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Amy Myres, it was impossible that he should not, in some degree, however slight, in some real degree feel the influence of that atmosphere.
So the sun began to rise—and is earth dead to the sun?
And then Mr. Sidell became suddenly quite ill. This, too, was an event that could not fail to have an influence. But to think that no external circumstances whatever were needed to bring about the result that followed. Though every event must contribute of necessity to his decided development, either in the direction which the banker's wishes or in that his warnings indicated.
If Robert needed further proof of his employer's sincerity, he surely found it in the fact which could not escape his observation, that the smiles Amy Myres brought into his sick-room wrought a better and a more pleasing influence on the old man, and met with a heartier welcome than his report of the rise in stocks or the improved state of foreign markets. Nor could the effect of Annie Driscoll's return home be lost on Fessenden. The banker and his house were lifted too suddenly out of their gloom, despondence, and anxiety for that.
Then Fessenden began to regard with increased curiosity or increased interest this young girl, whom he now met so frequently in the deserted drawiug-room and in Mr. Sidell's sick chamber. Not long after her return, he might have asked himself with some reason if it was the fact that the banker was really better, and improving daily in health, or because she spoke the tidings, that he valued them in precisely the manner he did.
There was no step more frequent, not even that of the physician, in the house of Augustus Sidell than the step of Fessenden. Even after his employer was able to be about the house again he completely usurped the place of Tom Myres as voluntary runner between the counting-house and the home of the banker.
And if less business was transacted in the quiet old drawing-room than might have been imagined from the reputed character of the two men ; if more time was spent in listening to the song of Annie, or in such talk as Tom Myres and his wife could have joined in without difficulty, let no one suppose that Robert Fessenden was all this while acting in opposition to his own impulses, in consideraton of the weighty fact that the banker's health was failing, and that in the nature of things the thought of heirs must be in his mind. The secret of his movements might have been discovered in a very different direction.
Annie was flitting in and out, a being to observe, and the young man and the old observed her; or she was singing for them— and that was song to be heard, remembered, loved. She was speaking and was worth hearing, or she listened, and it was worth a man's while to come to his best speech in such an audience. So she held them both, yes, both, in her own way for her own time, by her noble face and figure, by the sweet dignity of her
maiden gentleness, by her child's fearlessness— for she was fearless as childhood, through her trust in others rather than in self-confidence.
Annie broke in upon the strictness of Fessenden's labours and obligations on the sternness of his self-control, with words that made his pulse beat faster; careless words, forgotten the instant they were spoken, by herself, but not by him; words such as any child might have spoken; but no other being could have so spoken them to him. How was this i
How was this? Robert Fessenden knew not, this is true, until one day he found himself arrested from all mortal obligations and employments by a few words spoken by the banker, whom he found walking up and down his garden in a state of great perplexity.
"Come here, come here," said that gentleman, lifting his hand, and beckoning mysteriously to Robert. "What am I to do J You're a man of sense, sir: the very man I wanted just now. Here's a young fellow asking me to give Annie away: am I to do it or not?"
The possibility of any person's bestowing such a gift was obviously so far from th 3 course of Robert's meditations, that he could not in an instant come within the range of the thought, but stood outside confused, pale, and trembling. And there stood Augustus Sidell contemplating him in surprise, had he not so well concealed it, in a joyful surprise.
"What shall I do i" he repeated, as if in his perplexity he perceived no more than his own unwelcome duty.
"Ask her what you shall do," said Robert; but the voice was hardly Robert's voice.
"And let things take their own course, do you mean? . . . It is no bad match for her in a worldly point of view, certainly," said Mr. Sidell.
"If the young man meets with your approbation I do not see that you can do less," remarked Robert; by no effort could he assume the carelessness of speech at which he aimed.
"But, Fessenden, I had different notions in my head. There's a young man whom I hoped to give her to, and I don't like to disappoint myself. It's the last time, don't you see, and this is the last great hope I can cherish. I'm afraid I run a chance of losing."
"But what is your satisfaction in the case in comparison with hers? You would not marry her against her will?" said Robert, endeavouring to hide his emotion in an assumed surprise at the banker's words.
