of figures shown by
it on the walls, that surpassed any apartment I had yet
seen. As I entered this enchanted hall, the martial
music which had hailed me as I came into the outer
vestibule ceased, and was succeeded by the most ravishing
sounds of instrumental music from an unseen source.
I would have lingered, but there advanced a beautiful
youth, all clad in gold and purple, it seemed to me, so
richly was he attired, who said:

-- 073 --

[figure description] Page 073.[end figure description]

“The queen desires me to conduct the noble Prince
of Tyre to her presence.”

I followed, and before him opened, as if by their
own volition, a pair of two-leaved doors of ivory, inlaid
with emeralds. The throne-room stood before me—if
an apartment a thousand feet across may be termed a
room. I stood at the threshold of a chamber surrounded
by columns ninety feet high. A guard of soldiers, in
silver cuirasses and helmets covered with silken scarfs,
inclosed the space. An avenue of statues of the gods,
in the centre, led for eight hundred feet to the throne.
Along this avenue was arranged a brilliant array of
officers, in armor and uniforms of the most dazzling
description, to which every color and every precious
metal contributed, while helm and cuirass, of those
highest in rank, blazed with jewels. I advanced, led by
the beautiful page, in whose fine black eyes and long
lashes, arched brow and aquiline nose, I recognized the
now well-known lineaments of the Hebrew race. He
moved with his eyes cast down. I experienced, my dear
mother, at a public reception so august, not a little embarrassment;
but I repressed it, and endeavored to receive
these honors, at the greatest court on earth, with
the ease and self-command that became my rank. As
I drew near the throne the scene increased in magnificence.
At length two statues of Osiris and Isis terminated
the vista I had traversed; and I saw before me the
throne of Egypt, one hundred feet in front, in the centre
of a space one half a stadium in diameter, and elevated
upon a dais or platform of variegated marble, twelve
feet from the floor. This noble platform was square,
and at each of the four corners crouched a lion,

-- 074 --

[figure description] Page 074.[end figure description]

respectively with the head of an eagle, a sea-dragon (no
doubt, a fabulous monster), a bull, and a man—all,
figures representing the four kingdoms of the air, the
sea, the earth, and the intellect or soul. These four
colossal beasts faced inward, towards the throne, to signify
that they beheld in its occupant their mistress and
sovereign. Upon their heads were crowns, namely, of
Thebes, Memphis, Re, and Ethiopia.

The platform, upon the angles of which crouched
these majestic figures, was ascended by four flights of
steps of red Syene stone, inlaid with precious stones.
There were seven steps to each ascent, representing the
seven mouths of the Nile by which the land of Egypt is
approached. These symbols were subsequently explained
to me by Remeses; but I describe them now,
as I may not again have an opportunity of so doing
in the varied scenes and subjects that challenge my

In the midst of this elevation, rising island-like in the
centre of the “Hall of The Pharaohs,” stood the throne
itself. It was separated from every object in solitary
splendor, a space of many yards being left on all sides
of the polished floor, in the brilliancy of which not
only the throne itself, but the heads of the four
sphinxes, were reflected. How shall I give you, dear
mother, a just conception of the throne-chair? It was
of the purest ivory, carved with wonderful beauty. The
simple grandeur of its form and material was more
impressive than the most gorgeous display of gilding
and precious stones. Its shape was not unlike that of a
chariot, the back curving gracefully over the head of
the occupant, and terminating in an expanded canopy of

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feathers, all of ivory, yet so thin and delicately executed
that they waved in the south breeze that stirred through
the hall. This chariot-shaped throne rested upon the
bodies of two Nigritian lion-leopards of Rhodian marble,
between which three steps ascended to the seat of the
chair. The seat was a single pearl, a gift from the
Queen of Ind to Amunophis the Great, the father of

The footstool of this beautiful throne was a single onyxstone
in a border of gold, standing upon does' feet, each
of which was a ruby. The carpet before the throne was
woven of the plumage of the bird-of-paradise intermingled
with that of birds of India and Arabia, of
divers colors. Skins of lions and leopards, fringed
with gold-thread, lay upon the mirror-like floor of the
dais, from the footstool to the steps which descended
from the platform, or no footstep could have crossed it,
so high was the polish of the marble surface.

High above the throne was a canopy of blue silk extending
over the whole dais, and representing the signs
of the heavens when Amense was born, with the presiding
constellation delineated in its vertical position.
Imagine this court of the throne, a peristyle of aquamarine
and white columns, with capitals carved in imitation
of flowers, and the shafts enriched by painting and
sculpture; surround it with gorgeously attired courtiers,
their eyes fixed upon the queen; behold at the steps
of the dais the highest officers of her court, awaiting
with looks of homage. On each side of the throne
itself stand the two military princes of her realm, one
who commands her armies, the other her navies. They
are in the full costume of their high rank, and glitter

-- 076 --

[figure description] Page 076.[end figure description]

with jewels. Behind the throne, near two stately figures
representing Truth and Justice, is a brilliant guard of
honor, called “pages of the throne-room,” who are sons
of nobles, and whose place in public is always near the
person of the queen. Their hands are so laden with
rings that they appear rather like a chain of gold and
jewels held therein. They wear orange-colored jewelled
bonnets and necklaces, and carry blue wands tipped
with pearls.

I have now described, dear mother, all the externals
of the scene into which I was presented, in order that
you may form some idea of the glory and majesty of this
court, and the style of its magnificent monarchs. I will
now come to the central person, around whom is gathered
all this courtly splendor and architectural grandeur.

As I advanced towards the steps of the dais, two chief
officers in flowing linen robes, and wearing chains of
gold about their necks, drew near, when my Hebrew
page fell back, giving them place.

One of these dignified personages said to me in pure
Syriac, for the Egyptians are learned in all polite

“We are sent to lead you to the foot of the stairs of
the four kingdoms.”

They placed themselves one on each side of me, and
as I came to the seven steps, to my great joy I beheld
prince Remeses descending them to welcome and receive
me; for the majesty, and glory, and magnificence,
and novelty of the whole scene had nearly
overwhelmed me with awe: indeed, I felt as if verily
advancing into the presence of the enthroned Osiris

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[figure description] Page 077.[end figure description]

The prince looked more strikingly noble than in my
first interview. He was attired with the utmost richness,
and looked the personification of kiagly dignity.
He was now distinguished by the amplitude of his
robes, and their fineness, and a girdle ornamented with
the urœus or royal serpent. All his garments were of
the lightest and finest material, instead of the heavy and
costly stuffs which form the robes of state in Phœnicia
and Assyria; for, as my own embroidered and heavy
mantle showed me, such material would be out of place
in this clime of perennial summer. He wore a gorgeous
vesture embroidered with leaves, and a silken sash
wound about his body, after the fashion of ancient
Egyptian princes, which sash was divided into three different
folds, over which fell his upper garment of fine
Persian cloth, with long sleeves, also embroidered. The
distinguishing mark of his rank, as a prince and “son,”
and which hung down the side of his face, was the
badge of the god Horus, terminating in a fringe of gold,
of a fashion worn only by this dynasty. With this
badge was entwined his braided lock of hair, of which I
have before spoken. This costume is arbitrary, and may
not be changed, as the laws regulate it for king, priest,
and people; therefore do I so particularly describe it.

With grace and dignity he saluted me before the
whole court, saying, “Noble prince, with pleasure I
present you to my mother the queen. She is already
prepossessed in your favor, and welcomes you to her
court with distinctions becoming the heir to the throne
of Phœnicia, and our royal cousin.”

I bowed in recognition of this courtesy, and Remeses,
taking my hand, led me up the steps of the dais. The

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[figure description] Page 078.[end figure description]

Queen Amense, seated upon her ivory throne, awaited
my approach. Remeses, leading me to within three
paces of her footstool, said, with a low obesiance of mingled
filial reverence and princely homage,—

“Mother and queen! I introduce to your court, Sesostris,
Prince of Tyre!”

I also did profound obeisance to the majesty of the
presence near which I stood, and then fixed my eyes
upon the mighty potentate about to address me, and
presented to her your original letter.

As she opened it, I observed her face. I beheld before
me a woman of noble aspect, with rich brown hair,
slightly silvered, worn with severe plainness across her
temples. Her face was still beautiful, though fiftythree
years had passed over her head, but it was marked
with lines of thought and care. What her fine features
had lost in beauty, they had gained in majesty. They
recalled those of the statue of Astarte, in the temple of
the Moon at Sidon; and, in truth, her air and port
would have become a goddess. Her eyes were the color
of her hair—a rich sunny brown, like that of the Syrian
women of Damascus; and is she not, by descent through
Ephtha, the daughter of the last Phœnician Pharaoh,
allied to the royal line of Syro-Phœnicia? I never
beheld a countenance so dignified, yet so benign.
Her eyes are piercing, and imperial in their glance;
and she carries her superb head with a consciousness of
dominion. I did not marvel longer at her vast power
over her subjects, and their submission, as well as that
of the kingdoms around her, to the rule of her will.

Upon her head she wore the double diadem of the
Thebaïd and Memphis, symbol that the sovereignty of

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Upper and Lower Egypt is vested in her person. The
inner crown was a graceful conical bonnet of white silk,
sown with pearls and lined with cloth of silver, terminating
in a knob, like a pomegranate bud, which is the
emblem, I believe, of Upper Egypt. The outer crown,
which is similar to that worn by the Phœnician Pharaohs,
is a rich band of gold, faced with cloth of gold and
lined with red silk, red being the special color of Lower
Egypt as white is of Upper. This crown is open at the
top, and is put on over the other; and the two worn
together form a diadem of beauty and glory.

About her neck the queen wore a necklace of precious
stones, the clasp of which was a vulture, his neck encircled
by an asp, on which he was trampling—emblem of
the goddess Maut, mother of Isis. She was dressed in a
vestment of Persian gauze of silk, of the purest whiteness
and of the fineness of mist, and a green vesture
enriched with gold and blue needlework, reaching below
the waist and secured by a girdle blazing with diamonds.
Long robes descended to her feet, of those
most beautiful patterns and rare colors which the
looms of Damascus produce only for royal wearers, and
in the manufacture of which years are consumed. Carelessly
over one shoulder was thrown a Persian shawl,
one like which is only made in a lifetime, and would
buy a king's ransom. The monarchs of Egypt thus can
command with their wealth, dear mother, what other
kings can only sigh for and envy.

She did not rise to receive me, but when I would
have kneeled at her footstool, she bended forward and
touched my hand with her jewelled right hand, which I
reverently raised to my lips and forehead. She would

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not suffer me to kneel, but made me stand on one side
of her, while Remeses stood on her right, and proceeded
to ask me a variety of questions. She uttered her interrogatories
with grace and benignity. She expressed
her gratification at seeing me at her court—trusted I
would find Egypt so agreeable that I should remain a
long time her guest—asked after your health and welfare,
and desired me to convey to you the expression of
her esteem for you, and her desire that the friendly
relations now existing between the two courts may be
strengthened by my visit. She was also pleased to say,
that every opportunity should be afforded me for seeing
Egypt, and that if I desired to visit Karnac and Luxor,
and the temples and cities of the Thebaïd, she would
furnish me with galleys.

To all this exceeding kindness and courtesy, my dear
mother, I returned, as you may be sure, appropriate
acknowledgments; and after some further conversation,
in which Prince Remeses took part, the audience terminated:
but only to introduce a spectacle, such as I had
no conception was in reserve—the review of her army
of chariots and horsemen, on the parade of the palace.

But I must reserve my description of this scene to a
subsequent letter. Till then, I remain,

Royal and dear mother,
Your faithful


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City of the Sun. My ever beloved and royal Mother:

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In my last letter I described to you, as well as
the feebleness of language would admit, my presentation
to the Queen Amense, and the splendors of her
court and palace. In Syria we have no approach to this
Egyptian magnificence, unless it is to be found in Tadmor,
the city of the Euphrates country, which travellers
call a single temple the size of a city! The peculiarity
of Egyptian architecture is very striking. It has an air
of ponderous majesty—being, in all its proportions, colossal.
Yet this massive aspect is relieved by shaping
the stone and marble in the most graceful lines, and enriching
with sculpture, either in relief or intaglio, the
immense surfaces of their gigantic columns and enormous
propyla. In all the temples and palaces I have
yet seen here, two species of column chiefly prevail—
one of which, this being the most ancient style, is fluted
and composed of a single shaft, with a capital in the
shape of an opening pomegranate, the reflexed edge
being an imitation of the opened flower of the lotus,
and presenting a graceful object to the eye. The other
column, introduced by the present dynasty, is always

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colossal; but its massiveness is relieved by being striated,
which gives the mass the appearance of being
composed of united stems, and increased by horizontal
belts or bands cut in the stone, which seem to
tie them together under the capital and in the middle.
Just above the square or round plinth, the base of the
shaft itself is rounded and adorned with leaves, which
gives it the appearance of growing up from the plinth.
You can judge of the combined grandeur and grace of
such columns, dear mother, by imagining several buds
of the rose of Palestine set like cups, one upon the other,
and upon the top of all a lotus-flower, and the whole
magnified to ninety or a hundred feet in height, and
converted into Syene stone.

On the abacus of the columns, which form so prominent
and universal a feature in Egyptian architecture,
rests a broad but simple architrave, usually sculptured
with hieroglyphics illustrating subjects connected
with the deity of the temple, or the occupant of the
palace which they adorn. The upper edge of it is often
occupied by a row of the sacred serpent, uræus. The
boldness and breadth of the cornice supplies the want
of a pediment—flat roofs being used in this country,
when used at all, where rain is scarcely known, and
where snow was never seen.

The porticos and façades present double and triple
rows of columns, but seldom are they found on the sides
or around the temples, as at Damascus and Tadmor.
The circular arenas in the city, which I have described
in a former letter, were not temples but colonnades, and
these column-inclosed squares are the introduction of
Queen Amense, and are only found at On. Usually the

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great lines of Egyptian edifices are straight, and their
temples are quadrangles, with avenues of mighty columns
extending from pylon to pylon in a succession of inner
courts—these series of vast and magnificent vestibules
sometimes extending half a mile, their avenues bordered
by sphinxes and columns alternately, until the great
fane of the temple, to which they are the approach, is

For columns, I have seen in the temple of the sacred
ox-Mnevis, colossal figures of Osiris, or of sovereigns
with the attributes of Osiris. These Osiride pillars are
often thirty feet in height. Upon my mind they produce
an unpleasing effect. The impression is as if the
god was brought into the service of man as a slave, to
uphold his temples, though I believe they do not bear
any portion of the superincumbent weight. But one
cannot behold a row of these mighty men of stone without
an emotion of awe. The general tone of the temples
and palaces betrays the pyramid as their type.
The walls sloping on the outside as if the lower section
of a pyramid, give to the edifices of Egypt that expression
of self-reposing and immovable stability which belongs
to the pyramidal form. The whole effect is in the
highest degree sublime, and at once subdues and elevates
my mind as I gaze. The scale of architecture is
so vast, that even the innumerable sculptured objects
by which walls, columns, and entablatures are covered,
do not interfere with the grandeur of the whole
effect. Moreover, the heaviness which would adhere to
such massive edifices in Syria, disappears when they are
seen through the crystalline medium of this Egyptian

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There is another peculiarity, my dear mother, of Egyptian
architecture, which no one can contemplate without
an increasing impression of awe. I allude to the dromos,
or double row of sphinxes—figures of which I have
already spoken, and of which we have no idea in Syria,
though an Assyrian noble whom I met in Sidon, described
to me reposing colossi with majestic heads of
kings and bodies of lions, as guarding the approach to
the temples of the gods of his country. Such mysterious
compounds of the human form with a lion or a ram,
denoting the union of intellect with strength, are to be
encountered here before every temple. These avenues
of sphinxes, in profound repose and with a grave and
serious aspect, are usually entered through a lofty gateway
or pylon, before which are seated gigantic figures
of gods, or stand obelisks of granite, placed in pairs, and
richly and elaborately sculptured with hieroglyphics.
Through such a gateway and avenue, I approached the
city of On. A day or two ago I was in a temple dedicated
to the god Horus, son of Osiris and Isis. Upon the
pylon was inscribed a sun, supported by two asps with
outspread wings—the emblem of Hor-hat, the good
genius of Egypt—and hence to be found everywhere
represented. It is this which is erroneously called, by
some travellers, a winged globe. In the entrance, this
god was pictured with the head of a hawk (at once his
symbol and a type of the sun, from the piercing brightness
of its eye), as an actor in various scenes, both celestial
and terrestrial, such as hunting, sailing, and engaged
in war against Typhon, and others.

Passing these, I entered a spacious court, open to the
sky and surrounded by sculptured colonnades.

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Crossing this court, which inferior priests were traversing or
idly lounging in, I came to a second propylon, the magnificent
wings of which were divided into numerous
compartments, and sculptured ten stories high, with the
most exquisite art. This pylon, in the wings of which
the priests lodge, led into an open court one hundred
paces long, through the centre of which extended an
avenue of twenty-four columns, sixty-six feet high and
twelve in diameter, and on each side of these were seven
rows of lesser columns, forty feet in height and nine in
diameter. All these presented sculptured surfaces, and
the richest description of capitals. A still more magnificent
gateway, at the extremity of this street of columns,
conducted me into a vast hall with covered cloisters
on the sides, and a double row of colossal pillars
running down the centre. All the rest of the space was
paved and adorned with fountains, statues, and fruit and
flower trees, growing from large alabaster vases. Priests
and worshippers moved in all directions through this and
the other courts. The walls of this grand hall were
decorated with battle-pieces—the triumphs of the Pharaohs
in the conquest of neighboring kingdoms—representations
of offerings to the gods, and of captive
princes led at the wheels of chariots. I advanced to another
pylon, still loftier and more noble than the rest,
and as I looked back to the remote outer entrance, two
thousand feet off, I discovered that an artifice of architecture
had been employed to increase the apparent distance
by diminishing the gateways in height, as if by
the effect of a lengthened perspective. The effect was
all that the architect could have desired.

The Egyptians apply colors freely to their

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architecture. This peculiarity increases in a wonderful
degree the richness and harmony of the general effect.
The cloudness sky of Egypt gives brilliancy to all the
colors of nature, and these imitated on the walls of
temples and palaces, have a beauty and splendor that
must be seen to be appreciated. Granite, serpentine
stone, breccia, or basalt, whatever be the material, its
appearance, however elaborately polished, is by the
Egyptians enriched, as they believe, and as I begin to
think, by the pencil. The profusion with which they
employ colors and sculpture in their temples, palaces,
and tombs, has no parallel on earth. In Syria they are
subsidiary to architecture. Here they are a part of it.
The sloping outer walls, the external surfaces,—ceiling,
column, and pylon,—are all covered with sculpture.
Their sculptured bass-reliefs unite the qualities of a
cameo and an intaglio, the figure itself rising from the
broadly cut and deep outline of the design. Thus,
though the design is in relief, the figure does not project,
and is protected from injury. The colors which are
laid on these are softened by their retiring below the
surface. Real bass-reliefs, however, exist on the monuments
of the age of Sesortasen I.

The adytum of the temple which I am describing so
minutely, with descriptions of the peculiarities of the
architecture of the Egyptians (knowing your architectural
taste and curiosity about all such subjects, my
dear mother), was, unlike any of the halls I had traversed,
much smaller, and yet far more beautiful than
any of them. It was a square chamber, the ceiling of
which was painted blue and studded with stars, while
the moon shone down, a shield of polished silver, from

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the zenith point. Figures of vultures, hawks, and other
emblems, were placed upon columns around the hall,
and separated only by the winged asp-encircled sun.
These figures were richly colored, and the eyes of the
birds glittered with diamonds set in them. Upon the
entablature around the hall were sculptured the twelve
months. All these, and the walls, were beautifully
painted, with a harmony of distribution and combination
of their gorgeous colors singularly pleasing to the
eye. Hieroglyphics, traced in gold on blue panels,
recorded the virtues and deeds of Horus. The floor of
this sumptuous chamber represented the great circle of
the sun through the twelve constellations, and also the
images of the seven planetary gods, executed in the
pavement with almost every variety of colored stone,
such as the emerald, amethyst, agate, lapis lazuli, root
of emerald, cornelian, greenstone, hæmatite, all interset
with gold, silver, and bronze. Nothing could be richer.
A sun of pure gold was placed in the centre of this
wonderful zodiac, if I may so term it, for I do not know
whether it is a true planetary configuration which
is represented with a fixed date, or simply arbitrary, and
executed as an ornament. The Egyptians are, however,
skilful astronomers, and have the skill and learning to
interpret and thus record the ages of the past by the
procession of the heavens.

On one side of this chamber of art and beauty, stood
the monolith which contained the shrine of the god. It
was a rock of solid granite, in which a recess was
hollowed out, wherein sat the deity. Nothing could be
more majestic and simple. The Egyptians seem to
delight in contrasts. All the magnificence and

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architectural glory I have described, directed the footsteps of
the votary to a plain block of stone, containing a statue
of Syenite marble the size of a man. The face is calm
and majestic, and the eyes are fixed upon the worshipper
with a supernatural expression which awes him. The
genius which had erected the superb edifice of the god,
had concentrated its power in the face of the divinity.
Though stone, it seemed above humanity; and the soul
of the god seemed dwelling in it, and giving its countenance
a divine energy.

But, my dear mother, I will not longer occupy your
time with temples and architecture. I have written of
them sufficiently to give you an idea of the land I
sojourn in. But my descriptions will enable you to
form a more correct idea of such events as I may hereafter
write about, and enable you, when I relate scenes
and actions, to conceive, in a measure, the surrounding
features and aspect of places. If I were writing a volume
“on Egypt,” I would then visit and describe all
her magnificent temples, pyramids, obelisks, palaces,
canals, lakes, cities, and tombs, from Pelusium to the
tower of Syene. But I know that these would not
interest you, after what I have written, and that what is
personal to myself and descriptive of the people, that is,
life and action, will be more agreeable for you to read
(and for me to write) than gorgeous pictures of architectural
results. I shall, therefore, for the future, only
incidentally describe edifices (unless, indeed, I give you
a letter upon the mighty pyramids), and devote my pen
to scenes passing around me.

And in pursuance of this purpose, my dear mother, I
will describe to you the review of the army of chariots

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of iron, which followed my presentation to the queen.
I will not be so vain as to suffer you to think that this
superb spectacle was arranged purposely in honor of
your son; though had it been so, it could hardly have
added to the honors which that august and courteous
lady has showered upon me; but I feel that the distinction
is due rather to the friendship which Remeses
entertains for me, than to any merit or claim of my own
beyond my simple rank.

The review in question was prepared for this day;
and, in order that I might witness it, the queen had
graciously appointed the occasion for my presentation
to her. Although, in my account of that interview, I
spoke only of myself, yet there had been presented, just
before I entered the palace, several ambassadors, princes,
and philosophers, from various countries, including
Arabia, Persia, Sheba, Javan, Iberia, Abyssinia, and
the isles of the sea. These had come to Egypt, either
to enter the schools of philosophy, to negotiate terms
of tribute or alliance, or to study the science of war,
for which Egypt has become eminent, even rivalling
the mighty Philistine armies in discipline, effect, and

From the throne-room we passed out through a gateway,
from which descended steps to the parade, which
was a vast square, capable of holding one hundred
thousand men; while the colonnades around it would
accommodate as many more spectators.

The queen did not descend the steps, but took her
seat by a statue of the god of war, upon a sort of throne
beneath a canopy, supported by six bearers, to shield
her from the sun. But Remeses, leaving me by the

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side of his royal mother, who was also surrounded by
her guard, and near whom stood the ambassadors and
princes and philosophers, received from an attendant a
helmet of gold, which he put over his silken bonnet,
and from another a corselet of steel inlaid, mounted a
war-chariot in waiting, and, casting a glance around upon
the field, looked all at once the warrior-prince, which
the heightened color of his cheek and proud carriage of
his head showed he felt himself to be. Thus, whether a
soldier at the head of the hosts of Egypt, a counsellor
by the throne of his mother, a courtier among the
nobles, a philosopher in the Academies, he is perfect in
all things. As a son, he sets an example of devotion
and filial respect to the young men of the kingdom; as
a man, his private character is pure from every vice or
folly—a worthy heir to the throne of the dominant
kingdom of the earth. The sight which the square
presented surpasses my ability to convey to your mind
a just conception of. The vast area was one third occupied
by a division of chariots. The chariot corps constitutes
a very large and effective portion of the Egyptian
army. Each car contained two soldiers—for, from the
position I occupied, my eyes could take in the whole
splendid scene—besides the charioteer. The car on
which Remeses stood was drawn by two horses, but
without any charioteer, the reins being fastened to an
upright spear. His chariot was inlaid with silver and
gold. The sides and back were open, and the base or
floor of the car curved upward in front, serving as a
safeguard to the charioteer when one was required; but
it now supported his quiver of silver and bow-case of
gilded leather, richly ornamented with figures of lions.

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The spear-case, which was of bronze, and fastened by
chains of gold, pointed over his shoulder. Close to it
was an additional quiver containing Parthian arrows,
while a mace of iron and a heavy sword, that reflected
the sunlight, hung by thongs from the rings of the spear-case.
All the other chariots, which were constructed of
wood and iron handsomely painted, were similarly
accoutred, though less elegant in form and finish, and
provided only with a single quiver, bow, and spear.
The housings upon the horses were cuirasses of woven
links of the finest steel, while gorgeous feathers decked
their heads.

No sooner had the prince leaped upon his chariot,
than the Ethiopian slaves, who held his two fiery steeds,
sprung aside, releasing them in the act, when they
bounded into the air and dashed forward over the plain.
Remeses, immovable as a statue, let them fly before
him until he came in front of the drawn-up phalanx of
chariots, when, at a slight signal with his hands, the
horses, whose eyes are wholly free from shields or
blinders, stopped full. These proved to be his favorite
chariot-horses, and had been trained to render perfect

Now commenced a grand movement of the whole
battalion. While Remeses stood in his chariot, the van
of the four thousand chariots, which constituted the
host, moved forward. In a few moments the whole
body was in motion. Dashing forward across the field,
they swept round at its extremity in vast curves, and
came thundering on, to pass the point where the queen
sat. The ground shook with the roll of eight thousand
wheels and the fall of twice as many horse-hoofs! It was

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a magnificent sight, as, one hundred abreast, the column
came on. The head of it, led by the chief captains,
passed our position like a mighty river, the surface of
which tossed with helmets, glittering spears, bows,
plumed heads of steeds, and gorgeous housings—a dazzling,
bewildering spectacle, full of sublimity and terrible
power. The splendor of the head-dresses and
trappings of the steeds, mingling with the shining cuirasses
and steel weapons of the armed charioteers,
presented a scene I shall never cease to remember.

In the centre of the field of review stood Remeses,
his eagle glance reviewing their movements, with a
few of his generals about him, each in his own chariot.
When this grand and imposing army had compassed
the square, they resumed their former position with a
precision and order marvellous to witness. Then followed
evolutions by detachments of chariots. Five
hundred of them, divided into two equal bodies, took
position, one at each end of the parade, and, at a signal,
charged upon each other at a speed which, at first slow,
increased each moment. My heart leaped with excitement.
I looked to see a very battle, and to behold
horses and charioteers overturned in tumultuous confusion
from the inevitable shock. But so well-drilled were
they, that the two lines, deploying as they drew nearer,
passed through each other in spaces measured by the
eyes of the charioteers so nicely, that in a moment they
were rattling away, each to occupy the other's vacated
position. There was a general shout of applause from
the tens of thousands of spectators at this brilliant
manœuvre. Other displays of battle-charioteering took
place, during which was exhibited every evolution

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that war demands on the veritable field of conflict.

This magnificent review occupied three hours, when
it terminated by all the generals, and chief captains, and
leaders of cohorts and legions, simultaneously detaching
themselves from their several commands, and one after
another galloping at full speed, first around the prince,
saluting him, and then wheeling and turning in front of
the queen's pavilion, paying her military homage as
they passed her, by placing the left hand upon the
breast, lowering the point of the spear, and then raising it
above their glittering helmets. The queen rose, smiled,
and returned the salute by a graceful wave of her hand.
This company of warrior chiefs excelled, in richness of
armor and apparel, and housings and head-dresses for
their steeds, and in the beauty of their war-chariots, all
that had gone before. Returning to their post, the
trumpets of the whole army sounded, and this martial
array of chariots and horsemen moved all together
across the parade, at a rapid trot, and, defiling by fifties
through a colossal pylon, soon disappeared outside of
the walls on their way to their camp. Their retiring
trumpets could be still heard dying away beyond the
gates, as Remeses rejoined us, alighting from his chariot
after loosing the reins of his steeds from about his body,
to which he had bound them during one part of the
evolutions, in which he took the lead of a charging
legion in his own chariot, as ever without a charioteer.

We now retired into the palace, it being past noon,
and were conducted towards the reception-rooms of the
royal banquet-hall by the grand-chamberlain. At the
door we were received by the chief butler, while the

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other officers of the royal household stood in a line,
bending low as the queen and her guests passed in. We
consisted, besides her majesty, the prince and myself, of
the ambassador from Chaldea, the king's messenger
from the Court of Chederlaomer III., in whose country,
three hundred years and more ago, the famous battle of
Sodom was fought; the ambassador from the kingdom
of Assyria; the young Prince of Tarshish; the Duke
Chilmed of Sheba, and the Dukes Javan and Tubal;
the Lord of Mesech, and the Prince of Midian. Besides
these was a great and wise prince from the land of Uz,
near the country of Prince Abram, the Mesopotamian.
He was accompanied by two friends, philosophers and
men of note, Zophar of Naamath, and Lord Eliphaz of
Teman. This lord of Uz came into Egypt with a great
retinue and train of servants, for he is a man of vast
possessions. He had heard of the wisdom and power of
Amense, and had come with his own merchants to visit
her court. He is also an eminently wise man, a worshipper
of the one Deity, as was the ancient king Abram.
He is of venerable and majestic aspect, is learned
in all the wisdom of Chaldea and Arabia, and seeks to
add thereto the lore of Egypt. Besides this distinguished
prince, there are other philosophers of note and
name. In such noble company, dear mother, was it my
fortunate lot to fall. Truly, to come into Egypt is to
see the whole world!

The queen, after entering the ante-room, retired to the
right, where her ladies-in-waiting received her and escorted
her to her own apartments to prepare for the
banquet, which had been delayed by the review. Remeses
leading the way, with me by his side, we came to

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the outer room, where handsomely dressed pages offered
us scented water in ewers of gold, to lave our fingers,
removed our sandals, and in foot-pans of gold washed
our feet, beginning with Remeses. They then dried
them with perfumed napkins of the softest linen fringed
with threads of gold, and placed upon them sandals of
crimson cloth, embroidered with flowers. Our upper
garments were removed by Nubian servants, and replaced
by a banquet-vesture, more or less rich according
to our rank. Thus refreshed, we entered a beautiful
reception-room containing the most elegant articles of
furniture. Here every one of us was presented by the
chief gardener of the palace with a lotus-flower, to be
held in the hand during the entertainment. As we
moved about, admiring the beauty of the rooms and the
furniture, and such objects of luxury and art as were
intended to gratify the tastes of guests, there were several
arrivals of generals, and officers of the chariot legion,
and other divisions of the army of Lower Egypt, who
had been summoned to the banquet. Among these I
recognized some of the superbly uniformed officers who
had lined the avenue of the grand approach to the
throne—for you will recollect that I said it was an army
of officers, soldiers of this rank alone being permitted to
do the honors of the palace on the reception of princes
or foreign ambassadors.

There were, also, nobles, and distinguished citizens,
Egyptian gentlemen of worth and condition, that entitled
them to the honor of dining at the palace. From a
window I witnessed the arrival of these. They came in
elegant pleasure-chariots, attended by a number of
servants. One of these footmen came forward to

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announce to the chief porter his master's name; others took
the reins, for the Egyptian lord prefers to drive himself
in the streets; another, who held above his head, standing
behind him, a large parasol of gorgeous plumes,
alighted, carried it still above him as he crossed to the
portico of the palace.

Several aged persons arrived in palanquins exquisitely
carved and painted, and borne by slaves. Two or three
arrived on foot, an attendant holding a shield or large
fan above them. Water was brought also for their feet,
but not in golden foot-bowls, and robes and sandals were
distributed according to rank.

At length, for these polite Egyptians (as well as ourselves)
regard it as a want of good-breeding to sit down
to table immediately on arriving, the music, which had
played all the while the guests were arriving, ceased,
and the chief butler announced the moment of the banquet.
At the same instant the queen entered the apartment,
and, after receiving the salutations of us all, was
escorted by Remeses to the banquet-hall. As we entered,
a company of musicians, stationed near the door,
struck up one of the favorite airs of the country, playing
upon tambourines, cymbals, double-pipes, flutes which
rested on the floor, guitars, lyres, and instruments unknown
to me. The music was full of harmony, and, to
my ear, novel, from the number of strange instruments.
This continued until we had been seated according to
rank, my place being to the left of the queen, Remeses
sitting at her right. There were four ladies of rank also
near the queen, along the table, which I may mention
was of polished silver.

When we had taken our places the loud music ceased,

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and seven minstrels, who stood by as many harps behind
the queen, commenced playing a beautiful air, accompanying
it by their voices. The melody was full of
richness and sweetness. While this was performing,
servants approached, and from exquisite porcelain vases
poured sweet-scented ointment upon our heads. Then
entered from the gardens, into which the banquet-room
opened on two sides, as many beautiful maidens, bearing
necklaces of fresh flowers which they had just gathered,
and cast them over our shoulders.

Having received these tokens of welcome, a train of
servants presented us wine in one-handled goblets. That
of Remeses, and mine own, was of gold and jewelled.
The others were of silver or agate. The queen's was
presented to her in a single crystal, and that of the ladies
in small, delicate vases of some precious metal. The
health of the queen, and of the prince, and others present,
was drunk, while music regaled our senses. Remeses,
who acted as ruler of the feast, pledged me to drink thy
health, my dear mother, which was responded to by all
the company; the Prince of Uz remarking, that the fame
of your virtues and the wisdom of your reign had
reached his country. You may judge how my heart
swelled with pride and joy at this testimony to your excellencies,
O my noble and royal mother, from so dignified
a source, in the presence of such a company of witnesses!
Until the dinner was served up, various songs
and performances were introduced, and at the close of
the banquet there were the wonderful dances of Arabian
girls, exhibitions of buffoonery, games, and feats of
agility by jugglers. I regret to say, that some of the
guests retired overcome with wine, and had to be borne

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on the shoulders of their servants to their homes; while
two of the ladies were freer with their little crystal goblets
than was seeming for their sex. The queen scarce
touched the wine to her lips, while Remeses preserved
the severest temperance. After the banquet, Remeses
accompanied me to apartments in the palace, which he
said were for the future to be my abode. Here, taking
leave of him, I commenced this letter, which I now
close, assuring you of my filial love and reverence.


-- 099 --


Palace of the Pharaohs, City of On. My dear and honored Mother:

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This morning, as I was about leaving the palace,
in order to spend several hours in traversing the city
on foot, that I might see the citizens at their pursuits,
and observe the manners and customs of this people,
the Prince Remeses rode up in his silver-embossed
chariot, himself his own charioteer, two footmen, carrying
their sandals in their left hand, running by the side
of his superb horses. With that absence of form and
ceremony which belongs to true friendship, he did not
wait for me to order my grand-chamberlain and other
chief officers of my retinue to receive him, but came
straight to the room “of the alabastron,” so called from
its alabaster columns, which was my reception-room,
and in the window of which he had seen me from the
street. I met him at the door of the ante-room, and
when I would have saluted him by laying his hand
against my heart and then raising it to my lips, he embraced
me with affection.

“Nay, noble Sesostris, said I not we are friends and
cousins, and therefore equals? I have come for you to

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go with me to Raamses, the treasure-city, built by
Amunophis, my grandfather. I am planning a new
palace, to be erected there for the governor of the treasures
of the kingdom, and am to meet, to-day, the chief
architect. Will you accompany me?”

“With pleasure, my prince,” I said; “though I had
just proposed to walk about the city among the people,
and see them in their homes and domestic pursuits.”

“You will find time for this always—come with me.
You can stand with me in my chariot, or I will give you
one to yourself, with a charioteer.”

I replied that I would go with him, as I should wish
to ask him many questions on the way. In a few moments
we were moving rapidly through the superb
streets of the city, and, passing through three grand
pylones uniting as many courts, we came to the great
gate of the city to the south. The towers on each side
of it were ninety-nine feet high, and the pylon between
them a wonder of beauty, for the elegance of its intaglio

At this gate stood a phalanx of dark Libyan soldiers,
who form, everywhere, the guards of the gates, being
noted both for faithfulness and for their gigantic size.
They were armed with lances and swords, and as we
passed through the gate paid to us the military salutation
due to royalty; for though Remeses is not the
ruler of Egypt, yet he wields an influence and power,
both from his personal popularity and the confidence
reposed in him by his queen mother, which is almost
equal to the supreme dignity. And when he comes to
the throne he will rule wisely, and, if possible, raise
Egypt to still greater glory. I have already spoken of

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the remarkable air of dignity about him, combined with
an infinite gracefulness. He has an excellent understanding,
and the distinguished Egyptians with whom
I have conversed, tell me that “no man ever more
perfectly united in his own person the virtues of a
philosopher with the talents of a general.” Gentle in
his manner, he is in temper rather reserved; in his
morals irreproachable, and never known (a rare virtue
in princes of Egypt) to exceed the bounds of the most
rigid temperance. Candor, sincerity, affability, and
simplicity, seem to be the striking features of his character;
and when occasion offers, he displays, say the
officers of his army, the most determined bravery and
masterly soldiership.

Having passed the gate, the prince drew rein a little,
to relieve the footmen, six of whom ran before and as
many behind the chariot, besides the two “pages of the
horse,” who kept close to the heads of the horses. Once
outside of the city, we were in a beautiful avenue, which
led through groves and gardens, past villas and ornamental
lakes, for half a mile,—the city, for this breadth,
being inclosed by such a belt of verdure and rural luxury.

“Here,” said Remeses, “dwell the nobles, in the
intense heats of summer. The summer palace of my
mother is on the island of Rhoda, between On and
Memphis, in the Nile. I am yet to conduct you thither,
and also to the pyramids. You see pavilions on small
islets in these circular lakes. They are temples, or
rather shrines for the private devotions of the families.”

We left this lovely suburb, and entered upon a broad
road, which, after crossing a plain on which stood the
ruins of a palace of Osirtasen I., wound through a

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region of wheat-fields, which extended along the Nile
as far as the eye could see. The laborers were chiefly
Egyptian, and wore the loin-cloth, and short trowsers
reaching half-way to the knee, which I have before
described. They sang cheerful songs as they worked,
and stopped to gaze after the rolling chariot which was
passing across their lands like a meteor, its silver panels
flashing in the sun.

About twenty stadia, or nearly four miles, from the
city, we came suddenly upon a vast desolate field, upon
which thousands of men seemed to be engaged in the
occupation of making brick. As we drew near, for the
royal road we were traversing passed directly through
this busy multitude, I saw by their faces that the toilers
were of that mysterious race, the Hebrew people.

I say “mysterious,” dear mother; for though I have
now been six weeks in Egypt, I have not yet found any
of the Egyptians who can tell me whence came this
nation, now in bondage to the Pharaohs! Either those
whom I questioned were ignorant of their rise, or purposely
refrained from talking with a foreigner upon the

You will remember that I once inquired of Remeses
as to their origin and present degradation, and he said
he would at some other time reply to my question.
Since then I have had no opportunity of introducing
the subject again to him, other objects wholly absorbing
our attention when we met. Yet in the interim
I was forced irresistibly to notice these people and
their hard tasks; for, though they were never seen in
the streets mingling with the citizens (save only in palaces,
where handsome Hebrew youths often serve as

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pages), yet where temples, and granaries, and walls, and
arsenals, and treasure-houses were being erected, they
were to be found in vast numbers. Old and young
men, women, and children, without distinction, were
engaged in the plain across which we moved.

“Pardon me, noble prince,” I said; “permit me to
linger a moment to survey this novel scene.”

Remeses drew up his horses, and from the chariot I
cast my eyes over the vast level which embraced half a
square league.

“These fields, Sesostris,” said the prince, “are where
the brick are made which are to erect the walls of the
treasure-city, one of the towers of which you behold
two miles distant. The city itself will take the years of
a generation of this people to complete, if the grand
design is carried out. On the left of the tower you see
the old palace, for this is not a new city we are building
so much as an extension of the old on a new site, and
with greater magnificence. It is my mother's pride to
fill Egypt with monuments of architecture that will
mark her reign as an era.”

The scene that I beheld from the height of the chariot
I will attempt to describe, my dear mother. As far as I
could see, the earth was dark with people, some stooping
down and with wooden mattocks digging up the clay;
others were piling it into heaps; others were chopping
straw to mix with the clay; others were treading it
with their feet to soften it. Some with moulds were
shaping the clay into bricks. Another stood by with
the queen's mark, and stamped each brick therewith, or
the one which was to be the head of a course when laid.
There were also the strongest men employed in raising

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upon the shoulders of others a load of these bricks,
which they bore to a flat open space to be dried in
the sun; and a procession of many hundreds was constantly
moving, performing this task. Some of the slaves
carried yokes, which had cords at each end, to which
bricks were fastened; and many of the young men
conveyed masses of clay upon their heads to the moulders.
Those who carried the brick to the smoothly swept
ground where they were to be dried, delivered them to
women, who, many hundreds in number, placed them
side by side on the earth in rows—a lighter task than
that of the men. The borders of this busy plain, where
it touched the fields of stubble wheat, were thronged
with women and children gathering straw for the men
who mixed the clay. It was an active and busy spectacle.
Yet throughout the vast arena not a voice was
heard from the thousands of toilers; only the sharp
authoritative tones of their taskmasters broke the stillness,
or the creaking of carts with wooden wheels,
as, laden with straw from distant fields, they moved
slowly over the plain.

The laborers were divided into companies or parties
of from a score to one hundred persons, over whom
stood, or was seated, an Egyptian officer. These task-masters
were not only distinguishable from the laborers
by their linen bonnet or cap with a cape descending to
the neck, but by a scarlet or striped tunic, and a rod or
whip of a single thong or of small cords. These men
watched closely the workmen, who, naked above the
waist, with only a loin-cloth upon many of them, worked
each moment in fear of the lash. The taskmasters
showed no mercy; but if the laborer sunk under his

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burden, he was punished on the spot, and left to perish,
if he were dying, and his burden transferred to the
shoulders of another. So vast was the multitude of
these people, that the death of a score a day would not
have been regarded. Indeed, their increase already
alarms the Egyptians, and their lives, therefore, are held
in little estimation.

The vast revenue, however, accruing to the crown from
this enslaved nation of brick-makers, leads to regulations
which in a great measure check the destructive rigor
of the taskmasters; for not only are thousands building
cities, but tens of thousands are dispersed all over
Lower Egypt, who make brick to sell to nobles and
citizens, the crown having the monopoly of this branch
of labor. Interest alone has not prompted the queen to
make laws regulating their treatment, and lessening the
rigor of their lot; but also humanity, which is, however,
an attribute, in its form of pity, little cultivated in
Egypt. Under the preceding Pharaohs, for seventy
years, the condition of these Hebrews was far more
severe than it has been under the milder reign of the
queen. I am assured that she severely punishes all unnecessary
cruelty, and has lightened the tasks of the
women, who also may not be punished with blows.

I surveyed this interesting and striking scene with
emotions of wonder and commiseration. I could not behold,
without the deepest pity, venerable and august
looking old men, with gray heads and flowing white
beards, smeared with clay, stooping over the wooden
moulds, coarsely clad in the blue and gray loin-cloth,
which scarcely concealed their nakedness: or fine youths,
bareheaded and burned red with the sun, toiling like

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cattle under heavy burdens, here and there upon a
naked shoulder visible a fresh crimson line where the
lash or the rod of an angered officer had left its mark!
There were young girls, too, whose beautiful faces,
though sun-burned and neglected, would have been the
envy of fair ladies in any court. These, as well as the
others of their sex, wore a sort of tight gown of coarse
material tied at the neck, with short close sleeves reaching
to the elbow. Their black or brown hair was tied
in a knot behind, or cut short. And occasionally I saw
a plain silver or other metallic ring upon a small hand,
showing that even bondage has not destroyed in woman
the love of jewels.

As we rode along, those Egyptians who were near the
road bowed the knee to the prince, and remained stationary
until he passed. We rode for a mile and a half
through this brick-field, when at its extremity we came
upon a large mean town of huts composed of reeds and
covered with straw.

“There,” said Remeses, “are the dwellings of the
laborers you have seen.”

These huts formed long streets or lanes which intersected
each other in all directions. There was not a tree
to shade them. The streets and doors were crowded
with children, and old Hebrew women who were left to
watch them while their parents were in the field. There
seemed to be a dozen children to every house, and some
of five and six years were playing at brick-making, one
of their number acting as a taskmaster, holding a whip
which he used with a willingness and frequency that
showed how well the Egyptian officers had taught the
lesson of severity and cruelty to the children of their

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victims. In these huts dwelt forty thousand Hebrews,
who were engaged either in making brick, or conveying
them to Raamses, close at hand, or in placing them in
mortar upon the walls.

We passed through the very midst of this wretched
village of bondmen, whose only food in their habitations
is garlic, and leeks, and fish or flesh, their drink the
turbid water of the Nile, unfiltered from its impurities
by means of porous stone and paste of almonds—a process
of art so well known to the Egyptians. On the
skirts of the village was a vast burial-place, without a
tomb or stone; for these Hebrews are too poor and
miserable to embalm their dead, even if customs of their
own did not lead them to place them in the earth. The
aspect of this melancholy place of sepulture was gloomy
enough. It had the look of a vast ploughed plain; but
infinitely desolate and hideous when the imagination
pictured the corruption that lay beneath each narrow
mound. I felt a sensation of relief when we left this
spot behind, and drove upon a green plateau which lay
between it and the treasure-city of the king. The place
we were crossing had once been the garden of Hermes
or Iosepf, the celebrated prince who about one hundred
and thirty years ago saved the inhabitants of Egypt from
perishing by famine, having received from the god
Osiris knowledge of a seven years' famine to befall the
kingdom, after seven years of plenty. This Prince Iosepf
or Joseph was also called Hermes, though he wrote not
all the books attributed to Hermes, as we in Phœnicia
understand of that personage.

“Was this Joseph an Egyptian?” I asked of the Prince
Remeses, as we dashed past the ruins of a palace in the
midst of the gardens.

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“No, a Hebrew,” he answered. “He was the favorite
of the Phœnician Pharaoh who commenced the
palaces of this City of Treasure.”

“A Hebrew!” I exclaimed. “Not one of the race I
behold about me toiling towards the city with sun-dried
bricks upon their heads, and whom I have seen at work
on the plain of bricks?”

“Of the same,” he answered.

“Your reply reminds me, O Remeses, that you have
promised to relate to me the history of this remarkable
people, who evidently, from their noble physiognomies,
belong to a superior race.”

“I will redeem my promise, my dear Sesostris, he
said, smiling, “as soon as I have left the chariot by yonder
ruined well, where I see the architect and his people,
whom I have come hither to meet, await me with their
drawings and rules.”

We soon drove up to the spot, having passed several
fallen columns, which had once adorned the baths of the
house of this Hebrew prince, who had once been such a
benefactor to Egypt; but, as he was the favorite of a
Phœnician king, the present dynasty neglect his monuments,
as well as deface all those which the Shepherd
Kings erected to perpetuate their conquest. Hence, it
is, dear mother, I find scarcely a trace of the dominion
in Lower Egypt of this race of kings.

The ruined well was a massive quadrangle of stone,
and was called the “Fountain of the Strangers.” It was
in ruins, yet the well itself sparkled with clear water as
in its ancient days. Grouped upon a stone platform, beneath
the shade of three palms, stood the party of artists
who awaited the prince. Their horses, and the cars

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in which they came, or brought their instruments, stood
near, held by slaves, who were watering the animals
from the fountain.

Upon the approach of the prince these persons, the
chief of whom was attired handsomely, as a man of
rank (for architects in Egypt are nobles, and are in
high place at court), bowed the knee reverently before
him. He alighted from his chariot, and at once began
to examine their drawings. Leaving him engaged in a
business which I perceived would occupy him some
time, I walked about, looking at the ancient fountain.
In order to obtain a view of the country, I ascended a
tower at one of its angles, which elevated me sixty feet
above the plain. From this height I beheld the glorious
City of the Sun, a league and a half to the north, rising
above its girdle of gardens in all its splendor. In the
mid-distance lay the plain of brick-workers, covered
with its tens of thousands of busy workers in clay.
Then, nearer still, stretched their squalid city of huts,
and the gloomy burial-place, bordering on the desert at
the farther boundary.

Turning to the south, the treasure-city of Raamses
lay before me, the one half ancient and ruinous, but the
other rising in grand outlines and vast dimensions,
stretching even to the Nile, which, shining and majestic,
flowed to the west of it. Further still the pyramids of
Memphis, the city itself of Apis, and the walls and temples
of Jisah towered in noble perspective. The Nile
was lively with galleys ascending and descending;
and upon the road that followed its banks many people
were moving, either on foot, in palanquins, chariots,
or upon horseback. Over the whole scene the bright

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sun shone, giving life and brightness to all I beheld.

To the east the illimitable desert stretched far away,
and I could trace the brown line of road along which the
caravans travel between the Nile cities and the port of
Suez, on the sea of Ezion-Geber, in order to unlade
there for ships from Farther Ind that are awaiting

Almost beneath the crumbling tower, on which I
stood taking in this wide view of a part of the populous
valley of the Nile, wound a broad path, well trodden by
thousands of naked feet. It was now crowded with
Hebrew slaves, some going to the city with burdens of
brick slung at the extremities of wooden yokes laid
across the shoulder, or borne upon their heads, and
others returning to the plain after having deposited their
burdens. It was a broad path of tears and sighs, and no
loitering step was permitted by the overseers; for even
if one would stop to quench his thirst at the fountain, he
was beaten forward, and the blows accompanied with
execrations. Alas, mother, this cruel bondage of the
Hebrews is the only dark spot which I have seen in
Egypt,—the only shadow of evil upon the brilliant reign
of Queen Amense!

I took one more survey of the wide landscape, which
embraces the abodes of one million of souls; for in the
valley of Egypt are fourteen thousand villages, towns,
and cities, and a population of nearly seven millions.
Yet the valley of the Nile is a belt of verdure only a few
miles wide, bounded by the Libyan and Arabian hills.
Every foot of soil seems occupied, and every acre teems
with population. In the streets, in the gardens, in the

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public squares, in temples, and courts of palaces, in the
field, or on the river, one can never be alone, for he sees
human beings all about him, thronging every place,
and engaged either in business or pleasure, or the enjoyment
of the luxury of idleness in the shade of a column
or a tree.

Descending the tower, and seeing the prince still engaged
with his builders, pointing to the unfinished
towers of Raamses, and the site of the new palace he
proposed erecting near by, I went down the steps to the
fountain, to quaff its cool waters. Here I beheld an old
and majestic-looking man bending over a youth, a wound
in whose temple he was bathing tenderly with water
from the well. I perceived at a glance, by the acquiline
nose and lash-shaded dark, bright eye, that they
were Hebrews.

The old man had one of those Abrahamic faces I
have described as extant on the tomb of Eliezer of
Damascus: a broad, extensive, and high forehead; a
boldly-shaped eagle nose; full lips; and a flowing beard,
which would have been white as wool but that it was
stained yellow by the sun and soil. He wore the coarse,
short trowsers, and body cloth of the bond-slave, and old
sandals bound upon his feet with ropes. The young man
was similarly dressed. He was pale and nearly lifeless.
His beautiful head lay upon the edge of the fountain, and
as the old man poured, from the palm of his hand, water
upon his face he repeated a name, perhaps the youth's.
I stood fixed with interest by the scene. At this moment
an Egyptian taskmaster entered, and with his
rod struck the venerable man several sharp blows and
ordered him to rise and go to his task. He made no

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reply—regarded not the shower of blows—but bending
his eyes tearfully upon the marble face before him, with
his fingers softly removed the warm drops of blood that
stained the temples.

“Nay,” I said, quickly, to the Egyptian, “do not
beat him! See, he is old, and is caring for this poor

The Egyptian looked at me with an angry glance, as
if he would also chastise the speaker for interfering;
when seeing from my appearance that I was a man of
rank, and perceiving, also, the prince through a passage
in the ruined wall, he bent his forehead low and said:

“My lord, I did not see you, or I would have taken
the idle graybeard out and beaten him.”

“But why beat him?” I asked.

“His load awaits him on the road where he dropped
it, when my second officer struck down this young
fellow, who stopped to gaze at a chariot!”

“What relation do they bear to each other?” said I.

“This is the old man's youngest son. He is a weak
fool, my lord, about him, and though, as you see, he can
hardly carry a full load for himself, he will try and add
to his own, a part of the bricks the boy should bear.
Come, old man, leave the boy and on to your work!”

The aged Hebrew raised to my face a look of despair
trembling with mute appeal, as if he expected no interposition,
yet had no other hope left.

“Leave them here,” I said. “I will be responsible
for the act.”

“But I am under a chief captain who will make me
account to him for every brick not delivered. The tale
of bricks that leaves the plain and that which is received

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are taken and compared. I have a certain number of
men and boys under me, and they have to make up in
their loads a given tale of bricks between sun and
sun. If they fail, I lose my wages!” This was spoken

“What is thy day's wages?” I demanded.

“A quarter of a scarabæus,” he answerd. This is
the common cheap coin, bearing the sacred beetle cut in
stone, copper, lead, and even wood. Higher values are
represented by silver, bronze, brass, and gold rings.
Money in disk-form I have not yet heard of in Egypt.
An Egyptian's purse is a necklace of gold rings of
greater or less value. The scarabæus is often broken in
four pieces, each fraction containing a hieroglyphic.
The value is about equal to a Syrian neffir.

I placed in his hand a copper scarabæus, and said:
“Go thy way! This shall justify thee to thy conscience.
These Hebrews are too helpless to be of further service
to thee this day.”

The taskmaster took the money with a smile of gratification,
and at once left the court of the fountain. The
old Hebrew looked at me with grateful surprise, caught
my hand, pressed it to his heart, and then covered it
with kisses. I smiled upon him with friendly sympathy,
and, stooping down, raised the head of the young man
upon my knee. By our united aid he was soon restored
to sensibility.

But, my dear mother, I will, with your permission,
continue my narrative in another letter. The trumpets,
which from the temple of Osiris proclaim that the last
rays of the setting sun are disappearing from its summit,
also warn me to draw my letter to a close. The

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incense of the altar rises into the blue and golden sky,
and typifies prayer. I will receive the lesson it teaches,
and retire to my oratory and pray, O mother, for thy
health and happiness and the prosperity of thy reign.

Your affectionate son,

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City of On. My royal and beloved Mother:

[figure description] Page 115.[end figure description]

I will now continue the narrative of my interview
with the venerable bond-servant at the fountain or
“well of strangers,” near the treasure-city Raamses.

After the youth had recovered his senses, I was for a
few moments an object of profound surprise to him. He
surveyed me with mingled fear and wonder.

“My lord is good, fear him not, Israel,” said the old
man. The youth looked incredulous, and, had his
strength permitted, would have fled away from me. I

“I am not thy taskmaster! Dread not my presence!”
The tone of my voice reassured him. He smiled gently,
and an expression of gladness lighted up his eyes. A
drop of blood trickled down his forehead and increased
the paleness of his skin.

“What is thy name?” I asked the old man, speaking
in Syriac, for in that tongue I had heard him murmur
the name of his son; and I have since found that all
Hebrews of the older class speak this language, or
rather Syro-Chaldaic. They also understand and speak
the Egyptian vernacular.

“Ben Isaac, my lord!” he answered.

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“Art thou in bondage?”

“I and my children, as my fathers were!”

“What brought thee and thy people into this servitude?”

“It is a sad history, my lord! Art thou then a
stranger in Egypt, that thou art ignorant of the story
of the Hebrew?”

“I am a Phœnician. I have been but a few weeks in

“Phœnicia! That is beyond Edom; nay, beyond
Philistia,” he said musingly. “Our fathers came farther,
even from Palestine.”

“Who were your fathers?”

“Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

“I have heard of them, three princes of Syria, many
generations past!”

“Yes, my lord of Phœnicia,” said the venerable
man, his eyes lighting up; “they were princes in
their land! But, lo! this day behold their children
in bondage! And such a servitude!” he cried, raising
his withered hands heavenward. “Death, my lord,
is preferable to it! How long must we groan in slavery?
How long our little ones bear the yoke of Egypt?”

At this moment one of the footmen of Prince Remeses
found me and said:

“My lord prince seeks for thee!”

I put money in the hands of the venerable Hebrew
and his son, and left them amid their expressions of
grateful surprise. When I rejoined Remeses, he was
already in his chariot. Having placed myself by his
side, he said that he would now drive me around the
walls of the new city, and show me its general plan.

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He had explained all particulars with his builders, and
they were to commence the erection of the palace of the
governor the following week.

The wide circuit we made along the plain afforded
me a commanding view of the treasure-city in its progress.
The walls at one part were literally black with
slaves, who like ants traversed them, carrying their
burdens of bricks to those who laid the courses. A
vast pile, built more for strength than beauty, attracted
my notice. “That is one of the twelve great granaries
of the Prince Joseph, which he built one hundred and
fourscore years ago, in the twelve districts of Egypt.
It is still in use as such.” As we passed the gateway, I
perceived that the cartouch was defaced. Remeses said
that this was the act of Amunophis, when he came to
the throne, whose policy was to remove not only every
trace of the rule of the Palestinian kings, but all the
memorials which brought their dynasty to remembrance;
and these granaries of Pharaoh's prime minister,
Iosepf or Joseph, were among the noblest monuments
of the reign of the last of the foreign rulers, the
father of the Princess Ephtha, from whom Remeses is
descended, in the fourth generation only, I believe.

At length we stopped at a beautiful gate of a small
temple dedicated to Apis. Every part of it was minutely
and exquisitely sculptured. It contained a single
shrine, within which was the effigy of the sacred bull,
a cubit in length, of solid gold. Boys dressed in the
finest white linen were the officiating priests. While I
was admiring this miniature edifice and the richness of
all its appointments, Remeses said:—

“This is an affectionate tribute of a mother's love.

