Venations at the Custom-house--Embarkation on the Malta
Steamer--Difficulties of exit from the Harbour--Storm--Disagreeable
Motion of the Steam-vessel--Passengers--Arrival at Malta--Description
of the City--Vehicles--Dress of the Maltese Women--State of
Society--Church of St. John--The Palace--The Cemetery of the Capuchin
Convent--Intolerance of the Roman Catholic Priesthood--Shops,
Cafes, and Hotels--Manufactures and Products of Malta--Heat of
the Island--Embarkation on board an English Government
Steamer--Passengers--A young Egyptian--Arrival at Alexandria--Turkish
and Egyptian Fleets--Aspect of the City from the Sea--Landing.
At twelve o'clock on the morning of the 21st of September, we were informed that the English Government-mails had not arrived, and that the probabilities were in favour of their not reaching Marseilles until five o'clock; in which event, the steamer could not leave the harbour that night. We, therefore, anticipated another day in our pleasant quarters; but thought it prudent to take our baggage on board. Upon getting down to the quay, we were stopped by a gens-d'armes, who desired to have our keys, which we of course immediately surrendered. On the previous day, while driving about the town, our progress had been suddenly arrested by one of these officials, with an inquiry whether we had any thing to declare. He was satisfied with our reply in the negative, and allowed us to proceed. A gentleman afterwards asked me whether, in my travels through France, I had not observed that the police was a mere political agent, established for the purpose of strengthening the hands of the government, and not, as in England, intended for the protection of the people? I could only reply, that we had lost nothing in France, and that property there appeared to be as secure as at home. Certainly, the interference of the gens-d'armes about the baggage, and the continual demand for our passports, were very vexatious, detracting in a great degree from the pleasure of the journey.
We found the rate of porterage excessively high; the conveyance of our baggage to and fro, as we passed from steam-boats to hotels, proving, in the aggregate, enormous; the whole went upon a truck, which one man drew, with apparent ease, and for a very short distance, we paid nearly double the sum demanded for the hire of a horse and cart in London, from Baker Street, Portman Square, to the Custom House.
Upon getting on board the Megara, we found that the mails were in the act of delivery, and that the vessel would start without delay. We had now to take leave of the friend who had seen us so far upon our journey, and to rely wholly upon ourselves, or the chance civilities we might meet with on the road. Our spirits, which had been so gay, were much damped by the loss of a companion so cheerful and ready to afford us every enjoyment within our reach, and we in consequence thought less of the danger to which we were shortly afterwards exposed, the pain of parting being the paramount feeling.
There is always some difficulty in getting out of the harbour of Marseilles, and the natural obstacles are heightened by the want of a superintending power. There is no harbour-master, to regulate the movements of vessels, and to appoint their respective places; consequently, there is generally a great deal of confusion; while serious accidents are not unfrequent.
Before we got under weigh, I saw my old acquaintance, Hussein Khan, the Persian ambassador, go on board the French steamer, which was anchored within a short distance of us. He was received with all the honours due to his rank; which, by the way, was not acknowledged in England; and his suite, whom we had seen lounging at the doors of the cafes the evening before, made a gay appearance on the deck.
We got foul of one or two ships as we went out, and just as we left the harbour, the clouds, which had threatened all the morning, burst upon us in a tremendous storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning. The rain came down in torrents, sweeping along the decks, while a heavy squall threatened to drive us upon the rocks, which we had admired so much as the guardians of the port. In this emergency, we were compelled to drop our anchor, and remain quiescent until the fury of the elements had abated. The storm passed away about midnight, and getting the steam up, we were far away from Marseilles and la belle France before morning.
The Megara belonged to a class of steamers built for the government upon some new-fangled principle, and which have the art of rolling in any sea. Though the waters of the Mediterranean were scarcely ruffled by the breeze, which was in our favour, there was so much motion in the vessel, that it was impossible to employ ourselves in any way except in reading. In other respects, the Megara was commodious enough; the stern cabin, with smaller ones opening into it, and each containing two bed-places, was appropriated to the ladies, the whole being neatly fitted up. We found some agreeable fellow-passengers; the only drawback being a family of three children. In consequence of the cabins being thus occupied, we could not preserve the neatness and order which are so essential to comfort, and which need not be dispensed with even in a short voyage.
