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The Pyramids

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[The following letter, taken from the Chicago Tribune, is from the pen of Rev. Mcnry M. Qoodell, formerly of this city. wlio has written so many interesting letters for the Courier.]- Ed. Courier. Replete with interest, indeed, is this genuincly Oriental city. with its quaint baars, indescribable kreet scènes, and wonderful medley of human life ; but we could uot long forbear a visit to tboae tnighty inoniinients of the past,- the Pyramtda. And so, bright and early on the last day of Man-h, whlle the uir was still cool and refreshing, westarted uut on the excursión. The distance is about eighty miles, and travelers generally take carriages, or provule themselves with donkeys. As soon as you approach the donkey-boys, waiting near the Esbekeeyah l'ark, "they rush towards you pell-mell, each trying to strike a bargain first. The rival merits of the wee gray steeds are clamorously set ibrth, causing much fun and merriment on both sides. "My donk good donk!" says one. Another, with a broad grin, shouts, "My donk he speak Inglces ! He very good!" While a third cries, "My donk name Vank' 1 oodle ! Have my denk t" We croaxed the Nile on a new and elegant bridge, just west of the city, known as the Kasr-el-Nil, construeted ly the Khedive for the use of the Prince of Wales and party in 1868. Just above the bridge is the beautiful Island of Rhoda, once covered with gorgeous palaces and temples and now adorned with line resiclenres and blooming gardens. Herc grow in hixuri anee the lig, orange, lemon, lofty palm, acacia, and wide-spreading tamarisk. On tais island, tradition says, the tnfant Moses was discovered by Pharaoh's daughler as 8he caine down to the rivui'.s brink to bathe, attended by her maldens Every little while we would meet a long train of camels or donkeys heavily laden witli new-mown clover to be sold in the city. At Qtzefa we tnrned to the right. and ¦iiion entered a long, straight avenue of ircliing acacias, - the new road built in honor of the Prince of Wales. The crops along the way were luxiiriant. although, in our own country, at the same time of year, Nature is still dormant. The clover was knee-high, the wheat and batrley already golden. In some fields were tetbered large numbersof fineArabian borses - the tenis of thcir keepers pitched near by. OUtances are very deceivlng in this remarkable elimate. Again and again we thought we had accomplished our journey within half or three-iuarters of a niile. The vast iiess of the objecte bef ore us contributeil to this effect; and tlSen, in tbis land of eternal sunshine, the atmosphere U so transparent and crystalline tliat the power of visión is greatly hightened, so tliat, whei; we stood upon the Pyramid and gaed around us, it seemed as ihough ""¦ wuwio tartii Was embraced in one view. Our attention was first attracted bv the Sphinx, - that strange combination of man and beast, - human in its weariness, sorrow, and benignty, - divine in its Immensity. There it lies in an attitude of eternnl repose, lts sleepless eyes ever looking right on towards the rising sun, a guardián genius in the midst of mighty sepulchres. At last we stood at the bas, of tbc l'yra muis, - those mountain8 of stone, petnfled mysteries of an age long dead and gone. Very simple in form, - onlv a regular piramidal masa of granit blocks,- and yet 90 wan y thousands have come from afar to visit them, so many countless multitudes have reaU and thought of them, their very immen8ity, áutiquity, and mystery awaken the deepest interest. There they have stood, locked in awful silencc and lonelineu Mtween tbelieJeu, sbadowUMdeaert, and the hot, blank sky, - uitnesses to the sublime drama of a world's history. Palaces could be built with the money science bas expended in taeasuring and exploring them ; the curioua have penetratcd to their very heart. and found only two or three empty, silent chambers. The litcrature on this subject would fill a llbrary ; they are surmised to bc many things: royal mausojeums; "an altar to the Lord for a eign and for a witness unto the Lord of Hosts in the land of Ejrypt"; but they are known to In - only the Pyramids. They are the best earthly symbols of Eternity. Like oolsasal hreakwatere they have resisted the" ever hcating waves of Time, as revolving cycloi and dynasties have come and gone. J'hat noble race who built the palaces and temples of Memphis 4,000 years ago, declared them to be old. When the sceptre pas8ed out of Kgypt, and Persian conquerors stood bcneatli tlnir sliade, they km nu change, save the loss of their exterior polishcd marbles. While Oreece grew from infaucy into nianhood, and sent lortb her Macedonian hero to huinble the world, and Egypfs crown was laid low in the dust, they stood unnioved. When Rome proudly "sat upon her seven hills, and from her thrown of leauty ruled the world," they were still the same, with per chance a few more scars. And, when glory utterly deserted the Nile Valley. nd her noble sóns became a race of slaves, they remained majestic mourners of the past Rut we did not tlniik of all this there in the noonday sun, - the hot sirocco wint blinding oor ey es wlth dust and tand,- onr spirits haraaaed by Impndent Bedontna doggiKg U8 at every step. Cheops, the largest of the I'yramids covers an área of aboat elereo aeres, it. b:ise is perfectly timare, and exacto in line with the points of the compass its perpcinlii nl.u hlght Is 400 t'crt. Orlplu.ill , Eta área must have beeu nearlv thirteen acres, and its apét nearly twenty fee higher, - ror the outcr layer of stom-s has long since been removed, and at the to] there is a level space about twenty fee square. The stones are not all of the same c lint eacfa sueoessive layer is abou three feet and a half high, and set in abon the aajoe distante, so that with sonie dilli cnlty you can aacend the 20C steps to the -i i in in t. All Istilentaa the tomb ; but one day how many human hands were at work on this roeky plateau! How many, inanx strbkei it the hatimer to faahtoa all these ¦quare blocks of hard granitel Whal won derful engines for hoisting such weighty inasses to their lofty resting places! Tlien Kings were reverenced as if divine : tin comtnon people were slaves. and the livcs of mllllon wero speat to aggi-andize the life of one. The entrence to this nmterious strncture 8 on the iifirth side, at the sixteenth step. A crowd of raggetl, lay Ai-absaregenernlly lying aronnd, ready to press upon you tlnir scivicos, and clamoriug for "backBbeesh." interior has been so often and K) minutely described that I will not go in detalla. The gatdes, wlth lihts, . (iniuct yon throagt) varions paaaages, descenJInx and anendlng, leadiog ron íiral tu the Qnaan'g chamber.- on empty, desolate room, Beventeen reet (oñg, ioutteen widr, and twelve high. The cciling and Bidea are of polished granlte. Then, aacendinean inclioed plane about 1d feet, you re&cu the King'schainber, thirty-seven teel 1'iik', ¦venteen wide, and tuciity hij[h. riiis room conialm one solitarv obj.'ct. - a Mrcopliagua, liewn out of a solul block of gr.-miic, sivcn mul a half long, tbree feel three Inchee wlde, and three and ii Inill liigh. On account of its size, itmiist have heen placed In tliR cliamlier wlicn the Pyramld waabeing bollt We were told tliatllicri' was alïoa swbtcrranran passage; and there is ghown a dark chasm, called the WCll, whlch is taid to descend to a great depth, tinally coniiecting with tlic luw er i:issage. The view trom the summit of Cheops is peculiar to Egypt, and one of the grandest in the whote world. 15oauty is hightened by striking contrastó. Here you see at one anee a fertile valley of per'ennial green, full of life, liglit and liappiness, siüe by tlde uitli the bouudless desert, an arid waste of buiniiig sands, over whicli reign death and dt-solation. You are standing upon and among the very oldest monuinents of antiiuity. the outlines of Wboee endurine forma are but faintiy dteeemable n the dim, misty dawn of the human race: you behold in the niagniticent panorama at your feet tlie lite. work. and artivity of' the ire?ent age. J$ut your thouglits naturally Hoger with the scènes of the past. Beautiful as iKgypt to-.lay, what must it have been in the age of Abraham, .íoseph and Aloses? Then the evergreen valley, through which thrcada the N'iie like a bright silver cord. teenied wlth :i population of millions. It was tlie eradle of human civilization. The arts aiul science flourished. Stupendous feats of engineering were successfully aceomplished. Many of ourboasted DCW inventions wereknown to these ancienU, and some oftheir wonderful arts in colors and einbalminor are lost, perhaps forever. Where do yon behold only verdant flelds and picturesque ruins, In that day there stood in prond glory a maguilicent assemblage of eities, temples approaehed by ivenues of colossal sphinxes, palaces, obelisks, elegant bridjfes and ways. splcnclid boulevards shaded by long line t ftrchtng acacias, monuments, sepulchres. The river and its interminr.ble network of ¦anals and 'aten ¦oiimü, niyriads of minia;ure lalces, were all alive with gay barges, roud galleys. :md lleader Íoats, their white sails flutteriiii; in the brecze. Mighty irniics. led by tbousandl of war-chariots, were tnarslialed in the ]iluin. Egypt, popikU, powerful, eultureJ, was in herglory, and tirst unong the nations. And rürnt over there to the northeast was the land of (ii-hrii, line once tin1 rbildren of Israel, that peculiar people, made bricks without tr:tu. irrii-int-d Mrifnlli tli ' sinaitcd ander tbe lasli of cruel oppre8sors. What mlghty mtflrles xvere witnessed along this river, when God, who had hcard ¦vi'iy itv ot' distress and wail of anrtiish 'orso ratuiy generations, at Kst, when tke "nllness of the time had come, led tlicm "orth with a mighty hand and an outstretclied arm ! As tlie lonij ages pass by, there come to is memories of UM Qvweo of beauty and uxiiry whose eharms led iptive the brave eneráis of great Ilome; of the greatest of lic ÜMan, wlieii Alexandria beeame celetrated as a sent ol commerce, arts, and earning. Hither in fllght cama tlie Cliild of Destiny, and llis religión of love and jeace overturns the ancient wonblp and juriesin oblivion the nation's hieroplyphk ore, wliile the solitudes of the Thebald are jeopled wilh devout hermits. Later corae lie tread of KohamnMdan invaders, wlth sword and llame, and the doom of this once noble country is sealed; then falls ipon it tlie heavy pall of ignorance, superstition, and moral darkness. Egvpt, once so happy and glorious, with ne toot upon the seven raouths of tliy rlvr nnothfir uinn Kthipi;, anl t li v bead In the clouds, what a history is tinne ! Jiut thy glory aud grandeur are departid. These stately columns and ibelisks, these ruins of grand temples, - mostot all, these inountains of enduring granite, - are all that remain to teil the [MHing (niveler of what thou once !i:ist úeen.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News