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man; all of them are probably exotic, but they grow with a vigor and yield an abundance such as no other part of the earth can excel. Rice, sugar-cane, sorghum, cotton, castorbeans, indigo, wheat, barley, peas, beans, onions, cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, etc., itre the annual crops. Weeds are practically unknown. The seeds that germinate are only those that are put in at the right time with a purpose. Manure is not used, though it would be effectual in increasing
The vast mounds of ruined cities give á nitrous earth which increases the yield of grain ; but there are no carts or wagons to draw it, and, as the average crop is about forty-five bushels, it is about all that can be expected even from Egypt.
In a country without forest there must be some provision for fuel, and animal manure is kneaded in water and dried in cakes, and is merchantable fuel for cooking. Lamps fed with castor oil are also used, and sorghum stalks are a useful fuel.
The time for planting is on the retirement of the water in November. I had supposed, from the Scripture text of casting bread upon the waters, that the seed was sown in that way; but it is not. The ground is allowed to dry, and then broken with the plough, drawn by oxen or by a single camel. I have seen an ox and camel in uneven yoke ploughing together. The plough is commonly the wooden model used in the time of Moses, or a few thousand years before Moses. Some advanced plantations have good English ploughs. With the assistance of my dragoman, I told a farmer of the light and effective American plough. He asked how many crops we raised in the year. I confessed to but one. He replied that he had two crops.
He then inquired how much wheat would be had from his field of about two acres, in my country. I told him, with some exaggeration, that it might be forty bushels. He gravely stated that he would have at least ninety, and would follow that crop with cotton, of which he would make half a ton. The wheat straw would feed his camel, buffalo cow and two asses during the inundation, with some help from sorghum stalks. He said under the circumstances he thought his crooked tamarisk-root plough was better than mine; and added that God was great, and kept many things unrevealed, to which I assented.
I asked him about his taxes. He differed from the American farmer, in that he knew what they were, and when they hit him. He paid tax when he bought salt, in its increased price, and on tobacco, if he used it; for the rest, his land being of the best, and well situated for overflow and irrigation, he was rated at the top, and paid twelve dollars an acre in money. He complained bitterly of the tax ; I told him that God was great, and there was much that was not revealed; but, humanly speaking, in view of the productiveness of his land, his tax was not high. The only trouble he had was in not owning more land. He asked me about the taxes in my country. I told him that the taxes in my country were upon spirits and tobacco, and what was not produced by that tax was so arranged as to fall upon farmers and laborers. I did not add that the government of my country also gave the right to tax farmers and laborers, to a small body of individuals and corporations, under the pretence of enabling them to pay extra wages to some three per cent of the population, and left it in their hands to carry out the agreement, because I was not anxious for his comments on such political economy, and did not wish to disturb his opinion that I belonged to a superior race.
The Egyptian does good work with his wooden instrument, the “ sacred plough,” which in ages long ago employed “the kings and awful fathers of mankind ; ” it breaks up the black soil, he harrows it with a spiked roller or a V harrow of primitive pattern, and broadcasts his grain, grass or clover. Beans he puts in hills or drills, according to his fancy. Peas, lentils, vetches, etc., seem to be scattered in patches. Onions are carefully planted in beds, and yield enormously the finest of their kinds; other vegetables grow in abundance and with great delicacy of flavor; in eating them one cannot help sympathizing with the Israelites of the wilderness, who mourned for the flesh-pots of Egypt, and sighed for the good living of bondage. " We remember the fish that we did eat in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons, the leeks and the onions and the garlic.”
The first tax the farmer has to meet is the swarms of birds. The valley of the Nile is the winter aviary of the North ; it is a bird thoroughfare. The aquatic birds are seen in great variety and in enormous numbers. The gray goose flies in V-shaped flocks like clouds; the “ ruddy goose,” with cranes, pelicans, storks and ducks, haunt the shallows; while on land, quail, plover of several varieties, and flocks of pigeons with small birds, settle upon the seeded ground; the farmers allow a quarter of all small seeds to the birds. Boys armed with slings stand upon the towers built in the fields, and, with the dexterity of young Davids, throw balls of hard-baked mud continually to keep the birds on the wing. Here the sportsman is welcomed, and, as the birds rise from the slingers’ attacks, he knocks down pigeons by the dozen.
