Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The City of the Sultan; and Domestic Manners of the Turks, in 1836, Vol. II (of 2)
Author: Pardoe, Miss (Julia)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The City of the Sultan; and Domestic Manners of the Turks, in 1836, Vol. II (of 2)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

DOMESTIC MANNERS OF THE TURKS, IN 1836, VOL. II (OF 2)***


available by Internet Archive/American Libraries
(https://archive.org/details/americana)



      Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive/American Libraries. See
      https://archive.org/details/cityofsultanandd02pardiala

Transcriber's note:

      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

      A carat character is used to denote superscription. A
      single character following the carat is superscripted
      (example: G^t). Multiple superscripted characters are
      enclosed by curly brackets (example: Lith^{rs}).

      The part of List of Illustrations in Vol. I. related
      to Vol. II. is moved to Vol. II. for completenes and
      consistency.



THE CITY OF THE SULTAN; AND DOMESTIC MANNERS OF THE TURKS, IN 1836.


[Illustration: Miss Pardoe del.

Day & Haghe Lith^{rs}. to the King.

YÈRÈ BATAN SERAÏ

_Henry Colburn 12 G^t. Marlborough St. 1837_]



THE CITY OF THE SULTAN; AND DOMESTIC MANNERS OF THE TURKS, IN 1836.

by

MISS PARDOE,

Author of “Traits and Traditions of Portugal.”


[Illustration: TOWER OF GALATA.]


In Two Volumes.

VOL. II.



London:
Henry Colburn, Publisher,
Great Marlborough Street.
1837.

London:
P. Shoberl, Jun., Leicester Street, Leicester Square.



CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME.


  CHAPTER I.

  Departure for Broussa—Rocky Coast—Moudania—The Custom
  House—Translation of the word _Backshich_—The Archbishop of
  Broussa—The Boatman’s House—The Dead and the
  Living—Laughable Cavalcade—Dense Mists—Fine
  Country—Flowers, Birds, and Butterflies—The Coffee Hut—The
  Turkish Woman—Broussa in the Distance—The Dried-up
  Fountain—Immense Plains—Bohemian Gipsies—Mountain
  Streams—Turkish Washerwomen—Fine Old Wall—The Jews’
  Quarter—The Turkish Kiosk—Oriental Curiosity—A Dream of
  Home                                                          Page 1


  CHAPTER II.

  Ancient Gate—Greek Inscriptions—Mausoleum of Sultan
  Orcan—Monkish Chronicle—The Turbedar Hanoum—Inverted
  Columns—Painted Pillars—Splendid Marbles—Tombs of the
  Imperial Family—The Greek Cross—The Sultan’s
  Beard—Mausoleum of Sultan Ali Osman—Monastic Vaults—Ruined
  Chapel—Remains of a Greek Palace—Bassi Relievi—Ruined
  Fountains—Ancient Fosse—Dense Vegetation—Noble
  Prospect—Roman Aqueduct—Valley of the Source—Picturesque
  Groups—Coffee-Kiosks—Absence of Pretension among the
  Turks—The Tale Teller—Traveller’s Khan—Sick Birds—Roman
  Bridge—Armenian Mother                                           21


  CHAPTER III.

  Orientalism of Broussa—Costume of the Men—Plain
  Women—Turbans and Yashmacs—Facility of Ingress to the
  Mosques—Oulou Jamè—Polite Imam—Eastern Quasimodo—Ascent of
  the Minaret—The Charshee—Travelling Hyperboles—Silk
  Bazàr—Silk Merchants Khan—Fountains of Broussa—Broussa and
  Lisbon—The Baths—Wild Flowers—Tzekerghè—Mosque of Sultan
  Mourad—Madhouse—Court of the Mosque—Singular
  Fountain—Mausoleum of Sultan Mourad—Golden Gate—Local
  Legend—The Tomb-house—More Vandalism—Ancient
  Turban—Comfortable Cemeteries—Subterranean Vault—Great
  Bath—Hot Spring—Baths and Bathers—Miraculous
  Baths—Armenian Doctress—Situation of Tzekerghè—Storks and
  Tortoises—Turkish Cheltenham                                     38


  CHAPTER IV.

  Difficulty of Access to the Chapel of the Howling
  Dervishes—Invitation to Visit their Harem—The Chapel—Sects
  and Trades—Entrance of the Dervishes—Costume—The
  Prayer—Turning Dervishes—Fanatical Suffering—Groans and
  Howls—Difficulty of Description—Sectarian Ceremony—Music
  versus Madness—Tekiè of the Turning Dervishes                    60


  CHAPTER V.

  Loquacious Barber—Unthrifty Travellers—Mount Olympus—Early
  Rising—Aspect of the Country at Dawn—Peasants and
  Travellers—Fine View—Peculiarity of Oriental Cities—Stunted
  Minarets—Plains and Precipices—Halting-Place—Difficulty of
  Ascending the Mountain—Change of Scenery—Repast in the
  Desart—Civil Guide—Appearance of the Mount—Snows and
  Sunshine—Fatiguing Pilgrimage—Dense Mists—Intense
  Cold—Flitting Landscape—The Chibouk—The Giant’s Grave—The
  Roofless Hut—Lake of Appollonia—The Wilderness—Dangerous
  Descent—Philosophic Guide—Storm among the Mountains—The
  Guide at Fault—Happy Discovery—Tempest                          72


  CHAPTER VI.

  The Armenian Quarter of Broussa—Catholics and
  Schismatics—Armenian Church—Ugly Saints—Burial Place of the
  Bishops—Cloisters—Public School—Mode of Rearing the Silk
  Worms—Difference between the European and the Asiatic
  Systems—Colour and Quantity of the Produce—Appearance of the
  Mulberry Woods                                                    90


  CHAPTER VII.

  The Cadi’s Wife—Singular Custom—Haïsè Hanoum—The
  Odalique—The Cadi—Noisy Enjoyment—Lying in
  State—Cachemires—Costume—Unbounded Hospitality of the
  Wealthy Turks—The Dancing Girl—Saïryn Hanoum—Contrast          96


  CHAPTER VIII.

  Tzèkerghè—Bustling Departure—Turkish _Patois_—Waiting Maids
  and Serving Men—Characteristic Cavalcade—Chapter of
  Accidents—Train of Camels—Halt of the Caravan—Violent
  Storm—Archbishop of Broussa—The Old
  Palace—Reception-Room—Priestly Humility—Greek
  Priests—Worldly and Monastic Clergy—Morals of the
  Papas—Asiatic Pebbles—Moudania—Idleness of the
  Inhabitants—Decay of the Town—Policy of the Turkish
  Government—Departure for Constantinople                         106


  CHAPTER IX.

  Death in the Revel—Marriage of the Princess Mihirmàh—The
  Imperial Victim—The First Lover—Court Cabal—Policy of the
  Seraskier—The Second Suitor—The Miniature—The Last
  Gift—Interview between the Sultan and Mustapha Pasha            118


  CHAPTER X.

  Yenekeui—The Festival of Fire—Commemorative
  Observance—Fondness of the Orientals for
  Illumination—Frequency of Fires in Constantinople—Dangerous
  Customs—Fire Guard—The Seraskier’s Tower—Disagreeable
  Alarum—Namik Pasha—The Festival
  Localized—Veronica—Bonfires—Therapia and
  Buyukdèrè—Singular Effect of Light—The Armenian Heroine—A
  Wild Dream                                                       134


  CHAPTER XI.

  A Chapter on Caïques—The Sultan’s Barge—Princes and
  Pashas—The Pasha’s Wife—The Admiralty Barge—The Fruit
  Caïque—The Embassy Barge—The Omnibus Caïque—Turkish
  Boatmen—The Caïque of Azmè Bey—Pleasant Memories—The
  Chevalier Hassuna de Ghies—Natural Politeness of the
  Turks—Turkey and Russia—Sultan Mahmoud—Confusion of
  Tongues—Arif Bey—Imperial Present—The Fruit of
  Constantinople—The Two Banners—The Harem—Azimè Hanoum         143


  CHAPTER XII.

  The Bosphorus in Summer—The Tower of Galata—Mosque of
  Topphannè—Summer Palace of the Grand Vizier—Seraï of the
  Princess Salihè—Seraïs and Salemliks—Palace of Azmè
  Sultane—Turkish Music—Token Flowers—Palace of the Princess
  Mihirmàh—The Hill of the Thousand Nightingales—Turkish,
  Greek, and Armenian Houses—Cleanliness of the Orientals—The
  Armenians—Cemetery of Isari—The Castle of Europe—Mahomet
  and the Greeks—Village of Mirgheun—The Haunted Chapel of St.
  Nicholas—Palace of Prince Calimachi—Imperial Jealousy—Death
  of Calimachi—The Bosphorus by Moonlight—Love of the
  Orientals for Flowers—Depth of the Channel—An Imperial
  Brig—Turkish Justice—Fortunes of the Turkish Fleet—Sudden
  Transitions—Influence of Russian Sophistry—The Sultan’s
  Physicians—Naval Appointments—Rigid Discipline—The Penalty
  of Disobedience—The Death Banquet—Tahir Pasha—Radical
  Remedy—Vice of the Turkish System of Government—Unkiar
  Skelessi—A Mill and a Manufactory—Pic Nics—Arabian
  Encampment—Bedouin Beauty—Poetical Locality                    158


  CHAPTER XIII.

  Facts and Fictions—Female Execution at Constantinople—Crime
  of the Condemned—Tale of the Merchant’s Wife—The Call to
  Prayer—The Discovery—The Mother and Son—The
  Hiding-Place—The Capture—The Trial—A Night Scene in the
  Harem—The Morrow—Mercifulness of the Turks towards their
  Women                                                            183


  CHAPTER XIV.

  Political Position of the Turks—Religion of the
  Osmanlis—Absence of Vice among the Lower Orders—Defect of
  Turkish Character—European Supineness—Policy of
  Russia—England and France—A Turkish Comment on England—The
  Government and the People—Common Virtue—Great Men—Turks of
  the Provinces—European Misconceptions                           198


  CHAPTER XV.

  Death in a Princely Harem—The Fair Georgian—Distinction of
  Circassian and Georgian Beauty—The Saloon—Sentiment of the
  Harem—Courteous Reception—Domestic Economy of the
  Establishment—The Young Circassian—Emin Bey—Singular Custom
  of the Turks—The Buyuk Hanoum—The Female Dwarf—_Naïveté_ of
  the Turkish Ladies—The Forbidden Door—The Sultan’s
  Chamber—The Female Renegade—Penalty of Apostacy—Musical
  Ceremony—Frank Ladies and True Believers—A Turkish
  Luncheon—Devlehäi Hanoum—Old Wives _versus_ Young Ones—The
  Parting Gift—The Araba—The Public Walk—Fondness of the
  Orientals for Fine Scenery—The Oak Wood                         211


  CHAPTER XVI.

  Military Festival—Turkish Ladies—Female Curiosity—Eastern
  Coquetry—A Few Words on the Turkish _Fèz_—The Imperial Horse
  Guards—Disaffection of the Imperial Guard—False Alarms—The
  Procession—The Troops at Pera—Imitative Talent of the
  Turks—Disappointment                                            231


  CHAPTER XVII.

  Turkish Ladies “At Home”—The Asiatic Sweet Waters—Holy
  Ground—The Glen of the Valley—Hand Mirrors—Holyday
  Groups—Courtesy of the Oriental Females to Strangers—The
  Beautiful Devotee—The Pasha’s Wife—A Guard of Honour—Change
  of Scene—Fortress of Mahomet—Amiability of the Turkish
  Character                                                        242


  CHAPTER XVIII.

  The Reiss Effendi—Devlehäi Hanoum—The Fair Circassian—The
  Pasha—Ceremonious Observances of the Harem—An
  Interview—Namik Pasha _versus_ Nourri Effendi—Imperial
  Decorations—The Diploma—Turkish Gallantry—The Chibouks—The
  Salemliek—The Garden—Holy Horror—The Kiosk—The
  Breakfast—A Party in the Harem—Nèsibè Hanoum—The
  Yashmac—The Masquerade—Turkish Compliments—The Slave and
  the Fruit Merchant—Departure from the Palace                    262


  CHAPTER XIX.

  Imperial Gratitude—The Freed Woman—A Female
  Cœlebs—Hussein the Watchmaker—Golden Dreams—Arabas and
  Arabajhes—Maternal Regrets—A Matrimonial
  Excursion—Difficult Position—The _Sèkèljhes_—A Young
  Husband—The Emir—The Officer of the Guard—The Emir’s
  Daughter—First Love—Ballad Singing—A
  Salutation—Moonlight—Rejected Addresses—Ruse de Guerre—The
  Arrest—A Lover’s Defence—Munificence of the Seraskier Pasha    278


  CHAPTER XX.

  Turkish Madhouses—Surveillance of Sultan
  Mahmoud—Self-Elected Saints—Lunatic Establishment of
  Solimaniè—The Mad Father—The Apostate—The Sultan’s
  Juggler—Slave Market—Charshee                                  293


  CHAPTER XXI.

  The Castle of Europe—The Traitor’s Gate—The Officer of the
  Guard—Military Scruples—The State Prison—The Tower of
  Blood—The Janissaries’ Tower—_Cachots
  Forcès_—Guard-room—The Bow-string—Frightful Death—The
  Signal Gun—The Grand Armoury—Flourishing State of the
  Establishment—A Dialogue—The Barracks of the Imperial
  Guard—The Persian Kiosk—Courts and Cloisters—The
  Kitchen—The Regimental School—A Coming Storm—The
  Tempest—Dangerous Passage—Turkish Terror—Kind-hearted
  Caïquejhe—Fortunate Escape                                      302


  CHAPTER XXII.

  The Plague—Spread of the Pestilence—The Greek
  Victim—Self-Devotion—Death of the Plague Smitten—The
  Widow’s Walk—Plague Encampments—The Infected Family—The
  Greek Girl and her Lover—Non-Conductors—Plague
  Perpetuators—Vultures—Melancholy Concomitants of the
  Pestilence—Carelessness of the Turks—The Pasha of
  Broussa—Rashness of the Poorer Classes—Universality of the
  Disease in the Capital                                           317


  CHAPTER XXIII.

  A Greek Marriage—The Day before the Bridal—The Wedding
  Garments—Cachemires—Ceremony of Reception—The Golden
  Tresses—Early Hours of the Greek Church—Love of the Greek
  Women for Finery—The Bridal Procession—The Marriage—The
  Nuptial Crowns—Greek Funerals                                   338


  CHAPTER XXIV.

  The Fèz Manufactory—Singular Scene—A Turk at Prayers—Pretty
  Girls—Progress of Turkish Industry—Mustapha Effendi—Process
  of Manufactures—Omer Effendi and the Arabs—Avanis Aga, the
  Armenian—The Fraud Discovered—The Imperial
  Apartments—Departure for the Seraï-Bournou—The Outer
  Court—The Orta Kapoussi—The Pestle and Mortar of the
  Ulémas—The Garden of Delight—The Column of
  Theodosius—Arrival of the Sultan—Ancient Greek
  Inscriptions—Confused Impression—The Diamond—Memories of
  Sultan Selim                                                     348


  CHAPTER XXV.

  Social Condition of the Eastern Jews—Parallel between the
  Jews of Europe and the Levant—Cruelty of the Turkish Children
  to Jews—A Singular Custom—Religious Strictness of the
  Jews—National Administration—The House of Naim Zornana of
  Galata—Costume of the Jewish Women—Hebrew Hospitality          361


  CHAPTER XXVI.

  Hospitality of the Armenians—An Impromptu Visit—The
  Bride—Costly Costume—Turkish Taste—Kind Reception—Domestic
  Etiquette of the Schismatic Armenians—Armenian Sarafs—The
  National Characteristics                                         373


  CHAPTER XXVII.

  Season-Changes at Constantinople—Twilight—The Palace
  Garden—Mariaritza, the Athenian—A Love-tale by
  Moonlight—The Greek Girl’s Song—The Palace of
  Beglierbey—Interior Decorations—The Bath—The Terraces—The
  Lake of the Swans—The Air Bath—The Emperor’s Vase—The
  Gilded Kiosk—A Disappointment                                   384


  CHAPTER XXVIII.

  The Bosphorus in Mist—The Ferdinando
  Primo—Embarkation—Tardy Passengers—The Black Sea—The
  Turkish Woman—Varna—Visit to the Pasha—Rustem Bey—Mustapha
  Najib Pasha—Turkish Gallantry—The Lines—Sunset
  Landscape—Bulgarian Colonies—Discomforts of a Deck Passage     402


  CHAPTER XXIX.

  The Danube—Cossack Guard—Moldavian
  Musquitoes—Tultzin—Galatz—Plague-Conductors—Prussian
  Officer—Excursion to Silistria—Amateur Boatmen—Wretched
  Hamlet—The Lame Baron—The Salute—Silistrian Peasants—A
  Pic-Nic in the Wilds—The Tortoise—Canoes of the Danube—The
  Moldavian State-Barge—Picturesque Boatmen—The Water
  Party—Painful Politeness—Visit of the Hospodar—Suite of His
  Highness—Princely Panic—The Pannonia                           414


  CHAPTER XXX.

  Hirsova—Russian Relics—Town of Silistria—Bravery of the
  Turks—Village of Turtuki—Group of Pelicans—Glorious
  Sunset—Ruschuk—Cheapness of Provisions—The Wallachian
  Coast—Bulgaria—Dense Fog—Orava—Roman Bath—Green
  Frogs—Widdin—Kalifet—Scala Glavoda—Custom House
  Officers—Disembarkation—Wallachian Mountains—A Landscape
  Sketch—Costume of the Servian Peasantry—The Village
  Belle—Primitive Carriages—The Porte de Fer—The
  Crucifix—Magnificent Scenery—Fine Ores                         427


  CHAPTER XXXI.

  Orsova—Castle of the Pass—Turkish Guard—Quarantaine
  Ground—Village of Tekia—Awkward Mistake—Pretty Woman—Gay
  Dress—A Visiter—Servian Cottagers—A Discovery—Departure—A
  Volunteer—Receiving House—A Forced March—The
  Grave-Yard—The Quarantaine—A Welcome to Captivity—A Verbal
  Coinage—Pleasant Quarters—M. le Directeur—The
  Restaurant—Pleasant Announcement—Paternal Care of the
  Austrian Authorities—The Health-Inventory—The Guardsman’s
  Sword—Medical Visits—Intellectual Amusements—A Friendly
  Warning                                                          443


  CHAPTER XXXII.

  The Last Day of Captivity—Quarantaine Enclosure—Baths of
  Mahadia—Landscape Scenery—Peasantry of Hungary—Their
  Costume—Trajan’s Road—Hungarian Village—The Mountain
  Pass—The Baths—A Disappointment—The
  Health-Inventory—Inland Journey—New Road                       458


  CHAPTER XXXIII.

  Departure from Orsova—Daybreak—The Mountain-pass—Village of
  Plauwischewitza—Austrian Engineers—Literary Popularity—The
  Rapids—Sunday in Hungary—Drinkova—Holy day
  Groups—Alibec—Voilovitch—Panchova—River-Shoals—Wild
  Fowl—Semlin—Fortress of Belgrade—Streets of Semlin—Greek
  Church—Castle of Hunyady—Imperial Barge—Agreeable
  Escort—Yusuf Pacha—Belgrade—Prince
  Milosch—Plague-Preventers—General Milosch—Servian
  Ladies—Turk-Town—Ruined Dwellings—The Fortress—Osman
  Bey—Gate of the Tower—Fearless Tower—Rapid Decay of the
  Fortifications—Sclavonian Garden—Vintage-Feast—Sclavonian
  Vintage-Song                                                     471


  CHAPTER XXXIV.

  Carlowitz—Peterwarradin—Bridge of Boats—Neusatz—The
  Journey of Life—The Chevalier Peitrich—Austrian
  Officers—The Hungarian Poet—Illok—The Ancient Surnium—Peel
  Tower—Intense Cold—Flat
  Shores—Mohasch—Földvar—Pesth—German Postillion—A Few Last
  Words                                                            492


ILLUSTRATIONS.

                                                                  PAGE

  Yèrè Batan Seraï                                     _Frontispiece._

  Tower of Galata                               _Vignette Title-page._

  Ruins of the Imperial Palace                                      28

  Roman Bridge at Broussa                                           36

  Roof of Oulou Jamè from the Garden of the Greek Church            40

  Turkish Mausoleum                                                 53

  The Seraglio Point                                               159

  Part of the Valley of Guiuk-Suy                                  244

  Castle of Mahomet                                                256

  Column of Theodosius                                             358

  View near Fanaraki, in Asia                                      406


THE CITY OF THE SULTAN.



CHAPTER I.


  Departure for Broussa—Rocky Coast—Moudania—The Custom
  House—Translation of the word _Backshich_—The Archbishop of
  Broussa—The Boatman’s House—The Dead and the
  Living—Laughable Cavalcade—Dense Mists—Fine
  Country—Flowers, Birds, and Butterflies—The Coffee Hut—The
  Turkish Woman—Broussa in the Distance—The Dried-up
  Fountain—Immense Plains—Bohemian Gipsies—Mountain
  Streams—Turkish Washerwomen—Fine Old Wall—The Jews’
  Quarter—The Turkish Kiosk—Oriental Curiosity—A Dream of
  Home.

Having decided on visiting Broussa, we hired an island caïque with four
stout rowers, and provided ourselves with plenty of coats and cloaks, a
basket of provisions, and a few volumes of French classics; and thus we
set sail from the Golden Horn on the last day of May, leaving Stamboul
all splendour and sunshine.

A brisk northerly wind carried us rapidly out into the Propontis; all
sails were set; my father and myself comfortably established among “the
wraps,” our Greek servant ensconced between two baskets, the steersman
squatted upon the poop of the boat grinning applause, and revealing in
his satisfaction a set of teeth as white as ivory; and, ere long,
excepting this last, our attendant, and myself, every soul on board was
asleep.

In less than two hours, Stamboul had vanished like a vision, and could
only be traced by the line of heavy mist which skirted the horizon. The
coast of Asia Minor was darkening as we advanced, wearing the dense
drapery of vapour woven by the excessive heat—the mountain chain,
fantastic in outline, stretched far as the eye could reach, and we had
already left behind us the two quaint rocks which form so peculiar an
object from the heights above Constantinople. But here the wind failed
us altogether; the slumbering caïquejhes were awakened, the oars were
plied, and we moved over the Sea of Marmora, of which I had such
horrible memories, from the night of pain and peril that I had passed
upon it on my way to Turkey, as though we had been traversing a lake.

Twilight darkened over us thus; and then a light breeze tempted us again
to set the sails, and we glided along smoothly, skirting the rocky coast
until we reached the point opposite Broussa; which, sloping rapidly
downwards to the beach, suddenly revealed to us the glorious moon, that
was rising broad and red immediately on our track, and tracing a line
of light along the ripple which gleamed like gold.

After having sated myself with the bright moon, the myriad stars, and
the mysterious mountains, at whose base the waves had hollowed caverns,
through which they dashed with a noise like thunder, and once or twice
almost deluded me into a belief that I could distinguish the sound of
human voices issuing from their depths, I at length yielded to the
excessive fatigue that overpowered me; and, wrapping myself closely in
my mantle, I stretched myself along the bottom of the caïque, and did
not again awaken until the boatmen announced our arrival at Moudania.

It was an hour past midnight, and not a sound came to us from the town.
A score of Arabian barks were anchored off the shore, whose seaward
houses overhang the water; the white minarets of the mosques were in
strong relief upon the tall, dark, thickly-wooded mountains which rose
immediately behind them, and whence the song of the nightingales swept
sweetly and sadly over the ripple; and had we not been drenched with the
heavy dew that had fallen during the night, I should have been quite
satisfied to remain until daylight in the caïque, which soon entered a
little creek in the centre of the town.

But, previously to casting anchor, we were obliged to pull considerably
higher up the gulf in order to show ourselves at the Custom House, and
to exhibit our Teskarè, or Turkish passport, as well as to submit our
two travelling portmanteaux, and our provision-hamper, to the inspection
of the examining officer. After a vast deal of knocking and calling, an
individual was at length awakened, who came yawning into the caïque with
a paper-lantern in his hand, and his eyes only half open; and who, after
looking drowsily about him, murmured out “_backschish_,” and prepared to
depart; upon which a few piastres were given to him, and he returned on
shore.

The word backshich is the first of which a traveller learns the meaning
in Turkey; it signifies fee, or present. The Pasha receives backshich
for procuring a place or a pension for some petitioner; then, of course,
it is a present, and precisely as unwelcome as it is unexpected: the boy
who picks up your glove or your whip, as you ride along the street,
demands backshich—he must be fee’d for his civility. Nothing is to be
done in the country without backshich.

On entering the creek we despatched the servant and one of the
caïquejhes to the house of the Greek Archbishop of Broussa, to whom we
had brought a letter, and who had removed to the coast for the benefit
of sea-bathing; but his Holiness was from home, and there was
consequently no ingress for us. In this dilemma, for hotels there are
none, we had no alternative but to accept for a few hours the
hospitality of one of the boatmen, until we could procure horses to
carry us on to Broussa; and we consequently made our debût in Asia Minor
in an apartment up two flights of rickety stairs, walled with mud, and
shivering under our footsteps. But it suffices to state that the
caïquejhe was a Greek, for it to be understood at once by every Eastern
traveller that the house was cleanly to perfection; and our reception by
the hostess, even at that untoward hour, courteous and attentive.

Before the servant had brought the luggage up stairs, my father, worn
out by fatigue, was sound asleep upon the divan; and, when the attendant
had withdrawn, I also gladly prepared myself for the enjoyment of a few
hours’ repose; and, casting off my shoes, and winding a shawl about my
head, I took possession of the opposite side of the sofa, and should
soon have followed his example, when I was aroused by the light foot of
the caïquejhe’s wife in the apartment, who, opening a small chest, cast
over me a sheet and coverlet as white as snow, and then retired as
quietly as she came.

But that sheet and coverlet changed the whole tide of my feelings—the
chest in which they had been kept was of cypress wood—they were
strongly impregnated with its odour—I was exhausted by fatigue and
excitement—and a thousand visions of death and the grave came over me
in the half dreamy state in which I lay, that by no means added to my
comfort.

With a morbidity of imagination to which I am unhappily subject, I
followed up at length one fantastic and gloomy image, until I began to
believe myself in a state of semi-existence, habiting with the dead; but
the delusion was brief, for I was soon as disagreeably convinced that my
affair was at present altogether with the living. I had been warned that
Broussa was as celebrated for its bugs as for its baths, but I had never
contemplated such martyrdom at Moudania! I sprang from the sofa, shook
my habit with all my strength, and then, folding my fur pelisse for a
pillow, I stretched myself on the carpet, and left the luxuries of the
cushioned divan to my father; who, fortunately for him, proved to be a
sounder sleeper than myself.

At five o’clock, the horses came to the door; and after partaking
sparingly of the provisions which we had brought with us, we drank a cup
of excellent coffee, prepared by our hostess, and descended to the
street; where my European saddle, by no means a common sight at
Moudania, had collected a crowd of idlers.

Had Cruikshank been by when we started, we should assuredly not have
escaped his pungent pencil. My father led the van, mounted on a
high-peaked country saddle, with a saddle-cloth of tarnished embroidery,
and a pair of shovel stirrups; I followed, perched above a coarse
woollen blanket, with my habit tucked up to preserve it from the stream
of filth that was sluggishly making its way through the street; after me
came our Greek servant, sitting upon a pile of cloaks and great coats,
holding his pipe in one hand, and his umbrella in the other; and he was
succeeded in his turn by the serudjhe who had charge of our luggage, and
who rode between the portmanteaux, balancing the provision basket before
him, dressed in a huge black turban, ample drawers of white cotton, and
a vest of Broussa silk. The procession was completed by three attendants
on foot, the owners of the horses; and thus we defiled through the
narrow and dirty streets of Moudania, on our way to the ancient capital
of the Ottoman Empire.

For a time the mists were so dense that, although we had the sea-sand
beneath the hoofs of our horses, we could not distinguish the water;
and, as we turned suddenly to the right, and traversed a vineyard all
alive with labourers, the vapours were rolling off the sides of the
hills immediately in front of us. Feathered even to their summits with
trees, they appeared to rest against the thick folds of heavy white mist
in which they had been enveloped during the night, and presented the
most fantastic shapes. I never traversed a more lovely country;
vineyards were succeeded by mulberry plantations and olive groves,
gardens of cucumber plants, beet-root, and melons, stretches of rich
corn land, and immense plains, hemmed in by gigantic mountains, of which
the unredeemed portions were a perfect garden.

I have spoken, in my little work on Portugal, of the beauty of the wild
flowers in that country, but I found that those of Asia even transcended
them. Delicate flowing shrubs, herbs of delicious perfume, and blossoms
of every dye, were about our path: the bright lilac-coloured gum-cistus,
with a drop of gold in its centre—the snowy privet, with its scented
cone—the wild hollyhock—the bindweed, as transparent and as variously
coloured as in an European parterre—the mallow, with its pale petals of
pink and white—the turquoise, as blue as a summer sky, and as large as
a field-daisy—the foxglove, springing from amid the rocky masses by the
wayside, like virtue struggling with adversity, and seeming doubly
beautiful from the contrast; the bright yellow blossom which owes to its
constantly vibrating petals the vulgar name of “woman’s tongue”—the
sweet-scented purple starch-flower—wild roses, woodbine, and, above
all, the passion-flower, somewhat smaller than that cultivated in
Europe, but retaining perfectly its pale tints and graceful character,
were mingled with a thousand others that were new to me.

Upon one spot on this plain I saw the richest clump of vegetation that I
ever met with in my life, it was a small mound near the road-side,
covered with dwarf aloes and arum; I made one of the seridjhes tear up a
plant of the latter for me to examine, and it was perfectly gigantic;
the blossom measured eighteen inches from the base of the calyx to the
extremity of the petal; the colour was a deep, rich ruby, and the stem
was five or six feet in height. I need scarcely add that the stench
which it emitted was intolerable, and we were obliged to rub our hands
with wild chamomile to rid ourselves of it.

The butterflies were small, sober-coloured, and scarce; but the birds
which surrounded us were various and interesting—the bulfinch, the
elegant black-cap, the nightingale, making the air vocal; and the
cuckoo, whose sharp, quick note cut shrilly through the sweet song with
which it could not assimilate—the skylark, revelling in light, and
drinking in the sunshine—the partridge, half hidden amid the corn, or
winging its way along the valley, kept us constant company; while the
majestic storks sailed over our heads, with their long thin legs folded
back, and their long thin necks stretched forward, steering themselves
by their feet; or remained, gravely standing near the road-side, eyeing
us as we passed with all the confidence of impunity.

After rising a tolerably steep hill, we descended into a plain of vast
extent, through which brawled a rapid river crossed by a bridge of
considerable span, wherein a herd of buffaloes were cooling themselves;
some lying on their sides wallowing in the mud, and others standing up
to their noses in water, and defying the fierce beams of a sun under
which we were almost fainting. As I pulled up for an instant to observe
them, a kingfisher darted from a clump of underwood overhanging the
bank, glittering in the light, and looking as though it had pilfered the
rainbow.

Having passed the plain, we again descended, and stopped mid-way of the
mountain before a little hut of withered boughs, tenanted by a
superb-looking Turk, who dispensed coffee and pipes to travellers;
beside the hut a handsome fountain of white granite poured forth a
copious stream of sparkling rock water: and on the other side of the
road a very fine walnut tree overshadowed a bank covered with grass.
Upon this bank the servant spread our mat; and, having removed the large
flapping hats of leg-horn which we wore, we revelled in the dense shade
and refreshing coolness; nor were we the only individuals to whom they
had proved welcome, for a portion of the space was already occupied by a
Turkish woman, whose husband was in the coffee-hut, and who accepted
readily a part of our luncheon, although she could not partake of it
with us, the presence of my father preventing the removal of her
yashmac. I felt glad that she received the offer in the spirit in which
it was made, for the Turks are so universally hospitable that my
obligations to them on this score are weighty; and, singularly enough,
this was the first occasion on which I had ever had an opportunity of
returning the compliment.

We lingered on this sweet spot nearly an hour, and then, continuing our
descent, and crossing a little stream at its foot, we clomb a lofty
mountain, whence we looked down upon a scene of surpassing beauty.
Before us towered a chain of rocks, whose peaks were clothed with snow;
and beneath us spread a valley dotted with mulberry and walnut trees,
green with corn and vineyards, and gay with scattered villages. At the
base of the highest mountain lay Broussa, and even in the distance we
could distinguish the gleaming out of the white buildings from among the
dense foliage which embosomed them.

From this point a new feature of beauty was added to the landscape:
fountains rose on all sides, the overflowing of whose basins had
frequently worn a deep channel across the road, where the waters rushed
glittering and brawling along. With the form of one of these fountains I
was particularly struck; it was evidently of considerable antiquity, and
was overshadowed by a majestic lime-tree, whose long branches stretched
far across the road; but its source was dried, and it was rapidly
falling to decay.

I hesitated for an instant whether I should sketch the fountain, or
again lend to it for an instant the voice that it had lost. I decided on
the latter alternative—and, seating myself upon the edge of the basin,
I hastily scratched the following stanzas in my note-book.


  THE DRIED-UP FOUNTAIN.

    The emblem of a heart o’er-tried,
      I stand amid the waste;
    My sparkling source has long been dried;
  And the worn pilgrim, to whose ear
  My gushing stream was once so dear,
      Passes me by in haste.

    No wild bird dips its weary wing
      In my pure waters now;
    No blushing flowers in beauty spring,
  Fed by the gentle dews, that erst
  Taught each fair blossom how to burst
      With a yet brighter glow.

    The nightingale responds no more
      Since my glad sound was hushed,
    As she was wont to do of yore,
  To the continuous flow, which oft,
  When leaves were rife, and winds were soft,
      Like her own music gushed.

    Still wave the lime-boughs, whose sweet shade
      Was o’er my waters cast,
    When high in Heaven the sunbeams played;
  But o’er my dried-up basin now
  Vainly is spread each leafy bough;
      It but recalls the past—

    And thus the human heart no less,
      In its young ardent years,
    Pours forth its gushing tenderness
  Freely, as though time could not fling
  A gloom around each lovely thing,
      And turn its smiles to tears.

    And thus, like me, it too must prove
      How soon the spell goes by;
    How falsehood follows fast on love,
  Treachery on trust, and guile on truth;
  Until the heart, so full in youth,
      In age is waste and dry.

    Worn heart, and dried-up fount—for ye
      The world is fair in vain;
    Birds sing, boughs wave, and winds are free;
  But song, nor shade, nor breath, can more
  Your joyful gush of life restore—
      It will not flow again!

A great stretch of road, after we had passed the exhausted fountain,
traversed another of those immense plains for which this part of the
country is celebrated. No monotony, however, renders them irksome to the
traveller; on the contrary, they are characteristic and various in the
extreme. Gigantic walnut trees, laden with fruit; fig trees, almost
bending beneath their own produce; little wildernesses of gum cistus,
carpeting the earth with their petals; woods of mulberry trees;
stretches of dwarf oak, with here and there timber of larger size
overtopping them; grass land, gay with tents, pitched for the
accommodation of those who guard the droves of horses grazing in their
vicinity; camels browzing on the young shoots of the forest trees; herds
of buffaloes, with their flat and crescent-shaped horns folding
backward, and their coarse and scantily-covered hides caked with the mud
in which they have been wallowing; and flocks of goats as wild and as
agile as the chamois, keep the eye and the imagination alike employed.

Now and then a native traveller, mounted on his high-peaked saddle, with
a brace of silver-mounted pistols and a yataghan peeping from amid the
folds of the shawl that binds his waist; his ample turban descending low
upon his brow, and his yellow boots resting upon a pair of shovel
stirrups; his velvet jacket slung at his back, and the long pendent
sleeves of his striped silk robe hanging to his bridle-rein, passes you
by. His horse is, nine times out of ten, scarcely one remove from a
pony, but it can go like the wind; and, as it tosses its well-formed
head, expands its eager nostril, and scours along with its long tail
streaming in the wind, you are immediately reminded that both the animal
and his rider are, although remotely, of Tartar origin. Of course, the
horse has his charm against the Evil Eye, as well as his master; and,
moreover, perhaps, his brow-band, or breeching, prettily embroidered
with small cowries, and his saddle-cloth gay with the tarnished glories
of past splendour.

At times you are met by a party of Greek serudjhes returning to Moudania
with a band of hired horses, which, although they have probably tired
the patience and wearied the whip of their strange riders, are now
racing along amid the shouts and laughter of their owners, as though
they were engaged in a steeple-chase. A cloud of dust in the distance
heralds the approach of a train of rudely-shaped waggons, frequently
formed of wicker-work, drawn by oxen or buffaloes, and generally laden
with tobacco; while, nearer the city, gangs of donkeys, carrying
neatly-packed piles of mulberry boughs for the use of the silk-worms,
which form the staple trade of the neighbourhood, complete the moving
picture.

The river which traverses the plain is spanned by a bridge of five
beautifully-formed arches. When we passed, it was so shrunken that an
active leaper might have cleared it at a bound; but the current was
frightfully rapid, and the channel, heaped with flints and sand, had
evidently been insufficient to contain its volume during the winter, as
the land, for a wide space on either side, bore traces of having been
flooded.

On the edge of the plain stands the fountain of Adzim Tzèsmèssi,
overshadowed by three fine maple trees, and in itself exceedingly
picturesque. A rudely-constructed kiosk, raised a couple of steps from
the ground, and surrounded by seats, protects the small basin of granite
into which the water rises, and whence it afterwards escapes by pipes
into two exterior reservoirs: that which is shaded by the maples being
reserved for the use of travellers, and the other for the supply of
cattle.

Here, of course, we found a caféjhe, surrounded by a group of smokers;
and procured some excellent coffee and cherries.

During our halt, a party of Bohemian gipsies, on their way to the coast,
stopped to refresh themselves and their donkeys at the mountain spring;
they were about thirty in number, and the men were remarkably tall and
well-looking, but formidable enough, with their pistols and yataghans
peeping from their girdles; they had two or three sickly, weary children
in their train, who appeared half dead with heat and toil; and half a
dozen withered old women, who might have sat for the originals of
Macbeth’s witches, they were so “grim and grisly;” but there was one
female among them, a dark-eyed, rosy-lipped maiden of sixteen, or
thereabouts, who was the perfection of loveliness. For a while she stood
apart, but, as the rest of the tribe, attracted by my riding-dress,
clustered about me, and assailed me by questions to which I was utterly
unable to reply, she at length took courage and joined the party. As her
wild and timid glance wandered from me to her companions, I found that
it invariably rested upon one individual, and I had little difficulty in
filling up the romance suggested by her earnest looks. Nor was I
deceived; for when the tribe moved away, the bridle of her donkey was
held by the tall, sunburnt youth to whom she had attracted my attention;
and as they passed the stream, he did not relinquish it though he trod
knee-deep in water, when he might have traversed the little bridge
without wetting the soles of his feet; but in recompense of his
devotion, he feasted, as he went, on the smiles of his fair mistress,
and the cherries which I had poured into her lap. After their departure,
I made a hasty sketch of the fountain, and then quitted with reluctance
a spot so redolent of beauty.

The plain at this point appeared to be set in one uninterrupted
frame-work of mountains—the river ran shimmering and sparkling through
its centre—the mulberry and walnut trees were scattered thickly over
its entire surface—the clouds, as they flitted by, created a thousand
beautiful varieties of light and shade; and the soft wind that sighed
through the maple leaves almost made me forget my fatigue.

What rills of water we passed through after we left the plain! Every
quarter of a mile we encountered a fountain; and for upwards of a league
we rode through the heart of a mulberry plantation, fringed with noble
walnut trees. At some of the fountains, groups of women were washing;
and it was amusing to see them hastily huddling on their yashmacs as
they remarked the approach of our party. In many cases, the water which
escaped from the basins provided for it, ran rippling along the road,
and covering the whole surface for a considerable distance, ere it
buried itself among the long grass that skirted the plantation. The
mulberry wood was succeeded by gardens; and the rich, rank vegetation
reminded me strongly of Portugal, than which I never saw any country
more similar.

At a short distance from Broussa, a fine old wall, based on the living
rock, rose in its stern hoary decay immediately before our path;
clusters of mouldering towers, half overgrown with parasites, from among
which gleamed out the modern and many-gabled palace of some Turkish
noble, all apparently growing out of its grey remains, varied the
outline; nor did we lose sight of them until, on reaching the gate of
the city, we turned sharply to the right, in order to escape the Jews’
quarter; and, on arriving in that appropriated to the Greeks, took
possession of a furnished house, which had been prepared for us by the
polite attention of Mr. Z——, an Armenian merchant, to whom we had a
letter: when, on approaching the window, I found that the view was
bounded by the same old wall, crowned by a charming kiosk, with its
trelliced terrace and domed temple, overhung with roses; while the rock,
and even the wall itself, were thickly covered with wild vines, trailing
their long branches like garlands; flowering rock-plants in abundance,
and white jessamine and other parasites, rooted in the garden above, and
mingling their blossoms with those which Nature alone had planted.

A stately Turk was seated at the open window of the kiosk, smoking his
chibouk, and attended by his pipe-bearer; who, when he had satisfied his
own curiosity, slowly withdrew, and was shortly replaced by a female,
closely veiled, and followed by a couple of slaves. I fell asleep on
the sofa without obtaining a glimpse of her face; and, on awaking, found
that she had departed in her turn, and that a party of solemn-looking
Musselmauns had established themselves in the temple from which they
could overlook the whole of our apartment, where they were smoking, and
drinking large goblets of water.

I do not know when the party broke up, as I retreated to the other side
of the house, and took possession of a room whose windows looked into a
court enclosed by high walls painted in fresco, and containing two
pretty fountains, whose ceaseless murmurings soon lulled me once more to
sleep. A fine lime tree threw its shade far into the apartment—a female
voice was singing in the distance—and as I cast myself on the divan,
and closed my eyes, a feeling of luxury crept over me which influenced
my dreams.——

No wonder that my visions were of home, and of the best of mothers!—I
was in her arms—on her heart.

My first hour’s dream at Broussa was worth a waking day!



CHAPTER II.


  Ancient Gate—Greek Inscriptions—Mausoleum of Sultan
  Orcan—Monkish Chronicle—The Turbedar Hanoum—Inverted
  Columns—Painted Pillars—Splendid Marbles—Tombs of the
  Imperial Family—The Greek Cross—The Sultan’s Beard—Mausoleum
  of Sultan Ali Osman—Monastic Vaults—Ruined Chapel—Remains of
  a Greek Palace—Bassi Relievi—Ruined Fountains—Ancient
  Fosse—Dense Vegetation—Noble Prospect—Roman Aqueduct—Valley
  of the Source—Picturesque Groups—Coffee-Kiosks—Absence of
  Pretension among the Turks—The Tale Teller—Traveller’s
  Khan—Sick Birds—Roman Bridge—Armenian Mother.


At an early hour on the following morning we started, accompanied by a
guide, and our own servant who acted as Dragoman, to visit such objects
of interest as might exist in the immediate vicinity of the city; and
after climbing the hill on which the ancient wall is based, and passing
through a fine old gate, in whose neighbourhood we remarked several
Greek inscriptions that had apparently been displaced at the capture of
the city, as one or two of them are inverted, we found ourselves in
front of the Mausoleum of Sultan Orcan.

This sovereign, who was the son of Othman, the first Turkish Emperor,
took Broussa, (which was at the time the capital of Bithinia) in the
year 1350; and, according to an old monkish chronicle which I consulted
on the spot, “He found three towers filled with the treasures of these
kings, which they had been amassing from the first building of the city;
gold and silver in ingots and in coins; pearls and jewels, among which
were twelve precious stones unique in value; furniture and dresses
wrought in gold and silver; crowns of great price filled with gold and
pearls; saddles, pantaloons, and swords worked with gold, and pearls,
and jewels—forming altogether the lading of seven hundred camels, all
of which he despatched to his native country. This done, he collected
together all the young children: some he caused to lie on their stomachs
upon the earth, where he trampled them beneath the feet of horses;
others he flung into the river; and others again he exposed naked to the
sun, where they died of thirst. Many mothers stifled their children,
rather than deliver them over to the barbarian. It would be difficult to
describe the torments inflicted on the Bishops, the Priesthood, and the
monks; some were drowned, some burnt, some dragged by horses, &c. &c.”

“This monarch,” pursues the historian, “was brave, luxurious, and
generous; and was the husband of Kilikia, the Princess of Caramania; he
was wounded at the taking of Broussa, and died in consequence a few days
afterwards, having reigned twenty-two years.”

It was the tomb of this “generous” conqueror which we were about to
invade; and, while the guide was absent in search of the Turbedar
Hanoum, or Holy Woman, who had charge of the keys, I amused myself by
examining the exterior entrance of the building, or rather of that
portion of it now converted into an Imperial Mausoleum.

The open porch, with its deeply projecting roof painted in fresco, is
supported by two pillars of coarse old Byzantine architecture, and
composed of delicately-veined white marble. This porch gives admittance
only to the Court of the Tomb-house, and presents a spectacle probably
unique, and so characteristic of the progress of the fine arts in this
country, that it deserves especial mention. The pillars to which I have
alluded as supporting the porch are reversed; the sculptured capitals
rest on the earth, and a plaistered summit has been supplied, gaudily
painted in blue and yellow; while the pillars themselves are only just
beginning, thanks to time and weather, to reveal the material of which
they are composed, through their decaying coat of whitewash!

When a frightful old woman, huddled up in a scarf of coarse white
cotton, at length made her appearance, key in hand, and admitted us to
the Inner Court, a second anomaly nearly as startling as the first
presented itself. The enclosure was thickly planted with young trees,
among which a pomegranate, gorgeous in its livery of green and scarlet,
was the most conspicuous; and a sparkling fountain was pouring forth its
copious stream of clear cool water into a marble reservoir; while the
long flexile branches of a wild vine were gracefully wreathed across the
entrance of the Mausoleum. But here again the hand of barbarism had been
at work; and the four slender Ionic columns of gray marble which support
the porch, had undergone the same melancholy process of painting, and
their capitals were decorated with a wreath of many-coloured foliage!

Little did such an exhibition of modern Vandalism prepare me for the
splendid coup-d’œil that awaited me within. The Mausoleum is a portion
of an ancient Greek monastery, dismantled by Sultan Orcan at the capture
of the city; and is supposed to have been a private chapel in which the
Emperor was accustomed to perform his devotions. It is of an oval form;
and, previously to a fire which partially destroyed it a few years
since, was entirely lined with rich marbles. Those now deficient have
been replaced by paint and stucco, in precisely the same taste as that
which operated on the exterior; but, as their number is comparatively
small, the general effect is not greatly marred.

Sultan Orcan, with his wife Kilikia, two of his Odaliques, and seventeen
of his children, occupy the centre of the floor; whose fine mosaic
pavement has been covered throughout the whole space thus appropriated
with a mass of coarse plaister, raised about a foot from the floor, and
supporting the Sarcophagi. That of the Sultan himself is overlaid with a
costly cachemire shawl, above which are spread two richly embroidered
handkerchiefs in crimson and green, worked with gold; while the turban
at its head is decorated with a third, wrought in beautiful arabesques,
and by far the most splendid thing of the kind that I ever saw, Those of
the Sultanas and their children are simply painted of the sacred green,
and totally unornamented; the first instance of such a marked
distinction that I had yet met with in the country.

At the upper end of the chapel, three rows of marble seats, arranged
amphitheatrically, occupy the extremity of the oval immediately opposite
to the altar, and are surmounted by a centre seat, supposed to have been
that from which the monarch was accustomed to hear the mass, while his
nobles placed themselves on the benches at his feet. The lofty dome is
supported by six gigantic square pillars of masonry, and the marbles
that line the walls are inserted with considerable taste. In one of the
side arches a cross still remains, which was introduced among the
mosaics by the Greeks; but a second, of much larger dimensions, which
surmounted their altar, has been destroyed, and the space that it
occupied coarsely covered with plaister.

On the left-hand side of the Imperial Sarcophagus hangs a small wooden
case, shaped like a bird-cage, and covered with green silk, containing
the Sultan’s beard!—the precious relic of five centuries!

The Mausoleum of Sultan Ali Osman, the son of Orcan, which occupies the
other wing of the building, contains no object of particular interest;
the Hall of Sepulchre is similar in material and in arrangement, save
that the Sarcophagi of his wives and children are simply whitewashed.
The modern Emperors have been more gallant; and many a deceased Sultana
sleeps the last sleep at Constantinople, covered with shawls which,
during the rage for cachemeres in Paris, would have killed half the
_élégantes_ with envy.

From the Mausoleum of Sultan Ali Osman, we passed into the vaults of the
Monastery, and through a subterranean cloister, supported by pillars;
whence we clambered by a crazy ladder into what had evidently been the
Chapel of the Monastery. Fragments of frescoes still remain about the
dilapidated altar, and on the screen of the Sanctuary—here it is a head
without a body, and there a pair of legs without either—on one side a
half-effaced inscription in old Monkish Latin; and on the other a
cluster of wild flowers, concealing the ruin against which they lean.
Several of the arches of the chapel still remain, and are very
gracefully formed, but the whole scene is one of melancholy: the only
portions of the building which are perfect are the tombs of the Ottoman
Emperors; all that yet bears the trace of Christianity is stamped with
ruin.

We next visited the remains of the Palace of the ancient Greek Emperors,
whose dilapidated gateway is flanked by the mouldering remains of two
_bassi relievi_; and the fragments of two fountains of white marble,
whose waters, unrestrained by the mutilated basins into which they
poured themselves, have worn a narrow channel beside the road, where
they rush along, sparkling in the sunshine. The capital of one of the
columns which once graced them still remains nearly entire, and is of
that elegant stalactite-like architecture peculiar to the Arabs, and
quite unknown in Europe. Having passed the gate, we entered a small
court, thickly planted with ancient mulberry trees, and containing the
remains of some of the Imperial offices; whence a second door admitted
us into a wide enclosure, now converted into a nursery-garden, full of
vigorous vegetation.

Passing onward, we crossed, by a few unsteady planks, a portion of the
ancient fosse, and found ourselves upon the wall overhanging the city,
surrounded by the group of mouldering and ivy-grown towers that I had
remarked on my journey, and which I found to be the remains of the
Palace.

[Illustration: RUINS OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE.]

Nothing more magnificent can be imagined than the view from this height.
The wide plain through which we had travelled from the coast lay spread
out before us, dotted over its whole surface with mulberry and olive
trees—the river ran rushing in the light among the dense
vegetation—far as the eye could reach, lofty mountains, purpled by the
distance, shut in the prospect—while, immediately beneath us, Broussa
lay mapped out in all its extent, the sober-coloured buildings
overshadowed by lofty trees; and the three hundred and eighty mosques of
the city scattered in the most picturesque irregularity along the side
of the mountains, and on the skirts of the valley. The palace of a Pasha
was close beside us, and behind us rose the lofty chain of land which
veiled the lordly summit of Mount Olympus; while over all laughed the
bluest and the brightest sky that imagination can picture.

Beyond this, and this was of course the result of situation, and in
itself independent of other interest, the remains of the Imperial Palace
are altogether destitute of attraction; its decay is too far advanced,
or rather its destruction is too absolute, to present a single charm to
the most determined ruin-hunter in the world.

About a mile higher up the mountain stand the remains of a Roman
aqueduct; half a dozen mouldering towers of colossal dimensions rise
hoar and gray against the sky, and at their feet rushes along the
pellucid water that supplies the fountains of the city. A narrow channel
formed of stone, and full to overflowing, guides the course of the
stream, which escapes from the heart of the mountain at the point where
it hems in the gayest and the greenest valley that ever fairy revelled
in by moonlight. The channel skirts this valley, until it again passes
beneath the living rock, and pours itself into the reservoirs of
Broussa—but it is less of the mountain stream, or of the fine old Roman
remains, that I desire to speak, than of the lovely glen to which I have
just alluded.

This fair spot is the “Sweet Waters” of Broussa; and as we chanced to
visit it for the first time on a Turkish Sunday, its effect was
considerably heightened. Surrounded by lofty mountains, overtopped by
mouldering ruins, shaded by stately trees, and fresh with springing
verdure, its aspect was yet further gladdened by groups of happy idlers
in their holyday costume, seated on their mats along the margin of the
source, or lounging beneath the shade of two rudely constructed
coffee-kiosks; one of which, built immediately beside the spring, and
resting against the rock whence it issued, was shaded from the north
wind by a small but elegant mosque, whose tall minaret was reflected in
the clear stream; while the other, erected beneath the shade of two
majestic maples, seemed to contend the prize of coolness and comfort
with its neighbour. From one ridge of rock an elegant kiosk overhung the
valley; while from another a cherry tree, laden with fruit, tempted the
hand with its clustering riches.

Altogether, I never beheld a more lovely scene; and the last touch of
beauty was given by the distant view of a Turkish cemetery, which clomb
the side of the mountain, and whose grave-stones were shaded by clumps
of the dark, silent cypress, relieved here and there by a stately walnut
tree, with its bright leaves dancing in the wind. The groups that were
scattered over the valley were eminently picturesque: there was the
_employé_ with his ill-cut frock-coat and unbecoming _fèz_—the Emir,
with his ample green turban, and his vest and drawers of snowy
cotton—the Tatar, clad in crimson, wrought with gold, his waist bound
with a leathern belt, and his legs protected by Albanian gaiters—the
Ulema, with a white shawl twisted about his brow, and a brass ink-bottle
thrust into his girdle—the Turning Dervish, with his high cap of gray
felt, and his pelisse of green cloth—the Greek serudjhe, with a black
shawl twined round his _fèz_, his jacket slung at his back, his
gaily-striped vest confined by a shawl about his waist, his full
trowsers fastened at the knee, and his legs bare—the Armenian, with his
tall calpac and flowing robe—all sitting in groups, smoking their
chibouks, sipping their coffee, and drinking huge draughts of the cold
rock-water, from goblets of crystal as clear and sparkling as the
liquid which they contained.

At the coffee-kiosk of the source, groups were engaged in conversation,
without any regard to rank or situation in life. The Turks are perfectly
destitute of that _morgue_ which renders European society a constant
state of warfare against intrusion. Every individual is “eligible” in
Turkey—no one loses _caste_ from the contact of unprivileged
associates—the hour of relaxation puts all men on a level; and the Bey
sits down quietly by the caïquejhe, and the Effendi takes his place near
the fisherman, as unmoved by the difference of their relative condition,
as though they had been born to the same fortune.

There is something beautiful and touching in this utter absence of
self-appreciation; and the young noble rises from the mat which he has
shared with the old artisan, as uncontaminated by the contact as though
he had been partaking the gilded cushions of a Pasha. But, ready as I am
to admire this state of things, I am well aware that it could not exist
with us; the lower orders of Turkey and the lower orders of Europe are
composed of totally different elements. The poor man of the East is
intuitively urbane, courteous, and dignified—he is never betrayed into
forgetfulness, either of himself or of his neighbour—he never knows,
although he was bred in a hut, that he may not die in a palace—and
with this possibility before his eyes, he always acts as though the hour
of his metathesis were at hand.

It is probably from this feeling that an Osmanli smiles when he hears a
Frank vaunting himself on his high blood; and that he replies tersely
and gravely to the boast that “every Turk is born noble.”

No greater proof of the superiority of the working classes of Turkey
over those of Europe can be adduced, than the tranquillity of the Empire
under a government destitute alike of head, heart, and hand—a
government whose hollowness, weakness, and venality, will admit of no
argument—whose elements are chicane, treachery, and egotism—and which
would be unable to govern any other people upon earth even for a
twelvemonth. Perhaps the great secret of this dignified docility is to
be found in the high religious feeling which is universal among the
Turks, and to which I have made allusion elsewhere. Should my judgment
on this point be erroneous, however, it is certain that the character of
the mass in Turkey must be moulded by principles and impulses, in
themselves both respectable and praiseworthy, to produce so powerful a
moral effect.

At the maple-tree kiosk the crowd was greater, for there one of the
itinerant Improvvisatori, or Eastern story-tellers, was amusing his
hearers with a history, which, judging from its length, and the patience
with which it was heard to an end, ought to have been exceedingly
interesting. But no sound of boisterous merriment arose amid the grave
and bearded auditors; once or twice, a low chuckle, and a denser cloud
of smoke emitted from the chibouk, gave slight indications of amusement:
but that was all; every thing was as quiet, as orderly, and as
well-conducted, as though every individual of the party had been under
priestly surveillance. On quitting the Valley of the Source, we visited
the Tekiè of the Turning Dervishes, with its two fine fountains and its
elegant chapel; and then proceeded to one of the public Khans, or
Caravanserais, in which are lodged all travelling merchants, and such
strangers as have not the opportunity of procuring private houses during
their residence in Broussa. The building was inconvenient, ill-built,
and confined in size, being a very inefficient substitute for one which
was destroyed a few years ago by fire in its immediate vicinity; but its
court was adorned with a very handsome fountain richly ornamented,
beneath whose projecting roof the inhabitants of the Khan congregate to
smoke and converse.

A small erection just within one of the gates of the court attracted my
attention, from the circumstance of its roof being occupied by three
eagles; two of them about half fledged, and the other evidently sick. I
inquired the meaning of this location, and learnt that the little
edifice was appropriated to the use of such wild birds as the hunters
and peasants chanced to meet during their rambles among the mountains,
and which were suffering either from disease, desertion, or injury.
Being carefully transported hither, they are fed, and attended to until
they voluntarily take wing, and return to their rocky haunts. The
present patients were two eaglets, which had been abandoned in the nest,
and a wounded bird, which, without assistance, must have died from
starvation. Such a trait of national character is well worthy of
mention.

Upon the roof of a mosque about a hundred yards from the house which we
occupied, a couple of storks had made their nest, and, at the time of
our visit, were carefully tending their young, apparently quite
indifferent to all the noise and clamour going on immediately beneath.
The Turks repay the confidence thus reposed in them with an almost
superstitious reverence for these feathered children of the wilderness;
and the destruction of a bird of this species would be sure to draw down
upon the aggressor the displeasure, if not the vengeance, of every
neighbouring Musselmaun.

I must not omit to mention the covered bridge; a curious Roman remain
in the Armenian quarter of the city, forming a street across a rapid
torrent, which, falling from the mountain, pours itself into the plain.
It is entirely tenanted by silk weavers, and its numerous windows are so
patched and built up as to render it extremely picturesque. Its single
arch is finely formed, and from a distance it is a very attractive
object; but it is rapidly falling to decay.

[Illustration: ROMAN BRIDGE AT BROUSSA.]

I sketched it from the window of an Armenian house; overlooked in my
employment by a sweet young woman, who held upon her knees her dying
infant—her first-born son. As the Orientals believe every Frank,
whether male or female, to be skilled in the healing art, she never
ceased her prayer, during the whole of my stay under her roof, that I
would restore her child to health. I shall never think of the Roman
bridge at Broussa but the weeping image of the young Armenian mother
will be associated with it in my memory.



CHAPTER III.


  Orientalism of Broussa—Costume of the Men—Plain
  Women—Turbans and Yashmacs—Facility of Ingress to the
  Mosques—Oulou Jamè—Polite Imam—Eastern Quasimodo—Ascent of
  the Minaret—The Charshee—Travelling Hyperboles—Silk
  Bazàr—Silk Merchants’ Khan—Fountains of Broussa—Broussa and
  Lisbon—The Baths—Wild Flowers—Tzekerghè—Mosque of Sultan
  Mourad—Madhouse—Court of the Mosque—Singular
  Fountain—Mausoleum of Sultan Mourad—Golden Gate—Local
  Legend—The Tomb-house—More Vandalism—Ancient
  Turban—Comfortable Cemeteries—Subterranean Vault Great
  Bath—Hot Spring—Baths and Bathers—Miraculous Baths—Armenian
  Doctress—Situation of Tzekerghè—Storks and Tortoises—Turkish
  Cheltenham.


The city of Broussa is infinitely more oriental in its aspect than
Stamboul; scarcely a Frank is to be seen in the streets; no French
shops, glittering with gilded timepieces and porcelain tea-services, jar
upon your associations; not a Greek woman stirs abroad without flinging
a long white veil over her gaudy turban, and concealing her gay coloured
dress beneath a ferdijhe; while the Turks themselves almost look like
men of another nation.

I do not believe that, excepting in the palace of the Pasha, there are a
hundred _fèz_-wearing Osmanlis in the whole city. Such turbans!
mountains of muslin, and volumes of cachemire; Sultan Mahmoud would
infallibly faint at the sight of them; worn, as many of them are,
falling upon one shoulder, and confined by a string in consequence of
their great weight. Such watches! the size, and almost the shape, of
oranges—such ample drawers of white cotton, and flowing garments of
striped silk, and girdles of shawl! The women, meanwhile, except such as
belonged to quite the lower orders, were almost invisible; I scarcely
encountered one Turkish woman of condition in my walks, and those who
passed in the arabas kept the latticed windows so closely shut, despite
the heat, that it was impossible to get a glimpse of them. The men were
a much finer race than those of Constantinople; I rarely met a Turk who
was not extremely handsome, and much above the middle height; while the
few women whom I _did_ see were proportionably unattractive.

There is not a greater difference in the mode of wearing the turban by
the one sex at Broussa, than in that of wearing the yashmac by the
other. In Constantinople it is bound over the mouth, and in most
instances over the lower part of the nose, and concealed upon the
shoulders by the feridjhe. In Asia, on the contrary, it is simply
fastened, in most cases, under the chin, and is flung over the mantle,
hanging-down the back like a curtain. In the capital, the yashmac is
made of fine thin muslin, through which the painted handkerchief, and
the diamond pins that confine it, can be distinctly seen; and arranged
with a coquetry perfectly wonderful. At Broussa it is composed of thick
cambric, and bound so tightly about the head that it looks like a
shroud.

One circumstance particularly struck me at Broussa—I allude to the
facility of visiting the mosques. While those of Stamboul are almost a
sealed volume to the general traveller, he may purchase ingress to every
mosque in Broussa for a few piastres; and well do many of them deserve a
visit. That of Oulou Jamè, situated in the heart of the city, is the
finest and most spacious of the whole. Its roof is formed by twenty
graceful domes, of which the centre one is open to the light, being
simply covered with iron net-work. Beneath this dome is placed a fine
fountain of white marble, whose capacious outer basin, filled with fine
tench, is fed from a lesser one, whence the water is flung into the air,
and falls back with a cool monotonous murmur, prolonged and softened by
the echoes of the vast edifice. The effect of this stately fountain, the
first that I had yet seen within a mosque, was extremely beautiful; its
pure pale gleam contrasting powerfully with the deep frescoes of the
walls, and the gaudily-coloured prayer-carpets strown at intervals over
the matting which covered the pavement. The pulpit, with its heavily
screened stair, was of inlaid wood; and the whole building remarkable
rather for its fine proportions and elegant fountain than for the
richness of its details. The scrolls containing the name of Allah, and
those of the four Prophets, were boldly and beautifully executed; and
the arched recess at the eastern end of the temple painted with some
taste.

[Illustration: Miss Pardoe del.

Day & Haghe Lith^{rs}. to the King.

THE ROOF OF OULOU JAMÈ, FROM THE GARDEN OF THE GREEK CHURCH.

_Henry Colburn, 13 G^t. Marlborough S^t. 1837._]

The High Priest was reading from the Koràn when we entered, with his
green turban and pelisse deposited on the carpet beside him. His
utterance was rapid and monotonous, and accompanied by a short, quick
motion of the body extremely disagreeable to the spectator. As we
approached close to him, he suddenly discontinued reading, and examined
us with the most minute attention; after which he resumed his lecture,
and took no further notice of our intrusion. In one corner we passed a
man sound asleep—in another, a woman on her knees before the name of
Allah in earnest prayer, with the palms of her hands turned upwards. On
one carpet an Imam was praying, surrounded by half a dozen youths,
apparently students of the medresch attached to the mosque; while on
every side parties of True Believers were squatted down before their low
reading desks, studying their daily portion of the Koràn.

The Imam who accompanied us in our tour of the mosque was so indulgent
as even to allow me to retain my shoes, alleging that they were so light
as to be mere slippers, and that consequently it was unnecessary to put
them off; and on my expressing a wish to ascend one of the minarets, the
keeper was sent for to open the door and accompany me; nor shall I
easily forget the object who obeyed the summons.

His brow girt with the turban of sacred green—his distorted body
enclosed within a dark wrapping vest of cotton—and his short, crooked
legs covered with gaiters of coarse cloth—moved forward a humped and
barefooted dwarf with a long gristled beard, whose thin skinny fingers
grasped a pole much higher than himself; and who, after eyeing us with
attention for a moment with a glance as keen and hungry as that of a
wolf, sidled up close to the servant, and growling out “_backshich_,”
with an interrogative accent, began to fumble amid the folds of his
garment for the key of the tower; and at length withdrew it with a grin,
which made his enormous mouth appear to extend across the whole of his
wrinkled and bearded countenance. As I looked at him I thought of
Quasimodo—the monster of Nôtre Dame could scarcely have been more
frightful!

Having carefully concealed his pole behind a pile of carpets, and flung
back the narrow door of the minaret, this Turkish Quasimodo led the way
up a flight of broken and dangerous stone steps, in perfect darkness,
consoling himself for the exertion which we had thus entailed on him by
an occasional fiend-like chuckle, when he observed any hesitation or
delay on the part of those who followed him; and a low murmured commune
with himself, in which the word _backshich_ was peculiarly audible.

The stair terminated at a small door opening on the narrow gallery,
whence the _muezzin_ calls The Faithful to prayers. The burst of light
on the opening of this door was almost painful; nor is the sensation
experienced when standing within the gallery altogether one of comfort.
The height is so great, the fence so low, and the gallery itself so
narrow, that a feeling of dizziness partially incapacitates the
unaccustomed spectator from enjoying to its full extent the glories of
the scene that is spread out before him, and which embraces not only the
wide plain seen from the ruins of the Imperial Palace, but the whole
chain of mountains that hem it in.

After a great deal of stumbling, slipping, and scrambling, we again
found ourselves beside the fountain of Oulou Jamè; and, on leaving the
mosque, remarked with some surprise that its minarets are painted in
fresco on the outside, to about one-fourth of their height.

Having presented Quasimodo with a _backshich_, which sent him halting
away with a second hideous grin, we proceeded to the Charshee, which is
of considerable extent. As it chanced to be Sunday, the stalls usually
occupied by Armenian and Greek merchants were closed; but many a Hassan,
an Abdallah, and a Soleiman was squatted upon his carpet, with his wares
temptingly arranged around him, his long beard falling to his girdle,
his chibouk lying on the carpet beside him, and his slippers resting
against its edge. Here, a green-turbaned descendant of the Prophet, with
half a dozen ells of shawl twisted about his head, dark fiery eyes, and
a beard as white as snow, pointed silently as we passed to his embossed
silver pistols, his richly-wrought yataghans, and his velvet-sheathed
and gilded scimitars. There, a keen-looking Dervish, with his broad flat
girdle buckled with a clasp of agate, and his gray cap pulled low upon
his forehead, extended towards us one of his neatly-turned ivory
perfume-boxes.

While examining his merchandize we might have been inclined to believe
that we could purchase of him perpetual youth, and imperishable beauty.
He had dyes, and washes, and pastes, and powders—essences, and oils,
and incenses, and perfumed woods—amulets, and chaplets, and
consecrated bracelets, and holy rings; all set forth with an order and
precision worthy of their high qualities. A little further on, a
solemn-looking individual presided over a miniature representation of
Araby the Blest—Spices were piled around him pyramidically, or confined
in crystal vases, according to their nature and costliness: there were
sacks of cloves, heaps of mace, piles of ginger, mountains of nutmegs,
hampers of allspice, baskets of pepper, faggots of cinnamon, and many
others less commonly known. Opposite the spice-merchant was the gay
stall of the slipper-maker, with its gaudy glories of purple, crimson,
and yellow—its purple for the Jew, its crimson for the Armenian, and
its yellow for the Turk. I purchased a pair of slippers of the true
Musselmaun colour, for which I paid about twice as much as their value,
being a Frank; and we then continued our walk.

Not far from the slipper-merchant, on the platform in front of one of
the closed shops, sat a ragged Turk, surrounded by flowers of a pale
lilac colour, which emitted a delicious odour. While I was purchasing
some, I inquired whence they came, and learnt that they were wild
auriculas from Mount Olympus. I paid twice the price demanded for them,
and bore them off. How knew I but that the seed might have been sown by
Venus herself?

