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Around the World on a Bicycle V1 by Thomas Stevens

Part 4 out of 9

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The road southward from Sofia is abominable, being originally constructed
of earth and large unbroken bowlders; it has not been repaired for years,
and the pack-trains and ox-wagons forever crawling along have, during
the wet weather of many seasons, tramped the dirt away, and left the
surface a wretched waste of ruts, holes, and thickly protruding stones.
It is the worst piece of road I have encountered in all Europe; and
although it is ridable this morning by a cautious person, one risks and
invites disaster at every turn of the wheel. "Old Boreas" comes howling
from the mountains of the north, and hustles me briskly along over ruts,
holes, and bowlders, however, in a most reckless fashion, furnishing all
the propelling power needful, and leaving me nothing to do but keep a
sharp lookout for breakneck places immediately ahead. In Servia, the
peasants, driving along the road in their wagons, upon observing me
approaching them, being uncertain of the character of my vehicle and the
amount of road-space I require, would ofttimes drive entirely off the
road; and sometimes, when they failed to take this precaution, and their
teams would begin to show signs of restiveness as I drew near, the men
would seem to lose their wits for the moment, and cry out in alarm, as
though some unknown danger were hovering over them. I have seen women
begin to wail quite pitifully, as though they fancied I bestrode an all-
devouring circular saw that was about to whirl into them and rend team,
wagon, and everything asunder. But the Bulgarians don't seem to care
much whether I am going to saw them in twain or not; they are far less
particular about yielding the road, and both men and women seem to be
made of altogether sterner stuff than the Servians and Slavonians. They
seem several degrees less civilized than their neighbors farther north,
judging from tieir general appearance and demeanor. They act peaceably
and are reasonably civil toward me and the bicycle, however, and personallv
I rather enjoy their rough, unpolished manners. Although there is a
certain element of rudeness and boisterousuess about them compared with
anything I have encountered elsewhere in Europe, they seem, on the whole,
a good-natured people. We Westerners seldom hear anything of the Bulgarians
except in war-times and then it is usually in connection with atrocities
that furnish excellent sensational material for the illustrated weeklies;
consequently I rather expected to have a rough time riding through alone.
But, instead of coming out slashed and scarred like a Heidelberg student,
I emerge from their territory with nothing more serious than a good
healthy shaking up from their ill-conditioned roads and howling winds,
and my prejudice against black bread with sand in it partly overcome
from having had to eat it or nothing. Bulgaria is a principality under
the suzerainty of the Sultan, to whom it is supposed to pay a yearly
tribute; but the suzerainty sits lightly upon the people, since they do
pretty much as they please; and they never worry themselves about the
tribute, simply putting it down on the slate whenever it comes due. The
Turks might just as well wipe out the account now as at any time, for
they will eventually have to whistle for the whole indebtedness. A smart
rain-storm drives me into an uninviting mehana near the Roumelian frontier,
for two unhappy hours, at noon - a mehana where the edible accommodations
would wring an "Ugh" from an American Indian - and the sole occupants
are a blear-eyed Bulgarian, in twenty-year-old sheep-skin clothes, whose
appearance plainly indicates an over-fondness for mastic, and an unhappy-
looking black kitten. Fearful lest something, perchance, might occur
to compel me to spend the night here, I don my gossamers as soon as the
rain slacks up a little, and splurge ahead through the mud toward Ichtiman,
which, my map informs me, is just on this side of the Kodja Balkans,
which rise up in dark wooded ridges at no great distance ahead, to the
southward. The mud and rain combine to make things as disagreeable as
possible, but before three o'clock I reach Ichtiman, to find that I am
in the province of Eoumelia, and am again required to produce my passport.

I am now getting well down into territory that quite recently was
completely under the dominion of the "unspeakable Turk " - unspeakable,
by the way, to the writer in more senses than one - and is partly so even
now, but have as yet seen very little of the "mysterious veiled lady."
The Bulgarians are Christian when they are anything, though the great
majority of them are nothing religiously. A comparatively comfortable
mehana is found here at Ichtiman, and the proprietor, being able to talk
German, readily comprehends the meaning of hune-hen fabrica; but I have
to dispense with cherries.

Mud is the principal element of the road leading out of Ichtiman and
over the Kodja Balkans this morning. The curious crowd of Ichtimanites
that follow me through the mud-holes and filth of their native streets,
to see what is going to happen when I get clear of them, are rewarded
but poorly for their trouble; the best I can possibly do being to make
a spasmodic run of a hundred yards through the mud, which I do purely
out of consideration for their inquisitiveness, since it seems rather
disagreeable to disappoint a crowd of villagers who are expectantly
following and watching one's every movement, wondering, in their ignorance,
why you don't ride instead of walk. It is a long, wearisome trundle up
the muddy slopes of the Kodja Balkans, but, after the descent into the
Maritza Valley begins, some little ridable surface is encountered, though
many loose stones are lying about, and pitch-holes innumerable, make
riding somewhat risky, considering that the road frequently leads
immediately alongside precipices. Pack-donkeys are met on these mountain-
roads, sometimes filling the way, and corning doggedly and indifferently
forward, even in places where I have little choice between scrambling
up a rock on one side of the road or jumping down a precipice on the
other. I can generally manage to pass them, however, by placing the
bicycle on one side, and, 'standing guard over it, push them off one by
one as they pass. Some of these Roumelian donkeys are the most diminutive
creatures I ever saw; but they seem capable of toiling up these steep
mountain-roads with enormous loads. I met one this morning carrying
bales of something far bigger than himself, and a big Roumelian, whose
feet actually came in contact with the ground occasionally, perched on
his rump; the man looked quite capable of carrying both the donkey and
his load.

The warm and fertile Maritza Valley is reached soon after noon, and I
am not sorry to find it traversed by a decent macadamized road; though,
while it has been raining quite heavily up among the mountains, this
valley has evidently been favored with a small deluge, and frequent
stretches are covered with deep mud and sand, washed down from the
adjacent hills; in the cultivated areas of the Bulgarian uplands the
grain-fields are yet quite green, but harvesting has already begun in
the warmer Maritza Vale, and gangs of Roumelian peasants are in the
fields, industriously plying reaping-hooks to save their crops of wheat
and rye, which the storm has badly lodged. Ere many miles of this level
valley-road are ridden over, a dozen pointed minarets loom up ahead, and
at four o'clock I dismount at the confines of the well nigh impassable
streets of Tatar Bazardjik, quite a lively little city in the sense that
Oriental cities are lively, which means well-stocked bazaars thronged
with motley crowds. Here I am delayed for some time by a thunder-storm,
and finally wheel away southward in the face of threatening heavens.
Several villages of gypsies are camped on the banks of the Maritza, just
outside the limits of Tatar Bazardjik; a crowd of bronzed, half-naked
youngsters wantonly favor me with a fusillade of stones as I ride past,
and several gaunt, hungry-looking curs follow me for some distance with
much threatening clamor. The dogs in the Orient seem to be pretty much
all of one breed, genuine mongrel, possessing nothing of the spirit and
courage of the animals we are familiar with. Gypsies are more plentiful
south of the Save than even in Austria-Hungary, but since leaving Slavonia
I have never been importuned by them for alms. Travellers from other
countries are seldom met with along the roads here, and I suppose that
the wandering Romanies have long since learned the uselessness of asking
alms of the natives; but, since they religiously abstain from anything
like work, how they manage to live is something of a mystery.

Ere I am five kilometres from Tatar Bazardjik the rain begins to descend,
and there is neither house nor other shelter visible anywhere ahead. The
peasants' villages are all on the river, and the road leads for mile
after mile through fields of wheat and rye. I forge ahead in a drenching
downpour that makes short work of the thin gossamer suit, which on this
occasion barely prevents me getting a wet skin ere I descry a thrice-welcome
mehana ahead and repair thither, prepared to accept, with becoming
thankfulness, whatever accommodation the place affords. It proves many
degrees superior to the average Bulgarian institution of the same name,
the proprietor causing my eyes fairly to bulge out with astonishment by
producing a box of French sardines, and bread several shades lighter
than I had, in view of previous experience expected to find it; and for
a bed provides one of the huge, thick overcoats before spoken of, which,
with the ample hood, envelops the whole figure in a covering that defies
both wet and cold. I am provided with this unsightly but none the less
acceptable garment, and given the happy privilege of occupying the floor
of a small out-building in company with several rough-looking pack-train
teamsters similarly incased; I pass a not altogether comfortless night,
the pattering of rain against the one small window effectually suppressing
such thankless thoughts as have a tendency to come unbidden whenever the
snoring of any of my fellow-lodgers gets aggravatingly harsh. In all
this company I think I am the only person who doesn't snore, and when I
awake from my rather fitful slumbers at four o'clock and find the rain
no longer pattering against the window, I arise, and take up my journey
toward Philippopolis, the city I had intended reaching yesterday. It is
after crossing the Kodja Balkans and descending into the Maritza Valley
that one finds among the people a peculiarity that, until a person becomes
used to it, causes no little mystification and many ludicrous mistakes.
A shake of the head, which with us means a negative answer, means exactly
the reverse with the people of the Maritza Valley; and it puzzled me not
a little more than once yesterday afternoon when inquiring whether I was
on the right road, and when patronizing fruit-stalls in Tatar Bazardjik.
One never feels quite certain about being right when, after inquiring
of a native if this is the correct road to Mustapha Pasha or Philippopolis
he replies with a vigorous shake of the head; and although one soon gets
accustomed to this peculiarity in others, and accepts it as it is intended,
it is not quite so easy to get into the habit yourself. This queer custom
seems to prevail only among the inhabitants of this particular valley,
for after leaving it at Adrianople I see nothing more of it. Another
peculiarity all through Oriental, and indeed through a good part of
Central Europe, is that, instead of the "whoa" which we use to a horse,
the driver hisses like a goose.

Yesterday evening's downpour has little injured the road between the
mehana and Philippopolis, the capital of Eoumelia, and I wheel to the
confines of that city in something over two hours. Philippopolis is most
beautifully situated, being built on and around a cluster of several
rocky hills; a situation which, together with a plenitude of waving
trees, imparts a pleasing and picturesque effect. With a score of tapering
minarets pointing skyward among the green foliage, the scene is thoroughly
Oriental; but, like all Eastern cities, "distance lends enchantment to
the view." All down the Maritza Valley, and in lesser numbers extending
southward and eastward over the undulating plains of Adrianople, are
many prehistoric mounds, some twenty-five or thirty feet high, and of
about the same diameter. Sometimes in groups, and sometimes singly, these
mounds occur so frequently that one can often count a dozen at a time.
In the vicinity of Philippopolis several have been excavated, and human
remains discovered reclining beneath large slabs of coarse pottery set
up like an inverted V, thus: A, evidently intended as a water-shed for
the preservation of the bodies. Another feature of the landscape, and
one that fails not to strike the observant traveller as a melancholy
feature, are the Mohammedan cemeteries. Outside every town and near every
village are broad areas of ground thickly studded with slabs of roughly
hewn rock set up on end; cities of the dead vastly more populous than
the abodes of life adjacent. A person can stand on one of the Philippopolis
heights and behold the hills and vales all around thickly dotted with
these rude reminders of our universal fate. It is but as yesterday since
the Turk occupied these lands, and was in the habit of making it
particularly interesting to any "dog of a Christian" who dared desecrate
one of these Mussulman cemeteries with his unholy presence; but to-day
they are unsurrounded by protecting fence or the moral restrictions of
dominant Mussulmans, and the sheep, cows, and goats of the "infidel
giaour" graze among them; and oh, shade of Mohammed! hogs also scratch
their backs against the tombstones and root around, at their own sweet
will, sometimes unearthing skulls and bones, which it is the Turkish
custom not to bury at any great depth. The great number and extent of
these cemeteries seem to appeal to the unaccustomed observer in eloquent
evidence against a people whose rule find religion have been of the

While obtaining my breakfast of bread and milk in the Philippopolis
bazaar an Arab ragamuffin rushes in, and, with anxious gesticulations
toward the bicycle, which I have from necessity left outside, and cries
of "Monsieur, monsieur," plainly announces that there is something going
wrong in connection with the machine. Quickly going out I find that,
although I left it standing on the narrow apology for a sidewalk, it is
in imminent danger of coming to grief at the instance of a broadly laden
donkey, which, with his load, veritably takes up the whole narrow street,
including the sidewalks, as he slowly picks his way along through mud-holes
and protruding cobble-stones. And yet Philippopolis has improved wonderfully
since it has nominally changed from a Turkish to a Christian city, I am
told; the Cross having in Philippopolis not only triumphed over the
Crescent, but its influence is rapidly changing the condition and
appearance of the streets. There is no doubt about the improvements, but
they are at present most conspicuous in the suburbs, near the English
consulate. It is threatening rain again as I am picking my way through
the crooked streets of Philippopolis toward the Adrianople road; verily,
I seem these days to be fully occupied in playing hide-and-seek with the
elements; but in Roumelia at this season it is a question of either rain
or insufferable heat, and perhaps, after all, I have reason to be thankful
at having the former to contend with rather than the latter. Two
thunderstorms have to be endured during the forenoon, and for lunch I
reach a mehana where, besides eggs roasted in the embers, and fairly
good bread, I am actually offered a napkin that has been used but a few
times - an evidence of civilization that is quite refreshing. A repetition
of the rain-dodging of the forenoon characterizes the afternoon journey,
and while halting at a small village the inhabitants actually take me
for a mountebank, and among them collect a handful of diminutive copper
coins about the size and thickness of a gold twenty-five-cent piece, and
of which it would take at least twenty to make an American cent, and
offer them to me for a performance. What with shaking my head for "no"
and the villagers naturally mistaking the motion for " yes," according
to their own custom, I have quite an interesting time of it making them
understand that I am not a mountebank travelling from one Roumelian
village to another, living on two cents' worth of black sandy bread per
diem, and giving performances for about three cents a time. For my
halting-place to-night I reach the village of Cauheme, in which I find
a mehana, where, although the accommodations are of the crudest nature,
the proprietor is a kindly disposed and, withal, a thoroughly honest
individual, furnishing me with a reed mat and a pillow, and making things
as comfortable and agreeable as possible. Eating raw cucumbers as we eat
apples or pears appears to be universal in Oriental Europe; frequently,
through Bulgaria and Roumelia, I have noticed people, both old and young,
gnawing away at a cucumber with the greatest relish, eating it rind and
all, without any condiments whatever.

