THEBES AND ITS RUINS.
What Thebes is now.--A Grand Reception.--A Federal Salute.--The Scenery of the Nile.--The Temple of Luxor.--The Houses of the Consuls.--History of Luxor.-- Karnak.--The Hall of the Gods.--King Shishak.--Sphinx Avenues.--We dine with the Vice-Consul.--The Colossi.--The Ancient Tombs.--The Tombs of the Kings.-- Animal Worship.--The Rameseum.--Grandeur of Thebes.
Thebes, May 17th.--From the first hour of our classic reading, Thebes is the one place which we have most desired, and least of all hoped, to see. But, we are here, moored under the east bank of the Nile, which once supported that glorious city of antiquity. We have come too late, by thousands of years, to verify the descriptions given of it by the poets and historians of old. There are no longer "a hundred gates" here, nor is there one gate, nor a wall, nor a trace of a wall. There are no monuments by which we could decide the disputed question whether the Diospolis, situated on the east bank of the Nile, and including Luxor and Karnak, was the whole of Thebes, or whether it extended across the river, and included the Colossi, the Memnonium, and the Necropolis.
We must first note, not what Thebes was, but what it is now. Our deck is forty feet perpendicularly below the top of the bank. There was no wharf, no dock, no bund, no ghaut; there is no stone stairway, there is no wooden one. In anticipation of our coming, the sheik (governor), by direction of Sultan Pacha, has excavated steps in the loose, dry earth. They will serve us perhaps to reach the summit, but they will need to be repaired for our re