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On my twelfth birth-day she had this sacred fane dedicated
in honor of the event. Here she consecrated me
as a boy to the youthful god Horus. I remember
perfectly, the solemn impression the whole scene made
upon my heart and imagination. Once a year I come
hither and pass a night watching before its altar and in
prayer, rather in filial acquiescence with her wishes,
which to me are laws, than from reverence for the

We had already alighted, and were standing on the
portico of the temple, which was of crescent shape, and
bordered by a row of elegantly veined alabaster columns
from Alabastron, rich quarries of the Pharaohs near the
Cataracts. After examining the temple, and expressing
the admiration which it merited, we were going out,
when I saw a young Hebrew girl flying from the pursuit
of one of the taskmasters. Just as we were entering
the temple, I had seen her passing with many other
females, some laden with straw, others with bunches of
leeks and garlic, which they were taking to the fields
for the dinner of the laborers, who were not permitted
to go to their huts until dark, having left them at the
first blush of dawn to commence their ceaseless toils.
Those women who worked not in the brick-fields were
the providers of food for the rest. This young girl I
had noticed was bending painfully under an intolerable
load of garlic and leeks, which she bore upon her head,
and yet assisting a tottering woman, who was walking
by her side with an equally heavy burden of provisions,
in a coarse wicker-basket. I was struck with the elegance
of her figure and with the beauty of her face, as
well as with her kindness to her companion, when she

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herself needed aid. We were leaving the temple, as I
have said, when I beheld her flying. As she came near,
she saw the prince, and cast herself at his feet, embracing
them, and exclaiming—

“O my lord—O great and mighty god! mercy!—
save me!”

Remeses regarded her with surprise, and said, sternly,
yet not cruelly—

“What dost thou wish? Why dost thou fly from thy

“When I cast down my load and took up my mother's,
who was ready to die, he struck me because I could
not take both together. I would have done it, O lord
prince, but had not the strength.”

“Go back to thy task, young woman. Thou shalt not
be punished for a kind act to thy mother. The gods forbid
we should destroy all filial ties, even among our
slaves.” This last sentence was spoken rather with his
own mind than addressed to any one. “What is this I
hear?” he continued, speaking to the sub-officer, who,
seeing his slave seek the protection of Remeses, had
stopped, a short distance off, expecting to have her sent
back to him. “Didst thou strike this Hebrew girl?”

“She is wilful and intractable, your highness,” answered
the man humbly, “and—”

“Is there not a law forbidding blows to be given to
the females of this people? You will deliver your rod
of office to my chief servant here, and are no longer a
taskmaster. It shall be known, that it is the will of the
queen that women shall have light tasks, that they be
treated leniently, and not made to suffer the punishment
of blows.”

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The man, with a downcast face, came forward, and
placed his rod in the hands of the chief servant, who was
the captain of the twelve footmen of the prince's chariot,
and who, at a glance from his master, broke it, and cast
the pieces upon the ground. “Now go, and bring hither
the basket. I will see what are the burdens you place
upon the weak, and, henceforth, they shall be proportioned
to the strength of the bearer.”

The man returned several hundred yards along the
road, and after several strenuous efforts, with great
difficulty lifted the basket, and placed it at the prince's
feet. To the amazement of all about him he stooped
to raise the wicker-basket of leeks from the ground.
Putting forth his strength he lifted it, for he is a man
of great vigor, but immediately setting it down again,
he said, with indignation flashing from his eyes, as he
addressed the disgraced taskmaster—

“Seest thou what thou wouldst compel this frail child
to bear upon her head? Thou art cruel and barbarous!
Bind him! He shall go to prison.”

“My lord, I am not alone—”

“So much the worse. If the abuse is wide-spread, it
is time to correct it, and see that the law of the realm is
observed. Take him away!”

Two of the servants seized him, and, tying his hands
behind him with the thong of one of his own sandals,
led him away into the citadel of Raamses. The Hebrew
girl still kneeled, trembling and wondering. Remeses
spoke to her kindly, no doubt moved by her tears and
extraordinary beauty, and said—

“Go in peace, child. Return to thy mother. Fear
no more the rod of thy taskmasters. The hand of the

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first that is laid on a Hebrew woman shall be cut off
with a sword.”

The young girl kissed the sandaled feet of the prince,
and hastened to the spot where she had left her mother
seated on the ground. Remeses, with his eyes, followed
her, and sighed. Who can tell what heavy thoughts
were passing in his mind! When he comes to the
throne, I know him not, my mother, if the condition of
the Hebrews will not be greatly ameliorated, and their
lot rendered far happier. I saw the girl embrace and
raise her mother from the earth, and then supporting
her affectionately, lead her away towards a group of
huts, not far off, in one of which, probably, was their

“My Sesostris,” said the prince, “walk with me along
this terrace. I have yet to see the governor of the queen's
granaries, and will converse with thee until he arrives.”

The terrace ran along the south side of the low pyramidal
area on which the temple was elevated. From it
there was a lovely view of fields, and gardens, and
groves of palm and orange trees, extending over the land
of Goshen, which is the most fertile and highly-cultivated
portion of Egypt that I have seen. From the terrace,
steps of polished porphyry led to a garden fragrant
with flowers, which were cultivated alongside of the
temple, in order to make of them offerings of chaplets
to the god, who was crowned with them every morning
by the “flower priest.” The office of this dignitary was
as sacred as his who offered incense, which indeed is but
the fragrance of flowers in another form, purified by fire.
In this garden I saw the myrobalanum, with its rich
fruit, out of which a rare ointment is extracted for

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anointing the priests; the phœnicobalanus, which bears
an intoxicating fruit, and gives to the priests who eat of
it divining powers; the graceful palma, or sheath for the
palm-flowers; the almond-tree, brilliant with its flowering
branches; the wine-giving myxa; the ivory-palm
fruit, of which censers are made; the mimosa Nilotica,
and the golden olive of Arsinoë. All these grew on one
path, which traversed the garden close to the terrace,
and I enumerate them, dear mother, as I know your horticultural
taste, and that any thing about the plants of
Egypt will gratify you. I have already selected several
of the most beautiful, and intend, by the first ship that
sails for Tyre from the Nile, to forward them to you.
That they may be cared for, and rightly managed when
you receive them, I shall send with them an Egyptian
gardener. I have seen no oaks in Egypt, nor does our
majestic Libanian cedar grow here. It is a land rather
of flowers than of trees. The myrtle is everywhere
seen as an ornamental tree, and is highly odoriferous
in this climate. Here, I saw also the endive, and
the Amaracus, from the latter of which the celebrated
Amaracine ointment, used to anoint the Pharaohs, is expressed.
One bed of variegated flowers, at the end of
the terrace, attracted my attention from their combined
splendor. There were the edthbah, with its proud purple
flower; the ivy-shaped-leaved dulcamara, used by the
priests for sacred chaplets; also the acinos, of which
wreaths are made by maidens, to wear intermingled with
their braided tresses. Above all towered the heliochrysum,
with which the gods are crowned, and by it grew
its rival, the sacred palm, the branches of which are
borne at the feasts of Isis.

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There were many other rare and beautiful plants, but
I have enumerated these to show you what a land of
flowers is this sunny land of Osiris and Isis.

The prince, after we had once traversed the terrace in
silence, turned his thoughtful face towards me and said,
betraying what was upon his thoughts—

“Prince, this is the problem of Egypt. Its solution
calls for greater wisdom than belongs to man!”

“You mean the bondage of the Hebrew people?” I
answered, at once perceiving the meaning of his words.

“Yes,” he replied, with a sigh and a grave brow. “I
have promised to acquaint you with their history.
Listen, and as far as I know it you shall have it given
to you. Our records, kept and preserved by the priests
in the Hall of Books in the Temple of the Sun, give the
following account of the origin of this race, which, allowing
for the errors that are interwoven in all mere
tradition, is, no doubt, worthy of credit.

“About four hundred years ago,” says the History of
the Priests, “there arrived in the land of Palestine a
Syrian prince from Mesopotamia or Assyria, with large
flocks and herds; having formed an alliance with Melchisedec,
king of Salem, the two dwelt near one another
in peace and friendship,—for not only was the Assyrian
wise and upright, but the gods were with him, and blessed
and prospered him in all that he did.”

“This Melchisedec the king,” I said, “was also favored
of his god; and his virtues have come down to us fragrant
with the beauty of piety and good deeds.”

“Tradition has been faithful to him,” answered Remeses.
“Among the Arabian priests of Petra he is held as
a god, who came down on earth to show kings how to

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reign and benefit mankind. With him the Prince of
Assyria, Abram, was on terms of the closest friendship.
At length a famine arising in the land where he dwelt,
he came down into Egypt just after the invading hosts
of Phœnicia and Palestine had inundated our kingdom,
and conquering On and Memphis, had subdued Lower
Egypt, and set up their foreign dynasty, known as that
of the Hyksos or Shepherd Kings.”

“This history is well known to our archives kept in
the temple of Astarte at Tyre,” I answered; “and therein
we learn that the hero Saites, who had a warlike spirit
which could not find field in Lower Syria, was threatened
by famine, and hearing of the abundance in Egypt
and the splendor of its cities, combined with the enervating
habits which grow out of luxury and unbroken
peace, he conceived the idea of its invasion; and at the
head of an undisciplined but brave army of one hundred
and seventy thousand men, horsemen and footmen, with
three hundred chariots of iron, he descended through
Arabia Deserta, and entered Egypt by the desert of the
sea, capturing and fortifying Ezion-Geber on his march.”

“These particulars are not so fully given by our historians,”
answered Remeses. “This ambitious warrior
having entered the Sethroite country, encamped and
founded a city which he made his arsenal of war; and
from it he sent out his armies and conquered Memphis
and the whole of Lower Egypt. The kings of Egypt,
abandoning to him Lower Egypt, retired with their
court and army to the Thebaïd, and were content to
reign there over half the kingdom, while the haughty
conquerors established their foreign throne at Memphis.

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“It was,” continued Remeses, “during the reign of
Bnon, the first Phœnician Pharaoh after the death of
the conqueror, that Abram came into Egypt. He had
known this prince in Palestine when he was in his youth,
and the king gladly welcomed so powerful a lord and
warrior, who had in battle overthrown Chedorlaomer,
the mighty King of Elam, and whose language was
nearly similar to his own. This Prince Abram dwelt in
Egypt during the continuance of the famine in Syria,
and near the court of the king, who not only took him
into his counsels, but lavished upon him great riches.
`But the king,' says the history, `becoming enamored of
the beautiful Princess Sara, the wife of the Lord of
Palestine, Abram removed from his court; and with
great riches of gold, silver, cattle, and servants, marched
out of Egypt into Arabia of the South, and so to his
own city.”'

“It is probably,” I said, “from this fact of Prince
Abram's coming into Egypt about the time that the
Phœnicians came, that some traditions have made him
its conqueror and the founder of the dynasty of the
Shepherd Kings.”

“Yes; for this Abram was not only eminent as a warlike
prince, but his usual retinue was an army, wherever
he moved; and no doubt Bnon, the king, willingly let
him depart when he had offended him, rather than meet
the valor of the arm which had already slain five kings
of the East, and taken their spoil. At length Prince
Abram died and left a son, who succeeded him not
only in his riches but his wisdom. After a time he also
died and left a son, Prince Jacob, who had twelve sons,
all princes of valor—but who, like the Arabians of

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today, lived a nomadic life. One of these brothers was
beloved of his father more than the others; and, moved
by envy, they seized upon him and sold him to a caravan
of the bands of Ishmael, the robber king of Idumea,
as it was on its way to Egypt. These barbarians sold
the young Prince Joseph to an officer of the king's palace,
Potipharis, captain of the guard, whose descendant,
Potiphar-Meses, is the general of cavalry you met at the
queen's banquet. This officer became the friend of the
young Syrian, and raised him to a place of honor in his
household. In the course of time the king, who was
the eminent Pharaoh-Apophis, dreamed a dream which
greatly troubled his mind, and which neither his soothsayers,
magicians, nor the priests could interpret. Joseph,
who was eminent for his piety, love of truth, and
devotion to his God, being in prison—to which, on some
false charge of seeking the love of his master's wife, he
had been committed—had interpreted the dreams of
two prisoners, one of whom, being released and hearing
of the king's dream, sent him word that while in prison
the Hebrew captive had truly interpreted a dream, which
both he and his companion had dreamed. Thereupon
Pharaoh sent for the Hebrew, who interpreted his dream,
which prophesied seven years of great plenty, such as
was never known in Egypt, and seven years to follow
them of such scarcity as no kingdom on earth had ever
suffered from. And when the Hebrew had recommended
the king to appoint an officer to gather in the
corn during the years of plenty, and to husband it in
treasure-houses against the seven years of scarcity, Apophis
at once elevated him to that high position. Removing
from his hand his own signet ring, he placed it

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upon the finger of Joseph; and, having arrayed him in
vestures of fine linen and placed a gold chain about his
neck, presented him with the second state-chariot to ride
in, and made him ruler over all his realm, commanding
all men to bow the knee before him as to a prince of the
blood, and second in power only to himself.”

“And these,” I said, glancing at a group of Hebrew
laborers not far off, who were seated upon a ruin eating
garlic and coarse bread for their noon-day meal—“and
these are of the same blood?”

“Yes, Sesostris! But you shall hear their history.
This Joseph reigned in Egypt above threescore years,
holding in his hand the supreme power, save only that
he wore not the crown of Apophis, who, given up to
pleasure or to war, gladly relieved himself of the active
cares of state. But while he was early in power, and
yet a young man, his father and brothers were driven
into Egypt by the seven years' famine, which followed
the seven years of plenty?”

“Then,” I interrupted, “the dream of Pharaoh was
rightly read by the Hebrew youth?”

“In all particulars he interpreted it with the wisdom
of a god, who sees into the future as into the past! But,
to resume my narrative—he recognized his father, Jacob,
and his brethren.”

“Did he make use of his power to punish the latter
for their cruelty in selling him into bondage?”

“On the contrary, he forgave them! At first they
did not recognize their shepherd brother in the powerful
and splendid prince of Egypt, before whom they
came under his name of Hermes-Osiris, which Pharaoh
had conferred upon him.”

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“It must have been both a wonderful surprise and a
source of terror to them when they at length found in
whose presence they bowed,” I said, picturing in my
mind the scene when they perceived who he was. I
imagined not only the trembling fear of the men, but
the joy of the venerable father.

“Doubtless a most touching and interesting interview,”
answered Remeses. “Instead of avenging their
cruelty he entertained them in his palace with a banquet,
and afterwards solicited of Pharaoh, who refused
him no request, that his father and brethren might dwell
in the land.”

At this moment a tall Hebrew young man passed,
returning with a proud, free step, having carried his burden
and placed it by a well, which some workmen were
repairing. I gazed upon him with interest, fancying I
beheld in his face the lineaments of the prince of whom
Remeses was talking. I thought, too, the eyes of my
companion followed the youthful bondman, as he went
away, with something like a kindred sentiment; for; as
he discoursed of the glory and virtues of Prince Joseph,
it was impossible that we should not be drawn nearer, as
it were, to these hapless captives of his race.

“It was in this part of Egypt where the Syrian patriarch
dwelt. This very temple is erected upon the site
of his habitation, and from here, as far as you can
see, stretched the rich fields and fertile plains occupied
by him, his sons, and their descendants. Here
they erected cities, most of which were destroyed by the
subsequent dynasty, with all the monuments of Joseph's
power; and here they dwelt for seventy years in peace
and plenty, increasing in numbers, wealth, and

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intelligence—their best-educated men holding offices in the
state, and commanding the respect and confidence not
only of the king, but of the Egyptians.”

But, my dear mother, it is time I close this letter.
Until I again take up my pen to write you, remain assured,
I pray you, of my filial reverence and love.

Your affectionate

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Palace of Amense. My honored and beloved Mother:

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My last letter closed with the narration of a history
of the Hebrews, from the lips of Prince Remeses,
to which I listened as we walked to and fro on the terrace
of the temple. I will in this letter continue, or
rather conclude, the subject, feeling that it will have
interested you quite as deeply as it has engaged my

The governor of the queen's granaries having arrived,
mounted upon a handsomely caparisoned horse, and attended
by runners, the prince at once gave him the
orders for which he came, and then, dismissing him with
a waive of his hand, turned to me, as I was watching
the majestic flight of several eagles of prey, which,
circling above my head at a great height, with seemingly
immovable wings, through cutting the air so swiftly,
gradually diminished the circles of their flight, and
descended upon some object not far distant, on the road
leading to another treasure-city, called Pithom, many
leagues up the Nile, which the Hebrews had built for
Amunophis L., threescore years and more ago.

“I will now resume my history of the Hebrews, my
dear Sesostris,” said the prince, “and will be brief, as

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we must return to On. The Prince Joseph, as I have
said, obtained for his father and brethren all this fair
plain, the heart and beauty of Egypt. Here they dwelt
when the old man died, after seventeen years' residence
in Egypt; and the Hebrew prime minister of the king
made for his father a funeral such as few kings receive.
It is said to have been more magnificent than that of
Osirtasen I., of which our poets have sung. By Pharaoh's
command, as his favorite wished to bury his father
in Palestine, a vast army went up with the body,—
chariots, horsemen, and footmen,—so that to this day the
splendor and pomp of the funeral is a tradition throughout
the lands they traversed. Joseph then returned to
Egypt, and ruled sixty-one years, until both he and
Apophis the king were waxed in years. At length
he died, and was embalmed, and his body placed in the
second pyramid, which you behold a little to the right
of Memphis. There his body does not now rest, for,
after the expulsion of the Phœnician dynasty, the Hebrews
secretly removed it, and its place of concealment
is known only to themselves. There is a saying among
them that the bones of this prince shall rise again, and
that he shall go with them forth from Egypt to a new
and fair country beyond Arabia.”

“Then they have a hope of being one day delivered
from their present condition?” I asked.

“It is a part of their faith, and inborn, if I may so
speak. It is this hope, I think, which makes them bear
up so patiently under their servitude.”

“And how, noble Remeses, were they reduced to bondage
in the fair land wherein they once dwelt so peacefully,
under the benign sway of their mighty brother?”

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“The answer to this question, my Sesostris,” said the
prince, “will involve a history of the overthrow of the
dynasty of the Phœnician conquerors, which lasted over
two hundred years, with a succession of six kings. Upon
the death of the Prince Joseph in his one hundred and
tenth year, Apophis the king, being also of great age, became
incapable of managing his kingdom, which he had
for sixty years intrusted to the hands of his Hebrew prime
minister. Ignorant of the true condition of his government—
known to but few of his subjects—aged and imbecile,
he was incapable of holding the reins of state, left by
the Hebrew in his hands. The ever-jealous and watchful
king of the Thebaïd, in Upper Egypt, did not delay
to take advantage of an opportunity like this to attempt
the restoration, in Lower Egypt, of the ancient throne
of the native Pharaohs, by the expulsion of the usurping
dynasty. But, my Sesostris, you know well the
subsequent history—how Pharaoh Amosis, with his Theban
hosts, drove them from city to city, and finally pursued
them into Arabia, whence they settled in the land
of the Philistines, and, capturing Salem, made it their
capital city—at least such is one of the traditions.”

“They held it for a time,” I answered, “but, being
driven from it by the King of Elam, they subsequently
fortified Askelon. They are still a powerful people,
under the name of Philistines; and, what is singular,
retain scarcely a custom derived from the two hundred
and twenty-five years' residence and reign in Egypt.”

“It is not more remarkable than the fact that their
domination here made no impression upon the people of
Egypt; they left no words of their own in our language,
and no customs of theirs were adopted by the Egyptians

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They simply held military possession of the kingdom,
living in fortified cities and levying tribute upon the
people for their support. The few monuments they
erected were defaced or overthrown by the victorious
Theban king and restorer, Amosis, my great ancestor,
or by his successor, Amunophis I.

“When these invaders were expelled from Lower
Egypt, then the two crowns of the Thebaïd and Memphitic
kingdoms became united in the person of Amunophis,
the son of `the Restorer,' and it is this Thebaïd
dynasty which now holds the sceptre of the two kingdoms,
and which is represented in the person of my
mother, the daughter of Amunophis, who died when
she was a young girl. She has ever since reigned with
the title of `the Daughter of Pharaoh,' being so called
by the people when she ascended the throne of Memphis
and Thebes. But my dear prince,” said Remeses,
with a smile, “I have been giving you the history of
the dynasty of my race, rather than of the Hebrew

“I am not the less interested, dear Remeses,” I said,
“and perceive that the two histories are naturally

“Yes. The new king, Amosis, called `Restorer,' upon
the obelisk at Memphis which bears his name, and upon
which the scenes of the expulsion of these Philistine soldier-monarchs
are depicted with great spirit and fidelity—
the new king, I say, upon driving out the invaders,
keeping the Phœnician king's fair daughter, Ephtha, as
his wife, turned his attention to the other class of strangers,
who had the fairest portion of Egypt for their pos
session. He accordingly visited, in state, the city of

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Succoth, in the province of Goshen, which they had built
and beautified during the seventy years they had dwelt
there under Prince Joseph's mild and partial rule. It
was without walls, wholly unfortified, and had not even
a temple—for the Hebrews of the better class worship
only with the intellect, a spiritual Deity in his

“Which, if I dare speak so boldly to you, O Remeses,”
I said, “appears to me to be the noblest species of worship,
and the purest sort of religion for an intellectual

“Sayest thou?” quickly demanded the prince, surveying
my face with his full bright gaze. “Thou art in
advance of the rest of mankind, my Sesostris! The same
feeling exists in my own bosom; but I believed myself
alone in experiencing it. Some day we will hold discourse
together on this high mystery. There seems to
come up from my childhood a voice which I can never
silence, and which I hear loudest when I am most solemnly
engaged in the sacred rites of the altars of our
gods, saying—

“`Son of earth, there is but one GOD, invisible, eternal,
uncreated, and whose glory He will not share with
another; worship Him with the spirit and with the understanding.”

“This is remarkable,” I said, “for such also is the
mystery taught by the priests of Chaldea, of whom Melchisedec
was the first high-priest. I have read their
sacred books in Damascus.”

“I have never seen them; yet this voice forces itself
upon me everywhere, my Sesostris. All is dark and
inscrutable to us mortals. We hang our faith upon a

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tradition, and our hopes upon a myth. We feel ourselves
equal or superior to the deities we worship, and
find no repose in the observances our religion demands.
Would that I had the power to penetrate the blue
heavens above us and find out God, and know what life
means, and whence we came and whither we go.”

“Once across the Lake of the Dead,” I answered,
“and all will be revealed. Osiris in his vast judgment-hall
will give each soul the key of the past and the

“So say the priests, and so we believe. But to return
to the Hebrews. Another time we will discourse on these
themes. The new king hearing that two hundred thousand
and more foreigners dwelt here, called all the
elders and chief men before him; and when he had
questioned them and heard their history, and had learned
that the Prince Joseph, who had done so much to uphold
and consolidate the Phœnician rule, was one of their
ancestors, his wrath was presently kindled against them.
He saw in them the friends and adherents of the overthrown
dynasty; both as allied by blood to the great
Hebrew prime-minister, and as originating from the
same country with the expelled Phœnician king. He,
therefore, perceiving they were not a warlike people,
and could not be dreaded as an army, instead of declaring
war against them and driving them out of Egypt, as
he had done the Syrian kings, resolved to reduce them
to servitude like captives taken in war. Having come
to this resolution, he held as prisoners the chief men
before him, and placed the whole people under the yoke
of bondage, enrolling them under task-officers, and putting
them to work upon the cities, temples, palaces, and

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canals, which the Phœnicians had either destroyed, or
suffered to fall into ruin. This was the beginning, my
Sesostris, of the subjugation to perpetual labor of these
Syrians or Hebrews in the very land where one of their
family had ruled next to the throne. They have been
engaged since in building cities, and walls, and in cultivating
and irrigating the royal wheat-fields; aiding in
hewing stone in the quarries, and in all other works of
servitude: but as the making of bricks requires no intelligence,
and as it was not the policy of Amunophis-Pharaoh
to elevate their intellects, but the contrary, lest
they should prove troublesome, they have chiefly been
kept to this, the most degrading of all labor.”

“How long is it that they have been in this condition?”
I asked.

“About one hundred and five or six years have
elapsed since the death of Prince Joseph. But they
were gradually reduced to their present state. During
the latter years only of Amunophis were their tasks increased.
They, nevertheless, multiplied in such numbers
that the king began to apprehend danger to his
crown from their multitude.”

“Were there men among them who sought to free
their fellows?” I inquired.

“Always, and to this hour. They are a proud,
haughty, resolute, and stubborn race. They bend to the
yoke, indeed, but with hatred of the oppressor, not with
the willing submission of the Libyan or Nubian captive.
The king had reason to fear from the increase of their
numbers, when he found the census of this people gave
more than a million of souls, while the number of his
own subjects in both provinces did not exceed six

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millions; his own Thebans not amounting to as many as
the Hebrews numbered. Upon this he became alarmed,
for he was about entering into a war with the kings of
Syro-Arabia, and apprehended that being of the same
Syrian stock they might join themselves to his enemies.
He, therefore, increased their burdens and taskmasters
in order to keep them in closer subjugation; but the
more he oppressed them the more they multiplied. In
relating these facts, O prince, do not think I approve
of cruelty even in my royal ancestor. It was, no
doubt, a great wrong in the beginning inflicted upon
them, in making them servants, and the subsequent
series of oppressions were but the natural results of the
first act. It was one unmixed evil throughout. Having
committed the manifest error in the outset, of enslaving
them to the crown, it now became a necessary policy
to prevent their dangerous increase. He would not
send them with his army into Arabia lest they should
join his enemies. He, therefore, to keep down their
numbers, ordered all the male infants as soon as born to
be put to death by the Egyptian women.”

“A dreadful alternative!” I exclaimed.

“Yes, and one not to be defended,” answered Remeses,
in a decided tone. “But Amunophis, having caught
the lion by the jaws, was compelled either to destroy
him, or be destroyed himself. The result of the edict
was, that many perished. The Nile, it is said, was constantly
bearing down upon its bosom corpses of new-born
Hebrew babes,”

“Dreadful!” I ejaculated.

“It became so to the king. But he felt that one or
the other must perish, and that these innocent infants

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must die for the future safety of the kingdom. There
were sad and tragic scenes! Many a Hebrew mother
fought to save her infant, or perished with it clasped to
her heart! Many a desperate father resisted the soldiers
who sought his hut for his concealed child, and died on
the threshold, in the ineffectual effort to save his son!
You perceive, Sesostris, that I speak with emotion. I
have heard the scenes of that era described by those
who witnessed them. I was an infant at the time, and
do not speak of my own knowledge; but many live who
then saw tragedies of horror such as few lands have witnessed.
Had I been Amunophis I think I should have
devised some other way to ward off the anticipated danger
from my kingdom. But this sanguinary edict was
unsuccessful. The Egyptian nurses were tenderer of
heart than the king, and saved many to the tears and
entreaties of mothers. Thousands of mothers, stifling
every cry of nature, gave birth secretly, and in silence, to
their babes, and the fathers or friends stood ready to fly
with it to some prepared concealment. Thousands were
thus saved, as the innumerable multitudes of men you
have beheld this day toiling in the fields, making brick
to build up Raamses, bear witness. The edict continued
in force for two years, when Amunophis died. After
the seventy days of mourning were ended, his daughter
Amense, who had been married to the prince of the
Thebaïd, a nephew of Amunophis, but had been left a
widow about the time of her father's death, came to the
throne as the next in succession to the double crown.
With the sceptre was bequeathed to her the iron chain
that bound the Hebrews. Young, inexperienced in rule,
without advisers, my mother knew not how to solve the

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problem these enslaved Syrians presented to her. As a
woman, she felt that she could originate no new policy.
But prompted by humanity, the first act of her power
was to repeal the edict commanding the death of the
infants. This act alone kindled in the hearts of the
whole of the oppressed people a sentiment of gratitude.
On the contrary, her lords, generals, chief princes of the
nomes, and dukes of cities, with one voice assured her
that this act of clemency would destroy her throne.
But you see, my Sesostris, that it still stands. For
thirty-four years she has reigned over the empire of
Egypt, and it has never before reached so high a degree
of prosperity, power, and strength. Her armies of the
east, and of the south, and of Libya, are superior to
those of all nations.”

“Yet is the problem more intricate, and farther from
solution than ever,” I said to the prince. “The Hebrew
is still in the land, still increasing in numbers, and
now far more formidable than in the reign of your
grandsire, Amunophis.”

“This is true. My mother and I have talked for
hours together upon the theme. She, with her woman's
gentler nature, would not oppress them, yet has
she been compelled by necessity to hold them in strict
subjugation, lest they become a formidable element
of insurrection in the kingdom. So far as is consistent
with safety to her two crowns, she mitigates the severity
of their condition; and as you have understood, has forbidden
the women to be struck with blows, or put to heavy
toil. Still it is not easy, among so many thousand task-masters,
and so many myriads of bondmen, to oversee
all individual acts of oppression; but when brought to

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our notice they are severely punished. The condition of
the Hebrew is an incubus upon the soul of my noble
mother, and if it were in her power, with safety to her
subjects, to release them to-morrow from their bondage,
she would do so. But state policy demands imperatively,
rigid supervision, severe discipline, and constant
labor, lest being idle, and at liberty to go where they
choose, they conspire against us. Several times agents
from the King of Ethiopia, our natural and hereditary
foe, with whom we are almost always at war, have been
discovered among them; and arms have been placed in
their possession by the spies of the Queen of Arabia.
They have, moreover, among them men of courage and
talent, who, like their ancestor, Prince Abraham, possess
warlike fire, and, like the Prime Minister Joseph, have
wisdom in council, to advise and rule. Such persons,
among slaves, are to be feared, and there is necessary a
certain severity, you would call it oppression, to keep
down all such spirit.”

“The burdens of these Hebrews still seem very
heavy, O Remeses,” I said.

“They doubtless are; but their condition is far lighter
than it has been. They are allotted certain tasks, according
to their strength, and if these are done early
they have the rest of the day to themselves.”

“And if late?”

“They must complete their tale of bricks, unless disabled
by sickness. Blows are not given to men unless
they are wilful and insubordinate. Once a year the
queen visits all the Hebrews in the country of Avaris,
of which Goshen forms but a part, and regulates abuses.
The Hebrew always has the right of appealing to the

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governor of the province, against his taskmaster, if cruelly
treated. All that the queen can do is to execute
with severity the laws against oppressing them.”

“This Hebrew people, O Remeses,” I said, as he
ceased speaking, “are the cloud which overshadows
Egypt. I foresee danger to the dynasty from it.”

“I have in vain tried to settle upon some policy, to
be pursued—when I come to the throne, if it please
Heaven that my mother depart this life before me, (I
pray the god to keep her to a good old age)—in reference
to them. But my wisdom is at fault. When I
take the sceptre I shall feel that the bondage of the
Hebrew, which I inherit with it, will make it lead in
my hand.”

While he was speaking, the impatient pawing of his
spirited chariot-horses, restrained with difficulty by three
footmen, reminded him that we were delaying at Raamses
when we ought to be on our way back to On.

“Come, Sesostris, let us get upon the chariot and
return, for I promised to dine with my mother and the
Lord Prince Mœris to-day; and it is already past noon
by the shadow of that obelisk.”

We stood upon the silver-chased chariot, and taking
the leopard-skin reins in his left hand, he made a sign to
his footmen, who, springing away from the heads of the
fretting and frothing horses, let them fly. Away, like
the wind, we swept the plain in front of the treasure-city;
along the plateau where had stood the palace
and gardens of Joseph, the lord of Egypt; past the
ruined strangers' fountain, where I had talked with the
venerable Ben Isaac and his handsome son; past a well
beside which Jacob had his great house, during the

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seventeen years he lived in Goshen, the ruins of which
were visible a little ways off to the east. On we rolled,
preceded and followed by the fleet-footed runners,
across the plain of the Hebrew brick-makers, who still
bent to their labors. Women and children, with dark
fine eyes and raven hair, gathering straw by the wayside
or in the stubble-fields, were passed in vast numbers.
Crossing an open space, I saw before me a black mass
on the ground, which, as we advanced, proved to be a
crowd of vultures or carrion eagles, that slowly and reluctantly
moved aside at our coming; and the next
moment our horses shied at the dead body of a man,
around which they had been gathered feasting upon the
flesh. The long beard and dark hair, the coarse blue
loin-cloth, and the pile of bricks at his side, told the
whole tale. It was an emaciated Hebrew, who had
perished on the road-side under his burden.

I did not look at Remeses. I knew that he saw and
felt. He reined up, and sternly commanded two of
his footmen to remain and bury the body.

“Sesostris,” he said, as we went forward again, “what
can be done? Humanity, piety, and every element of
the soul call for the deepest commiseration of this unhappy
people. I sometimes feel that it would be better
to send them in a mass out of Egypt into Arabia, and
follow them with an army to see that they went beyond
our boundaries, and then establish a cordon of military
posts from Ezion-Geber, on the Arabian Sea, to the
shores of the Great Sea, north. But how could we
provide food for such a host, now amounting to two and
a half millions of people? Thousands would perish in
the wilderness for want of water and food. Only a

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miracle of the gods could preserve them, their women
and children, from a lingering death. And would not
this be more cruel than the edict of Amunophis; only
executing it in an indirect way, and on a gigantic scale?
I would, were I Pharaoh to-day, give the half of my
kingdom to the wise man who could devise a practicable
way of freeing Egypt from the Hebrews, without destroying
them or suffering them to die in the wilderness.
If men are ever deified, such a benefactor would deserve
the honor.”

These words, my dear mother, were spoken with deep
feeling, and showed me that the heart of Remeses is
manly and tender, that his sentiments are always elevated
and noble, and that the oppression of the Hebrew
is not so much the fault of himself or of the queen
mother, as it is the irresistible sequence of causes which
were in action before they were born; and to the effects
of which they must yield, until the gods in their wisdom
and power make known to them the way to remove
from the land so great an evil: for none but the Deity
Supreme is wise enough to solve this intricate problem
of Egypt. Certain it is, that if the Hebrews go on multiplying
and growing as they now do, in another generation
they will outnumber the Egyptians, and will need only
a great leader like their warlike ancestor Prince Abram,
or the hero king of Philistia, who established the Phœ
nician dynasty, to enable them to subvert the kingdom,
and upon its ruins establish another Syro-Hebraic
dynasty. One of their ancestors has already ruled
Egypt, and another may yet sit in the very seat of the

As we re-entered the City of the Sun, we passed by

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the base of an obelisk which Queen Amense is erecting
to mark the era and acts of her long reign. Upon it
were sculptured representations of her battles with the
Ethiopians, her wars with Libya, and her conquest of
Arabia. The work was executed by Phœnician and
Egyptian artists; and I am rejoiced to see that the
painters of Tyre and the sculptors of Sidon are greatly
esteemed for the delicacy and perfection of their work.
When these persons saw me, they dropped their pencils
and chisels, and with their hands upon their bosoms,
manifested every sign of delight. You may suppose I
responded with more than usual gratification to the
homage thus paid me; for in a foreign land the sight of
the humblest of one's own countrymen, refreshes the
eye and warms the heart.

But I have too long occupied your time, dearest
mother, with one letter.

Your devoted son,

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Isle of Rhoda, Nile. Royal and beloved Mother:

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My preceding letters, dearest mother, have enabled
you to form some idea of the Hebrew vassalage,
which is one of the peculiarities of Egypt. This subject
has deeply interested me. In that oppressed people
I behold Syrians and men of my own race, as it were,
reduced to such a pitiable and miserable condition. My
sympathies are therefore naturally with them. Was not
Prince Abram, of Palestine, who conquered the enemy
of our ancestor's throne in those days, Chedorlaomer,
King of Elam and Tidal, and sovereign of the nations
east of the inland sea, the founder of their family; and
was not the same Abram the friend of Neathor, the
founder or restorer of Tyre upon the Isle? When I
recall these facts of past history, and how ably the wise
Prince Joseph ruled here, I am deeply moved at their
present degradation and suffering.

Since writing to you, I have conversed with the queen
upon the subject. I find her ready and willing, with
mind and heart and hand, to take any safe steps for
putting an end to this bondage. But, as she feelingly

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“It is an evil which descended to me with the crown
and sceptre of my father; and I know not how to remove
it, and yet protect that crown which I am bound to
transmit to Remeses!”

Such then, dear mother, is the present condition of
Hebrew servitude. When it will terminate, whether by
some bold act of Remeses, when he comes to the throne,
or by their own act, or by the intervention of the gods,
are questions the solution of which lies hidden in the
womb of the future.

Not all the Hebrews are employed in the field. It
has of late years been a fashion with the nobles, governors,
and chief captains of Egypt to have the young
captives of both sexes as servants near their persons;
their beauty, activity, and trustfulness rendering these
Syrian youths particularly fitted for this domestic employment.
Thus, I have seen Hebrew pages attending
on lords and ladies in their palaces, and Hebrew maidens
acting as personal attendants upon the mistress of the
family. These young foreigners soon become favorites,
and are rewarded for their devotion and usefulness by
rich dresses and jewels, which last they all especially
delight in, and wear in great quantities. The Egyptians,
also, lavishly display them on their fingers, in their
ears, and upon their necks. Every lord wears a large
signet, on which is carved his cartouch, or shield of
arms. To present this to any friend is a mark of the
highest confidence and honor. Such an expression of
regard, you will remember, the Prince Remeses bestowed
upon me. With it I shall seal this letter, that
you may see its designs in the hieroglyph representation.

The queen has three Hebrew pages, noble and

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princely-looking boys, with fine, sparkling, black eyes, and
intelligent faces; but there is a fixed air of pensiveness
about them all, which is perhaps the result of hereditary
oppression. This pensive look I have remarked
in Prince Remeses, whose style of face is very strongly
Syriac or Hebraic. Indeed, I have seen an old Hebrew
bondman, a gardener in the palace garden, by the name
of Amram, who is so strikingly like the prince that I
can easily see by him, how Remeses himself will look
at eighty years of age. But this Syriac countenance of
Remeses comes from his grandmother, Ephtha, the
daughter of the last Phœnician Pharaoh; yet it is marvellous
he has about him nothing of the Egyptian type.
The Egyptian or Nilotic race, have a sharp and prominent
face, in which a long and straight, or gently aquiline
nose forms a principal part. The eye is sometimes
oblique; the chin short and retracted; the lips rather
full and tumid, so to speak; and the hair, when it is suffered
to escape the razor in times of mourning, long and
flowing. The head is elongated upward, with a receding
forehead. The profile is delicate, rather than strong.
This style of features and head is strictly Egyptian, and
pertains to every class, from Amense on the throne to
the priests and people. I see it sculptured on all the
tombs and monuments, and carved on the most ancient
sarcophagi. The head of Horus is but a sublimer modification
of this type.

On the contrary, the head of the Hebrew is large and
round, with full brows, a forehead low in front, and
high temples. The nose is strongly eagle-like; the eyes
set even, but of an almond-shape—yet large, full, and
exceedingly black, and soft in expression. The chin is

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full; the face oval; the hair short, and inclined to curl
in the neck and over the brow. The profile is strong
and bold—not unlike the Arabian. The Egyptian is
slender and light; the Hebrew usually below the medium
height, with broad shoulders and full chest. The
Egyptian has a pale reddish-copper complexion—save
the women, who are bright olive-colored—while the
Hebrew face is a ruddy and finely toned brown. The
Egyptian females, when not exposed to the sun and
outer door labor, are exceedingly fair. The children of
the race are all beautiful. Prince Remeses does not
share a single characteristic of this Egyptian national
head and face; on the contrary, he resembles the highest
type of the Hebrew. Is not this remarkable? That
is, is it not wonderful that the Syriac blood, derived
from the Queen Ephtha, should descend pure to the
third generation, unmingled with the Thebaïd characteristics
of Amunophis, his grandfather?

I am not aware whether the prince is conscious of his
great likeness to this oppressed people, nor would I be
so rude as to speak to him of it; for though he has sympathy
for them, and tries to improve their condition,
yet he possesses that haughty sense of superiority which
is natural, in a prince and an Egyptian educated to despise
them both as foreigners and slaves of the crown.

The father of Remeses, as I have before said, was the
Vicegerent or Prince of Upper Egypt, and one of the
royal line of the powerful Theban kings. He had been
married but a few months to Pharaoh's daughter, when,
being called to repulse an invasion of the warlike Ethiopians,
he was slain in battle. Remeses was born not
long afterwards, and is, therefore, in a twofold degree the

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heir of the silver crown of the Thebaïd. Had he been
willing to leave his mother, she would, when he became
thirty years old (which is the age of maturity by the
laws of Egypt), have sent him with a splendid retinue
to Upper Egypt, and made him Prince of Thebes, as his
father had been before him. But he chose to remain
with the queen, to whom he appears as much attached
as I am to you, my dear mother; and Amense substituted
a nephew of her deceased husband, Prince Mœris,
and placed him, four years since, on the vicegerent
throne of the kingdom of the Upper Nile.

It was this Prince Mœris, with whom Remeses was to
dine in the palace on the day we drove to the treasure-city
of Raamses. I was also present, dear mother, at
the dinner. The Lord Mœris is about the age of Remeses,
but altogether a very different person. He is thoroughly
Egyptian, both in looks and lineage as well as by prejudice
and feeling.

He has a slender, elegant person; delicate straight
features; a high, retreating forehead; and a nose slightly
aquiline. His mouth is full-lipped and sensual. His
retreating chin betrays deficiency of firmness, and an
undue proportion of obstinacy. The expression of his
oblique, Nubian-looking eye, I did not like. It was
sinister and restlessly observant. He was reserved, and
while he asked questions from time to time, he never
replied to any. His complexion is a bright olive, and
he is a handsome man; his rich dress increasing the fine
effect of his personal appearance. The uniform he wore
was that of Admiral of the Nile; the queen having appointed
him commander of the great fleet of war-galleys
she has collected near Memphis for the subjugation of

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Ethiopia. He has, therefore, come down within a few
days to take charge of his ships. The character of this
man for courage is undoubted, but he has the reputation
of great cruelty. He tarries long at the wine-cup, and
in his private life is a gross sensualist. He professes
great piety to the gods, and sacrifices often, with pomp
and display. In Memphis yesterday he burned incense
with his own hands to Apis, and to-day he worshipped
Mnevis, the sacred ox of On.

He was more communicative with me at the dinner
than with Remeses. He expressed the greatest admiration
of Phœnicia, praised the brilliancy of your reign,
and the rich commerce of the Isle of Tyre. He said he
had a great reverence for our deities, Astarte, Hercules,
Io, and Isis; for, he asserted that Isis was quite as much
a Phœnician as an Egyptian goddess. “Had he not in
Thebes,” said he, “instituted a procession and a rite in
honor of the return of Isis from Phœnicia! We are
one in religion, one in commerce, one in glory,” he continued,
with fulsome enthusiasm. “Are not our kingdoms
both ruled by queens? Let us draw closer the
bonds of alliance, and together rule the world! You
are a free city, your Tyre! never been conquered!
Amunophis would have exacted tribute, but your king
replied: `Since the foundation of the earth, and the
great Deluge retired from Libanus, Tyre has been free,
and will remain free to the end of days.”'

I answered, that I trusted the words of my noble
grandsire would remain prophetic forever. He then
gave as a toast:—

“Phœnicia and Egypt, twin sisters of Isis, and health
to their fair queens!”

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This was well received. Mœris was, however, evidently
deep in his cups, and soon became quarrelsome
towards Remeses, to whom he said, with a sneer—

“You and I, prince, when the queen, my aunt, has
departed to the shades of the realm of Osiris, will divide
Egypt between us. I will be content with the Thebaïd
country, and will defend your borders on that side. Two
crowns are too much for one man's head, albeit you have
a large one upon your shoulders!”

“Prince Mœris,” said Remeses, with a look of indignation,
“forget not yourself in my mother's palace!”

Thus speaking, the son of Amense rose from the table,
and I followed him to the portico which overlooked the

“That man, Sesostris,” said he to me, after a moment's
silence, “would not hesitate to conspire to the
whole throne and both crowns of Egypt, if he were
hopeful of success.”

“He is a man of an evil eye,” I said.

“And heart! But he must not be incensed. He is
powerful, and as wicked as powerful. In a few days
he will be on his way to Upper Egypt; and in this
war with Ethiopia, will find an outlet for his restless

“Suppose (the gods guarding your gracious mother,
the queen) you should come to the throne; what,
Remeses, would you do with or for your cousin, your
father's nephew? Would you suffer so dangerous a man
to hold the viceroyalty of Upper Nile?”

“I should wear both crowns, Sesostris,” answered Remeses,
quietly and steadily.

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While we were thus conversing, a Hebrew page came,
and said:

“My lord prince, her majesty is taken ill, and desires
to have you come to her.”

“My mother ill!” he exclaimed, with deadly pallor
covering his face. “Pardon me, prince, I must leave
you and go to her.” And in a moment he hastened to
the wing of the palace occupied by his mother and the
ladies of her retinue.

The queen had left the table some time before Prince
Mœris began to converse with me, excusing herself on
the plea of slight fatigue and indisposition; for she had
passed an hour that day in giving directions to the chief
architect, to whom was intrusted the erection of her
obelisk, outside of the gate of the Temple of the Sun.
Remeses had been gone but a few moments, when I beheld
Prince Mœris borne across the terrace by his
servants to his chariot, in a state of helpless intoxication.

The illness of the queen was not of an alarming
nature, and the next day she appeared in the saloon,
but was very pale. The result is, the court physicians
have advised her to go to her palace on the isle of
Rhoda, in the Nile, as a more salubrious spot than the
interior of a vast city. Remeses accompanied her
thither, and the date of my letter, my dear mother,
shows you that I am also still one of the queen's favored
household. Her health continues doubtful, but she is
much improved in appearance by the change. Remeses,
with beautiful filial devotion, passes with her every hour
he can spare from the various pressing duties which demand
his personal attention; and preparations for the

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Ethiopian war call for all his time as general of the

Opposite the palace in which I write to you, the plain
between the river and the pyramids is covered with a vast
army assembled there within three days, preparatory to
their southern march; while the bosom of the Nile, for half
a league above this palace-covered island, is almost concealed
by war-galleys, which, to the number of one thousand
and upward, are at anchor ready to ascend the river

From the lofty west wing of the propylon of the gate
of this island-palace of the Pharaohs, I command not only
a prospect of the fleet, but of the plain of the pyramids
outside of Memphis. I have but to turn slowly round
from that elevation, to see On with its three hundred
and sixty temples—its gardens and towers; and Raamses,
the treasure-city, to the east: to the south, the Nile,
studded with barges and gay vessels having silken and
colored sails, filled with citizens, come to look at the
fleet of war-ships; the immense squadron itself, gay with
the variegated flags of its different divisions and captains;
with towers, temples, obelisks, and propyla on the two
shores terminating the perspective: and on the west,
Jizeh, with its sphinxes and colossi, its terraced gardens
and amphitheatre of the gods; and still farther off, Memphis
united to the Nile by a magnificent aqueduct; and
the pyramids of Cheops and of his daughter. Between
the city and these mysterious mausolea, stands alone,
amid gardens, the red granite temple of Pthah and
Athor, the two chief divinities of Memphis: for Apis,
the sacred bull of Memphis, is not a divinity, properly,
but only a visible incarnation of Osiris, the emblem and
type of the power and strength of the Supreme Creator.

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Imagine this vast and varied scene of architectural and
naval glory, interspersed with verdure of the brightest
green, with palm, orange, and fig trees, garden linked
to garden, grove to grove, and villas half seen through
the foliage; and lastly, the mighty river flowing with
shining waves amid the inimitable landscape, and you
have before you a scene of grandeur and beauty such
as Egypt alone can produce. Add the myriads of human
beings, the crowded galleys, the thronged shores, the
eighty thousand soldiers encamped on the west plain,
the army of chariots drawn up on the east bank, and
farther up, opposite the aqueduct of Pharaoh Apophis,
a battalion of twelve thousand cavalry manœuvering,
and the scene which I, an hour since, beheld from
the top of the gateway, is before you.

Since I wrote the last sentence, I have witnessed a
naval review, with a sham battle. The Prince Mœris, in
a gorgeous galley decorated with all the emblems of the
cities and nomes of Egypt, after displaying the skill of
his one hundred oarsmen, and the swiftness of his vessel
in front of the palace, before the eyes of the queen,
moved among his ships, and gave orders for their division
into lines of battle. The greater number of these galleys
had only a single mast with a long swallow-winged
sail; and were propelled by forty rowers. But the
ships of the captains were larger and more imposing.
All the galleys were handsomely painted, and the whole
fleet together made a splendid moving spectacle, which
was heightened by the thousand bannerets fluttering in
the wind, and the ten thousand shields and spears gleaming
in the sun, as they were held in the hands of the
soldiers upon their decks.

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When the signal was given for the two parties to
combat, the air was filled by a loud shout, and a hundred
galleys charged each other, just as did the battalions
of chariots in the review I have already described.
The vessels, set in motion by the rowers, were driven
towards each other with terrific velocity. The Abyssinian
soldiers upon the bows, and the bowmen in the
tops, shot off flights of arrows, which sounded like a
storm of wind, as they hurtled through the air. The
Libyan spearmen, on the lofty poops, brandished their
spears with wild cries; while the Nubians, amidships,
struck their triangular shields with battle-axes of iron,
producing a sound like crashing thunders. The war
bugles and hollow drums beaten on board each vessel
increased the loud confusion, and added to the terror of
the scene. The fall of thousands of oars, the rush of
waters from the cleaving bows, the shouts of the captains,
the warlike spirit and battle-fierceness of the whole,
presented a spectacle of sublimity unequalled. Nor was
it without an element of terror. Such was the excited
manner of the simulating combatants, I believed that
no earthly power could prevent a real collision and
hand-to-hand conflict in hot blood, when, at a signal
from the Prince Mœris, the rowers of the leading galleys
turned suddenly, as they came within touch of each
other's sweeps, and so, one after another wheeling in
line, both divisions passed down the river, until they
moved in parallel columns. The whole manœuvre was
one of the most wonderful exhibitions of naval discipline
and generalship. Ere the shouts of the people on the
shores and in the numerous pleasure barges had died
away, the two columns, at a signal from the mast of the

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ship of their admiral, came side by side, and a battle
between the soldiers on opposite decks commenced—one
party attempting to board, the other repelling them.
Not less than six thousand combatants were engaged at
once, above the heads of the banks of rowers. The
clash of swords and spears and battle-axes, and other
offensive and defensive weapons, produced a noise so
terrible and grand that I believe there is no other sound
on earth, as well calculated to quicken the pulse and
bring out all the enthusiasm of the soul of a man. I can
compare these metallic and iron tones, only to what might
be the sound of the brazen voice of Mars himself rolling
his war-cry along the battle-ranks of his foes. Suddenly
the iron din of war ceased, and separating, one of the
divisions commenced a flight, and the other a pursuit.
This scene was the most exciting of all. The chase was
in a direction down the east side of the island, opposite
the queen's window; for all these exhibitions were
given in her honor, and, though by no means well, she
remained upon the terrace during the whole; and it
was, perhaps, the consciousness of their monarch's eye
being upon them, that caused these demi-barbaric soldiers,
gathered from all the provinces and tributary
countries of Egypt, to surpass themselves, being ready
even, at her nod, to convert the mock battle into a real

The two fleets, flying and pursuing, moved past the
island like a sirocco. Their lion or eagle-headed prows
tossed high in the air clouds of white spray. The roar
of the waters as the vessels ploughed through them, the
dash of the banks of oars, the cries of pursuit, the whizzing
and shrieks of arrows cleaving the air, the shouts of

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the contending thousands, and the velocity with which
they moved, brought color to the queen's cheek, and the
light of interest to her eyes. It was now an actual and
real trial for mastery in speed; and the contest partook
of all the realities of a war-chase. The two divisions,
rounding the lower end of the island, were hidden by
the Temple of Isis, which crowns it, but soon reappeared
on the west arm of the river, ascending. When they
came opposite to the queen, having passed entirely
round the island, they resumed their former line, two or
three with broken banks of oars, and shattered poops or
prows from collision.

Prince Mœris came on shore to receive the compliments
of the queen, and dined with us. Remeses was
not present, being with the cohorts of cavalry; for he is
visiting and inspecting every arm of the service, as it is
intended this shall be the most formidable host that has
ever been sent into Ethiopia.

Adieu, dearest mother, and believe me

Your truly devoted son,

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Island Palace of Rhoda. My dearest Mother:

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It is with heartfelt pleasure I assure you of the
recovery of the queen. The heart of the noble and devoted
Remeses is lightened of a heavy weight of solicitude.
Smiles once more revisit his features, and cheerfulness
replaces his late depression.

“Sesostris,” said he to me this morning, as we were
returning in his galley from a visit to the pyramids
and vast city of tombs that stretch between Memphis
and the Libyan hills, “if my excellent and dear mother
had died, I should have been made one of the most unhappy
of men. I shall to-morrow, in testimony of my
gratitude, offer in the Temple of Osiris a libation and incense
to the God of Health and Life, wherever in his
illimitable universe such a Being may dwell.”

“Then you would not, my dear Remeses, offer it to
Osiris himself?” I said.

“You have heard, my friend,” he replied, “my views
of these mysteries of faith: that I look, through all material
and vicarious representatives, onward and upward
to the Infinite and Supreme Essence of Life—the Generator,
Upholder, and Guide of the worlds and all that
dwell upon them. From a child I have never entered,

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as my dear mother does, into the heart and spirit of our
worship. There is something within me which tells me
that we consist of a twofold being—a soul within a body.
The soul must have had a Soul as its creator; therefore,
O Sesostris, do I believe in a Supreme Soul of the universe—
the Fountain of all souls; a Being of thought,
invisibility, intelligence, and reason, each supreme and
eternal; for I can conceive no creator of a Soul, nor end
of its existence. Before all things that actually exist,
and before all beings, there is One Being whom I would
designate, for want of another term, God of gods, prior
to the first god or king of earth, remaining unmoved and
unapproachable in the singleness of His own unity. He
is greater than, as He was prior to, all material things, of
which He is the sole fountain; and He is also the foundation
of things conceived by the intellect, and from His
intellect spring the spirits of the gods and the souls of

“Then,” said I to the prince, to whom I had listened
with surprise and pleasure—for, mother, similar to these
are the deep mysteries taught by our most sacred priests
of Io, into which I was initiated when I became twenty-five
years of age—“then you believe that God is Intellect
conceiving itself, and that the creation of man was but
the beginning of an infinite series of resistless conceptions
of Himself?”

“Not resistless, but voluntary. Finding Himself existing,
He multiplied Himself, for His own glory and delight
primarily; and secondly, for the happiness of the
offspring of His Intellect.”

“We are then His offspring, that is, our souls?”

“Without doubt, if my theories be founded in truth,”

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he answered contemplatively. We were then in mid-river,
and the forty-four rowers of our gilded barge were slowly
dipping their brazen-mounted oars into the glassy water,
while with gentle motion we were borne towards the
isle of palaces and terraces. Our heads were shaded from
the sun by a silken pavilion stretched above the stern
of the galley, under which we reclined upon sumptuous
cushions as we conversed. Remeses, however, is by no
means a voluntary seeker of luxurious ease; but in
Egypt, where splendor and voluptuous furniture everywhere
invite to indulgence, one must either deprive himself
of all comforts, for the sake of enduring hardship, or
yield unchallenging to the countless seductive forms of
couches, lounges, chairs, and sofas, which everywhere,
on the galleys and in houses, offer themselves to his

The air was balmy and soft, and fanned our faces;
while the beautiful shores, lined with villas of the chief
men of the court, afforded a grateful picture to the
eye. Our rowers let their sweeps fall and rise to the
low and harmonious time of a river chant, which, while
it inspired conversation between the prince and myself,
did not disturb, but rather veiled our subdued voices.

“Do you believe there are lesser gods?” I asked.

“Do you mean, Sesostris, beings higher in rank than
men, and so created, to whom the Supreme Intellect of
the Universe delegates a part of His authority and power
over man and nature? Such, in its purity, is our Egyptian
idea of gods.”

“Such is not the Phœnician,” I answered, hesitatingly;
for I felt how far in advance of the hero demigods
of our Assyrio-Median mythology was the Egyptian

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theological conception of a god; while the still sublimer
idea held by Remeses, that they are celestial princes
under the Supreme Prince, created as his servants, yet
so far above men as to be as gods to us, took fast hold of
my imagination, and commended itself to my intellect.

“What, my dear Sesostris, is the mythology of your
country?” he asked, with a look of deep interest. “I
have read some of your sacred books, and from them I
perceive we obtain our myths of Isis, Mars, Hercules,
Vulcan, and even Venus, who is your Astarte and our
Athor. We owe much of our religion and learning to
you Tyrians, my Sesostris.”

“The recipient has become mightier than the giver,”
I replied. “Without doubt you have received from us
the great invention of the phonetic alphabet, which your
scholars are already making use of, though I learn the
priests oppose it as an invasion upon the sacred writing
of the hieroglyphic representations. I have seen here
many rolls of papyrus written in our Phœnician letter,
in the vernacular Koptic words, and executed with taste
and beauty.”

“It is not pictorial, and therefore the priests, who
are all artists and lovers of colors, reject it. It will be
slowly introduced. Upon obelisks and tombs the brilliant
and varied hieroglyphic writing will continue, even
though the records and rolls may by and by be written
with the Tyrian alphabet. You have seen my Chaldaic
letter, which I have formed partly on the model of your
great Kadmus, and partly on the sacred characters, reducing
forms of things to outlines and strokes of the
stylus. This I invented, hoping to introduce it into
Egypt, if the Tyrian letter is opposed by our priests, on

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the score of being foreign cabalistic signs; for such do they
see fit to regard them, and speak of them. But, my Sesostris,
let me learn of you something of your mythology.”

I was about to reply, when my attention was attracted
to a “procession of the dead” crossing the river just
above us, the body being placed in a gorgeous car
which stood in a richly painted and gilded baris, with a
curved prow carved with the head of Osiris. It was
tied to a barge, with twenty rowers, which moved to
a slow and solemn strain of music that came wildly
floating across the waters to our ears, mingled with the
wails of mourners who crowded the deck of the galley;
chiefly women with long dishevelled hair and naked
breasts, which they beat frantically at times, with piercing
cries. Through a small window in the ark or car I
could see the painted visage upon the head of the mummy

It soon landed, and we resumed our conversation.

“You are aware, O prince,” I said, turning to him,
“that Phœnicia was settled among the first of the nations,
after Typhon sent the flood of waters to destroy
Osiris upon earth. Of course you Egyptians believe in
the universal inundation of the earth?”

