"Its houses, like those of the Levant, have flat terrace roofs: they have no windows, and the apertures which supply their place are almost entirely obstructed by a wooden lattice projection of various forms, and so close, that the light can hardly force a passage..." He observed that "beauty" was permitted to see what passed in the street without being seen as a result of the lattice-work, the mashrabbiya, that concealed them, but this observation also Gave him a chance to moralize on the state of what he saw as the oppressed womanhood of Egypt and the "tyrannical" attitudes of the Egyptian male. Of Alexandria itself:
"Narrow and awkwardly disposed streets are without pavement as without police; no public edifice, no private building arrests the eye of the traveler, and, on the supposition that the fragments of the old city had not attracted his attention, he would find no object in the present one that could supply matter for a moment’s thought. Turks, Arabians, Barbaresques, Cophts, Christians of Syria, Jews, constituted a population which may be estimated at five thousand as far as estimation can be made in a country where there is no register kept of anything."
"I found myself before one of the most beautiful monuments of ancient Egypt,
which time, and the fatal genius of destruction, had equally assailed; but which,
in part, withstood their strokes and their efforts...this is one of the most striking
edifices on which antiquity has endeavored to impress the seal of immortality..."
"(of the insects) the most numerous and troublesome, are the flies, both man
and beast are cruelly tormented by them. No idea can be formed of their obstinate
rapacity, when they wish to fix on some part of the body. It is vain to drive them
away, they return again in the self same moment, and their perseverance wearies
out the most patient spirit."
"I felt inclined more than once to prostrate myself in token of veneration
before monuments, the rearing of which appeared to transcend the strength and
genius of man...Let the so much boasted fabrics of Greece and Rome come and
bow down before the temples and the palaces of the Thebes of Egypt. Its lofty
ruins are still more striking than their gaudy ornaments; its gigantic wrecks are
more majestic than their perfect preservation."
"I was very desirous to visit some spacious grottos, cut in the rock, about a
league to the west of Gourna, the sepulchers of the ancient monarchs of Thebes.
But I could find nobody who would undertake to conduct me thither; the Sheik
himself assured me that the people of Gourna being at war with some neighboring
villages, a few of whose inhabitants they had lately killed, it would be imprudent
to expose myself with guides taken from among them, who, far from affording
me protection, would rather be the cause of bringing down upon my head the
effects of an implacable revenge."