I had been told, previously to my leaving England, and indeed before I
had an idea of visiting Turkey, that the stalls of the sweetmeat venders
resembled fairy-palaces built of coloured spars; and this too by an
individual who had resided a few weeks at Constantinople. I can only
say, that with every disposition to do ample justice to all I saw, my
own ideas of enchantment are much nearer realization at Grange’s or
Farrance’s. The Turks do not understand that nicety of arrangement which
produces so much effect in our metropolitan shops; and with the
exception of the perfume and silk merchants, and perhaps one or two
others, they are singularly slovenly in the disposition of their
merchandize.

The sweetmeat-venders have a row of glass jars along the front of their
stalls, some filled with dried and candied fruits, others with sherbet
cakes, and others with different descriptions of coloured and perfumed
sugar; while the scented pastes, of which the Orientals are so fond, are
cut up into squares with scissors, and spread out upon sheets of paper;
or perforated with twine, and hung from the frame-work of the shops like
huge sausages. I confess that my imaginings of fairy-land extended
considerably beyond this. The merchandize itself, however, is far from
contemptible; and we found that of the Charshee of Broussa even more
highly perfumed than what we had purchased at Constantinople.

From the Charshee we passed into the silk-bazàr, which was almost
entirely closed, three-fourths of the merchants being Armenians; but
among those who were at their posts, we selected one magnificent looking
Turk, who spread out before us a pile of satin scarfs, used by the
ladies of the country for binding up their hair after the bath; the
brightest crimson and the deepest orange appeared to be the favourite
mixture, and were strongly recommended; but their texture was so
extremely coarse, and their price so exorbitant, that we declined
becoming purchasers.

On leaving the silk bazàr we proceeded to the silk merchants’ Khan, a
solid quadrangular building, having a fine stone fountain in the centre
of the paved court, the most respectable establishment of the kind
throughout the city, where their number amounts to twenty. Above the
great gate, the wrought stone cornice is curiously decorated with a
wreath of mosaic, formed of porcelain, as brightly blue as turquoise,
which has a very pretty and cheerful effect.

The number of fountains in Broussa must at least double that of the
mosques, which amount to three hundred and eighty seven. You scarcely
turn the corner of a street that is not occupied by a fountain, and it
is by no means uncommon to have three and even four in sight at the same
time, without calculating that all the good houses have each one or more
in their courts or gardens; no kiosk being considered complete without
its basin and its little _jet d’eau_. Yet, notwithstanding this
profusion of water, many of the streets are disgustingly dirty, not an
effort being made to remove the filth which accumulates from the habit
indulged in by the inhabitants of sweeping every thing to the fronts of
their houses. Indeed, setting aside the costume and the language,
Broussa and its neighbourhood are a second edition of Lisbon; nearly the
same dirt, the same bullock-cars, and luggage-mules, and rattle from
morning to night within the city; the same blue sky, sparkling water,
dense vegetation, bright flowers, and lofty trees without; the golden
Tagus of the one being replaced by the magnificent plain of the other.

After having returned home and changed our dress, we mounted our horses,
and started to see the Baths. Nothing can be more beautiful than the
road which conducts to them. Immediately on passing the gate of the
city, you wind round the foot of the mountain, and descend into the
village of Mouradiè; having the small mosque of Sultan Mourad on your
right, and in front of you, the lofty chain of land along which you are
to travel. After traversing the village, you turn abruptly to the left,
and by a gentle ascent, climb to about one-third the height of the
mountain; having on one hand the nearly perpendicular rock, and on the
other a rapid and almost unprotected descent, clothed with vines and
mulberry trees, whence the plain stretches away into the distance. The
road, as I have described, hangs on the side of the mountain, and is
fringed with wild flowers and shrubs: having the aspect of a garden; the
white lilac, the privette, the pomegranate, the rose, the woodbine, the
ruby-coloured arum, and the yellow broom, are in profusion; and it is
with compunction that you guide your horse among them when turning off
the narrow pathway at the encounter of a chance passenger; while the
perfume which fills the air, and the song of the nightingales among the
mulberry trees, complete the charm of the picture.

By this delightful road you reach the village of Tzèkerghè, in which the
Baths are situated. It possesses a very handsome mosque, which was
originally a Greek monastery. The exterior of the Temple is very
handsome, the whole facade being adorned with a peristyle of white
marble, and the great entrance approached by a noble flight of steps.
The interior is, as usual, painted in scrolls, and lighted by pendent
lamps, but is not remarkable for either beauty or magnificence. The
arrangement of the cloisters and the refectory of the monks is very
curious, being all situated above the chapel, and opening from a long
gallery, surmounting the peristyle. To this portion of the building we
ascended by a decaying flight of stone steps, many of whose missing
stairs had been replaced by fragments of sculptured columns: and found
the gallery tenanted by a solitary old lunatic, who, squatted upon a
ragged mat, was devouring voraciously a cake of black soft bread, such
as is used by the poorest of the population. The monastic cells have
been converted into receptacles for deranged persons, but this poor old
man was now their only occupant. We threw him some small pieces of
money, which he clutched with a delight as great as his surprise,
murmuring the name of Allah, and apparently as happy as a child.

The court of the mosque is shaded by three magnificent plantain trees,
and the fountain which faces the peristyle is remarkable from its basin
containing cold water, and its pipes pouring forth warm. As the pipe is
connected with the basin, the phenomenon is startling, although the
effect is very simply produced when once its cause is investigated, the
fountain being fed by two distinct springs; the hot spring being built
in, and forced into the pipes; and the cold one being suffered to fill
the basin, whence it runs off in another direction.

Near the mosque stands the Mausoleum of Sultan Mourad I., whose court is
enclosed by a heavy gate, said to be formed of one of the precious
metals cased with iron; and the country people have a tradition that
previously to his death, the Sultan desired that should the Empire ever
suffer from poverty, this gate might be melted down, when the reigning
monarch would become more rich than any of his predecessors. Be this as
it may, and it is sufficiently paradoxical, the gate has originally been
richly gilded, though much of the ornamental work is now worn away; and
it is probably to this circumstance that it owes its reputation.

Of an equally questionable nature is the legend relating to the name of
the village, which signifies in English, Grasshopper—a fact accounted
for by the peasantry in the following manner.

Sultan Mourad, during the time that the Christian monastery was
undergoing conversion into a Mohammedan mosque, was one day sitting
within the peristyle, when a grasshopper sprang upon him, which he
adroitly caught in his hand; where he still held it, when a Dervish
approached, who, after having made his obeisance, began to importune the
pious Sultan for some indulgence to his order; and was answered that if
he could tell, without hesitation or error, what was grasped by the
monarch, the favour should be granted. The wily Dervish, knowing that
the mountain abounded with grasshoppers, and that nothing was more
probable than that one of these might have jumped upon the Sultan,
immediately replied: “Though the ambition of a vile insect should lead
it to spring from the earth of which it is an inhabitant, into the face
of the sunshine, as though it were rather a denizen of the air, it
suffices that the Imperial hand be outstretched, to arrest its
arrogance. Happy is it, therefore, both for the rebel who would fain
build up a sun of glory for himself, of a ray stolen from the hâlo which
surrounds the forehead of the Emperor of the World; and for the
tzèkerghè, that, springing from its leafy obscurity, dares to rest upon
the hem of the sacred garment, when the Sultan (Merciful as he is
Mighty!) refrains from crushing in his grasp the reptile which he holds.
Favourite of Allah! Lord of the Earth! Is my boon granted?”

“It is, Dervish:”—said the Sultan, opening his hand as he spoke, and
thus suffering the insect to escape: “And that the memory of thy
conference with Sultan Mourad may not be lost, and that the reputation
of thy quick wit and subtle policy may endure to after ages, I name this
spot, Tzèkerghè——and let none dare to give it another appellation.”

[Illustration: Miss Pardoe del.

Day & Haghe Lith^{rs}. to the King.

TURKISH MAUSOLEUM.

_Henry Colburn, 13 G^t. Marlborough S^t. 1837._]

We were obliged to exert all our best efforts, in order to induce the
Imam, who had charge of the Imperial Mausoleum, to allow us to enter. We
were compelled to declare our country, our reasons for visiting Asia,
and our purpose in desiring to see the tomb of a True Believer, when we
were ourselves Infidels. Having satisfactorily replied to all these
categories, we were, however, finally gratified by an assent; and the
tall, stately Imam rose from the wayside bank upon which he had been
sitting, and, applying a huge key to the gate of which I have already
spoken, admitted us to the Court of the Tomb.

This edifice, which was erected by the Sultan himself, is beautifully
proportioned, and paved with polished marble; the dome is supported by
twelve stately columns of the same material, six of them having
Byzantine, and six, Corinthian Capitals, but the whole number are now
painted a bright green, having a broad scarlet stripe at their base! I
inquired the cause of this Vandalism, hoping, as the colour chosen was a
sacred one, that some religious reason might be adduced, which, however
insufficient to excuse the profanation, might at least tend to palliate
it: but I failed in my object; they had simply been painted to make them
prettier; and the same cause had operated similarly upon the gigantic
wax candles, that stood at the extremities of the Imperial Sarcophagus,
and which were clad in the same livery.

A goodly collection of wives and children share the Mausoleum with
Sultan Mourad, who is covered with splendid shawls, and at the head of
whose tomb, protected by a handkerchief of gold tissue, towers one of
the stately turbans of the ancient costume. As it was the first that I
had seen, I examined it attentively; and am only astonished how the
cobweb-like muslin was ever woven into such minute and intricate folds.
At the head of the Sarcophagus, on a marble pedestal (painted like the
others!) stood a copper vessel inlaid with silver, and filled with
wheat—the symbol of abundance; and at its foot was suspended a plough;
while lamps and ostrich eggs were festooned among the columns.

The light fell in patches upon the marble floor, or quivered as the wind
swept through the plantain trees, throwing fantastic shadows over the
tombs; and I left the Mausoleum of Sultan Mourad, more than ever
convinced that no people upon earth have succeeded better than the Turks
in robbing death of all its terrors, and diffusing an atmosphere of
cheerfulness and comfort about the last resting-places of the departed.

The Sarcophagus, as I have already stated, is universally based on a
mass of masonry about a foot in height, covered with plaister, and
whitewashed. I inquired why this portion of the tomb was not built of
marble, when in many cases the floors, and even the walls of the
mausoleum were formed of that material; and was assured by the Imam that
it was from a religious superstition, which he was, nevertheless, unable
to explain.

Beneath this stone-work an iron grating veils the entrance of the
subterranean in which the body of the Sultan is deposited; the
sarcophagus being a mere empty case of wood, overlaid by a covering of
baize or cloth, concealed in its turn by shawls and embroidered
handkerchiefs. No one is permitted to enter this subterranean, which can
generally be approached also by an exterior door opening into the court
of the tomb-house, save the reigning monarch, the Turks looking with
horror on all desecration of the dead, and neither bribes nor entreaties
being sufficient to tempt them to a violation of the sacred trust
confided to them.

On quitting the mausoleum we proceeded to the principal bath; where,
leaving the gentlemen comfortably seated under the shade of a maple tree
near the entrance, I went in alone. The appearance of the outer hall was
most singular; the raised gallery was tenanted, throughout its whole
extent, with Turkish and Greek women, eating, sleeping, and gossipping,
or busied in the arrangement of their toilette; while, suspended from
the transverse beams of the ceiling, swung a score of little hammocks,
in which lay as many infants. How the children of the country can, at so
tender an age, endure the sulphurous and suffocating atmosphere of the
bath is wonderful, but they not only do not suffer, but actually appear
to enjoy it.

Passing from this hall, which was of considerable extent, I entered the
cooling-room, in which the bathers were braiding their hair, or sleeping
upon the heated floor: and opening a door at the upper end, I walked
into the bath-room. Here I found between forty and fifty women, whom for
the first moment I could scarcely distinguish through the dense steam,
arising from a marble basin that occupied the centre of the floor, and
which was about a hundred feet in circumference.

The natural spring that supplies this basin is so hot that it requires
considerable habit to enable an individual to support its warmth, when
the doors of the bath are closed. The effect which it produced on me was
most disagreeable; the combined heat and smell of the water were
overpowering; but the scene was altogether so extraordinary, that I
compelled myself to endure the annoyance for a few minutes, in order to
form an accurate idea of an establishment of which I had heard so much.

The spring, escaping from a neighbouring mountain, is forced by pipes
into the bathing-hall, where it pours its principal volume into the
main basin, part of the stream being diverted from its channel in order
to feed the lesser tanks of the private rooms; from the basin it escapes
by a sluice at the lower end, and thus the body of water is constantly
renewed. When I entered, several of the bathers were up to their chins
in the basin, their long dark tresses floating on the surface of the
water; others, resting upon a step which brought the water only to their
knees, were lying upon the edge of the tank, while their attendants were
pouring the hot stream over them from metal basins; some, seated on low
stools, were receiving the mineralized fluid after the fashion of a
shower bath; while one, lying all her length upon the heated marble of
the floor—so heated that I could scarcely apply my open palm to it
without suffering—was sleeping as tranquilly as though she had been
extended upon a bed of down.

The hot springs of Broussa are numerous, but vary considerably in their
degrees of temperature; those which are frequented by persons labouring
under chronic diseases are much warmer than those used by ordinary
patients. The most powerful spring boils an egg perfectly hard in two
minutes; while there are others that are not more than blood heat. They
are all highly mineralized, and that which feeds the large basin of the
public hall is strongly impregnated with sulphur.

My appearance in the bath did not create the slightest sensation among
the bathers. The few whom I encountered on my way moved aside to enable
me to pass, and uttered the usual salutation; while those who were more
busily engaged simply suspended their operations for a moment, and
resumed them as soon as their curiosity was gratified.

I afterwards visited the “Miraculous Bath,” of which it is asserted that
a person in a dying state, who will submit to pass a night in complete
solitude on the margin of the basin, will rise in the morning perfectly
restored to health, whatever may have been the nature of the disease:
but, unfortunately, I could not find any one who had experienced, or
even witnessed, a cure of the kind, though many had heard of them in
numbers. As an equivalent, however, an old, ugly, red-haired Armenian
woman was pointed out to me, who is a celebrated doctress, and who had
just succeeded in sending home a credulous elderly gentleman to die in
Constantinople, who came to Broussa in a state of indisposition, and
left it, thanks to the nostrums of this ancient sybil, without a hope of
recovery.

Many of the houses in the village are furnished with hot springs; and
although they are, generally speaking, of mean appearance, and in a
dilapidated condition, they produce very high rents during the season;
and are usually let to Greek families of distinction, or to Europeans.

The situation of Tzèkerghè is eminently beautiful, and the air is balmy
and elastic; the magnificent plain is spread out beneath it; it is
backed by lofty mountains; and it is in itself a perfect bower of
fig-trees, plantains, and maples. The nightingales sing throughout the
whole of the day—the rush of water into the valley feeds a score of
fountains, which keep up a perpetual murmur; open kiosks are raised
along the hill side, some of them traversed by a running stream; storks
build in the tall trees; tortoises and land turtles crawl among the high
grass and the wild flowers; and altogether I know not a prettier spot
than that which is occupied by the village of Tzèkerghè—the rural
Cheltenham of Turkey.



CHAPTER IV.


  Difficulty of Access to the Chapel of the Howling
  Dervishes—Invitation to Visit their Harem—The Chapel—Sects
  and Trades—Entrance of the Dervishes—Costume—The
  Prayer—Turning Dervishes—Fanatical Suffering—Groans and
  Howls—Difficulty of Description—Sectarian Ceremony—Music
  versus Madness—Tekiè of the Turning Dervishes.


Of all the religious ceremonies of the East, those of the different
sects of Dervishes are the most extraordinary, and, generally speaking,
the most difficult of access. The Turning Dervishes alone freely admit
foreigners, and even provide a latticed gallery for the use of the
women: while their chapels are usually so situated as to enable the
passer-by to witness all that is going on within. The more stern and
bigoted sects, on the contrary, permit none but Mussulmauns to intrude
upon their mysteries, and build their chapels in obscure places, in
order to prevent the intrusion of Christians.

I had heard much of the Howling Dervishes, and had made many
unsuccessful attempts at Constantinople to penetrate into their Tekiè;
but they are so jealous of strangers that I was unwillingly compelled
to give up all idea of accomplishing my object, when, on arriving at
Broussa, and finding how comparatively easy it was to gain admittance to
the mosques, I resolved to renew my endeavours. But I found that even
here many difficulties were to be overcome; difficulties which, of
myself, I never could have surmounted; when, having fortunately made the
acquaintance of a gentleman who was known to the High Priest, and who
had already witnessed their service, I prevailed on him to exert his
influence for me, in which he fortunately succeeded.

On arriving at the Tekiè, we found that the service had not yet
commenced, and we accordingly seated ourselves on a stone bench in the
little outer court, to await the gathering of the fraternity. While we
remained there, one of the principal Dervishes approached us, and
offered, should I desire it, to admit me into the interior of the harem
to visit the women; but, as the ceremonies were shortly to commence in
the chapel, and I was already suffering extremely from the heat, I
declined to profit by the indulgence.

The chapel, which was up stairs, was approached by an open entrance,
having on the left hand a small apartment whose latticed windows looked
into this place of mystery; and into this room we were admitted, after
having taken off our shoes; while a couple of youths were stationed
within the gallery of the chapel itself, in order to prevent the crowd
from impeding our view.

A large square apartment surrounded by a low gallery, and ornamented
like the mosques, with written passages from the Koràn; upon whose walls
were suspended battle-axes, tambourines, and half a dozen small Arabian
drums; and whose arched recess was shaded by three banners of the sacred
green, and overlaid with a rich crimson rug, formed the chapel of the
Howling Dervishes. Within the niche, framed and glazed, were suspended
the names of the Prophets, a huge chaplet, and a green scarf; and on
each side a small portion of the gallery was railed off for the
convenience of a few individuals of rank. One of these was already
occupied by a solemn-looking Turk, in a frock-coat and _fèz_,
doubtlessly one of the sect, who had withdrawn from the public exercise
of his religion.

I know not whether I have elsewhere noticed that every Musselmaun,
however high his rank, has a trade and a peculiar faith—thus the Sultan
is a Turning Dervish and a Tooth-pick maker—and I have consequently no
doubt but the Turk in question had an individual interest in the
ceremonial. He was accompanied by a child of about six years of age,
dressed precisely like himself, and attended by a black slave. I was
more confirmed in my opinion relative to the father by watching the
gestures of the son, who imitated every motion of the Dervishes during
the service with the most perfect exactness, and who was accommodated
with a rug near the seat of the High Priest.

The throng which pressed into the chapel was immense, and the heat most
oppressive; while the youths who guarded our windows were kept in
constant action by the strenuous efforts made by the crowd to occupy the
vacant space. I never saw a finer set of men—such bright black eyes,
fine foreheads, and sparkling teeth.

At length a low chanting commenced in the court, and a train of
Dervishes, headed by the High Priest, slowly ascended to the chapel.
They had no peculiar costume, save the chief himself, who wore a
magnificent green turban with a white crown, and a cloak of
olive-coloured cloth. He was a pale, delicate-looking man of about one
or two-and-twenty, whose father had been dead a couple of years; when,
as the dignity is hereditary throughout all the sects of the Dervishes,
he had succeeded to the painful honours of the crimson rug. There was
something melancholy in seeing this sickly youth lead the nine fanatics
who followed him to the upper end of the chapel, to commence their
agonizing rites; and as he stepped upon the rug, with the palms of his
hands turned upwards, and the attendant Dervishes cast themselves on the
earth, and laid their foreheads in the dust, I felt a thrill of pity for
the ill-judged zeal and blind delusion which was rapidly wearing him to
the grave.

One of the causes adduced by this sect of their disinclination to admit
Christians to their worship is the frequent recurrence of the name of
Allah in their orizons, which should never be uttered in an atmosphere
polluted by the breath of a Giaour. I presume that, in our case, their
consciences were quieted by the intervention of the wooden lattices, and
the reflection that we were not actually within the chapel.

The prayer was long and solemn; not a sound was audible, save the low
monotonous chant of the High Priest, and the deep responses of his
followers, who, ere it ended, had increased in number to about fifty. At
its close, the whole of the Dervishes formed a ring round the chapel,
and one of the elders, of whom there were four, spread in the recess a
fine tiger skin, upon which the High Priest took his place; and then,
turning his face towards Mecca, and murmuring a low prayer, to which the
rest replied by stifled groans, he invested himself with the green scarf
which I have already mentioned, and, resuming his seat upon the rug,
commenced a species of chant, which was echoed by the whole fraternity:
every individual swinging himself slowly to and fro, as he sat with his
feet doubled under him upon the floor. Every moment added to their
numbers, and each on his arrival cast off his slippers at the entrance,
and advanced barefooted to the place of the High Priest; where, after
praying silently for a moment with outstretched palms, he stroked down
his beard, and, bending on one knee, pressed the hand of his leader to
his lips and forehead, and then took up a position in the ring; which
ultimately became so thronged that the individuals who composed it
pressed closely upon each other, and, as they swung slowly to and fro,
appeared to move in one dense mass.

The ceremony was at this point, when the Chief of the Turning Dervishes,
accompanied by his two principal Priests, arrived to assist at the
service of his fellow-Dervish. The chant ceased as they entered the
chapel; the youthful leader of the Howling Dervishes bent down in his
turn, and pressed the hand of his visitor to his lips, while the stately
guest kissed the cheek of the pale stripling who passed forward to greet
his companions, and after conducting them to the place of honour, seated
himself beside them.

The chanting was then resumed, and after a time increased in quickness;
while at intervals, as the name of Allah was pronounced, some solitary
individual uttered a howl, which I can compare to nothing but the cry of
a wild beast.

Things had progressed thus far, when suddenly a strong voice shouted,
“Allah Il Allah!” and a powerful man sprang from the floor, as though he
had been struck in the heart, fell forward upon his head, and by a
violent spasm rolled over, and lay flat upon his back, with his arms
crossed on his breast, and his whole frame as rigid as though he had
stiffened into death. His turban had fallen off, and the one long lock
of hair pendent from the centre of his head was scattered over the
floor—his mouth was slightly open, and his eyes fixed—in short, the
convulsion was a terrific one; and it was not before the lapse of
several minutes that two of the fraternity, who hastened to his
assistance, succeeded in unclasping his hands, and changing his
position. Having ultimately raised him from the floor, still in a state
of insensibility, they carried him to the crimson rug, and laid him at
the feet of the High Priest, who stroked down his beard, and laid his
right hand upon his breast; they then continued to use all their efforts
to produce re-animation; and having ultimately succeeded, they seated
him once more in his place, and left him to recover himself as he might.

The howling still continued at intervals, and as the chanting and the
motion increased in violence, these miserable fanatics appeared to
become maddened by their exertions; when, at a certain point of the
ceremony, four of the fraternity, who had green scarfs flung over their
left shoulders, advanced, one by one, to the seat of the High Priest,
and there slowly, and with much parade, transferred them first to their
necks, and afterwards to their waists, and ultimately took their stand,
two on each side of the _mihrab_, or recess.

After the lapse of a short interval the High Priest rose and advanced
into the centre of the ring, where he took possession of a carpet that
had been spread for him, having immediately behind him two of the
assistant priests; and they then commenced a prayer, the effect of which
was thrilling. The young chief delivered a sentence in a clear,
melodious voice, and paused; when the whole fraternity responded by a
long groan: again and again this was repeated, only interrupted from
time to time by some wild, fiendish howl, the individual who uttered it
tossing back his head, and flinging his arms into the air with the
gesture of a maniac.

To this prayer succeeded another low sustained wail, during whose
continuance the priests collected the turbans, pelisses, cloaks,
pistols, and yataghans of the Dervishes, who, springing to their feet,
stood in a circle about their chief; and then commenced the painful
portion of their service. The measure of the chant was regulated by the
High Priest, who clapped his hands from time to time to increase its
speed: himself and his four green-girdled assistants uttering the words
of the prayer, while the fraternity, rocking themselves to and fro, kept
up one continual groan, rising and falling with the voices of the choir.
Howl succeeded to howl, as the exhaustion consequent on this violent
bodily exertion began to produce its effect; until at length strong men
fell on the earth on all sides like children, shrieking and groaning in
their agony—some struggling to free themselves from the grasp of those
who endeavoured to restrain them, and others trembling in all their
limbs, and sobbing out their anguish like infants.

I never witnessed such a scene; nor should I have conceived it possible
for human beings to have gratuitously subjected themselves to the agony
which these misguided wretches visibly endured. The chanting ceased
suddenly at given intervals, but not so the groans; for the speed with
which they were uttered, and the violence of motion by which they were
accompanied, became finally so great, that several seconds frequently
elapsed before the miserable beings could check either the one or the
other, and many of them fell into convulsions with the effort.

The more I write on the subject of this extraordinary and disgusting
exhibition, the more I feel the utter impossibility of conveying by
words a correct idea of it; from a long sustained groan, and a slow,
heaving, wave-like motion, it grew into a hoarse sobbing, and a quick
jerk, which I can compare to nothing that it more resembles than the
rapid action of a pair of bellows; the cheeks and foreheads of the
actors became pale, their eyes dim, and white foam gathered about their
mouths—in short, the scene resembled rather the orgies of a band of
demons than an offering of worship to a GOD of peace and love!

At this period of the ceremony, the muffled flutes used by the Turning
Dervishes were heard, accompanied by the low sound of the small Arabian
drums; and a majestic-looking man, clad entirely in white, with a black
girdle, rose, at a signal from his chief, and commenced his evolutions.
His example was speedily followed by two more of the fraternity; the
chanting ceased, but the circle of Howling Dervishes continued their
short groans to the accompaniment of the music, and the spectacle thus
produced was most extraordinary. Such an occurrence had not taken place
for an immense time, and arose from the anxiety of each sect to impress
our party in their favour, which they were desirous of doing when they
had once been induced to admit us.

To this exhibition succeeded one as striking of its kind; the
tambourines and drums were divided among the fraternity; the latter were
all beat by youths, who formed a second, or inner circle, and in the
midst of whom stood the High Priest, striking a pair of cymbals. Groans,
howls, and yells, such as may haunt the ear of the midnight traveller in
the wilderness, filled up the diapason; while the struggles of the
convulsion-smitten, and their wild shrieks, completed the horror of the
scene. It was impossible to bear it longer; and we hurried from the
latticed apartment just as three more tottering wretches were falling to
the earth, howling out the sacred name of Allah, in tones better suited
to a Satanic invocation!

On the morrow we visited the elegant chapel of the Turning Dervishes,
where a carpet was politely spread for us by order of the High Priest;
and we once more witnessed their service, which was far more picturesque
at Broussa than at Pera, owing to the beauty of the building and the
numbers of the fraternity. However extraordinary and unmeaning their
ceremonies may appear to strangers, they have this great advantage over
the other sect, that they are neither ridiculous nor disgusting. The
most perfect order, the most touching solemnity, and the most beautiful
cleanliness, are their leading characteristics; and it is impossible for
any unprejudiced person to quit their Tekiè, without feeling at least as
much respect as pity for the Turning Dervishes.



CHAPTER V.


  Loquacious Barber—Unthrifty Travellers—Mount Olympus—Early
  Rising—Aspect of the Country at Dawn—Peasants and
  Travellers—Fine View—Peculiarity of Oriental Cities—Stunted
  Minarets—Plains and Precipices—Halting-Place—Difficulty of
  Ascending the Mountain—Change of Scenery—Repast in the
  Desart—Civil Guide—Appearance of the Mount—Snows and
  Sunshine—Fatiguing Pilgrimage—Dense Mists—Intense
  Cold—Flitting Landscape—The Chibouk—The Giant’s Grave—The
  Roofless Hut—Lake of Appollonia—The Wilderness—Dangerous
  Descent—Philosophic Guide—Storm among the Mountains—The
  Guide at Fault—Happy Discovery—Tempest.


I remember to have heard an anecdote of a facetious barber, who, while
operating upon the chin of a customer, commenced catechising his victim
on the subject of his foreign travel.

“You are an army gentleman, I believe, Sir; pray were you in Egypt?”
“Yes.” “Really! then perhaps you saw the Pyramids?” “Yes.” “Travelled a
little in Greece, perhaps, Sir?” “A little.” “Pleasant place, Greece,
I’ve been told; Athens, and all that. I dare say you fought in the
Peninsula?” “Once or twice.” “Charming country, Spain, I’ve heard, Sir;
indeed I’ve read Gil Blas, which gives one a very pretty notion of it.
Plenty of oranges in Portugal, Sir?” “Plenty.” “Vastly nice, indeed,
quite a favourite fruit of mine. Did you ever serve in the East or West
Indies, Sir?” “In both.” “Really! why you’re quite a traveller. Of
course, Sir, you’ve seen Paris?” “Never.” “Never seen Paris, Sir!”
exclaimed the man of suds and small-talk: “never visited the French
metropolis! why, dear me, Sir, you have seen nothing!”

In like manner, he who travels to the East—who feasts with Pashas in
Europe, and eats pillauf with Beys in Asia—who peeps into
palaces—glides in his swift caïque along the channel of the
Bosphorus—overruns all Turkey, and half Egypt, and returns home without
smoking a pipe on the summit of Mount Olympus, has, according to the
declaration of the natives, “seen nothing.”

Of course it was out of the question that I should add to the number of
these unthrifty travellers; and accordingly on the morning of the 11th
of June (at least two months too soon), the horses were at the door at
four o’clock; and, shaking off my sleepiness as well as I could, I set
forward, accompanied by a Greek gentleman, with whose charming family we
had formed a friendship, and who was himself well calculated by his
scientific acquirements to enhance the enjoyment of the expedition, our
servant, and a guide, for the dwelling of the Gods.

The morning was yet gray; the mists were hanging in wreaths about the
mountains, and draping them in ermine; the dew was lying heavily on the
dense vegetation; a few straggling peasants passed us on the outskirts
of the sleeping city, some bearing scythes upon their shoulders, affixed
to straight poles about eight feet in length—or carrying round spades
of wood—or driving before them the animals who were to return laden
with mulberry branches for the nurture of the silk-worms which are
reared in millions at Broussa. The number of individuals constantly
employed in providing food for these insects must be very great, as we
have counted upwards of two hundred horses, mules, and donkeys, bearing
closely-packed loads of boughs, passing in one day beneath our windows
from the same gate of the city; and, as the immense plain is covered
with trees, which are each year cut closely down to the trunk, the
consumption may be imagined.

A little beyond the city we passed a mule-litter, closely covered with
scarlet cloth, guided by two men, and followed by three Turkish
gentlemen on horseback, attended by their servants, bound on some
mountain pilgrimage; but we had not proceeded above half a league, ere,
with the exception of a string of mules laden with timber, which
occasionally crossed our path, we had the wilderness to ourselves.

The ascent commences, immediately on leaving the city, which on this
side is bounded by a deep ditch or fosse, into which two mountain
torrents, boiling and bellowing down from the neighbouring heights, pour
their flashing waters. A narrow pathway, so narrow that two
saddle-horses cannot pass in it, traverses a dense wood of dwarf oak and
hazel, clothing the hill-side, above whose stunted summits we looked
down upon the plain, and the minarets of Broussa.

A sudden turn in the road conducted us rapidly upwards, freed us from
the hazel wood, and plunged us among masses of rock, over which our
horses slid and stumbled, until we reached the foot of the next range of
heights. Here the landscape began to grow in beauty; behind us was the
city fenced with mountains, mapped out in all its extent, and as
remarkable as that of Constantinople for the extraordinary and beautiful
admixture of buildings and foliage, which I never remember to have seen
elsewhere.

Every habitation possessing, if not its garden, at least its one tall
tree, beneath whose boughs the family congregate during the warm hours,
the appearance of an Eastern city, as you look down upon it from any
neighbouring height, is entirely devoid of that monotony which renders
the roofs and chimneys of an European town so utterly uninteresting. It
looks as though the houses had grown up gradually in the midst of a
thick grove, and the eye lingers without weariness on the scene, where
the glittering casements, touched by the sunlight, flash through the
clustering leaves, and the wind heaves aside the more flexile branches
to reveal a stately portal, or a graceful kiosk. From the spot on which
we now stood, we saw Broussa to great advantage. The most striking
object was the spacious mosque of Oulou-Jamè piercing through the
morning mists in spectral whiteness—the stunted minarets, looking like
caricatures of those light, slender, fairy-moulded creations which shoot
so loftily into the blue heaven at Stamboul; minarets that have
sacrificed their grace to the south wind, which blows so violently at
Broussa as frequently to unroof the more lofty buildings; and whose
ill-proportioned cupolas of lead complete the pictorial ruin, and give
them the appearance of bulky wax candles, surmounted by metal
extinguishers. A small space beyond ran the gleaming river, sparkling
along its bed of white pebbles—the wilderness of mulberry trees
spreading over the green carpet of the plain—and away, afar off, the
range of mountains purpling in the distance, and crowned with clouds!

Beside us, not half a foot from our horse’s hoof, we had a sheer
precipice clothed with dwarf-oak and spruce, and we heard, although we
could not see, the tumbling waters of a torrent which roared and rushed
along the bottom of the gulph. Beyond the precipice, towered a lordly
mountain, upon whose crest were pillowed dense masses of fleecy vapour;
while stately fir trees draped it with a thousand tints. Before us rose
masses of rock, through which we had to make our way: and from every
crevice sprang a forest tree, whose gnarled and knotted roots were
washed by a rushing stream, which was flung up like spray as our horses
splashed through it. We next reached a patch of soft fresh turf; maple
and ash trees overshadowed it; wild artichokes and violets were strown
in every direction; the rich ruby-coloured arum hung its long dank
leaves over the narrow channel, through which glided a pigmy stream
almost hidden by the rank vegetation; the little yellow hearts’-ease was
dotted over the banks; the ringdoves were cooing amid the leaves; and
the grasshopper, as green and almost as bright as an emerald, was
springing from flower to flower. It is a place of pause for the
traveller, and it deserves to be so. There can scarcely be a lovelier in
the world! One or two fragments of cold grey rock pierced through the
rich grass, as if to enhance its beauty, and afforded a resting-place,
whence we looked round upon the masses of mountain scenery by which we
were surrounded; and few, I should imagine, would fail to profit by this
opportunity of temporary rest, when they contemplated the far extent of
wild and difficult country through which they were to travel.

Let none venture the ascent of Mount Olympus who have not the head and
the hand equally steady; who are incapable not only of standing upon the
“giddy brink,” but also of riding along it when the road is scarcely a
foot in width, and the precipice some hundreds in depth; and where the
only path is a torrent-chafed channel, or a line of rock piled in
ledges, and slippery with water; for assuredly, to all such, _le jeu ne
vaudra pas la chandelle_, as it is impossible to imagine ways less
calculated to calm the nerves, or to re-assure the timid. You urge your
horse up a flat stone, as high and as large as a billiard table, and
splash he descends on the other side up to his girths in mud: now you
ride up a bank to escape collision with a string of timber-laden mules,
and in descending you are stumbling and scrambling among the roots of
trees, which twirl and twist among the vegetation like huge snakes; at
one moment you are almost knocked off your saddle by a forest-bough that
you have not room to avoid, and the next you are up to your knees in a
torrent which he refuses to leap. Assuredly the Gods never wished to
receive company.

As the ascent became more difficult, the whole face of the landscape
changed: lofty firs shot upwards against the clear sky, while rocks
fantastically piled, and looking like the ruins of a lordly city, were
scattered over a plain which we skirted in turning the elbow of the
next range of heights. Here and there, a tree that had been smitten by
the thunder reared aloft its white and leafless branches, while its
shivered trunk looked like a mass of charcoal. Eagles and vultures
soared above our heads; innumerable cuckoos called to each other among
the rocks: at intervals the low growl of a bear was heard in the
distance; and altogether, a more savage scene can scarcely be imagined.

A fine fir-wood succeeded, which terminated in a small plain intersected
by a sparkling trout-stream, whose waters formed a thousand pigmy
cascades as they tumbled over the rocky fragments that choked their
channel. Here we spread our morning meal, cooling our delicate Greek
wine in the waters of Mount Olympus, and seating ourselves upon the
fresh turf which was enamelled with violets and wild hyacinths. At this
spot travellers usually leave their horses, and proceed to the summit of
the mountain on foot; but our good cheer, our soft words, and, above
all, the promise of an increased _backshish_, so won upon our guide,
that he consented to let his horses’ knees and our necks share the same
risk, and to proceed as much further as might be practicable for the
animals.

What a breakfast we made! My intelligent Greek friend already talking of
his mineralogical expectations; I decorating my riding-habit with
lovely wild flowers; the portly Turk paying marked attention to the hard
eggs and _caviare_, and the servant passing to and fro the stream with
glasses of cool wine, sparkling like liquid topaz.

Before us towered the mountain, whose every creek and crevice was heaped
with snow, while one dense mass of vapour hung upon its brow like a
knightly plume. From the summit of the mount the snow had disappeared,
but the white slate-stone of which it is composed gleamed out beneath
the sunshine with a glare that was almost dazzling. The sides of the
rock are clothed with juniper, which, from the continual pressure of the
snow, is dwarfed and stunted, and rather crawls along the earth than
springs from it; and whose berries produce a singular and beautiful
effect on the masses beneath which they are concealed, by giving to them
a pink tinge that has almost the effect of art. Yet, nevertheless, I
could not forbear casting a glance of anxiety at the towering height,
which all its majesty and magnificence failed to dispel. I had been told
that in the month of June it would be impossible for a female to ascend
to the summit—I had already left behind me six long leagues of the
wilderness—two more of perpetual and difficult ascent were before
me—but I remembered my prowess in the Desart of the Chartreux, and I
resolved to persevere.

Our hamper was repacked, our bridles were re-adjusted, and, fording the
little stream, we once more set forward upon our “high emprize;” and
after scrambling through acres of juniper, sliding over ledges of rock,
and riding through nine torrents, we at length found ourselves at the
foot of the almost perpendicular mountain.

It was a magnificent spectacle! The mid-day sun was shining upon the
eternal snows, which, yielding partially and reluctantly to its beams,
were melting into a thousand pigmy streams that glittered and glided
among the juniper bushes; the highest peak of the mount, crowned by its
diadem of vapour, rose proudly against the blue sky; the ragged ridges
of the chain, tempest-riven and bare, hung over the snow-filled gulphs,
into which the grasp of centuries had hurled portions of their own
stupendous mass; and not a sound was audible save the brawling of the
torrents in the lower lands, or the wind sweeping at intervals round the
rocky point.

When I dismounted, and flung my bridle to the guide, I felt as though I
had gained another year of life!

Never shall I forget the fatigue of that ascent!—a weary league over
the gnarled roots of the juniper plants, and loose stones which
treacherously failed beneath our feet, and frequently lost us six steps
for the one that we thought to gain. But at length we stood upon the
edge of the rock; we had clomb the ascent, and were looking down upon
the mountains that we had traversed in the morning;, as though into a
valley; but our task was not yet ended: the loftiest peak, the seat of
Jupiter, yet towered above us, and seemed to mock our efforts. Between
that peak, and the spot on which we stood, there was a deep hollow, to
be descended on our side, and again mounted on the other: the rock was
edged with snow many feet in depth; our feet sank among the loose
stones; the cold was piercing; and to add to our discomfort, the vapours
were rising from the valley beyond the mountain in one dense mass which
resembled the concentrated smoke of a burning world.

The effect was sublimely awful! Fold upon fold—shade darkening over
shade—nothing was to be seen but the cold, gray, clinging vapour which
hung against the mountain, as if to curtain the space beyond. It was
frightful to stand upon the edge of the precipice, and to mark the
working of that mysterious cloud—fancy ran riot in looking on it—its
superhuman extent—its unearthly, impalpable texture—its everchanging
form—its deep, dense tint—my brain reeled with watching its shifting
wonders; and had not my companion withdrawn me from the brink, I should
have sunk down from sheer mental exhaustion.

We had been warned not to linger when on the mountain, and after the
lapse of a few moments we again toiled on. At intervals the vapour
rolled back, and gave us glimpses of hills, and valleys, and woods, and
streams, far below us; but it was like the production of a fairy-wand,
for while we yet looked upon them they were lost: another heavy fold of
mist rose from the chasm, and again all was chaos.

At length the chibouk was lighted. We stood upon the Grave of the Giant;
upon the highest point of Mount Olympus—beside the roofless hut, built
for the shelter of the storm-overtaken traveller, and so ingeniously
sunk beneath the surface as to form a well, in which such a shower of
rain as commonly falls in the neighbourhood of the mountain, would go
nigh to drown the hapless wanderer who might trust to the treacherous
asylum.

Behind us all was vapour: before us stretched away the mountain-chain
across which we had travelled: while far, far in the distance, and
almost blent with the horizon, we distinguished the blue Lake of
Apollonia. While we yet looked, we saw the mists gathering about our own
path; curling up from the swampy patches between the hills; rolling
along the rocky channel of the torrents: draping the broad branches of
the dark firs; clinging to the mountain sides—we had no time to lose.
We were not travellers on a highway; we had neither finger-posts nor
landmarks—all is so nearly alike in the wilderness: one pile of cold
gray rock looms out from amid the mists shaped so like its neighbour;
one rushing torrent brawls over its stony bed so like another: one
stretch of forest darkens the mountain side with a gloom so similar to
that which shadows the opposite height, that we thought it well to avoid
the gathering of the vapours, if we did not wish to sleep in the desart.

To return by the way that we had ascended was out of the question; for
we had walked upwards of a league along the summit of the mountain,
after having gained the height. The other face of the rock presented a
much shorter road, but, as it was extremely dangerous, we held a council
to decide on which we should venture—the fatigue and loss of time, or
the possibility of accident. We were already travel-worn and foot-sore,
but not caring to confess even to each other that it was the exertion
from which we shrank, we both talked very sagely of the danger of delay,
with the mists gathering so rapidly about us; and decided, as a matter
of prudence, on descending the precipice.

I have already mentioned the mountain-ridge that projected over the
gulph, and whose jagged and storm-riven outline bore testimony to the
ravages of time and tempest; while the huge fragments of fallen rock
which heaved up their dark masses from among the accumulated snows
beneath, broke the smooth surface, and betrayed the depth of the
precipice.

This was the point on which we fixed for our descent: my companion, who
was an accomplished sportsman, and accustomed to the dizzy mountains of
the East, led the way; and, as he assured me that nothing but nerve was
required to ensure success, I followed without hesitation. Seating
ourselves, therefore, upon the summit of the mountain, we slid gently
down to a narrow ledge of rock, just sufficiently wide to afford us
footing; and clinging to the stones which jutted out from the natural
wall on the one side, and carefully avoiding to look towards the
precipice on the other, we slowly made our way to a second descent
similar to the first. This hazardous exploit, thrice repeated, carried
us through the most difficult portion of our undertaking, as the rock
then projected sufficiently towards the base to enable us to step from
stone to stone, until we arrived at the edge of the snow.

As we could form no calculation of its depth, we did not venture to
traverse it, which would have shortened the distance very considerably;
but skirting the gulph, where it was not more than mid-way to our knees,
we at length arrived in a patch of swampy land, inundated by the melting
of the mountain snows, and scattered over with rocks, many of them
split asunder, as though they had suffered from the wrath of Vulcan in
one of his stormy moods. Our wet and weary feet next carried us up a
slight ascent, to a stretch of land as brilliant and as sweet as a
flower-garden. Were I to enumerate all the blossoms that I saw growing
wild on this spot, the next page of my book would resemble a
floricultural catalogue; and tired as I was, I could not pass them by
without gathering a bouquet which would have done no disgrace to an
English parterre.

In half an hour more we entered the grassy nook where we had left our
horses; and the recompense of our prowess from the guide when we pointed
out to him the spot whence we had descended was a look of contemptuous
pity, accompanied by the remark that we were “two mad Franks!”

We had scarcely taken a hasty glass of wine, and mounted our horses,
when two loud claps of thunder, following close upon each other, rattled
along the mountain-tops, and enforced on us the necessity of speed. But,
alas! there was no possibility of travelling at more than a foot’s-pace
between Mount Olympus and Broussa; all that we could do, therefore, was
to commence our homeward journey without a moment’s delay, and trust to
our lucky stars, both for finding our way, and for getting home dry. On
we pressed accordingly, “over bank, bush, and scaur;” but in half an
hour we were so completely enveloped in mist that we could not see each
other. The guide still moved steadily on, however, like a man who is
sure of his path; and I felt no misgivings until, on arriving in the dry
bed of a torrent from which the stream had been diverted by some
convulsion of nature, he suddenly ceased the wild monotonous melody with
which he had favoured us for a considerable time, and, turning round in
his saddle, remarked quietly: “We are lost.”

For an instant no one replied. We had each anticipated the probability
of such an occurrence, but it was not the less disagreeable when it came
to pass. What was to be done? First, the guide was convinced that he had
borne too much to the right, and accordingly we all turned our horses in
the other direction; when being close upon a wall of rock that loomed
out from the vapour like some bristling fortress, he admitted that this
could not be the way, and that consequently he must have inclined too
much to the left. We performed a fresh evolution with equal success: the
man was fairly bewildered; and meanwhile the vapour was spreading
thicker and faster about us.

At length my companion suggested the expediency of shouting aloud, that
in the event of any shepherd or goatherd being in the neighbourhood, we
might procure assistance and information. Shout, accordingly, we did, at
the very pitch of our lungs; but the mists were so dense that they
stifled the voice, and we were ourselves conscious that we could not be
heard at any great distance. After the suspense of a long, weary
half-hour, we had just abandoned all hope of help, when a huge dog came
bounding out of the vapour, barking furiously, but to us his voice was
music, as it assured us of the vicinity of some mountaineer; at the same
moment the mists broke partially away, and the guide, uttering an
exclamation of joy, suddenly descended a steep bank, and we found
ourselves on the skirts of the fir wood, and in the mule-track which we
had followed in the morning.

We had scarcely congratulated each other on the termination of our
dilemma, and the partial dispersion of the vapours, when a jagged line
of serpent-like lightning ran shimmering through the broad flash that
lit up for a second the whole wild scene amid which we were moving; and
at the same instant, the loudest and the longest peal broke from the sky
to which I ever listened; rock after rock caught up the sound, and flung
it back, until the wizard thunder rattled in fainter echoes down into
the plain.

It was an awful moment! The terrified animals stood suddenly still, and
trembled with affright; but we had no time to waste upon alarm, for, as
if conjured by that awful crash, and the wild light by which it was
accompanied, down came the imprisoned waters from the mass of vapour
that hung above us. I can scarcely call it rain; it was as though a
sluice had been let loose upon us, and in an instant we were drenched.
Every mountain stream grew suddenly into a torrent—every wayside
fountain, (and there were many in the forest formed of the hollow trunks
of trees,) overflowed its basin—the branches against which we brushed
in our passage, scattered the huge drops from their leaves—large stones
fell rattling down the sides of the mountain—in short it was as wild a
storm as ever inspired the pencil of Salvator Rosa; and its solemnity
was deepened by the twilight gloom of the clinging and changeful
vapours.

We arrived at Broussa both wet and weary, having been thirteen hours on
the road; but, despite all that I suffered, I would not have lost the
sublime spectacle on which I gazed from the summit of Mount Olympus, for
the enjoyment of a month of luxurious ease. Well might Howitt exclaim,
in the gushing out of his pious and poetical nature:—

  “Praise be to GOD for the mountains!”



CHAPTER VI.


  The Armenian Quarter of Broussa—Catholics and
  Schismatics—Armenian Church—Ugly Saints—Burial Place of the
  Bishops—Cloisters—Public School—Mode of Rearing the Silk
  Worms—Difference between the European and the Asiatic
  Systems—Colour and Quantity of the Produce—Appearance of the
  Mulberry Woods.


It is a singular fact, that although the Armenian quarter of Broussa
contains upwards of a thousand houses which are all inhabited, the
number of Catholic families does not amount to fifty; their place of
worship is consequently small, and unworthy of description, being merely
the chapel attached to a private house, while the Schismatic Church is
proportionably handsome. The difference of faith between the two sects
hangs upon a single point—the Schismatics deny the double nature of
Christ, and are accordingly denounced as heretics by their more orthodox
brethren; although they worship the same profusion of Saints—weep over
the wounds of the same blessed martyrs—and build altars to the same
Virgin under all her multitudinous designations.

The Armenian Church of Broussa is very elegant. The altar, which extends
along its whole width, is of white marble, highly polished, and divided
into three compartments, merely separated from the aisles by a simple
railing, and is arranged with considerable taste; the sacerdotal plate
being interspersed with vases of white lilies. The roof is supported by
ten fine columns, and the floor covered, like that of a mosque, with
rich carpets.

The Saints, whose portraits adorn the walls, (which are covered with
Dutch tiles to the height of the latticed gallery,) have been most
cruelly treated. I never beheld “the human face divine” so caricatured!
A tale is somewhere told of a susceptible young Italian, who became
enamoured of the Madonna that adorned his oratory; he might kneel before
the whole saintly community of the Armenian Church of Broussa, without a
quickening pulse—they would haunt the dreams of an artist like the
nightmare! At the base of the pictures, crosses of white marble are
incrusted in the masonry, curiously inlaid with coloured stones; and a
portable altar, whose plate was enriched with fine turquoises, stood in
the centre of the aisle, surmounted by a hideous St. Joseph, glaring out
in his ugliness from beneath a drapery of silver muslin.

The church is surrounded on three sides by a noble covered cloister,
lined with marble, partially carpeted, and furnished with an altar at
each extremity. That on the right hand is the burial place of the
Bishops, who lie beneath slabs of marble, elaborately carved; the left
hand cloister, into which flows a noble fountain, serves as a sacristy;
and the third, situated at the extreme end of the church, is decorated
with a dingy Virgin, and a congregation of Saints in very tattered
condition, to whom their votaries offer the tribute of lighted tapers,
whose numerous remains were scattered about in their immediate vicinity.
The women’s gallery is handsome and spacious, and is partially
overlooked by the windows of the Bishop’s Palace; a fine building
erected a year ago at an immense expence.

From the church we passed into the public school, where three hundred
boys were conning their tasks under the superintendence of a single
master. Though we were perfectly unexpected, we did not hear a whisper;
every boy was in his place; and the venerable Dominie, with a beard as
white as snow, and a head which would have been a study for a painter,
rose as we entered, and courteously invited us to take our seats upon
the comfortable sofa that occupied the upper end of the hall. The most
beautiful cleanliness pervaded the whole establishment; and the boarded
floor was rubbed as bright by the constant friction of six hundred
little naked feet, as though it had been waxed.

The number of Turkish children now receiving their education in Broussa
we could not ascertain, as they are divided among the different mosques;
but the Greek Rector, who, in the absence of the Archbishop, interested
himself in our comfort and amusement, told me that they had but fifty in
their school, although the Greek population of Broussa is tolerably
numerous. There is, however, a second description of free-school or
college, attached to the Greek and Armenian Churches, wherein the pupils
advance a step in their studies, and prepare themselves for the
Priesthood, and for commercial pursuits.

Our next object of inquiry was the mode of feeding the silk-worms, which
produce in the neighbourhood of Broussa an extraordinary quantity of
silk. We accordingly visited the establishment of a Frenchman, who
exports the raw material to Europe. I was struck by the colour of the
silk, which was of a dingy white; and learnt that, despite all the
efforts of the feeders, they seldom succeeded in producing any other
tint, although the worms are themselves of different qualities and
colours, varying from a dead white to a dark brown, and are fed with the
leaves of both the red and the white mulberry indiscriminately. The most
experienced feeders, however, give a decided preference to the wild
white mulberry, of which most of the plantations about Broussa are
formed. The silk, when first spun, is of a clear, silvery, brilliant
tint; but submersion in the highly mineralized water of the
neighbourhood robs it of its gleam, and reduces it to the dead, dingy
colour I have mentioned; and I was assured that in some hundreds of
pounds weight of silk, not more than two or three could be met with of
yellow.

The Asiatic method of rearing the worm is totally different from that of
Europe, and, according to the account given to me, much more profitable
in its results, as well as simple in its process. The insect has a
natural dislike to being handled, which is inevitable where it is fed
day by day, and the withered leaves of the previous morning cleared
away; the discomfort produced by the touch rendering the worm lethargic,
and retarding its growth. The Asiatics never approach it with the hand:
when it is hatched, the floor of the apartment is covered with layers of
mulberry branches to about three or four inches in depth; and upon these
the insects are laid, and suffered to feed undisturbed until their first
sleep, when they are covered by a fresh supply of boughs similar to the
first, through which they eat their way, and upon which they subsist
until their next change. This operation is repeated four times, always
at the period when the worm casts its skin; and on the first appearance
of an inclination to spin, boughs of oak, of about four feet in length,
stripped of their lower leaves, and planted, if I may so express it, in
close ranks in the bed of mulberry branches, form a pigmy forest in
which the insects establish themselves, and wherein they produce their
silk. Every crevice of the apartment is carefully stopped to prevent the
admission of air, and a fire of charcoal ashes is kept up constantly
throughout the day and night.

Whether the mode of feeding operates on the colour of the silk, I could
not ascertain, though it struck me that the experiment would be worth
trying; but meanwhile it appears to be certain that it greatly increases
its quantity, and diminishes the labour of the feeders. There is
scarcely a house in the neighbourhood of Broussa which does not contain
several apartments filled with silk worms, whose produce is disposed of
to the spinners, of whom there are a considerable number in the city;
and the far-spreading mulberry woods assume in the height of summer the
appearance of stretches of locust-blighted landscape, every tree being
left a branchless trunk without a sign of foliage.



CHAPTER VII.


  The Cadi’s Wife—Singular Custom—Haïsè Hanoum—The
  Odalique—The Cadi—Noisy Enjoyment—Lying in
  State—Cachemires—Costume—Unbounded Hospitality of the
  Wealthy Turks—The Dancing Girl—Saïryn Hanoum—Contrast.


The wife of the Cadi of Tzèkerghè having given birth to her first-born
son, I received an invitation to visit her the same evening, which I
accepted, although not without some surprise; and, on expressing my
astonishment at her subjecting herself to the intrusion of guests at
such a period, I learnt that it is universally the custom, among the
wives of the wealthy Turks, to receive company during seven days after
the birth of the first son, until midnight; on which occasion they
display the most valuable portions of their _trousseau_.

Haïsè Hanoum was a young creature of sixteen, very pretty, and very
stupid, who, individually, created no great interest; but she had a
rival in the harem, a sweet girl of twelve years of age, with the face
of an angel, and the grace of a sylph; who, if the gossipry of the
neighbourhood may be relied upon, was no especial favourite with her
companion, whose dullness yet left her discrimination enough to be
jealous of the superior attractions of the gazel-eyed Odalique. The Cadi
himself had reached his eightieth year, and his silver beard would
rather have distinguished him as the grandsire than as the husband of
these two beautiful young creatures.

I entered the house at eight o’clock in the evening; and, having
traversed the marble court, whose fountain poured forth its limpid
waters beneath the shade of a venerable fig tree, I passed along the
latticed terrace of the harem, to the Hanoum’s apartment. Long before I
reached it, I was deafened with the noise which issued from its open
door; the voices of the singing-women—the rattle of the
tambourines—the laughter of the guests—the shouts of the attendant
slaves—the clatter of the coffee and sherbet cups—I could scarcely
believe that I was about to be ushered into a sick-chamber! At length,
the three attendants who had lighted me upstairs, made way for me
through the crowd of women who thronged the entrance of the apartment,
and one of the most extraordinary scenes presented itself upon which it
has ever been my fate to look.

Directly opposite to the door stood the bed of the Hanoum; the curtains
had been withdrawn, and a temporary canopy formed of cachemire shawls
arranged in festoons, and linked together with bathing scarfs of gold
and silver tissue: and, as the lady was possessed of fifty, which could
not all be arranged with proper effect in so limited a space, a silk
cord had been stretched along the ceiling to the opposite extremity of
the apartment, over which the costly drapery was continued. Fastened to
the shawls were head-dresses of coloured gauze, flowered or striped with
gold and silver, whence depended oranges, lemons, and candied fruits.
Two coverlets of wadded pink satin were folded at the bed’s foot; and a
sheet of striped crape hung to the floor, where it terminated in a deep
fringe of gold.

The infant lay upon a cushion of white satin, richly embroidered with
coloured silks, and trimmed like the sheet; and was itself a mass of
gold brocade and diamonds. But the young mother principally attracted my
attention. As I entered, she was flinging over her child a small
coverlet of crimson velvet, most gorgeously wrought with gold; and as
the sleeves of her striped silk antery and gauze chemisette fell back to
the elbow, her white and dimpled arms circled by bracelets of
brilliants, and her small hand glittering with jewelled rings, were
revealed in all their beauty. Her dark hair was braided in twenty or
thirty small plaits, that fell far below her waist, as she leant
against a cushion similar to that on which she had pillowed her infant.
Her throat was encircled by several rows of immense pearls, whence
depended a diamond star, resting upon her bosom; her chemisette was
delicately edged by a gold beading, and met at the bottom of her bust,
where her vest was confined by a costly shawl. Her head-dress, of blue
gauze worked with silver, was studded with diamond sprays, and
ornamented with a fringe of large gold coins, which fell upon her
shoulders, and almost concealed her brilliant earrings. Her satin antery
was of the most lively colours, and her salva were of pale pink silk,
sprinkled with silver spots. A glass vase of white lilies rested against
her pillow, and a fan of peacocks’ feathers, and a painted handkerchief,
lay beside her. Previously to her confinement, she had plucked out the
whole of her eyebrows, and had replaced them by two stripes of black
dye, raised about an inch higher upon the forehead. This is a common
habit with the Turkish women on great occasions; and they no where
display more coquetry or more decided bad taste than in the arrangement
of their eyebrows, which they paint in all kinds of fantastic shapes;
sometimes making them meet across the nose, and sometimes raising them
at the outer point to the temples! I have seen many a pretty woman
destroyed by this whim.

I was conducted with great ceremony to the sofa, when I had saluted the
Hanoum, and uttered my “Mashallah” as I leant over the infant; which,
poor little thing! was almost smothered in finery; and, having taken my
seat, I had time to contemplate the singular scene around me.

I have alluded elsewhere to the facility with which the working classes
of Turkey obtain access into the houses of the wealthy. On every
occasion of rejoicing, the door is open to all; it is the sofa only
which is sacred; but the poor share in all the enjoyments of the
festival; the coffee and sherbet is served to them, if not with the same
ceremony, at least with the same welcome, as to the prouder guests; they
listen to the music—they mingle in the conversation—they join in the
gaiety—and they are never made to feel that their lot is cast in a more
lowly rank than that of their entertainer.

On the present occasion the floor was thronged. Mothers were there with
their infants at their breasts, for whose entire costume you would not
have given fifty piastres; and whose sunburnt arms and naked feet bore
testimony to a life of toil. A group of children were huddled together
at the bed’s foot; a throng of singing women occupied the extreme end of
the apartment; the mother of the young wife sat beside the pillow of her
child, dressed in a vest and trowsers of white, with a large
handkerchief of painted muslin flung loosely over her turban; the lovely
little Odalique, totally unheeded, squatted on the ground at my feet;
half a dozen stately Hanoums were seated on the crimson velvet sofa,
leaning against its gorgeous cushions, and some of them engaged with the
chibouk. But the most attractive object in the apartment was the
dancing-girl, who occupied the centre of the floor.

I have rarely beheld any thing more beautiful; and, with the exception
of the daughter of the Scodra Pasha, I had seen no woman in the country
who could be compared with her. On my entrance she had been beating the
tambourine; and as, out of respect for the Frank visitor, the music was
momentarily suspended, she remained in the attitude she had assumed when
she first caught sight of me. Her arms were raised above her head, and
her open sleeves fell back almost to her shoulder; her delicate little
feet were bare, and only partially revealed beneath the large loose
trowsers of dark silk; a chemisette of gauze, richly fringed, relieved
the sombre tint of her tightly-fitting antery, and a shawl of the most
glowing colours bound her slender waist; her head-dress was nearly
similar to that worn in the Imperial Seraïs—a painted handkerchief was
folded round her forehead, whose deep fringe fell low upon her cheeks;
part of her long hair was dishevelled, and spread wide upon the summit
of her head, and the rest, formed into innumerable little plaits, was
looped about her shoulders. A large bunch of white lilies drooped
gracefully above her right ear, and her figure was bent slightly
backward, in the easiest attitude in the world.

She was assuredly very lovely; but it was not genuine oriental beauty.
Her large, full eyes were as blue and bright as a summer sky, when the
heavens are full of sunshine; her nose was _à la Roxalane_; and she had
a pretty pout about her little cherry-coloured lips, worth half a dozen
smiles.

I could not help expressing my surprise at the style of her _coïffure_,
as I had never before seen it so worn, except in the Imperial Palaces;
when I was informed that the Sultan, having accidentally seen her
mother, who far exceeded the daughter in beauty, became so enthralled by
her extreme loveliness as to make her an inmate of his harem, where she
still remains.

When I had seated myself, the dancer suddenly suffered her arms to fall
by her side, and flinging the tambourine to one of the singing women,
she clapped her hands, and a couple of slaves entered with coffee. One
bore a large silver salver, from which depended a napkin of gold tissue,
richly fringed, with the tiny cups of glittering porcelain, and the
silver coffee-holders neatly arranged upon its surface; and the other
carried a weighty sherbet-vase of wrought silver, shaped as classically
as that of Hebe herself.

I never saw any woman so light or so graceful as that lovely
dancing-girl. She had the spring of a sylph, and the foot of a fawn. As
she presented the coffee, she laid her hand first upon her lips and then
upon her head, with an elegance which I have seldom seen equalled; and
then bounding back into her place, she twirled the tambourine in the air
with the playfulness of a child; and, having denoted the measure,
returned it to one of the women, who immediately commenced a wild chant,
half song and half recitative, which was at times caught up in chorus by
the others, and at times wailed out by the dancer only, as she regulated
the movements of her willow-like figure to the modulations of the music.
The Turkish women dance very little with the feet; it is the grace and
art displayed in the carriage of the body and arms which form the
perfection of their dancing; the rapid snapping of the fingers,
meanwhile, producing the effect of castanets.

Even at the risk of making a portrait gallery of my chapter, I must
mention the magnificent Saïryn Hanoum, who shortly afterwards entered
the apartment. She was in the autumn of her beauty, for she must have
been eight or nine and twenty, at which period the women of the East
begin to decline. But what an autumn! Could you only have clipped the
wings of Time for the future, you would not have wished her to be a day
younger. She was dark, very dark: almost a Bohemian in complexion; but
you saw the rich blood coursing along her veins, through the clear skin;
her eyes were like the storm-cloud, from which the lightning flashes at
intervals; her hair was as black as midnight; her teeth were dazzling:
and her brow—it was a brow which should have been circled by a diadem,
for it was already stamped with Nature’s own regality. She was tall,
even stately; and the dignity of her step accorded well with the fire of
her dark eye, and the proud expression that sat upon her lip, and
dilated her thin delicate nostril. Her costume was as striking as her
person; and, had she studied during a century how best to enhance her
beauty, she could never have more perfectly succeeded. Her vest and
trowsers were of the most snowy muslin; she wore neither diamond nor
pearl; but the handkerchief was fastened about her head with a chain of
large gold coins, which being threaded upon a silken cord, formed a
fringe that rested upon her forehead; and a necklace of the same
material fell low upon her bosom. The Turkish women of rank have
universally very sweet voices—her’s was music.

On glancing back upon what I have written, I fear that much of it may
be condemned as hyperbole, or at best as exaggeration. I only wish that
they who are sceptical could look for an instant upon Saïryn
Hanoum—they would confess that I have done her less than justice.

_En révanche_, the floor was crowded with withered old women and stupid
children: the atmosphere was impregnated with onions, tobacco, and
garlic; and the noise was deafening! The singing women shouted at
intervals at the very pitch of their voices; the infants cried with
weariness and fright; the impatient guests demanded coffee and sherbet
as unceremoniously as though they had been at a public kiosk, and much
more rapidly than they could be supplied; and the ringing rattle of the
tambourine kept up a running accompaniment of discord.

Altogether the scene was a most extraordinary one; and I compelled
myself to remain a couple of hours the guest of Haïsè Hanoum in order to
contemplate it at my leisure. The same ceremonies, the same amusements,
and the same noise, continued until midnight, during the whole of the
seven days; when the harem doors were once more shut against such
general intrusion, and the young mother left to enjoy the repose which
she required.



CHAPTER VIII.


  Tzèkerghè—Bustling Departure—Turkish _Patois_—Waiting Maids
  and Serving Men—Characteristic Cavalcade—Chapter of
  Accidents—Train of Camels—Halt of the Caravan—Violent
  Storm—Archbishop of Broussa—The Old
  Palace—Reception-Room—Priestly Humility—Greek
  Priests—Worldly and Monastic Clergy—Morals of the
  Papas—Asiatic Pebbles—Moudania—Idleness of the
  Inhabitants—Decay of the Town—Policy of the Turkish
  Government—Departure for Constantinople.


When we had exhausted the “lions” of Broussa, we removed to Tzèkerghè
for the benefit of the Baths; and, after having enjoyed for a few weeks
all the luxury of sulphuric vapour, we prepared for our return to the
capital.

The confusion incident on our departure from the village was most
amusing; and, as our party was a numerous one, we were all on foot by
three o’clock in the morning. Serudjhes were shouting and quarrelling
about missing bridles, and ill-poised paniers: Greek servants, supreme
in their knowledge of the Asiatic Turkish, which is a species of
_patois_ almost unintelligible even to Constantinopolitan Turks, were
hectoring and finding fault; waiting-maids were screaming in defence of
bandboxes and dressing-cases; and all the inhabitants of the hamlet were
looking on, and favouring us with their comments. The morning
salutations were drowsy enough, for there are few things more dreary
than a daybreak dialogue; the perfumed coffee was swallowed almost in
silence; and at length the procession set forth.

Nothing could be more characteristic than the appearance of our caravan,
as we wound down the mountain path—bullock cars laden with luggage
creaked and rattled over the rocky road; led horses carrying bedding and
provisions were scattered along the wayside; and thirteen mounted
individuals, as ill-assorted to the eye as can well be imagined,
completed the party. Two Greek ladies, mounted _en cavalier_, one
wearing an ample white turban, and both having their feet enveloped in
shawls: three men servants perched on the top of great coats and cloaks,
and armed with chibouks and umbrellas; two Greek _femmes de chambre_,
mounted like their mistresses; my father, myself, and three gentlemen,
with our English, Viennese, and Tartar saddles; altogether formed a
spectacle which would not have passed unobserved in the West.

My own horse, a powerful animal, that went like the wind, was almost
blinded by crimson and gold tassels; a Turkish inhabitant of Tzèkerghè
having insisted on replacing the ill-conditioned bridle provided by the
post-master with the elaborate head gear of his own animal; while my
saddle was girt over a flaming horse-cloth of blue and scarlet. Some of
the party were less fortunate, both as regarded their horses and
accoutrements; but, once upon the road, our spirits rose with the bright
sun which was beginning to light up the glorious scene around us; and,
when we had descended into the plain, and passed the romantic fountain
of Adzem Tzèsmèssi, the most energetic among us were soon galloping
right and left among the trees, gathering the wild hollyhocks, and
scattering, as we passed, the yellow blossoms of the barberry bushes.

Our enjoyment was not uninterrupted, however, for the whole journey was
a chapter of accidents; one servant lost her turban; another her
umbrella; a third rode a lazy hack, that lay down with her three times
during the day; while, to complete the list of misfortunes, a young
Austrian gentleman, resolving that our departure from Broussa should be
signalized by some _éclat_, with a want of reflection which he
afterwards bitterly repented, threw a rocket among the burning tobacco
that he flung from his chibouk by the wayside, which exploded with a
violence that unhorsed one lady of the party, and left us for some time
in doubt whether she had not paid the penalty of his folly with her
life.

There was a general halt as soon as it could be effected, for several of
the animals were almost unmanageable from fright; when all those
domestic remedies were applied which could be commanded at such a
moment, in order to recover the sufferer from the deadly faint into
which she had fallen; and, after the delay of about half an hour, when
the serudjhe had duly emptied a bottle of water on the spot where the
accident had taken place, in order to prevent its recurrence, the
unfortunate lady was with considerable difficulty lifted once more upon
her horse; and, with an attendant at her bridle-rein, resumed her
journey.

