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seum presented a marked contrast to the richness of ornament that loaded every available part of the Parthenon. Of the square metopes on the architrave above the columns, merely those of the fronts were adorned with works of the chisel; on the sides they were quite plain, with the exception of those nearest either end. I found a porter at the side door ready to conduct me into the interior of the temple.
In the present lack of a grand public museum, the government have suffered this edifice to be turned into a hall for the reception of a valuable collection of statues and inscriptions. Many of them are well worthy of protracted study. I was more particularly interested in a slab of marble carefully preserved under a glass cover. It was recently dug up on the site of a small temple at Marathon, and from the name of the artist chiseled upon it, has been supposed to have been wrought in the sixth or seventh century before Christ. The figure represented at full length is in low relief, and the execution is of that stiff and hard character which belongs to the infancy of art in every
land. Its perfect preservation is indeed almost a miracle, considering the lapse of time.
On Sundays, and especially on the great feasts of the Church, the streets of Athens are thronged with men, women, and children, all intent upon recreation. At such times the shops are closed, and business transactions suspended. The early morning is spent in attendance on divine service; while the remainder of the day is devoted to visits or amusements.
The 26th of October (Old Style) was the festival of St. Demetrius—that holy man who acted the part of Lot with variations. So, at least, the legendaries would have us believe. Once upon a time, say they, the wickedness of Salonica had risen to such a pitch, as to render its destruction imperatively necessary. Angels were accordingly dispatched to bear intelligence to the saint, then sojourning in the doomed city, and bid him depart from its precincts. Demetrius, upon hearing the mandate, begins to remonstrate with the messengers, and endeavors to persuade them to spare Salonica. They answer
A VISIT. , 69
that this is quite impossible: they have express commands. The holy man stops for a moment to reflect, and then exclaims, “I shall not depart. Go tell your Master that he must not destroy the city 1" Notwithstanding the peremptory character of the instructions they have received, the angels dare not execute their commission. They return, and Salonica is spared Such is the blasphemous history given of this highlyesteemed saint in the Greek legends. All the Athenians who happen to be named after St. Demetrius, receive the visits of their acquaintance on his day; and these, in return, are honored in like manner on the festivals of their respective patrons in the calendar. Falling in with the custom, I walked out in the afternoon with a few friends, and called upon Mr. L. at his house in Hermes Street, not far from the solitary date-palm, so conspicuous an object in this part of the town. After passing through a narrow court-yard, we were ushered into a small but neatly-furnished parlor. Our host, a portly Greek of five-and-forty, rose to meet us, and received with smiling countenance our congratulations on his continued health and prosperity. We were invited to sit down, and were soon engaged in agreeable conversation. The ladies of the house contributed to our entertainment, and, before the termination of our short stay, brought in some refreshments. A favorite jar of sweetmeats—a curious preserve compounded solely of rose-leaves and sugar—was offered successively to each person, who helped himself to a single spoonful. By most persons the taste is considered very delicate and pleasant; while others think that the flavor of the flower is scarcely sufficiently smothered in quadruple the weight of sugar. Being forewarned, I limited myself to the usual supply, and thus avoided the mistake of some foreigners, who have committed the unpardonable offence of dipping the spoon a second time into the common jar. After tasting the rose preserves each guest took a very small glass of Samian wine, or a tumbler of water, as his inclination or his principles directed. From the house of our Greek friend we proceeded to the public promenade, which, since the heat had diminished, was every evening crowded with the “élite” of Athens. The principal walk is on the road leading northward toward the village of Patissia—a continuation of Æolus Street. Pedestrians occupy the greater part of the hard and smooth surface of this road, scattering upon the approach of any vehicle. It is also a favorite resort of the king and queen, who may be seen almost any afternoon riding out on horseback in this direction, attended by a few guards. Their subjects on such occasions stop and do them homage as they pass, and receive a bow in return. A stranger need not be astonished, if, when he meets the royal party in some solitary place, he is honored with this mark of condescension on the part of their Hellenic majesties. A more pleasant spot for recreation is the palace garden, to which I repeatedly gained access by permission of one of the king's adjutants. Its grounds are tastefully laid out with handsome walks and shrubbery, and the cultivated flowers are mostly the same as those that are favorites with us. In the midst of a labyrinth on the southern side is a small pond, whose surface is covered with the gigantic leaves of the Victoria regina—the monster water-lily of the tropics. The climate seems to be well adapted to its development; but I am not aware of its having flowered as yet. That this ground was once included within the populous portion of the city, is evident from the discovery of a number of antiquities. In one part of the garden a mosaic floor, by far the most perfect of its kind at Athens, was uncovered a few years ago, and is now protected by an arbor densely shaded by varieties of beautiful creepers. It is long and irregular in shape, and in an excellent state of preservation. Aquatic birds and other unmistakable symbols show that it was the floor of some elegant private bath attached to the villa of a rich Athenian citizen. Not far from this mosaic are the prostrate columns of a small temple, whose foundations are seen close by. Just beyond the fence on the east a long arched channel was found a few months after my arrival; but I have heard no satisfactory solution of its use. The land-owners in the vicinity of the royal grounds have everything to fear from their gradual enlargement. It has even been proposed to extend their limits to the banks of the Ilissus, and take in the Temple of Jupiter Olympius itself; but as this would include one of the most popular resorts of the Athenians, the project was abandoned as infeasible.
COSTUMES OF THE ATHENIANS. 71
The picturesque costumes of the Greeks—so different from those of other countries—give a strange liveliness to the scene on the promenade. Many of the gentlemen have adopted the common European dress; but the rest cling to that which their ancestors have worn for ages. The higher class usually wear the Albanian costume, consisting of a tight vest, and over this a short coat with the sleeves slit and hanging loosely from the elbow. From the waist, a white skirt, or fustanella, reaches to the knees, and is confined to its place by a wide sash or girdle. By the Greeks of the old school a very slender waist is esteemed the greatest point of beauty in a man; and some are said to draw the sash so tightly, that after the lapse of years it becomes painful to loosen it even at night.
Most of the lower class retain the nautical trowsers, differing from the Turkish in that, whereas the latter have a bag for each leg, in the former both legs are thrust through one large blue sack in such a way that the greater part remains flapping behind. With this dress, a thick girdle, or sometimes a broad leathern belt is substituted for the sash. The belt is made a general receptacle for pistols and daggers, whose projecting handles give the stranger an impression of insecurity, augmented by the fierce countenances of those that carry them. On the promenade, as well as in society, the Greek generally carries a string of beads, frequently of large size, which a stranger would naturally mistake for a rosary, until informed that it has no religious significance. In fact, it is only a plaything to occupy the fingers, while the mind and lips are busy with something else. When engaged in calm conversation, the beads pass slowly through the fingers; but as the speaker becomes more and more heated in debate, their motion increases in rapidity. Playing with his beads, which are apt to distract the attention of a foreigner, thus comes to facilitate the utterance of a Greek; and even a public speaker does not disdain to make use of them in his forensic efforts.
The ladies are gradually abandoning their peculiar provincial attire; and if now and then the graceful Smyrniote, or the odd Hydriote dress is met with, it is much more rare than the French fashion. Not unfrequently a lady will take a half- way course, and continue to wear the red fezi, or cap, such