Augustus Hoppin left his law profession in 1848 to study art and pursue a career as an illustrator. He became quite successful and widely known for his illustrations for novels. In 1873, he embarked on a extensive tour of Egypt and soon followed his adventure with a fully illustrated book, On the Nile. The accompanying narrative disturbingly captures the narrow, patronizing, and prejudiced views of Anglo travelers during the Victorian period, especially toward those from Middle Eastern culture and religion. Scattered about are illustrations describing more lighthearted amusing moments during the trip, such as when the author learns to ride a camel or partake in a coffee beverage.
“After getting astride of the saddle, comes motion No. 1, which is caused by the animal raising his hind quarters from the ground; this throws you forward, and you lose both your hat and your balance : then comes motion No. 2, which- corresponds to motion No. 1, but with the front quarters; this motion throws the traveller as far backward as he was thrown forward before. These two motions leave the animal and the traveller neither fairly up nor altogether down ; and it requires another motion, No. 3, to bring fore and hind quarters, together with the hump and other adjacent portions, to a “perpendicular;” which act, when accomplished, leaves the rider on the animal’s hump, provided he has clung to the saddle with sufficient tenacity. After the first mount the whole matter is simplified. “
“The Orientals make their coffee as thick as mud, which is repugnant to the European palate ; and the sugar (when they use it) is of the coarsest brown variety, ancl not over clean. There was something, however, about the way we drank it that made even this muddy decoction a delicious tipple.”
- Hoppin, Augustus. On the Nile. Boston : J.R. Osgood & Co., 1874.
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