The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Story Teller of the Desert—"Backsheesh!"

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Title: The Story Teller of the Desert—"Backsheesh!"

Author: Thomas Wallace Knox

Release date: December 15, 2015 [eBook #50700]
Most recently updated: February 25, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Widger from page images generously
provided by the Internet Archive




or, Life and Adventures in the Orient

By Thomas W. Knox

With Descriptive And Humorous Sketches Of Sights And Scenes Over The Atlantic, Down The Danube, Through The Crimea J In Turkey, Greece, Asia-Minor, Syria, Palestine, And Egypt; Up The Nile, In Nubia, And Equatorial Africa, Etc., Etc.
Embellished with nearly Two Hundred and Fifty Illustrations, including Forty-Eight full page Engravings, principally executed in London, Paris, and New York, from Photographs and original Sketches.

With fine Steel-Plate Portrait of the Author.

Hartford, Conn; A. D. Worthington & Co., Publishers































































The following pages are the result of a peaceful crusade to the East, undertaken for purposes of pleasure and profit. The author has endeavored to combine the humorous features of the journey with the store of useful knowledge that should be the result of a tour through the Orient. He trusts that he has so combined them that both will be satisfactory, and that the reader will be amused while seeking instruction and instructed while seeking amusement.

There is a story of an honest old Quaker resident of Philadelphia, who sent his son to make the tour of Europe. The young man determined to see all that could be seen, and gave his whole mind to the search for enjoyment. When he returned from his travels his father said:

“John, thou hast been absent a twelvemonth and past, and thou hast drawn on me for eighteen thousand dollars. John, that is a great deal of money for thee to spend in one year.”

“I know it, father,” was the young man’s response, “but I have had lots of fun for that money.”

In return for the labor and fatigue incident to Oriental travel, the author believes that he found an ample reward in the entertainment and information which the journey afforded.

The author is glad to avail himself of this opportunity to express the gratification he feels at seeing his book so profusely and artistically illustrated. In this department of the work the publishers have displayed their enterprise and liberality in such a creditable manner, as to justly entitle them, not only to the author’s grateful acknowledgments, but to the hearty thanks of all who may read his book.

He would also return his thanks to the artists and engravers, who have so skilfully designed and executed the illustrations, many of which were drawn and engraved in London and Paris, expressly for this volume.

Finally he would thank most cordially the many gentlemen in the various countries he visited who gave him the benefit of their personal experience and observation. Their names are too numerous to be included in this preface, and their nationalities comprise nearly all the civilized countries of the globe. T. W. K.

Principally designed, or reproduced from photographs, by Karl Giradet, Faguet, Frank Beard, James C. Beard, Arthur Lumley, L. Hopkins, and eminent artists, and mostly engraved by Messrs. Holier, Pannemaker, Laptante, Gusmand, Gauchard, and other noted engravers of Paris; by W. J. Palmer, and the London Illustration Company, of London; and by Charles Speigle, of New York.



     6. Head Piece...............................................033

     7. Steamer Day..............................................034

     8. The Judge’s First Day at Sea.............................035

     9. The Judge’s Second Day at Sea............................036

     10. The Race................................................039

     11. The Judge...............................................040

     12. A Practical Joke........................................044

     13. Head Piece..............................................048

     14. Fraternizing............................................050

     15. Eternal Friendship......................................051

     16. Proof of the Affray.....................................052

     17. Avenging an Insult......................................054

     18. “I must have a Duel”....................................055

     19. An Imperial Wine Cellar.................................060

     20. Head Piece..............................................063

     21. “Salt by Yer”...........................................068

     22. The Snoring Match.......................................069

     23. The Doubter.............................................071

     24. A Turkish “Hamal”.......................................073

     25. Tail Piece..............................................077

     26. Head Piece..............................................078

     27. Among the Fleas.........................................079

     28. A Toilet in Public......................................082

     29. “Natives of the Country”................................085

     30. Precautionary Measures..................................086

     31. “She is a Jewess”.......................................089

     32. The Palace Tshiragan....................................091

     33. Head Piece..............................................093

     34. Shirking the Cemetery...................................097

     35. “Fresh Paint”...........................................100

     36. Driving a Bargain.......................................104

     37. A Night at Baidar.......................................106

     38. Caught in the Act.......................................108

     39. Tail Piece..............................................109

     40. Head Piece..............................................110

     41. Putting in his “Best Licks”.............................112

     42. “Backsheesh”............................................113

     43. An Impressive Scene.....................................116

     44. Constantinople from the Tower of Golata—Full..........116

     45. Head Piece..............................................123

     46. A Street in Constantinople..............................124

     47. Strategy................................................126

     48. The Reconnoitre.........................................129

     49. The Retreat.............................................130

     50. A Damas-cussed Dog......................................131

     51. Stowing the Sandwiches..................................132

     52. Admiring the Mosque.....................................132

     53. A Sudden Attack.........................................132

     54. The Pursuit.............................................133

     55. A Hopeless Chase........................................133

     56. “Retrospection”.........................................134

     57. Tail Piece..............................................135

     58. Headpiece...............................................135

     59. A Sedan Chair...........................................136

     60. A Turkish Beauty........................................137

     61. An Importunate Moslem...................................143

     62. Extorting “Backsheesh”..................................144

     63. Head Piece..............................................145

     64. End of the Fast and Beginning of the Feast.............146

     65. “Good-Bye, my Friend, Good-Bye”.........................148

     66. A Turkish “Cavass”......................................149

     67. Head Piece..............................................153

     68. Moslems at Prayer.......................................154

     69. “Bismillah”............................................155

     70. The “Duplicate”.........................................157

     71. Muezzin announcing the Hour of Prayer...................158

     72. An Oriental Boot Jack...................................160

     73. Fartha, or Opening Chapter of the Koran.................163

     74. Tail Piece..............................................165

     75. Head Piece..............................................166

     76. A Whirling Dervish......................................170

     77. Effect of too much Whirling.............................171

     78. Howling as a Profession.................................173

     79. Homopathic Treatment....................................175

     80. Head Piece..............................................177

     81. Some of the Brothers of Far-Away Moses..................178

     82. Interviewing a Purser...................................184

     83. Head Piece..............................................187

     84. Head Piece..............................................197

     85. View of Athens and the Acropolis........................199

     86. The Decline of Greece...................................201

     87. Greek Priest of Modern Times............................204

     88. “Doing” the Ruins.......................................206

     89. Tail Piece.............................................212

     90. Head Piece..............................................213

     91. Sending Up the Ear of a Victim..........................217

     92. Head Piece.............................................225

     93. Pickling the “Doubter”..................................229

     94. “Backsheesh!” “Backsheesh!”.............................231

     95. Head Piece..............................................236

     96. Inspecting the Crew.....................................241

     97. Bad “Backsheesh.”—“It was Counterfeit”.................243

     98. St. Jean D’Acre—Full Paye..............................249

     99. A Tricky Beast..........................................254

     100. Beyrout and the Mountains of Lebanon—Full Page........257

     101. “Mou Dieu! Is this the Party for Damascus?”............262

     102. Head Piece.............................................264

     103. The Cedars of Lebanon—Full Page.......................265

     104. Cedar of Lebanon.......................................270

     105. Great Stone at Baalbek.................................272

     106. Portal of the Temple of the Sun at Baalbek.............275

     107. Court of a House in Damascus...........................279

     108. Moslem Women Weeping at a Tomb.........................282

     109. Syrian Jew with Phylactery.............................285

     110. A Money Changer in the Bazaar..........................288

     111. Flat Roofed Houses—Damascus...........................291

     112. Abd-el-Kader...........................................293

     113. We “Strip to ze buff”..................................296

     114. “You will have all ze luxuries”........................296

     115. We Enter “Ze Bain Beautiful”...........................297

     116. One of the Luxuries....................................297

     117. Softening the Asperities...............................298

     118. A Not One..............................................298

     119. “What is Curlew?”......................................305

     120. A Bedouin Encampment...................................308

     121. A Bedouin of the Desert................................309

     122. The Terror of the Desert on his Arabian Charger........311

     123. Enins of Palmyra—Full Page............................315

     124. Hebron—Full Page......................................319

     125. Mount Carmel—Full Page................................323

     126. An Inhabited Boot,.....................................325

     127. Ploughing in Syria,....................................332

     128. All that remains of Capernaum,.........................334

     129. “Backsheesh! O Howadji!”...............................335

     130. The Sea of Tibenas—Full Page..........................337

     131. Magdala,...............................................339

     132. Unhorsing the “Doubter,”...............................342

     133. Nazareth—Full Page....................................345

     134. Jeivs of Nazareth—Full Page...........................349

     135. A Syrian Water Bearer,.................................353

     136. Jerusalem and Surrounding Country—Full Page...........359

     137. Sidon—Full Page.......................................365

     138. Tyre,..................................................368

     139. Tail Piece,............................................369

     140. Jaffa—Full Page.......................................371

     141. Our Dragoman, Ali Soloman,............................374

     141. “Backsheesh,”..........................................376

     143. Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives—Full Page..........377

     144. Ancient Arch; Portion of the Haram Wall,...............380

     145. A Street in Jerusalem,................................381

     146. Arched Street and Fountain, Jerusalem,.................382

     147. Jdrindpal Street of Jerusalem—Full Page...............383

     148. The Golden Gate, Jerusalem,...........................386

     149. Interior of the Golden Gate,...........................387

     150. Site of the Temple, Jerusalem,.........................388

     151. Ancient Signet Ring,...................................389

     152. Ancient Signet Ring,...................................389

     153. Exploring the Substructions,...........................390

     154. Underground—Beneath the City of Jerusalem.............391

     155. The Valley of Jehoshapliat,............................393

     156. Wailing Place of the Jews, Jerusalem,..................394

     157. Walls of the Church of the Presentation—Full Page.....395

     158. Bethlehem—Full Page..................................399

     159. Chinch of the Nativity, Bethlehem—Full Page...........405

     160. Monastery of Mar Saba—Full Page.......................409

     161. A Formidable Escort,...................................414

     162. Bathing Place of the Pilgrims on the Jordan............417

     163. The “Doubter’s” Mishap,................................420

     164. The Mount of Olives—Full Page.........................423

     165. Pool of Hezekiah,......................................426

     166. West Door, Church of the Holy Sepulchre................427

     167. Church of the Holy Sepulchre—Full Page................429

     168. The Fountain of the Virgin,............................433

     169. Doubter’—Sixpence,”...................................436

     170. Jaffa Orange Seller,...................................438

     171. Tail Piece,............................................439

     172. Water Bearers at the Railway Station, Cairo,...........447

     173. Praying in the Streets of Cairo,.......................448

     174. Cairo—Full Page.......................................449

     175. Massacre of the Mamalukes—Full Page...................455

     176. Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt,........................458

     177. A Tough One,...........................................459

     178. Head Piece.............................................468

     179. Tombs of the Sultans—Cairo—Full Page..................469

     180. “O Ye Thirsty,”........................................472

     181. Children Bread Sellers in the Streets of Cairo,.......473

     182. Mosque of the Sultan Hassan, at Cairo—Full Page.......475

     183. Young Street Arabs of Cairo,...........................477

     184. Shoe Peddler in the Bazaar,............................479

     185. Latticed Windows—Cairo,...............................480

     186. An Auctioneer in the Bazaars,..........................485

     187. A Syce,...............................................489

     188. Donkey Drivers of Cairo—Full Page.....................491

     189. Not up to the Dodge,...................................494

     190. An Egyptian Eunuch,....................................496

     191. An Arab School—Full Page..............................503

     192. Ceremony of the Doseh,.................................510

     193. A Shadoof for Drawing Water from the Nile.............515

     194. Climbing the Pyramid,..................................518

     195. The Ascent of the Judge,...............................520

     196. An Arab Feat,.........................................522

     197. The Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Gizeh..............523

     198. A Nile Boat............................................530

     199. The Serapeum—Memphis—Full Page........................537

     200. Landing Place at Beni-Soef—Full Page.................545

     201. Sugar Cane Seller at Minieh,..........................549

     202. An Inconvenient Position,..............................552

     203. Siout—Upper Egypt—Full Page..........................555

     204. “Nargeeleh,”...........................................557

     205. Siout Egg Merchant,....................................558

     206. Egyptian Gamblers,.....................................559

     207. “Aoz, Eh?”.............................................663

     208. “Dusting” for “Backsheesh,”............................566

     209. An Egyptian Ghawazee,..................................569

     210. Ghawazee and Musicians,................................570

     211. An Egyptian Musician,..................................574

     212. Egyptian Water Carriers Filling their Jars.............575

     213. Ruins of the Temple of Denderah, Upper Egypt...........579

     214. Entrance to the Temple of Luxor........................587

     215. The Memnonlum and the Ruined Statue....................593

     216. Sitting Colossi,.......................................595

     217. A Fresh One............................................599

     218. Interior of a Harem....................................601

     219. A Murderous Assault,...................................607

     220. A Nubian Belle,........................................609

     221. A Nubian Lady..........................................610

     222. An Egyptian Sakfdeh, Drawing Water from the Nile.......611

     213. All Affectionate Beast.................................613

     214. Luxuries of Camel Riding...............................615

     225. Egyptian God Osiris....................................617

     226. Egyptian Goddess Isis..................................618

     227. Island of Phike, or Sacred Island—Full Page...........619

     218. Sacred Lotus of the Egyptians—Full Page...............627

     219. Modern Egyptian Gristmill..............................630

     230. A Nubian Warrior.......................................632

     231. Papyrus of the Egyptians—Full Page....................633

     231. Biting the Dust........................................641

     233. Women of Cairo—Full Page..............................655

     234. Bread Seller in the Streets of Cairo...................659

     235. A Lady of the Harem....................................662

     236. An Egyptian Barber.....................................665

     237. Alexandria—Full Page..................................671

     238. Court of a House in Egypt,.............................673

     239. A Bedouin Encampment near Cairo,.......................675

     240. The Madonna Tree,......................................676

     241. Boot Blacks of Cairo,..................................679

     242. Mosque of Sultan Berkook, and Fountain of Ismail.......682

     243. Modern Egyptian Oven,..................................683

     244. Palace of the Viceroy, near Alexandria—Full Page......689


Leaving Home—Our Pilgrimage Begun—Sights and Scenes on Deck—“Life on the Ocean Wave”—Out at Sea—The Traveller’s Little World—Feeling Queer Inside!—Delights of Sea-Sickness—Reminiscences of a Jolly Old Boy—What Became of the Judge—Bringing up his Liver!—Too Big for his Berth—Sleeping in a Second-Hand Coffin—A Race with a Lemon—The Leg of Mutton Dance—Eccentric Conduct of a Boiled Turkey—Too Much Sauce!—“Dressing” the Judge’s Trowsers—Alone at Sea—A Funny Conspiracy—Fate of a Timid Man—Confidence Betrayed—The Young Man from the Country—His Wisdom and his Woes—Drinking Petroleum—The Judge Turns Joker—Who Owns the Ocean Steamers..........033


On English Ground—The Road to the East—Life in the Austrian Capital—Fun and Festivity—Visit to the Big Beer-Garden—Effects of Champagne—Animated Conversation—How Twenty Thousand Dollars were Spent—The Man with the Torn Vest—Headaches at a Discount—Yankees in a Row—A Pugnacious Russian—“Quits,” but not Satisfied—Challenging an American—The Fashionable World—Down the Danube—Scenes on the River—I low Austrian Cigars are Made—An Imperial Tobacco Dealer—The Rattle of Wagram—Castle of l’resburg—We Enter Hungary—An Evening in a Wine Cellar—Want of a Little Soap—Night Scene on the Danube,...........048


A City of Renown—Overwhelmed by the Moods—Lying in Clover—What I Saw in the Hungarian Capital—“The Poor Folks’ Bath”—Rather Warm Quarters—Life Among the Magyars—The “Miffs” of an Imperial Couple—Her Majesty’s Choice—A Model Captain—Charles Matthews and the Row-cry Roy—Facts and Fancies of a Snoring Match—The “Judge” and the “Doubter”—The Man who Wouldn’t Relieve—Who were the “Hamals,” and What They Did—People in Strange Garments—Raggy Breeches versus glop—The Fortress of Belgrade—Servin, and What I Saw of Its People— The Assassination of Prince Milochi—Rather Bad for Poetry,...........063


Among the Fleas—The Mystery of the Redclothes—A Cool Explanation— Under the Spray—What Became of the Dragon—A Queer Story about Flics—What Is an “Araba?”—Conversation without Words—Changing Shirts in Public—The Iron Gate—Scene at the Custom-House—Official Obstinacy—The “Sick Man”—Scenes in the Orient—The Mysteries of the Quarantine—How we Dodged the Turks—The Turk and his Rosary—Pity the Poor Israelite!—Why an Unlucky Jewess was Whipped—The Secret of the Turkish Loan—How the Money is Spent—Ten Million Dollars Gone!—What is “Backsheesh?”...........078


A Visit to the Crimea—The Porter with the Big Books—The Danger of Siberia—Our Entry into Sevastopol—Terrible Reminiscences of the Crimean War—How we Shirked the Cemetery—The Great Dock Yard of Sevastopol—We Visit a Remarkable Gunboat—What we Saw Below-Deck—The Story that our landlord Told—An Enterprising Tartar—The “Doubter” Offers an Opinion—How the “Judge” Stole a Newspaper—Adventures by the Way—The “Doubter” gets into Trouble—We Fly to the Rescue—Eccentricities of a Selfish Man—We Rise and Depart,...........093


A Visit to a Russian Police Office—Smith, and What he Did—A Bad Lot of Passports—A Race after a Governor in a Drosky—-More “Backsheesh”—Delicate Administration of a Bribe—An Obliging Subordinate—Attempt at a Swindle—Scraping an Acquaintance—High Life on the Black Sea—Muscovite Ladies—Sunrise on the Euxine—Worshipping the Sun—Stamboul—Passing Quarantine—On the Bosphorus—A Magnificent Spectacle—The Castle of Europe—Palaces and Villas—Domes and Minarets—The Golden Horn—In Front of Constantinople—Rapacity of Boatmen—Turkish Thieves—Streets of the City,...........110


Human Camels—Canine Colors—The Dogs of Istamboul—Their Appearance and Moral Character—How the Turks Regard Them—“Inshallah”—Constantinopolitan Dogsologies—An Oriental Dog-Fight—Sagacious Brutes—Cultivating Canine Society—“Standing Treat” among the Curs—Four-Footed Campaigns—Dog-Districts—The Hostile Armies—A Brilliant Strategic Move—-Charge of the Light (Dog) Brigade—Advance of the Chef de garbage—The “Army of the West” in Retreat—The “Doubter’s” Misha—Full Details of a Coat’s Detailing—An Israelite in whom there was Guile—No More Sandwiches for Me, Sir-r-r,...........123


Locomotion in Constantinople—Horses, Donkeys, Shanks’ Mare and Sedan Chairs—Turkish Street Cars—Women in Public—The Veiled Queens of Seraglios—The Drugs of the Orient—Henna and its Uses—Ottar of Roses, Musk and Bergamot—Shawls and Silks of Price—The Treasures of Ormus and of Ind—The Workers in Precious Metals—Vases of Gold and Platters of Silver—An Aureole of Gems—Loot for Soldiers and Swag for Burglars—The Weapons of Ancient Islam—Blades of Damascus and Swords of Mecca—A Wonderful Collection—Old Clothes and New Truck—A Seedy Moslem Swindler—An Exorbitant “Backsheesh”—What Happened to the Judge—A Dispenser of Justice in the Lockup,..........135


The Great Moslem Fast—Nights of Feasting and Days of Fasting—The Injunction of Mahomet—The Ravenous Mussulman—An Hotel Swindle—A Stranger and they Took Him In—“Too Thin, Too Thin”—Greek Wine—Going Out in a Blaze of Glory—Thunder, Smoke, and Flame—The Approach of the Sultan—How he Looked—A Peep at the Ladies of the Harem—The Veiled Queens—The Sultan’s Mother—The Empress Eugenie at the Seraglio—Insult Offered to Eugenie—A Queen in Tears—A Question of Court Etiquette—Murdering Christians,...........145


Among the Mosques—Their Special Uses—Greek Burglars, their Capture and Execution—A “Firman,” What Is It—A Turkish Dragoman—A Relic of Ancient Byzantium—Its Name and Origin—Taking a Portrait—Turkish Superstitions—Worshipping in St. Sophia—Moslem Fanatics—Counting The Minarets—What Came of a Wet Pair of Boots—The Judge in a Tight Place—The “Doubter” Commits Sacrilege—Uncovering a Sarcophagus—Attacked by the Priests—Barefooted Worshippers—Teachings of the Koran—Cleanliness and Temperance—Why Turkish Women Do Not Go to the Mosques—Why Good Mussulmans Never Get Drunk,...........153


The Dervishes of Constantinople, What Are They?—How they Live and What they Do—Unclean and Devout Beggars—Where they Bury their Dead—Opening their Circus—Removing the “Doubter’s” Boots—An Amusing Situation—Clearing the Floor—Human Top-Spinning—Dropping into Jelly-Bags—A Pliable Lot of Living Corpses—The Howling Dervishes—Where and How they Live—A House Full of Madmen—A Shrieking Chant—“La Hah il Allah”—Stirring Up the Wild Beasts—Spectators Joining in the Chorus—Horrible Superstitious Rites—Treading on Sick Children—Reaching Paradise by Bodily Tortures—A Sad Disappointment—The Founder of the Sect, and who he Was—Pulling Teeth as a Proof of Sanctity,...........166


Far-Away Moses, the Famous Guide—His Numerous Brothers—His Shop in the Great Bazaar—An Evening at the “Foreign Club”—Dreaming of Polyglots and the Tower of Babel—More “Backsheesh”—Passing the Custom House—How they Protect Home Manufactures—Standing Up for One’s Own Country—“Honesty ish te Besht Bolicy”—Borrowing Money at Twenty per Cent.—The Start from Constantinople—A Hint to Travellers—Sleeping in Public on the Stage—Interviewing the Purser—A Satisfactory Arrangement—Baron Bruck and his Career—Unwelcome Intruders—Classic Ground—One Trifling Peculiarity,.......***


In sight of Syra—Active Trade in one Fish—A town all Built of Marble—The “Doubter” Expresses his Sentiments—Gustave’s Adventure—Walking on One’s Ear—“A little more beer, boy!”—The Pirates’ Retreat—Extraordinary Politeness in a Cafe—A lesson for American Barkeepers—In the Stamboul’s Cabin—“Blowing great guns”—A Tale of a Tub—Honey and Marble—Standing in the City of Demosthenes—The Battle of the Rival Hotels—Profanity in an Unknown Tongue—Out-generaling Inn-keepers—Tricks on Travellers—Useful Knowledge for Foreign Travel,...........187


First Impressions of Athens—Opinion of the “Doubter”—“Not Worth Damming”—The Oldest Inhabitant of Athens—Celebrated Ruins—Reminiscences of Greek Grammar—A “Big Injun” on Greek—Drinking Beer on Sacred Soil—A Toper-graphical Survey—The Acropolis—What Is It?—The Temple of Jupiter Olympus—Seven Hundred Years in Building—A Young Englishman in a Scrape—Sunset from the Acropolis—Byron’s Glorious Lines—The Parthenon and its Surroundings—Foundations of the Ancient Citadel—Excavations of Antiquarians—Greek Art—An Important Discovery—The Line of Beauty,...........197


Mars’ Hill, the Place where St. Paul Preached on the Unknown God—The Prison of Socrates—The Country of the Brigands—Escorted by Greek Soldiers—Captures by the Brigands—How they Treat Captives—Extorting Ransoms—Buying Coins and Relics—Swindling Travellers—Among the Ruins—Strange Contrasts—“Chaffing” the Guide—Position of the Persian and Grecian Hosts—Xerxes’ Throne—“The King Sate on the Rocky Brow”—Making the Ascent by Proxy—“I No Go ze Mountain”—The Battle of Marathon—A Survivor of the Battle—How the Victory was Won,...........213


The Opera at Athens—Handsome Greeks—The King and Queen—A Lovely Trio—Losing a Heart—Byron’s “Maid of Athens”—How She Looked—Her House and History—The Acropolis by Moonlight—Waking the Guard—A Sham Permit—“Backsheesh”—The Parthenon by Night—Greek Gypsies—Among the Curiosity Shops—Dr. Schliemann and his Trojan Discoveries—The Gold and Silver Vases of King Priam—Where they were Found—Relics of the Sack of Troy—Curious Workmanship—Some Account of the Excavations—We Leave Athens—A Queer Steamer—“Pay or Go to Prison”—End of Our Steamship Adventure,...........225


Missing our Steamer—A Serious Dilemma—A Study of Faces—Making a Row and What Came of It—Under the Yellow Flag—Adventures of a Quarantined Traveller—Escaping the Plague—Mal-de-Mer—A Laughable Incident—Getting on our Sea-Legs—Custom-House Troubles—The Potency of “Backsheesh”—Oriental Fashions in New York—“Doing” a Custom-House Inspector—A Curious Tradition—The “Lamb” as a Trade Mark—The Temple of Diana—One of the “Seven Wonders”—Singular Discoveries—A Horde of Scoundrels—The Island of Rhodes—The Colossus—A Wonderful City—The Knights of St. John—Their Exploits—Surrendering to the Turks,...........236


A Rough Night on Shipboard—A Sea-Sick Turk—What he Said—Rum and Petroleum—Meditations on Turkish Hash—The Camel, his Tricks and Uses—A Knowing Brute—How he Shirks a Burden—George Smith, the Assyrian Savan—Beyrout—Its Antiquities and Wonders—Going on Shore—The Dragoman and his Office—Eastern Guides and their Character—Travelling on Horseback in Syria—The Road to Damascus—An Unexpected Trouble—Paying Fare by Weight—Disadvantages of a Heavy “Party”—A Trial of Wits—Waking up the Judge—Telling White Lies—The “Doubter’s” Predicament,...........252


“The Sights” of Beyrout—Excursion to Dog River—An Obstinate Carriage-Owner—How he was “Euchred”—Moral of this Incident—Off for Damascus—Ascending Mt. Lebanon—An Arab Driver—Cultivating “Kalil”, our Jehu—The Cedars of Lebanon—A Grove as Old as Solomon’s Temple—A Wonderful Old City—The Temple of the Sun—Mystery of Tadmor—Cyclopean Masonry—Monstrous Monoliths—Their Dimensions—The “Doubter’s” Doubts and their Solution—Sleeping in an Arab House—What we Saw There—Divans as Couches—A Dangerous Valley—The Robber’s Haunt,...........264


Dimitri and his Hotel—Court-Yards and Fountain—How People Live in Damascus—Parlors, Bed-Rooms and Boudoirs—A Bet and its Decision—The “Doubter and his Donkey”—The Street called “Straight”—Bab-Shurky—Spots Famous in History—Shaking Hands across a Street—Scene of St. raid’s Conversion—The Window of Escape—Tombs of Mohammed’s Wives—The “Doubter” Figuring on Probabilities—An Unexpected Upset—Visiting the Leper’s Hospital—A Frightful Spectacle—The Great Mosque—View from the Minaret—The Bazaars and Curiosity Shops—Making a Trade—A Case of Fraud,...........278


In the Slave-Market—A Dealer in Human Flesh—A Stealthy Trade—Examining Female Slaves—Serfdom in Syria—Inside Views of a Syrian Household—Jewish Houses—An Oriental Song—Smoking with the Ladies—Syrian Customs—A Famous Arab Chief—Visiting Abd-el-Kader’s House—The City of the Caliphs—Taking a Bath—Mohammed and his Trowsers—A New Species of Cushion—The Bath-House—Disrobing—Securing our Valuables—Muslem Honesty—Sitting Down in a Hot Place—Gustave’s Misadventure—Undergoing a Shampoo—Rubbed to a Jelly—The Couch of Repose—A Delicious Sensation—“All ze Luxuries,”...........290


Turning our Faces Eastward—The Land of the Sun—Palmyra, Bagdad, and Babylon—The Desert in Summer and Winter—A Dangerous Road—The Robbers of the Wilderness—Ruins in the Desert—A City of Wonders—The Haunts of the Bedouins—Engaging an Escort—The Start for Palmyra—On a Dromedary’s Back—The Environs of Damascus—A Bed on the Sand—“Every One to his Taste”—A Knavish Governor—Winking at Robbery—In the Desert—On the great Caravan Track—Caravansaries, What Are they?—The High Road to India—An Arab Fountain,...........300


Among the Bedouins—A Genuine Son of the Desert—High-Toned Robbers—A Sample of Bedouin Hospitality—Etiquette in an Arab Encampment—A Case of Insult—Tent-Life and its Freedom—A Nation of Cavalry-Warriors—Bedouin Dress, Manners and Customs—Their Horses and Weapons—A Singular Custom—A Caricature Steed and his Rider—Arab Scare-Crows—On the Road to Palmyra—A Mountain of Ruins—The Grand Colonnade—The Temple of the Sun—A Building Half a Mile in Circumference—An Earthquake, and What It Did—The City of the Caliphs,...........307


“Doing” Syria—The “Short” and the “Long” Route—How to Choose Them—Engaging a Dragoman—Farewell to Damascus—Preying on Travellers—The Wonderful Rivers of Syria—Crossing the Desert—A Picture of Desolation—Scene of St. Paul’s Conversion—A Striking Contrast—Ancient Ruins and Modern Hovels—A Night with the Bedouins—A Hard Road to Travel—A Glorious View—The “Doubter’s” Mischance—The Lizard in the Boot—A Ludicrous Scene—Gustave’s New Joke—Mollifying a Native—The Massacre at Hasbeiya—Treachery of a Turkish Colonel—Scene of Christ’s Labors—In the Holy Land,...........318


Our First Morning in Palestine—Breaking Camp at Banias—“From Dan to Beersheba”—Explanation of the Phrase—The Cup of the Hills—The Golden Calf of Jeroboam—Story of Vishnu and his Idol—An Incident and its Moral—The Battle-fields of Joshua—A Singular Species of Plough—The “Doubter” in a Quandary—Joseph’s Pit—The Sea of Galilee—Fishing with Poisoned Bait—Capernaum and its Ruins—Scene of Christ’s Miracles—The Birthplace of Mary Magdalen—A Horde of Beggars—A Pitiful Spectacle—The Robber’s Cave—Herod and his Strategy—The Jews of Tiberias—A Seedy Crowd—Ruins of the Ancient City—The Spot where Christ Fed the Multitude,...........329


Bathing in the Sea of Galilee—Standing on Holy Ground—How the “Doubter” was Unhorsed—A Second Absalom—Lunching on the Summit of Tabor—Saracenic Vengeance—A Reminiscence of the Crusades—A Magnificent Sight—Discussing “Backsheesh” with the Natives—The “Doubter” as a Cashier—The Grotto of the Holy Family—Mary’s House—The House of Loretto—The Story of the Miracle—The Monk and the “Doubter”—Dean Stanley’s Explanation—Joseph’s Tool Chest—The “Doubter’s” Demand—The Witch of Endor “At Home”—Blood-Revenge—A Pertinacious Feud—Saul and the Witch,...........341


The City of Nain—“Spoiling the Egyptians”—Ruins of an old Philistine City—Curious Strategy—The Torches in Pitchers—Kleber and the Turks—Ahab’s Palace—Tropical Picture—A Crusader’s Church—More “Backsheesh”—The Samaritans of To-day—The Mount of Blessings and the Mount of Cursings—A Despised People—A Strange Religious Belief—A Parchment Thirty-five Centuries Old—Jacob’s Well—Its Present Appearance—The Tomb of Joseph—The Scene of Jacob’s Dream—The Philistines’ Raid,...........355


Once More in Damascus—Taking the “Short Route”—Starting for Bcyrout—The Fountains of Damascus—Rain-Storm in the Anti-Lebanon—Stora and its Model Hotel—Poetical Fancies—A Compliment to Mine Host—The “Doubter” as a Rhymist—Climbing Mount Lebanon—Tropic Suns and Arctic Snows—View from the Summit—A Vision of Fairy-Land—Coming Down on the Double-Quick—In Sight of the Mediterranean—Taking Ship for Jaffa—Sidon to a Modern Tourist—Tyre—Jaffa—A Dangerous Roadstead,...........362


Views of Jaffa—A Queer-Looking City—The Oldest Inhabited Town in the World—The Massacre of Jaffa—A Stain upon the Memory of Napoleon—A Contract with a Dragoman—A Close Margin—The Value of Credentials An Honest Arab—Getting into Saddle—An American Colony—Their German Successors—The Fruits of the Country—Generous Conduct of the “Doubter”—On the Road to Jerusalem—A Night at Ramleh—In a Russian Convent—The Gauntlet of Beggars—The Pest of the Road—Begging as a Fine Art—The “Gate of the Glen”—Among the Mountain Passes—In Sight of the Holy City,...........370


First Sights in Jerusalem—Appearance of the Streets—What the “Doubter” Thought—A Change of Opinion—The Tower of David—The Street of David—Church of the Holy Sepulchre—Scenes Around It—Palace of the Knights of St. John—Via Dolorosa—Damascus Gate—Walls of the Holy City—Visiting the Temple—The Ilarem and Mosque of Omar—Visiting the Substructions—A Triple Veneration—Place of Wailing—The Quarries—Remains of an Ancient Bridge,...........381


From the Gates of Jerusalem to Bethlehem—A Touching Incident—Tent-Life at Bethlehem—The Milk Grotto—Its Miraculous Character—The “Doubter” Expresses Himself—The Oldest Christian Church in the World—Quarrelsome Monks—A Deadly Fight—Remarkable Conduct of the “Doubter”—Pious Pilgrims—A Christmas Festival—A Corpulent and Hospitable Monk—A Wearisome Ceremony—The Monks in Costume—The Women of Bethlehem—A Bevy of Beauties—Under Guard—Armenian Soldiers—Travelling to Saba—Among the Monks—A Curious Convent—Armed against the Bedouins,...........398


Sleeping under Tents—A Bedouin Encampment—A howl for “Backsheesh” —A Queer Crowd—An Illusion Dispelled—An Eccentric “Rooster”—Our Guard—A Little bit of Humbug—“Going for” the “Doubter”—A Case of Blackmail—On Guard against Robbers—A Protection from the Sheik—Thievery as a Profession—Waters without Life—A Curious Bath—A Flood of Gold—The “Doubter” in a Rain Storm—A Dangerous Ford—A Nocturnal Mishap—An Atrocious Robbery—The “Doubter” once more in Trouble—A Turkish Escort—Falling among Thieves—The Judge’s Opinion on Shrinkage—The “Doubter” in the Role of a Mummy,...........413


A Snow-storm in Jerusalem—The “Doubter’s” Opinion of Gum-Shoes—Kicked by a Vicious Horse—An Obliging Moslem—A Guard of Turks—Bloodthirsty Christians—An Extraordinary Shrine—The Angel’s Seat—The Quarrels of the Greek and Latin Monks—A Spot of Marvels—The Soil Pressed by the Feet of Christ—Strange Traditions—The Discovery of the True Cross—The Spot where Peter Denied his Lord—The Scene of the Last Supper—What a Wealthy Jew Did—The Man who was his own Father—The “Good Thief”—Extracting Sixpence from the “Doubter”—A Pertinacious Guide—Trying to Elude Pursuit—A Claim for Damages—Loading Up with Oranges—Talking in Four Languages,...........425


In Sight of Egypt—A Light-house looming through the Fog—On the Soil of the Pharaohs—An Invasion of Boatmen—Scenes in the Streets of Port Said—Encore de “Backsheesh”—The Great Suez Canal—Negotiations with a Cobbler—A Ludicrous Situation—A Bootless Customer—Egyptian Jugglers—Going through the Market—A Disagreeable Spectacle—A Pocket Steamer—Drinking to Absent Friends—On the “Raging Canawl”—Sleeping on Deck—A Sunrise in the Desert—On the Summit of the Isthmus—An Onslaught by Arab Baggage-smashers,...........440


A Costly Breakfast—Ismailia—The Palace of the Khedive—On an Egyptian Railroad Train—Rolling Through the Desert—The Delta of the Nile, What Is It?—The Garden of Egypt—Cairo—The Mighty Pyramids—Life at an Egyptian Hotel—Sights of the Capital—Cairo of To-Day—Occidental Progress and Oriental Conservatism—Burglaries and Other Modern Improvements—Cosmopolitan Costumes—A Harem Taking an Airing—A Daring Robbery—The Battle-Field of the Pyramids—Slaughter of the Mamelukes—Singular Escape of Emir Bey,...........446


The Khedive, who is he?—A Hard-worked Pasha—His Personal Habits—My Interview with Him—Adventures of an Old Hat—Arranging Ourselves for a Royal Reception—An Eastern Monarch in a European Dress—An Unimpeachable Costume—A Fluent Talker—Bedouin Reporters—A Carriage from the Harem—Two Pair of Bright Eyes—Unveiling the Women—A Talk with a Couple of Pigmies—A Nation of Dwarf-Warriors—My Impressions of the Khedive,............457


Cairo, Old and New—A Visit to the Ancient City—The Nilometer, what is it? Measuring the Rise of the Nile—Moses in the Bulrushes—Tombs of the Caliphs—An Egyptian Funeral—Curious Customs—“Crowding the Mourners”—Water-carriers and their Ways—A Noisy Tobacco-vender—Glimpses of the Arabian Nights—Among the Bazaars—Street Scenes in Cairo—A Cavalcade of Donkeys—Hoaxing a Donkey-boy—Amusing Spectacle—Putting Up a Ride at Auction—An Arab Story—A Nation of Liars, and why?—Mosques of Cairo—Stones from the Great Pyramid,...........468


More about the Bazaars—how they Sell Goods in Cairo—Furniture, Fleas, and Filth—Trading in Pipe-stems and Coffee-pots—A Queer Collection of Bric-a-Brac—Driving Close Bargains—A Specimen of Yankee Shrewdness—A Miniature Blacksmith Shop—A Cloud of Perfumes—Gems, Guns, and Damascus Blades—An Arabian Auction—At the Egyptian Opera—The Dancing Girls of Cairo—The Ladies from the Harem—A Scanty Costume—The Ballet of the “Prodigal Son”—The Ladies of the Opera and their Life,...........478


A “Syce” what is he?—A Man with a Queer Dress and Large Calves—A Gorgeous Turnout—An Escort of Eunuchs—Veiled Beauties—A Flirtation and it Consequences—The Tale of a Dropped Handkerchief—The Donkey as a National Beast—A Tricky Brute and an Agile Driver—An Upset in the Mud—Astonishing the Natives—A Specimen of Arabic Wit—Going to the Races—The Grand Stand—A Dromedary Race—An Aristocratic Camel—The Arrival of the Khedive—Starting Up the Dromedaries—Cutting an Empress,...........488


Egypt and her Relations with Turkey—The Army and Navy—Egyptian History Boiled Down—The Reigning Family—Wonderful Relics—Mohammed Ali as a Ruler—The Pasha and the Priests—Ordering a Wedding—Married on Short Notice—Gratifying the Empress Eugenie—An Arab School-room—A College with Nine Thousand Students—A Jaw-Breaking Language—How to Indite an Epistle in Arabic—The Caravan to Mecca—Going on a Pilgrimage—A Horrible Ceremony—Trampling on Dervishes—The “Bride of the Nile”—Extraordinary Customs,...........499


A Visit to the great Pyramids—A Fellah not a Fellow—Sakkiehs and Shadoofs—A File of Camels and Donkeys—A Striking Spectacle—A Horde of Arabs—Troublesome Customers—The great Pyramid—How we Climbed It—A Giant Stairway—Dimensions Extraordinary—The Lost Arts—Standing on the Summit—The Judge’s Predicament—Arab Cormorants—What we Saw from the Top of the great Pyramid—Wonderful Contrasts—Performance of an Arabian Acrobat—A Race down the Pyramid Stairs—A Perilous Descent—Penetrating the Interior—The King’s Chamber—A Dusty Receptacle of Coffins—The Sphinx—A Mysterious Statue,...........513


Up the Nile in a Sail-Boat—Starting for the Cataracts—Advantages of a Dragoman—A Tricky Lot—Frauds on Travellers—Our Party—Rather Cosmopolitan—Getting Ahead of Mr. Cook—Our Little Game, and How it Worked—A Bath with Spectators—Decidedly Cool—Getting Aground—A Picturesque Landscape—Last Glimpse of the Pyramids—Spending Night on Shore—Among the Ruins of Memphis—The Wonders of Egyptian Art—What Marrielte Bey Discovered—Laying Bare a Mysterious Sepulchre—Ancient Egyptian Worship—Sacred Bulls and Beetles—A History Written in Stone—Bricks Made by the Israelites,...........529


Through an Arab Village—Creating a Sensation—The “Doubter” Alarmed—The Professor Perpetrates a Hoax—The Egyptian Saratoga—An Oriental Post-office—A Queer Town—Specimens of Ancient Art—A Wooden Statue Three Thousand Years Old—A Coptic Convent—“Backsheesh, Howadji!”—Carrying Money in their Mouths—Sturdy Beggars—An Expert Swimmer—The Copts, who are they? Skilful Swindlers—Sugar Mills on the Banks of the Nile—Egyptian Jugglers—A Snake-Charmer—Adroit Thieves—A Melancholy Experience in Donkey-riding,..........542


Siout, the Capital of Upper Egypt—The Pasha’s Palace—An Egyptian Market Day—A Swift Boat—Going the rounds on a Donkey—Town Scenes—The Bazaars—Buying a Donkey—Tinkers, Peddlers, and Cobblers at work—A Curiosity Shop—Three Card Monte in the Land of the Pharaohs—Fighting the Tiger—The Professor takes a Hand—An Ignominious Defeat—A Doleful Tale—A River where the Wind is always Fair—The Temple and Tablet of Abydos—“Backsheesh” as a Medicine—Arab Villages in an Inundation—The Garden of the Valley—Fun with the Natives—A constant resource for a Practical Joker—Scrambling for Money—A Severe Joke,............554


The Dates and Dancing Girls of Keneh—The Alma and the Ghawazee—The Dalilahs of Cairo—Going to the Dance Hall—An Outlandish Orchestra—The Drapery of the Dancers—The Cairo Wriggle—Curious Posturing—A Weird Scene-Dress and Undress—Miracles of Motion—A Fête at the German Consulate—Models for Painters and Sculptors—Arab and Nubian Nymphs—The Temple of Denderah—History Hewn in Stone—Cleopatra and her Portrait—The Fatal Asp—A Bit of Doggerel—The Coins of Old Egypt—The Professor’s Bargain—Digging for Treasure—Arrival at Luxor—Taking in Strangers,............568


Luxor on the Site of Ancient Thebes—A City with a Hundred Gates—Enjoying a Consul’s Hospitality—An American Citizen of African Descent—A Dignified Rhinoceros—Karnak—A City of Wonders—Promenading in an Avenue of Sphinxes—A Gigantic Temple—Monster Obelisks—A Story in Stone—A Statue Weighing Nine Hundred Tons—The Sitting Colossi—A Singing Statue—Mysteries of Priestcraft—Lunching in the Tomb of Rameses—A Wonderful Treasure—How They Made Mummies—A Curious Process—The “Doubter” and the Mummy Sellers—The Judge Comes to Grief,...........585


A Visit to a Harem—Among the Daughters of the Nile—How they Looked and What was Done—Painted Eyelids—The Use of Henna—A Minute Inspection of Garments—Mustapha Agar “At Home”—Arab Astonishment—A Dinner a l’Arabe—Fingers vs. Forks—An Array of Queer Dishes—Novel Refreshment—Dancing Girls—Truck and Decker at Luxor—More “Ghawazee,” Pipes and Coffee—“A Love of a Donkey”—Song of Arabs—Arab Cruelty—A Nation of Stoics—Endurance of Pain—Among the Nubians—Ostriches, Arrows and Battle-Axes—A Nubian Dress—A Very Small Dressmaker’s Bill—A Scanty Wardrobe,...........600


How they made the Royal Coffins—Splitting Blocks of Stones with Wooden Wedges—An Ingenious Device—A Ride on a Camel—A Beast indulging in Familiarities—Lunching on Trowsers—Mounting in the Saddle—Curious Sensation—An Interesting Brute—A Camel Solo—Sitting in a Dish—Camel-Riding in a Gymnastic Point of View—Secondary Effects—Nubian Ferry-Boats—P. T. and his Paint-Pot—Labors of an Enthusiastic American—Mr. Tucker on his Travels—“A Human Donkey”—Visiting the Cataract—Paying Toll to a Sheik—The Professor and his Camel—Crocodiles of the Nile—Starting Back to Cairo,..........612


The Egyptian Slave Trade—How carried on—An Army of Kidnappers—A Slave King—Frightful Scenes—Sir Samuel Baker’s Expedition—A Shrewd Move—Breech-loaders as Civilizing Agents—A Missionary Outfit—Starting for the Slave Country—Reluctant Allies—The “Forty Thieves”—Running against a Snag—The Sacred Egyptian Flower—The Lotos-Eaters, Who were They?—The New York Lotophagi—The Papyrus or Vegetable Paper—Capturing a Cargo of Slaves—The Plague of Flies—A few more “likely Niggers”—Marrying by Wholesale—A Fight with the Natives—The Result of the Expedition,...........623


An Egyptian Sunset—A Gorgeous Spectacle—The Sky that bends above the Nile—Singular Atmospheric Phenomena—A Picture for an Artist—Shadows from History—Napoleon and the Pyramids—Our Voyage Back to Cairo—Scenes by the Way—“Cook’s Tourists”—An Amusing Sight—Night-Fall on the Nile—A Flame of Rockets—“What does it Mean?”—The Marriage of the Khedive’s Son—Feminine Disappointment—Jumping Ashore—Aboard of Donkeys—Gustave’s Somersault—Practical Sympathy—In the Pasha’s Garden—A Magnificent Sight—The Wedding Pageant—Elbowing an Arab Crowd—A Pyrotechnic Shower,..........637


High Jinks in the Egyptian Capital—Dancing Horses—Arabian Blooded Steeds—Treading the “Light Fantastic Toe”—Bedouin Riders—The Mysterious Cage—Egyptian Prima Donnas—A Spice of the Arabian Nights—A Silken Palace—Headquarters of the Khedive—Thoughtless Intruders upon Royalty—A Glimpse of the Princes Royal—The Heir of the Throne of Egypt—His Appearance, Dress, and Character—A Cordial Invitation—Partaking of the Khedive’s Hospitality—A Turkish Comedy—A Free Lunch—End of the Festival,..........***


Polygamy Among the Turks and Arabs—A Full-Stocked Harem—Unveiling the Women—Romantic Adventure—A Brief Flirtation—The “Light of the Harem”—Love at First Sight—how Egyptian Women Dress—Some Hints to the Ladies—Wearing Trowsers—Robes, Caftans, and Peaked Shoes—Rainbow Colors—How they Dress their Hair—Crowned with Coins—A Walking Jewelry Shop—The Pretty Egyptienne Orange Girl—Street Costume—Paris Fashions in the Khedive’s Harem—Beauties Riding Donkeys Man Fashion—How they Go Shopping—Animated Bales of Dry Goods—Black Eyes in a Bundle of Silks—Marriage Brokers—How they Dispose of their Daughters in the East—A Turkish Courtship—A Donkey Driver Gives an Opinion—The Wedding and the Honeymoon—Divorces in Egypt—An Easy Process—Many-Wived Men,...........650


Winter in Egypt—A soft and balmy air—A Rainstorm on the Nile—An Asylum for Invalids—The Month of Flowers—The “Khamseen,” What is it?—A blast as from a Furnace—Singular effects of the South Wind—A Sun like Copper and a Sky like Brass—A cloud of Sand—Eating Dirt—Fleeing from the Khamseen—How the Laboring Classes Live—Hungry but not Cold—Oriental Houses—An Excursion to Heliopolis—Habits of the Bedouins—A Fastidious People—Life in a Bedouin Encampment—Among the Obelisks—How they were brought Five Hundred Miles—The Madonna-Tree,............667


The Last Stroll around the Mooskee—Talking to the Donkey-Boys and Dragomen—A Queer Lot—A Pertinacious Customer—The Judge’s Expedient—A Little Humbug—Rich American Tourists “in a Horn”—The Dragoman’s Salutation “Sing Sing!”—Getting Rid of a Nuisance—Buying Keepsakes—Out of the Desert into a Garden—Curiosities for Farmers—A Mohammedan Festival—Curious Sights—Snake Charmers—How they do it—Music-Loving Reptiles—On an Egyptian Railroad—Pompey’s Pillar—A Ludicrous Accident—Alexandria, its Sights and Scenes—Climbing Pompey’s Pillar—A Daring Sailor—An Arab Swindle—Going on Board the Steamer—Farewell to Egypt,............678





“B A C K S H E E S H.”


Leaving Home—Our Pilgrimage Begun—Sights and Scenes on Deck—“Life on the Ocean Wave”—Out at Sea—The Traveller’s Little World—Feeling Queer Inside!—Delights of Sea-sickness—Reminiscences of a Jolly Old Boy—What became of the Judge—Bringing up his Liver!—Too Big for his Berth—Sleeping in a Second-hand Coffin—A Race with a Lemon—The Leg of Mutton Dance—Eccentric Conduct of a Boiled Turkey—Too Much Sauce!—“Dressing” the Judge’s Trowsers—Alone at Sea—A Funny Conspiracy—Fate of a Timid Man—Confidence Betrayed—The Young Man from the Country—His Wisdom and his Woes—Drinking Petroleum—The Judge Turns Joker—Who Owns the Ocean Steamers.

NEVER have I sailed out of New-York harbor on a finer day than when, in the spring of 1873, I started on that pilgrimage of which this book is to be the record.

It was late in April, the sky was clear, and the atmosphere had that balmy softness which we find in the tropics much oftener than in more northern latitudes. Looking up the Hudson and down the widening estuary toward Staten Island, one could see a delicate haze that skirted the horizon and faintly mellowed the lines that otherwise might have presented a suggestion of harsh034ness. The picturesque life of the harbor was at its fullest activity; ocean and river steamers were moving here and there, and white-winged ships coming home from long voyages or going out to battle with the winds and waves, were in the grasp of powerful tugs that fumed and fretted as they ploughed the waters with their helpless charges. Thousands of smaller craft dotted and stippled the beautiful bay which is the pride and glory of the commercial metropolis of America; and the forest of masts hanging over the wharves at the city’s edge spread its leafless limbs in liberal profusion.


There was the usual crowd of friends to bid farewell to our passengers; and the parting cheer, as we steamed out from our dock, rang in our ears long after the spire of Trinity had disappeared, and the protruding front of Castle Garden had been lost in the distance. There was only the gentlest breeze to ruffle the water as we pushed oceanward and caught sight of the blue line of sea and sky that formed the eastern horizon. We watched the sun declining in the west, bringing the Highlands of Neversink into bold relief; our steady progress left the land each moment more and more indistinct, till, at last, day and land faded 035away together. We were out on the ocean, and the world was become to us small indeed.

An Atlantic trip is not considered in these days a very serious affair. There are persons who persist in speaking of the ocean as a ferry, with no more terror than the North or East River. It may be a good joke to call it a ferry, but it is rather a solemn joke when you have been at sea a couple of weeks and have experienced a few gales.

The day we sailed the water was as smooth as a mill-pond, and it remained so for about thirty-six hours. In the room next to me there was a judge from New Jersey; a jolly, good-natured old boy, whose face was a pleasure to contemplate. The first day out, he told me he was agreeably surprised with the ocean, and that he should have brought his wife along if he had supposed it would be so comfortable.


“People do exaggerate so,” said he, “that you never know what to believe. They have told me that the ocean was terribly rough, and that I should be very sick; but I see it was all a mistake Why, I have seen it worse than this going from New York to Staten Island.”

I assured the Judge that some of the passengers might have been lying to him, and that the ocean was very much slandered. Next day it came on to blow, and by midnight we were tossing as if a lot of giants had put the ship in a blanket and were having some first-class fun. She rocked and pitched magnificently, and a liberal portion of the passengers were laid out with mal-du-mer.

And the Judge! I paid him a visit when the storm was at its worst, and his condition was such as to rouse in my breast mingled sentiments of pleasure and sorrow. He was lying on the sofa, and his right hand convulsively clutched a basin into which he was pouring the contents of his stomach.

036"What a fool a man is to come to sea,” he gasped in the intervals of his wretchedness. “I was an idiot not to have gone travelling in Pennsylvania, instead of coming out here. I would give a thousand dollars to be safe back in New York.”

I endeavored to console him, but he would not be comforted. While I poured soothing words into his ear, and brandy down his throat, the ship gave an extra lurch that brought a fresh discharge from the Judge’s mouth. Something dark and solid fell into the basin, and as the Judge contemplated it, his face assumed an expression of horror.

“I will be hanged,” said he, “if I have not thrown up a piece of my liver; just look at it; everything inside of me will be up next. In fifteen minutes you can look for my toe-nails.”

He sank back fainting, but brightened up a little when I told him that what he supposed to be his liver was nothing more than a piece of corned beef which he swallowed at dinner and his stomach had failed to digest.


He grew better next day, but persisted in declaring the ocean a humbug, and said that when he once got back, nothing should tempt him to come abroad again.

People are differently affected by the ocean. Some are never sea-sick, while others can never go on the water without being laid up. I have known persons who kept their rooms an entire voyage; they went below when leaving land on one side, and did not come out again till it was sighted on the other. Women are the weaker vessels, when it comes to an ocean experience, however strong they may be in domestic griefs and family jars. In sea-sickness, they fall much sooner than men, and are slower to recover their appetites. Children recover more quickly than adults, and sometimes they are well and running about long be037fore their parents are able to get away with a cup of tea or a cracker.

To those who contemplate going to sea, I have a piece of advice to offer that may save them the pangs of the marine malady.

The night before you are to sail, take a blue pill—ten grains—just before going to bed, and when you get up in the morning take, the first thing, a dose of citrate of magnesia. Then eat your breakfast and go on board, and I will wager four to one, that you will not be sea-sick a moment, though the water may be as rough as an Arkansas traveller’s manners.

The above prescription was given to me several years ago, and I have rigidly followed it every time I have gone to sea since I received it. It has saved me from sea-sickness, and it has been of equal value to many others, to whom I have given it. I have published it several times for the benefit of the human race, and I think it worth giving again.

Sea-sickness is a dreadful feeling, and anything that can be expected to prevent it is worth trying. I remember the first time I was sea-sick, I wanted to be thrown overboard, and didn’t care what became of me. If the ship had sunk beneath me I should have been glad instead of sorry; and if the captain had threatened to tie me up and give me forty lashes, I should not have made the slightest opposition to the execution of his threat. If the Koh-i-noor diamond had been lying ten yards from me, and had been offered me on condition that I should pick it up, I couldn’t have stirred an inch to get it. The death of a maiden aunt, from whom I had great expectations, would have failed to elate me, and the refusal of my hand by an heiress to a million would have caused me no regret. Nothing can bring perfect despair so readily as sea-sickness, and make its victim ready and willing to die. Somebody has said that in the first hour of his sea-sickness he feared he should die; but in the second hour he was afraid he should not; and that is pretty nearly the experience of every sufferer.

You have heard of the man who wanted to thrash the fellow who wrote “A Life on the Ocean Wave.” I think there were several on board our ship who agreed with him, and would bear a hand to assist him. Somebody has written—and his head was not unlevel—038

“The praises of the Ocean grand,

‘Tis very well to sing on land;

‘Tis very fine to hear them carolled

By Thomas Campbell or Childe Harold—

But sad indeed to see that Ocean,

From east to west, in wild commotion.”

Though I did not suffer from sea-sickness, I did not escape considerable annoyance and discomfort. Anybody who knows me can testify that I am not a dwarf, that I stand over six feet, and have a proportionate breadth of beam. My berth was about an inch shorter than its occupant, and when I tried to lie flat on my back I took up all the width of it. I couldn’t straighten out, because the berth was too short; I couldn’t lie on my side through fear of being rocked out; and I couldn’t lie face down, for the same reason that I couldn’t lie face up. Taken for all in all, the room was the most uncomfortable I ever slept in on board ship. When I went into my “little bed,” I felt as though I was in a second-hand coffin, originally made for a smaller man, and I dreamed of this state of things so often that I considered the night had gone wrong without such a slumbering fancy. The rolling of the ship made it awkward to put on my clothes and perform other toilet duties; and if I went through preparations for breakfast without a tumble or two, I considered myself lucky.

One morning the steward brought me a lemon. It is a very good practice at sea to swallow the juice of a lemon half an hour before breakfast, in order to clear the stomach and remove any tendencies to biliousness. He put the lemon on my sofa, and I crawled out of bed just as he retreated and closed the door.

Well; the ship made a lurch and sent me head foremost upon the sofa, as though I had been shot from a mortar. With some difficulty I picked myself up, and braced long enough to get a tumbler and make ready to squeeze the lemon. Just as I reached for it the ship went the other way, and the lemon rolled from the sofa and under the berth. I went on hands and knees in a humble attitude to reach for it; over went the ship just as I extended my arm under the berth; my body followed my arm, and my legs followed my body, and it was no easy matter to get up again. While I was getting to rights, the old craft lurched the other 039way, and my lemon shot across the floor like a rat pursued by a terrier, and took up a hiding-place again under the sofa.

Then I went for it with the same result as before. Just as I put my hand upon it there was a movement in the lemon-market, and the article I was pursuing traversed the floor and sought the farthest corner under the berth once more.

About five minutes we kept up that circus; sometimes I was ahead, and sometimes the lemon, and both were pretty well exhausted by the time the race was over.


At last I took him on the fly, and made a short stop; lost my balance and went down in a corner among my clothes. Then I gathered myself together and managed to cut the lemon open and to squeeze it. I lost half the juice in a lurch of the ship, just as I raised the glass to my lips; and in my hurry to save what was left I swallowed seeds enough to start a respectable lemon orchard. I think an artist could have made a series of interesting sketches had he witnessed the race between the lemon and me.

Dinner has a good deal of fear in it if the ship happens to be rolling nicely. Racks are put on the tables to keep things from falling off, and sometimes the rocking is so bad that even the racks are not altogether satisfactory. In front of you is a rack just wide enough to hold your plate, and, when you are taking soup, the edge of it is just even with the rack. If the ship makes up her mind she can tip your plate so that the soup will flow out into your lap, and after doing that she will tilt the other way and leave the side next to you quite dry. Your tumbler will assert the correctness of its name in more ways than one, unless it is very firmly placed and wedged in where it cannot fetch away.

The best way at such times is to hold your soup-plate in your hand and fasten your tumbler in the rack where the glasses are kept. Sometimes a joint of meat or a boiled turkey will leap 040from its plate and go off the table as easily as a live turkey could make the same movement. My friend, the Judge, caught a turkey in his lap one day, and his trowsers were so covered with oyster sauce that they might have been served up without serious trouble.


A New York matron was likewise honored with a visit of a leg of mutton, and I narrowly escaped from a dish of blanc mange that seemed determined to pay me a complimentary call. The desk where I used to write had a remarkable tendency to change its angle at every moment, and if my old desk in New York were to conduct itself thus, I should ask what it had been drinking.

Day after day we steamed along, sometimes getting a little assistance from our sails, but more frequently depending upon steam alone. Out of New York we were accompanied by a German steamer, but we soon lost sight of her in consequence of a divergence in our courses. Almost every day we saw steamers and sailing-ships, and sometimes we had three or four of them in sight. We were directly ports of England and America, and the wonder is, not that we saw so many vessels, but that so few of them came in sight. Our engines were not stopped after we left New York till we arrived at Queenstown, where our mails and some of our passengers were landed.

Time hangs heavily on one’s hands at sea. The first day out you are uneasy, if you are not sea-sick; you try to read and you can’t; you sit in one place awhile, then in another, then in another; and then you go somewhere else. You get over a page at a time; you shut and open your book a dozen times in an hour, and are as discontented as a weaning calf. You sit down to games of cards, but don’t feel like playing; you go forward and aft, and aft and forward, and really don’t know what to do on the track between the great 041with yourself. If the weather is fair you go on deck, and then you go below; and then on deck again. You wish yourself on shore, and you fall to counting the hours that must elapse before the voyage will end. You don’t feel like making the acquaintance of anybody, and nobody wants to make yours; and so the day goes on till you turn into your bunk and try to sleep. In the morning you rise feeling about as amiable as a bear with a sore head, though your nerves are more quiet than they were. Then you begin to make acquaintances, and in a couple of days the passengers know each other pretty fairly; enough, at any rate, for all practical purposes.

By the fourth day you have the peculiarities of everybody down to a dot; and about this time the spirit of mischief prevails. There are sure to be some waggish passengers ready for any kind of fun, and sometimes they are rather merciless in it. If there is a timid man on board they talk accident to him, and if there is a credulous man on board they fill him with yarns of the most frightful character. There was a youth on board from one of the eastern states, and he was constantly in fear lest the ship should sink. Two of the wags talked of accident till his hair stood on end and he dared not go to bed at night. At the table where the Judge and I were seated, there were two superannuated Englishmen who had been to New-York to visit some friends, and were going home without seeing anything in America outside Manhattan Island. I fear they had strange opinions of our country before they got back.

They listened to the talk, and were evidently taking notes of what they heard. Their information may be known by the following sample.

While we were at lunch one day the conversation happened to turn on petroleum. The Judge addressing one of the jokers who was known as “the Major,” said very gravely: “That was a singular practice during the war, giving each man a pint of crude petroleum to drink before going into battle.”

“Yes;” the Major replied, “but it paid very well at first, as the men fought like tigers in consequence. But we had to abandon it before the end of the war.”

“Really now, you don’t mean that your soldiers drank that abominable stuff?” said one of the astonished Britons. 042"Oh, yes,” said the Judge, his solemnity increasing, “they grew very fond of it, and many of them deserted when they were deprived of it.”

“Why was it given up?” asked Briton number two.

“It was found’,” the Major explained, “that many of the men died of spontaneous combustion in consequence of drinking this stuff. In the case of smokers it was specially dangerous, as a man’s breath might take fire while he was lighting his pipe. One of our best regiments—the 49th Buffaloes—was almost annihilated by petroleum. It was during the ‘Seven Days’ Fight’ near Richmond. They had been in action continuously, and, for more than a week, quadruple rations of petroleum were served to them, so that they were saturated with it. On the last day of the battle, as they were drawn up in line for inspection, one of the men struck a match just for fun. His breath caught, and so did that of the man on each side of him. In half a minute the flame ran along the line, and in less time than it takes me to tell it, half the regiment were on fire. Some had presence of mind to fall on their faces when they saw the flash, and these were the only ones that were saved.”

“Dear me! how strange!”

“Yes;” the Major added, “and sometimes prisoners in the hands of the enemy were set on fire by the inhuman officers who wished to witness their terrible sufferings. We found the use of petroleum as a beverage was in various ways an injury to the army, so we gave it up.”

This wonderful story was heard with apparent confidence by our fellow travellers, and I have no doubt that it was told round British firesides in perfect good faith. The Judge and his friends talked of snow-storms a hundred feet deep, of potatoes in South Carolina as large as flour-barrels, of oysters in Texas that sing and play the piano, and of a horse in Cincinnati that could swear and chew tobacco. Wonderful adventures in all parts of the land were minutely described, and if the voyage had lasted a week longer, and the stories could all be collected and published, they could give Baron Munchausen several points and beat him. The wags described bloody encounters of men in the West, and left the impression that anywhere beyond the Hudson River a 043person who by accident brushes against the elbow of another is shot down immediately.

In the same spirit of mischief they tortured the timid youth till he did not know what he was about. He was not so good a subject as one with whom I crossed the Atlantic some years before; but he did very well. The principal joke played upon him was to talk of accidents when he was at hand.

The other man of whom I speak—the one of several years ago—was the victim of a regular conspiracy. Some of the passengers arranged to talk in his presence of nothing but accidents; no matter what topic they were discussing, when he came near they shifted to accidents at once. When they ran out of true stories they resorted to fiction, and the fiction was worse by far than the fact.

He—the victim—used to remain up until sent down below by the officers, and he generally slept with a life preserver beside him. One day when some boxes and cans were being thrown overboard, his tormentors got up a story that the barometer had been falling about an inch an hour, and that a terrible gale was expected. The Captain feared that we could not live through it, and had thrown out these sealed boxes, containing duplicates of the government dispatches and other important papers, in the hope that some more fortunate vessel might find them, in case we were destroyed.

Jack, as we called him, was in the greatest terror. He went below, and remained shut in his cabin for the rest of the day and evening. As no gale came, it was explained that we passed it and just avoided its track, and they pointed out a line of dark clouds on the horizon as the probable course of the gale. He was satisfied and became more cheerful, though his general terror did not cease.

When we approached the end of our voyage it was night, and it became necessary to throw up a rocket. The officer then in charge of the deck said to the jokers:

“If you want some fun with your friend, get him forward near the smoke-stack, and as close as possible to the steam-pipe. When the engine stops they will instantly let off steam, and just as it starts I will send up a couple of rockets.” 044They got Jack forward and engaged him in conversation. His back was about two feet from the pipe, and the same distance from the rockets. The steam was shut off from the engine and turned into the pipe with a tremendous roar. At the same instant the rockets let go with a tremendous crash that anybody who has stood near a flying rocket can appreciate, and the crowd gave a yell that would have excited the envy of a band of Indians.

Jack made one bound aft, and his friends had to run after him lest he would jump overboard.


He went into his cabin and did not come out for an hour or more. But when he did reappear, he was freshly alarmed. The steamer had been stopped for a sounding, and that noisy piece of machinery—the donkey engine—was put in operation to haul in the lead-line. All was still, until suddenly the donkey engine started with its clatter. Jack was dozing at the time, and the noise roused him. He knew that something was wrong, and with nothing on but his shirt he darted to the deck. It took some time to quiet him and persuade him to go where his scanty costume would be more appropriate. Necessarily the space on an ocean-steamer is very much restricted. The ordinary sleeping-rooms are about six feet square, or at most six feet by seven; and in this space two, or sometimes three or four, persons are expected to spend their nights and keep their superfluous garments and light baggage.

When 045there are few passengers each can have a room to himself; but when there is anything like a “rush,” there must be more or less doubling up. Steamship agents will give you a room to yourself on payment of half an extra fare, and many persons avail themselves of the opportunity. Others who desire seclusion, but suffer from shallowness of purse, prefer to make friends with the purser or chief steward, and thereby secure what they wish for. No general rule can be laid down for this, and I leave each man to act for himself.

Once, when I crossed the Atlantic, I exulted in finding myself alone in a room well situated in the middle of the ship. While I was rejoicing about the matter, I was thrown into consternation by the steward, who entered and said:

“There is a young man in the room close by the screw, and he doesn’t like it, and is going to ask the captain to put him in with you.”

“William,” said I solemnly—for his name was William—“William, you know how delighted I should be to have him here. But, William, do you know that I have fits, nightmare, delirium tremens, small-pox and several other maladies, and that I am the most ill-natured man on board the ship? And do you know, William, that I have half a sovereign for you if that adolescent gentleman stays away?”

William smiled, said nothing, stuck his tongue in his cheek and departed. Ten minutes later he returned, bringing a broad grin on his face as a prefix to the information:

“The young feller will stay where he is, sir, and I hope you’ll remember the half-sov’ at the end of the voyage.”

What William said about me to the occupant of the room near the screw, I am unable to say; but I observed that the youth shunned my society, and consequently fear that he had formed an unfavorable opinion. But I gave the promised money to the steward “sans peur et sans reproche.”

The dangers of the Atlantic voyage are of little moment, and no more to be dreaded than those of a journey by rail from New York to San Francisco. I refer to the unavoidable dangers, such as gales, collisions with wrecks and similar accidents that human foresight cannot prevent. Accidents like the loss of the Atlantic 046and the Schiller, and similar disasters, are to be attributed to the bad management, either of the company, or of the ship’s officers, or of both, and do not come under the head of unavoidable calamities. With good management on all sides, and proper inspection of ships, a journey across the ocean is as safe as a rail journey of the same length, and in some respects more so. I have been assured by men familiar with the history of steam navigation that the casualties are not more numerous in proportion to the numbers travelling, than on American railways.

The reason why an accident on the water is more dreadful than on land is twofold. In the first place, the number of persons killed or wounded in a railway accident is always a small percentage of those on the train. Take Carr’s Rock, Angola, Richmond Switch, or any other terrible disaster by rail, and the number killed was a great deal smaller than the number of those who escaped unhurt. But a marine accident may destroy the life of every one on board the ship. This has been the case on several occasions. The steamers President, City of Glasgow, Pacific, City of Boston, Tempest, United Kingdom, Ismailia, and Trojan were lost at sea, and never heard from. Two steamers on the American, and one, I believe, on the English coast, were wrecked with all on board; and one steamer was wrecked near Moville, from which only a single man escaped. Most of these steamers were lost on their eastward trips, when their passenger lists were much smaller than if they had been going westward.

Another thing that makes an ocean accident terrible, is the difficulty of escape. If you are overturned in a railway car, you fall upon solid earth, but in an accident on the ocean, you have nothing but water to stand upon—a very poor support indeed. The boats of a steamship are not sufficient to hold her passengers and crew, as a general thing, and in case of an accident on a westward trip, when the steerage is crowded with emigrants, the loss of life may be enormous. On board the steamer which carried me over the Atlantic there were eight boats, with a capacity altogether of not more than four hundred persons, under the most favorable circumstances, supposing all of them launched and the weather fine. On her westward trips she frequently carries twelve hundred steerage passengers, and her crew and 047cabin passenger list would probably bring the complement up to very nearly fourteen hundred. In case the steamer sinks at sea, there would be a thousand persons who could not possibly find places in the boats! There is not a ship carrying emigrants that has boat room enough for half her passengers on a westward trip, and I doubt if any of them could even carry away a fourth of their complement. When your ship goes down at sea you may consider yourself fortunate if you do not go down with her.

It is a burning shame that nearly all the steam lines crossing the Atlantic, are in the hands of other nationalities than ours. It is not generally known that two of the English lines are mainly owned in New York, only enough of the stock being held abroad to enable the ships to sail under the British flag. The reason of this is that our laws discriminate against our own people, and in favor of other nations; the taxes and other restrictions are such, that an American line cannot be run so as to compete successfully with a foreign one, and consequently, American capital seeking investment in steamships for the Atlantic service, is very likely to go under a foreign flag! Isn’t this pitiful?

There are occasional spasmodic efforts for the establishment of an American line between New York and Liverpool, but they have never lasted long. As I write these pages there is an American line from Philadelphia that seems to promise well. It has good ships and is said to be well equipped and managed. I sincerely hope it will have a long and successful career, but if it does it will be different from any of the numerous “lines” that have had their headquarters in New York. 048



On English Ground—The Road to the East—Life in the Austrian Capital—Fun and Festivity—Visit to the Big Beer-Garden—Effects of Champagne—Animated Conversation—How Twenty Thousand Dollars were Spent—The Man with the Torn Vest—Headaches at a Discount—Yankees in a Row—A Pugnacious Russian—“Quits” but not Satisfied—Challenging an American—The Fashionable World—Down the Danube—Scenes on the River—How Austrian Cigars are made—An Imperial Tobacco Dealer—The Battle of Wagram—Castle of Presburg—We Enter Hungary—An Evening in a Wine Cellar—Want of a Little Soap—Night Scene on the Danube.

AS this book is intended to describe a journey in the Orient, we will leave our steamer at Liverpool, and with one bound plant our feet in Vienna.

This is the last great city on the road to the East; she has twice enjoyed the honors of a Turkish siege, and is the capital of a country which fronts upon the land of the Moslem. So much has been written about Vienna that I shall refrain from giving a description of the city and its people, and shall content myself with remarking that I found it, next to Paris, the most attractive place on the Continent.

I have been several times in Vienna, and at different seasons of the year, but have never found it otherwise than gay and attractive. My longest visit there was in the memorable year of the Exposition, when Vienna was crowded with people from all parts of the globe, and the mingling of nationalities made many curious scenes. 049The city government of Vienna endeavored to make the place as attractive as possible, and did a great many things to make the time pass pleasantly. There were balls and parties innumerable; music and beer halls were open by the hundred; and every few days there was a special entertainment to the strangers connected with the Exposition. The first of these affairs that I attended was given one evening in the Stadt Park. The Stadt Park would be in English the City Park, Public Gardens, or any thing else you might choose to call a large park or garden belonging to the city, and used for festivals on a grand scale, and for a general place of recreation for the public. Near the entrance is a large building somewhat resembling a palace on a small scale; when I first saw it I asked a friend what it was, and was greatly disappointed at his answer. I supposed it was an art gallery, imperial pavilion, or department bureau, and was naturally somewhat surprised to learn that it was a beer saloon and restaurant. You can understand that a festival which illuminated these grounds, and wound up the illumination with a display of fireworks, was a thing not to be sneezed at. It cost the city of Vienna about twenty thousand dollars to give this “blowout,” and they had the worth of the money. I do not think any of it went to the Aldermen and Burgomaster, as is sometimes the case in America, when cities get up grand displays in honor of distinguished guests.

Not only did the city furnish lights, fireworks, and music, but it furnished an excellent supper washed down with champagne, white and red wines, beer, tea, coffee, and—in a few instances—with water. The effect of these things was interesting to behold. The international juries contained representatives from nearly all the civilized nations of the globe, and when the champagne had warmed their tongues there was a chattering that would have done honor to the cage of monkeys that used to ornament the Jardin Des Plantes in Paris before the war sent the friends of Dr. Darwin to the cooking pot. In the beginning of the festival all were trying to talk in German or in French, but as the champagne did its work and heads began to whirl, the language of the country was forgotten, and everybody was rattling away in his own tongue. Here would be a group in which were half a dozen 050men, of as many nationalities, and each would be talking in his own language as though his salvation depended on his getting through as many words as possible in a given time. All would be jabbering away for dear life, and all at once; and close by them, and all around them, would be groups of the same sort, fraternizing in the same way.


At every step you might find an Englishman, a Frenchman, or a German endeavoring to explain to an Italian, a Spaniard, or a Chinese, the relations between the solar plexus, and the atomic theory as applied to the construction of cart wheels. The amount of science evolved on that evening was frightful to contemplate, as nearly every man was science-sharp in some way or other, and your genuine man of genius is pretty certain to become more and more talkative the more he gets drunk. There was an immense amount of international fraternizing; and if all the good words and wishes uttered on that occasion and moistened with champagne could have effect, there would never be any more wars among nations, and the various governments of the earth might disband their armies and convert their artillery into 051locomotives and dirt-carts. Not only were the international jurors there, but a good many other loafers, such as city officials, attaches of the government bureaus, newspaper men, and diplomates. The Emperor was not there, but some of the Archdukes were, and there were lots of Austrians, with any number of decorations hanging on the front of their coats.


You couldn’t move without hitting a dignitary in official costume, or a fellow so full of dignity in plain clothes that you would recognize him at once as a heavy swell; and the mingling of the nationalities as the evening wore on was funny to behold.

Germans and Russians, and others of the continental people were hugging each other, and you had the spectacle—curious and novel to an American—of bearded men kissing and re-kissing like couples of school-girls.

They swore eternal friendship, and pledged each other till their hearts and heads were too full and their tongues too thick for utterance. The waiters got drunk, owing to the numbers of “heel-taps” and the general abundance and freedom of the champagne. They got into rows among themselves and with some of the guests, and altogether there were half a dozen scrimmages of greater or less magnitude. Most of them were fortunately confined to words, and were soon quelled, but there were two rows in which there was some pushing, but no actual blows.

One American had his vest torn in a scuffle with a waiter. He went next morning to the consulate, bearing the torn garment as proof of the affray; but as he could not tell how the affair occurred, and could not remember the name and face of the waiter who assaulted him, the Consul declined to make the quarrel a national one.


It was long after midnight when the last of the convives 052went home; and when the sun rose next morning, Vienna contained an unwonted number of heads swollen to unusual size and bursting with the pain of too much drink the night before.

The words “West Portal” in very large letters. Man proposes and the police dispose. The police turned us off at one of the bridges, and would not allow us to go anywhere near the western entrance, but sent us away in the direction of the south portal. Then another lot of police stopped us a quarter of a mile from the gate, so that my ride to the Exposition was more in theory than in practice.

Vehicles of every description were depositing people at the gates, and thousands were going thither on foot. Many had come expecting to spend an hour in the building before the beginning of the fête, but in this they were disappointed, as the doors were closed at six o’clock, instead of seven, the usual hour. The crowd kept coming, and coming; you couldn’t find a vacant chair at any of the restaurants and beer halls, and you found it no easy matter to walk about. I think that by eight o’clock there were not less than a hundred thousand people in the grounds, and they kept coming as late as nine o’clock. As a fête, strictly speaking, the affair did not amount to much. Half a dozen bands of music were playing in various parts of the grounds, and at the spot known as the Mozart Platz, there was an Austrian singing-society.

That Sommerfest will be remembered by all who were there, and sadly by more than one respectable head of a family.

Another night there was a festival in the grounds around the Exposition building. I started for that place leisurely about five o’clock, under agreement to meet a friend near the west portal, and mounted to the deck of an omnibus which bore 053numbering about five hundred voices. Then there were electric lights, nearly a dozen of them, that made the spot brilliant, and when all their rays were thrown on the great dome they brought it out into bold relief.

“How magnificent that dome appears,” said an American near me to his friend; “you can see every part of it distinctly.”

“That may be,” said the other; “but you could see it a great deal better in the daytime without paying a cent.”

Bless his practical mind! I never thought of that!

The light had a strange appearance when thrown on the trees and buildings and fountains, and the scene reminded me of representations of fairyland, such as we sec in the Black Crook, or in the panorama of the Pilgrim’s Progress. If some of my theatrical friends could have been there, I think they would have found some new hints for stage effects. The jewels in the great crown that surmounts the dome were sparkling very brilliantly, and I imagine that more than one individual in the crowd thought that the crown would be a nice thing to plunder. The effect of the lights when turned from you was very pleasing, but when you had to look one of them in the face it became a nuisance. They had a way of changing the colors of the lights that reflected upon the fountains so that they became by turns red, blue, green, yellow, and white, eliciting a great many murmurs of applause.