Our commandant, Mr. Goldsmith, a descendant of the brother of the poet, and who appeared to have inherited the benevolence of his distinguished relative, was indefatigable in his exertions to render us happy. He had procured abundant supplies for the table, which was every day spread with a profusion of good things, while eight or ten different kinds of wine, in addition to ale and porter, were placed at the disposal of the guests. Nothing, indeed, was wanting, except a French cook. No single meal had ever disagreed with us in France; but though partaking sparingly, we felt the inconvenience of the heavy English mode of cookery.
Amongst the attendants at table was one who speedily grew into the good graces of all the passengers. A little fellow, eight years old, but who did not look more than seven, placed himself at the commandant's elbow, who immediately upon seeing him exclaimed, with a benevolent smile, "What, are you here, Jemmy? then we are all right." Jemmy, it seems, was the boatswain's son, and no diminutive page belonging to a spoiled lady of quality, or Lilliputian tiger in the service of a fashionable aspirant, could have been dressed in more accurate costume. Jemmy was every inch a sailor; but, while preserving the true nautical cut, his garments were fashioned with somewhat coxcombical nicety, and he could have made his appearance upon any stage as a specimen of aquatic dandyism. Jemmy would be invaluable on board a yacht. His services at table were rewarded by a plateful of pudding, which he ate standing at the captain's right hand, after having, with great propriety, said grace. The little fellow had been afloat for a year and a half; but during this period his education had not been neglected, and he could read as well as any person in the ship.
Amongst our passengers was a French gentleman, the commandant and owner of an Indiaman, which had sailed from Bordeaux to Bombay under the charge of the first officer. He had previously made twelve voyages to India; but now availed himself of the shorter route, and proposed to join his vessel at Bombay, dispose of the cargo, and, after taking in a new freight, return through Egypt. The only coasts in sight, during our voyage from Marseilles to Malta, were those of Sardinia and Africa, Sicily being too far off to be visible. We were not near enough to Sardinia to see more than a long succession of irregular hills, which looked very beautiful under the lights and shades of a lovely summer sky. The weather was warm, without being sultry, and nothing was wanting excepting a few books. Mr. Goldsmith regretted the absence of a library on board, but expressed his intention of making a collection as speedily as possible.
The excessive and continual motion of the vessel caused me to suffer very severely from seasickness; the exertion of dressing in the morning always brought on a paroxysm, but I determined to struggle against it as much as possible, and was only one day so completely overpowered as to be unable to rise from the sofa. This sickness was the more provoking, since there was no swell to occasion it, the inconvenience entirely arising from Sir Somebody Symonds' (I believe that is the name) method of building. What the Megara would be in a heavy sea, there is no saying, and I should be very sorry to make the experiment.
We found ourselves at Malta at an early hour of the morning of the 25th, having been only five nights and four days on board. Mr. Goldsmith celebrated our last dinner with a profusion of champaigne, and though glad to get out of the vessel, we felt unfeignedly sorry to take leave of our kind commandant. We were, of course, up by daylight, in order to lose nothing of the view.
Much as I had heard of the gay singularity of the appearance of Malta, I felt surprise as well as delight at the beautiful scene around; nor was I at all prepared for the extent of the city of Valetta. The excessive whiteness of the houses, built of the rock of which the island is composed, contrasted with the vivid green of their verandahs, gives to the whole landscape the air of a painting, in which the artist has employed the most brilliant colours for sea and sky, and habitations of a sort of fairy land. Nor does a nearer approach destroy this illusion; there are no prominently squalid features in Malta, the beggars, who crowd round every stranger, being the only evidence, at a cursory gaze, of its poverty.
Soon after the Megara had dropped anchor, a young officer from the Acheron, the steamer that had brought the mails from Gibraltar, came on board to inquire whether I was amongst the passengers, and gave me the pleasing intelligence that a lady, a friend of mine, who had left London a few days before me, was now in Malta, and would proceed to India in the vessel appointed to take the mails. She was staying at Durnsford's Hotel, a place to which I had been strongly recommended. Mr. Goldsmith was kind enough to promise to see our heavy baggage on board the Volcano, the vessel under sailing orders; and a clergyman and his wife, resident in Malta, who had gone to Marseilles for a change of scene and air, inviting Miss E. and myself to accompany them on shore, we gladly accepted their offer.
