I Was Afraid, Because I
Could Not Believe The Asservations Of Certain Practical Persons, Full
Of The Hard And Almost Angry Desire Of "Progress," That No Harm Had
Been Done By The Creation Of The Reservoir, But That, On The Contrary,
It Had Benefited The Temple.
The action of the water upon the stone,
they said with vehement voices, instead of loosening it and causing it
to crumble untimely away, had tended to harden and consolidate it.
Here I should like to lie, but I resist the temptation.
Naville has stated that possibly the English engineers have helped to
prolong the lives of the buildings of Philae, and Monsieur Maspero has
declared that "the state of the temple of Philae becomes continually
more satisfactory." So be it! Longevity has been, by a happy chance,
secured. But what of beauty? What of the beauty of the past, and what
of the schemes for the future? Is Philae even to be left as it is, or
are the waters of the Nile to be artificially raised still higher,
until Philae ceases to be? Soon, no doubt, an answer will be given.
Meanwhile, instead of the little island that I knew, and thought a
little paradise breathing out enchantment in the midst of titanic
sterility, I found a something diseased. Philae now, when out of the
water, as it was all the time when I was last in Egypt, looks like a
thing stricken with some creeping malady - one of those maladies which
begin in the lower members of a body, and work their way gradually but
inexorably upward to the trunk, until they attain the heart.
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