All through Roumelia the gradual decay of the Crescent and the corresponding
elevation of the Cross is everywhere evident; the Christian element is
now predominant, and the Turkish authorities play but an unimportant
part in the government of internal affairs. Naturally enough, it does
not suit the Mussulman to live among people whom his religion and time-
honored custom have taught him to regard as inferiors, the consequence
being that there has of late years been a general folding of tents and
silently stealing away; and to-day it is no very infrequent occurrence
for a whole Mussulman village to pack up, bag and baggage, and move
bodily to Asia Minor, where the Sultan gives them tracts of land for
settlement. Between the Christian and Mussulman populations of these
countries there is naturally a certain amount of the "six of one and
half a dozen of the other " principle, and in certain regions, where the
Mussulmans have dwindled to a small minority, the Christians are ever
prone to bestow upon them the same treatment that the Turks formerly
gave them. There appears to be little conception of what we consider
"good manners" among Oriental villagers, and while I am writing out a
few notes this evening, the people crowding the mehana because of my
strange unaccustomed presence stand around watching every motion of my
pen, jostling carelessly against the bench, and commenting on things
concerning me and the bicycle with a garrulousness that makes it almost
impossible for me to write. The women of these Eoumelian villages bang
their hair, and wear it in two long braids, or plaited into a streaming
white head-dress of some gauzy material, behind; huge silver clasps,
artistically engraved, that are probably heirlooms, fasten a belt around
their waists; and as they walk along barefooted, strings of beads,
bangles, and necklaces of silver coins make an incessant jingling. The
sky clears and the moon shines forth resplendently ere I stretch myself
on my rude couch to-night, and the sun rising bright next morning would
seem to indicate fair weather at last; an indication that proves illusory,
however, before the day is over.

At Khaskhor, some fifteen kilometres from Cauheme, I am able to obtain
my favorite breakfast of bread, milk, and fruit, and while I am in-doors
eating it a stalwart Turk considerately mounts guard over the bicycle,
resolutely keeping the meddlesome crowd at bay until I get through eating.
The roads this morning, though hilly, are fairly smooth, and about eleven
o'clock I reach Hermouli, the last town in Roumelia, where, besides being
required to produce my passport, I am requested by a pompous lieutenant
of gendarmerie to produce my permit for carrying a revolver, the first
time I have been thus molested in Europe. Upon explaining, as best I
can, that I have no such permit, and that for a voyageur permission is
not necessary (something about which I am in no way so certain, however,
as my words would seem to indicate), I am politely disarmed, and conducted
to a guard-room in the police-barracks, and for some twenty minutes am
favored with the exclusive society of a uniformed guard and the unhappy
reflections of a probable heavy fine, if not imprisonment. I am inclined
to think afterward that in arresting and detaining me the officer was
simply showing off his authority a little to his fellow-Hermoulites,
clustered about me and the bicycle, for, at the expiration of half an
hour, my revolver and passport are handed back to me, and without further
inquiries or explanations I am allowed to depart in peace. As though in
wilful aggravation of the case, a village of gypsies have their tents
pitched and their donkeys grazing in the last Mohammedan cemetery I see
ere passing over the Roumelian border into Turkey proper, where, at the
very first village, the general aspect of religious affairs changes, as
though its proximity to the border should render rigid distinctions
desirable. Instead of the crumbling walls and tottering minarets, a group
of closely veiled women are observed praying outside a well-preserved
mosque, and praying sincerely too, since not even my ncver-before-seen
presence and the attention-commanding bicycle are sufficient to win their
attention for a moment from their devotions, albeit those I meet on the
road peer curiously enough from between the folds of their muslin yashmaks.
I am worrying along to-day in the face of a most discouraging head-wind,
and the roads, though mostly ridable, are none of the best. For much of
the way there is a macadamized road that, in the palmy days of the Ottoman
dominion, was doubtless a splendid highway, but now weeds and thistles,
evidences of decaying traffic and of the proximity of the Eoumelian
railway, are growing in the centre, and holes and impassable places make
cycling a necessarily wide-awake performance.

Mustapha Pasha is the first Turkish town of any importance I come to,
and here again my much-required "passaporte" has to be exhibited; but
the police-officers of Mustapha Pasha seem to be exceptionally intelligent
and quite agreeable fellows. My revolver is in plain view, in its
accustomed place; but they pay no sort of attention to it, neither do
they ask me a whole rigmarole of questions about my linguistic
accomplishments, whither I am going, whence I came, etc., but simply
glance at my passport, as though its examination were a matter of small
consequence anyhow, shake hands, and smilingly request me to let them
see me ride. It begins to rain soon after I leave Mustapha Pasha, forcing
me to take refuge in a convenient culvert beneath the road. I have been
under this shelter but a few minutes when I am favored with the company
of three swarthy Turks, who, riding toward Mustapha Pasha on horseback,
have sought the same shelter. These people straightway express their
astonishment at finding rne and the bicycle under the culvert, by first
commenting among themselves; then they turn a battery of Turkish
interrogations upon my devoted head, nearly driving me out of my senses
ere I escape. They are, of course, quite unintelligible to me; for if
one of them asks a question a shrug of the shoulders only causes him to
repeat the same over and over again, each time a little louder and a
little more deliberate. Sometimes they are all three propounding questions
and emphasizing them at the same time, until I begin to think that there
is a plot to talk me to death and confiscate whatever valuables I have
about me. They all three have long knives in their waistbands, and,
instead of pointing out the mechanism of the bicycle to each other with
the finger, like civilized people, they use these long, wicked-looking
knives for the purpose. They maybe a coterie of heavy villains for
anything I know to the contrary, or am able to judge from their general
appearance, and in view of the apparent disadvantage of one against three
in such cramped quarters, I avoid their immediate society as much as
possible by edging off to one end of the culvert. They are probably
honest enough, but as their stock of interrogations seems inexhaustible,
at the end of half an hour I conclude to face the elements and take my
chances of finding some other shelter farther ahead rather than endure
their vociferous onslaughts any longer. They all three come out to see
what is going to happen, and I am not ashamed to admit that I stand
tinkering around the bicycle in the pelting rain longer than is necessary
before mounting, in order to keep them out in it and get them wet through,
if possible, in revenge for having practically ousted me from the culvert,
and since I have a water-proof, and they have nothing of the sort, I
partially succeed in my plans.

The road is the same ancient and neglected macadam, but between Mustapha
Pasha and Adrianople they either make some pretence of keeping it in
repair, or else the traffic is sufficient to keep down the weeds, and I
am able to mount and ride in spite of the downpour. After riding about
two miles I come to another culvert, in which I deem it advisable to
take shelter. Here, also, I find myself honored with company, but this
time it is a lone cow-herder, who is either too dull and stupid to do
anything but stare alternately at me and the bicycle, or else is deaf
and dumb, and my recent experience makes me cautious about tempting him
to use his tongue. I am forced by the rain to remain cramped up in this
last narrow culvert until nearly dark, and then trundle along through
an area of stones and water-holes toward Adrianople, which city lies I
know not how far to the southeast. While trundling along through the
darkness, in the hope of reaching a village or mehana, I observe a rocket
shoot skyward in the distance ahead, and surmise that it indicates the
whereabout of Adrianople; but it is plainly many a weary mile ahead; the
road cannot be ridden by the uncertain light of a cloud-veiled moon, and
I have been forging ahead, over rough ways leading through an undulating
country, and most of the day against a strong head-wind, since early
dawn. By ten o'clock I happily arrive at a section of country that has
not been favored by the afternoon rain, and, no mehana making its
appearance, I conclude to sup off the cold, cheerless memories of the
black bread and half-ripe pears eaten for dinner at a small village, and
crawl beneath some wild prune-bushes for the night.

A few miles wheeling over very fair roads, next morning, brings me into
Adrianople, where, at the Hotel Constantinople, I obtain an excellent
breakfast of roast lamb, this being the only well-cooked piece of meat
I have eaten since leaving Nisch. It has rained every day without
exception since it delayed me over Sunday at Bela Palanka, and this
morning it begins while I am eating breakfast, and continues a drenching
downpour for over an hour. While waiting to see what the weather is
coming to, I wander around the crooked and mystifying streets, watching
the animated scenes about the bazaars, and try my best to pick up some
knowledge of the value of the different coins, for I have had to deal
with a bewildering mixture of late, and once again there is a complete
change. Medjidis, cheriks, piastres, and paras now take the place of
Serb francs, Bulgar francs, and a bewildering list of nickel and copper
pieces, down to one that I should think would scarcely purchase a wooden
toothpick. The first named is a large silver coin worth four and a half
francs; the cherik might be called a quarter dollar; while piastres and
paras are tokens, the former about five cents and the latter requiring
about nine to make one cent. There are no copper coins in Turkey proper,
the smaller coins being what is called "metallic money," a composition
of copper and silver, varying in value from a five-para piece to five

The Adrianopolitans, drawn to the hotel by the magnetism of the bicycle,
are bound to see me ride whether or no, and in their quite natural
ignorance of its character, they request me to perform in the small,
roughly-paved court-yard of the hotel, and all sorts of impossible places.
I shake my head in disapproval and explanation of the impracticability
of granting their request, but unfortunately Adrianople is within the
circle where a shake of the head is understood to mean " yes, certainly;"
and the happy crowd range around a ridiculously small space, and smiling
approvingly at what they consider my willingness to oblige, motion for
me to come ahead. An explanation seems really out of the question after
this, and I conclude that the quickest and simplest way of satisfying
everybody is to demonstrate my willingness by mounting and wabbling
along, if only for a few paces, which I accordingly do beneath a hack
shed, at the imminent risk of knocking my brains out against beams and

At eleven o'clock I decide to make a start, I and the bicycle being the
focus of attraction for a most undignified mob as I trundle through the
muddy streets toward the suburbs. Arriving at a street where it is
possible to mount and ride for a short distance, I do this in the hope
of satisfying the curiosity of the crowd, and being permitted to leave
the city in comparative peace and privacy; but the hope proves a vain
one, for only the respectable portion of the crowd disperses, leaving
me, solitary and alone, among a howling mob of the rag, tag, and bobtail
of Adrianople, who follow noisily along, vociferously yelling for me to
"bin! bin!" (mount, mount), and "chu! chu!" (ride, ride) along the
really unridable streets. This is the worst crowd I have encountered on
the entire journey across two continents, and, arriving at a street where
the prospect ahead looks comparatively promising, I mount, and wheel
forward with a view of outdistancing them if possible; but a ride of
over a hundred yards without dismounting would be an exceptional performance
in Adrianople after a rain, and I soon find that I have made a mistake
in attempting it, for, as I mount, the mob grows fairly wild and riotous
with excitement, flinging their red fezes at the wheels, rushing up
behind and giving the bicycle smart pushes forward, in their eagerness
to see it go faster, and more than one stone comes bounding along the
street, wantonly flung by some young savage unable to contain himself.
I quickly decide upon allaying the excitement by dismounting, and trundling
until the mobs gets tired of following, whatever the distance. This
movement scarcely meets with the approval of the unruly crowd, however,
and several come forward and exhibit ten-para pieces as an inducement
for me to ride again, while overgrown gamins swarm around me, and,
straddling the middle and index fingers of their right hands over their
left, to illustrate and emphasize their meaning, they clamorously cry,
"bin! bin! chu! chu! monsieur! chu! chu!" as well as much other persuasive
talk, which, if one could understand, would probably be found to mean
in substance, that, although it is the time-honored custom and privilege
of Adrianople mobs to fling stones and similar compliments at such
unbelievers from the outer world as come among them in a conspicuous
manner, they will considerately forego their privileges this time, if I
will only "bin! bin!" and "chu! chu!" The aspect of harmless
mischievousness that would characterize a crowd of Occidental youths on
a similar occasion is entirely wanting here, their faces wearing the
determined expression of people in dead earnest about grasping the only
opportunity of a lifetime. Respectable Turks stand on the sidewalk and
eye the bicycle curiously, but they regard my evident annoyance at being
followed by a mob like this with supreme indifference, as does also a
passing gendarme, whom I halt, and motion my disapproval of the proceedings.
Like the civilians, he pays no sort of attention, but fixes a curious
stare on the bicycle, and asks something, the import of which will to
me forever remain a mystery.

Once well out of the city the road is quite good for several kilometres,
and I am favored with a unanimous outburst of approval from a rough crowd
at a suburban mehana, because of outdistancing a horseman who rides out
from among them to overtake me. At Adrianople my road leaves the Maritza
Valley and leads across the undulating uplands of the Adrianople Plains,
hilly, and for most of the way of inferior surface. Reaching the village
of Hafsa, soon after noon, I am fairly taken possession of by a crowd
of turbaned and fezed Hafsaites and soldiers wearing the coarse blue
uniform of the Turkish regulars, and given not one moment's escape from
"bin! bin!" until I consent to parade my modest capabilities with the
wheel by going back and forth along a ridable section of the main street.
The population is delighted. Solid old Turks pat me on the back approvingly,
and the proprietor of the mehana fairly hauls me and the bicycle into
his establishment. This person is quite befuddled with mastic, which
makes him inclined to be tyrannical and officious; and several times
within the hour, while I wait for the never-failing thunder-shower to
subside, he peremptorily dismisses both civilians and military out of
the mehana yard; but the crowd always filters back again in less than
two minutes. Once, while eating dinner, I look out of the window and
find the bicycle has disappeared. Hurrying out, I meet the boozy proprietor
and another individual making their way with alarming unsteadiness up a
steep stairway, carrying the machine between them to an up-stairs room,
where the people will have no possible chance of seeing it. Two minutes
afterward his same whimsical and capricious disposition impels him to
politely remove the eatables from before me, and with the manners of a
showman, he gently leads me away from the table, and requests me to ride
again for the benefit of the very crowd he had, but two minutes since,
arbitrarily denied the privilege of even looking at the bicycle. Nothing
would be more natural than to refuse to ride under these circumstances;
but the crowd looks so gratified at the proprietor's sudden and unaccountable
change of front, that I deem it advisable, in the interest of being
permitted to finish my meal in peace, to take another short spin; moreover,
it is always best to swallow such little annoyances in good part.

