Cover Sketches
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The guard of Nubian eunuchs with their black, glossycountenances, clothed in scarlet and gold, waving their glitteringDamascus sabres, and gently bounding on their snow-white steeds, is, perhaps, the most picturesque corps in the world. The numerous harem, the crowds of civil functionaries and military and naval officersin their embroidered Nizam uniforms, the vast number of pages andpipe-bearers, and other inferior but richly attired attendants, thesplendid military music, for which Mehemet Al...i has an absolute passion, the beautiful Arabian horses and high-bred dromedaries, altogether forma blending of splendour and luxury which easily recall the golden daysof Bagdad and its romantic Caliph.
Yet this Court is never seen to greater advantage than in the delicioussummer palace in the gardens of Shoubra. During the festival of theBairam the Pasha usually holds his state in this enchanted spot, nor isit easy to forget that strange and brilliant scene. The banqueting-roomswere all open and illuminated, the colonnade was full of guests ingorgeous groups, some standing and conversing, some seated on smallPersian carpets smoking pipes beyond all price, and some young grandeeslounging, in their crimson shawls and scarlet vests, over the whitebalustrade, and flinging their glowing shadows over the moonlit water:from every quarter came bursts of melody, and each moment the riverbreeze brought gusts of perfume on its odorous wings.

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