“The tradition is well-founded,” he answered. “We
believe that mighty nations existed aforetime, beyond
the history of any kingdom, and that for their evils the
Divine Creator of men brought upon them as punishment
a mighty unknown sea, which drowned the world:
that Menes, a great and good king, also called NoeMenes,
was spared by the gods, he with all his family
being saved in a ship of the old world, which sailed to
the mountains of Arabia Deserta, where, guided by a

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dove, they landed and sacrificed to the gods. This
Menes, descending from the mountain, founded Egypt,
first building This, or Thebis, and then Memphthis, dividing
Egypt into the Thinite and Memphite provinces;
and so from Egypt all the world was repeopled.

“Such is our tradition, O Remeses,” I said, smiling,
“only instead of a mountain in Arabia, it was Libanus,
in Syria, to which his galley was guided, not by a dove,
but by a raven; and that his name was Ammon, or
Hammun; and that the first city built was Sidon, and
the next the city of the Island of Tyre.”

Remeses returned my smile and said, “No doubt there
was a disposition in all our forefathers to give the honor
of being the oldest nation to their own. Ham-mun is
also a person in our Egyptian tradition, but is called
the son of Menes; who, rebelling against his father,
was driven from This or Thebis into Africa, where he
founded Libya, and erected to himself, as a god, the ancient
temple and worship of Ammon. From him come
the Nubians and Ethiopians.”

“Then I will claim no traditionary alliance with him,”
I answered good-humoredly. “Our Ammon was called
also Hercules, and the first temple of the earth was built
to him on the rocky isle of ancient Tyre. Then Belus, the
hero and warrior-god, and founder of Babylon, became
the patron of Tyre; and a noble temple was also erected
to Nimrod, who slew the wild beasts that swarmed in
ancient Syria, and who became the protector of shepherds
and agriculture. Thus came our first gods, being men
deified; while yours are but attributes, or created celestial
powers, high above men; or animated forms representing
the Deity incarnate and comprehensible to the

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senses. Baalbec was a city built to Bel or Belus, who,
like your Osiris, is the symbol of the sun, which, of
burnished gold, he displayed upon his shield in battle.
In Phœnicia we call him `the Lord of the Sun,' and the
`Sun-God.' We pay him divine honors by sacrifices,
libations, and offerings of incense. And this recalls a discovery
I recently made in On, that the true meaning of
Re and of On is not `the City of the Sun,' but the `Lord
of the Sun's' city; that is, the city of Osiris, who is the
lord of the sun. This meaning of the name at once removes
from On the impression which was at first made
upon my mind, that you, and the queen, and your whole
court, worshipped the sun as the Persic and Parthian
nations do; whereas it is Osiris, the Lord of the Sun, that
is the Supreme god, generator, producer, and creator of
the sun and all things that are. No sooner had I made
this discovery, which I did by conversing with the high-priest
of On, than I perceived that whatsoever grossness
may be found in the religion of the lower castes of the
people, who seldom see beyond the symbol, the theology
of the wise and great is free from idolatry.”

“I am glad you justify us in this matter, dear Sesostris,”
answered the prince. “We are not idolaters like
the Persian and Barbara kings. Our sacred books teach
an intellectual and spiritual theology. But, as I have
before said to you, the Invisible is so veiled from the
people, by the visible forms under which he is offered to
them by the priesthood, that while we adore the God of
power and strength in Apis, they worship the bull himself:
while we in the form of Horus, with his uræus and
disk, adore Him who made him a benefactor to men and
a pursuer of evil, they bow down to the hawk-headed

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statue of porphyry and worship the sculptured colossus
of stone. But I interrupt you. Proceed, if you please,
with the account of the origin of your country's religion.”

“I have not much more to add of interest,” I answered,
“save of Adonis and Astarte.”

“Are not these your Osiris and Isis?” asked the prince

“I will first explain,” said I, not immediately answering
his question, “what we in Phœnicia think of Isis.
The priests teach that the identity of the goddess Io, who
is worshipped with rites unusually imposing at Byblos,
is one with Isis.”

“What is your opinion, Sesostris?”

“There is,” I answered, “a close resemblance between
the rites which relate to the death and revival of
Adonis at Byblos, and of your divinity Osiris in Egypt.
Indeed the priests at Byblos claim to have the sepulchre
of Osiris among them, and maintain that all the rites
which are commonly referred to Adonis properly relate
to Osiris.”

“Then Egypt derives Osiris from Phœnicia?” remarked
Remeses, with a slight movement of the brows,
and a smile.

“Without doubt,” I replied. “In Tyre we call Egypt
the daughter of Phœnicia.”

“The daughter has out-grown the mother, dear Sesostris.
We are proud of our parentage. We bow to
Phœnicia as the mistress of letters and queen of the
merchants of the earth. But what think the priests of
Baalbec of Osiris and Isis?”

“It is the tradition of those haughty priests that they
are distinct persons,” I replied. “The ceremonies and

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rites with which they worship these deities are truly
magnificent, and are invested with every form of the
beautiful and gorgeous. Ours, as I have said, in some
points resemble your Egyptian rites in honoring Osiris
and Isis; but while you Egyptians, Remeses, adore only
an abstract attribute of the deity, we adore the hero
and the heroic woman—Adonis and Astarte. We rise
not beyond them. We elevate them to the heavens and
to the moon, and call them our gods. Truly, in the
presence of the sublimer, purer myth which is the element
of your faith, O Remeses, I feel that I am not far
above the Barbara kings of Southern Africa, who deify
each his predecessor. The priests of Isis, when they
were in Phœnicia, attempted to elevate our worship;
but we are still idolaters, that is, mere men-worshippers.
Or, where we do not pay them divine honors, we offer
them to the sun, and moon, and stars. I must be
initiated, O Remeses, into the profounder intellectual
mysteries of your spiritual myth, now that I am in

“You shall have your wish gratified. The high
priest of On shall receive orders to open to you (what
is closed to all strangers) the sacred and mystic rites of
our faith.”

“I have alluded to the mysteries of the temple at
Tyre,” I added. “Initiated thereinto, I was taught that
religion had a higher object than human heroes, and
that in Astarte is worshipped the daughter of Heaven
and Light, who is LIFE, and that Adonis, her son by the
Earth, signifies Truth. Thus from heaven spring Light,
Life, and Truth. These three, say the mystic books
which I studied, constitute the Trinity of God, who

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consists and subsists only in this undivided Trinity as a
unit; not Light alone, not Life alone, nor Truth alone;
but One in Three. That these three are not three
deities, just as in geometry the three sides and three
angles are not three triangles, but one triangle. That in
order to bring this mystery to a level with the minds of
men, light was symbolized by the sun, life by Astarte,
truth by Adonis. In the temple of Bel-Pheor, in Cœle-Syria,
the sun itself is worshipped as light, life, and truth
in one; his rays representing light, his heat life, his
material disk or body truth.”

“This is interesting to me, Sesostris,” said Remeses.
“It explains to me what I did not before understand,
why the Syrians worship the sun. To them it is the
majestic symbol of the trinity of deity. But I fear that
in Egypt he is worshipped as an idol; for he, doubtless,
is worshipped by many, and in many cities are temples
to him. But this material worship, which separates the
symbol from the truth behind it, was introduced by the
Palestinian dynasty, and it is almost the only trace it
has left in Egypt of its presence. The worship of Osiris,
rightly understood, is the worship of the deity, as revealed
in our sacred books. But the mystery of his
trinity is unknown to our theology. Have you many
temples of the sun in Tyre?”

“One only,” was my answer, “but worthy, if I may
so say, from its splendor, to stand in your city of `the
Lord of the Sun,' as I must call it.”

“Is there not a city of your kingdom called Baal-phegor,
in which is a famous sun-temple?”

“You mean Baalbec, the same words, only changed
slightly. This city deserves its great fame, so grand are

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its fanes, so noble its palaces, so imposing the worship of
the sun before its altars, so gorgeous the interiors of its
temples, so rich the apparel of its priests, so sublime its
choral worship. It is in Syrio-Euphrates, and is so shaded
by palms that it has the aspect, in approaching it across
the desert, of being an oasis filled with temples.”

“Is not Phœnicia a lovely land, Sesostris?” he asked,
at the same time returning the salutation of the admiral,
Pathromenes, who passed in his war-galley, on his way
to join the Prince Mœris, whose fleet sails to-morrow on
its expedition. I was glad, also, to behold again my courteous
friend of the Pelusian coast, and cordially received
and answered his polite and pleased recognition of my

“It is indeed a lovely land, with its verdant plains,
majestic mountains clothed with cedar, and beautiful
but narrow rivers. It is covered with fair cities from
the peninsula of Tyre to the further limits of Cœle-Syria,
and is a rich and lovely kingdom, populous and happy.
Its two great cities, Tyre and Sidon, are called the eyes
of the world.”

“I have so heard,” he answered, “and when this Ethiopian
war ends, and I find time to be absent, I hope to
cross the sea to your kingdom and see `the mother of
Egypt,' as she also calls herself; `the merchant of the
seas,' whose galleys have discovered in unknown oceans,
beyond the Pillars of the West, the isles of the blessed.”

“So report our bold and venturous mariners,” I answered.

“We who stay at home, know not, Sesostris, what
marvels lie beyond the seas at the extremity of the plane
of the earth's vast area. It is possible that islands and

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lands of wonderful beauty may exist where the sun
wheels over the West to return to his rising in the Orient;
and if we credit mariners who follow the shores
of the Arabian and Indian seas, there are fair shores
from whence come off to them breezes laden with fragrance
of unknown flowers, while birds of rare melody
fill the air with their songs by day; but at night the
odorant forests echo with the dread roar of fierce
monsters, that guard the shores from the invasion of

“I have sailed along those shores, if I may be so bold
as to speak in such a presence, my lord prince,” interrupted
the captain of the galley, who had stood by listening
to our discourse.

“Say on, Rathos,” answered the prince courteously.
“What have you to tell of marvels on foreign seas?”

“The lands at the earth's end, your excellency, are
not like ours of Egypt. I have seen isles where the
men are like larger monkeys, and have a language no
one understands, and build their houses in the trees.
Evil demons I doubt not, or else souls sent back to earth
from Amenthe, by Osiris, to atone for crimes in monstrous
forms, neither human nor beast!”

“I have heard of these creatures,” said I. “How far
hast thou sailed, O Rathos?”

“To the very edge of the world, my lord of Tyre,” he
answered quietly. “I was in a ship going to Farther
Ind. In sailing round the end of the earth we lost the
shore in a dark storm; and when day came we saw only
sky and water. All were in consternation to be thus
between heaven and sea, and no land to guide our course.
To add to our terror, I perceived that we were borne

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swiftly upon an ocean-current eastward. It increased
in velocity, and I soon saw that we must be approaching
the verge of the vast and horrid gulf, over which
the full ocean plunges, a thousand leagues in breadth,
prone into chaos and the regions of the lost spirits of the
unburied souls of men! But by the interposition of the
god of winds, to whom I vowed a libation and a bale of
the richest spices of Bengal, a great storm swept over
the sea against us, and before it we fled as with wings,
until we came to a great island, under the shelter of
which we anchored, rejoicing in our safety.”

“Verily, brave Rathos, thou wert in a great peril,” I
said. “Thinkest thou it was at the world's end?”

“So said the king of the island, and he congratulated
us on our escape; saying that few ships, when once
upon that downward tide, ever returned again to the top
of the earth.”

“Thinkest thou the earth is square, Rathos, from what
voyages thou hast made?” I asked of the gray-haired
captain, whose silvery locks were braided around his
head, and covered by a green embroidered bonnet, with
a fringed cape falling to his neck.

“Or a triangle, my lord prince; but some say four
square, with a burning mountain at each angle.”

“Which is thine own opinion, Rathos?” asked the
prince, who had been listening to our conversation.

“That it is irregular and jagged, my lord of Egypt,
in shape not unlike this fair Isle of Rhoda, at which we
are about to land.”

“And what thinkest thou, Rathos, is its foundation?”
continued the prince.

“The Indian wise men say it is held up on the back of a

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huge tortoise; and our priests of Egypt that it floats in a
vast ocean; while in Jaffa they teach that it floats on a
boundless sea of fire. I know not, my lord prince. I
leave knowledge of such wisdom to the great philosophers;
and for my part am content to live upon our fair
earth as long as the gods will, be it fire, or tortoise, or
even though it stand on nothing, as the people in Persia
hold that it does. But we are at the terrace-steps, my
lord of Memphis!”

Here he bowed low, holding his hand to his heart,
and left us to superintend the landing of the galley, at
the porphyry staircase of the propylæum of the palace.

“Sesostris,” said the prince to me, “has the idea occurred
to you that this world may be a globe, suspended
in subtle ether, and in diurnal revolution around the
fixed sun?”

“Never, Remeses!” I cried, with a look of amazement
at this bold and original thought. “It is impossible
it should be so!”

“Nothing is impossible with the Author of creation!”
said Remeses, with great solemnity. And, then, after
an instant's pause, he added pleasantly—“On what does
the sea of fire or the tortoise rest, my dear prince?
Which theory is the most difficult to receive? But I
have given astrology considerable attention, and if you
will examine with me some observations and calculations
that I have made, I think you will be with me in
my novel opinion, that this earth may prove to be a
sphere and in orbitual motion, with its seven planets,
about the sun; its annual progress in its circuit giving
us seasons, its diurnal motion night and day! But
I see you stand perplexed and amazed. By and by

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you shall be initiated into the mysteries of my studies.
Let us land!”

Farewell, dear mother. The great length of this letter
renders it necessary that I should close it abruptly,
but believe me ever

Your dutiful son,

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Palace of Rhoda, on the Nile My beloved Mother:

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In my last letter I narrated a conversation between
Prince Remeses and myself, upon the myths of
Egypt and Phœnicia, and other subjects, while being
borne in his galley from the Memphis bank of the river
down to the Island of Rhoda. I have already described
this beautiful isle, and spoken of it as the favorite residence
of the queen. It is situated nearly midway
between her two chief cities, On and Memphis, both of
which—one on the west and the other on the east—are
in sight from the top of the central pylon of her palace,
that divides the “court of fountains and statues” from
her gardens.

Also from this point the queen commands, at one
view, the noble spectacle of her navy anchored in the
river, and her armies encamped, the one on the plain of
Memphis, and the other upon that of Raamses.

I wrote you a letter day before yesterday, my dear
mother, after my return from a very interesting visit to
the plain of Memphis, whither the prince went in his
state barge to review the 80,000 soldiers encamped
there. I will devote this letter to an account of a

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second visit, and a description of the scenes I witnessed,
and a narration of the events which transpired.

Early this morning, when the queen and Remeses
and I were about to be seated at our repast; and, as the
pious custom of the Egyptians of all ranks is, Remeses
having just asked the blessing of the gods before partaking,
lo! Prince Mœris, lord of the Thebaïd, came in
unannounced, accompanied by his favorite lion, which
always follows his steps or stalks by his side, and said,
with bluntness unsuited to the presence—

“Your majesty, I have come to say to you that I am
ready to weigh anchor and commence my voyage to the
Cataracts! I await your orders and pleasure!”

Thus speaking, he stood with his head-admiral and
half a dozen of his chief officers behind him in the
entrance, his sword at his side, and his gold helm with
its nodding plumes towering proudly. His whole appearance
was singularly splendid and martial, and he
seemed to be conscious of the effect the striking elegance
and brilliancy of his costume produced upon me;
for, though brave as Osirtasen the Conqueror, he is as
vain as ever was the fair Princess Nitocris.

Queen Amense, who enjoined the strictest etiquette
in her court, frowned at this discourteous intrusion; for
the nobles of Lower Egypt are remarkable by the grace
and refinement of their manners, and the court of the
Pharaohs has for ages been distinguished for the high
tone of its polite observances. From portico to saloon,
from saloon to ante-room, from ante-room to reception-room,
and so onward to the deepest recesses of the
palace or house, the guest is ushered by successive
pages, until the chief steward or grand-chamberlain

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admits him into the presence of the lord of the mansion,
who already, by a swift page, has been informed of the
advance of the visitor. In no case are these formalities
dispensed with by persons of high breeding. Breaking
through all such ancient and social ceremonies, the rude
Theban viceroy came before her as I have described.
The brow of Remeses darkened, but he preserved silence.

“I am glad, prince, that you have been so diligent,”
said Amense, coldly. “When will you depart?”

“Within the hour, my royal aunt. If Remeses, my
warlike cousin, wishes to co-operate with me at Thebes,
he will not long delay marching his army forward. I
hear, by a swift galley just arrived, that the fierce Ethiopian
king, Occhoris, with half his mighty host, has
already dared to enter the Thinite province, and menaces

“There is no time for delay, then,” cried Remeses,
rising from the table, leaving the grapes, figs, and
wheaten rolls untouched. “Farewell, my mother!” he
said, embracing her. “In a few weeks I shall return to
you with tidings that the scourge of your kingdom has
perished with his armies!”

I will not describe the tenderness of the parting between
the queen and Remeses, whom she would have
held, refusing to release him, if he had not gently disengaged
himself, taken up his sword and helmet, and
hastened from the apartment. Prince Mœris, with a
haughty bow to the queen, for whom he seems to entertain
bitter dislike, had already taken his departure with
his captains at his heels. I followed Remeses, and
together we crossed to the shore on the side of On, and
there meeting chariots, we were in a short time in the

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midst of the war-camp of his chariot legions. They
were encamped several stadia south of On, on the plain
beyond Raamses. Here, in the little Temple of Horus,
on the terrace of which we held our conversation about
the Hebrews as we paced its long pavement (and
which I have already repeated to you), the prince
with his chief captains offered libations and burned incense,
invoking the favor and aid of Heaven on the
expedition. He then gave his orders to his generals of
division, chiefs of legions, and captains; and the whole
host, forming in column of march, moved forward towards
the south, with trumpets sounding and the rumbling
thunder of thousands of wheels of iron. Seeing
that they were all in motion—each battalion under its
own head-captain—the prince took boat to cross the Nile
to the plain of Memphis, in order to put in motion the
army of horse and foot there encamped. On our way
over, we saw the van of the fleet of the Prince of Thebes
coming up the broad river in stately style, fifty abreast,
propelled by innumerable oars. It was a brave and
battle-like front, and what with pennons flying, spears
and shields gleaming from their poop-decks and masttowers,
and the brazen or gilt insignia of hawks', eagles',
lions', or ibis' heads rising upon a thousand topmasts,
and all catching the sunbeams, the spectacle was singularly

“There comes a prince, my Sesostris,” said Remeses
to me, as he surveyed the advancing front of war,
“who, if I should fall in this Ethiopian expedition, will
be Pharaoh of Egypt when my mother dies.”

“The gods forbid!” I exclaimed with warmth.

“He is the next of blood. It is true, my mother

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could, by will, alienate her crown and confer her
sceptre upon any one she chose to adopt. Indeed, I
now remember that, by our laws, it would be necessary
for her publicly and ceremoniously to adopt him as her
son before he could reign—since a nephew, by the ancient
Memphitic law regulating succession, cannot inherit.
Mœris would, therefore, have to be adopted.”

“Then he would never reign,” I said.

Remeses remained silent a moment. Resuming, he
said, with a tone of indignant emotion—

“Sesostris, my mother fears that evil young prince.
He possesses over her an inexplicable power. To this
influence he owes his elevation, from being a mere governor
of Saïs, to the viceroyalty of Upper Egypt. He
would not fail, should I fall, to exert his mysterious
power over her mind, and his ambition would prompt
him to aim at even the throne of all Egypt. But let us
mount!” he added, as we touched the shore.

A score of horsemen, armed with long spears, were in
waiting. Remeses and I mounted horses already provided;
and, at a wave of his hand, the whole party
dashed off along the avenue of the aqueduct, a magnificent
thoroughfare, two miles in length, bordered by palm-trees,
with, at intervals, a monolith statue of red Syenite
granite, or an obelisk, casting its needle-like shadow
across the wide, paved road. At the end of this avenue,
which leads straight from the river to the pyramids, we
turned south, and before us beheld, spread out as far
as the eye could reach, the tented field of the vast
Egyptian host, cavalry and footmen of all arms, languages,
and costumes, belonging to the nations tributary
to Egypt. I had visited this vast camp the preceding

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day. It covered a league of ground, presenting a sea
of tents, banners, plumes, spears, and shining helms.
As we came in sight, a trumpeter sounded a few loud
notes to proclaim the presence of the prince-general.
We dashed up to the central pavilion, on the summit of
which the winged sun of burnished gold showed that the
army was to march under the particular guardianship of
the god. From the summit of the staff of other handsome
tents, the emblems of generals and chiefs of battalions
were displayed in the form of silver hawks' heads,
the brazen head of a lion or wolf, or the heads of the
ibis, crocodile, and vulture. Each phalanx thus marched
under and knew its peculiar emblem, following its lead
in the column of advance on the march, and rallying
around it in the midst of battle.

Prince Remeses was in a few moments surrounded by
his generals and chief warriors, to whom he made known
the advance of the Ethiopian king, Occhoris, upon
Thebes,—intelligence of which he and the queen had
received by a mounted messenger, while Prince Mœris,
who had come to announce it also, was in her apartment.
In a few words he made known his orders to each general
in succession, who, making a low military obeisance,
by bowing the head and turning the sword-point
to the earth, instantly departed to their divisions. The
general-in-chief in immediate command he retained by
his side, with his gorgeous staff of officers. In a few
minutes all was life and movement throughout the tented
field. In four hours the whole army—their tents
struck and conveyed to barges, together with all other
military impediments not necessary for the soldiers
on their march—was formed into a hollow square on

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the plain, twenty thousand men on each side facing
inward to a temple of their war-god, Ranpo-re, which
stood on the plain. This was a small but beautiful
temple, or marble pavilion, in the form of a peristyle,
with brazen columns, dedicated to the Egyptian Mars.
It was erected in this martial plain by Amunophis I.,
for the purpose of sacrifices and oblations, and of offering
libations and incense for armies assembled about it
before marching on warlike expeditions. The circle of
columns was cast from the shields and weapons which
he had taken in his Arabian and Asiatic wars.

The chief priest of Mars, who is a prince in rank, and
allied to the throne, attended by more than one hundred
inferior priests, advanced from the inner shrine upon a
marble terrace, in the centre of which stood the ironcolumned
pavilion that inclosed the shrine of the god.
He was attired in a grand and imposing costume, having
a tiara, adorned by a winged sun sparkling with jewels,
and the sacred uræus, encircling his brows. He wore a
flowing robe of the whitest linen, descending to his feet.
A loose upper cape of crimson, embroidered with gold,
and having flowing sleeves, was put on over the robe.
Still above this was a breastplate of precious stones, in
the form of a corselet, while the tiara partook also of
the martial form, being shaped like a helmet, with the
sacred asp of gold projecting in front as a visor. Above
all this, hanging from his left shoulder, was a splendid
leopard's skin, heavy with a border of closely woven
rings of gold. As he advanced, he extended in his right
hand a short sword, the hilt of which was a crux, or
the sacred cross-shaped Tau, surmounted by a ball, the
whole being an emblem of life; while in his helmet

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towered, as symbols of truth and order, two ostrich
feathers—the evenness and symmetry with which the
feathery filaments grow on each side of their stem having
suggested to the Egyptians the adoption of this
emblem; for order and truth, according to Egyptian
philosophy, are the foundation and preservation of the

Having reached the front of the lofty terrace, upon
which was an altar of brass, he raised his left arm by
throwing back the superb leopard-skin mantle; and, elevating
his commanding form to its full grandeur, he
turned slowly round, pointing heavenward with his left
hand, and holding his sword, as it were, over the army
as he turned, until with it he had swept the circle of
the horizon. This was an invocation to all the gods
for a blessing upon the assembled hosts. During the
act, every general bowed his head as if to receive it,
every soldier lowered his weapon, and at its conclusion,
all the music bands in the army before him simultaneously
burst into an overwhelming sound—drums, trumpets,
cornets, cymbals, filling the air with their mingled
roll! Silence deep as night then succeeded; and the
high-priest, facing the shrine, stood while a company of
priests rolled out from the door of the temple the statue
of the god, clad in full armor of steel, inlaid with gold,
a jewelled helmet upon his head, and a spear in his right
hand. It was of gigantic size, and standing in an attitude
of battle, upon a lofty chariot of burnished brass,
with wheels of iron. It was an imposing and splendid
figure, and a just image of war. The priests, who
wheeled the car out of the temple, having drawn it once
all around the terrace, so that the whole army could

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behold the mailed and helmeted god (whose presence they
hailed by striking their swords upon their shields, or
swords against swords), stopped in front of the prince-priest.
He then prostrated himself before it, the profoundest
silence and awe prevailing during the few moments
he remained upon his face at the feet of the deity.

When he rose and turned to the west, the Prince Remeses
and all his captains advanced to the steps of the
pyramidal base on which the temple was elevated. Each
captain was followed by a Nubian slave, bearing in a
sacred vase the offering of his own phalanx of soldiers.
Remeses bore in his hand a costly necklace, dazzling
with precious stones, the offering of his mother. The
generals and captains came with flowers, chains of gold,
the lotus-leaf made of ivory, and sparkling with jewels
scattered upon it in imitation of dewdrops. Some bore
swords, and spears, and plumes.

Remeses, at the head of his officers, ascended the
steps and presented to the priest his mother's offering,
which he placed over the head of the god. He then
laid a sword, brought for the purpose, at the feet of the
statue; but, as he afterwards explained to me, and as I
understood, not as an offering to a mythical Mars, but to
the Infinite God of armies, whom the statue symbolized;
yet I could see that the greater part of his officers paid
their homage and made their offerings to the mere
material statue. Such is the twofold idea attached,
either by one or another class of devotees, dear mother,
to all worship in Egypt. They do one thing and mean
another; of course I speak of the priests, princes, and
philosophers. As for the people, they mean what they
do when they offer a libation or an invocation to a statue.

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When the chief captains had presented their offerings,
and the high-priest had either decorated the god with
them, or laid them upon the altar of brass, then came
the Nubian slaves, laden with the gifts of the soldiers.
There were sixty of these offering-bearers, and in procession
they ascended the terrace, each with a painted
earthen vase upon his shoulder. One after another
they deposited them around the over-burdened altar
and descended to the plain, not daring to lift their eyes
to the god, so near to whose presence they came. It
was my privilege to stand always by the side of Remeses,
who desired me to witness the scene.

The vases contained every imaginable article that, at
the moment, a common soldier might have about his
person. There were rings of silver, of copper, of wood,
of glass; dried figs, tamarinds, dates, and raisins; garlics,
leeks, onions, bits of inscribed papyrus, palm-leaves,
flowers innumerable, scarabæi of burnt clay, pebbles,
and metal; seeds of the melon and radish, and incensegum;
little clay images of Mars, of various weapons,
and of Osiris. There were also myrrh, resin, and small
pots of ointment; pieces of iron, fragments of weapons,
locks of hair, shreds of linen, and bits of ostrich feathers;
beans, sandal-clasps, charms, amulets, and even tiny
bottles of wine. Indeed, to enumerate what met my
eyes in the vases, which the common soldiers in their
piety voted to the god, praying for a successful campaign,
would fill the page on which I write, and give
you the name of nearly every thing to be found in

When all these offerings had been received by the
high-priest, and while the prince and his officers stood

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some paces to one side, he stood before the altar: and
one article from each vase being brought to him, he
laid it upon the altar, and then, in a solemn manner, invoked
the god, asking him to accept the offerings of this
great army, and of its prince and captains, and to grant
them victories over their foes, and a return to their
queen crowned with conquest and glory.

In his prayer I could see that he elevated his noble
countenance to the heavens, as if, in his mind, mentally
overlooking the inanimate statue before him, and directing
his thoughts to the Invisible and Supreme Dweller
in the secret places of His universe beyond the sun!
Remeses stood in a devotional attitude, but with his
thoughtful brow bent to the ground. I could perceive,
now that we had conversed so much together upon these
divine things, that he was worshipping, in the depths
of his heart, the God of gods, wherever that Dread and
Mighty Power is enthroned on the height of His universe,
or the wings of the imagination can go out to
Him and find Him.

The great invocatory prayer ended, the high-priest received
from Remeses a votive crystal box of the fragrant
Ameracine ointment—a gift so costly and precious that
only the princes and the priests are permitted to possess
it—and broke it upon the breast of the god, anointing
him in the name of the people of Egypt. The odor
filled all the air. A priest then handed to him a golden
cup richly chased with sacred symbols, and another,
filling it from a vase of wine, the offering of the chief
Archencherses, who is next in military rank to Remeses,
he elevated it a moment, and poured it out at the feet of
the god as a libation for the hosts. Some other interesting

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ceremonies followed, such as consecrating and presenting
a sword to the prince, and the touching of the altar
by all the chiefs with the points of their weapons as they
passed it in descending to the field, the high-priest
sprinkling each one of them with sacred water from the
Nile. The last act of sacrifice—for, though bloodless,
the Egyptians term the whole rite a sacrifice to the god—
was by Remeses. The high-priest placed in his hands
a censer—for the prince, by virtue of his rank, is a royal
priest; and Remeses, accepting it with reverence, cast
upon the live coals of palm-wood a quantity of incense.
Then approaching the altar, he waved it before it until
clouds of smoke rose into the air and enveloped his

At this moment, the most sacred one of the whole
scene, there appeared advancing from the pavilion-temple
a beautiful maiden, the daughter of the high-priest.
She was arrayed in a pure white robe, which floated
about her in the wind like a cloud. Over her shoulders
was thrown a crimson scarf, on which was embroidered
the cartouch of the god. Her rich, flowing hair was
bound about her stately brow by a crown of flowers,
above which rose a silver helm with a crest of emeralds
and sapphires, in imitation of the feathery coronet of the
bird-of-paradise. Her face was wonderfully beautiful,
her dark eyes beamed with love and joy, and her form
was the impersonation of grace.

As she advanced, the priests on either side drew back
with their hands crossed upon their foreheads, and their
heads bent lowly before her presence. Coming forward
between the two rows of officials, she shook in the air
above her head a small temple bell called the sistrum,

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which emitted the sweetest and clearest melody. This
little musical instrument is sacred to the services of the
temples, and the sound of it is the signal for the beginning
or ending of every rite. That which was now
borne by the high-priest's daughter consisted of a cylindrical
handle of pearl, surmounted by a double-faced
head of ivory, one side being that of Isis, the other of
Nephthys. From this twofold head rose a silver almondshaped
bow about five inches high, inlaid with gold and
precious stones. In this bended loop of metal were inserted
four metallic bars in the shape of asps, upon the
body of which were loosely strung several silver rings.
As the maiden held this beautiful instrument in the air,
and shook it, the rings, moving to and fro upon the bars,
produced the clear bell-like sounds I have mentioned.
In ancient times so great was the privilege of holding the
sacred sistrum in the temple, it was given to the queens;
and on great occasions Amense has performed this
high office. On an obelisk, now old, the daughter of
Cheops is represented holding the sistrum while the
king is sacrificing to Thoth. Though I have said little
about the Egyptian females, as in truth I have seen but
little of them, yet I ought not to omit to tell you that
some of the most sacred offices are intrusted to distinguished
women, in the services of temples. I have seen
not only priests' daughters, but ladies of rank and
eminent beauty, holding these places; and in On there
is a band of noble young ladies having the distinguished
title of “Virgins of the Sun,” who devote their lives
until they are thirty years of age, to certain principal
services of the temples of Osiris and Isis. Indeed, my
dear mother, in Egypt woman is singularly free, and

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regarded as man's companion and equal. She is respected
and honored, both as wife and mother, and
her social relations are of the most unrestrained and
agreeable kind. In all houses, she is prepared gracefully
to do honor to her lord's guests; and while she is
devoted to domestic duties, prides herself upon her skill
and taste at home; abroad, at banquets and evening
festivals, which are frequent, and where there is music
and dancing, she shines with all the charms she can
borrow from splendor of attire, or derive from inherent
loveliness of person; while a profusion of jewels upon
her hands and neck reveal her wealth and rank.

When the prince saw her advancing, he approached
the statue with his censer, and waving it once in the
sight of the army, hung it upon the spear of the god.
The sistrum sounded as the incense rose, and every man
of that vast host bent his knee for a moment! Then the
high-priest commenced a verse of a loud chant in a
sonorous voice. The one hundred priests marching, in
procession around the god, answered antiphonally with
one voice in a part; and, the whole army catching up
the hymn, the very pyramids seemed to tremble at the
thunder of eighty thousand deep voices of men rolling
along the air. Then Remeses chanted a few stirring words
of this national and sacred war-hymn, the high-priest
answered, the maiden's clear voice rose in a melodious
solo, the hundred priests caught up the ravishing strain
as it melted from her lips in the skies, and again the
great army uttered its voice! My heart was oppressed
by the sublimity. Tears of emotion filled my eyes. I
never was more deeply impressed with the majesty of
the human voice, united in a vast multitude, uttered as

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the voice of one man. The combined voice of the
human race—if such a thing could be—must be like the
voice of God when He speaks!

The invocation and sacrifice were over. Remeses
embraced the priest, and receiving his blessing, in a few
minutes every chief captain had joined his battalion,
and at the cry of trumpets and cornets, sounded all over
the plain, and echoed back from Cheops, the whole host
formed in columns of march. Remeses, I being in his
company, galloped forward and took a position on an
elevation, from which he reviewed the whole army as it
tramped by. The fleet was in parallel motion at the
same time, and I saw the splendid galley of the Prince
Mœris, with its colored silken sails, and golden beak,
gallantly ascending the river. He stood upon the poop;
a tame lion crouched by his side, on the tawny shoulders
of which he rested one foot as he gazed at us. The
division of cavalry was the last in moving, and trotted
past us in splendid array. This arm of the service is
not large, nor much relied on in Egypt. The chariots of
iron, to the hubs of which terrible scythes are sometimes
fastened on the eve of battle, and the bowmen and spearmen,
have always been the main dependence of the
kings in their wars.

Ethiopia, against which this great army is moving by
water and land, is in a state of civilization and political
power not greatly inferior to Egypt. It has vast cities,
noble temples, extensive cultivated regions, adorned
with palaces and villas; it has a gorgeous but semi-barbaric
court, a well-disciplined army, and skilful generals.
It is a race allied by blood and lineage to that of Egypt,
and is not to be confounded with Nubia and the pure

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Africanic kingdoms. In religion it is idolatrous, and
hostile to the worship of Egypt. A supposed title, by a
former conquest, to the crown of Thebes, has made
Ethiopia for three centuries the hereditary foe of

The Egyptian army is divided into sections, formed
and distinguished according to the arms they bear.
They consist, like ours, of bowmen, spearmen, swordsmen,
macemen, slingers, and other corps. There are
captains of thousands, captains of hundreds, fifties, and
tens. When in battle-array, the heavy foot-soldiers, or
infantry armed with spears, and a falchion, or other
similar weapon, are drawn up in the form of an impenetrable
phalanx; and once this massive wall of ten thousand
men formed, it is fixed and unchangeable; and such
is its strength, one hundred men on each front, and one
hundred deep, no efforts of any of the enemies of Egypt
have been able to break it. Presenting a wall of huge
shields lapping and interlocked, resting on the ground,
and reaching to their heads, the missiles of the foe rattle
against it as against the steel-sheathed side of one of
their battle-ships. The bowmen, slingers, javelin-men,
and lighter troops act in line, or dispose themselves according
to the nature of the ground, or the exigency of
the moment. There is a corps armed with battle-axes
and pole-axes, having bronze blades ornamented with
heads of animals. These wear quilted helmets, without
crests, which effectually protect the head. The chariot
battalions are drawn up to charge and rout the enemy's
line, and the cavalry follow to slay the resisting, and pursue
the flying. Each battalion has its particular standard,
which represents a sacred subject—either a king's

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name on his cartouch or painted shield, a sacred baris,
a hawk, or a feather. The chief standard-bearer is a
man of approved valor, and an officer of the greatest
dignity, and stands next to the chief in rank. He is distinguished
by a gold necklace collar, on which are represented
two lions and an eagle—emblems of courage. The
troops are summoned to all movements by the sound of
the trumpet and the long drum, with other instruments.

The offensive weapons of the army are the bow, spear,
javelin, sling, a short, straight sword, a dagger, broad
knife, falchion, battle-axe, spear-axe, iron-headed mace,
and a curved club adopted from the Ethiopians. Their
defensive arms consist of the helmet, either of iron,
bronze, brass, silver, or plaited gold, according to the
rank of the wearer; usually without a crest, and extending
to the shoulders, in a collar or hood of chain-mail,
protecting the neck; they wear also a cuirass of metal
plates, or quilted with bands of polished iron, and an
ample shield, of various forms, but usually that of a
funeral tablet, or a long and narrow horseshoe. This
piece of armor is the chief defence. It is a frame covered
with bull's or lion's hide, bound with a rim of metal,
and studded with iron pins. The archers wear no
bucklers, but corselets of scale-armor.

I will now end this long letter, my dear mother, and
my description of Egyptian armies, by naming the
nations of which it was made up. As I sat upon my
horse by the side of the prince, surveying the marching
columns as they moved southward, I distinguished the
tall, Asiatic-looking Sharetanian by his helmet ornamented
with bull's horns, and a red ball for a crest, his
round shield, and large ear-rings—a fierce race, once the

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foes but now the allies of Egypt; the bearded Tokkari
from beyond the horns of the Arabian Sea, armed with
a pointed knife, and short, straight sword, with arched
noses and eagle eyes,—also once enemies of the queen,
but now added to her armies; an unknown people, with
tall caps, short kilt and knife-girdle of lion's hide, an
amulet of agate on the neck of every man—strangers,
with wild, restless eyes, and fierce looks; the swarthy
Rebos, with his naked breast and shoulders, and long
two-headed javelin; the Pouonti, with faces painted
with vermilion, and cross-bows with iron-headed arrows,
archers that never miss their mark. There marched by,
also, the relentless Shari, who neither ask nor give
quarter to their enemies, their masses of black hair
bound up in fillets of leather, and skull-caps of bull's
hide on their heads, whose weapons are clubs and short
daggers. Other bands, differing in costume and appearance,
continued to pass, until it seemed that the queen's
army had in it representatives of all nations tributary to

Continuing with Remeses a day's march, I then parted
from him to return to the palace, promising, as soon as
I had seen Lower Egypt, I would ascend the Nile and
meet him at Thebes.

Farewell, dearest mother; may the gods of our country
preserve you in health.

Your devoted son,

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Palace of the Pharaohs, Memphis. My honored and very dear Mother:

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In my last letter I was particular in describing
to you the armies of Egypt, as I have not forgotten the
interest you take in the discipline of your own, nor that
once you led in your chariot a battle-charge when your
kingdom was invaded by the king of the Elamites. In
Egypt, which is truly a warlike country, one cannot
but be inspired by the military spirit. Not only is she
the school to all the world of astronomy, sculpture,
physic, astrology, and magic, but also of arms.

In the army, recently departed for Ethiopia, I saw
many young lords and princes and heroes, strangers, who
accompany the expedition to learn the art of war. The
Egyptians are eminent in planning and executing sieges,
and few fortified towns can resist their war-engines.

From my description in the last letter, you would
suppose that Egypt is now emptied of its soldiers. On
the contrary, there is a garrison in every city, and a
fortress filled with troops in every one of the thirty or
more nomes. Besides, there are all over the country,
where the Hebrews are congregated, lesser detachments,
who keep vigilant guard over this toiling nation in
bondage. The queen is also at war with a prince of

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Arabia Deserta, and an army of twelve thousand men,
four hundred chariots, and a thousand horsemen, have
recently marched against him. Egypt is powerful
enough to combat the combined world. Her forces are
not less than four hundred thousand trained warriors of
all arms, besides sixteen thousand chariots of iron.
Power, thrift, activity, and energy characterize Egypt.
The wise, courageous, firm rule of the queen has contributed
to this. What she has brought to such glory
and perfection, Remeses, when he comes to the throne,
will preserve and perpetuate.

The mention of my noble friend reminds me that he is
no longer near me. The army has been in motion southward
eight days, and he has written to the queen, and
also to me, speaking of the prosperity attending their
advance. The fleet had not kept up with the army of
foot, while the chariot legion on the east bank has gone
far in advance and encamped. Every day, incense is
burned, and intervention made in all the temples, for the
success of the expedition.

In the mean while, my dear mother, I will devote my
letters to daily scenes around me.

The queen's health is now firmly established, and she
extends to me the kindness and, I may say, affection,
which she would to a son; but I am conscious that I am
so honored as the friend of her absent son, who, at parting
from me a stadium above Memphis, said:

“My Sesostris, be near my mother, and in the pleasure
of your society, let her regrets at my absence find
compensation. When you have seen all of Lower
Egypt, come to the Thebaïd, and go with me and my
army into Ethiopia.”

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I promised that I would follow him by and by; but
now I am engaged in seeing the wonders of Memphis,
and those marvels of ages—those “temples of the gods”—
the mighty pyramids. I will soon devote a letter to
an account of my first visit to Memphis and the pyramids.
It was made a day or two after we came to reside
in the palace at Rhoda. Remeses, though hourly
occupied, had kindly promised he would accompany me
to the city of Apis, and there place me in charge of a
son of the priest of the temple. I arose the following
morning a few minutes before sunrise, in order to be
prepared to go early. My window looked forth upon
On, a league and a half distant, with its grand avenue
of columns, sphinxes, obelisks, and towering propyla
clasping it to the shining river. The splendor of that
morning, my dear mother, I shall never cease to remember.
The atmosphere of Egypt is so crystalline, that
light lends to it a peculiar glow. As I looked eastward,
the skies had the appearance of sapphire blended with
dust of gold; and from the as yet invisible sun, a gorgeous
fan of radiant beams, of a pale orange-color, spread
itself over the sky to the zenith. Not a cloud was visible;
nor, indeed, have I seen one since I have been in
Egypt. This magnificent glory of the Orient steadily
grew more and more wonderful for beauty and richness
of colored light, when, all at once, the disk of the bright
god of day himself majestically rolled up into sight,
filling heaven and earth with his dazzling and overpowering
light, while the golden shield on the temple of the
sun caught and reflected his rays with almost undiminished

As I regarded with delight this sublime sunrise, there

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came borne to my ears, from the direction of the temple
of Osiris, in Memphis, the sound of music. Walking
round the terrace to that side, I heard the voices of a
thousand priests chanting the morning hymn to the god
of light, the dazzling “Eye of Osiris.” Then I recollected
that this was the day of the celebration of the
revival or resurrection of Osiris, one of the most important
days in the sacred calendar. The whole city seemed
to be in motion, and boats garlanded with flowers, and
filled with gayly attired people, were crossing to the city
and temple at every point. Music from a hundred instruments
filled the air, which seemed to vibrate with
joy and delight. The city of Apis had on its gala apparel,
and all the world was abroad to welcome the sunrising
and join in the processions.

Remeses joined me while I was watching the scene,
and listening to the grand waves of harmony as they
rolled away from the temple and sounded along the air
in majestic volumes of sound.

“I see you are interested, my Sesostris, in this enlivening
scene. It is a day of rejoicing to the worshippers
of Osiris.”

“It seems, my dear prince,” I replied, “as if every
day I have passed in Egypt has been a festival to some
of its deities.”

“Our year is more than two thirds of it consecrated
to the gods; that is, supposing a day given to each, the
most of the year is religious. We are a people given to
piety, so far as we understand. All our works are consecrated
by prayer or sacrifice; and whether we go to
war, or engage in merchandise, build a palace or a
tomb, prayer and oblation precede all. Are you ready

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to go to the city and pyramids as soon as we break our
fast? My mother has invited us to breakfast with her.”

I expressed my readiness, and we left to seek the presence
of the queen. As we entered, she was superintending
a piece of embroidery of the richest colors, which
three maidens were at work upon at one end of the
apartment. They remained a few minutes after our entrance,
glancing at us timidly, yet curiously and archly.
When their royal mistress had received us, she made a
slight gesture with her hand, and the dark-eyed girls,
disappearing behind a screen, left the apartment. I had
time to see that they were very young, of an olive, brunette
complexion, with braided and tastefully arranged
dark-brown hair, their slender persons habited in neat
vestures of mingled colors, fitting the form, but open in
front, displaying a soft, fine linen robe, with loose,
fringed sleeves. They had ear-rings, and numerous finger-rings,
and gilt, red, gazelle-leather sandals, laced
with gay ribbons across the small, naked foot. These,
as the queen informed me, belonged to families of officers
of the palace. One of them, the tallest, and who
was most striking in her appearance, had eyes of wonderful
beauty, the effect of the expression of which was
deepened by painting the lids with a delicate shade of
cohol. She was the daughter of the royal scribe, Venephis,
and her own name is Venephe; and here, my dear
mother, since you asked me in your last letter why I am
so silent upon the subject of Egyptian ladies, I will devote
a little space to them. But you know that my heart so
wholly belongs to the lovely Princess Thamonda, the
daughter of the Prince of Chalden, that it is entirely insensible
to any impressions which the high-born Egyptian

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maids might otherwise make upon it. I will, however,
learn more of them by seeking their society, my dear
mother, and henceforward will give them all the attention
they merit in my letters.

I have seen many ladies of great elegance and ease of
manner. The court of Egypt is composed of an immense
number of nobles and high officers, whose palaces
crowd the cities of On and Memphis, and whose
tasteful, garden-environed villas extend far beyond their
limits. Some of these nobles have the title of princes,
when they govern one of the thirty-six nomes, or command
armies. They are opulent, fond of display in apparel
and architecture, great lovers of flowers and paintings,
and their dwellings are profusely decorated with the
one and adorned with the other. These men of rank
are educated, polished in bearing, courteous and affable.
Their wives are their superiors in refinement, being
daughters of men of the same rank and social distinction.
Nobles and noble ladies by hereditary title there are
none in Egypt; for it is the boast of the Egyptians, and
it is often inscribed on their monuments, that Egyptians,
being all equally “sons of Misr,” are all born equal.
It is official elevation and position at court, as the reward
of talent or services, which create noble rank. Yet
there are families here who speak with pride of the
glory and fame of ancestors; and I know young Egyptian
nobles whose forefathers were lords in the court of
the old Pharaohs, of the XVth and XVIth dynasties. I
have already alluded to the brave young officer of the
chariot battalion, Potipharis, whose ancestor, a lord of
the court of Apophis, purchased of the Idumeans the
youthful Hebrew who subsequently ruled Egypt as

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prime minister; and whose family, now grown to a
great nation, are held here in hopeless bondage.

The women of Egypt owe their high social rank to
the respect shown them the men, who give them
precedence everywhere. The fact that Egypt is ruled
by a queen, is testimony that woman is honored here
by the laws of the realm, as well as by the customs of
the people, or she would not have succeeded to the
throne. It is not a mere influence derived from their
personal attractions that women possess here; but their
claims to honor and respect are acknowledged by law,
in private as well as in public. Said Remeses to me, a
day or two since, when I was remarking upon the universal
deference paid to the sex, “We know, unless
women are treated with respect and made to exercise an
influence over the social state, that the standard of private
virtue and of public opinion would soon be lowered,
and the manners and morals of men would suffer.” How
differently situated is woman with us! Respected she
undoubtedly is, but instead of the liberty she enjoys
here, behold her confined to certain apartments, not permitted
to go abroad unveiled, and leading a life of indolent

In acknowledging this, dear mother, the laws point
out to the favored women of Egypt the very responsible
duties they have to perform. The elevation of woman
to be the friend and companion of man, is due to the
wisdom of the priesthood. These men have wives whom
they love and respect, and I have seen the priest of On
seated in his summer parlor, which overlooks the street,
by the side of his noble-looking wife (who, it is said, is
a descendant of a priest of On, whose daughter was

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married to Prince Joseph, the Hebrew), surrounded by
their children, and manifesting their mutual affection by
numberless domestic graces; and I was charmed with
the expressions of endearment I heard them use to each
other and to their children. What a contrast all this to
the priests of Tyre, who regard celibacy as the highest
act of piety!

The hand of your sex, my dear mother, is apparent in
all the household arrangements, and in the furniture
and style of the dwellings. In her contract of marriage
it is written, that the lady shall have the whole regulation
of domestic affairs and the management of the
house, and that the husband shall, in all such matters,
defer to the judgment and wishes of the wife. Neither
king, priest, nor subject can have more than one wife,
a custom differing from our own, and far superior to it.
It is owing to this universal honor paid to the sex, that
queens have repeatedly, since the ancient reign of Binothris,
held the royal authority and had the supreme
direction of affairs intrusted to them. It is proper to
say, that although the Egyptians have but one wife, they
are not forbidden by the laws to have favorites, who are
usually slaves, and owe their elevation to talents or
beauty. They do not, however, hold any social relation;
and the wife, to whom alone is given the title “lady of
the house,” enjoys an acknowledged superiority over
them. But concubinage, though tolerated, is not regarded
with favor, and is practised by few.

The Egyptian ladies employ much of their time with
the needle; and either with their own hands, or by the
agency of their maidens, they embroider, weave, spin,
and do needle-work—the last in the most skilful and

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beautiful manner. They embroider chairs with thread
of gold or silver, adorn sofas with embroidery, and ornament
coverings for their couches with needle-work of
divers colors, so artfully executed as to appear, on both
sides, of equal beauty and finish. At the banquets or
social festivals, which are very frequent, for the Egyptians
are fond of society, the ladies sit at the same table
with the men, and no rigid mistrust closes their doors
on such occasions to strangers, towards whom they are
ever courteous and hospitable; save only in religious
ceremonies, from which, and “the mysteries of their
theology,” they are jealously excluded.

I have already spoken of the services of women in the
temples. These do not marry. Although females may
make offerings to Isis, they cannot be invested with any
sacerdotal office; and a priest must preside at the oblation.
They are rarely seen reading, their leisure being
occupied chiefly in talking together in social companies.
They vie with each other in the display of silver jewels,
and jewels set in gold; in the texture of their raiment,
the neatness and elegance of the form of their sandals,
and the arrangement or beauty of their plaited hair.

If two ladies meet at a banquet or festival, it is considered
an amiable courtesy to exchange flowers from
the bouquet that Egyptian ladies always carry in the
hand when in full costume. They are passionately devoted
to dancing, and frequently both ladies and gentlemen
dance together; but I think when the former dance
in separate parties, their movements are marked by superior
grace and elegance. Their dances consist usually
of a succession of figures more or less involved; yet I
have seen two daughters of the captain of the guard, at

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a private entertainment given by the queen, perform a
dance to a slow air played upon the flute and lyre, with
a grace of attitude and harmony of motion delightful to
follow with the eye. Grace in posture, elegance of attitude,
and ease of movement are their chief objects in the

It is not, however, customary for the nobles and their
families to indulge in this amusement in public, where
usually the dancing is performed by those who gain a
livelihood by attending festive meetings. They look
upon it, however, as a recreation in which all classes
may partake; and all castes engage in it, either in private
festivities or in public. The lower orders delight
in exhibiting great spirit in their dances, which often
partake of the nature of pantomime; and they aim
rather at ludicrous and extravagant dexterity, than displays
of elegance and grace. At evening, under the
trees of an avenue; at noon, in the shade of a temple;
by public fountains, and before the doors of their dwellings,
I often see the men and women amusing themselves,
dancing to the sound of music, which is indispensable.
At the houses of the higher classes, they
dance to the harp, pipe, guitar, lyre, and tambourine; but
in the streets and other places, the people perform their
part to the music of the shrill double-pipe, the crotala
or wooden clappers, held in the fingers, and even to the
sound of the drum; indeed, I have seen a man dancing
a solo on the deck of a galley at anchor in the river,
to the sound of the clapping of hands by his companions.
Certain wanton dances, consisting of voluptuous and
passionate movements, by Arabian and Theban girls,
whose profession it was, from the impure tendency of

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their songs and gestures, have been very properly forbidden
by the queen in her dominions. There are certain
religious processions in which women take part;
they attend the funerals of their deceased relatives, and
hired women appear as mourners.

I have devoted, my dear mother, so much of this letter
to a description of the ladies of Egypt, in compliance
with your expressed wish, and I will appropriate the
residue of my papyrus, if the ink fail not, to an account
of their homes, that you may see how they live; since,
from their private life, great insight is obtained into their
manners and customs. The household arrangements,
the style of the dwellings, as well as the amusements and
occupations of a people, explain their habits.

The style of domestic architecture, in this warm climate,
is modified to suit the heat of the weather. The
poorer classes (for though all Egyptians are born equal,
yet there are poor classes), as well as castes, live a great
part of their time out of doors, seeking rather the shade
of trees than the warmth of habitations. And now that
I have alluded to “castes,” I will briefly explain the degrees
of society in Egypt.

Though a marked line of distinction is maintained
between the different ranks of society, they appear to
be divided rather into “classes” than “castes,” as no
man is bound by law to follow the occupation of his
father. Sons, indeed, do usually follow the trade of their
father, and the rank of each man depends on his occupation.
But there are occasional exceptions, as, for instance,
the sons of a distinguished priest are in the army
with Remeses, and a son of the admiral of the fleet of
the Delta is high-priest in Memphis.

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Below the crown and royal family, the first class consists
of the priests; the second, of soldiers; the third,
of husbandmen, gardeners, huntsmen, and boatmen;
the fourth, of tradesmen, shop-keepers, artificers in stone
and metals, carpenters, boat-builders, stone-masons, and
public weighers; the fifth, of shepherds, poulterers,
fowlers, fishermen, laborers, and the common people at
large. Many of these, says the record from which I
have obtained my information, are again subdivided, as
chief shepherds into ox-herds, goat-herds, and swine-herds;
which last is the lowest grade of the whole community,
since no one of the others will marry their
daughters, or establish any family connection with them;
for so degrading is the occupation of tending swine held
by the Egyptians, that they are looked upon as impure,
and are even forbidden to enter a temple without previously
undergoing purification.

Thus you perceive, my mother, that Egypt practically
acknowledges many degrees of rank, although
she boasts that “every son of Misr is born equal.”

These classes keep singularly distinct, and yet live
harmoniously and sociably with each other. Out of
them the queen's workmen are taken, and the lowest
supplies the common laborers on the public works,—
thousands of whom, clad only in an apron and short
trowsers of coarsely woven grass-cloth, are to be found
at work all over Egypt, and even mingled with the
Hebrews in some parts of their tasks. “And the Hebrews?”
you may ask; for I perceive by your letter
that you are interested in the fate and history of this
captive nation; “what rank do they hold among all
these castes?”

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They remain a distinct and separate people, neither
regarded as a class or caste. They pursue but one occupation,
brick-making, with its kindred work of digging
the loam, gathering the straw, kneading the clay, and
carrying the bricks to the place where the masons need
them. They neither associate nor intermarry with any
of the Egyptian classes. They are the crown slaves, born
in bondage, below the lowest free-born Egyptian in the
land of Misraim. Even the swine-herd belongs to a class,
and is equal by birth, at least, with the Pharaoh who
rules; but the Hebrew is a bond-servant, a stranger,
despised and oppressed. Yet among them have I seen
men worthy to be kings, if dignity of aspect and nobleness
of bearing entitle men to that position.

I will now return, and describe to you the habitations
of the Egyptians, my dear mother. Houses slightly removed
beyond the degree of mere barbarous huts, built
of crude brick, and very small, are the habitations of
the lower orders. Others, of more pretension, are stuccoed,
and have a court; others, still superior, have the
stuccoed surface painted, either vermilion and orange,
in stripes, or of a pale-brown color, with green or blue
ornaments, fanciful rather than tasteful. Those of merchants,
and persons of that grade, are more imposing;—
corridors, supported on columns, give access to the different
apartments, through a succession of shady avenues
and courts, having one side open to the breezes; while
currents of fresh air are made to circulate freely through
the rooms and halls, by a peculiar arrangement of the
passages and courts; for, to have a cool house in this
ardent latitude is the aim of all who erect habitations.
Even small detached dwellings of artificers and

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tradesmen, consisting of four walls, with a flat roof of palm-branches,
laid on split date-trees as a beam, covered with
mats, and plastered with mud of the Nile, having but
one door, and wooden shutters,—even such humble habitations
have in the centre an open court, however limited,
with rooms opening to the air on one side; while
around the small court are planted one or more palms,
for shade, besides adorning it with plants of their favorite
flowers. I have seen some such neat little abodes,
not much larger than cages, with a cheerful family in it,
who lived out of doors all day, dining under the shade
of their tree, and dancing in their open court by moonlight,
to the music of clapping hands or the castanets,
until bedtime, using their houses only to sleep in; and
such is the happy life of half the Egyptians of their grade.

The grander mansions, less than palaces, are not only
stuccoed within and without, but painted with artistic
and tasteful combinations of brilliant tints. They have
numerous paved courts, with fountains and decorated
walls, and are adorned with beautiful architectural
devices, copied from the sacred emblems and symbols
in the temples, and arranged and combined in forms or
groups in the most attractive style. Over the doors of
many houses are handsome shields or tablets, charged
with the hieroglyph of the master, inscribed with some
sentence. Over that of the house of the chief weigher
of metals, opposite my palace window in On, was written
“The House of the Just Balance.” Over another
“The good house;” and over a third, “The friend of
Rathoth, the royal scribe, liveth here.” Any distinction,
or long journey, or merit, or attribute, gives occasion
for an inscription over the entrances.

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The beauty of a house depends on the taste, caprice,
or wealth of its builders. The priests and lords of
Egypt live in luxurious abodes, and a display of wealth
is found to be useful in maintaining their power, and
securing the respect and obedience of the under classes.

“The worldly possessions of the priest,” said an
Egyptian scribe of the temple of Apis, “are very great;
and as a compensation for imposing upon themselves at
times abstemiousness, and occasionally limiting their
food to certain things, they are repaid by improved
health, and by the influence they acquire thereby.
Their superior intelligence enables them,” he continued,
ironically, “to put their own construction on regulations
and injunctions emanating from their sacred body, with
the convenient argument, that what suits them does not
suit others.” The windows of the houses are not large,
and freely admit the cool breezes, but are closed at
night by shutters. The apartments are usually on the
ground-floor, and few houses, except perhaps in Thebes,
exceed two stories in height. They are accessible by an
entrance court, often having a columnar portico decked
with banners or ribbons, while larger porticos have
double rows of columns, with statues between them.
When there is an additional story, a terrace surmounts
it, covered by an awning, or by a light roof supported
upon graceful columns. Here the ladies often sit by
day: and here all the family gather at the close of the
afternoon to enjoy the breeze, and the sight of the
thronged streets and surrounding scene,—for it is open
on all sides to the air. In the trades' streets the shops
are on the ground-floor, and the apartments for families
are above. As it scarcely ever rains, the tops of the

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houses, terraced, and covered with a handsomely fringed
awning, are occupied at all hours, and even at night as
sleeping-places by the “lord of the house,” if the apartments
below are sultry and close. Some noble edifices
have flights of steps of porphyry or marble leading
to a raised platform of Elephantine or Arabic stone,
with a doorway between two columns as massive as
towers—ambitious imitations of the propyla of the temples.
These gateways have three entrances, a smaller
one on each side of the principal entrance for servants,
who are very numerous in an Egyptian house of the
first class. Such is the house of my friend, the Admiral
Pathromenes, whom I visited the day I saw him in his
galley, and just before he sailed with the fleet for Ethiopia.