We found a caless in waiting for us; a very singular description of vehicle, but one common to the island. I had seen representations of these carriages in old engravings, but had not the least idea that they were still in use. They have only two wheels, placed behind, so that the horse has to bear the weight of the vehicle as well as to draw it; and there is something so inexpressibly odd in the whole arrangement, that it put me in mind of the equipages brought on the stage in a Christmas pantomime. Our caless held four persons very conveniently, and was really a handsome vehicle, gaily lined with scarlet leather, and having spring seats. We saw others plying for hire, of a very inferior description; some only calculated for two persons, and of a faded and dilapidated appearance. They seem to be dangerous conveyances, especially for the poor horse; we heard of one being upset, on a steep hill, and breaking the neck of the animal that drew it. In driving, we were obliged to take rather a circuitous route to our inn, though the distance, had we walked, would have been very inconsiderable. We were glad of the opportunity of seeing a little of the suburbs, and were almost sorry to arrive at the place of our destination.
As we came along we were delighted with the picturesque appearance of the Maltese women, whose national dress is at once nunlike and coquettish. A black petticoat envelopes the form from the waist, and over that is thrown a singular veil, gathered into a hood, and kept out with a piece of whalebone. This covering, which is called the faldetta, is capable of many arrangements, and is generally disposed so as to "keep one eye free to do its worst of witchery." When one of the poorer classes is enabled to clothe herself in a veil and petticoat of silk, she considers that she has gained the acme of respectability. The streets of the city of Valetta are extremely narrow, and the houses high; a great advantage in such a climate, as it ensures shade, while, as they generally run at right angles, they obtain all the breeze that is to be had.
The appearance of our hotel was prepossessing. We entered through a wide gateway into a hall opening upon a small court, in the centre of which stood a large vase, very well sculptured, from the stone of the island, and filled with flowers. A wide handsome staircase, also of stone, with richly-carved balustrades, and adorned with statues and vases, conducted us to a gallery, two sides of which were open, and the other two closed, running round the court-yard, and affording entrance to very good apartments. Every thing was perfectly clean; the bedsteads of iron, furnished with mosquito-curtains; and we were supplied immediately with every article that we required.
As the rolling of the Megara had prevented the possibility of forming a sentence, we sat down to write letters, and having despatched a few of the introductions to residents, with which my friends in England had supplied me, I was agreeably surprised by some visits which I had scarcely expected, as we found that we should be obliged to embark for Alexandria in the evening.
I did not hear very flattering accounts of the state of society at Malta, which, like that of all other confined places, is split into factions, and where there seems to be a perpetual struggle, by the least fortunate classes, to assert equality with those whose rank is acknowledged; thus every person attached to the government assumes eligibility for the entre into the best circles, while the magnates of the place are by no means inclined to admit them to these privileges. It appeared that the endeavours of the Commissioner to produce a greater degree of cordiality between the Maltese inhabitants and the English residents, so far from succeeding, had tended to widen the distance between them, and that the Maltese were by no means grateful for the efforts made for their improvement. However, though the fruits may not at present appear, the seed having been sown, we may entertain a strong hope that they will show themselves in time.
While an undertaking so gigantic as the diffusion of the English language throughout India has been attempted, it seems rather extraordinary that the efforts of the committee should not have been directed to the same result in Malta, and that the progress of education should not have been conducted in the language that promised to prove the most useful to subjects of the British crown; but it appears that the committee decided otherwise, and complaints are making, that the instruction now supplied at the schools is of the most superficial nature, and by no means calculated to produce the desired end.
Every object in Malta bears witness to the ingenuity and industry of its inhabitants. The softness of the stone renders it easily cut, and the Dowager Marchioness of Hastings (who has left imperishable marks of her desire to benefit those who came under her observation), in supplying the best designs, has filled the shops of Malta with a tasteful species of bijouterie, which is eagerly sought after by all the visitors. The carved work of Malta is sold very cheap; but the same quality, which renders it so easily cut, occasions it to chip, and, therefore, great care is necessary in packing these fragile articles.
As soon as possible, we sallied forth to inspect the far-famed church of St. John, and found our expectations more than gratified by the interior of this gorgeous edifice. It was not, however, without melancholy feelings, that we reflected on the miserable remnant of those valiant knights, who had made Malta celebrated throughout all history, and who, on the suppression of the order, were suffered to languish out the remainder of their existence in obscurity. Mass was performing at the time of our entrance, and seating ourselves in one of the side chapels until it should be over, we were at its conclusion accosted by a priest, who, finding that we did not speak Italian, sent another person to show the beauties of the church. Some Maltese ladies greeted us very courteously, and though, perhaps, we would rather have wandered about alone, indulging in our own recollections of the past, we could not help being pleased with the attentions which were paid us.