By half past nine the people began to move away, and there was a jam on all the streets that led through the Prater up to the Praterstern. Vehicles could only proceed at a walk, and even that pace could not always be maintained. I was on the top of an omnibus, and rarely have I seen so large a crowd as the one I looked upon from my post of observation. The streets from the Praterstern spread out like the arms of a fan, or more like the spokes of a wheel, and on all these streets people were about as much crowded as they could be, and there was a much larger sprinkling of women than you see in a crowd in America. Vehicles were moving as best they could, and despite the rush and the jam everybody was good natured.

Nearly up to midnight the crowd surged along from the Prater, and evidently people were in no hurry to go to bed. All Vienna seemed to be out of doors, and the beer-halls were doing an enormous business. I would not ask for a better fortune than to have 054a dollar for each glass of beer drank in Vienna in the twenty-four hours ending the next morning at sunrise. There were probably half a million people drinking beer on that festive day, at an average of ten glasses each.

As an illustration of European customs, I will relate an incident of my stay in Vienna:

One day, three American ladies were in the Exposition building, and attracted the attention of a couple of strangers, one an Austrian officer, and the other a Russian of considerable distinction in his own home. The freedom of their manners, so natural to American women, was misinterpreted, and the gentlemen made themselves obnoxious by following them wherever they went, and, finally, by speaking to them, and offering to be their escort.

Though repulsed, they followed; and, finally, near the Rotunda, the ladies met a gentleman who was husband to one of them and brother to the other. They told him the story, and pointed out their troublesome followers, who were standing a little distance away. The American walked to where the pair stood, and after a few words he coolly knocked the Russian down.


The latter made no resistance, but pulled out his card055case and demanded the address of his assailant, which was given.

Next day there came a challenge to fight; the Russian wanted satisfaction for the insult he had suffered, and was determined upon a duel. The American was inclined to accommodate him, but his friends interfered, and one of them went to the Russian, with the assurance that the American would have nothing to do with him.

“But I must have satisfaction,” demanded the Russian. “I have been grossly insulted, and must have satisfaction.”

“I don’t see it,” was the American’s reply. “You are even with him and can cry quits. You insulted his wife and he knocked you down. Can anything be more equal than that?”

“But a blow! a blow, is a terrible insult to me, the Count —————, and I must have a duel.


Speaking to a man’s wife is nothing. He had no business to strike me; he could challenge me to fight, but strike me, never!”

“Well, anyhow, it seems he did, and if you were to insult my wife as you did his, I would knock you down too. We do that way in America, and when you insult an American woman you must be treated in American style. My friend shall not fight a duel, and if you go near him you will get knocked down again, or possibly get a revolver-shot through you. Good-day.”

The Russian would not let the matter rest there. He tried to bring it before the Russian Ambassador, and through him, before the United States Minister; and there was a prospect that the affair would cause some trouble. But the American’s friends refused 056to let him receive a challenge or take any part in the discussion, so that the Russian was forced to the alternative of having his adversary arrested for striking him, or of letting him alone. As arresting him would not heal his wounded honor, he did not do it, and the affair has now, I think, blown over. It is a dangerous business to strike a man in Vienna, and, had the authorities chosen, they could have made things lively for our pugilistic friend. Only physical assaults are held to be an excuse for a blow.

There is a good deal of nonsense afloat about the beauty of the Viennese women. I looked for it, but could not find it. I do not mean to say that there are no handsome women here, as I saw a goodly number of pretty faces, but they are not more numerous than in other cities. I have read about the great beauty of the women, and know several men who have raved about Vienna as the centre of the earth in this respect, but I cannot understand it. Among the women that are seen in public places, such as the music gardens, restaurants, and cafés, there are no more pretty faces than you would see in Berlin or Paris, and the chances are more than even that those you do see are not Viennese.

One evening I was sitting with a newly-arrived friend in the Volks-Garten listening to the music of Strauss’s band. Hundreds of people were walking up and down the gravel promenade, enjoying the cool and delicious air, the bright lights, and above all, the sparkling music of Vienna’s most celebrated composer. Two women passed near us; they were beautiful beyond question, and my friend, who had not yet learned that it is unsafe to say anything in a mixed assemblage, on the supposition that those around will not understand you, remarked audibly: “Those are the prettiest girls I have yet seen in Vienna.”

“Thank you, sir,” said one of them, as the twain passed on and sat down in another part of the garden.

Half an hour later, we were strolling about, and went unnoticed near their table. They were talking English in an accent that showed they were from London, or, at all events, from some part of the Queen’s dominions. Not far from them were two other handsome women, who were talking French with a pure Parisian 057accent; and near these, again, there were others talking Hungarian.

There is one part of the Volks-Garden where—on Tuesday and Friday evenings—you will find an assemblage of the fashionable men and women of Vienna, the members of the old and wealthy families, who are received at court, and sometimes belong to it, and without whose sanction nobody can be admitted into that charmed circle known as “Society.” I took particular pains to look at this assemblage in a search for beauty, and am obliged to say that I found very little of it. There were some pretty women, but not a conspicuous number; nearly all of them were richly dressed, but in a “louder” style than you expect to find among really fashionable people. New York or Washington society would present a better appearance than would that portion of Viennese society that I saw. And people who lived there told me that I had seen a very good sample of it.

One pleasant afternoon in October, when the sun shed its mellow rays on the grey walls of Vienna, tinging the lofty spire of St. Stephen’s Cathedral with golden light, and burnishing the faded foliage of the venerable trees in the delightful park of Austria’s capital, I hurried to the banks of the beautiful blue Danube, which Strauss has made famous through the music loving world by the dedication of one of his most charming waltzes. My prosaic object, amid so many poetical surroundings, was to take the evening boat to Presburg. After the customary wrangle with the hackman, I passed the gang-plank and stood among plump “fraus” and “frauleins” with keen black eyes, set above rosy cheeks, beneath an abundance of luxuriant hair of raven hue. Austrian peasants were there with coats of coarse cloth like our once famous “butternut” and Hungarian peasants were there with coats of sheep-skin. Languages mingled, as did the speakers, but the Austrian voices were in the majority, quite as much as were the owners thereof. The Austrian is more loquacious than the Hungarian; the latter has a calm dignity about him, reminding one of the Orient, and he is more economic in his use of words—possibly for the reason that it is no easy matter to speak his language even when one is born to it. 058Immediately below Vienna the Danube runs through a broad plain that offers nothing of special interest, unless it be the spot where in 1809 Napoleon built a bridge by which his army crossed the river on the night of the fourth of July, to fight on the fifth the battle of Wagram, which cost the Austrians twenty-six thousand men and led to the treaty of Vienna in October of the same year. As we look towards the east the horizon is everywhere limited by mountains; and as we approach them we discover a change in the character of the country. The plain disappears and is succeeded by hills. On the first of these, on the right bank, is the picturesque town of Hainburg, with its ruined chateau dating from the middle ages, and also a well built one of more modern days.

If we are smokers we should take a second look at Hainburg, for here is the imperial factory employing two thousand persons in the manufacture of cigars. Tobacco in Austria is a government monopoly; cigars are made by the government and sold to the retail dealers at a discount of five per cent., and this is the only profit allowed. Whether you, as a smoker, buy one cigar, five cigars, five hundred or five thousand, you pay the same price per stuck, and there is no choice as to shops, so far as quality is concerned. Whether you buy in the Graben or the Taberstrasse of Vienna, or in an obscure shop in an obscure village a hundred miles from the capitol, you get the same quality of cigar for five, seven, nine, ten, or twelve kreutzers, in the one place as in the other. All come from one factory, and their goodness or badness never varies.

A little below Hainburg we pass the mouth of the river March, which separates Austria from Hungary. It is not a large stream, barely wide enough at this season of the year to be called a brook, but it is not always thus. The March is sometimes very deep and strong, and it has puzzled many a military commander how to cross it. During the various wars between Austria and Hungary several battles were fought on the banks of this river, some of them of a very sanguinary character. But all is quiet now, and the only demonstration witnessed during our voyage was that some of the Hungarian passengers raised their hats as the boat passed the March, and one of them took the trouble to inform 059me of the political importance of the locality, saying that he had served in the last war between the kingdom and the empire.

We wind among hills, some of them steep and rugged, and one crowned by a ruined fortress which once guarded the frontier and kept watch over the river. We see the old castle of Presburg, standing out against the evening sky; and it is dusk when we pass the bridge of boats which has been opened for our descent, and the boat swings round to the landing place at the ancient capital of Hungary. No wonder Austria and Hungary were always at each other’s ears when their capitals were only forty miles apart.‘Tis distance lends enchantment and preserves peace and harmony.

Our indefatigable consul at Vienna, General Post, had given me a letter of introduction to the prince of wine-growers at Presburg, Herr Palaguay; and as the Herr kept a hotel in addition to his wine business, the pair of us—an American naval captain and myself—sought that establishment without delay. We ordered dinner as it was late and we were hungry; the excellence of the pheasant, venison, beef, and other good things that were set before us, caused us to eat abundantly and to entertain a good opinion of the edible resources of Hungary. If we lived thus at the gateway what should we not find in traversing the kingdom? If it were only to secure a supply of Hungarian pheasants, Austria would be justified, in the mind of a gourmet, in the subjugation and appropriation of the entire land of Kossuth. What are national rights against a well-supplied dinner table?

We devoted the evening to a visit to the spacious wine cellars of our host. Very spacious they were; and we wandered about for two hours among huge casks, some of them containing three thousand five hundred gallons each, and worthy of being converted into tenement houses. We tasted of Tokay Imperial and Tokay Royal, of Chateau Presburg, Blood of Hungary, and I don’t know what else; and finally we grew weary of tasting and went home. It was from these cellars that the imperial cellar of Maximilian I., the ill-fated Emperor of Mexico, was stocked, and we were shown through the place by the younger Palaguay, who went to Mexico with Maximilian and arranged his wine vaults in 060the city of the Aztecs. Father and son were warm admirers of the adventurous scion of the House of Hapsburg, and the old gentleman never wearied of telling us about Kaiser Max and his good qualities.


Next day we climbed to the old chateau that overlooks Pres-burg, and from the esplanade in front had a beautiful view of the city and its surroundings. Beneath us lay Presburg, venerable and grey, with its cathedral, six centuries old, and its Hotel de Ville, dating from the fourteenth century. Directly at our feet was the Jews-quarter. There are seven thousand Jews here in a population of less than fifty thousand; and there is more dirt and general uncleanliness in their quarter than in all the rest of Presburg. West of us the hills shut out the view of Vienna. North were the vine-clad ridges whence come the wines of Presburg. And to the south and east were plain, field and forest; and showing a broad, winding belt of silver, the course of the Danube.

Immediately opposite, and connected with the city by the bridge of boats, was an island where is the Prater of Presburg with shaded seats, with restaurants and open-air theatres and other places of amusements, to which the wearied citizen goes to recreate in the fresh air. We went there in the afternoon and found the Presburg adult of both sexes; we went there in the 061morning and found the Presburg nursery-maid and infant in goodly numbers. In the evening we went to the theatre; the best box in the house costs two dollars; and a seat in the parquette forty cents. We had an Italian opera, William Tell. The singing was fair, considering the price of tickets, and the size of the house, and the son of William Tell was represented by a young woman so pretty that my friend, the captain, was near falling in love with her, despite his venerable years and his three months in Vienna. The grand chorus consisted of twelve persons, the orchestra of nine, and the scenery was of a miscellaneous nature that enabled it to do duty in all the operas of any ordinary répertoire.

From Presburg to Pesth by the river is a run of about ten hours. Bidding good-bye to the Captain, who was to return to Vienna, I went to the landing one morning to take the boat down the river. She was due at half-past nine o’clock, and I was there ten minutes before the time. The hour came, but no boat. Then ten, ten and a half, eleven, eleven and a half; and still no boat. I tried to be patient, but that was not easy; I interrogated everybody, but to no purpose. Everybody was polite, but couldn’t give any reason for the delay.

Finally, the boat appeared, and it turned out that she had been aground in a fog near Vienna. Perfectly simple explanation when you know it! But there had been no fog at Presburg, and hence the inability to comprehend the cause of the delay.

Below Presburg, the river runs through a level country that offers few objects of interest. It divides into several branches, and becomes wide, and in some places so shallow that navigation is rather difficult. We wound about considerably in some places, in search of the channel, and not infrequently the bottom of the boat and the bottom of the river came in contact. The erratic course of the Danube can be best understood by a knowledge of the fact, that two of the islands formed by its diversion into different channels, are, the one sixty, and the other forty miles long. One is twenty, and the other ten miles wide; and both are so fertile that they are called the Golden Gardens. Their surfaces are diversified with forest, field, and pasture; herds of cattle and horses are numerous upon them, and now and then villages peep out from the rich foliage. 062Back from the river there are extensive wheat fields, and along the line of railway, just before the harvest, one can ride for many miles through almost unbroken fields of waving grain.

We pass the fortress of Komoru, and peer into the casemates, whence the black-mouthed cannon look frowningly upon us. Komoru has a bloody and eventful history; she has played an important part in all the wars between Austria and Hungary, and in the insurrection of 1848-9 was twice captured and re-captured. The deeds of valor of which Komoru was the scene, would fill a volume; some of them have found a place in the histories of that war, and some live only in the memories of the men who bore a part in the insurrection, or in the effort to suppress it.

Below Komoru, the Danube became more interesting, and we entered a mountain region that would have been picturesque could we have seen it by daylight. It was dark when we passed this portion, and it was darker when we reached the upper extremity of Isle Marguerite, with its gardens and summer resorts, where the people of Pesth seek recreation and pure air in the hot days of summer.

Along the channel that leads by the pretty island, we steamed at full speed; and as we swept beyond its groves, the twinkling lamps of Pesth suddenly came into view, fringing the bank of the river with a lace-work of artificial light. The boat swung round in mid-stream, and brought us to the bank, where a stone quay, with warehouses and piles of merchandise, gave evidence of a prosperous city. The quay has a modern and substantial appearance, and is overlooked by a street, on one side of which is an iron railing, and the other side of which can boast many fine structures, equalling in beauty and solidity most of the marble or iron fronts of New York. Pesth has accomplished much in the last few years, in the way of building, and one is rather taken aback to find such a prosperous and rapidly-growing city so far in the East. 063



A City of renown—Overwhelmed by the Floods—Lying in Clover—What I Saw in the Hungarian Capital—“The Poor Folk’s Bath”—Rather Warm Quarters—Life Among the Magyars—The “Miffs,” of an Imperial Couple—Her Majesty’s Choice—A Model Captain—Charles Matthews and the Bowery Boy—Facts and Fancies of a Snoring Match—The “Judge” and the “Doubter”—The Man Who Wouldn’t Believe—Who were the “Hamals,” and What They Did—People in Strange Garments—Baggy Breeches versus Slop—The Fortress of Belgrade—Servia, and What I Saw of Its People—The Assassination of Prince Miloch—Rather Bad for Poetry.

PESTH was founded by the Romans, who were attracted by the mineral springs in the vicinity. They built a fort and established a sort of water-cure, though not on a large scale.

The city has had a rough time, and a hard struggle for existence. It has been captured and pillaged more than a dozen—some say eighteen—times, and for nearly a century and a half it was in the hands of the Turks, who were not particularly gentle in their treatment of the inhabitants. It has been burned, and it has been overflowed; the last great inundation was in 1838, when two thousand houses were destroyed in Pesth, and six hundred in Buda, on the opposite bank.

Query.—Isn’t there a chance that the “Beautiful Blue Danube” will get high again some time, and sweep away all the fine warehouses along the quay, together with a few million dollars’ worth of the merchandise stored there?

I couldn’t help thinking of that as I contemplated this busy, energetic Chicago of Austro-Hungary, and resolved that I would 064not leave my trunk over night at the steamboat landing. I entrusted it to a Hungarian trager, who strapped it on his back and motioned me to follow, like a downcast and silent mourner, as he led the way to the hotel I named. I know of but one hotel in all Europe—the Grand Hotel at Paris—which can surpass in extent, completeness, and magnificence, the Grand Hotel Hun-garia at Pesth.

I passed four days very pleasantly at Pesth, visiting its Museum of Antiquities, its Gallery of Paintings, and going to the races, where I saw some fine horses of Hungarian stock, and also some fine ones of Hungarian stock crossed with English. I went to one of the famous baths of Buda, where I bathed and then breakfasted at the restaurant attached to the establishment. Buda, by the way, is directly opposite to Pesth; the two cities were long distinct, but they are now united into a single municipality under the name of Buda-Pesth, and the union is strengthened by a beautiful bridge on the suspension principle. This bridge was completed in 1848, and, though a work of peace, its early uses were singularly warlike. It was inaugurated on the 5th of January, 1849, by the passage of the Hungarian army under Kossuth, pursued by the Austrians. Four months later, the Austrian army retreated over the same bridge, pursued by the Hungarians. Turn about is fair play.

Buda has a more picturesque site than Pesth, as it stands partly on a hill, and is dominated by the Blocksberg, a mountain that overlooks the river, and is crowned by a fortress. There are several baths in Buda, some of them of great extent, and all having hot water from natural springs. You can bathe in a public room, or you can have a bath to yourself; and you have the advantages of a restaurant in the building, so that you may command your breakfast or dinner, and have it brought to your room if you choose, along with anything liquid you wish to select from a wine-card. Then there are gardens attached to the baths, where bands of music entertain the ear, and groups of the youths and maidens and adults of Buda-Pesth sit in the shade and regale themselves after the manner of the German in his sommer-garten.

In one of your promenades you may visit the bain des pauvres, where both sexes bathe together with only the scantiest apparel.

065The place is hot and steamy, and the odors anything but charming. A single glance satisfied me, and I was glad to seek the open air and sit at one of the tables in the beer garden, until the perspiration had dried from my forehead and the steam from my clothing. This bath-house is a dome-like structure, lighted by a single window in the top. It was built by the Turks, and was used by them as a convent of dervishes.

Hungary is now as thoroughly Austrian as any part of the Monarchy. The Hungarians have all they ever asked for, and some of them say they have more. They have their own parliament; their finances are kept separate from those of Austria, and they run their own affairs pretty much as they please. The Emperor was crowned King of Hungary, and his prime minister, Count Andrassy, is a Hungarian; the Emperor is well disposed towards the country of the Magyars—one of my friends persists in calling them the Maguires—and as for the Empress, it is well known that she likes the Hungarians much better than the Austrians, and prefers Pesth to Vienna. The gossips whisper that the august couple have their “miffs” occasionally, and one cause of these matrimonial jars is the decided preference which Her Majesty shows for the Hungarians. All things considered, Hungary has reason to be content. She can let alone wars and insurrections, and attend to the development of her resources, which are by no means small, and that is what she is doing, and evidently intends to do.

From Pesth to Belgrade the Danube has a general southerly course, and flows for the most part through a broad plain, extremely fertile but rather sparsely inhabited. There is little animation on the river; the principal objects to catch the eye are the numerous water-mills, but they are an old story to one who has descended the Danube from Lintz to Vienna, and from Vienna to Pesth.

These mills are very simple, inexpensive, and effective, and they utilize a power which would otherwise run to waste. Two barges, or flat boats, one larger than the other, are anchored in the river, and held about twenty feet apart by means of a couple of wooden beams. A rude wheel with the floats at right angles to the current, is built between the two boats; an end of 066the shaft is supported by each, and in the larger of the boats the shaft turns the machinery of a flour mill. A house is built over the mill, and sometimes the miller lives there with his family. Communication with the shore is maintained by means of a plank or a small boat. The mill costs but little at the outset, and the power that turns it is always ready as long as water runs in the river.

I wonder why these mills are not introduced in America. On our western rivers where the current is strong, they could be used to great advantage, and many thousands of them could be run without interfering with navigation.

The navigation of the great river of Austria is managed by two companies—one Austrian and the other Hungarian. The latter is confined to Hungarian waters, but the other—The Danube Steam Navigation Company—extends its operations along the whole line of the river from Lintz to its mouth, and it even runs a line of sea-going boats between Galatz and Odessa. On the lower Danube below Pesth it has two kinds of boats, the one local and the other express, or, as they call them, “accelerated.” The local boats stop at all the landings, and do not travel much at night. The “accelerated boats” only touch at a few points; and travel day and night, weather permitting. On the local boats your ticket includes nothing but your passage; meals and berths are extras. On the “accelerated boats” you pay for everything in a lump, and have no trouble about settling at each meal or piecemeal.

I took passage on the “accelerated” steamer Franz Josef and found her very comfortable; her cabins were clean, her table was good and well supplied, and her captain was designed by nature to charm the heart of traveling man or woman—especially the latter—and the design of nature had been further developed by art and education. He spoke French like a Parisian, was as handsome as his own picture (it is not always thus); wore such a lovely mustache, and was as polite as a courtier of the days of Louis Quatorze. He had a mixed party to entertain, but he was fully equal to the task.

There were four Russians, two men and two women; all were polite and well bred, and the women were sociable and dignified, 067without being pert or bashful. There were Servians and Roumanians of both sexes; there were Austrians and Hungarians likewise; there were two Frenchmen—engineers connected with the location of the Roumanian railways; there were two English women of the independent class that travels about the world unprotected by man, and perfectly capable of protecting itself under all circumstances; and there were three Americans.

At dinner I made a comparison of the manners of the table with those of steamboat tables in America, and the comparison was not favorable to my own country. There you generally see men eating in silence and rapidity, and with very little regard for the comfort of their neighbors. Here the meal was eaten leisurely; everybody was civil to everybody else; conversation was general, and instead of fifteen minutes for refreshments, we had an hour and a half, and seasoned the meal with pleasant exchanges of information upon a variety of topics. There was no distinction of age or sex in the conversation, but every one seemed determined to faire son mieux to enable the rest to pass the time agreeably.

The incident described by Charles Matthews on one of the Sound steamers, would have created a first-class sensation here: “Will you have the goodness to pass the salt?” said the English comedian to a Bowery boy, who was shovelling meat and potatoes down his throat with the speed of the most effective kind of dredging machine. “Salt by yer,” said the patriot, without deigning to do more than raise his eyes, and continuing his feeding without so much as an instant’s interruption. “O, I beg your pardon,” said Matthews, looking down and espying the saltcellar close to his plate, “I did’nt see it.”

“Who the ——— said you did?” was the gruff reply. “I said ‘salt by yer.’”


On board the Franz Josef, I had intended to take a private cabin, but when I learned the price of it I changed my mind. The price of passage was eighteen florins (a florin is equal to fifty cents of our money); a private cabin costs twenty-three florins, so that the whole bill would have been forty-one florins! I didn’t relish paying eleven dollars and a half for privacy when there was a good, comfortable berth at my disposal for nothing. The sleeping cabin is under the main saloon, and is divided into 068cabins holding four persons each—that is if a green curtain let down in front can be called a division. I saw there were many advantages in sleeping there that you would not have in a private cabin.

You could have, for instance, a sample of the snoring of each of the nationalities on board, a thing you do not get every day; if one of the number should happen to indulge in delirium tremens or fits you could see the effect on him without any extra charge.

So I kept my twenty-three florins, and by paying a few kreutzers to one of the servants, our party of three managed to get a cabin all to ourselves. The extra berth we used for stowage purposes, and very convenient we found it. We took our tea and retired early, as we expected to be in Belgrade by daybreak.

And such snoring! I had been told that the English and Americans are the only people who indulge in this amusement, but I found that my information was incorrect. Of those who slept in that cabin at least half did themselves credit by the extent and originality of their nasal music. There was one fat old Russian who struck a chromatic scale with the regularity and accuracy of a country singing-school. He would start with a light snort, then run up to the eighth note, which would be a 069cross between the report of a rifle and the murmur of a brook under the ice, and then he came down the eight-rounded ladder to a sound exactly like his preliminary snort.


There was a heavy-sided Austrian who kept him company in such a fashion that I thought our boat had turned in to a high pressure one; and there was a Roumanian who had a fashion of dropping his jaw and biting off his snore every five minutes or so. In the first part of the night it was impossible to sleep, and our party turned to betting as to which of the performers would hold out the longest on a single spurt. We kept it up an hour or more, but the men we backed were so unreliable that we all lost money, and finally growing sleepy we gave up the game. Whether we added to the music when we fell asleep, I am unable to say, but I fancy that we did not diminish it. In the morning we heard that the boat was badly shaken at the stern, and the captain said she would have to lie up after the present trip. I will lay a wager that it was the old Servian that did the business.

We were aground in the night and detained by a fog, but the loss of time was a gain in sight-seeing. Without detention we should have passed Peterwarde in in the early morning; as it was 070we saw it after we had taken breakfast and were in a good mood for contemplation.

It is a picturesque fortress dominating the river and covering an escarped hill that shows a double façade pierced with portholes, with a complex arrangement of bastions, salient and reentering angles, casemates, and sheltered barracks. It can contain ten thousand men without serious crowding; its permanent garrison consists of about one-fourth that number. Here it was that Peter the Hermit assembled his soldiers for the first crusade, and it was from that religious enthusiast that the fortress received its modern name.

We saw here on this part of the Danube, as we had seen above, boats towed by horses, seven or eight in line, against the current; we saw droves of white cattle and we rarely saw any other color than white; we saw women working in the fields, and at Mohacs we saw them wheeling coal in barrows or carrying it in baskets. A little past noon we were looking ahead and saw a city perched on a hill above a fortress, and near it, and nearer to us, was another city on a low tongue of land.

The nearer city was Semlin—the more distant was Belgrade—they pronounce it with the accent on the last syllable and make it rhyme with “hard,” or very nearly so.

The river Save (rhymes with “halve”) here joins the Danube from the East and forms the boundary between Austro-Hungary on the one hand and Servia on the other. Semlin is on one side of the mouth of the Save and Belgrade on the other. Semlin is flat and low and offers nothing picturesque; Belgrade is elevated and pretty and merits the admiration which has been bestowed upon it.

The boat stopped a few moments at Semlin and then moved on to Belgrade, and the two Americans whose acquaintance I had made at Pesth determined to travel with me or I with them as we had a common object in view—to reach Constantinople. They were both reasonably well along in years; one was called “the Judge” for his fair round belly which he was accustomed to line with good capon or anything else that possessed the proper lining qualities. The other was called “the Doctor,” which we soon exchanged to “Doubter” for the reason that he doubted 071everything that he had not seen, and even after seeing it his doubts generally continued.

“I have known,” said the Judge one day, “a man that could lift a thousand pounds of lead at once.”

“I doubt it,” said the “Doubter.”

The Judge reduced the figure to eight hundred, then to six hundred, and so on down to fifty pounds, but still the doubt was maintained.

I remarked that it was once told of a man in Islip, Long Island, the steward of the Olympic Club, who, in the summer of 1872; had a tame oyster that could sing “The Star Spangled Banner” and fire a gun.

Particularity as to time, place, and circumstance generally carries conviction, but it failed in this instance.


The Judge laughed and made no response, but the “Doubter” shook his head incredulously.

We went ashore; a Servian official examined our passports and another took a hasty survey of our baggage, and then the twain released us. We gave over our baggage to a couple of porters or Hamals as they call them—possibly a corruption of the word camel; the name of the animal whose proclivities to bear burdens are well known.

In most parts of the Orient, particularly in Constantinople, the “Harnals” are a guild or labor-union, and are governed by rules like labor-unions in England or America. And they carry enormous burdens—iron, wood, stone, boxes, and bales, casks of wine, anything and everything goes on their backs, and is carried uphill or down hill to its destination. Remember that few streets of Oriental cities are practicable for wheeled vehicles but that everything to be moved must be moved by hand.

The dress of the hamal is peculiar, and he has a hard cushion slung by straps over his shoulder and resting just above the hips. {72}I have seen one of these fellows carry a load that would be sufficient for a one horse dray in New-York; I have seen another carry a bale of goods said to weigh three hundred and fifty pounds; and I have seen another carry my trunk, my friend’s trunk, and another friend’s trunk, all at once, from a hotel to a steamboat landing, where the respective weights ascertained on the company’s scales were seventy pounds, one hundred and fifty pounds, and one hundred and forty-five pounds, or three hundred and sixty-five pounds in all!


The harnals walk at a dignified pace—you could hardly expect them to run—they look healthy, but either the work is not salubrious or the gods love them, as they die young.

We followed the porters up the hill to the Hotel de Paris, and as soon as we had settled into our rooms and looked through the house we sauntered out to see the city.

In front of the hotel is a public square with a fountain, where people fill water jars or idle away a sunny afternoon. Belgrade is a sort of meeting-place of the Occident and the Orient; the costumes of the lower classes are Oriental, and those of the richer inhabitants were likewise Oriental until within the past ten or twenty years. In the strides which Servia has made towards an existence independent of Turkey, she has looked leaningly and lovingly toward the West and put on some of its customs and habits. Thus you see the lower classes wearing the baggy breeches, the loose jacket, and the red cap of Turkey, while the well-to-do citizen dresses in coats, and vests, and trowsers from the slop073shops of Vienna and Paris. He is proud to be thus appareled, though his clothes fit him like ready-made garments everywhere, only a little more so, and he feels not altogether comfortable in them and sometimes sighs for the garments of his youth. There is a good deal of dignity about the Servians of all classes, and you might explode a fire-cracker in the ear of one of them without getting him to move with any rapidity.

We took a short walk to the fortress of Belgrade—a fortress that has made a great deal of noise in the world and has been a bony bone of contention for several centuries. In the fifteenth century it was accounted one of the first citadels in Europe, and in 1521 it was taken by the Turks. Since then it has been captured no less than eight times, and it has been twice transferred by reason of treaties. It is a powerful fortress, even against the artillery of to-day, and occupies a commanding position on a promontory jutting out between the Danube and the Save.

The view from the esplanade is one of the finest on the Danube, and embraces a wide range. Northward stretches the broad plain of Hungary; to the West is the Save and its fertile valleys; in the south there is a landscape of river, plain, and mountain; and at our feet lies the flowing Danube rolling away towards the Draw Gate and the dark waters of the Euxine. The fort encloses a pretty garden and miniature park, and a house where once lived the Turkish pasha. By the side of the house there is a mosque rapidly going to ruin, as also are many parts of the fortress. A crowd of forçats in chains and guarded by half a dozen soldiers, are at work on the bridge which leads across the moat; they make way for us to pass, and the soldiers of the guard honor us with a salute.

From the fortress we drove through the town and out upon a macadamized road to Topchidere, or Valley of the Artillerists. It is nearly two miles from Belgrade to Topchidere, but the view is well worth the journey. There is a pretty park and garden covering quite an extent of ground; trees are arranged in rows, in circles, and in other ways, according to the fancy of the gardener; there are fountains and shaded walks, carriage and bridle paths, and there are numerous and easy seats where one may rest when he is weary. In the centre of the park is the house 074inhabited by Miloch Obrenovitch, Prince of Servia, who died in 1860, and was deeply and justly mourned.

The house, and particularly the room where he died, is in the same condition as when he left it. He preferred the rude furniture to the most costly palace of modern times, and he set an example of frugality that has been of no small benefit to his people. They showed us the room where he died, with his cane, his shoes, his fez and other articles, just as they were when his physicians declared that Miloch was no more.

In the same building is the room where his son Michael died in 1868, mortally wounded by the shots of assassins in the park where he was riding. The blood-stains remain upon the floor, the bed and bedding, and also upon the table where he was laid when the physicians examined the wound. The place of the assassination is half a mile or more from the house and is marked by a plain monument.

The story is the old, old tale of princely and kingly murders; an intrigue was set on foot by an aspirant to the throne of Servia, Alexander Karageorgevitch, and was assisted by a scandal which had a woman in the case. Karageorgevitch had ruled in Servia, not once, but twice, and naturally he wanted to be there again. He had many friends in Servia, and up to the time of the assassination his return was not impossible. After the murder of Michael there was a judicial inquiry which declared Karageorgevitch instigator of the assassination, and condemned him to perpetual banishment.

The Prince of Servia at the time I write is Milan Obrenovitch IV., a young man who attained his majority in 1872, and consequently has had little opportunity to make his name famous. He is said to be intelligent, and willing to listen to advice; as his country has a constitution and a Congress—called in Servian Skoupchina—he could not take it far on the road to ruin, supposing he wished to do so. He has made journeys to Paris and Vienna, where he was warmly received, and it was his reception at Vienna that made trouble between Turkey and Austria in 1873, and came near plunging the two nations into war. Turkey wanted to know, you know, why Austria had made so much fuss over the Prince of Servia; Austria said it was none of Turkey’s 075business; Turkey said it was an unfriendly action; Austria said “you’re another;” Turkey pouted, and Austria actually fished out from the pigeon-holes the passports of the Sultan’s representative at Vienna, and was on the point of sending them to that functionary with a first-class ticket (meals and cabin included, wines extra) to Constantinople, when the affair was smoothed over and war was prevented.

Servia lies between Turkey and Austria, and contains about a thousand geographical square miles. It has a population of about a million and a quarter, and of this population all are Christians, with the exception of less than twenty thousand. The country is agreeably diversified with plain and mountain, and the soil is fertile, though far less productive than it should be. The inhabitants are not very enterprising, and have given little attention to public works; the roads in the interior are not generally good, and up to the present time there are no railways. A change is about to come over Servia’s dream in this respect, as she has determined upon the construction of a line of railway southeasterly from Belgrade to connect with the Turkish railway at the frontier, to form the connecting link between the Austrian and Turkish network of railways. When this is completed there will be a through route from London to Constantinople, and the present long but picturesque line of travel will become unpopular. The practical spirit of the age is playing sad havoc with the poetry of the olden time. There is a story that an old sailor exclaimed as he looked at an ocean steamer, “There’s an end of seamanship.” And he wasn’t so far out of the way. The romance and charm of the sea are knocked on the head by our new-fangled inventions.

Servia adopted a new constitution in 1869, and is now a constitutional, hereditary monarchy. The person of the prince is inviolable, but his ministers are not let off so easily. There are two kinds of legislatures, or skaupchinas, the ordinary and the extraordinary; the former meeting once a year, and the latter summoned under extraordinary circumstances. The members are elected by the people, and the constitution guarantees equality before the law, civil and religious liberty, freedom of the press, and the abolition of confiscation. The religion is princi076pally Greek orthodoxy. Roman Catholics abound, but are not numerous, and there are a few Jews—less than two thousand—who are compelled to live in Belgrade, as the law will not permit them to dwell in the interior. Here is religious liberty with a vengeance! There are a few Mohammedans, but the number is steadily diminishing. Belgrade, at the time of my visit, contained twelve Mohammedans and nineteen mosques, some of the latter in ruins and the rest getting that way—a great deal of bread to a little sack! Giving each mosque a single worshipper there would still be seven mosques like the little lions in the boy’s picture of the prophet Daniel—they wouldn’t get any!

The army contains about five thousand regulars and one hundred thousand militia. The finances are in excellent condition; there is no public debt, and the taxes, light in comparison with those of some European countries, generally bring a revenue in excess of the disbursements. Three cheers for Servia. Hip, hip, hooray!!

All this time I have kept you standing waiting in the Topchidere

Park, while I have been droning along about Servia and her government, for which you don’t care any more than a cat does for existence. Well, let us get out of the park and return to the city, where we will dine comfortably and drink the wine of the country, and the less said about it the better. Wine culture in Servia is in its infancy, and there is no occasion to go into ecstacies about the native products.

While we are at dinner a gentleman tells us of the old style of executions and their contrast with the present. When the Turks ruled here, a man sentenced to execution was thrown down a bank about ten feet high, upon half a dozen spikes that stood upright. If one of the spikes entered a vital part and killed him instantly, or in a few minutes, his friends had reason to thank fortune. Sometimes a victim would be caught in the fleshy part of the arm or leg, and in this case he might be days in dying. No food nor drink could be given to him, but he must lie there and perish of hunger and thirst and the inflammation of the wound caused by the pitiless iron. My informant said that less than ten years ago a victim of the law lay thus for five days before death came to his relief, and for the first forty-eight hours his 077screams were so loud that they could be heard, especially in the stillness of the night, half over the city of Belgrade.

Since the Turks went away a more humane method has been adopted. The criminal condemned to death is fed on the best that the city contains for a month previous to the execution of the sentence of the law. On the fatal day he is allowed as much spirit as he chooses to drink, and in this condition he is taken to a valley outside of the town. There the death warrant is read, and as its last words are pronounced there is a report of a couple of pistols and the man falls dead, shot through the heart. Just before my visit two men were thus executed; they went to their death in a hilarious condition, and were singing and shouting as they marched through the town.





Among the Fleas—The Mystery of the Bedclothes—A Cool Explanation—Under the Spray—What became of the Dragon—A Queer Story about Flies—What is an “Araba?”—Conversation without Words—Changing Shirts in Public—The Iron Gate—Scene at the Custom House—Official Obstinacy—The “Sick Man”—Scenes in the Orient—The Mysteries of the Quarantine—How We Dodged the Turks—The Turk and his Rosary—Pity the Poor Israelite!—Why an Unlucky Jewess was Whipped—The Secret of the Turkish Loan—How the Money is Spent—Ten Million Dollars Gone!—What is “Backsheesh?”

THEN continuing our journey down the river, we took passage on board a local boat, which proved to be far less cleanly than the “accelerated steamer.”

The table was not good, and the cots had each but a single sheet; the deficiency in bedding, and its inability to keep one warm, were met by a large and assorted lot of fleas that made things lively through the night, and brought our bodies into a condition resembling that of a lobster recovering from a case of measles.

The Judge snored happily through all surrounding troubles, and the “Doubter” was inclined to disbelieve the existence of the industrious insects until, when morning came, he looked at himself in the glass. Even then he continued sceptical, and attributed the red spots on his skin to the claret at Belgrade, and possibly to a bad cigar which he smoked the day before.

As a general thing, you cannot induce a hotel or steamboat servant to admit the existence of anything disagreeable about the scene of his labors; but we found it different on board the Basiasch has nothing attractive; it consists of a railway station, a hotel, and a heap of coal. Before we tied up to the wharf, its population was much larger than five minutes later, when the passengers from the railway had come on board.

We steamed on from Basiasch to Moldowa, where we lay through the night. I took an evening ramble through the town, which possesses nothing remarkable except its population, which is half military and half peasant in character; a sort of Russian Cossack that performs military duty a part of the time, and works in the field when not engaged in the service of the state. Next morning, we were to be called bright and early to continue 079Ferdinand Max. We interrogated the cabin steward on the deficiency of bedding, and he replied that they had enough when the season began, but the fleas had eaten it up! The explanation was so reasonable, that even the “Doubter” accepted it!


From Belgrade to Basiasch, the scenery of the Danube is much like that above the mouth of the Save. At Basiasch, the railway from Pesth and Vienna reaches the river, and we took on board several passengers who had come by rail from those cities. The quick route from Vienna to Constantinople is by this railway, but it is a dreary ride, and, unless one is in a hurry, he had better stick to the river. 080our journey at daybreak, but I was up before the call, and out on deck.

We were to be transferred, and were transferred, to another boat, an odd-looking affair with powerful machinery, and with two wheels on each side. Her steering-wheel was astern, directly over the rudder, and though she was small she required all the strength of two men to control her.

On such a boat we left Moldowa, just as day broke in the east, and steamed down the river with the rapidity of a railway train. The banks seemed to be flying past us, or we flying past them, and the spray was dashed quite over the boat, drenching the deck passengers who were huddled forward and by no means leaving dry the erste classe astern. The blush on the eastern horizon extended, and as daylight became clear and full we entered the mountains, and were among the boiling rapids which mark this part of the Danube in the season of low water.

On the right bank appeared the wonderful fortress of Galumbutz, built by Maria Theresa. Out of the river rises a pyramid of rocks, and from base to summit this pyramid is covered with towers and walls, and pierced with windows and port-holes. The foundations of the fortress were Roman, and the tradition is that Trojan Helen was once imprisoned there. Almost in face of this fortress is the famous cave known as the Muckenhole, whence came a species of mosquitoes that annually kill thousands of cattle along this portion of the Danube valley. There is a legend that they arise from the putrefaction of the dragon killed by St. George; they issue from the cave in clouds, and extend their ravages more than a hundred miles in every direction. The government walled up the entrance of the cave in the hope of destroying the pest, but without success; the probability is that the insect inhabits the entire country, and only goes to the cave in bad weather.

The river makes many bends and zig-zags, and at times we went unpleasantly near the rocks. The scenery in this part is wild, and the land generally too rough for cultivation. Along the left bank there is an excellent road, which extends from Moldowa to Orsona, the frontier town of Austro-Hungary, and keeps constantly on the river bank. On the opposite shore there are 081traces of a Roman road cut into the mountain side, but evidently never completed.

Two hours on this four-wheeled steamer brought us to Drenkova, where we landed and were consigned to carriages and carts. The first-class passengers had carriages that were reasonably comfortable, as they had stuffed seats, and backs to lean against, but the others were thrust into arabas or common carts, some of them having straw to sit upon, some rough seats without backs, and some neither straw nor seats. Sometimes the “araba” is drawn by horses, and sometimes by oxen; in Turkey it is generally drawn by oxen, with an arrangement swinging over their backs to keep away the flies, and the cart has in hot or wet weather an awning over it to protect the travelers. In the present instance we had horses and a driver, the latter a native of the country, and black enough to be half Indian and half negro. He was amiable and anxious to please us, and we got up quite a conversation of signs, as we had not a single word in common. I tried him in English, French, German, Russian, and Italian, and he tried me in Moldavian, all to no purpose. What an inconvenience you find in this thing of languages. Wouldn’t I like to twist the neck of the fellow who proposed to build the Tower of Babel?

The Danube was at its lowest, otherwise we should have saved this land travel, and could have passed the upper Iron Gate by water. As it was, we looked upon the rapids and whirlpools, and on the rocks scattered here and there in the channel, and were not altogether sorry to be on land. At one place the channel for boats is only seventy feet wide at low water, and the current is very swift. The name Iron Gate comes from the Turkish, Demi-Kapour, and is intended to mean a hindrance to navigation, rather than a narrow passage barred with a formidable door. The right bank in this locality is simply magnificent. The mountains are steep and rugged, their summits covered with trees, and their sides presenting enormous masses of grey rocks, capriciously veined with red porphyry, and here and there showing deep crevices that appear to be the mouths of caverns.

After three hours of this sort of travel we were transferred to a small steamer where we managed to get an apology for din082ner, and where, when the little cabin was full of men and women, a Hungarian passenger with an enormous mustache and a loud voice opened his valise, removed his coat and vest, and coolly proceeded to change his shirt.

He was not at all abashed to display his back and shoulders to the party, but went on with his toilet very much as if in a room by himself.


Nobody interfered with him, and after he had finished his change he was the best dressed man on the boat, as he could boast a clean shirt while the rest of us were dusty with our ride from Drenkova.

From time to time the Danube in this part of its course expands into large basins like mountain lakes. One of these is particularly beautiful as it seems to be completely enclosed and reveals no passage for the river. By and by, as the steamer moves along, an opening is discovered and we enter a deep gorge with steep mountain walls two thousand feet high on either; hand and with a width to the river from wall to wall in one place of only two hundred yards. The noise of the wheels is echoed and re-echoed from side to side, and the scene forcibly recalled to me the prettiest and wildest portion of the Saguenay in Canada, the Rhine near the Seven Mountains, and the Amoor in the Hingan defile. We are in the defile of the Cazan (Turkish for Caldron) the grandest part of the whole Danube from Ratisbon to Galatz. Everybody is moved to expressions of admiration, all save the “Doubter,” who declares that the Danube disappoints him and is a wearisome and uninteresting stream.

We land at Orsova (pronounced Orehova) to pass once more into carriages and go beyond the Lower Iron Gate. Picturesque Wallachians surround us, with their immense hats of wool and 083their boots of red leather. We halt a moment at a little brook which has the Austrian custom-house on one side and the Roumanian on the other; a Roumanian official examines our tickets, and allows us to pass without examination.

Speaking of the custom house reminds me of a funny incident.

When I entered Servia at Belgrade I had in my trunk a box of Austrian cigars which I bought in Pesth. Coming out of Belgrade and going on board the steamer I had the same cigars; the Austrian customs-official insisted that all cigars brought into Austria must pay duty, and he demanded a tax on mine in spite of the fact that the cigars came originally from Austria and were only going again into the country of their manufacture. Luckily their weight was less than the quantity allowed to each traveler, otherwise he would have compelled me to pay the tariff. He would listen to nothing except the letter of the law.

The Lower Iron Gate is less picturesque than the Upper. The mountains fall away from the river, and the stream spreads out over a rocky bed about fourteen hundred yards wide and a mile in length. The river falls about twelve feet in a mile and a half, and is filled with whirlpools and rapids, with everywhere a swift current broken into waves that dash over the deck of the steamer in the season when the high waters prevent the passage of boats. Below the rapids the river becomes practicable, and there is no other natural obstacle to navigation below this point and the sea.

At a little distance below the Iron Gate we found the steamer that was to carry us down the Danube, and we were speedily installed in her comfortable cabin, once more and much to our delight we found ourselves on an “accelerated” boat, though it proved less agreeable than the Franz Josef.

Before we leave the Iron Gate let us have a little gossip on the question of the Danube.

From the days of the Romans there has been talk of a canal around the Lower Iron Gate; and on the right bank of the river and near the Servian village of Sip, there were traces of the work begun by the Emperor Trajan to this end. In modern times the subject has been discussed, surveys have been made and estimates completed for a series of canals that should carry 084boats around both the Iron Gates and render the Danube navigable for its entire length. The money could be raised without difficulty, but there is an obstacle to the work in the shape of the political objections of Turkey. No matter on what basis the enterprise is proposed, Turkey has always set her face against it; the “Sick Man” is fearful that a canal round these falls would still further impair his health and therefore he says “No,” and repeats it with emphasis. Time and again the subject has been discussed at Vienna and Constantinople, and always with the same results—Turkey’s opposition.

On one occasion Austria announced that nolens volens the canal would be made, and thereupon Turkey stood up on her ear—she cannot stand easily on her feet—and threatened to go to war when the first spade full of dirt was lifted, and on more than one occasion Turkey has proposed to close the Danube to commerce by sealing up its mouth and permitting nothing but fish and water to pass either way. I am not sure that she did not want to prevent the ascent or descent of the fish through fear that they would carry something contraband. Turkey is a goose and doesn’t know the necessities of the nineteenth century. She ought to close business as a nation and sell out to somebody of decent intelligence.

It was near sunset when we went on board the steamer below the second Iron Gate. We had made five changes in the day; large boat to four-wheeled one, four wheeler to carriages, carriages to boat, boat to carriages at Orsova, and carriages to boat again. We steamed on during the night, and in the morning when I went on deck I had my first view of Turkey. As there were no houses in sight at my first glimpse I did not think it very different from any other country, but as soon as we sighted a town, and the domes and minarets of the mosques came into view, the scene was changed. Northward lay the great plain of Bulgaria, while to the south was Bosnia, a province of the Ottoman empire. The southern bank was more hilly and broken than the northern, and villages were more numerous there. They looked pretty at a distance, but when you approached them nearly, the beauty vanished.

The first Turkish town I saw was the reverse of attractive, and the picture grew no better very fast, as we descended the river. 085The streets, as I saw them from the boat, were dirty, and there were piles of rubbish just above the landing. The people on shore were as dirty as the streets, and I speedily made up my mind not to ask for a consular appointment to any of the Turkish towns on the Lower Danube.


We didn’t want to go ashore very much, and we couldn’t have gone very much if we had wanted to. There had been some cholera in Austria in the summer, and the Turkish government had established a quarantine against the Upper Danube. Had we chosen to land at Widin or any of the Turkish towns where the boat stopped we should have been taken with a pair of tongs and led into the quarantine station. We should have been smoked, and scorched, and physicked, and poulticed, and dosed for eleven days in a shed with a flimsy roof and flimsier sides, and with no floor, and with no companions beyond natives of the country, fleas, rats, and stray dogs. If we had survived it, we should have been let off at the end of that time to see the next poor wretch put through, and if we had fallen sick under the treatment we should have been sent to the hospital, which is about three times as bad as the quarantine. Altogether the quarantine was not seductive from an aesthetic point of view, and I determined to keep out of it. If any reader of this volume ever has the choice between a kettle of boiling oil and a Turkish quarantine I advise him to take the oil.

At all the landings where we stopped the officials made a great fuss to keep the loafers back, for fear they would take the chol086era. We had no passengers for these landings, but we generally had letters, papers, and merchandise. Letters and papers were received with a stick or a pair of tongs and thrown into a tin box, which a boy instantly carried off to a sulphur fire, where its contents could be disinfected.


Then, and not till then, could they be safely handled. Merchandise was piled on the dock, but what disposition was made of it I could not learn. I bought a paper of cigarette tobacco from a boy on shore. He tossed the package on board and I then threw him half a franc. Before touching it he pushed it into a puddle of water, and after working it about for a while, ventured to grasp it with his dirty fingers.

Cholera couldn’t get through the encrusted skins of these fellows much quicker than a mouse could go through the side of a teapot, and as for the passengers and crew of the steamer, we were anything but a sickly lot. Yet they were fearful that we should do them harm, as much as though they were chickens and we were hawks and eagles.

We kept on our way without many incidents of importance, or rather without any, or I should record them. We met a steamboat flying the Turkish flag and steering clear of us; and we passed a 087Turkish gunboat tied up to one of the banks, but with steam up. At every Turkish landing we went through the farce of the tongs, but at the northern landings we had none of it. Piles of wheat were lying on the northern bank, and generally there were groups of picturesque Wallachians around them. We met Greek brigs and schooners ascending the river to bring away this wheat, and at a few places we saw these vessels lying at the shore. Their crews were a brigandish-looking lot with red caps, baggy trow-sers, and a general resemblance to the stage robbers in Fra Diavolo.

Further down the Danube we met more of these vessels I counted over sixty in sight at one time, and there were three or four times that number at Braila or near there. A large part of the commerce of the Black Sea is in the hands of Greek merchants, and they are said to be very enterprising. At Galatz and Braila there are many Greek houses and agencies. Some of the older establishments are accounted very wealthy. So nearly do they monopolize business that the language of commerce at Galatz is said to be Greek with a mixture of Italian.

It was the month of Ramadan, or time of fasting, with the Moslems. No good and faithful follower of the prophet is allowed to eat or drink between the rising and the setting of the sun. A gun is fired at sunrise and another at sunset, and between those discharges of artillery the fast is strictly observed. We had a priest or “Iman” on board our steamer, a fellow with a white turban and a long cloak or “caftan,” and with a pleasing face fringed with a dark beard. He observed the fast strictly and neither ate nor drank from sunrise to sunset, but he made up for his abstinence to some extent by a free use of his narghileh or water pipe.

He occupied a seat in the smoking room, a sort of divan where he could double one foot beneath him and rest almost motionless for hours. He carried in his left hand a string of beads, which he slowly told off with the fingers, a habit somewhat analogous to the Roman Catholic custom of counting the beads while saying prayers. With the Moslems this bead business has no religious significance, but is merely a pastime. Once I found him on deck saying his prayers, which he did with many genu088flexions, bows, and prostrations. He was required to keep his face turned towards Mecca while praying, and as the boat was just then taking a somewhat tortuous course, I am afraid he did not make a strict compliance with the law.

At night during Ramadan the mosques are lighted and present a brilliant appearance. There is a double row of lights on each minaret, round the railing of the platform where the muezzin stands when he calls the people to prayer, and the effect is quite pretty.

It was nine o’clock at night when we reached Bucharest, the capital of Roumania, so that there was not much to be seen en route. But I was able to collect some information about the country, and as it is one of the Danubian principalities and forms an interrogation point of the “Eastern Question,” we will make a brief examination of its condition.

The principality of Roumania is formed by the union of the ancient provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia. It contains about six thousand square leagues of territory, and five million inhabitants. Four millions of the latter belong to the Greek Church, and the rest are Armenians, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Gentiles, Moslems, and a hundred thousand or so don’t know what they are nor what they belong to. Then there are inhabitants who belong somewhere else, such as Germans, Hungarians, Greeks, English, French, Russians, and some who are ashamed to own the nations of their birth, for reasons best known to themselves.

The various sects and nationalities get along quite well together, with the exception of the Jews, who have a very hard time. They have been whipped and otherwise tortured on account of their opinions or as a cloak to robbery, and until quite recently it was not unusual to hear of the banishment or massacre of all the Jewish inhabitants of a village, town, or district. A better sentiment, or rather a less barbarous one, seems to prevail within the last year or two, and it is to be hoped that the persecutions are at an end or soon will be.


As an illustration of the treatment of the Jews, a gentleman told me that one day in Bucharest he heard screams issuing from a yard at the back of the hotel where he was lodged. He went to the window and saw a girl of eighteen or twenty tied to a stake. Her clothing was stripped from her shoulders and a strong man was whipping her while two others stood by. The gentleman asked what she had done, and was told “She is a Jewess!” No other cause was alleged, and the men appeared surprised when the stranger wished to know what crime she had committed.


The government of Roumania is very much like that of Servia, a constitutional principality which is independent, except that it pays a yearly tribute to Turkey. Servia pays twenty-five thousand pounds, and Roumania twice that amount. A member of the Hohenzollern family, under the title of Prince Charles of Roumania, occupies the throne, and his hereditary right is guaranteed by the Sultan, while the independence of Roumania is guaranteed by the seven powers that signed the treaty of Paris—Austria, France, England, Italy, Prussia, Russia, and Turkey. The constitutional rights of the people are like those of Servia, but the finances are not in as good condition, for the reason that the government has created debts in order to construct railways, and make other internal improvements. The network of railways already finished and now constructing is very good, and when 090united with the Austrian system, the resources of Roumania will be rapidly developed. The standing army has about twenty-five thousand men, and the militia includes every able bodied citizen.

In case of war one hundred thousand men could be put in the field in a very short time.

It must be a great consolation to Servia and Roumania that they are able to make so much trouble as they do, or rather that so much trouble is made about them. They are the bases of the “Eastern Question,” and if it were not for these two principalities, the ministers of foreign affairs in Turkey, Russia, and Austria would have their labor reduced one half, if not more. The correspondence that has passed between those governments concerning the principalities, is nearly as voluminous as that about the Alabama claims; in the past five centuries the principalities have been the cause or the object of about a dozen wars, and very likely will be the cause of fresh wars in time to come.

It is generally believed that Prussia and Italy don’t care a pin what Austria and Russia do with the East, and I fancy that if England and France could only get their money back, they wouldn’t care so much as they did at the time of the Crimean war. I suspect they have found out they made a mistake in backing up Turkey, and would like to get out of it gracefully.

I once championed a fellow who had been badly treated by his; neighbor—at least that was his story—and was in need of pecuniary and other aid. I defended him morally and physically, and more especially I loaned him money to buy a set of tools, and to clothe himself and family until he could earn money enough to repay me.

Well, what did he do? He bought a gold watch and chain with the money, when all the time he had a good silver watch, and then came round for more cash.

Turkey has been borrowing money in Europe, and some of her loans have been guaranteed by France and England. Nearly all the money has been wasted; a very little has gone for the construction of railways, but most of it has been put into palaces, diamonds for the women of the seraglio, ships of war, mosques, and the like, and every day there are thousands of pounds wasted on senseless displays. 091Here is a specimen case. They built an imperial palace known as the Palace Tshiragan, when they had already palaces enough for a dozen of Sultans. The Sultan moved into the building when it was finished—it cost two million pounds sterling, or about ten million dollars in gold—and he lived there just two days! Then he moved out because he had an unpleasant dream, and the palace will never again be occupied. It stands idle, empty, and beautiful on the banks of the Bosphorus, and will stand thus till destroyed.


A couple of years ago the Sultan commanded that a conservatory should be erected in his garden. Glass and other materials were ordered from Europe, and hundreds of men were set at work. It was finished at a cost of over a million of dollars, and His Majesty went to see it. The old idiot—I wish to be respectful as he is a Sultan—was not in a good temper for some reason, and determined not be pleased. He raised his languid eyes to the roof of the building and then turned away.

“I don’t like it,” he said; “destroy it!”

And before night every piece of glass was broken, and the beautiful conservatory was leveled. 092This is the way the Sultan and his government have been using the money borrowed at a high rate of interest; and they are now borrowing money at high interest to pay that interest. This thing will go on until Turkey can borrow no more money, and then the whole concern will collapse. When she can’t borrow any more, the probabilities are, she will stop the interest on her present debt and give herself no trouble about the principal. Turkey, as a nation, is very much like a great many of her subjects. Every traveller in the East will tell you that he is constantly appealed to to give “backsheesh”—i. e. a gratuity—not only by those who have served him, but by those who have rendered no service whatever, and do not expect to. From the time you enter the Orient till the time you leave it, that word is dinned into your ears so continually that it seems like one prolonged echo.

As the natives, young or old, masculine, feminine, or neuter (the latter are the guardians of the harems), appeal thus to the individual foreigner, so Turkey as a nation squats or stands before other nations, and takes up the perpetual demand for “backsheesh.” The foreigner, when first entering the Orient, generally submits to the appeal, and gives of his abundance; but he soon finds that begging is universal, and that the purse of Fortunatus would soon touch bottom. So he becomes prudent, especially as the Oriental is never satisfied. Whether you give copper, silver, or gold, by the piece or by the handful, is all the same, the begging or rather the demanding continues.

The nations and moneyed men of Europe are learning the habits of the Turk, and emulating the example of prudent travellers. Turkey is about at the end of her borrowing, and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire is one of the near possibilities. Russia is patiently waiting; Austria is waiting; Prussia is waiting; and the other nations are waiting for the dissolving view which will enable them to reconstruct the map of Europe. None of them are likely to take any measures to hurry “the sick man” to his end, as he is going in that direction with a rapidity that ought to be satisfactory to the on-lookers.

Through fleets of ships and steamers we threaded our way from Galatz and along a tortuous channel through a forest of reeds, till we passed Selino, and were tossing on the waters of the Black sea, with the prow of our steamer towards Odessa.




A Visit to the Crimea—The Porter with the Big Books—The Danger of Siberia—Our Entry into Sevastopol—Terrible Reminiscences of the Crimean War—How we shirked the Cemetery—The Great Dock-Yard of Sevastopol—We Visit a Remarkable Gunboat—What we saw Below-Deck—The Story that our Landlord Told—An Enterprising Tartar—The “Doubter” offers an opinion—How the “Judge” stole a Newspaper—Adventures by the Way—The “Doubter” gets into Trouble—We Fly to the Rescue—Eccentricities of a Selfish Man—We Rise and Depart.

WE went to Odessa, as I said, solely to escape the quarantine on entering Turkey. Being there—less than two hundred miles from Sevastopol—we could not resist the temptation to pay a flying visit to the Crimea.

We reached Odessa in the morning, and found that a steamer left at two o’clock in the afternoon for the ports of the Crimea, and as soon as we had passed the formalities of the Custom-House and the police—no trifling matters—we went to the steamer in question. And, by the way, they put us through very cautiously, and also very politely, when we entered the empire.

Three officers of the police, followed by a porter with an armful of big books, came on board the Metternich, the steamer from Galatz, as soon as she entered the port. They took seats at the cabin table, spread out the passports which had been collected by the purser of the steamer, and then began work.

They disposed of two or three persons, and then came to my case.

“Have you ever been in Russia before?” said one of the officials in French. 094"Yes,” I answered.

“When was the last time?”

“In 1867.”

“Where were you?” and he looked at me very attentively.

“In a great many places,” I answered. “In Moscow, Petersburg, Warsaw, Kazan, and in Eastern and Western Siberia.

“Ah, you have been in Siberia!” said the official, and he and the others pricked up their ears.

Nous verrons,” he continued, and he picked up one of the big books and turned to the initial of my name. “Possibly I may have to report your arrival at once,” he remarked, as he scanned page after page of the volume.

When he had finished that, he went for another, and altogether he looked through four or five books.

“There is nothing against you,” he said, as he finished the examination, and, with a smile worthy of a diplomate of the highest rank, he signed my passport and handed it over, with the wish that I might enjoy my trip to the Crimea, and have bon voyage partout, and he was kind enough to attend next to the passports of my companions, as we had no time to spare in getting to the Crimean steamer.

“The Russian Company of Navigation and Commerce,” to which I entrusted myself for the journey to Sevastopol—they call it Sev-as-to-pol there—is a big concern. It has eighty-four steamers, varying all the way from one hundred to thirty-six hundred tons each; nine of them are of the largest class of ocean steamers, and two-thirds of the rest are none of them less than nine hundred tuns. The large steamers run from Odessa to London, to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, to the Red Sea, and the ports of the Indian Ocean. The other steamers navigate the Black Sea and the adjacent waters, including several rivers that flow into that sea and the sea of Azof. I expected to find their boats dirty and badly managed; on the contrary, I found them clean and comfortable, with good service in the cabin and good management on deck.

The advertised time of the Crimea boat to leave Odessa is two o’clock in the afternoon, and it was not more than five minutes past two when our lines were cast off. I am told that the time 095table of the company is strictly kept, except of course, in case of unforseen accident.

The company was organized after the Crimean war, and has developed a great business. The repair-shops are at Sevastopol, but very little building is done there. All or nearly all the large steamers were built in England. The officers are generally appointed from the navy, and their pay is higher than in the regular service. On one of the steamers I encountered an officer, whose acquaintance I had made in the Okhotsk Sea several years before. “I am out of the government employ,” he said, “having served my full term. I am commanding one of this company’s largest steamers now; the service is harder, but I get much better pay than my rank in the navy would bring me.”

The steamer carried us along toward Eupatoria, and I was up when we steamed into the bay, where the English made their first descent upon the Crimea. There are no docks or piers; nothing but a semi-circular beach, like a bit of yellow lace on the end of a sleeve to a lady’s dress, and an irregular double fringe of houses beyond it. Ships anchor in the bay, and are unloaded by lighters. Our passengers were taken ashore in boats, and the freight and baggage were unceremoniously dumped into a huge launch. Heavy boxes and barrels were placed atop of trunks and valises, and there was a general mess of things.

It was at Eupatoria, on Thursday, September 14th, 1854, that the allied army landed in the Crimea. The place, the day, and the occasion will remain for ever memorable in French, English, and Russian history. Fifty thousand soldiers of the allied army were that day landed on Russian soil; of that fifty thousand nearly all are now in their last sleep. They perished in the battles of the Alma, the Tchernaya, and Inkermann; they fell in the trenches during the siege of Sevastopol; or worn out with privation and exposure, or suffering from wounds and disease, crept on board the transports at Balaklava and were borne away to die in the hospitals of Scutari or in their own native lands. In one year from that memorable landing at Eupatoria the fifty thousand had become ten thousand; and when the bugles sang truce and the flag of peace fluttered over the shattered walls and smoking ruins of Sevastopol, there was scarce a vestige remain096ing of the Grand Army of the Orient, that had sailed so proudly from the shores of France and England and assembled on Turkish soil to prepare for the descent into the Crimea. Death spared neither rank nor condition. Of all the officers and soldiers whose hearts beat high on that day as they saw the tri-color and the red cross waving over the gravelly beach at Eupatoria, very few are now alive.

There had been a fog in the morning, and occasional spittings and spatterings of rain, but it cleared up soon after we left Eupatoria, and the coast of the Crimea, with serrated mountains cutting the sky, and with steppes of sand and white rock here and there, came out clear and distinct beyond the dark waters of the Euxine Sea. Gloriously bright was the sun when a Russian officer pointed to a distant promontory and told me that there was Sevastopol; and deep blue was the sky, with not a patch of cloud to mar it, when we headed our prow toward Fort Constantine, and pushed steadily and fearlessly into the port which so long resisted the assaults of the allied armies of England and France. Away to the left lay the valley of the Alma, and also on our left, but nearer to us, the Inkermann pyramid was visible to mark the field of Inkermann’s battle. White specks of marble near the pyramid marked the resting-place of England’s gallant dead, and not far distant was the cemetery where lay the soldiers who fell there for the glory of France. In front, beyond the harbor, was the tawny mound of the Malakoff, with ugly seams and ridges over all its surface; beyond it were the Redan and the Mamelon Vert, and away to the right was the famous Bastion du Mat. The white walls of the marine barracks and arsenal filled much of the centre of the picture, far too much for Russian eyes, when it is remembered that they were the walls of ruins.

Forts Constantine and Nicholas are passed; no gun speaks from their walls, and not a soldier is visible to note our entrance. The shattered and ruined walls of these forts have disappeared; the present fortresses are new, or at any rate they have undergone a vast amount of repairing since the day the allies left Sevastopol after their work of destruction was finished.

We steamed up to the stone pier, where a dense crowd was gathered to meet us—in the foreground the officials of the port, 097behind them the well-dressed part of the community, and further away the wide-mouthed and sheepskin-coated peasantry of Russia. Our guide-book had told us of a good hotel a couple of hundred yards from the landing, and as soon as we could get ashore we went to it at a respectable pace. A crowd of hack-men sought to entrap us into riding, but we disdained their offers. We found the hotel, and after selecting rooms and fixing the price, we proceeded to “do” Sevastopol.

“Get us a guide at once and a carriage for three,” I said to the German-Russian landlord, who spoke English, French, or any other language that you might choose to try him in.

He sent a messenger to bring what we wanted and then asked where we wished to go.

I told him we wished to see all that we could that afternoon, and leave in the morning for Yalta. He mentioned the Malakoff, Redan, Inkermann, and other points, including the cemetery, and I interrupted him with:

“Never mind the cemetery; send us somewhere else.”


“Oh, then you are Americans,” he exclaimed; “every Englishman goes at once to the cemetery, and it is the first thing he asks for; but an American always says: “D——n the cemetery; take me somewhere else.’”

A moment later he apologized for his intimation that my countrymen were universally profane; but reiterated his assertion that every Englishman visiting Sevastopol goes at once to the cemetery, while every American prefers to do something else. I can well understand this. So many English were buried there, that every British visitor is sure to have occasion to look 098after the grave of a relative or friend; or, at all events, he has been requested to look out the burial-place of somebody and report its condition. Few Americans are likely to have anything more than ordinary curiosity to attract them to the cemetery at Sevastopol.

In a little while the carriage and guide were ready, and we started. The guide was a Greek—he may have been a Greek brigand—who had not been long in Sevastopol, and didn’t know enough about the place to hurt himself to any alarming extent. He spoke English fairly, but not over elegantly, and was, on the whole, satisfactory.

We drove off along the street leading upward from the hotel, and in the direction of the Malakoff and other fortresses of the days of the war. We were soon on the edge of the bluff overlooking the southern harbor, and could gaze down almost perpendicularly on the ships at anchor there. As we looked toward the end of the harbor, we discovered just beyond it a new building, and I asked what it was.

“That is the railway station,” was the guide’s reply. “The government is building a railway from Sevastopol to connect with the line from the Sea of Azof to Moscow and St. Petersburg. They have surveyed all the line, and a good deal of it is finished. They are going to lay the track all round this harbor, so that ships can be loaded right from the trains and the trains from the ships.”

I looked and saw the grading ready for the rails on both sides of the harbor and sweeping round the hill-side toward Inkermann.

Had this railway existed twenty years ago the allies would have failed to capture Sevastopol. It was their primitive mode of transportation more than anything else that caused Russia’s defeat. She learned then the importance of railways, and has since been putting her knowledge into practice.

We climbed to the top of the Malakoff, where a single Russian soldier holds peaceful possession of what thousands were once unable to defend. From the summit of the casemate we looked over the field, traced the lines of the contending armies, and then turned toward Inkermann and the defenses in that direction. The ground all round is cut and torn with rifle-pits, 099trenches, approaches, and defenses, and is a picture of desolation. Sevastopol is a mass of ruins; its inhabited dwellings are not a tenth the number of the fallen or falling walls, and you can ride or walk through whole squares of what were once rows of handsome edifices, but are now nothing but heaps of stones. It is more like Pompeii than any modern city I have ever seen.

Sevastopol must have been beautiful twenty years ago; she is the reverse of beautiful now, and I do not wonder that the Russian who walks through her half silent and almost deserted streets vows with compressed lips and lowering brow that Sevastopol must be avenged. She is majestic in her ruins. One feels her greatness, or what it must have been, at every step he takes; and no one can call Russia a barbarous nation when he looks at the remains of her dockyards, which were her pride and glory. To destroy these docks required months of labor on the part of French and English engineers. What must have been the labor to create them!

There had been much talk about a new kind of gunboat then at Sevastopol, and by the kindness of Admiral Popoff, the inventor of the system, I was permitted to visit and examine the Novgorod, as the pioneer vessel is called. She was built at Nicolayeff, on the River Bug, and was brought to Sevastopol to be finished. Another boat of the same class, but larger, to be called the Popofka was under construction, and intended to be followed by several others. The Novgorod is something like our monitors, though with a difference. When the original Monitor came out we were told to imagine a cheese-box on a raft; in the present instance you may imagine a cheese-box without any raft. The Novgorod is circular, and about a hundred feet in diameter; her sides where they rise above the water are perpendicular, but they do not rise very high—not more than a couple of feet. From the edge toward the centre there is a gentle incline, and this incline is covered with small cleats of wood to enable one to preserve his foothold. About twenty-five feet from the edge there is a circular wall of iron, fifteen inches thick, forming a turret like that of one of our monitors. This turret is fixed and made as firm as possible; inside of it is a movable turret, containing the guns, and pierced with two holes, through which the 100guns are to be discharged. The turret is firmly fastened to the platform which sustains the guns, and it can be raised or lowered at will by means of machinery. The guns are eleven-inch breech-loaders, and are very well finished; the carriages are of an improved pattern, and altogether the turret and its contents are highly creditable to their designers and makers.

Workmen were busy both in and out of the boat, and there was an unsatisfactory lot of fresh paint on nearly everything, so that it was necessary to be cautious in one’s movements.


In spite of all my attention I found myself somewhat soiled at the end of my journey, and on returning to the hotel I underwent a vigorous application of turpentine. Like our monitors, the Novgorod is not abundantly supplied with internal space for machinery, coal, ammunition, stores, and crew, though there is more of it than one might at first suppose. Her circular shape gives her an advantage in this respect, and it is really surprising how much room you find where you expect so little.

As you descend into the engine room—her engines were made by Bird of St. Petersburg—you find the machinery stowed so compactly and everywhere around you, that you begin to think she is all machinery inside like a watch, but when you are taken thence into the places where coal and provisions are stored, you change your mind. The quarters for the crew are cramped, as; in all ships of war, and occupy about the same space relative to the officers’ quarters as on our monitors. The captain’s room is quite spacious and neatly finished and furnished, and the other officers have nothing to complain of. In the captain’s room was a model of the boat, and I studied it attentively to ascertain the shape of the craft below the water line. The boat does not pre101serve its circular form all the way down, or rather I should say that the circular form is maintained above the water and an elongated one below.

Take an apple and cut the lower two-thirds of it so as to give it the general shape of a ship below the water line, and you have the idea of the general external shape of the Novgorod. She has a bow and stern like any other ship, but neither of them is very sharp. If you look for fine lines like those of a clipper sailer or of a fast steamship, you will be disappointed, as the Novgorod is not designed for speed, nor as a general thing, for attack. They claim that she can steam nine knots an hour, but her steaming qualities have never been fairly tested. She is intended for coast and harbor defence, and is made of light draft, ten or twelve feet, so that she can lie out of the reach of deep-draft ships. She has six screws, three on each side of her rudder, and by working the triplets in opposite directions she can be turned in her own length, or rather in her own diameter. The space below deck is lighted by means of a grated flooring inside the turret, by openings in the deck. Hatchways at several points permit of ingress and egress, and are so arranged that they can be closed whenever necessary.

So much for the general description of the boat. Now we come to the fighting business. When her coal and stores are all on board, she will be sunk within a couple of feet of the water—that is to say, the perpendicular side of the boat will rise about two feet above the surface. In this condition she can steam to her destination under about the same conditions of safety as those attending our monitors. Looked at from a distance she will appear like a tea-saucer, on an enormous scale, turned bottom upward, and having an old fashioned pill-box in the centre. In ordinary times she has a pair of smoke-stacks, one on each side of her turret, but these are made telescopic and will be lowered out of sight when she goes into action. Then she has ventilators which also disappear, and she has a temporary steering house on deck that disappears likewise. In action she is steered from the inside in accordance with signals given by an officer in a reasonably secure little lookout box in front of the turret. In fact, all the deck apparatus except the turret, is made 102to disappear entirely in time of battle, and the gunboat is as plain as the wardrobe of a country clergyman on a small salary which is not promptly paid.

Nothing is visible when the boat goes into battle but the sloping deck and the turret above it. Indeed there is not much of the deck visible, as the boat takes in water enough to sink her down, so that all the perpendicular side and some of her sloping portion is below the surface. The fixed turret stands up in the centre, and inside of it is the movable turret containing the guns. This is kept lowered until the moment for firing; then the machinery turns it round in the required direction, and raises it so that the holes for the muzzles of the guns come above the edge of the fixed turret. The guns are run out till their muzzles are even with the outside of the port-holes, and when the proper aim is obtained, they are fired and instantly lowered, or they may be kept in place and reloaded, according to the will of the commander. They are handled, so to speak, by machinery, a couple of rods in the hands of their captain performing all the work of aiming, one rod serving to raise and depress their muzzles, and another to move the turret horizontally.

Steam has been brought into satisfactory subjection in the Novgorod. The turret is controlled and the guns are operated by steam; steam propels the boat, and may be made to steer it. Very little hand labor is required, and the boat may carry fewer men than other war-ships of her capacity. She is built throughout in the strongest manner, and her constructors are very proud of her.

For harbor and coast defence they claim great advantages over the old style of war ships, and I was told that it was the intention of the government to build a considerable number of ships of the Novgorod pattern. They were to be stationed at the ports of the Black Sea, and along the Baltic, and it was thought they could made things lively for a blockading squadron. The Novgorod was of a hundred and the Popofka a hundred and twenty-five feet diameter; whether the others would be of greater or less size I am unable to say. Other ships of war are to be constructed on the Black sea, and in course of time the Russians hope to bring their Black Sea fleet up to something 103like its old standard. The arsenal at Sevastopol is theoretically the property of the Russian Company of Navigation and Commerce, and contains their repair shops, but practically it is the property of the government, and will be more and more so as time rolls on.

We spent the evening in the hotel and on the cliff overlooking the harbor, and tried to imagine the scenes of twenty years ago.

“The rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air” have ceased over Sevastopol—let us hope for ever—and all was calm as though the spot had never known the horrors of war. The loquacious landlord told us many stories of the siege, and of the fortunes of Sevastopol before and since the war. “Now we are to have better times,” he said; “the railway will be completed next year, and we shall then have a line of steamers direct to Constantinople. Capitalists are coming here to start business, and we shall hope for commercial activity. The government has determined that Sevastopol shall rise again, and we feel sure that it will rise.”

Before the war the city had little short of thirty thousand inhabitants. Now it has about five thousand, but the number is slowly increasing. With a revival of business and a restoration of the naval dockyard, Sevastopol will resume its old activity and importance and become again the mistress of the Euxine. Her harbor is one of the finest in the world, and her geographical position renders it of great value.

The landlord escorted me to my room, and as he set the dripping and guttering candle on a rickety table, his loquacity continued:

“This,” said he, “is the room that was occupied by Kinglake, when he came here to study the siege of Sevastopol. He was a good fellow, and, when he left, he gave my daughter a new sovereign and she has kept it ever since. Of course you have read his history of the war? Many officers who come here say he has made some mistakes, but no man can be expected to get everything right.”

I went to sleep and dreamed of assaults on the Malakoff and Redan, and of the morning when the grey regiments which were Russia’s pride and glory burst through the pall of fog, and fell upon the unexpecting allies in their camp at Inkermann. Clash 104of steel, roll of musketry, and the diapason of artillery resounded through the night and made my slumber unrefreshing. I recalled the time when the whole civilized world turned its eyes upon the Crimea, and with what an electric thrill was received the announcement “Sevastopol has fallen!” And here in the city, where for many months the sounds of war were heard almost without cessation, all was now the stillness of a long peace. Waking, I could hardly realize that I was in Sevastopol. Sleeping, I lived again in the midst of the strife, and participated in the exciting events that have found a place in history.

In the morning we set out for Yalta in a carriage which we hired of an enterprising Tartar who demanded his pay in advance. He demanded and we refused, and the more he wanted his money on the spot the more he didn’t get it.


In a discussion between Capital and Labor the former generally has the best of it, and the result of our discussion proved no exception to the rule. Labor was compelled to accept our terms and receive its pay when the work was done, but it required a good half-hour to bring Labor to terms. We were entrusted to the care of a good natured but rather stupid driver, and to three horses harnessed abreast and full of energy. We trotted out of the ruin-lined streets, and soon left out of sight the most famous city of southern Russia.

The day was beautiful—a sort of a hazy Indian-summer sky—and if we had ordered the weather to suit us it could not have 105been more delightful. We drove through the field of Balaklava. How few there are now living of those who made Balaklava famous?

We made a brief halt at the edge of the plain where the immortal Light Brigade rode to glory and the grave, and pressed unflinchingly forward as the pitiless iron from Russian batteries tore through their ranks, and covered the ground with dead and dying heroes. One of our party recited Tennyson’s well-known poem on this event, and I think we all felt, down to the depths of our hearts, the full force of the closing lines:

“Honor the brave and bold;

Long shall the tale be told,

Yea, when our babes are old,

How they rode onward.

When can their glory fade?

O! the wild charge they made,

Honor the Light Brigade,

Noble Six Hundred!”

We visited the little village of Balaklava, and in a Russian rowboat paddled in the miniature land-locked harbor and out to its entrance, where we danced on the waves that rolled inward from the sea. Then we drove to Baidar, a miserable village, where we supped on tea, eggs, and bread, and breakfasted on eggs, bread, and tea—nothing else—and slept on beds of the most impromptu character. I covered myself with my overcoat and travelling shawl, the Judge solaced himself with a table-cloth and a fish-net, while the “Doubter” was kept warm by a late copy of the London Times in addition to his overcoat. It was a rough night, and we were off early in the morning, as, indeed, anybody would be with such accommodations. If you want to get a man up in good season, put him to sleep on a pile of rocks, or a bed that dates from the Silurian period, with the chief qualities of roughness and solidity.

The “Doubter” averred his belief that there was not so bad a hotel in all Russia as the one he occupied in Baidar; and ever afterwards when we wished to get him into a regular cast-iron passion we had only to refer to his night’s lodging in the interior of the Crimea. And I really think that he was unfairly treated, as the Judge afterward made confession of having taken away 106the full sheet of the Times soon after they retired, thus leaving the “Doubter” nothing but “the supplement.”


