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´╗┐Title: Notes on a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo
Author: Thackeray, William Makepeace
Language: English
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from the 1911 John Murray edition.



Notes on a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo

by William Makepeace Thackeray



DEDICATION



TO
CAPTAIN SAMUEL LEWIS,
OF THE
PENINSULAR AND ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY'S
SERVICE.


My Dear Lewis,

After a voyage, during which the captain of the ship has displayed
uncommon courage, seamanship, affability, or other good qualities,
grateful passengers often present him with a token of their esteem,
in the shape of teapots, tankards, trays, &c. of precious metal.
Among authors, however, bullion is a much rarer commodity than
paper, whereof I beg you to accept a little in the shape of this
small volume.  It contains a few notes of a voyage which your skill
and kindness rendered doubly pleasant; and of which I don't think
there is any recollection more agreeable than that it was the
occasion of making your friendship.

If the noble Company in whose service you command (and whose fleet
alone makes them a third-rate maritime power in Europe) should
appoint a few admirals in their navy, I hope to hear that your flag
is hoisted on board one of the grandest of their steamers.  But, I
trust, even there you will not forget the "Iberia," and the
delightful Mediterranean cruise we had in her in the Autumn of
1844.

Most faithfully yours,
My dear Lewis,
W. M. THACKERAY.
LONDON:  December 24, 1845.



PREFACE



On the 20th of August, 1844, the writer of this little book went to
dine at the--Club, quite unconscious of the wonderful events which
Fate had in store for him.

Mr. William was there, giving a farewell dinner to his friend Mr.
James (now Sir James).  These two asked Mr. Titmarsh to join
company with them, and the conversation naturally fell upon the
tour Mr. James was about to take.  The Peninsular and Oriental
Company had arranged an excursion in the Mediterranean, by which,
in the space of a couple of months, as many men and cities were to
be seen as Ulysses surveyed and noted in ten years.  Malta, Athens,
Smyrna, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Cairo were to be visited, and
everybody was to be back in London by Lord Mayor's Day.

The idea of beholding these famous places inflamed Mr. Titmarsh's
mind; and the charms of such a journey were eloquently impressed
upon him by Mr. James.  "Come," said that kind and hospitable
gentleman, "and make one of my family party; in all your life you
will never probably have a chance again to see so much in so short
a time.  Consider--it is as easy as a journey to Paris or to
Baden."  Mr. Titmarsh considered all these things; but also the
difficulties of the situation:  he had but six-and-thirty hours to
get ready for so portentous a journey--he had engagements at home--
finally, could he afford it?  In spite of these objections,
however, with every glass of claret the enthusiasm somehow rose,
and the difficulties vanished.

But when Mr. James, to crown all, said he had no doubt that his
friends, the Directors of the Peninsular and Oriental Company,
would make Mr. Titmarsh the present of a berth for the voyage, all
objections ceased on his part:  to break his outstanding
engagements--to write letters to his amazed family, stating that
they were not to expect him at dinner on Saturday fortnight, as he
would be at Jerusalem on that day--to purchase eighteen shirts and
lay in a sea stock of Russia ducks,--was the work of four-and-
twenty hours; and on the 22nd of August, the "Lady Mary Wood" was
sailing from Southampton with the "subject of the present memoir,"
quite astonished to find himself one of the passengers on board.

These important statements are made partly to convince some
incredulous friends--who insist still that the writer never went
abroad at all, and wrote the following pages, out of pure fancy, in
retirement at Putney; but mainly, to give him an opportunity of
thanking the Directors of the Company in question for a delightful
excursion.

It was one so easy, so charming, and I think profitable--it leaves
such a store of pleasant recollections for after days--and creates
so many new sources of interest (a newspaper letter from Beyrout,
or Malta, or Algiers, has twice the interest now that it had
formerly),--that I can't but recommend all persons who have time
and means to make a similar journey--vacation idlers to extend
their travels and pursue it:  above all, young well-educated men
entering life, to take this course, we will say, after that at
college; and, having their book-learning fresh in their minds, see
the living people and their cities, and the actual aspect of
Nature, along the famous shores of the Mediterranean.



CHAPTER I:  VIGO



The sun brought all the sick people out of their berths this
morning, and the indescribable moans and noises which had been
issuing from behind the fine painted doors on each side of the
cabin happily ceased.  Long before sunrise, I had the good fortune
to discover that it was no longer necessary to maintain the
horizontal posture, and, the very instant this truth was apparent,
came on deck, at two o'clock in the morning, to see a noble full
moon sinking westward, and millions of the most brilliant stars
shining overhead.  The night was so serenely pure, that you saw
them in magnificent airy perspective; the blue sky around and over
them, and other more distant orbs sparkling above, till they
glittered away faintly into the immeasurable distance.  The ship
went rolling over a heavy, sweltering, calm sea.  The breeze was a
warm and soft one; quite different to the rigid air we had left
behind us, two days since, off the Isle of Wight.  The bell kept
tolling its half-hours, and the mate explained the mystery of watch
and dog-watch.

The sight of that noble scene cured all the woes and discomfitures
of sea-sickness at once, and if there were any need to communicate
such secrets to the public, one might tell of much more good that
the pleasant morning-watch effected; but there are a set of
emotions about which a man had best be shy of talking lightly,--and
the feelings excited by contemplating this vast, magnificent,
harmonious Nature are among these.  The view of it inspires a
delight and ecstasy which is not only hard to describe, but which
has something secret in it that a man should not utter loudly.
Hope, memory, humility, tender yearnings towards dear friends, and
inexpressible love and reverence towards the Power which created
the infinite universe blazing above eternally, and the vast ocean
shining and rolling around--fill the heart with a solemn humble
happiness, that a person dwelling in a city has rarely occasion to
enjoy.  They are coming away from London parties at this time:  the
dear little eyes are closed in sleep under mother's wing.  How far
off city cares and pleasures appear to be! how small and mean they
seem, dwindling out of sight before this magnificent brightness of
Nature!  But the best thoughts only grow and strengthen under it.
Heaven shines above, and the humble spirit looks up reverently
towards that boundless aspect of wisdom and beauty.  You are at
home, and with all at rest there, however far away they may be; and
through the distance the heart broods over them, bright and wakeful
like yonder peaceful stars overhead.


The day was as fine and calm as the night; at seven bells, suddenly
a bell began to toll very much like that of a country church, and
on going on deck we found an awning raised, a desk with a flag
flung over it close to the compass, and the ship's company and
passengers assembled there to hear the Captain read the Service in
a manly respectful voice.  This, too, was a novel and touching
sight to me.  Peaked ridges of purple mountains rose to the left of
the ship,--Finisterre and the coast of Galicia.  The sky above was
cloudless and shining; the vast dark ocean smiled peacefully round
about, and the ship went rolling over it, as the people within were
praising the Maker of all.

In honour of the day, it was announced that the passengers would be
regaled with champagne at dinner; and accordingly that exhilarating
liquor was served out in decent profusion, the company drinking the
Captain's health with the customary orations of compliment and
acknowledgment.  This feast was scarcely ended, when we found
ourselves rounding the headland into Vigo Bay, passing a grim and
tall island of rocky mountains which lies in the centre of the bay.

Whether it is that the sight of land is always welcome to weary
mariners, after the perils and annoyances of a voyage of three
days, or whether the place is in itself extraordinarily beautiful,
need not be argued; but I have seldom seen anything more charming
than the amphitheatre of noble hills into which the ship now came--
all the features of the landscape being lighted up with a wonderful
clearness of air, which rarely adorns a view in our country.  The
sun had not yet set, but over the town and lofty rocky castle of
Vigo a great ghost of a moon was faintly visible, which blazed out
brighter and brighter as the superior luminary retired behind the
purple mountains of the headland to rest.  Before the general
background of waving heights which encompassed the bay, rose a
second semicircle of undulating hills, as cheerful and green as the
mountains behind them were grey and solemn.  Farms and gardens,
convent towers, white villages and churches, and buildings that no
doubt were hermitages once, upon the sharp peaks of the hills,
shone brightly in the sun.  The sight was delightfully cheerful,
animated, and pleasing.

Presently the Captain roared out the magic words, "Stop her!" and
the obedient vessel came to a stand-still, at some three hundred
yards from the little town, with its white houses clambering up a
rock, defended by the superior mountain whereon the castle stands.
Numbers of people, arrayed in various brilliant colours of red,
were standing on the sand close by the tumbling, shining, purple
waves:  and there we beheld, for the first time, the Royal red and
yellow standard of Spain floating on its own ground, under the
guardianship of a light blue sentinel, whose musket glittered in
the sun.  Numerous boats were seen, incontinently, to put off from
the little shore.

And now our attention was withdrawn from the land to a sight of
great splendour on board.  This was Lieutenant Bundy, the guardian
of Her Majesty's mails, who issued from his cabin in his long
swallow-tailed coat with anchor buttons; his sabre clattering
between his legs; a magnificent shirt-collar, of several inches in
height, rising round his good-humoured sallow face; and above it a
cocked hat, that shone so, I thought it was made of polished tin
(it may have been that or oilskin), handsomely laced with black
worsted, and ornamented with a shining gold cord.  A little squat
boat, rowed by three ragged gallegos, came bouncing up to the ship.
Into this Mr. Bundy and Her Majesty's Royal mail embarked with much
majesty; and in the twinkling of an eye, the Royal standard of
England, about the size of a pocket-handkerchief,--and at the bows
of the boat, the man-of-war's pennant, being a strip of bunting
considerably under the value of a farthing,--streamed out.

"They know that flag, sir," said the good-natured old tar, quite
solemnly, in the evening afterwards:  "they respect it, sir."  The
authority of Her Majesty's lieutenant on board the steamer is
stated to be so tremendous, that he may order it to stop, to move,
to go larboard, starboard, or what you will; and the captain dare
only disobey him suo periculo.

It was agreed that a party of us should land for half-an-hour, and
taste real Spanish chocolate on Spanish ground.  We followed
Lieutenant Bundy, but humbly in the providor's boat; that officer
going on shore to purchase fresh eggs, milk for tea (in place of
the slimy substitute of whipped yolk of egg which we had been using
for our morning and evening meals), and, if possible, oysters, for
which it is said the rocks of Vigo are famous.

It was low tide, and the boat could not get up to the dry shore.
Hence it was necessary to take advantage of the offers of sundry
gallegos, who rushed barelegged into the water, to land on their
shoulders.  The approved method seems to be, to sit upon one
shoulder only, holding on by the porter's whiskers; and though some
of our party were of the tallest and fattest men whereof our race
is composed, and their living sedans exceedingly meagre and small,
yet all were landed without accident upon the juicy sand, and
forthwith surrounded by a host of mendicants, screaming, "I say,
sir! penny, sir!  I say, English! tam your ays! penny!" in all
voices, from extreme youth to the most lousy and venerable old age.
When it is said that these beggars were as ragged as those of
Ireland, and still more voluble, the Irish traveller will be able
to form an opinion of their capabilities.

Through this crowd we passed up some steep rocky steps, through a
little low gate, where, in a little guard-house and barrack, a few
dirty little sentinels were keeping a dirty little guard; and by
low-roofed whitewashed houses, with balconies, and women in them,--
the very same women, with the very same head-clothes, and yellow
fans and eyes, at once sly and solemn, which Murillo painted,--by a
neat church into which we took a peep, and, finally, into the Plaza
del Constitucion, or grand place of the town, which may be about as
big as that pleasing square, Pump Court, Temple.  We were taken to
an inn, of which I forget the name, and were shown from one chamber
and storey to another, till we arrived at that apartment where the
real Spanish chocolate was finally to be served out.  All these
rooms were as clean as scrubbing and whitewash could make them;
with simple French prints (with Spanish titles) on the walls; a few
rickety half-finished articles of furniture; and, finally, an air
of extremely respectable poverty.  A jolly, black-eyed, yellow-
shawled Dulcinea conducted us through the apartment, and provided
us with the desired refreshment.

Sounds of clarions drew our eyes to the Place of the Constitution;
and, indeed, I had forgotten to say, that that majestic square was
filled with military, with exceedingly small firelocks, the men
ludicrously young and diminutive for the most part, in a uniform at
once cheap and tawdry,--like those supplied to the warriors at
Astley's, or from still humbler theatrical wardrobes:  indeed, the
whole scene was just like that of a little theatre; the houses
curiously small, with arcades and balconies, out of which looked
women apparently a great deal too big for the chambers they
inhabited; the warriors were in ginghams, cottons, and tinsel; the
officers had huge epaulets of sham silver lace drooping over their
bosoms, and looked as if they were attired at a very small expense.
Only the general--the captain-general (Pooch, they told us, was his
name:  I know not how 'tis written in Spanish)--was well got up,
with a smart hat, a real feather, huge stars glittering on his
portly chest, and tights and boots of the first order.  Presently,
after a good deal of trumpeting, the little men marched off the
place, Pooch and his staff coming into the very inn in which we
were awaiting our chocolate.

Then we had an opportunity of seeing some of the civilians of the
town.  Three or four ladies passed, with fan and mantle; to them
came three or four dandies, dressed smartly in the French fashion,
with strong Jewish physiognomies.  There was one, a solemn lean
fellow in black, with his collars extremely turned over, and
holding before him a long ivory-tipped ebony cane, who tripped
along the little place with a solemn smirk, which gave one an
indescribable feeling of the truth of "Gil Blas," and of those
delightful bachelors and licentiates who have appeared to us all in
our dreams.

In fact we were but half-an-hour in this little queer Spanish town;
and it appeared like a dream, too, or a little show got up to amuse
us.  Boom! the gun fired at the end of the funny little
entertainment.  The women and the balconies, the beggars and the
walking Murillos, Pooch and the little soldiers in tinsel,
disappeared, and were shut up in their box again.  Once more we
were carried on the beggars' shoulders out off the shore, and we
found ourselves again in the great stalwart roast-beef world; the
stout British steamer bearing out of the bay, whose purple waters
had grown more purple.  The sun had set by this time, and the moon
above was twice as big and bright as our degenerate moons are.


The providor had already returned with his fresh stores, and
Bundy's tin hat was popped into its case, and he walking the deck
of the packet denuded of tails.  As we went out of the bay,
occurred a little incident with which the great incidents of the
day may be said to wind up.  We saw before us a little vessel,
tumbling and plunging about in the dark waters of the bay, with a
bright light beaming from the mast.  It made for us at about a
couple of miles from the town, and came close up, flouncing and
bobbing in the very jaws of the paddle, which looked as if it would
have seized and twirled round that little boat and its light, and
destroyed them for ever and ever.  All the passengers, of course,
came crowding to the ship's side to look at the bold little boat.

"I SAY!" howled a man; "I say!--a word!--I say!  Pasagero!
Pasagero!  Pasage-e-ero!"  We were two hundred yards ahead by this
time.

"Go on," says the captain.

"You may stop if you like," says Lieutenant Bundy, exerting his
tremendous responsibility.  It is evident that the lieutenant has a
soft heart, and felt for the poor devil in the boat who was howling
so piteously "Pasagero!"

But the captain was resolute.  His duty was NOT to take the man up.
He was evidently an irregular customer--someone trying to escape,
possibly.

The lieutenant turned away, but did not make any further hints.
The captain was right; but we all felt somehow disappointed, and
looked back wistfully at the little boat, jumping up and down far
astern now; the poor little light shining in vain, and the poor
wretch within screaming out in the most heartrending accents a last
faint desperate "I say!  Pasagero-o!"

We all went down to tea rather melancholy; but the new milk, in the
place of that abominable whipped egg, revived us again; and so
ended the great events on board the "Lady Mary Wood" steamer, on
the 25th August, 1844.



CHAPTER II:  LISBON--CADIZ



A great misfortune which befalls a man who has but a single day to
stay in a town, is that fatal duty which superstition entails upon
him of visiting the chief lions of the city in which he may happen
to be.  You must go through the ceremony, however much you may sigh
to avoid it; and however much you know that the lions in one
capital roar very much like the lions in another; that the churches
are more or less large and splendid, the palaces pretty spacious,
all the world over; and that there is scarcely a capital city in
this Europe but has its pompous bronze statue or two of some
periwigged, hook-nosed emperor, in a Roman habit, waving his bronze
baton on his broad-flanked brazen charger.  We only saw these state
old lions in Lisbon, whose roar has long since ceased to frighten
one.  First we went to the Church of St. Roch, to see a famous
piece of mosaic-work there.  It is a famous work of art, and was
bought by I don't know what king for I don't know how much money.
All this information may be perfectly relied on, though the fact
is, we did not see the mosaic-work:  the sacristan, who guards it,
was yet in bed; and it was veiled from our eyes in a side-chapel by
great dirty damask curtains, which could not be removed, except
when the sacristan's toilette was done, and at the price of a
dollar.  So we were spared this mosaic exhibition; and I think I
always feel relieved when such an event occurs.  I feel I have done
my duty in coming to see the enormous animal:  if he is not at
home, virtute mea me, &c.--we have done our best, and mortal can do
no more.

In order to reach that church of the forbidden mosaic, we had
sweated up several most steep and dusty streets--hot and dusty,
although it was but nine o'clock in the morning.  Thence the guide
conducted us into some little dust-powdered gardens, in which the
people make believe to enjoy the verdure, and whence you look over
a great part of the arid, dreary, stony city.  There was no smoke,
as in honest London, only dust--dust over the gaunt houses and the
dismal yellow strips of gardens.  Many churches were there, and
tall half-baked-looking public edifices, that had a dry,
uncomfortable, earth-quaky look, to my idea.  The ground-floors of
the spacious houses by which we passed seemed the coolest and
pleasantest portions of the mansion.  They were cellars or
warehouses, for the most part, in which white-jacketed clerks sat
smoking easy cigars.  The streets were plastered with placards of a
bull-fight, to take place the next evening (there was no opera that
season); but it was not a real Spanish tauromachy--only a
theatrical combat, as you could see by the picture in which the
horseman was cantering off at three miles an hour, the bull
tripping after him with tips to his gentle horns.  Mules
interminable, and almost all excellently sleek and handsome, were
pacing down every street:  here and there, but later in the day,
came clattering along a smart rider on a prancing Spanish horse;
and in the afternoon a few families might be seen in the queerest
old-fashioned little carriages, drawn by their jolly mules and
swinging between, or rather before, enormous wheels.

The churches I saw were of the florid periwig architecture--I mean
of that pompous cauliflower kind of ornament which was the fashion
in Louis the Fifteenth's time, at which unlucky period a building
mania seems to have seized upon many of the monarchs of Europe, and
innumerable public edifices were erected.  It seems to me to have
been the period in all history when society was the least natural,
and perhaps the most dissolute; and I have always fancied that the
bloated artificial forms of the architecture partake of the social
disorganisation of the time.  Who can respect a simpering ninny,
grinning in a Roman dress and a full-bottomed wig, who is made to
pass off for a hero? or a fat woman in a hoop, and of a most
doubtful virtue, who leers at you as a goddess?  In the palaces
which we saw, several Court allegories were represented, which,
atrocious as they were in point of art, might yet serve to attract
the regard of the moraliser.  There were Faith, Hope, and Charity
restoring Don John to the arms of his happy Portugal:  there were
Virtue, Valour, and Victory saluting Don Emanuel:  Reading,
Writing, and Arithmetic (for what I know, or some mythologic
nymphs) dancing before Don Miguel--the picture is there still, at
the Ajuda; and ah me! where is poor Mig?  Well, it is these State
lies and ceremonies that we persist in going to see; whereas a man
would have a much better insight into Portuguese manners, by
planting himself at a corner, like yonder beggar, and watching the
real transactions of the day.

A drive to Belem is the regular route practised by the traveller
who has to make only a short stay, and accordingly a couple of
carriages were provided for our party, and we were driven through
the long merry street of Belem, peopled by endless strings of
mules,--by thousands of gallegos, with water-barrels on their
shoulders, or lounging by the fountains to hire,--by the Lisbon and
Belem omnibuses, with four mules, jingling along at a good pace;
and it seemed to me to present a far more lively and cheerful,
though not so regular, an appearance as the stately quarters of the
city we had left behind us.  The little shops were at full work--
the men brown, well-dressed, manly, and handsome:  so much cannot,
I am sorry to say, be said for the ladies, of whom, with every
anxiety to do so, our party could not perceive a single good-
looking specimen all day.  The noble blue Tagus accompanies you all
along these three miles of busy pleasant street, whereof the chief
charm, as I thought, was its look of genuine business--that
appearance of comfort which the cleverest Court-architect never
knows how to give.

The carriages (the canvas one with four seats and the chaise in
which I drove) were brought suddenly up to a gate with the Royal
arms over it; and here we were introduced to as queer an exhibition
as the eye has often looked on.  This was the state-carriage house,
where there is a museum of huge old tumble-down gilded coaches of
the last century, lying here, mouldy and dark, in a sort of limbo.
The gold has vanished from the great lumbering old wheels and
panels; the velvets are wofully tarnished.  When one thinks of the
patches and powder that have simpered out of those plate-glass
windows--the mitred bishops, the big-wigged marshals, the shovel-
hatted abbes which they have borne in their time--the human mind
becomes affected in no ordinary degree.  Some human minds heave a
sigh for the glories of bygone days; while others, considering
rather the lies and humbug, the vice and servility, which went
framed and glazed and enshrined, creaking along in those old
Juggernaut cars, with fools worshipping under the wheels, console
themselves for the decay of institutions that may have been
splendid and costly, but were ponderous, clumsy, slow, and unfit
for daily wear.  The guardian of these defunct old carriages tells
some prodigious fibs concerning them:  he pointed out one carriage
that was six hundred years old in his calendar; but any connoisseur
in bric-a-brac can see it was built at Paris in the Regent Orleans'
time.

Hence it is but a step to an institution in full life and vigour,--
a noble orphan-school for one thousand boys and girls, founded by
Don Pedro, who gave up to its use the superb convent of Belem, with
its splendid cloisters, vast airy dormitories, and magnificent
church.  Some Oxford gentlemen would have wept to see the
desecrated edifice,--to think that the shaven polls and white gowns
were banished from it to give place to a thousand children, who
have not even the clergy to instruct them.  "Every lad here may
choose his trade," our little informant said, who addressed us in
better French than any of our party spoke, whose manners were
perfectly gentlemanlike and respectful, and whose clothes, though
of a common cotton stuff, were cut and worn with a military
neatness and precision.  All the children whom we remarked were
dressed with similar neatness, and it was a pleasure to go through
their various rooms for study, where some were busy at mathematics,
some at drawing, some attending a lecture on tailoring, while
others were sitting at the feet of a professor of the science of
shoemaking.  All the garments of the establishment were made by the
pupils; even the deaf and dumb were drawing and reading, and the
blind were, for the most part, set to perform on musical
instruments, and got up a concert for the visitors.  It was then we
wished ourselves of the numbers of the deaf and dumb, for the poor
fellows made noises so horrible, that even as blind beggars they
could hardly get a livelihood in the musical way.


Hence we were driven to the huge palace of Necessidades, which is
but a wing of a building that no King of Portugal ought ever to be
rich enough to complete, and which, if perfect, might outvie the
Tower of Babel.  The mines of Brazil must have been productive of
gold and silver indeed when the founder imagined this enormous
edifice.  From the elevation on which it stands it commands the
noblest views,--the city is spread before it, with its many
churches and towers, and for many miles you see the magnificent
Tagus, rolling by banks crowned with trees and towers.  But to
arrive at this enormous building you have to climb a steep suburb
of wretched huts, many of them with dismal gardens of dry cracked
earth, where a few reedy sprouts of Indian corn seemed to be the
chief cultivation, and which were guarded by huge plants of spiky
aloes, on which the rags of the proprietors of the huts were
sunning themselves.  The terrace before the palace was similarly
encroached upon by these wretched habitations.  A few millions
judiciously expended might make of this arid hill one of the most
magnificent gardens in the world; and the palace seems to me to
excel for situation any Royal edifice I have ever seen.  But the
huts of these swarming poor have crawled up close to its gates,--
the superb walls of hewn stone stop all of a sudden with a lath-
and-plaster hitch; and capitals, and hewn stones for columns, still
lying about on the deserted terrace, may lie there for ages to
come, probably, and never take their places by the side of their
brethren in yonder tall bankrupt galleries.  The air of this pure
sky has little effect upon the edifices,--the edges of the stone
look as sharp as if the builders had just left their work; and
close to the grand entrance stands an outbuilding, part of which
may have been burnt fifty years ago, but is in such cheerful
preservation that you might fancy the fire had occurred yesterday.
It must have been an awful sight from this hill to have looked at
the city spread before it, and seen it reeling and swaying in the
time of the earthquake.  I thought it looked so hot and shaky, that
one might fancy a return of the fit.  In several places still
remain gaps and chasms, and ruins lie here and there as they
cracked and fell.

Although the palace has not attained anything like its full growth,
yet what exists is quite big enough for the monarch of such a
little country; and Versailles or Windsor has not apartments more
nobly proportioned.  The Queen resides in the Ajuda, a building of
much less pretensions, of which the yellow walls and beautiful
gardens are seen between Belem and the city.  The Necessidades are
only used for grand galas, receptions of ambassadors, and
ceremonies of state.  In the throne-room is a huge throne,
surmounted by an enormous gilt crown, than which I have never seen
anything larger in the finest pantomime at Drury Lane; but the
effect of this splendid piece is lessened by a shabby old Brussels
carpet, almost the only other article of furniture in the
apartment, and not quite large enough to cover its spacious floor.
The looms of Kidderminster have supplied the web which ornaments
the "Ambassadors' Waiting-Room," and the ceilings are painted with
huge allegories in distemper, which pretty well correspond with the
other furniture.  Of all the undignified objects in the world, a
palace out at elbows is surely the meanest.  Such places ought not
to be seen in adversity,--splendour is their decency,--and when no
longer able to maintain it, they should sink to the level of their
means, calmly subside into manufactories, or go shabby in
seclusion.

There is a picture-gallery belonging to the palace that is quite of
a piece with the furniture, where are the mythological pieces
relative to the kings before alluded to, and where the English
visitor will see some astonishing pictures of the Duke of
Wellington, done in a very characteristic style of Portuguese art.
There is also a chapel, which has been decorated with much care and
sumptuousness of ornament--the altar surmounted by a ghastly and
horrible carved figure in the taste of the time when faith was
strengthened by the shrieks of Jews on the rack, and enlivened by
the roasting of heretics.  Other such frightful images may be seen
in the churches of the city; those which we saw were still rich,
tawdry, and splendid to outward show, although the French, as
usual, had robbed their shrines of their gold and silver, and the
statues of their jewels and crowns.  But brass and tinsel look to
the visitor full as well at a little distance,--as doubtless Soult
and Junot thought, when they despoiled these places of worship,
like French philosophers as they were.

A friend, with a classical turn of mind, was bent upon seeing the
aqueduct, whither we went on a dismal excursion of three hours, in
the worst carriages, over the most diabolical clattering roads, up
and down dreary parched hills, on which grew a few grey olive-trees
and many aloes.  When we arrived, the gate leading to the aqueduct
was closed, and we were entertained with a legend of some
respectable character who had made a good livelihood there for some
time past lately, having a private key to this very aqueduct, and
lying in wait there for unwary travellers like ourselves, whom he
pitched down the arches into the ravines below, and there robbed
them at leisure.  So that all we saw was the door and the tall
arches of the aqueduct, and by the time we returned to town it was
time to go on board the ship again.  If the inn at which we had
sojourned was not of the best quality, the bill, at least, would
have done honour to the first establishment in London.  We all left
the house of entertainment joyfully, glad to get out of the sun-
burnt city and go HOME.  Yonder in the steamer was home, with its
black funnel and gilt portraiture of "Lady Mary Wood" at the bows;
and every soul on board felt glad to return to the friendly little
vessel.  But the authorities of Lisbon, however, are very
suspicious of the departing stranger, and we were made to lie an
hour in the river before the Sanita boat, where a passport is
necessary to be procured before the traveller can quit the country.
Boat after boat laden with priests and peasantry, with handsome
red-sashed gallegos clad in brown, and ill-favoured women, came and
got their permits, and were off, as we lay bumping up against the
old hull of the Sanita boat; but the officers seemed to take a
delight in keeping us there bumping, looked at us quite calmly over
the ship's sides, and smoked their cigars without the least
attention to the prayers which we shrieked out for release.

If we were glad to get away from Lisbon, we were quite as sorry to
be obliged to quit Cadiz, which we reached the next night, and
where we were allowed a couple of hours' leave to land and look
about.  It seemed as handsome within as it is stately without; the
long narrow streets of an admirable cleanliness, many of the tall
houses of rich and noble decorations, and all looking as if the
city were in full prosperity.  I have seen no more cheerful and
animated sight than the long street leading from the quay where we
were landed, and the market blazing in sunshine, piled with fruit,
fish, and poultry, under many-coloured awnings; the tall white
houses with their balconies and galleries shining round about, and
the sky above so blue that the best cobalt in all the paint-box
looks muddy and dim in comparison to it.  There were pictures for a
year in that market-place--from the copper-coloured old hags and
beggars who roared to you for the love of Heaven to give money, to
the swaggering dandies of the market, with red sashes and tight
clothes, looking on superbly, with a hand on the hip and a cigar in
the mouth.  These must be the chief critics at the great bull-fight
house yonder by the Alameda, with its scanty trees, and cool
breezes facing the water.  Nor are there any corks to the bulls'
horns here, as at Lisbon.  A small old English guide who seized
upon me the moment my foot was on shore, had a store of agreeable
legends regarding the bulls, men, and horses that had been killed
with unbounded profusion in the late entertainments which have
taken place.

It was so early an hour in the morning that the shops were scarcely
opened as yet; the churches, however, stood open for the faithful,
and we met scores of women tripping towards them with pretty feet,
and smart black mantillas, from which looked out fine dark eyes and
handsome pale faces, very different from the coarse brown
countenances we had seen at Lisbon.  A very handsome modern
cathedral, built by the present bishop at his own charges, was the
finest of the public edifices we saw; it was not, however, nearly
so much frequented as another little church, crowded with altars
and fantastic ornaments, and lights and gilding, where we were told
to look behind a huge iron grille, and beheld a bevy of black nuns
kneeling.  Most of the good ladies in the front ranks stopped their
devotions, and looked at the strangers with as much curiosity as we
directed at them through the gloomy bars of their chapel.  The
men's convents are closed; that which contains the famous Murillos
has been turned into an academy of the fine arts; but the English
guide did not think the pictures were of sufficient interest to
detain strangers, and so hurried us back to the shore, and grumbled
at only getting three shillings at parting for his trouble and his
information.  And so our residence in Andalusia began and ended
before breakfast, and we went on board and steamed for Gibraltar,
looking, as we passed, at Joinville's black squadron, and the white
houses of St. Mary's across the bay, with the hills of Medina
Sidonia and Granada lying purple beyond them.  There's something
even in those names which is pleasant to write down; to have passed
only two hours in Cadiz is something--to have seen real donnas with
comb and mantle--real caballeros with cloak and cigar--real Spanish
barbers lathering out of brass basins--and to have heard guitars
under the balconies:  there was one that an old beggar was jangling
in the market, whilst a huge leering fellow in bushy whiskers and a
faded velvet dress came singing and jumping after our party,--not
singing to a guitar, it is true, but imitating one capitally with
his voice, and cracking his fingers by way of castanets, and
performing a dance such as Figaro or Lablache might envy.  How
clear that fellow's voice thrums on the ear even now; and how
bright and pleasant remains the recollection of the fine city and
the blue sea, and the Spanish flags floating on the boats that
danced over it, and Joinville's band beginning to play stirring
marches as we puffed out of the bay.


The next stage was Gibraltar, where we were to change horses.
Before sunset we skirted along the dark savage mountains of the
African coast, and came to the Rock just before gun-fire.  It is
the very image of an enormous lion, crouched between the Atlantic
and the Mediterranean, and set there to guard the passage for its
British mistress.  The next British lion is Malta, four days
further on in the Midland Sea, and ready to spring upon Egypt or
pounce upon Syria, or roar so as to be heard at Marseilles in case
of need.

To the eyes of the civilian the first-named of these famous
fortifications is by far the most imposing.  The Rock looks so
tremendous, that to ascend it, even without the compliment of
shells or shot, seems a dreadful task--what would it be when all
those mysterious lines of batteries were vomiting fire and
brimstone; when all those dark guns that you see poking their grim
heads out of every imaginable cleft and zigzag should salute you
with shot, both hot and cold; and when, after tugging up the
hideous perpendicular place, you were to find regiments of British
grenadiers ready to plunge bayonets into your poor panting stomach,
and let out artificially the little breath left there?  It is a
marvel to think that soldiers will mount such places for a
shilling--ensigns for five and ninepence--a day:  a cabman would
ask double the money to go half way!  One meekly reflects upon the
above strange truths, leaning over the ship's side, and looking up
the huge mountain, from the tower nestled at the foot of it to the
thin flagstaff at the summit, up to which have been piled the most
ingenious edifices for murder Christian science ever adopted.  My
hobby-horse is a quiet beast, suited for Park riding, or a gentle
trot to Putney and back to a snug stable, and plenty of feeds of
corn:- it can't abide climbing hills, and is not at all used to
gunpowder.  Some men's animals are so spirited that the very
appearance of a stone-wall sets them jumping at it:  regular
chargers of hobbies, which snort and say "Ha, ha!" at the mere
notion of a battle.



CHAPTER III:  THE "LADY MARY WOOD"



Our week's voyage is now drawing to a close.  We have just been to
look at Cape Trafalgar, shining white over the finest blue sea.
(We, who were looking at Trafalgar Square only the other day!)  The
sight of that cape must have disgusted Joinville and his fleet of
steamers, as they passed yesterday into Cadiz bay, and to-morrow
will give them a sight of St. Vincent.

One of their steam-vessels has been lost off the coast of Africa;
they were obliged to burn her, lest the Moors should take
possession of her.  She was a virgin vessel, just out of Brest.
Poor innocent! to die in the very first month of her union with the
noble whiskered god of war!

We Britons on board the English boat received the news of the
"Groenenland's" abrupt demise with grins of satisfaction.  It was a
sort of national compliment, and cause of agreeable congratulation.
"The lubbers!" we said; "the clumsy humbugs! there's none but
Britons to rule the waves!" and we gave ourselves piratical airs,
and went down presently and were sick in our little buggy berths.
It was pleasant, certainly, to laugh at Joinville's admiral's flag
floating at his foremast, in yonder black ship, with its two
thundering great guns at the bows and stern, its busy crew swarming
on the deck, and a crowd of obsequious shore-boats bustling round
the vessel--and to sneer at the Mogador warrior, and vow that we
English, had we been inclined to do the business, would have
performed it a great deal better.


Now yesterday at Lisbon we saw H.M.S. "Caledonia."  THIS, on the
contrary, inspired us with feelings of respect and awful pleasure.
There she lay--the huge sea-castle--bearing the unconquerable flag
of our country.  She had but to open her jaws, as it were, and she
might bring a second earthquake on the city--batter it into
kingdom-come--with the Ajuda palace and the Necessidades, the
churches, and the lean, dry, empty streets, and Don John,
tremendous on horseback, in the midst of Black Horse Square.
Wherever we looked we could see that enormous "Caledonia," with her
flashing three lines of guns.  We looked at the little boats which
ever and anon came out of this monster, with humble wonder.  There
was the lieutenant who boarded us at midnight before we dropped
anchor in the river:  ten white-jacketed men pulling as one, swept
along with the barge, gig, boat, curricle, or coach-and-six, with
which he came up to us.  We examined him--his red whiskers--his
collars turned down--his duck trousers, his bullion epaulets--with
awe.  With the same reverential feeling we examined the seamen--the
young gentleman in the bows of the boat--the handsome young
officers of marines we met sauntering in the town next day--the
Scotch surgeon who boarded us as we weighed anchor--every man, down
to the broken-nosed mariner who was drunk in a wine-house, and had
"Caledonia" written on his hat.  Whereas at the Frenchmen we looked
with undisguised contempt.  We were ready to burst with laughter as
we passed the Prince's vessel--there was a little French boy in a
French boat alongside cleaning it, and twirling about a little
French mop--we thought it the most comical, contemptible French
boy, mop, boat, steamer, prince--Psha! it is of this wretched
vapouring stuff that false patriotism is made.  I write this as a
sort of homily 'a propos of the day, and Cape Trafalgar, off which
we lie.  What business have I to strut the deck, and clap my wings,
and cry "Cock-a-doodle-doo" over it?  Some compatriots are at that
work even now.

We have lost one by one all our jovial company.  There were the
five Oporto wine-merchants--all hearty English gentlemen--gone to
their wine-butts, and their red-legged partridges, and their duels
at Oporto.  It appears that these gallant Britons fight every
morning among themselves, and give the benighted people among whom
they live an opportunity to admire the spirit national.  There is
the brave honest major, with his wooden leg--the kindest and
simplest of Irishmen:  he has embraced his children, and reviewed
his little invalid garrison of fifteen men, in the fort which he
commands at Belem, by this time, and, I have no doubt, played to
every soul of them the twelve tunes of his musical-box.  It was
pleasant to see him with that musical-box--how pleased he wound it
up after dinner--how happily he listened to the little clinking
tunes as they galloped, ding-dong, after each other!  A man who
carries a musical-box is always a good-natured man.

Then there was his Grace, or his Grandeur, the Archbishop of
Beyrouth (in the parts of the infidels), His Holiness's Nuncio to
the Court of Her Most Faithful Majesty, and who mingled among us
like any simple mortal,--except that he had an extra smiling
courtesy, which simple mortals do not always possess; and when you
passed him as such, and puffed your cigar in his face, took off his
hat with a grin of such prodigious rapture, as to lead you to
suppose that the most delicious privilege of his whole life was
that permission to look at the tip of your nose or of your cigar.
With this most reverend prelate was his Grace's brother and
chaplain--a very greasy and good-natured ecclesiastic, who, from
his physiognomy, I would have imagined to be a dignitary of the
Israelitish rather than the Romish Church--as profuse in smiling
courtesy as his Lordship of Beyrouth.  These two had a meek little
secretary between them, and a tall French cook and valet, who, at
meal times, might be seen busy about the cabin where their
reverences lay.  They were on their backs for the greater part of
the voyage; their yellow countenances were not only unshaven, but,
to judge from appearances, unwashed.  They ate in private; and it
was only of evenings, as the sun was setting over the western wave,
and, comforted by the dinner, the cabin-passengers assembled on the
quarter-deck, that we saw the dark faces of the reverend gentlemen
among us for a while.  They sank darkly into their berths when the
steward's bell tolled for tea.

At Lisbon, where we came to anchor at midnight, a special boat came
off, whereof the crew exhibited every token of reverence for the
ambassador of the ambassador of Heaven, and carried him off from
our company.  This abrupt departure in the darkness disappointed
some of us, who had promised ourselves the pleasure of seeing his
Grandeur depart in state in the morning, shaved, clean, and in full
pontificals, the tripping little secretary swinging an incense-pot
before him, and the greasy chaplain bearing his crosier.

