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EXTRACTS OF LETTERS FROM THE EAST.
(Continued from page 374, Vol. VI.)
A WALK THROUGH CONSTANTINOPLE. 1 lies Galata, close by the shore, and Pera
above it, on the hill-side. The former is UNDOUBTEDLY the best way to enjoy
the commercial, and the latter the arisConstantinople is to provide oneself with
tocratic quarter; and each of the three a pair of boots long enough to reach over
great divisions-Stamboul, Galata, and the knee, so as to make you independent | Pera-are as distinct from one another in of mud; and then to set out on font. their class of inhabitants and customs as unaccompanied by a commissioner, and
can be. Galata is full of bustling, rapaunburdened by Murray, to "saunter," ascious Greeks, cheating Armenians, and the momentary impulse leads, up this traders of all nations. Pera is the hotel alley, and down that lane, stumbling
and ambassage quarter; while Stamboul unawares into mosque courts, and losing is peculiarly the city of the Turks. To oneself in hopeless labyrinths of pictur- see Constantinople, then, we must cross esque ruins. Thus only can you enjoy the Golden Horn; and this is accomplished Stamboul. Your attention is not ab by means of various bridges of boats. It sorbed in trying to gag the valet-de-place, is here on these bridges, more especially who is pouring forth his newest fabrica- | on one by the harbour, that the curious tions at your elbow, or in guiding a mixture of nations visiting this capital horse whose chief talent seems to be are to be seen. As the tide of human jamming your knees against sharp cor
beings flows past, the nations of the ners, or proiecting himself on the un-world seem to have sent representatives yielding burdens of unsympathizing
to the grand masquerade. Türks, Greeks, donkeys. Nowhere do you find a more Persians in their high sheepskin caps ; interesting field for amusement. Even Circassians in their open pelisse, stuck after the busy bazaar is passed, the over with cartridges; French, English, silent lonely streets are so very full of soldiers and sailors; the Jew with his “ newness." Street after street is passed “kick-me-if-you-will feature;" the fat (I speak at present of Stamboul pro pasha on his sleek cob; and the wanderper, "the city of the Turks") in which ing dervisb, a medley bundle of rags and you hardly see a soul. The latticed smells; and last in place, but prominent windows and firmly closed doors give in beauty, the Circassian female, in her the place an uninhabited look. A female gingerbread-looking carriage,-all crowd figure in gay coloured clothes may flit along in little wavelets. There is not in rapidly round a corner, looking like the the world, perhaps, such a “melange.” good genius of the place finally deserting After crossing this bridge, you require to its home, or a mangy dog lies lazily in run the gauntlet through a host of imthe narrow stream of sunshine ; but your portunate Jewe, amiably tendering their footfall alone disturbs the stillness. Then services as guides through the bazaars : the houses themselves are such villan. “Want me, master? shew you all the ous tumble-downs- very beau-ideals of būzzars for tū pence;" and they might picturesque rottenness. Any of them add with propriety: “ Cheat you, master, might be taken as models for the scene throughout all the day for nothing ;" for of some tragic murder,--or might bear a more villanous set it would be difficult the imputation of any amount of crime. to find. The first place usually visited He must, indeed, have been an erratic is the drug bazaar, near the water. This genius who planned and erected them! is the most truly oriental of all the
These characteristics, while they be covered bazaars. Arched overhead, it long more or less to all the houses in is a street in itself, lined on both sides Constantinople, are possessed in a more with wooden counters, covered with heaps marked degree by those in Stamboul, of dye stuffs, curious roots, and dried which is that part of the city which leaves brought from every clime.. A lies to the south of the harbour, or sombre shade is thrown over all from the Golden Horn,-an arm of the Bosphorus absence of windows, and a heavy smell running at right angles to it on its west of incense loads the air. The old longshore, and up some distance into the bearded Turks, too, sitting so solemnly land. On the north of the Golden Horn behind their wares, so strikingly dressed
in their snow-white turbans and haicks, conceal much that may be plain, reveal and enveloped in perpetual clouds of all the glory of the large solemn eye, tchibouque smoke. One's mind is filled which irresistibly bends you in the with an inexpressible feeling, compounded dust. Outside the bazaars, in the streets of the reminiscences of the Arabian around, one catches such queer peeps of nights, and the scenery on & China marble bath-rooms, stirring coffee-houses, tea-cup- a feeling as if looking on the portico of a mosque, or a curious something not of this world-an opium little graveyard let in between the gables vision of Eastern travel. The other of contiguous houses; there a tobacco bazaars are divided into streets, each shop, here a confectionary stands heaped set apart for some craft. Goldsmiths, with the delicious sweetmeats of which drapers, shoemakers, furriers, tobacco the Turks are so fond. At corners, too, nists, &c. &c., herd together; so that on are often seen beautifully ornamented one side is seen a long line of yellow windows of latticed iron-work, overmorocco slippers, and up another alley, shadowed by hanging roofs to ward off Duslin dresses and Fez caps.
