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    Chapter 58

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    Chapter 59
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    The donkeys were all good, all handsome, all strong and in good
    condition, all fast and all willing to prove it. They were the best we
    had found any where, and the most 'recherche'. I do not know what
    'recherche' is, but that is what these donkeys were, anyhow. Some
    were of a soft mouse-color, and the others were white, black, and
    vari-colored. Some were close-shaven, all over, except that a tuft like
    a paint-brush was left on the end of the tail. Others were so shaven in
    fanciful landscape garden patterns, as to mark their bodies with curving
    lines, which were bounded on one side by hair and on the other by the
    close plush left by the shears. They had all been newly barbered, and
    were exceedingly stylish. Several of the white ones were barred like
    zebras with rainbow stripes of blue and red and yellow paint. These
    were indescribably gorgeous. Dan and Jack selected from this lot
    because they brought back Italian reminiscences of the "old masters."
    The saddles were the high, stuffy, frog-shaped things we had known in
    Ephesus and Smyrna. The donkey-boys were lively young Egyptian rascals
    who could follow a donkey and keep him in a canter half a day without
    tiring. We had plenty of spectators when we mounted, for the hotel was
    full of English people bound overland to India and officers getting
    ready for the African campaign against the Abyssinian King Theodorus.
    We were not a very large party, but as we charged through the streets of
    the great metropolis, we made noise for five hundred, and displayed
    activity and created excitement in proportion. Nobody can steer a
    donkey, and some collided with camels, dervishes, effendis, asses,
    beggars and every thing else that offered to the donkeys a reasonable
    chance for a collision. When we turned into the broad avenue that leads
    out of the city toward Old Cairo, there was plenty of room. The walls
    of stately date-palms that fenced the gardens and bordered the way,
    threw their shadows down and made the air cool and bracing. We rose to
    the spirit of the time and the race became a wild rout, a stampede, a
    terrific panic. I wish to live to enjoy it again.

    Somewhere along this route we had a few startling exhibitions of Oriental
    simplicity. A girl apparently thirteen years of age came along the great
    thoroughfare dressed like Eve before the fall. We would have called her
    thirteen at home; but here girls who look thirteen are often not more
    than nine, in reality. Occasionally we saw stark-naked men of superb
    build, bathing, and making no attempt at concealment. However, an hour's
    acquaintance with this cheerful custom reconciled the pilgrims to it, and
    then it ceased to occasion remark. Thus easily do even the most
    startling novelties grow tame and spiritless to these sight-surfeited

    Arrived at Old Cairo, the camp-followers took up the donkeys and tumbled
    them bodily aboard a small boat with a lateen sail, and we followed and
    got under way. The deck was closely packed with donkeys and men; the two
    sailors had to climb over and under and through the wedged mass to work
    the sails, and the steersman had to crowd four or five donkeys out of the
    way when he wished to swing his tiller and put his helm hard-down. But
    what were their troubles to us? We had nothing to do; nothing to do but
    enjoy the trip; nothing to do but shove the donkeys off our corns and
    look at the charming scenery of the Nile.

    On the island at our right was the machine they call the Nilometer, a
    stone-column whose business it is to mark the rise of the river and
    prophecy whether it will reach only thirty-two feet and produce a famine,
    or whether it will properly flood the land at forty and produce plenty,
    or whether it will rise to forty-three and bring death and destruction to
    flocks and crops--but how it does all this they could not explain to us
    so that we could understand. On the same island is still shown the spot
    where Pharaoh's daughter found Moses in the bulrushes. Near the spot we
    sailed from, the Holy Family dwelt when they sojourned in Egypt till
    Herod should complete his slaughter of the innocents. The same tree they
    rested under when they first arrived, was there a short time ago, but the
    Viceroy of Egypt sent it to the Empress Eugenie lately. He was just in
    time, otherwise our pilgrims would have had it.

    The Nile at this point is muddy, swift and turbid, and does not lack a
    great deal of being as wide as the Mississippi.

    We scrambled up the steep bank at the shabby town of Ghizeh, mounted the
    donkeys again, and scampered away. For four or five miles the route lay
    along a high embankment which they say is to be the bed of a railway the
    Sultan means to build for no other reason than that when the Empress of
    the French comes to visit him she can go to the Pyramids in comfort.
    This is true Oriental hospitality. I am very glad it is our privilege to
    have donkeys instead of cars.