Nor did our misadventures end here; for, just before we entered the town
of Moudania, a gentleman, who was riding along with my father and
myself, fell back a few paces to discharge his travelling pistols, when
one of them burst in his hand nearly the whole length of the barrel, but
fortunately without doing him any injury.

During our journey across the principal plain, we came in contact with a
caravan, which had made a temporary halt by the wayside. It consisted
of between forty and fifty camels, attended by their drivers, and
accompanied by half a dozen formidable-looking dogs. I never
encountered anything more picturesque. Some of the animals were browsing
on the young shoots of the dwarf oak; others were standing lazily with
their long necks bent downwards, and their eyes closed; while the more
weary among them were lying on the earth, as though sinking under the
weight of their burthens. Their drivers, a wild, ferocious-looking
horde, were resting beneath the shade of some cloaks which they had
stretched across the bushes, and smoking their chibouks; leaving the
care of the drove to their watchful dogs. We uttered the brief but
earnest salutation of the wilderness as we passed; and, then urging on
our horses, the halt of the caravan was soon a distant object in the
landscape.

A violent storm had been slowly gathering throughout the day; and we had
scarcely taken possession of the house which had been secured for us at
Moudania, when it burst over the town. The mountains of the opposite
coast were covered with dense vapours, the sea beat violently against
the houses that fringed the shore, the thunder rattled in long continued
peals among the heights, the lightning danced along the foam-crested
billows, and the narrow street became the channel of a torrent.

The rain had only partially abated when a priest was announced, who bore
to my father and myself an invitation from the Archbishop, to whom our
arrival had been already made known; and, weary as we were, we resolved
to avail ourselves of it, accompanied by a gentleman and lady of the
party, who were kind enough to offer themselves as interpreters.

The old palace, with its noble flights of marble stairs, and paintings
in arabesque, delighted me; and there was a solemn twilight throughout
the whole suite of apartments along which we passed, lined with
serious-looking papas in attendance on His Holiness, that pleased me far
better, travel-worn and weary as I was, than the gaud and glitter so
usual in the residences of high personages in the East.

The Archbishop himself met us at the head of the last staircase; and,
when we had kissed his hand, he led us forward to his reception-room; a
vast sombre-looking apartment, richly painted and carved; surrounded on
three sides by a divan of purple cloth, and provided with a second and
lower sofa, for the convenience of those among the clergy to whom he
gave audience. The expression of his countenance was intellectual rather
than handsome, and he was singularly graceful in his movements; his
flowing beard was beginning to show traces of age; but his clear quick
eye and his placid brow almost belied the inference. He seemed eager to
obtain political information; and was much interested in the insight
which we were enabled to give him of the institutions and manufactures
of England. His library was extremely limited, and entirely theological;
and his knowledge was evidently rather the result of his shrewd sense
and great natural talents than the effect of education. I never
regretted more sincerely than on this occasion my ignorance of the Greek
language; for the necessity of an interpreter deadens the wit and
destroys the interest of a dialogue like that in which we were soon
engaged; and many a remark or sentiment, that would pass current in
common conversation, becomes mere impertinence and folly, when twice
expressed.

Nothing could exceed the courtesy of our reception; and even the sweet,
weak, milkless tea which was served to us, was kindly meant, as it was
supposed to be in the English style; although individually I suffered
severely from the mistake. But I was considerably amused by observing
that the chibouks of the gentlemen, and the tea of the ladies, were both
handed round by the young priests of the Archbishop’s household; who
obeyed the clapping of his hands as instantaneously, and much more
meekly, than an English footman answers the bell of his mistress.

Devoted from their birth to the service of the Church, the Greek Priests
are educated in obedience and humility, and have all learnt to obey ere
they are placed in a situation to command. Having taken orders, they
are in some degree the masters of their actions, from the fact that
there are two distinct classes of clergy, and that they are at liberty
to make their own selection. The first, called the monastic clergy,
cannot marry, but, entirely devoted to the duties of their profession,
are eligible to fill its highest dignities; while the second, or worldly
clergy, who are fettered by no restriction of the kind, cannot rise
beyond the rank of rectors or parish priests. These latter are
distinguished by the black handkerchief bound about their caps, which is
never worn by the monastic order.

It will be easily understood that the number of married priests is very
limited. Few men sacrifice their ambition to their affections,
particularly among the Greeks, who are all essentially ambitious; and to
many of whom the road to advancement is so frequently made straight by
intrigue and cabal. Added to this consideration, the ideas and practice
of morality among the Greek clergy being notoriously more lax than
altogether accords with the holiness of their profession, they prefer
the equivocal liberty of celibacy; while, in the few instances wherein
they make their fortunes subservient to their domestic comfort, they
universally select the most beautiful women of their nation; as there
scarcely exists a family who would refuse their daughter to a priest,
should he demand her for his wife.

After having passed two pleasant hours with the amiable Prelate, and
reluctantly declined his polite invitation to avail ourselves of his
table during our detention at Moudania, we returned home, only to
witness the renewed gathering of the storm-clouds, and to listen to the
dash of the billows against the foundations of the house.

One little incident alone served to divert us for a time from our ennui.
The waiting maid of the lady whom I have mentioned as having been thrown
from her horse during the journey to the coast, had profited by our
arrival at Moudania to get herself exorcised by a priest; so terrified
had she been at the accident of her mistress, which she attributed
entirely to the influence of the Evil Eye. Secure in the impunity that
she had thus purchased for a few piastres, she was pursuing her
avocations somewhat more vivaciously than her wont, when she fell from
the top of the stairs to the bottom, with a force which shook the frail
wooden tenement to its foundations. Merriment succeeded to our alarm,
however, when, on raising herself from the floor, she began to exclaim
vehemently against the inefficacy of the ceremony that she had so lately
undergone; nor was our amusement diminished when, in reply to our
raillery, she declared that, even if she _had_ thrown away her money,
she was in no worse plight than her lady, who had paid much more dearly
for the same privilege before she left Broussa, though it had availed
her still less. Shouts of laughter followed the announcement of this
hitherto carefully-guarded secret; and I do not think that I shall ever
hear of an Exorcist again, without having before my eyes the portly
person of Madame ——, extended on the earth; and a party of routed
equestrians galloping hither and thither over the vast plain of Broussa,
wherever their affrighted horses were for the first few minutes disposed
to carry them.

The following day was less unfavourable, but the wind was so high and
the sky so wild that no boat could put to sea. In this dilemma, we
amused ourselves by wandering along the beach, and collecting jaspers,
agates, and pebbles: and in making a tour of the town, which is
miserable enough, and stamped with all the marks of premature decay.

The inhabitants of Moudania are celebrated for their slothfulness. The
town is seated on the edge of a gulf, which would alone suffice to the
sustenance of the whole of its population; and they are the worst
fishermen in Turkey. The surrounding country is fertile and rich: Nature
has been lavish in her gifts, and yet their agriculture is conducted in
the most slovenly and inefficient manner. It is a continual struggle
between the luxuriance of the soil, and the idleness of the husbandman;
and, fortunately for the latter, Nature, after all, has the best of it,
for the lofty hills are feathered to their very summits with vegetation:
olive trees and vines clothe the valleys; sparkling streams descend from
the mountains; rich pasturages afford sustenance to the numerous flocks;
and goodly forest trees provide fuel for their owners. But Moudania and
its environs instantly reminded me of Cowper’s expressive line:—

  “God made the country, but man made the town,”

for man, left to himself, never more fully displayed his insufficiency
than here. The commerce in oil is very considerable, not less than a
hundred and fifty thousand okes being produced yearly—silk-worms are
reared in almost every house in the place—wine is plentiful—and there
is a continual intercourse with the European coast—and yet,
notwithstanding all these advantages, Moudania is falling to decay. In
vain has the Turkish Government, with a consideration and good policy by
which it is not usually distinguished, lightened, and indeed almost
entirely removed, all the local imposts; the same slowly progressing
ruin still wears its way. On every side the houses are perishing for
want of repair, the streets are encumbered with filth, the shops are
almost empty, and the whole town is in a state of stagnation. The
departure of half a dozen caïques for Constantinople suffices to bring
all the inhabitants to their windows, or to the beach; and, had you not
already received proof to the contrary, you would then imagine by the
shouting, running, and confusion, that the population of Moudania was
one of the most energetic under heaven; but when once the sails are set
and the boats departed, the crowd separates lazily, the noise dies away,
and the genius of desolation once more broods over the perishing little
town.

In this miserable place we were detained three days; and on the morning
of the fourth, our party embarked on board three of their beautiful
boats, and bade adieu, probably for ever, to the shores of Moudania.



CHAPTER IX.


  Death in the Revel—Marriage of the Princess Mihirmàh—The
  Imperial Victim—The First Lover—Court Cabal—Policy of the
  Seraskier—The Second Suitor—The Miniature—The Last
  Gift—Interview between the Sultan and Mustapha Pasha.


It is strange how often events, which to the crowd appear redolent of
joy and happiness, are to the principal actors replete with heartburning
and misery—how what is a pageant to the many may be a penance to the
few—and how the triumphant acclaim of the multitude may be hollowly
echoed back in bitterness from the depths of a bereaved and stricken
spirit. The price of greatness must be paid, even although it should be
in the coinage of despair, wrung slowly, through a long life, like
blood-drops from the heart; and it is well for the shouting,
holyday-seeking crowd, that the gaunt spectre of reality is not
permitted, like the skeleton of the Egyptian banquets, to take its seat
at the feast, and startle them into a knowledge of the heavy price paid
for the “funeral-baked meats” of their empoisoned revel!

Only a few weeks had elapsed since Constantinople had held a general
holyday; since her joy had been written in characters of fire; and her
tens of thousands had collected together like one vast family, to
celebrate the same happy event. Who that looked around and about him
during the marriage festivities of the Imperial Bride of Saïd Pasha—the
young, the fair, the high-born maiden, descended from a long-line of
Emperors, “born in the purple,” and on whom no sunbeam had been suffered
to rest, lest it should mar the brightness of her beauty—Who could have
guessed, amid the flashing of jewels, the echo of compliments, and the
lavish congratulation by which he was surrounded, that the idol to whom
all this incense was offered up was already lying shivered at the foot
of the altar on which it had been reared?—That the roses of the bridal
wreath had fallen leaf by leaf, withered by the burning of the brow they
cinctured?—and that the victim of an Empire’s holyday was seated
heart-stricken and despairing in her latticed apartment, weeping hot
tears over her compulsatory sacrifice?

And yet thus it was:—even I myself, when the rumour reached me, that
had the Princess been free to chuse from among the many who sighed for,
without venturing to aspire to her hand, she would have made another
selection—even I, remembering only that she was an Oriental, and
forgetting that she was also a woman, never doubted for an instant that
she would resign herself to her fate with true Turkish philosophy, and
find consolation for a passing disappointment in the gaud and glitter of
her new state. But it was not so: the arrow had been driven home, and
the wound was mortal!

Two long years had elapsed since the Sultan had announced to her his
intention of bestowing her hand on Mustapha Pasha of Adrianople; and she
had received with indifference the intimation of a resolve which made
the heart of the Sultana-Mother throb with maternal pride. But ere long
the fair Princess herself learnt to believe that her constellation had
been a happy one; and to listen with smiling attention to the flattering
accounts which the ladies of the Imperial Harem failed not to pour into
her willing ears of the Pasha’s wealth, influence, and great personal
beauty. The singing-women improvised in his honour, with all the
gorgeous hyperbole of the East—the massaldjhes[1] told tales of his
wisdom and valour that brought a brighter light to the dark eyes of
their listener—and ultimately the Sultan forwarded to his daughter a
miniature likeness of her intended bridegroom.

Then it was that the Princess became convinced that the personal
qualifications of the Pasha had been by no means exaggerated even by
his most partial chroniclers; and the young beauty sat for hours amid
her embroidered cushions, silently gazing on the portrait which she held
in her hand, and marvelling whether she should look as fair in the eyes
of her destined lord as he already seemed in her own. She was not long
to remain in doubt; for the Pasha, to whom his good fortune had been
communicated by his Imperial Master, obeyed the summons that called him
to the capital, and forwarded to his high-born mistress his first costly
offering.

The heart of the Princess beat high. He was in Stamboul! The wife of the
meanest _camal_[2] might look on him as his shadow fell upon her in the
streets of the city; while she, his affianced bride, could only picture
him to her fancy by gazing on the cold inanimate ivory. She turned from
the diamonds that her slaves had officiously displayed upon the sofa on
which she sat; they came from him, it was true, but they told no tale of
love—they were the offering of ceremony—the tribute of the honoured
Pasha to his honouring bride—they had pleased her fancy, but they had
not touched her heart.

Night spread her sable robe upon the waters—the channel lay hushed,
for the soft wind failed to disturb the ripple over which it lightly
skimmed—the Sultana-mother and the affianced Princess were dwelling
in the gilded saloons of the Asiatic Harem—in the fairy palace of
Beglierbey, and the slaves had long been hushed in sleep—and it was
at this still hour that the dark-eyed daughter of the Sultan, who
had been leaning against the lattices of an open window, listening
to the nightingales, and weaving sweet fancies into a graceful web
of thought, turned from the casement to seek the rest which she had
hitherto neglected to secure; when as she moved away, a sound of distant
oars fell on her ear, and with a vague feeling of curiosity she paused
and listened.

A solitary caïque neared the palace, and stopped beneath the terrace of
the Harem: there was no moon; and the clear stars, which were dropped in
silver over the purple mantle of the sky, did not betray the secret of
the bold midnight visiter. The Princess bent her ear eagerly against the
lattice: her brow flushed, and her breath came quick—her heart had not
deceived her—it was indeed the Pasha; and soon a soft strain of music
swelled upon the air; and words of passion blending with the melody,
taught her that this was his first spirit-offering to his bright young
love.

Oh! how, as she stood beside the casement, did she sigh for moonlight,
when, despite the envious lattices, she might have looked upon her
princely lover, and written his image on her heart! But the song
ceased, and the caïque slowly dropped down with the current, and she
scarcely knew, when she at length withdrew to the innermost recesses of
her chamber, whether all had not been a dream.

Time passed on, and the wish of the fair Princess was accomplished. She
had looked upon the Pasha, as his gilded boat passed lingeringly beneath
the Imperial terrace—she had seen him as his proud steed curvetted
gracefully under the palace windows—she had beheld him by the light of
a bright moon when no eye save her’s was on him, and his low, soft
accents came sweetly to her ear on the evening wind—and she had learnt
to love him with all the fervour of a first affection. Now, indeed, she
valued every gift which came to her from him, not because he made the
world pay tribute to charm her fancy, but because he had first seen and
approved the offering.

And the Pasha learned that he was loved—the rose withering in the hot
sun amid the lattice-work of the Princess’s window—the long lock of
dark hair waving in the wind beside it—the little flower which
sometimes fell into the water beside the caïque during his midnight and
solitary visit, told him the tale that he most wished to hear. It is
even said that on one occasion he actually beheld by accident the face
of his betrothed wife: be this as it may, however, it is certain that
Mustapha Pasha returned to his Pashalik at Adrianople with his mind and
thoughts full of the Princess Mihirmàh, and with little taste for the
delay which was yet to take place ere his marriage.

The departure of the Pasha was the signal for court intrigue and court
cabal, for the determination of the Sultan had spread dismay among the
most influential of the nobles, who could ill brook the prospect of so
dangerous a rival near the throne as the powerful and popular Mustapha
Pasha. At the head of this party was the Seraskier, whose influence over
the Sultan had long been unbounded, whose wealth had purchased friends,
and whose favour had silenced enemies. He it was who first taught the
light of Imperial favour to shine on Halil Pasha, who had originally
been a groom in his own stables; and who ultimately determined Mahmoud
to receive his _protégé_ as the husband of his eldest daughter; a subtle
stroke of policy which secured to him a firm adherent, knit to his cause
by every bond of self-interest and gratitude; for the husband of the
Princess Salihè was the adopted son of the Seraskier, the object of his
munificence, and the sharer in his fortunes.

Thus, in lieu of a rival, whom his connexion with the Imperial family
might have rendered dangerous, the old and wily courtier secured a new
and influential ally, prompt to adopt his views and to further his
ambition. The proposed marriage of the younger Princess involved the
same risks, and demanded the same precautions; and it was consequently
not without emotion that the Seraskier learnt from the lips of the
Sultan that Mustapha Pasha was to be the new bridegroom.

He smiled as he heard it, and uttered the usual empty and meaningless
compliment of congratulation; but his heart obeyed not the prompting of
his words; and, as he left the Presence, he vowed a voiceless vow, that
with the help of Allah, the Governor of Adrianople should never be the
husband of the Princess Mihirmàh; for the more he reflected on the
subject, the more he felt the necessity of exerting all his energies to
prevent the domestication of Mustapha Pasha at court.

Young and handsome, he would be all powerful with his Imperial bride.
Wealthy and high-spirited, he would neither from necessity nor
inclination be amenable to his own dictation. Proverbially amiable, and
chivalrously generous, he was already the idol of his province, and
would soon become that of the capital; while his grasp of intellect and
soundness of judgment, would render it equally impossible to degrade him
into a dupe, or to use him as a tool.

Thus, then, the experienced courtier, whose career has been perhaps
without parallel in Turkish history—whose beard has grown grey under
the shadow of the Imperial throne—who has seen a hundred favourites
rise into greatness, flourish for a brief season, and finally leave
their dishonoured heads to bleach beneath a fierce sun, impaled above
the fatal Orta Kapoussi, or Middle Gate of the Seraglio, or niched in
gory grandeur beside the gilded entrance of the Sublime Porte; who
throughout his long career has never failed in any important undertaking
—the experienced courtier at once decided that Mustapha Pasha must not
be permitted to fill a station, which would invest him with the
privelege of thwarting his own plans, or of opposing his own party.[3]

Every Bey of the Imperial Household was in the interest of the
Seraskier. It could not well be otherwise; for, during the long years of
unchecked prosperity and unfailing favour which I have described, it
will be readily conceived that there was not an individual among them
who was not indebted to him for some benefit, which could be repaid only
by devotion to his wishes.

Nor were there wanting many among the Pashas themselves who were easily
taught to look with distrust and suspicion on the threatened rivalry of
the young and high-spirited Mustapha; and who readily enlisted in the
adverse party. Suffice it that the intrigue prospered: the Sultan first
insisted—then wavered—and finally, driven, despite himself, to a
compromise with the nobles in immediate contact with his person,
ultimately proposed the extraordinary expedient to which I have already
alluded; and with a weakness of purpose for which it were difficult to
account in a despotic monarch, determined to cast the obloquy of
irresolution from his own shoulders by leaving the fortunes of his
daughter in the hands of Fate—that blind divinity in whom the Turks put
such implicit trust, and on whom they philosophically fling the odium of
every untoward circumstance.

One stipulation he, however, made; that the name of Mustapha Pasha
should be among the seven chosen ones from whom the _felech_ of the
Princess was to select her a husband; and, having thus quieted his
Imperial conscience, he made his _namaz_ with all proper solemnity, ere
he calmly drew from beneath his prayer-carpet the name of Mohammed Saïd
Pasha!

But the affections cannot change so lightly as the will; and when it was
announced to the young Princess that she was to receive a new suitor,
and to banish all memory of him whom she had so long learnt to love, she
sank beneath the tidings; and rejected the consolations which were
officiously poured forth by her attendants. The Sultana-mother wept and
entreated; but for the first time her tears and her entreaties were
alike vain: the Princess only turned aside in despairing silence, or
bade them leave her to die alone, since death was all that remained to
her. Hours passed away; hours of dull, aching anguish that wrung and
withered her young heart; and they brought her food, but she put it
aside with loathing—and darkness came; but it yielded no rest to her;
and on the morrow her dim eyes and haggard cheek so terrified the
Sultana that she at once decided on communicating to her Imperial
partner the effect of his decision.

The Sultan came, and used every blandishment that could win, and every
threat that could terrify; but he failed to wrench the young fond heart
from its allegiance. The same trite commonplaces which rise
instinctively to the lips of all domestic despots, be they Christians or
Islamites, were duly set forth; but love spurns at argument; and the
Princess only replied by falling senseless into the arms of her slaves.
Days of suffering followed, during which she lay like a blighted flower
upon her cushions; hoping one moment against reason; and the next
resigning herself without a struggle to the deepest anguish of despair.

Time wore on, and at length she learnt that her destined husband had
arrived in the capital! Then came the gifts of the new suitor, and the
ceremonies of the betrothal; and she knew and felt that there was indeed
no longer any hope. The conviction was too much for her young strength;
and the courtiers were pouring forth their offerings, and the Pashas of
the provinces were pressing forward with their congratulations, while
the victim of state policy was lying on a sick bed, surrounded by tears
and lamentations.

And thus they decked her for the bridal, and carried her forth in her
gilded carriage to her new home; and she submitted passively, for she
knew that it was in vain to oppose her destiny. But when the proud and
happy Saïd Pasha had borne her in his arms to the state saloon of the
harem, preceded by dancing-girls, and fair slaves glittering with
jewels, and swinging censers of costly incense upon her path, and had
seated her on the brocaded divan only to throw himself at her feet, and
to vow himself to an existence of fond and grateful obedience to her
every wish; then did the woman-heart of the Princess flash forth as she
sternly commanded him to leave her. The Pasha obeyed not; he believed
this coldness to be only a caprice of his Imperial bride, and he lost
himself in all the lover-like hyperbole which he doubted not would be
expected from him.

But the young bridegroom was not long suffered to be deluded by so
flattering a deceit, for the reply of the Princess to his protestations
was too direct and convincing, to admit of his indulging the faintest
doubt of his misfortune. Around her neck she wore a slight chain,
wrought in dark silk, similar to those to which the Turkish ladies
commonly attach an amulet; and for all answer she withdrew this chain,
and revealed to the heart-stricken Pasha the portrait of her first
suitor.

“It was the Sultan’s gift;” she said firmly, “I was told that he was to
be my husband, and they taught me to love him—I loved him ere I knew
that such a being as Saïd Pasha lived—I shall love him so long as this
heart has power to beat against his likeness. I will not deceive you; I
can look on you only with loathing: my fate is sealed; I shall soon lie
in the tomb of my fathers. Inshallàh—I trust in God—life is not
eternal, and the broken heart ceases at last to suffer.”

Saïd Pasha had triumphed: he had won an Imperial bride; but he was a
blighted man. He had seen Mustapha Pasha ride in the marriage train
which did honour to his own nuptials; but a few hours only had elapsed
ere he envied his discomfited rival the comparative happiness of
freedom.

That rival was, however, far from being reconciled to his fate,
irrevocable as it was. He forgot that he had lost a proud bride in the
memory of her youth, her beauty, and her affection. He lingered near her
regal dwelling at midnight to catch the reflection of a taper through
the lattices of one of its many windows, trusting that he might chance
to look upon the light which beamed on her. His marriage gift was the
most costly of all that glittered in her _trousseau_—and he saw the
different Pashas who had been called to court to swell the pageant,
depart to their provinces, without possessing the courage to follow
their example.

Many wondered why Mustapha Pasha, who was supreme at Adrianople,
remained in comparative subserviency at Stamboul; and all whispered
mysteriously of the change which had come over his nature. He was still
urbane and courteous, with a gracious word and a ready smile for all;
but the words came less freely, and the smiles were fainter, and even
wore at times a tinge of bitterness.

It was about three weeks subsequent to the Imperial marriage that an
Armenian jeweller completed one of the most costly brilliant ornaments
which had ever been seen, even in the Bezenstein of Constantinople. A
mass of immense diamonds were clustered together in its centre in the
form of a taper, at whose extremity a flame was burning brightly; and
this device was surrounded by a wreath of ivy leaves, amid which a moth
was nestled, mounted upon an elastic spring, that at the slightest
motion threw the insect upon the flame.

This noble jewel was, immediately on its completion, carried to the
palace of Mustapha Pasha, whence it was transported to the harem of the
Princess by a trusty messenger. No written Word accompanied the gift—it
told its own tale—and four-and-twenty hours had not elapsed from the
time in which the “mourning bride” clasped it in her turban, ere it was
intimated to Mustapha Pasha that he had the permission of his Sublime
Highness to return to his Pashalik with all convenient speed.

On the morrow he requested his parting audience of the Sultan, when
Mahmoud, probably regretting, as he looked upon the noble-minded
Mustapha, the wrong which he had been compelled to do him, prevented him
as he was in the act of kissing his foot, and, extending towards him his
Imperial hand, said blandly:—“Forget the past—it was not the will of
Allah that my intention in your favour should be fulfilled; but bear
with you my assurance that the esteem which I have long felt for you is
undiminished. Your presence is required at Adrianople—I am perfectly
content with your government—and two years hence I shall recall you to
Stamboul, to bestow on you the hand of my youngest daughter.”

The Pasha relinquished his hold of the Imperial fingers: the blood
mounted to his brow, and settled there, and the tone was proud, even to
haughtiness, with which he answered: “I obey the orders of your
Highness: by tomorrow’s dawn I shall be on my way to my Pashalik; while
I have life I will do my duty to my Sultan and to my province; but I
shall never again aspire to make the happiness of an Imperial
Princess—were I ten times more worthy than I am, still should I be no
meet husband for a Sultan’s daughter. May the blessing of Allah rest on
the representative of the Prophet; and may the hour not be far distant
when Mustapha Pasha may lay down in the service of his sovereign a life
which has now become valueless!”

The high-hearted noble departed from the court, bearing with him the
memory of his passion and of his wrong. The Seraskier sought to console
the disappointed bridegroom by heaping upon him the most munificent
gifts; and the Princess, in the solitude of her harem, yet wastes her
hours in tears, gazing upon the portrait of her lost lover, and
imploring of the Prophet an early deliverance from the anguish of a
breaking heart.



CHAPTER X.


  Yenekeui—The Festival of Fire—Commemorative
  Observance—Fondness of the Orientals for
  Illumination—Frequency of Fires in Constantinople—Dangerous
  Customs—Fire Guard—The Seraskier’s Tower—Disagreeable
  Alarum—Namik Pasha—The Festival
  Localized—Veronica—Bonfires—Therapia and Buyukdèrè—Singular
  Effect of Light—The Armenian Heroine—A Wild Dream.


Shortly after our return from Broussa, we took possession of a house
which we had rented for the summer at Yenekeui, and we had only been
established there a few days when we had an opportunity of witnessing
one of the most ancient of the Greek commemorative usages,—the
“Festival of Fire”—instituted in memory of the second capture of
Constantinople by the Cæsars.

Some years ago the Greek quarter of the city was illuminated on this
anniversary, as well as the villages occupied principally by their
nation: but the Turks no longer permit this demonstration of rejoicing,
as well from jealousy of its subject, as from the danger attendant on
all such manifestations in a city where fires are so frequent, and the
nature of the buildings so unfortunately calculated to encourage the
evil.

For my own part, after having passed a few nights in Constantinople,
both in Turkish and Greek houses, I was only surprised that the
frightful conflagrations which so frequently occur do not take place
every week instead of ten or twelve times a-year. Like the husbandman
who plants his vines, and sows his grain at the base of a volcano,
apparently unconscious or careless that the next eruption may lay waste
his lands, and negative his labour, the inhabitants of Stamboul appear
never to reflect that fire is one of their deadliest enemies, but wander
over their wooden dwellings with their lighted chibouks, or their
unsnuffed candles; as heedlessly as though both were innoxious: while
their attendants traverse carpeted and curtained apartments, carrying
fragments of live coal between their iron pincers to supply the pipes.

Nor is this all. The Tandour is a fire-conductor of the first class: the
wooden frame that covers the charcoal ashes is frequently very slight,
and the silken draperies which veil it are generally lined with cotton,
and not infrequently wadded with the same inflammable material. The
effect of the Tandour is highly soporific; and it consequently occurs
that persons who fall asleep under its influence, by some sudden
movement overturn the frame-work, when their own clothes as well as the
coverings of the Tandour come in contact with the hidden fire: the
chintz-covered sofas are ready to feed the flame, and the natural
consequence ensues.

Still more dangerous is the system of drying linen during the winter,
which is universal throughout the city. A frame, formed of wooden laths,
about three feet high, and shaped like a beehive, is placed above a
small brazier, filled with heated charcoal; and the linen is flung over
this frame, one garment above another, where it gradually dries. But
should the laundress omit to remove the lower portions of it directly
that they are free from damp, they ignite, and the whole becomes one
burning mass.

That in a country where fires are so frequent, such reckless usages
should be persisted in by individuals, or permitted by the authorities,
appears incredible; while they account if not satisfactorily, at least
fully, for the constant recurrence of the evil. Nor can you, even should
you desire to do so, remain in ignorance of the calamity whenever it
occurs; for you are constantly awakened in the night by the heavy
strokes of an iron-pointed pike upon the rough pavement of the streets,
and you hear the deep voice of the fire-guard announce the quarter
where the flames have broken out.

As there is a regular sentinel, relieved every second hour, on the
look-out for fires in the upper gallery of the Seraskier’s Tower, which
is like a glass lantern, having windows on all sides; every
conflagration, however unimportant, is instantly announced by the
patroles appointed to the different quarters of the city; and thus a
week rarely passes in which you are not startled by the boding cry of
the guard—“Fire at Scutari—a—” “Fire at Galata—a”—Up go all the
windows of the neighbourhood; and, when the locality of the accident is
ascertained, those who have property or connexions in the quarter hasten
to the scene of action: while those who have no individual interest in
the misfortune, close their casements, and creep back to bed, rejoicing
that they have escaped for the present the dreaded catastrophe.

All the Pashas resident in the Capital or its immediate neighbourhood
are obliged to attend every fire that occurs, and to assist in its
extinction; so that they frequently have a very busy time of it; and
Namik Pasha—the fêted and favoured Namik Pasha—probably from personal
experience of the dangers attendant on the employment, has, since his
return to Turkey, cited, as his two most admirable memories of England,
her Pantomimes and her Fire-men!

The Greek “Festival of Fire” has now, in consequence of the prohibition
to which I have alluded, become local in its celebration: and the
villages of Buyukdèrè, Therapia, and Yenekeui, have the exclusive honour
of commemorating the conquest of the Cæsars.

We embarked on board our caïque at dusk, and having with some difficulty
made our way through the floating crowd that thronged the stream, we
landed, and proceeded to the house of Veronica, the heroine of Mac
Farlane’s Novel of the “Armenians.” From the windows, which commanded
the little bay where the rejoicings were to take place, we had a full
view of the whole ceremony, and a most extraordinary exhibition it was.

Two artificial islands had been formed in the bay, and heaped with dried
wood, and other inflammable materials, and on that which was furthest
from the shore, the pile was surmounted by a caïque: another line of
fires was prepared for a considerable distance along the coast; and in
every direction men were flitting about with paper lanterns, conducting
the different parties of visiters from their boats to the residences of
their friends. Therapia was concealed behind a point of land; but
Buyukdèrè was visible in the distance, like a line of fire hemming in
the glittering waters which reflected afar off the unusual brilliancy.
The flames, as they rose and fell, flashed and faded upon the casements
of the houses that skirted the shore, with an effect quite magical:
while the sombre coast of Asia, without one glimmering light to relieve
its stately outline, cut in dusky magnificence along the cloudless sky.

At a sudden signal the fires were ignited: and the condemned caïque was
soon one graceful mass of flame. But the most extraordinary portion of
the spectacle was the crowd of men, dressed only in wide cotton drawers,
their partially shaven heads bare, and their arms tossed high in the
air, who were wading up to their necks in the sea, and feeding the fires
with shrieks and yells worthy of a chorus of demons. At intervals, they
all rushed out of the water, and sprang across the flames of the huge
fires which were burning along the coast, looking like infernal spirits
celebrating their unholy orgies; and then, plunging once more into the
stream, they danced round the lesser island in a circle, to the wild
chanting of the spectators on the shore.

The effect of the whole scene was thrilling. The bright-barrelled
firelock of the Turkish sentinel, who was posted at the battery above
the village, flashed as he trod his beat, in the fierce light which fell
upon it. The line of heights behind the houses was covered with
spectators: the women seated on mats and cushions, and the men standing
in groups among them, all as distinctly visible as beneath a noon-day
sun; while, in the opposite direction, the ripple of the Bosphorus ran
shimmering along like liquid gold, and the caïques, wedged together as
closely as though they had been one compact body, gleamed out gaily with
their crimson rugs and gilded ornaments.

The same wild sports continued for two hours, gradually decreasing in
violence, as the fatigue of the fierce and unremitted exertions of the
actors made itself felt; when the Wallachian band, and an immense fire
kindled beneath the windows of the house in which we were passing the
evening, and which was formed of wicker baskets wedged one within the
other, with a tall tree planted in the midst, that produced a very
singular effect, gradually withdrew the crowd from the expiring glories
of the coast; and as the last note of the Sultan’s March died away, the
throng dispersed, and we were left to the undisturbed society of our
friends.

Veronica could never have been handsome; the expression of her
countenance is sweet and agreeable, but her features are neither regular
nor fine; nor does she possess the low soft voice which is so great a
charm in the Turkish women, and to which the coarse language of the
Armenian nation does not lend itself. She is rather under the middle
size, calm in her manner, and graceful in her carriage; and her sable
dress and melancholy history invest her with an interest that mere
beauty would fail to excite. As I conversed with the widowed wife, and
saw her shrink beneath the night air like a withered flower, and fold
her furred pelisse closer about her with her thin wasted hand, I could
have wept over her faded youth and blighted feelings. It is painfully
evident that the memory of her error and of her wrongs sits heavily upon
her, and that it is a poisoned chain whose fetters can be flung off only
in the grave. Even Time, the great physician of all moral ills, has no
power over a grief like her’s.

Before we returned home, we rowed slowly towards Therapia; which, etched
in fire, and loud with music, threw its bright shadow far along the
waves. Caïques glided past us every instant with lights at their stern,
whence the sounds of laughter or of song swept cheerily over the ripple;
and more than once we narrowly escaped collision with a mirth-laden
bark, whose conductors were pressing forward in all the heedless
eagerness of hilarity.

It was near midnight ere we withdrew from the busy scene: and when I
fell asleep, I dreamt that Veronica was the wife of one of the Cæsars;
and that a young and dark-eyed Greek prince was leaping over the burning
city of Constantinople, while a portly Armenian, who had been of the
evening party, was filling his unwieldy calpac with water, as he stood
breast-high in the Bosphorus, and handing it to a set of wild Indians
who were howling and dancing amid the flames.

Truly my sleeping visions produced a second “Festival of Fire.”



CHAPTER XI.


  A Chapter on Caïques—The Sultan’s Barge—Princes and
  Pashas—The Pasha’s Wife—The Admiralty Barge—The Fruit
  Caïque—The Embassy Barge—The Omnibus Caïque—Turkish
  Boatmen—The Caïque of Azmè Bey—Pleasant Memories—The
  Chevalier Hassuna de Ghies—Natural Politeness of the
  Turks—Turkey and Russia—Sultan Mahmoud—Confusion of
  Tongues—Arif Bey—Imperial Present—The Fruit of
  Constantinople—The Two Banners—The Harem—Azimè Hanoum.


Should I ever have time, I murmured to myself as we darted down the
Bosphorus in the caïque of Azmè Bey, with whom we were engaged to dine,
and who had obligingly sent his boat and his Dragoman to facilitate our
arrival at Dolma Batchè:—Should I ever have time, I will write a
chapter on caïques.

A more graceful subject could scarcely be selected. From the gilded
barges of the Sultan, to the common passage-boat that plies within the
port, the caïques are all beauty; and, as they fly past you, their long
and lofty prows dipping downward towards the current at every stroke of
the oars, you are involuntarily reminded of some aquatic bird,
moistening the plumage of its glistening breast in the clear ripple.

That bright mass of gilding and glitter which is flying over the water,
shaped like a marine monster, and gleaming in the sunshine, is one of
the Imperial barges. Mahmoud is returning from the mosque. Hark! to the
booming of the loud cannon, which announces his departure from the coast
of Europe, for his delicious summer-palace of Beglierbey; the most
lovely (for that is the correct term)—the most lovely object on the
Bosphorus—rising like the creation of a twilight dream beneath the
shadow of an Asian mountain—a fanciful edifice, looking as though its
model had been cut out of gold paper in an hour of luxurious indolence,
and carried into execution during a fit of elegant caprice.

The long, dark, crescent-shaped caïque immediately in the wake of the
Sultan, with its three gauze-clad rowers, and its flashing ornaments,
carries a Pasha of the Imperial suite. He is hidden beneath the red
umbrella which the attendant, who is squatted upon the raised stern of
the boat, is holding carefully over him.

You may see a third bark, just creeping along under the land; a light,
buoyant, glittering thing, with a crimson drapery fringed with gold
flung over its side, and almost dipping into the water; a negress is
seated behind her mistress, with a collection of yellow slippers strown
about her; and at the bottom of the boat, reclining against a pile of
cushions, and attended by two young slaves, you may distinguish the
closely-veiled Fatma or Leyla, whose dark eyes are seen flashing out
beneath her pure white yashmac, and whose small, fair, delicately
rounded, and gloveless hand draws yet closer together the heavy folds of
her feridjhe as she remarks the approach of another caïque to her own.
She is the wife of some Pasha—the favourite wife, it may be—musing as
she darts along the water, with what new toy her next smile shall be
bought. And now her light boat is lost to view, for it has shot beneath
the arched entrance of the court of yonder stately harem; and you can
only follow the fair Turk in thought to the cool, shady, spacious
saloons of her prison-palace, where the envious yashmac is withdrawn in
deference to the yet more jealous lattice; and where the heavy feridjhe
is flung off to reveal the graceful antery, the gold-embroidered vest,
and the hanging sleeves.

But what is this which is advancing towards us with a heavy plash, and
flinging its long broad shadow far before it? It is the Admiralty Barge,
manned with fourteen rowers, and freighted with His Excellency Achmet
Pasha, bound on some mission to the fleet. The red caps and white
jackets of the crew form a cheerful contrast from the dark mass at the
stern of the barge, where the High Admiral, _pro tempore_, is seated,
surrounded by a group of inferior officers. His chibouk-bearer is
screening him from the sun; while his secretary, with a sheet of paper
resting upon his knee, is writing from the dictation of the Minister.
There is a great deal of business transacted on the Bosphorus; the Turks
never require a table on which to write, and they are consequently but
little inconvenienced by locality, when a necessity exists for profiting
by the passing hour.

And this slowly-moving bark, rather dropping down with the current, than
impelled by the efforts of its two Greek rowers, and which looks so cool
and so pretty with all that pile of green leaves heaped upon its stern,
is one of the fruit caïques for the supply of the houses overhanging the
Bosphorus. The wild shrill cry of the fruiterers announcing the nature
of their merchandize, swells upon the air; and, as you pass close beside
the boat, the wind sporting among the fresh branches that are strewn
over the baskets, blows aside the leaves, and the tempting fruit is
revealed to you in all its cool ripe beauty.

And yonder flies the Union Jack of England! It is the splendid barge of
the British Embassy, which is darting along with its seven rowers: the
Ambassador is engaged with a newspaper: you may know him by his purple
_fèz_, as well as by an aristocracy of bearing and demeanour which
distinguishes him from all the foreign ministers at the Ottoman Court;
and which the Turks both feel and appreciate.

Very different both in form and freight is the dark, slow, people-laden
passage-caïque, just coming round the point, and which is one of several
that ply between Constantinople and Buyukdèrè; and carry passengers the
whole length of the Bosphorus at the moderate charge of thirty paras a
head, a sum scarcely equivalent to twopence English. These Omnibus-boats
have their outside as well as their inside passengers: and the
individuals who sit upon the gunwale, with their legs hanging over the
side, and their feet resting upon the spar which is lashed on to it for
their especial convenience, effect, by the occupation of this amphibious
seat, the saving of ten paras upon a voyage of about four hours.

The Caïquejhes are, generally speaking, a very fine race of men. The
Greeks are esteemed the best boatmen on the Bosphorus: but all the
private caïques travel with a speed that it fatigues the eye to follow.
Some of these men utter a disagreeable grunt as they ply their oars,
which would induce a stranger to imagine that they suffered from the
exertion; but the habit is induced by their having worked too hard in
their youth, and thus injured their lungs; and it is considered so great
an objection to them, that no individual who retains caïquejhes in his
pay will willingly hire a man labouring under this infirmity.

But enough—or I shall be betrayed into really writing the chapter of
which I dreamed in my delicious idleness, as the handsome caïque of the
Bey shot along, while the dragoman named to us the owner of each painted
palace near which we passed. What a confusion of Pashas and Beys—of
Excellencies and Effendis! It was impossible to remember one half of
them; and I have already dwelt so frequently upon the sea-washed palaces
of the Bosphorus, that, instead of repeating an admiration which rather
grew upon me than became weakened by frequent indulgence; an admiration
which it is impossible not to feel, and equally impossible to excite by
mere description; I will e’en run the caïque beside the little pier near
the Imperial residence of Dolma Batchè, and follow the steps of the
dragoman to the hospitable home of his master.

Few things afforded us more gratification, during our residence in the
East, than the manner in which Azmè Bey spoke of, and felt towards,
England. Sincerity is decidedly not a national characteristic of the
Turks; but there are nevertheless many individuals among them who may
fairly lay claim to this great social virtue; and I unhesitatingly rank
Azmè Bey as one of these. His gracious and grateful memories of those
who professed a friendship for him during his European sojourn; his
eagerness to repay by every exertion in his power the attention which is
shewn to him; and his frank, unostentatious politeness, lent a charm to
his manner, and a value to his kindness, which enhanced them tenfold;
and I do not hesitate to affirm, that did all such of his countrymen as
have resided in England, feel and act towards the English as Azmè Bey
has done since his return, the sentiments of the Turkish people would be
greatly changed with regard to them, both individually and as a nation.

We found the Bey at the head of the stairs waiting to receive us; and
the first person whom I remarked in the saloon of the Salemliek was M.
Hassuna de Ghies, whom I had known in London, and with whom I was
delighted to renew my acquaintance. This talented and amiable man is now
the editor of the Constantinopolitan Journal; and his acquirements and
knowledge are justly appreciated by his Imperial master; who, besides
other marks of his favour, has, since his return from Europe, been
pleased, as an especial token of his regard, to change his name, which
he considered to be too difficult of pronunciation, into Hussein Madzhar
Effendi;[4] an alteration by no means calculated to diminish its
difficulty to European lips. He was seated on the divan, smoking his
chibouk, which he relinquished on our entrance; and, ere long, he was
busily engaged in conversing with my father in English; while I was
undergoing the ceremony of presentation to a Greek lady, who, with a
delicacy which did him honour, Azmè Bey had invited, in order to
relieve me from the restraint and _désagrément_ of finding myself the
only female of the party.

I mention the circumstance in order to prove to those who are inclined
to treat the Turks as barbarians, and to speak of them as such, that
there are many among them who may be both wronged and wounded by such an
opinion, and who are capable of convincing them by their actions that it
is unfounded. The Turks require only time, example, and a perfect
confidence in their European allies, to become a polished as well as a
civilized nation; they possess all the elements of civilization, but
they are flung back by events—they are blinded by subtlety—they are
hoodwinked by deception. Were they suffered to act upon their own
untrammelled impressions, they would not long remain even in their
present state of partial inertness: but Turkey is now in the position of
a child, to whom its nurse, in order to cajole it into quiet, presents a
mirror, which, viewed in one direction, widens the object that it
reflects; and it has been taught that this magnified mass represents
its own strength and beauty; and when it has been suffered to sate
itself with the false image that has thus been placed before it, the
glass is reversed by its wily Mentor, and the shrunken, wasted, and
almost shapeless thing that succeeds is made object of wonder and of
pity, as the narrow and despicable policy which would fain persuade the
Turks that they have need of counsel and of help. The more enlightened
among them do not believe this; they are even convinced to the contrary:
but the argument produces its effect upon the mass, and the arm of power
is weakened and paralyzed by the weight of public opinion.

Turkey is like a stately forest-tree which has been cankered at the
core, but which has shot forth young and vigorous branches after it had
been condemned as on the eve of perishing. A weighty pressure has fallen
upon the fresh green shoots; but let it only be removed, and once more
the branches will stretch broadly and boldly forth, and cast their long
shadows far across the earth.

Sultan Mahmoud would fain be the regenerator of his country; but he
cannot resist, single-handed, an enemy more powerful, and, above all,
more subtle than himself. The Turks are bad politicians—they do not
hold the keys of their own citadel; and their game is overlooked on all
sides. Had they sincere assistance, all Europe would soon be convinced
of that to which she now appears blind—the great moral power of the
Turkish people, and the incalculable advantages of their alliance.

I scarcely know how I have suffered myself to be deluded into this
digression; and my only apology for its indulgence is the earnest
interest which I have learnt to feel in the existence of a great and
magnificent Empire, bowed beneath the smiling sophistries of its most
dangerous enemy.

The shady saloon of Azmè Bey, with its many windows, all opening upon a
delicious garden overhung with fruit trees, and forming a leafy screen
amid which we caught here and there a blue bright glimpse of the
Bosphorus, was half filled with guests, to whom we were presented with
the ease and politeness of intuitive good breeding; and in a few minutes
we were all engaged in an animated conversation, or rather set of
conversations. The Greek lady was discussing the merits of the divan, in
Italian, with a gentleman near her; M. de Ghies was still talking
English with my father; and the Bey and myself were busy with Von
Hammer’s work on the East, and communicating our opinions in French: nor
was this all—for a party of the guests were murmuring out their soft,
harmonious Turkish at the other extremity of the apartment; while the
voices of the Arabs in the outer room came to us at intervals, as they
passed and repassed the door of the saloon in which we sat.

The announcement of a new visitor at length summoned the Bey from the
room; and he shortly afterwards returned, and presented to me Arif Bey,
the Paymaster General of the Imperial Forces, who had done me the honour
to desire my acquaintance; and, hearing that I was the guest of his
friend, had taken this opportunity of making it. He was rather a
heavy-looking young man, of about seven-and-twenty; with very small
black eyes, as round and bright as jet beads, an extremely pale
complexion, and who, as he did not speak a word of French, kept the
dragoman in constant, and frequently very unprofitable employment, in
translating nearly every sentence I uttered. He was very carefully
dressed; and, in addition to the gold sword-belt about his waist, he
wore white gloves and a black silk stock; articles of apparel which are
generally dispensed with altogether by the Turks. He had just commenced
studying French, under the auspices of Azmè Bey; and, meanwhile, he
smoked with a perseverance which was perfectly amusing. The Sultan has
lately done him the honour of selecting a wife for him; a boon which he,
of course, received with all becoming gratitude at the Imperial hand;
and he is now building a very handsome residence on the border of the
Bosphorus, near the Palace of Beshiktash.

The dinner was served in the European style, and the table was
remarkably well appointed. French wines were in abundance, and champagne
and Edinburgh ale were not wanting; but the dessert was the charm of the
repast. The fruit of Constantinople has a perfume that I never met with
elsewhere; and, did the natives suffer it to ripen fully, which from
their excessive fondness for it they very rarely do, much of it would
probably be unrivalled for the delicacy of its flavour. Pyramids of this
delicious fruit occupied the angles of the table, the most delicate
pastry was ranged beside it, and the centre was occupied by a
castellated tower, formed of sweetmeats, and surmounted by the British
and Ottoman banners linked together. From this dish alone the Bey
declined to serve his guests, lest he should disturb the union of the
two flags, even symbolically; and many gracious things were said on the
subject both by himself and his friends; nor had he neglected to turn
the Banner of the Crescent towards the head of the table, at which he
had requested me to preside; while the Union Jack of England floated
over his own plate.

When we withdrew from table, I went, accompanied by the Greek lady whom
I have already named, to pay a visit to the harem of the Bey. A door
opened from the hall of the Salemliek into a second, or inner garden, to
which we descended by a flight of steps; and after having traversed a
covered walk, we found ourselves at the entrance of the harem, where a
black slave, with extremely long hair, plaited in numerous braids which
were looped about her shoulders, preceded us to the gallery opening into
the women’s apartments; but, ere we had ascended the whole stair, we
were met by the young wife of the Bey, who, taking my hand with the
sweetest smile in the world, led me forward to her cool, pretty,
English-looking parlour, where I found myself in the midst of chairs,
sofas, and tables; and opposite to one of the loveliest women whom I had
seen in the country.

The Bey followed us in the space of a few moments, and I could not
refrain from expressing to him my admiration of his wife. She scarcely
looked like an oriental woman, for her large black eyes, in lieu of the
sleepy, dreamlike expression so general in the East, were full of
brightness and intelligence; and her dark hair, instead of being
concealed beneath the painted handkerchief, or cut straight across her
forehead, hung in graceful curls about her fair young brow, which was as
pure and smooth as marble.

She was just eighteen, and neither dye nor paint had ever sullied the
purity of her complexion; while the faint tinge of red that relieved the
snowy whiteness of her cheek, looked as though it nestled there almost
unconsciously; and at times, as she conversed, it deepened into a blush
that heightened the effect of her glowing beauty. Her dress, although of
Turkish form, was partly of European arrangement; her purple silk vest
was folded closely about her waist, and met beneath her long and
graceful throat; her figure was beautiful; and the little foot that
peeped out from under the black satin pantaloon, was covered by a
stocking of snowy white. Her antery was of English bombazine, sprinkled
with coloured flowers; she wore no henna on her hands; and when she had
fastened the carnations which I presented to her, among her rich,
dark hair, she was the very creature who would have inspired the gifted
pencil of Pickersgill—so fair, so young, so exquisitely graceful, and
so beautifully oriental.

I learnt without surprise that she belonged to one of the first families
of Constantinople, and that she had received (for a Turkish female) an
excellent education. She looked it all; and the books that were strown
about her apartment, and the little inkstand that stood upon the table
beside the chair on which she sat, appeared by no means displaced, even
although I saw them in a Turkish harem.

The party was shortly augmented by the entrance of the Bey’s mother, who
led by the hand a sweet little girl of ten or eleven years of age, his
daughter by a former marriage, whose mother died previously to his
residence in England; and they were followed by his aunt and his young
sister, a child of about the same age as his own.

I lingered for upwards of two hours in the harem, where coffee was
served by the fair wife of the Bey, with a smiling graciousness that
convinced me of my welcome; and when, on my departure, she accompanied
me to the foot of the stairs, and assured me, according to the oriental
custom, that the house and all that it contained were at my disposal,
she coupled the ceremony with a request that I would come and see her
again; and so earnestly was it expressed, that I did not hesitate to
assure her of the pleasure which I should derive from a repetition of my
visit.

How I longed to take her by the hand, and lead her forth from her pretty
prison, to “witch the world” with her young beauty—but alas! the door
of the Salemliek closed behind me; and as the Bey came forward to
conduct me into the saloon where my father was waiting for me to take
our leave, I lost sight of the fair and graceful Azimè Hanoum.



CHAPTER XII.


  The Bosphorus in Summer—The Tower of Galata—Mosque of
  Topphannè—Summer Palace of the Grand Vizier—Seraï of the
  Princess Salihè—Seraïs and Salemliks—Palace of Azmè
  Sultane—Turkish Music—Token Flowers—Palace of the Princess
  Mihirmàh—The Hill of the Thousand Nightingales—Turkish,
  Greek, and Armenian Houses—Cleanliness of the Orientals—The
  Armenians—Cemetery of Isari—The Castle of Europe—Mahomet and
  the Greeks—Village of Mirgheun—The Haunted Chapel of St.
  Nicholas—Palace of Prince Calimachi—Imperial Jealousy—Death
  of Calimachi—The Bosphorus by Moonlight—Love of the Orientals
  for Flowers—Depth of the Channel—An Imperial Brig—Turkish
  Justice—Fortunes of the Turkish Fleet—Sudden
  Transitions—Influence of Russian Sophistry—The Sultan’s
  Physicians—Naval Appointments—Rigid Discipline—The Penalty
  of Disobedience—The Death-Banquet—Tahir Pasha—Radical
  Remedy—Vice of the Turkish System of Government—Unkiar
  Skelessi—A Mill and a Manufactory—Pic Nics—Arabian
  Encampment—Bedouin Beauty—Poetical Locality.


Nothing can be richer nor more various than the shores of the Bosphorus
on a sunshiny day in summer; and many a delightful hour have I spent, in
company with my father, in the contemplation of the glorious succession
of pictures which they offer to the lover of the beautiful in nature.
One delicious morning, when not a flitting cloud marred the clear lustre
of the sky, when a gentle breeze murmured over the ripple, and the song
of the birds swelled cheerily upon the wind, we resolved to enjoy them
to their fullest extent; and, as our caïque darted along the European
coast, a thousand interesting objects presented themselves.

[Illustration: Miss Pardoe del.

Day & Haghe Lith^{rs}. to the King.

THE SERAGLIO POINT, from the HEIGHT of PERA

_Henry Colburn, 13 G^t. Marlborough S^t. 1837._]

The tower of Galata, rife with memories of the days when the dreaded
Janissaries ruled the destinies of the Empire, crowned the height,
which, clothed with houses and with verdure, swept downward to the port.
The spiral minarets of the Imperial mosque of Topphannè were flaunting
their golden glories in the light; the sounds of busy life were on the
wind; and the port once past, the wide artillery-ground, and the stately
barrack were succeeded by the summer palace of the Grand Vèzir, standing
proudly against the current, as though, like the Emperor of old, it
dared the wave to overwhelm it. The wide sweep of hilly country,
gradually closing, and becoming more lofty in the rear of the buildings
that fringe the stream, was clothed with trees of every tint; from among
which the many-coloured houses peeped forth in the most picturesque
irregularity. Here and there a gleaming minaret shot upwards into the
clear Heaven from amid a cluster of plum-coloured Judas trees laden with
blossom, or a clump of limes filling the air with perfume; and leaving
the dark spiral cypresses far beneath it; as the spirit, soaring above
the earth, outtravels the gloom and care from which it frees itself.

What a line of palaces stretched along the coast! And what a wilderness
of gardens, climbing the steeps behind them, made the background of the
picture no inapt representation of fairy-land; while at intervals a
little bay formed a delicious nook occupied by country-houses, and
terraced-coffee-shops, where the luxurious Osmanli smoked his pipe, and
inhaled his tiny cup of mocha, amid sights and sounds to which the world
can probably produce no parallel.

The stately serail of the Princess Salihè, and the modest palace of her
less high-born husband, which is attached like an excrescence to the
far-spreading edifice occupied by the harem of his Imperial partner,
stands upon a spot where the stream widens, as if to reflect more
perfectly the golden shores that hem it in.

There is something amusing enough to a foreigner in the one-sided
dwellings of the Sultan’s sons-in-law. Without the palace as well as
within, they are constantly reminded of the superiority of their
Imperial spouses. As they glide along in their gilded caïques, they pass
the harem, with its tall doors of bronze, and golden lattices; its
far-stretching terraces, and guarded avenues; and they arrive before the
small landing-place which gives ingress to their own diminutive
salemliek, with its single entrance, and its window draperies of white
cotton.

You cannot pass the Palace of Azmè Sultane, the elder sister of the
Sultan, without being saluted by the sounds of music. The ladies of her
harem are many of them consummate musicians, according to Turkish ideas
of harmony; and the tinkle of the zebec, the long notes of the violin,
the ringing rattle of the tambourine, and a chorus of female voices, are
so constantly sweeping over the water through the closed lattices, that
your boatmen universally slacken their pace as they reach the Seraïl.
Oriental music requires distance to mellow it: and when it floats along
the water, as though it rose from the ocean caves; and you suffer your
imagination to dwell upon the white arms which are tossed in air as the
silver wheels of the elastic tambourine ring out; and the delicate
fingers that press the strings, and the rich red lips and large dark
eyes that lend new grace to the wild and bounding melodies of the
country—you are almost ready to fancy for the moment, that Apollo must
have first swept his lyre in a Turkish harem.

While you look fixedly towards the lattices, as though to search for the
embodiment of your romantic fancies, you may discover proofs that the
community is not one vowed to the rosary, though it may wear the veil.
Here it is an orange attached by a lock of hair to the outer frame of
the small centre window of the trellice-work; there it is a marigold
suspended by a red ribbon; while, partially concealed, and twined amid
the minute squares of the jealous screen, you may perhaps discover a
small cluster of roses.

This is the very land of practical romance!

An arrow’s flight beyond the Palace of the elder Sultana, stands that of
the Imperial bride of Saïd Pasha; a long, irregular, rose-coloured pile,
pleasantly situated at the mouth of a lovely bay, whose shores are
bright with groves and many-tinted villas; while in the distance, where
the channel again narrows, the castles of Europe and Asia may be seen
looming out against the pure blue of the sky. We loitered at this sweet
spot for a brief space, and then, darting once more forward, soon
arrived under the “Hill of the Thousand Nightingales.” Rightly is it
named, for the mid-day air was vocal with their melody, and the dense
foliage of the forest trees quivered with their song; while, as the
melancholy music came to us along the water, its sadness was deepened by
the aspect of a few scattered tombs gleaming out amid the rank
underwood. The variety of timber which clothed the eminence formed such
varying shades of green; from the bright soft tint of the water-willow,
whose flexile branches swayed in the breeze like silken streamers, to
the tall, dark, silent cypresses, that it was a study for a landscape
painter.

Beyond this lovely hill, the shore is edged with Greek, Armenian, and
Turkish houses; and here commences the _moral_ interest of the locality.
The dwellings of the raïahs are, when of any extent, almost universally
painted of two different colours on the outside, in order to give them
the appearance of separate tenements, and thus deceive the passers-by;
while those of the Turks themselves are perfectly illustrative of the
momentary condition of their owners.

The Osmanli is the creature of the present; he never falls back upon the
past; he has no glorious memories to wile him from himself; every page
of his history is shadowed over by some gloomy recollection—nor dare he
dwell upon the future, for he is the subject of a despotic government:
the proud Pasha of to-day may be headless, or at best houseless
to-morrow; and hence, the premature decay of three-fourths of the
Turkish dwellings.

When an individual becomes possessed of power, he buys or builds a
residence suited to his brightened fortunes: he lavishes his
revenue—why should he hoard it? it can only excite the cupidity of the
Sultan, and accelerate his disgrace; or awaken the jealousy of his
rivals, and insure his ruin. He makes his house gay without, and
convenient within; but all its accessories are ephemeral—the paint
which he spreads over the surface remains fresh for a year, and that
suffices him. Perchance it may outlast his favour; should it not do so,
it is no unpleasant task to renew it; and if it should, he contents
himself with the weather-stained walls of a more golden season. Once in
disgrace, he repairs only just sufficiently to defy the weather, and
troubles himself no further. And thus, after you have been a few months
in the country, and have studied in some degree the nature and habits of
the people, you may give a shrewd guess as you ride along, at the past
and present position of the owner of every edifice that fringes the
Bosphorus.

The courtier has raised a pile which looks as though it had been
finished only yesterday; the walls are so bright, and the lattices are
so perfect—the blue ripple chafes against the marble steps that lead to
the columned portico; and the feathery acacias nestle among their
blossoming boughs, gilded kiosks, and lordly terraces.

The slighted favourite has still servants lounging about his door, and a
stately landing-place beside which his caïque dances on the wave; but a
shade has past over the picture: the summer sun and the winter wind have
deadened the bright blue or the soft olive of the edifice, and here and
there a slender bar is rent away from the discoloured lattices. The
fair forest trees still wave along the covered terrace, but the steps
are grass-grown, and the flower-vases are overthrown—they might be
replaced; but it is better policy to let them suffer with their master.

The dwelling of the exile is still more distinguishable. The shutters
are hanging loose and beating in the wind; the broken casements no
longer exclude the weather; the lattices are wrenched away; the
terrace-wall is falling inch by inch into the wave; the rank grass is
forcing its way through the crevices of the marble floor; the garden
kiosks are roofless; and the green fresh boughs are flaunting in the
sunshine, mocking the desolation which they dominate.

Fathers do not, in Turkey, build, or plant, or purchase for their
sons—their fathers did it not for them—it would entail the probable
loss of both principle and interest.

The Armenian houses are peculiarly remarkable for their cleanliness. All
the inhabitants of Constantinople in decent circumstances are
scrupulously nice on this point, but the Armenians exceed all others:
every respectable dwelling being scoured throughout once a week with
soap and water. I have already, in speaking of this people, alluded to
their utter deficiency in sentiment and ambition: their lives are
frittered away in inconsequent details; and hence the attention and
interest are bestowed on comparatively insignificant objects, which
render them remarkable to strangers.

Another striking object on the coast is the romantic and beautiful
little cemetery of Isari, situated immediately beneath the Castle of
Europe, by which it is dominated as by the eagle-eïrie of some feudal
Baron. Rocks, rudely flung together, and in their perpendicular ascent
impervious to vegetation, sustain the foundations of the fortress; while
around and among them snatches of kindlier earth are covered with dense
rich underwood, from amid which tall graceful trees spring up, and
overshadow the gilded marble of many a columned grave-stone.

The Castle of Europe, standing immediately opposite to the valley
occupied by the castle on the other coast, is built after a singular
fancy. Tradition tells that Mahomet, from his Asiatic mountains,
contemplated with envy the lovely shores of Europe; and that, unable to
restrain his desire of possessing at least a speck of the fair
landscape, he entreated permission of the Greeks to be allowed to build
a small fortress as a landing-place, on their territory. The favour was
granted, the materials collected, and the present Castle of Europe
completed in six days; the ground-plan forming the characters of the
Prophet’s name.

Near the edge of the channel, a small arched door is pointed out to the
curious, whence the Janissaries who had become obnoxious to the reigning
Sultan, and whose especial prison it was, were ejected from the fortress
after they had been bow-strung, in order to be flung into the Bosphorus;
while, at the instant that the waters closed over them, a gun was fired
from one of the towers, to intimate to the Imperial despot that justice
had been done on his enemies.

This Castle, like the Fortresses of the Dardanelles, has been suffered
to fall into partial decay, but an order was lately issued for their
simultaneous restoration, and workmen are now busily employed in
repairing the united ravages of time and neglect.

The little village of Mirgheun, about a mile higher up the channel, is
one of the prettiest things on the Bosphorus. A long street, terminating
at the water’s edge, stretches far into the distance, its centre being
occupied by a Moorish fountain of white marble, overshadowed by limes
and acacias, beneath which are coffee terraces; constantly thronged with
Turks, sitting gravely in groups upon low stools not more than half a
foot from the ground, and occupied with their chibouks and mocha.

A short distance beyond Mirgheun the channel widens into a little bay,
one of whose extremities is occupied by a ruined house, standing in the
midst of a garden. This house, which was formerly a chapel dedicated to
St. Nicholas, is now the property of a Turk, but is never inhabited in
consequence of a superstition so wild, and withal so fully credited by
both Greeks and Musselmauns, that I must not pass it by unnoticed.

The chapel was desecrated during the Greek revolution; and taken
possession of, under the Imperial sanction, by a Turk, who, hurling the
effigy of the saint from the niche above the altar, converted the holy
shrine into a dwelling-place for himself and his family; but on the very
night on which he removed thither he was destined to pay the price of
his sacrilege, for he was found in the morning dead in his bed; an event
which so appalled his relatives that they immediately disposed of the
house to a neighbour, whose only child fell a victim, in the same
mysterious manner, to the vengeance of the outraged saint—a third
purchaser lost his wife by the like means; and the spot became from that
day the dread and horror of every True Believer; while it is an
extraordinary fact that its Infidel owner sent for a Greek Papas to
exorcise the evil spirit, or to conciliate the saint; and that a solemn
sprinkling of holy water and chanting of hymns took place; but it is
impossible to say with what success, as no tenant has subsequently been
found for the dwelling, which is rapidly crumbling to decay.

As you approach Therapia, you come upon a long stretch of wall, pierced
in one regular line with small square windows, and looking exactly like
an ill-kept manufactory; while the fine stone terrace that runs along
its whole façade, and the thickly-planted shrubberies which clothe the
hill behind it, have something so lordly and imposing in their aspect,
that your attention is irresistibly attracted, and your curiosity
awakened. Should your caïquejhes be Greeks, they will scarcely answer
your inquiry without muttering an imprecation through their clenched
teeth. It is the sorry remain of the palace of Prince Calimachi, seized
by the Sultan in a fit of despotic jealousy, and converted into a stable
for the Imperial stud, but so entirely disproportioned to its new office
as to be perfectly useless—the extent being immense, and the number of
the Sultan’s horses extremely limited; it has consequently been
abandoned to premature decay, and a noble object is thus blotted from
the landscape, and degraded into a deformity.

The son of the Prince was Dragoman to the Porte when the seizure was
made; but being a Greek, his court interest availed him nothing; his
ideas were too magnificent, and he paid the forfeit of his luxury.

But the misfortunes of Prince Calimachi did not end here. Exiled to
Broussa, he endeavoured in the bosom of his family to lose the memory of
his departed splendour; when he was one day invited to the palace of the
Pasha to encounter him at chess, of which game both were passionately
fond. Calimachi accepted the defiance with alacrity, for he knew not how
dearly he was to pay the gratification. While he was deliberating on a
move, the Pasha waved his hand, and in an instant the fatal cord was
about the throat of his victim. The bereaved wife was next summoned; and
though the dark ring of extravasated blood betrayed the deed which had
been done, she was told that the Prince had expired from an attack of
paralysis; nor did she dare to gainsay the falsehood; and thus she bore
away the body of her murdered husband in the silence of despair.

The Sultan has a kiosk on the one hand, and a summer palace on the
other, of this melancholy memorial of despotic power; but I was in no
mood to admire either with such an object before me.

To be seen in all its beauty, the Bosphorus should be looked upon by
moonlight. Then it is that the occupants of the spacious mansions which
are mirrored in its waters, enjoy to the fullest perfection the
magnificence of the scene around them. The glare of noon-day reveals too
broadly the features of the locality; while the deep, blue, star-studded
sky, the pure moonlight, and the holy quiet of evening, lend to it, on
the contrary, a mysterious indistinctness which doubles its attraction.
The inhabitants of the capital are conscious of this fact; and during
the summer months, when they occupy their marine mansions, one of their
greatest recreations is to seat themselves upon the seaward terraces, to
watch the sparkling of the ripple, and to listen to the evening hymn of
the seamen on board the Greek and Italian vessels; amused at intervals
by a huge shoal of porpoises rolling past, gambolling in the moonlight,
and plunging amid the waves with a sound like thunder: while afar off
are the dark mountains of Asia casting their long dusky shadows far
across the water, and the quivering summits of the tall trees on the
edge of the channel sparkling like silver, and lending the last touch of
loveliness to a landscape perhaps unparalleled in the world.

Shakspeare must have had a vision of the Bosphorus, when he wrote the
garden scene in Romeo and Juliet!

All the Orientals idolize flowers. Every good house upon the border of
the channel has a parterre, terraced off from the sea, of which you
obtain glimpses through the latticed windows; and where the rose trees
are trained into a thousand shapes of beauty—sometimes a line of arches
rises all bloom and freshness above a favourite walk—sometimes the
plants are stretched round vases of red clay of the most classical
formation, of which they preserve the shape—ranges of carnations,
clumps of acacias, and bosquets of seringa, are common; and the effect
of these fair flowers, half shielded from observation, and overhung with
forest trees, which are in profusion in every garden, is extremely
agreeable.

Another peculiarity of the Bosphorus is the great depth of the water to
the very edges of the channel. The terraces that hem it in are
frequently injured by their contact with the shipping which, in a sudden
lull of wind, or by some inadvertence on the part of the helmsman, “run
foul” (to use a nautical expression) of the shore; nor is it the
terraces alone that suffer, for the houses whose upper stories project
over the stream, which is almost universally the case where they are of
any extent, are constantly sustaining injury from the same cause.

We had occupied our summer residence only two days, when an Imperial
Brig in the Turkish service, in attempting a tack, thrust its bowsprit
through the centre window of the magnificent saloon of an Armenian
banker, with whose family we were acquainted. The master of the house,
exasperated at the evident carelessness in which the accident had
originated, rushed out upon the terrace to remonstrate, but his
remonstrances were unheeded; and he had scarcely re-entered the house
when the Turkish captain, who was intoxicated, landed, and without
ceremony passed into the outer court, accompanied by some of his crew;
and, seizing the brother of the gentleman, and several of his servants,
gave them a severe beating, and then quietly returned on board. The
vessel was extricated after a time, carrying away with it nearly the
whole front of the saloon, and a large portion of the roof; after which,
the gallant commander again entered the house, and insisted upon
conveying its master to Constantinople, there to expiate the sin of
insolence to a Turkish officer. The Saraf, however, having business in
the city, had already departed, and consequently escaped the
inconvenience and insult destined for him.