An hour after leaving Baidar we passed through a stone gateway, and came out upon the sea. Or, rather, we came out upon the edge of a mountain, and looked down more than a thousand feet upon the waters kissed by the rising sun, and broken into little billows just touched with crests of foam by a gentle breeze from the east. Away on the horizon and below our line of sight lay a stratum of white clouds, and in the far distance to the left the wind and sun were chasing away the remains of the darkness of the November night, and near at hand on the right and left lay the mountains with great, rugged tops, round which half a dozen eagles were whirling and occasionally disappearing in the floating masses of light clouds. Down below, toward the upper; part of the peninsula, the mountains sloped away but so slightly as to make us wonder how we would find a passage among them.

I have become familiar with a good deal of scenery in the past twenty years, but I know few things that can surpass this first view of the sea on the road from Sevastopol to Yalta. The scene bursts suddenly upon you. At one minute you are among the hills and forests and sparsely scattered fields, where you have been travelling ever since you left Balaklava, and you are voting the 107whole thing a trifle monotonous. You pass through the gateway, which is arched and bastioned like a small fortress, and what a change in the picture! You are in a narrow road, with scarcely sufficient standing place for the carriage and horses; the crag at your left seems ready to topple over and cover you, and as you look up a thousand or twelve hundred feet along its gray sides, you perceive deep and irregular fissures in which, here and there, trees are clinging quite safe from the woodman’s axe, and forming a secure resting for the eagles that circle about them. Their prevailing grey color is diversified by the tints peculiar to volcanic rocks everywhere, and they cut the sky with a sharp and jagged outline whose every angle is rendered more distinct by the great elevation to which the mountains rise above you. This mountain-chain stretches about thirty miles along the coast; it stands bold and upright from the sea above Balaklava, but gradually trends away from the water until, at Yalta, it is more than five miles distant.

Here, at the Baidar-gate, the strip of land is nearly a mile wide, but as you look down the dizzy distance you could solemnly aver that the width is not more than a hundred yards. The strip of land shelves rapidly, and is dotted with patches of forest, rough boulders, and the general debris of the mountain-chain, and stippled and streaked with little rivulets that trickle onward toward the sea. There are sharp ridges and deep ravines, barren patches and woody dells; the whole forming a favorite resort of the game-birds and the beasts that make this region an attractive one for the hunter.

Here and there you see a house nestling and crouching in a lovely valley, and as you proceed on your way you find the houses and villas becoming every hour more and more numerous. The high cliffs shelter the land from northerly winds, and as the sun pours full and strong over the sea, a climate of peculiar warmth is developed that gives this part of the Crimea a fertility of almost tropical luxuriance. The productions of this region are of wonderful variety and excellence.

We whirled down and along the front of the mountains, hour after hour, and with new combinations of land and ocean constantly presented to our eyes. We halted at Alupka, where is the palace of Prince Woronzoff, and at the hotel we had a com108fortable meal, which our morning ride had prepared us to enjoy. We washed it down with the excellent wine of the Crimea, bearing the Woronzoff brand, and grown in the vineyards that dot all the hill-sides in the last dozen miles of our drive. After a two hours’ halt we were on the road again, and passing the palace of Livadia, the summer residence of the Emperor, and one of the prettiest spots in the world, we reached Yalta an hour before sunset, having made one of the most delightful rides that can fall to the lot of the traveller.

Yalta is the Long Branch or Newport of Southern Russia, and many persons go there to spend the summer and autumn. The situation is charming and the climate delicious; the Emperor has a palace close at hand, and as he spends every autumn there, it is no wonder that Yalta has become fashionable. The principal street along the sea-shore has a fringe of hotels, and so great was the rush at the time of our visit, that there was a difficulty in obtaining rooms. Prices were high, and from a contemplation of the bill of fare, I should think the hotel-keepers were anxious to make a fortune in a short time and retire from business.

Picturesque Russians and Crim-Tartars wander through the streets, making a marked contrast to the fashionables from Odessa and Moscow. In the market the “Doubter” got into trouble by handling and tasting some fruit, and was compelled to buy it in order to get out of the scrape.


He had an inordinate passion for handling everything (except his own money when bills were to be paid) and this propensity served sometimes to increase our annoyances, and occasionally our expenses. At a church in Odessa he broke a part of the fixtures on 109the altar because he insisted upon picking them up, and he only escaped trouble by pretending not to understand what was said to him. He didn’t rely much on his senses of hearing and seeing, but when it came to smelling, tasting, and feeling—particularly the latter—he was on hand. He wasn’t satisfied with seeing a picture but he must feel it and smell it, and not till then did he believe in its existence. The same was the case with nearly everything else that could be touched; and when he saw things in a show-case he wanted them opened for his amusement and manipulation. During his journey in the East he felt nearly everything within his reach, except an impulse of generosity, and with that he had no desire to become acquainted.

We rose early in Yalta, and were off for Odessa, where we arrived without accident or delay.





A Visit to a Russian Police Office—Smith, and what he did—A bad lot of passports—A race after a Governor in a Drosky—More Backsheesh—Delicate administration of a bribe—An obliging subordinate—Attempt at a swindle—Scraping an acquaintance—High life on the Black Sea—Muscovite ladies—Sunrise on the Euxine—Worshipping the Sun—Stamboul—Passing Quarantine—On the Bosphorus—A magnificent spectacle—The Castle of Europe—Palaces and Villas—Domes and Minarets—The Golden Horn—In front of Constantinople—Rapacity of Boatmen—Turkish Thieves—Streets of the City.

THERE is nothing very interesting about Odessa, for the reason that it is a place of no antiquity.

At the end of the last century it was a Tartar village bearing the name of Hadji Bey, and containing a dozen houses and a small fortress of Turkish construction. Now it is a grand city with one-hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, and having an extensive commerce. Ships of all nations lie at its wharves, and you see English, French, American, and nearly all other foreign names among the merchants established there. Its greatest export-commerce is in wheat, which goes from Odessa to all parts of the Mediterranean and also to England.

The Black Sea wheat formerly found a market in America, but we have changed all that with our immense grain production in the West and California.

It was no small matter to get out of Russia. I sent the passports of our party to the police-bureau on Thursday—two days before the time set for our departure—and was told that they were en règle for the journey to Constantinople. Saturday morn111ing I paid a visit of politeness to the American consul, Mr. Smith, and just as I was leaving him he asked if he could be of any service.

“Thank you,” I replied, “I know of nothing you can do for me except to follow me with your good wishes. I don’t want to borrow any money nor obtain an introduction to any official.”

“Have you arranged your passports?”

“O, yes,” I answered with a confident smile. “I have travelled too much to neglect any of the formalities. The clerk of the hotel sent our passports to the police and had the proper visas attached.”

As I spoke I took my passport from my pocket, and handed it over with an air of triumph. He unfolded the document and examined it. His turn was to smile now, and he “smole.”

“All wrong, my dear sir,” he said, “there is no visa for departure; nothing but the visa pour entrer and the visa de séjour.”

Here was a pretty caldron of piscatorial products. It was one o’clock, and the steamer was to sail at four; it was Saturday afternoon, and the police-bureau closed at twelve o’clock on the last day of the week.

“I will endeavor to get you out of your trouble,” said the kind hearted Smith—I wish all Smiths were like him and the world would then be much better off than it is—“we will jump into a drosky and do some fast driving; and as I know the Governor and the Police-Master I think the matter can be fixed.”

We hired a drosky and told the driver to put in his best licks and he might expect something to get drunk on. This appeal to the noble sentiments of an isvoshchik’s heart roused his ambition and he put in the “licks” aforesaid, with a whip weighing about three pounds in the handle and two in the lash.


We went forward as if impelled by the boot of His Brimstonic Majesty, and as the narrow drosky bounded from side to side the two passengers had hard work to hold on.

We were soon at the Governor’s, and entered a room filled with a crowd of all sorts of people, some dirty, some dirtier, and some dirtiest, and a few looking clean and respectable. The Consul gave his name and rank to a soldier who disappeared 112through a narrow doorway and soon returned to escort us into the gubernatorial presence.

The governor was a well-proportioned man of fifty-five or sixty years, with white hair, a clean-shaven face, and regular, pleasing features. He was in civilian dress, and his manners were easy and unaffected like those of the higher class of Russians generally. In his presence one might easily forget the official in the kind and courteous gentleman. If he had an iron hand, it was most skillfully covered with velvet. Napoleon said, “Scratch a Russian and you will find a Tartar.” That may be so, but it is unnecessary to indulge in scratching when the Russian is as amiable as we generally find him. It is like removing the paint from a beautiful picture to get at the rough canvas.

The case was stated to His Excellency, and we obtained a note requesting the police to attend to the matter and put the passports in order, if there was no objection. “I shall be at the steamer,” said the Governor, “as my sister is to be one of the passengers, and should there be any trouble, please tell me.” We bowed ourselves out and were off.

The Turkish consulate was close at hand, and so we halted there and obtained the visa to enter the Ottoman Empire, not 113necessary, but a good thing to have. It might be compared to some of the quack medicines of the present day—warranted not to harm the patient even if they do not benefit him.

At the police-bureau the chief was absent, but his second in command happened to be in. He spoke French fluently, and when I had told him that it was no fault of mine, but the carelessness or downright dishonesty of the hotel-clerk that had brought us into trouble, he said he would see what could be done. The office was technically “closed,” but the Consul had influence enough to gain admission, and I had faith that blarney and “backsheesh,” especially the latter, would do the rest.

We were referred to a subordinate, a seedy and decayed party who looked as if he had a large family and proportionately small pay. I thought here was a case of putting something where it would do the most good, and intimated as much to the Consul.

“Yes, that will be right,” replied Smith; “do as you please, but I must not know about it.”

While the subordinate was intimating that office hours were over and he could do nothing, I handed him the three passports and with them as many roubles.


As his fingers closed on them he smiled sweetly, and no doubt thought of his family and the comforts this honestly earned money would procure for them.

He opened one of the passports, and with an exclamation that amounted to “Really I did not understand how it was,” sat down at his desk.

In a quarter of an hour the passports were all en regle; I was 114happy, Smith was happy, and the subordinate was happy. We went to the hotel, where the Consul took a parting glass of wine with us, received our thanks and we his blessing. Then we paid our bill and went to the steamer.

I am unable to say whether the clerk of the hotel was grossly careless or dishonest. Had we gone on board with our passports as he returned them to us, we should have been liable to detention until the next steamer, three days later. In that case the hotel might have profited by our enforced delay, and I have a strong suspicion that the fellow had an eye to business and deliberately deceived us. I expressed my opinion of the whole affair, and we did not part friends.

The steamer sailed exactly thirty-five seconds after her advertised time, an example of promptness worthy of imitation. She was an English-built ship, belonging to the Russian Company of Navigation and Commerce, and rejoiced in the name of Elborus. Officers and crew were Russian, with the possible exception of the chief engineer.

We had a motley crowd of passengers in the cabin. We were three Americans, and there was a fourth—a native of the land of the free—a woman whose talkative power was sufficient to bore a tunnel through Mount Washington, and whose mission was literature and matrimony. She was en route to Constantinople to marry a Turk, but I afterwards learned that she changed her mind and married a Greek. Then there were two or three Englishmen travelling for pleasure, several Swiss, German, and French merchants and commercial travellers, all of them chatty and most of them agreeable, and there were half a dozen Russians, mostly of the gentler sex.

We had not been many hours at sea before a majority of the passengers were on speaking terms, and even endeavoring to make the time pass pleasantly. There was no distinction of age or sex in conversation; everybody was polite, and nobody took offence at being addressed without the formality of an introduction. Nowhere in the world will you find travellers more civil to each other than on the steamers which plough the waters of the Orient.

Among the Russian passengers were three ladies (mother and daughters) from St. Petersburgh, sister and nieces of the Governor 115of Odessa. The younger of the daughters was a Lady of Honor at the court of the Empress, and the family evidently belonged to the haute noblesse of Russia.

If anybody fancies that the high society of Russia is at all “stuck up,” like some of our American aristocrats, he would have been enlightened very materially had he made the voyage with that party. There was no forwardness or pertness on the part of the young ladies, neither was there any frigid reserve or mauvaise honte. They conversed easily and with perfect selfpossession, and when one of the passengers produced a variety of mechanical puzzles for the amusement of the party, they readily joined in the sport. If they were brought up at boarding and finishing schools I must admit that the Russian educational establishments are more successful in their work than the majority of their American and English rivals.

The deck was crowded with third-class passengers, the majority of them being Russian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. Two priests were with them, and they held frequent service, in which all the members of their flock joined. One of these services, which I happened to witness, was peculiarly impressive.

The after saloon was on a level with the main deck, and consequently its roof, which formed our promenade, looked down upon the humbler part of the ship. The first morning out, I rose with the dawn and went above. The sea was calm and smooth almost to glassiness; there was not a breath of wind nor the least feather of cloud or fog. Most of the stars had been paled by the light of the coming day; only a few were twinkling here and there as if struggling to maintain their existence as long as it were possible. They slowly faded and disappeared as the gleam of gold on the eastern horizon spread outward and upward, and betokened the approach of the sun. By-and-by a rim of fire appeared, and each moment grew larger till at last the full circle of light and heat was revealed above the sea. It was sunrise on the water, duller and tamer perhaps than in the midst of high waves, fierce winds, and fleecy clouds, but still a sunrise of great beauty.

A few minutes after I went on deck the pilgrims assembled for service. The priests read the prayers in full, sonorous tones, and the people bowed or knelt in unison, in accordance with the 116formula of the Græco-Russian Church. With their faces towards the east, they seemed to be saluting the rising sun, and it would have needed little play of imagination to picture them as pagan fire-worshippers instead of devout followers of Christ. The sun slowly rose while the service was in progress, and when the prayers were concluded his entire disk was above the horizon. A scene of worship more impressive than this it has rarely been my fortune to witness.


In good weather a steamer of ordinary speed can make the run from Odessa to Constantinople in about forty hours. At daylight on the second morning we were at the entrance of the Bosphorus, but it was still so dark that we could see little more than the lighthouses and a very dim outline of the forts that command the passage.

Just inside the entrance we cast anchor and waited for the visit of the health officer. Until this was obtained we could go no farther, and hold no communication with the shore. The quarantine regulations in the Orient are very rigid, and the least violation of them subjects the offender to severe penalties.

The health officer came at six o’clock, and after a brief inspection granted us a clean bill of health. Then we might have gone 117on, but a tantalizing fog made its appearance and delayed us an hour or more. Then it lifted a little and soon shut down, and it kept lifting and shutting alternately, so that we anchored twice afterwards; drifted some of the time, and moved very slowly for the rest of our way.

It was a disappointment to nearly all of us, for we had great anxiety to see the shores of the Bosphorus, about whose beauty we had heard so much. We had now and then a slight glimpse—all the more aggravating—but did not get a fair view of the shores until we were in sight of the great city.

Some days later, when the sky was clear and the air soft, I made a journey on the Bosphorus, as I was determined not to miss it.

The length of the Bosphorus from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmora is a little more than twenty miles, as a ship runs through; the shores are longer owing to their sinuosity. The strait is supposed to have been formed by an earthquake, as there is a similarity in the rocks of the two shores, and furthermore, there are on each side seven promontories corresponding to as many bays opposite. Its width at the narrowest point is about six hundred yards, and it enlarges in places to eight hundred, a thousand, fifteen hundred, two thousand, and twenty-five hundred yards. In the Gulfs of Bey-Kos and Buyuk-Dere it is more than three thousand yards wide.

The pen may give the figures that indicate the distances and heights, and depths, but no pen can give an adequate description of the pictures presented by the shores of the Bosphorus.

As we enter from the Black Sea we pass between the two castles, the one of Europe and the other of Asia. The hills are steep and rugged, and appear capable of easy defence; as we move along we have a succession of crags and rocks and forests; of villages, chateaux, and palaces in such profusion that we should be wearied were it not for the great beauty of the scene. For several miles the Asiatic side is but thinly inhabited, and the shore appears almost in its primitive condition. There is little else than mountains and gorges, lonely valleys, deep set and secluded, forests of varying colors fringing the cliffs and climbing the sloping sides of the hills, and below them the dark water in which the whole picture is at times reflected. 118On the European side the tableau is much the same for only a mile or so. Then begins a succession of edifices that show how much the progress of settlement has clung to the northern shore. Village after village, palace after palace, follow in such rapid succession that it is difficult to imagine them little else than a continuous line, which they indeed become, long before the towers and domes and minarets of the city come into sight. The irregularity of the shores adds to the picturesque effect; were they straight like the banks of an artificial canal, much of their beauty would be lost.

The real luxury of architecture on the Bosphorus, as we approach from the Black Sea, begins at Buyuk-Dere. This place has been called the most charming pleasure resort in the world. I am hardly prepared to endorse that opinion, but am willing to say it is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. Several of the foreign embassies have their summer residences here, and their palaces are quite prominent; the rich merchants of Constantinople dwell there in considerable numbers, and have fitted up their houses with very little regard for expense. The houses skirt the shore, and some of them climb the hills in terraces; there are groves of trees and a fine promenade near the water, so that the combined effect is very pretty. From here, as we go on, there is an uninterrupted succession of villages and palaces, whose names would be almost meaningless, but whose beauty as we view them from the water can never be forgotten.



By-and-by the fringe of villages becomes larger and deeper, and we are told that Constantinople is in sight. Its hills rise steeply so that the houses seem tost and in terraces; their varying colors appear as numerous as those of the kaleidoscope, and the domes and minarets that crown many of the elevations give the picture an emphatically oriental tinge. We are in front of the entrance to the Golden Horn with Pera and Golata on our right, and Stamboul, with its Seraglio Point, crowned with the dome of Santa Sophia on our left. Beyond are the waves of the Sea of Marmora, and as we look over them the Isles of the Princes rise between us and the horizon.

The harbor is dotted with shipping, and scores of restless steamers dart to and fro with their cargoes of passengers. Hun121dreds of caiques and other row boats are visible, and as our steamer drops her anchor, they throng around her in great numbers. The boatmen shout and gesticulate and push and fight, until they give us a fair indication of what the tower of Babel might have been just before the suspension of work on that edifice. Occasionally one of them falls into the water, but he is soon out again and shouting as wildly as ever. Evidently we shall not lack conveyance to the shore. The boatmen are a heterogeneous lot. They are Turks, Arabs, Maltese, Greeks, Italians, French, and Syrians, and there are many who would be unable, and others unwilling, to state their nationality. They are a picturesque crowd of thieves, most of them wearing the oriental dress, speaking a jargon of Italian and Greek and Turkish, with now and then one who has picked up a little English. They are difficult to manage, and not unfrequently, when they are out of sight of the police, indulge in robbing solitary passengers who engage them for journeys up and down the shores of the Bosphorus.

After running the gauntlet of the custom-house at Constantinople, we are at liberty to make our way to the hotels. All hotels are in the Pera quarter, on the east side of the Golden Horn, and there are always several runners for each establishment that board the steamer as soon as her anchor is down, and are ready to carry passengers and their baggage to the hostel-ries. No matter what hotel you intend to patronize, you are conducted up the steep hill, on whose elongated top the Grand Rue de Pera is situated.

You find that the street is very narrow and very dirty, even though a prolonged residence in New York may have given you modified notions about the ordinary condition of metropolitan highways and byways. There are pools and patches of mud that would have a slimy consistency if it were not frequently stirred by the feet of men and horses; and there are frequent heaps of filth that have waited so long for the scavenger that they have ceased to hope for his coming, and have settled down into the calm resignation of deep despair. The pavement is uneven and in very bad condition; it appears to have been wholly neglected since it was first laid down, and will probably continue to be neglected for years to come. 122The Moslem rarely repairs anything, as he believes that he is interfering with the work of God if he attempts to stop the progress of decay. He builds a house, a mosque, or a bridge—he erects a monument to the memory of his father or brother—he plants a tree and fences a field, and then rests content. The edifice may crumble, the monument may fall, or the tree may wither; he rolls his eyes to heaven and exclaims: “Inshallah”—as God wills it—his duty is ended.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Self-interest sometimes overcomes religious scruples in the East as well as elsewhere, and the Moslem will shrewdly conclude that the will of God requires him to preserve the gifts that Heaven has bestowed.





Human Camels—Canine Colors—The Dogs of Istamboul—Their Appearance and Moral Character—How the Turks regard them—“Inshallah”—Constantinopoli-tan Dogsologies—An Oriental Dog-fight—Sagacious Brutes—Cultivating Canine Society—“Standing Treat” among the Curs—Four-footed Campaigns—Dog-Districts—The Hostile Armies—A Brilliant Strategic Move—Charge of the Light (Dog) Brigade—Advance of the Chef de Garbage—The “Army of the West” in Retreat—The “Doubter’s” Mishap—Full Details of a Coat’s Detailing—An Israelite in whom there was Guile—No More Sandwiches for Me, Sir-r-r!

OUR baggage is on the backs of hamals or porters, and we follow it and them like mourners at a funeral.

The first objects to attract our attention are some ill-conditioned curs of low degree, full-blooded curs, with not a particle of respectability about them except in very rare cases. They are nearly all of the nondescript sort which the ruralist designates as “yaller dog,” without reference to his color. Yellow is the prevailing hue; but there are black, brown, white, and spotted dogs among them, and one of my friends avers that he has seen green, red, blue, and pink dogs over in Stamboul. But I fear he had tarried too long in a certain café there, and partaken of the cup which necessarily inebriates while it cheers.

There is a good deal of wolfishness about these dogs both in habits and appearance. They have no home, they live in the streets, and hunt for their living wherever there is a chance to find anything. You see them lying in the open street, on the pavement where men and horses are passing, or on the narrow strip of sidewalk, as if the place belonged to them. Under very favorable circumstances they crouch in doorways, but in so doing 124they render themselves liable to be kicked soundly whenever an occupant of the premises happens along. When they lie in the street men and horses generally step over or around them; I say generally, as neither men nor horses are very particular, and you not unfrequently hear a prolonged yelp or howl from some unfortunate cur whose leg, tail, or body, has received the impress of a human or equine foot. You see dogs with frightful wounds received from horse shoes, and others with huge scars where such wounds have been healed. In the Grand Rue de Pera and other streets where carriages can circulate, the sleeping dogs are occasionally run over and either wounded or killed.


I was one day an unwilling witness of one of these occurrences. Within a yard of where I stood a carriage-wheel passed over a dog, lacerating him in such a way that he died in a few minutes. But while he lived his howling was fearful to hear, and it rang in my ears long after the poor brute had ceased to breathe.

The Turks in general care little about the sufferings of the dogs, or in fact of any living thing. Now and then, one of them shows a little kindness to the animals, allows them to sleep in his doorway, and sometimes feeds them with any refuse food he has at hand. The Christian inhabitants of the place are more amiably disposed towards the brutes, and frequently kill them in order to end their misery. 125There have been several raids upon the dogs in the Pera quarter, but the animals are so numerous and the opposition of the Turks is so great, that the numbers are not much diminished. Though the Turks consider the dog an unclean beast and have no love for him, they have a great aversion to taking life on the principle I have before mentioned of non-interference with the will of God.

“If God wished the dogs to die,” said a Turk one day, in discussing the question, “he would sweep them off by a pestilence. Inshallah! they shall live.”

A practical reason for maintaining these dogs in Constantinople is that they are excellent scavengers. In this respect they are regarded exactly as are the buzzards that abound in some of our southern cities.

Wherever you see a fresh garbage heap in Constantinople there you will see a group of dogs. They are engaged in making a living, and they turn over all parts of the heap in search of something edible. Nothing comes amiss. A crust of bread, a bit of meat, a bone, fleshless or otherwise, is immediately seized and appropriated.

I used to watch the dogs when thus foraging, and was surprised to observe their apparent friendliness. When one found anything he ate it without being disturbed by his companions; but he never lingered long over it. Sometimes one would seize hold of a large bone and another would attach himself at the same moment to the opposite end. Then began a discussion of growls, snorts, and bites, and very often the whole party would go in and there would be a general scrimmage, in which the dogs would be in a struggling heap, doggedly clinging to the bone of contention.

One afternoon I happened to witness a fight of this sort in which half a dozen dogs were engaged. There was one little fellow in the lot, and while his big friends were quarreling at a lively rate he slipped in beneath the belly of the largest and came out in the same way, bringing the bone and making off with it.


So intent were they upon their unpleasantness that they did not observe the abstraction until little dog and big bone were out of sight around the corner. They looked around an instant with their noses in the air and then struck up another chorus of growls 126interrupted with bites and tussles. Then they appeared content and returned to their scientific investigations in the heap of garbage, pawing, scratching, and turning it over industriously for everything capable of mastication. To my mind a whole bundle of morals was bound up in the incident, but I forbear to thrust them upon my readers.

These dogs know and remember their friends as readily as do the members of the canine race in other parts of the globe, and numberless are the anecdotes of their sagacity related by old residents at Constantinople. A stranger walking the Grand Rue de Pera will frequently be accompanied a block or so by a stray dog who will wag his tail and look pleadingly in the stranger’s face as if to say “Please give me something to eat.” These demonstrations will be liveliest in the vicinity of an open-front cook-shop, such as are so common throughout the “city of dogs,” and if you stop and buy something for the poor brute he will manifest his gratitude in the various doggish ways with which we are all familiar. He will remember you and the next time you walk that street and block, he will be on hand to welcome you.

One day a couple of dogs thus pleaded for me to stand treat and I obliged them by stopping at a cook-shop and buying a few pennies worth of the pancaky productions of which the lower class of Turks are so fond. That evening I was calling on some friends at the Hotel de France and returned rather late to my quarters in the Hotel de Byzance. Two or three hundred yards from my destination two dogs came to my side and after a few demonstrations of welcome traveled along with a dignified air and did not leave me until I entered the doorway of the hotel. 127At that hour the cook-shops had long been closed and the manner of the brutes did not indicate that they expected to be paid for taking me home. Next day they met me again and were prompt to recognize me, and I returned their recognition by again standing treat at the cook shop. That night they were again on hand to escort me, and when a third dog approached they drove him away. In the day time they were suppliants but at night they were guardians, and I was told that if any man had ventured to attack me there was little doubt that they would have done good service with their teeth.

We kept up our acquaintance—the dogs and I—as long as I remained in Constantinople. I have always entertained great respect for the dog, and this experience increased rather than diminished it.

Have any of us ever lived, when we were boys, in a large city, and have we ever been “licked” by the boys of a neighboring street for the terrible crime of venturing out of our own territory? And furthermore have we ever joined in “licking” some other boy who had the audacity to venture from his street into ours.

Well, what boys do in American cities, the dogs do in Turkey. They divide Constantinople into districts, and they know their own districts as well as “the gal knew her dad.” Each group of dogs has its own territory and they are also on good terms with each other. But let a cur from the next dogship venture over the boundary he is in trouble at once. The whole crowd, Tray, Blanche, and Sweetheart and all the other big and little dogs go for him, and give it to him tooth and nail. He is rolled over in the mud and bitten and bruised, and if he gets back to his own ground with a whole skin he may thank his dog-stars.

I have frequently seen these discussions and observed how carefully the boundary is defined, and how common cause is made against the intruder. He is driven back to and over the frontier, and there the pursuit is supposed to end. But if the pursuers in the excess of their zeal venture across the line they are attacked by the combined forces of the district they have invaded, and a grand battle is occasionally the result. The vigor with which the dogs of the district assert their common rights, the patriotic zeal of even the most insignificant and contemptible 128curs when called upon to defend the common weal, and the aptitude which the dogs display for the discussion of diplomatic niceties and fine distinctions, call for the respectful consideration and study of the diplomats and scientists of the Western world.

One day I was sitting with a friend in front of a café which was situated on a street corner. The small street intersecting the larger one happened to be the boundary of two of the dog principalities, and we observed that the four-footed inhabitants of each realm frequently came down to the street, but did not venture into it, as it was a sort of neutral zone, which neither might occupy.

Let us call the principalities East and West for convenience in telling what happened.

Both armies had been gathered at the boundary and separated only by the narrow street. They snarled and growled and made reconnaissances in force, but neither ventured across.

The army of the East was the more numerous and contained larger and more healthy soldiers than that of the West; there was mischief in their eyes and mud on their feet, and they felt that they could “chaw up” the dogs of the West if they had a chance.

And how should they do it when it was contrary to their moral principles to invade a country with which they were nominally at peace?

The army of the East retired from the frontier and disappeared round the next corner where there was doubtless a camp of instruction—a sort of Chalons-sur-Marne. The army of the West also retired and moved toward its own interior; it stacked arms in the vicinity of a swill-box in front of a restaurant, and waited for somebody to overturn the box, on which their hopes and hunger were centered. Unconscious of danger, they did not preserve good order, and nearly half their forces straggled away where a baggy-breeched and dirty Turk had just deposited a basketful of kitchen garbage. With tail in air, mouth wide open, and thoughts intent upon their hurried banquet, for one fateful moment they lost sight of stratagems and only dwelt on spoils.

This was the military situation at 3.15 p.m. About 3.18 p.m. a cavalry regiment (one dog) debouched from the street leading 129to the fortified camp of the Army of the East.

Halting a moment to observe the situation,—it had only one eye to observe with—and its tail had been detailed to service elsewhere—it gave the order to advance and—obeyed it.

With no shout of defiance, without champ of bit or clank of saber, but “all in silence deep, unbroken,” it pressed forward at the pas de charge and crossed the frontier. Leaping the Rubicon—a narrow mud puddle—it was on the sacred soil of the West.

This gallant Light Brigade—noble six hundred ounces of dog-flesh—did not slacken speed for an instant, but pushed onward with head and stump of tail up, to within point blank range of the swill-box. It was not perceived by the Army of the West until it was within a couple of yards of the commissary depot; there a shot from a picket gave the alarm and the Army of the West fell into line at once.

The swill-box division made a bayonet charge at the audacious invader, who turned and with depending caudal stump legged it for his native land.


The reserve at the garbage heap advanced in double quick time and things looked rather lively for the invader.

Swift was the flight and swift the pursuit.

The pursuers halted not at the frontier, but in the impetuosity of youth and anger at the insolence of the enemy’s cavalry, they pushed straight on after the flying foe.

The cavalry sounded its trumpet as it jumped the Rubicon, and just as it reached the corner leading to the fortified camp, the whole army of the East came to its support. Wasn’t the army of the West up a tree about this time? 130The battle was short, sharp, and decisive. The army of the West was “licked” out of its boots, and with shattered battalions and wide gaps in its ranks it came limping and howling home, leaving the ground covered with a debris of ears and tails.


They made a brief halt at the frontier whither they were pursued, but only stopped long enough to intimate that they would get even sometime.

Whether they have ever done so history does not record. The despatches from our ambassador at the court of His Majesty, the Sultan, made no mention of the matter, and a similar remissness has been observed in the reports of Sir Henry Elliott to the British Government.

The dog in the Orient is considered an unclean and disreputable beast, and one of the worst epithets applicable to living things is the term “dog.” The Moslem was once accustomed to speak of “Christian dogs” whenever he had occasion to allude to people of the Occident, just as the Chinese are to this day in the habit of designating-them as “fankwei,” “foreign devils.” Sometimes a delicate allusion is made to the maternal descent from the canine race, where the speaker wishes to lay it on fine, and if he wants to be especially choice and emphatic, he would denounce an offending Occidental, as “Father of all dogs.”

Donkey drivers all through the Orient urge their beasts forward by shouting, “Empchy, ya kelb,” (go on you dog,) but the donkeys do not appear to mind it. I was repeatedly impressed with the similarity of Arab and Russian drivers, as the epithet Kelb which the former apply to their donkeys and camels, has exactly the meaning of “sabaka” which the Russian yemshik yells out to his horse. 131The dogs of Constantinople are so accustomed to the sight of people in European dress, that they do not pretend to attack them, for the simple reason that they would have a larger contract on hand than they could conveniently fill. But the case is different in places less frequented by foreigners. In Damascus, when our party made the tour of the walls, the dogs annoyed us greatly by hanging around and keeping up a very loud and angry barking.


They did not bite anybody, though they came very near, and certainly manifested a strong desire for dental practice.

They were knowing brutes, those Damascus dogs; one of our party afterward called them Damas-cussed dogs; but we reproved him and threatened expulsion if he ever did so again. The joke might have been allowed in Kit Burns’ dog-pit, but was quite out of place in a respectable party making the tour of the Holy Land. When they barked and howled around us, we made threatening demonstrations with our canes and umbrellas, but the animals didn’t scare worth a cent. They were particularly fascinated with the “Doubter,” but they soon knew the range of his umbrella, and how to keep out of its reach.

But when our guide picked up a stone and let it fly they fell back. Whenever they came too near, a stone would send them back and a volley would put their ranks in disorder. Even the motion to pick up a stone would start them; the Arabs around Damascus can hurl these missiles with great violence and are good shots, and the dogs know it. Several times our guide made splendid shots, taking the dogs fairly in the sides with stones the size of a respectable fist, or a more respectable piece of chalk, 132and sending the offenders off with a chorus of yelps that were a warning to their fellows.


One morning when we were starting out for a long forenoon’s walk, in Constantinople, the “Doubter” was sceptical about the possibility of getting anything to eat on the way, and so took the precaution to provide himself with a couple of ham sandwiches, which he stowed away in the rear pocket of his coat, and thereby hangs a tale.

In one place we passed a group of dogs that looked up inquiringly, but showed no fight or other ugliness. As we went by them the largest of the pack, a lank beast about the size of a full grown donkey, sniffed the morning air and the sandwiches in the “Doubter’s” coat-tails. With hair bristling on his back, and with tail and ears erect the Ponto of the Orient came up behind us, and I could see what he wanted. As the “Doubter” spoke nothing but English, I passed the word in French to the rest of the party to keep his attention fixed on something, while I encouraged the dog. They dropped at once to the joke, and became very busy in examining the dome of a mosque that loomed up before them.

Ponto or Ishmael, or whatever his canine name was, came bravely and hungrily forward. A ham sandwich was evidently a luxury the brute had not enjoyed for many a day, and his appetite was now fairly aroused. I pointed to the coat-tails where were enshrined the savory sandwiches, and intimated by signs 133that it was all right, and the best dog might win. Ponto’s nose came within two inches of the prize, and took a fresh and satisfying sniff and then—


There was a ripping and tearing of broadcloth; the “Doubter” fell backwards from the effect of the shock, and then—there was more ripping.

Ponto was hungry and the Infidel Christian had brought him something to eat.

A jump, a rip, a fall, an—

As the novelists say “all this passed quicker than I can write it.” other rip, and all was over.

I was so dumb-struck with astonishment that I couldn’t interfere till Ponto had detailed the “Doubter’s” coat. As he fled I raised a shout and a terrible outcry that made him run all the faster. Away he went like a pirate-ship in a fog, and in two minutes he was hull down among the sand hills.

“Stop him! stop him!” yelled the “Doubter,” but the brute couldn’t understand English, and evidently he was not a stop-watch dog.

“There’s a coat ruined,” continued the “Doubter,”

“I’ve only had it four years, and gave twenty dollars for it. What shall I do? what shall I do?”

“Cut off the other tail and make a jacket of it. Come to-morrow with sandwiches in the other pocket and the dog will do it for you.”

“Hire an Arab to hunt up the tail.”

“Cut off the dog’s tail and sew it on instead, look any worse than it did before.” 134"Tell the Consul about it, and have him demand satisfaction of the government.”

These and other irreverent remarks were let off in the pauses of our laughter, and I am bound to say that the “Doubter” didn’t enjoy any part of the joke. He was unhappy all day, and more unhappy when he visited next morning the clothing shop of an Israelite, in whom there was guile enough to set up a whole Tammany Ring, and have ten per cent, to spare. While he tried on a coat, and was dubious about the fit, the polite Jew declared: “Ah, mein Gott, zat coat, he fit you like ze skin on a dog; like, shoost like, ze skin on one big dog!”

And the “Doubter” again waxed wroth, and took in high dudgeon this apparently personal indignity.

When he paid his bill at the hotel he was again angry, for among the items was the following:

“Extra—two sandwiches, two francs.”

He vowed he would not pay, but we all insisted that the charge was just, and he finally paid, and was cross for a week afterward. But he never again took ham sandwiches for a lunch in Constantinople.





Locomotion in Constantinople—Horses, Donkeys, Shank’s Mare and Sedan Chairs Turkish Street Cars—Women in Public—The Veiled Queens of Seraglios—The Drugs of the Orient—Henna and its Uses—Ottar of Roses, Musk and Bergamot—Shawls and Silks of price—The Treasures of Ormus and of lad—The Workers in Precious Metals—Vases of Gold and Platters of Silver—An Aureole of Gems—Loot for Soldiers and Swag for Burglars—The Weapons of Ancient Islam—Blades of Damascus and Swords of Mecca—A Wonderful Collection—Old Clothes and New Truck—A Seedy Moslem Swindler—An Exorbitant “Backsheesh”—What happened to the Judge—A Dispenser of Justice in the Lockup.

DOUBTLESS one of the most attractive features of Constantinople in the eyes of a stranger is a visit to the bazaars.

To reach there from Pera, where all the hotels are situated, it is necessary to descend the steep hill to Golata and cross the Golden Horn to Stamboul. You can go on foot, on horseback, in a carriage, or in a sedan chair; on foot is the least expensive and is the method employed by the majority of visitors as it furnishes an opportunity for a leisurely survey of the route which is always interesting, providing the rain is not falling and the sun is not pouring down an intense heat.

Saddle horses are to be found all over the city, and you can hire them by the day or hour or by the course from one place to another. A man accompanies the horses, and no matter how fast you may ride, he will keep close to the animal’s heels without apparent fatigue.

Carriages are a comparatively recent feature of Constantinople; they are decidedly expensive, and as they jolt along over 136the rough pavements you are shaken up in a way to make Dyspepsia turn pale in the face.

The sedan chair is borne by two men and is not an uncomfortable mode of locomotion; all things considered it is the most agreeable if one does not wish to go on foot, and has an aversion to a violent shaking up.


The sedan chair waiting at the door of the theatres near the conclusion of the performance presents a curious spectacle, and reminds you of the stories of London two hundred years ago when chairs and link boys were the mode.

Omnibusses and street cars are in use. The latter are divided into three compartments, first, second, and women’s. The first class has leather cushions on the seat, and are generally dirty; the second class has no cushions on the seats and are generally dirtier. In the women’s compartment no man is allowed to enter; the women sit there in silence and seclusion after the Turkish custom, and each wears the veil.

The veil of the Turkish women of fashion is of the thinnest gauze; it allows the full outline of the features to be distinctly seen, and if the wearer is pretty you are sure to know it. And between you and me many who are not altogether pretty are made so by the veil which softens the hard outlines and tempers any excess of color.


The street car dropped us at the point indicated by our guide, and we entered the bazaar through a gateway possessing an architectural feature worthy of notice. The first place we visited was 137the bazaar of drugs, and as we entered it a thousand peculiar odors saluted our nostrils; some of them possessing great pungency and power of penetration. For a minute or so the odor was almost intoxicating; it was much like that which we experience in America on entering a drug and perfumery establishment on a large scale.

The street or passage-way is quite narrow and on either side are small shops with open fronts. The floor of the shop is about three feet above the ground, and is so arranged that the merchant squatted within can use the front part of the floor as a counter for the display of his wares.

For storage purposes there were shelves, and the merchant could reach whatever was wanted without rising from his place. On the projecting platform at either side of the shop, there were 138sacks of henna—used for coloring a great many things, the eyebrows and finger-nails of women included—and there were other sacks containing dates and various kinds of nuts. Drugs of unknown names and quantities were exhibited, and in many respects each shop appeared very much like its neighbor.

Immediately on entering we find ourselves in the place set apart for perfumery, and if we wish to purchase ottar of rose, musk, essence of bergamot, oil of sandal wood, or any of that kind of goods, now is our chance. The merchants here seem to think that the chief end of foreign man and especially woman is to buy ottar of rose, and you are offered the article in all sorts of flasks and bottles They have a curious looking bottle, shaped like one’s finger but longer in proportion to its width, which holds only a few drops of the precious liquid.

Each man assures you that his is the only genuine article of the kind in the city, and that you will be cheated if you go elsewhere. You are allowed to smell of the merchandise, and by way of convincing you of the genuineness of what they offer, they show you a small bottle of the counterfeit with the assurance that they never sell it and only keep it to show.

There is more humbug and nonsense in the purchase and sale of ottar of rose than in anything else that is dealt in, in the Orient. Every guide can take you to the only merchant in the city who sells the genuine article, and no two guides take you to the same merchant.

You can buy the stuff anywhere from one to twenty dollars an ounce; the price you pay is only limited by your willingness to pay it, and the amount of money that your guide and the merchants (who are invariably “in cahoots”) think they can squeeze out of you. You can just as well buy for five dollars an ounce as for twenty; the genuine article, unadulterated in any way, is worth fifty dollars an ounce at the place of manufacture, and as the Orient demands large profits, you should expect to pay a hundred dollars for it in Constantinople.

You can set it down as a certainty that no stranger can possibly buy the genuine ottar of rose in the bazaars of Constantinople or Cairo.

Near these perfume bazaars are the shops where you can buy-all sorts of Oriental luxuries in the shape of shawls and silks, 139sandal and rosewood, Persian mirrors framed in fine paintings, articles of ivory, or ebony, or pearl, little odds and ends of filagree work; in fact, an endless variety of things of more or less value.

The merchants are not so ready to show their goods as those we have just passed, for the reason that the articles may be damaged by much handling, and customers are not very easy to obtain. If you show a disposition to trade, they will accommodate you; but they do not rush to strip their shelves at your approach.

We did not want to buy drugs, and so we went rather hastily through this bazaar to visit the “Grand Bazaar,” as it is generally known among foreigners as well as natives. Do not imagine that it is a single house; it is so in one sense, and in another is far from it. It is a sort of city within a city; it has streets, lanes, alleys, and squares, which are all roofed over, so that you might walk upon the housetops from one side of the bazaar to the other. Light is admitted through holes in the street roofs, some of them open and others covered with glass.

There is not light enough to go around and give a good supply to everybody, and sometimes you have to strain your eyes to see distinctly, and then you don’t. A good many of the shop-keepers in America are up to the same dodge; if you don’t believe it, just enter a ready-made clothing store in New York or Boston, and observe in what part of the establishment they endeavor to fit you.

Further on you find the shops where the silks of Broussa are sold, an article for which Constantinople has long been famous.

There are two kinds of Broussa goods, one entirely of silk and the other half silk and half linen; the latter is much the cheaper of the two, and greatly in demand for dresses after the European model. The merchants endeavor to tempt the masculine visitor with dressing-gown and wrappers of Broussa silks, and then with slippers and other articles which would make a sensation at home. There is a great supply of ready-made clothing of the Turkish pattern, especially for children; and you could rig out a small boy there in a very short time with garments that fit him exactly, from slippers up to head dress.

And so you go on. You can wander for hours in the bazaars, days will not exhaust their treasures, and I think I should be 140content to spend my odd moments there for at least half a year. The whole wealth of Ormus and of Ind seems to be stored there; and the eyes are frequently dazzled by some object of great value, whose existence is almost an enigma, and its uses still more so. You pass from the centre of one trade to that of another; now you are among the rows of shops where are sold the curiously-shaped shoes of the Orient. Thousands and thousands of shoes are exposed there, and you think if all Turkey should become by some miracle barefoot to-morrow morning, it could be newly shod before nightfall from this bazaar alone.

You enter the bazaar of the workers in gold and silver, and there you see enough of the precious metal to pay the national debt of any reasonably economical country, or at all events, to go far in that direction. You enter the bazaar of precious stones and see the light flashing and sparkling from thousands of diamonds of “purest ray serene,” and should you show a desire to purchase, they will bring forth from dusty and iron-bound coffers tens and hundreds of thousands of other diamonds, larger and more brilliant than those which hang or lie in the showcases. Collars, ear-drops, rings, and pins of diamonds and other precious stones are on exhibition, and many of them, in spite of their oriental mounting in semi-barbaric taste, are of great beauty.

The wealth stored here is something incredible. The loot of the place would make many and many a fortune, and enable the robbers to live comfortably and honestly for the rest of their days.

One of the most interesting places is the Arms Bazaar. It is not exactly what its name indicates, as it contains a great many things besides weapons of war or the chase. In the other bazaars you find an attempt now and then to conform to Occidental taste, but here everything is Oriental. You can find here every sort of weapon which the Orient has known in the past ten or twenty centuries. There are swords of Damascus, of a fineness unknown to the best steel of the present day, and which may have flashed in the hands of Saladin or Haroun-al-Raschid. There are knives and lances that are said to have pierced through coats of mail, and whose handles are crusted and covered with 141pearls and precious stones. There are spears, hatchets, lances, sabres, curious old match-locks, with barrels of immense length—all the weapons of the Islam of the past and going back to the time when Mohammed, at Mecca, believed himself commissioned from heaven to reform the world.

Saddles and housings, sparkling with precious stones, are placed where the light falling from the vaulted roof will show them to the best advantage; and as you look around you see thousands of objects covered with jewels and with barbaric pearl and gold. There are garments lined with costly furs, or embroidered in the most elaborate manner, and there are articles of furniture of fabulous value.

So great is the wealth contained in the Arms Bazaar that no fire is allowed there under any circumstances. Smoking is prohibited; the place where a Turk forbids himself to smoke must be sacred in the highest degree.

There are bazaars where they sell pipes of all kinds, and where you buy all kinds of tin-ware. There are book bazaars, seed bazaars, glass bazaars, and so on through a long list. And there is a second-hand bazaar, where you can buy anything from a set of false teeth to a suit of clothes. It is a wonderful mass of stuff, not altogether inviting; as you walk around, you have suspicions of plague, cholera, and other diseases of the Orient, and are not altogether sorry to get away. To most visitors to this place, the request “please not handle” would be quite superfluous, as they have no wish to form a very intimate acquaintance with the articles exposed for sale. But the Turk never puts up a notice of this sort, and seems quite indifferent on the subject.

We inquired for the slave bazaar, and were told it no longer existed.

A few years ago there was such a bazaar near the mosque of Mohammed II, where negro children were sold, and occasionally one could find an adult, man or woman, to be disposed of. The bazaar for white slaves is also gone, but the commerce is still carried on clandestinely. The business is conducted by Circassians established in the Pera quarter; they claim that the girls sold by them, come voluntarily to Constantinople, and the prices they demand is simply to cover the expense of importation. 142It was the month of Ramadan, or Ramazan, when I arrived at Constantinople. There may be some ignorant wretch who doesn’t know what Ramadan is.

Well, the Mohammedan year is divided into twelve months, composed alternately of twenty-nine and thirty days, or three hundred and fifty-four days in all. Consequently the year begins sometimes in the spring, sometimes in the summer, and so on, with a constant variation. This may seem absurd to our notions, but on second thought we see that it gives every month a fair show, and is really a very just system.

Suppose we had the same kind of year, we could have January begin, once in a while, in August, and March could have a chance to set up for September. May could not put on airs over November, because they would change places from time to time, and December could be in haying time, just as often as it is the period for skating. Think of planting potatoes in November and cutting ice in August, of eating your Christmas dinner and going a Maying in October! Mohammed had a level head after all.

Ramadan is the most sacred month in the year, and every Moslem is directed to fast every day during that month. From sunrise to sunset he must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and smelling perfumes, and from all indulgence of a worldly character.

The Prophet neglected to prohibit his followers from taking presents or swindling their customers during this month; at all events, I found them entertaining the most extraordinary notions of the value of their services, and asking about four times the real worth of what they had to sell and what I wanted to buy.

The first afternoon we were in Constantinople we went to the Tower of Golata, which overlooks the city; there were six of us, and we went without a guide. We climbed the steps until we reached the platform, where the police authorities keep a detachment constantly on the lookout for fires, and I may here remark, by the way, that their vigilance is well rewarded, as they have more fires, and very destructive ones they are, in Constantinople than in any other city of its size on the face of the globe.

When we reached this platform a seedy Turk approached us and asked what we wanted. 143"Can we go to the top?” I asked in French, as he was more likely to understand that language than any other with which I was familiar.

The seedy Moslem extended his hand and uttered, “backsheesh!” in a very imperative tone.

I gave him a franc, and he then counted six on his fingers, and intimated that he wanted six francs for the party. I paid no more attention to him, and continued up the stairs to the top, calling on the rest to follow.


We remained there an hour or more studying the beautiful, or as the French would say, bizarre picture which included the whole of Constantinople, the Golden Horn, Scutari, with much of the Asiatic side and portions of the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmora. We watched the sun go down, and when his rays had ceased to gild the domes and minarets of Stamboul we were ready to descend.

The Judge had gone down before the sun, as he was not much on sight-seeing, and had spied a Greek beer-shop near the foot of the tower, and intimated that he would sit down in front of it and wait for us. When the rest of us went down our seedy Turk was on the lookout, and demanded more francs; he wanted five and I gave him one, and intimated that I would break his Osmanli skull if he didn’t shut up. We were more numerous than he, and he didn’t trouble us farther, except by howling “backsheesh” as long as we were within hearing.

And what do you suppose the Judge told us when we joined him?

That scoundrelly Oriental had locked the door on the Judge and refused to let him descend until he paid the five francs, which 144he afterward demanded of us, and the good-natured ex-dispenser of justice actually paid the fellow three francs, and then grew wrathy and threatened to break the door if it was not opened.


The Turk saw he meant business, and then unlocked the door, not without a final demand, which he repeated while our friend descended.

We learned at the hotel that half a franc would have been a sufficient “back sheesh” for the whole party. Had we paid that and no more when we entered, the fellow would have seen that we knew the price, and would have made no further demand. But my gift of a franc—double the proper fee—coupled with my question showed him that we were a lot of modest idiots who might be swindled. It was our first experience with the Moslem, and you can wager that we learned a good lesson from it.

Now, this happened in the month of Ramadan, and that Turk was keeping the fast with religious exactness. Yet we shouldn’t have been swindled any more by a Christian hackman in New York or Chicago, unless we had given the hackman an equal chance.




The Great Moslem Fast—Nights of Feasting and Days of Fasting—The Injunction of Mahomet—The Ravenous Mussulman—An Hotel Swindle—A Stranger and They Took Him In—“Too Thin, too Thin”—Greek Wine—Going Out in a Blaze of Glory—Thunder, Smoke, and Flame—The Approach of the Sultan—How He Looked—A Peep at the Ladies of the Harem—The Veiled Queens—The Sultan’s Mother—The Empress Eugenie at the Seraglio—Insult Offered to Eugenie—A Queen in Tears—A Question of Court Etiquette—Murdering Christians.

WHEN the month of Ramadan falls in winter, and the days are short and cool, the fast is not very severe, especially for the wealthier class who are not obliged to work.

But in summer, with heat and long days, the fast becomes a serious matter for all parties, especially for the poorer class who must attend to their daily avocations. The rich Moslems lie around their houses in a semi-comatose condition; some of them sit up all night eating, drinking, and smoking, and devote the day to digestion and sleep; thus they rob the fast of its terrors, and I am told that many of them do not hesitate to take an occasional bite during the day, but they take it very privately and in the strictest confidence.

The fast comes heaviest on the poorer classes, and especially the abstinence from drinking. Think of being at work out of doors in a July day fourteen hours or so, and not a drop of water or any other liquid passing your lips! Men frequently faint under such circumstances, and sometimes their health is seriously impaired. 146Should a Turk faint from fasting and you endeavored to revive him by pouring coffee or water down his throat, it is an even chance that he would berate you soundly when he came to himself, for attempting to make him abandon the faith of his childhood, and embrace that of the Christian dog.


The Prophet enjoined his followers not to crowd this fasting business too much; soldiers in time of war are not required to keep the fast, nor persons who are sick or on a journey. It is even stated in the Koran that nobody should keep the fast unless perfectly healthy and able to do so, and that he should not neglect necessary labor to keep it. But if he does not fast during Ramadan, he must do so an equal number of days in the rest of the year.

In Constantinople a gun is fired at sunrise and another at sunset, and between these gun-fires the fast is in full force. As evening approaches every body gets ready for business, and is determined that no time shall be lost. Fires are lighted, food is cooked and placed on the table, and coffee is poured out. As the sun touches the horizon the dinner party sits (or squats) at the table, and when the gun booms out there is from one side of the Ottoman capital to the other a simultaneous extension of; right hands to clutch something edible, and convey it to the 147gaping Moslem mouths. You can almost hear the rush of wind caused by that synchronous movement, and if the force employed could be utilized by wheels and belts, it would be found sufficient for the propulsion of a cotton factory of the largest calibre.

Things went on this way day after day during Ramadan, and wherever we went among the Turks, near the sunset hour, we witnessed the same scenes.

The mosques were brilliantly illuminated both externally and internally; the rows of lamps hung round the upper galleries of the minarets presented a curious appearance, as the minaret would generally be quite invisible in the darkness, so that the rows of light would appear to be suspended high up in the air. The people assembled for daily prayers, instead of weekly ones, and there was a general appearance of piety all around, coupled with an intense desire to make the most out of the “stranger within the gates”.

Even the Christian residents seemed to have caught the infection—the proprietor of the Hotel d’Angleterre “raised” on us about four hours after we had settled into our quarters, and we had a row by way of diversion.

When we went there from the steamer we arranged to have everything, rooms, attendance, lights, and wine at dinner, for twenty francs per diem; when we were gathered at the table we were told that wine would be extra—the manager was sorry, but they had made a mistake in telling us wine was included. He would not yield, and next morning we packed our baggage and went to the rival house.

When he found that we were leaving, he came down. We might have wine free, he would give us the best rooms in the house, he would eat dirt, any dirt we might select, and in any quantity, if we would only stay.

But “it was no go,” or rather it was a go on our part, and we patronized the Hotel de Byzance, where, for sixteen francs, we had everything as good as at the other house, and wine included. The wine proved to be ornamental rather than useful; it was a Greek article, with the goût of nitric acid and oak bark, and brave must be the man who would drink it.

Should I visit that hotel a decade hence, I expect to find the same decanter of wine, that stood by my plate during my stay. 148The day I left I grasped the decanter affectionately and gave it a farewell kiss.

“Good bye, my friend, good bye,” I gently murmured, “we shall meet again some time, let us fervently hope. I am a frail mortal and may not last many years, but you have enduring qualities that should preserve you a century or two Don’t ‘sour on me’ when I am far away; if anything, you are too sour already.”

The decanter was too full for utterance.


A tear stood in its eye, though it may have been a drop remaining from the effort of the waiter to tone the wine down with water, so that the stuff would be drinkable.

Ramadan closed in a blaze of glory. The ships of the Turkish squadron were gorgeously dressed in flags, and many English and French residents hung out their national standards.

From the ships and the forts all round came the booming of artillery—not in occasional spattering shots, but in a salvo that seemed to shake the city, and check the flow of the waters through the Bosphorus.

The fast was over and the Moslem was happy. Next day was the feast of Bairam, and the Sultan was to pray in the mosque of Saint Sophia. Of course we went to see him arrive at the mosque, and we had to rise disagreeably early in order to be promptly on the ground.

From the Stamboul end of the bridge over the Golden Horn, there was a double hedge of infantry and cavalry all the way to the mosque. We took positions near the entrance to the Seraglio Park, where we could have a front view of the carriages as they 149approached, and then a side view as they turned to enter the gate. The aphorism that great minds think alike was well verified on that occasion, as we found some two or three thousand people holding similar views to ours, and a front place seemed hopeless.


The police were very civil, and the “cavass,” or police officer on duty in front of our party, kept the population from crowding us in conveniently close. The “cavass” was arrayed in gorgeous style, and a franc slipped into his hand proved a good investment; where he had before used words he now used a stick, and soon 150convinced the multitude that it had no rights which he or we were bound to respect. We had front places, and the fellow even brought a couple of bricks on which the lady of our party could stand and thus preserve her feet from the dampness of the earth.

We were close to the gate and had a good position. On the opposite side of the gate there was a crowd of women, principally Turkish; we intimated that we would like to stand there, but the force of politeness and “backsheesh” could no farther go. Our lady might join the feminine group, but as for the rest of us it was out of the question. No man was allowed to intrude there; to Christian and Moslem, Jew and Pagan, the place was forbidden, and two policemen were there to enforce obedience.

By and by there was a commotion, and a squadron of cavalry came trotting up the street and into the gate. Close behind them came carriages containing officers of the Sultan’s cabinet, and, behind them in the most gorgeous carriage of all, was the Sultan Abdul-Aziz, the head of the Ottoman Empire.

He rode alone, etiquette forbidding that he should be accompanied by any one, even by a minister of State. He is a stout, in fact more than stout, individual, with a heavy face, rather devoid of expression. I saw him seven years before in Paris; then his cropped and full beard was black; but as I looked at it, on that morning of Bairam I found that it was well sprinkled with grey. Unless the Sultan renews his youth at some Ponce de Leon fount of hair dye he will be a respectable old grey-beard before many years, provided he is not gathered too soon to his Osmanli Fathers. He was born on the 9th of February, 1830, and so you can easily calculate his age—just as easily as he can do it.

He sits erect and with an air of dignity; evidently he knows that people are looking at him, and he ought to be on his good behavior. He is in a gaudy uniform, which my hasty glance does not allow me to include in detail, and his fez is bright, and has evidently been sent out that morning and freshly ironed.

He is evidently proud of his fez and gives his whole mind to it.

The Sultan is a devout Moslem, and goes to church, or mosque, with exemplary regularity. Every Friday he leaves his palace about eleven o’clock and goes to one of the mosques, never to 151the same one twice his mind an hour or so before he sets out. He generally goes ===on horseback, and sometimes in a caique, and rarely in a carriage. He never goes back by the way he came, and he never returns on the horse that brought him, a second horse being sent, for his homeward ride.

The same plan is followed when he goes in caique or carriage, a second being taken for his return journey. I asked the reason of this, and was told that it was the custom, and that the Sultan had certain superstitions which those around him found it well to humor.

Before the Sultan’s cortege came in sight several carriages containing women were driven rapidly through the gate, and others came after His Majesty had entered. These were the ladies of the Imperial Harem, all dressed in their best clothes, and all wearing the yashmak, or veil. They were all pretty, or, at any rate, their veils made them appear so, if they were not.

The Turkish veil is very thin,—so much so that it distinctly reveals the outline of the face and softens any tendency to harshness. It appears more like a slice cut from a cumulus cloud than like a real tangible substance that costs money.

The Sultan’s mother was in one of the carriages; a dignified old lady, whose beauty has evidently gone back on her, as she wears a veil thicker than those of the Sultan’s wives, either full rank or brevet. She is a true believer of the old school; she believes most emphatically in the impurity of the Christian dogs, though she is open to reason sometimes when her son takes her in hand.

When Eugenie, Empress of the French, visited Constantinople, she was received by the Sultan with high honor as the representative of His (then) Majesty, Louis Napoleon. She was presented to the Sultan’s mother, and when the introduction was pronounced Eugenie stepped gracefully forward and kissed the old lady.

The O. L. was taken by surprise, and did not know what was coming till the smack of affection had touched her forehead, She was on her ear instantly, and with a howl of anger and contempt pushed Eugenie from her, and then turned on her heel and stalked out of the room.

152The situation was an awful one. Eugenie’s Spanish blood rose to about 211° Fahrenheit, and it was a struggle for her to keep it from passing the boiling point. But as Empress of the French, she had a position to sustain and she managed to keep her temper till she reached her apartments in the palace assigned to her. It is said that she had a good cry when she got there, and, moreover made it lively for her attendants.

Next day there was an attempt to patch up the row; Eugenie was informed of the cause of the strange conduct of the Sultan’s mother, and assured that it was not at all personal, but a matter of religion. They wanted her to be introduced again, and it was stipulated that the Turkish lady should kiss the French one, and try in a general way to make herself agreeable. But Eugenie had had enough and declined another interview.

The fanaticism of the Moslems concerning the touch or presence of the infidel has largely disappeared in Constantinople. Down to the Crimean war there was much of it, and many places were forbidden to the Occidental. But the British and French soldiers went where they pleased, and when the barriers were thus broken they were not likely to be restored. The Janizaries used to consider it rather meritorious than otherwise to stab Christians, while peaceably walking the streets, and other Moslems followed their example. But that is a thing of the past, as the Sultan Mahmoud, in the interest of civilization and humanity, butchered the Janizaries and thus opened the way to progress and reform. There are still some parts of Islam, where the life of an infidel would not be safe, but their limits are narrowing every year.

The Bairam festival after Ramadan lasts three days, and is not unlike our Christmas. The master of a house gives each servant a suit of clothes or some other presents, and the working people generally go round to call on those from whom they may hope to extract gifts. Everybody goes to the mosque to say his prayers, and friends who meet there indulge in a good deal of embracing and kissing. They visit each others’ houses and have a good time generally, and altogether the festival of Bairam puts the city in a very picturesque condition.




Among the Mosques—Their Special Uses—Greek Burglars, their Capture and Execution—A “Firman,” What is it—A Turkish Dragoman—A Relic of Ancient Byzantium—Its Name and Origin—Taking a Portrait—Turkish Superstitions—Worshipping in St. Sophia—Moslem Fanatics—Counting the Minarets—What came of a Wet Pair of Boots—The Judge in a Tight Place—The “Doubter” commits Sacrilege—Uncovering a Sarcophagus—Attacked by the Priests—Barefooted Worshippers—Teachings of the Koran—Cleanliness and Temperance—Why Turkish Women do not go to the Mosques—Why good Mussulmans never get Drunk.

SIGHT-SEEING in the capital of Turkey would be incomplete if it did not include the mosques. Mosques are to the Orient what churches are to the Occident, and are used for the same purpose—the assemblage of the faithful for religious worship. The Moslem goes to the mosque to say his prayers, when he can do so conveniently, especially on Friday, which holds the same place in Mohammedan countries that Sunday does in ours. But the purpose of the mosque goes somewhat beyond that of the church in Christian lands, and in some respects sets an example worthy of our attention.

The church in our country is for worship only, and when not used for devotional purposes, its doors are closed or only opened for the visits of the curious. In the Orient the mosque affords a refuge to the houseless poor, and this is particularly the case in Damascus and Cairo, where the Moslem faith has been longer at home than in Constantinople.

Most of the mosques have large court yards attached, and a 154portion of these yards is roofed over to afford protection against the sun and rain.


A visitor nearly always finds groups of people sitting there, many of them at work, with as much ease and comfort as though in their own homes Tradesmen who have no shops of their own frequently bring their work to the mosque, so that you nearly always find numbers of them engaged in sewing, spinning, or other light occupations. This is particularly the case in the afternoon; and not unfrequently the mosque, at such times, or rather the court yard of it, presents a very lively appearance. 155Groups of children may be seen playing in the court yard, but they do not play as noisily as do most of the Occidental juveniles, and consequently their sports are not so annoying as one might be led to expect. In the mosque itself you frequently see bales and boxes piled up as in a warehouse; these are the property of persons who have gone on a journey—particularly oh a pilgrimage to Mecca—and have sent their valuables to the safest place they know. Articles sometimes lie there for years, and the owners feel entirely assured against loss. A Moslem would never steal from a holy edifice, and an infidel thief would run a great risk if he attempted it.


A few years ago some Greek and Italian scoundrels “put up a job” to plunder one of the mosques at Constantinople. They were weeks at work, perfecting their plans, and managed to get their plunder safe on board a schooner which was waiting in the sea of Marmora, a mile or two from shore. They sailed away in triumph, but the electric telegraph, which has brought so many scoundrels to justice, caused them to be overhauled at the Dardanelles.

The schooner was captured and brought back to Constantinople; the property was returned to the mosque, and the enterpris156ing gentlemen who removed it without authority received the polite attentions of a Turkish headsman. Not only they, but the entire crew of the schooner down to the cook and cabin boy—also a cat and two kittens—were decapitated, without fear or favor.

“Bismillah!” (in the name of God) shouted the executioner each time he swung his sword. “Inshallah!” (God is willing) responded the attendant, as he gathered up the heads one by one and stowed them away in a sack.

The mosques of Constantinople are the finest in all Islam; they crown the summits of the hills of Stamboul, and are the most prominent objects in the picture, as one regards the city from the Bosphorus. To visit them, one must be provided with a “firman” or passport, and to obtain this document the article of “backsheesh” is required.

A request must come from the embassy or consulate of the visitor’s nation, and with this request and the payment of a sum equal to two dollars for each person of the party, there is no further trouble. Our polite Consul-general, Mr. Goodenow, greatly facilitated our efforts by sending his dragoman with ours to obtain the “firman;” the consular dragoman is a personage of great importance, all through the East, and often advances the transaction of business with the government bureaux. The passport thus obtained is good, not for one alone, but for all the principal mosques.

The most interesting and best known of the mosques is that of Saint Sophia, as it is erroneously called. It was not called so after any canonized woman named Sophia, but in honor of divine wisdom, Aya Sofia. It was thus consecrated by its founder, Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, and when the Turks captured it a thousand years later, they retained the title, and call it Aya Sofia at the present day.

The Turks have endeavored to remove the evidences of its former Christian character, but have not altogether succeeded. In many places one can see the cross and other emblems of the western religion, and in some instances the faces of men and angels have not been entirely obliterated. Mohammedanism forbids the making of any graven or pictorial image, and for this 157reason, it is very difficult to induce an orthodox believer, uncorrupted by occidental heresies, to sit for his portrait.

The belief is that the person who makes a representation of any living thing, will be confronted with it at the day of judgment, and ordered to endow it with life. Failing to do this, he will be condemned to a locality I need not mention.

I once endeavored to induce an Arab to stand in a certain position while I made a sketch of him.


He declined, and explained through an interpreter, that a duplicate of himself would make things rather inconvenient at the day of judgment, as there might be a difficulty in proving which was which. I tried to convince him that it would be all right, as my lack of artistic ability would be sure to save him.

After looking through my sketch-book h e gained confidence, and was willing to take the risk for two francs. We compromised on one franc, and when I finished the picture he surveyed it and delicately hinted, that he was entirely safe from harm on the score of that duplicate.

Most of the Moslem residents of the cities visited by Europeans, have got over any qualms of conscience about pictorial representations, but they still decorate their mosques after the traditional manner. There are no representations of living things on the walls; nothing but texts from the Koran and attempts at architectural elegance about the arches and pillars.

We left our hotel after an early breakfast, as it was necessary to pay our visit before the noon prayers, and we had several mosques to go through. To describe them all would be tedious; 158it was a trifle so to go through them, and therefore I will let down gently. We had a long walk and were elbowed by a great many Turks, especially while crossing the bridge between Pera and Stamboul, and followed by a goodly number of beggars.

The Turkish beggar is generally a fanatical Moslem who would not pollute himself by contact with the infidel; he would starve rather than cat a dinner with a Christian, and as to taking a drink with him, it would be quite out of the question.


But when it comes to money he makes no distinction, and will receive a Frank franc as readily as a Turkish one.

The mosques of Suleiman II., Ahmed I. and Mohammed the Conqueror, (by whom Constantinople was captured; in 1453,) are magnificent edifices, each; with a grand dome in the centre, and a smaller dome at each corner. The arrowy minarets rise around each mosque and add to the picturesque effect; their practical use is like that of a bell tower, as from the gallery near the summit the Muezzin chants the call for the people to come to prayer. No bells are allowed in the minarets, nor in fact in all Constantinople, as their sound is offensive to Moslem ears.

The mosque of Ahmed has six minarets; up to the time of its construction the mosque of the Kaaba at Mecca was the only 159one with six minarets, and as it was the holiest of all places in Islam, it was considered rather “off color” for Ahmed to put an equal number on his own edifice. He compromised the matter by ordering another minaret for the Kaaba, and paying the bills for its construction, and thus it happens that this mosque has seven instead of six minarets.

This same mosque, the Ahmediah, is in the middle of a large yard planted with trees, and affording a very pleasant shade from the heat of the day. The interior of the mosque is simple, but magnificent; the vast central dome is upheld by four immense pillars, each more than thirty feet in diameter, and cut on the outside so as to resemble a bundle of columns. There are half domes opening into the central one, and there are numerous pillars of marble and granite, sustaining arches at the sides and ends of the building. The absence of any decorations, save the texts from the Koran and the names of God, give an aspect of severity to the interior, especially when one has become familiar with the profuse adornments of Italian churches.

The founders of mosques generally, but not always, intend them for their own burial places. What is left of Ahmed I., and I fancy there isn’t much left now, is laid away, not in the mosque itself, but in a tomb close at hand, and forming a sort of adjunct to the grand building.

We had to take off our shoes on entering it, just as we did on entering the mosque, and all the other mosques; we brought along our slippers to wear in these excursions, and our guide walking ahead with six pairs under his arm, might have been easily taken for a second-hand dealer in foot gear. The Judge, the heavy man of the party, had wet his feet a little, and as his boots were very tight, he had hard work to doff and don them at each halting place.

He sat on the pavement in front of a mosque, while the guide undertook to remove the refractory boots. They stuck faster at each change, and toward the last it became necessary to hold him, or have him sit astride a post during the operation. Otherwise the guide pulled him all around the yard as a country doctor does a patient when extracting an obstinate tooth.

We feared it would be necessary for all of us to sit on him, or 160pile stones on him while the guide pulled, but happily this did not become necessary.


The oft-repeated dragging around on the rough ground was detrimental to the trowsers of the Judge, and he was obliged to have them half-soled before he again wore them.

When we were at the tomb of Ahmed, which contained a sarcophagus, covered with magnificent and costly shawls, and was surmounted with the turban of the defunct Sultan, our sceptical comrade, the “Doubter,” expressed a suspicion that the ruins of Ahmed were not in the box.

“These people are all liars,” said he, “and I don’t believe there ever was such a man.”

We tried to convince him that it was all right, and as he had paid for entering, he was at liberty to believe what he pleased.

“Tell the man to open the place up,” said the “Doubter” to our guide, “and let us see what there is inside.”

The guide tried to inform him, that such a proceeding would be contrary to custom, but the “Doubter” was obstinate and determined to have things his own way.

“I am bound to find out for myself,” he continued, and suiting the action to the word, he endeavored to lift one of the shawls that covered the sarcophagus.

The moment his purpose became evident, the custodians seized his hands, and half a dozen Moslems who had been standing round made a vigorous forward movement.

They would have ejected him in a moment, had not our guide interfered, and possibly they would have brained him.

It is a serious matter to touch things in a mosque, and this experience taught the “Doubter” a lesson which he remembered at least an hour. 161We visited the tombs of several Turkish Sultans, and finally reached the mosque of Saint Sophia, a little before noon, so as to make a hasty survey of the lower part of the edifice before the people assembled for prayer.

I will not attempt a detailed description, as it would be very long, and interesting only to an architect.

Suffice it to say, that the church was originally very nearly a square—two hundred and fifty feet by two hundred and twenty-five—and the height of the cupola is about two hundred feet. Since it was dedicated to the worship of Mohammed, minarets have been built around it, and some of the external features have been changed. There are numerous columns of porphyry, black and white marble, Egyptian and other granite, and alabaster, and various colored stones. The abundance of columns, the galleries at the side, and the richness of the interior generally, form quite a contrast to the plainness of the other mosques, and one would hardly need be told that he is in an ancient church of Christendom.

The mosaics which represented biblical subjects, have been covered in part, but to so slight an extent that their richness is fully perceptible. Thus, for example, the four Cherubim in the base of the cupola are clearly visible, all except the faces, which are concealed by patches of cloth of gold. The same is the case with other mosaics where figures are delineated.

All mosques are built so that the mihrab or altar placed against one of the walls shall be nearest to Mecca, and the worshippers, while looking toward this altar, shall be looking toward the Holy City. Strips of carpet are laid upon the matting which covers the floor, and on these strips the worshippers kneel, so that they are in rows exactly as if seated in the pews of a church. Saint Sophia was not properly placed for Mohammedan worship, and consequently the mihrab is at one side and the strips of carpet are stretched diagonally, so that they materially mar the architectural effect of the building. It is also injured by numerous ostrich eggs, which are suspended by long wires or cords, and by Moslem chandeliers, which do not harmonize with the walls and pillars of the edifice. 162As the hour of prayer approached we mounted the gallery to look at the assembled congregation. By twelve o’clock the mosque was fairly filled—the worshippers in lines or files on the strip of carpet, reminding one of a regiment of infantry, in columns of companies. Each man brought his shoes in his left hand with the soles placed against each other, and as he took his position in one of the lines, he laid his shoes in front of him on the open space between his strip of carpet and the next one. Rich and poor prayed side by side, and were all considered equal in the sight of God. Occasionally there was a person with a prayer-carpet of his own, which had been brought and spread by a servant, but these instances were not numerous.

The prophet is entitled to much consideration for some of his enactments which we find in the Koran. Cleanliness is enjoined upon the worshipper, and in compliance with this injunction the Moslems wash their hands and arms before prayers; and if water cannot be had for this purpose, they make use of sand. This is the custom before the daily prayers.

On Friday (the Moslem Sunday), the true believer takes a bath and becomes so clean that he might be used for a dinner-plate on an emergency.

There is always a fountain in the court yard of the mosque, and here, those whose feet and hands are not clean proceed to wash themselves before entering the sacred building. The floor of the mosque is scrupulously clean, and the removal of shoes or boots is required, not as a religious observance, as many suppose, but; in order that no dirt may be left on the matting. You can wear your boots in a mosque, provided you have large slippers to go over them, or if you wear overshoes and remove them at the door. Sometimes the custodians have large slippers which you can hire, and sometimes they tie your feet in napkins, allowing you to retain your boots.

The congregation was a masculine one; the Koran does not prohibit women from entering the mosque or attending prayers there, but says it is better for them to pray in private. It also hints that the devotional feelings of the men are likely to be reduced, if women are near them during the public service, and that it is far better that there should be no such distraction. 163Mohammed knew what he was about, and understood human weaknesses when he wrote the Koran, and prescribed the formulas of his religion.

There is an erroneous belief among the Western nations that Mohammed denied women the possession of souls. The Koran, in several places, promises paradise to all true believers, whether male or female, and enjoins women to be faithful and obedient to the laws of the Prophet. But as Moslem women are secluded on earth, the natural inference is that they will not occupy a high social position hereafter. The houris, or spiritual wives, which are promised to the believers, render women of no future consequence in the eyes of a masculine Moslem, and hence it is not likely that he cares a straw whether his wives of this earth go to Paradise or stay away from it.

The prayers were recited by an Iman or priest, who stood on the top of the pulpit, in company with other priests. From my position I was not able to see clearly all that was done at the pulpit, but I could see that the prayers were quite analogous to the mass of the Catholic church, and included readings, chant-ings and responses, with frequent bowings and genuflections on the part of the people. The congregation moved as a unit; when one man bowed, all bowed; when he knelt, all knelt; when he prostrated himself, the rest did likewise. The service was an impressive one in every respect, and the most casual observer could not fail to see that every worshipper felt the solemnity of the place and occasion.

The following illustration is an exact facsimile of the opening chapter of the Koran.


164This has been anglicized by Rodwell as follows:

1 Bismillahi’ rahmani’ rraheem

2 El-hamdoo lillahi rabi’lalameen

3 Arrahamani’ raheem

4 Maliki yowmi-d-deen

5 Eyaka naboodoo waéyaka nestâeen

6 Ihdina’ ssirat almostakeem

7 Sirat alezeena anamta aleihim, gheiri’lmoghdoobi aleihim wala’daleen. Ameen.

Burton made a rhyming translation of the same, which I herewith give.

1 In the Name of Allah, the Merciful the Compassionate!

2 Praise be to Allah who the three worlds made,

3 The Merciful the Compassionate.

4 The King of the day of Fate.

5 Thee alone do we worship and of thee alone do we ask aid.

6 Guide us to the path that is straight—

7 The path of those to whom thy love is great,

Not those on whom is hate,

Nor they that deviate. Amen.

And now let me say a word to the Infidel, and show him how much he gains or loses by not being a Moslem.

The first article of faith is: “There is no God but God.”

In chapter 112 of the Koran, his unity is set forth thus: “Say he is God, one God, God is the Eternal. He begetteth not, nor is he begotten; and there is none equal unto him.” The Moslems believe that Christ was the Messiah, and brought the gospel upon the earth; they do not call him the Son of God—but simply a prophet or apostle. They believe he was taken up to Heaven after having accomplished his mission, and that he will come again on earth to establish the Moslem religion.

The second article of faith is: “Mohammed is the Prophet of God.”

The Moslems acknowledge six prophets—Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ, and Mohammed—and that each brought a system of revealed religion. They claim that each system was a true one, but was abrogated by that which followed it.

Consequently, Christianity was the true faith from the begin165ning of our era down to the time of Mohammed, except when it was corrupted by the belief that Christ was the Son of God.

They believe in the existence of angels and good and evil genii, in the immortality of the soul, in resurrection and judgment, in future rewards and punishments, in the balance of good and evil works, and in a bridge formed of the edge of a sword over the centre of hell. All must cross this bridge; the good pass safely over and enter Paradise, but the wicked fall from its centre.

The Moslem faith is much weakened in those parts of the Orient that have had familiar intercourse with the Occident.

Temperance is enjoined by the Koran, but there are thousands of Moslems in Turkey and Egypt who drink wine and spirits without hesitation. As the Moslem becomes civilized and enlightened, he generally proceeds to get drunk; and the more he is instructed in the ways of Christianity, the drunker he becomes. Of course, there are many exceptions; but they only prove the correctness of the rule, and our missionaries in the Orient must deeply lament that the injunction to sobriety is less severe in Christianity than in the religion it seeks to displace.





The Dervishes of Constantinople, What are They?—How They Live and What They Do—Unclean and Devout Beggars—Where They Bury their Dead—Opening their Circus—Removing the “Doubter’s” Boots—An Amusing Situation—Clearing the Floor—Human Top-Spinning—Dropping into Jelly-bags—A Pliable Lot of Living Corpses—The Howling Dervishes—Where and How they Live—A House Full of Madmen—A Shrieking Chant—“La Hah il Allah”—Stirring up the Wild Beasts—Spectators Joining in the Chorus—Horrible Superstitious Rites—Treading on Sick Children—Reaching Paradise by Bodily Tortures—A Sad Disappointment—The Founder of the Sect and Who He Was—Pulling Teeth as a Proof of Sanctity.

ONE of the stock-sights of Constantinople is the performances of the dervishes, which can be witnessed every Friday throughout the year.

The dervishes are to Islam what the bare-footed friars are to Christendom; they are men whose lives are devoted to holiness and idleness in unequal portions, and they subsist upon charity or from the endowment of their mosques.