    At the distance of a few miles the Pyramids rising above the palms,
    looked very clean-cut, very grand and imposing, and very soft and filmy,
    as well. They swam in a rich haze that took from them all suggestions of
    unfeeling stone, and made them seem only the airy nothings of a dream
    --structures which might blossom into tiers of vague arches, or ornate
    colonnades, may be, and change and change again, into all graceful forms
    of architecture, while we looked, and then melt deliciously away and
    blend with the tremulous atmosphere.

    At the end of the levee we left the mules and went in a sailboat across
    an arm of the Nile or an overflow, and landed where the sands of the
    Great Sahara left their embankment, as straight as a wall, along the
    verge of the alluvial plain of the river. A laborious walk in the
    flaming sun brought us to the foot of the great Pyramid of Cheops. It
    was a fairy vision no longer. It was a corrugated, unsightly mountain of
    stone. Each of its monstrous sides was a wide stairway which rose
    upward, step above step, narrowing as it went, till it tapered to a point
    far aloft in the air. Insect men and women--pilgrims from the Quaker
    City--were creeping about its dizzy perches, and one little black swarm
    were waving postage stamps from the airy summit--handkerchiefs will be

    Of course we were besieged by a rabble of muscular Egyptians and Arabs
    who wanted the contract of dragging us to the top--all tourists are. Of
    course you could not hear your own voice for the din that was around you.
    Of course the Sheiks said they were the only responsible parties; that
    all contracts must be made with them, all moneys paid over to them, and
    none exacted from us by any but themselves alone. Of course they
    contracted that the varlets who dragged us up should not mention
    bucksheesh once. For such is the usual routine. Of course we contracted
    with them, paid them, were delivered into the hands of the draggers,
    dragged up the Pyramids, and harried and be-deviled for bucksheesh from
    the foundation clear to the summit. We paid it, too, for we were
    purposely spread very far apart over the vast side of the Pyramid. There
    was no help near if we called, and the Herculeses who dragged us had a
    way of asking sweetly and flatteringly for bucksheesh, which was
    seductive, and of looking fierce and threatening to throw us down the
    precipice, which was persuasive and convincing.

    Each step being full as high as a dinner-table; there being very, very
    many of the steps; an Arab having hold of each of our arms and springing
    upward from step to step and snatching us with them, forcing us to lift
    our feet as high as our breasts every time, and do it rapidly and keep it
    up till we were ready to faint, who shall say it is not lively,
    exhilarating, lacerating, muscle-straining, bone-wrenching and perfectly
    excruciating and exhausting pastime, climbing the Pyramids? I beseeched
    the varlets not to twist all my joints asunder; I iterated, reiterated,
    even swore to them that I did not wish to beat any body to the top; did
    all I could to convince them that if I got there the last of all I would
    feel blessed above men and grateful to them forever; I begged them,
    prayed them, pleaded with them to let me stop and rest a moment--only one
    little moment: and they only answered with some more frightful springs,
    and an unenlisted volunteer behind opened a bombardment of determined
    boosts with his head which threatened to batter my whole political
    economy to wreck and ruin.

    Twice, for one minute, they let me rest while they extorted bucksheesh,
    and then continued their maniac flight up the Pyramid. They wished to
    beat the other parties. It was nothing to them that I, a stranger, must
    be sacrificed upon the altar of their unholy ambition. But in the midst
    of sorrow, joy blooms. Even in this dark hour I had a sweet consolation.
    For I knew that except these Mohammedans repented they would go straight
    to perdition some day. And they never repent--they never forsake their
    paganism. This thought calmed me, cheered me, and I sank down, limp and
    exhausted, upon the summit, but happy, so happy and serene within.

    On the one hand, a mighty sea of yellow sand stretched away toward the
    ends of the earth, solemn, silent, shorn of vegetation, its solitude
    uncheered by any forms of creature life; on the other, the Eden of Egypt
    was spread below us--a broad green floor, cloven by the sinuous river,
    dotted with villages, its vast distances measured and marked by the
    diminishing stature of receding clusters of palms. It lay asleep in an
    enchanted atmosphere. There was no sound, no motion. Above the
    date-plumes in the middle distance, swelled a domed and pinnacled mass,
    glimmering through a tinted, exquisite mist; away toward the horizon a
    dozen shapely pyramids watched over ruined Memphis: and at our feet the
    bland impassible Sphynx looked out upon the picture from her throne in
    the sands as placidly and pensively as she had looked upon its like full
    fifty lagging centuries ago.