Were I the Admiral of a Fleet charged with the conquest of a channel
like that of the Bosphorus, I would employ none but Turkish sailors, who
are never so much at home as when aground, or hung on to some building;
they would literally carry the thing by assault. Their mighty ships of
war do as they like, for they are constantly “touching,” when they are
supposed to be cruizing; and “aground” when the authorities at home
believe them to be at sea.

Where did you meet the Admiral’s schooner as you came from Malta? On
shore off Tenedos. Where did you speak the frigate on your way here?
Aground at Gallipoli? These were the answers to two questions put by
myself; and had I ventured twenty more I should probably have received
similar replies.

Englishmen will probably, at the first glance, wonder why it should be
thus; but it would be greater subject for astonishment were it
otherwise. When a Field Marshal, by kissing the Sublime Toe, is
translated at once into a Lord High Admiral; and the Colonel of a
Cavalry regiment becomes by an equally simple process a manufacturer of
Macaroni; and when each is called upon to teach that which he never
learnt, and to command ere he has been taught how to obey; the effects
of the system may be readily foreseen. Nevertheless, were the Turks
permitted to employ even subordinate European officers in their army and
navy, much of the evil might be obviated. But Russia is opposed to a
measure which would give them a correct idea of their own physical
strength—by weakening the _morale_, she enervates the whole system;
while, by her happy art of consopiation, and her finished tact at
glossing over effects, and inventing causes, she has taught them to
believe themselves independent of extraneous aid, Heaven-inspired, and
all-sufficient.

It signifies not how irrelevant the duties of any situation may be to
his previous habits and talent, no Turk would hesitate to accept it on
that account, should the occasion of self-aggrandizement present itself;
and he has two satisfactory reasons for acting thus—he must at least be
as capable of fulfilling them as his predecessor, who was equally
ill-fitted for the trust—and, should he refuse one good offer, he would
probably never have a second. Thus reason the Osmanlis, and upon this
conviction they act. Nor is Sultan Mahmoud one whit more difficult or
quick-sighted on this point than his subjects; or more scrupulous as to
the efficiency of those to whom he gives important appointments, than
they are in accepting them; and a ludicrous example of this
uncalculating facility occurred very lately, so perfectly in point that
I cannot forbear to mention it.

His Highness had a favourite physician, to whom he had entrusted the
superintendence of a public establishment, and who died suddenly at
Scutari. When informed of his death, the Sultan was visibly affected:
and in the first moment of regret he inquired anxiously if the deceased
had left any family. He was answered that he had an only son, a clerk in
the Greek Chancellery, whose situation was far from a lucrative one; and
he immediately desired that the youth, who had not yet attained his
twentieth year, should be appointed on the instant to his father’s
vacancy, and receive the same salary which had been enjoyed by his
parent. He was obeyed; and the spruce clerk at once became
metamorphosed into the solemn physician, or something as near like it as
he could accomplish.

By an arrangement not altogether so satisfactory, surgeons are supplied
to the ships of war. When a medical man is required on board some vessel
of the line, individuals appointed for the purpose walk into the first
chemist’s shop they may happen to pass, seize the master, carry him off,
hurry him first into a caïque, and thence to the ship; appoint him
surgeon, enter him on the books, acquaint him with the amount of his
pay; and, should he venture to remonstrate, give him a sound flogging.

Nor are “the powers that be” at all more particular in their bearing
towards the officers of the ships, whom they flog (the captains
inclusive) whenever they chance to consider the operation desirable. On
a late occasion, two of the frigates ran foul of each other in the
Channel, upon which Tahir Pasha, the High Admiral, bestowed the
bastinado so unsparingly upon their commanders, that the blood
penetrated their garments; and they were subsequently flung into some
den in the hold, and there left during three days, not only without
attendance, but literally without food!

It may be asked what punishment can be inflicted on the crews, if such
unceremonious measures are pursued with the officers; and as one fact
is better than a score of assertions, I will reply by relating another
very recent occurrence, described to me by a Greek gentleman who was
present during the whole transaction. The Capitan Pasha had a party of
friends to dine with him on board his ship, who were about to seat
themselves at table, when it was reported to him that one of the crew,
in defiance of the order which forbade any individual to go on shore,
had surreptitiously left the vessel.

“Let me know when he returns on board;” was the cold and careless
rejoinder of the High Admiral, who had scarcely uttered the words, when
the re-appearance of the delinquent was announced, after an absence of
about ten minutes. He was ordered below to account for his conduct to
the Pasha, whose very name is a terror to the whole fleet, when he
stated that the following day being Friday (the Turkish Sabbath), he had
ventured on shore to procure some clean linen, fearing the anger of the
Admiral should he appear dirty.

“And was it for this trifle that you disobeyed my orders?” asked the
Pasha; “I must take measures to prevent any future instance of the same
misconduct—” and grasping an iron bar that served to secure one of the
cabin windows, and which stood near him—without the pause of a
moment—surrounded by his guestsstanding beside a table spread for a
banquet and with his victim crouching at his feet—he struck the
quailing wretch upon the head, and murdered him with a blow. The body
fell heavily on the earth in the death-spasm; and the Admiral,
addressing himself to an attendant, quietly ordered that the corpse
should be removed, and the dinner served: but several of the party
declined remaining after what they had witnessed, declaring their
inability to partake of food at such a moment; these were, of course,
Turks; for the Greek guests, although equally disgusted and heart-sick,
were not at liberty to withdraw without danger; and the dead man was
borne away, and the living feasted, with his death-groan still ringing
in their ears, and his last fierce agony yet grappling at their hearts!

Tahir Pasha is a perfect embodiment of the vulgar idea of Turkish
character which was so lately prevalent in Europe. He is the slave of
his passions, and apparently without human affections or human
sympathies. He lost his only son by his own violence, having beaten him
so severely for quitting the house without his permission, that the
unhappy young man died a day or two subsequently, in consequence of the
injuries which he had sustained; and, instead of profiting by this awful
occurrence, he afterwards murdered a nephew in the same manner.

And yet I have heard men, carried away by party-spirit, and hoodwinked
by prejudice, maintain that this fiend in human shape was not cruel; and
bolster their opinions with a sophistry that made me shudder.

I inquired of an _attaché_ of the Porte whether the Sultan was aware of
the waste of life in his fleet, where a week seldom passes in which some
luckless wretch does not fall a victim to the wrath of the High Admiral;
and the coolness of the answer was inimitable: “What has His Highness to
do with it?” “How!” I rejoined in my turn, “are they not his subjects?”
“Of course; but Tahir Pasha commands the fleet; and, while he does so,
he has a right to enforce its discipline as he thinks best. Why should
the Sultan interfere?” “But such wholesale cruelty is so revolting.”
“Perhaps so; yet how can it be remedied?” “Were I the Sultan,” I
answered unhesitatingly, “I would decapitate the High Admiral; it would
be a saving of human blood.” The Turk laughed at my earnestness as he
replied; “Mashallah! you have hit upon a radical remedy. But how would
you secure the fleet against a second Tahir Pasha?”

He was right. The evil exists rather in the system than in the
individual; but it is, nevertheless, a blessing for Turkey, that the
equal of her High Admiral, for ruthlessness and cruelty, is probably not
to be found in the country. And yet, to look at him, you would imagine
that no thought of violence, no impulse of revenge, had ever stirred
his spirit; he has the head of an anchorite, and the brow of a saint. I
never beheld a more benevolent countenance—Lavater would have been at
fault with him.

One of the most pleasant excursions that can be made to the opposite
coast, is to Unkiar Skelessi, or the Sultan’s Pier; a sweet valley,
under the shadow of the Giant’s Mountain, in which the famous treaty was
signed with Russia. It is profusely shaded with majestic trees, the
largest in the neighbourhood, and is entirely covered with rich grass.
The spot on which the ceremony took place is overhung with maples, and
washed by a running stream: behind it rises a range of hills; and on its
left stands an extensive manufactory of cloth, and a paper-mill, erected
at an immense expense, and furnished with their elaborate machinery by
the present Sultan, who caused an elegant kiosk to be erected upon the
height for his own use, when he went to superintend the works, which
were, however, abandoned as soon as the novelty had worn off. They are
now falling rapidly to ruin; and the noble run of water which was forced
from its channel to turn the wheels of the mill, is wasting itself in an
useless course across the valley, ere it is finally lost in the
Bosphorus.

This lovely spot is much frequented on festival days by all classes of
the population, who form pic-nic parties, and spend hours under the
shade of the tall trees, sipping their coffee and sherbet; or occupying
the different terraces which overlook the Bosphorus, with regular
pleasure-parties, whose servants come well provided with provisions, and
who linger throughout the whole day, enjoying the cool breezes from the
sea, and the long shadows of the boughs beneath which they sit.

Higher up the valley, you generally meet with an encampment of Bedouin
Arabs, where you are almost certain to see two or three faces of dark
flashing beauty, which repay you for the annoyance that you experience
from the importunity of the troop of children who assail you directly
you approach the tents; little, ragged, merry-looking, vociferous
urchins, of whom you cannot rid yourself either by bribes or menaces.
These dark, proud beauties—for they are proud-looking, even amid their
tatters, with their large, wild, black eyes, and their long raven hair
plaited in many braids, which fall upon their shoulders, and hang below
their waists; their round, smooth arms bare to the elbow, whence the
large, hanging sleeves fall back; and their well-turned little feet
peeping out from beneath their ample trowsers; these dark, proud
beauties greet you with a smile, and a “Mashallah!” that introduce you
to teeth like pearls, and voices like music; and as they sit, weaving
their baskets for the market of Constantinople, they extend towards you
their slender, henna-tipped fingers, and ask your piastres, without
taking the trouble to rise, rather as a tribute to their loveliness,
than as an offering to their necessities.

To escape from the importunities of the children, whom the sight of the
tempting metal renders only more importunate, you have but to plunge
deeper into the valley, and lose yourself among the majestic plane trees
with which it abounds. The nightingale alone disturbs the deep silence
of the solitude, save when at intervals the lowing of the cattle on the
mountain sweeps along upon the wind.

It was here that De Lille wrote his “Pleasures of Imagination.”—It was
here that De la Martine improvised to the memory of his daughter; the
soil is poetic.



CHAPTER XIII.


  Facts and Fictions—Female Execution at Constantinople—Crime
  of the Condemned—Tale of the Merchant’s Wife—The Call to
  Prayer—The Discovery—The Mother and Son—The
  Hiding-Place—The Capture—The Trial—A Night Scene in the
  Harem—The Morrow—Mercifulness of the Turks towards their
  Women.


A vast deal of very romantic and affecting sentiment has been from time
to time committed to paper, on the subject of the Turkish females
drowned in the Bosphorus; and some tale-writers have even gone so far as
to describe, in the character of witnesses, the extreme beauty and the
heart-rending tears of the victims.

The subject is assuredly one which lends itself to florid phrases and
highly wrought periods; but it is unfortunate that in this case, as in
many others, the imagination far outruns the fact. I say unfortunate,
because those readers who love to “sup full of horrors,” when they have
wept over the affecting image of beauty struggling against the grasp of
the executioner, and dark eyes looking reproach upon their murderer from
amid the deep waters which are so soon to quench their light for ever,
do not like to descend to the sober assurance that none of these things
can be; and that the veracious chroniclers who have excited their
sensibilities, and misled their reason, have only built up a pathetic
sketch upon inference, and in reality know nothing at all about the
matter.

There is no romance in one of these frightful executions—all is harsh
unmitigated horror! The victim may, or may not, be young and beautiful;
her executioners have no opportunity of judging. She may be the
impersonation of grace, and they must remain equally ignorant of the
fact; for she has neither power nor opportunity to excite sympathy, were
she the loveliest houri who ever escaped from the paradise of Mahomet.

I have a friend, a man in place and power, who, during the time of the
Janissaries, and but a few months previous to the annihilation of their
body, had been detained in the Palace of one of the Ministers until
three hours past midnight; and who, on passing across the deep bay near
the Castle of Europe, was startled by perceiving two caïques bearing
lights, lying upon their oars in the centre of the stream. His curiosity
being excited, he desired his boatmen to pull towards them, when at the
instant that he came alongside, he discovered that they were filled by
police officers; and at the same moment, a female closely shrouded in a
yashmac, and with the mouth of a sack, into which her whole body had
been thrust, tied about her throat, was lifted in the arms of two men
from the bottom of the furthest caïque, and flung into the deep waters
of the bay. As no weight had been appended to the sack, the miserable
woman almost instantly re-appeared upon the surface, when she was beaten
down by the oars of the boatmen; and this ruthless and revolting
ceremony was repeated several times ere the body finally sank.

My friend, heart-sick at the spectacle to which he had so unexpectedly
become a witness, demanded of the principal officer, by whom he had been
instantly recognized, the crime of the wretched victim who had just
perished; and learnt that she was the wife of a Janissary whom the
Sultan had caused to be strangled some weeks previously; and who, in her
anguish at the fate of her husband, had since rashly permitted herself
to speak in terms of hatred and disgust of the government by whose
agency she had been widowed.

On that fatal morning she had paid the price of her indiscretion.

The ministers of death lingered yet awhile to convince themselves that
the body would not reappear; and my friend lingered also from a feeling
which he could not explain even to himself. The dawn was just breaking
in the sky, and streaks of faint yellow were traced above the crests of
the dark mountains of the Asian coast. One long ray of light touched the
summits of the tall cypresses above the grave-yard of Isari, and
revealed the castellated outline of the topmost tower of the
Janissaries’ prison: there was not a breath of wind to scatter the
ripple; and all around looked so calm and peaceful, that he could
scarcely persuade himself that he had just looked on death, when the
deep voices of the men in the caïques beside him, as they once more
plunged their oars into the stream, and prepared to depart, aroused him
from his reverie; and, motioning to his boatmen to proceed, he found
himself ere long on the terrace of his own palace.

While I am on the subject of executions, I may as well relate “an o’er
true tale,” communicated to me by the same individual. Nearly four years
have elapsed since the occurrence took place, but it is so
characteristic of Turkish manners, that it will not be misplaced here.

An eminent merchant of Stamboul, extremely wealthy, and considerably
past the middle age, became the husband of a very young and lovely
woman. As Turkish females never see the individuals whom they marry
previously to the ceremony, but are chosen by some matronly relation of
the person who finds it expedient to bestow himself on a wife, and who,
having seen and approved the lady, arranges all preliminaries with her
parents; so it may well be imagined that the bride is frequently far
from congratulating herself on her change of position; and such, as it
would appear from the result, was the case with the young wife to whom I
have just referred, and who was destined to become the heroine of a
frightful tragedy.

Two years passed over Fatma Hanoum, and she became the mother of a son;
but her heart was not with its father, and, unhappily for the weak
victim of passion and disappointment, it had found a resting-place
elsewhere.

The merchant’s house was situated near a mosque, from the gallery of
whose minaret all the windows of the harem were overlooked. The sun was
setting on a glorious summer evening, when the Imaum ascended to this
gallery, to utter the shrill cry of the muezzin which summons the
faithful to prayer. Ere he commenced the invocation, he chanced to
glance downwards, and he started as he beheld a man, clinging to a shawl
which had been flung from above, and making his way into the harem of
the merchant through an open window. Nor was this all, for the quick and
jealous eye of the Imaum at once assured him that the delinquent was a
Greek—that the wife of a Musselmaun had stooped to accept the love of a
Christian—and he well knew that, in such a case, there was no mercy
for the culprit.

The Imaum was a stern man; for one moment only he wavered; and during
that moment he raised the ample turban from his brow, and suffered the
cool evening breeze to breathe lovingly upon his temples: in the next,
he bent over the gallery and spat upon the earth, as he murmured to
himself, “The dog of an Infidel,”—May his father’s grave be
defiled!—May his mother eat dirt!”—and having so testified his
contempt and abhorrence of the ill-fated lover, he lifted his gaze to
the clear sky, and the ringing cry pealed out:—

“La Allah, illa Allah! Muhammed Resoul Allah!”

His duty done, the Imaum descended the dark and narrow stair of the
minaret, and left the mosque; and in another instant he had put off his
slippers at the entrance of the salemliek, and stood before the sofa, at
the upper end of which sat the merchant smoking his chibouk of jasmine
wood, and attended by two slaves.

The Turks are not fond husbands, but they are jealous ones. They are
watchful of their women, not because they love them, but because they
are anxious for their own honour; and no instance can be adduced in
which an Osmanli is wilfully blind to the errors of his wife.

Here “the offence was rank, it smelt to Heaven.” The young and
beautiful Fatma Hanoum had wronged him with a Greek! The gray-bearded
merchant, trembling between rage and grief, rose from his seat and
rushed into the harem—The tale was true—for one moment the aged and
outraged husband looked upon the young and handsome lover; and in the
next the agile Greek had flung up the lattice, and sprung from the open
window. Ere long the house was filled with the relatives of the wife,
and its spacious apartments were loud with anguish and invective; but
Fatma Hanoum answered neither to the sobbing of grief, nor to the
reproach of scorn; she sat doubled up upon her cushions, with her eyes
riveted on the casement by which her lover had escaped.

The merchant, stung to the heart by the stain that had been cast upon
his honour; embittered in spirit by the knowledge that it was a
Christian by whom he had been wronged; and not altogether forgetful, it
may be, of the grace and beauty of the mother of his child, sat moodily
apart; and all the reasonings and beseechings of his wife’s anxious
family only wrung from him the cold and unyielding answer that he would
never see her more.

And the heretic lover, where was he?

Like an arrow shot by a strong arm, he had sped to the home of his
widowed mother, and had hurriedly imparted to her the fearful jeopardy
in which he stood. There was not a moment to be lost; and, hastily
snatching up some food that had been prepared for his evening meal, he
flung himself upon the neck of his weeping parent; and then, disengaging
himself from her clinging arms, rushed from the house, no one knew
whither.

But the Imaum, meanwhile, was not idle. He had aroused the
neighbourhood—he had raised the cry of sacrilege—he had bruited abroad
the dishonour of the Moslem—and ere long a Turkish guard was on the
track of the young Greek. But no trace of him could be discovered; and
the fair and frail Hanoum was removed to the harem of one of her
husband’s relatives, where her every look and action were subjected to
the most rigorous observance, before the faintest hope had been
entertained of securing her miserable lover.

Three wretched days were past, and on the morning of the fourth the
pangs of hunger became too mighty for the youth to support. He stole
from his concealment, he looked around him, and he was alone! He
ventured a few paces forward; rich fruits were pendent from the branches
of the tall trees beneath which he moved, and he seized them with
avidity; but, as he raised; his hand a second time to the laden boughs,
he heard near him the deep breathing of one who wept—He glared towards
the spot whence the sound came, and his heart melted within him—it was
his mother—the guardian of his youth—the friend of his manhood—the
mourner over his blighted hopes. He rushed towards her—he murmured her
name—and for a moment the parent and the child forgot all save each
other! It was the watchful love of the mother which first awoke to fear:
and in a few seconds the secret of her son was confided to her, and she
was comparatively happy. She could steal to his hiding-place at
midnight; she could ensure him against hunger; she could hear his voice,
and convince herself that he yet lived; and with this conviction she
hurried from his side, and bade him wait patiently yet a few hours, when
she would bring him food.

The young Greek stole back to his hiding-place, and slept—The sleep of
the wretched is heavy—slow to come, and weighed down with wild and
bitter dreams; and thus slumbered the criminal. The night was yet dark
when he awoke, and heard footsteps, and then he doubted not that his
watchful parent was indeed come to solace the moments of his trembling
solitude. Had he paused an instant, and afforded time for the perfect
waking of all his senses, he would have discovered at once that the
sounds of many feet were on the earth; but he had already passed several
days without cause of alarm, and his past safety betrayed him into a
false feeling of security.

The unhappy youth had not wandered beyond the spacious gardens of his
home, which, rising the height behind the house, were divided into
terraces, along whose whole extent had been placed avenues of orange and
lemon trees, planted in immense vases of red clay. Several of these, in
which the plants had failed or perished, had been reversed to protect
them from the weather; and one of them, dragged in the first paroxysm of
terror to the mouth of an exhausted well, had served to screen the
culprit from the gaze of his pursuers. But on this night, when by some
extraordinary fatality, he forgot for an instant the caution which had
hitherto been his protection, he clambered to the mouth of the pit as he
heard the coming footsteps, and, pushing aside the vase, sprang out upon
the path.

The moonlight fell on him as he emerged from his concealment, pale, and
haggard; his dark locks dank with the heavy atmosphere of his
hiding-place, and his frame weakened by exhaustion. As he gained his
feet and looked around him, his arms fell listlessly at his sides, and
his head drooped upon his breast—He had no longer either strength or
energy to wrestle with his fate; and he put his hands into the grasp of
the armed men among whom he stood, and suffered himself to be led away
from the home of his boyhood, and the clasp of his shrieking mother,
with the docility of a child.

The trial followed close upon the discovery of the lover. There was no
hope for the wretched pair! Against them appeared the Imaum, stern,
uncompromising, and circumstantial—the outraged husband, wrought to
madness by the memory of his dishonour; and callous as marble—the faith
which had been disgraced—society which had been scandalized. For them
there were none to plead, save the grey-haired and widowed mother who
wept and knelt to save her only son; but who asked his life in mercy,
and not in justice. Did their youth sue for them? Did the soft
loveliness of the guilty wife, or the manly beauty of the lover, raise
them up advocates? Alas! these were their direst condemnation; and thus
it only remained for them to die!

It was at this period that my friend, the ——, first became connected
with the affair. The family of the condemned woman, knowing his
influence with the government, flung themselves at his feet, and
implored his interference. They expatiated on the beauty of the
misguided Fatma—on the personal qualifications of him by whose love she
had fallen—they left no theme untouched; and he became deeply
interested in her fate, and resolved that while a hope remained he would
not abandon her cause. But he was fated to plead in vain; the crime had
increased in the country; every Turkish breast heaved high with
indignation; my friend urged, supplicated, and besought unheeded; and at
length found himself unable to adduce another argument in her behalf.

When reluctantly convinced of the fact, he discovered that through his
exertions to save her life, his feelings had become so deeply enthralled
by the idea of the miserable woman, that he resolved to endeavour to see
her ere she died; and he was startled by the ready acquiescence that
followed his request, as well as by the terms in which it was couched.
“We shall visit her at midnight, to acquaint her officially with the
result of the trial;” was the answer; “and should you think proper you
may accompany us; for you will have no future opportunity of indulging
your curiosity.”

Under these circumstances he did not hesitate; and a few minutes before
midnight he was at the door of the harem in which she had resided since
her removal from her husband’s house. The officers of justice followed
almost immediately: and it struck him as they passed the threshold, that
they were in greater number than so simple an errand appeared to exact;
but as he instantly remembered that others might feel the same curiosity
as himself, and profit by the same means of gratifying it, he did not
dwell upon the circumstance.

All was hushed in the harem; and the fall of their unslippered feet
awoke no echo on the matted floors. One solitary slave awaited them at
the head of the stairs, and he moved slowly before the party with a
small lamp in his hand, to the apartment of the condemned woman.

She was sleeping when they entered—Her cheek was pillowed upon her arm;
and a quantity of rich dark hair which had escaped from beneath the
painted handkerchief that was twisted about her head, lay scattered over
the pillow. She was deadly pale, but her eyebrows and the long silken
lashes which fringed her closed eyes were intensely black, and relieved
the pallor of her complexion; while her fine and delicate features
completed as lovely a face as ever the gaze of man had lingered on. At
times a shuddering spasm contracted for an instant the muscles of her
countenance—the terrors of the day had tinged her midnight dreams: and
at times she smiled a fleeting smile, which was succeeded by a sigh, as
if, even in sleep, the memory of past happiness was clouded by a pang.

But her slumber was not destined to be of long continuance; for the
principal individual of the party, suddenly bending over her, grasped
her arm, and exclaimed, “Wake, Fatma, wake; we have tidings for you!”

The unhappy woman started, and looked up; and then hurriedly concealing
her face in the coverlets, she gasped out, “Mashallah! What means this?
What would you with me that you steal thus upon me in the night? Am I
not a Turkish woman? And am I not uncovered?”

“Fear nothing, Hanoum;” pursued the official; “we have tidings for you
which we would not delay.”

“God is great!” shrieked the guilty one, raising herself upon her
pillows. “You have pardoned him—”

But the generous, self-forgetting prophecy was false. In the energy of
her sudden hope she had sprang into a sitting posture; and ere the words
had left her lips, the fatal bowstring was about her throat.

It was the horror of a moment—Two of the executioners flung themselves
upon her, and held her down—a couple more grasped her hands—a heavy
knee pressed down her heaving chest—there was a low gurgling sound,
hushed as soon as it was heard—a frightful spasm which almost hurled
the strong men from above the convulsed frame—and all was over!

At day-dawn on the morrow, the young Greek was led from his prison. For
several days he had refused food, and he was scarcely able to drag his
fainting limbs along the uneven streets. Two men supported him, and at
length he reached the termination of his painful pilgrimage. For a
moment he stood rooted to the earth; he gasped for breath—he tore away
his turban—and clenched his hands until the blood sprang beneath the
nails. She whom he had loved was before him—her once fair face was
swollen and livid, and exposed to the profane gaze of a countless
multitude. She was before him—and the handkerchief from which she was
suspended, beside the spot marked out for himself, was one which he had
given her in an hour of passion, when they looked not to perish thus!

I have pursued the tale until I am heart-sick, and can follow it up no
further. Yet, revolting as it is, it nevertheless affords a proof of
that which I have already adduced elsewhere; that even in their severity
the Turks are merciful to their women; and carefully shield them from
the shame, even when they cannot exempt them from the suffering, of
their own vices.



CHAPTER XIV.


  Political Position of the Turks—Religion of the
  Osmanlis—Absence of Vice among the Lower Orders—Defect of
  Turkish Character—European Supineness—Policy of
  Russia—England and France—A Turkish Comment on England—The
  Government and the People—Common Virtue—Great Men—Turks of
  the Provinces—European Misconceptions.


The more I see of the Turks, the more I am led to regret their
melancholy political position. Enabled, by the introductions which I had
secured, to look more closely into their actual condition from the
commencement of my sojourn among them, than falls to the lot of most
travellers, I have been compelled from day to day to admit the justice
of their indignation against those European powers, which, after
deluding them with promises that they have failed to fulfil, and pledges
that they have falsified, have reduced them to anchor their hopes, and
to fasten their trust, upon a government whose interests can be served
only by the ruin of the Ottoman Empire, and the subjugation of its
liberties. Take them for all in all, there probably exist no people
upon earth more worthy of national prosperity than the great mass of the
Turkish population; nor better qualified, alike by nature and by social
feeling, to earn it for themselves.

The Osmanli is unostentatiously religious. He makes the great principles
of his belief the rule of his conduct, and refers every thing to a
higher power than that of man. I am aware that it is the fashion to
decry the creed of the Turk, and to place it almost on a level with
paganism: but surely this is an error unworthy of the nineteenth
century, and of the liberality of Englishmen. The practice of a religion
which enforces the necessity of prayer and charity—which is tolerant of
all opposing modes of worship—and which enjoins universal brotherhood,
can scarcely be contemptible. And while the Christian, enlightened on
the great truths that are hidden from the Mahomeddan, is compelled to
pity the darkness of a faith which admits not the light of the Gospel,
he must nevertheless admire the votary who, acting according to his
ideas of duty, follows up the injunctions of his religion with a devout
zeal, and an unwearied observance that influence all his social
relations; and this is a merit which even their enemies have never, I
believe, denied to the Turks.

From this great first principle emanates the philosophy both of feeling
and action that distinguishes the Osmanli from the native of all other
countries; and this philosophy renders him comparatively inaccessible to
those petty, but myriad excitements of selfishness and political bigotry
which keep the more active and ambitious spirit of European society for
ever on the _qui vive_. I am by no means prepared to deny, that from
this very quality arises the extreme intellectual and moral inertness
which induces the Turks to rely more on extraneous assistance than on
their own efforts, in all cases of emergency: I am merely endeavouring
to prove that they possess within themselves the necessary elements of
social order, and national prosperity.

The absence of all glaring vices, even among the lowest ranks of the
community; save indeed such as they have inherited from their more
civilized allies, and appropriated with the same awkwardness as they
have done their costume, speaks volumes for the Turkish people. A Turk
never games, never fights, never blasphemes; is guiltless of murder; is
innocent of theft; and has yet to learn that poverty is a crime, or even
a reproach; or that the rich man can shut his doors against the
mendicant who asks to share his meal.

Were I desired to point out the most glaring defect of the Turkish
character, I should unhesitatingly specify the want of sincerity and
good faith. I am obliged to concede that the Turk is habitually
false—that he sacrifices his truth to fine phrases, and to set
terms—that he is profuse of promises, and magnificent in words. But it
is nevertheless certain that he himself looks upon all these splendid
pledges as mere compliment; and scarcely appears to reflect that a Frank
may be induced to lend to them a more weighty meaning. I had not been
long in the country ere I learnt to estimate all this hyperbole at its
just value; and once having done so, I found reason to feel grateful for
many unexpected and unsought courtesies. Profit by the first kindly
impulses of a Turk, and you will be his debtor; but trust nothing to his
memory, for he will fail you.

Let not individual bad faith, however, be too harshly blamed in a people
who have suffered so severely as the Turks from the same vice, in their
best and dearest interests; on the part, not only of individuals, but of
nations—of those civilized and enlightened nations, to which they
looked alike for precept and example; and which they have found wanting.

Naturally haughty and self-centered, the Osmanli placed his honour and
his liberty in the hands of his European allies. They were pledged to
preserve both—and it was not until the Banner of the Crescent was
trailing in the dust; and a half-barbarous power bearding the Sultan in
his very halls of state, that the unwelcome truth burst upon him that
his trust had been misplaced. The discovery was made too late—made when
he had no alternative—the supineness of the Turk was no match for the
subtlety of the Russian; it was a combat unequal in all its bearings;
and dangerous to the Osmanli in all its relations. The natural result
followed: Turkey was bowed beneath a force too mighty for her to resist;
the partial civilization of the North produced its effect on the
comparative barbarism of the East; and the Turk, dazzled and deluded,
bewildered by the speciousness of a policy that he could not fathom, and
consequently did not suspect; abandoned by the European powers on whose
assistance he had relied; and unable singly either to resist the covert
threats, or to reject the proffered friendship of this voluntary ally,
fell into the snare which had been laid for him, and betrayed his want
of internal strength to his most dangerous enemy.

The policy of Russia has been as steady and consistent as it is
ambitious. What a prophet was the Empress Catherine! How perfectly she
foretold the fate of Turkey. While all the other nations have suffered
their interest in the Ottoman Empire to evaporate in words, and have
flaunted their oratory in the eye of day, Russia has never betrayed
herself by studied phrases to the crowd; but like the giant in the
fable, she has drawn on her seven-league boots, and strode silently
over land and sea to her object. She has set all her engines to work;
and they have wrought well. She has spared neither gold nor flattery.
She has enlisted in her favour all the social feelings of the Turks. And
the little presents of the Empress to the children of certain popular
Pashas; and the embroidery said to have been wrought by her own Imperial
hand, and sent to the ladies of their harems, are as efficacious in
their way as the diamonds, the horses, and the carriages presented to
the Sultan; or the pensions paid to half a dozen influential individuals
of the court.

Alas for Turkey! Her relative position with her specious ally resembles
that of a huge animal in the coil of a Boa Constrictor, which must be
smoothed down gently and gradually, ere it can be safely gorged. Its
fate is but protracted; the moment of ingurgitation will come at last;
and when the serpent-folds are uncoiled, and the sated monster lies
luxuriously down to digest its prey, those who have looked on, and
pledged themselves to the impossibility of the feat, will find too late
that it is not only perfectly practicable, but actually accomplished.

And yet France has her countless soldiery—and England her unrivalled
navy—both eager to earn new glory. England and France, on whom the
Osmanlis leaned with a perfect faith, and by both of whom they have
been abandoned—Where is the chivalry of the one, and the philanthropy
of the other?

A Turk of high rank and considerable abilities; who had an understanding
to observe, and a heart to feel the position of his country, was one day
conversing with me on her foreign political relations, when he exclaimed
with a sudden burst of unaffected energy:—“France has failed us, it is
true; but France has been at least comparatively honest in her
supineness. She has never affected a wish to become the foster-mother of
the world—But England—England, Madam, which has boasted of her
universal philanthropy—which has knocked away the fetters of millions
of the blacks—England, not contented while among her Nobles, in her
House of Commons, and even at the very meetings of her lower classes,
she was making a vaunt of her all-embracing love, and of her sympathy
with the oppressed—not contented with seeing Poland weep tears of
blood, and only cease to exist when the last nerves of her heart had
been wrung asunder—Your own happy England; secure in her prosperity and
in her power, is now standing tamely by, while the vast Ottoman
Empire—the gorgeous East, which seems to have been made for glory and
for greatness—is trampled by a power like Russia! She might have saved
us—She might save us yet—Where is her gallant navy? Where are her
floating fortresses? But, above all, where is the heart which has so
many hands to work its will?—Is it the expence of a war from which she
shrinks? Surely her policy is not so shallow; for she cannot require to
be told how deeply her commercial interests must be compromised by the
success of Russia.—But I will not pursue so painful a subject.—As
individuals we respect the English; but their political character is
lost in the East—we have no longer faith in England.”

These were not, at all events, the arguments of a “barbarian:” and the
more closely and unprejudicedly that Europeans permit themselves to
examine the Turkish character, the more they will find that justice has
never yet been done to it; and that Turkey merits their support as fully
by her moral attributes, as by her geographical position.

It is not by her Nobles, by her Ministers, nor by her Government, that
she should be judged—Her court and her people are as distinct as though
they were of two different nations. They have, however, one common
virtue, which is carried to an extent that must be witnessed by the
natives of the West, ere it can be understood. Every one who has visited
Turkey will perceive at once that I allude to their unbounded
hospitality. The table of the greatest man in Constantinople is open to
the poorest, whenever he chooses to avail himself of it. As he salutes
the master of the house on entering, he is received with the simple word
_Bouroum_—You are welcome,—and he takes his place without further
ceremony. In the villages the same beautiful principle remains
unaltered; and it signifies not how little an individual may have to
give, he always gives it cheerfully, and as a matter of course; without
appearing conscious that he is exercising a virtue, practised scantily
and reservedly in more civilized countries.

If a Turk wishes to shew a courtesy to his guest, or to a stranger with
whom he may have accidentally come in contact, he does so in a manner
which revolts the more refined ideas of a Frank; but which is
nevertheless induced by this same feeling of brotherhood and fellowship.
His chibouk is his greatest luxury; and when he is not engaged in an
employment that renders the indulgence difficult or impossible, it is
for ever between his lips: and his first act of friendliness is to
withdraw it thence, and offer it to his companion.—He estimates its
enjoyment, and he immediately wishes to communicate it. These are
perhaps slight traits—details that appear unimportant—but human
character is composed of details—fine shades, which however faint in
themselves, are nevertheless necessary to the perfect effect of the
whole. It is easy to seize a prominent object. Glaring vices and
striking virtues force themselves upon the notice; and are consequently
ever the ready subject of comment. And it is from this fact that the
Turks have suffered in European estimation. They are singularly
unobtrusive in their social relations: they do not seek to exhibit their
moral attributes; and they practice daily those domestic virtues which
grow out of the tolerance and kindliness of their nature without
troubling themselves to consider whether they do so at moments when they
may become subject of comment. Thus it is that they have never been
supposed to feel, or feeling to encourage, those minute but
multitudinous social courtesies, which, if each amount not in itself to
a positive virtue, at least is part and parcel of one, and lends itself
to the completion of an aggregate that well deserves the name.

Those who have only made an acquaintance with the Turkish character in
the persons of the great men of the Capital, have not possessed the
means of witnessing the daily practice of these endearing qualities. It
is not among the haughty, the selfish, and the ambitious of any nation,
that the bland and beautiful features of human nature can be
contemplated. Nothing atrophises the heart like luxury—nothing deadens
the feelings like the strife and struggle for power:—and in the East,
where a man’s fortune is ever built up upon the ruin of his neighbour,
and where he springs into his seat with his foot upon the neck of a
worsted rival, it were worse than folly to expect that the social
virtues can be encouraged and exhibited among the great. But the Turk of
the provinces is a being of a different order: a creature of calm
temperament, and philosophic content; who labours in his vocation with a
placid brow and a quiet heart; who honours his mother, protects his
wife, and idolizes his children; is just in his dealings, sober in his
habits, and unpretendingly pious; and whose board and hearth are alike
free to those who desire to share them.

Such, if I have read them aright, (and, above all, if I may rely on the
judgment of unbiassed and impartial individuals, more competent than
myself to form a correct estimate of their general character) are the
great mass of the Turkish people. Their defective government is the
incubus that weighs them down; while the luxurious habits of their
nobles induce extortion which withers their exertions, and in a great
degree negatives the benefit of their industry. But these are evils
which are not beyond remedy; “the schoolmaster” who has been so long
abroad in Europe, has already given hints of travelling to the far East;
and there are now several individuals connected with the Ottoman
Government who comprehend the vice of the system, and are anxious to
eradicate the mischief. The outcry of corruption and venality has been
raised, and the correctness of the implication has been admitted; while
few have discovered that attempts are already making to overcome the
long-standing reproach; and all must acknowledge that this Sisyphus-like
task will require time and patience, and moreover opportunity and
encouragement, to secure its completion.

It is not, I repeat, by the members of a government, driven to unworthy
acts on the one hand, and deceived by smiling sophistries on the other,
that the people of Turkey should be estimated; and it is comparatively
unfortunate for them as a nation, that it is precisely upon these
persons that the attention is first fixed. The natural consequence
ensues, that, where Europeans, rather glancing at the country than
seeing it, possess neither time, opportunity, nor it may be even
inclination, to look deeper; they carry away with them an erroneous
impression of the mass, as unjust as it is unfortunate; an impression
which they propagate at home, and in which they become strengthened by
the very repetition of their own assertions; nor is it difficult to
account in this way for the very erroneous, contradictory, and absurd
notions, entertained in Europe on the subject of the Turks. Individuals
have been cited as examples of a body, with which they probably
possessed not one common feature, save that of country; and the vices
that were seared into the spirit of one degenerate Osmanli have, by the
heedless chroniclers who may have suffered from his delinquencies, been
branded on the brow of a whole nation; as though the stream which had
polluted itself for an instant by its passage over some impure
substance, had power to taint the source from whence it flowed.



CHAPTER XV.


  Death in a Princely Harem—The Fair Georgian—Distinction of
  Circassian and Georgian Beauty—The Saloon—Sentiment of the
  Harem—Courteous Reception—Domestic Economy of the
  Establishment—The Young Circassian—Emin Bey—Singular Custom
  of the Turks—The Buyuk Hanoum—The Female Dwarf—_Naïveté_ of
  the Turkish Ladies—The Forbidden Door—The Sultan’s
  Chamber—The Female Renegade—Penalty of Apostacy—Musical
  Ceremony—Frank Ladies and True Believers—A Turkish
  Luncheon—Devlehäi Hanoum—Old Wives _versus_ Young Ones—The
  Parting Gift—The Araba—The Public Walk—Fondness of the
  Orientals for Fine Scenery—The Oak Wood.


The illness and subsequent death of the Buyuk Hanoum had long delayed
the visit which I had been requested to make to the harem of the Reiss
Effendi, or Minister for Foreign Affairs; and it may be remembered that
this was the lady to whom I alluded in a former portion of my work, as
having failed to find favour in the eyes of the Sultan on the occasion
of the Princess Salihè’s marriage; and whom he had been graciously
pleased to excuse from all further attendance at court, in favour of a
fair Georgian, whom he had himself provided as her successor. The aged
Minister had received with all proper gratitude the gift of his Imperial
master; and had not failed to make the lovely slave his wife with all
possible speed. And the anticipation of seeing this far-famed beauty
added no little to the desire which I felt to avail myself of the very
kind and flattering invitation of the family.

Having, therefore, suffered a sufficient time to elapse after the death
of the Buyuk Hanoum to testify my sympathy for her loss, I prepared for
this long-promised visit, and made it in company with some Greek ladies,
friends of my own, and well known in the harem of the Minister. On
passing the Salemliek I was much disappointed by the discovery that the
Reiss Effendi himself was from home; but on reaching the harem we were
more fortunate, and having delivered our cloaks, veils, and shoes to a
group of slaves who received us in the marble entrance-hall, we followed
one who led the way up a noble flight of stairs to a vast saloon; and in
the next instant I found myself standing beside Devlehäi Hanoum, the
beautiful Georgian.

And she _was_ beautiful—magnificent!—Tall, and dark, and queenly in
her proud loveliness; with such a form as is not looked on above half a
dozen times during a long life.

The character of Georgian beauty is perfectly dissimilar from that of
Circassia; it is more stately and dazzling; the whole of its attributes
are different. With the Circassian, you find the clearest and fairest
skin, the most delicatelyrounded limbs, the softest, sleepiest
expression—the lowest voice—and the most indolently-graceful
movements. There is no soul in a Circassian beauty; and as she pillows
her pure, pale cheek upon her small dimpled hand, you feel no
inclination to arouse her into exertion—you are contented to look upon
her, and to contemplate her loveliness. But the Georgian is a creature
of another stamp: with eyes like meteors, and teeth almost as dazzling
as her eyes. Her mouth does not wear the sweet and unceasing smile of
her less vivacious rival, but the proud expression that sits upon her
finely arched lips accords so well with her stately form, and her high,
calm brow, that you do not seek to change its character.

There is a revelation of intellect, an air of majesty, about the
Georgian women, which seems so utterly at variance with their condition,
that you involuntarily ask yourself if they can indeed ever be slaves;
and you have some difficulty in admitting the fact, even to your own
reason.

Nearly all the ladies of the Princess Azmè’s household are Georgians:
and I have already had occasion to remark that her harem is celebrated
for the beauty of its fair inhabitants.

But Devlehäi Hanoum left every individual of the Imperial Seraï of
Ortakeuÿ immeasurably behind her. And as she welcomed us without rising
from her sofa, I felt, woman though I was, as though I could have knelt
in homage to such surpassing loveliness!

The sofa on which she was seated, occupied the deep bay of a window
overlooking the Bosphorus, at the upper end of a saloon which terminated
in a flight of steps leading upwards to a second apartment, that, in its
turn, afforded similar access to a third: and this long perspective was
bounded by the distant view of a vine-o’ercanopied kiosk, beneath which
a fine fountain of white marble was flinging its cool waters on the air,
from the midst of clustering vases, filled with rare and beautiful
flowering plants.

Groups of slaves were standing about the sofa; and gilded cages, filled
with birds, were arranged in its immediate vicinity. I was much amused
by a superb parrot, evidently the favourite of the harem, which had
become so imbued with its high-bred tranquillity, as to speak almost in
a whisper: and which kept up a perpetual murmur of such phrases as the
following: “My heart!—My life!—My Sultan, the light of my eyes!—Am I
pretty?—Do you love to look upon me?” and similar sentimentalities.

Devlehäi Hanoum was dressed in an antery of white silk, embroidered all
over with groups of flowers in pale green; her salva, or trowsers, were
of satin of the Stuart tartan, and her jacket light blue; the gauze
that composed her chemisette was almost impalpable, and the cachemire
about her waist was of a rich crimson. Her hair, of which several
tresses had been allowed to escape from beneath the embroidered
handkerchief, was as black as the plumage of a raven; and her complexion
was a clear, transparent brown. But the great charm of the beautiful
Georgian was her figure. I never beheld any thing more lovely; to the
smoothly-moulded graces of eighteen she joined the majesty and
stateliness of middle life; and you forgot as you looked upon her, that
she had ever been bought at a price, to remember only that she was the
wife of one of the great officers of the Empire.

Nothing could exceed the courtesy of her welcome, except, perhaps, its
gracefulness; and the charming smile with which she told me how anxious
were the Buyuk Hanoum, herself, and Conjefèm Hanoum, to testify by every
means in their power, the delight they felt in having me for a guest.
For a moment I was bewildered; I had made no inquiries relatively to the
domestic economy of the harem previous to my visit, and had imagined
that, as a matter of course, the lovely Georgian had become Buyuk Hanoum
by the death of the children’s mother. But this was far from being the
case; the Pasha having married in early life a Constantinopolitan lady
of high family, who had retained her supremacy in the harem, although
the affections of the Reiss Effendi had been transferred to the parent
of his sons. The fair Georgian proving also childless, the fortunate
mother had never forfeited her hold upon his heart, and had continued
until the hour of her death to be the first object of his favour. But my
astonishment did not end even here; for, when all this had been
explained to me, another question yet remained to be answered:—Who was
Conjefèm Hanoum?

Conjefèm Hanoum, who was in the bath when we arrived, was a beautiful
young Circassian, who had been purchased twelve months previously by the
Minister, in the excess of his disappointment that the Georgian did not
make him a father; and whom, in the first rush of his delight on
discovering that she was likely to become a mother, he had also married.
Unfortunately for her, the child died in the hour of its birth, and once
more the anxious husband found himself disappointed in his hopes.

These domestic details, which were given with a _sang froid_ and
composure evincing how little the heart of Devlehäi Hanoum was
interested in the recital, were succeeded by coffee, which was served
with great ceremony by about a dozen slaves; the salver being overlaid
with gold tissue, as on occasions of state. A stroll in the garden
followed, where we wandered up and down the shady walks, among the
flowers and fountains; and where we encountered the three sons of the
Minister.

Emin Bey, the elder of the brothers, was barely eleven years of age; and
had I not seen him, I should never have been able to picture to myself
any thing at all like the object on which I then looked. So
extraordinary and unwieldy a being as this unhappy boy I never before
met with: and I am moderate in declaring that he must have measured at
least two yards round the body. His jacket of Broussa silk striped with
gold, lay in large folds about his shoulders and waist; his head
appeared to have been attached to his chest without the intervention of
a throat; his hands, his feet, all were proportionably bulky; and when I
looked at the unfortunate child, I could not help thinking how much he
was to be pitied, despite the rank and riches which surrounded him. The
younger boys were fine, noble-looking youths, without the slightest
tendency to corpulency; but Emin Bey is the favourite of the Minister,
who gratifies his every whim; and from the extreme amiability of his
disposition, he is generally popular in the harem.

The sons of Turkish families always inhabit the women’s apartments until
they marry; when, however young they may be, they are immediately shut
out; but, by an extraordinary and apparently inexplicable arrangement,
they are not permitted, as soon as they have ceased to be children, to
intrude themselves on the Buyuk Hanoum without her express permission,
although they have free access to every other apartment in the harem.
Thus Emin Bey, unless summoned by her express desire, could not visit
the elder wife of his father, a venerable old person of at least seventy
years of age, although he was constantly in the society of the two
younger and lovelier ladies; while the other boys, yet mere children,
came and went as they listed, unchidden and almost unnoticed.

As soon as the Buyuk Hanoum had left the bath, we were invited to her
apartment; and as I looked from the withered and feeble woman who lay
stretched on the sofa before me, propped with cushions, glittering with
diamonds, and busied with her chibouk, to the stately and gorgeous
Georgian in all the glow of her proud youth, I had difficulty in
believing that they could indeed be the wives of one man!

When I had returned her salutation, and seated myself beside her, I had
time to look round upon the arrangement of her apartment. On a cushion
near her sofa crouched a frightful female dwarf, old, and wrinkled, and
mis-shapen, with a Sycorax expression of face that made me shudder; and
immediately beside her sat Devlehäi Hanoum, in a high-backed chair of
crimson velvet and gilding, looking like the haughty mother of Vathek
with one of her attendant spirits grovelling at her feet. A line of
female slaves extended from the sofa to the door, and several others
were grouped at the lower end of the saloon, which was most
magnificently fitted up.

The never-failing hospitality of the East prompted the first question of
the venerable hostess. She inquired if I had been satisfied with my
reception; and assured me of the gratification she derived from seeing
me in the Palace of her husband: she then thanked me for the careful
toilette which I had made to visit her, and in the most courtly manner
admired every thing that I wore. The usual extraordinary queries
ensued:—Was I married? Had I ever been affianced? Did I intend to
marry? Could I embroider? How old was I? Which was the prettiest,
Stamboul or London?—and many others of the like kind; but they were all
put so good-humouredly, and so perfectly as a matter of course, that it
was impossible not to be amused, although I had answered them a dozen
times before.

There is a great charm in the graceful _naïveté_ of a well-born Turkish
lady. She tells you directly what she thinks of you, without harbouring
an idea that even truth may sometimes prove unpalatable. If you do not
please her, you are never left in doubt upon the subject; while if, on
the contrary, she considers you well-looking or agreeable, she lavishes
on you the most endearing epithets, and always terminates her address by
imploring you to love her. From the moment that you find yourself
beneath her roof, you are as completely unfettered as though you were in
your own house. Are you hungry? In five minutes, by merely desiring the
first slave with whom you come in contact to bring you food, you may
seat yourself at table. Are you weary? Select the sofa you prefer,
surround yourself with cushions, and should you wish to remain
undisturbed, close the door of the apartment; and when you are
refreshed, you will be greeted on your re-appearance with a second smile
of welcome. If you are restless, you may wander over the whole house;
there is neither indiscretion nor impertinence in so doing. In short,
from the first instant of your domestication in a Turkish family, it is
your own fault if you are not as much at your ease as your hostess
herself.

On quitting the apartment of the Buyuk Hanoum, which was oppressive from
its closed windows and the extreme heat of the weather, we strolled all
over the Palace, which is very extensive, and splendid in its
arrangements. One room only was closed against us. It was that in which
the mother of the Pasha’s children had breathed her last; and into
which he had desired every article, however trifling, of her personal
property, to be removed and locked up, until he causes them to be
disposed of by public sale, and the proceeds secured to her sons.

Turning away from this forbidden door, we proceeded to an apartment in
which the Sultan passed a night about three years ago, and which has
only just been re-opened, at his express desire, for the use of the
family. The Imperial bedstead yet remains, but the golden hangings have
been removed, and have probably since figured in anterys and salvas on
the fair forms of the ladies of the harem. The room is now appropriated
to the master of the house; and on a sofa-cushion lay his watch, his
hand-mirror, and a small agate box containing opium pills.

Having understood that there was a young Greek girl on the
establishment, who had been induced, by the representations of
interested and treacherous advisers, to embrace Mohameddanism, I
expressed a wish to see her, when she was immediately summoned; but made
her appearance with great reluctance, being evidently most heartily
ashamed of her apostacy.

She told us that she was very unhappy; for, although she was treated
with great kindness, she could not reconcile herself to the sin which
she had committed; and that, had she been left to her own free will, she
never should have thought of taking such a step. A few weeks only had
elapsed since she had become a Turk, but she already felt that, although
no taunt was uttered by her companions, they never lost sight of the
fact of her being a renegade; and, had she not known the penalty which
must be paid, she declared that she should at once have uttered her
second recantation.

Well might she pause as she remembered it; for that penalty is death!
When once a Christian female has been induced to utter the simple prayer
which is the only necessary ceremony—the few brief words which declare
that “There is but ONE GOD, and Mahomet is the Prophet of GOD”—she is a
Mahomeddan; and, should she afterwards repent her apostacy, and resolve
on returning to the bosom of the Christian Church, and her determination
become suspected before she has time or opportunity to escape from the
power of the Turks, the waters of the Bosphorus terminate at once her
project and her life.

Nor is a male renegade placed in a more secure position. The Mahomeddans
tolerate no off-falling from their faith. They are bound by their law
twice during their lives to _invite_ a Christian to embrace the religion
of the Prophet; but they never outrun the spirit of their instructions:
they simply suggest the conversion, and use no endeavour to enforce it;
while, on the other hand, they permit no apostacy—death is the instant
penalty for the bare idea. Few Missionaries, however talented, or
however zealous, ever made a Turkish convert—and no renegade Christian,
unless by some rare chance he succeeded in escaping at the critical
moment ere his resolution became suspected, ever survived the intention.

As the Buyuk Hanoum had been particular in her injunctions that every
attention should be paid to me; all the musical clocks and watches
throughout the Palace (and they were not few,) were put into
requisition, and the orchestra, completed by a very harsh barrel-organ,
awoke into discord by the fair hands of Devlehäi Hanoum. This confusion
of sweet sounds is one of the highest courtesies which can be exhibited
in the Harem: and it was quite laughable to stroll through the long
galleries, and to escape from the Sultan’s March on the left hand, to
find yourself in the midst of the Barcarole in Massaniello on the right;
and, leaving both behind you, to catch a fine cadence of _Di Piacer_, as
you were beginning to imagine that all was over.

Having at length reached a spacious saloon, whose cool-looking white
sofas occupied recesses in each of which a window afforded the hope of a
little air, I not only threw up the sash but the jalousies also, to the
great terror of a couple of slaves who were looking on. Seeing their
alarm, I explained to them that they were not compelled to approach the
forbidden opening, but they still continued in such a state of anxiety
that I begged them to explain what troubled them: whereupon the elder of
the two, a plain, clumsy-looking woman of five or six and thirty, and as
unattractive a person as can well be imagined, told me that, as the
Buyuk Hanoum loved me so much, she could not bear to see me commit so
heinous a sin. I requested to know in what my transgression consisted,
when she exclaimed with great energy:—“Suppose a Turk passing under the
window should look up, and love you, would you become a Musselmaun, and
marry him?”

“Certainly not.”

“Imagine then the sin for which you will be accountable, if you continue
seated in front of that open casement. Some unhappy True Believer will
look upon you—he will desire to have you for his wife—and when you
continue deaf to his passion, he will grow sick, keep his bed, and
probably die; and how will you be able to appear in Paradise with such a
sin upon your soul?”

I have related this little anecdote, because it proves two distinct
facts; first, that the Turkish women thoroughly believe that a happy
immortality awaits them, if they do not forfeit it by their own
misdeeds; and that they are moreover tolerant enough to consider it sure
that even the Giaours, who have no share in the mysteries of Mahomet,
have nevertheless the same hope.

I put an end to the generous fears of the woman by telling her that such
an occurrence could not take place with the Frank females, who did not
possess sufficient attraction to peril the peace of a True Believer, and
that this was the reason they walked about unveiled; while the great
beauty of the fair Turks had rendered it incumbent on the Prophet to
make them cover their faces, in order to prevent such misfortunes to his
followers as that to which she had just alluded; and she was so well
satisfied with my explanation that she suffered me to remain peacefully
in my corner, breathed upon by the cool air which swept over the
Bosphorus, only taking extreme care to remain at such a distance from
the window herself, as to ensure the heart-ease of every worthy and
susceptible Musselmaun who might chance to pass that way.

From this pleasant position we were summoned to an apartment in which
refreshments had been provided for us; and as we had expressed no
inclination to eat, these consisted only of fruits, conserves, and
similar trifles. Pyramids of pears and grapes; saucers of olives and
cream-cheese; vases of preserves; and dishes of cucumber neatly
arranged, and cut into minute portions, formed the staple of the repast;
and were interspersed with goblets of rose-scented sherbet. To myself
alone another luxury was added, in the shape of a small cake of
extremely delicate bread, made for the exclusive use of the Minister.

The fair Georgian could by no means be persuaded to seat herself at
table; and although the apartment was filled with attendants, she
persisted in waiting upon me herself; and during a considerable time
found amusement in decorating my hair with bunches of small pears, which
had been gathered with great care, in order to preserve the leaves that
grew about them.

While we were thus agreeably employed, Conjefèm Hanoum entered from the
bath. She was a fair, languishing beauty of sixteen, exquisitely
dressed, and extremely fascinating; with a slight expression of
melancholy about her, that seemed as much the effect of a quiet coquetry
as the result of her natural temperament.

When our primitive repast was concluded, the beautiful Georgian inquired
of my friends whether they could suggest any thing likely to give me
pleasure which it was in her power to offer. As the day was lovely, and
the sun beginning to decline, we availed ourselves of her politeness,
and decided on a drive, when the carriage was immediately ordered, amid
the regrets of the two younger ladies that they could not accompany us,
which from their not having previously obtained the permission of the
Pasha, it was impossible for them to do. Had the Buyuk Hanoum desired to
be of the party, she would have been at perfect liberty to indulge the
inclination, as from her advanced age no cause for jealousy could
possibly exist on the part of the husband; but the other wives were too
young and too pretty to be trusted to their own discretion by a worthy
old gentleman of nearly four score; and they were consequently
compelled, much to their annoyance, to see us depart alone.

When we had taken leave of the Buyuk Hanoum in her apartment, where she
still lay pillowed upon her cushions; and that I had promised to avail
myself of her earnest invitation that I would repeat my visit; we
returned to the great centre saloon where the other ladies awaited us,
surrounded by a crowd of slaves, one of whom carried upon a salver a
pile of embroidered handkerchiefs, worked by the fair fingers of the two
younger Hanoums, with gold thread and coloured silks. This gift, which
had been prepared for me, was accompanied by a thousand kindly comments.
I was desired to examine one piece of needlework, and to remark that I
carried away with me the heart of the donor—upon another I was told
that I should find a bouquet of flowers, and discover that they had
presented me with the portrait which they should retain of me in their
own memories; and I at length bade them farewell, amid a thousand
admonitions neither to forget nor to neglect the promise that I had made
to renew my visit.

The araba awaited us in the court of the palace, and ere long we were
all comfortably established in a roomy and commodious waggon, (for that
is the correct name of the carriage) drawn by two oxen blazing with gilt
foil and spangles; upon a mattress of crimson shag, embroidered and
fringed with gold, amid cushions of similar material, and beneath a
canopy of purple decorated in the same rich style. Two attendants, in
the livery of the Minister, ran beside the carriage; and, although our
progress, from the nature of the animals who drew us, was not so rapid
as many travellers might desire, we nevertheless contrived to spend a
couple of delicious hours in driving up and down a public walk,
overshadowed with fine old oaks, beneath whose gnarled and far-spreading
boughs parties of shade-loving individuals had spread their mats, and
were smoking their pipes, or eating their pic-nic dinners, within reach
of a fine fountain and a commodious coffee-kiosk; and in the full
enjoyment of as glorious a view as ever taught the eye of man to linger
lovingly on the fair face of nature.

Assuredly no race of men ever enjoyed a beautiful country more
thoroughly than the Orientals. Every pretty spot is sure to be
discovered, and appropriated on each occasion of festival. Those who can
possess themselves of commanding points, and who have the means of doing
so, build kiosks, and plant vineyards about them, amid which they spend
the long summer day; while the poorer classes carry their mats and their
pipes to their favourite nooks; and enjoy, if not as exclusively, at
least as heartily, as their more fortunate neighbours, the bright
prospect and the balmy air.

The Turk, especially, finds his happiness in this most simple and most
natural of all pleasures. Hour after hour he will sit with his chibouk
between his lips, gazing about him unweariedly, and communing with his
own thoughts in all the peacefulness and luxury engendered by the beauty
of the locality; and the exterior appearance of his dwelling is never
considered, if he can contrive an angle, or throw out a bay, which will
enable him to command a striking feature in the landscape, or a longer
stretch of the lake-like Bosphorus.

On the present occasion the oak-wood was dotted all over with little
groups of holyday-makers. Children ran in and out among the trees,
making the breeze glad with laughter; the oxen which had been unyoked
from the different carriages, were browsing on the young leaves; merry
voices called to each other from amid the underwood; the fountain was
surrounded by servants; the coffee-kiosk thronged with guests; and the
scene was altogether so lively, so cool, and so delightful, that it was
not without regret that we ultimately drove down to the shore, where our
caïque awaited us, and found ourselves once more gliding smoothly and
swiftly over the sunny waters of the channel.



CHAPTER XVI.


  Military Festival—Turkish Ladies—Female Curiosity—Eastern
  Coquetry—A Few Words on the Turkish _Fèz_—The Imperial
  Horse-Guards—Disaffection of the Imperial Guard—False
  Alarms—The Procession—The Troops at Pera—Imitative Talent of
  the Turks—Disappointment.


Having accidentally rowed down to Pera in order to visit some friends, a
week or two after the presentation of the Sultan’s portrait to the
Imperial Guard at Scutari, we were startled on arriving at Dolma Batchè
to see the shore lined with the caïques and barges of the Pashas, and
the principal Officers of the Fleet; and the heights covered with
military. Such being the case, we landed at the pier below the palace,
and I addressed myself to a group of Turkish ladies who had established
themselves very comfortably under the shade of a fine plane tree, to
ascertain the cause of so much unusual parade.

Women assuredly have some freemasonry by which they contrive to be
intelligible to each other, for it is certain that, with barely half a
dozen sentences of the language, I have frequently kept up something
that bordered upon a conversation; and on the present occasion, by a
judicious use of my very limited knowledge, and considerable
gesticulation, I made the persons to whom I put the question perfectly
comprehend its import. The reply commenced by an invitation to avail
myself of part of their carpet, which, as it was easy to see both by
their appearance and attendance, that they were highly respectable, I
did not hesitate to do; and they then informed me that the Sultan was to
pass in an hour, in state, to present his portrait to the Artillery, at
their barracks in the Great Cemetery.

In five minutes my new acquaintance had confided to me that they were
sisters, and that a sweet little girl who sat between them was the only
child of the younger one, and would be immensely rich; and had, in turn,
inquired my country, and my relationship to my father, who stood aloof,
lest he should annoy them; but whom they forthwith invited into the
shade by the usual title given to all Franks:—“Gel, Capitan, Gel—Come,
Captain, come”—while the daughter of the eldest lady, a pale, slight,
dark-eyed houri, who was perfectly conscious of her extreme beauty,
played off a thousand little coquettish airs to attract his attention.
First she let the lower portion of her yashmac fall, to discover the
prettiest mouth in the world; with, what is very unusual among the
Turkish females, a fine set of teeth, which she displayed in a laugh of
affected embarrassment at her awkwardness; and then, in her great haste
to remedy the misfortune, she contrived to throw back her feridjhe, and
disclose a throat and arms as dazzling as mountain snow; and a pair of
delicate little hands, of which the nails were deeply stained with
henna. I had seen several yashmacs adjusted in the harem, but I had
never yet met with one which required so much arranging as this; and the
young Hanoum was so persevering, and kept up such a soft little murmur
of Turkish ejaculations, that I had time to take an excellent lesson in
the difficult art of veiling.

And all this within ten paces of one of the sentinels, who stood leaning
cross-legged against the stock of his musket, according to the most
approved system of Turkish discipline; and who did not interfere to
remove the Frank strangers from the vicinity of the women, although a
couple of years ago it would have perhaps subjected my father to
temporary imprisonment, and certainly to insult.

As we had already had sufficient experience of the slight attention
which His Sublime Highness ever paid to time on public occasions, we
felt no inclination to spend half the morning under a tree on the edge
of a dusty road; and, having ascertained by the line of sentinels, that
the procession would pass the Military College; we accordingly made a
parting salutation to our new friends, and plunged once more into the
hot sunshine.

As we ascended the hill we came upon a squadron of the Imperial Guard,
who were to form a portion of the shew, and who were lying comfortably
in the dust, some asleep, and others nearly so; while the horses were
huddled together in groups in the centre of the road? This was a portion
of the corps which I mentioned in my account of the marriage festivities
of the Princess Mihirmàh, and they certainly were considerably more like
soldiers at a distance, than when seen thus on our very path.

Nothing requires more management than a _fèz_. It may be so arranged as
to form even a becoming head-dress; but wo betide the unlucky wight who
pulls it on until he is _fèzed_ over head and ears! As worn by the
Turkish soldiers, it were impossible to conceive any thing more hideous;
generally nearly black, and always more or less greasy; some fling it
down into their necks, where it forms a deep fold, others drag it over
their eyebrows, and others again bury their whole heads in it, till it
takes the form of the skull, and looks like a red clay basin. I need not
expatiate on the appearance of their white overalls, even on such an
occasion as the present, because I have already stated that the wearers
were lying about in the dust; and it were equally supererogatory to do
more than allude to the effect of a lancer jacket of coarse cloth,
braided with yellow cord, nine times out of ten a misfit.

The horses were in excellent keeping with their riders, and presented a
beautiful independence of accoutrement. Some had blue saddlecloths, and
some had brown ones; some scarlet, and some white; some had European
saddles, and some Tartar—some had holsters, (many of them, by the by,
to my great amusement, charged with cucumbers, of which the Turks are
extremely fond) and some were without. Their lances looked as though
they had dropped down among them by mistake, their points were so
glittering, and their crimson pennons so fresh and bright, for a Turkish
soldier is always careful of his arms. They do not carry these graceful
weapons like our own Lancers, although they are similarly provided with
slings, but grasp the pole in the Russian fashion.

We were curious to witness the bearing of the Sultan on this occasion,
as on the presentation of his portrait at Scutari, a portion of the
Imperial Guard had murmured openly against so glaring an infringement of
their law, which forbids literally the likeness of any human being to be
taken; whereas this had, moreover, been carried with great pomp, and
saluted after the same fashion as would have been the august personage
whom it represented. “We are be coming Giaours—Infidels,”—was the
complaint—“The Franks are turning the head of the Sultan, and he will
soon be as they are.”

The first intimation of this disaffection on the part of the troops
which reached the inhabitants of the capital, was the appearance of
bodies floating in the Bosphorus; and the fact that a Greek captain, who
had moored his vessel in the current, found it clogged in an
incomprehensible manner; and, on employing half a dozen men to remove
the evil, discovered that it was choaked with corpses!

After so decided a manifestation of the sentiments of the soldiery, it
was a courageous act of the Sultan to venture thus immediately on a
repetition of the offence; and the rather that a portion of the troops
are composed of the sons of the Janissaries, who cannot be supposed to
entertain the most favourable feelings towards the destroyer of their
fathers; and who would naturally embrace so favourable an opportunity of
spreading their own hate, as that which permitted them to enforce their
expressions of disgust with the name of the Prophet, and the authority
of their religion.

As it was uncertain whether His Highness might not descend at the
College, as he had done on a previous occasion, three temporary steps
covered with scarlet cloth had been prepared for him to descend from
his horse; and a carpet laid down from thence to the apartment of Azmè
Bey, where a handsomely-embroidered, and elaborately-cushioned sofa had
been arranged for his reception. In this room we took up our position,
near a window that commanded the long stretch of road, by which the
procession was to advance; and we had calculated justly on the
procrastination of the Sultan, for we waited nearly four hours ere the
_cortège_ was actually in motion. “The cry was still ‘they come!’” and
during all that time they came not. There were two or three false
alarms. The drums beat off at the Palace, and were answered by those on
the heights, and at the College; the gallant cavalry gathered themselves
up out of the dust, and mounted their horses: the Bey turned out his
guard, and all in vain. There was a mistake somewhere; and consequently
the cavalry dismounted, and lay down again to finish their sleep; and
the young Colonel turned in the guard; and we drank another glass of
sherbet, and tried to think that we were not at all out of patience; in
which attempt, I, at least, was very unsuccessful.

At length the moment came, and the distant sounds of a military band
announced the approach of the procession. The unfortunate Guardsmen
sprang to their saddles for the fourth time, and formed in double file;
in which order they moved forward at a foot’s pace. They were succeeded
by the Military Staff of the Army, and the Field Officers of the
different regiments; the Majors rode first, and were followed by the
superior ranks in regular succession, until the gorgeous train of Pashas
brought up the rear. The Pashas were succeeded by about thirty
musicians: and then followed a detachment of Infantry marching in double
files, between whose ranks moved the open carriage of the Sultan, drawn
by four fine grey horses, each led by a groom; and bearing the portrait
of His Highness carefully enveloped in green baize. Saïd Pasha, the
Sultan’s son-in-law, preceded the carriage, dressed in a Hussar uniform,
and mounted on a noble Arabian; and it was followed by the Seraskier and
Halil Pasha riding abreast; succeeded by a squadron of cavalry.

But where, then, was the Sultan?

Alas! for our high-flown expectations—He had reviewed five thousand men
in the course of the morning on the heights above the Palace, after
which he had started off for the Valley of Kahaitchana, in an open
carriage and four; leaving his portrait to the care of the Pashas.

We reached Pera amid the firing of cannon, the pealing of musketry, and
the beating of drums; and just in time to see the whole of the troops
march through to their respective barracks; which they did six deep, and
in very tolerable style—a circumstance rendered the more astonishing
by the fact that many of them had their shoes literally tied upon their
feet!