Next day we had another bishop, who occupied the very same berth
his Grace of Beyrouth had quitted--was sick in the very same way--
so much so that this cabin of the "Lady Mary Wood" is to be
christened "the bishop's berth" henceforth; and a handsome mitre is
to be painted on the basin.

Bishop No. 2 was a very stout, soft, kind-looking old gentleman, in
a square cap, with a handsome tassel of green and gold round his
portly breast and back.  He was dressed in black robes and tight
purple stockings:  and we carried him from Lisbon to the little
flat coast of Faro, of which the meek old gentleman was the chief
pastor.

We had not been half-an-hour from our anchorage in the Tagus, when
his Lordship dived down into the episcopal berth.  All that night
there was a good smart breeze; it blew fresh all the next day, as
we went jumping over the blue bright sea; and there was no sign of
his Lordship the bishop until we were opposite the purple hills of
Algarve, which lay some ten miles distant,--a yellow sunny shore
stretching flat before them, whose long sandy flats and villages we
could see with our telescope from the steamer.

Presently a little vessel, with a huge shining lateen sail, and
bearing the blue and white Portuguese flag, was seen playing a sort
of leap-frog on the jolly waves, jumping over them, and ducking
down as merry as could be.  This little boat came towards the
steamer as quick as ever she could jump; and Captain Cooper roaring
out, "Stop her!" to "Lady Mary Wood," her Ladyship's paddles
suddenly ceased twirling, and news was carried to the good bishop
that his boat was almost alongside, and that his hour was come.

It was rather an affecting sight to see the poor old fat gentleman,
looking wistfully over the water as the boat now came up, and her
eight seamen, with great noise, energy, and gesticulation laid her
by the steamer.  The steamer steps were let down; his Lordship's
servant, in blue and yellow livery (like the Edinburgh Review),
cast over the episcopal luggage into the boat, along with his own
bundle and the jack-boots with which he rides postilion on one of
the bishop's fat mules at Faro.  The blue and yellow domestic went
down the steps into the boat.  Then came the bishop's turn; but he
couldn't do it for a long while.  He went from one passenger to
another, sadly shaking them by the hand, often taking leave and
seeming loth to depart, until Captain Cooper, in a stern but
respectful tone, touched him on the shoulder, and said, I know not
with what correctness, being ignorant of the Spanish language,
"Senor 'Bispo!  Senor 'Bispo!" on which summons the poor old man,
looking ruefully round him once more, put his square cap under his
arm, tucked up his long black petticoats, so as to show his purple
stockings and jolly fat calves, and went trembling down the steps
towards the boat.  The good old man!  I wish I had had a shake of
that trembling podgy hand somehow before he went upon his sea
martyrdom.  I felt a love for that soft-hearted old Christian.  Ah!
let us hope his governante tucked him comfortably in bed when he
got to Faro that night, and made him a warm gruel and put his feet
in warm water.  The men clung around him, and almost kissed him as
they popped him into the boat, but he did not heed their caresses.
Away went the boat scudding madly before the wind.  Bang! another
lateen-sailed boat in the distance fired a gun in his honour; but
the wind was blowing away from the shore, and who knows when that
meek bishop got home to his gruel?

I think these were the notables of our party.  I will not mention
the laughing ogling lady of Cadiz, whose manners, I very much
regret to say, were a great deal too lively for my sense of
propriety; nor those fair sufferers, her companions, who lay on the
deck with sickly, smiling female resignation:  nor the heroic
children, who no sooner ate biscuit than they were ill, and no
sooner were ill than they began eating biscuit again:  but just
allude to one other martyr, the kind lieutenant in charge of the
mails, and who bore his cross with what I can't but think a very
touching and noble resignation.

There's a certain sort of man whose doom in the world is
disappointment,--who excels in it,--and whose luckless triumphs in
his meek career of life, I have often thought, must be regarded by
the kind eyes above with as much favour as the splendid successes
and achievements of coarser and more prosperous men.  As I sat with
the lieutenant upon deck, his telescope laid over his lean legs,
and he looking at the sunset with a pleased, withered old face, he
gave me a little account of his history.  I take it he is in nowise
disinclined to talk about it, simple as it is:  he has been seven-
and-thirty years in the navy, being somewhat more mature in the
service than Lieutenant Peel, Rear-Admiral Prince de Joinville, and
other commanders who need not be mentioned.  He is a very well-
educated man, and reads prodigiously,--travels, histories, lives of
eminent worthies and heroes, in his simple way.  He is not in the
least angry at his want of luck in the profession.  "Were I a boy
to-morrow," he said, "I would begin it again; and when I see my
schoolfellows, and how they have got on in life, if some are better
off than I am, I find many are worse, and have no call to be
discontented."  So he carries Her Majesty's mails meekly through
this world, waits upon port-admirals and captains in his old glazed
hat, and is as proud of the pennon at the bow of his little boat,
as if it were flying from the mainmast of a thundering man-of-war.
He gets two hundred a year for his services, and has an old mother
and a sister living in England somewhere, who I will wager (though
he never, I swear, said a word about it) have a good portion of
this princely income.

Is it breaking a confidence to tell Lieutenant Bundy's history?
Let the motive excuse the deed.  It is a good, kind, wholesome, and
noble character.  Why should we keep all our admiration for those
who win in this world, as we do, sycophants as we are?  When we
write a novel, our great stupid imaginations can go no further than
to marry the hero to a fortune at the end, and to find out that he
is a lord by right.  O blundering lickspittle morality!  And yet I
would like to fancy some happy retributive Utopia in the peaceful
cloud-land, where my friend the meek lieutenant should find the
yards of his ship manned as he went on board, all the guns firing
an enormous salute (only without the least noise or vile smell of
powder), and he be saluted on the deck as Admiral Sir James, or Sir
Joseph--ay, or Lord Viscount Bundy, knight of all the orders above
the sun.

I think this is a sufficient, if not a complete catalogue of the
worthies on board the "Lady Mary Wood."  In the week we were on
board--it seemed a year, by the way--we came to regard the ship
quite as a home.  We felt for the captain--the most good-humoured,
active, careful, ready of captains--a filial, a fraternal regard;
for the providor, who provided for us with admirable comfort and
generosity, a genial gratitude; and for the brisk steward's lads--
brisk in serving the banquet, sympathising in handing the basin--
every possible sentiment of regard and good-will.  What winds blew,
and how many knots we ran, are all noted down, no doubt, in the
ship's log:  and as for what ships we saw--every one of them with
their gunnage, tonnage, their nation, their direction whither they
were bound--were not these all noted down with surprising ingenuity
and precision by the lieutenant, at a family desk at which he sat
every night, before a great paper elegantly and mysteriously ruled
off with his large ruler?  I have a regard for every man on board
that ship, from the captain down to the crew--down even to the
cook, with tattooed arms, sweating among the saucepans in the
galley, who used (with a touching affection) to send us locks of
his hair in the soup.  And so, while our feelings and recollections
are warm, let us shake hands with this knot of good fellows,
comfortably floating about in their little box of wood and iron,
across Channel, Biscay Bay, and the Atlantic, from Southampton
Water to Gibraltar Straits.



CHAPTER IV:  GIBRALTAR



Suppose all the nations of the earth to send fitting ambassadors to
represent them at Wapping or Portsmouth Point, with each, under its
own national signboard and language, its appropriate house of call,
and your imagination may figure the Main Street of Gibraltar:
almost the only part of the town, I believe, which boasts of the
name of street at all, the remaining houserows being modestly
called lanes, such as Bomb Lane, Battery Lane, Fusee Lane, and so
on.  In Main Street the Jews predominate, the Moors abound; and
from the "Jolly Sailor," or the brave "Horse Marine," where the
people of our nation are drinking British beer and gin, you hear
choruses of "Garryowen" or "The Lass I left behind me;" while
through the flaring lattices of the Spanish ventas come the clatter
of castanets and the jingle and moan of Spanish guitars and
ditties.  It is a curious sight at evening this thronged street,
with the people, in a hundred different costumes, bustling to and
fro under the coarse flare of the lamps; swarthy Moors, in white or
crimson robes; dark Spanish smugglers in tufted hats, with gay silk
handkerchiefs round their heads; fuddled seamen from men-of-war, or
merchantmen; porters, Galician or Genoese; and at every few
minutes' interval, little squads of soldiers tramping to relieve
guard at some one of the innumerable posts in the town.

Some of our party went to a Spanish venta, as a more convenient or
romantic place of residence than an English house; others made
choice of the club-house in Commercial Square, of which I formed an
agreeable picture in my imagination; rather, perhaps, resembling
the Junior United Service Club in Charles Street, by which every
Londoner has passed ere this with respectful pleasure, catching
glimpses of magnificent blazing candelabras, under which sit neat
half-pay officers, drinking half-pints of port.  The club-house of
Gibraltar is not, however, of the Charles Street sort:  it may have
been cheerful once, and there are yet relics of splendour about it.
When officers wore pigtails, and in the time of Governor O'Hara, it
may have been a handsome place; but it is mouldy and decrepit now;
and though his Excellency, Mr. Bulwer, was living there, and made
no complaints that I heard of, other less distinguished persons
thought they had reason to grumble.  Indeed, what is travelling
made of?  At least half its pleasures and incidents come out of
inns; and of them the tourist can speak with much more truth and
vivacity than of historical recollections compiled out of
histories, or filched out of handbooks.  But to speak of the best
inn in a place needs no apology:  that, at least, is useful
information.  As every person intending to visit Gibraltar cannot
have seen the flea-bitten countenances of our companions, who fled
from their Spanish venta to take refuge at the club the morning
after our arrival, they may surely be thankful for being directed
to the best house of accommodation in one of the most unromantic,
uncomfortable, and prosaic of towns.

If one had a right to break the sacred confidence of the mahogany,
I could entertain you with many queer stories of Gibraltar life,
gathered from the lips of the gentlemen who enjoyed themselves
round the dingy tablecloth of the club-house coffee-room, richly
decorated with cold gravy and spilt beer.  I heard there the very
names of the gentlemen who wrote the famous letters from the
"Warspite" regarding the French proceedings at Mogador; and met
several refugee Jews from that place, who said that they were much
more afraid of the Kabyles without the city than of the guns of the
French squadron, of which they seemed to make rather light.  I
heard the last odds on the ensuing match between Captain Smith's b.
g. Bolter, and Captain Brown's ch. c. Roarer:  how the gun-room of
Her Majesty's ship "Purgatory" had "cobbed" a tradesman of the
town, and of the row in consequence.  I heard capital stories of
the way in which Wilkins had escaped the guard, and Thompson had
been locked up among the mosquitoes for being out after ten without
the lantern.  I heard how the governor was an old -, but to say
what, would be breaking a confidence:  only this may be divulged,
that the epithet was exceedingly complimentary to Sir Robert
Wilson.  All the while these conversations were going on, a strange
scene of noise and bustle was passing in the market-place, in front
of the window, where Moors, Jews, Spaniards, soldiers were
thronging in the sun; and a ragged fat fellow, mounted on a
tobacco-barrel, with his hat cocked on his ear, was holding an
auction, and roaring with an energy and impudence that would have
done credit to Covent Garden.

The Moorish castle is the only building about the Rock which has an
air at all picturesque or romantic; there is a plain Roman Catholic
cathedral, a hideous new Protestant church of the cigar-divan
architecture, and a Court-house with a portico which is said to be
an imitation of the Parthenon:  the ancient religions houses of the
Spanish town are gone, or turned into military residences, and
masked so that you would never know their former pious destination.
You walk through narrow whitewashed lanes, bearing such martial
names as are before mentioned, and by-streets with barracks on
either side:  small Newgate-like looking buildings, at the doors of
which you may see the sergeants' ladies conversing; or at the open
windows of the officers' quarters, Ensign Fipps lying on his sofa
and smoking his cigar, or Lieutenant Simson practising the flute to
while away the weary hours of garrison dulness.  I was surprised
not to find more persons in the garrison library, where is a
magnificent reading-room, and an admirable collection of books.

In spite of the scanty herbage and the dust on the trees, the
Alameda is a beautiful walk; of which the vegetation has been as
laboriously cared for as the tremendous fortifications which flank
it on either side.  The vast Rock rises on one side with its
interminable works of defence, and Gibraltar Bay is shining on the
other, out on which from the terraces immense cannon are
perpetually looking, surrounded by plantations of cannon-balls and
beds of bomb-shells, sufficient, one would think, to blow away the
whole peninsula.  The horticultural and military mixture is indeed
very queer:  here and there temples, rustic summer-seats, &c. have
been erected in the garden, but you are sure to see a great squat
mortar look up from among the flower-pots:  and amidst the aloes
and geraniums sprouts the green petticoat and scarlet coat of a
Highlander.  Fatigue-parties are seen winding up the hill, and busy
about the endless cannon-ball plantations; awkward squads are
drilling in the open spaces:  sentries marching everywhere, and
(this is a caution to artists) I am told have orders to run any man
through who is discovered making a sketch of the place.  It is
always beautiful, especially at evening, when the people are
sauntering along the walks, and the moon is shining on the waters
of the bay and the hills and twinkling white houses of the opposite
shore.  Then the place becomes quite romantic:  it is too dark to
see the dust on the dried leaves; the cannon-balls do not intrude
too much, but have subsided into the shade; the awkward squads are
in bed; even the loungers are gone, the fan-flirting Spanish
ladies, the sallow black-eyed children, and the trim white-jacketed
dandies.  A fife is heard from some craft at roost on the quiet
waters somewhere; or a faint cheer from yonder black steamer at the
Mole, which is about to set out on some night expedition.  You
forget that the town is at all like Wapping, and deliver yourself
up entirely to romance; the sentries look noble pacing there,
silent in the moonlight, and Sandy's voice is quite musical as he
challenges with a "Who goes there?"

"All's Well" is very pleasant when sung decently in tune, and
inspires noble and poetic ideas of duty, courage, and danger:  but
when you hear it shouted all the night through, accompanied by a
clapping of muskets in a time of profound peace, the sentinel's cry
becomes no more romantic to the hearer than it is to the sandy
Connaught-man or the bare-legged Highlander who delivers it.  It is
best to read about wars comfortably in Harry Lorrequer or Scott's
novels, in which knights shout their war-cries, and jovial Irish
bayoneteers hurrah, without depriving you of any blessed rest.  Men
of a different way of thinking, however, can suit themselves
perfectly at Gibraltar; where there is marching and counter-
marching, challenging and relieving guard all the night through.
And not here in Commercial Square alone, but all over the huge Rock
in the darkness--all through the mysterious zig-zags, and round the
dark cannon-ball pyramids, and along the vast rock-galleries, and
up to the topmost flagstaff, where the sentry can look out over two
seas, poor fellows are marching and clapping muskets, and crying
"All's Well," dressed in cap and feather, in place of honest
nightcaps best befitting the decent hours of sleep.

All these martial noises three of us heard to the utmost advantage,
lying on iron bedsteads at the time in a cracked old room on the
ground-floor, the open windows of which looked into the square.  No
spot could be more favourably selected for watching the humours of
a garrison town by night.  About midnight, the door hard by us was
visited by a party of young officers, who having had quite as much
drink as was good for them, were naturally inclined for more; and
when we remonstrated through the windows, one of them in a young
tipsy voice asked after our mothers, and finally reeled away.  How
charming is the conversation of high-spirited youth!  I don't know
whether the guard got hold of them:  but certainly if a civilian
had been hiccuping through the streets at that hour, he would have
been carried off to the guard-house, and left to the mercy of the
mosquitoes there, and had up before the Governor in the morning.
The young man in the coffee-room tells me he goes to sleep every
night with the keys of Gibraltar under his pillow.  It is an awful
image, and somehow completes the notion of the slumbering fortress.
Fancy Sir Robert Wilson, his nose just visible over the sheets, his
night-cap and the huge key (you see the very identical one in
Reynolds's portrait of Lord Heathfield) peeping out from under the
bolster!


If I entertain you with accounts of inns and nightcaps it is
because I am more familiar with these subjects than with history
and fortifications:  as far as I can understand the former,
Gibraltar is the great British depot for smuggling goods into the
Peninsula.  You see vessels lying in the harbour, and are told in
so many words they are smugglers:  all those smart Spaniards with
cigar and mantles are smugglers, and run tobaccos and cotton into
Catalonia; all the respected merchants of the place are smugglers.
The other day a Spanish revenue vessel was shot to death under the
thundering great guns of the fort, for neglecting to bring to, but
it so happened that it was in chase of a smuggler:  in this little
corner of her dominions Britain proclaims war to custom-houses, and
protection to free trade.  Perhaps ere a very long day, England may
be acting that part towards the world, which Gibraltar performs
towards Spain now; and the last war in which we shall ever engage
may be a custom-house war.  For once establish railroads and
abolish preventive duties through Europe, and what is there left to
fight for?  It will matter very little then under what flag people
live, and foreign ministers and ambassadors may enjoy a dignified
sinecure; the army will rise to the rank of peaceful constables,
not having any more use for their bayonets than those worthy people
have for their weapons now who accompany the law at assizes under
the name of javelin-men.  The apparatus of bombs and eighty-four-
pounders may disappear from the Alameda, and the crops of cannon-
balls which now grow there may give place to other plants more
pleasant to the eye; and the great key of Gibraltar may be left in
the gate for anybody to turn at will, and Sir Robert Wilson may
sleep in quiet.

I am afraid I thought it was rather a release, when, having made up
our minds to examine the Rock in detail and view the magnificent
excavations and galleries, the admiration of all military men, and
the terror of any enemies who may attack the fortress, we received
orders to embark forthwith in the "Tagus," which was to early us to
Malta and Constantinople.  So we took leave of this famous Rock--
this great blunderbuss--which we seized out of the hands of the
natural owners a hundred and forty years ago, and which we have
kept ever since tremendously loaded and cleaned and ready for use.
To seize and have it is doubtless a gallant thing; it is like one
of those tests of courage which one reads of in the chivalrous
romances, when, for instance, Sir Huon of Bordeaux is called upon
to prove his knighthood by going to Babylon and pulling out the
Sultan's beard and front teeth in the midst of his Court there.
But, after all, justice must confess it was rather hard on the poor
Sultan.  If we had the Spaniards established at Land's End, with
impregnable Spanish fortifications on St. Michael's Mount, we
should perhaps come to the same conclusion.  Meanwhile let us hope,
during this long period of deprivation, the Sultan of Spain is
reconciled to the loss of his front teeth and bristling whiskers--
let us even try to think that he is better without them.  At all
events, right or wrong, whatever may be our title to the property,
there is no Englishman but must think with pride of the manner in
which his countrymen have kept it, and of the courage, endurance,
and sense of duty with which stout old Eliott and his companions
resisted Crillon and the Spanish battering ships and his fifty
thousand men.  There seems to be something more noble in the
success of a gallant resistance than of an attack, however brave.
After failing in his attack on the fort, the French General visited
the English Commander who had foiled him, and parted from him and
his garrison in perfect politeness and good-humour.  The English
troops, Drinkwater says, gave him thundering cheers as he went
away, and the French in return complimented us on our gallantry,
and lauded the humanity of our people.  If we are to go on
murdering each other in the old-fashioned way, what a pity it is
that our battles cannot end in the old-fashioned way too!

One of our fellow-travellers, who had written a book, and had
suffered considerably from sea-sickness during our passage along
the coasts of France and Spain, consoled us all by saying that the
very minute we got into the Mediterranean we might consider
ourselves entirely free from illness; and, in fact, that it was
unheard of in the Inland Sea.  Even in the Bay of Gibraltar the
water looked bluer than anything I have ever seen--except Miss
Smith's eyes.  I thought, somehow, the delicious faultless azure
never could look angry--just like the eyes before alluded to--and
under this assurance we passed the Strait, and began coasting the
African shore calmly and without the least apprehension, as if we
were as much used to the tempest as Mr. T. P. Cooke.

But when, in spite of the promise of the man who had written the
book, we found ourselves worse than in the worst part of the Bay of
Biscay, or off the storm-lashed rocks of Finisterre, we set down
the author in question as a gross impostor, and had a mind to
quarrel with him for leading us into this cruel error.  The most
provoking part of the matter, too, was, that the sky was
deliciously clear and cloudless, the air balmy, the sea so
insultingly blue that it seemed as if we had no right to be ill at
all, and that the innumerable little waves that frisked round about
our keel were enjoying an anerithmon gelasma (this is one of my
four Greek quotations:  depend on it I will manage to introduce the
other three before the tour is done)--seemed to be enjoying, I say,
the above-named Greek quotation at our expense.  Here is the dismal
log of Wednesday, 4th of September: --"All attempts at dining very
fruitless.  Basins in requisition.  Wind hard ahead.  Que diable
allais-je faire dans cette galere?  Writing or thinking impossible:
so read 'Letters from the AEgean.'"  These brief words give, I
think, a complete idea of wretchedness, despair, remorse, and
prostration of soul and body.  Two days previously we passed the
forts and moles and yellow buildings of Algiers, rising very
stately from the sea, and skirted by gloomy purple lines of African
shore, with fires smoking in the mountains, and lonely settlements
here and there.

On the 5th, to the inexpressible joy of all, we reached Valetta,
the entrance to the harbour of which is one of the most stately and
agreeable scenes ever admired by sea-sick traveller.  The small
basin was busy with a hundred ships, from the huge guard-ship,
which lies there a city in itself;--merchantmen loading and crews
cheering, under all the flags of the world flaunting in the
sunshine; a half-score of busy black steamers perpetually coming
and going, coaling and painting, and puffing and hissing in and out
of harbour; slim men-of-war's barges shooting to and fro, with long
shining oars flashing like wings over the water; hundreds of
painted town-boats, with high heads and white awnings,--down to the
little tubs in which some naked, tawny young beggars came paddling
up to the steamer, entreating us to let them dive for halfpence.
Round this busy blue water rise rocks, blazing in sunshine, and
covered with every imaginable device of fortification; to the
right, St. Elmo, with flag and lighthouse; and opposite, the
Military Hospital, looking like a palace; and all round, the houses
of the city, for its size the handsomest and most stately in the
world.

Nor does it disappoint you on a closer inspection, as many a
foreign town does.  The streets are thronged with a lively
comfortable-looking population; the poor seem to inhabit handsome
stone palaces, with balconies and projecting windows of heavy
carved stone.  The lights and shadows, the cries and stenches, the
fruit-shops and fish-stalls, the dresses and chatter of all
nations; the soldiers in scarlet, and women in black mantillas; the
beggars, boat-men, barrels of pickled herrings and macaroni; the
shovel-hatted priests and bearded capuchins; the tobacco, grapes,
onions, and sunshine; the signboards, bottled-porter stores, the
statues of saints and little chapels which jostle the stranger's
eyes as he goes up the famous stairs from the Water-gate, make a
scene of such pleasant confusion and liveliness as I have never
witnessed before.  And the effect of the groups of multitudinous
actors in this busy cheerful drama is heightened, as it were, by
the decorations of the stage.  The sky is delightfully brilliant;
all the houses and ornaments are stately; castle and palaces are
rising all around; and the flag, towers, and walls of Fort St. Elmo
look as fresh and magnificent as if they had been erected only
yesterday.

The Strada Reale has a much more courtly appearance than that one
described.  Here are palaces, churches, court-houses and libraries,
the genteel London shops, and the latest articles of perfumery.
Gay young officers are strolling about in shell-jackets much too
small for them:  midshipmen are clattering by on hired horses;
squads of priests, habited after the fashion of Don Basilio in the
opera, are demurely pacing to and fro; professional beggars run
shrieking after the stranger; and agents for horses, for inns, and
for worse places still, follow him and insinuate the excellence of
their goods.  The houses where they are selling carpet-bags and
pomatum were the palaces of the successors of the goodliest company
of gallant knights the world ever heard tell of.  It seems
unromantic; but THESE were not the romantic Knights of St. John.
The heroic days of the Order ended as the last Turkish galley
lifted anchor after the memorable siege.  The present stately
houses were built in times of peace and splendour and decay.  I
doubt whether the Auberge de Provence, where the "Union Club"
flourishes now, has ever seen anything more romantic than the
pleasant balls held in the great room there.

The Church of St. John, not a handsome structure without, is
magnificent within:  a noble hall covered with a rich embroidery of
gilded carving, the chapels of the different nations on either
side, but not interfering with the main structure, of which the
whole is simple, and the details only splendid; it seemed to me a
fitting place for this wealthy body of aristocratic soldiers, who
made their devotions as it were on parade, and, though on their
knees, never forgot their epaulets or their quarters of nobility.
This mixture of religion and worldly pride seems incongruous at
first; but have we not at church at home similar relics of feudal
ceremony?--the verger with the silver mace who precedes the vicar
to the desk; the two chaplains of my Lord Archbishop, who bow over
his Grace as he enters the communion-table gate; even poor John,
who follows my Lady with a coroneted prayer-book, and makes his
conge as he hands it into the pew.  What a chivalrous absurdity is
the banner of some high and mighty prince, hanging over his stall
in Windsor Chapel, when you think of the purpose for which men are
supposed to assemble there!  The Church of the Knights of St. John
is paved over with sprawling heraldic devices of the dead gentlemen
of the dead Order; as if, in the next world, they expected to take
rank in conformity with their pedigrees, and would be marshalled
into heaven according to the orders of precedence.  Cumbrous
handsome paintings adorn the walls and chapels, decorated with
pompous monuments of Grand Masters.  Beneath is a crypt, where more
of these honourable and reverend warriors lie, in a state that a
Simpson would admire.  In the altar are said to lie three of the
most gallant relics in the world:  the keys of Acre, Rhodes, and
Jerusalem.  What blood was shed in defending these emblems!  What
faith, endurance, genius, and generosity; what pride, hatred,
ambition, and savage lust of blood were roused together for their
guardianship!

In the lofty halls and corridors of the Governor's house, some
portraits of the late Grand Masters still remain:  a very fine one,
by Caravaggio, of a knight in gilt armour, hangs in the dining-
room, near a full-length of poor Louis XVI., in Royal robes, the
very picture of uneasy impotency.  But the portrait of De
Vignacourt is the only one which has a respectable air; the other
chiefs of the famous Society are pompous old gentlemen in black,
with huge periwigs, and crowns round their hats, and a couple of
melancholy pages in yellow and red.  But pages and wigs and Grand
Masters have almost faded out of the canvas, and are vanishing into
Hades with a most melancholy indistinctness.  The names of most of
these gentlemen, however, live as yet in the forts of the place,
which all seem to have been eager to build and christen:  so that
it seems as if, in the Malta mythology, they had been turned into
freestone.

In the armoury is the very suit painted by Caravaggio, by the side
of the armour of the noble old La Valette, whose heroism saved his
island from the efforts of Mustapha and Dragut, and an army quite
as fierce and numerous as that which was baffled before Gibraltar,
by similar courage and resolution.  The sword of the last-named
famous corsair (a most truculent little scimitar), thousands of
pikes and halberts, little old cannons and wall-pieces, helmets and
cuirasses, which the knights or their people wore, are trimly
arranged against the wall, and, instead of spiking Turks or arming
warriors, now serve to point morals and adorn tales.  And here
likewise are kept many thousand muskets, swords, and boarding-pikes
for daily use, and a couple of ragged old standards of one of the
English regiments, who pursued and conquered in Egypt the remains
of the haughty and famous French republican army, at whose
appearance the last knights of Malta flung open the gates of all
their fortresses, and consented to be extinguished without so much
as a remonstrance, or a kick, or a struggle.

We took a drive into what may be called the country; where the
fields are rocks, and the hedges are stones--passing by the stone
gardens of the Florian, and wondering at the number and
handsomeness of the stone villages and churches rising everywhere
among the stony hills.  Handsome villas were passed everywhere, and
we drove for a long distance along the sides of an aqueduct, quite
a Royal work of the Caravaggio in gold armour, the Grand Master De
Vignacourt.  A most agreeable contrast to the arid rocks of the
general scenery was the garden at the Governor's country-house;
with the orange-trees and water, its beautiful golden grapes,
luxuriant flowers, and thick cool shrubberies.  The eye longs for
this sort of refreshment, after being seared with the hot glare of
the general country; and St. Antonio was as pleasant after Malta as
Malta was after the sea.

We paid the island a subsequent visit in November, passing
seventeen days at an establishment called Fort Manuel there, and by
punsters the Manuel des Voyageurs; where Government accommodates
you with quarters; where the authorities are so attentive as to
scent your letters with aromatic vinegar before you receive them,
and so careful of your health as to lock you up in your room every
night lest you should walk in your sleep, and so over the
battlements into the sea--if you escaped drowning in the sea, the
sentries on the opposite shore would fire at you, hence the nature
of the precaution.  To drop, however, this satirical strain:  those
who know what quarantine is, may fancy that the place somehow
becomes unbearable in which it has been endured.  And though the
November climate of Malta is like the most delicious May in
England, and though there is every gaiety and amusement in the
town, a comfortable little opera, a good old library filled full of
good old books (none of your works of modern science, travel, and
history, but good old USELESS books of the last two centuries), and
nobody to trouble you in reading them, and though the society of
Valetta is most hospitable, varied, and agreeable, yet somehow one
did not feel SAFE in the island, with perpetual glimpses of Fort
Manuel from the opposite shore; and, lest the quarantine
authorities should have a fancy to fetch one back again, on a
pretext of posthumous plague, we made our way to Naples by the very
first opportunity--those who remained, that is, of the little
Eastern Expedition.  They were not all there.  The Giver of life
and death had removed two of our company:  one was left behind to
die in Egypt, with a mother to bewail his loss, another we buried
in the dismal lazaretto cemetery.

* * *

One is bound to look at this, too, as a part of our journey.
Disease and death are knocking perhaps at your next cabin door.
Your kind and cheery companion has ridden his last ride and emptied
his last glass beside you.  And while fond hearts are yearning for
him far away, and his own mind, if conscious, is turning eagerly
towards the spot of the world whither affection or interest calls
it--the Great Father summons the anxious spirit from earth to
himself, and ordains that the nearest and dearest shall meet here
no more.

Such an occurrence as a death in a lazaretto, mere selfishness
renders striking.  We were walking with him but two days ago on
deck.  One has a sketch of him, another his card, with the address
written yesterday, and given with an invitation to come and see him
at home in the country, where his children are looking for him.  He
is dead in a day, and buried in the walls of the prison.  A doctor
felt his pulse by deputy--a clergyman comes from the town to read
the last service over him--and the friends, who attend his funeral,
are marshalled by lazaretto-guardians, so as not to touch each
other.  Every man goes back to his room and applies the lesson to
himself.  One would not so depart without seeing again the dear
dear faces.  We reckon up those we love:  they are but very few,
but I think one loves them better than ever now.  Should it be your
turn next?--and why not?  Is it pity or comfort to think of that
affection which watches and survives you?

The Maker has linked together the whole race of man with this chain
of love.  I like to think that there is no man but has had kindly
feelings for some other, and he for his neighbour, until we bind
together the whole family of Adam.  Nor does it end here.  It joins
heaven and earth together.  For my friend or my child of past days
is still my friend or my child to me here, or in the home prepared
for us by the Father of all.  If identity survives the grave, as
our faith tells us, is it not a consolation to think that there may
be one or two souls among the purified and just, whose affection
watches us invisible, and follows the poor sinner on earth?



CHAPTER V:  ATHENS



Not feeling any enthusiasm myself about Athens, my bounden duty of
course is clear, to sneer and laugh heartily at all who have.  In
fact, what business has a lawyer, who was in Pump Court this day
three weeks, and whose common reading is law reports or the
newspaper, to pretend to fall in love for the long vacation with
mere poetry, of which I swear a great deal is very doubtful, and to
get up an enthusiasm quite foreign to his nature and usual calling
in life?  What call have ladies to consider Greece "romantic," they
who get their notions of mythology from the well-known pages of
"Tooke's Pantheon"?  What is the reason that blundering Yorkshire
squires, young dandies from Corfu regiments, jolly sailors from
ships in the harbour, and yellow old Indians returning from
Bundelcund, should think proper to be enthusiastic about a country
of which they know nothing; the mere physical beauty of which they
cannot, for the most part, comprehend; and because certain
characters lived in it two thousand four hundred years ago?  What
have these people in common with Pericles, what have these ladies
in common with Aspasia (O fie)?  Of the race of Englishmen who come
wandering about the tomb of Socrates, do you think the majority
would not have voted to hemlock him?  Yes:  for the very same
superstition which leads men by the nose now, drove them onward in
the days when the lowly husband of Xantippe died for daring to
think simply and to speak the truth.  I know of no quality more
magnificent in fools than their faith:  that perfect consciousness
they have, that they are doing virtuous and meritorious actions,
when they are performing acts of folly, murdering Socrates, or
pelting Aristides with holy oyster-shells--all for Virtue's sake;
and a "History of Dulness in all Ages of the World," is a book
which a philosopher would surely be hanged, but as certainly
blessed, for writing.

If papa and mamma (honour be to them!) had not followed the faith
of their fathers, and thought proper to send away their only
beloved son (afterwards to be celebrated under the name of
Titmarsh) into ten years' banishment of infernal misery, tyranny,
annoyance; to give over the fresh feelings of the heart of the
little Michael Angelo to the discipline of vulgar bullies, who, in
order to lead tender young children to the Temple of Learning (as
they do in the spelling-books), drive them on with clenched fists
and low abuse; if they fainted, revive them with a thump, or
assailed them with a curse; if they were miserable, consoled them
with a brutal jeer--if, I say, my dear parents, instead of giving
me the inestimable benefit of a ten years' classical education, had
kept me at home with my dear thirteen sisters, it is probable I
should have liked this country of Attica, in sight of the blue
shores of which the present pathetic letter is written; but I was
made so miserable in youth by a classical education, that all
connected with it is disagreeable in my eyes; and I have the same
recollection of Greek in youth that I have of castor-oil.

So in coming in sight of the promontory of Sunium, where the Greek
Muse, in an awful vision, came to me, and said in a patronising
way, "Why, my dear" (she always, the old spinster, adopts this high
and mighty tone)--"Why, my dear, are you not charmed to be in this
famous neighbourhood, in this land of poets and heroes, of whose
history your classical education ought to have made you a master?
if it did not, you have wofully neglected your opportunities, and
your dear parents have wasted their money in sending you to
school."  I replied, "Madam, your company in youth was made so
laboriously disagreeable to me, that I can't at present reconcile
myself to you in age.  I read your poets, but it was in fear and
trembling; and a cold sweat is but an ill accompaniment to poetry.
I blundered through your histories; but history is so dull (saving
your presence) of herself, that when the brutal dulness of a
schoolmaster is superadded to her own slow conversation, the union
becomes intolerable:  hence I have not the slightest pleasure in
renewing my acquaintance with a lady who has been the source of so
much bodily and mental discomfort to me."  To make a long story
short, I am anxious to apologise for a want of enthusiasm in the
classical line, and to excuse an ignorance which is of the most
undeniable sort.

This is an improper frame of mind for a person visiting the land of
AEschylus and Euripides; add to which, we have been abominably
overcharged at the inn:  and what are the blue hills of Attica, the
silver calm basin of Piraeus, the heathery heights of Pentelicus,
and yonder rocks crowned by the Doric columns of the Parthenon, and
the thin Ionic shafts of the Erechtheum, to a man who has had
little rest, and is bitten all over by bugs?  Was Alcibiades bitten
by bugs, I wonder; and did the brutes crawl over him as he lay in
the rosy arms of Phryne?  I wished all night for Socrates's hammock
or basket, as it is described in the "Clouds;" in which resting-
place, no doubt, the abominable animals kept perforce clear of him.

A French man-of-war, lying in the silvery little harbour, sternly
eyeing out of its stern portholes a saucy little English corvette
beside, began playing sounding marches as a crowd of boats came
paddling up to the steamer's side to convey us travellers to shore.
There were Russian schooners and Greek brigs lying in this little
bay; dumpy little windmills whirling round on the sunburnt heights
round about it; an improvised town of quays and marine taverns has
sprung up on the shore; a host of jingling barouches, more
miserable than any to be seen even in Germany, were collected at
the landing-place; and the Greek drivers (how queer they looked in
skull-caps, shabby jackets with profuse embroidery of worsted, and
endless petticoats of dirty calico!) began, in a generous ardour
for securing passengers, to abuse each other's horses and carriages
in the regular London fashion.  Satire could certainly hardly
caricature the vehicle in which we were made to journey to Athens;
and it was only by thinking that, bad as they were, these coaches
were much more comfortable contrivances than any Alcibiades or
Cimon ever had, that we consoled ourselves along the road.  It was
flat for six miles along the plain to the city:  and you see for
the greater part of the way the purple mount on which the Acropolis
rises, and the gleaming houses of the town spread beneath.  Round
this wide, yellow, barren plain,--a stunted district of olive-trees
is almost the only vegetation visible--there rises, as it were, a
sort of chorus of the most beautiful mountains; the most elegant,
gracious, and noble the eye ever looked on.  These hills did not
appear at all lofty or terrible, but superbly rich and
aristocratic.  The clouds were dancing round about them; you could
see their rosy purple shadows sweeping round the clear serene
summits of the hill.  To call a hill aristocratic seems affected or
absurd; but the difference between these hills and the others, is
the difference between Newgate Prison and the Travellers' Club, for
instance:  both are buildings; but the one stern, dark, and coarse;
the other rich, elegant, and festive.  At least, so I thought.
With such a stately palace as munificent Nature had built for these
people, what could they be themselves but lordly, beautiful,
brilliant, brave, and wise?  We saw four Greeks on donkeys on the
road (which is a dust-whirlwind where it is not a puddle); and
other four were playing with a dirty pack of cards, at a barrack
that English poets have christened the "Half-way House."  Does
external nature and beauty influence the soul to good?  You go
about Warwickshire, and fancy that from merely being born and
wandering in those sweet sunny plains and fresh woodlands
Shakspeare must have drunk in a portion of that frank artless sense
of beauty which lies about his works like a bloom or dew; but a
Coventry ribbon-maker, or a slang Leamington squire, are looking on
those very same landscapes too, and what do they profit?  You
theorise about the influence which the climate and appearance of
Attica must have had in ennobling those who were born there:
yonder dirty, swindling, ragged blackguards, lolling over greasy
cards three hours before noon, quarrelling and shrieking, armed to
the teeth and afraid to fight, are bred out of the same land which
begot the philosophers and heroes.  But the "Half-way House" is
passed by this time, and behold! we are in the capital of King
Otho.