"No, true, I've seen enough of that in my time. But you're a bad comforter, Fessenden. You're too honest for me. Still, I know it is the only thing I can do. I'll lay the case of the young man before her then. I'll do it this day: I don't see how I can help it. With my
fromise given to him and your command that shall keep it. But I'll not argue his case for him, not even for you: she shall be counsel and judge and jury herself." "As is right," said Robert. Then he turned
Few cities are more advantageously situated than Constantinople: its magnificent harbours, the slope on which it is built, the Bosphorus in front, and other natural advantages, present every facility for admirable systems of drainage and like sanitary requirements of n large capital; yet it vies with the filthiest of Oriental cities and is seldom without some devastating disease among man and beast. To one who has traversed its crowded filthy streets there does not seem any very reprehensive indifference in the traveller, who is said to have sailed to the entrance of the harbour, and on viewing the city through his field-glass turned about contented with the prospect, to tell his friends at home that he " had been at Constantinople."
Like most other Eastern towns its beauty is external, but from the sea of Marmora, or any commanding position, there are certainly few more imposing sights than the combination of the entire mass of building; to wit, St. Sophia, theSeraglio Palace, Stamboul, with their whitened mosques, minarets, and vast concourse of buildings rising amphitheatre-Ike around the basin; Scutari in fr.mt, and the fine broad expanse of the sea of Marmora and its islands, with the Balkan ranges in the back ground; or looking up the Bosphorus, with its sides covered with groves and diversified by palaces and villas.
To me who had a short time before been revelling among the beauties of the lovely Vale of Cashmere, I could not help drawing comparisons. The Balkan ranges tipped with snow, looked like the Lower Himalayas; the placid waters and islands of Marmora might have been the Waller Lake of Cashmere, with villages, and clustering vineyards here and there, until the eye rested on the slopes covered with white encampments, and finally the great city in the distance. One afternoon when admiring the scene from the top of the windmill hill, above Scutari, we were startled by salvos of artillery from the shipping in the Golden Horn, and hurrying back expecting to hear that the North Forts had fallen, were not a little chagrined to learn that it was only a salute from a few French and English ships to the Sultan as he passed them on his way to the mosque.
Another favourite ride was to Tharapia on the north side of the Bosphorus. At this time the French Army of Reserve encamped along the heights, robbed the scenery of its picturesque beauty, and as usual one's olfactory nerves came in for severe shocks from the decomposing bodies of cattle and horses by the roadside. It seems never to enter the Turk's head that exposure of offal and putridity can be injurious to public health, inasmuch as in every village
it is the invariable custom to throw the dead bodies of animals into the streets, at all events to carry them only to the confines of habitations. Among all this squalor and filth revels the lean Pariah dog, whilst at every turn some wretched object of humanity is to be observed. I don't think in any Eastern city are there so many blear-eyed people, or the ravages of small-pox so vividly impressed. One is struck likewise both in Egypt and Turkey by the number of able-bodied men who have undergone voluntary amputation of their fingers in order to render themselves unfit for conscription.
During a ramble in the vicinity of Scutari, I camesuddenly on.i Turkish crone—one of those witch-looking demons, whom the vulgar give credit to for far more sanative knowledge than she deserves. This creature was intently scrubbing the inner surface of a man's eye with a lump of rock-salt. Her patient was suffering from ophthalmia, and she was attempting to destroy the proud flesh on the lids by force of rubbing and a pickling process; she had applied the salt so freely that the parts were almost denuded, what remained being very like a piece of salted butcher meat. The rough usage and irritating effects of the saltstone seemed to cause intense suffering, but the wretched man bore the operation without flinching Visits to the camp of the German Legion, Turkish artillery, and Russian prisoners on the slopes eastward of Scutari, furnished us with several novelties.
Among the Russians were many Poles captured at Kinburne, and being at heart no friends of the former, had volunteered for the foreign corps then being organized. In place of their long great coat, broad cap, and for want of better outfit, they had been supplied with the cast-off raiments of the Allies, and were armed with English and French rifles. One jollylooking Pole conversed with us in broken English and seemed proud of his red chaco, blue coat, and red pantaloons, which had formed part of the outfit of a French dragoon and soldier of the line. This mercenary little rascal stated or pretended to assert that he would as he called "make shoot" at the first Moscovite that came in his way; and doubtless he would have kept his promise judging from the disrespectful manner he spoke of his old masters. How war and its hardships do change the outward man? Many officers I had known formerly as the well-dressed loungers about clubs, or with their regiments in home garrisons, could scarcely now be recognized after the long trench work with their hirsute appendages, threadbare uniform, and weather-beaten visage ; with all, however, they looked practical men and well-up to their business, which, as it increased, took stitch after stitch out of their tightfitting clothing, to be replaced however after the war. There was nothing relating to the efficiency of the soldier then (and perhaps even now although to a lets extent) more deserving thorough reform than his dress; indeed, at the present day, with a few exceptions among the French in Algeria, and English in India, there is not perhaps an army in the civilized world where the soldier can be said to be absolutely at his ease in his unifoim. And now, more especially, as it would appear, that future battles are to be won at racing speed, one does not see how a highlander or guardsman is to face a mountain or strong wood, or a forced inarch with his present cumbersome head-dress; but, as long as efficiency is sacrificed to appearances we must expect such anomalies; old hands don't like innovations, and the best of us are apt to be swayed by habit.
