86 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
Mehemet Ali was at that time the ruler of Egypt. Barclay had an audience of him, and received the usual firman entitling us to impress men to pull up our boat at certain well-known places where the stream is exceptionally strong. I myself saw the old greybeard driving, but that was all. Shepherd's Hotel then looked out upon rice-fields, and modern Cairo did not exist, but Waghorn's overland wagons to Suez had been established. After some stay at Cairo, we hired a dahabeyah ; Barclay put on board a keg of his own porter, and so we started, intending to live luxuriously and in grand style. We also engaged an Arab lad as coffee-bearer and to make himself generally useful, who went by the name of Bob. He turned out to be a lad of parts.
The mornings were delightful. We rolled out of our beds half awake and tumbled ourselves into the river, climbing back very wide awake indeed into the boat by help of the big rudder, to the exquisite enjoyment of the first cup of coffee and a pipe. We chattered with Bob, the captain, sailors, and others, and soon smattered in Arabic. Boulton studied it classically as well, working very hard. So the voyage proceeded in the usual way. We were pulled safely up the First Cataract, and onward we went.
When near Korosko, men had to be impressed, but a person in a rather shabby Egyptian dress, but of
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pi-c.crcdcnce. We weic cross, and relieved our minds by the use of uncomplimentary English words. But by the time we had walked together to Korosko we had become fairly friendly, for he was a far more