    We suffered torture no pen can describe from the hungry appeals for
    bucksheesh that gleamed from Arab eyes and poured incessantly from Arab
    lips. Why try to call up the traditions of vanished Egyptian grandeur;
    why try to fancy Egypt following dead Rameses to his tomb in the Pyramid,
    or the long multitude of Israel departing over the desert yonder? Why
    try to think at all? The thing was impossible. One must bring his
    meditations cut and dried, or else cut and dry them afterward.

    The traditional Arab proposed, in the traditional way, to run down
    Cheops, cross the eighth of a mile of sand intervening between it and the
    tall pyramid of Cephron, ascend to Cephron's summit and return to us on
    the top of Cheops--all in nine minutes by the watch, and the whole
    service to be rendered for a single dollar. In the first flush of
    irritation, I said let the Arab and his exploits go to the mischief.
    But stay. The upper third of Cephron was coated with dressed marble,
    smooth as glass. A blessed thought entered my brain. He must infallibly
    break his neck. Close the contract with dispatch, I said, and let him
    go. He started. We watched. He went bounding down the vast broadside,
    spring after spring, like an ibex. He grew small and smaller till he
    became a bobbing pigmy, away down toward the bottom--then disappeared.
    We turned and peered over the other side--forty seconds--eighty seconds
    --a hundred--happiness, he is dead already!--two minutes--and a quarter
    --"There he goes!" Too true--it was too true. He was very small, now.
    Gradually, but surely, he overcame the level ground. He began to spring
    and climb again. Up, up, up--at last he reached the smooth coating--now
    for it. But he clung to it with toes and fingers, like a fly. He
    crawled this way and that--away to the right, slanting upward--away to
    the left, still slanting upward--and stood at last, a black peg on the
    summit, and waved his pigmy scarf! Then he crept downward to the raw
    steps again, then picked up his agile heels and flew. We lost him
    presently. But presently again we saw him under us, mounting with
    undiminished energy. Shortly he bounded into our midst with a gallant
    war-whoop. Time, eight minutes, forty-one seconds. He had won. His
    bones were intact. It was a failure. I reflected. I said to myself, he
    is tired, and must grow dizzy. I will risk another dollar on him.

    He started again. Made the trip again. Slipped on the smooth coating
    --I almost had him. But an infamous crevice saved him. He was with us
    once more--perfectly sound. Time, eight minutes, forty-six seconds.

    I said to Dan, "Lend me a dollar--I can beat this game, yet."

    Worse and worse. He won again. Time, eight minutes, forty-eight
    seconds. I was out of all patience, now. I was desperate.--Money was
    no longer of any consequence. I said, "Sirrah, I will give you a hundred
    dollars to jump off this pyramid head first. If you do not like the
    terms, name your bet. I scorn to stand on expenses now. I will stay
    right here and risk money on you as long as Dan has got a cent."

    I was in a fair way to win, now, for it was a dazzling opportunity for an
    Arab. He pondered a moment, and would have done it, I think, but his
    mother arrived, then, and interfered. Her tears moved me--I never can
    look upon the tears of woman with indifference--and I said I would give
    her a hundred to jump off, too.

    But it was a failure. The Arabs are too high-priced in Egypt. They put
    on airs unbecoming to such savages.

    We descended, hot and out of humor. The dragoman lit candles, and we all
    entered a hole near the base of the pyramid, attended by a crazy rabble
    of Arabs who thrust their services upon us uninvited. They dragged us up
    a long inclined chute, and dripped candle-grease all over us. This chute
    was not more than twice as wide and high as a Saratoga trunk, and was
    walled, roofed and floored with solid blocks of Egyptian granite as wide
    as a wardrobe, twice as thick and three times as long. We kept on
    climbing, through the oppressive gloom, till I thought we ought to be
    nearing the top of the pyramid again, and then came to the "Queen's
    Chamber," and shortly to the Chamber of the King. These large apartments
    were tombs. The walls were built of monstrous masses of smoothed
    granite, neatly joined together. Some of them were nearly as large
    square as an ordinary parlor. A great stone sarcophagus like a bath-tub
    stood in the centre of the King's Chamber. Around it were gathered a
    picturesque group of Arab savages and soiled and tattered pilgrims, who
    held their candles aloft in the gloom while they chattered, and the
    winking blurs of light shed a dim glory down upon one of the
    irrepressible memento-seekers who was pecking at the venerable
    sarcophagus with his sacrilegious hammer.

