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known to quicken their pace is in bearing a corpse to its grave, when they hurry fast enough. They believe that the agony commences as soon as death takes place, and this only ceases the moment when the body has been consigned to its final home. Singular belief!
Now and then an Arab would come sweeping by. The fierce look, turbaned head, wild roving air, and brace of pistols, betray the nation. They looked like the veriest banditti. Perhaps they were; for we have been told that there are many around Smyrna, and that they even venture into the town, through which they pass unmolested and untouched. Their spies are innumerable. They know every ship that lands, and every stranger that tarries. Murders and robberies are committed nightly, without and within the city. It is quite unsafe to venture on any of the excursions around the country. Only a few days ago two young sportsmen were out, and both were captured. The robbers sent one back with a message to the father of the other, that if a hundred pounds ransom were forthcoming for his son, he might be restored to him. If the next day passed without the ransom being received, one arm should be sent to his father; the second day, the second arm; and so on, quarter by quarter, until the money was paid. They keep advised of the wealth of each citizen, so as always to fall within bounds when naming the ransom. The soldiers are regular Falstaffians in character. Their European dress, which they are obliged to adopt, has quite unfitted them for anything like a display of courage. Six were sent for two robbers, and came back, after a skirmish, without them. What bravery? What a city, and what protectors? The troops number over a thousand, but should they leave the city in search of the robbers, they are not sure of those they leave behind-the population is so mixed.
Donkeys with huge burdens, camels with huger ones, and man a complete beast of burden, were sights that continually met our eyes. Large stones were carried on the backs of men, who almost bent double under their weight. Will it be
believed when I say, that our Vice Consul at Constantinople saw one of these carriers bear over one thousand pounds on his back over two hundred yards?
Since arriving at Constantinople, so many sights of an Eastern cast have met my eye, that they have become almost too familiar to be depicted. Novelty always lends her aid in transcription. Constantinople presents a rich panorama, with its towers, domes, and minarets, as we glide up the Bosphorus into the noble harbor. But the beauty all lies in the distance; for when once the city is entered, the charm evanishes. The streets, bazaars, and throngs of strange costumes, are similar to those I have described at Smyrna.
But they tell me that there is one place where I shall not meet with disappointment. The Seraglio needs no distance to lend it enchantment. I had read Irving's Grenada and Alhambra, and pictured to myself, in imagination, the fountains and halls, minarets and groves, the varied and Oriental luxuriousness of that Moorish palace; and when they told me, that I might see in the Seraglio its resemblance, my heart bounded at the idea even of a partial fulfilment of that longing desire to see the original.
This far-famed palace occupies the spot of the ancient city of Byzantium, on the extreme eastern point of the promontory extending towards Asia, and forming the entrance to the Bosphorus. It is triangularly shaped, and nearly three miles in circumference. The palace has nothing to boast of in its outside appearance. The interior is a singular clustering of houses without order, which have been added from time to time at the caprice of the Sultanas.
Our party of twenty-five, English, French, Jews and Americans, sought the nearest point to the waters of the Golden Horn, entered a caïque, and crossed over to the Seraglio. We were detained for some time at the Café on the opposite shore, waiting for the firman. Then, with the officers, we entered upon our tour of inspection. The lower story consisted of a
long hall, paved with tesselated gravel stones, and of servants' rooms surrounding and opening into it. At the far end was the stairway, upon reaching which we were obliged to glide into slippers. Such a slipping time as there was too! Imagine ita lady's delicate slipper encased in the size furnished for a gentleman's boot. First one shoe and then another was left behind, in our vain efforts at this novel style of walking. Our guide was in constant requisition, bringing up the truants, who were obliged to resume their places again, to undergo the same penance. We reached the sacred precincts above, and made our entrance. That was a fine noble hall into which we were ushered, although it had a covering of matting on the floor. It at once completely initiated us into the whole mystery of Oriental luxuriousness.
