The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Life and Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, Vol. 1 (of 2)

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Title: The Life and Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, Vol. 1 (of 2)

Author: Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq

Editor: F. H. Blackburne Daniell

Charles Thornton Forster

Release date: November 30, 2016 [eBook #53629]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Turgut Dincer and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)


Transcribers note:
To improve the reading of the Vol. I, The Index at the end of the Vol. II. which covers both volumes has been copied to Vol. I. and The Errata has been corrected.


Te voce, Augeri, mulcentem Cæsaris aures
Laudauit plausis Austrius Ister aquis.
Te Ducis Ismarij flectentem pectora verbis
Thrax rapido obstupuit Bosphorus e pelago.
Te gesfisfe domum pro nata Cæsaris, ingens
Sequana conspexit, Parisÿq3 lares

I. Lernutius.






Late Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge: Vicar of Hinxton



Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge: Barrister-at-Law

Πολλῶν ἀνθρώπων ἴδεν ἄστεα καὶ νόον ἔγνω






(The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved)





We ask to be allowed to introduce the Reader to a kind and genial cicerone, who can take him back, three centuries deep, into the Past, and show him the Turk as he was when he dictated to Europe instead of Europe dictating to him; or conjure once more into life Catherine de Medici, Navarre, Alençon, Guise, Marguerite the fair and frail, and that young Queen, whom he loved so well and served so faithfully.


Life of Busbecq1
Turkish Letter I.75


The references in footnotes on pp. 105-250, to other passages in this volume after p. 72, should be advanced by 2 pages, e.g. for 163, read 165.



London; C. Kegan Paul & Co.--Edwd Weller.




The days are now past when students were content to take their history at second hand, and there is therefore the less reason to apologise for introducing to the reader, in an English dress, the letters of one who was an eyewitness and actor in some of the most important events in the sixteenth century.

Several of the most striking passages in Robertson’s History of Charles V. are taken from Busbecq; De Thou has borrowed largely from his letters; and the pages of Gibbon, Coxe, Von Hammer, Ranke, Creasy, and Motley, testify to the value of information derived from this source. It must not, however, be supposed that all that is historically valuable in his writings has found a place in the works of modern authors. On the contrary, the evidence which Busbecq furnishes has often been forgotten or ignored.

A remarkable instance of this neglect is to be found in Prescott’s account of the capture of Djerbé,1 or Gelves, by the Turks. The historian of Philip II. has made up this part of his narrative from the conflicting and vainglorious accounts of Spanish writers, and does not even allude to the plain, unvarnished tale which 2Busbecq tells—a tale which he must have heard from the lips of the commander of the Christian forces, his friend Don Alvaro de Sandé, and which he had abundant opportunities of verifying from other sources.

The revival of the Eastern Question has drawn attention in France2 to the career and policy of one who was so successful as an ambassador at Constantinople, and the life of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq has been the subject of two treatises at least since 1860, while a far more important work dealing with our author’s life is about to issue from the press. Of this last we have been allowed to see the proof-sheets, and we take this opportunity of expressing our obligation to the author, Monsieur Jean Dalle, Maire de Bousbecque. His book is a perfect storehouse of local information, and must prove invaluable to any future historian of the Flemings. It is entitled Histoire de Bousbecque.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries hardly any author was so popular as Busbecq. More than twenty editions3 of his letters were published in the literary capitals of Europe—Antwerp, Paris, Bâle, Frankfort, Hanau, Munich, Louvain, Leipsic, London, Oxford and Glasgow. His merits as a recorder of contemporary history are briefly sketched by a writer of that period, who thus describes his despatches to Rodolph: ‘C’est un portrait au naturel des affaires de France sous le régne de Henri III. Il raconte les choses avec une naïveté si grande qu’elles semblent se passer à nos yeux. On ne trouve point ailleurs tant de faits historiques en si peu de discours. Les grands 3mouvemens, comme la conspiration d’Anvers, et les petites intrigues de la cour y sont également bien marquées. Les attitudes (pour ainsi dire) dans lesquelles il met Henri III., la Reine Mere, le duc d’Alençon, le roi de Navarre, la reine Marguerite, le duc de Guise, le duc d’Espernon, et les autres Courtisans ou Favoris de ce tems-là, nous les montrent du côté qui nous en découvre, à coup seur, le fort et le foible, le bon et le mauvais.4

All who have studied the letters of Busbecq will endorse this opinion; nor is it possible for anyone even superficially acquainted with his writings, not to recognise the work of a man who combined the rarest powers of observation with the greatest industry and the greatest honesty.

He was eminently what is called ‘a many-sided man’; nothing is above him, nothing beneath him. His political information is important to the soberest of historians, his gossiping details would gladden a Macaulay; the Imperial Library at Vienna is rich with manuscripts and coins of his collection. To him scholars owe the first copy of the famous Monumentum Ancyranum. We cannot turn to our gardens without seeing the flowers of Busbecq around us—the lilac, the tulip, the syringa. So much was the first of these associated with the man who first introduced it to the West, that Bernardin de Saint Pierre proposed to change its name from lilac to Busbequia. Throughout his letters will be found hints for the architect, the physician, the philologist, and the statesman; he has stories to charm a child, and tales to make a grey-beard weep.


Of his careful and scientific investigations it is almost unnecessary to cite examples. Never having seen a camelopard, and finding that one had been buried at Constantinople, he had the animal dug up, and a careful examination made of its shape and capabilities. On his second journey to Constantinople he took a draughtsman with him, to sketch any curious plants and animals he might find. He sent his physician to Lemnos to make investigations with regard to Lemnian earth—a medicine famous in those days; while he despatched an apothecary of Pera to the Lake of Nicomedia to gather acorus5 for his friend Mattioli, the celebrated botanist.

While furnishing information of the highest value, Busbecq never assumes the air of a pedant. He tells his story in a frank and genial way, not unlike that of the modern newspaper correspondent. If to combine amusement and instruction is the highest art in this branch of literature, he would have been invaluable as a member of the staff of some great newspaper. Among books, Kinglake’s Eothen is perhaps the nearest parallel to Busbecq’s Turkish letters; the former is more finished in style—Busbecq evidently did not retouch his first rough draft—but it does not contain one tithe of the information. Such is the author for whom we venture to ask the attention of the English reader.

Even to those who can read the elegant Latin in which he wrote, it is hoped that the notes and articles appended may be found interesting and useful. They have been gleaned from many different quarters, and to a great extent from books inaccessible to the ordinary student. This is specially the case with the Sketch of Hungarian History during the Reign of 5Solyman. In no modern writer were we able to find more than scattered hints and allusions to the history of Hungary during this important epoch, when it formed the battle-field on which the Christian and the Mussulman were deciding the destinies of Europe.

The object of Busbecq’s mission was to stay, by the arts of diplomacy, the advance of the Asiatic conqueror, to neutralise in the cabinet the defeats of Essek and Mohacz. In this policy he was to a great extent successful. He gained time; and in such a case time is everything. What he says of Ferdinand is eminently true of himself.6

There are victories of which the world hears much—great battles, conquered provinces, armies sent beneath the yoke—but there is also the quiet work of the diplomatist, of which the world hears little. In the eyes of those who measure such work aright, not even the hero of Lepanto or the liberator of Vienna will hold a higher place among the champions of Christendom than Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq.

Removal of the Rubbish.

For the rebuilding of a house, it is absolutely necessary to remove the rubbish with which the site is encumbered. Unfortunately, the process is equally necessary in writing the life of Busbecq. There is rubbish of ancient date and rubbish of modern date, which cannot be ignored and must be removed. With regard to one story, a writer of the present time is specially bound to protest. It is to be found in the treatise of Monsieur Rouzière, entitled, Notice sur Auger de Busbecq, Ambassadeur du Roi Ferdinand 1er 6en Turquie, et de l’Empereur Rodolphe II. en France. There is the more need for warning the reader against it, because Monsieur Rouzière ushers in his narrative with a long tirade against similar inventions. ‘He is not,’ he tells us, ‘a professor of history, or one of those knights of the quill who wander from town to town discovering documents which, like the Sleeping Beauty, are waiting for the champion who is to break the enchanter’s spell.’ Monsieur Rouzière is specially bitter against ‘un Américain qui vient de mourir en parcourant l’Europe pour faire des découvertes historiques, et qui à l’Escurial avait fait la trouvaille d’une relation sur la mort de don Carlos écrite par son valet-de-chambre.’ With this preamble, he introduces his readers to the following story, which is simply a romance of his own creation:

‘When Charles V. came to Flanders for the purpose of installing his sister Mary, Queen of Hungary, in the government, he visited Comines, in company with Gilles Ghiselin, Seigneur of Bousbecque, father of the Ambassador. As they were entering the town, the Seigneur, entreating Charles to wait for a few moments, knocked at the door of a house, which, though unpretentious, had a dignity of its own. Out of it issued a boy with sparkling eyes; so interesting was his appearance, that the words, ‘O! what a lovely child!’ burst from the emperor’s lips. The Seigneur bade the boy kneel down. ‘Ogier,’ said he, ‘look well at your lord; when you are older you will serve him as faithfully as your father and grandfather.’ He then informed the emperor that, not having any legitimate children, he had allowed all his love to centre on this offshoot, who, he fondly hoped, would one day be admitted into his family.’

Monsieur Rouzière is certainly not fortunate in his7 story;7 the Seigneur’s name was George8 and not Gilles, and he had, moreover, three legitimate children. A house at Comines is shown as the scene of this event, but from inquiries made on the spot, we have ascertained that there is no tradition connecting it with Busbecq earlier than the publication of Monsieur Rouzière’s treatise in 1860. He is a lively and amusing writer. It is the more to be regretted that he has not regarded the line which separates biography from romance.

Monsieur Huysmans, the well-known French artist, has also laid the foundation of several errors in the striking picture which has been purchased by the Belgian Government, and now adorns the Hôtel de Ville of Belgian Comines. Its artistic merits make one regret the more that he did not select one of the many dramatic events in Busbecq’s life, instead of giving us a scene which not only is not recorded, but never could have happened. In the first place, the date 1555 is wrong; in no case could the scene have taken place earlier than 1556. Secondly, Monsieur Huysmans has been led into error by a loose translation in the French version of Busbecq’s letters by 8the Abbé de Foy. For some time Busbecq was confined to his house by the Turkish authorities. De Foy, in speaking of this curtailment of his liberty, uses the expression ‘une étroite prison’ (whence, by the way, some have supposed that Busbecq was confined in the Seven Towers). Monsieur Huysmans, led astray by this phrase, and imagining that the Ambassador was confined in a prison, straightway concluded that if he was imprisoned he must have been arrested. On this he grounded the subject of his work, ‘Soliman fait arrêter Busbecq, diplomat Flamand, Constantinople, 1555.’ There is also a striking error in the persons represented in the picture. When Busbecq first arrived at Constantinople Roostem was in disgrace, and Achmet held the post of chief Vizier. The latter had only consented to accept the seal of office on condition that the Sultan undertook never to remove him. The Sultan kept his word. When it was convenient to reinstate Roostem, he did not deprive Achmet of the seal of office, but of his life. The execution of Achmet is one of the most striking scenes recorded by Busbecq. Unfortunately, Monsieur Huysmans had not studied his subject sufficiently, for in his picture Roostem is in office, and Achmet stands by as a subordinate.

As to errors of a less recent date, they are, for the most part, such as an intelligent reader of Busbecq’s letters may correct for himself. For instance, it is not hard to prove that the author of the life prefixed to the Elzevir edition is wrong in stating that Busbecq’s father died before the Ambassador went to England, when we find that he had an interview with him after his return from our island. Neither is there much danger of the veriest tiro being led astray by De Foy’s suggestion that, when Busbecq came to England for9 the marriage of Philip and Mary, he had long conversations with Henry VIII., who tried to induce him to enter his service. There is, however, danger in Howaert’s9 statement that Busbecq accompanied the younger sons of Maximilian to Spain, and introduced them to Philip. The story is not impossible in itself, nor is it even improbable. But there is this suspicious circumstance about it; those who mention it do not seem to be aware that Busbecq did accompany the two elder sons of Maximilian, Rodolph and Ernest, to Spain in the capacity of ‘Écuyer trenchant.’ This latter fact is established on the best of authorities, namely, the Patent of knighthood issued by the Emperor Ferdinand to Busbecq, a copy10 of which we have, through the kindness of a friend, been enabled to procure from the archives of Vienna.

That Busbecq accompanied the four younger Archdukes to Spain is perhaps doubtful, and still more doubtful is the story grafted on to it by later hands, namely, that Busbecq pleaded the cause of the Netherlands before Philip II., obtained the recall of Alva and the substitution of Requesens in his place. No facts could be more interesting if they should but prove to be true; unfortunately they are at present without authority.

Bousbecque and its Seigneurs.

It is from the seigneury of Bousbecque that Ogier11 Ghiselin takes the name by which he is best known, Busbecq (Latin, Busbequius).


Properly of course his name is identical with that of the seigneury, but, by common consent, the Ambassador is known as Busbecq, while the name of the place, after numerous variations—Bosbeke, Busbeke, Bousbeke, &c., has settled down into the form Bousbecque.12

It will be necessary therefore to speak of the man by one name and the place by another.

The geographical position of Bousbecque has an important bearing on the biography of the Ambassador; as the place is not marked in English maps, a plan of the district is given in this volume showing the relative positions of Bousbecque, Comines, Wervicq, Halluin, &c. It will be seen that Bousbecque lies on the river Lys, about two miles from Comines. In the times with which we shall have to deal, it formed part of the County of Flanders; it is now part of the French frontier, and is included in the Département du Nord.

The neighbourhood of Bousbecque has a history extending to early times, for close to it stands Wervicq, marking with its name the Roman station of Viroviacum; in Bousbecque itself Roman paving-stones have been dug out on the road now known as the ‘Chemin des Oblaers;’ whence it may be assumed that the road mentioned in the itinerary of Antoninus, as running from Tournay to Wervicq, passed through Bousbecque.

The depth of the river Lys, which is an affluent of the Scheldt, exposed the neighbouring country to the attacks of the Northmen; the hardy pirates sailed up the stream, and built their castles and forts on the 11banks of the river. Their descendants became the seigneurs, or lords, of the territories which their ancestors had won.

A distinction must here be drawn between the seigneury of Bousbecque and the parish (now commune) of Bousbecque. The parish of Bousbecque contained a great many other seigneuries besides that from which it takes its name; notably, for instance, the seigneuries of la Lys and Rhume. The first mention of Bousbecque occurs in a deed, without date, but necessarily between 1098 and 1113; in it Baudry, bishop of Tournay, conveys to the Collegiate Chapter of St. Peter, at Lille, the whole tithes of Roncq and half the tithes of Halluin and Bousbecque (Busbeka).13

In 1159, Wautier, Seigneur of Halluin, husband of Barbe daughter of the Count of Soissons, conveys to the Abbey of St. Aubert, with the consent of his wife and his children—Wautier, Roger, Guillaume, Alix, and Richilde—his share of the tithes of Iwuy. The Roger here mentioned, married Agnes de Bousbecque; hence we see the high position held at that early date by the family of Busbecq;14 a daughter of their house was considered a proper partner for a nobleman of royal family, the grandson of a Comte de Soissons.

Adjoining the seigneury of Bousbecque lay the seigneury of la Lys, and in 1298 both these seigneuries are found in the possession of the same person, men12tion being made in the archives of Lille of ‘William de la Lys, sire de Bousbeke, fius Monseigneur William de la Lys, ki fu sire de Bousbeke.’

Thus for a time the title by which the family was known was not Bousbecque, but la Lys.

In December 1348, was signed the Treaty of Dunkirk, by the Earl of Lancaster, the Earl of Suffolk, and Sir Walter Manny on the part of England, and on the part of Flanders, by ten delegates of rank; among their names is found that of Jehan de la Lys.

About this time the seigneuries of la Lys and Bousbecque passed to the house of Pontenerie; William of that name marrying Marie de la Lys, heiress of the seigneuries, and assuming—no doubt as one of the conditions of the contract—the name of la Lys. His children were severally known as, Guillaume, Jeanne, and Marie de la Pontenerie, dit de la Lys.

Again there was a failure in the male line, and Marie, the youngest daughter, brought the seigneuries to Bauduin de Hingettes.

Their son, Jehan de Hingettes, married a Halluin, and dying in 1466, his daughter Adrienne de Hingettes, dit de la Lys, became representative and heiress of the family. She married Gilles Ghiselin I., and thus the seigneuries of la Lys and Bousbecque passed into the possession of the noble house of Ghiselin.15

On the marriage of Adrienne to Gilles Ghiselin I. the title of la Lys was dropped, and that of Bousbecque resumed.

Gilles Ghiselin I., Seigneur of Bousbecque, knight of Jerusalem and Cyprus, was a man of considerable 13importance, and from the following notice it would appear that he was a man of high character. In 1474 there was a dispute between the dean and chapter of Messines16 on the one side, and the abbess, convent, and church on the other. It appears that the bailiffs of the abbess had arrested a man in a house belonging to the dean and chapter. The chapter resented this intrusion on their rights, and the case was submitted to two men for arbitration, Gilles Ghiselin I. and Guillaume Wyts.

George Ghiselin I., great uncle of the Ambassador.

Gilles Ghiselin I., died in 1476, leaving six children by his wife Adrienne; two of whom, George and Gilles, were destined to occupy a prominent part in the history of their time.

George, the elder, succeeded to the seigneury of Bousbecque; his grandmother was a Halluin, and he also was married to a member of the same house.

It is not improbable that he owed his promotion to a high place in the Burgundian Court to the influence of Jeanne de la Clite, dame de Comines, the wife of Jean Halluin, Seigneur of Halluin, and the head of that important family.

At any rate this lady had an influence at the Court of Burgundy which it is impossible to overestimate, and we find her husband’s relations,17 the Ghiselins of 14Bousbecque, occupying high positions in the ducal household.

In June 1478, Mary of Burgundy, daughter and heiress of Charles the Bold, was married to the Archduke Maximilian, afterwards Emperor; George Ghiselin was appointed one of his chamberlains, and a member of his council.

On August 7, 1479, there was a great battle at Guinegatte, between Maximilian and the French. The latter were at first successful, their men at-arms defeated Maximilian’s horse, and chased them off the field, while the free-archers began plundering the baggage, and murdering the non-combatants. But the battle had yet to be decided. Maximilian’s army did not consist solely of horse, for there were two divisions of Flemish pikemen on foot. To the surprise of Philippe de Comines, who gives an account of the battle, the Flemish infantry were not shaken by the defeat of the cavalry; the firm front which they showed was probably owing to a custom which the Burgundians had adopted from their English Allies. Their officers, who in this instance consisted of two hundred of their own nobles and gentlemen, fought on foot. These two divisions were severally commanded by the Count of 15Nassau and the Count of Romont. As soon as a French force could be collected, it was brought up to crush the Flemings; the Count of Nassau’s command was hard pressed, and in spite of a gallant resistance, Maximilian’s guns were taken, and turned on the Burgundians. At this critical moment, the Count of Romont charged with his division, retook the guns, and sweeping on, captured the whole of the French artillery, thirty-seven pieces, with their camp and commissariat stores. This battle is generally spoken of as an indecisive one, because Maximilian retired instead of following up his success. His strategy may have been bad, but, as to the great victory he gained, there can be no doubt. On the Burgundian side, we have the account of Molinet, who tells us that the French lost ten thousand men, thirty-seven guns, and their camp with all its stores. On the French side, we have the account of Philippe de Comines, who endeavours to represent it as a drawn battle; but he does not disguise the effect which the news of this defeat had on his master, Louis XI. He was with him when the tidings came, and from that very hour, he tells us, the French king determined to make peace with Maximilian. It was on the field of Guinegatte18 that George Ghiselin, 16Seigneur of Bousbecque, in company with nine other gentlemen, received knighthood at the hand of Maximilian. It seems certain that he was fighting on foot, with his retainers, in the ranks of the Flemish pikemen.

The scene now changes from the battle-field to the scaffold. The Flemings, as represented by their four members—Ghent, Bruges, Ypres, and the belt of villages known as the Francq—were anxious for peace with France. They had also serious grievances against Maximilian (now King of the Romans) and his ministers. They declared that the latter had misappropriated the revenues, and the former been more grievous in his exactions than Philippe le Bon or Charles the Bold.

They also objected to having German troops quartered in the country.

Early in 1488 the smouldering fires of insurrection burst into a flame. Curiously enough, Maximilian’s treatment of a friend and relation of the Busbecqs was the proximate cause of the outbreak. Adrien de Vilain,19 Seigneur of Rasenghien, had been one of the leaders of the Gantois after the outbreak in 1485. He had subsequently retired to Lille, with the approval of Maximilian, who had given him a pardon. Here no doubt he felt safe in the neighbourhood of the Ghiselins of Bousbecque and other friends; but one day he was 17seized by Charlot de Menneville and a party of the Count of Nassau’s archers, who carried him off, and imprisoned him in the castle of Villevorde. His relations were naturally incensed at this breach of faith, and one morning, when the warden of the castle had gone to Brussels, Vilain’s first cousin, Adrien de Lickerke, rode into Villevorde with thirteen of his friends; leaving the rest in the town, he proceeded to the castle with three of his companions, and knocked at the gate. The porter at first refused to admit them, but by dint of entreaties, backed by the offer of a handsome reward, his scruples were at last overcome. On entering, they asked for Adrien Vilain. The porter replied that he was no longer in the castle; but a glance into the court-yard disproved his words, for there was the prisoner drearily pacing up and down in his gown. De Lickerke went up to him. ‘You have been here long enough, fair cousin,’ quoth he, ‘come back with us.’ Vilain’s gown (the civilian dress), was quickly exchanged for a soldier’s doublet, and a hat placed on his head. The porter, seeing their intentions, attempted to raise an alarm, but they hustled him against the wall, and nearly killed him. Quitting the castle with the prisoner they joined their friends in the town, and taking horse rode for their lives. Avoiding Brussels, they made for Tournai, some seventy miles distant, not sparing the spur till they were in a place of safety.

Whether Maximilian had authorised the seizure of Vilain or not, at any rate he was deeply annoyed at his escape. De Lickerke was now a marked man; probably he thought that his safety lay in boldness, for he put himself at the head of 3,000 Gantois, and one wintry night (January 9, 1488) took Courtrai20 by sur18prise, making the inhabitants swear allegiance to Philippe (Maximilian’s infant son) and the Gantois.

The King of the Romans was at this time at Bruges, where the States were assembled to conclude a peace with France. The Gantois had committed themselves; it was time for the Brugeois to rise. On the last day of January, 1488, the guild of carpenters made the first move by seizing two of the gates of Bruges,21 those of St. Catherine and Ghent. Maximilian, with his officers, attendants, and body-guard lay at the Palace (Prinssenhof), not far from the centre of the town; with him were Pierre Lauchast, Carondelet the Chancellor, George Ghiselin, and other faithful followers.

It is difficult to say whether his best plan would have been to remain quiet, or to follow the example of Philippe le Bon,22 put himself at the head of his guard, and fight his way out of the city. Unfortunately for himself and his friends, he took a middle course. On February 1, between five and six in the morning, he marched into the market-place with his household troops. Leaving the larger portion of them there, he proceeded with his personal attendants to the gates of Ghent and St. Catherine, where he met with scant courtesy from the guard of carpenters.

Meanwhile the troops in the market-place had been standing round a huge bonfire, and it occurred to their commanding officer that it would be a good opportunity to put them through their drill. He gave the order for them to execute a German23 manœuvre, ‘Faison le limechon à la mode d’Allemagne,’ and marched them 19round the square in fours. Next he gave the order for them to bring their pikes to the charge; there was a crowd looking on, and, imagining they were about to be attacked, they fled in confusion and dismay. Maximilian, hearing the uproar, returned, and led his men back to their quarters. No blood had been shed, but the mischief had been done.

At twelve o’clock the same day the trades of Bruges met at their several halls, arms were served out, flags were unfurled, and columns of citizens streamed into the market-place. There they formed a regular encampment, planting their fifty-two banners, throwing up entrenchments, and arming them with cannon.

The Brugeois were now masters of the situation. On February 5, at the request of the Gantois, they compelled Maximilian to leave his palace, and lodged him in the famous grocer’s shop in the market-place, known as the Cranenburg. But the king of the Romans was not the chief object of their wrath; it was against his ministers that they vowed their direst vengeance. A reign of terror commenced; rewards were offered for the apprehension of Pierre Lauchast and others connected with the treasury. Maximilian’s friends and advisers were compelled to seek safety in concealment or in flight.

