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MAUSOLEUM OF MOHAMMAD ALEE.
white marble, and constructed in the usual Turkish style. The slele, or head-stone at the end of each was beautifully carved, and adorned with flowers, and verses of the Koorán, in relief, gilt on an azure ground, and surmounted by the head-dress expressive of the sex and rank of the deceased, who were all the different members of Mohammad Alee's family. Several splendid chandeliers hung from the arched roof; the floor between the tombs was covered with the most costly Persian carpets, in which we sank literally ankle deep, and copies of the Koorán lay open on stands in several places. Many of the tombs were strewed with flowers, not yet withered, and the apartment was well lighted by windows in the European style, furnished with splendid pink silken curtains. At one end of the chamber is a space left for his highness; and it is a spot he frequently visits, as beside it lie the remains of that wife to whom he was so long and devotedly attached. No less than thirty or forty persons have been interred in this place, some of whom were the family of Ibrahim Basha. The greatest care and attention is bestowed to preserve the neatness and order of this tomb, so perfectly different from the damp, neglected state in which such places are left with us.
On the top of one of the mosques attached to a tomb near this, we were shown a small model of a boat, where food and water are daily supplied by the priests for the birds of the neighbourhood; a practice still continued in Egypt from the days of Herodotus. Most of these mausolea belonged to the Turkish nobility at Cairo, and from this place to the city we passed through thousands of tombs, the burial-places of the present inhabitants ; their white glistening appearance darkened in places by groups of mourning friends, or passing funerals.
26th.--To-day we went to inspect two of the most revolting and disgusting sights at Cairo—the slave-market, and the madhouse.
On reaching the door of the latter, which was originally a mosque, we were stopt by our conductor, to purchase a few cakes of coarse bread, quantities of which are always kept in the adjoining porch for supplying the visitors, who thus become a principal though precarious means of supporting its wretched inmates. We were led through a narrow passage, where all was still and silent as the tomb; a few steps farther, and we were introduced into a large oblong room, when a yell arose of the
most unearthly kind my ears were ever assailed by—so startling, that some of our party involuntarily drew back with horror. Our sight-our smell—our hearing—were overwhelmed with a combination of disgusting realities, such as I believe no other place allotted to mankind can exhibit. Around this apartment were arranged a number of dens, about four feet square, closed in front with massive iron gratings. In each of these gloomy, filthy cells, was a human being, perfectly naked, or with the remnant of the tattered rag he may have worn on his entrance years before, fantastically tied about some part of his person; his hair and beard long and matted ; his nails grown into talons ; emaciated ; covered with vermin, and coated with unutterable filth ; an iron collar rivetted about his neck, binding him by a massive chain either to a ring in the wall, or connecting him through a circular aperture with his fellow maniac in the adjoin
Upon our entrance, each wretched prisoner-like a ravenous animal in a menagerie, when the keeper arrives with food—roused from his lair or his lethargy, and rushing with savage wildness to the grating, extended a withered hand for the expected morsel. The foam of frenzied agony was on every lip ; the fire of maniac fury was in every eye, and the poor madman's yell softened into the jabber of satisfaction as each in turn snatched his morsel, and devoured it with a growl I can only liken to a tiger's. Our pity is raised, and all our tender sympathies awakened, for the poor harmless idiot, or melancholy madman; but we must tremble before the outbreak of the violent and raging maniac.
I will not disgust my readers with a recital of the sickening scene I witnessed in the female department, where the frown and whip of the savage keeper rendered unnecessary the chain, the collar and the grating ; nor tax their humanity by asking them to linger longer with those who dwell
" In this vast lazar house of many woes,
Where laughter is not mirth, nor thought the mind,
And each is tortured in his separate hell.” Even with the care and attention shown to those unfortunates in our own country, the sight of madness is one of the most humiliating and pitiable we can witness; but here, where no
pains are taken to improve their condition ; no care for their wants, and no medical skill to inquire into the causes of their malady, or the possibility of their cure, it is a truly awful spectacle. I need hardly say, that recovery is rare ; indeed it would be a miracle, as the first glimmerings of returning reason would in all probability be instantly and completely destroyed on the patient finding himself immured in a dungeon, replete with such horrors.
Few travellers who have visited this establishment but have expressed their opinion upon the state in which it is kept.
Of this says Mr. Wilkinson :-“Though conducted in a disgraceful manner by its present directors, and inferior managers, we cannot but highly appreciate the humanity of Sooltan Quláson, almost the only Mooslim king or governor of Egypt, who set on foot a charitable institution for the benefit of the people. By his orders the patients, whatever might be the nature of their complaint, were regularly attended by medical men, and nurses attached to the establishment; and their minds were relieved by the introduction of a band of music, which played at intervals on a platform in the court of the interior. But the neglect and embezzlement of the directors would have reduced the whole building to a ruined condition had it not been for the benevolence of Sayd el Mahroóque, who undertook the necessary repairs, and detected the misappropriation of its funds."