But the great and never-ceasing toil of the Egyptian farmer is in irrigation. With the subsidence of the river, the crop of whatever kind requires water; the dews are copious and refreshing, but, to get a full crop, water must be supplied to even wheat and clover; this is done by raising it from the Nile in three ways. On large plantations, and at the great gardens of the wealthy, steam engines are used to pump it into channels, from which it is turned when needed; but the older method of a well in the river bank, in which a ten to twelve foot wheel with an endless chain of buckets is turned by a vertical wheel moved by oxen is the common way; this is called a “ Sakia." Smaller farmers use the “Shadoof;” two slender posts, thirty inches apart, with a top cross-piece over which a sweep, with a large, wide bucket or basket, lined with cloth or leather, is worked by a man, who with great speed and dexterity dips water, pouring it into a channel by which it is conveyed to the crop. His bucket is balanced by a weight made of a lump of sunbaked mud. This simple machine will raise water about eight feet; when the bank is high, two and three may be used, one above the other.
The river from the second cataract, a distance of one thousand miles, is lined on both sides with this work, sometimes they are not more than two or three rods apart for miles; many are kept at work in moonlight nights. They are not greased, and give a wailing, groaning sound, as if the labor were a pain; and the men chant a sad strain in a minor key, unchanging in character, never ceasing from early dawn to dark.
When wbeat and clover or beans are off, the ground is ploughed and seeded at once with dourra, a sorghum raised for seed and fodder. This is the grain for animals and for the bread of the poor; or cotton may be planted. This is irrigated, and is perfected during the inundation. The date palm is a certain source of revenue. A grove of palms is a valuable property. Like all the palm family, it is a beautiful feature in the landscape, though far inferior in this respect to the glory of the cocoa palm of the East Indies and the American tropics.
The animals of Egypt that assist the labors of the farmer are the patient and laborious camel, who bears the heavy burdens, and makes long journeys sustained by the most slender fare. I could not learn that either the flesh or milk of this coarse animal was part of the diet. The horse is not common, though I saw fine specimens belonging to the Bedouins; but his cousin, the ass, is in great numbers, and useful to an unexpected extent. They ride them without saddle or bridle, guiding them with a stick or sorghum stalk, or by cuffing them with the hand. Docile, patient, industrious and frugal, the ass is the friend and companion of the poor Egyptian. The buffalo of the East Indies was introduced into Egypt at a very early period, and is an ugly but useful servant; the cows are large milkers, and the milk is rich. There is a native breed of cattle much resembling the Jersey in size, shape and color. They are poor milkers, but good workers, and are used greatly in working “ sakias.” Sheep are largely kept, and are nearly all of a rich, reddish-brown color; the wool is about the quality of Southdown, the mutton excellent, and the lambs large and fine. They are kept in small flocks, and, when fed upon growing clover, are each tethered to a peg, and made to eat the ground clean as a floor. I bought sheep occasionally as a gift to the sailors, and found a good sheep cost about the same price on the Nile as in Massachusetts. I saw some of the fat-tailed Syrian sheep, and crosses of them. They are not large, but have an enormous development of tail, which is clear fat. This fat is soft, and is used as butter by the lovers of pure, soft mutton tallow.
The gallinaceous fowls are abundant; what we call barnyard fowls are of a very ancient race, small, hardy, great layers of small eggs. The American turkey is domesticated, and as fine as those raised in Rhode Island. Ducks and geese are plenty.
We bought milk and cream on shore every morning, but did not indulge in the native butter. And here let me say, in digression, that our cabin was supplied with excellent butter, made in Lombardy and sent out from Milan; it was put up in one-pound tin cans. This Italian butter was of admirable quality, and perfectly uniform.
One of the important industries of Egypt is the artificial hatching of eggs. Over ten millions of chickens are thus produced. This industry is of great antiquity, and is described in many old publications. I had no opportunity to observe the process, so I will not attempt to describe it.
There are no roads and no wagons in Egypt, except in the large towns like Alexandria and Cairo, where the wealthy and the strangers ride in carriages. The Nile is the bighway of Egypt; it is the thoroughfare of the country, the main street of every town. Peuple swim across to go visiting on the other bank; ferries of small and large boats, crowded with people, goods, produce, asses and camels, are always running. There is no loneliness on the banks; the six or seven million children of the river live within sight and daily touch of its life-giving waters. Often I listened to the mighty noise of bawling, hallooing, talking, laughiny, the growling of camels, braying of asses, crowing of cocks, the wailing of the ungreased wooden wheels of the endless sakias raising water, and felt, with the ancient observer, that “Nilus heareth strange voices.” Our boatmen were eternally singing; they had rude instruments of music, such as are used in upper Nubia ; and at night they sat in a circle and sang strange Arabic songs in the minor key to the throb of a drum beaten with the hand, and a tinkle of brass rods struck together.
The taxes of Egypt are excessive, owing to the extravagance of the rulers in living, in building palaces and public