My route to-day is a continuation of the abandoned macadam road, the
weed-covered stones of which I have frequently found acceptable in tiding
me over places where the ordinary dirt road was deep with mud. In spite
of its long-neglected condition, occasional ridable stretches are
encountered, but every bridge and culvert has been destroyed, and an
honest shepherd, not far from Hafsa, who from a neighboring knoll observes
me wheeling down a long declivity toward one of these uncovered waterways,
nearly shouts himself hoarse, and gesticulates most frantically in an
effort to attract my attention to the danger ahead. Soon after this I
am the innocent cause of two small pack-mules, heavily laden with
merchandise, attempting to bolt from their driver, who is walking behind.
One of them actually succeeds in escaping, and, although his pack is too
heavy to admit of running at any speed, he goes awkwardly jogging across
the rolling plains, as though uncertain in his own mind of whether he
is acting sensibly or not; but his companion in pack-slavery is less
fortunate, since he tumbles into a gully, bringing up flat on his broad
and top-heavy pack with his legs frantically pawing the air. Stopping
to assist the driver in getting the collapsed mule on his feet again,
this individual demands damages for the accident; so I judge, at least,
from the frequency of the word "medjedie," as he angrily, yet ruefully,
points to the mud-begrimed pack and unhappy, yet withal laughter-provoking,
attitude of the mule; but I utterly fail to see any reasonable connection
between the uncalled-for scariness of his mules and the contents of my
pocket-book, especially since I was riding along the Sultan's ancient
and deserted macadam, while he and his mules were patronizing a separate
and distinct dirt-road alongside. As he seems far more concerned about
obtaining a money satisfaction from me than the rescue of the mule from
his topsy-turvy position, I feel perfectly justified, after several times
indicating my willingness to assist him, in leaving him and proceeding
on my way.

The Adrianople plains are a dreary expanse of undulating grazing-land,
traversed by small sloughs and their adjacent cultivated areas. Along
this route it is without trees, and the villages one comes to at intervals
of eight or ten miles are shapeless clusters of mud, straw-thatched huts,
out of the midst of which, perchance, rises the tapering minaret of a
small mosque, this minaret being, of course, the first indication of a
village in the distance. Between Adrianople and Eski Baba, the town I
reach for the night, are three villages, in one of which I approach a
Turkish private house for a drink of water, and surprise the women with
faces unveiled. Upon seeing my countenance peering in the doorway they
one and all give utterance to little screams of dismay, and dart like
frightened fawns into an adjoining room. When the men appear, to see
what is up, they show no signs of resentment at my abrupt intrusion, but
one of them follows the women into the room, and loud, angry words seem
to indicate that they are being soundly berated for allowing themselves
to be thus caught. This does not prevent the women from reappearing the
next minute, however, with their faces veiled behind the orthodox yashmak,
and through its one permissible opening satisfying their feminine curiosity
by critically surveying me and my strange vehicle. Four men follow me
on horseback out of this village, presumably to see what use I make of
the machine; at least I cannot otherwise account for the honor of their
unpleasantly close attentions - close, inasmuch as they keep their horses'
noses almost against my back, in spite of sundry subterfuges to shake
them off. When I stop they do likewise, and when I start again they
deliberately follow, altogether too near to be comfortable. They are,
all four, rough-looking peasants, and their object is quite unaccountable,
unless they are doing it for "pure cussedness," or perhaps with some
vague idea of provoking me into doing something that would offer them
the excuse of attacking and robbing me. The road is sufficiently lonely
to invite some such attention. If they are only following me to see what
I do with the bicycle, they return but little enlightened, since they
see nothing but trundling and an occasional scraping off of mud. At the
end of about two miles, whatever their object, they give it up. Several
showers occur during the afternoon, and the distance travelled has been
short and unsatisfactory, when just before dark I arrive at Eski Baba,
where I am agreeably surprised to find a mehana, the proprietor of which
is a reasonably mannered individual. Since getting into Turkey proper,
reasonably mannered people have seemed wonderfully scarce, the majority
seeming to be most boisterous and headstrong. Next to the bicycle the
Turks of these interior villages seem to exercise their minds the most
concerning whether I have a passport; as I enter Eski Baba; a gendarme
standing at the police-barrack gates shouts after me to halt and produce
"passaporte." Exhibiting my passport at almost every village is getting
monotonous, and, as I am going to remain here at least overnight, I
ignore the gendarme's challenge and wheel on to the mehana. Two gendarmes
are soon on the spot, inquiring if I have a "passaporte;" but, upon
learning that I am going no farther to-day, they do not take the trouble
to examine it, the average Turkish official religiously believing in
never doing anything to-day that can be put off till to-morrow.

The natives of a Turkish interior village are not over-intimate with
newspapers, and are in consequence profoundly ignorant, having little
conception of anything, save what they have been familiar with and
surrounded by all their lives, and the appearance of the bicycle is
indeed a strange visitation, something entirely beyond their comprehension.
The mehana is crowded by a wildly gesticulating and loudly commenting
and arguing crowd of Turks and Christians all the evening. Although there
seems to be quite a large proportion of native unbelievers in Eski Baba
there is not a single female visible on the streets this evening; and
from observations next day I judge it to be a conservative Mussulman
village, where the Turkish women, besides keeping themselves veiled with
orthodox strictness, seldom go abroad, and the women who are not Mohammedan,
imbibing something of the retiring spirit of the dominant race, also
keep themselves well in the background. A round score of dogs, great and
small, and in all possible conditions of miserableness, congregate in
the main street of Eski Baba at eventide, waiting with hungry-eyed
expectancy for any morsel of food or offal that may peradventure find
its way within their reach. The Turks, to their credit be it said, never
abuse dogs; but every male "Christian" in Eski Baba seems to consider
himself in duty bound to kick or throw a stone at one, and scarcely a
minute passes during the whole evening without the yelp of some unfortunate
cur. These people seem to enjoy a dog's sufferings; and one soulless
peasant, who in the course of the evening kicks a half-starved cur so
savagely that the poor animal goes into a fit, and, after staggering and
rolling all over the street, falls down as though really dead, is the
hero of admiring comments from the crowd, who watch the creature's
sufferings with delight. Seeing who can get the most telling kicks at
the dogs seems to be the regular evening's pastime among the male
population of Eski Baba unbelievers, and everybody seems interested and
delighted when some unfortunate animal comes in for an unusually severe
visitation. A rush mat on the floor of the stable is my bed to-night,
with a dozen unlikely looking natives, to avoid the close companionship
of whom I take up my position in dangerous proximity to a donkey's hind
legs, and not six feet from where the same animal's progeny is stretched
out with all the abandon of extreme youth. Precious little sleep is
obtained, for fleas innumerable take liberties with my person. A flourishing
colony of swallows inhabiting the roof keeps up an incessant twittering,
and toward daylight two muezzins, one on the minaret of each of the two
mosques near by, begin calling the faithful to prayer, and howling "Allah.
Allah!" with the voices of men bent on conscientiously doing their
duty by making themselves heard by every Mussulman for at least a mile
around, robbing me of even the short hour of repose that usually follows
a sleepless night.

It is raining heavily again on Sunday morning - in fact, the last week has
been about the rainiest that I ever saw outside of England - and considering
the state of the roads south of Eski Baba, the prospects look favorable
for a Sunday's experience in an interior Turkish village. Men are solemnly
squatting around the benches of the mehana, smoking nargilehs and sipping
tiny cups of thick black coffee, and they look on in wonder while I
devour a substantial breakfast; but whether it is the novelty of seeing
a 'cycler feed, or the novelty of seeing anybody eat as I am doing, thus
early in the morning, I am unable to say; for no one else seems to partake
of much solid food until about noontide. All the morning long, people
swarming around are importuning me with, " Bin, bin, bin, monsieur."
The bicycle is locked up in a rear chamber, and thrice I accommodatingly
fetch it out and endeavor to appease their curiosity by riding along a
hundred-yard stretch of smooth road in the rear of the mehana; but their
importunities never for a moment cease. Finally the annoyance becomes
so unbearable that the proprietor takes pity on my harassed head, and,
after talking quite angrily to the crowd, locks me up in the same room
with the bicycle. Iron bars guard the rear windows of the houses at Eski
Baba, and ere I am fairly stretched out on my mat several swarthy faces
appear at the bars, and several voices simultaneously join in the dread
chorus of, " Bin, bin, bin, monsieur! bin, bin." compelling me to close,
in the middle of a hot day-the rain having ceased about ten o'clock-the
one small avenue of ventilation in the stuffy little room. A moment's
privacy is entirely out of the question, for, even with the window closed,
faces are constantly peering in, eager to catch even the smallest glimpse
of either me or the bicycle. Fate is also against me to-day, plainly
enough, for ere I have been imprisoned in the room an hour the door is
unlocked to admit the mulazim (lieutenant of gendarmes), and two of his
subordinates, with long cavalry swords dangling about their legs, after
the manner of the Turkish police.

In addition to puzzling their sluggish brains about my passport, my
strange means of locomotion, and my affairs generally, they have now,
it seems, exercised their minds up to the point that they ought to
interfere in the matter of my revolver. But first of all they want to
see my wonderful performance of riding a thing that cannot stand alone.
After I have favored the gendarmes and the assembled crowd by riding
once again, they return the compliment by tenderly escorting me down to
police headquarters, where, after spending an hour or so in examining
my passport, they place that document and my revolver in their strong
box, and lackadaisically wave me adieu. Upon returning to the mehana, I
find a corpulent pasha and a number of particularly influential Turks
awaiting my reappearance, with the same diabolical object of asking me
to "bin! bin!" Soon afterward come the two Mohammedan priests, with the
same request; and certainly not less than half a dozen times during the
afternoon do I bring out the bicycle and ride, in deference to the
insatiable curiosity of the sure enough "unspeakable" Turk; and every
separate time my audience consists not only of the people personally
making the request, but of the whole gesticulating male population. The
proprietor of the mehana kindly takes upon himself the office of apprising
me when my visitors are people of importance, by going through the
pantomime of swelling his features and form up to a size corresponding
in proportion relative to their importance, the process of inflation in
the case of the pasha being quite a wonderful performance for a man who
is not a professional contortionist.

Once during the afternoon I attempt to write, but I might as well attempt
to fly, for the mehana is crowded with people who plainly have not the
slightest conception of the proprieties. Finally a fez is wantonly flung,
by an extra-enterprising youth, at my ink-bottle, knocking it over, and
but for its being a handy contrivance, out of which the ink will not
spill, it would have made a mess of my notes. Seeing the uselessness of
trying to write, I meander forth, and into the leading mosque, and without
removing my shoes, tread its sacred floor for several minutes, and stand
listening to several devout Mussulmans reciting the Koran aloud, for,
be it known, the great fast of Ramadan has begun, and fasting and prayer
is now the faithful Mussulman's daily lot for thirty days, his religion
forbidding him either eating or drinking from early morn till close -
of day. After looking about the interior, I ascend the steep spiral
stairway up to the minaret balcony whence the muezzin calls the faithful
to prayer five times a day. As I pop my head out through the little
opening leading to the balcony, I am slightly taken aback by finding
that small footway already occupied by the muezzin, and it is a fair
question as to whether the muezzin's astonishment at seeing my white
helmet appear through the opening is greater, or mine at finding him
already in possession. However, I brazen it out by joining him, and he,
like a sensible man, goes about his business just the same as if nobody
were about. The people down in the streets look curiously up and call
one another's attention to the unaccustomed sight of a white-helmeted
'cycler and a muezzin upon the minaret together; but the fact that I am
not interfered with in any way goes far to prove that the Mussulman
fanaticism, that we have all heard and read about so often, has wellnigh
flickered out in European Turkey; moreover, I think the Eski Babans
would allow me to do anything, in order to place me under obligations to
"bin! bin!" whenever they ask me. At nine o'clock I begin to grow a trifle
uneasy about the fate of my passport and revolver, and, proceeding to
the police-barracks, formally demand their return. Nothing has apparently
been done concerning either one or the other since they were taken from
me, for the mulazim, who is lounging on a divan smoking cigarettes,
produces them from the same receptacle he consigned them to this
afternoon, and lays them before him, clearly as mystified and perplexed
as ever about what he ought to do. I explain to him that I wish to depart
in the morning, and gendarmes are despatched to summon several leading
Eski Babans for consultation, in the hope that some of them, or all of them
put together, might perchance arrive at a satisfactory conclusion
concerning me. The great trouble appears to be that, while I got the
passport vised at Sofia and Philippopolis, I overlooked Adrianople, and
the Eski Baba officials, being in the vilayet of the latter city, are
naturally puzzled to account for this omission; and, from what I can
gather of their conversation, some are advocating sending me back to
Adrianople, a suggestion that I straightway announce my disapproval of
by again and again calling their attention to the vise of the Turkish
consul-general in London, and giving them to understand, with much
emphasis, that this vise answers, for every part of Turkey, including
the vilayet of Adrianople. The question then arises as to whether that
has anything to do with my carrying a revolver; to which I candidly reply
that it has not, at the same time pointing out that I have just come
through Servia and Bulgaria (countries in which the Turks consider it
quite necessary to go armed, though in fact there is quite as much, if
not more, necessity for arms in Turkey), and that I have come through
both Mustapha Pasha and Adrianople without being molested on account of
the revolver; all of which only seems to mystify them the more, and make
them more puzzled than ever about what to do. Finally a brilliant idea
occurs to one of them, being nothing less than to shift the weight ot
the dreadful responsibility upon the authoritative shoulders of a visiting
pasha, an important personage who arrived in Eski Baba by carriage about
two hours ago, and whose arrival I remember caused quite a flurry of
excitement among the natives. The pasha is found surrounded by a number
of bearded Turks, seated cross-legged on a carpet in the open air, smoking
nargilehs and cigarettes, and sipping coffee. This pasha is fatter and
more unwieldy, if possible, than the one for whose edification I rode
the bicycle this afternoon; noticing which, all hopes of being created
a pasha upon my arrival at Constantinople naturally vanish, for evidently
one of the chief qualifications for a pashalic is obesity, a distinction
to which continuous 'cycling, in hot weather is hardly conducive. The
pasha seems a good-natured person, after the manner of fat people
generally, and straightway bids me be seated on the carpet, and orders
coffee and cigarettes to be placed at my disposal while he examines my
case. In imitation of those around me I make an effort to sit cross-legged
on the mat; but the position is so uncomfortable that I am quickly
compelled to change it, and I fancy detecting a merry twinkle in the eye
of more than one silent observer at my inability to adapt my posture to
the custom of the country. I scarcely think the pasha knows anything
more about what sort of a looking document an English passport ought to
be, than does the mulazim and the leading citizens of Eski Baba; but he
goes through the farce of critically examining the vise of the Turkish
consul-general in London, while another Turk holds his lighted cigarette
close to it, and blows from it a feeble glimmer of light. Plainly the
pasha cannot make anything more out of it than the others, for many a
Turkish pasha is unable to sign his own name intelligibly, using a seal
instead; but, probably with a view of favorably impressing those around
him, he asks me first if I am an Englishman, and then if I am "a baron,"
doubtless thinking that an English baron is a person occupying a somewhat
similar position in English society to that of a pasha in Turkish: viz.,
a really despotic sway over the people of his district; for, although
there are law and lawyers in Turkey to-day, the pasha, especially in
country districts, is still an all-powerful person, practically doing
as he pleases.

