Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

COLLEGE OF TOURAH.

231

The principal colleges that have been founded by the Viceroy are, it is true, devoted exclusively to the preparation of youths for the military services; but, at the same time, he gives every encouragement to the establishment of schools in all the towns and villages of Egypt. He is himself at the expense of maintaining one near Cairo, at which two thousand male children (chiefly the sons of poor people) are not only educated, but fed, clothed, and even paid, to induce the parents to overcome their pertinacious opposition to the march of intellect.

The establishment that first claims notice is the College of Tourah, where the candidates for commissions in the artillery, engi. neers, and navy, are educated.

The village of Tourah is situated on the right bank of the Nile, about eight miles above Old Cairo. The College stands upon the margin of the river, and its various buildings are disposed so as to enclose a large open space, which serves the double purpose of a play-ground and place of instruction. A brig

232

NUMBER OF STUDENTS.

:

of war, fully equipped, is moored abreast of the College, to afford the students practical means of learning naval exercises and gunnery.

The students are three hundred and forty in number, and are divided into eight companies. By far the greater proportion are Arabs, the rest Turks and Candiote Greeks. During my visit, two of the Viceroy's nephews were receiving their education at the College. They were treated — excepting that they got a somewhat better dinner - in every respect like the other lads.

The age of admission is from eleven to fifteen, but Mohammed Ali has broken through the rule, in some instances, by sending young men of nineteen or twenty. Several have even come to school with an establishment of wives.

The students, on first joining the College, are merely required to be able to read and write Arabic: their course of studies afterwards comprises arithmetic, geometry, algebra, military and landscape drawing, fortification, and foreign languages. In the last

COURSE OF INSTRUCTION.

233

named, they receive instruction according to the particular service for which they are destined; those intended for the navy being taught English, those for the army French, and such as have either taste or capacity for more tongues, learn Italian also. The Turkish language forms a part of the education of all.

I remarked that the Arab youths acquired the pronunciation of French with much greater facility than that of either English or Italian, which was explained to me as arising from its greater similarity to the Turkish. They are occupied ten hours a day at their various studies, and an hour and a half at out-door instruction, in artillery practice, or small arm and sword exercise ; leaving them by far too small a proportion of the day for recreation; in fact, they all looked mentally fatigued.

The conduct of the lads appeared very correct and orderly, and great attention is evidently paid to the cleanliness of their habits. The principal want of the establishment is that of properly qualified professors, particu

[blocks in formation]

larly of languages and drawing. English and Italian were taught by a young Spaniard : French by a German, who, after a vain attempt to persuade Mohammed Ali that High Dutch was the most useful of modern dialects, succeeded at length in convincing him that a wide Saxon mouth gives a peculiarly soft turn to the final ants and ments of the French language.

The halls of study are small, but lofty and airy, and occupy the whole of one side of the square. Another division of the building contains the dormitories - eight large apartments, each capable of accommodating an entire company

of students. They are scrupulously clean, and to each is attached a washing-room. Every cadet has a separate bed made up on boards and iron trestles, and is furnished with a garde-robe for his clothes, &c.

The refectory and kitchen occupy another side of the square, and do equal credit to the establishment. The students are formed in messes of ten, and squat down round circular tables, the place of each being marked by a

[blocks in formation]

piece of bread and wooden spoon. They are furnished with but two meals a day-(for a crust of bread issued at daybreak, though literally a breakfast, can hardly be called a meal); the first at mid-day, the other at sunset. Each consists of soup, a stew of meat, vegetables, and maccaroni. The habit of eating out of the same dish-helping themselves generally with their fingers-still obtains; rendering a plentiful supply of copper kettles and hot water necessary, to remove any obstinately adhesive particles of paste or grease, which cannot be displaced from the fingers by the usual Arab process.

The hospital is on the western side of the square, facing the Nile. I was surprised to find that, out of so many youths, seven or eight was the average number of its inmates ; and of these the greater portion are victims to a too easy access to the dissipations of the capital.

Under the hospital is the armoury, which might be better arranged, and its contents in better order.

« ForrigeFortsæt »