described by some travellers as, architecturally, the finest in Cairo.
I confess that—probably for want of sufficiently cultivated taste
in that department of art—after having visited the mosque of
Mohammed All, I could see nothing to admire in the old dilapidated
structure of Sultan Hassan. The devotees about it, however, obliged
us to take off our shoes—furnishing us no slippers—before entering.
I fancy that my health was not very much benefited by walking
thus exposed on the cold marble pavement.
I was struck with the rigid and impressive simplicity of the
interior of the mosque. There are no pews, nor chairs, nor seats of
any kind; no pictures or statues. They are intended for places of
prayer—not of luxurious ease—whither people go, not to gaze
around or criticize, but for devotional purposes. All we saw present
had, at least, the appearance of worshippers. No one man was
there professedly to lead the devotions of the people, but practically
—so far as many are concerned—to be their substitute in worship,
while they look on as spectators paying for a weekly entertainment.
The people all kneel or sit cross-legged on the floor, which is
matted or carpeted. There is a pulpit, affording standing room for
only one man, from which the people are sometimes addressed by
Around the mosque of Sultan Hassan is an open space, called the
Roumaylee, a place of general resort. Here I saw the finest herd
of camels I have seen in the east. The camel by itself has very
little comeliness, but a drove of camels is certainly a beautiful
Anxious to overtake the Russian steamer for Beyrout, which was
to leave Alexandria on the afternoon of the 13th, I started by the
earliest train on the following morning (the 13th), and reached
Alexandria just in time to get my things on board comfortably,
without enjoying the pleasure of giving the parting salaam to the
affable consul-general, who was away at dinner when I reached
I now bade adieu to the land of Egypt—land of my "father's
sepulchres"—feeling more than repaid for any discomforts or privations suffered on the voyage; happy to undergo them all again,
or double their number, intensified, for the sake of the instruction
and enjoyment which my visit to this great country afforded.