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phire-like chalcedony, conically prolonged and flattened at the end.
"Vexed at the ill success of my researches in the small Pyramids, I determined to make a last attempt with one of the large ones, which lay at the end of the hill, and preferred that which seemed to me still untouched. This Pyramid was the same, which Mons. Caillaud of Nantes describes, in the account of his journey to the White and Blue rivers. It is therefore unnecessary that I should stop to describe this beautiful monument; I will only remark that it consists of 64 steps, each half a fathom high, so that it thus had a height of 32 ells or 28 metres. On each side it was about 48 ells long, thus having an area of 1764 square metres. When I had climbed with four laborers to the summit of the Pyramid, to begin the work, I saw at the first glance that the removal would be easy, since the right hand of Time had already been busy there. After the first stones were taken away, I encouraged my laborers anew. While they were throwing the stones of this step to the ground, I went with Sig. Stefani to rest in the shade of a neighboring pyramid, since I could no longer bear the heat of the sun, which had reached a height of 48 degrees. Suddenly I was called by my faithful servant. I immediately re-ascended the pyramid with my friend, and felt my heart already beat with joyful expectation. I saw my servant lying flat, so as to cover with his body the opening which they had just made. The blacks, tormented with curiosity, would have driven away my servant by force, and have thrust their covetous hands into the inside of the opening. We resisted them firmly, and with arms in our hands forced them to descend. We now called our other servants upon whom we could rely, and let them go on with the removal of the stones in our presence. The opening showed us a wide room, containing objects which we could not yet distinguish. This room was formed of great stones irregularly laid. We caused the great stones which covered the top, to be removed, and saw a cell, which formed a long parallelogram, and consisted of large stones fitted to each other, which formed the four side walls answering to the sides of the pyramid. This cell was four feet high, and from six to seven feet long. The first thing we noticed was an object covered with a cotton cloth of dazzling whiteness, which fell into dust at a touch. It was a sort of table or altar, (mensa sacra, or ara domestica,) supported by four column-like feet, and surrounded by an elegant enclosure, which consisted of high and low wooden railing. This railing was carved, and represented symbolic figures. Under this table was a bronze vase, which contained the most valuable articles of the prize, golden bracelets, rings, scarabæi, amulets,
clasps, &c., which were wrapped in a cloth similar to that just described. Near the vase, on the floor of the cell, were necklaces, glass ornaments, colored stones, &c., arranged regularly by means of strings. I found also some talismans, little idols, a cylindrical étui, of metal, little turned boxes, filled with a powdered substance, whose analysis I will give hereafter; a saw, a chisel, and various other articles.
"I secured all these things immediately in little leather sacks, and so withdrew the gold from the sight of the Arabs. As I came down from the Pyramid, all the workmen thronged round me to see what I had found. But I showed myself firm, and after I had taken my arms, I sternly bid them go on with their work. When the blacks saw my weapons, they quickly drew back, since they believed the very sight of the arms might be deadly. At evening, when the blacks had withdrawn into their huts, and our servants were fast asleep, Sig. Stefani and I examined more at leisure the interesting collection of valuable objects, the sight of which filled my heart with inexpressible joy. (This rich collection takes up the greater part of my catalogue.) I was surprised at the quantity and beauty of the gold work, and saw directly that they far surpassed in value everything of the kind hitherto in the different European museums. As to carved stones, I could quickly see that they were not only equal to the best of such work among the Greeks, but that these were even surpassed by mine. While I surrendered myself thus to the sweet feelings, which such an occurrence, as fortunate as unexpected, must naturally awaken in me, I observed that my friend appeared very melancholy. I remarked upon it to him, and he communicated his anxiety to me, that he believed we should do well to flee with our treasures, since we had everything to fear from the avarice of the blacks. I on the contrary, who had been accustomed for five years to rule these savages, and hence knew their cowardice, rejected this proposal, and determined to try my fortune in still farther discoveries. I thus quieted my friend, and proposed to bury our treasures in the sand. We made a pit at a little distance from our tents, concealed our valuable articles in it, and covered them with earth and sand. The next morning at sunrise we returned to the Pyramid; all our laborers had already gone to work; there were no less than five hundred. Although I did not now need so many people, yet I considered that it would not be wise to offend these men by sending back the new laborers. I ordered new excavations in the vicinity, but they were altogether without result.