the sun, and having ranged all round It is curious to observe the sudden little brazen cups full of cold water, to vivacity which seizes on the formerly list- quench the burning throat of the passerless stall-holder when he thinks you are by, and which tiny goblets are ever regoing to buy. “Look here, master;" “I plenished by an attendant, who stands say, Johnny," resound on all sides. Shoes, / within, the guardian at the tomb of some silk dresses, caps, flourish in the air; and great man-it may be a monarch of forpipe-sticks with amber mouth-pieces, are mer times-who has endowed the well held out in a style meant to disarm all in perpetuity for his thirsty countrymen. opposition. If you do offer for anything, The ornamented coffin of the founder they coolly demand ten times what they may be seen within, reposing on the mean to accept, and unblushingly receive marble pavement. Some of these tombs a mere fraction of their demand, if you are most elegant. Light marble chapels only let them handle the money, the touch placed in gardens, from which the roses has a charm for them they cannot resist. clime to the windows, and enter the Armed with the solitary sentence “ katch railings around the entrance. Stoves, too, ghroush," the analogue of the "combien," beat the air in winter, and carpets cover “quanto," or "wie viel,” by the aid the floor. There is nothing of cold mould. of which the independent Englishman | The skull and crossbones are concealed travels over Europe, you may come to with velvet and gold trimmings. terms; the shortest way being to pocket In Stamboul we visit also the Atmeithe goods, pay down what you believe to dan, or Hippodrome-80 interesting from be proper, exclaim, “bono," which here its historic associations. The scene of passes for everything, and move on. The the Greek games, and the frequent crowd in these bazaars is sometimes im emeulés of the Janissaries, and the final mense; and as horses and carriages are destruction of that turbulent body within allowed to pass where they can, the jam its precincts, bestow on it considerable is sometimes complete. The women interest. Near by is St. Sophia,- the form the majority; and here, as else- first-built, and still the most splendid of where, they seem to derive their chief the mosques of Constantinople. A few amusement from shopping. To see the years ago no one could obtain admission crowd of yashmac'd females at the stall without a firman, which cost £10, and an of some fashionable Jew, hauling down immense deal of trouble. I and a few and examining everything on his shelves, more got in the other day for fourpence teazing and bullying, and yet going away a-head-the tariff' the invaders have set without purchasing, would be an inter. down for themselves. This church being esting thing to the ethnologist, as tend- built in the form of a Greek crose, dising to shew how universal are such plays a greater area to the eye than is features throughout the great female presented in the Latin churches. The family. It is in the bazaars that the view of the interior from the gallery is chief beauties of the Turkish harems are very striking, when looking down on to be seen, particularly when the Sul- the vast centre spanned by that wondertan's “lot” are abroad. I was lucky |ful cupola, whose construction has puzzled enough the other day to see nineteen so many architecte, poised, as it were, in carriages, having four in each, coming the air, without support. The groups from the seraglio; and I must say, that of prostrate worshippers; the teachers while many of them were exquisite surrounded by their attentive congregaly beautiful, the majority had little to tiong; the fretted roof and graceful boast of. The yashmacs, while they pillars, combine to form an admirable and
unique whole. The church, however, stored the goods of pilgrims, enclosed in being built by the Christians, stands east large trunks. If they return from their and west; while the Mihrab, or Mussul- journey, they claim their merchandise; man altar, having always the direction of if they die, all is confiscated to the Mecca, which here lies to the south-east, church-a novel sort of insurance. The is in one corner; and all the carpets, &c., worship is very curious, being in a great being laid with reference to this, gives an measure personal-each one praying for awry twist to the church, and takes away himself; but they unite in numbers, much from the general effect. The headed by a priest, who gives, as it were, ancient pillars are relics of all the chief | the word of command, and all kneel, or temples of antiquity, such as that of rather prostrate themselves, and go Diana at Ephesus, the