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Title: The Diary of a Turk
Author: Halid, Halil
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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and Hathi Trust)











  E. F. W. GIBB



ALTHOUGH no Western Power has ever played a greater part in the
problems of the Ottoman Empire than Great Britain, yet in no other
country in Western Europe is Turkey more grossly misunderstood. I have
been many times asked by my English acquaintances to write a book on
Turkey from a Turkish point of view, and two ways of writing were
suggested to me: the one was to compile a detailed work, the other
to write a small and light book. To take the former advice was not
possible to me, as I found myself incapable of producing a great and
technical work. Besides, I thought that after all a small and lightly
written volume would have a larger circle of readers, and by its help I
could to some extent correct some of the mistaken ideas prevailing in
England about Turkey. Therefore I began to write this little volume in
the form of a book of travel, and I now bring it out under the title of
_The Diary of a Turk_. By this means I have been able to talk a little
on many matters connected with Turkey. Let the critic find other points
in this book on which to express his opinion, but do not let him charge
me with ignorance of the fact that the somewhat unexciting experiences
of an unknown man may be only of slight interest to the public.

In the chapter on women's affairs I have quoted a few paragraphs from
two articles which I contributed some time ago to two London weeklies,
the _Queen_ and the _Lady_, I render my thanks to the Editors of these
papers for kindly permitting me to reproduce them here.

H. H.


    CHAP.                                        PAG.

       I. MY HOME IN ASIA MINOR                     1

      II. AT SCHOOL AND IN THE HAREM               23


            STUDIES                                75

            CONSCRIPTION                           97

      VI. TURKEY'S INTERNAL DANGERS               118



      IX. THE CEREMONY OF THE SELAMLIK            164

       X. THE SULTAN'S POLICY                     175


     XII. ENGLAND AND THE CALIPHATE               200

    XIII. A LAST VISIT TO ASIA MINOR              211

     XIV. A SPY IN A BATH                         225

      XV. FLIGHT TO ENGLAND                       238

     XVI. A RETURN AND A SECOND FLIGHT            253


  PRINCES IN LANCERS' UNIFORM             Frontispiece

  A PICKNICKING RESORT                To face page  54

  A VILLAGE WEDDING PROCESSION           "     "    70

  A TURKISH CEMETERY                     "     "    84

  OFFICERS OF LANCERS                    "     "   114

  HAMIDIEH MOSQUE                        "     "   172

  AN OLD SERAGLIO                        "     "   184

  A WRESTLING MATCH IN OLDEN DAYS        "     "   220




  My Asiatic origin--My great-grandfather's religious
  order--His miracles--My grandfather and Sultan Mahmud
  II.--An ordeal by wine--My father's charitable
  extravagance--His death--Primitive surgery in Asia
  Minor--The original home of vaccination--My mother's
  European ancestors--Writing a forbidden accomplishment
  for women.

I was born in the ancient town of Angora, Asia Minor, famous not alone
for its silky-haired cats and goats, but also for its historical and
archæological importance, and with it my memories of early days, and
therefore the pages of my desultory journal, naturally begin. Men
of learning who have engaged in researches into the archæology and
biblical history of Asia Minor have come to the conclusion that this
town was once in the remote past the principal centre of a wandering
branch of the Celtic peoples who ultimately settled in Asia Minor.
Although, of course, it was conquered and held during later generations
by the Eastern invaders, it is even nowadays noticeable that there
is a difference, both of character and physique, between most of
the inhabitants of our province and those of other provinces, more
especially of Southern and Eastern Asia Minor. By remarking on this I
do not wish to seem to be trying to trace my origin to a European race,
though I am aware that many people in this country are unsympathetic,
and even, perhaps, prejudiced, where Orientals are concerned. My
paternal ancestors came across from Central Asia, and first settled in
Khorassan, in Persia. But as they were devout followers of the orthodox
creed of the Arabian Prophet they were subjected to the intolerant
oppression of the Persian Moslems, between whom and the orthodox
believers the history of Western Asia records many a sanguinary
feud, the result of their doctrinal antagonism. My ancestors were
compelled eventually to emigrate to Asia Minor over a hundred and
fifty years ago, and there they found a more hospitable reception. My
great-grandfather was the sheikh or head of a religious order called
_Halvati_, or, to give the name an English equivalent, "those who
worship in seclusion." The name arises from one of the strict rules
of the order, that its rites must not be displayed to the outside
public, doubtless a measure for the prevention of hypocrisy. Historical
research has traced the foundation of the order to Ali, the son-in-law
of Mohammed. Shortly after settling in Asia Minor the disciples of
the great sheikh increased to a number approaching eighty thousand,
and pilgrims came to his monastic dwelling from all the neighbouring
provinces. It was not only in Anatolia and Syria that his name was
honoured; he is mentioned with reverence in the books written in Egypt
at that time. It must not be imagined that he was a kind of _Mahdi_,
a name which is familiar in England on account of its having been
assumed by the late pretender in the Soudan. In the days gone by many
such Mahdis, or "redeemers," appeared in Western Asia and the Northern
half of Africa, disguising under this apostolic name their ambition of
attaining temporal power and worldly glory.

In spite of his having so great a number of disciples, my
great-grandfather lived, together with his immediate devotees, in
complete retirement. The Ottoman Sovereign of the time heard of him
and sent a messenger informing him that he wished to grant certain
pious endowments to his monastic institution in the little town of
Tcherkesh, which is situated half-way between Angora and the Black
Sea coast. My great-grandfather declined to receive such unnecessary
worldly assistance, and, according to one of the traditions concerning
his miraculous doings which used to be related in our family circle,
he struck his staff against the wall in the presence of the envoy of
the sovereign, and thereupon a stream of precious metal began to flow
down. He said to the envoy (who became a devoted disciple later on)
that he needed not such worldly things. There is another anecdote of
him which was told in my younger days. There was in our house a large
deerskin upon which my father used to prostrate himself during his
prayers. I often heard it said that this was the skin of the deer upon
which my great-grandfather, the holy hermit, was accustomed to ride
every Friday, the Sabbath day of our people, from his home in Asia
Minor to Mecca, in Arabia, to attend the Friday service in the sacred
sepulchre of the Prophet (on whose shrine be blessing!). Of course, I
quite believed these legends in my childhood. I can make no comment on
them now. "The responsibility of vouching for the fact lies with the
narrator," is an Arab saying often quoted by our Oriental historians
in relating extraordinary events. I must follow their example. It has,
however, always been a great grief to me that along with the deerskin
we did not inherit that useful staff.

My grandfather, whose views in his early days on the religious orders
did not coincide with those of his father, did not become a disciple
of the great hermit-sheikh, so the latter had to point out to him that
the rules of the order forbade his remaining any longer in the monastic
institution. He left the place accordingly, and joined a small caravan
which was starting off to the town of Angora, where he eventually
settled. It was a distance of four days' journey on camel-back. This
town was the centre of learning at that time, and there is there a
well-known shrine of a saint, whose name is Haji Beiram. Many thousands
of pilgrims visit his mausoleum every year. My grandfather did not know
anyone in the town, and had no means of supporting himself. He went to
the shrine, and after making a prayer at the graveside of the saint,
he became absorbed in contemplation and eventually slumbered. In his
dream he saw the saint, who asked him his name, and also whether he
could read. The answer to the second question was unsatisfactory, and
thereupon the saint gave him a lesson. On waking up my grandfather
went out and saw several students entering the adjacent _madrasseh_
or theological school. He followed them, and in the _madrasseh_ he
entered into conversation with one of the newly-made lecturers. In
these old-fashioned centres of learning the reputation of a lecturer
depends in great measure on the number of students who attend his
lectures. The lecturer took my grandfather, who was then little more
than a boy, into his class, and settled him in a room along with his
few other pupils. He studied in this _madrasseh_ very many years, and
ultimately became himself a professor of theology, philosophy, and the
temporal law of the Moslems. He made his fame largely by delivering
addresses in different mosques on the commentaries of the Koran, which
attracted large audiences. Many learned men, engaged in kindred studies
throughout Asiatic Turkey, used to apply to him for the solution of
difficult points. The representative of the sovereign in this town used
to pay him visits of respect, but he himself never in his life crossed
the threshold of a government office.

During the reign of Sultan Mahmud II., who ruled from 1808 till 1839,
there took place an imperial wedding at Constantinople to which persons
of distinction in all classes of society throughout the country were
invited. The chief physician of the Sultan (whose grandson is at
present attached as councillor to the Ottoman Embassy in London), who
had been a pupil of my grandfather's, noticed that his name was not
on the list, and strongly recommended his sovereign to invite him. A
courier set out for Asia Minor at once, and brought my grandfather to
the capital. A great banquet was given in the palace in honour of the
event to all the religious dignitaries and principal _Ulema_, that
is to say, the learned hierarchy of the realm. Mahmud II. devised a
curious plan for testing the fortitude and strength of character of
these pious people. During the banquet servants brought in bottles
filled with a red-coloured liquid. Several guards with drawn swords
in their hands followed the attendants, and stood in the entrance.
The bewildered guests naturally did not know what to make of it, and
awaited events in anxious silence. Then, to their consternation, it
was solemnly announced that the liquid in the bottles was wine. Wine!
an abominable intoxicant, of which it is strictly forbidden to the
faithful to touch even a single drop! The pernicious fluid, which has
received from the Prophet himself the name of the "mother of evils"!
(I must explain, by the way, that Mahmud wished to remodel his empire.
After getting rid of those formidable opponents, the Janissaries, he
adopted not only some of the European methods of administration, but
also some of the Western customs and modes of life, and among other
things he ordered his officials and army to wear costumes and uniforms
made after the European style. This policy had already occasioned
disquietude and suspicion in the pious heads under turbans in Asia.)
When the wine was brought before that religiously sober assembly, an
announcement was made that "as the Sultan ruled on European soil he
wished to bring his country more into harmony with the Franks (all the
people of Western Europe are so called), and any unwillingness on the
part of his subjects would possibly hasten the decay of his empire.
It was, moreover, the desire of the sovereign that narrow-minded
superstition and the dislike of new things, even though they were
borrowed from the Franks, should disappear." The announcement was
concluded by the warning that those guests who should refuse to
drink wine would be regarded as rebellious against the will of their
sovereign. Face to face with this somewhat startling alternative,
the guests became pale of countenance and mute of tongue, for, be it
remembered, he who gave this order was a real autocrat, who had even
exterminated the awe-inspiring Janissaries. However, my grandfather
sprang up from his seat and said, "could not our sovereign find any
other virtues among the Franks worth imitating?" He pointed out,
moreover, that the law against drinking wine, the ordinance of the
faith, was given to them by an authority superior even to that of his
Majesty. He then started to go out, and while he was forcing his way
through the servants and guards, Sultan Mahmud, who was watching this
comedy literally from behind the scenes, suddenly stepped in smiling,
and, in order to dispel the fear of the white-bearded, green-turbaned
gentlemen, he said he simply meant to test the fortitude and character
of the people who were to guide his subjects in the paths of religion
and rectitude.

The Sultan later granted an audience to my grandfather, and asked him
to give lessons in the Arabic language to the imperial princes (among
whom was Abdul Mejid, who was Sultan during the Crimean campaign),
and urged him to settle in Constantinople, promising that he would
eventually make him Sheikh-ul-Islam, that is, the head of the religious
magistrates and learned hierarchy. But my grandfather prayed the
sovereign to pardon him for not accepting this honour, saying that
it was his earnest desire to pass his remaining days of life in
retirement and study. He only requested one boon--that he might be
granted the vacant headship of the madrasseh or college in which he had
studied for so many years, and with this, the enjoyment of the lands
devised to it by the Crown.

When my grandfather had returned to his own town, Sultan Mahmud, who
understood and appreciated his quiet contentment, wrote out with
his own hand a saying of the Prophet, had it illuminated, and sent
it to him as a present Roughly translated it runs as follows:--"The
Lord loveth the man of learning who is pious, contented, modest and
retiring." Subsequently, too, he granted my grandfather's request,
and, as an additional clause to the endowment, he made a provision
that these lands should be inherited as real estate by his posterity,
provided that they should, after attaining the age of twenty years,
qualify themselves by an examination before the proper authorities
on those subjects in which he was himself so well versed. The royal
firmans, with the imperial signature on them, beautifully written on
the finest vellum, are still in the possession of our family. These
lands came down to me and to my brothers, but, in spite of all
provisions to the contrary, they were confiscated during the reign
of the present Sultan, a reign which has been so conspicuous for the
suppression of the civil rights and the oppression of the person of the

We sued the Government to get our property back, and spent all our
money in different courts over lawsuits which lasted fifteen years,
but we could not have expected to succeed, for, as a Turkish poet
has written,--

  When the judge is the defendant and the witnesses
    are bought,
  How can you look for justice from the interested court?

When my grandfather died at the age of eighty-two my own father
inherited the endowed estate; he was not so learned and able as his
father. His only brother, having entered into the Government service,
forfeited his share. My father suffered from an excess of charity,
and in helping others he expended the greater portion of the revenue
of his own estate as well as a part of my mother's private income.
His charitable extravagance became at length so inordinate that he
could not even dine without inviting every day many guests, no matter
whether their position was humble or the reverse. When he died, killed
by the murderous attack of a drunken Government official, he left us
practically nothing but the endowed lands, which he could not have
sold, and these lands, as I pointed out before, were taken over by the
Government of the present Sultan. We were relieved from want by the
fact that the bulk of my mother's property remained intact Fortunately
my father had not been able to squander it.

I was nine years old when the drunken official attacked him, and
so caused his death, which happened thus:--One evening a few women
visitors came to call on my mother. As it is our custom in the East
to keep our women strictly secluded, my father had to retire before
these veiled visitors entered. He asked me to come out with him to
spend the evening with some neighbouring friends, and there we saw the
intoxicated man. My father had a very great abhorrence of drunkenness
and drunkards, and he could not bear to be in the same room with the
man, who was violently drunk and shouting and singing. A quarrel arose
between them. The man attacked my father, and caught him by his long
white beard. My father pushed the assailant back, and in doing so
accidentally put his thumb into the drunkard's mouth, with the result
that he was badly bitten. Although Asia Minor was the cradle of some
of the ancient civilisations, it has not profited from the facilities
afforded to mankind by modern discoveries. There was no surgeon in our
town properly qualified by scientific training, and so my father's
thumb lacked proper treatment.

The only medical men were, as a rule, barbers, who added to their
proper profession that of letting blood for their customers when it was
considered necessary. Bleeding of course used to be in favour in Europe
generally, and it is still largely practised in the East. There are a
great many people in my native country who think that a periodical loss
of blood purifies the system, and have themselves bled accordingly. The
early part of the summer is a favourite time for the operation, before
the season for eating fresh fruit arrives. Blood is let either by a
lancet, or else by means of leeches which are applied to the arms and
legs. The men who were charged with my father's treatment were an old
barber and a professional blood-letter. They used all their choicest
ointments, making my father's thumb worse every day. They used to
criticise each other's skill in surgery. The professional blood-letter
told us that he was once an army surgeon, and it was his boast that
during the Crimean War he had cut off the arms and legs of dozens of
wounded soldiers. He doubtless facilitated the departure of these
unfortunates to the place whither he ultimately sent my father. In
spite of his experiences, however, he did not amputate my parent's arm,
which might have prevented the gangrene which proved fatal. My mother's
efforts to obtain the condemnation of the drunken official, as the
murderer of her husband, failed. He was only sentenced to a few months
of imprisonment, and to pay us an indemnity of about five hundred

Perhaps I shall be pardoned for a slight digression here. I laid
some emphasis on the backward condition of the art of surgery in my
native town, but I do not mean thereby that Turkey has been altogether
behindhand in the art of medicine. In some particulars she has even led
the way. For instance, she may claim the discovery of inoculation as
a defence against smallpox, and it is worth while recalling the fact
that Lady Mary Wortley Montagu introduced the treatment into England
from Turkey many years before Jenner made his first experiment. As Lady
Mary saw it, inoculation was performed with lymph taken from human
beings, but according to the _Tarikhi Jevdet_ (vol. ii., p. 341, press
mark Turk. 9, British Museum Library), inoculation was also performed
in a manner suggestive of calf-lymph. A Turkoman of the pastoral
tribes in Asia Minor was paying a visit to Constantinople, and he saw
the children being inoculated with other children's lymph. He said
that in his own country the lymph was taken from the fingers of those
who milked the cows. The book, moreover, states that Lady Mary heard
of the Turkoman's statement, though she does not mention this in her

The Circassians and some of the tribes of Caucasus are said to have
been acquainted with the uses of inoculation in olden days. They were
chiefly slave-dealers, and they had to take great care of their young
girl-captives, more especially as regarded any sort of disfigurement
which would destroy their good looks, and consequently their value.
Of the early history of the sickness little is known, but it is a
well-established fact that the symptoms were first clearly diagnosed
by the ancient Arab physician, Rhazes, whose name is well known to
Orientalists and students of medical history. His book is entitled
_Kitab-ul-Jederee Vel-Hassabeh_, the translation of which is _Treatise
of Smallpox and Measles_. This work was translated into English from a
Latin version by T. Stark early in the eighteenth century.

       *       *       *       *       *

The business-like European manner of investing money is not known
among our people. Those who do not know what to do with their spare
money, and who fear it may be stolen, or kindly taken charge of by
the officials of the paternal Sultan, hide their cash by burying it
in corners of their houses or fields. But we did not hide the five
hundred pounds belonging to my mother. Someone suggested to us that we
should buy mohair goats, of which the hair, cut every spring, would
yield us an annual income. This was a little after the Russo-Turkish
War, and in the consequent depression of trade even the silky-haired,
valuable Angora goat was to be cheaply bought We purchased three
hundred of these animals. But misfortunes never come alone. In a
year's time a disease broke out among the greater part of the animals
in our province, and almost all our goats died. My mother, in her
simple faith, attributed this to kismet, and consoled herself and us

My mother is a woman of tact and great natural intelligence, but
owing to the backward condition of women in the East, due to their
surroundings, her intelligence has not had the benefit of culture.
She is, of course, a fatalist, and she believes all she is told by
her religious teachers, who are not very learned themselves. She is
not ignorant; on the contrary, she was in her time the most well-read
woman of our town. Indeed, so far was she in advance of the other
ladies, that they used to visit her for the purpose of hearing her
read aloud from the books of sacred legends and hymns which are their
principal literature. She cannot write at all. This perhaps requires
some explanation. Formerly girls in Turkey were not allowed to learn
the mystery of caligraphy. We have had some excellent poetesses in
days gone by, but none of them could write--they dictated their
inspirations. The common explanation given of this traditional
prohibition--for it is a custom rather than a rule--was that if girls
once learned writing they might have indulged in talismanic pastimes,
and eventually have become witches. As a matter of fact, the real
reason was quite different There was a fear, perhaps not ill-founded,
that having once learned to write they might hasten to make use of
the accomplishment by composing love-letters to young men with whom
they could not otherwise communicate, for the strict seclusion of
females cuts off all intercourse between young people of opposite
sexes almost as soon as they have ceased to be infants. This absurd,
in fact harmful, prohibition has of late, and for some time past, been
losing its force. But it was still strictly observed in my mother's
younger days, and so she was not allowed to learn to write. In spite,
however, of her incomplete education, she kept us happy, and by her
inborn tact preserved the appearance of our social standing. All
members of my mother's family have a practical business-like instinct,
a quality which is so conspicuously lacking in those Turks who have no
strain of foreign blood. I am convinced that there is some European
blood in the veins of my mother's ancestors. She belongs to a family
of soldiers who for generations were charged by the Ottoman Sultans
with the defence of the provinces and the frontiers of Bosnia and
Herzegovina In those days the Turks used to make slaves of their
captives in war, just as their enemies used to carry Turks into
permanent captivity when invading their territory. The antecedents of
the people so enslaved can be traced even now in Hungary and Austria
by their Turkish names. But the captives of the Turks, as a rule, had
to adopt Turkish names, and so the presence of European blood can only
be determined in Turkey by the personal appearance and characteristics
of the descendants of the captives. My mother's soldier-ancestors
doubtless intermarried with European captives. I before disclaimed all
pretensions or desire to pass myself off as a descendant of a European
race when I was describing the Asiatic origin of my forefathers. I am
not, nevertheless, contradicting myself here; for when the pedigree of
a person is being considered with us, it is only his ancestry on the
father's side that counts.

My mother passes a most retired life in her town and summer houses. In
town there is a market-place situated a few minutes' distance from our
house, which she has never seen in her whole life. She went, however,
to Mecca on a pilgrimage some five years ago.



  My hatred of lessons--Compulsory attendance at
  school--The bastinado in schools--My own experience of
  it--How schoolgirls are punished--The old-fashioned
  implement for beating--"The rod is a gift from
  Heaven"--I help to kidnap a bride--My mother's grief
  at my behaviour--I am handed over to a stem uncle in
  consequence--My uncle's wives--Etiquette in the harem--A
  first cigarette--Bastinado again--I am shut out of
  the harem--The practice of polygamy--Its popularity
  estimated--The European system.

"PARADISE is beneath the ground over which mothers walk," said Prophet
Mohammed. This saying is to be thus construed: "If any man desires to
gain paradise, let him obey and respect his mother." This precept I
was taught to follow from my earliest childhood. But I fear I must be
destined for some place other than paradise, for when I was a boy I
frequently gave my mother much trouble and caused her great and many
anxieties, for I found my conduct free from masculine control after
my father's death, and made good, or bad, use of my opportunities. I
was a child of unthinking and reckless nature. I had an intense horror
of going to any school. At our summer residence I owned a flock of
geese, and I loved to spend my time looking after them. I was therefore
given the nickname of 'goose-herd,' which is tantamount in Turkish to
'idiot'. In our town-house I trained and reared pigeons, and I must say
I had some excuse for this, as I have never seen such beautiful birds
elsewhere. They were very small, and of a pure white hue. They would
fly to an extraordinary altitude, and would remain out of sight for
several hours. At other times they would suddenly let themselves fall,
swooping and wheeling in mid-air, and then shoot upwards once more.
Birds of this most intelligent and trainable breed have been frequently
taken to Constantinople, but they cannot live in the climate of that

While I was wasting my time with dumb companions, my eldest brother and
cousins were quite able to read and write, things which to my mind
were absolutely past comprehension and belief. Unable to compel me to
attend any school, my mother at last applied to an old negro servant of
my grandfather's, who was then living close to us with his white wife
and tawny children. When a boy he had been bought by my grandfather
from the slave-dealers, and as the emancipation of slaves is considered
the most pious act a Mohammedan can perform, my grandfather freed him
soon after buying him, gave him some property, and arranged a marriage
for him. This old man did not approve of my undutiful conduct towards
my mother. In accordance with a promise which he willingly made to
her, one morning he came to our house and gravely asked me to go with
him to school. I excused myself on the plea that the books and papers
previously procured for me had been eaten by rats. He said he would
buy new ones for me in the school, and I told him it was no use buying
them, because I did not understand them. Then the big black man,
showing his white teeth angrily, moved towards me, and caught me by the
ear with his rough, hard hand, and practically dragged me as far as
the school, amidst the malicious chuckling of my brother and cousins.
During lesson-times my thoughts flew after my geese and pigeons. Many
a time was I led to school most unwillingly in the same fashion, and
it took several months for the master to persuade me, by much corporal
chastisement, to take the slightest interest in my lessons.

After a year or so I had to go to a higher school, where there were
hundreds of boys, several teachers, and a headmaster of ruthless
disposition. In those days flogging was the principal punishment for
all offences of schoolboys. I have never seen or heard of any master
who carried out his duty of not sparing the rod more conscientiously,
more unbendingly, and with more self-satisfaction than that headmaster.
Personally, however, I came off more easily than most, as during the
two years of my attendance in the school I was only beaten three
times. The beating took the usual form of bastinado, and in my three
experiences I received fifty strokes on the soles of my feet, twenty
of them for my ill-behaviour, fifteen for my stupidity, and fifteen
for my incapacity to learn arithmetic. I had on several occasions
played mischievous schoolboy tricks, which would have brought upon me
many a flogging had I not been careful enough to hoodwink the watchful
eyes of the headmaster and his attendants. But on the occasion when I
received my twenty strokes, I was detected while rather irreverently
playing pranks during prayer-time. It was the custom for the headmaster
to take all the boys every afternoon to a special hall for prayer,
and to conduct the service personally. In our places of worship
people prostrate themselves by laying their foreheads on the floor,
while they repeat again and again the name of Allah; everyone should
then disengage his thoughts from all earthly things and fix them "on
heaven." The whole service does not last more than fifteen minutes,
and one prostration only lasts about a minute. One day, when the
whole congregation were prostrate, I quickly got up and collected the
fezzes of the boys who were near me, piled them in a heap, and at once
re-prostrated myself. When the service was over, it was observed that
several boys were bareheaded. The master was informed of the crime
that had been committed, for a Mussulman always prays with covered
head, and a searching inquiry began. One of the boys, who was a friend
of mine, while going before the master to be interrogated, could not
refrain from laughing at the remembrance of the fun. The master at
once ordered his attendants to pull the boy down to be beaten. Seeing
that my friend was crying, I went to the master and swore that the
boy was innocent "How do you know?" he asked me. "Because he was next
to me during the service; I should have observed him," said I. Then
several boys got up and told the master that the boy was not at my side
during the service, thus contradicting me unanimously. Whereupon two
attendants were ordered to pull me down and hold my legs tightly. The
master then gave me twenty fierce blows on my feet, which made me lame
for several days. This was the last flogging I had in the school.

It may perhaps be of interest if I give some description of our methods
of corporal punishment in schools, which are still, even the primitive
ones, employed by some masters in the provinces. In our old schools
there were two kinds of flogging--one for the girls and the other
for the boys. Girls used to be beaten on the palms of their hands.
There used to be an instrument in each school which was called the
_flaka_. This was a long thick stick, to which was fastened a loop.
The girl's wrists were fastened to the stick by means of twisting the
loop round it, and the stick was held up by a person at either end.
Then the master (there were no schoolmistresses), standing in front,
used to inflict the punishment with a thin hard rod. The number of the
strokes usually varied between five and ten. Laziness, much talking,
and mischievous behaviour were the principal offences which brought
about this punishment As I remarked before, boys used to be beaten on
their feet--sometimes on the soles of their boots, in graver cases
without them, and even sometimes without their socks. The boys had to
be pulled down, and two persons held up their feet, and the master used
to strike the feet with a thick rod. The number of blows only exceeded
twenty in the case of a very bad offence, and flogging on the bare feet
was generally the result of the master finding something inside the
culprit's boots or socks to mitigate the force of the blows. It often
happened that the boys, foreseeing their fate, used to place between
their feet and socks such things as cotton handkerchiefs, and pieces
of sheepskin. I remember I did not cry when I was beaten for the first
time, as I thought it was very cowardly to cry in the presence of so
many boys. But a boy who was sitting next to me said, "You silly! why
did you not cry?" He then told me that each time he knew he was likely
to be punished he placed some soft stuff inside his socks at once, and
while he was being beaten cried out for mercy as loudly as possible. He
said he made the master reduce the number of strokes by this plan.

In the old preparatory mixed schools there used to be another method
of keeping children in order, which, I must admit, was decidedly
barbarous. Those elementary schools for children consisted only of a
large hall with two galleries in it. The smaller gallery was occupied
by the master, and there he summoned the children in groups of two or
three at a time to come and say their lessons. There was no division
into classes. The larger gallery was used for the girls, the boys
occupying the middle of the hall. Although the little scholars used to
have low benches before them, they had to sit on the floor, each boy
or girl having his or her own mattress or sheepskin, which the parents
had to provide, to sit upon. Now the master used to have hanging on the
wall by his side a long stick whose length was always in proportion
to the size of the hall-that is to say, it reached from one end of
the room to the other. Whenever the master observed any of his pupils
not behaving well and not doing their work, he often did not take the
trouble to call the delinquent up before him, but simply took down
the long heavy rod, held it up by its thick end, and, with the thin
end, struck at any part of his victim he could reach--head, shoulders,
or back. Sometimes, if this did not do, he would poke them in the
ribs instead. This punishment was very common in all the elementary
schools in my time, and was not peculiar to our province, but practised
throughout the country. I cannot remember whether I suffered under the
long pole in my childhood, but I imagine I did not, as the masters of
these schools used to spare the children of well-to-do people for fear
of annoying their parents, and thus forfeiting the chance of getting a
better fee.

The bastinado is regarded in England as a practice of peculiar
barbarity, but in Turkey the belief in its good effects still largely
prevails. "The rod is a gift from heaven" is a common saying in our
language. This means that flogging inspires a desire in refractory
people to do right I do not propose to enter into any argument on
the merits or demerits of this subject. I consider personally that a
beating which is well-deserved and reasonably inflicted often effects
a marvellous improvement in a lawless character, awakes the sluggish
conscience of ruffians, and tames unmanageable boys. It is doubtful,
however, if it is very effective in inducing children at school to
learn their lessons.

       *       *       *       *       *

About the beginning of a summer season it was considered that I had
been at the school in my native town long enough. I was then fourteen
years old. My mother was looking forward to the arrival of the time
when she could send me to Constantinople to complete my term of
study. I left the school when summer had begun, and we went to our
country-house to spend the summer.