I swear solemnly that I would rather have two hundred a year in
Fleet Street, than be King of the Greeks, with Basileus written
before my name round their beggarly coin; with the bother of
perpetual revolutions in my huge plaster-of-Paris palace, with no
amusement but a drive in the afternoon over a wretched arid
country, where roads are not made, with ambassadors (the deuce
knows why, for what good can the English, or the French, or the
Russian party get out of such a bankrupt alliance as this?)
perpetually pulling and tugging at me, away from honest Germany,
where there is beer and aesthetic conversation, and operas at a
small cost.  The shabbiness of this place actually beats Ireland,
and that is a strong word.  The palace of the Basileus is an
enormous edifice of plaster, in a square containing six houses,
three donkeys, no roads, no fountains (except in the picture of the
inn); backwards it seems to look straight to the mountain--on one
side is a beggarly garden--the King goes out to drive (revolutions
permitting) at five--some four-and-twenty blackguards saunter up to
the huge sandhill of a terrace, as His Majesty passes by in a gilt
barouche and an absurd fancy dress; the gilt barouche goes plunging
down the sandhills; the two dozen soldiers, who have been
presenting arms, slouch off to their quarters; the vast barrack of
a palace remains entirely white, ghastly, and lonely; and, save the
braying of a donkey now and then (which long-eared minstrels are
more active and sonorous in Athens than in any place I know), all
is entirely silent round Basileus's palace.  How could people who
knew Leopold fancy he would be so "jolly green" as to take such a
berth?  It was only a gobemouche of a Bavarian that could ever have
been induced to accept it.

I beseech you to believe that it was not the bill and the bugs at
the inn which induced the writer hereof to speak so slightingly of
the residence of Basileus.  These evils are now cured and
forgotten.  This is written off the leaden flats and mounds which
they call the Troad.  It is stern justice alone which pronounces
this excruciating sentence.  It was a farce to make this place into
a kingly capital; and I make no manner of doubt that King Otho, the
very day he can get away unperceived, and get together the passage-
money, will be off for dear old Deutschland, Fatherland, Beerland!

I have never seen a town in England which may be compared to this;
for though Herne Bay is a ruin now, money was once spent upon it
and houses built; here, beyond a few score of mansions comfortably
laid out, the town is little better than a rickety agglomeration of
larger and smaller huts, tricked out here and there with the most
absurd cracked ornaments and cheap attempts at elegance.  But
neatness is the elegance of poverty, and these people despise such
a homely ornament.  I have got a map with squares, fountains,
theatres, public gardens, and Places d'Othon marked out; but they
only exist in the paper capital--the wretched tumble-down wooden
one boasts of none.

One is obliged to come back to the old disagreeable comparison of
Ireland.  Athens may be about as wealthy a place as Carlow or
Killarney--the streets swarm with idle crowds, the innumerable
little lanes flow over with dirty little children, they are playing
and puddling about in the dirt everywhere, with great big eyes,
yellow faces, and the queerest little gowns and skull-caps.  But in
the outer man, the Greek has far the advantage of the Irishman:
most of them are well and decently dressed (if five-and-twenty
yards of petticoat may not be called decent, what may?), they
swagger to and fro with huge knives in their girdles.  Almost all
the men are handsome, but live hard, it is said, in order to
decorate their backs with those fine clothes of theirs.  I have
seen but two or three handsome women, and these had the great
drawback which is common to the race--I mean, a sallow, greasy,
coarse complexion, at which it was not advisable to look too
closely.

And on this score I think we English may pride ourselves on
possessing an advantage (by WE, I mean the lovely ladies to whom
this is addressed with the most respectful compliments) over the
most classical country in the world.  I don't care for beauty which
will only bear to be looked at from a distance, like a scene in a
theatre.  What is the most beautiful nose in the world, if it be
covered with a skin of the texture and colour of coarse whitey-
brown paper; and if Nature has made it as slippery and shining as
though it had been anointed with pomatum?  They may talk about
beauty, but would you wear a flower that had been dipped in a
grease-pot?  No; give me a fresh, dewy, healthy rose out of
Somersetshire; not one of those superb, tawdry, unwholesome
exotics, which are only good to make poems about.  Lord Byron wrote
more cant of this sort than any poet I know of.  Think of "the
peasant girls with dark blue eyes" of the Rhine--the brown-faced,
flat-nosed, thick-lipped, dirty wenches!  Think of "filling high a
cup of Samian wine;" small beer is nectar compared to it, and Byron
himself always drank gin.  That man never wrote from his heart.  He
got up rapture and enthusiasm with an eye to the public; but this
is dangerous ground, even more dangerous than to look Athens full
in the face, and say that your eyes are not dazzled by its beauty.
The Great Public admires Greece and Byron:  the public knows best.
Murray's "Guide-book" calls the latter "our native bard."  Our
native bard!  Mon Dieu!  HE Shakspeare's, Milton's, Keats's,
Scott's native bard!  Well, woe be to the man who denies the public
gods!

The truth is, then, that Athens is a disappointment; and I am angry
that it should be so.  To a skilled antiquarian, or an enthusiastic
Greek scholar, the feelings created by a sight of the place of
course will be different; but you who would be inspired by it must
undergo a long preparation of reading, and possess, too, a
particular feeling; both of which, I suspect, are uncommon in our
busy commercial newspaper-reading country.  Men only say they are
enthusiastic about the Greek and Roman authors and history, because
it is considered proper and respectable.  And we know how gentlemen
in Baker Street have editions of the classics handsomely bound in
the library, and how they use them.  Of course they don't retire to
read the newspaper; it is to look over a favourite ode of Pindar,
or to discuss an obscure passage in Athenaeus!  Of course country
magistrates and Members of Parliament are always studying
Demosthenes and Cicero; we know it from their continual habit of
quoting the Latin grammar in Parliament.  But it is agreed that the
classics are respectable; therefore we are to be enthusiastic about
them.  Also let us admit that Byron is to be held up as "our native
bard."

I am not so entire a heathen as to be insensible to the beauty of
those relics of Greek art, of which men much more learned and
enthusiastic have written such piles of descriptions.  I thought I
could recognise the towering beauty of the prodigious columns of
the Temple of Jupiter; and admire the astonishing grace, severity,
elegance, completeness of the Parthenon.  The little Temple of
Victory, with its fluted Corinthian shafts, blazed under the sun
almost as fresh as it must have appeared to the eyes of its
founders; I saw nothing more charming and brilliant, more graceful,
festive, and aristocratic than this sumptuous little building.  The
Roman remains which lie in the town below look like the works of
barbarians beside these perfect structures.  They jar strangely on
the eye, after it has been accustoming itself to perfect harmony
and proportions.  If, as the schoolmaster tells us, the Greek
writing is as complete as the Greek art; if an ode of Pindar is as
glittering and pure as the Temple of Victory; or a discourse of
Plato as polished and calm as yonder mystical portico of the
Erechtheum:  what treasures of the senses and delights of the
imagination have those lost to whom the Greek books are as good as
sealed!

And yet one meets with very dull first-class men.  Genius won't
transplant from one brain to another, or is ruined in the carriage,
like fine Burgundy.  Sir Robert Peel and Sir John Hobhouse are both
good scholars; but their poetry in Parliament does not strike one
as fine.  Muzzle, the schoolmaster, who is bullying poor trembling
little boys, was a fine scholar when he was a sizar, and a ruffian
then and ever since.  Where is the great poet, since the days of
Milton, who has improved the natural offshoots of his brain by
grafting it from the Athenian tree?

I had a volume of Tennyson in my pocket, which somehow settled that
question, and ended the querulous dispute between me and
Conscience, under the shape of the neglected and irritated Greek
muse, which had been going on ever since I had commenced my walk
about Athens.  The old spinster saw me wince at the idea of the
author of Dora and Ulysses, and tried to follow up her advantage by
farther hints of time lost, and precious opportunities thrown away.
"You might have written poems like them," said she; "or, no, not
like them perhaps, but you might have done a neat prize poem, and
pleased your papa and mamma.  You might have translated Jack and
Jill into Greek iambics, and been a credit to your college."  I
turned testily away from her.  "Madam," says I, "because an eagle
houses on a mountain, or soars to the sun, don't you be angry with
a sparrow that perches on a garret window, or twitters on a twig.
Leave me to myself:  look, my beak is not aquiline by any means."

And so, my dear friend, you who have been reading this last page in
wonder, and who, instead of a description of Athens, have been
accommodated with a lament on the part of the writer, that he was
idle at school, and does not know Greek, excuse this momentary
outbreak of egotistic despondency.  To say truth, dear Jones, when
one walks among the nests of the eagles, and sees the prodigious
eggs they laid, a certain feeling of discomfiture must come over us
smaller birds.  You and I could not invent--it even stretches our
minds painfully to try and comprehend part of the beauty of the
Parthenon--ever so little of it,--the beauty of a single column,--a
fragment of a broken shaft lying under the astonishing blue sky
there, in the midst of that unrivalled landscape.  There may be
grander aspects of nature, but none more deliciously beautiful.
The hills rise in perfect harmony, and fall in the most exquisite
cadences--the sea seems brighter, the islands more purple, the
clouds more light and rosy than elsewhere.  As you look up through
the open roof, you are almost oppressed by the serene depth of the
blue overhead.  Look even at the fragments of the marble, how soft
and pure it is, glittering and white like fresh snow!  "I was all
beautiful," it seems to say:  "even the hidden parts of me were
spotless, precious, and fair"--and so, musing over this wonderful
scene, perhaps I get some feeble glimpse or idea of that ancient
Greek spirit which peopled it with sublime races of heroes and
gods; {1} and which I never could get out of a Greek book,--no, not
though Muzzle flung it at my head.



CHAPTER VI:  SMYRNA--FIRST GLIMPSES OF THE EAST



I am glad that the Turkish part of Athens was extinct, so that I
should not be baulked of the pleasure of entering an Eastern town
by an introduction to any garbled or incomplete specimen of one.
Smyrna seems to me the most Eastern of all I have seen; as Calais
will probably remain to the Englishman the most French town in the
world.  The jack-boots of the postilions don't seem so huge
elsewhere, or the tight stockings of the maid-servants so Gallic.
The churches and the ramparts, and the little soldiers on them,
remain for ever impressed upon your memory; from which larger
temples and buildings, and whole armies have subsequently
disappeared:  and the first words of actual French heard spoken,
and the first dinner at "Quillacq's," remain after twenty years as
clear as on the first day.  Dear Jones, can't you remember the
exact smack of the white hermitage, and the toothless old fellow
singing "Largo al factotum"?

The first day in the East is like that.  After that there is
nothing.  The wonder is gone, and the thrill of that delightful
shock, which so seldom touches the nerves of plain men of the
world, though they seek for it everywhere.  One such looked out at
Smyrna from our steamer, and yawned without the least excitement,
and did not betray the slightest emotion, as boats with real Turks
on board came up to the ship.  There lay the town with minarets and
cypresses, domes and castles; great guns were firing off, and the
blood-red flag of the Sultan flaring over the fort ever since
sunrise; woods and mountains came down to the gulf's edge, and as
you looked at them with the telescope, there peeped out of the
general mass a score of pleasant episodes of Eastern life--there
were cottages with quaint roofs; silent cool kiosks, where the
chief of the eunuchs brings down the ladies of the harem.  I saw
Hassan, the fisherman, getting his nets; and Ali Baba going off
with his donkey to the great forest for wood.  Smith looked at
these wonders quite unmoved; and I was surprised at his apathy; but
he had been at Smyrna before.  A man only sees the miracle once;
though you yearn over it ever so, it won't come again.  I saw
nothing of Ali Baba and Hassan the next time we came to Smyrna, and
had some doubts (recollecting the badness of the inn) about landing
at all.  A person who wishes to understand France or the East
should come in a yacht to Calais or Smyrna, land for two hours, and
never afterwards go back again.

But those two hours are beyond measure delightful.  Some of us were
querulous up to that time, and doubted of the wisdom of making the
voyage.  Lisbon, we owned, was a failure; Athens a dead failure;
Malta very well, but not worth the trouble and sea-sickness:  in
fact, Baden-Baden or Devonshire would be a better move than this;
when Smyrna came, and rebuked all mutinous Cockneys into silence.
Some men may read this who are in want of a sensation.  If they
love the odd and picturesque, if they loved the "Arabian Nights" in
their youth, let them book themselves on board one of the
Peninsular and Oriental vessels, and try one DIP into
Constantinople or Smyrna.  Walk into the bazaar, and the East is
unveiled to you:  how often and often have you tried to fancy this,
lying out on a summer holiday at school!  It is wonderful, too, how
LIKE it is:  you may imagine that you have been in the place
before, you seem to know it so well!

The beauty of that poetry is, to me, that it was never too
handsome; there is no fatigue of sublimity about it.  Shacabac and
the little Barber play as great a part in it as the heroes; there
are no uncomfortable sensations of terror; you may be familiar with
the great Afreet, who was going to execute the travellers for
killing his son with a date-stone.  Morgiana, when she kills the
forty robbers with boiling oil, does not seem to hurt them in the
least; and though King Schahriar makes a practice of cutting off
his wives' heads, yet you fancy they have got them on again in some
of the back rooms of the palace, where they are dancing and playing
on dulcimers.  How fresh, easy, good-natured, is all this!  How
delightful is that notion of the pleasant Eastern people about
knowledge, where the height of science is made to consist in the
answering of riddles! and all the mathematicians and magicians
bring their great beards to bear on a conundrum!

When I got into the bazaar among this race, somehow I felt as if
they were all friends.  There sat the merchants in their little
shops, quiet and solemn, but with friendly looks.  There was no
smoking, it was the Ramazan; no eating, the fish and meat fizzing
in the enormous pots of the cook-shops are only for the Christians.
The children abounded; the law is not so stringent upon them, and
many wandering merchants were there selling figs (in the name of
the Prophet, doubtless) for their benefit, and elbowing onwards
with baskets of grapes and cucumbers.  Countrymen passed bristling
over with arms, each with a huge bellyful of pistols and daggers in
his girdle; fierce, but not the least dangerous.  Wild swarthy
Arabs, who had come in with the caravans, walked solemnly about,
very different in look and demeanour from the sleek inhabitants of
the town.  Greeks and Jews squatted and smoked, their shops tended
by sallow-faced boys, with large eyes, who smiled and welcomed you
in; negroes bustled about in gaudy colours; and women, with black
nose-bags and shuffling yellow slippers, chattered and bargained at
the doors of the little shops.  There was the rope quarter and the
sweetmeat quarter, and the pipe bazaar and the arm bazaar, and the
little turned-up shoe quarter, and the shops where ready-made
jackets and pelisses were swinging, and the region where, under the
ragged awning, regiments of tailors were at work.  The sun peeps
through these awnings of mat or canvas, which are hung over the
narrow lanes of the bazaar, and ornaments them with a thousand
freaks of light and shadow.  Cogia Hassan Alhabbal's shop is in a
blaze of light; while his neighbour, the barber and coffee-house
keeper, has his premises, his low seats and narghiles, his queer
pots and basins, in the shade.  The cobblers are always good-
natured; there was one who, I am sure, has been revealed to me in
my dreams, in a dirty old green turban, with a pleasant wrinkled
face like an apple, twinkling his little grey eyes as he held them
up to talk to the gossips, and smiling under a delightful old grey
beard, which did the heart good to see.  You divine the
conversation between him and the cucumber-man, as the Sultan used
to understand the language of birds.  Are any of those cucumbers
stuffed with pearls, and is that Armenian with the black square
turban Haroun Alraschid in disguise, standing yonder by the
fountain where the children are drinking--the gleaming marble
fountain, chequered all over with light and shadow, and engraved
with delicate arabesques and sentences from the Koran?

But the greatest sensation of all is when the camels come.  Whole
strings of real camels, better even than in the procession of Blue
Beard, with soft rolling eyes and bended necks, swaying from one
side of the bazaar to the other to and fro, and treading gingerly
with their great feet.  O you fairy dreams of boyhood!  O you sweet
meditations of half-holidays, here you are realised for half-an-
hour!  The genius which presides over youth led us to do a good
action that day.  There was a man sitting in an open room,
ornamented with fine long-tailed sentences of the Koran:  some in
red, some in blue; some written diagonally over the paper; some so
shaped as to represent ships, dragons, or mysterious animals.  The
man squatted on a carpet in the middle of this room, with folded
arms, waggling his head to and fro, swaying about, and singing
through his nose choice phrases from the sacred work.  But from the
room above came a clear noise of many little shouting voices, much
more musical than that of Naso in the matted parlour, and the guide
told us it was a school, so we went upstairs to look.

I declare, on my conscience, the master was in the act of
bastinadoing a little mulatto boy; his feet were in a bar, and the
brute was laying on with a cane; so we witnessed the howling of the
poor boy, and the confusion of the brute who was administering the
correction.  The other children were made to shout, I believe, to
drown the noise of their little comrade's howling; but the
punishment was instantly discontinued as our hats came up over the
stair-trap, and the boy cast loose, and the bamboo huddled into a
corner, and the schoolmaster stood before us abashed.  All the
small scholars in red caps, and the little girls in gaudy
handkerchiefs, turned their big wondering dark eyes towards us; and
the caning was over for THAT time, let us trust.  I don't envy some
schoolmasters in a future state.  I pity that poor little
blubbering Mahometan:  he will never be able to relish the "Arabian
Nights" in the original, all his life long.

From this scene we rushed off somewhat discomposed to make a
breakfast off red mullets and grapes, melons, pomegranates, and
Smyrna wine, at a dirty little comfortable inn, to which we were
recommended:  and from the windows of which we had a fine cheerful
view of the gulf and its busy craft, and the loungers and merchants
along the shore.  There were camels unloading at one wharf, and
piles of melons much bigger than the Gibraltar cannon-balls at
another.  It was the fig-season, and we passed through several
alleys encumbered with long rows of fig-dressers, children and
women for the most part, who were packing the fruit diligently into
drums, dipping them in salt-water first, and spreading them neatly
over with leaves; while the figs and leaves are drying, large white
worms crawl out of them, and swarm over the decks of the ships
which carry them to Europe and to England, where small children eat
them with pleasure--I mean the figs, not the worms--and where they
are still served at wine-parties at the Universities.  When fresh
they are not better than elsewhere; but the melons are of admirable
flavour, and so large, that Cinderella might almost be accommodated
with a coach made of a big one, without any very great distension
of its original proportions.

Our guide, an accomplished swindler, demanded two dollars as the
fee for entering the mosque, which others of our party subsequently
saw for sixpence, so we did not care to examine that place of
worship.  But there were other cheaper sights, which were to the
full as picturesque, for which there was no call to pay money, or,
indeed, for a day, scarcely to move at all.  I doubt whether a man
who would smoke his pipe on a bazaar counter all day, and let the
city flow by him, would not be almost as well employed as the most
active curiosity-hunter.

To be sure he would not see the women.  Those in the bazaar were
shabby people for the most part, whose black masks nobody would
feel a curiosity to remove.  You could see no more of their figures
than if they had been stuffed in bolsters; and even their feet were
brought to a general splay uniformity by the double yellow slippers
which the wives of true believers wear.  But it is in the Greek and
Armenian quarters, and among those poor Christians who were pulling
figs, that you see the beauties; and a man of a generous
disposition may lose his heart half-a-dozen times a day in Smyrna.
There was the pretty maid at work at a tambour-frame in an open
porch, with an old duenna spinning by her side, and a goat tied up
to the railings of the little court-garden; there was the nymph who
came down the stair with the pitcher on her head, and gazed with
great calm eyes, as large and stately as Juno's; there was the
gentle mother, bending over a queer cradle, in which lay a small
crying bundle of infancy.  All these three charmers were seen in a
single street in the Armenian quarter, where the house-doors are
all open, and the women of the families sit under the arches in the
court.  There was the fig-girl, beautiful beyond all others, with
an immense coil of deep black hair twisted round a head of which
Raphael was worthy to draw the outline and Titian to paint the
colour.  I wonder the Sultan has not swept her off, or that the
Persian merchants, who come with silks and sweetmeats, have not
kidnapped her for the Shah of Tehran.

We went to see the Persian merchants at their khan, and purchased
some silks there from a swarthy black-bearded man, with a conical
cap of lambswool.  Is it not hard to think that silks bought of a
man in a lambswool cap, in a caravanserai, brought hither on the
backs of camels, should have been manufactured after all at Lyons?
Others of our party bought carpets, for which the town is famous;
and there was one who absolutely laid in a stock of real Smyrna
figs; and purchased three or four real Smyrna sponges for his
carriage; so strong was his passion for the genuine article.

I wonder that no painter has given us familiar views of the East:
not processions, grand sultans, or magnificent landscapes; but
faithful transcripts of everyday Oriental life, such as each street
will supply to him.  The camels afford endless motives, couched in
the market-places, lying by thousands in the camel-square, snorting
and bubbling after their manner, the sun blazing down on their
backs, their slaves and keepers lying behind them in the shade:
and the Caravan Bridge, above all, would afford a painter subjects
for a dozen of pictures.  Over this Roman arch, which crosses the
Meles river, all the caravans pass on their entrance to the town.
On one side, as we sat and looked at it, was a great row of plane-
trees; on the opposite bank, a deep wood of tall cypresses--in the
midst of which rose up innumerable grey tombs, surmounted with the
turbans of the defunct believers.  Beside the stream, the view was
less gloomy.  There was under the plane-trees a little coffee-
house, shaded by a trellis-work, covered over with a vine, and
ornamented with many rows of shining pots and water-pipes, for
which there was no use at noon-day now, in the time of Ramazan.
Hard by the coffee-house was a garden and a bubbling marble
fountain, and over the stream was a broken summer-house, to which
amateurs may ascend for the purpose of examining the river; and all
round the plane-trees plenty of stools for those who were inclined
to sit and drink sweet thick coffee, or cool lemonade made of fresh
green citrons.  The master of the house, dressed in a white turban
and light blue pelisse, lolled under the coffee-house awning; the
slave in white with a crimson striped jacket, his face as black as
ebony, brought us pipes and lemonade again, and returned to his
station at the coffee-house, where he curled his black legs
together, and began singing out of his flat nose to the thrumming
of a long guitar with wire strings.  The instrument was not bigger
than a soup-ladle, with a long straight handle, but its music
pleased the performer; for his eyes rolled shining about, and his
head wagged, and he grinned with an innocent intensity of enjoyment
that did one good to look at.  And there was a friend to share his
pleasure:  a Turk dressed in scarlet, and covered all over with
daggers and pistols, sat leaning forward on his little stool,
rocking about, and grinning quite as eagerly as the black minstrel.
As he sang and we listened, figures of women bearing pitchers went
passing over the Roman bridge, which we saw between the large
trunks of the planes; or grey forms of camels were seen stalking
across it, the string preceded by the little donkey, who is always
here their long-eared conductor.

These are very humble incidents of travel.  Wherever the steamboat
touches the shore adventure retreats into the interior, and what is
called romance vanishes.  It won't bear the vulgar gaze; or rather
the light of common day puts it out, and it is only in the dark
that it shines at all.  There is no cursing and insulting of
Giaours now.  If a Cockney looks or behaves in a particularly
ridiculous way, the little Turks come out and laugh at him.  A
Londoner is no longer a spittoon for true believers:  and now that
dark Hassan sits in his divan and drinks champagne, and Selim has a
French watch, and Zuleika perhaps takes Morison's pills, Byronism
becomes absurd instead of sublime, and is only a foolish expression
of Cockney wonder.  They still occasionally beat a man for going
into a mosque, but this is almost the only sign of ferocious
vitality left in the Turk of the Mediterranean coast, and strangers
may enter scores of mosques without molestation.  The paddle-wheel
is the great conqueror.  Wherever the captain cries "Stop her!"
Civilisation stops, and lands in the ship's boat, and makes a
permanent acquaintance with the savages on shore.  Whole hosts of
crusaders have passed and died, and butchered here in vain.  But to
manufacture European iron into pikes and helmets was a waste of
metal:  in the shape of piston-rods and furnace-pokers it is
irresistible; and I think an allegory might be made showing how
much stronger commerce is than chivalry, and finishing with a grand
image of Mahomet's crescent being extinguished in Fulton's boiler.

This I thought was the moral of the day's sights and adventures.
We pulled off to the steamer in the afternoon--the Inbat blowing
fresh, and setting all the craft in the gulf dancing over its blue
waters.  We were presently under way again, the captain ordering
his engines to work only at half power, so that a French steamer
which was quitting Smyrna at the same time might come up with us,
and fancy she could beat their irresistible, "Tagus."  Vain hope!
Just as the Frenchman neared us, the "Tagus" shot out like an
arrow, and the discomfited Frenchman went behind.  Though we all
relished the joke exceedingly, there was a French gentleman on
board who did not seem to be by any means tickled with it; but he
had received papers at Smyrna, containing news of Marshal Bugeaud's
victory at Isly, and had this land victory to set against our
harmless little triumph at sea.

That night we rounded the island of Mitylene:  and the next day the
coast of Troy was in sight, and the tomb of Achilles--a dismal-
looking mound that rises in a low dreary barren shore--less lively
and not more picturesque than the Scheldt or the mouth of the
Thames.  Then we passed Tenedos and the forts and town at the mouth
of the Dardanelles.  The weather was not too hot, the water as
smooth as at Putney, and everybody happy and excited at the thought
of seeing Constantinople to-morrow.  We had music on board all the
way from Smyrna.  A German commis-voyageur, with a guitar, who had
passed unnoticed until that time, produced his instrument about
mid-day, and began to whistle waltzes.  He whistled so divinely
that the ladies left their cabins, and men laid down their books.
He whistled a polka so bewitchingly that two young Oxford men began
whirling round the deck, and performed that popular dance with much
agility until they sank down tired.  He still continued an unabated
whistling, and as nobody would dance, pulled off his coat, produced
a pair of castanets, and whistling a mazurka, performed it with
tremendous agility.  His whistling made everybody gay and happy--
made those acquainted who had not spoken before, and inspired such
a feeling of hilarity in the ship, that that night, as we floated
over the Sea of Marmora, a general vote was expressed for broiled
bones and a regular supper-party.  Punch was brewed, and speeches
were made, and, after a lapse of fifteen years, I heard the "Old
English Gentleman" and "Bright Chanticleer Proclaims the Morn,"
sung in such style that you would almost fancy the proctors must
hear, and send us all home.



CHAPTER VII:  CONSTANTINOPLE



When we arose at sunrise to see the famous entry to Constantinople,
we found, in the place of the city and the sun, a bright white fog,
which hid both from sight, and which only disappeared as the vessel
advanced towards the Golden Horn.  There the fog cleared off as it
were by flakes, and as you see gauze curtains lifted away, one by
one, before a great fairy scene at the theatre.  This will give
idea enough of the fog; the difficulty is to describe the scene
afterwards, which was in truth the great fairy scene, than which it
is impossible to conceive anything more brilliant and magnificent.
I can't go to any more romantic place than Drury Lane to draw my
similes from--Drury Lane, such as we used to see it in our youth,
when to our sight the grand last pictures of the melodrama or
pantomime were as magnificent as any objects of nature we have seen
with maturer eyes.  Well, the view of Constantinople is as fine as
any of Stanfield's best theatrical pictures, seen at the best
period of youth, when fancy had all the bloom on her--when all the
heroines who danced before the scene appeared as ravishing
beauties, when there shone an unearthly splendour about Baker and
Diddear--and the sound of the bugles and fiddles, and the cheerful
clang of the cymbals, as the scene unrolled, and the gorgeous
procession meandered triumphantly through it--caused a thrill of
pleasure, and awakened an innocent fulness of sensual enjoyment
that is only given to boys.

The above sentence contains the following propositions:- The
enjoyments of boyish fancy are the most intense and delicious in
the world.  Stanfield's panorama used to be the realisation of the
most intense youthful fancy.  I puzzle my brains and find no better
likeness for the place.  The view of Constantinople resembles the
ne plus ultra of a Stanfield diorama, with a glorious accompaniment
of music, spangled houris, warriors, and winding processions,
feasting the eyes and the soul with light, splendour, and harmony.
If you were never in this way during your youth ravished at the
play-house, of course the whole comparison is useless:  and you
have no idea, from this description, of the effect which
Constantinople produces on the mind.  But if you were never
affected by a theatre, no words can work upon your fancy, and
typographical attempts to move it are of no use.  For, suppose we
combine mosque, minaret, gold, cypress, water, blue, caiques,
seventy-four, Galata, Tophana, Ramazan, Backallum, and so forth,
together, in ever so many ways, your imagination will never be able
to depict a city out of them.  Or, suppose I say the Mosque of St.
Sophia is four hundred and seventy-three feet in height, measuring
from the middle nail of the gilt crescent surmounting the dome to
the ring in the centre stone; the circle of the dome is one hundred
and twenty-three feet in diameter, the windows ninety-seven in
number--and all this may be true, for anything I know to the
contrary:  yet who is to get an idea of St. Sophia from dates,
proper names, and calculations with a measuring-line?  It can't be
done by giving the age and measurement of all the buildings along
the river, the names of all the boatmen who ply on it.  Has your
fancy, which pooh-poohs a simile, faith enough to build a city with
a foot-rule?  Enough said about descriptions and similes (though
whenever I am uncertain of one I am naturally most anxious to fight
for it):  it is a scene not perhaps sublime, but charming,
magnificent, and cheerful beyond any I have ever seen--the most
superb combination of city and gardens, domes and shipping, hills
and water, with the healthiest breeze blowing over it, and above it
the brightest and most cheerful sky.

It is proper, they say, to be disappointed on entering the town, or
any of the various quarters of it, because the houses are not so
magnificent on inspection and seen singly as they are when beheld
en masse from the waters.  But why form expectations so lofty?  If
you see a group of peasants picturesquely disposed at a fair, you
don't suppose that they are all faultless beauties, or that the
men's coats have no rags, and the women's gowns are made of silk
and velvet:  the wild ugliness of the interior of Constantinople or
Pera has a charm of its own, greatly more amusing than rows of red
bricks or drab stones, however symmetrical.  With brick or stone
they could never form those fantastic ornaments, railings,
balconies, roofs, galleries, which jut in and out of the rugged
houses of the city.  As we went from Galata to Pera up a steep
hill, which newcomers ascend with some difficulty, but which a
porter, with a couple of hundredweight on his back, paces up
without turning a hair, I thought the wooden houses far from being
disagreeable objects, sights quite as surprising and striking as
the grand one we had just left.

I do not know how the custom-house of His Highness is made to be a
profitable speculation.  As I left the ship, a man pulled after my
boat, and asked for backsheesh, which was given him to the amount
of about twopence.  He was a custom-house officer, but I doubt
whether this sum which he levied ever went to the revenue.

I can fancy the scene about the quays somewhat to resemble the
river of London in olden times, before coal-smoke had darkened the
whole city with soot, and when, according to the old writers, there
really was bright weather.  The fleets of caiques bustling along
the shore, or scudding over the blue water, are beautiful to look
at:  in Hollar's print London river is so studded over with wherry-
boats, which bridges and steamers have since destroyed.  Here the
caique is still in full perfection:  there are thirty thousand
boats of the kind plying between the cities; every boat is neat,
and trimly carved and painted; and I scarcely saw a man pulling in
one of them that was not a fine specimen of his race, brawny and
brown, with an open chest and a handsome face.  They wear a thin
shirt of exceedingly light cotton, which leaves their fine brown
limbs full play; and with a purple sea for a background, every one
of these dashing boats forms a brilliant and glittering picture.
Passengers squat in the inside of the boat; so that as it passes
you see little more than the heads of the true believers, with
their red fez and blue tassel, and that placid gravity of
expression which the sucking of a tobacco-pipe is sure to give to a
man.

The Bosphorus is enlivened by a multiplicity of other kinds of
craft.  There are the dirty men-of-war's boats of the Russians,
with unwashed mangy crews; the great ferry-boats carrying hundreds
of passengers to the villages; the melon-boats piled up with
enormous golden fruit; His Excellency the Pasha's boat, with twelve
men bending to their oars; and His Highness's own caique, with a
head like a serpent, and eight-and-twenty tugging oarsmen, that
goes shooting by amidst the thundering of the cannon.  Ships and
steamers, with black sides and flaunting colours, are moored
everywhere, showing their flags, Russian and English, Austrian,
American, and Greek; and along the quays country ships from the
Black Sea or the islands, with high carved poops and bows, such as
you see in the pictures of the shipping of the seventeenth century.
The vast groves and towers, domes and quays, tall minarets and
spired spreading mosques of the three cities, rise all around in
endless magnificence and variety, and render this water-street a
scene of such delightful liveliness and beauty, that one never
tires of looking at it.  I lost a great number of the sights in and
round Constantinople through the beauty of this admirable scene:
but what are sights after all? and isn't that the best sight which
makes you most happy?

We were lodged at Pera at Misseri's Hotel, the host of which has
been made famous ere this time by the excellent book "Eothen,"--a
work for which all the passengers on board our ship had been
battling, and which had charmed all--from our great statesman, our
polished lawyer, our young Oxonian, who sighed over certain
passages that he feared were wicked, down to the writer of this,
who, after perusing it with delight, laid it down with wonder,
exclaiming, "Aut Diabolus aut"--a book which has since (greatest
miracle of all) excited a feeling of warmth and admiration in the
bosom of the god-like, impartial, stony Athenaeum.  Misseri, the
faithful and chivalrous Tartar, is transformed into the most quiet
and gentlemanlike of landlords, a great deal more gentlemanlike in
manner and appearance than most of us who sat at his table, and
smoked cool pipes on his house-top, as we looked over the hill and
the Russian palace to the water, and the Seraglio gardens shining
in the blue.  We confronted Misseri, "Eothen" in hand, and found,
on examining him, that it WAS "aut Diabolus aut amicus"--but the
name is a secret; I will never breathe it, though I am dying to
tell it.

The last good description of a Turkish bath, I think, was Lady Mary
Wortley Montagu's--which voluptuous picture must have been painted
at least a hundred and thirty years ago; so that another sketch may
be attempted by a humbler artist in a different manner.  The
Turkish bath is certainly a novel sensation to an Englishman, and
may be set down as a most queer and surprising event of his life.
I made the valet-de-place or dragoman (it is rather a fine thing to
have a dragoman in one's service) conduct me forthwith to the best
appointed hummums in the neighbourhood; and we walked to a house at
Tophana, and into a spacious hall lighted from above, which is the
cooling-room of the bath.

The spacious hall has a large fountain in the midst, a painted
gallery running round it; and many ropes stretched from one gallery
to another, ornamented with profuse draperies of towels and blue
cloths, for the use of the frequenters of the place.  All round the
room and the galleries were matted inclosures, fitted with numerous
neat beds and cushions for reposing on, where lay a dozen of true
believers smoking, or sleeping, or in the happy half-dozing state.
I was led up to one of these beds, to rather a retired corner, in
consideration of my modesty; and to the next bed presently came a
dancing dervish, who forthwith began to prepare for the bath.

When the dancing dervish had taken off his yellow sugar-loaf cap,
his gown, shawl, &c., he was arrayed in two large blue cloths; a
white one being thrown over his shoulders, and another in the shape
of a turban plaited neatly round his head; the garments of which he
divested himself were folded up in another linen, and neatly put
by.  I beg leave to state I was treated in precisely the same
manner as the dancing dervish.

The reverend gentleman then put on a pair of wooden pattens, which
elevated him about six inches from the ground; and walked down the
stairs, and paddled across the moist marble floor of the hall, and
in at a little door, by the which also Titmarsh entered.  But I had
none of the professional agility of the dancing dervish; I
staggered about very ludicrously upon the high wooden pattens; and
should have been down on my nose several times, had not the
dragoman and the master of the bath supported me down the stairs
and across the hall.  Dressed in three large cotton napkins, with a
white turban round my head, I thought of Pall Mall with a sort of
despair.  I passed the little door, it was closed behind me--I was
in the dark--I couldn't speak the language--in a white turban.  Mon
Dieu! what was going to happen?

The dark room was the tepidarium, a moist oozing arched den, with a
light faintly streaming from an orifice in the domed ceiling.
Yells of frantic laughter and song came booming and clanging
through the echoing arches, the doors clapped to with loud
reverberations.  It was the laughter of the followers of Mahound,
rollicking and taking their pleasure in the public bath.  I could
not go into that place:  I swore I would not; they promised me a
private room, and the dragoman left me.  My agony at parting from
that Christian cannot be described.

When you get into the sudarium, or hot room, your first sensations
only occur about half a minute after entrance, when you feel that
you are choking.  I found myself in that state, seated on a marble
slab; the bath man was gone; he had taken away the cotton turban
and shoulder shawl:  I saw I was in a narrow room of marble, with a
vaulted roof, and a fountain of warm and cold water; the atmosphere
was in a steam, the choking sensation went off, and I felt a sort
of pleasure presently in a soft boiling simmer, which, no doubt,
potatoes feel when they are steaming.  You are left in this state
for about ten minutes:  it is warm certainly, but odd and pleasant,
and disposes the mind to reverie.

But let any delicate mind in Baker Street fancy my horror when, on
looking up out of this reverie, I saw a great brown wretch extended
before me, only half dressed, standing on pattens, and exaggerated
by them and the steam until he looked like an ogre, grinning in the
most horrible way, and waving his arm, on which was a horsehair
glove.  He spoke, in his unknown nasal jargon, words which echoed
through the arched room; his eyes seemed astonishingly large and
bright, his ears stuck out, and his head was all shaved, except a
bristling top-knot, which gave it a demoniac fierceness.

This description, I feel, is growing too frightful; ladies who read
it will be going into hysterics, or saying, "Well, upon my word,
this is the most singular, the most extraordinary kind of language.
Jane, my love, you will not read that odious book--" and so I will
be brief.  This grinning man belabours the patient violently with
the horse-brush.  When he has completed the horsehair part, and you
lie expiring under a squirting fountain of warm water, and fancying
all is done, he reappears with a large brass basin, containing a
quantity of lather, in the midst of which is something like old
Miss MacWhirter's flaxen wig that she is so proud of, and that we
have all laughed at.  Just as you are going to remonstrate, the
thing like the wig is dashed into your face and eyes, covered over
with soap, and for five minutes you are drowned in lather:  you
can't see, the suds are frothing over your eye-balls; you can't
hear, the soap is whizzing into your ears; can't gasp for breath,
Miss MacWhirter's wig is down your throat with half a pailful of
suds in an instant--you are all soap.  Wicked children in former
days have jeered you, exclaiming, "How are you off for soap?"  You
little knew what saponacity was till you entered a Turkish bath.

When the whole operation is concluded, you are led--with what
heartfelt joy I need not say--softly back to the cooling-room,
having been robed in shawls and turbans as before.  You are laid
gently on the reposing bed; somebody brings a narghile, which
tastes as tobacco must taste in Mahomet's Paradise; a cool sweet
dreamy languor takes possession of the purified frame; and half-an-
hour of such delicious laziness is spent over the pipe as is
unknown in Europe, where vulgar prejudice has most shamefully
maligned indolence--calls it foul names, such as the father of all
evil, and the like; in fact, does not know how to educate idleness
as those honest Turks do, and the fruit which, when properly
cultivated, it bears.

