- Transcriber's note: Turkish names seem to be spelled generally in French, which was the Lingua Franca of the period. These have not been corrected. The correct Turkish spellings of some of these names are given at the end of the book. -
JOURNAL OF A VISIT TO CONSTANTINOPLE, &c. &c.
"You have nothing to do, but transcribe your little red books, if they are not rubbed out; for I conclude you have not trusted every thing to memory, which is ten times worse than a lead pencil. Half a word fixed on or near the spot, is worth a cart load of recollection."
London: Printed by A. Spottiswoode, New-Street-Square.
JOURNAL OF A VISIT TO CONSTANTINOPLE, AND SOME OF THE GREEK ISLANDS, IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER OF 1833.
JOHN AULDJO, ESQ. F.G.S.
Author of "The Ascent of Mont Blanc," "Sketches of Vesuvius," Etc.
London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman, Paternoster-Row. 1835.
SIR WILLIAM GELL.
On quitting Naples, for those scenes which your pen and pencil have so faithfully illustrated, I promised to fill my note book. I now offer you its contents, as a small and unworthy token of my gratitude for the long continued kindness you have shown.
Your faithful and obedient servant,
Naples, April, 1835.
The publication of the pages of a journal in the crude and undigested form in which they were originally composed appears so disrespectful to the public, that it requires some explanation. They were written, "currente calamo," among the scenes they describe; more as a record of individual adventure, and to fix the transient impressions of the moment for the after gratification of the author, than with any hope of affording amusement during an idle hour, even to those who might feel an interest in all he saw and noted.
The intense curiosity, however, which exists at present to learn even the minutest particulars connected with Greece and Turkey, and the possibility that some of his hurried notices might not be altogether devoid of interest, have induced the author to submit them to the public attention. In so doing, he has preferred giving them in their original state, with all their defects, to moulding them into a connected narrative; his object being not to "make a book," but to offer his desultory remarks as they arose; to present the faint outline he sketched upon the spot, rather than attempt to work them into finished pictures.
With some hope, therefore, of receiving indulgence from the critics, whose asperity is rarely excited except by the overweening pretensions of confident ignorance and self-sufficiency, he ventures on the ground already trodden by so many distinguished men, whose works, deep in research, beautiful in description, and valuable from their scrupulous fidelity, have left little to glean, and rendered it a rather hazardous task for an humble and unskilful limner to follow in their wake.
While thus disclaiming all pretensions to the possession of their enviable talents, still, if the author should succeed in affording his readers a few hours' pleasure from the perusal of his Journal, or enable any one to re-picture scenes he may himself have visited, the principal object of its publication will have been attained.
Naples, April, 1835.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page
Departure of H.M.S. Actaeon with the British Embassy to Constantinople 1
Island of Capri. Moonlight Scene 3
My first Night at Sea 4
Sunday on Board 5
Schoolmaster of the Actaeon. Muster of the Crew 6
Stromboli. Somma. Vesuvius 7
Scylla and Charybdis. Homer 8
The Faro. Messina. Preparations to land 9
Sea-sickness. A Host of Grievances 10
Man overboard. Life 11
Cerigo. Taygetus 12
Piping up the Watch. Pursers Bantam 13
Nauplia de Malvoisie 14
Classic Reminiscences. Argos 15
Sharks. Greek Costume 16
Character of King Otho 17
Hydra. Egina. Poros. Russian Fleet 19
Beautiful Landscape. Gulf of Salamis 20
Athens. The Piraeus. Olive Grove 21
English Residents at Athens 22
Visit to the Acropolis. Death of the Chieftain Ulysses 23
Insolence of the Turks 24
Grave of Tweddel. Byron's Grave 25
Armenian Missionaries. Temple of Theseus 26
Metropolis of modern Greece 27
Modern Improvements. Sir P. Malcolm 28
Value of Land. Speculators Plain of Troy. Fidelity of Sir W. Gell's Map 30
Sources of the Scamander. The Golden Xanthus 31
Tombs of Hector and Paris. Bounarbashi 32
The Simois. Rural Excursion. Segean Promontory. Tombs of Achilles and Patroclus 33
Passage of the Dardanelles. Influenza 34
Present to the Ambassador. French Fleet 35
Feast of the Bairam. Oriental Splendour 36
Sestos. Turkish Colonel. Castles of the Dardanelles 37
Beautiful Scene. Turkish Salute 38
First View of Constantinople. The Seven Towers 39
The Pasha's Gate. The Slaves' Gate 40
Sultanas. Golden Horn. Beauties of Stamboul 41
Pera. Scutari. Approach of the Actaeon to her Anchorage 42
Turkish Fleet. Size and Condition of the Ships 43
Castle of the Janissaries. Royal Kiosk. Turkish Houses 44
Unwelcome Visitation. Giants' Mountain. Russian Camp. Saluting the Russian Fleet 45
Jealousy and Remonstrance of the Russian Admiral. French and English Embassies 46
Russian Military Music. Plague. Orange and Jasmine Bowers 47
The Caique. Turkish Boatmen 48
Paras. Splendid Fountain. Tophana 49
Pera. Destructive Fire. Guiseppino Vitali 50
Mr. Cartwright, British Consul. A Sail upon the Bosphorus 51
Funeral of a Russian Soldier 52
Landing of the British Ambassador 53
Greek and Armenian Women. Visit to the Bazaars 54
Public Promenades. Oriental Perfumes 56
Pipe-stick Bazaar. Amber Mouth-pieces 57
Value of the Turkish Pipe 58
Salonica Tobacco. The Nargile 59
Coffee Houses. Shoe Bazaar 60
Jewellery. Broussa Silks 61
Close of the Bazaars. Funeral of the Sultan's Physician 62
Lord Ponsonby's Audience 63
His Reception. Count Orloff 64
Admiral Roussin. Naval Punishments 65
Cricket. Turkish Fleet 66
Cabobs. Rapacity of the Sultan. "Valley of the Sweet Waters" 67
Naval Arsenal. Cemeteries 68
Palace. Turkish Horses 69
Interesting Scene. Beautiful Greek 70
The Erraba. Turkish Ladies 71
Dancing Dervishes 73
Greek Bookseller 76
Mosque of Solimanie 77
Seraskier's Tower. Conflagrations 78
View of Constantinople. Hermitage on Vesuvius. Burnt Pillar 79
The Author in danger of arrest. Anecdote. St. Sophia 81
Visit to the Seraglio. Effects of a Golden Key 82
Coffee Shop in a Plane-tree. Funeral Pomp 83
Costume. Mustapha the Scent Dealer. Beed Caimac. Mahalabe 84
Turkish Printing Office. Anecdote of a Sultana 85
Ibrahim Pasha. Affront offered to the Captain of the Actaeon 87
Insolence of the Russians. Military Punishments 88
Sultan's Valley. Buyukdere. Aqueduct 89
Cossack Horses. Russians hated by the Turks 90
Horn Bands. Beautiful Airs 91
Fondness of the Turks for Champagne. A Venetian Story 92
College of Pages. Christian Burying-ground 93
Sultan's Visit to the Mosque 94
Politeness of a Turkish Officer. The successful Shot 95
Namik Pasha. Count Orloff and the Sultan 96
The Procession. Turkish Horses. Appearance and Dress of the Grand Signior 97
His Bacchanalian Propensities. Laughable Anecdote 98
New Regulation Soldier 99
Palace of the British Embassy 100
Scene in the Arm Bazaar 101
George Robins. Curious Weapons. Damascus Blades. Turkish Merchants 102
Swords of Khorassan. Their Temper 103
Jew Brokers. Actaeon 104
Humours of a Turkish Auction 105
Slave Market 106
A Georgian Beauty. Scarcity of white Slaves 108
Price of a Female Slave. Turkish Confectionary 109
Armenian Visiteos. Residence of an Armenian Gentleman 110
Oriental Costume 111
Turks. Armenians. Greeks 112
Jew Interpreters. Flattering Compliment to the English Character 113
Oriental Politeness. Portraits 114
Decrease of Fanaticism. Persian Silk. St. John's Egypt 115
Cashmere Shawls. Angora Shalee. Ladies' Dresses 116
Eastern Story-teller 121
Matthews at Constantinople. Turkish Politeness. Description of an "At Home" in Stamboul 122
Naval Banquet 128
Seven Towers 131
Tomb of Ali Pasha 134
Russian Insolence 136
Visit to Ibrahim Pasha 137
Violent Conduct of the Russians to an English Gentleman 138
Laughable Anecdote of a Turk 139
Beautiful Scene. Contrasted Manners of the Turks and Greeks 141
The Muezzin 144
Madame Mauvromati. The Plague 146
Massacre of the Greeks 147
Anecdote of the Sultan 148
Neapolitan Steam-boat. English Travellers 151
Jewish Musician. Merry Greeks 152
Greek Lady. Elegant Costume 153
Affability of the Turkish Females 156
The Pilot of the Actaeon and the Seraskier 157
Foreign Visitors 159
Oriental Beauty 160
The Ottoman Empire. Lord Grey 162
Morning Prayer. The Muezzin 163
Sunrise. Power of Religion on the Heart 164
Russian Camp. Lady Ponsonby 165
Russian Insolence to an English Party 166
Namik Pasha. Tahir Pasha 167
Excursion on the Black Sea. Beauties of the Seraglio 168
The Symplegades 169
Colour of the Black Sea. Experiment the Test of Truth 170
Character of the Russians by a Turkish Innkeeper 171
Grand Review. Splendid Staff 172
Giant's Mountain 174
Extensive Prospects. Mt. Olympus 175
Prince Butera and the Sultan 177
Detention of the Steamer. Illiberal Conduct of the Prince 178
Royal Country Seat 180
Insecurity of Property. The Bowstring 181
Author's Preparations to Depart. H. M. Ship Actaeon. Lord Ponsonby 182
Visit to the Mosques. St. Sophia 183
