Cairo, Though Abounding In Medical Practitioners, Can Still Support
More; But To Thrive They Must Be Indians, Chinese, Or Maghrabis.
Egyptians are thoroughly disgusted with European treatment, which is
here about as efficacious as in India-that is to say, not at all.
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
[p.59]Murids (disciples), and delighted in kissing the hand of the
Sahib Nafas[FN#18] or minor saint.
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