Most of the orders of dervishes in Constantinople, Damascus, and Cairo, have comfortable homes and very little to do; the members say their prayers daily, and devote an hour to their peculiar worship on Friday, and beyond this they do very little. But there are many dervishes not as well off, who are obliged to work or beg in order to make an honest living, and they greatly resemble Christian monks, in preferring beggary to labor. They argue that they have more time to devote to religious observances 167in the former case than in the latter, and therefore it is the duty of the less pious public to support them in idleness. But the public does not always see it in this light, and hence the dervishes sometimes find begging unprofitable, and are forced into respectable occupations. The dervishes are a lazy and uncleanly set. They profess to live a life of abstinence, but I was told of cases where they have been known to drink rum with great devotion.

The most noted of the dervishes are the Whirling and Howling sects; sometimes the former are called Dancers, and the latter Singers, but it is a libel upon dancing and singing to call them so. The performance of the Whirling Dervishes resembles dancing about as much as a frog resembles a prairie chicken; the Howling Dervishes could give a pack of wolves seventy-five points in the game and beat them easily, and their devotional exercises resemble singing as much as the noise of a monster tin-shop resembles the opera of Trovatore, as rendered at the London and Paris opera houses.

My first visit to these gentry was at the convent of the Whirling Dervishes. It is situated on the hill of Pera, close by the principal hotels, thus affording an agreeable contrast to our excursions among the mosques and bazaars, which requires a long walk to Stamboul. The convent covers quite an area, and has a neat garden and several cosy buildings. I was told that the convent owns several surrounding buildings, and that the income from these furnishes a very good revenue, on which the dervishes live comfortably. In the garden in front of the building there are the tombs of several “ex-whirlers,” and I was told that it is the practice of the monks to bury their dead on their own premises, instead of sending them to the Mount Auburn of Constantinople.

These dervishes are a decent lot of fellows, much less fanatical than the “howlers,” and always, ready to allow strangers to attend their circus, on condition that they leave their boots at the door and behave themselves, while the curtain is up.

Our party of half-a-dozen went there rather ahead of time, and was obliged to wait in the front yard for the opening of the hall. Some of the dervishes were around there and treated us just as they treated the fence or the gate posts. They said nothing 168to us nor we to them, except that our guide made a feeble effort to ascertain when the affair would begin.

By the time the doors were opened the party of spectators numbered thirty or more—all strangers like ourselves. There was the usual trouble in removing boots, and the “Doubter” was obliged to call a couple of Turkish loafers to assist him in getting his feet in order, for admission. He caused considerable delay, and it was suggested that for the future he had better leave his boots at home, and set up for a monk of the bare-footed order.

When we were properly un-booted we were allowed to pass the doorway and stand in the interior of the convent.

The building is quite plain; the part that we saw was circular, and consisted of a space in the centre for sacred waltzes, with a floor carefully polished, and waxed to such an extent that it lacked very little to render it useful as a mirror. Around this arena there was a low balustrade, and between this balustrade and the walls was the station of the spectators. Our party of foreigners was allowed about a quarter of the space surrounding the ring, another portion was assigned to the musicians, while the remainder was devoted to Moslem spectators! Above this floor was a gallery supported by graceful columns; a part of the gallery was assigned to Moslem women, and there was a loge or box for the Sultan whenever he chooses to honor the dervishes with his presence. At one corner is a little box for women, furnished with gratings for them to peep through.

The ornamentation of the ball room was as simple as that of the mosques—no pictures nor statuary, but only texts from the Koran, some of them highly illuminated. On the left hung a large board, like a table of laws; to what use it could be put was a puzzle. Lamps are hung all around the building. To the right of the place of worship, under a projecting roof, and of an octagonal form, is a marble fountain, of fine execution. Here devout Moslems perform their ablutions, before entering the main theatre.

We waited some time, and it was no easy matter to wait, as we had to rest like the party at a public dinner when somebody proposes the memory of Washington—standing and in silence.

After a while a solemn old fellow wearing a hat an inch thick and shaped like a sugar-loaf, entered the ring and squatted on a 169small carpet which was spread just opposite the entrance. As soon as he was seated, the rest of the party, to the number of twenty-five or thirty, made their entrée and bowed very low before the first comer. He was sheik, or chief of the lot; the rest were the rank and file—the common fellows who were obliged to wait his orders.

They did not come in with a rush, but very slowly, one and two at a time, so that they consumed at least a quarter of an hour in getting into their places.

In bowing to the sheik they bent their bodies so that their backs became horizontal, and I longed for a spirit-level that I might ascertain if these fellows were on the square. Each of them wore a sugar-loaf hat like that of the boss, and like his, made of coarse felt of a reddish grey color. Each was wrapped in a long cloak of dark blue cloth, and as they stood in their places, they held these cloaks tightly around them. Later—after the service began, they threw aside these robes and revealed a long skirt of the same color, and not unlike a hoopless petticoat in its general appearance. The skirt was wide at the base, but gathered closely at the waist, and the part above the waist was by no means a bad fit.

The prayers began with the sheik in the centre, and there were many prostrations, bows and genuflections before they were ended. Then there was a chant, which was taken up by the orchestra, in which the only instruments were flutes and light drums or darboukas. The music was not at all disagreeable, but, like all Oriental melody, had a good deal of monotony mingled with its plaintiveness. Up to the opening of the music, the dervishes were standing in the arena, and as it began, they closed their eyes, and seemed to be indulging in a species of intoxication. In a few minutes one of them began to turn mechanically, and at the same time opened and extended his arms with the palm of his left hand turned upward, while that of the right was downward.

Scarcely was he under way before another, and then another set his engines in motion, and in a few minutes the whole party was under a full head of steam. They whirled so rapidly that the centrifugal force caused their skirts to expand and stand out 170at a sharp angle to the perpendicular, just as you have seen the dress of a fashionable woman extend itself during an exciting waltz. Sometimes they reminded me of so many pieces of machinery—their skirts forming a sort of cone.

These dervishes perform the double feat of whirling round and moving onwards at the same time.


Occasionally they revolve for awhile with both arms extended, like windmills.

Half of them appear to have their eyes closed, and to be dancing in a sort of drunken ecstacy, but somehow they did not run against each other, and the performance went on in good order. The chief whirled a little while with the rest, and then he moved about in the group urging the slow ones to whirl faster, and occasionally hurrying up the musicians, by beating time with his hands to a somewhat quicker measure. After a while he halted the music a couple of minutes, and the “whirlers”. slowed down to half speed and wiped off the perspiration. Several of the “whirlers” now drove back the surrounding crowd with sticks, and for about two minutes I thought there was a lively prospect of a first-class row.

The halt did not long continue. The chief gave a signal and the music began again as lively as “St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning,” for it was in double quick time, and made warm work for the gentlemen engaged. The whirling was now in dead earnest, and made the skirts expand like those of the première danseuse executing a pas seul when she revolves across the stage 171in her finale which is to secure her the thundering plaudits of the audience.

They whirled.

And whirled.

And they kept on whirling.

And they whirled some more.

And they kept it up until the brains of the spectators were in a whirl, and some of them (spectators, not brains) had their money’s worth and went away.

After a while one of the dervishes threw up the sponge (figuratively), by sinking down on the floor in a state of exhaustion and perspiration.


He was as pliable as a jelly-fish, and the attendants who came to his relief handled him with care through an apparent fear that he would drop to pieces. Soon another fell, and then a third, and then a fourth, and then the chief gave the signal for stopping the roulette. The dervishes had been on the whirl nearly twenty minutes, and were quite ready to finish the game. Towards the end I noticed that the toes of some of them were terribly cramped, and the veins of their feet swollen like drum cords.

They gathered up their morning wrappers, and after bowing profoundly to their chief, walked slowly from the room. This was the end of the affair, and we returned to the outer door where we mounted our boots, paid our “backsheesh” and departed.

None of these dervishes were corpulent, but whether from accident or design I am unable to say. They were all of a lean and hungry build, and all were pale in the face except one, who 172was a negro, and couldn’t have paled however much he wished to. Their exercise is not calculated to develop obesity, and if one should grow fat he would be obliged to change his profession, as he couldn’t keep up with the rest without killing himself with overwork. Their faces were not prepossessing as a general thing; some had a pleasing cast of features, but the majority were of an aspect decidedly forbidding.

Before we left the place I told our guide that I could give the chief a hint which might be of service to him.

“Tell the sheik that we have machinery in America which we use for drying clothes in large laundries. The clothes are put into a cylinder which revolves above five thousand times a minute, and throws the moisture out by the centrifugal force.”

“Yes, but that no good would be for ze dervish. He dry his clothes just like somebody else, and no have much clothes to dry.”

“Not for his clothes,” I replied, “but for the service we have just attended. Let them erect such a machine in their ball-room, and have it large enough to hold all the worshippers. Put them inside and start the engine, and they could do more whirling in, fifteen minutes than they can do in a week in the old fashioned way.”

“I think ze Moslem no like such machine, but I speak to ze sheik next time I see him. How much cost one machine?”

I went on to explain its cost and advantages to the innocent guide, who did not suspect that he was being hoaxed. Whether he spoke to the dervishes about it or not, I am unable to say, but at all events he never made any report of the matter to me.

The “Howling Dervishes” are another sort of devotees. Their convent where I visited them was more like a mosque than was that of the Whirlers, as it was much larger and had a high roof. The walls were bare of ornament, except of inscriptions from the Koran; on the side, where stood the altar, there was a lot of implements of warfare, including spears, arrows, old matchlocks, swords and various other odds and ends, all of an ancient appearance. We went through the usual process of leaving our boots at the door, but we were not obliged to stand during the performance. A polite attendant brought chairs enough for seating all the strangers, and thus made us comfortable. 173There were about fifty worshippers, and they stood in a semicircle, with their chief inside. He began a low chant which included one of the chapters of the Koran, and was joined in the chant by the rest of the party.

At each verse they threw their heads forward, with a jerk, and immediately threw them backwards. The chant was very soon concluded, and without any pause the chief started the formula, “la Hah! il Alla!”


Now we began to understand why these pious individuals were called “howlers.” The sound that they produced was more like the noise of a menagerie, when the keeper stirs up the beasts, than like the tones of the human voice. It was a rough and rather prolonged bark and howl, in which the word Allah! was all that could be understood. The movement of the head became an inclination of the whole body from the hips upward; at one instant the men were bent nearly double, and at the next they had their heads thrown forward, so that their faces were horizontal, and there seemed a probability that the worshippers would fall backward.

They had removed their turbans, as no head-dress could stand this wild motion, unless glued or nailed on. Many of them wore their hair long, and the masses of chevelure swung in the air like 174so many dirty mops, from which a kitchen-maid is endeavoring to shake the superfluous water.

The noise became frightful, and several ladies of the visiting party, as well as some of the gentlemen, had their money’s worth in a very little while.

Every minute or two some of the dervishes fell exhausted to the floor; two foamed at the mouth and became wildly insane, so that it was necessary for others to hold them, or carry them out of the room.

There were several negroes in the room, and I observed that they howled the worst and were first to become frenzied. They raved like mad men, and indeed they were for a time furiously mad. I am sure Bedlam would be considered a quiet and well-behaved place, in comparison with the mosque of the “Howling Dervishes.”

There were fifty or more Moslem spectators, and some of those on-lookers became so excited that they joined in the service and soon were as frenzied as the rest. Among them was a soldier—a negro—who had not been five minutes in the charmed circle before he fell writhing to the floor, and foamed at the mouth, as though he had swallowed an entire soda fountain.

The spectacle is far more disagreeable than that of the whirling dervishes. You want to go away, and you are held there by a strange fascination; you cannot imagine how things can be any worse than they are five minutes after the howling has begun, and yet you know perfectly well that it will be much worse before the end. You feel that you have had enough and you want to go, and then you feel that you ought to stay, as you will miss some of the fun by leaving.

I don’t know a place where one is more swayed by conflicting emotions than while assisting at the devotional exercises of these gentlemen. I think an American or Englishman feels very much as did the tender-hearted Romans (if there were any), at the gladiatorial combats in the Coliseum, or at the matinees, where the Christians “on the half-shell” were served up to tigers that had been on short rations for a fortnight.

Civilization in its advance into the Orient has robbed these dervish-entertainments of some of their interesting features. 175While the howling was going on, people used to bring sick persons, particularly children, and place them on a sheepskin spread on the floor inside the semi-circle. The chief stood upon these invalids and danced about on them, and this homoeopathic treatment was supposed to do the patients much good. If they recovered, it was natural enough that their cure should be considered miraculous; if they died it was in accordance with the will of God, and the dervishes could not be blamed for an occasional failure.

Then they used to wrap barbed chains around themselves, or around any person who had an inquiring turn of mind and wished to make an experiment.


They took down some of the swords and spears, and stuck the points into their arms and legs without manifesting any pain. In fact, they practiced a variety of tortures, or what seemed so to the infidel spectator.

When I went to the show that day, I was expecting a delightful time, as I had been reading a book in which all these entertainments were described. Soon after we entered the mosque, an officer with a couple of policemen at his side, came into the room and took his place against the wall, and inside the semi-circle, which was just then forming.

“What is that officer here for?” I inquired of the guide.

“He comes to regulate the behavior of the dervishes. To see that they do not tread on sick children, as they used to do, and to prevent the devotees from lacerating themselves.”

“And shall we have no tortures to-day?”

“None at all. The government forbids it.”

Imagine my disappointment. I had expected to lunch full of horrors, without returning to the hotel, and here I was cut down 176to seeing a lot of grown men make temporary maniacs of themselves, and to hear the worst human howling that ever saluted my cars. All the beautiful pictures that my fancy had painted of seeing sick children trodden under the feet of the priests, and pious devotees cutting themselves with swords and spears, had quite vanished and would never be realized.

The age of sentiment is gone. Shall we ever welcome its return?

The Oriental governments are slow to move, but they do move after all. Moslem fanaticism is every year diminishing, and many of its cruelties are brought to an end. Occidental civilization in its aggressive course has accomplished much, and will do more as time rolls on.

Most of these sects are not held in great esteem by the people, though there are many Moslems who believe that the whirling, howling, and other performances of these gentry, are caused by divine inspiration, and consequently should be held in reverence.

The Turkish government has on several occasions contemplated the suppression of some of the orders of dervishes, particularly those that possess considerable wealth. There are persons uncharitable enough to suppose that this contemplated suppression is induced by the fact that the property of the dervishes would revert to the government in case the sects were discontinued.

Some of the sects have a great deal of fasting and prayer, and make their ceremonies interesting by the addition of various bodily tortures. It is said that a sect was founded in the first century of the Hegira by a holy man named Uvies. Among other farewells to worldly pleasures, he required his followers to draw all their teeth, in remembrance of the Prophet’s loss of two teeth at a battle on behalf of Islam. Painless dentistry was not, then in vogue, as nobody had discovered chloroform, ether, or laughing gas. Uvies did not get very far with his sect, and it expired soon after his death. Another pious Moslem tried to start a sect of dervishes in which every member should have his eyes put out during the ceremony of initiation. He was obliged to be chief and all hands, as he never found anybody to join his order. The devout Mohammedans couldn’t see it.




Far-Away Moses, the Famous Guide—His Numerous Brothers—His Shop in the Great Bazaar—An Evening at the “Foreign Club”—Dreaming of Polyglots and the Tower of Babel—More “Backsheesh”—Passing the Custom House—How they Protect Home Manufactures—Standing Up for One’s Own Country—“Honesty ish te Besht Bolicy”—Borrowing Money at Twenty per cent.—The Start from Constantinople—A hint to Travelers—Sleeping in Public on the Stage—Interviewing the Purser—A Satisfactory Arrangement—Baron Bruck and his Career—Unwelcome Intruders—Classic Ground—One Trifling Peculiarity.

I HAD “done” the sights of Constantinople—bazaars, mosques, dogs, dervishes and other things—and was ready to depart.

I had even “done” and been “done” by Far-Away Moses, the famous guide whom Mark Twain has sent down to posterity, and had bought several articles in his shop.

Moses is guide and merchant, and when he is not attending to business in the one branch he is attending to it in the other.

He is a dignified Oriental with a Jewish cast of features, and he bows in a way that Mr. Turveydrop would envy. He has a shop—one shop—in the Great Bazaar, but a stranger might suppose that he owned half of Constantinople.

The guides and runners are on the lookout for Americans and are always ready to take them to the shop of Far-Away Moses. The joke of the matter is that they take them somewhere else, where they can get a larger commission on purchases, and invariably tell you that it is the shop of the venerable F. A. M., Esq. If you are familiar with the features of Moses, they tell you he is just out but you can trade quite as well with his brother who is 178on hand to accommodate you. But if you have not met the original you are introduced to some English-speaking Turk, Jew, or Christian who affectionately inquires after Mark Twain and hopes he is well and happy.

I think about seven dozen “brothers of Far-Away Moses” were pointed out to me, and they resembled him, each other, and themselves, about as much as a cup of coffee resembles a row of mixed drinks in an American bar room.


Moses admits that like the friend of Toodles “he had a brother” but he denies fraternal relations with all the “brothers” that hang about the bazaars and hotels.

Moses narrates an experience of his mercantile life such as we sometimes hear of in America. He shipped a lot of goods to Vienna at the time of the Exposition, and on these goods he figured a handsome profit on his mental slate. They were sent by steamer to Trieste, and thence by rail to Vienna. On arrival the boxes were found to contain old iron, straw, and pieces of wood, and Moses was in great grief, for the original lot had cost him about six hundred pounds sterling.

He tried to recover, but the two companies—steamboat and railway—played “Spenlow and Jorkins” on him most admirably. Each said that the robbery must have occurred while the boxes were in charge of the other concern, and after much trouble Moses received nothing by way of indemnity. Neither company would pay a centime until the locality of the robbery had been proved, and as this could not be shown, there was no payment. And to add to the loss he could not even recover the freight charges, which he had paid in full before removing the boxes from the railway station and discovering his loss. 179It rained cats and dogs for two days before I left, and, as Turkish sight-seeing requires fair weather, I was kept imprisoned most of that time in the hotel. Our Consul-General, Mr. Good-enow, kindly introduced me to the Foreign Club and enabled me to break the monotony of the evenings with a few hours in the luxurious house where the association has its home. To judge by the appearance of the club, its cuisine, and other things, the foreigners in Constantinople know how to live well, and are determined to practice what they know.

The club includes many nationalities—English, French, American, German, Russian, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Swiss, and others,—in its membership, and a visit to its rooms gives one an idea of the cosmopolitan character of the population of the Queen City of the Orient. Turks are not excluded, a Turkish gentleman being just as eligible to membership as any other. Diplomates, merchants, bankers, government officials, gentlemen of fortune with nothing to do, and the other miscellaneous characters that make up a club in a large city, were pointed out to me among the members that dined and lounged in the club-house.

French was the prevailing language, but you would hear enough of other tongues in the course of an evening to make you dream all night of the Tower of Babel, and the unhappy gentlemen that found it a losing speculation.

On the morning of our departure the weather cleared up, and we had the satisfaction of bidding farewell to Constantinople under a bright sky and in the glow of a warm sunshine. Our baggage was piled on the backs of some able-bodied porters, and we followed it and them down the hill of Pera, in the same solemn procession as we first mounted it.

The Custom House was lenient in consequence of a “backsheesh” of two francs, and the odds and ends that we had bought in the city were not disturbed.

Two of our party had laid in a liberal supply of Broussa silks and other specialties of Constantinople, and consequently they did not want the officials to be inquisitive. They thought they got off cheap at two francs, and I think they did.

And here is a good place to say something about the export duty on Turkish manufactures. 180The English, as we all know, are very earnest in advancing free trade; they have it, and want everybody else to enjoy its blessings. Whether their theories are right or wrong I do not propose to discuss, as I am not writing a book on political economy. England believes emphatically in free trade—free export and free import—and every Englishman would tell you that a tax on manufactured exports would be the very thing to cripple home industries.

I have been informed, whether with absolute truth I cannot say, but I believe my authority was good, that the Turkish export tax was imposed in consequence of the advice of the then British Minister at Constantinople. The Turkish cabinet sought his advice as to the best means of encouraging manufacture in the Ottoman empire and making them a source of revenue.

“Nothing simpler,” replied His Excellency the British Minister; “put a tax on your exports; make all your manufactures exported to foreign countries pay a tax, say, of ten per cent., and you will make a handsome revenue for the treasury, and enable the manufacturer to realize such, a profit as to stimulate your home industries to a wonderful extent. The protection and encouragement of home enterprise is the first duty of every government. England keeps a careful watch over her manufacturing interests and does everything to stimulate them, and you can see the result in the immense prosperity of our island.”

The embassador was faithful to the land he represented; he wasn’t going to make an ass of himself by telling the Turks anything that would tend to the injury of British commerce. If manufacturing industry was developed in Turkey, it would very likely interfere, in some branches, with Birmingham or Manchester, and this is what no true English representative would wish.

I like to see a man stand up for his country and his friends.

If you are a lawyer or bootmaker, a doctor or blacksmith, in a country village with just business enough for one, you don’t want a rival setting up there, and if any young fellow wants to know how to start in your trade and is determined to try, it is necessary to lie to him and put him on the wrong track, in order to be just to yourself and your family.

“Honesty ish de best bolicy,” said a clear headed German once upon a time, “but it keeps a man tam poor.”

181When your advice is asked by your neighbor, don’t fly away with the notion that you want to do him any good.

Remember that charity and all other noble sentiments should begin at home, and be careful not to advise him to anything that will interfere with yourself.

Turkish manufactures have been for some time in a languishing condition. In the early part of the present century Turkey had several important industrial centres; the most noted of them were Bagdad, Aleppo, Dierbeker, Broussa, Smyrna, Scutari, and Tournovo. Aleppo alone had forty thousand weavers engaged in i making goods of silk or cotton, either mixed or single, and in producing cloth of silk or gold thread, for which Aleppo was famous. The city now has scarcely a fifth of her former number i of weavers; and in the other places, where there were extensive manufacturers, the business has fallen off in about equal proportion. Improved machinery in England and France, and the heavy taxes on manufactures, have caused the decline; and though the government has sought to revive Turkish industry, it has not yet succeeded.

The export trade of Turkey consists mainly of raw materials, such as wool, silk, cotton, tobacco, wheat, drugs, dyes, opium, honey, and sponges. The principal manufactured exports are carpets and red cloths. The value of the imports is about double that of the exports, and much of the raw stuff sent out of Turkey comes back in the shape of manufactured goods. And this state of affairs is steadily increasing.

Turkey has become so far civilized that she has saddled herself with a stupendous debt, borrowing the money in Europe, at enormous rates of interest, and then borrowing the money to pay that interest with. She has about as much prospect of paying it as the President of the Fat Men’s Association has of learning to fly and setting up for a carrier pigeon. She has miserable roads all through the interior of the country, and only within a few years has she given any attention to building railways. She has lots of palaces, and an immense fleet of iron-clads; and when any luxury is wanted she always finds the money to buy it.

When I was in Constantinople the further construction of the railway, that is intended to connect with the Austrian system, was 182stopped for the want of funds. “The government is very hard pressed just now for money,” said one of the officials, “and our docks and railways must wait.”

A week later the same gentleman met me and volunteered this important information:

“Six hundred sea-coast breech-loading cannon have been ordered from Krupp, the great fabricant of artillery, and the money for them is to be deposited in Paris within the next two months.”

Krupp does not make breech-loading cannon for nothing, and he generally has the money down before he makes them.

Turkey can find money enough when she wants palaces and ships of war, but she can’t afford railways and docks. Remember, there are no docks at Constantinople where a sea-going ship can lie. They want them, but cannot afford the expense.

Now that I have had my growl, we will go on as if nothing had happened.

We were rowed out to the steamer which lay at anchor, with steam up, and was announced to sail at ten o’clock.

For some reason the departure was delayed until nearly eleven, and in consequence of this detention there was a row between the captain and chief engineer. The latter was responsible for the consumption of coal; he had been told that the steamer would sail at ten, and it was not fair to burn up his coal while lying at anchor.

The captain replied chat he would sail when he got ready. Engineer threatened to report to the management—captain told him to mind his own business—and there were several other remarks of a lively character.

As soon as the engineer retired below, the captain hustled some of his friends over the side, and the steamer sailed. The threat to report to the management had its effect.

Memorandum for travellers in the Orient:

When you feel that any imposition has been practised on you by any high attaché of a steamship, don’t make a noisy row about it, but go quietly to the one who has offended you, and in calm and dignified tones ask him to give you the name and address of his managing director. Give him a card on which to write it, thank him politely for the address and walk away. In less than 183ten minutes you will obtain what you previously wanted, and quite likely more than you expected. The captains do not like to have complaints going to the management, and will do anything in reason to avoid it.

To illustrate:—I one day took passage on a steamer, and was on board half an hour before she sailed. I went at once to the purser’s office, paid my fare, and asked for a room. Purser said I could not have a room, but must sleep on a sofa in the cabin.

Now, if there is one thing that I dislike more than another, it is to sleep in public on the stage in presence of a crowded audience. I want a room to myself when it can be had, as I know that while sleeping I appear best alone. And I always secure my passage early for this very reason. In the present instance, I had visited the office of the company in a vain effort to secure a place. The agent told me the tickets were sold only by the purser.

On the back of my ticket was the announcement that no room could be secured until paid for. I waited around the office, and after the boat left the port, half-a-dozen men, of the same nationality as the purser, came and paid their fare, and were assigned to rooms. Then I went to the office and complained of unjust treatment; the purser said he could do nothing for me, and unless I was careful, I wouldn’t have so much as a sofa in the cabin.

I went to the captain and complained, and the captain referred my case to the purser.

Then I returned to the purser, and put on a calm exterior, though I felt inside as explosive as an overcharged soda-fountain.

“Will you be so kind,” I said, “as to give me the address of the managing director of this company?”

“Why do you want it?”

“I have occasion to write him a letter on business of the company.”

“What business?”

“A mere trifle. Never mind what it is. It will interest him, and be beneficial to the company.”

“The name of the managing director is —————”

“Please write it on the back of this card,” and I gave him my personal card, on which to inscribe the name. 184The purser turned red, pale, blue, green, yellow, pink, crimson, ultra-marine, and scarlet; he could have sold his face at a high price just then to a maker of kaleidoscopes. He began writing, stopped, began again, and altogether was at least two minutes in writing the name and postal direction.

When he had finished I took the card, stowed it away in my pocket, and retired to the deck, where I proceeded to solace myself with a cigar and a study of the receding shores.


Two minutes after I reached the deck, I saw the purser and captain in deep consultation near the wheel-house. Two minutes later the purser, cap in hand, came to me, and said to me that one of the reserved rooms had not been claimed, and was at my disposal. Would I condescend to look at it?

I condescended, and descended to the cabin. The room was comfortable, and all my fancy had painted it. I was mollified, thanked the purser for his politeness, ordered the steward to! bring my baggage, and was speedily installed in the apartment. The purser could not have been more civil to the governor of the Fejee Islands than he was to me during the rest of the voyage.

We steamed out of the harbor of Constantinople towards the Sea of Marmora.

First vanished the shipping in the Golden Horn, and the never-ceasing stream of people crossing the bridge of boats. Then the irregular terraces of many-colored houses in Fera and 185Golata were lost to sight, though to memory dear; and then our eyes lingered on Stamboul with its mosque-crowned hills, and the Seraglio palace with its surroundings of groves jutting into the widening mouth of the Bosphorus. The sunlight played on the roofs, and domes, and minarets of Stamboul, and brightened the hills that formed the back-ground of the picture.

Long time the city remained in view, but at last it became a jagged strip of white in the horizon, then a scarcely perceptible streak like a sandy beach by the sea shore, and then it was lost to sight altogether.

I repeat what I have said elsewhere, that by far the best approach to Constantinople is by the Black Sea, and not from the Sea of Marmora; not only as concerns the city itself, but with reference to the charming panorama of the Bosphorus, which becomes more and more brilliant each mile that we advance, until at last the anchor drops at the entrance of the Golden Horn, and we stand in front of the Queen of the Orient.

The steamer that carried us belonged to the Austrian Lloyds (Lloyd Austriaco).

The company has a fleet of some forty steamers engaged in the navigation of the Mediterranean and adjoining seas, and it has its headquarters at Trieste.

In 1833 one Baron Bruck established at Trieste a reading room and marine exchange similar to the celebrated Lloyd’s at London and from which he took the name. The members of the exchange became a powerful company for commercial and industrial purposes.

In 1836, it established a newspaper which still exists; in 1837, it started a line of steamers; and in 1849, an institution devoted to printing and art. It has become a most important association and exerts a powerful influence upon the politics and finance of the Austrian Empire. Its founder became the Austrian minister of finance, but owing to certain jealousies he was removed in 1860.

His mortification at his downfall terminated in suicide.

To travel on the ships of this company costs on the average about twelve dollars a day (gold), inclusive of passage, room, and meals. Wine is charged extra, and the steward expects a financial remembrance when you bid him farewell. 186The servant who has attended you at table is likewise on hand when money is visible, and is generally more civil then than at other times.

During most of the day the mountains on the coast of the Sea of Marmora were in sight but too far away to be little more than outlines. We passed the Dardanelles at night, while all of us were in our bunks, which proved to be the happy hunting grounds of many members of the well-known sporting family, Cimex lectularius.

We were not greatly refreshed by our slumber, and passed a unanimous vote that the next time we were obliged to travel on that line we would seek passage on another steamer.

Morning found us running among the islands of the Greek Archipelago, and there was not an hour of the entire day when we did not have some of them in sight. They had a bleak, barren appearance, as they contained scarcely any trees on the sides visible to us, and the slopes of the rocky shores were very steep. There were not many indications of inhabitants, but now and then we could see villages near the water or perched high up the sides of the mountains, where it evidently required a great deal of glue to make them stick.

I am somewhat confused as to the names of the islands we passed and cannot attempt to give them all. I will only venture on Lemnos, Skyros, Andros, Tinos, and Kuthnos, and I won’t be very sure about these. There were Delos and Naxos, Melos and Kimolos, Mykonos and Paros and there were more ‘oses if anybody wants them. We were not a very large party and there were more islands than enough to go around. And then there were some other islands that like the lion in the boy’s picture book, couldn’t get any prophet Daniel.

The Greek Archipelago is scattered around promiscuously; it would have been vastly more convenient if the islands had been set up in rows like potato-hills, but I suppose they would not have been so picturesque as they are in their present arrangement.

I observed one geographical peculiarity and made a note of it, that every island, without regard to size or position, was surrounded by water.




In sight of Syra—Active Trade in one Fish—A town all built of Marble—The “Doubter” expresses his sentiments—Gustave’s Adventure—Walking on One’s Ear—“A little more beer, boy!”—The Pirates’ Retreat—Extraordinary politeness in a café—A lesson for American Barkeepers—In the Stamboul’s Cabin—“Blowing great guns”—A tale of a Tub—Honey and Marble—Standing in the city of Demosthenes—The battle of the rival hotels—Profanity in an unknown tongue—Outgeneraling Inn-keepers—Tricks on Travelers—Useful knowledge for Foreign Travel.

A LITTLE before sunset we were drenched by a shower, and through the rifts of the heavy clouds, I caught sight of the Island of Syra, the most important of the insular possessions of Greece.

We entered the port and dropped anchor, a hundred yards from the Stamboul, an old paddle steamer which was to convey us to the Piraeus.

Though we had bought tickets through to the latter port we found that we must make the transfer at our own expense, it being the rule of the company that all landings, embarkations, and transfers are at passenger’s expense.

We waited till the rain ceased and then bargained with a boatman to take us to the other ship; the transfer was an unpleasant one as the boat danced uneasily on the water and a fresh shower gave us a very fair drenching while we were en route. The “Doubter” got the worst of it, and was so thoroughly soaked and 188frightened that he determined to stay and keep ship, while the rest of us went on shore to spend the evening in town.

What befell us there will be told subsequently.

Syra is not a large island, its greatest length being little over fourteen miles and its width in the broadest part about six. Homer mentions and describes it as the country of Eumæus, the faithful servant of Ulysses, and the character of the island corresponds to-day with the account given by the “blind old man of Scio’s rocky isle.”

The city which bears the name of the island is the most important commercial point in all Greece. Its population is said to be not far from thirty thousand; they are emphatically a commercial people, and when not employed in legitimate trade with outsiders, they speculate with each other. While loitering on the quay I saw a man sell a fish to another, the latter sold it to a third and the trade went on till the fish had changed hands four or five times. Whether the price was increased by each transaction I am unable to say, but am inclined to think it was not likely to be reduced.

Later in the day I saw a smaller fish—it may have been the old one worn down by manipulation—passing about with a good deal i of activity. If he could have taken a commission each time he, changed hands he could have amassed a handsome fortune and set up for a “big fish” before the end of the season.

As I had come from Constantinople where the streets are in a condition of wretchedness, as regards pavement and dirt, the streets of Syra seemed to me wonderfully clean. There are immense quarries of marble just back of the town, and marble is one of the articles of export. Marble is cheaper in Syra than n granite or brick. The houses are built of marble, the streets paved with it, and the quay and the wall that bound it are made of marble. You see marble everywhere, and after a time you begin to wish they would throw in some other stone by way of variety.

The streets are paved with broad blocks and in many places these blocks are so smooth that one is in danger of slipping unless he treads carefully. The gutters are in the middle of the streets instead of at the sides, and every few yards there is a grated hole where the water runs into the sewers. 189I could not see the necessity of having these holes so numerous until I learned by actual experience how the rain fell. It came down suddenly, as if the clerk of the weather had called all hands and put them to work upsetting a row of buckets right over Syra.

It didn’t rain, it poured and more than poured; the heaviest shower I ever saw in New York was the mildest premonitory sprinkle, compared to the rain at Syra. The sewer-holes had all they could attend to, and it was then that you perceived the wisdom of putting the gutters in the middle of the streets, and also the wisdom of having no cellar doors on a level with the sidewalk. Under the present arrangement there might be, (and quite likely such is the case,) a foot or so of water in the street, without doing damage to anybody, except to the unlucky pedestrian.

There is a public square in Syra paved with marble and set out with rows of trees and beggars. The latter are less stationary than the trees, and not half as pretty; I did not see any fruit growing upon either.

Viewed from the water, Syra has the appearance of half an amphitheatre, as the steepness of the hill causes the houses to rise in irregular terraces; there is a depression in the hill-side, so that the general effect reminds you of the tier of boxes in an opera house when you look at them from the stage.

This is the new town of modern Syra.

To reach ancient Syra, you have a great deal of climbing to do, as it is a long way up the hill-side, directly above the new town.

I was satisfied to do it by proxy, as I had a “game foot” that complained when I exercised it vigorously. The judge and I sat in a café, while the rest of our party climbed the hill and came back all red and weary and thirsty. Their calls for beer were like the howls of a lion in the wilderness.

The “Doubter” declared that he had his doubts about the island being fourteen miles long, but he was ready to swear that it was not less than ten miles high.

This is what Gustave said about old Syra, and I must rely on him, as I know nothing about it myself:

“You cross a deep ravine, and then you come to a stairway all 190of marble, and so hot under the sunshine, that it would melt the lid off a copper tea-kettle in the time you could hold a red hot nail in your ear without feeling it.”

Then we went through a lot of zig-zag streets, and then more of them, and then some more stairs and zig-zags. The stones were slippery and dangerous, especially in coming down, and two or three times I felt myself walking on a part of my body which is not ordinarily employed for pedestrian purposes.

Well, we got to the top of the hill at last, and were at the church of St. George. I was tired and foot-sore, but I think I was amply paid for the fatigue and trouble. The view was magnificent, and included the whole panorama of the Cyclades. (Garçon, encore de la bier, s’il vous plait) The guide pointed out Tinos and Mykonos, Nicaria, and Samos, and also Great and Little Delos. Off in the distance were Naxos, Paros, and Anti-paros, and they tried to point out Siphnos and Milos through a hollow in the mountain to the south of us. Down in front of us there was a beautiful view—I wouldn’t have missed it for a great deal, and I wouldn’t go up there again for twice as much as I would have missed it for. (Garçon, encore de la bier. Comme jai soif! )

We had landed at the quay in front of the custom house on the evening of our arrival, and as the rain fell by little fits and starts, we didn’t wander around very much, but made our way to the best café in the place.

It overlooked the public square, and had rows of seats on the sidewalk, which was protected by a roof impervious to water. While we sat there, a member of our party discovered an acquaintance among the coffee-drinkers at another table, and speedily there was a fusilade of congratulations in the accent and language of Northern Germany. Then we were introduced all around, and all around, too, we had fresh glasses of beer.

Our new acquaintance was a German, whose business had located him at Syra, and the indications were that he was well satisfied with it. At all events, he stood treat with a liberality worthy of a Californian, and made us feel that we owned the entire island and all its contents. The quay of Syra is an animated place, as it contains many shops and stalls, where you can buy anything from a fish up to a marine engine. 191The Greek boatmen are a picturesque race, with a costume that seems to be a compromise between the Occident and the Orient. Their uniform is multiform, and you are puzzled to know which is which.

Most of the boatmen and sailors wear trowsers with considerable bagginess, and a sort of loose jacket over the shoulders. On their heads they wear red caps like the Turkish fez, but with the top falling to one side, where it is kept down by a long tassel.

In character they are not over-trustworthy, and they have the reputation of being ready to turn to piracy whenever it will pay better than honest work. In times past their reputation was worse than at present, and they were at one period the terror of Oriental waters. Steam cruisers put an end to their piracy, as it has to that of many enterprising mariners elsewhere.

In our first evening in Syra we saw a couple of fights, but they possessed no interest, as the disputants were separated before they had time to disembowel each other. Two of the descendants of Homer and Ulysses were drunk in the café; under ordinary circumstances they would have been allowed to stay there, but the proprietor felt himself honored by our visit, and determined to eject his friends and regular patrons. He informed them that they had been sent for, and as the night was dark he would allow one of the waiters to escort them. They fell into the trap, and were quietly taken out, and the waiter returned after walking a couple of blocks and leaving them in a low drinking shop where they wished to slake their thirst. The whole business was managed very adroitly, and showed how much better it is for a head bar-keeper to tell a lie than to indulge in brute violence, in which he might break some of his furniture.

On this evening we did nothing in the sight-seeing line beyond the visit to the café and the public square, the journey to Old Syra being made on our return from Greece. We returned about nine o’clock to the quay, and were taken on board the Stamboul, which had her steam up for departure. Half-a-dozen other steamers were in port, and there were thirty or more sailing ships, so that the harbor presented a reasonably lively appearance. The terraces of lights in the town and extending to and 192through Old Syra had a curious effect, and made the city resemble an illuminated mountain. The light-houses, which mark the entrance of the harbor, were each sending out a clear flame, the rain had ceased, and the stars were beaming clear and distinct in the sky.

Although in the harbor, the steamer was pitching and rolling about, and we had experienced a very lively tossing on our way from shore to ship. A regular vent du diable was blowing outside, and things indicated that we should have all we wanted when we got into it and were plowing our way towards the Piraeus.

Half a dozen passengers were sitting at the cabin table and contemplating a bottle of Scotch whisky, which they discussed in a polyglot of languages. Two who were drunk imagined themselves sober, and two who were sober, imagined themselves drunk, so that there was a very mixed condition of things. Smoking was forbidden in the cabin, but as there was only one lady passenger, and she had retired, and moreover belonged to our party, and had a smoking husband, we lighted cigars and made ourselves comfortable before going to bed.

Just as I entered my bunk I heard the anchor chain coming in, and soon we were out on the open waters. We went along nicely for a while, till we had passed the shelter of the Island of Syros and then we caught it. Our course lay between the islands of Thermia and Zea, in the direction of Cape Sunium, which forms the extremity of the Peninsula of Attica.

All night long we tossed, and the timbers of the ship creaked so that you couldn’t hear yourself snore. Sometimes we didn’t make two miles an hour, and I could hear the other passengers, in momentary intervals of creaking, groaning and falling to pieces in the agonies of mal-de-mer. In the morning the captain said it was one of the roughest nights he had ever known in those waters. “Had I not felt,” said he, “the greatest confidence in my ship, and known that she was perfectly staunch and strong, I should have turned back after passing the Island of Syra, and learning the strength of the wind.”

And yet the Stamboul was an old tub, with a quarter of a century on her head, and barnacles on her bottom.. 193Let no one despise an old tub hereafter. I would give more now for the one in which Dionysius—no it was Diogenes—used to live, than for the best modern article of the same sort from the hands of the most skillful cooper that breathes, as I could sell it for more money.

When I went on deck in the morning Mount Olympus was in sight, and we could see the classic shores of Greece (expression claimed as original and secured by two patents). They were not over-cheerful in appearance, but the leaden sky, and the cold wind that was then blowing, had doubtless much to do with their aspect. Mount Olympus was less lofty than I expected to find it, and greatly disappointed me, but I felt better afterwards, when I learned that the real mountain chain which bears that name, is on the Morean peninsula and between Thessaly and Macedonia. The mountain which was pointed out to me was a small affair opposite to Mount Keratia; between the two is a small village called Olympus, and inhabited by a few Greeks, and a great many fleas.

Next we saw a long mountain with a wooded summit, and were told it was Mount Hymettus of history. This was something like a mountain and it stretched away in a ridge toward the north, where Pentelicus lay in the dim distance. In a little while we saw a sharp conical hill that marked the position of Athens, and for a short time we had the Acropolis in sight. The shore of Greece, as we skirted it, had a rough and rather barren appearance, and seemed to be indented with many small bays. Not a ship, not a fishing boat even, was in sight, and our steamer appeared to have everything to herself. Certainly our first view of Greece was not calculated to inspire us with enthusiasm.

We rounded a promontory and entered the Piraeus, the port of Athens. It is a nice little pocket edition of a harbor well sheltered and with good anchorage. Ships of war might find a refuge there, but unfortunately it could not hold many of them. The town is quite modern, and also quite interesting; nobody stops there any longer than he is obliged to, and when travellers are delayed there by the detention of a steamer, there is generally a great deal of growling.

A swarm of boats came out to the ship, and as soon as the 194quarantine officers had examined the health bill, and admitted us to pratique, there was a rush of boatmen, dragomen, guides, hotel runners, and the like, so that the deck was speedily covered. On an average there must have been six and a half of these gentry to each passenger.

We passed the Custom House with the usual formalities, (a bribe of two francs,) and turned our attention to the hotel runners, and standing on the soil where Homer sang and Demosthenes pronounced his orations, we drove the closest bargain which we had yet made.

Four runners from as many hotels were after us, and we put ourselves up at auction to the lowest bidder, just as they used to sell out the paupers in that respectable town in New England where I was born and bred, and instructed in the mysteries of orthography and penny-tossing. They began at fifteen francs per day for each person, including wine, candles, and service.

The Hotel d’Angleterre would take us for fourteen.

The Hotel des Etrangers would go one better; we should be taken in at thirteen francs.

The other two hotels dropped out of the competition and went to the rear, and so we had it out between the pair that I have named. The runners appeared to be personal enemies, and covered each other with epithets that were delightful to hear, as we didn’t know what they meant. It is a great pleasure to hear one blackguard abuse another, in a language of which you are entirely ignorant. You run no risk of being shocked by the coarseness of the phrases, and can quite resign yourself to a contemplation of the gestures and emphasis with which the terse little speeches are delivered. If I could find the man who offered a reward for the invention of a new pleasure, I would name the above amusement and humbly ask for the money.

We whiled away a half hour in this way very pleasantly and profitably; all the Greek profanity that those runners vented on each other didn’t cost us a cent; in fact we made money by it, as we lowered the prices of the hotels at Athens to a satisfactory figure. For ten francs per day each person, we were to have rooms only one flight up, and each room should have a balcony. We were to be roomed, fed, wined, candled, washed, combed, and attended, for that paltry amount, and we were to have all the candies we wanted. Moreover they were to make no charges for lunches when we went on excursions; this is a point on which hotels in the Orient generally lay it on thick in the way of extras. We had brought them down to their lowest terms, and almost felt ashamed of ourselves after we had done it.

We started for Athens with the question still undecided in the hope that we might get a better offer before arriving there. On the way up we developed a new dodge.

“I’ve an idea,” I said to my German friends; “suppose we divide the party.”

“You go to the Angleterre, and we Americans will go to the Etrangers. The hotels are close together, so that we can talk across from the windows, and we will then play the houses against each other.”

“Very good,” replied Charley, “just the thing. Evidently the competition between them is exceedingly bitter, and they are ready to cut each other’s throats.”

So it was agreed that we were to divide. We did not leave the carriages until the proprietors had ratified the agreements made by their runners, and we did not allow the baggage taken out till we had seen and accepted the rooms.

At the Hotel des Etrangers they were sorry, very sorry, but they had only one room with a balcony, and that was on the the second floor.

“Very well, then,” I said, “we will see what our friends can do at the other hotel,” and I turned to go to the carriage where I had left the Judge to look after the “Doubter,” and the other baggage.

“Stop, gentlemen,” said the proprietor; “I give you nice back rooms on first floor.”

“That will never do,” I replied, as I placed my hand on the carriage door.

“I just thinks,” said the proprietor, “I have single one balcony room on first floor mit two beds.”

“Never! we want three rooms with balconies on first floor,” and I opened the carriage door.

“You sell have two rooms mit three beds.”

“Never! that will not do,” and I entered the carriage and told the driver to drive on. 196"Oh, gentlemens, I just thinks; stop—one gentleman go away zis night and you have ze three rooms as you want. Dat is all right.”

We entered and took possession, and the landlord was all politeness.

Our German friends had almost identically the same performance at the Hotel d’ Angleterre, and with the same result.

The rivalry of these two hotels was of a bitterness rarely seen in cities; it resembled the hostility of two country boys when both are sweet on the same girl. No servant of one establishment was allowed to enter the other, and when we sent messages requiring answers, the bearer was obliged to wait outside the front door, while the porter of that house took the missive up stairs and brought the response. The rival proprietors were not on speaking terms, and the guides and runners were constantly at war.

During the whole of our stay we played upon their jealousies to the best of our abilities. When we wanted to hire carriages for drives around the city or in its vicinity we put the business in competition and reduced the rates nearly one-half. We thus obtained carriages for twelve francs where twenty was the regular price, and for fifteen francs where they ordinarily demanded twenty-five. No matter what we wanted, we always said, “We will see what our friends at the other house can do.” That always brought them to terms.

It is not often that a traveller profits by the quarrels of innkeepers. These gentry are much more likely to resemble in their discords, the operations of the two sides of a pair of shears,—they cut not themselves but what’s between them.




First Impressions of Athens—Opinion of the “Doubter”—“Not Worth Damming”—The Oldest Inhabitant of Athens—Celebrated Ruins—Reminiscences of Greek Grammar—A “Big Injun” on Greek—Drinking beer on sacred sol—A toper-graphical survey—The Acropolis-What is it?—The Temple of Jupiter Olympus—Seven Hundred years in Building—A young Englishman in a scrape—Sunset from the Acropolis—Byron’s glorious lines—The Parthenon and its surroundings—Foundations of the Ancient Citadel—Excavations of antiquarians—Greek Art—An important discovery—The line of beauty.

THE first view of Athens gives a stranger a favorable impression; the city stands in a plain, at the foot of Mount Lycabettus and the Acropolis, and is between the river Cephissus on one side and the Elissus on the other.

Considered as rivers these streams are of very little consequence and hardly worth mentioning, but regarded as brooks they are entitled to some respect. The Greeks call them rivers and I suppose they ought to know what they are about.

It is with some hesitation I venture to suggest that if the Elissus and Cephissus were united, it would take about sixteen mil, lion of these combined streams to equal the Mississippi. The “Doubter” said he didn’t believe that a man in search of a mill-site would consider either of these Athenian torrents worth damming.

The oldest inhabitant of Athens is dead, and his death occurred according to the historians, about thirty-four hundred years ago, or to be particular about dates, in 1643 before the Chris198tian Era. A gentleman named Cecrops came there from Egypt and founded a city which he called Cecropia.

I enquired about Cecrops and learned, much to my regret, that he is no longer alive. Had he been in Athens I would have paid him my respects.

I will not attempt to write the history of Athens, for a variety of reasons, any one of which would be sufficient, and as two or three at least will occur to every reader, I refrain from mentioning them.

At present the city has something less than fifty thousand inhabitants, and possesses very little of the grandeur for which it was once famous.

The most attractive features about it are its ruins, and every visitor is much more interested in the Acropolis and other remains of ancient Greece than in the modern city. But I must admit that Athens has considerable beauty and is well worth a visit, apart from the historic associations that cluster around it.

There is a pretty little palace where the royal family resides, and it is surrounded by gardens arranged with considerable taste, and forming very agreeable promenades. In the square in front of the palace a band plays twice a week on pleasant afternoons and on these occasions most of the fashionables, and many of the unfashionables, of Athens come out for an airing, and to see and be seen. The balconies of our rooms overlooked this square, so that we could see the people and hear the music without the necessity of walking.

The principal street in Athens is named Hermes, and you are reminded that you are in Greece when you attempt to spell out the names of the highways and by-ways. The characters are so nearly identical with the Ancient Greek that I found my school-day studies quite convenient. When in my adolescence I spent considerable time over Anthon’s Greek Grammar, and over the Iliad and Odyssey of a party by the name of Homer, I used to ask, and sometimes with a good deal of petulance:

“What is the use of wasting time over this stuff when I might be skating or playing leap-frog?”

And my good-natured old teacher would explain that it was the most useful employment for a young man that could be advised, and I would one day see the advantage of it, and rejoice that I 199had made my head ache over Alpha and Omega.


I wanted to study French and German but he always told me that the modern languages were abominations, the works of a party of brimstony memory, and I should bring ruin and disgrace upon myself if I had anything to do with them. So I shunned those paths of wickedness until I reached the years of—misunderstandings, and devoted my young and happy days to Greek and Latin. 200For a long time I have had little to do with those dead languages, and I couldn’t conjugate a Greek or Latin verb to-day, if my life depended on the result. But I see it all now, and my three or four years of Greek were of immense advantage to me when I was in Athens.

It never took me more than a minute to spell out the name of a street; the names were painted in Greek letters, and I remembered the shape of them.

When the Judge and I were hunting for a beer shop I was the Big Injun of the party. The Judge did not know any more about Greek, than a cow does about quadratic equations, and he was obliged to ask me to tell him the names of the streets. And the way I rattled off Hermes, Eolus, Minerva, Adrian, and the like, would have done credit to a deaf and dumb asylum. Didn’t I rejoice that I was familiar with Greek, and able to save the trouble of asking somebody to direct us to our destination?

The Judge appreciated the situation and said, “What a splendid thing it is to know something! If I should ever be a husband, and a father, and the results of my paternity should be boys, I would have them study Greek. They may come to Athens some time and find it convenient in going about the streets. A good map of the city would cost fifty cents, and they will be able to save all that expenditure.”

There were tears in his eyes as he spoke, for we were in front of the beer-shop and found it closed.

Happily there was another establishment for the sale of malt liquors, and as it was only two blocks away, I was able to get my friend where he could rest and be comfortable.

“Alas for the decline of Greece,” he muttered as he brought the glass to his lips, and drew a long breath with beer in it; “Once she had her Homer, her Demosthenes, her Lycurgus, her Epaminondas; on yonder hill St. Paul preached to the Athenians his famous discourse on the unknown God; here Socrates taught his philosophy; from Argos the mighty Agamemnon and his company of warriors sailed for the siege of Troy, and hung like a bull-dog to a coat-tail for ten long and weary years; here Sculpture became the study of a whole people, and Art 201reached the highest point of development known to ancient times; here were fought those battles between Greeks and Persians, that will live and ring through all history, and on yonder bay that shines so placidly in the afternoon sun, the fleet of Xerxes was destroyed.


“And what have we to-day?

“The monuments of Ancient Greece are in ruins has dwindled so that it would hardly form a constituency for a custom-house collector; and the beer, just taste it; the beer is entirely unfit to drink.”

The beer was very bad, and it turned out that the bottle had been opened the day before for a customer, who concluded to take a cigar instead. We had another bottle with better success, but on the whole were not inclined to praise the Athenian beverage.

The Judge made a topographical survey of the entire city and visited every brasserie, but with no better success. Everywhere the drinks were atrocious, and he ascribed the decayed condition of the country to the bad quality of the national beverage.

“Somebody has said,” he remarked, when telling me of the result of his inspection, “somebody has said, ‘let me make the ballads of a nation and I care not who makes the laws.’

“Now I will back up the correctness of that man’s theory, 202provided you substitute beer for ballads. What can you expect of a nation with such beer as this?”

The great object of attraction at Athens is the Acropolis, and as soon as we had lunched after our arrival at the hotels, we set out for that interesting hill.

From the square where the palace and principal hotels are situated, it is a walk of half a mile or more to the Acropolis.

A portion of the way is through the new quarter of the city and along a boulevard of recent construction; as we approach the hill we find ourselves among some older buildings, and scattered in these are some of the tombs and monuments that have been fortunately preserved. We face the arch of Adrian, which is in a tolerable state of preservation, and halt at the temple of Jupiter Olympus, the most extensive of all the temples of ancient Athens. History tells us that it was begun five hundred and thirty years before the Christian era, and that various emperors and kings labored upon it. The work was not completed until nearly seven hundred years after the first stone of the foundation was laid. It was originally three hundred and thirty feet long, by about half as many wide, and contained one hundred and twenty marble columns, each nearly seven feet in diameter and sixty feet high!

Only sixteen of these columns remain; one of them lies where it was thrown by an earthquake in 1852, and enables a visitor to see with what excellence the Greek architects performed their work. On thirteen of the columns the architrave remains in position and one is puzzled to know how those immense masses of stone were hoisted into place.

The effect of these ruins is grand, partly on account of the vastness of the columns, and partly by reason of their isolated position, in a large open space, where there are no surroundings of other structures to detract from the general effect. A few soldiers are stationed there to prevent vandalism on the part, of strangers, and an enterprising Greek has established a miserable café, among the columns. To what base uses may we come at last!

Continuing our journey toward the Acropolis we passed the ruins of the Theatre of Bacchus; we reserved it for another day, 203but I may as well dispose of it here. According to some authorities it could contain thirty thousand spectators, and for a long time it was the scene of the representations of the principal works of Eschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and other famous writers of Greek drama. The stage and auditorium were built of marble and limestone, and decorated in the highest style of magnificence known to that period. The width of the stage was about eighty feet, and the diameter of the theatre on the upper rows of seats was nearly five hundred feet. There were twenty-five tiers of seats, and there were twelve passage-ways leading through them, so that an audience could be quickly assembled or as quickly dispersed. Till within a few years the whole theatre was covered with rubbish; excavations have been carried on at the expense of the King of Prussia and other crowned heads, and latterly by the Archaeological Society of Athens, so that the most of this ancient temple of the drama has been exposed to view.

Statues and fragments lie around in great profusion. In the centre of the stage there is a small hut—the domicile of an old soldier who has charge of the ruins, and presents an open hand for whatever “backsheesh” the visitor chooses to give him. The seats in the foremost range were beautifully sculptured in marble, and were evidently very comfortable places to occupy during the performance. There are fifty of these seats, and the names engraved on them show that they belonged to the priests and other high dignitaries of Athens.

The priest of Bacchus had the post of honor in the centre; his seat is larger and more elaborately sculptured than the rest and is raised a few inches higher. Behind this row there are three rows which were occupied by the magistrates and similar dignitaries, and behind these were the seats of the general public.

Between the auditorium and the stage there is an open space which was occupied by the orchestra. Not a single musician was there at the time of our visit, and not an actor or danseuse could be found anywhere about the place. All! all! were gone, and in their place a single Greek, ancient but modern, soliciting something to keep him from starving. 204The theatre was on the southeastern slope of the Acropolis; the stage was at the foot of the hill and the auditorium extended up the slope. From here a foot path extends along the base of the hill, and rises pretty steeply in places till it reaches a gate by the side of a modern dwelling occupied by the custodians of the ruins.


The gate is strong and high, and the lock is sufficiently powerful to defy the assaults of anybody who has not been educated either as a locksmith or burglar. We passed under the eye of a custodian as we entered, and he followed us at a respectful distance to see that we did no damage. The instructions to these custodians are the most sensible I have known anywhere in places of this kind. They do not keep with you and cause annoyance by telling you what to look at, and hurrying you through faster than you want to go. All that pleasing duty is left to the guide whom you have brought from the hotel. The government knows that he will be a sufficient nuisance for all practical purposes, and consequently the custodians keep always from five to fifty yards away from you; they let you wander where you please and do what you please, as long as you do not injure anything. They never speak to you unless you attempt to play the vandal; we didn’t learn by experience what they, would do in that case, but were told that an offender is likely to be severely treated.

A young Englishman, a few years ago, in sheer mischief, broke the nose from one of the finest statues in the collection at 205the Acropolis. He was arrested on the spot, and had three months in a Greek prison, in which he made up his mind not to do so anymore. He hasn’t gone around smashing marble noses since his release. And, in addition to his imprisonment, he had to pay a heavy fine, which was applied to the fund for keeping the ruins in proper repair.

We spent the afternoon on the Acropolis, studying it in its general features and listening to the monotonous drawl of our guide, as he described the various temples and other structures whose remains covered the summit of the hill. From the wall at the southern extremity we had a fine view of Athens, and looked down on the city, lying like a map beneath our feet.

We lingered on the Acropolis till the lengthening shadows told us the day was coming to a close. We watched the sun go down, and as the disc of light touched the horizon, one of our party repeated the lines which Byron is said to have written on this historic spot:

“Slow sinks, more lovely, ere his race be run,

Along Morea’s hills, the setting sun;

Not, as in Northern climes, obscurely bright,

But one unclouded blaze of living light;

O’er the hushed deep his mellow beim he throws,

Gilds the green wave that trembles as it flows.

O’er old Egina’s rock and Hydra’s Ile,

The god of Gladness sheds his parting smile:

O’er his own regions lingering, loves to shine,

Though there his altars are no more divine.

Descending low, the shadows, lingering, kiss

Thy glorious gulf, unconquered Salamis!

Their azure arches through the long expanse,

More deeply purpled, meet his mellowing glance,

And tenderest tints along their summits driven,

Mark his gay course and own the hues of heaven,

Till, darkly shaded by the land and deep,

Behind his Delphian rock, he sinks to sleep.”

The Acropolis cannot be seen satisfactorily in a single visit; two or three visits at least are necessary, and an entire week can be spent there profitably. Our first day was intended only as an outline and preliminary inspection; next morning we went to work upon the matter in earnest.

206We told our guide we had no more use for him, until we had done with the Acropolis; we could be our own guides, philosophers, and friends.

We gathered all the books in our possession—English, French, and German—that had anything to say about the Acropolis, and we borrowed all that were accessible at the hotels. Equipped with these and a lunch basket well filled, we sallied forth, determined to “do” the ruins most thoroughly.


We began at the beginning, and at each ruin or part of a ruin that we visited, one of us read aloud while the others listened. It was slow work, and we took turns in the reading; we were three days at the Acropolis, and I do not believe any party of non-professional tourists ever “did” the place more thoroughly.

At this lapse of time and distance, the Acropolis and its temples and monuments stand clear and distinct before me, and there is no confusion in the picture. This is more than I can say of many other places that I have visited, where I was obliged to limit to hours and minutes what should have consumed entire and successive days.

The Acropolis is an elevated rock, scarped on all sides, and is of an irregular oval form, about nine hundred feet long and four 207hundred feet across its greatest width. It is comparatively level on the summit, and its height above the sea is about five hundred feet.

The first walls erected there were for purposes of fortification, and are attributed to the Pelasgians; they are said to be more than three thousand years old, and were evidently built with great care. Portions of them have been revealed by the excavations of M. Beule, and are still visible; the stones are matched only on their exterior surface and that rather roughly; they consist of the rock of the Acropolis, and not like the stones in the Greek walls, of material brought from a distance.

Not much of the Pelasgian wall remains, as it was cut away in several places to make room for the Greek foundations of the Propylæ. Near this wall there was a Greek pavement in front of the Temple of Victory. In 1853 this pavement was removed, and revealed the rock of the Acropolis, bearing the traces of chariot wheels which rolled there more than thirty centuries ago. The ancient road is clearly defined, and at its edges one can see the marks of the rude implements that were employed in smoothing it.

Walls and fragments of walls, whose erection embraced periods hundreds of years apart, appear here and there. The noblest and grandest are those of the Greeks, and they are so numerous that the plainest description of them would be tedious.

The grand staircases which look toward the sea are sufficiently intact to show their extent, though they are much injured by modern walls erected for military purposes—some by the Venetians, some by the Turks, and some by the Greeks, who were besieged there in 1822, during the war for independence. A few only of the columns of the Propylæ remain; they have excited the admiration of visitors through all ages since their erection, twenty-three hundred years ago. They were preserved almost intact down to the 14th century, when portions of them were removed for the construction of a fortress.

The Turks converted the Propylæ into a powder magazine and a depot of arms, and one day the powder blew up and smashed things generally. But enough remains to show the ancient grandeur of this portico of the Parthenon. 208The Acropolis contained several temples, and not, as many persons suppose, only that world-renowned structure, the Parthenon. But the Parthenon overtops them all, and that in a double sense, as it stands on the highest part of the rocky plateau. The Parthenon was the work of Phidias, or was constructed under his direction, and is generally considered the finest of the Greek temples. Though greatly ruined now, it remained almost intact until 1687, when it was occupied by the Turks, who established a powder magazine in its centre. The Venetians were besieging them, and a shell from a Venetian gun caused an explosion that blew down a large part of the building and left the walls and columns in very nearly the condition in which we find them.

Morosini, the Venetian conqueror, then entered the place; he did not undertake any more explosions, but he tore down and carried away many of the statues and decorations.

Subsequent conquerors and antiquarians carried away many other statues and reliefs, so that the most of the fine sculpture of the Parthenon existing to-day must be sought in the museums of England and France. The British Museum contains the British lion’s share.

The act of Lord Elgin in carrying away two ship loads of the treasures of the Parthenon has been severely criticised Our party had a lively discussion on the subject, and the question was argued with a great deal of vehemence.

At the time the sculptures were removed, Greece was in a very unsettled condition. The Parthenon had been greatly injured during the wars of the preceding two hundred years, and there was no guarantee of permanent peace. The Turks were quite likely to come again, and as for that matter there may be a Greco-Turkish war at anytime, that may lead to another Moslem occupation of Athens with its attendant results.

In the British Museum, the art-treasures of the Parthenon are far safer than they would be in Athens, and for purposes of art-study they are accessible to thousands of persons, when they wouldn’t be seen by dozens if in the Greek capital. For those artists who manage to visit Athens there is quite enough remaining on the Acropolis, and in and around the city, to occupy the 209whole of a busy lifetime of study, even if it run beyond threescore and ten years; and I further conclude that the modern Greeks, down to the time of Lord Elgin’s’ razzia, had forfeited all claim to the Parthenon by their utter neglect of it. In the interest of art, any person who would undertake the preservation of the sculptures was to be regarded as a benefactor of the civilized world.

I have said my say, and feel better.

Lord Elgin has been called all manner of hard names by a great many writers from Byron downwards, but I think he did right. If his relatives and friends wish to send me any testimonial for coming to his defence, they can remit it, post and duty paid, and I will acknowledge by return mail.

I wish to say on behalf of the present government in Greece, that it manifests a great interest in preserving the works of art that remain. And it is constantly making researches to the extent of its financial ability, and every year new treasures are discovered, and fresh light is thrown upon the art development of Ancient Greece.

Some of the excavations have been made at the personal expense of the young King, and altogether no one can complain that art matters are neglected in Athens at the present time.

An excellent museum has been formed at Athens, and it is under efficient and careful management. Students are flocking to the city from all parts of Europe, and the numbers bid fair to increase from year to year.

Enough has been printed on Greek art to satisfy the most exacting; there is little left to say. The fact that I have never studied the subject does not at all disqualify me from writing about it, if I were to follow the standard set up by some who have gone before me. Long essays have appeared from the pens of men who could hardly tell the difference between a pediment, and a cornice, or explain why a segment is not an angle or an angle a segment. It may be that I am over-scrupulous, but I have always been reluctant to write on any topic about which I was not properly informed.

In our visit to the Parthenon and in our examination of books relating to it we found something which greatly interested us; 210as it was in a French book, and as none of us had ever seen it in an English one I have thought well to say something about it.

For thousands of years the Greek temples have been admired for the beauty and harmony of their lines, and in modern times several attempts have been made to copy them. But the modern architects have invariably found that their productions had an appearance of rigidity and lacked the softness and beauty of the antique. What could be the reason?

The secret was not discovered until less than forty years ago.

It had been lost to the world through all the centuries that have elapsed since the temples of Greece began to crumble and decay.

In 1837 M. Pennethorne, on studying the Parthenon, made the first observation that led to the revelation of the secret; and it was afterward verified by several architects, among whom were Hofer, Schaubert, Paccard, and Penrose. The last-named gentleman has treated the subject in an excellent work (Principes de l’architecture Athénienne) published in 1851, and it has also been examined by M. Burnouf in an article in the Revue des Deux Mondes. The theories of the investigators were at first received \ with derision, but repeated measurement not only of the Parthenon, but of other Greek temples, have settled the matter beyond a doubt.

It has been found that the Greek architects gave curves and inclinations to the principal lines which modern architects have been accustomed to make perfectly straight measurements of the Parthenon and other temples show that these curves were both horizontal and perpendicular, and in every investigation they have been found mathematically exact.

“To the eye as to science,” says M. Burnouf, “the stability of the body increases with the extent of the base. The interior walls of the cella (or sanctum) of the Parthenon were slightly inclined towards each other; the columns of the peristyle were likewise inclined inward, and the same was the case with the columns at the angles. The whole structure thus received the form of a truncated pyramid which gave an appearance of great solidity.”

The inclinations thus mentioned were vertical. A slight curve was given horizontally to the floor or platform on which the tem211ple stands, and it is found to extend outward in all directions from the point which indicates the centre.

All parts of the temple are made to correspond to this curve which is very slight, only a few half inches in a distance of a hundred feet—but at the same time sufficient to give a most harmonious and pleasing effect.

The earliest Greek temples do not have these curves, but they are found in all the later ones, so that the time of their introduction can be determined with reasonable accuracy.

It is supposed that the Greek artists arrived at the use of these curves by a careful study of nature. The straight line is a geometric abstraction which is never found in nature. The horizon is curved in consequence of the spherical form of the earth; the sea, a mountain range, or a plain, assumes a curve when we look at it from a distance, and a long line of coast will appear arched like a bow when we approach it.

Undoubtedly the Greeks gave these horizontal curves to the bases and super-structures of their temples in an effort to imitate nature. Hogarth in the last century laid down the law that the curve was the line of beauty; he was not aware that the principle had been discovered ages and ages ago by the Greeks.

For fear that I have not made my explanation clear enough to everyone let me illustrate:

We all know the earth is round—I demonstrated that to my own satisfaction by travelling steadily west until I reached home—and so many persons have done likewise since the days of Sir Francis Drake, the first circumnavigator, that the rotundity of the earth is everywhere accepted and understood Now if the whole earth is round, it follows naturally that any part of it is curved in proportion to its extent.

Is there a pond in your neighborhood a mile in diameter?


Next winter when it is frozen over, go to that pond and stretch a twine from side to side. If you could stretch that line without any “sag” you would find that it would touch the ice in the centre and be four inches above it at each end.

Or go there some night in the summer and place a bright light at the water’s edge on one side of the pond. Then go to the 212other side, get into the water till your eye is just above the surface and endeavor to see the light. You don’t see it—because the rotundity of the earth prevents.

Now if you are building a church or a large hall, apply this principle of the curvature of the earth. Instead of making your floor perfectly flat make it swell up a little in the centre and sweep from this centre outward, toward the corners and sides. Then make your roof, pillars, and everything else in the place, and also the broad steps on the outside, curve in the same way and you will be imitating the Greek artists of the time of Pericles and Phidias. They may be said to have had level heads, those Greeks, when they abandoned the level and adopted the curve.

Enough of this.





Mars’ Hill, the place where St. Paul Preached on the Unknown God—The Prison of Socrates—The Country of the Brigands—Escorted by Greek Soldiers—Captures by the Brigands—How they treat Captives—Extorting Ransoms—Buying Coins and Relics—Swindling Travellers—Among the Ruins—Strange Contrasts—“Chaffing” the Guide—Position of the Persian and Grecian Hosts—Xerxes’ Throne—“The King Sate on the Rocky Brow”—Making the Ascent by Proxy—“I no go ze Mountain”—The Battle of Marathon—A Survivor of the Battle—How the Victory was Won.

WE visited all the places of historic interest in Athens, including the hill where St Paul is said to have preached his sermon on the unknown God.

The place is admirably adapted for the delivery of an oration, and it is no wonder that it was a favorite one with the Athenians on the occasion of any public demonstration. Indications of its ancient uses are still visible. There is a stairway of sixteen steps hewn in the solid rock leading to a platform where there are three rectangular seats placed in a half circle, and looking toward the South.

On each side to the East and West, there is an elevated block of stone; these blocks are supposed to be the seats of accuser and accused, according to the description of Pausanias and others. The courts of justice were held here, with powers that varied from time to time, according to the decrees of the ruler.

It was here that Demosthenes was condemned to death, and not far away is the place where Socrates is said to have died.

To reach the prison of Socrates we passed through a ploughed field to the perpendicular side of a hill, where a cavity was hewn in the solid rock. There was nothing of interest in the prison; 214nothing but four stone walls and a low roof, with a floor that would have been more presentable had it been swept and washed. The historians say that the authenticity of the prison is extremely doubtful and rests on very slight foundation.

We made an excursion to Eleusis, a pleasant ride of little more than two hours, when we informed our hotel-keeper of our intentions, Boniface shrugged his shoulders, smiled, shook his head, and uttered the magic word “brigands.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You must get an escort,” he replied; “an escort of soldiers to protect you, and you must send your application to the chief of police as soon as possible.”

“But suppose we don’t want an escort, and are willing to take the risk ourselves?”

“That would not be permitted,” was his prompt response.

“The government was censured so much in the Takos affair that it will not allow anybody to go without an escort. They are determined to be on the safe side, and if you venture out without an escort, you will be liable to imprisonment for violating the regulations.”

He went on to explain that the escort would cost us nothing; that it would consist of regular soldiers, mounted and armed with carbines and pistols, and that we would be kept all the time, under the strictest surveillance. We would not have a large guard—from six to ten soldiers, commanded by a sergeant, and quite possibly we could get a sous-officier who could speak French. The latter would not be absolutely necessary, as we would be obliged to employ a guide or dragoman, who would speak, or would claim to speak, all the modern languages, in addition to that of the country.

We sent our application to the police headquarters, stating where we wished to go, and how long we expected to be absent, and were informed that the escort would meet us at a little village a couple of miles outside of Athens.

In order not to attract too much attention and cause needless comment, they always arrange that the escort shall be taken up in this way. Consequently, our expectation that we should ride through the streets in grand style was ruthlessly disappointed. 215We left our hotel in a very modest way, and attracted neither attention nor admiration as we rode along we found our escort waiting for us and solacing themselves with Greek wine at a wretched brasserie in the edge of the village. The guide suggested that we should try the wine, and take a few bottles of it along for the general benefit of the party. We acceded to his proposal, and it very naturally happened that, in paying the bill, the score made by the escort was included. We did not demur, as we wanted to be on good terms with our guards, and as the wine of the country was very cheap and very bad, we gave orders that the escort should be kept filled up to the chin, and a little higher if possible.

During the whole time they were with us, the guard kept a careful watch over their charges; they divided up into advance, rear, and center, the advance keeping about two hundred yards ahead of the main body, and the rear about half of that distance behind us. There were seven soldiers and a sergeant, so that when the advance and rear of two men each were in their proper places, there were only four to form the centre. No elaborate military evolutions were attempted, if I except a little “cavorting” on the part of the sergeant’s horse, which resulted twice in unseating that hero, and throwing him headlong into the sand to the detriment of his uniform and temper.

We had expected to find a picturesque looking guard in Greek dress, and flourishing long lances, such as we see in pictures of the Phalanx and other celebrated bodies of troops. We found them a very common lot of soldiers in a uniform that looked very Frenchy, and I learned afterward that the outfit of the Greek army was furnished by French contractors, and made chiefly in Paris.

The French uniform seems to have invaded the Orient very generally, and half the armies of the countries bordering the Eastern part of the Mediterranean are now uniformed, with some modifications, after the model of la grande nation.

Shall I describe a sanguinary battle, in which prodigies of valor were displayed by our party, and a hundred brigands were compelled to bite the dust?

A great deal of dust was bitten, but we couldn’t help it; the dry earth was stirred up by our horses’ hoofs, and for much of 216the time we rode in dense clouds that occasionally threatened to smother us. Our lungs were filled, and we ground in our teeth more of the classic soil of the land of Homer and Demosthenes than we found to our liking.

It may be a humiliation to say so, but I confess that the most of us were not very poetical on that occasion, and voted Greece a bore.

Candor compels me to say that we had no encounter with the brigands, but returned to Athens with no greater sufferings than the fatigue and general mussiness consequent upon most journeys of that length. Two or three times we saw some suspicious-looking vagabonds, and at sight of them our sergeant shook his head ominously, but they evinced no disposition to disturb us. We could have made a very fair fight, if attacked, as our guards were well armed, and there was a fair supply of revolvers in our own hands. We had inserted fresh charges before leaving the hotel, and were determined not to surrender without making some resistance at any rate. Capture at the hands of Greek brigands is no joke, and would have disarranged our plans very seriously.

The main object of brigandage is a financial one; the robbers are in want of money (many of us are in the same fix), and the best way for them to turn an honest penny is to steal it. When they capture travellers, they help themselves to watches, money, and jewels, and anything else that may be of value. But the end is not yet; they take the captives into the mountains, and hold them for something more, and they are careful to squeeze out as much as possible. If the victim is a wealthy nobleman or some other purse-proud aristocrat, they think it will be worth about £10,000 to release him, but if he is some ordinary mortal with no influential friends in Athens, a hundred or two hundred pounds will be sufficient. The foreign residents and travellers; who happen to be in a Greek or Italian city when ransom is demanded for some unhappy wretch, are frequently compelled to raise money to meet the demand.

There is a great deal of complaint at this, and much of it is well founded.

“Why should I,” said a gentleman to me in Naples, “be compelled to pay something every little while to get one of my coun217trymen out of the hands of the brigands? I wouldn’t venture where the scoundrels could catch me, and I wouldn’t allow any of my friends to do so if I could prevent it. But along comes some reckless fellow I never saw, goes into danger, and is captured. Then I am appealed to on the ground of humanity and all that sort of thing, and asked to help release him. It is his own fault if he is captured. If he had staid away, as I do, he would have been safe, and not compelled to appeal to strangers. If a man meets with an accident, I am willing to help him, but I think it hard to be asked to contribute for a man who has deliberately and with eyes open walked into trouble.”


The brigands generally treat their prisoners well and civilly. Sometimes they parole them not to attempt to escape, and allow them to do what they please; and at others they put them in charge of watchful guards, who have orders to shoot them if they try to get away. If pursued, and too much encumbered by their prisoners, they kill them, on the principle that dead men tell no tales, and it is in cases of pursuit that most of the persons in the hands of the brigands have lost their lives. In several instances prisoners have been kept three or four months by the brigands, and while negotiations were pending they have been allowed to see their friends, and even to visit neighboring cities to make personal appeals for raising the ransom demanded; and these instances have only been where parties of two or more were cap218tured. Only one was allowed to go away at a time, the rest being held as hostages.

Sometimes when the ransom is not forthcoming in a reasonable time, the brigands cut off the ear of a victim and send it to his friends with the intimation that the other ear will come soon, unless matters are hurried up. This generally has the desired effect.

Brigandage has been largely reduced in Italy and Greece, but it still exists in some localities. The Governments of those countries have made earnest efforts to render rural travelling safe, but they have base populations to deal with, and it will doubtless be a long time before the business will be entirely stopped.

Our route to Eleusis, was over the ancient sacred way traversed by the Theorie or procession which used to go from Athens to Eleusis for the celebration of the mysteries. Soon after leaving Athens we enter a forest of olive trees; it was once very extensive but has suffered greatly in the recent wars of which the country around Athens has been in great part the theatre. The road is very good, and as it has been traversed for thousands of years and is under the supervision of goverment, there is no reason why it should be otherwise.

The chapel of St. George and the monastery of Daphni are passed on the route, but there is nothing particularly interesting about them, if we except some very old and badly preserved mosaics. All the time of the Crusades the Daphni was a monastery of Benedictines, and had some celebrity. It was one of the earliest Christian centres in this part of Greece.

Occasionally the modern road leaves the ancient one, but the traces of the latter are distinctly visible where it was hewn out of the rock. During the Turkish occupation there was another road established by the Moslems, but it was so badly made that it was not considered worth following by the modern engineers.

Near the shores of the Bay of Eleusis the road leads past a couple of salt lakes which are mentioned in ancient histories. They are fed by springs and drained by small brooks flowing into the bay; modern and prosaic mills are on these brooks. Our guide explained that these lakes were anciently dedicated, 219one to Ceres, and the other to Proserpine; we endeavored to ascertain if the mills appertained to those parties, and told him to go and ask if Mr. Ceres was at home. Rather than explain to us who and what Ceres was, he stopped the carriage and pretended to ascertain from a native the information we desired.

After a short conversation in the language of the country, he gravely informed us that Ceres had gone to Athens, and would not return till next week.

How that guide pitied our ignorance.

Eleusis is to-day a miserable village, whose inhabitants look as if they ought to be grateful to anybody who would drown them in the adjoining bay. They crowded around us to beg for money and to sell relics of the place; I bought several coins of the time of Hadrian, paying about a cent apiece for the lot. Somewhat to my surprise they were pronounced genuine by a coin-sharp to whom I showed them in Athens. I remarked by the way that you can buy any quantity of antique coins in Athens and no end of statuettes and other articles of terra-cotta. To obtain the genuine you must exercise considerable caution and be careful about trading with doubtful personages.

There are several shops that have a good reputation and are said to take great pains to have none but genuine coins. Sometimes they have large stocks on hand and some of these coins will be very rare; persons interested in making collections for public and private museums arrive there from time to time and almost exhaust the supplies of the dealers. Consequently you can never tell whether you are likely to find a large, medium, or small stock of antique coins on hand in the shops at Athens.

