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GARDENS OF THE HAREEM.
voice—that an eastern prince, surrounded by all that youth and beauty, the fascination of external charms, and the witcheries of allurement can bestow, may feel, that such is paradise, such the garden where black-eyed houries, with
minister to the pleasures of the brave and pious descendant of the prophet of Mekka.
In his younger days these fountains were the evening refuge of Egypt's present lord, when, attended by his hareem, he wooed the quiet of a daylight's close, and sought, in the solace of these calm retreats, a moment's release from the torturing cares of public life.
At one end of this garden is an extensive aviary, and at the other a most sumptuous bath : here the water, which fills a large space, issues from the mouths of enormous marble crocodiles, placed around a central basin, where a pure and sparkling jet plays to a great height; while at each of the outer corners is placed a huge lion, emitting from distended jaws the crystal fluid in continuous streams. The bath is surrounded by a sumptuous colonnade, with white marble pillars, whose bases and Corinthian capitals are of burnished brass. Two of the sides of this colonnade are formed into chambers and refectories, in the usual style, the whole being well lighted with gas. The side of this garden verges off into a park, where some magnificent white deer and several ostriches are kept. The whole of these grounds were once the daily walk of the viceregal hareem, and death awaited the man whom accident or design might cause to linger in its precincts after the ladies entered ; but beautiful and extensive as it is, those females must have felt it was still a bondage, and could each plant or fountain find utterance for its secret, it would perhaps echo the sigh of many a fair Circassian maid, who longed to wander amidst the colder climes and sterner beauties of her native land.
On our return we stopped at a kiosk in order to rest and obtain some refreshment. Immediately on our entrance, pipes and coffee were presented to us, although we had not yet ordered any, and on some of our party stating their unwillingness to partake of it, they were informed that it had been ordered for us by a
MOHAMMAD ALEE BASHA.
Turkish merchant who sat near us playing chess; he saw that we were strangers, and directed it to be prepared on our approach—this is hospitality worthy of imitation. After pipes, coffee, and sweatmeats had been served, a tray, with glasses of rum, and bumpers too, was handed to each. Although meant in kindness, I confess I felt ashamed of the compliment, for to a Mohammadan it would have been a gross insult; but the Turk had been led to think, from experience, that it was a stimulant congenial to the taste of a Christian and an Englishman.
While remounting, Mohammad Alee Básha passed, on his way to visit his daughter, who is married in Cairo; a father, brother, or uncle, being the only male allowed to visit a Turkish lady, except her husband. Seeing a company of Franks, his pace slackened to salute us; thus affording us a view of this extraordinary character. He is a fine-looking old man, now upwards of seventy,* with a very long silver beard; he was dressed in scarlet, and wore the simple turboosh or red cap, which he is anxious to introduce, and sets the example in his own person. The turban would have been, to him at least, a much more becoming head-dress. Slight as was our view of him, it did not pass without making us feel the power of an eye of more brilliancy and penetration than I ever beheld. His equipage was very plain—he sat in an old lumbering machine, which in England would be styled a superannuated family coach-drawn, however, by four most magnificent white horses, which were managed with considerable skill by an Arab coachman. About a dozen cavalry officers of his staff rode beside his carriage, and six or eight dromedaries followed, each carrying some different article of the dinner furniture, such as the small table and tray used at meals, pipes, &c. This plain and unostentatious retinue is quite an anomaly in a Básha of Egypt; and such as would have been considered quite too plain for one of the very least of the Memlook lords.
Our short stay in the capital, and his Highness being particularly engaged on our arrival, prevented our presentation ; nor do I, for my own part, at all regret it, as I am the less likely, when
* 1769, was, I believe, the birth year of Napoleon, Wellington, and Mohammad Alee.
summing up the character and criticising the actions of Mohammad Alee, to be influenced by his reception of, or attention to us.
Our very intelligent countryman, the British vice-consul, Dr. Walne, obligingly opens his house twice a week for the entertainment of foreigners. We accepted his invitation one evening, and met several very agreeable and well-informed people of different nations, but principally English, either settlers in the country, travellers like ourselves, or passengers to India. The conversation naturally turned on the country we were in, and the prospects and advantages of the “Egyptian Society," lately got up by Dr. Walne, and which offers to the traveller and foreign resident, a source of information and improvement he could not possibly have obtained by any other means. Rooms have been fitted up, a collection of the best works on Egypt procured, and a museum is in progress of collection. Here the literary and scientific investigator, engaged in the study of Egypt, (for it is a study in itself,) can have access to sources of information that no one person could possibly obtain in any other way.
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 in foreign countries, 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 XII. .
Visit to the Hospital—The Eye-wards-Egyptian Ophthalmia-Its causes-Treatment College
and School of Medicine-Students-Professore-Dissections-Museum-Instruction - The Maternity-Benefits of the InstitutionThe Magician-Description of the Exhibition The Incantation-Its failure-Trials of the power of Magic-Proofs of its Deception--InferenceThe Serpent-charmer-The Coluber Haje-Snake-eating-A Subscription Ball Female Dress -The Sufo-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 ScarabæusIts Habits-Ite 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 the medical schools of Egypt.
Saturday 27.-Having a letter of introduction to the chief medical attendant, Dr. Pruner, I this morning visited the military hospital and medical college at Casser-el-Ein, or Abouzabel. 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 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, 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, there are several groves of orange trees, limes, and bananas. The hospital is a noble building, two stories high; airy, most admirably located, and of great extent, forming a square, each side of which is upwards of three hundred feet in length, enclosing a large court in the centre. One of the sides and part of the front are occupied by the students, and different departments of the medical school. The morning visit
THE GREAT MILITARY HOSPITAL.
was proceeding when I arrived, and I am bound to say, that a cleaner, better regulated, and better conducted medical establishment I never visited. It is on the plan of most British hospitals
-containing 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 these, there is a civil hospital in the city, which has accommodation for about three hundred persons.
The medical attendants were all Europeans, and consisted of the six professors of the school, and a distinguished German physician, Dř. Pruner, who had 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 several hundreds, but the cases of acute ophthalmia in the hospital at that moment were but few. When this disease is prevalent in autumn, 700 cases 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 Khumáséen 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 character the medical men study accurately, and on the greater or less intensity of the inflammation lies the line of treatment, such as general bleeding, leeching, &c.*
* As a predisposing cause, I conceive that a peculiarity of the natural formation of the eye in the lower orders, those who are most exposed, contributes in some measure to the susceptibility of this disease; the cilia, or eye.Jashes, being poor, ill-set, and scanty, and the eye-brows very small, and particularly devoid of hair. Diseases of the lids and the other appendages of the organs of sight, such as trichiasis, or irregularity of the lashes; ectropium and entropium, a turning out or inwards of the hairs; and diseases of their roots, interfering with the natural secretion of the adjacent glands; together with tinea palpebrarum and psorophthalmia, ending in