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---_--HUMAN PAVING STONES

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HUMAN PAVING STONES THE MOOLED EL NEBBEH. At last, from behind the mosque, we heard the dull beating of drums, and the crowd on either side the street squeezed closed up to the houses; and in the space thus left vacant these lads threw them- selves face downwfrds upon the ground. First they lay as they fell-some one way, some another, but with each minute the rows got squeezed together closer and closer. A number of amateur packers volunteered their services, and began the work of paving the street with these human paving stones. From time to time, when the layer seemed to be so close that it was impossible to wedge another in, a man, raggeder even and more wretched-looking than his fellows, would fling himself upon this living carpet, and kick and push and struggle to get himself a place. Then, as the roadway disappeared beneath this carpet of bodies, barefooted fellows jumped and leaped upon the long line of backs, yelling Allah-el-Allah I stood so close to the procession that with a stick I could have poked the men lying down without leaving my chair. They were packed so close that it must have been hard for them to breathe with their faces half buried in the dust. Then the sound of music came nearer, and the procession began. As a sort of advance guard, there came a mob of half-naked men shouting, yelling, howling. There were men with skewers stuck through their cheeks, men with iron spikes headed with heavy iron balls, who kept spinning the point of the spike upon their palms till the pieces of sharp jagged steel, attached by chains to the ball, began to fly round and round, and then they made a feint to bring the whirling ball so near their cheeks as to slash and gash nose, mouth, and eyes with the revolving blades. And then the shrieks, yells, and cries were drowned for a moment as the colleges of dervishes came marching past, each with its sacred banner and its band of music. The music, however, had little resemblance to any melody. I suppose that there was some attempt, but it seemed to me as if the musicians themselves were carried away by the frenzy of the moment, and played upon their instruments as their fingers chanced to fall, while they joined in the yelling shriek of Allah-el-Allah! On they came, troop after troop; over the bodies in the street, dervishes, flag-bearers, players, and their followers tramped forward with unshod feet. Then, at the end of the street, appeared the Sheikh himself, mounted on a white Arab steed. Except in a bur- lesque, I never saw so huge a turban as that he wore. He looked like a man helplessly drunk, or drugged with the fumes of tobacco till he had lost all con- sciousness of where he was, all power of using his limbs. His head, surmounted by its huge turban, hung down helplessly over his left shoulder, his frame kept lolling to and fro, so that he would have fallen off the saddle if there had not been men propping him up on either side his mouth was open, the saliva was running down from the corners of his lips. Tramp, tramp, tramp, the hoofs came down over the prostrate figures and even amidst the uproar of the crowd you could hear the dull scrunch as the horse trod on his -way. As the Sheikh moved onwards, the men sprang up from the ground on which they lay. Pale as death, half fainting, gasping for breath, writhing as if in mortal pain, they looked one and all as if they were in various stages of epileptic convulsions. Their eye- balls glared out of their sockets; their features were contorted witn hideous spasms they threw them- selves about as if they would dash their heads against the stone walls, and struggled fiercely with the friends whose arms were passed round their shoulders te prevent them from falling to the ground. I saw men biting the ears, wrenching open the clenched teeth, pulling at the cramp-knotted arms of these epileptic wretches. The whole scene was ghastly, horrible. Meanwhile the Sheikh had ridden along the street, through the court- yard of the mosque, right up to the en- trance of the temple, treading all the way over rows of bodies. After the ride was over, he dis- mounted, and was supported into the mosque, where he was apparently brought round to his senses with pipes and coffee. And then, after a few minutes' lull, the howling and the shrieking began again. The snakes were twisted aloft, the swords brandished, the spiked balls set a-spinning the cry of "Allah-el- Allah! "—beginning low, slow, and faint-rose, swelled; and a second edition of the scene in the street was commenced, though without the main inci- dent of the riding over the bodies. Our police guards hinted to us that our presence in the mosque during the ceremony gave umbrage to the crowd; and, for my part, I was glad enough of the excuse to leave the Mussulman fanatics to themselves and get out into the open air.—Cairo Correspondent. t n. j ■

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