William H. Seward's Travels around the World

By Olive Risley Seward; William Henry Seward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I.
THE RED SEA AND SUEZ CANAL.

The Gate of Tears.--The Rock of Perim.--The Port of Mecca.--Imaginary Terrors.-- Pleasant Weather.--The Coasts of the Red Sea.--The Division of the Races.--A Refreshing Atmosphere.--The Track of the Israelites.--Suez.--The Ancient Canal. --The New Canal.--Its Inauguration.--Its Prospects.

Steamer Deccan, Red Sea, April 30th.--Last night we came through the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb (the Gate of Tears). Though we had a growing moon, we were unable to discern either shore, or the Rock of Perim, long famous for its supply of tortoise-shell, and rendered notorious, in our own time, by the abortive attempt of the French to secure it as a counter-salient to Aden. We are quite sure that, with the aid of a strong glass, reënforced by a more powerful faith, we discerned this morning the Arabian shore, and even the minarets of some town. We are now sailing past a series of low, sandy, uninhabited islands which lie off the Abyssinian shore.

May 3d.--We have just passed Jiddah, the port of Mecca. Although some of the European powers manage, in spite of the fanatical ferocity of the natives, to maintain consulates there, the port is visited only by Egyptian craft. On the western shore, we have taken leave of Abyssinia, and now we make the towering peak, Ras-Elba, which tells us that we have come far upward along the desert shores of Nubia. From the day we formed our first acquaintance with European sojourners in the. East, at Yokohama,

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