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brilliants of lights that shone on the Pireus made earth rival heaven in its stellar splendor. But there was no rain with the lightning flash. Indeed, that would have been too much of a luxury. We have scarcely felt a shower since we left home, save the one of the arching prisms, beneath which we glided outof that dark and cavernous tunnel and into the gay city of Marseilles !
We reached our ship-rather an unpleasant change from so home-like a visit (how heartily tired I had become of the boat), although the officers greeted us with the kindly courtesy so peculiar to the French. How provoking not to know more fully their language. One half of the pleasure is thus lost through want of knowledge, that is, the travelling part, for, when stationary, we can occupy ourselves sufficiently in sight-seeing.
The monotony of the voyage, however, was somewhat broken by the numerous isles, some vine-clad and olive-colored, but mostly rocky and bleak, which are known as the Archipelago, and celebrated as the birthplaces and homes of the most gifted minds of ancient Greece. We awoke on the morning of the 30th of June in the harbor of Smyrna, Asia Minor. This is the point from which travellers start to see the seven churches of Asia, of which that at Smyrna is one. It lies along a slope of the hill-side. On the right hand is a large grove of cypress, pointing out the Moslem Cemetery. The roofs are brown,— from amidst which ascend the tall minarets and round domes of the mosques. The large castle sweeps, from the high hill above, the circular view. Deep shadows checker with warm sunlight the coast far around. From the green bay which curls all over with white-caps, the city lifts itself up, a dreamy, picturesque vision of truly Asiatic scenery! What a quaint old Orientalism it is!
We were early on shore, and went directly to a hotel; but, how unfortunate! they refused to give us breakfast until nine o'clock. This was not to be endured for a moment; and, as the ladies declared their willingness to resort to a café, we shook
the dust off of our feet in a truly oriental style, and left with marked indignation! We had, by some queer turn of luck, been thrown into the way of an odd specimen for a guide,-a tall, gaunt Jew, bad-featured and bearded. His soiled garments and coarse brown Abrahamic tunic, gave him any thing but the appearance of a desirable cicerone to the ignorant and respectable stranger.
But a fine café soon brought us relief, in its large and airy proportions, its delightful water-view, and, what came more especially home to us, its substantial edibles. Chibouques and Hobble-gobbles (Turkish pipes) were plenteous. The bubbling water, curling smoke, and the indolent air of the smokers, indi cated the luxurious East. As there was little to be seen here but the bazaars, it was only desirable to while away the time before the ship's departure; so bidding Abraham onward, we followed in close Indian file. The streets are quite narrow, and we could not do otherwise, considering the opposing stream of people to be met, and the single files of mules, camels, donkeys and horses, all to look out for. We threaded street and alley, turned corners innumerable, and finally entered upon the Bazaars. These are the marts of trade. They are low-roofed houses with projecting roofs, touching in the centre and forming a completely shaded arch. The little rooms on either side are some ten feet square. These furnish every thing that fancy can desire, from the richest Persian silks and cloth of gold to the veriest trifle or toy of a European city.
We stopped to purchase some Otto of Roses, and before we finished, we had collected quite a motley group around us; and what was worse, it did not leave us. Two of the group we had noticed at the boat; but all of them tarried where we tarried, and by skilful manoeuvring contrived to reach each spot which we reached at the same time. Their aim was to forestall us in our purchases, adding twenty per cent. to the prices, or make the piastres out of us. Poor S! it did not agree with his ideas at all-this numerous train-and he wielded his Vesuvius club
with a still fiercer demonstration.
As for P, he seemed
quite at ease, and considered it as adding to our importance, this truly oriental train. They might be taken for the train of some Grandee or Nabob!
As for Abraham, we tortured him incessantly with orders to send them back; and he, poor fellow, seeing our suspicions were already aroused, did his best, but in vain. One moment coming out upon a square, one old fellow would be seen quietly quaffing a draught from the fountain, no doubt out of breath with running round the corner,-another would pop out here, another there, and so on,-as if we possessed the ring of Aladdin upon which these genii waited. The Vesuvius club was no cause of fear. But it was becoming almost unendurable. "Good-bye," says S- to one, we can dispense with your farther company." "Oh! oh! never mind, I'm walking for pastime," was the provoking answer, as he swung his beads carelessly over his arm, and with most perverse air dogged on after us. Finally, oh! crowning thought, S bethinks him of the Janizary, and intimates that he will call one. Whereupon they quickly cried out, "Oh yes, we go, we go, give us four piastres." "No, you rascals, not one;" and away they vanished, as if Aladdin had lost his ring.
