« הקודםהמשך »
just described, in its being much more narcotic ;-—it is called Toombak; and being damped, it is laid in small pieces on a grating at the top of a brass tube leading into the water-vessel, with some lighted charcoal over it. Considerable difficulty is experienced in smoking this pipe, and as a very strong inhalation is necessary, a quantity of the smoke mixes with the atmospheric air, and is received into the lungs, and this, added to the increased exertion in respiration, makes this form of smoking unpleasant, nay, absolutely dangerous. The apparatus used is called a sheesheh, but I would strongly advise all Europeans to abstain from it. A third form of pipe, much used by the lower orders, is constructed on the same principle as the last, but is merely a cocoa-nut, and a piece of cane for a tube : it is carried in the hand, and is that from which the fumes of the hemp* as well as tobacco are inhaled by those who are addicted to that species of intoxication. Opium-eating is a practice little known in Egypt, at least among the aboriginal inhabitants.
I made particular inquiry as to whether the use of coffee and tobacco shortens life, or is injurious to health. As far as I could judge, they do not; and now, as regards the former of these two
* The leaves and capsules of hemp, called in Egypt hasheesh, were employed in some countries of the east, in very ancient times, to induce an exhilarating intoxication. Herodotus informs us that the Scythians had a custom of burning the seeds of this plant in religious ceremonies and also in baths, and that they became intoxicated. Chewing or smoking it, for a similar purpose, prevailed in India at a very early age; thence it was introduced into Persia, and, about six centuries ago, was adopted in Egypt, but chiefly by the lower order; though Mr. Lane, who has written upon it, says that “ several men, eminent in literature and religion, and numbers of fakeers, yielded to the fascination of this degrading custom. The leaves are used alone, or mixed with tobacco for smoking. The term hashshash, or hemp-smoker, is one of contumely, and signifies as well a noisy, boisterous person.”_Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians.
It is the Cannabis Indica, or Indian variety, which is used as a stimulant; it is there principally cultivated as a luxury, and besides being smoked and chewed, an intoxicating beverage is extracted from it. Some suppose that our word assassin, a name applied to murderers at the time of the crusades, and who made, it is said, use of this drug, is derived from the word hashasheen : others say it was from As Hassin, or the old man of the mountains, their founder.
An excellent essay on the preparations of this hemp, and their effects on
substances, in such constant use throughout the east, no possible comparison can be made between it and those beverages indulged in by our own countrymen of all ranks. Can the agreeable, soothing, comparatively healthy, or, at least, innocuous effects of this cheap and convenient fluid be for a moment likened to the deleterious, debasing results arising from the use of ardent spirits, drank no matter under what guise ? Diseases, the effects of drunkenness, and the horrors of delirium tremens, are almost unknown in Egypt. Why do not temperance societies endeavour to have the duty on coffee lowered, and by establishing shops for the sale of it, as manufactured in the east, afford the newly-reclaimed drunkard some slight but harmless stimulant, and give to all, a refreshment loudly called for in this country? But the coffee must be prepared according to the oriental mode, and the price so lowered as to allow the poor man to purchase it as a luxury, without materially curtailing his income. I grieve to state, what I believe to be a fact, that Frankish intercourse is daily conducing to the drinking of wine in the east.
Few females of the better class are to be met with in the streets of Alexandria, but they throng the avenues of Grand Cairo in great numbers, and are nearly all dressed alike ; the outer garment being a large black silk cloak, enveloping the whole person, coming up over the head, and drawn low down on the forehead. It is open in front, and held out from the waist by the hands; and as it does not meet before, the gown or under garment, a tunic of pink, rose colour, or white, is displayed. The face-veil, or boorko,
the animal system, in a healthy and diseased state, has since been published by Dr. O'Shaugnessy, professor of chemistry at the medical college Calcutta. From his statements it appears, that Indian hemp is one of the most powerful and at the same time harmless medicines for alleviating pain and spasm. It seems to possess, in small doses, an extraordinary power of stimulating the digestive organs, and exciting the cerebral system. Larger doses produce insensibility, or act as a powerful sedative. A full dose given to a dog produced the following ridiculous exhibition, highly illustrative of its characteristic effects :- In half an hour after taking the dose he became stupid and sleepy, dozing at intervals, starting up, and wagging his tail as if extremely contented; he ate some food greedily; on being called to, he staggered to and fro, and his face assumed a look of utter and helpless drunkenness. These symptoms lasted about two hours, and then gradually passed away.
is generally of white thick muslin, attached to the head immediately below the eyes, and hangs down to the very feet, which are clad in large yellow leather boots. A more inelegant costume (figure they have none) I have never witnessed than a Mooslim female of the upper class, waddling along, wrapped in the voluminous folds of her immense cloak. Nothing whatever of a Cairo lady's person can be seen but the eyes; and these dames offer a striking contrast to the rather too accurately defined persons of the lower orders. I never saw females walk so badly as they do. This probably arises from their feet being so tender, owing to their walking so little, and remaining barefooted in the hareem. The hands are never seen, as it is a point of etiquette to keep them concealed in the folds of the cloak.