To the first question I return an affirmative answer; the latter I pretend
not to comprehend; but I cannot help smiling at the question and the
manner in which it is put - seeing which the pasha and his friends smile
in response, and look knowingly at each other, as though thinking, " Ah!
he is a baron, but don't intend to let us know it." Whether this self-
arrived decision influences things in my favor I hardly know, but anyhow
he tosses me my passport, and orders the mulazim to return my revolver;
and as I mentally remark the rather jolly expression of the pasha's face,
I am inclined to think that, instead of treating the matter with the
ridiculous importance attached to it by the mulazim and the other people,
he regards the whole affair in the light of a few minutes' acceptable
diversion. The pasha arrived too late this evening at Eski Baba to see
the bicycle: "Will I allow a gendarme to go to the mehana and bring it
for his inspection?" "I will go and fetch it myself," I explain; and in
ten minutes the fat pasha and his friends are examining the perfect
mechanism of an American bicycle by the light of an American kerosene
lamp, which has been provided in the meantime. Some of the on-lookers,
who have seen me ride to-day, suggested to the pasha that I "bin! bin!"
and the pasha smiles approvingly at the suggestion; but by pantomime I
explain to him the impossibility of riding, owing to the nature of the
ground and the darkness, and I am really quite surprised at the readiness
with which he comprehends and accepts the situation. The pasha is very
likely possessed of more intelligence than I have been giving him credit
for; anyhow he has in ten minutes proved himself equal to the situation,
which the mulazim and several prominent Eski Babans have puzzled their
collective brains over for an hour in vain, and, after he has inspected
the bicycle, and resumed his cross-legged position on the carpet, I doff
my helmet to him and those about him, and return to the mehana, well
satisfied with the turn affairs have taken.



ON Monday morning I am again awakened by the muezzin calling the Mussulmans
to their early morning devotions, and, arising from my mat at five
o'clock, I mount and speed away southward from Eski Baba, Not less than
a hundred people have collected to see the wonderful performance again.

All pretence of road-making seems to have been abandoned; or, what is
more probable, has never been seriously attempted, the visible roadways
from village to village being mere ox-wagon and pack-donkey tracks,
crossing the wheat-fields and uncultivated tracts in any direction. The
soil is a loose, black loam, which the rain converts into mud, through
which I have to trundle, wooden scraper in hand; and I not infrequently
have to carry the bicycle through the worst places. The morning is sultry,
requiring good roads and a breeze-creating pace for agreeable going.
Harvesting and threshing are going forward briskly, but the busy hum of
the self-binder and the threshing-machine is not heard; the reaping is
done with rude hooks, and the threshing by dragging round and round,
with horses or oxen, sleigh-runner shaped, broad boards, roughed with
flints or iron points, making the surface resemble a huge rasp. Large
gangs of rough-looking Armenians, Arabs, and Africans are harvesting the
broad acres of land-owning pashas, the gangs sometimes counting not less
than fifty men. Several donkeys are always observed picketed near them,
taken, wherever they go, for the purpose of carrying provisions and
water. Whenever I happen anywhere near one of these gangs they all come
charging across the field, reaping-hooks in hand, racing with each other
and good-naturedly howling defiance to competitors. A band of Zulus
charging down on a fellow, and brandishing their assegais, could scarcely
present a more ferocious front. Many of them wear no covering of any
kind on the upper part of the body, no hat, no foot-gear, nothing but a
pair of loose, baggy trousers, while the tidiest man among them would
be immediately arrested on general principles in either England or
America. Rough though they are, they appear, for the most part, to be
good-natured fellows, and although they sometimes emphasize their
importunities of "bin! bin!" by flourishing their reaping-hooks
threateningly over my head, and one gang actually confiscates the bicycle,
which they lay up on a shock of wheat, and with much flourishing of
reaping-hooks as they return to their labors, warn me not to take it
away, these are simply good-natured pranks, such as large gangs of
laborers are wont to occasionally indulge in the world over.

Streams have to be forded to-day for the first time in Europe, several
small creeks during the afternoon; and near sundown I find my pathway
into a village where I propose stopping for the night, obstructed by a
creek swollen bank-full by a heavy thunder-shower in the hills. A couple
of lads on the opposite bank volunteer much information concerning the
depth of the creek at different points; no doubt their evident mystification
at not being understood is equalled only by the amazement at my answers.
Four peasants come down to the creek, and one of them kindly wades in
and shows that it is only waist deep. Without more ado I ford it, with
the bicycle on my shoulder, and straight-way seek the accommodation of
the village mehana. This village is a miserable little cluster of mud
hovels, and the best the mehana affords is the coarsest of black-bread
and a small salted fish, about the size of a sardine, which the natives
devour without any pretence of cooking, but which are worse than nothing
for me, since the farther they are away the better I am suited. Sticking
a flat loaf of black-bread and a dozen of these tiny shapes of salted
nothing in his broad waistband, the Turkish peasant sallies forth
contentedly to toil.

I have accomplished the wonderful distance of forty kilometres to-day,
at which I am really quite surprised, considering everything. The usual
daily weather programme has been faithfully carried out - a heavy mist at
morning, that has prevented any drying up of roads during the night,
three hours of oppressive heat - from nine till twelve - during which myraids
of ravenous flies squabble for the honor of drawing your blood, and then,
when the mud begins to dry out sufficient to justify my dispensing with
the wooden scraper, thunder-showers begin to bestow their unappreciated
favor upon the roads, making them well-nigh impassable again. The following
morning the climax of vexation is reached when, after wading through the
mud for two hours, I discover that I have been dragging, carrying, and
trundling my laborious way along in the wrong direction for Tchorlu,
which is not over thirty-five kilometres from my starting-point, but it
takes me till four o'clock to reach there. A hundred miles on French or
English roads would not be so fatiguing, and I wisely take advantage of
being in a town where comparatively decent accommodations are obtainable
to make up, so far as possible, for this morning's breakfast of black
bread and coffee, and my noontide meal of cold, cheerless reflections
on the same. The same programme of "bin! bin." from importuning crowds,
and police inquisitiveness concerning my "passporte" are endured and
survived; but I spread myself upon rny mat to-night thoroughly convinced
that a month's cycling among the Turks would worry most people into
premature graves.

I am now approaching pretty close to the Sea of Marmora, and next morning
I am agreeably surprised to find sandy roads, which the rains have rather
improved than otherwise; and although much is unridably heavy, it is
immeasurably superior to yesterday's mud. I pass the country residence
of a wealthy pasha, and see the ladies of his harem seated in the meadow
hard by, enjoying the fresh morning air. They form a circle, facing
inward, and the swarthy eunuch in charge stands keeping watch at a
respectful distance. I carry a pocketful of bread with me this morning,
and about nine o'clock, upon coming to a ruined mosque and a few deserted
buildings, I approach one at which signs of occupation are visible, for
some water. This place is simply a deserted Mussulman village, from which
the inhabitants probably decamped in a body during the last Russo-Turkish
war; the mosque is in a tumble-down condition, the few dwelling-houses
remaining are in the last stages of dilapidation, and the one I call at
is temporarily occupied by some shepherds, two of whom are regaling
themselves with food of some kind out of an earthenware vessel.

Obtaining the water, I sit down on some projecting boards to eat my
frugal lunch, fully conscious of being an object of much furtive speculation
on the part of the two occupants of the deserted house; which, however,
fails to strike me as anything extraordinary, since these attentions
have long since become an ordinary every-day affair. Not even the sulky
and rather hang-dog expression of the men, which failed not to escape
my observation at my first approach, awakened any shadow of suspicion
in my mind of their being possibly dangerous characters, although the
appearance of the place itself is really sufficient to make one hesitate
about venturing near; and upon sober after-thought I am fully satisfied
that this is a resort of a certain class of disreputable characters,
half shepherds, half brigands, who are only kept from turning full-fledged
freebooters by a wholesome fear of retributive justice. While I am
discussing my bread and water one of these worthies saunters with assumed
carelessness up behind me and makes a grab for my revolver, the butt of
which he sees protruding from the holster. Although I am not exactly
anticipating this movement, travelling alone among strange people makes
one's faculties of self-preservation almost mechanically on the alert,
and my hand reaches the revolver before his does. Springing up, I turn
round and confront him and his companion, who is standing in the doorway.
A full exposition of their character is plainly stamped on their faces,
and for a moment I am almost tempted to use the revolver on them. Whether
they become afraid of this or whether they have urgent business of some
nature will never be known to me, but they both disappear inside the
door; and, in view of my uncertainty of their future intentions, I
consider it advisable to meander on toward the coast.

Ere I get beyond the waste lands adjoining this village I encounter two
more of these shepherds, in charge of a small flock; they are watering
their sheep; and as I go over to the spring, ostensibly to obtain a
drink, but really to have a look at them, they both sneak off at my
approach, like criminals avoiding one whom they suspect of being a
detective. Take it all in all, I am satisfied that this neighborhood is
a place that I have been fortunate in coming through in broad daylight;
by moonlight it might have furnished a far more interesting item than
the above. An hour after, I am gratified at obtaining my first glimpse
of the Sea of Marmora off to the right, and in another hour I am disporting
in the warm clear surf, a luxury that has not been within my reach since
leaving Dieppe, and which is a thrice welcome privilege in this land,
where the usual ablutions at mehanas consist of pouring water on the
hands from a tin cup. The beach is composed of sand and tiny shells, the
warm surf-waves are clear as crystal, and my first plunge in the Marmora,
after a two months' cycle tour across a continent, is the most thoroughly
enjoyable bath I ever had; notwithstanding, I feel it my duty to keep a
loose eye on some shepherds perched on a handy knoll, who look as if
half inclined to slip down and examine my clothes. The clothes, with,
of course, the revolver and every penny I have with me, are almost as
near to them as to me, and always, after ducking my head under water,
my first care is to take a precautionary glance in their direction.
"Cursed is the mind that nurses suspicion," someone has said; but under
the circumstances almost anybody would be suspicious. These shepherds
along the Marmora coast favor each other a great deal,: and when a person
has been the recipient of undesirable attention from one of them, to
look askance at the next one met with comes natural enough.