The after-bath state is the most delightful condition of laziness I
ever knew, and I tried it wherever we went afterwards on our little
tour.  At Smyrna the whole business was much inferior to the method
employed in the capital.  At Cairo, after the soap, you are plunged
into a sort of stone coffin, full of water which is all but
boiling.  This has its charms; but I could not relish the Egyptian
shampooing.  A hideous old blind man (but very dexterous in his
art) tried to break my back and dislocate my shoulders, but I could
not see the pleasure of the practice; and another fellow began
tickling the soles of my feet, but I rewarded him with a kick that
sent him off the bench.  The pure idleness is the best, and I shall
never enjoy such in Europe again.

Victor Hugo, in his famous travels on the Rhine, visiting Cologne,
gives a learned account of what he DIDN'T see there.  I have a
remarkable catalogue of similar objects at Constantinople.  I
didn't see the dancing dervishes, it was Ramazan; nor the howling
dervishes at Scutari, it was Ramazan; nor the interior of St.
Sophia, nor the women's apartment of the Seraglio, nor the
fashionable promenade at the Sweet Waters, always because it was
Ramazan; during which period the dervishes dance and howl but
rarely, their legs and lungs being unequal to much exertion during
a fast of fifteen hours.  On account of the same holy season, the
Royal palaces and mosques are shut; and though the Valley of the
Sweet Waters is there, no one goes to walk; the people remaining
asleep all day, and passing the night in feasting and carousing.
The minarets are illuminated at this season; even the humblest
mosque at Jerusalem, or Jaffa, mounted a few circles of dingy
lamps; those of the capital were handsomely lighted with many
festoons of lamps, which had a fine effect from the water.  I need
not mention other and constant illuminations of the city, which
innumerable travellers have described--I mean the fires.  There
were three in Pera during our eight days' stay there; but they did
not last long enough to bring the Sultan out of bed to come and
lend his aid.  Mr. Hobhouse (quoted in the "Guide-book") says, if a
fire lasts an hour, the Sultan is bound to attend it in person; and
that people having petitions to present, have often set houses on
fire for the purpose of forcing out this Royal trump.  The Sultan
can't lead a very "jolly life," if this rule be universal.  Fancy
His Highness, in the midst of his moon-faced beauties, handkerchief
in hand, and obliged to tie it round his face, and go out of his
warm harem at midnight at the cursed cry of "Yang en Var!"

We saw His Highness in the midst of his people and their petitions,
when he came to the mosque at Tophana; not the largest, but one of
the most picturesque of the public buildings of the city.  The
streets were crowded with people watching for the august arrival,
and lined with the squat military in their bastard European
costume; the sturdy police, with bandeliers and brown surtouts,
keeping order, driving off the faithful from the railings of the
Esplanade through which their Emperor was to pass, and only
admitting (with a very unjust partiality, I thought) us Europeans
into that reserved space.  Before the august arrival, numerous
officers collected, colonels and pashas went by with their
attendant running footmen; the most active, insolent, and hideous
of these great men, as I thought, being His Highness's black
eunuchs, who went prancing through the crowd, which separated
before them with every sign of respect.

The common women were assembled by many hundreds:  the yakmac, a
muslin chin-cloth which they wear, makes almost every face look the
same; but the eyes and noses of these beauties are generally
visible, and, for the most part, both these features are good.  The
jolly negresses wear the same white veil, but they are by no means
so particular about hiding the charms of their good-natured black
faces, and they let the cloth blow about as it lists, and grin
unconfined.  Wherever we went the negroes seemed happy.  They have
the organ of child-loving:  little creatures were always prattling
on their shoulders, queer little things in night gowns of yellow
dimity, with great flowers, and pink or red or yellow shawls, with
great eyes glistening underneath.  Of such the black women seemed
always the happy guardians.  I saw one at a fountain, holding one
child in her arms, and giving another a drink--a ragged little
beggar--a sweet and touching picture of a black charity.

I am almost forgetting His Highness the Sultan.  About a hundred
guns were fired off at clumsy intervals from the Esplanade facing
the Bosphorus, warning us that the monarch had set off from his
Summer Palace, and was on the way to his grand canoe.  At last that
vessel made its appearance; the band struck up his favourite air;
his caparisoned horse was led down to the shore to receive him; the
eunuchs, fat pashas, colonels and officers of state gathering round
as the Commander of the Faithful mounted.  I had the indescribable
happiness of seeing him at a very short distance.  The Padishah, or
Father of all the Sovereigns on earth, has not that majestic air
which some sovereigns possess, and which makes the beholder's eyes
wink, and his knees tremble under him:  he has a black beard, and a
handsome well-bred face, of a French cast; he looks like a young
French roue worn out by debauch; his eyes bright, with black rings
round them; his cheeks pale and hollow.  He was lolling on his
horse as if he could hardly hold himself on the saddle:  or as if
his cloak, fastened with a blazing diamond clasp on his breast, and
falling over his horse's tail, pulled him back.  But the handsome
sallow face of the Refuge of the World looked decidedly interesting
and intellectual.  I have seen many a young Don Juan at Paris,
behind a counter, with such a beard and countenance; the flame of
passion still burning in his hollow eyes, while on his damp brow
was stamped the fatal mark of premature decay.  The man we saw
cannot live many summers.  Women and wine are said to have brought
the Zilullah to this state; and it is whispered by the dragomans,
or laquais-de-place (from whom travellers at Constantinople
generally get their political information), that the Sultan's
mother and his ministers conspire to keep him plunged in
sensuality, that they may govern the kingdom according to their own
fancies.  Mr. Urquhart, I am sure, thinks that Lord Palmerston has
something to do with the business, and drugs the Sultan's champagne
for the benefit of Russia.

As the Pontiff of Mussulmans passed into the mosques a shower of
petitions was flung from the steps where the crowd was collected,
and over the heads of the gendarmes in brown.  A general cry, as
for justice, rose up; and one old ragged woman came forward and
burst through the throng, howling, and flinging about her lean
arms, and baring her old shrunken breast.  I never saw a finer
action of tragic woo, or heard sounds more pitiful than those old
passionate groans of hers.  What was your prayer, poor old wretched
soul?  The gendarmes hemmed her round, and hustled her away, but
rather kindly.  The Padishah went on quite impassible--the picture
of debauch and ennui.

I like pointing morals, and inventing for myself cheap
consolations, to reconcile me to that state of life into which it
has pleased Heaven to call me; and as the Light of the World
disappeared round the corner, I reasoned pleasantly with myself
about His Highness, and enjoyed that secret selfish satisfaction a
man has, who sees he is better off than his neighbour.  "Michael
Angelo," I said, "you are still (by courtesy) young:  if you had
five hundred thousand a year, and were a great prince, I would lay
a wager that men would discover in you a magnificent courtesy of
demeanour, and a majestic presence that only belongs to the
sovereigns of the world.  If you had such an income, you think you
could spend it with splendour:  distributing genial hospitalities,
kindly alms, soothing misery, bidding humility be of good heart,
rewarding desert.  If you had such means of purchasing pleasure,
you think, you rogue, you could relish it with gusto.  But fancy
being brought to the condition of the poor Light of the Universe
yonder; and reconcile yourself with the idea that you are only a
farthing rushlight.  The cries of the poor widow fall as dead upon
him as the smiles of the brightest eyes out of Georgia.  He can't
stir abroad but those abominable cannon begin roaring and deafening
his ears.  He can't see the world but over the shoulders of a row
of fat pashas, and eunuchs, with their infernal ugliness.  His ears
can never be regaled with a word of truth, or blessed with an
honest laugh.  The only privilege of manhood left to him, he enjoys
but for a month in the year, at this time of Ramazan, when he is
forced to fast for fifteen hours; and, by consequence, has the
blessing of feeling hungry."  Sunset during Lent appears to be his
single moment of pleasure; they say the poor fellow is ravenous by
that time, and as the gun fires the dish-covers are taken off, so
that for five minutes a day he lives and is happy over pillau, like
another mortal.

And yet, when floating by the Summer Palace, a barbaric edifice of
wood and marble, with gilded suns blazing over the porticoes, and
all sorts of strange ornaments and trophies figuring on the gates
and railings--when we passed a long row of barred and filigreed
windows, looking on the water--when we were told that those were
the apartments of His Highness's ladies, and actually heard them
whispering and laughing behind the bars--a strange feeling of
curiosity came over some ill-regulated minds--just to have one
peep, one look at all those wondrous beauties, singing to the
dulcimers, paddling in the fountains, dancing in the marble halls,
or lolling on the golden cushions, as the gaudy black slaves
brought pipes and coffee.  This tumultuous movement was calmed by
thinking of that dreadful statement of travellers, that in one of
the most elegant halls there is a trap-door, on peeping below which
you may see the Bosphorus running underneath, into which some
luckless beauty is plunged occasionally, and the trap-door is shut,
and the dancing and the singing, and the smoking and the laughing
go on as before.  They say it is death to pick up any of the sacks
thereabouts, if a stray one should float by you.  There were none
any day when I passed, AT LEAST, ON THE SURFACE OF THE WATER.

It has been rather a fashion of our travellers to apologise for
Turkish life, of late, and paint glowing agreeable pictures of many
of its institutions.  The celebrated author of "Palm-Leaves" (his
name is famous under the date-trees of the Nile, and uttered with
respect beneath the tents of the Bedaween) has touchingly described
Ibrahim Pasha's paternal fondness, who cut off a black slave's head
for having dropped and maimed one of his children; and has penned a
melodious panegyric of "The Harem," and of the fond and beautiful
duties of the inmates of that place of love, obedience, and
seclusion.  I saw, at the mausoleum of the late Sultan Mahmoud's
family, a good subject for a Ghazul, in the true new Oriental
manner.

These Royal burial-places are the resort of the pious Moslems.
Lamps are kept burning there; and in the antechambers, copies of
the Koran are provided for the use of believers; and you never pass
these cemeteries but you see Turks washing at the cisterns,
previous to entering for prayer, or squatted on the benches,
chanting passages from the sacred volume.  Christians, I believe,
are not admitted, but may look through the bars, and see the
coffins of the defunct monarchs and children of the Royal race.
Each lies in his narrow sarcophagus, which is commonly flanked by
huge candles, and covered with a rich embroidered pall.  At the
head of each coffin rises a slab, with a gilded inscription; for
the princesses, the slab is simple, not unlike our own monumental
stones.  The headstones of the tombs of the defunct princes are
decorated with a turban, or, since the introduction of the latter
article of dress, with the red fez.  That of Mahmoud is decorated
with the imperial aigrette.

In this dismal but splendid museum, I remarked two little tombs
with little red fezzes, very small, and for very young heads
evidently, which were lying under the little embroidered palls of
state.  I forget whether they had candles too; but their little
flame of life was soon extinguished, and there was no need of many
pounds of wax to typify it.  These were the tombs of Mahmoud's
grandsons, nephews of the present Light of the Universe, and
children of his sister, the wife of Halil Pasha.  Little children
die in all ways:  these of the much-maligned Mahometan Royal race
perished by the bowstring.  Sultan Mahmoud (may he rest in glory!)
strangled the one; but, having some spark of human feeling, was so
moved by the wretchedness and agony of the poor bereaved mother,
his daughter, that his Royal heart relented towards her, and he
promised that, should she ever have another child, it should be
allowed to live.  He died; and Abdul Medjid (may his name be
blessed!), the debauched young man whom we just saw riding to the
mosque, succeeded.  His sister, whom he is said to have loved,
became again a mother, and had a son.  But she relied upon her
father's word and her august brother's love, and hoped that this
little one should be spared.  The same accursed hand tore this
infant out of its mother's bosom, and killed it.  The poor woman's
heart broke outright at this second calamity, and she died.  But on
her death-bed she sent for her brother, rebuked him as a perjurer
and an assassin, and expired calling down the divine justice on his
head.  She lies now by the side of the two little fezzes.

Now I say this would be a fine subject for an Oriental poem.  The
details are dramatic and noble, and could be grandly touched by a
fine artist.  If the mother had borne a daughter, the child would
have been safe; that perplexity might be pathetically depicted as
agitating the bosom of the young wife about to become a mother.  A
son is born:  you can see her despair and the pitiful look she
casts on the child, and the way in which she hugs it every time the
curtains of her door are removed.  The Sultan hesitated probably;
he allowed the infant to live for six weeks.  He could not bring
his Royal soul to inflict pain.  He yields at last; he is a martyr-
-to be pitied, not to be blamed.  If he melts at his daughter's
agony, he is a man and a father.  There are men and fathers too in
the much-maligned Orient.

Then comes the second act of the tragedy.  The new hopes, the fond
yearnings, the terrified misgivings, the timid belief, and weak
confidence; the child that is born--and dies smiling prettily--and
the mother's heart is rent so, that it can love, or hope, or suffer
no more.  Allah is God!  She sleeps by the little fezzes.  Hark!
the guns are booming over the water, and His Highness is coming
from his prayers.

After the murder of that little child, it seems to me one can never
look with anything but horror upon the butcherly Herod who ordered
it.  The death of the seventy thousand Janissaries ascends to
historic dignity, and takes rank as war.  But a great Prince and
Light of the Universe, who procures abortions and throttles little
babies, dwindles away into such a frightful insignificance of
crime, that those may respect him who will.  I pity their
Excellencies the Ambassadors, who are obliged to smirk and cringe
to such a rascal.  To do the Turks justice--and two days' walk in
Constantinople will settle this fact as well as a year's residence
in the city--the people do not seem in the least animated by this
Herodian spirit.  I never saw more kindness to children than among
all classes, more fathers walking about with little solemn
Mahometans in red caps and big trousers, more business going on
than in the toy quarter, and in the Atmeidan.  Although you may see
there the Thebaic stone set up by the Emperor Theodosius, and the
bronze column of serpents which Murray says was brought from
Delphi, but which my guide informed me was the very one exhibited
by Moses in the wilderness, yet I found the examination of these
antiquities much less pleasant than to look at the many troops of
children assembled on the plain to play; and to watch them as they
were dragged about in little queer arobas, or painted carriages,
which are there kept for hire.  I have a picture of one of them now
in my eyes:  a little green oval machine, with flowers rudely
painted round the window, out of which two smiling heads are
peeping, the pictures of happiness.  An old, good-humoured, grey-
bearded Turk is tugging the cart; and behind it walks a lady in a
yakmac and yellow slippers, and a black female slave, grinning as
usual, towards whom the little coach-riders are looking.  A small
sturdy barefooted Mussulman is examining the cart with some
feelings of envy:  he is too poor to purchase a ride for himself
and the round-faced puppy-dog, which he is hugging in his arms as
young ladies in our country do dolls.

All the neighbourhood of the Atmeidan is exceedingly picturesque--
the mosque court and cloister, where the Persians have their stalls
of sweetmeats and tobacco; a superb sycamore-tree grows in the
middle of this, overshadowing an aromatic fountain; great flocks of
pigeons are settling in corners of the cloister, and barley is sold
at the gates, with which the good-natured people feed them.  From
the Atmeidan you have a fine view of St. Sophia:  and here stands a
mosque which struck me as being much more picturesque and
sumptuous--the Mosque of Sultan Achmed, with its six gleaming white
minarets and its beautiful courts and trees.  Any infidels may
enter the court without molestation, and, looking through the
barred windows of the mosque, have a view of its airy and spacious
interior.  A small audience of women was collected there when I
looked in, squatted on the mats, and listening to a preacher, who
was walking among them, and speaking with great energy.  My
dragoman interpreted to me the sense of a few words of his sermon:
he was warning them of the danger of gadding about to public
places, and of the immorality of too much talking; and, I dare say,
we might have had more valuable information from him regarding the
follies of womankind, had not a tall Turk clapped my interpreter on
the shoulder, and pointed him to be off.

Although the ladies are veiled, and muffled with the ugliest
dresses in the world, yet it appears their modesty is alarmed in
spite of all the coverings which they wear.  One day, in the
bazaar, a fat old body, with diamond rings on her fingers, that
were tinged with henne of a logwood colour, came to the shop where
I was purchasing slippers, with her son, a young Aga of six years
of age, dressed in a braided frock-coat, with a huge tassel to his
fez, exceeding fat, and of a most solemn demeanour.  The young Aga
came for a pair of shoes, and his contortions were so delightful as
he tried them, that I remained looking on with great pleasure,
wishing for Leech to be at hand to sketch his lordship and his fat
mamma, who sat on the counter.  That lady fancied I was looking at
her, though, as far as I could see, she had the figure and
complexion of a roly-poly pudding; and so, with quite a premature
bashfulness, she sent me a message by the shoemaker, ordering me to
walk away if I had made my purchases, for that ladies of her rank
did not choose to be stared at by strangers; and I was obliged to
take my leave, though with sincere regret, for the little lord had
just squeezed himself into an attitude than which I never saw
anything more ludicrous in General Tom Thumb.  When the ladies of
the Seraglio come to that bazaar with their cortege of infernal
black eunuchs, strangers are told to move on briskly.  I saw a bevy
of about eight of these, with their aides-de-camp; but they were
wrapped up, and looked just as vulgar and ugly as the other women,
and were not, I suppose, of the most beautiful sort.  The poor
devils are allowed to come out, half-a-dozen times in the year, to
spend their little wretched allowance of pocket-money in purchasing
trinkets and tobacco; all the rest of the time they pursue the
beautiful duties of their existence in the walls of the sacred
harem.

Though strangers are not allowed to see the interior of the cage in
which these birds of Paradise are confined, yet many parts of the
Seraglio are free to the curiosity of visitors, who choose to drop
a backsheesh here and there.  I landed one morning at the Seraglio
point from Galata, close by an ancient pleasure-house of the
defunct Sultan; a vast broad-brimmed pavilion, that looks agreeable
enough to be a dancing room for ghosts now:  there is another
summer-house, the Guide-book cheerfully says, whither the Sultan
goes to sport with his women and mutes.  A regiment of infantry,
with their music at their head, were marching to exercise in the
outer grounds of the Seraglio; and we followed them, and had an
opportunity of seeing their evolutions, and hearing their bands,
upon a fine green plain under the Seraglio walls, where stands one
solitary column, erected in memory of some triumph of some
Byzantian emperor.

There were three battalions of the Turkish infantry, exercising
here; and they seemed to perform their evolutions in a very
satisfactory manner:  that is, they fired all together, and charged
and halted in very straight lines, and bit off imaginary cartridge-
tops with great fierceness and regularity, and made all their
ramrods ring to measure, just like so many Christians.  The men
looked small, young, clumsy, and ill-built; uncomfortable in their
shabby European clothes; and about the legs, especially, seemed
exceedingly weak and ill-formed.  Some score of military invalids
were lolling in the sunshine, about a fountain and a marble summer-
house that stand on the ground, watching their comrades' manoeuvres
(as if they could never have enough of that delightful pastime);
and these sick were much better cared for than their healthy
companions.  Each man had two dressing-gowns, one of white cotton,
and an outer wrapper of warm brown woollen.  Their heads were
accommodated with wadded cotton nightcaps; and it seemed to me,
from their condition and from the excellent character of the
military hospitals, that it would be much more wholesome to be ill
than to be well in the Turkish service.

Facing this green esplanade, and the Bosphorus shining beyond it,
rise the great walls of the outer Seraglio Gardens:  huge masses of
ancient masonry, over which peep the roofs of numerous kiosks and
outhouses, amongst thick evergreens, planted so as to hide the
beautiful frequenters of the place from the prying eyes and
telescopes.  We could not catch a glance of a single figure moving
in these great pleasure-grounds.  The road winds round the walls;
and the outer park, which is likewise planted with trees, and
diversified by garden-plots and cottages, had more the air of the
outbuildings of a homely English park, than of a palace which we
must all have imagined to be the most stately in the world.  The
most commonplace water-carts were passing here and there; roads
were being repaired in the Macadamite manner; and carpenters were
mending the park-palings, just as they do in Hampshire.  The next
thing you might fancy would be the Sultan walking out with a spud
and a couple of dogs, on the way to meet the post-bag and the Saint
James's Chronicle.

The palace is no palace at all.  It is a great town of pavilions,
built without order, here and there, according to the fancy of
succeeding Lights of the Universe, or their favourites.  The only
row of domes which looked particularly regular or stately, were the
kitchens.  As you examined the buildings they had a ruinous
dilapidated look:  they are not furnished, it is said, with
particular splendour,--not a bit more elegantly than Miss Jones's
seminary for young ladies, which we may be sure is much more
comfortable than the extensive establishment of His Highness Abdul
Medjid.

In the little stable I thought to see some marks of Royal
magnificence, and some horses worthy of the king of all kings.  But
the Sultan is said to be a very timid horseman:  the animal that is
always kept saddled for him did not look to be worth twenty pounds;
and the rest of the horses in the shabby dirty stalls were small,
ill-kept, common-looking brutes.  You might see better, it seemed
to me, at a country inn stable on any market-day.

The kitchens are the most sublime part of the Seraglio.  There are
nine of these great halls, for all ranks, from His Highness
downwards, where many hecatombs are roasted daily, according to the
accounts, and where cooking goes on with a savage Homeric grandeur.
Chimneys are despised in these primitive halls; so that the roofs
are black with the smoke of hundreds of furnaces, which escapes
through apertures in the domes above.  These, too, give the chief
light in the rooms, which streams downwards, and thickens and
mingles with the smoke, and so murkily lights up hundreds of
swarthy figures busy about the spits and the cauldrons.  Close to
the door by which we entered they were making pastry for the
sultanas; and the chief pastrycook, who knew my guide, invited us
courteously to see the process, and partake of the delicacies
prepared for those charming lips.  How those sweet lips must shine
after eating these puffs!  First, huge sheets of dough are rolled
out till the paste is about as thin as silver paper:  then an
artist forms the dough-muslin into a sort of drapery, curling it
round and round in many fanciful and pretty shapes, until it is all
got into the circumference of a round metal tray in which it is
baked.  Then the cake is drenched in grease most profusely; and,
finally, a quantity of syrup is poured over it, when the delectable
mixture is complete.  The moon-faced ones are said to devour
immense quantities of this wholesome food; and, in fact, are eating
grease and sweetmeats from morning till night.  I don't like to
think what the consequences may be, or allude to the agonies which
the delicate creatures must inevitably suffer.

The good-natured chief pastrycook filled a copper basin with greasy
puffs; and, dipping a dubious ladle into a large cauldron,
containing several gallons of syrup, poured a liberal portion over
the cakes, and invited us to eat.  One of the tarts was quite
enough for me:  and I excused myself on the plea of ill-health from
imbibing any more grease and sugar.  But my companion, the
dragoman, finished some forty puffs in a twinkling.  They slipped
down his opened jaws as the sausages do down clowns' throats in a
pantomime.  His moustaches shone with grease, and it dripped down
his beard and fingers.  We thanked the smiling chief pastrycook,
and rewarded him handsomely for the tarts.  It is something to have
eaten of the dainties prepared for the ladies of the harem; but I
think Mr. Cockle ought to get the names of the chief sultanas among
the exalted patrons of his antibilious pills.

From the kitchens we passed into the second court of the Seraglio,
beyond which is death.  The Guide-book only hints at the dangers
which would befall a stranger caught prying in the mysterious FIRST
court of the palace.  I have read "Bluebeard," and don't care for
peeping into forbidden doors; so that the second court was quite
enough for me; the pleasure of beholding it being heightened, as it
were, by the notion of the invisible danger sitting next door, with
uplifted scimitar ready to fall on you--present though not seen.

A cloister runs along one side of this court; opposite is the hall
of the divan, "large but low, covered with lead, and gilt, after
the Moorish manner, plain enough."  The Grand Vizier sits in this
place, and the ambassadors used to wait here, and be conducted
hence on horseback, attired with robes of honour.  But the ceremony
is now, I believe, discontinued; the English envoy, at any rate, is
not allowed to receive any backsheesh, and goes away as he came, in
the habit of his own nation.  On the right is a door leading into
the interior of the Seraglio; NONE PASS THROUGH IT BUT SUCH AS ARE
SENT FOR, the Guide-book says:  it is impossible to top the terror
of that description.

About this door lads and servants were lolling, ichoglans and
pages, with lazy looks and shabby dresses; and among them, sunning
himself sulkily on a bench, a poor old fat, wrinkled, dismal white
eunuch, with little fat white hands, and a great head sunk into his
chest, and two sprawling little legs that seemed incapable to hold
up his bloated old body.  He squeaked out some surly reply to my
friend the dragoman, who, softened and sweetened by the tarts he
had just been devouring, was, no doubt, anxious to be polite:  and
the poor worthy fellow walked away rather crestfallen at this
return of his salutation, and hastened me out of the place.

The palace of the Seraglio, the cloister with marble pillars, the
hall of the ambassadors, the impenetrable gate guarded by eunuchs
and ichoglans, have a romantic look in print; but not so in
reality.  Most of the marble is wood, almost all the gilding is
faded, the guards are shabby, the foolish perspectives painted on
the walls are half cracked off.  The place looks like Vauxhall in
the daytime.

We passed out of the second court under THE SUBLIME PORTE--which is
like a fortified gate of a German town of the middle ages--into the
outer court, round which are public offices, hospitals, and
dwellings of the multifarious servants of the palace.  This place
is very wide and picturesque:  there is a pretty church of
Byzantine architecture at the further end; and in the midst of the
court a magnificent plane-tree, of prodigious dimensions and
fabulous age according to the guides; St. Sophia towers in the
further distance:  and from here, perhaps, is the best view of its
light swelling domes and beautiful proportions.  The Porte itself,
too, forms an excellent subject for the sketcher, if the officers
of the court will permit him to design it.  I made the attempt, and
a couple of Turkish beadles looked on very good-naturedly for some
time at the progress of the drawing; but a good number of other
spectators speedily joined them, and made a crowd, which is not
permitted, it would seem, in the Seraglio; so I was told to pack up
my portfolio, and remove the cause of the disturbance, and lost my
drawing of the Ottoman Porte.

I don't think I have anything more to say about the city which has
not been much better told by graver travellers.  I, with them,
could see (perhaps it was the preaching of the politicians that
warned me of the fact) that we are looking on at the last days of
an empire; and heard many stories of weakness, disorder, and
oppression.  I even saw a Turkish lady drive up to Sultan Achmet's
mosque IN A BROUGHAM.  Is not that a subject to moralise upon?  And
might one not draw endless conclusions from it, that the knell of
the Turkish dominion is rung; that the European spirit and
institutions once admitted can never be rooted out again; and that
the scepticism prevalent amongst the higher orders must descend ere
very long to the lower; and the cry of the muezzin from the mosque
become a mere ceremony?

But as I only stayed eight days in this place, and knew not a
syllable of the language, perhaps it is as well to pretermit any
disquisitions about the spirit of the people.  I can only say that
they looked to be very good-natured, handsome, and lazy; that the
women's yellow slippers are very ugly; that the kabobs at the shop
hard by the Rope Bazaar are very hot and good; and that at the
Armenian cookshops they serve you delicious fish, and a stout
raisin wine of no small merit.  There came in, as we sat and dined
there at sunset, a good old Turk, who called for a penny fish, and
sat down under a tree very humbly, and ate it with his own bread.
We made that jolly old Mussulman happy with a quart of the raisin
wine; and his eyes twinkled with every fresh glass, and he wiped
his old beard delighted, and talked and chirped a good deal, and, I
dare say, told us the whole state of the empire.  He was the only
Mussulman with whom I attained any degree of intimacy during my
stay in Constantinople; and you will see that, for obvious reasons,
I cannot divulge the particulars of our conversation.

"You have nothing to say, and you own it," says somebody:  "then
why write?"  That question perhaps (between ourselves) I have put
likewise; and yet, my dear sir, there are SOME things worth
remembering even in this brief letter:  that woman in the brougham
is an idea of significance:  that comparison of the Seraglio to
Vauxhall in the daytime is a true and real one; from both of which
your own great soul and ingenious philosophic spirit may draw
conclusions, that I myself have modestly forborne to press.  You
are too clever to require a moral to be tacked to all the fables
you read, as is done for children in the spelling-books; else I
would tell you that the government of the Ottoman Porte seems to be
as rotten, as wrinkled, and as feeble as the old eunuch I saw
crawling about it in the sun; that when the lady drove up in a
brougham to Sultan Achmet, I felt that the schoolmaster was really
abroad; and that the crescent will go out before that luminary, as
meekly as the moon does before the sun.



CHAPTER VIII:  RHODES



The sailing of a vessel direct for Jaffa brought a great number of
passengers together, and our decks were covered with Christian,
Jew, and Heathen.  In the cabin we were Poles and Russians,
Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, and Greeks; on the deck were
squatted several little colonies of people of different race and
persuasion.  There was a Greek Papa, a noble figure with a flowing
and venerable white beard, who had been living on bread-and-water
for I don't know how many years, in order to save a little money to
make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  There were several families of
Jewish Rabbis, who celebrated their "feast of tabernacles" on
board; their chief men performing worship twice or thrice a day,
dressed in their pontifical habits, and bound with phylacteries:
and there were Turks, who had their own ceremonies and usages, and
wisely kept aloof from their neighbours of Israel.

The dirt of these children of captivity exceeds all possibility of
description; the profusion of stinks which they raised, the grease
of their venerable garments and faces, the horrible messes cooked
in the filthy pots, and devoured with the nasty fingers, the
squalor of mats, pots, old bedding, and foul carpets of our Hebrew
friends, could hardly be painted by Swift in his dirtiest mood, and
cannot be, of course, attempted by my timid and genteel pen.  What
would they say in Baker Street to some sights with which our new
friends favoured us?  What would your ladyship have said if you had
seen the interesting Greek nun combing her hair over the cabin--
combing it with the natural fingers, and, averse to slaughter,
flinging the delicate little intruders, which she found in the
course of her investigation, gently into the great cabin?  Our
attention was a good deal occupied in watching the strange ways and
customs of the various comrades of ours.

The Jews were refugees from Poland, going to lay their bones to
rest in the valley of Jehoshaphat, and performing with exceeding
rigour the offices of their religion.  At morning and evening you
were sure to see the chiefs of the families, arrayed in white
robes, bowing over their books, at prayer.  Once a week, on the eve
before the Sabbath, there was a general washing in Jewry, which
sufficed until the ensuing Friday.  The men wore long gowns and
caps of fur, or else broad-brimmed hats, or, in service time, bound
on their heads little iron boxes, with the sacred name engraved on
them.  Among the lads there were some beautiful faces; and among
the women your humble servant discovered one who was a perfect
rosebud of beauty when first emerging from her Friday's toilet, and
for a day or two afterwards, until each succeeding day's smut
darkened those fresh and delicate cheeks of hers.  We had some very
rough weather in the course of the passage from Constantinople to
Jaffa, and the sea washed over and over our Israelitish friends and
their baggages and bundles; but though they were said to be rich,
they would not afford to pay for cabin shelter.  One father of a
family, finding his progeny half drowned in a squall, vowed he
WOULD pay for a cabin; but the weather was somewhat finer the next
day, and he could not squeeze out his dollars, and the ship's
authorities would not admit him except upon payment.

This unwillingness to part with money is not only found amongst the
followers of Moses, but in those of Mahomet, and Christians too.
When we went to purchase in the bazaars, after offering money for
change, the honest fellows would frequently keep back several
piastres, and when urged to refund, would give most dismally:  and
begin doling out penny by penny, and utter pathetic prayers to
their customer not to take any more.  I bought five or six pounds'
worth of Broussa silks for the womankind, in the bazaar at
Constantinople, and the rich Armenian who sold them begged for
three-halfpence to pay his boat to Galata.  There is something naif
and amusing in this exhibition of cheatery--this simple cringing
and wheedling, and passion for twopence-halfpenny.  It was pleasant
to give a millionaire beggar an alms, and laugh in his face and
say, "There, Dives, there's a penny for you:  be happy, you poor
old swindling scoundrel, as far as a penny goes."  I used to watch
these Jews on shore, and making bargains with one another as soon
as they came on board; the battle between vendor and purchaser was
an agony--they shrieked, clasped hands, appealed to one another
passionately; their handsome noble faces assumed a look of woe--
quite an heroic eagerness and sadness about a farthing.

Ambassadors from our Hebrews descended at Rhodes to buy provisions,
and it was curious to see their dealings:  there was our venerable
Rabbi, who, robed in white and silver, and bending over his book at
the morning service, looked like a patriarch, and whom I saw
chaffering about a fowl with a brother Rhodian Israelite.  How they
fought over the body of that lean animal!  The street swarmed with
Jews:  goggling eyes looked out from the old carved casements--
hooked noses issued from the low antique doors--Jew boys driving
donkeys, Hebrew mothers nursing children, dusky, tawdry, ragged
young beauties and most venerable grey-bearded fathers were all
gathered round about the affair of the hen!  And at the same time
that our Rabbi was arranging the price of it, his children were
instructed to procure bundles of green branches to decorate the
ship during their feast.  Think of the centuries during which these
wonderful people have remained unchanged; and how, from the days of
Jacob downwards, they have believed and swindled!

The Rhodian Jews, with their genius for filth, have made their
quarter of the noble desolate old town the most ruinous and
wretched of all.  The escutcheons of the proud old knights are
still carved over the doors, whence issue these miserable greasy
hucksters and pedlars.  The Turks respected these emblems of the
brave enemies whom they had overcome, and left them untouched.
When the French seized Malta they were by no means so delicate:
they effaced armorial bearings with their usual hot-headed
eagerness; and a few years after they had torn down the coats-of-
arms of the gentry, the heroes of Malta and Egypt were busy
devising heraldry for themselves, and were wild to be barons and
counts of the Empire.

The chivalrous relics at Rhodes are very superb.  I know of no
buildings whose stately and picturesque aspect seems to correspond
better with one's notions of their proud founders.  The towers and
gates are warlike and strong, but beautiful and aristocratic:  you
see that they must have been high-bred gentlemen who built them.
The edifices appear in almost as perfect a condition as when they
were in the occupation of the noble Knights of St. John; and they
have this advantage over modern fortifications, that they are a
thousand times more picturesque.  Ancient war condescended to
ornament itself, and built fine carved castles and vaulted gates:
whereas, to judge from Gibraltar and Malta, nothing can be less
romantic than the modern military architecture; which sternly
regards the fighting, without in the least heeding the war-paint.
Some of the huge artillery with which the place was defended still
lies in the bastions; and the touch-holes of the guns are preserved
by being covered with rusty old corselets, worn by defenders of the
fort three hundred years ago.  The Turks, who battered down
chivalry, seem to be waiting their turn of destruction now.  In
walking through Rhodes one is strangely affected by witnessing the
signs of this double decay.  For instance, in the streets of the
knights, you see noble houses, surmounted by noble escutcheons of
superb knights, who lived there, and prayed, and quarrelled, and
murdered the Turks; and were the most gallant pirates of the inland
seas; and made vows of chastity, and robbed and ravished; and,
professing humility, would admit none but nobility into their
order; and died recommending themselves to sweet St. John, and
calmly hoping for heaven in consideration of all the heathen they
had slain.  When this superb fraternity was obliged to yield to
courage as great as theirs, faith as sincere, and to robbers even
more dexterous and audacious than the noblest knight who ever sang
a canticle to the Virgin, these halls were filled by magnificent
Pashas and Agas, who lived here in the intervals of war, and having
conquered its best champions, despised Christendom and chivalry
pretty much as an Englishman despises a Frenchman.  Now the famous
house is let to a shabby merchant, who has his little beggarly shop
in the bazaar; to a small officer, who ekes out his wretched
pension by swindling, and who gets his pay in bad coin.
Mahometanism pays in pewter now, in place of silver and gold.  The
lords of the world have run to seed.  The powerless old sword
frightens nobody now--the steel is turned to pewter too, somehow,
and will no longer shear a Christian head off any shoulders.  In
the Crusades my wicked sympathies have always been with the Turks.
They seem to me the better Christians of the two:  more humane,
less brutally presumptuous about their own merits, and more
generous in esteeming their neighbours.  As far as I can get at the
authentic story, Saladin is a pearl of refinement compared to the
brutal beef-eating Richard--about whom Sir Walter Scott has led all
the world astray.

When shall we have a real account of those times and heroes--no
good-humoured pageant, like those of the Scott romances--but a real
authentic story to instruct and frighten honest people of the
present day, and make them thankful that the grocer governs the
world now in place of the baron?  Meanwhile a man of tender
feelings may be pardoned for twaddling a little over this sad
spectacle of the decay of two of the great institutions of the
world.  Knighthood is gone--amen; it expired with dignity, its face
to the foe:  and old Mahometanism is lingering about just ready to
drop.  But it is unseemly to see such a Grand Potentate in such a
state of decay:  the son of Bajazet Ilderim insolvent; the
descendants of the Prophet bullied by Calmucs and English and
whipper-snapper Frenchmen; the Fountain of Magnificence done up,
and obliged to coin pewter!  Think of the poor dear houris in
Paradise, how sad they must look as the arrivals of the Faithful
become less and less frequent every day.  I can fancy the place
beginning to wear the fatal Vauxhall look of the Seraglio, and
which has pursued me ever since I saw it:  the fountains of eternal
wine are beginning to run rather dry, and of a questionable liquor;
the ready-roasted-meat trees may cry, "Come eat me," every now and
then, in a faint voice, without any gravy in it--but the Faithful
begin to doubt about the quality of the victuals.  Of nights you
may see the houris sitting sadly under them, darning their faded
muslins:  Ali, Omar, and the Imaums are reconciled and have gloomy
consultations:  and the Chief of the Faithful himself, the awful
camel-driver, the supernatural husband of Khadijah, sits alone in a
tumbledown kiosk, thinking moodily of the destiny that is impending
over him; and of the day when his gardens of bliss shall be as
vacant as the bankrupt Olympus.


All the town of Rhodes has this appearance of decay and ruin,
except a few consuls' houses planted on the sea-side, here and
there, with bright flags flaunting in the sun; fresh paint; English
crockery; shining mahogany, &c.,--so many emblems of the new
prosperity of their trade, while the old inhabitants were going to
rack--the fine Church of St. John, converted into a mosque, is a
ruined church, with a ruined mosque inside; the fortifications are
mouldering away, as much as time will let them.  There was
considerable bustle and stir about the little port; but it was the
bustle of people who looked for the most part to be beggars; and I
saw no shop in the bazaar that seemed to have the value of a
pedlar's pack.

I took, by way of guide, a young fellow from Berlin, a journeyman
shoemaker, who had just been making a tour in Syria, and who
professed to speak both Arabic and Turkish quite fluently--which I
thought he might have learned when he was a student at college,
before he began his profession of shoemaking; but I found he only
knew about three words of Turkish, which were produced on every
occasion, as I walked under his guidance through the desolate
streets of the noble old town.  We went out upon the lines of
fortification, through an ancient gate and guard-house, where once
a chapel probably stood, and of which the roofs were richly carved
and gilded.  A ragged squad of Turkish soldiers lolled about the
gate now; a couple of boys on a donkey; a grinning slave on a mule;
a pair of women flapping along in yellow papooshes; a basket-maker
sitting under an antique carved portal, and chanting or howling as
he plaited his osiers:  a peaceful well of water, at which knights'
chargers had drunk, and at which the double-boyed donkey was now
refreshing himself--would have made a pretty picture for a
sentimental artist.  As he sits, and endeavours to make a sketch of
this plaintive little comedy, a shabby dignitary of the island
comes clattering by on a thirty-shilling horse, and two or three of
the ragged soldiers leave their pipes to salute him as he passes
under the Gothic archway.