    We struggled out to the open air and the bright sunshine, and for the
    space of thirty minutes received ragged Arabs by couples, dozens and
    platoons, and paid them bucksheesh for services they swore and proved by
    each other that they had rendered, but which we had not been aware of
    before--and as each party was paid, they dropped into the rear of the
    procession and in due time arrived again with a newly-invented delinquent
    list for liquidation.

    We lunched in the shade of the pyramid, and in the midst of this
    encroaching and unwelcome company, and then Dan and Jack and I started
    away for a walk. A howling swarm of beggars followed us--surrounded us
    --almost headed us off. A sheik, in flowing white bournous and gaudy
    head-gear, was with them. He wanted more bucksheesh. But we had
    adopted a new code--it was millions for defense, but not a cent for
    bucksheesh. I asked him if he could persuade the others to depart if we
    paid him. He said yes--for ten francs. We accepted the contract, and

    "Now persuade your vassals to fall back."

    He swung his long staff round his head and three Arabs bit the dust. He
    capered among the mob like a very maniac. His blows fell like hail, and
    wherever one fell a subject went down. We had to hurry to the rescue and
    tell him it was only necessary to damage them a little, he need not kill
    them.--In two minutes we were alone with the sheik, and remained so.
    The persuasive powers of this illiterate savage were remarkable.

    Each side of the Pyramid of Cheops is about as long as the Capitol at
    Washington, or the Sultan's new palace on the Bosporus, and is longer
    than the greatest depth of St. Peter's at Rome--which is to say that each
    side of Cheops extends seven hundred and some odd feet. It is about
    seventy-five feet higher than the cross on St. Peter's. The first time I
    ever went down the Mississippi, I thought the highest bluff on the river
    between St. Louis and New Orleans--it was near Selma, Missouri--was
    probably the highest mountain in the world. It is four hundred and
    thirteen feet high. It still looms in my memory with undiminished
    grandeur. I can still see the trees and bushes growing smaller and
    smaller as I followed them up its huge slant with my eye, till they
    became a feathery fringe on the distant summit. This symmetrical Pyramid
    of Cheops--this solid mountain of stone reared by the patient hands of
    men--this mighty tomb of a forgotten monarch--dwarfs my cherished
    mountain. For it is four hundred and eighty feet high. In still earlier
    years than those I have been recalling, Holliday's Hill, in our town, was
    to me the noblest work of God. It appeared to pierce the skies. It was
    nearly three hundred feet high. In those days I pondered the subject
    much, but I never could understand why it did not swathe its summit with
    never-failing clouds, and crown its majestic brow with everlasting snows.
    I had heard that such was the custom of great mountains in other parts of
    the world. I remembered how I worked with another boy, at odd afternoons
    stolen from study and paid for with stripes, to undermine and start from
    its bed an immense boulder that rested upon the edge of that hilltop; I
    remembered how, one Saturday afternoon, we gave three hours of honest
    effort to the task, and saw at last that our reward was at hand; I
    remembered how we sat down, then, and wiped the perspiration away, and
    waited to let a picnic party get out of the way in the road below--and
    then we started the boulder. It was splendid. It went crashing down the
    hillside, tearing up saplings, mowing bushes down like grass, ripping and
    crushing and smashing every thing in its path--eternally splintered and
    scattered a wood pile at the foot of the hill, and then sprang from the
    high bank clear over a dray in the road--the negro glanced up once and
    dodged--and the next second it made infinitesimal mince-meat of a frame
    cooper-shop, and the coopers swarmed out like bees. Then we said it was
    perfectly magnificent, and left. Because the coopers were starting up
    the hill to inquire.

