The Algerine captive; or, The life and adventures of Doctor Updike Underhill: six years a prisoner among the Algerines. [Three lines from Shakespeare] : Vol. I[-II]. : Published according to act of Congress.
Tyler, Royall, 1757-1826., Humphreys, David, 1752-1818, dedicatee.
Page  91

CHAP. XIV.

Ryghte thenne there settenns onne a gary she seatte,
A statlie dame lyche to an aunciant mayde;
Grete nationes and hygh kvnges laye at her feette,
Obeyscence mayde, as if of herre afrayede,
As overe theme her yronne rodde she swayde.
Hyghte customme was the loftie tyrantes namme,
Habyte bye somme yelypt, the worldlinges godde,
Panym and fay hsman bowe before the dame,
No lawe butte yeldethe to her sovrenne nodde,
Reasonne her soemanne couchenne at her rodde.

FRAGMENT OF ANCIENT POETRY.
ARGUMENT.

Visits a sick Lady.

MY reputation increased, and I was called the learned slave; and, soon after, sent for to visit a sick lady. This was very agreeable to me; for, during my whole captivity, I had never yet seen the face of a woman; even the female chil|dren being carefully concealed, at least Page  92 from the sight of the vulgar. I now an|ticipated much satisfaction from this visit, and hoped that, through the confi|dence, with which a tender and success|ful physician seldom fails to inspire his patient, I should be able to acquire much useful information upon subjects of do|mestic concern, impervious to travellers. Preparatory to this visit, I had received a new and better suit of clothes than I had worn, as a present from the father of the young lady. A gilt waggon came to the gate of the hospital, which I entered with our principal physician, and was drawn by mules to a country house, a|bout five miles from the city, where I was received by Hadgi Mulladin, the fa|ther of my patient, with great civility. Real gentlemen are the same in all coun|tries. He treated us with fruit and sher|bet; and, smiling upon me, after he had presented a bowl of sherbet to the princi|pal physician, he handed me another Page  93 bowl, which to my surprise I found fill|ed with an excellent Greek wine, and archly inquired of me how I liked the sherbet. Hadgi Mulladin had travel|led in his youth, and was supposed to have imbibed the libertine principles of the christian, as it respected wine. This was the only instance, which came to my knowledge, of any professed Mussulman indulging himself with wine or any strong liquor; and it was not unnoticed by the principal physician, who afterwards grave|ly told me that Hadgi Mulladin would be undoubtedly damned for drinking wine; would be condemned to perpetual thirst in the next world, while the black spirit would present him with red hot cups of scalding wine. Exhilirated by the wine and the comparitively free manners of this Algerine, I was anxious to see my patient. I was soon gratified. Being in|troduced into a large room, I was left a|lone nigh an hour. A side door was Page  94 then opened, and two eunuchs came for|ward with much solemnity and made signs for me to retire to the farthest part of the room, as if I had been infested with some malignant disorder. They were, in about ten minutes, followed by four more of the same sex, bearing a species of couch, close covered with double curtains of silk, which they set down in the midst of the room; and every one drew a broad scimitar from his belt, flourishing it in the air, inclined it over his shoulder, and stood guard at every corner of the couch, While I was wondering at this parade, the two first eunuchs retired and soon re|turned; the one bearing an ewer or bason of water, the other a low marble stand, and some napkins in a China dish. I was then directed to wash my feet; and, an|other bason being produced, it was signi|fied that I must wash my hands, which I did three times. A large thick muslin veil was then thrown over my head, I was Page  95 led towards the couch, and was pre|sented with a pulse glass, being a long glass tube graduated and terminated be|low with a hollow bulb, and filled with some liquid, which rose and fell like spir|its in the thermometer. This instrument was inserted through the curtains, and the bulb applied to the pulse of my patient, and the other extremity put un|der my veil. By this I was to form my opinion of her disorder, and prescribe a remedy; for I was not allowed to ask any questions or even to speak to, much more see the lady, who was soon reconveyed to her apartment. The two first eunuchs now marched in the rear, and closed and fastened the doors carefully after them. After waiting alone two hours or more, I was called to give my advice; and never was I more puzzled. To confess igno|rance would have ruined my reputation, and reputation was then life itself. The temptations to quackery were powerful Page  96 and overcame me. I boldly pronounced her disease to be an intermittent fever, prescribed venesection, and exhibited some common febrifuge, with directions to throw in the bark, when the fever ceased. My prescriptions were attended with ad|mirable success; and, if I had conformed to their faith, beyond a doubt, I might have acquired immense riches. But I was a slave, and all my gains were the property of my master. I must do him the justice to say that, he permitted me to keep any particular presents, that were made to me. Frequent applications were made to the director for my advice and assistance to the diseased; and, though he received generally my fee, yet it was sufficiently gratifiying to me to be permit|ted to walk abroad, to amuse myself, and obtain information of this extraordinary people, as much of which, as the prescrib|ed limits of this little work will admit, I shall now lay before my readers.