Upon returning to our inn, we met a gentleman with whom we were slightly acquainted, who, upon learning that I had a letter to Sir Henry Bouverie, the governor, recommended me to deliver it in person, the palace being close at hand. Our party met with a very courteous reception, and we were happy in the opportunity thus afforded of seeing the palace, which showed remains of former grandeur far more interesting than any modern improvements could have been. One apartment, in particular, hung round with tapestry, which, though brought from France 135 years ago, retains all the brilliancy of its original colouring, pleased us exceedingly.
There are some good paintings upon the walls; but the armoury is the most attractive feature in the palace. It consists of one splendid apartment, running the whole length of the building, and makes a very imposing appearance; the arms of various periods being well arranged. The collection of ancient weapons was not so great as I had expected; still there were very interesting specimens, and an intelligent corporal, belonging to one of the Queen's regiments, who acted as Cicerone, gave us all the information we could require.
Some of our party had the curiosity to visit the cemetery of the Capuchin convent, in which the monks who die, after having undergone a preserving process, are dressed in the habit of the order, and fastened up in niches; when the skeletons, from extreme age, actually fall to pieces, the skulls and bones are formed into funeral trophies for the decoration of the walls; and the whole is described as a most revolting and barbarous spectacle. The last occupant was said to have departed this life as late as 1835, adding, by the comparative newness of his inhumation, to the horrors of the scene.
The influence of the priesthood, though still very great, is represented to be upon the decline; they have lately, however, shown their power, by retarding the progress of the building of the Protestant church, to which the Dowager Queen Adelaide so munificently subscribed. All the workmen employed are obliged to have dispensations from the Pope, and every pretext is eagerly seized upon to delay the erection of the edifice. At present, the Protestant community, with few exceptions, are content to have service performed in an angle of the court-yard of the palace, formerly a cellar and kitchen, but now converted into an episcopal chapel and vestry-room. The members of the society have a small chapel, not adequate to the accommodation of those who desire to attend it, belonging to the Methodist persuasion; but its minister is afraid to encounter the difficulties and delays which would be consequent upon an attempt to enlarge it. There is a public library adjoining the palace, originally formed by the knights, but considered now to be more extensive than valuable.
The period which I spent upon the island was too brief to allow me to make any inquiries respecting its institutions, the novelties of the scene engaging my attention so completely, that I could give no thought to anything else. The shops and cafes of La Valetta have a very gay appearance, and the ingenuity of the inhabitants is displayed in several manufactures; the black lace mittens, now so fashionable, being particularly well made. Table-linen, also of superior quality, may be purchased, wrought in elegant patterns, and, if bespoken, with the coat-of-arms or crest worked into the centre or the corners. In the fashioning of the precious metals, the Maltese likewise excel, their filagree-work, both in gold and silver, being very beautiful: the Maltese chains have long enjoyed a reputation in Europe, and other ornaments may be purchased of equal excellence.
To the eye of a stranger, Malta, at this period of the year (the end of September), seems bare and destitute of verdure; yet, from the quantity of every kind of vegetables brought to market, it must be amazingly productive. The growth of cotton, lately introduced into Egypt, has been injurious to the trade and manufactures of Malta, and the attempt to supply its place with silk failed. In the opinion of some persons, the experiment made had not a fair trial. The mulberry trees flourished, and the silk produced was of an excellent quality; but the worms did not thrive, and in consequence the design was abandoned. Inquiry has shown, that the leaves from old trees are essential to the existence of the silk-worm, and that, had the projectors of the scheme been aware of a fact so necessary to be known, they would have awaited the result of a few more years, which seems all that was necessary for the success of the undertaking. How many goodly schemes have been ruined from the want of scientific knowledge upon the part of their projectors, and how frequently it happens that a moment of impatience will destroy the hopes of years!
Fruit is cheap, plentiful, and excellent at Malta, the figs and grapes being of very superior quality, while the island affords materials for the most luxurious table. The golden mullet and the Becca fica are abundant; and all the articles brought to market are procurable at low prices. I can scarcely imagine a more agreeable place to spend a winter in, and I promise myself much gratification in the sojourn of a few weeks at this delightful island upon my return to England. I can very strongly recommend Durnsford's Hotel as a place of residence, the accommodation being excellent and the terms moderate. In remaining any time, arrangement may be made for apartments and board, by which means the rate of living is much cheaper, while the style is equally good.