It was impossible not to be struck by a conviction of the perseverance
and adoptive powers of the Turks, on seeing this body of men; who,
although labouring under all the disadvantages of slovenly dress and
defective instruction, had, nevertheless, in a few years succeeded in
presenting an appearance of European discipline. Self-taught—for the
Turks have been deterred from exerting that which their own good sense
led them to feel would be the most efficient mean of speedily attaining
the perfection at which they aimed; that is, of profiting by the
instructions of foreigners; they have, amid all the difficulties of
their position, succeeded in proving that their imitative talents are
very considerable; and the jealous policy of Russia has only tended to
demonstrate to those who have had an opportunity of comparing the
present state of the Turkish army with that in which it was but three
years ago, that the Osmanlis have every inclination to avail themselves
of the opportunities that are afforded to them of studying the
institutions of other nations; where their efforts are not frustrated by
political considerations.

Recent events have, in some degree, weakened the Muscovite influence at
the Sublime Porte; and European Officers have lately arrived in
Constantinople who, should they be permitted to act, will probably soon
convert the “material” of the Turkish Army into available troops,
calculated to do honour alike to their country, to their instructors,
and to their Emperor. The docility of the Turkish soldier is admirable;
and his desire of improvement so unwearying that it is a common
occurrence for him to spend his hours of relaxation in perfecting
himself, as far as his own knowledge enables him to do so, in the
management of his firelock; while the care and time which he bestows
upon the arm itself, is visible at once from the lustre of its bright
barrel, and the cleanliness of its whole appearance.

But to return to the troops at Pera. The officers were only
distinguishable by their arms, being as heavily laden as the men, with a
knapsack, a mess tin, a cloak, and a prayer-carpet; and the different
corps were attended by numerous water-carriers, with small leathern
cisterns under their arms, and clay drinking-bowls suspended from a
strap about their waists.

After traversing Pera, the several regiments filed off in different
directions; and the faubourg resumed its accustomed tranquillity. The
interest of the pageant had however been greatly lessened by the absence
of the Sultan, who should have been its “head and front;” and I only
reconciled myself to the disappointment by engaging to join a party who
were to spend the following Friday at the Asiatic Sweet Waters, where
preparations were making to receive the Sovereign of one of the most
gorgeous Empires of the earth—the Monarch of a million designations!



CHAPTER XVII.


  Turkish Ladies “At Home”—The Asiatic Sweet Waters—Holy
  Ground—The Glen of the Valley—Hand Mirrors—Holyday
  Groups—Courtesy of the Oriental Females to Strangers—The
  Beautiful Devotee—The Pasha’s Wife—A Guard of Honour—Change
  of Scene—The Fortress of Mahomet—Amiability of the Turkish
  Character.


The traveller who desires to see the Turkish women really “at home,”
should visit the beautiful valley of Guiuk-Suy, the Sweet Waters of
Asia, on a Friday during the hot months. This lovely spot, shut in on
three sides by lofty hills covered with vegetation, is open to the
Bosphorus immediately opposite to the Castle of Europe, the prison of
the Janissaries, where the branch-embowered river which gives its name
to the locality, (literally “chest-water”) runs rippling into the
sunlighted channel.

The transition is delicious, as, shooting round an abrupt point of land,
gay with its painted palace and leafy garden, you glide into the deep
shadows of the little river, whose fringe of trees throws a twilight
softness over the water, and mirrors itself in the calm ripple. Beneath
the boughs rise, as is usual on every spot of peace and beauty, the
columned head-stones of many a departed Mussulmaun; while the birds,
screened from the noon-day heats, are ever pouring forth their glad song
in all the gushing joyousness of conscious security.

Your boatmen, refreshed by the grateful coolness of the locality,
speedily bring you to an open bridge; which, spanning the river at its
narrowest point, unites the secluded valley, in which the
holyday-keeping crowd are wont to assemble during the noon-tide
sunshine, with the more open space on which they congregate towards the
evening, to profit by the waters of a superb fountain of white marble,
richly adorned with arabesques; and to inhale the fresh breeze that
sweeps over the Bosphorus.

The stretch of turf on which the ladies spread their carpets, drive
their arabas, and spend the long summer morning, is screened from the
river by a small space thickly wooded, and appropriated to the men; who
smoke their chibouks, and enjoy their sherbet and water-melons, far from
the gossipry of their more voluble helpmeets. Passing through this “holy
ground,” you come at once upon the lovely nook, which, surrounded on all
sides by trees, and thronged with company, affords one of the prettiest
_coup-d’œils_ in the world.

[Illustration: PART OF THE VALLEY OF GUIUK-SUY.]

Here the Sultanas move slowly along over the smooth turf, the vizors of
their oxen flashing with foil and plate glass, and the deep golden edges
of their araba-awnings glittering in the sunshine; while they lean on
their silken cushions, with their yashmacs less carefully arranged than
on ordinary occasions. Here the gilded carriage of the Pasha’s Harem,
with its gaily tasselled draperies, and its gaudily caparisoned horses,
rolls rapidly over the yielding verdure; while the veiled beauty within
screens her pure, pale loveliness with a fan of feathers, which serves
at once to amuse her idleness, and to display the fairy-like hand that
grasps its ivory handle, with the priceless gems which glitter on the
slender fingers, and the taper wrist. Here, the wives of the Bey, the
Effendi, and the Emir spread their Persian carpets, and their crimson
rugs; and, while the elder ladies remove the fold of muslin which veils
the lower portion of their faces, and indulge themselves in the luxury
of the _kadeun-chibouk_, or woman’s pipe; the younger of the party find
amusement no less engrossing, in the re-arrangement of their
head-dresses with the assistance of a hand-mirror, (the constant
travelling companion of a Turkish female), which is held by a slave who
kneels at the edge of the carpet.

These hand-mirrors are the prettiest toys imaginable; and the taste
displayed in their decoration, as well as the expensive materials of
which they are frequently composed, prove their great importance in the
eyes of an Oriental beauty. One of these indispensable playthings is
constantly beside her in the harem; every latticed araba has four of
them panelled into the gilding of its interior, in which she may see her
charms reflected during her drive; and no Turkish lady would ever
undertake the three hours’ voyage from Buyukdèrè to Stamboul, without
carrying along with her the beloved _ainali_.

Some of these mirrors, which are universally of a circular form, and
generally provided with a handle of the same material as the setting,
and similarly ornamented; are mounted in a frame of richly chased gold
or silver, studded with precious stones; but these, as I need scarcely
remark, are to be seen only in the Imperial Seraïs, or in the palaces of
the most wealthy among the nobles. Others are of coloured velvets,
wrought with seed-pearls in the most delicate patterns, or worked with
gold, which the Turks do to perfection. Nor are the meaner classes
without their _ainalis_, framed in wood, gaudily painted, and frequently
most minute in size.

The Valley of Guiuk-Suy, thronged as I have attempted to describe it,
presents a scene essentially Oriental in its character. The
crimson-covered carriages moving along beneath the trees—the
white-veiled groups scattered over the fresh turf—the constant motion
of the attendant slaves—the quaintly-dressed venders of _mohalibè_ and
_sèkèl_ (or sweetmeats) moving rapidly from point to point with their
plateaux upon their heads, furnished with a raised shelf, on which the
crystal or china plates destined to serve for the one, and the pink and
yellow glories of the other, are temptingly displayed—the
_yahourt_-merchant, with his yoke upon his shoulder, and his swinging
trays covered with little brown clay basins, showing forth the creamy
whiteness of his merchandize—the vagrant exhibitors of dancing bears
and grinning monkeys—the sunburnt Greek, with his large, flapping hat
of Leghorn straw, and Frank costume, hurrying along from group to group
with his pails of ice; and recommending his delicate and perishable
luxury in as many languages as he is likely to earn piastres—the
never-failing water-carrier, with his large turban, his graceful jar of
red earth, and his crystal goblet—the negroes of the higher harems,
laden with carpets, chibouks, and refreshments for their mistresses—the
fruit-venders, with their ruddy peaches, their clusters of purple grapes
from Smyrna, their pyramidically piled filberts, and their rich plums,
clothed in bloom, and gathered with their fresh leaves about them—the
melon merchants sitting among their upheaped riches; the _pasteks_ with
their emerald-coloured rinds, and the musk-melons, looking like golden
balls, and scenting the breeze as it sweeps over them; the variety of
costume exhibited by the natives, always most striking on the Asiatic
shore—the ringing rattle of the tambourine, and the sharp wiry sound of
the Turkish Zebec, accompanied by the shrill voices of half a dozen
Greeks, seated in a semicircle in front of a beauty-laden araba—all
combine to complete a picture so perfect of its kind, that, were an
European to be transported to Guiuk-Suy, without any intermediate
preparation, he would believe himself to be under the spell of an
Enchanter, and beholding the realization of what he had hitherto
considered as the mere extravagance of some Eastern story-teller.

The Valley, or at least that portion of it which I am now describing, is
further embellished by a magnificent beech, called the Sultan’s Tree,
beneath which the Imperial carpet is spread for His Highness when he
visits Guiuk-Suy. And a little beyond this rises a platform shaded with
willows, and occupied at one of its extremities by a handsome
head-stone. I could not learn what favoured dust had been deposited on
this sweet spot.

When we had selected a pleasant nook, and had spread our carpet,
arranged our cushions, and provided ourselves with fruit, one of the
party started on a shooting expedition among the hills; and my friend
Madame S—— and myself strolled round the magic circle, which became
each moment more thronged. We received many a gracious salutation as we
moved along, in return for our glances of involuntary admiration; and at
length were fairly stopped by a smiling entreaty that we would inform a
party of ladies, who had been too aristocratic in their ideas, or too
indolent in their habits, to descend from their araba, who we were,
whence we came, and to answer a score more of those simple questions,
which make a claim only upon your patience. Not one among them was
pretty, but they were all polite and good-natured; and, if they did ask
us many things which concerned them not in any possible way, they at
least communicated to us, in their turn, a variety of circumstances
relating to themselves, which regarded us quite as little.

Nothing can exceed the courtesy of the Turkish ladies to strangers. They
always appear delighted to converse with an European female who seems
disposed to meet them half way; and they do so with a frankness and ease
which at once destroy every feeling of _gène_ on the part of the
stranger. In five minutes every thing they have is at your service; the
fruit of which they are partaking, and the scented sherbet that they
have prepared with their own hands. To make acquaintance with them, you
require only to be cheerful, willing to indulge their harmless
curiosity, and ready to return their civility in as far as you are
enabled to do so. There is none of that withering indifference, or that
supercilious scrutiny which obtains so much in Europe, to be dreaded
from a Turkish gentlewoman; but there is, on the contrary, an earnest
urbanity about her which is delightful, and which emanates from the
intuitive politeness so universal among the natives; coupled with a
simplicity of feeling, and a sincerity of good-nature that lend a double
charm to the courtesies of life. Nor is the eye less satisfied than the
heart, in these moments of agreeable, although brief, communion; for the
graceful bearing of an Oriental female greatly enhances the charm of her
ready kindness; and her self-possession, and dignity of manner, render
her superior to the paltry affectation of assumed coldness; while they
convince you that she would be as prompt to resent impertinence, as she
had been ready to proffer courtesy.

When we bowed our adieu to the party in the araba, and prepared to
continue our stroll, the elder lady presented to us four large
cucumbers, a vegetable highly relished by the Orientals, and eaten by
them in the same manner as fruit. Of course we accepted the offering in
the spirit in which it was made, although we declined indulging in the
unwholesome luxury; and I merely mention the circumstance, trivial as it
is, to prove the truth of my position. The ladies had been regaling
themselves with this primitive fare when we joined them, and shared it
with us from precisely the same feeling of courtesy, as an English
gentlewoman would have tendered to a stranger the sandwich and champaign
of her carriage luncheon.

A short distance beyond the araba, we came upon a beautiful young
female, who had alighted from her carriage, and was kneeling upon a
costly Persian prayer-carpet, on whose eastern edge was placed a vase of
wrought silver. Three slaves stood, with folded arms, immediately
behind her; and she was so completely absorbed in her devotions, that
not even the apparition of a couple of European females, always objects
of curiosity to a Turkish lady, caused her to lift her eyes. She was
strikingly handsome, and her attitude was most graceful, as, with her
small hands clasped together, she bowed her head to the earth in the
deep, voiceless, prayer, which is the heart’s offering, and requires not
to shape itself into words. Had she been otherwise engaged, I could have
lingered for an hour, for the mere pleasure of looking upon one of the
loveliest faces in the world; but I felt that it would be indelicate to
intrude upon her devotions, and once more I moved forward.

No occupation, whether of business or pleasure, is permitted to
interfere with the religious duties of a Turkish female, however
distinguished her rank; nor has locality or circumstance any influence
in deterring her from their observance. It is a common occurrence to see
the sister of the Sultan alight from her araba at Kahaitchana, or any
other public place in which she may chance to find herself when her
accustomed hour of prayer arrives; and, when her slaves have spread her
prayer-carpet, kneel down within sight and sound of the crowds that
throng the walk, as calmly and collectedly as though she were shut
within one of the gilded chambers of her own Seraï. It were idle to
comment upon such a fact.

What a glad scene it was as we wandered on under the leafy branches of
the tall trees, over the fresh turf, breathed upon by the cool breeze
that swept down into the valley from the encircling hills, giving and
receiving a thousand salutations! The Sultan was momentarily expected;
and many a dark eye was turned at intervals towards the entrance of the
glen, and the noble beech tree to which I have already made allusion;
but they were turned thither in vain, for, greatly to our
disappointment, he did not appear.

During our progress we came upon an araba which instantly attracted our
attention. The painted oxen[5] had been withdrawn, and were grazing a
few paces off; a line of female slaves, reaching the whole length of the
carriage, were ranged side by side; and two negroes were stationed
immediately in front. All these indications of rank induced us to
slacken our pace as we approached, and to glance with more than ordinary
attention towards the occupants of the vehicle. They were two in number;
a serious-looking elderly person, earnestly engaged with her chibouk;
and a fair young creature, so buried among her richly embroidered
cushions, that she was scarcely visible.

I have called her _fair_, but that is not the correct expression, for,
as she raised herself at our approach, and removed from before her face
a hand mirror, curiously set in a frame composed of ostrich feathers, I
never beheld any thing living with such a complexion. She was so deadly
white, that no difference was perceptible between the folds of her
yashmac, and the brow on which they rested! She looked as though she had
been the partial prey of a vampyre; who, sated with some previous
victim, had left his unholy repast only half completed—But such eyes!
so dark—so sad—veiled by lashes as black as night, resting upon the
pallid cheek like sable fringes—I never saw such eyes, save in a
dream!—Her nose was thin, and finely-shaped; and the perfect oval of
her face, was revealed by the tightly-adjusted yashmac—It was the most
spectral beauty I ever beheld, but beauty of a most rare description.
She was pillowed on satin, and her hands and brow were bright with gems,
but I am sure she was unhappy—there was a languid hopelessness in the
expression of her pale face, and a listlessness in her manner, that told
of a bursting heart. I would have given much to have learnt her history.

There must have been some telltale indication of my involuntary
conviction, in the long and earnest gaze that I turned upon her; for
ere I removed my eyes, she smiled a sad, sweet smile, and pressed her
hand upon her heart as though she thanked me for the melancholy feeling
with which I had looked upon her beauty. The elder dame, meanwhile,
smoked on in silence, as calmly as if she had been seated beside a more
light-hearted companion; and the silver fringes of the costly araba
glittered in the sunshine; and the embroidered cushions looked like a
parterre of flowers; and all within that gorgeous vehicle was gay and
gladsome save its drooping mistress. I made a thousand inquiries, but
failed to ascertain who she was. One individual alone was able to assure
me that she was the favourite wife of a Pasha; but the name of the said
Pasha had escaped the memory of my informant, and I was fain to content
myself with this very unsatisfactory fragment of intelligence.

Having completed our tour of the glen, we took possession of our
cushions, and regaled ourselves with the delicious water-melons that we
had provided to refresh us after our walk; and a small party of Turkish
ladies shortly afterwards followed, and established themselves under the
shade of the same tree, whom we initiated into the mysteries of
_papillotes_, a secret science which has just become highly interesting
to them from their adoption of ringlets. We amused ourselves with these
follies for half an hour very pleasantly; and, having shared our fruit
and sweetmeats with our new acquaintance, and perceiving that the
company were rapidly departing for the sea-side, I established myself
under a fine beech-tree to take a sketch of the locality. But although
comparatively few persons remained in the glen, I soon discovered that
enough yet lingered to form a dense crowd about me, which effectually
prevented my obtaining a view of any object more picturesque than a
yashmac or a feridjhe; and I was about to give up the attempt in
despair, when a Turkish Officer approached, and requested me to favour
him with a sight of my sketch-book.

I complied at once, and was rewarded for my ready acquiescence in the
most agreeable way in the world; for, perceiving by its contents that it
was not persons but places which I was transferring to my little volume,
he explained to the ladies who had gathered about me, that I was
prevented from prosecuting my design by the fact of their having
entirely shut out the view I was most anxious to secure; and at the
first hint they moved aside to the right and left with all the good
humour imaginable; one succeeding the other in leaning over me, to
examine my work; and all rewarding my forbearance with exclamations of
“_Mashallàh_,” and “_Pek Guzel_.”

At length the little sketch was completed; and, putting up my pencils, I
thanked the Officer who had remained on guard over me and my
undertaking, very sincerely for his politeness; and we followed the
crowd along a lovely green lane on the opposite side of the bridge, to
the shore of the Bosphorus.

It was indeed a change of scene. The Castle of Europe, cold, and white,
and bare, cut sharply against the blue sky on the opposite coast; and,
as the channel is unusually narrow at this point, I was enabled to trace
more accurately than I had ever done hitherto, the architectural cypher
of the Prophet.

[Illustration: CASTLE OF MAHOMET.]

Within the walls are clustered about a dozen houses; and their
inhabitants are bound by an ancient law not to suffer their descendants
to marry without the precincts of the fortress; they are consequently
all closely related, and no instance has ever been known of their having
slighted the injunction.

Immediately before me, on the seaward edge of the fine stretch of turf
in which the lane terminated, all the throng of company that had crowded
the glen of the Valley during the earlier part of the day, were now
collected together under the long shadow of a double avenue of fine
trees fringing the border of the channel, and terminating at the elegant
fountain to which I have already made allusion. On one side rose the
painted kiosk of the Sultan; and near it stood the little mosque, with
its slender minaret shooting heavenward, and almost hidden by the leafy
branches of the surrounding trees. On the other a cluster of arabas,
with their crimson and purple awnings, and fringes of gold and
silver—while, in the midst, groups of women were dotted over the
greensward, and gaily-dressed children gambolled in their young
gracefulness, making the elastic air buoyant with mirth.

It was a heart-inspiring spectacle! and it was beautiful to remark the
kindness and good feeling which pervaded the whole assemblage. I cannot
understand how any European who has once contemplated a scene of this
description, can carry away with him an unfavourable impression of the
Turkish character. I have remarked elsewhere on the happy freedom from
_morgue_ which pervades the wealthier classes of the capital. Neither
superciliousness nor assumption on the part of their more fortunate
neighbours, withers the enjoyment of the humble and the laborious; the
day of rest and recreation levels all ranks, and suspends all
distinctions; and thus each is secure to find the pleasure which he
seeks; for that pleasure is in itself of so natural and simple a
description that it requires no combination of causes to produce it—a
bright sky—a balmy atmosphere—a lovely landscape—are all that is
necessary to its enjoyment; and they are ever within the reach of the
humblest during the long summer season—And when to these are superadded
the kindly smile and the ready greeting which are never withheld in
Turkey from those who seek them, it must at once be acknowledged that
the Osmanlis have made a wise selection, in preferring to the strife and
struggle for precedence, and the uncertainty of ultimate success, which
clog the more refined and “exclusive” pleasures of Europe, the simple,
kindly, and ever-enduring enjoyment of nature and universal good-will.

But I am committing an error in thus applying the word “refined.”—Are
not such pleasures as those of Turkey infinitely more refined than the
elaborated dissipations of the West? Is not the holiness of nature a
loftier contemplation than the gilded saloons of the great?—The power
to feel and to appreciate the noble gifts of the Creator, eminently more
glorious than the talent to discover the finite perfections of the
creature? Is not the breeze which sweeps over the heathy hill, or
through the blossom-scented valley, more redolent of real sweetness than
the perfume-laden halls of luxury?

If these be “barbarous” pleasures, then are the Turks the most barbarous
people upon earth, for in these consist their highest enjoyments—In
them the Minister finds his ready solace for the cares of office, and
the labourer for the toils of weary days—But if they be indeed those
which should be the best calculated to impart their charm to cultivated
minds and unsullied hearts; then, as I have already ventured to suggest,
the Turks have “chosen the better part,” and are authorised to smile, as
they ever do, in quiet pity at the coil and care with which we of
“civilized” Europe, cheat ourselves into the belief that we have far
outstripped them in enjoyment, as well as science; and toil throughout a
long life in pursuit of a phantom which flits before us like a beckoning
spirit, but is ever beyond our grasp.

I was never more struck with this truth than at Guiuk-Suy, I never saw
the women of Turkey under a more favourable aspect.—Every heart
appeared to be holding holyday; and when, as evening closed, we returned
to our caïque, and bade adieu to the valley of the Asian Sweet Waters, I
felt that I knew them better—that I understood more correctly their
social character, than I had hitherto done; and it is an important fact,
and one which is well worthy of remark, that the more an European,
resolved to cast aside prejudice, and to study the national habits and
impulses, comes in contact with the inhabitants of the East, the more he
is led to admire the consistency of thought, feeling, and action which
influence them; and the high-minded generosity with which they tolerate
the jarring and discordant habits and prejudices of their foreign
visitors.

I am obliged to concede that no assemblage of European gentlewomen would
have welcomed among them two female strangers, as the Turkish ladies,
during the day which we spent at Guiuk-Suy, received my friend and
myself. The wandering Giaours were every where greeted with smiles,
urged to linger, invited to partake of every rural collation: treated,
in short, as friends, rather than persons seen for the first, and,
probably, the only time. And such a welcome as this might be secured by
every Frank lady, did she consider it worth her while to conciliate the
Turkish females; who are always sufficiently rewarded for their
courtesy and kindness, by a gay smile and a ready acceptance of their
proffered civility; and yet it is a singular fact, that the European
ladies resident in Constantinople are scarcely acquainted with one
Osmanli family, and I have been asked more than once if I was not
frightened of the Turkish women!

It were needless to comment either on the illiberality of the prejudice,
or the effects which it is so unfortunately calculated to
produce—Effects which are painfully visible; and whose cause is
anything but creditable to European generosity or penetration.



CHAPTER XVIII.


  The Reiss Effendi—Devlehaï Hanoum—The Fair Circassian—The
  Pasha—Ceremonious Observances of the Harem—An
  Interview—Namik Pasha _versus_ Nourri Effendi—Imperial
  Decorations—The Diploma—Turkish Gallantry—The Chibouks—The
  Salemliek—The Garden—Holy Horror—The Kiosk—The Breakfast—A
  Party in the Harem—Nèsibè Hanoum—The Yashmac—The
  Masquerade—Turkish Compliments—The Slave and the Fruit
  Merchant—Departure from the Palace.


As I was contemplating a second visit to the Palace of the Reiss
Effendi, an invitation reached me from the Minister himself, who
requested me to meet him at six o’clock the following morning in his
harem, previously to his departure for the Sublime Porte. I started
accordingly, accompanied by a young Greek lady who officiated as my
interpreter; and at the hour appointed we landed on the marble terrace,
and were instantly admitted.

I have elsewhere remarked on the early habits of the Turkish ladies, and
on the present occasion they were already astir, and the slaves hurrying
in every direction with sweetmeats and coffee. Devlehäi Hanoum was shut
into her chamber at prayers, and the door was guarded by a little slave
not more than six years of age; one of seven children recently purchased
from a slave-ship, so meagre and miserable, that the poor little
innocents had evidently been half-starved on their passage from
Circassia. One of them had been stolen from the very bosom of its
mother, and on its arrival in the harem was immediately provided with a
nurse.

On the conclusion of her prayer, the beautiful Georgian entered the
saloon in which we were awaiting her; and welcomed us most cordially.
Early as it was, the Minister was already, she told us, engaged with an
Ambassadorial Dragoman; and meanwhile sweetmeats, water, and coffee were
offered to me, of all which I gladly partook, and afterwards strolled
into the garden among the sweet-scented lemon trees, to await my summons
to the Pasha.

I had taken but two turns in the orangery, when the soft-eyed Conjefèm
Hanoum advanced smilingly towards me; and taking me by the hand (a great
mark of distinction from a Turkish lady) led me up stairs to the
apartment to which I have already alluded as having been honoured by the
temporary occupation of the Sultan. When we reached the door, she
released my hand, and fell back a few paces, in order that I should
approach the Minister alone.

As the room was very spacious, I had an excellent opportunity of
obtaining a good view of His Excellency, previously to our entering
into conversation; and the first glimpse which I had of him prepossessed
me in his favour. He occupied the upper end of the sofa, and was almost
buried amid piles of cushions, near an open window looking upon the
garden of the harem, whose myriad blossoms filled the apartment with
perfume.

Had I not known to the contrary, I never should have supposed him to
have been more than sixty years of age; his eye is still so bright, and
his brow so smooth. He wore the _fèz_ rather flung back; and his robe
was of flesh-coloured silk, lined with ermine.

When I entered, he was busily engaged with his chibouk, which was of the
most costly description, the large amber mouthpiece being of the
faintest yellow, and divided at mid-depth by a band of turquoise studded
with brilliants. He suffered me to advance nearly to the centre of the
apartment before he looked up; but he did so at length with a smile of
such kindness that I at once forgave him for his etiquettical
punctiliousness.

Devlehäi Hanoum was standing about twenty paces from the sofa with her
arms folded before her; and the fair Circassian, having, in obedience to
a signal from the Minister, placed an armchair for me close to his own
seat, immediately took up her position beside her. The Greek lady by
whom I was accompanied was not, to my great annoyance, included in the
courtesy extended to me; and during the two hours that I spent with the
Pasha, she consequently remained standing, or leaning on the back of my
seat.

After thanking me for the favour I had done him, and assuring me that he
had long wished to make my acquaintance, he desired to know if I would
smoke a chibouk; and was much amused when I told him that if he desired
I should return to my own country, to prove my gratitude to the Turks
for all the kindness and courtesy which they had shewn to me, he must
exempt me from the peril of such an encounter with “the scented weed.”
He accepted the apology at once, assuring me that he was desirous only
to give me pleasure; although, as I was the first Frank lady to whom he
had ever spoken, he might probably not succeed in proving his sincerity.
Sweetmeats were then handed to me by a slave; and subsequently coffee by
the fair hands of Conjefèm Hanoum, but my poor young friend was still
excluded from the courtesy. Water is never offered in the presence of a
great personage.

I had not been half an hour with the Minister ere I was convinced that
he was rather a good than a great man. There was a gentleness and
benevolence about him that were delightful; and as he stroked down his
white beard, and looked towards me with a smile of mingled amusement and
curiosity, I thought that I had never seen a more “green old age;” but
although he touched on a variety of subjects, and asked a variety of
questions, they were of the most commonplace description; and he
appeared infinitely more gratified by the admiration which I expressed
of the magnificent marriage festivities of the Princess, than by the
compliments that I paid to the rapid progress of civilization and
improvement among the people.

The only subject in which he took a marked interest, was the degree of
popularity enjoyed by the present Turkish Ambassador in London.

He asked if I had known Nourri Effendi, and I answered affirmatively:
upon which he immediately inquired if he were popular in London.

I replied candidly that since he did me the honour to ask my opinion, I
should say, judging from what had fallen under my own observation,
decidedly not. That I believed Nourri Effendi to be a very good man; but
that he was extremely ill-calculated to make his way in England; or to
give so favourable an impression of the nation which he represented, as,
since I had resided among the Turkish people, I felt anxious should be
produced on the minds of my own countrymen. That he could not speak any
European language, had forbidding manners, and made no attempt to
identify himself with the feelings and habits of the people among whom
he resided.

He next mentioned Namik Pasha, and said laughingly: “I know that the
ladies of England preferred him; and I have heard that the ladies are
very influential in your country—Yes, yes—the Pasha was young,
well-looking, and gallant; and spoke French fluently. Nourri Effendi
will never make his way among you as his predecessor did, but he is,
nevertheless, a good man; and perhaps they were not aware in England
that he was Secretary to the Porte.”

I observed that Namik Pasha lent himself willingly to European customs,
and made himself acceptable to every society into which he entered; and
that, in so far, he was consequently infinitely better fitted than his
successor for the post of Ambassador at a foreign Court. The Minister
looked steadily at me for a moment, and then said playfully; “You are
half a diplomatist yourself. I had heard as much before—this is the
first time in my life that I ever conversed with a Frank female; and
since we have fallen upon this subject, I should like to ask you one
more question before we abandon it. You have now been many months in the
country; and were you at liberty to select the next Turkish Ambassador
to England, tell me frankly whom should you choose?”

I could not forbear smiling in my turn: but I replied without
hesitation; “Reschid Bey—the present Minister at Paris.—It is such
individuals as Reschid Bey who prove to Europe what the Turks already
are, and what they are capable of becoming—Men of fine mind and
gentlemanlike manners, as well as of sound judgment and high
character.—Had the Sublime Porte sent Reschid Bey to London, a year or
two ago, the English would have had a more exalted opinion of its
diplomacy than they now have.”

Little did I imagine when I thus undisguisedly gave my opinion of the
Turkish Minister to Youssouf Pasha, that the Firman would be so soon
despatched which contained his transfer to the Court of England; and I
was not a little amused when I was told some time afterwards that the
Reiss Effendi, in giving the information of Reschid Bey’s arrival in
London to a friend of mine, added with a quiet smile: “You may as well
tell your Frank friend that the new _Ilchí_ is in England before her.
She will perhaps be glad to hear that he is the individual whom she
would have herself selected.”

From the Turkish Ambassador he digressed to the King of England, and
assured me that there was no European Monarch for whom the Grand
Seignior entertained a more affectionate regard. Indeed, he talked so
long and so fondly, not only of our good Sovereign, but of his people
also, that had I not previously known him to be deeply in the Russian
interest, I should have believed him to be as sincere an Anglo-Turk as
any individual throughout the Sultan’s dominions.

An apology for having received me in his morning dress, rather than keep
me waiting, led us to the subject of costume generally; for I could not
offer a better reply to his politeness than by expressing my admiration
of that which he wore, and declaring how much I considered it preferable
to the European frock-coat. He appeared gratified by the assurance, and
took this opportunity of desiring Conjefèm Hanoum to bring out his
decorations, in order that I might judge of the taste and magnificence
of the Sultan; and truly I never beheld anything more costly.

The first, which had been delivered to him with his diploma of Vèzir,
was an elaborately mounted medal of gold, inscribed with the cipher of
the Sultan, and the rank of the wearer, splendidly framed with
brilliants. But the diploma itself interested me much more; it was
enclosed in a wrapper of white satin, fastened with a cord and tassels
of gold, and occupied an immense sheet of stout paper; the name of Allah
stood at the head of the page, and immediately beneath it, but in much
larger characters, figured the cipher of the Sultan; these were written
in gold, as were also the name of the Vèzir himself which occurred in
the body of the document, and the word Stamboul at the foot of the page
on the left hand. The remainder of the contents were simply traced in
ink, but the characters were beautifully formed; and at the back of the
sheet were the signatures of Nourri Effendi who had drawn up the
document, as a voucher for its accuracy, and that of the Pasha himself,
as an acknowledgment of the duties to which it pledged him.

Having replaced the diploma, the Minister next put into my hands a
miniature portrait of the Sultan, surrounded by a wreath, of which the
flowers were diamonds, and the leaves wrought in enamel; enclosed within
a second frame-work of the same precious gems, formed into emblematical
devices, and dazzlingly brilliant. This magnificent decoration was
appended to a chain of fine gold, and secured by a diamond clasp.

When I had sufficiently admired it, the gallant old man begged me to
wear it for an instant in order that it might acquire an additional
value in his eyes; and the gentle Conjefèm Hanoum flung it over my head,
and entangled the chain in my ringlets, to the great delight of the
Vèzir, who watched the progress of its release with genuine enjoyment,
and told me that he had never before seen his decoration to so much
advantage.

The only drawback to these costly ornaments exists in the fact that they
are insecure possessions; as in case of death, or dismission from
office, they are returned to the Sultan. It was consequently with even
more pride, that the Minister exhibited to me a smaller, and perhaps
more elegant order, bestowed upon him by his Sovereign as an
acknowledgment of his faithful services to the Porte; accompanied by an
intimation that on his decease it was to be transferred to his eldest
son, in order that it might serve to record the regard and gratitude of
his master for the exemplary manner in which he had ever done his duty
to his country.

I was not a little amused at the epicurean manner in which the Vèzir
smoked. Every ten minutes his chibouk was changed by one or other of his
wives, by which means he merely imbibed the aroma of the tobacco, while
he had an opportunity of displaying the variety and costliness of his
pipes, without being guilty of any apparent ostentation; but, handsome
as several of them undoubtedly were, that of which he was making use
when I entered was infinitely the most beautiful.

When I rose to take my leave, my courteous entertainer begged that I
would remain as long as I found any amusement in the Palace, assuring me
that every effort should be made to render my visit agreeable; and that
the Salemliek should be as free for me as the harem, if I desired to
see it. Of course I accepted the offer; and, on leaving the Pasha, I
found Emin Bey and a negro waiting to conduct my friend and myself
through the mysterious passages which connect the two portions of the
establishment. In the Salemliek itself there was nothing remarkable. It
was a handsome house, well fitted up, and exquisitely clean; the
greatest charm to me existed in its open windows, which, after the
closely-latticed and stifling apartments of the women, were truly
agreeable; nor was the feeling of enjoyment lessened by the sight of a
crowd of birds, that, entering through the wide casements, with the
sunshine glittering on their wings, and the song of liberty gushing from
their throats, sailed to and fro the vast apartments, as though they
could appreciate their magnificent comfort.

But the garden was a little paradise, with its fountains of white
marble, its avenues of orange trees, its beds of roses, and verbena, and
geraniums, formed into a thousand fanciful devices! And before I could
make up my mind to leave it, the young Bey had so loaded me with the
fairest flowers he could select, that I breathed nothing but perfume.

We were greatly amused, on passing one of the marble bridges which are
flung over the street to connect the grounds, at the astonishment of a
party of worthy Musselmauns who chanced to look up as we were crossing,
attracted by the unwonted sounds of female voices; and the “Mashallàhs!”
with which they greeted our apparition. “Who can they be?” asked one:
“And how came they there?” “She with the fair hair is a Frank as well as
a Giaour;” was the reply of a second: “I would swear it on the Prophet’s
beard.—The infidels are making way among us indeed when their women are
thus at liberty to shew their unveiled faces in the Salemliek of one of
our great Pashas—but it is no affair of mine—Mashallàh—I trust in
God!”

The Kiosk of the Reiss Effendi was by far the most beautiful that I had
yet seen—A painted dome, representing the shores of the channel,
occupied the centre of the roof; and beneath it a graceful _jet d’eau_
threw up its sparkling waters, which fell back into a capacious bason.
The walls were washed by the Bosphorus on the one side, and covered with
parasites on the other; and it was floored with marble of the most
dazzling whiteness. Here were collected the younger sons of the
Minister, and three or four other children, amusing themselves by
running barefooted round the basin, and suffering the glittering dew of
the fountain to fall upon them in its descent; while each was laughing
out in his young joyousness as he marked the dripping condition of his
companions, and forgot that he was himself in the same predicament.

On our return to the harem we found the breakfast served; and sat down,
attended by Conjefèm Hanoum and ten female slaves, to partake of a
repast, of which the dishes had been sent from the table of the
Minister, who was also about to make his morning meal. Confectionary,
pillauf, and stewed meats, were succeeded by some delicious fruits; and
when these had been removed, and I had emptied a goblet of sherbet the
colour of amber, we joined the party in the great saloon.

And a numerous party it was! About a dozen Hanoums, all splendidly
dressed, and with their turbans sparkling with diamonds, were squatted
in a group upon the sofa; and in an instant I took my place in the very
midst of them, with my feet doubled under me, to watch the departure of
the Pasha, whose barge, manned by ten rowers, and covered with Persian
carpets, was waiting to convey him to the Sublime Porte.

Away he went at last in fine style, attended by his secretary, his
chiboukjhe, three officers of his household, and two soldiers; and as
soon as he was fairly out of sight, the curiosity of all the party
centered upon me. They ran their hands along the satin of my pelisse,
asked me if the brooch that confined my collar was gold, whether I made
my own gloves, and if I would teach them to curl their hair. Having
satisfied them on all these points, I looked round the circle in my
turn, and made an acquaintance with the young and bright-eyed Nèsibè
Hanoum, the sister-in-law of the Minister, and her lovely infant.

As the supreme high breeding of the harem is no longer its perpetual
idleness, several of the ladies were engaged in needlework, principally
in embroidering handkerchiefs, and knitting a coarse kind of lace for
trimming the bosoms of their chemisettes; and when each had settled
herself to her employment, Conjefèm Hanoum proposed giving me a lesson
in the art of arranging a yashmac, an achievement sufficiently
difficult.

A slave was accordingly despatched into her chamber in search of the
long scarf of muslin necessary to the operation; and in five minutes I
had undergone so perfect a metamorphose that I could scarcely recognize
myself when I glanced into the mirror. The delight of the whole party
was unbounded; and nothing would satisfy them but my adding a feridjhe
to my veil, and presenting myself to the Buyuk Hanoum. The voluminous
cloak of dark cloth was accordingly thrown over me, and with
considerable difficulty I was taught to manage it with some degree of
grace; after which the laughing girl dragged me towards the apartment
of the venerable lady; and entering before me, announced that a
_mussafir_, or guest, desired to be admitted.

On the invitation of its occupant, I advanced, making the _temina_[6]
with all the ceremony necessary to continue the deceit; and it was
not until I had kissed the hand of the Buyuk Hanoum, and stood
upright before her, that she detected the masquerade; but when she
did so, I was overwhelmed with exclamations and intreaties—I was
beautiful—resistless—I should turn the head of every True Believer in
Stamboul—Why did I desire to return to England, when there was not a
Pasha in Constantinople who would not consider me ‘the Light of the
Harem’—Would I become a Turk?—and a thousand other ejaculations of
like import.

When the sensation had partially subsided, I returned to the saloon; and
as the yashmac had previously been arranged in the manner in which it is
worn by the ladies of the Seraï, I took a second lesson, to enable me to
put it on in the more general fashion; and I then amused myself for five
minutes in watching the manœuvres of a slave who was purchasing some
water-melons from a fruit-caïque. Nothing could be more ludicrous: the
great gate of the harem was ajar, and one of the caïquejhes stood on
the terrace, and took the fruit from his companion; after which he
advanced towards the entrance, and rolled it through the open space on
to the marble floor beyond: the slave running after each as it appeared,
and grasping it with both hands, as she held it to her ear, to ascertain
if it would give out the splashing sound without which it is of no
value—laying aside those that she approved, and rolling back the others
with a velocity that gave her the appearance of being engaged at a game
of bowls with the Greeks on the terrace; talking, moreover, all the time
with an earnestness worthy of the occasion.

I loitered away another hour with my amiable hostesses, and then,
looking at my watch, I urged a previous engagement, in order to overcome
their kindly entreaties that I would spend the remainder of the day with
them; and having bade adieu to the Buyuk Hanoum and her numerous guests,
and promised to pay her another visit before I left Constantinople, I
once more quitted the hospitable halls of the Reiss Effendi; carrying
away with me the liveliest feeling of gratitude for all the attentions
which I had experienced from every member of his family.



CHAPTER XIX.


  Imperial Gratitude—The Freed Woman—A Female Cœlebs—Hussein
  the Watchmaker—Golden Dreams—Arabas and Arabajhes—Maternal
  Regrets—A Matrimonial Excursion—Difficult Position—The
  _Sèkèljhes_—A Young Husband—The Emir—The Officer of the
  Guard—The Emir’s Daughter—First Love—Ballad Singing—A
  Salutation—Moonlight—Rejected Addresses—Ruse de Guerre—The
  Arrest—A Lover’s Defence—Munificence of the Seraskier Pasha.


The Sultan occasionally recompenses the faithful services of the slaves
of the Imperial Seraï by giving them their liberty, accompanied by a
donation sufficiently liberal to enable them to establish themselves in
an eligible manner. On a late occasion, he emancipated an elderly woman,
who had secured his favour by her unremitted attentions to one of his
wives during a protracted illness; and, being light of heart at the
moment, and perhaps curious to learn how she would act on such an
emergency, he desired her to put on her yashmac, and to take a boat to
Stamboul, where she was to hire an araba, and drive slowly about the
city, until she saw an individual whom she desired for a husband; when,
if he could be identified, she should be his wife within the week.

His Imperial Highness was obeyed on the instant. One of the Palace
caïques rowed to the door of the harem; and the freed slave, accompanied
by an aged companion, stepped in, and was rapidly conveyed to Stamboul.
On landing at “the Gate of the Garden,” she walked into the house of
Hussein the watchmaker, with whose wife she was acquainted; and while
the stripling son of the worthy Musselmaun was despatched for an araba,
she took her place upon the sofa, and partook of the grape-jelly and
coffee which were handed to her by her officious hostess. These were
succeeded by the _kadeun-chibouk_, or woman’s pipe; and she had not
flung out half a dozen volumes of smoke from her nostrils, ere all the
harem of Hussein the watchmaker knew that she was free, and about to
chuse a helpmeet from among the tradesmen of the city.

At every “Mashallàh!” uttered by her auditors, the self-gratulation of
the visitor increased; and she, who a day previously had not wasted a
thought on matrimony, smoked on in silence, absorbed in dreams of
tenderness and ambition.

The araba was, of course, a full hour ere it appeared, for the arabajhe
had to smoke his _narghïlè_, or water-pipe; and the arabajhe’s assistant
had to repair the damages which the last day’s journey had done to the
harness, and to wash away the mud that yet clung about the wheels; and
after that there were comments to be made upon the horses, as they were
slowly attached to the vehicle; and on the unusual circumstance of a
Turkish woman hiring a carriage, without previously bargaining with the
owner for the sum to be paid.

But Yusuf, the son of Hussein, who found more amusement in watching the
slow motions of the arabajhe than in keeping guard over his father’s
chronometers, put an end to the astonishment of the party by informing
them that the person who had engaged the vehicle was a slave of the
Imperial Seraï; a piece of information which tended considerably to
expedite the preparations of the coachman, and to excite the curiosity
of his companions.

The female Cœlebs, meanwhile, had emptied three chibouks; and as the
ashes of each was deposited in the little brass dish that rested on the
carpet, brighter, and fairer visions rose before her; and on each
occasion that she drew from amid the folds of the shawl which bound her
waist, the cachemire purse that contained her tobacco, and replenished
her pipe, she indulged in a more flattering augury of her day’s
speculation.

To render the circumstance more intelligible to the European reader, it
may be as well to state that there are few tradesmen in Stamboul who
would hesitate to marry an Imperial slave, whatever might be her age or
personal infirmities, as she is sure to bring with her a golden apology
for all her defects: and thus it was not astonishing that the wife of
Hussein sighed as she remembered that her son Yusuf was yet a child, and
that, consequently, she could not offer his hand to her visiter; and the
more sincerely that the worthy watchmaker did not stand high in the
favour of fortune; the “accursed Giaours,” as the angry Hanoum did not
hesitate to declare, selling for the same price demanded by the Turkish
artisan for his inferior ware, watches that were as true as the muezzin,
and as enduring as the Koràn.

At length the araba drew up beneath the latticed windows; and the two
friends, resuming their slippers, shuffled across the matted floor of
the harem, followed by the compliments and _teminas_ of their hostess;
mattresses and cushions were arranged in the vehicle by the hands of
Hussein himself; and their yashmacs having been re-arranged, they were
ere long jolting over the rough pavement of the city of Constantine.

They first bent their course to the Charshees; and the confidant pointed
out many a grave-looking, middle-aged Mussulmaun to the admiration of
her companion; but the freed-woman only shrugged her shoulders, uttered
a contemptuous “Mashallàh!” and turned away her eyes.

The stream of life flowed on beside their path. Turbans of green, of
white, and of yellow passed along; but none of the wearers found favour
in the sight of the husband-seeking fair one. Hours were wasted in vain;
she was as far removed from a decision as when she stepped into the
caïque at Beglierbey; and the patience of her companion was worn
threadbare; she became silent, sullen, and sleepy—and still the araba
groaned and drawled along the narrow streets—Human nature could endure
no more; and after having been jolted out of a quiet slumber three
several times, the confidant digressed from weariness to expostulation.

“May the Prophet receive me into paradise! Is there not a True Believer
in Stamboul worthy to become the husband of a woman whose hair is gray;
and who has long ceased to pour out the scented sherbet in the garden of
roses? Had it been my _kismet_[7] to come hunting through the
thoroughfares of the city on the same errand, I should have chosen long
ago.”

The freed-woman only replied by desiring the arabajhe to drive to the
quarter inhabited by the _sèkèljhes_, or sweetmeat-makers; the finest
race of men in Constantinople. When they entered it, she began to look
about her with more earnestness than she had hitherto exhibited; but
even here she was in no haste to come to a decision; and although she
passed many a stately Musselmaun whom she would not have refused in the
brightest days of her youth, she “made no sign” until she arrived
opposite to the shop of a manufacturer of _alva_, a sweet composition
much esteemed in the East; where half a dozen youths, bare-legged, and
with their shirt sleeves rolled up to their shoulders, were employed in
kneading the paste, previously to its being put into the oven.

“_Inshallàh_—I trust in God! He is here—” said the lady, as she
stopped the carriage; “See you not that tall stripling, with arms like
the blossom of the seringa, and eyes as black as the dye of Khorasan?”

“He who is looking towards us?” exclaimed her companion in astonishment;
“The Prophet have pity on him! Why, he is young enough to be your son.”

The answer of the freed-woman was an angry pull at her yashmac, as she
drew more closely together the folds of her feridjhe. The young and
handsome sèkèljhe was summoned to the side of the araba, and found to
improve upon acquaintance; upon which he was informed of the happiness
that awaited him, and received the tidings with true Turkish philosophy;
and in a few days the bride removed into a comfortable harem, of which
the ground-floor was a handsome shop, fitted up with a select stock of
sweetmeats at the expence of the Sultan; and those who desire to see
one of the principal actors in this little comedy, need only enter the
gaily-painted establishment at the left-hand corner of the principal
street leading into the Atmeidan, to form an acquaintance with Suleiman
the sèkèljhe.

Another occurrence, equally authentic, and still more recent, is
deserving of record, as being peculiarly characteristic of the rapid
progress of enlightenment and liberality. An Emir of the city,
celebrated for his sanctity and rigid observance of all the laws of
Mahomet, had a fair daughter who sometimes indulged, in the solitude of
the harem, in softer dreams than those of her austere father.
Unfortunately for the stately priest, a guard-house, tenanted by a dozen
armed men, under the command of an officer whose personal merits
exceeded his years, was established not a hundred yards from his house;
and, as the youthful commander paced slowly to and fro the street to
dispel his ennui, it so chanced that he generally terminated his walk
beneath the windows of the Emir’s harem.

The first time that the pretty Yasumi[8] Hanoum peeped through her
lattice at the handsome soldier, the blood rushed to her brow, and her
heart beat quick, though she knew not wherefore. The young beauty
led a lonely life, for she was motherless, and her father was a stern
man, who had no sympathy with womanly tastes; and, satisfied with
providing for her daily necessities, never troubled himself further.
It was by no means extraordinary, therefore, that she amused her
idleness with watching the motions of the stranger; nor that, by
dint of observing him, she ere long discovered that he was rapidly
becoming an object of interest to her heart.

Then followed all the manœuvres of an Eastern beauty, who has no means
of communication with the other sex, save those which her woman-wit
enables her to invent. A shower of lavender buds, flung from the narrow
opening of the lattice upon his head, first attracted the attention of
the gallant Moslem to the Emir’s harem; nor was it diminished by a
glimpse of one of the whitest little hands in the world, which, ere it
closed the aperture, waved a graceful salutation that could be meant
only for himself.

But the youth knew that he was playing a dangerous game, and he
consequently moved away without making any answering gesture; and
resolved to stroll in the other direction, rather than encourage the
advances which had been made to him. Once or twice, he accordingly
walked as far as the slipper-stall of a Jew merchant; but this
uninteresting individual squinted hideously, and smoked tobacco of so
odious a quality that it half suffocated the more fastidious Osmanli. Of
course there was no persevering in such an encounter, and he was
consequently compelled to resume his original line of march; being the
more readily induced to do so by importunate memories of the little
white hand which had showered down upon him the sweet-scented lavender
buds; although he did not suffer himself to suspect that such was the
case; and lest he should be addressed from the dangerous lattice, and
thus become more deeply involved in the adventure, he amused himself by
singing one of Sultan Mahmoud’s ballads in his best style.

But, unfortunately for the success of this laudable intention, the
Imperial poet has written none but love-ditties; and the young soldier
chanced inadvertently to fix upon one in which an anxious suitor calls
upon his mistress to reveal to him the beauty that he has hitherto
beheld only in his dreams—he invokes the moon from behind the clouds
that veil it—the hidden leaf from the heart of the rose where it is
folded—and loses himself in hyperbole on the subject of the concealed
loveliness on which he longs to look.

No wonder that the imprisoned Yasumi Hanoum listened until she believed
that the Prophet’s paradise was opening about her—No wonder that on
the morrow a lock of hair as black as midnight fell at the feet of the
minstrel, as he paced his accustomed beat;—and still less wonder that
the white hand and the dark tress began to trouble the dreams of the
gallant Moslem, and to bewilder his imagination.

He was smoking his evening chibouk seated on a low wicker stool at the
door of the guard-room, when chancing to look up, he perceived a female
rapidly approaching from the direction of the Emir’s house. There was
nothing remarkable in such a circumstance, for the street was a great
thoroughfare, and many women had traversed it during the day; and yet
his attention was irresistibly attracted to the stranger; and as she
reached his side, their eyes met:—“_Shekiur Allah!_—Praise be to God!
I may speak to you at last;” murmured a low soft voice; “Perhaps I
should not tell you that I love you, but who can war against fate?”

The deep dark eyes were averted—the light figure moved away—He had
looked upon the Emir’s Daughter!

Prudence was at an end; and many a midnight hour did the young soldier
spend beneath the latticed casement of the enamoured beauty. At length
her adventurous hand raised the envious jalousie; and as the moonlight
fell bright upon her, the lover looked upon the fair face which was
destined never more to be forgotten; and from that moment he vowed that
death alone should make him relinquish his suit.

But, alas! what hope could be indulged that a saintly Emir would bestow
his daughter upon a soldier—upon an individual doubly obnoxious both
from his profession, and from the fact that it had grown to power upon
the ruin of the Janissaries? The youth asked, supplicated, and was
answered with contempt and loathing.

But the tears of the fair girl when she learnt from his own lips the
failure of his suit, only strengthened him in his determination of
success; and having confided his adventure to a friend who was devoted
to his interests, he resolved either to compel the consent of the Emir,
or to incur the penalty of exile, rather than exist near the woman whom
he loved without a hope that she could be his. Accordingly, having
summoned half a dozen of his men, he informed them that he had a quarrel
with the Emir which he was determined to decide; and instructed them to
loiter about the house of the Priest, and should they hear any
disturbance, to enter as if by accident; and, in the event of the Emir
desiring them to seize their officer, and carry them before the
Seraskier, to obey without hesitation.

This arrangement made, the lover once more intruded on the seclusion of
the Priest, and with all the eloquence inspired by sincere affection,
besought him to revoke his resolution, and to give him his daughter. But
the haughty Emir only added insult to refusal; and the enraged suitor,
casting back the injuries which were addressed to him, sprang towards
the door that communicated with the harem, and vowed that he would force
his way, and carry off his bride despite every Priest in Stamboul. The
affrighted father, shrieking forth sacrilege and murder, clapped his
hands, and a couple of stout slaves entered, to whom he issued orders to
seize the madman, and put him forth; but the suitor was young and
vigorous, and he had already beaten down one of his antagonists, when
the soldiers, perceiving from the clamour that was going on above, that
the critical moment had arrived, rushed up stairs, and demanded the
occasion of the outcry.

The Emir, breathless with terror, and trembling with rage, only pointed
to the lover, as he exclaimed; “To the Seraskier! To the Seraskier!
_Inshallàh!_ I will have justice.”

He was instantly obeyed. The soldiers surrounded their commander, and
hurried him off, followed by the panting Priest; and in ten minutes more
the whole party stood before the Seraskier.

The fateful moment had arrived; and the heart of the young man beat high
with a thousand conflicting feelings as the Emir told his tale, and
implored vengeance on the miscreant who had dared to beard him beneath
his own roof, and to attempt a violation of his harem; but he was
re-assured by the tone of the Pasha, as he turned towards him, when the
angry father had ceased speaking, and bade him explain his motives for
such unheard-of violence.

“Noble Pasha,” said the lover, “may your days be many!—I will hide
nothing from you. I love this old man’s daughter; and I have asked her
of him for a wife. I have won her heart, no matter where nor how; but
may my hours be numbered if I pollute your ears with falsehood. He has
spurned me with insult because I am a soldier—He has declared the
uniform of the glorious Sultan (May his shadow ever lie long upon the
earth!) to be the brand of obloquy and disgrace; and had I not loved the
girl more than perhaps it is altogether seemly for a True Believer to
love a woman, I should have given him back scorn for scorn. But I could
not do this without regret; and it is through my own agency that I now
stand before your Excellency, to plead my cause, and to teach this hoary
Priest that the soldier of the Sultan is not to be taunted to his teeth,
even by a white-turbaned Emir. I could not force myself into your
presence, noble Pasha, to talk to you of a woman; and thus I played the
part of a madman in order that I might be dragged hither as a culprit,
and learn from your own lips whether the crescent upon my breast is to
make me an outcast from society.”

“Did he indeed demand your daughter for his wife?” asked the Seraskier,
as he removed the chibouk from his lips, and glanced towards the Priest.
He was answered doggedly in the affirmative.

“Take heed, then, Emir”—pursued the Pasha, “This looks like
disaffection to his Highness: (May his end be glorious!) See that the
girl become the wife of this young man ere many days roll over your
head, or the holy turban that you wear shall not protect you. What? is
it for you, and such as you, to sow divisions among the subjects of the
most gracious Sultan? Look to this ere it be too late.”

And as the baffled Emir turned away, the Seraskier bade one of his
officers take steps to secure to the victorious suitor the rank of
Captain; and to pay to him five thousand piastres from his (the Pasha’s)
own purse, as a marriage present.

The step was a bold one, for it was the first instance in which an
Emir’s daughter had ever been permitted to become the wife of a soldier.
A thousand long-existing prejudices had hitherto rendered such an
alliance impossible; and it was a great stroke of policy to break down
the strong barrier of habit and fanaticism, and to create a bond of
union between two jarring and jealous portions of the population.



CHAPTER XX.


  Turkish Madhouses—Surveillance of Sultan Mahmoud—Self-Elected
  Saints—Lunatic Establishment of Solimaniè—The Mad Father—The
  Apostate—The Sultan’s Juggler—The Slave Market—Charshee.


No traveller who can string his nerves to the trial; or rather who will
not suffer himself to be scared by the idea of a Turkish madhouse,
should fail while at Constantinople, to visit the Timerhazè, or Lunatic
Establishment, dependent on the mosque of Solimaniè. He will encounter
nothing to disgust, and comparatively little to distress him; for all is
cleanly, quiet, and almost cheerful. For myself, morbidly sensitive on
such occasions, I shrank from the task which I was nevertheless resolved
to achieve, until the eleventh hour; and my only feeling when I looked
around me

  “Where laughter is not mirth, nor thought the mind,
   Nor words a language, nor even men mankind,”

in the Madhouse of Solimaniè, was one of intense relief, on finding that
my own diseased fancy had so far outrun the reality.

It is, however, to the universal surveillance of Sultan Mahmoud that the
unfortunates who tenant the building are indebted for the only comforts
which they are still capable of enjoying; for but a few years ago they
were unapproachable to the stranger, from the filthy and neglected state
of both their cells and their persons. By an Imperial order, cleanliness
and care have been secured to them; and the calm, and in many instances,
affectionate manner, in which they conversed with their keepers, was a
convincing proof that they were kindly treated. The Turks have,
moreover, a superstitious reverence for the insane. They believe that
the spirit has been recalled by its GOD, and the hallucinated being is
regarded as almost saintly; a beatification, however, of which filth
appears to be almost a concomitant part in the East; for whenever you
encounter in the streets a wild-looking wretch, half Dervish, and half
mendicant; so wretchedly filthy, that you dare not suffer him to come in
contact with you as you pass him—with a beard matted with dirt, and
elf-locks hanging about his shoulders, of which the colour is
undistinguishable; ragged, swarming with vermin, and apparently half
stupified with opium; should you, amid your disgust, make any inquiry as
to his identity, you are told that he is a saint!

This extraordinary race of men (for there are numbers of them about the
streets of Constantinople) are self-elected in their holiness; and take
up the trade as less ambitious individuals establish themselves in
commerce. They affect absence of thought, concentration of mind, and
having progressed gradually to a certain point, they finish with partial
aberration of intellect; and this last may, in truth, be often real, for
the years of unwashed and uncombed misery to which they condemn
themselves are enough to produce madness. Ragged and wretched as I have
described them, these miserable men are, nevertheless, objects of great
veneration to the mass of the people; and the poorest _calmac_, or
porter, will seldom refuse his _para_ to one of these saintly
mendicants.

The Lunatic Establishment of Solimaniè occupies an inner court of the
mosque, whose centre is overshadowed by several magnificent plane trees,
planted round a spacious fountain. Three sides of the court are
furnished with arches, through which the apartments of the lunatics are
entered, while each is ventilated by a couple or more of large grated
windows; the number of patients in each cell never exceeding that of the
windows. The most painful object connected with the scene, was the heavy
chain and collar of iron worn by each of the lunatics, which kept up a
perpetual clanking as the unfortunate moved in his restlessness from
place to place within his narrow limits. The bedding was cleanly,
comfortable, and profuse; and many of the tenants of the cells were
eating melons, or smoking their chibouks, as tranquilly and as
methodically as though they had been under a very different roof.

Among the whole number there was not one furiously mad, as is so
frequently the case in Europe; and I was assured that such patients were
extremely rare. Melancholy appeared to be the prevailing symptom of the
disease among these hallucinated Osmanlis; a deep, but by no means
sullen, melancholy; for very few of them refused to reply to an
expression of interest or commiseration; and the feeling of social
courtesy, so strong among the Turks, had in no one instance been
destroyed, even by the total aberration of intellect which had
prostrated every other bond of union between them and their fellow-men.

I have mentioned elsewhere the surpassing love of the Turks for their
children; and I never saw a more beautiful illustration of parental
affection than was exhibited by the first unfortunate before whose cell
we paused. Several Greek ladies accompanied us; and the madman, whose
head was pillowed upon his knees as we approached him, turned his dim,
stony eyes upon each with a cold unconsciousness that was thrilling,
until he met the soft, tearful gaze of a pale, delicate girl who was
leaning upon my arm. When he caught sight of her he started from his
recumbent posture, and almost shrieked out his gladness as he
exclaimed—“My child! my child! they told me that you had abandoned me,
but I let them say on without a murmur, for I knew that you only
tarried; and you are come at last—Why do you weep? I see you, and I am
happy. I have not been alone—look here—” and he thrust his hand into
his breast, and drew forth a dove which was nestling there; “I have held
this upon my heart, and, as I slept, I dreamt that it was you.”

After a moment’s silence he resumed: “I would give you this trembling
bird, for you are my child, and I love you; but it will not abandon me.
It is my friend, my playfellow, my child when you are away. It will not
leave me, though I am mad—And yet, why do they tell you that I am mad?
It is not so—Do I not know you? Am I not your father? Is it because I
am sorrowful that they have told you this?” And again the pale face was
bowed down; and one heavy sob which seemed to rise from the very depths
of a crushed spirit terminated the sentence. We hurried on—it was
profanation to make a spectacle of such an agony—mindless though it
was.

Nor was the next individual with whom we came in contact less painfully
interesting. Strikingly handsome, and not above five-and-thirty, he had
already passed four miserable years in the Madhouse of Solimaniè. An
Armenian by birth, and a Catholic by faith, he had been induced to
embrace Mahomeddanism, but he had paid with his reason the price of his
apostacy; and this one memory haunted him in his wretched lunacy. As we
paused before the grating of his cell, he bowed his head upon his
breast, and murmured out; “_In Nomine Patri, et Filius, et Spiritus
Sanctus, Amen._”

His look was fastened upon my father, and some faint and long-effaced
image seemed to rise before him, for he smiled sadly, and extended
towards him his white and wasted hand; nor could any other of the party
succeed in diverting his attention. Twice, thrice, the same words were
uttered, and always in an accent of the most thrilling anguish. Surely
his sin will be expiated on earth, and forgiven at the last day!

Some were merry, and exhausted themselves in song and jest; and some,
with a latent leaven of worldliness, asked alms, and laughed out their
soulless joy as the coins which we flung to them rang on the stone-work
of the window. The Juggler of Sultan Selim—He who had taught the great
ones of the land to believe him gifted with a power more than human—He
who had raised the laughter of amusement, and the exclamation of
wonder—whose very presence had awakened mirth and merriment—He, too,
was here—caged, and chained—the mad prisoner of three-and-thirty
weary years!—the palest, the saddest, and the most silent of the whole
miserable company. His beard fell to his girdle—his matted locks half
concealed his haggard countenance—his hands were clasped upon his
breast—and he did not turn his head as we approached him.

From the madhouse we proceeded to the slave-market; a square court,
three of whose sides are built round with low stone rooms, or cells,
beyond which projects a wooden peristyle. There is always a painful
association connected with the idea of slavery, and an insurmountable
disgust excited by the spectacle of money given in exchange for human
beings; but, beyond this, (and assuredly this is enough!) there is
nothing either to distress or to disgust in the slave-market of
Constantinople. No wanton cruelty, no idle insult is permitted: the
slaves, in many instances, select their own purchaser from among the
bidders; and they know that when once received into a Turkish family
they become members of it in every sense of the word, and are almost
universally sure to rise in the world if they conduct themselves
worthily. The Negroes only remain in the open court, where they are
squatted in groups, until summoned to shew themselves to a purchaser;
while the Circassians and Georgians, generally brought there by their
parents at their own request, occupy the closed apartments, in order
that they may not be exposed to the gaze of the idlers who throng the
court. The utmost order, decency, and quiet prevail; and a military
guard is stationed at the entrance to enforce them, should the necessity
for interference occur, which is, however, very rarely the case.

I expected to have had much to write on the subject of the slave-market,
but I left it only with an increased conviction of the great moral
beauty of the Turkish character. I am aware that this declaration will
startle many of my readers; but I make it from a principle of justice. I
knew that the establishment existed—I never thought of it without a
shudder, nor shall I ever remember it without a pang; but I am,
nevertheless, compelled to declare that I did not witness there any of
the horrors for which I had prepared myself. The Turks never make either
a sport or a jest of human suffering, or human degradation. Not a word,
not a glance escaped them, calculated to wound the wretched beings who
were crouching on the ground under the hot sunshine—They made their
odious bargain seriously and quietly; and left the market, followed by
the slaves whom they had purchased, without one act of wanton cruelty,
or unnecessary interference.

I felt glad when, escaping from this painful scene, bitter and
revolting even under the most favourable aspect, we found ourselves in
the Charshee, surrounded by all the glittering temptations of the East,
and deep in the mysteries of tissues and trinkets. The morning had been
a trying one, and I rejoiced to be enabled to divert my thoughts from
the scenes through which we had passed. A thousand brilliant baubles
were spread out before us—a thousand harangues replete with hyperbole
were exhausted on us—all was bustle and excitement; and I forgot for a
while the weeping father and the spirit-stricken apostate of Solimaniè.



CHAPTER XXI.


  The Castle of Europe—The Traitor’s Gate—The Officer of the
  Guard—Military Scruples—The State Prison—The Tower of
  Blood—The Janissaries’ Tower—_Cachots
  Forcès_—Guard-room—The Bow-string—Frightful Death—The
  Signal Gun—The Grand Armoury—Flourishing State of the
  Establishment—A Dialogue—The Barracks of the Imperial
  Guard—The Persian Kiosk—Courts and Cloisters—The
  Kitchen—The Regimental School—A Coming Storm—The
  Tempest—Dangerous Passage—Turkish Terror—Kind-hearted
  Caïquejhe—Fortunate Escape.


Having obtained an order of admission from one of the Ministers, my
father and myself started early one morning to visit the Fortress of
Mahomet, commonly called by the Franks the Castle of Europe.

I have already stated elsewhere that this was the first _pied-à-terre_
of the Prophet on the European coast; and that the entire pile, forming
the characters of his name, was erected in six days. The strength of the
fortress is much greater than its peculiar construction would lead you
to believe when seen from the sea; and it is altogether an object of
extreme interest.

When our caïque touched the landing-place opposite the Traitor’s Gate,
our dragoman landed to obtain the authority of the officer on guard,
who was sitting on his low wicker stool at the door of the guard-house,
which is built upon the shore of the Bosphorus at the foot of the
exterior wall of the fortress; and his surprise on ascertaining our
errand was so great, that he scarcely removed the chibouk from his lips,
as he declared the impossibility of his admitting us into a stronghold,
within which no Frank had hitherto set his foot—The first European
Fortress of the Prophet—The prison of the Janissaries—The——I know
not what else he might have added, for, in the midst of his harangue, he
suddenly remembered that one of the two applicants for admission on the
present occasion was not only a Frank, but, worse still, a woman; and he
was just beginning to reason upon the fact, when our dragoman stepped in
with the announcement of our order.

His scruples were silenced at once, and he immediately very civilly sent
a corporal and a soldier of the garrison to point out to us the
different localities; and two most intelligent men they proved to be,
who, having been two years on the castle guard, were perfectly competent
to do the melancholy honours of the place.

The Traitor’s Gate is the only seaward entrance to the fortress; and,
when we had stooped to pass its low, wide arch, we found ourselves in a
large court, having on our right hand one of the four principal towers;
and precisely that which has hitherto served as a state prison for
persons of distinction.

In the lower cell of this tower, which contains several ranges of
dungeons, (none of them, however, subterranean), is a stone tunnel,
descending deep into the sea; and beside its mouth is placed a block of
marble, against which the victim knelt to receive the fatal stroke; when
the severed head, and the gory stream that accompanied it, fell into the
tunnel, and were carried by the current far beyond the walls of the
fortress; the body, thus rendered irrecognisable, being afterwards
thrown into the channel. A deep ditch passes near the entrance of this
tower, which opens into an inner court; and, as we ascended a steep
acclivity, and passed beside a ruined mosque, we traced the moat to the
foundation of a second and lower tower, square in form, and castellated
on the summit; distinguished by the fearful appellation of the “Tower of
Blood!” The ditch opens immediately beneath a low archway, excavated in
the foundation of the tower; and its use is similar to that of the
tunnel in the lower prison, being intended to convey away to the sea
all, save the bodies of the criminals executed within its walls, who
were invariably the Aghas, or chiefs of the Janissaries, whom it would
not have been safe to have dishonoured in the eyes of that formidable
body, as it was customary to insult the remains of the less
distinguished of their comrades.

In this ditch one of the soldiers informed us that near four hundred
cases of ammunition had been discovered buried beneath the soil, for the
private use of the Janissaries, in the event of their requiring such an
auxiliary during any popular commotion; and it was singular enough that
the deposit was revealed by the very individual who informed us of it,
and who pointed out the spot where his pickaxe struck against the cover
of one of the chests, when employed with a fatigue party to cleanse the
moat from its accumulated filth.

Hence we ascended to the Janissaries’ Tower, the principal object of our
curiosity. Built on the highest point of land within the walls, even
from the base of this tower you command one of the noblest views in the
world; having on one hand the whole stretch of the channel, to the
opening of the Sea of Marmora; and on the other, the entrance to the
Black Sea; the most sublime coup d’œil in the Bosphorus.

Here two additional attendants with lights were added to the party; and,
having first visited a recess, or cell, in the masonry of the tower,
which we entered by a low, narrow archway, that had been lately
discovered, we stood within the secret magazine of the Janissaries,
where they had built in upwards of six hundred cases of powder: and we
then commenced our survey of the dungeons.

