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The proprietor of the ass which our Author usually mounted, told him, that he gave twenty ducats for that beast, and would not take double the money for him, the creature being his master's chief support.
Our Author also visited Rosetta ; and, en passant, describes the country and its produce. He also mentions many particulars relating to the manners and customs of the people ; and among other circumstances, he give the following account of the Egyptian snake-merchants:
Now (the beginning of July) fays he, was the time to catch all sorts of snakes to be met with in Egypt, as the great heats bring forth these vermin : I therefore made preparation to get all I could, and at once received four different lorts, which I have described and preserved in aqua vitæ. These were the common viper, the ceraftes of alpin, jaculus, and an anguis marinus, They were brought to me by a Philli, who put me, together with the French Consul, and all of the French nation present, in confternation. They gathered about us to see how The handled the most poisonous and dreadful creatures, alive and brisk, without their doing or even offering to do her the least harm. When the put them into the bottle where chey were to be preserved, the took them with her bare hands, and handled them as our ladies do their laces. She had no difficulty with any but the viperæ officinales, which were not fond of their lodging. They found means to creep out before the bottle could be corked. They crept over the hands and bare arms of the woman, without occafioning the least fear in her : she with great calmness took the snakes from her body, and put them into the place destined for their grave. She had taken these serpents in the field with the fame ease fhe handled them before us ; this. we were told by the Arab who brought her to us. Doubtless this woman had some unknown art which enabled her to handle those creatures. It was impossible to get any information from her; for on this subject she would not open her lips. The art of fascinating Serpents is a secret amongst the Egyptians. It is worthy the endeavours of all naturalists, and the attention of every traveller, to learn something decisive relative to this affair. How ancient this art is amongst the Africans, may be concluded from the ancient Marii and Psylli
, who were from Africa, and daily Inewed:proofs of it at Rome. It is very remarkable that this fhould be kept a secret for more than 2000 years, being known only to a few, when we have seen how many other fecrets have within that time been revealed. The circumstances relating to the fascination of serpents in Egypt related to me, were principally, 1. That the art is only known to certain families, who propagated it to their offspring. 2. The person who knows how to fascinate serpents, never meddies with other
poisonous animals ; such as scorpions, lizards, &c. There are different persons who know how to fascinate these animals and they again never meddle with serpents. 3. Those that faf. cinate serpents eat them both raw and boiled, and even make broth of them, which they eat very commonly amongst them; but in particular, that eat such a dish when they go out to catch them. I have even been told the serpents fried or boiled, are frequently eat by the Arabians, both in Egypt and Arabia, though they know not how to fascinate them, but catch them either alive or dead. 4. After they have eat their soup, they procure a blessing from their Scheik (priest or lawyer) who uses some superstitious ceremonies, and amongst others, spits on them feveral times with certain gestures. This matter of getting a blessing from the priest is pure superstition, and certainly cannot in the least help to fascinate serpents ; but they believe, or will at least persuade others, that the power of fascinating ferpents depends upon this circumstance. We see by this, that they know how to make use of the same means used by other nations; namely, to hide under the superstitious cloak of religion, what may be easily and naturally explained, especially when they cannot or will not explain the natural reason. I am inclined to think that all which was formerly, and is yet reckoned witchcraft, might come under the same article with the fascination of serpents. The discovery of a small matter may in time teach every body to fascinate serpents; and then this power may be exercised by those who have not got it from the hands of a holy Scheik, just as the heat would naturally hatch chickens in an Egyptian oven ; whether a Scheik did or did not lay himself naked on it, when the eggs are just put in; yet to this ceremony do the superstitious Egyptians ascribe the happy event of the chicken being hatched, when they are asked the reason. I have been told of a plant with which they anoint or rub themfelves before they touch the serpents ; but I have not hitherto received the least description of it, therefore I regard it as fabulous.'
Among the things most observable at Cairo, the nilometre engaged our Author's attention. This is a pretty large house built in a square near the river Nile. Its roof terminates in a white pyramid ; in the foundation-wall, are holes through which the water has a free entrance. In the middle of the building is a marble obelisk, in which is a scale of inches; and by this they daily observe the increase of the river till the water is let into the town, and over the country.-On the 27th of July, Dr. Hasselquist was present at the celebration of a festival tom which Cairo alone hath a right, derived from nature, and not to be celebrated in any other place in the world ! It was on this day that the water of the Nile was let into the town; and there
by a beginning made,' as our author, or his translator expresleth it, to Egypt's fertility for the ensuing year.'-' As the good or bad fortune of the country;' continues he, depends on this day, in respect to the plenty of the water, it is justly one of the most folemn in the whole year. The Nile is entirely under the direction of man: it overflows the country,
but wanders not at will : it is conducted to all parts of the countries which may want it, with prudence and circumspection; ,but the art of man cannot contribute to its encrease. This is the work of nature. When the Nile begins to encrease, a dam of earth is caft up at the opening of the ditch, which the Emperor Trajan made from the river, and goes through the city, which formerly ended in the sea at Rosette, after having watered the whole country through which the ditch was made. When the water hath risen to a sufficient height, which can be seen by the famous Nilometre, this dam is opened and the ditch filled with water, which is afterwards encreased and led over the whole country. The day this is done is a festival, and was now celebrated. The festival was not so remarkable in this year as in others, because the Turks had now begun their Ramadan, when every body is silent and devout. The scene was commonly performed in this manner : the Bashaw in Cairo, accompanied by a detachment of 1000 or more Janissaries, with his Kiaja and other officers, goes to the dam on horseback at seven o'clock in the morning, where he enters a tchiosk (an open summer-house) and orders those that are to open the dam to hold themselves in readiness. The honour of opening the dam is divided between the Turks, Copthi, and Jews, and is opened by them in their turn. When every thing is ready for opening, the Bashaw throws with his own hands a spade upon the dam. This done, it is removed by those who are appointed for the purpose, with the loudest acclamations of numbers of people.'
