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Notes on a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo by William Makepeace Thackeray

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than if they had been stuffed in bolsters; and even their feet were
brought to a general splay uniformity by the double yellow slippers
which the wives of true believers wear. But it is in the Greek and
Armenian quarters, and among those poor Christians who were pulling
figs, that you see the beauties; and a man of a generous
disposition may lose his heart half-a-dozen times a day in Smyrna.
There was the pretty maid at work at a tambour-frame in an open
porch, with an old duenna spinning by her side, and a goat tied up
to the railings of the little court-garden; there was the nymph who
came down the stair with the pitcher on her head, and gazed with
great calm eyes, as large and stately as Juno's; there was the
gentle mother, bending over a queer cradle, in which lay a small
crying bundle of infancy. All these three charmers were seen in a
single street in the Armenian quarter, where the house-doors are
all open, and the women of the families sit under the arches in the
court. There was the fig-girl, beautiful beyond all others, with
an immense coil of deep black hair twisted round a head of which
Raphael was worthy to draw the outline and Titian to paint the
colour. I wonder the Sultan has not swept her off, or that the
Persian merchants, who come with silks and sweetmeats, have not
kidnapped her for the Shah of Tehran.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

"My name is Norval."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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