THIS ruin of the Temple of Amun at Goorna is merely adopted as the locale for a group of Turco-Egyptians, such as the traveller often meets in the valley of the Nile. The central figure is an officer of the Pacha, making a visit to collect tribute, or to listen to complaints of mal-administration. He is visited by the Sheik of the village, who stands near him, behind whom is an attendant: the officer is ready to decide, not so much upon the justice of a case submitted to him, as to arguments accompanied by bribes. This makes such an appointment profitable, and it is usually obtained by a bribe, or given to a favourite, to reward him by a means of becoming rich, without regard to the injustice which it is almost certain will attend his administration. Old men of the village form picturesque groups on such and similar occasions around the functionary, who, when he has learned from the Sheik or others the cases likely to come before him, – how he can make the most by his decisions, who can best pay him or bribe best to evade just payment, or suffer best the injustice about to be inflicted in enforcing unjust claims, and thus fleece the poor wretches subjected to such ministers of justice; having learned all this, – he is ready to receive the complaining parties. Such is the general character of these visits; they are frequent, and strikingly characteristic of law, or the abuse of it, in Egypt.

    But such scenes are presented, and groups formed, by causes less painful to reflect upon. Sometimes the principal people of a village meet to receive a stranger, or listen to the teller of a story; but, however formed, the group never fails to be highly picturesque in costume, with ample draperies: muffled figures, and attitudes as effective from their gestures, positions, and habits, as any painter could arrange for study, and offer materials for the sketch-book, which renew to the artist, or excite in the untravelled stranger, impressions of Eastern manners and character which no mere inventor could produce. On the left in the group here sketched is an Arab woman, dressed in the boorcho, or face-veil, which conceals all but the eyes, and leaves the imagination to supply that beauty which rarely exists in the face itself. Near her are two children, one an Arab boy, in the costume of childhood seen in the lower parts of the valley of the Nile, the other in the dress of a richer class, or better condition of society.

    The ruins in which this scene is laid would be grand and striking, in any other place than in proximity with the great temples of Karnak, Luxor, and Medinet Abou. The temple of Amun at Goorna, on the western bank of the Nile, was one of the most northern of the temples of Thebes, in what was called, in the time of the Ptolemies, the Lybian suburb; and, though less ancient than Karnak, it was dedicated to Amun by Osirei, and completed by his son Rameses II. The place can scarcely be traced amidst the mounds and ruins of Arab hovels. Though so little remains of this temple, it is full of interest to the Egyptian antiquary, from the inscriptions which are still found and read among its hieroglyphics.