There are 19 Diary volumes, dating between 1889 and 1912. The earlier volumes are the lengthiest, and Mrs. Andrews provides a wealth of detail about Egypt, its landscape, people and their social mores.
Diary 1 Sample
This volume runs to nearly 160 pages in its original, typewritten format.
While on her way through New York, in the autumn of 1916, Mrs. Andrews kindly gave her consent to a request which I made, that we be allowed to copy this journal of her life on the Nile, primarily in order that we might have on record in the Egyptian Department of the Museum the many facts which it contains relating to the archaeological work of Theodore M. Davis, from the results of which the museum has received such valuable material through his various gifts and under the terms of his will.
As a member of his family, Mrs. Andrews accompanied Mr. Davis on his annual visits to Egypt for a period of more than twenty years, and the charming description which she gives of their river-life on the “Bedawin”, familiar to many of us who enjoyed their hospitality, is certainly worthy of a wider public and more permanent form in print, -- though she could not be prevailed upon to consider this.
Albert M. Lythgoe.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Paris. December 1st, 1889.
Sailed from New York, Saturday November 16th on S.S. Bourgogne, and arrived at Havre Nov. 24th at noon. A dull and uneventful voyage - and a most disagreeable landing in a heavy storm of wind and rain, in a tug, with no protection but that our umbrellas and wraps gave us. Came to our old quarters at Hotel Chatham.
Shepheards Hotel Cairo - Egypt. Dec. 12. 1889.
We left Paris on the 5th at 8.30 a.m. for Marseilles. I had been suffering with a severe cold, and confined to the house and often to my room during our stay in Paris. The weather was raw and cold all the time, and the day of our journey to Marseilles was very cold - and the ride seemed excessively long and tiring. We spent a night at the “Hotel du Louvre et de la Paix” at Marseilles, and took a drive the next morning through the streets and along the quays - a cold wind blowing. There had just passed over France, or rather the south of France, one of the worst mistrals ever known and houses in Avignon and Nismes blown down, ships unable to enter or leave the port or Marseilles for days, snow at Nice etc. so that our disappointment in regard to seeing Avignon, Nismes and Arles, which we had planned to do on our way down to Marseilles, and which my illness prevented, was mitigated.
We sailed in the “Gironde” of the Massagieres Maritime line, at 4 oclock in the afternoon. The boat proved an excellent one -- good service, table and rooms. We found among the passengers Miss Sara Gibbs of Newport. The first night out was excessively cold and rough -- and I went early to bed, grasping my hot water bag, and soon forgot the discomforts. The next morning we had a summer sea to sail over, and we were passing between Corsica and Sardinia, and with a glass could distinguish the houses on either island. In the afternoon we were approaching the Straits of Messina, and a lovely scene it was! For a time it seemed impossible to decide which was the main shore, and which was Sicily -- and we were apparently steaming dead into the rocky shore of the Aspromonte promontory. Everyone was on deck gazing at the beautiful and interesting shores, soon the Strait defined itself, each shore near enough to see the houses plainly without glasses. A heavy mass of clouds hung about the volcanic island of Stromboli, one of the Lipari group, and over Sicily, and Aetna could not be seen, as we struck straight off across the Mediterranean under the Italian shore, for Alexandria, which we reached the evening of the 11th early. We were a long time landing - Mary absorbed and delighted at the novel costumes and appearance of the natives on the shore. We could not get into our former quarters at the “Khedival Hotel”, so went to the “Abbot” where we lunched before taking the train to Cairo, which we reached at 9 o'clock. We came to Shepheards and were soon installed in delightful rooms into which the sun looks all day - and out of our windows we look upon a spacious court, with palms and trop-
ical trees, among which the great black and grey crows are flying and cawing all the time.
We are having a “grey day” for this part of the world - but it seems delightfully summer-like to us, even if our northern winter clothes are comfortable. We were busy this morning settling ourselves in our rooms, after which Theodore and I walked to Cook's office, a short distance from the hotel, and looked at plans of steamers and talked over the voyage of the Nile. After an excellent luncheon we drove out, taking Miss Gibbs with us over the Ghèzireh road - it looking almost as natural to us as the Ocean Drive at Newport, - the Kasr-el-Nil bridge, and the drives, all with the same strange motley crowd coming and going, human beings and animals. As a “first sight” there is perhaps nothing to equal it in all the world - and Miss Gibbs and Mary were in constant ecstatic exclamation, while Theodore and I though familiar with it, were impressed, and felt it rather strange and interesting that we should have familiar recollections of Egypt.
Our faithful Mohammed Salah had appeared early in the morning, and been duly engaged, and was occupying his customary seat on the box beside the coachman - his kindly brown face and grave dignified manner, just the same as of old.
Dec. 13. Friday.
We all drove down to the Nile this morning to see the “Sethi” having a permission from Cooks - a cold wind was blowing, and blinding clouds of dust flying. We were not pleased with the appearance of the
little steamer - I stayed at home alone in the afternoon with my troublesome cold - it cannot be induced to leave me. We talked over the Nile journey and decided to go on the Sethi the 1st of January.
Nowhere I believe can a more brilliant and interesting scene of its kind be found, than the great dining room at Shepheards. A new one has been lately added to the house, large lofty capable of seating 300 people I should judge, with masses of tropical palms and plants in groups against the white walls - People from every quarter of the globe are seated at its tables - ladies in evening dress, as well as travelling dress - and the scarlet coats of many trim swell English officers, and an occasional fez or turban, giving color to it all.
Wednesday. Dec. 18th
Everyone complains of the bad wintry weather here - and it is I suppose unusual for Egypt. But it seems curious to us - for a hot sun shines most of the time, flowers are blooming in profusion, and we have our windows open all day. There is a good deal of dust from this light soil - If the houses were only built with some provision for indoor comfort in cool weather, it would be charming. Open chimneys for fire and ventilation would make them most comfortable. But it has been stupid work for me during the past week, sitting at home with my cold, when everything is so delightful out of doors.
One morning we went to the carpet bazaar and Theodore bought two or three rugs - after the usual absurd bargaining. The man demanded £106. for the lot. Theodore took out his little book and made
some figures and promptly offered £28. and got them!
A day of steady hard rain for hours - Mary and Miss Gibbs went bravely off to church - I, of course am condemned to the house - I had a visit from Dr. Murison, and busied myself writing letters. Mohammed Salah appeared at breakfast, with the huge inevitable bouquet, and a remarkable structure in sweets which he called a “Christmas cake”, and which I put by for afternoon and asked Sir Frederick and Lady Hughes and Miss Gibbs to come in, and so disposed of it.
We have decided against the steamer -- first Miss Gibbs backed down -- then they went to look at dahabeahs, and became at once infatuated, and after visits to many Theodore decided upon the “Nubia” belonging to Prince Achmed, an iron boat, with an excellent reputation for speed, and with pretty fittings, and very good beds. Her model and fittings were so superior to those of any others that we saw, that in spite of her high price, Theodore decided upon her. Mohammed went at once delightedly to work, and is now very busy with his preparations for our departure, and is arranging for our comfort in a thousand ways. One of my special cares at present is to prevent him from making a financial ruin of himself, as he insists upon buying too many things and too much of everything for us. We hope to get off on Saturday, if a favorable wind blows.