Over the undulating cliffs and along the sandy beach, my road now leads
through the pretty little seaport of Cilivria, toward Constantinople,
traversing a most lovely stretch of country, where waving wheat-fields
hug the beach and fairly coquet with the waves, and the slopes are green
and beautiful with vineyards and fig-gardens, while away beyond the
glassy shimmer of the sea I fancy I can trace on the southern horizon
the inequalities of the hills of Asia Minor. Greek fishing-boats are
plying hither and thither; one noble sailing-vessel, with all sails set,
is slowly ploughing her way down toward the Dardanelles - probably a grain-
ship from the Black Sea - and the smoke from a couple of steamers is
discernible in the distance. Flourishing Greek fishing-villages and vine-
growing communities occupy this beautiful strip of coast, along which
the Greeks seem determined to make the Cross as much more conspicuous
than the Crescent as possible, by rearing it on every public building
under their control, and not infrequently on private ones as well. The
people of these Greek villages seem possessed of sunny dispositions, the
absence of all reserve among the women being in striking contrast to the
demeanor of the Turkish fair sex. These Greek women chatter after me
from the windows as I wheel past, and if I stop a minute in the street
they gather around by dozens, smiling pleasantly, and plying me with
questions, which, of course, I cannot understand. Some of them are quite
handsome, and nearly all have perfect white teeth, a fact that I have
ample opportunity of knowing, since they seem to be all smiles. There
has been much making of artificial highways leading from Constantinople
in this direction in ages past. A road-bed of huge blocks of stone, such
as some of the streets of Eastern towns are made impassable with, is
traceable for miles, ascending and descending the rolling hills,
imperishable witnesses of the wide difference in Eastern and Western
ideas of making a road. These are probably the work of the people who
occupied this country before the Ottoman Turks, who have also tried their
hands at making a macadam, which not infrequently runs close along-side
the old block roadway, and sometimes crosses it; and it is matter of
some wonderment that the Turks, instead of hauling material for their
road from a distance did not save expense by merely breaking the stones
of the old causeway and using the same road-bed. Twice to-day I have
been required to produce my passport, and when toward evening I pass
through a small village, the lone gendarme who is smoking a nargileh in
front of the mehana where I halt points to my revolver and demands
"passaporte," I wave examination, so to speak, by arguing the case with
him, and by the not always unhandy plan of pretending not exactly to
comprehend his meaning. "Passaporte! passaporte! gendarmerie, me, "
replies the officer, authoritatively, in answer to my explanation of a
voyager being privileged to carry a revolver; while several villagers
who have gathered around us interpose "Bin! bin! monsieur, bin! bin."
I have little notion of yielding up either revolver or passport to this
village gendarme, for much of their officiousness is simply the disposition
to show off their authority and satisfy their own personal curiosity
regarding me, to say nothing of the possibility of coming in for a little
backsheesh. The villagers are worrying me to "bin! bin!" at the same
time the gendarme is worrying me about the revolver and passport, and
knowing from previous experience that the gendarme would never stop me
from mounting, being quite as anxious to witness the performance as the
villagers, I quickly decide upon killing two birds with one stone, and
accordingly mount, and pick my way along the rough street out on to the
Constantinople road. The gloaming settles into darkness, and the domes
and minarets of Stamboul, which have been visible from the brow of every
hill for several miles back, are still eight or ten miles away, and
rightly judging that the Ottoman Capital is a most bewildering city for
a stranger to penetrate after night, I pillow my head on a sheaf of oats,
within sight of the goal toward which I have been pedalling for some
2,500 miles since leaving Liverpool. After surveying with a good deal
of satisfaction the twinkling lights that distinguish every minaret in
Constantinople each night during the fast of Ramadan, I fall asleep, and
enjoy, beneath a sky in which myriads of far-off lamps seem to be twinkling
mockingly at the Ramadan illuminations, the finest night's repose I have
had for a week. Nothing but the prevailing rains have prevented me from
sleeping beneath the starry dome entirely in peference to putting up at
the village mehanas.

En route into Stamboul, on the following morning, I meet the first train
of camels I have yet encountered; in the gray of the morning, with the
scenes around so thoroughly Oriental, it seems like an appropriate
introduction to Asiatic life. Eight o'clock finds me inside the line of
earthworks thrown up by Baker Pasha when the Russians were last knocking
at the gates of Constantinople, and ere long I am trundling through the
crooked streets of the Turkish Capital toward the bridge which connects
Stamboul with Galata and Pera. Even here my ears are assailed with the
eternal importunities to "bin! bin!" the officers collecting the bridge-
toll even joining in the request. To accommodate them I mount, and ride
part way across the bridge, and at 9 o'clock on July 2d, just two calendar
months from the start at Liverpool, I am eating my breakfast in a
Constantinople restaurant. I am not long in finding English-speaking
friends, to whom my journey across the two continents is not unknown,
and who kindly direct me to the Chamber of Commerce Hotel, Eue Omar,
Galata, a home-like establishment, kept by an English lady. I have been
purposing of late to remain in Constantinople during the heated term of
July and August, thinking to shape my course southward through Asia Minor
and down the Euphrates Valley to Bagdad, and by taking a south-easterly
direction as far as circumstances would permit into India, keep pace
with the seasons, thus avoiding the necessity of remaining over anywhere
for the winter. At the same time I have been reckoning upon meeting
Englishmen in Constantinople who, having travelled extensively in Asia,
could further enlighten me regarding the best route to India. As I house
my bicycle and am shown to my room I take a retrospective glance across
Europe and America, and feel almost as if I have arrived at the half-way
house of my journey. The distance from Liverpool to Constantinople is
fully 2,500 miles, which brings the wheeling distance from San Francisco
up to something over 6,000. So far as the, distance wheeled and to be
wheeled is concerned, it is not far from half-way; but the real difficulties
of the journey are still ahead, although I scarcely anticipate any that
time and perseverance will not overcome. My tour across Europe has been,
on the whole, a delightful journey, and, although my linguistic shortcomings
have made it rather awkward in interior places where no English-speaking
person was to be found, I always managed to make myself understood
sufficiently to get along. In the interior of Turkey a knowledge of
French has been considered indispensable to a traveller: but, although
a full knowledge of that language would have made matters much smoother
by enabling me to converse with officials and others, I have nevertheless
come through all right without it; and there have doubtless been occasions
when my ignorance has saved me from a certain amount of bother with the
gendarmerie, who, above all things, dislike to exercise their thinking
apparatus. A Turkish official is far less indisposed to act than he is
to think; his mental faculties work sluggishly, but his actions are
governed largely by the impulse of the moment.

Someone has said that to see Constantinople is to see the entire East;
and judging from the different costumes and peoples one meets on the
streets and in the bazaars, the saying is certainly not far amiss. From
its geographical situation, as well as from its history, Constantinople
naturally takes the front rank among the cosmopolitan cities of the
world, and the crowds thronging its busy thoroughfares embrace every
condition of man between the kid-gloved exquisite without a wrinkle in
his clothes and the representative of half-savage Central Asian States
incased in sheepskin garments of rudest pattern. The great fast of Ramadan
is under full headway, and all true Mussulmans neither eat nor drink a
particle of anything throughout the day until the booming of cannon at
eight in the evening announces that the fast is ended, when the scene
quickly changes into a general rush for eatables and drink. Between eight
and nine o'clock in the evening, during Ramadan, certain streets and
bazaars present their liveliest appearance, and from the highest-classed
restaurant patronized by bey and pasha to the venders of eatables on the
streets, all do a rushing business; even the mjees (water-venders), who
with leather water-bottles and a couple of tumblers wait on thirsty
pedestrians with pure drinking water, at five paras a glass, dodge about
among the crowds, announcing themselves with lusty lung, fully alive to
the opportunities of the moment.

A few of the coffee-houses provide music of an inferior quality,
Constantinople not being a very musical place. A forenoon hour spent in
a neighborhood of private residences will repay a stranger for his
trouble, since he will during that time see a bewildering assortment of
street-venders, from a peregrinating meat-market, with a complete stock
dangling from a wooden framework attached to a horse's back, to a grimy
individual worrying along beneath a small mountain of charcoal, and each
with cries more or less musical. The sidewalks of Constantinople are
ridiculously narrow, their only practical use being to keep vehicles
from running into the merchandise of the shopkeepers, and to give
pedestrians plenty of exercise in jostling each other, and hopping on
and off the curbstone to avoid inconveniencing the ladies, who of course
are not to be jostled either off the sidewalk or into a sidewalk stock
of miscellaneous merchandise. The Constantinople sidewalk is anybody's
territory; the merchant encumbers it with his wares and the coffee-houses
with chairs for customers to sit on, the rights of pedestrians being
altogether ignored; the natural consequence is that these latter fill
the streets, and the Constantinople Jehu not only has to keep his wits
about him to avoid running over men and dogs, but has to use his lungs
continually, shouting at them to clear the way. If a seat is taken in
one of the coffee-house chairs, a watchful waiter instantly makes his
appearance with a tray containing small chunks of a pasty sweetmeat,
known in England as " Turkish Delight," one of which you are expected
to take and pay half a piastre for, this being a polite way of obtaining
payment for the privilege of using the chair. The coffee is served
steaming hot in tiny cups holding about two table-spoonfuls, the price
varying from ten paras upward, according to the grade of the establishment.
A favorite way of passing the evening is to sit in front of one of these
establishments, watching the passing throngs, and smoke a nargileh, this
latter requiring a good half-hour to do it properly. I undertook to
investigate the amount of enjoyment contained in a nargileh one evening,
and before smoking it half through concluded that the taste has to be

One of the most inconvenient things about Constantinople is the great
scarcity of small change. Everybody seems to be short of fractional money
save the money-changers-people who are here a genuine necessity, since
one often has to patronize them before making the most trifling purchase.
Ofttimes the store-keeper will refuse point-blank to sell an article
when change is required, solely on account of his inability or unwillingness
to supply it. After drinking a cup of coffee, I have had the kahuajee
refuse to take any payment rather than change a cherik. Inquiring the
reason for this scarcity, I am informed that whenever there is any new
output of this money the noble army of money-changers, by a liberal and
judicious application of backsheesh, manage to get a corner on the lot
and compel the general public, for whose benefit it is ostensibly issued,
to obtain what they require through them. However this may be, they
manage to control its circulation to a great extent; for while their
glass cases display an overflowing plenitude, even the fruit-vender,
whose transactions are mainly of ten and twenty paras, is not infrequently
compelled to lose a customer because of his inability to make change.
There are not less than twenty money-changers' offices within a hundred
yards of the Galata end of the principal bridge spanning the Golden Horn,
and certainly not a less number on the Stamboul side.

The money-changer usually occupies a portion of the frontage of a cigarette
and tobacco stand; and on all the business streets one happens at frequent
intervals upon these little glass cases full of bowls and heaps of
miscellaneous coins, varying in value. Behind sits a business-looking
person - usually a Jew - jingling a handful of medjedis, and expectantly
eyeing every approaching stranger. The usual percentage charged is, for
changing a lira, eighty paras; thirty paras for a medjedie, and ten for
a cherik, the percentage on this latter coin being about five per cent.
Some idea of the inconvenience to the public of this state of affairs
can be better imagined by the American by reflecting that if this state
of affairs existed in Boston he would frequently have to walk around the
block and give a money-changer five per cent, for changing a dollar
before venturing upon the purchase of a dish of baked beans. If one
offers a coin of the larger denominations in payment of an article, even
in quite imposing establishments, they look as black over it as though
you were trying to palm off a counterfeit, and hand back the change with
an ungraciousness and an evident reluctance that makes a sensitive person
feel as though he has in some way been unwittingly guilty of a mean
action. Even the principal streets of Constantinople are but indifferently
lighted at night, and, save for the feeble glimmer of kerosene lamps in
front of stores and coffee-houses, the by-streets are in darkness. Small
parties of Turkish women are encountered picking their way along the
streets of Galata in charge of a male attendant, who walks a little way
behind, if of the better class, or without the attendant in the case of
poorer people, carrying small Japanese lanterns. Sometimes a lantern
will go out, or doesn't burn satisfactorily, and the whole party halts
in the middle of the, perhaps, crowded thoroughfare, and clusters around
until the lantern is radjusted. The Turkish lady walks with a slouchy
gait, her shroud-like abbas adding not a little to the ungracefulness.
Matters are likewise scarcely to be improved by wearing two pairs of
shoes, the large, slipper-like overshoes being required by etiquette to
be left on the mat upon entering the house she is visiting; and in the
case of a strictly orthodox Mussulman lady - and, doubtless, we may also
easily imagine in case of a not over-prepossessing countenance - the yashmak
hides all but the eyes. The eyes of many Turkish ladies are large and
beautiful, and peep from between the white, gauzy folds of the yashmak
with an effect upon the observant Frank not unlike coquettishly ogling
from behind a fan. Handsome young Turkish ladies with a leaning toward
Western ideas are no doubt coming to understand this, for many are
nowadays met on the streets wearing yashmaks that are but a single
thickness of transparent gauze that obscures never a feature, at the
same time producing the decidedly interesting and taking effect above
mentioned. It is readily seen that the wearing of yashmaks must be quite
a charitable custom in the case of a lady not blessed with a handsome
face, since it enables her to appear in public the equal of her more
favored sister in commanding whatever homage is to be derived from that
mystery which is said to be woman's greatest charm; and if she has but
the one redeeming feature of a beautiful pair of eyes, the advantage is
obvious. In street-cars, steamboats, and all public conveyances, board
or canvas partitions wall off a small compartment for the exclusive use
of ladies, where, hidden from the rude gaze of the Frank, the Turkish
lady can remove her yashmak and smoke cigarettes.