Although these ladies appear in the most public places, and mix in the most crowded assemblies, no acquaintance or relative, be he' ever so near, brother, father, or husband, ventures to recognize them abroad, as it would be considered a very great affront so to do; implying that the lady exposed herself so much, that her friends were able to recognize her in the public streets. Such are the manners of Egyptians towards each other ; but the Frank who mixes in a crowd of Mooslim ladies, will soon perceive that eyes and elbows too speak most eloquently, and the gay titter that he hears on all sides, with the occasional drawing aside, as if by accident, of the face veil, done with an art that shows considerable progress in the science of coquetry, all tell him that the immured life the ladies here spend, is by no means congenial to their inclinations. The state of morality in the higher circles consequent on this condition of society, is just what might be expected.*
You frequently meet whole hareems proceeding rank and file to the baths, the tombs, or other places of public resort open to
* I have reduced many of my notes, obtained either by inquiry or observation, during my stay here, since I read Mr. Lane's admirable work on the manners and costumes of the modern Egyptians; his long residence in the country, acquaintance with its language, adoption of its habits, and accuracy of description, have given him facilities not usually to be met with; and all who have walked the streets of the Egyptian metropolis, will recognize the accuracy of his life-sketched illustrations.
respectable females, mounted cross-legged on their donkeys, and attended by their sable, beardless guardians. At other times you encounter some wealthy Turk, mounted on his richly caparisoned horse, attended by his groom and pipe-bearer, and followed by his wives and children, who bring up the rear on donkeys, with a servant at the head of each.
A dog at the hotel attracted our notice; it had a peculiar description of palsy ; an interrupted and sudden seizure of the body, as if it had received an electric shock, the limbs bending under it, and the whole body trembling violently for a second, when it again appeared in perfect health. About six months previously a Frank had the plague, and none would go near him; this dog, however, never left him, and carried to him whatever was left for his use; and was also in the constant practice of licking the plague sores. The man recovered, but the dog fell ill; boils, analogous to those of the plague, broke out on it; it remained in the apartment of the man it had so lately nursed, and finally, it, too, escaped; but it recovered with the affection I here describė. It has since taken up its quarters at the Hotel de Jardin, and has become, by its history, a general favourite. In other respects, it is in good health.*
26th. We visited the Basha's palace at Shoubrah, about three miles from the city ; the road, one of the most beautiful about Cairo, lies parallel to, and at a short distance from the Nile, affording transient glimpses of the river, enlivened by the passing kanghia, whose slender waving yards and white sails peep through the vistas of green foliage which here skirt the water, as it glides
* In connection with this, I may remark, that while at Alexandria, I was informed of an act of a British medical man, that redounds not less to the credit of the individual, than to the country that gave him birth. A man was dying of a plague ; one of the ulcers bein z over a large artery, it became, in medical language, phagedenic, or eating, and eventually opened the femoral artery in the groin ; hæmorrhage commenced, and the blood gushed in such torrents, that life must in a few moments have become extinct. The surgeon, who was standing by, instantly thrust his fingers into the wound, laid hold of the bleeding vessel, and on the spot performed an operation which, under the most favourable circumstances, is looked upon as most intricate, and requiring considerable skill that of taking up the iliac artery. The patient recovered, and the surgeon escaped the infection !!
VISIT TO SHOUBRAH.
gracefully on the glistening stream. The road, which is raised some feet above the surrounding level, to permit access to the city during the inundation, is bordered by a continuous line of sycamores and lotus trees; and such is the rapidity of vegetation here, that although but fifteen years planted, the latter are of such size that in a short time their branches will meet at top, forming a magnificent shaded approach, worthy of the “queen of cities,” and no where else to be equalled. The ground on either side was green with corn and vetches; and clumps of white mulberry and olive trees start up here and there. The path itself is not the least interesting portion of the scene ; the couriers passing and repassing upon their dromedaries, at a rapid pace, to the royal residence, and the number of persons who throng this avenue, gave a spirit and animation that added to the charms of our ride.
As the viceroy had taken up his residence for the present at Shoubrah we could not well expect admittance to the palace, so we were contented to visit the grounds and gardens, which are worth seeing, from being laid out in the true Arab style, and though partaking of the stiffness and formality of straight walks and clipt hedges which were in fashion among ourselves some years ago, are not without their beauty and their admirers. These gardens are most extensive, and kept in beautiful order, the walks being bordered with hedges of rosemary and lavender, enclosing plats filled with orange trees. They are divided into different compartments, and the alleys radiate from a centre, in which is placed a lovely spacious fountain, shaded by the widespreading branches of some noble tamarisks and acacias, and overtopped by the feathery plumes of tall and waving palms. The water is managed with great taste, and plays in basins of the clearest snow-white marble; the floor is paved in mosaic, and a low seat surrounds the whole, raised at one end for the Basha. I know of nothing I have seen in this clime that realized to my mind the ideas I had formed of oriental luxury, like those fountains. It is here, beneath the shade of evergreens, which constitute the sides and roof of these embowered halls—beside the sweet murmur of the sparkling waters, whose spray cooled the air, already loaded with the delicious perfumes of the tropic flower—with the stillness left by parting day, broken only by the music of the evening songster, or the touching notes of woman's