Eleusis was anciently one of the most celebrated cities of Greece, and its foundation dates in the ages of mythology. It was famous for the temple of Ceres and Proserpine, and for the mysteries which were celebrated there in honor of these two goddesses and considered the most sacred of all Greece during the time that paganism flourished.

It was one of the original twelve states of Attica, and was several times at war with Athens. In the last of these wars the Athenians were victorious and Eleusis became a province of Athens with the condition that its religion was to be respected 220and the worship of Ceres and Proserpine continued as before. Once a year the grand procession went to Athens by the sacred way to celebrate the Eleusinian mysteries, which were maintained for many years.

The Persians destroyed the temple and the city but they were afterwards reconstructed only to be destroyed again.

We wandered among the ruins where the immense and carefully hewn blocks of marble contrasted strangely with the rude huts of the present dwellers on the spot. The destruction was so complete that one sees little more than the outline of one of the temples enclosing a space covered with masses of hewn stone tumbled together in the most complete confusion.

The ruins have been only partially excavated, and there was no work in progress at the time of my visit. Judging by the remains that were visible the temples must have been among the finest of ancient Greece.

From the hill that formed the Acropolis of Eleusis, we looked over the bay, and saw the locality where was fought the famous battle of Salamis, between the Greeks and Persians. The site of the silver throne of Xerxes was pointed out, but we were somewhat dubious about it as we could not see the throne though looking repeatedly and intently. The guide could not tell where it could be found and seemed rather disgusted when we requested him to ask the natives if they had seen anything of it lying around loose.

He persisted that the battle was fought more than two thousand years ago; we listened to his explanation and shook our heads as if we were not convinced.

I told him that we had had battles in our own country not near so long ago and that the people who were killed there were all dead.

He could not understand what that had to do with the matter and neither could I.

The positions of the armies and fleets during the battle are described with sufficient precision by the historians, though there has been much discussion concerning the movements which gave the victory to the Greeks, and destroyed the Persian fleet. The locality of the throne of Xerxes is also in dispute, one authority, 221placing it in the hollow between two low hills, while another has it on the summit of a hill overlooking the bay. The latter theory is more likely to be the correct one. Byron says of the affair:

“The King sate 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?”

The day after this excursion we made a journey to Mount Pentelicus, whence came the most of the marble used in the erection of the Parthenon, and other temples of Athens.

Part of the way the road is excellent and on another part it is not so good. There is a Greek convent at the foot of the mountain and when we reached it we were told that the carriages could go no further.

Then we had an animated discussion with the guide. None of us wished to undertake the ascent, which requires about two hours on foot, and so we decided to let the guide do it for us, and when we stated our plan his eyes opened so wide that they appeared really to drop out.

“I not goes up mitout you gentlemens,” he said as soon as he had sufficiently recovered himself to be able to speak.

“You won’t, eh; well, what have we engaged you for.”

“For five francs ze day, five francs par jour.”

“Very well, then, we are to pay you five francs a day to be our guide and you are to guide us where we want to go.”

“Yees! yees, zat is so.”

“If we wanted to go up that mountain you would go with us.”

“Certainly, genteelmens, certainly zat is to guide you up ze mountain.”

“Well, now let’s have no more nonsense about it. Pentelicus would be nowhere by the side of Pike’s Peak or Mount Shasta. And you say, gentlemen come here and climb this potato-hill. We don’t intend to climb it ourselves, and we came here to do it by proxy. We have hired you for that purpose, so now go ahead.” 222"But I have been up ze mountain many times. Why I go now all alone without ze genteelmens.”

“That is our affair. We pay you five francs a day for that kind of work, you are to do anything for us that we find disagreeable.”

The guide was puzzled, and after a thorough examination of our faces to ascertain if we were really lunatics, he started off.

He went about twenty yards and then returned, declaring that he would not ascend the mountain unless we furnished him with a saddle horse.

“Once for all,” said the Judge, “will you go or not? If you don’t we shall be obliged to murder you, and then report your misconduct to the police.”

“Veree well,” sulkily replied the descendant of Sophocles, “I no go ze mountain, and I no be guide for you again. Tomorrow you have one other guide.”

We took him at his word and that night paid him off and discharged him. He had been a nuisance from the first, bothering us with all sorts of importunities, and we were glad to be rid of him in such a way that he could have no real or fancied claim upon us. During the rest of our stay in Athens he did not condescend to speak to us; he had formerly been all obsequiousness, but now he considered us quite unfit to associate with him. I am afraid our reputations suffered somewhat in his hands. He described us to some gentlemen who were in Athens the week after we left, as the greatest fools he had ever seen.

Mount Pentelicus is about thirty-six hundred feet above the level of the sea, and the view from its summit is said to be quite extensive.

Looking toward the southwest one sees the plain of Attica with its smaller mountains, and with Athens and the Acropolis occupying a prominent place on the plain.

Beyond them are the Piraeus, Salamis, and Egina, and further away the coast and mountains of the Morea, form a background to the picture. Toward the southeast are Mount Hymettus, all the promontory of Attica to Cape Sunium and beyond this cape, the jagged summits of the Cyclades are visible. On the northeast the hills fall away in undulations till they sink into the plain 223of Marathon, where was fought the battle that resulted in the defeat and partial destruction of the Persian army. The numerous bays of this part of the coast are distinctly visible, and the combinations of sea, mountain, and plain make a picture of unusual beauty.

In a clear day nearly all the great islands of the Greek Archipelago can be made out, and sometimes the coast of Asia is visible away to the east. Altogether the view from Mount Pentelicus is one of the finest in Greece, as it includes nearly the whole of Athens, and awakens many historical associations.

The battle of Marathon was fought in the year 450 B. C., between the Persians and Greeks. The former had landed forty thousand men, but owing to bad generalship, only half that number were engaged.

The Persian army was drawn up in the Plain of Marathon, with its center directly in front of the Greek position.

Military critics who have studied the history of the battle on the memorable ground, say that the Persians were lamentably deficient in strategy, as their line was too much extended, and its right was pushed out between a swamp and the mountain chain. This arrangement secured them against a flank movement on the right, but it left no line of retreat for the right wing in case the centre was pierced.

The Greeks were about eighteen thousand strong, according to the best authorities. They debouched from the mountains in two columns, one attacking the Persian right, and the other its left, and in both movements they were successful. Then they attacked the Persian centre, which they defeated and put to flight; the vanquished were pursued into the sea and into the swamps, and it is said that more of them perished in this way than by the arms of the conquerors.

Did you ever see a survivor of the battle of Marathon? I have, and instead of being twenty-four hundred years old, as you might expect, he was not fifty.

We had in our late civil war a cavalry general who was reputed to be a good soldier, and, at the same time, a tremendous “blower.” He could tell wonderful stories of his and others’ prowess; and the deeds of daring that he narrated were of the224most remarkable character. Mention any battle in his hearing, especially when he had partaken of the beverage that cheers while it inebriates, and he would be sure to tell you that he had led the cavalry on the right, the left, or the centre, just as it might occur to his mind.

One day, somebody mentioned a battle in Virginia, and our general immediately described how he broke the centre that day, with four regiments of cavalry.

Then another person spoke of a battle that occurred the same day in Arkansas or Louisiana, and the general told us how he led three regiments and a battalion of cavalry, against the right wing and broke it without trouble, capturing two batteries and half a dozen wagon loads of ammunition.

The attempt was now made to floor him, but it was unsuccessful.

“That was a splendid move of General Miltiades at Marathon,” said one of the party, with a most solemn face; “he attacked in two columns an army larger than his own.”

“Ah, yes,” our brave general responded, “that was one of the toughest places I was ever in. I led the cavalry against the left, two full brigades with two batteries and howitzers. They cut us up with grape and canister, but we broke them and took all their guns. The general complimented me personally in presence of his whole staff. I had three horses shot under me and two bullet holes in my coat.”

Up to that moment I had never hoped to see a survivor of Marathon, but you cannot always tell what will happen.




The Opera at Athens—Handsome Greeks?—The King and Queen—A Lovely Trio—Losing a Heart—Byron’s “Maid of Athens”—How She Looked—Her House and History—The Acropolis by Moonlight—Waking the Guard—A Sham Permit—“Backsheesh”—The Parthenon by Night—Greek Gypsies—Among the Curiosity Shops—Dr. Schliemann and his Trojan Discoveries—The Gold and Silver Vases of King Priam—Where They Were Found—Relics of the Sack of Troy—Curious Workmanship—Some Account of the Excavations—We Leave Athens—A Queer Steamer—“Pay or Go to Prison”—End of Our Steamship Adventure.

THE Opera was in fashion at Athens, at the time of our visit, and all went there on the second evening of our stay in the city. The theatre is rather small and the company not first-class, but on the whole the house and the performance were quite as good as one could expect for a city of the population of the Greek capital. Both chorus and orchestra were small, and not very well trained, and the scenery was evidently made to do duty in a great many ways.

In my eyes the chief attractions were the people in the audience, and I did not pay very close attention to the performance. Here and there you could see the national costume, but the great majority of those present were attired a la Paris, or rather in the French costumes of fashions a year or two old. The national costume is worn only by the pallicares, who claim to be the descendants of the original Greeks, and they show a great deal of pride of descent. Here is a description of the dress of a pallicare of Athens.

A muslin shirt with a broad collar, but without a cravat; 226stockings of goodly length and gaiters buttoned up to the knee, not unlike the shooting gaiters of England and America. Then comes a full skirt, generally of some white material, gathered in plaits at the waist, and reaching to the knee or just below it; then a small vest without sleeves, and another richly embroidered and with open sleeves.

There are garters of colored silk, and a belt of the same material, but the latter is generally concealed by a broad belt of leather, which sustains a tobacco pouch, a handkerchief, a purse, and, according to the old custom, a pair of pistols, though the latter are usually left at home. On the head is worn a red cap, something after the Turkish pattern, but larger at the top, and having a blue tassel. The women of the same class wear a long skirt of silk, or some cheaper material, according to their financial ability, with a velvet jacket open in front; and for a headdress they wear a red cap like that of the men, but with a larger top. It bends over to the ear, and appears as if it were ready to fall off. Sometimes they omit the cap, and wear a large braid of hair twisted around the head. It is not the natural growth, but of the kind known in America as “store hair;” it belongs to the wearer either by inheritance or purchase.

I looked among the audience for pretty faces, but saw only a few. One box contained three women who would be called handsome in any part of the world, but they turned out to be Albanians, and not of the true Greek race. The other pretty ones were few and far between, and on the whole I was fully prepared to endorse the assertion of Edmond About, that the Greek men are much handsomer than the women.

In the afternoon promenades, when the band played in the public square, I had no better luck in my search for beauty than in the opera house. The prettiest women are oftener seen in the rural districts and in the islands than at Athens, and the peninsula of the Morea is said to contain the best specimens of feminine beauty.

The king and queen were in their box; they are regular attendants upon the opera, and the king is said to pay a portion of the subsidy out of his private purse.

They are a young and not ill-looking couple, and were dressed in ordinary evening costume, as if out for a dinner or a party. 227He is tall and thin, and she has a tendency to stoutness, and both are blondes, the king being Danish (son of the King of Denmark), and the queen being Russian (daughter of the Grand Duke Constantine, and niece of the Emperor Alexander II). They present a marked contrast in physiognomy to the darkskinned and black-haired Greeks, and the most unobservant stranger would never take them for natives of the country.

The succession to the throne appears to be well secured, as the royal pair have three children, and are yet very far from old age.

And while on this subject, let me say that in Egypt, a few months later, I saw three sisters that were the perfection of beauty, the admiration of the foreign men in Cairo, and the envy of all foreign women. They were daughters of a Greek merchant living at Alexandria, and were the belles of the foreign population of that city. I could have lost my heart to any one of the trio, but no favorable opportunity offered, and consequently I left the Orient heart whole.

Now, for a little information about the population and government. Those who do not wish it, may go on till they find something more interesting. The population of the kingdom, including the Ionian and other islands, is less than a million and a half, according to the last census. The government is a constitutional and hereditary monarchy, and the constitution guarantees to the citizens equality before the law, personal and religious liberty, freedom of the press, public instruction, and the abolition of confiscation and the penalty of death for political offenders. For purposes of government, the country is divided into thirteen departments, fifty-nine districts, and three hundred and fifty-two communes. The prefets of the departments, and sous-prefets of districts, are nominated by the king, subject to approval by the chamber of deputies. The communal chiefs and councils are elected by the people over whom they are to preside.

The system of justice is based on the Code Napoleon, and the code of commerce is likewise on the French plan.

Criminal matters are subject to trial by jury, and the same is the case with certain civil affairs. In general, the courts appear to be well organized, but the judges are so badly paid that some 228of them cannot support their families and be respectable without taking an occasional bribe.

The religion of Greece is of the kind known as the Greek Church, and almost identical with that of Russia. In Syra and other islands of the Archipelago, there are many Catholics.

There is only one completed railway in all Greece, and it has the enormous length of four miles.

Carriage roads are not numerous, and most of them are bad; consequently it is hardly necessary to say that the interior of the country is not much developed.

Agriculture is in a primitive stage, and the soil, which does not lack fertility, has very little opportunity to show what it can do. Commerce is more prosperous than agriculture, and most of the wealth of Greece is engaged in it. Most of the commerce of the Levant is in the hands of Greeks, and there are many merchants of that nationality established in other countries. Most of them have an affectionate remembrance for their native land, and frequently make heavy donations in its behalf.

Of course the country must have an army and navy. The former includes about fifteen thousand soldiers of all arms and an enormous number of officers; there are seventy generals in the army, and a proportionate number of other grades.

The navy has an equally large staff of officers; it has about thirty-five ships, mounting one hundred and ninety guns.

The finances are in that deplorable condition described by Mr. Micawber, when he alluded to the practice of allowing expenditures to exceed the income. The annual revenue of Greece is about a million of francs less than the expenses. A minister of finance of ability would be a great blessing to the country.

I could give a few more solid chunks of wisdom, but I forbear out of pity for the reader.

My head is an ant-hill of figures, but I shall proceed to seal up the outlets, and keep the units and tens in their place.

I can tell you the number of square miles in Greece, the height of her mountains, and depth of her rivers, the age of the youngest child in the country, and what the king had for dinner one day; I could even give the number of hairs on the back of a sea turtle, and the price of a bottle of wine, for which you pay ten francs, but I forbear. 229One afternoon, while we were wandering about Athens and its suburbs, our guide pointed to a low house of most unpretending appearance, and enjoined us to “look at ze house.”

We looked, and asked if there was anything remarkable about it.

“That is ze house of ze ‘Maid of Athens’ of ze Lord Byron.”

Of course we took a second look at the house, and as we did so, we saw at one of the windows the face of an old, very old woman.

“Ah, zere is ze Maid of Athens herself. She look out and see us. You will go in ze house?”

We held a short consultation and decided that we, a party of strangers without introductions in any form, had no right to thrust ourselves into her house and presence.


The “Doubter” was the only one who thought it would be the proper thing to rap at the door and say we wanted to see the lady. We walked on, and he followed us protesting that he wanted to see her, but we paid no heed to his words. While walking sidewise with his eyes fixed upon the house he slipped and fell into a large pool of mud, and the incident changed the currents of his thoughts so that he said no more about the woman whom Byron has made famous throughout the English reading world.

The Maid of Athens of the well known poem,—“Zoe mou sas agapo”—was twice married, and, at the time of my visit to Athens, was far advanced in her second widowhood. I was told that her second husband was an Englishman, a Mr. Black, and that she was left at his death with very slender means of support. A sub230scription was raised for her in England so that the last years of her life were passed in tolerable comfort. I heard in London, just previous to my return to America, that she died in the summer of 1874, and that the little house where she lived is now occupied by her sister.

Whether the Maid of Athens was ever as beautiful as Byron represented her, I am unable to say. When I saw her it was more than fifty years after the penning of the poem, and fifty years, you know, will make great changes in the features and forms of the best of us. The face I saw at the window was old, withered, and wrinkled; it was not an unpleasant face, but age and sorrow had obliterated all the beauty which may have shone there half a century ago.

The moon reached the full while we were in Athens, and we embraced the opportunity to see the Acropolis by moonlight.

In theory it is necessary to have a permit from the authorities to go there at night, but a friend hinted to us that nothing of the kind was necessary. We followed his directions and this was the result.

It was nine o’clock and later when we went there and rapped at the gate. We rapped loudly, waited awhile and then rapped again.

The whole establishment of guards was evidently sound asleep, as all our rapping brought no response.

Then we rattled the gate, threw stones on the roof of the hut, shouted and made a noise generally.

No response.

Then more rattling and rapping,—more stone throwing and shouting and with the same result as before.

Finally I put my face to the bars of the gate and at the very tip-top and summit of my voice shouted the magic word,


Instantly there was a sound of feet and voices in the hut, and half a minute later a guard came to the gate and said something in Greek which I did not understand. Then I passed him a franc which his fingers closed upon, and I showed him another with an intimation that he would receive it after we had seen the Acropolis. 231That guard wasn’t an idiot; money he understood, but it was also necessary that we should have a written permit, and he so insinuated.


I gave him the first piece of paper I could find in my pocket—I think it was my wine bill on the steamer from Constantinople; he looked at it by the moonlight, nodded, said “bono,” and opened the gate without further delay.

It is impossible to describe the Acropolis by moonlight, just as impossible as it is to forget it. I never attempt what I know I cannot do and therefore I leave the picture to the reader’s imagination. And I would say to anybody who is going to Athens, be sure and time your visit so as to be there near the full moon, and on no account fail to spend an hour or two of a clear night in the Parthenon and among the temples that surround it. I think the grandeur and majesty of the place are better felt at that time than in the broad light of day. The softening effects of the rays of the moon are nowhere more perfectly shown than in the ruins of the Parthenon. I have seen the Coliseum at Rome, and the temple of Karnak in Egypt by moonlight, and must give the palm of merit to the Acropolis. These are built of 232grey or yellowish stone which absorbs some of the rays and gives a certain somberness to the picture. But the Parthenon is of white marble, so that the moonbeams light up the entire scene with a warmth and distinctness that almost rival the effect of the morning sun.

One day just outside of Athens we saw a small caravan of Greek gypsies. They were not a large party, some twenty persons in all, of both sexes, and the usual variety of ages. They were dressed in a costume that seemed a compromise between the Greek and Turkish, and some of their garments were in rags. The men had a proud, haughty air, as if the country belonged to them and they carried nothing but their rifles and other weapons. The women were not so fortunate, as all of them had burdens; the foremost person in the caravan was a woman who bore on: her back a cask that might hold eight or ten gallons, and, by the way she bent forward I judged that the cask was pretty well filled. She was leading a string of ponies and each pony had a good supply of baggage on his back; behind this group there was another woman leading another lot of beasts of burden.

Some of the women and two of the men were mounted on horses; the women seemed to be stowed with other baggage because they were too weak to walk, but the men were riding for the sake of personal comfort and not from necessity. A dozen sheep were in the rear of the ponies, and were kept from straying by some of the men and by two or three wolfish looking dogs. Some of the pack horses had coops of chickens among their loads, and on one of the packs a couple of hens were standing erect and appearing to enjoy their afternoon ride. Altogether the cavalcade was quite picturesque and I regretted that I had no time! to make a sketch of it.

We devoted an afternoon to the old curiosity shops of Athens, of which there is a goodly number. Vases, coins, statuettes and all sorts of antiquities—many of them modern—were shown to us and we made a few purchases. Some of the jewelry was exquisite and showed that the gold workers of ancient times were quite as skillful as their modern brethren.

Dr. Schliemann, who has made himself famous by excavations on the site of ancient Troy, was then in Athens, and through the 233influence of a friend I obtained an opportunity to examine his very interesting collection. He had a great number of vases and other specimens of pottery which he obtained at Troy from excavations at depths varying from twenty to a hundred and fifty feet. A few of the vases bear inscriptions, but thus far no one has been able to decipher them, and the forms of most of the articles discovered, show that they belong to a very remote period.

There is a difference of opinion among the savans concerning the antiquity of the articles discovered by Dr. Schliemann, and as I know a great deal less about the subject than they do I do not propose to take sides.

The enterprising explorer was full of courtesy and left his desk to accompany me for an hour or more through his collection. He reserved the greatest curiosities till the last.

After showing me many vases, cinerary urns, weapons, and implements of stone and copper, sculptures on granite, and other things which were stored in a shed adjoining his house, he led me to his study to inspect a collection of photographs which he made at Troy. While I was looking at these he unlocked a cabinet and brought out a number of gold dishes, vases, necklaces, and rings, and placed them on the table.

“Here,” said the Doctor, his eye kindling with delight as he spoke, “here is the treasure from the palace of King Priam. In my excavations, I came upon the foundations of the palace, and one morning my wife and I, while my workmen were at breakfast, managed to hit upon the locality of the treasure chest. You observe that some of these things appear to have been subjected to great heat, &c., and partially melted. This was done, I presume, at the burning of the palace, after its capture by the Greeks, and these articles had escaped discovery at the time the place was sacked. The heavy masses of debris that fell upon them served as their protection, and they lay undiscovered through the thousands of years that have passed since the siege of Troy.

“Some of the scientists dispute my claim that these things belonged to Priam, but for myself I have no doubt of it. I think you can be entirely confident that you are examining and handling dishes that have been touched by that celebrated king.”

234I need not say that I was greatly interested in the collection, and that I lingered over it as long as politeness would allow me to do so.

One of the most interesting things I saw was a necklace and head-dress of pure gold—the workmanship was exquisite, and there were upwards of five hundred separate pieces in the two articles. The style of the head-dress and necklace was like that we see on pictures of Assyrian kings, and the ornaments were, doubtless, the property of some high personage. The pieces had been carefully put together by the doctor, and he showed me photographs of them, taken before his laborious task began and after it was finished.

I should add that the excavations at Troy were made by Dr. Schliemann, at his own expense and under his personal supervision. He had many difficulties to contend with, including the opposition of the Turkish government and the thievish propensities of his workmen. They robbed him at all opportunities, and it was recently ascertained that by far the larger part of the gold vases and other valuables from the ruins of the palace were concealed by the workmen, and their discovery was quite unknown to him. The Doctor was accompanied by his wife, who assisted him in every way in her power; but it was impossible for them to be everywhere at once, and to supervise excavations going on in half a dozen places simultaneously.

When we were ready for departure we packed our baggage and drove to the Piraeus, where we had a choice of two steamers to Syra. One was the Stamboul, our old acquaintance, on which we had passed a very rough night; the other was a Greek steamer, and we determined to inspect her.

A very brief inspection of her cabin was enough for us. The captain looked as if he hadn’t washed himself since he was born, and the steward appeared never to have been guilty of such an act.

The rooms had very little bedding, and the little that they possessed was so dirty that it had evidently been used for the door-matting of a well-patronized bar room in muddy weather, and had afterwards served as the flooring of a pig-pen. 235The steward spoke nothing but Greek, and he had no assistant; as near as we could make out, he was steward, head-waiter, chambermaid, assistant-waiter, cabin boy, cook, and forecastle attendant—anything you might happen to want. We were not long in deciding how we should travel. The Stamboul was not all that fancy paints a passenger ship, but she was infinitely preferable to the Mavrocoupolo, or whatever her outlandish name was.

This Greek steamer had the monopoly of the passenger trade between Syra and the Piraeus, and the other lines were not allowed to sell tickets for that route. When we came to Greece, we bought tickets from Constantinople to the Piraeus, and had no trouble; we now wanted to buy one to Syra by the Austrian Lloyd line, where we were to change to a ship of the Messageries Maritimes (French). But we couldn’t do anything of the kind, and the only way we could get around it was to buy third-class tickets to Chio (the first port beyond Syra), and then pay to the steward on board the Stamboul the difference between first and third-class prices.

Was there ever a law so carefully drawn that somebody could not devise a plan to get around it?

The company bit us pretty badly—the fleas helped them a little—as we found that we had to pay very dearly for our connivance at violation of the Greek law. This was the way of it.

We bought third-class tickets to Chio and went on board, where we paid the steward the difference between first and third-class. In first-class fare, where tickets are bought at the agencies, meals and rooms are included. But after paying full rates, we were told that we had only secured the privileges of the cabin, and must pay extra for meals and berths.

We called for the captain, and protested that it was a swindle. He shrugged his shoulders, showed us the regulations, and said we must pay. If we didn’t he must put us in prison at Syra.

We thought the prison might be something like the cabin of the Greek steamer, and we paid the bill with the rapidity of a well-trained flash of lightning. But we didn’t change our opinion on the subject, and to this hour we think that the directors of the Austrian Lloyds are———

I pause, as there may be an international law of libel.




Missing our Steamer—A Serious Dilemma—A Study of Faces—Making a Row and What Came of It—Under the Yellow Flag—Adventures of a Quarantined Traveller—Escaping the Plague—Mal-de-Mer—A Laughable Incident—Getting on Our Sea-Legs—Custom House Troubles—The Potency of “Backsheesh”—Oriental Fashions in New York—“Doing” a Custom House Inspector—A Curious Tradition—The “Lamb” as a Trade Mark—The Temple of Diana—One of the “Seven Wonders”—Singular Discoveries—A Horde of Scoundrels—The Island of Rhodes—The Colossus—A Wonderful City—The Knights of St. John—Their Exploits—Surrendering to the Turks.

WHEN I went on deck the morning after our departure from the Piraeus, the steamer was at anchor in the harbor of Syra. We expected to catch the French steamer that was to sail that afternoon for Smyrna and the Syrian coast, and I looked around for the Tibre, which was her name.

She was nowhere in sight, and a boatman who wanted a job was kind enough to inform me that she had come and gone twelve hours before.

Here was a pretty caldron of piscatorial productions. As the rest of our party made their appearance up the cabin stairs I broke the dreadful news to them, and made a careful study of their features as they received it. If there had been any profane persons in our number, I think a swearing band could have been organized without much difficulty.

Weren’t we on our ears and didn’t we go to the office of the company and make a row? 237We had a printed time-table and demanded why the steamer sailed before her advertised time. The agent explained that he was very sorry, but the fact was the steamer did not touch at Naples on account of the quarantine there, and therefore she had reached Syra twenty-four hours ahead of time. There was nothing for her to do at Syra and no reason why she should wait, and so he had let her go.

We demanded a special steamer to take us to Smyrna, in season to overtake the Tibre, but the agent wouldn’t give it. We could hire one for one thousand dollars, but that was paying rather high for our passage, and we demurred.

The only thing left for us was to take a small steamer of the Austrian Lloyd’s that was to leave next day and might get us to Smyrna in season to catch the Tibre. The agent telegraphed the state of the case to the agent at Smyrna, and away we went for the other boat.

There she lay in the harbor, a little, old, paddle steamer, named the Wien, a wooden craft that had been running a quarter of a century. She did not look inviting externally. We wanted to go aboard and take a look at her cabins, but here was a difficulty. A yellow flag floated from her topmast. She was in quarantine, and if we once set foot on her we could not go ashore again in Syra. She had come from Trieste by way of Italy, and there was a five days’ quarantine in Greece against all ships from Italy. So we waited until about the time of her departure. She was stopping for the steamer with the mails from Trieste, and there were no less than four steamers in port waiting the same mails.

We took a lounge around the public square of Syra, and drank beer and coffee at a restaurant; then we took another lounge and more beer and coffee, and then we took a couple of carriages and drove to the interior of the Island, where there were some pretty orange groves and some very attractive country seats. Then we came back and drank some beer and coffee, and went on the steamboat—the steamer that brought us from the Piræus—to sleep.

Next morning we started for the same sort of excitements as on the day before, and just as we started, we saw the Trieste 238steamer poking her nose around a headland and steaming toward the harbor. Then we gave up our projects, and prepared to transfer ourselves to the Wien.

She lay near the entrance to the harbor, and an ugly wind was blowing straight into the entrance. The wind wasn’t much for a steamer, though she rocked about considerably, but it was altogether different with a row boat, such as we engaged to transfer us. We made a contract for two boats, one for us and one for our baggage, for the sanitary reasons of the quarantine. The boat with our baggage was towed alongside by a rope about thirty feet long, and then a couple of men descended from the steamer and put the baggage on board. Then the boat was towed away again, and nobody could enter it until a plentiful supply of salt water had been thrown over it.

As for ourselves, we had gingerly work to get on board. Our boat went to the steamer’s gangway, and was held under it by means of hooks and ropes, but she was not allowed to touch it. The waves were short and choppy, and we had to watch our chances and jump one by one upon the gangway. The instant we touched it we were in quarantine, and so was everything about us. We got on board without accident, and then came the work of paying. The price had been fixed beforehand, and the boatman wanted his pay at starting, but we were firm in refusing. This was in accordance with our inflexible rule never to pay boatmen, hackmen, et id oinne genus, until their services were ended.

But there was reason in the request of the boatmen on this occasion, and we might have relaxed enough to pay him before getting on board the steamer. Had we paid in the boat he could have received the money directly from our hands without any nonsense. When we were all on board, one of our party went to the foot of the gangway and held out the stipulated napoleon. We and all our napoleons were infected the instant we came on board, and the boatman was obliged to receive his in a tin cup of salt water. And if the party who paid him had dropped overboard while leaning down, and the boatman had rescued him, the boat and all it contained would have gone into quarantine the 239prescribed number of days. Such an event has occurred several times in Syra and other ports. In time of quarantine a man must be very careful about his movements.

The Wien got away from Syra about four in the afternoon, and put out into a very rough sea. The lady of our party went to bed immediately, her husband didn’t feel very well, and two others of the party were as cheerful as a pair of chickens that have been caught in a thunder shower. The fifth member of the crowd knew he wouldn’t be seasick, but had no appetite worth mentioning, and I was left alone in my glory, to pace the deck or go below, as I pleased.

I haven’t been seasick for a reasonable number of years, and didn’t want to begin again at that time and place. I have a suspicion that I take a malicious delight in showing how well I can be when others around me are covering the sea with maledictions, and furnishing pleasure and undigested food to the fishes that follow in the wake of the ship.

To give an illustration of the way I can stand the rolling of the “deep and dark blue ocean,” let me relate one incident.

Several years ago I went on board a steamer at Civita Vecchia, for Genoa. When we left Leghorn there were about sixty passengers, as happy as though they had just returned from a wedding or a circus. When we got out to sea we struck into a Mediterranean squall, such as sometimes blows the strings out of a pair of laced gaiters, or shaves the hair from the back of a bull dog. Those passengers went below to study the interior construction of the ship. Among them was an Englishman, who told me he had made four voyages to China, and hadn’t been seasick since he was a boy. I was the only passenger that didn’t go below, and I eat my dinner alone and with an appetite that would terrify the keeper of a boarding house. My English friend was much disordered about the stomach, and when we got to Genoa it was all he could do to get himself on shore. I took care of his wife and carried her down the gangway and up again on shore, and was as polite as I knew how, and it was entire disinterestedness on my part, as I had never met her before, and her husband was a big fellow who could fight if he wanted to, 240and, moreover, seasickness had given her a bedraggled appearance that was not calculated to incite love making to any alarming extent.

She looked as though somebody had run her through a patent clothes wringer and forgotten to shake her out afterwards.

As soon as the Wien had left the harbor of Syra and got out to sea, she tossed about in a very lively way, and it was no joke to walk along her deck without falling. One needed to have as many legs as a spider or a caterpillar to keep himself straight, and when you were below deck, the creaking of the timbers was something surprising.

“As long as she creaks she holds,” is an old maxim of the mariners, and if it be true, there was never a holdinger ship than the Wien.

We passed Samos and Naxos and other islands of the Ægean Sea, and when the moon came out I propped and chocked myself into a corner on deck, and devoted the time to thinking about the siege of Troy and a dozen other things connected with the history of Greece.

Particularly did I think of the gold and silver things I had seen in Dr. Schliemann’s collection at Athens, things that were said to have come from the treasury chest of old King Priam, the same venerable oyster that fought Agamemnon and the other Kings of Greece.

They are dead now, every mother’s son of them, and it was a pleasure while looking at Priam’s personal property, to know “that the old fellow couldn’t come in to carry it off, and that no wandering heir could set up a Tichborne claim to it.” I read a great deal about Priam when I went to school; a man named Homer wrote something about him, and I got up quite an interest in Priam, and particularly in a young lady that they called Helen. Because somebody stole, or, as the pickpockets say, “raised” Helen, Troy was besieged and destroyed with all its palaces and other good houses.

We reached Smyrna about noon the day after leaving Syra, and found the Tibre at anchor. There was a delay in leaving the Wien, a vexatious delay, of nearly an hour, just when time was very precious. The formalities of the Turkish ports are not 241to be gone through in a hurry, as we found to our cost The doctor of the ship was rowed off to the health office to report everything correct. Then the Doctor of the Port, a Turkish official, with a good deal of bombast about him, was rowed out in his boat. The crew of the Wien was ordered to form in line at the ship’s side, where the Doctor could see them. He surveyed them as carefully as he could at a distance of twenty feet, and without coming on board he pronounced the ship all right, and admitted her to pratique. And then what a scramble among the boatmen, and what a scene of confusion!


There was shouting in all the languages of the Levant, and there was an amount of crowding and pushing that ought to have thrown half of the boatmen into the water. They swore at each other, or at least the accent of what they said was very much like the accent of swearing in other lands, and they clambered up the sides of the ship like so many monkeys. We had taken time by the forelock by engaging a boatman and closing a bargain with him while waiting for pratique, as we thought it would save a few minutes, and was easier to do when the boats and men were ten or fifteen yards distant, than when the latter were crowding the 242deck. We were to be taken to the Tibre with our baggage, then to shore, and then back to the Tibre again for a franc each.

On our way to the Tibre we were intercepted by a boat of the Custom House; the official was smoking his pipe in the rear of his craft, and just gave a glance at our baggage, as if to note the number of pieces; he then extended his hand and pronounced the word “backsheesh!”

I, as paymaster of the party, gave him a franc, he waved his hand to indicate that we were a numerous party and were liberally supplied with baggage. I added a franc, he nodded assent as his fingers closed on it, and the “formalites de la douane” were finished.

I unhesitatingly assert that the Orient has the most pleasing Custom House arrangements I have ever seen. No trouble, no overhauling of baggage, no exhibition of your unwashed linen to a crowd of staring idlers, and no rumaging around generally in the places you desire should not be rumaged at all. A little “backsheesh” to the official and everything is satisfactory.

In Liverpool or New York, and likewise on the continent, you can sometimes buy your way through, but you often hit the wrong man, and then there is a row. You may attempt to bribe an honest man, (generally a very newly appointed official,) and then you come off badly. In Turkey you cannot make any such mistake, as the whole Custom House staff is on the make, and will take your bribes without hesitation.

I observe with pleasure, that our officials in America are learning something from the sleepy Orientals.

On my last trip home one of my fellow passengers had a lot of stuff that was liable to duty, and he determined to get it through, if possible, free of charge. So he packed his trunk, putting these things on the bottom and a lot of old clothes on top. Then he spread open a ten dollar greenback and laid it upon the old clothes, slightly securing it with a pin. When his trunk was opened for examination my friend turned away so that the inspector might not be troubled with his presence.

The examination lasted about a quarter of a minute. The inspector closed the trunk with the remark that such a lot of old clothes wasn’t worth carrying around; the passenger departed 243for his hotel and when there and in the silence and solitude of his room he opened the trunk.

And behold, the pin that held the greenback was gone!

And the greenback was gone likewise!

What became of that greenback my friend never knew. He suggests that the pin, being of English manufacture, was liable to confiscation and the officer only did his duty in seizing it. In the hurry of removing the pin the greenback may have adhered to it and passed into the pocket of the officer without attracting his attention.


When he emptied his pockets that night he was doubtless astonished at finding the greenback, and still more when he examined it and found that it was counterfeit.

We had less than two hours on shore, and therefore saw very little of Smyrna. We walked or rather ran through the bazaars, not stopping to buy any anything, but threading our way among Turks, Arabs, Levantines, camels, donkeys, boxes, bales, filth, and other Oriental things. The pavements were rough, and in many places they were muddy and slippery, and by the time we got back to the landing we were thoroughly tired.

It had been our intention to make a journey to the ruins of Ephesus during the two days’ stay of the Tibre, but this was out of the question.

Though Smyrna has enjoyed the advantages of commerce for a very long time, there is still a great deal of prejudice among her people. Here is a story which was told me in illustration of this assertion: 244Some years ago, an English merchant sent a cargo of goods to Smyrna, and among the articles were a hundred pigs of block tin. The rest-of the cargo passed the custom house without trouble, but the tin could not be landed, and the ship, at its departure, brought the metal away.

And why?

Because of the trade mark upon it. The smelters of this particular lot had adopted the figure of a lamb as their trade-mark, and stamped it on each piece of tin. It happened that when the Crusaders went to Asia Minor, the banners of some of the divisions of their army were ornamented with the picture of a lamb. Consequently, the lamb became unpopular, and has continued so to this day.

The tin in question was re-cast without the representation of the hated animal, and sent again to Smyrna, where it was received without hesitation.

It was a great disappointment to us that we could not go to Ephesus, the seat of one of the “seven churches of Asia,” and a place of great historical interest. A railway runs there from Smyrna, so that the journey can be made with comparative ease. There is a considerable amount of walking and donkey-riding after one gets there, and the accommodations are not altogether palatial. Ephesus was one of the cities which claimed the honor of being the birth-place of Homer, and it had a reputation for a variety of things that do it very little good now. The greatest lion of Ephesus was the Temple of Diana, which was accounted one of the seven wonders of the world; Diana was accounted nearly as great a wonder, in some respects, but she would be of very little consequence at the present time.

The temple at Ephesus was said to be four hundred and twenty-five feet long by half that distance in width. Its roof was supported by one hundred and twenty-eight columns, each sixty feet high, and altogether the edifice was the largest of all the Greek temples, as it occupied four times the area of the Parthenon. Like the latter temple, it contained a statue of gold and ivory, and there was a vast amount of wealth about the building. The roof was set on fire one night by an incendiary named Erostratus, (whether John, Charles, or William, I am unable to 245say), who lost his head in consequence. He died happy, and avowed that he had no other object than to immortalize his name. Hence came the declaration—

“The daring youth that fired th’ Ephesian dome,

Outlives in fame the pious fool who raised it.”

The city and temple disappeared during the Middle ages, and at the beginning of the present century the site was marked only by heaps of rubbish, and by the Turkish village of Aya Soolook.

In the past twenty years, excavations have been made there at various times, and are still going on. The foundations of the temple have been discovered, and many interesting sculptures brought to light.

Ephesus at one time granted the right of asylum, and was known as a city of refuge.

Any scoundrel who had offended the laws and found things too hot for him at home, was all right in Ephesus; and the result was that the city was overrun with criminals to such an extent, that the respectable inhabitants asked the Emperor Augustus to abolish this right of asylum, which he did. Society was in the condition of that of Texas before her admission to the Union, and before she had any laws to keep rascals in check.

There used to be a couplet, to which our most South-western State was said to owe its name:

“When every other land rejects us,

This is the land that freely takes us.”

Possibly the thieves, murderers, bounty-jumpers, and Tammany officials of the olden time used to say:

“When law from the land would efface us,

We’ll pack up our trunks for Ephesus.”

Neat, isn’t it? Well, the Judge got that up just as we were sailing out of Smyrna.

We were on board the Tibre half an hour before her time of sailing. As we steamed out of the harbor, and the lovely bay on which the city stands, we had a most beautiful sunset, full of 246bright colors, in strong contrast to the dark and rugged hills that form the setting of the bay. The general features of Smyrna are not unlike those of Naples, when looked at from a distance of half a dozen miles. The harbor is one of the safest along this whole coast, and its trade appears to be quite prosperous. There is much wealth at Smyrna, and a great many foreigners are settled there in business. The population is estimated at one hundred and fifty thousand, of which the Turks and Arabs number a little more than half. Then there are forty thousand Greeks and Italians, fifteen thousand Jews, ten thousand Armenians, and about five thousand Europeans of various nationalities. There are mosques, churches, and synagogues among the places of worship, and the commercial character of the population imbues them with a great deal of liberality in religious matters.

A splendid quay was in course of construction at the time of my visit, and when it is finished the maritime importance of Smyrna will be greatly increased. The stone for this quay was made on the spot, from the sand of the harbor, in the same way as the artificial stone that forms the breakwater at Port Said, in Egypt.

There are three lines of steamers engaged in the coasting; trade of Syria and Palestine—the French, the Austrian, and the Russian. The French steamers run each way every fifteen days, the Russian every two weeks, and the Austrian three times a month. They touch at most of the ports, and make their voyages very leisurely. As a general thing, they run from one port to the next in the night, and rest there during the day. Take our steamer for an illustration.

She left Smyrna just before sunset; at noon next day she was at Rhodes, where she lay till sunset, and then moved on. At breakfast next day she was at Messina, and staid there till night, and so it went on, past Alexandretta (the port of Aleppo), Latakia, Tripoli, and Beyrout. It was a very pleasant way of making the journey, as we were at sea during the night, and could spend the day on shore, each time at a new place. The routes of the different lines vary somewhat, but all of them touch at Beyrout and Jaffa.

We went on shore at Rhodes, and wandered among its palm trees, over its curious walls, and up the famous street of the 247knights, where the armorial emblems over the doors are still in place, left there by the Turkish conquerors in honor of the Knights of St. John, and their gallant defense of the place before their surrender. The defence of Rhodes forms one of the brightest pages of history, a page that should never be soiled and never be effaced. The site of the Colossus of Rhodes was pointed out; it was on one of the bends of the land that form the harbor; the story that it stood across the entrance, and that ships sailed between its legs, is a beautiful fiction, more astonishing than true.

There are few places in Europe that have such a mediaeval appearance as this city of Rhodes; its walls and towers, and the ancient appearance of its houses, carry the visitor half a dozen centuries backward more easily than do most places in the track of the tourist. And the life there had a lazy, careless way about it, quite in keeping with the mural structures. People were lounging at the water’s edge, some in the cafés, and some under the palm trees in front of them. Nobody was in a hurry about anything, and even the servants of the cafés had caught the contagion, and moved around as listlessly as though they had been appointed to their own executions, and were trying to make as much delay as possible. There was little rivalry among the boatmen, and they good naturedly assisted each other in getting to or from the little dock where we landed.

Rhodes is the ancient Rhodes (a rose), and the name belongs both to the island and the city. The latter has a population of about ten thousand, and of these there are six thousand Turks, while the rest are Jews and Greeks. The city is built in the form of an amphitheatre, upon the bay that makes the harbor, but unfortunately the depth of water is not sufficient to afford anchorage for ocean going steamers. It was a warm, still, clear afternoon when we were there, and the town as we approached it had a very quiet and lazy appearance. The walls and towers, the work of the Knights of St John, carried us back to the middle ages, and it seemed as if Rhodes had gone to sleep half a millennium ago and nobody had disturbed her since. Strabo described the ancient city of Rhodes as a place of great magnificence, with many public edifices that were profusely adorned with works of art. There were said to have been three 248thousand statues in the city, and altogether it must have been a wonderful place. At present there are few remains of anything prior to the occupation by the Knights of St. John in the early part of the fourteenth century.

One of the brightest pages in the history of the Crusades and the events connected with them, is that whereon is written the chronicles of the Knights of St. John. At the time of the first crusade the institution was in high favor with the crusaders, many of whom joined it and bestowed their fortunes upon it. Up to that time it had been merely a secular institution, but its chief determined to organize it as a religious body whose members took the vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty, and were to devote their lives to the aid of the poor and sick in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem.

In the twelfth century the institution added another vow to those above mentioned,—that of bearing arms in defense of religion. The order thus assumed a military character and rapidly rose in wealth and power. In some of the Saracenic wars the knights performed deeds of great valor, and several battles were won by them. In the thirteenth century they were driven from the Holy Land, in consequence of the reverses suffered by the crusaders, particularly in the battle near St. Jean d’ Acre. After this they established themselves at Cypress. Here they assumed a naval character, as their ships carried pilgrims to and from the Holy Land, and had frequent sea fights with the Turks. In A. D. 1309 they seized Rhodes, which had been a resort of Moslem pirates, and fortified it in the manner we see it at the present day. They were several times assailed by the Turks, but repulsed every assault and made several expeditions into Asia Minor. Their numbers were steadily recruited from the nobility of Europe, and one time nearly all the best families of France, Spain, and Italy were represented among the Knights of St. John. In A. D. 1522 the Sultan Solyman the Magnificent, besieged them with an army twenty thousand strong; they held out for six months—their whole strength was less than six thousand men—they were at length forced to surrender. But their defence had been so heroic that the Turks allowed them to retire with the honors of war, carrying their arms and standards



251and even some of their cannon. The Turkish fleet dipped its flags and fired a salute, as the Knights with tearful eyes sailed away from the island which their order had held for more than two centuries. It is recorded that the commander, Phillipe de l’Isle Adam, was the last to leave the island and that he turned and kissed his hand toward Rhodes as his ship sailed away. The trumpet that was blown at Rhodes to give the signal of the retirement of the Knights is preserved at Malta, and I had the pleasure of examining it several months after my visit to the scene of the heroic defence. After temporary sojourns in Candia, Sicily, and Italy, the Knights, in A. D. 1530, were established at Malta where they built a strong fortress which resisted several sieges by the Turks. They remained at Malta until 1798, when Napoleon, on his way to Egypt, seized the Island and virtually put an end to the existence of the order.





A Rough Night on Shipboard—A Sea-sick Turk—What he said—Rum and Petroleum—Meditations on Turkish Hash—The Camel, his tricks and uses—A Knowing Brute—How he shirks a burden—George Smith, the Assyrian Savan—Beyrout—Its Antiquities and Wonders—Going on Shore—The Dragoman and his office—Eastern Guides and their Character—Travelling on Horseback in Syria—The road to Damascus—An unexpected trouble—Paying fare by Weight—Disadvantages of a heavy “party”—A trial of Wits—Waking up the Judge—Telling White Lies—The “Doubter’s” Predicament.

IT grew rough in the night, after we left Rhodes, and the Tibre tossed about in a very lively way.

There was a Turk in the state room on one side of me, and an Armenian woman in the room on the other side.

The Turk rolled about very uneasily; the springs of his bed were rather noisy, and I could hear them creak every time he turned over. I venture to say that he turned in his bed not far from 243,654 times in the night; not that I counted them, but only guessed. Every time the ship gave a lurch he shouted “Allah!” and between times he cleared his stomach or his conscience of everything that had rested there in the last ten years.

As for the Arménienne, she took out her share in groaning, and she did that so well as to entitle her to the first place at an Irish wake. Had she asked me for a diploma, I could have given her one that would have made her fortune, but she didn’t put in an appearance till she came out to leave the ship at Alexan253dretta. She wanted to say her prayers, but was too weak to do so, though she shouted “Constantine” as often as the Turk said “Allah.” As for the Turk, he stuck to his employment with most commendable zeal. Between the two, I didn’t get much sleep during the night, and was glad when morning came and the steamer anchored at Mersina.

It was too rough to go on shore with comfort, and there was nothing to see after getting there, as the place is small and has no special distinguishing features.

Next morning we were at Alexandretta, the port of Aleppo; and there we went on shore.

Almost the first object that caught my eye, as I stepped on shore, was a barrel of New England rum, with the name of the Boston manufacturer carefully stencilled on its head. In nearly every part of the world where I have been, I have found that the enterprise of Massachusetts has sent its rum, a harbinger of civilization, that must puzzle the heathen in their efforts to understand the principles of Christianity. A barrel of petroleum was just beyond it, another bearer of light from the New World to the nations wrapped in darkness.

Our poetic fancies, on the juxtaposition of these gifts of America to the old world, were cut short by our entrance to the bazaars, a series of low sheds with a street between them, little more than a couple of yards wide. Merchants were squatted in their shops, with their goods piled all round them; shop, goods, and merchant, all included, rarely occupied a space more than eight feet square.

The official known in American stores as a floor-walker would be entirely superfluous here; he might as well try to walk in the cage of a canary bird as in an Oriental shop.

The customer stands in the street, or sits on the low bench that forms the front of the shop; a party as large as ours—half-a-dozen—blocked the street and made it inconvenient for others to get around or for ourselves to see anything. Then there were camels, dogs, and donkeys moving about, and you had to look sharp to prevent being run over.

There was a restaurant a little larger than the rest of the shops, but still very small; and there was a butcher’s shop, where 254a couple of men, with large knives, were making mutton-hash for native consumption. The hash was rolled around on a large block, and cut with knives at every turn, and frequently the knife came so near the fingers of the operator as to endanger them. With ordinary carelessness, there ought to be about two per cent, of fingers in a lot of hash after its preparation is complete.

Outside the town we visited a group of camels.


These patient beasts have a dingy hide, with thin hair, and their appearance is so ungainly that I should think they would be ashamed of themselves. I would give something to know what is a camel’s idea of beauty; it must be something quite out of the ordinary run. A little distance away, they resemble large turkeys, and, with heads stretched out when they trot, you would take them for the aforesaid turkeys hunting after grasshoppers. A lot of the beasts were being loaded for the interior, and I was interested in watching the operation.

The camel is made to kneel, and then a quantity of old blankets is spread on his hump, on which to place the saddle. This is formed of a few sticks joined together, much like the ordinary mule saddle, only somewhat larger. The freight to be carried is fastened to this saddle by means of ropes, and the Arabs have a very keen eye for balancing the boxes and barrels that make up a camel’s load. My pity was roused for a camel that made half-a-dozen ineffectual efforts to rise after he was loaded, and was only brought to his feet by the assistance of one man pounding him and three others lifting at the load. But a gentleman of our party was familiar with the camel, and said: 255"The chances are two to one that the distress of the beast is a sham. They are up to all that sort of trick when being loaded, as they sometimes secure a diminution of their cargoes by playing it sharp. I have seen an old camel sold by putting a lot of empty boxes on him. They weighed very little, and yet he tried half-a-dozen times to rise, and couldn’t, until he was cudgeled. The whining and groaning of the camel is a good deal of a fraud. You have seen western pack-mules in America do the same thing.”

Sagacious beast the camel!

If the Hindostanee doctrine of metempsychosis is correct, I wonder what sort of spirits enter the bodies, of the ship of the desert?

We saw the camel-train move out on the road to Aleppo, ninety miles distant, and we walked a mile or so upon the road. Two passengers who were bound for Nineveh and Bagdad, on the Euphrates, left us here, and we saw them off on their journey. One of them was Mr. George Smith, who was making researches at Nineveh for the British Museum and the London Daily Telegraph conjointly.

He expected to be twenty-five days making the journey to Nineveh, and said it was possible that bad weather might make his route somewhat longer. He made some valuable discoveries in his first explorations there, and hoped to make many more. I am sure all the passengers of the Tibre wished him every possible success.

While I am writing these pages, his book on his explorations has been published in London, and is receiving the praises of the scientific world.

Camels and palm trees, ancient ruins, stray dogs, Arabs, water-pots, and other things, gave the road to Aleppo an Oriental appearance, and the temptation to push forward to the great desert and away to the eastward was by no means a light one. But this was not to be undertaken; we returned to the steamer, and were borne away towards Beyrout, where, three days later, after stopping at two unimportant points, we landed and set our faces toward Damascus. 256Bcyrout presents a pretty appearance from the water. The land on either side sweeps gracefully around to form a bay, and at the end of this bay the city is nestled. Back of it is the famous Mount Lebanon, from which were brought the cedars used in the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem; the sides of the mountain are steep, but not precipitous, and the summit is frequently covered with clouds.

Seen from the city, the mountain has a bleak, barren appearance, owing to the masses of white limestone cropping out at frequent intervals and reflecting the sunlight to such an extent as to give it the name by which it is known, “the White Mountain.” The sides of the mountain are cultivated in terraces, and the front walls of these terraces frequently consist of the solid limestone rocks. As one looks up the mountain, he sees only the faces of these terraces, the verdure which they sustain being out of sight.

The old town of Beyrout is very old, and its streets are narrow and very often rough and dirty. The new town, or rather the new part of the town, has wide streets and is sufficiently well paved to allow carriages and carts to move about; the pavement is excellent for Syria, but would have been considered very poor in an American city. The population is now about sixty thousand, which is three times what it was thirty years ago; it is a mixed population of Moslems, Christians, and Jews—about as mixed as that of Constantinople or Cairo. Business is active, and the city has a very pronounced air of prosperity.

Antiquities and curious sights for the ordinary tourist are few in number and not very interesting. There are Roman, Assyrian, and Arabic remains, in the shape of tablets sculptured on the rocky walls of the Nahr-el-Kelb or Dog River, about half an hour’s drive from Beyrout; and there are a few traces in the town itself of the Roman occupation. All of them can be seen in a short time, and to a stranger who has come straight from America, without stopping, they would doubtless be interesting. But where you have done Rome and Athens, and half the cities of Europe and Asia, you won’t linger long over the antiquities of Beyrout.

But all this time, while I have been droning about Beyrout and Mount Lebanon, I have kept you waiting at the gangway of the



259steamer. Well, you have the consolation of knowing that you have put in the time while waiting for the ship to undergo the quarantine formalities and obtain pratique.

A crowd of dragomen and guides invaded the steamer as soon as they had permission to come on board, and were very energetic in endeavors to secure our patronage. They presented credentials that would have entitled them to anything short of canonization, and to read their credentials you would consider them the best and most honest men in the world.

We selected the guide belonging to the hotel which we had determined to patronize, and repelled as best we could all the others, by telling them we had no need of their services, and should not take them. We obtained a boat, with a little bargaining, and went on shore, where a dense crowd of Arab porters were in attendance. Two francs of “backsheesh” took us through the custom house, and we followed guides and porters to the hotel, and were followed by a guard of honor of about a dozen dragomen, very much as an organ-grinder is accompanied by a troop of small boys.

While we were coming on shore there was a row between the guide of the hotel, and the dragomen belonging to the same establishment, in consequence of the former trying to fasten himself upon us, for the journey to Damascus. The latter requested the guide to stick to his business, and imperatively told him to mind his place and keep it. Some of my readers may ask the difference between the two positions, and for their benefit I will venture an explanation.

A guide is a necessary evil of European or Oriental travel, particularly the latter; you can get along in Europe without a guide, unless you are pressed greatly for time and want to see things in the shortest possible limit, but in Oriental cities you will find a guide indispensable, at least for the first two or three days of your stay, until you get the run of the place. The “guide” belongs to the city and its surroundings; he is called guide in the Orient, and valet de place or commissionaire in Europe. In Europe he generally knows something of the history of the city, where he shows you about and can tell you of the curiosities, the date of the construction of the cathedral, palaces, et cetera. 260But in the Orient you must not expect anything of the kind; you must rely upon your guide book for all historical information, and as a general thing, must indicate to the guide the different places you wish to visit. His services generally consist in taking you to those places, and in acting as your interpreter. As for knowledge beyond his day and generation he has none. For example, a local guide in Venice will take you to the Doge’s palace, or the church of St. Mark, and tell you the date of construction, the name of the builder, the uses of each portion, and will go on step by step till he has delivered a sort of lyceum lecture, which he has carefully learned, has delivered a great many times before and expects to deliver as often as he can get an engagement for an indefinite number of years to come. In Constantinople you wish to visit the Mosque of St. Sophia; the guide will get the necessary ticket and take you there, and the most you can expect of him, after you get inside, is to tell you which is the floor and which is the roof. Sometimes he is not equal even to that effort of intellect.

In Europe there is the travelling courier; he is engaged by people willing to pay for luxuries, goes with them from city to city, looks after their baggage, makes most of their bargains, acts as their interpreter, and frequently as a local guide, and is supposed to know the continent and its belongings pretty thoroughly.

The dragoman is to the Orient what the courier is to Europe. The difference is caused by the difference of the two regions. In Europe you travel by rail and steamer; in the Orient there are no railways, and in all Syria and Palestine, with the exception of the one between Beyrout and Damascus, there is not a carriage road. You must travel on horseback, must sleep in tents, while between the cities, and must have a regular camp equipage.

The dragoman makes it his business to attend to all this. He supplies your parties with horses, tents, food, and everything else at a fixed price per day, and when in the cities he supplies you with a local guide, but never acts as one himself. He is to the guide what the horse is to the donkey, or a general to a captain, and he frequently puts on airs enough to set up a windmill. I hope I have made a clear enough explanation of the difference between the two. 261From Beyrout to Damascus there is an excellent road, equal to the best turnpikes of America, and the diligence roads of Europe. It was constructed by a French company under a charter or firman from the Sultan, and is a triumph of engineering skill. Twice a day there is a diligence each way over the road; the morning departure is at four A. M., and the evening at six P. M. The time from Beyrout to Damascus fourteen and one-half hours and from Damascus to Beyrout thirteen and one-half, owing to the difference of elevation.

We went at once to the office of the company, where we were politely received, and after considerable talk, and an examination of the diligences, we hired a special carriage, which was to take our party of six to Damascus and back, stopping midway long enough to allow us to visit Baalbek.

The entire cost, including the halt en route, and at Damascus, was about sixteen dollars (gold) for each person, certainly not an unreasonable price. But we came near having to pay more, and it happened this way.

We conducted our negotiations in the outer office, and when we had settled the whole matter, paid the money and received the ticket there arose a question about some trivial matter which the agent said he would refer to the manager. The manager’s office was across the hall, and as the agent entered it, he beckoned for us to follow. We sauntered in, one after the other, and on entering found manager and agent settling the question we had raised.

The manager raised his eyes as we entered. They rested upon us for an instant and then he started back as though somebody had drawn a revolver upon him.

Mon Dieu!” he exclaimed, “and is this the party for Damascus?”

Certainement, monsieur,” replied the agent, waving his hand toward us, whereat we bowed to the manager.

There was the portly form of the judge in the foreground. He weighed two hundred and thirty pounds, avoirdupois, net, before breakfast, and a great deal more after a square meal.

Then came my slender frame of six feet one, with corresponding breadth of beam and depth of hold. 262Gustave was as tall as I but not equal to me in diameter. He happened, however, to be wearing one of my overcoats so that he bulged very respectably.

Charley and the “Doubter” were in the rear. They were fair to middling in size but the manager didn’t see them, his eyes being wholly filled with the foremost trio, and if he had been a young widow on a hunt for a husband he couldn’t have watched us more eagerly.

“Ah, Mon Dieu, Mon Dieu!” continued the manager; “we can never carry this party on single tickets. And where is the sixth?”


“Madame is at the hotel,” I replied, “she is so small that we call her the baby. You should see her. Elle est très petite, très jolie, et trescharmante.”

My endeavor to divert his attention by an appeal to a Frenchman’s admiration for a pretty woman (many persons not of French birth are troubled the same way) was of no avail. He t measured our heavy trio and returned to the charge by asserting: 263"It is impossible to take you for that price. We calculated upon two horses for the carriage and we must have three. What enormous men you are.”

The judge now found tongue and repelled the insinuation that he was enorme.

“You think I am large? You should see my partner. He always rides in two carriages, and once when he slipped on the icy sidewalk, the people for half a mile around thought it was an earthquake.”

Pardon, Monsieur,” I added, “Son Excellence, Monsieur le juge,” and I waved my hand in the direction of my friend, “is not as heavy as you may think. He is nothing but a big bag of wind, as you would find if you should stick a fork into him.”

This raised a laugh in which the manager joined. The judge retorted on me with a remark which personal respect impels me to keep back from this narrative. It was sufficient to raise another laugh, and under the diversion thus created we got the manager into good humor. We brought him around all right, but I firmly believe it would have cost us more if he had seen us before the ticket had been paid for and delivered. As we bowed out of the room the judge was in the rear and caught the manager’s remark to the agent.

Mon Dieu! Ils sont énormes.”

The “Doubter,” not knowing French, was standing by during the conversation without the faintest idea of what was occurring. He looked on with an expression similar to that of a pig contemplating a railway train, and when we got outside he asked what it was all about.

“Something very serious,” said the judge. “The manager objected to so much weight, and wanted you to remain behind. We tried to compromise with him, but it was of no use, and you are to stay in Beyrout till we return.”

Then the “Doubter” exploded, said he wouldn’t stay, and furthermore, he believed the judge was not telling him the truth; his doubts were so strong on the subject, that when we reached the hotel he hired an English-speaking dragoman to accompany him to the stage company’s office and learn the exact state of the case.




The “Sights” of Beyrout—Excursion to Dog River—An Obstinate Carriage-Owner—How he was “Euchred”—Moral of this Incident—Off for Damascus—Ascending Mt. Lebanon—An Arab Driver—Cultivating “Kalil,” our Jehu—The Cedars of Lebanon—A Grove as Old as Solomon’s Temple—A Wonderful Old City—The Temple of the Sun—Mystery of Tadmor—Cyclopean Masonry—Monstrous Monoliths—Their Dimensions—The “Doubter’s” Doubts and their Solution—Sleeping in an Arab House—What We Saw There—Divans as Couches—A Dangerous Valley—The Robber’s Haunt.

AFTER we had lunched we went out to see the town, and then we hired carriages for a drive to Dog River, which we were told would require a couple of hours. We were to pay six francs each carriage “for two hours to Dog River,” and when we were seated the owner of the stable demanded the money in advance.

We wouldn’t pay.

He threatened to unharness the horses, and actually began.

We told him he must take us out of the carriages, and we lighted our cigars, and settled back for a comfortable rest.

A crowd collected to see the fun. The owner swore that it was always the rule to pay in advance, and we replied that there was no rule without one exception.

He said he must take the money, as he could not trust his drivers, and we invited him to occupy the box till the end of the excursion, and then take his pay. The upshot of the matter: was that he finally told the drivers to go ahead, and they went. Dog River was reached in twenty minutes, and then the joke



267was apparent. We would have been there and back in an hour or less had we paid in advance, and there would have been no such thing as redress.

We kept the carriages two hours and took a drive of a couple of miles on the Damascus road to a pretty grove of pines. Then we returned to town just inside of the stipulated time and handed over the pay to the drivers only when we were deposited at the door of the hotel.

Moral: Be cautious about paying a hackman in advance.

We are told and believe that the horse is a noble animal—why is it that nearly every one who associates with him is a scoundrel? A horse jockey is never held up as a pattern of honesty; the race track is the scene of much that is wicked, and as for hackmen, their rascality is the next thing to an axiom—a selfevident proposition.

Our carriage was at the hotel door at nine in the morning of the day after our arrival at Beyrout, and as soon as we could stow ourselves away we were off.

There was a comfortable space for five, but rather close work for six, and it was absolutely necessary that one should ride outside with the driver. I undertook the task, and by a scientific arrangement of baggage built up a comfortable seat. We started, and I went to cultivating the acquaintance of the driver.

He spoke a little French, so that he could manage to understand me, but his strong point in the way of language was Arabic. He was as black as—-well, one of the blackest men I ever saw—as black as the character of a candidate for office, when his opponent takes a turn at him. His lips were curly and his hair was thick—you can read the other way if you like—and he couldn’t be excited into a smile by any ordinary means. The only thing I could do to induce him to grin was to attempt to sing. He thought my singing rather funny, but, as it frightened the horses, he begged me to desist. He was a skilful driver, and his name, Kalil, a name about as common in that country as George or Charles with us.

We rattled out of Beyrout past the forest of pines to which the European residents sometimes drive on a pleasant afternoon. A rain during the night had moistened the road, and at several 268places where the laborers were repairing it, the carriage was a heavy load for the horses. These, by the way, were three in number, strong, sleek, well kept horses, that knew their work and performed it. Hardly were we out of the city before we began ascending Mount Lebanon, and the ascent is by no means an easy matter. The summit of the mountain where the road crosses it is five thousand six hundred feet above the sea level; as the crow flies, it is not more than seven miles from this summit to Beyrout, but as you follow the road it is nearly twenty miles. We were not fitted with wings for flying, and consequently we stuck to the road which the company provided for us. It was slow work for the horses, and, to ease the load, the lightest and most enterprising of us left the carriage and walked.

The road is of excellent construction and reflects great credit upon the engineer who made the surveys and laid it out. The cost must have been something very great, and I was not surprised to learn that the investment had never paid well, in spite of the apparently good business of the company. In addition to the two diligences each way daily, the company sends a daily freight train of fifteen wagons; whether there is anything or nothing for them to carry, it is all the same—the wagons start at a fixed time, and are allowed three days for the journey, from one city to the other.

There is a large station for freight in each of the terminal cities, and at reasonably regular intervals along the road there are wayside stations with stables of good size, and with quarters for the station-keeper and attendants. The stables, stock, wagons, carriages, and all other property of the company, appeared to be well kept, and without any meanness of management, and the discipline of the men was very strict. I had reason to find it out in a practical way.

I have done a good deal of staging and posting in various parts of the world, and have learned that it is generally a good plan to get on friendly terms with drivers, no matter what their nationality, color, or previous condition of servitude may be. In pursuance of this plan, I cultivated Mr. Kalil, the gentleman of Nubian origin, who conducted our atelage. I gave him a cigar as soon as we started, and he thanked me by touching his hand to his breast, his lips, and his forehead—this is a l’Arabe—and when we pulled up at a wayside cabaret to tighten some of the straps, I “stood treat” with a glass of arrack, which he swallowed without a grimace. Then I intimated that if he would put us through lively, and never mind killing a horse or two, he could consider me good for a liberal “backsheesh.” He shook his head and showed me the way bill, and I saw the company knew its business.

The drivers are required to go between the stations at a certain speed, and they must not exceed it, neither must they fall short, unless from unavoidable reasons. If they go too fast they are corrected; I do not know exactly how, but from the customs of the country, I should imagine that for a slight offense a driver’s pay would be stopped, and he would be pounded a few days with a hammer, a scythe, or a trace chain, till he died. For a more serious offense he would be treated with severity proportionate to the enormity of his conduct.

The time of arrival and departure at each station is noted on the way bill by the station master, so that there is no chance to cut under in any way. I observed the station master examining the horses’ feet as soon as the animals were delivered to him and then making notes on his book. I thought this a strange proceeding until I learned that the horses were numbered on the hooves, the number being neatly cut with an engraving tool, or burned in with an iron.

The company allows none but its own teams on the road, except on payment of a heavy toll; the old bridle road or track is in sight most of the way, and we saw many pack trams of camels, mules, donkeys, and horses threading their way through the mud, while we were rolling on a macadamized track. In no instance did we see a pack train on the modern road.

Away to the north, over a rough and difficult road, are the famous Cedars of Lebanon.

They are in a valley which is dominated by the high peaks of the range, and stand on a little hill or knoll, so that they are visible from a considerable distance.

The grove is not large—one can walk quite around it in half an hour—and contains not far from four hundred trees of all 270sizes. The old and gnarled trees are in the centre, while the younger ones form the outside of the grove. Not more than a dozen can claim any great antiquity, but there are thirty or forty others that vary from three to five feet in diameter—the largest of the trees, and supposed to be one of the oldest, is more than forty feet in circumference.


The trees have been much defaced and broken by visitors, some of whom would no doubt carry away the whole of Mount Lebanon if it could be packed in a travelling trunk.

Though there are other cedar groves in Syria, the one here mentioned is the most important, for the reason that it is supposed to have furnished the timber for Solomon’s Temple, as recorded in the Old Testament. Cedar trees were doubtless very abundant in the palmy days of Jerusalem; at present they are very scarce, and if the natives and other barbarians continue to destroy their limbs and build fires in the grove, as they do in these days, these famous trees will soon live only in history.

Up, up we went along the sides of Mount Lebanon, the air growing cooler as we rose, and a violent hail-storm dropping upon us. It was warm when we left Beyrout, and I mounted my box without an overcoat. Soon it grew cool, and I donned a light one; an hour later, I abandoned the light for a heavy one; next I spread my shawl in front of me, and next I wrapped a silk kerchief around my neck.

We made our second change of horses after passing the summit, and then began the descent. 271Now we had speed; we wound down and down, as we had wound up and up, but we went three or four times as fast. Far away at our feet lay a plain—the plains of Buka. Two hours from the summit, we were at Stora, a wayside station, where we passed the night, and were most kindly treated by the keepers—a Greek man married to an Italian woman, once a danseuse at La Scala, Milan.

Next morning before day, we were up and off for Baalbek, which lies about twenty miles away to the left of the road.

It had rained in the night, and the soil was soft and sticky, making slow work for our horses. The mud clung to their feet and formed huge balls, and we could only advance at a walk. The saddles were unused to us and we to them, and we hurt them a good deal. When we dismounted at Baalbek, every one of the party walked like Falstaff’s recruits, wide between the legs, as though accustomed to the gyves, and some of us were inclined to stand while at meals. We had no time to waste, and after lunch proceeded to do the ruins.

We found them all that fancy and travellers have painted them. They are grander and loftier than anything at Rome or Athens, and the architecture is of a most beautiful and delicate pattern. The temple in its glory must have been something majestic, and I have seen few things among the ruins and edifices of Europe and Asia more striking to the eye or more beautiful in general effect than the court and colonnades of the Temple of the Sun.

But the wonder of Baalbek is in the stones used in its construction. Hewn stones, twelve, fifteen, and twenty feet long, and proportionately wide and high, are frequent in the walls and substructures. You grow weary of saying: “There’s one!” “Look at this!” “and this!” “and this!” You wander down in the underground passages, and the size of the stones, placed as precisely as bricks in a wall of a building of to-day, fairly astounds you; you come out, and look on the wall of the temple, and you find stones twenty-four, twenty-eight, and thirty feet long, and proportionally wide and high. You see stones of this sort away up in the air at the tip of the columns, and you wonder how they got there.

In the western wall are three great stones, one of them sixty272four feet long, another sixty-three feet eight inches, and another sixty-three feet; they are thirteen feet high and thirteen feet thick. They are twenty feet above ground, properly placed in position, and they were brought from the quarries nearly a mile away.


And in the quarries, is another stone of the same sort sixty-eight feet long, but not quite detached from the rock below.

Don’t drop the subject now but pace off sixty-three feet in your garden or back yard or some other man’s yard or garden; then pace off thirteen feet and then look up thirteen feet on the side of the house and then imagine a hewn stone as large, and after you have done it you will just begin to imagine these stones as we saw them.

During our evening halt at Stora one of us read aloud from the guide book the description of Baalbek.

When we came to the measurement of the stones the “Doubter” explained: “Is anybody fool enough to believe such nonsense?”

We tried to argue with him that possibly the stones were of that size, but he closed the argument as he did most arguments by saying: “I know better.”

On our way to Baalbek we saw the stone in the quarry and asked what he thought of it. 273"That is nothing,” he replied, “they haven’t moved it.”

When we saw the three stones in the wall and measured their length and height he said they were joined together.

He could find no joint and finally insisted that they were only thin slabs fastened to the walls, and to this day he insists that he knows they are nothing like what they are represented to be. He vowed not to speak of them when he reached home for fear he would not be believed.

He always kept the hotel bills so that he could prove that he had been to the places we visited.

“The ‘Doubter’ must be a veree great, what you call in English, liar, at home,” said our fair German companion one day, “if he thinks people not believe him without his hotel bills.”

The “Doubter” after all was a source of amusement to us at odd times, in spite of his high rank as a nuisance, and we finally concluded that it was well to have him along on the same principle that the Romans used to receive a victorious general with shouts of applause and triumphal honors and at the same time kept a slave at his side to call him opprobrious names and continually remind him that he was mortal.

The ancient Egyptian also set our party an example in the same way as they used to put a skeleton in one of the chairs at a public or private festivity so that the guests might remember what they were coming to.

We slept that night in an Arab house at Baalbek. Our beds were on divans or couches. We were tended by Arab man-servants and maid-servants and were bitten by Arab fleas. The rooms of every Arab’s house contain divans that extend along the end furthest from the door and sometimes along one of the sides. They consist usually of benches or frames not quite as high as the seat of a chair and about three and a half feet wide and are covered with mattresses that render them agreeable to sit or recline upon We found them quite comfortable after our hard day’s travel, though perhaps a trifle too hard for American natives. In the poorer houses these divans are of the same material as the floor—solid earth—covered with a mat of straw.

Most of the Arab houses are extremely dirty and abound in vermin. The one we occupied was quite neat and well kept, and 274the dragoman who accompanied us from Stora expressed surprise at our discovery of fleas. But we did not mind them as we were too weary to be bothered about trifles, and fleas are familiar acquaintances to a person who has travelled in Italy, Russia, and Turkey. Travelling, like poverty, acquaints one with a great many varieties of bed-fellows.

We were up long before day; we breakfasted by candle light, and before the sun tipped the summits of the Lebanon range with golden color, we were on horseback and away. Through the gray dawn we took the last look at the tall columns of the Temple of the Sun standing as they have stood for centuries and may stand for centuries to come.

Shall the edifices which we erect ever become like those of Baalbek, shrouded in a veil of mystery well nigh impenetrable, and fill so little place in the page of history that future ages shall not know who built them and what was their purpose?

Little, very little, is known of Baalbek; her foundation and her founders are unrevealed mysteries, and of her glory and progress and decline we have only the most meagre information. That the city is very ancient there can be no doubt; that her edifices are among the wonders of the world we have the evidence before us.

We rode down the plain of Buka as we had ascended it the day before. A little after eleven o’clock we flung ourselves or rather dropped ungracefully from our saddles and greeted the swarthy Kalil who had come out a short distance with the carriage to meet us. Kalil and the horses soon took us to Stora where we dined and then packed ourselves in the carriage to continue our journey to Damascus. We crossed the flat plain at a gallop and then entered a long valley leading up the range which is over against Lebanon.

This valley is known as the Wady Harir; then we cross a plain and after leaving this we enter a narrow winding glen, the Wady il Kurn, or “Valley of the Horn.” This pass is one of the wildest in the Anti-Lebanon; it is three miles long and was once very dangerous on account of the robbers that infested it. The sides are rough and but slightly wooded and the bottom is evidently at certain seasons of the year the bed of a torrent.



277Night came on and shrouded everything around us in blackness; there was an extra touch of darkness to it as there was no moon and there were thick clouds between us and the stars. We could see little more than what was revealed by our lamps and that little soon became monotonous. We crossed the plain of Dinas and entered the gorge of the Abana, the river which is the pride of Damascus, and has always occupied a prominent place in her history.

“Are not Pharpar and Abana,” said Naaman, the leper, “rivers of Damascus better than all the rivers of Syria?”

Following the Abana we at length beheld the lights of Damascus, and at nine o’clock entered the city and were deposited at the door of the only hotel it contains.





Dimitri and his hotel—Court-yards and fountain—How people live in Damascus—Parlors, bed-rooms and boudoirs—A bet and its decision—The “Doubter and his Donkey”—The Street called “Straight”—Bab-Shurky—Spots famous in history—Shaking hinds across a Street—Scene of St. Paul’s conversion—The Window of escape—Tombs of Mohammed’s Wives—The “Doubter” figuring on probabilities—An unexpected upset—Visiting the lepers’ hospital—A frightful spectacle—The Great Mosque—View from the Minaret—The Bazaars and Curiosity Shops—Making a trade—A case of Fraud.

THE hotel at Damascus is kept by a Greek named Dimitri, who has been familiar with Syria for a great many years, and was in his younger days a dragoman.

His house is spacious, and more comfortable than I had expected to find it, and in appearance is the most Oriental of all the hotels I have seen in the East. You enter by a low, narrow doorway, and passing a short vestibule find yourself in a marble paved court open to the sky, and possessing a fine fountain When I say a fine fountain, I mean that it is so from an Oriental point of view—i. e., there is a broad tank, with stone sides, where the water is kept constantly changing by means of a two inch supply-pipe, and an equally large waste pipe. To the right of the fountain there is a recess about twenty feet square, where are divans and chairs in abundance.

Beyond the fountain on the opposite side of the court is the parlor or saloon. It is entered by an ordinary door, and you find inside a marble floor as long as the room is wide,—about six feet 279in width,—and having a fountain in the centre. The rest of the apartment on each side of the marble floor is elevated about two feet and has steps leading up to it.

The spaces thus elevated are richly carpeted and have divans on three sides. They have in Dimitri’s hotel a few chairs in front of the divans; but these are rather out of place, and are only kept there out of deference to the foreign patrons. The roof is high, and the highest part of it all is in the centre. We have reason to know about it, as we got into a discussion while waiting for dinner, and two of the party risked a bottle of champagne on the result.


One said the roof was thirty feet above the marble floor, and the other thought it was twenty-nine and a half. The nearest was to win, and Dimitri sent for a pole and ladders and we measured it. The result was twenty-nine feet ten and one-quarter inches, and I lost the wine.

I have been thus particular in describing the court, fountain, and saloon of Dimitri’s Hotel for the reason that it will answer for any well-to-do house in Damascus, with the exception of the chairs, which should not be introduced there.

“Take away the chairs,” said Dimitri, “and my house is Ori280ental, but with them here, it is not. The instant chairs are introduced the Oriental character is gone.”

I should have added that his court contains several orange and other tropical trees; on some of the former the oranges were ripening, and were plucked and offered to us.

The height of the roof of the saloon may seem considerable, but we were told that it is frequently ten or twelve feet more, and before leaving the city I saw some parlors which had I think forty feet of distance between floor and roof.

Next morning we took a guide and started out for the sights.

“The weather is fine to-day,” said the guide; “you had better take donkeys, and see what we have to see of the outside of the town. To-morrow it may rain, and we can then see the bazaars, mosques, and houses.”

We took his advice and donkeys, and started at once. He led us through crowded streets to the gates, or rather to one of the gates, and then we proceeded to make a circuit of Damascus.

Our starting point was Bab-Shurkey or the East Gate It is a picturesque piece of architecture somewhat dilapidated, but containing traces of its former glory. Here was once a magnificent Roman portal with a central and two side arches which were walled up more than eight hundred years ago. This gate is at the end of the “street called Straight,” by which St. Paul entered the city, and from the top of the gate one can look along the street until it is lost in a confusion of buildings. It is not straight as we use the word, but is enough so for Oriental notions.

In the Roman period, and down to the Mohammedan conquest, there was a wide avenue where this street now is; it was about a hundred feet wide and was divided by Corinthian columns into three parts corresponding to the three arches of the gate. They have been distinctly traced in several localities. As you look down there now you see a narrow lane with uneven rows of buildings on either side; the projecting windows almost touch each other, and in some localities they are less than a foot apart. Hand-shaking and osculation would be easy across the streets, and elopements and intrigues are facilitated by the proximity of opposite dwellings. 281We went near the wall outside of the city, and were shown several of the local curiosities. We passed a projecting tower of early Saracenic masonry, and near it our attention was called to an old gateway, which has been walled up more than 700 years. This is the reputed scene of Paul’s escape from Damascus.