On Sunday, July 12th, in company with an Englishman in the Turkish
artillery service, I pay my first visit to Asian soil, taking a caique
across the Bosphorus to Kadikeui, one of the many delightful seaside
resorts within easy distance of Constantinople. Many objects of interest
are pointed out, as, propelled by a couple of swarthy, half-naked caique-
jees, the sharp-prowed caique gallantly rides the blue waves of this
loveliest of all pieces of land-environed water. More than once I have
noticed that a firm belief in the supernatural has an abiding hold upon
the average Turkish mind, having frequently during my usual evening
promenade through the Galata streets noted the expression of deep and
genuine earnestness upon the countenances of fez-crowned citizens giving
respectful audience to Arab fortune-tellers, paying twenty-para pieces
for the revelations he is favoring them with, and handing over the coins
with the business-like air of people satisfied that they are getting its
full equivalent. Consequently I am not much astonished when, rounding
Seraglio Point, my companion calls my attention to several large sections
of whalebone suspended on the wall facing the water, and tells me that
they are placed there by the fishermen, who believe them to be a talisman
of no small efficacy in keeping the Bosphorus well supplied with fish,
they firmly adhering to the story that once, when the bones were removed,
the fish nearly all disappeared. The oars used by the caique-jees are
of quite a peculiar shape, the oar-shaft immediately next the hand-hold
swells into a bulbous affair for the next eighteen inches, which is at
least four times the circumference of the remainder, and the end of the
oarblade is for some reason made swallow-tailed. The object of the
enlarged portion, which of course comes inside the rowlocks, appears to
be the double purpose of balancing the weight of the longer portion
outside, and also for preventing the oar at all times from escaping into
the water. The rowlock is simply a raw-hide loop, kept well greased, and
as, toward the end of every stroke, the caique-jee leans back to his
work, the oar slips several inches, causing a considerable loss of power.
The day is warm, the broiling sun shines directly down on the bare heads
of the caique-jees. and causes the perspiration to roll off their swarthy
faces in large beads, but they lay back to their work manfully, although,
from early morning until cannon roar at 8 P.M. neither bite nor sup, not
even so much water as to moisten the end of their parched tongues, will
pass their lips; for, although but poor hard- working caique-jees, they
are true Mussulmans. Pointing skyward from the summit of the hill back
of Seraglio Point are the four tapering minarets of the world-renowned
St. Sophia mosque, and a little farther to the left is the Sultana Achmet
mosque, the only mosque in all Mohammedanism with six minarets. Near by
is the old Seraglio Palace, or rather what is left of it, built by
Mohammed II. in 1467, out of materials from the ancient Byzantine palaces,
and in a department of which the sanjiak shereef (holy standard), boorda-y
shereef (holy mantle), and other venerated relics of the prophet Mohammed
are preserved. To this place, on the 15th of Ramadan, the Sultan and
leading dignitaries of the Empire repair to do homage to the holy relics,
upon which it would be the highest sacrilege for Christian eyes to gaze.
The hem of this holy mantle is reverently kissed by the Sultan and the
few leading personages present, after which the spot thus brought in
contact with human lips is carefully wiped with an embroidered napkin
dipped in a golden basin of water; the water used in this ceremony is
then supposed to be of priceless value as a purifier of sin, and is
carefully preserved, and, corked up in tiny phials, is distributed among
the sultanas, grand dignitaries, and prominent people of the realm, who
in return make valuable presents to the lucky messengers and Mussulman
ecclesiastics employed in its distribution. This precious liquid is doled
out drop by drop, as though it were nectar of eternal life received
direct from heaven, and, mixed with other water, is drunk immediately
upon breaking fast each evening during the remaining fifteen days of
Ramadan. Arriving at Kadikeui, the opportunity presents of observing
something of the high-handed manner in which Turkish pashas are wont to
expect from inferiors their every whim obeyed. We meet a friend of my
companion, a pasha, who for the remainder of the afternoon makes one of
our company. Unfortunately for a few other persons the pasha is in a
whimsical mood to-day and inclined to display for our benefit rather
arbitrary authority toward others. The first individual coming under his
immediate notice is a young man torturing a harp. Summoning the musician,
the pasha summarily orders him to play "Yankee Doodle." The writer
arrived in Constantinople with the full impression that it was the mosqne
of St. Sophia that has the famons six minarets, having, I am quite sure,
seen it thus quite frequently accredited in print, and I mention this
especially, in order that readers who may have been similarly misinformed
may know that the above account is the correct one, does not know it,
and humbly begs the pasha to name something more familiar. "Yankee
Doodle!" - replies the pasha peremptorily. The poor man looks as though
he would willingly relinquish all hopes of the future if only some present
avenue of escape would offer itself; but nothing of the kind seems at
all likely. The musician appeals to my Turkish-speaking friend, and begs
him to request me to favor him with the tune. I am of course only too
glad to help him stem the rising tide of the pasha's wrath by whistling
the tune for him; and after a certain amount of preliminary twanging be
strikes up and manages to blunder through "Yankee Doodle." The pasha,
after ascertaining from me that the performance is creditable, considering
the circumstances, forthwith hands him more money than he would collect
among the poorer patrons of the place in two hours. Soon a company of
five strolling acrobats and conjurers happens along, and these likewise
are summoned into the "presence" and ordered to proceed. Many of the
conjurer's tricks are quite creditable performances; but the pasha
occasionally interferes in the proceedings just in the nick of time to
prevent the prestidigitator finishing his manipulations, much to the
pasha's delight. Once, however, he cleverly manages to hoodwink the
pasha, and executes his trick in spite of the latter's interference,
which so amuses the pasha that he straightway gives him a medjedie. Our
return boat to Galata starts at seven o'clock, and it is a ten minutes'
drive down to the landing. At fifteen minutes to seven the pasha calls
for a public carriage to take us down to the steamer.

"There are no carriages, Pasha Effendi. Those three are all engaged by
ladies and gentlemen in the garden," exclaims the waiter, respectfully.

"Engaged or not engaged, I want that open carriage yonder," replies the
pasha authoritatively, and already beginning to show signs of impatience."
Boxhanna. "(hi, you, there!)" drive around here," addressing the driver.

The driver enters a plea of being already engaged. The pasha's temper
rises to the point of threatening to throw carriage, horses, and driver
into the Bosphorus if his demands are not instantly complied with. Finally
the driver and everybody else interested collapse completely, and,
entering the carriage, we are driven to our destination without another
murmur. Subsequently I learned that a government officer, whether a pasha
or of lower rank, has the power of taking arbitrary possession of a
public conveyance over the head of a civilian, so that our pasha was,
after all, only sticking up for the rights of himself and my friend of
the artillery, who likewise wears the mark by which a military man is
in Turkey always distinguishable from a civilian - a longer string to the
tassel of his fez.

This is the last day of Ramadan, and the following Monday ushers in the
three days' feast of Biaram, which is in substance a kind of a general
carousal to compensate for the rigid self-denial of the thirty days
'fasting and prayer' just ended. The government offices and works are
till closed, everybody is wearing new clothes, and holiday-making engrosses
the public attention. A friend proposes a trip on a Bosphorus steamer
up as far as the entrance to the Black Sea. The steamers are profusely
decorated with gaycolored flags, and at certain hours all war-ships
anchored in the Bosphorus, as well as the forts and arsenals, fire
salutes, the roar and rattle of the great guns echoing among the hills
of Europe and Asia, that here confront each other, with but a thousand
yards of dancing blue waters between them. All along either lovely shore
villages and splendid country-seats of wealthy pashas and Constantinople
merchants dot the verdure-clad slopes. Two white marble kiosks of the
Sultan are pointed out. The old castles of Europe and Asia face each
other on opposite sides of the narrow channel. They were famous fortresses
in their day, but, save as interesting relics of a bygone age, they are
no longer of any use. At Therapia are the summer residences of the
different ambassadors, the English and French the most conspicuous. The
extensive grounds of the former are most beautifully terraced, and
evidently fit for the residence of royalty itself. Happy indeed is the
Constantinopolitan whose income commands a summer villa in Therapia, or
at any of the many desirable locations in plain view within this earthly
paradise of blue waves and sunny slopes, and a yacht in which to wing
his flight whenever and wherever fancy bids him go. In the glitter and
glare of the mid-day sun the scene along the Bosphorus is lovely, yet
its loveliness is plainly of the earth; but as we return cityward in the
eventide the dusky shadows of the gloaming settle over everything. As
we gradually approach, the city seems half hidden behind a vaporous veil,
as though, in imitation of thousands of its fair occupants, it were
hiding its comeliness behind the yashmak; the scores of tapering minarets,
and the towers, and the masts of the crowded shipping of all nations
rise above the mist, and line with delicate tracery the western sky,
already painted in richest colors by the setting sun. On Saturday morning,
July 18th, the sound of martial music announces the arrival of the
soldiers from Stamboul, to guard the streets through which the Sultan
will pass on his way to a certain mosque to perform some ceremony in
connection with the feast just over. At the designated place I find the
streets already lined with Circassian cavalry and Ethiopian zouaves; the
latter in red and blue zouave costumes and immense turbans. Mounted
gendarmes are driving civilians about, first in one direction and then
in another, to try and get the streets cleared, occasionally fetching
some unlucky wight in the threadbare shirt of the Galata plebe a stinging
cut across the shoulders with short raw-hide whips - a glaring injustice
that elicits not the slightest adverse criticism from the spectators,
and nothing but silent contortions of face and body from the individual
receiving the attention. I finally obtain a good place, where nothing
but an open plank fence and a narrow plot of ground thinly set with
shrubbery intervenes between me and the street leading from the palace.
In a few minutes the approach of the Sultan is announced by the appearance
of half a dozen Circassian outriders, who dash wildly down the streets,
one behind the other, mounted on splendid dapple-gray chargers; then
come four close carriages, containing the Sultan's mother and leading
ladies of the imperial harem, and a minute later appears a mounted guard,
two abreast, keen-eyed fellows, riding slowly, and critically eyeing
everybody and everything as they proceed; behind them comes a gorgeously
arrayed individual in a perfect blaze of gold braid and decorations, and
close behind him follows the Sultan's carriage, surrounded by a small
crowd of pedestrians and horsemen, who buzz around the imperial carriage
like bees near a hive, the pedestrians especially dodging about hither
and thither, hopping nimbly over fences, crossing gardens, etc., keeping
pace with the carriage meanwhile, as though determined upon ferreting out
and destroying anything in the shape of danger that may possibly be
lurking along the route. My object of seeing the Sultan's face is gained;
but it is only a momentary glimpse, for besides the horsemen flitting
around the carriage, an officer suddenly appears in front of my position
and unrolls a broad scroll of paper with something printed on it, which
he holds up. Whatever the scroll is, or the object of its display may
be, the Sultan bows his acknowledgments, either to the scroll or to the
officer holding it up.

Ere I am in the Ottoman capital a week, I have the opportunity of
witnessing a fire, and the workings of the Constantinople Fire Department.
While walking along Tramway Street, a hue and cry of' "yangoonvar!
yangoonvar!" (there is fire! there is fire!) is raised, and three
barefooted men, dressed in the scantiest linen clothes, come charging
pell-mell through the crowded streets, flourishing long brass hose-nozzles
to clear the way; behind them comes a crowd of about twenty others,
similarly dressed, four of whom are bearing on their
shoulders a primitive wooden pump, while others are carrying leathern
water-buckets. They are trotting along at quite a lively pace, shouting
and making much unnecessary commotion, and lastly comes their chief on
horseback, cantering close at their heels, as though to keep the men
well up to their pace. The crowds of pedestrians, who refrain from
following after the firemen, and who scurried for the sidewalks at their
approach, now resume their place in the middle of the street; but again
the wild cry of "yangoon var!" resounds along the narrow street, and
the same scene of citizens scuttling to the sidewalks, and a hurrying
fire brigade followed by a noisy crowd of gamins, is enacted over again,
as another and yet another of these primitive organizations go scooting
swiftly past. It is said that these nimble-footed firemen do almost
miraculous work, considering the material they have at command - an
assertion which I think is not at all unlikely; but the wonder is that
destructive fires are not much more frequent, when the fire department
is evidently so inefficient. In addition to the regular police force and
fire department, there is a system of night watchmen, called bekjees,
who walk their respective beats throughout the night, carrying staves
heavily shod with iron, with which they pound the flagstones with a
resounding "thwack." Owing to the hilliness of the city and the roughness
of the streets, much of the carrying business of the city is done by
hamals, a class of sturdy-limbed men, who, I am told, are mostly Armenians.
They wear a sort of pack-saddle, and carry loads the mere sight of which
makes the average Westerner groan. For carrying such trifles as crates
and hogsheads of crockery and glass-ware, and puncheons of rum, four
hamals join strength at the ends of two stout poles. Scarcely less
marvellous than the weights they carry is the apparent ease with which
they balance tremendous loads, piled high up above them, it being no
infrequent sight to see a stalwart hamal with a veritable Saratoga trunk,
for size, on his back, with several smaller trunks and valises piled
above it, making his way down Step Street, which is as much as many
pedestrians can do to descend without carrying anything. One of these
hamals, meandering along the street with six or seven hundred pounds of
merchandise on his back, has the legal right - to say nothing of the evident
moral right - to knock over any unloaded citizen who too tardily yields
the way. From observations made on the spot, one cannot help thinking
that there is no law in any country to be compared to this one, for
simon-pure justice between man and man. These are most assuredly the
strongest-backed and hardest working men I have seen anywhere. They are
remarkably trustworthy and sure-footed, and their chief ambition, I am
told, is to save sufficient money to return to the mountains and valleys
of their native Armenia, where most of them have wives patiently awaiting
their coming, and purchase a piece of land upon which to spend their
declining years in ease and independence.

Far different is the daily lot of another habitue of the streets of this
busy capital - large, pugnacious-looking rams, that occupy pretty much the
same position in Turkish sporting circles that thoroughbred bull-dogs
do in England, being kept by young Turks solely on account of their
combative propensities and the facilities thereby afforded for gambling
on the prowess of their favorite animals. At all hours of the day and
evening the Constantinople sport may be met on the streets leading his
woolly pet tenderly with a string, often carrying something in his hand
to coax the ram along. The wool of these animals is frequently clipped
to give them a fanciful aspect, the favorite clip being to produce a
lion-like appearance, and they are always carefully guarded against the
fell influence of the "evil eye" by a circlet of blue beads and pendent
charms suspended from the neck. This latter precautionary measure is not
confined to these hard-headed contestants for the championship of Galata,
Pera, and Stamboul, however, but grace the necks of a goodly proportion
of all animals met on the streets, notably the saddle-ponies, whose
services are offered on certain streetcorners to the public.

Occasionally one notices among the busy throngs a person wearing a turban
of dark green; this distinguishing mark being the sole privilege of
persons who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca. All true Mussulmans are
supposed to make this pilgrimage some time during their lives, either
in person or by employing a substitute to go in their stead, wealthy
pashas sometimes paying quite large sums to some imam or other holy
person to go as their proxy, for the holier the substitute the greater
is supposed to be the benefit to the person sending him. Other persons
are seen with turbans of a lighter shade of green than the returned Mecca
pilgrims. These are people related in some way to the reigning sovereign.