George Ghiselin had his head tonsured, and assumed the dress of a mendicant friar of the Augustin order. In this disguise he attempted to leave the city. Unfortunately he was recognised at the gate, and arrested.

Shortly afterwards he was called up for examination before the town judges, in company with Jehan Van Ninove, and a sergeant named Bontemps. The court had not sat for a full hour, when the dean of the carpenters brought a detachment of his men to the20 door, and threatened to break it open. The judges, seeing that resistance was useless, allowed them to seize the unfortunate prisoners, whom they straightway carried off to the market-place, and there examined after their own fashion.

The deans of the different trades had enclosed a space for the purpose of holding their consultations; in the middle of this enclosure stood a rack, specially constructed for torturing victims of different sizes. Hard by was a scaffold of unusual size, and there, waiting for his prey, stood Maistre Charles, the executioner of Bruges.

Jehan Van Ninove’s turn came first. He was frightfully tortured, his legs being actually dislocated. Whilst he was being racked, proclamation was made that he had agreed with Pierre Lauchast to bring the troops of the guard into the town for the purpose of intimidating the citizens of Bruges. Bontemps was then tortured, but George Ghiselin was respited. The unfortunate prisoners had now no doubt as to what their ultimate fate would be, and they all three asked to be executed, and forgave those who had compassed their death.

There was one listening on whose ears the words fell with no unwelcome sound; Maistre Charles24 had an eye to his fees, and determined that there should be no delay on his part. In a trice he was on the scaffold, getting out his swords and preparing his bandages. Then, louder than thunder, swelled the shouting in the market-place, some demanding their immediate execution, and some its postponement. 21The latter prevailed. Maistre Charles was disappointed of his prey, and the unhappy men were sent back to prison.

On February 28, the leading spirits of the insurrection being absent from the town and engaged in an attack on Middelbourg, the town judges made a most meritorious effort to save the lives of these victims of mob law. They called them up for sentence.25 Maistre Charles was again in high glee; his swords and bandages were all ready, and his palm itching for the fees. He must have been greatly cast down when the judges passed a merely nominal sentence on George Ghiselin and his companions; they were to beg pardon in their shirts of the deans, make some pilgrimages, and distribute certain sums in charity; the only object of the sentence being to satisfy the people. There was now a gleam of hope for the unhappy men; but, unfortunately, Middelbourg surrendered the same day, and the ringleaders, returning in triumph, were furious at this attempt to frustrate their vengeance. They seized the unfortunate prisoners, and racked them again in the market-place.

On the next day, February 29, 1488, Maistre Charles once more made his preparations, and this time he was not disappointed. Bontemps, whose turn came last, was pardoned by the mob, now glutted with blood, but the rest were all executed, and amongst them died that gallant knight, George Ghiselin, Seigneur of Bousbecque.


Gilles Ghiselin II., Grandfather of the Ambassador.

George Ghiselin left no children, and on his death the seigneury of Bousbecque passed to his brother Gilles. The latter appears to have entered the public service at an earlier period than his elder brother. Gilles won his spurs from Charles the Bold, and George from Maximilian.

At home and at court, Gilles Ghiselin II. must necessarily have been brought into contact with a man of world-wide fame—Philippe de Comines,26 the father of modern history. Living within two miles of each other during their boyhood, and connected by marriage, they were both at an early age introduced into the household of Charles the Bold.

The famous Duke of Burgundy made a point of gathering27 round him and educating his young nobles. Philippe de Comines entered his service when he was about seventeen years old, and it is not improbable that Gilles Ghiselin II. joined his court at the same time. It will be necessary here to give some account of the posts which the two young men severally filled. In the ducal household28 there were fifty bread-servers, fifty cupbearers, fifty carvers, and fifty equerries, each of whom in battle was accompanied by a swordbearer, and the whole body was commanded by four captains. Thus the officers of Charles the Bold’s house were formed into an organised band of picked troops. In this body Philippe de Comines was enrolled as a cup-23bearer, ‘écuyer échanson,’ and Gilles Ghiselin II. as a carver, ‘écuyer trenchant.’ They were both at a later date appointed chamberlains to the duke, and members of his council; they were also both knighted by their Sovereign, and not improbably on the same occasion.

Philippe de Comines is supposed to have won his spurs on the occasion of the Burgundian and French armies entering Liege, an event rendered familiar to English readers by the pages of Quentin Durward. Gilles Ghiselin II. may have received the accolade at the same time.

In August 1472, Philippe de Comines deserted his master, and threw in his lot with Louis XI. of France. Gilles Ghiselin remained constant to the house of Burgundy in sunshine and in shade. He accompanied his master in his numerous campaigns, and was with him at the fatal battle of Nancy.29

Gilles Ghiselin must have taken part in many a victory, but it is only the disastrous defeat that is recorded by his descendant on his tomb. That inscription must have been placed by one who valued loyalty above success, and merit above reward. We know who caused that inscription to be engraved; it was his grandson, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq.

The death of his master on the fatal field of Nancy, January 1477, apparently marks the termination of Gilles Ghiselin’s military career. Though he did not become Seigneur of Bousbecque till after his brother’s death in 1488, there was probably some family arrangement by which he resided at the château, and represented its absent lord. During his service 24under Duke Charles, he must have acquired considerable wealth, for shortly after his return to Bousbecque he built the noble church30 which still stands as a memorial of his munificence. He also rebuilt, or more probably restored, the seigneur’s château, the family residence of the Busbecqs, and there with his wife, Agnes Gommer, he settled down to lead the life of a country gentleman.

He was, however, too valuable a man to be left without work. In 1480, three years after the battle of Nancy, he was appointed High Bailiff of Ypres, ‘grand bailly de la ville, salle et châtellenie d’Ypres.’ This important town, which formed one of the four members of Flanders, is situated about ten miles north of Bousbecque. About six miles from either of these places lies Messines, of which his sister Marie was lady-abbess. The castles of Halluin and Comines were both in the hands of his relations; while in the important town of Lille, Gilles Ghiselin and his wife had a magnificent hotel, whither after her husband’s death Agnes Gommer retired to end her days. It will be seen, therefore, that Gilles Ghiselin II., the grandfather of the Ambassador, was, at this period of his life, a man of very high position and influence. Unlike his brother George, he did not accept any office in the household of Maximilian. It would appear that if Gilles Ghiselin II. was a loyal subject, he was no less a loyal Fleming, and had little taste for the service of the German Archduke, who had been married by his Sovereign. That this is the true reading of his story may be gathered with fair pro25bability from the records of Bousbecque church. It was built by Gilles Ghiselin about 1480. In 1485 a window was presented to this church, blazoned with the arms of Ghent and Rasenghien, by a distant relation of the family, Adrien Vilain, Seigneur of Rasenghien, whose story has already been told. Now in 1485 Adrien Vilain was one of the leaders of the Gantois in opposing Maximilian. It may fairly be inferred that his views met with some sympathy from his friend at Bousbecque. To admit such a window into his church was not the way to curry favour with Maximilian.

With regard to Maximilian’s son Philippe le Beau, Gilles Ghiselin was in a different position. He was the child not only of Maximilian, but also of Mary of Burgundy, and the grandson of his old master Charles the Bold. Moreover, the early education of Philippe had been entrusted to the neighbour, connection, and doubtless intimate friend and ally of the Busbecqs, Jeanne de la Clite,31 of whom mention has already been made. She probably exercised considerable influence over the selection of the officers of the young prince’s household, and it is not surprising to find that Gilles Ghiselin II. filled the post of écuyer trenchant.32

It is not probable that Philippe le Beau had like his grandfather fifty squires to discharge the duties of this office. It is more likely that Gilles Ghiselin II. was his sole écuyer trenchant, though it is possible that he may have had one or two coadjutors.

On attaining his eighteenth year Philippe was united to Joanna the second daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. In its political issues this marriage was probably the most important event of its 26kind in the history of the world. Philippe was already Sovereign of the Low Countries, as his mother’s heir; through his father he was entitled to the reversion of the possessions of the house of Hapsburg, and had practically a claim on the Imperial title. Joanna, on her part, was destined to become by the death of her brother and her nephew heiress of Spain, and to transmit not only Spain itself, but vast empires in the western hemisphere to the descendants of this marriage.

Of Philippe and Joanna were born two sons, Charles V., the famous Emperor, and Ferdinand, who was born in Spain, and brought up there by his grandfather Ferdinand of Aragon, to whom his brother resigned Austria, Styria, and the Tyrol, and who succeeded eventually to the Imperial title. The last of these two princes specially commands our notice, for he it was who invited young Ogier Ghiselin into his service, and sent him first to England, and afterwards to Constantinople.

In November 1501 Philippe and Joanna left the Netherlands for a visit to Spain. The Count of Nassau was entrusted with the government of the country, and with the care of their children whom they left behind them. Their family then consisted of Charles, the future Emperor, and his two sisters, Leonora33 and Elizabeth.34 Mechlin was appointed as their residence, and an establishment was created for them, in which the post of premier écuyer trenchant was assigned to Gilles Ghiselin, who had been the faithful servant of their father and their great grandfather.


Gilles Ghiselin did not live to see his young master and mistresses ascend the thrones, to which they were destined; he died in 1514, full of years and honours.

The careers of George and Gilles Ghiselin had an important bearing on the destinies of Ogier; his credentials to Ferdinand were the eminent services of his grandsire and great uncle.

Possibly the calm courage with which he faced the prospect of death and torture at Constantinople, may have arisen in some degree from the memory of what his ancestors had been.

In Bousbecque church still stands the monument which marks Ogier’s regard for the grandsire he never saw.

To this object he devoted what was probably the first large sum he was able to save from his salary as ambassador.

It bears the date 1559, and the following inscription:—


Jeanne de la Clite and her son George Halluin.

Hitherto the family history has been traced, but before proceeding further, it will be necessary to describe the man to whom the Ambassador must have owed more than to anyone else.


This was George Halluin, son of Jeanne de la Clite, cousin of Philippe de Comines,35 and an intimate friend of the great Erasmus. Mention has already been made of alliances between the Busbecqs and the Halluins; in the map it will be seen that Bousbecque lies half way between Halluin and Comines, being about two miles distant from either.

Towards the end of the fourteenth century, Colard de la Clite I. married Jeanne de Wazières, Lady of Comines, and thus became seigneur of the place. He had two sons, (1) Jean de la Clite I.,36 Seigneur of Comines, guardian of Philippe de Comines; (2) Colard de la Clite II., dit de Comines, father of Philippe de Comines.

Jean de la Clite I. married Jeanne de Ghistelles, and had a son, Jean de la Clite II., who was united to Jeanne d’Estouteville.

The sole child of the pair last mentioned was Jeanne de la Clite, who was destined to exercise so important an influence on the current of modern history.

It will be seen therefore that Jeanne de la Clite 29was the granddaughter, and Philippe de Comines the nephew, of Jean de la Clite I., but though the girl belonged to a younger generation, she was older than her cousin Philippe, having been born in the Castle of Comines in 1440, while the historian was born in the same place in 1445.

Philippe de Comines, being yet a child when his father died, was handed over to the care of his uncle; and there is a manifest probability that he and Jeanne were brought up together. His name is famous, she was one of the most accomplished women of her age. As she was so much older, it is probable that hers was the predominating influence: what that influence was likely to be may be traced in the education she bestowed on her son.

Charles the Bold, as has been already stated, made his court a sort of school for young men of noble birth; it was not likely therefore that he would neglect the education of his only child.

He provided for it by appointing Jeanne de la Clite as première gouvernante to the young princess.

On three remarkable occasions in the life of Mary of Burgundy we meet with Jeanne de la Clite; (1) when tidings came of the disastrous defeat of Nancy, and the death of Duke Charles, the Chancellor Hugonet asked Jeanne de la Clite37 to break the news to her young mistress before he himself made the official announcement; (2) when it was proposed to marry the princess to the Dauphin of France, a sickly child of eight, Jeanne de la Clite38 put her veto on the project. Her interference was not altogether approved of by the Burgundian Council, but it was decisive; (3) Mary of Burgundy’s first-born, Philippe le Beau, was 30baptised when six days old. Jean Molinet, the court chronicler, thought it necessary to record the order in which the great nobles and ladies went to the ceremony: of Jeanne de la Clite39 we read that she stopped behind to take care of her young mistress.

After Mary’s accession to the throne, Jeanne de la Clite became her première dame d’honneur; her next office was gouvernante to Philippe le Beau, who lost his mother when he was scarce five years old. She saw her young charge grow up, and became dame d’honneur to his wife, the unfortunate Joanna of Spain, accompanying her in that capacity to Spain in 1501.

She had been gouvernante to Mary of Burgundy, and in all probability she was present at the birth and christening of her grandchildren, Charles and Ferdinand, but her long connection with the royal family was now to terminate. Of her own choice she retired to Comines, and spent her last days in ministering to the welfare of her people.

Her important duties had not prevented her forming domestic ties. Early in life she was married to Jean Halluin, or Halewin, Seigneur of Halluin, and chief of what may be termed the Halluin clan,40 bringing as her marriage portion the important seigneury of Comines. Five children were the fruit of this marriage, three daughters, Wautier, who died young, and George Halluin.

The last succeeded to the seigneuries of Halluin and Comines, and also to the title41 which had been 31bestowed on his mother for her eminent services. George Halluin was born in 1470, his father died in 1473, so that, from his earliest infancy, his mother must have had the supreme direction of his education. Probably no woman was ever better fitted for the task. It is remarkable that Philippe de Comines, who was an excellent modern linguist, regretted deeply his ignorance of the ancient languages, when we couple this circumstance with the fact that his cousin and playmate, Jeanne, gave her son an education which made him one of the first Latin scholars of his age. With regard to his literary merits, we can produce two unimpeachable witnesses; the one is a man whose name was for centuries familiar to the schoolboy, Jean Despauteres, the writer of Latin grammars, the other is the great Erasmus.

Long before his mother had resigned her influential position at the Court, George Halluin had grown to man’s estate. A brilliant career, accompanied with wealth and high honours, seemed the manifest destiny of the young Seigneur. He was a gallant knight, placed at the head, not only of numerous vassals, but also of an important clan. His advice was sought by his Sovereign, and his voice in the council chamber was listened to with respect.42

As a loyal gentleman he was ever ready to give 32his country the benefit of his services, but of ambition he had none. The campaign over, the crisis past, George Halluin sought once more his books and his friends. He collected a magnificent library, he surrounded himself with students, young and old, and became the guide and oracle of the best scholars of his age. He took an interest not only in the pursuits of finished scholarship, but also in the best method of instructing beginners. He had a theory, which Erasmus thought he pushed too far, that grammars and rules were a hindrance rather than a help, and that the only road to a real knowledge of the Latin language lay through the best Latin authors.

In order to establish his views, he wrote a treatise on modern and ancient writers, showing how many mistakes arose from the grammars used by the former. It is curious that such a man should have been brought into so close connection with Despauteres, the great writer of grammars. When the latter was schoolmaster at St. Winoc, he showed George Halluin his treatise on Versification, ‘Ars Versificatoria,’43 which it had cost him three years to prepare, feeling confident of his approval. George Halluin examined it, and at once hit the blot.

Despauteres had to a great extent followed the lines of his predecessors, instead of mastering the authors for himself. George Halluin’s first question was, ‘Have you read Silius Italicus?’ Despauteres had not. ‘Read him by all means,’ said the Seigneur, ‘and you will then see your mistakes.’ When Silius Italicus was finished, he sent the schoolmaster Lucretius, Virgil, Manilius, Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, &c., all of which were new to Despauteres, with the exception of Virgil. Despauteres read them, and re33wrote his book at the cost of three years more labour. The preface testifies his gratitude to George Halluin. At this time Despauteres was schoolmaster of St. Winoc, but not long afterwards he became master of the ancient chapter school at Comines,44 a post which he owed no doubt to the patronage of the Seigneur.

The following extracts from the letters of Erasmus will show what the great leader of the Renaissance thought of George Halluin.

Erasmus to George Halluin, Seigneur of Comines.

‘Dearest George, if I am not very much mistaken, I have a clue to the man who quarrels with my book on Folly.45 He is a monk, he is a dark man, and his stomach is the biggest part of him. At first my book was understood by few, till Listrius published notes on it; but when, thanks to your translation, people were able to read it in French, fellows understand it who cannot construe the Psalms they patter.

‘Louvain, August 29, 1517.’


Erasmus to Thomas More.

‘In time we shall have scholars, for there is hardly a gentleman who is not giving his children a classical education, though there is not in the Court circle a single well-educated man, with the solitary exception of George Halluin.

‘Anderlecht, 1520.’

Erasmus to George Halluin, Seigneur of Comines.

‘I cannot tell you with what pleasure I received your letter. You have not then forgotten your old friend Erasmus, and in spite of your rank can condescend to write to him.

‘You say you are not satisfied with any of the Latin grammars or exercise books yet published, or with the Latin of modern writers. I am not sure, my dear friend, that you would not criticise Cicero himself, just as some have accused Virgil of solecisms, and Livy of writing dog Latin.

‘For my own part, I approve not of those who neglect either their authors for their grammar, or their grammar for their authors. The grammar rules should be few and sound; all the rest should be picked up from reading the best authors, or in conversation with good Latin scholars.... I should be more inclined to agree with you, if an instance could be given of a man who had learnt to write Latin without the aid of a grammar. I have with me here Ulrich von Hutten,46 an exquisite Latin scholar, of gentle birth and good breeding. I should recommend you to discuss the subject with him. I will come to you the day after to-morrow, health permitting, for I am still poorly, 35otherwise this letter would have been in my own handwriting, instead of being dictated. Most honoured Sir, farewell.

‘Louvain, June 21, 1520.’

An account of George Halluin would be incomplete without a list of his works, which are, (1) A translation into French of the [Greek: Enkômion Môrias], written by Erasmus, and dedicated to Sir Thomas More. (2) A treatise De Restauratione Linguæ Latinæ. (3) On the Coronation of Emperors. (4) A work on Music. (5) A treatise against Luther. (6) Notes on Virgil.47

This list shows the wide range of his studies, and also implies no small amount of literary toil, for George Halluin was one who loved to polish and mature his work. As Despauteres puts it, ‘nothing would satisfy him that fell short of perfection.’

Such was the man who must have exercised the greatest influence over Busbecq’s earlier years. The latter was born in 1522. George Halluin did not die till 1536, when Busbecq had left his home for the University of Louvain.

As, however, we have no direct record of the connection between George Halluin and Busbecq, the probabilities, which in this case seem to amount to certainty, must be set before the reader. (1) Busbecq was born at Comines, and passed his earlier years at his father’s house, two miles from Comines. (2) Though Jean Despauteres was dead, the school at Comines under his pupils maintained its high reputation. (3) George Halluin was a great patron of scholars, and had the finest library in Flanders. (4) 36 The Busbecq family, as has been already shown, had made constant alliances with the Halluins; moreover, not only were they their nearest neighbours, but they had also been brought into close relations by the positions that George and Gilles Ghiselin and Jeanne de la Clite had severally occupied in the Burgundian Court. (5) Busbecq’s father was on intimate terms with George Halluin, hawking and feasting with him (see infra, page 39). Taking all these points into consideration, is it probable that Busbecq’s father, the neighbour, relative, fellow seigneur, and intimate friend of George Halluin, would fail to consult him as to the education of his scholar son? Erasmus, it is to be remembered, writing of these days, says that all the noblemen were anxious to give their sons a good education, but that George Halluin was the only member of the Court circle who was himself a scholar. Is it likely, therefore, that Busbecq’s father, having such a man at his door, went elsewhere for advice? Then there is the other side. Busbecq’s writings will show that he was formed in the mould of George Halluin. A Latin scholar of exquisite taste and wide reading, a student of many different subjects; in religion a reformer within the pale of the Church, desiring comprehension and objecting to schism; in short, a follower of George Halluin and a follower of Erasmus. At the end of Busbecq’s fourth Turkish letter will be found a distinct reference to the life which George Halluin led, as his beau idéal of earthly happiness. His wants are summed up thus—a quiet home, a good garden, a few friends, and plenty of books. This was the lot which George Halluin deliberately chose: this the life which Busbecq would fain have led.

The following epitaph was engraved on George Halluin’s tomb:—


Munera qui sprevit aulæ fumosa superbæ
Pro dulci Aonidum ludo et sudore Minervæ,
Nec tamen abstinuit regum, si quando vocatus,
Conciliis, gravibus consultans publica dictis,
Nec patriæ duros sudanti Marte labores
Defuit, et neutram contempsit tempore laudem.
Qui, quos antiqua populos ditione tenebat,
Legibus instituit, fuerant ut tempora, sanctis.
Comminii genetrix, Halewini cui pater arcem
Jure dedit prisca majorum laude regendam,
Ejus habes clausos cineres hoc marmore, mentem
Pronus ei precibus commenda, siste viator,
Æternum cineres faciat qui vivere rursus.

Of which the following is a free translation.

He left ambition’s phantom-chase,
The glare of Court, the greed of place,
For joys that letters yield;
But yet should Halluin’s sovereign call,
He gave good counsel in the hall,
And struck a blow amongst them all
For country on the field.
At once the scholar and the knight,
He taught his people what was right—
At least the best he knew.
The Seigneur he of old Comines,
And on his scutcheon might be seen
The arms of Halluin too.
On either side of lineage high,
He ruled each ancient seigneury,
The head of Halluin’s clan.
Then, traveller, pause awhile, and pray
To Him who can revive this clay
Mid realms of everlasting day.
There’s One alone who can.

George Ghiselin II., father of the Ambassador.

Gilles Ghiselin II. had four children, (1) Gilles Ghiselin III., who died childless; (2) Marie Ghiselin, who appears to have accompanied her widowed mother to Lille, and after her death to have occupied the family mansion. It was with her, in all probability, that Busbecq was staying when he received the summons to Vienna (see page 75); (3) Barbe Ghiselin, married38 to François de Hocron, governor of Bethune; (4) George Ghiselin II., Knight, Seigneur of Bousbecque.

The lives of George Ghiselin I. and his brother Gilles introduce us to the scenes of public life, the Court, the battle-field, and the scaffold. George Halluin has given us a glimpse of the library and the student. From the story of George Ghiselin II. may be gleaned not less valuable knowledge of a seigneur’s life whilst living amongst his people. It is not impossible that the influence of his friend, relative, and near neighbour, the student Seigneur of Comines, may have induced George Ghiselin to prefer home duties and home pleasures to the perilous honours of a public career. At any rate, the life of Busbecq’s father is the life of a country gentleman, interested in the welfare of those around him, and joining in the recreations and festivities of his neighbours.

Comines had long been celebrated for its cloth, and George Ghiselin II. endeavoured to establish the manufacture in his own seigneury. Nearly two hundred years before, 1352, the inhabitants of Bousbecque had been given a charter, entitling them to manufacture cloth. Their right appears to have lapsed, for on June 7, 1531, George Ghiselin II.48 obtained from Charles V. a renewal of the privilege. It does not appear, however, that his vassals reaped much advantage from this right. About this time the trade of Comines began to decline, and under these circumstances it is not surprising to find that the attempt to revive the industry in Bousbecque proved a failure. It is interesting, however, to notice the source from which the Ambassador acquired his knowledge of the mysteries of the craft.49

A curious document has been discovered among 39the archives of Lille, which furnishes us with a striking picture of the sort of life led by George Ghiselin II. and his brother seigneurs. It will be found in the Appendix, under the head of Pardon of Daniel de Croix. From this interesting record it appears that on a certain day in the summer of 1519, George Halluin, Seigneur of Comines, had a meeting in the broad meadows beneath the castle, for the knightly sport of hawking. Thither came George Ghiselin, the father of the Ambassador, from his château at Bousbecque, bringing with him the Seigneur of Wambrechies, Daniel de Croix, a relative of his wife’s, and thither rode other gentlemen of the country, Jacques de le Sauch and the Seigneur of Croiselle; while Comines was represented by its bailiff, Jehan Homme, and several other townsmen who had fought against the French under the banner of the Halluins.

The noble seigneurs and the worthy clothiers passed a merry day with hawk and hound; they had their sport in the field, and they feasted in the castle. Their host was one whom they all respected, a gallant knight, a safe adviser, a prince of scholars, one who could hold his own in the field or in the council-chamber, and yet preferred his library at Comines, and a chat with Erasmus, to the honours of a Court and the condescensions of an Emperor.

Between eight and nine in the evening, the festivities drew to a close. George Halluin and the Seigneur of Croiselle, according to the official account, retired to bed. It is pardonable to imagine that the former may have sought his library, to add another note to his Virgil, to have a chat about Latin grammars with Jean Despauteres, or to indite a letter to Erasmus in the most faultless of Latin.