Angora, our native place, has a well-deserved reputation throughout
Asia Minor for its varied and extensive fruit-gardens. Almost all the
families residing there have their own gardens a few miles outside the
town, and most of them have their summer residence in the midst of
their gardens. Three streams, flowing from different directions, join
just below the town, and the valleys of these streams are covered with
either fruit-trees or vineyards. Towards the beginning of May people
begin to transport their provisions, furniture, and other household
necessities in ox-waggons from the town-houses to the garden-cottages.
They reside in the country five or six months, according to when the
final harvesting of the autumn fruits takes place. The women and
children stay in the country, and most of the men go to the town for
their business every day before the heat of the sun becomes too great,
and come back in the cool of the evening about sunset. In the middle
of the day no one but hardy villagers can travel, for the heat of our
climate is as excessive in summer as the cold is severe in winter. The
journeys are made on horses, mules, and donkeys.

Like most children I used to feel an intense pleasure in getting away
from the town at the beginning of the summer season, but this was
not so much on account of my dislike of the town life as of my joy
in getting rid of the horrors of pens and paper, and of the worrying
schoolmaster. In addition to all the usual country pastimes, such as
riding, swimming in the river, shooting, and fishing (which consists
principally with us of what is known in England as 'tickling' fish, by
putting the hands into the holes under willows which serve as lairs
for fish, and grasping and throwing the prey on to the bank), I had
a reprehensible way of amusing myself which is also not unknown to
English boys. This was boldly trespassing into our neighbours' gardens
to get fruit, an amusement which shocked my poor mother's feelings
fearfully. I used to plunder more for the sake of the adventure than
of eating the plundered fruit, as our own garden was the best, and our
fruit was the envy of the neighbourhood.

During that summer I spent months on our country estate immune from the
punishment I deserved, but at last I committed a crime which could not
be overlooked by my people. I helped a lovesick swain, who had been
refused, to carry off his lady-love _vi et armis_. Before I begin to
relate the incident I should like to remark that the habit of marriage
by abduction was not originally Turkish. It was introduced into Asia
Minor by the Caucasian emigrants, and used to be occasionally practised
by people of Circassian origin. Almost all Circassian marriages take
place through kidnapping. It is the custom for a Circassian to carry
off his bride, whether the families of both parties find the match
suitable or not. It is expected that he shall prove his bravery by
taking this step, and if he is considered by the girl's people to be
a fitting suitor, things may afterwards be arranged in a friendly
manner; if not, it becomes a question of honour, which ends in feud,
and often in bloodshed. With our people this practice is viewed almost
with horror, and my complicity in the affair I have referred to was
considered by everyone a very grave misdemeanour.

In the kidnapping expedition in which I was implicated the members of
the girl's family could not venture to fight to regain her, as the
lover's family was stronger in male relations and friends, while on
the other hand, to appeal to the law would cause them endless worries
and expense. The abducted bride's people were by no means socially
superior to those of the bridegroom, but they had refused the regular
demand for marriage. The girl was born of a Circassian mother, and I
believe she must have inherited the instinct of her race. She wished
to marry her lover, so she managed to send word to him that she would
appear in the garden adjacent to her house at an hour previously
fixed. The expedition was composed of three men--myself, the lover,
and a powerfully built man of Circassian descent, who had the best
horse under him and who had to carry the girl. We started from our
neighbourhood at dark, and after an hour and a half's ride on the
main road we took a side-way on approaching the country residence of
the girl's people. We tied up our horses to trees, and while creeping
through the thickly planted fruit-gardens as quietly as possible, we
saw someone moving, wrapped in a long white cloak. It was the girl, and
she was shivering, even on that warm summer evening, when we approached
her, and our big companion took her on his shoulders. The lover
looked, it seemed to me, at this moment hopelessly stupid, possibly
by reason of his mingled feelings of joy and anxiety. We went back to
the place where our horses were. The captured bride was mounted on the
big Circassian's horse, holding tightly to the man's shoulders. We
started, and on regaining the main road we had to ride with moderate
speed, as the girl could not stand the strain of violent galloping. The
bridegroom and I were constantly looking behind, anticipating pursuit
and a possible attempt at recapture. I was armed with a flint pistol
and a club, formidably decorated with a cluster of nails at the thick
end. We took the girl to the bridegroom's residence, where his people
gave her the kindest possible reception, and where she was duly married
to him next day.

On hearing of my share in this adventure my mother was overwhelmed with
grief and indignation. However, I considered that I acted quite rightly
in the matter, and that in helping on the marriage of a suffering
fellow-man, which subsequently turned out admirably, I did a piece of
good work.

The end of the autumn of this year was approaching, and we prepared
to transfer our residence from the country to our town-house. My
uncle, who represented our town in the short-lived Ottoman Parliament
in Constantinople, had returned from that city just at the same time,
the said Parliament having been prorogued indefinitely by the present
Sultan, and he had decided to reside in Angora for some time. Hearing
all about my conduct, he asked my mother to send my luggage to his
house, so that I might live among his own children, and pursue my
studies under his personal supervision. My mother, whose gentle soul
had been much disturbed by my countless misdeeds, instead of being
glad to see me go away, when she might find a little peace, sobbed
on seeing my luggage removed from her house. My uncle, as I inferred
before, was the first man in our family to enter the service of the
Government After acting as Judge in the quasi-religious Mohammedan
Courts of Aleppo, Damascus, Cairo, Medina and Mecca, and other centres
of the Ottoman empire, for nearly forty years, he retired temporarily
from the Government service. Although thoroughly honest, sober, and
pious in the extreme, he had fallen into some of the old failings and
habits of Constantinople officialdom, such as polygamy. When I went to
his house he had three wives, all living together with their numerous
children and many female attendants, in his harem--that is to say, in
the ladies' section of his house. His wives were all Circassians. He
bought, emancipated, and married them at different times, and, unlike
some other polygamists, he kept them in one house. It was as wonderful
as uncommon to see how they all obeyed him implicitly; and though
a man of the sternest disposition, he treated them all kindly and
with perfect fairness. They may have hated one another at heart, but
etiquette and a strict ceremony of precedence were always observed by
them. The children of the different wives were more markedly jealous
of each other than were their mothers. Before marrying these three
Circassian wives my uncle had been married to a lady in whose lifetime
he could not take advantage of the existence of the system of polygamy,
because she was the daughter of a family of social distinction.

I lived in my polygamist uncle's harem nearly two years. There was
a marked contrast between our own home life and that of my uncle's
tumultuous abode. The children of his wives quarrelled with one
another, his servants quarrelled with each other. Each wife looked
after the comfort of her apartments and her own children. I was not
attached to the department of any one of them, and felt very unhappy.
In every boyish dispute the sons united and turned against me, and
I was quite naturally envious of the affection lavished on them by
their respective mothers. My uncle, though he treated me on a perfect
equality with his own sons, was very strict He gave us no rest. I lost
all my former amusements. We had to occupy ourselves continually either
with lessons or with the prayers which he conducted five times a day in
a large hall. The morning prayers, which have to be made about an hour
before sunrise, annoyed me more than the others, as every day my uncle
used to get up and go round knocking at the door of every bedroom,
both in the harem and in the men's quarter, compelling everyone to
get up for the early prayer. To have to get up and perform my prayer
ablution on cold winter mornings often made me complain in terms that
were hardly pious. Anyone among the numerous boys, girls, and servants
who failed in getting ready for the prayer without being able to plead
serious illness was sure to receive the bastinado or whip from my
stem uncle. On several occasions, like his own sons, I also received
punishment Feeling depressed in his house, I secretly started smoking,
which is strictly prohibited for boys in my country. One of the sons,
who disliked me much, one day spied on me, and informed his father that
I was enjoying cigarettes in the stable in company with the groom, who
bought and kept them for me, and shared them with me. My uncle sent
two stalwart servants to catch me. They brought me before him, and he
ordered them to take off my shoes and socks and hold my legs up. He
gave me twenty strokes on my bare feet, and they hurt me so much that
I howled for a long time afterwards. However, the punishment had its
effect, for till within the last two years I have never been able to
enjoy smoking.

One of my uncle's strictest orders was that his sons and I should
remain on the men's side of the house every evening to read and write
our lessons, and not retire to our rooms in the harem to bed until
after the evening prayer, which takes place about ten o'clock. After
I had been living in his harem some months, one night, at the moment
when we were all preparing to go to bed, my uncle asked me to stop,
and informed me, in his own grave manner, that as I was entering upon
the stage of manhood, it was time that I should respect the rule of
seclusion. According to this rule, a man can no longer live among the
ladies of the harem, between whom and himself marriage would be legal.
So the sons of my uncle retired to the harem, leaving me behind in the
men's quarter of the house. I went to the room assigned to me, and
found all my belongings had been brought out there. I have a vivid
recollection of the depression and sadness I felt that night. I was not
quite fifteen then. I wished to run away to our own house and throw
myself into the arms of my mother, but I knew it was quite hopeless,
as I had been legally placed under the guardianship of my uncle alone.
Moreover, he was too powerful a man to be resisted, and his voice was
supreme in all matters connected with our family circle. Seeing the
hopelessness of my case, I wept long that solitary night The reason
which necessitated my dismissal from my uncle's harem was that he
had two daughters of about my own age. Some people, including my own
mother, used to design one of them for my future wife, though I did not
then appreciate the blessing of matrimony, nor had the girl the least
liking for me. It is a curious fact that when there is such a scheme to
marry two young people in the future, and even when they are actually
engaged, their separation, instead of being relaxed, is more rigidly

       *       *       *       *       *

While on the subject of my uncle's harem, it will not perhaps be amiss
if I say something about the practice of polygamy in general. Much
has been written in English about the Islamic polygamy, but little
that is correct and authoritative, for those who are not Mohammedans
are unreasonably prejudiced against it. Having more than one wife is
not a Turkish, but a Moslem custom. Among the races of the Islamic
faith the Turks indulge in polygamy least Scratch those unprincipled
officials in Constantinople who may be polygamists, and you will find
in them more foreign than Osmanli blood. There are many reasons for
the justification of the plurality of wives in the Islamic books. I
will give one of these reasons, which is historical. Before the time
of Mohammed some Arab tribes, in order to check the increase of the
female sex, used to bury alive some of their, so to say, 'surplus
girls.' The appearance of Islam stamped out this most savage custom.
After the foundation of Mohammedanism many sanguinary religious wars
took place between Islamites and non-Islamites of Arabia, and a great
number of men died in the battles. Therefore many women were left
without husbands or unmarried. In those days this caused the increase
of prostitution to an alarming degree, and this is a great 'crime'
according to the Mohammedan law. Every fair-minded and impartial
Christian will admit that Mohammed established many humane and just
principles for his followers, and it might be expected that such a
wise man would not have sanctioned the practice of polygamy. But what
could have been done with those 'surplus women' in an age when women's
services were not of any public good to the community? How could he
check the "crime" of immorality? He had to permit the exercise of
polygamy, which was the usual practice among other Semitic peoples;
and he sanctioned a man's marrying two, three, or even four wives,
according to his capability in health, wealth, and just treatment
of them. "With the change of times laws must be altered," says a
general rule of Islamic law. But polygamic law did not change. Some
wealthy and influential rulers and persons have always favoured it.
What surprises me most in this respect is the injudicious criticism
of polygamy by some Europeans. Are there not many men in Europe who,
besides their lawful wife at home, have paramours elsewhere? This
is worse than the polygamy of the Moslem Orient, as in the one case
the plurality of female companions of life has a legal aspect, and
the issue of the union is considered legitimate, while, on the other
hand, the unfortunate offspring of the _union libre_ of Europe are
disinherited outcasts, and their mothers can at any moment be thrown
into prostitution.



  True meaning of the word harem--Eastern houses
  divided into two parts--Male members of the family
  only allowed to enter the female quarter--Seclusion
  of women stricter among the well-to-do--Seclusion
  not wholly due to religion of Islam-Life in the
  harem--Occupations of its inmates--Misrepresentation
  of the system in England--Royal harems--Custom doomed
  to disappear--Circassian women--Reasons for their
  popularity as wives--How a woman gets engaged--Some
  marriage customs--Marriage a more civil proceeding
  than religious--The bridegroom--His too friendly
  friends--Shopping in the harems--Female pedlars--Some of
  them Europeans--A considerable trade.

THERE are many people in England whose ideas on the subject of the
harem are but a confused misconception, based on what they may have
heard about Eastern polygamy. In this chapter, that I may correct these
mistaken conceptions, I will give some more exact information on the
subject of the harem and its inmates, as well as on the position of
women in Turkey in general.

Although the word harem is known and used by the people of Western
Europe, the true meaning of the term is understood by but few persons
in this country. As a matter of fact, many subjects concerning the East
are much misunderstood in the West, just as there are certain manners
and customs of Western Europe that cause prejudice in the Eastern mind.
When an Englishman uses the word harem, he means thereby the numerous
wives whom a man in our part of the East is supposed to shut up in his
house. He, moreover, believes that every man in the Mohammedan East may
marry as many women as he pleases. This idea is not only mistaken, but
grotesque. There are thousands of men who would consider themselves
fortunate if they could marry even a single woman; while, on the other
hand, there are thousands who would be happy to get rid of the single
wife they have. Any man who can manage to keep two, not to say more,
wives in peace, and can cope with the requirements of each, must be an
exceptionally brave person. Wives are not all religiously obedient in
the East, just as all men are not tyrants. Religion, law, and custom
impose upon men many duties to be discharged towards their wives. An
honest man must discharge these duties, and indeed it is very difficult
to find many men who are able to fulfil their obligations as husbands
towards more than one wife. It has been proved that in many parts of
the Ottoman empire the number of women does not exceed that of men,
a fact which alone is enough to show the absurdity of the notion
prevailing in England about the plurality of wives in that country. As
a matter of fact, there is no law against the practice of polygamy, but
the feeling of decent people condemns it A man who is once married to a
gentleman's daughter would find it no light matter to add another wife
to his home circle. There are nowadays many men of Western education
who marry in order to find a life-companion, and they quite understand
that were they so injudicious as to take another wife, they would very
likely render their lives the reverse of peaceful.

After pointing out the absurdity of the notion that a man's harem is
his collection of wives, I will now explain what it really is.

In Mohammedan countries, where the seclusion of women is a deeply
rooted and religiously observed custom, every house is divided into
two separate parts. In Turkey the section of a house where the
ladies reside is called the harem, and the men's portion is named
the selamlik--that is to say, the reception-place. Though the female
inmates of a house are also collectively called the harem, this does
not mean that they are all the wives of the master of the house. A
man's wife, his mother, his sister, his daughter, and such other women
as may lawfully appear unveiled in his presence, all belong to his

The male members of a family who are permitted to enter the harem are
the master of the house, his sons, his father, his father-in-law, and
his wife's brother. In large cities such as Constantinople, Smyrna, and
Adrianople, the advanced class of people may even permit their more
distant relatives to enter. Those who adopt European customs may even
admit their intimate friends. But in the old-fashioned families, such
as form the great bulk of the population, no male relation of the
master is allowed to enter the harem portion of his house after he has
reached his thirteenth or fourteenth year if marriage between such male
relation and the master's daughter, or other young marriageable inmates
of his house, be possible.

The restrictions are greater in the house of the well-to-do. In these
houses, all communication, and sending and receiving parcels and dishes
between the inmates of the harem and male members of the household, are
effected through a kind of turning cupboard. This contrivance is fixed
in a hole in the wall which separates the harem apartments from the
men's quarter. As another measure to ensure the seclusion of women, to
the windows of all harems is fastened a lattice; so while the inmates
can see everything outside from behind this barrier, no man in the
neighbouring streets, gardens, and houses can see them. As boys above
the age of thirteen or fourteen are not allowed to see any women except
those very near relatives I have enumerated, so girls, after the same
age, must not appear unveiled in the presence of men, excepting their
very near relatives; and if they have been attending mixed schools,
they will then be taken away; if they go to girls' schools, they must
go there, as anywhere else, carefully veiled It must not be supposed
that the veils used are similar to the light veils used by the ladies
in this country. A woman must go out wrapped from head to foot in a
long cloak, somewhat resembling a sheet.

The seclusion of women cannot be wholly attributed to the precepts
of the religion of Islam. In the time of Prophet Mohammed, and
for generations after, women used to accompany the armies to the
battlefield, singing stirring melodies to encourage the fighting men,
and tending those who were wounded. Even nowadays among the tribal
people, such as nomadic Arabs, and among the Circassians, there is no
such absurdly strict seclusion of women as is fostered by the harem
system; yet those primitive people are much more earnestly devoted
to that religion than the advanced Ottomans. According to some of my
countrymen who are better judges than I am of these matters, the custom
of veiling women's faces so thickly was adopted by the Ottomans from
the Byzantine Greeks, and I think it was man's despotic jealousy in
olden days which brought about the existing practice of covering up
and veiling women out of doors, and also their strict seclusion in the

The life in most Turkish harems is very simple, and, if we leave out
the case of the few polygamists who still remain, very peaceful and
happy. The absolute authority of the husband does not interfere with
the recognised privileges of the wife; while the obedience of the wife,
which is regarded by more advanced women in Western Europe with such
contempt, in most cases strengthens the affection and respect of the
husband for her. Wives are not slaves of their husbands, as some people
in this country fancy them to be.[2] The inmates of harems live mostly
indoors, but they are not entirely shut up. They go out in groups of
two, three, and more to pay visits to other harems, and they receive
visitors from the harems of friends and relations. Of course their
gatherings are almost always unmixed, but, like the women of other
countries, some of them sing and play to entertain others. Dancing has
been introduced recently, but it is confined only to very advanced
private families. Among the people of the old school the dancing of
young ladies in the presence of others is considered shocking. At
weddings and other similar festivities only hired professional women
amuse the guests by dancing, and these professional dancers are not
regarded as respectable. In my time, reading aloud was a favourite
pastime in many harems. The number of educated women was much less than
it is now. The most learned among them used to read sacred legends, or
religious tracts, or recite hymns to the other ladies, who would listen
attentively for hours. I believe this social pastime is still in favour
in the provinces.

Turkish women, according to their social position, have various duties
to discharge. No qualities are so much sought after in an average
marriageable woman as the domestic ones. In the provinces the peasant
women, besides managing their humble domestic affairs, have to work
in the fields, more especially when their brothers and husbands are
away discharging their compulsory military service. The daughters
of well-to-do people, besides attending to the business of their
households, are indefatigable with their needles, and are always busy
with needlework or embroidery; while the daughters of high dignitaries
must, among other duties, learn what their instructors or governesses
teach them.


It will be understood from the details I have given that the popular
notion prevailing in this country of the harem and the life in the
harem is much mistaken. Women in Turkish harems do not really pass
their time lying on sofas or couches, eating sweetmeats and smoking
water-pipes all day long. Of course they are as fond of sweetstuffs as
most ladies of this country. But to lie down on a couch in presence of
others is considered by Turkish women vulgarity of the most disgraceful

The representation of harem life given in books and on the stage,
or shown in exhibitions, is either the work of Turkey's detractors,
or simply the work of imaginative persons who know nothing about it,
and whose object is to attract the curiosity of English people by
exhibiting grotesque sights, and thus to make money.

I should, however, agree with any English critic in condemning the
custom of seclusion. The hopes which were entertained of checking
romantic evils by the custom have hardly been realised; and on the
other hand, the system has done a good deal of harm, because the
seclusion of women means that a portion of the national intellect is
kept uncultivated. Although many young ladies receive private tuition
in the harems, and many of them are highly educated, yet this limited
kind of education cannot meet the national requirements of Turkey.
In my opinion, the strict seclusion of women is greatly responsible
for the backward condition of most Eastern races; because if mothers
are restricted in cultivating their natural intellect, they can give
little if any help in the education of their children. The sons of
such mothers cannot keep pace with the people of Europe in the path
of progress. There are very many men in Turkey who know all these
things, and who long for at least a partial emancipation. However,
the emancipation must take place gradually, for if the liberty of men
is given to the women of the harems without regard to existing social
requirements, they themselves will not wholly appreciate it, while
many of them might abuse its privileges; moreover, many men might take
unchivalrous advantage of so new and sudden a social change.

I may be asked why, if the opinion of my country is ripe enough for
at least a partial emancipation of women, it is necessary to withhold
it now? The reason can easily be found when one reflects upon the
political situation of Turkey. That unhappy country has been suffering
for over twenty-six years from a tyranny almost unparalleled in the
history of mankind. The Sultan understands perfectly well the influence
women might have in educating and enlightening the rising generation.
He therefore puts the more restrictions upon the movements of his women

I cannot say much about the harem quarters of princely palaces. It is
well known, however, that the happy family life enjoyed in the harems
of private gentlemen cannot be found in the overcrowded harem of a
palace. But I can emphasise the fact that the numerous inmates are
not all the wives of the lord of the palace. The vastness of domestic
arrangements in such an establishment must necessitate the employment
of many women as attendants. A sultan or prince, if he resorts to the
old rules of polygamy, may marry two, three, and perhaps four wives,
but no more, as four is the highest number allowed.

The wives of many well-to-do Ottomans and all the inmates of the
royal palaces of Turkey are of Circassian origin. It may be asked why
Circassian women find so much favour, and how it is these daughters of
the Caucasus adorn the family circle of Turkey? I will give a brief
account of them, which may explain these points.

The Circassians, the fine, alert, and powerfully built mountaineers who
inhabit the most picturesque regions of the Caucasus, have a world-wide
reputation for personal good looks, and especially for feminine
beauty. Those, however, who have had any considerable experience of
this famous race might hesitate to say that its women have really a
larger share of beauty as a whole than other branches of the human
race. What the Circassian women do possess in distinction from those of
other races of Eastern Europe and Western Asia is a greater animation
of face, to which may be added a figure uniformly handsome and a
bolder demeanour. They are for the most part slender; a fat woman is
quite uncommon among Circassians of unmixed blood. Their complexions
are usually fair; and it is more on account of her fair skin that the
Circassian woman is so much admired by the comparatively dark people
of Western Asia and Egypt than for her other physical qualities. She
is also very readily taught, and adapts herself quickly to her new
surroundings; so that, rustic and clumsy in her manners to begin with,
she picks up refined and elegant ways in a remarkably short time. I
knew of a wealthy and kind lady who once obtained a young Circassian
girl from her relations. Though of sympathetic appearance, this girl,
whom I saw at the time, looked an untamed creature in her miserable
ragged native dress. When I saw her on another occasion after a few
years' interval, I found that the rough diamond had been charmingly
polished, and now shone with refined beauty.

The Circassians are mostly Mohammedans. A small number of them have
been made to accept the Russian religion, but these converts have
always a strong tendency towards the faith of the Arabian Prophet; and
it is only the fear of the wrath of their conquerors that prevents
them from denouncing the doctrine of Holy Synod. This tendency is
attributable either to the hatred burned into their hearts towards the
Muscovite on account of the destruction of their national independence
and the loss of their primitive happiness, which has resulted from the
sanguinary and fiercely resisted Russian conquest, or to the reason
that the precepts of Islam may perhaps suit their native simplicity

There is Circassian blood in the veins of almost all the members of
the existing dynasties of the Mohammedan Orient. For many generations
past the mothers of the Ottoman Sultans have been Circassians; just as
in the bygone centuries, when the power and influence of Turkey were
so great in Eastern Europe, the Sultanas were women mostly belonging
to one or other of the Christian States which were tributary to the
Ottoman empire. Many of the Mameluke rulers of Egypt were, as well as
their wives, Circassians. The female members of the Khedivial harem
have always been and are still of Circassian origin, and there are said
to be Circassian ladies in the household of the Persian sovereign.

The Nizam of Hyderabad was at one time anxious to marry a Circassian
woman. I heard this from a man whose name is widely known throughout
India, and who, I believe, has been introduced to English readers in
a well known novel under the fictitious name of 'Mr Isaacs.' This
gentleman is a native of Diarbekir, in Asiatic Turkey. After living
over thirty years in British India, he paid a visit to Constantinople
some nine years ago. There, one day, he asked my advice as to how he
might procure Circassian slave-girls, saying that he wished to buy
one or two to be admitted to the household of His Highness the Nizam.
This anglicised gentleman imagined, as many Englishmen do, that there
is still a public market for slave traffic in Constantinople, and that
anyone can go and purchase as many slave-women as he pleases.

It is true that some destitute parents among the refugees from the
Caucasus are willing to part with their young girls for a reasonable
sum of money, but only on obtaining a sufficient guarantee beforehand
that these young girls will be adopted by the buyers (well-to-do
families without daughters often adopt orphans and other poor girls),
or else that the girls sold in this fashion will be married either by
the buyers themselves or by some relation of theirs.

From the moment of the final conquest of their country by Russia up
to the present time, thousands of these natives of the Caucasus have
immigrated into the Sultan's dominions. A short time ago there appeared
a piece of news in the papers, stating that an arrangement had been
made between Russian and Ottoman authorities for the settlement in
Turkey of about sixty thousand more Circassians who desired to leave
the Caucasus _en masse_. Russia does not object to their emigration
nowadays, as she wishes to colonise their land with peasants of the
Russian race. On the other hand, the Turkish Government grants them
facilities for settling in the thinly inhabited portions of Asia Minor.
The Circassians are a healthy and hardy people, and they improve the
physical constitution of races with whom they intermingle.

       *       *       *       *       *

An English reader will naturally want to know how, in a state of
affairs in which boys and girls never meet after about their thirteenth
year, the matter of marriage is managed; I will therefore explain the
system of matrimony.

As is the case in most parts of the world, in Turkish towns betrothal
precedes marriage, but 'courtship' is hardly possible in that
country. Young girls and men are not allowed to meet one another,
and consequently anything in the way of flirting is out of the
question. In some exceptional cases they may, perhaps, be able to get
a glimpse of each other from a distance, possibly from the windows of
neighbouring houses, and quietly exchange greetings or make signs of
mutual admiration, but this is all they can ever do in the direction
of flirtation. Of course, girls may see, though they do not speak
with, the men whose wives they may be destined to become some day,
but men are strictly prohibited from meeting the marriageable members
of the secluded sex. It is scarcely possible for a man to admire and
love a woman except on the testimony of others as to her good looks
and good qualities. In the same way, the engagements must be made
through the medium of the man's lady-relations, or through that of the
professional marriage-brokers. The latter are mostly old women, who
will endeavour to bring about marriages, not out of good-will to the
young couple or for the sake of amusing themselves, but as a matter
of business. They visit houses where there are girls suitable for a
would-be bridegroom; they make their proposal on his behalf to the
family of that young lady of whom they most approve, a proposal which
is made in a most roundabout manner, and with great tact. The answer
must not come from the prospective bride; that would be considered
highly improper. The decision rests with her parents or guardians. She
is, no doubt, consulted, but her voice in the matter is of secondary
importance. Probably, too, she does not know her own mind so well as
do her sisters in more advanced lands. The matrimonial agent often
repeats her visits three or four times that the matter may be well
talked over, as the girl's people need to reflect, and also to make
a searching inquiry about the man. If the answer be in the negative,
it must be made very tactfully and politely. In some parts of Turkey
they have a curious way of letting the proposers know that their offer
has been declined. Over their ordinary shoes people almost always wear
goloshes, and on entering a house they take them off and leave them in
the entrance-hall. The servants of the house make a point of arranging
the goloshes heel outwards, in such a way that when the visitor goes
out he can put his feet straight into them, without having the trouble
of turning them round. Now, when the agent of suitor for a lady's hand,
on leaving the house, finds that her goloshes are turned with the toes
towards her, she knows that the proposal has been declined.

Thus a man gets betrothed to a woman without being permitted to see
his beloved fiancée until the wedding formalities are over and the
marriage ceremonies are completed. Astounding tales have been related
of what has sometimes happened when a husband has thus seen his wife
for the first time. In one town, a man who, from the reports he had
heard, was deeply in love with his betrothed, actually left the house
and ran away when he drew up the long and beautifully embroidered
veil that covered the lady, now his wife, and discovered that she
was the ugliest creature his imagination could picture. It is easy
to conceive the feelings in such a case of a man who has, on the
flattering descriptions of the professional marriage-brokers, been
led to believe up to the last moment in the angelic appearance of his
wife. How terrible must be his disappointment when, on the day of his
marriage, he unveils his dreamt-of 'beauty' and beholds a face rough
and painted in the vain endeavour to conceal the ravages of smallpox,
or distinguished by an ultra-Israelitish nose and topped with a
pretentious wig. The unhappy case of such a disappointed husband must
not, however, be overstated. Fortunately for him he does not often
see other female faces, and his notions on the subject of what real
beauty is are necessarily restricted by his want of experience. He is
naturally of a contented disposition, believes in kismet in this as in
other things, and so these physical defects do not greatly disturb his
peace of mind, and it is only very rarely that he runs away from his

Such matters as courtship and engagements are quite different among
the agricultural and tribal people, where the girls and boys work
together in the fields, in the gardens and pastures, and thus pass
their early years in each other's society; their marriage in later
years is generally the outcome of natural affection, first awakened by
that companionship. But even in the towns it is sometimes possible for
a man to make the acquaintance of a woman before marrying her. This
is done by the betrothed pair arranging a secret interview, which, it
is said, is usually brought about with the kind assistance of old and
trusted servants. Curiously enough, the professional marriage-broker
is sometimes reported to be the person who arranges this private
interview; but one thing is absolutely certain, namely, that unless
she is handsomely tipped, it is to her own advantage to stick strictly
to the good old custom.

