October 7, - Left the vessel early in the boat with Capt Thomas and Lieut Daniel, and
landed in Suez at 9 am after a tedious passage. The climate at this time of year was
delightful. I now began to make arrangements for crossing the desert, and first went to
Mr Hill's hotel, where I found Capt Cogan, who appeared much annoyed at not having
secured donkeys for our journey. My servants reported to me that plenty were to be hired
at Mr Waghorn's hotel; and on going there, the manager, who was a Turk, obligingly
offered me donkeys, provided that I put up at his hotel at Cairo. To this I could not
consent without again seeing Capt Cogan, whom I had reason to believe wished to serve Mr
Hill. The Turk then offered me a convenient phaeton to cross the desert, for a much less
sum than Mr Hill's charge for his cart; and on fetching Capt Cogan to see the phaeton
and donkeys, he told me that Mr Hill had deceived him in stating no donkeys could be had,
in order that he might fill hi!
s carts, to which all travellers prefer donkeys. We then hired the phaeton for Capt Cogan
and myself at £4 each, or £8 for the whole carriage. Mr Hill's charge was £6 for each
passenger, or £24 for each cart holding four persons, and drawn only by a pair of horses;
whilst our phaeton had four horses, for which we were only to pay £8. We then hired
donkeys from Mr Waghorn's for Mrs and Miss Powell, who had experienced the
inconvenience of travelling by the cart, which they had, in a previous journey, been
compelled to give up in the middle of the desert.. At half past one we left Suez in our
gay phaeton, with four horses and a fine Italian driver, who however had some difficulty
in managing his cattle till we had got out of the town. He then drove his horses in hand
an as fine a style across the desert as our noble Governor drives his for horse carriage
in Bombay. At half past three we arrived at our first stage, and we stopped about quarter
of an hour, and then started!
again with the same horses. By six o'clock we reached the second stage; when,
feeling disposed for dinner, we took our provisions from the carriage and enjoyed our meal
very much; indeed we would have eaten all that we had provided, but, remembering that it
must be our only dependence for two days, we abstained accordingly. At eight o'clock
we started again, but with four camels instead of horses. They travelled at a good pace,
and we intended taking up our lodgings for the night at the third station of middle stage,
where good beds were to be had; the other two stations were not fit to remain an hour in,
being infested with swarms of fleas, and the offensive smell of the horses kept there for
Mr Hill's carts, under the same roof with the sleeping places. I was nevertheless
informed that these stations had been built by "The Steam Committee", for the
express accommodation of travellers crossing the desert. Unfortunately we missed the
third station: the night was very !
dark, we lost our road and were compelled to stop the carriage and send forth men with
lights to find out the track, so that we did not reach the fourth station till about 2 am
when we found the accommodation no better than at the first and second stages. We
therefore wished to drive on; but the camels were so tiered that the Italian declared it
would be impossible top proceed until the poor animals had rested three hours. The
Italian then kindly made a bed for us with the cushion of the carriage, and small blanket
which he had; but we had scarcely laid down tem minutes, before the mosquitoes and fleas
were so troublesome and bit so sharply that it was impossible to get any rest. We then
resolved to get into the carriage where Capt Cogan slept soundly, but I could not get a
wink. About 4 o'clock I got out of the carriage, when I found our Italian driver fast
asleep. I awoke him, but unfortunately we could not understand each other's language.
He could not speak one wor!
d of English and I knew not one word of Italian, French or Arabic; but I continued to make
him comprehend it was time for us to start. He then got up, when finding it to be 4
o'clock instead of 5, he appeared somewhat annoyed. He, however, set about harnessing
two camels and two horses to the phaeton, the camels being the leaders, and we started at
October 8, - Our driver took it very easy, so that it was 9 o'clock before we reached
the fifth station, where we met several ladies bound for Suez. After breakfast we resumed
our journey, and at noon, reached the sixth station, where we met Sir Henry Roper and his
party, on their route to Suez. We conversed a few minutes with Sir Henry, and then
started for Cairo. By six o'clock we reached the seventh station, our camels and
horses being completely knocked up. It is, by the way, a great defect in Mr Waghorn's
establishment, that the camels and horses are never stationed there; as they continue upon
the road, some drawing the carriage, and others walking beside it; so that they are never
wholly at rest, and fresh for the journey. I may here mention a striking instance f the
power of the horse. A real Arabian grey, which had drawn the carriage throughout the
journey (except one stage where we had four camels) whenever we stopped was as lively as
at starting, and appeare!
d as fresh as if just out of the stable. Capt Cogan was also much struck with this
circumstance, observing that he had never seen any horse, like this Arabian, draw a
carriage ninety miles, and only be out of harness five hours in twenty three. At 11pm we
were approaching Cairo: a pair of horses awaited us, which we put in place of two camels,
so that we had again four horses, which our Italian had driven with as much spirit as at
the outset. He was indeed a first rate driver, else he could not have driven four horses
in such a dark night, along so rough a road. At midnight we arrived at the gate of Cairo,
which we found shut; and all our attempts to gain admission were made in vain. We,
therefore, tried again to make our bed I the carriage, when Capt Cogan who had some
experience of the cupidity of Egyptian soldiers, offered one of them a dollar for
admission. This was the right key. The gate was immediately opened, and we fond
ourselves in the narrow and lofty stre!
ets of the famed city of Cairo, our driver having taken off he leaders. At about one
o'clock in the morning we reached Mr Waghorn's hotel, where we received great
attention, and partook of supper which he had prepared for us.
<Cursetjee and Cogan spent three days in Cairo before boarding the same carriage to
join the steamer at Subrow to Alexandria. There they met the passengers from the Berenice
except Lieut Daniel and Capt Thomas. All were waiting to take the packet to Malta.>
October 17, - Early in the morning, our baggage being ready, we went on board the French
steamer Rhamses, Capt ---------; and at 9 am we left the harbour. We found the
accommodation very superior to the Berenice; the people were very obliging, and the only
difficulty was in my servants not understanding the French language.
October 18, - The vessel went very quietly. I visited the engine room: the engine made at
Paris, was of 180 horse power, and worked very well.
October 19, - In the morning the Island of Candia was in sight, and at about noon we were
nearing it, and steaming delightfully among the islands.
October 20, - Continued among the islands, and saw many towns which to me had an
extraordinary appearance; the houses were flat roofed, and built one above the other, upon
hills, and, seen from a distance, resembled so many white stones. At 2pm we anchored at
Sera but being in quarantine, could not go on shore, although the vessel laid very close;
it is a beautiful harbour with a lighthouse.
October 21, - After breakfast we exchanged the steamer for the Leonidas, and started for
Malta at 2 pm.
October 22, - About noon we were abreast the island of the Moorea.
October 23, - About 1 am we sw the Malta light, and in three hours we anchored in
October 24, - At 2 pm we landed at Fort Manoel, communicating with the Lazaretto island,
in the centre of the harbour, there to serve our quarantine. It is all together very
lofty and the landing place has a great number of steps. We remained here, as it were
imprisoned, twenty days; but the place was very beautiful, commanded fine views and we
were accommodated with large rooms and every comfort.
October 31, - Tired of quarantine.
November 11, - Packed up baggage as we learned we were to be released next day.
Part 2 of 3
S.B. Southerden from Winchester, Hampshire
Researching Kearton; Kirton; Kyrton