    Still, that mountain, prodigious as it was, was nothing to the Pyramid of
    Cheops. I could conjure up no comparison that would convey to my mind a
    satisfactory comprehension of the magnitude of a pile of monstrous stones
    that covered thirteen acres of ground and stretched upward four hundred
    and eighty tiresome feet, and so I gave it up and walked down to the

    After years of waiting, it was before me at last. The great face was so
    sad, so earnest, so longing, so patient. There was a dignity not of
    earth in its mien, and in its countenance a benignity such as never any
    thing human wore. It was stone, but it seemed sentient. If ever image
    of stone thought, it was thinking. It was looking toward the verge of
    the landscape, yet looking at nothing--nothing but distance and vacancy.
    It was looking over and beyond every thing of the present, and far into
    the past. It was gazing out over the ocean of Time--over lines of
    century-waves which, further and further receding, closed nearer and
    nearer together, and blended at last into one unbroken tide, away toward
    the horizon of remote antiquity. It was thinking of the wars of departed
    ages; of the empires it had seen created and destroyed; of the nations
    whose birth it had witnessed, whose progress it had watched, whose
    annihilation it had noted; of the joy and sorrow, the life and death, the
    grandeur and decay, of five thousand slow revolving years. It was the
    type of an attribute of man--of a faculty of his heart and brain. It was
    MEMORY--RETROSPECTION--wrought into visible, tangible form. All who know
    what pathos there is in memories of days that are accomplished and faces
    that have vanished--albeit only a trifling score of years gone by--will
    have some appreciation of the pathos that dwells in these grave eyes that
    look so steadfastly back upon the things they knew before History was
    born--before Tradition had being--things that were, and forms that moved,
    in a vague era which even Poetry and Romance scarce know of--and passed
    one by one away and left the stony dreamer solitary in the midst of a
    strange new age, and uncomprehended scenes.

    The Sphynx is grand in its loneliness; it is imposing in its magnitude;
    it is impressive in the mystery that hangs over its story. And there is
    that in the overshadowing majesty of this eternal figure of stone, with
    its accusing memory of the deeds of all ages, which reveals to one
    something of what he shall feel when he shall stand at last in the awful
    presence of God.

    There are some things which, for the credit of America, should be left
    unsaid, perhaps; but these very things happen sometimes to be the very
    things which, for the real benefit of Americans, ought to have prominent
    notice. While we stood looking, a wart, or an excrescence of some kind,
    appeared on the jaw of the Sphynx. We heard the familiar clink of a
    hammer, and understood the case at once. One of our well meaning
    reptiles--I mean relic-hunters--had crawled up there and was trying to
    break a "specimen" from the face of this the most majestic creation the
    hand of man has wrought. But the great image contemplated the dead ages
    as calmly as ever, unconscious of the small insect that was fretting at
    its jaw. Egyptian granite that has defied the storms and earthquakes of
    all time has nothing to fear from the tack-hammers of ignorant
    excursionists--highwaymen like this specimen. He failed in his
    enterprise. We sent a sheik to arrest him if he had the authority, or to
    warn him, if he had not, that by the laws of Egypt the crime he was
    attempting to commit was punishable with imprisonment or the bastinado.
    Then he desisted and went away.

    The Sphynx: a hundred and twenty-five feet long, sixty feet high, and a
    hundred and two feet around the head, if I remember rightly--carved out
    of one solid block of stone harder than any iron. The block must have
    been as large as the Fifth Avenue Hotel before the usual waste (by the
    necessities of sculpture) of a fourth or a half of the original mass was
    begun. I only set down these figures and these remarks to suggest the
    prodigious labor the carving of it so elegantly, so symmetrically, so
    faultlessly, must have cost. This species of stone is so hard that
    figures cut in it remain sharp and unmarred after exposure to the weather
    for two or three thousand years. Now did it take a hundred years of
    patient toil to carve the Sphynx? It seems probable.