On entering the portal, I passed into an open court, on
the right side of which was the mandara or receiving-room
for visitors, where servants took my sandals, and
offered water for my hands in silver ewers, at the same
time giving me bouquets of flowers. This room, surrounded
by gilt columns, and decorated with banners,
was covered by an awning supported by the columns,
and was on all sides open to within four feet of the floor,
which lower space was closed by intercolumnar panels,
exquisitely painted with marine subjects. Above the
paneling a stream of cool air was admitted, while the
awning afforded protection from the rays of the sun.
This elegant reception-hall had two doors—that by which
I had entered from the street, and another opposite to it
which communicated with the inner apartments. Upon
my announcement by the chief usher, the admiral came
through the latter door to receive me; hence the title

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of “reception-room” given to this column-adorned and
paneled hall. He embraced me, and entered with me
by his side into a corridor which led into a court of
large dimensions, ornamented in the centre with an
avenue of trees—palm, olive, orange, and fig trees, the
latter being an emblem of the land of Egypt. Here
numerous birds filled their leafy coverts with melody.
Six apartments faced as many more on two sides of this
court—the corridor, or piazza, of pictured columns
extending along their entire front; and before the
corridor was a double row of acacia-trees. We did
not turn to these rooms, but, advancing along the
charming avenue between them, passed around a brazen
fountain-statue of Eothos or Neptune, who was pouring
water out of a shell upon a marble lotus-leaf, from
which it fell into a vase of granite. Passing this figure,
we kept the avenue till we came to a beautiful door
facing the great court. It was of palm-wood, carved
with devices of branches and flowers, and inlaid with
ivory and colored woods, all finely polished. At this
door a servant, in neat apparel, met us, and opening it
ushered us into the sitting-room of “the lady of the
house,” who had already received notice of our approach,
and who, presenting me with flowers, welcomed
me graciously, and with a cordiality that gave me a
favorable estimation of the goodness of her heart, and
the amiability of her disposition.

Thus, dear mother, have I given you some insight
into Egyptian home-life, and introduced you into the
inmost private room of one of their houses. I will close
my description by saying, that the ceiling of the reception-room
was richly and tastefully adorned with the

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pencil; that gracefully shaped chairs, covered with
needle-work; sofas, inlaid tables, couches with crimson
and gold embroidery, and elegant vases of flowers, were
charmingly disposed about it; and that a lute and two
sistra were placed near a window, and a harp stood
between two of the columns that inclosed a pictured
panel representing the finding of Osiris.

Farewell, dearest mother. You will see that I have
now acquitted myself of the charge of indifference to so
interesting a subject as the mode of life of the ladies of
Egypt, and by hastening to describe it to you in this
letter, have evinced my profound filial reverence for
your slightest wish.

Your faithful and affectionate son,

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The City of Apis. My dear Mother:

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I thank you for your long and very welcome letter,
written from your palace, at Sidon, whither you
went to celebrate the rites of Adonis. It assures me of
your continued health, which may the gods guard with
jealous care, for not only the stability of your kingdom,
but my whole happiness depends on your life, beloved
mother and queen. You also allude to your visits to
the temples of Astarte and of Tammuz, on Lebanon.
What a noble worship was that of our fathers, who,
amid its gigantic cedars, old as the earth itself, there first
worshipped the gods! How majestic must have appeared
their simple rites, with no altar but the mountain rock,
no columns but the vast trunks of mighty trees, no roof
but the blue heavens by day, and the starry dome by
night; while at morning and evening went up the smoke
of the sacrifice of bullocks to the gods. These were the
first temples of men, not builded by art, but made by
the gods themselves as meet places for their own worship.
I question, dear mother, if the subsequent descent
of religion from its solemn shrines, in the dark forests of
Libanus, into the valleys and cities, to be enshrined in
temples of marble, however beautiful, has elevated it.

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Though the Phœnicians built the first temples on the
peninsula of Tyre, before any others existed, save in
groves; yet in Egypt (which claims also this honor), the
“houses of the gods,” in their vast and pyramidal aspects,
their pillars like palm-trees, their columns like
cedars, approach more nearly to the dignity, sublimity,
and majesty of the primeval forests and eternal mountains
where religion first offered prayer to heaven.

Your visit to the temple of Tammuz, at Sareptha,
recalls a legend which, singularly enough, I first hear in
Egypt, of the origin of the rites to that deity.

The books of the priests here, relating to Phœnician,
Sabæan, Persian, and Chaldean ceremonies (for
the learning of the Egyptians seems to embrace a
knowledge of books of all countries), relate that Tammuz
was a “certain idolatrous prophet of the Sabæan
Fire-worshippers, who called upon King Ossynœces, our
remote ancestor, and commanded him to worship the
Seven Planets and the Twelve Signs of the constellations.
The king, in reply, ordered him to be put to
death. On the same night on which he was slain,” continues
the book from which I write, “a great gathering
of all the images of the gods of the whole earth was
held at the palace, where the huge golden image of the
sun was suspended; whereupon this image of the sun
related what had happened to his prophet, weeping and
mourning as he spoke to them. Then all the lesser gods
present likewise commenced weeping and mourning,
which they continued until daylight, when they all departed
through the air, returning to their respective
temples in the most distant regions of the earth.” Such,
dear mother, is the tradition here of the origin of the

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weeping for Tammuz, the observance of which now
forms so important a feature in our Phœnician worship,
although introduced, as it was, from the Sabæans themselves.

But the more I have conversed with the wise and
virtuous Prince Remeses, the more I feel the gross
nature of our mythology, O mother, and that images
and myths, such as form the ground and expression of
our national worship, and that rest wholly in the material
figure itself, are unworthy the reverence of an intelligent
mind. It is true, we can look at them, and honor that
which they represent,—as I daily look at your picture,
which I wear over my heart, and kissing it from love for
thee, do not worship and adore the ivory, and the colors
that mark upon its surface a sweet reflection of your
beloved and beautiful countenance. Oh, no! It is you
far away I think of, kiss, love, and in a manner adore.
Yet an Egyptian of the lowest order, seeing me almost
worshipping your picture, would believe I was adoring
an effigy of my tutelar goddess. And he would be
right, so far as my heart and thought, and you are concerned,
my mother. In this representative way, I am
now sure that Remeses regards all images, looking
through and beyond them up to the Supreme Infinite.
I also have imbibed his lofty spirit of worship, and have
come to adore the statues as I worship your picture.
But where, O mother, is the Infinite? When I think of
you, I can send my soul towards you, on wings that bear
me to your feet, either in your private chamber at
needle-work, or with your royal scribe as you are dictating
laws for the realm, or upon your throne giving
judgment. In memory and imagination, I can instantly

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send my thoughts out to you, and behold you as you are.
But the Infinite, whom Remeses calls GOD, in contradistinction
to lesser gods, where does He hide Himself?
Why, if He is, does He not reveal Himself? Why does
He suffer us to grope after Him, and not find Him? If
He be good, and loving, and gracious in His nature, He
will desire to make known to His creatures these attributes.
But how silent—how impenetrable the mystery
that environs Him in the habitation of His throne! Will
He forever remain wrapped up in the dark clouds of
space? Will He never reveal Himself in His moral
nature to man? Will He never of Himself proclaim to
the creation His unity—that there is no God but One,
and besides Him there is none else? How can He demand
obedience and virtue of men when they know not
His laws? Yet, consciousness within, visible nature,
reason, all demonstrate that there is but one Supreme
God, a single First Cause, how numerous soever the inferior
deities He may have created to aid in the government
of His vast universe; and that to Him an intellectual
and spiritual worship should be paid. This is
the theory of Remeses, who seems to be infinitely above
his people and country in piety and wisdom. Sometimes
I fancy that he draws inspiration from this Infinite God
whom he worships in his heart, and recognizes through
his intellect; for his utterances on these themes are
often like the words of a god, so wonderful are the mysteries
treated of by him, so elevating to the heart and

But I will repeat part of a conversation we had together,
after he had offered in the temple of Apis his
sacrifice for the restoration of the queen's health. He

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said, as we walked away together, along a beautiful
and sacred avenue of acacia and delicate, fringe-like
ittel or tamarisk trees, alternating with the pomegranate
and mimosa:

“Sesostris, doubtless, after all my conversations with
you, I seemed an idolater to-day, quite as material and
gross, in the offerings and prayers I made, as the galley-rower
we saw offering a coarse garland of papyrus-leaves
and poppies to the god.”

“No, my noble prince,” I answered; “I saw in you
an intellectual sacrificer, whose bodily eyes indeed beheld
the sacred bull, but whose spirit saw the Great
Osiris, who once dwelt in the bull when on earth. You
honored the house where anciently a god abode.”

“No, Sesostris, the bull is nothing to me in any sense;
but as the prince of a realm whose laws ordain the worship
of Apis in Memphis, of the ram-headed Ammon at
Thebes, or the sacred ox at On, I outwardly conform to
customs which I dare not and cannot change. Or if I
would, what shall I give the people if I take away their
gods? My own religion is spiritual, as I believe yours
is becoming; but how shall I present a spiritual faith to
the Egyptians? In what form—what visible shape, can
I offer it to them? for the priests will demand a visible
religion—one tangible and material. The people cannot
worship an intellectual abstraction, as we can, Sesostris,
and as the more intelligent priests pretend they
do and can. Yet if, when I come to the throne, by an
imperial edict I remodel the theology of the priesthood
and the worship of the people—remove the golden sun
from the temple in On, slay the sacred bull Apis, and
banish the idols from all the thousand temples of the

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two Egypts, with what shall I replace the religion I depose?”

“With an intellectual and spiritual worship of the
Supreme Infinite,” I answered.

“But who will enlighten my own ignorance of Him,
Sesostris?” he inquired sadly. “What do I know of
Him, save from an awakened consciousness within my
bosom? How can I make others possess that consciousness
which is only intuitive, and so incommunicable?
I must first know where God is, before I can direct the
people whither to look for Him when they pray. I
must first cultivate their minds and imaginations, in order
to enable them to embrace a purely mental religion,
and to worship the Infinite independently of figures, images,
and visible mementos or symbols; for, so long as they
have these at all, they will rest their faith in them, and
will look upon them as their gods. But what do I know
of the God I would reveal to them? Absolutely nothing!
That there can be but one Supreme God, reason
demonstrates; for if there were two equal gods, they
would have equal power, equal agency in the creation
and upholding of all things, in the government of the
world, and in the worship of men! Two equal gods,
who in no case differ one from the other, but are in all
things one and the same, are virtually but one God.
Therefore, as neither two, nor any number of equal gods,
can exist without acting as a unit (for otherwise they
cannot act), there can be only one God!”

I at once assented to the conclusiveness of the prince's

“God, then, existing as One, all beings in his universe
are below Him, even His creatures the `gods,' if there

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be such made by Him. It becomes, therefore, all men
to worship, not these gods, but the God of gods. That
he should be worshipped spiritually is evident, for he
must be a spiritual essence; and as we are certainly
composed of spirits and material bodies, and as our spirits
are no less certainly our superior part, so He who
made the spirit of man must be superior to all bodies or
forms of matter; that is, he must be that by reason of
which he is superior, namely, a SPIRIT.”

I then said to this learned and great prince, “Thinkest
thou, Remeses, that this Infinite God, whom we believe
exists, will ever make a revelation of Himself, so
that He may be worshipped as becomes His perfections?
Do you think the veil of ignorance which hangs between
Him and us will ever be lifted?”

“Without question, my Sesostris,” he answered, with
animation, the light of hope kindling in his noble eyes,
“the Creator of this world must be a benevolent, good,
and wise Being.”

“Of that there can be no doubt,” was my reply.

“Benevolence, goodness, and wisdom, then, will seek
the happiness and elevation of man. A knowledge of
the true God, whom we are now feeling and groping
after in darkness, with only the faint light of our reason
to illumine its mysterious gloom,—this knowledge
would elevate and render happy the race of men. It
would dissipate ignorance, overthrow idolatry, place
man near God, and, consequently, lift him higher in the
scale of the universe. A God of wisdom, benevolence,
and justice, will seek to produce this result. The world,
therefore, will have a revelation from Him, in the fulness
of time,—when men are ready to receive it. It

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may not be while I live, Sesostris, but the time will
come when the knowledge of the Infinite God will be
revealed by Himself to man, who will then worship
Him, and Him alone, with the pure worship due to His
majesty, glory, and dominion.”

As Remeses concluded, his face seemed to shine with
a supernatural inspiration, as if he had talked with the
Infinite and Spiritual God of whom he spoke, and had
learned from Him the mighty mysteries of His being.
Then there passed a shadow over his face, and he said,

“How can I lead the people of Egypt to the true
God, when He hath not taught me any thing of Himself?
No, no, Sesostris, Egypt must wait, I must wait, the
world must wait the day of revelation. And that day
will come, or there is no God! For an ever-silent God—
a God who forever hideth Himself from His creatures—
is as if there were no God! But that there is a God
the heavens declare in their glory, the ocean hoarsely
murmurs His name, the thunders proclaim His power,
the lilies of the field speak of His goodness, and we ourselves
are living manifestations of His benevolence and
love. Let us, therefore, amid all the splendor of the
idolatry which fills the earth, lift up our hearts, O Sesostris,
to the One God! and in secret worship Him,
wheresoever our souls can find Him, until He reveals
Himself openly to the inhabitants of the earth.”

In relating this conversation, my dear mother, I not
only am preparing you to see my views of our mythology
materially changed, but I unfold to you more of
the sublime character of Remeses, and give you some
insight into his deep philosophy and wonderful wisdom.

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I will, in connection with this subject, describe to you
a religious scene I witnessed in the Temple of Apis on
the occasion of an excursion made by me in company
with Remeses, from the Island of Rhoda.

I have already spoken of his courtesy in offering to
accompany me to Memphis, at which city he left me,
immediately after his oblation and thanksgiving, and
proceeded to attend to some urgent affairs connected
with the proposed movement of the army; with which,
since then, he has taken his departure.

The barge in which I left the palace at Rhoda, was
rowed by forty-four men, swarthy and muscular to a
noticeable degree, who belong to a maritime people,
once possessing the Pelusian Delta, but who are now reduced
to a servitude to the crown. They have a sort of
chief, called Fellac, whom they regard partly as a priest,
partly as a patriarch. Under him, by permission of the
crown, they are held in discipline. They have a mysterious
worship of their own, and are reputed to deal in
magic, and to sacrifice to Typhon, the principle of evil.

They were attired in scarlet sashes, bound about the
waist, and holding together loose white linen drawers,
which terminated at the knee in a fringe. Their shouldders
were naked, but upon their heads each wore a sort
of turban of green cloth, having one end falling over
the ear, and terminating in a silver knob. These were
the favorite body-guard rowers of the prince. Their captain
was a young man, with glittering teeth, and large oval
black eyes. He was mild and serene of aspect, richly
attired in a vesture of silver tissue, and had his black
hair perfumed with jasmine oil. His baton of office was
a long stick—not the long, slender, acacia cane which all

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Egyptian gentlemen carry, but a staff short and heavy,
ornamented with an alligator's head, which, with that of
the pelican, seem to be favorite decorations of this singular

As we were on the water, moving swiftly towards the
quay of the city, amid countless vessels of all nations, a
slave-barge passed down from Upper Egypt, laden with
Nubian boys and girls, destined to be sold as slaves in
the market. Borne with velocity along, we soon landed
at the grand terrace-steps of the quay. They were
thronged with pilots, shipmen, those who hold the helm
and the oar, mariners, and stranger-merchants innumerable.
A majestic gateway, at the top of the flight of porphyry
stairs, led to an avenue of palm-trees, on each side
of which was a vast open colonnade covered with a wide
awning, and filled with merchants, buyers, captains, and
officers of the customs, dispersed amid bales of goods
from all lands of the earth. I lingered here, for a short
time, gazing upon these representatives of the wealth
and commerce of the world. This is the great landing-mart
of Memphis, for the products of the other lands;
while Jizeh, lower down, is the point from whence all
that goes out of the country is shipped. The strange
cry of the foreign seamen, as they hoisted heavy bales,
and the wild song of the Egyptian laborers, as they bore
away the goods, the confused voices of the owners of the
merchandise, the variety and strange fashion of their
costumes, the numerous languages which fell upon my
ear, produced an effect as novel as it was interesting.

The riches and beauty of what I saw surprised me,
familiar as I am with the commerce of Tyre. There
were merchants from Sheba, bearded and long-robed

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men, with gold-dust, spices of all kinds, and precious
stones of price; and others from the markets of Javan,
with cassia, iron, and calamus; there were wines from
the vine-country of Helbona, and honey, oil, and balm
from Philistia; merchants of Dedan, with embroidered
linings and rich cloths for chariots, and costly housings
for horses, of lynx and leopard-skins; tall, grave-looking
merchants from our own Damascus, with elegant wares,
cutlery, and damascened sword-blades of wonderful
beauty, and which bring great price here; shrewdvisaged
merchants of Tyre, with purple and broidered
work and fine linen; and merchants of Sidon, with emeralds,
coral, and agate, and the valuable calmine-stone
out of which, in combination with copper, brass is
molten by the Egyptians.

There were also merchants, in an attire rich and picturesque,
from many isles of the sea, with vessels of
bronze, vases, and other exquisitely painted wares, and
boxes inlaid with ivory, jewels, and ebony. I saw the
dark, handsome men of Tarshish and far Gades, with all
kinds of riches of silver, iron, tin, lead, and scales of
gold. Shields from Arvad, beautifully embossed and
inlaid; helmets and shawls from Persia; ivory from
Ind, and boxes of precious stones—the jasper, the sapphire,
the sardiüs, the onyx, the beryl, the topaz, the
carbuncle, and the diamond—from the south seas, and
those lands under the sun, where he casts no shadow.
There were, also, wild-looking merchant horsemen from
Arabia, with horses and mules to be traded for the fine
linen, and gilt wares, and dyes of Egypt; and proudlooking
shepherd chiefs of Kedar, with flocks of lambs,
rams, and goats; while beyond these, some merchants

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of saïs, men of stern aspects, had bands of slaves, whose
shining black skins and glittering teeth showed them to
be Nubians from Farther Africa, who had been brought
from the Upper Nile to be sold in the mart.

Thus does all the earth lay its riches at the feet of
Egypt, even as she pours them into the lap of Tyre.
Meet it is that two nations, so equal in commerce, should
be allied in friendship. May this friendly alliance, more
closely cemented by my visit to this court, never be
broken! I am willing to surrender to Egypt the title,
“Mistress of the World,” which I have seen inscribed
on the obelisk that Amense is now erecting, so long as
she makes no attempt upon our cherished freedom, nor
asks of us other tribute to her greatness than the jewelled
necklace it was my pleasure to present to her
queen, from your hand.

Having crossed this wonderful mart of the world, we
issued upon a broad street, which diverging to the right
led towards Jizeh, not far distant, and to the left towards
Memphis, the noble pylon of which was in full sight.
The street was lined with small temples, six on each
side, dedicated to the twelve gods of the months, statues
of each of whom stood upon pedestals before its gateway.

This avenue, which was but a succession of columns
and statues, and in which we met several pleasure-chariots,
terminated at an obelisk one hundred feet in
height—a majestic and richly elaborated monument,
erected by Amunophis I., whose name it bears upon a
cartouch, to the honor of his Syrian queen, Ephtha.
Upon its surface is recounted, in exquisitely colored intaglio
hieroglyphs, her virtues and the deeds of his own

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reign. At each of its four corners crouches a sphinx,
with a dog's head, symbolic of ceaseless vigilance. A
noble square surrounds the obelisk, and on its west side
is the propylon of Memphis. The great wings that
inclose the pylon are ninety feet in height, and are
resplendent with colored pictorial designs, done in the
most brilliant style of Egyptian art.

Here we found a guard of soldiers, whose captain
received the prince with marks of the profoundest military
respect. We passed in, through ranks of soldiers,
who bent one knee to the ground, and entered the chief
street of Memphis—the second city in Egypt in architectural
magnificence, and the first in religious importance,
as the city of the sacred bull Apis.

A description of this city would be almost a repetition
of that of On, slightly varying the avenues, squares,
and forms of temples. You have, therefore, to imagine,
or rather recall, the splendor of the “City of the Lord
of the Sun
” (for this is its true Egyptian designation),
and appply to Memphis the picture hitherto given of
that gorgeous metropolis of Osiris.

After we had passed a few squares through the
thronged and handsome street, which was exclusively
filled with beautiful and tasteful abodes of priests,
adorned with gardens and corridors, we came to a large
open space in the city, where was a great fountain,
surrounded by lions sculptured in gray porphyry stone.
On one side of this square was a lake, bordered with
trees; on another, a grove sacred to certain mysteries;
on a third, a temple dedicated to all the sacred animals
of Egypt,—images of which surrounded a vast portico
in front. An enumeration of them will exhibit to you,

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how the first departure, in ancient days, from the worship
of the One Deity, by personating His attributes in
animal forms, has converted religion into a gross and
sensual superstition. It is not enough that they have
fanciful emblems in all their temples, and on all their
sculptured monuments, of Life, Goodness, Power, Purity,
Majesty, and Dominion (as in the crook and flail of Osiris),
of Authority, of Royalty, of Stability; but they
elevate into representatives of the gods, the ape, sacred
to Thoth; the monkey; the fox, dog, wolf, and jackal, all
four sacred to Anubis; the ichneumon and cat, which
last is superstitiously reverenced, and when dead embalmed
with divine rites. The ibex, which I once believed
to be sacred, is regarded only as an emblem; and
so with the horse, ass, panther, and leopard, which are
not sacred, but merely used in sculptures as emblems.
The hippopotamus is sacred, and also an emblem of Typhon,
dedicated to the god of war. The cow is held
eminently sacred by the Egyptians, and is dedicated to
the deity Athor.

There are four sacred bulls in Egypt,—nor only sacred,
but deified. In Middle Egypt, Onuphis and Basis are
worshipped in superb temples; and at On, Mnevis,
sacred to the Sun. Here in Memphis is Apis, not only
sacred but a god, and type of Osiris, who, in his turn,
is the type of the Sun, which is the type of the Infinite
Invisible; at least this is the formula, so far as I have
learned its mysteries. How much purer the religion,
dear mother, which, passing by or overleaping all these
intermediate types and incarnations, prostrates the soul
before the footstool of the Lord of the Sun Himself, the
One Spiritual God of gods!

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Of all the sacred animals above named, I beheld
images in stone upon the dromos which bordered the
portico. There were also figures of the sacred birds,—
as the ibis, sacred to the god Thoth; the vulture, the
falcon-hawk, sacred to Re, and honored in the city of
On; and the egret, sacred to Osiris. Besides these
sacred figures which decorated this pantheonic portico,
at each of the four gates was one of the four deified
bulls in stone, larger than life-size. There are also to
be found, all over Egypt, sculptured sphinxes,—a sort
of fabulous monster, represented either with the head
of a man, a hawk, or a ram; to these may be added a
vulture with a serpent's head, and a tortoise-headed

The phœnix, sacred to Osiris, I shall by and by speak
of, and the white and saffron-colored cock, sacred to,
and sacrificed in, the Temple of Anubis. Certain fishes
are also held sacred by this extraordinary people, who
convert every thing into gods. The oxyrhincus, the eel,
the lepidotus, and others are sacred, and at Thebes are
embalmed by the priests. The scorpion is an emblem
of the goddess Selk, the frog of Pthah, and the unwieldy
crocodile sacred to the god Savak—a barbarous deity.
Serpents having human heads, and also hawk's and
lion's heads, were sculptured along the frieze of this
pantheon, intermingled with figures of nearly all the
above sacred animals. On the abacus of each column
was sculptured the scarabæus—the sacred beetle—consecrated
to Pthah, and adopted as an emblem of the
world; also the type of the god Hor-hat, the Good
Genius of Egypt, whose emblem is a sun supported by
two winged asps encircling it. Flies, ichneumons, and

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bees, with many other insects and animals, are represented
in the sculptures, but are not sacred.

Even vegetables do not escape the service of their
religion. The persea is sacred to Athor; the ivy to
Osiris, and much made use of at his festivals; the
feathery tamarisk is also sacred to this deity; and the
peach and papyrus are supposed to be sacred, or at least
used, for religious purposes. Contrary to the opinion I
formed when I first came into Egypt, the onion, leek,
and garlic are not sacred. The pomegranate, vine, and
acanthus are used for sacred rites, and the sycamore-fig
is sacred to Netpe. The lotus, the favorite object of
imitation in all temple-sculpture, is sacred to, and the
emblem of, the most ancient god of Egypt, whom the
priests call Nofiratmoosis—a name wholly new to me
among the deities;—but it is also clearly a favorite
emblem of Osiris, being found profusely sculptured on
all his temples. Lastly, the palm-branch is a symbol of
astrology and type of the year, and conspicuous among
the offerings made to the gods.

Now, my dear mother, can you wonder at Prince
Remeses—that a man of his learning, intellect, sensibility,
and sound judgment, should turn away from
these thousand contemptible gods of Egypt, to seek a
purer faith and worship, and that he should wish to
give his people a more elevating and spiritual religion?
Divisions and subdivisions have here reached their
climax, and the Egyptians who worship God in every
thing may be said to have ceased to worship him
at all!

What was on the fourth side of the great square, of
which the lake, the grove, and the pantheon composed

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three, was the central and great Temple of Apis in
Lower Egypt. In my next letter I will describe my
visit to it. I am at present a guest of the high-priest
of the temple, and hence the date of my letter at

Your affectionate son,

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The Palace of the Priest of Apis. My dear Mother:

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I will now describe to you my visit, with the
prince, to the most remarkable shrine in Egypt. While
the worship of Osiris, at On, is a series of splendid
pageantries, but little differing from the gorgeous sunworship
which you witnessed some years ago at Baalbec,
the rites of Apis are as solemn and severe as the
temple in which they are celebrated is grand and

The temple itself is a massive and imposing edifice,
of reddish Elephantine stone. It is of vast proportions,
and the effect produced is that of a mountain of rock
hewn into a temple, as travellers say temples are cut
out of the face of cliffs in Idumea-Arabia. Its expression
is majesty and grandeur. It occupies the whole of
one side of the vast square described by me in my last

As we were about to ascend to the gate, I was startled
by a loud and menacing cry from many voices, and,
looking around, perceived a Tyrian mariner, recognized
by me as such by his dress, who was flying across the
square with wings of fear. A crowd, which momentarily
increased, pursued him swiftly with execrations and

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cries of vengeance! As he drew near, I noticed that
he was as pale as a corpse. Seeing that he was a
Phœnician, I felt interested in him, and by a gesture
drew him towards me. He fell at my feet, crying—
“Save me, O my prince!”

“What hast thou done?” I demanded.

“Only killed one of their cats, my lord!”

The throng came rushing on, like a stormy wave,
uttering fearful cries.

“May I try and protect him, O Remeses,” I asked,
for I knew that, if taken, he would be slain for destroying
one of their sacred animals.

“I will see if I can; but I fear my interposition will
not be heeded in a case like this,” he replied. At the
same time he deprecatingly waved his hand to the infuriated
populace, which had in a few moments increased
to a thousand people.

“No, not even for the prince! He has killed a
sacred animal. By our laws he also must die. We will
sacrifice him to the gods!”

In vain I entreated, and Remeses interposed. The
wretched man was torn from our presence by as many
hands as could seize him, thrown down the steps of the
temple, and trampled upon by the furious crowd, until
nothing like a human shape remained. The formless
mass was then divided into pieces, and carried to a
temple where numerous sacred cats are kept, in order
to be given to them to devour. Such is the terrible
death they inflict upon one who by accident kills a cat
or an ibis!

“The power of the State is weak when contending
with the mad strength of superstition,” remarked

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Remeses, as we entered the temple between two statues of
brazen bulls. Entering through a majestic doorway,
we came into an avenue of vast columns, the size of
which impressed me with awe. The temple was originally
erected to Pthah, anciently the chief deity of
Memphis, and dedicated in the present reign to the
sacred bull, whose apartment is the original adytum of
the temple.

The worship of Apis and Mnevis, the bulls consecrated
to Osiris, exhibits the highest point to which the
worship of animals in Egypt has reached, and it was with
no little interest I felt myself advancing into the presence
of this deified animal. We were met, at the entrance
of the avenue of columns, by two priests in white
linen robes, over which was a crimson scarf, the sacred
color of Apis. They had tall caps on their heads, and
each carried a sort of crook. They received the prince
with prostrations. Going one before and one behind us,
they escorted us along the gloomy and solemn avenue of
sculptured columns, until we came to a brazen door. A
priest opened it, and we entered a magnificent peristyle
court supported by caryatides twelve cubits in height,
representing the forms of Egyptian women. We remained
in this grand hall a few moments, when a door
on the opposite side opened and the sacred bull appeared.
He was conducted by a priest, who led him
by a gold chain fastened to his horns, which were garlanded
with flowers. The animal was large, noble-looking,
and jet-black in color, with the exception of a
square spot of white upon his forehead. Upon his
shoulder was the resemblance of a vulture, and the hairs
were double in his tail! These being the sacred marks

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of Apis, I observed them particularly: there should be
also the mark of a scarabæus on his tongue.

The deity stalked proudly forth, slowly heaving up
and down his huge head and thick neck,—a look of
barbaric power and grandeur glancing from his eye.

The curator of the sacred animal led him once around
the hall, the Egyptians prostrating themselves as he
passed them, and even Remeses, instinctively, from
custom, bending his head. When he stopped, the
prince advanced to him, and taking a jewelled collar
from a casket which he brought with him, he said to
the high-priest—who, with a censer of incense, prepared
to invoke the god—

“My lord priest of Apis: I, Remeses the prince, as
a token of my gratitude to the god, of whom the sacred
bull is the emblem, for the restoration of my mother,
the queen, do make to the temple an offering of this
jewelled collar for the sacred bull.”

“His sacred majesty, my lord prince, accepts, with
condescension and grace, your offering,” answered the
gorgeously attired high-priest. He then passed the necklace
through the cloud of incense thrice, and going up
to the bull, fastened the costly gift about his neck,
already decorated with the price of a kingdom, while
his forehead glittered like a mass of diamonds. A cool
draft of wind passing through the open hall, a priest
(at least two hundred attendant priests were assembled
there to witness the prince's offering) brought a covering
or housing of silver and gold tissue, magnificently
embroidered, and threw it over the god.

The prince now, at the request of the queen, proceeded
to obtain an omen as to the success of his army.

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He therefore approached and offered the bull a peculiar
cake, of which he is very fond, which the animal took
from his palm and ate. At this good omen there was a
murmur of satisfaction; for a refusal to eat is accounted
a bad omen. Remeses smiled as if gratified. Could it
be that he had faith in the omen? I know not. Much
must be allowed to the customs of a lifetime! Trained
to all these rituals from a child, had the philosophy of
his later years wholly destroyed in him all faith and confidence
in the gods of his mother and his country? The
priest now asked a question aloud, addressed to the god:

“Will the Prince of Egypt, O sacred Apis, be a successful
king, when he shall come to the throne?”

The reply to the question was to be found in the first
words Remeses should hear spoken by any one when he
left the temple. He immediately departed from the
peristyle, and we returned through the solemn avenue
to the portico. As we descended the steps, a seller of
small images of the bull called out, in reply to something
said by another—

“He will never get there!”

“Mark those words, Sesostris!” he said, not unimpressed
by them; “my mother is to outlive me, or
Mœris will seize the throne from me!”

“Do you put faith in this omen?”

“I know not what to answer you, my Sesostris. You
have, no doubt,” he added, “after all I have said, marvelled
at my offering to Apis. But it is hard to destroy
early impressions, even with philosophy, especially if the
mind has no certain revelation to cling to, when it casts
off its superstitions. But here I must leave you, at the
door of the hierarch's palace. This noble priest is head

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of the priesthood of Pthah, a part of whose temple, as
you have seen, is devoted to Apis,—or rather the two
temples subsist side by side. You saw him last week at
our palace. He has asked you to be his guest while
here. Honor his invitation, and he will not only teach
you much that you desire to know, but will visit with
you the great pyramidal temple of Cheops.”

Having entered the palace, and placed me under the
hospitality of the noble Egyptian hierarch therein, the
prince took leave of me. I would like to describe to
you the taste and elegance of this abode, my dear mother;
its gardens, fountains, flower-courts, paintings, and rich
furniture. But I must first say a little more about the
god Apis, who holds so prominent a place in the mythology
of Egypt. In the hieroglyphic legends he is
called Hapi, and his figurative sign on the monuments
is a bull with a globe of the sun upon his head, and the
hieroglyphic cruciform emblem of Life drawn near it.
Numerous bronze figures of this bull are cast, whereupon
they are consecrated, distributed over Egypt, and placed
in the tombs of the priests. The time to which the sacred
books limit the life of Apis is twenty-five years, which
is a mystic number here; and if his representative does
not die a natural death by that time, he is driven to the
great fountain of the temple, where the priests were accustomed
to bathe him (for he is fed and tended with
the greatest delicacy, luxury, and servility by his priestly
curators), and there, with hymns chanted and incense
burning, they drown him amid many rites and ceremonies,
all of which are written in the forty-two books of
papyrus kept in the sacred archives of the oldest temple.

No sooner does the god expire, than certain priests,

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who are selected for the purpose, go in search of some
other bull; for they believe that the soul of Osiris has
migrated into another body of one of these animals, or
“Lords of Egypt,” as I have heard them called. This
belief of the constant transfer of himself by Osiris from
the body of one bull to another, is but the expression of
a popular notion here, that souls of men transmigrate
from body to body; and my opinion is confirmed by a
scene depicted in the judgment-hall of Osiris, where the
god is represented as sending a soul, whose evil deeds
outweighed his good ones, back to earth, and condemning
it to enter the body of a hog, and so begin anew,
from the lowest animal condition, to rise by successive
transmigrations through other beasts, higher and higher,
until he became man again, when, if he had acquired
virtue in his probation, he was admitted to the houses
of the gods and became immortal.

The prince assures me that the belief in the transmigration
of souls is almost universal in the Thebaïd, as
well as among the lower orders in the northern nomes;
and that the universal reverence for animals is, without
doubt, in a great measure to be traced to this sentiment.
A monstrous doctrine of the perpetual incarnation of
deity in the form, not of man, but of the brute, seems to
be the groundwork of all religious faith in Egypt. This
idea is the key to the mysteries, inconsistencies, and
grossness of their outward worship; the interpreter of
their animal Pantheon.

“There is a tradition,” said to me, to-day, the prince-priest
Misrai, with whom I am now remaining, “that
when Osiris came down to earth, in order to benefit the
human race by teaching them the wisdom of the gods,

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evil men, the sons of Typhon, pursued to destroy him,
when he took refuge in the body of a bull, who protected
and concealed him. After his return to the heavens, he
ordained that divine honors should be paid to the bull

This account, my dear mother, is a more satisfactory
myth than any other, if any can be so; and recognizes
incarnation as the principle of the worship of Apis.
This universal idea in the minds of men, that the Creator
once dwelt in the body of a creature, would lead one
to believe, that in ages past the Infinite had descended
from heaven for the good of men, and dwelt in a body;
or that, responding to this universal idea, he may yet do
it. Perhaps, dear mother, the worship of Osiris under
the form of Apis, may be the foreshadowing and type
of what is yet really to come—a dispensation, preparing
men for the actual coming of the Invisible in a visible
form. What a day of glory and splendor for earth,
should this prove true! The conception, dear mother,
is not my own; it is a thought of the great, and wise,
and good Remeses, who, if ever men are deified, deserves
a place, after death, among the gods. His vast
and earnest mind, enriched with all the stores of knowledge
that man can compass, seems as if it derived inspiration
from the heavens. His conversation is deeper
than the sacred books; the ideas of his soul more wonderful
than the mysteries of the temple!

The priests who seek another bull, discover him by
certain signs mentioned in their sacred books. These I
have already described. In the mean while, a public
lamentation is performed, as if Osiris, that is, “the Lord
of Heaven,” had died, and the mourning lasts until the

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new Apis is found. This information is proclaimed by
swift messengers in all the cities, and is hailed with the
wildest rejoicings. The scribes who have found the
young calf which is to be the new god, keep it with its
mother in a small temple facing the rising sun, and feed
it with milk for four months. When that term is expired,
a grand procession of priests, scribes, prophets,
and interpreters of omens, headed by the high-priest,
and often by the king, as hereditary priest of his realm,
proceed to the temple or house of the sacred calf, at the
time of the new moon—the slender and delicate horns
of which symbolize those of the juvenile Apis.
chants and musical instruments playing, they escort him
to a gorgeously decorated baris or barge, rowed by
twelve oars, and place him in a gilded cabin on costly
mats. They then convey him in great pomp and with
loud rejoicings to Memphis. Here the whole city receives
him with trumpets blowing and shouts of welcome;
garlands are cast upon his neck by young girls,
and flowers strewed before him by the virgins of the

Thus escorted, the “Living Soul of Osiris” is conducted
to the temple provided for him, which is now, as
I have before observed, an appendage to the Temple of
Pthah or Vulcan, an edifice remarkable for its architectural
beauty, its extent, and the richness of its decorations;
indeed, the most magnificent temple in the city.
A festival of many days succeeds, and the young deity
is then led in solemn procession throughout the city,
that all the people may see him. These come out of
their houses to welcome him, with gifts, as he passes.
Mothers press their children forward towards the sacred

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animal that they may receive his breath which, they
believe, conveys the power to them of predicting future
events. Returned to his sacred adytum, he henceforth
reigns as a god, daintily fed, and reverently served.
Pleasure-gardens and rooms for recreation are provided
for him when he would exercise.

At the death of Apis, all the priests are immediately
excluded from the temple, which is given up to profound
solitude and silence, as if it also mourned, in solemn
desolation, the loss of its god. His obsequies are celebrated
on a scale of grandeur and expenditure hardly
conceivable. Sometimes the rich treasury of the temple,
though filled with the accumulated gold of a quarter
of a century, is exhausted. Upon the death of the last
Apis, the priests expended one hundred talents of gold
in his obsequies, and Prince Mœris, who seeks every
opportunity to make a show of piety, and to please the
Egyptians, gave them fifty talents more, to enable them
to defray the enormous costs of the funeral of the god.

The burial-place of the Serapis, as the name is on the
mausoleum (formed by pronouncing together Osiris-Apis),
is outside of the western pylon of the city. We
approached it through a paved avenue, with lions ranged
on each side of it. It consists of a vast gallery, hewn in a
rocky spur of the Libyan cliff, twenty feet in height, and
two thousand long. I visited this tomb yesterday, accompanied
by the high-priest. He showed me the series of
chambers on the sides of this sepulchral hall, where each
embalmed Apis was deposited in a sarcophagus of
granite fifteen feet in length. There were sixty of these
sarcophagi, showing the permanency and age of this
system of worship. They were adorned with royal

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ovals, inscribed, or with tablets containing dedications,
to Apis. One of these bore the inscription, “To the
god Osiris-Apis, the Lord of the Soul of Osiris, and
emblem of the Sun, by Amense, Queen and upholder
of the two kingdoms.”

In front of the sculptured entrance of this hall of the
dead god is the Sarapeum, a funeral temple for perpetual
obsequies. It has a vestibule of noble proportions, its
columns being of the delicately blue-veined alabaster
from the quarries in the south. On each side of the
doorway is a crouching lion, with a tablet above one, upon
which a king is represented making an offering. Within
the vestibule stand, in half circle, twelve statues of ancient
kings. In a circle above these sit, with altars before each,
as many gods. Upon a pedestal in the centre stands the
statue of the Pharaoh who erected this beautiful edifice.

Thus, my dear mother, have I endeavored, as you
requested, to present before your mind a clear view of
the system of theology, and the forms of worship of the
Egyptians. To evolve from the contradictory and
vague traditions a reasonable faith; to select from the
countless myths a dominating idea; to separate the true
from the false, to bring harmony out of what, regarded
as a whole, is confusion; to know what is local, what
national in rites, and to reconcile all the theories of
Osiris with one another, is a task far from easy to perform.
At first, I believed I should never be able to
arrive at any system in these multifarious traditions and
usages, but I think that my researches have given me
an insight into the difficulties of their religion, and
enabled me, in a great measure, to unravel the tangled
thread of their mythology.

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I will now resume my pen, which, since writing the
above, I laid down to partake of a banquet with the
priest, my princely host, at which I met many of the
great lords of Memphis, namely—the lord-keeper of the
royal signet, the lord of the wardrobe and rings of the
queen's palace, and the lord of the treasury. These
men of rank I well knew, having met them before at the
table of the queen. There were also strangers whom I
had not met before—men of elegant address, and in rich
apparel, each with the signet of his office on his left
hand; among others, the lord of the nilometer, who
reports the progress of the elevation of the river in the
annual overflows, and by which all Lower Egypt is
governed in its agricultural work; the president of the
engravers on hard stones, an officer of trust and high
honor; the governors of several nomes, in their gold
collars and chains; the lord of the house of silver; the
president of architects; the lord of sculptors; the president
of the school of art and color; with other men of
dignity. There were also high-priests of several fanes,
of Athor, of Pthah, of Horus, of Maut, and of Amun.
Besides these gentlemen, there was a large company of
noble ladies, their wives and daughters, who came to the
banquet by invitation of the Princess Nelisa, the superb
and dark-eyed wife of the Prince Hierarch, and one of
the most magnificent and queenly women (next to the
queen herself) I have seen in this land of beautiful

It was a splendid banquet. The Lady Nelisa presided
with matchless dignity and grace. But I have
already described a banquet to you. This was similar
in display and the mode of entertaining the guests.

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I was seated opposite the daughter of the Priest of
Mars, of whose beauty I have before spoken. She asked
many questions, in the most captivating way, about
Tyre, and yourself, and the Phœnician ladies generally.
She smiled, and looked surprised, when I informed her
that I was betrothed to the fair Princess Thamonda, and
asked me if she were as fair as the women of Egypt. She
inquired if Damascus had always been a part of Phœ
nicia, and how large your kingdom was. When I told
her that your kingdom was composed of several lesser
kingdoms, once independent, but now united far east of
Libanus, under your crown, she inquired if you were a
warlike queen to make such conquests. I replied that
this union of the free cities of Phœnicia, and of the
cities of Cœle-Syria under your sceptre, was a voluntary
one, partly for union against the kings of Philistia,
partly from a desire to be under so powerful and wise
a queen. She said that if the danger were passed,
or you were no more, the kings of these independent
cities might dissolve the bonds, and so diminish the
splendor of the crown which I was to wear. To this
I replied, that to be king of Tyre and its peninsula
was a glory that would meet my ambition. “Yes,”
said she, “for Tyre is the key of the riches of the

I repeat this conversation, dear mother, in order to
show you that the high-born daughters of Egypt are not
only affable and sensible, but that they possess no little
knowledge of other lands, and take an interest in countries
friendly to their own. The grace and beauty of
this maiden, as well as her modesty, rendered her conversation
attractive and pleasing. She is to become the

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wife of a brave young captain of the chariot battalion,
when he returns from the Ethiopian war.

My visit to the pyramids I will now describe, dear
mother, although in a letter to the Princess Thamonda I
have given a very full account of it. Accompanied by
the hierarch and a few young lords—his friends and
mine—we rode in chariots out of the gate of the city,
passed the guards, who made obeisance to the high-priest,
and entered upon an avenue (what noble avenues
are everywhere!) of trees growing upon a raised and
terraced mound which bounded each side of it. The
mound was emerald-green with verdancy, and the
color of the foliage of the palms, acacias, and tamarisk
trees was enriched by the bright sunshine as seen
through the pure atmosphere. At intervals we passed
a pair of obelisks, or through a grand pylon of granite.
Then we came to a beautiful lake—the Lake of the
Dead—where we passed a procession of shrines. Every
nome and all large cities have such a lake. I will here
state its use, which, like every thing in Egypt, is a
religious one. It is connected with the passage of the
dead from this world to the next; for the Egyptians not
only believe in a future state, but that rewards or punishments
await the soul. When a person of distinction
dies, after the second or third day his body is taken
charge of by embalmers, a class of persons whose occupation
it is to embalm the dead. They have houses in
a quarter of the city set apart for this purpose. Here
the friends of the dead are shown three models of as
many different modes of embalmment, of which they
choose one, according to the expense they are willing to
incur. “The most honorable and most costly,” said

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the high-priest to me, as we were surveying the Lake
of the Dead, towards which a procession was moving
from the city, when we came before it, “is that in
which the body is made to resemble Osiris. And a
custom prevails among us, that the operator who first
wounds the body with the sharp embalming flint, preparatory
to embalming, is odious by the act, and is
compelled to take to flight, pursued with execrations
and pelted with stones. No doubt the man we saw
flying out of a house this morning, as we passed, was
one of these incisors.”

The body remains seventy days, if that of a person of
rank, at the embalmers. It is then either taken to the
house, to be detained a longer or shorter time—according
to the attachment of relatives, and their reluctance
to part with it—or is prepared for entombment. During
the interval of seventy days, the mourners continue
their signs of lamentation, which often are excessive in
degree, such as tearing off raiment, beating the breast,
and pouring dust upon the head. The pomp of the
burial of the Pharaohs, I am informed, is inconceivably
grand and imposing. The whole realm joins in the
rites and processions, and every temple is crowded with
sacrificers and incense-burners.

We stopped our chariots to witness the funeral procession
advance to the shore of the lake, from the wide
street leading from Memphis.

First came seven musicians, playing a solemn dirge
upon lyres, flutes, and harps with four chords. Then
servants carrying vases of flowers; and others followed,
bearing baskets containing gilded cakes, fruit, and crystal
goblets of wine. Two boys led a red calf for sacrifice

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in behalf of the dead, and two others carried in a basket
three snow-white geese, also for sacrifice. Others bore
beautiful chairs, tablets, napkins, and numerous articles
of a household description; while others still, held little
shrines, containing the household gods or effigies of their
ancestors. Seven men carrying daggers, fans, sandals,
and bows, each having a napkin on his shoulder, followed.
Next I saw eight men appear, supporting a table; and
lying upon it, as offerings, were embroidered couches
and lounges, richly inlaid boxes, and an ivory chariot
with silver panels, which, with the foregoing articles, the
high-priest informed me had belonged to the deceased,
who, from the cartouch on the chariot, was Rathmes,
“lord of the royal gardens.”

Behind this chariot came the charioteer, with a pair
of horses caparisoned with harness for driving, but which
he led on foot out of respect to his late master.

Then came a venerable man, with the features and
beard of the Hebrew race. Surprised to see one of
these people anywhere, save with an implement of toil
in his hand, or bowed down to the earth under a burden,
I looked more closely, and recognized the face of the
head gardener, Amrami, or Amram, whom I had often
seen in the queen's garden, and whom Remeses had
taken, as it were, into his service, as he was his fosterfather;
for it is no uncommon thing with the nobles to
have Hebrew nurses for their infants; on the contrary,
they are preferred. When Remeses was an infant, it
seems, therefore, that the wife of this fine-looking old
Hebrew was his foster-mother, or nurse. I have before
spoken of the striking resemblance he bears to Remeses.
Were he his father (if I may so speak of a prince in

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connection with a slave), there could not be a much
greater likeness.

This venerable man, who must be full seventy years
of age, bore in his hand a bunch of flowers, inverted
and trailing, in token that his lord was no more. He
was followed by not less than fifty under-gardeners, four
or five of whom had Hebrew lineaments, but the rest
were Egyptians and Persians,—the latter celebrated for
the culture of flowers, which are so lavishly used here
in all the ceremonies of society and rites of religion.

After them followed four men, each bearing aloft a
vase of gold, upon a sort of canopy, with other offerings;
then came a large bronze chest, borne by priests, containing
the money left to their temple by the deceased.
Then, in succession, one who bore his arms; another, a
pruning-hook of silver; another, his fans; a fourth, his
signets, jewelled collars, and necklaces, displayed upon
a cushion of blue silk, adorned with needle-work; and
a fifth, the other insignia peculiar to a noble who had
been intrusted with the supervision of all the royal gardens
in the Memphite kingdom.

Now came four trumpeters and a cymbal-player, performing
a martial air, in which voices of men mingled,
called “The Hymn of Heroes.”

Next appeared a decorated barge or baris,—a small,
sacred boat, carried by six men, whom I saw elevate to
view the mysterious “Eye of Osiris;” while others carried
a tray of blue images, representing the deceased under
the form of that god, also of the sacred bird emblematic
of the soul. Following these were twelve men, bearing,
upon yokes balanced across the shoulders, baskets and
cases filled with flowers and crystal bottles for libation.

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Next were a large company of hired females, with fillets
upon their brows, beating their bared breasts, and throwing
dust upon their heads,—now lamenting the dead, now
praising his virtues.

Then came the officiating priest, his sacred leopard-skin
cast over his shoulders, bearing in his hand the
censer and vase of libation, and accompanied by his
attendants holding the various implements required for
the occasion. Behind this priest came a car, without
wheels, drawn by four white oxen and seven men, yoked
to it, while beside them walked a chief officer, who
regulated the movements of the procession. Upon this
car was the consecrated boat, containing the ark or
hearse. The pontiff of the Temple of Horus walked by
the sarcophagus, which was decked with flowers, and
richly painted with various emblems. A panel, left open
on one side, exposed to view the head of the mummy.

Finally came the male relatives of the dead, and his
friends. In his honor the queen's grand-chamberlain
and the master of horse marched together in silence, and
with solemn steps, leaning on their long sticks. Other
men followed, whose rich dresses, and long walkingcanes,
which are the peculiar mark of an Egyptian gentleman,
showed them to be persons of distinction. A
little in the rear of these walked a young man, who
dropped a lotus-flower from a basket at every few steps,
and closed the long procession.

In no country but this, where rain seldom falls, and
it is always pleasant in the open air, could such a procession
safely appear bearing wares so delicate and
frail. The only danger to be apprehended is from
storms of sand from the desert beyond the pyramids, of

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the approach of which, however, the atmosphere gives a
sufficient warning.

This letter is quite long enough, dear mother, and I
close it, with wishes for your happiness, and assurances
of the filial devotion of

Your son,

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City of Memphis. Dearest Mother:

[figure description] Page 245.[end figure description]

Your last letter, assuring me of your health, and
that of the Princess Thamonda, I received by the chief
pilot, Onothis, who, in his new and handsome galley,
reached the head of the Delta two days ago. Thence
he came here in his boat, his ship being too large, in
the present depth of water, to come up to Memphis.

I will now continue the description of the funeral of
“the lord of the royal gardens.” When the procession
reached the steps leading down to the sacred lake,
the hearse was borne upon a gilded and carved baris,
the consecrated boat for the dead. This was secured to
a decorated galley with sails and oars and a spacious
cabin, richly painted with funeral emblems. The friends
and relatives of the deceased embarked in other barges
in waiting, and to the strains of wailing music, the procession,
reverently joined by the boats of several gentlemen,
in gay apparel, who were fishing on the lake,
crossed to the other side. Reaching the opposite shore,
it formed again, as before, and moved down “the Street
of the Tombs,” crossed a narrow plain, and entered the
gate of the great burial-place of Memphis. We slowly

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followed the procession; and, alighting from the chariot,
I saw them take the mummy from the sarcophagus on
the car, and place it upright in a chamber of the tomb.
An assistant priest then sprinkled all who were present
with sacred water, and the chief-priest burnt incense
before an altar of the tomb, and poured libations upon
it, with other ceremonies. To close the scene, the
mummy was embraced by weeping friends, and a funeral
dirge played by the musicians without, which was wildly
answered by the mourning wail of woe from within.

Driving around the Acherusis Lake, under the shade
of its solemn groves, the priest directed his charioteer to
take me in again at the gate of the tombs. Reseating
myself by his side—for the chariots of the priests, as well
as those of ladies, are provided with a movable curved
chair which holds two persons—we proceeded in a
direct line towards the greatest of the three pyramids
that stand near Memphis. We were upon what is called
“The Sacred Way.” It commenced at the gate of a
temple to the god of the winds, beneath the pylon of
which we passed, and extended nearly a league in length
over a vast plain crowded with funeral temples, monuments,
mausolean porticos, statues, and fountains. All
the architectural magnificence which is found in other
avenues, seemed to be combined here to form a royal
road which has no parallel on earth; not even the long
column-lined approach to the Temple of the Sun, at the
end of the straight street in Damascus, can be compared
with it.

This noble thoroughfare, as we drove slowly along
that I might admire its grandeur and beauty, was
thronged with people going to and coming from the

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city. There were processions returning from having
deposited their dead in one of the many tombs which
covered the vast plain; processions of the humbler
orders, with but few signs of display and wealth, proceeding,
with real mourners, to the tomb. There were
groups of children, their hands filled with garlands,
going to place them upon the sarcophagus of a departed
parent; for the custom of decorating the resting-places
of the dead with wreaths often renewed, belongs to
Egypt as well as to Syria.

We overtook a rich lady in a gilded palanquin, borne
on the shoulders of four slaves. She was opulently and
handsomely attired, and carried a blue and green fan,
while an attendant walked behind and held over her
head a large parasol.

Two chariots, containing young Egyptian lords, dashed
by us at full speed in the excitement of a race, each
driving his own ornamented car, the charioteers standing
a little in the rear.

People selling little images of gods, or of eminent deceased
persons, or fruit, or flowers, or scarabæi, and amulets,
were seated all along the highway, upon pedestals,
or in the shade of statues and tombs; while along
the road walked sellers of vegetables, and fowls, and
bread. Indeed, the way was crowded with life and activity.
With no other people would the avenue to its
tombs be the most thronged of any, and the favorite of
all in the city; for Memphis, which extends from and
includes Jizeh, past the pyramids south for six miles,
has noble streets, but none like this leading to the pyramids.
The Egyptians say that the house is but the temporary
abode of man, but in the tombs his embalmed

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body dwells forever. “Let us, therefore, decorate
our tombs with paintings and art, and fill them with
flowers, and adorn the homes which are to be permanent.”

Hence the “dead-life” of the sepulchres is not less a
reality to the Egyptian than his life in the city. The
poor, however, do not find tombs. They are buried in
graves or pits, like the Hebrew people. On the other
side of the river lies the most ancient burial-place of
Memphis; but since the construction of the Lake of
the Dead, it is no longer necessary to cross the Nile (for
the dead must be ferried across water) for interment.

As we drove on, we came to a stately sepulchre, before
which was gathered a large multitude. The coffin
had just been removed from a gorgeous hearse and set
down upon the step of the tomb. It was the funeral of
a lady. I never saw any painting so rich as that which
adorned the mummy-case. It was an Osirian coffin, and
covered in every part with columns of hieroglyphics
or emblematical figures, among which were represented
the winged serpent, the ibis, the cynocephalus or the
genii of Amenthe, and the scarabæus.

“The hieroglyphics,” said my companion, “contain
the name and qualities of the deceased.”

At this moment an official, partly in a priestly dress,
advanced in an imposing manner, touched the coffin
with a wand, and said aloud:

“Approved! Let the good be entombed, and may
their souls dwell in Amenthe with Osiris. Judgment is
passed in her favor! Let her be buried!”

Upon hearing this address, I asked the high-priest
what it signified. He replied, with that courtesy which

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has always distinguished his replies to my numerous

“This act has reference to the judgment of Osiris.
We did not witness a similar ceremony at the lake, because
the deceased was brought from On, and had already
been judged at the crossing of the Nile. If we
had sooner seen this funeral procession, which came
only from the city to the lake, we should have beheld
forty-two just persons, chosen as judges, seated upon a
semicircular stone bench along the shore.”

“I noticed the stone seats,” I answered, “and intended
to have inquired their use.”

“Seated upon them, the forty-two judges await the procession.
The baris, or gilded galley, which is to receive
the body, is then drawn alongside of the steps. Before
it the bearers stop, and turning to the judges, rest their
burden on the ground before them. Then, while all the
friends stand anxiously around, and hundreds of spectators
line the shores, one of the judges rises and asks if
any one present can lawfully accuse the deceased of
having done wrong to any man. If the dead has done
injustice or evil, his enemy, or the one wronged, or their
relatives, advance and make the charge. The judges
weigh the accusation, and if it be sustained, the rites of
sepulchre are commanded not to proceed.”

Such a judgment, dear mother, I afterwards witnessed
on our return from the pyramids. It was the funeral of
a woman of respectability.

The accuser said, advancing into the space before the

“I accuse the deceased of suffering her father to perish
in want.”

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“This is a great crime by our laws,” said the judge
sternly; “for, though sons are not bound to provide for
poor parents, daughters are. This she knew, and was
able to do it. Where are the proofs?”

Three persons came forward and bore testimony to
the fact.

“The deceased is not worthy to pass the Lake of the
Dead. The burial is prohibited.”

Hereupon there was a great cry of woe on the part of
the mortified relations; and the mummy, without being
permitted to enter the sacred baris, was retaken to the
city, where in a shrine in the house it will remain aboveground
for years; until finally, after certain ceremonies,
it is permitted to be ignominiously entombed in “the
sepulchre of the evil.”

This accusation and judgment, dear mother, is a striking
illustration of the veneration and respect children
are expected to pay to their parents in Egypt.

If, on the other hand, the accusation is not sustained,
the accusers are stoned away by the friends, who then with
great joy unite in a eulogy of the dead, and joined by all
the people present pray the gods below to receive him to
dwell among the pious dead. In the eulogy, they speak
only of virtues—praising his learning, his integrity, his
justice, his piety, his temperance, and truthfulness; but no
mention is made of rank, since all Egyptians are deemed
equally noble. Such an ordeal has no doubt a great influence
upon the living Egyptian; for he is certain that
at his death every act of injustice he has committed will
be brought up before the forty-two judges, and if found
guilty, he will be denied sepulture, while infamy will be
attached to his memory.

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“What,” I asked of my companion, the high-priest,
“is the state of the deceased soul after death?”