The wedding of a young couple itself, like their betrothal, takes place
in an indirect manner. They are married in a house privately, in the
presence of persons closely related to them. They do not go to any
place of worship. As I pointed out before, the houses in Turkey are
divided into two parts, one reserved for the male, the other for the
female members of the household, and there is a long passage between
the two. On the wedding-day the ladies fill up the passage, having in
front of them the bride, while all the gentlemen present go to the room
in the men's department which opens on to the passage, the prominent
figure among them being the bridegroom. The door between the passage
and the room is closed, and the most profound silence must prevail
both in the passage and the adjacent room. Among the gentlemen, the
father of the bride, or, failing him, any elderly man under whose
guardianship or protection she may be, gets up, knocks at the door,
and most solemnly and impressively asks this question, "My daughter!
we are about to marry you to Mr. So-and-so, in accordance with the
will of Almighty God and the ordinances of the Prophet. Will you marry
him?" She gives no answer. The old man repeats the question; still she
does not utter a single syllable. He asks again in a wearied manner,
and this time the question is followed by a sound of sobbing inside the
passage. Whether the reason of this weeping be the pressure put upon
the shy and inexperienced girl in that impressive moment, or whether
it be the pinches she receives from that termagant, the professional
marriage-broker, and from her mischievous girl-friends who urge her to
speak out, I cannot tell.

Meanwhile the bridegroom grows impatient; everyone in the audience
can notice the signs of anger and anxiety on his face. The old man
repeats his question a fourth time, and at last the word of consent
is uttered in a very low voice from behind the door. At the same
moment the bridegroom shows his feelings of relief by some motions
expressive of pleasure, or by looking more than usually gratified.
The old gentleman turns to him and formally asks him whether he
will marry Miss So-and-so. He makes no modest hesitation, as, in
his opinion, modesty is quite uncalled for here, is, in fact, an
unpleasant outcome of the organised hypocrisy of society. So he answers
the old gentleman's question at once, with the unblushing boldness
peculiar to his sex. After this all the audience bear witness to the
legitimacy of the event. A brief prayer is then recited, after which
all offer their congratulations to the bridegroom. They draw up and
sign the wedding-contract immediately, that it may be certified by the
semi-religious magistrate called the Kadi. But the young couple are
not permitted to see each other till all the marriage ceremonies are
completed, and that is not till several days have passed.


Another curious custom connected with marriage is that of a
bridegroom's friends beating him on the back with their fists. This is
commonly the case in Turkey. At the very moment when the bridegroom is
going to see the face of his wife the first time, after all formalities
of the wedding are over, intimate friends and relations collect just
outside the door of the female portion of the house. After wishing him
a happy life, they belabour him from behind as he hurries into the
ladies quarter, a proceeding which no doubt considerably accelerates
his movements. The punishment is supposed to be inflicted in a gentle
manner, but it may perhaps be that some of the young bachelors relieve
their feeling of jealousy by making the customary blows somewhat harder
than absolutely necessary.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before closing this chapter on the theme of the secluded sex, I ought
to say something of the way in which it does its shopping, and give
some description of the women-pedlars who visit the harems to display
their wares. There are probably few people in this country, even among
those who are interested in the world's trade, who know much about
these female traders of the East. Nevertheless, in those vast tracts of
the Orient where the female sex passes its life in strict seclusion,
a considerable retail business of a primitive kind is transacted by
wandering women-pedlars, who carry their goods round and display them
in the houses of well-to-do families. Originally this trade was carried
on entirely by native women, but of late a certain number of European
women have embarked in it, either on their own account or as agents of
small European houses. At a time when the question of spreading British
commercial interests abroad is attracting so much attention, it may not
be amiss to inquire into this method of trading, which, more than any
other in the world, is the prerogative of women, for they alone can
engage in it Of course, the business lies almost entirely among the
families of Mohammedans, of whom it is estimated that Great Britain
has nearly a hundred million among her subjects; it is also probable
that the future will see this number largely increased. Moreover, in
the territories of other powers, where the populations are largely
Mohammedan, this country has vital trade interests. A lesson is to be
learned from missionaries in pushing British commerce in the East. A
very large proportion of the success in Oriental countries gained by
missionaries is due to the ladies who assist them, for naturally they
alone can get at the women of the East What applies to the spread of
religion applies also to the spread of trade, and the work done by the
Zenana Missions should be a sufficient indication of what a trading
association on the same lines could effect. Equally it should show the
British commercial houses which have considerable connections with the
East that lady agents to display and sell their goods would be of great
assistance to them. There are many Mussulman women who cannot go to
markets and shops, and their custom would be practically assured to the
firms which sent goods to their houses by lady agents, more especially
such goods as are required for household use.

In Turkey, Roman Catholic nuns have already adopted this method of
business, and they have numerous customers among Mohammedan women
for the woollen stuffs, cloth, stockings, shawls, and such things,
which they make in their own convents. The need felt by Mohammedan
families for such means of doing their shopping is very great, and is
rapidly becoming greater owing to the spread of European influence
and refinement, which naturally necessitates an increase of household
requirements and personal luxuries. This adoption of Western comfort
and modes of life does not seem to affect the seclusion of Oriental
women to the extent that was at one time expected. And in any case in
the East women depend on others to a great extent for procuring all the
things they require for themselves and their households.

It is true, of course, that husbands, brothers, and sons can be sent
to buy these things, just as in England, but also, just as in England,
husbands, brothers, and sons cannot always be relied upon either to get
the right article, or even to remember to get anything at all. In any
case the method has many disadvantages.

With the exception of villagers and the poorest classes, only women of
advanced ideas ever go to market or to the shops in the large towns,
and even they do not and cannot know the delights of shopping. They are
veiled, to begin with; and being unaccustomed to talk to strangers,
they are not at their ease or quite satisfied with the propriety of
their proceedings. No; the woman of the East much prefers to do her
shopping in her own house from a woman-pedlar, and there it is rumoured
that she feels as much pleasure in it as her sister of the West

'The Unchanging East' is a phrase used often, and shows the user's
ignorance, for the East is changing steadily. Western methods and
ideas are gradually being accepted, and with them the everyday needs
and requirements which accompany them. Home manufacture is unable to
supply these needs, and there is a constant and growing demand for
European products. We ourselves have often had to send from France
and England to our friends in Turkey, Cyprus and Syria, such things
as pocket-knives, scissors, housewives, and work-baskets, articles
required for education, such as drawing-boxes, and last, but not least,
children's toys. But this was not enough; our friends have generally
written to us to get some more of these things for their friends.

No doubt such articles can be obtained in Oriental countries if you
know where to look for them, but our friends do not know, and they are
not to be found in the stock of the woman-pedlar. Here is an opening
for the lady-trader.



  The discomforts of travelling--Precautions against
  brigands--Village hospitality--Bad condition of inns
  and hotels--Broussa, the first capital of the Ottoman
  Empire--Constantinople--The 'parish' of the conqueror--
  First impressions of the European quarter--The question
  of my education--Seats of learning, old and new--I am
  forced to choose the old--I become a sort of monk--The
  distinctive dress--Description of the old-fashioned
  colleges--The Ulema--Their position and influence.

MY residence in my uncle's home in Asia Minor did not last very long
after my removal from his harem, as he decided to go to Constantinople
to live there again. Of course I was to go with his family, so that
I might continue my education. Everyone in my uncle's house began to
pack, and my mother prepared new clothes and all kinds of eatables
for me for the journey, which would take seven days. My uncle did
not permit me to go to my mother's house and spend my few remaining
days with her. I only went to see her during the daytime, when I
found her always in deep distress at the thought of our approaching
separation. She had only one son remaining, a child of two years, my
elder brother having been sent to the same place to which I was going
for the same purpose two years previously. In those days there was no
railway line between my native town and the Asiatic coast of the Sea
of Marmora, so our journey had to be made in a kind of a four-wheeled
travelling carriage, which was introduced into Turkey by the emigrant
Crimean Tartars, and which much resembles the big vans employed for
carrying parcels in London. Travelling in these coaches is an extremely
uncomfortable proceeding. To guard against the jolting caused by the
lack of adequate springs the floor of the vehicle is covered with
mattresses, but even then the shaking is quite insufferable. In those
days it was made worse by the primitive condition of the roads, which
indeed are little better now. Some fifteen years ago the Government
promulgated a law ordering every able-bodied male throughout the
country to work four days a year at making public roads between towns,
or to pay a workman's wage for four days in default. Some well-meaning
governors did their best to improve the roads, but officials nominated
by the palace, who form the majority of officialdom, abused this law
and pocketed the funds raised, and so a great part of the public roads
were ultimately left unfinished, and no care was taken to keep in
repair even the portions that were completed. Good roads, like other
means of easy travelling, would facilitate the incursion of visitors
and tourists into the interior of Asiatic Turkey, and nothing would
be more repugnant to the Sultan than to see this; and again, nothing
would be more undesirable for the Sultan and his entourage than to
see parties of Englishmen and Americans wondering at the unopened,
undeveloped spots of the country, coming directly into contact with his
subjects, and contrasting their poverty-stricken and wretched condition
with the natural beauty and richness of the land in which they live.

The appointed day at last arrived, and we started for Constantinople
in the jolting van-like coaches, of which we hired twelve, seven being
assigned to the ladies and their luggage, and five to the men. As is
necessary for travellers of position who may carry valuables with them,
we had three gendarmes put at our disposal by the local authorities.
This was a precaution against brigands, who are to be met with every
now and then in the thinly inhabited and mountainous regions of Asiatic
Turkey. It hardly ever happens, however, that these brigands are Turks.
Ever since the days of the Crusaders the ill-informed section of the
European public has manifested a prejudice against the Turks, and as
one result of this prejudice therefore, when reports are heard in
Europe of cases of brigandage occurring in Turkey, it is unhesitatingly
concluded that the brigands must be Turks. As a matter of fact, the
provincial Turk is generally an honest fellow. It was not the Turkish
villagers that we feared; nor did we fear the Kurds, who mostly infest
the Eastern portion of Asia Minor; or the Greeks, of whom the provinces
through which we had to pass were fairly clear. Our precautions were
directed against any possible attack from the emigrant settlers, the
majority of whom are Circassians.

According to our day's itinerary, we had to pass the first night in a
small town which we expected to reach after thirteen hours' travelling.
But before we had got half-way our drivers said that they did not
want to over-fatigue their horses, and as the ladies expressed a wish
not to journey after nightfall, we stopped at a small village. We
found it difficult to get a sufficient number of rooms there, and we
were too numerous to be the guests of any of the village dignitaries,
who, though invariably hospitable, were not sufficiently well-off to
maintain so large a party.

Hospitality is an inborn instinct in most of the Turkish villagers.
They love entertaining passing strangers, and they expect nothing
in return for the trouble they take on their visitors' behalf. This
fact has often been mentioned by Europeans who have travelled in Asia
Minor. But the inhabitants of the village where we passed our first
night did not show us much sympathy. People in these parts, however,
have good reason for not being very hospitable. All officials who are
appointed to this province by the Sultan--and they have usually large
families--claim hospitality for themselves and for their families as
they travel to and fro from Constantinople, and they imagine that by so
doing they force the "loyal slave-subjects" of the Sultan to perform
their duty. Although my uncle was an official, he would not have dreamt
of imposing any obligation upon poor villagers, for he was himself
a native of Asia Minor, and naturally did not wish to inconvenience
his compatriots. We induced, however, some of the villagers to spare
a few rooms in their mud huts. I and three other men had to sleep in
a dimly-lighted loft above a stable in which were several bullocks,
calves, and donkeys. I think some English travellers have had the same
experience before now in Asia Minor, and they generally complain of
the unpleasantness of these lofts, and of the noise and effluvia from
the animals. I did not object to these things much, as I was used to
farm life; moreover, I have heard and almost believe that sleeping in
stables is good for the health. Tired to death by journeying in a shaky
van, I was ready to fall asleep at once, but hundreds of fleas, coming
perhaps from the dusty floor of the loft or falling from the thatch
above, made an assault on me, and rendered sleep impossible. I wanted
to go out to our van, taking a carpet with me to lie on, but when I got
out I saw three huge shepherd's dogs lying near the vans, so I did not
dare to leave the stable door.

These fierce dogs are especially trained to be savage in order to guard
the sheep and mohair goats against thieves and wolves. They would tear
to pieces any stranger who might walk through the village at night.
They are powerfully built animals, mostly light-yellow and grey in
colour, with long silky coats. Mohair goat breeders always fasten
round the neck of these dogs chain collars studded with sharp nails,
because when wolves attack them they invariably try to seize the dogs
by the neck or throat, and the studded collars act as preventive armour
against the teeth of the assailant.

After passing the night in that most uncomfortable village, we started
for the next town. We followed the travellers' custom in quartering at
the house of one of the notables, and enjoying the national hospitality
I have mentioned. In towns this sort of hospitality to travellers can
only be given when host and guest are personally acquainted, or when
the latter can produce letters of introduction from some friends of the

On the third night of our journey we had arranged to stay in a Turcoman
village, but we found that the people of the village had shut up their
huts, and had removed, with all their belongings, to some high pasture
land in the vicinity, where there were several lovely springs. We went
to this spot and spent the night there under three tents, which were
woven from the hair of black goats, and which were lent to us by these
quasi-nomadic people for the night. In return for this we tendered them
money, but they were affronted by this offer, so we gave them 'some
presents from town.'

We spent the fourth night in a large inn, for there was nothing there
worthy of the name of hotel. As a matter of fact, except in a few big
towns on the coasts and on the existing railway lines, there are no
hotels where it is possible to be tolerably comfortable. The average
houses calling themselves hotels, of which many are being built in the
crowded centres, and conducted by native Christians, are in reality
nothing more than taverns, where the appearance of drunkards is a
continual shock to the feelings of sober Ottoman families who may need
to put up at these places when travelling. If they cannot secure a
letter of introduction to some dignitary of a town for the night, they
would rather go to an old-fashioned khan, or inn, than to one of these
modern taverns. Rooms in these inns are unfurnished, and usually filthy
beyond description. All kinds of vermin may be expected, and even the
visit of an occasional scorpion.

After passing two more nights on our journey, on the sixth evening
we reached the town of Broussa, which is situated at the foot of the
Asiatic Olympus. We stopped in Broussa several days, as the town is
full of pretty mosques, shrines, and mausoleums, and large baths built
over thermal springs, which are well worth seeing. Broussa is one of
the largest towns in the Turkish empire. It served as capital for the
first three Ottoman Sultans. It is said that when the Sultan Mohammed
II. conquered Constantinople he brought nearly 50,000 Turkish families
from Broussa to settle in the new capital. From Broussa we went down
to the shore of Marmora, and there took boat for Constantinople.

The part of Stamboul in which my uncle took up his residence was in the
neighbourhood of the great mosque of Mohammed II., the conqueror of
Constantinople. This is the centre of the locality which is exclusively
inhabited by Turkish families of the old-fashioned type. My cousins
and I were given two weeks' holiday by my uncle in which to explore
the city and see the sights. One day we were allowed to go over the
Golden Horn to visit Pera, the European quarter of the capital, where
we were amazed at the evident signs of the prosperity and richness
of its population. While we were enviously imagining how happy these
people must be, an old man, who was guiding our little party, warned
us that to set our ambitions on such worldly progress was not in
accordance with the ideals of contentment of the faithful, and reminded
us that "This world is the heaven of infidels." This saying, which is
wrongly attributed to the Prophet, is one of the principles of that
fatalism, the firm belief in which is one of the chief reasons for
the stationary condition and want of progress which distinguish the
majority of Orientals. On coming back from Pera, however, we received
quite a different impression, for we witnessed the seamy side of
European life. The larger portion of the European quarter is inhabited
by Greeks, Poles, Levantines, Italians and Maltese. Here may be seen
dirty cut-throats with crime written large on their faces, and, above
all, many an habitual drunkard, whose face tells the tale of his
debauched life. Here, too, we saw disreputable houses, with half-naked
and painted creatures sitting on their balconies or standing on the
thresholds of their doors, and calling out invitations to all who
passed by. Here we saw countless drink and dram shops, all filled with
rough sailors, Greek thieves, quarrelsome Maltese, and the dregs of
European society. They were all more or less drunk, most of them openly
armed with daggers and revolvers. None of these ruffians would dream
of obeying the law of the country and its police, for each of them
enjoys his capitulation privileges, and thus is under the protection of
the Embassy and Consulate of his country, whatever it may be. We were
disgusted with such an exhibition of what most Moslems believe to be
"Christian life." It is unfortunately a fact that all the bad points
of European civilisation spread with ease and rapidity, while its good
and useful points seem seldom to have any effect on life in Oriental

[Illustration: TURKISH CEMETERY]

After this excursion I was not permitted to revisit the European
quarter of the capital for a considerable time. I had to resume the
course of my education.

In what way my cousins and I should be educated in Constantinople was
a question which had to be considered by my uncle. There are two kinds
of higher education in Turkey. One of them is to receive instruction
in the old-fashioned colleges or _madrasseh_, of which I have made
mention before, and of which I will in this chapter give some further
description. The other form of education is that now carried on in the
modern schools and colleges. Of these there are many in Constantinople.
They are modelled on the system of the educational institutions of some
of the European countries. In these places of learning, unlike the
old-fashioned _madrasseh_, all kinds of what I may call utilitarian
subjects, necessitated by modern requirements, are taught In addition
to the great military academy and preparatory military colleges, naval
college, civil and military medical institutions, and the Imperial
lycée, some of which are fifty or sixty years old, there are civil
servants', law, civil-engineering, and several minor colleges of
recent foundation. Two years ago an official project was in the air
for creating a regular University in Constantinople. But the present
Sultan is not likely to favour in earnest such a scheme, which would
necessarily result in the increased popularity of European culture.
Formerly those colleges of modern creation turned out men of marked
ability in all branches of literature and science which existed in
the country. But, unhappily, Abd-ul-Hamid's inflexible determination
to suppress at any cost what are called 'young-Turkish ideas,' or
liberalism, has seriously interfered with and paralysed the progress of
these seminaries of culture and education.

My desire was to join one of these colleges, after having been prepared
by private tuition to pass the obligatory entrance examination. But
since my elder brother had already entered one of the modern colleges,
my uncle urged me to affiliate myself to one of the old-fashioned
_madrassehs_. As we had yet some hope of recovering our confiscated
property, and as the right of holding the estates depended on the
heir's following our grandfather's semi-theological profession, my
uncle insisted that I should continue my studies in one of these
quasi-theological _madrassehs_. Although I was most reluctant, I
had to fall in with his wishes, so I prepared to go and live with a
tutor who had his room in the _madrasseh_ which is attached to the
mosque of little St Sophia,[3] a Byzantine building, which is as much
visited by European tourists as the great St. Sophia. When one becomes
a member of these old-fashioned institutions of learning, one must
wear a professional turban and a long cloak, let the beard grow, if
one is old enough to have one, and shave the hair off one's head.
They procured for me a turban and cloak, and my uncle sent me with a
manservant to a barber's shop to get my head shaved. The shaving of a
thick head of hair is a most painful thing, and tears filled my eyes,
partly from the pain caused by the razor on my unaccustomed head,
and partly, I think, from the anticipation of the terrible monk-like
existence I was about to pass in the _madrasseh_. Next day I went with
my luggage to the school, but did not begin my studies until several
months had passed away, as I caught cold by being shaved, and suffered
in consequence from headache and ophthalmia. I shall never forget the
miserable life I passed in that school. It will perhaps be of some
interest if I give a description of a _madrasseh_, and the mode of life
and study therein.

There are in Constantinople over a hundred of these theological
colleges, or _madrassehs_. In the provinces each important town
is provided with several. These seminaries of old Moslem culture
are not peculiar to Turkey--they exist also in Egypt, Persia, and
some other Oriental countries, and at one time they were the only
places of instruction. They served not only as schools for religious
teaching when they were originally founded in past days, but all
branches of human knowledge known in the East were to be taught in
them. In Constantinople some of them still retain their original
names--'_Madrasseh_ of Medicine,' 'Madrasseh of History,' and so on.
The Moslem people were formerly divided into two distinct classes--the
great illiterate mass, and the learned hierarchy known as _Ulema_.
Although all instruction given in the _madrasseh_ was formed on the
basis of the faith of Islam, the _Ulema_ were certainly not entirely
theologians. They were certainly not priests, as Islam recognises no
spiritual authority. Mohammed has stated distinctly that "there is no
priesthood in Islam." With the lapse of time human knowledge advanced,
and the high culture which existed among Moslems in mediæval times
decayed; but still the _Ulema_ continued to teach the Arabic language,
with its literature and law, secular and spiritual. Ultimately
countries like Turkey and Egypt felt the necessity of learning
something from the progressive nations of Europe, and, in imitation
of their educational institutions, began to establish schools and
colleges for modern learning and science. In the Ottoman empire the
_Ulema_, having nearly lost their occupations as professors and judges,
now hold a peculiar position, which somewhat resembles a sort of
priesthood. Of course, this class still retains its old professional
titles, receives pensions, and lives on the revenues accruing from
charitable endowments. Moreover, its members still have a greater
influence over the ignorant masses than persons of modern education,
but they are not now of much service to the State. The _madrassehs_
are, notwithstanding, still full of students who wish to become members
of that body, but the more intelligent of them, instead of attending
the old course of lectures in the mosques, go to some modern college in
order to qualify themselves for professions which will be of practical
use to them. Many of them spend their time in the _madrassehs_ idly, or
simply live in them till they have passed an examination by which they
are exempted from military service, and then return to their towns and
villages. Again, some of these students who are really working, instead
of attending one of the modern colleges, go to an institution founded
for the training of the _Kadis_ or semi-religious magistrates. These
students are all called _Softas_. All the affairs of the _madrassehs_
are under the control of the office of the Sheikh-ul-Islam,
which, though it still forms a distinct ministry, and though the
Sheikh-ul-Islam is still a member of the Cabinet of the Porte, has lost
many of the important official functions it once had. The position of
the Sheikh-ul-Islam, the head of the _Ulema_, at present resembles
that of the ecclesiastical head of a Christian country, though, as I
stated before, no ecclesiastics could be recognised as such in Islam.
The number of the students in the _madrassehs_ of Constantinople is
estimated to be something between five and seven thousand.

Originally the _madrassehs_ were founded on a system much resembling
that of the colleges of the English Universities. They were built by
the munificence of the Sultans and of private persons, and most of
them were situated near mosques, to which they were attached, and
were supported from the same endowments as the mosques themselves,
for the charitable founders of these endowments aimed particularly at
increasing the congregations that attend public worship, and devised
that the students should also use the mosques as their lecture-halls.
Even nowadays most lectures are given in the mosques. Each _madrasseh_
was self-governing, and the principals, or, so to say, the 'fellows,'
used to look after its interests and decide its rules. All the
students used to be regularly supplied with soup, bread, and, on
certain days, with cooked rice, and a kind of sweet made of saffron,
and also with olive oil for their lamps, from a sort of kitchen endowed
for the purpose. Free 'commons' of this sort for students are supplied
only occasionally and sparsely nowadays, as the revenues of the endowed
estates and properties have long been put under the care and control
of officialdom, and the income from charities is now abused and
illegally appropriated by the corrupt and impious hands through which
it passes. In consequence, members of the _madrassehs_ now can often
not even raise funds to save their buildings from complete ruin. These
buildings are mostly square in shape, with a courtyard in the middle,
and have one and sometimes two stories. They are unhealthy, and cannot
be properly ventilated. The students take their baths behind the doors
of their rooms, cook their meals in the fireplace, and, as a rule, two
or three sleep in one room, on the floor. The damp, fœtid smell in most
of the rooms is terrible. My hard fate made me live five years in such
a place, and they were the years which ought to be the best of one's

The life of the students of these _madrassehs_ resembles that of monks
in monasteries of the Eastern Church. They prepare their own modest
food, clean their own rooms, make their own beds, and wash their own
clothes. A new student not only does all this for himself, but he has
also to do it for the fellow or tutor of the _madrasseh_ in whose room
he is placed. Most of the students are very poor. They go every year
during the _ramadan_--the month of fasting--to different provincial
towns and villages to preach, to teach, and to do some writing for the
illiterate villagers and provincials, and, after securing what fees,
alms, and provisions they can get, they return to their respective
madrassehs to resume their work.

The _Softas_ played a conspicuous part in some of the revolutions,
for if once they were roused and egged on by politicians, they would
assemble in the courtyards of the great mosques, bearing yataghans
and heavy clubs under their long cloaks, and numberless common people
would follow them. The viziers who deposed the late Sultan Aziz had
to get the support of the _Softas_. Midhat Pasha had to secure their
assistance when he was urging the present Sultan to sanction the
scheme for the new constitution. A certain Suavi Effendi, one of the
founders of the young-Turkish movement, who had himself been a _Softa_,
twenty-five years ago made an armed attack on the Sultan's palace; with
him fought and fell many of the _Softas_. The Sultan, whose marvellous
power and success in crushing everything which might endanger his
despotic personal rule is undeniable, has paralysed the collective
influence of the Softas, so that they can no longer be the political
tools of any power that may arise to oppose him.

During my residence in the _madrasseh_ my uncle used to give me as
pocket-money twenty piastres (about 3s. 5d.) a month, and to the tutor
of the _madrasseh_, in whose room I was a novice-disciple, eighty
piastres, to cover the expenses of my maintenance. This was quite
enough for a man who has to live as abstemiously and simply as a monk.
Moreover, provisions in Constantinople are very cheap, a fact which
is not known to European visitors, who are invariably cheated by the
Levantine and Greek hotel-keepers and tradesmen. Secretly, however,
I received further support from my affectionate mother, through an
Armenian merchant who came from Angora.



  First moderation of my prejudice against Europeans--The
  Levantine guide--The truth is not in him--I begin to wish
  to visit England--A summer trip to Asia Minor--A British
  consul--His wife and my mother--A trip in the Eastern
  Mediterranean--Thoughts of a more profitable career--I
  join a law college--The law of Turkey--Untrustworthiness
  of English books of reference--Turkish law courts--A
  quasi-religious magistracy--Palace influence over
  justice--I am called to serve in the army--I
  obtain exemption with much difficulty--Methods of
  conscription--Native Christians not allowed to serve--The
  wisdom of this policy.

AFTER living the hard life of the _madrasseh_ for three solitary
years, I was permitted by my uncle to pay a visit to my native town
during a vacation. It was at this time that my prejudice against the
unbelievers of Europe first began to be moderated, and it came about in
this way. During a summer afternoon, as I was walking in the garden
of the _madrasseh_, a young European, accompanied by a pretty girl,
was just coming out of the mosque of little St Sophia. They excited my
curiosity, as the appearance of all Europeans who came to visit those
ancient edifices always excites the curiosity of the people living near
them. They both looked at a mulberry tree loaded with fruit, and the
gentleman picked up a berry which had just fallen and gave it to the
lady. I walked towards them, with what possibly was a rather forbidding
air. They started, and appeared somewhat embarrassed. I signed to them
to stop, and, taking off my shoes, climbed up the tree and picked a
handful of the ripe fruit. I put the fruit on two large leaves of the
tree and offered it to the lady. My action seemed to please them. They
had no guide, which pleased me greatly, for there are no more shameless
cheats than those ignorant interpreters, who are as a class one of
the worst products of the non-Mussulman natives of the Levant Many
Europeans who pay a flying visit to the Levant, and hasten to sit down
and write a book about their experiences, derive all their information
from these cicerones and interpreters. Probably it is on account of
this that a countryman of mine once remarked, "When we read such books,
especially those written in English, about ourselves, we always learn
something from them which we never knew or heard of before." As the
English were respected above all other European nations in those days
in the Ottoman empire, and as everyone used to think every European
visitor must be English, I took the couple for English people. Whether
they were really British or not is an open question. We exchanged a
parting greeting, but to my regret I did not speak any language then
except my own, in which I might try to talk to them. From that moment,
however, my mind was possessed by a desire to see England, though I
could not mention it to anyone, because the people of the _madrasseh_
would have been greatly shocked by such a suggestion, and would perhaps
have brought a charge against me of wishing to turn myself into a

I started soon after this for home. The party with which I travelled
took a route different from the one by which we had come three
years previously to Constantinople. I therefore had the opportunity
of visiting other towns of Asia Minor. When I reached our own town,
I found that my mother had already moved to her summer house in the
country. By a strange coincidence, the British Consul and his family
were staying in a summer residence which they had hired close by our
own. They were the only English people, and also the only Europeans,
to be found in the town, as the Anatolian railway was not then even
projected, and no European could possibly have found any employment
there. I made the acquaintance of the Consul one day while shooting
wild-duck on the shores of a neighbouring lake. The British Consul was
able to make himself understood in Turkish, and we soon struck up an
acquaintance. I made him promise to meet me again, so that we might
go shooting together. When I became more intimate with him, I was
privileged by an introduction to his wife, who did not associate at
all with the ladies of the country. A wish crossed my mind soon after
that my mother and she should meet. This was a most delicate matter,
because, though I found the lady very charming, after all, from my
mother's point of view, she was an 'infidel.' However, I secured her
consent, and she met the English lady with a considerable amount of
shyness. On account of the Englishwoman's inability to speak Turkish
sufficiently, they talked very little. Notwithstanding this, my mother
liked her visitor greatly, and she afterwards repeatedly expressed
to me her regret that such a nice woman should not be a follower of
'the true religion of God,' that is to say, Islam. I used to ask many
questions of the Consul about his country, and I think my inquiries
must have been of the most ridiculous description, for while they
answered me most kindly, wife and husband exchanged words in their own
tongue and smiled the whole time. I was so afraid of the prejudices of
my people that I did not even venture to express to the Consul my then
most unrealisable desire of visiting England.