Meanwhile, George Ghiselin, in company with40 Jehan Homme, bailiff of Comines, Jacques de le Sauch, and Daniel de Croix, strolled towards the market-place of the town. It happened to be a fête-day, so there was a general holiday and merry-making. To this fête had come a minstrel named Chariot Desrumaulx. Perhaps he may have helped to entertain the gentlemen at the castle, at any rate he attached himself to the party of seigneurs as they went towards the market-place. Possibly in Provence he would have been allowed to associate with men of rank, but the Flemish seigneurs evidently thought that the man was taking a liberty. On the road one of them suggested that they should adjourn to the inn of Master Francis Barbier, on the Place de Comines, and there prolong their festivities. The proposal met with general approval. Daniel de Croix and Jacques de le Sauch went on in front, while the Seigneur of Bousbecque and the bailiff followed at some little distance. When the two gentlemen first mentioned came to the inn, Charlot Desrumaulx insisted on entering with them. De Croix, who still had his hawk upon his wrist,50 remonstrated with him, and told him in plain terms that he was too drunk and quarrelsome for them to wish for his company. The minstrel persisted in entering, whereupon de Croix took him by the collar, and, with the assistance of de le Sauch, expelled him from the house. Desrumaulx grew violent, and attempted to draw his sword, but his hand was stopped by de le Sauch before he could disengage his weapon. At this moment up came Jehan Homme, bailiff of Comines, and George Ghiselin. The former immediately executed his office 41by arresting Desrumaulx, and was on the point of consigning him to the gaol, when the bystanders good-naturedly interfered. They made what excuses they could for the man; ‘he was drunk and saucy now, but if he were allowed to sleep it off, he would come to his senses in the morning.’ Desrumaulx promised to go to bed quietly, and on this understanding he was released. On regaining his liberty, however, instead of going off to his lodgings, he stationed himself at the entrance to the Place, laid down his violin, took off his coat, and in loud insulting language challenged the best of the seigneurs to single combat. Young Daniel de Croix, no doubt with good reason, considered the challenge as specially addressed to himself. According to his ideas, his reputation as a gentleman and a soldier was at stake; if he permitted a base-born minstrel publicly to insult him, he could never hold up his head again among his comrades at arms. Assuming, probably, that with his superior skill he would have no difficulty in disarming his tipsy antagonist, he threw his hawk to his man-servant, and sallied out into the market-place. Desrumaulx, on seeing him, repeated his insults, and drawing his sword advanced to meet him. Hereon de Croix, unsheathing his rapier, exchanged some passes with the minstrel; the latter’s skill proved greater than the young Seigneur had anticipated, and he succeeded in hitting his antagonist’s shoulder. De Croix, smarting under the blow, made a lunge at the minstrel, and ran him through the body; his rapier entered a little below the right breast, inflicting a wound that was almost immediately fatal. De Croix was now in a very serious position, for not only was the man dead, but he had died before he could be confessed and shriven, consequently the young42 Seigneur had to answer for the perdition51 of his soul, as well as the destruction of his body! We are left to imagine the hurried council held in the market-place by the seigneurs; how the swiftest horse was saddled, and de Croix rode forth into the night to escape for his life. The French frontier was not far distant, and there probably he took refuge. When the time came for trial at Lille, de Croix did not appear, being afraid that the justice of the court would not be tempered with mercy. Application was made to Charles V. for a pardon; the petition was no doubt backed up by the influence of the Halluins, Ghiselins, and other noble houses connected with the family of de Croix. At any rate it was successful; and de Croix received a free pardon, on condition of his paying all legal expenses, and compensating the family of the man he had killed.

The scene preserved in this curious document furnishes a picture of a seigneur’s life in the country, and conveys some idea of the tone of the society from which Busbecq went forth to sketch the manners and customs of the East.

George Ghiselin II. died in 1561, leaving three legitimate children, (1) Jean Ghiselin, Seigneur of Bousbecque, whose name52 is found amongst the signatures appended to a remonstrance addressed by the Estates of Lille to Margaret of Parma, against the decrees she had issued for enforcing the edicts of Charles V. for 43the suppression of heresy. He died childless, November 1578; (2), Marguerite Jacqueline Ghiselin, married November 28, 1565, to Jean Baptiste de Thiennes, Seigneur of Willersies; she died March 27, 1611. (3), Agnes Ghiselin, who succeeded her brother Jean in the seigneury of Bousbecque. She married Jacques Yedeghem, Seigneur of Wieze, captain, governor, and high bailiff of Termonde (Dendermonde).

These last had a son, Charles de Yedeghem, who became Seigneur of Bousbecque; from him, his uncle, the Ambassador, on December 18, 1587, bought a life-interest in the seigneury.53

Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq.

Besides the children born in lawful wedlock, George Ghiselin II. had, by Catherine Hespiel,54 an illegitimate son, who is the subject of this memoir, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. The mother was an unmarried woman, in a humble position of life, and is supposed to have been a servant at the Bousbecque château. If this was the case, there is nothing surprising in the fact that she was at Comines when her son was born, in 1522; for it is hardly likely that her mistress would allow her to remain an inmate of the Seigneur’s house. In justice to George Ghiselin himself, it must be remembered that the standard of morality in Flanders, with regard to such connections, was not high, as is shown by Motley’s55 description of a seigneur’s privileges in old times; and also by the fact that up to a late date they 44retained the right of legitimating their bastard children. At any rate, his conduct as a father was unimpeachable; he received the little fellow into his château, and gave him an excellent education.

From considerations already stated, it is impossible to doubt that Busbecq came under the influence of George Halluin. He must often have been found in the famous library56 of the Seigneur of Comines, with his head buried in some weighty folio; thither, no doubt, he brought the botanical specimens he had discovered in the woods and fields of Bousbecque, and the Roman coins he had unearthed at Wervicq. From his kind patron he must have heard of the great Erasmus, of Melancthon, Thomas More, and other leaders of that age. One can picture to oneself how Ogier may have questioned him as to Luther, and asked how it was that he and Erasmus were so far apart, when they agreed so heartily in detesting the greed and superstition of the monks. ‘My boy,’57 one can imagine George Halluin saying, ‘when your grandsire, Gilles Ghiselin, was about to restore the Bousbecque château, he took me to see the old place. The great hall was well-nigh perfect, and all the windows had been closed with boards. On entering, we found it had been made a home for the owl and the bat; the creatures flew up against me; and as I tried to escape, I stumbled over 45the rubbish, and fell on the floor, which was covered with filth. I was so disgusted that I would fain have persuaded your grandfather to leave the old place to its present occupants, and build a fair castle at some little distance; but he laughed at my boyish fancy, saying it were foul scorn that he should be ousted from the roof of his ancestors by a set of night-birds. He called in his men, the windows were unbarred, and broad streams of light poured into the hall. Then might you have seen owl and bat shrinking from the bright sunbeams; thenceforth the Bousbecque hall was no resting-place for them, for they love not to roost save where there is perpetual darkness and night.58 Here is my parable, Ogier; Luther would quit our Church because of the many corruptions and abuses that have crept in; he would leave the monks to their darkness, and build himself a brand-new chapel after his own design. Erasmus would count it shame to allow such night-birds to deprive him of his inheritance in the Church. He would do what your grandsire did, open the windows and pour in the light; that is a power against which neither monks nor bats can stand.’ ‘But where is the light,’ says Ogier, ‘and where are the windows?’ ‘There,’ replies the Seigneur, pointing to his well-stored shelves, ‘there is the light of antiquity, which will chase the night-birds from our Church. Never think, Ogier, that the Bible is the only revelation of God; all knowledge comes from him. Seneca, who never read a word of the Bible, can help us to the truth; and if it be the truth, it is God’s truth, as much 46as if it had been uttered by inspired lips. I will tell you a secret, boy; you remember the old line, “Fas est et ab hoste doceri.” The drones in the monasteries have, like other animals, that intuitive knowledge which tells them what is fatal to their existence; so we may learn from them their vulnerable part. Erasmus has said many hard things of them, but that is not the chief reason of their hate. What is it then? It is because he has sent the world to school with Greece and Rome for its masters.59 Just as the owls and bats in your grandsire’s hall might have held their own had we attacked them with sticks and stones, but shrank discomfited before the light of day, so the monks might battle against downright attacks, but they know that the light of antiquity must drive them from their roosts. My ancestors have left their mark on the history of Flanders; but I doubt whether they ever discharged a more glorious office than that which fell to me when I undertook the translation of the great satire which Erasmus60 dedicated to Sir Thomas More. I once 47spoke of it to my friend. He shook his head. “You have brought me, my dearest George, into some trouble with your translation; it is too good; it seems incredible, but the lazy crew positively understand it. No, no, stick to your Virgil; they cannot attack me about it; and, between ourselves, you will frighten them much more.” As he said to me, so I say to you, my dear young friend, leave religious questions alone; they will right themselves, if we only let in the light.

‘And why should not you help in this work, Ogier? There are manuscripts yet to be discovered, there are inscriptions yet to be copied, there are coins of which no specimen has been garnered. Then there is the great field of Nature before you; plants with rare virtues for healing sicknesses, fruits that are good for food, flowers with sweet scents and various hues. Why, again, should you not utilise the taste you have for observing the habits of the animal world? Depend upon it, these studies are intended by God for the improvement and advancement of the human race. Let monk and sectary fight it out as they will; do you be content to let in the light, and leave the rest to God.’

Such was the influence that presided over Comines during Busbecq’s earlier years; for the ideas of George Halluin were the ideas of Erasmus. We may be quite certain also that, under the same guide, Busbecq was not allowed to damp his ardour and stupefy his brains with too copious doses of Latin grammar, before he was made free of his Livy and his Virgil. As much as possible of the works of the ancients, and as little as 48possible of the cut and dried rules of the moderns—such would be George Halluin’s advice. If any one be curious as to the result of such a system, they have but to look at Busbecq’s Latin for the answer.

At the age of thirteen Busbecq became a student at Louvain, the celebrated University of Brabant, where Erasmus once taught. Here he spent five years, at the end of which he received a reward, which must have been more precious to him than any of his University laurels. In consideration of his merits as a student, and other good qualities, Charles V. issued a Patent,61 removing the stain from his birth, and admitting him into the noble family of Busbecq.

According to the fashion of the times, the young man’s education was not completed at Louvain. He went the round of the great Universities of Europe, studying at Paris, Bologna, and Padua; at the last he became the pupil of the famous Baptista Egnatius, the friend and fellow-worker of Erasmus.

The ideas which he imbibed in the course of his education appear to be a sort of continuation or development of those of Erasmus. There is a striking resemblance between the views of Busbecq and those of his contemporary, Pierre de la Ramée. These views and theories consisted in making the results achieved by the ancients a new point of departure for the learning of modern times.62 In medicine, for in49stance, the works of Galen and Hippocrates were to be taken for the foundation, and all later writers ignored; on this substratum the medical science of the future was to be built. That these ideas rested on a sound basis there can be no doubt. Immense results, in almost every field of human knowledge, had been achieved during the palmy days of Greece and Rome; with the downfall of the latter a flood of barbarism had poured over the civilised world. The human race had been struggling again towards the light, but struggling with slow and feeble step. In Busbecq’s days they had not nearly reached the point where Greece and Rome left off.

Compare, for instance, the writings of Philippe de Comines, one of the ablest men of his time, with those of Busbecq sixty years later. The former are stamped with the ideas of the middle ages, the latter are bright with the freshness of a modern writer. The difference is simply enormous, and it is to be attributed to the fact that Philippe de Comines, who was fully conscious of his loss, was ignorant of Latin, while Busbecq had 50kept company, as it were, with the brightest wits and most learned men of ancient times.

But it must not be supposed that the men of Ramée’s school had any idea of contenting themselves with the knowledge of the ancients; on the contrary, they made it the starting-point for the prosecution of further discoveries. Busbecq’s letters furnish us with an excellent instance of the practice of these ideas. With Pliny, Galen, Vopiscus at his fingers’ ends, he is ever seeking to verify, correct, or enlarge the store he has received. For him all knowledge is gain, and he seeks it in every quarter; inscriptions, coins, manuscripts; birds, beasts, and flowers; the homes, customs, and languages of mankind; the secrets of earth, air, and water—all alike are subjects of interest to him. One trait marks the man. On his journeys he made it a rule, as soon as he reached his halting-place for the night, to sally forth in search of some discovery. Occasionally an inscription, or some of his favourite coins, was the result; at other times it would be a strange plant, or even a quaint story; but whatever it was, it was duly garnered.

It seems probable that Busbecq, after the completion of his studies, returned to Flanders, and for a few years led that quiet life with his books and a few friends, which afterwards, amid the blaze and glare of a court, seemed to him the perfection of human happiness. We have no record of his life during these years, but it is easy to picture it. Many a quiet morning spent in reading at Bousbecque, or in a corner of the Halluin library at Comines, a chat with a chance student friend as to the last news from the Universities, a stroll to inspect Roman coins or pottery lately discovered at Wervicq, a search for some rare plant, a series of observations on the habits of some animal. Nor would his life be spent only in the country. At51 Lille there was the family mansion, and his aunt Marie Ghiselin to welcome him; there he could find a larger circle of literary friends, and ransack their libraries for books, which might be absent from the collections at Bousbecque and Comines.

It may seem strange that he was so thoroughly accepted in the family, but the explanation is not difficult. His address was singularly winning, and at the same time he inspired every one with confidence in his honesty;63 he was remarkable for his tact64 in dealing with the prejudices of his fellow-creatures, and when it was necessary to be firm65 he could be firm without blustering. The qualities which made him so successful as a diplomatist were the qualities most calculated to endear him to his friends. The man who could ingratiate himself with Roostem was not likely to be unpopular among his own kith and kin.

We now come to the event which first introduced Busbecq into public life. On July 25, 1554, in 52Winchester Cathedral, Mary of England gave her hand to Philip of Spain. Among those who witnessed the ceremony was Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq.

It was only natural that Ferdinand, the brother of Charles V., should send an ambassador to represent him at the marriage of his nephew to the daughter of his unfortunate aunt, Catherine of Aragon. For this purpose he selected a Spanish gentleman, Don Pedro Lasso de Castilla,66 who had been the companion of his boyhood in Spain, and had since continued to be a member of his household. With him Busbecq went as attaché. In the life appended to the Elzevir edition of Busbecq’s letters, we are told that he joined the embassy on Don Pedro’s invitation; but in a document of infinitely higher authority, the Patent of knighthood given in the Appendix, it is distinctly stated that the summons came from Ferdinand himself, who thus 53adopted into his service the grandson of the écuyer trenchant who had served his brother, his father, and his great-grandfather.

In order to mark the importance of the occasion, Don Pedro Lasso was attended to England by a numerous train, many of whom were gentlemen. Altogether there were nearly seventy persons in his suite.67

The arrival of this embassy was peculiarly gratifying to Queen Mary, and she caused Don Pedro and his staff to be received with special honours. As they entered London, June 26, 1554, a salute was fired from the Tower, a compliment which excited the jealousy of Noailles, the French ambassador.68

Busbecq must have had no ordinary powers as a linguist, for we have it on the authority of his contemporary, L. Guicciardini, that there were six languages with which he was as familiar and ready as with his mother tongue (Flemish). These were Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Slav; unfortunately, a knowledge of English was not amongst the number of his accomplishments, and this may partially account for the absence in his letters of any allusion to the manners and customs of our country. It is much to be regretted that we have not got some record of his visit; if he acted as secretary, as is supposed, possibly his despatches from England may still be lying among the archives at Vienna to gladden the heart of some future discoverer.

Don Pedro Lasso with Busbecq and the rest of his suite, stayed in England till October 1554. They then took leave of the Queen, and travelled down to Dover with the intention of crossing over to the Continent. Here they found themselves stopped. Every day 54French vessels could be seen hovering off the harbour in search of a Prize. The Ambassador found it necessary to write69 to Queen Mary, reminding her that he had only come to England by his master’s orders to do honour to her nuptials, and asking her to give such instructions as would ensure his safe departure. It is not likely that an ambassador who was received with such high distinction made so reasonable a request in vain, and there can therefore be little doubt, that Busbecq and his chief were escorted to Calais by a squadron of English ships manned with stout sailors from the Cinque Ports.

On reaching the Netherlands, the embassy was broken up, Don Pedro repaired to Brussels, and Busbecq went back to his friends and relatives. It is evident that the young diplomatist had impressed his chief with a very high idea of his ability and discretion, for a few days after his return from England, whilst staying with his aunt Marie Ghiselin, at Lille, he received a summons from Ferdinand to undertake the duties of ambassador at Constantinople. He was called to a most difficult and apparently hopeless task.

Ferdinand of Austria, King of the Romans, and afterwards Emperor, Sovereign of Hungary and Bohemia, was in a most critical position; it is no exaggeration to say that he and his kingdoms lay at the mercy of the Sultan, who might any day annihilate his forces, and take possession of his dominions. His only hope of rescuing his subjects from slavery lay in the skill of his ambassadors. In 1545 Gerard Veltwick70 (Velduvic), had been sent to represent the two brothers, Charles V. and Ferdinand, at the Turkish 55court; on his return, John Maria Malvezzi, one of his companions, had succeeded to the post. Malvezzi was not fortunate; the Turks regarded an ambassador simply in the light of a hostage,71 and when Ferdinand in the autumn of 1551 broke faith with them by taking possession of Transylvania, they threw Malvezzi into a horrible dungeon; there the unfortunate man remained till August 1553, when his release was procured by Francis Zay and Antony Wranczy (Verantius) afterwards Bishop of Erlau, who came to Constantinople as Ferdinand’s representatives.

Malvezzi returned to Vienna broken in health by his sufferings in the Turkish dungeon. It was not long, however, before Ferdinand ordered him to resume his duties at Constantinople; Malvezzi did his utmost to comply with his master’s wish; he struggled as far as Komorn and there broke down. Ferdinand suspected him of pretending to be worse than he really was, in order to avoid a post of the perils of which he had had such painful experience. As Busbecq forcibly remarks, Malvezzi’s death a few months later removed this doubt!

Ferdinand had need of some one to succeed Malvezzi. It was not an enviable post, and the courtiers of Vienna had no fancy for the risk of being slowly done to death in some noisome dungeon at Constantinople, or of returning, as the Pashas at one time intended Busbecq should return, noseless and earless! But Ferdinand felt that it was absolutely necessary to have a representative at the Turkish Court to assist him in staving off the evil day. Accordingly he sent a summons to Busbecq, and at the same time despatched a message to his late chief, Don Pedro Lasso, asking him to use his influence with the young diplo56matist, and urge him to start at once for Vienna. It would seem as if the post were but little coveted, when such pressure had to be applied. Busbecq, however, needed no urging; he was a man capable of finding intense pleasure in new scenes, new work, new discoveries, and all were included in the prospect now opening to his eager eyes.

It was on November 3, 1554, that Ogier received Ferdinand’s message. He at once started for Bousbecque, and paid a last visit of love to his father, his friends, and the home that was so dear to him. Thence he hurried off to Brussels, where he had an interview with his old chief, and before many hours were past he was galloping along the road to Vienna. A comparison of dates will show how very prompt Busbecq must have been. He received the summons on November 3, and by the eighteenth he had reached Vienna, having paid at least two visits in the meantime, and made his preparations for his distant journey. It was probably at Bousbecque that he enlisted the followers who were to accompany him in his long and perilous expedition; it is evident that they were Flemings, sturdy fellows who knew no fear, fond of a bottle of wine, and not averse to a practical joke.72 There were amongst them men of fair education,73 who had perhaps been trained in the chapter-school of Comines, and there was one man of eminent ability, who came from the neighbouring town of Courtrai, William Quacquelben.74 He acted as physician to the party, and at 57first seems to have occupied a position little differing from that of a servant; how Busbecq learnt to love and appreciate him will be told in his own words.

Even the journey to Vienna had dangers of its own. A system of posting had already been established between Brussels and Vienna, so that Busbecq could change his weary steeds at every stage; but it was November, the days were short and the nights long, and his business being urgent, he had to risk his neck by galloping over villainous roads long after it was dark.

At Vienna he was welcomed by an old friend and fellow-countryman, John Van der Aa, who was now acting as one of Ferdinand’s privy council; it was in a great measure owing to his strong recommendation that Ferdinand invited Busbecq into his service. John Van der Aa had now the pleasure of presenting the young Ambassador to Ferdinand, who received him in a manner betokening at once kindness and confidence.

It is not the object here to anticipate his account; how he visited his dying predecessor Malvezzi, and all the particulars of his journey to Constantinople, may be read in his own words. Busbecq tells his story in his own pleasant way; this memoir is only intended to fill up the blanks as far as possible; as to the rest, the writer will be left to speak for himself.75

Something perhaps ought to be said as to the style of his work. It was the fashion among the students of that day to compose short accounts of their journeys for the information and amusement of their friends. 58These were generally written in Latin verse, very much after the model of Horace’s journey to Brundisium. (Hor. Sat. i. 5.) Busbecq speaks of his first Turkish letter as containing two of these itineraries,76 and it was originally published under the title of Itinera Constantinopolitanum et Amasianum; the other three letters, though not strictly itineraries, are written in the same style. Probably these letters would not have been half so amusing, or half so instructive, if Busbecq had intended them for publication; so far was he from thinking, when he wrote them, of committing them to print, that it was not till some twenty years later that any of them saw the light, and then only the first was published. Neither did the author ever sanction the publication. His countryman, L. Carrion, took on himself the responsibility of sending the work to the press. It is from him we learn that the letters were written to Nicolas Michault, seigneur of Indeveldt, Busbecq’s fellow-student in Italy, and for many years Ambassador77 to the Court of Portugal; he also tells us that the writer never intended to give them to the public. That Busbecq had at any rate no hand whatever in the publication is abundantly proved by the mistakes of Carrion, some of which have been repeated in subsequent editions. For instance, the first letter ought to be dated September 1, 1555, whereas in all the Latin editions it is printed September 1, 1554, the internal evidence being conclusive as to the correctness of the former date.


Busbecq at the Court of Vienna.

The four Turkish letters supply us with a full account of the eight years which Busbecq spent at the Court of Solyman, and it will not be necessary to take up the thread of his story till his return to Germany in the autumn of 1562.

At first he was uncomfortable, and felt out of his element in the atmosphere of a court; he hoped for a peaceful paradise after George Halluin’s model, by the waters of the Lys, a quiet home furnished with plenty of books, a good garden, and a few friends.

But his services were far too highly valued by Ferdinand and his son Maximilian to allow of his retirement.

It was not long before a new post was found for him. Very soon after Busbecq’s return from Constantinople, an application was made to Maximilian, which, if it gratified his ambition, must also have filled him with the greatest anxiety. Philip of Spain proposed to bestow the hand of his daughter on one of Maximilian’s sons, and, distrusting no doubt the more liberal tone which prevailed at the Court of Vienna, coupled the proposal with the condition, that the young Archdukes, Rodolph and Ernest, should be entrusted to his charge. Though Maximilian acceded to his request, it was probably not without compunction that that wise and tolerant prince committed his two boys—the eldest of whom was only eleven years of age—into the keeping of the royal bigot.

The only precaution open to him lay in the appointment of the officers of the household which was to accompany them to Spain. To Busbecq was assigned the post of écuyer trenchant,78 an appoint60ment which met with the warm approval of Ferdinand.

The young Archdukes proceeded to Spain. They were handed over to the Jesuits to be educated, and Busbecq left their service. It is easy to understand that a man brought up in the school of Erasmus was not likely to prove acceptable to the staff of instructors appointed by Philip; but whatever the circumstances may have been through which he lost his post, it is certain that he in no way fell in the estimation of Ferdinand and Maximilian. The latter, on his coronation as King of Hungary (September 8, 1563), bestowed on Busbecq the honour of knighthood; the occasion was peculiarly appropriate, as the Ambassador had by his diplomatic skill greatly mitigated the lot of the inhabitants of that unfortunate kingdom. This distinction was confirmed by the Emperor, who issued the Patent, dated April 3, 1564, a copy of which will be found in the Appendix. A far greater proof, however, of Maximilian’s esteem and confidence was received by Busbecq about this time. Rodolph and Ernest, his 61two eldest sons, were being educated by Philip’s Jesuits; but the Archdukes Matthias, Maximilian, Albert, and Wenceslaus, were still under their father’s care, and by him Busbecq was appointed their governor and seneschal. For several years he was engaged in superintending the household and education of the young Archdukes, whom, according to Howaert,79 he had the honour of escorting to Spain and introducing to Philip. His youthful charges had not yet arrived at manhood, when his services were required for their sister.

Busbecq in France.