Constantinople has its peculiar attractions as the great centre of the
Mohammedan world as represented in the person of the Sultan, and during
the five hundred years of the Ottoman dominion here, almost every Sultan
and great personage has left behind him some interesting reminder of the
times in which he lived and the wonderful possibilities of unlimited
wealth and power. A stranger will scarcely show himself upon the streets
ere he is discovered and accosted by a guide. From long experience these
men can readily distinguish a new arrival, and they seldom make a mistake
regarding his nationality. Their usual mode of self-introduction is to
approach him, and ask if he is looking for the American consulate, or
the English post-office, as the case may be, and if the stranger replies
in the affirmative, to offer to show the way. Nothing is mentioned about
charges, and the uninitiated new arrival naturally wonders what kind of
a place he has got into, when, upon offering what his experience in
Western countries has taught him to consider a most liberal recompense,
the guide shrugs his shoulders, and tells you that he guided a gentleman
the same distance yesterday and the gentleman gave - usually about double
what you are offering, no matter whether it be one cherik or half a
dozen. An afternoon ramble with a guide through Stamboul embraces the
Museum of Antiquities, the St. Sophia Mosque, the Costume Museum, the
thousand and one columns, the Tomb of Sultan Mahmoud, the world-renowned
Stamboul Bazaar, the Pigeon Mosque, the Saraka Tower, and the Tomb of
Sultan Suliman I. Passing over the Museum of Antiquities, which to the
average observer is very similar to a dozen other institutions of the
kind, the visitor very naturally approaches the portals of the St. Sophia
Mosque with expectations enlivened by having already read wondrous
accounts of its magnificence and unapproachable grandeur. But, let one's
fancy riot as it will, there is small fear of being disappointed in the
"finest mosque in Constantinople." At the door one either has to take
off his shoes and go inside in stocking-feet, or, in addition to the
entrance fee of two cheriks, "backsheesh" the attendant for the use of
a pair of overslippers. People with holes in their socks and young men
wearing boots three sizes too small are the legitimate prey of the
slipper-man, since the average human would yield up almost his last
piastre rather than promenade around in St. Sophia with his big toe
protruding through his foot-gear like a mud-turtle's head, or run the
risk of having to be hauled bare-footed to his hotel in a hack, from the
impossibility of putting his boots on again. Devout Mussulmans are bowing
their foreheads down to the mat-covered floor in a dozen different parts
of the mosque as we enter; tired-looking pilgrims from a distance are
curled up in cool corners, happy in the privilege of peacefully slumbering
in the holy atmosphere of the great edifice they have, perhaps, travelled
hundreds of miles to see; a dozen half-naked youngsters are clambering
about the railings and otherwise disporting themselves after the manner
of unrestrained juveniles everywhere - free to gambol about to their
hearts' content, providing they abstain from making a noise that would
interfere with devotions. Upon the marvellous mosaic ceiling of the great
dome is a figure of the Virgin Mary, which the Turks have frequently
tried to cover up by painting it over; but paint as often as they will,
the figure will not be concealed. On one of the upper galleries are the
"Gate of Heaven " and "Gate of Hell," the former of which the Turks
once tried their best to destroy; but every arm that ventured to raise
a tool against it instantly became paralyzed, when the would-be destroyers
naturally gave up the job. In giving the readers these facts I earnestly
request them not to credit them to my personal account; for, although
earnestly believed in by a certain class of Christian natives here, I
would prefer the responsibility for their truthfulness to rest on the
broad shoulders of tradition rather than on mine.

The Turks never call the attention of visitors to these reminders of the
religion of the infidels who built the structure, at such an enormous
outlay of money and labor, little dreaming that it would become one of
the chief glories of the Mohammedan world. But the door-keeper who follows
visitors around never neglects to point out the shape of a human hand
on the wall, too high up to be closely examined, and volunteer the
intelligence that it is the imprint of the hand of the first Sultan who
visited the mosque after the occupation of Constantinople by the Osmanlis.
Perhaps, however, the Mussulman, in thus discriminating between the
traditions of the Greek residents and the alleged hand-mark of the first
Sultan, is actuated by a laudable desire to be truthful so far as possible;
for there is nothing improbable about the story of the hand-mark, inasmuch
as a hole chipped in the masonry, an application of cement, and a pressure
of the Sultan's hand against it before it hardened, give at once something
for visitors to look at through future centuries and shake their heads
incredulously about. Not the least of the attractions are two monster
wax candles, which, notwithstanding their lighting up at innumerable
fasts and feasts, for the guide does not know how many years past, are
still eight feet long by four in circumference; but more wonderful than
the monster wax candles, the brass tomb of Constantine's daughter, set
in the wall over one of the massive doors, the Sultan's hand-mark, the
figure of the Virgin Mary, and the green columns brought from Baalbec;
above everything else is the wonderful mosaic-work. The mighty dome and
the whole vast ceiling are mosaic-work in which tiny squares of blue,
green, and gold crystal are made to work out patterns. The squares used
are tiny particles having not over a quarter-inch surface; and the amount
of labor and the expense in covering the vast ceiling of this tremendous
structure with incomputable myriads of these small particles fairly
stagger any attempt at comprehension.

An interesting hour can next be spent in the Costume Museum, where life-
size figures represent the varied and most decidedly picturesque costumes
of the different officials of the Ottoman capital in previous ages, the
janizaries, and natives of the different provinces. Some of the head-gear
in vogue at Constantinople before the fez were tremendous affairs, but
the fez is certainly a step too far in the opposite direction, being
several degrees more uncomfortable than nothing in the broiling sun; the
fez makes no pretence of shading the eyes, and excludes every particle
of air from the scalp. The thousand and one columns are in an ancient
Greek reservoir that formerly supplied all Stamboul with water. The
columns number but three hundred and thirty-four in reality, but each
column is in three parts, and by stretching the point we have the fanciful
" tbousand-and-one." The reservoir is reached by descending a flight of
stone steps; it is filled in with earth up to the upper half of the
second tier of columns, so that the lower tier is buried altogether.
This filling up was done in the days of the janizaries, as it was found
that those frisky warriors were carrying their well-known theory of
"right being might and the Devil take the weakest" to the extent of robbing
unprotected people who ventured to pass this vicinity after dark, and
then consigning them to the dark depths of the deserted reservoir. The
reservoir is now occupied during the day by a number of Jewish silk-weavers,
who work here on account of the dampness and coolness being beneficial
to the silk. The tomb of Mahmoud is next visited on the way to the Bazaar.
The several coffins of the Sultan Mahmoud and his Sultana and princesses
are surrounded by massive railings of pure silver; monster wax candles
are standing at the head and foot of each coffin, in curiously wrought
candlesticks of solid silver that must weigh a hundred pounds each at
least; ranged around the room are silver caskets, inlaid with mother-of-pearl,
in which rare illumined copies of the Koran are carefully kept, the
attendant who opened one for my inspection using a silk pocket-handkerchief
to turn the leaves. The Stamboul Bazaar well deserves its renown, since
there is nothing else of its kind in the whole world to compare with it.
Its labyrinth of little stalls and shops if joined together in one
straight line would extend for miles; and a whole day might be spent
quite profitably in wandering around, watching the busy scenes of
bargaining and manufacturing. Here, in this bewildering maze of buying
and selling, the peculiar life of the Orient can be seen to perfection;
the "mysterious veiled lady" of the East is seen thronging the narrow
traffic-ways and seated in every stall; water-venders and venders of
carpooses (water-melons) and a score of different eatables are meandering
through. Here, if your guide be an honest fellow, he can pilot you into
stuffy little holes full of antique articles of every description, where
genuine bargains can be picked up; or, if he be dishonest, and in league
with equally dishonest tricksters, whose places are antiquaries only in
name, he can lead you where everything is basest imitation. In the former
case, if anything is purchased he comes in for a small and not undeserved
commission from the shopkeeper, and in the latter for perhaps as much
as thirty per cent. I am told that one of these guides, when escorting
a party of tourists with plenty of money to spend and no knowledge
whatever of the real value or genuineness of antique articles, often
makes as much as ten or fifteen pounds sterling a day commission.

On the way from the Bazaar we call at the Pigeon Mosque, so called on
account of being the resort of thousands of pigeons, that have become
quite tame from being constantly fed by visitors and surrounded by human
beings. A woman has charge of a store of seeds and grain, and visitors
purchase a handful for ten paras and throw to the pigeons, who flock
around fearlessly in the general scramble for the food. At any hour of
the day Mussulman ladies may be seen here feeding the pigeons for the
amusement of their children. From the Pigeon Mosque we ascend the Saraka
Tower, the great watch-tower of Stamboul, from the summit of which the
news of a fire in any part of the city is signalled, by suspending huge
frame-work balls covered with canvas from the ends of projecting poles
in the day, and lights at night. Constant watch and ward is kept over
the city below by men snugly housed in quarters near the summit, who,
in addition to their duties as watchmen, turn an honest cherik occasionally
by supplying cups of coffee to Visitors.

No fairer site ever greeted human vision than the prospect from the Tower
of Saraka. Stamboul, Galata, Pera, and Scutari, with every suburban
village and resort for many a mile around, can be seen to perfection
from the commanding height of Saraka Tower. The guide can here point out
every building of interest in Stamboul-the broad area of roof beneath
which the busy scenes of Stamboul Bazaar are enacted from day to day,
the great Persian khan, the different mosques, the Sultan's palaces at
Pera, the Imperial kiosks up the Bosphorus, the old Grecian aqueduct,
along which the water for supplying the great reservoir of the thousand
and one columns used to be conducted, the old city walls, and scores of
other interesting objects too numerous to mention here. On the opposite
hill, across the Golden Horn, Galata Watch-tower points skyward above
the mosques and houses of Galata and Pera. The two bridges connecting
Stamboul and Galata are seen thronged with busy traffic; a forest of
masts and spars is ranged all along the Golden Horn; steamboats are
plying hither and thither across the Bosphorus; the American cruiser
Quinnebaug rides at anchor opposite the Imperial water-side palace; the
blue waters of the Sea of Marmora and the Gulf of Ismidt are dotted here
and there with snowy sails or lined with the smoke of steamships; all
combined to make the most lovely panorama imaginable, and to which the
coast-wise hills and more lofty mountains of Asia Minor in the distance
form a most appropriate background.

>From this vantage-point the guide will not neglect whetting the curiosity
of his charge for more sight-seeing by pointing out everything that he
imagines would be interesting; he points out a hill above Scutari, whence,
he says, a splendid view can be had of "all Asia Minor," and "we could
walk there and back in half a day, or go quicker with horses or donkeys;"
he reminds you that to-morrow is the day for the howling dervishes in
Scutari, and tells you that by starting at one we can walk out to the
English cemetery, and return to Scutari in time for the howling dervishes
at four o'clock, and manages altogether to get his employer interested
in a programme, which, if carried out, would guarantee him employment
for the next week. On the way back to Galata we visit the tomb of Sulieman
I, the most magnificent tomb in Stamboul. Here, before the coffins of
Sulieman I., Sulieman II, and his brother Ahmed, are monster wax candles,
that have stood sentry here for three hundred and fifty years; and the
mosaic dome of the beautiful edifice is studded with what are popularly
believed to be genuine diamonds, that twinkle down on the curiously
gazing visitor like stars from a miniature heaven. The attendant tells
the guide, in answer to an inquiry from me, that no one living knows
whether they are genuine diamonds or not, for never, since the day it
was finished, over three centuries and a half ago, has anyone been
permitted to go up and examine them. The edifice was go perfectly and
solidly built in the beginning, that no repairs of any kind have ever
been necessary; and it looks almost like a new building to-day.

Not being able to spare the time for visiting all the objects of interest
enumerated by the guide, I elect to see the howling dervishes as the
most interesting among them. Accordingly we take the ferry-boat across
to Scutari on Thursday afternoon in time to visit the English cemetery
before the dervishes begin their peculiar services. We pass through one
of the largest Mussulman cemeteries of Constantinople, a bewildering
area of tombstones beneath a grove of dark cypresses, so crowded and
disorderly that the oldest gravestones seem to have been pushed down,
or on one side, to make room for others of a later generation, and these
again for still others. In happy comparison to the disordered area of
crowded tombstones in the Mohammedan graveyard is the English cemetery,
where the soldiers who died at the Scutari hospital during the Crimean
war were buried, and the English residents of Constantinople now bury
their dead. The situation of the English cemetery is a charming spot,
on a sloping bluff, washed by the waters of the Bosphorus, where the
requiem of the murmuring waves is perpetually sung for the brave fellows
interred there. An Englishman has charge; and after being in Turkey a
month it is really quite refreshing to visit this cemetery, and note the
scrupulous neatness of the grounds. The keeper must be industry personified,
for he scarcely permits a dead leaf to escape his notice; and the four
angels beaming down upon the grounds from the national monument erected
by England, in memory of the Crimean heroes, were they real visitors
from the better land, could doubtless give a good account of his

The howling dervishes have already begun to howl as we open the portals
leading into their place of worship by the influence of a cherik placed
in the open palm of a sable eunuch at the door; but it is only the
overture, for it is half an hour later when the interesting part of the
programme begins. The first hour seems to be devoted to preliminary
meditations and comparatively quiet ceremonies; but the cruel-looking
instruments of self-flagellation hanging on the wall, and a choice and
complete assortment of drums and other noise-producing but unmelodious
instruments, remind the visitor that he is in the presence of a peculiar
people. Sheepskin mats almost cover the floor of the room, which is kept
scrupulously clean, presumably to guard against the worshippers soiling
their lips whenever they kiss the floor, a ceremony which they perform
quite frequently during the first hour; and everyone who presumes to
tread within that holy precinct removes his over-shoes, if he is wearing
any, otherwise he enters in his stockings. At five o'clock the excitement
begins; thirty or forty men are ranged around one end of the room, bowing
themselves about most violently, and keeping time to the movements of
their bodies with shouts of "Allah. Allah." and then branching off into
a howling chorus of Mussulman supplications, that, unintelligible as
they are to the infidel ear, are not altogether devoid of melody in the
expression, the Turkish language abounding in words in which there is a
world of mellifluousness. A dancing dervish, who has been patiently
awaiting at the inner gate, now receives a nod of permission from the
priest, and, after laying aside an outer garment, waltzes nimbly into
the room, and straightway begins spinning round like a ballet-dancer
in Italian opera, his arms extended, his long skirt forming a complete
circle around him as he revolves, and his eyes fixed with a determined
gaze into vacancy. Among the howlers is a negro, who is six feet three
at least, not in his socks, but in the finest pair of under-shoes in the
room, and whether it be in the ceremony of kissing the floor, knocking
foreheads against the same, kissing the hand of the priest, or in the
howling and bodily contortions, this towering son of Ham performs his
part with a grace that brings him conspicuously to the fore in this
respect. But as the contortions gradually become more-violent, and the
cry of "Allah akbar. Allah hai!" degenerates into violent grunts of "
h-o-o-o-o-a-hoo-hoo," the half-exhausted devotees fling aside everything
but a white shroud, and the perspiration fairly streams off them, from
such violent exercise in the hot weather and close atmosphere of the
small room. The exercises make rapid inroads upon the tall negro's powers
of endurance, and he steps to one side and takes a breathing-spell of
five minutes, after which he resumes his place again, and, in spite of
the ever-increasing violence of both lung and muscular exercise, and the
extra exertion imposed by his great height, he keeps it up heroically
to the end.

