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AN

ENGLISH MINISTER.

in itself,) can have access to sources of information that no one person could possibly otherwise obtain.

In no other country, and among no other people, is the power of show more influential than among the Egyptians, whose ideas of personal or national greatness are derived from the appearance of external grandeur, and formal observances, empty though they be. England has felt, and acknowledged this in times past, and it would now be well if her representative here considered it too, and did not allow the Arab fellah to point at him the finger of derision, nor the writer to tell of the minister of Great Britain riding through the streets of Cairo on an ass! The honour and integrity of our representative are known and appreciated, and his acquaintance with the diplomatic art is doubtless great, but the compensation allowed by our government and the East India Company, would surely allow of a little more state, when such is absolutely necessary to ensure both personal and national respect.

CHAPTER XIII.

EGYPT,

Visit to the Hospital—The Eye-wards—Egyptian Ophthalmia-Its causes

Treatment—College and School of Medicine--Students—Professors—Dissections-Museum–Instruction - The Maternity-Benefits of the InstitutionThe Magician-Description of the Exhibition—The Incantation-Its failureTrial of the powers of Magic-Proofs of its Deception—Inference The Serpentcharmer-The Coluber Haje --Snake-eating—A Subscription Ball--Female Dress—The Sufa-Gambling—Compliment to the British-Old Cairo— The Ferry-Plains of Geza—The Gossamer-Taxes- The Crops_Pyramids of Aboosier—Plains of Memphis-Irrigation—The Desert-Rocks-Opinions concerning Birds—Insectiverous Hawks—The Scarabæus - Its Habits-Its sacred character—The Sacking of the Tombs-Sackara-Catacombs-A Deformed Mummy-Tomb of Bergami-Hieroglyphics—Antiques.

Let us now inquire into the state of science, and of the medical schools of Egypt.

Saturday 27. Our vice-consul, Dr. Walne, having given me a letter of introduction to the chief medical attendant, Dr. Pruner, I this morning visited the hospital and medical college at Casserel-Ein. This splendid establishment, decidedly the best constituted, and the one which reflects most credit on the humanity and liberality of the Basha of any of the recent improvements in Egypt, is situated in the midst of a most charming park, about

VOL. I.

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VISIT TO THE HOSPITAL.

a mile from the city. The road lay through groves of olives lately planted ; the ground was covered with a most luxuriant

crop

of corn, and the different plantations, as well as the whole of the way-side, are bordered by rows of carobs and acacias, which will soon afford a cool and most delightful shade. Around the palace of Ibrahim Basha, which stands near this, are groves of orange trees, limes, and bananas. The hospital is a noble building; airy, most admirably located, and of great extent, forming a square, each side of which is upwards of three hundred feet in length, with a large court in the centre. It is two stories high, and one of the sides and part of the front are occupied by the students and different departments of the medical school. The morning visit was proceeding when I arrived, and I am bound to say that a cleaner, better regulated and conducted medical establishment I never visited. It is on the plan of most British hospitals—a long corridor with wards on one side ; these, forty in number, are lofty and well ventilated, and are capable of containing 1200 patients. Besides this, there is a civil hospital in the city, which has accommodation for about three hundred.

The medical attendants were all European, and consisted of the six professors of the school, and Dr. Pruner, who has likewise the care of the civil hospital in the city. The number of patients labouring under diseases of the eye, and whom I was especially anxious to see, amounted to hun

EGYPTIAN OPHTHALMIA.

339

dreds, but the cases of acute ophthalmia in the hospital at that moment were but few. When it is prevalent in autumn, 700 are frequently in the house at once, and not less than 300 often present themselves in a morning.

Egyptian ophthalmia has attracted so much attention, and has become a subject of such general interest, that I may be excused a brief notice of what appeared to me to be some of the predisposing causes of this formidable malady. The affection appears to be decidedly epidemic, and occurs periodically during the season of the Khumaseén winds, and is particularly violent in autumn, after the fall of the Nile, and when many noxious exhalations rise—the effects of the late inundation. It varies in character every year, both as to violence and duration, and generally retains the type it commenced with throughout. This the medical men study accurately, and on the greater or less quantity of inflammation lies the line of treatment, such as bleeding, &c. As a predisposing cause I conceive that the formation of the eye in the lower orders, those who are most exposed, contributes to the susceptibility of this disease.

First, then, we have a peculiarity of form in the eye of the lower class; the ciliæ, or eye-lashes, are poor, ill-set, and scanty, and the eye-brows very small and particularly devoid of hair.

Secondly-Diseases of the eye-lids and other appendages of that organ, such as trichasis, or

[blocks in formation]

irregularity of the lashes; ectropion and eutropion, a turning out or inwards of the hairs; and diseases of their roots, interfering with the natural secretion of the adjacent glands.

Thirdly-Exposure to the rays of a powerful sun, without

any

kind of shade or defence, as the turboosh, or even the turban offers little or none.

Fourthly—The sand-drifts and hot winds at the season of the Khumáseén.

Fifthly— The epidemic nature of the disease, similar to that of the other mucous membranes.

Sixthly-Extreme dirtiness. Little idea can be formed of this without seeing it ; the eye, or face is seldom washed ; the natural discharge is allowed to accumulate, and often a number of flies will be found collected in the corners, to remove which, would be considered unlucky. I have invariably remarked, that in the Mooslim ablutions before prayer, although they wash the arms to the elbows, the feet, back of the neck, crown of the head, and behind the ears, they always avoid washing the eyes. I do not think that blackening the edge of the eye-lids at all contributes towards ophthalmia, and females, even allowing for their comparative numbers, and the circumstances in which they are placed, are much less liable to it than men.

By the Europeans in the country it is generally attributed to suppressed perspiration ; but, why should not the inhabitants of other warm countries be subject to a similar disease, where the heat is

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