**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


An Unprotected Female
by [?]

Miss Dawkins left the house with an eager young Damer yelling on each side of her; but nevertheless, though thus neglected by the gentlemen of the party, she was all smiles and prettiness, and looked so sweetly on Mr. Ingram when that gentleman stayed a moment to help her on to her donkey, that his heart almost misgave him for leaving her as soon as she was in her seat.

And then they were off. In going from the hotel to the Pyramids our party had not to pass through any of the queer old narrow streets of the true Cairo–Cairo the Oriental. They all lay behind them as they went down by the back of the hotel, by the barracks of the Pasha and the College of the Dervishes, to the village of old Cairo and the banks of the Nile.

Here they were kept half an hour while their dragomans made a bargain with the ferryman, a stately reis, or captain of a boat, who declared with much dignity that he could not carry them over for a sum less than six times the amount to which he was justly entitled; while the dragomans, with great energy on behalf of their masters, offered him only five times that sum.

As far as the reis was concerned, the contest might soon have been at an end, for the man was not without a conscience; and would have been content with five times and a half; but then the three dragomans quarrelled among themselves as to which should have the paying of the money, and the affair became very tedious.

“What horrid, odious men!” said Miss Dawkins, appealing to Mr. Damer. “Do you think they will let us go over at all?”

“Well, I suppose they will; people do get over generally, I believe. Abdallah! Abdallah! why don’t you pay the man? That fellow is always striving to save half a piastre for me.”

“I wish he wasn’t quite so particular,” said Mrs. Damer, who was already becoming rather tired; “but I’m sure he’s a very honest man in trying to protect us from being robbed.”

“That he is,” said Miss Dawkins. “What a delightful trait of national character it is to see these men so faithful to their employers.” And then at last they got over the ferry, Mr. Ingram having descended among the combatants, and settled the matter in dispute by threats and shouts, and an uplifted stick.

They crossed the broad Nile exactly at the spot where the nilometer, or river guage, measures from day to day, and from year to year, the increasing or decreasing treasures of the stream, and landed at a village where thousands of eggs are made into chickens by the process of artificial incubation.

Mrs. Damer thought that it was very hard upon the maternal hens–the hens which should have been maternal–that they should be thus robbed of the delights of motherhood.

“So unnatural, you know,” said Miss Dawkins; “so opposed to the fostering principles of creation. Don’t you think so, Mr. Ingram?”

Mr. Ingram said he didn’t know. He was again seating Miss Damer on her donkey, and it must be presumed that he performed this feat clumsily; for Fanny Damer could jump on and off the animal with hardly a finger to help her, when her brother or her father was her escort; but now, under the hands of Mr. Ingram, this work of mounting was one which required considerable time and care. All which Miss Dawkins observed with precision.

“It’s all very well talking,” said Mr. Damer, bringing up his donkey nearly alongside that of Mr. Ingram, and ignoring his daughter’s presence, just as he would have done that of his dog; “but you must admit that political power is more equally distributed in England than it is in America.”

“Perhaps it is,” said Mr. Ingram; “equally distributed among, we will say, three dozen families,” and he made a feint as though to hold in his impetuous donkey, using the spur, however, at the same time on the side that was unseen by Mr. Damer. As he did so, Fanny’s donkey became equally impetuous, and the two cantered on in advance of the whole party. It was quite in vain that Mr. Damer, at the top of his voice, shouted out something about “three dozen corruptible demagogues.” Mr. Ingram found it quite impossible to restrain his donkey so as to listen to the sarcasm.