Throughout the whole Tower, which is of great height, and contains seven
ranges of cells, all of them tolerably lofty, there were but two
_cachots forcés_, or dark dungeons; every apartment being furnished with
a narrow, grated aperture for the admission of air and light, and a
small marble cistern for containing water. I wished to explore one of
the two, but was withheld by the soldiers, who assured me that, since
the destruction of the Janissaries, no one had ventured to enter them,
and that they might be, and probably were, _oubliettes_, where one false
step would plunge me headlong to destruction.

Thus warned, I desisted reluctantly from my purpose; and, sooth to say,
we were sufficiently surrounded by horrors, to be enabled to dispense
with one more or less. Our next point was the guard-room; an extensive
apartment, with a floor boarded transversely with narrow planks, forming
a lattice-work, through which the guard could both see and hear the
prisoner beneath; and roofed in the same manner. Having traced the tower
nearly to its summit, we descended, and passing onward a few paces at
its base, we found ourselves in a compartment of the covered way that
connects the towers throughout the fortress; and which was furnished
with large arched doorways on either side. Here, within a recess, hung
an old Roman bow of such strength that no modern arm can bend it; and to
this, as we were informed, the cord was attached used in strangling the
condemned Janissaries. I confess that I thrilled less at the sight of
this instrument of torture, than at the idea of the refinement of
cruelty, which, in a locality replete with gloom, had selected such a
spot for the work of death.

Hither was the victim dragged from his twilight cell. Here, where the
fresh breeze of Heaven came lovingly to his forehead, quivering among
the broad leaves of the wild fig-trees; and dancing on the sunlighted
waters. Hither, where the bright day-beam shed over the world a light
which to him was mockery! What had he to do with the fresh breeze and
the genial beam? His knee was upon the earth, and the cord was about his
neck. One gaze, one long, wild, withering gaze, while his executioners
were busied with the fatal noose; one sigh, the deep concentrated
inspiration of despair; a shriek, a struggle; the last grappling of the
strong man with his murderers, and all was over; the cord was
transferred from the throat to the feet of the victim; and they who were
lately his comrades and his friends, seized the extremity of the fatal
rope, and, dragging after them the yet quivering body, it was thus
hurried ignominiously down the rough and steep stone stair which
traverses the fortress, ere it arrived at the Traitor’s Gate.

But I will pursue the revolting image no further. As the mangled body
was hurled into the sea, the long gun which occupies an embrasure near
the entrance of the fortress was fired, to announce to the authorities
at Constantinople that justice had been done upon the guilty.

Early morning and noon were the periods usually selected for these
executions; and few are the individuals who have been long resident in
Turkey, who can fail to remember the dismal report of the solitary gun
as it came booming over the Bosphorus!

The few houses built within the walls of the fortress are surrounded by
cheerful gardens, and are kept in tolerable repair. As we left the
castle, we were politely accosted by the officer on guard, who inquired
whether we desired to visit the fortress on the opposite coast, which
was formerly used as a prison for the Bostangis, or Imperial Body Guard;
the order with which we were furnished sufficing for both. But I had
become so heart-sick among the dungeons of the Janissaries, that I
prevailed on my father to decline the proposal; and we accordingly
reembarked, and proceeded to the Grand Armoury at Dolma Batchè.

Here again we were obliged to avail ourselves of our order, no female
ever having been hitherto admitted within the gates of the
establishment; but it was merely the delay of a moment, and, having
passed the entrance, we stood within a spacious court forming the centre
of the quadrangle, surrounded by the entrances of the several workshops,
and furnished with an immense marble reservoir containing water for the
supply of the artificers.

The greatest activity and order prevails throughout the whole
establishment. Fifteen hundred men are constantly employed within the
walls; and their wages vary from one to two shillings a day, according
to the difficulty of the work, and their ability to execute it
creditably. No distinction either of creed or nation operates against
the reception of an artificer; Turks, Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, and
Jews are alike eligible, if capable of performing their allotted duties;
but the most difficult and finished branches of the different
departments are almost universally confided to Armenian workmen, who are
the best artificers of the East.

The nominal head of the establishment is a Turk, but he does not
interfere beyond making a weekly survey to ascertain that all is
progressing satisfactorily; while his deputy, who is an Armenian, enters
into the detail of the labour, makes the contracts for timber and metal,
pays the workmen, and performs every other responsible duty. The number
of firelocks completed daily, and sent across each evening to the
Armoury within the walls of the Seraï Bournou, was stated to us to
average seventy; but this was probably an exaggeration.

The musket-barrels are at present bored by hand-machinery, and between
forty and fifty men are constantly employed at this labour alone; but a
substantial and handsome stone edifice is now constructing in the
immediate neighbourhood, under the superintendence, and according to the
design, of an English architect, to which this branch of the
establishment is to be transferred, and where the work is to be done by
steam; by which means a great ultimate saving will be effected.

One of the muskets furnished with a spring bayonet was shown to us,
which, although not equal in finish, and more heavy in form than those
of Europe, was, nevertheless, very creditable to an establishment, that
is yet comparatively in its infancy. I was much amused by the
astonishment of a respectable old Turk who was superintendent of the
finishing department, when he saw me engaged with my father in examining
this musket. “What pleasure can a Frank woman find in looking at
fire-arms?” he asked the Dragoman; “One of our females would be afraid
to touch such a thing. Where does she come from? and how came they to
let her in here?” The reply of the interpreter surprised him still more.

“Mashallàh!” he exclaimed, approaching me with a look of comic
earnestness. “Did the Pasha send her? Why, she is but a girl. How should
she know how to write books better than our women who never do so?”

“Because your women are shut up”—replied the Dragoman.

The Turk nodded assent; “True enough, true enough; they cannot learn of
the walls. The Franks see and hear, and travel over land and sea; and
that is why they know more than we who remain at home, and ask no
questions.”

I give this little dialogue, because it strikes me as being very
characteristic. How often have I been reminded by the Turkish women that
if I had learnt many things of which they were ignorant, I had taken a
great deal of trouble to acquire them, while they had remained
comfortably at home without care or fatigue.

From the Armoury we crossed over to the barracks of the Imperial Guard
at Scutari, where my appearance created as much astonishment among the
troops as though I had come to take the command of the garrison; and
once more I was stopped by the officer on guard; but, as Achmet Pacha
had prepared the Commandant for our visit, he was immediately summoned
by the Dragoman, and received us with the greatest politeness.

This magnificent barrack is nearly quadrangular, the centre of the
fourth side being occupied by low workshops, and a noble gateway opening
upon an exercise ground, at whose extremity on the edge of the rock
overhanging the sea stands the Persian Kiosk of the Sultan. Nothing can
be conceived more grand than the view from this graceful summer pavilion
whence you command the port, the channel, the city of Constantinople,
Pera, Galata, and every object of interest and beauty in the
neighbourhood of the capital; the picturesque Seraï Bournou; and far,
far away, the Sea of Marmora, and the dark mountains of Asia. The
prevalence of northerly winds had prevented any vessel from entering the
Golden Horn during the three preceding weeks, and a little fleet of
about thirty merchant-men were lying at anchor under the very windows of
the Kiosk, giving the last touch of loveliness to the scene spread out
before us.

The whole interior extent of the barrack is furnished with arched
cloisters along each story of the building; by which means a sufficient
space is ensured for the purposes of drill and exercise during inclement
weather. The cleanliness of the rooms was beautiful; and here, as
elsewhere, we had occasion to remark the extremely orderly conduct of
the troops. We were standing in the yard of a barrack containing five
thousand men, and there was not sufficient noise to have annoyed an
invalid. The barrack was constructed to accommodate fifteen thousand,
but it is at present garrisoned only by four regiments, and a brigade of
artillery, whose stabling is situated under the lower range of
cloisters. The kitchen is fitted up with steam; and the steam-tables are
of white marble, with which material the vegetable store is entirely
lined. Meat and pillauf are furnished daily to the troops in ample
quantities; and all their clothing is supplied by the government, while
the sum allowed as pay, for the purchase of coffee, fruit, and similar
luxuries, is greater than that given to Russian soldiers, who are
moreover obliged to furnish themselves with several articles of
clothing. The workshops were thronged; that of the shoemakers contained
a hundred and sixty individuals, who were making shoes of every
description, from the coarse slipper of the private, to the
neatly-finished boot of the Pasha. Every member of the Imperial Guard is
furnished from these workshops, and five hundred men are instructed in
each trade, who relieve one another in the event of duty or sickness.

The Regimental School was a model of neatness and order, and the number
of pupils very considerable; all the children of the Imperial Guard
being expected to attend it, whatever may be the rank of their fathers.
Many of the sergeants and corporals were studying geography; and on a
table in the centre of a second and smaller apartment, stood a handsome
set of Newton’s globes. Of the imitative talent of the Turks I have
already spoken; and on this occasion we were shown a map of Iceland,
etched by a corporal of the guard, in as good style as any pen and ink
drawing that I ever saw from the college at Sandhurst.

The arms, as I have already remarked to be universal with the Turkish
troops, were in the most admirable order, and the stores containing
clothing were well filled, and very neatly arranged. We declined
visiting the Hospital, as three recent cases of Plague had occurred
there; added to which we discovered certain threatenings in the sky
which denoted a coming storm; and, as the passage from Scutari to
Topphannè is, though comparatively short, extremely dangerous in the
event of a sudden tempest, we spent half an hour with the Commandant in
his apartment, where we partook of some exquisite sherbet, made from the
juice of the green lemon; and hurried thence to the pier, laden with a
basket of the delicious grapes and melons of Asia. But we had already
lingered too long: the wind was blowing briskly from the Black Sea; and
the distant shores were veiled in dense and heavy vapour.

We had just reached the Maiden’s Tower when the gust caught us. Of all
the environs of the Bosphorus this is the most dangerous, for the
current runs madly out into the Sea of Marmora; and the wind, released
from the Asian mountains which hem it in to the point of Scutari, is
suddenly set free in all its violence. Hence it arises that, in the
immediate neighbourhood of the Maiden’s Tower, more caïques are wrecked
during the year than in the whole of the channel; and there we were,
every wave dashing angrily against the side of the frail boat, and
pouring over us its foaming waters; the wind driving us down the
current, and the Turkish boatmen scarcely able to ejaculate their
“Mashallàhs!” and “Inshallàhs!” from the terror which made their teeth
chatter in their heads.

It was a frightful moment. At one instant we made way; at the next we
were carried back by the force of the current; we could not guess how
the affair would terminate; but meanwhile the venerable old caïquejhe
who pulled the after-oars, amid all his alarm sought to comfort me:
“Tell her,” he said perpetually to the dragoman, “tell her that there is
no danger; she is a woman, and the fear may kill her. My heart is sick
and I can scarcely pull, for my hand trembles, and my breath fails; but
console her—tell her that we shall soon be across the channel—that I
will put her ashore somewhere—anywhere—tell her what you will, for she
is a woman, and I pity her.”

But, grateful as I was for his consideration, I did not require comfort;
I had already escaped from so many dangers at sea, that I never for a
moment contemplated drowning on the present occasion; and I took some
credit to myself for upholding the honour of my sex for courage in the
eyes of the kind-hearted old Turkish caïquejhe. With considerable
difficulty we at length made the pier at Topphannè, and, a voyage
homeward being perfectly out of the question, we ascended the steep hill
to Pera, wet and weary as we were; and passed the night under the roof
of a worthy and hospitable Greek friend, listening to the wild gusts
which swept down the channel, and congratulating ourselves on our escape
from a danger as unexpected as it was imminent.

CHAPTER XXII.


  The Plague—Spread of the Pestilence—The Greek
  Victim—Self-Devotion—Death of the Plague Smitten—The Widow’s
  Walk—Plague Encampments—The Infected Family—The Greek Girl
  and her
  Lover—Non-Conductors—Plague—Perpetuators—Vultures—Melancholy
  Concomitants of the Pestilence—Carelessness of the Turks—The
  Pasha of Broussa—Rashness of the Poorer Classes—Universality
  of the Disease in the Capital.


Every one who has even heard of Constantinople is aware that it is a
city of Plague and Fires. Of the latter I have already spoken, although
slightly; for it is a singular fact that, although several extensive
conflagrations occurred during our residence in the East, not only in
the Capital but in its environs, it never was our fortune to witness
one.

Of the still more frightful visitation of the Plague, I could not
perhaps make mention at a more fitting moment than the present (the
commencement of September) when, contrary to the prognostics of the
_soi-disant_ conversant in such matters, it has broken out with renewed
violence in every direction. The Imperial Palace of Beglierbey is
deserted in consequence of its having been visited by the
Pestilence—The “Seven Towers” have become a Plague-Hospital for the
Greeks. We presented ourselves with an order for admittance at the
celebrated Seraglio at the Point, and found that here the scourge had
preceded us, and that the gates were closed—Even Therapia, seated on
the edge of the shore, and open to the healthful breezes from the Black
Sea, is adding daily to the list of victims; and we were received by a
friend at the extreme opposite end of the sofa on our return thence,
(and even that reluctantly,) from a dread that we might prove to be
Plague-conductors, and infect her family.

To the honour of our common nature it may be stated that even this
direful visitation tends at times to bring out some of the noblest
qualities of which frail humanity is susceptible. If man may be pardoned
a feeling of absorbing selfishness, it is surely in the hour when he has
before him the prospect of one of the most frightful of all deaths; but,
even in the short month which has elapsed since the disease deepened,
examples have not been wanting of that utter absence of
selfishness—that self-sacrifice for the security of others—which gives
to the fate of the victim almost the character of martyrdom.

Only a day or two since, a poor Greek inhabitant of Therapia was
suddenly attacked with sickness, and, thinking that he recognised the
symptoms of the malady, he immediately proceeded to his cottage; and,
stopping ere he touched the threshold, called to his wife, who,
astonished on seeing him at so unwonted an hour, and struck by the
change in his appearance, was about to approach him, when he desired her
to stand back; and then, calmly telling her that he was unwell, though
he knew not from what cause, and that he was unwilling during a time of
Plague to run the risk of infecting his family, or of compromising his
house, he desired her to throw him his furred pelisse. “If it be a mere
passing sickness,” he added, as he prepared to depart, “it will only
cost me a night in the open air—If it be the Plague, you will at least
save our few articles of clothing, and the few comforts of the
cottage—Recommend me to the Virgin and St. Roch.”

And thus he left his home; and wandered, weak and heart-sick, to the
mountains. He felt that the brand was on him; and he went to die alone,
he knew not how—whether as a wild and frantic maniac, gathering
strength from the fever which would turn his blood to fire, and howling
out his anguish to the winds of midnight, without one kind voice to
comfort, or one fond hand to guide him, until at length he dropped down
to die upon the damp earth—or, as a shivering and palsied wretch,
fainting from thirst, and quivering with sickness, to gaze hour after
hour from his bed of withered leaves, or parched-up turf, upon the blue
bright sky, and the myriad stars, until they went out one by one as his
sight failed, and his pulse ebbed——

On the morrow the wife hastened to the mountains with food, in search of
her husband. She had not taught herself to believe that the Plague had
touched him, and she feared that he might suffer from hunger. She led
one of her children by the hand—his favourite child—and they were long
before they found him—for although the young clear voice of the boy
shouting out his name was borne far away upon the elastic air of the
mountain, there was no answer to the call—alas! there could be
none—the father lay cold and stiff in a gully of the rock,-the
Plague-smitten had ceased to suffer!

The anguish of the unfortunate woman may be conceived—In her first
agony she sprang towards the body, but the shriek of her child recalled
her to a sense of her peril, and the fate that she would entail upon her
little ones. The struggle was long and bitter; and at length she turned
away with the weeping boy, and returned into the village to proclaim her
widowhood.

I have already mentioned the fact of my having on one occasion
inadvertently ridden into the midst of a Plague-encampment. Such
occurrences are, however, rare; as, in the event of several families
being compromised and sent to the mountains, there is generally a
military guard stationed at every avenue leading to their temporary
dwellings, to prevent the approach of strangers, and to form their
medium of subsistence.

A melancholy tale was related to me by a lady at Therapia, who had
watched from day to day the proceedings of one of these little mountain
colonies through a telescope. It consisted of a miserable family; the
father gray-haired and feeble, and the mother bent and palsied—The
children died first, one by one, for the disease drank their young blood
more eagerly than the chill stream which moved sluggishly through the
veins of the aged parents; and at length the old couple were left alone.

They used to sit side by side for hours under a tree facing their
village—the birth-place of their dead ones, whom they had put into the
earth with their own hands—but within a week the childless mother
sickened in her turn and the gray old man dragged a wretched mattress to
the foot of the tree from beneath which his stricken wife had no longer
power to move; and he held the water to her lips, and he put the bread
into her grasp; but all his care availed her nothing—and with his lean
and trembling hands he scratched her a grave under the shadows of the
tree that she had loved in life; and, when the earth had hidden her from
his sight, he lay down across the narrow mound to die in his turn. His
worldly toils were ended!

Scarcely less affecting was the devotion of a young Greek girl, whose
lover, smitten with plague, was conveyed to the temporary hospital at
the Seven Towers. No sooner had she ascertained whither they had carried
him, than without saying a word to her parents, who would, as she well
knew, have opposed her design, she left her home, and presented herself
at the portal of the infected fortress as the nurse of the young Greek
caïquejhe who had been received there on the previous day. In vain did
the governor, imagining from her youth, and the calm and collected
manner in which she offered herself up an almost certain victim to the
pestilence, that she was not aware of her danger, endeavour to dissuade
her from her project. She was immoveable; and was ultimately permitted
to approach the bedside of the dying sufferer.

Not a tear, not a murmur escaped her, as she took her place beside his
pillow, and entered upon her desperate office. In the paroxysms of his
madness, as the poison was feeding upon his strength, and grappling at
his brain, he spoke of her fondly—he talked to her—he stretched forth
his arms to clasp her—and then he thrust her from him as he yelled out
his agony, and his limbs writhed beneath the torture of the passing
spasm.

And she bore it all unshrinkingly; and even amid her misery she felt a
thrill of joy as she discovered that pain and madness had alike failed
to blot her image from his memory. But there were moments less cruel
than these, in which reason resumed her temporary sway, and the devoted
girl was pressed to the fevered bosom of her fated lover; and in these,
brief as they were, she felt that she was over-paid for all.

But the struggle even of youth and strength against the most baneful of
all diseases could not last for ever—The patient expired in the arms of
his devoted mistress; and as he breathed his last, bequeathed to her at
once his dying smile, and the foul poison which was coursing through his
veins. She saw him laid in his narrow grave; and then she turned away
with the conviction that she, too, was plague-smitten!

She did not return to her home: but she stood a few paces from one of
the companions of her youth, and bade her bear to her aged parents her
blessing and her prayers: and this done she fled to the mountains, and
sought out a solitary spot wherein to die—None knew how long she
lingered, for she was never seen again in life; but her body was found a
few days afterwards beneath a ledge of earth, in a doubled-up position,
as though the last spasm had been a bitter one.

She who had sacrificed herself to smooth the last hours of him whom she
had loved, perished alone, miserably, in the wild solitude of the Asian
hills; and her almost Roman virtue has met with no other record than
the brief one in which I have here attempted to perpetuate the memory of
her devotion and her fate.

It seems as though men apprehended contagion in the very name of the
plague, for they have adopted terms that render its repetition needless.
Should you inquire for a family which has become compromised, you are
told that “they are gone to the mountains,” and you understand at once
that they are infected; and when numbers are daily dying about you, in
reply to your desire to learn the amount of the evil, you are answered
that there are so many, or so many “accidents.”

Every respectable house, and every public establishment, has in its
court, or its outer hall, a small wooden erection, precisely like a
sentry box raised on rollers, into which you are obliged to enter during
a period of plague, before you are admitted into the interior of the
building; and where you stand upon a latticed flooring, while aromatic
herbs are burnt beneath, whose dense and heavy vapour soon envelops you
in a thick smoke, which is said to prevent contagion.

Every competent authority declares the disease to be propagated by
contact; and it is singular to see the care with which every individual
passing along the public streets avoids all collision with his
fellow-passengers. The lower order of Turks are the greatest sufferers
from the plague, in consequence of the filthy personal habits of the men
employed as street-porters and labourers; their law only requiring them
to wash their hands and feet before entering their mosques, or repeating
their prayers; while I have good authority for stating that this class
of individuals purchase an inner garment of dark and coarse material,
which they retain day and night without removing it, until it falls to
pieces.

If filth be a plague-conductor, it is not, consequently, surprising,
that great numbers of these persons are invariably carried off during
the year; and the same cause doubtlessly accounts for the excessive
mortality among the Jews; who frequently increase the spread of the evil
by possessing themselves of the garments of the plague-victims, which
they buy secretly from the relatives; reckless, in the event of a good
bargain, of the fatal consequences which may ensue alike to themselves
and to others.

This may appear to be an excess of madness almost incredible; but it is,
nevertheless, an incontrovertible fact.

I know not whether it be a common occurrence for vultures to haunt the
environs of the city during the prevalence of plague, but it is certain
that we never saw one until its commencement; and that before we left
they were to be met with in numbers, in the very centre of the
shipping, preying upon the offal that had been flung into the port, or
winging their heavy flight along the mountains, as though scenting their
revolting banquet.

There is, to me, something frightful in the terror with which, in a
season of virulent pestilence, each individual avoids all human contact,
and looks upon his best friends as vehicles of destruction.—In the
shrinking of relatives from each other, and the unwonted selfishness of
usually free and generous spirits. Nor is the sensation a comfortable
one, with which you remember that you are yourself considered as
infected, and treated with distrust accordingly; and in moments of
depression find yourself speculating in your own mind the probability of
the fear being well-grounded. Does your head ache?—It is a symptom of
plague—Are you sick and faint from heat?—It is even thus that the
pestilence frequently declares itself in the first instance—If you take
cold upon the Bosphorus, you have laid the corner-stone of the
malady—and over-fatigue may induce the exhaustion which lends strength
to the incipient evil. It is impossible to describe the effect of this
continual necessity for caution: but even this is trifling beside the
constant dread of contact with infection. It is vain to affect a mad
courage leading you to set at defiance these accumulated dangers; there
are moments when an unconquerable dread will creep over the heart, and
sicken the spirit.

There are many who do not fear death; but they are habituated to
associate it in their minds with an accustomed home, and watching
friends, and anxious tenderness; all accessories tending to soften the
pang of disease, and to smooth the path of dissolution—Few are they who
could contemplate calmly the death-hour of the plague-smitten—the
hunted from his home—haunting the hills in his polluted solitude; and
contaminating the pure air of Heaven by the fetid breathings of
pestilence—shrieking out his madness to the mocking moon,—and dying in
his despair on the bare earth; a loathsome thing, to which even a grave
is sometimes denied!

And yet, terrible as is the picture which I have drawn almost despite
myself, it is surprising how little caution is observed by the Turks to
escape from so direful a visitation. They have an absurd superstition
that all True Believers who die, either by the hand of the Sultan, or by
the visitation of the plague, go straight to Paradise, and to the arms
of the Houri, without the intervention of any purgatorial quarantaine;
and they account very satisfactorily for the infrequency of plague-cases
among the Franks, by declaring that Allah does not love them
sufficiently to grant them so desirable a privilege; without troubling
themselves to remark the precautions taken by Europeans to prevent the
spread of the disease, all of which are utterly neglected by the natives
of the country. It is indeed astonishing how blindly the Orientals run
the greatest risks, in the most unnecessary and apparently wilful
manner.

The Pasha of Broussa was informed by his family physician that his
_Chiboukjhe_, or pipe-bearer, who had been in his service from his
boyhood, and to whom he was much attached, had discovered symptoms of
plague, which would render it necessary for his Excellency to take such
precautions as might tend to ensure the safety of the other members of
his family; and accordingly he gave immediate orders for the removal of
the harem to a village in the mountains; and ordered all the linen of
the inmates of the salemliek to be washed, and their woollen clothing
carefully aired and fumigated, ere it was transported thither, together
with the male members of his establishment.

The Chiboukjhe, hearing of the intended removal of the household, begged
to see his master once more ere he left the city; and the Pasha complied
with his request without scruple, as a couple of yards intervening
between the plague-patient and his visitor are sufficient to prevent
contagion. But the kind-hearted Pasha had not calculated upon his own
powers of resistance; and, when the favourite domestic upbraided him
with his cruelty in leaving him to die alone, and recalled to his memory
a score of circumstances in which he had proved his attachment and
devotedness to the welfare of his master; the Pasha, with a recklessness
perfectly incomprehensible, ordered that fresh linen should be put upon
the patient: that his own garments should be destroyed and replaced by
new ones; and that he should be forthwith comfortably placed in an
araba, and conveyed to the village whither all the rest of the
establishment had been previously removed.

The order was obeyed; and the infected man arrived on the evening of the
second day at the mountain-retreat, bringing with him the deadly disease
which was rapidly sapping his life-blood. Four-and-twenty hours had not
elapsed when the favourite wife of the Pasha, a beautiful girl of
sixteen, expired, in a fit of raging madness, upon her cushions: the
pestilence had wrought so rapidly in her young and delicate frame that
no time had been afforded for precaution or help; the weak blindness of
the Pasha had sacrificed his wife, compromised his house, and endangered
the whole family. He rushed from one apartment to another like a maniac,
but the bolt had fallen; and at midnight his youngest child lay a corpse
on its dead mother’s bosom.

They were buried hurriedly beneath the tall trees of the garden; and the
earth was but newly scattered over their graves when another of the
Pasha’s wives breathed her last—Suffice it that in the space of ten
days, out of a harem consisting of nineteen persons, there remained only
an aged negress and two infant children; while the salemliek had also
suffered severely, although not in the same proportion.

I could pile anecdote on anecdote upon the same melancholy theme, but my
heart sickens as I record them; and that which I have just narrated will
sufficiently demonstrate the improbability of this terrific scourge ever
being expelled the country by the precautionary measures of the natives.
On the subject of the plague the Turks appear to possess neither
prudence nor judgment. Their belief in predestination deepens their
natural want of energy; and thus the malady is suffered to run its
deadly course almost unchecked, and to sweep off its thousands yearly,
amid pangs at which humanity shudders.

Another circumstance which must tend to perpetuate the pestilence in the
East, exists in the fact that, when the local authorities have
ascertained the existence of plague in a dwelling, the house becomes
what is termed “compromised;” and after the family of the smitten has
been ejected, and sent to the mountains, it is painted throughout its
whole interior, cleansed, and fumigated; a process which, owing to the
risk incurred by the individuals employed in the work, and the species
of quarantaine to which they are subjected during its continuance, is
sufficiently expensive to deter the poorer portions of the population
from declaring the presence of the disease in their families; as,
combined with their forty days of exile in the mountains, during which
time they are, of course, unable to earn any thing for the future
support of the survivors, it subjects them to want and misery, which
they seek to evade by running a greater, but, as they fondly hope, less
certain risk. They trust to their _felech_, or constellation, that the
infection will not spread, and are undoubtedly, in many cases, the more
readily induced to do this, that they have at least the melancholy
satisfaction of closing the eyes of their dead, and of seeing them
expire amid their “household gods;” instead of knowing that their last
hour was one of despairing abandonment, as well as of acute agony; and
having to search for their bodies in the desolate spots to which their
wretchedness might have driven them.

It has been ascertained that atmospherical changes have no influence on
the plague. It rages amid the snow-storm as virulently as beneath the
scorching suns of summer. Diet does not affect it—The street-porter,
living upon black bread, and fruit frequently immature, and the
Effendi, whose tray is spread with culinary delicacies, are alike liable
to be smitten.

Its origin and its cure are both unknown—It is the hair-suspended sword
ever ready to do its work of death; and none can foretell the moment in
which the blow may come.—It chases the haughty Sultan from his Palace;
and the labourer from his hut—It is in the close and thickly-peopled
streets of the city, and on board the majestic vessels that ride the
blue waves of the Bosphorus—And there is not a sojourner in the East
who can forget the first occasion on which, when he asked the meaning of
the gloom that hung upon men’s brows, and the mysterious murmur that ran
through the crowd on a new outbreak of the malady, he was answered by
some passer-by,—“IT IS THE PLAGUE!”

There can be no doubt that at the present time,[9] the pestilence has
spread farther and faster than it might otherwise have done from the
extreme scarcity, indeed, I may almost say, want of water in the
Capital. The poorer classes, whose means render them unable to purchase
this necessary of life at an exorbitant price from the individuals who
established an extemporaneous trade, by freighting their caïques with
water at the European villages on the Channel, and vending it in the
city, being necessitated to make use of foul and stagnant pools for the
purpose of preparing their food; and to dispense almost entirely with a
beverage generally taken to excess by both sexes.

As the wells and tanks of the nearest hamlets failed, the water-sellers
extended their voyages even to Therapia; and their demands became
comparatively extravagant. Men watched the clouds in vain—the sun set
in a blaze of gold and purple; and morning broke in blushes from behind
the Asian mountains—the noon-day sky was blue and bright—not a vapour
passed across its beauty—and no rain fell. Women crowded about the
fountains in the vain hope that each moment the exhausted spring might
well out afresh—Children wept, and asked vainly for their accustomed
draught; the marble basins of the city remained empty, and the bright
sunbeams played upon the smooth surface of the glittering stone.

On the Asian shore, the waters had not yet failed; and the famous
fountain of Scutari, fed by a mighty volume descending from the dusky
mountain of Bulgurlhu, still poured forth its flashing stream; but, from
some superstition, whose nature I was unable to ascertain, the
authorities did not permit the transfer of water from the Asiatic to the
European shore; and this noble fountain, which would have supplied all
the wants of the city, was suffered to flow on, and waste its stream in
the channel.

I shall not easily forget the constant succession of busy human beings,
who, from day-dawn to dusk, thronged the mouth of a well not a hundred
paces from our residence at Yenikeuÿ. Every cistern in the lower quarter
of the village had become exhausted; but this solitary well, fed from a
mountain source, still held out; and it was only by the necessity of
lengthening the ropes to which the buckets were affixed, and the
consequent increase of labour required to raise them, that any
diminution of the water could be perceived.

Children of ten or twelve years of age could no longer, as heretofore,
accomplish this portion of the household toil: nor would they, even had
their strength sufficed to the effort, have been able to make it: for as
the demand for water increased on all sides, the battle was truly to the
strong at the village well. Men who met as friends, and greeted each
other kindly as they approached it, strove and struggled for precedence,
until they at length parted in wrath, and frequently with blows; while
the owners of the neighbouring cottages, to whose exclusive use this
spring had hitherto been considered sacred, murmured in vain at the
intrusion on their privileges, and were fain to strive and struggle like
the strangers.

The reason adduced by the Greeks for the abundance of water in this
well, was the sanctity conferred on it by the priesthood at the close
of the previous vintage; when they had made a solemn procession to its
mouth, and flung in a handful of small silver coins, contributed for the
purpose by the poorer inhabitants of the village, a small vase of holy
water, and a pinch of consecrated salt!

While the drought was at its height, a community of Turning Dervishes
made a pilgrimage to the Sweet Waters; where the Barbyses, always a very
inconsiderable stream, had shrunk to half its accustomed volume; and
there, having previously prostrated themselves in prayer, they performed
their evolutions round the principal cistern of the valley; and at a
certain point of the ceremony flung into the air small vessels of red
clay, fresh from the potter’s hands, while, as they fell back, they
besought that every empty tank might overflow, and every goblet be
filled.

The spectacle was a very striking one; and it was followed by the
observance of another yet more touching. At dusk the village children,
walking two and two, and each carrying a bunch of wild flowers, drew
near the cistern in their turn; and sang, to one of the thrilling
melodies of the country, a hymn of supplication; while at the conclusion
of each stanza, they scattered a portion of the blossoms over the
shattered fragments of the vases flung into the basin by the Dervishes.

Nothing could be more affecting! Man, shrinking under a consciousness of
his unworthiness, put his prayer into the mouth of innocent infancy; as
though he trusted to the supplication uttered by pure lips and guileless
hearts, when he dared not hope for mercy through his own agency. Every
evening during the drought, that “linked chain” of childhood repaired to
the same spot, and raised the same song of entreaty to an all-powerful
Creator; and the echoes of the Valley flung back the infant voices of
the choir as they swelled upon the wind of evening with a pathos which
affected me to tears. It was only on the day preceding that of our
departure from Constantinople that the prayer was answered; and, as the
light vapoury rain fell upon the parched and yawning earth, my thought
instantly reverted to the infant choristers of the Sweet Waters; whose
artless hymn may be freely translated as follows:—


  HYMN OF THE TURKISH CHILDREN.

  Allah! Father! hear us;
    Our souls are faint and weak:
  A cloud is on our mother’s brow,
    And a tear upon her cheek.
  We fain would chase that cloud away,
    And dry that sadd’ning tear;
  For this it is to-night we pray—
    Allah! Father! hear.

  We seek the cooling fountain,
    Alas! we seek in vain;
  The cloud that crowns the mountain
    Melts not away in rain.
  The stream is shrunk which through our plain
    Once glided bright and clear;
  Oh! ope the secret springs again—
    Allah! Father! hear.

  We bring thee flowers, sweet flowers,
    All withered in their prime;
  No moisture glistens on their leaves,
    They sickened ere their time.
  And we like them shall pass away
    Ere wintry days are near;
  Shouldst thou not hearken as we pray—
    Allah! Father! hear.



CHAPTER XXIII.


  A Greek Marriage—The Day before the Bridal—The Wedding
  Garments—Cachemires—Ceremony of Reception—The Golden
  Tresses—Early Hours of the Greek Church—Love of the Greek
  Women for Finery—The Bridal Procession—The Marriage—The
  Nuptial Crowns—Greek Funerals.


There are few ceremonies more amusing (for that is really the correct
term) than a Greek marriage. All is glitter and gossipy; and so many
ancient and classical usages are still retained, that it is a curious as
well as an interesting sight to a stranger.

Having received an invitation to the wedding of a fair neighbor, I
joined a party of friends who were about to visit her, according to
custom, on the previous day; to offer their congratulations, and to give
their opinions with regard to the bridal gear, as well as to assist in
weaving the golden tresses by which a Greek bride is always
distinguishable.

We found one of the daughters of the family waiting to receive us on the
terrace; and, as she stood smiling and blushing in reply to our
salutations, her bright black eyes dancing with joy, under the shadow
of an overhanging vine, whose clusters of rich purple grapes fell
temptingly through the open trellises, she formed as pretty a picture of
young, gay, light-hearted beauty, as the eye ever lingered on. When we
had exchanged compliments, she led us through the center saloon to an
inner apartment, where we found the bride elect; a fair, dove-eyed girl,
who was sitting upon the sofa with her hand clasped in that of one of
her young companions.

On one side of the room were displayed the bridal dresses; and on the
other were collected all the smaller articles of her toilette. It was a
confusion of blonde, and gauze, and flowers, and diamonds; satin
slippers, embroidered handkerchiefs, and cachemire shawls; and I really
pitied the owner of all this finery when I remarked how much she was
harassed and oppressed by the commotion which surrounded her, and the
crowd of company that came and went in one endless stream.

Sweetmeats and coffee having been served, every article of the bridal
costume was exhibited separately to the guests, commented on, and
replaced. The shawls and jewels were examined with the most earnest
attention, for these gauds are the glory of the Greek women, who, in
speaking of a married acquaintance, seldom tell you that she is happy
from being the wife of a man of amiability and high principle; but
invariably reply to your inquiry by the assurance that she is a most
fortunate person, to whom her husband has given six or seven cachemires;
or that she is, poor thing! very much to be pitied, having been thrown
away upon an individual who can only afford to allow her a couple of
shawls! To such a height, indeed, do the Greek ladies carry their love
for this article of dress, and their desire to display it, that they
will suffocate in a cachemire during the hottest day in summer, and even
wear it in a ball-room!

When all the bridal paraphernalia had been exhibited, the mother of the
bride entered the room, carrying in one hand a fillagreed silver essence
bottle, and in the other a censer of the same material, in which were
burning aloes, myrrh, and perfumed woods. Making the tour of the
apartment, she flung the perfume over each individual, varying her
address according to the circumstances of the guests. To the unmarried
she accompanied the action by saying, “May your own bridal
follow!”—while to the matrons of the party she said, “May you also see
the bridal of your children!”

When the old lady had withdrawn, all the more youthful of the visitors
formed a group in the center of the floor. One laughing girl held a pair
of diminutive scales; and another was laden with the glittering skeins
of flat gold thread, of which were to be woven the singular head-dress
to which I have already made allusion. The gallantry of the bridegroom
had induced him to send forty drachms of this expensive gewgaw to his
fair mistress, instead of ten; the largest quantity that the laws of the
Greek Church allow to be worn; and the first care of the party was,
consequently, to separate the skeins, and to weigh out the portion
destined for the bride. When this had been accomplished, a score of us
were employed at once. The threads were drawn out singly, in lengths of
about three yards, and were then woven together at the end into a sort
of coronet, whence they fell in a golden shower to the floor.

When this pretty and amusing occupation was over, we took our leave,
each embracing the bride in turn, who still retained her place upon the
sofa; and every individual, as she passed the bridal gear, flinging over
it a handful of small silver coin.

I was summoned on the morrow at an early hour; for all the religious
ceremonies of the Greeks are performed at most unseasonable times. Even
their Sunday mass, when the poorer portions of the population, after
having toiled throughout the previous six days, might be excused a
little sluggishness, commences at daybreak; and no one who has spent
four months in a Greek village, as we did, can have failed to be
awakened at dawn by the rattling together of the two cedar sticks,
which are the substitute for a bell; followed by the frightful drawl of
the inferior priest, who traverses the streets, and utters a second
invitation to prayer, half growl and half shriek; infinitely more
calculated to frighten away the pious from his vicinity, than to induce
them to seek it.

But the call is, nevertheless, answered. Every cottage pours forth its
inhabitants; and even at daybreak the females deck themselves out in all
the finery of which they are possessed. Here it is a red gown, and a
yellow shawl—there a blue turban, and a pair of pink shoes—in short,
there is nothing more laughable than the idea that the poorer class of
Greek women entertain of a becoming toilette. Your maid answers the
clapping of your hands, (for bells there are none in Eastern houses) in
a turban of colored muslin or gauze a yard square, and half a yard high;
or, if she be an elderly woman, in a little red woollen cap with a
purple silk tassel, bound to her head by a painted handkerchief, over
which is twisted a thick plait of hair, generally false—the shortest of
petticoats, the most showy of stockings, the smartest of aprons, and a
pair of earrings frequently hanging to her shoulders; and poor indeed
must be the female servant in a Greek family who is not the happy
possessor of three or four gold rings!

But I have, meanwhile, forgotten the pretty bride, who was to be
married at the house of an intimate friend of our’s; and who, on my
arrival there, was momentarily expected. The center of the great saloon
was covered by a Turkey carpet, on which stood a reading-desk, overlaid
by a gold-embroidered handkerchief, and supporting a Bible and the two
marriage rings; the whole bright with the profusion of silver money that
had been scattered over them. The lady of the house was to officiate as
“Godmother” to the bride, an office somewhat similar to that of
bride’s-maid; and she was even at that early hour sparkling with jewels.

At length the sounds of music announced the arrival of the marriage
train; and we hastened to a window to watch for their approach. The
procession was an interesting one. The musicians were succeeded by the
bridegroom elect, walking between his own father and the father of his
bride; the fair girl followed, accompanied by a couple of her young
companions; and the two mothers, attended by “troops of friends,” closed
the train.

They were met at the threshold by the Archbishop of Nournaudkeüy and a
party of priests, who immediately commenced chanting the marriage
service; and, as they ascended the stairs, showers of money were flung
over them from above.

In five minutes, the spacious saloon was filled to suffocation; the
young couple were placed upon the edge of the carpet; the nuptial
crowns, formed of flowers, ribbons, and gold-thread, were deposited on
the reading-desk; and the rector of the parish, in a robe of brocaded
yellow satin fringed with silver, began a prayer, that was caught up at
intervals by the choral boys, and repeated in a wild chant. At the
conclusion of this prayer, which was of considerable length, the
attendant priests flung over the Archbishop his gorgeous vestments of
violet satin, embroidered with gold, and girdled with tissue; and he
advanced to the reading-desk, and took thence the two brilliant diamond
rings, with which he made the cross three times, on the forehead, lips,
and breast of the contracting parties; and then placed them in the hand
of the “Godmother,” who, putting one upon the finger of each, continued
to hold them there while the Prelate read a portion of the Gospel: after
which she changed them three times, leaving them ultimately in the
possession of their proper owners. This done, the Archbishop put the
hand of the bride into that of her husband, and went through the same
ceremonies with the nuptial crowns that he had previously enacted with
the rings; they were then placed upon the heads of the young couple;
and, a goblet of wine being presented to the Archbishop, he blessed it,
put it to his lips, handed it to the bride and bridegroom, and thence
delivered it up to the “Godmother.”

The crowns were next changed three several times from the one head to
the other; and, several wax candles being lighted, as I have described
them to have been during the Easter ceremonies at the Fanar, the whole
party walked in procession round the carpet; and then it was that the
silver shower fell thick and fast about them: the floor was literally
covered.

When the chanting ceased, the bride raised the hand of her new-made
husband to her lips; after which every relative and friend of either
party approached, and kissed them on the forehead. The Archbishop cast
off his robes; the children scrambled for the scattered money; the band
in the outer hall burst into an enlivening strain; and such of the
company as were of sufficient rank to entitle them to do so, followed
the bride, and the lady of the house to an inner saloon; where a train
of servants were in attendance, bearing trays of preserved fruits and
delicate little biscuits, which were given to each person to carry away.
Liqueurs were then offered, and subsequently coffee; after which each
married lady made a present to the bride of some article of value,
previously to her departure for her home, whither we all accompanied her
in procession; and took our leave at the portal to return to the house
of her friends, and join in the cheerful morning-ball which was about
to commence.

The effect of the golden tress that I had assisted to weave was very
beautiful, binding as it did the rich dark hair of the bride upon her
fair young brow, and then falling to her feet; and her whole costume
would have been eminently graceful, had she not been sinking under the
heat and weight of the eternal cachemire. The nuptial crowns which I
have mentioned are about a foot in height, and shaped like a beehive;
when they were removed from the heads of the young couple, they were
carefully enveloped in a handkerchief of colored gauze, and borne away
to be hung up in the chapel of the bridegroom’s house; where they will
remain until the death of either of the parties, when the deceased is
crowned for the second and last time, in the open coffin in which he is
borne to the grave.

The Greeks make almost as much toilette for a funeral as for a marriage.
Where the deceased is young and pretty, she is decked out in her gayest
apparel, and not unfrequently has her eyebrows stained, and a quantity
of rouge spread over her cheeks, to cheat death for a few brief hours of
his lividness; her gloved hands are carefully displayed; she is tricked
out in jewels; and this frightful mockery is rendered still more
revolting by the fact that she is thus paraded through the streets,
followed by her female relatives, who weep, and shriek, and bewail
themselves with a transient violence truly national. At the grave-side
all the finery is stripped from the stiffened corpse: the friends carry
it away; a cover is placed over the coffin; and the poor remains, that
were only a few instants previously so lavishly adorned, are consigned
to the earth of which they are so soon to form a part.



CHAPTER XXIV.


  The Fèz Manufactory—Singular Scene—A Turk at Prayers—Pretty
  Girls—Progress of Turkish Industry—Mustapha Effendi—Process
  of Manufactures—Omer Effendi and the Arabs—Avanis Aga, the
  Armenian—The Fraud Discovered—The Imperial
  Apartments—Departure for the Seraï-Bournou—The Outer
  Court—The Orta Kapoussi—The Pestle and Mortar of the
  Ulémas—The Garden of Delight—The Column of
  Theodosius—Arrival of the Sultan—Ancient Greek
  Inscriptions—Confused Inscription—The Diamond—Memories of
  Sultan Selim.


No traveller should leave Constantinople without paying a visit to the
Fèz Manufactory of Eyoub, where all the caps for the Sultan’s armies are
now made. The building, which is entirely modern, and admirably adapted
to its purpose, stands in the port, near the palace of Azmè Sultane, on
the site of an ancient Imperial residence. It is under the control of
Omer Lufti Effendi, late Governor of Smyrna, a man of known probity and
talent:[10] and its immediate superintendence has been intrusted to
Mustapha Effendi; whose ready courtesy to strangers enables European
travellers to form an accurate idea of the state and progress of the
establishment.

After a delightful row from Galata, we landed at the celebrated pier of
Eyoub; and, accompanied by a personal friend of Mustapha Effendi,
proceeded to the manufactory, which we entered by the women’s door. As
we passed the threshold a most curious scene presented itself. About
five hundred females were collected together in a vast hall, awaiting
the delivery of the wool which they were to knit; and a more
extraordinary group could not perhaps be found in the world.

There was the Turkess with her yashmac folded closely over her face, and
her dark feridjhe falling to the pavement: the Greek woman, with her
large turban, and braided hair, covered loosely with a scarf of white
muslin, her gay-coloured dress, and large shawl: the Armenian, with her
dark bright eyes flashing from under the jealous screen of her
carefully-arranged veil, and her red slipper peeping out under the long
wrapping cloak: the Jewess, muffled in a coarse linen cloth, and
standing a little apart, as though she feared to offend by more
immediate contact; and among the crowd some of the loveliest girls
imaginable.

At the moment of our arrival, Mustapha Effendi was at prayers; and we
accordingly seated ourselves to await him in an inner apartment,
well-carpeted, and occupied by half a dozen clerks, who were busily
employed in recording the quantity of wool delivered to each applicant:
their seats were divided from the women’s hall by a partition about
breast-high; and I remarked that the prettiest girls were always those
whose accounts were the most tedious.

On the other side of this spacious office was a wool-store, where a
score of individuals were busily employed in weighing and delivering out
the wool; and all were so active, and so earnest in their occupation,
that the most sceptical European would have been compelled to admit,
when looking on them, that the Turk is no longer the supine and
spiritless individual which he has been so long considered.

Immediately that his prayer was completed, Mustapha Effendi invited us
to pass into his private room; a pleasant apartment opening to the
water, and most luxuriously cushioned. Here coffee and chibouks were
served; after which a couple of the knitters were introduced, in order
that we might see the different qualities of wool, necessary to the
manufacture of the various kinds of fèz.

During their performance, Mustapha Effendi asked many questions
relatively to Europe; and particularly how the English government were
now disposed towards the Turks; and expressed his curiosity to learn the
impression which the present state of the people had made upon
ourselves. He appeared to have been piqued by some American travellers
who had visited the establishment; for at the close of the conversation
he said earnestly; “Europe begins to know us better; and the Franks to
judge us more honestly—_Inshallàh_—I trust in God, that the day will
yet come when we shall be able to convince even the Americans, that we
are not wild beasts anxious to devour them.”

When we had passed an hour with the Superintendent, we proceeded to
inspect the establishment, which is on a very extensive scale, three
thousand workmen being constantly employed. The workshops are spacious,
airy, and well-conducted; the wool, having been spread over a
stone-paved room on the ground-floor, where it undergoes saturation with
oil, is weighed out to the carders, and thence passes into the hands of
the spinners, where it is worked into threads of greater or less size,
according to the quality of fèz for which it is to be made available.
The women then receive it in balls, each containing the quantity
necessary for a cap; and these they take home by half a dozen or a dozen
at a time, to their own houses, and on restoring them receive a shilling
for each of the coarse; and seventeen pence for each of the fine ones.

The next process is the most inconvenient, although perhaps the most
simple of the whole. As soon as spun, the caps are washed with cold
water and soap; but, there being no rush of water sufficiently strong in
the immediate vicinity of the capital, they are obliged to be sent to
Smit, distant about ten leagues, where they are scoured and dried, and
ultimately returned to Eyoub, in order to be completed. Each fèz then
undergoes three different operations of clipping and pressing; and at
the termination of the third has no longer the slightest appearance of
knitted wool, but all the effect of a fine close cloth. The next process
is that of dyeing the cap a rich deep crimson; and herein existed a
difficulty which has been but lately overcome, and of which I shall give
an account when I have sketched the whole routine of the manufacture.

Having been immersed during several hours in large coppers constantly
stirred, and kept upon the boil, the caps are flung into a marble trough
filled with running water, where they are trodden by a couple of men;
and afterwards given to the blockers, who stretch them over earthen
moulds to enable them to take a good shape. They are subsequently
removed to the drying-room, where they are kept in a perpetual current
of air until all the damp is removed; and thence delivered up to the
head workmen, who raise the nap of the wool with the head of the
bullrush, and then clip it away with huge shears; precisely as cloth is
dressed in England. Pressing follows, and the fèz is ultimately carried
to the marker, who works into the crown the private cypher of the
manufacture, and affixes the short cord of crimson which is to secure
the _flock_ or tassel of purple silk, with its whimsical appendage of
cut paper. The last operation is that of sewing on the tassels: and
packing the caps into parcels containing half a dozen each, stamped with
the Imperial seal.

The whole process is admirably conducted. The several branches of the
establishment are perfectly distinct; and the greatest industry appears
to prevail in every department. The manufactory was suggested and
founded by Omer Lufti Effendi, in consequence of the extremely high
price paid by the Sultan to the Tunisians, with whom this fabric
originated, for the head-dress of his troops. Having induced a party of
Arabian workmen from Tunis to accompany him to Constantinople, he
established them in the old palace, which has since been replaced by the
present noble building; and under their direction the knitting and
shaping of the caps acquired some degree of perfection.

But the dye was a secret beyond their art; and the Turkish government,
anxious to second the views of the energetic Omer Effendi, made a second
importation of Tunisians with no better success, although they were
chosen from among the most efficient workmen of their country. The
caps, while they were equal both in form and texture to those of Tunis,
were dingy and ill-coloured; and the Arabs declared that the failure of
the dye was owing to the water in and about Constantinople, which was
unfavourable to the drugs employed.

As a last hope, a trial was made at Smit, but with the same result; and
the attempt to localise the manufacture was about to be abandoned, when
Omer Effendi, suspecting the good faith of the Arabian workmen,
disguised a clever Angorian Armenian, named Avanis Aga, as a Turk, whom
he placed as a labourer in the dye-room. Being a good chemist and a
shrewd observer, Avanis Aga, affecting a stupidity that removed all
suspicion, soon made himself master of the secret which it so much
imported his anxious patron to learn; and, abandoning the ignoble besom
that he had wielded as the attendant of the Tunisian dyers, immediately
that he discovered the fraud which, either in obedience to the secret
orders of their Regent, or from an excess of patriotism, they had been
practising ever since their arrival; he set himself to work in secret;
and, with the water of Smit, dyed two caps, which, having dried, he
presented to Omer Effendi, who was unable to distinguish them from those
of Tunis.

Delighted at the successful issue of his experiment, Omer Effendi
summoned the Arabs to his presence, and shewed them the fèz; when,
instantly suspecting the masquerade that had betrayed them, they
simultaneously turned towards the Armenian, and, throwing their turbans
on the ground, and tearing their hair, they cried out: “Yaccoup!
Yaccoup!” (Jacob! Jacob!)

The Superintendent having dismissed them, after causing them to be
liberally remunerated for the time which they had spent at
Constantinople, sent them back to Tunis; while Avanis Aga, elected Head
Dyer of the Imperial Manufactory of Eyoub, now enjoys the high honour of
deciding on the exact tint to be worn by Mahmoud the Powerful, the
“Light of the Sun,” and “Shadow of the Universe.”

Fifteen thousand caps a month are produced at the fabric of Eyoub; and
they are said to equal those of Tunis. The finest Russian and Spanish
wools are employed, and no expense is spared in order to render them
worthy of the distinguished patronage with which the Sultan has honoured
them. The Imperial apartments at the manufactory are elegantly fitted
up, and sufficiently spacious to accommodate a numerous suite; and, as
the building faces the Arsenal, His Highness is a frequent visitor to
the establishment of Omer Effendi, where he sometimes passes several
consecutive hours.

When we had made the tour of the manufactory, we returned to the
apartment of Mustapha Effendi, where we partook of coffee and sherbet;
and after expressing the sincere gratification we had experienced in our
survey, we took our leave; and once more nestling ourselves into the
bottom of our caïque, we darted off to the Seraï Bournou, where an
officer of the Sultan’s household was waiting to admit us, _en
cachette_; the prevalence of plague having added to the jealousy with
which His Highness ever forbids the ingress of strangers within its
walls.

The first court of this celebrated seraglio does not convey any idea of
regality to the visitor. It is rather an excrescence than an appendage
to the Palace: containing on the right hand the infirmaries, the
bakehouses, and the wood-stores; and on the left, the Greek church of
St. Irene, now converted into an arsenal. On a line with this desecrated
temple is the Mint, in which are lodged the _Taraf-hanè_, or Inspector,
and the _Chehir Encine_, or Superintendent, of the Public Buildings.

Passing along beside a high wall, we arrived at the _Orta Kapoussi_, or
Middle Gate, which is flanked by two towers forming a _saillie_; and
close beside it the _Dgillat Odossi_, or Executioner’s Room, was pointed
out to us, where the Viziers who are condemned to death or exile are
generally arrested: hence the expression, “arrested between the two
doors.”

Above the gateway is a line of spikes, on which the forfeited heads were
exposed, to blacken in the sunshine. And here used formerly to be
exhibited the pestle and mortar with which the Muftis and Ulemas were
destroyed. Having themselves framed the laws by which the country was to
be governed, and fearing to suffer sooner or later by their own agency,
these “second Daniels” decided that their own body could not legally
suffer death either by the bowstring, the sword, the bullet, water, or
famine: thus destroying, as they believed, all power over their lives.
But there were other spirits awake as wily as their own; and the pestle
and mortar of the _Orta Kapoussi_ were adopted, in which the unhappy
wretches, taken in their own toils, were literally pounded to death!
Whether these extraordinary and revolting instruments of torture are
still in existence, I know not; but it is certain that they are no
longer exhibited as objects of curiosity.

Within the middle gate commences the splendour of the Seraï. Elaborate
gilding and curious arabesques are profusely lavished on its inner side;
whence an avenue of beeches leads to the third door, opening into the
kiosk-crowded “Garden of Delight,” wherein former Sultans were wont to
receive the European Ambassadors.

Beyond the vast and golden-latticed building formerly appropriated to
this purpose, the eye is bewildered by the confusion of many shaped and
glittering pavilions scattered about on all sides; and I, unfortunately,
had not time to examine them at my leisure; as I was requested
previously to my survey to visit one of the officers of the household,
who possessed the power of introducing me into the harem. Thither we
accordingly went; and found the courteous Effendi smoking his chibouk in
a sort of garden parlour, overlooking the enclosure in which stands the
Column of Theodosius.

[Illustration: COLUMN OF THEODOSIUS.]

As soon as we were seated, I requested permission to sketch this
interesting monument, which he at first refused from a dread of being
compromised by my entrance into the Seraï, but after a little reluctance
he complied, and I hastily availed myself of his politeness. Well was it
for me that I did so, for I had scarcely replaced my pencils, when an
attendant, breathless with haste, entered the room, exclaiming, “Hide
the lady! Hide the Franks!—The Sultan has just arrived in the second
court!”

All was instantly confusion. We made a hasty retreat by another gate;
and, passing along to the water’s edge, traced upon the mouldering walls
several inscriptions in ancient Greek. One ran thus: “Theodosius, King
by the grace of Christ;” another; “The Illustrious Theodosius, the great
King by the Grace of Christ;” while numberless crosses and
half-obliterated sentences still remain, which are beyond solution.

Altogether I brought away from the Seraï Bournou, a mere confused
impression of gilding and splendour; of domes, and kiosks, and gardens;
of lofty walls and gleaming lattices. On passing under what is called
the Gate of Constantine, the spot was pointed out to me on which a boy,
being a few months ago engaged in play with a party of children of his
own age, had dug up a brilliant, weighing between twenty eight and
thirty carats; since which period that narrow passage has also been
closed against the public. As our caïque darted past the golden gate of
the Imperial harem, I lost myself in reveries of all the guilt, and
suffering, and despair, which had made the celebrated Palace of the
Point the theme of story, and an object of undying interest to the
curious. I seemed to see the quivering body of the unfortunate
Selim—the Sardanapalus of the East—flung from the walls in mockery;
and to hear the taunt of his murderers as they cast him forth—“Traitors
and Rebels! there is your Sultan—Do with him as you will!”

This was the most recent tragedy of the Seraï Bournou, and perhaps one
of the saddest; and, as I glanced around me, and remembered how many of
his works had outlived him, I forgot my own disappointment in
commiserating the fate of a Sovereign, who, sensual and supine though he
was, yet possessed qualities both of the heart and the head, which
should have arrested the weapons of his assassins, and secured to him
the affections of his adherents.



CHAPTER XXV.


  Social Condition of the Eastern Jews—Parallel between the Jews
  of Europe and the Levant—Cruelty of the Turkish Children to
  Jews—A Singular Custom—Religious Strictness of the
  Jews—National Administration—The House of Naim Zornana of
  Galata—Costume of the Jewish Women—Hebrew Hospitality.


I never saw the curse denounced against the children of Israel more
fully brought to bear than in the East; where it may be truly said that
“their hand is against every man, and every man’s hand against
them,”—Where they are considered rather as a link between animals and
human beings, than as men possessed of the same attributes, warmed by
the same sun, chilled by the same breeze, subject to the same feelings,
and impulses, and joys, and sorrows, as their fellow mortals.

There is a subdued and spiritless expression about the Eastern Jew, of
which the comparatively tolerant European can picture to himself no
possible idea until he has looked upon it. The Israelite of Europe has a
peculiar physiognomy; a crouching, self-humbling, constrained manner;
but there is “a lurking devil in his eye,” which at once convinces you
that it is the hope of gain rather than the fear of insult, which
teaches him that over-acted subserviency of carriage. You may detect the
internal chuckle of self-gratulatory success; the stealthy glance of
calculating caution; the sudden flashing out of the spirit’s triumph, as
transitory as it is vivid. But the Jew of Turkey knows not even the poor
enjoyment of these momentary outbreaks of our common nature; “he eats
his bread in bitterness,” and comes forth from beneath his own roof-tree
with fear and trembling, to pursue his calling; and to mingle, even
unequally, in the avocations of his task-masters.

It is little to be wondered at, therefore, that the bitterness of hatred
is blent with the terror of the Jew, in his commerce with his Moslem
lords; nor that his heart burns as he treads their highways, and wanders
through their cities. But this is a secret and impotent revenge; and,
even while his spirit pours forth “curses not loud, but deep,” he only
crouches the more servilely beneath the power that crushes him, lest the
yoke should be pressed down yet more heavily, and the burthen be
doubled.

It is impossible to express the contemptuous hatred in which the
Osmanlis hold the Jewish people; and the veriest Turkish urchin who may
encounter one of the fallen nation on his path, has his meed of insult
to add to the degradation of the outcast and wandering race of Israel.
Nor dare the oppressed party revenge himself even upon this puny enemy,
whom his very name suffices to raise up against him.

I remember, on the occasion of the great festival at Kahaitchana, seeing
a Turkish boy of perhaps ten years of age, approach a group of Jewesses,
and deliberately fixing upon one whose delicate state of health should
have been her protection from insult, give her so violent a blow as to
deprive her of consciousness, and level her to the earth. As I sprang
forward to the assistance of this unfortunate, I was held back by a Turk
of my acquaintance, a man of rank, and I had hitherto believed, divested
of such painful prejudices; who bade me not agitate, or trouble myself
on the occasion, as the woman was _only a Jewess_! And of the numbers of
Turkish females who stood looking on, not one raised a hand to assist
the wretched victim of gratuitous barbarity.

Very shortly before our departure from Constantinople, my father and
myself were ascending the hill of Topphannè, on our way to Pera,
followed by a Jewish lad of sixteen or seventeen years of age, heavily
laden with linen drapery, which he was hawking for sale. About mid-way
of the rise we passed a house upon whose doorstep a party of Turkish
boys were amusing themselves; but they no sooner saw the Jew, who was
quietly pursuing his way in the centre of the street, than they
simultaneously quitted the sport with which they were engaged, and,
springing upon the poor youth, they commenced beating him, and
endeavouring to drag from his back the merchandize with which he was
laden.

The terror of the lad was frightful. The street was, as usual, so filthy
as to entail ruin upon every thing that fell to the ground; and, as he
struggled against the pain of the blows that were showered upon him on
all sides, and the efforts which were made to destroy his goods; the big
tears rolled from his eyes. But the contest was soon terminated by my
father, whose cane liberated the unfortunate Jew from his tormentors in
a very short time; and procured for himself a volley of abuse, the most
_piquante_ of which was: “See the Giaour! the Giaour who fights for the
Jew!”—a specimen of wit that appeared to be greatly relished by a
couple of grave-looking old Turks, who had been unmoved spectators of
the whole scene—the poor lad, meanwhile, like an animal which has been
beaten, and rescued by a passer-by, following crouchingly upon our
footsteps until he entered the High Street.

A common custom with both the Turks and the Greeks when they pass a
caïque on the water laden with Jews, is to raise one hand, and with
outstretched finger to count their number, which is supposed to bring
some heavy misfortune on the last of the party. The Jews, who have firm
faith in the effect of the spell, writhe with agony as they remark the
action, and never fail collectively to yell forth: “May the curse fall
back upon yourself!” After which the caïques dart onward, each upon its
own errand; the one gay with the subdued mirth of the tormentors, and
the other freighted with new and unnecessary bitterness.

The Jews of the East, like their brethren of Europe, are the people of
the country who spend their sabbath the most strictly; and who are the
most conscientious in the exercise of their religious observances, and
the most obedient to its professors. Even accustomed as they are to
habits of chicane and extortion, the Jews are seldom guilty of wilful
error in their contributions to the National Chest, for relieving the
wants of the poorer portion of their people; which is supplied from a
tax levied on the provisions consumed by each family, thus falling the
most heavily on the wealthiest of their community.

The Levantine Jews individually live in the hope, and with the
intention, of terminating their lives at Jerusalem; and, as this
speculation is an expensive one, their energies are quickened by the
necessity it entails of making a gradual provision for so extensive an
outlay; and instances have been frequent in which the father of a
family, feeling that from his advanced age and his failing powers, he
was no longer able to benefit his children by his personal exertions,
has resigned to his sons all his worldly wealth, save the sum necessary
to defray the charges of his pilgrimage; and sometimes alone, and,
sometimes accompanied by his wife, has bidden a last adieu to his
children, and departed to die in the chosen city.

In order not to be ruined by any political convulsion, or beggared by
any stretch of despotic power, the Jews have a law regulating the
division of their property into three equal proportions. One consists of
floating capital; another is secured in jewels; and the third is
retained in the coin of the country; an arrangement which proved highly
beneficial to that portion of their nation that was compelled from
ecclesiastical persecution to evacuate Portugal and Spain, at the
instigation of Torquemada and other influential members of the clergy:
and to establish themselves in Constantinople; where, through the long
series of years which has succeeded, they have retained the language of
the countries whence they were banished, with such tenacity, that most
of their women are altogether ignorant of the Turkish.

The Constantinopolitan Jews, who wear a dingy-coloured white cap,
surrounded by a cotton shawl of a small brown pattern, are raïahs, or
vassals to the Porte, and are also distinguishable by their dark purple
boots, and black slippers; while those who cover their heads with a
_calpac_, somewhat similar to that of the Greeks, but surmounted by a
scarlet rosette at the summit of the crown, are either under foreign
protection; or subjects of another country trading temporarily in the
Levant, and enjoying all the prerogatives of that portion of the
community whose costume they adopt; these invariably wear yellow boots,
and slippers similar to those of the Turks. The raïahs, as well as the
strangers, are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Rabbin; the
difference of their position acting only on their external relations,
and not being recognised by their own rulers.

The Levantine Jews formerly visited the infidelity of their women with
death; but the present Sultan has forbidden to them the exercise of so
severe a law, and the crime is now punished by exile. They marry their
sons at fifteen, and their daughters at ten years of age; and if a
father desires to chastise his child, he is obliged to obtain the
concurrence of the seven Deputy Counsellors, charged with the religious
administration of the nation; who refer the matter to the Grand Rabbin;
whose order in its turn must, ere it can be made available, receive the
sanction of the Porte. The same rule is observed with individuals
charged with any crime, save that these are imprisoned during the
deliberation.

Having expressed to a friend my desire to visit one of the principal
Jewish families, in order to see the costume of their women, of which I
had heard a great deal; he accompanied my father and myself to the house
of Naim Zornana, with whom he had held some commercial relations.
Nothing could be more miserable than the approach to his dwelling; for,
in order to reach it, we were compelled to traverse the entire length of
the Jew’s Quarter at Galata; nor did the appearance of the house itself,
as we crossed a miserable yard into which it opened, tend to give us a
very favourable idea of the establishment. The window-shutters were
swinging in the wind upon their rusty hinges; the wooden balustrade of a
dilapidated terrace, whose latticed roof was overgrown by a magnificent
vine, was mouldering to decay; the path to the house was choaked with
rubbish; and the timber of which it was built was blackened both by time
and fire.

The first flight of stairs that we ascended, together with the rooms on
the ground-floor, were quite in keeping with the exterior of the
dwelling: but when we reached the foot of the second, we appeared to
have been suddenly acted upon by magic: the steps were neatly matted,
the walls were dazzlingly white, and at the entrance of the vast _salle_
into which the several apartments opened, lay a handsome Persian carpet.
Here we were met by the females of the family, and greeted with the
lowliest of all Eastern salutations, ere we were conducted to the
scrupulously clean and handsomely arranged saloon appropriated to the
reception of visiters.

Never, during my residence in the East, had I looked on any costume
which equalled in richness, and, their head-dresses excepted, in
elegance, the dress of these Jewish females. It was a scene of the
Arabian Nights in action; and for a few moments I was lost in
admiration. The mistress of the house stood immediately in front of the
sofa on which we were seated: she was a tall stately woman, who looked
not as though she belonged to a bowed and rejected race; she had the
eagle eye, the prominent nose, and the high pale forehead of her nation,
with a glance as fiery as it was keen.

Such as I have described her, she was attired in a full dress of white
silk, confined a little above the hips by a broad girdle of wrought
gold, clasped with gems; both the girdle and the clasps being between
five and six inches in width. Above this robe, she wore a pelisse of
dove-coloured cachemire, lined and overlaid with the most costly sables,
and worth several hundred pounds; the sleeves were large and loose, and
fell back, to reveal the magnificent bracelets which encircled her arms,
and the jewelled rings that flashed upon her fingers. Her turban, of the
usual enormous size worn by all Jewish women, was formed of the painted
muslin handkerchief of the country, but so covered with gems that its
pattern was undistinguishable; while, from beneath it, a deep fringe of
pearls, dropped with emeralds of immense size and value, fell over her
brow, down each side of her face, and ultimately upon her shoulders.

Behind her were grouped her three daughters-in-law, in dresses nearly
similar, save that, not being widows, they did not wear the heavy
pelisse; and that the gold and pearl embroidered sleeves and bosoms of
their silken robes were consequently visible. The prettiest woman of the
party was her own and only daughter, who had been summoned from the
house of her husband on the previous day, to welcome the return of her
younger brother from Europe, where he had passed five years. She was
nearly fourteen, with an expression half pensive and half playful; a
something which seemed to indicate that her nature was too sad for
smiles, and yet too gay for tears; as though the young bright spirit had
been chilled and withered ere it had felt its freshness, and that it
still struggled to free itself from the thrall.

Her dress was gorgeous; the costly garniture of gold and jewels, which
almost made her boddice appear to be one mass of light, was continued to
the knee of her tunic, where it parted to form a deep hem, that entirely
surrounded the skirt of the garment. The jewelled fringe of her turban
was supported on either temple by a large spray of brilliants, and fell
upon a border of black floss silk that rested on her fair young brow.
Her arms were as white as snow, and seemed almost as dazzling as the
gems which bound them; while her slender waist was compressed by a
golden girdle similar in fashion, but richer in design, than that of her
mother.

In their girlhood, the Jewish females take great pride in the adornment
of their hair, but from the moment of their marriage it is scrupulously
hidden; so scrupulously, indeed, that they wear a second handkerchief
attached to the turban behind, which falls to the ground, in order to
conceal the roots of the hair that the turban may fail to cover.

A sweet little girl of about nine years of age, the affianced wife of
one of the brothers, was introduced, in order to show me the difference
of head-dress; and assuredly her _coiffure_ was a most elaborate affair.
She must have worn at least fifty braids, each secured at the end by a
knot of pearls and ribbon; while her little chubby hands were literally
covered with jewelled rings; and her feet, like those of the elder
females, simply thrust into richly embroidered slippers.

