His Highness Prince Mahomet Ali, Cairo, February 14, 1898
The hemalee carries, upon his back, a vessel (called “ibreek”) of porous grey earth. This vessel cools the water. Sometimes the hemalee has an earthen kulleh of water scented with “móyet zahr” (or orange-flower-water), prepared from the flowers of the “náring” (a bitter orange), for his best customers; and often a sprig of náring is stuck in the mouth of his ibreek.
Interior of a Mosque
To form a proper conception of the ceremonials of the Friday-prayers, it is necessary to have some idea of the interior of a mosque. A mosque in which a congregation assembles to perform the Friday-prayers is called “gámë’.” The mosques of 68Cairo are so numerous, that none of them is inconveniently crowded on the Friday; and some of them are so large as to occupy spaces three or four hundred feet square. They are 69mostly built of stone, the alternate courses of which are generally coloured externally red and white. Most commonly a large mosque consists of porticoes surrounding a square open court, in the centre of which is a tank or a fountain for ablution. One side of the building faces the direction of Mekkeh, and the portico on this side, being the principal place of prayer, is more spacious than those on the three other sides of the court.
The dress of a large proportion of those women of the lower orders who are not of the poorest class consists of a pair of trousers or drawers (similar in form to the shintiyán of the ladies, but generally of plain white cotton or linen), a blue linen or cotton shirt (not quite so full as that of the men), a burko’ of a kind of coarse black crape, and a dark blue tarhah of muslin or linen. Some wear over the shirt, or instead of the latter, a linen tób, of the same form as that of the ladies. The sleeves of this are often turned up over the head; either to prevent their being incommodious, or to supply the place of a tarhah.
The lower orders in Egypt, with the exception of a very small proportion, chiefly residing in the large towns, consist of Felláheen (or Agriculturists). Most of those in the great towns, and a few in the smaller towns and some of the villages, are petty tradesmen or artificers, or obtain their livelihood as servants, or by various labours. In all cases, their earnings are very small; barely sufficient, in general, and sometimes insufficient, to supply them and their families with the cheapest necessaries of life.