"In continuing my account of the farther removal of the Pyramid, I must first remark, that it appeared, after we had demol
ished the little cell in which the table and the treasure were
This fierce attitude awakened my suspicion. I charged my negroes and the other servants to watch these men, who began to be dangerous to us. Six days later I was informed by one of my faithful slaves, who understood the language of the natives, and had mingled with them, that these armed savages were plotting to overpower me, and rob me of my treasure. I at first determined to attack them, and to scatter them with the help of my people; but Sig. Stefani counselled me against it. I had sympathy with our wives and the family of the Albanese; I also considered that if anything serious should happen, which should reach the ears of the governor, my discoveries might also become known, and I should run the risk of losing all. Thus, then, determined rather to take flight with my treasures, I awaited the night.
"I sent three of my most faithful slaves with the camels to Berber, a place where the caravans assemble, which journey through the great desert Coruscah, and I with Sig. Stefani and our families embarked on the Nile, at the place nearest my encampment, in a government vessel, which lay always at my disposal.
"After three days I arrived at Berber, and was very well received there by Abas-Aga, who was vice-governor of Nigritia. I must remain eight days with him, since he would readily have taken me under his protection. In compliance with his instructions, he offered me camels and guides, for a journey through the desert. I thus left Berber, and came after two days' journey to Abu-Achmet, the last village on the way along the Nile. The Biksarah dwell here; a people so accustomed to journey in the desert, that they can travel days long without eating or drinking. Here I took in a supply of water, and turned toward the great desert Coruscah, which the blacks call "the sea without water." On the first day I remarked some gaziah-trees here and there, but the six other days I found myself in a wholly barren desert, between stones and burning sand. I had collected some natural curiosities in Nubia, such as beetles, dancing-spiders, crocodiles' eggs with the embryo, grey and crested cranes, white Ibis, a falcon, a calao, an ichneumon, and many fruits. I also collected in this desert some remarkable stones; they are of nearly globular form, with a very hard shell on the outside, consisting of a ferruginous substance, and the inside filled with sand of various colors. I could compare them to nothing but a peach or an apricot, especially when this fruit is cut in halves. The empty space which remains for the kernel, corresponds to the space occupied by sand in the stone.
"On the seventh day we found a fountain with very bad water, which spouted forth from openings among stones. Still I took
in a supply from it, and continued my journey. On the twelfth day I came to a place which is called "The Gates." Here begins a long mountain-chain of black granite; we passed it in two days, and came at last to Coruscah, situated on the east side of the Nile, between the first and second cataract. I returned to Cairo by the usual way. I received my discharge and the arrears of my salary through the medium of the French Consul, Mons. Minaut. I presented him with the pillar of red granite, which I have mentioned as entrusted to the chief of Vod-Benaga. After having received my discharge, and endured still new dangers from the plague which was desolating this region, I at last obtained the happiness of seeing my native land again."
And who indeed would not congratulate Sig. Ferlini, after so much hardship, on finding himself at last at home in safety, with these remarkable treasures? Let no lover of art passing through Bologna omit to seek out the little dwelling, which still contains the greater part of these valuables, but from which they may ere long be dispersed to the great Museums of sovereigns. But whilst he enjoys these skilfully-wrought works, admires the elegant workmanship of the broad golden bracelets, and considers the mysterious forms adorned with four hawk's-wings, which form the clasp, whilst he scans the mystic signs upon the rings, and sees even the vases of the golden scarabæi ornamented with hieroglyphic figures, he will involuntarily recall to his mind the history of the singular presentiment, to whose powerful incitement alone we are indebted for their discovery; since however mysterious are these signs, and seldom as we are able to penetrate their meaning, yet is the region of these peculiar presentiments, these auguries, this unconscious life of the soul in us, far more dim and mysterious.
THOU golden figure of the shaded sun,
O summer charm, how shall the winter glow,