For twenty-five minutes by my watch, the one lone dancing dervish - who
appears to be a visitor merely, but is accorded the brotherly privilege
of whirling round in silence while the others howl-spins round and round
like a tireless top, making not the slightest sound, spinning in a long,
persevering, continuous whirl, as though determined to prove himself
holier than the howlers, by spinning longer than they can keep up their
howling - a fair test of fanatical endurance, so to speak. One cannot help
admiring the religious fervor and determination of purpose that impel
this lone figure silently around on his axis for twenty-five minutes,
at a speed that would upset the equilibrium of anybody but a dancing
dervish in thirty seconds; and there is something really heroic in the
manner in which he at last suddenly stops, and, without uttering a sound
or betraying any sense of dizziness whatever from the exercise, puts on
his coat again and departs in silence, conscious, no doubt, of being a
holier person than all the howlers put together, even though they are
still keeping it up. As unmistakable signals of distress are involuntarily
hoisted by the violently exercising devotees, and the weaker ones quietly
fall out of line, and the military precision of the twists of body and
bobbing and jerking of head begins to lose something of its regularity,
the six "encouragers," ranged on sheep-skins before the line of howling
men, like non-commissioned officers before a squad of new recruits,
increase their encouraging cries of "Allah. Allah akbar" as though fearful
that the din might subside, on account of the several already exhausted
organs of articulation, unless they chimed in more lustily and helped
to swell the volume.

Little children now come trooping in, seeking with eager anticipation
the happy privilege of being ranged along the floor like sardines in a
tin box, and having the priest walk along their bodies, stepping from
one to the other along the row, and returning the same way, while two
assistants steady him by holding his hands. In the case of the smaller
children, the priest considerately steps on their thighs, to avoid
throwing their internal apparatus out of gear; but if the recipient of
his holy attentions is, in his estimation, strong enough to run the risk,
he steps square on their backs, The little things jump up as sprightly
as may be, kiss the priest's hand fervently, and go trooping out of the
door, apparently well pleased with the novel performance. Finally human
nature can endure it no longer, and the performance terminates in a long,
despairing wail of "Allah. Allah. Allah!" The exhausted devotees, soaked
wet with perspiration, step forward, and receive what I take to be rather
an inadequate reward for what they have been subjecting themselves to -
viz., the privilege of kissing the priest's already much-kissed hand,
and at 5.45 P.M. the performance is over. I take my departure in time
to catch the six o'clock boat for Galata, well satisfied with the finest
show I ever saw for a cherik. I have already made mention of there being
many beautiful sea-side places to which Constantinopolitans resort on
Sundays and holidays, and among them all there is no lovelier spot than
the island of Prinkipo, one of the Prince's Islands group, situated some
twelve miles from Constantinople, down the Gulf of Ismidt. Shelton Bey
(Colonel Shelton), an English gentleman, who superintends the Sultan's
cannon-foundry at Tophana, and the well-known author of Shelton's "
Mechanic's Guide," owns the finest steam-yacht on the Bosphorus, and
three Sundays out of the five I remain here, this gentleman and his
excellent lady kindly invite me to visit Prinkipo with them for the day.

On the way over we usually race with the regular passenger steamer, and
as the Bey's yacht is no plaything for size and speed, we generally
manage to keep close enough to amuse ourselves with the comments on the
beauty and speed of our little craft from the crowded deck of the other
boat. Sometimes a very distinguished person or two is aboard the yacht
with our little company, personages known to the Bey, who having arrived
on the passenger-boat, accept invitations for a cruise around the island,
or to dine aboard the yacht as she rides at anchor before the town. But
the advent of the " Americanish Velocipediste " and his glistening
machine, a wonderful thing that Prinkipo never saw the like of before,
creates a genuine sensation, and becomes the subject of a nine-days'
wonder. Prinkipo is a delightful gossipy island, occupied during the
summer by the families of wealthy Constantinopolitans and leading business
men, who go to and fro daily between the little island and the city on
the passenger-boats regularly plying between them, and is visited every
Sunday by crowds in search of the health and pleasure afforded by a day's
outing. While here at Constantinople I received by mail from America a
Butcher spoke cyclometer, and on the second visit to Prinkipo I measured
the road which has been made around half the island; the distance is
four English miles and a fraction. The road was built by refugees employed
by the Sultan during the last Russo-Turkish war, and is a very good one;
for part of the distance it leads between splendid villas, on the verandas
of which are seen groups of the wealth and beauty of the Osmanli capital,
Armenians, Greeks, and Turks - the latter ladies sometimes take the privilege
of dispensing with the yashmak during their visits to the comparative
seclusion of Prinkipo villas - with quite a sprinkling of English and
Europeans. The sort of impression made upon the imaginations of Prinkipo
young ladies by the bicycle is apparent from the following comment made
by a bevy of them confidentially to Shelton Bey, and kindly written out
by him, together with the English interpretation thereof. The Prinkipo
ladies' compliment to the first bicycle rider visiting their beautiful
island is: "O Bizdan kaydore ghyurulduzug em nezalcettt sadi bir dakika
ulchum ghyuriorus nazaman bir dah backiorus O bittum gitmush." (He glides
noiselessly and gracefully past; we see him only for a moment; when we
look again he is quite gone.) The men are of course less poetical, their
ideas running more to the practical side of the possibilities of the new
ox-rival, and they comment as follows: "Onum beyghir hich-bir-shey
yemiore hich-bir-shey ichmiore Inch yorumliore ma sheitan gibi ghiti-ore,"
(His horse, he eats nothing, drinks nothing, never gets tired, and goes
like the very devil.) It is but fair to add, however, that any bold
Occidental contemplating making a descent on Prinkipo with a, "sociable"
with a view to delightful moonlight rides with the fair; authors of
the above poetic contribution will find himself "all at sea" upon, his
arrival, unless he brings a three-seated machine, so that the mamma can
be accommodated with a seat behind, since the daughters of Prinkipo
society never wander forth by moonlight, or any other light, unless thus
accompanied, or by some; equally staid and solicitous relative.

For the Asiatic tour I have invented a "bicycle tent" - a handy contrivance
by which the bicycle is made to answer the place of tent poles. The
material used is fine, strong sheeting, that will roll up into a small
space, and to make it thoroughly water-proof, I have dressed it with
boiled linseed oil. My footgear henceforth will be Circassian moccasins,
with the pointed toes sticking up like the prow of a Venetian galley. I
have had a pair made to order by a native shoemaker in Galata, and, for
either walking or pedalling, they are ahead of any foot-gear I ever wore;
they are as easy as a three-year-old glove, and last indefinitely, and
for fancifulness in appearance, the shoes of civilization are nowhere.
Three days before starting out I receive friendly warnings from both the
English and American consul that Turkey in Asia is infested with brigands,
the former going the length of saying that if he had the power he would
refuse me permission to meander forth upon so risky an undertaking. I
have every confidence, however, that the bicycle will prove an effectual
safeguard against any undue familiarity on the part of these frisky
citizens. Since reaching Constantinople the papers here have published
accounts of recent exploits accomplished by brigands near Eski Baba. I
have little doubt but that more than one brigand was among my highly
interested audiences there on that memorable Sunday.

The Turkish authorities seem to have made themselves quite familiar with
my intentions, and upon making application for a teskere (Turkish passport)
they required me to specify, as far as possible, the precise route I
intend traversing from Scutari to Ismidt, Angora, Erzeroum, and beyond,
to the Persian frontier. An English gentleman who has lately travelled
through Persia and the Caucasus tells me that the Persians are quite
agreeable people, their only fault being the one common failing of the
East: a disposition to charge whatever they think it possible to obtain
for anything. The Circassians seem to be the great bugbear in Asiatic
Turkey. I am told that once I get beyond the country that these people
range over - who are regarded as a sort of natural and half-privileged
freebooters - I shall be reasonably safe from molestation. It is a common
thing in Constantinople when two men are quarrelling for one to threaten
to give a Circassian a couple of medjedis to kill the other. The Circassian
is to Turkey what the mythical "bogie" is to England; mothers threaten
undutiful daughters, fathers unruly sons, and everybody their enemies
generally, with the Circassian, who, however, unlike the "bogie" of the
English household, is a real material presence, popularly understood to
be ready for any devilment a person may hire him to do.

The bull-dog revolver, under the protecting presence of which I have
travelled thus far, has to be abandoned here at Constantinople, having
proved itself quite a wayward weapon since it came from the gunsmith's
hands in Vienna, who seemed to have upset the internal mechanism in some
mysterious manner while boring out the chambers a trifle to accommodate
European cartridges. My experience thus far is that a revolver has been
more ornamental than useful; but I am now about penetrating far different
countries to any I have yet traversed. Plenty of excellently finished
German imitations of the Smith & Wesson revolver are found in the magazines
of Constantinople; but, apart from it being the duty of every Englishman
or American to discourage, as far as his power goes, the unscrupulousness
of German manufacturers in placing upon foreign markets what are, as far
as outward appearance goes, the exact counterparts of our own goods, for
half the money, a genuine American revolver is a different weapon from
its would-be imitators, and I hesitate not to pay the price for the
genuine article. Remembering the narrow escape on several occasions of
having the bull-dog confiscated by the Turkish gendarmerie, and having
heard, moreover, in Constantinople, that the same class of officials in
Turkey in Asia will most assuredly want to confiscate the Smith & Wesson
as a matter of private speculation and enterprise, I obtain through the
British consul a teskere giving me special permission to carry a revolver.
Subsequent events, however, proved this precaution to be unnecessary,
for a more courteous, obliging, and gentlemanly set of fellows, according
to their enlightenment, I never met any where, than the government
officials of Asiatic Turkey. Were I to make the simple statement that I
am starting into Asia with a pair of knee-breeches that are worth fourteen
English pounds (about sixty-eight dollars) and offer no further explanation,
I should, in all probability, be accused of a high order of prevarication.
Nevertheless, such is the fact; for among other subterfuges to outwit
possible brigands, and kindred citizens, I have made cloth-covered buttons
out of Turkish liras (eighteen shillings English), and sewed them on in
place of ordinary buttons. Pantaloon buttons at $54 a dozen are a luxury
that my wildest dreams never soared to before, and I am afraid many a
thrifty person will condemn me for extravagance; but the "splendor"
of the Orient demands it; and the extreme handiness of being able to cut
off a button, and with it buy provisions enough to load down a mule,
would be all the better appreciated if one had just been released from
the hands of the Philistines with nothing but his clothes - and buttons - and
the bicycle. With these things left to him, one could afford to regard
the whole matter as a joke, expensive, perhaps, but nevertheless a joke
compared with what might have been. The Constantinople papers have
advertised me to start on Monday, August 10th, "direct from Scutari."
I have received friendly warnings from several Constantinople gentlemen,
that a band of brigands, under the leadership of an enterprising chief
named Mahmoud Pehlivan, operating about thirty miles out of Scutari,
have beyond a doubt received intelligence of this fact from spies here
in the city, and, to avoid running direct into the lion's mouth, I decide
to make the start from Ismidt, about twenty-five miles beyond their
rendezvous. A Greek gentleman, who is a British subject, a Mr. J. T.
Corpi, whom I have met here, fell into the hands of this same gang, and
being known to them as a wealthy gentleman, had to fork over 3,000 ransom;
and he says I would be in great danger of molestation in venturing from
Scutari to Ismidt after my intention to do so has been published.



In addition to a cycler's ordinary outfit and the before-mentioned small
wedge tent I provide myself with a few extra spokes, a cake of tire
cement, and an extra tire for the rear wheel. This latter, together with
twenty yards of small, stout rope, I wrap snugly around the front axle;
the tent and spare underclothing, a box of revolver cartridges, and a
small bottle of sewing-machine oil are consigned to a luggage-carrier
behind; while my writing materials, a few medicines and small sundries
find a repository in my Whitehouse sole-leather case on a Lamson carrier,
which also accommodates a suit of gossamer rubber.

The result of my study of the various routes through Asia is a determination
to push on to Teheran, the capital of Persia, and there spend the
approaching winter, completing my journey to the Pacific next season.

Accordingly nine o'clock on Monday morning, August 10th, finds me aboard
the little Turkish steamer that plies semi-weekly between Ismidt and the
Ottoman capital, my bicycle, as usual, the centre of a crowd of wondering
Orientals. This Ismidt steamer, with its motley crowd of passengers,
presents a scene that upholds with more eloquence than words Constantinople's

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