Fate of Constantinople. Tribute of Respect to Lord Ponsonby 189
Armenian Painter. Poetical Description of Constantinople 190
My fellow-Passengers 192
Marble Quarries. Isle of Marmora 193
Greek Deputation. Anecdote 194
Pleasant Dormitory. Extraordinary Transformation 196
British Fleet. Gulf of Smyrna 199
French Squadron. King of Greece 200
Smyrna. Excessive Heat 201
Departure for Syra 202
Accident. Island of Scio 203
Island of Tinos. Quarantine 204
Landing of the King. Ship Launch 206
Festival of St. John the Baptist 208
Syra. Bishop's Palace 209
Ladies of Mycone. Costume 210
Delos. Vulgar Tourists 211
Modern Antique 213
Naxos. Paros. Beautiful Anchorage 214
Visit to Antiparos 215
Marine Prospects. Spotico 216
Entrance to the Cavern 217
Perilous Descent 218
Melodramatic Scene 219
Description by a Naval Officer. Magnificent Passage 224
Excessive Terror. Disappearance of the Guides 226
Splendid Transition 227
Dimensions of the Grotto 228
Terrified Frenchman. Our Return 229
A Hint to the Ladies. Ludicrous Scene 231
Port of Milo 232
Warlike Mountaineers 233
Parting of the Royal Brothers 235
Cerigo. Gulf of Coron. Zante 236
Distant View of Etna. Valetta 238
Lazzaretto. Days of Quarrantine 240
The Parlatorio 241
Persian Carpets. The Mantilla. Maltese Women 242
Medical Examination. Steamer from Corfu 243
Valetta. Maltese Gazette 244
Garrison of Malta. Strange Conduct of the Prince 245
Lady Briggs's Ball. Alicata 246
Miserable State of Sicily. Girgenti 247
Temple of Hercules. Concord 248
Reflections. Coliseum. The Parthenon 249
Temple of Giants. Galley Slaves. Custom-house 250
Marsala. Mazzara. Vintage 251
Palermo. Orange and Lemon Groves 252
Duchess de Berri 253
Scene on Board 254
Capri. Conclusion 256
List of the Turkish Fleet in the Bosphorus, and of Mohammed Ali's Navy 257
State of the Thermometer at Constantinople 258
Note to page 24 259
JOURNAL OF A VISIT TO CONSTANTINOPLE, ETC.
[Sidenote: DEPARTURE OF THE ACTAEON.] Saturday, 6th April, 1833.—Well! All seems at length arranged, and the oft postponed departure of H. M. S. Actaeon for Constantinople, will probably take place this evening. But is there no chance of a further detention? Yes; and many a palpitating heart watches anxiously the state of the heavens.
The morning had been dark and stormy, and heavy vapours rolled along from the north: about noon, however, the weather brightened; yet an occasional cloud, passing over and discharging its liquid contents on the lovely Naples, afforded some expectation that the evening might prove unfavourable. If there were heaving bosoms on shore, there were responding hearts on board; where there were few, indeed, who did not feel some pang at bidding the syren city farewell.
The St. Lucia was thronged with numerous groups of pedestrians, and a long line of carriages, with "weeping beauty filled,"—all manifesting a deep interest in the scene. Sailors have generous hearts, which, like wax, are soon warmed, and easily impressed; but as easily the image may be effaced. Thus ladies assert, that blue jackets
"In every port a true love find."
Reflections akin to these, probably, may have tortured more than one of the fair spectators; and mamma, perhaps, considered it extremely mortifying that an opportunity was not given to land the prize, as well as hook it; and that sailors, like jacks, were exceedingly difficult to catch.
Boats pass rapidly to and from the ship;—the yards are manned; the ambassador's flag flies at the main; and as the smoke from the salute cleared away, the shore, with its precious and weeping burthen, was seen fast receding from the sight. The Actaeon had actually sailed; and the white handkerchiefs, with the ivory arms that waved them, gradually became lost to the view, till distance mingled the entire scene into one grey mass, and
"All was mist, and Naples seen no more."
Such were the transactions that marked the 6th of April, 1833, when I became one of the ship's company, and received an honourable place in her log.
[Sidenote: ISLAND OF CAPRI.] We were compelled to pass close under Capri, and its bold perpendicular cliffs towered magnificently above us, casting a deep shadow over the vessel as she sailed along. There was little wind outside the isle, and we were nearly becalmed; but this delay was amply compensated by the extreme beauty of the night. The brilliant moon, shining with far greater lustre than I ever remember to have witnessed, during the height of summer, in less favoured climes, lighted up with its silver beams the whole of that beautiful coast extending along the bay of Salerno, from Amalfi to Palinuro. Long did I remain upon deck, gazing on
"Heaven's ebon vault, Studded with stars unutterably bright; Through which the moon's unclouded grandeur rolls."
[Sidenote: MY FIRST NIGHT AT SEA.] But at length, overcome by weariness, I hastened to my cot.—My cot! how shall I describe thee? thou oblong, narrow, swinging thing! rest still a while, nor fly me thus each time I essay to get within thy narrow precincts. Oh! for a chair, a stool, a rope; or have they purposely swung thee so high? hadst thou been o'er a gun, indeed, one might have scaled thee by the breech. So! In at last; yet, with that eternal sentinel walking his rounds within a few paces of my ear, how is it possible to sleep? Exhausted, however, by the novelty and excitement of the past day, at length wearied nature asserted her rights; and I had just begun to sink into a refreshing slumber, when "Quarter," rang in my ears: again I start; ducks cackle, geese scream, pigs grunt, cocks crow, men bawl; all the horrors of the incantation scene in Der Freyschuetz would seem to accompany that same striking of the bells.
"A ship is a thing you never can sleep quiet in,"
says an old song; and most feelingly did I subscribe to the veracious assertion: at length, towards morning, by dint, I think, of conning over that very line, I once more fell asleep.
But my slumbers were of short duration, for with daylight came the order, "Wash decks." Then began slushing and swabbing, and bumping my cot. All the live stock, too, were again in motion, and in fact, I soon perceived it would be better at once to turn out. This was neither easy nor agreeable, the deck being drenched with wet. However, I made up for my night's restlessness by a hearty breakfast, and appeared on the quarter-deck with a face exhibiting no symptoms of squeamishness. We are making for Stromboli, which was visible in the horizon.
[Sidenote: SUNDAY ON BOARD.] Sunday, 7th.—This morning, after the crew had appeared at quarters,—that is, every man to his station,—the bell rang for divine service, and all the chairs and benches above and below, were put in requisition. The captain then read prayers on the main deck, in a manner at once solemn and impressive. It may here be remarked, that, when the ship carries out an ambassador, the youngsters are exempt from school duties, and their holidays on the present occasion are likely to be of considerable duration. The schoolmaster of the Actaeon is a Scotchman, and his office cannot be an enviable one, if half the tricks in store for him be ever put in practice; while the fact of his hammock being swung close alongside those of his pupils, by no means diminishes the facility of their execution. To-day being Sunday, we dined at three o'clock; and our band, consisting of a drummer and amateur fifer, played us to table with the well-known enlivening air of "The roast beef of old England."
[Sidenote: MUSTER OF THE CREW.] In the evening we had a general muster, and I am confident very few ships ever possessed a finer company than the Actaeon. Really it was a gallant sight to witness this assemblage of stout, able, daring fellows, equipped with their cutlasses and boarding pikes. Looking at them, one no longer felt surprised at the vast naval superiority which Great Britain has ever maintained in her contests with foreign nations. The boatswain's mates, and the quartermasters, are really handsome men, weatherbeaten and bold. Williams, one of the latter, seems a most eccentric character. He is married, and constantly receives letters from his absent rib: these, however, he never takes the trouble to open, but keeps them all neatly tied up. On his return, he says, she can read them to him, all of a lump!
[Sidenote: STROMBOLI.] We are now close to Stromboli, which appears to be the remaining half of a large conical crater; the semicircle which is lost, having fallen away into the sea. There is a small cone in the very centre, from which the explosions take place. They were but slight on the present occasion; and two small apertures emitted a continual cloud of white vapour. The upper part of the old crater consists of layers of rock rising regularly one above the other; and the whole surface much resembles that of Somma. The atmosphere was so clear that the island appeared quite close to us, and I could scarcely credit the master when he asserted it was full fifteen miles distant.
My cot being moved forward, I am infinitely more comfortable, having now only the geese to disturb me. The vessel continued beating to windward till mid-day, when she approached the Faro; and the breeze strengthening, we had every prospect of clearing it.