When the three months' vacation given to me that year came to an end,
I started for Constantinople again. Having gained sufficient seniority
in the _madrasseh_ I was now free from serving any tutor. I had a
room which I shared with an Albanian fellow-pupil. That year I made
progress in the study of Mohammedan law, which is always taught in the
Arabic language. Two more years passed. The next summer vacation I
wanted to see some new country, so I took a French liner for Beyrout,
where I had a relation. On my way I stayed at Smyrna, and visited the
Turkish islands of Chios and Mitylene. During my travels I saw many
young men who, having completed their studies in modern colleges, had
been appointed by the Government to various posts in the provinces,
with salaries which at that time seemed to me higher than could have
been expected by any young man. An idea crossed my mind that I might
change the course of the antiquated studies on which I was wasting my
time. On making inquiries about a rational system of education to which
I could devote myself, and by which I might eventually make a future
career and earn a competence, I found that an entrance examination
was going to take place in three months for the newly established law
college. The Government wished to find trained officials for the new
courts, and qualified advocates for the bar. I determined to try my
luck; and a young officer from the military academy, who was residing
close to our _madrasseh_, gave me, as a favour, some coaching for the
examination in geography and arithmetic, the two subjects in which I
was most backward. I passed the examination fairly well, and joined the
law l institution.

As I said before, all the progress of the educational institutions
of modern creation has of late been lamentably hampered by the
interference of the Sultan's palace Government, whose principal desire
is to crush the growing liberalism. I should, however, mention here,
to the credit of the Porte, that these institutions were originally
founded, and have always been maintained, at the expense of the State,
and that they are mostly free and open to students of all classes of
people, without distinction of race or faith. In our first year's class
at the law college, in which there were about forty-five students, the
number of Armenians alone reached thirteen.

By giving some account of the subjects taught us in the law college
of Constantinople, I shall be able to state in brief the nature of
the statutes and constitution of the Ottoman empire and its judiciary

Besides a few subjects which are of general interest to all trained
lawyers and legal officers, there are various courses of lectures on
the civil code and its procedure, criminal law and its procedure,
land law, commercial and mercantile law, digest of administrative
regulations, chapters on international law and capitulation treaties,
and so forth. The civil code is based upon the rules established
in succeeding centuries from the time of the Ommiade and Abbaside
Caliphates down to the early days of the Ottomans, as set down
by various Arabic books, which were compiled by the early Moslem
jurists, who have made many commentaries on them. The civil code
of Turkey, therefore, is based entirely upon the ordinances of the
Mussulman secular law. It was framed by a board of men well versed
in the literature and the jurisprudence of the Moslem East. This
board was formed during the reign of the late Sultan, and it took
nearly fifteen years to carry out the necessary researches and
frame the code as it now exists. It is noteworthy that, as has been
shown by competent authorities, there are many essential points of
resemblance between this code and the civil laws of some European
nations which have borrowed their materials from the sources of Roman
law. The procedure of the Turkish civil code is based partly on the
French system and partly on the usages which existed in the ancient
courts of Turkey. The land law is also based on the principles of
the Mussulman secular law relating to land and estates, and on the
established precedents existing in the empire. This law is of much
interest to Europeans residing in Turkey, because while, so far as
the criminal and civil cases are concerned, those Europeans enjoy
the protection of their capitulation privileges, with regard to the
land law they are subject to the complete jurisdiction of the Ottoman
Government. The reason of this is that when the representatives of the
Great Powers demanded that the Porte should grant to their subjects
the right of acquiring property in the Ottoman dominions, the Porte
insisted that, as a counter-concession, the Powers should renounce
the capitulation privileges, and thus leave their subjects under the
jurisdiction of Turkey, so far as the acquisition of land and cases
arising from it were concerned. The criminal law and its procedure,
the procedure concerning the formation of courts, and commercial law
are almost entirely copied from the French judicial system, while the
mercantile law is copied partly from France and partly from Holland.
Most regulations of various kinds promulgated since the Treaty of Paris
have been adopted from the State regulations of some of the Continental
Powers, more especially of France. In many cases they have been adopted
without much regard to the local requirements of the Levant. The
pressure put upon the Porte by the Great Powers at different periods
for the introduction of reforms is responsible for the hasty adoption
of the least suitable of these legal and administrative laws.

The details I have given above will give some idea of the existing
statutes and constitution of the Ottoman Empire. When you open your
best books of reference to see what are the laws of Turkey, you
will find in one this useful piece of information:--"The Koran is
the legal and theological code upon which the fundamental laws of
the Empire are based," while in another you will see the following
illuminating passage:--".... Fundamental laws of the Empire are based
upon the precepts of the Koran. The next to Koran the laws of Multeka"
(!) I have no doubt this last bit of knowledge is borrowed from the
meaningless writings of Canon McColl on Turkish matters. I have often
pointed out to Englishmen of my acquaintance many of the mistaken
notions prevailing in this country on the affairs of the nearer East.
The answers and reasons given to me were always the same--namely, that
Englishmen are not much interested in Turkish matters nowadays. This
indifference on the part of Englishmen is the chief reason why the
prestige of Great Britain is doomed to disappear in the Levant. If
the editors or writers of such productions as those I have quoted are
also of the opinion that Englishmen do not now take an interest in the
Turkish empire, I should think that, instead of filling up their pages
with ridiculous inaccuracies, they would be better advised not to write
anything on Turkey at all.

As regards the law courts of Turkey, they can be divided into two
main classes-the old courts and the reformed courts. The old courts
form part of the office of the Sheikh-ul-Islam, and they have a
half-religious complexion. Their functions are nowadays reduced to a
few matters, such as the settling of inheritance, deciding on divorce
actions, certifying marriages, and looking after such other cases as
may arise among the members of a Mohammedan community. Questions of
this nature among the native Christian communities are taken charge of
by the Patriarchate of each community.

With the exception of the courts which are charged with the trial of
all civil officials who may be accused of offences connected solely
with their administrative duties, and which are attached to the Council
of State Presidency, all the reformed courts form part of the Ministry
of Justice. Like all the departmental bureaus of that Ministry, the
central courts are situated in the huge buildings opposite St. Sophia,
and just outside the gate of the ancient seraglio. Both criminal
and ordinary civil courts are divided into three degrees--namely,
preliminary, appeal, and cassation courts. Here there are also
two commercial courts, one dealing with cases connected with the
mercantile marine, the other with actions arising out of all commercial
and trading matters. A section of the latter court has a mixed or
international character; that is to say, among its members there are
foreigners, not appointed by the Ottoman Government, but deputed by
foreigners. This section deals with the commercial disputes between
Ottoman and foreign subjects.

The old semi-ecclesiastical courts, from the time when they had to deal
with every kind of lawsuit until now, have been conducted on what I may
call a 'one-judge system,' that is to say, each court, like the English
law courts, has a single judge to deal with the cases brought before it
But each of the new or reformed courts has, besides the chief judge,
several deputy judges; in other words, a president and members. This
imitation of the legal arrangements of France has not proved the check
on the perversions of justice charged against the old simple method
which was expected. Experience has shown that as the population of
Turkey is so widely heterogeneous, to have several judges in a court,
who may belong to different nationalities and religions, gives rise to
even more corruption and partiality than when there is one only.

The evils of the present Hamidian tyranny have destroyed all the
confidence of the people in the new courts. Legal officers of
capability and integrity are either exiled or appointed to courts in
obscure corners of the empire, and the central courts are filled with
the favourites of the Palace clique, and these creatures deal out
'justice' according to the will of the Palace. The Sultan has given
them orders recently to condemn all opponents of his misrule. Lately
about a hundred innocent men have been condemned to death or penal
servitude, and their properties have been confiscated by the central
criminal courts on the charge of 'high treason.'

       *       *       *       *       *

Just about the time when I was preparing for my final examination, the
director of my college informed me that he had received a communication
from the War Office to the effect that I was among the list of men
for the year's conscription. This was a very disturbing piece of
news to me, as I had just decided to adopt a new profession, and had
left my _madrasseh_. The students in _madrassehs_, who have passed an
examination in Arabic and other subjects taught them in that language,
are exempted from serving in the army. Although our college was one
of the educational institutions of the State, the students of which
are also exempted under certain conditions from military service, this
exemption had only been recently granted, and the military authorities
did not know much about it. Those who knew of it did not view it with
favour, as they are very anxious to force rigid conscription upon
everyone. They will not argue on this point, and will dispose of all
arguments with military brusqueness. It took several months to get
the military authorities at the Constantinople War Office and the
officers of the division at my birthplace in Anatolia to exempt me from
serving in the army, and my dispute with them interfered very seriously
with my last and most difficult examination in the college, and as a
result I had to content myself with a second-class diploma only. It
was not because I was afraid of a soldier's life that I wanted to
escape it; cowardice is not one of an Osmanli's failings. Indeed, when
I first came to Constantinople my wish had been to go to a military
school to be trained as an officer, but my uncle ignored it and sent
me to the theological _madrasseh_. Now, after several years, to be
sent compulsorily into the army as a private would have ruined all my
chances in the new career I had mapped out for myself, and there is but
little chance of promotion from the ranks.

The methods of conscription in Turkey differ from those of other
military countries. Although military service is obligatory in the
Turkish empire, conscription is not universal; that is to say, the
privileged natives of Constantinople, the inhabitants of all frontier
districts, such as the Albanians and Kurdish clans and Arab tribes,
are not forced to serve in the army. Moreover, the Armenians, Greeks,
and non-Mussulman natives of the country are completely exempted from
military service, and instead of serving as soldiers, each male member
of these peoples pays a yearly exemption tax, the amount of which,
if I am not mistaken, is about five or six shillings. Many of these
native Christians exercise an incredible amount of ingenuity to get out
of paying the tax, and they all grumble incessantly at its tremendous
heaviness. They always complain to their European sympathisers about
this, and as a matter of fact some kind British politicians take this
grievance of the 'oppressed Christian' in hand every now and then,
and style it one of the numerous injustices committed against them by
the Turks, and defend their cause vigorously in the press or on the
platform, in the name of humanity and Christianity. Sometimes you will
hear the native Christians of Turkey complain that they are not equally
treated, because they are not admitted into the army. But it is easy
to see that this half-hearted complaint is merely made for the sake of
grumbling, as they are only too thankful for their exemption, knowing
what hardships, misery, and material losses are caused by being away
for years from home on active service, and they are not unaware that
a community liable to stringent conscription is likely to have its
numbers thinned. I am not one of those so-called enlightened people
styled 'advanced' Turks, who advocate the admission of these Eastern
Christians into the Turkish army. I may be called a fanatic; but so far
as the interests of my nation are concerned, I do not mind being so
called. What would become of the loyalty, supreme obedience to command,
self-sacrificing devotion, and undaunted fighting capacity which
distinguish our army, if the Eastern Christians were admitted into
it?[4] The Turkish army has always inspired fear in the ambitious and
aspiring enemies of our territories, and if it were not for the Turkish
army the remainder of the empire would have been divided up long ago.
It has beaten a nation which had eighty thousand trained men in the
field, and which received moral and material support from all
parts of Europe, in a month. It has made, by its heroic action
in the field, an astonished German veteran jump up and exclaim
enthusiastically--"What a brilliant army!" and a well known English war
correspondent say--"If Alexander came out of his grave he would conquer
the world with the Turkish army." This army performed so brilliant a
feat as the defence of Plevna; fought, without allies, the greatest
conquering nation of our time for nearly a year; and if it were not
for the most calamitous mismanagement of the present Sultan, it could
probably have pushed back the Russian invaders across the Danube
twenty-five years ago. The apprehension of what would happen if Greeks,
Armenians, and non-Moslem Syrians were admitted into the army is also
justified by the fact that they could not be trusted in the event of a
great struggle with, say, Russia. Of course, the Russian army has in it
a large number of Mussulman soldiers, and these men fought desperately
against us during the last Russo-Turkish War. But while Russia would
punish severely any treason committed by them, Turkey could not punish
these Eastern Christians for the same offence. Europe would call that
punishment persecution, and at once interfere on their behalf. We
know the true feelings of these people well, and whatever concession
is granted them, it is impossible to inspire in them any feeling of
patriotism for the Ottoman empire in general. Those who advocate
their inclusion in the army, moreover, say that it would increase
the numerical strength of our fighting forces. But the Ottoman army
would exceed a million men nowadays in the case of necessity, and for
purposes of defence this would be fully a match for any enemy. Another
plea for the admission of Christian subjects of Turkey into the army
is that, as they are free from conscription, their men stay at home,
work without hindrance, and look after the prosperity and welfare of
their families uninterruptedly, and their number is on the increase as
a consequence. It is quite true that compulsory military service is
telling upon the Turkish nation alarmingly. A man is liable to fight
from his twentieth year to his fortieth whenever he may be called
upon to do so, and he is, of course, always liable to be killed. When
he is called to arms, his business is paralysed and his poor family
left without assistance. But these difficulties can be remedied if the
general maladministration is improved, and I hope it will be improved
as soon as the present regime is changed.



  The anomalous position of foreigners in
  Turkey--Capitulation privileges--The Porte has no
  jurisdiction over foreign criminals--Attempts to modify
  the anomaly--Reason for their failure to be found in
  the Sultan's misrule--The independence of Turkey a
  mere fiction--The native Christians--Their separatist
  aspirations--Their treasonable acts--Their English
  apologists--Tolerant policy of the Turks--Dangers of this
  tolerance--The Armenians--Their ancient privileges--The
  massacres--Their present position.

IN the preceding chapter I gave a summarised account of the
jurisdiction of Turkey, and also made an allusion to the admission of
the Armenians and other non-Mussulman natives of Turkey to the judicial
institutions. Here I will say something on the position held by foreign
subjects in regard to the law of the country, as well as on the
disposition of the non-Mussulman population towards the Ottoman empire.

As a matter of fact, foreigners enjoy a most extraordinarily privileged
position in Turkey, and their privileges are known as 'capitulations.'

Every foreign colony forms a distinct _imperium in imperio_ more
markedly in Constantinople than in any other city of the Ottoman
empire. Every individual foreigner enjoys extra-territorial privileges,
such as in other countries could only be afforded to the diplomatic
representatives of Foreign Powers. Whatever crime a foreign subject may
commit, he is not amenable to the authority of the Ottoman Government
The capitulation privileges of the foreign subjects granted in bygone
centuries by the Ottoman rulers to European visitors, who were then
few in number, were in reality acts of hospitality. But they have been
abused in later times by those in whose favour they were granted. I
cannot here enter into the details of the capitulation privileges
which[5] fetter the hands of the Ottoman statesman, which create
insurmountable difficulties for the thorough enforcement of the laws,
and which seriously impede the adoption of progress and reforms.
There was at one time a real possibility of the Porte getting rid, at
least partially, of these capitulation privileges, which are really
not justified by international law, and some friendly Powers, notably
Great Britain, appeared well disposed to discuss the advisability of
making some modification in them. In fact, certain concessions were
made to the Porte in the carrying out of the sentences passed by it
on foreign criminals. These modifications could still be successfully
brought about if Turkey could earnestly set to work to reorganise the
administration of the country, and to introduce such practical reforms
as are necessitated by the actual requirements of the case, and then
appeal to the justice and equity of the Great Powers not to insist
upon exercising fully the capitulation privileges of their subjects.
It was some thirty years ago that the statesmen of the Sublime Porte
seriously meant to accomplish this great task. But with the beginning
of Abd-ul-Hamid's disastrous reign all the previous schemes of the
Porte were brought to naught This capricious Sultan began to rule
over an important empire, which required the most delicate handling,
in a manner which has never before been seen in the history of any
civilised or semi-civilised State, and which can only be paralleled
by the mode of governing of some wild tribal chieftain. He proceeded,
with a tyrant's zest, to crush the influence of Ottoman statesmen of
capability and integrity, and handed over the most important offices
of the State to ignorant fanatics and to cosmopolitan upstarts, whose
one claim to notice was their dishonourable behaviour. One of the
results of the present rule has been that foreign residents in Turkey
have naturally clung more firmly to their extra-territorial privileges,
and the old capitulation privileges have given rise to new privileges
which are by no means based upon the stipulations of the ancient
treaties. So one can now see in Constantinople the most amazing anomaly
of many centres of Government, all distinct from one another, and all
of them utterly unaffected by the sovereignty of the Porte. Thus the
independence of Turkey is quite fictitious nowadays, and Abd-ul-Hamid
can only satisfy his lust of tyranny by oppressing the section of his
subjects who can expect no outside protection or sympathy.

Throughout these pages I have consistently condemned the misrule
of the present Sultan. My feeling against his ways is the stronger
because I am sure that, in spite of the ascendancy gained by foreigners
in Turkey, she might yet assert and maintain an honest and sound
administration, in place of the miserable tyranny which oppresses her
now. But as it is, the Foreign Powers, taking advantage of the existing
misrule, not only fetter the hands of Turkish statesmen by persistently
demanding fresh extra-territorial privileges for their subjects, but
also take up, some of them, the cause of those Eastern Christians who
are under Ottoman rule, alleging that they are acting in the name of

Their real motive, however, is that they may use them as a _point
d'appui_ for their political schemes and designs. Thus these subject
populations of Turkey, whose true racial characteristics have often
been made clear by Englishmen who have travelled in the Levant,
form a great internal danger to the integrity of the Ottoman empire.
The subject populations of Turkey are of course of various distinct
nationalities, such as Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, non-Mohammedan
Syrians, and so forth. Each of these large communities has its own
quarter, churches and denominational schools, national aspirations and
separatist ideas. Each community speaks its own language, each native
Christian community entertains, nowadays more or less without disguise,
sentiments of animosity towards the Osmanlis, and even sympathises
with the enemies of the Turkish empire in time of international
trouble or war. These sentiments of the Eastern Christians are known
to many politicians in this country, and they excuse these treasonable
sentiments of their 'Christian brethren' by maintaining that they are
the natural outcome of long years of oppression and persecution. This
apologetic contention is not based upon an intimate knowledge of the
real state of things in the nearer East, nor is it at all justifiable.
Of course, the Ottoman empire has long been suffering from intolerable
oppression, but its Christian inhabitants have not been the only
sufferers; on the other hand, many of them have allowed themselves
to be the cause of oppression, and have even acted as the right-hand
men of the oppressors. If there had ever been a serious persecution
particularly directed against the native Christians, there would not
now be many Armenians or Greeks left alive in Turkey. In past ages
they were entirely at the mercy of the Ottomans; there was no European
Power, and no Concert of Powers, strong enough to stop the conversion
or extermination of the non-Mussulman population of the Ottoman empire.
There could be no better proof of the tolerant policy of the Osmanlis
towards their subject populations than the actual existence at the
present day in that country of so many millions of native Christians of
all denominations. Moreover, not only have native Christians had their
existence assured to them, but also their freedom of conscience, which
is amply proved by the fact that their ecclesiastical constitutions,
their languages, and their national customs have been respected by
the Turks. But this liberal treatment has been abused by the subject
populations of Turkey. They have never done anything to show their
gratitude, and have never displayed any patriotism towards the Ottoman
empire. If they were to do so it might perhaps save Turkey from
internal dissensions, and from consequent strife, anarchy, and the ruin
which stares it in the face. The history of Turkey must have taught the
Russians wisdom, for they are careful to insist upon the Russification
of their conquered subject populations, and never risk grafting on to
their stem a shoot which may turn out to have thorns. The fact is that
tolerance towards subject populations of alien race and faith, as shown
by Mussulmans, excellent as it may appear to sentimental humanitarians,
is a sure way of imperilling the future independence of a nation.

Of all her non-Mussulman subjects Turkey has the greatest reason to be
anxious about the Armenians and their separatist movement. The ambition
of Armenian agitators is to form an independent State in an important
portion of Asia Minor, the backbone of the Ottoman empire. I therefore
wish to make a few remarks here on Armenian matters, in particular as,
though Armenian affairs may seem to be in the background at present,
political mischief makers will take up this plaything of theirs again
sooner or later.

As I pointed out in the last chapter, among forty-five students of the
faculty of law, thirteen were Armenians. Thirteen out of forty-five
is proportionately a large number, considering the small number of
Armenians relatively to other nationalities of the Ottoman empire. The
Armenians are admittedly very industrious people. They won good marks
in the entrance examination, and the authorities at the Ministry of
Public Instruction would not affix a limit of number, but admitted as
many as successfully passed the examination. I doubt, however, after
those agitations, if such impartiality has been shown towards the
members of that race in all Ottoman institutions. And if not it would
not be a matter for surprise when one considers how the Armenians have
conducted themselves towards the Empire and their Mussulman compatriots
for some time past.

Yes, people in this country heard much about the massacres. Doubtless
they were abominable, and doubtless many innocent persons were
slaughtered. But it is only common justice that one should try to find
out what were the reasons for attacking Armenians before one judges
and condemns those who did so. It is a fact that there was never such
an outburst of enmity to the Armenians before; if there had been,
there would not be over two millions living in the Ottoman empire now.
The Armenians are an adventurous race; they can go anywhere, settle
anywhere, and become subject to any State. Some years before the
troubles, many of the foreign subject Armenians came over to Turkey,
styling themselves Frenchmen, Englishmen and Americans, sometimes in
the shape of missionaries, sometimes as teachers. These adventurers,
together with the revolutionary Russian subject Armenians, who came
mostly from the Caucasus, began to stir up the people of their own
race all over Asiatic Turkey in favour of a national independence.
The younger generation of the Armenian people, becoming intoxicated
with great ideas and dreams of a national kingdom, overlooked the
impossibility of establishing any such thing in any particular part
of the Ottoman dominions, and did not realise that their people
formed a miserable minority everywhere. It has been maintained by
their political sympathisers in England that their agitations were
for the purpose of being better governed, and in no way a separatist
movement; but this is absurd, and was merely an after-thought. As
a matter of fact the Armenians gave loud expression to their new
aspirations of having an independent kingdom in Eastern Asia Minor.
We heard everywhere from them that the Christian Powers--above all,
Great Britain were going to hand over that portion of the 'decaying'
Ottoman empire to them, as they had handed over Ottoman territories
before to other Christian races of the East They were simply awaiting
the prophesied moment of the partition of Turkey to establish their
independence on their share of the divided territory. I myself heard
Armenians talking about who were to be the future rulers among their
own people. The Turks began to ask themselves such questions as, "Why
do these people revolt against us when we suffer from misrule much
more than they do, and when, moreover, the official misdeeds are
partly due to Armenian jacks-in-office?"[6] The agitation among the
Armenians grew worse and worse every day; the agitators resorted to
the same old method, namely, they tried to provoke the Turkish populace
to retaliate on its offenders, hoping that this would be represented
in Europe as an outburst of Mussulman fanaticism, and would induce
the Powers to intervene, and so hasten the partition. The Turks, or,
more widely speaking, the Mussulman population of Asiatic Turkey,
were gravely discussing what could be done to check this overbearing
and mischievous behaviour. Turkish women and children were exposed to
ill-treatment and insult throughout Asia Minor. The Turk's patience
is almost inexhaustible, but when you attack his women and children
his anger is roused, and nothing on earth can control it, and he saw
that the Government of the Sultan was utterly powerless to punish the
Armenian agitators and revolutionists of foreign nationality. Did
the humanitarian British public know these things? No; it does not
care to know anything which might be favourable to the Turks. Have
the political journals of this country mentioned the facts. I have
stated? Of course not, because--to speak plainly--they knew that in the
Armenian pie there were the fingers of some of their own politicians.
Shortly before the massacres, I heard many Turkish people, who had
lived side by side with the Armenians for centuries, saying that it
was a mistake to be angry with the Kurds for their treatment of the
Armenians in Eastern Asia Minor, and that it was the right thing to
crush these people. Then there came the dark days of those terrible
massacres. The Armenian revolutionists, who ultimately managed to go
abroad scot-free, gave great provocation by throwing dynamite bombs in
many places and killing women and children of the Mussulman population.
These people could no longer expect that the Government of the Sultan
would do anything to settle the agitation and prevent further mischief,
so at last they took the law into their own hands and put down the
Armenian movement in the manner we all know. The Sultan, who was eating
his heart out at his inability to punish the revolutionary Armenians
of foreign extraction, simply connived at the doings of the enraged
populace, if he did not actually instigate and encourage them; but,
unfortunately, by his connivance, it was mostly innocent Armenians who
perished at the hands of the mob, and only a very few of the guilty
ringleaders suffered.

Although the Armenians are hard-working and energetic, they will never
recover their former prosperity.

They have always had every opportunity of enriching themselves.
They had a firm footing and influential positions in the royal
establishments, which made them practically the trustees and paymasters
of the revenues of the empire. Their opportunities began with the
foundation of the Ottoman power in Asia Minor, which found them a
scattered remnant of a race, with their political existence already
stamped out by other conquerors, and which, though it did not restore
their freedom politically, at least assured to them the advantages of
individual prosperity, protection and toleration. As an instance of
what the Turks have been willing to do for the Armenians, I may quote
the religious difficulties early in the last century. It was at the
beginning of the missionary movement in Europe, and both Protestant and
Catholic missionaries poured into Turkey and set about proselytising
the Armenians, with more zeal than discretion. The Armenian Patriarch
appealed to the Turkish Government to expel these foreign missionaries
who were causing trouble in his community, and in response to his
appeal the Government at once put great restrictions upon the
missionaries, and this in spite of the fact that by so doing it ran
the risk of incurring European enmity. In mentioning this I do not
say anything against mission work; I merely instance the circumstance
to show the tolerance with which the Turks have always treated the
Armenians and their religion, and how untrue is the accusation brought
against them of systematic religious persecution.

However, I doubt if the Mussulman population will ever place the same
confidence in the Armenians again. We do not see now so many of those
flourishing Armenian Pashas in the high Government offices of Turkey
as we did before, though they are regaining some of their old hold in
Government circles. As a natural result of being out of favour, the
race will not probably find it so easy a matter to gain admission to
the educational institutions of the State.



  I adopt European dress--The standard of
  civilisation--English clothes 'made in Austria'--European
  dress first adopted under Sultan Mahmud--My vain
  attempts to get an appointment--Requisite qualifications
  for Government employment, bribery and espionage--The
  only livelihood possible for educated men--I become a
  lawyer--I penetrate high official quarters.

WHEN I had passed the final examination in the law college I began to
attend the Courts to see and learn the actual working of the forms of
the procedures. I now grew to dislike having to go to the Courts and
Government offices in the _Ulema_ costume, which I still wore. In fact,
even in my class at the college there were only a few persons belonging
to _madrassehs_, and they alone were attired in the semi-religious
dress, and the contrast between our appearance and the rest in the
class, who were attired in ordinary civilian dress, seemed to us to
make us look old-fashioned. So, like most of my countrymen, I was
seized with the ambition of appearing up-to-date, and of dressing in
the more modern manner; that is to say, European costume in all but
the fez. Before I could do this, however, and become, so to speak, an
ordinary layman, I had to leave the life of the _madrasseh_ altogether,
for the people in those ancient institutions regard the discarding of
the academical turban and long cloak, and the adoption of European
clothes, as a renunciation of the profession. Anyone who ventures to
do this forfeits his right to a lodging in the _madrasseh_. I did not
know where to go after leaving my _madrasseh_, as Turkish families
cannot take any stranger into their houses as a boarder, while to go
into a Greek or Armenian family would not do for a young Mussulman, for
many reasons. So I hired two rooms in an inn, which was as filthy as
these inns always are. I went to the European quarter of Constantinople
and bought a suit of clothes from one of the numerous clothiers, who
are mostly Austrian Jews, and who bring the clothes ready-made from
Austria. Their goods are ridiculously cheap, but the tailoring and the
material are extremely bad. It is a proverb in Constantinople that when
you buy a suit of clothes from these Austrian shops and put it on, it
will be worn out before you can cross over the Golden Horn Bridge back
to Stamboul. Curiously enough, some of these Austrians try to pass
their goods off as of English manufacture, as the English-made goods
have a better reputation than the Austrian even in Turkey.

But, bad though they were, I was well content with my new clothes,
as this was a step forward in satisfaction of my craze to dress as
the Europeans did. It is a fact that most people who adopt this form
of dress in the nearer East look upon those who have not adopted it,
or do not desire to adopt it, as incapable of acquiring 'civilised'
habits. Snobbish as it is, no doubt, this idea is not without reason.
A few years ago, when there was an anti-Turkish agitation in England,
I observed in some of the Radical papers remarks to the effect that,
while the Eastern Christians who had been liberated from the Turkish
yoke had adopted civilised methods, the Turks themselves seemed to be
incapable of progress or civilisation. In reality, these 'Europeanised'
Eastern Christians are no more civilised than the turbaned villagers of
Asia Minor; their imitation of civilised methods and habits is merely
superficial; but they manage to make themselves look like Europeans;
and the world passes its judgment on most matters by surface evidence.
Not long ago I saw an article in the Spectator, dealing with the
incapacity of dark races to adopt civilised manners, and, as one of
the examples, it was cited that the late Midhat Pasha used to hate
some aspects of European costume, especially evening dress. It was
a revelation to me that Midhat and his nation were included in the
category of the dark races, and it was also a surprise to me that the
Spectator did not remember that many Englishmen of perfectly civilised
habits and high culture hate some of the grotesque forms of European
costume. It was, however, this sort of feeling among the majority of
Europeans that made us wish to imitate them, at least outwardly, so
that we might not be accused of being unfitted for civilised ways. If
the Turkish Government would make the women of harems discard their
'barbarous' veils, and go about like European women, and urge all its
subjects to put on European costumes, and also hats instead of the fez
or turban, its action would doubtless be hailed in many quarters as the
real beginning of the civilisation of Turkey.

