The Spell of Egypt by Robert Hichens

 -  There are two minarets,
the minaret of the bird, and a larger one, approached by a big
stairway up which - Page 120
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There Are Two Minarets, The Minaret Of The Bird, And A Larger One, Approached By A Big Stairway Up Which, So My Dragoman Told Me, A Sultan Whose Name I Have Forgotten Loved To Ride His Favorite Horse.

Upon the summit of this minaret I stood for a long time, looking down over the city.

Grey it was that morning, almost as London is grey; but the sounds that came up softly to my ears out of the mist were not the sounds of London. Those many minarets, almost like columns of fog rising above the cupolas, spoke to me of the East even upon this sad and sunless morning. Once from where I was standing at the time appointed went forth the call to prayer, and in the barren court beneath me there were crowds of ardent worshippers. Stern men paced upon the huge terrace just at my feet fingering their heads, and under that heavy cupola were made the long ablutions of the faithful. But now no man comes to this old place, no murmur to God disturbs the heavy silence. And the silence, and the emptiness, and the greyness under the long arcades, all seem to make a tremulous proclamation; all seem to whisper, "I am very old, I am useless, I cumber the earth." Even the mosque of Amru, which stands also on ground that looks gone to waste, near dingy and squat houses built with grey bricks, seems less old than this mosque of Ibn-Tulun.

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