I can but group the Seraglio, for it was one series of elegant apartments; marble basins, bagnios and gushing fountains. These gorgeous halls, the chaste cool baths and their attached rooms of reclining after bath-taking-formed a complete scene of deliciousness. They were somewhat similar to each other, with their ceilings of fretted gold-paintings of richest tracery, walls of landscapes, rounded and arched recesses overlooking the sea, windows with rich tapestry hangings, gilded clocks and miniature temples ornamenting the side places-divans and chairs of crimson figured damask, and gold cloths and the coverings of white linen in which these latter were encased, giving a summery air to the whole,-all combined, made the Seraglio too enrapturing, entrancing, and unreal, almost to be conceived of a place for reveries and dreams only, the halls of poesy and sleep.
The floor and walls of the baths were of white marble, and the light from above entered through a honey-comb of white ceiling. Spigots turned the water out, which fell into white marble shells, or bath-basins ranged in perfect neatness. walked down the long airy corridors where the ladies of the harem promenade and exercise. One side of the longest corri
dor was latticed with delicate net-work, through which the Oda. lisques could peep into gardens of every kind of fruit and flower; the other side being adorned with numerous paintings and engravings, representing every scene in nature to which they were denied.
The tea-room was a most delicious, cool retreat, close to the water's edge; and being a story or more below the others, it seemed half grotto-like. A fountain played in the centre, building its silvery dome with flakes of purple and ruby fire, glittering in the colors of the morning. Its basin, square and quite shallow, was fixed in the marble floor, in the midst of which swam shoals of golden fishes. A hundred pipes when playing, send the water and spray high up to the ceiling. Side fountains there were too, in which the water first plashing up to the height of the head, falls over into a marble shell. This, as it fills, runs over into its counterpart below, and so on successively like the little step water-falls we saw at Pompeii. At one end stood a triangular-shaped pyramid of honey-comb work. This also was a fountain, the water of which issued from innumerable honeycomb orifices. It was quite unique and quaint. But the rounded recess on the sea side was the favorite spot where the luxurious Ottoman and his Sultanas sat or reclined at their coffee-sipping. Was there ever so enchanting, so cool a grotto? The refreshing sea breeze, the balmy air of the playing fountains, the soft music of their dashing, trembling, spraying waters, the wavy plash of the Bosphorus without, against the walls, and the hum of the distant city borne across the Golden Horn, the plying caïques with their arrowy points, darting by in graceful rapidity, the noble steamer and more lofty prow of the huge man-of-war cutting and parting the clear sea; in fine, the noble harbor of Constantinople with its busy mart, and the hills that rise in mellow distance above; all this-as well the scene without as the scene within,-glorious Nature and luxurious Art, the spell of delight, the dream of enchantment; who can picture ?-not
we; and only those can feel it, who are there embathed in its enjoyments.
I wish I could peep in upon its occupants at some even tide, when the sun through leaves and lattice checkers in shadow the marble floor, to see if content and happiness dwell within,—to see how far such a life is fraught with pleasure and true content. They say the Sultanas are gay and happy. They have every thing to make them so, educated as they are only in their own Eastern customs. The Circassian beauty knows no higher desire or ambition than to become the Nourmahal-“Light of the Harem," to some Moslem chief. She possesses a charm for the senses. It is enough to make her the chosen one. Of course such an one, though beauteous as one of the Houri, can know nothing of that ideal delight of the soul which rises superior to the sense, or that longing for liberty which we should have under similar circumstances. Dr. Johnson, in his Rasselas, has represented this longing to be free, even though bound by golden chains in splendid palaces.
The gardens of the Seraglio are luxuriant in tree and shrub. The tall cypress waves ever green and fresh. The vine clings to the wall, and hides its bare face with the green tendril and leaf. Tender-eyed gazelles peep out of leafy coverts, while arches and pyramids of green bend and rise in every vista. A mimic lake occupies the centre, within which there is an island, and rustic bridges gracefully span the reach. The walks are of shells (some of which we gathered), margined with flowers of every kind, of which the Turks are not quite so selfish as the Europeans. Orange bowers are pendent with golden fruitage, and fragrance fills the air. These proclaim a perfection in the garniture of Nature, not as if it were imported or exotic, but as if it were at home in its own charming bower. But I cannot particularize farther; suffice it to say,
"No greener garden ever was known