Maximilian’s daughter, the Archduchess Elizabeth (Isabella), had to leave her family and her country to unite her fortunes with Charles IX. of France, the unhappy king whose memory will be for ever associated with the massacre of St. Bartholomew. The position she went to occupy was as perilous as it was brilliant. Queen of France, wife of Charles IX., daughter-in-law of Catherine de Medici, with Marguerite de Valois (afterwards Queen of Henry of Navarre), for a sister-in-law, she had need of the trustiest and wisest counsellor her father could supply; and it was therefore no idle compliment to Busbecq, when he was called from the care of her brothers to take his place at the head of her household. He had, like his grandfather Gilles Ghiselin II., held the post of écuyer trenchant in the imperial family. He had next been appointed governor and seneschal to the young Archdukes, and he was now sent as seneschal, or high steward, of the Archduchess’s household when she left parents and fatherland to share a foreign throne.

The marriage took place by proxy, October 23, 621570, and in the following month the Archduchess set out for France under the care of her faithful seneschal. A reader of the life of Busbecq prefixed to the Elzevir edition, would be led to suppose that he remained at the head of the Queen’s household in France from that time forth. Such, however, was not the case. Various notices by his friends Lipsius,80 the celebrated scholar, and de l’Ecluse, the botanist, prove beyond doubt that he shortly afterwards returned to Vienna. At any rate he was there in the summer of 1572 and the winter of 1573, apparently the life and soul of the literary and scientific society of the Austrian capital. Here he was able to keep up to some degree his connection with Turkey, for we find that he received parcels of tulip bulbs and other rare plants from Constantinople, of which his countryman de l’Ecluse reaped the benefit.


Such a life must have been nearly as much after Busbecq’s own heart as the paradise of which he dreamed by the waters of the Lys; perhaps he thought his troubles were over, and he would be allowed to go peacefully to his grave after enriching the world with the fruits of a long course of scientific study. Such, however, was not to be the case. On May 30, 1574, Charles IX. of France ended his brief and unhappy life. The Archduchess Elizabeth was now a widow. What her position was may be gathered from the graphic touches in Busbecq’s letters; from the first it was difficult, and at last—to use her own words—it became intolerable.

The Emperor, on hearing of his son-in-law’s death, immediately despatched his old friend and faithful servant to comfort his daughter, and take charge of her affairs.

The instructions which Busbecq received were by no means simple. It was thought probable that the new king, Henry III., would make an offer of his hand to Elizabeth, and this alliance would, it appears, have been acceptable to Maximilian; the widowed Queen did not care for her brother-in-law, but was prepared to yield to her father’s wishes. There was a possibility also of a match with Sebastian, the chivalrous boy-king of Portugal, or, again, of her being asked to undertake the government of the Netherlands.

There was also the question whether if she remained a widow, she was to live in France or return home, and whether, if she came back, she would be allowed to bring with her her delicate little daughter. Important above all other matters though, in the eyes of Maximilian, was the question of her dower. The usual allowance for a widowed Queen of France was 60,000 francs per annum, and this sum had been settled64 on Elizabeth at her marriage. Busbecq was to see that this income was properly secured, and this was no easy matter. He found from the case of Mary Queen of Scots, that promises to pay were of little value unless the sums were charged on part of the crown lands, and it was only with great difficulty that he managed to effect a tolerably satisfactory arrangement. Such was the general purport of Busbecq’s instructions. He had also a sort of roving commission to report on the general condition of France, and the character of her public men; he was to chronicle passing events, and give an estimate of what the future was likely to bring forth. Reports on these heads, with an occasional piece of gossip, form the contents of his letters to the Emperor Maximilian.81 The first of this series is dated Speyer, August 22, 1574, and the last, Wasserburg, February 8, 1576.

After conducting his widowed mistress back to her parents, Busbecq returned to France to take charge of her affairs. He had to collect the revenues of her dower, which were charged on sundry lands in Berry, Marche, and Forez, and generally to protect her interests at the court. To this employment more important duties were afterwards united. On the death of Maximilian, his son Rodolph succeeded to the throne. The new Emperor was well acquainted with Busbecq, who, as has already been 65mentioned, had acted as his écuyer trenchant when he left his home for Spain; and though Rodolph’s mind was to a certain extent warped by the education he had received from the Jesuits, he nevertheless inherited his father’s and grandfather’s appreciation of Busbecq. Accordingly, we find him employing Busbecq as his representative at the Court of France, and receiving letters from him containing not only the news, but the gossip of the capital. It is generally stated that Busbecq’s position was that of ambassador; this is doubtful, though there is no question as to his having discharged the duties and exercised the influence of an ambassador. There is an obvious reason for his not having been accredited as a regular diplomatic representative. He was a Fleming, and therefore a subject of Philip of Spain. Even at the court of Constantinople this circumstance had proved an obstacle in the course of his negotiations, and it was still more likely to be a stumbling-block at the court of France. His services, however, being too valuable to be dispensed with by the Emperor, it would appear that the difficulty was surmounted by giving him the work without the title—in short, he was ambassador without the credentials of an ambassador.

The letters of Busbecq to Rodolph, as printed in the Elzevir edition, are fifty-three in number. The first is dated March 25, 1582; the last was written December 8, 1585. We have in them a description of France on the eve of a most important epoch, the wars of the League; and we have also a most valuable account of the progress of events in the Low Countries, in which Busbecq as a Fleming felt a strong personal interest.

It is not necessary to enter into the history of a period which has been made familiar to English readers66 by Motley’s Rise of the Dutch Republic, and United Netherlands; but, on the other hand, it must not be supposed that there is no additional information to be gleaned from Busbecq’s letters by those who are already acquainted with the works of the American historian. On the contrary, there are points omitted by Motley which are of considerable importance; as, for instance, Alençon’s plan for making Dunkirk the seat of his government. Again, there are questions like that of Salceda’s conspiracy, in which Busbecq’s evidence does not appear to have been sufficiently considered. To those who are content to take their history at second hand, it is useless to suggest the advisability of comparing Busbecq’s letters with the received modern histories; to real students the advantages are obvious. Here is a witness almost, one might say, under cross-examination. Busbecq had to send off his despatches to his master periodically. He could not alter or retouch them; he was obliged to content himself with giving the news of the day, and his estimate of its value at the time. A distinguished general has said that in his profession it was necessary to be near the troops who were actually engaged, in order to feel the pulse of the battle; and it is only by reading the works of contemporary writers that we can feel the pulse of history.

It is not impossible that Busbecq had his own hopes and ambitions with regard to the Netherlands. On September 15, 1578, the eldest of his Imperial pupils, the Archduke Matthias, was appointed Governor-General of the insurgent Provinces. It is vain now to inquire into what might have been, but in 1578 it could not have seemed altogether impossible that peace and happiness might be in store for the Netherlands under the government of the son of Maximilian and grandson67 of Ferdinand. It is a significant fact that Busbecq’s despatches to Rodolph prior to March 1582 have not been allowed to see the light. Matthias left the Netherlands in October 1581, so that Busbecq’s published correspondence commences just six months after the departure of the Archduke. If ever the earlier letters should be forthcoming, they will, no doubt, be found to contain much interesting information as to this episode in the history of the Netherlands, and this, in all probability, is the reason they have been suppressed.

In writing to Maximilian of William the Silent, Busbecq speaks of the great patriot of the Netherlands in terms of the highest respect. When writing to Rodolph some eight years later, his tone is completely altered. It is evident that he dislikes him. This change is not surprising if we remember the treatment which Busbecq’s pupil had in the interval experienced at his hands. It seems evident that in this instance Orange placed his faith in the strong battalions; he preferred a treacherous scoundrel to an honest and capable82 man, because the one could bring French troops into the field, and the other had but his own sword to offer. It would be a curious problem to consider whether 68in this matter Orange was wise in his generation. What did the Netherlands gain by substituting Alençon for Matthias?

With regard to the religious aspect of the struggle, Busbecq’s evidence is peculiarly valuable. He was a Netherlander, who had left his native country before the struggle broke out. Circumstances had never compelled him to cast in his lot with the one party or the other.

A reference to his conversation at Prinkipo with Metrophanes83 the Metropolitan, shows us what Busbecq’s wishes must have been. If he desired to see the Greek Church reunited to the Western, he must have been anxious to preserve the latter from schism. His views were those of Erasmus; he wished for union and he wished for reform. That Busbecq was a deeply religious man may be gathered from his description of the death of Quacquelben and other passages; that he was not in any way imbued with the superstitions of his time may be seen by the fact that he went to Constantinople accompanied not by his priest, but by his Bible. From the circumstances of the case it is almost necessary that the evidence with regard to a religious war should be the evidence of partisans; hence the great authority due to the testimony of a neutral.

The reader will be left to gather from Busbecq’s own letters an idea of his life at Paris, and it will only be necessary to resume the story at the point where his letters cease.

At the end of his fifty-first despatch we find that his couriers have difficulty in passing through the country, on account of the outbreak of hostilities between the Guises, the King, and Henry of Navarre.


At this point in the Elzevir edition, Busbecq’s letters come to an end, and we should have to part company with him at the close of 1585, if it were not for the edition by Howaert already referred to, which fortunately preserves five more letters to Rodolph, dated from November 13, 1589 to August 27, 1590. These despatches contain interesting and valuable information as to the state of France during the wars of the League; among the more striking passages is an account of the siege of Paris, and a comparison of the relative chances of Parma and Henry IV. in the struggle that was then imminent.

During these troublous times, Busbecq must have led an uncomfortable life in France, with no certain resting-place, but driven hither and thither, as the tide of battle ebbed and flowed. It is no wonder that he sighed for the day when he should bid farewell to his dangerous task, and enter the quiet haven he had prepared for his old age.

In spite of his long sojourn in foreign courts, his heart still yearned for the home of his forefathers. The château had suffered at the hands of the insurgents, and the vassals of the seigneury were well nigh ruined by the requisitions of the Spaniards; but its associations had a charm for Busbecq such as no other place on earth could have. His first step was to purchase84 a life interest in the seigneury from his nephew, Charles de Yedeghem. He next proceeded to restore and repair the château, so as to make it fit for his residence. A tradition still lingers at Bousbecque of the beautiful garden85 which he formed, and 70the lilacs, tulips, and other new plants with which he filled it. Nor was he forgetful of the interests of his vassals. In the Mairie of Bousbecque may still be seen the Sauvegarde which Parma granted to the inhabitants, in token of his respect for their Seigneur. A copy of it will be found in the Appendix. Its date will recall a famous event—the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Busbecq’s Death.

In the autumn of 1592, when he was seventy years old, Busbecq obtained six months’ leave of absence from his post,86 and set forth to revisit the home of his youth. It does not appear that he had seen it since the day he parted with his father, nearly forty years before; meanwhile, the generation he knew must have well nigh passed away, and it was, no doubt, with a melancholy pleasure that the old man set out to take possession of his château and his seigneury.

The country was in an unquiet state on account of the civil war which was then raging, and Busbecq took the precaution of furnishing himself with the passports both of the Leaguers and the Royalists. While passing through Normandy he stopped for the night at Cailly, a small village about nine miles from Rouen. This part of the country had in the preceding year been the scene of a long and desperate struggle between Parma and Navarre, and parties of armed men were prowling about, who combined the calling of the soldier with the exploits of the brigand. During 71the night one of these troops, who professed to be fighting for the League, swept down on the little hamlet where Busbecq was lodging, took possession of his portmanteaux, and carried him off, telling him that they were acting under the orders of the governor of Rouen. The old man, nothing daunted by their violence, gave them a lecture on the ambassadorial privileges to which he was entitled, and told them that he did not believe that any such order had been issued by the governor of Rouen. Perhaps he frightened them, more probably he persuaded them—at any rate, next morning they brought him back to Cailly, and restored his baggage.

The governor of Rouen, on hearing of the affair, apologised for the outrage, and offered to inflict severe punishment on the offenders. The good old man replied that he was too much occupied in making his peace with God to think of revenging injuries. He felt he was dying. The shock he had received in his encounter with the marauders proved fatal. He was never to see the home for which he had so often yearned in distant lands. He was removed from Cailly to the château of the Lady of Maillot, near St. Germain, not far from Rouen, and there he died, October 28, 1592.

Even when the hand of death was upon him, his thoughts were of the home he loved. He desired that his heart at least should be laid in Bousbecque Church by the side of his forefathers.

But his wish was not immediately fulfilled. All his attendants could then do was to consign his body with due honours to a tomb in the church of St. Germain. Six years later, when Busbecq’s former pupil, Archduke Albert, was Governor-General of the Netherlands, his dying wish was remembered. His72 heart was placed in a leaden casket and conveyed to Bousbecque, where it was consigned to its last resting-place amid all the pomp87 and ceremony of a great military funeral.

In Bousbecque Church may still be seen the monument which the Ambassador erected to his grandfather, Gilles Ghiselin, écuyer trenchant to three generations of the house of Burgundy, and Agnes Gommer, his wife. Underneath that monument their remains are still resting to-day, and in the same grave still lies their grandson’s heart.





Introduction—Return from England—Visit to Bousbecque—Posting to Vienna—Interview with Ferdinand—Malvezzi’s misfortunes—Preparations for the expedition—Impatience of Ferdinand—Komorn—Paul Palyna—His ideas of punctuality—Meeting the Turkish escort—Gran—A Sanjak-bey—Feats of Turkish horsemen—A Tartar whose hair served as hat and helmet—Buda—The Pasha of Buda—His sickness and its cause—William Quacquelben called in—Busbecq’s fears—Janissaries—Their duties as policemen—Their dress—Their visits to Busbecq—Turkish guests and hard drinkers—Determined on making a night of it—Why Turks never drink in moderation—The old gentleman at Constantinople who gave notice to his soul—Description of Buda-Pesth—Turkish ideas with regard to houses—The fish in the boiling spring—Interview with the Pasha of Buda—A dilemma—Turkish customs—Busbecq embarks on the Danube for Belgrade—Heydons—Turkish sailors—Belgrade—Roman coins—Defence and capture of Belgrade—Louis of Hungary—Importance of fortresses against Turkish inroads—Trajan’s bridge—A Servian funeral—Servian marriage customs—Description of a Turkish Khan—A Turkish hostel—Sleeping in a stable—How Busbecq made himself comfortable—How the party obtained supplies of wine—Turkish methods for measuring time—Busbecq’s escort acknowledge the advantages of a watch—Sophia—The Bulgarians—Dress and bonnets of the women—Baldwin, Count of Flanders—Trajan’s pass—Philippopolis—Adrianople—Turks fond of flowers—An open purse necessary in Turkey—Tchourlou—Selim’s defeat—Selimbria—Reverence of the Turks for paper—Reasons assigned by themselves for this superstition—The red-hot gridiron and the cock—Busbecq arrives at Constantinople—Visits Roostem—The story of Roostem’s fall from power—Solyman—Roxolana—Mustapha—Roostem once a pig-driver—His services as a financier—Makes a profit out of the vegetables and flowers from the Sultan’s gardens—Why a Sultan is obliged to murder his brothers—Mustapha summoned to his father’s camp—The death sentence—The case submitted to the Mufti—The mutes—A look from Solyman—Mustapha strangled—Mutiny in the camp—Roostem dismissed—Mustapha’s wife and son—Visit from Ibrahim Pasha—Trick played on the mother—Murder of the boy—Constantinople—St. Sophia—Superstitions as to unclean fish—The Greek and the snails—The cost of absolution in the Greek Church—Ancient columns—Ingenuity of a Greek architect—Wild beasts—A dancing elephant76—A camelopard—Sailing up the Bosphorus—Thoughts suggested by the beauty of the scene—Lazarus the Albanian—Busbecq summoned by Solyman to Amasia—Crosses into Asia—Nicomedia—Jackals—Nicæa—Angora goats—Fat-tailed sheep—The duck and the post-horn—Angora—Turkish tombs—The hyena—Its knowledge of language—How to catch it—Coins and plants—Town of Angora—Monumentum Ancyranum—Manufacture of mohair—Fishing in the Halys—Ignorance of the people—Sour milk—Turkish diet—Sherbet—Grapes preserved in mustard—Dervishes—Legend of Chederle the same as that of St. George—Amasia—Turkish incendiaries—Houses of Amasia—Visit to Achmet Pasha—Interview with Solyman—The Sultan’s court—Promotion among the Turks—A body of Janissaries—Their steadiness in the ranks—The Persian Ambassador and his presents—Ali Pasha—Dinner given to the Persian Ambassador and his suite—Audience with Solyman on leaving—Why the Sultan uses rouge—Departure from Amasia—Busbecq ill—Returns to Constantinople—Schiites and Sunnites—Busbecq leaves Constantinople—Meets a train of Hungarian captives—One of the party dies from the plague—Others are attacked—Providential discovery of a remedy—Belgrade—Fertility of Hungary—Essek—Busbecq down with the fever—Mohacz—Plots of the brigands—Busbecq nearly caught—Interview with the Pasha of Buda—Departure for Komorn—How one of Busbecq’s escort lost his nose and his horse—The Sanjak-bey improves the occasion—The value of a nose—The amount of compensation affected by the doctrine of predestination—Return to Vienna—Busbecq looks so ill that his friends think he is poisoned—Is regarded with envy—Apologises for his want of style.

I undertook, when we parted, to give you a full account of my journey to Constantinople, and this promise I now hope to discharge with interest; for I will give you also an account of an expedition88 to Amasia, which is by far the rarer treat of the two.

To an old friend like yourself89 I shall write very freely, and I am sure you will enjoy some pleasant passages which befell me on my way; and as to the disagreeables which are inseparable from a journey so 77long and so difficult, do not give them a thought, for I assure you that, though they annoyed me at the time, that very annoyance, now they are past and gone, only adds to my pleasure in recalling them.

You will remember that, after my return home from England, where I attended the marriage of King Philip and Queen Mary,90 in the train of Don Pedro Lasso, whom my most gracious master, Ferdinand, King of the Romans, had deputed to represent him at the wedding, I received from the last-mentioned Sovereign a summons to undertake this journey.

The message reached me at Lille91 on November 3, and without any delay, except such as was entailed by a detour to Bousbecque for the purpose of bidding adieu to my father and my friends, I hurried through Tournai, and thence to Brussels.

Here I met Don Pedro himself; and he, to use an old proverb, gave the spur to a right willing horse, by showing me a letter he had received from the King, in which he charged him to make me set out as soon as possible. Accordingly, I took post-horses, and came with all speed to Vienna. Even at this early stage my journey brought troubles of its own, for I was quite unaccustomed to riding, and the time of year was by no means favourable to such an expedition, involving as it did bad weather, muddy roads, and short days. I 78had, therefore, to pursue my journey long after nightfall, and to gallop over a track, which hardly deserved the name of a road, in complete darkness, to the great danger of my neck.

On my arrival at Vienna I was presented to King Ferdinand by John Van der Aa, a member of his privy council. He received me with the kindness which invariably marks his intercourse with those of whose loyalty and honesty he has formed a favourable opinion. He told me at great length his hopes with regard to me, and how important it was to his interests that I should accept the office of ambassador, and start forthwith. He informed me he had promised the Pasha of Buda that his ambassador should be there without fail by the beginning of December, and he was anxious there should be no want of punctuality on the part of his representative, lest it should furnish the Turks with a pretext for not fulfilling the engagements which they had undertaken in consideration of this promise.

We were within twelve days of the date. There was barely time to make preparations for a short journey, and I had a long one before me.

Even from this short space I had to deduct some days for a hurried visit to John Maria Malvezzi at Komorn, whither I went by the commands of the King, who considered it of great importance that I should have an interview with Malvezzi, and receive from his own lips such information and advice as he might be able to give me with regard to the character and disposition of the Turks, inasmuch as I myself had no knowledge or experience of them.

He had been for some years Ferdinand’s ambassador at the court of Solyman, to which post he was first appointed when the Emperor Charles, for divers79 weighty reasons, negotiated a truce with the Turks through Gerard Veltwick;92 for on that occasion he had also made a truce with them for eight years on behalf of King Ferdinand.

Now Malvezzi had been one of Veltwick’s companions, and on his return he was sent back to Constantinople by Ferdinand to act as his ambassador, in the hope that his presence at the Sultan’s court would be of service in checking the raids of the Turks in the kingdom of Hungary, as there would be some one on the spot to remonstrate with Solyman with regard to the outrages committed by his officers, and demand satisfaction.

But it happened not long after, that an opportunity, which Ferdinand felt he could not afford to lose, occurred for re-uniting Transylvania to Hungary.93 In this he was warmly supported by the Hungarians, who looked on Transylvania as an appanage of the kingdom. Accordingly, he came to an understanding with the widow and son of John the Voivode, who had formerly usurped the title of King of Hungary, and recovered Transylvania in exchange for other provinces.

When the Turks got wind of these transactions—and, indeed, they could not have been kept secret—Roostem, the son-in-law of Solyman and chief of the councillors who are called Vizierial Pashas, summoned Malvezzi to his presence, and asked him whether the news was true. He, without the slightest hesitation, contradicted the report, and offered, moreover, to stake his life on the result, and to submit to their worst tortures if his statement proved incorrect. But when, 80on Ferdinand’s taking possession of the whole of Transylvania, the truth became clear, and further concealment was impossible, the Sultan was furious with Roostem for having placed so much confidence in Malvezzi’s assurances, and Roostem was still more enraged with Malvezzi, and often declared that he had cheated him. Not to make too long a story, Malvezzi was thrown into prison, his goods confiscated, and his servants sold as slaves. In this prison he was kept in close custody for nearly two years. Sickness attacked him, and as he was not allowed to receive any medicines, he contracted a disease which, some time after, terminated his life. The Turks, in such matters, have no idea of moderation; they are excessively complaisant when they wish to show their friendship, and excessively bitter when their anger is roused. But when their troubles at home made them desirous of peace, and their attempt to recover Transylvania by force of arms was unsuccessful, they were easily induced to leave off fighting and to arrange the dispute by negotiation. The Turkish demand was that the whole of Transylvania should be restored; but inasmuch as his treaty with the Voivode was the result neither of force nor fraud, Ferdinand94 maintained that it ought not to be set aside, and declined to evacuate Transylvania. With a view to satisfying the Turks on these matters, he despatched to the Sultan’s Court two ambassadors, in whose loyalty and zeal he had the greatest confidence—Antony Wranczy (or Verantius), Bishop of Erlau, and Francis Zay, the commander of the ships which the Hungarians call Nassades. On 81their arrival Malvezzi was released from his dungeon, and sent back to Ferdinand with despatches from Solyman. Shortly after this, the King desired him to return to Constantinople to act as his ambassador in ordinary when peace should have been concluded. Accordingly he set out, but a fresh attack of the disease he had contracted during his confinement compelled him to stop at Komorn, a fortress which lies at the point where the river Waag joins the Danube, and is our furthest outpost against the Turk.

He felt that his end was drawing near, and wrote to Ferdinand, asking him to appoint some one to take his place as ambassador. The King did not altogether believe what Malvezzi said, nor, on the other hand, was he disposed to think it quite without foundation. However, he was rather inclined to suspect that his reason for avoiding the office of ambassador was not so much the severity of his attack, as the recollection of what he had suffered before, and the dread of what might be in store for him in the future; at the same time, he felt that he could not in decency compel a man who had done good service to King and country to proceed on an errand for which he declared himself unfit. The death of Malvezzi a few months afterwards gave ample proof that his illness was neither an excuse nor a sham. The result of all this was that I became Malvezzi’s successor; but inasmuch as I had no experience in the tactics and character of the Turk, the King, as I told you before, thought that a visit to Malvezzi would be useful, since he could give me directions and suggestions as to the best method of dealing with Turkish chicanery. Accordingly, I spent two days with Malvezzi, and learnt as much as I could in so short a time of the policy to be followed and the things to be avoided in one’s daily transactions with the Turk82 Thence I returned to Vienna, and set to work, as hard as I could, to get together what I wanted for my journey. But there was so much business to be done, and the time was so short, that when the day came on which I had arranged to leave, I was not ready. The King kept pressing me to go, and I had been busy arranging and packing since three o’clock that morning; but it was with great difficulty that I managed to complete my preparations shortly after dusk. The gates of Vienna, which at that hour are locked, were unbolted, and I set out.

The King had gone hunting that day; and when he left he told me he felt quite sure that before he returned in the evening I should be on my road. And so I was; but there was very little difference between the time of his return and of my departure.