“That, O prince,” said he, “is one of the mysteries.
But as you have been initiated into the knowledge of
the mystic books in your own land, I will explain to you
what our books of the dead teach. We priests of Apis
do not believe with those of Osiris at On.”

“What is their faith?” I asked.

“That the soul of man is immortal (which we all believe”),
he added positively; “that when the body decays,
the soul enters into and is born in the form of a
lower animal; and when it has gone the round of the
bodies of all terrestrial and marine animals, and of all
flying creatures, it enters again into the body of an infant
at its birth.”

“Possibly in this belief,” I remarked, “is found the
reason for preserving the human body as long as possible
by embalming it, thus keeping off the transmigration
of its soul into a brute as long as possible.”

“Without doubt,” he replied, “embalming the dead
grew out of the doctrine of transmigration of souls. The
circuit performed by a soul in this series of inhabitations
of the forms of animals, is three thousand years in duration.
Such is the belief of the priests of the Sun. This
transmigration is not connected either with reward or
punishment, but it is a necessity of its creation that the
soul should accomplish the whole circuit of the kingdom
of animated nature ere it again enters a human
body. Our doctrine of metempsychosis only so far embodies
this, as to make Osiris send back the transgressing
soul from Amenthe to earth, to dwell in the body
of swine as a punishment; and when its probation is

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passed, we allow an ultimate return to the Divine Essence.”

“What is this tribunal of Osiris?” I asked.

“The dead carry with them to the tomb a papyrus,
on which is written their address to the gods, and the
deeds which entitle them to admission into Heaven.
When the soul leaves the grave, it is received by Horus,
son of Osiris, and conducted to the gates of Amenthe, or
the regions of the gods. At the entrance, a dog with
four heads—of the wolf, lion, serpent, and bear—keeps
guard. Near the gate, which is called the Gate of
Truth, sits the goddess of Justice, with her gigantic
scales of gold between her and the Gate of Truth.
Hard by sits the god Thoth, with a tablet and stylus.
The scales are superintended by the deity Anubis.
Through the open gate the throne of Osiris is visible
with the deity upon it.

“As Horus advances with the soul to the Gate of
Truth, as if to enter, the goddess of Justice commands
him to stop, that the sum of its deeds, both good and
evil, may be weighed and recorded.

“Anubis then places a vase containing all the human
virtues in one scale, and the heart of the deceased, or
sometimes the soul itself, in the other. Horus repeats
the result, which the god Thoth inscribes upon his iron
tablet. The dog watches the issue of the weighing with
eyes red with furious longing to devour the soul. If the
sum of its good deeds predominates, Horus, taking it by
one hand, and the tablet of Thoth in the other, advances
into the hall, where his father, Osiris, is seated upon
the throne, holding his crook and flagellum, and awaiting
the report from the hand of his son. They

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approach the throne between four genii of Amenthe, and
come before three deities who sit in front of the throne.
These ask if he has been weighed, and Horus exhibits
to each the tablet of Thoth. They then permit him to
pass. Horus now stands before Osiris, with the soul by
his side, and presents the tablet, which the deity takes
from his son's hand. If satisfied by an inspection of the
tablet, which records not only the virtues but every
error of the soul's life on earth, Osiris presents him with
an ostrich feather, the emblem of truth. One of the
three deities then gives him a vase containing all the
virtues, his few sins being pardoned; a second offers
him a jewelled band for the forehead, on which is inscribed
in diamonds the word `justified;' and the third
presents him with the emblem of life. He is now received
by Isis, and conducted through gates of gold that
open with divine music, and enters into scenes of celestial
beauty and splendor; palaces of the gods become his
abode, he reposes by heavenly rivers of crystal beauty,
wanders through fields of delight, and dwells with the
Lord of the Sun, and all the immortal gods, in glory ineffable
and endless.”

The hierarch said all this with great animation, and
like a man who believes what he utters. I was deeply

“And what, my lord priest, becomes of the soul
which cannot meet the scales of justice with confidence,
whose evil deeds outweigh his good ones?”

“Such a soul does not see Osiris, nor the farther
heavens where he dwells illumined by the glory of the
divine disk of the Lord of the Sun. The reprobate
spirit does not behold the Eye of Osiris, nor repose in its

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pure light. It is not manifested to the sacred deities of
the inner heavens, nor does he hear the voice of the
great god, saying, `Thou art justified, O soul! Enter
thou the Gate of Truth.'

“If the soul is all wicked, with no virtues, then Horus
releases its hand with horror, and the dog devours the
wretched being in a moment. But if he has one or two
virtues—such as honoring his parents, having saved a
human life, or fed the hungry—then he is not given
over to the monster; but Horus, with a sad aspect, leads
him to the throne of Osiris, who, reading the dark tablet
of Thoth, sternly inclines his sceptre in token of condemnation,
and pronounces judgment upon him according
to his sin, when, Horus leaving him, two evil gods
from the realms of Typhon appear and lead him forth.”

“What is the punishment ordained?”

“To be led back to the gate of Truth and delivered
to Justice, who, without a head, sits thereat. The goddess
seals the sentence of Osiris upon the forehead of
the unclean soul, and instantly it assumes the form of a
pig, or some other base animal. The god Thoth then
calls up two monkeys, who take the condemned soul to
a boat and ferry it back to the world, while the bridge
by which it came from the earth is cut down by Anubis,
in the form of a man with an axe.”

“As every thing in Egyptian mythology is symbolical,
what is the signification of these monkeys?”

“Monkeys are emblems of Thoth, the god of time,”
he answered. “The books of our mysteries teach that
the human race began with the monkey, and progressively
advanced to man. Osiris, by his judgment, condemns
the unclean soul to the level of the monkey

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again, but first commands it to enter a swine's body,
the uncleanest of all beasts, and make its way through
the whole circle of animal creation, back to the monkey,
and up through the black, barbaric races of men,
who have arms like apes, to true man himself. Then,
practising virtue and rejecting his former vices, he
may after death finally attain to the mansions of the
blessed, in the presence of Osiris. But I should add,
the souls of bodies unburied can never enter the Gate
of Truth.”

Here we came in sight of the gigantic pylon that
opens to the Temple of the Pyramid of Cheops, and the
hierarch ceased speaking. He had, however, but little
to add, for his explanations covered all the ground of
my inquiries.

Thus, dear mother, have I presented to you the system
of worship in this wonderful land. I will now
proceed to a description of my visit to the pyramids,
which, in sublime majesty, occupied the whole horizon
as we advanced beyond the plain of the tombs. At the
extremity of the paved causeway of this stately “Avenue
of the Dead,” leading from the Nile to the pyramids,
we beheld the three great triangular mountains of
gigantic art obliquely, so that they were grasped by the
eye in one grand view. But the lofty mass of Cheops
immediately before us, at the end of the avenue, challenged
the eye and whole attention of the observer.
For a moment, as we dashed onward in our brilliantly
painted chariot, our steeds tossing their plumed heads
as if proud of their housings of gold and needle-work,
we lost sight of the pyramid by the interposition of the
gigantic wings of the Gate of the Pyramids. These

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wings were towers of Syenite rock, one hundred and
twenty feet in height, looking down from their twelfth
painted and sculptured story upon the tops of the loftiest
palms that grew on each side of the entrance. The
gate was guarded by priests, who wore a close silver
helmet, and held in their hands a short sword, the
sheath of which hung to a belt of leopard's skin. They
were young men, numbering in all three hundred and
sixty, corresponding to the days of the former Egyptian
year; while their five captains typify five days added
by the gods.

“These young men,” said the high-priest, “are all
sons of warlike fathers. They desire to become priests,
and are now in their novitiate; but after a year's service
as guards to the greatest of temples, they will be
advanced to a higher degree, and exchange the sword
for the shepherd's crook; and thence they rise to be
bearers of libation vases, and assistants in sacrifices.”

We passed under the lofty pylon, which was spanned
by a bronze winged sun, saluted by sixty of the guard
on duty; this being the number of each of the six bodies
into which they are divided. As soon as we entered
the court of the gate, a sight of inconceivable grandeur
burst upon me. Imagine a double colonnade of the
most magnificent pillars which art could create, extending
on each side of an open way a thousand cubits in
length. At the end of the grand vista, behold crouched
at full length, on the eastern edge of the elevated table
on which the pyramids stand, and in an attitude of eternal
repose, with an aspect of majesty and benignity inconceivable
in the human lineaments, an andro-sphinx
of colossal size, having the face of a warrior. Although

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stretched on the earth, with its fore-paws extended, the
summit of the brow is seventy feet above the earth.
This sublime image is emblematical, like all Egyptian
sphinxes, and represents strength or power combined
with intellect. The face I at once recognized to be that
of Chephres, as seen upon his obelisk at Rhoda, aggrandized
by the vastness of its proportions to the aspect of
a god.

From my companion, the prince-hierarch, I learned
it was begun by an ancient Pharaoh of the same name,
one of the kings of the oldest dynasty, who conceived
the idea of chiselling into these grand proportions a mass
of rock, which, projecting from the Libyan hills, nearly
obstructed the view of the principal pyramid.

We were here forbidden to advance in our chariot,
and the footmen, who had never left the side of the
horses, however swiftly our charioteer might drive,
caught them by the head, and we alighted.

I had leisure now to contemplate the scene before
me. The personation of majesty, the sphinx, fills the
breadth of the approach between the massive pillars of
the colonnade. Between his fore-paws, which extend
fifty feet, while the body is nearly three times this measure,
stands a beautiful temple faced with oriental alabaster.
His head is crowned with a helmet slightly convex,
upon which, like a crest, is affixed the sacred uræus
or serpent, shining with gold. The cape or neck-band
of the helmet is of scales, colored blue, red, green, and
orange, intermingled with gilding. A great and full
beard descends over his breast, immediately under which,
and between his feet, is the summit of the temple where
sacrifices are daily offered to the god. Above his

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towering brow soars the mighty pyramid before which this
colossus keeps guard.

“The majesty of this image, O prince,” said the high-priest,
as, leaning at every step upon his slender acacia
rod, he walked by my side, “impresses you.”

“It is the most majestic of all the gods of Egypt,” I

“Yes. Its age is nearly coeval with the pyramid.”

“On the pyramidion base of the left obelisk in front of
the temple of Osiris, have I not seen reposing four small
sphinxes copied from this?”

“Thou hast seen them. That obelisk is many ages
old; yet long before it, was this sphinx-god, as silent, majestic,
and immovable in eternal repose as you behold
him now.”

At the termination of the avenue of direct approach,
we descended an inclined plane to a platform of marble,
on which is an image of Osiris in stone, and were brought
nearly opposite the lower part of its face. Then another
flight of steps, cased with polished porphyry, brought
us on a level with the top of the temple. In the centre
of this level platform stands a statue of Horus, cast in
bronze. Thence descending another flight of thirty
broad steps, we stood in the space between the enormous
feet of the sphinx, and directly before the beautiful

Our gradual approach in this descent, during which
the sphinx was kept constantly in view, rising above us
as we descended, heightened the impressions first made
upon me by its colossal size; and I beheld, with new
emotions of sublimity, its posture of repose and calm
majesty of aspect.

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A priest, in the full costume of his sacred office, stood
at the door, and preceded by him we entered. As it
was the hour of oblation, he held a censer in his hand,
and approaching an altar before a granite tablet at the
end of the temple, he invoked the mysterious god. The
temple has no roof, but is exquisitely decorated and painted
with sacred symbols. On each side stands a tablet of
limestone. The tablet over the altar is inscribed with
the name of the designer of the sphinx, Menes, the first
mortal king after the general overflow of the mountains,
and also with the destruction of the gigantic gods by the
uprising of unknown oceans upon the globe. The tablet
holds his shield, and on it is pictured the escape of the
son of the ancient gods, in a ship, which is resting upon
a mountain peak. In this tradition, mother, we find
repeated our Phœnician history of the flood, before the
days of the first kings. Without doubt all nations retain
a similar tradition. Upon the same tablet is also a
representation of a later king offering incense and libations
to the god to whom the sphinx is consecrated.
The tablets on the side also represent kings offering
prayer to the god. The floor is beautifully tesselated
with variegated stones; and on all sides are ivory or
silver tables, covered with beautifully shaped vases,
containing offerings of worshippers. There are, besides,
ten shrines before the altar, upon each of which rests a
golden crown, gifts of kings of other lands. Without
question this temple of the sphinx is the richest in Egypt
in gifts, as well as most honored by its Pharaohs. Is it
not the vestibule to the grand pyramidal temple which
is the tomb of the first mortal king?

But, my dear mother, I must not linger at the feet of

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the sphinx. Leaving the temple, we ascended one of
two broad stair-cases, and mounting to a succession of terraces,
adorned with statues of gods, the vast bulk of the
sphinx being on our right, we reached a noble stone
platform behind the image, upon which stands an ancient
figure, in coarse marble, worn by age, of Chephres
the Great. He stamps a sea-dragon under his feet, and
upon his capped head is the beak of a galley, with the
head and wings of a dove. In this symbol, dear mother,
behold again the representation of the deluge, and the
dove that guided the ship which held Chephren, or
Chephres, and his father, the god Noachis, or Noah.

When we had gained this terrace, we beheld before
us both pyramids, and between them the pylon of a
vast temple, which, extending its great arms on each
side, embraced the twin pyramids in one god-like edifice,
of grandeur and dimensions immeasurable to the
eye, and overpowering to the imagination. To explain
more clearly what I beheld: Between, but in advance
of them, towered a colossal pylon, to which each pyramid
was a wing, united by a wall of brick, ninety feet
high, encased with marble. This central temple, or
pylon, was as massive and solemn in its aspect as the
pyramids which formed its propyla. For a few moments
I stood and gazed with awe. Until the spectator reaches
the terrace, the whole effect is not perceived; for,
though the central temple is visible, even from the Lake
of the Dead, it appears as if merely intervening; it is
only on the terrace before which the sphinx, the gigantic
watcher before the pyramids, reposes, that the
whole grand design is comprehended. Had I been all
at once brought in sight of the House of Osiris, in the

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realm of the gods, I should not have been more overawed
and impressed.

This temple, built of brick, with marble casing, has
in its outline the ruinous aspect of great age, and is not
in as good preservation as the pyramids, although subsequently
erected, not as an after-thought, but in keeping
with the great design.

But a visitor is announced as in the hall of reception;
therefore, at present, dear mother, farewell,


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City of On My honored and dear Mother:

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I have described my chariot ride through the
plain of tombs, along the magnificent causeway, which
extends from the Lake of the Dead to the feet of the
sphinx. All that I beheld of the grandeur of the monuments
showed, that the Egyptians of past generations
who built them, and lie buried here, were a populous
and powerful nation, in advance of all others in the arts
of life; since not only do the cities for the living, but
the “Homes of the Dead,” attest their taste and love
for the beautiful and sublime in nature and art. The
culmination of all Egyptian marvels in architecture is
the sphinx-guarded pyramidal temple.

We approached the central pylon along a paved
court, across which two hundred chariots could have
driven in a line. This court was entirely surrounded
by a double row of majestic columns, with the lotus-leaf
capitals I have before described. The vastness of their
proportions seemed to be increased by contrast with a
group of priests, who looked like pigmies in size as they
stood by their bases. The gigantic entablature, which
united their summits, was covered with sacred symbols,
richly colored, and crowned with statues of kings, hewn

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out of the dark-gray granite of Ethiopia. But some of
these were mutilated by Time, which, indeed, had
thrown its mantle of decay over the whole,—pillars,
architecture, and sculpture; for this court is coeval
with the sphinx crouched at its entrance, and but a
little later than the two pyramids. In a few centuries,
decay will have brought the mighty fabric to the earth;
for, massive as it looks, it is built of brick, covered with
pictured stucco; but the pyramids of stone, which have
withstood the lapse of ages beyond history, will last as
long as the everlasting hills of granite from which their
enormous blocks were hewn.

Passing beneath the great portal, we found ourselves
in the sacred square of the temple of the Pyramids, and
I could now perceive the mighty design. Connected
by stupendous columnar wings, the pyramids rose in
sublime grandeur on either hand. Their summits shone
with the light of the setting sun, which, reflected from
the polished casing of the pictured tiles yet remaining
near the top, and that once covered the whole surface
from base to apex, lent a splendor to them indescribable.
On the opposite side of the quadrangle, formed by the
temple in front and the bases of the pyramids on the
two sides, is a dark grove of palms, intermingled with
statues and altars; and beyond rise the dark hills
of Libya—a fitting and solemn background to the

About the summits of the Queen's Pyramid, which is
a little smaller than the other, though it appears to be
of equal height, from the superior elevation of the platform
of rock on which it stands, soared flocks of the
white ibis, their snow-white wings flashing like pinions

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of silver as they wheeled in mid-air. At that immense
height they looked no larger than sparrows.

A statue of Horus, whose name I had also seen inscribed
on the tablet of the temple of the Sphinx, rose
a colossal monolith in the centre of the quadrangle,
with one of Thoth upon his right, and another of Anubis
on his left hand. These figures were symbolical of the
funereal use of the pyramids between which they stood.

After walking around the columned avenue of this
great mausoleum, we began the ascent of the larger
pyramid, known as that of Cheops; the other bearing
the name of Chephres, as the high-priest informs me;
and the third, which towers in its own unaided grandeur
farther to the south, being that of Pharaoh-Men-Cherines.
We found the ascent extremely difficult—indeed, in
ancient times it must have been impossible, when its
polished and beautiful casing remained entire; but this
having been removed by time and accident in many
places, and purposely in others, a path, if it may be so
termed, is made to the summit. We were aided by
attendants of the temple, who from long practice ascend
with ease, assisting also those strangers who would
climb the perilous height.

As we reached half-way, a block, which had been
removed from its place either by the irresistible force
of a sirocco from the desert, or by lightning, gave the
high-priest and myself a welcome resting-place.

As we stood here a few moments, I looked down
upon the prospect below. The sight at first made me
dizzy, for we were elevated four hundred feet above the
base. I seemed to be suspended upon wings above
an abyss, and a dreadful desire to throw myself out

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into mid-air seized me; so that to resist it I closed my
eyes and clung firmly to the attendant. It soon passed
off, and I gazed down upon the vast quadrangle, the
persons in which looked no bigger than ants, while the
three colossi of the gods, in the centre, were reduced to
the natural size of men.

Opposite, not six hundred cubits distant, stood Chephres.
From each pyramid swept the avenues of columns
and the great wall connecting both with the central
temple and its pylon. From the grove of palms, curled
up into the pure orange-colored atmosphere a blue cloud
of incense, where some priest offered at one of its shrines.

Again we mounted upwards, and, after incredible
fatigue, gained the summit—not without peril, for a slip
of the foot or the hand, each block being as high as a
man's neck, would prove fatal. Indeed, more than one
life has been lost in falling down the side of the pyramid.
A prince of Midian, a country in Arabia, lost his
life last century by losing his hold and falling from
Chephres, which is more difficult of ascent than Cheops,
(or Chuphu), as the priests there call its name.

How shall I describe to you, my dear mother, the
scene which burst upon my vision, as I gazed about me
from this mountain-like elevation! As I ascended, the
prospect of the country enlarged at every step, but
now I seemed to behold the earth itself spread out
beneath me. The place where we stood, which looks
from below like a sharp apex, is a platform several
cubits across, on which twenty men could stand or
move about with ease.

I can give you no adequate conception of the scene I
beheld. First, the valley of the Nile was visible,

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extending for many leagues to the right and left, and
resembling a green belt a few miles wide, through
which the river flowed like a silver band—while upon
its borders countless cities were set like precious stones.
It was a gorgeous and magnificent assemblage of cities,
temples, palaces, obelisks, villas, gardens, monuments,
avenues of trees and sphinxes, sepulchres, aqueducts,
statue-lined causeways, galleys and pleasure barges,
chariots, horses, and multitudes of people. Nor should
I omit what now became visible in one field of view, to
the north and south. I mean not less than one hundred
pyramids, all much smaller than the mighty triad, but
each, had not the others been up-builded, would have
been a marvel of grandeur.

“Those are all tombs of kings, but of a later age
than this one,” said the hierarch, looking towards them.
“Each monarch, at the commencement of his reign, laid
the foundation of a pyramid. He built first a small
one, containing his sarcophagus and sepulchral chamber.
Then every year he added to the outside a complete
layer of stones, which, after many years, extended its
base, and increased its elevation in like proportions.
Therefore the size of the pyramids marks the age to
which the king lived.”

“Then,” said I, “the kings who built the multitude
of lesser pyramids, which we behold in the distance,
must have had much shorter lives than the builders of
these vast piles.”

“You are right, O prince,” he said. “When the
pyramid, on which we now stand, and its companions
were builded, men's lives were of the duration of a thou
sand years”

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“That was before the traditional deluge?” I replied,
with surprise and interest.

“True, O Prince of Tyre!” he answered. “These
two great pyramids, say our sacred books, were the
work of the giants who lived in the days before the flood
of Noachis, or Noah. They are the tombs of their
kings, and were centuries in being built according to
our years. And when the gods brought the unknown
oceans over the earth, to punish the nations which living
so long became as wise as the gods, but at the same time
grew as wicked as wise, these vast sepulchres withstood,
like the lesser hills, the waters of desolation, and remained
in ruinous grandeur, not only as witnesses of the
flood, but monuments of a past people whose towers, as
well as tombs, reached unto the heavens. You see
these pyramids, and how they are now defaced by the
billows that dashed against and over them. Anciently,
when they were completed, their whole surfaces were
encased with beautiful tiles of the brightest blue and
purest white, inlaid alternately in perfect squares.
Upon this magnificent encasing was inscribed, in pictorial
signs, the history of man; but no person has ever
interpreted them. You see, my prince, that here, at the
top, are a few strata still remaining of this rich encasement;
all the rest having been destroyed by the deluge—
by the abrasion of the waves, and the hurling against
its sides of mighty ships, driven by the huge and angry
billows which rolled like a boiling sea across the earth
Thus you behold these vast structures, as it were in
ruins, yet still retaining fragmentary portions of their
original glory and beauty. When the waters departed,
the gods limited the lives of men to one hundred years;

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hence the pyramids that the kings this side the flood
have erected are comparatively small in magnitude.”

“But the third, was it not built before the flood?”

“I did not intend you should so understand,” he answered.
“It was commenced before the flood by the
king who was destroyed thereby. But the son of the
wise and good Prince Noah completed it during the
several hundred years that he lived—as did his father
also—after the flood; for it was only the lives of their
descendants that were to be limited. Thus Amun, says
tradition, finished the third pyramid, but did not encase
it, as the art was lost by the deluge which had destroyed
those who were skilled in it. There are other accounts,
my prince, but they either come near this one, or so far
differ from it that they are entitled to no credit.”

“It is your opinion, then, O high-priest, that these
two pyramids were built by the giants of the ages before
the great deluge?” I asked.

“I have no other one,” he replied firmly. “When the
age of man was shortened to one hundred years from
one thousand, his stature was also lessened. Hence the
men of the ages since the flood cannot build a pyramid
like one of these. All the power of engines and art
cannot uprear such stones six hundred feet into the air.
This is giants' work.”

“Then you believe that there were giants in the earth
in the days before the flood?” I said, doubtingly.

“These pyramids attest the fact,” he replied, with an
impressive gesture of his right hand towards the opposite
one. “Noah himself, says tradition, and his sons, Chephres,
Chufu, and Amun or Men-Cherines, were gigantic,
and are worshipped as gods, as you know, not only here

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and in Syria and Ethiopia, but in the Orient, and beyond
the seas, under various names. In the third pyramid
Amun was entombed. In the second is Chephres,
or Chefret, who, when an aged king, was brought from
the place where he died, and placed in a sarcophagus
above the chamber where lay the king who found sepulture
there before the flood. Within the pyramid on
which we are, rest the sacred bones of the Prince-god
Noah, who, at the age of nine hundred and fifty years,
came hither to be buried by the side of his eldest son
Chephres. `Such a mourning of the nations, all of whom
sprung from his loins, the earth never knew, and will
never witness more,' say the sacred scrolls of the temples.
All kings, and queens, and princes, and lords, and
nobles, of every realm followed the embalmed body of
their father and deity; and King Menes, his grandson,
went up from Egypt with all the hosts of the land to
meet the funeral procession, and to receive the divine
body. Cheops is but another name for Noah. Here
also is entombed Menes.”

Such, my dear mother, is the priestly tradition of the
pyramids. We, of Tyre, have a myth that the Father
of the Flood is buried in Damascus; but though Egyptians
love to concentrate all history around their own
land, and make Egypt the cradle of the human race,
yet as this tradition seems to be better founded than ours,
and as they can point to the grand tombs of these kings
of the flood, I am ready to concede to her the honor
which she claims of being the place of sepulture of the
giants who survived the deluge. And what fitter tombs,
than these eternal mountains of granite, could the progenitors
of the race repose in! Fit sepulchres are they,

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in their grandeur of proportions, for men whose stature
was gigantic, and whose lives extended through a thousand

But I must return to the prospect from the summit of
this mausoleum of giants. The sun was near the horizon,
and sent his level and mingled rose, golden, and purple
beams aslant across the valley. The air was perfectly
clear, and our view unimpeded in all directions.

To the south, along the verdant plain of the Nile, the
pyramids shone in the sun as if sheathed with plates of
gold. Palms, temples, obelisks in pairs, and pylones
were mingled with them in the richest confusion; while
as far as the eye could penetrate they receded into
the desert, till their size was diminished by distance to
shining mounds.

Turning my eyes to the west, the yellow plain of Libya,
with its rocky hills inclosing the verdant valley of the
Nile in that direction, rolled away to the edge of the
horizon, an arid, undulating, illimitable expanse, which,
under the sun, blazed like a lake of fire from the burning
reflection of its sands. The contrast of this realm
of desolation, and its storm-piled drifts of gray, brown,
and dusky sand, lying so near the groves, and green
fields, and blooming gardens which surrounded the pyramids
and extended to the base of the ridge, was very
remarkable. One part looked like the abode of Osiris,
full of beauty, and light, and happiness: the other like
that of Typhon, or the spirit of evil, who strove, ever
battling with his storms of sand, to invade, overwhelm,
and desolate these scenes of beauty! And, ere many
centuries, his arid hosts threaten to sweep past the pyramids,
and to overleap the very gates of Memphis! But

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at present, all the land within the hills is a region of delight,
presenting a pleasing contrast, with its perennial
green, to the desolate and savage realm of the desert:
Luxuriantly covered with verdure; bright with golden
wheat-fields, charming green meadows, foliage of every
variety; groups of trees rising from a thousand courts;
countless villages everywhere, and myriads of brilliant
lakes, it was a scene of unmixed beauty. Jizeh, a little
to the east, with its temple-palaces and gardens, filled
the view. Farther east lay, first, the glorious city of
Apis, its squares, avenues, lakes, groves, fanes, and
monuments, all open to the eye like a magnificent
picture. Beyond the glittering Nile, the banks of which
were rich with fertility and adorned with villas, I beheld
Raamses, and still farther Pythom, the treasure-cities,
in the fair expanse of the land of Goshen,—alas! beautiful
only to the eye, for upon it rests the dark shadow of
Hebrew bondage; and south, a few miles, after a thousand
scenes of rural beauty fill the vision, towers, like
the throne of the kingdom, the city of the Lord of the
Sun, its gorgeous temple and forest of obelisks flinging
back the sunbeams with a splendor that fills the soul
with wonder and delight!

“O happy, glorious, mighty Egypt! what a blessed
and favored land art thou! With one foot upon the
seven mouths of thy mighty river, another upon
Ethiopia, and thy head in the clouds, all nations bow
down to thy might and greatness! Leader of the
kingdoms of the earth! what a future is thine, if
thy kings and rulers are true to thee and to themselves!”

The hierarch heard me utter these words, for I spake

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aloud in my wonder at the glory of this kingdom and
the magnificence of her power.

“The future of Egypt, my prince, no man can foresee.
But the sacred books contain a prophecy, that
during one cycle of a soul, three thousand years, she
will be a nation despised and ruled by kings of another
race, and all that will remain to her will be her defaced
pyramids and temples; the marvel of which will bring
strangers from the ends of the earth, curious to gaze
upon these mute witnesses of her ancient power and

“The gods forbid!” I said warmly.

“The gods,” he answered, “govern the earth, and do
what they will with its kingdoms. These sacred papyri
also speak of Tyre and prophesy its desolation, and say
that the empire of commerce shall be removed to an
unknown world beyond the great sea of the West, and
that a race yet unborn shall sway the destinies of the
earth, and another religion shall prevail in the hearts of

“What are these papyri?” I asked.

“Books which have been handed down from the first
kings, who in their turn received them from the ancient

I turned away sorrowfully at the thought of this prediction,
my dear mother. The idea that Tyre, which
now sits a queen upon the shores of her sea, will ever
be desolate, is not possible for me to conceive. May
her prosperity and peace be prolonged to the ends of
the ages!

We now turned to descend this elevation, from
whence the heart of Egypt lay open before us. The

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sight of the sheer eight hundred feet along the inclined
side of the pyramid was fearful. The projections which
were to receive our feet were not apparent; and we
commenced the descent with the greatest caution, being
obliged to lower ourselves from block to block; and
where the encasement of tiles remained, we were sustained
by the iron heads of short spears with which each
of us was provided, a hook being secured at the opposite

At length we reached the broad terrace which surrounds
the pyramid, and upon which are statues and
small sphinxes facing outward. Between two of large
size, representing Osiris and Isis, we descended a broad
flight of steps to an ancient gate, which, as I was told,
led to the entrance of the pyramid. The passage, however,
has not been opened for many centuries—the piety
of the Pharaohs permitting the mighty dead to rest in
their granite tumuli undisturbed by curiosity or cupidity.

When we had crossed the court, the priest ascended
with me one of the towers of the pylon. From thence
he showed me a mass of rock lying in a position which
answered, in reference to the main pyramid, to that
which the sphinx occupied.

“Seest thou, O prince,” he said, “that isolated rock?
The ancients intended to chisel it also into a sphinx to
match this one, for they used to place them in pairs,
like their obelisks. But the grand conception has never
been carried out; and you perceive that our noble queen,
Amense, is erecting the pyramid of her years so near, that
it in part stands upon it. Two such sphinxes crouched
in front of Cheops would have been an entrance to

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the mausoleum worthy of it, and of him who reposes
therein. Instead of carrying out this original design,
the great temple and colossal wings have been built,
and the avenue from the sphinx so turned aside by
a slight angle, as to terminate at the central pylon;
thereby making one sphinx answer the purpose of two,
but at the sacrifice of proportion; for the twofold
grandeur of the combined pyramids lessens the impression
of the single sphinx, while the two reposing before
Cheops alone, would have been in keeping with its majesty.”

As it was now sunset, we hastened to our chariot and
drove back to the city, along the magnificent causeway
I have before described.

Upon my return to the palace of the high-priest, and
after describing to his beautiful daughter, Luxora, the
incidents of my visit, she said, with an arch smile—

“You ought not, O Sesostris, to have come away
without seeing the emerald table of Hermes!”

“I heard nothing of it, lady,” I answered. “I have,
moreover, seen splendor enough for one day. What
and where is this table?”

“In the central chamber of the great pyramid. The
people of Egypt believe the tradition, and so also have
some of its kings.”

“What is the tradition?” I asked. “But first, do
you believe it?”

“With all my heart. I never doubted it since I was
a child,” she answered, smiling, yet with a tone of sincerity.
“My father thinks if it were true, it would
have been removed when the god Noachis was placed

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“It is not in the chamber of the sarcophagus, sister,”
said Osiria, the sister younger than Luxora—a maiden
remarkable for her sprightliness and intelligence; “it
is in a vault of crystal under the pyramid.”

“You are right, my dear sister,” replied the elder,
gracefully. “I will tell the prince the legend.”

“Then I will tell him mine,” said Osiria, with an arch
look. “I know he will like mine the best.”

“Because he likes you the best, is it?” her sister replied,
playfully. “But have a care, Osiria; our guest
is betrothed to a great princess in his own country.”

“That need not prevent him from being my good
friend in this,” responded Osiria, pleasantly.

“Your tradition, noble Luxora?” I asked.

“It is this. In the ancient days of the earth, before
the deluge of the gods, the thrice great Hermes, who
knew all the secrets of alchemy, engraved them upon
an emerald table and placed it in a cave, which he
sealed up. His motive for doing this was both to preserve
them and to conceal them from men—for the race
of man had grown so wicked, that they made use of
what they knew of alchemy to injure one another and
defy the deities, answering back the thunder of heaven
with thunders of their own. Over this cave the first
pyramid was built, and there the emerald table, with
all its secrets, so dear to our sex, has remained to this

I thanked Luxora for her legend, and assured her
that I had quite as much curiosity to see the wonderful
emerald as she had.

“But if it were discovered,” said Osiria, “who could
read and understand the writing upon it? Now, O

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prince, hear my tradition; for, having visited the pyramids,
it will be agreeable to you to hear all that is said
about them.”

“I will listen with the greatest pleasure,” I answered.

But, dear mother, I will here close this long letter,
and reserve, for the commencement of my next, the
smgular tradition related to me by Osiria.

Your affectionate son,

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Palace of the Hierarch, at Memphis. My much honored Mother:

[figure description] Page 277.[end figure description]

I have much of interest concerning which to
write to you in this letter; but will first redeem my
promise to give you the traditional story narrated by
the lovely Osiria, daughter of the pontiff of Memphis.
Her father came in as she commenced, and smilingly

“Daughter, are you about to overthrow the prince's
faith in the true history of the pyramids, by a fanciful

“No, my dear father,” she answered; “I only desire
him to know all he can about these mighty monuments
of a former world, and if he does not believe with me in
the legend, it will at least interest him.”

I assured the beautiful maiden that it would without
doubt interest me, and possibly upon hearing it I might
receive it “as the most reliable account of the origin of
the pyramids.”

“Not in opposition,” said the high-priest, with a smile,
“to the sacred books.”

“Not in opposition,” said Luxora, archly, “to my
emerald table.”

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“Let the prince, dear father, and sister, hear and
judge,” said the youngest daughter; and commenced as

“A very long time ago—before the time of the vast
deluge, when all the oceans that roll around the world's
verge met in the centre and overflowed the highest
mountains—a king, whose name was Saurida Salhouhis,
was informed by his astrologers that seven stars had
fallen into the sea, betokening a great overflow thereof.
He answered, `The mountains of my kingdom are higher
than the ocean, and will defy its waves.'

“The next year his astrologers again came to him, and
said that the sun was covered with dark spots, and that
a comet was visible with a crest of fire, and threatened
evil to the earth. The same night the king dreamed
that the mountains became plains, and that all the stars
of heaven were extinguished. On awakening he called
his one hundred and forty-four priests, and commanding
them to consult the gods, received for answer, that the
earth was to be drowned. Thereupon he commenced
building the two pyramids, and ordered vaults to be
made under them, which he filled with the riches and
treasures of his kingdom. He prepared seven tables or
shields of pure gold, on which he engraved all the
sciences of the earth, all the knowledge he had learned
from his wise men, the names of the subtle alkalies, and
alakakirs, and the uses and hurts of them; and all the
mysteries of astrology, physics, geometry, and arithmetic.”

“These seven golden tables of my sister's legend,”
said Luxora, laughing, “are not near so wonderful as
my table of emerald.”

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“Lest,” said Osiria, “you should imagine I am drawing
upon my fancy, I will read to you the remainder of
the tradition from the ancient book in the keeping of the
priests of Amun, in the Thebaïd, given me by my mother
who was the daughter of the priest of the sacred house

Having thus spoken the maiden retired, and, after a
few minutes absence, returned, followed by a Hebrew
woman carrying a pictured scroll, such as I had never
before seen. Aided by her attendant, she unrolled it
for several cubits, and having found the legend, commenced
to read (a rare art among Egyptian ladies, except
daughters of the learned priests) as follows,—the
tall and stately Hebrew supporting the roll rather with
an air of royal condescension than of submission:

“After the king, Saurida Salhouhis, had given orders
for the building of the pyramids, the workmen cut out
gigantic columns, vast stones, and wonderful pillars
hewn of single rocks. From the mountains of Ethiopia
they fetched enormous masses of granite, and from
Nubia of gray porphyry, and made with these the foundations
of the pyramids, fastening the stones together by
bars of lead and bands of iron. They built the gates
forty cubits under ground, and made the height of them
one hundred royal cubits, each of which is equal to six
of ours; and each side also was made a hundred royal
cubits in extent. The beginning of this undertaking
happened under a fortunate horoscope, and resulted
successfully. After he had finished the larger of the
pyramids, the king covered it with blue satin from the
top to the bottom, and appointed a solemn festival, at
which were present all the inhabitants of his kingdom.

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“Then in this great pyramid he built thirty treasurechambers,
which he filled with an immense store of
riches,—precious vessels, signatures of agates, bloodstones,
and cornelian, instruments of iron, earthen vases,
arms which rust not, and crystal which might be bended
yet not broken, strange shells, and deadly poisons, with
many other things besides. He made, in the west pyramid,
a subterranean hall with divers spheres and stars in
the vaulted roof, placed in their celestial houses, as they
appear in the sky, each in his own aspect; and he deposited
here the perfumes which are burned to them,
and the books that treat of their mysteries. He placed,
also, in the colored pyramid the scrolls of the priests, in
chests of black marble, every chest having upon it a
book with leaves of brass, in which were inscribed the
duties and wonders of the priesthood, its nature, and the
mode of worship in his time; and, in a chest of iron,
were seven books which revealed what was, and is, and
shall be from the beginning to the end of time.

“In every pyramid he placed a treasurer: the treasurer
of the western pyramid was a statue of red marblestone,
standing upright by the door of the treasure-house,—
a lance in his hand, and about his head a wreathed
serpent. Whosoever came near the door, and stood
still, the serpent entwined about the throat, and, killing
him, returned to its place.

“The treasurer of the colored pyramid was an idol of
black agate, sitting upon a throne, with a lance in its
hand, and its eyes open and shining. If any mortal
looked upon it, he heard a voice so terrible that his
senses fled away from him, and he fell prostrate upon
his face and died.

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“The treasurer of his seven tables of gold was a statue
of stone, called Albutis, in a sitting posture: whosoever
looked towards it, was drawn to the statue till he was
pressed against it so hard that he died there. Over the
portal of each he caused to be written:

“`I, King Saurid, built the pyramids in six years. He
that comes after me, and says he is equal to me, let him
destroy them in six hundred years. It is easier to pluck
down than to build up. I also covered them, when I
had finished them, with satin; and let him cover them
with mats of grass.'

“Here ends the record on the scroll,” said the maiden.
“Miriam, thou wilt roll it up, and place it whence I
took it, in the sacred shrine of books.”

The Hebrew woman, whose appearance was so remarkable
for dignity and a certain air of command, that
I could not but regard her with interest, then rolled up
the book, and moved quietly, but with a stately step,
from the room. As she went out, attracted by my close
scrutiny, she fixed upon me a large pair of splendid
eyes, dark and beautiful, and lighted up by the inward
fire of an earnest spirit. Her age was about eight or
nine and forty. I do not know why, in looking at her, I
thought of Remeses, now at Thebes, waiting to assemble
his vast army; perhaps there was a style of face and
shape of the eye that recalled him.

“Who is this Hebrew woman?” I asked; for though
I have been several days a guest of the high-priest, I
had not before seen her.

“My assistant and copier of the scrolls and papyrus
leaves, in the Hall of the Sacred Books,” answered
Osiria; “for know, O prince, that I am my father's

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scribe, and have the care of all the rolls of the temple.”

“Nor can any temple,” interposed the hierarch, “boast
so orderly a chamber of books as mine; neither do I
see any copies of prayers and rites so beautifully done
as those by Osiria.”

“I do not deserve all the praise, my father,” answered
the maiden; “for the rich coloring of the heading car-touches
of chapters, as well as the graceful form of the
characters, is due to Miriam.”

“What the servant does the master is praised for,”
answered the priest, smilingly. “But you have not told
the prince the whole of the tradition.”

“It is true. I must now state how the pyramid was
opened by one of the Phœnician conqueror kings. This
Philistine warrior, whose barbaric name I have forgotten,
and do not wish to remember, on seeing the pyramids,
demanded to know what was within them. He
was answered by the priest of the sphinx, who is the
guardian of the two pyramids, that `they contained the
embalmed bodies of the ancient gods, and first kings of
men, the emerald and golden tablets, and all the treasures
of gold, silver, and works of art, and every thing
which appertained to the world before the deluge,—all
of which had been preserved by them from the waters,
and were now therein.'

“Hearing this, this king told them he would have
them opened. All the priests assured him that it could
not be done; but he replied, `I will have it certainly
done.' So the engineers of his army opened a place in
the great pyramid by means of fire and vinegar; smiths
aided the work with sharpened iron and copper wedges,

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and huge engines to remove the stones. It was a vast
work, as the thickness of the wall was twenty cubits.
They were many months reaching an apartment within,
where they found a ewer made of bright-green emerald,
containing a thousand dinars, very weighty, one hundred
chœnixes of gold-dust, twenty blocks of ebony, a
hundred tusks of ivory, and a thousand ounces of rings
of Arabic gold.

“This was all he found, for beyond this small chamber
the workmen could not penetrate, by reason of the
three treasure-keepers, namely,—the awful statue, with
an enwreathed serpent upon his head; the statue of
agate, with the terrible voice; and the statue of stone,
with the power to draw every one to him, and press him
to death between his arm and his iron breast.”

“Then said the king, `Cast up the cost of making this
entrance.' So the money expended being computed,
lo! it was the same sum which they had found; it
neither exceeded nor was defective. So he closed up
the opening and went his ways, seeing that the gods
were against him.

“Many years afterwards, another king opened the
other pyramid, and found a passage which descended far
below in the earth, in the direction of the centre of the
pyramid. By it he reached a subterranean chamber far
beneath the level of the foundation, almost directly
under the apex. In it was a square well, on each side
of which were doors opening into subterranean passages;
these he followed, and at length reached a gate
of brass, which he perceived led into the foundations of
the greater pyramid. But he could not open it, nor has
any power been sufficient to do so to this day. Return

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ing he found another side passage, leading into the pyramid
and so upward, to a vaulted room, containing the
mighty sarcophagus of the great Noah. This dead monarch
of two worlds, before and after the deluge, was
reposing in calm majesty in his colossal mummy-case,
which was covered with plates of gold. Upon his head
was a crown of emerald olive-leaves, each leaf an emerald;
and upon his breast, a white dove, made of one
pearl. Leaving with awe the father of the world to his
sublime and eternal repose, guarded only by the pure
white dove, the king, in retiring, found, to his great
joy, a narrow passage, which led upward towards the
top of the pyramid. It conducted him and his attendants
to a chamber with twelve sides, on each of which
was pictured one of the constellations in the path of the
precession of the equinoxes, in their motion towards the
west. The floor was of polished ivory, inlaid with silver
stars, dispersed over it as they appeared in their heavenly
places when the pyramid was completed. The
seven planets, including the sun and the moon, were
represented in the ceiling, each one in a panel of silver,
with its deity,—all inlaid with silver and precious stones.

“In the centre of this `Hall of the Universe,' was
a hollow stone: when the king entered the chamber,
the stone vanished at the pressure of his feet on the
floor, and a statue larger than life, of pure crystal, was
displayed to his sight. This statue represented a king
upon whom was a breastplate of gold set with jewels;
on his breast was a stone of incalculable price, and over
his head, a carbuncle of the shape and bigness of the
sacred egg of the phœnix, shining like the light of the
day. He held upon his left arm a shield formed of

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one single topaz, upon which were characters written
with a pen, that neither the king, nor the wise men,
nor astrologers, nor magicians, nor the priests who knew
all languages, could interpret. Suddenly darkness filled
the place, their torches were extinguished, and save only
the king who had with him his diamond-set signet,
which shed light before his steps, no one ever returned
to the entrance; nor could he ever find the chamber
of the statue again. But the first passage to the subterranean
chamber remains open to this day, by which
men descend; and others are from time to time discovered;
the treasury-chambers, however, remain sealed to
the eyes of men!”

When the intelligent Osiria had ended her account, I
gratefully expressed to her my appreciation of her kindness
in giving me such interesting information. She
accepted my thanks in the graceful manner which characterizes
Egyptian ladies of rank. The magnificent
Luxora said, with a charming air of feigned provocation—

“With your brilliant tradition, sister, you have quite
thrown into the shade my poor solitary emerald table!”

“There is no doubt whatever, O Sesostris,” said their
father, who had listened to the tradition as he sat in his
ivory chair, in the rich undress vestments he wore
when not engaged in official acts in the temple, “or
rather, we of the priesthood do not doubt, that the pyramids,
at least the pair so nearly of a size and so close
together, were builded before the deluge, which, according
to our astrologers, took place under the dynasty
of the demigods, about one thousand five hundred and
forty years ago, when the world was nearly two

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thousand four hundred years old; but our books of mysteries
give many more thousands of years! In the most ancient
temple of Thoth, at Thebes, which is the true
astronomical capital of the kingdom, as well as the
ecclesiastical one, there is a tablet in the ceiling of the
adytum, representing the configuration of the seven
planets as they existed on the first day after the creation.
This was the beginning of the world, and since
that day the heavenly bodies have not stood thus again!
Upon the wall beneath it is a stele, portraying their position
at the time of the Noachic deluge, The arc of their
celestial motion, between the creation and the deluge,
being accurately measured in the progress of centuries,
by astrologers of the houses of the mysteries, compared
with the arc measured for one thousand years since the
deluge, shows that the fixed stars, between the creation
and the deluge, moved thirty spaces of the thousand
years along the zodiac westward. That is, the arc of
the zodiac was thirty times as large between the creation
and deluge, as between the deluge and the end of
a thousand years after it; while the seven planets
changed their places in the same proportions of time
and change. Hence, guided by the march of the
heavenly bodies, they teach that thirty thousand years
elapsed between the creation and the deluge; since it
would take that time to change the configuration of the
stars so greatly as to subtend so vast an arc as their precession
drew along the zodiacal path! But, as I have
said, the sacred books of the priests, who are governed
only by the planetary constellations, aided by tradition,
give the number of years I have previously stated.”

“Do not the Egyptian astrologers,” I asked, “give a

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period for a year of the heavens to make one revolution
through the zodiac?”

“It is one of their mysteries. Finishing upon a chart
the arc of precession which they measure on the zodiac,
they measure the whole circle it will sweep, and calculate
a cycle or period of thirty-six thousand years, as
the duration of one grand year of the universe!”

“As, then, thirty thousand years of this year of the
stars passed before the deluge, if the astrologers are
correct in their sidereal calculations,” I remarked, “there
are but four thousand and four hundred and fifty years
to the end of the first celestial year of creation!”

“Which,” said Luxora, “they teach will terminate
time; and the earth will then be recreated, and there
will be a new starry world, and the year of the universe
will be doubled to seventy-two thousand years; and
when twelve of these vast years are completed, the
creation will be dissolved and all things return to nothing
as before the beginning of time, and the souls of
men will be absorbed in the Divine Essence!”

“You are remarkably well versed in astrology,” I said
to the noble-looking young women.

“We are priest's daughters,” she answered; “and
from our father we derive all our knowledge.”

“Can you, then,” I asked, “explain to me one thing
that has been alluded to in our conversation? I am desirous
of knowing something about the phœnix, which
I see even now represented, inlaid in ivory, upon this
table of vases.”

“I fear that I shall not be able, prince, to make you
understand, what, I confess, I am not well informed
upon. The phœnix has always been a mystery to me.”

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“I understand the bird,” said Osiria, “to be the symbol
of a star. But I have never fully comprehended
it. I have doubts if there be such an extraordinary bird.
Will you, father, gratify us and the Prince of Tyre at
the same time?”

The kind and courteous hierarch, before replying, laid
down a beautiful fishing-rod which he was arranging—
it being a favorite pastime of his leisure to sit in the
pavilion before his windows, and amuse himself by fishing
in the oval lake that fills one of the areas of his
palace, and around which runs a columnar arcade, in
whose cool shade we take our walks for exercise in the
heat of the day. And this amusement, my dear mother,
is not only a favorite one with him, but with all Egyptian
gentlemen; who also delight in hunting the gazelle
and other animals—keeping for the purpose leashes of
trained dogs, some of them very beautiful, and as swift
as the winds. They are singularly fond of having dogs
accompany them in their walks, and adorn them with
gold or silver collars. The ladies also have pet dogs,
chosen either for their beauty, or—odd distinction—for
their peculiar ugliness. Luxora boasts a little dog, of
the rare and admired Osirtasen breed, which is as beautiful
and symmetrical as a gazelle, with soft, expressive
eyes, and graceful movements; while Osiria prides
herself on a pet animal, the ugliness of which, as it
seems to me, is its only recommendation. Remeses has
a noble, lion-like dog, that he admits into his private
sitting-room, and has for his attendant at all times when
he walks abroad. Nearly every lord has his hounds;
and to own a handsome dog is as much a mark of rank,
as is the slender acacia cane.

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“The phœnix, according to the ancients,” said the
priest, “is a bird of which there exists but one specimen
in the world. It comes flying from the east once in
the course of six hundred and fifty-one years, many
other birds with dazzling wings bearing it company.
It reaches the City of the Sun about the time of the
vernal equinox, where it burns itself upon the roof of
the temple, in the fire of the concentrated rays of the
sun, as they are reflected from the golden shield thereon
with consuming radiance. No sooner is it consumed to
ashes, than an egg appears in the funeral pyre, which
the heat that consumed the parent warms instantly
into life, and out of it the same phœnix comes forth, in
full plumage, and spreading its wings it flies away
again, to return no more until the expiration of six hundred
and fifty-one years!”

“This is a very extraordinary story,” I said.

“It is,” answered the high-priest; “yet it has a simple

“I should be gratified to hear it,” I answered.

“Do you believe, dear father,” asked Osiria, “there
ever was such a bird?”

“I have seen it,” answered the priest, mysteriously.
“But I will gratify your curiosity. The first recorded
appearance of this phœnix was nineteen hundred and
two years ago, in the reign of Sesostris, a king of the
twelfth Egyptian dynasty.”

“The Pharaoh for whom I am named,” I said.

“How came you, O prince, to have an Egyptian
name?” asked Luxora.

“The memory of Sesostris the Great was highly
venerated by my father, and hence his selection of

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it for me; besides, I am related to the Phœnician

I had no sooner made this unlucky confession, than
the two sisters looked at their father, then interchanged
glances, and appeared quite embarrassed. I at once
reflected that the memory of the Phœnician dynasty is
distasteful to the Egyptians; and that, by confessing my
alliance with them, I had risked their good-will. But
the surprise passed off instantly, for they were too wellbred
to show any continued feeling, and the priest

“The last appearance was six hundred years ago,
and in fifty-one years he will reappear, to consume
himself in the burning rays of the sun.”

“I hope I shall be alive to see it,” said Osiria, with

“This singular myth,” pursued the hierarch, “signifies
to us of the priests who are initiated into these
astrological mysteries, nothing more than the transit of
the planet Mercury across the disk of the sun. The
fabulous bird, the phœnix, is an emblem of Mercury, as
Osiris is of the Sun, according to the teaching of the
books of Isis.”

“I perceive the whole truth now,” I answered.

“What is it, my lord prince?” asked the sisters.

“There is but one planet Mercury, as there was but
one phœnix. The City of the Sun, or the Temple of the
Sun, on which the phœnix was said to consume himself,
is simply the Sun, or the house of the god Sun, in
which Mercury, during his passage across the disk, may
be said to be consumed by fire. As the phœnix consumes
himself once every six hundred and fifty-one years,

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at the vernal equinox,—so say our Sabæan books, kept in
the Temple of Hercules at Tyre,—Mercury once every
six hundred and fifty-one years enters the flames of the
sun on nearly the same days of the year! As the
phœnix flies from the east westward to the City of the
Sun, so the course of Mercury is from east to west
athwart the sun. While the phœnix in its passage to
the City of the Sun is attended by a flight of dazzling
birds, so Mercury in its passage across the disk of the
sun is accompanied by bright, scintillating stars in the
heavens around. As the phœnix came forth anew out
of the flames which had consumed him to ashes, so
Mercury, while in the direct line of the sun, is lost to
the vision as if consumed, but, having crossed its disk,
reappears and flies away on his course again, resuming
all his former splendor! Is not this a full solution, my
lord priest?” I asked.

“You have well solved the riddle,” he answered;
“and I must compliment you on your knowledge of
astrology, O prince. In Egypt we are acquainted with
this science, but it is not expected of strangers. In all
the years in which the phœnix, according to the `Books
of the Stars,' is said to have destroyed himself with fire
in the City of On, Mercury has likewise performed his
transits over the sun, according to the calculations of
our hierogrammatists, whose duty it is to keep records
of descriptions of the world, the course of the sun, moon,
and planets, and the condition of the land of Egypt,
and the Nile.”

When I had expressed my thanks to the noble and
intelligent priest, his wife, Nelisa, who entered a few
moments before, said to him playfully:

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“What a beautiful mystery you have destroyed with
your science and learning, my lord! I have from a child
delighted in the mysterious story of the phœnix.”

“We have mysteries enough left in our mythology
and astrology, my dear wife,” he answered. “There
is scarcely a deity of the land who is not in his origin a
greater mystery than the phœnix. Around them all are
clouds and mists, often impenetrable by the limited reason
of man; and in many lands, as it was anciently in
Egypt, the word for religion is `mystery.”'

The hierarch was now summoned by the sound of a
sistrum to enter the temple, with which his palace communicated—
it being the hour of evening prayer and
oblation. The young ladies prepared to ride in a beautiful
chariot brought to the palace by their brother, a
fine specimen of the young Egyptian noble; while the
lady of the house left me, to return and oversee her
numerous servants in their occupation of making confections
and pastry, and preparing fruits for a festivity
that is to take place in the evening, I believe, in
my honor; for, were I a son, I could not be more cordially
regarded than beneath the hospitable roof of the
hierarch of Memphis.

As I was proceeding along the corridor which leads
past the “Hall of Books,” I saw through the open door
the stately and handsome Hebrew woman Miriam. She
was engaged in coloring, with cakes of the richest tints
before her, a heading to a scroll of papyrus. Her noble
profile was turned to my view. I started with surprise
and a half exclamation, for I beheld in its grand and
faultless outline the features of Remeses! How wonderful
it is that he so strikingly resembles two, nay

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three, of this foreign race!—not only this woman,
though much older than Remeses, and the venerable
under-gardener Amram, but also a third Hebrew whom
I have met under singular circumstances. I will defer,
however, my dear mother, to another letter the account
of it, as well as of my interview with Miriam; for, hearing
my exclamation, she looked up and smiled so courteously
that I asked permission to enter and examine the work
she was so skilfully executing with her pencil.

The hierarch, the lady Nelisa, and their daughters
Luxora and Osiria, desire to unite with me in my regards
to you.

Your affectionate son,

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City of Memphis, Palace of the Hierarch. My dear Mother:

[figure description] Page 294.[end figure description]

I have received from the Prince Remeses a letter
informing me of the arrival of each division of his
army, chariots, horse, and footmen, with the fleets under
the viceroy Mœris, at the city of the Thebaïd. They entered
it, however, as conquerors, for the Ethiopian king
had already taken possession of it with his advanced

I will quote to you from the letter of the prince:

“I trust, my dear Sesostris,” he writes, “that you
are passing your time both with pleasure and profit, in
visiting places of interest in the valley of the Lower
Nile, and in studying the manners and usages of the
people. You will find the pyramids an exhaustless
source of attraction. From the priests, who are the
most intelligent and learned class in Egypt, you will
obtain all the information respecting those mysterious
monuments of the past, which is known, besides many

“The idea of their antediluvian origin is by no means
an unlikely one. As we travel down the past, at every
epoch we find the pyramids uplifting their lofty heads

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into the skies! Still we move down the path of ages, and
see the throne of the first mortal king overshadowed by
their hoary tops! Further back, against their bases, beat
the receding waves of the deluge; for between the king
of the first dynasty and the flood, there seems to be no
interval in which they could have been upreared, even
if there were time for a nation to rise and advance in
power, civilization, art, and wealth, adequate to the product
of such gigantic geometric works. Either our
chronology is at fault, or the pyramids must have been
constructed by the antediluvian demigods, and have
outstood the strength of the surging seas which rolled
over the earth. You will, however, no doubt, hear all
that is to be said, and judge for yourself.

“My army is in fine order. You already have learned,
by my courier to the queen, how the dark-visaged, barbaric
King Occhoris entered Thebes the day of our
arrival in the suburbs. Upon receiving intelligence
that the van of my forces, which was cavalry, had just
reached the sepulchres of the Pharaohs below the city, I
pushed forward, joined them, and, at their head, entered
the city; while the main body of the troops of the
Ethiopian king was moving on from Edfu. But Occhoris
had already been driven from his position in the
palace of the Pharaohs, by an infuriated and insulted
populace. The barbarian monarch, after entering the
city without opposition, at the head of two hundred
chariots, six hundred horse, and his gigantic body-guard
of Bellardines, consisting of a thousand men in iron
helmets, round shields, and heavy short-swords, in order
to show his contempt of our national religion, here in
what has been called both its cradle and its throne,

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commanded to be led into the temple of the sacred
Bull, a wild African buffalo,—a bull of a species as
ferocious as the lion,—and ordered him to be let loose
against the god. The fierce animal charged upon him
as he stood in the holy adytum with his curators, and,
overthrowing him, gored him to death in a few moments.
Thereupon the priests raised the wild cry of vengeance
for sacrilege. It was caught up by the people, and borne
from tongue to tongue through the city in a few moments
of time. Fearless, indifferent to the arms of the
soldiers, the three hundred and seventy priests of the
temple, armed only with their sacrificial knives, rushed
upon the barbarian and his guard. The Ethiopians
rallied about their monarch, and for ten priests they
slew, ten-score filled their places. The floor of the
temple became a battle-field. Occhoris, and the sixty
men who entered the temple with him, formed themselves
into a solid phalanx, facing their furious assailants,
who seemed to think they could not die. Gaining at
length the door, the king received reinforcements. But
by this time the whole city was in an uproar and under
arms, and the people, who feared Occhoris in the
morning, and refused to oppose him, now knew no fear.
The issue of this fearful combat was, that the sacrilegious
king was forced to retire with the loss of two thirds of
his body-guard, and nearly every chariot and rider; for
the avenging people with knives crept beneath the
horses and stabbed them to death; while others, leaping
upon horsemen and chariots, dragged them to the ground,
and put them to death. Not less than four thousand of
the citizens of Thebes perished in the act of pious vengeance.
Before I entered the city I heard the cries, the

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shouts, the ringing of weapons, and the whole tumult
of war; and, making my way over heaps of slain that
lay in the great `avenue of the gods,' I pursued the
retiring monarch beyond the gates. He regained the
head of his army, and came to a halt near the ancient
temple of Amun on the Nile. My whole army are
now in advance of Thebes, in order of battle, awaiting a
threatened attack from the Ethiopian king. My headquarters
are at the palace of Amunophis I., from which
he departed nearly a century ago to drive the foreign
kings from Memphis. I felt a deep interest in being in
the house of my great ancestor. I have also visited the
palace of my father, the Prince of Thebes, who was
slain, not long before my birth, in battle with the Ethiopians.
I have paid a visit to his tomb; and as I stood
gazing upon the reposing dead in the royal mausoleum
hewn from the solid mountain, I wondered if his soul
were cognizant that a son, whom he had never seen to
bless with a father's benediction, was bending sorrowfully
over the stone sarcophagus that held his remains.

