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Rome, and some are in the British Museum. I hope you all know what a statue is—a figure cut in stone or marble. Any of you who have ever been in London must have looked at one of Lord Nelson, on the top of the column in Trafalgar Square, where the Lions are; and there are many more statues in London. One of the finest is of King Richard the First, near the Houses of Parliament. But none of them can come up to those made by the Greek sculptors thousands of years ago.
However, in Greece, clever writing and beautiful sculpture are now all over. The Greeks are a helpless, incapable set of people, so penniless that they are always asking help from other countries to enable them to hold their own, and they cannot very easily get a foreign king to reign over them.
They had a German, named Otho, but did not like him; and changed him for a brother of our Princess of Wales, a Danish prince, who seems to have got on better. What still remains of their old greatness are the ruins of beautiful temples and other buildings. You will remember that in the Acts of the Apostles we are told that St. Paul preached at Athens from Mars' Hill, because he had seen a temple to “the unknown God.” Mars' Hill is there still, and the people are Christians now, but belong to the Greek Church.
The people of Greece are chiefly merchants. They have no manufactures, very bad roads, and there are a great many robbers, so that travellers are not very safe.
You will easily find Greece on the map. It is bounded on the north by Turkey, with which it is continually quarrelling; as near neighbours are apt to do. On the west and south it is washed by the Mediterranean, and on the east by the Ægean Sea, or Archipelago. This last hard word, means a number of little islands, which, you will see, are dotted about.
JACK Smith was a homeless, friendless boy, in London, who picked up a living anyhow, and slept on a door-step or under an arch. One day he was walking near the docks, where ships load and unload, when a captain called out to him (as be thought) “Boy, would you like to have a turkey ?” It blew hard, and steam engines were making a noise; and he called out, “I should think so !” wondering why he had such a good offer. He had never tasted a turkey, but he had seen one in cookshops, and how good it looked !
“Come along sharp," says the captain, “ here's a boy I expected has cut and run, and we sail in ten minutes. You look a smart lad, able to clean a cabin and do odd jobs.” Jack couldn't believe that he was not being chaffed; but the captain went on, “ You've no traps I guess by your look to go and fetch ; so down with you, get a good wash, and I'll rig you out. Now remenaber, obedience is the word here; I'm an easy-going inan as long as I'm minded, but if not, look up there," and he pointed to the mast; “ you'll spend your time hoisted up there as a spread eagle, as sure as you're alive."
mind odd nifed;
Jack saw that anyhow he had a berth offered him; the weather was getting cold for sleeping on door. steps, so down he went, washed and dressed, and did not dare to ask for the turkey which he expected for dinner. Alas! no turkey but some salt beef came up. He at last summoned courage to ask one of the sailors where the ship was going. “ To Turkey,” he said, “to fetch fruits—figs, plums, and raisins.” Jack had never learnt any geography, and had no idea where Turkey was, or whether they would be a day or a month getting there. However he was in for it; but was ashamed to own, that when the captain asked if he would go to Turkey, never having heard there was such a place, he imagined he must be invited to eat one.
Well! away they went down the Thames, amongst crowds of ships, through the Straits of Dover, and by the white cliffs of England, along the English Channel, into the Atlantic Ocean; they had a good toss in the Bay of Biscay, where Jack was too sick to be frightened ; through the Straits of Gibralta, which, to his astonishment, he found belonged to England,—that, is the rock does,—from which England could fire away so as to beat off any visitors she did not like,—on through the Mediterranean Sea, till they reached Constantinople, the chief city.
“What do you call it?” said Jack; "I never can remember such a long name.”
“Perhaps you will,” says the captain, who was always fond of a joke, “when I tell you a riddle about it. Why is a man who is always changing his medicines like the capital city of Turkey? Because he is constant-to-no-pill. Now you will always remember it, I am sure.”
It looks beautiful till you get into its narrow dark streets, full of dirt and howling dogs; men waddling about in long petticoats, looking as if they had never done a day's work in their lives; no women of the better sort to be seen, and poor ones with their faces hidden as if they were ashamed of themselves. And no doubt they are, for the religion of Turkey tells them women have no souls. They are not Christians, but believe in a man called Mahomet, who told them he came from God, and they must do as he told them. He ordered them to pray five times a day, and their churches, which are called mosques, are always full of people; but their prayers seem chiefly to be “ Allah is good ! None is good but Allah!” over and over again
Mahomet gives a Turk leave to have four wives ; but he shuts them up tight, and they do nothing but dress themselves, eat sweetmeats, drink coffee, and smoke. The Sultan, who is king, has 600 of these poor creatures. If any woman offends her husband, she is put into a sack, and tumbled into the Bosphorus (find it on the map), and no more is heard of her. The sultan can order off anybody's head without judge or jury; and often it has happened that the princes, and even the Sultan himself is killed, no one knows exactly how or why.
Jack began to think that London streets and a doorstep for a bed was a better place to live in than this queer country. But he went there four years ago. Since then, the Sultan has been to London, and other
parts of Europe, and has got ashamed of the idlenese and ignorance of his people, and ever since, he has been trying to make Turkey more like Christian countries. Just now he has suddenly ordered every child in his kingdom to learn to read, write, and do sums. He is generally obeyed; but whether he is clever enough to force all the idle, stupid, tiresome boys in Turkey to read, write, and cypher, I doubt. I know our Queen could not do it here. If he can, perhaps Jack will see a wonderful improvement when he makes his next voyage. He begins to think that he is better off than if it had been a turkey to eat that the captain offered him.
They brought back lots of raisins and currants for Christmas plum-puddings; and in case people eat too much of them, plenty of rhubarb—not the stalks that make tarts, but the red powder that your mother gives you for a sick headache.
Turkey is a country that does not count for much. Indeed, some years, ago, Russia proposed to divide it amongst two or three other kingdoms; but English people don't like to see the weak bullied, and told Russia to keep her distance; and when she would not, the French and we made her—for Turkey could not help herself.
But now that the Sultan has found out that keeping his people in ignorance does not answer, perhaps they will bestir themselves. One hopes they will not go on being Mahometans when they know more about Christian countries, and that alone would set free the poor women. None of you boys, or girls either, know how much you owe to mothers and