At eleven, p.m., we reached Fiscagmund, a borough town of Hungary, four miles95 from Vienna, where we stopped for supper, for in our haste we had left Vienna supperless, and then pursued our way towards Komorn. One of the king’s instructions was that I should get hold of one Paul Palyna at Komorn, who had great knowledge of the raids and robberies of the Turks, and take him with me to Buda; since, if he were at hand to prompt me, I should find it a great advantage when remonstrating with the Pasha concerning the outrages, and demanding satisfaction for the same. But that I should start punctually appeared to Palyna the most unlikely thing in the world, and accordingly, when I arrived at Komorn, he had not yet left his home, and not a soul could give me any information as to when he was likely to arrive. I was intensely annoyed. I despatched a report of the matter 83to Ferdinand, and devoted the next day to waiting for this precious companion of mine at Komorn. All in vain; so on the third day I crossed the river Waag, and pursued my way towards Gran, the first fortress within the Turkish boundary line.

The officer in command at Komorn, John Pax, had given me an escort of sixteen hussars, as the Hungarians call these horsemen, with orders not to leave me until we came in sight of the Turkish outposts. The Turkish officer in command at Gran had given me to understand that his men would meet me midway between that town and Komorn. For three hours, more or less, we had advanced through a flat and open country, when four Turkish horsemen appeared in the distance; my Hungarians, however, continued to ride with me, until at last I advised them to retire, fearing that, if they came nearer, some troublesome breach of the peace might ensue. When the Turks saw me coming, they rode up, and, halting by my carriage, saluted me. In this manner we advanced a short distance, conversing with each other, for I had a lad who acted as interpreter.

I was not expecting any addition to my escort, when suddenly, as we came to a spot a little below the level of the rest of the country, I found myself surrounded by a troop of 150 horsemen, or thereabouts. I had never seen such a sight before, and I was delighted with the gay colours of their shields and spears, their jewelled scimitars, their many-coloured plumes, their turbans of the purest white, their robes of purple and dark green, their gallant steeds and superb accoutrements.

The officers ride up, give me a courteous welcome, congratulate me on my arrival, and ask whether I have had a pleasant journey. I reply in terms befitting the84 occasion, and so they escort me to Gran, which consists of a fort situated on a hill, at the foot of which flows the Danube, and a town hard by on the plain, where I take up my quarters. The archbishop of this place stands first among the nobles of Hungary both in rank and wealth. My lodging had more of the camp than the city. Instead of beds there were planks covered with coarse woollen rugs; there were no mattresses, no linen. And so my attendants had their first taste of Turkish luxury! As for myself, I had brought my bed with me.

Next day the Sanjak-bey in command of the place repeatedly urged me to visit him. This is the title which the Turks give to an officer in command; and the name comes from the sanjak,96 or standard, which is carried in front of his squadron of cavalry; it consists of a lance, on the top of which is a brass ball plated over with gold. I had no despatches or commission for this officer, but he was so persistent that I had to go. It turned out that all he wanted was to see me, to go through some civilities, ask my errand, urge me to promote a peace, and wish me a prosperous journey. On my way to his quarters I was surprised to hear the frogs croaking, although it was December and the weather was cold. The phenomenon was explained by the existence of some pools formed by hot sulphur springs.

I left Gran after a breakfast, which had to serve for a dinner as well, as there was no resting-place between it and Buda.

In spite of my entreaties that he would spare himself the trouble of paying me so great an attention, the 85Sanjak-bey must needs escort me with all his household, and the cavalry under his command. As the horsemen poured out of the gates they engaged in mimic warfare, and also performed several feats, one of which was to throw a ball on the ground, and to carry it off on the lance’s point when at full gallop. Among the troopers was a Tartar with long thick hair, and I was told that he never wore any other covering on his head than that which nature afforded, either to protect him against weather in a storm, or arrows in a battle. When the Sanjak-bey considered that he had gone far enough, we exchanged greetings, and he returned home, leaving an escort to conduct me to Buda.

As I drew near to the city I was met by a few Turks, who were by profession cavasses. These cavasses act as officials, and execute the orders of the Sultan and Pashas. The position of cavasse is considered by the Turks to be one of high honour.

I was conducted to the house of a Hungarian gentleman, where, I declare, my luggage, carriage, and horses were better treated than their owner. The first thing the Turks attend to is to get carriages, horses, and luggage into safe quarters; as for human beings they think they have done quite enough for them, if they are placed beyond the reach of wind and weather.

The Pasha, whose name was Touighoun (which, by the way, signifies a stork in Turkish), sent a person to wait on me and pay me his respects, and asked me to excuse him from giving me audience for several days, on account of a severe illness from which he was suffering, and assured me that he would attend to me as soon as his health permitted.

This circumstance prevented my business from suffering at all by Palyna’s delay, and enabled him also to escape the charge of wilful negligence. For86 he used all diligence to reach me in time, and shortly afterwards made his appearance.

The illness of the Pasha detained me at Buda for a considerable time. The popular belief was that he had fallen sick from chagrin on receiving the news that a large hoard of his, which he had buried in some corner, had been stolen. He was generally supposed to be an arrant miser. Well, when he heard that I had with me William Quacquelben, a man of great learning and a most skilful physician, he earnestly desired me to send him to prescribe for his case. I made no objection to this proposal, but my consent was like to have cost me dear; for when the Pasha gradually got worse, and a fatal termination to his illness seemed probable, I was in great alarm lest, if he joined his Mahomet in Paradise, the Turks should accuse my physician of murdering him, to the danger of my excellent friend, and my own great disgrace as an accomplice. But, by God’s mercy, the Pasha recovered, and my anxiety was set at rest.

At Buda I made my first acquaintance with the Janissaries; this is the name by which the Turks call the infantry of the royal guard. The Turkish state has 12,000 of these troops when the corps is at its full strength. They are scattered through every part of the empire, either to garrison the forts against the enemy, or to protect the Christians and Jews from the violence of the mob. There is no district with any considerable amount of population, no borough or city, which has not a detachment of Janissaries to protect the Christians, Jews, and other helpless people from outrage and wrong.

A garrison of Janissaries is always stationed in the citadel of Buda. The dress of these men consists of a robe reaching down to the ankles, while, to cover their87 heads, they employ a cowl which, by their account, was originally a cloak sleeve,97 part of which contains the head, while the remainder hangs down and flaps against the neck. On their forehead is placed a silver-gilt cone of considerable height, studded with stones of no great value.

These Janissaries generally came to me in pairs. When they were admitted to my dining room they first made a bow, and then came quickly up to me, all but running, and touched my dress or hand, as if they intended to kiss it. After this they would thrust into my hand a nosegay of the hyacinth or narcissus; then they would run back to the door almost as quickly as they came, taking care not to turn their backs, for this, according to their code, would be a serious breach of etiquette. After reaching the door, they would stand respectfully with their arms crossed, and their eyes bent on the ground, looking more like monks than warriors. On receiving a few small coins (which was what they wanted) they bowed again, thanked me in loud tones, and went off blessing me for my kindness. To tell you the truth, if I had not 88been told beforehand that they were Janissaries, I should, without hesitation, have taken them for members of some order of Turkish monks, or brethren of some Moslem college. Yet these are the famous Janissaries, whose approach inspires terror everywhere.

During my stay at Buda a good many Turks were drawn to my table by the attractions of my wine, a luxury in which they have not many opportunities of indulging. The effect of this enforced abstinence is to make them so eager for drink, that they swill themselves with it whenever they get the chance. I asked them to make a night of it, but at last I got tired of the game, left the table, and retired to my bedroom. On this my Turkish guests made a move to go, and great was their grief as they reflected that they were not yet dead drunk, and could still use their legs. Presently they sent a servant to request that I would allow them access to my stock of wine and lend them some silver cups. ‘With my permission,’ they said, ‘they would like to continue their drinking bout through the night; they were not particular where they sat; any odd corner would do for them.’ Well, I ordered them to be furnished with as much wine as they could drink, and also with the cups they asked for. Being thus supplied, the fellows never left off drinking until they were one and all stretched on the floor in the last stage of intoxication.

To drink wine is considered a great sin among the Turks, especially in the case of persons advanced in life: when younger people indulge in it the offence is considered more venial. Inasmuch, however, as they think that they will have to pay the same penalty after death whether they drink much or little, if they taste one drop of wine they must needs indulge in a regular debauch; their notion being that, inasmuch as89 they have already incurred the penalty, appointed for such sin, in another world, it will be an advantage to them to have their sin out, and get dead drunk, since it will cost them as much in either case. These are their ideas about drinking, and they have some other notions which are still more ridiculous. I saw an old gentleman at Constantinople who, before taking up his cup, shouted as loud as he could. I asked my friends the reason, and they told me he was shouting to warn his soul to stow itself away in some odd corner of his body, or to leave it altogether, lest it should be defiled by the wine he was about to drink, and have hereafter to answer for the offence which the worthy man meant to indulge in.

I shall not have time to give you a full description of the good town of Buda, but that I may not pass it over altogether, I will give you a sketch of such sort as is suitable for a letter, though it would not be sufficient for a book. The town is built on the side of a hill, in a most delightful situation, the country around being rich and fertile. On the one side it is bordered by vine-clad hills, and on the other it commands a view of the Danube, as it flows past its walls, with Pesth beyond, and the broad fields on the other side of the river. Well might this town be selected as the royal capital of Hungary. In past times it was adorned with the magnificent palaces of the Hungarian nobility, some of which have fallen down, while others are only kept from falling by a liberal use of props and stays. The inmates of these mansions are generally Turkish soldiers, who, as their daily pay is all they have to live on, can spare nothing for the purpose of mending the walls or patching the roofs of these vast buildings. Accordingly, they do not take it to heart if the roof lets in rain or the wall cracks, provided they can find a dry spot to stable their horses and make their own90 bed. As to the chambers above, they think it is no concern of theirs; so they leave the rats and mice in full enjoyment of them. Another reason for this negligence is that it is part of the Turkish creed to avoid display in the matter of buildings; they consider that a man proves himself a conceited fellow, who utterly misunderstands his position, if he aims at having a pretentious house, for he shows thereby, according to their notion, that he expects himself and his house to last for ever. They profess to use houses as travellers use inns, and if their habitations protect them from robbers, give them warmth and shade, and keep off rain, they want nothing more. Through the whole of Turkey it would be hard to find a house, however exalted or rich its owner may be, built with the slightest regard to elegance. Everyone lives in a hut or cottage. The great people are fond of fine gardens and sumptuous baths, and take care to have roomy houses to accommodate their retinues; but in these you never see a bright verandah, or a hall worth looking at, nor does any sign of grandeur attract one’s attention. The Hungarians also follow the same practice, for with the exception of Buda, and perhaps Presburg, you will scarcely find a city in the whole of Hungary containing buildings of any pretension whatever. For my own part, I believe that this is a very old habit of theirs, and arises from the circumstance that the Hungarians are a warlike nation, accustomed to camp life and expeditions far from home, and so, when they lived in a city, they did so as men who must shortly leave it.

Whilst at Buda I was much struck with a spring which I saw outside the gate on the road to Constantinople. The surface of the water was boiling hot, but at the bottom you could see fish swimming about, so91 that, if they were caught, you might expect them to come out ready boiled!

At length, on December 7, the Pasha was ready to receive me. I gave him a present with a view to securing his favour, and then proceeded to complain of the arrogance and misdeeds of the Turkish soldiers. I demanded the restitution of the places which had been taken from us in violation of the truce, and which he had undertaken in his letters to restore to my master on his sending an ambassador. The Pasha replied with complaints as heavy as mine about the losses and injuries he had sustained at the hands of our people. As to restoring the places, he took refuge in the following dilemma:—‘I,’ said he, ‘either did not promise to restore these places, or I did promise to restore them. In the former case, I am not bound to restore them; while in the latter case, a man of your intelligence must comprehend that I made a promise which I have neither the right nor the power to keep; for my master has assigned me the duty of enlarging his dominion, not of diminishing it; and I have no right to impair his estate. Remember it is his interest that is in question, not mine. When you see him you can ask him for whatever you like.’ He concluded by remarking that ‘it was very wrong of me to bother a man still weak from illness with a long discourse about nothing.’

When he had delivered this decision with the air of a judge, I had leave to go. All I gained by my interview was the conclusion of a truce until an answer should be brought back from Solyman.

I observed, when we were presented to the Pasha, that they kept up the custom of the ancient Romans, who put in the word ‘feliciter’ at the end of their speech, and used words of good omen. I noticed also92 that in most cases the left-hand side was considered the more honourable. The reason they assign for this is that the sword confers honour on that side, for if a man stands on the right, he has in a certain sense his sword under the hand of the man who flanks him on the left; while the latter, of course, would have his sword free and disencumbered.

Our business at Buda being thus concluded, in so far as we were able to accomplish it, my companion returned to the King, while I, with my horses, carriages, and people, embarked on some vessels which were waiting for us, and sailed down the Danube towards Belgrade. This route was not only safer than that by land, but also occupied less time, for encumbered as I was with baggage, I should have been twelve days at the very least on the road, and there would also have been danger of an attack from Heydons—for so the Hungarians call the banditti who have left their flocks and herds to become half soldiers, half brigands. By the river route there was no fear of Heydons, and the passage occupied five days.

The vessel on board which I sailed was towed by a tug manned by twenty-four oarsmen; the other boats were pulled along by a pair of sweeps. With the exception of a few hours during which the wretched galley-slaves and the crew took food and rest, we travelled incessantly. I was much impressed on this occasion with the rashness of the Turks, for they had no hesitation in continuing their voyage during the night, though there was no moon and it was quite dark, amid a gale of wind. We often, to our very great danger, encountered mills and trunks and branches of trees projecting from the banks, so that it frequently happened that the boat was caught by the gale and came crashing on to the stumps and branches which93 lined the river side. On such occasions it seemed to me that we were on the point of going to pieces. Once, indeed, there was a great crash, and part of the deck was carried away. I jumped out of bed, and begged the crew to be more careful. Their only answer was ‘Alaure,’ that is, ‘God will help us;’ and so I was left to get back to my bed and my nap—if I could! I will venture to make one prophecy, and that is, that this mode of sailing will one day bring about a disaster.

On our voyage I saw Tolna, a Hungarian borough of some importance, which deserves special mention for its excellent white wine and the civility of the people. I saw also Fort Valpovar, which stands on high ground, as well as other castles and towns; nor did I fail to notice the points at which the Drave on the one side, and the Theiss on the other, flow into the Danube. Belgrade itself lies at the confluence of the Save and Danube, and at the apex of the angle where these streams join, the old city is still standing; it is built in an antiquated style, and fortified with numerous towers and a double wall. On two sides it is washed by the rivers I mentioned, while on the third side, which unites it to the land, it has a citadel of considerable strength, placed on an eminence, consisting of several lofty towers built of squared stone.

In front of the city are very large suburbs, built without any regard to order. These are inhabited by people of different nations—Turks, Greeks, Jews, Hungarians, Dalmatians, and many more.

Indeed, throughout the Turkish Empire the suburbs, as a rule, are larger than the towns, and suburbs and town together give the idea of a very considerable place. This was the first point at which I met with ancient coins, of which, as you know, I am94 very fond, and I find William Quacquelben, whom I mentioned before, a most admirable and devoted fellow-student in this hobby of mine.

We found several coins, on one side of which was a Roman soldier standing between a bull and a horse, with the inscription ‘Taurunum.’ It is a well-ascertained fact that the legions of Upper Mœsia were quartered here.

Twice in the days of our grandfathers great efforts were made to take Belgrade, on the first occasion by Amurath, and on the second by Mahomet, the captor of Constantinople. But the efforts of the barbarians were on both occasions baffled by the gallant defence of the Hungarians and the champions of the Cross.

It was not till the year 1520 that Belgrade was taken. Solyman, who had just ascended the throne, advanced against the city with powerful forces. He found it in a weak state, the garrison not having been kept at its proper strength, owing to the neglect of the young King Louis and the feuds of the Hungarian nobles; consequently he made himself master of the city without much loss. We can now see clearly that Belgrade was the door of Hungary, and that it was not till this gate was forced that the tide of Turkish barbarism burst into this unhappy country. The loss of Belgrade entailed the death of Louis98 on the battle-field, the capture of Buda, the enthralment of Transylvania, and the utter prostration of a flourishing realm, amid the alarm of neighbouring kingdoms lest their turn should come next. The loss of Belgrade ought to be a warning to the Princes of Christendom that they, as they love their safety, should take the utmost possible care of their forts and strongholds. For the Turks resemble in this point great rivers swollen by the rains; 95if they can burst their banks in any single place, they pour through the breach and carry destruction far and wide. In yet more fearful fashion do the Turkish hordes, when once they have burst the barriers in their path, carry far and wide their unparalleled devastations.

But we must now return to Belgrade, with full purpose to make our way straight to Constantinople. Having procured in the city what we thought needful for our journey by road, leaving Semendria, formerly a stronghold of the Despots99 of Servia, on our left, we commenced our journey towards Nissa. When we came to high ground the Turks showed us the snow-capped mountains of Transylvania in the distance, and they also pointed out by means of signs the place near which some of the piles of Trajan’s bridge may still be seen.100

After crossing a river, called Morava by the natives, we took up our lodgings in a village named Jagodin, where we had an opportunity of seeing the funeral ceremonies of the country, which are very different from ours. The body was laid in a chapel, with its face uncovered, and by it was placed food in the shape of bread and meat and a cup of wine; the wife stood by the side, and also the daughter, dressed in their best clothes; the latter wore a head-dress of peacock’s feathers. The last present which the wife made to her husband, after he had been waked, was a 96purple cap of the kind that young ladies wear in that country.

Then we heard wailing and crying and complaining, as they asked the dead man ‘What they had done that he should desert them? Had they in any way failed in showing submission to him or in ministering to his comfort? Why did he leave them to loneliness and misery?’ &c. &c. The religious ceremonies were conducted by priests of the Greek Church. I noticed in the burial-ground a great many wooden figures of stags, fawns, &c., placed on the top of posts or poles. On inquiring the reason, I was informed that the husbands or fathers placed these monuments as memorials of the readiness and care with which the wives and daughters had discharged their domestic duties. On many of the tombs were hanging tresses of hair, which the women and girls had placed there to show their grief for the loss of relations. We heard also that it was the custom in these parts, when the elders had arranged a marriage between a young man and a young woman, for the bridegroom to seize his wife by force and carry her off. According to their ideas, it would be highly indelicate for the girl to be a consenting party to the arrangement.

Not far from Jagodin we came to a little stream, which the inhabitants call Nissus. This we kept on our right, skirting its bank until we came to Nissa (Nisch). Some way on, we found on the bank (where the traces of an old Roman road still remained) a little marble pillar with a Latin inscription, but so mutilated as to be undecipherable. Nissa is a small town of some account, to which the people of the country often resort.

I must now tell you something as to the inns we97 make use of, for that is a subject on which you have been some time wanting information. At Nissa I lodged in the public inn, called by the Turks a caravanserai—the most common kind of inn in those parts. It consists of a huge building, the length of which somewhat exceeds the breadth. In the centre is an open space, where the camels and their baggage, as well as the mules and waggons, have to be quartered.

This open space is surrounded by a wall about three feet high, and this is bonded into the outer wall surrounding the whole building. The top of the former is level, and about four feet broad. This ledge serves the Turks for bedroom and dining-room, and kitchen as well, for here and there fireplaces are built into the outer wall, which I told you encloses the whole building. So they sleep, eat, and cook on this ledge, three feet high and four feet broad; and this is the only distinction between their quarters and those of the camels, horses, and other beasts of burden.

Moreover, they have their horses haltered at the foot of the ledge, so that their heads and necks come right over it; and as their masters warm themselves or take their supper, the creatures stand by like so many lackeys, and sometimes are given a crust or apple from their master’s hand. On the ledge they also make their beds; first they spread out the rug which they carry for that purpose behind their saddles, on this they put a cloak, while the saddle supplies them with a pillow. A robe, lined with skins, and reaching to the ankles furnishes their dress by day and their blanket at night. And so when they lie down they have no luxuries wherewith to provoke sleep to come to them.

In these inns there is no privacy whatever; everything is done in public, and the only curtain to shield98 one from people’s eyes is such as may be afforded by the darkness of the night.

I was excessively disgusted with these inns, for all the Turks were staring at us, and wondering at our ways and customs, so I always did my best to get a lodging with some poor Christian; but their huts are so narrow that oftentimes there was not room enough for a bed, and so I had to sleep sometimes in a tent and sometimes in my carriage. On certain occasions I got lodged in a Turkish hostel. These hostels are fine convenient buildings, with separate bedrooms, and no one is refused admittance, whether he be Christian or Jew, whether he be rich or a beggar. The doors are open to all alike. They are made use of by the pashas and sanjak-beys when they travel. The hospitality which I met with in these places appeared to me worthy of a royal palace. It is the custom to furnish food to each individual who lodges there, and so, when supper-time came, an attendant made his appearance with a huge wooden platter as big as a table, in the middle of which was a dish of barley porridge and a bit of meat. Around the dish were loaves, and sometimes a little honey in the comb.

At first I had some delicacy in accepting it, and told the man that my own supper was being got ready, and that he had better give what he had brought to people who were really in want. The attendant, however, would take no denial, expressed a hope ‘that I would not despise their slender fare,’ told me ‘that even pashas received this dole, it was the custom of the place, and there was plenty more for supplying the wants of the poor. If I did not care for it myself I might leave it for my servants.’ He thus obliged me to accept it, lest I should seem ungracious. So I used to thank whoever brought it, and sometimes took99 a mouthful or two. It was not at all bad. I can assure you that barley porridge is a very palatable food, and it is, moreover, recommended by Galen101 as extremely wholesome.

Travellers are allowed to enjoy this hospitality for three full days; when these have expired, they must change their hostel. In these places I found, as I have already told you, most convenient lodgings, but they were not to be met with everywhere.

Sometimes, if I could not get a house to lodge in, I spent the night in a cattle shed. I used to look out for a large and roomy stable; in one part of it there would be a regular fire-place, while the other part was assigned to the sheep and oxen. It is the fashion, you must know, for the sheep and the shepherd to live under the same roof.

My plan was to screen off the part where the fire was with my tent hangings, put my table and bed by the fire side, and there I was as happy as a king. In the other part of the stable my servants took their ease in plenty of good clean straw, while some fell asleep by the bonfire which they were wont to make in 100an orchard or meadow hard by, for the purpose of cooking our food. By means of the fire they were able to withstand the cold; and, as to keeping it burning, no vestal virgin at Rome was ever more careful than they. I dare say you will wonder how I managed to console my people for their bad lodgings. You will surmise that wine, the usual remedy for bad nights, is not easily found in the heart of Turkey. This is quite true. It is not in every district that you can get wine, and this is especially the case in places where Christians do not live. For ofttimes, getting wearied of Turkish insolence, they leave the neighbourhood of the high road, and take refuge in pathless wilds, where the land is poorer, and they themselves are safer, leaving their conquerors in possession of the more fertile spots. When we drew near to such places, the Turks warned us that we should find no wine there, and we then despatched a caterer the day before under the escort of a Turk, to obtain a supply from the neighbouring Christian districts. So my people did not lack this solace of their hardships. To them wine supplied the place of feather beds and bolsters, and every other comfort that induces sleep. As for myself, I had in my carriage some flasks of excellent wine, which supplied my own private table.

I have now told you how I and my people provided ourselves with wine; but we had one hardship almost worse than want of wine, and this was the dreadful way in which our nights were broken. Sometimes, in order to reach a good halting-place betimes, it was necessary to rise very early, while it was still dark. On these occasions it not unfrequently happened that our Turkish guides mistook the moonlight for the approach of dawn, and proceeded to wake us soon after midnight in a most noisy fashion. For the Turks, you101 must know, have neither hours to mark their time, nor milestones to mark their roads.

They have professional people, called talismans, set apart for the service of their mosques, who use a water-glass; and when these talismans know that morning is at hand, they utter a cry from a lofty minaret built for that special purpose, in order to call and invite the people to the performance of their devotions. They utter the same cry when one quarter of the day has elapsed, at midday, again when three quarters of the day are over, and, last of all, at sunset; each time repeating the cry in shrill quavering tones, the effect of which is not unpleasing, and the sound can be heard at a distance that would astonish you.

Thus the Turks divide their day into four portions, which are longer or shorter according to the season. They have no method for marking time during the night.

But to return to my subject. Our guides, deceived by the brightness of the moon, were wont to give the signal for striking camp when the day was yet far distant. Up we jumped in haste, for fear of causing any delay, or being blamed for any misadventure that might ensue. Our baggage was got together, the bed and tents thrown into the waggon, our horses harnessed, and we ourselves stood ready and equipped, waiting for the signal to start. Meanwhile, our Turks had found out their mistake, and turned into bed for another sleep.

