THESE public dancers are often confused with the Almehs, who are female singers. The Ghawázees are dancing-girls who perform unveiled in the public streets to amuse the rabble; their dances have little elegance and less decorum. Their dress is similar to that worn by the middle classes in Egypt. They often perform in the court of a house, or in the street before the door, on occasions of festivity, such as a marriage or the birth of a child; but they are never admitted to a respectable hareem, for they are the most abandoned of the courtesans. They are often extremely handsome, and among them are certainly to be found the finest women in Egypt.

Many have slightly aquiline noses, the characteristic of a distinct race, which they assert themselves to be; and their origin is certainly involved in the great obscurity, resembling in some points another mysterious people, the Gipsies. In many of the ancient tombs are representations of females in private entertainments, dancing to the sound of instruments, similar to the modern Ghawázees; these records of their existence as a class, on tombs prior to the Exodus of the Israelites, leave us fairly to infer that they are descended from the same caste: for they still keep themselves distinct from other classes and abstain from marriages except with persons of their own tribe: they have a peculiar language, too, which they use to conceal their communication from strangers.

By a decree of Mehemet Ali, the Ghawázees were lately banished from Cairo, and Lower Egypt, to Esneh, the first place on ascending the Nile where their performances are publicly allowed.

Roberts's Journal