The courtesy and hospitality of the whole family were extreme. They
appeared delighted at the unusual circumstance of receiving Christians,
who appreciated their kindly intentions; and when I promised, in
compliance with their earnest request, that I would repeat my visit, I
had no intention to fail in the pledge.



CHAPTER XXVI.


  Hospitality of the Armenians—An Impromptu Visit—The
  Bride—Costly Costume—Turkish Taste—Kind Reception—Domestic
  Etiquette of the Schismatic Armenians—Armenian Sarafs—The
  National Characteristics.


I cannot, perhaps, give a better idea of the hospitable feeling of the
Armenians, than by relating a little adventure which happened to a
friend and myself, a few weeks previously to my departure from the East.

We left home with the intention of paying a visit to the amiable sisters
of Tingler-Oglou, at their residence on the Bosphorus; and, after a
short walk, rang at a great gate which we imagined to be that of their
grounds. The summons was immediately answered; and a lovely girl of
about sixteen having followed the servant to the gate to ascertain the
identity of the visitors, replied to our inquiry for the ladies we
sought, by an invitation to enter. Supposing, from the extreme splendour
of her dress, and the perfect ease of her manner, that she was some
relative of the family whom we had not hitherto met, we at once obeyed
her bidding, and found ourselves on a terrace overshadowed by lime
trees, on which a party of ladies, entirely unknown to us, were whiling
away the time, surrounded by a crowd of attendants.

Both the place and the persons being strange, we drew back, and
apologised for our unintentional intrusion on the privacy of the family;
when an elderly female, evidently the mistress of the house, motioned us
to seat ourselves on the cushions beside her, telling us that she had
been long desirous of making our acquaintance, and was rejoiced that her
daughter-in-law had possessed wit enough to profit by the opportunity
afforded by our mistake. Of course we availed ourselves of the courtesy;
and the more readily as we immediately discovered that we were in the
grounds of a wealthy Saraf, who was the neighbour of Tingler-Oglou; and
who had lately built the magnificent mansion which lay below the terrace
on the edge of the channel; and married the beautiful girl who stood
beside us, smiling at the success of her harmless deceit.

She was the bride of a week; and, as I had never before had an
opportunity of seeing the costume of a newly-married Armenian female, I
looked at her with considerable curiosity. Her hair, which was perfectly
black, and extremely luxuriant, hung in a number of glossy braids upon
her shoulders, being bound back from her brow by a handkerchief of gold
gauze, deeply fringed, and thickly covered with diamonds.

Between her eyebrows was affixed an ornament composed of small
brilliants, and forming the word “bride” in Armenian characters. Her
chemisette was of blue crape, fringed with silver; and her antery of
Broussa silk, worked and edged with gold, bound about her waist with a
costly cachemire. She wore trowsers of figured silk, of a pale blue;
thread stockings, and slippers of pink kid. Her rings and bracelets were
a little fortune in themselves; and, had she known how to adjust her
costume with the intuitive taste of a Turkish woman, she would have been
beautiful; but the Armenian lady is as inferior in elegance to the fair
Osmanli, as the Perote to the European. They wear the same description
of dress, and employ the same materials, but they may, nevertheless, be
distinguished at a glance, from the mere manner of its adjustment. The
one is almost a caricature of the other. I remained long enough in the
East to think the yashmac the most coquettish and becoming of all
head-dresses; but to be either the one or the other it must be arranged
by the fair fingers of a gentle Turk; for when put on as the Armenians
wear it, it is the greatest disfigurement in the world. The same may be
said of the whole of their costume. The inmate of the Turkish harem is
as willow-like and graceful as a swan—the Armenian lady, on the
contrary, overloads herself with shawls and finery; and is,
consequently, fettered in her movements.

Nothing could be more courteous than our reception by the family with
which we had become so unexpectedly acquainted. The most delicate
sweetmeats and the finest Mocha coffee were served to us by the fair
hands of the bride herself, which were deeply stained with henna; and,
as I have before remarked, blazing with jewels.

When the refreshments were removed, we made a tour of the grounds; and
were laden by our new friends with tuberoses, orange-blossom, and green
lemons. There was not a courtesy that they did not shew us; not a
flattering epithet which they did not lavish on us; and, as they led us
by the hand from terrace to terrace, they pointed out with intuitive
taste every fine point of view as it opened upon them—lingered beneath
each little garden pavilion wreathed with parasites, where the
passion-flower blossomed beside the creeping rose, and the violet
nestled at the root of the tiger lily—playfully sprinkled us with the
limpid waters of each sparkling fountain, whose marble basin looked like
a glistening lotus in the sunshine—seated us in the painted kiosks
which overhung the water—and selected for us the most tempting produce
of the orangeries.

When we at length reluctantly took our leave, the pretty bride kissed
our hands with a graceful humility, perfectly charming; and we were
followed to the gate by entreaties that we would renew our visit. To
these I replied by an invitation which was instantly accepted; and on
the morrow my room was a blaze of jewels and gold embroidery.

The etiquette of a Schismatic Armenian family is infinitely more rigid
than that observed by the Turks. With the latter, the daughter or
daughter-in-law, when in the harem, can seat herself unbidden; although
not, indeed, where she pleases, for her proper place is assigned to her,
and she is not permitted to intrude into those of her elders. But the
young Armenian wife, who may have brought to her husband the dowry of a
million of piastres, and the fair girl who is the heiress of her
father’s house, must remain meekly standing, with folded hands and
patient brow, until the lady-mother gives the gracious signal which
authorises her to occupy a corner of the sofa or the cushion.

The Armenian Catholics do not enforce so rigorously this domestic
slavery, although they also are fettered by a thousand inconvenient and
inconsequent observances. It is the Schismatics who cling jealously to
all the absurd ceremonials which render their existence as uncomfortable
as they can contrive to make it. The eldest son can smoke before his
father, it is true; but the chibouk is placed in such a position as to
be invisible to the chief of the family, the smoker being obliged to
turn his head backward to press the amber mouthpiece; and, moreover, to
select for this fleeting enjoyment the brief moments when the eyes of
his parent are averted.

The younger sons dare not produce a chibouk, nor even utter an opinion
before either of these august personages—The mother alone, among the
females of the family, has the privilege of occupying a place on the
sofa, and appropriating a share of the conversation: the younger ladies
only appear before their male relatives when they are summoned, or
compelled to intrude in the performance of some household duty. On all
other occasions they inhabit the harem, which is usually a noble
apartment most luxuriously fitted up, where they knit, embroider, or
idle, as best suits their inclination. Like the Turkish women, they are
passionately fond of flowers, and cultivate them with great assiduity;
their gardens being as remarkable for their neatness, as are the
interior of their dwellings for that extraordinary cleanliness to which
I have borne testimony elsewhere.

On the arrival of a male visiter, should any of the ladies be wandering
amid the bright blossoms in which they so much delight, the alarm is
instantly given; and they shuffle away to their pretty prison-room as
fast as their heelless slippers will enable them to move. Perhaps the
guest may be a suitor; but if so, the case is not altered one iota. The
lady still runs away, without any attempt to indulge her curiosity by a
peep at her destined lord; while the gentleman, on his side, takes his
seat in the great saloon, and, after smoking a score of pipes, and
making a thousand _teminas_ to the father or brother of his bride elect,
mounts his horse, or resumes his place in his caïque, and departs; in
full possession of all the particulars of the lady’s property; and in
contented ignorance of all that relates to her character or person.

“Will you take this woman, whether she be halt, or deaf, or humped, or
blind?” asks the priest on the bridal day, as the happy bridegroom
stands opposite to a mummy-like mass of gold threads and cachemire, with
his own monstrous calpac tricked out in the same glittering finery,
until he looks like a male Danaë; and with true stolid Armenian
philosophy he answers: “Even so I will take her.”

The European young lady associates the idea of marriage with tenderness,
and indulgence, and domestic enjoyment; emancipation from maternal
authority, and comparative personal liberty. She smiles in the stillness
of her own spirit at the fair visions of happiness that rise before her;
and there is no bitterness in the tears with which she quits the home
of her infancy. But the Armenian maiden only exchanges one tyranny for
another—she is transported to the home of a stranger, whom a priest has
told her that she is to love, and whom she has never seen—beneath the
roof-tree of a man whom, henceforward, she is bound to honour, though
her heart may loathe the mockery. To obey is her least difficult duty,
for she has been reared in obedience; but yet she cannot escape the pang
of feeling how much more easy was that blind submission to another’s
will, when it was enforced by the mother who had laid her to sleep upon
her bosom in her infancy, and on whose knee she had sported in her
girlhood; than when she is suddenly called upon to bow meekly beneath
the dictation of a new and strange task-mistress, knit to her by no tie,
save that new and unaccustomed link which has just been riveted by the
church; and by which she has become the slave not only of her husband,
but of his parents also.

Has she fortune, beauty, rank, they avail her nothing; for two long
years she must not speak before her step-mother, save to reply to some
question that may be put to her; and, should she herself become a
parent, she has yet a sterner and a more difficult task to learn; for
she cannot even fondle her infant before witnesses; but must fly and
hide herself in her own chamber when she would indulge the outpourings
of maternal love.

How melancholy a contrast does this Armenian barbarism afford to the
beautiful devotedness of every inmate of a Turkish harem to the comfort
and happiness of infancy! There it is difficult to decide which is
really the mother of the rosy, laughing, boisterous baby that is passed
from one to the other; and welcome to the heart and arms of all. The
little plump, spoilt, mischievous urchin, whose life is one long holyday
of fun and frolic; and whose few fleeting tears throw all around him
into commotion. An infant is common property in a Turkish harem—a toy
and a treasure alike to each; whether it be the child of the stately
Hanoum whose will is law, or of the slave whose duty is obedience; and,
it is certain that, if children could really be “killed with kindness,”
the Ottoman Empire, in as far as the Turks themselves are concerned,
would soon be a waste.

There can, I think, be no doubt that the life of cold, monotonous,
heart-shutting ceremony led by the Armenians among themselves, has been
in a great degree the cause of the stolidity of character with which I
have elsewhere reproached them. It would, perhaps, be difficult to find
a finer race of men in the world, as far as their personal appearance is
concerned: while it is certain that no where could they be exceeded in
mental, or I should rather say, moral inertness. In all affairs of
commerce, where the subject may be reduced by rule, and decided by
calculation, they are competent alike to undertake and to comprehend it:
but once endeavour to while them beyond the charmed circle of their
money-bags; to detach their thoughts for a moment from their piastres;
and they cannot utter three consecutive sentences to which it is not a
waste of time to listen.

That they are a most valuable portion of the population admits of no
dispute; their steady commercial habits, their unquestioning submission
to “the powers that be;” their plodding, unambitious natures, fit them
admirably for their position in Turkey. Had they more mental energy,
more self-appreciation, and more moral development, they could not
continue to be the tame listless imitators, and idolaters of their
masters that they now are.

The Armenian holds the same position among the bipeds of the East as the
buffalo among the quadrupeds. He bears his load, and performs his task
with docility, without appearing conscious that he can be capable of any
thing beyond this; and, even the Sarafs, or Bankers to the Pashas, a
class of men in whom I expected to encounter, at least occasionally, an
individual of general acquirements and information, as far as my own
experience went, scarcely formed an exception to the rule. I knew many
among them who were exceedingly amiable, and possessed of great
shrewdness, but it was all professional subtlety; it extended not beyond
the objects on which their personal interests were hinged. Not one in a
score can speak five words of any European language, or be induced to
exhibit the slightest wish to acquire one. In a word, I should say that
the Armenians, as a nation, were worthy, well-meaning, and useful, but
extremely uninteresting members of society; possessing neither the
energy of the Greek, nor the strength of character so conspicuous in the
Osmanli—A money-making, money-loving people, having a proper regard for
the “purple and fine linen” of the world; and quite satisfied to bear
the double yoke of the Sultan and the Priesthood.



CHAPTER XXVII.


  Season-Changes at Constantinople—Twilight—The Palace
  Garden—Mariaritza, the Athenian—A Love-tale by Moonlight—The
  Greek Girl’s Song—The Palace of Beglierbey—Interior
  Decorations—The Bath—The Terraces—The Lake of the Swans—The
  Air Bath—The Emperor’s Vase—The Gilded Kiosk—A
  Disappointment.


We had landed at Constantinople amid the snows of winter: we had danced
through the Carnival at the Palaces of Pera: seen the early primroses
spring in the Valley of the Sweet Waters, and the first violets blossom
among the tombs in the Cemetery of Eyoub. We had hailed the brightening
summer as it wrote its approach with flowery fingers amid the bursting
roses of the terrace-gardens, whispered its gentle promises in the low
murmuring breezes which curled lovingly the clear ripple of the
Bosphorus, and made mystic music among the leafy plane-trees. We had
glided over that ripple by moonlight in a fairy-bark, whose golden
glitter flashed back the sweet light that touched it, and whose
broad-bladed oars flung the light spray from them at every stroke, like
mimic stars.

We had dropped down with the tide under the “hill of the thousand
nightingales,” when they made night vocal with their melody. I shall
never forget that hour! It was in the very heart of summer, and, in the
West the twilight lingers lovingly upon the earth, as though it were
loath to leave a scene of so much beauty: and, in the dim light the
wanderer, who moves slowly among the sights and scents of the most
luxurious of seasons, may see the chalices of the reviving flowers
opening to receive the dew-offering poured forth as if in homage to
their beauty; and the tinted lip of every orient blossom uplifted to the
grateful touch of the tears of night.—It was at the last hour of
daylight; but, in the East, the Giant Darkness overshadows the earth
only for an instant in his approach, ere he lays his sable hand on the
landscape, and effaces its outline.

I had been passing the day in one of the Palaces that skirt the channel.
It was a season of festivity, and my father and myself had shared, with
about fifty other guests, the princely hospitality of its owner; we had
met early, and, after many hours of excitement and exertion, I felt that
craving for mental repose always the most imperative after a lapse of
time in which the spirit has been more taxed than the physical strength.

From the supper-room I accordingly strolled into the garden. Daylight
was just looking its last over the waters; and already the shadows of
the Asian hills were looming long upon their surface. I turned
listlessly from the broad path which, overhung with trellised roses,
divided the parterre almost in the centre; and, striking into a screened
way hedged on either side by a deep belt of evergreens and flowering
shrubs, retreated with a rapid step from the immediate neighbourhood of
the illuminated saloons that gave upon the garden; and from whose open
casements the light laughter and mirthful tones of the guests rang
through the evening air. A slight dew was already falling, and the
blossoming trees among which I passed were giving out a cool fresh scent
as the moisture touched them;—an occasional tuft of violets nestling at
their roots flung a rich perfume to the sky; and the faint odour of the
far-off orangery which was already invisible in the fading light, came
occasionally on the breeze like a gush of incense wafted by the hand of
Nature in homage to her God.

Another breath! and down came the darkness, above and about me. The
stern mountains were faintly pencilled against the horizon—the breeze
sighed through the blossom-laden branches as though it mourned the loss
of the daylight; and conjured, as it seemed, by that soft sound, up
sprang a single star into the Heavens—clear, full, and glittering as
though it had been formed of one pure and perfect diamond; and was
reflected back from the calm bosom of the Bosphorus, in bright but
tempered brilliancy.

It was a moment of enchantment! And as my eye became accustomed to the
sudden gloom, the whole horizon appeared changed. It was not blackness
that veiled the sky; night wore no sables; but a far-spreading vestment
of deep dense blue, without a vapour to dim its intensity—And slowly,
beautifully, into this empurpled vault, rose the soft moon, whose silver
circle was almost perfect; casting, as she clombe her mysterious path, a
long line of light across the channel which glittered like liquid gems.

I was still gazing on this glorious spectacle, motionless, and almost
breathless, when I was startled by a deep sigh so near me that I
involuntarily started back a pace or two; but, recovering myself on the
instant, I looked earnestly in the direction whence it had appeared to
come; and, detecting amid the branches the glimmer of a white drapery, I
approached the spot, and found myself standing beside a dark-eyed girl,
who, seated on a broken column under the overarching boughs of a
magnificent cedar tree, was plucking to pieces a branch of
orange-blossom which she had torn from her brow.

She was dressed in deep mourning, but over her head she had flung the
long loose veil of soft white muslin common to her countrywomen—for
Mariaritza was a Greek—I scarcely know how to describe her, and I quite
despair of making my portrait a likeness, for her’s was not a face that
words can mirror faithfully. I had heard much of her before we met—much
which had excited alike my curiosity and my interest; and, although
since our acquaintance had commenced, that interest had grown almost
into affection, my curiosity still remained ungratified. She must have
been about two and twenty; her stature was low, and her complexion
swarthy; she was limbed like an Antelope; and her coal black hair was
braided smoothly across a brow as haughty as that of an Empress. I am
not quite sure that she had a good feature in her face, except her eyes;
although there have been moments when I have thought her not only
handsome, but even radiantly beautiful—And her eyes—they can be
described like those of no other person—you could not look into them
for a moment without feeling that you were thralled. They were as black
as midnight; long, and peculiarly-shaped, set deeply into the head, and
somewhat closer together than is usual.

But all this is commonplace. It was not the form and fashion of
Mariaritza’s eyes which made them so singular—it was their
extraordinary and contradictory expression—I have seen them soft and
liquid as those of infancy; and, an instant afterwards, almost fierce in
their blinding brightness.

As I reached her side she looked up, and the flash of blended ire and
bitterness was in those dark wild eyes, as she exclaimed, without
changing her position: “Ha! Is it indeed you who are cheating yourself
into a belief that you can love the silent night better than the
laughter and the flatteries of yonder empty-hearted fools?” and she
jerked her veiled head impatiently in the direction of the Palace: “You,
the courted, and the caressed; whom they idolise and worship because you
can record them and their’s, and make them subject for song and story in
your own far-off land? Go, go—The night air may chill you—It is not
for such as you to be abroad when the dew is on the earth.”

I saw that the dark mood was on her. I had known her thus more than
once; and I only answered by drawing a part of her long veil over my own
head, and sitting down on the earth beside her.

“Nay, if you will really forsake them awhile for _my_ companionship,”
she murmured, while the moonlight that streamed upon her face was not
more soft than the gaze which met mine as I looked up at her: “let us
free ourselves for a while from all risk of intrusion—I have been in
the lime-avenue, but I had well nigh intruded on a love-tale; and when I
would fain have taken refuge in the ruined temple, and found it tenanted
by a Saraf and his pipe-bearer——”

“And I”—and as I spoke I raised her hand playfully to my lips; “I am to
chace you hence?”

“You shall, if you so will it;” said Mariaritza: “and if you will trust
yourself with me for a couple of hours——”

“Any where—everywhere——”

The young Greek answered only by rising, and moving hastily towards the
house. In a moment I heard the clapping of her small hands; and in five
minutes more her caïque awaited us at the terrace-gate which opened on
the channel.

“The sternmost caïquejhe is deaf;” whispered Mariaritza; as we
established ourselves on the yielding cushions at the bottom of the
arrow-like boat, and wrapped the furred pelisses with which it was
profusely supplied carefully about us—“we have but to converse in a low
voice, and we shall be safe, even although we should whisper treason of
Mahmoud himself!”

I answered with a similar jest; and we darted out into the centre of the
channel, and on until we glided beneath the Asian shore. No! I shall
never forget that night—and could I impart to my readers the tale to
which I listened from that passionate Greek girl, in a flood of
moonlight, and to the music of the myriad nightingales, as we crept
along under the shadows of the mighty hills, I might spare the
asseveration. That night I heard all her secret; and from that hour I
loved her!

Mariaritza was an Athenian; proud of her unsullied descent, and of the
loved land of her birth. She was on a visit to a rich relative at
Constantinople; but she sighed for Greece as the captive sighs for
liberty; and the rather that a wealthy suitor had presented himself,
whom her friends persecuted her to receive.

“Did they know what is hidden _here_!” she exclaimed, as she alluded to
this new lover, pressing her small hand over her heart while she spoke;
“Could they guess the tale which I have confided to no ear save
your’s—But you are weeping—your tears are bright in the moonlight—GOD
forgive me! but I did not think that you knew how to weep.”

“Mariaritza!” I whispered reproachfully.

“Pardon! pardon!” murmured the wayward girl, winding her arm about my
neck; “Our Lady have mercy on me! It is my fate ever to pain those I
love. But I will talk of myself no more—Let us speak of Greece—my own
beautiful Greece!—or, listen—I will sing to you a song that I ought
long to have forgotten, for _he_ wrote it—Did I tell you that he, too,
was an Athenian?”

And without waiting for a reply, she warbled to a plaintive melody some
Greek stanzas, of which the following is a free translation:


  THE GREEK GIRL’S SONG.

    My own bright Greece! My sunny land!
      Nurse of the brave and free!
    How bound the chords beneath my hand
      Whene’er I sing of thee—
  The myrtle branches wave above my brow,
  And glorious memories throng around me now!

    Thy very name was once a spell,—
      A watchword in the earth—
    With thee the Arts first deigned to dwell—
      And o’er thy gentle hearth
  The social spirit spread her gleaming wings;
  And made it the glad home of pure and lovely things.

    The snowy marble sprang to life
      ’Neath thy Promethean touch;
    The breeze with sunny song was rife:
      (Where now awakens such?)
  All that was brightest, best, with thee was found,
  And thy sons trod in pride thy classic ground.

    The burning eloquence which dips
      Its torch in living fire,
    Flowed, like a lava-tide, from lips
      That, from the funeral-pyre
  Of by-past ages plucked a burning brand,
  To shed new light o’er thee, thou bright and glorious land.

    They tell me thou art nothing now—
      I spurn the unholy thought!
    The beam is yet upon thy brow
      Which erst from Heaven it caught—
  Let then the baneful, blighting mockery cease!
  Still art thou beautiful, my own fair Greece!

    Firm hearts and glowing souls remain
      To love thee, glorious one!
    And though no hand may clasp again
      Thy once celestial zone,
  Better to worship at thy ruined shrine,
  Than bend the knee at one less proud and pure than thine!

But the wild-eyed Mariaritza has betrayed me into a digression in which
I thought not to indulge when I commenced this chapter; and I must lead
back my reader to the opening sentences, wherein I was noting the sweet
season-changes that we had witnessed in the East. The summer, with its
luxury of leaves and flowers, had passed away; and we saw the bright
green of the Asian woods grow into gold beneath the touch of autumn. Our
days of pilgrimage were numbered; and Stamboul, with its mosques and its
minarets, its domes and its palaces, was soon to be only a gorgeous
memory.

Already had we said our farewell to many a fond and valued friend,
never, probably, to be looked upon again in life; and as we wandered
amid scenes and sights to which we had become familiarised, we felt
that indescribable sadness with which an object is ever contemplated for
the last time. The heart may have been wrung, the spirit may have been
pained, during a foreign sojourn; deep shadows may have fallen over the
landscape; but there must ever be sunny spots on which the memory
lingers, and to which the affections cling.

The freshness had passed away from the Valley of the Sweet Waters, and
the turf had withered beneath a scorching sun; yet to me it was still
beautiful. The sparkling Barbyses was shrunken to a silver thread; but
in my mind’s eye I yet saw it filling its graceful channel, and gliding
like a snake through the silent glen. The cemetery of Eyoub was
glorious! The lordly trees which overhang the tombs were rainbow-like in
their tints; and the gilded head-stones appeared to be over-canopied by
living gems.

Every hour passed in the solemn Necropolis of Scutari was a distinct
mine of thought—Its deep, dense shadows, its voiceless solitude, its
melancholy sublimity—all remained as I had first felt them—The seasons
effect no change on this City of the Dead—The long dim avenues of
cypress put on no summer livery to flaunt in the garish sunshine—amid
the snows of winter, and the skies of spring, they wear the same dark
hues—the autumnal beams shed no golden tints over their dusky foliage;
nor do the summer heats betray them into blossoming. The grave-tree,
nourished by the mouldering remnants of mortality, dank with the
exhalations of the tombs, and rooted in a soil fed with corruption,
drinks not the dews, and revels not in the day-beam, like the changeful
child of the sunshine, which flings its leafy and light-loving branches
over a painted kiosk, or a marble fountain—It is dark and silent, as
the dead above whom it springs; and the wind moans more sadly among its
boughs, than when it sweeps through the leaves of the summer woods.

The very streets, narrow, difficult, and even plague-teeming as they
were, acquired a new interest when we remembered that in a few weeks we
should tread them no more. The columns of the Atmeidan—the “Tree of
Groans” beside the mosque of Sultan Achmet—the gorgeous Fountain of
Topphannè—each claimed a longer look than heretofore, as we felt that
it was the last.

These were our chosen haunts; and the steam-vessel that was to convey us
to the Danube, by which route we had decided on returning to England,
already lay in the port, when an Officer of the Imperial Household bore
to us the gracious permission of the Sultan to visit his palaces;
coupled with the injunction that we were to be unaccompanied by any
other Frank. Not a moment was to be lost! We had not a week to remain
in the country; and we accordingly appointed the morrow for crossing to
the gilded summer Palace of Beglierbey.

Our caïque was at the pier of Yeni-keuy at ten o’clock; and we shot
athwart the channel which was steeped in sunshine, like wild birds. At
the marble gate we were met by the courteous individual who was to act
as our guide through the saloons of the Sultan; and, having made our bow
to the Kiara, who was also awaiting us, we stepped across the threshold,
followed by the gaze of the astonished guard; and skirting the
rainbow-like garden, we passed along the line of gilt lattices which
veil the seaward boundary of the pleasure-grounds; and entered the hall.

The first glance of the interior is not imposing. The double staircase,
sweeping crescent-wise through the center of the entrance, contracts its
extent so much as to give it the appearance of being insignificant in
its proportions; an effect which is, moreover, considerably heightened
by the elaborated ornaments of the carved and gilded balustrades and
pillars. But such is far from being the case in reality; as, from this
outer apartment, with its flooring of inlaid woods, arabesqued ceiling,
and numerous casements, open no less than eight spacious saloons,
appropriated to the Imperial Household.

Above this suite are situated the State Apartments; gorgeous with
gilding, and richly furnished with every luxury peculiar alike to the
East and to the West. The Turkish divans of brocade and embroidered
velvet are relieved by sofas and lounges of European fashion—bijouterie
from Geneva—porcelain from Sèvres—marbles from Italy—gems from
Pompeii—Persian carpets—English hangings—and, in the principal
saloons, six of the most magnificent, if not actually _the_ six _most_
magnificent, pier glasses in the world; a present to the Sultan from the
Emperor of Russia, after the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi.

Upwards of twelve feet in height, and about six feet in width, of one
single plate, and enclosed in a deep frame of silver gilt, bearing the
united arms of the two empires; these costly glasses reflect in every
direction the ornaments of the apartment; and produce an effect almost
magical. While the highly elaborated ceiling, richly ornamented with
delicate wreaths of flowers; and the bright-patterned carpet covering
the floor, combine to fling over the vast saloon an atmosphere of light
and gladness, which is increased by the dazzling glories of the parterre
spread out beneath the windows; with its flashing fountain, golden
orangery, and long line of gleaming lattices.

The Reception-Room is small, and remarkable only for the
comfortably-cushioned divan on which the Sultan receives his visitors;
and the noble view that it commands of the channel, from the Seraglio
Point to the Castle of Mahomet.

The Banquetting Hall is entirely lined with inlaid woods of rare and
beautiful kinds finely mosaiced; the ceiling and the floor being alike
enriched with a deep garland of grapes and vine-leaves, flung over
groups of pine-apples of exquisite workmanship.

Hence, a long gallery conducted us to the private apartments of the
Sultan; and on every side were graceful fountains of white marble, whose
flashing waters fell with a musical sound into their sculptured basins.
In one, the stream trickled from a plume of feathers wrought in
alabaster; and so delicately worked that they almost appeared to bend
beneath the weight of the sparkling drops—in another, the stream gushed
forth, overflowing a lotus-flower, upon whose lip sported a group of
Cupids. The private apartments, which separated the harem from the state
wing of the Palace, were the very embodiment of luxurious comfort; two
of them were lined with wicker-work painted cream colour; the prettiest
possible idea, executed in the best possible style.

The harem was, of course, a sealed book; for, as the ladies of the
Sultan’s household have never been allowed to indulge their curiosity
by a survey of that portion of the Palace appropriated to Mahmoud
himself, it can scarcely be expected that any intruder should be
admitted beyond the jealously-barred door forming their own boundary.

The Bath was beautiful. As we passed the crimson door with its
crescent-shaped cornice, we entered a small hall in which two swans, the
size of life, and wrought in pure white marble, were pouring forth the
water that supplies the cold stream necessary to the bathers. The
cooling-room was richly hung with embroidered draperies; and the mirror
was surmounted by the Ottoman arms wrought in gold and enamel. The Bath
itself realized a vision of the Arabian Nights, with its soft, dreamy
twilight, its pure and glittering whiteness, and its exquisitely
imagined fountains—and the subdued effect of our voices, dying away in
indistinct murmurs in the distance, served to heighten the illusion.

Altogether, the Summer Palace of Sultan Mahmoud is as fair within, as
without; and I have already said that it is the most elegant edifice on
the Bosphorus.

The gardens, which rise to the summit of the steep height immediately
behind the Seraï, are formed into terraces, each being under the
direction of a foreign gardener, and laid out in the fashion of his own
land. Thus there are a Spanish, an Italian, an English, a German, and a
French garden. The deepest terrace is occupied by a fine sheet of water,
called the Lake of the Swans, on which about thirty of these graceful
birds, the Sultan’s peculiar favourites, were disporting themselves in
the clear sunshine. Weeping willows, and other graceful trees, were
mirrored in its calm bosom, and a couple of gaily-painted pleasure-boats
were moored under the shadow of a magnificent magnolia.

About fifty yards from the water, stands a graceful edifice of white
marble denominated the “Air Bath;” in which his Sublime Highness passes
many a delicious hour during the summer heats. The saloon is paved,
roofed, and lined with marble; and exquisitely imagined fountains fling
their waters from the lotus leaves that are carved on the cornice of the
apartment, through a succession of ocean-shells, fantastically grouped,
and delicately chiselled, which divide the stream into a hundred slender
threads, and ultimately pour their volume into the basins, whence it
escapes to the lake without, keeping up a continual current of cool air,
and murmur of sweet sound, which produce an effect almost magical. In
the centre of this saloon, whence several inferior apartments branch off
on either side, stands a magnificent vase of verd-antique, about eight
feet in height; a present to the Sultan from the Emperor Nicholas.

The hill is crowned by a gilded kiosk, glittering among cypresses and
plane trees; and the whole establishment is more like a fairy creation,
than the result of human invention and labour.

On the morrow, we decided on paying another visit to the Seraï Bournou;
as the following day was that fixed for our departure. But alas! when
that morrow came, we had reason to congratulate ourselves on having
already penetrated beyond the “Golden Gate;” for the waves of the
channel were running mountain high, and the opposite coast was lost in a
dense vapour of sleet and rain. The disappointment was extreme; but, as
there was no alternative, we were compelled to submit. For once “our
star was bankrupt;” and we were fain to console ourselves with the
reflection that our last day in Asia had been so worthily spent.



CHAPTER XXVIII.


  The Bosphorus in Mist—The Ferdinando Primo—Embarkation—Tardy
  Passengers—The Black Sea—The Turkish Woman—Varna—Visit to
  the Pasha—Rustem Bey—Mustapha Najib Pasha—Turkish
  Gallantry—The Lines—Sunset Landscape—Bulgarian
  Colonies—Discomforts of a Deck Passage.


I never beheld the Bosphorus to less advantage than on the morning of
our departure from Constantinople; for, as if to lessen our regrets on
leaving it, its shores were concealed by mists formed of small light
rain, which effectually veiled their beauty. As cloud after cloud rolled
by, each succeeded by a denser and darker vapour than its predecessor,
we lost sight of every accustomed object; and, though I flung back the
casement, and turned “a last, long, lingering look” along the channel, I
was unable to distinguish even the most prominent points of view.

The steam vessel _Ferdinando Primo_, in which we had secured our
passage, was to arrive at Yenikeuÿ at mid-day; and we spent the earlier
hours of the morning with some Greek friends whose summer residence
overhung the stream; and from whose windows we had hitherto been enabled
to see the fairy-like Palace of Beglierbey, and the hill-seated Castle
of Mahomet. But, alas! for our parting associations—the gilded glories
of the Imperial Seraï, and the ancient towers of the Prophet’s Fortress,
were alike invisible; despite the glitter of the one, and the whitewash
which had recently been profusely and provokingly lavished on the
time-tinted walls of the other.

Onward crept the mist as the day advanced; and at length the opposite
shore became veiled by a vapour so dense that even the little village of
Sultanïè, immediately facing the terrace, disappeared; and nothing was
distinguishable through the darkness save the foamy crests of the waves,
as they were driven onward by the force of the current; and the white
gleam of the seagull’s extended wings, as he dipped his bosom for an
instant in the troubled waters, and then rose, with a wild cry, into the
murky atmosphere.

It was an hour of tears; and I am not quite sure whether at the moment I
repined that no garish sun shone forth to mock them; while I am
nevertheless certain that a more comfortless sensation never oppressed
me, than that with which I contemplated the approach of the vessel
through the turbid waves; her column of sable smoke lending a deeper
tint to the angry clouds; and her prow dashing aside the current in
streaks of foam. As she lay-to in front of the house, we hurried into
the caïque that was already freighted with our luggage; turned a last
look towards the kind ones who thronged the terrace in despite of the
fast-falling rain; and pushed out into the channel.

When we reached the packet, we were miserably wet, and had to despatch
our cloaks, shawls, and coats to the engine-room to dry; while our
trunks and portmanteaux were lifted dripping upon the deck, giving the
last touch of discomfort to our embarkation for a long and tedious
voyage. In one respect I was, however, fortunate; as, from being the
only lady on board, (and, indeed, the first who had yet undertaken the
passage) I found myself in possession of a commodious and comfortably
arranged cabin; well fitted with every requisite for lessening the
inconvenience of ship-board.

In twenty minutes we were off Therapia; and in ten more we entered the
Bay of Buyukdèrè. By the time we reached this point, the fog had
deepened so much as to render it uncertain whether we should be enabled
to leave the Bosphorus until the following morning; a resolution to
which the Russian steamer, the Nicholas I., had already come the more
readily, as she had on board the mother and sister of Madame de
Boutinieff, who were not anxious to tempt the perils of the Black Sea
at so unpropitious a moment. Mr. Ellis, our late Ambassador in Persia,
was also among her passengers; and, like the ladies, he was quietly
preparing for a comfortable dinner at the Russian Palace.

As we lay alongside, these tidings were communicated by the Captain of
the Nicholas, who naturally endeavoured to induce our own to follow his
example, and remain in the bay until daylight; but the Commander of the
Ferdinand had too much energy to yield to the suggestion; and at seven
o’clock in the evening, the weather having somewhat moderated, he
summoned on board one of his passengers who had delayed his embarkation
until the last moment, and set the steam on; when away we went to the
great chagrin of the rival establishment: leaving behind us two or three
of the deck passengers who had failed to pay attention to the signals
which were made to announce to them our instant departure.

Our party was a pleasant one. We had a Prussian Baron, tall, serious,
and highly-bred; a German noble, gay, voluble, and _tant soit peu
gourmand_; a Colonel of the Coldstream Guards; an Hungarian Cavalier,
holding a distinguished rank in the Austrian service; a Russian-Greek
Artist, bound on a tour of Italy, and full of enthusiasm both for
himself and his art; the Captain of the Levant Steam-boat, on a survey
of the Danube Navigation; my father, and myself. The deck was crowded
with Turks, Greeks, and Jews; and among the rest by some poor old
Turkish women on their way to Varna; and a couple of pretty young Greek
girls bound for Galatz.

All went on tolerably well until a couple of hours had elapsed, when one
by one all the party began to disappear. The rude billows of the Black
Sea replaced the comparatively smooth channel of the Bosphorus,—the
light-houses of Fanaraki loomed through the fog,—we were fairly “at
sea,”—and the spray began to fall in showers over the paddle-boxes,
inundating all the shivering Orientals who had spread their mats and
mattresses on that part of the deck.

I never beheld a more perfect picture of wretchedness than one old
Turkish woman, who, having resisted all the kindly attempts of the
Captain to induce her to change her position, and having been fairly
soaked through by a succession of the heavy seas which we were
constantly shipping, at length permitted herself to be removed, and led
aft to the tiller; where she instantly buried herself among the folds of
the wet awning that had been flung there out of the way, and resigned
herself to her misery.

[Illustration: Miss Pardoe del.

Day & Haghe Lith^{rs}. to the King.

 NEAR FANARAKI IN ASIA.

_Henry Colburn, 13 G^t. Marlborough S^t. 1837._]

What a night we passed! I thought that it would never end; and what
rueful faces I encountered in the morning, when with some difficulty,
and a great deal of assistance I dragged myself on deck! The wind was
directly in our teeth; and as the vessel rolled from side to side, we
continued to suffer direfully from the violence of the motion. It was an
unspeakable relief when, at half past four in the afternoon, we anchored
off Varna, where we were to land three hundred bags of coffee; and where
Colonel H——, Captain F——, my father, and myself accompanied the
Captain of the Ferdinand on shore, to pay a visit to the Pasha.

The surf was breaking so violently against the pier that we were for a
few moments undecided as to the most eligible spot on which to
land,—nor was it without difficulty that we ultimately effected our
purpose; and almost immediately on entering the main street of the town,
we encountered Rustem Bey, the Commandant, a fine, intelligent young
Italian Officer in the service of the Porte, who speaks several European
languages, as well as the Turkish, most fluently; and who would ere this
have been created a Pasha, could he have been induced to embrace
Islamism.

The answer that he is reported to have made when the terms of his
promotion were explained to him, is worthy of record; “I feel all the
honour which I refuse; but I am nevertheless compelled to forego it—I
can dispose of my services, but I am not at liberty to sell my
conscience.”

Under his guidance we traversed the town, and passed the ruined
citadel, on our way to the Palace of Mustapha Najib Pasha, the present
governor; who was removed from his post at Tripoli, in order to take
possession of this important charge. The Palace is a handsome and
somewhat extensive modern building, commanding, from one of its fronts,
an excellent view of the fortifications; and separated only by a high
wall from the barracks, which are capable of accommodating several
thousand men.

With an extent of courtesy unusual in the East, Najib Pasha received us
standing; and welcomed us with the cordial _Bouroum_, as he motioned us
to the sofa on which he had himself been sitting. He is a remarkably
animated looking man of about five and forty, with a quick eye, and a
most agreeable smile. He was surrounded by papers; and beside the
chibouk that he had been smoking, lay a small model for mounting guns
upon their carriages.

The most costly pipes were introduced for the gentlemen, and offered to
myself; and the procession of “blue-coated serving men” was quite
amusing, as they entered with the long chibouk in one hand, and in the
other the little brass dish, in which, as they knelt, they deposited the
bowl of the pipe. Coffee succeeded, and was replaced by raisin sherbet;
and as we shortly afterwards expressed our desire to see the
fortifications, we were instantly offered horses to enable us to ride
round the lines. The gentlemen were thus provided for at once; but, as
I was not prepared for such an excursion, I was about to resign myself
to what I considered an inevitable disappointment, when the Pasha
courteously expressed his regret that he could not provide me with an
European saddle; and begged me to accept his carriage as a substitute. I
gladly availed myself of his kindness; and while the equipage was
preparing, listened with as much surprise as interest to the
conversation with which he beguiled the time. Among other things, he
mentioned his extreme disappointment at the non-receipt from Europe of
some able works on fortification that he had been long expecting; and
expressed his earnest desire to possess models of all the new inventions
tending to perfect the works upon which he was engaged. He inquired
whether he could offer to us any thing that would be acceptable on
board; and even enumerated milk, fruits, and sweetmeats, which he
pressed upon us with an earnestness perfectly demonstrative of his
sincerity.

On our rising to take leave, he said that he should expect us back to
dinner, and that he would cause it to be prepared against our return;
and he appeared much hurt at our assurance of the impossibility of our
availing ourselves of his hospitality. As we were preparing to make our
parting salutation, he left the room, and moved forward to the head of
the stairs; where he saluted us individually as we passed him, in the
kindest and most gracious manner, wishing us a fortunate voyage, and
assuring us of the pleasure that he had derived from our visit.

A troop of servants followed us to the door; where we found the
_kavashlir_ of the Pasha stationed on either side the entrance to do us
honour. But a still more agreeable object was the German Britscha drawn
by four gray Tatar horses, which was awaiting me at the Palace gate. The
carriage held forth such goodly promise, that Colonel H—— and Rustem
Bey only were firm in their original purpose of riding round the lines;
the rest of the party immediately being of opinion that they should
prefer a drive. Nor had they any reason to repent the arrangement, for
the spirited little Tatars carried us along at a surprising pace over
all the rough and uneven ground, and through all the ditches of the
neighbourhood, as though they had been cantering across a bowling-green.
The fortifications are proceeding rapidly, and most creditably; five
thousand men are constantly employed on the works, and the number is
occasionally doubled.

As the evening was closing in ere we regained the town, the scene was
extremely singular. The huts of the Bulgarian labourers, built of
branches, and huddled together in clusters, were revealed by the
camp-fires that blazed up among them, and revealed the flitting figures
of those who were engaged in the culinary preparations of the little
colonies to which they belonged; while the appearance of the carriage
drew to the entrances of their primitive dwellings all the unoccupied
inhabitants of the temporary village.

Upon its outskirts herds of cattle were to be seen, slowly returning
from their mountain pastures to the vicinity of the town; and driven by
ragged urchins, with sheepskin caps and gaiters. The sun, meanwhile, was
setting gloriously; and the outline of the fortifications cut darkly
against a background of orange and crimson clouds, that stretched far
along the west, and were pillowed upon two dark and stately mountains.
Altogether the scene was one of enchantment; and I believe that there
was not an individual of the party who did not regret the necessity of
exchanging it for the “floating prison” that awaited us on the Euxine:
and which we regained under a heavy swell that rendered our passage from
the shore the very reverse of agreeable.

During our visit, the deck of the Ferdinand had been nearly cleared of
its passengers; and the poor old Turkish woman whom I have already
mentioned, had, with some difficulty, crawled forth from her awning,
shivering with cold, and looking the very picture of wretchedness. I
had endeavoured in vain during the day to induce her to bathe her hands
and feet with brandy; for she no sooner smelt it than she put it from
her, exclaiming, “Sin—sin;” nor could I prevail on her to follow my
advice. The only thing that she would receive was a cup of coffee, and
on that she seized as a famishing man would have clutched food. It was
really a relief to me when I saw her safely embarked on board the boat
which was to land her at Varna.

On our departure from Buyukdèrè, we had been half amused and half
annoyed by the efforts of a young Turkish officer, to appear unconcerned
at the rough treatment that we were experiencing from the tempest-chafed
waves of the Black Sea. He sang, he shouted, he tossed his arms above
his head, and yelled forth his _Mashallahs_ at every roll of the vessel;
but ere we had been tossing about many hours, the exulting tones died
away in a querulous treble, which announced that his exultation was
destined to be short-lived; and on the morrow I remarked that he walked
the deck with a step as tremulous as that of a lady; and was one of the
first to make his escape on shore.

The two little Greek girls who were bound for Galatz were still lying
upon the deck, rolled in their fur pelisses: in that state of hopeless
and resigned misery which is the last stage of seanausea; and when we
retired for the night their young brother was sitting beside them, with
a pale cheek and heavy eyes, as though he, too, had not escaped a
portion of their suffering.



CHAPTER XXIX.


  The Danube—Cossack Guard—Moldavian
  Musquitoes—Tultzin—Galatz—Plague-Conductors—Prussian
  Officer—Excursion to Silistria—Amateur Boatmen—Wretched
  Hamlet—The Lame Baron—The Salute—Silistrian Peasants—A
  Pic-Nic in the Wilds—The Tortoise—Canoes of the Danube—The
  Moldavian State-Barge—Picturesque Boatmen—The Water
  Party—Painful Politeness—Visit of the Hospodar—Suite of His
  Highness—Princely Panic—The Pannonia.


At three o’clock on the following day, we entered the Ghiurchevi mouth
of the Danube, which is only two hundred fathoms in width; and extremely
difficult of access for sailing vessels. The shores at this opening are
low, marshy, and treeless, presenting as desolate an appearance as can
well be conceived; and are only relieved at intervals of about a mile,
by the rude mud huts of the _cordon sanitaire_ of Cossacks, placed along
the Moldavian coast to enforce the quarantaine. The appearance of these
reed-roofed hovels was beyond expression wretched; and the long lances
of the guard, stuck into the earth along the front of the tenement, and
the apparition of a mounted Cossack appearing and disappearing among the
tall reeds which were the solitary produce of the land, were almost
requisite to convince us that they could really be the habitations of
human beings.

Beside many of these hovels an extraordinary erection attracted our
attention; it consisted of four tall wooden stakes driven into the
ground, and supporting, at about the height of eight feet from the
earth, a small platform of wicker-work, thatched in some two feet
higher; which we ascertained were constructed as sleeping-places,
wherein the unhappy dwellers in the Moldavian marshes took refuge
against the clouds of musquitoes that infest the Danube; and which,
being of immense size, inflict a sting that is far from contemptible.
Fortunately for their human victims, these voracious insects fly low,
never trusting themselves to the current of wind that, as it sweeps
along, might overcome their strength of wing; and thus this solitary
medium of escape from their virulence is adopted all along the river.

At ten o’clock at night, we arrived off Tultzin, where we remained only
an hour; and then profited by the moonlight to pursue our voyage to
Galatz, which we reached at five in the morning, and anchored beside the
Quarantaine ground; a small space railed off for the exclusive use of
the steam company, and separated from the road leading into the town by
a double palisading of wood about breast-high.

Here commenced our land miseries! We were looked upon as a society of
plague-conductors, and treated accordingly. Parties of the Galatzians
collected along the outer fence to contemplate the infected ones whose
contact they dreaded; and meanwhile we enjoyed the privilege of walking
up and down an avenue formed of coals on the one side, and tallow packed
into skins on the other.

We were visited at the palisades by the British and Austrian Consuls;
and by a Prussian gentleman, who, on our arrival at Constantinople, had
been in the service of the Sultan, which he had now exchanged for that
of the Hospodar of Moldavia. We had made his acquaintance at the
Military College, and he had been long on the look-out for us at Galatz.

He appeared perfectly satisfied with his new speculation, and talked
much of his enjoyment of the liberty of this new locality; a liberty in
which we were unfortunately not permitted to share. And such being the
case, we bade adieu to our friends on the town side of the fence; and,
after having ascertained that the Pannonia steamer, which should have
been on the spot ready to receive us, would not reach Galatz until late
at night, we determined on rowing across to the opposite shore of
Silistria, in order to relieve our _ennui_.

Bread and wine having been provided, we accordingly prepared for our
excursion; the captain’s gig was lowered; and I had the honour of being
rowed across the Danube by the most aristocratic boat’s crew that had
probably ever “caught crabs” in its muddy waters; all the seamen
belonging to the vessel being employed in lading and unlading
merchandize.

Nothing could exceed the wretchedness of the little hamlet that was
seated along the edge of a creek, into which we passed when we had
gained the Silistrian side of the river. The low hovels, rudely built of
mud, and roofed with reeds, were lighted by windows of oiled lambskin;
the floors were of earth; and nothing more cheerful than twilight could
penetrate into the single apartment which served for “kitchen, and
parlour, and hall.” Not the slightest attempt at a garden was visible,
though the village stood upon the verge of an extensive wild, stretching
away far as the eye could reach, and covered with redundant, although
stunted, vegetation. The ground-ash, the caper-tree, the gum-cistus, the
wild hollyhock, the flag-reed, and the water-willow were abundant; while
patches of white clover and vetches were scattered about in every
direction.

As the Baron E—— was lame, and unable to undertake a long walk, he
with some difficulty procured a horse that had just been released from a
waggon, the ragged peasant to whom it belonged not being proof against
the sight of a purse, which was shook before him as the most efficient
language that could be employed to enforce the demand: and, when the
laughing German had mounted the packsaddle, armed with his meerschaum
and cane, and grasped the knotted rope that served as a substitute for a
bridle, he was by no means the least picturesque of the party.

We had not long pursued the path leading to the village whither we were
bound, when we heard the salute fired at mid-day by the Ferdinand, in
honour of His Highness the Hospodar of Moldavia, who chanced to be
residing temporarily at Galatz; and to whom, as he was particularly
solicitous to facilitate by every means in his power the local
arrangements of the steam-company, they were careful to pay all due
honour; and indeed somewhat more, as they gave him a salute of
one-and-twenty guns, that came booming along the wild through which we
were wandering, and echoing over the waters of the little stream that
bordered it; startling the birds by which the river-willows were
tenanted, and dispelling momently the deep silence of the wide solitude.

When, after a walk of considerable length, we reached the hamlet that
was the object of our excursion, we excited universal attention and
astonishment among the women and children who crowded the cottage doors,
and who were universally clad in coarse white linen; the females
wearing huge silver earrings, round bracelets of coloured glass, and
rings of every dimension. All were barefooted; and the children, who
huddled together in groups to gaze upon the passing strangers, were
wretched-looking little mortals, with their light hair hanging in
elf-locks about their ears, and their rags fluttering in the breeze. The
hovels were universally built of mud, and roofed with reeds and the long
leaves of the Indian-corn; with chimneys of basket-work. In short, I
never beheld a more thorough demonstration of the fact that human
necessities actually exceed but little those of the inferior animals,
and that the thousand wants which grow up around civilization are merely
factitious. These isolated individuals were scantly and coarsely
clothed; fed almost entirely upon vegetables and the black wheaten
bread, of which the grain was grown in their own gardens; Indian corn
that supplied them at once with food, fuel, and bedding; lodged in
hovels better suited to cattle than to human beings: and yet they were
not merely healthful and happy, but, as I have already noticed, they had
their innocent vanities, and indulged in all the glories of coloured
glass trinkets.

The only men whom we saw in the hamlet were engaged in packing
water-melons into the wicker bullock-cars destined to convey them to
the market at Galatz; and of some of these we immediately possessed
ourselves. A shawl flung over the tall stems of some flag-reeds, and
propped by a rake, was soon converted into an awning for me, and we made
a most primitive and delicious meal, seated on the fresh grass among the
wild flowers. As we sauntered quietly back to the river-side, we
collected some of the shells that had been driven up the creek by the
river tide; and captured a fine tortoise that was sunning itself on the
turf, which we carried on board; where we returned tolerably fatigued
with our ramble in the wilds of Silistria.

We were amusing ourselves on deck after dinner by watching the passage
of the canoes which the natives impel by a wooden paddle precisely after
the manner of the Indians, when we observed half a dozen men rushing
down upon a little wooden pier immediately under the stern of the
Ferdinand, where we had previously remarked two gaudy-looking boats,
painted in immense stripes of red and blue. Nor were the group who
sprang into the largest of them less remarkable than the boats
themselves; and we had some difficulty in persuading ourselves that they
were the boatmen of the Prince, and not a party of Tyrolean
ballet-dancers. They wore broad flapped hats, bound by a ribbon of red
and blue, hanging in long ends upon their shoulders, and ornamented in
front by a large M, worked in gold: their shirts and trowsers were of
white, with braces and garters of red and blue; while wide scarlet
sashes, fringed at the extremities, completed their costume. The
Moldavian banner was hastily affixed to the stern of the boat; and then
a party of servants thronged the pier, who were succeeded by a couple of
aides-de-camp, and a grave elderly gentleman in an oriental dress; and
lastly arrived the Princess, a middle-aged, plain-looking person,
attended by three ladies, who were duly cloaked and shawled by the
obsequious aides-de-camp.

During this process the guns of the Ferdinand were once more prepared;
and the fantastically-clad boatmen had not dipped their oars thrice into
the stream, and Her Highness the Hospodar_ess_ was yet under the stern
of the ship, when bang went the first gun, with a flash and a peal that
somewhat discomposed her nerves; and she raised her arm deprecatingly
towards the Captain, who stood bare-headed near the wheel; but the
gesture was unheeded.

“She wishes you to desist, Captain Everson;” I remarked, as I detected
the action.

“Can’t help that, Ma’am;” answered the commander of the Ferdinand:
“she’s the Prince’s wife; and she shall have her thirteen guns, whether
she likes them or not.”

She “had” them accordingly, and they were fired in excellent style;
while the two boats of the Principality flaunted their party-coloured
glories across to the other shore. I do not know whether Her Highness
anticipated the probability of being compelled to “smell powder” on her
return, as well as on her departure; but it is certain that she did not
land near the Ferdinand when she repassed to the Moldavian side of the
river.

On the following morning, it was announced to us that His Highness the
Hospodar intended to honour the vessel with a visit; and we were
particularly requested to avoid coming in contact with himself or suite,
lest we might bequeath the plague to his Principality in return for his
politeness. Of course we promised compliance; and as the Pannonia had
not yet made her appearance, we were glad of any excitement to relieve
the tedium of our detention. At eleven o’clock the wretched drums and
fifes of the garrison announced that the Prince was approaching. The
guard at the entrance of the quarantaine ground was turned out;
officers, covered with tags, aiguilettes, and embroidery passed and
repassed the palisade; a crowd of idlers lined the road; the Tyrolean
boatmen were once more at their post; the trading vessels in the port,
which were lading with wheat, had their decks clean washed, and their
colours hoisted.—In short, the harbour of Galatz was in the full
enjoyment of “a sensation,” when the gates of the enclosure were thrown
back, and into the infected space walked His Highness, a little
sandy-haired man, with huge whiskers and mustachioes, perfectly matched
in tint to the enormous pair of golden epaulettes that he wore on a
plain blue frock coat.—On his right stood his Russian Dragoman, covered
with a dozen ribbons, clasps, and medals; who never opened his mouth
without lifting his cap, and uttering “Mon Prince” in an accent of the
most fulsome adulation: and on his left walked his physician, a fine
young man of very gentlemanlike manners and appearance. Immediately
behind him came the Moldavian Minister of the Interior, all furs and
wadded silk; and the procession was closed by a score of Aides-de-camp,
Officers of the Household, and hangers-on.

The party remained a considerable time in the quarantaine-enclosure ere
they came on board; and I suspect that His Highness began to repent that
he had volunteered so perilous a visit; but as it was too late to
recede, he at length ventured to trust “Caesar and his fortunes” to the
temporary keeping of the Plague-ship; and advancing to the stern of the
vessel where our party were standing, he very graciously expressed his
regret that he could not avail himself, as he should have been delighted
to do, of our presence in the Principality, by claiming us as guests
during our stay, owing to the unhappy prevalence of plague in the
country that we had left. After this he talked very solemnly of the
necessity of strictly observing the quarantaine; made two or three more
bows in a peculiarly ungraceful style; declined the champaigne that had
been prepared for him in the great cabin; and made his exit with
infinitely more alacrity than he had made his entry; only pausing in the
enclosure to lift his hat as the first gun was fired, of the salute
which celebrated his visit.

When His Highness had departed, and that the last scene of this
Moldavian comedy had been enacted, we had nothing left to do but to walk
the deck, and contemplate the muddiest-looking of all rivers. Unlike the
Pasha of Varna, the Hospodar made no inquiry into our wants and wishes,
and no offer of the local milk and honey that might have tended to
increase our comfort on board; although the Captain of the Ferdinand
sent him a bushel basket of magnificent grapes, which, after they had
been subjected to repeated immersion, were declared to be
non-conductors, and were admitted to _pratique_ accordingly.

It was not until five o’clock in the afternoon of the second day, that
the Pannonia anchored beside us; and, as she had to take her coals on
board, she could not sail until eight and forty hours after her arrival.
The transfer of passengers did not take place until late on the morrow;
for when the inferiority of her accommodations became apparent, we of
the Ferdinand were in no haste to change our quarters.

We had left Constantinople in a fine, well-kept ship; where a barrier
was erected which preserved the after-deck from the intrusion of the
inferior passengers: and where the cabins were comfortably fitted up,
and supplied in the most liberal manner with every thing that could
contribute to the convenience of their occupants; and, although we were
quite prepared for less space in the Pannonia, from the fact of her
being merely a river boat, we were by no means satisfied on discovering
the confusion that existed on her decks; where groups of dirty Turks,
and noisy Greeks, were squatted from her funnel to her stern; blocking
up the path of the cabin-passengers, and filling their clothes with
vermin, and their atmosphere with the fumes of bad tobacco; nor the
cheerless discomfort below, where not even a washing-stand had been
provided; and we were suddenly thrown upon our own resources for all
those little comforts, that from the arrangement of the vessel in which
we left the port of Constantinople, we were entitled to expect
throughout the voyage. Thus much for the disarray of the Pannonia; and I
mention it in order to prepare future travellers on the Danube not to be
misled, as we ourselves were by the satisfactory aspect of the
Ferdinand, into a belief that such will continue to gladden them on the
river; while on the other hand I am bound in justice to add that the
table is infinitely better served than that of the first vessel; a fact
that may perhaps compensate to many individuals for the absence of those
personal comforts of which our own party so bitterly felt the want.

Nor must I omit to make honourable mention of the _artiste_ to whom this
department was confided. An Italian by birth, and a wit by nature, as
well as a cook by profession, we were indebted to him and his guitar for
many a pleasant hour that would otherwise have passed heavily enough. As
the dusk grew into darkness, he used to come upon deck with his
instrument, and sing Neapolitan _buffo_ songs, with a spirit and _gusto_
that almost convulsed us with laughter. And as we stood about him,
listening to his minstrelsy, and looking on the bright moonlight
silvering along the river-tide, where it was not overshadowed by the
tall trees that fringed the bank beside which we were gliding; and
startling with our somewhat noisy merriment the deep silence of those
scantily-peopled shores; the effect upon my mind was most
extraordinary.



CHAPTER XXX.


  Hirsova—Russian Relics—Town of Silistria—Bravery of the
  Turks—Village of Turtuki—Group of Pelicans—Glorious
  Sunset—Ruschuk—Cheapness of Provisions—The Wallachian
  Coast—Bulgaria—Dense Fog—Orava—Roman Bath—Green
  Frogs—Widdin—Kalifet—Scala Glavoda—Custom House
  Officers—Disembarkation—Wallachian Mountains—A Landscape
  Sketch—Costume of the Servian Peasantry—The Village
  Belle—Primitive Carriages—The Porte de Fer—The
  Crucifix—Magnificent Scenery—Fine Ores.


At half past eleven in the morning we were off Hirsova, where we
embarked some more deck-passengers, greatly to our annoyance and
discomfort. The few straggling villages that we had passed since our
departure from Galatz were of the most wretched description; and Hirsova
itself is in a ruined state, having been besieged and taken by the
Russians after a gallant resistance of fifty days. It is situated in a
gorge between two rocks, and on the lower of the two stand the ruins of
the Turkish fortress, of which only a few crumbling walls and a solitary
buttress now remain. This fortress was unfortunately commanded by the
opposite height on which the Russians threw up fortifications, under
whose cover they kept up an incessant fire upon the town and the fort,
and ultimately destroyed both. Scores of balls are still imbedded in
the bank of the river, and along the shore; and, knowing what I do of
the Turks, I have no doubt that it would be impossible to prevail on
them to touch them, even for the purposes of traffic.

Wherever the boat stopped, crowds of the peasantry flocked to the edge
of the water, and stood gazing at her in admiring wonder; for, as this
was only her twelfth voyage, their curiosity and astonishment had not
yet subsided. From Hirsova the landscape began to improve on the
Bulgarian side. Groups of trees just touched with the first autumnal
tints; and at intervals a glimpse of higher land in the distance,
relieved the eye.

At two o’clock in the morning we arrived at Silistria, a small town
surrounded by outworks, and celebrated for the brave resistance of its
garrison of twelve thousand men, to an army of fifty thousand Russians.
A resistance so obstinate, or I should rather say, so heroic, as to
endure for nine long months; and to be terminated only by the utter
destruction of the town, and the partial demolition of its defences.
Ruin still cowers among its desolate dwellings, and Silistria is now
peopled only by three thousand inhabitants; but it has earned for itself
a place in the page of history, which could not be more worthily filled
up.

At half past two in the afternoon we were off Turtuki; a very extensive
village, presenting a most singular appearance; almost every cottage
having a large haystack within the little garden fence, as large as the
dwelling itself; and many of the cottages being hollowed in the rock;
while strings of red capsicums wreathed most of the doorways, and gave a
holyday aspect to the scene. A numerous population thronged the shore
and the streets, who only paused in their several occupations for a
moment as we passed, to watch our progress; and then resumed their
primitive occupation of reed-thatching the cottages, or driving forth
their cattle to the high lands in search of pasturage.

Such herds of horses, oxen, buffaloes, and pigs; such flocks of goats
and sheep, as are scattered along the whole of the Bulgarian shore, I
never saw in my life! The land in the immediate vicinity of Turtuki was
highly cultivated, and abounded in corn-fields and vineyards; giving
evidence of much greater energy and industry in its peasantry than any
locality that we had yet witnessed. About half a mile above the village
a row of water-mills, six in number, were moored across the current;
each mill was supported on two floating barges of very curious
construction, and as they were all at work they presented a singular
appearance.

Shortly after we had passed Turtuki, we saw about twenty pelicans
congregated on a bar of sand which projected into the river. And during
the day we remarked several eagles on the wing; and numbers of the
beautiful white aigrette herons, whose gleaming plumage glistened in the
sunshine.

I never beheld a more glorious sunset than on this evening. We had
passed several wooded islands, fringed with river-willows, and forming
points of view that almost appeared to have been artificially produced;
and we were just sailing past one of these, when the sun disappeared
behind the high land by which it was backed, and shed over the sky tints
so richly and so deeply marked, as to make the river-ripple sparkle like
liquid gems; and to give to the stream the appearance of diluted
amethysts and topaz. At this moment a sudden bend in the Danube brought
us beneath a rock crowned with the crumbling ruins of a Genoese castle,
at whose base a flock of goats were browsing on the green underwood that
clothed its fissures. Nothing more was requisite to complete the beauty
of the picture; and from this moment we all began to entertain hopes of
an improvement in the aspect of the country through which we had yet to
pass.

The next town we reached was Ruschuk, which is of considerable extent,
walled, and surrounded by a ditch. It contains only three thousand
inhabitants, though it formerly boasted thirty thousand, but exhibits no
symptom of that desolation we had remarked in several other towns on
the river. It possesses nine mosques; and its main street is wider and
more carefully paved than any in Constantinople. Its principal trade is
in salt from Olenitza, sugar, iron, and manufactured goods; its exports
are livestock, grain, wool, and timber; and its industry comprises
sail-making by the women, and boat-building by the men.

The extreme cheapness of food at Ruschuk struck me so much that I took
some pains to ascertain the price of the most common articles of
consumption; and I subjoin the result of my inquiries as a positive
curiosity. Eggs were two hundred for a shilling—fowls were considered
exorbitant; and the high value which they constantly maintained was
accounted for by the fact that the market of Constantinople was in a
great degree supplied from thence; they were twopence each—ducks and
geese, from the same cause, cost two pence halfpenny; turkeys averaged
tenpence, being a favourite food with the Orientals; beef three
halfpence the oke, of two pounds and three quarters; mutton the same
price—the wine of the country one piastre the quart—grapes a halfpenny
the oke; melons and pasteks of immense size, three farthings each; bread
equally cheap, but bad.

Shortly after leaving Ruschuk, I was amused for a considerable time in
watching some cormorants that were diving for fish; while every sand in
the shallows of the river was covered with hundreds of blue plover. Wild
ducks and geese also flew past the vessel in clouds; and we purchased
small sturgeon and sword-fish from a boat with which we came in contact.

The Wallachian coast still continued to present one swampy and
uninteresting flat, save at distant intervals, when a scattered and
treeless village, built upon the slope of a slight rise, broke for an
instant upon its tame monotony. But Bulgaria grew in beauty as we
approached its boundary. Noble hills, well clothed with trees gay in all
the rainbow tints of autumn, and contrasting the deep rich umber hues of
the fading beech, and the bright yellow of the withering walnut, with
the gay red garlands of the wild vine, which flung its ruby-coloured
wreaths from tree to tree, linking them together in one glowing
wreath—Snug little villages, with each its tiny fleet of fishing-boats,
and its sandy shore covered with groups of gazers; the better classes
clad after the Asiatic fashion—the men wearing their turbans large and
gracefully arranged, and the women suffering the yashmac to hang nearly
to their feet above the dark feridjhe; and the poorer among them clad in
shapeless woollen garments, and high caps of black sheep skin—Herds of
horses bounding over the hills in all the graceful hilarity of
freedom—Droves of buffaloes lying in the deep mud of the river,
basking in the sunshine—Vineyards overshadowed by fruit trees; Fields
neatly fenced from the waste, and rich with vegetables and grain, in
turn varied the prospect; nor had we wearied of the scene when, at two
o’clock, P.M., we arrived at Sistoff, a small, but flourishing town;
with the ruin of an old castle perched on a height immediately above it.
Here, greatly to our satisfaction, we landed most of our deck
passengers; and a little after seven in the evening we found ourselves
abreast of Nicopolis; but owing to the darkness we could only trace the
outline of the town as it cut against the horizon, and discovered that
it was tolerably extensive, and surrounded by high bluff lands.

Having been detained several hours by the fog, which was extremely dense
at daybreak, we did not reach Orava until near mid-day. This town, which
was destroyed by the Russians during the reign of Catherine, appears to
be of considerable extent; but is only partially fortified. It possesses
five or six mosques, some of which are scarcely visible from the river,
owing to the very high land that intervenes between a portion of the
town and the shore. The ruins of an old castle on the summit of a rock,
and of a Roman bath on the water’s edge, give a picturesque effect to
the locality. Some hours later we anchored on the Wallachian side to
take in coals, which were obtained from Hungary, and said to be of very
excellent quality; the little enclosure that contained them was situated
close to one of the sanatory stations, and we were not permitted to
approach within a hundred yards of the white-coated Wallachians. We
revenged ourselves, however, by wandering over the plain, gathering wild
flowers and blackberries; and giving chase to some of the most beautiful
little green frogs that ever were seen—they looked like leaping leaves!
Eight pelicans passed us on the wing during the day.

Another dense fog prevented our progress after seven in the evening, as
the pilot refused to incur the responsibility of the vessel; and we
accordingly anchored until three o’clock the following morning, when we
started again in a bright flood of moonlight; and in about four hours we
arrived opposite to Widdin, where we anchored. It is a large and
handsome town, strongly fortified with a double line of works of great
importance. The fortifications are in good order, and extend, as we are
told, about twelve hundred yards along the bank of the river; while the
lines on the landward side are kept with equal care, and are of similar
extent. The walls are protected by four strong bastions; and the guns
are all said to be in an efficient state. The Pasha’s Palace, based on
the outer walls, looks as bleak and comfortless as a barrack; but its
windows command a noble view of the river. The minarets of twelve or
fourteen mosques relieve the outline of the picture; and, immediately
opposite, on the Wallachian side, stands the low, flat, rambling town of
Kalefat, whence the country assumes a new and more interesting
character. A graceful curve in the river carried us past the quarantaine
establishment; a group of wretched buildings erected close to the
water’s edge, and enclosed within a rude wooden paling, backed by a
lofty cliff that runs far along the shore, riven into a thousand
fantastic shapes; while here and there we had distant glimpses of
cultivated valleys and wooded hills.

The aspect of the country improved throughout the whole day; abrupt and
precipitous heights, wooded to the very summits—stretches of corn and
pasture land—multitudinous herds of cattle—and laughing plains, gay
with grass and wild flowers, flitted rapidly by; while the bold
cloud-crested mountains above Orsoru formed a noble background to the
picture. At noon we were abreast of Florentin, the last Bulgarian
village on the bank of the river; and decidedly the most picturesque
locality on the Lower Danube. The hamlet was nestled beneath a rock,
three of whose sides were washed by the river, while the fourth was
protected by a deep ditch; and the tall, bluff, perpendicular rock
itself was crowned by a Gothic castle, whose gray outline, apparently
nearly perfect, cut sharply against the sky; and completed a tableau so
strikingly beautiful as to elicit an universal exclamation of delight.