“To-morrow we join battle with the barbaric king.
From the tower of the pylon which looks towards the
south, I see his vast army, with its battalion of elephants,
its host of brazen chariots, its horsemen and
footmen as numerous as the leaves. But I feel confident
of victory. Prince Mœris has moved his galleys
on the opposite side, in order to ascend secretly by night
and gain the rear of the enemy, who are without boats.
My chariots, some five hundred in number, have been
crossed over in safety to this side, to co-operate with the
Prince of Thebes. They are now drawn up in the wide,
superb serpentine avenue, the `sacred way' of Thebes,

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lined with sphinxes and statues which adorn this vast
circle of temples to the gods.

“You shall hear from me after the battle. If we defeat
and pursue Occhoris, we shall return to Memphis soon.
If we are defeated and driven back upon Thebes—which
the great God of battles forbid!—I know not how long
the campaign will continue. I hope my mother, the
queen, is well. Convey to her my most respectful and
tender remembrances, and receive from me, beloved
prince, the assurances of my personal regard and friendship.


In the mean while, my dear mother, until I have further
news from Prince Remeses, I will give you an account
of the conversation I held with the papyrus-copier
and decorator, Miriam, the Hebrewess.

“You are wonderfully skilled in the art,” I said to her,
as I surveyed the piece before her, which she said was
the commencement of a copy of a funeral ritual for the
priests of Athor.

“I have been many years engaged in transcribing,”
she answered with modest dignity, without raising her
eyes to my face.

“I have not seen you before in the palace, though I
have often been in this hall,” I said, feeling awakened
in me an interest to learn more of the extraordinary
people who toil for the crown of Egypt, and whose ancestors
have been princes.

“I have been at Raamses for a few days. My mother
was ill, and I hastened to her.”

“I hope your return is a proof of her recovery,” I
said kindly.

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She raised her splendid eyes to my face, with a look
in them of surprise. If I interpreted aright their meaning,
it was, “Can this prince take any interest in the
welfare of a Hebrew woman?” Seeing that my own
eyes encountered hers with a look of friendly concern,
she spoke, and said:

“She is better.”

Her voice had a mellow and rich cadence in it, wholly
different from the low, silvery tones with which the
Egyptian ladies speak.

“I rejoice with you,” I said.

She slowly shook her superb head, about which the
jet-black hair was bound in a profusion of braids. There
were tones in her voice, too, that again recalled Prince
Remeses. Hence the secret of the interest that I took
in conversing with her.

“Why do you shake your head?” I asked.

“Why should the Hebrew wish to prolong life?”

She said this in a tone of deep emotion, but continued
her occupation, which was now copying a leaf of brilliantly
colored hieroglyphic inscriptions into the sort of
running-hand the Egyptians make use of in ordinary intercourse.
There are three modes of tracing the characters
of this system of writing; and scribes adopt one,
which, while it takes the hieroglyph for its copy, represents
it by a few strokes that often bear, to the uninitiated
eye, no resemblance to the model. This mode
the Hebrewess was making use of, writing it with ease
and elegance.

“Life to you, in this palace, under such a gentle mistress
as Osiria, cannot be bitter.”

“I have no want. I am treated here as if I were not

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of the race of the Hebrews: But, my lord,” she said,
elevating slightly her noble-toned voice, though not
raising her eyes, “I am not so selfish, believe me, as to
have no thought beyond my own personal comfort.
How can I be happy, even amid all the kindness I experience
in this virtuous family, when my heart is oppressed
with the bondage of my people? Thou art but
a stranger in Egypt, O prince,—for I have heard of thee,
and who thou art,—and yet thou hast seen and felt for
my people!”

“I have, indeed, seen their misery and toil; but how
didst thou know it?”

“From the venerable Ben Isaac, whose son Israel thou
didst pity and relieve at the fountain of the shepherds.”
She said this gratefully and with feeling.

“Thou didst hear of this?”

“He was of my kinsfolk. They told me of your kindness
with tears and blessings; for it is so unusual with
our people to hear in Egypt the voice of pity, or behold
a look of sympathy!”

“I hope the lad recovered,” I said, feeling that her
knowledge of that little incident had removed from between
us the barrier which separates entire strangers.
Besides, dear mother, it is impossible for me, a Syrian,
to look upon the Hebrew people, who are also Syrians
by descent from Abram, the Syrian prince, with Egyptian
eyes and prejudices. They regard them as slaves,
and look upon them from the position of the master. I
never have known them as slaves, I am not their master,
and I regard them, therefore, with interest and sympathy,
as an unhappy Syrian people, who deserve a
better fate, which I trust their gods have in store for

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them. Therefore, while an Egyptian would feel it a
degradation, or at least infinite condescension, to converse
familiarly with a Hebrew of either sex, I have no
such inborn and inbred ideas. Miriam was in my eyes
only a beautiful and dignified Syrian woman, in bondage.
No doubt, if the proud and queenly Luxora had
passed by, and discovered me in conversation with her,
she would have marvelled at my taste; or have been
displeased at an impropriety so unworthy of my position;
for though, wheresoever I have seen Hebrews domesticated
in families, I have observed the affability and
kindness with which their faithful services are usually
rewarded by those they serve, yet there cannot be a
wider gulf between the realms of Osiris and Typhon,
than between the Egyptian of rank and the Hebrew.
The few thousand of the more refined and attractive of
both sexes, who are to be found in palaces and the
houses of nobles, are too limited in number to qualify
the feeling of contempt with which the miserable millions
of their brethren, who toil in the brick-fields south
of On, between the Nile and the desert, and in other
parts of Egypt, are universally regarded. Even the
lowest Egyptian is deemed by himself above the best
of the Ben Israels. What marvel, therefore, that the
handsome, dark-eyed youths who serve as pages, and
the beautiful brunettes who wait upon mistresses, have
a sad and timid air, and wear a gentle, deprecating
look, as if they were fully conscious of their degradation!

“He is well,” Miriam answered, “and desires me to
ask you (I pray you pardon the presumption!) if he
may serve you?”

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“I learn that a stranger cannot take a Hebrew into
service,” I answered.

“True. We are the servants of the Egyptians,” she
said, sadly. “But the great Prince Remeses, son of
Pharaoh's daughter, will suffer it if you ask him. Will
you do this for the lad? Otherwise he will perish in
the field, for his spirit and strength are not equal to his

“The prince is absent, but I will ask the queen,” I
answered, happy to do so great a favor to the youthful
Hebrew, in whom I felt a deep interest, inasmuch as it
is our nature to feel kindly towards those for whom we
have done offices of kindness.

“I thank you, and his father and he will bless you,
O Prince of Tyre,” she said, taking my hand and carrying
it to her forehead, and then respectfully kissing it;
and as she did so, I saw a tear fall upon my signet

“I feel much for your people,” I said.

She continued her task in silence; but tears began so
rapidly to rain down upon the papyrus, over which her
head was bent, that she was compelled to turn her face
away, lest she should spoil her work. After a few moments
she raised her face, and said, with shining eyes—

“Pardon me, my lord prince, but your few kind
words, to which my ears are all unused, have broken
up the sealed fountains of my heart. It is seldom that
we children of Jacob hear the accents of sympathy, or
find any one to manifest concern for us, when not personally
interested in doing so.”

At this moment, the sound of the sistrum before the
sacred altar of the temple, fell upon my ears; and,

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turning round to the east, I laid my hands across my breast,
and bowed my head low in worship, it being the signal
that the hierarch was offering incense and libations.

To my surprise, the Hebrew woman pursued her work,
and remained with her head, as I thought, more proudly
elevated than before.

“Do you not worship?” I asked, with surprise.

“Yes, the One God,” she answered, with dignity.

I started with surprise, that a bondwoman should declare,
so openly and familiarly, the mystery which even
Remeses scarcely dared to receive, and which I had accepted
with hesitation and awe.

“How knowest thou there is One God?” I said, regarding
her with deepening interest.

“From our fathers.”

“Do all your people worship the One Unity?”

“Not all,” she answered, a shadow passing across her
queenly brow. “The masses of our enslaved nation know
only the gods of Egypt. They adore Apis with servility.
They are the first to hail the new-found calf-god,
if, by chance, he be found in the nome where they toil.
They are ignorant of the true God, and degraded by their
long servitude (for we are all born in bondage—all!);
they worship the gods of their masters; and pots of
flesh which are sent from the sacrifices by the proselyting
priests, as bribes to make our chief men bow down
to Osiris and Apis, are temptations enough to cause
these elders daily to deny the God of their father Abraham.
Jacob and Joseph are become Egyptians, and
the knowledge of the undivided God is preserved only
by a few, who have kept sacred the traditions of our

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This was said with deep feeling, and with an expression
of anger mingled with sorrow.

“What do you worship?” I asked.

“The God of Abraham.”

“Abram was a Syrian prince,” I said. “He must
have worshipped fire, and the sun.”

“In his youth he did. But the great Lord of heaven
revealed Himself to him as One God, and thenceforth he
knew and worshipped only the Lord of heaven and

“How knowest thou mysteries which are approached
with the greatest awe by the most sacred priests?”

“Abraham, our father, gave to Isaac, his son, the
knowledge of One God, God of gods!—above, beyond,
higher, and over the fabulous Osiris, Apis, Thoth, Hours,
and all other so-called deities. Isaac left the knowledge
with his son Jacob. From Jacob it descended to his
twelve sons, princes by birth; and we are their progeny;
and though in bondage, and tempted to bow down ourselves
to the gods of Egypt, yet there remain a few in
Israel who have never bowed the knee to the black
statue of Apis, or crossed the breast before the golden
image of Osiris.”

“What is the name of the One God you, and minds
like yours, worship?” I asked.

“He is called the One Lord; not only Lord of the
sun, but Lord of the lords of the sun. He is One in
His being, One in power, and yields not His glory and
dominion to others. Such is the tradition of our faith.”

“How hast thou resisted the worship of Egypt?” I
asked. “Hast thou not from a child been an inmate of
this palace?”

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“Yes, my lord prince. But my mother taught me
early the truths of the faith of Abraham, and I have
held firmly to the worship of my fathers, amid temptations,
trials, and menaces. But all the gods of Egypt
have not turned me aside from the One God; and my
heart tells me that in Him, and Him alone, I live, and
move, and have my being!”

I regarded this noble-looking bondwoman with surprise
and profound respect. Here, from the lips of a
female, a slave, had I heard the mystery of God made
known, by one who worshipped boldly the Divine
Unity, which the wisdom of Remeses shrunk from certainly
acknowledging; but felt after only with hope
and desire.

“Prince,” she said, looking up into my face, and
speaking with feeling, “dost thou believe in these gods
of Egypt?”

I confess, dear mother, I was startled by the question.
But I replied, smiling—

“I worship the gods of my own land, Miriam.”

“Are they idols?”

“What is an idol?”

“An image or figure in stone, or wood, or metal, or
even painted with colors, to which divine homage is
paid,—visible representations of the invisible.”

“In Phœnicia we worship the sun, and also honor
certain gods.”

“Then thou art not above the Egyptians. I saw thee
bend in attitude of prayer at the sound of the sistrum.
Dost thou believe that the sacred bull is God,—who
made thee, and me, and nature, and the sun, and stars,
and upholds the universe? Dost thou believe Apis or

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Mnevis at On, or Amun at Thebes, either or all of them,

“Thou art a wonderful woman!” I exclaimed. “Art
thou not a priestess of the Hebrew people?”

“Not a priestess. I simply believe in the unity of
God, which you ought to believe in; for thou art open
and ingenuous, and not afraid of truth. A priestess I
am not, yet in my family and tribe is preserved sacredly
the knowledge of the God who spake from heaven to
our ancestor, the Syrian. Canst thou believe, O prince,
that a bull is God?” she asked again, almost authoritatively.

“No, I do not,” I answered, without disguise.

“Dost thou believe that all minor deities will ultimately
be lost in one God?”

“I do, most certainly.”

“Then worship Him! Thou art a prince. I hear
thou wilt become a king. What would be your opinion
of your subjects, and ambassadors of other lands, also,
if, instead of presenting petitions to you, they should
offer them to your grand-chamberlain, your royal scribe,
your chief butler, or chief baker,—mistaking them ignorantly
for you?”

I made no reply, dear mother. The argument was
irresistible. It will be long, I feel, before I recognize
in Apis, or in any statue of stone, or any figure of a
god, the One God, whose existence Remeses first hinted
at to me, and which the Hebrew has made me believe
in; for my own reason responds to the mighty truth!
Do not fear, my dear mother, that I shall return to Tyre
an iconoclast; for I cannot set up a faith in the One God
in my realm, until I have His existence established by

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infallible proofs. In my own heart I may believe in Him
and adore Him, whom my reason sees through and beyond
all material images of Himself; but, with Remeses,
I must secure a foundation for this new faith, before I
overturn the ancient fabric of our mythology of many

She resumed her work. It was coloring the wings
of an image of the sun, which, encircled by an asp,
his head projected, and with extended wings, adorned
the beginning of one of the leaves. The sun was overlaid
with gold; the asps were painted green, and brown,
and gold, while the feathers of the wide wings were
blue, orange, purple, silver, and gilt. It was an exquisitely
beautiful picture.

“That is a god,” I said, after watching for a time her
skilful pencil; “and yet you design and color it.”

“The potter is not responsible for the use that his
vases are put to. The slave must do her mistress's work.
I fulfil my task and duty by obedience to the lords who
are over me. Yet this is not a god. It is the emblem
of Egypt. The eternal sunshine is symboled in this
golden disk. The entwining asp is the winding Nile,
and the two wings represent Upper and Lower Egypt,
extending along the river. It is an emblem, not a god.
In Egypt, no temple is erected to it. It is used only in
sculpture and over pylons of temples. Yet,” she added,
“were it a god, I could not refuse to depicit it. Commanded
to do, I obey. The condition of my people is
one of submission: if a king rules well, he is approved;
if a slave obeys well, he also is approved.”

At this point of our interesting conversation, I saw
the noble-looking, gray-bearded Prince of Uz pass along

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the corridor, preceded by the page of the reception-room.
Seeing me, he stopped and said with benignity
and courtesy:

“Prince of Tyre, it is a pleasure for me to meet with
you here! I am about to leave Egypt for Damascus,
and learn from her majesty, the good queen, that you
have a galley which goes in a few days from Pelusium
to Tyre. I have come hither, knowing you to be a
guest of my friend the high-priest, to ask permission to
sail in her. I have but a small retinue, as my caravan
has already gone through Arabia. Deserta, on its way to
Upper Syria. I take with me but my secretary, scribe,
cup-bearer, armor-bearer, courier, and ten servants.

I assured the venerable prince that it would give me
the greatest pleasure to surrender to him the cabin and
state-chamber of your galley, my dear mother. And
he will be the bearer of a letter from me presenting
him to you. I have already spoken of him in my account
of my first banquet with the queen. He is a
prince, wise, good, virtuous, and greatly honored, not
only for his wisdom, but for the patience, like a god's,
with which he has endured the most wonderful sufferings.
At one time he lost sons, daughters, servants,
flocks, herds, houses, treasures, and health: yet he
neither cursed the gods nor sought escape in death. In
reward for his patience and endurance, the heavenly
powers restored to him all things; and his name is now
but another term for sacred submission to the divine

Having courteously thanked me for granting his wish,
he looked closely at the Hebrew woman, and then said
to her—

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“Is it true that thy people worship the One God?”

“It is true, O prince!” she answered modestly.

“This is the true wisdom of life, to know the Almighty,
and be admitted into the secrets of the Holy One! Behold!
happy is the man who attaineth to this knowledge.
The world gropes in darkness in the daytime,
and stumbles in the noon-day as in the night, not seeing
the pathway to God. Blessed art thou, O daughter of
the wise Abram, the princely Isaac, the good Jacob—the
three great Syrian princes of the East—in that thou
knowest, thou and thy people, the traditions of thy
fathers! Can a man by searching find out God? Can
the priests by their wisdom find out the Almighty to
perfection? Their light is darkness! but the sons of
Israel Ben Abram have the knowledge of the Most
High, and are wiser than Egypt!”

Miriam regarded the majestic old man with eyes expressive
of wonder and joy. They seemed to ask:
“Who art thou?” He understood their interrogating
expression, and said:

“Daughter of Abram, offspring of wise kings, who
walked with the One God, who found Him and came
even unto His seat, when darkness covered the hearts
of all men, I also worship GOD! I am of the family
of the King Melchisedec, who knew Abram thy father!
They both had knowledge of the mystery of the Divine
Unity! They were friends, and worshipped God, the
Almighty, when the understanding of men knew Him
not and denied the God that is above, and the spirit of
God who made them, and the breath of the Almighty
that gave them life. Our God speaketh everywhere,
yet man perceiveth it not, neither doth he know His

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voice! Touching the Almighty—who can find him out?
The world lacketh wisdom, and is devoid of understanding,
to bow down to the work of their own hands, and
see not Him who laid the foundations of the earth, who
hath stretched His line upon the heavens, and to whom
all the morning stars sang together at their creation, and
all the sons of God shouted for joy!”

The venerable Syrian uttered these words with an air
of inspiration. His eyes were fixed inquiringly upon
my face, as if he directed his speech to me alone.

“I would know the God that you and the Hebrews
know and worship,” I said, with emotion. “I no longer
recognize Deity in stone and metal, nor God in Osiris
and Apis, nor the Creator of all in the sun—who is but
a servant to light the world.”

When I had thus spoken, the eyes of the Hebrew
woman beamed with pleasure, and the Prince of Uz,
whose name is Ra-Iub, or Job, took my hand in his and
said, with a smile of benignity—

“Thou art not far from the house of Truth, O Prince
of Tyre! May the Almighty instruct thee, and He who
ordained the ordinances of heaven enlighten thee! He
alone is the Almighty! Can Apis, or Io, or Adonis, the
gods in whom you believe, give rain and dew, the ice
and the hoary frost? Can they bind up the wintry seas
of Colchis, so that men may walk upon the frozen face
of the deep, as upon marble? Can Apis or Bel-Phegor
bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands
of Orion? Can they bring forth Mazzaroth in his
season, guide Arcturus with his sons, and hang Aldebaran
and Sirius in the firmament? Can they send
forth the lightning, and give to thunder its voice? My

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son, there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the
Almighty giveth understanding to them that seek it.
Behold, God is great, and we know Him not, neither
can the number of His years be searched out; yet whosoever
prayeth unto Him, He will be favorable unto,
and will deliver his soul, and his life shall see the light
of the living! Deny not, my son, the God that is above!”

“But where, O wise man of God, is the Almighty to
be found, and whither shall my understanding go out to
find the place of His throne?” I asked, feeling like a
child at his feet, under the power of his words. “I am
weary of idols,” I continued, catching the spirit of his
speech, “and with worshipping myths born of the
ignorance of man. Where shall the Maker be found?
Show me His seat, O man of God, that I may fall down
before His footstool!”

“God is everywhere, but His throne is in thy heart!
His wisdom has no price, neither can it be gotten for
gold. The depth says, It is not in me! The sea saith,
It is not with me! It cannot be weighed in the balance;
nor can it be valued with the gold of Ophir; and the
exchange of it shall not be jewels of fine gold. The
topaz of Ethiopia shall not purchase it, nor shall the
coral and pearls of the isles of the sea equal it; for the
price of the wisdom of God is above rubies! The fear
of the Lord that is wisdom, and lo the Almighty is
found of them who humbly seek Him. An idol, my
son, is a snare, and the false gods of the world lead to
destruction; they have eyes but see not, ears but hear
not, feet but walk not, hands which bless not, mouths
that speak no wisdom! But God is the Maker and
Father of His creatures, and concealeth His glory in the

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secret places of His heaven; yet the pure in heart shall
find Him, and they that plead with Him shall not be
mocked. He will come unto thee, and abide with thee,
and thou shalt know the Almighty as a father. I have
tried Him and He has proved me, and though He
sorely afflicted me He did not forsake me, and in the
end came to me with more abundant honor and blessing.”

“Will God pardon transgression?” I asked, giving
utterance in this brief question to a thought of my heart
that no mythology could answer.

“There is no promise to man, that transgression
against a sacred and sinless God can be forgiven. We
must hope in His mercy at the end! I have prayed, in
my affliction, O prince, for a Day's man—one to stand
between me and the Almighty, to plead for me! My
heart hath yearned for One; and I feel that the yearning
of my heart is a prophecy.”

“Dost thou believe a Day's man, or mediator, will
be given by the great God to man, to intercede for
transgressors against His holiness?” I asked, between
sweet hope and trembling fear.

“We have a tradition that has overleaped the flood
and come down to us, that One will yet stand between
earth and heaven to plead with the Creator for His
creatures, and that the Almighty will hear His voice.”

“Is not this feebly typified in Horus, the son of Osiris,
who presents the souls of the dead and acts as their
friend?” I asked.

“Without doubt,” answered the Prince of Uz. “This
belief is found shadowed forth in all faiths of every
land. But I must not detain you, my lord prince.”

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I then accompanied the white-haired Prince of Uz to
the galley in which he had crossed the Nile, and taking
leave of him, promised to see him ere he sailed.

Believe me, dear mother, there is but One God, and
that an idol is nothing on earth, not even the god-created
sun. I have since had another long conversation
with the Prince of Uz, and he has convinced me
that in worshipping images and attributes we offend the
High God, and degrade our own natures.

Farewell, dear mother.

Your devoted son,

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City of On. My dearest Mother:

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It is many weeks since my last letter was written.
The interval has been occupied by me, in visiting all
places of interest in Lower Egpyt, previous to my voyage
up the Nile, to the kingdom of the Thebaïd. But the intelligence
that your last letter contains, of the misunderstanding
arising between you and the King of Cyprus, and
your fear that war may ensue, will compel me to abandon
my tour to the Cataracts, and return to Tyre, unless
the next courier brings more pacific news. But I trust
that the wisdom and personal influence of your ambassador,
Isaphris, will result in an amicable termination
of the difficulty. I have no doubt, that the haughty
King of the Isle will make due concessions, for his treatment
of your shipwrecked merchantmen, when your
ambassador disclaims all intention, on the part of your
majesty, of planting an invading colony in any part of
his shores, and assures him that the vessels, which he
supposed brought a company of Phœnicians to occupy
his soil, were driven thither when bound for Carthage
and distant Gades. But should he refuse to release your
subjects and to restore their vessels and goods, war would
inevitably ensue, and I will hasten home to conduct it

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in person. Do not delay sending me the earliest intelligence
by a special galley. Until I hear from you, I
shall linger in Lower Egypt.

Since writing the foregoing, dear mother, I have heard
the most important intelligence from the seat of war in
Ethiopia; and what is more, that the Prince Remeses is
even now on his return to Memphis, a conqueror! The
dispatches brought by the courier state, that four weeks
ago the army of Egypt engaged Occhoris, beyond the
gates of Thebes, and after a severe battle, in which the
chariots and horse were engaged, he was forced to retreat;
that he gained a new position, and fortified himself,
but was dislodged from it, and finally routed in the
open plain, he himself being taken prisoner, with most
of his chief captains; while a great spoil in treasures,
camp-equipage, elephants, camels, and horses, besides
captives innumerable, enriched the victors. This news
has gladdened the heart of Queen Amense, and relieved
her mind from the great anxiety that has oppressed it
ever since the departure of Remeses, lest he should lose
his life in the campaign, as his father had done before
him. But, without a wound, he returns triumphant,
leading his enemy captive at the wheels of his war-chariot.
The city is excited with joy, and in all the temples,
ascending incense and bleeding sacrifices, together
with libations and oblations, bear testimony to the universal
gratitude of the nation, at the defeat of the hereditary
foe of the kingdom.

I will for a time delay this letter, that I may witness
the scenes in the city and behold the rites for victory,
which, I am told, will be most imposing, especially in
the temples of Apis and of Vulcan.

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Island and Palace of Rhoda.

Two weeks have elapsed since I laid down my pen,
dearest mother. In the interval I have been too much
occupied to resume it, but do so now with matter of the
deepest interest to communicate. Remeses has returned.
Two days ago he entered Memphis in warlike triumph.
On hearing of his approach, I hastened to meet him
three days' journey up the Nile. When we met, he
embraced me as a brother, with expressions of joy; but
the first question he put to me was:

“The queen—my mother, Sesostris, is she well?”

“Well, and happy at your victories,” I answered.

“And your royal mother also, the Queen Epiphia,
now fared she when last you heard from her?”

“In good health, save her wish to see me,” I answered.

Thus, dear mother, did this noble prince, amid all the
splendor of his victories, first think of his mother and
mine! It is this filial piety, which is one of the most
eminent traits of his lofty and pure character; and
where love for a mother reigns supremely in the heart,
all other virtues will cluster around it.

I found Remeses descending the river in a hundredoared
galley, to which I was conveyed by a barge which
he sent for me, on recognizing me. It was decorated
with the insignia of all the divisions of his army. Behind
it came two galleys containing the prisoners of
rank, who were bound in chains upon the deck. The
Ethiopian king was in the galley with Remeses, who
courteously let him go free in the cabin, where he was
served by his conqueror's own cup-bearer. Further in
the rear came the fleet, their parti-colored green, orange,

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blue, and scarlet sails, and the bronzed and gilded heads
of hawks, eagles, wolves, lions, and ibises upon the topmasts,
presenting a grand and brilliant spectacle. Ever
and anon, a loud, wild shout would swell along the water,
from the victorious troops. One half of the fleet had
been left in the Thebaïd country with Prince Mœris,
who intended to invade the interior of Ethiopia and
menace its capital.

You may imagine, dear mother, that Remeses had
many questions to ask and answer, as well as I. I drew
from him a modest narrative of his battles; but he spoke
more freely of the brilliant courage of Prince Mœris than
of his own acts. After we had sat in the moonlight,
upon the poop of his galley, conversing for several
hours, I asked permission to see his royal captive, who
I fancied was some wild savage chief, with the hairy
head and neck of a lion, and the glaring eyes of a wolf.
When I expressed my opinion to Remeses, he smiled
and said:

“I will send to him and ask if he will receive me and
the Prince of Tyre; for he has heard me make mention
of you.”

“You Egyptians treat your captives with delicate
courtesy,” I said, “to send to know if they will receive

“I fear such is not our custom. Captives taken in
war by our soldiers, are, I fear, but little better off than
those of other conquering armies; yet I have done all
that is possible to alleviate their condition, and have
forbidden unnecessary cruelty, such as tying their arms
in unnatural positions and dragging them in long lines
at the rear of running chariots! If you see the army

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on shore, you will find that it is hard to teach the Egyptian
soldier mercy towards a captive foe.”

I regarded the prince with silent admiration. “How
is it,” I asked of myself, “that this man is in advance
of all his predecessors and before his age in virtue?”

“His majesty will see the Prince of Tyre and also his
conqueror,” were the words which the messenger brought
to Remeses.

Descending a flight of steps, we advanced along a
second deck, and then passing the door leading to
the state-cabins, we descended again, and came to the
range of apartments occupied by the governor of the
rowers and the chief pilot. The latter had vacated his
room to the royal captive. Upon entering, reclining
on a couch of leopard's skins spread in the moonlight,
which shone broadly in upon the floor through the
columns that supported the deck, I beheld a young
man, not more than my own age. His features were
remarkable. His nose was slightly aquiline, his forehead
high and commanding, his brows arched and delicate
as a woman's, beneath which were the blackest
and largest eyes I ever beheld, and which seemed to
emit a burning splendor. His finely formed mouth was
almost voluptuous in its fulness and expression; yet I
could perceive a slight nervous contraction of the underlip,
as if he were struggling between shame and haughty
indifference, when he beheld us. His chin was without
beard. His black locks were braided and bound up
by a fillet of gold, studded with jewels. His helmet,
which was of beaten gold, lay by his side dented with
many a stroke of sword and battle-axe; and I saw that
a wound upon his left temple corresponded to one of

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these indentations. His hands were very small, and of
a nut-brown color (as was his complexion), and covered
with massive rings. A collar, rich with emeralds, encircled
his neck, from which was suspended an amulet of
agate, and a little silver box containing a royal charm.
He was dressed in a gaudy but rich robe of needle-work,
which was open in front, and displayed a corselet and
breastplate of the finest steel, inlaid with gold. His
small feet were bare, save a light sandal of gilded gazelle-leather.
Altogether he was as elegant and fine-looking
a barbaric prince as one would care to behold,
dear mother, and not at all the monster in aspect I
had pictured him: yet I am well convinced, that in that
splendid form lie powers of endurance which make him
respected, by the barbarians he commands; and that
within those fierce eyes blazes a soul, as fiery as any
barbaric prince requires; while the firm expression of
his mouth, at times, betrayed a resolved and iron will,
with which no one of his subjects would willingly come
into antagonism.

He half-rose gracefully from his recumbent attitude,
and said, with an indolent yet not undignified air, and
in good Koptic, as it is spoken in the Thebaïd:

“Welcome, Prince of Tyre! I am sorry I cannot extend
to you the hospitality you merit. You see my
kingdom is somewhat limited! As for you, O Prince
of Egypt, who have a right to command, I need not ask
you to be seated or recline.” Then turning to me again,
“I have heard of Tyre. You are a nation of merchants
who cover the great sea with caravans of galleys, and
plant your sandals in all lands. But you have not yet
had Ethiopia beneath them.”

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“Our commerce embraces even your own country's
productions, O king!” I answered. “I have seen in the
mart of Tyre chœnixes of gold-dust, ostrich-feathers,
dried fruits and skins, vermilion, ebony, ivory, and even
baboons, apes, and leopards. In return we send you
our purples.”

“That is the name of Tyre, is it not,—the city of purple-cloth?”
he said interrogatively, and with a pointed
sneer. “Ethiopia signifies the land of warriors—children
of the sun.”

I could not help smiling at his vanity. Remeses did
not say any thing. The king then added, pleasantly:

“I have no quarrel with thee, O Tyre! Receive this
ring—that is, if the great Remeses do not regard all I
possess, as well as myself, his spoil—receive it in token
that we are at peace.”

As he spoke, he drew from his thumb a jewel of
great price, and, taking my hand, placed it upon my
thumb, without looking to see whether Remeses approved
or no.

After a brief interview I left his presence, and soon
retired to my state-room. Remeses insists upon my
retaining the ring, which, in truth, the Ethiopian king,
being a captive, had no right to dispose of. Remeses
says that he displayed the most daring courage
and marvellous generalship in battle; and that, though
young, and apparently effeminate, he inherits all the
fierce, barbaric spirit of his ancestor, Sabaco I., and of
his uncle, Bocchiris the Great, and third of the name.

At length arrived at the island of Rhoda, Remeses
hastened to embrace his mother, and to render to her
an account of his expedition. The next day,

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preparations were made to receive the vast and victorious army,
which had been slowly marching towards the capital,
along the western bank of the river. They entered the
plain of the pyramids on the same night, column succeeding
column in a long line, attended by an interminable
train of captives, and by wagons, cars, and chariots
laden with spoils of arms, treasures, goods, and military
stores. Having encamped on their former ground, they
awaited the signal to move towards the city in triumphal

The following morning the queen made her appearance
at the head of the great square, in front of the
temple of Apis. She was arrayed in her royal robes,
and seated in a state-chariot of ivory, inlaid with gold,
drawn by four white horses driven abreast, richly caparisoned,
and with ostrich-plumes nodding on their heads.
Attended by a splendid retinue of the lords of her palace,
she took a position near the pylon, surrounded by
her body-guard, in their glittering cuirasses of silver,
and bearing slender lances in their right hands. The
lords of the realm were ranged, in extended wings, on
either side of her chariot; the whole presenting a strikingly
beautiful spectacle.

When all was arranged, from the portals of the vast
temple, headed by the hierarch in full dress, issued a
procession of four hundred priests, a shining host, with
golden tiaras, and censers of gold, and crimson vestments.
Other sacred processions came advancing along
all the streets, headed by their chiefs, each escorting the
god of their temple in a gorgeous shrine, blazing with
the radiance of precious stones.

Prince Remeses, attended by the governor of the

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city, the twenty-one rulers of the departments thereof,
and by all dignitaries, of whatever office, in their sumptuous
robes and badges of rank, had already departed
from the city to meet the army, which, headed by its
generals, was in full motion. They came on in columns
of battalions, as if marching through an enemy's country,
and with all the pomp of war—their battle-banners
waving, and their bands of music sounding. Instead of
accompanying Remeses, I remained, by her request,
near the queen. The towers of the pylones, the roofs of
temples, the colonnades of palaces, terraces, house-tops—
every vantage-point—were crowded thickly with spectators.

At length the voice of trumpets, faint and far off,
broke the silence of expectation. Nearer and louder it
was heard, now rising on the breeze, now gradually dying
away; but soon other instruments were heard: the
cymbals, the drum, the pipe and the cornet from a hundred
bands poured upon the air a martial uproar of instruments,
which made the blood bound quicker in every
pulse. All eyes were now turned in the direction of
the entrance to the grand causeway of the pyramids,
and in a few moments, amid the answering clangor of
the brazen trumpets of the queen's guards, a party of
cavalry, shining like the sun, dashed into sight.

Their appearance was hailed by the vast assemblage
of spectators with acclamations. Then came one hundred
and seventy priests abreast, representing the male
deities of Memphis, each attired like the image of his
god—an imposing and wonderful spectacle; as in it
Horus was not without his hawk-head, nor Thoth his
horns and globe. Anubis displayed the head of a

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jackal, and Osiris held the emblems of his rank. These
were followed by the high-priest of On, before whom
was borne the shield of the sun, resting upon a car carried
by twenty-four men, representing the hours. Following
these were one thousand priests—a hundred in
line—chanting, with mighty voice, the song of victory
to the gods. They were succeeded by a battalion of
cavalry, the front of which filled the whole breadth of
the avenue. It advanced in solid column, till four thousand
horsemen, in varied armor and arms, had entered
the immense quadrangle. Now burst out afresh the
clang of martial bands, and alone in his state-chariot,
drawn by three black steeds, appeared the Prince of
Egypt, standing erect upon the floor of his car. He was
in full armor, and so splendid was his appearance, so majestic
his aspect, that he was hailed with a thunder of
voices, as conqueror! Leaving the golden-hued reins
loosely attached to the hilt of his sword, he suffered his
proudly stepping horses freely to prance and curvet,
yet held them obedient to the slightest gesture of his
hand. On each side of their heads walked three footmen.
Behind him came his war-chariot of iron, from
which he had fought in battle on the Theban plains.
The horses were led by two lords of Egypt, and it was
empty, save that it held his battered shield, emptied
quiver, broken lances, the hilt of his sword, and his
dented helmet—mute witnesses of his presence in the
heat of battle. Behind the chariot was a guard of
honor, consisting of a brave soldier out of every company
in the army. But close to it, his wrists locked
together with a massive chain of gold, which was attached
to the axle of the war-chariot, walked the captive

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King of Ethiopia. His step was proud and defiant, and
a constant smile of contempt curled his lip, as he saw the
eyes of the spectators bent upon him, and heard their
shouts of hostile joy on beholding him. He moved, the
king in heart, though bound in hand. Over his shoulders
hung a lion's skin as a royal mantle, but his feet
were bare. Behind him came a solid front of chariots,
which, line behind line, rolled into the square, until
nearly three thousand war-cars had entered, and moved,
with all the van of the vast warlike procession, towards
the great pylon, before which, in her chariot, stood the
Queen of Egypt; for, as soon as the head of the column
came in sight, she had risen to her feet to receive her returning

When Remeses came before her, he turned his horses
towards her and remained at her side. Past them
marched first the foot-soldiers. To the sound of drums
and the tramp of ten thousand sandals, they wheeled
into the arena of temples, elevating their war-hacked
symbols, each man laden with his spoil. Then it was,
that a company of sacred virgins, issuing from the temple
of Athor, each with a silver star upon her brow, all
clad in white, and bearing branches of flowers, green
palm-branches, ivy and lotus leaves, cast them before
the army, and sang with beautiful voices the hymn
of the Conqueror. As they passed, the priests, with
censers, waved incense towards them, and others sprinkled
sacred water in the path of the battle-worn warriors.
The soldiers responded to the hymn of the
maidens with a loud chorus, that rent the skies as they
marched and sang.

When half the army had defiled, there came a

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procession of Ethiopian cars and wagons, drawn by captured
oxen, and laden with trophies. Upon one was piled
scores of shields, another was filled with helmets, a third
bristled with spears, and a fourth was weighed down by
cuirasses and swords. After many hundreds of these
had passed—for the whole Ethiopian army was destroyed
and their possessions captured—came chariots,
heavy with chests containing gold, and silver, and
bronze vessels; others glaring with ivory tusks; others
full of blocks of ebony. Five royal elephants, with
their castles and keepers, and a troop of camels, laden
with treasures and mounted by their wild-looking
guides, preceded a body of horse escorting the purple
pavilion of the captive king—a gorgeous yet barbaric
edifice of ivory frames, covered with silk and fringed
with gold. Next came a painted car containing his
wives, all of whom were closely veiled, and followed by
a train of royal servants and slaves.

Bringing up the rear of the immense procession was
another large body of horse, at the head of a long
column of captives, twelve thousand in number—the
disarmed and chained soldiers of the defeated monarch.
Such a spectacle of human misery, such an embodiment
of human woe!—how can I depict the scene, my
mother! Perhaps when I am older, and have seen
more of war than I have, I may feel less sympathy at a
sight so painful, and be more indifferent to the necessary
horrors of this dread evil.

Their features denoted them to be of a race very different
from the Egyptian. They were slender and tall,
with swarthy, but not black, faces like the Nubians—
showing more of the Oriental than the African in their

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physiognomy. Their long hair hung half-way down the
back, and they were dressed in costumes as various as
the tribes which composed the army of Occhoris.

These captives marched in parties of from one to two
hundred each—some linked by the wrists to a long
connecting chain passing along the line; others, chained
two and two by the hands, and with shackled feet, were
led by their captors. Many of them were confined to
a long iron bar, by neck-collars, eight and ten abreast,
each compelled to step together, and sit or rise at the
same moment, or be subjected to dislocation of the
neck. Several, of the most unmanageable, were tied
with their hands high above their heads, in the most
painful positions; while other wretches were so cruelly
bound, that their arms met behind in the most unnatural
manner. There was a long chain of Nubian and Southern
Arabian soldiers so bound, who writhed in agony
as they were forced onward in the march. After these
came hundreds of women and children, the latter naked,
and led by the hand, or carried by their mothers in
baskets, slung behind by a belt carried across the forehead.
Finally, when these had passed the queen, who
humanely ordered those so unnaturally bound to be
relieved, the rear division of the army came tramping
on, with symbols aloft, and drums beating, and trumpets

At length, this vast army of nearly one hundred
thousand men, including chariots, horsemen, and foot-soldiers,
had marched past before the queen, receiving
her thanks and smiles, and the flowers that were showered
upon them from thousands of fair hands. As they
moved on, they wheeled in column, and gradually filled

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up the whole area of the vast quadrangle, save the
space in front of the pyramidal gateway, where the
queen and Remeses stood in their chariots.

At this juncture, the high-priest of On—a man of
venerable aspect—amid the profoundest silence, advanced
before them, and thus addressed Prince Remeses:

“Mighty and excellent prince, and lord of worlds,
son of the queen, and upholder of the kingdoms of the
earth, may the gods bless thee and grant thee honor and
prosperity! Thou hast led the armies of Misr to battle,
and conquered. Thou hast brought down the pride of
Ethiopia, and placed the crown of the South underneath
thy foot. Thou hast fought, and overthrown, and taken
captive the enemy of Egypt, and the scourge of the
world. Lo, chained he walks at thy chariot-wheels! his
soldiers are captives to thy sword, and his spoil is in
thy hand! By thy courage in battle, thou hast saved
Egypt from desolation, filled her borders with peace,
and covered her name with glory. Let thy power,
henceforth, be exalted in the world like the sun in the
heavens, and thy glory and virtues only be equalled by
those of the sacred deities themselves!”

Remeses, with the gentle dignity and modesty which
characterize him, replied to this eulogistic address of the
Egyptian pontiff. The queen then embraced him before
the whole army, which cried, “Long live our queen!
Long live Remeses our general!” All the while Occhoris
stood by the wheel of the chariot to which he
was chained, his arms folded, and his bearing as proud
as that of a caged lion. He did not even deign to look
upon the queen, whom he had never before beheld;

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and seemed to be above, or below, all manifestation of
curiosity. Self-reliance, fearlessness, immobility, characterized

Preparations having already been made for a national
thanksgiving, the queen and Remeses descended from
their chariots, and led a procession consisting of the
priest of On, the high-priest of Apis, the priest of
Memphis, hierophants and chief priests from each of the
thirty-eight or forty nomes, and several hundreds of
ecclesiastics in magnificent dresses. This august procession
entered the great temple of Pthah. Here, after
an imposing invocation, offerings from the queen to the
presiding deity, and also to Mars—whose statue was
present,—were made in recognition of their presence
with the victorious army, and as an acknowledgment
that it was by their special favor and intercession that
the victory had been obtained.

This done, Remeses, in a formal manner, addressed
the priest of the temple, presenting to the deity all the
prisoners, and the spoil taken with them. As the vast
army could not enter the temple, each captain of fifty
and of a hundred was present for his own men. The
high-priest then went forth upon the portico of the temple,
and on an altar there, in the presence of the
whole army, offered incense, meat-offerings, and libations.

All these customs and rites being ended, the army
once more commenced its march, and passed through
the city, and beyond the pyramid of Cheops' daughter
to the plain of Libya, where Osirtasen used to review his
armies. There they pitched their camp, prior to being
posted and garrisoned in different parts of Egypt,—

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ready again to be summoned, at three days' notice, to go
forth to war.

The captives, being delivered up to the authorities,
were at once put to labor in the service of the queen,
and are already engaged in building temples, cutting
canals, raising dykes and embankments, and other public
and state works. Some were purchased by the
nobles; and the women, both Nubian and white, were
distributed among the wealthy and noble families in the
city. The Hebrew is the only captive or servant in
Egypt who cannot be bought and sold. Those who
have them in their houses do not own them, for, as a
nation, they belong to the crown; but the queen's treasurer
is paid a certain tribute or tax for their service,
and must restore them whenever the queen commands
them to do so.

The King of Ethiopia, himself, after having been
led through the city at the chariot-wheel of his
conqueror, was sent to the royal prison, there to
await his fate, which hangs upon the word of the

It is possible he may be redeemed by his own nation
with a vast ransom-price; but if not, he will probably
pass his days a captive, unless he consents to a proposition,
which will be made to him by the prince, for
recovering his liberty—namely, the surrender of the
northern half of his kingdom to Egypt, in order that he
may be permitted to reign over the remainder. As half
a kingdom is far better than none, any other monarch
would probably acquiesce; but the spirit of this king
(whose looks and movements irresistibly make me think
of a Nubian leopard) is so indomitable and proud, that

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I believe he would rather die a prisoner in a dungeon
than live a king with half a sceptre.

This letter, dear mother, has been written at three or
four different sittings, with a greater or less interval of
time between them. It was my intention to have given
you, before closing it, some account of a meeting which
I had with a remarkable Hebrew, whose resemblance to
Remeses, is, if possible, more striking than that of
Miriam the papyrus writer, or of Amram the royal
gardener. But having quite filled it with a description
of the triumphal entry of Remeses into the capital, I
must defer doing so till another occasion.

With my most affectionate wishes for your happiness,
I am, my beloved mother,

Your faithful son,

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Palace of Rhoda. My dearly beloved Mother:

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The excitement, which the return of the triumphant
army from its brilliant Ethiopian campaign created,
has now subsided, and the cities of Memphis and On,
and the thousand villages in the valley of the Nile, have
returned to their ordinary quiet, interrupted only by religious
processions, the music of a banquet, or the festivities
of a marriage. In this delicious climate, where
there is no particular incentive to action, the general
state of the people is one of indolence and leisure. The
chief business, at the marts and quays, is over before the
sun is at meridian; and during the remainder of the
day, shade and repose are coveted. But when the sun
sinks westward, and hangs low over the brown hills of
Libya, this inaction ceases, and all classes, in their best
apparel and most cheerful looks, fill the streets, the
groves, the gardens, the walks and avenues along the
river; and the spirit of enjoyment and life reigns.

One evening, not long since, I strolled along the
banks of the Nile, beneath a row of mimosa-trees, to
enjoy the gay and attractive scenes upon the river. It

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was covered with gayly painted barges, containing happy
family parties, whose musicians played for them as the
rowers slowly and idly propelled the boat; others, in
sharp-prowed barisæ, darted in emulous races across the
water; others were suspended upon the bosom of the
stream, fishing for amusement; while others still moved
about, with their beautifully pictured sails spread to the
gentle breeze, as if enjoying the panorama of the shores
they were gliding past.

I had rambled alone some distance up the river, without
any vestige of my rank being apparent, in the plain
Phœnician costume of a Tyrian merchant (which I often
wear, to prevent constant interruption by the homage
and prostrations of the deferent Egyptians), when I saw
a small baris, containing a single person, coming close
to the steps of the extensive terrace of one of the numerous
temples of the image of Apis, which here faced
the Nile, separated from it only by a double row of
sphinxes. It was rowed by four Nubian slaves, clad in
white linen vests and fringed loin-cloths, each having a
red cap upon his head.

As the boat approached the marble steps, a decorated
and unusually elegant galley, containing three young
men of rank, as their dress and the emblems on their
mast indicated, was coming swiftly down the stream, as
if the owner strove to display the fleetness of his vessel
before the eyes of the thousands who looked on. The
pilot, at the lofty helm, called out to the baris to move
quicker away from the line of his course; but either the
rowers failed to hear or to comprehend, for they did
not turn their heads. On like the wind came the galley.
I called aloud to the person who sat in the stern of the

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oaris, and who was intently engaged in reading a book,
a portion of which lay unrolled at his feet.

He looked up quickly, and saw, first me, and then,
by the direction of my finger, his danger. Before, however,
he could give orders to his rowers, I heard one of
the young men say to the pilot, who was changing his
course a little—

“Keep right on! It is but a Hebrew; and it would
be a favor to the gods to drown a thousand a day.”

The pilot obeyed his lord, and the bronze hawk-head
of the gilded galley struck the boat near the stern, nearly
capsizing it, and then the whole armament of twelve
oars passed over it, striking overboard two of the slaves,
as the twenty-four oarsmen swept the galley along at
the height of its speed. I expected to see the priest,
for such his costume betrayed him, also pressed down
by the long oars, under which, like a low roof of inclined
rafters, he was entangled; but stooping low until
his forehead touched the book on his knee, the sweeps
passed harmlessly over him, and when the galley had
gone by, he recovered his sitting posture, maintaining,
the while, a composure and dignity that made me marvel.
His dark, handsome, oriental face betrayed scarcely any
emotion at the danger or the indignity. Seeing that one
of the slaves was swimming ashore, and that the other
rose no more, he waved his hand to the remaining two
who had fallen into the bottom of the boat, and who,
recovering their oars, pulled him to the steps.

“A Hebrew!” repeated I to myself. “Truly, and the
very likeness of Remeses, save that his hair is of a
browner hue, and his beard tinged with a golden light.
A Hebrew! What philosophy under insult and peril!

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A Hebrew! What contempt of him and his life was
evinced by the haughty Egyptian noble! A Hebrew,
and a priest!

Such were the reflections to which I gave utterance,
in an under-tone.

He debarked, and giving an order to the slaves,
placed his scroll of papyrus beneath his robe, and,
ascending the steps, bowed low, and with singular courtesy
(for the Hebrews, mother, are naturally the most
polished and benignant people in the world), said in the
Phœnician tongue—

“I am indebted to you, sir merchant, for my life!
Your timely voice enabled me to save myself, although
I have lost one of the poor Nubian lads. Accept my

I could not remove my eyes from his face. It fascinated
me! It seemed to be Remeses himself speaking
to me; yet the hair of the prince is raven-black, and
his beard also, while this man's is a rich brown, and his
fine beard like a golden river. The eyes of Remeses
are black, with a mild expression naturally, as if they
were animated by a gentle spirit; while those of the
priest are hazel, or rather a brilliant bronze, and full of
the light of courage and of ardent fire. In person he
is just the height of Remeses—carried his head in the
same imperial manner, as if born to command; and the
tones of his voice are marked by that rich emotional
cadence—winning the ear and touching the heart—
which characterizes the prince. His step is firm and
commanding—his motions self-poised and dignified. He
seems three or four years older than Remeses; but
the likeness of the features, and the entire presence of

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the stranger recalled my royal friend so forcibly to my
mind, on the occasion of which I speak, that I said
mentally—“Were the Prince Remeses a Hebrew, or
were this Hebrew an Egyptian, I should think them
cousins, if not brothers!”

Pardon me, dear mother, for thus speaking of a royal
personage; but I only make use of the language, to express
to you how wonderful in every way, save in the
color of hair and eyes, is the resemblance of this man
to the prince.

“I did but a common duty to a fellow-being,” was
my reply. “But why did you address me in Syriac?”

“Are you not a Syrian merchant?” he asked, looking
at me more closely, after I had spoken.

“I am from Tyre,” I answered. “You are a Hebrew?”

“Yes,” was his reply, casting down his eyes and moving
past me towards the temple.

“Stay one moment,” I said. He turned and regarded
me with a look of surprise; just such an one as the Hebrew
woman Miriam,—to whom also, dear mother, he
bore a very striking resemblance,—gave me when I
irresistibly addressed her, in the courteous tone I would
have used towards any of her sex: such was my tone in
speaking to this Hebrew; for although his dress showed
that he was only a neophyte, or attendant with secular
duties, yet the man himself commanded my respect.

“May I inquire, without offence, why I see a Hebrew
in the service of religion?”

“When we are only degraded slaves, and brick and
clay workers, and worship not the gods of Egypt?” he
answered interrogatively; and I imagined I detected a

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haughty light in his eyes, and a movement of his lip,
caused by a keen sense of the degradation of which he

“You have expressed my motives,” I replied. “If
you are proceeding along the avenue of sphinxes, I will
accompany you, as I am merely loitering.”

“Will you be seen walking with a Hebrew, my lord
prince?” he said, significantly.

“You know my rank, then?”

“Your language betrays you; merchants do not speak
as you do. Besides, the signet of Prince Remeses, on
your hand, designates your rank. I have, moreover,
heard you described by one, who will never forget that
the first words of kindness he ever received, save from
his kinsfolk, fell upon his ears from your lips, O Prince
of Tyre!”

“Who is he?” I asked with interest.

“The lad Israel, whom you assisted in restoring to
animation by the well of Jacob the Shepherd!”

“At the strangers' fountain!” I repeated. “This
little act seems to be known to all the Hebrews!”

“Not to all, but to a few,” he answered; “yet it will
be heard of by all of them; for kindness and sympathy
from any one, especially from a foreign prince, is so
strange an event that it will fly from lip to ear. Your
name, O noble Sesostris, will be engraven in every memory,
and the sound thereof warm hope in every heart!”

He spoke with deep feeling. We walked some distance
side by side without speaking. After a few moments'
silence I said—

“Where is the youth Israel?”

“With his people near Raamses.”

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“I am to receive him into my service.”

“He will faithfully serve you, my lord prince. He
is of my kindred, and I shall be grateful to you for protecting
his weakness. Every shoulder in Israel cannot
bear the burden!”

“Are you then of the family of Miriam?” I asked,
recollecting that the ritual transcriber, in the palace of
the hierarch, had also claimed kindred with the son of
the venerable Ben Isaac.

“Miriam the scribe?”

“In the service of Luxora and Osiria, of Memphis.”

“She is my sister.”

“I would have said it!” I answered. “Is your father

“He is in charge of the queen's flower-garden in On.”

“I know him,” I answered.

“It is he who has spoken of you to me, as well as the
aged Ben Isaac, young Israel, and Miriam. Therefore
did I at once recognize you, when your polished words
led me to see that you were in rank above chief pilots
and governors of galleys.”

“Will you reply to my inquiry? for, as we know each
other's friends, we need not now discourse wholly as
strangers. How came you, being a Hebrew, to become
a priest? Do not you Hebrews worship the One Infinite
Maker and Upholder of worlds?”

“There are a few who retain, unmixed with superstition
and idol-worship, the knowledge of the one God of
our ancestors Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph; but this
knowledge is confined, chiefly, to the descendants of one
man, Levi; and only to a few of these. The residue are
little better than the Egyptians.”

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“Art thou of the family of this Levi?” I asked.

“I am. We are more given to study than our brethren,
and seek knowledge and wisdom. Hence it is,
that some of our tribe are taken from the labor of the
field to serve the priests. We are ready writers, skilful
with the stylus and the coloring pencil, and our lot
is preferable to that of others, who are more ignorant.
Hence you behold me a servitor in an Egyptian temple!”

“Hast thou long been in this service?” I asked, as we
stopped in the shade of the pyramidion of an obelisk, in
front of the temple porch.

“From a child.”

“So early! Then thou hast not borne the toils of thy

“I was discovered upon the banks of the Nile, in my
fourth year, near the Island of Rhoda, weeping bitterly;
for I had seen my mother commit my infant brother to
a basket and launch it upon the river; and observing it
borne down by the current, young as I was, I so felt all
its danger, that I ran as well as I could along the shore
crying piteously, when a priest (who has made known to
me the incident) seeing me, took pity upon me, and noticing
that I was a Hebrew child led me away, pacifying
me by saying that I should see my brother. From that
time I have been an inmate of the temple; for my mother
seeing him take me away followed, and as he promised
he would rear me as his own son, and that I should see
her weekly, she yielded me up to him with reluctant
gladness; for, my lord prince, in that day the children
of Hebrew parents were not safe even at home, an edict
having been published commanding all male infants to

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be strangled or drowned. Mothers held their children by
a slight tenure, and seeing that the protection of a priest
would insure my safety, and spare me the toils to which
the little ones of our nation were early condemned, my
parents readily acquiesced in the wishes of the priest.”

“Was thy infant brother lost?” I asked with interest.

“Yes, without doubt. Like hundreds of other innocents,
he perished.”

“Might he not have been saved by some one as compassionate
as your friendly priest?”

“Who would dare to save a child from the king's
edict of death? Not one, unless it had been the king's
daughter! All his subjects trembled at his power.”

“I have heard of that cruel command of Pharaoh
Amunophis,” I answered. “What is your office in this
noble temple?” I asked, surveying the majestic edifice,
before which stood a black statue of Apis, the size of

“My office is not that of a priest, though it is priestly.
I write books of papyrus for the dead. I cast images, in
gold, of the young calf Apis. I interpret hieroglyphics,
make copies of the tables of rituals, and keep a list of the
sacred scrolls. I also study foreign tongues, and transcribe
from their books the wisest codes and most
solemn forms of worship.”

“Yours is an office of trust and honor,” I said.

“It is, through the favor of the venerable priest, who
is my benefactor, and to whom I am as a son,” he answered.
“If you will now enter the temple with me, I
will show you the casting-room of sacred images; for my
duty is there, during the next four hours.”

I thanked the courteous Hebrew, and ascending the

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steps of the portico, entered the vestibule of the temple.
By a side corridor, we reached a small court lined with
alabastron, in which three priests were pacing up and
down, reading and meditating.

Not being noticed at all by them, I was conducted by
the stately Hebrew into a chamber, which was the vestibule
to a large apartment, whither we descended by
eight steps, that led to a large brazen door with two
leaves. This was secured; but a small side door admitted
us into a vast subterranean room, which I saw was
a place for casting. Numerous workmen were busy
about heated furnaces: some blowing the fire beneath
crucibles for melting gold; some weighing gold and delivering
it to the smiths; and others washing gold. Some
were casting small images of Apis in moulds, while a
superintendent moved up and down, dressed in the close
robes of vesture priests wear, when not performing duties
at the altar. It was a scene of busy toil and constant

“This,” said my guide, “is the casting-chamber of
the temple. Each of us has his departments. It is
mine, to oversee the mixing of gold with the proper
alloy, and I have a scribe who records the results.
Here, you see, is a life-size image of Apis, when he
was a calf. It is for the temple at Bubastis, of the
Delta. There you behold a mould for one of larger
size, ordered for the shrine at Osymandyes.”

“Do you never cast any figures of the size of Apis?”
I asked, looking about me in amazement at this extraordinary

“Not of gold,” he answered, conducting me through
the vast room in which fourscore men were at work.

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“Those are cast of bronze, not here, but at a temple
near the pyramid Dendara. The gods of this temple
are in great repute throughout all Egypt. They are
consecrated here before they are sent away, with ancient
rites, known only to the priesthood of this shrine.
Come with me into this side apartment.”

I followed him through a passage having double-doors
of brass, and found myself in a room full of vases, each
one of which contained a quantity of jewelry, consisting
of rings for the fingers and thumb, ear-rings, bracelets,
flower-holders of gold, necklaces, and signets, all of

“These are sent here from various temples in the different
nomes, out of which, after melting them, we cast
images of the size demanded.”

In another room the intelligent Hebrew exhibited to
me a great number of small figures of Apis, of gold of
Havilah, which is remarkably beautiful from its deep
orange-color. These figures, though not a palm long,
were valued at a talent. On all these images of the
sacred calf, I perceived that the mark of the crescent
between the shoulders was distinctly imitated, as well
as the other peculiarities. Upon the head of some of
them was a sun enwreathed by the sacred uræus.

“Does your temple derive a revenue from all this?”
I asked the Hebrew.

“There is a tithe retained from all the gold that is
sent hither, for the expenses of the temple,” he answered.

We now turned aside to see men grinding to powder
an old image of Apis, of solid gold of Ophir. The image
had been in the hands of the Ethiopians, and being

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recaptured, was sent here to be ground to dust; for it
was regarded as accursed until this were done. This
process is effected by the free use of natron, and is an
art known only to the Egyptians. The dust is then
washed in consecrated water. In taste, I am told, it is
exceeding bitter and nauseous. Thus gold, as a drink,
would not be coveted by men.