[Sidenote: SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS.] Scylla now appeared in view,—the bold, rocky, and much dreaded Scylla,—
"Where sing the syren maids, Uttering such dulcet and harmonious sounds, That raptured mortals cannot hear, and live."
It exhibits itself in the form of a grey perpendicular cliff; and as we sailed by, the town appeared behind it, built on the face of a steep slope, of the same colour as the surrounding mass. This is a dangerous lee shore for a speranaro, but not much to be dreaded by a skilful seaman. However, we were not gratified with the sight of any of those monsters with which the imaginations of classic poets have peopled this celebrated spot; we heard no barkings, nor did the waves even roar as they lashed its famous rocks. Out of one scrape, into another!—
"Close by, a rock of less tremendous height Breaks the wild waves, and forms a dangerous strait: Full on its crown a fig's green branches rise, And shoot a leafy forest to the skies; Beneath, Charybdis holds her boisterous reign, Midst roaring whirlpools, and absorbs the main. Thrice in her gulphs the boiling seas subside; Thrice in dire thunders she refunds the tide. Oh! if thy vessel plough the direful waves, When seas, retreating, roar within her caves, Ye perish all! though he who rules the main Lend his strong aid, his aid he lends in vain."
Odyssey, B. 12.
[Sidenote: PREPARATIONS TO LAND.] We were now close upon Charybdis, where the water is shallow, and the low sands exceedingly dangerous, as at times it is difficult to discern them. A most wretched village, and a miserable lighthouse, represent this terror of the ancient Greek mariners. A few Indian figs and stunted olive trees are almost the only symptoms of vegetation discernible; and two fat priests, who were basking in the sun, upon the sand, seemed the only inhabitants.
The coast on either side the Faro is very beautiful; and the land, judging from the number of houses, villages, and appearance of general cultivation, must be fertile. The wind having changed, we approached Messina rapidly, gallantly nearing it, with all sail set. The heavens threatened bad weather; and therefore the ambassador, tempted by the neat and clean appearance of the town, resolved to go ashore. Every preparation was made accordingly; the chain cable was clear, and the men at the best bower-anchor; when, it being considered injudicious to lose so fair a breeze, we again set sail, to the disappointment of most persons on board; and Messina, with all its gay attractions, was soon far astern. The wind, though fair, was rising into a gale as we got into the open sea off Spartivento, and the ship rolled terribly. Dined to-day with the captain, and found some difficulty in stowing away his good fare, but got creditably through, until the wine began to circulate at the dessert, when I was compelled to make a precipitate retreat, and arrived at the gangway only just in time to save the honour of the quarter-deck. However, I soon righted again, and at night took my grog kindly in the pighole; which was considered no bad sign for an incipient tar.
[Sidenote: SEA SICKNESS.] The following morning I was awakened at daylight by a host of grievances,—a scraping above and a scraping below, that set all my nerves in commotion. Oh! that some other means could be devised for cleaning decks, than that of holy stoning them! It roused me from a pleasant slumber, to the horrid consciousness of the ship's pitching and rolling to such a degree that I was unable to raise my head from the pillow. Then the alarm I was in, lest I should be compelled to get up, and have my cot stowed away before eight o'clock. Yet it was some consolation to know that we were scudding across the Adriatic at the tremendous rate of ten, and sometimes eleven, knots an hour; so that, if we continue to proceed thus rapidly much longer, the voyage will soon be at an end. I was allowed to swing in my cot all day, and partook of a good dinner into the bargain, which Master Thew, one of the ship's boys, with whom I had become a great favourite, brought and forced me to partake of. Got up in the evening for half an hour, and showed on deck. What a splendid sight! The ship, with comparatively very little canvas set, majestically ploughed her course through the mighty billows, that seemed vainly endeavouring to arrest her career; though, from the way in which she rolled, she must occasionally have been so unpolite as to display her naked keel to the heavens.
[Sidenote: MAN OVERBOARD.] The mountains around Navarino are in sight: 'tis the land of Arcadia. The gale still continues, the wind whistles shrilly through the rigging, and the sea roars and tosses us about. Perceiving a great stir on deck, I sang out to inquire the cause: "A man overboard," was the reply. I made instant preparations to hasten up, in the hope of seeing him rescued. The cutter and gig were down, and the life-buoy out, in an instant, but, poor fellow! he could not swim; and, though he rose near the buoy, he had not strength to seize it; and after struggling for a few moments, now deep in a trough of the sea, now mounted aloft on the summit of the waves, he sank to rise no more. The swell was so tremendous, that the boats with difficulty reached the buoy; and some fears were entertained lest they should be unable to live in such a sea. After considerable suspense, they returned in safety to the ship, and we proceeded in our rapid course, as if nothing extraordinary had happened. The life-buoy is a most admirable invention. It hangs astern the tafrail, and is dropped by pulling a trigger, which is always done by the person next at hand on the occurrence of an accident. If it should happen at night, a similar contrivance fires a train, which lights a lamp in the buoy; and the poor drowning man discerns, in an instant, the means of preserving his life. The gale increasing from the N.W., the storm sails were set; but, by noon, we neared the coast, and ran into the bay of Servia, where we found shelter and calm water. The coast is extremely bold, but very barren.
[Sidenote: THE LIFE-BUOY.—CERIGO.] Thursday, 11th.—At eight o'clock A.M. we were sailing, with a gentle breeze, between the island of Cerigo and the mainland. The snow-capped mountain of Taygetus rose behind the lofty coast in the extreme distance. Cerigo is also very barren: I could perceive very little appearance of cultivation. There are two villages in the upper part of the island; and there is another, considerably larger, on the south side. Two companies of British soldiers, with a resident, are stationed here, and a state of perfect banishment it must prove, the only amusement being field sports, and the island is by no means well stocked with game. Cerigo was famous, in antiquity, for the worship of Venus; and the goddess of beauty rose from the sea somewhere near the spot where we now are. After getting out of the strait, and weathering Cape St. Angelo, the sea again became rough, and we beat about the point all day, much to my regret, for the quiet experienced in the bay of Servia was quite delightful, after the tossing boisterous weather we had in the Adriatic. A Greek steamer passed us in the course of the day, but did not come within hail.
[Sidenote: PIPING UP THE WATCH.] Among the various grievances which nightly disturb my rest, the piping up of the different watches must not be omitted. A long shrill whistle first rouses me, followed by the hoarse cry of "All the starboard watch." Another similar prelude, is the forerunner of "Hands to shorten sail," or, "Watch make sail:" and as if each of these was not in itself sufficient to "murder sleep," the purser's bantam cock invariably responds with a long loud crow. From the first, I have vowed the death of that hero; but he is so great a favourite among the crew, that I can tempt no one to be his executioner. However, the captain's steward has been argued into the propriety of killing the old gander, which is a great victory. With it I am fain to be content for the present; and the "Purser's Tom" must still crow on in a solo, though the other has ceased to sing second.
[Sidenote: NAUPLIA DI MALVOISIE.] This is a most lovely morning; a light breeze wafts us up the gulf of Napoli, while far on the eastern horizon, rise the islands of Spezzia and Hydra; and further to the south, that of Kaimena. We are now off the singular looking town of Nauplia di Malvoisie, built on a square island, having two platforms, each resembling a gigantic stair. The lower town is walled on three sides only, as the perpendicular face of the cliff renders any defence unnecessary on that side; and on the summit of the precipice stands the upper town and castle. The rock is of a red colour, and the whole has a very picturesque appearance. A narrow isthmus and a lofty bridge connect the island with the adjacent continent. The mountains are barren; but the valleys appeared green and beautiful.
[Sidenote: CLASSIC REMINISCENCES.] Early the following morning, we anchored off Nauplia di Romania, and were saluted by H. M. S. Barham, a French store-ship, and two Russian brigs. From the delay occasioned by the minister's coming on board, and by visits from the authorities and captains of the men of war, it was late ere we got on shore. I had therefore time to gaze on the beautiful panorama around, embracing the land of Argos, once so celebrated, and still associated with the school-boy's earliest recollections. In the distance, on a pointed hill, stands its ruined city. Before me, on the plain, I beheld all that remained of Tirynth; in the mountains stood Mycenae; and to the north, Epidauras. How many interesting fictions are connected with these scenes! Here Hercules was born and passed his youthful days; and here, too, he performed many of his most illustrious labours; here stood the brazen tower of the lovely Danae; here Perseus reigned; here the fifty daughters of Danaus murdered their new-married husbands in a single night; here Juno was born; and in Argos, too, Agamemnon reigned. On the left of my position, looking towards the sea, rises a lofty sombre cliff, whence a chain of sloping rocks extend to the fortress above Nauplia, the castellated Palamide. Within its dungeons, Grievas and several other rebels, with the pirates lately taken, are now confined. At the base of the Palamide, rises a second hill, on which is built the town, extending down to the water's edge. I am told there are some remains of ancient fortifications on the side next to the citadel, but I could discover none that boasted of very remote antiquity. Outside the town, is a public walk beautifully embowered in trees.
