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ATTENDED BY A GOD.
BY THE AUTHOR BY MAGNESIUM LIGHT FROM A WALL IN THE ENTRANCE-
N the neighborhood of three thousand three hundred years ago the land of Egypt, from Goshen to Thebes and beyond, was in an up
The king was dead! Rameses II., the precocious youth who at the age of ten had joined his warrior-father Sethi I. upon the throne; the ruler whom his people regarded as a god; the oppressor under whom the Israelites are said to have "sighed by reason of their bondage"; the great Sesostris of the Greeks,―had breathed his last.
The gay and busy life of the cities of the Delta was hushed, and the hundred gates of Thebes were only opened to those who ministered to the necessities of the living or who performed the sacred offices of the priesthood. All street processions, minstrel-bands, and mountebanks fled appalled.
The cities which the great architect and artist-king had refounded,- Ra'amses and Pithom,-built by the forced labor of the Hebrews, were in their meridian splendor. The Ramesseum at Thebes was yet unsurpassed, and the colossal monolith which represented the
enthroned king was then unbroken. The glorious quartette of Abou-Simbel, but recently finished, sat, as now, smiling at the Nubian sun.
But Rameses II., in whose honor, for whose glory, and by whose command all these grand creations were finished, could look upon them no more with mortal eyes.
His body was embalmed, and in due season the funeral procession followed. The mummied king was placed aboard the royal barge, and, attended by the priests and the images of the gods Horus and Isis and Hathor, was floated up the Nile to the Theban city of the Dead-to Bîbân el-Mulouk, the St. Denis, the Westminster Abbey of the kings, and a great lamentation went up to the skies from stricken Egypt.
As the funeral cortége journeyed slowly on, the frantic people of the cities and villages flocked to the quays to render homage to their dead ruler.
Even the despised and persecuted Hebrew suspended labor betimes because his cruel overseer had forgotten him.
The men rent their garments, the women tore their hair, and all gathered up the dust and threw it upon their heads.
Tens of thousands of funeral offerings were cast into the sacred river, and the gods were called upon to attend the dead throughout the sacred journey. It was a dire day indeed. When the sad company had arrived at the necropolis, all the complicated funeral rites were conducted with priestly ostentation.
Then the body of Rameses was sealed in the great sarcophagus which had been cut from the limestone of Bîbân el-Mulouk.
The location of the tomb was well known then, because it had been the habit of the monarch to visit it frequently during its excavation.
More than once had the architect announced Copyright, 1887, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.
that the tomb was ready, but he was as often met with the command to excavate still other vaulted halls and longer passages and side chambers, all to be finished with stuccoed walls adorned by representations in relief of the processions of the gods, of the life and work of the king, and of the scarabæus, the emblem of immortality. Moreover, all were to be richly colored.
"There is plenty of time for all that and much more before I am ready," said Rameses, and he returned to his capital.
But he died before the work was completed. According to custom, after the burial the doorway to the tomb was walled up, and so disguised by rocks and sand as to make it impossible for any but the priests to discover its whereabouts.
And although his original tomb, that of his father Sethi I., and that of his son Menephtah, had long before been discovered, they were empty, and until July, 1881, the real hidingplace of the "Pharaoh of the Oppression was a mighty secret. Then its door was opened, and soon after history in a measure repeated itself.
The story of its finding is more romantic
than any told in Egypt since Isis gathered the scattered remains of Osiris and buried his head within the alabaster temple at Abydus.
For a number of years the acute officials of the Museum of Antiquities at Bûlâq had seen funeral offerings and other antiquities brought from Thebes by returning tourists, which they knew belonged to the dynasty of Rameses II., of his father Sethi I., and of his grandfather Rameses I. Even scarabees bearing the cartouch of the great king were displayed by the innocent purchasers. This being so, argued the clear-headed officials, the mummies of those royal personages must have been discovered by some one. By whom?
Professor Maspero, the Director-general of the Bûlâq Museum, at once organized a detective force to help him solve this conundrum.
Arrest after arrest was made, and the bastinado was applied to many a callous sole which had never felt even shoe or sandal. The women stood by and browbeat the sufferers into silence while they endured the torture, and the men refused all information.
In a line of tombs beyond the Ramesseum lived four sturdy Arabs named Abd-erRasoul. They supplied guides and donkeys to
tourists who desired to visit the ruins of Thebes, and sold them genuine and spurious antiquities. When they found a mummy, it being forbidden by law to sell it, the head and hands and feet were wrenched off and sold on the sly, while the torso was kicked about the ruined temples until the jackals came and carried it away. I purchased a head and hand of one of the brothers amid the dark shadows of the temple at Qûrneh.
Early in 1881 circumstantial evidence pointed to Ahmed Abd-er-Rasoul as the one who knew more than he would tell. Professor Maspero caused his arrest, and he lay in prison at Keneh for some months. He also suffered the bastinado and the browbeating of the women repeatedly; he resisted bribes, and showed no melting mood when threatened with execution. His lips told no more than the unfound tomb- and not as much.
ENTRANCE TO THE TOMB OF SETHI I. IN BIBAN EL-MULOUK OR THE
Finally his brother Mohammed regarded the offer of "bakhshish," which Professor Maspero deemed it wise to make, as worth more to him than any sum he might hope to realize from future pillaging, and made a clean breast of the whole affair. How the four brothers ever discovered the hidden tomb has remained a" family secret."
On July 5th, 1881, the wily Arab conducted Herr Emil Brugsch Bey, curator of the Bûlâq Museum, to Deir-el-Bahari and pointed out the hiding-place so long looked for.
A long climb it was, up the slope of the western mountain, till, after scaling a great limestone cliff, a huge, isolated rock was found. Behind this a spot was reached where the stones appeared to an expert observer and tomb-searcher to have been arranged "by hand," rather than scattered by some upheaval of nature.
"There," said the sullen guide; and "there" the enterprising Emil Brugsch Bey, with more than Egyptian alacrity, soon had a staff of Arabs at work hoisting the loose stones from a well into which they had been thrown.
The shaft had been sunk into the solid limestone to the depth of about forty feet, and was about six feet square.
Before going very far, a huge palm-log was thrown across the well and a block and tackle fastened to it to help bring up the débris.
When the bottom of the shaft was reached a subterranean passage was found which ran westward some twenty-four feet and then turned directly northward, continuing into the heart of the mountain straight except where broken for about two hundred feet by an abrupt stairway. The passage terminated in a mortuary chamber about thirteen by twentythree feet in extent and barely six feet in height.
There was found the mummy of King Pharoah of the Oppression, with nearly forty others of kings, queens, princes, and priests.
Not until June last was this most royal mummy released from its bandages. That event is my plea for telling now what I know of the romantic finding and the place thereof. A few months after the finding took place, accompanied by my camera I visited the Bûlâq Museum and photographed the entire "find." Emil Brugsch Bey is also an amateur photographer, and we had already fraternized during the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, where the Egyptian section was in his care. Therefore at Bûlâq I not only enjoyed a rare privilege at his hands, but also his friendly advice and assistance.
The photography done, we embarked upon the Khedive's steamer Beni Souef for Luxor. There we were met by Professor Maspero and Mohammed Abd-er-Rasoul, and together we visited the scene of the latest drama of the Nile.
When we reached the chamber of the dead, the rope which had hoisted the royal mummies from the tomb was made fast to our bodies, was swung over the palm-log, and we were lowered into the depths. As I dangled in midair and swayed from side to side, the rocky