We next came to a flight of stairs which led to a
paved hall surrounded by columns, and thence a door
led into a small garden, where three majestic palms
towered high above the columns that inclosed it; while
a fountain ceaselessly let fall its refreshing rain, in a
vast shallow vase, wherein gold and silver fishes glanced
in the light.

It was now near the close of day, and I began to
thank him for his courtesy, when he said—

“Do not leave now, O prince. This is my apartment,
and the one opposite is that of the aged priest,
my benefactor. Enter, and let me have water for thy
feet and hands, and place before thee some refreshment;
for it is a long walk back to the palace where
thou art sojourning.”

Willing to learn all I could of the remarkable Hebrew
people, who seem to be a nation of princes as
well as of bondmen, I accepted his invitation, and entered
a cool porch, from which opened a handsome but
simply furnished apartment, where he lodged. I seated
myself upon a stone bench, when, at a signal made by
him, two black slaves approached with ewers of water,
one for the hands, and the other with a silver basin for
my feet. Each of them had thrown over his shoulder a
napkin of the finest linen. But upon the vessels, the

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vestures, the slaves, and the napkins, I saw the crescent,
which showed that they were all the property of the

At length fruit, and wheaten bread, and fish, were
laid before me. The Hebrew stood while I partook,
declining to eat with me, saying that his nation never
broke bread with any but their own people; adding,
“and the Egyptians regard it as infamy to sit down
with us.”

“I have no such prejudices,” I said, with a smile.
When I had eaten, and laved my fingers in a crystal
vase, which the priest placed before me, and the Nubians
had retired, I said, “My meeting with you has
been a source of great pleasure to me. I am deeply
interested in your nation. As a Syrian we are not far
from a kindred origin, and as a foreigner I have none of
the feelings which, as masters, the Egyptians entertain
towards a Hebrew. I have witnessed the working of
the deep-seated prejudice in a variety of ways, and cannot
but wonder at it. From all I can learn of your
history, you have never been at war with them, nor
wronged them.”

“We are unfortunate, unarmed, and weak; and the
greater ever oppress the helpless,” he answered.

“Do you feel no resentment?”

“The bondage of one hundred and seventy years has
graven the lines of patience deep in our hearts. Forbearance
has become a second nature to the Hebrew.
But, my lord prince, I feel that this will not always be,”
he added. “The time cannot be far off, when Egypt, for
her own safety, will give us our liberty and the privileges
of citizens. We are not a race of bondmen, like

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Nubia's children. We were once free! Our fathers
were princes in Syria; and was not Joseph the ruler of
Egypt for sixty-one years, during the long reign of Pharaoh-Apophis?
Not long after the Theban dynasty,
which now rules the two Egypts, assumed the double
crown, did our degradation begin.”

“Doubtless a change in your condition must ere long
take place,” I said. “There must be leaders among
you. Not all the suffering of your oppression has destroyed
the princely air among many of your people.”

“But not one Hebrew is trained to war, or knows the
use of any sort of weapon. For three generations, we
have been a laboring, patient, unarmed people. If, here
and there, one rises above the masses, it is by accident
or favor, or from interest on the part of those who employ
us. I have said that the family from which I
spring is skilled in letters and art, and is ambitious of
the learning of the Egyptians, and of becoming scribes
and copyists to the priests. Others among us, of the sons
of Dan, are skilful boatmen; others are builders; while
others prefer the culture of the field, or the tending of
flocks. We were twelve princes—brethren—in the ancient
days, and the descendants of each are remarkable
for some special skill; and the Egyptian taskmasters
having discerned this aptitude, distribute them to their
work accordingly. We are not all brick-makers, though
four fifths of the nation are reduced to that degraded
toil—all, of every tribe or family, who are not skilful in
some art, being driven into the field. Of late years, the
Egyptian artificers have made such great outcries, to the
effect that the Hebrews were filling the places of their
own workmen, that the chief governor of the Hebrews

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in Lower Egypt has, in order to preserve peace, sent
thousands into the brick-fields, who had never before
encountered such heavy toil. The result is, that hundreds
perish, and that youths like Israel sink hourly
under their unendurable sufferings.”

“Have you no gods—no ear to hear your prayers?”
I asked impulsively, as I am apt to do, dear mother,
when my feelings are deeply moved. “Have you no
worship? I hear of no altar or temple.”

“A few among us have mysteries, such as the existence
of One God; that He is a spirit; that all men are
His offspring; and that we must be just in order to please
Him. But I must confess, O prince,” he said, sadly, “that
we have very little knowledge, even the best among
us, of the God in whose existence we profess to believe.
It is easier to serve and trust to the visible gods of Egypt;
and our people, from the depths of their misery, stretch
forth their clay-soiled hands to Osiris, to Pthah, to the
images of Apis, and cry, `Deliver us, O gods of Egypt,
deliver us from our bondage!' They have cried to the
invisible God of Abraham in vain, and they now cry
in vain to the gods of the land, also. Neither hear—
neither answer; and they sink into blank despair, without
any hope left in a god—a nation of infidel slaves!”

“Can this be a true picture?” I said.

“Nearly so. Even I, O prince, under the ever-present
power of the religion to which this temple is upreared,—
I, from the influence of example, from ignorance
of the worship of the Hebrew God of Isaac, from the
education of my life, am half an Egyptian. The religion
of Egypt appeals to the senses, and these, in most men,
are far stronger than the imagination; and we Hebrews

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know nothing of a God, except that our fathers had one,
but that He has deserted and left us, their miserable descendants,
under the yoke of oppressors. Is it any wonder
that the wisest of us turn to the gods of Egypt? If
the Egyptians can be happy, and cherish hope, and die
in peace under their faith, let us also seek its shelter, and
let their gods be our gods! Such is the prevailing language
and growing feeling of our people.”

This was all said in a tone of sadness and bitterness;
while that despair of which he spoke, cast its shadow
heavily over his noble countenance. I arose soon afterwards,
and took my leave of him, more and more deeply
interested, dear mother, in the history and condition of
this singular people.

Your affectionate son,

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Palace of Amense, Island of Rhoda. My dear Mother:

[figure description] Page 347.[end figure description]

It is with emotions I am unable to command, that
I commence, after a silence of several weeks, another
letter to you. I know not how, properly to unfold and
rightly to present before you the extraordinary events
which have transpired since I last wrote to you. But I
will endeavor to give a narrative of the unparalleled
circumstances, in the order of their occurrence up to the
present time, and will keep you advised of the progress
of this remarkable and mysterious matter, as each day
it develops itself.

I believe, in one of my letters to the Princess Thamonda,
I spoke of the approaching birthday of Remeses—
his thirty-fifth—and that the queen had resolved, on
that day, to confer upon him the crowns of Egypt, and
resigning, with the sceptre, all dominion into his hand,
retire to a beautiful palace, which she has recently completed
on the eastern slope of the Libyan hills, west of
the pyramids, and overlooking a charming lake, which,
begun by former rulers, has been enlarged and beautified
by each, and by none more than by herself.

This purpose of the queen was made known to Remeses,
about three weeks after his return from Thebes with

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his victorious army. I was not present at the interview,
but will repeat to you the conversation that passed, as
it was made known to me by the prince, who extends
towards me all the confidence of one beloved brother to
another; and, indeed, keeps no secrets from me. This
pleasing confidence is fully reciprocated on my part, and
we are in all things as one.

I had been, that morning, on a visit to that part of
Memphis which stretches away westward from the Nile
in a succession of gardens, squares, palaces, and monuments,
girdling the Lake of Amense with beautiful villas,
and climbing with its terraces, grottoes, shrines, and
marble pavilions, the very sides of the cliffs of Libya,
two leagues from the river; for to the extent of Memphis
there seems to be no limit measurable by the eye.
Even the three great pyramids are almost central in the
mighty embrace of the sacred city.

Upon landing from my galley upon the Island of
Rhoda, my Hebrew page Israel, now become a bright
and blooming youth, with a face always enriched by the
light of gratitude, met me, and said:

“The prince, my lord, desires to see you in his private
chamber. He bade me ask you not to delay.”

I found Remeses walking to and fro in the apartment,
with a pale face and troubled brow. As soon as
I entered, he approached me, and taking my hand between
his, pressed it to his heart affectionately, and said:

“I am glad you have returned, Sesostris, my friend
and brother! Come and sit by me on this seat by the
window. I have much to say—much! I need your

“My noble friend,” I answered, moved by his unusual

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emotion, “I am not able to counsel one so wise and
great as you are.”

“Nay, you are too modest, prince. I must tell you
all. Strange events have occurred. Hear me, and you
will then be able to strengthen my soul! You know
that of late my dear mother has been given to melancholy;
that she has appeared absent in thought, abrupt
in speech, and ill at ease. Thou hast observed this; for
we have spoken of it together, and marvelled at her
mood, which neither the memory of our victories in Ethiopia,
the prosperity of her kingdom, the peace in her
borders, the love of her subjects, nor my own devotion
could remove; nor the music of the harp, nor the happy
songs of the chanters dissipate.”

“Do you not think,” I said, “that this state of mind
is connected with her illness before you left, when the
viceroy Mœris dined with us?”

Remeses started, and fixed upon me his full gaze.

“Sesostris, what led you to connect the present with
that event?”

“Because the queen has never been wholly well and
cheerful since that day.”

“What think you of Prince Mœris? Speak freely.”

“He is a proud, ambitious, and unprincipled man.”

“Do you think he loves me?”

“I fear not.”

“You are right. But you shall hear what I have to relate.
Three hours since my mother sent for me. I found
her in the chapel where the shrine of Osiris receives her
most private prayers. She was kneeling when I entered,
her face towards the god; but her eyes, wet with tears,
penetrated the heavens, and seemed to seek a living

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Power that could hear and answer prayer, Sesostris.
She did not see me, and her voice was audible:

“`Protect him! Guard him from his foe! Spare me
the discovery of the secret, and place him upon the
throne of Egypt, O immortal and pitying Osiris! O
Isis, hear! O goddess of the sacred bow, and mother of
Horus, hear! Give me strength to act, and wisdom in
this my great perplexity!'

“I drew near, and kneeling by my mother's side, laid
her head against my heart, and said—

“`The God of all gods, the Father Infinite hear thee,
O mother! What is it thou prayest for with such strong
woe and fear?'

“`Hast thou heard me?' she exclaimed, rising and
speaking wildly. `What didst thou hear? Nay, I have
betrayed no secret?'

“`None, mother, none! Thou didst only speak of
one which distressed thee,' I said soothingly; for, my
dear Sesostris, I was inexpressibly moved by her agitated
manner, unlike any thing I have ever before witnessed
in her usually calm, serene, and majestic demeanor.

“She leaned heavily upon me, and I led her to an
alcove in which was the shrine of Athor.

“`Sit down, Remeses—my son Remeses,' she repeated,
with a singular emphasis upon the words `my son.'
`Hear what I wish to reveal to thee! I am now more
composed. There is in my heart a great and ceaseless
anxiety. Do not ask me what it is! The secret, I trust,
will remain sealed forever from thy ears! Ask not—
seek not to know it. You may as successfully obtain
an answer from the heart of the great pyramid, revealing
what is buried there from human eyes, as obtain an

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answer from me of the mystery lying at my heart. It
will be embalmed with me, and go with me to the lower

“`Mother,' I said, alarmed at her depressed manner,
`thou art ill—let me send for thy physician—'

“`Nay, nay—I am not ill! I shall be better soon!
You, Remeses, have the key to my happiness and
health,' she said tenderly, yet seriously.

“`Then I will yield it up to thee!' I answered pleasantly.

“`Hear my words, my son, for art thou not my son,
my noble Remeses?' she asked, taking both my hands
and holding them to her heart, and then pressing her
lips upon them almost passionately; for I felt tears flow
upon my hands.

“`Thy son, with undying love, my mother,' I answered,
wondering in my heart, and deeply affected.
She remained a few moments silent, and at length said—

“`Remeses, hast thou ever doubted my love?'

“`Never, no never, my mother!' I replied, moved.

“`Have I not been a true and fond mother to thee?'

“`Why distress yourself, dear mother, with such
useless interrogatories?' I asked. No longer agitated,
and her nervous air having quite disappeared, she spoke
calmly but earnestly:

“`Have I neglected, in any way, a mother's duty to
thee, O Remeses?'

“`Thou hast ever been all that a mother could be,' I
answered her.

“`Do you think a mother could love a son more than
I love thee?' she repeated.

“`No, O my mother!'

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“`And thou, Remeses, dost thou love me?' she continued,
with the same fixed, solemn, and painful earnestness.

“`Why shouldst thou doubt?' I asked.

“`I have no reason to doubt,' she replied; `yet I
would hear thee say, `Mother, I love thee above all
things beneath the sun!'

“I smiled, and repeated the words, distressed to perceive
that something had taken hold upon her noble and
strong mind, and was shaking it to its centre.

“`Remeses, my son,' she said, answering my smile,
and then immediately assuming an expression of singular
majesty, `I am now advancing in life. I have passed
my fifty-first year, and am weary of the sceptre. I
wish to see you king of Egypt while I live. I wish to
see the grandeur and wisdom of your reign, and to rejoice
in your power and glory. When I am laid in the
sarcophagus, which I have caused to be hewn out in the
chamber beneath the pyramidion of my obelisk, I shall
know and behold nothing of thy dominion. It is my
desire, therefore, to invest you with the sovereignty of
Egypt; and after I see you crowned, robed, and sceptred
as her king, I will retire to my Libyan palace and
there contemplate thy greatness, and reign again in

“I rose to my feet in surprise, dear Sesostris, at this
announcement from the lips of my mother, but listened
with deference until she had concluded, and I then

“`This intent and purpose be far from thee, O my
mother and queen! Thou art in the meridian of life,
and still in the possession of thy wonderful beauty

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Scarcely a silver thread has stolen amid thy soft, dark
hair; thou art yet young; and may the Lord of the
kings of the earth long preserve thee upon thy throne,
and lend thee strength and wisdom to wield thy sceptre.
Far be it from me, therefore, my mother, to accept the
crown, until Osiris himself transfers it from thy majestic
brow to mine!'

“`Nay, Remeses,' she said firmly, yet sadly, `my will
is the law of Egypt. Thou hast never opposed it.'

“`But this is where my own elevation involves your
depression,' I answered. `It cannot be!'

“`I am firm and immovable, my son, in my purpose,'
she replied. `Your thirty-fifth birthday will soon arrive.
That is the age at which Horus, the son of Isis,
was crowned. It is a number of good omen, and I wish
you to prepare for your coronation, by performing all
the rites and sacrifices, that the religion and laws of
Egypt require of a prince who is about to ascend the
throne of the Pharaohs.'

“`Mother, my dearly honored mother!' I said, kneeling
to her, `forgive me, but I must firmly decline the
throne while you sit thereon. You are ill at ease in
your mind to-day. Some deep grief, which you conceal
from me, preys upon you. It is not because you are
old that you would abdicate the throne to me, who am
not yet old or wise enough to rule this mighty nation;
but you have some secret, painful reason, which I beg
you to reveal to me.'

“My words seemed to inflict pain upon her. She
rose to her feet, and paced the apartment twice across in
troubled reflection. Then she came to my side, and said
impressively, placing her trembling grasp upon my arm:

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“`Remeses, if I reveal to thee the secret of my heart,
wilt thou then consent to be king?'

“`If I perceive, my mother,' I answered, `that necessity
demands my acceptance of the crown before my
time, I will not refuse it.'

“`If your views of necessity do not influence you, O
my son,' she said earnestly, and with a sudden gush of
tears, `let my affection, my happiness, my peace of
mind, plead with you!'

“`Please, my beloved mother, to make known to me
the circumstances under which you are moved to this
unusual step,' I said.

“`Not unusual,' she replied. `I have consulted the
book of the reigns of the Pharaohs, in the hall of Books,
in the temple of Thoth. Within two thousand years,
not less than seven kings and three queens have resigned
the sceptre of Egypt to children or adopted heirs. The
Queen Nitocris resigned to her adopted son, Myrtæus;
Chomæphtha, after reigning eleven years, weary with
the weight of the crown, resigned it to her nephew,
Sœconiosochus. Did not Phruron-Nilus, the great monarch,
decide to abdicate in favor of Amuthantæus, his
son, when sudden death only prevented his retirement?
The crowns of Egypt are mine, my son, by the laws of
the gods, and of the ancestral kings from whom I have
inherited them. I will not wait for the god of death to
remove them from my head; but with my own hands I
would put them upon thy brow! It must be done soon,—
now! or neither thou nor I will hold rule long in

“I begged my mother to explain her mysterious

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“`Come, sit by me. Be calm, Remeses! Listen with
your usual meekness and reverence to me when I speak.'
I obeyed her, and she thus began:

“`Thou knowest thy cousin Mœris;—his lofty ambition;
his impatience; his spirit of pride; his lust for dominion,
which his viceroyship in the Thebaïd has only
given him an unlimited thirst for;—his jealousy and hatred
of you, Remeses! None of these things are concealed
from you, my son.' My mother paused as if for
my assent, which I signified by a respectful bow. She

“`This Prince Mœris, for whom I have done all in
my power—whom I have made second only to me in
the Thebaïd, I have reason to know seeks your ruin and
my throne!'

“`What proof hast thou of this?' I cried, deeply moved.

“`Remeses,' said my mother, in ringing tones, `I must
unfold to thee all! I know how slow thou art to suspect
or believe evil of any one; and that you fancy Mœris
an honorable prince, overlooking his jealousy of you.
You have confidence in my judgment and truth?'

“`I have, the most undoubted and deferential,' I answered
the queen.

“`Then, my son, hear me!' she said, with a face as
pale as the fine linen of her vesture. `Prince Mœris possesses
a secret (ask me not what it is) which gives him a
dangerous power over me. He obtained possession of
it years ago, how I know not; but it has placed in his
hands a power that I tremble beneath. Nay, ask not!
My heart itself would as soon open to thine eyes,
under the shield of my bosom, as reveal its secret! It
will die with me! Yet Mœris, my nephew—a man of

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talents and ambition, in morals most unprincipled, and
in disposition cruel and unjust—holds my happiness in
his hand!'

“`My mother,' I cried, `why then didst thou confer
on him the principality of the Thebaïd and its enormous
military power?'

“`To bribe him, when he menaced me with the betrayal
of what he knew!' was the queen's almost fierce

“`But why make him the admiral of your fleet of
the Nile?'

“`Another bribe when he renewed his threats to inform

“`Me!' I exclaimed.

“`Did I say you? No! no!' she cried, checking herself;
`when he menaced me with the betrayal of the
dreadful secret.'

“`And, my dear mother, who was interested to know
it, whom would it benefit or injure?' I asked, lost in

“`Injure one whom—whom I love—destroy my happiness
and hopes—benefit Mœris himself!' she answered,
coloring with deepest confusion and alarm.

“`Why not crush such a dangerous subject when
he menaces your peace?' I demanded, my whole
spirit roused for my mother, and my indignation excited
against this wicked man. `If thy happiness is
thus menaced, O my mother, if this prince is the cause
of all your sorrow, say the word, and in thirty days
hence, he shall be brought bound in chains to your

“`Nay, Remeses, I dare not. One word from his lips,

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though he were in chains, would reveal all it has been
the study of my life to conceal, and give him all the
revenge his bitter spirit would ask. No, no! Mœris
must not be made angry. It is only his ambitious
hopes that keep him quiet.'

“`What are these hopes?' I inquired, feeling that
henceforth Mœris and I were mortal foes.

“Didst thou, O prince,” said I, as he returned to his
seat by me, which he had left, in the excitement of his
narrative, to pace the floor, “suspect the secret?”

“No,” he answered gloomily; “no, Sesostris; nor do
I now know what it can be; neither have I the least
idea, unless—” Here he colored, and looked confused.

“Unless what?” I asked, painfully interested.

“Unless Mœris be the son of the Prince of the Theba
ïd, and I the son of the brother of Pharaoh. In other
words, that Mœris and Remeses have changed places,
and that Mœris knows or suspects the fact.”

“A most extraordinary idea!” I exclaimed; yet at the
same time, I must confess that I was forcibly reminded
of what I have before alluded to, dear mother, the total
absence of all likeness between Remeses and his mother,

“What can possibly have suggested to your mind
such a strange conjecture?” I added.

“A mystery, my dear Sesostris,” he said, “calls into
exercise the whole machinery of suspicion, and all the
talent of investigation; and a hundred things, which
before had only an ordinary signification, under its
wand, take an importance and meaning wholly new.
Irresistibly, my mother's anxiety to impress upon me that

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she had been `all a mother could be to a son,' in connection
with her whole manner, and especially her uncalled
for reiterations of affection for me, and of appeals
to my devotion to her;—all this rushed upon my memory,
and with a dizzy brain, and a heart full of anguish,
under the dreadful suspicion, I cried, `Why must not
Prince Mœris be made angry? Why may he not be
prevented from doing thee harm?'

“`I have told you,' she replied, with a deadly pallor.
`Remeses, your roused spirit alarms me for us three.'

“`But I must oppose, and if necessary destroy him,'
I said, in my emotion, `who destroys my mother's

“`Yes, I am thy mother. Thou art a son to me. I
know thou wilt protect me from this prince-nephew,'
she said, in broken sentences. `He shall not come between
me and thee, and the throne.'

“`He has no claim to the throne. He does not aspire
to it in your lifetime,' I said; `and if I hold it after, I
will take care of my own crown. My mother, fear not
Prince Mœris. Let his secret perish with him.'

“`And thou, also, Remeses!' she said, passionately.

“`I, my mother?' I repeated. A spirit of severe investigation
then came upon me, strengthened by my

“`My mother, Queen Amense,' I said, with the deepest
emotion, and, O Sesostris, with fear and dread, `a
fearful suspicion has taken hold upon me! Am I thy

“No sooner had I given utterance to this interrogative
doubt, which was wrung from my tortured heart, than
shrieking aloud, she fell forward, and but for my

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intervening arm, her form would have been prostrate at my
feet. I caught her in my arms; I kissed her marble
brow; I chafed her cold pulses; and breathed words of
comfort, words praying her forgiveness, into her ears.
At length she revived, as I supported her against my
wildly beating heart; and, with stony eyes staring me
in the face, gasped—

“`Remeses! Who hath—who—who hath said this?'

“`No one, no one, my dearly loved mother,' I answered,
tenderly. And when I saw that she was more composed,
I said, `It was only a conjecture—a wild suspicion—
for I could not comprehend the mystery between
you and my cousin Mœris, except that (as has been done
in former dynasties) he and I are in each other's places.
Is Mœris thy son, and am I the son of the brother of

“I had no sooner said this, than she raised her head
from the gold-embroidered purple cushion of the ivory
couch, on which she lay reclining against my arm, and
with a strange laugh of joy and surprise, said,—

“`So this is all, Remeses! Then thou needest not
fear. Mœris is not my son. He is nothing to me but
my kinsman. Canst thou believe that that wicked
prince is my offspring? I forgive thee, Remeses, because,
perhaps, my words, and the necessity of guarding
my secret, may have forced thee to this conclusion.'
This she spoke with a mind evidently greatly relieved.

“`Then, dear mother, I am thy son in spite of Prince

“`In spite of Mœris,' she answered. `Hast thou ever
known any other mother? Remeses, let thy heart be
at peace! Mœris is not my son! On that he does not

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found his hopes to grasp the reins of Egypt. Now hear
me, my son,' she said, solemnly. `That prince once
sought my life. When I was taken ill on the day that
he dined with me, he had bribed my cup-bearer to drop
a subtle poison in my cup. Dread of the prince forced
him, under his eyes, to do it; but, as the cup-bearer
handed me the wine, he pressed my little finger, where
it clasped the cup, so significantly, that I looked in his
eyes, and saw them full of warning. I did not drink,
but pleaded illness, and left the banquet-room. I sent
for the cup-bearer, and he confessed what he had done.
When I heard his confession, and was thereby acquainted
with the purpose of Prince Mœris against my life, I
was overwhelmed with despair. My future safety lay
in sending for him the next day. He came. It was a
brief but dreadful interview. He acknowledged that
he sought my life, because I had the day before refused
him the crown of Upper Egypt, declining to give him
the half of my empire. He threatened to betray my
secret, and I pleaded for silence. He demanded the
white crown of the Thebaïd as his reward, but I put
him off with evasions. He had command of the fleet,
and I dared not anger him. I shrunk from making
known to you his demand, and the terror with which he
inspired me. I promised that if he entered the Ethiopian
capital within six months, he should reign in

“`My mother,' I cried, `gave you such a promise to
him? He is already marshalling his forces!'

“`And in order not so much to conquer Ethiopia, as
to usurp one of the thrones of Egypt,' she answered.

“`And are you bound by this promise to him?' I

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demanded, overwhelmed with amazement, both at the
audacity of Mœris, and the power he held over my
mother by means of this secret.

“`By all the vows that a mortal can make to the gods!
Here, in this sacred chapel, before these shrines, he
made me swear that in consideration he subdued the
central capital of Ethiopia, and preserved my secret, I
would transfer from my head to his the white-gold
crown of Upper Egypt, the most ancient kingdom mortal
ever ruled over on earth, after the demigods.'

“When, my dear Sesostris,” said Remeses, after having
related to me, with a dark countenance, the foregoing
conversation, “I heard this, I was for some time
confounded, and could not speak. At length I cried

“`That mystery—that secret, known only to you and
Mœris, and for the safe-keeping of which you part with
one of your crowns, what is it! divulge it! Am I not
worthy, O my mother, of the confidence which Prince
Mœris, by foul means, shares with you? Will you not
intrust me with the secret which he can extort by

“The queen looked deadly pale, and her whole frame
trembled. She essayed to reply, and then said, with an
effort, as if a corpse had become vocal—

“`Remeses—you must—must not know it! Do not
ask—do not suspect evil. Do not doubt me, or you will
kill me! Kiss me, Remeses! Kiss me, my son! Are
you not my son? I love you, and know you love me.
Let all else pass by. You shall be king! You shall
wear the double tiara! You shall grasp both sceptres!
Therefore is it, I would now make you king. Dost thou

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understand me? Mœris must not march into Ethiopia.
That evil man must have a master. My power is failing!
I would surrender it to thee. The only safety of Egypt,
the only security for thy crown and dominion, is in
taking the throne, and ruling all Egypt in thine own

“`Is this so, my mother?' I demanded. `Does Prince
Mœris not only torture thy soul with a secret, which, as
a just prince, he ought forever to forget, if thou desirest
it, but does he also aspire to sever Egypt, and rule in
the Thebaïd, on the ancient throne of my ancestors, as
the price of a secret held over thee with an unmanly

“`He does, my son,' she answered. `The only safety
of the empire depends on my resignation of the crowns
into your hands. Once Pharaoh, you have Mœris at
your feet, and if he prate his secret, you will then be
able to despise it, and put to silence his tongue.'

“`Mother, my dear mother,' I answered, after long
reflection, `what you have told me has brought me to
a decision. I shall act blindly—not knowing the nature
of the power of the prince over you; but I shall act
from affection and sympathy for you, in obedience to
your wishes, and for the preservation of the integrity of
the united kingdom. I am ready to obey you. In order
to defeat Prince Mœris, and relieve your mind, I
will accept the sceptre which you are desirous of placing
in my feeble and inexperienced hand. I am ready
to enter upon the sacred rites of initiation, and in all things
will be your dutiful and obedient son. The wickedness
and ambition of Mœris must be crushed.'

“When I had thus said, my mother, with a cry of joy,

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cast herself into my arms. I bore her, almost fainting
with happiness realized, to the apartments of her women,
and again assuring her of my full compliance with her
wishes, I took tender leave of her, and hastened to my
room to reflect upon all that had passed in that extraordinary
interview; and then I sought you.”

Thus the Prince Remeses ended his interesting and
singular statement. I knew not what to respond to him
when he had done. But be sure, dear mother, there
must something grow out of this, of the greatest importance
to this dynasty. Who can divine the secret?

But I must here close my letter, with assurances of
my fondest attachment to you, my dear mother, whom
the gods guard from all mysteries and secrets, and from
ambitious princes like the lord Mœris.

Your ever faithful

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Island of Rhoda, Palace of the Queen. My very dear Mother:

[figure description] Page 364.[end figure description]

In the preceding letter I have made known to
you the extraordinary purpose of the queen to invest,
with the dignity of royalty, her son, the Prince Remeses;
the singular scenes which passed between them;
the mystery which enveloped her motives; and the
final yielding of Remeses to her commands and earnest

It now became necessary that he should, according to
the custom and laws of the realm, prepare himself for
his coronation, by submitting to certain religious ceremonies,
and a solemn initiation into the deeper mysteries
of the temples; for though, as a prince, he was
nominally, or by courtesy of the laws, the high-priest,
yet not until he became king could he offer the supreme
sacrifice on the altar of Osiris,—which is the highest
religious act of the sacred priesthood; and it is only
upon the shields of kings that the symbol of “priest”
is sculptured. Thus, as chief priests, or pontiffs, the
Pharaohs were the head of the hierarchy, which consolidated
their political power, and gave them an influence
over the minds of the people that the mere possession of
the sceptre of Egypt could not have commanded; for

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in their king, they also behold their mediator with the
gods. Yet, although absolute over his subjects, he had
no power over the priesthood, except by their own consent.
As one of their body he was bound, by certain
most solemn and mystic vows, to the rules and regulations
of their order; and in all matters of state he was
pledged to the hierarchy of prince-priests, who constituted
a council of advice, to which he was, by the laws
(also made by a legislature composed of the hierarchs of
each nome), compelled to submit his own will. All
his duties are regulated by a code drawn up by the
Priest of On, and subscribed by the king at his coronation.
Thus the monarch is entirely under the influence
and control of the priests. I will, by way of illustration,
describe to you how the queen (who is also
chief priestess, by virtue of her rank, and, as such,
offered up a sacrifice on the altar of Osiris on the day
of her coronation) has her daily duties and hours apportioned
to her, by this august council of arch-hierophants:

When her majesty arises in the morning, her royal
scribe brings to her, in a shallow vase of gold, the letters
that have come to her from all parts of her kingdom,
and of the world. These she reads, and lays aside for
reply after consultation with Remeses, and, if of great
importance, with her council of state: for she has also
a cabinet of generals, lords of nomes, and high admirals,
together with the lord of the nilometers, whom she
calls together on matters exclusively of state, such as the
affairs of the army or of the navy, the condition of the
harvests and treasure-cities, and the state of the Nile;
on which two last matters the reign of prosperity or

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famine depends. She then receives, and at once attends
to all reports or messages that are in writing, from any
officers of her palace, such as the captain of her guard,
the chief butler, chief gardener, her captain of chariots,
and her master of horse. She then issues her orders to
these and other servants of her household. All this
time she reclines in a robe of white silk, elegantly embroidered
with the leaves of the lotus and acanthus,
and with flowers imitated to the full beauty of natural
ones. Her hair is braided and confined by a rich turban;
and before her is an ivory table containing ink,
tablets, a stylus or two, and parcels of royal papyrus
stamped with her signet, and beautifully gilded, upon
which she inscribes her replies either with her own
hand, or by her scribes, and sometimes only by impressing
thereon her signet, upon which vermilion is rubbed
from a small cushion by her side. For religious affairs
the signet is different, having the sacred hawk's-head
engraved upon it above the royal cartouch, and instead
of red color,—the sacred hue of the Memphitic realm,—
it is bright blue, which is taken from a very small
crystal bottle, held in readiness by a scribe's page, from
whose thumb it is suspended by a ring of gold.

The queen having dismissed all these attendants, retires
to her bathing-room, which is hung with curtains
of cloth of gold; and having bathed, her handmaidens
anoint her with costly perfumes, and arrange her hair
with the highest art; for in the style of the hair the
Egyptian ladies of all ranks display great taste, and expend
in dressing and beautifying it a large proportion of
their time; and I must acknowledge they display perfect
skill in making most attractive this glorious

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adornment of your sex, dear mother. The young wear it
in numerous braids, mingled with natural tresses; others
shape it into a sort of a helmet, with a crest of curls falling
around; others fasten it behind in a rich knot, and
let what is free flow upon the shoulders. Some cover
the head with a braided tiara sparkling with gold and
jewels; and others, especially at banquets, wear rich
caps of embroidered cloth, of beautiful shape, terminating
behind in a cape enriched with needle-work, and
ornamented with fringe of floss of gold,—a peculiar
filament I have seen fabricated only in Egypt. Indeed,
an Egyptian lady seems to regard her hair as her crown
of beauty by nature, and she tries by art to make it
also a diadem of glory. As if its natural brilliancy were
not enough, after pouring upon it fragrant perfume, her
maid, from a small ivory box, the convex lid of which is
filled with minute perforations, sprinkles its smooth surface
with powder of gold.

The dressing-room of the queen opens upon gardens,
is furnished with luxury, and is encircled by columns
of alabaster; its intercolumnar panels glitter with foreign
marbles, and paintings of the highest art; the
tables are resplendent with gold and silver, electrum,
and variegated stones; while before its doors
hang drapery of Tyrian purple wrought with gold,
and representing scenes of the chase. More or less resembling
this, are the dressing-rooms of all the ladies of
rank. The lords of Egypt covet gorgeous and expensively
adorned “halls of books,” or libraries; but the
ladies beautify and enrich their dressing-saloons, in
which they spend so much of their time, and where
they often receive their very intimate female

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acquaintances: and as a great favor, gentlemen, on familiar footing
with the family, are sometimes admitted into this
beautiful adytum, where the goddess of beauty is adored
by homage the most religious.

The queen, after being attired by her ladies in magnificent
robes, is adorned with jewels; and wearing
over her shoulders the splendid leopard's-skin of the
sacrificer, and upon her head the insignia of sovereignty,
she enters, with all her train, the private chapel
of the palace, and there presents offerings to the gods,
pours a libation of wine, and invokes Osiris. On certain
high days her chief priest is present, who, after
praying, sacrifices a snow-white fowl, and offers oblations
of more or less magnitude. The queen then asks forgiveness
of the gods for what she may have done wrong in
ignorance, in administering her kingdom, and implores
wisdom and guidance in the acts of the day. The
priest now gently touches her crown and sceptre with
his finger dipped in the vase of blood, pours the rest
into a vessel upon the altar, and extending his hands
over her as she kneels, blesses her in the name of Osiris,
the lord of the worlds, and king of the rulers of earth.
He also pronounces an imprecation against her enemies,
exempts her from all accusation for things done in ignorance,
and solemnly denounces those of her ministers
who wrongfully have instructed her, or administered
evil counsel.

Then the queen, coming forth from prayer, is met by
pages who present her with flowers, and, at the sound of
musical instruments, she is led to her breakfast apartment,
where the choicest food is brought on golden
dishes,—cakes of fine flour, steeped in milk or honey,

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the flesh of birds roasted or broiled, fruit of all kinds,
mild wines of Palestine and Cyprus, and water of the
Nile filtered with the paste of almonds, and flavored
with Arabian spices and Persian condiments.

The meal over, she goes forth to her throne-room, and
seating herself, the doors are thrown open, and she receives
all petitioners and comers who desire audience;
but not official persons, such as ambassadors, who have
certain hours for audience with her. She decides on all
final appeals from the judges in the city, or in the
nomes, and determines with wisdom and equity.

These duties over, she walks in her garden, or in the
colonnades of her palace; or rides out to visit her public
works, or for air. At noon she dines, as do all other
Egyptians. On these occasions she has her high officers,
and strangers of rank, philosophers, and others, at
her table. Whosoever she delights to honor, she invites
to a banquet. If any of her subjects greatly distinguishes
himself, so as to confer a benefit upon Egypt by
any new art or improvement, she not only places him at
her table, whatever his previous rank, but invests him
with a robe of honor, throws a gold chain over his neck,
puts a ring upon his finger, presents him with a chariot
to ride in, and makes him a high officer over some of
her works or departments. Thus, by her virtues and
justice, has she won the esteem and love of her subjects.

The queen usually passes the afternoon with her
maidens, in her embroidering rooms, where she always
has a large number of handmaids at work with the
needle or the loom, or engaged in the art of needle-work,
or embroidering for the use and decoration of the
palace. She also, at evening, receives guests, and at

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that time Remeses is usually found in her company.
She retires not long after the close of day, unless it be a
moonlight night, when her players on instruments of
music fill the gardens with harmony, while the queen
and her friends, seated in the corridors, listen, or converse
together. In conversation the queen never speaks
evil of any one, and she frowns upon slander; hence
this vice is scarcely known in Egypt, and the Egyptian
ladies, when they hear one of their own sex spoken
against, at once defend her, and find excuses for her.
This is certainly a delightful trait, and should cause the
world to concede to the dames of Egypt the foremost
position in the rank of civilization.

I will now speak of the proposed succession of Prince
Remeses to the throne. As I have before said, the king
is the representative of the deity. His title, Ph'rah, or
Pharaoh, signifies “the sun,” “a king,” the “lord of
light.” The head of the religion of the state, he is not
only the judge and lawgiver, but commander of the army,
and its leader in war. These latter duties have been
delegated by his mother to Remeses, by the consent of
her council, many years ago. The sceptre of Egypt is
hereditary; but in the event of there being no lineal
heir, the monarch can adopt one, if taken from the
priestly or military class; as the army or the priesthood
are the two professions followed by all men of rank, the
navy not having been, until Prince Mœris, its admiral,
demanded it, an exclusive service. Most of the Pharaohs
have been from the military class, and younger
princes, from the days of Osirtasen to Prince Remeses,
have adopted the warlike profession; but it is the universal
belief, that no former prince of Egypt has evinced

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such ability as Remeses to command vast armies, and
lead the destinies of a mighty people.

When a prince is about to ascend the throne, the laws
require that he should be instructed in all the mysteries
of the religion of his empire, and initiated into the
various offices of a sovereign pontiff. He is taught all
that relates to the gods and other mysteries hitherto
concealed from him, the services of the temple, the laws
of the country, and the duties of a king, as inscribed in
the ten sacerdotal books.

In order that in these things he may be properly instructed,
he is enjoined to pass forty days in the temples
of Osiris, Pthah, Isis, Athor, and other gods; and to remain
one night, the last of all, in the temple of Thoth,
before the pyramids, watching alone, praying for the
blessings of the gods, and offering sacrifice and libations.
This solemn vigil ended, and the sun risen, he is
escorted by a grand procession of priests, who swing
incense before him, and lead him to the temple of the
Sun, to be crowned in the presence of all the nobles,
high officers, and people of Egypt. This ceremony, as
described in the royal books, is grand beyond conception.

In order, therefore, to enter upon this formal preparation,
the Prince Remeses, on the third day after his interview
with his mother, retired from the palace, and
sought the holy solitudes of the temple of the Sun. A
council of the hierarchy, assembled by the queen, had
reluctantly given their consent to her abdication; but
willingly yielded to the coronation of Remeses; for,
however devoted a warlike nation may be to a reigning
queen, the preference of the people's heart is for a king.

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While, therefore, the intelligence, which soon spread
through Egypt, that Amense the Good was to lay down
her sceptre in favor of her son, cast a shadow over their
hearts, it was chased away by the light of the anticipated
splendor, which the reign of a prince, a “Pharaoh,”
would shed upon the land of Egypt.

“As the good queen will still live, we need not
grieve,” said some of the artisans at work upon her obelisk;
“we can rejoice in Remeses, and still honor his
royal mother.”

It was an affecting parting between the prince and his
mother when he left the palace. I accompanied him to
the vestibule of the temple. Here twelve priests, led by
the high-priest, received him; and three others came forward
to disrobe him of his vesture, his bonnet and sandals;
while three more invested him with sacerdotal
robes, a priestly tiara, and placed upon his feet the sacred
sandals. Then inclosing him in their midst, as if
to shut him out from the world, they moved, forward
into the gloomy cloisters of the temple, and disappeared
with him from my gaze.

At his previous request, and at the earnest solicitation
of the queen, who, in his absence, depressed in
spirits, finds relief, as she kindly says, in my presence,
I returned to the Island of Rhoda, and am now occupying
the apartments of the prince; for when he is crowned
king, he will remove to the superb old palace of the
Pharaohs, on the banks of the Nile, between the river
and the City of the Sun.

No one is permitted to speak with the royal novitiate
until the forty days are ended; and when he proceeds
from temple to temple, to go through in each certain

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rites and receive certain instructions, it is at midnight;
and all persons are forbidden to appear in the streets
through which the mysterious procession of priests

It is now the thirty-fourth day since he entered upon
his initiation. Since that time I have seen much more
of Egypt and of the people. I have not, however, been
far from the Island of Rhoda, as the queen constantly
demands my society, and inquires of Acherres after me,
if I am long away.

Yesterday afternoon, as I was engaged with a party of
nobles fishing in the Lake Amense, which I have before
described as almost a sea in extent, and bordered by
palaces, a galley, rowed by twenty-four oars, was seen
coming towards us at great speed. Upon seeing it, one

“It is a royal barge!”

“Nay, said another, it is that of the old Admiral
Pathromenes. His sails are blue and white.”

“I do not heed the color of his sails,” said the first
lord. “Seest thou not that it is the queen's galley, by
the golden hawk's-head at the mast, and the cartouch of
the Pharaohs above the poop?”

“It is the queen's galley,” I said, “for I have frequently
been in it, and recognize its symbols.”

Hereupon there was manifested a general curiosity to
know why it was coming so swiftly towards us. In a
few minutes I discovered my Hebrew page, Israelisis,
(for I have Egyptianized his name since he came into
my service), upon the deck, and began to suspect the
queen had sent him for me. I was not mistaken. The
galley came sweeping round us with a roar of spray

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from its dashing oars, and the page, springing lightly
upon the bulwarks of our vessel, with a low obeisance
presented me the queen's signet, saying:

“The queen has sent for thee, my lord!”

The party of nobles expressed great reluctance at
parting with me, and one of them said:

“You are in great favor with our royal house, O

“Only as a guest and stranger,” I answered, smiling.

They returned my parting bow with courtesy, and I
went upon the galley, which was soon cleaving the shining
surface of the beautiful lake, called by the Egyptians
“the Celestial Sea.” It is twenty studia in circuit,
and from it lead out canals in numerous directions, lined
with verdure, and rich with harvests. It also communicates
with the majestic Father of rivers by a winding
artificial outlet, which is lined with gardens and palaces.
Along this lovely serpentine stream, our galley, after
leaving the broad lake, flew like the wind, all other vessels
swiftly moving from its course and giving it the way.
Shooting out into the swift Nile, between two colossal
sea-dragons of red stone, which guarded the entrance to
the canal, we crossed to the palace-covered Rhoda. As
I was about to land at the stately quay, I saw, to my
surprise, the war-galley of Prince Mœris riding near,
her rowers still seated at their banks, as if ready to move
at a moment's warning. I met Acherres, who has
wholly recovered from his long illness, of which I wrote
his father, at the gateway of the palace.

“My prince,” he said, looking anxious, “I am glad
you have come. Her majesty is in some great distress.”

“Is Prince Mœris here?” I quickly asked.

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“No, my prince; but his galley has brought hither
a courier with letters.”

“Perhaps he has been defeated in the borders of Ethiopia,”
was my reflection; for I knew he had been contemplating
an invasion of its capital, on account of the
promise he had exacted from the queen, that he should
rule alone on the ancient throne of the Theban kings in
Upper Egypt.

Ushered from apartment to apartment, I was soon led
into the immediate presence of the queen. In the antechamber,
before I entered, I had seen a stranger, whose
features and costume showed that he was a Theban lord
or high officer. He bowed haughtily to me, as I acknowledged
his presence in the usual way when strangers

I found the queen alone. She was walking to and fro
with a quick, nervous step. In her hand she held a letter
with the seal broken. Upon seeing me, she came
towards me, and said:

“O Prince Sesostris, who art to me next to my son, I
am glad you have come! Pardon me for sending for
you!” Her eyes were bright with tears, and her voice
was tremulous.

“You ought to have done so, O noble queen,” I answered,
“since you are in trouble.”

“In trouble, Sesostris! It is more than trouble; it is
a weight greater than I can bear!”

“Has Mœris been defeated?” I asked, with earnest

“Mœris defeated! No, oh no; but rather conqueror.
But I speak an enigma!”

“Has aught happened to Remeses in his sacred duties?”

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“No, oh no! It is Mœris! He will break my

“What has he done? What can I do?” I asked, perplexed.

“Nothing—that is, you can do nothing! As for Mœ
ris, he has done every thing! But why do I talk to
you? You understand me not! There is a fearful
secret, O Sesostris! I did not send for you to reveal it
to you—but—but for sympathy;—for your company!
I know you love me, for you are the friend of Remeses,
and you have a mother whom you love and honor.”

“And I also love and honor you, O my mother!” I
said, taking her hand and conducting her to a chair.
But she refused to sit down. She regarded me with
eager eyes, as if she were penetrating my soul to its
depths. Suddenly she said:

“Has Remeses told you all the conversations I have
had with him?”

“He has talked much with me of what has passed between
you, O queen,” I answered.

“Did he speak of a secret I held locked in my heart
even from him?”

“He did. He said it was known, however, to Prince
Mœris, who held it over you as a power of evil.”

“Did Remeses suspect its nature?” she demanded.

“He informed me that he once had a suspicion which
your majesty removed.”

“Yes,” she said, with a strange, cold smile, “he fancied
that Mœris's secret was, that he was the true heir of
the throne—my son; and that Remeses was the nephew
of Pharaoh, not himself! Was it not an extraordinary
idea, prince?” she asked me with the same icy irony,

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that was unaccountable to me. “Who could ever doubt
that Remeses is my own son?”

“No one, your majesty,” I answered, seeing she looked
to me for a reply.

“Surely no one! Dost thou not mark how like our
eyes are? And then our voices are much on the same
key, though his, as becomes a man, is deeper. His
smile, is it not mine? Nay, no one could say we are
not mother and son, could they, O Prince of Tyre?
How strange, is it not, that Remeses should have conceived
such an idea?”

“He had probably heard, your majesty, traditions of
infant sons of kings having been interchanged; and as
he could not account for the Prince of Thebes' influence
over you by a secret, on any other reasonable grounds,
he ventured this supposition.”

“But he never will doubt again, O Sesostris!” she
cried in an earnest manner; “no one now could make
him suspect, a second time, he is not my son! Oh no,
never! never! Could they, think you, my lord prince?”

“No, madam,” I answered; her singular manner and
language wholly surprising me, and leading me to fear
that she was not at all well; that her nerves had been
too severely tried by the intelligence, whatsoever its
nature was, which she had received from Prince Mœris.
“Your majesty, I hope, has had no evil tidings,” I added,
glancing at the letter she still grasped.

“Oh, evil! All evil, all!” she cried, with anguish in
her looks. “Prince Sesostris!” she all at once exclaimed,
“you can be trusted! I need sympathy. I cannot
have it unless I reveal to you my terrible secret! I
know I can confide in you. My heart will break

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unless I rest the weight which oppresses it upon another

“Remeses will in a few days be with you, and—”
I began; but she interrupted me with accents of terror,

“No—no! It is of him! He must never know my
secret! It would kill him—he would fall to the earth a
dead man, as if the lightnings of heaven had smitten
him! No, not Remeses! With him silence—eternal

“If it will relieve your majesty to confide in me, I
will receive with gratitude your revelation, and extend
you all the sympathy in my power,” I said, with emotion.

“Noble, excellent, virtuous prince!” she exclaimed,
lifting my hand to her lips. “My determination is
fixed! You shall know my secret! It will be safe in
your honorable breast. But will you, O prince, consent
to receive a revelation affecting Remeses, your
friend, which you are forbidden to make known to

“For your sake, O queen, I will receive it, and conceal
it from Remeses, and all men,” I answered. “I
would not wish to make known to him what would affect
him, as you say.”

“Come with me, then, O prince, into my private
cabinet,” she said, with a voice deep and full, as if she
were greatly moved.

I was about to follow her, as she went with a quick
resolved step, when her page without the door gave
the usual sign, by tinkling a silver sistrum, which forms
the handles of their ivory sticks, that he wished to enter.
The queen said, almost sternly—

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“I can see no one, prince.”

I approached the double door, and, opening one of
the inlaid valves, saw behind the page the tall figure of
the Theban.

“This lord waits for an answer,” said the page.

“The queen will give you audience by and by,” I
said. “At present her majesty is engaged. Await her

The Thisian courier bit his lip, and scowled impatiently.
I perceived that the man had caught the spirit
of the master; and could judge how defiant and haughty
Mœris must be when his courier could play the impatient
follower so well. Rejoining her majesty, I said,
in answer to her inquiring look, “The courier from the

“Yes—he is restless. But I must have time!” She
grew so deadly pale, as she spoke, that I supported her
into the cabinet, when she sunk upon a lounge, and
would have fainted away but for water at hand. When
she recovered she said—

“Sesostris, my son, my friend, when you hear all,
you will find excuses for me. Read that letter first.”

And she placed in my hand an epistle, written upon
the silver leaves which the kings of Thebes have always
made use of for their royal letters.

But, my dear mother, I will here close this epistle.
My next will not be for your eye at present, if ever;
unless circumstances transpire which will remove the
seal from the secret revealed to me.

I feel that your warmest sympathies will be with the
unhappy queen.

Farewell, dearest mother! May the gods preserve

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you from all sorrow, and the Lord of the Sun, the Great
Invisible, defend your life and throne. I hope soon to
hear the result of your embassy to the barbaric King of

Your dutiful son,

-- 381 --


Palace of Rhoda. My very dear Mother:

[figure description] Page 381.[end figure description]

I embrace the first leisure I can command, since
closing my last letter, to resume the subject which filled
its pages.

This letter, however, I shall withhold, until I either
have authority to send it to you, or circumstances render
it expedient to destroy it; but in order to keep a
record of the events now transpiring, I write them down
in the shape of an epistle to my dear mother, so that
hereafter, if it be necessary to refer to it for facts, there
may be written evidence of them.

The letter of Prince Mœris, which the queen placed
in my hands, was dated some years back, and, no doubt,
on noticing this, my countenance betrayed surprise; for
she said quickly—

“Read that first. I conceal nothing from you. You
shall know from the beginning.”

By permission of her majesty, I took a copy of the
letter, and of the two that follow. It was dated—

Castle of Bubastis, Pelusian Delta.
To Amense, Queen:

“Your Majesty,—I address my letter to you from
this petty castle, though, albeit, the stronghold of your

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kingdom seaward, over which you have made me governor.
For a subject, this would be a post of honor.
For me, the son of your husband's brother, your royal
nephew, it is but an honorable exile from a court where
you fear my presence. Honorable, do I say?—rather,
dishonorable; for am I not a prince of the blood of
the Pharaohs? But let this pass, your majesty. I
do not insist upon any thing based upon mere lineage.
I feel that I was aggrieved by the birth of Remeses. I
see that you turn pale. Do not do so yet. You must
read further before the blood wholly leaves your cheek.
I repeat, I am aggrieved by the `birth of Remeses.'
You see I quote the last three words. Ere you close
this letter, your majesty will know why I mark them
thus. Your husband, the vicegerent of the Thisitic
kingdom of the South, after leaving his capital, Thebes,
at the head of a great army, died like a soldier descended
from a line of a thousand warrior kings, in
combat with the Ethiopian. I was then, for your majesty
was without offspring, the heir to the throne of
Egypt. I was the son of your husband's younger
brother. Though but three years old when your lord
was slain, I had learned the lesson that I was to be king
of Egypt, when I became a man. But to the surprise
of all men, of your council of priests, and your cabinet
of statesmen, lo! you soon afterwards became a mother,
when no evidences of this promise had been apparent!
Nay, do not cast down this letter, O queen! Read it to
the end! It is important you should know all.

“When I became of lawful maturity, it was whispered
to me by a certain person, that there were suspicions
that the queen had feigned maternity, and that she

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had adopted an infant of the wife of one of her lords,
in order to prevent the son of her husband's brother
from inheriting. It is true, your majesty, that my
father, your lord's brother, loved you, as a maiden, and
would have borne you from the palace of Pharaoh, your
father, as his own. Yet why should your revenge extend
to his son, after he married another princess?
Why did you deceive Egypt, and supplant his son (myself),
by imposing upon Egypt the infant Remeses, the
child of a lord of your palace, whom no one knows, for
you took care to send him, with an ample bribe of gold,
to Carthage, or some other distant country. Now, your
majesty knows whether this be true or not. I believe
it to be so, and that the haughty, hypocritically meek
Remeses, has no more right to be called the son of Pharaoh's
daughter than one of the children of the base
Hebrews, or of an Egyptian swineherd; and, by the
gods, judging from his features, he might be a Ben

“I demand, therefore, that you make me viceroy of the
Thebaïd. Unless you do so, I swear to your majesty,
that I will agitate this suspicion, and fill all Egypt with
the idea that your favorite Remeses is not your son.
Whether I believe this or not, matters not. If there be
any truth in it, your majesty knows, and will, no doubt,
act accordingly.

“Your faithful nephew,
Mœris, Prince.”

When I had finished reading this extraordinary letter,
I raised my eyes to the queen. She was intently observing
its effect upon my countenance.

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“Dared that man write thus to your majesty?” I cried,
with the profoundest emotions of indignation.

“You have read,” answered the queen, with a tremulous

“And did not your majesty at once send and arrest
the bold insulter and dangerous man?” I said.

She bit her lip, and said, in a hollow tone—

“Prince of Tyre, is he not this day viceroy of the

“Does your majesty mean that you yielded to his demand?”


“I marvel at it,” said I, confounded at the acknowledgment.
“If what he had said had been true—”

“Sesostris, falsehood often flies faster than truth. It
can do as much mischief. The rumor of such a thing,
false or true, would have shaken my throne, and destroyed
the confidence of the mass of the people in Remeses
when he came to the sceptre. I resolved to stifle
it by giving Mœris what he asked.”

I regarded the queen with sentiments of pity and
sorrow. She said quickly—

“Read another letter from him.” I did so. It was
dated three years later, and demanded the command of
the fleet, and its separation from the control of the general-in-chief
of the armies. This general-in-chief was
Remeses, dear mother. To the demand the queen
yielded, and thereby erected the maritime arm of her
kingdom into an independent service, acknowledgeing no
superior authority but that of the throne. When I had
ended the perusal of the letter, the queen placed in my
hand a third missive from this powerful man.

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“This is what I received but now,” she gasped.
“Read it, Sesostris, and give me your sympathy.”

It bore date—

Camp, opposite the Palaces of the }
Memnonia, Thebaid.

To the Queen Amense:

“Your Majesty,—I write from my pavilion pitched
at the foot of the Libyan mountains. I need not forewarn
you of the subject of this letter, when I assure you
that within the hour I have received intelligence from
Memphis, that you are about to abdicate your throne in
favor of Remeses, your suppositious son. This intelligence
does not surprise me. When I was in Lower
Egypt, I saw through you and your policy. I perceived
that while you feared me, you resolved to defeat my
power over you. This purpose, to surrender the sceptre
of the two Egypts, I can penetrate. You design, thereby,
securely to place Remeses beyond my power to
harm him, for that, being king, if I lift a finger he can
destroy me. I admire your policy, and bow in homage
to your diplomacy. But, O queen, both you and
Remeses are in my power! Nay, do not flash your
imperial eyes at this assertion. Hear me for a few

“Your ready compliance with my demand, a few years
ago, to create me viceroy of Thebes, led me to believe
that my suspicions were true; that is, that Remeses was
the son of one of your noble ladies, whom you had
adopted. And when you made me admiral of your fleet,
on my second demand, I was convinced that you feared
the truth, and that it might be proven, with proper

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evidence, that Remeses was not your son. I set to work to
obtain this evidence. You know that I have something
of the sleuth-hound in my composition, and that once
upon a track I will follow it to its termination, were it
under the pyramid of Noachis itself. I employed emissaries.
I bribed even your own courtiers. I ascertained
who were of your court when your husband was
killed in Ethiopia, thirty-five years ago. Three old
lords and ladies still live, and have good memories when
gold, and jewels, and promises of place dazzle their
humid eyes. From them I learned, that about the time
of the supposed birth of Remeses, you sent away, in one
day, five of your ladies and maids of honor, to a distant
country: yet not so quickly but that one of them
dropped the secret, that you were not a real mother,
and that the infant you called your own was the son of
another woman. This secret was told to her brother,
who, in after years, was my master of horse. When,
on one occasion, I was about to put him to death for
cowardice in battle, he informed me that he held a
great secret `concerning the queen, Prince Remeses,
and myself,' and that if I would pardon and restore
him to his rank, he would divulge it, saying, that for
fear it would be traced to him by your majesty if he
ever spoke of it, he had never made it known to any

“Curiosity and instinct led me to pardon him. He then
stated what I have above written,—that you feigned
maternity, and, obtaining a male child from the Hebrew
nurse of one of your ladies, who had given birth to it
a few weeks before, you shut yourself up three months,
and then palmed it upon the priests and people, as the

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heir of your throne and of the scepture of the Pharaohs.
The mother, the nurse, and the ladies who
were parties to the transaction, were then all banished
from Egypt.

“Instituting a thorough investigation, by dispatching
galleys to Tyre, Carthage, Gades, and the isles of the
sea, at length I was rewarded by the discovery of the
port to which your women were carried. Two of them
only were found alive. Those two are now in the city
of On! When I was in Lower Egypt I saw them, and
will name them: Thebia, of Pythom, and Nilia, of On.
Your majesty perceives how exact I am: that I have
my way clear as I advance. Methinks I can see you
turn deadly white, and that with a shriek you let
fall the papyrus! Take it up again, and resume the
perusal. It is useless to shrink from the development
of the truth. You may shut your eyes at noon, and say
`It is night,' but you cannot, by so doing, destroy the
the light of the sun. You may close your eyes—you
may destroy this letter, or may read no further; but
the truth will shine, nevertheless, with a brightness
which will drive night itself before it!

“These venerable women, examined apart, told the
same tale. It is as follows:

“`That you had approached the river on the morning
of the festival of Isis (you see I am particular), to bathe,
as your custom was, in the marble crescent at the foot
of the gardens of your palace of Rhoda, where you now
are residing. You had descended the steps into the
water, and your women had taken your necklace, and
other ornaments from you; and, robed in your bathingdress,
you were about to step into the river, when you

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described a basket floating slowly past, close to the place
where you stood. While you were looking at it, it
lodged against a group of flags, near the statue of Nepth,
just above you. Your maidens were lingering upon
the bank, or walking near at hand, awaiting you,
when, seeing Nilia not far off, you called to her, and

“`Seest thou the little basis of basket-work, O Nilia?
Draw it in to the shore, and look what it contains.'