The window was shown until within the past twenty years, when some changes in the wall removed it.

In front of the gate we were shown the tomb of George, the porter who aided St. Paul in his escape, and was martyred in consequence. Our guide was a Christian Arab, and spoke of the place with great veneration, as do all the native Christians. Beyond this is the Christian cemetery, which was desecrated by the Moslems at the time of the massacre of 1860. Some of the tombs were opened and the bones were scattered about; afterward some of those wounded in the massacre were thrown alive into the pit. The scene of St. Paul’s conversion is located here.

Not far away is the foreign cemetery; among those buried there is the accomplished historian, H. T. Buckle.

The guide called our attention to the houses upon the wall of the city; it was from a house of this sort that Paul was let down in a basket, and one can readily see that it was easy for Rahab, who dwelt upon the town wall of Jericho, to let “down the spies” by a cord through the window. On several occasions in time of war, these houses have been removed, but they have speedily re-appeared on the return of peace.

The walls of the city were no doubt of some importance formerly, and are still a sufficient defense against Bedouin cavalry, but they would be of no consequence to-day. Modern artillery would make short work of them, and there are places where a battery of ordinary field guns could destroy them in a few hours.

The city has outgrown the walls in several localities, and it is said that a third of the inhabitants are extra-mural. The population of Damascus is estimated at about one hundred and fifty thousand. Twenty thousand of these are Christians and six thousand Jews. The remainder are Moslems, and many of them are of the most fanatical character. 282We halt at the Mohammedan cemetery of Bab-es-Saghir, an area of undulating ground, covered with a forest of tombstones, and little whitewashed mounds of brick, in shape resembling a house roof.


These are the graves, and each has a head stone with an inscription in Arabic, and beside it, is a cavity for water, generally containing a green branch of myrtle. Had we been there on a Friday we should have seen crowds of Moslem women weeping over the graves of relatives or friends, and after the ceremony had ended they would have fallen to chatting pleasantly, as if their visit were not a matter of grief. We saw the tombs of three of Mohammed’s wives, and of Fatimah, his grand daugh283ter, and we were shown other graves, and tombs containing the remains of Moslem warriors, statesmen, and historians.

The “Doubter” did not believe that Mohammed’s wives were buried there, and refused to dismount and enter the cemetery. When we returned to the gate we found him prostrate in the dirt, and just rising with the help of the donkey drivers. It seemed that his beast resented the notion of standing patiently for a man to sit on him, and after making a remonstrance in donkey fashion, he ended by turning a somersault that unseated the “Doubter.” The latter jackass described a sort of cruciform parabola and at the end of his gyrations found himself sitting down lengthwise, and with his back uppermost. Several new constellations and solar systems were flying around his excited skull and his doubts as to the character of this planet were stronger than ever.

“I don’t believe,” said he, as soon as his mouth was cleared of the dust that encumbered it, “I don’t believe that there is anything around here worth seeing. We had better go back to the hotel and stay there.”

“Nonsense,” replied one of us, “Damascus is the most interesting city of the East, within our reach; one of the oldest cities and one that has undergone very little change in two thousand years.”

“I know better than that,” said the “Doubter,” “nobody believes this city is two thousand, or even one thousand years old.”

I came to his help just then and told him he was right; that the city was founded in 1811 by a colony of Arabs from New Jersey, and was never heard of by the civilized world until December, 1847, when it was discovered by an Englishman named Smith. Somehow my information did not please him, and he was sullen all the rest of the day.

Later on I found what it was to be dropped from a donkey. I was dismounting, and the beast evidently wanted me to be quick about it. Just as I leaned forward to swing my right leg over, the donkey dropped his head and shoulders and gave me a most beautiful fall. I went down among other donkeys and in the dust of the street, but I flatter myself that I did it gracefully. A dozen Arabs were standing around but not one of them smiled while all my companions let themselves out into laughter. I told 284them it was not polite to laugh at the unfortunate, but that didn’t appear to check them.

We visited the house of Ananias, the High Priest, all the points connected with St. Paul’s stay in Damascus, and then we went to the Mosques.

Before doing this it was necessary to visit the American Consul or Vice Consul, and obtain a permit. The Consul is a native of the country, a polite, affable gentleman, speaking English quite well, and showing a desire to serve the citizens and the interests of the country he represents. He lives in a fine house of recent construction; his house was burned in the massacre of 1860, and he narrowly escaped assassination. He received us in the style of the Orient, with coffee and pipes, and made us welcome to Damascus. He sent at once for the desired permit and sent his janissary to accompany us in our visit to the mosque.

Before going to the mosque we went to the site of the house of Naaman, the leper; a leper-hospital now occupies the spot. And speaking of lepers, we afterwards went to the leper-hospital and saw half a dozen of the victims of this dreadful disease. Some were blind, some had the face, some the arms, and some the legs, much swollen, and the face and hands of one were covered with scales. Under the edges of these scales the flesh was raw and inflamed, and we were told that some of the patients in the hospital were masses of sores.

The Great Mosque occupies a quadrangle one hundred and sixty-three yards long by one hundred and eight wide. Part of this quadrangle is a court surrounded by cloisters resting on stone pillars; the rest of the space is occupied by the mosque, which is four hundred and thirty-one feet by one hundred and eight. We removed our boots and put on our slippers before entering the building. The interior is divided into three aisles by two ranges of Corinthian pillars, which support round arches. In the centre is a dome one hundred and twenty feet high by fifty feet in diameter, and standing on four massive pillars. The floor is of stone and covered with soft carpets, and here and there on the carpets, were the Moslems at their prayers. Our attention was particularly attracted by one devout old Jew, who wore a phylactery upon his forehead and who appeared to be utterly uncon285scious of what was going on around him. On the eastern side of the mosque there is an elaborately carved Keebbek, or shrine, and below it is a cave, in which the head of John the Baptist is said to be preserved in a casket of gold.

There are three minarets to the mosque; the most important is the minaret of Jesus, at the south-eastern angle, and two hundred and fifty feet high.


There is a Moslem tradition that when Jesus comes to judge the world, He will descend on this minaret, enter the mosque, and call before him men of every sect and nationality. We climbed to the top of one of the minarets, and obtained from it a fine view of the city.

Mosques, bazaars, houses, mud walls and flat roofs, remains of Roman and Saracenic columns, streets and court-yards, formed the scene before us. Further off were the gardens, the olive and orange groves of Damascus; the Abana sparkled in the sunlight 286like a band or thread of silver; the barren hills beyond formed a sharp contrast to the fertile plain; and away in the distance we could distinguish a belt of desert. Another mosque, whose minaret is covered with blue encaustic tiles, attracted our attention, and we longed to visit it. To our disappointment we learned that admission was then impossible.

A visitor to Damascus should take advantage of the first clear afternoon, to proceed at a late hour to the Salahiyeh hills, so as to look upon the city at sunset. The road is pleasant and picturesque, and leads gently upward beyond a village that lies between the hill and the city. An hour’s ride brings one to a point where the whole plain is spread out like a map at the spectator’s feet.

Embowered in gardens and tinted by the lights that varied every moment, Damascus looked to us as much like an earthly paradise as anything in the Orient. Away to the east was the range of Anti-Lebanon; to the north was the plain, with a strip of desert, and to the south the plain stretched away and broke into the hills in the distance. We could trace out the shape of the city, and follow with the eye the direction of its principal streets; the tall minarets and bright domes of the mosques formed salient features of the landscapes, and altogether the scene was thoroughly Oriental. It was from this hill that Mohammed looked and pronounced Damascus the most beautiful city of the world, and promised the most dutiful of his attendants, that they should be appointed to dwell there.

Thus we looked upon the city which is doubtless the oldest in the world. More than three thousand years it has flourished; more than thirty centuries it has stood there a city—the beautiful city of the plain. Nations have appeared and vanished. Kingdoms and empires and republics have risen and fallen, but Damascus has stood unchanged. Thrones have crumbled, dynasties have come and gone. Statesmen and poets and scholars have lived their brief period of existence, brief and insignificant. In the centuries that have rolled over Damascus Saracen, Roman, Moslem, and Christian have besieged the city; twice it has been the center of empires, and many times it has been the seat of power that was felt far away. Though never formally 287occupied by Christians, it was one of the early centers of Christianity, and for nearly three centuries this was the predominant religion. And later in its history the armies of the Mohammedan empire went forth from Damascus, spreading the religion of the Prophet to Spain on the one hand, and to Hindos-tan on the other. Damascus was then the seat of an empire the greatest on the globe, extending from the Himalayas to the Atlantic. Wealth was poured into her coffers, and she became the richest as well as the mightiest capital. Though she has declined she has not fallen, and presents to-day a picture of serene and well-deserved prosperity.

Damascus without the bazaars would be Hamlet without Hamlet. Here you see the Orient in its perfection. Instead of shops scattered through the city, as in the West, all trades, or rather all the persons in one trade, are brought together. The bazaars of Damascus have had a world-wide celebrity for centuries, and there are none in the East better than they. You can buy there anything you want, from a. slave to a cigarette, and from a sewing needle to a parure of diamonds. You can wander for hours and days in the bazaars; in the slipper bazaar, the tobacco bazaar, the seed bazaar, the mercers’ bazaar, the tailors’ bazaar, the clog bazaar, the silversmiths’ bazaar, the spice bazaar, the book bazaar, the old clo’ bazaar, the iron bazaar, the pipe bazaar, and other bazaars to the number of a dozen or more.

There is a general similarity in the bazaars, so far as the externals are concerned; the shops are little pens, from four or six to ten feet square, where the merchant sits or squats on the floor, and the customer sits on the little bench in front. The front of the shop is entirely open during the day; it can be shut at night, but the locks by which it is held are of a very primitive and very flimsy pattern. If the owner wishes to go away in the day time he spreads a net in front during his absence, and this is his card to say he is “out.” The merchant does not press you to buy, and he generally seems not to care whether you buy or not.

In the slipper bazaar you pass shop after shop where Oriental slippers of all patterns and values are sold; in the tailors’ bazaar you find shop after shop where tailors are at work upon Oriental garments, and so you go on through one bazaar after another.

A few articles for sale, such as ear and nose drops, rings and brooches, generally contained in a locked show-case, a foot square, and the same in height; the shop-keepers exhibited their goods, but did not press them for sale; many of them stopped work to stare at us, while others stuck to their business with Oriental indifference. A small anvil, a few hammers, pliers and rollers, and a small fire of charcoal, kept in flame by a bellows of goat-skin comprise the whole outfit of a workman. The entire arrangement could be stowed in a good-sized hat.288Part of the street called Straight is occupied by bazaars, and there is a network of them on both sides of it.

In the silversmith’s bazaar each man occupies a space about six feet square, in a sort of large hall, with low roof and many supporting pillars; this space contains both work-room and salesroom.


289In the arms bazaar there are all sorts of odds and ends of cimetars, matchlocks, sabres, pistols, lances, and the like. The famous Damascus blades were offered to us, but they were not of that fine temper that permits you to tie one of them into a knot, and so we did not buy. An antiquarian would be at home in this bazaar, and find many things to suit his fancy.

We went to the silk bazaar, as one of our party wanted to buy some kerchiefs, and after looking around we went out of the bazaar into a Khan, or caravansary. This was a court, with a fountain in the center. A double story of little rooms opened into this court, and on the upper floor was a silk merchant we wished to find.

The bargaining was conducted a l’Orient. We had coffee and cigarettes, and then the silks were shown.

The merchant wanted twenty francs, the buyer would give six.

Neither could do better, but they slowly unbent so that at the end of half an hour the prices were fifteen selling and ten buying. Then we bade the merchant good-bye, and departed.

We returned in an hour, and then the negotiations went on; the seller stuck at thirteen, and the buyer at eleven and a half, and finally, after at least an hour of talk and the assurance of the merchant that the kerchiefs cost him more than that, a bargain was closed at twelve.

The coup de grace was given when the buyer showed the money in bright Napoleons, and rattled them before the other’s eyes.

The silk merchant wanted to sell something more, and sent his partner or attendant to bring a piece of goods from another room. The piece came, the wrapping was removed, and behold! there appeared on the end of the roll a ticket with the name of a French factory at Lyons.

Much of the silk sold in Constantinople, Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, and Bagdad, as Oriental, is from French looms. I have been repeatedly told so by the merchants, and also by an agent of one of the houses especially devoted to Oriental fabrics. It requires an expert to distinguish the native silks from the French ones.




In the Slave-Market—A Dealer in Human Flesh—A Stealthy Trade—Examining Female Slaves—Serfdom in Syria—Inside Views of a Syrian Household—Jewish Houses—An Oriental Song—Smoking with the Ladies—Syrian Customs—A famous Arab Chief—Visiting Abd-el-Kader’s house—The City of the Caliphs—Taking a Bath—Mohammed and his Trowsers—A new Species of Cushion—The Bath-house—Disrobing—Securing our Valuables—Moslem Honesty—Sitting down in a Hot Place—Gustave’s Misadventure—Undergoing a Shampoo—Rubbed to a Jelly—The Couch of Repose—A Delicious Sensation—“All ze luxuries.”

WHILE we were walking through the bazaars, the guide casually pointed out the slave-market, and of course we entered. Our way led into a court yard, with a fountain in the center and a mosque at our side; off at one corner was the entrance to the slave-dealers’ apartments.

The merchant, a mild-mannered Moslem, was in the court yard, and had with him a black boy, a eunuch, for which he wanted thirty pounds. We followed the dealer up a narrow staircase to a locked room which he opened.

Four negro women were there, two sitting and two lying upon the floor, which was spread with rugs and blankets; the youngest may have been sixteen and the oldest thirty. The dealer said something in Arabic, whereupon the women rose and stood in a row facing us, where they were joined by the boy. All kept their heads turned away, but now and then darted furtive glances at us. We did not buy, and after giving the dealer a couple of francs as “backsheesh,” we returned to the street. 291In Damascus the slave trade is open. In Cairo and Constantinople it flourishes by stealth. In neither of the last two cities are strangers permitted to see it, but in Damascus there is no such concealment. The trade is not extensive, and is mainly confined to supplying servants for private houses. The traffic in beautiful women for the harems is nearly a thing of the past, and so is the general trade in slaves for heavy labor in large numbers.


As far as I can learn, there was never a slave trade and slave employment half as extensive in the Orient as that which flourished in the United States less than twenty years ago.

Slaves in the East are a family possession, and are not reckoned as a specific item of wealth.

We had been told not to fail to see some of the private houses of Damascus, as they are specially famous for their elegance. To wander about the city you would not suppose that it has many rich interiors, but you find on investigation that mud walls frequently lead to something rich inside. Judge not by appearances in Damascus. We entered some of the Moslem court yards, but were not allowed to see the inside of the houses. We saw some Christian houses richly adorned and decorated, but they will all come within the general description at the beginning of the preceding chapter. 292There were many luxurious houses of Christian natives destroyed in 1860, and few of these have been built. The Christian quarter still bears the marks of Moslem hate, in the large areas that lie in ruins. The whole Christian quarter was burned, and about two thousand five hundred Christians were massacred.

Despite the protection now extended to them by foreign powers, the Christians of Damascus do not feel safe, and are constantly dreading a fresh outbreak of hostilities.

Two Jewish houses that we visited had evidently cost a great deal of money; the dining room of one is finished in marble carving around the entire wall, and the cost of this one apartment was said to be ten thousand pounds.

In one of the Jewish houses, the hostess invited us to seats in the room where herself, the ladies of her household, and a couple of visitors were squatted on divans and smoking nargilehs. They were much surprised that the lady of our party didn’t smoke, and they wanted to stain her nails with henna and paint her eye-lashes.

One of the lady visitors was a cantatrice, the Patti or Nilsson of Damascus, and at the request of the hostess we were favored with a song. Her voice was a sort of rough falsetto, and there was little melody or rhythm about the song when considered from a European point of view. How tastes differ! Such a song would not be listened to in Europe or America, except from curiosity; and the song of Patti would, doubtless, be of no consequence in Damascus. Our guide told us that this lady has sung herself rich, and that she frequently receives twenty or thirty pounds for an evening’s entertainment.

We passed a very pleasant hour in this house, and shall long hold it in remembrance. I don’t believe we should have enjoyed it half as well if the master had been at home, as I have a strong suspicion that we should not have been invited to drink coffee and smoke with the ladies.

We wished to visit the house of the famous Abd-el-Kader, but found it impossible. Twenty years ago, this man filled a prominent place in history, but he is now nearly forgotten. He was born in 1807 in Algeria; he was descended from a long line of Emirs; his father was noted for the wisdom and liberality of his rule over the Algerian province of Oran. 293When the French occupied Algiers, Abd-el-Kader was one of their fiercest opponents, and from 1831 to 1847 he maintained an active warfare, interrupted by a few brief truces. In the last mentioned year he was captured and taken to France, but was soon released, on condition that he should not return to Algiers, nor take arms in any way against the French. The terms of the contract have been faithfully kept, and he has ever since been on the best terms with France.


He resided for some years in Constantinople, and then moved to Damascus, where he spends the greater part of his time. He continues to wear the Algerian dress, and his dark hair and beard make a striking contrast to his snow-white garments.

Those who have met him say that he is a thoroughly courteous and highly polished gentleman, and in looks and bearing he is “every inch a king.”

Damascus is the most thoroughly Oriental in character of all the cities now in easy reach of the traveler. Constantinople and Cairo have each a large foreign population, and can number their Franks by thousands, but Damascus has less than a hundred of them, including missionaries, merchants, and nondescript Occidentals, who have wandered there by chance. The houses, bazaars, mosques and baths are to-day what they were five hundred years ago, and the Moslem is so averse to progress, that there is no great probability of any important change for five hundred years to come.

As you wander through the streets of Damascus or stand in 294its crowded market places, you are carried back to the days of Haroun-al-Raschid, and gaze upon the pictures that became familiar to you in your boyhood perusal of the Arabian Nights. You forget the Present, you are living in the Past, and, full of bewilderment, you scan the title page of your note-book to make sure that you really tread the earth in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

I had missed the Turkish bath in Constantinople; I could have taken one any morning and therefore postponed it until too late. In Damascus I determined not to be so negligent, and accordingly arranged to try the Oriental bath on the second day of my stay. Gustave agreed to go with me, and we consulted our guide about the time and place. Imagine our astonishment when Mohammed informed us:

“You must get up at five o’clock in ze morning and I takes you to ze bestest bath in Damas. Ze bath shut up at seven o’clock, and you get no bath then afterwards.”

This was early rising for us, but when you are in Damascus you must follow the custom of the Damascus blades. If, as the proverb says, the early child has the worms, there must be an immense demand in Damascus for vermifuge and that sort of thing. We couldn’t do any sight-seeing in the evening, for the reason that there was no sight-seeing to see. Shops, cafés, and all other public establishments, were closed at sunset or a little later; there were no street lamps, and the facilities for getting about were very limited. We stayed in the hotel in the evening, and went to bed at an hour we would have been ashamed to acknowledge at home. The people that went to bed at such an inhumanly early hour must rise in good season. They do this not from any expectation of health or wealth, as promised by the old couplet, but simply for the reason that they couldn’t endure to be in bed more than eight or nine hours at a stretch; besides an Arab couch is not the most comfortable thing in the world, and doubtless has something to do with the matutinal habits of the people.

It is said that the eastern shore of the Mediterranean is called the Levant, for the reason that the sun rises there. The natives rise before the sun, and to them rather than to the glorious orb of day is due the name by which the region is known. 295Promptly at five in the morning Mohammed was at our door and we rose. Day was just beginning to dawn when we emerged from the hotel and started along the narrow streets that led to the bath-house. We kept close to Mohammed’s heels, and narrowly missed stepping on the seat of his trowsers whenever he slackened his pace. The fellow’s “breeks” were about the baggiest pair it was ever my lot to gaze upon; he must have bought them when cloth was cheap and the merchant willing to measure him with a fox-skin without counting the tail as anything. When he stood up, the ample part of his trowsers just missed the ground by an inch or so, and when he walked the depending mass of cloth swung unsteadily like a pendulum that has been on a spree. When he went over any little inequality the garment dragged, and sometimes it caught and held the wearer fast. When he sat down he gathered the trowsers under him and formed a sort of cushion that was comfortable to rest upon. It was then that we realized the design of the artist, and admitted that the inventor of the Turkish trowsers knew what he was about.

A good many people were astir, and more than once we caromed against the plodding Orientals and caused them to utter what sounded like imprecations on the Christian dogs that had ventured to affront them. At length Mohammed brought himself to a halt and said:

“Here, gentlemen, is ze bath; ze best good bath in Damas. You bathe here so good as never was afterward before.”

The building was a low one, of stone, with a roof in which two or three domes were set like enormous kettles inverted. Light was admitted through circular windows, or bull’s-eyes, like the cabin windows of an ocean steamer, let into the dome at intervals none too frequent. In the vestibule we encountered a sort of door-keeper, to whom Mohammed said something in the language of the country, and then passed on to the first room of the bath.

“Here is ze bain beautiful. You shall know soon how he is good.”

With that Mohammed selected a couple of attendants whose entire wardrobe was not worth fifty cents each. It consisted of 296a small tuft of hair on the crown of the head, the rest of the skull being closely shaven, and of a piece of cloth about the loins.

I fell to the lot of a dark-skinned gentleman any way from twenty-five to forty years old, and with a muscular development about the arms that would have done honor to a pugilist.


He assisted me to disrobe, but was not very expert about it, being unfamiliar with the wardrobe of the Occident.

“You will have ze bain avec all ze luxuries,—ze café, ze chibook, ze everyting,” said Mohammed in a tone of inquiry. “Certainly, mon cher descendant of the Prophet,” I replied, “and you will do us the honor to go through the moulin with us. Order baths for three, and you yourself disencumber your corporosity of those habiliments and show us how to Orientalize.”

“Pardon, gentlemens, but I no speak German; only English, French, Italian, Greek, Turk, and Arab. I no understand what you says. Speak ze English, please.”

“Well then; peel—strip off your clothes and go in.”

“Ah! zat is bono,” replied Mohammed, and beckoning to a third attendant, he was soon in the costume of the Apollo Belvidere. My attendant, as soon as he had stripped me, folded my clothes into a bundle, tied them up in a small sheet, and laid the package away on a divan at the side of the room.

“You will have all ze luxuries.”

297I asked Mohammed if everything was safe, as we had our watches and some, though not much, money.


We had given our letters of credit and the most of our coin to our friends before retiring the night previous, as we thought some accident might happen if we left things around loose in the bath-house.

“All tings is safe here,” explained our guide. “Zare is no Christians but you in ze house. All ze rest is Moslem, and all tings is safe.”

Thus reassured, we submitted to the situation.

When they had removed our clothing they dressed us in towels around the loins and wrapped wet cloths about our heads. Then they mounted us on wooden clogs that were difficult to keep in place, and which I kicked off in the next room whither my attendant led me. The place was gloomy and full of steam, and the temperature anything but agreeable. It was heated by a furnace under the floor, and the heat was carried around and made even by means of pipes and flues in the wall. While we stood uncertain what to do, two or three buckets of water were dashed over us. I was not expecting it, and the shock of the water striking me in the breast was sufficient to knock me down, I fell against Mohammed and he against his attendant, and we 298all went into a heap. Mohammed was fat and rather flabby, so that he broke my fall in the most satisfactory manner.


It hurt him somewhat, but that made no difference, as we hired him by the day and paid his expenses.

In one corner a lot of fellows were sitting on the floor and softening the asperities of the bath by singing an Arab air. Mohammed said they were soldiers, but there wasn’t one of them with any more uniform than we wore, and certainly ours was very scanty. We looked and listened, perspired and waited, and just as the place began to seem comfortable the attendants led us into another room compared to which the first was a refrigerator. It was frightfully hot and took away the breath, and if I had considered myself a free moral agent I would have backed out.

Gustave thought he would sit down, and seeing a block of marble through the steamy atmosphere, he went for it. Before the attendant knew what he was about Gustave had taken a seat.

My duty to the moral and religious public requires the omission of the remarks of my friend immediately subsequent to his assumption of the sitting posture. They were made in German, English, and French, and were brief and emphatic. 299What he supposed to be a block of stone proved to be a marble tub filled with water. The temperature was sufficiently elevated to cause him to howl with pain, but it did no real damage.

We squatted in a group on the floor after lifting Gustave from his tub, and there we sat puffing and perspiring for some ten minutes or more. Then my attendant laid me on a stone bench and put me through what is called the “shampoo.” He squeezed, and rubbed and pulled and pounded till I was as limp as a boned turkey and possessed as much consistency as a jelly fish. I expected to spread out and run over the sides of the bench and I took a glance downward to see if there was danger of running off through the waste pipes. I called faintly to Mohammed, and heard a husky “Monsieur” in response.

“Have the goodness,” I said, “to ask this gentleman to put me in a sack if he wants to rub me any more. Any sack with small meshes will do, but I want it tight enough to keep me together.

“And Mohammed,” I added, “if there is a rolling mill or a wire-drawing establishment handy he could facilitate matters by running me through it, and then”—

A bucket of hot water was poured over me, and some of it entering my mouth put an end to my appeals for mercy. I was soon let off and taken into the first room, where several buckets of water each cooler than its predecessor were thrown over me. Then I was wiped dry, and a cool dry turban was wrapped around my head, and I was clothed in a white garment, and laid away on a divan. Blankets were wrapped around me, and coffee and a chibook were brought. Gustave was similarly mummified and placed near me, and Mohammed was stowed away on the opposite side of the room. We reclined there smoking and sipping coffee, sipping coffee and smoking, talking and drowsing, drowsing and talking, for nearly an hour. Coffee was never more delicious than then, and I solemnly aver that I never had more enjoyment of a pipe. The long stem of the chibook allows the smoke to cool before it reaches the mouth, and there was a delicate flavor to the tobacco that adapted it to the listless condition of mind and limp condition of body which follows the bath.

We dressed, paid our “backsheesh,” and departed happy in mind and body over “ze bestest good bath in Damas.”




Turning our faces eastward—The land of the Sun—Palmyra, Bagdad, and Babylon—The desert in summer and winter—A dangerous road—The Robbers of the Wilderness—Ruins in the Desert—A city of wonders—The haunts of the Bedouins—Engaging an escort—The start for Palmyra—On a Dromedary’s back—The environs of Damascus—A bed on the sand—“Everyone to his taste”—A knavish Governor—Winking at Robbery—In the Desert—On the great caravan track—Caravansaries, what are they?—The high road to India—An Arab fountain.

HOW I longed, when at Damascus, to push further into Asia. Before me lay the land of the Arabian nights—the valley of the Euphrates and of the Tigris; beyond the horizon my imagination pictured the battlemented walls of Bagdad, her white domes and arrowy minarets shining among the waving palms.

I walked her streets once trodden by the feet of Haroun-al-Raschid and made familiar in the stories that were written in his time and—if we may believe our tradition—for his entertainment.. I fancied myself upon the site of Babylon or of Nineveh, and amid the crumbled ruins of those once powerful cities that represented the grandeur and greatness of the ancient East.

I followed the story of Xenophon in the retreat of the Ten Thousand, and stood upon the ground where Alexander marched to the glory that made him The Great. I was upon the threshold—yes, I had passed the portals—of that part of the East which has suffered least from the progress and enterprise of the Occident. With longing eyes I looked beyond the rising sun and wished, oh, how I wished, that I might go on and on till I should 301tread the soil of Ormuz or of Ind, and feel upon my brow the spice-laden breezes of fair Cathay.

But fate was inexorable and many things conspired to prevent my further progress. We had arranged to keep together till we reached Egypt; the rest of the party were pressed for time and had determined upon Damascus as the Ultima Thule of their journey. The season was not favorable for an overland excursion as we might be caught in winter storms in the desert, and furthermore the robbers were more dangerous then than in the summer. From Damascus it is customary to travel with a caravan under a heavy escort, and there would be no caravan for several months. The authorities will sometimes give an escort and be responsible for the safety of the traveller, but such an outfit costs heavily and requires a very long purse. Arrangements can be made to ride with the fortnightly mail from Damascus to Bagdad, but there are various objections to this mode of journeying.

I thought over all the obstacles in my way and concluded that it was best to keep with our party and go on to Palestine and Egypt. Among the reasons which impelled me to this decision was the fact that I had neither time nor money enough to go farther East, and besides I should be cut off from the society of the “Doubter.” I might get along without money by setting up as a dervish and begging my way, but could existence be possible without our skeptic? Consequently I must go to Egypt.

Even Palmyra had to be given up, and, sighing, I turned my face to the west. But I fell in with a French traveller, who had come overland from Bagdad and spent a day at Palmyra, and I listened with boyish interest to his account of what he saw there.

It is no small matter to reach Palmyra, for the reason that it stands in the midst of desolate wastes, which are the possession or at all events the “backsheeshing” ground of the most lawless of the Bedouin Arabs They have no conscientious scruples about robbery; the only point in their favor is that they are averse to shedding blood, and unless he offers resistance, the traveller can feel as certain about saving his life as he is of losing his property. They may strip him of everything and leave him naked, on foot, and without food or drink in the middle of the desert, but they have qualms of conscience about murder, though 302quite willing their victim should starve or roast to death. Those who assert that the Bedouins are heartless and cruel, should take | note of the above fact, and make an ample apology if they have hitherto said anything uncomplimentary about these plundering blackguards.

It is absolutely necessary to have an escort in going to Palmyra, and one can be found among the Bedouin sheiks, loafing around Damascus. Under their convoy the traveller can consider himself secure; they are pretty honorable in this respect, and after getting a heavy “backsheesh” for safe conduct, they carry out their contracts, though they expect an additional “backsheesh” on their return and the delivery of the traveller to himself, in good order and condition. It is better to leave money and valuables in Damascus, taking only enough coin along to pay trifling expenses, and leaving the compensation of escort and dragoman at the banker’s or consulate. If you are going overland to Bagdad, carry your money in drafts and circular notes, and not in gold. The Bedouin has a sharp eye for money, and much coin is sure to attract it.

The Palmyra journey should be made with camels or dromedaries, for the reason that there are long stretches without water. Horses may be ridden, but there must be one or more camels at any rate to carry water for them. The sheiks always prefer to take no horses, as they can thereby make the journey more quickly, and consequently cheaper.

Well, let us suppose we are going to Palmyra. We have completed all our arrangements, agreed upon the price to be paid, and how to pay it, have arrayed ourselves in Oriental garments, mounted our dromedaries, and filed out of the city. There may be a difficulty in obtaining a sufficient number of dromedaries for the start, and in that case we ride horses to Kuryetien, about! two days’ journey from Damascus. There the sheik will have the necessary animals assembled and waiting our arrival.

We strike away to the northeastward, going at first along a paved road and among the groves and gardens for which the country around Damascus is famous. We meet crowds of people on their way to town, and accompanied by camels and donkeys: bearing the produce of the farms. In some seasons of the year 303we will meet long strings of camels, which have come from Bagdad, laden with dates, silks, leather goods, and other merchandise from that city; there may be dozens of these in a single party, and sometimes there may be hundreds of them. The drivers are brown, and not over clean; water has been a scarce article among them, and the rivers of Damascus are to their eyes a most welcome sight. One would think that the privations of the desert would inspire no great love for the arid waste, and yet these wild Arabs are so attached to it that they make their stay in the city as brief as possible, and the moment their business is ended they hasten back to their wanderings in the wilderness.

“Give me a pillow of snow,” said a Laplander, breathing his last in a Southern clime, “and I shall die happy.”

“Give me my bed of sand in the desert,” says the Bedouin Arab, “and I shall sleep in peace.”

Every man to his own liking. Tastes are different all the world over.

Ten or twelve miles from Damascus, we leave the groves and shady gardens, and emerge upon a plain irrigated by the waters of the Barada. The plain is cultivated, though generally destitute of arboreal productions, and here and there are the little clumps of trees where the houses of the farmers are embowered. We passed some villages in the groves; we see a little hamlet on the plain to our right, but evidently we were not likely to find a dense population. Now we leave the plain and ascend a some-what rugged path along a barren and rounded mountain which attains an elevation of nearly two thousand feet above the valley of the Barada. In an hour or so we reach the pass, and at the ruin of an old caravansary we look down upon a plain which stretches away like an ocean and fills the eastern horizon.

Five villages are in sight; they are the homes of the people that cultivate portions of this plain. Wheat and barley are the principal products of the plain, and they find a market in Damascus. The inhabitants are peaceable, but their frequent encounters with Bedouin plunderers have made them acquainted with the use of weapons, and give them a rather warlike appearance. They dress much like the Bedouins, and a stranger finds it difficult to distinguish one from the other. 304The first night of the journey is usually spent at Jerud, a large village, which is the capital of the province and the dwelling place of a Turkish agha or petty governor. He has a company of cavalry at his command to resist the Bedouin Arabs, and not unfrequently has occasion to use them. It is hinted that he sometimes shuts his eyes while a foray is in progress, and begins the pursuit when the plunderers have reached a secure distance. Of course the robbers are expected to do the square thing under such circumstances, and make an honorable division of the spoils. But we should not listen to such calumnies, as we expect to stop over night in the governor’s house, and as long as we are under his roof we receive every hospitality. The assemblage is a mixed one, as there are Arabs from half-a-dozen tribes spending the night there, and we are expected to show no haughtiness in any way. The man who goes around with his nose in the air will run the risk of a snub from some of his fellow-guests.

Out of Jerud we go in the morning at a pretty early hour, and very soon we are in the Desert. We have left the fertile country behind us, and before and around we have the treeless and desolate waste. We are in a wide valley bounded by bleak and barren hills whose sides present an unvarying panorama of grey rocks and earth. The ground is not sandy, but is covered with fragments of limestone and flint, and now and then we see a little tuft of coarse grass struggling to maintain an existence, and evidently doubtful about keeping it up.

Birds and beasts are rare; in fact there is no inducement for them to stay there. When speaking of birds in such a locality, I am reminded of the story of a traveller at an unpromising place somewhere in Utah of Nevada. He entered the diningroom of the only hotel and asked for breakfast.

“Can give you beefsteak, fried ham, and curlew,” said the landlord, whose beard resembled an inverted sage-bush, and whose belt revealed a bowie-knife and revolver. And he added, “The curlew is very good.”

“What is curlew?” said the wayfarer.

“It is a bird that we shoot round here.”

“Has it got any wings?”

305"And can it fly?”

“You bet it can fly!”

“Then bring me some beefsteak,” said the traveller, emphatically. “I want nothing to do with a bird that would stay in this miserable country when he could fly away from it. No curlew in mine, if you please.”


Three or four miles from Jerud we pass a village where there is a fountain, and then for nearly thirty miles the road follows the desert valley as before.

A hot sky above, bleak mountains on either hand, before us an undulating plain, shut in by these mountains, and beneath our feet the gravelly, flinty, verdureless soil, and our caravan slowly winding onward, form the scene presented to our eyes. Can we believe that this route has had an existence for centuries?

Thousands and thousands of years—history does not tell us for how long—this way has been trodden by the feet of patient camels and less patient men. It was the caravan route from Damascus to the opulent East. Ages and ages ago began and flourished a commerce now greatly decayed; as we look from the backs of our beasts of burden we see here and there the ruins of castles and caravansaries which once formed the halting places of the merchants when night overtook them, protected them against robbers, and in turn, perhaps, protected the robbers and sent out predatory bands for purposes of plunder. Once this was the great road to India and Far Cathay, long before the sea routes were known, and when navigation was in its most primitive state. Steam and sail and the mariner’s 306compass have laid a destroying hand on the caravan traffic, and in place of the myriad trains of camels that once moved along this mountain-girdled valley we find now but a comparatively thin thread of commerce. The world is a world of progress.

We reach Kuryetein, a large village occupied by Moslems and Christians in the proportion of two to one. It is in the same valley we have traversed all the way from Jerud, which continues to Palmyra, forty miles further on. Here is an oasis in the Desert; a fountain bursts from the end of a low spur which juts out of the mountain range and touches one end of the village.

It is quite possible that the man who declared it remarkable that great rivers run by large cities might insist that there is a fountain near Kuryetein and dispute our assertion that Kuryetein is near a large fountain; but we wont be particular about words, as we are to stop here over night and want to have a peaceful time of it, to prepare us for the fatigues of to-morrow.

The water from the fountain is carried in little canals by a very careful system of irrigation over a considerable extent of ground, and creates fertility in what would otherwise be a barren waste. Kuryetein is in the country of the Bedouins, and these Arabs frequently come and camp near the village on account of the water that constantly flows there. They bring their flocks j and herds and constitute themselves a general nuisance, as they are not particular about camping grounds and take the first place they can find, without much regard for the owner’s rights. If I were obliged to live in a village situated as this is, and under all its disadvantages, I would move away at once.

The broken columns and large stones, hewn and squared, lying around, indicate beyond a doubt that a city of importance once stood here, but the most diligent inquirer can learn nothing of the inhabitants concerning the place. It stood there as far back | as they can remember, and that is all they know about it.




Among the Bedouins—A Genuine Son of the Desert—High-toned Robbers—A Sample of Bedouin Hospitality—Etiquette in an Arab Encampment—A Cas-e of Insult—Tent-life and its Freedom—A Nation of Cavalry-Warriors—Bedouin Dress, Manners and Customs—Their Horses and Weapons—A Singular Custom—A Caricature Steed and his Rider—Arab Scare-Crows—On the Road to Palmyra—A Mountain of Ruins—The Grand Colonnade—The Temple of the Sun—A Building Half a Mile in Circumference—An Earthquake, and what it did—The City of the Caliphs.

WE are sure to see some of the real Bedouins of the Desert during our stay here, and this will be a good place to learn something about them.

The real, untamed Bedouin differs from the shabby counterfeit we see around Jerusalem and Beyrout as a five dollar gold piece differs from a bogus cent. The real Bedouin rides a fine horse (which is almost always a mare), and he gets himself up in a style sufficiently gorgeous to be a partial compensation to the traveller for being robbed by him. He is a dignified, high-toned thief, and transacts business on the square; he is never impolite, even when plundering you, and his hospitality is unbounded.

When you go to a Bedouin encampment you must stop at the first tent; if you pass it by for a better looking one you will offer the owner an affront he cannot easily forget, and ten to one he will come around and ask you to step out on the sidewalk and and have a little pugilism a la Bedouin. They wisely put the 308Sheik’s tent nearest the roadway, and consequently the stranger naturally comes into his hands and becomes his guest. They do all in their power to make the visitor comfortable, and treat him always to the best the place affords. He has the full and free run of the village, can go to the opera or circus without paying a cent, and can run up as large a bill as he chooses at any of the bars and restaurants. He pays nothing for carriages, morning papers, cocktails and cigars, and the street cars; hospitals and rat pits are always open to him. For a real free-and-easy to a stranger, nothing can beat a Bedouin encampment.


A gentleman who has seen much of the Bedouins between Damascus and Palmyra speaks of them as follows:

“The Amazeh are probably the most powerful of all the Arab tribes. They scour the Desert, from the Euphrates to the borders of Syria, and from Aleppo to the plain of Nejd—in winter emigrating to the Euphrates, and sometimes spreading over Mesopotamia; in spring they come up like “locusts for multitude” along the frontier of Syria. They can bring into the field ten thousand horsemen and nearly ninety thousand camel riders, and hair, having, usually, broad, vertical stripes of white and brown. On the head is the cafia or silk kerchief, held in place by a cord of camel’s hair. The sheiks are distinguished by a short scarlet pelisse lined with fur or sheepskin, and they wear large boots of red leather while the common people generally walk barefoot.

“The women are almost all handsome when young, and in form 309they are lords of a district forty thousand square miles in area. They are divided into four great tribes, which are not unfrequently at war, though they call themselves brothers.

“Their dress consists of an under garment of calico, gray or blue, reaching to the midleg, and fastened round the waist with a leathern girdle. The sleeves are wide and have very long, pendant points. Over this is thrown the abba or loose cloak of goat’s 310and feature many of them are models. But they have bad tempers, are oppressed with hard work from their youth, and soon lose all their freshness and beauty. Their dress is very simple, consisting of a wide loose robe of blue calico, fastened round the neck and sweeping the ground. On the head is a large black veil usually of silk but seldom used to cover the face. They are fond of ornaments; rings, ear-rings, bracelets and anklets of glass, copper, silver and gold are worn in great abundance. Five or six bracelets are often found on a single dark arm while rings of all shapes and sizes cover the fingers.

“The principal weapon of the Bedouin is a lance, about twelve feet long and steel pointed, and the opposite end contains an iron spike for fixing it in the ground. In a charge the lance is held above the head and just before striking it is shaken so as to make it quiver from end to end. All the horsemen carry swords and some of them carry pistols and daggers. The Bedouins have a novel mode of warfare with dromedaries each carrying two men. The foremost of these men has a short spear and a club or mace at his saddle bow and the other carries a matchlock.

“They seldom fight pitched battles. Guerrilla warfare is their forte. To fall upon the enemy suddenly, sweep off a large amount of booty and get back to their own territory again, ere rescue or reprisal can be effected, is the Arab style. Plundering parties often go a distance of eight or ten days’ journey. Every warrior rides his mare but has a companion mounted on a dromedary to carry provisions and water. The latter remain at a rendezvous while the horsemen make the attack. In their forays the Bedouins never kill an unresisting foe unless tempted by blood-revenge.”

The real Bedouin is not a large personage. He is rarely taller than five feet and seven or eight inches, and is not inclined to corpulence. He appears taller than he really is by reason of his erectness, and he has a light, elastic step and performs every movement with ease and grace. His features are sharp, his nose aquiline, his eyes dark, deep set and generally lustrous, his beard thin and short and his hair long and worn in greasy plaits down each side of the face. The complexion is a dark olive, but it varies considerably among different tribes. 311The Bedouins of Jerusalem and most other parts of Palestine are a burlesque upon the sons of the Desert. The “Doubter” called them sons of thieves, or something of the sort, and for once we agreed with him.


The first one that was pointed out to me was enough to make a chicken laugh or a mule sing. He was mounted on a horse that looked as if he had walked out of a bone-boiling factory by mistake and was waiting to go back again and take his turn. His (the horse’s) pet hold appeared to be in waiting, and certainly his general style indicated that he could put the time in that way better than in any other unless it were in dying.

As for speed he couldn’t pass any other horse, short of a dead one, except by going the other way, and I have a strong belief that a dead horse would have given him a reasonably lively trial.

He was all over knobs like an Irish blackthorn and the “Doubter” took him at first for a lot of oyster shells nailed against a garden gate. He drank through his left eye or rather the socket for it, and then his upper lip curled over in a sort of a hook that was very convenient in picking up anything; one ear hung forward and the other aft; his tail had been originally “set up” but it had broken and lopped half way so that it doubled back on itself in a manner remarkable to behold. 312The rider was as great a burlesque as the horse. He looked like a last year’s scarecrow, coming home from a drunk, and in gazing upon his looped and windowed raggedness you experienced a desire to move him to the nearest cornfield, run a bean pole through him, and set him up on a stump. As a work of art, he was worthy a place among the pictures and statuary in the capitol at Washington, and it was fortunate that none of our aesthetic Congressmen could have a chance at him. He carried a spear and tried to wave it at an imaginary foe, but before he got it in the air the point fell out and disconcerted him. We turned away to hide our tears—and smiles. A regiment of oil derricks would, be about as serviceable as one composed of these fellows, so far as fighting qualities are concerned. If I am ever robbed I hope it will not be by one of these cheap-John Bedouins. I should feel as badly as a man I once knew who was telling me of an accident from which he was limpingly recovering.

“To think,” said he, “that I should have been ten years at sea, and four years in the army in the field, with never a scratch, and then be run over by a swill-wagon and have my leg broken.”

In the forty miles and more from Kuryetein to Palmyra there is not a drop of water, and the journey is generally made in one day with a single brief halt. The valley is the same and varies from four to eight miles in width, and the features of the landscape are the same as before.

By and by the mountains shut in upon the valley and leave only a narrow and crooked pass. We enter this and suddenly the whole mass of ruins upon the site of Palmyra are spread before our wondering eyes.

The scene is wild, strange, grand, and gloomy. Ruins heaped on ruins, rows and rows of columns with great irregular gaps where Time and man have performed the work of destruction; huge pillars rising singly and in groups, scattered masses of enormous stones, broken arches and gateways and porticos, walls of immense strength encircling what was once the city, and in the back ground the great Temple of the Sun, these form the picture. Baalbek is humble in our minds as we look at Palmyra. No other ruin in Syria can compare with this. As we rode along the dreary stretch from Kuryetein to Palmyra we tried 313to imagine the spectacle that was to be revealed to us, but our imagination fell far short of the reality. We forget our fatigue and as our camel kneels we dismount and stand lost in admiration and amazement.

The greatest of all the ruins in Palmyra is that of the Temple of the Sun. The edifice was originally a square court, measuring seven hundred and forty feet on each of the four sides, and its walls were seventy feet high. Near the centre of this court was the temple, composed of Corinthian columns, which supported an entablature elaborately sculptured and revealing a high state of art. The work here is quite equal to that at Baalbek, and the resemblance in many points is remarkable. The temple is much defaced, as it has been used both as a fortress and a mosque, and in the latter instance the pious Moslems sought to remove as much as possible the indications of a pagan origin. Time has been more kind than man; the clear air of the Desert has preserved the sculptures wherever man left them untouched, and many of them are now as clear and sharp as when the architect pronounced his work complete, and stood in triumph at the entrance of the once magnificent portico. Remember that the columns of the temple were almost seventy feet high, and that inside the court nearly a hundred columns still remain standing!

About three hundred yards from the temple is the entrance to the grand colonnade, which originally consisted of four rows of columns, extending from one end of the city to the other, a dis tance of nearly an English mile. The columns were each nearly sixty feet high, including base and capital, and of the fifteen hundred that originally composed it, nine-tenths have fallen. It is thought that Palmyra has at some time suffered from an earthquake, as in some places whole ranges of columns are thrown down in such a way as to indicate that their fall was simultaneous. No one knows when this work was erected, but from certain marks on the stones, it is attributed to the time of the Emperor Hadrian.

The temple and the colonnade are the great wonders of Palmyra, and I will not detract from them by attempting a description of the other ruins inclosed within the walls or scattered among the hills that surround the site of this won314derful city. Let us fix our attention on the two objects I have named.

Palmyra, or Tadmor, owes its origin to Solomon, King of Israel. In his time the route of travel and commerce to and from the East lay in this direction, and he determined to found a city which should protect it. He, therefore, as recorded in I Kings ix. 18, built Tadmor in the wilderness.

For nearly a thousand years subsequent to the time of King Solomon, the name of Tadmor does not appear, but it became noticeable about the beginning of the Christian Era. After its submission to the Emperor Hadrian, its greatness increased rapidly; then it underwent a series of varying fortunes, until about the beginning of the fourth century, when the time of its grandeur came to an end, and its decline and fall were rapid. In the twelfth century it had a population of more than four thousand; now the only inhabitants of Palmyra are a few dozens of dirty and sullen Arabs, who live in hovels erected in the court yard of the Temple of the Sun.

We spend a day at Palmyra, wandering among its ruins and musing upon Solomon, and Hadrian, and Zenobia, whose very names are unknown to the people now dwelling there. Early the next morning we resume our seats in the saddle and return to Damascus.

From Palmyra one can travel to Bagdad by way of Mossool, and I met several gentlemen who had made the journey. It is a fatiguing one and must be made partly in the saddle and partly on a raft, unless the traveller is fortunate enough to find a boat at Mossool. The shores of the river are somewhat monotonous, and the principal incidents of the route are the danger of an upset.

Bagdad is well known to us from the recurrence of its name so frequently in the Arabian Nights. A British official who visited it a few years ago, says that it covers an enormous space for an Oriental city. Its population is estimated at about eighty thousand. The chief part of it consists of Arabs and Turks, but there is a large colony of Persians and other Orientals, as well as a fair number of Christians, and a few Jews.

The town proper is on one side of the Tigris, which is spanned by a bridge of boats, but the fine houses are scattered on both 315


317banks. For a third of the year the climate of Bagdad is delightful, another third it is a trifle too warm for comfort, but can be endured, and for the remaining third it is so hot that it could give points to the inside of a smelting furnace and then beat it. At this time the inhabitants take shelter in their cellars, and anybody who has a refrigerator to sleep in is considered fortunate. They bake their bread by putting the dough on a platter and setting it in the sun, and when they want to roast a turkey or a joint of mutton, they put it on the housetop for a quarter of an hour about noon. I haven’t the documents for all the above statements, but know a man who will prepare them if paid in advance.

There is a curious disease in this part of the world, and its ravages extend through the valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris, and as far west as Aleppo. In Bagdad it is called the date-mark, and further west is known as the Aleppo button.

It is a sore, obstinate and annoying, but painless, and appears on any part of the body just as a boil does in Christian countries, It stays twelve months, and then heals of its own accord, leaving a scar which stays for life. At first this scar is the color of a date, but it fades out in a few years, and resembles the rest of the skin.

Everybody must have it once, and only once; the disease is impartial, as it shows no distinction between natives and foreigners who have not taken out their papers of naturalization. The gentleman who is my authority says he knew an officer in the British army, in whom the date-mark made its appearance while he was travelling from Bagdad to India. It remained untouched, and then an English doctor attempted to cure it.

He cauterized it every day for four weeks, and at the end of that time the sore dried up and healed. Everything went on well for a month, and then the sore reappeared—not in the old spot, but in four other places, where it remained five months and then vanished. 318



“Doing” Syria—The “Short” and the “Long” Route—How to Choose Them—Engaging a Dragoman—Farewell to Damascus—Preying on Travelers—The Wonderful Rivers of Syria—Crossing the Desert—A Picture of Desolation—Scene of St. Paul’s Conversion—A Striking Contrast—Ancient Ruins and Modern Hovels—A Night with the Bedouins—A Hard Road to Travel—A Glorious View—The “Doubter’s” Mischance—The Lizard in the Boot—A Ludicrous Scene—Gustave’s New Joke—Mollifying a Native—The Massacre at Hasbeiya—Treachery of a Turkish Colonel—Scene of Christ’s Labors—In the Holy Land.

THE “short route” of Syria and Palestine is to land at Beyrout, proceed to Damascus, by way of Mount Lebanon, and then return to Beyrout. There one takes ship to Jaffa, whence he visits Jerusalem and the country around it, and returns to Jaffa to sail away to Egypt or some other country.

The “long route” is to land at Beyrout and proceed to Damascus, as before. From Damascus one goes overland by Tiberias to Jerusalem, and, after seeing the Holy City and surrounding country, takes ship at Jaffa. This route may be reversed by landing at Jaffa and taking ship at Beyrout.

From Damascus to Jerusalem, by the “long route,” is a horseback journey of seventeen days. It may be shortened by rapid travel, and extended to any limit; if you hire the dragoman and his outfit by the day, the longer you make the time the better he will be pleased.

The spring is the best time of the year for making this excursion, as it comes between the period of “the early and the latter rain.” There are no carriage roads in this part of the country,



and the traveller must make up his mind to the discomforts of a saddle and to lodging in a tent. A dragoman will undertake to supply him with everything—horses, tents, food, bedding, and all—for a stipulated price, which varies with the size of the party, the time of year, and various other circumstances. I shall have more to say on this subject in another place, and will jump at once into the saddle without wasting time upon preliminaries. The long route was impracticable for our party at the time we were in Syria, but I gave it a very careful study, and from the sources at my command obtained the fullest information concerning it. Let us undertake a journey by this ancient way, and we will carry the “Doubter” along with us. He can’t be spared.

We leave Damascus by the Salahiyeh suburb, passing along a paved road and making a gentle ascent that gives us a good view of the city every time we choose to turn our heads. Some of the houses in this suburb are quite good, and we are not surprised to learn that many of the merchants of Damascus make their residence here. As we reach the end of the large village we pass some ruined mosques and tombs, but we have seen so many of these things that our attention is hardly attracted by them. The Moslems of the past must have been more devout than are their descendants of to-day, as they built a great many edifices for religious and memorial purposes, to which very little attention is paid at present. The Syrian Moslem does not seem to care for the antique any more than does his Turkish brother; there may be exceptions, but I think the rule holds good. For the ruins of Baalbek and Palmyra, the Syrian has no veneration except for their money-making qualities; the few people that live near them are not attracted to either spot by any love for it, but solely because it is a good place for “backsheesh.” Take away the tourist and his gold and silver and the natives would move elsewhere.

I am the more severe on these worldly-minded Syrians, who remain unmoved in the face of the stupendous remains of a past age when I contrast them with the guides and runners, hackmen-and peddlers, hotel-keepers and hotel-waiters, who assemble at Niagara and similar places in America. At Palmyra, or at the Pyramids, the Arabs pester you for “backsheesh,” and greatly 320mar your interest and pleasure. But at Niagara did any one ever hear of such conduct on the part of the men who make their living there? The noble qualities of the American (generally a naturalized one), come out strongly at Niagara; the beauty and sublimity of the cataract never fail to impress the resident with the sense of his duties to his fellow-man, and while the Arab will endeavor to make you pay ten times what you ought, his Niagara prototype is satisfied with five times, provided he knows he cannot possibly lie you out of any more. I have been at Niagara and Long Branch, the White Mountains and the Yosemite Valley, and thus speak knowingly. And whenever an Arab endeavored to defraud me I thought how much better things were at the fashionable resorts in my own country, and derived much consolation from the reflection.

We take a last view of Damascus from a point where the road crosses a hill about five hundred feet above the city, and nearly two miles away. We see the valley of the Abana in all its loveliness, and realize how much is due to this river and its never-failing waters. We can fully understand the pride with which the native of Damascus contemplates this perennial stream and do not wonder at the reply of Naaman, when told to wash in Jordan. The river is made all the more lovely by its fringe of trees and the wide-spreading gardens where it flows, and the greenness of the foliage is rendered all the more apparent when we contrast it with the barren hills around. The river, divided here and there into several streams, foams and ripples through the glen that leads it down from the mountains to the plain below. Our road lies along this glen, and we suddenly leave it and emerge upon the plain of Dimas.

The change is quite abrupt, from the rich verdure of the valley to the sterility of the Desert, for this plain is really a desert in miniature. The soil is hard and dry, more like flint than earth, and, if you happen to traverse it in summer, you find the heat is intense. It happened to be raining when I crossed this plain, and moreover, it was in the winter, so that I escaped the sensation of undergoing a torture by roasting. It is difficult to realize that such a barren waste can exist so near such a charming city as Damascus. The plain is about ten miles across, and from one 321side to the other there is not a green thing to be seen, unless the traveller may consider himself one.

After crossing the plain of Dimas we enter the mountains, where we find a few pleasant valleys and ravines, and have some rugged scenery that is not disagreeable. From one of the passes the guide points out another road, which leads more to the eastward, and where the scene of Saul’s conversion is located. There seems to be some difference of opinion about the exact locality, and I suspect that nobody knows the real state of things.

The tradition which locates the conversion there dates back to the time of the Crusades. Some authorities make the scene of the conversion almost under the walls of Damascus, and others within a mile or two of that place. It all depends upon what is meant by “near Damascus.” If we were at San Francisco, and speaking of Albany, we might say “it is near New York,” but should hardly use the expression if we were at Trenton or Hartford. However, it makes no difference about the conversion; we know it happened on the road from Jerusalem, and was near Damascus, so that a mile or two is of no consequence.

We pass several villages and wind among the hills, and in some of the villages, or near them, we find the remains of temples which were doubtless magnificent in their time. They are supposed to have been dedicated to the worship of the sun, though their history and origin are unknown. We are in front of the mountain of Hermon, known here as Jebelesh-Sheik, and it is observable that in several places the temples are made to face it, leading to the supposition that the mountain was an object of veneration and worship.

We pass the night in our camp, at the little village of Rasheiya; we are not in the village, but near enough to enable the beggars and the lame, halt, and blind to find us without trouble and ask for “backsheesh,” which they are sure to do. The white top of Mount Hermon rises above us, and we look upon it with longing eyes. Who will join me in climbing it?

We will divide the party for a day. We will put the “Doubter” with the rest of the mules and send them around to Hasbeiya, where they can wait till we get down on the other side of Hermon. We will start before daybreak, climb the mountain, and, 322by making sharp work of it, can get down to camp in season for a late supper. We shall feel as tired as though we had been run through a rolling mill; climbing Mount Hermon is serious business, and a thing to do once. Nobody would undertake it a second time, for the mere pleasure of the trip.

Hermon is, with one exception, the highest mountain in Syria, Lebanon being the most elevated. Its summit, or rather its highest summit, for it has three peaks, is about ten thousand feet above the sea level, and for the greater part of the year is covered with snow. In fact the snow remains there the entire year, as there are certain ravines and valleys where it never disappears completely, but lies in sloping streaks visible at a great distance. The mountain is of gray limestone, like Lebanon, and as one looks up its sides there is an aspect of almost complete barrenness. The central peak is entirely destitute of vegetation, with the exception of a few thorny bushes that seem to cling there in utter hopelessness.

The view from the summit is magnificent, and well repays us for our trouble. On the north we have the ranges of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, with the valley of Bukaâ between them. To the east is the plain of Arabia, spreading out like an ocean, and dotted here and there with ranges and clusters of hills that look not unlike islands. Southward is the Sea of Galilee, and beyond it we can trace the deep valley of the Jordan till it is lost in the distance and shut in by the mountains of Gilead and Samaria. We can see the sunlight playing on the waters of the blue Mediterranean in the west, and trace the coast line, with all its sinuosities, from Mount Carmel to Tyre and Sidon. At our feet and all below us the mountains and valleys, rivers and ravines, are traceable, and as we turn around the points of compass from north back to north again, a beautiful panorama is revealed to us.

On one of the summits of Hermon there are the ruins of a small temple; they are on the very top and near the edge of a cliff, and the character of the work indicates great antiquity.

Their history is unknown. But careful students of the Bible have connected them with certain passages which seem to show that the temples were used for purposes of idolatry.

We descend and rejoin our companions at Hasbeiya, where we



325find the “Doubter” in trouble with a native. He took off his boots to cool his feet after getting into camp, and while the boots were lying on the ground a lizard crept into one of them and nestled down into the toe. When he attempted to don them again the lizard was in the way, and the old fellow danced around as if he had been educated for an organ grinder’s monkey. The nimbleness and desperate energy of his movements, as he vainly endeavored, in his excited state, to pull off his boot, was a performance that the astonished natives had never before witnessed.


He tugged and twisted, and hopped about on one leg, in a very expert and fantastic style.

Finally he removed the boot and out came the lizard, one of those harmless, pretty little things that are found all through Syria. One of the natives had witnessed his contortions, and on seeing the very slight cause for it the impudent aboriginal laughed.

This was very wrong for him to do, and also very rare, for the Syrians are a solemn race and about as little inclined to risibility as an Indian.

The “Doubter” accused the native of putting the lizard into the boot and called the dragoman to translate the accusation. Native denied the charge and wanted “backsheesh” as a salve to his wounded honor. The “Doubter” wouldn’t give it, and thus is the situation when we arrive from Mount Hermon.

“Go away, boy, go away,” he repeats in the intervals of the demand for “backsheesh.” The boy does not heed the remark and grows more importunate as he sees we do not take sides with the “Doubter.”

“Isn’t this Hasbeiya?” Gustave says, with a twinkle in his eye.

I nod and speak assent.

“You must give him something at once,” says Gustave, turning to the skeptic. “This place is the most dangerous in 326all Syria. The majority of the inhabitants are Chrétiens, and will murder you on the slightest provocation. If that boy goes away unpaid, after you have doubted his honor, he will bring down a dozen or more armed men and your life won’t be worth three centimes.”

The “Doubter” is incredulous, but there is enough in Gustave’s statement to alarm him, and we see that he changes color. After a moment’s hesitation he suggests that Gustave had better pay the boy and send him away if the place is so very dangerous.

“That will never do,” responds Gustave, “you have committed the offense and it is you they will be after. Do you see those men in front of that house? They know something is wrong. Give the boy half a franc and send him away.”

The “Doubter” reluctantly draws half a franc from his pocket and places it in the boy’s hand. He is suspicious that he has been hoaxed, but he has some regard for his continued stay on this planet and is willing to pay a small sum. But rather than give a franc he would take the chances. One must draw a line somewhere, you know.

Before 1860 Hasbeiya contained a population of about five thousand, four-fifths of them Christians. It was the scene of one of the most terrible massacres of that year. The town stands in a glen, and is surrounded on three sides by high hills which are terraced and covered with vineyards, and fig and olive trees. In a secure place on a rocky ridge is a strong building formerly the palace of a local chieftain, and capable of resisting any attack with small arms. In 1860 it had a garrison of two hundred soldiers commanded by a Turkish colonel, and when the Christians were attacked by the Druzes they appealed to the Colonel for protection. He gave them a written guarantee of safety on condition that they should come into the palace and surrender their weapons, which they did. They were then kept for seven days in the palace and at the end of that time the colonel ordered the gates thrown open. The Druzes were admitted, and the Christians to the number of a thousand were massacred. The soldiers of the garrison did not join in the massacre, but they prevented the Christians fleeing or seeking concealment, and in some instances pushed them forward to be killed. The Colonel 327was afterward tried, condemned and shot, at Damascus, by order of the British Commissioner, Lord Dufferin. He (the Colonel) insisted that he was acting under authority of his superiors, and the belief is very prevalent that the whole series of massacres was covertly ordered from Constantinople.

From Hasbeiya we take an early start and ride to Banias through a rough and picturesque country, fairly wooded for Syria and containing frequent olive groves. We pass a lot of villages, each looking so much like the other that it is not worth while to try to make much distinction between them. We pass near one of the sources of the Jordan, a fountain that has flowed without cessation for unknown thousands of years, and will probably flow on for thousands of years to come. One of the villages on the route contains the tomb or one of the tombs, of Nimrod, the mighty hunter. Very little is left of it—about as much as there is of Nimrod himself.

Banias, better known as Cesarea-Philippi, is picturesquely situated. A mountain crowned by a ruined castle overlooks abroad terrace which commands a fine view of mountain and plain. The ruins of the city and the huts of the modern town are situated on this terrace, and the spot reflects creditably on the man who chose it. I don’t think he is around now, as he performed his work a good while before King Solomon was thought of. The time of the foundation is unknown, but it is certain that a city stood here at a very early date. The name Banias comes from Panias or Panium; the Greek settlers in Syria established here a temple to the worship of the God Pan and from the establishment of the temple a city grew up.

The ruins are of considerable extent, and comprise among other things a citadel, inclosing a quadrangle of four acres or more within massive walls. The modern village is within this citadel, and contains forty or fifty huts and houses built with flat roofs, like nearly all houses in Syria. How are the mighty fallen! The walls of the city have suffered from earthquakes and vandalism, but more especially from the roots of plants and trees that have forced the stones apart. The same is the case with the castle that overlooks the town at an elevation of quite a thousand feet. 328A steep path leads up to the castle and it requires an hour of toilsome climbing to reach the top of the hill. The castle has a curious shape; it is about a thousand feet long by two hundred broad, and narrows considerably in the centre, so that it looks like two castles side by side. Many of the stones composing the walls are of great size, for such an elevation; they are frequently ten or twelve feet long, and accurately hewn and dressed. One can spend hours in the castle studying its construction and looking out upon the beautiful panorama that greets the eye from its walls. Antiquarians and archaeologists are at variance concerning this castle; some of them give it an existence from a period long before the Christian Era, while others think it is not more than twelve or fifteen hundred years old.

The city did not become prominent in history until the time of Herod the Great. Josephus relates that “Herod having accompanied Cæsar to the sea and returned home erected to him a beautiful temple of white marble near the palace called Pentium. This is a fine cave in a mountain under which there is a great cavity in the earth, abrupt, deep and full of water. Over it hangs a vast mountain; and under the cavern rise the springs of the river Jordan. Herod adorned this place, which was already a remarkable one, still farther by the erection of this temple which he dedicated to Cæsar.”

The description is accurate. The temple is gone, but there are Greek inscriptions and sculptured niches on the face of the cliff which were made at the time the temple was erected. The great fountain which forms the principal source of the Jordan bursts from the side of the cliff through a cavern, now partially choked with rough rocks and fragments of ancient buildings. The waters roll and break through a rocky channel as they begin their course down the deep ravine which leads them on and on till they are swallowed in the dark and gloomy bosom of the Dead Sea.

Hermon, the high mountain, is in front of us, and its triple summit stands cold and majestic now as it stood in the days that were made memorable by the recorded miracles of Christ.




Our first morning in Palestine—Breaking Camp at Banias—“From Dan to Beer-sheba”—Explanation of the phrase—The Cup of the Hills—The Golden Calf of Jeroboam—Story of Vishnu and his Idol—An Incident and its Moral—The Battlefields of Joshua—A singular species of Plough—The “Doubter” in a quandary—Joseph’s Pit—The Sea of Galilee—Fishing with Poisoned Bait—Capernaum and its Ruins—Scene of Christ’s Miracles—The Birthplace of Mary Magdalen—A horde of Beggars—A Pitiful Spectacle—The Robber’s Cave—Herod and his Strategy—The Jews of Tiberias—A Seedy Crowd—Ruins of the Ancient City—The spot where Christ fed the Multitude.

IN the morning we are roused by the voice of the dragoman or one of his servants, and have half an hour for dressing. We rise reluctantly, for we are still weary from the fatigues of yesterday, and how we do wish for just a few minutes more.

The “Doubter” pulls at the handle of the Judge’s umbrella, under the impression that it is a bell-knob, and sleepily asks for a cocktail. But there is nothing of the kind to be had, and after grumbling at everybody and everything, he proceeds to his toilet and soon comes out with an appearance suggestive of an Italian brigand who has had a run of bad luck.

While we are at breakfast, the men strike the tents and are off. They go straight to our camping place for the coming night, so that they will have everything ready by the time we arrive. One pack-horse and a servant with the lunch remains with us, and they and their burden come in very handy about noon. We have no trouble in getting up good appetites in this clear air of Palestine, though unfortunately it is a trifle too warm for com330fort. A rugged path, where the rocks threaten to give us some dangerous tumbles, brings us to Tell-el-Kady, about four miles from Banias. This place is better known as Dan. Who has not heard of going “from Dan to Beersheba?” The latter place—Bir-es-seba, or “well of the covenant”—is on the southern border of Palestine, while Dan is on the northern. Consequently, “from Dan to Beersheba” means “from one end of the country to the other.” The identity of the site cannot be doubted, as the place is clearly described in Biblical and other history, and the remains of the ancient city are here.

There is a sort of cup-shaped mound here, in a plain, less than a hundred feet above it, and possibly a thousand yards across. The whole place is covered with a tangle of brushwood and weeds, and if we take the trouble to penetrate this thicket, we shall find hewn stones, broken columns, and other indications of the city that has passed away. There are some oak trees here, and one of them can boast of considerable size. It is one of the oaks of Bashan, and others can be seen on the mountain near us, and dotting in irregular patches various parts of the landscape. The oaks of Bashan are less famous now than they were three thousand years ago.

History tells us that this was once a Phoenician settlement, under the name of Laish, and was captured by some Danites, who changed its name to Dan. They took things easily, and had a good time, and whenever there was a chance to make an honest penny by a little robbery, they were up to the scratch.

Dan is mentioned in the first book of Kings (xii. 28-32) as one of the places where Jeroboam erected a golden calf.

Jeroboam understood human nature, when he selected gold as the metal of which the calf should be made. Brass would have been just as bright, but it has its defects, and the chief one is a lack of intrinsic value.

Vishnu once appeared in the guise of a beggar to a Brahmin who was superintending the erection and dedication of a temple in one of the sacred groves of India. The temple was complete, and the Brahmin was directing his fellows how to place the pedestal for the idol which he was just taking out of the box. He removed the straw and wrappings, and brought to 331light an idol of common wood, with pieces of white porcelain for eyes.

“Stop, O, Brahmin,” said the beggar. “Erect not that wooden idol, for your temple will then be no more than others.”

“But make an idol of pure gold, and give it a pair of diamonds for eyes, and the whole world will come here to worship.”

The beggar waved his hand, and behold! an idol such as he had described stood upon the pedestal. The Brahmin turned to thank the stranger, but he had disappeared.

And that shrine has ever been the most sacred in all the land of India.

The Brahmin sent the wooden idol back to the factory, and they accepted it at twenty per cent. off, less the freight and charges for repacking. And they sold it to a retail cigar dealer, who used it for a sign in front of his shop.

The most interesting thing at Dan is the great fountain of the Jordan. It bursts out at the western, base of the mound, and forms a small pond, and out of this pond flows the stream, the largest in all Syria from a single source.

Less than an hour from Dan, over, a stony and marshy plain, brings us to Ain Belat, another fountain, and there is another of the same sort not far away. There is nothing particularly interesting here, and so we go on to Ain Mellahah, where we find the tents waiting for us near an old mill that stands by the spring.

Lake Huleh, a sheet of water about three miles by four, is close at hand, but it has no intrinsic attractions.

All around the lake is a marshy ground, spreading out on the North into a plain, that has some claims to fertility. The Bedouins cultivate it after a fashion, and some speculators have bought ground there and leased it out to the natives.

Syrian agriculture is of a very primitive kind. They use, in this country, the root of a tree for a plough, and they do little more than scratch the soil. An American plough, either ‘breaker’ or ‘subsoil,’ would drive the natives into confluent hysterics, and the sight of a steam-plough turning half, a dozen furrows at once would strike them dead with astonishment.

The first time the “Doubter” saw one of these Syrian scrapers, he asked what it was. When we told him it was a plough, 332he said he knew better, and we needn’t try to “play it on him.” Then we thought it might be a horse-rake or a wheel-barrow, possibly a brake to attach to a fiery saddle-horse to keep him from descending a hill too fast.


Then we concluded it might be a pillow or a tooth-pick, and finally a part of the equipment of a lunatic asylum. The “Doubter” at length concluded it was a weapon of warfare, and with this wise conclusion he dropped the subject.

Our forenoon’s ride from this camp is a dreary one. We have five hours of it, or nearly that period, in a wild country overlooking the valley of the Jordan on the left, and having no attractions of its own. It is a scene of desolation. There were no trees—scarcely is there any vegetation, and the only inhabitants are people who live somewhere else. The hot, dry landscape is unforbidding in every feature, and only the historic character of the country rewards us for our trouble.

We come to a wretched Khan, which is said to contain the pit into which Joseph was thrown before he was sold by his brethren. The authenticity of the story rests only upon tradition, and there are two or three other places in the country which claim to be the real, original, Joseph’s pit. They show us the hole, which is certainly capable of containing a man. The “Doubter” does not 333believe it is the real pit, because he cannot see the footprints of the fellows that flung their brother in. Some one tells the story of the New York boot-black, who was induced one day to go to Sunday school. The teacher told the story of Joseph and asked:

“What did Joseph’s brethren put him in the pit for?”

“I know,” said the gamin, with a confident air.

“Then tell us.”

“Fifteen cents!” shouted the young vagabond.

He was a frequenter of the old Bowery Theater, and familiar with the prices at that establishment.

But we are in haste to go on; for before us is the Sea of Galilee, shimmering under the scorching rays of a Syrian sun. It lies deep-set in a basin of rough, barren mountains, and its surface, as we first look upon it, is very far below us. If any of us have pictured a lake, surrounded with luxuriant fields and shady groves, its waves kissing the feet of waving palms, and reflecting the rich foliage of the tropics, we are doomed to disappointment. It is a scene of desolation, akin to that revealed when we look from the bleak hills beyond Bethlehem, and cast our vision downward to the Dead Sea. The country must have undergone a great change in the past two thousand years, as we cannot understand how it could support the population that history accords to it.

The lake is oval in shape, and about thirteen miles long by six in width, and where there were many boats in Christ’s time, there are now only two. These are devoted more to the ferriage of travellers and their excursions to points of interest along the shores, than to the fisheries. A favorite mode of catching fish at the present time is to poison them with bread crumbs soaked in corrosive sublimate. The fish die, and rise to the surface, whence they are gathered and taken to the market of Tiberias for sale. The natives do not mind any little trifle like this, but foreigners should be cautious about the fish that they eat.

All around the shore of the lake is historic ground. We reach it at Capernaum, or rather at one of the three points claimed to be the site of that city, and known by the modern name of Khan Minyeh. It has, perhaps, the best claims to recognition, but I shall not attempt to say that it is or is not the real place. 334The ruins are not extensive, and can be seen in a short time. Traces of foundations and walls of buildings can be found here and there among the brushwood, and now and then a broken column or capital rewards the search of the explorer.


Proceeding along the western bank of the lake, we reach Magdala, the birth-place of Mary Magdalene. The shore of the lake in this part is quite fertile, but the fertility is not utilized, except to a very slight degree. Game is not unknown here, but the varieties are not numerous. Quails are abundant, and so are turtle doves. “The voice of the turtle is heard in the land,” is sure to be repeated by some one of the party as we ride through the tangle of thistles, weeds, and brushwood that lines the way from Capernaum to Magdala.

In itself, and without its historic associations, Magdala is of very little consequence. It contains about twenty houses, of the Syrian pattern, flat-roofed, and not over-pleasing in appearance. There are ruins of houses of a more pretentious character, and the indications are general that there was once a town here, of some consequence.

The inhabitants come out of their squalid dwellings and beg for anything we choose to give. Money, old clothes, defaulted railway bonds, State bonds, shares in a petroleum company, cold meat, bound volumes of newspaper files, and anything else can 335be included in the word “backsheesh.” It is a generic, not a specific, term, and those who continually din into your ears the supplication, “Backsheesh, O Howadji!” are not at all particular about what they receive.


It is a good dodge to get the first innings on them once in a while. When you catch sight of a native approaching you, it is morally certain that he intends to beg. Take the bull by the horns, approach him and ask for “backsheesh.” He will generally see the point, though he does not always do so.

We have time to take a little run to some curious caves that lie in a cliff about half an hour’s ride from Magdala. A steep and 336narrow path leads to them, and while we are climbing it we see how easily the caves could be defended. Their origin and history are unknown, and they were evidently the work, not of one, but of several, generations. They are mentioned by Josephus as fortified caverns, belonging to the city of Arbela, whose ruins are close at hand. At various periods they have been the resort of bandits, and probably would be so at present if the bandit business was at all profitable. Herod the Great had an unpleasantness with some free-booting gentlemen who dwelt in these caves. They made things disagreeable for travellers and others, and would not divide with the King, and so he sent an army to teach them better manners and bring their heads home in carpet-sacks. But the fellows defended their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor so desperately, and had so good a place to defend them in, that the army couldn’t gain a point on them.

But Gen. Herod knew a thing or two, and after scratching his head awhile over the problem, he sent for his carpenters and blacksmiths and ordered them to get their tools ready and then come before him at five o’clock the next morning.

They came, they saw, (each carpenter had one,) and they concurred with him.

“Go,” said the general to the carpenters, “and make some boxes of strong plank, about six feet square and four feet high. Make them as strong as you would a travelling trunk for a thousand-mile journey on an American railway.”

Then turning to the blacksmiths he said:

“And you, sons of Vulcan, get up lots of ox-chains, strong enough to support these boxes with a thousand pounds in each.”

“A thousand pounds, in sovereigns, will weigh more than the same amount in five-pun notes,” said the boss blacksmith, musingly. “Does Your Majesty pay gold or paper?”

“A thousand pounds avoirdupois, you idiot,” replied the King. The blacksmith apologized, and whispered to his neighbor that he thought it would turn out so, as the King was hard up, and couldn’t raise five hundred guineas in a month unless he stole them.

The boxes were made, and the ferblantiers and charpentiers wondered what the king could be about. When they were ready,



339he put a dozen infantry men with plenty of carbines and revolvers and supplies of provisions and ammunition into each box, and lowered the whole lot of them simultaneously down the face of the cliff above the canals. Thus the soldiers were enabled to make it nasty for the robbers. They killed most of them, and what they didn’t kill they flung over the face of the precipice.


We will not go back to Magdala, as there is a shorter route to Tiberias, which is our next point of interest. As our cavalcade enters the town, the inhabitants turn out to greet us, and we hear a word we think we have heard before—“backsheesh.” The people differ materially from those of Magdala and Capernaum, in being more numerous; in other respects there is a marked similarity. They wear the same amount of dirt, rags, and sore eyes, and an ophthalmist could make a fortune here, provided he could get rich by practicing without fees. There are about two thousand inhabitants, one-third of them Jews, and they are a very seedy and unhappy lot of Israelites. I presume that those who are born in Tiberias want to die there, and to look at them one would think that they ought to wish to die as soon as possible.

Tiberias is a sacred place for the Jews, as they believe that the Messiah will rise from the sea of Galilee, and after landing in the city will proceed to the summit of Mount Safed, which 340is not far away. Comparatively few of the Jews speak Arabic; they are divided into two sects, one of Russian and the other of Spanish origin, so that they use the languages of the countries whence they or their ancestors came. They are not on the best of terms with their neighbors, and live in a part of the town assigned to them.

Tiberias once had a wall; the remains of it are there yet, and it was in tolerable condition until about forty years ago, when an earthquake played the mischief with it and left it full of great gaps and cracks that are anything but pleasing. Your earthquake, a real, first-class one, is a consummation not devoutly to be wished.

The ancient city is scattered promiscuously along the shore of the lake, but there isn’t enough of it to make more than half-a-dozen hog-yards. The modern town has absorbed nearly all that was worth absorbing.

There is a Latin convent at Tiberias, with a church attached to it, which is regarded with veneration by many Christian pilgrims. Like Jerusalem, Tiberias is a sacred spot for both Christian and Jew, and thousands of Jews consider it a blessing to be buried there, and it certainly would be a blessing to bury those that we see in Tiberias. It was at one time their chief residence in Palestine, and was their most prominent city for more than three hundred years. Tiberias has been in the hands of Jews, Persians, Arabs, and Crusaders, and has had the usual misfortunes of Oriental towns.

There are some warm baths near Tiberias, and they are highly recommended to strangers. The natives never patronize these baths or any other. The only time a Syrian washes himself is when he gets caught in a shower, without an umbrella, and can’t find any shelter, or get home.

All around the lake there are historic spots. Days could be spent in a study of the places whose names have been made familiar to us by a perusal of the Old and New Testaments.