Sun at Baalbec, through the other parts of their service Pallas at Athens, Pæbus at Delos, and as if by one impulse. Stroking their of Cybele at Cyzicus. Justinian and beards, turning the head to either side, Chrysostom, too, shed the light of their putting the hands up to the side of the happy memory over its walls; and the head, and the thumb under the lobe of melancholy scene here enacted of Con- the ear, or holding them out before their stantine, the last of a long line of im- faces, as if they were reading from them, perial rulers, partaking of his last sacra- are attitudes which frequently occur in ment, as he went forth to sacrifice his life their service. ic defence of his beloved city-consecrat- The old walls which surround Coning the whole. On one pillar is shewn stantinople in double, and sometimes the outline of the conqueror's mailed triple tire, are envious prizes for the hand, as, red with blood, he struck it in painter. They have endless picturesque his fury against the stone; and another stones and angles on the sea-side, with pillar nearly severed in twain, is said to curious old houses packed on their ragged have owed its destruction to a stroke summits. Landwards, the creeping ivy from the sabre of the same warrior. The and clustering wild rose cover ditch and worn toe of St. Peter is outdone by a holy rampart. The massive towers are so stone contained in this church, which has funnily split from top to base, and lie a large hole worn in it by the digital either in huge masses in the ditch, or · applications of the worshippers. The totter to their fall in such perfectly picsplendour of this church before it was turesque groupings, that bours insensibly defaced, is almost fabulous. The spoils pass as we walk or ride along them. The of kingdoms were lavished on its con- famous fortress of “the Seven Towers,” struction, and many lives sacrificed to along the garrison of the Janissaries, with hurry on its completion. “Solomon ! I | its “place of skulls,” forms a fitting terhave surpassed thee!" was the exclama- mination to the circuit. tion of the delighted emperor, as he pro- The fires of Constantinople bave ever strated himself before the high altar on been a fruitful source of interest to the the day of its consecration-the self-traveller, and taken a prominent part in adulation of the man overcoming his his diary. The wooden houses do, in seeming ardour in the service of God. truth, look as if, in their fantastic rotThe rest of the imperial mosques are all tenness, they were just built expressly more or less after the plan of St. Sophia, to burn ; and that if once set a-blaze, the which seems to have completely revolu- whole city would go down like a hay tionized the taste of the Moslem archi- rick. Being for some time here without tects. Many of them are very large and | hearing or seeing such a thing, I was behandsome; and from being built by the coming sceptical of their existence, except Mussulmans, have their high altars at long and uncertain intervals, and was placed in the middle of the wall, which disposed to appreciate them as travellers' obviates the awkwardness remarked in myths, grotesquely told to end a chapter; St. Sophia. It is a curious thing, that in but last night, the chorus of watchmen, St. Sophia, the image of our Saviour who, with the accompaniment of beating above the high altar is hardly defaced, the stones with iron-pointed staves, the and can be easily traced through the more completely to awake you, bellowed overlaid gilding. As it tells of former out the long looked for intimation, creeds, does it not point to the revival of “Yanghun var!”-i, e., “There is a fire!" the old faith? In the court of one of the completely dissipated all my incredulity; mosques multitudes of sacred pigeons and on looking out, there was a fire, and reside, and are fed by the faithful, who no mistake. A large manufactory close purchase food for them from a man in by was in flames; and as the watchmen attendance, and far outdo in numbers kept on in the most impressive manner the celebrated flocks of Venice. In the informing one of the fact, the thousand galleries of nearly all the mosques are dogs of the neighbourhood raised up their voices and wept, remembering, pro-, if they growl or bite you-you would do bably, some favourite haunt which was the same on a less provocation. The now being given over to the devouring Turks recently gave a curious example element. A perfect column of red flame of straining at the gnat and swallowing shot high into the murky sky, and spread the camel in the case of these poor dogs, itself on every side as it licked up the whose life they would no more take by miserable rickety houses around like wood shooting or drowning, than they would sbavings. The effect on the landscape that of their dearest child; but they had was very fine. The Bosphorus and no hesitation in sending some thousands Golden Horn were lit up as by an un- of them to a desert island in the Sea of earthly light, which, as it rose and Marmora, where, without food or drink, fell, alternately flashed over them, and they were left to devour one another,-shrouded them in deep darkness. These which I am told, they accomplished very fires do great damage, and often ruin the effectually. miserable inhabitants, who not unfrequently have their whole wealth in their