Sultan Mahmud II., the exterminator of the Janissaries, was the first
man who perceived this prejudiced feeling of Europe some eighty
years ago. He knew that the undying hostility of the nations of
Western Europe against his empire was simply because Turkey was not a
Christian State.[7] As he could not accept any form of the religions
of Christendom, he thought he would lessen the old hostility of
Europe which must be lessened if Turkey in Europe were to continue
to exist--by imitating, at least outwardly, the other peoples of
Europe. So he ordered all the officials of the State to adopt European
attire, and himself was the first to give up the old head-dress or
turban and the long robe, and to replace them by a modified kind of
European uniform. The most conservative and religious section of the
Turks raised a howl of protest against this measure, but they could
not support their case by any valid canonical law. The tradition that
"He who makes himself look like the infidels is one of them," which is
attributed to the Prophet, was proved to be spurious. But, in spite
of his innovations, Sultan Mahmud II. could not adopt the European
hat, as his fanatical opponents discovered that the Prophet explicitly
prohibited his followers from wearing the head-dress of unbelievers,
which was at that time three-cornered in shape, the comers signifying
the belief in the 'Trinity,' a belief which is repudiated by Unitarian
Mohammedanism. The objectors, moreover, maintained that a man could not
put his forehead on the ground in prostration during worship with any
form of European hat. So the Sultan, instead of taking the European
head-dress as well, adopted the fez, which was worn mostly by the
Greeks of the Mediterranean Archipelago.

I do not say that Mahmud II. did unwisely in discarding his
forefathers' turbaned crown and long, furred robe. But it was a great
pity that he did not retain the ancient national costumes for special
ceremonial occasions at least, if only for antiquarian interest. In
looking at pictures and drawings illustrating the olden days, one
cannot help admiring those gorgeous old Turkish dresses. Persons
of every class and profession had their big turban of a particular
shape, their long robe, wide trousers, and so forth, and in these
costumes looked not only picturesque, but also imposing and dignified.
Ever since the first change, people in Turkey have been adopting the
European style of costume, and those who now retain the old attire
are only the humbler class of people in the provinces, tradesmen,
peasants, and the class of the _Ulema_.

Following my example, four other men among the students of the law
college who came from _madrassehs_ also changed their costume. Of
course, they had also to leave their _madrassehs_ on account of their

       *       *       *       *       *

After I had secured my exemption from military service, and had got
over the protracted final examination in the law college, I found that
my real troubles in life were only just beginning, for the problem
of making a position for myself lay before me. I was now entirely
dependent upon my own labours to earn my bread. As I mentioned at
the beginning of the book, we had no longer any hope of recovering
our confiscated lands, and the little instalments advanced to me
periodically out of the revenue of those lands during our lawsuit with
the authorities, which lasted fifteen years, were now very irregularly
paid. In fact, I was becoming thoroughly disgusted by the fact that we
had to make the most humble entreaties to the arrogant officials of
the Sultan in order to persuade them to advance the small sums they
owed to us. I wished to obtain some appointment, either in the Courts
or the Ministry of Justice, but there seemed little chance of my doing
so. As I have been endeavouring to show throughout these chapters,
the administration in the reign of Abd-ul-Hamid has been the most
corrupt that our unfortunate country has ever known. No one, however
highly qualified he may be, can get any employment in any Government
department unless he is connected with some highly-placed creature
of the Sultan, or unless he is able to bribe high officials, or is
cunning enough to concoct some grave political charge against others
and denounce them to the tyrant at Yildiz Kiosk. Those who do this
last service are known as 'Palace spies.' I had no relation in the
Sultan's palace who might have obtained a Government appointment for
me; and had, of course, no money to lay out in bribery, and so purchase
an appointment, while the trade of a spy was entirely repugnant to
my feelings. I may be asked why, instead of striving to get official
employment, I did not try to find other work. The fact is that
official employment is nowadays the only way in Turkey in which persons
of any education can earn a livelihood. In order to explain this I
must give some account of the nature of officialdom under the Sultan's

As the Sultan has never relaxed his determination to crush the power
and the influence of the well-to-do families, an independent existence
has now been made impossible for them. Therefore everyone of birth and
education must depend upon a Government salary for his maintenance, and
so be at the mercy of the Sultan, who has gradually and systematically
obtained control of all the financial resources of Turkey. Strictly
speaking, there is no such thing in Turkey as a distinct aristocracy.
High titled officials of the State may impress foreign observers as
being members of an aristocracy, but in reality those officials can
be raised even from people of the lowest station in life. There have
always been, nevertheless, good old families in the provinces, who,
though they received the appreciation and respect of the masses, had
no pretensions to any actual superiority over their dependants. The
governing factions, who were appointed and promoted by the central
Government, were quite distinct from either the rich or the poor
populations of most Turkish provinces. This state of society existed
up to the beginning of the present reign. When Abd-ul-Hamid began to
establish his personal rule, and founded the present bureaucracy, he
saw a danger in the independent manner of life of the old families, and
in their democratic and friendly relations with the poorer classes.

At first he tried to demoralise those ancient families by conferring
upon them official titles and decorations, hoping thus to impress them
with an idea of rank, which would bring attendant jealousies, and make
them strive hard to gain higher rank and decorations than the rest
of their fellows. Besides this, the Sultan acquired large tracts of
land in the fertile districts throughout the empire, and, as a step in
his policy of wholesale acquisition, the lands and properties of the
local magnates were gradually taken possession of on some pretext or
other by the administrators of the Civil List. Thus it was that those
who had once been independent landowners received official titles,
and became part and parcel of the Palace official world. They now
depend almost entirely for their living upon salaries paid out of the
public treasury, which treasury is supplied for the most part by taxes
extorted from the poorer provincials and peasant proprietors.

At present there are only two ways in which Turkish subjects can obtain
a livelihood. Either they must be content to pocket their pride, and
labour as workmen, small tradesmen, ordinary craftsmen, farm labourers,
and so forth, or else they must somehow get a Government appointment A
man of education must make a Government salary his ambition in life,
and must direct all his energies to increasing it. It therefore follows
that the number of unnecessary officials in Turkey is enormous, and
consequently their salaries are small, and also constantly in arrears.
Even the payment of a salary due to an official is a matter for an
appeal to the Sultan's benevolence; any increase is naturally even
more so. Only those who are able to show loyalty to the person of the
Sultan get their salaries increased and their arrears paid. The best
form of showing the required loyalty for an official is, as before
stated, to spy upon others, and denounce them as intriguing against
his sovereignty. Those who cannot or will not show their loyalty in
this way are soon reduced to the point of starvation, if not exiled or
imprisoned, or condemned to death. There is no other means of earning
money for a Turk of education in his own country nowadays. No one
can venture to carry on any commerce or any legitimate money-making
enterprise independently, nor can he establish any business relations
with the outside world. He would be instantly harassed by the lying and
intriguing Palace spies, and denounced to the Sultan as carrying on
some treasonable negotiations, under the guise of doing business. All
kinds of industrial, commercial, and financial combinations are most
stringently forbidden to Turks. Even two men cannot make an association
for any innocent and reasonable business purpose, as such a proceeding
would doubtless be reported as the promotion of a conspiracy. If a man
is accused of doing such a thing, he has no chance of proving his
innocence. The spies have a perfectly free hand, and nothing they may
report is censured, however monstrous or improbable it may be; in fact,
the more extraordinary and unlikely it is, the more the spy who brings
it will be rewarded for his zeal.

There was therefore no way in which I could obtain official employment
But my diploma from the law college qualified me to practise as a
barrister, so to that profession I determined to devote my energies,
although even in this liberal profession no independence is possible,
on account of its being under the complete control of officialdom.

Among my fellow law students who received their diploma at the same
time as myself only a few contemplated practising at the Bar; the
remainder sought Government employment Those who wished to earn their
living as lawyers had not the necessary private means for starting in
that profession. I was, however, more fortunate than most. At this
period of my career, when I enjoyed much leisure, I used to attend at
the office of a well known Turkish publisher and littérateur, who has
now been exiled to Konia, in Asiatic Turkey, whose office was called
'Imprimérie Ebuzzia,' after his own name. There I read and corrected
proofs and contributed to his magazine. This was, of course, before
the Sultan's great literary persecution, which resulted in the closing
of several printing offices, the suppression of several journals, the
burning of many books, and the banishment of many persons connected
with the literary world. In this office I made the acquaintance of a
European, who was an old resident in Constantinople, and was acting as
correspondent to the _Times_. This gentleman and his European friends,
who had some business in the matter of concessions to settle with the
Turkish Government, occasionally entrusted me with the drawing up of
their Turkish documents, and with interviewing officials on their
behalf. The documentary work I received from them enabled me from time
to time to have access not only to several high officials appointed
by the Palace, but also to the Imperial Palace itself. I thus had
many opportunities of observing closely the way in which the ruling
clique in Constantinople performs its duties. I will now give some
description of the real centre of authority in the Turkish empire,
which, I fancy, has never been properly understood even by those
English politicians who are interested in the eternal Eastern Question.



  The Porte the old centre of authority--The Ministers'
  present degraded position--A conversational
  opening--Meaning of 'Yildiz Kiosk'--The Sultan's Armenian
  appearance--The reasons for his living at Yildiz--A
  fortified palace--Its gardens and forest--The 'Charitable
  Hotel-keeper'--The apartments of the palace--Governing
  bodies in it--A cosmopolitan crew--Expenses of the
  Household--The Sultan's Civil List managed by Armenians.

BEFORE the reign of the present Sultan the centre of the ruling power
in Turkey was the 'Sublime Porte' but since his accession, Yildiz
Kiosk (his palace) has absorbed every scrap of authority in the
country. Although, in diplomatic and journalistic language, the 'Porte'
or 'Sublime Porte,' is still used as the name for the Government
of Turkey, it can no longer be regarded as a correct one. Before
describing Yildiz Kiosk, I should like to state what the 'Sublime
Porte' means and represents. 'Sublime Porte' is the French translation
of the Turkish term '_Babi Aali_.' _Bab_ means 'door,' and _Aali_
'superior.' Every Government seat is called the 'door' in Turkey, for
the reason that the door of every office of the State is supposed
to be always open to any who may wish to enter to seek justice and
redress. The most important of all Government offices (that of the
Grand Vizier and the three principal Ministers, who are the President
of the Councils of State, the Foreign Minister, and the Minister of the
Interior, with their respective departmental functionaries) is known as
'Sublime Porte'; whereas the offices of the other Ministers, such as
Justice, Finance, Public Works, Public Instruction, War, etc., which
are situated in separate localities, being considered comparatively
less important, are only called the 'Door.'

The Council of the Ministers holds its meetings under the presidency of
the Grand Vizier at the 'Sublime Porte.' Theoretically, the affairs of
State are still superintended by the Ministers, but in reality nowadays
they simply supervise such scraps of State business as may be handed
over to them by the Palace. The present Cabinet Ministers of Turkey are
either men whose principle and ability are not of the sort to inspire
respect, or else weak nonentities, who are merely appointed to carry
out without question the wishes of the Palace. They are all appointed
and protected by some influential courtier of the Sultan. It is an open
secret that beyond reading and talking over the papers sent to them by
the Palace, the Cabinet Ministers dare not discuss or settle any matter
affecting the vital interests of the country on their own account;
and it is also a matter of common knowledge that the conversation of
the Ministers in Council is chiefly about the weather and other safe,
unexciting topics. The favourite conversational opening of the late
Sheikh-ul-Islam in the Council, as is well known in Constantinople,
was:-" Under the benevolent auspices of his Imperial Majesty, our
august Master, the weather is fine to-day." None of the Ministers
venture to make a statement or give an opinion on any political
situation. Like their subordinates, the Ministers are in honour bound
to spy on one another. In short, the Cabinet Ministers are now mere
ciphers of the Court.

The 'Sublime Porte' was first recognised as the centre of the ruling
power of the Ottoman empire when such statesmen were in power as
Resheed Pasha (who was Grand Vizier during the Crimean campaign),
Aali Pasha, Fuad Pasha (who accompanied the late Sultan Aziz when the
latter visited this country), and Midhat Pasha, who compelled the
Sultan to sanction a Representative Assembly, and who was afterwards
done to death in his exile in Taif near Mecca. The reason why
Abd-ul-Hamid preserved the 'Sublime Porte,' although he has deprived
it of every vestige of authority, is that he found the Ministers
useful as scapegoats at various periods of his reign, when he had to
face important political crises. The Sultan has until quite recently
succeeded in hoodwinking even the representatives of the European
Powers, and making them believe that the authority which had to settle
International disputes was the 'Sublime Porte.' Thus he has avoided the
possibility of personal responsibility for his misrule being brought
home to him, and causing diplomatic pressure to bear directly on
himself. The buildings which contain the offices of the 'Sublime Porte'
are situated in the Stamboul quarter of Constantinople, and are close
to St Sophia

Having explained what the Sublime Porte once was and now is, and having
also pointed out that it has ceased to be even in a figurative sense
the Ottoman Government, I will now give an account of Yildiz Kiosk.
Yildiz means 'star' in Turkish. The majestic hill which is situated on
the European side of the Bosphorus near the Marmora end of the Strait
is called the Yildiz. The word 'Kiosk,' or, as it is spelt in Turkish,
'Koshq,' means both castle and cottage. I believe it was Sultan
Abd-ul-Mejid who built the castle on the summit of the hill and called
it 'Yildiz Koshq.' The story runs that this castle was built as a
residence for a favourite lady of that Sultan, to whose presence in the
harem of the palace his wife and mother objected. Gossip also relates
that she was an Armenian, and the present Sultan is said to be her son.
Although the physiognomy of Abd-ul-Hamid is very similar to that of a
typical Armenian, and his personal characteristics are more Armenian
than Turkish, this story rests on a very slight foundation.

Twenty-six years ago the present Sultan transferred the royal seat to
the house at Yildiz, which was then a mere cottage. Many reasons were
adduced for his changing his dwelling so soon after his accession. The
ostensible reason was that the air on the lofty Yildiz hill was much
finer than that round the old palace, which lay on the damp shores of
the Bosphorus. But the real reason was that Yildiz was impregnable, and
that there his person would be safely protected against any attempt
to overthrow him. During the last six-and-twenty years he has never
relaxed his efforts to make his home at Yildiz safer and safer. The
forest extending from the top of the Yildiz hill down to the shores
of the Bosphorus is surrounded with high and massive walls. I have
never had any opportunity of penetrating within the forest It is said
to be perpetually guarded by numerous sentinels round the walls.
Some years ago a whole battalion of sappers worked inside the forest
of Yildiz Palace for months. According to what I gathered from the
reports of the soldiers, the forest is mined in several directions,
and there must be a thorough workable system of subterranean passages,
for what purpose it is not difficult to surmise. I visited the
outside of these walls at a time when it was occasionally possible
for strangers to walk in the vicinity of the Yildiz Palace. There are
many blocks of barracks, thirty or forty yards apart from one another,
all along the line of the wall In these barracks are quartered troops
of various nationalities--Arab, Albanian, and Turkish. There is
little friendliness or intercourse between the men of the different
battalions; but all these simple-minded privates of the guard have been
so carefully and systematically inspired with unhesitating loyalty
towards their 'father,' as they call the Sultan, that they would quite
willingly sacrifice the last drop of their blood in the defence of his
precious life. Beyond these barracks there are hills and valleys, which
are also extensively guarded by blockhouses and sentinels. Some years
ago, when the Turkish malcontents became restless, a young officer in
the Sultan's guard drew a careful plan of the palace and its defences,
in which he showed its vulnerable points. This plan was published
some years ago by the Turkish agitators in Geneva, with the title
"Instructions to be carried out in the assault on Yildiz Palace." It is
said that the publication of this plan caused the Sultan to alter all
the defences of Yildiz.

The harem apartments and various small but luxurious kiosks are
situated in the interior of the forest, which is said to be laid out in
beautiful flower-gardens, roads, lakes and canals. There are several
detached pavilions in the palace gardens; one of the most splendid of
them is said to be the one in which the Sultan entertains his princely
foreign guests. The Emperor of Germany lodged in it during his two
visits to Constantinople. The Sultan is always eager to accommodate his
royal visitors within the establishment of Yildiz, so that he may not
be compelled to leave the palace to call upon them. It is well known
that he takes the utmost care to make them comfortable and to entertain
them well. It is for this reason that he has obtained the nickname in
certain discontented quarters of 'the Charitable Hotel-keeper.' The
Sultan always enjoys his sport and takes his exercise in his palace
forest One of his means of recreation is the Yildiz opera-house, in
which he, with his children or with his foreign guests, patronises the
drama, in which he takes a keen interest It is worthy of remark that,
while a strict censorship and a rigorous police make the progress of
dramatic art among his subjects almost impossible, the Sultan's own
theatre is fitted with all the latest improvements.

The buildings in which the officials and officers of the court, and
the army of household attendants (as we may call them) live, are
situated at the highest part of the Yildiz forest, while at the
opposite end, at the foot of the forest, almost on the shore, is the
Tcharagan Palace, where ex-Sultan Murad, Abd-ul-Hamid's mysterious
and strictly-guarded captive, is confined. No human being who is not
attached to the guard of the captive can approach the latter palace.
The bureaus of the officials and officers on the top of the hill are
built just outside the walled garden. The passage between the official
residences and offices and the Sultan's own quarters in the interior
is called the 'Mabeyn,' an Arabic word, which means a space between
two objects. It is for that reason that the seraglio of the Sultan
is figuratively called the Mabeyn, so that it may be distinguished
from those of other princely palaces. In front of these departmental
offices there is another valley, which was formerly inhabited chiefly
by Turkish and Armenian families. The houses of these people have
all been appropriated by the Civil List, with the view of making the
distance between the palace at Yildiz and the people's quarters as
great as possible. Beyond this valley there is another high hill, which
is covered with the private houses of the court dignitaries. The object
of the Sultan in building these houses for his officials on his own
account was that he might prevent the Europeans of Pera from coming
into possession of land in the direction of Yildiz, and in this way
extending their quarters into the vicinity of the palace.

With a few exceptions, the courtiers and principal secretaries of the
Sultan receive any business connected with any branch of State affairs,
and deal with it after submitting it to him. For instance, there is
a military council in the palace consisting of highly-favoured staff
officers, who decide on all important military matters, although there
is still an over-staffed War Ministry, which, by the established
statute of the Empire, has to look after the affairs of the army.
In the palace a highly important espionage and police bureau is
maintained, though the old Ministry of the Police, with its numerous
officials, is still in existence. In the palace reside those advisers
to the Sultan whose business it is to attend to matters connected
with Mussulman affairs, and to see that the Sultan's position as
Caliph in the Mohammedan world is maintained; yet the old office of
the Sheikh-ul-Islam, which theoretically should be in charge of such
religious matters, is still in existence, with its many officials.
There is a political and translation department at Yildiz, which is
entrusted with the examination of such of the contents of the political
press and political literature of Europe as may deal with Turkish
matters, and which makes suggestions on diplomatic affairs, though
these things are supposed to be done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
at the Sublime Porte. The postal and telegraphic office of Yildiz
Palace is the greatest and busiest of all post-offices in Turkey. All
governors, commanders, agents, ambassadors and emissaries communicate
directly with the palace through this post-office.

The men who compose the Sultan's immediate circle, and who are ruling
the country, are of many nationalities; some of them are Europeans.
Anyone who knows the origin of these people would not hesitate to agree
with me when I say that in the present reign the power and rule of
Turkey is not in the hands of real Turks.

Hundreds of officials, officers, and retainers actually live on the
premises of the palace. On one occasion I saw dinner being served out
to the household of the palace. Numerous servants hurried about in all
directions, carrying on their heads large wooden trays full of dishes.
The number of the chefs and assistant cooks is known to be over two
hundred. The working expenses of the palace are roughly estimated
to be somewhere about £5000 a day. This enormous sum is, of course,
paid out of the Sultan's Civil List. The revenues of the Civil List
are very great, and they are drawn from many sources. Nearly all the
estates and farms of high value, and most of the fertile districts in
Anatolia and Syria, and more especially in the provinces of Baghdad and
on the Persian Gulf, are now entirely at the disposal of the Sultan,
and constitute the source of his private income. Moreover, as every
vestige of power is nowadays in his hands, he can draw as much money as
he requires from the State exchequer at the Finance Ministry.

The fixed income of the sovereign is supposed to be £50,000 a month.
The Sublime Porte had at one time the courage to reduce it to £30,000,
but, as I explained before, the Porte is now only nominally existent
For the last twenty years or more, during which the revenues of the
Civil List have increased enormously, the officials at the head of the
department have, without exception, been of Armenian nationality. The
first of these Armenian officials, a certain Aghob Pasha, was the man
who suggested to the Sultan the idea of appropriating the property of
the prominent Mussulmans in the province. The Civil List is never in
need of money, as is the public exchequer of Turkey, yet many officials
who serve solely for the palace, and do practically nothing for the
public welfare, get their salaries from the public exchequer. The
sum which the exchequer has to contribute to the fund of the Palace
espionage system alone is estimated to be £90,000 a year. Besides the
expenses of the Imperial household, only the salaries of the immediate
officials of the court, and the cost of the Sultan's largess of money,
presents, and gifts, are defrayed by the Civil List Even the allowances
of the Princes and Princesses of the Royal House are paid by the
public exchequer, and it is for this reason that the members of the
Dynasty (who, by the way, live in separate minor palaces, in compulsory
seclusion, and whose intercourse with the nation the Sultan's jealousy
and suspicion has cut off), like the officials of the State, always
find their salaries in arrears, to their great inconvenience.



  The old right of appeal to the Sultan's person a
  thing of the past--He only leaves his palace once a
  week--The selamlik--Religious ceremonies and the sacred
  caravan--Its departure for Mecca--A military display--
  Abd-ul-Hamid's mosque--Its convenient proximity to the
  palace--A study in precaution--Dwarfs in the palace.

AS the Sultan has concentrated all governing power in his own palace,
it might be thought that the palace was the place to which all who seek
for justice and the redress of wrongs would come. This is far from
being the case With the exception of the spies, no one can enter any
of the palace departments unless he can give a good account of himself
and the nature of his business. The unfortunate subjects of the Sultan
who are not connected with the palace officials some way or other must
waste time and money in frequenting the old ministerial offices, which
are nowadays only nominally existent, to seek justice and to find
redress for their cases. There is no hope for these millions of unhappy
subjects in their appeal. Until about ten years ago anyone who wanted
redress for wrongs and injustice done to him had a chance, however
slender, of appealing to the Sultan personally, and this he used to do
by forcing his way through the crowd and presenting a petition to him
while he was driving to the mosque on the occasion of the selamlik, the
only time when Abd-ul-Hamid ventures out of his fortified palace. But
there is now no possibility of presenting a petition to the Sultan, as
the ceremony of selamlik is conducted differently.

From time to time the Turkish term 'selamlik' may be seen in the
English papers, but only those who are fortunate enough to travel in
foreign countries, or those whose position affords them exceptional
opportunities of acquiring information on matters concerning other
lands, know what this term signifies. The selamlik is a great military
ceremony which takes place when the head of the Ottoman empire
goes forth from his palace to a place of worship, with pomp and
circumstance, every Friday afternoon. 'Selam' means 'salutation,' and
the 'selamlik' is the name given to the military honour rendered to the
sovereign on that occasion.

Besides the usual selamlik, there are five annual occasions when the
same pageant takes place; on these occasions, however, the ceremony
is on a grander scale, and the sovereign meets all civil, military,
religious and legal functionaries of the State who may at the time be
residing in the capital. Two of these selamliks are held on two great
yearly festivals, the third on the fifteenth of the month of the fast,
when the whole body of Government, from the monarch downwards, pays
homage to the relics of the Prophet, and the fourth on the Prophet's
birthday, when the high State dignitaries assemble in one of the great
mosques to listen to the choral recitation of the poem on the Nativity.
The fifth is on the day of the 'sacred caravan,' when a grand pageant
takes place to celebrate its starting. Although the Sultan does not
come out, he is supposed to salute this quaint procession from the
window of his palace, and the people greatly enjoy watching and
following it, as it has more religious colour than the other royal
processions. This sacred caravan starts from the Sultan's capital every
year, about the middle of the Mohammedan lunar month of Ramazan. The
boxes in which are contained the presents and gifts for the holy cities
of Mecca and Medina are carried by camels with gorgeously ornamented
saddles through the streets of Constantinople, while about a dozen
Arabs, who are supposed to go with the caravan to Mecca, display their
skill in swordsmanship in every crowded centre, their drummer playing
rapidly and violently the while. Thousands of spectators watch the
procession. Before the start of the caravan, well-to-do people get
ready and send alms, presents and bakhsheesh for the guides, and gifts
for the religious trustees of their respective families in the cities
of the Holy Land. The most conspicuous features in this procession
are the sedan-chair-like seats, which are screened with beautifully
embroidered silk stuff, for the protection of the persons seated
therein from the heat of the sun; these seats are fixed on the saddles
of the camels.

The cavalcade is escorted by mounted troops, and is followed by an
immense crowd. It is a really picturesque sight when the long train
mounts the hills of Yildiz to proceed to the palace; the road leading
to the palace is lined by the magnificent Imperial Guards, and the
wooded hills on both sides of the road are crowded with a great
multitude of lady spectators, clad in cloaks, umbrellas, and veils of
every colour imaginable. This is an entirely Mohammedan gathering,
and a very orderly one too; quarrelling, or even disputing between
individuals, is hardly ever to be seen; profound silence prevails among
the crowd; only a murmur here and there of someone praying for the
success of the year's pilgrimage is now and then to be heard. After
offering a public prayer in front of the palace of the Caliphate, the
cavalcade proceeds downward to the shore, whence, in a special boat, it
crosses the Bosphorus to the Asiatic side of the city.

In bygone ages this cavalcade used to proceed by land all the way from
Scutari to Hijaz, but it is now despatched to Beyrout by steamer, and
the real sacred caravan is not formed till the gifts reach Damascus,
whither they are brought under the superintendence of a court official
who is styled the Sorra Emini, that is to say, the Intendant of the
Offering. Thousands of pilgrims await the starting of the caravan
from Damascus, and go to Hijaz along with it; for, as the caravan
is escorted by troops, they are thus securely protected against the
attacks of the Bedouin brigands, the only enemies of the harmless and
God-fearing pilgrims. Still, notwithstanding this protection, there
are cases on record when the sharp and dexterous Bedouin thief, by
approaching quietly at night and hiding himself behind the long legs of
the camels, has succeeded in robbing and murdering poor pilgrims, and
then disappearing amid the waves of sand. There are many pilgrims who
prefer the desert route to the sea journey via Jeddah, not on account
of any material advantage, but simply that they may suffer greater
hardships, hoping that they will be more highly rewarded by Providence,
for they imagine that their recompense will be proportionate to the
suffering they endure in fulfilling their religious duties. This is
the same spirit which moves many Russian devotees, who, when going
to Jerusalem, do not take the train from Jaffa, but prefer walking
all the way to the Holy City, carrying their sacks and bags on their
shoulders. Besides these annual processions and the progress of
the sacred caravan procession, there is, as I have said, the usual
ceremony, which takes place every Friday. This ceremony is better
known to Europeans. The Sultan usually receives the diplomatic
representatives of the Powers, and any foreign dignitaries who may
happen to be in Constantinople on a visit, after this Friday selamlik.

The procession of the sovereign from the palace to one or other of
the great mosques every Friday afternoon, attended with an imposing
military display, is a strictly observed ancient usage. The Sultan must
go to the mosque in public unless prevented by some urgent matter over
which he has no control. For dynastic considerations, however, even
such urgent matter must, if possible, be set aside, as some suspicion
as to the Sultan's being no longer alive might spread among the
population, and might bring about a public restlessness not unfraught
with danger, and perhaps some revolutionary complications. The present
Sultan is much more careful than any of his immediate predecessors in
fulfilling this obligation of going to the mosque on Fridays. Whenever
a rumour gets abroad concerning his being indisposed, he promptly
orders his representatives in foreign countries to contradict the
report, and that immediately, lest the news should find its way back
to Turkey, and spread among its population. He professes to be always
in the best of health. But he is no doubt subject to the ailments that
more or less beset all humanity, and it is probably these that make
him every now and then look dreadfully pale and broken-down during the
Friday ceremony. Still, he comes out on these occasions most regularly.

The former Sultans used to go to different great mosques of the
capital on Fridays on horseback, amidst the acclamations not only of
the guards but also of the people. But Sultan Hamid has had a mosque
built for himself just outside the great walls of his fortified palace.
Shortly before the time of the selamlik the troops of the first and
second divisions of the army of the capital flood the neighbourhood
of that mosque. First come the battalions of the Albanian Zouaves,
now the Arab Zouaves, now the marines, and now the battalions of the
Anatolian infantry. They form several lines deep along the short road.
Cavalry regiments take up their positions in two lines just behind the
infantry. Gendarmes form another line at the back of the horsemen,
and behind them policemen stand in groups of two at every few steps.
Spies, who may be recognised by their treacherous and suspicious
appearance, wander about in the immediate neighbourhood. The wretched
public can nowadays see nothing but the arrival and the return of the
troops. Woe to any educated-looking 'Young-Turk' who may be suspected
by these dirty spies of attempting to approach the lines! Students of
the military colleges are ordered not to go to the neighbourhood of
the palace on that day. All the officers commanding these battalions
are raised from the ranks, because such ignorant officers recognise
no one so sacred after Allah as the Caliph, whereas an educated and
intelligent officer might in all probability be a 'Young-Turk.'

[Illustration: HAMIDIEH MOSQUE.]