Bathing in the Sea of Galilee—Standing on holy ground—How the “Doubter” was unhorsed—A second Absalom—Lunching on the summit of Tabor—Saracenic Vengeance—A Reminiscence of the Crusades—A magnificent Sight—Discussing “Backsheesh” with the natives—The “Doubter” as a Cashier—The Grotto of the Holy Family—Mary’s house—The house of Loretto—The story of the Miracle—The Monk and the “Doubter”—Dean Stanley’s explanation—Joseph’s Tool Chest—The “Doubter’s” demand—The Witch of Endor “at home”—Blood-Revenge—A pertinacious feud—Saul and the Witch.

WE have bathed in the Sea of Galilee and played with the pebbles on its sandy beach; we have visited places named in Holy Writ, and henceforth their mention will have for us an additional charm. And now we will fold our tents like the Arabs, (or let the Arabs fold them for us,) and as silently steal away. Our faces are turned towards Jerusalem.

Our horses toil slowly up the ascent—a long and weary one—which leads from the shore of the sea of Galilee. At Tiberias we are six hundred feet below the level of the Mediterranean. The plain which we are now approaching is five hundred feet above us, and consequently we must make an elevation of eleven hundred feet to gain it. The way is rough in many places, and we wonder how it has been allowed to remain so in all the thousands of years that it has been in use.

As we emerge from the deep basin which encloses the lake we see before us a mountain, like a huge mound or tumulus, rising out of the plain and dominating it in all directions. It is Mount 342Tabor, and beyond it is the plain of Esdraelon. Between us and the base of the mountain lies an undulating plateau over which we find an easier road than the one we have just been climbing.

We are on the great route of the caravans, between Egypt and Damascus, and the first objects of interest are the ruins of “The Merchants’ Caravansary,” or—in the language of the country—Khan-et-Tujar; one of the pashas of Damascus built it about three hundred years ago, for the protection of the caravans which were often troubled by robbers in those days, but the buildings long ago ceased to be of any use, and have been allowed to go to decay.

They are worth an examination, as specimens of modern Saracenic architecture, and this is all.

We press forward toward Mount Tabor, and in an hour or more are at its base.


We ascend by a difficult path that winds among oaks and thickets of thorn bushes, and are brought to occasional halts by the slipping of saddles and other slight mishaps.

The “Doubter” while passing under an oak from which he has attempted to pluck a stick to serve as a whip. His hand has caught in the branches, his horse does not stop to ask what is the matter, and the next instant horse and rider have parted company. The horse goes on as if nothing had happened, and the “Doubter,” after hanging an instant, and reminding the per343son next behind him of the misfortune of Absalom, drops into the path below. The horse is caught by some one in advance; the “Doubter” is picked up and put together and after swallowing a dose of brandy is lifted into his saddle and enjoined to let the oak limbs alone in future. He bends so low for the rest of the ride, that his nose almost touches the mane of his steed. He is determined not to get into trouble again.

We reach the summit—fourteen hundred feet above the sea—and dismount from our panting horses. Lunch is served under one of the oak trees that invites us to rest beneath its foliage, and we endeavor to make ourselves comfortable. After lunch we devote a couple of hours to a ramble around the spot; we might camp here, but we prefer to pass the night at Nazareth, whither our camp was moved when we started from Tiberias.

We now find that Tabor is not circular in shape, but oval, the greatest measurement being from East to West. The summit is slightly rounded and is about a thousand yards long by half that in width. There are many ruins on the summit, or rather masses of ruins; the principal thing to attract the attention is a massive wall, or the remains of one, which enclose the most of the space. It was evidently a stronghold in its time, and was defended by bastions and towers, and gateways, one of which is still standing. There are the foundations of houses, some of them of considerable size, and we have no hesitation in accepting the statement that a strong and important town once stood here. There are cisterns hewn in the solid rock, and they have continued their uses down to the present time. We are permitted to slake our thirst with water, drawn from one of these cisterns—cisterns from which men have drank in all ages, from the days of Moses to the present time. Barak drank here when he assembled the hosts of Napthali to attack Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army; Joshua and Gideon may have stood by this very well; here stood the Crusaders when they advanced upon Jerusalem, and here a few years later Saladin may have rested, as he exulted over the victory that expelled the hated Christian from the land. If we are imaginative, we can picture a kaleidoscope of warriors, who fill the pages of sacred and profane history and stalk before us like the line of Banquo’s Kings, which the witches 344revealed to Macbeth, and if, like the “Doubter,” we are unimaginative and do not believe, or care for anything, we will eat our cold chicken and boiled eggs, and say nothing.

The best view of this part of Palestine is obtained from Mount Tabor. The plain of Esdraelon is before us, or rather below us, and we can contemplate its undulations, its stipples of villages, its dark dots of trees, its ravines and its bright verdure—if the season is propitious—as we contemplate from our easy chair the figures upon our carpet. On the East we see the valley of the Jordan and the mountains of Gilead, rising like a long and rugged wall from the deep clift where the river flows. Hermon and the range of Lebanon fill the north and the ruin-crowned summit of Safed—the holy mount of the Jews where was “the city set upon the hill,” is full before us. In the West is Mount Carmel, the scene of Elijah s sacrifice—reverenced alike by Jew, Christian, and Moslem through all ages down to the present day. No other place disputes the honor, and Carmel is destined to possess it for all time to come.

South of us we have the mountain of Little Hermon, with the villages of Nain and Endor and other villages not far away. On the plain below were fought the battles of Barak and Sisera, and the guide points out the spot where the hosts were assembled.

In another direction he points out the scene of the battle of Hattin where, nearly seven hundred years ago, the Crusaders were defeated, and their hold upon Palestine was broken. Both armies were in full force; that of the Christians was led by the King of Jerusalem, and that of the Moslems by the great Saladin. The Christian army came to this plain and encamped there without water and greatly fatigued by their march. The Moslem army attacked them at dawn, and all day the battle continued. At its end the Christians had been overpowered with a loss of thirty thousand men. The remnant of the army fled to Acre, but the King was captured, together with the Grand Master of the Templars and Raynauld of Chatillon.

Saladin had threatened to put to death, with his own hand, this Raynauld through whose treachery the war had been brought on. He treated the other captives with the respect which their rank deserved, but showed the utmost contempt for Raynauld,



347towards whom he kept his word. Raynauld was executed; the other prisoners were liberated and allowed honorable escort out of the country. Saladin was a noble old warrior, and he had the instincts of a gentleman, though he never wore a dress-coat and kid gloves, and did not understand how to dance the German or escort a lady to the opera.

Mount Tabor disputes with Hermon the honor of the Transfiguration. The tradition which locates it here dates from the fourth century, and was then generally believed. Churches and convents were erected on the summit of Tabor, and many pilgrimages were made there, and when the Crusaders came to Palestine they established a monastery there, and gave its abbot the authority of a bishop. The Greek monks come here in procession from Nazareth, on the occasion of the Feast of the Virgin, and the Latin monks have a festival, once a year, in honor of the Transfiguration. The exact location which the monks give for the miraculous event is near the southeastern angle of the fortifications, where a vault has been fitted up as an altar.

We descend from Tabor in the direction of Nazareth, and a ride of two hours from the summit brings us to our camp. The road is crooked and narrow, and winds among forests of oaks and tangles of brush, until within a mile or more of Nazareth, when we get among bare hills. A little out of our way is the dirty village of Deburich, on the site of Dabareth, which is mentioned twice in the Old Testament. There is nothing attractive about the place; it has the repulsive features of most of the Syrian villages, and you wonder how the natives manage to live, or even wish to do so. They discuss the “backsheesh” question with us, and we have the whole perambulating mass of dirt, rags, and sores adhering to us from the moment we enter the place until we are a quarter of a mile away. We set them upon the “Doubter,” by giving them to understand that he is the cashier of the party, but unfortunately they don’t stick to him long enough to give the rest of us any peace.

There are several objects of interest here connected with the life of Christ. The guide takes us to the Virgin’s Fountain, and to the church and convent erected over the grotto which is said to have been the dwelling place of the Holy Family. The town 348is situated in some ravines and along some ridges on the side of a hill overlooking the plain of Esdraelon, and the buildings appear to have been dropped down higgledy-piggledy, without any regard for regularity. The houses are better than those of many Syrian villages, as they are built of stone and are kept clean in all the places where dirt cannot accumulate. But they are repulsive enough inside, and one needs a pair of stilts to enable him to walk through the streets without soiling his boots.

The population is variously estimated—no census is ever taken—at from three to four thousand. Only about seven hundred of these are Moslems; the rest are Christians of three or four kinds, with the addition of a few Jews, who must be very unhappy among so many people of a different faith. But, taken altogether, the inhabitants are not a pleasing lot, and as you look at them, you do not wonder that the question was once asked, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

Nazareth was unknown in history until the Annunciation. The event has been commemorated by the erection of a Latin convent, where a Greek church once stood over the site of the house of Mary.

The convent is of considerable extent, and has a massive exterior, followed by equal massiveness within. The church is about seventy feet square in its interior dimensions, and the roof is supported by strong piers, which are covered, as are also the walls, with paintings representing scriptural scenes. A flight of steps, fifteen in number, leads down to the chapel beneath the church, and in this chapel the scene of the Annunciation is located.

You first enter a vestibule about twenty-five feet by ten, and from this we enter the sanctum, which is of about the same dimensions. It contains a marble altar and a marble slab, with a cross upon it, which marks the spot where the Virgin stood at the time of the Annunciation. They show us a marble column cut in two, one part apparently suspended from the roof and the other a little way below it, and resting on the floor. The monks solemnly tell us, that the invading infidels cut through this column, in the hope of bringing down the roof, but a miracle interposed to uphold the column and has kept it there to this day.



351Then they take us into a grotto back of the altar and up a staircase into the Virgin’s kitchen, which is only a small cave, and must have been a very poor sort of kitchen at best. The monks manifest much veneration for the Sacred Grotto, and pious people from Christian lands have made handsome donations for the support of the church at Nazareth. As the church stands over the site of the house of Mary, the “Doubter” demands to see the house. The guide tells him that it is gone, and while he is trying to make his statement understood, one of the English speaking monks puts in a word:

“You should understand,” he says, “that the house is at Loretta, in Italy, and that Loretto is called the Nazareth of Italy. It is the house that was here once, the real house of the Virgin Mary.”

“Yes, but how did it get there?” asked the “Doubter.”

“Who moved it, and how was it done? I don’t believe you could move one of these stone houses all the way to Italy.”

“Ah, there is the miracle, and I will tell you,” says the monk, and he begins to rattle away as though he had committed the story to memory from a guide book.

“The house stood here for hundreds of years, and then it happened that the Moslems defeated the Christians in battle, and threatened to destroy everything in Nazareth. They were camped in the plain, and sent an army up here. Just as the army came to the edge of the town, some angels came down and took the house away. They carried it to Europe, and set it down on a hill near Fiume, in Dalmatia, and then, when it was found that the place wasn’t safe, they took it away to Loretto, and there it is now.”

“Very strange,” says the “Doubter,” “very strange. And do they do this sort of thing often?”

“Not often,” replies the monk. “You see it was a miracle; and if they performed miracles every day they wouldn’t be miracles.”

The “Doubter” says he doesn’t believe a word of it, and turns away. The monk continues his account, and says:

“There can be no doubt that the house is in Italy, and that it was moved by a miracle. It was known to be there more than 352four hundred years ago, and the Pope, Leo X, told all about it in a papal bull, in the year 1518, and authenticated it so that there could be no chance for any body to disbelieve.”

Of course, there could be no chance after this. Dean Stanley thus explains this matter:

“Nazareth was taken by Sultan Kalil in 1291, when he stormed the last refuge of the Crusaders in the neighboring city of Acre. From that time, not Nazareth only, but’ the whole of Palestine, was closed to the devotions of Europe. The Crusaders were expelled from Asia, and in Europe the spirit of the Crusades was extinct. But the natural longing to see the scenes of the events of the sacred history—the superstitious craving to win for prayer the favor of consecrated localities—did not expire with the Crusades. Can we wonder that, under such circumstances, there should have arisen the feeling, the desire, the belief, that if Mahomet could not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mahomet? The House of Loretto is the petrifaction, so to speak, of the ‘last sigh of the Crusades.’”

From the Church of the Annunciation we are taken through some of the dirty streets and alleys, to Joseph’s workshop—a modern building fitted up as a chapel and held by the Latin monks. The structure is modern, but they show an old wall, or a fragment of it, in the interior, and this is quite sufficient.

The “Doubter” asks for Joseph’s tool-chest, and insists upon seeing it. They compromise the matter by bringing an axe of a very modern pattern, and bearing the word ‘Birmingham’ on the helve. This might do for one of the faithful, but the “Doubter” won’t swallow it, (not the axe, but the story,) in spite of the urgent assurance of the rest of us that it is all right.

Then they take us to “the Table of Christ,” where, according to tradition, our Saviour sat frequently with his disciples, both before and after the resurrection. It is only a table-shaped rock, about three feet high, and a chapel has been built over it.

The rivalry between the Greek and Latin churches is very bitter, and the monks at Nazareth tell some hard stories about each other. Their traditions do not agree in many points, and they are very tenacious about them. Thus, the Greeks claim that the angel’s first salutation to Mary was at the fountain, on 353the eastern side of the village, where she went often to draw water. It is called the Fountain of the Virgin, and the Greeks have erected a church over it and called it the Church of the Annunciation. In order to be impartial to the Greeks and Latins, every traveller should visit both churches.


The fountain is interesting, as affording a study of the habits of the people. The young women, and old ones too, come there to draw water and gossip and make eyes at the young men, tell all the late scandals, discuss the fashions, and display their pride, envy, friendliness, humility, and all the other sentiments and emotions that can be exhibited at such a place. How the gossiping tongues must have wagged at this fountain eighteen hundred years ago! and didn’t they criticise Mary and her family? The pretty, bare-footed girl who came daily to the fountain, to fill her jar, which she poised on her head before tripping gracefully home354ward, little dreaming that she was to be the mother of one who should preach salvation to the world and found a religion to be embraced by all the civilized nations on the globe.

But we will leave Nazareth and wend our way southward.

We ride to Endor over a rough and rather dreary road, that winds over hills and through glens where robbers might waylay us, and where men have been waylaid on many occasions. In this part of the country murders are not infrequent, and are caused chiefly by feuds between tribes and families. Some of these feuds date back hundreds of years, and are based on the Scriptural theory of blood-revenge. Centuries ago there may have been a quarrel between two men, about some trivial matter, and the quarrel may have gone on till one of the men killed the other. Then a relative of the murdered man killed the murderer or one of his family, then this killing was avenged, then this, and then this; so it has gone and will go on, until one family is annihilated, and possibly both, and very often the feud extends to the different tribes. It is for this reason so many men go about with guns and pistols and eye each other so cautiously.

Nearly everybody, to use the vernacular of California, is “hunting for a man,” and sooner or later he finds him, or is found. It is rather respectable than otherwise to die with one’s boots on, here, just as it used to be in Arizona; and it is currently reported that when a man thinks he has had about enough of his native Syria, and has no row on his hands, he goes and kills somebody, so that this somebody’s relatives will turn to and kill him. He is thus able to accomplish two things—he can die like a gentleman, with the satisfaction of knowing that he has put somebody else out of the world in an equally gentlemanly way. And moreover, he bequeaths a legacy of blood-revenge to his descendants, that will give them something to occupy their minds with, and prevents the country becoming peopled too densely for comfort.

Endor is an uninteresting village, of not more than twenty-five houses, and it is the same thing over again—dirt, rags, and wretchedness—such as we have seen all the way along. We have had enough of it—let us move on.




The City of Nain—“Spoiling the Egyptians”—Ruins of an old Philistine City—Curious Strategy—The Torches in Pitchers—Kleber and the Turks—Ahab’s Palace—Tropical Picture—A Crusader’s Church—More “Backsheesh”—The Samaritans of To-day—The Mount of Blessings and the Mount of Cursings—A Despised People—A Strange Religious Belief—A Parchment Thirty-five Centuries Old—Jacob’s Well—Its Present Appearance—The Tomb of Joseph—The Scene of Jacob’s Dream—The Philistines’ Raid.

A RIDE of less than an hour from Endor takes us to Nain, the “City” of Christ’s time, but now a small village. The ruins show that the place was once important, and the guides point out the old cemetery, at whose gate the miracle is located.

As we ride on, we pass the valley of Jezreel, a fertile spot, which might be made productive in the hands of some other people than these lazy, shiftless Syrians. The inhabitants are a mixed lot, as they include, besides the regular hash of Moslems, Christians, and Jews, a colony of Egyptians brought here by Ibrahim Pasha. These fellows were put here, because of the richness of the soil, and the stern old warrior thought he had given them a good thing. But they have an impression that it is more honorable to steal than to work, and consequently make it rather disagreeable for their neighbors. The latter get even with them, by making occasional raids in return, and justifying themselves by some remark or other about “spoiling the Egyptians.” From what I can learn of their history, I think these Egyptians were pretty well spoiled before they came to Syria. 356By going a little out of way we can visit Beisan, the ancient Bethshean, whose ruins cover an area nearly three miles in circumference. It was a city of temples; four of these can be distinctly traced in one group, and others are scattered around promiscuously. Bethshean was of Phoenician origin, and was the principal abiding place of the Philistine god, Dagon. The citadel stood on the hill, overlooking the city, and on its walls the Philistines hung up the bodies of Saul and Jonathan.

The “Doubter,” on hearing this, looks for the bodies, and unable to find them, refuses to believe any part of the story.

Below the citadel is the theatre, semi-circular in shape, and nearly two hundred feet in diameter. Tradition says that Julian, the Apostate, used to give matinée performances here to his friends, at which he occasionally had a lot of Christians cut up. They were popular for a time, but the shrieks of the victims interfered so much with the conversation in the boxes and with peanut-selling in the galleries, that the show had to be given up.

There is a large fountain—Ain-Jalud—in this valley, where Gideon is said to have fought his celebrated battle with the Midianites, described in the Old Testament, when he ordered his men to conceal their torches in pitchers, which they were to break when the proper signal was given. It was one of the best pieces of strategy on record, and was brilliantly successful.

Several battles have been fought in this valley and in its neighborhood. The latest was that between the French and Turkish armies in 1799. Gen. Kleber had moved from Nazareth to attack the Turks, and was met by the enemy near the village of Fuleh.

He formed his army into squares, with artillery at the angles, and in this way resisted the charges of cavalry for six long hours. He had three thousand men and the Turks were fifteen thousand strong, but the effective fire of the French held the enemy in check, in spite of their determined bravery. At the end of six hours, Napoleon arrived with fresh cavalry and infantry and attacked the Turks on flank and rear. Thus surrounded, the latter became panic stricken, and retired in disorder, with heavy loss.

It was the discipline of Kleber’s division and its powers of continued resistance, that gave the victory to the French.

We soon arrive at the modern village of Sebustieh, which 357stands on the site of Samaria and has a population of four or five hundred Moslems, badly disposed towards strangers. The Crusaders built a church here and dedicated it to St. John, but it has been converted into a mosque, that cannot be entered without the use of the magical “backsheesh.” And this has to be applied skillfully, to avoid offense; a very good way is to take the keeper of the mosque into your confidence and do the “backsheesh” business through him Give him a fair allowance of piasters to distribute to the crowd after you have gone, and he will generally set his cudgel at work among them. He is an honorable man, and you can feel certain that he will faithfully distribute the money—to himself. Samaria was a fine city in its time, and the ruins that cover the hill confirm the accounts of the historians. Many of the stones of the old temples and colonnades have been built into the walls and terraces of the modern town so that the extent of the city is not perceptible to a casual observer.

From Nazareth to Nablous, we cross the basin just described, and climb a long ascent to the crest of a ridge. Thence our road is through glens and over hills, but it is less rough than most of the routes we have heretofore traveled. Nablous is a city of about eight thousand inhabitants. This is the ancient Shechem, which was assigned to the Levites and made a city of refuge—a place where a man who had murdered anybody or otherwise shocked the fastidiousness of his neighbors, could live a virtuous and respectable life and be safe from harm. No extradition treaty could touch him, and he might hope in course of time, to become mayor or alderman in his new home, and have a finger in the city treasury. The authorities used to try the refugees who came there, and, in case of wilful murder, the fellows were delivered up to justice. But if the trials were anything like those of murderers in olden times, it was a pretty safe thing for a man to get into a city of refuge, as he could plead accident and insanity, especially the latter, and get off without trouble.

Shechem, or Nablous, is chiefly interesting to-day as the residence of the Samaritans; there are considerably less than two hundred of them and they live now, as they did in Christ’s time, and long before it, following the same occupations, obeying the 358same laws and worshipping after the ancient manner. We read in the New Testament that “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans,” and the statement applies at this day and hour as it did when these words were written.

Down to a few centuries ago, there were colonies of Samaritans in three or four of the Oriental cities, but they have all disappeared except this one at Nablous. They date from the Assyrian conquest of Israel and the carrying of the people into captivity. They came from the East, to settle in the deserted cities, and added to their own religion some features of Jewish worship. Rejected by the Jews, they determined to have a temple of their own, and they erected it upon Mount Gerizim, one of the hills overlooking Shechem. They go there now, as they have always done, to celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and follow the mode prescribed in the twelfth Chapter of Exodus. Six lambs are roasted after the ancient method* and eaten by the people, and no infidel Christian, Jew, or Moslem is allowed to touch any of the meat or any part of the culinary apparatus. They accept the first five books of the Bible as their gospel, but reject all others; they accept Moses as the only law-giver, believe that a Messiah is to come, believe in the resurrection of the body, and in a state of future rewards and punishments, and they keep all the feasts and fasts enjoined in the Pentateuch. They also keep the feast of Purim, on the ground that it celebrates the journey of Moses to Egypt to deliver the Israelites, and not as the Jews celebrate it for the release of their people by Queen Esther.

What a strange people! The only remaining adherents of a faith that was once wide spread through Syria—a link binding us to the mystic past, and carrying us back more than thirty centuries of time. They are born, they live, they think, they worship, they die as their ancestors have done for more than a hundred generations. To them the present is a dream, the past the only reality.

They have a synagogue, and by dint of energy and “backsheesh,” we may visit it. They show us the famous Samaritan Codex, the copy of the Pentateuch, which is said to be the oldest MS. copy in existence. It is on parchment, about fifteen inches wide and twenty-five yards long, and is much defaced and injured



361by time and handling. There has been much discussion concerning this parchment, and many pages have been written to prove or disprove its antiquity. The Samaritans claim that it is thirty-five hundred years old, and they give the name of the writer, but he is not there now to swear to the truth of the statement. As Sergeant Buzfuz would say, “his is in itself suspicious.” That it is very ancient there is no doubt, and the reader may take his choice as to date of manufacture. The “Doubter” says that he saw in the parchment the watermark “Eagle Mills”—Jones and Smith, encircling a flying eagle with a shield in his claws. But I don’t believe him.

We pass Gibeah, the ancient Geba, and next come to Bethel, now called Beitin, where Jacob lay down, as you see the Arabs lying now, with the earth for a bed and a stone for his pillow, and dreamed that he saw a ladder reaching to Heaven, and angels ascending and descending upon it. Abraham pitched his tent here, and here was buried Deborah, the nurse of Rachel, under an oak tree, which Jacob had chosen.

We pass Ramah, a heap of ruins, in which a modern village is huddled. Its inhabitants have no higher object than the extortion of “backsheesh” from travellers, and they keep up a steady din of supplications as long as we are in their vicinity. We pass out of the fertile country and come again among the limestone hills, the eternal hills “round about Jerusalem” We are looking anxiously for the Holy City, and finally, as the sun is sinking and the approaching night spreads the shadows over the glens and valleys, we climb the crest of Scopus and look away toward a rounded mountain, crowned with a monastery.

This is the Mount of Olives; nearer to us, and at its feet lies a city with grey walls and with domes and minarets rising above them. Do we need to be told that we are gazing upon Jerusalem?

We halt a moment at the Damascus gate. From one of the Arabs that gather about us, let us borrow the Enchanted Carpet, which may have belonged to his ancestor, celebrated in the Arabian Nights. Seating ourselves upon it, we utter a wish to return to Damascus, and behold, in an instant we are once more in the court-yard of Dimitri’s hotel.




Once More in Damascus—Taking the “Short Route”—Starting for Beyrout—The Fountains of Damascus—Rain-Storm in the Anti-Lebanon—Stora and its Model Hotel—Poetical Fancies—A Compliment to Mine Host—The “Doubter” as a Rhymist—Climbing Mount Lebanon—Tropic Suns and Arctic Snows—View from the Summit—A Vision of Fairy-Land—Coming Down on the Double-Quick—In Sight of the Mediterranean—Taking Ship for Jaffa—Sidon to a Modern Tourist—Tyre—Jaffa—A Dangerous Roadstead.

WE have done with Damascus and the country beyond it; we have studied the road to Palmyra and Bagdad, and the overland route to Jerusalem; we have seen the bazaars, the fountains, the slave market, the mosques and the churches, and we have looked from the Salahiyeh hills when the setting sun was gilding the domes and towers of the city. Our carriage is waiting to bear us away to Beyrout, where we will “take ship for Jaffa,” as did the men of Solomon many centuries ago.

We started out of Damascus in a pouring rain, but we didn’t think it would be much of a shower, and kept on. Just outside, we crossed a bridge over the Abana, or rather over one of its seven branches, and then followed the stream upward for a few miles. The Abana formerly flowed in a single stream; the founders of Damascus determined to utilize it for beautifying the city, and well did they perform their work. Here and there, as you ascend the stream, you see dams thrown across to direct first one portion and then another, and from these dams there are artificial canals, sometimes tunneled through the rock, and all 363leading toward the cluster of domes, and minarets, and roofs that mark the locality of the city.

Through all parts of Damascus the Abana is carried in divisions and subdivisions, now in open channels and now in aqueducts concealed beneath the street. Fountains foam and bubble at every street corner and sparkle in every dwelling; water, clear, bright, and beautiful, is everywhere, and man or beast has no need to thirst.

It is this abundance of water that has created much of the fame of Damascus and made it attractive in the eyes of travellers. Beyond Damascus is the desert, without water or verdure; all around, east, west, north, and south, the country is rugged, and more or less barren.

The traveller from Bagdad, from Mecca, from Aleppo, and from other points, has wandered over treeless wastes, where rock and sand are the only objects to greet his eye, and the only water to quench his thirst is the hot and brackish liquid carried in goat skins at his saddle bow. After long and weary days he arrives at Damascus, embowered in gardens, and at every step through her streets he sees a fountain. Is it any wonder that he considers Damascus as second only to Paradise?

The rain didn’t stop, as we had expected. It kept coming steadily during the six hours—that seemed long enough for sixty—between Damascus and Stora.

We warmed and dried ourselves as best we could before going to bed, but there was a good deal of moisture in our clothes when we got up in the morning. We didn’t feel particularly gay, especially as the morning was cold and the rain was continuing, but there was nothing to do but to push on. The steamer was due at Beyrout that day, and would leave in the evening, and if we missed her we should be stuck there for ten days.

We wrote in the visitors’ book some complimentary things about the hotel at Stora before we went to bed in the evening. One was a macaronic verse, the first line English, the second French, the third German, and the fourth Spanish. This was the combined effort of the party; then the Judge and I broke into verse as follows:

“At Stora we, half dozen tourists,

Have fared unexpectedly well,

For hostess and host, we, as jurists,

Declare they can keep a hotel.”

364Then the “Doubter,” remembering the hardships of his ride to and from Baalbek, broke out with a nursery rhyme like this:

“We went up from Baalbek to Stora,

And, riding, grew sorer and sorer.

This rough land of the Prophet,

If I ever get off it,

Sure, I’ll not come again, begorra!”

We had suspected that the “Doubter” was of Hibernian origin, and now we knew it. He owned up and said that his ancestors were among the Kings of Tipperary. But his poetic production did not find a place in the book, for the reason that it was not complimentary to the country, and did not reflect the opinions of the rest of the party.

Up we went on the eastern slope of Mount Lebanon, the air growing colder, and the clouds enveloping us more and more densely as we ascended. I sat on the box and shivered, and vowed not to be caught again in such a scrape. By-and-by we were at the summit. There was an inch or so of snow on the road, and more on the rocks, and the wind was sharp enough to shave with. I was chattering like a magpie, and would have given something for a cup of hot tea, or something that would warm me. Kalil pointed to the sea, which just then appeared below us through a rift in the clouds, and its reflection in the warm sunlight was something pleasing to look upon.

It was a long way down—fifty-six hundred feet—but we were good for it. Kalil turned down the brake a little, not enough to prevent the turning of the wheels, and not enough to keep back the horses, who went on at full speed. Now the air grew warmer, now the clouds broke away and fled over the mountain top, now the snow grew thinner and soon disappeared, now we could see Beyrout hovering like a bird over the land that skirts the bay, and looking bright and genial in the warm sunlight. The Mediterranean rippled and sparkled in the sunlight; far out on the water we could see stipples of white sails, and here and there we could discover the long, dark streaks on the horizon that marked the path of a steamer. The waves broke over the rocky beach with



367an uneven surge, and a silver thread widening as it advanced its winding way among the rocks showed us where lay the river that reaches the sea just north of the city.

Winter was left behind as we descended the mountain at a break-neck pace; spring opened upon us, and soon the spring was succeeded by the warmth of summer. We were once more among the palm trees; oranges and citrons twinkled on the branches that bore them, and reflected back the golden light of a Syrian sun. The dim lines on the water developed into waves; the ships, at first faintly outlined, revealed all the details of spars and rigging, and the confused mass clinging to the land and marking the locality of Beyrout developed into the many colored domes, and towers, and roofs of an Oriental city; and as we drew rein at the door of the hotel, close to the water’s edge, we forgot our troubles, and breathed an atmosphere warm and invigorating as September.

It was rather rough when we went on board the steamer which was to take us to Jaffa, and the wind increased during the night, so that by morning it was a respectable gale. The steamer was to start at daybreak, and stop at Caifa, half way to Jaffa, but the wind was so high that she didn’t go. She started once, but the sea was so rough that the captain hesitated and came to anchor again. We contemplated Beyrout that day and part of the next, and we had a similar contemplation of Caifa. The agent came out in a boat, and said he could not get a single lighter to venture out, as there was a very heavy sea breaking on the shore. So without landing or receiving any freight, we departed; some passengers went ashore, among them several who had tickets for Jaffa, but were fearful that they would not be able to land there. Among the deck passengers were several Jews who were coming to Palestine to settle and make their fortunes. The story that the Rothschilds had bought Palestine from Turkey, or rather had taken it, as a collateral for a loan which Turkey could not pay, was current among them.

We passed between Beyrout and Caifa, the port of Saida, the ancient Sidon, which disputed with Tyre the mastery of the seas. It was once a great city; now it is a dirty, ill-kept town, with a population of not more than eight or nine thousand, and 368with a commerce so insignificant that it does not pay the steamers to call there. Where it formerly boasted an extensive fleet, it has not now a single vessel larger than a fishing boat!


We pass in front of Tyre, one of the oldest, as it was once one of the most powerful cities of the East. It has been many times destroyed and rebuilt, and a careful investigator can find the remains of at least a dozen different cities either in its ruins or in the historic accounts. At present there are less than four thousand inhabitants, Christian and Moslem, in the proportion of half and half.

Jaffa has always borne a bad reputation on the score of safety, as it has no port where ships can lie, and is not even protected by projecting headlands Its harbor is an open roadstead, and if 369the wind blows from the south or west, or any point of compass between them, boats cannot venture out on account of the heavy surf. In summer the weather is generally favorable, but not always so, while in winter it is about an even wager for or against communication between ship and shore. Our captain said that in some winters he had been able to land at Jaffa every trip, and in other winters he could not land at all. I heard of one man who wanted to go to Jerusalem, and had gone past Jaffa five times unable to land there. And I heard a dragoman say that he had gone to Jaffa nine times, and never failed to land each time. You see the difference between good and ill luck.

If we had arrived on any of the previous eight days, we would have been unfortunate; two steamers had gone past in that time, one of them with three hundred pilgrims for Jerusalem, which were carried to Port Said, and would be brought back from there. But the morning we sighted Jaffa the weather was propitious, and as we cast anchor the ship was soon surrounded by boats ready to take the passengers ashore. We lost no time, as we were fearful a wind might arise and detain us, and so we closed our bargain for transportation to land at the usual rate of one franc for each person, including our baggage.





Views of Jaffa—A queer-looking City—The Oldest Inhabited Town in the World—The Massacre of Jaffa—A Stain upon the Memory of Napoleon—A Contract with a Dragoman—A close margin—The value of Credentials—An honest Arab—Getting into Saddle—An American Colony—Their German Successors—The Fruits of the Country—Generous conduct of the “Doubter”—On the road to Jerusalem—A night at Ramleh—In a Russian Convent—The Gauntlet of Beggars—The Pest of the Road—Begging as a Fine Art—The “Gate of the Glen”—Among the Mountain Passes—In sight of the Holy City.

JAFFA presents a curiously terraced appearance, when seen from the water, and its flat roofs and low arches show its Syrian character. There is a semi-circle of rough rocks that form a sort of harbor for small boats, and it requires good steering to carry a boat through the entrance, only ten feet wide, without accident. The surf breaks violently when the wind is high, and makes a landing or embarkation dangerous. The town looks more beautiful a mile or two away than when close at hand.

The landing place was dirty, and crowded with all sorts of unclean Arabs, and the streets were crooked, narrow, and so full of mud and dirt as to make walking a serious matter. Traditionally, Jaffa is the oldest city in the world; it is said to have existed before the flood, and it is likewise recorded as very old by history. It was one of the towns allotted to the tribe of Dan, and is mentioned as the landing-place of the rafts of cedar and pine from Lebanon for the construction of Solomon’s temple.

It was an important place at the time of the Crusades, but gradually dwindled in commercial and other consequence. Napoleon



373caused it to be talked about at the beginning of the present century, by his massacre of the garrison of four thousand men, who had surrendered on condition that their lives should be spared.

We proceeded with our baggage to the German hotel, followed by a bodyguard of dragomen and guides similar to those that had escorted us at Beyrout, and animated with the same noble ambition to make contracts that should transfer money from our pockets to theirs. As soon as we were at the hotel we held an audience of dragomen, and finally selected one that seemed to answer our purpose. As a matter of precaution, we went with him to the German Consul—the American Consul was out of town—and bidding him wait at the door, we consulted the man of authority. He pronounced the dragoman good, and we closed with him, on the Consul’s recommendation. He was to take us on a nine days’ trip to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Mar Saba, the Dead Sea, Jordan, Jericho, and Ramleh, at an expense of twenty francs for each person per day.

He was to provide all requisites for the journey; three double tents—one for each two persons—servants, beds, food, English saddles, side saddle for the lady, saddle and pack horses, and to pay all hotel and convent expenses, and supply local guides in Jerusalem; he was to provide sufficient escort when needed, and to pay all fees and “backsheesh” of every kind, except at the Mosque of Omar. The party was to be at liberty to change the route, and to stop whenever it chose. The horses were to be sound, strong, kind, and active, and if any of them were disabled, the dragoman was to provide suitable substitutes without extra charge. In case of dispute, the matter could be referred to the German or American Consul at Jaffa or Jerusalem.

While on the road, the food should consist of tea or coffee in the morning, with eggs, bread, and butter; luncheon at noon, of chicken or cold meat, eggs, bread, cheese, and dessert; and dinner as good as the hotel dinner. In Jerusalem the party could have choice of the Mediterranean and Damascus hotels.

Ten napoleons were to be paid at starting, and the remainder, half in Jerusalem and half in Jaffa, on our return. 374Ali Solomon was the name of our dragoman, and I will do him the credit to say that we were entirely satisfied with him. He kept his contract more faithfully than we expected he would, and in some points exceeded its terms.


I don’t recommend him to anybody else, for fear he may have suffered a change of heart, and become a rascal; men are very uncertain in this respect.

I once had a servant whom I supposed to be honest enough to be a model for the rising generation. He left my employ to seek fortune and turn an honest penny elsewhere, and I gave him a ‘character’ which a student of theology might ertvy. On the strength of my recommendation, he obtained a situation with a gentleman, whose milk of human kindness had not been curdled by experience. John was trusted with things in general, and requited the confidence by stealing a hundred dollars, and then stealing away. And no man, so far as I have heard, knoweth, to this day, the place of his sojourn.

Since then, I have been cautious about commendations, and, for this reason, I will only say of Ali, that we were entirely satisfied with him, and believed him honest and faithful. If he robbed his next customers of the filling of their back teeth, it is no affair of ours.

We selected horses from a large number, and very good horses they were. About 2 o’clock we rode out of the German colony of Jaffa, which has bought the property formerly held by the American colony from Maine. The Germans are prospering, and promise well for the future. I was told that the Americans 375might have prospered, if their affairs had been well managed, but that their leader was about the worst head that could have been chosen. Only four, I believe, of the American colonists remain there, three women and one man. One woman is in a state of poverty, but I was told that the rest were making a good living. The Germans have a good manager at their head, and all of them are industrious. They have a second village about two miles away from the one originally founded by the Americans.

Through a street paved with mud and filth, and bordered by tents and booths, where oranges and other things edible—in theory or in practice—were exposed for sale, we moved toward the interior and away from the sea. Orange groves were on every side, and we appreciated the reputation of Jaffa for this excellent fruit.

Even the “Doubter” was convinced of the excellence of the oranges, as he filled his pockets without expense, and became liberal enough to bestow an orange upon a small boy who held his horse and wanted a slight “backsheesh” in return. “I don’t believe money is good for you,” he said to the boy; “you had better take an orange.” The boy could have had all of this sort of thing that he wanted, and indicated an objection to receiving payment in fruit, but his objections were of no avail.

One of the “Doubter’s” strong points was in never paying at all for small services, or in paying in something that cost him nothing. His sympathy was roused for a poor woman in Jaffa, and as we finished dinner he took a large orange from the table and said: “I would like to give this to that poor woman over the way.” We applauded his burst of generosity in giving away what belonged to the hotel, and didn’t let him hear the last of it for a day or two.

Outside of Jaffa, the road goes over a flat or undulating country, evidently quite fertile, excepting at intervals, where it is too sandy for cultivation. For saddle horses the road is excellent; it is intended for a carriage road, but has never been finished, though carriages do manage to get over it now and then, all the way to Jerusalem. The story goes, that when the Sultan visited Paris in 1867, the Emperor told him that Eugenie wished to visit Jerusalem, but was unable to ride there on horseback. 376"There shall be a good carriage road there in a year,” said the Sultan, and he at once gave orders for its construction. But somehow it still remains in an unfinished condition, and the promise to complete it within a year is like many other promises of the Turkish ruler.

The Russians have a convent at Ramleh, for the accommodation of Russian pilgrims to Jerusalem, and there is also a Latin convent there, under the management of French and Italian monks.


The Latin establishment is really a convent, or rather a monastery, but the Russian one is more like a hotel, as it is kept by a Russian family, whereas the Latin convent is really in the hands of holy men, clad in hood and cowl. Our dragoman rode ahead and arranged that we should stop at the Russian convent, and sent a boy out to meet and guide us into the place.

Along the road side, as we entered, there were a lot of beggars—twenty or more—drawn up, or rather squatted in line where they could assail us. Some were blind, some had lost their hands or their fingers, and each of them held up his mutilated stumps to attract attention. We were told some of them were lepers, but that the majority had been mutilated either by themselves or their parents in order to insure their success as beggars. One of our party gave a small coin to the worst looking of the mendicants, and immediately the whole crowd set in pursuit.

If you give a gratuity in Syria, you are at once pursued by all the beggars in sight, including the one to whom you have made a donation, and nothing short of a blow with a cudgel will shake



379them off. This systematic begging is apt to harden one’s heart, especially when you find it impossible to satisfy the demands of an applicant. The government would do a charitable work if it would assemble the beggars of Ramleh into a close room and asphyxiate them over a charcoal fire. They have been suppressed two or three times, but are sure to spring up again.

We were up early, and for three hours had a road very much like that of the day before. This ride brought us to the Bab-el-Wady, or Gate of the Glen, where there is a sort of hotel which furnishes everything for the traveller, except food, drink, and lodging, and there is a room where you can sit at a rickety table in a rickety chair, and eat the provisions you have brought along.

From this so-called hotel we moved up a glen or valley with the rocks on both sides of us, and the road making a steady ascent. We were now among the rugged mountains that extend to and beyond Jerusalem, a dreary and almost sterile waste, whose every aspect is forbidding.

I know of no mountain ride more dreary than that from Babel-Wady to Jerusalem. In nearly all other mountain chains I have ever seen, you have frequent glimpses of scenery that would partly reward for your toil, but here there is nothing of the kind. It is a succession of rough and rounded summits, too rocky for cultivation, and not broken enough to be picturesque. A few villages nestle in the glens, and there are occasional patches of olive trees, but the general aspect is one of unredeemed sterility.

The road from Jaffa to Jerusalem is about thirty-six miles in length: travellers generally divide it by going to Ramleh—nine miles—the first day, and to Jerusalem the next. The ordinary time for a party unused to travel is twelve hours; going up we made it in ten hours, and coming back we did it in seven and a half, which was very fair speed.

We wound along the mountain road, and four hours after leaving Bab-el-Wady, the foremost of our cortege swung his hat from one of the rounded summits. “Jerusalem,” said the dragoman, and at the word we pressed forward.

There lay the Holy City, as it lay when the Crusaders came hither to wrest it from the hands of the Moslem, and as it has greeted the eyes of many a pious pilgrim in more modern days. 380Its towers and walls rose before us, while around were the everlasting hills of Israel. Tasso’s lines describing the first view of the city by the Crusaders came involuntarily to my mind.

Winged is each heart, and winged every heel,

They fly, yet notice scarce how fast they fly,

But by the time the dewless meads reveal

The golden sun ascended in the sky,

Lo! towered Jerusalem salutes the eye.

A thousand pointing fingers tell the tale,

“Jerusalem!” a thousand voices cry;

“All hail, Jerusalem!” hill, down, and dale

Catch the glad sound, and shout, “Jerusalem, all hail.”


The towered walls recalled the pictures of Jerusalem, with which the whole world is familiar, and we seemed to be entering a city that we had seen before. The Turkish soldiers at the gate made no opposition to our entrance. Formerly strangers were kept waiting at the gate until their passports had been sent to the j police for examination, and sometimes the detention lasted two or three hours. A few steps inside the gate brought us to the door of the Mediterranean Hotel, where we dismounted and made ourselves at home.




First Sights in Jerusalem—Appearance of the streets—What the “Doubter” thought—A change of opinion—The Tower of David—The Street of David—Church of the Holy Sepulchre—Scenes around it—Palace of the Knights of St. John—Via Dolorosa—Damascus’ Gate—Walls of the Holy City—Visiting the Temple—The Haram and Mosque of Omar—Visaing the Substructions—A triple veneration—Place of Wailing—The Quarries—Remains of an Ancient Bridge.

AS soon as we were fairly in Jerusalem and had brushed up a little, we started out to see some of the many sights that the city contains.



Apart from its historical interest and the picturesque appearance of its walls, towers, and domes, Jerusalem is the reverse of pleasing. Its streets are narrow and badly paved, and no effort is made to keep them clean. Some of the narrow ones are particularly filthy, and one must have good boots and be careful about his steps to walk safely along these ways. I laughed inwardly as 382the “Doubter” hesitated at some of the corners and showed a determination to turn back, or rather an uncertainty about going forward.

When we descended the Danube, we stopped a short time at Belgrade, the capital of Servia, and standing on the frontier between the Occident and the Orient. The pavement there was rougher than that of European cities, and the “Doubter” doubted if there was anything worse in the world.

“Let us hurry up,” said he, “and get to Constantinople or Jerusalem where the streets are better.”



385"Why, my dear “Doubter,” said I, “these are far better than the streets in those cities. They have worse pavements and deeper mud.”

“I know better,” was his rejoinder, and that closed the argument. I said nothing till I had him climbing the wide street that leads from Top-Hané to the Hotel de Byzance in Constantinople, and there I gave him a little prod about Belgrade. He got out of it by saying that he knew Jerusalem was much better.

Naturally, I was pleased when I managed to get him between two mountains of mud, or something of the sort, in a narrow street in Jerusalem, and just as he was extricating himself, I asked about Belgrade.

He made no reply that I heard, but I saw his lips moving and his mental agitation was so great that he slipped and fell where the mud was worst. He was not presentable in polite society after that, but rather looked as though he had been hired out by the day as a friction roller for smoothing a freshly flowed swamp.

From the front of the hotel, one can see the Tower of David, the structure which King David erected upon Mount Zion, according to Biblical history.

From the Jaffa gate, also called the Hebron, and the Mediterranean gate, runs the street of David, descending the hill and subsequently ascending another to Mount Moriah Our first walk was down the street of David to the first turning to the left.

This took us into Christ street, and a walk of three or four minutes there brought us, by a single turning, into the space in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

This space was full of beggars, and of people selling various sorts of ornaments and relics. Some had rosaries made of various kinds of wood, generally of the olive tree or the seeds of the olive; some had crosses and holy pictures cut in mother of pearl; and others had old coins or stone ornaments made of pieces of the Temple of Jerusalem. The traders and beggars were very persistent, and one could not stand a minute in contemplation of the building without being annoyed by the one class or the other. More than one of us wished that a scourge could be set in motion to drive away these pests from the exterior of a building, which is regarded with special interest by all Christian people. 386We could not enter the church at that hour, and so we contented ourselves with a visit to the hospital of the Knights of St. John, or rather to its ruins. We walked along the Via Dolorosa and were shown the supposed spot where Christ rested his cross, then we went along the street of the Gate of the Column and the street of the Palace, to the Damascus Gate.


Then, as it was approaching sunset, we returned to the hotel and had a pleasant conversation with Dr. De Hass, our newly appointed Consul to Jerusalem.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped in two or three of the many shops where olive wood is wrought into various interesting forms for strangers to buy and carry away. It seemed as if about one-fifth of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were engaged in the manufacture of objects of olive wood. Canes, boxes, portfolios, candle-sticks, and a hundred other things were made of olive wood, and some of them were very pretty. 387Jerusalem is the same towered city as of old, and her walls have a massive appearance. Sultan Suleiman erected them, as they now stand, in the year 1542; but portions of them were standing before that time, and some of the towers have undergone very little change in the various calamities which the city has suffered.


The latter portions were built from the ruins of the older walls and generally on the sites of their predecessors, so that the city has preserved its form with but little alteration.

The distance around the walls is about two and a half miles, and in this distance there are five gates; the most important of these are the Jaffa gate and the Damascus gate, the others being but little used There are two gates wholly or partially walled up; one of them being the Golden Gate on Mount Moriah, and the other, the gate of Herod. The principal streets of the city run at right angles, and by them Jerusalem is divided into the Moslem, the Christian, the Jewish, and the American quarters.

So much for the general description of Jerusalem.

To those familiar with Bible history, the enumeration of the holy places of Jerusalem would be to repeat many names with which they are already familiar; to those who are not Biblical students, the list would be tediously long; I shall therefore confine my account of Jerusalem to the story cf what we saw and did during our brief stay. Any one wishing to know more of the city has doubtless within his reach one or more books, that will give the required information. A perusal of the Bible, especially of those portions describing Jerusalem, would not prove at all injurious.

We entered by a gate in the wall, and the transition was quite sudden from the confused mass of houses where we had been wandering to the open space of the Haram. We ascended a flight of steps to a broad platform, and stood in front of Kubbet-es-Sukrah, or Dome of the Rock, as the central mosque is called.

It is generally known as the Mosque of Omar, for the reason that the Kalif Omar is credited with its construction. There 388Accompanied by a guide and by a janizary of the consulate, we started out of the hotel in the morning and descended the street of David to the entrance of the Haram or Sacred Enclosure, the name given by the Arabs to the portion of Mount Moriah that contains the Mosques of Omar and El-Aska, and formerly contained the great temple built by King Solomon.


The Haram occupies a large space, almost equal to a fourth of the city; it is surrounded by strong walls and is dotted with platforms, niches for prayer, cupolas and olive trees in addition to 389are two or three stories about its origin, but, whatever that may have been, the architect deserves great credit for erecting a building beautiful in itself and quite in keeping with the surroundings.


It stands on the very summit of Mount Moriah on the sacred rock, supposed to have been the site of the threshing floor of Or-nan, the Jebusite, which King David bought for fifty shekels of silver. The building is octagonal, and each of the sides measure sixty-seven feet. The octagonal form is preserved in the interior, where the rock is inclosed in a railing and rises above the level of the floor.

Unfortunately, the mosque was undergoing repairs at the time of our visit, and the interior was full of scaffolding, while the floor was covered with rubbish.


But we could see enough to show that the mosque is a structure of great beauty. The lower part of the wall is composed of colored marbles in complex patterns, and the upper part contains no less than fifty-six windows of stained glass, equalling in beauty anything that can be found in Westminster Abbey or the cathedrals of Europe.

The dome presents an imposing appearance, whether seen from the outside or from within. Externally it is a prominent feature of Jerusalem, and no picture of the holy city would be complete without it.

Antiquarians are in doubt as to the extent of the great temple, but there is likely to be a complete solution of the difficult questions when the work of the Palestine Exploration Society is finished. The English and American sections are working in perfect harmony, and have portioned out their territories so that they shall not come in contact or perform the same work twice over. Part of their efforts are directed to settling the discussions about the extent of Solomon’s Temple, and they have already made some important discoveries. 390We were shown the localities of the excavations, and after visiting the two mosques in the Haram we went below ground to look at the substruction of the great temple. We descended a flight of steps into a subterranean apartment where there is a sculptured niche, which bears the name of “The Cradle of Jesus”.


Our guide lighted some candles, and we kept on down another flight of steps that brought us into some vaults, containing numerous pillars about five feet square and constructed of huge stones. The t arches supported by these pillars were generally semi-circ ul ar, and the whole work had an appearance of great durability. Only a portion of this subterranean space has been explored, and the extent of the arched space is unknown. These were for the purpose of making the ground level and thus prepare it for the foundation of the great temple.

We were shown some roots of trees that have made their way through the platform and run a long distance through the underground debris. The crusaders used these vaults as stables, and some of the holes in the pillars where they fastened their horses can still be seen. None of the horses are there.

Jerusalem is emphatically the Holy City. It is a little singular that it should be venerated by the disciples of three great teachers, Moses, Christ, and Mohammed, and that while Christians



393call it the Sacred City, the Arabs should have almost a similar title for it. Its Arabic name El-Kuds signifies “The Holy,” and the rock beneath the dome of the Mosque of Omar is the locality of the triple veneration.


At the south-east corner of the rock, we were conducted into a chamber or excavation, called the Noble Cave. It is asserted to be the praying place of Abraham, David, Solomon, and Jesus, and in its center there is a slab of marble covering a cavity, which is called the well of spirits by the Moslems. Some call it the gate of Paradise and others say it leads to a place whose character is quite the reverse. The guide stamped upon it, and the sound that resulted showed that the place was hollow.

It is generally claimed that this rock, now covered by the dome of the mosque, was the site of the altar of Solomon’s Temple. The Jews used to come to this rock as far back as the fourth century to wail over the departed glories of Jerusalem; but when the Moslems took the city, and appropriated the spot, a new wailing place was selected On one corner of the rock the guide showed the footprints of Mohammed, where his foot last touched the earth when he went up to heaven; and near it is the hand 394print of the Angel, who seized the rock and held it down to prevent its going to heaven along with the Prophet.

Thus the Jews revere the spot as the site of the altar of their temple; the Christians revere it as the praying place of Jesus, and the Moslems revere it for the reason above given. Strange indeed that it should thus be the sacred spot of three distinct religions. No other place of the globe compares with it in holiness.


We looked from the walls of the temple over into the Valley of Jehoshaphat and saw Absalom’s pillar and other objects of interest. The garden of Gethsemane was pointed out, and over against us was the Mount of Olives with its triple summit and the crown of the Church of the Ascension, and the building erected by the Princesse de la tour l’Auvergne. The olive trees had lost their leaves and were bleak and bare, and the sides of the hill had an uninviting appearance.

Down to the Brook Kedron our gaze extended, or rather to its bed, as the valley was dry and dusty as if no brook had ever flowed there. Other places of historical or traditional note were pointed out, but we were too far away to discern them clearly.



397We left the temple and proceeded to the wailing place of the the Jews. Here are the foundations or a small portion of the lower walls of the great temple where, every Friday, the Jews come to wail and weep over their downfall. Half a dozen Jews were there are the time of our visit; with their faces to the stone, they read from their prayer books in a low wailing tone that was exceedingly impressive.

At the wailing place there were visible five courses of beveled stones in a fine state of preservation; in some places they have been worn considerably by the kisses of the devotees, that for many centuries have pressed around them and wept for the downfall of Jerusalem. Both sexes and all ages are represented here, and they have come from all quarters of the globe.

“Oh! weep for those that wept by Babel’s stream,

Whose shrines are desolate, whose land a dream;

Weep for the harp of Judah’s broken spell;

Mourn—where their God hath dwelt, the godless dwell.”

From the Place of Wailing we returned to the hotel, and, as soon as we had taken lunch proceeded to The Quarries, an excavation which is entered just outside of the Damascus gate.

This is supposed to be the locality whence came the stone for the Great Temple, and it was only a few years ago that it was discovered. The quarries extend beneath the city, and one can walk more than half a mile from the entrance directly under Jerusalem.

We wandered around here for about an hour, lighted by candles that saved us many a disagreeable fall. The slope of the interior is very steep, and how the stones were managed there, is a mystery. The Judge had several slips, but none of them were serious, as they all happened among the sand and smaller chips of limestone. On our return to the hotel, he took a respectful position in the rear of the party, and for an hour or more was locked in the recesses of his own room. What he did while thus secluded, I cannot say, but I know that he summoned a servant to bring him a needle and some thread.




From the Gates of Jerusalem to Bethlehem—A Touching Incident—Tent-Life at Bethlehem—The Milk Grotto—Its Miraculous Character—The “Doubter” Expresses Himself—The Oldest Christian Church in the World—Quarrelsome Monks—A Deadly Fight—Remarkable Conduct of the “Doubter”—Pious Pilgrims—A Christmas Festival—A Corpulent and Hospitable Monk—A Wearisome Ceremony—The Monks in Costume—The Women of Bethlehem—A Bevy of Beauties—Under Guard—Armenian Soldiers—Travelling to Saba—Among the Monks—A Curious Convent—Armed Against the Bedouins.

WE were in the Holy Land at Christmas time, and arranged to attend the Christmas eve festivities in Bethlehem. About two o’clock in the afternoon of the day before Christmas we mounted our horses and turned our attention to the southern horizon.

Out of the Jaffa gate we filed, and then past the Hill of Evil Counsel, and near the so-called Lower Aqueduct we took the road to Bethlehem.

The road was much like that which brought us to Jerusalem—a path among rocks and hills—though the latter were less abrupt, and there were in many places considerable areas of tillable land. It is a ride of less than two hours from one city to the other, and there are few objects of interest along the route Rachel’s Tomb was pointed out, and also the well, whose waters David longed for when he was in the cave of Adullam.

The Tomb of Rachel is a small building, surmounted with a dome, and possessing no peculiar features. The structure is modern, and probably in the thirty centuries that have passed



401since Rachel was buried there, several buildings have crumbled to dust and been replaced by pious hands.

The authenticity of the spot is vouched for by all who have written on the subject, and the tomb is one of the few shrines which Jews, Christians, and Moslems agree about in their traditions, and have not seen fit to quarrel over. We made a short halt, and one of our party read aloud from the Bible the brief and touching narrative of Rachel’s death. It had a new and fresh interest to us, and we all listened attentively to the simple story.

Bethlehem is on a rather steep hill-side, and presents an appearance of terraces as one looks at it from a short distance. It has the low mud walls and flat roofs of most Syrian towns, and apart from its historical interest, and the possession of the Church of the Nativity, it is of little importance. As we approached it, the convent on the eastern side presents an appearance, not unlike that of a baronial castle of the Rhine or Danube, and recalls to us some of the walls that frown upon those famous rivers or overlook the lovely valleys of Western Germany. Coming nearer, the soft lines of the picture become clearly defined, and as we enter the city and thread its streets, we find that it is not unlike Jerusalem and Jaffa and other places in Syria, through which we have journeyed.

There is no hotel at Bethlehem, and the influx of strangers consequent upon the Christmas festivities had filled the Latin convent to its fullest capacity. We determined to begin our camp life here, and so sent our tents forward in the morning, to be ready for our arrival.

We found them pitched in a little field just outside the town, and close to the “Milk Grotto,” where tradition relates that the Virgin and Child hid themselves from the fury of Herod, sometime before the flight into Egypt. Here the Virgin nursed the Child, and the soft stone is said to have the miraculous power of wonderfully increasing women’s milk. Bits of it are carried to all parts of the world for this purpose. The Abbe Geramb says of it:

I make no remarks on the virtue of these stones, but affirm as an ascertained fact, that a great number of persons have found from it the effect they anticipate.” 402Of course we visited the grotto, which was a sort of chapel, j lighted with lamps. The “Doubter” asserted his lack of faith in the virtue of the stone, but nevertheless he brought away some of it, but refused to give the customary gratuity to the custodian, much to the disgust of the latter.

From the Milk Grotto we went to the Church of the Nativity, beset at every step, as we were at every moment on the streets of Bethlehem, by venders of ornaments of olive wood and mother i of pearl. The church, if we include the buildings connected with it, covers a large area, as it belongs to three rival sects of Latins, Greeks, and Armenians, and each has a convent or monastery connected with it. The church itself is about one hundred and twenty feet by one hundred and ten, and is divided into a nave and four aisles by Corinthian columns, which support horizontal architraves.

The pavement and roof are in very bad condition, and the whole church looks as if it would soon tumble to pieces. It was built by the Empress Helena, in the early part of the fourth century, and is probably the oldest monument of Christian architecture in the world.

The reason of its dilapidated condition is found in the jealousy of the rival sects of monks; any two of them will unite to prevent the third making the repairs so much needed, and no two of them will consent to allow another to have anything to do with the church. Several times the monks have had fights for the decoration or possession of the Grotto of the Nativity, and it has been found necessary for the government to station soldiers there, to preserve order.

Two or three years ago, one of the factions set fire to the decorations which another had put up, and the whole place was filled with smoke, and some of the walls were disfigured. During the fight at the fire some of the monks were killed, and up to the present time there is a continuance of the feeling of hostility. The Crimean war owes its origin, in part, to the question of the possession of the Church of the Nativity, and more than once a few square inches of the rock floor of the grotto have been very nearly the cause of war in Europe. The whole space is carefully parcelled out among the rival sects, and Turkish soldiers 403are constantly on duty there, to preserve order! How we Christians love one-another.

Guided by a native Christian, a dealer in relics, who spoke French, and attached himself to us with an eye to business, we entered the church, and descended a flight of steps to the grotto, a low vault about forty feet long by twelve feet wide. At the eastern end is a marble slab in the pavement, and in the centre of the slab is a silver star, bearing the inscription:

Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christ Natus est.

“Here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary.”

Every moment pious pilgrims entered the grotto, and kneeling, kissed the star. Our guide kissed it, and so did another native Christian who followed us, and each monk, as he entered, gave a similar sign of his reverence and his faith. The “Doubter” knelt, and the rest of us were dumb with surprise, as he was a persistent scoffer at everything in the shape of religion, and had no more reverence than a crocodile. For a moment, we thought he had been the object of a miracle, and that we should have occasion to record a conversion of a most remarkable character.

But it resulted otherwise; he rubbed his hands several times over the star—a spot which all the pilgrims around us were regarding with the deepest reverence—rubbed it as one feels the texture of a piece of cloth, and then rose to his feet.

To our united enquiry as to what in the world he was trying to do, he said he wanted to. find out what the inscription was. We said nothing at the time, as the place was not a proper one for a lecture, but when we got outside didn’t we give it to him?

Sixteen silver lamps burn constantly, year in and year out, over the star, and behind them are little pictures of saints, some of them set with precious stones. Over the star is a plain altar, which belongs to all ‘the sects in common, and each must dress it with the proper ornaments, when its turn comes to celebrate mass. There is a small chapel, dedicated to “The Manger,” on the south side of the grotto, and at the other end of the grotto is the Chapel of the Innocents, dedicated to the children slain by Herod. There are several other grottos beneath the church, and all of them are of a sacred character.

It was dark when we left the church and returned to our tents to dine and take a short rest, preparatory to a vigil long after 404midnight, to witness the ceremonies of Christmas Eve. Table was set in one of the tents, and we dined better than at any of the Syrian hotels. We had brought a bottle of champagne from Jerusalem and finished the meal with a Christmas glass to friends at home.

Before leaving Jerusalem for Bethlehem, we found that our Consul, Dr. De Hass, was going there with his wife, and had secured quarters in the Armenian convent. We saw them soon after our arrival, and arranged to call on them about ten o’clock in the evening, and while away some of the time previous to the ceremony.

Taking our dragoman to guide us, we found the convent, and after wandering through several corridors, were shown into the waiting room, where two or three men were asleep on divans. One of them was the janizary of the Consul, and after rousing him and waiting till he rubbed his eyes into the proper position of openness, we sent a message to Dr. De Hass.

He came at once to meet us, and behind him was a stout, rosy, well-fed monk, of the Armenian brotherhood, with a heavy bunch of keys dangling at his waist. Evidently, a monastic life agreed with him. He was the very picture of health, with possibly a trifle more flesh on his bones than most of us would desire. He could speak no language that we knew, but he motioned us to seats, and in a few moments served us some excellent tea, which we found quite refreshing. In tea-drinking and conversation, half an hour passed away. A little before eleven o’clock we entered the church, which was rapidly filling up for the service.

We decided not to go into the innermost part of the church, as we would be unable to get out, in case the ceremonies were prolonged to a very unusually late hour, and so we halted in the vestibule, while the consular party went forward to take seats among the dignitaries.

The priests were busy with the mass, and the church was rapidly filling, so that in a little while it was difficult to find standing room. Most of those present were young girls, and I judge by their similarity of dress, that they came from a school, or were under some general management. They were in white Turkish trowsers and overskirts, and their head-dresses were quite richly



407decorated with coins and mother-of-pearl ornaments. They knelt on the ground, and maintained their kneeling position for a longtime without apparent fatigue, though some of them who were doubtless accustomed to early hours, fell asleep, or looked very drowsy.

Bethlehem has some celebrity for the beauty of its women, and in looking over that congregation I think I saw more pretty faces than I had seen elsewhere in all Syria. In the vestibule, there were two confessionals, and at each of them there was a line of young women and girls, waiting for their opportunities, as a crowd waits at a post-office, or the ticket-box of a theatre. To judge by the attendance at the confessional, I should suspect that these young misses were not the models of all that is good in the world.

The church was blazing with candles, and the Christmas decorations were pretty, but there was nothing unusual in this part of the service. What we had come to see was the procession to the Grotto of the Nativity, and we were anxious to know when this was to come off.

The heat of the candles and the bad atmosphere rendered the church quite uncomfortable, and so we wandered off into the Greek portion, where there was no service and only a few people. Turkish soldiers were standing around, ready to suppress any tumult, and other soldiers were within call.

We loitered around here for awhile, and then descended to the grotto, which was hot and full of foul air, like the church. Between the church, the grotto, and the Greek church and the corridors of the Armenian Convent, we whiled away the time until two o’clock in the morning, when we descended the stairs to take seats on a stone bench in front of the Grotto of the Manger and not more than ten feet from the sacred silver star.

Here we sat nearly an hour, watching occasional pilgrims, descending the stairway and kissing the shrine, and the preparations for the grand procession. There are two stairways, one belonging to the Latins, and the other to the Greeks and Armenians. The latter staircase was most of the time crowded by Greek and Armenian monks, but they were not allowed to descend into the grotto, except on one occasion, when a Greek priest, clad in rich robes, carried a censer in front of the shrine and repeated 408a prayer. I fancy that he did it less out of reverential feeling than to show the Latins that he had a right to perform service there.

A long service was read in the Grotto of the Manger, called also the Grotto of Adoration, and finally the floor was cleared, and a heavy carpet was spread in front of the shrine. When the carpet was brought, the grotto was filled with people, who were pushed back with considerable rudeness, all except the strangers—a dozen or more, including ourselves. These were all treated with great respect, and allowed the best places for witnessing the ceremonies.

All this time the soldiers stood there with fixed bayonets, and once in the progress of the service the guard was changed, with a good deal of the clang of arms, that had a strange sound at such a time and place.

Finally, when it was near three o’clock, we heard the sound of a chant proceeding from the church, and coming nearer and nearer. Soon the sound reached the head of the Latin stairway, and craning our heads around, we saw the front of the procession. Now it descended, and slowly and slowly it came into view.

Eight boys carrying candles, and robed in the white vestments, familiar to those who attend the Catholic service, led the way, and behind them were priests and monks, to the number of twenty or more, all richly dressed in the appropriate robes.

I regret to be unable to give the ecclesiastical rank of all the personages in the procession, and can only say that they included all the dignitaries of the Latin church in this part of Syria, and I was told that two persons, high in office, had been sent from Rome, to be present on this occasion.

Behind these holy men were the Consuls of France, Italy, Austria, and other Catholic countries, and some French and Italian military and naval officers, who happened to be in Jerusalem in time for the ceremonies. The forward part of the procession entirely filled the grotto, so that the Consuls stood on the stairway near the bottom while the service was going on.

The service was short, and was read slowly and distinctly, with many genuflections and obeisances of adoration. The service lasted less than fifteen minutes, and ended with the presentation



411of a doll in a cradle. Then the procession slowly retired, as it had entered, and the solemn chant died away in the distance. We returned to our tents, and as I took out my watch to wind it, I found that the time was half-past three in the morning. Rather a late bed-time in a country where early hours are the fashion.

We did not hurry in the morning, but paid another visit to the church, where we found the grotto full of people, as on the day before. About ten o’clock we started for our day’s ride to Mar Saba, where our tents had been sent forward. We halted on the way at the Grotto of the Shepherds, the place where the shepherds were told of the coming of Christ.

The route from this point lay over a rough country, and in some places we could look far down into glens several hundred feet deep. Some parts of the way the path was along the edge of these steep hillsides, and was not very wide. I didn’t like it over much, as my horse had an inexplicable desire to walk as near the edge as possible. I argued with a whip, to cure him of this habit, but he would not be cured, and I had to trust to luck. Happily, no accident befell any of us.

We reached Mar Saba a couple of hours before sunset, and found the tents near the convent. St. Saba is reported to have come here in the fourth century and entered the cave of a lion, who kindly got up and left when the holy man entered. To remove all doubt upon this point, they show you the cave. The convent is built in a peculiarly wild and rocky locality, overlooking the precipitous valley of the Brook Kedron.

From one part of the wall you can drop a penny or a pebble in a sheer fall of five hundred feet. The building is an extraordinary one, as it is stuck against and over a cliff, full of natural and artificial caves in such a way that it is impossible to tell what is masonry and what is natural rock.

To visit the convent, one needs a permit from the Superior at Jerusalem. We had the proper document, and it was delivered; the monks carefully surveyed us from a wall far above our heads, and then gave orders for the opening of a massive and strongly-bolted door.

No woman is allowed, under any circumstances, to cross the threshold of Mar Saba. Harriet Martineau says the monks are 412too holy to be hospitable, and another has added that they are too pious to be good. We were not admitted until the one lady of our party had walked a sufficient distance away to prevent the possibility of her darting in when the door was opened.

There are sixty monks in all at Mar Saba. The convent is reported to be rich, but the monks are not a corpulent lot, and have a general indication of living in a bad boarding-house. They never eat flesh, and their exercises are very severe. One of them showed us about, and a dozen or more of the rest spread out on the pavement of the court, a quantity of canes, beads, crosses, shells, and olive-wood ornaments, in the hope of selling some of them.

We gave our guide a couple of francs for showing us around. He was particular to ask if it was for himself or the convent. Of course we told him it was personal, and he thereupon asked us again, in a voice sufficiently loud to make his companions hear and understand the situation.

There is a very old palm-tree, said to have been planted by the saint in person; they showed us the tomb of St. Saba, two or three chapels, and a quantity of bones, belonging to the monks that lived there in the seventh century, and were massacred by the Persians, There is a curious picture of the massacre, and it hangs over the skulls and arm-bones of the unhappy victims. The convent was captured two or three times during the crusades, but for several centuries it has rested in peace. It is in the midst of the country of the Bedouins, but the monks never permit the Bedouins inside the door, and the walls are strong enough to resist any attacks they might make.




Sleeping under Tents—A Bedouin Encampment—A howl for “Backsheesh”—A Queer crowd—An illusion dispelled—An eccentric “rooster”—Our guard—A little bit of humbug—“Going for” the “Doubter”—A case of blackmail—On guard against Robbers—A protection from the Sheik—Thievery as a profession—Waters without life—A curious bath—A Flood of Gold—The “Doubter” in a rain storm—A dangerous Ford—A Nocturnal Mishap—An atrocious robbery—The “Doubter” once more in trouble—A Turkish escort—Falling among thieves—The Judge’s opinion on shrinkage—The “Doubter” in the role of a mummy.

WE slept in our tents pretty soundly, and when the dragoman roused us at six o’clock, we were not in a mood for getting up. We rose however, and took our breakfast without delay, and were off in good season. We went a short distance up the valley of the brook Kedron, and then crossed it, to turn away to the eastward.

Just as we left the valley, we passed a Bedouin encampment. It consisted of half a dozen black tents, the reverse of attractive, in appearance, and not more than four feet high. A couple of camels stood near the tents, a dozen or more dogs, of a wolfish look, came out and barked at us, and as many dirty and half naked children, saluted us with the cry “Hadji, backsheesh,” “Hadji, backsheesh,” “Pilgrims, present,” “Pilgrims, present.” All travellers in this country are considered pilgrims, and hence the appellation they gave us.

A single view of this encampment was enough to dispel any romantic notions we might have formed of the delights of a Be414douin life. There may be something very poetical in living with these dirty Arabs, but I beg to be excused. I had rather sleep in a comfortable bed, in a comfortable house, than in all the Bedouin tents in Syria. There is a great difference between romance and reality. You remember Moore’s lines:

“Will you come to the bower

I have shaded for you?

Your bed shall be roses

Bespangled with dew.”

Very nice aren’t they? Well, a fellow once took the starch out of them by adding a line of reply:

“Twould give me the rheumatiz and so it would you,”

which is about the size of it.


All parties making this journey require an escort. We had one, and it consisted of one man. He was a picturesque looking rooster, with a burnous or cloak, that may have been new once, though I doubt it, and he kept a handkerchief tied around his forehead. H e would have been of great service in a fight; his gun was of an antiquated pattern, and when he tested it in camp, he snapped it half a dozen times before it would go off. He was an inveterate beggar of tobacco for cigarettes, and kept two of us reasonably busy to supply him.

He took a great fancy to my tobacco pouch, and tried to intimate that I should give it to him, but I assumed an air of stupidity, and couldn’t understand him. Twenty times in the course 415of the day he renewed the topic, but always with the same result, and in spite of all his signs, I would not comprehend. Probably he set me down as the stupidest idiot he had ever met, and my dullness may have served to enliven his subsequent stories to his friends. He got after the “Doubter,” but that worthy refused to talk with him as soon as he discovered that he couldn’t talk, and that the Bedouin wanted to beg something.

The region between Jerusalem and the Jordan and Dead Sea abounds in these rascals. They are shepherds and robbers, according to circumstances. We found them tending their flocks or loafing around their villages, and frequently they conversed with our escort. Had we been unaccompanied, one of the villages that we passed would have signaled to another, and we should have been plundered. We took the precaution to leave all our money, letters of credit, and everything of that sort, except our watches, with the keeper of our hotel in Jerusalem, so that we would not have been a very valuable prize, but at the same time it would have been inconvenient to be robbed.

The Sheik of the tribe lives in Jerusalem, and it is to him that travellers look for protection.

A party is going to the Dead Sea and Jordan, and is to start to-morrow by way of Bethlehem and Mar Saba. The dragoman notifies the Governor of Jerusalem, and the Governor notifies the Sheik, who sends an escort of one, two, or four, or it may be a dozen men. And, furthermore, the Sheik comes to the dragoman and receives from him five francs for each traveller, as a sort of insurance tax.

The Sheik is thus made responsible for any loss, and if we had been robbed while in the hands of the escort, the Governor would have made the Sheik shell out, to the extent of our loss. Not long before our visit, a traveller under escort was robbed of two thousand francs; his loss was promptly made good to him on his return to Jerusalem. All travellers in the Bedouin country require an escort from the tribe of each region they pass through, and to go without such escort would be madness.

Suddenly, while we were winding among the rough hills, we came out of a little gorge, and gazed upon a mass of rough, billowy hills, spread and scattered below us, and looking bare and 416white in the slanting rays of a December sun. To the left lay a plain, somewhat broken, and with a line of trees winding through it; this was the valley of the Jordan, and the trees marked the course of the stream. To the right, shimmering and glistening in the sunlight, and broken at its edge into a fringe of foam, raised by the strong south wind, that was then blowing, lay the Dead Sea—that weird waste of water that buries the cities of the plain. Down, down, down, winding among the rocks and over little stretches of plain we made our way; the hills that had been below rose around, and we rapidly approached the level of the j plain, thirteen hundred feet below the waters of the Mediterranean. The distance was deceptive, and we were a long time in reaching the Dead Sea.

I had expected to find a scene of desolation, as some writers, have said that no fish live in the waters of the Dead Sea, and no, plant grows near it. It is true that there is no living thing in the Dead Sea; the fish brought into it by the Jordan are instantly killed by the salt water, but the reeds and bushes grow as near this sea as they are ordinarily found near the ocean or any of its arms. I found some within a hundred feet of it, and they seemed to be doing well. The vegetation is quite luxuriant in many places, notwithstanding the apparent lightness of the soil.

We took a hasty bath in the Dead Sea, just long enough to test its buoyant qualities. The human body cannot sink in the dense water; you float very much as a cork floats in ordinary water, and speedily lose all sense of danger from drowning. The water contains twenty-six per cent, of salt, and is clear as the | purest spring water. There is a wonderful bitterness in it, and a few drops in the mouth makes you feel as if you were trying to gulp down a drug store.

After you have been a short time in the Dead Sea, you have a prickly sensation all over the body, and if you get some of the water in your eyes, you feel anything but cheerful.

When we came out, the water stuck to us with a feeling like molasses, and until we reached the Jordan and luxuriated in its fresh water, we felt as sticky as so many postage stamps.

An hour’s gallop across the Jordan plain took us from the Dead Sea to the Jordan, which we reached at the bathing place



419of the pilgrims. The water was of a dirty yellow, and the river was not more than eighty or a hundred feet wide; the current is quite strong, and at the bathing place the bed is covered with rough stones, that made walking unpleasant to our bare and tender feet.

Willow, tamarisk, and balsam trees fringe the banks, and in a little grove of these our lunch was prepared, while those of us who wanted to wash off the salt of the Dead Sea went to take a bath in the Jordan. I got rid of the sticky sensation, and emerged from the Jordan without much delay. The water was altogether too cold for comfort.

In my younger days I thought the Jordan was something like the Mississippi, my impression being derived from the old hymn which says:

“On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,

And cast a wistful eye.”

Elsewhere the same hymn records that:

“Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood

Stand dressed in living green.”

The stormy banks and swelling floods led me to imagine that the Jordan was a mile or two in width, and with waves like those of the ocean. What a difference between the imagination and the reality!

The Jordan is one of the most tortuous rivers in the world; a map of it looks like a line of Virginia fence, only more so, and I have heard somebody say that the Jordan river is so crooked that you can’t tell half the time which side you are on.

An hour and a half took us to Riha, better known as the site of Gilgal, and by some said to be the place where Jericho once stood. It is now a miserable village, one of the most forlorn in Palestine; and the principal objects that we saw were dirty children and dirtier adults, who all begged without distinction of age or sex, for “backsheesh.”

I attempted to take a sketch of a group of them, but they were evidently ashamed of themselves, and ran away.

We dined well and retired early; it rained nearly all night, and not only rained, but blew, and during the night I was wakened by the cold, wet canvas of the tent coming slap in my 420face. I dreamed something about trying to swim up Niagara in winter, and then I woke.

We called the dragoman and servants, and set things to rights as well as we could,—but the ground was so soft, that the tent pegs wouldn’t hold well. We were a forlorn lot in the morning, and started off after breakfast, very much as if we were going to our own funerals.

The stream was so swollen that we couldn’t ford it with safety, and so we went up a mile or two and crossed by an ancient aqueduct, half full of water.


The horses were driven through the stream, while we walked or were carried on men’s backs along the aqueduct, which was a foot wide, with sides eighteen inches high, while the elevation was about fifty feet above the torrent.

I removed my boots and waded over, as I thought it rather ticklish to be carried. The “Doubter” was half way? over, when his bearer, who knew his burden’s views on the “backsheesh” question, I doubted his ability to carry him further. The “Doubter,” much to his disgust, was put down where the water of the aqueduct was deepest, and had to pass the rest of the day with wet feet.

We climbed the hills along the way to Jerusalem, and at several points saw the remains of the old Roman road. The route has the same condition of safety that it had when a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves. Robberies are not unfrequent, and the treatment of the victim is the same as it was eighteen hundred years ago. A couple of years ago, an English gentleman, on his way to the Jordan, fell into the hands of the Arabs, close to the ruined Khan, which is 421said to be the site of the inn to which the good Samaritan carried the traveller whom he found by the wayside. The treatment of this Englishman is exactly described in these words: “They stripped him of his raiment and wounded him and departed, leaving him half dead.”

While in the valley of the Jordan, we saw no other traveller than ourselves. Had we happened there at Easter time, we might have witnessed an interesting spectacle.

On Monday of Passion Week occurs the ceremony of the bathing of the Pilgrims. The devotees gather in Jerusalem to the number of several thousand, some of them having come hundreds of leagues in order to be present on this occasion. In a disorderly array, they march out of the Holy City and down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. The Turkish governor of Jerusalem sends an escort, under command of an officer, to protect the pilgrims from robbers, and also to preserve a sort of discipline among them, and prevent overcrowding and loss of life, at the banks of the Jordan. A camp, or rather a bivouac, is formed on the Plain of Gilgal, and long before daybreak on the following morning, the whole party is roused.