We ran past Scala Glavoda in the night, from which circumstance I lost
the opportunity of seeing Trajan’s Bridge, whose arches may be
distinguished beneath the level of the water; and at midnight we
anchored at a straggling village about half a league above it. Here we
took leave of the Pannonia; and, as the river is not navigable for a
considerable distance for any thing but flat-bottomed boats, whose
wearisome course against the current is secured by the assistance of
oxen, who tow them lazily on their way; we were obliged to proceed to
Orsova by land. Custom-house officers came on board to examine the
merchandize with which the vessel was freighted, but they did not
interfere with the luggage of the passengers; and, as soon as
bullock-cars had been secured, we despatched our packages on shore,
whither we shortly followed them.

On the opposite shore rose the mountains of Wallachia, just touched upon
their summits with the brilliant tints of the newly-risen sun, and
clothed with many-coloured foliage. The hills, beside which we had
passed during the previous day, had closed upon us in the rear; and the
chain which terminates in the _Porte de Fer_, or Iron Door, a bar of
rock that nearly traverses the Danube, and over which its waters toss
and boil in impotent violence, shut in the forward view.

In the bottom of the gorge ran the river, whence arose the column of
steam escaping from the chimney of the Pannonia; and the Servian shore
was scattered over with the multifarious properties of the passengers.
The village ran along the bank of the river, and consisted of log huts,
most ingeniously constructed, lined with a cement formed of clay, and
thatched, like those in Bulgaria, with reeds, and the straw of the
Indian corn; interspersed with small tenements of wicker-work raised on
poles, and serving as store-houses for fruits and grain.

The difference of costume between the peasantry of Servia and those of
the adjoining country, was remarkably striking. The men had added a wide
sash of rich scarlet to the dress of the Bulgarians, and wore their
woollen greaves, and the sleeves of their shirts worked with
dark-coloured worsteds; while the women were attired in the most
singular manner that can well be imagined. They universally retained the
wrapping-dress of white linen that we had remarked all along this shore
of the Danube; but above it they had placed a couple of aprons of thick
woollen stuff, striped or checked with dark blue; one of which they wore
before, and the other behind, leaving the linen garment uncovered on
either side to the waist; but their head-gear was yet more
extraordinary, and, at the same time, singularly picturesque.

The younger among them wore their hair confined by a simple band across
the forehead; to which were attached branches of bright-coloured
flowers, such as marigolds, hollyhocks, and the blossoms of the scarlet
bean; intermixed with strings of small silver coin, in greater or less
quantities. I remarked that even the youngest of the girls, children of
five and six years of age, were thus decorated; some of them not
possessing, however, more than half a dozen little para pieces; and as
each of these girls was twirling her distaff with all the gravity of a
matron, I imagine that, precisely as the Asiatics accumulate strings of
pearl by the slow produce of their industry, so, in like manner, the
female peasantry of Servia increase their ornaments through the medium
of their own individual exertions; and I was the more confirmed in this
opinion, by observing that in every instance save one, the number of
coins worn upon the head appeared to preserve an equal proportion with
the years of the wearer.

The exception to which I allude was on the person of a young girl of
about seventeen, from whose braided tresses coins of considerable size
fell in every direction nearly to her waist; while her throat was
encircled by a succession of the same ungraceful ornaments, descending
like scale-armour low upon her bosom. There was an elastic spring in her
movements, as her small naked feet pressed the sandy path; and an
expression bordering upon haughtiness in her large dark eyes, which
betrayed the daughter of the village chief. I would peril the value of
every coin she wore that I read her fortune aright!

The elder women wore linen cloths bound about their heads with a grace
which would have suited the draping of a statue; the long ends of the
scarf being secured behind the ear, and forming deep folds that looked,
at a short distance, as though they were hewn in marble; and above this
drapery, rows of coins were disposed, helmet-wise, in such profusion
that, as the sunlight glanced upon them, they were perfectly dazzling.
Nor did the matrons dispense with the gaudy knots of flowers so general
among their younger countrywomen; and the gay effect of a group of
Servian females may consequently be imagined. Some among them were
tolerably pretty; nearly all had fine bright black eyes, and they were
universally erect and finely made; with a step and carriage at once firm
and graceful.

Ranged along the road stood the line of bullock-waggons, intended for
the transport of our luggage; and beside them a nondescript carriage of
wicker-work drawn by two gray horses, for the accommodation of such of
the party as preferred driving to walking. We were, however, some time
before we were fairly _en route_; and still longer before any one felt
inclined to forego the pleasure of wandering through the long grass that
bordered the edge of the plain, through which wound the road leading to
Orsova.

For a brief interval we lost sight of the river, and continued to
advance along the rude path, scaring the wild birds from their
resting-places among the stunted branches of the dwarf oaks and beeches
that clothed it; or thredding along the boundaries of the wide patches
of Indian corn which had been redeemed from the waste. But as the day
advanced, the heat became so great as to render any further progress on
foot too fatiguing to be pleasurable; and four of our party accordingly
taking possession of the carriage, we started at a brisk pace along the
smooth and easy road; and after a precipitous descent, down which the
horses galloped at a pace infinitely more speedy than safe, we found
ourselves once more on the shore of the Danube, where it is separated in
the centre by a long bar of sand, terminating in a small island of rock,
now cumbered with the remnants of a ruined fortress.

Twenty minutes more brought us to the _Porte de Fer_; which does not,
however, extend all across the river, as there is a sufficient width of
sand left free of all rock, on the Servian side, to render the formation
of a canal sufficiently extensive to ensure the safe passage of
moderately sized vessels extremely easy. Nothing in nature can be more
lovely than the landscape at this point of the river; it is shut in on
all sides by majestic rocks overgrown with forest trees; and tenanted by
the wild boar, the wolf, and the bear. Eagles soar above their
pinnacles; and singing birds make the air vocal at their base; while
beneath them rushes the chafed and angry river, foaming and roaring over
the line of rock that impedes the accustomed onward flow of its waters.

Another turn in the road, and the Danube is hidden from view by a wooded
strip of land, which has forced a portion of the river from its natural
channel, as if to accompany the traveller upon his way, as he follows
the chain of rock along a road so narrow, that there is not half a foot
of earth between the wheels of the carriage and the edge of the bank
that is washed by the little stream; while delicious glimpses of the
Danube are occasionally visible between the trunks of the tall trees
that fringe the intervening islet.

About a quarter of a mile onward stands a Crucifix; the first symbol
that we had yet remarked of Christianity; and which we hailed as the
parched desert-wanderer welcomes the spring whereat he slakes his
long-endured and withering thirst. It was erected beneath the shadow of
a fine old beech tree; and immediately beside a crazy bridge flung
across the channel of a mountain torrent. The scene increased in beauty
as we proceeded. The great variety of tint among the forest foliage
heightened the effect of the landscape; and I have rarely, if ever, seen
a more gorgeous locality than that through which we travelled to Orsova.
Nature had poured forth her treasures with an unsparing liberality; and
every mountain-glen was a spot that a painter would have loved to look
upon.

We passed through one straggling village, built like that at which we
had landed, of timber and mud, where we stopped for a few moments to
procure a glass of water; and I was agreeably impressed by the eager
courtesy with which the request was met. A portion of the road proving
too steep to enable the horses to drag us to the summit of the rise
along which we had to pass, we descended from the carriage, and pursued
our way on foot; when we were much struck by the appearance of the soil,
impregnated as it was so strongly with metallic particles, that it had
the appearance of diamond dust. I collected several specimens of ore
that were truly beautiful; and I have no doubt, even from my own very
slight geological knowledge, that a scientific person might find ample
employment within a couple of miles of Orsova for at least as many
months.



CHAPTER XXXI.


  Orsova—Castle of the Pass—Turkish Guard—Quarantaine
  Ground—Village of Tekia—Awkward Mistake—Pretty Woman—Gay
  Dress—A Visiter—Servian Cottagers—A Discovery—Departure—A
  Volunteer—Receiving House—A Forced March—The Grave-Yard—The
  Quarantaine—A Welcome to Captivity—A Verbal Coinage—Pleasant
  Quarters—M. le Directeur—The Restaurant—Pleasant
  Announcement—Paternal Care of the Austrian Authorities—The
  Health-Inventory—The Guardsman’s Sword—Medical
  Visits—Intellectual Amusements—A Friendly Warning.


We reached Orsova after a drive of about three hours; and passed through
the court of the castle that guards the pass on the Servian side, and
which must have been of great strength when in repair. A buttressed
tower, perforated from its base to its summit with loop-holes for
musketry, occupies the side of the hill immediately above the fort; and
the site of this stronghold is so cunningly chosen, that it is invisible
from the Viennese side of the river until you come close upon it, owing
to its being built in a gorge between two boldly-projecting rocks. A
couple of Turks, armed to the teeth, were lounging at the outer gate,
who uttered a courteous “Bouroum” as we passed the archway; while a
man, stationed on the roof of the tower, gave out a wild shrill cry,
evidently intended as a signal.

The town and fortress of Orsova occupy an island of considerable length,
and have a very picturesque appearance; the gleaming minaret of the
solitary mosque cutting against the party-coloured foliage that clothes
the hills by which it is overshadowed; and the castellated and
buttressed wall of the town reflecting itself in the river-tide. Much of
this wall is now in ruin, although it may still be traced entirely along
the bank. The island was fortified by the Austrians, but was afterwards
ceded to the Turks, together with the fortress of Belgrade by the
Emperor Leopold.

From this point we could distinguish the Quarantaine establishment,
niched in at the foot of the Banût mountains, and distant from the town
of Alt Orsova about a mile. But we were obliged to overshoot it by
nearly half a league, from the fact of there being no boats for hire
until we reached the village of Tekia, situated by the river side,
whence the embarkations of the “condemned” universally take place.

As we had considerably out-travelled our companions who had remained
with the luggage-waggons, we resolved to await them here; and, the
gentlemen having discovered what they supposed to be a coffee-kiosk, I
gladly availed myself of the cool, clean apartment to which they
summoned me; and the more readily that I was welcomed on the threshold
by one of the prettiest women imaginable. She must have been about
eighteen; and she had all the bloom of youth, combined with all the
grace of womanhood.

I have already remarked on the erect carriage of the Servian females;
and our new acquaintance was no exception from the rest of her
countrywomen. Her eyes and hair were dazzlingly dark and bright; and she
had a lovely glow upon her cheek that told a tale of health and
happiness. Her rich tresses were wound about her head above a small
Smyrniote fèz, with a falling tassel of purple silk; and the smooth
braids that pressed her fair young brow were partly shrouded beneath a
painted muslin handkerchief. Her dress of violet silk was made precisely
like those of the Constantinopolitan Jewesses, and girt about the waist
by a girdle of pale yellow; and above it she wore a scarf of pink muslin
embroidered with gold, crossed upon her bosom; and a jacket of wadded
green sarsenet with wide sleeves; stockings she had none, but her feet
were shrouded in purple slippers; and altogether she was as pleasant a
specimen of Servian beauty as the eye could desire to look upon.

As we were self-deluded into the conviction that we were in a
coffee-kiosk, and as we were suffering severely from heat and thirst,
we unhesitatingly ordered coffee and wine, which were instantly brought;
and to which our pretty hostess added sweetmeats and water, presented by
herself with a blush and a smile that quite verified the sentiment of
the old song, which says:

  “If woman be but fair,
   She has the gift to know it.”

We were shortly joined by an important-looking personage, clad in a
richly-furred and embroidered jacket and greaves of bright scarlet: who
seated himself in the midst of us, called for wine, replenished his
pipe, and made himself so thoroughly at home, that when the pretty
hostess chanced to leave the kiosk, we inquired whether she were his
daughter: expressing at the same time our admiration of her beauty. It
was not without some surprise that we learnt from the plain middle-aged
individual to whom we addressed ourselves, that the young beauty was his
wife; and moreover the adopted daughter of Prince Milosch, who had
bestowed her upon him in marriage, as a mark of his peculiar regard. He
did not appear in the least annoyed by the glances of unequivocal
admiration which the gentlemen, who had so long inhabited a land of
lattices and yashmacs, could not refrain from turning on her as she
moved among them busied in the offices of hospitality; but appeared to
treat her rather as a spoiled child, than as the partner of his
fortunes.

A tour of the village being proposed by one of the party, we started on
an exploring expedition; but met with nothing particularly interesting.
The peasantry were remarkably respectful and courteous, every one rising
as we approached their cottage door, and saluting us with a smile of
perfect good-humour; while we won the hearts of the mothers by dividing
among the numerous children who were sporting on all sides, a collection
of copper coins made during the journey, of which we knew neither the
names nor the value. They were a plain race, coarsely formed, and
universally disfigured by feet of an unwieldly size; but, nevertheless,
the women all carried themselves like empresses; and their glittering
head-dresses, and large silver earrings, rendered their appearance
almost attractive.

When the rest of our caravan arrived, we discovered the error into which
we had been betrayed by our ignorance of the locality; being informed by
the agent who had accompanied us from Scala Glavoda, in order to deliver
us up to the quarantaine authorities, that we were the guests of the
chief man of the village; to whom it was utterly impossible that we
could offer any remuneration for all the trouble that we had given in
his house. Such being the case, we could only overwhelm him with
acknowledgements and compliments; with which he was so well satisfied,
that he declared his intention of accompanying us down the river as far
as the station at which we were to land, in order to proceed on foot to
our temporary prison.

When the large flat-bottomed barge in which we were to be conveyed
thither, was freighted with our packages, and that we were about to push
off, we were detained for an instant by the declaration of the little
Servian beauty that she had determined to be of the party; and on board
she accordingly came, having flung over her house-costume a magnificent
pelisse of grey cloth, edged with sable, and worked with gold.

In half an hour we reached a long wooden shed, built as a receiving
house for the quarantaine; and here we were detained until our patience
was fairly outworn, and that our hunger had become positively painful. A
double partition of wood parted us from the authorities, who graciously
welcomed us to the horrors of incarceration; and we were obliged to seat
ourselves on the luggage, and await the arrival of the bullock-carriages
that were to convey our travelling-gear to its destination.

All was at last accomplished; and after taking leave of our pretty
Servian companion, who laughed heartily at my pressing invitation to her
to share our imprisonment; we followed the train of waggons; the rear
of the party being brought up by an Austrian soldier, armed with a
loaded musket, and a fixed bayonet. We were, however, in no mood to
yield to gloomy ideas or feelings. We had a blue sky above us, a fine
turf beneath our feet, and the prospect of another half hour of
comparative liberty; and we were straggling gaily about the plain,
laughing and speculating on our approaching imprisonment, when we were
called to order by the guard; and compelled to keep to the high road,
lest we should contaminate the grass and thistles among which we were
wandering.

Before we reached the quarantaine-ground, we passed the grave-yard
destined to receive those who die of plague during their incarceration.
It was closely fenced; and rendered still more gloomy by a tall
crucifix, painted red, and supporting a most revolting effigy of Our
Lord.

On ringing a bell the great gates of the establishment were flung
“hospitably” back, and we were requested to allow the waggons to enter
before us, lest we should contaminate the oxen by our contact; and,
after passing through a couple of walled yards, surrounded by warehouses
for receiving merchandize, we entered a third enclosure wherein we were
met by the governor and surgeon; who, keeping at a respectful distance,
invited us to enter a dark, whitewashed, iron-grated cell, in order to
have our passports examined.

A wooden lattice separated us from our new hosts; and the peasant who
had conducted us from the river side, stood in front of a small opening
made for the purpose, and held at arm’s length the papers which were
demanded. Much bowing and scraping ensued between M. le Directeur, the
foreign Noblemen, and the Hungarian Chevalier; and we had reason to
congratulate ourselves on their companionship, as it produced a visible
increase of courtesy on the part of the local authorities: a courtesy
which did not, however, exempt us from the “locks, bolts, and bars” of
the Lazaretto. As I was only the second lady who had been unfortunate
enough to come under his keeping, the Governor very politely resolved to
commence his arrangements by providing me with as good a cell as he had
then vacant—not that he called the space into which he was about to
consign me, a _cachot_—by no means—the word “cell” being somewhat
grating, another term has been invented; and the dens of the Lazaretto
of Orsova are designated _colleves_, which signifies—nothing.

But before we could take possession of our prison, another gate had yet
to be unlocked; which admitted us into a large space enclosed within a
high wall, and containing the _élite_ of the accommodations. The cells,
like those of a madhouse in Turkey, were built round the four sides of a
garden; and each had a small entrance-court, paved with stone. As none
of the buildings were capacious enough to contain our whole party, it
was at length arranged that five of us should take one of them, in which
we might make such arrangements as we preferred; and that the three
others should be accommodated as near to us as possible. Upon which
understanding M. le Directeur, a plump, good-natured-looking little old
man, with a bit of soiled red ribbon displayed in the button-hole of a
threadbare gray frock-coat, a ruffled shirt, and the funniest of all
forage-caps, led the way to cell, or I should rather say _colleve_, No.
2: and when one of his followers had unlocked the yellow and black gate
of the court, he bowed ceremoniously to me, as he pointed to two
melancholy-looking trees, which had contrived to exist amid the rude
paving, and exclaimed with a tone and gesture perfectly dramatic:
“_Soyez la bien-venue, Madame; voyez les beaux arbres que vous avez!_”

It was extremely fortunate that the day chanced to be one of cloudless
sunshine, and that we consequently saw every thing under its most
favourable aspect; for there was nothing particularly exhilarating in
the interior of the buildings. Windows both barred and grated; walls
whitewashed and weather-stained; chairs, tables, and sofa all of wood,
which is a “nonconductor,” and whitewashed like the walls; were the only
objects that met our eyes. But as we were all both tired and hungry, we
welcomed even these; and only begged to learn where we must address
ourselves, in order to procure some food with as little delay as
possible.

This brought us to the second feature of our position; for a window
whose shutter was padlocked up, was unfastened; a bell was rung, and at
a casement grated like our own appeared the Restaurateur of the
Lazaretto to receive his instructions. Dinner was instantly ordered;
bread and wine were speedily procured; and we were waited upon by a very
gaily-dressed, conceited individual, who announced himself to be “our
keeper;” a piece of intelligence which once more carried back my
thoughts to the _Timerhazès_, or madhouses of Constantinople; and I
began half to apprehend that we had indeed intruded into one of those
melancholy establishments. At five o’clock we were furnished with a very
bad dinner; bedding was brought in; and at sunset we were locked up.

On the morrow we were somewhat disconcerted to learn that the court of
the _colleve_ was to be our boundary during the ten days of our
imprisonment; and our officious “keeper” very carefully locked the gate
every time that he thought proper to make his escape. But this was a
trifling annoyance to that by which it was succeeded; and which
consisted of an announcement that at mid-day the Surgeon of the
Lazaretto, and the Examining Officer, would visit us, in order to take
an inventory of every thing in our possession. Each trunk, portmanteau,
and basket was to be unpacked; in short, we were even to declare the
contents of our purses!

We were already aware that the Austrian was the most paternal of all
Governments; taking an interest in the private affairs, not only of its
own subjects, but also in those of strangers; yet I confess that for
such a proceeding as the present we were totally unprepared.

There was, however, no remedy: and the “secret recesses” of every
package were laid bare before the “authorities.” The reason given for
this inconvenient and revolting stretch of power, is the desire of the
Government that, in the event of a decease, the friends of the dead
person may receive every part of his property upon demand; the inventory
held by the proper officers effectually preventing the keeper of the
_colleve_ from plundering the trunks; but certain little circumstances
which we remarked during the investigation rather tended to weaken our
faith in the disinterestedness of the arrangement.

When the possession of any Turkish article was mentioned, there was a
visible excitement. Even a lantern exhibited by my father was entered on
the list; and the number of chibouk-tubes, of tobacco purses, and other
trifles, which could have been of no value to the survivors of a
deceased person, were registered with equal exactness.

In my own case they were peculiarly inquisitive; counting my rings, and
recording my bracelets and necklaces. Not a pocket-handkerchief, nor a
waist-ribbon escaped; and I was more than once asked if I had really
exhibited the whole of my wardrobe. My books and drawings were seized
without ceremony, and carried off to be examined by the proper officer;
and the worthy functionaries at length departed in full possession of
all which related to our peripatetic properties.

It required a couple of hours to soften down the “chafed humours” of the
gentlemen of the party; which were not rendered more gentle by the
demand of the keeper, that they should deliver up all their arms, of
whatever description they might be; on the understanding that they were
to be restored to them on the day of their own delivery. But the request
did not meet with the ready acquiescence which had been anticipated.
Colonel——had travelled with the whole of his uniform; and when our
attendant advanced to lay sacrilegious hands upon his sword, which was
hanging over a chair, all the quick sense of honour of the British
soldier was roused at once; and, as the indignant blood rushed to his
brow, he vowed that he would fell to the earth the first man who dared
to meddle with his side-arms. In vain did the keeper insist, and the
Chevalier explain; the English heart beat too high to heed either the
one, or the other: and the pistol-laden functionary was obliged to
depart without the sword of the gallant Guardsman. Of course he made his
report to the Governor; but the worthy little old gentleman had too much
good sense to persist in the demand; and no allusion was afterwards made
to the subject.

Twice each day we were visited by the medical officer, who just popped
his head in at the door, and smiled forth: “Ah! quite well, quite well,
I see—impossible to be better—good morning,” and away he went, without
affording us time to complain had we been so inclined. M. le Directeur
also paid us several visits, always carefully pointing his cane before
him, as a warning to us not to approach him too closely: and never
failing to commence the conversation by the ejaculation of, “_Madame, je
vous salue—ha! les beaux arbres que vous avez!_” It was really worse
than ludicrous.

As a signal mark of favour, we were occasionally permitted to walk,
under the charge of the keeper, from the gate of our own
_colleve_-court to that of our friends, and to receive their visits in
return, when we had always a very laughable interview; the incarcerated
individuals amusing themselves by rocking to and fro behind the bars of
their prison-gates, and roaring like wild beasts in a menagerie.

There are two descriptions of persons to whom I would particularly
recommend an avoidance of the Quarantaine at Orsova—The _ennuyé_ and
the _bon vivant_. For the first there is no refuge save sleep, and the
few doggrel attempts at poetry which may be partially traced through the
whitewash; the outpourings of an impatient spirit weary of its thrall;
with the occasional society of the “keeper,” who is as cold and as
impracticable as his own keys. The very books of which the wanderer has
made his travelling companions; and some of which would bear a second
perusal, at all events in a quarantaine cell, are carried off and sealed
up, as though every volume were redolent of high treason; and he is left
to his own resources as ruthlessly as if he were indeed “the last man;”
and that he had done with the world, and the world with him.

To the second I need only hint that the _restaurant_ is a Government
monopoly, where you are provided for at a fixed sum per day; and fed
upon whatever it may please the Comptroller of the Kitchen to serve up.
Nor can you procure any wine save the sour and unpalatable _vin du
pays_, however liberally you may be disposed to pay for it.

Those travellers are fortunate who, like ourselves, can meet the
captivity of quarantaine with pleasant companions, light hearts, and
unfailing spirits; finding food for mirth in their very miseries; and
forgetting the annoyance of present detention in the anticipation of
future freedom.



CHAPTER XXXII.


  The Last Day of Captivity—Quarantaine Enclosure—Baths of
  Mahadia—Landscape Scenery—Peasantry of Hungary—Their
  Costume—Trajan’s Road—Hungarian Village—The Mountain
  Pass—The Baths—A Disappointment—The Health-Inventory—Inland
  Journey—New Road.


The last day of our captivity was the most tedious portion of the whole,
for the prospect of speedy emancipation kept us in a constant state of
irritation. Our luggage was collected and arranged with a haste which by
no means added to its comfort or convenience, and which only left us an
additional hour of unoccupied restlessness; while the servants were
urged to a continual commotion that robbed us even of the tranquillity
which might have made our prison-house somewhat more endurable.

The morning of the fifteenth of October was that of our release. We were
all ready to depart at daybreak; and after the necessary ceremonies had
been gone through, we assembled in a large grassy space, bounded on one
side by the Danube, and skirted on the other by the Quarantaine
buildings. This enclosure was crowded with oxen, waggons, and bales of
merchandize; and about fifty peasants were employed in lading such
goods as were admitted to _pratique_, after their period of purification
had been accomplished. Here we also found carriages for hire, two of
which we immediately engaged to convey some of our party to the
celebrated Baths of Mahadia; which, being situated off our road, we were
anxious to reach as speedily as possible, in order to enable us to
secure our passage on board the Steam Packet, that was to leave Drinkova
at daybreak the following morning.

Three of the party accordingly took possession of a Calèche, drawn by a
trio of wiry-looking little chesnut ponies, harnessed in the most
inartificial way in the world, with bridles, traces, and reins of stout
cord; while the others mounted one of the country waggons, filled with
hay, and dragged by a couple of wild-looking horses.

Never was there a more sincere exhibition of self-gratulation than that
with which we passed the boundary gate of the Quarantaine ground; and
found ourselves beside the tall stone cross that is erected on its
outskirt, as if to claim the thanksgiving of the newly-liberated. We had
majestic hills rising before, and beside us, clothed with forest-timber,
now rich in the thousand hues of autumn—The river-tide running
rippling—would, for the sake of my landscape sketch, that I could say
_sparkling_—in the sunshine; but, alas! the lordly Danube throughout
its entire length looks like diluted dirt; and the beam must be full and
fierce indeed which can lend a brightness to its waters.—The vapours
that had during the night been pillowed on the hill-tops, or had
cinctured them with a fleecy girdle, were just beginning to roll back
beneath the influence of the sun, which was rising like a golden globe
into a horizon of the faintest pink; and as the halo widened round its
disk, deepening the clouds to amber.

The hardy Hungarian peasantry were all astir; and very picturesque they
looked as they drove forth their flocks to the green and goodly pastures
on the mountain-side; or yoked the docile oxen to their light waggons of
wicker-work, which resemble huge baskets raised on wheels. To us
everything was delightful; for like long-caged birds suddenly set free,
we were pruning our wings for a fresh flight. Ten days of happiness go
by like an Eastern twilight, or the down of the thistle; but ten days of
Quarantaine—ten days of wood and whitewash—of locks and bolts—of
walls and weariness!—No one who has not passed ten days in a _colleve_,
and its narrow court can understand all the delight of the first bound
back to freedom.

There is one of Sir Walter Scott’s ballads which from my earliest
girlhood I have always loved; it first touched my heart by its
plaintiveness, but in the quarantaine of Orsovar I learned to value it
still more for its surpassing nature—its masterly delineation of the
feelings of the human mind under captivity; the captivity, not of
despair, but of impatience—the wail of the bounding spirit held
back—and often, very often, as I paced up and down the paved court of
our plague-prison, did I murmur out my own irritation in the words of
the Mighty One of Song:

 “My hawk is tired of perch and hood,
  My idle greyhound loathes his food,
  My horse is weary of his stall,
  And I am sick of captive thrall.”

But even had we looked on the peasantry of Hungary at a less joyous
moment, we could not have failed to be struck with their extremely
picturesque costume. The men were dressed like those of Servia, even to
the ungainly sandal of untanned leather, laced above a short stocking of
checked worsted; though many among them had discarded the rude conical
cap of sheepskin, for one neatly made of white flannel, and bound with
black ribbon, which had a very cleanly and smart appearance; but the
women were in a costume which would have produced its effect at a fancy
ball. Like the maidens of Scotland, the young girls wore their hair
simply bound by a silken snood, into which they had stuck marigolds or
wild roses; while the matrons covered their heads with a handkerchief
placed very backward, and secured by bodkins, flowers, and coins, to a
cushion worn low in the neck, and concealed by a thick plait of hair. A
band of linen, a couple of inches in width, was fastened round the brow,
and completed the head-dress; and many of these were elegantly wrought
with beads and coloured worsteds; I also remarked one which was
decorated with small white cowries.

Herein alone existed any distinction of dress between the oldest matron
and the youngest maiden; the garments varying only in the richness of
their material. A chemisette of white linen reaching to the throat,
where it was confined by a band worked with coloured worsteds, continued
down the front of the bosom, and along the tops of the large, full
sleeves, was girt about the waist with two woollen aprons worn like
those of Servia, but falling only to the knee; where they terminated in
a deep fringe of the same colours as the apron, that descended to the
ancle. Some few made use of the same unsightly sandals as those of the
men, but they were principally barefooted.

The Hungarian peasantry are all soldiers when their services are
required, but resume their agricultural and domestic duties immediately
that the necessity has ceased to exist; hence they are all erect, and
smart-looking; and as they are a remarkably fine race of men, their
appearance is very striking. Of the women I cannot in candour say so
much, as they are, generally speaking, very plain; with flat features,
and expressionless countenances. There were, however, several startling
exceptions; and I know not whether in such cases it be actually the
intrinsic degree of beauty possessed by the individual, and that in a
land of plain women, Nature lavishes on the few all that she has
withheld from the many; or that the dearth of good looks in the many may
lead a stranger involuntarily to heighten to himself those of the few;
but it is certain that I saw in Hungary, as I thought at the time, half
a dozen of the loveliest girls imaginable.

We had left Orsova only a few miles behind us, when, descending a short
but precipitous declivity, we entered upon a road skirting the mountain
ridge on the one hand, and bounded on the other by the bed of a torrent;
whose waters, now in a state of comparative repose, brawled over the
masses of rock with which their own violence had cumbered the channel
during the winter storms; and ran dancing in the light, as their course
was further impeded by the fishing-dams of the peasantry; and, after
forming a thousand pigmy cascades, fell flashing back into the depths
of the ravine, to form a mirror for the overhanging hills.

Another hour of rapid travelling brought us to the ruins of Trajan’s
road. Six of the arches, built against the solid rock, still remain
nearly perfect; and hence this stupendous work may be traced for several
miles, as well as the massy fragments of a bridge across the torrent.

A lovely valley succeeded, hemmed in by hills, and dotted over with
little villages, seated on the banks of the mountain stream; looking,
from the peculiar formation of their small reed-thatched huts, like
gigantic apiaries. Every narrow shelf of rock that could be redeemed
from the forest, for such the whole line of heights, (gigantic as they
were), may literally be called, was in a high state of cultivation.
Patches of Indian corn, flourishing vineyards, green pasture lands, and
thriving orchards, were to be seen on all sides; while the effects of
the flitting light upon the autumn-touched timber were so magical, so
various, and so brilliant, that words are inadequate to paint them. Here
and there, among stretches of foliage, varying from the faint silvery
green of the river-willow, and the white lining of the aspen-leaf, to
the bright gold of the decaying beech, and the rich brown of the
withering oak, stood out a huge mass of bare calcareous rock; looking
like a giant portal closed upon the hidden treasures of the mountain’s
heart. And amid all these glorious hills, this jewel-like foliage, and
these flashing waters, we travelled on with the speed of lightning,
through an avenue of fruit-trees several miles in length.

A second stretch of the mountain-road conducted us to a spot where a
descent had been made to the bed of the torrent; and here, leaving the
direct line to the town of Mahadia, we forded the stream, and struck
into a byway, which, traversing a dense wood, led immediately to the
Baths. It was but an exchange of beauty. And, as we entered the gorge of
two stately mountains draped in forest-foliage, and lifting to the sky
their high and leafy heads; and saw the eagles planing above them in
majestic security, while flowers bloomed beside our path, and small
birds twittered among the branches; while the sound of the shepherd’s
reed-pipe came sweeping down into the valley from the giddy heights on
which his flock were browsing; and the luxurious cattle standing mid-way
in the stream, lowed out their enjoyment to their fellows, as if to lure
them from the mountain glades amid which they were wandering; I thought
that I had never traversed a country so lovely as this corner of
Hungary. I would not have missed that morning landscape for another term
of quarantaine!

We were quite unprepared for the scene that awaited us at the Baths.
The gorge in which they are built is so narrow that the rocks on either
side almost overhang the houses; and the torrent rushes brawling along
at their base, fed by continual springs. The establishment, which is
becoming every year more popular, is on a very large and handsome scale;
and the whole aspect of the place is so enchanting, so bright, so calm,
and so delightful, that, could we have woven the web of our day to a
week’s duration, I am quite sure that not one of our party would have
wearied of it.

The Baths are of Roman origin; and in the wall of one of the principal
apartments a stone is imbedded which still bears most legibly the
following inscription: “To Venus, Mercury, and Hercules, these springs,
conducive to Beauty, Activity, and Strength, are dedicated.” They are
strongly impregnated with sulphur, and produce on a first trial extreme
and almost painful exhaustion; but they are considered to be so very
efficacious, particularly in chronic diseases, that the government have
erected an Invalid Hospital and Bathing House at the extremity of the
mountain, for the use of the troops.

We partook of an excellent dinner at the Table d’Hôte on leaving the
Baths; and, greatly to our regret, were then compelled to retrace our
steps in order to reach Orsova before dusk. But we had already lingered
too long; and, on arriving in the court of the hotel where the
post-waggons were awaiting us, we were met by the declaration of the
drivers that they would not stir until daylight; the road to Drinkova
being cut along the brink of the mountain precipices, and so slightly
protected as to be even dangerous at noon-day.

We were, one and all, extremely annoyed at their decision, not knowing
if we could afford a loss of time on which we had not calculated; and we
almost began to ask ourselves whether the more incurious portion of the
party, who had quietly mounted the luggage-waggons at the
quarantaine-gate, and pursued their direct road to the steam-station,
had not been also the most prudent. For myself, despite the fatigue that
I had undergone during the day, and the enervating effect of the
sulphuric bath, I had so nerved myself for the night-journey, that I was
sincerely disappointed when assured that it was quite impracticable;
but, as there was no alternative, we resolved on retiring early to our
apartments, whose cleanliness and comfort were enhanced tenfold in our
eyes by our recent endurance of the disarray and desolation of the
quarantaine cells.

We were, however, obliged, ere we parted for the night, to receive the
Agent of the Steam-Company, and two officers of the Austrian Customs;
who, for “a consideration,” returned our books carefully sewed up in
linen, and sealed with this government-stamp in lead, accompanied by an
injunction not to remove it until we had passed the Austrian frontier.
We next paid a duty for the Turkish articles we had brought with us, and
which they did not trouble us to enumerate; as, thanks to the
“Health-Inventory” taken at the Lazaretto, they were thoroughly
acquainted with the extent of our possessions.

The official train had no sooner departed, than we busied ourselves in
superintending the arrangement of the provisions that were to accompany
us on the morrow’s journey; nothing edible, save Indian corn bread,
being purchaseable between the town of Orsova, and the station of the
steam-boat.

Few circumstances can be more provoking than the necessity which exists
of abandoning the course of the river at this particular point; as the
scenery for several successive miles is of the most majestic and
striking description. Piles of rock hem in the current, and almost
overhang it; caverns, hollowed by some fearful convulsion of nature,
tempt the venturous foot of the curious traveller; and far-spreading
forests, sweeping away into the distance, fringe the summits of the
mountains, and cast their deep shadows over the river tide.

Superadded to this disappointment, is the increase of fatigue consequent
on the compulsatory _détour_; the distance occupied by the shoal being
more than doubled by the overland journey that is made across the
loftiest of the Banût mountains, and performed in the country carriages
(the basket-work waggons already mentioned); which, although so lightly
constructed as to travel very rapidly, yet, being without springs, are
extremely fatiguing.

To obviate this inconvenience, the Steam Company have commenced the
construction of a road at the foot of the mountain-chain, the whole
length of the shoal; and it was progressing rapidly at the period of our
visit, under the auspices of the Austrian Government.[11] The necessary
outlay was said to be very great, owing to the difficult nature of the
locality, and the labour of penetrating the living rock. An entire mile
of this singular undertaking was already completed; and really afforded
an extraordinary proof of the effects produceable by human ingenuity and
perseverance. In particular spots it is entirely artificial; and is a
solid stretch of masonry based on the bed of the river—in others, it
hangs on the side of the mountain like a goat-path—and at others, again
it is a tunnel, walled and roofed with rock, and torn from the heart of
the mighty mass by blasting.

This road is intended to facilitate the passage of travellers and
merchandize, from one steam-vessel to the other, by means of
flat-bottomed boats, to be towed by horses along the hitherto impassable
portion of the river—an arrangement which will supersede the necessity
of abandoning the direct line; and save the traveller the expense,
fatigue, and inconvenience of the inland journey.



CHAPTER XXXIII.


  Departure from Orsova—Daybreak—The Mountain-pass—Village of
  Plauwischewitza—Austrian Engineers—Literary Popularity—The
  Rapids—Sunday in Hungary—Drinkova—Holyday
  Groups—Alibec—Voilovitch—Panchova—River-Shoals—Wild
  Fowl—Semlin—Fortress of Belgrade—Streets of Semlin—Greek
  Church—Castle of Hunyady—Imperial Barge—Agreeable
  Escort—Yusuf Pacha—Belgrade—Prince
  Milosch—Plague-Preventers—General Milosch—Servian
  Ladies—Turk-Town—Ruined Dwellings—The Fortress—Osman
  Bey—Gate of the Tower—Fearless Tower—Rapid Decay of the
  Fortifications—Sclavonian Garden—Vintage-Feast—Sclavonian
  Vintage-Song.


At four o’clock the following morning we left Orsova, lighted by a
perfect galaxy of stars; but shivering from the damp vapours which were
hanging in dense folds about the Danube. The light was just breaking as
we reached the foot of the mountains, and began to ascend a precipitous
road, slightly guarded on the outer edge by a wooden railing; whence we
looked down into rifts and chasms filled with the most profuse foliage;
at whose bottom rippled along the pigmy streams which in the winter
season swell to torrents, and awake the depths of the forest-fastnesses
with their brawling voices.

It is impossible to give the faintest picture of this mountain-pass,
with its bridges of rude timber flung over almost unfathomable
gulfs—its bold, overhanging paths, along which the narrow wheels have
scarcely space to pass—its dense masses of forest foliage, linked
together by the graceful wreaths of the wild vine with its blood red
leaves, and the clinging tendrils of the wild cotton plant with its
snowy tufts of down—its herds of cattle—its flocks of goats—and its
green grassy glades, laughing in the sunshine—its ever-recurring
effects of light and shade—its mysterious silence—and its surpassing
majesty.

As we travelled on, the day-beam grew brighter in the heavens, and the
horizon became one rich canopy of pink and violet. There were moments
when I was breathless with awe as we traversed that leafy solitude. I
never thought of danger; even when the half wild animals that drew us
were galloping at their greatest speed down the mountain-side, with a
shelf of rock walling us up on the one hand, and a deep precipice
yawning over against us on the other. I had not an instant to spare to
the possible peril of our position; I saw only, I felt only, the glory
which surrounded me. I could at that moment fully understand why the
mountaineer clung to liberty as to existence—how he who had once
breathed the pure air of heaven from the rocky brow on which the clouds
of night were wont to rest, and the sunshine of day to sport, must pine
amid the gloom of the valley, and the monotony of the plain. And when we
once more descended to the river’s edge, where all was safe and level, I
only felt regret that I could not call back the mystery and the
magnificence of the rock-seated forests, even although there might be
peril in their paths.

The road into which we passed at the foot of the mountain-chain led us
along fields of Indian corn, to the village of Plauwischewitza; where we
were compelled to remain a couple of hours, in order to rest the horses.
It was nine o’clock when we reached it; and as the little hamlet boasted
no wine-house, at which we could satisfy the keen appetite that we had
acquired by four hours of rapid travelling among the mountains, we were
preparing to breakfast in one of the waggons; when the Chevalier
Peitrich was recognized by an Officer of Austrian Engineers, who
immediately invited us to a very comfortable house that had been built
for himself and his brother-officers, during their superintendence of
the road to which I have already alluded.

We availed ourselves of his politeness most readily, and were received
with the greatest courtesy by the whole party; who showed and explained
to us several beautifully-coloured plans of the Danube, and the
projected roads and canals. In their bookcase I found Bulwer’s “England
and the English,” and Marryat’s “Naval Officer;” both published by
Baudry of Paris. It was like meeting old friends in a strange land, to
turn over the leaves of these well-remembered volumes in an obscure
Hungarian village!

At eleven o’clock we resumed our journey, which lay along the bank of
the river, but at a considerable height above the water. In one or two
places we wound round the base of rocks that jutted into the bed of the
stream, and which were rent and riven in an extraordinary manner; one
mass resting upon another, and so apparently insecure as to appear ready
to loosen their hold with the next blast of wind. By this picturesque
route we passed the rapids called Izlas; a singular ridge of rock
extending nearly across the river, at a spot where the shores are
extremely bold and beautiful; and at three o’clock in the afternoon we
again halted in another small hamlet.

The scene was a very cheerful one, as, owing to its being Sunday, all
the peasants were in their holyday garb; and were clustered at the doors
of their cottages, enjoying the pure air and the genial sunshine. I was
much amused at the method adopted by the Hungarian mothers of nursing
their infants; they carry a small box, in shape not unlike a coffin,
slung over their shoulders, in which the child lies upon a mattress; and
when the little being requires their care, they sit down upon the first
stone, or piece of timber in their path, swing the box to their knees,
and quietly attend to the wants of their nursling; the suspended cradle
is then restored to its original position, and their own occupations are
resumed.

On our arrival at the steam station at Drinkova, which is simply a large
block of building containing apartments for the resident agent and
stores for the housing of merchandize, we learnt that, owing to the long
drought, the water had become so low in the Danube that the vessel could
not descend beyond Alibec, the next station; and consequently, fatigued
as we were with a journey of sixty-five miles in rough carriages over
steep roads, we were compelled to continue our route at all speed; and
in about twenty minutes we reached the pretty and extensive village of
Drinkova, in which we found an Austrian regiment, occupying a commodious
barrack in the principal street. We remained here an hour, in order to
rest the unfortunate horses, which we were obliged to take on, as there
were no means of procuring others; and we started again just as the sun
was setting, and throwing fairy lights upon the mountain crests.

Many a gay group did we encounter as we pursued our way, hurrying home
to the village after a day of recreation among the hills; and we even
passed one party who had lingered so long that the blaze of the fire
that they had kindled in the woods streamed across our path.

At nine o’clock we reached Alibec by the light of a bright young moon,
which just disappeared behind the hills as we were hailed from the
vessel. At daylight the next morning we were under weigh; and about noon
the Francis I. was abreast of the extensive monastery and dependencies
of Voilovitch on the Hungarian side of the river; and shortly afterwards
we passed the town of Panchova, seated on the Temes, which here empties
itself into the Danube. About a mile and a half beyond Panchova, we
entered a shoal, and the steam was almost entirely stopped, while we
glided over the treacherous surface of the stream; the boat scarcely
appeared to make any way; but there was a slight tremulous motion that
seemed as though her heart still beat, while her progress was impeded.

These shoals, which are by no means without danger even by daylight, are
not, however, the only impediment to night-travelling on the Danube—the
violence of the current, particularly after a gale at sea, frequently
carrying away immense masses of the light sandy soil of the islands that
are scattered along the whole line of the river; and with them enormous
trees, which come sweeping down the stream, with their wide branches
spreading on all sides, and choking the passage. We encountered at
least a dozen of these uprooted forest giants during our voyage.

In the course of the afternoon we were off Semendri, an extensive
Turkish fortress, occupying a very commanding position on the Servian
shore, at the junction of the Jesava with the Danube; and defended by
twenty-seven towers, of which twenty-three were square, two round, and
two hexagonal; but extremely exposed on all sides, and apparently not in
the best state of repair.

At sunset we passed a group of islands thickly wooded, principally by
river-willows; and surrounded by long narrow necks of land, from which
the approach of the vessel aroused such a cloud of aquatic birds as I
never beheld before in my life. They must have amounted to several
thousands; and being wild swans, geese, ducks, and plover, they filled
the air with a discord, to which the monotonous beat of the
steam-paddles was music. During the whole day we were earnestly talking
of Belgrade—the far-famed fortress of Belgrade—which we were anxious
to reach before dusk. It was, however, eight o’clock before we were
abreast of this last stronghold of the Turks in Europe; and in half an
hour more we anchored at Semlin; where we were to remain the whole of
the next day to take in coals, and to embark passengers and
merchandize.

On the following morning immediately after breakfast, we went on shore
to see the town; but previously to landing we stood awhile on deck
contemplating the interesting scene around us. The Save, which here
empties itself into the Danube, forms the boundary between the
possessions of the Moslem, and those of the Christian. On one side its
ripple reflects the belfried towers and tall crosses, the walls and
dwellings, of the Christian population of Semlin—on the other it
mirrors the slender minarets and bristling fortifications of the
followers of Mahomet. Barges, filled with water-patroles, passed and
repassed the vessel; all was activity along the shore of Semlin; while a
dead stillness hung over the dark outworks of the opposite bank.

A walk of ten minutes brought us to the gate of Semlin, which terminates
a long, wide, clean-looking street, forming the main artery of the town.
The tide of life was, however, flowing through it sluggishly; a few
knots of military, belonging to the Italian regiment by which it was
garrisoned, were grouped at distances, or lounged idly along, gazing
into the shop windows; but we did not meet half a dozen peasants; a
circumstance that was afterwards explained by the fact of our having
made our incursion on the day of a great annual market, which had
attracted nearly all the inhabitants of the town and the surrounding
country to an extensive square at the back of the main street; where we
found a dense crowd of horses, waggons, merchandize, busy men, and plain
women.

Among its public buildings, Semlin boasts a Quarantaine Establishment,
considerably more extensive than that of Orsova; and also, as we were
informed, infinitely preferable in point of comfort and convenience. Our
curiosity, however, did not tend in that direction; and we were quite
satisfied with a view of the exterior walls.

In our stroll through the airy and well-kept streets, we visited the
Greek Church, which was handsomely fitted up. The door was opened to us
by a magnificent-looking priest, who did the honours with great
politeness; save that he would not admit me into the Sanctuary to
examine the enamelled bible which he displayed with great pride to the
gentlemen; little imagining, holy man! that I had penetrated behind the
veil of the church at the Fanar; and seen the most costly of all their
copies of the Sacred Writings in the thrice blessed hands of the
Patriarch himself!

From the Church we ascended a height above the town, to explore the
ruins of the celebrated Castle of Hunyady, the father of Matteas
Corvinus; the most renowned of all Hungarian heroes. It is now rapidly
passing away, to be numbered with the things that were, and are not. It
is a square erection, with a round tower at each angle; and is no where
left standing more than ten feet from the level of the earth; but the
walls are extremely massive, measuring nearly eighteen feet in
thickness; and the situation is commanding, as the acclivity on which it
is built sweeps the river to a considerable distance on both sides.

Having sauntered through the town, and made a few purchases, in order to
recall to us hereafter our first ramble in Sclavonia, we returned on
board to a mid-day dinner; the Chevalier having assured us that he
possessed sufficient interest with the General commanding at Semlin, to
secure to us the permission to visit Belgrade; which, being a Turkish
fort, was unapproachable to the Quarantaine-cleansed, without special
authority. He had calculated justly; and in the course of the afternoon
an Imperial barge put off, with the plague-flag flying at her stern, and
took us on board, attended by two keepers from the Quarantaine
Establishment, and a Custom-house officer. Under this cheerful escort we
departed for Belgrade; the last minareted town in Europe, and the
residence of Yusuf Pasha; who, in the event of hostilities, will
probably acquit himself at Belgrade as honourably as he did at Varna.

The position of this extensive fortress is most imposing; seated as it
is upon the banks of two noble rivers: its walls being washed on two
sides by the Danube, and on a third by the Save. Its appearance is very
formidable, and had it been bestowed upon an European power, it must
have proved a dangerous present; but its noble outworks and stately
walls are crumbling to decay; and in its present state it is scarcely
more than a colossal feature in the landscape.

On the first cession of the Fortress of Belgrade to the Turks by the
Emperor Leopold, the occupation of the town was reserved exclusively to
the Servians, whose Prince, Milosch, has a handsome residence in the
principal street; but since the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, the Osmanlis
have poured into the town; and, as the natives resisted the innovation,
have formed themselves into a distinct colony which may be called
Turk-town, where they live with the Jews in tolerable harmony; a
circumstance that to a person conversant with the Musselmaun prejudice
against the outcasts of Israel, is altogether inexplicable. The two
people have a population of eight thousand souls; while the Servians
average about twelve thousand.

Nothing could be more irksome than our passage through the streets of
Belgrade! We landed beside the New Custom-house, a large and rather
handsome building; and thence passed the gate of the town, which was
guarded by a sentinel who could have been barely fourteen years of age.
Just within the barrier stood the guard-house, where an officer sat
smoking his chibouk, and talking with his men, with all the _bon-hommie_
and laxity of discipline, common to the Turks.

It must have been a comedy to see us pass along, all crowded together,
and flanked and followed by our vigilant guardians; who with their long
canes threw aside every fragment of linen, woollen, or paper, that
chanced to lie in our path, as well as chasing thence every passenger
who happened to cross it. The Turks smiled a quiet smile as we passed
them, for they believe all Europeans to be impregnable to the plague,
and consequently consider their precautions as the mere result of a love
of excitement and bustle; and I confess that to me the extreme
watchfulness of our attendants was so irritating, that, although it
amused me for a time, and that I smiled with the Turks at the pains
taken to prevent our contact with the inhabitants of a town in which no
plague-case had happened during the season, and who had therefore more
reason to avoid our own proximity, it finished by making me perfectly
nervous.

Thus guarded, and rendered sensible that it is sometimes more
troublesome to be out of quarantaine than to be in it, we made our way
to the residence of the Austrian Consul, with whom our friend the
Chevalier was acquainted; and who joined our party at a respectful
distance, having sent his dragoman to request the Pasha’s permission for
us to visit the interior of the fortress. While we awaited his reply we
determined on accompanying our new and courteous acquaintance to pay a
visit to General Milosch, the brother of the Prince, who is a resident
in Servia. By the way he pointed out to us the house of the Prince’s
daughter, who is married to a wealthy brewer; and to whom he gave a herd
of ten thousand oxen as a marriage portion. And, what was infinitely
more interesting, the dwelling of Cerny George; a single-storied
building of some extent, but of most unpretending appearance.

A servant having been despatched to apprise the General of our intended
visit, he received us most politely at the door of his house, and
conducted us up stairs to a marble hall; being kept at arm’s length
during the ascent by our plague-preventing keepers; who, having
themselves placed a line of chairs for us along one side of the hall,
graciously permitted us to be seated. The General, attended by two or
three servants, then took possession of a green silk fauteuil at the
other extremity of the apartment; and the lady of the house shortly
afterwards made her appearance, followed by her eldest daughter; a
remarkably fine girl, with a noble forehead, and full dark eyes. The
costume of these ladies was extremely elegant and picturesque;
confirming an opinion which I had often expressed, that the Greek dress,
if carefully arranged, and judiciously chosen as to colours, must be one
of the most becoming and effective in the world. Here I saw the
realization of my idea; for the small fèz, confined by the dark tress of
hair, and fastened with a diamond clasp; the pelisse of pale blue satin,
lined and edged with sables; and the full robe of silk, delicately
embroidered on the bosom and wrists with gold, were all Greek; while the
extreme _tenue_ and taste of their arrangement, the slight waist, and
careful _chaussure_, were essentially Servian.

Nothing could exceed the courteous attention of the whole family.
Coffee, pipes, and sweetmeats were served; and our trusty guardians,
satisfied with handing them to us themselves, and thus heroically
incurring the risk of becoming the medium of contagion in their own
proper persons, allowed us to make use of the silver spoons, although we
had been obliged to deliver up our money in the quarantaine, in order
that it might be washed by the keeper—Metals being voted
plague-conductors at Orsova, though they were admitted to _pratique_ at
Belgrade!

The permission of the Pasha to our entrance into the fortress was not so
readily accorded as had been anticipated; and we were accordingly
detained nearly an hour ere it arrived. It came, however, at last; and,
after taking leave of the interesting family who had so hospitably
received us, we once more set forth, traversing a considerable portion
of the Servian town, in order to reach the glacis; when, diverging a
little from our direct route, we ascended one of the outworks, in order
to look down upon the Turk quarter, and the shores of the river.

Hence we had a lovely view of Semlin, and of a portion of the extensive
Hungarian plain, which, studded with villages, and masses of forest
timber, extends for a distance of six and thirty leagues. In Turk-town
the Consul pointed out to us the ruins of several fine buildings erected
by the Austrians; and, amongst others, the remains of the residence of
Prince Eugene.

Descending the outwork, whence we had a perfect insight into the
dilapidated state of the exterior walls and bastions of the once lordly
fortress; we proceeded to the gate, and, having passed it, were obliged
to progress for a considerable distance along the palisade, ere we
reached the bridge by which we were to enter the fort. The palisades
were in melancholy keeping with the rest of the defences; and traces of
fire were perceptible on the few that still remained erect.

The interior of this celebrated stronghold did not belie its promise
from without. A _ci-devant_ barrack had a stunted minaret built against
its wall, and was converted into a very dilapidated-looking mosque. The
citadel, now denominated the Palace of the Pasha, had much the
appearance of a barn, weather-stained and neglected, with broken windows
and swinging shutters. The kiosk of the harem was a temporary wooden
building; pitched, and repaired with unpainted timber. And, had I been
on my way _to_ Constantinople, instead of _from_ it, my pre-conceived
and highly-wrought ideas of Oriental splendour would have inevitably
suffered utter prostration at the sight of this “princely”
establishment.

The Fortress of Belgrade, which is the most extensive, as well as the
strongest military position possessed by the Turks, is garrisoned only
by four hundred men, or rather men and boys, for a portion of them are
mere youths; and when to this fact is added another still more
startling, that since it passed into the hands of its present masters,
all the cisterns have been suffered to fall into utter decay; and that
the whole of the water necessary for the supply of the inhabitants is
carried into the fort daily in carts, it will be seen at once that a
future “Siege of Belgrade” would be a bloodless one; as the garrison
must inevitably be starved out by drought.

I must not, however, omit to mention that the gentlemen of our party
were much struck by the very soldier-like and efficient manner in which
the troops (if thus I may be permitted to designate the mere handful of
men collected in the drilling-ground) were performing their exercise;
and whom they declared to excel in precision of movement, and
cleanliness of appearance any Turkish regiment that they had seen in the
capital; and to do great credit to the military talent of Osman Bey,
their Lieutenant-Colonel; who, as well as Ismaèl Bey, a subaltern
officer in the same corps, is a son of the Pasha.

Osman Bey, who is rather a fine-looking man, greeted us very politely as
we crossed the exercise-ground, in order to leave the fortress by a
handsome gate, above whose massy columns are still emblazoned, in _alto
relievo_, the arms of Austria, in a shield surrounded by military
emblems, and supported by two colossal suits of armour.

Beside the moat that protects this gate, stands an hexagonal tower,
built by the Turks, and called the “Fearless Tower,” from the
pertinacity with which they defended it during a siege; and the heroic
actions performed in its immediate vicinity by one of their Pashas. This
tower, and two or three rude bridges of timber over the moat; a couple
of ill-proportioned minarets, and the wooden kiosk attached to the
citadel, are the only Turkish erections perceptible. Ruin is rapidly
progressing on all sides; the walls are giving way; the ditches are in
many places cumbered with the fallen rubbish; the covered ways are laid
open; and the guns that yet remain within the weed-grown embrasures are
so ill-mounted, as to be perfectly innoxious.

Such is, at this moment, the condition of the far-famed Fortress of
Belgrade—the boundary-fort of Servia—the last spot of European land
subject to the sway of the Moslem—And here, as we re-entered our barge
to pass to the opposite bank of the Save, whence we were to return to
Semlin in the carriage of a friend of the Chevalier’s, we looked our
last on the graceful minarets which indicate the religion of Mahomet,
and form so elegant a feature in the Oriental landscape.

Ere we returned on board, we drove to the garden of the Austrian
dragoman, whence you are said to command the finest view in the
neighbourhood of Semlin; and although the river-vapours effectually
prevented us, on this occasion, from seeing a hundred yards beyond the
spot where we stood, we were amply repaid for the détour that we had
been induced to make, by the opportunity which it afforded to us of
spending half an hour in one of the most charming and well-kept gardens
imaginable; a great treat at all times, but doubly agreeable to
individuals like ourselves, who had been so long wanderers on the
waters. The walks ran through avenues of vines, whose purple clusters
did not invite our touch in vain; and so neatly trained as to form the
greenest and most level hedges that can be imagined; while not a weed
nor an unsightly object was to be seen from one end of the enclosure to
the other. The Sclavonians are, indeed, considered such proficient
gardeners, that forty-five out of fifty of those employed in
Constantinople are of that nation; and we had consequently been curious
to see a gentleman’s grounds in their own land, and laid out entirely in
their own manner.

We were about to re-enter the carriage, in order to return to the
vessel, when a flight of rockets ran shimmering along the sky; and
immediately afterwards we were overtaken by a procession of peasants,
celebrating the last day of the vintage.

It was one of the prettiest sights that I ever remember to have seen.
The train was headed by about thirty youths dressed in white garments,
and wearing large flapping hats of black felt, nearly similar to the
_sombreros_ of Spain, into whose narrow bands they had wreathed bunches
of wild-flowers; each carrying across his shoulder a long pliant pole,
with a basket piled with grapes at each extremity. These were followed
by as many young girls, in the usual picturesque costume of the country,
with a profusion of marigolds fastened among their dark tresses; walking
two and two, and bearing baskets of grapes between them. And the
procession terminated with a crowd of children waving in their little
hands long branches of the vine; and lending their clear and joyous
voices to the wild chorus of the vintage-song that their elders were
pealing out; and which ran, as nearly as I can render it from the
hurried and imperfect translation given to me as we journeyed on,
somewhat in the following manner:—


  THE SCLAVONIAN VINTAGE-SONG.

  Around the oak the wild-vine weaves
  Its glittering wreath of blood-red leaves;
  But it pays not back the peasant’s cares;
  No gold it wins, and no fruit it bears.
  It may flaunt its glories on the breeze,
  We have no time to waste on these;
  Our’s is the Vine near whose goodly root
  We seek, and find the jewelled fruit!

  The wild-vine springs on the mountain’s crest,
  By every wind are its leaves caress’d;
  But it sickens soon in the garish ray
  That rests on its beauty all the day.
  Let it joy awhile in the breeze and sun,
  A lovely trifler to look upon;
  Our’s is the Vine that, with worthier pride,
  Gems with its fruit the fair hill-side!

  Our’s is the Vine! Our’s is the Vine!
  Our’s is the source of the rich red wine!
  Flowers may be fair on the maiden’s brow—
  Streams may be bright in their sunny flow—
  But dearer to us is the joyous spell
  Which our clustering grape calls up so well;
  Of purple and gold our wreaths we twine—
  Our’s is the Vine! Our’s is the Vine!



CHAPTER XXXIV.


  Carlowitz—Peterwarradin—Bridge of Boats—Neusatz—The Journey
  of Life—The Chevalier Peitrich—Austrian Officers—The
  Hungarian Poet—Illok—The Ancient Surnium—Peel Tower—Intense
  Cold—Flat Shores—Mohasch—Földvar—Pesth—German
  Postillion—A Few Last Words.


Early on the morrow we were off Carlowitz, a cathedral town beautifully
situated; of which, owing to the abrupt windings of the river, we had
two distinct views. The Cathedral is a handsome edifice, with two light
and graceful spires; having from a distance very much the appearance of
minarets. The prevailing religion on the Sclavonian shore of the Danube
is that of the Greek Church, which has also obtained considerably in
Hungary; but the Roman Catholic worship is to be found everywhere along
its banks. Carlowitz contains about twelve thousand inhabitants; and its
shore was crowded with passage and fishing boats—while the whole height
beneath which it is built was covered with vineyards and orchards, in
the finest state of cultivation; the latter being principally composed
of trees bearing a small blue plum, used in the distillation of brandy;
which, we were told, was of a very fine quality. A short distance beyond
the city, the tributary river Thuss empties itself into the Danube;
offering extraordinary facilities for the transport of produce, in the
very heart of a rich and prolific country.

A sudden angle of the river immediately after leaving Carlowitz, brought
us within sight of Peterwarradin, a very fine fortress with strong and
extensive outworks; and in its position greatly resembling Belgrade. It
is garrisoned by three thousand Austrian troops; and on arriving
opposite to the height on which it is seated, we observed the remains of
an outwork, on an island in the centre of the river, that has been
abandoned, owing to its annual destruction by the ice; the outlay
necessary to preserve its efficiency having been considered greater than
its probable utility was thought to warrant.

A second bold sweep of the Danube, which winds like a girdle about the
hill-seated fortress, disclosed to us the bridge of boats that links
Peterwarradin with Neusatz, a cheerful-looking town containing six
churches; and here the Francis I. fired her three pigmy guns, ere she
passed on to the wooden pier where she was to take on board her new
passengers; and, greatly to our regret, to land our courtly and amiable
friend the Chevalier, whose estate was situated within three leagues of
the river.

A long voyage resembles a long life—Friends and associates fall from
you on all sides as you advance; and those who join company more
tardily, generally fail to fill up the void occasioned by the loss of
the earlier and better known. Both in the one and the other, you set
forward with high hopes and unexhausted energies; and you lend yourself
readily to the companionship of those among whom your fate has flung
you. But as you become accustomed to the scrip and the staff; and learn
by experience the weariness, and the withering, incident to your
pilgrimage, you turn not with the same joyousness to greet the new
wayfarer who joins your company. You may indeed share with him your loaf
of bread and your cruise of water; but the heart no longer goes forth
with the hand, to mingle in the gift.

Long will the Chevalier Peitrich live in the memory of the party with
whom he travelled up the Danube; and shared the captivity of the
quarantaine. He did the honours of his country so gracefully and so
graciously—his patience and his politeness were so untiring—and he was
in himself so agreeable and intelligent a companion, that the greatest
deprivation which we had been called upon to suffer since our departure
from Constantinople, was that of his society.

Our influx of passengers from Neusatz was considerable; and for the
first time since I left the Bosphorus, I found myself compelled to share
the after-cabin with two ladies; while the gentlemen’s party was
increased by half a dozen young Austrian officers on their way to a new
quarter; all very noisy, and very good-natured; great smokers, great
talkers, and great card-players; and as many civilians; among whom was a
lame, benevolent-looking, elderly Hungarian, who spent the whole of his
time in reading Horace, and writing poetry.

Late in the afternoon we reached Illok; a fine town, crowned by the
ruins of a very extensive castle, whose castellated remains stretch for
a considerable distance along the brow of the hill. This noble property
belongs to Il Principe Odeschak, the Pope’s nephew; and is distant only
three miles from the Ancient Surnium.

At night-fall we passed another ruined pile, apparently a peel-tower;
perched on an abrupt rock; which had a beautiful effect as the moonlight
touched its mouldering walls. Near it stood a small castle, also in
ruin, but we could not distinguish more than its outline, owing to the
lateness of the hour, and the rapid gathering of the darkness. We
anchored for the night at the small town of Vacova, having been
seventeen hours under steam.

The following morning we passed three more feudal and picturesque
remains; and about noon arrived off the mouth of the Drave, a
considerable river dividing Sclavonia from Hungary Proper: and pouring
forth its tributary waters in a noble stream to the all-absorbing
Danube. But the cold was so extreme, and had come upon us so suddenly,
that we were unable to keep the deck for any length of time—a
circumstance which we regretted the less, however, as both the banks of
the river had become flat, swampy, and uninteresting—the beautiful
mountains of the Banût having given place in Hungary to the
far-stretching and monotonous plain to which I have already alluded; and
the Sclavonian shore being a mere line of sand and marsh-willows; with
here and there a village scattered along its edge. In the evening at
sunset we reached Mohasch, where the coals were wheeled on board by
women, while groups of men lounged on the wooden pier watching their
labours.

The steam was on at daybreak the following morning, and during the whole
day we remained prisoners in the cabin, the cold being so intense as to
drive even the sturdiest of the party below. The country continued to
present one unvaried flat; and books, pens, and pencils, were in
requisition until sunset; when we anchored a little below Földvar on the
Hungarian side of the river, and remained there quietly until the
morrow.

The evening of that morrow was to see us at Pesth; and the transition
was so great from the overpowering heats to which we had for so many
months been accustomed in the East, to the heavy and clinging damps of
the Danube, that we resolved on abandoning the river at that point, and
pursuing our journey by post to Vienna—a determination in which we were
strengthened by the discovery that there was a detention of six days at
Pesth, ere the vessel continued her voyage.

The approach to the city was between an avenue of floating mills, of
nearly half a mile in length, producing an extraordinary effect to an
unaccustomed eye; and, as the day was falling before we reached it, the
myriad lights of the streets were reflected like lines of stars in the
river-ripple. The situation of Pesth is beautiful; and the town itself
well-built, cleanly, and cheerful. The Opera House is a handsome pile,
and the _artistes_ are far from contemptible; the Hotels are spacious
and comfortable; the Palace of the Palatinate is finely seated on an
eminence, and in extremely good taste; and there is a _business look_
about the inhabitants as they hurry to and fro, which gives an air of
animation to the scene essentially European.

A bridge of boats, four hundred yards in length, links the more modern
city of Pesth to the ancient Hungarian capital of Buda on the opposite
shore, and now called Offen. The hill of Blocksburg on this bank of the
Danube is crowned by an observatory; and the gently undulating heights
which hem in the town, on the south and east sides, are covered with
vineyards, and celebrated for the superior quality of their produce.

We left Pesth in the afternoon, two hours later than we had intended,
owing to the difficulties started with regard to our luggage, but these
were ultimately overcome by the potent argument with which English
travellers generally contrive to carry a point. When we issued from the
gate of the _Jägerhorn_ in our heavy and lumbering carriage, we were
infinitely amused by the appearance of the postillion; a youth of about
eighteen, who wore a sort of hussar jacket, with a small bugle hung
about his neck; jack boots, and a formidable cocked-hat and feather. We
travelled, however, at a tolerable pace; and, as we bade adieu to the
Hungarian Capital, and saw the laughing vineyards spreading away into
the distance, we congratulated ourselves on our emancipation from the
damps and delays of the river-voyage; even purchased as it was by the
fatigue of six-and-thirty hours of German posting.

A few words may now close the Volume. I had believed that I should
rejoice when my task was ended; but it is not so. I cannot part from
the reader who has lingered with me in strange lands without a feeling
of regret; and, as I look back upon the pages that I have written, and
the scenes that I have sketched; a heaviness of heart comes over me, as
though I were looking upon the face of a dead friend. As I traced the
one and the other, the images of the past rose up before me; and, even
although the vividity of each was lost, enough yet remained to me; for
there was still a tie, though every hour weakened it. May I be permitted
to pursue the melancholy fancy that I have conjured up? I have been as
one who watched a death-couch; clinging to the fast-failing remnant of
that which once was bright, and was soon to pass away.

My vigils now are ended. The pleasant spell is broken; I turn my face
towards Mecca, and remember my pilgrimage; but the distant landscape is
veiled in mist.

The Propontis is but a memory; the glorious Bosphorus is seen only in a
dream; the “Sea of Storms” no longer bears the roar of its breakers to
my ear; and the Danube rolls along in sullen majesty, bathing rock and
mountain, islet, and city, in its proud waters; but I ride not upon its
tide.

It is midnight. The tall houses of a dense city rise before me; the hum
of many voices comes upon the wind; a bright firelock flashes in the
guard-fire; a stern voice challenges the strangers as they pass; the
jaded horses, conscious of approaching rest, put forth their failing
power; and ere many moments pass, the heavy carriage rattles under the
arched gateway of the Stadt-London in Vienna.


  FOOTNOTES:

  [1] Professional Story-tellers.

  [2] Street-porter.

  [3] It is an extraordinary coincidence that at the moment in
  which this work is passing through the press, intelligence has
  arrived in Europe of the disgrace of this hitherto-favoured
  individual: the prostration of a life-long ambition.

  [4] It is not without pain that I have, on passing my work
  through the press, to record the death of this amiable and
  gifted man. He perished by Plague a few weeks subsequently to
  our departure for England.

  [5] Some of the more distinguished harems have their arabas
  drawn by oxen of so pale a colour as to be almost white: and
  their sleek skins are painted all over in patches of orange
  colour, which give them a most extraordinary appearance.

  [6] The Eastern salutation.

  [7] Fate.

  [8] Jasmin.

  [9] The September of 1836.

  [10] I have again to record a plague-victim in this
  distinguished man; the intelligence of whose death has reached
  me since my return to England.

  [11] Since our return to England, we have learnt that, for
  political reasons, the Austrian Government have withdrawn, or
  at least suspended, their assistance to this undertaking; as
  well as discountenanced the formation of the canals destined to
  perfect the navigation of the Danube.


  THE END.


  LONDON:
  P. SHOBERL, JUN., LEICESTER STREET, LEICESTER SQUARE.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The City of the Sultan; and Domestic Manners of the Turks, in 1836, Vol. II (of 2)" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home