    Something interfered, and we did not visit the Red Sea and walk upon the
    sands of Arabia. I shall not describe the great mosque of Mehemet Ali,
    whose entire inner walls are built of polished and glistening alabaster;
    I shall not tell how the little birds have built their nests in the
    globes of the great chandeliers that hang in the mosque, and how they
    fill the whole place with their music and are not afraid of any body
    because their audacity is pardoned, their rights are respected, and
    nobody is allowed to interfere with them, even though the mosque be thus
    doomed to go unlighted; I certainly shall not tell the hackneyed story of
    the massacre of the Mamelukes, because I am glad the lawless rascals were
    massacred, and I do not wish to get up any sympathy in their behalf; I
    shall not tell how that one solitary Mameluke jumped his horse a hundred
    feet down from the battlements of the citadel and escaped, because I do
    not think much of that--I could have done it myself; I shall not tell of
    Joseph's well which he dug in the solid rock of the citadel hill and
    which is still as good as new, nor how the same mules he bought to draw
    up the water (with an endless chain) are still at it yet and are getting
    tired of it, too; I shall not tell about Joseph's granaries which he
    built to store the grain in, what time the Egyptian brokers were "selling
    short," unwitting that there would be no corn in all the land when it
    should be time for them to deliver; I shall not tell any thing about the
    strange, strange city of Cairo, because it is only a repetition, a good
    deal intensified and exaggerated, of the Oriental cities I have already
    spoken of; I shall not tell of the Great Caravan which leaves for Mecca
    every year, for I did not see it; nor of the fashion the people have of
    prostrating themselves and so forming a long human pavement to be ridden
    over by the chief of the expedition on its return, to the end that their
    salvation may be thus secured, for I did not see that either; I shall not
    speak of the railway, for it is like any other railway--I shall only say
    that the fuel they use for the locomotive is composed of mummies three
    thousand years old, purchased by the ton or by the graveyard for that
    purpose, and that sometimes one hears the profane engineer call out
    pettishly, "D--n these plebeians, they don't burn worth a cent--pass out
    a King;"--[Stated to me for a fact. I only tell it as I got it. I am
    willing to believe it. I can believe any thing.]--I shall not tell of
    the groups of mud cones stuck like wasps' nests upon a thousand mounds
    above high water-mark the length and breadth of Egypt--villages of the
    lower classes; I shall not speak of the boundless sweep of level plain,
    green with luxuriant grain, that gladdens the eye as far as it can pierce
    through the soft, rich atmosphere of Egypt; I shall not speak of the
    vision of the Pyramids seen at a distance of five and twenty miles, for
    the picture is too ethereal to be limned by an uninspired pen; I shall
    not tell of the crowds of dusky women who flocked to the cars when they
    stopped a moment at a station, to sell us a drink of water or a ruddy,
    juicy pomegranate; I shall not tell of the motley multitudes and wild
    costumes that graced a fair we found in full blast at another barbarous
    station; I shall not tell how we feasted on fresh dates and enjoyed the
    pleasant landscape all through the flying journey; nor how we thundered
    into Alexandria, at last, swarmed out of the cars, rowed aboard the ship,
    left a comrade behind, (who was to return to Europe, thence home,) raised
    the anchor, and turned our bows homeward finally and forever from the
    long voyage; nor how, as the mellow sun went down upon the oldest land on
    earth, Jack and Moult assembled in solemn state in the smoking-room and
    mourned over the lost comrade the whole night long, and would not be
    comforted. I shall not speak a word of any of these things, or write a
    line. They shall be as a sealed book. I do not know what a sealed book
    is, because I never saw one, but a sealed book is the expression to use
    in this connection, because it is popular.

    We were glad to have seen the land which was the mother of civilization
    --which taught Greece her letters, and through Greece Rome, and through
    Rome the world; the land which could have humanized and civilized the
    hapless children of Israel, but allowed them to depart out of her borders
    little better than savages. We were glad to have seen that land which
    had an enlightened religion with future eternal rewards and punishment in
    it, while even Israel's religion contained no promise of a hereafter.
    We were glad to have seen that land which had glass three thousand years
    before England had it, and could paint upon it as none of us can paint
    now; that land which knew, three thousand years ago, well nigh all of
    medicine and surgery which science has discovered lately; which had all
    those curious surgical instruments which science has invented recently;
    which had in high excellence a thousand luxuries and necessities of an
    advanced civilization which we have gradually contrived and accumulated
    in modern times and claimed as things that were new under the sun; that
    had paper untold centuries before we dreampt of it--and waterfalls before
    our women thought of them; that had a perfect system of common schools so
    long before we boasted of our achievements in that direction that it
    seems forever and forever ago; that so embalmed the dead that flesh was
    made almost immortal--which we can not do; that built temples which mock
    at destroying time and smile grimly upon our lauded little prodigies of
    architecture; that old land that knew all which we know now, perchance,
    and more; that walked in the broad highway of civilization in the gray
    dawn of creation, ages and ages before we were born; that left the
    impress of exalted, cultivated Mind upon the eternal front of the Sphynx
    to confound all scoffers who, when all her other proofs had passed away,
    might seek to persuade the world that imperial Egypt, in the days of her
    high renown, had groped in darkness.
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