[Sidenote: SHARKS.—NAUPLIA.] Several sharks made their appearance round the Barham, and sometimes approached our vessel. As they sailed rapidly up and down, their sharp serrated fins rising above the surface of the calm unruffled waves, reminded me of the circular saw at Portsmouth dockyard, working its way through some vast beam of timber, verging neither to right or left, but keeping on its steady course heedless of all impediments. The rifles were quickly in requisition, and several of the officers of the Barham repeatedly shot at them, but did not manage to boat one.
Went on shore, and visited the modern town of Nauplia; where I observed that many respectable houses have been recently erected, several good shops opened, and the streets are much cleaner than might be expected. Its old palace was an insignificant building, but they are adding considerably to it. The Greeks being forbidden to carry arms, their costume is less picturesque than formerly; but, on some of the noble-looking figures I saw, it still appeared handsome and becoming. None of Graecia's beauteous daughters were visible to-day, all the women being invariably ugly, and by no means well dressed. To-morrow is a festa, when perhaps I shall have more reason to admire them.
[Sidenote: CHARACTER OF KING OTHO.]Sunday, 14th.—Walked towards Argos, and took a sketch of the bay, but observed no pretty faces, and very few handsome dresses either native or foreign. The Bavarian troops are mean-looking men, and their light blue uniform is far from imposing. On my return I saw the king walk in procession to church. The Greeks, no doubt, dislike his religion, they being much more intolerant towards Roman Catholics than the Protestants are; yet, as he visits the churches on all festas, they do not openly murmur. His personal appearance certainly wants dignity, and his Tartar features appear to great disadvantage when contrasted with those of true Grecian mould, by which he is surrounded. However, his prepossessing manners and perfect urbanity, in some measure compensate for these personal defects; and, upon the whole, the people appear well pleased and contented with their youthful monarch. It is said the palikari, or soldiers of the late governments, do not unite themselves with the regular army which is forming, so readily as was expected, and that recourse must again be had to Bavarian troops to keep the country in a state of subjection, and protect the industrious. Our Greek pilot (he was once a pirate), with a large party of his friends, met us in the town. We enquired how they liked their king: their reply was, they had no alternative, since the allies had sent him; but added, that they were ready to treat him as they had previously done Capo d'Istrias, should he attempt any thing against their liberties.
The king mixes a good deal with his new subjects; he rides out every day without guards, and almost unattended; and strolls upon the public promenade at the hours when the beau monde frequent it. His presence, however, excites little attention; and, except by his uniform, the star upon his breast, and the few aides-de-camp who attend him, he would hardly be recognised by a stranger.
[Sidenote: HYDRA.—EGINA]. Monday, 15th.—The ambassador having received despatches from Constantinople, announcing the arrival of Russian troops, we were unexpectedly compelled to set sail again immediately, and our vessel passed between the island of Spezzia and the main land this morning with a fair wind. The town is pretty, the houses being detached, and displaying an appearance of great neatness. Spezzia, from its exceedingly commodious harbour, has always engrossed much of the carrying trade to and from the continent of Greece; and the inhabitants are, consequently, wealthy. In the afternoon we coasted along the island of Hydra, which presents nothing but lofty barren cliffs, until you arrive close to the town that is built round the crater of an extinct volcano, the centre of which forms the harbour. Owing to the extreme depth of the water, there is no anchorage, and all craft are moored to the wharfs. The town very much resembles Amalfi, and is protected by two forts, one of which mounts twelve, and the other sixteen, guns. From the proximity of either shore, the entrance to the harbour is singularly beautiful; and the surrounding country, though barren, is very bold and picturesque. Passing Poros in the distance, we now entered the Gulf of Egina, the prospect hourly increasing in richness and beauty. The Russian fleet lay at anchor in Poros, and we plainly descried the admiral's flag flying on shore. In the evening we approached
"Egina's beauteous isle,"
and could distinguish, on the summit of a hill, the ruins of its temple, of which there are, I believe, twenty-three columns still remaining up-right. It is impossible for the imagination to conceive any landscape more lovely than the one now before us. The wooded isle,—the ruined temple, rising above the dense masses of foliage,—Athens and its Acropolis, just distinguishable in the distance,—Pentelicus and Hymettus ranging behind it, and, farther to the right, Cape Colonna. The sky was clear and beautifully blue, and a light breeze wafted us slowly over the rippling waves. There was not the slightest swell; all was calm, tranquil, and serene. Then, when the sun sunk behind Morea's hills, and shed a flood of gorgeous light over the whole landscape, it produced a picture, the loveliness of which will for ever remain impressed upon my memory.
[Sidenote: GULF OF SALAMIS.] Tuesday, 16th.—The gulf, or bay, of Salamis, into which we were now sailing, is a deep inlet, surrounded by an amphitheatre of low semicircular hills. Here the army of Xerxes was posted; and the highest of these knolls is still pointed out as the spot where stood the golden throne of the Persian monarch, when he looked upon that battle which so humbled his pride.
"A king sat on the rocky brow Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis; And ships, by thousands, lay below, And men in nations:—all were his. He counted them at break of day, And when the sun set, where were they?"
[Sidenote: ATHENS.] Again weighing anchor, in a quarter of an hour we entered Porto Leone,—the ancient Piraeus; which, though deep enough to float a seventy-four, is so very narrow at the entrance, that there is but sufficient space for a vessel to pass, with a few feet on either side to spare. We regretted the orders were, to be on board at night, and that we should sail again at daylight. The ambassador landed under a salute; but I waved this ceremony, and hastened ashore with a party of officers and youngsters. We walked towards Athens, along the old road, and struck into the olive grove, very little of which now remains, it having been destroyed by both Greek and Turk. At length the Acropolis burst upon our anxious view; and, as we toiled up the hill of the Areopagus, the Temple of Theseus presented itself. Passing along the miserable collection of mud and stones, here dignified with the name of a wall, we entered this renowned city, once the seat of civilization and the arts, but which, at present, consists of little more than an assemblage of wretched hovels, the principal buildings having been nearly all destroyed. Near the gate, one good house has been rebuilt; and, a little farther on, a still larger mansion on speculation. [Sidenote: ENGLISH RESIDENTS AT ATHENS.]This being a holyday, the bazaar was closed, and after examining the remains of a building of Corinthian architecture, supposed to have been Adrian's Library, we passed on to the residence of Mr. Bell, an English gentleman, who has lately bought property near Athens, where he resides, in a building which has suffered less than many others. Mr. Finlay, who has lived upwards of ten years among the Greeks, also possesses large property in and about Athens. This gentleman undertook to be our cicerone, and we proceeded to the hotel in search of the Bavarian commandant, from whom it is necessary to obtain an order for admission, before we could visit the interior of the Acropolis. On reaching the hotel, which, by the by, is a most excellent and commodious house, we found the colonel at dinner, and the necessary permission was immediately granted. The Acropolis had only been surrendered to the new dynasty on Sunday last; and, had we arrived one week earlier, we should have seen the crescent still towering over this "abode of the Gods," instead of the Greek cross, by which it has been replaced.
[Sidenote: DEATH OF THE CHIEFTAIN ULYSSES.] Passing the ruins of the Temple of Victory, involucris Victoria, we soon arrived at the gate of the fortress, and found the ambassador and Lady Ponsonby, with the captain of the Actaeon, and other persons, endeavouring to gain admission, which was resolutely refused by the Bavarian guard. Luckily my order sufficed for us all; and we hurried up,—a motley group of officers, sailors, Greeks, donkeys, horses, and idlers,—shouting, laughing, and dissipating all the charm of the visit and the sanctity of the spot. I therefore detached myself from the party as soon as possible; and, in company with Mr. Finlay, endeavoured to pay that attention to the wonders of the place, which I could not otherwise have done. From the lofty tower erected by the Venetians, the brave chieftain Ulysses was thrown down, and dashed to pieces. He was confined there; and though his keepers assert that he met his death from the breaking of a rope, by which he attempted to escape, there is little doubt he was cast from the giddy height by design. The propylaea or vestibule is nearly destroyed, and buried in ruins; but the columns, still extant, are exceedingly beautiful: and the stone, which formed the architrave of the door, is of an enormous size, but it is cracked in the centre. Hence we proceeded to the Erechtheon, whose southern portico is still supported by five caryatides, the sixth having been thrown down. [Sidenote: INSOLENCE OF THE TURKS.] The neighbouring temple, which was reserved as a harem for the women, whilst Athens was in possession of the Turks, suddenly fell in, and crushed the whole of its unfortunate occupants to death. In the centre of the temple of Minerva stands a mosque, which is at present occupied as a barrack by the Bavarian troops. Whenever the Osmanlis take possession of a Greek village, they invariably ride into its Christian church, and endeavour to force their horses to defile the altar. By way of retaliation, when their mosque was delivered up last Sunday, certain Englishmen imitated their example. As may be readily supposed, this incensed the Turks to a great degree; but, like the conquered Christians, they were compelled to submit.
It were a needless task to expatiate on the beauty of this temple, with its noble columns, and its magnificent metopes; for the best still remain, where Lord Elgin could not reach them. The prospect from the summit of the building, whither I mounted to inspect these interesting relics, is most splendid; but then,
"Where'er we tread, 'tis haunted, holy ground; No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould; But one vast realm of wonder spreads around, And all the muse's tales seem truly told; Till the sense aches with gazing, to behold The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon."