What goes on inside the walls formed by the bodies of so many thousand
armed men? When the time approaches for the departure of the imperial
carriage from the gates of the Yildiz Palace, a trumpet is blown,
and all the troops simultaneously give three loud cheers. The words
uttered are these: "Padishahim chok yasha," or long live the Emperor.
Then the bands of the different regiments strike up one after another
the Sultan's march. The Sultan drives in a light carriage drawn by
four horses; occasionally the marshal of the palace sits on the front
seat facing him, and sometimes he is accompanied by his youngest son.
His carriage is immediately followed by a couple of hundred of the
household officers and aides-de-camp. He salutes the troops calmly,
but at the same time his grave face betrays nervousness, which he
always feels when he is in public. At the moment of his passing between
the lines of troops a deep silence reigns, and if any irregular
movement, such as an attempt to present a petition to the Sultan by any
individual soldier, occurs, several spies suddenly appear as it were
from nowhere, and the most perfect order is resumed. When the Sultan
arrives at the gate of the mosque, which it does not take him more than
three or four minutes to reach, about half a dozen dwarfs, brought for
the occasion from their residence in one of the ancient palaces, cry
out in chorus: "Become not over-proud, my Padishah; there is one who
rules over you also--that is Allah!" This is one of the few old customs
which have been preserved to the present day. The Sultan remains in his
private gallery in the mosque for the prayer, and from the window he
views the march past of the troops, and then, after twenty minutes or
so, returns to his palace with a little less pomp. No doubt he feels
very happy when he has returned in safety to his fortress-palace, from
which he will not issue till the dreaded Friday comes round once more,
when he must, however unwillingly, venture out again.



  The Sultan's personal power--The unimportance of
  territories--"Après moi le deluge"--Interested
  Europe--The poor native Christians--'Squeezability' of
  the Sultan--Every man has his price--Bakhsheesh and
  decorations--The Sultan's vast ability--His favourite

THE object of the Sultan in sacrificing so much money, and in making
such strenuous efforts to concentrate all the ruling power in his own
hands, is simply that he may satisfy his extraordinary and insatiable
lust of tyranny. To gain this end he deceives, bribes, and intrigues,
and to this end also he exiles, imprisons, and even makes away
with anyone who seems likely to be an obstacle to his ambition of
absolutism. He has lost the fairest provinces of his empire through
persisting in carrying on his tyrannical misrule, and he will not
mind losing more in the same manner so long as there are enough
territories to keep him going during his lifetime, for his motto is
"Après moi le deluge." He has destroyed all semblance of personal
liberty in the country. There can be no longer any hope of checking
his oppression, which is becoming more and more severe as the years
go by, as any united movement of opposition is impossible among so
many communities as are found in Turkey, whose aspirations, thoughts,
and racial tendencies are so widely different. On the other hand, the
Foreign Powers would not tolerate the outbreak of an open revolution
in Constantinople, whatever the grounds or reason for it. Some of them
even are much interested in assuring the existence of the Sultan's
rule, and would probably actively interfere in case of a movement to
upset it. For the purpose of Turkey's ruin this Sultan has been much
more useful to Russia than, all her great armies of Cossacks.

There are now new factors in the old Eastern Question, which also
serve the Sultan well in times of political trouble. That is, there
are certain Powers which are much interested in the continuance of
the Sultan's personal rule, and whatever the Turkish subjects lose
through misgovernment is a gain for these interested friends of the
present ruler. The Emperor of Germany, in one of his numerous friendly
telegrams to the Sultan, prayed that the Almighty might preserve his
'precious person,' doubtless that the Teutonic concession-hunters and
fortune-seekers in Turkey might continue to reap the harvest his life
assures to them. If there is really any justice in heaven, I feel
sure l that the Kaiser will be arraigned before the heavenly bar to
answer for his responsibility in assisting Abd-ul-Hamid to increase
the sufferings of Turkey. His telegrams and visits to Constantinople
have been the principal factor in encouraging Abd-ul-Hamid in the
continuance of his oppressive policy. These visits and telegrams have
been purposely represented to the unenlightened population of Turkey,
who have no longer any means of learning the real position of the
Sultan, as the payment of homage due to their master's greatness. If
the head of a great European nation pays homage to Abd-ul-Hamid, his
simple-minded subjects will naturally be impressed by his mighty
influence, and consequently submit to his autocratic will.

There are other Powers which are equally to be condemned for conniving
at the Sultan's tyranny. From time to time they hypocritically take
up the cause of this or that Christian population of Turkey for their
own political purposes, and put pressure upon the Sultan, because
they know well his 'squeezability,' as a London paper once termed his
manner of receiving pressure. In individuals such conduct would be
regarded as a species of black-mailing, but it is perhaps compatible
with the political morality of civilised States. The conduct of France
in the temporary occupation of Mitylene, and of Italy in making an
intimidating naval display off Tripoli, in bombarding an Ottoman
town on the Red Sea, and in forcibly opening Italian post-offices in
Albania, are the most recent examples of this international morality.
However, Abd-ul-Hamid will never be much affected by Turkey having to
submit to such indignities so long' as his precious person is left
untouched and his personal rule unchecked. Never did a self-respecting
man carry selfishness so far!

The Sultan has many ways of making his person safe against
responsibility and reproach. Among other things, I may mention here his
employment of agents of many nationalities in Europe, who constantly
write and say nice things about him. Even his oft-quoted presents to
other Oriental dignitaries and his innumerable gifts to Europeans are
offered from the same calculating motive; no sentimental generosity
could be expected from so practical and selfish a man. In order to
give an idea of how largely the Sultan employs this method, I will
say something about the nature of his presents and gifts. From the
moment of his accession up to the present time, Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid has
constantly believed that he can win the golden opinions of the humbler
and gain the sympathy of the higher members of the political circles
with whom he is brought into contact by presenting them with some sort
of grants or gifts. In fact, he is firmly of the opinion that everyone
has his price, that every person may be bought, if not always by offers
of gold, then indirectly by honours or gifts. In order to make his
officials submissive, he gives some of them Government appointments
of much higher grade than they really deserve; he grants them purses
of bakhsheesh, and he decorates them lavishly. To gain some idea of
how much the Sultan spends in keeping his creatures submissive, one
would have to pay a visit of inspection to the Privy Purse Department
at the imperial palace of Yildiz; there one could see greedy-eyed,
yet gratified-looking individuals carrying away in white linen purses
quantities of the precious metals. Then, if one glances at the pages
of the Constantinople papers, one will see that dozens of unknown
and probably undeserving creatures are decorated, promoted, or else
appointed to some newly created posts. A correspondent of a certain
French journal at the Turkish capital once counted the numbers of one
particular order distributed, that called _Shefekat Nishani_, which,
like many other decorations, has been created by the present Sultan,
and is given to ladies of distinction, whether Ottoman or foreign.
According to the Frenchman's reckoning, about twenty-five thousand
gifts of this order have been made up till now. The old Turkish
orders of the _Medjidieh_ and _Osmanieh_ are nowadays being so freely
distributed, that the breasts of even the most ordinary Government
servants are ornamented by one or other of them.

Decorated people are so numerous among the members of the Sultanic
bureaucracy that it is hardly possible to meet any official, high or
low, without one decoration or more. It is not surprising, then, that
there is a class of persons, honest, educated, and of good birth,
outside the circle of the Palace favourites, who boast, and very
rightly too, that "they are honoured by being undecorated."

Decoration and promotion are not the only methods by which his Majesty
imagines that he can gain attachment to himself. He takes a different
way when it is the sympathy of foreigners he desires to win. It may,
perhaps, be possible for the Sultan to induce foreign correspondents
and the editors of some Continental journals to write nice things about
him by offering them bakhsheesh or stars, or by giving them commercial,
industrial, or other concessions in Turkey. But how is he to gain the
golden opinions of the foreign rulers and statesmen interested in the
Eastern Question? Is it possible to make an incorruptible British
Minister, for example, speak favourably of his Majesty's rule, by
conferring on him some order set with brilliants, or by quietly
offering him a big bakhsheesh? Certainly not But the Sultan has an
unshakable belief in the wisdom of an Arab proverb, which says, "Man is
the slave of favours"; and so, if he cannot offer money or decorations,
he will request the acceptance of some keepsake, with a hypocritical
affability peculiar to himself.

The presents of the Sultan vary, of course, both in quality
and quantity. Decorations set in brilliants, gold snuff-boxes,
cigarette-cases and holders, watches initialled and ornamented with
precious stones, magnificent Arab horses, richly worked Oriental
swords, daggers, and pistols from the imperial Treasury, which was most
sacredly preserved intact by all the former Sultans of the House of
Osman: such things form the greater part of the gifts sent to European
potentates and notabilities. Others are made in the imperial factories.

Among the great personages who get presents from the Sultan, the German
Emperor is the most highly favoured. Besides having received numerous
and valuable keepsakes during his two visits to the Ottoman capital,
the Kaiser gets from time to time Arab horses and objects of the rarest
Eastern skill and art The Emperor of Russia also receives presents from
the Sultan every now and then, but his Russian Majesty is generous
in sending presents to the Sultan in return. A summer mansion on the
Bosphorus was given by the Sultan to the Prince of Montenegro about ten
years ago, and a steam-yacht, which was built in the State dockyards
on the Golden Horn, was recently sent to the Adriatic for the use of
the same petty ruler. Lord Salisbury received some two years ago a very
large and magnificent vase, which was brought to England by a special
aide-de-camp of the Sultan, and was presented to the Prime Minister by
the late Turkish Ambassador.

Whether these various devices had any real effect or no, the Sultan
has certainly succeeded in attaining the object he desired; he still
remains on his throne, and his power is absolute. This alone, when
one reflects upon the history of the reign of the present Sultan,
makes one fully admit that he is a man of vast ability. His ability
has, however, been productive solely of evil. If he were a good as
well as an able man, his country would be powerful and prosperous.
His indifference to insults and hatred, his calmness in dealing with
difficulties of the most perplexing kind, and his tenacity of purpose
are remarkable. Unlike many of his predecessors, he is not much under
the influence of women; nor does he care for their company, though
he still maintains m his palace the old system of the harem, with
its numerous inmates and slaves, possibly only for the purpose of
impressing the uncultivated section of his subjects with the sight of
barbaric splendour. His phenomenal shrewdness is shown by his making
the Mussulmans believe that the misfortunes endured by Turkey under
his caliphate are entirely due to the hostile interference of grasping
Europe with Turkish affairs. To Europeans, on the other hand, he often
succeeds in conveying the impression that the people in whose name
he rules are incapable of appreciating the value of progressive and
constitutional government, and in order to justify this, he puts every
obstacle in the way of their making progress in industry, science and
literature. Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid, although he has played so notable a
rôle in the preservation of his own personal sovereignty, is a man of
but poor educational attainments. It is said by those who know him well
that before his accession he was considered far inferior to the other
royal princes of his house in attainments and culture. In spite of this
drawback, he has for over twenty-six years shown himself superior to
all opposition, rivalry, and attack.

There is no doubt that he works harder than any man in Turkey, and that
he reads and makes his secretaries read to him a great deal; but what
he reads principally consists of the reports of his spies and agents,
which pour in in hundreds every day. Besides these, his favourite
literature, which is translated from many languages and read aloud to
him, is composed of biographies and historical sketches of the despotic
sovereigns of the world and their doings, and also of their enemies,
so that he is interested in accounts of the organisation of secret
societies and conspiracies. He is also passionately fond of all kinds
of detective stories.



  The Sultan's opponents--His manner of dealing with
  them--The 'humanity' of Europe--Attempts on the
  Sultan's life--Lack of organisation in Young-Turkey--
  refuge for the reformers in England--The short-lived
  Parliament suppressed by the Sultan--Opposition of
  English Russophiles to Turkish schemes of reform--What
  Young-Turkey wanted--Persecution of Young-Turks--A long
  tale of victims--The possibility of a revival.

IN spite of all the measures taken by the Sultan to preserve his
personal rule, he has met at times with serious opposition from a
section of his Turkish subjects, the only people in Turkey who see the
state of affairs clearly and can read the signs of their country's
decadence. They understand that, among the peoples of the Ottoman
empire, the Turkish race, in whose name the misrule of a cosmopolitan
Palace faction is maintained, suffer most from the existing tyranny.
These men compose what is commonly known in Europe as 'the Young
Turkish Party.' By them attempts have been made now and then to rid
the throne of Abd-ul-Hamid, and for this reason there has been a
constant struggle between them and the Sultan. He is aware that the
Turks, unlike his non-Mohammedan subjects, would not allow themselves
to be tools for the political designs of any European Power, and
therefore would never be likely to receive foreign help against his
tyranny. Consequently he feels at liberty to deal with them in a much
more absolute fashion than with any of his other subjects. And so,
with a relentless determination, he does all he can to crush any of
the Turks who may attempt to check him. If they escape from his hands
and fly to other countries, he will make almost any sacrifice to get
hold of them again. It is said that he connived at the French designs
on Tunis in order to get Midhat Pasha from the French consulate at
Smyrna, when the latter took refuge there. Quite recently an Italian
consul in Switzerland called on the late Mahmud Pasha, the Sultan's
brother-in-law and enemy, who was staying at Lucerne, and requested
him not to go to Italy, because the Government of that country wished
to be on good terms with the Sultan; and this was at a time when Italy
was making an intimidating naval show in the Albanian and Tripolitan
waters. It is an open secret that the Sultan's representatives have
often approached some European Foreign Offices with the promise of
concessions to be granted on condition that the Turkish refugees in
their territories were handed over to the Sultan, or at any rate
expelled across the frontiers.

Yet, in spite of his uniform success in the struggle with his Turkish
subjects, the Sultan has more than once been face to face with imminent
danger owing to the efforts of this party. The most daring of these
attempts was made by a certain Suavi Effendi, whose name I mentioned
before, who was a very cultured as well as courageous member of the
_Ulema_ class, and was one of the organisers of the once powerful
Young-Turkish movement Suavi Effendi was in London about thirty-five
years ago, finding it safer to print here the political literature
of the movement to be smuggled into Turkey, but before the fall of
the late Sultan he went back to Constantinople, and was engaged
in educational and journalistic work. Soon after the accession of
Abd-ul-Hamid, Suavi collected a band of some hundreds of desperate
refugees, who had flocked into the capital from the provinces which
were lost as the consequence of the Russo-Turkish War, and with them
he attacked the Sultan's palace. Before, however, they could release
the ex-Sultan Murad from his captivity, to be reinstated in his place,
they were overtaken by the guards in the palace garden, and, after a
fearful struggle, Suavi and most of his followers perished. The mere
rustic private who is credited with having cut Suavi Effendi himself
down is now the all-powerful Hassan Pasha, the present head of the
police guarding those quarters of the capital which border on Yildiz
Kiosk. He is a man of great physical strength and ferocity. Most men
who are denounced as being Young-Turkish adherents are handed over to
him before being sent into exile, and terrible tales are related about
his beating the prisoners. The Sultan not long ago conferred on him the
rank of a Field-Marshal for his loyal service, though Hassan is so
ignorant that he cannot even write his own name.

Another attempt to depose the Sultan was made some twenty years ago by
a Circassian cavalry regiment which was quartered near Yildiz Kiosk.
The men of the Circassian regiment, who evidently had lady friends in
the harem of the palace, laid a plot against Abd-ul-Hamid. They also
failed at the last moment in their attempt, and the regiment speedily
and mysteriously disappeared. The last projected attempt of a serious
nature was reported to have been nearly carried out during the Armenian
troubles. At that time the door of the Sultan's room was guarded by
two Kurds, and these men were the disciples of a religious order which
prescribes to its followers a self-sacrificing devotion towards their
sheikhs or chiefs. The sheikh of this order, who was won over by the
adherents of the Reform Party, explained to his two Kurdish followers
the true character of the man who occupied the office of the caliphate,
and, according to the same report, they both bound themselves by an
oath to get rid of him when their turn came to guard his room. Fate
was, however, again on the side of Abd-ul-Hamid, and the plot failed
in due course.

About the progressive element which has inspired and maintained so
obstinate an opposition to the Sultan, much has been heard in England,
but little is really known. I will therefore touch upon its history,
aims, and present position.

The common name for this element, the 'Young-Turkish Party,' though
widely used, is inaccurate, and I do not propose to use it myself in
connection with these advocates of the progressive reform. There is no
organised body such as could properly be called a 'party,' though on
various occasions different societies have been formed by agitators
for reform, whose chief aims and aspirations have been identical;
namely, to check the Sultanic absolutism, to secure a representative
mode of government, and introduce necessary reforms. The growth of the
revolutionising element in Turkey cannot be traced to the influence of
the French Revolution; it was due to the introduction, for the first
time, of English ideas of liberty, and the spread of information about
the English system of constitutional government It is perhaps known to
few that the first Ottoman reformer was a member of the first Ottoman
diplomatic mission to the Court of St James's. Agah Effendi, the
first Turkish Ambassador who was accredited in England, some hundred
years ago, was accompanied by a young man named Ra-if Mahmud Effendi,
who acted as his private secretary. This young secretary remained in
England many years and devoted himself to the study of scientific
subjects, more especially geography, and afterwards published a
translation of an English atlas into Turkish, the first ever prepared
in that language. While in England, Mahmud Effendi used to send
reports to the Sublime Porte on the forms of administration and system
of government in this country. When Sultan Mahmud II. came to the
throne, the young diplomatist was invited to Constantinople to assist
in the work of reorganising the administration; but during one of the
fanatical outbursts which preceded the extermination of the Janissary
corps, this first modernised statesman of Turkey was accused of being a
man of 'broad views,' and killed in a _mélée_. The seeds of reform sown
by him, however, were not entirely destroyed; and it was chiefly owing
to the work of the later Turkish statesmen, who followed his example
in reorganising the system of their country, that the famous Hatt-i
Sherif, or first reform charter of the Ottoman empire, was drawn up,
and, with the assistance of the friendly Powers, proclaimed.

As I said before, it is not correct to call the Ottoman empire a part
of the 'unchanging East'; Turkey has seen many essential changes during
the last century, though not always for the better. Shortly after
his accession to the throne, the late Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz attempted
to disregard the newly established statutes of the empire, and to
rule in a most unconstitutional fashion. Instead of following the
constitutional methods of the country which had previously contributed
to the consolidation of his empire, he adopted the absolutism of
the Russian autocracy, and a Palace Party was formed to combat the
then growing national liberalism. The young reformers of that period
ventured to criticise vehemently the arbitrary conduct of the Sultan
and his advisers. But the country was not sufficiently educated to give
them support, so their remonstrances were severely punished by the
Government. Some of the leaders were imprisoned in different citadels
throughout the empire, but others managed to escape to Europe. Some of
these fugitives settled in London. It is now more than thirty years
since an active movement for reform was started by the 'Young-Turks,'
as they were then first styled. The reformers published pamphlets and
journals in England, and sent them out to Turkey by means unknown
to the Sultan Aziz's officials. Being men of letters of recognised
ability, they contributed considerably by their writings to the
enlightenment of public opinion in their country, and did a good deal
for the cause of education among their countrymen. The effects of
their agitation began to be felt by the Palace Party and the corrupt
officials of the old school in the Sublime Porte.

About the beginning of the unfortunate reign of the present Sultan, the
reformers found so many adherents among the educated classes of the
people, as well as in the army, that Abd-ul-Hamid thought it imperative
to promise to Midhat Pasha, the chief reformer, that immediately after
his coronation he would proclaim constitutional law, and sanction
an assembly of the representatives of the various communities of the
empire. He did as he said, but he was only waiting for an opportunity
of making away with the leaders of the constitutional movement and of
re-establishing the personal rule of the sovereign. The war with Russia
in 1877 gave him his opportunity; as the Turkish people were suffering
from the terrible results of the war, they were not in a position to
forestall the evil designs of Yildiz Kiosk, and to make the friends of
Turkey in Western Europe understand that the only way of preserving
the integrity of the empire was through the formation of a responsible
constitutional government. The short-lived Ottoman constitution, which
Abd-ul-Hamid destroyed, was therefore the work of the Young-Turkish
Party, who aimed at the regeneration of their country by founding a
"reasonable representative Government," to quote a phrase of the late
Mr Gladstone, and was not merely a ruse on the part of the Sultan
whereby "he might throw dust into the eyes of the Western Powers," as
the irreconcilable enemies of the Ottoman empire interpreted it Mr
Gladstone and his political friends, however, never really sympathised
with the attempts to establish such a government in Turkey. The late
Duke of Argyll said, in one of his books on Eastern matters, "We in
England laughed at their constitution." As a matter of fact, these
politicians of England wanted reforms only for the Christian subjects
of the empire.

Thus, after the Russo-Turkish war, the country was not able to give
material support to the Reform 4 Party,' while, on the other hand,
this party received no effective support from the well-wishers of
the Ottoman empire in England. The Yildiz junta took full advantage
of this, made the constitution a dead letter, got rid of the most
powerful and most honest reformers by sending them as governors or
mere exiles to distant provinces, and established a bureaucratic
authority of the most intolerably oppressive kind, the misrule of
which has caused the Ottoman empire irreparable harm. In the hope of
preventing the formation of an opposition party, Abd-ul-Hamid began to
stir up the old religious and racial hatreds, which were then almost
dead, among the various nationalities of the empire, and to crush
every sort of industrial energy and collective enterprise of the
people. He further threatened private property, more especially of the
reform adherents, with confiscation on the slightest excuse. In spite,
however, of fiendish and systematic persecution of the reformers and
their followers, the Sultan has never succeeded in entirely stamping
out the reform movement He was too late in his attempt to suppress
education, and the spread of Western learning among the Turkish people
has brought about the dissemination of the ideas of Western Europe
as to the legitimate liberty of the people and the responsibility of
the government; hence, discontent among the more thoughtful of the
community has steadily gone on increasing.

About the beginning of the Armenian revolt there was an energetic
revival of the reform agitation. The would-be reformers earnestly tried
to upset the misrule of the Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid. They wanted a brave
Sultan to rule over a brave people; they wanted an honest sovereign,
not an intriguer, clever enough when his personal safety is concerned,
but otherwise a lunatic, who has shut himself up in his fortified
palace for the last six-and-twenty years; they wanted a worthy Caliph,
who would impress the Mohammedan world with the fact that as a
Mohammedan power Turkey had a respectable position among the civilised
powers of Europe; they wanted a responsible Turkish Ministry, not a
cosmopolitan clique of adventurers, whose misrule brought the very name
of the Turkish nation into contempt. Persecution of some twenty-five
thousand Young-Turkish adherents did not prove sufficient to suppress
this movement. Therefore the Sultan had to devise further ingenious
means for bringing it to naught Many of his spies fled to Europe as
though they were Young-Turks, and joined the different Young-Turkish
committees; they reported secretly everything they discovered
concerning them to the Sultan, and tried to sow discord among the
members. As most of the fugitives depended for their livelihood on
their resources in Turkey, the Sultan succeeded in driving them into
the utmost destitution by cutting off these resources. Meanwhile his
emissaries came forward with large sums of money and with promises
of appointments in Government offices, to induce the refugees to
return to Turkey. Some of them accepted the pecuniary assistance of
his benevolent Majesty, and therefore lost the sympathy of the Turkish
people. Certain office-seekers and concession-hunters, some of whom
were not Turks at all, pretending to be Turkish reformers, published
seditious papers in London and elsewhere in order to blackmail
the Sultan, and in this way brought shame upon the honour of the

Thus the Young-Turkish movement is disorganised, but it has not been
wholly suppressed. It may reorganise its forces, and continue its
campaign against the Yildiz monsters, though in a pacific manner;
because an armed uprising against the tyranny of Abd-ul-Hamid by the
Turks alone would be represented in Europe as prelude to a 'massacre
of the Christians.' Moreover, such a revolution would be a bloody one,
for Yildiz Kiosk is guarded by armed men of different races, hostile
to one another. Besides, in case of an extreme danger to his person,
the Sultan would open the gates of the capital to the forces of the
traditional enemy of Turkey, as he has on more than one occasion



  Abd-ul-Hamid's use of his power as Caliph--What the
  Moslems think of him--British Mohammedan subjects--The
  validity of the Ottoman claims to the Caliphate--The
  mistaken policy of British Statesmen in opposing
  them--Danger of alienating the Mohammedan world--The
  errors of English writers.

THERE can hardly be found in the history of nations a more fortunate
tyrant than the autocrat of Yildiz Kiosk. Besides all the circumstances
I have noted, Abd-ul-Hamid has at his back the authority of the
Caliphate, which he can, when he chooses, ingeniously employ for his
own ends. The devotion of the Mussulmans of Turkey and the respect of
orthodox Mohammedans of other countries for the Caliph are very great,
and becoming greater every day. As a matter of fact, the attachment of
Mohammedans is to the office of the Caliph rather than to his person,
and according to the qualities necessary for the man who holds it, a
true Caliph must be a perfect specimen of humanity. If he cannot fulfil
the prescribed conditions of the Islamic religious law, that law orders
the faithful to depose him, and justifies the election of a proper
Caliph. There are not lacking in the history of Islam instances in
which the Caliph has been deposed solely on these religious grounds. It
is almost impossible for these people to comprehend that the present
Sultan does not possess any of these good qualities, and is therefore
quite unworthy of his office. The Sultan employs subtle methods that
he may pose before the Mohammedans as the true Caliph and the sole
champion of the Islamic cause, and spends immense sums of money for
the same purpose. In reality, however, he should be known as the worst
enemy of Islam, as no Moslem ruler has ever brought by his misdeeds
so much shame upon his faith as he has. Anyone who has observed his
career closely knows that his actions are diametrically opposed to the
principles of the Mussulman law and creed. But it is the hardest thing
in the world to make Moslems understand this. Those in Turkey are just
beginning to understand what he really is, but outside Turkey he is
held in blind veneration by all Moslems. An Englishman, who had great
experience of the East, and who followed the Prince of Wales during
his tour round the Colonies, told me that the further you go away from
Turkey the greater is the influence of the Sultan among the followers
of Islam.

In pursuance of my remarks on the way in which the Sultan makes use of
the influence of the Caliphate for his personal ends, it may perhaps
be of some interest if I make some general remarks on the Caliphate,
and the influence of the Caliph among the Mussulmans of the world. It
must be remembered that Great Britain has under her rule or protection
a very large number of the followers of Islam. Some authorities say
that her Moslem subjects are five times as many as those who belong to
Turkey itself. It follows that this immense Mohammedan population in
Great Britain's Eastern dominions will some day prove of the highest
importance in determining the direction of her policy in the East
There are now symptoms of rivalry between the Sultan of Turkey and
those British authorities whose business it is to maintain their
country's prestige and influence in the Moslem world. It is on account
of this rivalry that some British writers and politicians try to
represent the religious influence of the Sultan as being less than it
is, while others seek to deny the validity of the Ottoman Caliphate.
That the present Sultan is unworthy of the title cannot be questioned;
but the validity of the claim of the occupant of the Turkish throne to
the office, quite apart from his character, is incontestable. Those
who deny this, or seek to depreciate the influence of the Ottoman
Sultanate on orthodox Mohammedans, periodically shower abuse on Turkey,
as was done during the Armenian agitation, perhaps with the view of
creating a breach between the Moslem populations of British territories
and Turkey. And I cannot but think that this policy is having just
the opposite effect. The study of the English language is increasing
steadily but surely among the Mohammedan subjects of Great Britain,
and so they read or hear many of the hostile sentiments published and
uttered in England against the Ottoman Caliphate, and become suspicious
and irritated. In fact, the more this hostility is displayed, the
closer will become the attachment of the Moslem subjects of England
towards the Ottoman Caliphate. Such alienation of feeling, which is at
present latent, will be anything but favourable for England in case
of international complications in some part of the Orient. There are
European Powers who may take advantage of it, and use it against the
interests of the British Government The speech of the Kaiser delivered
at Damascus must still be fresh in the memory of many people. It was
certainly with the object of increasing the influence of his country in
the East that he said that he would stand side by side with the head
of three hundred million Mohammedans. A highly connected Russian once
told me that during Queen Victoria's reign Great Britain waged over
fifty different wars, small and great, and added that most of these
wars were carried on against Mohammedan peoples in different parts of
Asia and Africa, in order to crush their independence and take their
countries. Very likely he used to relate this to other compatriots or
co-religionists of mine whom he met, so that the idea became popular,
and would add to the belief that Great Britain is the worst enemy of
the cause of Islam. "Supposing that the fanaticism of the Mohammedans
under our rule were stirred up by Turkey, what could they do?" a proud
Jingo once asked me, at a time when some persons were urging Lord
Salisbury to send the British fleet over the mountains of Asia Minor to
avenge the Armenian wrongs. "We could put them down," added this Jingo,
with an increased air of proud confidence, "any time and anywhere."
Yes, in the East we know England's might, and we all admire the
Englishman's great tenacity in defence of the interests of his country.
But there are instances in history of small and backward nations having
inflicted irreparable damage on mighty Powers, and Mussulmans will not
always fight--if it should, unfortunately, ever come to fighting--with
spears and mediæval weapons. They will not easily be exterminated
or subjugated; nor is it true that the Mohammedans will ever be won
over by conversion, as the missionaries assert. These millions of
Mohammedans will continue to exist, and some day there will certainly
be a general awakening among them, which will make the adoption of
modern methods and means of war imperative. I do not imagine that it
would be to Turkey's interest to alienate Great Britain by attempting
to stir up her Moslem subjects, and I am sure that when once the
present regime is over, everyone in Turkey will heartily, welcome the
re-establishment of England's prestige. There is, therefore, no sound
reason for the attitude of malignant jealousy towards the Ottoman
Caliphate which some Englishmen have chosen to adopt It seems to me
that past generations of British statesmen must have had sounder
statesmanlike qualities than the present generation, for they used to
benefit their country by the influence of that Caliphate. For instance,
during the earlier periods of the conquest of India, the English
representative in Turkey requested the Porte to use its good offices
in the court of certain Mohammedan rulers of India in favour of his

Leaving the political aspect, I will say something as to the
validity of Turkey's claim to the Caliphate. In discussing this
subject some English writers use such phrases as the "pretensions of
the Ottoman Sultans" to the headship of Moslems. So long as the great
bulk of those who profess that religion recognise that authority, what
value can be attached to the attempts to question it on the part of
prejudiced outsiders? It is argued that the sect of Shiites, or the
unorthodox Moslems, do not recognise the Caliphate in question. But
there are strong indications that they too will, sooner or later,
recognise it for political if not religious reasons, as the danger
threatening the remaining vestige of Islamic independence looms equally
large before orthodox and unorthodox alike. One of the arguments
brought forward against the Ottoman Caliphate is that the Caliph must
be appointed from among the Koreish, the Prophet's own people, and must
be his direct descendant. It is probable that the tradition related
in connection with this argument is one of the many spurious sayings
made up by individuals after the time of Mohammed, as such a just
legislator would not show partiality towards his own family and people
by restricting to them the privilege of being his Caliphs. According to
his doctrine, community of faith is tantamount to community of race,
and he founded a perfect democratic equality between his followers,
whatever their race or colour, and called them all 'ommetee,' that is,
'my nation.' A Caliph, therefore, need not necessarily be a descendant
of the Prophet Besides, he left no male issue; and according to the
Moslem law, female issue has not the right of succession, the Caliph
being a temporal and not a spiritual head.

