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UNWRITTEN HISTORY.

sheep do not find their affairs much improved when the representatives of their interests are mostly mongrel Arabo-Turkish wolves (as they certainly will he), they must he unfit for free institutions, and we may wash our hands of them, conscious that we have exhausted the resources of political science in our intelligent efforts to improve their condition.

 

The extent of the land now under cultivation in Egypt is estimated approximately at 7,300 English square miles that is to say, its area is about a fifth greater than that of the valley of the Thames (6,160 square miles). One half of this cultivated land lies in the delta, and the other half in Upper Egypt. Under the Pharaohs, the cultivated area was of considerably greater extent; but not even the industry and thrift of the Fellaheen have been able to make head against the ignorance, sloth, and greed of their later rulers.

Above Cairo, the Libyan and the Arabian boundaries of the narrow valley of Upper Egypt, which runs in a southerly direction, through 6 of latitude to Assouan in 24° north, are approximately parallel, here approaching and there diverging from one another, though they are rarely more than ten or fifteen miles apart. The general inclination of the bottom of the long and winding stream, though rather greater than in the delta, does not exceed five or six inches in the mile. Hence, Assouan, some five hundred miles distant, in a direct line, from Alexandria, is little more than three hundred feet above the Mediterranean.

In Upper Egypt there is still less rain than in the delta. For, though violent storms, accompanied by a heavy down-pour, occur at intervals of perhaps twenty years, filling the parched ravines of the desert with short-lived torrents, there is usually either no rain, or, at most, a passing shower, in the course of each year. Hence, not only the boundaries of the valley, but all the country eastward as far as the Red Sea, and all westward (save where a rare oasis breaks the monotony of the waste) for hundreds of miles across the Sahara, over which the same meteorological conditions prevail, is, if it be possible, even more arid and barren than the desert which bounds the delta.

What are known as the "tombs of the kings" are excavated in the walls of a deep gorge which runs from the plain of Thebes far into the Libyan Hills, the steeply escarped faces of which rise twelve hundred feet above the river. From the summit of one of these hills a panorama of appalling desolation presents itself. Except where the Kile lies like a brown ribbon, with a broader or narrower green fringe on either side, north, south, east, and west, the eye rests on nothing but rugged heights of bare rock, separated by a perfect labyrinth of steep-walled valleys. Baked during the day by a cloudless sun, cooled, not unfrequently down to the freezing-point, at night by radiation through the vaporless air, the surface-rocks are shattered by the rapid