Berbers. THE MODERN EGYPTIANS.
with the slender figure of the fellah or the corpulence of the Turk.
Among the lower classes frequent intermarriage with negro women
has darkened the complexion and thickened the features of their
offspring; while the higher ranks, being descended from white
slaves or Turkish mothers, more nearly resemble the European type.
As the inhabitants of the towns could not be so much oppressed by
their rulers as the peasantry, we find that they exhibit a more in¬
dependent spirit, greater enterprise, and a more cheerful disposition
than the fellahin. At the same time they are not free from the
dreamy character peculiar to Orientals, nor from a tinge of the apathy
of fatalism; and their indolence contrasts strongly with the industry
of their European rivals in political, scientific, artistic, and all
business pursuits. A glance at the offices of the ministers, the
bazaars of the merchants, the schools of the Arabs, and the building-
yards and workshops constructed by natives will enable the traveller
to observe with what deliberation and with what numerous inter¬
vals of repose they perform their tasks. From such workers it is
in vain to expect rapidity, punctuality, or work of a highly finished
character, and the caustic remark of Prince Napoleon thatthe Egyp¬
tians are 'capable of making a pair of pantaloons, but never of
sewing on the last button', was doubtless founded on experience.
The townspeople profess Islamism, but, in their youth particularly,
they are becoming more and more lax in their obedience to the Koran.
Thus the custom of praying in public, outside the house-doors and
shops, is gradually falling into disuse. The European dress, more¬
over, is gradually superseding the Oriental, though the latter is far
more picturesque, and better suited to the climate t. On the whole,
however, they are bigoted Mohammedans, and share the contempt
with which the fellahin regard all other religions. Their daily inter¬
course with unbelievers and their dread of the power of the Christ¬
ian nations tend, however, to keep their fanaticism, which otherwise
would be unbounded, in check, and has even induced them to admit
strangers to witness the most sacred ceremonies in their mosques.
(5). Berbers. The name Berberi (plur. bardbra) is believed
by many authorities to be identical with 'barbarians', a word which
is said to have been adopted by the Greeks from the Egyptians, who
used it to denote all 'non-Egyptians', and to be derived from brr,
i. e. 'to be unable to speak', or 'to speak imperfectly'. The 'Ber¬
bers' of N.Africa and the town of 'Berber' in S. Nubia also doubt¬
less have the same origin. In Egypt the name is applied in a half
contemptuous way to the numerous immigrants from the Nubian
t About the year 1865 a kind of uniform called the 'Stambulina' was
prescribed by the government for all the officials of the higher classes
(black coat with a row of buttons and low upright collar), but they are
allowed to wear ordinary European clothing in their offices. All the
officials, however, in the pay of the Egyptian government, including Eu¬
ropeans, and even the members of the mixed court of justice, must wear
the red fez (tarbush).
Baedeker's Earvnt I. 2nd Ed. A