[Sidenote: GRAVE OF TWEDDEL.] We next visited what is called Demosthenes's Lantern, situated close to a ruined house, formerly the Franciscan convent. Mr. Finlay and some others have cleared away the rubbish and masses of fallen masonry from about the Lantern: they have also dug a ditch around it, to prevent the devastation committed by visitors who attempt to break and carry away the ornaments: they have not yet learnt
"To pass in peace along the magic waste; To spare its relics:—let no busy hand Deface the scenes, already how defaced!"
The Temple of Theseus, one of the most perfect existing specimens of ancient architecture, is an admirable combination of lightness and solidity. Neither time, war, nor the hand of man, often a more ruthless destroyer than either, has yet invaded the sanctity of this splendid relic of Grecian art. The bodies of the unfortunate Tweddel, and of a person named Watson, are buried within its precincts; and it struck me, at the moment, that the remains of Byron might here have found an appropriate resting-place.
[Sidenote: AMERICAN MISSIONARIES.] Having finished the round of antiquities, we proceeded to Mr. Finlay's house, a very comfortable mansion; in which he has collected some interesting relics of antiquity, and among them, many very curious inscriptions. In this neighbourhood is a large house built by the American missionaries, who have a school of between 200 and 300 children, and do much good. The pupils follow the religion of their parents, whether Greek or Turk; the missionary confining his exertions to instructing them in reading, writing, and some mechanical art, as well as in their duties to their parents and the state. We returned to the hotel, and had an excellent dinner; with an ample supply of good wine and English porter, although there were thirty individuals present. The charges, too, were moderate; there was, of course, a little attempt at imposition, a la Grecque; but that matter was quickly arranged. Before we left the town it was quite dark, and on passing the Temple of Theseus, it was then illuminated by the glare of a large fire, round which a party of Greeks were dancing: it looked even more beautiful than by daylight. On reaching the vessel, I retired to my cot, and endeavoured to recall the splendid objects of the day's ramble. But a very confused and imperfect representation remained, like the recollection of a dream, of which some few prominent points had alone been remembered.
[Sidenote: METROPOLIS OF MODERN GREECE.] It is not improbable that Athens may be selected as the seat of government: this choice, however, will arise less from the advantages of position, than from the associations connected with its former history. Corinth is infinitely more central; and Nauplia, from the excellence of its harbour, and the facility of communication with the principal towns and with the isles, would be a desirable city for that purpose. With this latter, the government ought to be satisfied; and it is hardly to be conceived that the king longs for fine palaces, and his ministers for superb hotels, in the present depressed state of the country. Should they leave Nauplia, and migrate to Athens, one half of the revenue will be expended in building, if the plans which have been sketched out for the new town are adhered to. One of these, proposes the Piraeus as the port, and that the necessary warehouses, counting-houses, docks, &c. shall be erected there; and from thence, a fine macadamised road is to lead to the city. There, palaces, streets, public buildings are to be built, and walks and gardens laid out. With this arrangement, all the plans, except one, coincide; but they differ as to the exact site which the city ought to occupy. [Sidenote: MODERN IMPROVEMENTS.] One suggests that the palace and the principal buildings shall be outside the present town; and that a large and broad street should extend from the temple of Theseus to these modern improvements. I believe this is Gropuis's plan, who has purchased all the property in the suburbs. Another proposes that the palace shall be built on the side of the Acropolis towards the sea, near the Odeum. The author of this scheme owns all the ground thereabouts; so that private interest, and not patriotism, would seem to be the primum mobile of their suggestions. In fact, the whole of the land in and about Athens is now the property of foreigners, who are speculating on the immense prices to be obtained for ground-rent, &c. The landed proprietors, and the common people, who are all labourers, are well contented with the new arrangements; but the military chiefs and their followers will, for a long time, be a stumbling-block in the way of the government, even if they do not thwart and render nugatory all its attempts at improvement.
[Sidenote: VALUE OF LAND.] Sir Pulteney Malcolm has built a magnificent house, about two miles from the town, at the enormous cost of 3000l.; but at one time was on the eve of selling it for half that sum, so discouraging were appearances on the political horizon of Greece. Now, however, he is exceedingly glad that he did not; for, his being the only house at all calculated for the king's residence, should the court establish itself at Athens, it will probably be advantageously let to the government. The value of land was extremely depreciated a few months back, but it has since risen to such a height, that, for the future, speculators arriving in Greece will be unable to purchase with any prospect of advantage. The system of farming is that of the metayer; and those who bought property when it was cheap, have realised a certain profit, but far less than they expected. However, such as own land within the walls will sell or let it again at a considerable gain.
Wednesday, 17th.—We quitted the Piraeus, with great regret, early this morning, and continued beating about in the Bay of Egina, near Cape Colonna, the whole day, which was fine, though excessively hot.
A light breeze carried us by Ipsara and Mitylene, and every one on board was in high spirits at the prospect of seeing the Asiatic coast next day.
[Sidenote: PLAIN OF TROY.] Saturday, 20th.—We passed close under the shore of Asia, opposite Alexandria Troas, the ruins of which were visible, and, at length, came to anchor in Basike Bay, a little south of the mouth of the Amnis Navigabilis, and opposite to AEsachus's tomb. I landed after dinner, and, having waded up to the middle through the river, walked to a tumulus on the south side of Jene Keni, the top of which affords a fine view of the plain of Troy and the entrance to the Dardanelles. Luckily, I had with me a tracing of Sir William Gell's map, the exactness of which enabled me to point out to my companions the principal points of interest. The plain is extremely rich and fertile, and, altogether, had quite an English air. A considerable quantity of timber is scattered about very picturesquely, and numerous herds of goats and cattle grazing added to the beauty of the scene. The ground was enamelled with the bright colours of millions of anemones; and storks, small tortoises, and brown-coloured snakes were seen in vast numbers in all directions.
Sunday, 21st.—The wind blew so hard to-day, and there was such a swell on the beach, that it was impossible to land. A French government cutter passed us from Constantinople, with despatches for the French admiral. The captain came on board, and reported that the Russian force was receiving daily accessions; that Lord Ponsonby's arrival was anxiously expected; and that peace had been concluded between Ibrahim and the Porte.
[Sidenote: SOURCES OF THE SCAMANDER.] Monday, 22nd.—Started this morning, with the doctor, the master, and the tutor for Troy. We ascended AEsachus's tomb, and proceeded thence across undulating hills, covered with stunted oaks and brambles, varied occasionally by large tracts of cultivation, towards the sources of the Scamander, indicated by the grove of willows and poplars around them. Passing a large swamp, where there were innumerable storks and waterfowl, we at last arrived at the famous spring, called the Cold Spring, in Gell's map. It lies under a hill, and is surrounded by oak, willow, fig, and poplar trees, having brambles and wild vines hanging from them in festoons. Here, the clear water of the golden Xanthus flowing among the reeds, and over the ochre-coloured stones, tempts the thirsty passer-by with its cool and refreshing appearance.
We sat down on a green mound, between the largest of the two springs, and tried the temperature of them all. There are three principal sources rising out of the base of the rock, which is a limestone breccia; the fragments imbedded being limestone and reddish sandstone, which communicates to the water its golden hue. The temperature of the air was 55-6/10, and that of the springs, No. 1, 64 deg.; 2, 65 deg.; 3, 65 deg.
[Sidenote: TOMBS OF HECTOR AND PARIS.] Thence we proceeded to the source called the Hot Springs; the only difference in the actual temperature being one degree, but on immersing the hand there is a sensible warmth. These are also under a grove of trees, situated near the village of Bounarbashi. We ascended the tombs of Hector and Paris, which command a fine view of the Simois in its entire course, from the point where it issues from the mountains, to its junction with the Hellespont. There were no antiquities, besides a remnant of a granite column, neither did we observe any inhabitants, except an old man and a few children; but myriads of storks covered the fields in every direction. Returning to the Scamander, we lunched at its sources; and then reclining on a beautiful piece of turf, under the shade of a wide spreading oak, we enjoyed our pipes until the declining sun warned us to bend our course towards the ship.
[Sidenote: ABYDOS.] Tuesday, 23d.—We sailed this morning, as the wind proved fair for entering the Dardanelles. In passing close to the Segean promontory, which is covered with windmills, the view of the Asiatic fort and the town, with the tombs of Achilles and Patroclus, and, further on, that of Ajax, opened upon us. [Sidenote: PASSAGE OF THE DARDANELLES.] The castles appeared well fortified on the side exposed to the sea, their enormous guns lying on a level with the surface of the water; but, landward, they are defenceless. The shores of the channel are by no means so lofty as I was prepared to find them, and of their much vaunted beauty I saw nothing, saving now and then a green and cultivated valley, which are indeed "few, and far between." The cliffs appeared to be composed of a coarse and soft sandstone, nearly white, resembling chalk at a distance. We came to anchor a few miles above the castles, with the consolation that the north wind, now set in, might perhaps continue to blow for weeks. Contrary to our expectations, however, the breeze having veered to the southward in the course of the day, we weighed, and advanced a short distance up the channel; but the wind again dying away, the current bore us back, and we anchored in our former position.