The astonishing brightness and clearness of the sky under which the
island seemed to bask, struck me as surpassing anything I had seen-
-not even at Cadiz, or the Piraeus, had I seen sands so yellow, or
water so magnificently blue.  The houses of the people along the
shore were but poor tenements, with humble courtyards and gardens;
but every fig-tree was gilded and bright, as if it were in an
Hesperian orchard; the palms, planted here and there, rose with a
sort of halo of light round about them; the creepers on the walls
quite dazzled with the brilliancy of their flowers and leaves; the
people lay in the cool shadows, happy and idle, with handsome
solemn faces; nobody seemed to be at work; they only talked a very
little, as if idleness and silence were a condition of the
delightful shining atmosphere in which they lived.

We went down to an old mosque by the sea-shore, with a cluster of
ancient domes hard by it, blazing in the sunshine, and carved all
over with names of Allah, and titles of old pirates and generals
who reposed there.  The guardian of the mosque sat in the garden-
court, upon a high wooden pulpit, lazily wagging his body to and
fro, and singing the praises of the Prophet gently through his
nose, as the breeze stirred through the trees overhead, and cast
chequered and changing shadows over the paved court, and the little
fountains, and the nasal psalmist on his perch.  On one side was
the mosque, into which you could see, with its white walls and
cool-matted floor, and quaint carved pulpit and ornaments, and
nobody at prayers.  In the middle distance rose up the noble towers
and battlements of the knightly town, with the deep sea-line behind
them.

It really seemed as if everybody was to have a sort of sober
cheerfulness, and must yield to indolence under this charming
atmosphere.  I went into the courtyard by the sea-shore (where a
few lazy ships were lying, with no one on board), and found it was
the prison of the place.  The door was as wide open as Westminster
Hall.  Some prisoners, one or two soldiers and functionaries, and
some prisoners' wives, were lolling under an arcade by a fountain;
other criminals were strolling about here and there, their chains
clinking quite cheerfully; and they and the guards and officials
came up chatting quite friendly together, and gazed languidly over
the portfolio, as I was endeavouring to get the likeness of one or
two of these comfortable malefactors.  One old and wrinkled she-
criminal, whom I had selected on account of the peculiar
hideousness of her countenance, covered it up with a dirty cloth,
at which there was a general roar of laughter among this good-
humoured auditory of cut-throats, pickpockets, and policemen.  The
only symptom of a prison about the place was a door, across which a
couple of sentinels were stretched, yawning; while within lay three
freshly-caught pirates--chained by the leg.  They had committed
some murders of a very late date, and were awaiting sentence; but
their wives were allowed to communicate freely with them:  and it
seemed to me that if half-a-dozen friends would set them flee, and
they themselves had energy enough to move, the sentinels would be a
great deal too lazy to walk after them.

The combined influence of Rhodes and Ramazan, I suppose, had taken
possession of my friend the Schustergesell from Berlin.  As soon as
he received his fee, he cut me at once, and went and lay down by a
fountain near the port, and ate grapes out of a dirty pocket-
handkerchief.  Other Christian idlers lay near him, dozing, or
sprawling, in the boats, or listlessly munching water-melons.
Along the coffee-houses of the quay sat hundreds more, with no
better employment; and the captain of the "Iberia" and his
officers, and several of the passengers in that famous steamship,
were in this company, being idle with all their might.  Two or
three adventurous young men went off to see the valley where the
dragon was killed; but others, more susceptible of the real
influence of the island, I am sure would not have moved though we
had been told that the Colossus himself was taking a walk half a
mile off.



CHAPTER IX:  THE WHITE SQUALL



On deck, beneath the awning,
I dozing lay and yawning;
It was the grey of dawning,
Ere yet the sun arose;
And above the funnel's roaring,
And the fitful wind's deploring,
I heard the cabin snoring
With universal nose.
I could hear the passengers snorting,
I envied their disporting:
Vainly I was courting
The pleasure of a doze.

So I lay, and wondered why light
Came not, and watched the twilight
And the glimmer of the skylight,
That shot across the deck;
And the binnacle pale and steady,
And the dull glimpse of the dead-eye,
And the sparks in fiery eddy,
That whirled from the chimney neck:
In our jovial floating prison
There was sleep from fore to mizen,
And never a star had risen
The hazy sky to speck.

Strange company we harboured;
We'd a hundred Jews to larboard,
Unwashed, uncombed, uubarbered,
Jews black, and brown, and grey;
With terror it would seize ye,
And make your souls uneasy,
To see those Rabbis greasy,
Who did nought but scratch and pray:
Their dirty children pucking,
Their dirty saucepans cooking,
Their dirty fingers hooking
Their swarming fleas away.

To starboard Turks and Greeks were,
Whiskered, and brown their cheeks were,
Enormous wide their breeks were,
Their pipes did puff alway;
Each on his mat allotted,
In silence smoked and squatted,
Whilst round their children trotted
In pretty, pleasant play.
He can't but smile who traces
The smiles on those brown faces,
And the pretty prattling graces
Of those small heathens gay.

And so the hours kept tolling,
And through the ocean rolling,
Went the brave "Iberia" bowling
Before the break of day -
When a SQUALL upon a sudden
Came o'er the waters scudding;
And the clouds began to gather,
And the sea was lashed to lather,
And the lowering thunder grumbled,
And the lightning jumped and tumbled,
And the ship, and all the ocean,
Woke up in wild commotion.

Then the wind set up a howling,
And the poodle-dog a yowling,
And the cocks began a crowing,
And the old cow raised a lowing,
As she heard the tempest blowing;
And fowls and geese did cackle,
And the cordage and the tackle
Began to shriek and crackle;
And the spray dashed o'er the funnels,
And down the deck in runnels;
And the rushing water soaks all,
From the seamen in the fo'ksal
To the stokers, whose black faces
Peer out of their bed-places;
And the captain he was bawling,
And the sailors pulling, hauling;
And the quarter-deck tarpauling
Was shivered in the squalling;
And the passengers awaken,
Most pitifully shaken;
And the steward jumps up, and hastens
For the necessary basins.

Then the Greeks they groaned and quivered,
And they knelt, and moaned, and shivered,
As the plunging waters met them,
And splashed and overset them;
And they call in their emergence
Upon countless saints and virgins;
And their marrowbones are bended,
And they think the world is ended.

And the Turkish women for'ard
Were frightened and behorror'd;
And, shrieking and bewildering,
The mothers clutched their children;
The men sung, "Allah Illah!
Mashallah Bismillah!"

As the warring waters doused them,
And splashed them and soused them;
And they called upon the Prophet,
And thought but little of it.

Then all the fleas in Jewry
Jumped up and bit like fury;
And the progeny of Jacob
Did on the main-deck wake up
(I wot those greasy Rabbins
Would never pay for cabins);
And each man moaned and jabbered in
His filthy Jewish gaberdine,
In woe and lamentation,
And howling consternation.
And the splashing water drenches
Their dirty brats and wenches;
And they crawl from bales and benches,
In a hundred thousand stenches.

This was the White Squall famous
Which latterly o'ercame us,
And which all will well remember
On the 28th September:
When a Prussian Captain of Lancers
(Those tight-laced, whiskered prancers)
Came on the deck astonished,
By that wild squall admonished,
And wondering cried, "Potztausend!
Wie ist der Sturm jetzt brausend!"
And looked at Captain Lewis,
Who calmly stood and blew his
Cigar in all the bustle,
And scorned the tempest's tussle.
And oft we've thought thereafter
How he beat the storm to laughter;
For well he knew his vessel
With that vain wind could wrestle;
And when a wreck we thought her
And doomed ourselves to slaughter,
How gaily he fought her,
And through the hubbub brought her,
And, as the tempest caught her,
Cried, "GEORGE! SOME BRANDY-AND-WATER!"

And when, its force expended,
The harmless storm was ended,
And, as the sunrise splendid
Came blushing o'er the sea;
I thought, as day was breaking,
My little girls were waking,
And smiling, and making
A prayer at home for me.



CHAPTER X:  TELMESSUS--BEYROUT



There should have been a poet in our company to describe that
charming little bay of Glaucus, into which we entered on the 26th
of September, in the first steam-boat that ever disturbed its
beautiful waters.  You can't put down in prose that delicious
episode of natural poetry; it ought to be done in a symphony, full
of sweet melodies and swelling harmonies; or sung in a strain of
clear crystal iambics, such as Milnes knows how to write.  A mere
map, drawn in words, gives the mind no notion of that exquisite
nature.  What do mountains become in type, or rivers in Mr.
Vizetelly's best brevier?  Here lies the sweet bay, gleaming
peaceful in the rosy sunshine:  green islands dip here and there in
its waters:  purple mountains swell circling round it; and towards
them, rising from the bay, stretches a rich green plain, fruitful
with herbs and various foliage, in the midst of which the white
houses twinkle.  I can see a little minaret, and some spreading
palm-trees; but, beyond these, the description would answer as well
for Bantry Bay as for Makri.  You could write so far, nay, much
more particularly and grandly, without seeing the place at all, and
after reading Beaufort's "Caramania," which gives you not the least
notion of it.

Suppose the great Hydrographer of the Admiralty himself can't
describe it, who surveyed the place; suppose Mr. Fellowes, who
discovered it afterwards--suppose, I say, Sir John Fellowes, Knt.,
can't do it (and I defy any man of imagination to got an impression
of Telmessus from his book)--can you, vain man, hope to try?  The
effect of the artist, as I take it, ought to be, to produce upon
his hearer's mind, by his art, an effect something similar to that
produced on his own by the sight of the natural object.  Only
music, or the best poetry, can do this.  Keats's "Ode to the
Grecian Urn" is the best description I know of that sweet old
silent ruin of Telmessus.  After you have once seen it, the
remembrance remains with you, like a tune from Mozart, which he
seems to have caught out of heaven, and which rings sweet harmony
in your ears for ever after!  It's a benefit for all after life!
You have but to shut your eyes, and think, and recall it, and the
delightful vision comes smiling back, to your order!--the divine
air--the delicious little pageant, which nature set before you on
this lucky day.

Here is the entry made in the note-book on the eventful day:- "In
the morning steamed into the bay of Glaucus--landed at Makri--
cheerful old desolate village--theatre by the beautiful sea-shore--
great fertility, oleanders--a palm-tree in the midst of the
village, spreading out like a Sultan's aigrette--sculptured
caverns, or tombs, up the mountain--camels over the bridge."

Perhaps it is best for a man of fancy to make his own landscape out
of these materials:  to group the couched camels under the plane-
trees; the little crowd of wandering ragged heathens come down to
the calm water, to behold the nearing steamer; to fancy a mountain,
in the sides of which some scores of tombs are rudely carved;
pillars and porticos, and Doric entablatures.  But it is of the
little theatre that he must make the most beautiful picture--a
charming little place of festival, lying out on the shore, and
looking over the sweet bay and the swelling purple islands.  No
theatre-goer ever looked out on a fairer scene.  It encourages
poetry, idleness, delicious sensual reverie.  O Jones! friend of my
heart! would you not like to be a white-robed Greek, lolling
languidly, on the cool benches here, and pouring compliments (in
the Ionic dialect) into the rosy ears of Neaera?  Instead of Jones,
your name should be Ionides; instead of a silk hat, you should wear
a chaplet of roses in your hair:  you would not listen to the
choruses they were singing on the stage, for the voice of the fair
one would be whispering a rendezvous for the mesonuktiais horais,
and my Ionides would have no ear for aught beside.  Yonder, in the
mountain, they would carve a Doric cave temple, to receive your urn
when all was done; and you would be accompanied thither by a dirge
of the surviving Ionidae.  The caves of the dead are empty now,
however, and their place knows them not any more among the festal
haunts of the living.  But, by way of supplying the choric melodies
sung here in old time, one of our companions mounted on the scene
and spouted,


"My name is Norval."


On the same day we lay to for a while at another ruined theatre,
that of Antiphilos.  The Oxford men, fresh with recollections of
the little-go, bounded away up the hill on which it lies to the
ruin, measured the steps of the theatre, and calculated the width
of the scene; while others, less active, watched them with
telescopes from the ship's sides, as they plunged in and out of the
stones and hollows.

Two days after the scene was quite changed.  We were out of sight
of the classical country, and lay in St. George's Bay, behind a
huge mountain, upon which St. George fought the dragon, and rescued
the lovely Lady Sabra, the King of Babylon's daughter.  The Turkish
fleet was lying about us, commanded by that Halil Pasha whose two
children the two last Sultans murdered.  The crimson flag, with the
star and crescent, floated at the stern of his ship.  Our
diplomatist put on his uniform and cordons, and paid his Excellency
a visit.  He spoke in rapture, when he returned, of the beauty and
order of the ship, and the urbanity of the infidel Admiral.  He
sent us bottles of ancient Cyprus wine to drink:  and the captain
of Her Majesty's ship "Trump," alongside which we were lying,
confirmed that good opinion of the Capitan Pasha which the
reception of the above present led us to entertain, by relating
many instances of his friendliness and hospitalities.  Captain G-
said the Turkish ships were as well manned, as well kept, and as
well manoeuvred, as any vessels in any service; and intimated a
desire to command a Turkish seventy-four, and a perfect willingness
to fight her against a French ship of the same size.  But I
heartily trust he will neither embrace the Mahometan opinions, nor
be called upon to engage any seventy-four whatever.  If he do, let
us hope he will have his own men to fight with.  If the crew of the
"Trump" were all like the crew of the captain's boat, they need
fear no two hundred and fifty men out of any country, with any
Joinville at their head.  We were carried on shore by this boat.
For two years, during which the "Trump" had been lying off Beyrout,
none of the men but these eight had ever set foot on shore.
Mustn't it be a happy life?  We were landed at the busy quay of
Beyrout, flanked by the castle that the fighting old commodore half
battered down.

Along the Beyrout quays civilisation flourishes under the flags of
the consuls, which are streaming out over the yellow buildings in
the clear air.  Hither she brings from England her produce of
marine-stores and woollens, her crockeries, her portable soups, and
her bitter ale.  Hither she has brought politeness, and the last
modes from Paris.  They were exhibited in the person of a pretty
lady, superintending the great French store, and who, seeing a
stranger sketching on the quay, sent forward a man with a chair to
accommodate that artist, and greeted him with a bow and a smile,
such as only can be found in France.  Then she fell to talking with
a young French officer with a beard, who was greatly smitten with
her.  They were making love just as they do on the Boulevard.  An
Arab porter left his bales, and the camel he was unloading, to come
and look at the sketch.  Two stumpy flat-faced Turkish soldiers, in
red caps and white undresses, peered over the paper.  A noble
little Lebanonian girl, with a deep yellow face, and curly dun-
coloured hair, and a blue tattooed chin, and for all clothing a
little ragged shift of blue cloth, stood by like a little statue,
holding her urn, and stared with wondering brown eyes.  How
magnificently blue the water was!--how bright the flags and
buildings as they shone above it, and the lines of the rigging
tossing in the bay!  The white crests of the blue waves jumped and
sparkled like quicksilver; the shadows were as broad and cool as
the lights were brilliant and rosy; the battered old towers of the
commodore looked quite cheerful in the delicious atmosphere; and
the mountains beyond were of an amethyst colour.  The French
officer and the lady went on chattering quite happily about love,
the last new bonnet, or the battle of Isly, or the "Juif Errant."
How neatly her gown and sleeves fitted her pretty little person!
We had not seen a woman for a month, except honest Mrs. Flanigan,
the stewardess, and the ladies of our party, and the tips of the
noses of the Constantinople beauties as they passed by leering from
their yakmacs, waddling and plapping in their odious yellow
papooshes.

And this day is to be marked with a second white stone, for having
given the lucky writer of the present, occasion to behold a second
beauty.  This was a native Syrian damsel, who bore the sweet name
of Mariam.  So it was she stood as two of us (I mention the number
for fear of scandal) took her picture.

So it was that the good-natured black cook looked behind her young
mistress, with a benevolent grin, that only the admirable Leslie
could paint.

Mariam was the sister of the young guide whom we hired to show us
through the town, and to let us be cheated in the purchase of gilt
scarfs and handkerchiefs, which strangers think proper to buy.  And
before the following authentic drawing could be made, many were the
stratagems the wily artists were obliged to employ, to subdue the
shyness of the little Mariam.  In the first place, she would stand
behind the door (from which in the darkness her beautiful black
eyes gleamed out like penny tapers); nor could the entreaties of
her brother and mamma bring her from that hiding-place.  In order
to conciliate the latter, we began by making a picture of her too--
that is, not of her, who was an enormous old fat woman in yellow,
quivering all over with strings of pearls, and necklaces of
sequins, and other ornaments, the which descended from her neck,
and down her ample stomacher:  we did not depict that big old
woman, who would have been frightened at an accurate representation
of her own enormity; but an ideal being, all grace and beauty,
dressed in her costume, and still simpering before me in my sketch-
book like a lady in a book of fashions.

This portrait was shown to the old woman, who handed it over to the
black cook, who, grinning, carried it to little Mariam--and the
result was, that the young creature stepped forward, and submitted;
and has come over to Europe as you see. {2}

A very snug and happy family did this of Mariam's appear to be.  If
you could judge by all the laughter and giggling, by the splendour
of the women's attire, by the neatness of the little house,
prettily decorated with arabesque paintings, neat mats, and gay
carpets, they were a family well to do in the Beyrout world, and
lived with as much comfort as any Europeans.  They had one book;
and, on the wall of the principal apartment, a black picture of the
Virgin, whose name is borne by pretty Mariam.

The camels and the soldiers, the bazaars and khans, the fountains
and awnings, which chequer, with such delightful variety of light
and shade, the alleys and markets of an Oriental town, are to be
seen in Beyrout in perfection; and an artist might here employ
himself for months with advantage and pleasure.  A new costume was
here added to the motley and picturesque assembly of dresses.  This
was the dress of the blue-veiled women from the Lebanon, stalking
solemnly through the markets, with huge horns, near a yard high, on
their foreheads.  For thousands of years, since the time the Hebrew
prophets wrote, these horns have so been exalted in the Lebanon.


At night Captain Lewis gave a splendid ball and supper to the
"Trump."  We had the "Trump's" band to perform the music; and a
grand sight it was to see the captain himself enthusiastically
leading on the drum.  Blue lights and rockets were burned from the
yards of our ship; which festive signals were answered presently
from the "Trump," and from another English vessel in the harbour.

They must have struck the Capitan Pasha with wonder, for he sent
his secretary on board of us to inquire what the fireworks meant.
And the worthy Turk had scarcely put his foot on the deck, when he
found himself seized round the waist by one of the "Trump's"
officers, and whirling round the deck in a waltz, to his own
amazement, and the huge delight of the company.  His face of wonder
and gravity, as he went on twirling, could not have been exceeded
by that of a dancing dervish at Scutari; and the manner in which he
managed to enjamber the waltz excited universal applause.

I forgot whether he accommodated himself to European ways so much
further as to drink champagne at supper-time; to say that he did
would be telling tales out of school, and might interfere with the
future advancement of that jolly dancing Turk.

We made acquaintance with another of the Sultan's subjects, who, I
fear, will have occasion to doubt of the honour of the English
nation, after the foul treachery with which he was treated.

Among the occupiers of the little bazaar matchboxes, vendors of
embroidered handkerchiefs and other articles of showy Eastern
haberdashery, was a good-looking neat young fellow, who spoke
English very fluently, and was particularly attentive to all the
passengers on board our ship.  This gentleman was not only a
pocket-handkerchief merchant in the bazaar, but earned a further
livelihood by letting out mules and donkeys; and he kept a small
lodging-house, or inn, for travellers, as we were informed.

No wonder he spoke good English, and was exceedingly polite and
well-bred; for the worthy man had passed some time in England, and
in the best society too.  That humble haberdasher at Beyrout had
been a lion here, at the very best houses of the great people, and
had actually made his appearance at Windsor, where he was received
as a Syrian Prince, and treated with great hospitality by Royalty
itself.

I don't know what waggish propensity moved one of the officers of
the "Trump" to say that there was an equerry of His Royal Highness
the Prince on board, and to point me out as the dignified personage
in question.  So the Syrian Prince was introduced to the Royal
equerry, and a great many compliments passed between us.  I even
had the audacity to state that on my very last interview with my
Royal master, His Royal Highness had said, "Colonel Titmarsh, when
you go to Beyrout, you will make special inquiries regarding my
interesting friend Cogia Hassan."

Poor Cogia Hassan (I forget whether that was his name, but it is as
good as another) was overpowered with this Royal message; and we
had an intimate conversation together, at which the waggish officer
of the "Trump" assisted with the greatest glee.

But see the consequences of deceit!  The next day, as we were
getting under way, who should come on board but my friend the
Syrian Prince, most eager for a last interview with the Windsor
equerry; and he begged me to carry his protestations of unalterable
fidelity to the gracious consort of Her Majesty.  Nor was this all.
Cogia Hassan actually produced a great box of sweetmeats, of which
he begged my Excellency to accept, and a little figure of a doll
dressed in the costume of Lebanon.  Then the punishment of
imposture began to be felt severely by me.  How to accept the poor
devil's sweetmeats?  How to refuse them?  And as we know that one
fib leads to another, so I was obliged to support the first
falsehood by another; and putting on a dignified air--"Cogia
Hassan," says I, "I am surprised you don't know the habits of the
British Court better, and are not aware that our gracious master
solemnly forbids his servants to accept any sort of backsheesh upon
our travels."

So Prince Cogia Hassan went over the side with his chest of
sweetmeats, but insisted on leaving the doll, which may be worth
twopence-halfpenny; of which, and of the costume of the women of
Lebanon, the following is an accurate likeness:-



CHAPTER XI:  A DAY AND NIGHT IN SYRIA



When, after being for five whole weeks at sea, with a general
belief that at the end of a few days the marine malady leaves you
for good, you find that a brisk wind and a heavy rolling swell
create exactly the same inward effects which they occasioned at the
very commencement of the voyage--you begin to fancy that you are
unfairly dealt with:  and I, for my part, had thought of
complaining to the Company of this atrocious violation of the rules
of their prospectus; but we were perpetually coming to anchor in
various ports, at which intervals of peace and good-humour were
restored to us.

On the 3rd of October our cable rushed with a huge rattle into the
blue sea before Jaffa, at a distance of considerably more than a
mile off the town, which lay before us very clear, with the flags
of the consuls flaring in the bright sky and making a cheerful and
hospitable show.  The houses a great heap of sun-baked stones,
surmounted here and there by minarets and countless little
whitewashed domes; a few date-trees spread out their fan-like heads
over these dull-looking buildings; long sands stretched away on
either side, with low purple hills behind them; we could see specks
of camels crawling over these yellow plains; and those persons who
were about to land had the leisure to behold the sea-spray flashing
over the sands, and over a heap of black rocks which lie before the
entry to the town.  The swell is very great, the passage between
the rocks narrow, and the danger sometimes considerable.  So the
guide began to entertain the ladies and other passengers in the
huge country boat which brought us from the steamer with an
agreeable story of a lieutenant and eight seamen of one of Her
Majesty's ships, who were upset, dashed to pieces, and drowned upon
these rocks, through which two men and two boys, with a very
moderate portion of clothing, each standing and pulling half an
oar--there were but two oars between them, and another by way of
rudder--were endeavouring to guide us.

When the danger of the rocks and surf was passed, came another
danger of the hideous brutes in brown skins and the briefest
shirts, who came towards the boat, straddling through the water
with outstretched arms, grinning and yelling their Arab invitations
to mount their shoulders.  I think these fellows frightened the
ladies still more than the rocks and the surf; but the poor
creatures were obliged to submit; and, trembling, were accommodated
somehow upon the mahogany backs of these ruffians, carried through
the shallows, and flung up to a ledge before the city gate, where
crowds more of dark people were swarming, howling after their
fashion.  The gentlemen, meanwhile, were having arguments about the
eternal backsheesh with the roaring Arab boatmen; and I recall with
wonder and delight especially, the curses and screams of one small
and extremely loud-lunged fellow, who expressed discontent at
receiving a five, instead of a six-piastre piece.  But how is one
to know, without possessing the language?  Both coins are made of a
greasy pewtery sort of tin; and I thought the biggest was the most
valuable:  but the fellow showed a sense of their value, and a
disposition seemingly to cut any man's throat who did not
understand it.  Men's throats have been cut for a less difference
before now.

Being cast upon the ledge, the first care of our gallantry was to
look after the ladies, who were scared and astonished by the naked
savage brutes, who were shouldering the poor things to and fro; and
bearing them through these and a dark archway, we came into a
street crammed with donkeys and their packs and drivers, and
towering camels with leering eyes looking into the second-floor
rooms, and huge splay feet, through which mesdames et
mesdemoiselles were to be conducted.  We made a rush at the first
open door, and passed comfortably under the heels of some horses
gathered under the arched court, and up a stone staircase, which
turned out to be that of the Russian consul's house.  His people
welcomed us most cordially to his abode, and the ladies and the
luggage (objects of our solicitude) were led up many stairs and
across several terraces to a most comfortable little room, under a
dome of its own, where the representative of Russia sat.  Women
with brown faces and draggle-tailed coats and turbans, and
wondering eyes, and no stays, and blue beads and gold coins hanging
round their necks, came to gaze, as they passed, upon the fair neat
Englishwomen.  Blowsy black cooks puffing over fires and the
strangest pots and pans on the terraces, children paddling about in
long striped robes, interrupted their sports or labours to come and
stare; and the consul, in his cool domed chamber, with a lattice
overlooking the sea, with clean mats, and pictures of the Emperor,
the Virgin, and St. George, received the strangers with smiling
courtesies, regaling the ladies with pomegranates and sugar, the
gentlemen with pipes of tobacco, whereof the fragrant tubes were
three yards long.

The Russian amenities concluded, we left the ladies still under the
comfortable cool dome of the Russian consulate, and went to see our
own representative.  The streets of the little town are neither
agreeable to horse nor foot travellers.  Many of the streets are
mere flights of rough steps, leading abruptly into private houses:
you pass under archways and passages numberless; a steep dirty
labyrinth of stone-vaulted stables and sheds occupies the ground-
floor of the habitations; and you pass from flat to flat of the
terraces; at various irregular corners of which, little chambers,
with little private domes, are erected, and the people live
seemingly as much upon the terrace as in the room.

We found the English consul in a queer little arched chamber, with
a strange old picture of the King's arms to decorate one side of
it:  and here the consul, a demure old man, dressed in red flowing
robes, with a feeble janissary bearing a shabby tin-mounted staff,
or mace, to denote his office, received such of our nation as came
to him for hospitality.  He distributed pipes and coffee to all and
every one; he made us a present of his house and all his beds for
the night, and went himself to lie quietly on the terrace; and for
all this hospitality he declined to receive any reward from us, and
said he was but doing his duty in taking us in.  This worthy man, I
thought, must doubtless be very well paid by our Government for
making such sacrifices; but it appears that he does not get one
single farthing, and that the greater number of our Levant consuls
are paid at a similar rate of easy remuneration.  If we have bad
consular agents, have we a right to complain?  If the worthy
gentlemen cheat occasionally, can we reasonably be angry?  But in
travelling through these countries, English people, who don't take
into consideration the miserable poverty and scanty resources of
their country, and are apt to brag and be proud of it, have their
vanity hurt by seeing the representatives of every nation but their
own well and decently maintained, and feel ashamed at sitting down
under the shabby protection of our mean consular flag.

The active young men of our party had been on shore long before us,
and seized upon all the available horses in the town; but we relied
upon a letter from Halil Pasha, enjoining all governors and pashas
to help us in all ways:  and hearing we were the bearers of this
document, the cadi and vice-governor of Jaffa came to wait upon the
head of our party; declared that it was his delight and honour to
set eyes upon us; that he would do everything in the world to serve
us; that there were no horses, unluckily, but he would send and get
some in three hours; and so left us with a world of grinning bows
and many choice compliments from one side to the other, which came
to each filtered through an obsequious interpreter.  But hours
passed, and the clatter of horses' hoofs was not heard.  We had our
dinner of eggs and flaps of bread, and the sunset gun fired:  we
had our pipes and coffee again, and the night fell.  Is this man
throwing dirt upon us? we began to think.  Is he laughing at our
beards, and are our mothers' graves ill-treated by this smiling
swindling cadi?  We determined to go and seek in his own den this
shuffling dispenser of infidel justice.  This time we would be no
more bamboozled by compliments; but we would use the language of
stern expostulation, and, being roused, would let the rascal hear
the roar of the indignant British lion; so we rose up in our wrath.
The poor consul got a lamp for us with a bit of wax-candle, such as
I wonder his means could afford; the shabby janissary marched ahead
with his tin mace; the two laquais-de-place, that two of our
company had hired, stepped forward, each with an old sabre, and we
went clattering and stumbling down the streets of the town, in
order to seize upon this cadi in his own divan.  I was glad, for my
part (though outwardly majestic and indignant in demeanour), that
the horses had not come, and that we had a chance of seeing this
little queer glimpse of Oriental life, which the magistrate's
faithlessness procured for us.

As piety forbids the Turks to eat during the weary daylight hours
of the Ramazan, they spend their time profitably in sleeping until
the welcome sunset, when the town wakens:  all the lanterns are
lighted up; all the pipes begin to puff, and the narghiles to
bubble; all the sour-milk-and-sherbet-men begin to yell out the
excellence of their wares; all the frying-pans in the little dirty
cookshops begin to friz, and the pots to send forth a steam:  and
through this dingy, ragged, bustling, beggarly, cheerful scene, we
began now to march towards the Bow Street of Jaffa.  We bustled
through a crowded narrow archway which led to the cadi's police-
office, entered the little room, atrociously perfumed with musk,
and passing by the rail-board, where the common sort stood, mounted
the stage upon which his worship and friends sat, and squatted down
on the divans in stern and silent dignity.  His honour ordered us
coffee, his countenance evidently showing considerable alarm.  A
black slave, whose duty seemed to be to prepare this beverage in a
side-room with a furnace, prepared for each of us about a
teaspoonful of the liquor:  his worship's clerk, I presume, a tall
Turk of a noble aspect, presented it to us; and having lapped up
the little modicum of drink, the British lion began to speak.

All the other travellers (said the lion with perfect reason) have
good horses and are gone; the Russians have got horses, the
Spaniards have horses, the English have horses, but we, we vizirs
in our country, coming with letters of Halil Pasha, are laughed at,
spit upon!  Are Halil Pasha's letters dirt, that you attend to them
in this way?  Are British lions dogs that you treat them so?--and
so on.  This speech with many variations was made on our side for a
quarter of an hour; and we finally swore that unless the horses
were forthcoming we would write to Halil Pasha the next morning,
and to His Excellency the English Minister at the Sublime Porte.
Then you should have heard the chorus of Turks in reply:  a dozen
voices rose up from the divan, shouting, screaming, ejaculating,
expectorating (the Arabic spoken language seems to require a great
employment of the two latter oratorical methods), and uttering what
the meek interpreter did not translate to us, but what I dare say
were by no means complimentary phrases towards us and our nation.
Finally, the palaver concluded by the cadi declaring that by the
will of Heaven horses should be forthcoming at three o'clock in the
morning; and that if not, why, then, we might write to Halil Pasha.

This posed us, and we rose up and haughtily took leave.  I should
like to know that fellow's real opinion of us lions very much:  and
especially to have had the translation of the speeches of a huge-
breeched turbaned roaring infidel, who looked and spoke as if he
would have liked to fling us all into the sea, which was hoarsely
murmuring under our windows an accompaniment to the concert within.

We then marched through the bazaars, that were lofty and grim, and
pretty full of people.  In a desolate broken building, some
hundreds of children were playing and singing; in many corners sat
parties over their water-pipes, one of whom every now and then
would begin twanging out a most queer chant; others there were
playing at casino--a crowd squatted around the squalling gamblers,
and talking and looking on with eager interest.  In one place of
the bazaar we found a hundred people at least listening to a story-
teller who delivered his tale with excellent action, voice, and
volubility:  in another they were playing a sort of thimble-rig
with coffee-cups, all intent upon the game, and the player himself
very wild lest one of our party, who had discovered where the pea
lay, should tell the company.  The devotion and energy with which
all these pastimes were pursued, struck me as much as anything.
These people have been playing thimble-rig and casino; that story-
teller has been shouting his tale of Antar for forty years; and
they are just as happy with this amusement now as when first they
tried it.  Is there no ennui in the Eastern countries, and are
blue-devils not allowed to go abroad there?

From the bazaars we went to see the house of Mustapha, said to be
the best house and the greatest man of Jaffa.  But the great man
had absconded suddenly, and had fled into Egypt.  The Sultan had
made a demand upon him for sixteen thousand purses, 80,000l.--
Mustapha retired--the Sultan pounced down upon his house, and his
goods, his horses and his mules.  His harem was desolate.  Mr.
Milnes could have written six affecting poems, had he been with us,
on the dark loneliness of that violated sanctuary.  We passed from
hall to hall, terrace to terrace--a few fellows were slumbering on
the naked floors, and scarce turned as we went by them.  We entered
Mustapha's particular divan--there was the raised floor, but no
bearded friends squatting away the night of Ramazan; there was the
little coffee furnace, but where was the slave and the coffee and
the glowing embers of the pipes?  Mustapha's favourite passages
from the Koran were still painted up on the walls, but nobody was
the wiser for them.  We walked over a sleeping negro, and opened
the windows which looked into his gardens.  The horses and donkeys,
the camels and mules were picketed there below, but where is the
said Mustapha?  From the frying-pan of the Porte, has he not fallen
into the fire of Mehemet Ali?  And which is best, to broil or to
fry?  If it be but to read the "Arabian Nights" again on getting
home, it is good to have made this little voyage and seen these
strange places and faces.

Then we went out through the arched lowering gateway of the town
into the plain beyond, and that was another famous and brilliant
scene of the "Arabian Nights."  The heaven shone with a marvellous
brilliancy--the plain disappeared far in the haze--the towers and
battlements of the town rose black against the sky--old outlandish
trees rose up here and there--clumps of camels were couched in the
rare herbage--dogs were baying about--groups of men lay sleeping
under their haicks round about--round about the tall gates many
lights were twinkling--and they brought us water-pipes and sherbet-
-and we wondered to think that London was only three weeks off.

Then came the night at the consul's.  The poor demure old gentleman
brought out his mattresses; and the ladies sleeping round on the
divans, we lay down quite happy; and I for my part intended to make
as delightful dreams as Alnaschar; but--lo, the delicate mosquito
sounded his horn:  the active flea jumped up, and came to feast on
Christian flesh (the Eastern flea bites more bitterly than the most
savage bug in Christendom), and the bug--oh, the accursed!  Why was
he made?  What duty has that infamous ruffian to perform in the
world, save to make people wretched?  Only Bulwer in his most
pathetic style could describe the miseries of that night--the
moaning, the groaning, the cursing, the tumbling, the blistering,
the infamous despair and degradation!  I heard all the cocks in
Jaffa crow; the children crying, and the mothers hushing them; the
donkeys braying fitfully in the moonlight; at last I heard the
clatter of hoofs below, and the hailing of men.  It was three
o'clock, the horses were actually come; nay, there were camels
likewise; asses and mules, pack-saddles and drivers, all bustling
together under the moonlight in the cheerful street--and the first
night in Syria was over.



CHAPTER XII:  FROM JAFFA TO JERUSALEM



It took an hour or more to get our little caravan into marching
order, to accommodate all the packs to the horses, the horses to
the riders; to see the ladies comfortably placed in their litter,
with a sleek and large black mule fore and aft, a groom to each
mule, and a tall and exceedingly good-natured and mahogany-coloured
infidel to walk by the side of the carriage, to balance it as it
swayed to and fro, and to offer his back as a step to the inmates
whenever they were minded to ascend or alight.  These three
fellows, fasting through the Ramazan, and over as rough a road, for
the greater part, as ever shook mortal bones, performed their
fourteen hours' walk of near forty miles with the most admirable
courage, alacrity, and good-humour.  They once or twice drank water
on the march, and so far infringed the rule; but they refused all
bread or edible refreshment offered to them, and tugged on with an
energy that the best camel, and I am sure the best Christian, might
envy.  What a lesson of good-humoured endurance it was to certain
Pall Mall Sardanapaluses, who grumble if club sofa cushions are not
soft enough!

If I could write sonnets at leisure, I would like to chronicle in
fourteen lines my sensations on finding myself on a high Turkish
saddle, with a pair of fire-shovel stirrups and worsted reins, red
padded saddle-cloth, and innumerable tags, fringes, glass-beads,
ends of rope, to decorate the harness of the horse, the gallant
steed on which I was about to gallop into Syrian life.  What a
figure we cut in the moonlight, and how they would have stared in
the Strand!  Ay, or in Leicestershire, where I warrant such a horse
and rider are not often visible!  The shovel stirrups are deucedly
short; the clumsy leathers cut the shins of some equestrians
abominably; you sit over your horse as it were on a tower, from
which the descent would be very easy, but for the big peak of the
saddle.  A good way for the inexperienced is to put a stick or
umbrella across the saddle peak again, so that it is next to
impossible to go over your horse's neck.  I found this a vast
comfort in going down the hills, and recommend it conscientiously
to other dear simple brethren of the city.

Peaceful men, we did not ornament our girdles with pistols,
yataghans, &c., such as some pilgrims appeared to bristle all over
with; and as a lesson to such rash people, a story may be told
which was narrated to us at Jerusalem, and carries a wholesome
moral.  The Honourable Hoggin Armer, who was lately travelling in
the East, wore about his stomach two brace of pistols, of such
exquisite finish and make, that a Sheikh, in the Jericho country,
robbed him merely for the sake of the pistols.  I don't know
whether he has told the story to his friends at home.

Another story about Sheikhs may here be told a propos.  That
celebrated Irish Peer, Lord Oldgent (who was distinguished in the
Buckinghamshire Dragoons), having paid a sort of black mail to the
Sheikh of Jericho country, was suddenly set upon by another Sheikh,
who claimed to be the real Jerichonian governor; and these twins
quarrelled over the body of Lord Oldgent, as the widows for the
innocent baby before Solomon.  There was enough for both--but these
digressions are interminable.

The party got under way at near four o'clock:  the ladies in the
litter, the French femme-de-chambre manfully caracoling on a grey
horse; the cavaliers, like your humble servant, on their high
saddles; the domestics, flunkeys, guides, and grooms, on all sorts
of animals,--some fourteen in all.  Add to these, two most grave
and stately Arabs in white beards, white turbans, white haicks and
raiments; sabres curling round their military thighs, and immense
long guns at their backs.  More venerable warriors I never saw;
they went by the side of the litter soberly prancing.  When we
emerged from the steep clattering streets of the city into the grey
plains, lighted by the moon and starlight, these militaries rode
onward, leading the way through the huge avenues of strange
diabolical-looking prickly pears (plants that look as if they had
grown in Tartarus), by which the first mile or two of route from
the city is bounded; and as the dawn arose before us, exhibiting
first a streak of grey, then of green, then of red in the sky, it
was fine to see these martial figures defined against the rising
light.  The sight of that little cavalcade, and of the nature
around it, will always remain with me, I think, as one of the
freshest and most delightful sensations I have enjoyed since the
day I first saw Calais pier.  It was full day when they gave their
horses a drink at a large pretty Oriental fountain, and then
presently we entered the open plain--the famous plain of Sharon--so
fruitful in roses once, now hardly cultivated, but always beautiful
and noble.

