William H. Seward's Travels around the World

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

CHAPTER II.
FROM SUEZ TO CAIRO.

The Bedouin Arabs.--A Wady.--Goshen.--Nubian Troops.--A Splendid Sunset.--The Palace of Repose.--The Khédive.--The Population of Egypt.--The Khédive's Improvements.--A Visit to the Harem.--The Female Slaves.--Egypt and Utah.

Cairo, May 6th.--From Suez to Cairo is one hundred and thirty miles. Leaving Ismaïlia at five o'clock, we continued our monotonous way for two hours. The desert has no inhabitants, except a small force of Arab laborers employed in keeping the canal and railroad free from the whirling sands.

On this journey we have made our first acquaintance with the Bedouin Arabs. They were encamped with their camels and horses on an oasis of hardly thirty rods in circumference, its vegetation being due to a leakage of the small "Sweet-water" Canal. The Bedouin tents indicate vagrancy. The encampment had no women; the men are stalwart and handsome. How long will it be before these travellers of the sands, dispensing with their caravans, will be buying "excursion-tickets" on railroads and steamboats?

It is a singular contrast of man's enterprise against Nature's impassibility that our path through the desert is marked out, not only by the interoceanic canal, but also by an interoceanic railroad, and by several telegraph-lines. Of these, the first is the Egyptian line; the second, the European and Indian line; the third, the Suez-Canal line. The whole of Egypt, Upper and Lower included,

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