There are now seventy of the crew on the sick list, including the first and third lieutenant, the master, and several of the youngsters, all like myself, suffering from the influenza. The sailors have christened it the Dardanelles fever; and the men who are well, swear the others sham illness, in order to escape the working through the Hellespont. Should the captain get impatient and resolve to beat up, there will be no end to the tacking, and the orders, "Her helm's a lee, and mainsail haul," will be sufficiently imprinted on my memory.
[Sidenote: PRESENT TO THE AMBASSADOR.] Monday, 29th.—Heavy rain all day, accompanied by cold, and a strong gale. In the evening it cleared up, and I went on shore for a short time. On either side of the channel were a great number of vessels, waiting for the southerly wind to carry them up to Constantinople; and now, with their sails out to dry, they presented the singular appearance of a fleet in full sail—without advancing. A small cutter, which serves as a packet between Smyrna and Stamboul, worked by us before dark; she was crowded with passengers, among whom were several ladies. The news she brought was of no great importance, saving the certainty that the French fleet, consisting of four sail of the line and two frigates, had arrived at Vourla. A present of two sheep, with some poultry and vegetables, arrived from the Pasha at the Upper Castles, for the ambassador; which looked as if the knowing ones on shore, expected we should keep our present berth for some time.
[Sidenote: FEAST OF THE BAIRAM.] Tuesday, April 30th.—At daylight this morning, we were all attracted on deck by the loud report of cannon, which came booming down the Hellespont, announcing the commencement of the Bairam, or grand religious festival of the Turks, when they play the same "antics before high Heaven," which Catholics do at their carnival. The guns were shotted, and we could distinctly see the splash of the marble balls as they dropped into the water. To-day the Sultan visits one of the principal mosques in state; and, though latterly the pageant has lost much of the oriental splendour that once distinguished it, yet, from the number of fine horses, and the richness of their caparisons, which are covered with gold, diamonds, and precious stones; and the splendid dresses of the officers of state and their attendants, this procession has still an air of great magnificence. In the evening, strings of variegated lamps, with festoons of flowers, swing from minaret to minaret, and hang over the illuminated city like a faery crown. From the prevalence of an unlucky northern wind this morning, we were prevented from reaching Constantinople in time to witness these festivities. [Sidenote: SESTOS.—TURKISH COLONEL.] The breeze, however, suddenly veering round to the south, swiftly went round the capstan, and merrily did our band, the solitary fiddler, rosin away to the tune of "drops of brandy," while, with every stretch of canvass set, we joyfully proceeded in our course, saluting the Pasha, according to custom, as we came abreast of the village of the Dardanelles, which occupies a low situation, and its mean-looking houses are huddled together in a very unpicturesque manner. The celebrated castles look formidable enough, with their enormous guns lying upon the ground without carriages, and sweeping the surface of the waves from shore to shore. The entire population was assembled upon the wharfs, or on the tops of the houses, and the flags of the consuls were displayed; so that, altogether, we saw the town to the best advantage. They returned our salute, and, immediately after, a mech-men-dar, or colonel, appointed by the Sultan to accompany the ambassador to Constantinople, came on board with his pipe-bearer. He wore a splendid dress, and was a remarkably well made man, of a dark copper colour, probably a Nubian by birth. The village on the European side of the Dardanelles is not so large as that on the shore opposite; but, being built on a declivity, and having gardens and cypress trees intermingled with the houses, it is far more beautiful. Sestos, the European fort, is also very strong seaward, but is commanded by a hill that rises behind it. Were the guns well served, the vessel that should attempt to force a passage between these two castles could only escape being sunk by a miracle.
[Sidenote: BEAUTIFUL SCENE.] As we glided onwards to our destination, the scene became exceedingly animated: the sea was covered with innumerable vessels having all their canvass spread; some were following in our wake towards Constantinople even with skysails, but the superior sailing of the Actaeon gradually left them far astern. As we passed Gallipoli, two Russian men-of-war were lying off the town, which is of considerable size; and in the Bay of Lampsacus, on the opposite coast, were also several Turkish ships. The landscape on the European side of the Sea of Marmora, in which we now were, is composed of gently sloping hills, well cultivated, while on that of Asia, it is bolder and more rugged.
There was now every probability of our arriving at Constantinople to-morrow, and we enjoyed the satisfaction of sailing past the Smyrna packet, which, having hauled too close in shore, lost the wind and lay there quite becalmed.
[Sidenote: THE SEVEN TOWERS.] Wednesday, May 1st.—Off Cape St. Stefano at day break. Three Turkish frigates lying at anchor there, fired the usual salute in honour of the festival of the Bairam, which is repeated at sunrise and sunset from all the men-of-war and batteries during the three days of its continuance. The guns of the fort were shotted, like those of the Dardanelles. As the darkness gave place to light, Stamboul disclosed itself to our anxious gaze, and we arrived opposite the Seven Towers, just as the sun cast its morning tints over the gilded cupolas and tall graceful minarets of this "Queen of Cities."
Long, long ago, my anxious hope was to behold, some day or other, the spot I was now approaching; at that time with little chance of its ever being accomplished, but now fulfilled to my perfect satisfaction. The Seven Towers, and the city walls, which are in many places thickly covered with ivy, appear to be in a very ruinous condition. These latter are trebled on the land-side, having a ditch between each. From the numerous fragments of marble and granite columns, many of them bearing inscriptions, every where intermingled with the masonry, it is evident that the fortifications of Constantinople were built of the remnants of the ancient capital. This is peculiarly visible in the neighbourhood of the seraglio, where Irene's palace is supposed to have formerly stood. Facing the water is that portion of the suburbs inhabited by the Armenians, but presenting no attractions to the stranger, being exceedingly crowded and dirty; and along the shore are the stations for washing, slaughtering cattle, and throwing into the sea the filth collected by the scavengers.
[Sidenote: THE PASHA'S GATE.] If these objects were calculated to excite feelings of disgust, the scene which next presented itself was beautiful as fairy land. The ship sailed close under the lofty wall of the seraglio garden, which is separated from the sea by only a narrow wharf. Shady groves, bowers of oranges, roses and jasmine, lofty cypresses, and wide spreading plane trees, embosom the elegant pagoda-shaped buildings, which comprise the kiosks of the Sultan, and the women's apartments; all of which, together with the stables and other inferior offices, are richly gilt and painted of various gaudy colours. Near one of the seraglio gates is erected a large wooden house, where many a disobedient Pasha has awaited the decree of banishment issued against him by his imperious master. There, too, he was shipped on board the vessel destined to carry him into exile; or, if condemned to expiate his offences with his life, it was there the bowstring was applied. Hence this entrance is known by the appellation of the Pasha's gate. A little further on, we observed a small low door in the wall, scarcely high enough to admit an ordinary sized man. Through this opening the slaves newly purchased, for either the Sultan or Sultana, are conveyed into the palace; through it also, they make their exit, when barbarous jealousy or revenge prompts their destruction; and many a lovely Dudu or Lolah, and many a fair Sultana sewn in the cruel sack, have been borne through this fatal opening, and cast into the
"Rolling waves, which hide Already many a once love-beaten breast, Deep in the caverns of the deadly tide."
[Sidenote: BEAUTIES OF STAMBOUL.] We now sailed round the promontory of the Golden Horn, when all the beauties of Stamboul, Pera, the Bosphorus, and Scutari, burst suddenly upon the view. Looking towards the seraglio point is seen the richly gilded palace of the Sultan, with a gate that glitters as if formed of polished gold; and backed by a profusion of foliage, and the buildings of the Serai. Farther distant is St. Sophia and the other mosques, whose golden domes and graceful, tapering minarets, tower above the mass of painted buildings interspersed with dark cypresses and beautiful plane trees, which covers the surface of the "seven hills." Thousands of roses hang clustering on the trellis work which adorns the gardens of the numerous villages, summer palaces, and villas occupying the shores of the Bosphorus, and the harbour between Constantinople and Galata appears crowded with ships, and with numberless caiques, gliding rapidly from shore to shore. [Sidenote: PERA.—SCUTARI.] Lastly, Pera, with its vast range of cypresses, crowns the hill, and extends along the whole length of the town. Looking in another direction, appears the burying ground of Scutari, also with its cypress grove, many miles in extent; the mosque, and barracks of Sultan Selim; Leander's tower in the channel which we have just quitted; and, lastly, the Turkish fleet of many sail lying at anchor, and displaying all their colours in honour of the Bairam.
Meanwhile, the Actaeon held on her silent majestic course towards the destined anchorage; and as I stood upon the quarter deck, contemplating the magnificent objects that presented themselves wherever I turned my sight, I felt all those thrilling emotions of rapture and delight which such scenes are calculated to inspire, and which constitute a sort of oasis in the memory of those who have experienced them. Here nature and art have gone hand in hand, assisting each other, and scattering roses; here every thing that falls from the bosom of the former is rich and luxuriant, and every thing that proceeds from the latter is novel, extraordinary, in a word, it is oriental; and faults, which in more civilised communities would be considered inconsistent with good taste, are here ever pleasing, and seem necessary to the unity of the whole.