Here presently, in the distance, we saw another cavalcade pricking
over the plain.  Our two white warriors spread to the right and
left, and galloped to reconnoitre.  We, too, put our steeds to the
canter, and handling our umbrellas as Richard did his lance against
Saladin, went undaunted to challenge this caravan.  The fact is, we
could distinguish that it was formed of the party of our pious
friends the Poles, and we hailed them with cheerful shouting, and
presently the two caravans joined company, and scoured the plain at
the rate of near four miles per hour.  The horse-master, a courier
of this company, rode three miles for our one.  He was a broken-
nosed Arab, with pistols, a sabre, a fusee, a yellow Damascus cloth
flapping over his head, and his nose ornamented with diachylon.  He
rode a hog-necked grey Arab, bristling over with harness, and
jumped, and whirled, and reared, and halted, to the admiration of
all.

Scarce had the diachylonian Arab finished his evolutions, when lo!
yet another cloud of dust was seen, and another party of armed and
glittering horsemen appeared.  They, too, were led by an Arab, who
was followed by two janissaries, with silver maces shining in the
sun.  'Twas the party of the new American Consul-General of Syria
and Jerusalem, hastening to that city, with the inferior consuls of
Ramleh and Jaffa to escort him.  He expects to see the Millennium
in three years, and has accepted the office of consul at Jerusalem,
so as to be on the spot in readiness.

When the diachylon Arab saw the American Arab, he straightway
galloped his steed towards him, took his pipe, which he delivered
at his adversary in guise of a jereed, and galloped round and
round, and in and out, and there and back again, as in a play of
war.  The American replied in a similar playful ferocity--the two
warriors made a little tournament for us there on the plains before
Jaffa, in the which diachylon, being a little worsted, challenged
his adversary to a race, and fled away on his grey, the American
following on his bay.  Here poor sticking-plaster was again
worsted, the Yankee contemptuously riding round him, and then
declining further exercise.

What more could mortal man want?  A troop of knights and paladins
could have done no more.  In no page of Walter Scott have I read a
scene more fair and sparkling.  The sober warriors of our escort
did not join in the gambols of the young men.  There they rode
soberly, in their white turbans, by their ladies' litter, their
long guns rising up behind them.

There was no lack of company along the road:  donkeys numberless,
camels by twos and threes; now a mule-driver, trudging along the
road, chanting a most queer melody; now a lady, in white veil,
black mask, and yellow papooshes, bestriding her ass, and followed
by her husband,--met us on the way; and most people gave a
salutation.  Presently we saw Ramleh, in a smoking mist, on the
plain before us, flanked to the right by a tall lonely tower, that
might have held the bells of some moutier of Caen or Evreux.  As we
entered, about three hours and a half after starting, among the
white domes and stone houses of the little town, we passed the
place of tombs.  Two women were sitting on one of them,--the one
bending her head towards the stone, and rocking to and fro, and
moaning out a very sweet pitiful lamentation.  The American consul
invited us to breakfast at the house of his subaltern, the
hospitable one-eyed Armenian, who represents the United States at
Jaffa.  The stars and stripes were flaunting over his terraces, to
which we ascended, leaving our horses to the care of a multitude of
roaring ragged Arabs beneath, who took charge of and fed the
animals, though I can't say in the least why; but, in the same way
as getting off my horse on entering Jerusalem, I gave the rein into
the hand of the first person near me, and have never heard of the
worthy brute since.  At the American consul's we were served first
with rice soup in pishpash, flavoured with cinnamon and spice; then
with boiled mutton, then with stewed ditto and tomatoes; then with
fowls swimming in grease; then with brown ragouts belaboured with
onions; then with a smoking pilaff of rice:  several of which
dishes I can pronounce to be of excellent material and flavour.
When the gentry had concluded this repast, it was handed to a side
table, where the commonalty speedily discussed it.  We left them
licking their fingers as we hastened away upon the second part of
the ride.

And as we quitted Ramleh, the scenery lost that sweet and peaceful
look which characterises the pretty plain we had traversed; and the
sun, too, rising in the heaven, dissipated all those fresh
beautiful tints in which God's world is clothed of early morning,
and which city people have so seldom the chance of beholding.  The
plain over which we rode looked yellow and gloomy; the cultivation
little or none; the land across the roadside fringed, for the most
part, with straggling wild-carrot plants; a patch of green only
here and there.  We passed several herds of lean, small, well-
conditioned cattle:  many flocks of black goats, tended now and
then by a ragged negro shepherd, his long gun slung over his back,
his hand over his eyes to shade them as he stared at our little
cavalcade.  Most of the half-naked countryfolks we met had this
dismal appendage to Eastern rustic life; and the weapon could
hardly be one of mere defence, for, beyond the faded skull-cap, or
tattered coat of blue or dirty white, the brawny, brown-chested,
solemn-looking fellows had nothing seemingly to guard.  As before,
there was no lack of travellers on the road:  more donkeys trotted
by, looking sleek and strong; camels singly and by pairs, laden
with a little humble ragged merchandise, on their way between the
two towns.  About noon we halted eagerly at a short distance from
an Arab village and well, where all were glad of a drink of fresh
water.  A village of beavers, or a colony of ants, make habitations
not unlike these dismal huts piled together on the plain here.
There were no single huts along the whole line of road; poor and
wretched as they are, the Fellahs huddle all together for
protection from the other thieves their neighbours.  The government
(which we restored to them) has no power to protect them, and is
only strong enough to rob them.  The women, with their long blue
gowns and ragged veils, came to and fro with pitchers on their
heads.  Rebecca had such an one when she brought drink to the
lieutenant of Abraham.  The boys came staring round, bawling after
us with their fathers for the inevitable backsheesh.  The village
dogs barked round the flocks, as they were driven to water or
pasture.

We saw a gloomy, not very lofty-looking ridge of hills in front of
us; the highest of which the guide pointing out to us, told us that
from it we should see Jerusalem.  It looked very near, and we all
set up a trot of enthusiasm to get into this hill country.

But that burst of enthusiasm (it may have carried us nearly a
quarter of a mile in three minutes) was soon destined to be checked
by the disagreeable nature of the country we had to traverse.
Before we got to the real mountain district, we were in a manner
prepared for it, by the mounting and descent of several lonely
outlying hills, up and down which our rough stony track wound.
Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the
clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have
rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race
who once inhabited these savage hills.  There may have been
cultivation here two thousand years ago.  The mountains, or huge
stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the
way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still
some verdure and soil:  when water flowed here, and the country was
thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to
the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain
steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now
thriving along the hills of the Rhine.  Now the district is quite
deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified
waterfalls.  We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes;
scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride.
The sparrows are all at Jerusalem, among the housetops, where their
ceaseless chirping and twittering forms the most cheerful sound of
the place.

The company of Poles, the company of Oxford men, and the little
American army, travelled too quick for our caravan, which was made
to follow the slow progress of the ladies' litter, and we had to
make the journey through the mountains in a very small number.  Not
one of our party had a single weapon more dreadful than an
umbrella:  and a couple of Arabs, wickedly inclined, might have
brought us all to the halt, and rifled every carpet-bag and pocket
belonging to us.  Nor can I say that we journeyed without certain
qualms of fear.  When swarthy fellows, with girdles full of pistols
and yataghans, passed us without unslinging their long guns--when
scowling camel-riders, with awful long bending lances, decorated
with tufts of rags, or savage plumes of scarlet feathers, went by
without molestation--I think we were rather glad that they did not
stop and parley:  for, after all, a British lion with an umbrella
is no match for an Arab with his infernal long gun.  What, too,
would have become of our women?  So we tried to think that it was
entirely out of anxiety for them that we were inclined to push on.

There is a shady resting-place and village in the midst of the
mountain district where the travellers are accustomed to halt for
an hour's repose and refreshment; and the other caravans were just
quitting this spot, having enjoyed its cool shades and waters, when
we came up.  Should we stop?  Regard for the ladies (of course no
other earthly consideration) made us say, "No!"  What admirable
self-denial and chivalrous devotion!  So our poor devils of mules
and horses got no rest and no water, our panting litter-men no
breathing time, and we staggered desperately after the procession
ahead of us.  It wound up the mountain in front of us:  the Poles
with their guns and attendants, the American with his janissaries;
fifty or sixty all riding slowly like the procession in
"Bluebeard."

But alas, they headed us very soon; when we got up the weary hill
they were all out of sight.  Perhaps thoughts of Fleet Street did
cross the minds of some of us then, and a vague desire to see a few
policemen.  The district now seemed peopled, and with an ugly race.
Savage personages peered at us out of huts, and grim holes in the
rocks.  The mules began to loiter most abominably--water the
muleteers must have--and, behold, we came to a pleasant-looking
village of trees standing on a hill; children were shaking figs
from the trees--women were going about--before us was the mosque of
a holy man--the village, looking like a collection of little forts,
rose up on the hill to our right, with a long view of the fields
and gardens stretching from it, and camels arriving with their
burdens.  Here we must stop; Paolo, the chief servant, knew the
Sheikh of the village--he very good man--give him water and supper-
-water very good here--in fact we began to think of the propriety
of halting here for the night, and making our entry into Jerusalem
on the next day.

A man on a handsome horse dressed in red came prancing up to us,
looking hard at the ladies in the litter, and passed away.  Then
two others sauntered up, one handsome, and dressed in red too, and
he stared into the litter without ceremony, began to play with a
little dog that lay there, asked if we were Inglees, and was
answered by me in the affirmative.  Paolo had brought the water,
the most delicious draught in the world.  The gentlefolks had had
some, the poor muleteers were longing for it.  The French maid, the
courageous Victoire (never since the days of Joan of Arc has there
surely been a more gallant and virtuous female of France) refused
the drink; when suddenly a servant of the party scampers up to his
master and says:  "Abou Gosh says the ladies must get out and show
themselves to the women of the village!"

It was Abou Gosh himself, the redoubted robber Sheikh about whom we
had been laughing and crying "Wolf!" all day.  Never was seen such
a skurry!  "March!" was the instant order given.  When Victoire
heard who it was and the message, you should have seen how she
changed countenance; trembling for her virtue in the ferocious
clutches of a Gosh.  "Un verre d'eau pour l'amour de Dieu!" gasped
she, and was ready to faint on her saddle.  "Ne buvez plus,
Victoire!" screamed a little fellow of our party.  "Push on, push
on!" cried one and all.  "What's the matter?" exclaimed the ladies
in the litter, as they saw themselves suddenly jogging on again.
But we took care not to tell them what had been the designs of the
redoubtable Abou Gosh.  Away then we went--Victoire was saved--and
her mistresses rescued from dangers they knew not of, until they
were a long way out of the village.

Did he intend insult or good will?  Did Victoire escape the odious
chance of becoming Madame Abou Gosh?  Or did the mountain chief
simply propose to be hospitable after his fashion?  I think the
latter was his desire; if the former had been his wish, a half-
dozen of his long guns could have been up with us in a minute, and
had all our party at their mercy.  But now, for the sake of the
mere excitement, the incident was, I am sorry to say, rather a
pleasant one than otherwise:  especially for a traveller who is in
the happy condition of being able to sing before robbers, as is the
case with the writer of the present.

A little way out of the land of Goshen we came upon a long stretch
of gardens and vineyards, slanting towards the setting sun, which
illuminated numberless golden clusters of the most delicious
grapes, of which we stopped and partook.  Such grapes were never
before tasted; water so fresh as that which a countryman fetched
for us from a well never sluiced parched throats before.  It was
the ride, the sun, and above all Abou Gosh, who made that
refreshment so sweet, and hereby I offer him my best thanks.
Presently, in the midst of a most diabolical ravine, down which our
horses went sliding, we heard the evening gun:  it was fired from
Jerusalem.  The twilight is brief in this country, and in a few
minutes the landscape was grey round about us, and the sky lighted
up by a hundred thousand stars, which made the night beautiful.


Under this superb canopy we rode for a couple of hours to our
journey's end.  The mountains round about us dark, lonely, and sad;
the landscape as we saw it at night (it is not more cheerful in the
daytime), the most solemn and forlorn I have ever seen.  The
feelings of almost terror with which, riding through the night, we
approached this awful place, the centre of the world's past and
future history, have no need to be noted down here.  The
recollection of those sensations must remain with a man as long as
his memory lasts; and he should think of them as often, perhaps, as
he should talk of them little.



CHAPTER XIII:  JERUSALEM



The ladies of our party found excellent quarters in readiness for
them at the Greek convent in the city; where airy rooms, and
plentiful meals, and wines and sweet-meats delicate and abundant,
were provided to cheer them after the fatigues of their journey.  I
don't know whether the worthy fathers of the convent share in the
good things which they lavish on their guests; but they look as if
they do.  Those whom we saw bore every sign of easy conscience and
good living; there were a pair of strong, rosy, greasy, lazy lay-
brothers, dawdling in the sun on the convent terrace, or peering
over the parapet into the street below, whose looks gave one a
notion of anything but asceticism.

In the principal room of the strangers' house (the lay traveller is
not admitted to dwell in the sacred interior of the convent), and
over the building, the Russian double-headed eagle is displayed.
The place is under the patronage of the Emperor Nicholas; an
Imperial Prince has stayed in these rooms; the Russian consul
performs a great part in the city; and a considerable annual
stipend is given by the Emperor towards the maintenance of the
great establishment in Jerusalem.  The Great Chapel of the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre is by far the richest, in point of furniture,
of all the places of worship under that roof.  We were in Russia,
when we came to visit our friends here; under the protection of the
Father of the Church and the Imperial Eagle!  This butcher and
tyrant, who sits on his throne only through the crime of those who
held it before him--every step in whose pedigree is stained by some
horrible mark of murder, parricide, adultery--this padded and
whiskered pontiff--who rules in his jack-boots over a system of
spies and soldiers, of deceit, ignorance, dissoluteness, and brute
force, such as surely the history of the world never told of
before--has a tender interest in the welfare of his spiritual
children:  in the Eastern Church ranks after Divinity, and is
worshipped by millions of men.  A pious exemplar of Christianity
truly! and of the condition to which its union with politics has
brought it!  Think of the rank to which he pretends, and gravely
believes that he possesses, no doubt!--think of those who assumed
the same ultra-sacred character before him!--and then of the Bible
and the Founder of the Religion, of which the Emperor assumes to be
the chief priest and defender!

We had some Poles of our party; but these poor fellows went to the
Latin convent, declining to worship after the Emperor's fashion.
The next night after our arrival, two of them passed in the
Sepulchre.  There we saw them, more than once on subsequent visits,
kneeling in the Latin Church before the pictures, or marching
solemnly with candles in processions, or lying flat on the stones,
or passionately kissing the spots which their traditions have
consecrated as the authentic places of the Saviour's sufferings.
More honest or more civilised, or from opposition, the Latin
fathers have long given up and disowned the disgusting mummery of
the Eastern Fire--which lie the Greeks continue annually to tell.

Their travellers' house and convent, though large and commodious,
are of a much poorer and shabbier condition than those of the
Greeks.  Both make believe not to take money; but the traveller is
expected to pay in each.  The Latin fathers enlarge their means by
a little harmless trade in beads and crosses, and mother-of-pearl
shells, on which figures of saints are engraved; and which they
purchase from the manufacturers, and vend at a small profit.  The
English, until of late, used to be quartered in these sham inns;
but last year two or three Maltese took houses for the reception of
tourists, who can now be accommodated with cleanly and comfortable
board, at a rate not too heavy for most pockets.

To one of these we went very gladly; giving our horses the bridle
at the door, which went off of their own will to their stables,
through the dark inextricable labyrinths of streets, archways, and
alleys, which we had threaded after leaving the main street from
the Jaffa Gate.  There, there was still some life.  Numbers of
persons were collected at their doors, or smoking before the dingy
coffee-houses, where singing and story-telling were going on; but
out of this great street everything was silent, and no sign of a
light from the windows of the low houses which we passed.


We ascended from a lower floor up to a terrace, on which were
several little domed chambers, or pavilions.  From this terrace,
whence we looked in the morning, a great part of the city spread
before us:- white domes upon domes, and terraces of the same
character as our own.  Here and there, from among these whitewashed
mounds round about, a minaret rose, or a rare date-tree; but the
chief part of the vegetation near was that odious tree the prickly
pear,--one huge green wart growing out of another, armed with
spikes, as inhospitable as the aloe, without shelter or beauty.  To
the right the Mosque of Omar rose; the rising sun behind it.
Yonder steep tortuous lane before us, flanked by ruined walls on
either side, has borne, time out of mind, the title of Via
Dolorosa; and tradition has fixed the spots where the Saviour
rested, bearing his cross to Calvary.  But of the mountain, rising
immediately in front of us, a few grey olive-trees speckling the
yellow side here and there, there can be no question.  That is the
Mount of Olives.  Bethany lies beyond it.  The most sacred eyes
that ever looked on this world have gazed on those ridges:  it was
there He used to walk and teach.  With shame and humility one looks
towards the spot where that inexpressible Love and Benevolence
lived and breathed; where the great yearning heart of the Saviour
interceded for all our race; and whence the bigots and traitors of
his day led Him away to kill Him!


That company of Jews whom we had brought with us from
Constantinople, and who had cursed every delay on the route, not
from impatience to view the Holy City, but from rage at being
obliged to purchase dear provisions for their maintenance on ship-
board, made what bargains they best could at Jaffa, and journeyed
to the Valley of Jehoshaphat at the cheapest rate.  We saw the tall
form of the old Polish Patriarch, venerable in filth, stalking
among the stinking ruins of the Jewish quarter.  The sly old Rabbi,
in the greasy folding hat, who would not pay to shelter his
children from the storm off Beyrout, greeted us in the bazaars; the
younger Rabbis were furbished up with some smartness.  We met them
on Sunday at the kind of promenade by the walls of the Bethlehem
Gate; they were in company of some red-bearded co-religionists,
smartly attired in Eastern raiment; but their voice was the voice
of the Jews of Berlin, and of course as we passed they were talking
about so many hundert thaler.  You may track one of the people, and
be sure to hear mention of that silver calf that they worship.

The English mission has been very unsuccessful with these
religionists.  I don't believe the Episcopal apparatus--the
chaplains, and the colleges, and the beadles--have succeeded in
converting a dozen of them; and a sort of martyrdom is in store for
the luckless Hebrews at Jerusalem who shall secede from their
faith.  Their old community spurn them with horror; and I heard of
the case of one unfortunate man, whose wife, in spite of her
husband's change of creed, being resolved, like a true woman, to
cleave to him, was spirited away from him in his absence; was kept
in privacy in the city, in spite of all exertions of the mission,
of the consul and the bishop, and the chaplains and the beadles;
was passed away from Jerusalem to Beyrout, and thence to
Constantinople; and from Constantinople was whisked off into the
Russian territories, where she still pines after her husband.  May
that unhappy convert find consolation away from her.  I could not
help thinking, as my informant, an excellent and accomplished
gentleman of the mission, told me the story, that the Jews had done
only what the Christians do under the same circumstances.  The
woman was the daughter of a most learned Rabbi, as I gathered.
Suppose the daughter of the Rabbi of Exeter, or Canterbury, were to
marry a man who turned Jew, would not her Right Reverend Father be
justified in taking her out of the power of a person likely to hurl
her soul to perdition?  These poor converts should surely be sent
away to England out of the way of persecution.  We could not but
feel a pity for them, as they sat there on their benches in the
church conspicuous; and thought of the scorn and contumely which
attended them without, as they passed, in their European dresses
and shaven beards, among their grisly, scowling, long-robed
countrymen.

As elsewhere in the towns I have seen, the Ghetto of Jerusalem is
pre-eminent in filth.  The people are gathered round about the
dung-gate of the city.  Of a Friday you may hear their wailings and
lamentations for the lost glories of their city.  I think the
Valley of Jehoshaphat is the most ghastly sight I have seen in the
world.  From all quarters they come hither to bury their dead.
When his time is come yonder hoary old miser, with whom we made our
voyage, will lay his carcase to rest here.  To do that, and to claw
together money, has been the purpose of that strange long life.

We brought with us one of the gentlemen of the mission, a Hebrew
convert, the Rev. Mr. E-; and lest I should be supposed to speak
with disrespect above of any of the converts of the Hebrew faith,
let me mention this gentleman as the only one whom I had the
fortune to meet on terms of intimacy.  I never saw a man whose
outward conduct was more touching, whose sincerity was more
evident, and whose religious feeling seemed more deep, real, and
reasonable.

Only a few feet off, the walls of the Anglican Church of Jerusalem
rise up from their foundations on a picturesque open spot, in front
of the Bethlehem Gate.  The English Bishop has his church hard by:
and near it is the house where the Christians of our denomination
assemble and worship.

There seem to be polyglot services here.  I saw books of prayer, or
Scripture, in Hebrew, Greek, and German:  in which latter language
Dr. Alexander preaches every Sunday.  A gentleman who sat near me
at church used all these books indifferently; reading the first
lesson from the Hebrew book, and the second from the Greek.  Here
we all assembled on the Sunday after our arrival:  it was affecting
to hear the music and language of our country sounding in this
distant place; to have the decent and manly ceremonial of our
service; the prayers delivered in that noble language.  Even that
stout anti-prelatist, the American consul, who has left his house
and fortune in America in order to witness the coming of the
Millennium, who believes it to be so near that he has brought a
dove with him from his native land (which bird he solemnly informed
us was to survive the expected Advent), was affected by the good
old words and service.  He swayed about and moaned in his place at
various passages; during the sermon he gave especial marks of
sympathy and approbation.  I never heard the service more
excellently and impressively read than by the Bishop's chaplain,
Mr. Veitch.  But it was the music that was most touching I
thought,--the sweet old songs of home.

There was a considerable company assembled:  near a hundred people
I should think.  Our party made a large addition to the usual
congregation.  The Bishop's family is proverbially numerous:  the
consul, and the gentlemen of the mission, have wives, and children,
and English establishments.  These, and the strangers, occupied
places down the room, to the right and left of the desk and
communion-table.  The converts, and the members of the college, in
rather a scanty number, faced the officiating clergyman; before
whom the silver maces of the janissaries were set up, as they set
up the beadles' maces in England.

I made many walks round the city to Olivet and Bethany, to the
tombs of the kings, and the fountains sacred in story.  These are
green and fresh, but all the rest of the landscape seemed to me to
be FRIGHTFUL.  Parched mountains, with a grey bleak olive-tree
trembling here and there; savage ravines and valleys, paved with
tombstones--a landscape unspeakably ghastly and desolate, meet the
eye wherever you wander round about the city.  The place seems
quite adapted to the events which are recorded in the Hebrew
histories.  It and they, as it seems to me, can never be regarded
without terror.  Fear and blood, crime and punishment, follow from
page to page in frightful succession.  There is not a spot at which
you look, but some violent deed has been done there:  some massacre
has been committed, some victim has been murdered, some idol has
been worshipped with bloody and dreadful rites.  Not far from hence
is the place where the Jewish conqueror fought for the possession
of Jerusalem.  "The sun stood still, and hasted not to go down
about a whole day;" so that the Jews might have daylight to destroy
the Amorites, whose iniquities were full, and whose land they were
about to occupy.  The fugitive heathen king, and his allies, were
discovered in their hiding-place, and hanged:  "and the children of
Judah smote Jerusalem with the edge of the sword, and set the city
on fire; and they left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all
that breathed."

I went out at the Zion Gate, and looked at the so-called tomb of
David.  I had been reading all the morning in the Psalms, and his
history in Samuel and Kings.  "Bring thou down Shimei's hoar head
to the grave with blood," are the last words of the dying monarch
as recorded by the history.  What they call the tomb is now a
crumbling old mosque; from which Jew and Christian are excluded
alike.  As I saw it, blazing in the sunshine, with the purple sky
behind it, the glare only served to mark the surrounding desolation
more clearly.  The lonely walls and towers of the city rose hard
by.  Dreary mountains, and declivities of naked stones, were round
about:  they are burrowed with holes in which Christian hermits
lived and died.  You see one green place far down in the valley:
it is called En Rogel.  Adonijah feasted there, who was killed by
his brother Solomon, for asking for Abishag for wife.  The Valley
of Hinnom skirts the hill:  the dismal ravine was a fruitful garden
once.  Ahaz, and the idolatrous kings, sacrificed to idols under
the green trees there, and "caused their children to pass through
the fire."  On the mountain opposite, Solomon, with the thousand
women of his harem, worshipped the gods of all their nations,
"Ashtoreth," and "Milcom, and Molech, the abomination of the
Ammonites."  An enormous charnel-house stands on the hill where the
bodies of dead pilgrims used to be thrown; and common belief has
fixed upon this spot as the Aceldama, which Judas purchased with
the price of his treason.  Thus you go on from one gloomy place to
another, each seared with its bloody tradition.  Yonder is the
Temple, and you think of Titus's soldiery storming its flaming
porches, and entering the city, in the savage defence of which two
million human souls perished.  It was on Mount Zion that Godfrey
and Tancred had their camp:  when the Crusaders entered the mosque,
they rode knee-deep in the blood of its defenders, and of the women
and children who had fled thither for refuge:  it was the victory
of Joshua over again.  Then, after three days of butchery, they
purified the desecrated mosque and went to prayer.  In the centre
of this history of crime rises up the Great Murder of all . . .

I need say no more about this gloomy landscape.  After a man has
seen it once, he never forgets it--the recollection of it seems to
me to follow him like a remorse, as it were to implicate him in the
awful deed which was done there.  Oh! with what unspeakable shame
and terror should one think of that crime, and prostrate himself
before the image of that Divine Blessed Sufferer!


Of course the first visit of the traveller is to the famous Church
of the Sepulchre.

In the archway, leading from the street to the court and church,
there is a little bazaar of Bethlehemites, who must interfere
considerably with the commerce of the Latin fathers.  These men
bawl to you from their stalls, and hold up for your purchase their
devotional baubles,--bushels of rosaries and scented beads, and
carved mother-of-pearl shells, and rude stone salt-cellars and
figures.  Now that inns are established--envoys of these pedlars
attend them on the arrival of strangers, squat all day on the
terraces before your door, and patiently entreat you to buy of
their goods.  Some worthies there are who drive a good trade by
tattooing pilgrims with the five crosses, the arms of Jerusalem;
under which the name of the city is punctured in Hebrew, with the
auspicious year of the Hadji's visit.  Several of our fellow-
travellers submitted to this queer operation, and will carry to
their grave this relic of their journey.  Some of them had engaged
as servant a man at Beyrout, who had served as a lad on board an
English ship in the Mediterranean.  Above his tattooage of the five
crosses, the fellow had a picture of two hearts united, and the
pathetic motto, "Betsy my dear."  He had parted with Betsy my dear
five years before at Malta.  He had known a little English there,
but had forgotten it.  Betsy my dear was forgotten too.  Only her
name remained engraved with a vain simulacrum of constancy on the
faithless rogue's skin:  on which was now printed another token of
equally effectual devotion.  The beads and the tattooing, however,
seem essential ceremonies attendant on the Christian pilgrim's
visit; for many hundreds of years, doubtless, the palmers have
carried off with them these simple reminiscences of the sacred
city.  That symbol has been engraven upon the arms of how many
Princes, Knights, and Crusaders!  Don't you see a moral as
applicable to them as to the swindling Beyrout horseboy?  I have
brought you back that cheap and wholesome apologue, in lieu of any
of the Bethlehemite shells and beads.

After passing through the porch of the pedlars, you come to the
courtyard in front of the noble old towers of the Church of the
Sepulchre, with pointed arches and Gothic traceries, rude, but rich
and picturesque in design.  Here crowds are waiting in the sun,
until it shall please the Turkish guardians of the church-door to
open.  A swarm of beggars sit here permanently:  old tattered hags
with long veils, ragged children, blind old bearded beggars, who
raise up a chorus of prayers for money, holding out their wooden
bowls, or clattering with their sticks on the stones, or pulling
your coat-skirts and moaning and whining; yonder sit a group of
coal-black Coptish pilgrims, with robes and turbans of dark blue,
fumbling their perpetual beads.  A party of Arab Christians have
come up from their tents or villages:  the men half-naked, looking
as if they were beggars, or banditti, upon occasion; the women have
flung their head-cloths back, and are looking at the strangers
under their tattooed eyebrows.  As for the strangers, there is no
need to describe THEM:  that figure of the Englishman, with his
hands in his pockets, has been seen all the world over:  staring
down the crater of Vesuvius, or into a Hottentot kraal--or at a
pyramid, or a Parisian coffee-house, or an Esquimaux hut--with the
same insolent calmness of demeanour.  When the gates of the church
are open, he elbows in among the first, and flings a few scornful
piastres to the Turkish door-keeper; and gazes round easily at the
place, in which people of every other nation in the world are in
tears, or in rapture, or wonder.  He has never seen the place until
now, and looks as indifferent as the Turkish guardian who sits in
the doorway, and swears at the people as they pour in.

Indeed, I believe it is impossible for us to comprehend the source
and nature of the Roman Catholic devotion.  I once went into a
church at Rome at the request of a Catholic friend, who described
the interior to be so beautiful and glorious, that he thought (he
said) it must be like heaven itself.  I found walls hung with cheap
stripes of pink and white calico, altars covered with artificial
flowers, a number of wax candles, and plenty of gilt-paper
ornaments.  The place seemed to me like a shabby theatre; and here
was my friend on his knees at my side, plunged in a rapture of
wonder and devotion.

I could get no better impression out of this the most famous church
in the world.  The deceits are too open and flagrant; the
inconsistencies and contrivances too monstrous.  It is hard even to
sympathise with persons who receive them as genuine; and though (as
I know and saw in the case of my friend at Rome) the believer's
life may be passed in the purest exercise of faith and charity, it
is difficult even to give him credit for honesty, so barefaced seem
the impostures which he professes to believe and reverence.  It
costs one no small effort even to admit the possibility of a
Catholic's credulity:  to share in his rapture and devotion is
still further out of your power; and I could get from this church
no other emotions but those of shame and pain.

The legends with which the Greeks and Latins have garnished the
spot have no more sacredness for you than the hideous, unreal,
barbaric pictures and ornaments which they have lavished on it.
Look at the fervour with which pilgrims kiss and weep over a tawdry
Gothic painting, scarcely better fashioned than an idol in a South
Sea Morai.  The histories which they are called upon to reverence
are of the same period and order,--savage Gothic caricatures.  In
either a saint appears in the costume of the middle ages, and is
made to accommodate himself to the fashion of the tenth century.

The different churches battle for the possession of the various
relics.  The Greeks show you the Tomb of Melchisedec, while the
Armenians possess the Chapel of the Penitent Thief; the poor Copts
(with their little cabin of a chapel) can yet boast of possessing
the thicket in which Abraham caught the Ram, which was to serve as
the vicar of Isaac; the Latins point out the Pillar to which the
Lord was bound.  The place of the Invention of the Sacred Cross,
the Fissure in the Rock of Golgotha, the Tomb of Adam himself--are
all here within a few yards' space.  You mount a few steps, and are
told it is Calvary upon which you stand.  All this in the midst of
blaring candles, reeking incense, savage pictures of Scripture
story, or portraits of kings who have been benefactors to the
various chapels; a din and clatter of strange people,--these
weeping, bowing, kissing,--those utterly indifferent; and the
priests clad in outlandish robes, snuffling and chanting
incomprehensible litanies, robing, disrobing, lighting up candles
or extinguishing them, advancing, retreating, bowing with all sorts
of unfamiliar genuflexions.  Had it pleased the inventors of the
Sepulchre topography to have fixed on fifty more spots of ground as
the places of the events of the sacred story, the pilgrim would
have believed just as now.  The priest's authority has so mastered
his faith, that it accommodates itself to any demand upon it; and
the English stranger looks on the scene, for the first time, with a
feeling of scorn, bewilderment, and shame at that grovelling
credulity, those strange rites and ceremonies, that almost
confessed imposture.

Jarred and distracted by these, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,
for some time, seems to an Englishman the least sacred spot about
Jerusalem.  It is the lies, and the legends, and the priests, and
their quarrels, and their ceremonies, which keep the Holy Place out
of sight.  A man has not leisure to view it, for the brawling of
the guardians of the spot.  The Roman conquerors, they say, raised
up a statue of Venus in this sacred place, intending to destroy all
memory of it.  I don't think the heathen was as criminal as the
Christian is now.  To deny and disbelieve, is not so bad as to make
belief a ground to cheat upon.  The liar Ananias perished for that;
and yet out of these gates, where angels may have kept watch--out
of the tomb of Christ--Christian priests issue with a lie in their
hands.  What a place to choose for imposture, good God! to sully
with brutal struggles for self-aggrandisement or shameful schemes
of gain!

The situation of the Tomb (into which, be it authentic or not, no
man can enter without a shock of breathless fear, and deep and
awful self-humiliation) must have struck all travellers.  It stands
in the centre of the arched rotunda, which is common to all
denominations, and from which branch off the various chapels
belonging to each particular sect.  In the Coptic chapel I saw one
coal-black Copt, in blue robes, cowering in the little cabin,
surrounded by dingy lamps, barbarous pictures, and cheap faded
trumpery.  In the Latin Church there was no service going on, only
two fathers dusting the mouldy gewgaws along the brown walls, and
laughing to one another.  The gorgeous church of the Fire
impostors, hard by, was always more fully attended; as was that of
their wealthy neighbours, the Armenians.  These three main sects
hate each other; their quarrels are interminable; each bribes and
intrigues with the heathen lords of the soil, to the prejudice of
his neighbour.  Now it is the Latins who interfere, and allow the
common church to go to ruin, because the Greeks purpose to roof it;
now the Greeks demolish a monastery on Mount Olivet, and leave the
ground to the Turks, rather than allow the Armenians to possess it.
On another occasion, the Greeks having mended the Armenian steps
which lead to the (so-called) Cave of the Nativity at Bethlehem,
the latter asked for permission to destroy the work of the Greeks,
and did so.  And so round this sacred spot, the centre of
Christendom, the representatives of the three great sects worship
under one roof, and hate each other!

Above the Tomb of the Saviour, the cupola is OPEN, and you see the
blue sky overhead.  Which of the builders was it that had the grace
to leave that under the high protection of Heaven, and not confine
it under the mouldering old domes and roofs, which cover so much
selfishness, and uncharitableness, and imposture?


We went to Bethlehem, too; and saw the apocryphal wonders there.

Five miles' ride brings you from Jerusalem to it, over naked wavy
hills; the aspect of which, however, grows more cheerful as you
approach the famous village.  We passed the Convent of Mar Elyas on
the road, walled and barred like a fort.  In spite of its strength,
however, it has more than once been stormed by the Arabs, and the
luckless fathers within put to death.  Hard by was Rebecca's Well:
a dead body was lying there, and crowds of male and female mourners
dancing and howling round it.  Now and then a little troop of
savage scowling horsemen--a shepherd driving his black sheep, his
gun over his shoulder--a troop of camels--or of women, with long
blue robes and white veils, bearing pitchers, and staring at the
strangers with their great solemn eyes--or a company of labourers,
with their donkeys, bearing grain or grapes to the city,--met us
and enlivened the little ride.  It was a busy and cheerful scene.
The Church of the Nativity, with the adjoining convents, forms a
vast and noble Christian structure.  A party of travellers were
going to the Jordan that day, and scores of their followers--of the
robbing Arabs, who profess to protect them (magnificent figures
some of them, with flowing haicks and turbans, with long guns and
scimitars, and wretched horses, covered with gaudy trappings), were
standing on the broad pavement before the little convent gate.  It
was such a scene as Cattermole might paint.  Knights and Crusaders
may have witnessed a similar one.  You could fancy them issuing out
of the narrow little portal, and so greeted by the swarms of
swarthy clamorous women and merchants and children.

The scene within the building was of the same Gothic character.  We
were entertained by the Superior of the Greek Convent, in a fine
refectory, with ceremonies and hospitalities that pilgrims of the
middle ages might have witnessed.  We were shown over the
magnificent Barbaric Church, visited of course the Grotto where the
Blessed Nativity is said to have taken place, and the rest of the
idols set up for worship by the clumsy legend.  When the visit was
concluded, the party going to the Dead Sea filed off with their
armed attendants; each individual traveller making as brave a show
as he could, and personally accoutred with warlike swords and
pistols.  The picturesque crowds, and the Arabs and the horsemen,
in the sunshine; the noble old convent, and the grey-bearded
priests, with their feast; and the church, and its pictures and
columns, and incense; the wide brown hills spreading round the
village; with the accidents of the road,--flocks and shepherds,
wells and funerals, and camel-trains,--have left on my mind a
brilliant, romantic, and cheerful picture.  But you, dear M-,
without visiting the place, have imagined one far finer; and
Bethlehem, where the Holy Child was born, and the angels sang,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill
towards men," is the most sacred and beautiful spot in the earth to
you.


By far the most comfortable quarters in Jerusalem are those of the
Armenians, in their convent of St. James.  Wherever we have been,
these Eastern quakers look grave, and jolly, and sleek.  Their
convent at Mount Zion is big enough to contain two or three
thousand of their faithful; and their church is ornamented by the
most rich and hideous gifts ever devised by uncouth piety.  Instead
of a bell, the fat monks of the convent beat huge noises on a
board, and drub the faithful in to prayers.  I never saw men more
lazy and rosy than these reverend fathers, kneeling in their
comfortable matted church, or sitting in easy devotion.  Pictures,
images, gilding, tinsel, wax candles, twinkle all over the place;
and ten thousand ostrichs' eggs (or any lesser number you may
allot) dangle from the vaulted ceiling.  There were great numbers
of people at worship in this gorgeous church:  they went on their
knees, kissing the walls with much fervour, and paying reverence to
the most precious relic of the convent,--the chair of St. James,
their patron, the first Bishop of Jerusalem.

The chair pointed out with greatest pride in the church of the
Latin Convent, is that shabby red damask one appropriated to the
French Consul,--the representative of the King of that nation,--and
the protection which it has from time immemorial accorded to the
Christians of the Latin rite in Syria.  All French writers and
travellers speak of this protection with delightful complacency.
Consult the French books of travel on the subject, and any
Frenchman whom you may meet:  he says, "La France, Monsieur, de
tous les temps protege les Chretiens d'Orient;" and the little
fellow looks round the church with a sweep of the arm, and protects
it accordingly.  It is bon ton for them to go in processions; and
you see them on such errands, marching with long candles, as
gravely as may be.  But I have never been able to edify myself with
their devotion; and the religious outpourings of Lamartine and
Chateaubriand, which we have all been reading a propos of the
journey we are to make, have inspired me with an emotion anything
but respectful.  "Voyez comme M. de Chateaubriand prie Dieu," the
Viscount's eloquence seems always to say.  There is a sanctified
grimace about the little French pilgrim which it is very difficult
to contemplate gravely.