When we had waited some time for them in vain, I would send a message to tell them that we were quite ready, and that the delay rested with them. My messengers brought back word that ‘the Turks had returned to their bedclothes, and vowed that they had been atrociously deceived by the moon when they gave the signal for starting; it was not yet time to set out,102 and we had much better all go to sleep again.’ The consequence was that we had either to unpack everything at the cost of considerable labour, or to spend a good part of the night shivering in the cold. To put a stop to this annoyance, I ordered the Turks not to trouble me again, and promised to be responsible for our being up in good time, if they would tell me the day before, when we ought to start, assuring them that ‘I could manage it, as I had watches that could be trusted; they might continue their slumbers,’ I added, ‘relying on me to have the camp roused at the proper time.’

My Turks agreed, but were not quite comfortable about it; so at first they would come early, and wake up my servant, bidding him go to me, and ask what the fingers of my timepieces said. On his return he would tell them, as best he could, what the time was, informing them that it was nearly morning, or that the sun would not rise for some time, as the case might be. When they had once or twice proved the truth of his report, they trusted the watches implicitly, and expressed their admiration at their accuracy. Thenceforward we were allowed to enjoy our night’s rest without having it cut short by their uproar.

On our way from Nissa to Sophia we had fair roads and good weather, considering the season of the year. Sophia is a good-sized town, with a considerable population both of residents and visitors. Formerly it was the royal city of the Bulgarians; afterwards (unless I am mistaken) it was the seat of the Despots of Servia, whilst the dynasty still existed, and had not yet succumbed to the power of the Turk. After quitting Sophia we travelled for several days through fruitful fields and pleasant valleys, belonging to the Bulgarians.


The bread we used through this part of our expedition was, for the most part, baked under ashes. The people call these loaves ‘fugacias:’ they are sold by the girls and women, for there are no professional bakers in that district. When the women hear of the arrival of strangers, from whom they may expect to earn a trifle, they knead cakes of meal and water without any leaven, and put them under the hot ashes. When baked they carry them round for sale at a small price, still hot from the hearth. Other eatables are also very cheap. A sheep costs thirty-five aspres,102 a fowl costs one; and fifty aspres make a crown. I must not forget to tell you of the dress of the women. Usually, their sole garment consists of a shirt or chemise of linen, quite as coarse as the cloth sacks are made of in our country, covered with needlework designs, of the most absurd and childish character, in different colours. However, they think themselves excessively fine; and when they saw our shirts—the texture of which was excellent—they expressed their surprise that we should be contented with plain linen instead of having worked and coloured shirts. But nothing struck us more than their towering head-dresses and singular bonnets—if bonnets they can be called. They are made of straw, woven with threads; the shape is exactly the reverse of that which is usually worn by our women in country districts; for their bonnets fall down on the shoulders, and are broadest at the lowest part, from which they gradually slope up into a peak. Whereas, in Bulgaria the bonnet is narrowest at the lowest part; above the head it rises in a coil about three-quarters of a foot; it is open at the top, and presents a large cavity 104towards the sky, so that it seems expressly made for the purpose of catching the rain and the sun, just as ours are made for the purpose of keeping them off.

The whole of the bonnet, from the upper to the lower rim, is ornamented with coins and figures, bits of coloured glass, and anything else that glitters, however rubbishy it may be.

This kind of bonnet makes the wearer look tall, and also obliges her to carry herself with dignity, as it is ready to tumble off at the slightest touch. When they enter a room you might imagine it was a Clytemnestra,103 or Hecuba such as she was in the palmy days of Troy, that was marching on to the stage.

I had here an instance of the fickleness and instability of that which, in the world’s opinion, constitutes nobility. For when, on noticing some young women, whose persons had an air of better breeding than the rest, I inquired whether they belonged to some high family, I was told that they were descended from great Bulgarian princes, and, in some cases, even from royal ancestors, but were now married to herdsmen and shepherds. So little value is attached to high birth in the Turkish realm. I saw also, in other places, descendants of the imperial families of the Cantacuzeni104 and 105Palæologi, whose position among the Turks was lower than that of Dionysius at Corinth. For the Turks do not measure even their own people by any other rule than that of personal merit. The only exception is the house of Othman; in this case, and in this case only, does birth confer distinction.

It is supposed that the Bulgarians,105 at a time when many tribes were migrating of their own accord or under compulsion, left the Scythian river Volga to settle here, and that they are called Bulgarians (an equivalent for Volgarians) from that river.

They established themselves on the Balkan range, between Sophia and Philippopolis, in a position of great natural strength, and here they long defied the power of the Greek Emperors.

When Baldwin106 the elder, Count of Flanders, gained possession of the imperial throne, they took him prisoner in a skirmish, and put him to death. They were not able to withstand the power of the Turks, who conquered them, and subjected them to their heavy yoke. They use the language of the Illyrians, as do the Servians and Rascians.107


In order to descend to the level country in front of Philippopolis it is necessary to cross the mountain by a very rough pass. This pass the Turks call ‘Capi Dervent’108—that is to say, The Narrow Gate. On this plain the traveller soon meets with the Hebrus, which rises at no great distance in Mount Rhodope. Before we had crossed the pass I mentioned above, we had a good view of the summit of Rhodope, which stood out cold and clear with its snowy covering. The inhabitants, if I am not mistaken, call the mountain Rulla. From it, as Pliny tells us, flows the Hebrus, a fact generally known from the couplet of Ovid:—

‘Quâ patet umbrosum Rhodope glacialis ad Hæmum,
Et sacer amissas exigit Hebrus aquas.’

In this passage the poet seems to refer to the river’s want of depth and its scant supply of water; for though a great and famous stream, it is full of shallows. I remember, on my return, crossing the Hebrus by a ford close to Philippopolis, in order to reach an island, where we slept under canvas. But the river rose during the night, and we had great difficulty next day in recrossing and regaining our road.

There are three hills which look as if they had been torn away from the rest of the range. On one of these Philippopolis is situated, crowning the summit with its towers. At Philippopolis we saw rice in the marshes growing like wheat.

The whole plain is covered with mounds of earth, 107which, according to the Turkish legends, are artificial, and mark the sites of the numerous battles which, they declare, took place in these fields. Underneath these barrows, they imagine, lie the victims of these struggles.

Continuing our route, we followed pretty closely the banks of the Hebrus, which was for some time on our right hand, and leaving the Balkans, which ran down to the Black Sea, on our left, we at last crossed the Hebrus by the noble bridge built by Mustapha, and arrived at Adrianople, or, as it is called by the Turks, Endrene. The name of the city was Oresta until Hadrian enlarged it and gave it his own name. It is situated at the confluence of the Maritza, or Hebrus, and two small streams, the Tundja and Arda, which at this point alter their course and flow towards the Ægean Sea. Even this city is of no very great extent, if only that portion is included which is within the circuit of the ancient walls; but the extensive buildings in the suburbs, which have been added by the Turks, make it a very considerable place.

After stopping one day at Adrianople, we set out to finish the last stage of our journey to Constantinople, which is not far distant. As we passed through these districts we were presented with large nosegays of flowers, the narcissus, the hyacinth, and the tulipan (as the Turks call this last). We were very much surprised to see them blooming in midwinter, a season which does not suit flowers at all. There is a great abundance of the narcissus and hyacinth in Greece; their fragrance is perfectly wonderful, so much so, that, when in great profusion, they affect the heads of those who are unaccustomed to the scent. The tulip has little or no smell; its recommendation is the variety and beauty of the colouring.


The Turks are passionately fond of flowers, and though somewhat parsimonious in other matters, they do not hesitate to give several aspres for a choice blossom. I, too, had to pay pretty dearly for these nosegays, although they were nominally presents, for on each occasion I had to pull out a few aspres as my acknowledgment of the gift. A man who visits the Turks had better make up his mind to open his purse as soon as he crosses their frontier, and not to shut it till he quits the country; in the interval he must sow his money broadcast, and may thank his stars if the seed proves fruitful. But even assuming that he gets nothing else by his expenditure, he will find that there is no other means of counteracting the dislike and prejudice which the Turks entertain towards the rest of the world. Money is the charm wherewith to lull these feelings in a Turk, and there is no other way of mollifying him. But for this method of dealing with them, these countries would be as inaccessible to foreigners as the lands which are condemned (according to the popular belief) to unbroken solitude on account of excessive heat or excessive cold.

Half way between Constantinople and Adrianople lies a little town called Tchourlou, famous as the place where Selim was defeated by his father, Bajazet. Selim,109 who was only saved by the speed of his horse Caraboulut (i.e. the dark cloud), fled to the Crimea, where his father-in-law exercised supreme power.

Just before we reached Selimbria, a small town lying on the coast, we saw some well-preserved traces 109of an ancient earthwork and ditch, which they say were made in the days of the later Greek emperors, and extended from the Sea of Marmora to the Danube.

These fortifications were intended to defend the land and property of the people of Constantinople which lay within their defences, against the inroads of barbarians. They tell of an old man in those days who declared that the existence of these works did not so much protect what was inside, as mark the surrender of the rest to the barbarians, and so encourage them to attack, while it damped the spirit of the defenders.

At Selimbria we stopped awhile to enjoy the view over the calm sea and pick up shells, while the waves rolled merrily on to the shore. We were also attracted by the sight of dolphins sporting in the waters; and, in addition to all these sights, we enjoyed the heat of that delicious clime. I cannot tell you how warm and mild the air is in this charming spot. As far as Tchourlou there was a certain amount of cold, and the wind had a touch of the North about it; but on leaving Tchourlou the air becomes extremely mild.

Close to Constantinople we crossed over bridges, which spanned two lovely bays.110 If these places were cultivated, and nature were to receive the slightest assistance from art, I doubt whether in the whole world anything could be found to surpass them in loveliness. But the very ground seems to mourn its fate, and complain of the neglect of its barbarian master. Here we feasted on most delicious fish, caught before our eyes.

While lodging in the hostels, which the Turks call 110Imaret, I happened to notice a number of bits of paper stuck in the walls. In a fit of curiosity I pulled them out, imagining that there must be some reason for their being placed there. I asked my Turks what was written on the paper, but I could not find that they contained anything which could account for their being thus preserved. This made me all the more eager to learn why on earth they were kept; for I had seen the same thing done in other places. My Turks made no reply, being unwilling to answer my question, either because they were shy of telling me that which I should not credit, or because they did not wish to unfold so mighty a mystery to one outside the pale of their religion. Some time later I learned from my friends among the Turks, that great respect is paid to a piece of paper, because there is a possibility that the name of God may be written on it; and therefore they do not allow the smallest scrap to lie on the ground, but pick it up and stick it quickly in some chink or crack, that it may not be trodden on. There is no particular fault, perhaps, to be found with all this; but let me tell you the rest.

On the day of the last judgment, when Mahomet will summon his followers from purgatory to heaven and eternal bliss, the only road open to them will be over a red-hot gridiron, which they must walk across with bare feet. A painful ordeal, methinks. Picture to yourself a cock skipping and hopping over hot coals! Now comes the marvel. All the paper they have preserved from being trodden on and insulted, will appear unexpectedly, stick itself under their feet, and be of the greatest service in protecting them from the red-hot iron. This great boon awaits those who save paper from bad treatment. On some occasions our guides were most indignant with my servants for using paper111 for some very dirty work, and reported it to me as an outrageous offence. I replied that they must not be surprised at such acts on the part of my servants. What could they expect, I added, from people who are accustomed to eat pork?

This is a specimen of Turkish superstition. With them it is a fearful offence for a man to sit, even unwittingly, on the Koran (which is their Bible); in the case of a Christian the punishment is death. Moreover, they do not allow rose-leaves to lie on the ground, because they think that the rose sprang from the sweat of Mahomet, just as the ancients believed that it came from the blood of Venus. But I must leave off, or I shall tire you with these trifling matters.

I arrived at Constantinople on January 20, and there I found the colleagues I mentioned above, Antony Wranczy and Francis Zay. The Sultan was away in Asia with the Turkish army, and no one was left at Constantinople except the eunuch Ibrahim Pasha, governor of the city, and Roostem, who had been deprived of his office. Nevertheless, we visited the ex-chief-Vizier, showed him every courtesy, and gave him presents to mark our esteem; for we did not forget the great influence he once had, and his prospect of shortly regaining it.

Now that I am speaking of Roostem, I may as well tell you how he came to be deprived of his high office. Solyman had a son by a concubine, who came from the Crimea, if I remember rightly. His name was Mustapha, and at the time of which I am speaking he was young, vigorous, and of high repute as a soldier. But Solyman had also several other children by a Russian woman (Roxolana).111 To the latter he was so much 112attached that he placed her in the position of a wife, and assigned her a dowry, the giving and receiving of which constitutes a marriage amongst the Turks. In taking her as his wife, he broke through the custom of his later predecessors on the throne, none of whom, since the days of Bajazet the elder, had a lawful wife. For of all the indignities which the vanquished Sultan endured, when he and his wife fell into the hands of Tamerlane,112 nothing seemed more dreadful than the insults which his wife received before his eyes. His humiliation made so deep an impression on his successors that, up to the time of Solyman, they abstained from contracting a legal marriage with any woman, by way of insuring themselves, under all circumstances, against a similar misfortune. The mothers of their children were women in the position of slaves, the idea being that, if they were insulted, the disgrace to the 113Sultan would not be so great as in the case of a lawful wife. You must not be surprised at this, for the Turks do not consider the position of the children of concubines and mistresses inferior to that of the offspring of wives; both have precisely the same rights of inheritance to their father’s property.

Thus, then, matters stood. Mustapha’s high qualities and matured years marked him out, to the soldiers who loved, and the people who supported him, as the successor of his father, who was now in the decline of life. On the other hand, his step-mother, by throwing the claim of a lawful wife into the scale, was doing her utmost to counterbalance his personal merits and his rights as eldest son, with a view to obtaining the throne for her own children. In this intrigue she received the advice and assistance of Roostem, whose fortunes were inseparably linked with hers by his marriage with a daughter she had had by Solyman. Of all the Pashas at Solyman’s court none had such influence and weight as Roostem; his determined character and clear-sighted views had contributed in no small degree to his master’s fame. Perhaps you would like to know his origin. He was once a pig-driver;113 and yet he is a man well worthy of his high office, were his hands not soiled with greed. This was the only point as to which the Sultan was dissatisfied with him; in every other respect he was the object of his love and esteem. However, this very fault his master contrived to turn to his advantage, by giving him the management of the privy purse and exchequer, 114Solyman’s chief difficulties being on the score of finance. In his administration of this department he neglected no gain, however trivial, and scraped up money from the sale of the vegetables and flowers which grew in the imperial gardens; he put up separately to auction each prisoner’s helmet, coat-of-mail, and horse, and managed everything else after the same fashion.

By these means he contrived to amass large sums of money, and fill Solyman’s treasury. In short, he placed his finances in a sound position. His success in this department drew from a very bitter enemy of his an expression, which will surprise you as coming from a Turk. He declared that, even had he the power to hurt Roostem, he would not use it against one whose industry, zeal, and care had re-established his master’s finances. There is in the palace a special vault, where these hoards are kept, and on it is this inscription, ‘The moneys acquired by the care of Roostem.’

Well, inasmuch as Roostem was chief Vizier, and as such had the whole of the Turkish administration in his hands, he had no difficulty, seeing that he was the Sultan’s adviser in everything, in influencing his master’s mind. The Turks, accordingly, are convinced that it was by the calumnies of Roostem and the spells of Roxolana, who was in ill repute as a practiser of witchcraft, that the Sultan was so estranged from his son as to entertain the design of getting rid of him. A few believe that Mustapha, being aware of the plans of Roostem and the practices of his stepmother, determined to anticipate them, and thus engaged in designs against his father’s throne and person. The sons of Turkish Sultans are in the most wretched position in the world, for, as soon as one of them succeeds his115 father, the rest are doomed to certain death. The Turk can endure no rival to the throne, and, indeed, the conduct of the Janissaries renders it impossible for the new Sultan to spare his brothers; for if one of them survives, the Janissaries are for ever asking largesses. If these are refused, forthwith the cry is heard, ‘Long live the brother!’ ‘God preserve the brother!’—a tolerably broad hint that they intend to place him on the throne. So that the Turkish Sultans are compelled to celebrate their succession by imbruing their hands in the blood of their nearest relatives. Now whether the fault lay with Mustapha, who feared this fate for himself, or with Roxolana, who endeavoured to save her children at the expense of Mustapha, this much at any rate is certain—the suspicions of the Sultan were excited, and the fate of his son was sealed.

Being at war with Shah Tahmasp, King of the Persians, he had sent Roostem against him as commander-in-chief of his armies. Just as he was about to enter the Persian territory, Roostem suddenly halted, and hurried off despatches to Solyman, informing him that affairs were in a very critical state; that treason was rife everywhere; that the soldiers had been tampered with, and cared for no one but Mustapha; that he (the Sultan) could control the soldiers, but that the evil was past his (Roostem’s) curing; that his presence and authority were wanted; and he must come at once, if he wished to preserve his throne. Solyman was seriously alarmed by these despatches. He immediately hurried to the army, and sent a letter to summon Mustapha to his presence, inviting him to clear himself of those crimes of which he was suspected, and indeed openly accused, at the same time assuring him that, if he proved innocent, no danger116 awaited him. Mustapha had now to make his choice. If he obeyed the summons of his angry and offended father, the risk was great; but if he excused himself from coming, it would be tantamount to an admission of treason. He determined to take the course which demanded most courage and involved most danger.

He left Amasia, the seat of his government, and went to his father’s camp, which lay at no great distance,114 either trusting in his innocence, or feeling confident that no evil would happen to him in the presence of the army. However that may be, he fell into a trap from which there was no escape.

Solyman had brought with him his son’s death doom, which he had prepared before leaving home. With a view to satisfying religious scruples, he had previously consulted his mufti. This is the name given to the chief priest among the Turks, and answers to our Pope of Rome. In order to get an impartial answer from the mufti, he put the case before him as follows:—He told him that there was at Constantinople a merchant of good position, who, when about to leave home for some time, placed over his property and household a slave to whom he had shown the greatest favour, and entrusted his wife and children to his loyalty. No sooner was the master gone than this slave began to embezzle his master’s property, and plot against the lives of his wife and children; nay, more, had attempted to compass his master’s destruction. The question which he (Solyman) wished the mufti to answer was this: What sentence could be lawfully pronounced against this slave? The 117mufti answered that in his judgment he deserved to be tortured to death. Now, whether this was the mufti’s own opinion, or whether it was pronounced at the instigation of Roostem or Roxolana, there is no doubt that it greatly influenced Solyman, who was already minded to order the execution of his son; for he considered that the latter’s offence against himself was quite as great as that of the slave against his master, in the case he had put before the mufti.

There was great uneasiness among the soldiers, when Mustapha arrived in the camp. He was brought to his father’s tent, and there everything betokened peace. There was not a soldier on guard, no aide-de-camp, no policeman, nothing that could possibly alarm him and make him suspect treachery. But there were in the tent certain mutes—a favourite kind of servant among the Turks—strong and sturdy fellows, who had been appointed as his executioners. As soon as he entered the inner tent, they threw themselves upon him, and endeavoured to put the fatal noose around his neck. Mustapha, being a man of considerable strength, made a stout defence, and fought—not only for his life, but also for the throne; there being no doubt that if he escaped from his executioners, and threw himself among the Janissaries, the news of this outrage on their beloved prince would cause such pity and indignation, that they would not only protect him, but also proclaim him Sultan. Solyman felt how critical the matter was, being only separated by the linen hangings of his tent from the stage, on which this tragedy was being enacted. When he found that there was an unexpected delay in the execution of his scheme, he thrust out his head from the chamber of his tent, and glared on the mutes with fierce and threatening eyes; at the same time, with signs full of118 hideous meaning, he sternly rebuked their slackness. Hereon the mutes, gaining fresh strength from the terror he inspired, threw Mustapha down, got the bowstring round his neck, and strangled him. Shortly afterwards they laid his body on a rug in front of the tent, that the Janissaries might see the man they had desired as their Sultan. When this was noised through the camp, the whole army was filled with pity and grief; nor did one of them fail to come and gaze on that sad sight. Foremost of all were the Janissaries, so astounded and indignant that, had there been anyone to lead them, they would have flinched from nothing. But they saw their chosen leader lying lifeless on the ground. The only course left to them was to bear patiently that which could not be cured. So, sadly and silently, with many a tear, they retired to their tents, where they were at liberty to indulge their grief at the unhappy end of their young favourite. First they declared that Solyman was a dotard and a madman. They then expressed their abhorrence of the cruel treachery of the stepmother (Roxolana), and the wickedness of Roostem, who, between them, had extinguished the brightest light of the house of Othman. Thus they passed that day fasting, nor did they even touch water; indeed, there were some of them who remained without food for a still longer time.

For several days there was a general mourning throughout the camp, and there seemed no prospect of any abatement of the soldiers’ sorrow, unless Roostem were removed from office. This step Solyman accordingly took, at the suggestion (as it is generally believed) of Roostem himself. He dismissed him from office, and sent him back to Constantinople in disgrace.

His post was filled by Achmet Pasha, who is more119 distinguished for courage than for judgment. When Roostem had been chief Vizier he had been second. This change soothed and calmed the spirits of the soldiers. With the credulity natural to the lower orders, they were easily induced to believe that Solyman had discovered Roostem’s machinations and his wife’s sorceries, and was coming to his senses now that it was all too late, and that this was the cause of Roostem’s fall. Indeed, they were persuaded that he would not even spare his wife, when he returned to Constantinople. Moreover, the men themselves met Roostem at Constantinople, apparently overwhelmed with grief and without the slightest hope of recovering his position.

Meanwhile, Roxolana, not contented with removing Mustapha from her path, was compassing the death of the only son he had left, who was still a child; for she did not consider that she and her children were free from danger, so long as his offspring survived. Some pretext, however, she thought necessary, in order to furnish a reason for the murder, but this was not hard to find. Information is brought to Solyman that, whenever his grandson appeared in public, the boys of Ghemlik115—where he was being educated—shouted out, ‘God save the Prince, and may he long survive his father;’ and that the meaning of these cries was to point him out as his grandsire’s future successor, and his father’s avenger. Moreover, he was bidden to remember that the Janissaries would be sure to support the son of Mustapha, so that the father’s death had in no way secured the peace of the throne and realm; that nothing ought to be preferred to the 120interests of religion, not even the lives of our children; that the whole Mussulman religion (as they call it, meaning ‘the best religion’) depended on the safety of the throne and the rule of the house of Othman; and that, if the family were to fall, the foundations of the faith would be overthrown; that nothing would so surely lead to the downfall of the house as disunion among its members; for the sake, therefore, of the family, the empire, and religion itself, a stop must be put to domestic feuds; no price could be too great for the accomplishment of such an end, even though a father’s hands had to be dipped in his children’s blood; nay, the sacrifice of one’s children’s lives was not to be esteemed of any great account, if the safety of the faith was thereby assured. There was still less reason, they added, for compunction in this case, inasmuch as the boy, as Mustapha’s son, was already a participator in his father’s guilt, and there could be no doubt that he would shortly place himself at the head of his father’s partisans.

Solyman was easily induced by these arguments to sign the death-warrant of his grandson. He commissioned Ibrahim Pasha to go to Ghemlik with all speed, and put the innocent child to death.

On arriving at Ghemlik, Ibrahim took special care to conceal his errand from the lad’s mother, for that she should be allowed to know of her son’s execution, and almost see it with her eyes, would have seemed too barbarous. Besides, his object, if it got wind, might provoke an insurrection, and so his plans be frustrated.

By the following artifice he threw her off her guard. He pretended he was sent by Solyman to visit her and her son; he said his master had found out, when too late, that he had made a terrible mistake in putting121 Mustapha to death, and intended, by his affection for the son, to atone for his injustice to the father.

Many stories of this kind he told, in order to gain credence with the fond mother, whose fears had, at that time, been to a great extent dispelled by the news of Roostem’s fall. After thus flattering her hopes, he presented her with a few trifling gifts.

A couple of days later he threw in a word about the confined atmosphere of the city, and the desirability of change of air, and so obtained her consent to their setting out next day for a seat near the city. She herself was to go in a carriage, and her son to ride in front of the carriage on horseback. There was nothing in these arrangements that could excite suspicion, and so she agreed. A carriage was got ready, the axle-tree of which was so put together as to ensure its breaking when they came to a certain rough place, which they needs must cross. Accordingly, the mother entered the carriage, and set forth, poor woman, on her journey into the country. The eunuch rode well in front with the lad, as if to take the opportunity for a chat; the mother followed with what speed she might. When they reached the rough ground I told you of, the wheel struck violently against the stones, and the axle broke. The mother, whom this accident filled with the worst forebodings, was in the greatest alarm, and could not be kept from leaving the carriage, and following her son on foot, attended only by a few of her women. But the eunuch had already reached his destination. As soon as he had crossed the threshold of the house which was to be the scene of the murder, he uttered the sentence of death: ‘The order of the Sultan is that you must die.’ The boy, they say, made answer like a true Turk, that he received the decree, not as the order of the Sultan, but the com122mand of God; and, with these words on his lips, suffered the fatal noose to be placed round his neck. And so—young, innocent, and full of promise—the little fellow was strangled. When the deed was done the eunuch slipped out by a back door, and fled for his life. Presently came the mother. She had already guessed what had taken place. She knocked at the door. When all was over, they let her in. There lay her son before her eyes, his body still warm with life, the pulses throbbing, the breath hardly departed from him. But we had better draw a veil over the sad scene. What a mother’s feelings must have been to see her son thus entrapped and murdered, it were easier to imagine than describe.