[Sidenote: TURKISH FLEET.] A royal salute was fired as we passed the summer palace of Dolma Bashi, where the Sultan at present resides. It was immediately returned by the Mahmoudie, the Capitan Pasha's ship. What splendid vessels! Among them two are three-deckers, the largest ships in the world, one carrying 140, the other 136 brass guns, and the whole armament appeared to be in a condition that would not discredit an English dockyard. Considering how short a period has intervened since the Sultan lost his entire fleet, it is really miraculous to see him with another, amounting to two three-deckers, four line of battle ships, eight frigates, three corvettes, three sloops, and a number of cutters, all completely equipped for active service. The recently erected palace of the Sultan on the Asiatic side of the channel, next came in sight. It consists of a long range of magnificent buildings, painted a rich colour, between fawn and yellow, picked out with white, and profusely ornamented with gilding. The interior, I am told, displays a singular mixture of European and oriental luxury. Parisian furniture, mirrors, and ornaments from Germany, Persian carpets, and hangings, in short every thing rare or beautiful, from the east and west being collected there. [Sidenote: CASTLE OF THE JANISSARIES.] We now passed the old castle of the janissaries, the first fortress the Turks possessed in Europe. It lies opposite to the beautiful valley of the sweet waters of Asia, where the Sultan has a kiosk: and hither, in summer, the Turkish ladies come on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, to pic-nic. Formerly, when a janissary was condemned to die, he was confined in this castle. At the appointed hour, he was led through a small arched doorway, which opens on the Bosphorus, and there decapitated, and the body was thrown into the sea; at the same instant the firing of a long gun, which stands by the side of the gate, announced the execution of his sentence.
As I before observed, every portion of the European and Asiatic coast is covered with villas and gardens. The houses are painted of various colours, and have verandas, with trellis work, covered with roses, running round them. Those situated near the water are built with an arched entrance for the caiques, through which, by means of a short canal, they glide into the centre of the court-yard. The water here is very deep, and we were sailing so close to the shore, that the mainyard scarcely cleared the houses. Indeed, instances have occurred, where the inhabitants have been surprised by the visit of a bowsprit pushing its way through the wood-work, and carrying off the roof of their dwellings.
[Sidenote: RUSSIAN CAMP.] We now came in sight of the Russian encampment, and the tents which covered the summit of an extensive range of hills, called the Unkiar Skelessi, or Giant's Mountain, resembled so many snowy pinnacles. Their fleet, consisting of ten ships of the line, a number of frigates, and small craft, lay on the opposite side of the channel.
Beyond the village of Jani Keni, and opposite the Sultan's valley, we also found the Russian head quarters established, and a Russian frigate occupying the berth in which the Actaeon had anchored twice before. We therefore passed on, and dropped anchor a little a-head of a French frigate, opposite Terapia, and close to the Russian camp. The usual firing immediately commenced, but, by some oversight, the Russian admiral's salute was returned with two guns less than the usual number. In about an hour afterwards, he sent his flag lieutenant, who spoke English, on board the Actaeon, to inquire why we had only fired fifteen guns when he had paid the compliment of seventeen. The omission was immediately acknowledged, the two remaining guns discharged, and the gallant lieutenant rowed off again well satisfied. We soon ascertained that this sensitiveness proceeded from their anxiety to convince the Turks that no ill-will existed between England and Russia, and that no insult was meditated by our ship, more particularly as the British ambassador to the Porte, was known to be on board. I doubt much, however, if the Turks, although quite au fait to all matters of ceremony, understood the firing of the two guns afterwards.
[Sidenote: FRENCH AND ENGLISH EMBASSIES.] The town of Buyukdere, or the deep valley, off which lies the Russian fleet, is also the residence of the Russian, Austrian, and German ambassadors; the very hotbed of plots and etiquette. At Terapia the French and English embassies reside alongside each other; indications of that perfect unanimity which ought to subsist between these two great powers; and, if they remain true to each other, I would confidently back Terapia politics and manoeuvres against those of Buyukdere. The French palace is a spacious building, with beautiful and extensive gardens. That inhabited by the English ambassador, on the contrary, is small, comfortless, and with only a small slip of ground.
[Sidenote: RUSSIAN MILITARY MUSIC.] This day was occupied in visits from the secretaries of embassy of the different missions. As the plague was in Terapia a few days since, that village is put in quarantine with the palace; which also lies under the same regulations in respect to the Actaeon: and as the Russian sentinels refused to allow any one to land in the Sultan's valley, we had nothing to do but to watch their drills and parade exercises, while listening to the music of the horn bands, which played on a hill close to our anchorage; and the beauty of these national airs, somewhat compensated for the rudeness with which they turned us off the shore. It was very cold in the afternoon; the shifting of the wind to the north caused a great change in the weather, and towards evening we were glad to keep below.
Thursday, 2d. It is a most lovely morning: all nature seems to rejoice in the freshening breeze, which, blowing from the Black Sea, tempers even the hottest days with its refreshing coolness, and extracts the sweets from millions of roses, which ever bloom on the shores of the Bosphorus. From the jasmine or orange flower, it floats with its odorous burthen along the current, and lays all its perfume at the foot of Stamboul.
[Sidenote: THE CAIQUE.] A party of us embarked in a sort of light boat called a caique, than which no species of vessel, save the gondola, cuts more softly and noiselessly through the waters. It is a narrow wooden canoe, with a long beak; the outside is painted black, with a strip of bright red inside the stern piece; and is ornamented with carvings of flowers, and a thousand other devices. A Persian carpet, or a piece of oil cloth, covers the part on which the foot steps in entering, and here the slippers are left or retained, as the owner pleases. Those who ride in them do not sit on benches, but in the bottom of the caique, on a Persian carpet. The interior is white as snow, and there is an ornamented back board which runs across, and separates the stepping place from that appropriated to the purpose of a seat. It has no keel, and the paddles are long, and broad at the end. Some caiques are rowed by one, others by two boatmen, with two oars or sculls each; but the most elegant of these vessels have three rowers. The employes of high station about the Porte, and the ministers of the different foreign courts, keep superb caiques, rowed by eight, ten, or even twelve men; but although these boats are very striking in their appearance, they want that air of comfort and neatness which distinguish the smaller caiques.
[Sidenote: TURKISH BOATMEN.] The rowers are either Greeks or Turks, and wear a fez just large enough to cover the crown of the head, which is close shaved. The remainder of their dress consists of a thin transparent shirt, with large sleeves reaching to the elbows; and cotton drawers fastened to the knees; both as white as snow. They are a fine robust race of men, and their muscular sun-burnt forms are displayed to advantage through the gauze which so slightly covers them. At each stroke they utter a grunt, by forcing the breath suddenly from the chest; to acquire this accomplishment, is considered a necessary part of the boatman's education, and his character depends much upon it.
When we arrived at the landing-place of Tophana, a Turk, splendidly habited, pulled the caique close up with a long pole, and assisted us out; for which service he was rewarded with a few paras.
A fountain of singular beauty is here erected in the centre of the fish and vegetable market, which, from its vicinity to the arsenal, and from its being the landing-place for all pleasure boats coming from Scutari and the neighbouring villages of the Bosphorus, is constantly occupied by a crowd of idlers.
In the street leading up to Pera, the throng, which was also considerable, presented an infinite variety of novel and picturesque costume. The pavement is bad, but very clean, and greatly exceeds in this respect the narrow streets of the generality of Italian or Scotch towns. There is no cry of "heads below;" and a man may wander about at night without any fear of other rain than that of heaven, provided he carries a light with him.
[Sidenote: PERA.—DESTRUCTIVE FIRE.] Pera is recovering but slowly from the destructive fire, which two years ago ravaged this quarter of Constantinople; for, owing to the unsettled condition of public affairs, and the uncertainty as to who may be the future masters of this capital, the rich are unwilling to embark their property in building speculations on any very extensive scale. However, three handsome streets have been finished, the houses of which appear better and more commodiously built than they were formerly. Having secured apartments in a very comfortable lodging-house, kept by one Guiseppino Vitali, we paid a visit to Mr. Cartwright, the consul-general, perhaps one of the most excellent and kind-hearted individuals ever invested with the consular authority. Since the fire, he has built a very comfortable house, where he exercises a generous and unbounded hospitality.
[Sidenote: HOSPITALITY OF THE BRITISH CONSUL.] From Messrs. Black and Hardy, our bankers in Galata, we also experienced the most friendly attentions. We thence proceeded to Mr. Stampa's, that emporium of all good condiments, where Adrianople tongues, Yorkshire bacon, Scotch whisky, French cogniac, Scotch ale, London porter, English cheese, and Havannah segars may be obtained for "a consideration." In fact, no shop can be supplied with a greater variety of articles, nor in any city upon the surface of the globe are luxuries, whether foreign or domestic, to be obtained more plentifully than in Stamboul. Returning to Guiseppino, we dined at the Europa, a good inn—at least, we had a good dinner; and as evening advanced, proceeded to Tophana, and after a two hours' pull up the Bosphorus, we arrived at the ship. The current runs so strong, that the boats are obliged to keep in close to the shore, and at three points are towed by old men and boys, who are stationed there for the purpose, and receive a few paras for their labour.