This institution, called Morostán, is one of considerable antiquity at Cairo, where for many years it was the only charitable establishment-it was founded in 1820, by the celebrated El Quælæm e Naser Mohammad II. It is astonishing that there are so few insane among a people so excitable and imaginative as the Mooslims—the only cause I can assign for it is their religion of fatalism—the “ Allah Keriem”—God's will be done-is a disposition that is not very favourable to the workings of insanity.
The Europeans and medical men of Cairo should inquire into and reform this disgrace upon humanity.
We next visited the slave-market, which is here of great extent. It was remarkable that as a seller of bread sat at the gate of the mad-house, the shop adjoining the gate of the slave-market was occupied by a vender of koorbags, or Arab whips. Within, was a large open court, surrounded by a number of small dark chambers, which rose in terraces around it; these contained the
better class of slaves, who were all Abyssinian girls, from ten to eighteen years of age, with yellowish olive complexions, long straight noses, handsome features, and particularly melting black eyes, the hair long and black, and the lips somewhat thicker than those of Europeans with a similar cast of countenance, which, naturally melancholy in this race, was rendered more so by their present sad condition. All were decently dressed, many were decorated with silver anklets and bracelets, and some few had nose rings. Several were in tears, and all hung down their heads, and appeared ashamed of their degraded, hopeless situation, but brightened into a smile on our offering them a few piasters. Most of these girls have been either kidnapped by the slave dealers, or sold by their own friends for a few trinkets or glass beads; large quantities of the latter are manufactured in Europe and sent here in packages, several of which I met at Atfe. Their eyes were blackened like to the Mohammadan females, and many were remarkable for their tall, light, and elegant figures.
The centre of the court was matted, and arranged in a number of compartments, on which were squatted whole families of negroes, principally from Nubia and Dongola, and who were for the most part captives, taken in war by some neighbouring tribe. The majority of these were females from eight to twelve years of age, who are purchased for household servants. Although nearly naked, the young Nubian had still the inherent love of decoration, and strings of blue beads adorned the necks of many who could not boast even a chemise. They were all tattooed in various places about the head and breast, each according to the manner of their tribe, and their woolly pates, well greased with rancid lard, were dressed in plaits about the size of whip-cord, which hung in bunches over either ear. These young creatures appeared perfectly unconscious of their state, and, as far as appearance went, were very happy. In the intermediate spaces sat the different slave merchants, Turks, and Arabs; several Bedawees stalked about in their burnooses; and some of the buyers, occasionally pointing out the slaves they wished to purchase, they were called up by the owner and carefully examined; if they had covering on it was removed, and they were made to exhibit their shapes and paces like a horse at an auction mart. These young negresses can be purchased for from thirty to forty dollars; the Abyssinians go as high as a
hundred ; and they all so soon adopt the manners and religion of their masters, that I have known a girl, when purchased by a Mohammadan, lift up her only covering to shade her face while following him from the slave-market!
During an early morning visit I witnessed a very extraordinary scene here; all the negresses, young and old, had ranged themselves round the walls of the upper terraces, and were greasing their bodies and heads with palm oil; they shone lustrously in the warm sunshine, and reminded me of so many cormorants pluming themselves upon a rock after their evening's meal. As manual field labour is seldom or never accomplished by slaves in this country, there are few adult males brought down, and the boys are principally used as grooms and confidential servants. There is a white slave-market adjoining this, where the Georgians and Circassians are kept, but no European is allowed to enter.
Having thus described an eastern slave-market, let us inquire what slavery is in the east. The very term is, no doubt, one from which human nature shrinks with repugnance; but it is not here “the soul-debasing task-work of a servile bondage,” as among Christian nations, and, apart from the miseries of separation from friends and country, it is an undoubted change to many for the better. The worst part is the voyage down the Nile, or the passage across the desert, where they are subjected to much hardship and villainy from the slave-dealers. Many of the male slaves in the east become officers, and rise to places of trust in the state ; and numbers obtain their freedom in a few years. True it is that the master can kill his slave; but few are so foolish as to incur such a personal loss. At Cairo they are far better fed, clothed, and taken care of than free servants, whom they despise and look upon as inferiors, often boasting that they were slaves and not servants. Less manual labour is required of them than of the freemen, and all are acquainted with the political importance a race of slaves now extinct once assumed in Egypt. As regards the female slaves, I have stated that the Nubians were all used as under servants and attendants upon the ladies of the hareem ; but the Abyssinians, for whom, from their interesting appearance, and somewhat greater advance in civilization, our sympathies would be more excited, are generally purchased as concubines, a state in the present condition of morality in Egypt often preferable to that of a wife, who can