She was then compelled to return to Ghemlik. She came into the city with her hair dishevelled and her robe rent, filling the air with her shrieks and moanings. The women of Ghemlik, high and low, gathered round her; and when they heard of the fearful deed that had been perpetrated, like frenzied Bacchantes they rushed out of the gates. ‘Where’s the eunuch? Where’s the eunuch?’ is their cry. And woe to him had he fallen into their hands. But he, knowing what impended, and fearing to be torn in pieces by the furious women, like a second Orpheus,116 lost no time in making his escape.

But I must now return to my subject. A messenger was despatched to Solyman, with a letter announcing my arrival. During the interval, while we were waiting for his answer, I had an opportunity of seeing Constantinople at my leisure. My chief wish was to visit the Church of St. Sophia; to which, however, I only obtained admission as a special favour, as 123the Turks think that their temples are profaned by the entrance of a Christian. It is a grand and massive building, well worth visiting. There is a huge central cupola, or dome, lighted only from a circular opening at the top. Almost all the Turkish mosques are built after the pattern of St. Sophia. Some say it was formerly much bigger, and that there were several buildings in connection with it, covering a great extent of ground, which were pulled down many years ago, the shrine in the middle of the church alone being left standing.

As regards the position of the city, it is one which nature herself seems to have designed for the mistress of the world. It stands in Europe, Asia is close in front, with Egypt and Africa on its right; and though these last are not, in point of distance, close to Constantinople, yet, practically, the communication by sea links them to the city. On the left, are the Black Sea and the Sea of Azoff. Many nations live all round the coasts of these seas, and many rivers pour into them; so that, through the length and breadth of these countries, which border on the Black Sea, there is nothing grown for man’s use, which cannot, with the greatest ease, be brought to Constantinople by water. On one side the city is washed by the Sea of Marmora, on the other the creek forms a harbour which, from its shape, is called by Strabo ‘the Golden Horn.’ On the third side it is united to the mainland, so that its position may be described as a peninsula or promontory formed by a ridge running out between the sea on one side, and the frith on the other. Thus from the centre of Constantinople there is a most exquisite view over the sea, and of Mount Olympus in Asia, white with perpetual snow. The sea is perfectly crowded with shoals of fish making their way, after the124 manner of their kind, from the Sea of Azoff and the Black Sea through the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmora into the Ægean and Mediterranean, or again returning to the Black Sea. The shoals are so big, and so closely packed, that sometimes fish can be caught with the hand. Mackerel, tunnies, bigheads, bream, and sword-fish are to be had in abundance. The fishermen are, for the most part, Greeks, as they take to this occupation more readily than the Turks, although the latter do not despise fish when brought to table, provided they are of the kinds which they consider clean; as for the rest, they would as lief take a dose of poison as touch them. I should tell you, by the way, that a Turk would sooner have his tongue or teeth torn out, than taste anything which he considers unclean, as, for instance, a frog, a snail, or a tortoise. The Greeks are subject to the same superstition. I had engaged a lad of the Greek Church as purveyor for my people. His fellow-servants had never been able to induce him to eat snails; at last they set a dish of them before him, cooked and seasoned in such a way that he fancied it was some kind of fish, and helped himself to it most liberally. But when the other servants, laughing and giggling, produced the snail shells, and showed him that he had been taken in, his distress was such as to baffle all description. He rushed to his chamber, where there was no end to his tears, misery, and sickness. He declared that it would cost him two months’ wages, at the least, to obtain absolution for his sin; it being the custom of Greek priests to charge those who come for confession a price varying with the nature and extent of the offence, and to refuse absolution to those who do not comply with their demand.

At the end of the promontory I mentioned, stands125 the palace of the Turkish Sultan, which, as far as I can see—for I have not yet been admitted within its walls—has no grandeur of design or architectural details to make it worth a visit. Below the palace, on lower ground near the shore, lie the Sultan’s gardens fringing the sea. This is the quarter where people think that old Byzantium stood. You must not expect here to have the story of why in former days the people of Chalcedon were called blind,117 who lived opposite Byzantium—the very ruins of Chalcedon have now well nigh disappeared; neither must you expect to hear of the peculiar nature of the sea, in that it flows downwards with a current that never stops nor changes; nor about the pickled condiments which are brought to Constantinople from the Sea of Azoff, which the Italians call moronellas, botargas, and caviare. Such matters would be out of place here; indeed, I think I have already exceeded the limits of a letter; besides, they are facts which can be read both in ancient and modern authors.

I now return to Constantinople. Nothing could exceed the beauty or the commercial advantages of its situation. In Turkish cities it is, as I told you before, useless to expect handsome buildings or fine streets; the extreme narrowness of the latter renders a good effect impossible. In many places are to be found interesting remains of ancient works of art, and yet, as regards number, the only marvel is that more are not in existence, when we remember how many Constantine brought from Rome. I do not intend to describe each of them separately, but I will touch on a few. On the site of the ancient hippodrome are a pair of bronze serpents,118 which people go to see, and also a 126remarkable obelisk. There are besides two famous pillars at Constantinople, which are considered among the sights. One of them is opposite the caravanserai where we were entertained, and the other is in the market-place which the Turks call ‘Avret Bazaar,’ i.e. the female slave market. It is engraven from top to bottom with the history of the expedition of Arcadius, who built it, and by whose statue it was long surmounted. It would be more correct to call it a spiral staircase than a column, for there is inside it a set of steps, by ascending which one can reach the top. I have a picture of it. On the other hand, the column119 which stands opposite the inn where it is usual for the imperial Ambassadors to be lodged, is formed, with the exception of its base and capital, of eight solid blocks of porphyry, united in such a way as to present the appearance of a single block. Indeed, the popular belief is that it is made out of one piece; for each separate joining is covered by a band running right round the column, on which laurels are carved. By this means the joinings are concealed from the eyes of 127those who look at it from the ground. Having been shaken by several earthquakes, and scorched by a fire in the neighbourhood, the column is splitting in many places, and is here and there belted with iron to prevent its coming to pieces. They say that it was at one time surmounted by a statue of Apollo, afterwards by one of Constantine, and lastly by that of Theodosius the elder, all of which were successively thrown down by a gale or an earthquake.

The Greeks tell the following story about the obelisk in the hippodrome, which I mentioned above. They say that it was torn from its base, and lay on the ground for many years, and that in the time of the later Emperors, an architect was found who undertook to replace it on its pedestal. The contract being concluded, he set up a huge machine, which was chiefly worked by ropes and pulleys; by this means he got the huge stone into an upright position, and raised it within three inches of the blocks, on which it had to be placed. The spectators forthwith concluded that all the architect’s trouble, and the labour he had bestowed on his machine, had been to no purpose, and that the work would have to be begun afresh, at the cost of great toil and great expense. But the architect was not in the least alarmed, and, profiting by one of nature’s secrets, he ordered large supplies of water to be brought. With this for several hours the machine was drenched. As the ropes, by which the obelisk was suspended, got wet, they gradually contracted, and of course became shorter, so that the obelisk was raised higher and placed on the blocks, amid the cheers and admiration of the crowd.120

I saw at Constantinople wild beasts of different kinds—lynxes, wild cats, panthers, leopards, and lions, 128so subdued and tame that one of them, when I was looking on, suffered its keeper to pull out of its mouth a sheep that had that moment been thrown to it. The creature remained quite quiet, though its jaws were but just stained with blood.

I saw also a young elephant which could dance and play ball most cleverly. When you read this, I am sure you will not be able to suppress a smile. ‘An elephant,’ you will say, ‘dancing and playing ball!’ Well, why not? Is it more wonderful than the elephant which, Seneca tells us, walked on the tight rope, or that one which Pliny describes as a Greek scholar?

But I must make myself clear, lest you should think I am romancing, or misunderstand me. When the elephant was told to dance, it hopped and shuffled, swaying itself to and fro, as if it fain would dance a jig. It played ball after the following fashion:—On the ball being thrown to it, the elephant caught it cleverly, driving it back with his trunk, as we do with the palm of the hand. If this is not enough in your eyes to warrant the assertion that the animal danced and played ball, you must go to some one who can make up a story with less scruple and more wit than your humble servant.

Just before I reached Constantinople there was a camelopard (giraffe) in the menagerie; but at the time of my visit it was dead and buried. However, I had its bones dug up for the purpose of examining them. The creature is much taller in front than behind, and on that account unfit for carrying burdens or being ridden. It is called a camelopard because its head and neck are like a camel’s, while its skin is spotted like a pard (panther).

If I had not visited the Black Sea, when I had an op129portunity of sailing thither, I should have deserved to be blamed for my laziness, since the ancients held it to be quite as great an exploit to have visited the Black Sea, as to have sailed to Corinth. Well, we had a delightful voyage, and I was allowed to enter some of the royal kiosks. On the folding doors of one of these palaces I saw a picture of the famous battle121 between Selim and Ismael, King of the Persians, executed in masterly style, in tesselated work. I saw also a great many pleasure-grounds belonging to the Sultan, situated in the most charming valleys. Their loveliness was almost entirely the work of nature; to art they owed little or nothing. What a fairyland! What a landscape for waking a poet’s fancy! What a retreat for a scholar to retire to! I do declare that, as I said just now, these spots seem to grieve and ask for Christian help and Christian care once more; and still truer are these words of Constantinople, or rather of the whole of Greece. That land was once most prosperous; today it is subject to an unnatural bondage. It seems as if the country, which in ancient times discovered the fine arts and every liberal science, were demanding back that civilisation which it gave to us, and were adjuring us, by the claim of a common faith, to be its champion against savage barbarism. But it is all in vain. The princes of Christendom have other objects in view; and, after all, the Greeks are not under heavier bondage to the Turks, than we are to our own vices—luxury, intemperance, sloth, lust, pride, ambition, avarice, hatred, envy, malice. By these our souls are so weighed down and buried, that they cannot look up to heaven, or entertain one glorious thought, or contemplate one noble deed. The ties of a common 130faith, and the duty we owe our brethren ought to have drawn us to their assistance, even though glory and honour had no charm for our dull hearts; at any rate, self-interest, which is the first thing men think of nowadays, should have made us anxious to rescue lands so fair, with all their great resources and advantages, from the hand of the barbarian, that we might hold them in his stead. At present we are seeking across the wide seas the Indies122 and Antipodes. And why? It is because in those lands there are simple, guileless creatures from whom rich booty may be torn without the cost of a single wound. For these expeditions religion supplies the pretext and gold the motive.

This was not the fashion with our ancestors. They scorned to place themselves on the level of a trader by seeking those lands where gold was most plentiful, but deemed that land most desirable which gave them the best opportunity of proving their valour and performing their duty. They, too, had their toil; they, too, had their dangers; they, too, had their distant expeditions; but honour was the prize they sought, not profit. When they came home from their wars, they came home not richer in wealth, but richer in renown.123

These words are for your private ear, for perhaps some may hold it foul wrong for a man to suggest that the moral tone of the present day leaves aught to be 131desired. However that may be, I see that the arrows are being sharpened for our destruction; and I fear it will turn out that if we will not fight for glory, we shall be compelled to fight for existence.

I will now take you back to the sea which the ancients call Pontus and the Turks call Caradenis, or the Black Sea. It pours through a narrow outlet into the Thracian Bosphorus, down which it rolls, beating against the curving headlands with many an eddy till it reaches Constantinople after the space of one day. At this point it rushes into the Sea of Marmora by a passage almost as narrow as that by which it enters the Bosphorus. In the middle of the mouth next the Black Sea is a rock with a column, on the base of which a Roman name is written in Latin characters (‘Octavian,’ if I remember rightly); then on the European shore is a lofty tower, which serves as a lighthouse to ships by night. They call it Pharos.124 Not far from it a brook flows into the sea, from whose bed we gathered some pebbles almost equal to the onyx and sardonyx; at any rate, when they are polished they are nearly as brilliant. A few miles from the entrance I mentioned are shown the straits across which Darius led his army in his expedition against the Scythians of Europe; then half-way between the northern and southern entrances to the Bosphorus stand two castles opposite each other, one in Europe and the other in Asia. The latter was held by the Turks a long time before the attack on Constantinople; the former was built by Mahomet, and fortified with strong towers, a few years before he stormed Constantinople. At present the Turks use it for the incarceration of prisoners of rank. Not long ago, Lazarus, an


Albanian chief, made his escape from it. He was recaptured with the Spaniards at Castel Nuovo,125 and brought back to Constantinople. For this offence he suffered the fearful punishment of impalement, but bore his sufferings with wonderful composure.

And now, perhaps, you will want me to tell you something about the floating islands, called the Cyanean126 islands, or Symplegades. I honestly confess that during the few hours I was there I was unable to discover any Cyanean islands, though possibly they had floated off somewhere else! If you are disposed to be curious on this head you will before long have a more accurate account from P. Gilles,127 whose researches into all subjects of this kind are most precise; from me you must not expect to hear of more than meets the traveller’s eye.

One matter it would be unpardonable to pass by in silence, viz. that Polybius is utterly wrong in the conclusion which he deduces from various arguments, that in process of time the Black Sea would be so choked by the alluvial soil brought into it by the Danube, the 133Dneiper, and other rivers, as to become unnavigable. He is utterly wrong, I say, for there is not one atom more difficulty in sailing over the Black Sea now than there was in his days.

This is one of those numerous instances in which time and experience upset conclusions, which in theory seemed impregnable.

In former days everyone subscribed to the opinion that the lands under the torrid zone were uninhabitable, and yet the accounts of men who have visited those regions prove that they are for the most part quite as thickly populated as other countries; nay more, they tell us that at the very time when the sun is at its highest, and its rays fall perpendicularly on the earth, the heat128 is tempered by continuous rains shading and cooling those lands.

When the Sultan had received the despatches announcing my arrival, orders were sent to the Governor of Constantinople to convey us over to Asia, and send us on to Amasia (or Amazeia, as it is spelt on ancient coins). Accordingly, we made our preparations, our guides were appointed, and on March 9 we crossed into Anatolia, as the Turks now call Asia. On that day we did not get further than Scutari. This village lies on the Asiatic shore opposite ancient Byzantium, on the very ground, or possibly a little below, where the site of the famous city of Chalcedon is supposed to be.

The Turks thought it quite sufficient progress for one day to get horses, carriages, luggage, and suite across the straits; their special reason for not going further on that day was, that, if they had forgotten anything necessary for the journey, (a very ordinary 134circumstance), they would not have far to send for it. Leaving Scutari on the next day, we passed through fields full of lavender, and other fragrant plants. Here we saw a great many big tortoises crawling about. They were not afraid of us, and we should have caught and eaten them with the greatest pleasure, had we not shrunk from hurting the feelings of the Turks who accompanied us; for had they touched them, or so much as seen them brought to our table, they would have held themselves to be defiled, and would have required endless washings to remove their imaginary pollution. You will remember my telling you of the extent to which both Greeks and Turks carry their superstition in avoiding contact with animals of this kind. Since no one, therefore, would snare as vermin a creature so harmless, and no one will eat it, the consequence is that tortoises swarm in these parts. I kept one which had two heads for several days, and it would have lived longer had I not neglected it.

That day we came to a village called Cartali. By the way, I shall from this point be glad to give you the names of our halting-places. The journey to Constantinople has been taken by many, but the road to Amasia has, to the best of my knowledge, been traversed by no European before us. From Cartali we came to Gebise, a town of Bithynia, which they think was formerly Libyssa, famous as the burial-place of Hannibal. From it there is a most lovely view over the sea and bay of Ismid; I observed also some cypresses of extraordinary height and girth.

Our fourth stage from Constantinople brought us to Nicomedia (Ismid). It is an ancient city of great renown; but we saw nothing in it worth looking at except its ruins and rubbish, which contained, in the remnants of column and architrave, all that is left of135 its ancient grandeur. The citadel, which stands on a hill, is in a better state of preservation. Shortly before our arrival, a long wall of white marble had been discovered under the earth by some people who had been digging, which, I am inclined to think, formed part of the ancient palace of the kings of Bithynia.

After leaving Nicomedia, we crossed the range of Mount Olympus, and arrived at the village of Kasockli; thence to Nicæa (Isnik), which we did not reach till late in the evening. I heard not far from the city loud shouting, and what seemed to be cries of mockery and insult issuing from human lips. I asked what it was, suggesting that it might proceed from some boatmen on the Lake of Isnik, which was not far off, and that they were chaffing us for being so late on the road. They told me that it was the howlings of certain wild beasts, which the Turks call jackals. They are a species of wolf, not so large as the common wolf, but larger than foxes, and quite a match for the former in greed and gluttony. They hunt in packs, doing no harm to human beings or cattle, and obtaining their food by thievery and cunning rather than by force. Hence the Turks call sharpers and swindlers, especially if they come from Asia, jackals. They enter the tents, and even the houses, of the Turks at night, and devour any eatables they find; indeed, if they can get nothing else, they gnaw any leathern article they may chance upon, such as boots, leggings, belts, scabbards, &c. They are very clever in this manner of stealing, except in one particular, for, absurdly enough, they sometimes give evidence against themselves. When in the very act of stealing, if one of the pack outside happens to set up a howl, they answer the cry, quite forgetting where they are. The sound awakes the inmates; they catch up their arms and visit the thieves,136 whom they have taken red-handed, with condign punishment.

We remained the following day at Nicæa, and I am inclined to think that the building I slept in was the very one in which the Nicene Council was formerly held. Nicæa lies on the shores of the Lake of Isnik. The walls and gates of the town are in fairly good condition. There are four gateways in all, and they can be seen from the centre of the market-place. On each of them is an ancient inscription in Latin, stating that the town had been restored by Antoninus. I do not remember which Antoninus it was, but I am quite certain that it was an Antoninus, who was Emperor. He also built some baths, the remains of which are still in existence.

Whilst we were at Nicæa, some Turks, who were digging up stone from the ruins for the construction of public buildings at Constantinople, came across a statue of an armed soldier, of excellent workmanship, and almost perfect. But with their hammers they soon reduced it to a shapeless mass. On our expressing vexation at this act of theirs, the workmen jeered at us, and asked us if we wanted, in accordance with our customs, to worship the statue and pray to it.

From Nicæa (Isnik) we came to Jenysar (Yeni Shehr), next to Ackbyuck, and thence to Bazargyck (Bazarjik), from which place we came to Bosovick, or Cassumbasa, which lies in the gorge of the pass over Mount Olympus. From Nicæa our road lay almost entirely along the slopes of Mount Olympus, until we reached Bosovick.

Here we lodged in a Turkish hostel. Opposite stood a rock somewhat higher than the building, in which was cut a square cistern of considerable size, and from the bottom of it a pipe ran down to the highway road. The ancient inhabitants used in winter137 to fill the cistern with snow; as it melted, the iced water, trickling down to the road through the pipe, refreshed the thirsty wayfarer.

The Turks consider public works of this kind the noblest sort of almsgiving, inasmuch as they help not only everyone, but everyone equally. Not far from this spot Otmanlik was pointed out to us on our right—the retreat, as I imagine, of the famous Othman, founder of the family which bears his name.

From this pass we descended into wide plains, where we spent our first night under tents, on account of the heat. The place was called Chiausada. Here we saw a subterranean house, which was lighted only by an opening in the roof. We saw also the famous goats129 from whose fleece—or hair, if you like the word better—is woven the watered stuff known as mohair. The hair of these goats is extremely fine and marvellously flossy, hanging down to the very ground; the goatherds do not shear it, but comb it off, and it is almost as beautiful as silk. The goats are frequently washed in running water. Their food is the scanty dry grass peculiar to these plains, and it is to this that the fineness of their coats is chiefly owing; for it is an ascertained fact, that when the goats are removed elsewhere, their wool does not retain its silky character, but changes with the pasturage; indeed, the whole 138animal degenerates to such an extent that one would scarcely recognise the breed. These fleeces, after being spun into thread by the women of the country, are taken to Angora,130 a city of Galatia, and there woven and dyed; further on I will give you a description of the process. In this locality is also to be found that curious breed of sheep with great fat tails; indeed, their flocks consist of little else. The tails weigh from three or four to as much as eight or ten pounds;131 so big are the tails of some of the older sheep, that it is necessary to furnish them with a carriage for their support, which consists of a little board running on a pair of small wheels, so that the sheep may drag that which it cannot carry. This, perhaps, you will hardly believe, and yet I am telling you the truth. Now, while I fully admit that there is a certain advantage in these tails from the supply of fat which they yield, I must say I found the rest of the meat tough and wanting in flavour, as compared with ordinary mutton. The shepherds, who manage these flocks, never leave the pasture grounds by night or day, carrying their wives and children about with them in waggons, which they use as houses, except on certain occasions when they pitch small tents. These men wander to great distances, choosing plain, hillside, or valley, according to the season of the year and the state of the pasturage.

I flatter myself that I discovered in this district some species of birds which our countrymen have never seen, nor even heard of. Amongst these is a kind of duck, which may fairly be classed among horn-139blowers, since its cry is exactly like the sound of a postman’s horn. This bird, in spite of its inability to defend itself, is bold and saucy. The Turks believe that it can frighten evil spirits away. However that may be, it is so fond of its liberty that after being kept a good three years in a farm-yard, if it gets the opportunity, it prefers freedom and hunger to captivity and plenty, and flies off to its old haunts by the river.

From Chiausada we came to Karaly, thence to Hazdengri, and so to Mazzotthoy. We then crossed the river Sangarius (Sakariyeh) which rises in Phrygia and flows into the Black Sea, to Mahathli, thence to Zugli, Chilancyck, Jalanchich, Potughin, and so to Angora (Ancyra)—which the Turks call Angur.

We remained one day at Angora. As the weather was hot we made but short stages. Moreover, our Turks assured us that there was no need for hurry, as the Persian Ambassador was still lingering on the road, and the authorities wished us both to arrive at Amasia as nearly as possible at the same time.

In none of the villages mentioned above did we see anything worth notice, save that, among the Turkish burial places we sometimes lighted on ancient columns, or blocks of fine marble, on which traces still remained of Greek and Roman inscriptions, but so mutilated that they could not be read. It was my amusement, on reaching our lodgings for the night, to inquire for ancient inscriptions, or coins of Greece or Rome, and, if these were not forthcoming, for rare plants.

It is a practice of the Turks to cover in the tombs of their friends with huge stones, which they bring from a great distance. No earth is thrown upon the graves, and but for these stones they would lie open. They are intended to furnish the dead man with a convenient seat when he pleads his case, as he will140 have to do—according to their notion—with his evil angel as his accuser and examiner, and his good angel as counsel for the defence. The object of placing a heavy stone on the grave is to protect the body from dogs, wolves, and other beasts; the most pertinacious of which is the hyena, a creature often met with in these parts. It burrows its way into the graves, pulls out the bodies, and carries them off to its den, the mouth of which is marked by a huge heap of bones of men, horses, and other animals. The hyena is a creature not quite so tall as a wolf, but quite as long in body. Its skin resembles that of a wolf, except that the hair is rougher, and it is also marked with large black spots; the head is firmly attached to the backbone, without any joint between, so that when it wants to look back it must turn right round. They say that it has, in the place of teeth, one continuous bone.

The Turks, like the ancients, think that the hyena has great efficacy in love charms, and though there were two hyenas at Constantinople when I was there, the owners refused to sell them to me; assigning as a reason that they were keeping them for the Sultana, i.e. the wife of the Sultan—the popular belief being that she retains her husband’s affection by means of philtres and sorceries. Belon,132 I must tell you, is wrong in thinking that the civet cat is the same as the hyena.