We passed a mosque, and on tiptoe took a peep within. It was quite plain and had a high gallery bounded by an iron railing. The gallery was to be occupied by the ladies. The ceiling was covered with innumerable suspended chains, to which were attached (they do say) any quantity of ostrich eggs and horse-tails, as well as lamps. We only saw the latter. A farther glimpse within, at the open door, showed us a floor covered with matting, nothing more. We were not permitted to enter unless the shoes were taken off, which was quite too much trouble. We saw the Turks perform their ablutions at the fountain in front. The fountain looked quaint enough surrounded by the stooping figures, with red turbans; each with his hands under the little water-spouts. When this ceremony is over, they
enter the porch of the church, slip easily out of their shoes, and walk quietly within.
There were few ladies out during the daytime, and these few were shopping. They were enveloped in their mantles. A white piece of cloth covers the head like a nun's veil, from which drooped a black gauze covering. Nose and eyes were thus concealed from the gazer, but they themselves could see very easily. The white upper piece was connected with a white piece below, which hid the chin and lower part of the face. I had imagined that the concealment of the beauty of the Turkish ladies might be quite desirable in their own country. In some way I had been led to make the mistake, that a veil always hides something beautiful. The idea of mystery plays in the imagination and lends enchantment to every thing dim and forbidden. But when I came to see black Nubian damsels, darker than night, so dark that ebony might reflect a lily pallor beside them, veiled in the same way, I could but laugh outright. I wonder what possessed them to adopt that custom. And then the clumsy yellow boots that they manage to slide over the ground in; one can imagine nothing more cumbersome than their appearance. Indeed, the whole figure looks to us very ungainly and ungraceful. I have just read in some late papers, kindly handed to us by our consul, of the innovations at home in relation to ladies' dress, and of the introduction of these foreign costumes, among which the Turkish is mentioned. I should hope the latter will not be adopted; at least such as we have seen worn in the street. The costume for the house may be preferable. We have seen none in the street such as are spoken of in the American papers. Perhaps what is generally known in America as the Turkish dress, with the full pantaloons and jacket, is the Persian properly. If any innovation should be made on present fashions, and there is room for improvement, the Persian, somewhat contracted, would recommend itself for taste and comfort.
We passed on to the Caravansary bridge, supposing it to be
some grand sight, as our anxious Abraham seemed to think we must certainly see it. We found merely a stone bridge over a small yellow stream; but the cafés that lined the shore were a charming retreat for the weary or pleasure-seeking of the city. Jewish children huddled about us, to stare. We e gave them some delicacies, whereat they were much pleased, kissing their little hands in token of thankfulness. Women negligent in attire, with hair dishevelled, were to be met with, unveiled. But these were Jewish. We sat beneath the shade of some noble old sycamores. These trees furnish grateful shade to the sunoppressed pilgrims of the East. They seem placed here by Providence for this very beneficent end. The tall cypresses opposite kept their guardian watch over the white-turbaned tombs beneath. The cemetery was full-literally full of grave stones. Those for married men are capped with a turban cut in the white marble. A virgin's tomb bore a simple rose branch. I never saw the cypress attain to such a height, or so numerous as in these cemeteries; but soon I learned that, at the death of a dear friend or relative, it was formerly the custom to plant a cypress at the head of the grave; but which custom of late has fallen into disuse. Our guide proposed to ascend Castle Hill, but we declined, from fatigue, satisfied with the pleasant place we had already found.
These grounds are the nightly resort of all Smyrna. The ladies never make their appearance until after dinner at seven or eight o'clock (our evening), and then they are always dressed richly and gorgeously. They laugh, dance, sing, eat ices, and return to their homes at one, two, and three in the morning. Thus changing night into day, they become pale and sallow, in fact lose all freshness of color, and become any thing but the beauties we have always been taught to consider them. Sundays are their especial gala days.
How indolent these Orientals are!
They si in front of their shops, smoke and take it easy. Their walk is very indolent. Indeed, it is said, that the only time that they are ever