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NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE
W. HARRISON AINSWORTH, ESQ.
BEING THE THIRD PART
CHAPMAN AND HALL, 186, STRAND.
CONTENTS OF VOL. 84.
97, 199, 311, 466
(FOR DECEMBER):-THE YOUNG COUNTESS; OR, LOVE
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN DANDY.
BY THE AUTHOR OF AZETH: THE EGYPTIAN."
It seems a contradiction to speak of a dandy of Ancient Egypt; of that stern valley with its wide faith, its dark philosophy, its eternal pyramids and mighty works: it seems impossible that a land which brought forth such enduring mementos of its majesty, should have also cradled children whose sole existence was a gentle vanity, whose worst sin was folly, whose highest virtue was harmlessness from their very weakness. As little as for fair fragile flowers on the rough rock should we think to find our curled and perfumed fop, a thing of such inanity and foolishness, in the same country as that which Isis and Osiris blessed, and for which Rameses and Psamettichus bled. Amidst that giant structure filled with its colossal figures of such surpassing grandeur, rearing up his gentle life like a young blue blossom in the Theban tombs, stands forth the Egyptian dandy. Speak tenderly of his follies; cover up his frailties with the wide cloak of charity; there are more noxious weeds on the bosom of the earth than our vain young fop; and though he does but little good in his brief day, save perhaps to mark by contrast how grand and noble a thing humanity may be made, yet even for his puerilities we have patience, even for his foolish life we have love.
A dandy in Egypt!-a thing of paint and perfume, of lisping speech and empty brain, in that valley which the Nile bound with its living zone, the holy tomb of the members of a God! Strange union this; strange comradeship in blood and land for the descendants of Menes and for the subjects of the Pharaohs. But in Egypt too the earth brought forth the corn-field and the poppy together; and among her sons were the true and the reverent, the earnest and the thoughtful, walking through crowds of fools and foplings whose lives were but the scarlet poppies of the corn-field. Side by side with the swart priest who knows such deep things of Nature and of Nature's God, stands that gentle, vain, bejewelled thing, to whom art and science are but master-workmen for his luxury, to whom the grand world of his religion is but illimitable darkness, and the philosophy of the adytum a chaos of terrifying dread where he is lost without redemption. To him each mythe is a practical fact, which he must believe against reason as he best may; each legendary impersonation is a living existence which he must reconcile with the known laws of nature as he can. He has neither faith nor courage to pierce the outward husk and find the truth which lay concealed beneath all these wrappages of mythe, and God, and sacred life. He believes in the outward; and fears for piety's sake the daring which would lead him to examine his belief. For the priest understanding, for the fopling credence: but can any man believe if he does really understand? And Sept.-VOL. LXXXIV. No. CCCXXXIII.