There is an opera at Malta, in which performances of various degrees of mediocrity are given. The gay period to a stranger is that of the carnival; but, at other times, the festivals of the church, celebrated in this isolated place with more of the mummeries of Roman Catholicism than obtain in many other countries professing the same faith, afford amusement to the lovers of the grotesque.
Though the thermometer at Malta seldom rises to 90 deg., yet the heat in the sultry season is very great. Every person, who is in the habit of studying the glass, becomes aware of the difference between the heat that is actually felt and that which is indicated by instruments; and in no place is this discrepancy more sensibly experienced than Malta, in which the state of the winds materially affects the comfort of the inhabitants. A good authority assures us, that "the heat of Malta is most oppressive, so much so, as to justify the term 'implacable,' which is often applied to it. The sun, in summer, remains so long above the horizon, and the stone walls absorb such an enormous quantity of heat, that they never have sufficient time to get cool; and during the short nights, this heat radiates from them so copiously, as to render the nights, in fact, as hot as the days, and much more oppressive to the feelings of those who are accustomed to associate the idea of coolness with darkness. I have seen the thermometer, in a very sheltered part of my house, steadily maintain, during the night, the same height to which it had arisen in the day, while I marked it with feelings of incalculably increased oppression, and this for three successive weeks in August and September, 1822."
At Malta, we were recommended, in consequence of the unsettled state of affairs between Mehemet Ali and the European powers, to proceed forthwith to Egypt, and though strongly tempted to prolong my stay in the island, I thought it advisable to make the best of my way to the Red Sea, and defer the pleasure, which a more protracted residence promised, until my return in the ensuing year. Lieut. Goldsmith, our kind commandant of the Megara, called upon us, according to promise, to conduct us on board the new steamer, the Volcano, the vessel appointed to carry the mails on to Alexandria. This ship was in quarantine, and it was consequently necessary to take some precautions in going on board. We proceeded, in the first instance, to a police station, where we took a second boat in tow, and a guadiano, an official appointed to see that no persons transgress the rules and regulations of the port instituted for the preservation of health.
Upon getting alongside of the Volcano, our baggage was placed in this boat; Miss E. and myself were then handed in, and cast adrift, to my great astonishment; for not having had any previous intimation of the method to be pursued, I was not at all prepared to hold on, as I believe it is called, without assistance. Miss E., however, who was more observant, hooked her parasol into one of the ropes, which she subsequently caught. We were now to be taught a new lesson--the extreme nonchalance with which the officers of a Government steamer treat the passengers who have the misfortune to choose these boats instead of making the voyage on board merchant vessels. Some minutes elapsed before any notice was taken of us, or any assistance afforded in getting up our baggage; our own people being obliged to look on and do nothing, since, had they touched the ship, they would have been obliged to perform eighteen days of quarantine.
Upon reaching the deck, we requested that our baggage might be taken down into the ladies' cabin, in order that we might get our small dormitories put to rights before the rest of the passengers came on board; but, though it could have made no earthly difference to the people employed, we met with a refusal, and the whole was deposited in the grand saloon, already encumbered with luggage, every quarter of an hour adding to the heap and the confusion, and the difficulty of each person recognizing the identical carpet-bag or portmanteau that he might claim as his property.[A]
Among our new fellow-passengers there was a young English gentleman, who intended to travel into Syria, and who, though looking scarcely twenty, had already spent some years in foreign countries. He was very modest and unassuming, and both agreeable and intelligent; and, having had a good deal of conversation together, I was sorry to lose sight of him at Alexandria.
We had also one of Mehemet Ali's proteges on board, a young Egyptian, who had been educated at the Pasha's expense in England, where he had resided for the last ten years, latterly in the neighbourhood of a dock-yard, in order to study the art of ship-building. This young man was a favourite with those persons on board who could make allowances for the circumstances in which he had been placed, and who did not expect acquirements which it was almost impossible for him to attain. His natural abilities were very good, and he had cultivated them to the utmost of his power. Strongly attached to European customs, manners, and institutions, he will lose no opportunity of improving the condition of his countrymen, or of inducing them to discard those prejudices which retard the progress of civilization. He was naturally very anxious concerning his future destiny, for the Pasha's favour is not always to be depended upon, while the salary of many of the appointments which he does bestow is by no means adequate to the support of men whom his liberality has enabled to live in great respectability and comfort in England. Our new acquaintance also felt that, in returning to his friends and relatives, he should shock all their prejudices by his entire abandonment of those customs and opinions by which they were still guided; he grieved especially at the distress which he should cause his mother, and determined not to enter into her presence until he had assumed the national dress, and could appear, outwardly at least, like an Egyptian.