Another strong argument is the length of time for which the Ottoman
sovereigns have held the title of Caliph. This title was first assumed
by the Ottomans during the conquest of Egypt by Sultan Selim I. in
1517 A.D., when the keys of the sacred places of Mecca and Medina were
handed over to him at Cairo by a deputation which came from Hijaz
expressly to accept him as Caliph. From that moment up till now the
Ottoman sovereigns have uninterruptedly held the title, and have been
the guardians of the standard of Mohammed. The provinces of Mecca and
Medina have ever since that time formed an integral part of the Ottoman
empire. A Caliph must be an independent ruler, and must in particular
be ruler over those holy places. It would certainly never do if an
Arab were appointed as the spiritual head of Islam by a Power of alien
faith. Such mischievous suggestions are merely an expression of the
political hostility which is often shown by some individuals in England
to the Turkish Caliphate. An ultra-patriotic evening paper once said
that there could not be a better Caliph than the 'British Raj.' To make
the Mussulmans recognise the 'British Raj.' as the supreme religious
head of their community is as impossible and ridiculous as to attempt
to convert this country to Islam. If Englishmen are really patriotic
in guarding and promoting the interests and prestige of their country
in the Islamic world, they should not attack the Ottoman Caliphate,
but make good use of its influence. Such a suggestion as I have quoted
would not appear to the Moslem mind to be a friend's advice, as the
general tendency among the Mohammedans is to strengthen the position
of the existing Caliphate. This tendency is becoming so evident that
some Continental journals have already believed it to be the result
of Pan-Islamic organisation, though in reality there is no such



  I become an object of interest to the Palace spies--I
  therefore leave Constantinople for a time--England
  and the Anatolian Railway--Prosperous whitewash and
  a deceitful governor--Bureaucratic changes in Asia
  MinorThe measures for restricting large gatherings of
  the people--Wedding entertainments diminished--The
  war-game of Jareed--My mother's objections to my visiting
  England--A perversion of the truth on my part.

AT this time, when I was making a fair living by means of the business
entrusted to me by those European concessionnaires whom I have
mentioned, I thought it convenient to take up my residence in Pera,
the European quarter of the capital. But my residing in Pera among
foreigners must have made me an object on which some persons connected
with the Palace deemed it worth while to keep an eye. I began to
suspect that my movements were being shadowed by some mysterious
individuals, though I could hardly be sure. I informed my English
friend, the late correspondent of the Times, that I had reason to fear
that the spies were after me, and that I thought the time had come
to carry out my old intention of going to England. He agreed with me
as to the advisability of my getting out of Turkey, but he warned me
that unless I secured some means of livelihood beforehand, it was a
most risky matter to give up my work, my hopes and probable chances
at home, and go over to a country which was absolutely foreign to
me. A strong presentiment, however, possessed my mind that I should,
sooner or later, be added to the list of the victims of the prevailing
tyranny. Taking advantage of the approach of the summer vacation,
I thought it would be better at least to go away for some little
time from Constantinople. My English friend recommended me to the
director of the then newly opened Anatolian railways, and he gave me
a first-class free ticket to Angora, which I had not seen for several
years. A few days later I crossed over the harbour of Constantinople
to the Asiatic shore, and from the Haidar Pasha terminus I took the
train which carried me away at once towards the heart of Asia Minor.
The distance between Haidar Pasha and Angora is shorter, I should say,
than between London and Glasgow, yet the express train takes two whole
days to cover it. The German Railway Company does not seem generous
in affording facilities to the people of the country, and the customs
officers and the rough inspectors employed by the Tobacco Régie Company
(one of the European companies) give the traveller an intolerable
amount of trouble by seizing and examining his belongings at different
places on the journey. The train stops when it has gone half-way on the
first evening, as it is not allowed to run at night The traveller's
inland passport is examined, and he himself is subjected to a perfect
inquisition of questionings, first in the capital, again on the first
night, and finally on the second night, when he reaches his destination.

When the Anatolian line was first constructed as far as Angora, the
general belief in the country was that the long projected trunk line
from the Ottoman capital to the Persian Gulf would pass through
Angora. This has not been the case, and the main line changes its
course at Eski-Shehir, which is situated half-way between the capital
and Angora, and runs to the south, towards Konia (ancient Iconium).
It is no doubt within the recollection of many people that the scheme
of shortening and facilitating communication between Europe and the
nearer East and India by constructing a great line over Asiatic Turkey
was first projected by English engineers, supported by the British
Government. This enterprise, however, could not be realised. The
Germans, ever ready to seize all commercial and political ground lost
by the English in the nearer East, took the matter into their own
hands, and are now going to have the control of what should have been
essentially the British route to India through the friendly Ottoman
empire. I do not know whether the possession of this line by Germans is
a loss to England, but it is really a loss for my countrymen that this
enterprise should not have been in the hands of an English company,
because they are aware that in dealing with the English there is a fair
possibility of mutual benefit; while in bargaining with Germans, the
greediest of all grasping Europeans, Turkey has little to expect in
return for what she has to give.

On the second evening after my departure the train arrived at Angora at
the moment of sunset. I saw from the window of my carriage that some of
the mud-walled houses of the town and the walls of the ancient citadel
were white and glistening. At first I thought that they were some new
buildings which had sprung up as a sign of the prosperity produced
by the opening of the railway. But I soon discovered my mistake. The
Governor-General had given orders that the municipal authorities were
to whitewash the citadel and that many of the citizens were to do the
same to their houses before the formal opening of the railway, so that
the European visitors and official commissioners who should come to
Angora for the first time might suppose that the town was as smart and
prosperous as it looked. The governor must have learnt this mode of
deception from the Yildiz authorities, who caused all the more ruinous
quarters of Constantinople to be whitewashed or surrounded with high
timber hoardings before the German Emperor first came to the city.
I was particularly surprised that the great time-worn stones of the
ancient citadel should have been so monstrously disfigured by a vulgar
coat of whitewash. The governor was a certain Abideen Pasha, and he is
now the Vali of the Turkish Archipelago. He is an Albanian by birth,
and was first educated in Athens. He can write poems in ancient Greek,
and is known to be a linguist and scholar. He had been governor of
Angora for several years, yet he had done almost nothing to improve the
condition of the province. In other countries such a man would perhaps
have been given a professorial chair in some educational institution,
but he would hardly have been put in a responsible government post
which requires practical administrative capacity. Turkey cannot expect
beneficial reforms from such learned theorists, any more than from the
ignorant incapable officials who are still entrusted by the Palace with
the administration of many of the important provinces.

Some years had elapsed between my last trip and the present one into
Asia Minor, and during this period I found that serious changes
had taken place in the state of the interior. Among other things,
the number of useless officials sent by the central Government had
increased alarmingly, to the detriment of the inhabitants of the
provinces. For instance, there is no piece of land in Angora which
could properly be called forest, yet a Department of Woods and
Forests had been created there; directors, sub-directors, and several
subordinate officials had been sent out by the central government,
and in connection with this office new taxes and unaccustomed laws
had been imposed upon the inhabitants. The fact is that, in order to
show the Powers that it had been introducing reforms, the Government
of the Sultan had adopted among other laws the French regulations
relating to the management of forests, and a new department had been
created in Constantinople. This central department had opened branch
offices in all _vilayets_ or counties, and many Palace favourites were
sent to them as forest officials, without regard to the circumstances
that in some vilayets there was not an acre which could be considered
forest land. In order to crush local influence in the government of
the provinces, the administrative councils of the towns, on which the
notabilities and religious heads of all communities in each locality,
Mussulman and non-Mussulman, sit ex officio in company with the
officials of the Sultan's Government, were discouraged from attending


Such events as would occasion the gathering of large crowds were either
prohibited or restricted, after the custom of the capital. "He who is
a traitor is also a coward," said the Prophet, and Abd-ul-Hamid, who
has caused irreparable harm to Turkey, is afraid that such gatherings
might be the prelude to a general uprising. I will mention here two
things which used to cause great masses of people to collect. One
was a wedding entertainment, and the other the war-game of _jereed_.
The restriction of the former to a 'simpler' form was, according
to the reasons openly given for it, one of the Sultan's so-called
'paternal' measures. It was alleged to be necessary because people on
such occasions indulged in ruinous expenses, and thus fell into the
hands of the Armenian and other money-lenders, and became victims of
their extortions. As a matter of faot, to maintain a wife is not an
expensive luxury in Asia Minor, but people are fond of grand wedding
entertainments. Several days before a wedding, luncheons and dinners
are given to large parties of rich and poor, who are entertained with
string music and spectacles indoors. A great procession passes through
the chief streets of a town bringing the bride and bridesmaids in
closely shut palanquins, which are carried by mules or horses. At night
there is a display of fireworks and illuminations composed of torches,
and by day exhibitions of wrestling are given by local champions.
(Wrestling is one of Turkey's most ancient and favourite pastimes, and
in the provinces all schoolboys practise it, besides a large number of
adults. It is of the greatest use in developing the physical strength
of the provincial Turks.) Both the bride's procession and these outdoor
entertainments are accompanied by the incessant beating of drums and
blowing of long trumpets, or sometimes of a kind of bagpipe,[8] the
most favourite and in fact the only music of the humbler class of
people and peasants. The old national game of _jereed_, which used to
attract an immense crowd of spectators, was, I learned on this visit,
also prohibited in Angora. This game used to be most popular in every
town of Asiatic Turkey. On Fridays, in the afternoon, when the khutba
or prayer-oration in the mosques was over, people used to hasten out of
the towns, mounted on their trained horses, and armed with several long
and heavy sticks. The _jereed_ is a game for the able-bodied alone. Two
things are essentially necessary for players--they must be first--rate
horsemen, and must be skilled in throwing their sticks straight and
hard while galloping. There are about twenty men on each side, and
they take up their positions about fifty yards apart The spectators
look on from some high ground, where there is no danger of their being
trampled upon by the struggling horsemen. The game is opened by one
man, who gallops forward from one side and throws one of his sticks at
one of the enemy; as soon as he throws it he is pursued. The pursuers
do the same in their turn, and so the game goes on. There must be no
confusion or unfairness, and everyone must play his game 'bravely,' as
they call it. The sticks must not wilfully be aimed at the heads of
the enemy. The players are allowed to do anything to avoid being hit
by the sticks, and in order to avoid it they play risky tricks, such
as bending from the saddle down towards the neck and belly of their
galloping horses. Anyone who has thrown away all his sticks is free to
pick up any stick lying on the ground, with a pole which has a hook at
the end, or by dexterously bending down and snatching it up with his
hand as the horse gallops by. Sometimes, of course, the horses of two
opponents collide, and then most likely both men fall in a heap, and
very often under the horses. The most exciting way to play the game is
that adopted by a man whose horse is unusually swift After throwing his
stick at the enemy he does not hurry back towards his own line, but
dashes away toward the open country and rides as fast as he can. Some
of the enemy pursue him far away down the valley, until he is either
caught up or escapes.

During this last visit the game was no longer played, because some
serious accidents had happened and lives had been lost, and the kind
Government accordingly prohibited it Seeing all these prohibitions,
I was perhaps rather injudicious and outspoken in criticising the
Government. So a relation of mine reminded me of the old proverb which
runs, "A man's safety lies in holding his tongue." He, moreover, warned
me that times were now different, and added, "If you are not careful
you will go...." I understood what he alluded to. He meant, of course,
that I should be sent into exile or thrown into prison if I went on
criticising the existing regime. I did not stay long in Asia Minor
during this last visit, and after settling my affairs I hastened my
packing and returned to Constantinople, where it is, comparatively
speaking, easier to find means of getting out of Turkey. With us there
is filial obligation for a man of right feeling, no matter how old he
may be, to secure his parents' consent to any venture on which he is
going to embark. So, guardedly and in confidence, I broke to my mother
my intention of going to the land of _Ingliz_. The poor Mussulman
lady was terrified at the idea, and began to put to me such questions
as--Who would look after me? Who would take care of me in case of my
falling ill in that distant strange land? And if I died there, should I
desire to be buried according to the rites of the infidels? It perhaps
never occurred to her that there was a danger far greater than those
she instanced--the danger of falling into destitution in a foreign
land. This was the possibility which I dreaded most, as I knew that
anyone who left the Sultan's dominions without his august permission
could not depend for his living upon any resources he might have at
home. So, while I was making ready to return to Constantinople, my
mother entreated me to renounce the idea of going to England, and to
calm her I was wicked enough to make some evasive promises, which to me
meant nothing.



  The Turkish bath--Some of its features--Great number
  of baths in Constantinople--Women's baths and a
  proverb--Evening parties at the bath--I encounter a spy
  in a bath--He is well informed about me--I am alarmed--I
  appeal to an Englishman for help in escaping--The 'cursed

WHEN I came back to Constantinople I decided to lead a more or less
retired life, so that I might if possible avoid becoming a prey to
the victim-hunting Palace spies. A year passed without fresh alarms,
and meanwhile no easy opportunity of leaving the country presented
itself. I was just beginning to feel satisfied that my caution was
rendering any such disagreeable change in my career unnecessary when
one night I was alarmed to discover that a spy was actually at work
plotting my ruin. This happened in a Turkish bath. Before relating
how this occurred, I will describe our baths. The Turkish baths are
much favoured in England, and perhaps there may be some among the
readers of this book who may like to know something about the baths in
Turkey. "Is the Turkish bath known in Turkey?" This curious question
is not infrequently put to travellers from the East by English people.
It is true that there is not much resemblance between the external
appearance and management of the so-called Turkish bath in England and
those of the hammam in Turkey. Outwardly the hammam usually presents
something of the appearance of a domed sepulchral edifice. Of the
little domes or cupolas which rise from its roof, that in the middle
is the highest, and is set with many small windows for the purpose of
lighting the bath. The massive walls that form the sides of the hammam
have no windows, as it is thought that if the walls were pierced the
outside air would penetrate into the interior and cause variations in
the evenness of temperature which it is held desirable to maintain.
The interior thus often becomes very dose, as ventilation is very
slow, being only through the opening by passers to and fro of the
double doors of the passage which leads to the cool entrance-hall.
Every now and then attendants burn frankincense in the interior of the
bath with the idea of purifying the air. The great warm hall under the
central dome has generally three large niches, two on each side and
one in front, as well as two little chambers. Each of these niches and
chambers has a roof in the shape of a half-hemisphere, which contains
a few tiny glass apertures, and which is joined to the central dome
roof. In all these niches and chambers there are, according to the size
of the bath, one, two, or three marble basins, which are fixed to the
low part of the wall, each basin being provided with hot and cold water
taps. Round these basins people sit on marble or wooden seats, which
are raised about five or six inches above the floor, and seated thereon
they have their bath. The little chambers can be engaged for private
use on application. One of these is excessively hot, being situated
close to the hot-water reservoir. Some people go to this hottest
chamber not only in order to perspire, more freely, but also for the
purpose of washing themselves with the warmest water in the bath. In
the hot hall just under the central roof there is a wide circular
marble seat, raised about two feet above the floor. Every bather sits
or lies on this seat before going up to one of the basins to have his
bath, and he stays there till he has sufficiently perspired. While he
is resting there an attendant comes forward and rubs him with a rough
glove which is made of horse-hair; and also massages him, if this is
required. After this operation the bather goes up to one of the fixed
basins, and the attendant follows him with a large copper hand-basin
and a big piece of Cretan soap. The attendant then turns on the hot
and cold water taps, letting as much water as may be required run from
both into the marble basin; he next proceeds to wash the customer by
soaping him with his loofah, and then pouring water over him with
the copper hand-basin. Most Mohammedans, after thus having a bath,
make their ablution with the flowing water, as is prescribed by their
religious law. When this is over the attendant claps his hands loudly
enough to be heard in the entrance-hall, another bath-servant then
enters and rubs the customer with one of the dry _Brossa_ towels which
he brings with him; then covering him up with others, he leads him
out, holding him by the arm. In the bath everyone walks on high wooden
pattens, as after having made the ablution one must not touch the floor
over which the used water runs; moreover, it is somewhat dangerous to
walk barefoot on the marble slabs with which the bath is paved, as
they are very slippery. Between the warm hall and entrance-hall there
is a large square room, round which are arranged several beds. The
people sometimes dress and undress in this room, especially in winter,
as, besides being free from draughts, this apartment is warmer in
temperature than the entrance-hall. The latter is cool, and the air is
not so close and stuffy as in the middle room.

The entrance-hall is also square, and has galleries running along on
each side, in which are many beds. The bath-keeper is always to be
seen in his place close to the door, smoking his pipe or _narguileh_,
and saluting the customers who come and go. In the middle of the
entrance-hall is a fountain, the pure and cold water of which is
ceaselessly splashing into its marble tank. In this water fresh fruits
and bottles of lemon squash are kept cool in summer time for the use
of customers. Near it a man may be seen always busy making coffee on
the charcoal fire; for most people are ready to take a tiny cup of
coffee at almost any time during the day. There are some persons who
stay in the bath for a very long time, and at the meal hours attendants
may frequently be observed bringing trays covered with dishes from
neighbouring restaurants.

The stove-room, where a huge fire is kept up day and night all the year
round, is situated at the back of the bath building. It is underground,
and a large portion of its floor is covered with piles of logs, the
fuel used for heating the water of the bath. The furnace itself is
very much like an oven upon which is placed a huge boiler. This boiler
receives cold water from one side, and after heating it gives it to the
reservoir. Many homeless young vagrants go to this underground place at
night in winter and sleep on the heaps of dried horse droppings which
are used as fuel along with the wood, and which are piled up opposite
the fireplace. It is a dismal sight to see those poor young fellows
lying in that foul and filthy place. They are allowed to shelter there
by the fireman, because he employs them in the hardest part of his
work without giving them any money.

Many of the Turkish baths are built double, one part being assigned
for the use of ladies. In some places ladies go to the bath only on
certain days of the week which are given up to them. Certain baths
again are used by them every day up till seven o'clock in the evening,
after which hour they are made over for the use of men. The charges
are very reasonable. A man can have a complete bath, and may stay on
the premises of the establishment as long as he pleases, by paying a
sum of about is. 8d., and when going out, after paying this, he will
be respectfully greeted by the bath-keeper and the attendants. Ladies
pay much less than this sum; their expenses can hardly be much over
sixpence, as they take all their own soaps, towels and clogs with them.
What they pay is really the 'water fee' and a penny or two for the

Women go to the bath oftener than men, and they go in groups of three
or four or more, always taking their children with them. Boys over
eight or nine years of age are not allowed to go to the women's bath,
and even tall boys under that age are sometimes pushed back from the
door by the manageress, who is always a stern and unbending personage.
She usually says to such tall boys, "Good heavens! Is your father
coming too?" and she will listen to no expostulations from the boy's
mother as to his real age. The women's bath is always crowded, and free
fights for the fixed basins are of not unfrequent occurrence. Shrill
voices, mingled with the howlings and cryings of children anxious to be
taken out of the almost suffocating hot room, may sometimes be heard
from outside. This has given rise to a well-known saying in Turkey
which is used to describe a noisy gathering where many persons try to
speak at the same time: "the place was turned into a women's bath."
When women go to the bath they stay there all day long, and on such
occasions the poor husbands do not get much to eat in the evening.

Men go to these establishments in order to have a complete bath at
least once a fortnight; but they visit them oftener, especially in
winter, for the purpose of performing the ablutionary washing ordained
by the Mohammedan religion. It is said that once an Armenian was
annoyed at seeing his Mussulman neighbours, besides washing their
arms, faces and feet five times a day before the five canonical
prayers, go to the bath so often. He thought this a fanatical religious
fidgetiness. But when he went to Egypt and saw the dirty fellaheen and
Arabs, he was obliged to confess that the Prophet was quite right to
establish his strict ablution system.

The public baths in Turkey are mostly very old buildings, for, as
in most towns, the Turkish population has not increased for many
generations, only very few new baths have been erected. But in all
the new houses of the well-to-do families there are miniature Turkish
baths of two or three rooms. Still, notwithstanding their stuffy
atmosphere, and the horrid-looking little vermin called 'bath locusts'
that infest them, even rich people prefer to go to the large public
baths. The baths in private houses are only occasionally heated, and
so the temperature cannot be kept steady. They usually either get very
hot throughout, or else some parts become so extremely hot that it is
almost impossible to touch the wall or the floor, while in other places
the marble is quite cold. Persons who wash themselves in these private
baths in winter not unfrequently run the risk of taking a chill. A new
feature which has been introduced into the old Turkish bath is the cold
water douche, which it is becoming customary for the people to take
after their hot bath. Whether the Turkish bath was originally modelled
on the system used by Romans, or whether some of the bath-houses in
Turkey were founded by the Byzantines, it is quite certain that all
the good baths in large Turkish towns were constructed and organised
by the Ottomans centuries ago; and although most of them are now owned
by private persons, a certain portion of their revenue was originally
assigned to mosques, schools, and other religious or charitable
institutions. In Constantinople there are about seventy-five public

I remarked that the first intimation of danger from the Palace
espionage came to me in a bath. One night I happened to be in a public
bath in Pera with a few friends. I must explain that some of the
Turkish baths are opened at night, and so young men who work during
the daytime make up parties to go to them then. There they eat,
drink, and amuse themselves, and after the bath rest on the couches
which are always ready in the cooler section of the bath-house. I was
feeling particularly cheerful that evening; there were a few other
men in the baths besides our party, and a short and feeble-looking
man, who was sitting close to me on the raised marble in the centre of
the hot chamber, entered into conversation with me. As it is usual in
Turkish baths to take a lemon squash, he offered me one. He was very
amusing, and talked of trivial matters at first; but presently his
conversation turned upon other subjects, which were decidedly out of
place. Not being able to draw from me easily any remarks on internal
politics, he himself began to comment on the state of affairs in our
country in a way which was unusually frank for a Turkish subject in the
present reign. Of course, like most of my young countrymen, I was on
the lookout for possible peril from spies, so I professed ignorance,
and feigned to have little interest in the political situation which
he wanted me to discuss. In spite of my reticence the man became
annoyingly persistent, and said that I must be well-informed, because I
was acquainted with several Europeans. This last remark disturbed me
not a little. The man knew something about me. Although the aggressive
attitude of the fellow was provoking, and although I was physically
more than a match for him, I refrained from ejecting him from the
baths, or thrashing him with a wooden bath patten. To chastise the
Palace spies, as they deserve, is a very risky proceeding, for they
are the most trusted servants of his Imperial Majesty. If I had given
way to my then still excitable temper, and had thrashed my aggressor,
I should certainly have been sent into exile on the usual 'political
charges,' and the man himself would have been rewarded by his imperial
master. I pretended to be very sleepy, and yawned constantly, thus
eventually persuading him to give it up and leave me alone. As a matter
of fact I was not sleepy, and I did not sleep that night at all. I did
not tell my companions in the baths anything about my experience. Next
morning, when I left the baths, my first business was to see my English
friend. Seeing that I was in rather a nervous state of mind, he asked
me what was the matter.

I requested him to help me to get out of 'this cursed country.' The
old gentleman said, in a calm and compassionate manner, that I was
a traitor to call my own country 'cursed.' He knew well that I was
not a traitor, and that I belonged to a family whose sons had shed
much blood in the defence of Turkey in the past. I was not the only
man who would be happy to get away from his country. Not only the
thousands of Young-Turks who are in exile and in prisons, but also many
thousands who are actually in the service of the Government, would
only be too glad to escape abroad if they could get a chance. There
is not one of them who is for a moment safe from the spies, and their
flimsy but deadly accusations. These people are not traitors, or even
revolutionists, but law-abiding, educated, and patriotic men, who do
not even wish for radical changes in the established laws of their
country, which work satisfactorily if they are administered justly and
honestly. But they suffer from the most capricious and cruel despotism
of a single man, who has made their country an absolute hell for them.



  I obtain a passage on a merchant vessel--A fortune
  of forty pounds--The people on board the ship--The
  difficulty of conversation--English cooking--Coffee
  and pig! Gibraltar, a first impression of British
  soldiers--From Hull to London--An instance of feminine
  courtesy--Lost in the Underground--Olympia--An interview
  with the Turkish Ambassador--A promise of justice
  conditional on my return to Turkey.

WHEN I described my last night's experience, my English friend promised
to see about getting me out of the country, and to let me know soon
what he could do in the matter. A few days after this he sent word
telling me to come and see him. I went, and he informed me that
another English resident, who had something to do with the British
steamers which pass through the Bosphorus, carrying cargoes between
the Black Sea ports and England, would arrange with a captain to take
me on board his ship, and after some days it was actually done. I
must not give here the name of the latter gentleman, who is still in
Constantinople, because he asked me not to tell anyone.

Forty pounds of ready money was all I possessed in the world. It was
no longer possible for me to get any more money from my confiscated
lands, and moreover, whatever the excuse, I felt ashamed to ask for any
further help from my mother, now that I was of an age at which I ought
to have been able to help her, and increase the comfort of her life. I
think my venture in coming to the great capital of the British empire
with forty pounds in my pocket was more risky than that of those who
come to it with the proverbial half-crown, because they are at least
either British-born or English-speaking people, whereas I was coming
from an Eastern country, without knowing anyone in England, and without
speaking English. However, I did not think much about what might happen
to me. I eagerly hastened my departure from the capital of my country
to England. I knew that there, whatever else might befall, the personal
freedom of a law-abiding individual was secure. My idea was to remain
in England until a more tolerable state of things should be established
in Turkey, when I would return to Constantinople; or, in case of not
being able to remain in England, I would learn some English, and go to
some British possession in the East where I should find myself more at

It was on the morning of April 22, 1894, that I was informed that an
English steamer had just arrived from a Russian port on the Black Sea,
and that she was going to leave the harbour of Constantinople the same
afternoon. The English gentleman kindly spoke to the captain of the
ship about me, and obtained his promise to take me on board if I paid
him five pounds for the whole journey, everything included. Of course,
I had been waiting for some days for the arrival of an English boat in
which I could take my flight I had placed all the clothes and documents
which I wanted to take with me in a portmanteau. As an additional
kindness, the Englishman offered to bring my portmanteau to the ship,
as in this case it would be free from examination by the customs and
police officers in the port After sending my bag to him, I crossed
over the Asiatic coast of the Constantinople harbour, where I engaged
a boatman to take me across to the English ship. I had previously had
her pointed out to me at her moorings. My object in going over to the
Asiatic coast and then crossing back to the steamer was to avoid the
suspicion and pursuit of the secret police, as I had no passport, and
in fact could not have procured one. Indeed, very few Ottoman subjects
are given passports for going abroad, and then only under special
circumstances, and with the permission of the Palace. Happily, at that
time the cargo ships bound for European ports were not much watched,
though all passenger boats were rigidly inspected by the police before
starting. So I got on board without any difficulty, though with much
anxiety, and found that the Englishman was already there. He gave me
my portmanteau, introduced me to the captain, and after bidding me
good-bye went on shore. It was not long before the steamer started.

The steamer, on which I was the only passenger, was laden with wheat,
and her destination was Hull. The captain, a middle-aged man of
somewhat stern appearance, had with him on board his wife and her
sister, and they were all very kind to me. We were very cheerful, and
the steward, who was an Irishman, was full of fun, and particularly
fond of addressing me with what I imagined to be humorous remarks,
and thus making me and the others laugh, though, unfortunately, I
did not understand a word he said My English was as yet confined to
a very limited number of words, and whenever they wanted to tell me
something they wrote it down on a slip of paper, and with great labour
I managed to translate their snatches of conversation by looking out
every word in my pocket dictionary. Although there was no possibility
of my learning any European language in my school days in Asia Minor, I
had nevertheless picked up some French by reading a French grammar in
Turkish while residing in Pera, and I thought that my French, little
as it was, would be of some help to me in talking to the people of the
ship, but not a single person on board seemed to know any French. My
chief amusement on board was playing with the two baby daughters of
the captain, who were typical specimens of the clean, healthy, and
lovable children one so often sees in England. I spent hours every
day with these two pretty babies, and my voluntary assistance must
have been a great relief to their good-looking fair-haired nurse, who,
while I was playing with the children, either read a book or amused
herself by chatting and laughing with the officers of the ship. I could
not understand their conversation, of course, but it was obvious that
the men found the task of amusing her pleasant enough. The captain,
who appeared to be part-owner of the boat, was a man who appreciated
good living, and he supplied us with satisfactory food. The English
cooking, which I tasted for the first time on this boat, seemed to me
quite different from the European dishes to be obtained in the new
restaurants and brasseries in Constantinople. It was also quite unlike
Turkish cooking, which, though I lived in foreign countries and become
accustomed to their food, I still maintain is excellent. Although I had
no reason to be fastidious, and grumble about the food on board, which
was decidedly superior to that which families of limited means and
residents in boarding-houses get in England, there were two things I
did not like. One of these was the English coffee, which was given to
us both with breakfast and with the last meal, served out about six in
the afternoon. I missed very much the coffee of my country.[9]

The other was pork. The very sight of the fatty meat on the table was
quite enough to destroy my appetite. It was not so much on account
of the rules of the faith which I profess that I was horrified to
see the flesh of the pig before me; drinking wine is as strictly
forbidden to us as eating pork, but I had already transgressed the
good rules of total abstinence. My invincible objection to pork is
based upon my early impressions, when I was taught to look upon the
pig as the dirtiest animal in creation, and I cannot even now get over
that feeling of dislike, though I have been living among pig-eating
Europeans for several years.