The scene at this moment is said to be wildly picturesque, and strikingly similar to that which some authorities describe as presented at the “baptism of John.”

Tom-toms are beaten, with no attempt at harmony, and thousands of torches flash out and lighten up the wide space covered by the bivouac. In a few moments the noise is hushed, and the torches are extinguished; then the host moves in silence towards the river, to the spot where tradition has located the baptism of’ our Saviour.

The departure from the bivouac is timed, so that the party shall reach the bathing place about dawn. The eastern horizon displays a belt of light that reveals the sharp outlines of the mountain of the Land of Moab, and the ruddy tinge increases as the Pilgrims descend into the fringe of foliage that masks the banks of the river. At the broad opening that marks the bathing place, they congregate and prepare to wash in Jordan.

The whole river is speedily filled with people of both sexes and all ages; the bath is not conducted according to Occidental 422notions of etiquette. Prayers and blessings are uttered, and all are too intent upon the observance of their religious duty to pay any heed to ideas of propriety.

The ceremony ended, the multitude returns to Jerusalem, and reaches the city about sunset. Many stragglers fall out by the way, and sometimes the Turkish escort is busy for two or three days, bringing in the last of them. The road, is dreary, and there is very little upon it to keep up the traveller’s interest. We found it especially so, as a drizzling rain came on when we were about half way.

We passed Bethany and wound around the Mount of Olives, then past Gethsemane, and entered Jerusalem by the Bab-el-Asbat, or Gate of the Tribes. We were thoroughly benumbed and wet, and ill-natured; and when our horses stopped at the door of the hotel, every one of us were so nearly frozen that we had to be assisted to dismount. We walked as so many mummies might walk, and with difficulty dragged ourselves to our rooms. We were cold and wet through, and not one of us had a change of clothes, all our heavy baggage being at Jaffa.

What should we do?

I proposed going to bed, although it was two P. M., and sending my clothes to the kitchen to dry, and I was not long in undressing.

Everybody else did the same; all except the Judge, who was afraid his clothes would shrink so much that he couldn’t get them on again. He didn’t relish the idea of going naked about Jerusalem in that weather and riding bareback in the saddle to Jaffa, so he sat on the stove in the parlor for the rest of the day.

Late in the afternoon we received our clothes from the kitchen, and were able to appear presentable at dinner time. But we all had a wrung out appearance, and were not over amiable.

The “Doubter” borrowed a pair of trowsers from one of the waiters. They were very tight and very short, and made the old fellow resemble an animated mummy or the materialized spirit of a blacksmith’s tongs. He had taken cold, and his teeth rattled so much that it was proposed to set him to music, and then sell him as a pair of castanets.






A Snow-Storm in Jerusalem—The “Doubter’s” Opinion of Gum-Shoes—Kicked by a Vicious Horse—An Obliging Moslem—A Guard of Turks—Bloodthirsty Christians—An Extraordinary Shrine—The Angel’s Seat—The Quarrels of the Greek and Latin Monks—A Spot of Marvels—The Soil Pressed by the Feet of Christ—Strange Traditions—The Discovery of the True Cross—The Spot where Peter Denied his Lord—The Scene of the Last Supper—What a Wealthy Jew Did—The Man who was his own Father—The “Good Thief”—Extracting Sixpence from the “Doubter”—A Pertinacious Guide—Trying to Elude Pursuit—. A Claim for Damages—Loading Up with Oranges—Talking in Four Languages.

AS we lay in bed all that afternoon at Jerusalem, the snow continued falling and the wind blew, so that the place was anything but cheerful. By sundown there were four inches of snow, the most—so the hotel-keeper said—that had been seen there in fifteen years. During the night it changed to rain, and in the morning the streets were as “sloshy” as could well be imagined. The pool of Hezekiah, just back of the hotel, contained a strange mixture of snow, ice, and water, and did not accord with the description of it as made by summer visitors.

When I looked out in the morning, the mingled snow, mud, and water that filled the streets brought me back to my own dear New York, and I fancied that I was once more on Manhattan Island in a January thaw.

The snow had ceased, but it was raining at intervals, and very hard when it did rain. We sent out and bought some gum overshoes, all except the “Doubter.” who didn’t believe gum-shoes were good for anything, especially when they cost so much as in Jerusalem. Furthermore, the “Doubter” had incautiously ven426tured too near the hoofs of an ill-mannered horse, and had been kicked by the latter to such an extent that he thought best to stay in his room.

We started out to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and again found it closed. The different sects of Christians fight so much about the church that the key has to be kept by Moslems, as none of the Christians will allow the rest to hold it!


We held two or three consultations with as many sects of monks, and at last found that an order from the Armenian Patriarch could, at that hour, procure the key from its Moslem holder, who, on the promise of “backsheesh,” would consent to obey the request to open the church for us. At another hour, another patriarch would need to be consulted.

Two of us started with our dragoman, and with some rebuffs we at length found the Armenian Patriarch, or rather his secretary.

He sent a messenger with us to the Moslem key-holder, and the latter worthy, on promise of three francs, consented.

As at Bethlehem, a Turkish guard is constantly maintained in the church where Christ is buried, to prevent His disciples shedding each other’s blood! What a spectacle is presented for the contemplation of the followers of Mohammed! No wonder they look upon Christians with contempt. 427abandon his pipe and accompany us. Thus we succeeded in getting the church open, but there were half a dozen fellows in the way, each of whom wanted “backsheesh.” All this delay and annoyance comes from the quarrels of the Christians and their jealousy of one another.


428The ponderous key was turned, and we entered the church. The door was closed behind us, to prevent the entrance of any person not belonging to our party. Immediately in front of the door is a marble slab, set in the pavement and inclosed by a low railing; this is called the Stone of Unction, on which Christ’s body was laid to be anointed. It is over the real stone, and completely covers it, as the guide explains, to prevent the latter being broken and worn by the numerous pilgrims that visit it.

Further off is the spot where the Virgin Mary stood while the body of Christ lay on the Stone of Unction, and further on to the right is the rotunda, which contains, in its centre, the shrine after which the church is named—The Holy Sepulchre.

The sepulchre is covered by a small building twenty-six feet by eighteen, of a style of architecture impossible to describe in writing. There is an entrance by a low door in the east end, and this brings you into the so-called Chapel of the Angel, for the reason that here sat the angel that rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre. A fragment of the stone is shown; the Latin monks say, however, that the real stone was stolen by the Armenians, and is shown by them in the Armenian Chapel on Mount Zion.

From this chapel we enter the sepulchre, a small vault about seven feet square, and having on one side the sepulchral couch, about two feet high, and covered with marble; in fact, everything is of marble to such an extent that no part of the original rock can be seen, and it is hard to accept the assurances that the whole tomb is carved out of the solid rock. The couch of the sepulchre is used as an altar, and is carefully portioned off among the contending sects. I presume that any one of them would prefer to see the church and its contents utterly destroyed rather than any one of the others should obtain possession of it. Quarrels are not infrequent in the church over the right of possession or service, and on one occasion there was a scuffle, with a good deal of hair-pulling and rending of garments, in the sepulchre itself, between a Greek and a Latin monk. The Greek was the physical superior, and came off victorious.

To enumerate, in the shape of an itinerary, all the places we visited in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, would be to make



431a tedious narrative. It is rather curious that so many places have been found in the small space covered by the church and its annexes, and it is not at all wonderful that many Christians should be skeptical on the subject. There has been, and still is, a violent discussion as to the genuineness of relics and localities, and ponderous volumes have been written on both sides.

Tradition and history assert that the Romans built a temple to Venus, on the hill where Christ died, and that a marble statue of the goddess was set up on the site of the cross, and a statue of Jupiter over the place of the Resurrection. In the fourth century the Emperor Constantine caused a removal of this temple, and the erection of a church over the spot. The Empress Helena, Constantine’s mother, came to Palestine to search for the Cross and the Holy Sepulchre, and in her presence the discovery was made.

We were shown the chair where she sat during the removal of the earth that covered the True Cross and the crosses of the two thieves. According to the tradition, the three crosses were found side by side, and it was impossible to tell which was the true one. A woman, sick of an incurable disease, was brought and laid upon two of them, without any effect; when she was placed on the third, she rose and walked away in perfect health. Of course there could be no doubt after this, and the cross was declared genuine. It must have been of goodly size, as there is enough of it extant in churches and private collections to build a steamboat.

Whatever opinion there may be as to the genuine character of the relics and places exhibited, there is great interest attached to the spot, and the time spent in the church passes very rapidly. We were two hours in the church, where we thought we had been less than thirty minutes; we had lingered over each place whose name had been made familiar to us in the Scriptures, and would have remained longer had not the time pressed us. Finally we left the church as we had entered, and after paying our guides the necessary “backsheesh,” sent them away. The peddlers and beggars around the church redoubled their efforts and appeals, and kept a cordon around us till we reached the street.

From the Holy Sepulchre we went to the Palace of Caiphas, on Mount Zion, which is in the hands of the Armenians. Ser432vice was just ending in the church, and it had a strange appearance, in consequence of the Oriental costumes of the worshippers and the Oriental manners in which the service was performed. We were shown the stone that covered the mouth of the sepulchre, the spot where Peter stood when he denied ever having known Christ, and the rock on which the cock stood and crowed at the time of Peter’s denial.

They also showed the prison where Christ was confined, so that we had two of these from which to select, the other being in the Church of the Sepulchre.

Further along on Mount Zion we went to the Conaculum, or scene of the Last Supper. The building is in the hands of the Moslems, and one of them, a dirty looking Arab, showed us up a flight of stairs and into the “supper room,” where the supper is said to have taken place. At present the room is bare and dirty, and occupied by Moslems, who lounged around and begged for “backsheesh.” There is nothing peculiar about its architecture and nothing intrinsically to give it the slightest interest.

Under this building, Moslem, Christian, and Jewish traditions unite in locating the tomb of David, and also that of Solomon and other kings. The Moslems have a mosque there, and will permit no one to enter it far enough to reach the tomb. Once in a great while a special favor will be shown to a Jew by a Mohammedan friend, and he can get a slight glimpse of the interior; but although the spot is particularly venerated by the Jews, the government will not open it to them. Several attempts have been made to buy the place, but unsuccessfully.

The Latin monks once had possession of the buildings, but they lost it through bad management. A wealthy Jew of Constantinople was in Jerusalem, and asked to be permitted to visit David’s tomb and say his prayers there. They refused this very natural and reasonable request, and the Jew went off. As soon as he reached Constantinople, he sought an interview with the Grand Vizier, and induced him to expel the Latin monks from the building that covered the spot. In a year or two he went back, armed with the necessary firman, that enabled him to say his prayers at the tomb of David, and thus relieve his conscience of any burden that may have been resting upon it in consequence bring us to the Fountain of the Virgin. Siloah’s Pool is a basin or reservoir, about fifty feet by twenty, and not far from six yards deep. There is an underground passage between this pool and the Fountain of the Virgin, which has been explored by Dr. Robinson and others, and found to be very tortuous, and 433of any dubious transaction in old clothes, or in exorbitant interest for money he might have loaned.


Passing out from the Caenaculum and descending to the Vale of Hinnom, we can visit the famous Pool of Siloah or Siloam; and a walk of ten minutes or more further along the valley, will 434so small, that one is obliged to crawl on hands and knees in order to pass through it.

The Fountain of the Virgin is the more picturesque of the two. It is at the bottom of an artificial cave, and the stairway that leads down to the water has given it the name by which it is known to the Arabs, “The Fountain of the Mother of Stairs,” and old tradition says that women accused of adultery were required to drink of the water from this fountain. If guilty, they died immediately; but if innocent, they were unhurt.

A remarkable feature of this fountain is the irregular flow of the water, which has been verified by many persons. Sometimes the water in the basin will rise twelve or fifteen inches in a few minutes, then become stationary, and in five or ten minutes more, it subsides to its ordinary depth. In some seasons this phenomenon occurs twice or thrice daily, while at other times the intermittent periods will be several days apart. This is doubtless what was meant in the New Testament, where it is said “an angel came down at certain seasons and troubled the water.” The local belief is, that there is a dragon in the fountain; the water flows when he sleeps, but stops when he is awake.

From the Coenaculum we took a long walk to the tombs of the Kings—sepulchres hewn in the rock, and evidently of great antiquity. They have accommodations for about twenty persons, but are rather damp and uncomfortable.

The hills all around Jerusalem are full of these tombs, cut in the solid rock. Most of them have a legendary history that assigns them to some Biblical character, but the authenticity of these histories is extremely doubtful.

We managed to extract some amusement out of our guide, at Jerusalem, (a local professional, engaged by our dragoman,) but not so much as with the fellow who served us at Athens. He was so good natured, and showed so much readiness to do anything we wanted, that we hadn’t the heart to annoy him If he had been less amiable he would have been much more to our liking. His use of the English language was our best hold, and his conversation rattled on with an utter disregard of the relative positions of nouns and verbs. 435We asked how long he had been guide there, and he responded, “I guide have been thirty-four years. Before I was guide I was my father.”

Here was a case for Darwin. What the fellow wanted to say was, that his father was guide before him, and thinking we did not fully understand him, he went on:

“Before I was born, I was guide ten years. Before my father little boy was, I was guide. Before I was old man, I die my father. My father I die before he was twelve years. I was forty years before my father was born.”

The mystery increased, and the more he explained the more he got things mixed.

In the church of the Holy Sepulchre, when pointing out the historic spots, he did it somewhat in this wise:

“Here is where was Jew man crucify Christ. He was two thief with him crucify; one was bad thief and one good thief was. Here cross was for good thief.”

When we went to the mosque of Omar he offered to supply us with slippers for a sixpence each, and those of us who had left our own slippers at Jaffa consented at once to the arrangement. The “Doubter” was of the lot, but when it came to paying, he had no change and wanted to cheat the man out of his due. He had a Turkish coin worth about a penny, and told the guide he must take that or nothing.

While the “Doubter’s” attention was taken up with something, we told the guide to freeze to him and compel him to pay. We promised to support him in his efforts, and with this assurance he went ahead.

He came up from behind and silently placed himself at the “Doubter’s” side, and as he did so, extended his open hand before our companion’s face. He suited his word to his action, and his action to his word, by saying in a mild tone:


There was no response. Half a minute later the request was repeated:

“‘Doubter’—sixpence; for slippers, sixpence.”

The Turkish penny was again offered, and again refused, with:

I stopped him and developed a new plan. The guide remained on the sidewalk, in front of the hotel, and in a quarter of an hour the “Doubter” opened his door, peered out cautiously to see that the coast was clear, and then took his way to the parlor. He seated himself before the fire, and I gave the signal, and just as he remarked, “I’m glad that awful man has gone,” the guide slipped in like the ghost of Banquo at Macbeth’s feast. Again he extended his hand, and again he said:

“‘Doubter’—sixpence.” 436 “‘Doubter’—sixpence.”

And so it went on for two hours, and I think the old miser was appealed to on the average, about once a minute. Whenever the guide lagged we urged him forward, and as he had right on his side and sixpence in his eye, he worked with a will.


In vain did the “Doubter” order him away and appeal to the rest of us, to tell the guide to leave We made no interference, except to offer to lend the “Doubter” the sixpence, which he declined. The “Doubter” slammed the door in the guide’s face, who then gave up the pursuit. 437The old fellow surrendered. He borrowed a sixpence and paid the guide, and the rest of us gave the man a couple of francs for his persistence.

There was nothing now for us to do but to leave Jerusalem, and the next morning by ten o’clock we were set down at the door of the hotel at Jaffa, whence we had started nine days before. We paid oft our dragoman, and at his request wrote a certificate, setting forth that he had served us to our entire satisfaction, and that we were as contented with him as it would be possible to be with any dragoman. He suited us all, except the “Doubter,” who wouldn’t have been satisfied even if he had had the Sultan of Turkey for a dragoman. He tried to get a reduction on account of the kicking he received from one of the horses, and was much chagrined when the dragoman, at our suggestion, pretended to misunderstand him, and said he did not make any extra charge for things of that kind.

While we were busy talking about something or other, the sharp eyes of Madame discovered the steamer, and we gave an Indian yell of delight. Our baggage was ready, and soon we had it on the shoulders of porters and were off for the landing.

The usual “backsheesh” took us through the Custom House, and the muscular arms of Arab boatmen swung us out of the little harbor of Jaffa and over the swelling waves of the Mediterranean. The ship was a full mile from shore, and it was a long pull and a strong pull to get us there. On board we found we were the only cabin passengers, and could have all the after part of the ship to ourselves.

I have before stated that Jaffa is celebrated for its oranges, which are largely exported. As soon as the steamer anchored she was surrounded by boats loaded with boxes and baskets, the boxes being made with open sides and tops, so as to allow a free circulation of air. The boxes and baskets were hoisted in over the ship’s side amid much confusion and a vast amount of talk. Italian, Russian, Arabic, and Turkish filled the air; everybody talked at once, and you could hardly distinguish one sound from another. The liveliest scene was when a boat was emptied and dropped away, and another came in to take its place.

There would be half a dozen boats struggling for position, and they would push and crowd at a frightful rate. The men of one 438boat would deliberately push another boat back and crowd their own in, and of course this would rouse the ire of the ousted ones. The volleys of words would set up an Arabic dictionary. I don’t know whether there was any profanity in what they said, but I fancy so. Now and then in the struggle some one would tumble into the water, but he was soon up again, and didn’t seem to mind the wetting.


Deck passengers on a Levantine steamer generally appropriate a part of the deck that suits them, and stay there during the voyage. They spread their carpets and blankets where they find room and squat by day and sleep by night on the spot selected. Directly in front of the after cabin, a lot of deck passengers were thus installed, and when the crate-like boxes and the canvas covered baskets were piled near and around them, they began to help 439themselves to oranges. Two fellows that were camped together would work in partnership. One would get near a basket, and would work cautiously until he had a hole large enough, then quietly withdrawing an orange, would pass it to his pal, who would conceal it behind his baggy breeches and flowing robes. The operation would go on until a peck or so had been taken, when another freshly arrived basket would be sought.

Nine o’clock came, and we were still at the same work, and the decks were covered. Finally the captain said that no more could be taken, and half a dozen boats were sent back to land as fully loaded as they came. Steam began to blow from the pipes, in a few moments the screw was started, the anchor rose from its bed, and we were under way.

Under a clear night sky of the Mediterranean, I sat on deck watching the bright stars above, the glittering waves below, and the phosphorescent gleaming track of the ship, as she plowed through the waters. The twinkling lamps of Jaffa faded into indistinctness and then went out, and, last of all, the staring light-house sank below the horizon and was hid from sight.

We lost sight of Palestine. Our winter journey in the Holy Land was a thing of the past, to be a pleasant recollection for the future.





In Sight of Egypt—A light-house looming through the fog—On the soil of the Pharaohs—An invasion of boatmen—Scenes in the streets of Port Said—Encore de “Backsheesh”—The great Suez canal—Negotiations with a cobbler—A ludicrous situation—A bootless customer—Egyptian jugglers—Going through the Market—A disagreeable spectacle—A pocket steamer—Drinking to absent friends—On the “.raging canawl”—Sleeping on deck—A sunrise in the desert—On the summit of the Isthmus—An onslaught by Arab-baggage-smashers.

THERE it is! There is the light-house!”

Half a dozen of us looked in the direction indicated, and saw a tall column that rose apparently out of the sea, as the fog and distance did not reveal the low coast of Egypt, nor the long jetty that has been thrown out to form a harbor.

The steamer moved steadily onward, and in a little while there was a fringe of houses, and then a fringe of masts, then a long line, lighter than the sea in its color, swept away on either hand to mark the coast. In its center appeared the jetties, that form the outer harbor of Port Said. A small steamer came out to meet us, and from her a pilot came on board, to direct us between the jetties and into the inner harbor.

These jetties, or moles, are of artificial stone, two-thirds sand, and one-third hydraulic lime, mixed in a frame and allowed to harden. Each block weighs twenty-two tons, and contains about three hundred and twenty-four cubic feet. The blocks are not piled regularly to form a well built wall, but are dropped in, hig-gedly-piggedly, like a lot of bricks dumped from a cart. This 441has been found to be the best form of sea wall, as it breaks the force of the waves more completely than would a structure with a smooth front. The sand has settled in and filled up the cavities below the water line; at first it silted through, but an occasional use of the dredge kept the harbor in proper condition.

The lighthouse is a magnificent structure of concrete, one hundred and sixty feet high, supporting a lantern twenty feet high, and flashing every three seconds with such intensity, as to be visible twenty miles. Three other lighthouses of similar construction have been placed in the interval—one hundred and twenty-five miles—between Port Said and Alexandria.

The steamer entered the harbor, and before her anchor was down, her decks were invaded by the usual swarms of boatmen, on the lookout for a job. We were almost within jumping distance of the shore, and had we possessed the strength and activity of fleas, in proportion to our size, we should have made short work of going ashore. Not being thus gifted, we made the usual bargain for transportation to the land, and from the shore, through the Custom House, to the hotel.

The customary “backsheesh” of two francs saved us from an inspection of our baggage, and we were soon at the hotel. I cannot speak very highly of this establishment; there are two hotels that keep up a warm rivalry, and are first-class in their prices, if in nothing else. Whichever hotel you patronize on visiting Port Said, you will wish you had gone to the other.

Port Said is modern; it was founded in 1859, and owes its existence to the construction of the Suez Canal. Previous to that time, there was no town there, and not even a single house. Early in April, a small body of laborers landed there, and on the 25th of that month, M. de Lesseps, the projector of the canal, in the presence of a dozen Europeans and six or eight times that number of natives, removed the first spadeful of earth in the great enterprise, that was to open a water way from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. A few huts had been erected on the site of the present city, which was named Port Said in honor of the then Viceroy.

The spot was not an attractive one, nothing but a strip of sand without vegetation, and without a drop of fresh water. As the 442works of the canal progressed, the town grew and presented a scene of great activity. It was said to be at one time the largest workshop in the world. It has lost this character since the canal was completed, but is still a city of eight or ten thousand inhabitants, regularly laid out in streets and squares, and boasting a pretty and luxuriant garden.

There is considerable activity in the streets, and the numerous shops, stores, churches, hotels, mosques, and the like give it a permanent and not unpleasing appearance. The business is all more or less connected with the canal, and will doubtless increase as the business of the great water-way increases.

It does not take long to make a tourist’s survey of a modern town in the land of antiquities, where nothing is considered old that does not date further back than the Christian era. Where you count centuries by the score, you will not pay much attention to a decade, and grow enthusiastic over works where the mortar has scarcely settled, and paint, if there be any, is still wet.

Our first effort in Port Said was to ascertain when we could leave it, and we found that this could not be done before midnight. We could go on a small steamer as far as Ismailia and thence by rail to Cairo, and if we wished to take a detour to Suez, there was no law to prevent our going there.

We sauntered around the city; some of our party had their hair cut, some ate pastry in a café, some resorted to a beer garden in front of the hotel, and one, (myself,) took a seat by the side of a cobbler, whose stall was in the open air, while he mended one of my boots. Half a dozen Arabs stood around to look at me, as I crossed the bootless leg over the booted one and endeavored to appear pleased.

The cobbler had about half finished the job, when he suddenly remembered that he must go to dinner. To this I objected until my boot was done. I had no wish to sit there while he dined, and possibly took an after-dinner nap of an hour or so, and after a slight wrangle I succeeded in convincing him that he had better finish the job before doing anything else.

The Arab portion of Port Said is quite distinct from the Frank quarter, and is separated from it by a marsh, that can be 443crossed over a rickety bridge or circumambulated by following the sea shore.

We took a stroll there in the latter part of the afternoon, and found crowds of natives surrounding a few jugglers and mountebanks, whose tricks were by no means extraordinary. I had a lot of Turkish coppers, which I had brought from Syria, and found altogether uncurrent here. To get rid of the coins I threw some to the jugglers and to a few beggars. None of them appeared to be pleased to receive this money, and evidently they had been served the same trick by previous travellers.

There was a part of the market where fish and vegetables were offered for sale, the venders having little stands about the size of dressing-tables, and not particularly clean or attractive. There were two or three restaurants where fried fish was waiting to be devoured, the restaurant,—cuisine and all,—occupying a space not more than eight feet square. Many of the natives were suffering from ophthalmia, and on the eyes of some of the children there were masses of flies eating away the oozing matter and forming a disgusting spectacle I should say that one in twenty of those I saw there were blind of an eye, and one in fifty was altogether bereft of sight.

We dined at the hotel and then slept until nearly eleven o’clock, as we knew there would be no sleeping accommodations on the boat. It was New Year’s Eve, and some of the party proposed to celebrate the New Year, which would come in as we left Port Said, so we took a couple of bottles of champagne and some glasses to the steamer.

It was about half-past eleven, when we left the hotel, and followed our baggage on the backs of the Arab porters to the landing.

The boat was an insignificant affair, carrying the mail and having room for very little else. The cabin was not far from seven feet by twelve; there were seats for about sixteen persons, and there was a small table in the centre, which was speedily piled up with baggage. Two or three native officials were there when we arrived, and they had done what we should have done had we been first. They had taken the best places, and were comfortably settled into the corners. As the clock struck 444twelve, the ships in the harbor fired salutes and let off fireworks, and quite a quantity of rockets went up from the shore. We opened our champagne, and each drained a glass to friends at home, and a wi-sh that the end of the year might be as propitious as its commencement.

Our steamer blew her whistle and swung out from the wharf, and in a few minutes we had passed out of the basin and were in the canal.

Straight as a sun-beam the canal pushes away from the sea coast, and then through the low desert. For nearly thirty miles it has no curve, but is as direct as it is possible for the engineer to lay it out. The banks were not very high in this part, as there was not a large quantity of earth to be dredged out, and from the deck of a large steamer one can look over a wide extent of marshy lake and swamp.

As we were scarcely a foot above the water and in a small steam launch, we could not look over the bank, and were obliged to content ourselves with the contemplation of the sloping sides of the canal. They were very monotonous, even with the poetic addition of a full moon and clear sky. The night went on and so did we, but I fancy the night had much the best time of it. We could not lie down, and there was hardly room for us to sit inside. I secured a camp stool and got outside, making the end of the cabin serve as a rest for my back. Wrapped in my overcoat and plaid, I managed to keep warm, though with some difficulty, and after a time I felt sleepy, but dared not risk going to sleep there, through fear that I should fall overboard.

Then I sat down, or rather reclined on deck, and, making a pillow of an anchor, managed to get along comfortably. Every time I waked and looked out we were steaming along through the canal with the same interminable stretch of sand on either side. By-and-by there was a blush of light in the east, then there was daybreak and then there came sunrise.

We grew better natured as we thawed out under the welcome rays of the sun, and felt the dryness vanishing from our lips, and a gradual disappearance of that general feeling of mussiness that you have after sitting up all night. The sands became warm in the glow of the morning, and everything that before had been sombre was now brilliant with flashing light. 445I do not often see the sun come up in these later years, never when I can avoid doing so; but whenever I am caught with a sunrise on my hands, I think it is about the best thing out. A sunrise in the desert is rather an extra affair, and considerably “lays over” the ordinary one that we can see at home by staying up till the next day.

We touched the dock at Ismailia in little more than seven hours from Port Said, and were glad enough to get on shore. A crowd of Arabs at the landing was as ravenous as a lot of young tigers; we tried to keep them back with words and gestures, but to no purpose; they seized our baggage, and would not put it down till we laid about them with our canes.

There were a hundred of them, all vociferating and snatching for baggage at the same instant; and I flatter myself that it was a triumph of genius over muscle when we succeeded in putting that baggage in a pile and making the fellows stand back, and tender proposals for its transport to the railway station We let the contract to the lowest bidder, who took the lot at four francs. The instant the bargain was closed, he and half the crowd fell upon the pile as if they had been wild beasts, and it disappeared like a-pint of whiskey among a dozen backwoodsmen. At the station, after we had paid the money agreed upon, they had an awful row dividing it, and there seemed to be at one time a brilliant prospect of a homicide.

The history of the Suez canal enterprise was given to the world with great minuteness of detail, at the time of its opening in 1869, and I shall not attempt a description of it here.





A Costly Breakfast—Ismailia—The Palace of the Khedive—On an Egyptian Railroad Train—Rolling Through the Desert—The Delta of the Nile, What Is It?—The Garden of Egypt—Cairo—The Mighty Pyramids—Life at an Egyptian Hotel—Sights of the Capital—Cairo of To-Day—Occidental Progress and Oriental Conservatism—Burglaries and Other Modern Improvements—Cosmopolitan Costumes—A Harem Taking an Airing—A Daring Robbery—The Battle-Field of the Pyramids—Slaughter of the Mamelukes—Singular Escape of Emir Bey.

WE breakfasted at the only hotel in Ismailia, paying a frightfully high price for the meal, and then we hastened to the railway station to take the train to Cairo. We had no time to look about the town, but the little we saw was pleasing. The houses were embowered in trees, and there were pretty gardens here and there, some of them very tastefully arranged. There was a broad avenue from the landing place to the railway station, and there is a well-built quay, more than a mile long.

The Khedive has a palace here that looks, from a distance, like a comfortable and cozy residence, and there has lately sprung up a sea-bathing establishment on the shores of the lake. Port Said and Ismailia are the urban results of the canal; the former is practical and the latter is both practical and beautiful.

We waited at the station nearly an hour, the train being somewhat late in coming from Suez. Finally it appeared and we entered it.

The coaches were not attractive in the way of cleanliness and comfort, and we were rather more crowded than we liked to be. 447We moved off at a dignified pace, along the banks of the Sweetwater Canal, and with the desert stretching out around us.

There is very little to be seen on the railway journey from Ismailia to Cairo. Part of the way we were in the desert, and a part of the way we skirted the rich delta of the Nile.


We passed towns and villages in great number, and saw fields bright with verdure, although it was midwinter. Men were at work in the fields, with no abundance of clothing, and half-naked children were playing out-of-doors as they might play in New York in August.

We made brief stoppages at half a dozen stations, possibly at double that number, as I kept no reckoning, and about six hours after leaving Ismailia we saw the Pyramids sharply outlined against the western sky, where the sun was setting, as they have stood outlined for more than forty centuries; and as dusk had fallen and darkness was gathering around us, we rolled into the station at Cairo, and were speedily in the midst of a noisy crowd of the usual attendance upon arriving trains. Soon we ran all the gauntlets of the station and its surroundings, and were quartered in the comfortable Hotel du Nil.

It was after six o’clock in the evening when we reached the hotel, and we had just time to prepare for dinner when the bell announced that the meal was ready. It was the first of January, 448and the proprietor stood treat on the occasion, everybody being liberally supplied with champagne. The hotel seemed to promise well, and we went to bed contented and happy.

Twenty years ago or more, Cairo was far more Oriental than it is to-day. There was no railway in Egypt, and travellers were not numerous.


The few that came here were not sufficient to manners and habits of the people. The foreign population was small, and left nearly everything in the hands of the natives, and the foreigners in the service of the government were few and far between, and generally in irresponsible positions. Maintenant ou a changé tout cela.

Egypt has her network of railways and her maritime canal; she has telegraphs, she has steamboats, she has a navy, armed with rifled cannon, she has an army, many of whose officers have come from other lands, and whose soldiers are supplied with breech-loading guns of the most approved patterns. The foreign quarter of Cairo contains inhabitants from all parts of Europe, and they can be counted by the thousand. The city can boast of parks and gardens of great beauty; tall buildings of stone rise above the humble edifices of Arab architecture, and there are wide streets and boulevards, where the smooth pavement supports the wheels of elegant carriages of European manufacture, drawn by horses of great beauty and value.

The costume of the Occident mingles with that of the Orient; the Frank jostles against the native; the church rises in sight of the mosque; and the sound of Christian worship mingles with the voice of the Muezzin as he chants in the minaret the call



451for the faithful to assemble at prayer. You may see a group of women, closely veiled and mounted on donkeys, under the escort of a tall eunuch, whose features and complexion mark his Nubian origin. It is the harem of a Moslem out for an airing, and you may seek in vain to penetrate the veils that cover the faces of the fair riders. Their baggy dresses are puffed out like balloons, as the breeze blows against them, and they are as much Oriental as though they had stepped from the pages of the Arabian Nights.

The next minute there comes before you a handsome carriage, drawn by a pair of high-stepping horses, and containing a beautiful woman dressed in all the taste and elegance of Paris or New York. It is the wife, perhaps, of a resident foreigner, and you may see many carriages and many occupants in the course of your promenade. The procession on the donkeys makes way for the vehicle, and halts until it passes. Thus the customs of the Occident are invading the once dull and listless East.

Cairo has grown rapidly in wealth and importance in the past score of years, particularly in the last decade. The Moslem is no longer supreme in commerce as of yore, and finds it useless to sit idly and wait for a customer, as once was his wont. The bustling habit of the European is becoming engrafted upon the country, and the railway and telegraph are teaching to the people the value of time and the disadvantages of the old modes of locomotion. Builders are busy in Cairo, and large edifices, on the plan of Paris, are completed, or in the process of erection.

The new part of Cairo can boast of straight avenues, with lines of shade trees and with rows of well-built houses, from whose windows peep out women, whose unveiled faces show they are not of Moslem faith. While I was in Egypt, a gentleman arrived there after an absence of more than twenty years. He told me he could not recognize that part of Cairo beyond the Ezbekieh gardens. All was changed, and where once were open fields or waste places, there are now the streets and avenues of a city.

There is a handsome bridge of iron across the Nile, and there is a broad and well-built carriage-road from Cairo to the foot of the great Pyramids at Gizeh. Steamboats are plying on the 452river, and factories rear their tall chimneys on the land. Rows and rows of shops are conducted by foreign capital and tended by foreign men. The streets are lighted with gas, and it is proposed to provide them with wooden pavement, like that which has found favor in many American cities. The post-office is efficiently managed, and so is the police—both of them on the European model.

The temperance of the Orient may prevail among the original inhabitants, but the foreigners manage to get drunk with as much freedom as they would at home, and likewise to be arrested and fined. And so many Christians have found their way there, that crime can be no longer suppressed.

While I was in Cairo there was a burglary that would have done honor to London or New York. A jewelry establishment was entered at night, and property to the value of six thousand pounds sterling was taken. The robbers entered by breaking a hole in a side wall, and they took away everything, except a quantity of clocks, that were evidently too cumbersome. Not a watch, not a piece of jewelry of any kind was left behind, and the fellows got clean away. Does not this sound like civilization?

Polygamy is growing unpopular, and the natives are becoming content to live with one wife each, according to the Western custom. And, still following the Western custom, they abuse her, and stay out late of nights, at the club or the theatre, or somewhere else, and are not over liberal in supplying her pecuniary wants. Slavery is not altogether suppressed, but is greatly restricted, and has no legal protection. Gambling houses abound, not only for native, but for foreign patronage, and to judge by the number of these places, the foreigners that come here are fond of combats with the tiger.

I might name many other indications of the change that has come over Egypt, but the foregoing must suffice.

One of our first excursions was to the Citadel. Its character is shown by its name; it was built in 1166, by Saladin, as a defence to the city, but the site was rather unwisely selected, as it is dominated by the Mokattam—a hill directly behind it—and has once been taken by batteries, stationed on the latter eminence. It is strong enough to resist an attack by small arms, 453and some of its towers are quite massive and picturesque. It is quite extensive, and contains a palace and a mosque, the latter built almost entirely of alabaster. The interior of the mosque is particularly rich, in consequence of the material used in its construction, and the arches have a curious effect, quite impossible to describe in writing. The palace also abounds in the same material, and contains some very handsome rooms.

But the great charm of the citadel is the view from the platform. One can look upon the Nile and a portion of its rich valley, and on nearly the whole city of Cairo. The roofs of the houses are below the feet of the observer, and there are only the highest minarets of the mosques to approach him in elevation. In the west are the Pyramids, standing in the edge of the desert, and looking more grand than when one sees them from the bank of the river.

The best time for this view is at sunset, and if the air is clear there are few pictures anywhere in the world to surpass it. There is a wonderful contrast between the flat roofs and domes and minarets of the city, and the rich green of the open country beyond. Altogether the view from the Citadel at sunset is one that should not be missed by a visitor to Cairo, and once enjoyed it is not likely to be speedily forgotten.

We were shown the spot where one of the Mamelukes saved himself, by jumping his horse over a wall and down upon a pile of rubbish thirty or more feet below. The horse was killed, but the rider was not hurt.

Mohammed Ali found the Mamelukes troublesome, just as the Janizaries were in Constantinople, and he determined to get rid of them. He invited them to a banquet at the palace, and they came in their richest suits, and when they were all in the courtyard of the palace, his Albanian body guard opened fire upon them from the surrounding windows and from the crenelated walls. The gates had been shut, and there was no chance of escape, and all were slaughtered except Emir Bey, the one who saved himself in the way mentioned. This little incident occurred in 1811, and put an end to the disturbances that the Mamelukes frequently created.

Mohammed Ali loved peace and quietness and was willing to 454do anything in reason to secure them. The Mamelukes were constantly making trouble, and rendering the throne insecure; in fact they had the power of saying who should or should not be the ruler of the land. Is there anything more natural, than that he should study how to get rid of them, and in such a way that his motives could not be questioned? If he had asked them to come to his palace and be killed, there is every reason to believe they would have remained away; at any rate some of them would have been fastidious, and declined his polite invitation, so that his scheme for bagging them all would have failed. It was much better to invite them to a banquet; a man is much more likely to go to a good dinner, than to accept the honors of a butchery in which he is to occupy an objective place. Some men are so particular.

Why didn’t he poison them at the banquet, some one may ask. Poisoning isn’t respectable, and besides, you always run a risk of changing glasses with somebody, and getting into your own stomach the arsenic you intended for his. Servants are careless at dinner, and then you always have some guests, who don’t drink and are quite likely to detest the particular kind of soup or pie where you have placed your medicine. Besides, when you poison a man, he has no time to prepare for death, while in a massacre like this he has lots of it. The Mamelukes that were not shot at the first fire had at least a quarter of a minute for preparation, as it would take quite that time to open the windows and level the rifles. Then you must add the period required for the bullets to go from the rifles to the Mamelukes, and altogether you will conclude that the time must have hung heavy on their hands. Those not killed at the first fire, had the additional time required for reloading, and you must remember, before condemning Mohammed Ali for taking them unawares, that the rifles of that day were charged at the muzzle and were much slower to load than the Sharps, and Mansers, and Chassepots of our time.

The more you study this massacre of the Mamelukes, the more you must admire Mohammed Ali for the way he managed it He attended to the details, and did no bungling work.






The Khedive, who is he?—A hard-worked Pasha—His personal habits—My interview with him—Adventures of an old hat—Arranging ourselves for a royal reception—An eastern Monarch in a European dress—An unimpeachable costume—A fluent talker—Bedouin Reporters—A carriage from the Harem—Two pair of bright eyes—Unveiling the women—A talk with a couple of pigmies—A nation of dwarf-warriors—My impressions of the Khedive.

MOHAMMED Ali, the founder of the present ruling family of Egypt, was a man of great ability, but his energies were devoted to repairing the damages done by the misfortunes that preceded his reign, rather than to marking out new paths of progress for Egypt. At the time of his death in 1848 the country was much the same as in the early part of the century.

Under the rulers that succeeded him, particularly under Said Pasha, some progress was made; but it was not until the present Viceroy, Ismail Pasha, ascended the throne, that Egypt began her career of improvement. There were a few steamboats on the Lower Nile before his time, and the construction of the Suez canal had been begun, but the railway was practically unknown, and the cities and villages were in much the same condition that they had been for a long time. Nearly all the great public works owe their origin to the present Khedive, Ismail Pasha, and he can point with pride to Egypt as she stands to-day.

If anybody imagines that it is easy work to be king, he would change his mind, if he could, for a few weeks, make an exchange of places with Ismail Pasha. There is not, I was told, a more 458industrious man in the country than the Khedive. He rises early, takes his bath and makes his toilet; then he takes a light breakfast and sits down to work a little past seven o’clock, and sometimes before that hour.


There are a lot of documents to examine, and questions to decide, which occupy him until eight o’clock, when his ministers arrive, and he holds counsel with them on matters connected with their different departments.

Thus his time is consumed till near eleven o’clock or between ten and eleven, when he gives audiences to miscellaneous officials, to the foreign representatives and to strangers whom they have arranged to introduce to His Highness. This lasts until noon when he retires to breakfast and a rest of an hour or so; then he generally takes a drive in his carriage, and very often has one of his ministers to accompany him, so that quite possibly he combines pleasure with business, by discussing affairs of state during the drive.

The latter part of the day is passed according to circumstances. Sometimes there will be more bureau duty and ministerial interviews; sometimes there are state dinners and court ceremonies, and sometimes an important matter will come up unexpectedly, so that business and ceremony are crowded close together. Sometimes he attends the opera in the evening, but this not often, and when he goes there he does not remain to the end. He retires early, so as to have plenty of rest, and he lives very carefully and regularly. He is said to be abstemious in matters of food and drink, for only by his regular habits could he preserve his health through so much hard work as he performs.

Through the kindness of Mr. Beardsley, our diplomatic agent and Consul-General for Egypt, I had the pleasure, one day, of an interview with the Khedive. At a visit to the palace a few days before, Mr. Beardsley had asked to present two of his fellow countrymen, Mr. Bayard Taylor and myself, and on the same evening he received notice that half-past ten on the day in question had been fixed for the reception. We were notified at once, and accordingly crowded our slender forms into our dress suits, brushed our stove-pipe hats into the best available appearance, and sallied forth from our hotel.



Candor compels me to say that my hat was not new, and had passed through a variety of experiences by sea and land, in rain and dust, and in numerous mishaps that had creased, and indented, and thread-bared its once glossy skin and faultless shape.

It had been new once, but since then I had transported it across Europe, summered it in Vienna, taken it down the Danube, into Southern Russia, through the Crimea and carried it to Constantinople, Athens, and Smyrna, into Syria and Palestine, and thence into Egypt.

Don’t you think that a hat which has been through so much would need a great deal of polishing to fit it for a vice-regal presentation?

But it went through the ordeal gloriously, and as I kept it behind me most of the time, the Khedive never made—to me at least—any comment about it.

As for Mr. Taylor—well, I may be revealing a secret and it may breed a quarrel between us, but candor again compels me to speak out. His hat wasn’t his hat but another gentleman’s, borrowed for the occasion, or if it wasn’t it might have been. I never saw him wear it before, and it was much better than mine, 460which was only fit to be seen when out of sight. Mr. Taylor ought to have been proud of that hat when he compared it with the one I carried, but if he was, he was too polite to hurt my feelings, and didn’t manifest any haughtiness.

Accompanied by Mr. Beardsley, we drove to the Abdeen Palace, where the Khedive resides with his family,—a neat and substantial looking edifice, in the western part of Cairo. As we entered the courtyard and drove to the door, the sentinels on duty presented arms, and we were met at the doorway by Murad Pasha, the Master of Ceremonies, who greeted us cordially and escorted us to the waiting room on the ground floor.

Here we spent some fifteen minutes,—as we were ahead of time—in conversation with the Master of Ceremonies and with Ibrahim Pasha, nephew of the Khedive. The secretary and assistant secretary of the Khedive were present, and we were introduced to both. The time passed away rapidly, as all were fluent in French and the conversation was not confined to particular topics.

Promptly at half-past ten we were ushered up one side of a double staircase, that turned and formed a single broad escalier, a dozen steps or so below the audience floor. Murad Pasha accompanied us to the foot of the broad stairway, and thence we—the Consul-General and ourselves—proceeded alone. As I raised my eyes I saw the Khedive standing carelessly at the further side of the room; when he caught site of our advancing column he stepped forward to meet us. He first greeted Mr. Beardsley, who followed the greeting by introducing Mr. Taylor with a few carefully chosen and appropriate words concerning him. Then came my turn, and while the Consul-General was making the introduction, the Khedive shook hands with us and welcomed us to his house. He then led the way to the audience room, a smaller parlor, overlooking the court yard.

The reception hall, where he met us, was furnished in the French style, with large mirrors and Parisian furniture; the audience parlor, whither we followed him, was similarly adorned in European style, with chairs and sofas covered with snow-white linen, and with a marble table in the centre. The walls were covered with blue paper, figured with small flowers of a grayish tint, 461and the curtains and fixtures were in harmony with the walls. A tasteful chandelier above the table was filled with candles, ready for lighting, and on the table was a box of cigars, which, doubtless, were equally ready for lighting.

If we had gone there expecting to find the ruler of Egypt wearing baggy trowsers and a turban and smoking a nargileh, we should have been greatly disappointed. His dress is entirely European, with the single exception of the fez, or tarboosh, which covers his head. His coat and trowsers were of English cut; the former was double-breasted, with silk trimmings on the lappels, and he wore it buttoned after the style of a morning or walking coat in London or New York.

His shirt-front was almost entirely concealed by a black cravat or necktie, fastened at the crossing with a single pin of what appeared to be a ruby; beyond this pin he wore no jewelry whatever. His spotless white collar was turned down, and from the neatness of its fit and the careful polish it presented, I judge that he has a better laundress than I was able to find in Cairo. I was on the point of asking him to recommend me to her, but forebore, on the supposition that he might prefer to keep such a good washwoman to himself.

The figure of the Khedive is not of the lean and hungry kind; he appears to be about five feet nine in height, and is decidedly inclined to stoutness, without being ill-proportioned.

Physically, he appears to have lived well, without any overfeeding. His face is full and broad, and he wears a closely-trimmed beard and moustache of a brownish hue. When in repose, his face is quite thoughtful, but as soon as he begins to talk it lightens up, and there is a constant play of animation over all his features. His brown eyes sparkle, and he accompanies his facial expression with frequent gestures of his hands, quite in contrast to the solemn and stately manner which we associate with Oriental rulers.

The Khedive took a seat in the corner of the room, and motioned us to places near him, one on his right and two on his left, so that he could address all three without any necessity for a change of position beyond a very slight turning of the head. He began the conversation by asking Mr. Taylor if this was his 462first visit to Egypt. The latter replied that he was there twenty years ago and made a journey to the White Nile.

“Ah, yes,” said His Highness, “that was in the time of Abbas Pasha.”

Mr. Taylor bowed assent, and remarked the wonderful changes that had taken place since that time, and the great progress that he noticed all around, to which the Khedive made acknowledgment by a slight but graceful bow.

There was a pause of a few seconds, which was broken by a question from Mr. Beardsley as to the latest intelligence from; the upper country, where the Egyptian troops had a battle with the army of the King of Darfoor.

“Nothing very recent,” was the reply of the Khedive; “nothing since the news two or three weeks ago of the battle in which the King was defeated. The report was that the King attacked our forces, and was defeated with heavy loss, but it must have been his son, as the King himself, le pauvre diable, is totally blind, and couldn’t do much in leading an army. I am sure it must have been his son, though the dispatch did not say so.”

Conversation then went on, concerning Darfoor and its extent and resources. The Khedive spoke of the effort he was making for the suppression of the slave-trade, and said they had a force stationed there to watch the frontier and liberate the slaves which were being transported by caravans.

“The Bedouins inform us,” said he, “of the movements of the caravans, so that we have no difficulty in knowing where they are. We have told the Darfoorians that we do not wish to interfere with them, only in stopping the slave trade, and we are on good terms with them, except in this one matter.”

He said, further, that the Darfoorian army had four cannon, and that in the recent battle the Egyptians took three of them.

I asked him where they obtained the cannon, and he said, with a smile, that two of them were sent as a present from Said Pasha, the former Viceroy, to the King of Darfoor. These two guns were among the three captured; the third was a very old and nearly useless piece that the Darfoorians bought, probably, from some of the traders to the sea-coast, and the other gun which they still retained was of the same sort. 463I asked what kind of small arms the Darfoorians had, and he replied that, in addition to their lances and bows and arrows, they had flint-lock muskets, quite inadequate for coping with the breech-loading rifles with which his own army is equipped.

After some further talk about the Darfoorians and the country of the Soudan, which Egypt has recently explored, and continues to explore, the conversation turned upon the pigmies, which had been brought from Central Africa. The Khedive gave us some interesting details about them, and recommended that we should go and see them at the Kasr-el-Nil barracks, where they were then kept. There was a brief conversation about the explorations of Livingstone, Schweinfurth, and Miani, and when it ended, the Khedive rose, and we did likewise. He accompanied us to the head of the staircase, gave each a farewell hand-shake, and said, in addition to the usual phrases of civility, “If I can be of any service to you, do not hesitate to inform me.”

We thanked him for his proffered kindness, bowed our adieux, and descended the stairway. At the foot we were met by the Master of Ceremonies, who accompanied us to the waiting-room, where we had left our overcoats, and subsequently accompanied us to our carriage.

Our interview with the Khedive lasted about twenty minutes. He speaks French easily and correctly, and without any hesitation whatever. His manner throughout was easy and frank, and thoroughly pleasant, and such as to remove any embarrassment on the part of a visitor. There were touches of humor in his utterances, which cannot be rendered into English without losing their charm, and therefore I will not attempt to give them.

From the Abdeen palace we drove to the barracks of Kasr-el-Nil to see the little men about whom His Highness had told us. Just as we left the palace, we met one of the harem carriages, containing two women, guarded by a couple of soldiers and the same number of eunuchs. The four were on splendid horses, the soldiers preceding and the eunuchs following the carriage. The blind of the carriage was down, and as the vehicle whisked rapidly past us, I caught sight of a couple of veiled faces with flashing bright eyes, and with pretty features just visible beneath the thin gauze. 464It was a passing vision, a glimpse of a moment, that left no impression that could be retained. It is an impression which one receives quite often in Cairo, if he chooses to look toward the harem carriages when making their afternoon promenade. The family of the Khedive are more fortunate than that of any other Mohammedan ruler, as it can ride in carriages and see far more of out-door life than the royal ladies of other Eastern cities.

The Khedive is no bigot, as many things indicate. I was told, though how truly I cannot say, that he is quite willing to allow his wives to appear unveiled after the European manner, and that probably they will do so before many years. I fancy that the prejudices of the women would be found stronger than his. Custom of long standing declares that no modest woman goes with her face uncovered. To ask a Mohammedan woman to unveil her face in public, would be as bad as to request a fashionable belle of New York to walk along Fifth Avenue in the costume of the Black Crook.

As we entered the parade ground of the barracks, we saw what appeared to be a couple of negro boys, playing at one side, and ascertained on inquiry, that they were the dwarfs or pigmies, for whom we were searching. We called them up and examined them closely, and they were certainly rare curiosities. There were only two, the taller said to be twenty and the shorter ten years old; we measured their height, and found them respectively forty-six and forty-three inches in their shoes; the younger, as he stood beside me, came not quite up to my hip. The eldest measured twenty-four inches around the chest and twenty-seven around the waist; their abdomens protruded considerably, and their backs were quite hollow.

This excessive protuberance of the abdomen is probably due to their vegetable diet, as the Khedive had told us that they lived, when at home, almost entirely on bananas and similar fruits. They stood quite erect,—I held a stick perpendicularly behind each of them, and found that when their heads touched it, their backs were more than two inches from it.

Their necks are short, their limbs well formed, though they are somewhat bowed in the legs, and their feet are long and flat. Their heads are a curious study. The complexion is not the 465deepest black of the negro of Nubia, but has rather a brownish hue; their hair is woolly, and their noses are flat, as though broken in with a hammer.

On looking down over the forehead of the elder, I could see the lips protruding beyond the nose; and it appeared too, that the nostrils extended further than did the centre of the organ of smell. The lips are full and rounded, but less thick than those of the negro generally. Their faces were bright, and had a pleasing appearance, though not indicating a high intellect.

Accompanying them was a “Dinka” negro, from the White Nile, and Mr. Taylor questioned him in Arabic about the pigmies and their country. He said these men came from a region in the interior, and that it took the caravans a year and a half to go there and return. Very little was known about the pigmies, beyond the fact that their country is quite extensive, and all the people are of diminutive size. The King was no larger than the taller of the two before us, and they are a warlike people, who fight very earnestly to prevent anybody visiting them. Their country is covered with jungle, and they conceal themselves in the thickets and send showers of arrows upon the invaders.

We endeavored to get them to talk, but they would not. One of the soldiers told them to speak, but the elder turned away rather sullenly, and would not utter a word. The soldiers said their language was quite unlike Arabic, Nubian, or any other that they ever heard, and further said the pair talked a great deal and very rapidly, when playing together. The name of the elder was Tubal, and that of the younger Karrell, and they call their country “Takka-lakka-leeka.”

Dr. Schweinfurth, the distinguished German explorer, learned something about these people; but it was the good fortune of Miani, an Italian, who had been a long time in Africa, to visit them and secure three specimens, two men and a woman, with whom he started for Europe. But he died while still in the wilds of Africa, and his papers and effects, including the three pigmies, were sent to Khartoum. There they were seized, to cover certain debts of Miani’s to merchants in Khartoum, and the pigmies, who were supposed to be slaves, were thrown into prison, where the woman died. They were not kept there long, 466as the facts about them were speedily made known, and soon after their release from prison they were sent to Cairo.

The Khedive showed a deep interest in the subject of the country of the dwarfs and its peculiar population, and quite probably the expeditions he has since sent into Central Africa were instructed to learn something more of them and to penetrate the remote district if possible.

During our conversation he called special attention to the fact, that a dwarf of any race has a head disproportionately large, and arms or legs disproportionately long or short. “But you will see,” said he, “that these little men are perfectly formed, like a well-shaped adult, with the exception of the abdomen, which is due to their vegetable diet, and that the elder has hands and fingers like those of a person who has reached his full size.” We looked for dwarfish peculiarities, but found none, and were quite of the opinion of others who have examined them, that they are a race of pigmies.

From the Kasr-el-Nil we drove through the new part of Cairo, along the broad macadamized streets, and after dropping the Consul-General at his residence, returned to our hotel with the reflection that we had passed an agreeable, interesting, and instructive forenoon.

I was particularly struck with the thorough information of the Khedive, and the interest he manifested concerning the pigmies, and about Darfoor and other subjects of our conversation, and asked Mr. Beardsley if he was equally well informed about matters in general.

“Equally so,” was the reply. “I don’t see how he manages to keep so well posted as he does; he has a remarkably retentive memory about everything, whether of business or any other matter. When I mention anything that we may have talked about weeks before, he remembers how it was left at that interview, and shows that it has by no means passed his mind.”

“He knows the course of European, Asiatic, and American politics; understands the religious questions in England and France, and any other important topic; has the run of affairs in Spain or other revolutionary countries, and is, in fact, up in all the news of the day. He must read a great deal when we think 467he is at rest, and he must remember all that he reads. He attends personally to all the affairs of the country, and though he leaves the details to his ministers, there is no question, except of a very trivial nature, that is not submitted to him for decision. Any matter concerning the government in any way, goes through the department to which it belongs, but must always go before the Khedive before it can be decided.”

The title, Khedive, is a Persian one, equivalent to “viceroy,” or, as some persons assert, to “king.” The ruler I have been describing is the first occupant of the Egyptian throne to wear the title. He is addressed in conversation as “Your Highness,” and is generally spoken of as “His Highness.” The ministers of state and other high dignitaries in Egypt are known as “Excellencies,” and to address one of them without the prefix, “Votre Excellence,” might give offence. They hold rank as pashas, and are nearly always gentlemen of liberal education and marked ability. “Pasha,” like “Khedive,” is of Persian origin; it is of great antiquity, and was originally used to designate the governor of a city or province. There are several grades of pashas, just as in our country there are several grades of generals. In some parts of the Orient the pasha, when he goes abroad, is preceded by an officer bearing a pole, from which is suspended the insignia of the great man’s rank.

If he is a first-class pasha, his rank is indicated by three horse tails, and he is called a pasha of three tails. Then there are pashas of two tails (much more common than cats with two tails), and there are also one-tailed pashas.

Soon after I left Egypt, one of the high officials was removed and furnished with an indefinite leave of absence. A friend, writing me from Cairo, stated the case thus:

“You may have heard of the change whereby the head of one of the departments has become a pasha of no tail whatever.” Which was not a bad way of putting it.




Cairo, old and new—A visit to the ancient city—The Nilometer, What is it?—Measuring the rise of the Nile—Moses in the Bulrushes—Tombs of the Caliphs—An Egyptian funeral—Curious customs—“Crowding the Mourners”—Water-carriers and their ways—A noisy tobacco-vender—Glimpses of the Arabian Nights—Among the Bazaars—Street scenes in Cairo—A cavalcade of Donkeys—Hoaxing a Donkey-boy—Amusing spectacle—Putting up a ride at auction—An Arab story—A Nation of Liars and why!—Mosques of Cairo—Stones from the Great Pyramid.

CAIRO consists of two cities, the new and the old, and they are two or three miles apart. Old Cairo is on the bank of the river, near the island of Roda, and is quite picturesque, being, full of narrow, crooked streets, where one must be very cautious to prevent being run over. The windows project so far over the street that they frequently touch, and it would be the easiest matter in the world to go from one to another. The city was formerly much more extensive than now, and many of its houses are in a ruinous condition.

From old Cairo we went to the island of Roda to see the famous Nilometer, where the rise of the river during the inundation is recorded. It is nothing more than a deep pit or well, with a column in the center, marked with a graduated scale. This Nilometer is about a thousand years old. There is a more ancient one at the island of Elephantine, near the first cataract, and history records that there was one in use at the time of the Pharaohs. Near the present Nilometer is the spot said by tradition to be that where the infant Moses was found by Pharaoh’s daughter.


469The island is quite pretty and is covered with fruit and other gardens. Outside the city, and close to the border of the desert, are the tombs of the Barghite Sultans, which are generally called, though erroneously, the tombs of the Caliphs. The real burying places of the Caliphs of Cairo are in the city, not far from the bazaars, and in the busiest part of this very busy capital.

The Moslem awaits death with the utmost composure. When a learned or pious Moslem feels that he is about to die, he performs the ordinary ablution, as before prayer, that he may depart from life in a state of bodily purity; and he generally repeats the profession of his faith. It is not uncommon for a Moslem on a military expedition, or during a long journey through the desert, to carry his grave linen with him. It often happens that a traveler in such circumstances has even to make his own grave; completely overcome by fatigue or privation, or sinking under a fatal disease in the desert, when his companions, if he have any, cannot wait for his recovery or death, he performs the ablution, with water, if possible, or, if not with sand or dust which is allowable in such case, and then having made a trench in the sand as his grave, lies down in it wrapped in his grave clothes, and covers himself with the exception of his face with this and taken up in making the trench: thus he waits for death to relieve him, trusting to the wind to complete his burial.

The ceremonies attendant upon death and burial are nearly the same in the cases of men and women. When the rattles in the throat, or other symptoms, show that a man is at the point of death, an attendant turns him round to place his face in the direction of Mecca, and closes his eyes.

Many of the tombs of the Turkish grandees have marble tarkeebehs which are canopied by cupolas supported by four columns of marble. There are numerous tombs of this description in the cemetery at Cairo We were rather disappointed in our visit to the tombs of the Sultans. They were originally very handsome, but are now in a very ruinous condition, and they bid fair to be altogether destroyed before many years. There were two or three with lofty domes and minarets, quite like the mosques of Cairo. They were really intended as mosques, in connection with the 470tombs, so as to furnish praying places for the faithful whenever they wished to pay respect to the dead.

From the outside and at a little distance they present a fine effect, with their backing of sand-covered hills and the general surroundings of approaching desolation. Inside we found portions of the smaller walls torn away to be used in other buildings, and in one of the mosques, cows and donkeys were stabled. The windows were broken and ragged. The floors were dirty and the attendants were noisy Arabs, who seemed to have no other object in remaining there than the collection of “backsheesh,” in which they were most persistent.

At the cemetery near these tombs we saw a funeral procession and followed it, out of curiosity. Half a dozen men, some of them blind, and each resting a hand on the shoulder of another, led the way and chanted a melancholy air. Then came a man with a small coffin borne on his head, and behind him were half a dozen women and as many boys, the women closely veiled according to the custom of the country.

The procession did not move in couples, according to the Occidental custom; there was no observance of regularity, except that the men were in front of the coffin and the women and boys behind it. They moved through the country to a spot where a grave had been opened; near it the women stopped and sat down, and the bearers placed the coffin on the ground, a priest uttered a prayer, and then the man who had brought the coffin—a sort of oblong box, with a shawl over it—removed the shawl, and took from beneath it the corpse.

It was that of a child about two years old, and was completely wrapped in cloth and bound around with cords, somewhat as one might wrap a bale of goods to keep it from falling apart. The man advanced to the edge of the grave, and placed the corpse inside, with very little ceremony, or rather, with no ceremony at all. The women set up a mournful cry, and one of the men of the party approached us and told our guide that they wished us to retire. As soon as the request was translated, we walked away, feeling that we had been guilty of an intrusion.

I saw several funeral processions in Cairo, and had previously seen them in Damascus, Smyrna, and other Oriental cities. At 471all of them the custom was the same, the singers preceding the corpse and the mourners following it. The one here described was the burial of the child of a poor woman, and there was little display and little ceremony. Some of the processions that came under my notice were of considerable extent, the singers or chanters numbering from fifty to a hundred, and being accompanied by mollahs or priests.

The corpse, in such cases, was covered with rich shawls, and at the head of the coffin there was a small post to sustain the cap worn by the deceased. In the tombs of the wealthy these caps remain at the head of the coffin, and the visitor to the tombs of the various Sultans of Turkey will not fail to notice how invariably the fez is placed at the head of him who once wore it.

The coffin is supported on the shoulders of four bearers, and there is frequently a relay to take their places from time to time; and there is a large following of friends of the deceased, some on foot, and some mounted on donkeys, and from time to time a sound of wailing rises from the mourning party.

Some of the mourners are professionals hired for the occasion, while others belong to the family of the defunct. The crowd in the street does not suspend its avocations, or pay the slightest sign of respect for the procession, beyond making room for it to pass. And frequently persons in a hurry, and wishing to cross the line of procession, do so without ceremony.

A stranger in Cairo sees a great deal to amuse him, and if he keeps his eyes open he can learn much that is new.

The water of the wells in Cairo is slightly brackish, and many people obtain their livelihood by supplying the inhabitants with water from the Nile. The water seller, or carrier, has across his shoulders what appears to be a sack when carelessly observed, but proves on examination to be the skin of a pig or a goat. The skin has been taken off as near whole as possible and is then sewn up so that when filled with water it has the shape of the animal that once wore it. It is filled through the neck, which is not tied, but held in the hands of the bearer, who carries his burden across his back and sustains it in place by means of a strong strap.

Some of these water skins have a long neck and a nozzle that points into the air like the muzzle of a rifle. The skin hangs on the 472bearer’s back, and the spout is behind his shoulder; in his hands he has a couple of brass cups, which he rattles to secure attention.

When he finds a customer, he fills one of the cups through the nozzle, and the accuracy and skill he displays in the operation evince long practice.


As he walks along he calls out sometimes, “Moie, moie!” but more frequently some Arabic words that mean, “O, ye thirsty! O, ye thirsty!” and occasionally he adds something about the delights of a cup of cool, delicious water, and sounds the praises of the special lot that he carries.

I was told by persons who understand the language, that there is much poetry in its every-day use, and the water carrier, as I have just explained, is poetical in his appeals, and so are the street peddlers of all grades. The venders of vegetables, of candy, of bread, and other edibles do not, as a general thing, name the articles they have for sale, but they address appeals to the hungry, allude to the tortures of hunger, and the pleasure of satisfying it. The seller of shoes appeals to the unshod, and beseeches them to go barefoot no longer. The seller of tobacco calls to those who smoke and love the fragrant Latakiah, or the invigorating Koranny. “O, ye man,” “O, ye woman,” “O, ye old man,” is shouted by your donkey driver as he guides you through the crowded streets, and he changes it to “O, ye people,” when the number is so great that he cannot afford to address them in detail.

473"Backsheesh, O, Howadji,” (a present, O, gentlemen), is the appeal of the beggar to the passing stranger. The dealer in fresh clover for donkeys’ food chants, “From green fields I bring the odors of fresh verdure,” and the squinting merchants in the Perfume Bazaar vaunt the praises of their wares in words that fill the Moslem mind with thoughts of Paradise, and bear it away from prosaic thoughts and duties of every-day life.


Somebody has said that to find a Princess Scheherazade, you have only to scratch the back of your Cairene donkey boy, and with a slight encouragement he will begin to talk in the strain of the Arabian Nights. I found it so to some extent in my acquaintance with the Egyptian capital. Most of the donkey drivers that frequent the fronts of the hotels can speak English, and some of them quite well. They are as a class bright and 474intelligent, and can be relied upon for information as to the customs of the people. Their knowledge of localities is sufficient for all the purposes for which a guide is usually employed, and as soon as our party, in its collective capacity, were through with sight-seeing, we fell back upon the donkey boys, and dismissed our professional guide.

Whether the Cairenes indulge to-day in stories like that of the Enchanted Horse, and Sinbad the Sailor, I am unable to say, but in the matter of scandal they are quite up to the Occidental mark. One of the donkey boys at the hotel told me a variety of incidents connected with the harems, and some of them are of a very apochryphal character.

There is one peculiarity of the Arab that a stranger will not be long in detecting, and that is his readiness to answer each and every question you may put to him. Ask him something, and if he knows the answer he will generally give it; if he does not know, he will reply with anything that his imagination suggests, and he does it as gravely as though he were expounding a text of the Koran.

One day, I asked a donkey boy how much he would ask to take me to the Astor House.

“Two shillin’,” was the prompt reply.


He hadn’t the remotest idea where it was, but did not hesitate a moment to undertake to find it. So I asked him where it was.

“I savez, I savez; on the Esebekiah,” he replied, and pushed his donkey around for me to enter the saddle Other boys came up, and I said I wished to go the Astor House and Tammany Hall.

In half a minute the whole crowd was vociferating, and the price fell from two shillings to two francs, and then to one shilling. I was obliged to end the matter by hiring a donkey and going to the citadel. Every driver was ready to take me to the places I mentioned, and was confident he could find them.

The Arabs have a story which they tell, to account for their tendency to falsehood.

They say that His Satanic Majesty once came on earth with nine bags full of lies. He scattered the contents of one bag in Europe, and then started for Asia, Africa, and the Oriental Isles.



492He arrived at Alexandria in the evening, and was to continue his work next day, but during the night some wicked Arabs stole the other eight bags, and distributed the contents among their people.

Cairo is not so rich in mosques as Constantinople, but there are several, of no small importance.


The finest of these is that commonly known as Sultan Hassan; it stands just below the citadel, and is a prominent feature in the view of the city. The Cairenes are justly proud of it, and have a story that the King cut off the hand of the architect, to make sure that he would not repeat his work.

But as this little incident has had its run in all countries and ages, we may conclude that the King did nothing of the sort. It is much more likely that he compelled the architect to wait for his pay, and finally accept fifty cents on the dollar.

The stones used for constructing this mosque, came from the great Pyramid; some of them were recut, but the greater part are in their original shape. The interior consists of a dome, resting on four grand arches, the eastern one having a span of sixty-five and a half feet. The dome is of wood, and, like many other domes in Cairo, is not kept in good repair.




More About the Bazaars—How They Sell Goods in Cairo—Furniture, Fleas, and Filth—Trading in Pipe Stems and Coffee Pots—A Queer Collection of Bric-a-Brac—Driving Close Bargains—A Specimen of Yankee Shrewdness—A Miniature Blacksmith Shop—A Cloud of Perfumes—Gems, Guns, and Damascus Blades—An Arabian Auction—At the Egyptian Opera—The Dancing Girls of Cairo—The Ladies from the Harem—A Scanty Costume—The Ballet of “The Prodigal Son”—The Ladies of the Opera and Their Life.

ONE of the first objects of interest at Cairo is the great centre of trade, known as the bazaars. They are not so compactly arranged as the bazaars of Damascus, or of Constantinople, and in some features they are inferior to those of either of the above cities; but they are nevertheless very interesting, and never fail to charm the visitor.

Suppose you are in the newly added quarter of Cairo—say at the French post-office—and wish to visit the bazaars. You pass along a broad and macadamized street, with French shops on one side and a row of unfinished buildings on the other, that have a Parisian appearance. With two or three turnings in streets of this sort, you arrive at the Mooskee, a broad street—broad for the Orient—leading into the native portion of Cairo.

The Mooskee was once a sort of narrow lane, but was widened by one of the former Pashas, not without opposition on the part of the Moslems. Here the rows of foreign shops continue; they are French, Greek, Italian, English, and German, arranged without any regard to nationalities. At first, they are all foreign; as you advance, you see here and there a shop, attended by a 479native; and as you go on and on, the natives increase in numbers, and the foreigners decrease. At first the shops have windows and doors, and counters, like those in London or Paris, but as you go on, you find here and there one on the plan of the Orient, the front entirely open, and the goods displayed from within to a customer standing in the street.

Here is a niche where was once a window; it has been walled up, and the stones which close it are about eighteen inches inside the line.


This space would be of no use in the West, but here in the East it has been utilized, and we find a couple of cobblers squatted there, with their benches of tools in front of them. Very small are these benches, and as for the tools, they are not numerous. Further on we see open-fronted shops, tended by foreigners, and close-fronted shops tended by natives; then we come to a section where all the shops are open, and natives are more and more numerous; finally, by turning,—we may go to the right or left, as we choose,—under the shadow of a decaying mosque, we enter the bazaars, and the habits and costumes of the Orientais rise around us.

In many parts of the Mooskee there is a roof thrown quite across the street, a roof consisting mainly of timbers, with openings through which the light can stream and the rain can fall. Some of the Oriental cities have the streets covered, and there are openings here and there, to admit the light. Cairo is not covered, but her streets are so narrow, and the house-tops project so far, that in many places the streets are rather sombre, even at mid-day. Everywhere you see little balconies and projecting windows, the latter covered with wooden grills or lattices, through which women can see without being seen; however brightly the lights of the harem 480may burn within, they cannot be observed from without. The merchants in the shops find this dimness to their advantage, as it gives to some of their wares the appearance of a fineness which they do not possess.

Turning to the left out of the Mooskee, we entered the bazaar of Khan-Haleel, so named after a Khan, which was built about’ six hundred years ago, and is still standing without much alteration.


We entered the Khan and found a square court yard surrounded by rooms opening upon it, where the merchants who come from other cities display their wares and sleep at night.

The Khan, or caravansary, is of less consequence now than formerly, throughout the parts of the East that have been invaded by railways; in Aleppo, Bagdad and other inland places, its character is still retained. A caravan arrives in a city, and a merchant belonging to it seeks a caravansary, hires a room and displays his goods to whoever wishes to buy. He pays a small rental and takes his meals where he likes; in the smaller towns the master of the Khan will supply him with food, but not so in the large cities. The furniture of the Khan consists generally of matting and fleas in about equal portions; sometimes there is no matting, but the fleas are sure to be on hand, and on the entire body as well. Orientals do not mind them, and I am half inclined to believe that they would be unhappy without those nimble little attendants.

The bazaars in the immediate vicinity of the Khan Haleel are mainly devoted to the sale of pipe stems, coffee pots, and various odds and ends of nearly everything. You can buy tobacco, old 481coins, boots, and jewelry; and there are several shops whose native owners are devoted to the sale of European nick-nacks.

Further on, you come to the jewelry bazaar; we entered it by a low door, which had a flooring of soft mud, that induced some very careful walking and brought one of our party to temporary grief.

The jewelry bazaar is a curious place. The street is about six feet wide, in some places not over five, and you stand in the street or sit on the front edge of the shop while making your bargains. Not more than two or three persons should go there together; we were six, and we blocked up the whole way, so that it was difficult for us to see anything and for others to get past. The shops were from four to eight feet square, and the stock was partially displayed in a little show-case a foot square and the same in height, and partially kept in a safe in a rear corner. Generally when we examined the articles in the case, the merchant, who was squatted near it, opened his safe and took out something from it. The diminutive extent of the shop enabled him to reach safe, show-case, and everything else, without leaving the place where he was seated. In most cases, when he was obliged to move about, he did it without rising. He hopped along very much as a tame seal moves about in a menagerie.

The selection of jewelry is not large. It consists of ear-drops, brooches and bracelets of fine filigree work, that nearly always includes a crescent, with a few stars of gold or little drops of real or imitation turquoise. Some of the sets are so arranged, that the necklace and brooch form one piece, that can be taken apart so that the necklace will form a pair of bracelets and leave the brooch to be worn separately. Some are of gold, some of silver, and some of silver gilded, and the sets are generally quite cheap in comparison with the prices of jewelry in America and England.

You must bargain a great deal, and if you pay anything like the price asked at first, you are sure to be cheated. Never offer more than half what they ask, and you will do better not to offer more than a third to start with; the merchant will decline at first; then he will fall slowly, and after a time he will be about 482half way between your first offer and his. You can then come up a little, and if your offer is at all reasonable, he will close with, you, though frequently not till after you have walked away.

To show what can be done by judicious bargaining, let me cite an instance.

One of our party admired a pair of ear-drops, and asked the price.

“Twenty francs,” was the reply.

Buyer declined to be a buyer at that figure, but ventured to offer five francs. The merchant put the jewelry into his box and shook his head. Then our party prepared to leave, and the merchant fell to fifteen francs. Buyer rose to six francs, and after a great deal of haggling, they met at seven francs and a half. In another instance, a trade was made at ten francs for something for which thirty francs had been demanded, and frequently half, or more than half the first price, was taken off to make a trade. An Oriental merchant expects you to bargain for his goods, and is quite surprised if you accept his offer at starting; and if you do it, you can be certain that you have deceived, yourself.

In many of the shops the makers of jewelry were at work; of course we were interested in seeing them. The man sat or squatted on the floor, in front of a small anvil; behind him was a little furnace, with a charcoal fire, which was kept alive by a bellows, worked by a boy or by the foot of the man. The bellows was in keeping with the rest of the equipment of the place—sometimes it was a bag of goatskin, and sometimes it had the shape, and was about the size of a Chinese lantern. The tools consisted of hammers and pinchers, and the men showed great dexterity in working them. Gold and silver are made to take curious shapes in the hands of these fabricants, and some of their performances appeared akin to magic. They had little turning lathes in some of the shops, and occasionally a man would hold with his toe the article which he was endeavoring to put into shape the size of a small egg; there is no saucer, but in its place there is a little socket of the general shape of a flower vase, and into this the cup fits very neatly. They must wear out, or become lost, at a remarkably rapid rate to judge by the quantities that were offered for sale.

The jewelry bazaar has many windings, and, somewhat to our surprise, we came out after many crooks and-turns by a passage-way, only a few feet from where we had entered.

Brass pans and pots for cooking purposes are in demand, and so are plates, on which to serve up sweetmeats. In some of the 483Not far away from the jewelers is the bazaar of the tinsmiths and workers in brass. Their shops are small, like all shops in the Orient, and their furnaces were much on the same style as those of the workers in gold and silver.


They were hammering brass and tin into a variety of shapes, the most common article being the pots for making coffee, and the little stands that hold the cups. They bring coffee to you in the Orient in a cup about 484shops they tried to sell us some very ancient plates of Saracenic manufacture, and the rapidity with which they reduced their figures, led me to suspect that the articles were skilful imitations, rather than genuine. The brass and tin bazaars are quite extensive, and the trade in these articles is evidently large.

Constantly, on our way, we were beset by men, who wanted to guide us and act as intermediaries in trade. These fellows hang around the bazaars and make a living in two ways; they get a fee from the stranger and a commission from the merchant, and the commission is generally the most important of the two. It makes little difference whether you take them as interpreters, or hire a dragoman from the hotel; both will have a commission, and sometimes the dragoman is worse than the regular frequenter of the bazaars. After a little practice, and by picking up the numerals and a few other words of Arabic, I was able to do my own shopping, without the intercession of a guide, and found I could get along much better when alone. Many of the merchants understand the French or Italian numerals, or what is more frequently, a combination of the two; with a lingual hash, composed of Arabic, French, and Italian, one can manage to trade very fairly.

You can barter leisurely, or you can go rapidly through many bazaars. You can go in the Hamzowce, or silk and cloth bazaar, where silks, cloths, and similar goods are sold, mostly of European manufacture; but as the dealers are all Christians and scoundrels, and the articles they sell are familiar to us, the place is not particularly interesting.

You can go into the Terbeeah, or perfume bazaar; and it is here that you buy, or think you buy, the famous “otto of rose.”

I spent the whole of one morning, bargaining for some of it, and at last bought half a dozen bottles, only to be told when I reached the hotel, that I had been cheated in the price. There is a wonderful odor of sandal wood and otto of rose, and a dozen other things in this bazaar, and the rows of bottles and jars behind the turbaned and squatting dealers, form a picture that: is by no means unpleasant. Strips of gilded paper are hung in front of these bazaars, as a sign of the articles sold within. I was unable to ascertain the meaning of them, and concluded 485that they were arbitrary in their character, like the striped poles that we place in front of a barber’s shop. Here, as everywhere else, you must haggle a good deal about the price, and keep a sharp eye, to see that you get the article you have bought.


There are different localities for different goods. In one bazaar you find cotton and silk stuffs, and in another they have garments made of the same material. In one there are shoes and slippers, in another saddles, and in another flags and tents. Here you find silk and gold cord and lace, and there you can discover stores of precious stones. Here are sugar, almonds, and dried fruit, and there are tobacco and coffee. Here is the market for guns, swords, and arms of various kinds, and there is the market for fowls and vegetables. In the arms bazaar you may 486find a wilderness of old weapons, and not unlikely you may purchase a sword that flashed in the days of Haroun-al-Rasheed, and helped to spread the faith of Mohammed through the sleepy and careless East.

Among the dealers in gems, you will find diamonds and turquoises in great number, and they will be drawn one by one from the pocket of the merchant and placed in a little box which he holds in his hand. If you like, you may visit the bazaar where old clothes are sold, and if you have a fancy for garments that have done duty on Moslem backs, your desires can be met with the utmost ease. And don’t fail to come to the bazaars on Mondays and Thursdays, and witness the sale of goods at auction. It is not like an American auction, where the dealer stands in one place and has the buyers clustering round him. In this case, the auctioneers go through the market, carrying the goods and calling out the prices that have been offered. This mode of selling gives a fine opportunity for fraud, and it is quite likely that a great deal of it is practised.

Though pretty well tired out when through with the bazaars, we took a turn at the opera house in the evening. I have seen opera and ballet in pretty nearly every city where they make a point of giv