When the old army musket yclept "BrownBess" began to feci her occupation nearly gone, Sir Charles Napier came to ber assistance against the pretensions of the " Minie Rifle" and all new coiners. Indeed, many officers who have worn red coats for half a century, will persist in saying that the old stiff stock is a splendid article of dress, and not only keeps a fellow's head up but is uncommonly cool in a hot day on the Equator; and others not without pretensions, at all events, to a knowledge of the subject will tell you, that the British soldier was healthier and far more contented in the days when he wore the same sort of clothing in the arctic, temperature and tropical zones, ate the never-varied boiled ration all the year round, and slept in unwholesome atmospheres surrounded by abominations. It is useless arguing with such mortals
Habits are soon assumed, but when we strive
Among all my reminiscences of Turkey, the natural versus the unnatural history afforded me the roost valued subjects of pleasant memory. It is true there was not much of the former to be met with; still when duty would allow I seldom lost an opportunity of making excursions into the country in quest of novelties. There were flocks of a bird that used then to frequent the harbour and fly at a prodigious rate from place to place. These I soon found out were the celebrated " Les Ames DamneW of the French, immortalized in Lallah Rookh,
AVeary as that bird of Thrace,
It is no other than the grey sherwater, and from dwelling all its days in the midst of alarms, seems to almost live on wing, for no sooner did it settle on the water than something disturbed it. A solitary cormorant in •able attire was often seen shooting across the harbour with that majestic flight by which it it
easily recognized. Flocks of the pretty little Adriatic gull and others were also constantly about, picking up ships' refuse as it floated away with the current down the Bosphorus. These and an occasional duck were the only feathered tenants observed in the harbour.
The prevailing winds during winter are from the north, and sometimes for weeks it will blow in that direction daily from sunset to noon of the following day, when warm southerly breezes set in; now and then terrific hurricanes sweep along the Bosphorus as down a funnel. On one such occasion I witnessed a large wooden bathing establishment, built on piles, carried bodily into the sea of Marmora; we noticed, moreover, whenever the wind set in from the N. or N.E. there was a strong current established from the Black Sea, but when from the S. and W. no apparent surface motion was observed. So regular are the prevailing winds that when the former continue the sea of Marmora is covered with weather-bound vessels, which in those days crowded the entrance to the harbour in unusual numbers; but as soon as the direction changed, up went the canvas, when each tried which should get soonest clear of the other to make the rush for the Golden Horn. The transports with their numbers painted on their bows, were constantly on the move, and that noble vessel, the" Himalaya," conspicuous by her size as her admirable sailing qualities, seemed always where she was most wanted.
Never at any time in the history of Turkey, before or since, have so many and such splendid vessels been seen in her waters. The famous Valley of Sweet Waters had no pretensions then to the name if even now or before the war. It was a favourite afternoon excursion with my companion and myself to pull in a kyek up the Golden Horn, under the three bridges, and past the Turkish men-of-war, with their great golden lions on the prows frowning down on us, and up to the Valley of Sweet Waters, or along the long canal, not particular for any natural attractions; indeed, the contrary. Here the decomposing carcases of horses and cattle, either floating on the water or high and dry on the banks, were being devoured by packs of hungry dogs and rapacious birds, altogether very disgusting scenes. To witness the baldheaded carnivorous vultures pushing their long necks into the trunks of the dead animals and disputing their rights with dogs and kites and other carrion feeders was repulsive enough; at the same time one could not help giving them credit for an amount of scavengering work which the human occupants of the country neither emulate or appreciate.
