Personal Narrative Of A Pilgrimage To Al-Madinah & Meccah - Volume 1 of 2 - By Captain Sir Richard F. Burton


Cairo, though abounding in medical practitioners, can still support
more; but to thrive they must be Indians, Chinese, or Maghrabis - Page 80
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Cairo, Though Abounding In Medical Practitioners, Can Still Support More; But To Thrive They Must Be Indians, Chinese, Or Maghrabis.

The Egyptians are thoroughly disgusted with European treatment, which is here about as efficacious as in India-that is to say, not at all.

But they are ignorant of the medicine of Hind, and therefore great is its name; deservedly perhaps, for skill in simples and dietetics. Besides which the Indian

[p.58]may deal in charms and spells,-things to which the latitude gives such force that even Europeans learn to put faith in them. The traveller who, on the banks of the Seine, scoffs at Sights and Sounds, Table-turning and Spirit-rapping, sees in the wilds of Tartary and Thibet a something supernatural and diabolical in the bungling Sie-fa of the Bokte.[FN#16] Some sensible men, who pass for philosophers among their friends, have been caught by the incantations of the turbanded and bearded Cairo magician. In our West African colonies the phrase "growing black" was applied to colonists, who, after a term of residence, became thoroughly imbued with the superstitions of the land. And there are not wanting old Anglo-Indians, intelligent men, that place firm trust in tales and tenets too puerile even for the Hindus to believe. As a "Hindi" I could use animal magnetism, taking care, however, to give the science a specious supernatural appearance. Haji Wali, who, professing positive scepticism, showed the greatest interest in the subject as a curiosity, advised me not to practise pure mesmerism; otherwise, that I should infallibly become a "Companion of Devils." "You must call this an Indian secret," said my friend, "for it is clear that you are no Mashaikh,[FN#17] and people will ask, where are your drugs, and what business have you with charms?" It is useless to say that I followed his counsel; yet patients would consider themselves my

[p.59]Murids (disciples), and delighted in kissing the hand of the Sahib Nafas[FN#18] or minor saint.

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