SAILORS ON SHORE. dwellings; and now extensive ruins of the heterogeneous collection of abound throughout the city attesting the foreigners who at present crowd the fierceness of the fires, and the indolence streets of Constantinople, there is peror poverty of the inhabitants. By a recent haps no class who appear more heartily regulation, all new buildings require to to enjoy themselves than the sailors of have a stone wall between every second the combined fleets. Day and night the house, so that the fires cannot now whole city re-echoes with their bacchanspread as they used to do; but there is alian shouts, and out of every coffeestill room for an immense deal of useful house rolls, in broken and hiccuped burnings before all the old rubbish of accents, the inharmonious chorus of houses is cleared away.
their favourite sea ditties. As, linked The dogs are another unfailing item in arm in arm, they promenade the streets, the journal of travellers; and I fear that everything is chased away before them, this feature, too, will soon disappear. either through a wholesome fear which Byron made them poetical; and more re- they inspire, or the no less potent imcent writers, out of gratitude for their pulse of their headlong advance. The scavenging abilities, have added to their French have made themselves much renown. They, in fact, but too often more conspicuous for this distinguished form the sole item in Constantinopolitan acquirement than our men, ever since life with which many are acquainted be the fleet came into these waters. Our fore they visit the Golden Horn. Speak worthy allies have certainly fully come of Constantinople, and your neighbour up, in this particular, to the panegyric will probably ask if it is not overrun by lately bestowed on them of doing "nowild dogs. 'A city of cypress trees and thing by halves," as they appear to me minarets, in which life and property are to get drunk, not by ones or twos, but not safe, and where dogs are omnipotent, by entire ships' crews. One day the forms the most received notion of Con- streets are deluged by the muddled stantinople. The truth is, however, that progeny of the “Valmy;" on the next the dogs, though without masters, and the heroes of the “Napoleon” take the confined, by certain understood rules of lead ; while the crew of the flag-ship, the etiquette, esteemed among themselves, to“ Ville de Paris," has out-Heroded all, particular streets or sections of the city, and seem to have become chronically are in reality well-disposed, though lazy and helplessly inebriated. Go where citizens. Whether it be that their man- you will, and at any hour, and you find ners have partaken of the improved amia- the streets barricaded with their prosbility which has of late been licked into trate bodies, and the kennel choked with all the members of society here by the their glazed hats. One never goes out new comers, or that they have been in but some amusing scene occurs. On a reality maligned, I know not; but I must late grand state occasion, the pet troops do them the justice to say, that they have of the Turkish garrison were paraded, never at any time shewn towards me and their band was “discoursing sweet that unbappy ferocity which has been music” to the assembled fashionables of usually ascribed to them. Give them a Constantinople. A drunken sailor stood sunny corner, or a cool pool of mud, and by, plastered against a neighbouring wall, they will never trouble you,--that is, his hands in his trousers' pockets, and a always supposing you do not insult them. short black pipe in his mouth. He con. If you tramp on their tails, or wake them tinued for some time to smile encourag. from tbeir first sleep at night by stun- ingly on the performance, till, roused by bling over their noses, you need not wonder I some unlucky note which jarred his