“The handmaiden obeyed you, aided by her companion,
Thebia, and when you drew near and opened the lid,
you beheld a beautiful child lying within it. It looked
up into your face, and wept so piteously, that you took
it up, deeply impressed by its beauty and helplessness,
and the extraordinary manner in which it had come to
you. You placed it in the arms of Thebia, and said
to her:

“`This child is sent to me by Nilus, the deity of this
great river of Egypt. I will adopt it as my own, for it
has no father but the river, no mother but this little
ark of flags and bitumen in which it has floated to my

“You then gave the lovely babe many kisses, tenderly
soothed its cries, and was so happy with the prize, that
you hastened to leave the river. But before you did
so, the wind blew aside its mantle, and you discovered
that it was a Hebrew male child, for the Egyptians do
not circumcise their infants. This discovery was made
also by the two women, Nilia and Thebia, and you said:

“`It is one of the Hebrews' children.'

“It was at the time when your father's edict for the
destruction of all the male children of this Syrian race

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was in existence. You deliberated what to do with it,
when its wailing tones moved your heart, and you said
to them:

“`It shall still be mine! Let us keep the secret! I
will raise it as my son! Its parents think it has perished,
for they could not have hoped to save it by committing
it to this frail bark, and it can never know its

“That child, O queen, is Remeses! Of this I have
certain evidence. The two women say, you ordered the
little ark to be taken in charge by your chief of the
baths. In verification of the account, the ark still exists,
and I have seen it.

“It is not necessary for me to add more. I have written
enough to show you the power I hold over you, and
over this Remeses-Mosis. His very name signifies `Taken
out of the water,' and was given to him by yourself,
as if the gods would make you the means of your own

“Now, O queen, who intendeth to place a degraded
Hebrew upon the throne of Egypt, I, Mœris, write this
epistle warning you, that unless you revoke your purpose,
and publicly adopt me as your son, and convey to
me the two crowns, I will proclaim through all Egypt
your shame, and the true history of this Remeses! I
could have excused you had he proved to be the son of
one of your ladies, as the report was; but an Hebrew!
He deserves death, and you to forfeit your crown! But
I will make these terms with your majesty:—if you will
call a council of your hierarchy and adopt me as your
son, that I may be your heir, and will abdicate in my
favor, I will conceal what I know from the Egyptians,

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and more still, I will make Remeses governor over Goshen,
and lord of all his people under my rule. Is not
this liberal?

“If you refuse my terms, I will descend upon Lower
Egypt with my fleet, declare your throne vacant, Remeses
a slave, and seize the sceptre! Once in my power,
your favorite Remeses shall die an ignominious death,
and you shall remain a prisoner for life in the castle of

“I dispatch a special courier—my master of horse—
whose sister was your lady in waiting at the finding of
Unless I have a reply in the affirmative, for
which my courier will delay six hours, you shall hear
me knocking at the gates of Rhoda with the head of my

Nephew and heir of Amense, Queen of Egypt.

When, my dear mother, I had finished reading this
extraordinary letter, I held it unrolled in my hands for
a few moments, stupefied, as it were, with amazement.
My eyes sought the face of the queen. It was rigid as
iron—white as alabaster; but her regards were riveted
upon my countenance.

“Your majesty,” I said, hardly knowing what to say,
“what fable is this of the daring and impious Prince of

She interrupted me with—

“What dost thou think, O Sesostris? If it be a fable,
is it not, in such a man's hand, as dangerous as truth?
Dare I let him circulate such a tale throughout Egypt?
Can I let it reach the ears of Remeses?”

“Why not, O queen?” I asked. “If it is false, it can

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be shown to be so; and my friend Remeses is too great
and wise to heed it. Is it by so improbable and artfully
framed a story as this, you are made unhappy;
and for this you resign your crown and hasten to secure
Remeses in power?”

“Is it not enough?”

“No, O wise and virtuous lady!” I answered, with
indignant feelings against Mœris, and sympathy for her
womanly fears; “my advice to you is, to defy the malice
and wickedness of the viceroy, inform Remeses of these
letters—nay, let him read them—assemble your army,
and meet him with open war. A row of galleys sunk
across the Nile will stop his fleet; and if he land, your
soldiers, with Remeses at their head, will drive him back
to his city of a hundred gates, and—”

Again the queen interrupted me:

“No, no! I cannot tell Remeses! He must never
know of these letters!” she almost shrieked.

“Has Remeses any suspicion of the tale they tell?” I

“No. He knows no other mother. If he hears this
story, he will investigate it to the last, to show me that
he would prove it false in the mouth of Mœris.”

“And this he ought to do, your majesty,” I said,

“Prince Sesostris, dost thou believe he could prove
it false?” she demanded, in a mysterious and strange

“Undoubtedly,” I answered; though, my dear mother,
I could not wholly resist the recollection, which forced
itself upon me most sharply and painfully, of the resemblance
I had noticed between Remeses and the Hebrew

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people. But I banished the idea it suggested, regarding
it more probable for an Egyptian and Hebrew to
look alike, than for Remeses to have been born a Hebrew,
and adopted by Pharaoh's daughter. Nevertheless,
there was apparent to myself a want of fulness in
my tones when I answered her “undoubtedly.”

The queen came close up to me, and said in a deep,
terrible whisper, looking first wildly around her, to see
if any one overheard her,—

He cannot prove it false!

“You mean, O queen,” said I, “that though Remeses
cannot prove it false, it nevertheless is false?”

No. It cannot be proven false, because it is TRUE!”
she answered, as if her voice came from within a sarcophagus.

“True?” I repeated, with horror.

“True, O prince! It is impossible for me to conceal
or prevaricate. I promised to confide in you; but I
have kept back till the last the whole truth! I can do
so no longer!” She caught by my arm to sustain her
tottering form.

“Is not Remeses, then, your son?” I cried.


“Is he a Hebrew?”


“Then this letter of Mœris is all true?”

“All, as to the fact that Remeses is a Hebrew!”

Such was the rapid colloquy which followed. O
my dear mother, no mortal can estimate the amount of
agony which overwhelmed my soul at this intelligence!
I sank upon the pedestal of a statue near me, and covering
my face with my hands, burst into tears. The queen

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did not speak, but suffered my paroxysm of grief and
mortification to exhaust itself. At length I raised my
head. I felt for her—felt, oh how profoundly, for the
unhappy Remeses—ignorant of his calamity, and engaged,
even then, in the vigils and rites which were to
prepare him to ascend the throne! I could now understand
all that had been inexplicable in the queen's conduct,
unravel her mysterious language, see the motive
of all her acts. I no longer marvelled that she, loving
Remeses with all a mother's love, trembled before Mœ
ris and his secret, and gave him all he demanded as the
price of silence. But when he asked for her throne as the
bribe for secrecy, it was more than her spirit could
bear; and unable alone, unaided, to meet him in his
demand, she sought counsel of me and sympathy; and
little by little made known to me, as I have narrated,
the secret she would have sacrificed her life to conceal,
if she could thereby have concealed it forever from

“Poor, noble, unhappy Remeses!” I ejaculated.

“He must never know it!” she cried, passionately.

“It will be known to him,” I answered, sorrowfully.
“If you refuse Prince Mœris's demand, he will write
another such missive as this, and dispatch it to Remeses.
The prince, if I may, from love, still call him so, will,
as you have said, examine the matter. Mœris will refer
him to the ladies Nilia and Thebia. He will then
come to you—”

“To me?” she cried, with a shudder.

“To you, O queen, and ask of you if Prince Mœris
and these women relate the truth.”

“He would not believe—he would not believe it—so

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far as to come to me. He would not insult me by making
such a demand of me!”

“He may be forced to it. Circumstances may overcome
him, so that he will feel that he must appeal to
you. He would refuse to ascend the throne of Egypt,
so high is his integrity, if there were a doubt as to his
legitimate right to it.”

“O prince, counsel me! What shall I do?” she
cried, wringing her hands, and looking towards me in
the most appealing and helpless manner.

“I know not how to counsel your majesty,” I replied,
greatly distressed, my heart bleeding both for her and
Remeses, who, I felt, sooner or later, must come to the
truth of the dreadful rumor; and also from my knowledge
of the perfect uprightness and justice of his character,
as well as his firmness, that he would investigate
it until he either disproved or verified it.

At length, after a long and painful interval of embarrassment,
the queen, of her own will, said to me—

“Sesostris, I meant no wrong. I loved the weeping
babe, in its desolate state, and no sooner did I take it
up than it smiled, and won my heart. You know the
fine appearance of Remeses as a man; judge you therefore
how lovely he was when an infant three mouths old.
I was childless. My husband had been a few weeks
dead, and this infant seemed to be sent to me in part to
fill up the place made void in my affections. That it
was a Hebrew child did not move me. I had always
opposed the cruel edict of the king, my father; and felt
that, to save this child of the oppressed Hebrews, would
in some degree, atone for the death of so many who
were destroyed in obedience to his orders. Thus I was

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influenced by a threefold motive—to save the infant, to
adopt a son, to atone for evil.”

“Good and lawful motives, O queen,” I said, interested
in her narrative, so touchingly told as to deeply
affect me.

“I did not believe I was doing evil: I at once, at
the suggestion of one of my maids, sent a Hebrew girl,
who was gazing upon us from afar, to call a nurse from
the Hebrew women for the child. She brought one,
comely and gentle in manner, whom I took with me to
the palace; and, after instructing her to keep the matter
a secret, suffered her to take the child home, for she
lived in a garden, not far above the palace, upon the
island, her father being a cultivator of flowers for the
priests. The tenderness of this Hebrew woman towards
the beautiful babe pleased me, and, after I had, in a
public manner, acknowledged the child, even as Mœris's
letter states, I let it remain with her until it grew to be
three years old, when I commanded her to bring it to
the palace to remain; for although I had seen it almost
daily, I now desired to have it wholly in my possession.
From that time he has been brought up in my own
palace, as my son, and educated as prince of the empire
and heir to the throne. For all my care and affection,
he has repaid me with the profoundest devotion, and tenderest
attachment. At first, seeing he was very fond of
his Hebrew nurse, I jealously forbade her again to visit
him, so that I might be the sole object of his attachment.
He soon forgot her, and from his fourth year
has known no love but mine. When he came to manhood,
I had him instructed in the art of war, and made
him general of the army of the pyramids. By the

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greatest philosophers and sages he was taught geometry,
astrology, architecture, physics, mythology, and the
knowledge of all science. I have spared no care to
educate him in all the learning of the Egyptians. With
all his wisdom and vast knowledge, he is as docile and
gentle in disposition as a child: ever dutifully submissive
to my will, the voice which has led armies by its
battle-cry, melts into tenderness in my presence. Ah,
prince, never mother loved a son as I have loved him!”

“I pity you, O queen, with all my heart,” said I,

“Oh, what shall I do? What shall I reply to Mœris?”

“I know not how to counsel you!” I said, embarrassed
by this appeal.

“I will then act. His courier shall not go back unanswered.
I will defy him!” A new spirit seemed all at
once to animate her.

She clapped her hands. A page entered.

“Bid the Theban courier enter. His answer is ready.”

The master of horse came haughtily in, a cloud of impatience
yet upon his brow.

“Go back to thy master, and say to him, that Amense
is still queen of Egypt, and wears both the crowns of
her fathers, and that she will defend them. Say, that I
defy him, and fear him not!”

The courier looked amazed, bowed with a slight gesture
of obeisance, and left the presence.

No sooner had the valves of the door closed upon
him, than she said—

“It is done! The arrow is drawn from the quiver,
and set to the bowstring. There is nothing left but to
defy him, and trust the gods to aid the just cause.

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Remeses will be crowned king, ere Mœris can get my message
and return a letter to him. There are but five
days more to the end of the forty. Three days afterwards
is the coronation. That is nine from to-day. It
will take twelve or more days for a message to go and
come from the camp of Mœris. Three days! Time
enough to make or mar an empire. Sesostris, this
prince of Typhon, this haughty Mœris, shall yet be confounded!”

Thus speaking, the queen, whose whole powers were
aroused by despair linked with affection, laid her hand
in mine, bade me good-night—for it was now moonlight,
so long had we discoursed—and begged me come in the
the morning and breakfast with her.

Here, in the quiet of my chamber, dear mother, I
have made a record of this extraordinary interview.
The letter I shall preserve unless it be necessary to destroy
it; but I shall not send it to you until the seal of
secrecy is removed.

What can I say? How can I realize that Remeses
is a Hebrew? How little he suspects the truth! Will
he hear it? If he does; but it is useless to speculate
upon the consequences. I pray that he may be well
crowned before Mœris can do him any mischief; for, son
of Misr, or son of Abram, he is worthy of the throne of
Egypt, and will wield its sceptre with wisdom and justice,
beyond that of any of the proud Pharaohs. The
attachment of the queen is natural. I deeply feel for
her. The conduct of Mœris is also natural. What will
be his course? Farewell, dear mother.

Your affectionate son,

-- 398 --


Palace of Remeses, City of On. My dearest Mother:

[figure description] Page 398.[end figure description]

I commence this letter, as I did one written and
addressed to you two days ago, with the probability, that
circumstances may yet render the seal of secrecy, now
placed upon it, unnecessary; at least I shall detain both
this one and that, for a time, if not finally destroy them.
But I have a feeling that you will yet read what I write.

If the incidents and scenes recorded, in the preceding
letter, were of an extraordinary kind, you must be prepared
to read in this, of events still more strange, and
painfully interesting. It is with an effort that I calm
my pulse, and subdue my emotions sufficiently, to narrate
equably what I desire to make known to you.

The morning after my interview with the queen, I
arose early from a sleepless couch; for the events of the
preceding evening, recalled by an excited mind, kept
me awake with reflections of the most anxious and distressing
nature. I mourned for Remeses, my noble,
wise, and great friend and counsellor,—a prince by nature,
and by the seal of all the gods, if not by inheritance
from the Pharaohs. Not regarding the Hebrew
race with the disdainful eye of those who have been
masters over them, like the Egyptians, but looking upon

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them only as an unfortunate nation, descendants of the
three patriarchal princes of Palestine, I, dear mother,
felt no contempt for Remeses on account of his lineage
and blood. To me, he was still as dear and as much
honored. It was not the “prince” I loved from the first,
but the “man,” and he remains. I tossed my head
on my pillow, grieving for him; as I knew, should the
tidings ever come to his ears, and be confirmed as a truth,
that it would break his great heart—crush his mighty
soul to the earth; for, educated as an Egyptian prince,
he entertains towards the Hebrews, the haughty contempt
(so far as this sentiment can repose in such a
benevolent bosom), which characterizes the Egyptian
nation. How will he be humbled, overwhelmed, confounded,

Such were my wakeful reflections, when at length the
morning dawned; and I arose, bathed, and prepared to
obey the command of the queen to breakfast with her.
Believing that she must have passed a sorrowful night,
and would not awake early, I sat down to read in a roll
of papyrus which lay upon my table, among other books
that belonged to Remeses; for I was occupying his own
suite of rooms during his absence, amid the sacred mysteries
of his kingly initiation. It proved to be written
in the Theban running character, which I am not familiar
with, and laying it down, I took up a leaf of new
papyrus, on which I recognized the bold and elegant
script of Remeses. As he had given me free access to
all upon the table, I examined the subject, and finding
that it was a sacred poem, I read therein a few sentences,
when I perceived that it was the history of a remarkable
era in the life of the venerable Lord of Uz, to whom

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I have alluded. This aged and interesting Syrian has
already taken his departure, but previously made
known to Remeses, as he told me, all the events connected
with an extraordinary period of his middle life.

I read, therefore, with interest what Remeses had
commenced; for it was only a beginning. After giving
the name of the Lord of Uz, and that of the land in
which he dwelt, he spoke of his uprightness, his holiness,
his riches, and his pious care over his children—who
were seven sons and three daughters; and also of their
happiness, festivities, and prosperity; and how, by the
permission of the One God, Typhon, or the Spirit of
Evil, tempted him.

Thus far had my friend got in the history, and I was
about to replace the scroll, when the door opened,
and lo! Prince Remeses himself stood before me! I
started with an exclamation of joyful astonishment; but
seeing his visage haggard and pallid with woe, I was
alarmed. I approached him to embrace him, as he
stood just within the door, regarding me with looks of
doubt and solicitude.

“Wilt thou, O Prince of Tyre, embrace a Hebrew?”
he surprised me by asking, in a voice deep and tremulous.

“Then thou knowest it all,” I cried, “O my friend!”
as I threw myself into his embrace.

For a few minutes we wept in each other's arms. At
length he spoke and said—

“Yes, Sesostris, I have heard it all! Thou knowest the
secret also, says my moth—nay—I forgot—I should
have said—the queen!” Here his emotion overcame
him. He leaned his noble head upon my shoulder and
continued: “Yet she is my mother, prince! She has

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ever been a mother to me! I have known no other! I
shall love her, while my life lasts, above all earthly things.
Pardon my grief, Sesostris! Nature is mighty in sorrow,
and will have her way! The heart, like our Nile, will
sometimes overflow, if full.”

In a few moments he was composed, and said sadly—

“Knowing my history, can you regard me as before?”

“I love thee as ever, O prince—”

He interrupted me—“Call me not `prince,' call me by
my name—that, at least, is left me! But I am a slave!”

“No—not to me! You are a descendant of kings!
Are not Prince Abraham, Isaac, and the great Prince
Jacob your ancestors? I am not an Egyptian any more
than thyself,” I answered him.

“True, true! I must not forget that! I thank thee,
O prince, for reminding me of this. A slave in Egypt
may be a freeman in Tyre!”

“That is true also,” I said. “May I ask, O Remeses,
why you have left the temples and are here; and how
you heard this intelligence, which you bear up under
like a god?”

“I am calm now; but, Sesostris, I have passed through
a sirocco of the soul! You shall hear all. Come and
sit here.”

I placed myself by the table opposite to him. He
then began as follows:

“I need not describe to you, O my friend, the nature
of the rites and ceremonies, nor the character of the
mysteries which I have been in contact with, for five-and-thirty
days; let it be enough for your curiosity to
know, that beneath all the splendor of our polytheism is
hidden the mystery, known to the `sons of the Lord of

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heaven,' of One God. This truth is guarded by the
mystics, as a mystery, not as a doctrine; and is of no
value to them nor to the world: it is as if the sun
were forever shrouded in impenetrable clouds. I have
learned it only darkly; but this is not to my purpose now,
my friend: perhaps at another time we will discourse
of these things. I had passed my decreed days and
nights, at all the shrines which the laws for kings direct,
when, last night, I was borne across the Nile by a
company of the mystics, who left me at the entrance of
the avenue leading to the sphinx that is before Cheops
and Chephres. There twelve other ecclesiastical mystics
took me in charge. We marched together, six on each
side of me, in profound silence; till, on passing the lion
facing the sphinx, their leader cried—

“`Let the king be as a lion in strength and majesty!'

“The rest answered with one voice—

“`And may his enemies be as lambs beneath his

“At the small temple, between the feet of the sphinx,
three priests stood, one of whom sprinkled my head
with sacred water; the second, with his little finger
that had been dipped in the blood of a cock which he
had sacrificed, touched my forehead; and the third
waved incense before me;—while from within came
a low, plaintive chant of voices and instruments, invoking
the gods in a hymn on my behalf. The whole
scene was solemn and impressive.

“I was then conducted to the pylon of the great
temple before the pyramids. As I passed beneath the
gate, the twelve priests left me; and twenty-four others,
dressed in white robes and bearing torches, took me in

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charge, and conducted me at a slow march across the
great quadrangle, leading me to a dark portal which
descended, as I was told, to the base of the pyramid,
down to the `hall of all the mysteries of the

“Is not this the temple of the magicians?” I asked,
gratified to see, that Remeses could for a moment so far
forget his great sorrow, as to enter into these details, for
my gratification.

“Yes, the place where the sorcerers and soothsayers
hold their mystic and fearful rites. For ages, this subterranean
temple, under the earth between the two
pyramids, but no part of the pyramidal structure itself,
has been their place of solemn assembly. Into this
region I descended, led by only two men, who received
me at the head of the stairs of stone.

“But I may not describe, more particularly, the progress
of my mysterious journey through subterranean
passages, which I had no conception existed beneath the
space between the two pyramids; although tradition has
it, that the whole territory underneath both is a labyrinthine
catacomb, which assertion I have now no reason
to doubt. After traversing vast gloomy corridors of
pillars hewn from the solid rock, and a succession of
chambers dedicated to mysteries, I was ushered, by the
sound of awful music, from an unseen source, into a great
central temple, so large that the torches borne by my
guides, could not penetrate its outer blackness. In the
centre of this solemn hall stood an altar of black marble.
We approached it, when suddenly from it soared aloft a
bright flame which illumined the temple, to its remotest
obscurities, with a light like the moon when it is full,

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revealing in the height above, a firmament with its thousand
stars reflecting the light. I had already, my Sesostris,
passed through such varied and surprising scenes,
in the progress of my initiation, that I was not surprised
at this, for the arts of the priestly magicians seem to embrace
a knowledge of all the secret alchemy of nature;
and they possess wisdom and skill to control her wonderful
powers. While this brilliant flame burned from
a brazen vase which stood upon the altar, a procession
of figures entered by a distant door, and slowly made
the circuit of the massive corridor. I perceived at once
that they were attired symbolically, representing the
powers of nature, and were preceded by five stately and
imposing forms standing for fire, water, earth, air, and
the Nile; symbols of which were worn upon their heads,
and carried in their hands. Behind these came seven
persons, each crowned with a star, the whole representing
the seven stars. Then advanced Orion, belted and
armed; Arcturus, Aldebaran, Procyon, Rigel, and Antares,
each with a blazing coronet above his brow, and
carrying the symbols and wearing the dress of the god.
These, with an interval of space between, were followed
by the twelve constellations of the zodiac; each zodiac
consisting of twelve bands of men, subdivided into
twenty-four smaller companies, and so moving, each in
a place assigned him, as to show the position of every
star of the constellation, which he was appointed to aid
in illustrating. Each individual carried above his head
a starry light, inclosed in a crystal cup.

“This imposing and magnificent representation and
illustration of the march of Time through the heavens,
with all the movements of the heavenly orbs, presented

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a spectacle of splendor unsurpassed by any human display.
Solemn as the march of the stars themselves, this
procession of constellations moved once around the
grand circuit of the temple, and then the five leaders
advanced towards the altar, by which I stood alone, deserted
by those who had led me thither. Every one of
these symbolic persons in succession bent the knee before
me, in token that the powers of the earth, air, fire,
and water, with the great Nile itself, were submissive
to my will. Ah, Sesostris,” interspoke Remeses here,
“how little did they suspect, when paying me this customary
homage, that I was a mere Hebrew slave, who
could make use of the air, of fire, of water, of the earth,
or of the Nile, only by the permission of my Egyptian

“Other striking ceremonies passed thereafter, and by
and by I was left alone beside the altar, the flame of
which it was my duty to feed with naphtha until morning,
this being the first vigil of the last five nights. I
was not, however, long left alone. Seven magicians, in
their gorgeous apparel, came from a door that seemed
to be an outlet from beneath the second pyramid, and
approached me, chanting a war-song. Each bore a piece
of royal armor,—one a helmet, one a cuirass, one a spear,
another a shield. As they passed me they presented,
and I received from each, a piece of the armor, and invested
myself therewith. I was told by the leader to
be strong and fight valiantly, for I should be assailed
by powers of evil. They then left me, and again I
was alone, yet on my guard. Feeding the flame till
it burned high, I sought to penetrate the gloom, at least
expecting to behold a lion let into the temple for me

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[figure description] Page 406.[end figure description]

to combat with, that I might prove my right to the
sword of the Pharaohs which I held in my grasp.

“I know not, Sesostris, who or what would have been
my assailant, if due time had elapsed for his coming;
but I suddenly heard a step behind me, and behold, instead
of a fierce beast or a warrior, a single magician,
tall and commanding, who bore in one hand merely the
sacred crux or emblem of life, and in the other his black
wand tipped with an emerald. I challenged him, as I
was directed to do by my instructors, and demanded
whether he came for good or evil, with war or peace in
his heart.

“He made no other reply than—

“`Follow me!'

“I obeyed. Ah, how little did I suspect, O Sesostris,
that I was about to encounter what was more fearful
than a roaring lion,—more terrible than an armed host!
But you shall hear.

“I crossed the echoing temple-floor to a small portal,
which at first did not reveal its presence, being a slab
in the wall, but which, at a slight pressure of the
magician's wand, betrayed an opening through which
we passed,—I, with my sword held in my hand to defend
or attack. The stone door closed behind me, and
I was conducted through a beautiful chamber, adorned
with marbles, and sparkling with precious stones, that
seemed to shine by a light of their own, as I could discover
no source of reflection; though doubtless, however,
that was, in some part, concealed by the art of
these ingenious and wise magicians.

“There was an inner chamber, or adytum, entirely
encased with panels of black marble, polished like a

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[figure description] Page 407.[end figure description]

mirror. I was conducted into this room, and commanded,
by a voice unknown, and from an invisible person,
to seat myself upon a stone chair in the centre of the
floor. I obeyed; for princes, during their initiation, are
taught constantly, that `he who would know how to
command must learn how to obey;' and thus, in these
rites, submission and obedience are inculcated, as necessary
elements in the character of one who wishes to
exact them from others. Indeed, Sesostris, the whole
routine of the ceremonies, though sometimes vain and
frivolous, sometimes extravagant, is calculated to impress
upon the heart of a prince the wisest lessons in self-government,
and the profoundest knowledge of himself.
Every temptation is offered him, that he may resist it.
Every condition of life, from hunger and thirst upward,
he passes through in his progress. Three nights and
days I fasted in the temple of Pthah, that I might pity
the hungry: two days I suffered thirst, that I might feel
for the thirsty: six hours I toiled with burdens, that I
might know how my poorer subjects toiled: one hour I
was a servant, another a prisoner, a third cup-bearer to
the high-priest. Every rite is a link in the practical
education of a prince; and he who comes to the throne,
has reached it through every grade of society, and
through every condition of humanity; and thus the
king centres and unites within his own person, from
having been engaged in each, the pursuits of all his
people, and knows by experience their joys and sorrows,
toils and pleasures; and can say to every class of
Egyptians, `there is nothing which appertains to you that
is foreign to me. The people of Egypt are represented
in their king.'

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[figure description] Page 408.[end figure description]

“When I had taken my seat in this chamber of black
marble, which was dimly lighted by a misty radiance
before me, I saw that I was alone. Now, O Sesostris,
came my trial!—such an one as no prince of the house
of Pharaoh had ever passed through. It is said that
Osirtasen, when he was brought to this chamber, had it
revealed to him that he was the son of the god Hercules;
but to me was revealed, alas! thou knowest what, and
shalt hear how!

“`Remeses-Moses,' said a deep and stern voice from
what, in the obscurity, seemed to me a shrine, `thou art
wise, and virtuous, and strong of heart! Gird thyself
with courage, and hear what is to be revealed to thee!
Know that thou art not the son of Amense, queen of
Egypt, as thou believest. She was never a mother!'

“`It is false, thou wicked magician!' I cried, starting
to my feet. `Art thou, then, the foe I am to meet and

“`Silence, young man!' cried another voice, with a
tone of power. `What the mysterious oracle utters is
true. Thou art not the son of Pharaoh's daughter!
Thou hast no title to the throne of Egypt!'

“`Who am I, then?' I cried, impressed and awed, yet
full of anger at the words.

“`Thou art the son of a Hebrew mother and a Hebrew
father!' said the voice.

“I advanced sword in hand to meet these invisible
persons, believing that the insult was but another of the
series of tests, and this one in particular, of my patience
and temper; for, O Sesostris,” added Remeses to me,
bitterly, “what greater insult could have been put upon
a prince of Egypt than this! When I came forward, I

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saw the wall, as it were, open before me; and I beheld
the Nile in bright sunshine; the Island of Rhoda, with
its palaces and gardens; the distant towers and obelisks
of On, and all the scenery adjacent, but seemingly so
near, that I could lay my hand upon it all.

“At this surprising spectacle manifesting itself in
the dark chambers of the pyramids, I stood amazed
and arrested!—I felt that it was supernatural, or produced
by magic. As I gazed, perplexed, a third voice

“`Behold! Thou seest that the obelisk of Amense is
wanting; that the palace of the governor of the Nile
has only its foundations laid. The scene is, as Egypt was
thirty-five years ago.'

“I looked again, and recognized the truth. I saw it
was not the Nile of to-day. I saw, also, that its stream
was at a height, different from its present mark upon the
nilometer. I was amazed, and awaited with intense expectation.
Suddenly I saw a party of spearmen enter
a hut, which I perceived was one of a group that was
occupied by Hebrew workmen, who were engaged upon
the governor's palace. Presently they came forth, two
of them, each bearing an infant aloft upon a spear,
which was thrust through it, and followed by shrieking
women. I could hear and see all as if I were on the spot.
I impulsively advanced to slay the men, for all seemed
so real, but as I did so, saw at my feet a yawning gulf.
Then the men cast the infants into the Nile. I saw three
others go into another hut, whence they were driven
forth by two desperate Hebrews, who, armed with
straw-cutters, slew two of them; but the other fled, and
returning with his comrades, they set fire to the hut of

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rushes, and consumed the inmates within it. I now perceived
that it seemed drawing towards the close of day.
From a hut, near the water, a man and a young girl,
both Hebrews, stole forth, and collecting bulrushes in
their arms, returned to the hut. It was now night. I
had seen the shades of evening fall over the scenery,
and the stars come out. Yet, by a power incomprehensible
to me, I could look into the closed and barred
hut, and see that, by the light of a rush dipped in bitumen,
three of its inmates were making, in secret haste, a
large basket. I saw them finish it, and then beheld the
man smear it within and without with pitch. From
their conversation, I learned that they wished it to resist
water, and that they were to commit some precious
freight to its frail protection; what, I could not learn;
as, when they spoke of it, their colloquy was in low,
hushed tones, and with looks of fear, especially the two
females, who wept very much. One of them, I learned
by their words, was the daughter of the man by a
former wife. There was another child, a boy apparently
of the age of three years, lying in sweet sleep upon a bed
of rushes, made up in a corner of the hut. When the
little ark was done, I watched with the deepest interest
their further proceedings. At length the three went out
together, and to my surprise I saw, by the setting moon,
that it was near dawn. They bent their steps, swiftly
and silently, towards the ancient temple of Isis, which
was then, as now, in ruins, and deserted by every Egyptian,
for the sacrilege done therein under the reign of
Bnon, the Phœnician Pharaoh. I could see them steal
along the tangled avenue beneath the palm-trees, and
through that of the broken sphinxes, until they came

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[figure description] Page 411.[end figure description]

to the pyramidion of the obelisk of Sesostris I. Here
a deep, ancient excavation, covered with vines and
rushes, showed a flight of broken steps. After carefully
looking all about, to see if they were observed,
they descended. In a few minutes the three came
forth, the elderly woman holding in her arms an infant,
upon the beautiful face of which the waning moon
shone for a moment, but instantly she hid it with her
mantle, and hurried to the river-side. Here the man
put the basket upon the shore, and extended his arms
for the child. The poor mother, as I now perceived she
must be, burst into tears, and clasped it closer and
closer to her heart.

“`Nay, Jochebeda,' he said, with gentle firmness,
`thy cries will attract notice. The child cannot live if
we delay. Hast thou not had warning from the kind
Egyptian woman, who was with thee when it was born,
and who aided thee in concealing it, that its hidingplace
is known, and that in the morning soldiers will be
there? Bear up, heart! If we commit it to the Nile,
the God of our fathers, in whom we trust, and who will
yet return, to redeem us, according to His promise to
our father Abraham, may guide the frail baris to some
secure haven, and provide for the child a pitiful heart
to save it.'

“I saw the mother give it its last nourishment at her
breast, and then, with tears, lay it softly, sweetly sleeping
the while, within the basket of bulrushes,—pillowing
its head first upon her hand, until the daughter had
placed beneath it a pillow of wild-flowers and lotusleaves,
gathered on the spot in the dawning light. The
father then covered it carefully over, and kissing it, with

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grief shaking his strong frame, was about to commit the
frail boat to the water, when the poor mother arrested
his arm, implored one more look, one more embrace of
her child! She was a young and beautiful woman;
and, the last kiss given, kneeled by the shore praying to
her God, as the father launched the ark into the stream.
At this moment, I beheld, straying upon the bank, as if
seeking its parents, the other child that I had seen in the
house. I now saw the current take to its embrace the
little ark, and upon its bosom bear it downward. In a
few moments it lodged amid some rushes, which the
mother seeing, she ran hastily, entered the water, passionately
kissed her child, and would have offered it
the breast again, but the more resolute father sent it
once more upon its way. In the vision, I now saw that
day had dawned, and that the stir of life on land and
water was everywhere visible. The father watched the
bark, until it could be no longer seen for the curve of
the shore, and then drew near to his wife, and gently
led her away to the hut,—her lingering looks ceaselessly
stretched towards the Nile. The little maid, who was
not more than twelve or thirteen years of age, having
been previously instructed by her mother, followed
along the shore to see what would become of the ark.
But I weary you, Sesostris, with details, which to me
had a sort of fascination, as they were enacted before
me in the scenes I beheld.”

“And they are deeply interesting to me, my dear
Remeses,” I said with emotion.

“I followed the bark also,” continued Remeses, “until,
after several escapes from imminent peril, it lodged
against a group of flags, at the moment that a beautiful

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lady, accompanied by her maids, came to bathe, at the
foot of the garden of Pharaoh's palace. At a glance,
Sesostris, I recognized, as she was in her youth, my
mother—I mean to say, the Queen Amense. I saw her
attention drawn to the little ark, in the fate of which I
had become intensely interested, little dreaming how
much and intimately it concerned me! I heard her
bid the maids take the basket out of the river, and
her cry of surprise, on opening it and seeing the babe,
which answered her with a sorrowful wail, as it were,
of appeal. I saw her offer it to the bosoms of three
Egyptian nurses in vain, when the little maid, its halfsister,
drew near with mingled curiosity and fear, and

“`O princess, shall I call one of the Hebrew women,
that she may nurse the child for thee?'

“The princess said, `Go!'

“Immediately the maiden ran with the swiftness of a
gazelle, until she came at length to her mother's house.
The poor Hebrew woman was at her task, combing flax
and weeping as she toiled, feeling that she had parted
with her child forever. At the height of her grief, the
young maid flew in at the door, crying with a voice
choked with joy—

“`Mother, run quickly! make no stay! Pharaoh's
daughter has found my little brother, taken it from the
ark, and sent me for a Hebrew nurse! Come quickly,
before any other is found!'

“With a cry of joy, and with hands clasped to heaven
in gratitude, I saw the mother about to rush out, wild
with happiness, when her daughter said, `Be calm,
mother, or the princess will suspect. Put on your coif!

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Arrange your dress! Seem quiet, as if you were not its

“`I will try to do so—oh, I will try to do so!' she
said touchingly. I saw that, in her emotion, she did
not think of her other boy, who, though hardly four years
old, had followed the stream, as if he understood what
the ark contained. Him I saw kindly taken pity upon
by an Egyptian priest, who carried him away to his

Here I uttered an exclamation which attracted the
notice of Remeses; for I recollected the story of the
young Hebrew ecclesiastic and gold image-caster, dear
mother, and saw now that he was this brother of Remeses,
and the mystery of the resemblance was solved.
I did not make any remark to Remeses, however, in
reply to his inquiring look, and he resumed his wonderful

But I will continue the subject, dear mother, in a
subsequent letter.


-- 415 --


Palace of Remeses, City of On. My dearest Mother:

[figure description] Page 415.[end figure description]

Your courier reached me yesterday with your
important letter, advising me of the refusal of the
King of Cyprus to receive your ambassador, or release
your subjects; and that you only await my return to declare
war. I shall not fail to respond to your call, and
will next week leave Egypt for Syria. I have not yet
visited the Thebaïd, and the superb temples of Upper
Egypt, nor seen the wonderful Labyrinth, nor the Cataracts;
but I hope at some future day to revisit this interesting
land. I feel, indeed, rejoiced to go away now,
as the painful and extraordinary events connected with
Remeses have cast a gloom over all things here, and
changed all my plans.

But I will resume the narrative, interrupted by the
abrupt ending of my last letter. That, with the preceding,
as well as this, I shall now send to you, as the seal
of secrecy is removed from them, by the publicity which
has been given to all the events by Remeses.

To return, dear mother, to the account of the scenes
which the magicians presented to his vision, in the
black marble chamber of the pyramid.

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“I now,” continued Remeses, “beheld the excited
mother reach the presence of the princess, trying to
calm the wild tumult of hope and fear in her maternal
bosom; and to her, I saw the princess, after many inquiries,
commit the charge of the infant.

“`I shall adopt this child, O nurse,' she said; `bring
it, therefore, to the palace daily that I may see it. Take
as faithful care of it as if it were your own, and you
shall be rewarded with my favor, as well as with a
nurse's wages.'

“The joyful Hebrew woman tried to repress her happiness,
and trembled so, that the princess said—

“`Thon art awkward. Carry it tenderly; and see
that thou keep this secret closely, or I shall take the boy
away from thee, woman, and also punish thee. What
is thy name?'

“`Jochebeda,' she answered.

“`And thy husband's?'

“`Amram, your majesty,' she replied.

“I saw her, O Sesostris, when she had well got out
of the princess's sight, clasp, by stealth, her recovered
child to her bosom, while words of tenderness were in
her mouth, and her eyes streaming with tears of gratitude
and wonder.

“That child, O Sesostris, was myself!” suddenly exclaimed
Remeses. “Of this you have already been
convinced. I saw the scene before me, rapidly change
from day to night, and months and years fly by like a
cloud, or like a fleet of ships leaving no trace of their
track on the closing waters. Through all I saw myself,
from the infant of three years old, taken into the palace
from my Hebrew mother, to the boy of twelve—to the

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youth of twenty! Like the cycle of fate, that scene
rolled by before my eyes, until I saw myself, that is, the
Hebrew boy, in every scene of my life up to the very
moment then present. Then, with a sound of mournful
music, the Nile and its scenes slowly faded from before
my vision, and I was alone! The whole fearful history
had terminated in me, and left me standing there in
solitude, to reflect upon what I had seen.

“Rousing myself from my stupor of amazement, I
staggered back, and sunk in horror upon the stone
bench. I know not how long I lay there, but I was
at length aroused by a hand upon my shoulder; I
looked up and beheld the magician with the emblem
of life, and the emerald-tipped wand. He said—

“`My son, thou hast read the past of thy life! Wilt
thou still be King of Egypt?'

“`By what power hast thou opened the gates of the
past? How hast thou known all this?' I cried, with a
heart of despair.

“`Dost thou believe?'

“`As if the open Book of Thoth lay before me! I
doubt not,' I answered.

“`Wilt thou be King of Egypt?' again asked another
voice. A third, in another direction, took it up, and
every subterranean echo of the vaulted pyramid seemed
to take up the cry. I rushed from the hall, not knowing
whither I went. Doors seemed to open before
me, as if by magic, and I at length found myself emerging,
guided by the magician, into the open night. The
granite valves of the gate closed behind me, and I was
alone, in the quadrangle of the great temple of Thoth.
The stars shone down upon me like mocking eyes,

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watching me. I fled onward, as if I would fly from
myself. I feared to reflect. I passed the sphinx, the
pylones, the obelisks; and ran along the avenue of the
Lake of the Dead, until I reached the Nile. I crossed
it in a boat that I found upon the shore, and without
having formed any clear idea of what I ought to do,
sought the palace, and gained my mother's ante-room.
Did I say `my mother,' Sesostris? I meant the good
queen. I sent in a page to say I wished to see her. In
surprise at my return, before the forty days were fulfilled,
she came to the door hurriedly, in her night-robe,
and opened it. I entered as calmly as I could, and did
not refuse her kiss, though I knew I was but a Hebrew!
One night's scenes, dreadful as they were, O Sesostris,
could not wholly break the ties of a lifetime of filial
love and reverence. I closed the door, secured it in
silence, and then sat down, weary with what I had undergone;
and, as she came near and knelt by me, and
laid her hand against my forehead, and asked me `if I
were ill, and hence had left the temple,' I was overcome
with her kindness; and when the reflection forced
itself upon me that I could no more call her mother, or
be entitled to these acts of maternal solicitude, I gave
way to the strong current of emotion, and fell upon her
shoulder, weeping as heartily as she had seen me weep
when lying in the little ark a helpless infant.

“During this brief moment, a suspicion flashed across
my mind, that the magicians might have produced this
as a part of my trial as a prince;—that it was not real,
but that by their wonderful arts of magic they had made
it appear so to my vision. I seized upon this idea, as a
man drowning in the Nile grasps at a floating flower.

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“`Mother,' I said, `I am ill. I am also very sorrowful!

“`The tasks and toils of thy initiation, my son, have
been too great for thee. Thy face is haggard and thy
looks unnatural. What is thy sorrow?'

“`I have had a vision, or what was like a dream, my
mother. I saw an infant, in this vision, before me,
placed in an ark, and set adrift upon the Nile. Lo, after
being borne by the current some ways, it was espied by
a princess who was bathing, whose maids, at her command,
brought it to her. It contained a circumcised
Hebrew child. The princess, being childless, adopted
it, and educated it, and declared it to be her son. She
placed him next to her in the kingdom, and was about
to resign to him the crown, when—'

“Here my mother, whose face I had earnestly regarded,
became pale and trembled all over. She seized
my hands and gasped—

“`Tell me, Remeses, tell me, was this a dream, or
hast thou heard it?'

“`I saw it, my mother, in a vision, in the subterranean
chamber of the pyramids. It was one of those
scenes of magic which the arts of the magi know how
to produce.'

“`Dost thou believe it?' she cried.

“`Is it not thy secret, O my mother, which Prince
Mœris shares with thee? Am I not right? Does not
that Hebrew child,' I cried, rising, `now stand before

“She shrieked, and fell insensible!

“At length I restored her to consciousness. I related
all I have told you. Reluctantly, she confessed that all

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was true as I had seen it. I then, in a scene such as I
hope never to pass through again, assured her I should
refuse the throne and exile myself from Egypt. She
implored me with strong appeals to keep the secret,
and mount the throne. I firmly refused to do so, inasmuch
as it would be an act of injustice, not only to
Mœris, but to the Egyptians, to deceive them with a
Hebrew ruler. She reminded me how, for sixty-one
years, Prince Joseph had governed Egypt. `Yes,' I said,
but it was openly and without deceit; while my reign,
would be a gross deception and usurpation.' But, O
Sesostris, I cannot revive the scene. It has passed!—I
have yielded! She showed me the letters of Prince
Mœris. She implored me for her sake to keep the
secret, and aid her in resisting the conspiracy of the
viceroy. When I reflected that he had made my mother
so long miserable, and now menaced her throne, I yielded
to her entreaties to remain a few days at the head of
the affairs that have been intrusted to my control, and
to lead the army against Mœris, should he fulfil his
menace to invade Lower Egypt. After that, I said, I
shall refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,
and will retire from the Court.”

“Not among the Hebrews?” I exclaimed.

“No, perhaps not. I have nothing in common with
them. I can do them no good: I cannot yet consent to
share their bondage. I shall seek my own family, for
the queen has told me who they are. My mother, my
own mother, Sesostris, shall again fold her child to her
heart! I recollect her beautiful, tearful face, as seen in
the vision of the pyramids. I have a brother, too, and
a sister!”

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“I know them both!” I cried, almost joyfully; though,
dear mother, it was a sad joy I felt, to know that Remeses
was a brother to Miriam and the ecclesiastic goldcaster.
He became at once interested, and I told him
all I knew about them, as I have you. He listened
with deep attention, and seemed pleased. I also told
him how often I had conversed, in the garden of flowers,
with the venerable Amram, the father of Miriam.

“And my father also, you should add,” he said, with
a melancholy smile. “I knew it not, Sesostris; I believed
him to be the husband of my nurse. Thinkest
thou all this time he knew I was his son?”

“I doubt it not,” I answered. “The eyes of your
father and mother must naturally have been upon you
from your childhood up. They must have witnessed all
your career, and rejoiced in it, and kept the secret locked
in their own humble hearts, lest you and the world
should know it, and the glory they secretly saw you
sharing, be taken away or resigned by you.”

“I shall see them. They shall yet hear me say,
mother, father, brother, sister, to each one of them. But,
Sesostris, I must then bid them farewell forever, and
Egypt also,—if the queen will permit me to go,” he suddenly
added, with bitter irony unusual with him; “for
slaves must have no will but their master's.”

I laid my arm kindly and sympathizingly upon his
shoulder, and silently embraced him.

“I feel for you, O Remeses, with all my heart,” I

“I know you do, O prince: I am sure that you do.
But let us terminate this subject. My mother's—I mean,
alas! the queen's desire shall be gratified. I will, for a

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few days, continue as I am, but no more return to the
temples. My initiation is over. Without doubt the
priests of the hierarchy will seek to put me to death,
when they learn that a Hebrew has been initiated into
all their learning and mysteries. It will be necessary
for me to leave Egypt.”

“Then let Tyre, O prince, be thy asylum—thy future
home!” I cried. “There the Hebrew is not in bondage,
and is a Syrian among Syrians. There you shall have
a palace and retinue, and be served as becomes your
wisdom and greatness. My mother Epiphia will welcome
you with pleasure, for she has already learned to
honor you, from my letters. Our city is about to go to
war with the King of Cyprus, and my mother has written,
urging me to return. Twelve galleys will await me at
Pelusium, in a fortnight hence, to escort my own to
Tyre. Consent, O Remeses, to go with me.”

“Noble prince,” he exclaimed, deeply moved, “how
can I thank you! It is the greatest consolation, in this
my sorrow and humiliation, to know that you do not
withdraw from me your friendship; that you can still
esteem me as a man! Sesostris, I thank you. I will
accept your offer, if my—that is, the queen, will change
her mind, and permit me to address a letter, by a swift
courier, to Prince Mœris. In it I will briefly say that I
am informed of my true lineage, and that if he will
quietly wait the succession, and be submissive to the
queen, and withhold his army from Memphis, I will,
within three days after obtaining his affirmative reply,
leave Egypt for a foreign land. Such a course will
prove the best in the end for him and Egypt, and I
have no doubt he will consent to adopt it. How

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extraordinary that this wily man should so long have kept
the secret with which he so terribly menaced my—the

I approved of the course suggested. Remeses soon
afterwards sought the queen; and at the end of four
hours he returned to me, looking very weary and pale,
yet smiling, saying—

“It is achieved! It was a fearful struggle! The
queen has consented! Indeed, she seems heart-broken,
spirit-crushed! This discovery, against which her soul
has so long battled, has left her prostrate, almost
wrecked! For her sake I bore up and hid my own
unfathomable sorrow. She has, at my solicitation, consented
that I shall not only write to Prince Mœris, inserting
a clause enjoining silence as to my birth, but
her own courier shall be its bearer, signifying her wish
for conciliation. The letter was written in her presence,
the clause for silence introduced, and the courier is already
gone with it.”

While Remeses was speaking, a page entered and
informed him that the queen wished to see him. He
found her ill with a feverish pulse. She called him to
her, and said—

“My son, I am about to die! This blow is too heavy
for me to bear! I shall never recover! It was my
wish to leave you firmly seated upon my throne;
but the gods have decreed otherwise. Call a council
of the hierarchy. I must not be faithless to my ancestors,
and leave a vacant throne. You have advised
me to adopt Prince Mœris. I can do no otherwise.
For this act, assemble my councils, both of state and of
the priesthood.”

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“I obeyed,” said Remeses, when he subsequently
related what passed. “The next day the councils met
in one session, and the queen, supported upon her couch,
presided. Briefly she announced her intention of adopting
Mœris-Mento,—giving his full name,—as her son, and
the next in succession to the throne, their consent being
obtained. Then came up the question, `why Prince
Remeses declined?' Being present, I answered that it
was my intention to retire from the court, visit foreign
lands, and leave the government of Egypt in the hands
of Mœris. At the earnest request of the queen I made
no allusion to the secret. The united councils yielded
their assent, and the royal secretary drew up the papers
in due form, which the queen, supported by me, signed.
A courier was then dispatched with a copy of the instrument
to the prince. The cabinet was soon afterwards
dismissed, and I was left alone with the queen, who soon
became very ill.”

Thus far, my dearest mother, had I written in this
letter five days ago, when the chief chamberlain came
hastening to my room, in great terror, saying that the
queen was dying! I lost not a moment in following
him to her apartments. Ever since the meeting of the
council she had been growing worse, and all the skill of
her physicians could not abate the disease, which was
pronounced inflammation of the brain. She had been
for two days wildly delirious, calling upon Remeses not
to leave her, and accusing the gods of seeking to put
upon her a stranger for her own son! At length her
ravings and her fever ceased, and she rapidly failed.
When I entered, I found Remeses kneeling by her side,
his manly head bowed upon her couch, and tears falling

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upon her cold hand, held in his. Her mind was clear
now, but I could see that the azure circle of death girdled
her eyes, and that the light of the soul within was
expiring. Her whole attention was fixed upon Remeses,
to whom she kept saying, in a faint whisper, and
with a smile, “My son, my son, my own son! call me

“Mother, O my mother!” he exclaimed, in his strong
anguish, “I cannot part with thee! Thou hast been a
mother to me indeed!”

As I entered, her gaze turned towards me.

“It is the Prince of Tyre! I thought it was the others!”

“What others, my mother?” asked Remeses.

“They will soon come. I commanded him to bring
them all. I must see them ere I die. But the Prince
of Tyre is welcome!” And she smiled upon me, and
gave me her other hand to kiss. It was cold as ivory!
I also knelt by her, and sorrowfully watched her sharpening
features, which the chisel of Death seemed
shaping into the marble majesty of a god.

At this moment the door opened, and I saw, ushered
in by a Hebrew page, the venerable head gardener, Amram;
the young Hebrew ecclesiastic; Miriam the papyrus
writer; and, leaning upon her arm, a dignified and
still beautiful dame of fifty-five. I could not be mistaken—
this last was the mother of Remeses.

“Cause all persons to go forth the chamber,” cried
the queen at the sight, her voice recovering in part its
strength. She glanced at me to remain.

“Come hither, Amram,” she said, “and lead to my
bedside thy wife. Remeses, behold thy mother and

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[figure description] Page 426.[end figure description]

father! Mother, embrace thy son! Since he can be
no longer mine, I will return him to thee forever!” Her
voice was veiled with tears. Remeses rose, and turning
to his mother, who looked worthy of him, said:

“My mother, I acknowledge thee to be my mother!
Give me thy blessing, as thou hast often done in my infancy.”

He tenderly and respectfully embraced her, and then
pressing his father's hand to his lips, he knelt before
them. They were deeply moved, and instead of blessing
him, wept upon him with silent joy.

“Are there not two more—a brother, a sister?” said
Remeses, his fine face radiant with that ineffable beauty
which shines from benevolence and the performance of
a holy duty. I then led forward Miriam, whom he regarded
with admiring surprise (for she looked like a
queen in her own right), and then tenderly embraced,
saying to me, “Though I have lost a kingdom, O Sesostris,
I have gained a sister, which no crown could
bestow upon me.” Then, when he saw the noble and
princely looking priest, he cried, as he folded him to his

“This is, indeed, my brother!”

The whole scene was touching and interesting beyond
the power of my pen to describe, my dear mother. The
dying queen smiled with serene pleasure, and waving
her hand, Remeses led first his mother, and then his
father, and in succession his sister and brother, to her
couch. Upon the heads of each she laid her hand, but
longest upon the mother's, saying:

“Love him—be kind to him—he has no mother now
but thee! Love him for my sake—you cannot but love

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him for his own! If I took thy babe, O mother, I return
thee a man and a prince worthy to rule a nation,
and in whom my eyes, closing upon the present, and seeing
far into the future, behold a leader of thy people—a
prince to thy nation. Born to a throne, he shall yet
reign king of armies and leader of hosts, who I see follow
him obedient to his will and submissive to the rod
of his power. Remeses, I die! Kiss me!”

The noble Hebrew reverently bent over her lips, as
if in an act of worship; and when he lifted his face,
there remained a statue of clay. The Queen of Egypt
was no more! Sesostris.

I closed, dear mother, my account of the death of the
great and good Queen Amense (which I wrote the day
following that sad event), in order to accompany Remeses
to the chief embalmers. As I passed through the
streets, I saw that the whole population was in mourning.
Women went with dishevelled hair, men ceased
to shave their heads and beards, and all the signs of woe
for death, which I have before described, were visible.
By the laws of Egypt, not even a king can be embalmed
in his own palace. Remeses, on reaching the suburb
of the embalmers, was received into the house of the
chief, and here he gave directions as to the fashion of
the case and sarcophagus, and the pattern of the funeral
car, and of the baris in which it was to cross the Nile
to the pyramid which, I have already said, she has been,
since the first year of her reign, erecting for her burial-place—
placing a casing of vast stones, brought down
from the quarries near Elephantis, each year.

I will not delay to describe the ceremonies of

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preparation, nor the embalmment and burial of the august lady
whose demise has cast a pall over Egypt. Your assurance
that it would take you five months to get ready
your war-fleet against Cyprus, and the desire of Remeses
that I delay until the eighty days' mourning for
the queen were over, induced me to remain. It is now
four days since her burial in the centre of her stately
pyramid, with the most imposing and gorgeous rites
ever known at the entombment of a monarch. Prince
Mœris was chief mourner! I have omitted to state that
he readily acceded to the conditions proposed in the letter
of Remeses, and when the courier followed, conveying
to him the fact that he had been adopted and declared
her heir by the queen, he addressed a frank and
friendly letter to Remeses; for it is easy for him to assume
any character his interest prompts. As soon as
the intelligence of the death of the queen reached him,
he hastened to Memphis. Here he had an interview
with Remeses, whom he treated with courtesy, and
offered the supervision of that part of Egypt where the
Hebrew shepherds dwell; for I have learned that in a valley,
which leads from Raamses to the Sea of Arabia, there
are hundreds of Hebrews who, like their ancestors, keep
vast flocks and herds belonging to the crown, but out of
which they are allowed a tenth for their subsistence.
Over this pastoral domain, embracing about twenty
thousand shepherds, the prospective Pharaoh proposed
to place Remeses. I felt that it was intended as an insult;
but Remeses viewed it as an evidence of kindness
on the part of one who knows not how to be noble or

The interment of the queen past, there is nothing to

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detain either Remeses or myself longer in Egypt. By
her bounty he is rich, and has given to his parents a
large treasure, which will enable them to be at ease;
and besides, the queen gave to them and to Aaron
(this is the name of the elder brother of Remeses), and
his sister, the right of citizenship. Mœris, the day of
the queen's burial, virtually ascended the throne. His
coronation, however, will not take place until after he
has passed through the forty days' novitiate.

And now, my dear mother, you will be surprised to
learn that, the information of the Hebrew birth of Remeses
(who has modestly dropped his first Egyptian
name and adheres only to the second, which is Mosis,
or Moses, as the Hebrews pronounce it), was wickedly
conveyed, with large bribes, to the magicians by Prince
Mœris himself; and that, upon this information and
influence, they recalled from the past, which, like the
future, is open to their magical art, the scenes of his life,
and presented them before his vision.

Wonderful, incomprehensible, dear mother, above all
things I have seen in Egypt, is the mysterious power
of these magicians and sorcerers. Originally of the
priestly order, they have advanced into deeper and
deeper mysteries, until the hierarchy of the regular
temple-worship fear them, and deny their ecclesiastical
character, saying, “that they have climbed so high the
mountains of Osiris, that they have fallen headlong over
their summits into the dark realms of Typhon, and owe
their dread power to his auspices.”

Whatever be the source of their powerful art, dear
mother, there is no doubt of its reality. Not even all
the invocations, sacrifices, oblations, prayers, libations,

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and exercises of the regular priesthood can compete with
these magicians and sorcerers. They can convert day
into night! destroy the shadow of an obelisk! fill the
air with a shower of sand, or of flowers! convert their
rods into vines that bear grapes! and walk with living
asps as if they were almond or acacia rods! They can
present before the inquirer, the face or scene in a distant
land that is desired to be beheld! They can remove
blocks of porphyry by a touch of the finger, and
make a feather heavy as gold! They can cause invisible
music in the air, and foretell the rain! And when
extraordinary motives and rewards are brought to bear
upon them, they can, by their united skill and necromantic
art, aided by sorcery, reproduce the past, as in
the case of Remeses!

These powerful, yet dreaded and hated men, have for
ages been an appendage to the crown, and call themselves
the “servants of the Pharaohs.” The kings of
Egypt, who have protected, favored, and sought their
assistance, have also trembled at their power. Without
question they are aided by the evil genii; and perform
their works through the agency of the spirit of evil.

This, dear mother, will be the last letter I shall write
you from Egypt. Accompanied by Remeses, I shall
to-morrow embark in my galley for Pelusium. My
friend, the Admiral Pathromenes, will accompany us to
the mouth of the Eastern Nile. I ought to say that
King Mœris, now Pharaoh-elect, has extended towards
me marked civilities, and seeks for a continuance of
friendly intercourse. I shall bear a royal letter from
him to your majesty, expressive of his respect for
you, and his desire to perpetuate the alliance. But I

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have no love for the man! If I can, I will raise an
army in Phœnicia, after I see the King of Cyprus
chained to the poop of my galley, and, placing Remeses
at the head, invade Egypt, call the Hebrews to arms,
and, overturning the throne of Mœris, place my friend
in his seat. Did not the dying queen prophesy that he
was born to rule? It is over Egypt he will yet wield
the sceptre! I will do my part, dear mother, to fulfil
the prophecy.

To the lovely Princess Thamonda convey my devotions,
and assure her that I shall make war against Cyprus
more successfully, with her heart wedded to mine,
than alone. Warn her, dear mother, that I shall claim
her hand as soon as I return, and that Remeses will be
the groom-friend whom I shall honor with the high
place of witness and chief guest at our nuptials.

Farewell, dear mother.

Remeses desires to unite with me in affectionate regards
to you.

Your son,
Sesostris. Here the correspondence of the Prince of Tyre with the Queen
Epiphia terminates.

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Ingraham, J. H. (Joseph Holt), 1809-1860 [1859], The pillar of fire, or, Israel in bondage. (Pudney & Russell [and] H. Dayton, New York) [word count] [eaf611T].
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