Friday, March 04, 2005

Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah

Ali Agha, in spite of all my endeavours, reeled down the stairs, and fell upon the sleeping form of the night porter, whose blood he vowed to drink - the Oriental form of threatening "spiflication." Happily for the assaulted, the Agha's servant, a sturdy Albanian lad, was lying on a mat in the doorway close by. Roused by the tumult, he jumped up, and found the captain in a state of fury. Apparently the man was used to the master's mood. Without delay he told us all to assist, and we lending a helping hand, half dragged and half carried the Albanian to his room. Yet even in this ignoble plight, he shouted with all the force of his lungs the old war-cry, "O Egyptians! O race of dogs! I have dishonoured all Sikandariyah - all Kahirah - all Suways." And in this vaunting frame of mind he was put to bed. No Welsh undergraduate at Oxford, under similar circumstances, ever gave more trouble.

The great Captain Sir Richard F. Burton from Chapter 7 of his Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. Even in the Nineteenth Century it seems, the Welsh set the high mark to which all others aspired for carousing.

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