The street-dog of Turkey, like its more eastern congener, is in reality only semi-domesticated. It hunts usually in packs, having no fixed residence, and lies down wherever suits its fancy. There is seemingly one distinctive race characterized by a sharp muzzle, almond-shaped eye, cocked and triangular ears, with a bushy tail tipped with white; the prevailing colour is a light fawn, with reddish brown on the back and paler tips to the hairs. The jackal may be seen in Turkey, as in India and the East, feeding in contort with the Pariah dog: perhaps an occasional cross takes place, as I have frequently noticed individuals of the latter scarcely distinguishable from the former. In every town and village, packs of lean Pariah dogs may be seen revelling on the dung heaps and among every imaginable assemblage of abominations. To see these half-starved brutes attack a carcase of a bullock, one can well fancy that a drunken man lying insensible in the streets at night would stand a small chance of escaping should a pack come in his way. At the time I write, when foreigners of all nations crowded the city and with the usual wretched public surveillance, little stir was made about violent deaths; the result was that some horrible stories became current, many no doubt exaggerated, but the following was narrated to me by an eye-witness. One morning while passing down a narrow filthy lane in Staraboul, frequented by sailors and low people, he had his attention directed to the mutilated remains of a human body, so disfigured that it was impossible to recognize the sex (excepting by the long boots then generally worn by sailors), the flesh having been nearly devoured by dogs, &c. As to rats, I do not think there is any city on the face of the earth more infested by the brown rat than Constantinople; although judging from the number of cats and their night wailings there would seem to be enough of them to keep the pest down. The native house I lodged in overlooked the Bosphorus, and was absolutely overrun by rats; indeed, it is within the mark that I have teen two hundred rats at one time coursing across the beams and flooring of my bed-room; moreover, scarcely a night passed that we were not awakened by the brutes nibbling our toe or finger nails. The birds on the banks of the Bosphorus in winter do not differ in any way from the denizens of north-western Europe. I found many old and familiar objects of this description. Robin-redbreasts pipe sweetly on the bare bowe of the fig; wagtails sport on the green Bward, and the cypress woods resound with the joyous notes of flocks of siskins and gold-finches. The starling and hooded crow feed with vultures, and the oxye, cole, blue, and long-tailed titmice, and golden-crested wrens, flit about the evergreen trees, where we meet with the chiff-chaff and willow-warbler, whilst the blackbird and song-thrush hop about in the vineyards. The whinchat abounds among the holly-leaved furze, and the merlin preys extensively on all the small fry. The swallow tribe leaves S.E. Europe apparently about the same time as their brethren of the north, for all had left before my arrival in Turkey on the 13th of October ; and yet even up to the middle of November I found the climate still favourable to insect life, seeing that the house fly is then very troublesome and mosquitoes annoying at night. Along the borders of the sea of Marmora I frequently recognized the beautiful form of the kingfisher. Woodcock and quail are
plentiful during midwinter; the former in gardens and ravines, the latter on the islands; good bags of both can be made when the flights arrive with the northerly winds in autumn.
About the middle of January, 1856, I was directed to proceed on board a sailing hospital transport that had just arrived from England; thus terminating my sojourn in Turkey. This fine clipper-built vessel had been fitted-up expressly for the conveyance of sick and wounded, and contained berths for upwards of 200 men, besides cabins for disabled officers; indeed, no pains had been spared to render her comfortable, and the absence of steam power was thought to be in her favour, by allowing more space and quiet on board. It was apparent, however, that a tug was absolutely necessary, at least throughout the Mediterranean, as the voyage home clearly proved. The majority of the men embarked had been present at the Battle of Balaclava, and were taken prisoners on the night of the engagement; one hero, Private Dryden, 11th Hussars, having been exchanged only a few weeks before his arrival on shipboard. He had no less than 31 scars of as many wounds received on that evermemorable occasion. He was the lion of our ship-load, and at Malta, Gibraltar, Cork, Falmouth, and whenever we touched on our way to Portsmouth, Private Dryden was called on to tell his story. As might be expected with the war fever still strong, he had a fair share of public notice from the crowds of visitors who came on board at those ports; and indeed, if I am not mistaken, his photograph subsequently embellished the Royal album. With all, however, this quiet and unpretending Scotchman maintained a becoming modesty of demeanour and unpretentious behaviour, which did him the greatest credit, considering the ordeals he went through. The part he played in the charge of the Light Brigade was thus simply narrated by him: "I got up to the guns, when I received a sabre cut on the back of the head; and as we pushed forward, another Russian caught me across the forehead, inflicting a severe wound; and when attempting to parry a second stroke, my antagonist's sword glanced off and buried itself in my left arm. I managed, however, to pass through the battery, and was returning with a few comrades when my horse fell under me; soon afterwards some Russian cavalry came up and prodded me with their lances on the hack, loins, hip, and legs as I rolled from side to side in attempts to escape."
After lying bleeding in the field until night he was picked up by the enemy and conveyed to a village. He moreover asserted that the Russians were unkind to the prisoners until they reached Simperapool, where some English people gave them clothing and food; the regulated allowance for the latter never exceeding a sum equivalent to 8d. per diem. The part taken by Lord Cardigan in the charge being then severely criticised at home, it was seldom Dryden escaped interrogations on that head—and always, I must lay, be told the same story; to