Our Author's description of the grand caravan which goes. from Cairo to Mecca, is extremely curious *; but we have not room for the particulars. His visit to the burial places of the mummies, and to the celebrated pyramids, comes next. these prodigious monuments of Egyptian antiquity, the pyramids, we have already given, from Norden's travels t, a much more considerable account of them, than is to be met with in Dr. Hasselquife's brief memoirs. Of the fepulchres of the mummies, our Author's account is also very brief, and much less fatisfactory than some former descriptions already before the public. In truth, our Swedish traveller is less of an antiquarian than a bo
• This caravan usually confifts of pilgrims, to the number of 40 or 50,000 ; and sometimes even 100,000. + See Review, vol. xv,
tanist. These subterraneous places, says he, afforded me lefs pleasure than the open plain I saw around them, where I searched for natural curiosities. However, he acknowledges that the infeats he found in the land were the greatest advantage he reaped from this journey; for he met with some which he supposes no naturalist had ever before seen :- He must mean described, for it is rather too much, to pronounce what had not been seen by othet naturalists visiting the same country.
During his stay at Cairo, our Author tells us he ventured to do a thing which he believes very few travellers before him have done, and in which he would not advise any one to follow his example, as they might not, perhaps, come off so safely as he did. He went into the Turkish mosque !—In direct oppofition to the laws of Turky, which ordain that any Christian who thall presume to enter one of their places of worship, muft either turn Mahometan, or be burnt alive. The Doctor's curiofity, nevertheless, was stronger than his apprehension of the danger, and in he went; at a time, however, when none of the Turks who live there were present. He was accompanied by a French interpreter, and a good honest Janissary who was devoted to our Author,—and the scruples of the door keeper removed by a handsome fee-What our adventurer faw in the mosque proved, after all, but an indifferent compensation for the hazard he ran; the building which he visited, and which he briefy defcribes, having nothing in it equal to the churches in molt European nations.
From Cairo our Author went to Damiata, a little town built on the shore of the Nile, in the form of a half-moon, fituated on the right-hand in coming from Cairo. In the environs of this town he botanized, according to cuftom, and here, he tells us, in the true spirit of a disciple of Linnæus, he had the pleafure of seeing, from his window, one of the most remarkable fights in nature. "A female palma (Phænix dactylifera Linnæi) had in the night put forth its bloffoms from the spatha. I went thither at sun-rise to see it, whilst the dew was yet falling. I saw a gardener, the proprietor of the palm, climbing up the palm, which equalled our largest firs in heig! He had a bunch of male flowers, with which he powdered the female, and by these means fecundated them. After he had done this, he cut away the inferior boughs or leaves, between which the Aowers of the preceding year had come out, together with the remarkable web which covers the basis of the leaves, and goes from one edge of a leaf to the other.'
And now quitting the Land of Egypt, we arrive, with our • Author, at the Holy LAND.—April 1, 1750, the vessel by which he was conveyed, in four days, from Damiata, anchored before Jaffa, called Joppa, in the scriptures. Here he im
mediately repaired to the quarters of the Latin Monks, who are appointed to receive pilgrims, and to forward them on their journey to Jerusalem. The Procurator immediately put to him a question, which our Protestant traveller would willingly have avoided ; viz. “ Whether he came to visit the holy places out of devotion?” The Doctor honestly answering in the negative,
What," cried the Monk, who was a Spaniard, “ travel to the Holy Land without devotion !"-Our Author, however, tpeedily put an end to this disagreeable conversation; by changing the subject to that of money; and counted out to the pious Procurator 62 piastres for himself, and the like sum for his servant. In consideration of this sum, the procurator sent previous advice to Jerusalem, of the stranger's arrival; and also took charge of all his baggage, till he should return. The Doctor was well pleased with this delay, as it afforded him some time for rest, after a disagreeable voyage, before he set out on a journey yet more disagreeable by land.
" I was now, says he, come into the Holy Land, therefore had reason to expect continual informations of holy things. The Monks began with their hotel, by informing me that it was the holy place where St. Peter had his fishing hut, and where he threw the famous ring into the sea. Every thing, even to the table on which we supped, was holy. The wine we drank caine.from the holy desart where St. John dwelt; and the olives grew on the mountain of Olives near Jerusalem. These, independent of their holiness, were of the best kind I had tasted in the Levant, being such as Palestine, always famous for olivetrees, affords. Amongst those who visited me, during my stay in Jaffa, was a clerk of the customs, who on the third day came to receive the twenty-two piastres, which every Frank is obliged to pay to the custom-house of Jaffa, for the privilege of coming on shore and travelling in the country. The inhabitants of the country, Armenians, Greeks, &c. pay only half the sum. But as 4000 persons arrive yearly, besides as many Jews, who come from all quarters of the world, this may be elteemed a confiderable revenue for the Turks; and indeed they receive no other from this uncultivated and almost uninhabited country. The greateft part of this money is by legacies left to Mecca. A shrewd disposition, which appropriates the revenue arising from one kind of superstition, to the maintenance of another.'
April 5th, our traveller, accompanied by a few others, mounted on alles, set out for Jerufalem; and as they journied along, he observed, and thus defcribes, the face of the country : :- The whole country from juffa to Rami confits of little hills; between there are level and handsome vales, which extend in large plains. A part is turned into corn fields, but most of it lies waste. The ground here consists of a loose reddi Rev. Feb. 1766.