The pictures, images, and ornaments of the principal Latin convent
are quite mean and poor, compared to the wealth of the Armenians.
The convent is spacious, but squalid.  Many hopping and crawling
plagues are said to attack the skins of pilgrims who sleep there.
It is laid out in courts and galleries, the mouldy doors of which
are decorated with twopenny pictures of favourite saints and
martyrs; and so great is the shabbiness and laziness, that you
might fancy yourself in a convent in Italy.  Brown-clad fathers,
dirty, bearded, and sallow, go gliding about the corridors.  The
relic manufactory before mentioned carries on a considerable
business, and despatches bales of shells, crosses, and beads to
believers in Europe.  These constitute the chief revenue of the
convent now.  La France is no longer the most Christian kingdom,
and her protection of the Latins is not good for much since Charles
X. was expelled; and Spain, which used likewise to be generous on
occasions (the gifts, arms, candlesticks, baldaquins of the Spanish
sovereigns figure pretty frequently in the various Latin chapels),
has been stingy since the late disturbances, the spoliation of the
clergy, &c.  After we had been taken to see the humble curiosities
of the place, the Prior treated us in his wooden parlour with
little glasses of pink Rosolio, brought with many bows and
genuflexions by his reverence the convent butler.

After this community of holy men, the most important perhaps is the
American Convent, a Protestant congregation of Independents
chiefly, who deliver tracts, propose to make converts, have
meetings of their own, and also swell the little congregation that
attends the Anglican service.  I have mentioned our fellow-
traveller, the Consul-General for Syria of the United States.  He
was a tradesman, who had made a considerable fortune, and lived at
a country-house in comfortable retirement.  But his opinion is,
that the prophecies of Scripture are about to be accomplished; that
the day of the return of the Jews is at hand, and the glorification
of the restored Jerusalem.  He is to witness this--he and a
favourite dove with which he travels; and he forsook home and
comfortable country-house, in order to make this journey.  He has
no other knowledge of Syria but what he derives from the prophecy;
and this (as he takes the office gratis) has been considered a
sufficient reason for his appointment by the United States
Government.  As soon as he arrived, he sent and demanded an
interview with the Pasha; explained to him his interpretation of
the Apocalypse, in which he has discovered that the Five Powers and
America are about to intervene in Syrian affairs, and the
infallible return of the Jews to Palestine.  The news must have
astonished the Lieutenant of the Sublime Porte; and since the days
of the Kingdom of Munster, under his Anabaptist Majesty, John of
Leyden, I doubt whether any Government has received or appointed so
queer an ambassador.  The kind, worthy, simple man took me to his
temporary consulate-house at the American Missionary Establishment;
and, under pretence of treating me to white wine, expounded his
ideas; talked of futurity as he would about an article in The
Times; and had no more doubt of seeing a divine kingdom established
in Jerusalem than you that there would be a levee next spring at
St. James's.  The little room in which we sat was padded with
missionary tracts, but I heard of scarce any converts--not more
than are made by our own Episcopal establishment.

But if the latter's religious victories are small, and very few
people are induced by the American tracts, and the English
preaching and catechising, to forsake their own manner of
worshipping the Divine Being in order to follow ours; yet surely
our religious colony of men and women can't fail to do good, by the
sheer force of good example, pure life, and kind offices.  The
ladies of the mission have numbers of clients, of all persuasions,
in the town, to whom they extend their charities.  Each of their
houses is a model of neatness, and a dispensary of gentle
kindnesses; and the ecclesiastics have formed a modest centre of
civilisation in the place.  A dreary joke was made in the House of
Commons about Bishop Alexander and the Bishopess his lady, and the
Bishoplings his numerous children, who were said to have
scandalised the people of Jerusalem.  That sneer evidently came
from the Latins and Greeks; for what could the Jews and Turks care
because an English clergyman had a wife and children as their own
priests have?  There was no sort of ill will exhibited towards
them, as far as I could learn; and I saw the Bishop's children
riding about the town as safely as they could about Hyde Park.  All
Europeans, indeed, seemed to me to be received with forbearance,
and almost courtesy, within the walls.  As I was going about making
sketches, the people would look on very good-humouredly, without
offering the least interruption; nay, two or three were quite ready
to stand still for such an humble portrait as my pencil could make
of them; and the sketch done, it was passed from one person to
another, each making his comments, and signifying a very polite
approval.  Here are a pair of them, {2} Fath Allah and Ameenut
Daoodee his father, horse-dealers by trade, who came and sat with
us at the inn, and smoked pipes (the sun being down), while the
original of the above masterpiece was made.  With the Arabs outside
the walls, however, and the freshly arriving country people, this
politeness was not so much exhibited.  There was a certain tattooed
girl, with black eyes and huge silver earrings, and a chin
delicately picked out with blue, who formed one of a group of women
outside the great convent, whose likeness I longed to carry off;--
there was a woman with a little child, with wondering eyes, drawing
water at the Pool of Siloam, in such an attitude and dress as
Rebecca may have had when Isaac's lieutenant asked her for drink:-
both of these parties standing still for half a minute, at the next
cried out for backsheesh:  and not content with the five piastres
which I gave them individually, screamed out for more, and summoned
their friends, who screamed out backsheesh too.  I was pursued into
the convent by a dozen howling women calling for pay, barring the
door against them, to the astonishment of the worthy papa who kept
it; and at Miriam's Well the women were joined by a man with a
large stick, who backed their petition.  But him we could afford to
laugh at, for we were two and had sticks likewise.

In the village of Siloam I would not recommend the artist to
loiter.  A colony of ruffians inhabit the dismal place, who have
guns as well as sticks at need.  Their dogs howl after the
strangers as they pass through; and over the parapets of their
walls you are saluted by the scowls of a villanous set of
countenances, that it is not good to see with one pair of eyes.
They shot a man at mid-day at a few hundred yards from the gates
while we were at Jerusalem, and no notice was taken of the murder.
Hordes of Arab robbers infest the neighbourhood of the city, with
the Sheikhs of whom travellers make terms when minded to pursue
their journey.  I never could understand why the walls stopped
these warriors if they had a mind to plunder the city, for there
are but a hundred and fifty men in the garrison to man the long
lonely lines of defence.


I have seen only in Titian's pictures those magnificent purple
shadows in which the hills round about lay, as the dawn rose
faintly behind them; and we looked at Olivet for the last time from
our terrace, where we were awaiting the arrival of the horses that
were to carry us to Jaffa.  A yellow moon was still blazing in the
midst of countless brilliant stars overhead; the nakedness and
misery of the surrounding city were hidden in that beautiful rosy
atmosphere of mingling night and dawn.  The city never looked so
noble; the mosques, domes, and minarets rising up into the calm
star-lit sky.

By the gate of Bethlehem there stands one palm-tree, and a house
with three domes.  Put these and the huge old Gothic gate as a
background dark against the yellowing eastern sky:  the foreground
is a deep grey:  as you look into it dark forms of horsemen come
out of the twilight:  now there come lanterns, more horsemen, a
litter with mules, a crowd of Arab horseboys and dealers
accompanying their beasts to the gate; all the members of our party
come up by twos and threes; and, at last, the great gate opens just
before sunrise, and we get into the grey plains.

Oh! the luxury of an English saddle!  An English servant of one of
the gentlemen of the mission procured it for me, on the back of a
little mare, which (as I am a light weight) did not turn a hair in
the course of the day's march--and after we got quit of the ugly,
stony, clattering, mountainous Abou Gosh district, into the fair
undulating plain, which stretches to Ramleh, carried me into the
town at a pleasant hand-gallop.  A negro, of preternatural
ugliness, in a yellow gown, with a crimson handkerchief streaming
over his head, digging his shovel spurs into the lean animal he
rode, and driving three others before--swaying backwards and
forwards on his horse, now embracing his ears, and now almost under
his belly, screaming "yallah" with the most frightful shrieks, and
singing country songs--galloped along ahead of me.  I acquired one
of his poems pretty well, and could imitate his shriek accurately;
but I shall not have the pleasure of singing it to you in England.
I had forgotten the delightful dissonance two days after, both the
negro's and that of a real Arab minstrel, a donkey-driver
accompanying our baggage, who sang and grinned with the most
amusing good-humour.

We halted, in the middle of the day, in a little wood of olive-
trees, which forms almost the only shelter between Jaffa and
Jerusalem, except that afforded by the orchards in the odious
village of Abou Gosh, through which we went at a double quick pace.
Under the olives, or up in the branches, some of our friends took a
siesta.  I have a sketch of four of them so employed.  Two of them
were dead within a month of the fatal Syrian fever.  But we did not
know how near fate was to us then.  Fires were lighted, and fowls
and eggs divided, and tea and coffee served round in tin panikins,
and here we lighted pipes, and smoked and laughed at our ease.  I
believe everybody was happy to be out of Jerusalem.  The impression
I have of it now is of ten days passed in a fever.

We all found quarters in the Greek convent at Ramleh, where the
monks served us a supper on a terrace, in a pleasant sunset; a
beautiful and cheerful landscape stretching around; the land in
graceful undulations, the towers and mosques rosy in the sunset,
with no lack of verdure, especially of graceful palms.  Jaffa was
nine miles off.  As we rode all the morning we had been accompanied
by the smoke of our steamer, twenty miles off at sea.

The convent is a huge caravanserai; only three or four monks dwell
in it, the ghostly hotel-keepers of the place.  The horses were
tied up and fed in the courtyard, into which we rode; above were
the living-rooms, where there is accommodation, not only for an
unlimited number of pilgrims, but for a vast and innumerable host
of hopping and crawling things, who usually persist in partaking of
the traveller's bed.  Let all thin-skinned travellers in the East
be warned on no account to travel without the admirable invention
described in Mr. Fellowes's book; nay, possibly invented by that
enterprising and learned traveller.  You make a sack, of calico or
linen, big enough for the body, appended to which is a closed
chimney of muslin, stretched out by cane hoops, and fastened up to
a beam, or against the wall.  You keep a sharp eye to see that no
flea or bug is on the look-out, and when assured of this, you pop
into the bag, tightly closing the orifice after you.  This
admirable bug-disappointer I tried at Ramleh, and had the only
undisturbed night's rest I enjoyed in the East.  To be sure it was
a short night, for our party were stirring at one o'clock, and
those who got up insisted on talking and keeping awake those who
inclined to sleep.  But I shall never forget the terror inspired in
my mind, being shut up in the bug-disappointer, when a facetious
lay-brother of the convent fell upon me and began tickling me.  I
never had the courage again to try the anti-flea contrivance,
preferring the friskiness of those animals to the sports of such a
greasy grinning wag as my friend at Ramleh.

In the morning, and long before sunrise, our little caravan was in
marching order again.  We went out with lanterns and shouts of
"yallah" through the narrow streets, and issued into the plain,
where, though there was no moon, there were blazing stars shining
steadily overhead.  They become friends to a man who travels,
especially under the clear Eastern sky; whence they look down as if
protecting you, solemn, yellow, and refulgent.  They seem nearer to
you than in Europe; larger and more awful.  So we rode on till the
dawn rose, and Jaffa came in view.  The friendly ship was lying out
in waiting for us; the horses were given up to their owners; and in
the midst of a crowd of naked beggars, and a perfect storm of
curses and yells for backsheesh, our party got into their boats,
and to the ship, where we were welcomed by the very best captain
that ever sailed upon this maritime globe, namely, Captain Samuel
Lewis, of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's Service.



CHAPTER XIV:  FROM JAFFA TO ALEXANDRIA



[From the Providor's Log-book.]

Bill of Fare, October 12th.

Mulligatawny Soup.
Salt Fish and Egg Sauce.
Roast Haunch of Mutton.
Boiled Shoulder and Onion Sauce.
Boiled Beef.
Roast Fowls.
Pillau ditto.
Ham.
Haricot Mutton.
Curry and Rice.

Cabbage.
French Beans.
Boiled Potatoes.
Baked ditto.
Damson Tart.  Rice Puddings.
Currant ditto.  Currant Fritters.

We were just at the port's mouth--and could see the towers and
buildings of Alexandria rising purple against the sunset, when the
report of a gun came booming over the calm golden water; and we
heard, with much mortification, that we had no chance of getting
pratique that night.  Already the ungrateful passengers had begun
to tire of the ship,--though in our absence in Syria it had been
carefully cleansed and purified; though it was cleared of the
swarming Jews who had infested the decks all the way from
Constantinople; and though we had been feasting and carousing in
the manner described above.

But very early next morning we bore into the harbour, busy with a
great quantity of craft.  We passed huge black hulks of mouldering
men-of-war, from the sterns of which trailed the dirty red flag,
with the star and crescent; boats, manned with red-capped seamen,
and captains and steersmen in beards and tarbooshes, passed
continually among these old hulks, the rowers bending to their
oars, so that at each stroke they disappeared bodily in the boat.
Besides these, there was a large fleet of country ships, and stars
and stripes, and tricolours, and Union Jacks; and many active
steamers, of the French and English companies, shooting in and out
of the harbour, or moored in the briny waters.  The ship of our
company, the "Oriental," lay there--a palace upon the brine, and
some of the Pasha's steam-vessels likewise, looking very like
Christian boats; but it was queer to look at some unintelligible
Turkish flourish painted on the stern, and the long-tailed Arabian
hieroglyphics gilt on the paddle-boxes.  Our dear friend and
comrade of Beyrout (if we may be permitted to call her so), H.M.S.
"Trump," was in the harbour; and the captain of that gallant ship,
coming to greet us, drove some of us on shore in his gig.

I had been preparing myself overnight, by the help of a cigar and a
moonlight contemplation on deck, for sensations on landing in
Egypt.  I was ready to yield myself up with solemnity to the mystic
grandeur of the scene of initiation.  Pompey's Pillar must stand
like a mountain, in a yellow plain, surrounded by a grove of
obelisks as tall as palm-trees.  Placid sphinxes brooding o'er the
Nile--mighty Memnonian countenances calm--had revealed Egypt to me
in a sonnet of Tennyson's, and I was ready to gaze on it with
pyramidal wonder and hieroglyphic awe.

The landing quay at Alexandria is like the dockyard quay at
Portsmouth:  with a few score of brown faces scattered among the
population.  There are slop-sellers, dealers in marine-stores,
bottled-porter shops, seamen lolling about; flys and cabs are
plying for hire; and a yelling chorus of donkey-boys, shrieking,
"Ride, sir!--Donkey, sir!--I say, sir!" in excellent English,
dispel all romantic notions.  The placid sphinxes brooding o'er the
Nile disappeared with that shriek of the donkey-boys.  You might be
as well impressed with Wapping as with your first step on Egyptian
soil.

The riding of a donkey is, after all, not a dignified occupation.
A man resists the offer at first, somehow, as an indignity.  How is
that poor little, red-saddled, long-eared creature to carry you?
Is there to be one for you, and another for your legs?  Natives and
Europeans, of all sizes, pass by, it is true, mounted upon the same
contrivance.  I waited until I got into a very private spot, where
nobody could see me, and then ascended--why not say descended, at
once?--on the poor little animal.  Instead of being crushed at
once, as perhaps the rider expected, it darted forward, quite
briskly and cheerfully, at six or seven miles an hour; requiring no
spur or admonitive to haste, except the shrieking of the little
Egyptian gamin, who ran along by asinus's side.

The character of the houses by which you pass is scarcely Eastern
at all.  The streets are busy with a motley population of Jews and
Armenians, slave-driving-looking Europeans, large-breeched Greeks,
and well-shaven buxom merchants, looking as trim and fat as those
on the Bourse or on 'Change; only, among the natives, the stranger
can't fail to remark (as the Caliph did of the Calenders in the
"Arabian Nights") that so many of them HAVE ONLY ONE EYE.  It is
the horrid ophthalmia which has played such frightful ravages with
them.  You see children sitting in the doorways, their eyes
completely closed up with the green sickening sore, and the flies
feeding on them.  Five or six minutes of the donkey-ride brings you
to the Frank quarter, and the handsome broad street (like a street
of Marseilles) where the principal hotels and merchants' houses are
to be found, and where the consuls have their houses, and hoist
their flags.  The palace of the French Consul-General makes the
grandest show in the street, and presents a great contrast to the
humble abode of the English representative, who protects his
fellow-countrymen from a second floor.

But that Alexandrian two-pair-front of a Consulate was more welcome
and cheering than a palace to most of us.  For there lay certain
letters, with post-marks of HOME upon them; and kindly tidings, the
first heard for two months:- though we had seen so many men and
cities since, that Cornhill seemed to be a year off, at least, with
certain persons dwelling (more or less) in that vicinity.  I saw a
young Oxford man seize his despatches, and slink off with several
letters, written in a tight neat hand, and sedulously crossed;
which any man could see, without looking farther, were the
handiwork of Mary Ann, to whom he is attached.  The lawyer received
a bundle from his chambers, in which his clerk eased his soul
regarding the state of Snooks v. Rodgers, Smith ats Tomkins, &c.
The statesman had a packet of thick envelopes, decorated with that
profusion of sealing-wax in which official recklessness lavishes
the resources of the country:  and your humble servant got just one
little modest letter, containing another, written in pencil
characters, varying in size between one and two inches; but how
much pleasanter to read than my Lord's despatch, or the clerk's
account of Smith ats Tomkins,--yes, even than the Mary Ann
correspondence! . . . Yes, my dear madam, you will understand me,
when I say that it was from little Polly at home, with some
confidential news about a cat, and the last report of her new doll.

It is worth while to have made the journey for this pleasure:  to
have walked the deck on long nights, and have thought of home.  You
have no leisure to do so in the city.  You don't see the heavens
shine above you so purely there, or the stars so clearly.  How,
after the perusal of the above documents, we enjoyed a file of the
admirable Galignani; and what O'Connell was doing; and the twelve
last new victories of the French in Algeria; and, above all, six or
seven numbers of Punch!  There might have been an avenue of
Pompey's Pillars within reach, and a live sphinx sporting on the
banks of the Mahmoodieh Canal, and we would not have stirred to see
them, until Punch had had his interview and Galignani was
dismissed.

The curiosities of Alexandria are few, and easily seen.  We went
into the bazaars, which have a much more Eastern look than the
European quarter, with its Anglo-Gallic-Italian inhabitants, and
Babel-like civilisation.  Here and there a large hotel, clumsy and
whitewashed, with Oriental trellised windows, and a couple of
slouching sentinels at the doors, in the ugliest composite uniform
that ever was seen, was pointed out as the residence of some great
officer of the Pasha's Court, or of one of the numerous children of
the Egyptian Solomon.  His Highness was in his own palace, and was
consequently not visible.  He was in deep grief, and strict
retirement.  It was at this time that the European newspapers
announced that he was about to resign his empire; but the quidnuncs
of Alexandria hinted that a love-affair, in which the old potentate
had engaged with senile extravagance, and the effects of a potion
of hachisch, or some deleterious drug, with which he was in the
habit of intoxicating himself, had brought on that languor and
desperate weariness of life and governing, into which the venerable
Prince was plunged.  Before three days were over, however, the fit
had left him, and he determined to live and reign a little longer.
A very few days afterwards several of our party were presented to
him at Cairo, and found the great Egyptian ruler perfectly
convalescent.

This, and the Opera, and the quarrels of the two prime donne, and
the beauty of one of them, formed the chief subjects of
conversation; and I had this important news in the shop of a
certain barber in the town, who conveyed it in a language composed
of French, Spanish, and Italian, and with a volubility quite worthy
of a barber of "Gil Blas."

Then we went to see the famous obelisk presented by Mehemet Ali to
the British Government, who have not shown a particular alacrity to
accept this ponderous present.  The huge shaft lies on the ground,
prostrate, and desecrated by all sorts of abominations.  Children
were sprawling about, attracted by the dirt there.  Arabs, negroes,
and donkey-boys were passing, quite indifferent, by the fallen
monster of a stone--as indifferent as the British Government, who
don't care for recording the glorious termination of their Egyptian
campaign of 1801.  If our country takes the compliment so coolly,
surely it would be disloyal upon our parts to be more enthusiastic.
I wish they would offer the Trafalgar Square Pillar to the
Egyptians; and that both of the huge ugly monsters were lying in
the dirt there side by side.

Pompey's Pillar is by no means so big as the Charing Cross trophy.
This venerable column has not escaped ill-treatment either.
Numberless ships' companies, travelling cockneys, &c., have affixed
their rude marks upon it.  Some daring ruffian even painted the
name of "Warren's blacking" upon it, effacing other inscriptions,--
one, Wilkinson says, of "the second Psammetichus."  I regret
deeply, my dear friend, that I cannot give you this document
respecting a lamented monarch, in whose history I know you take
such an interest.

The best sight I saw in Alexandria was a negro holiday; which was
celebrated outside of the town by a sort of negro village of huts,
swarming with old, lean, fat, ugly, infantine, happy faces, that
nature had smeared with a preparation even more black and durable
than that with which Psammetichus's base has been polished.  Every
one of these jolly faces was on the broad grin, from the dusky
mother to the india-rubber child sprawling upon her back, and the
venerable jetty senior whose wool was as white as that of a sheep
in Florian's pastorals.

To these dancers a couple of fellows were playing on a drum and a
little banjo.  They were singing a chorus, which was not only
singular, and perfectly marked in the rhythm, but exceeding sweet
in the tune.  They danced in a circle; and performers came trooping
from all quarters, who fell into the round, and began waggling
their heads, and waving their left hands, and tossing up and down
the little thin rods which they each carried, and all singing to
the very best of their power.

I saw the chief eunuch of the Grand Turk at Constantinople pass by-
-(here is an accurate likeness of his beautiful features {2})--but
with what a different expression!  Though he is one of the greatest
of the great in the Turkish Empire (ranking with a Cabinet Minister
or Lord Chamberlain here), his fine countenance was clouded with
care, and savage with ennui.

Here his black brethren were ragged, starving, and happy; and I
need not tell such a fine moralist as you are, how it is the case,
in the white as well as the black world, that happiness (republican
leveller, who does not care a fig for the fashion) often disdains
the turrets of kings, to pay a visit to the "tabernas pauperum."

We went the round of the coffee-houses in the evening, both the
polite European places of resort, where you get ices and the French
papers, and those in the town, where Greeks, Turks, and general
company resort, to sit upon uncomfortable chairs, and drink
wretched muddy coffee, and to listen to two or three miserable
musicians, who keep up a variation of howling for hours together.
But the pretty song of the niggers had spoiled me for that
abominable music.



CHAPTER XV:  TO CAIRO



We had no need of hiring the country boats which ply on the
Mahmoodieh Canal to Atfeh, where it joins the Nile, but were
accommodated in one of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's fly-
boats; pretty similar to those narrow Irish canal boats in which
the enterprising traveller has been carried from Dublin to
Ballinasloe.  The present boat was, to be sure, tugged by a little
steamer, so that the Egyptian canal is ahead of the Irish in so
far:  in natural scenery, the one prospect is fully equal to the
other; it must be confessed that there is nothing to see.  In
truth, there was nothing but this:  you saw a muddy bank on each
side of you, and a blue sky overhead.  A few round mud-huts and
palm-trees were planted along the line here and there.  Sometimes
we would see, on the water-side, a woman in a blue robe, with her
son by her, in that tight brown costume with which Nature had
supplied him.  Now, it was a hat dropped by one of the party into
the water; a brown Arab plunged and disappeared incontinently after
the hat, re-issued from the muddy water, prize in hand, and ran
naked after the little steamer (which was by this time far ahead of
him), his brawny limbs shining in the sun:  then we had half-cold
fowls and bitter ale:  then we had dinner--bitter ale and cold
fowls; with which incidents the day on the canal passed away, as
harmlessly as if we had been in a Dutch trackschuyt.

Towards evening we arrived at the town of Atfeh--half land, half
houses, half palm-trees, with swarms of half-naked people crowding
the rustic shady bazaars, and bartering their produce of fruit or
many-coloured grain.  Here the canal came to a check, ending
abruptly with a large lock.  A little fleet of masts and country
ships were beyond the lock, and it led into THE NILE.

After all, it is something to have seen these red waters.  It is
only low green banks, mud-huts, and palm-clumps, with the sun
setting red behind them, and the great, dull, sinuous river
flashing here and there in the light.  But it is the Nile, the old
Saturn of a stream--a divinity yet, though younger river-gods have
deposed him.  Hail! O venerable father of crocodiles!  We were all
lost in sentiments of the profoundest awe and respect; which we
proved by tumbling down into the cabin of the Nile steamer that was
waiting to receive us, and fighting and cheating for sleeping-
berths.

At dawn in the morning we were on deck; the character had not
altered of the scenery about the river.  Vast flat stretches of
land were on either side, recovering from the subsiding
inundations:  near the mud villages, a country ship or two was
roosting under the date-trees; the landscape everywhere stretching
away level and lonely.  In the sky in the east was a long streak of
greenish light, which widened and rose until it grew to be of an
opal colour, then orange; then, behold, the round red disc of the
sun rose flaming up above the horizon.  All the water blushed as he
got up; the deck was all red; the steersman gave his helm to
another, and prostrated himself on the deck, and bowed his head
eastward, and praised the Maker of the sun:  it shone on his white
turban as he was kneeling, and gilt up his bronzed face, and sent
his blue shadow over the glowing deck.  The distances, which had
been grey, were now clothed in purple; and the broad stream was
illuminated.  As the sun rose higher, the morning blush faded away;
the sky was cloudless and pale, and the river and the surrounding
landscape were dazzlingly clear.

Looking ahead in an hour or two, we saw the Pyramids.  Fancy my
sensations, dear M -:  two big ones and a little one -

! ! !

There they lay, rosy and solemn in the distance--those old,
majestical, mystical, familiar edifices.  Several of us tried to be
impressed; but breakfast supervening, a rush was made at the coffee
and cold pies, and the sentiment of awe was lost in the scramble
for victuals.

Are we so blases of the world that the greatest marvels in it do
not succeed in moving us?  Have society, Pall Mall clubs, and a
habit of sneering, so withered up our organs of veneration that we
can admire no more?  My sensation with regard to the Pyramids was,
that I had seen them before:  then came a feeling of shame that the
view of them should awaken no respect.  Then I wanted (naturally)
to see whether my neighbours were any more enthusiastic than
myself--Trinity College, Oxford, was busy with the cold ham:
Downing Street was particularly attentive to a bunch of grapes:
Figtree Court behaved with decent propriety; he is in good
practice, and of a Conservative turn of mind, which leads him to
respect from principle les faits accomplis:  perhaps he remembered
that one of them was as big as Lincoln's Inn Fields.  But, the
truth is, nobody was seriously moved . . . And why should they,
because of an exaggeration of bricks ever so enormous?  I confess,
for my part, that the Pyramids are very big.


After a voyage of about thirty hours, the steamer brought up at the
quay of Boulak, amidst a small fleet of dirty comfortless cangias,
in which cottons and merchandise were loading and unloading, and a
huge noise and bustle on the shore.  Numerous villas, parks, and
country-houses had begun to decorate the Cairo bank of the stream
ere this:  residences of the Pasha's nobles, who have had orders to
take their pleasure here and beautify the precincts of the capital;
tall factory chimneys also rise here; there are foundries and
steam-engine manufactories.  These, and the pleasure-houses, stand
as trim as soldiers on parade; contrasting with the swarming,
slovenly, close, tumble-down, Eastern old town, that forms the
outport of Cairo, and was built before the importation of European
taste and discipline.

Here we alighted upon donkeys, to the full as brisk as those of
Alexandria, invaluable to timid riders, and equal to any weight.
We had a Jerusalem pony race into Cairo; my animal beating all the
rest by many lengths.  The entrance to the capital, from Boulak, is
very pleasant and picturesque--over a fair road, and the wide-
planted plain of the Ezbekieh; where are gardens, canals, fields,
and avenues of trees, and where the great ones of the town come and
take their pleasure.  We saw many barouches driving about with fat
Pashas lolling on the cushions; stately-looking colonels and
doctors taking their ride, followed by their orderlies or footmen;
lines of people taking pipes and sherbet in the coffee-houses; and
one of the pleasantest sights of all,--a fine new white building
with HOTEL D'ORIENT written up in huge French characters, and
which, indeed, is an establishment as large and comfortable as most
of the best inns of the South of France.  As a hundred Christian
people, or more, come from England and from India every fortnight,
this inn has been built to accommodate a large proportion of them;
and twice a month, at least, its sixty rooms are full.

The gardens from the windows give a very pleasant and animated
view:  the hotel-gate is besieged by crews of donkey-drivers; the
noble stately Arab women, with tawny skins (of which a simple robe
of floating blue cotton enables you liberally to see the colour)
and large black eyes, come to the well hard by for water:  camels
are perpetually arriving and setting down their loads:  the court
is full of bustling dragomans, ayahs, and children from India; and
poor old venerable he-nurses, with grey beards and crimson turbans,
tending little white-faced babies that have seen the light at
Dumdum or Futtyghur:  a copper-coloured barber, seated on his hams,
is shaving a camel-driver at the great inn-gate.  The bells are
ringing prodigiously; and Lieutenant Waghorn is bouncing in and out
of the courtyard full of business.  He only left Bombay yesterday
morning, was seen in the Red Sea on Tuesday, is engaged to dinner
this afternoon in the Regent's Park, and (as it is about two
minutes since I saw him in the courtyard) I make no doubt he is by
this time at Alexandria, or at Malta, say, perhaps, at both.  Il en
est capable.  If any man can be at two places at once (which I
don't believe or deny) Waghorn is he.

Six o'clock bell rings.  Sixty people sit down to a quasi-French
banquet:  thirty Indian officers in moustaches and jackets; ten
civilians in ditto and spectacles; ten pale-faced ladies with
ringlets, to whom all pay prodigious attention.  All the pale
ladies drink pale ale, which, perhaps, accounts for it; in fact the
Bombay and Suez passengers have just arrived, and hence this
crowding and bustling, and display of military jackets and
moustaches, and ringlets and beauty.  The windows are open, and a
rush of mosquitoes from the Ezbekieh waters, attracted by the wax
candles, adds greatly to the excitement of the scene.  There was a
little tough old Major, who persisted in flinging open the windows,
to admit these volatile creatures, with a noble disregard to their
sting--and the pale ringlets did not seem to heed them either,
though the delicate shoulders of some of them were bare.

All the meat, ragouts, fricandeaux, and roasts, which are served
round at dinner, seem to me to be of the same meat:  a black
uncertain sort of viand do these "fleshpots of Egypt" contain.  But
what the meat is no one knew:  is it the donkey?  The animal is
more plentiful than any other in Cairo.

After dinner, the ladies retiring, some of us take a mixture of hot
water, sugar, and pale French brandy, which is said to be
deleterious, but is by no means unpalatable.  One of the Indians
offers a bundle of Bengal cheroots; and we make acquaintance with
those honest bearded white-jacketed Majors and military Commanders,
finding England here in a French hotel kept by an Italian, at the
city of Grand Cairo, in Africa.

On retiring to bed you take a towel with you into the sacred
interior, behind the mosquito curtains.  Then your duty is, having
tucked the curtains closely around, to flap and bang violently with
this towel, right and left, and backwards and forwards, until every
mosquito should have been massacred that may have taken refuge
within your muslin canopy.

Do what you will, however, one of them always escapes the murder;
and as soon as the candle is out the miscreant begins his infernal
droning and trumpeting; descends playfully upon your nose and face,
and so lightly that you don't know that he touches you.  But that
for a week afterwards you bear about marks of his ferocity, you
might take the invisible little being to be a creature of fancy--a
mere singing in your ears.

This, as an account of Cairo, dear M-, you will probably be
disposed to consider as incomplete:  the fact is, I have seen
nothing else as yet.  I have peered into no harems.  The magicians,
proved to be humbugs, have been bastinadoed out of town.  The
dancing-girls, those lovely Alme, of whom I had hoped to be able to
give a glowing and elegant, though strictly moral, description,
have been whipped into Upper Egypt, and as you are saying in your
mind-- Well, it ISN'T a good description of Cairo:  you are
perfectly right.  It is England in Egypt.  I like to see her there
with her pluck, enterprise, manliness, bitter ale, and Harvey
Sauce.  Wherever they come they stay and prosper.  From the summit
of yonder Pyramids forty centuries may look down on them if they
are minded; and I say, those venerable daughters of time ought to
be better pleased by the examination, than by regarding the French
bayonets and General Bonaparte, Member of the Institute, fifty
years ago, running about with sabre and pigtail.  Wonders he did,
to be sure, and then ran away, leaving Kleber, to be murdered, in
the lurch--a few hundred yards from the spot where these
disquisitions are written.  But what are his wonders compared to
Waghorn?  Nap massacred the Mamelukes at the Pyramids:  Wag has
conquered the Pyramids themselves; dragged the unwieldy structures
a month nearer England than they were, and brought the country
along with them.  All the trophies and captives that ever were
brought to Roman triumph were not so enormous and wonderful as
this.  All the heads that Napoleon ever caused to be struck off (as
George Cruikshank says) would not elevate him a monument as big.
Be ours the trophies of peace!  O my country!  O Waghorn!  Hae tibi
erunt artes.  When I go to the Pyramids I will sacrifice in your
name, and pour out libations of bitter ale and Harvey Sauce in your
honour.

One of the noblest views in the world is to be seen from the
citadel, which we ascended to-day.  You see the city stretching
beneath it, with a thousand minarets and mosques,--the great river
curling through the green plains, studded with innumerable
villages.  The Pyramids are beyond, brilliantly distinct; and the
lines and fortifications of the height, and the arsenal lying
below.  Gazing down, the guide does not fail to point out the
famous Mameluke leap, by which one of the corps escaped death, at
the time that His Highness the Pasha arranged the general massacre
of the body.

The venerable Patriarch's harem is close by, where he received,
with much distinction, some of the members of our party.  We were
allowed to pass very close to the sacred precincts, and saw a
comfortable white European building, approached by flights of
steps, and flanked by pretty gardens.  Police and law-courts were
here also, as I understood; but it was not the time of the Egyptian
assizes.  It would have been pleasant, otherwise, to see the Chief
Cadi in his hall of justice; and painful, though instructive, to
behold the immediate application of the bastinado.

The great lion of the place is a new mosque which Mehemet Ali is
constructing very leisurely.  It is built of alabaster of a fair
white, with a delicate blushing tinge; but the ornaments are
European--the noble, fantastic, beautiful Oriental art is
forgotten.  The old mosques of the city, of which I entered two,
and looked at many, are a thousand times more beautiful.  Their
variety of ornament is astonishing,--the difference in the shapes
of the domes, the beautiful fancies and caprices in the forms of
the minarets, which violate the rules of proportion with the most
happy daring grace, must have struck every architect who has seen
them.  As you go through the streets, these architectural beauties
keep the eye continually charmed:  now it is a marble fountain,
with its arabesque and carved overhanging roof, which you can look
at with as much pleasure as an antique gem, so neat and brilliant
is the execution of it; then, you come to the arched entrance to a
mosque, which shoots up like--like what?--like the most beautiful
pirouette by Taglioni, let us say.  This architecture is not
sublimely beautiful, perfect loveliness and calm, like that which
was revealed to us at the Parthenon (and in comparison of which the
Pantheon and Colosseum are vulgar and coarse, mere broad-shouldered
Titans before ambrosial Jove); but these fantastic spires, and
cupolas, and galleries, excite, amuse, tickle the imagination, so
to speak, and perpetually fascinate the eye.  There were very few
believers in the famous mosque of Sultan Hassan when we visited it,
except the Moslemitish beadle, who was on the look-out for
backsheesh, just like his brother officer in an English cathedral;
and who, making us put on straw slippers, so as not to pollute the
sacred pavement of the place, conducted us through it.

It is stupendously light and airy; the best specimens of Norman art
that I have seen (and surely the Crusaders must have carried home
the models of these heathenish temples in their eyes) do not exceed
its noble grace and simplicity.  The mystics make discoveries at
home, that the Gothic architecture is Catholicism carved in stone--
(in which case, and if architectural beauty is a criterion or
expression of religion, what a dismal barbarous creed must that
expressed by the Bethesda meeting-house and Independent chapels
be?)--if, as they would gravely hint, because Gothic architecture
is beautiful, Catholicism is therefore lovely and right,--why,
Mahometanism must have been right and lovely too once.  Never did a
creed possess temples more elegant; as elegant as the Cathedral at
Rouen, or the Baptistery at Pisa.

But it is changed now.  There was nobody at prayers; only the
official beadles, and the supernumerary guides, who came for
backsheesh.  Faith hath degenerated.  Accordingly they can't build
these mosques, or invent these perfect forms, any more.  Witness
the tawdry incompleteness and vulgarity of the Pasha's new temple,
and the woful failures among the very late edifices in
Constantinople!

However, they still make pilgrimages to Mecca in great force.  The
Mosque of Hassan is hard by the green plain on which the Hag
encamps before it sets forth annually on its pious peregrination.
It was not yet its time, but I saw in the bazaars that redoubted
Dervish, who is the master of the Hag--the leader of every
procession, accompanying the sacred camel; and a personage almost
as much respected as Mr. O'Connell in Ireland.

This fellow lives by alms (I mean the head of the Hag).  Winter and
summer he wears no clothes but a thin and scanty white shirt.  He
wields a staff, and stalks along scowling and barefoot.  His
immense shock of black hair streams behind him, and his brown
brawny body is curled over with black hair, like a savage man.
This saint has the largest harem in the town; he is said to be
enormously rich by the contributions he has levied; and is so
adored for his holiness by the infatuated folk, that when he
returns from the Hag (which he does on horseback, the chief Mollahs
going out to meet him and escort him home in state along the
Ezbekieh road), the people fling themselves down under the horse's
feet, eager to be trampled upon and killed, and confident of heaven
if the great Hadji's horse will but kick them into it.  Was it my
fault if I thought of Hadji Daniel, and the believers in him?

There was no Dervish of repute on the plain when I passed; only one
poor wild fellow, who was dancing, with glaring eyes and grizzled
beard, rather to the contempt of the bystanders, as I thought, who
by no means put coppers into his extended bowl.  On this poor
devil's head there was a poorer devil still--a live cock, entirely
plucked, but ornamented with some bits of ragged tape and scarlet
and tinsel, the most horribly grotesque and miserable object I ever
saw.