On the eleventh day after our departure from the Bosphorus we arrived
at Gibraltar, where the ship stopped for a few hours, and taking
advantage of this, I hailed a Spanish boatman and was rowed to the
town. In the town I discovered a Moorish shop, in which an elderly
white-turbaned Arab was sitting. Owing to my ignorance of English I
had not been able to talk with anyone since our departure, and I was
longing to find someone with whom I could have a chat, so I greeted him
with a salaam and talked to him. At first he appeared rather reluctant
to enter into conversation with me. I think he suspected me of being
a fraud, posing as the follower of the same Prophet in order to cheat
or swindle him. However, we parted on friendly terms. He entertained a
poor opinion of the Spaniards, but liked the English. In this town I
saw British soldiers for the first time. They were on parade. I admired
the neatness and newness of their uniform, which was decidedly much
superior to that of our troops; but, on the other hand, I thought the
bearing of the Turkish soldiery was more naturally military than that
of the Englishmen. But I was much struck by the appearance of some
hardy, weather-beaten, and determined--looking blue jackets who were
walking about. It may be that what I had already heard of the men who
had helped to build up Great Britain's sea-power made me admire these
brave sailors the more. After seeing one or two more of the sights of
Gibraltar, I hurried back to our ship, which started about an hour
later for England. How dreadfully slowly cargo boats move! It took
seven days to go from Gibraltar to Hull.

On May 8th our boat reached Hull at dusk, but she could not enter
the docks before the next morning. Next day, early in the morning, I
landed, and the captain's sister-in-law kindly accompanied me, took
me to the station, and put me into a train for London. On the journey
I was delighted and wonderstruck with the beauty of the scenery, the
high state of cultivation visible, the canals and the railways, with
what seemed to me a prodigious number of trains constantly passing
to and fro, the activity apparent at the crowded stations, and many
signs of prosperity everywhere, all of which were then strange to me.
Already I could perceive how great a difference existed between little
England and large but poverty-stricken Asia Minor. If an Englishman
of the eighteenth century could rise out of his grave and see what I
saw on that day, his bewilderment at the advancement of his country
would not, I think, be greater than was mine. At every large station I
anxiously tried to find out whether we were in London. At one place,
putting some of the few English words I knew together, I made up an
interrogatory sentence, and addressed it to a middle-aged well-dressed
lady who was sitting opposite me in the carriage. I wanted to ask her
whether we were far from London. The lady could not understand my
meaning, and turning her face towards the other people in the carriage
she said, with a thoroughly unsympathetic air, "Foreigner!" I remember
this word so well. I was sadly impressed by this lady's rudeness. She
was quite right in saying I was a foreigner, but I was not one of those
foreigners who are so narrow-minded as to think evilly of a whole
nation because they have been treated rudely or without sympathy by
one or more of its members. Happily she could not know I was a Turk,
as, like most of her class, she would probably have taken for Turks
those short, dark, shabby persons, with turban or fez, who occasionally
come to this country from different corners of the vast Orient. If she
had known I was a real Turk, a member of the much maligned nation,
against which her Christian heart must needs have been full of mediæval
prejudices, I fancy her rudeness towards me would probably have been
still more marked.

At a huge station the train again stopped and everyone in the carriage
got out I said to myself doubtfully that this must be London. A porter
came to the door, looked round the carriage, and then stared at me.
I said to him "Laundaun?" He said, "Yes, London." So I got out and
he took my bag. Whither was I going now? I was going to a place of
which the name was written in my pocket-book, no less a place than
Olympia. It was the year that some enterprising Israelite gentlemen
had undertaken to represent Constantinople in London, and they sent
an agent to Constantinople to bring over some Turks as boatmen, and
to perform other services in their show. The agent whom I met at the
Turkish capital did not, however, succeed in bringing a single Turk,
as the police, by order of the Sultan, would not allow any such men
to leave Turkey. The agent therefore engaged some Greeks as boatmen,
and some Jews came to set up stalls of embroidery and other things at
Olympia. I hoped that some of these people would help me in finding a
lodging. I said to the porter at King's Cross station "Olympia?" and
he nodded and said "Yes, Kensington," and signed to me to follow him
through a subterranean passage down to the Underground, and put me
into a train which I believe was not going direct to Olympia I lost my
way in the Underground, got out at many stations, changed often into
many trains, and paid several fares. It was nearly dark by now, and
the trains were all full. I mixed up Kensington, of which the porter
had told me, with the somewhat similar name of Kennington. I found it
very trying to rush in and out at every station with my heavy bag in
my hand. Many people laughed at my stupid excitement, but some, better
bred than the others, attempted to assist me, though their efforts
were not of much use to a person who was practically speechless. At
one station my French vocabulary came to my assistance, so I succeeded
in hiring a boy to come with me, and at last I got to Addison Road
station. Outside Olympia I saw a man with a red fez on his head, and
wearing some sort of odd Oriental dress which I had never seen in
Turkey. I spoke to this man in Turkish, and from his accent discovered
that he was a Turkish Jew. Through this fellow I engaged a room in a
neighbouring lodging-house.

On the day following my arrival in London I addressed a letter to the
Sultan, explaining to him how I and my people had been ruined by our
many years' lawsuit in his courts, agitating for the restoration of
our property, and requesting him to issue an _iradé_ granting us, if
not all the rights we had lost, at least the income from our lands
which had accumulated during our lawsuit, and was being misapplied by
some of his officials. I based my appeal on the imperial firmans and
legal documents of the case, and stuck to my point firmly. I learned
the result of this petition a fortnight later, when I was invited to
the Ottoman Embassy. The late Rustem Pasha, who was then Ambassador,
received me with a cheerful courtesy which was, I thought, more than a
private individual like myself could deserve. This was at a time when
the Sultan was extremely anxious lest his discontented subjects should
form revolutionary committees in Europe to stir up an agitation for
general reforms in his dominions. He was particularly suspicious of
those of his subjects who came to the free capital of Great Britain,
as relations between this country and the Sultan were then anything
but friendly. The Ambassador asked my object in coming to England,
and I told him that I had merely desired to learn English and gain
experience abroad which might be of use to me later in my own country.
I said that all I wanted was the payment of my own money, so that I
might devote myself to study. The old Ambassador said that most careful
consideration would be given to my case, and that I should be given a
suitable Government post if I would return to Constantinople at the
Sultan's expense. I declined the offer.



  Christian Ambassadors accredited to England by the
  Sultan--I am strongly urged to return--A question
  of money and health--I consent and go back to
  Constantinople--At the palace of Yildiz--A 'private
  salary' and an appointment--A suggestion of espionage
  work--A warning--Broken promises move me to try and
  escape again--My plan--I sign on before the mast at the
  British Consulate--On a paraffin boat without luggage--I
  reach Liverpool in safety.

ABOUT twenty days passed, and then I was again asked to go to the
Embassy. Rustem Pasha told me that it was the desire of his Majesty
that I should return and give a practical proof that I was not
implicated in any plot against the person of the Sultan, and that in
that case I should certainly be highly rewarded. He, moreover, assured
me that I should be allowed to come to Europe again whenever I wished
to do so. This offer was in reality an appeal to my vanity, for, humble
individual though I was, I was now led to suppose seriously that I
was becoming a more important person than I had suspected. The aged
diplomatist was very emphatic in impressing me with the necessity of
accepting the invitation. I asked him what guarantee I could have that
I should be allowed to remain unmolested on entering Turkey, and to
return to Europe when I wanted to do so. He gave me a distinct promise
that my requests would be granted. The Pasha was one of the Ottomanised
Europeans, was Catholic by religion, and was known to be a gentleman;
if he had been a native Christian of the Levant I should most decidedly
not have put faith in his words.

In this connection I should like to remark that for a good many years
past the Ottoman Ambassadors to the British Court have been appointed
from among the Christian subjects of Turkey. It is reported by the
_entourage_ of the Sultan that the reason for this was the objection
of the British Government to the appointment of Mussulman Ambassadors.
This report must have been purposely spread with a view to represent
Englishmen to Moslems as hostile to Islam. The real reason must, I
think, be, that as there are some bigoted politicians and publicists
in this country who always cry out for the appointment of Christian
officials at the head of all affairs in the Ottoman empire, the Sultan
wishes to show them that he employs Christians even in important
diplomatic posts. As a matter of fact, in days gone by there have been
Mussulman Ambassadors accredited to the Court of St James's.[10]

After my second interview with Rustem Pasha another fortnight elapsed,
during which I considered anxiously what might happen to me if I
returned; and what I should do if I remained in London. Meanwhile I
was feeling very unwell, my money was rapidly decreasing, and there
was not the slightest prospect of my finding suitable employment,
and no possibility of my communicating with my people at home to
ask for help, so I decided to return; I thought I now had a chance.
As the Sultan knew me, I could get my money from the Government and
come back to England. But I was sadly mistaken in my conjectures. It
would have been impossible for any man who was not endowed by nature
with that particular cunning so necessary for getting on in life to
play such a rôle. I discovered my error to my sorrow when I arrived
at Constantinople. A past master of the art of deception such as
Abd-ul-Hamid was not easily to be outwitted. When I went to the Embassy
for the third time I said I would return, so the officials telegraphed
to Constantinople, and in three days a money order came. The sum was
about seventy-five pounds, and I was urged to start at once by the
_Orient Express_.

About the beginning of August 1894 I left England, stopping for two
weeks on my journey in Paris, and a few days in Buda-Pesth, the capital
of the people between whom and the Turks there is a community of
origin, and whom we fought and subjugated for generations. On arriving
at Constantinople the police officials sternly asked my name, whence I
came, and where I was going to put up. I told them I was going direct
to the imperial palace, whereupon they saluted me and I got out of the
station with some feeling of relief. It was a foolhardy game I was
attempting to play. I was now at the mercy of an autocrat who deals
with his Osmanli subjects in his own well known fashion, and I was one
of the few who was enlightened enough to see his true characteristics,
and in consequence to detest his rule at heart In the Yildiz Palace
I was really shivering with anxiety, knowing that here thousands of
people who were denounced as 'Young-Turks' were imprisoned, examined,
and tortured, and then sent into exile. While awaiting my fate in the
palace, a certain Faik Bey, one of the Sultan's trusted courtiers, a
man of no good repute, came to me with a very kind message from his
Majesty. He was glad that I had obeyed him, and come back from the
country which "is nursing hostility to Turkey, and plotting against the
cause of the Caliphate." I am not certain whether these were the words
of the Sultan, or whether his courtier made them up. The Sultan sent me
twenty pounds as pocket-money and wished me to go home and rest. Well,
this apparently kind treatment was consoling, but, however foolhardy,
I had sense enough to see that it was not a good omen for the future.
Just as I was leaving the palace I was ordered by the courtier not
to mix with people much, and to live as quietly as possible. He also
asked me to come and see him after two days. From the palace I went
to Pera and engaged apartments. I was now afraid of going to see my
relations and friends. I met some of them later on while going about
in Constantinople, and we had to pass each other with a mere salute,
as they were also afraid of being reported by the spies for talking
to me, since they knew all about my escaping to England It is a very
depressing and lonely condition to be in, to have to avoid one's
friends and relations because a tyrant has issued a warning to that

In compliance with the order, I went to the Palace again and saw the
same chamberlain. He handed me over another twenty pounds as a mark of
imperial benevolence, and said he would pay me the same amount every
month as 'private salary.' And then he said in a low voice, coming
nearer to me, "His Majesty, our benevolent master, commands me to ask
you to write a report if you hear anything important on the political
situation." My heart froze on hearing this contemptible proposal.
By a monthly salary of twenty pounds the Sultan wanted to make me a
Palace spy! A downright refusal would bring ruin on me, so I told the
courtier that as I had been ordered not to come into intimate contact
with other people, I could not hear anything of importance. He said
there would be no harm in my meeting Europeans. I did not understand
the significance of this last remark at the moment Proceeding in his
talk, the courtier said that as I had graduated in law, the Minister
of Justice would be ordered to make me a deputy prosecutor-general in
the central criminal courts of Constantinople. I carefully avoided
alluding to the promise of the Sultan made to me by his representative
in London, that the income of my property would be given to me, and
that I should be allowed to go to Europe. Nor did I express any desire
to go to Europe again. I was made a deputy prosecutor-general in a few
days by a special _iradé_. Before I went to England they would never
have given me a post even inferior to this had I applied for it again
and again for months. There are about a dozen deputy or assistant
prosecutors like myself in these central courts, and each of them
gets a salary of nearly £180 a year. As a rule, they are not very
busy people. As my superiors could not urge me to attend the office,
imagining I was highly in favour at the Sultan's palace, I did not care
much about going to the court, and making one of the idle scamps there.
I was hard at work devising a new plan of escaping once more from the
hands of the Sultan.

At this time, when his Majesty appeared to be going to honour me so
magnanimously with a Government appointment, as well as with that
attractive 'private salary' in order to tempt me to acts of espionage,
his spies kept an eye on my movements constantly. Every day I was
watched, talked to, and even entertained by two or three of these
creatures. I informed my old English friend of all that had happened
to me of late. He reproached me for being so imprudent as to return
to Turkey, and not going to Egypt if I had to leave England. However,
what was done was done, and it was no good regretting it What I wanted
now was to escape out of the country again as soon as I could get
an opportunity. My friend seemed very sceptical as to my chances of
success in running away a second time, as he thought, and rightly too,
that the watch on my movements would be far stricter now than it was

While things were in this condition, I was one morning hurriedly
summoned to the palace by a mounted messenger. Of course I had to go at
once and saw the same courtier who had so suavely informed me of the
imperial benevolence on the two former occasions. This time his manner
seemed grave and cool, and so soon as I was seated he said that he
was surprised that I should abuse the generous kindness of our august
benefactor. On my anxiously asking him the nature of my fault, he said
he had received a report (an espionage report, of course) that I was
revealing confidential matters of State among the Europeans of Pera. He
showed me the report, carefully hiding, however, the signature beneath
it with his thumb. I at once discovered the author of the shameless
document from the handwriting. The man, who never perhaps supposed that
the report would have been shown to me, had hospitably invited me to
dinner two days previously. The courtier gave me a sharp warning to
avoid spreading the confidential matters of the Sultan's Government
among foreigners. Although my safety seemed to be hanging on a thread
at that time, I nevertheless collected my faculties and ventured on a
bold stroke. I said that as he was the only court official I had had
the honour of seeing, I asked him whether he would be good enough to
tell me what were those secret matters which he had confided to me,
and which I was accused of spreading among the Europeans. He appeared
somewhat embarrassed by this, and his evident perplexity was a relief
to me. We parted in a friendly manner, and as I was leaving he said,
"Remember your private salary will be due in ten days." This was the
monthly twenty pounds which he was going to pay me privately if I
stained my honour by doing the dirty work of espionage.

On returning home in a great state of worry I had a tiny cup of Turkish
coffee, which I used to find a great relief in times of trouble, and
counted my fortune, which amounted to less than fifty pounds. This was,
however, amply sufficient to carry me to England. The first difficulty
before me was to find another English captain to take me, and then to
succeed in getting on board his ship. All the boatmen in the harbour
had been threatened with punishment if they carried suspicious persons
to any foreign ships other than those passenger boats which are watched
by the police. As a prelude to my plan of escaping, I thought it would
be wise to take a boat and go for a row on the sea every day. I told
everyone I met, including those Palace detectives who were always at
my heels, that I had been advised by my doctor to get as much sea air
as possible, and therefore was going for a row every day. On the next
day after deciding to begin boating I went down to one of the many
landing-places of the Golden Horn, where several boatmen are always in
waiting to pick up passengers. I hailed one of these boatmen, and told
him to take me for a row up the Bosphorus. After some time the boatman
wanted to know where I wished to go. I told him curtly to go straight
ahead, and he did so. When he stopped to light a cigarette I asked him
how much he earned in a day, and he said that his profits fluctuated
between seven and ten piastres. If a Turkish boatman gains ten piastres
(about 1s. 8d.) a day he may consider himself lucky. I told him the
same story of my medical prescription of sea air, and offered him
fifteen piastres a day if he would take no other customers, but place
himself at my disposal every day. As I expected, he readily agreed to
this arrangement. My boating trips lasted a week. I went on the sea
sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon. Sometimes I
occupied myself with fishing, and sometimes with reading in the boat;
occasionally, too, I approached and boarded the sailing crafts in the
harbour, and watched them lading and unlading their cargoes. Besides
his wages I used to give the boatman tobacco, which pleased him well.
He did whatever I wanted him to do, and went wherever I ordered. I
do not know if I was ever followed by the spies on the sea; anyhow,
nothing occurred to rouse my suspicions.

After thus arranging the first part of my plan of flight, which was
to find a boatman who would, consciously or unconsciously, take me to
the prohibited foreign ships, I now came to the arrangement of the
more important part, namely, finding a ship bound at once for England.
By myself I could not have done this, so I took the liberty of again
approaching that Englishman who was interested in shipping traffic, and
who had helped me on my first voyage to this country. The excellent
fellow said a steamer was due from Batoum on the Black Sea that very
day, but she was to start on the same afternoon. I said I was quite
ready to start; but he could only send me away on two conditions. One
was, that this time I must see about conveying my luggage myself to the
boat, because the Government supervision over the movements of English
ships had become stricter, and so he would not compromise himself. I
did not mind this at all But the second condition he laid down was
alarming. He said that as the captain of this ship was not allowed to
take any passengers, I must go to the British Consulate and sign my
name in the captain's book as a seaman. Of course there was no harm in
my doing this, as in reality I should not be expected to do a sailor's
work; but an Ottoman subject, who has just become known to the Palace
authorities, is not well advised to go to the British Consulate, for
it is known to be watched by the spies, and he is certain to be seen.
However, I ran the risk, went to the Consulate, and put down my name as
a seaman. The captain directed me to the exact spot where his boat was
anchored, and told me that in about three hours' time she was to start
I did not go to my rooms where I had left all my belongings. The house
in which I was living belonged to some Germans, who afterwards, without
the slightest justification, refused to deliver up my property to the
people who applied on my behalf for it until I had paid a considerable
sum of money. Well, it is perhaps the policy of the Teutonic invaders
of Turkey to rob the Turks as much as possible, as the price of their
friendship to the precious person of the Sultan.

Immediately after getting out of the British Consulate I called a cab,
and ordered the cabman to proceed to the palace of Yildiz as fast as
he could. My object in going to the Palace in this critical moment was
that I thought that if my entrance to the Consulate had been seen, the
spies would imagine that I was in charge of an official message, and
moreover they would not follow a man whose destination was the Palace,
and who might in all probability turn out to be one of the Sultan's
creatures like themselves. I reached the Yildiz Kiosk, and went up to
the office of my friend the courtier. He was out, and his absence at
that moment suited my purpose capitally, as the excuse which I should
have had to concoct for this uncalled for visit would have been but
weak. From Yildiz I took another cab and went down to the shore. My
boatman was yawning, being tired of waiting inactive. I jumped into
the boat and told him the direction in which he was to row, which
was of course towards the steamer, though he did not know that I had
determined to sail for England in it When we got near the steamer I
observed to my boatman it seemed a peculiar vessel, having its funnel
rather far back, and not in the middle of the deck as is usual. The
boatman knew that it was an oil boat and that its engine was therefore
constructed at the back. I pretended to be curious to see the ship, and
the simple-minded boatman readily rowed to its side. I got on board
with great relief.

I was now practically on British territory.[11] After seeing the
captain I went to the side and shouted down to the boatman that as I
talked the language of the people of the ship they had asked me to stay
a little while on board and have tea with them. I told him he need
not wait in the strong current of water, as I could hail any passing
boatman when I wanted to go ashore, and I threw him down his day's
wage. He went away, and we started not long after. I should not have
played all these tricks if the Sultan had kept his promise and treated
me honourably.

This second departure from Constantinople took place on the 8th of
November 1894, and the oil ship reached Liverpool eighteen days after,
without stopping anywhere on the way. As I had not been able to take
any extra clothes I suffered much from cold, and also from the rough
sea all the way. The men on board the ship were rough sailors, and
the captain himself was an extremely stingy person. He supplied us
with abominably bad food. However, I arrived in England safely, and
ever since that time have made this country my home, and during my
periodical trips abroad I have never entered the territories of my own
country, over which the tyranny of Abd-ul-Hamid still prevails.


[1] Writing to England from Adrianople on April 1, 1717, Lady Mary
Wortley Montagu says:--

  "A propos of distempers, I am going to tell you a thing
  that I am sure will make you wish yourself here. The
  smallpox, so fatal and so general amongst us, is here
  entirely harmless by the invention of ingrafting, which
  is the term they give it. There is a set of old women
  who make it their business to perform the operation
  every autumn, in the month of September, when the great
  heat is abated. People send to one another to know if
  any of their family has a mind to have the smallpox;
  they make parties for this purpose, and when they are
  met (commonly fifteen or sixteen together) the old woman
  comes with a nutshell full of the matter of the best
  sort of smallpox and asks what veins you please to have
  opened. She immediately rips open that you offer to her
  with a large needle (which gives you no more pain than
  a common scratch), and puts into the vein as much venom
  as can lie upon the head of her needle, and after binds
  up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell, and in
  this manner opens four or five veins.... The children or
  young patients play together all the rest of the day, and
  are in perfect health until the eighth. Then the fever
  begins to seize them, and they keep their beds two days,
  or seldom three. They have rarely above twenty or thirty
  in their faces, which never mark; and in right days' time
  they are as well as before their illness.... There is no
  example of anyone that has died in it; and you may well
  believe I am very well satisfied of the safety of the
  experiment, since I intend to try it on my little son.

  "I am patriot enough to take pains to bring this useful
  invention into fashion in England."

[2] If the detractors of Islam would take the trouble to find out what
is the exact position of women under Mohammedan law, they might feel
ashamed of their contention that she is treated like a slave. Laws
protecting the rights of women were promulgated under Islam when no
such laws existed in Europe. As far back as five hundred years ago
women in Turkey had begun to dispute men's superiority openly. As
proof of this I will quote a few lines of the poetess Mihri, who lived
in the last half of the fifteenth century:--

 "Since they cry that woman lacketh wit alway,
  Need must they excuse whatever word she say.
  Better far one female, if she worthy be,
  Than a thousand males, if all unworthy they."

[3] The ancient Church of Sergius and Bacchus.

[4] In his book Civilisation des Arabes (p. 642), Dr Gustave le Bon,
the eminent French savant, says: "Le paysan et l'ouvrier Turcs sont
sobres, infatigables au travail, fort dévoués à leur famille....
Soldat, le Turc meurt à son poste sans reculer jamais. De solde,
cependant, il n'en touche pas.... Ce que je viens de dire s'applique
uniquement d'ailleurs aux Turcs proprement dits et non assurément à
toutes les populations des provinces Asiatiques administrées par la
Turquie. On y rencontre le plus souvent surtout dans les villes un
melange de races diverses, résidu abâtardi de tous les envahisseurs
qui depuis tant de siècles ont traverse ces contrées. Dans ce melange
inferieur certaines quality subsistent encore, mais le niveau de la
morality et de courage est descendu fort bas."

[5] Under the title "International Fetters," Lord Milner gives a
condensed account in his book England in Egypt of the working of these
capitulation privileges, and the disgraceful abuse made of them by

[6] Many of the Sultan's highly placed officials and spies are
of Armenian nationality. It is worthy of note that the Armenian
revolutionaries directed their attacks against private individual Turks
only; none of the Sultan's right-hand officials were hurt by them. The
reason of this was that they wanted to provoke bloodshed, and by this
means invite outside intervention. Moreover, it was manifestly to their
advantage that the maladministration of the Sultan and his responsible
officials should continue, as under it they were much more likely to
find a favourable opportunity for this movement, to say nothing of
being sure of external support.

[7] In this connection an anecdote is related in Turkey which, whether
true or not, I will quote here. A Turkish diplomatist of the past
generation paid a visit to the Pope of his time. During the interview
die Pope said, "I am aware of the good points of your people, yet you
are so unpopular in Christendom. In every international dispute Europe
always regards you as in the wrong. Do you understand the reason of
this universal hostility?" The diplomatist replied, "Because we are
not Christians." "Exactly," said the Pontiff. "Then why do you not
embrace Christianity?" Upon this the diplomatist made the following
undiplomatic remark, "The Christians believe in Trinity, and we believe
in Unity. Some of us are growing tired of worshipping even one God.
How, then, could you expect us to worship three?"

[8] No European musical instrument is so much appreciated by Orientals
as the bagpipe; it takes a long time to make the average Oriental
understand and admire the masterpieces of the great musicians of
the West played on any ordinary European instrument. But he takes
to the bagpipes on the first hearing, and it is seldom that he gets
tired of them. Of course there is much similarity both in the sound
and in the manner of playing between bagpipes and a certain popular
Oriental instrument which is played mostly by Turks, Arabs, Kurds,
and Armenians. Although the tone and the style of playing this
Oriental instrument resemble those of the bagpipes so much, there
is considerable difference in the form and make. The bag of this
instrument, which is called 'tooloom,' is made from a sheep's skin;
besides the small mouthpiece there is only one large reedpipe from
which the notes are obtained, and which thus replaces the chanter and
the three drones of its Highland counterpart. The player, placing the
blown-up sheepskin against his chest, and supporting it by the upper
part of his left arm, moves his fingers up and down over the holes in
the larger pipe. As a matter of fact, the sound of this instrument,
like much other Oriental music, appears to European listeners dull
and discordant, but it pleases the uncultivated taste of the ordinary
Orientals. At the popular fêtes it is a very common thing to see
many people, middle-aged as well as young, dancing together in a
circle, while pipe and drum fill the air with ceaseless clamour. It
is difficult to trace the original home of this instrument. It may be
conjectured that it was brought from the West by the persons who went
to the East with the Crusaders, or it may have been copied from them,
with certain modifications in form, by the Eastern peoples.

[9] Most people who have travelled in the Levant are enthusiastic in
their praises of the Turkish coffee which they drank out there. There
is no reason why coffee prepared in the Turkish style should not become
popular here. There is no difficulty about making it That the coffee
may have the delicious flavour it has in the Levant, the beans must be
freshly roasted and ground very fine. The water must be boiled in a tin
or copper coffee-pot To supply, say, four or five persons with coffee
in tiny cups, two or three teaspoonfuls of the powder should be put
into the pot while the water is actually boiling therein. Some people
do not like sugar in their coffee, but if sugar is required it should
be put into the boiling water and allowed to melt before the coffee is
added. Great sweetness is not appreciated by connoisseurs in coffee
drinking. When the ground coffee is added to the boiling water, the pot
should be taken off the fire and the coffee stirred up in the water
with a teaspoon. Then it should be put on the fire again until the
froth rises up. It is then poured into the cups. It is better to pour
out the coffee slowly, placing the pot on the fire at short intervals,
and thus getting more froth for pouring out into the cups, as the taste
of the coffee is supposed to be better with the yellowish froth on the
surface. It is on account of this idea that greedy people in Turkey
choose those cups that have the most froth when coffee is handed round
on a tray, leaving those with less to the others who are waiting their
turn to be served.

[10] The first Turkish Ambassador in London was Agah Effendi, a
Mussulman, who came over to this country in 1793. The following
paragraph is translated from his memoirs:--

"We proceeded to the village of Chelsea, which is about an hour's
distance from London. The King's Master of Ceremony came and
felicitated us on our arrival, and conveyed the compliments of the
King. The ceremony of our reception having been fixed for the following
day, I sent on the presents. Next day the state carriages came. I
entered one that was drawn by four horses; with me were a nobleman and
the Master of the Ceremony. My suite were in the other carriages along
with some court officials.

"When we were passing along the road called Piccadilly there were
collected to see us so many people that never in my life had I seen so
great a crowd; indeed I afterwards heard that several persons had been
injured through the pressing of the crowd trying to get a glimpse of
us. Our dress and our turbans must, I think, have appeared very curious
to them. We arrived at St James's Palace, and after I had presented
my credentials we were invited to dinner. What most impressed me was
the charming manners and appearance of the ladies. Some young ladies
belonging to the King's family bound round their heads the embroidered
silk handkerchiefs I had offered on behalf of my sovereign, and said
laughingly and with infinite grace, 'Now we belong to the harem of his
Majesty the Sultan!'"

[11] It may be said that vessels other than men-of-war could not, in
international law, be exactly considered parts of the territory of the
State to which they belong when they are in foreign ports. But owing to
the privileged state of foreign ships in the Ottoman empire, the Sultan
could not now, under any circumstances, have taken me back from this
paraffin-oil ship, had he been informed of my taking refuge there.



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