artistic ear, he became suddenly pos- , ine main street of Pera, when a Turkish sessed of most malevolent feelings, and cavass, or policeman, came up and tried launching himself amidst the performers to remove him. Jack took the "peeler" with irresistible force, just at the most by the arm in the most friendly manner critical part of the composition, he ato possible, and was marching away with tacked first an unfortunate torturer of him, yarning away at some long story, the trombone, and then dealt his delicate which was plentifully intermixed with attentions around on the others, with vocal illustrations, till he got near the hand and foot, till, after a few squeaks guard-house, where he all at once apand grunts, the whole concert abruptly peared to have woke up to a knowledge ended. Unfortunately, just at last our of his friend's true character. He imhero “caught a crab," as he himself mediately withdrew his arm, and after a poetically expressed it, in a futile attempt few minutes' deep cogitation he fetched a to kick the big drum ; for, as his foot round blow at the Turk, which hit pretty missed its mark, and flew up rather smartly against that official's thin sides, higher than its owner's equilibrium would | and at the same time quite exhausted his permit, he landed in the mud-here no own already exhausted powers of resistmere symbolic expression. Finally, he ance. The functionary's dignity was inallowed himself to be borne away to the sulted, and his bones pained ; and as he guard-house, with the resigned air of a saw his victim could not do much more to martyr who had done his duty.
oppose him, he began, in keeping with his The Greeks are the great and declared true generic instinct, to use the sailor enemies of the sailors, and many a bloody very roughly. A French soldier, who was fight do they wage with one another. passing, immediately seized a stick from To cheat, thrash, and abuse the Greeks, a shop door, and flew to the rescue. The is the great problem which engages the poor cavass was beaten most unmercimarine intellect, and tests its enter- fully, and notwithstanding that he carprise. Not a few of our tars have been ried a sword, and a whole lapful of difkilled in these encounters, as the Greeks ferent weapons, he forgot his propriety, almost always use their knives. As and fairly ran, Greek and Turk shrunk these Greeks are the lowest sharpers to either side, and did not interfere. amidst a nation of cheats, it is no wonder Jack, in the meantime, went into a poor Jack, on whom their talents are shop, and, seating himself at the counter, chiefly exercised, should entertain such waited the denoúement with the utmost a rooted antipathy for them. The al- | calmness. On his ally's return he swag. liance, offensive and defensive, between gered off, singing something about a the French and English sailors is com- certain Susan. plete. Never was the entente cordiale In truth, nothing can possibly be conmore vigorously recognized. Though ceived more opposed than a drunk sailor not understanding one word of each and a solemn sober Turk of the old other's language, they roll about together school. They appear the very contraconversing most fluently, if one may dictions in human nature. One could as judge by the sage and solemn shakes of well picture a true Osmanli in his flowthe head, and the frequent halts when ing pantaloops dancing a hornpipe, or they confront one another and shake whistling the last opera, as suppose he hands, for a long time exclaiming “ bono" could have any community of feeling now and then, to intimate their perfect with a drunken English seaman. satisfaction with one another. It gener
G. H. B. L. ally ends by their marching off, probably
(To be continued.) to cement their friendship by drubbing some unhappy Greek. The Turks do
WAR. not understand these worthies at all, and appear to look upon them with the fear We send our mandates for the certain death we do on a wild beast,--desirous to pro Of thousands and ten thousands ! Boys and pitiate them, but at a distance. Often girls, you see a Turk embraced and hugged by
And women, that would groan to see a child à sailor in a sudden fit of friendship;
Pick off an insect's leg, all read of war,and while he vainly endeavours not to
The best amusement for our morning meal! appear at all frightened, the forced laugh
The poor wretch, who has learnt his only
prayers and supplicating look for assistance, as
From curses, who knows scarcely words well as the spasmodic manner in which
enough he utters "bono,” all testify to his very
To ask a blessing from his heavenly Father, unconfortable feelings. The other day
Becomes a fluent phraseman, absolute an English sailor, more than “half-seas And technical in victories and deceit, over," was making a fool of himself in And all our dainty terms for fratricide ;