A little way from him, there was a sort of play going on--a clown
and a knowing one, like Widdicombe and the clown with us,--the
buffoon answering with blundering responses, which made all the
audience shout with laughter; but the only joke which was
translated to me would make you do anything but laugh, and shall
therefore never be revealed by these lips.  All their humour, my
dragoman tells me, is of this questionable sort; and a young
Egyptian gentleman, son of a Pasha, whom I subsequently met at
Malta, confirmed the statement, and gave a detail of the practices
of private life which was anything but edifying.  The great aim of
woman, he said, in the much-maligned Orient, is to administer to
the brutality of her lord; her merit is in knowing how to vary the
beast's pleasures.  He could give us no idea, he said, of the wit
of the Egyptian women, and their skill in double entendre; nor, I
presume, did we lose much by our ignorance.  What I would urge,
humbly, however, is this--Do not let us be led away by German
writers and aesthetics, Semilassoisms, Hahnhahnisms, and the like.
The life of the East is a life of brutes.  The much maligned
Orient, I am confident, has not been maligned near enough; for the
good reason that none of us can tell the amount of horrible
sensuality practised there.

Beyond the Jack-pudding rascal and his audience, there was on the
green a spot, on which was pointed out to me a mark, as of blood.
That morning the blood had spouted from the neck of an Arnaoot
soldier, who had been executed for murder.  These Arnaoots are the
curse and terror of the citizens.  Their camps are without the
city; but they are always brawling, or drunken, or murdering
within, in spite of the rigid law which is applied to them, and
which brings one or more of the scoundrels to death almost every
week.

Some of our party had seen this fellow borne by the hotel the day
before, in the midst of a crowd of soldiers who had apprehended
him.  The man was still formidable to his score of captors:  his
clothes had been torn off; his limbs were bound with cords; but he
was struggling frantically to get free; and my informant described
the figure and appearance of the naked, bound, writhing savage, as
quite a model of beauty.

Walking in the street, this fellow had just before been struck by
the looks of a woman who was passing, and laid hands on her.  She
ran away, and he pursued her.  She ran into the police-barrack,
which was luckily hard by; but the Arnaoot was nothing daunted, and
followed into the midst of the police.  One of them tried to stop
him.  The Arnaoot pulled out a pistol, and shot the policeman dead.
He cut down three or four more before he was secured.  He knew his
inevitable end must be death:  that he could not seize upon the
woman:  that he could not hope to resist half a regiment of armed
soldiers:  yet his instinct of lust and murder was too strong; and
so he had his head taken off quite calmly this morning, many of his
comrades attending their brother's last moments.  He cared not the
least about dying; and knelt down and had his head off as coolly as
if he were looking on at the same ceremony performed on another.

When the head was off, and the blood was spouting on the ground, a
married woman, who had no children, came forward very eagerly out
of the crowd, to smear herself with it,--the application of
criminals' blood being considered a very favourable medicine for
women afflicted with barrenness,--so she indulged in this remedy.

But one of the Arnaoots standing near said, "What, you like blood,
do you?" (or words to that effect).  "Let's see how yours mixes
with my comrade's."  And thereupon, taking out a pistol, he shot
the woman in the midst of the crowd and the guards who were
attending the execution; was seized of course by the latter; and no
doubt to-morrow morning will have HIS head off too.  It would be a
good chapter to write--the Death of the Arnaoot--but I shan't go.
Seeing one man hanged is quite enough in the course of a life.  J'y
ai ete, as the Frenchman said of hunting.

These Arnaoots are the terror of the town.  They seized hold of an
Englishman the other day, and were very nearly pistolling him.
Last week one of them murdered a shopkeeper at Boulak, who refused
to sell him a water-melon at a price which he, the soldier, fixed
upon it.  So, for the matter of three-halfpence, he killed the
shopkeeper; and had his own rascally head chopped off, universally
regretted by his friends.  Why, I wonder, does not His Highness the
Pasha invite the Arnaoots to a dejeuner at the Citadel, as he did
the Mamelukes, and serve them up the same sort of breakfast?  The
walls are considerably heightened since Emin Bey and his horse
leapt them, and it is probable that not one of them would escape.

This sort of pistol practice is common enough here, it would
appear; and not among the Arnaoots merely, but the higher orders.
Thus, a short time since, one of His Highness's grandsons, whom I
shall call Bluebeard Pasha (lest a revelation of the name of the
said Pasha might interrupt our good relations with his country)--
one of the young Pashas being rather backward in his education, and
anxious to learn mathematics, and the elegant deportment of
civilised life, sent to England for a tutor.  I have heard he was a
Cambridge man, and had learned both algebra and politeness under
the Reverend Doctor Whizzle, of--College.

One day when Mr. MacWhirter, B.A., was walking in Shoubra Gardens,
with His Highness the young Bluebeard Pasha, inducting him into the
usages of polished society, and favouring him with reminiscences of
Trumpington, there came up a poor fellah, who flung himself at the
feet of young Bluebeard, and calling for justice in a loud and
pathetic voice, and holding out a petition, besought His Highness
to cast a gracious eye upon the same, and see that his slave had
justice done him.

Bluebeard Pasha was so deeply engaged and interested by his
respected tutor's conversation, that he told the poor fellah to go
to the deuce, and resumed the discourse which his ill-timed outcry
for justice had interrupted.  But the unlucky wight of a fellah was
pushed by his evil destiny, and thought he would make yet another
application.  So he took a short cut down one of the garden lanes,
and as the Prince and the Reverend Mr. MacWhirter, his tutor, came
along once more engaged in pleasant disquisition, behold the fellah
was once more in their way, kneeling at the august Bluebeard's
feet, yelling out for justice as before, and thrusting his petition
into the Royal face.

When the Prince's conversation was thus interrupted a second time,
his Royal patience and clemency were at an end.  "Man," said he,
"once before I bade thee not to pester me with thy clamour, and lo!
you have disobeyed me,--take the consequences of disobedience to a
Prince, and thy blood be upon thine own head."  So saying, he drew
out a pistol and blew out the brains of that fellah, so that he
never bawled out for justice any more.

The Reverend Mr. MacWhirter was astonished at this sudden mode of
proceeding:  "Gracious Prince," said he, "we do not shoot an
undergraduate at Cambridge even for walking over a college grass-
plot.--Let me suggest to your Royal Highness that this method of
ridding yourself of a poor devil's importunities is such as we
should consider abrupt and almost cruel in Europe.  Let me beg you
to moderate your Royal impetuosity for the future; and, as your
Highness's tutor, entreat you to be a little less prodigal of your
powder and shot."

"O Mollah!" said His Highness, here interrupting his governor's
affectionate appeal,--"you are good to talk about Trumpington and
the Pons Asinorum, but if you interfere with the course of justice
in any way, or prevent me from shooting any dog of an Arab who
snarls at my heels, I have another pistol; and, by the beard of the
Prophet! a bullet for you too."  So saying he pulled out the
weapon, with such a terrific and significant glance at the Reverend
Mr. MacWhirter, that that gentleman wished himself back in his
Combination Room again; and is by this time, let us hope, safely
housed there.

Another facetious anecdote, the last of those I had from a well-
informed gentleman residing at Cairo, whose name (as many copies of
this book that is to be will be in the circulating libraries there)
I cannot, for obvious reasons, mention.  The revenues of the
country come into the august treasury through the means of farmers,
to whom the districts are let out, and who are personally
answerable for their quota of the taxation.  This practice involves
an intolerable deal of tyranny and extortion on the part of those
engaged to levy the taxes, and creates a corresponding duplicity
among the fellahs, who are not only wretchedly poor among
themselves, but whose object is to appear still more poor, and
guard their money from their rapacious overseers.  Thus the Orient
is much maligned; but everybody cheats there:  that is a melancholy
fact.  The Pasha robs and cheats the merchants; knows that the
overseer robs him, and bides his time, until he makes him disgorge
by the application of the tremendous bastinado; the overseer robs
and squeezes the labourer; and the poverty-stricken devil cheats
and robs in return; and so the government moves in a happy cycle of
roguery.

Deputations from the fellahs and peasants come perpetually before
the august presence, to complain of the cruelty and exactions of
the chiefs set over them:  but, as it is known that the Arab never
will pay without the bastinado, their complaints, for the most
part, meet with but little attention.  His Highness's treasury must
be filled, and his officers supported in their authority.

However, there was one village, of which the complaints were so
pathetic, and the inhabitants so supremely wretched, that the Royal
indignation was moved at their story, and the chief of the village,
Skinflint Beg, was called to give an account of himself at Cairo.

When he came before the presence, Mehemet Ali reproached him with
his horrible cruelty and exactions; asked him how he dared to treat
his faithful and beloved subjects in this way, and threatened him
with disgrace, and the utter confiscation of his property, for thus
having reduced a district to ruin.

"Your Highness says I have reduced these fellahs to ruin," said
Skinflint Beg:  "what is the best way to confound my enemies, and
to show you the falsehood of their accusations that I have ruined
them?--To bring more money from them.  If I bring you five hundred
purses from my village, will you acknowledge that my people are not
ruined yet?"

The heart of the Pasha was touched:  "I will have no more
bastinadoing, O Skinflint Beg; you have tortured these poor people
so much, and have got so little from them, that my Royal heart
relents for the present, and I will have them suffer no farther."

"Give me free leave--give me your Highness's gracious pardon, and I
will bring the five hundred purses as surely as my name is
Skinflint Beg.  I demand only the time to go home, the time to
return, and a few days to stay, and I will come back as honestly as
Regulus Pasha did to the Carthaginians,--I will come back and make
my face white before your Highness."

Skinflint Beg's prayer for a reprieve was granted, and he returned
to his village, where he forthwith called the elders together.  "O
friends," he said, "complaints of our poverty and misery have
reached the Royal throne, and the benevolent heart of the Sovereign
has been melted by the words that have been poured into his ears.
'My heart yearns towards my people of El Muddee,' he says; 'I have
thought how to relieve their miseries.  Near them lies the fruitful
land of El Guanee.  It is rich in maize and cotton, in sesame and
barley; it is worth a thousand purses; but I will let it to my
children for seven hundred, and I will give over the rest of the
profit to them, as an alleviation for their affliction.'"

The elders of El Muddee knew the great value and fertility of the
lands of Guanee, but they doubted the sincerity of their governor,
who, however, dispelled their fears, and adroitly quickened their
eagerness to close with the proffered bargain.  "I will myself
advance two hundred and fifty purses," he said; "do you take
counsel among yourselves, and subscribe the other five hundred; and
when the sum is ready, a deputation of you shall carry it to Cairo,
and I will come with my share; and we will lay the whole at the
feet of His Highness."  So the grey-bearded ones of the village
advised with one another; and those who had been inaccessible to
bastinadoes, somehow found money at the calling of interest; and
the Sheikh, and they, and the five hundred purses, set off on the
road to the capital.

When they arrived, Skinflint Beg and the elders of El Muddee sought
admission to the Royal throne, and there laid down their purses.
"Here is your humble servant's contribution," said Skinflint,
producing his share; "and here is the offering of your loyal
village of El Muddee.  Did I not before say that enemies and
deceivers had maligned me before the august presence, pretending
that not a piastre was left in my village, and that my extortion
had entirely denuded the peasantry?  See! here is proof that there
is plenty of money still in El Muddee:  in twelve hours the elders
have subscribed five hundred purses, and lay them at the feet of
their lord."

Instead of the bastinado, Skinflint Beg was instantly rewarded with
the Royal favour, and the former mark of attention was bestowed
upon the fellahs who had maligned him; Skinflint Beg was promoted
to the rank of Skinflint Bey; and his manner of extracting money
from his people may be studied with admiration in a part of the
United Kingdom. {3}


At the time of the Syrian quarrel, and when, apprehending some
general rupture with England, the Pasha wished to raise the spirit
of the fellahs, and relever la morale nationale, he actually made
one of the astonished Arabs a colonel.  He degraded him three days
after peace was concluded.  The young Egyptian colonel, who told me
this, laughed and enjoyed the joke with the utmost gusto.  "Is it
not a shame," he said, "to make me a colonel at three-and-twenty;
I, who have no particular merit, and have never seen any service?"
Death has since stopped the modest and good-natured young fellow's
further promotion.  The death of--Bey was announced in the French
papers a few weeks back.

My above kind-hearted and agreeable young informant used to
discourse, in our evenings in the Lazaretto at Malta, very
eloquently about the beauty of his wife, whom he had left behind
him at Cairo--her brown hair, her brilliant complexion, and her
blue eyes.  It is this Circassian blood, I suppose, to which the
Turkish aristocracy that governs Egypt must be indebted for the
fairness of their skin.  Ibrahim Pasha, riding by in his barouche,
looked like a bluff jolly-faced English dragoon officer, with a
grey moustache and red cheeks, such as you might see on a field-day
at Maidstone.  All the numerous officials riding through the town
were quite as fair as Europeans.  We made acquaintance with one
dignitary, a very jovial and fat Pasha, the proprietor of the inn,
I believe, who was continually lounging about the Ezbekieh garden,
and who, but for a slight Jewish cast of countenance, might have
passed any day for a Frenchman.  The ladies whom we saw were
equally fair; that is, the very slight particles of the persons of
ladies which our lucky eyes were permitted to gaze on.  These
lovely creatures go through the town by parties of three or four,
mounted on donkeys, and attended by slaves holding on at the
crupper, to receive the lovely riders lest they should fall, and
shouting out shrill cries of "Schmaalek," "Ameenek" (or however
else these words may be pronounced), and flogging off the people
right and left with the buffalo-thong.  But the dear creatures are
even more closely disguised than at Constantinople:  their bodies
are enveloped with a large black silk hood, like a cab-head; the
fashion seemed to be to spread their arms out, and give this
covering all the amplitude of which it was capable, as they leered
and ogled you from under their black masks with their big rolling
eyes.

Everybody has big rolling eyes here (unless, to be sure, they lose
one of ophthalmia).  The Arab women are some of the noblest figures
I have ever seen.  The habit of carrying jars on the head always
gives the figure grace and motion; and the dress the women wear
certainly displays it to full advantage.  I have brought a complete
one home with me, at the service of any lady for a masqued ball.
It consists of a coarse blue dress of calico, open in front, and
fastened with a horn button.  Three yards of blue stuff for a veil;
on the top of the veil a jar to be balanced on the head; and a
little black strip of silk to fall over the nose, and leave the
beautiful eyes full liberty to roll and roam.  But such a costume,
not aided by any stays or any other article of dress whatever, can
be worn only by a very good figure.  I suspect it won't be borrowed
for many balls next season.

The men, a tall, handsome, noble race, are treated like dogs.  I
shall never forget riding through the crowded bazaars, my
interpreter, or laquais-de-place, ahead of me to clear the way--
when he took his whip, and struck it over the shoulders of a man
who could not or would not make way!

The man turned round--an old, venerable, handsome face, with
awfully sad eyes, and a beard long and quite grey.  He did not make
the least complaint, but slunk out of the way, piteously shaking
his shoulder.  The sight of that indignity gave me a sickening
feeling of disgust.  I shouted out to the cursed lackey to hold his
hand, and forbade him ever in my presence to strike old or young
more; but everybody is doing it.  The whip is in everybody's hands:
the Pasha's running footman, as he goes bustling through the
bazaar; the doctor's attendant, as he soberly threads the crowd on
his mare; the negro slave, who is riding by himself, the most
insolent of all, strikes and slashes about without mercy, and you
never hear a single complaint.

How to describe the beauty of the streets to you!--the fantastic
splendour; the variety of the houses, and archways, and hanging
roofs, and balconies, and porches; the delightful accidents of
light and shade which chequer them:  the noise, the bustle, the
brilliancy of the crowd; the interminable vast bazaars with their
barbaric splendour.  There is a fortune to be made for painters in
Cairo, and materials for a whole Academy of them.  I never saw such
a variety of architecture, of life, of picturesqueness, of
brilliant colour, and light and shade.  There is a picture in every
street, and at every bazaar stall.  Some of these our celebrated
water-colour painter, Mr. Lewis, has produced with admirable truth
and exceeding minuteness and beauty; but there is room for a
hundred to follow him; and should any artist (by some rare
occurrence) read this, who has leisure, and wants to break new
ground, let him take heart, and try a winter in Cairo, where there
is the finest climate and the best subjects for his pencil.

A series of studies of negroes alone would form a picturebook,
delightfully grotesque.  Mounting my donkey to-day, I took a ride
to the desolate noble old buildings outside the city, known as the
Tombs of the Caliphs.  Every one of these edifices, with their
domes, and courts, and minarets, is strange and beautiful.  In one
of them there was an encampment of negro slaves newly arrived:
some scores of them were huddled against the sunny wall; two or
three of their masters lounged about the court, or lay smoking upon
carpets.  There was one of these fellows, a straight-nosed ebony-
faced Abyssinian, with an expression of such sinister good-humour
in his handsome face as would form a perfect type of villany.  He
sat leering at me, over his carpet, as I endeavoured to get a
sketch of that incarnate rascality.  "Give me some money," said the
fellow.  "I know what you are about.  You will sell my picture for
money when you get back to Europe; let me have some of it now!"
But the very rude and humble designer was quite unable to depict
such a consummation and perfection of roguery; so flung him a
cigar, which he began to smoke, grinning at the giver.  I requested
the interpreter to inform him, by way of assurance of my
disinterestedness, that his face was a great deal too ugly to be
popular in Europe, and that was the particular reason why I had
selected it.

Then one of his companions got up and showed us his black cattle.
The male slaves were chiefly lads, and the women young, well
formed, and abominably hideous.  The dealer pulled her blanket off
one of them, and bade her stand up, which she did with a great deal
of shuddering modesty.  She was coal black, her lips were the size
of sausages, her eyes large and good-humoured; the hair or wool on
this young person's head was curled and greased into a thousand
filthy little ringlets.  She was evidently the beauty of the flock.

They are not unhappy:  they look to being bought, as many a
spinster looks to an establishment in England; once in a family
they are kindly treated and well clothed, and fatten, and are the
merriest people of the whole community.  These were of a much more
savage sort than the slaves I had seen in the horrible market at
Constantinople, where I recollect the following young creature--{2}
(indeed it is a very fair likeness of her) whilst I was looking at
her and forming pathetic conjectures regarding her fate--smiling
very good-humouredly, and bidding the interpreter ask me to buy her
for twenty pounds.

From these Tombs of the Caliphs the Desert is before you.  It comes
up to the walls of the city, and stops at some gardens which spring
up all of a sudden at its edge.  You can see the first Station-
house on the Suez Road; and so from distance-point to point, could
ride thither alone without a guide.

Asinus trotted gallantly into this desert for the space of a
quarter of an hour.  There we were (taking care to keep our back to
the city walls), in the real actual desert:  mounds upon mounds of
sand, stretching away as far as the eye can see, until the dreary
prospect fades away in the yellow horizon!  I had formed a finer
idea of it out of "Eothen."  Perhaps in a simoom it may look more
awful.  The only adventure that befell in this romantic place was
that Asinus's legs went deep into a hole:  whereupon his rider went
over his head, and bit the sand, and measured his length there; and
upon this hint rose up, and rode home again.  No doubt one should
have gone out for a couple of days' march--as it was, the desert
did not seem to me sublime, only UNCOMFORTABLE.

Very soon after this perilous adventure the sun likewise dipped
into the sand (but not to rise therefrom so quickly as I had done);
and I saw this daily phenomenon of sunset with pleasure, for I was
engaged at that hour to dine with our old friend J-, who has
established himself here in the most complete Oriental fashion.

You remember J-, and what a dandy he was, the faultlessness of his
boots and cravats, the brilliancy of his waistcoats and kid-gloves;
we have seen his splendour in Regent Street, in the Tuileries, or
on the Toledo.  My first object on arriving here was to find out
his house, which he has taken far away from the haunts of European
civilisation, in the Arab quarter.  It is situated in a cool,
shady, narrow alley; so narrow, that it was with great difficulty--
His Highness Ibrahim Pasha happening to pass at the same moment--
that my little procession of two donkeys, mounted by self and
valet-de-place, with the two donkey-boys our attendants, could
range ourselves along the wall, and leave room for the august
cavalcade.  His Highness having rushed on (with an affable and
good-humoured salute to our imposing party), we made J.'s quarters;
and, in the first place, entered a broad covered court or porch,
where a swarthy tawny attendant, dressed in blue, with white
turban, keeps a perpetual watch.  Servants in the East lie about
all the doors, it appears; and you clap your hands, as they do in
the dear old "Arabian Nights," to summon them.

This servant disappeared through a narrow wicket, which he closed
after him; and went into the inner chambers, to ask if his lord
would receive us.  He came back presently, and rising up from my
donkey, I confided him to his attendant (lads more sharp, arch, and
wicked than these donkey-boys don't walk the pave of Paris or
London), and passed the mysterious outer door.

First we came into a broad open court, with a covered gallery
running along one side of it.  A camel was reclining on the grass
there; near him was a gazelle, to glad J- with his dark blue eye;
and a numerous brood of hens and chickens, who furnish his liberal
table.  On the opposite side of the covered gallery rose up the
walls of his long, queer, many-windowed, many-galleried house.
There were wooden lattices to those arched windows, through the
diamonds of one of which I saw two of the most beautiful, enormous,
ogling black eyes in the world, looking down upon the interesting
stranger.  Pigeons were flapping, and hopping, and fluttering, and
cooing about.  Happy pigeons, you are, no doubt, fed with crumbs
from the henne-tipped fingers of Zuleika!  All this court, cheerful
in the sunshine, cheerful with the astonishing brilliancy of the
eyes peering out from the lattice-bars, was as mouldy, ancient, and
ruinous--as any gentleman's house in Ireland, let us say.  The
paint was peeling off the rickety old carved galleries; the
arabesques over the windows were chipped and worn;--the ancientness
of the place rendered it doubly picturesque.  I have detained you a
long time in the outer court.  Why the deuce was Zuleika there,
with the beautiful black eyes?

Hence we passed into a large apartment, where there was a fountain;
and another domestic made his appearance, taking me in charge, and
relieving the tawny porter of the gate.  This fellow was clad in
blue too, with a red sash and a grey beard.  He conducted me into a
great hall, where there was a great, large Saracenic oriel window.
He seated me on a divan; and stalking off, for a moment, returned
with a long pipe and a brass chafing-dish:  he blew the coal for
the pipe, which he motioned me to smoke, and left me there with a
respectful bow.  This delay, this mystery of servants, that outer
court with the camels, gazelles, and other beautiful-eyed things,
affected me prodigiously all the time he was staying away; and
while I was examining the strange apartment and its contents, my
respect and awe for the owner increased vastly.

As you will be glad to know how an Oriental nobleman (such as J--
undoubtedly is) is lodged and garnished, let me describe the
contents of this hall of audience.  It is about forty feet long,
and eighteen or twenty high.  All the ceiling is carved, gilt,
painted and embroidered with arabesques, and choice sentences of
Eastern writing.  Some Mameluke Aga, or Bey, whom Mehemet Ali
invited to breakfast and massacred, was the proprietor of this
mansion once:  it has grown dingier, but, perhaps, handsomer, since
his time.  Opposite the divan is a great bay-window, with a divan
likewise round the niche.  It looks out upon a garden about the
size of Fountain Court, Temple; surrounded by the tall houses of
the quarter.  The garden is full of green.  A great palm-tree
springs up in the midst, with plentiful shrubberies, and a talking
fountain.  The room beside the divan is furnished with one deal
table, value five shillings; four wooden chairs, value six
shillings; and a couple of mats and carpets.  The table and chairs
are luxuries imported from Europe.  The regular Oriental dinner is
put upon copper trays, which are laid upon low stools.  Hence J-
Effendi's house may be said to be much more sumptuously furnished
than those of the Beys and Agas his neighbours.

When these things had been examined at leisure, J- appeared.  Could
it be the exquisite of the "Europa" and the "Trois Freres"?  A man-
-in a long yellow gown, with a long beard somewhat tinged with
grey, with his head shaved, and wearing on it, first, a white
wadded cotton nightcap; second, a red tarboosh--made his appearance
and welcomed me cordially.  It was some time, as the Americans say,
before I could "realise" the semillant J- of old times.

He shuffled off his outer slippers before he curled up on the divan
beside me.  He clapped his hands, and languidly called "Mustapha."
Mustapha came with more lights, pipes, and coffee; and then we fell
to talking about London, and I gave him the last news of the
comrades in that dear city.  As we talked, his Oriental coolness
and languor gave way to British cordiality; he was the most amusing
companion of the club once more.

He has adapted himself outwardly, however, to the Oriental life.
When he goes abroad he rides a grey horse with red housings, and
has two servants to walk beside him.  He wears a very handsome
grave costume of dark blue, consisting of an embroidered jacket and
gaiters, and a pair of trousers, which would make a set of dresses
for an English family.  His beard curls nobly over his chest, his
Damascus scimitar on his thigh.  His red cap gives him a venerable
and Bey-like appearance.  There is no gewgaw or parade about him,
as in some of your dandified young Agas.  I should say that he is a
Major-General of Engineers, or a grave officer of State.  We and
the Turkified European, who found us at dinner, sat smoking in
solemn divan.

His dinners were excellent; they were cooked by a regular Egyptian
female cook.  We had delicate cucumbers stuffed with forced-meats;
yellow smoking pilaffs, the pride of the Oriental cuisine; kid and
fowls a l'Aboukir and a la Pyramide:  a number of little savoury
plates of legumes of the vegetable-marrow sort:  kibobs with an
excellent sauce of plums and piquant herbs.  We ended the repast
with ruby pomegranates, pulled to pieces, deliciously cool and
pleasant.  For the meats, we certainly ate them with the Infidel
knife and fork; but for the fruit, we put our hands into the dish
and flicked them into our mouths in what cannot but be the true
Oriental manner.  I asked for lamb and pistachio-nuts, and cream-
tarts au poivre; but J.'s cook did not furnish us with either of
those historic dishes.  And for drink, we had water freshened in
the porous little pots of grey clay, at whose spout every traveller
in the East has sucked delighted.  Also, it must be confessed, we
drank certain sherbets, prepared by the two great rivals, Hadji
Hodson and Bass Bey--the bitterest and most delicious of draughts!
O divine Hodson! a camel's load of thy beer came from Beyrout to
Jerusalem while we were there.  How shall I ever forget the joy
inspired by one of those foaming cool flasks?

We don't know the luxury of thirst in English climes.  Sedentary
men in cities at least have seldom ascertained it; but when they
travel, our countrymen guard against it well.  The road between
Cairo and Suez is jonche with soda-water corks.  Tom Thumb and his
brothers might track their way across the desert by those
landmarks.

Cairo is magnificently picturesque:  it is fine to have palm-trees
in your gardens, and ride about on a camel; but, after all, I was
anxious to know what were the particular excitements of Eastern
life, which detained J-, who is a town-bred man, from his natural
pleasures and occupations in London; where his family don't hear
from him, where his room is still kept ready at home, and his name
is on the list of his club; and where his neglected sisters tremble
to think that their Frederick is going about with a great beard and
a crooked sword, dressed up like an odious Turk.  In a "lark" such
a costume may be very well; but home, London, a razor, your sister
to make tea, a pair of moderate Christian breeches in lieu of those
enormous Turkish shulwars, are vastly more convenient in the long
run.  What was it that kept him away from these decent and
accustomed delights?

It couldn't be the black eyes in the balcony--upon his honour she
was only the black cook, who has done the pilaff, and stuffed the
cucumbers.  No, it was an indulgence of laziness such as Europeans,
Englishmen, at least, don't know how to enjoy.  Here he lives like
a languid Lotus-eater--a dreamy, hazy, lazy, tobaccofied life.  He
was away from evening parties, he said:  he needn't wear white kid
gloves, or starched neckcloths, or read a newspaper.  And even this
life at Cairo was too civilised for him:  Englishmen passed
through; old acquaintances would call:  the great pleasure of
pleasures was life in the desert,--under the tents, with still more
nothing to do than in Cairo; now smoking, now cantering on Arabs,
and no crowd to jostle you; solemn contemplations of the stars at
night, as the camels were picketed, and the fires and the pipes
were lighted.

The night-scene in the city is very striking for its vastness and
loneliness.  Everybody has gone to rest long before ten o'clock.
There are no lights in the enormous buildings; only the stars
blazing above, with their astonishing brilliancy, in the blue
peaceful sky.  Your guides carry a couple of little lanterns which
redouble the darkness in the solitary echoing street.  Mysterious
people are curled up and sleeping in the porches.  A patrol of
soldiers passes, and hails you.  There is a light yet in one
mosque, where some devotees are at prayers all night; and you hear
the queerest nasal music proceeding from those pious believers.  As
you pass the madhouse, there is one poor fellow still talking to
the moon--no sleep for him.  He howls and sings there all the
night--quite cheerfully, however.  He has not lost his vanity with
his reason:  he is a Prince in spite of the bars and the straw.


What to say about those famous edifices, which has not been better
said elsewhere?--but you will not believe that we visited them,
unless I bring some token from them.  Here is one:- {2}

That white-capped lad skipped up the stones with a jug of water in
his hand, to refresh weary climbers; and squatting himself down on
the summit, was designed as you see.  The vast flat landscape
stretches behind him; the great winding river; the purple city,
with forts, and domes, and spires; the green fields, and palm-
groves, and speckled villages; the plains still covered with
shining inundations--the landscape stretches far far away, until it
is lost and mingled in the golden horizon.  It is poor work this
landscape-painting in print.  Shelley's two sonnets are the best
views that I know of the Pyramids--better than the reality; for a
man may lay down the book, and in quiet fancy conjure up a picture
out of these magnificent words, which shan't be disturbed by any
pettinesses or mean realities,--such as the swarms of howling
beggars, who jostle you about the actual place, and scream in your
ears incessantly, and hang on your skirts, and bawl for money.

The ride to the Pyramids is one of the pleasantest possible.  In
the fall of the year, though the sky is almost cloudless above you,
the sun is not too hot to bear; and the landscape, refreshed by the
subsiding inundations, delightfully green and cheerful.  We made up
a party of some half-dozen from the hotel, a lady (the kind soda-
water provider, for whose hospitality the most grateful compliments
are hereby offered) being of the company, bent like the rest upon
going to the summit of Cheops.  Those who were cautious and wise,
took a brace of donkeys.  At least five times during the route did
my animals fall with me, causing me to repeat the desert experiment
over again, but with more success.  The space between a moderate
pair of legs and the ground, is not many inches.  By eschewing
stirrups, the donkey could fall, and the rider alight on the
ground, with the greatest ease and grace.  Almost everybody was
down and up again in the course of the day.

We passed through the Ezbekieh and by the suburbs of the town,
where the garden-houses of the Egyptian noblesse are situated, to
Old Cairo, where a ferry-boat took the whole party across the Nile,
with that noise and bawling volubility in which the Arab people
seem to be so unlike the grave and silent Turks; and so took our
course for some eight or ten miles over the devious tract which the
still outlying waters obliged us to pursue.  The Pyramids were in
sight the whole way.  One or two thin silvery clouds were hovering
over them, and casting delicate rosy shadows upon the grand simple
old piles.  Along the track we saw a score of pleasant pictures of
Eastern life:- The Pasha's horses and slaves stood caparisoned at
his door; at the gate of one country-house, I am sorry to say, the
Bey's GIG was in waiting,--a most unromantic chariot; the
husbandmen were coming into the city, with their strings of donkeys
and their loads; as they arrived, they stopped and sucked at the
fountain:  a column of red-capped troops passed to drill, with
slouched gait, white uniforms, and glittering bayonets.  Then we
had the pictures at the quay:  the ferryboat, and the red-sailed
river-boat, getting under way, and bound up the stream.  There was
the grain market, and the huts on the opposite side; and that
beautiful woman, with silver armlets, and a face the colour of
gold, which (the nose-bag having been luckily removed) beamed
solemnly on us Europeans, like a great yellow harvest moon.  The
bunches of purpling dates were pending from the branches; grey
cranes or herons were flying over the cool shining lakes, that the
river's overflow had left behind; water was gurgling through the
courses by the rude locks and barriers formed there, and
overflowing this patch of ground; whilst the neighbouring field was
fast budding into the more brilliant fresh green.  Single
dromedaries were stepping along, their riders lolling on their
hunches; low sail-boats were lying in the canals; now, we crossed
an old marble bridge; now, we went, one by one, over a ridge of
slippery earth; now, we floundered through a small lake of mud.  At
last, at about half-a-mile off the Pyramid, we came to a piece of
water some two-score yards broad, where a regiment of half-naked
Arabs, seizing upon each individual of the party, bore us off on
their shoulders, to the laughter of all, and the great perplexity
of several, who every moment expected to be pitched into one of the
many holes with which the treacherous lake abounded.

It was nothing but joking and laughter, bullying of guides,
shouting for interpreters, quarrelling about sixpences.  We were
acting a farce, with the Pyramids for the scene.  There they rose
up enormous under our eyes, and the most absurd trivial things were
going on under their shadow.  The sublime had disappeared, vast as
they were.  Do you remember how Gulliver lost his awe of the
tremendous Brobdingnag ladies?  Every traveller must go through all
sorts of chaffering, and bargaining, and paltry experiences, at
this spot.  You look up the tremendous steps, with a score of
savage ruffians bellowing round you; you hear faint cheers and
cries high up, and catch sight of little reptiles crawling upwards;
or, having achieved the summit, they come hopping and bouncing down
again from degree to degree,--the cheers and cries swell louder and
more disagreeable; presently the little jumping thing, no bigger
than an insect a moment ago, bounces down upon you expanded into a
panting Major of Bengal cavalry.  He drives off the Arabs with an
oath,--wipes his red shining face with his yellow handkerchief,
drops puffing on the sand in a shady corner, where cold fowl and
hard eggs are awaiting him, and the next minute you see his nose
plunged in a foaming beaker of brandy and soda-water.  He can say
now, and for ever, he has been up the Pyramid.  There is nothing
sublime in it.  You cast your eye once more up that staggering
perspective of a zigzag line, which ends at the summit, and wish
you were up there--and down again.  Forwards!--Up with you!  It
must be done.  Six Arabs are behind you, who won't let you escape
if you would.

The importunity of these ruffians is a ludicrous annoyance to which
a traveller must submit.  For two miles before you reach the
Pyramids they seize on you and never cease howling.  Five or six of
them pounce upon one victim, and never leave him until they have
carried him up and down.  Sometimes they conspire to run a man up
the huge stair, and bring him, half-killed and fainting, to the
top.  Always a couple of brutes insist upon impelling you
sternwards; from whom the only means to release yourself is to kick
out vigorously and unmercifully, when the Arabs will possibly
retreat.  The ascent is not the least romantic, or difficult, or
sublime:  you walk up a great broken staircase, of which some of
the steps are four feet high.  It's not hard, only a little high.
You see no better view from the top than you behold from the
bottom; only a little more river, and sand, and ricefield.  You
jump down the big steps at your leisure; but your meditations you
must keep for after-times,--the cursed shrieking of the Arabs
prevents all thought or leisure.

- And this is all you have to tell about the Pyramids?  Oh! for
shame!  Not a compliment to their age and size?  Not a big phrase,-
-not a rapture?  Do you mean to say that you had no feeling of
respect and awe?  Try, man, and build up a monument of words as
lofty as they are--they, whom "imber edax" and "aquilo impotens"
and the flight of ages have not been able to destroy.

- No:  be that work for great geniuses, great painters, great
poets!  This quill was never made to take such flights; it comes of
the wing of a humble domestic bird, who walks a common; who talks a
great deal (and hisses sometimes); who can't fly far or high, and
drops always very quickly; and whose unromantic end is, to be laid
on a Michaelmas or Christmas table, and there to be discussed for
half-an-hour--let us hope, with some relish.

* * *

Another week saw us in the Quarantine Harbour at Malta, where
seventeen days of prison and quiet were almost agreeable, after the
incessant sight-seeing of the last two months.  In the interval,
between the 23rd of August and the 27th of October, we may boast of
having seen more men and cities than most travellers have seen in
such a time:- Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, Malta, Athens, Smyrna,
Constantinople, Jerusalem, Cairo.  I shall have the carpet-bag,
which has visited these places in company with its owner,
embroidered with their names; as military flags are emblazoned, and
laid up in ordinary, to be looked at in old age.  With what a
number of sights and pictures,--of novel sensations, and lasting
and delightful remembrances, does a man furnish his mind after such
a tour!  You forget all the annoyances of travel; but the pleasure
remains with you, through that kind provision of nature by which a
man forgets being ill, but thinks with joy of getting well, and can
remember all the minute circumstances of his convalescence.  I
forget what sea-sickness is now:  though it occupies a woful
portion of my Journal.  There was a time on board when the bitter
ale was decidedly muddy; and the cook of the ship deserting at
Constantinople, it must be confessed his successor was for some
time before he got his hand in.  These sorrows have passed away
with the soothing influence of time:  the pleasures of the voyage
remain, let us hope, as long as life will endure.  It was but for a
couple of days that those shining columns of the Parthenon glowed
under the blue sky there; but the experience of a life could
scarcely impress them more vividly.  We saw Cadiz only for an hour;
but the white buildings, and the glorious blue sea, how clear they
are to the memory!--with the tang of that gipsy's guitar dancing in
the market-place, in the midst of the fruit, and the beggars, and
the sunshine.  Who can forget the Bosphorus, the brightest and
fairest scene in all the world; or the towering lines of Gibraltar;
or the great piles of Mafra, as we rode into the Tagus?  As I write
this, and think, back comes Rhodes, with its old towers and
artillery, and that wonderful atmosphere, and that astonishing blue
sea which environs the island.  The Arab riders go pacing over the
plains of Sharon, in the rosy twilight, just before sunrise; and I
can see the ghastly Moab mountains, with the Dead Sea gleaming
before them, from the mosque on the way towards Bethany.  The black
gnarled trees of Gethsemane lie at the foot of Olivet, and the
yellow ramparts of the city rise up on the stony hills beyond.

But the happiest and best of all the recollections, perhaps, are
those of the hours passed at night on the deck, when the stars were
shining overhead, and the hours were tolled at their time, and your
thoughts were fixed upon home far away.  As the sun rose I once
heard the priest, from the minaret of Constantinople, crying out,
"Come to prayer," with his shrill voice ringing through the clear
air; and saw, at the same hour, the Arab prostrate himself and
pray, and the Jew Rabbi, bending over his book, and worshipping the
Maker of Turk and Jew.  Sitting at home in London, and writing this
last line of farewell, those figures come back the clearest of all
to the memory, with the picture, too, of our ship sailing over the
peaceful Sabbath sea, and our own prayers and services celebrated
there.  So each, in his fashion, and after his kind, is bowing
down, and adoring the Father, who is equally above all.  Cavil not,
you brother or sister, if your neighbour's voice is not like yours;
only hope that his words are honest (as far as they may be), and
his heart humble and thankful.



Footnotes:

{1}  Saint Paul speaking from the Areopagus, and rebuking these
superstitions away, yet speaks tenderly to the people before him,
whose devotions he had marked; quotes their poets, to bring them to
think of the God unknown, whom they had ignorantly worshipped; and
says, that the times of this ignorance God winked at, but that now
it was time to repent.  No rebuke can surely be more gentle than
this delivered by the upright Apostle.

{2}  Thackeray's drawing is shown at this point in the book.

{3}  At Derrynane Beg, for instance.





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