Friday, 3d.—To-day it poured with rain without cessation, and in consequence, the ambassador could not go on shore. In the evening I went to the palace for a few minutes, but it felt so cold and comfortless that I had no wish to remain. This is by no means a fit residence for our ambassador. I returned to the ship loaded with newspapers, the appearance of which on the gun-room table was hailed with satisfaction, nearly a month having elapsed since any one on board had heard of the state of home and Europe.
[Sidenote: RUSSIAN MILITARY FUNERAL.] Saturday, 4th.—This morning a Russian soldier was buried, and we observed the ceremony from the quarter deck. He was borne in an open wooden coffin; a priest in black, and with a long beard, headed the procession, and a company of soldiers brought up the rear. On arriving at the grave, the priest put on an additional garment, having a yellow cross upon it, and then read the service, sprinkling the body at intervals with holy water (as we supposed), for the distance was too considerable to enable us to see distinctly. After each person present had repeated this portion of the ceremony as he walked round the corpse, the priest resumed his duties, scattering more water upon the body, and the lid being put on the coffin, a blessing was pronounced while it was lowered into the grave, and with the casting in of the earth, the ceremony ended. The soldiers then filed up the hill; while the priest, disencumbering himself of his robes, proceeded to saunter about the shore.
[Sidenote: LANDING OF THE AMBASSADOR.] At two o'clock the ambassador landed in state: the yards were manned, and the salute fired. Soon after, the rest of the suite followed; and the Actaeon was now left to quiet and regular duty. The cabins fitted up for the party were cleared away in the course of an hour; and before the dinner drum beat, the main deck had been again restored to its just proportions. In the evening, my companion and self also left the ship, and went down to Pera, to establish ourselves for the present in the house of Master Tongo; a name by which I find our landlord is better known than by that of Vitali.
Sunday, 5th.—On looking out of window into the street this morning, I beheld crowds of Armenian and Greek women proceeding to church, the former wearing the gashmak, or veil, and their long dark feridges, or cloaks, with red morocco slippers just peeping out beneath. They differ from the Turkish women only in not covering the nose, and having red instead of yellow slippers, in which they shuffle along slowly to their worship. Of the Greeks, however, some wore over their hair embroidered handkerchiefs, arranged a la Francaise in the shape of a toque; others were muffled in cloaks of a snuff-brown colour, with a white muslin veil arranged upon the back of the head, and having both ends brought round upon the breast: thus exposing the whole face, and setting off to the best advantage the handsome regular features, and the dark eye, with its long black silky lash.
[Sidenote: VISIT TO THE BAZAARS.] After breakfast, a party was made to visit the bazaars; and we embarked at the new custom-house stairs, in Galata, where numbers of caiques lie ready for hire, and where the same scramble occurs for passengers as at Blackfriars or Tower Stairs in England. We glided rapidly across, skilfully avoiding the numerous caiques that were plying in a contrary direction, the boatman calling out, "On the European side,"—"On the Asiatic side," as it suited his purpose to pass to the right or left, there appearing to be no established law for regulating their motions.
On landing at the Balouk, or fish bazaar, we passed through the bazaar of drugs, called also that of Alexandria, an extensive covered building, where rhubarb, paints, senna, and other commodities of that sort, are sold in stalls fitted up on both sides of the passage. The articles are all exposed in the most tempting manner, according to the fancy of the vendor, who sits cross-legged on the shop-board behind, waiting anxiously for his customer; and when any one stops but for an instant, he pops out his head like a spider, to ascertain whether it is a bite or not. We passed through the pipe-stick bazaar, situated in an open street: on one side of which, pipe-sticks and amber mouth-pieces are exposed to sale; the other being almost entirely occupied by turners, who work with extraordinary neatness, considering the imperfect nature of their tools. From the bazaar where cotton handkerchiefs and shawls, English and German, are sold, we passed to the shop of Mustapha, the scent dealer, where we established ourselves for a luncheon, consisting of pipes, coffee, and lemonade, while the various bottles of perfume,—viz. attar of roses and jasmine, musk, musk rat-tails, lemon essence, sandal wood, pastilles, dyes, all the sweet odours that form part and parcel of a sultana's toilet, were temptingly exposed to our view. From time to time, portions of these delicacies were rubbed on our whiskers, hands, and lips, to induce us to purchase; so that when we left the shop to return to Pera, we were a walking bouquet of millefleurs, and might have been scented a mile off. After visiting the dockyard, where a line of battle ship and two frigates were getting ready for sea, we climbed the hill of Pera, under the shade of the dark and splendid cypress trees covering the burial ground, and from which long avenues lead to various parts of the town. [Sidenote: PUBLIC PROMENADES.] These are the favourite walks of the Perotes; and the gay dresses of the ladies, who, in joyous parties, ramble along the silent and gloomy pathways, contrast oddly with the sad and mournful character of this place of tombs. We again strolled about in this ground after dinner; but were soon tired, the cold being too severe to be pleasant; and even the inhabitants retire early. The evenings at Pera are not agreeable, there being no public amusements into which one can enter; and society is so garbled with form and etiquette, that it is hardly worth seeking; smoking, therefore, is the only resource, and most people adopt it.
[Sidenote: PIPE-STICK BAZAAR.] Monday, 6th.—This morning we landed at the Lemon Skalese, where the fruit bazaar stands. Here were shops full of Smyrna figs, dried dates, plums, and various other fruits; with cheese, and Russian butter. We went thence through the place where wax candles are sold, to the pipe-stick bazaar, where I intended to be a purchaser both of amber and cherry sticks. Of the former there are two sorts: the white, creamy, or lemon-coloured amber is the most valuable; and a large mouth-piece of the very purest is sometimes worth 5000 or 6000 piastres, equal to about 50l. or 60l. sterling. The second or yellow kind, being more common, is comparatively little esteemed, for the perfection of this article consists in its being free from flaws, cracks, or spots; and if the tube of wood can be seen through the amber, it is considered as very inferior in a Turk's estimation. There is a third sort, which is valueless from its transparency. It is either real or factitious, and often consists merely of the scrapings and refuse morsels, melted into lumps, and manufactured into cheap mouth-pieces. This portion of the Turkish pipe is frequently adorned with precious stones, enamelling, or carved wood, according to the fancy of the purchaser. The cost of those generally exposed for sale varies from 20 to 1500 piastres, and when one of a higher price is required, it is found in the possession of some wealthy Turkish or Armenian merchant. The amber is imported from Dantzic in lumps; there is considerable risk in the purchase of the crude article, and hence arises its excessive dearness when it turns out well. The cherry sticks come from Persia by Trebisond; they are brought to Constantinople in pieces of about two feet long; and after being set straight, are dressed and polished with infinite care. They are united into sticks generally of five or six feet, though some are as long as twelve feet, and the junction is so skilfully concealed with the bark, that in a well-made pipe it is impossible to discover it. When repolished, they are ready for sale, being left unbored until the merchant has found a purchaser. From 30 to 100 piastres is the usual price demanded, but it differs according to the length, size, and fineness of the bark; and dark-coloured sticks are preferred to those which are lighter. Pipe-sticks are also made of rose-tree and other woods; but the favourite summer pipe is of jasmine, which is not so dear as the cherry, and is very light and flexible. I have seen them of one entire piece, measuring ten feet. These are cleaned by squeezing lemon juice through them, which is also rubbed over the outside to render them cool. Another species of pipe is the narghile or water pipe; our sailors have christened it the hubble-bubble: it is a species of hookah, consisting of a glass bowl partly filled with water, a pipe holder fitted into its taper neck, and a long flexible tube, made of embossed leather and brass wire, through which the smoke is drawn. The bowls are manufactured of clay in various forms; some being very plain, others really elegant, with abundance of gilding and ornament. [Sidenote: TURKISH TOBACCO.] The tobacco smoked in the ordinary pipe, is brought from the Crimea, Salonica, Latakia, Ormus, and other parts of the East. The Salonica tobacco is mild and excellent; that from Latakia, on the contrary, is strong and dark coloured. The price varies between four and ten piastres the oke, of two pounds and three quarters English; it is also sold in bales of ten okes each, at the same rate. The tobacco smoked in the narghile is of a different quality and cut: the best comes from Shiraz, and it is damped previously to being put into the clay bowl. The mode of using the narghile is not only difficult to acquire, but, to a beginner, is painful and sickening; the air being exhaled from the lungs, and replaced by the smoke and breath. Every Turk, and indeed every inhabitant of Stamboul, carries about his person a square bag, either of cachemire ornamented with embroidery, or of common silk, in which he keeps a supply of tobacco; and as the coffee-house supplies him with a pipe-stick and pipe gratis, he pays only for the cup of coffee which accompanies it. He loads his pipe from his own bag, and the boy of the establishment places a small bit of lighted charcoal on it. They may be seen by hundreds before every coffee-shop, seated on low stools, blowing clouds, sipping Mocha juice, and exhibiting the most solemn taciturnity and perfect content. In driving bargains, the Turk, having seated the purchaser at his side, presents him with coffee and a pipe, and between the puffs of smoke the negotiation is carried on. If it does not succeed, the pipe is resigned, thanks are returned for the coffee, and the business is at an end; should they agree, another pipe generally concludes the affair.