The weather, during our short voyage, was remarkably favourable, although it got rather too warm, especially at night, for comfort. There are, however, great alleviations to heat in the Mediterranean steamers. The ladies can have a wind-sail in their cabin, which, together with the air from the stern windows, renders the temperature at all times very delightful. They enjoy another advantage in having a light burning all night, a comfort which cannot be too highly appreciated, since darkness on board ship increases every other annoyance.
We left Malta on the evening of the 25th, and arrived at Alexandria early in the morning of the 30th. Every eye was strained to catch the first view of the Egyptian coast, and especially of the Pharos, which in ancient time directed the mariners to its shores; but the great object of attraction at this period consisted of the united fleets, Turkish and Egyptian, which rode at anchor in the port. Our steamer threaded its way amid these fine-looking vessels, some of which we passed so closely, as to be able to look into the cabin-windows. To my unprofessional eye, these ships looked quite as efficient as any warlike armament of the same nature that I had yet seen. They all appeared to be well kept, and in good order, while the sailors were clean, neatly dressed, and actively engaged, some in boats, and others performing various duties. Though steamers are now very common sights, we in turn attracted attention, all eyes being directed to our deck.
Our Egyptian fellow-passenger was especially interested and agitated at his approach to his native shore, and the evidences which he saw before him of the power and political influence of the Pasha. From a gentleman who came on board, we learned that an apprehension had been entertained at Alexandria of the arrival of a hostile fleet from Europe, in which event a collision would in all probability have taken place. Mehemet Ali, it was said, was so foolishly elated by his successes, and by the attitude he had assumed, as to be perfectly unaware of his true position, and of the lesson which he would receive, should he persist in defying the remonstrances of his European allies. It was also said, that nothing but the favour shown by the French cabinet to the Pasha had hitherto prevented the commencement of hostilities, since the British Government, taking the view of its representative at Constantinople, felt strongly inclined to proceed to extremities. I merely, of course, state the rumour that prevailed; whether they carried the slightest authority or not, I do not pretend to determine.
Alexandria, from the sea, presents a very imposing appearance; long lines of handsome buildings, apparently of white stone, relieved by green Venetian blinds, afford evidence of increasing prosperity, and a wish to imitate the style of European cities. There is nothing, however, in the landing-place worthy of the approach to a place of importance; a confused crowd of camels, donkeys, and their drivers, congregated amidst heaps of rubbish, awaited us upon reaching the shore. We had been told that we should be almost torn to pieces by this rabble, in their eagerness to induce us to engage the services of themselves or their animals. Accustomed as we had been to the attacks of French waiters, we were astonished by the indifference of the people, who very contentedly permitted us to walk to the place of our destination.
The lady-passengers, who arrived in the steamer, agreed to prosecute the remainder of the journey in company; our party, therefore, consisted of four, with two servants, and a baby; the latter a beautiful little creature, of seven months old, the pet and delight of us all. This darling never cried, excepting when she was hungry, and she would eat any thing, and go to any body. One of the servants who attended upon her was a Mohammedan native of India, an excellent person, much attached to his little charge; and we were altogether a very agreeable party, quite ready to enjoy all the pleasures, and to encounter all the difficulties, which might come in our way.
Having formed my expectations of Alexandria from books of travels, which describe it as one of the most wretched places imaginable, I was agreeably disappointed by the reality. My own experience of Mohammedan cities had taught me to anticipate much more of squalor and dilapidation than I saw; though I confess, that both were sufficiently developed to strike an European eye. We wended our way through avenues ancle-deep in sand, and flanked on either side with various descriptions of native houses, some mere sheds, and others of more lofty and solid construction. We encountered in our progress several native parties belonging to the respectable classes; and one lady, very handsomely dressed, threw aside her outer covering, a dark silk robe, somewhat resembling a domino, and removing her veil, allowed us to see her dress and ornaments, which were very handsome. She was a fine-looking woman, with a very good-natured expression of countenance.
[Footnote A: The author followed up these remarks with others, still more severe, upon the treatment which she and her fellow-travellers experienced on board this vessel; but as these remarks seem to have caused pain, and as Miss Roberts, without retracting one particle of her statements, regretted that she had published them, it has been deemed right to omit them in this work.]