Now for one of the best jokes you ever heard 141in your life. I will tell you the story just as I had it from the lips of the natives. They say that the hyena, which they call Zirtlan, understands the language of men (the ancients, by the way, said that it also imitated it), and that it is therefore captured in the following way. The hunters go to its den, which is not hard to find, being marked by a heap of bones, as I mentioned before. One of them enters with a rope, one end of which he leaves in the hands of his friends outside the cave. He creeps in, saying, ‘Joctur, joctur ucala,’ that is, ‘I cannot find it; it is not here.’ Meantime, imagining from what he says that its hiding-place is not discovered, the beast remains perfectly still, until the hunter has succeeded in attaching the rope to its leg, shouting out all the time ‘that the hyena is not there.’ Then, with the same words, he goes back, and as soon as he has got out of the den he shouts out at the top of his voice that the hyena is inside; the creature, understanding what he says, makes a rush to escape, but all in vain, the hunters hold him fast by the rope round his leg. After this fashion they say it is killed; or, if pains be taken, it may be captured alive; but this is a difficult matter, for it is a fierce brute, and makes a stout resistance. So much for the hyena.

We found, in some places, ancient coins in great abundance, especially those of the later emperors, Constantinus, Constans, Justinus, Valens, Valentinianus, Numerianus, Probus, Tacitus, &c. In many places the Turks used them for the drachm and half-drachm weights. They call them ‘giaur manguri,’ or, ‘the infidel’s money.’

There were, besides, many coins of the neighbouring cities of Asia, Amysus, Sinope, Comana, Amastris, and lastly, some of Amasia, the city to which we were going. Talking of coins, a coppersmith roused my anger by telling me, when I inquired for coins, that a142 few days before he had had a whole potful of them, and that, thinking they were worthless, he had melted them down, and made several copper kettles out of the metal. I was greatly vexed at the destruction of so many interesting relics; but I had my revenge. I informed him that, if he had not destroyed the coins, I would have given him a hundred gold pieces for them. So I sent him away quite as unhappy at the loss of the windfall which he had been so near getting, as I was at the sacrifice of these records of antiquity.

We did not meet with many new botanical specimens on the road. The plants were, for the most part, identical with those in our country; the only difference being that they grew more or less luxuriantly, according to the nature of the soil.

We sought unsuccessfully for the balsam tree, which Dioscorides tells us is indigenous in Pontus, so that I cannot tell whether the stock has died out, or migrated to another country.

Angora formed our nineteenth halting place from Constantinople. It is a town of Galatia, and was, at one time, the head-quarters of the Tectosages, a Gallic tribe. Pliny and Strabo both mention it, but it is not improbable that the present city covers only a part of the ancient town. The Kanûns133 call it Anquira.

Here we saw a very beautiful inscription,134 containing 143a copy of the tablets in which Augustus gave a summary of his achievements. We made our people copy out as much as was legible. It is engraven on the marble walls of a building now ruinous and roofless, which formerly may have formed the official residence of the governor. As you enter the building one half of the inscription is on the right, and the other on the left. The top lines are nearly perfect; in the middle the gaps begin to present difficulties; the lowest lines are so mutilated with blows of clubs and axes as to be illegible. This is indeed a great literary loss, and one which scholars have much reason to regret; the more so as it is an ascertained fact that Ancyra was dedicated135 to Augustus as the common gift of Asia.

Here we also saw how the famous watered stuff, or mohair, which is woven of the hair of the goats I have already described, is dyed; and how, when water has been poured on, it takes those waves from the action of the press, from which it derives its name, and for which it is prized. The stuff which bears the mark of a very large wave, and keeps its pattern, is considered the best; but if, in any part, smaller and uneven waves occur, although the colour and material be precisely the same, it is worth less by several gold pieces on account of the flaw. Elderly men among the Turks, 144when they are of high rank, are generally distinguished by dresses made of this material. Solyman prefers it to any other dress for state occasions, wearing that which is of a green colour; a hue which, according to our notions, is hardly becoming to a man of advanced years; but their religion, and the example of their prophet Mahomet, who wore it constantly, even in his old age, gives it favour in the eyes of the Turks. Among them black is considered a mean and unlucky colour, and for any one in Turkey to appear dressed in black is held to be ominous of disaster and evil. On some occasions the Pashas would express their astonishment at our going to them in black clothes, and make it a ground for serious remonstrance. No one in Turkey goes abroad in black unless he be completely ruined, or in great grief for some terrible disaster. Purple is highly esteemed, but in time of war it is considered ominous of a bloody death. The lucky colours are white, orange, light blue, violet, mouse colour, &c. In this, and other matters, the Turks pay great attention to auguries and omens. It is a well-known fact that a Pasha has sometimes been dismissed from office because his horse stumbled, under the idea that it portended some great misfortune, and that, if the man were removed from his office, it would fall on a private individual, and not on the state.

From Angora we came to the village of Balygazar, thence to Zarekuct, next to Zermeczii, after which we arrived at the bank of the river Halys (Kizil Irmak).

As we crossed the country towards the village of Algeos, we had a distant view of the mountains near Sinope. They have a red appearance from the red chalk which takes its name from Sinope.

Here is the famous Halys, once the boundary be145tween the kingdoms of Media and Lydia, about which the ancient prophecy said that ‘Crœsus, if he crossed the Halys to make war on the Persians, would destroy a mighty realm’—but he did not know that the realm he was to destroy was his own. On the bank was a copse of trees, which at first excited our attention, as we thought we had discovered a new kind of fruit tree; but we soon became aware that it was the liquorice tree, and gorged ourselves with the juice from its roots.

It happened that a country fellow was standing there, so we asked him through an interpreter whether there were plenty of fish in the river, and how they were caught. His answer was, that there were plenty of fish, but that it was impossible to catch them. When we expressed our surprise at this intelligence, the man explained the matter thus: ‘Well, if anyone tries to put his hand on one of these fish, they jump away, and will not wait for him to catch them.’

On a former occasion, when we met with some birds of a species unknown to us, and asked how they could be caught, another fellow declared that ‘it was impossible to catch them, because, when anyone tried to lay hold of them, they flew away.’ One of my colleagues, Francis Zay, had with him nets, which he ordered to be unpacked with a view to fishing. Amongst other fish, we caught the common Danube shad. There are also crabs in the Halys in large numbers, which, if they are not sea crabs, are, at any rate, very like them.

The Turks, who stood by, were amazed at the great pains we Christians took in fishing. ‘How so,’ you will say, ‘are there no fishermen in Turkey?’ Well, there are some, but in those districts they are very rare. I remember, in another place, we were greeted with146 roars of laughter when we drew off the water of a stream and captured a quantity of gudgeons. They were greatly amused at our fishing for anything so small, and could not make out what gain or advantage we expected to get from them. The foolish fellows did not understand that a large supply of these little fishes enabled us to prepare big dishes of stew sufficient to dine a great many people.

But these Turks live so sparingly, and care so little for the pleasures of the table, that if they have bread and salt with an onion or leek, or a kind of sour milk which Galen mentions by the name of oxygala, and they call yoghoort, they are quite content. They mix this milk with very cold water, and crumble bread into it, using it when the heat is overpowering, to allay their thirst. We, too, often found this drink most useful in hot weather, for not only is it very pleasant and wholesome, but it also has, to a remarkable degree, the power of quenching thirst.

At all the caravanserais (or Turkish inns, as I explained before) there is plenty of it for sale, and other relishes are also to be bought. For the Turks do not, when travelling, require hot dishes or meat; their relishes are sour milk, cheese, dried prunes, pears, peaches, quinces, figs, raisins, cornel berries. Dainties of this description are set out for sale on great pans of earthenware, having been first boiled in plain water. Each man buys what he fancies most, and eats the fruit with his bread by way of a relish; when he has finished the fruit he drinks the water. Thus these men’s food and drink costs them very little, so little, indeed, that I would venture to say that one of our people will spend more on his food in one day than a Turk does in twelve. Moreover their yearly feasts generally consist only of cakes and buns, and other147 confectionery, with several dishes of rice, to which they add mutton and chickens—not capons,136 for poultry of that kind is unknown to the Turks. As to pheasants, thrushes, becaficos, &c., they have never even heard them mentioned. If honey or sugar be mixed with their draught of water, they would not envy Jove his nectar.

I must not, however, pass over one kind of drink, if I am to give you a full account. They take raisins and have them ground; when ground and pounded they throw them into a wooden vessel, and pour over them a certain proportion of hot water and mix them up; they then cover the vessel carefully, and leave the liquor to ferment for a couple of days; if the fermentation is not sufficiently active they add the lees of wine. If you taste it when first it begins to ferment, it seems insipid and disagreeably sweet; afterwards it gets a kind of acid flavour; in this stage it is extremely palatable when mixed with the sweet liquor. For three or four days it forms a most pleasant drink, especially when cooled with plenty of snow, of which there is an unfailing supply at Constantinople. They call it ‘Arab sherbet,’ i.e. ‘the drink of the Arabs.’ But after three or four days it is spoilt, and gets quite sour. In this stage it affects the head, and makes people stagger quite as much as wine, and on this account is condemned by the religious laws of the Turks. I must confess that I thought sherbet a most pleasant drink.

I found also the grapes, which in many places they keep till the summer, most refreshing at times. The following is their method of preserving them, as I took it down from their lips:—They select a bunch in which the grapes are of a good size and fully ripe, a condition which is easily brought about by the sun in 148Turkey. This bunch they put into a vessel of wood or earthenware, after first covering the bottom with a good layer of ground mustard; on the top of this they put the grapes; then they pour the mustard flour in gradually, so as to pack the grapes in it; lastly, having filled the vessel with grapes up to the top, they end by pouring in unfermented wine as fresh as possible; this done, they shut up the vessel and keep it till the hot summer weather sets in, when people are thirsty, and refreshment of this kind is acceptable. They then unseal the vessel, and put out the grapes for sale, together with the sauce, which last the Turks like quite as well as the grapes themselves. But the flavour of mustard was not at all to my taste, so I had my grapes carefully washed. I found them very refreshing and wholesome during the great heats.

You must not be surprised at my gratefully recording in my letter to you the things which proved beneficial to myself, for you will remember that the Egyptians carried this feeling to such an absurd length, that they worshipped as gods the vegetables of their own gardens from which they had derived benefit.

But it is high time for me to return to my road. Leaving the bank of the Halys (which the Turks, I think, call Aitoczu) we came to Goukurthoy, and thence to Choron (Chorum), and after this to Theke Thioi (Tekiyeh). Here there is a famous monastery of Turkish monks, or dervishes, from whom we learned a great deal about a hero named Chederle, a man of great prowess and courage, whom they try to identify with our St. George, ascribing to him the same feats as we claim for our saint—to wit, that he saved a maiden, who had been given up to a fierce and terrible dragon, by slaying the monster; to this they add many other stories of their own invention, telling how their hero149 was wont to wander through distant lands, and at last came to a river whose waters gave immortality to those that drank thereof.

They do not mention the geographical position of this river (methinks it ought to be marked down in Dreamland); all they tell me is that it is concealed beneath a covering of deep darkness and thick night, and that no mortal since Chederle has had the luck to see it; but that Chederle himself, being released from the laws of death, rides to and fro on a gallant steed, which, like its master, has, by a draught of this same water, purged itself of mortal dross. They represent him as one who loves the battle shock, and helps in war those who are in the right, and those who have invoked his aid, of whatever faith they may be. These tales seem absurd, but I will tell you one still more ridiculous. They declare that he was one of the companions and friends of Alexander the Great. The Turks have not the slightest idea of chronology, or of different epochs, and they mix up together in a wonderful way all historical events. Should the thought occur to them, they have no hesitation in stating that Job was king Solomon’s seneschal, and Alexander the Great commander-in-chief of his armies. Even these are not the greatest of their absurdities.

There is in the mosque (as the Turks call their temples) a fountain of choice marble, fed by a spring of the purest water; and this they believe to have been miraculously produced by Chederle’s steed. They have many stories also about Chederle’s comrades, his groom and his sister’s son, whose tombs they show in the neighbourhood. They tried hard to persuade us that miracles daily took place for the benefit of those who come to these tombs to ask for aid. They firmly believed, moreover, that chips of stone and earth taken150 from the spot, where Chederle stood waiting for the dragon, were, when mixed with water, efficacious against fever, headache, and diseases of the eye. I must tell you that the neighbourhood is full of snakes and vipers; they are so numerous that some places in the hot hours positively swarm with the venomous beasts, who are basking in the sun, to such an extent that men dare not approach them. I must not forget to tell you that the Turks shake with laughter when they see in the Greek churches pictures of St. George, whom they declare to be their own Chederle, with a boy sitting on the haunches of his master’s steed, mixing wine and water for him—for this is the manner in which St. George is painted by the Greeks.

But our journey has been long and we must shortly rest. There was now only one stage, namely Baglison (Baglijah), between us and our destination, Amasia, which last we reached on April 7, thirty days after our departure from Constantinople. As we drew near we were met by some Turks, who came to congratulate us on our arrival, and to do us the compliment of escorting us into the city.

Amasia is the chief town of Cappadocia, and there the governor of the province is wont to hold his courts, and to keep the main body of his troops. But even from the time of Bajazet the place seemed in some mysterious fashion to be associated with misfortune, and that this idea was not groundless is proved by the miserable end of Mustapha. Strabo tells us that this was his native place. The town lies between two ranges of hills, and the river Iris (Yeshil-Irmak) flows through its centre; so that both banks are covered with houses, which rise gradually up the sides of the hills, like the tiers of seats in a theatre; every part of the town therefore commands a view of the river, and151 those who live on one side of the town are completely exposed to the eyes of those who live on the other. It is, indeed, so hemmed in by hills that there is only one road by which carriages and beasts of burden can enter or leave the city.

On the night of our arrival there was a great fire, which the Janissaries extinguished after their own fashion by pulling down the neighbouring buildings. How it arose I cannot say, but there is no doubt that the soldiers have good reasons for wishing for fires, for, inasmuch as they are employed to put them out, and in most cases this is only effected by pulling down the neighbouring houses, as I told you before, they pillage, not only the goods and chattels of the people whose houses are on fire, but also those of their neighbours as well. So the soldiers themselves are often guilty of incendiarism in order to get an opportunity of plundering the houses.

I remember an instance of this when I was at Constantinople. There had been a great many fires, and it was quite certain that they were not accidental, yet the incendiaries were never caught. Most people laid the blame on Persian spies; but at length, after a more careful investigation, it was discovered that they were the work of marines from ships lying in the harbour, who set fire to the houses in order to cover a raid on the goods of the neighbourhood.

On the highest of the hills which overhang Amasia there is a citadel of respectable strength, which is permanently occupied by the Turks, either to overawe the tribes of Asia, who (as I shall explain later) are not over well disposed towards their Turkish masters, or to hold the Persians in check; for, great as the distance is, they have sometimes extended their raids as far as Amasia.


On this hill are many traces of ancient monuments, possibly those of the kings of Cappadocia themselves. But neither the houses nor streets of Amasia have any beauty to attract one’s notice. The houses are built of white clay, almost in the same fashion as those in Spain; even the roofs are made of this material, being flat without any gable. They use a fragment of some ancient pillar for a roller, and when any part of the roof is damaged by rain or wind, they pull this roller backwards and forwards until the roof is once more solid and smooth. In summer time the inhabitants sleep on these roofs in the open air. In these districts rain does not fall either often or heavily; but when it does come down, the clothes of the people walking in the streets are terribly soiled by the mud which drips everywhere from the roofs. On a house top near our lodgings I saw a young Sanjak-bey eating his supper on a couch after the fashion of the ancients.

On our arrival at Amasia we were taken to call on Achmet Pasha (the chief Vizier) and the other pashas—for the Sultan himself was not then in the town—and commenced our negotiations with them touching the business entrusted to us by King Ferdinand. The Pashas, on their part, apparently wishing to avoid any semblance of being prejudiced with regard to these questions, did not offer any strong opposition to the views we expressed, and told us that the whole matter depended on the Sultan’s pleasure. On his arrival we were admitted to an audience; but the manner and spirit in which he listened to our address, our arguments, and our message, was by no means favourable.

The Sultan was seated on a very low ottoman, not more than a foot from the ground, which was covered with a quantity of costly rugs and cushions of exquisite workmanship; near him lay his bow and arrows. His153 air, as I said, was by no means gracious, and his face wore a stern, though dignified, expression.

On entering we were separately conducted into the royal presence by the chamberlains, who grasped our arms. This has been the Turkish fashion of admitting people to the Sovereign ever since a Croat,137 in order to avenge the death of his master, Marcus, Despot of Servia, asked Amurath for an audience, and took advantage of it to slay him. After having gone through a pretence of kissing his hand, we were conducted backwards to the wall opposite his seat, care being taken that we should never turn our backs on him. The Sultan then listened to what I had to say; but the language I held was not at all to his taste, for the demands of his Majesty breathed a spirit of independence and dignity, which was by no means acceptable to one who deemed that his wish was law; and so he made no answer beyond saying in a tetchy way, ‘Giusel, giusel,’ i.e. well, well. After this we were dismissed to our quarters.

The Sultan’s hall was crowded with people, among whom were several officers of high rank. Besides these there were all the troopers of the Imperial guard,138 154Spahis, Ghourebas, Ouloufedgis, and a large force of Janissaries; but there was not in all that great assembly a single man who owed his position to aught save his valour and his merit. No distinction is attached to birth among the Turks; the deference to be paid to a man is measured by the position he holds in the public service. There is no fighting for precedence; a man’s place is marked out by the duties he discharges. In making his appointments the Sultan pays no regard to any pretensions on the score of wealth or rank, nor does he take into consideration recommendations or popularity; he considers each case on its own merits, and examines carefully into the character, ability, and disposition of the man whose promotion is in question. It is by merit that men rise in the service, a system which ensures that posts should only be assigned to the competent. Each man in Turkey carries in his own hand his ancestry and his position in life, which he may make or mar as he will. Those who receive the highest offices from the Sultan are for the most part the sons of shepherds or herdsmen, and so far from being ashamed of their parentage, they actually glory in it, and consider it a matter of boasting that they owe nothing to the accident of birth; for they do not believe that high qualities are either natural or hereditary, nor do they think that they can be handed down from father to son, but that they are partly the gift of God, and partly the result of good training, great industry, and unwearied zeal; arguing that high qualities do not descend from a father to his son or heir, any more than a talent for music, mathematics, or the like; and that the mind does not derive its origin from the father, so that the 155son should necessarily be like the father in character, but emanates from heaven, and is thence infused into the human body. Among the Turks, therefore, honours, high posts, and judgeships are the rewards of great ability and good service. If a man be dishonest, or lazy, or careless, he remains at the bottom of the ladder, an object of contempt; for such qualities there are no honours in Turkey!

This is the reason that they are successful in their undertakings, that they lord it over others, and are daily extending the bounds of their empire. These are not our ideas, with us there is no opening left for merit; birth is the standard for everything; the prestige of birth is the sole key to advancement in the public service. But on this head I shall perhaps have more to say to you in another place, and you must consider what I have said as strictly private.

For the nonce, take your stand by my side, and look at the sea of turbaned heads, each wrapped in twisted folds of the whitest silk; look at those marvellously handsome dresses of every kind and every colour; time would fail me to tell how all around is glittering with gold, with silver, with purple, with silk, and with velvet; words cannot convey an adequate idea of that strange and wondrous sight: it was the most beautiful spectacle I ever saw.

With all this luxury great simplicity and economy are combined; every man’s dress, whatever his position may be, is of the same pattern; no fringes or useless points are sewn on, as is the case with us, appendages which cost a great deal of money, and are worn out in three days. In Turkey the tailor’s bill for a silk or velvet dress, even though it be richly embroidered, as most of them are, is only a ducat. They were quite as much surprised at our manner of dressing as we were156 at theirs. They use long robes reaching down to the ankles, which have a stately effect and add to the wearer’s height, while our dress is so short and scanty that it leaves exposed to view more than is comely of the human shape; besides, somehow or other, our fashion of dress seems to take from the wearer’s height, and make him look shorter than he really is.139

I was greatly struck with the silence and order that prevailed in this great crowd. There were no cries, no hum of voices, the usual accompaniments of a motley gathering, neither was there any jostling; without the slightest disturbance each man took his proper place according to his rank. The Agas, as they call their chiefs, were seated, to wit, generals, colonels (bimbaschi), and captains (soubaschi). Men of a lower position stood. The most interesting sight in this assembly was a body of several thousand Janissaries, who were drawn up in a long line apart from the rest; their array was so steady and motionless that, being at a little distance, it was some time before I could make up my mind as to whether they were human beings or statues; at last I received a hint to salute them, and saw all their heads bending at the same moment to return my bow. On leaving the assembly we had a fresh treat in the sight of the household cavalry returning to their quarters; the men were mounted on splendid horses, excellently groomed, and gorgeously accoutred. And so we left the royal presence, taking with us but little hope of a successful issue to our embassy.

By May 10 the Persian Ambassador had arrived, bringing with him a number of handsome presents, carpets from famous looms, Babylonian tents, the inner 157sides of which were covered with coloured tapestries, trappings and housings of exquisite workmanship, jewelled scimitars from Damascus, and shields most tastefully designed; but the chief present of all was a copy of the Koran, a gift highly prized among the Turks; it is a book containing the laws and rites enacted by Mahomet, which they suppose to be inspired.

Terms of peace were immediately granted to the Persian Ambassador with the intention of putting greater pressure on us, who seemed likely to be the more troublesome of the two; and in order to convince us of the reality of the peace, honours were showered on the representative of the Shah. In all cases, as I have already remarked, the Turks run to extremes, whether it be in honouring a friend, or in pouring contempt and insult on a foe. Ali Pasha, the second Vizier, gave the Persian suite a dinner in his gardens, which were some way from our quarters, with the river between, but still we could command a view of the place where they dined, for, as I told you before, the city is so situated on the hill sides that there is hardly a spot in it from which you cannot see and be seen. Ali Pasha, I must tell you, is by birth a Dalmatian, he is a thorough gentleman, and has (what you will be surprised to hear of in a Turk) a kind and feeling heart.

The table at which the Pashas and the Ambassador were seated was protected by an awning. A hundred pages all dressed alike acted as waiters; their method of bringing the dishes to table was as follows.

First they advanced toward the table where the guests were seated, following each other at equal distances. Their hands were empty, as otherwise they would not have been able to make their obeisance, which was performed by their putting them on their158 thighs, and bending their heads to the earth. Their bows being made, the page who stood nearest the kitchen began taking the dishes and handing them on to the next, who delivered them to the page next him, and so down the row until they reached the page who stood nearest the table, from whose hands the chief butler received them and placed them on the board. After this fashion a hundred dishes or more streamed (if I may use the expression) on to the table without the slightest confusion. When the dinner was served the pages again did reverence to the guests, and then returned in the same order as they had come, the only difference being that those who had been last as they came were the first as they retired, and that those who were nearest the table now brought up the rear. All the other courses were brought on to the table after the same fashion, a circumstance showing how much regard the Turks pay to order even in trifles, while we neglect it in matters of extreme importance. Not far from the Ambassador’s table his retinue was feasting with some Turks.

Peace having been concluded with the Persian, as I have already told you, it was impossible for us to obtain any decent terms from the Turk; all we could accomplish was to arrange a six months’ truce to give time for a reply to reach Vienna, and for the answer to come back.

I had come to fill the position of ambassador in ordinary; but inasmuch as nothing had been as yet settled as to a peace, the Pashas determined that I should return to my master with Solyman’s letter, and bring back an answer, if it pleased the King to send one. Accordingly I had another interview with the Sultan; two embroidered robes of ample size, and reaching down to the ankles, were thrown over my159 shoulders (they were as much as I could carry). All my people were likewise presented with silk dresses of different colours, which they wore as they marched in my train.

With this procession I advanced as if I was going to act the part of Agamemnon140 or some other monarch of ancient tragedy. Having received the Sultan’s letter, which was sealed up in a wrapper of cloth of gold, I took my leave; the gentlemen among my attendants were also allowed to enter and make their bow to him. Then having paid my respects in the same way to the Pashas I left Amasia with my colleagues on June 2.

It is customary to give a breakfast in the Divan (as they call the place where the Pashas hold their court), to ambassadors on the eve of their departure, but this is only done when they represent friendly governments, and no peace had as yet been arranged with us.

You will probably wish me to give you my impressions of Solyman.

His years are just beginning to tell on him, but his majestic bearing and indeed his whole demeanour are such as beseem the lord of so vast an empire. He has always had the character of being a careful and temperate man; even in his early days, when, according to the Turkish rule, sin would have been venial, his life was blameless; for not even in youth did he either indulge in wine or commit those unnatural crimes which are common among the Turks; nor could those who were disposed to put the most unfavourable construction on his acts bring anything worse against him than his excessive devotion to his wife, and the precipitate way in which, by her influence, he was induced to put Mustapha to death; for it is 160commonly believed that it was by her philtres and witchcraft that he was led to commit this act. As regards herself, it is a well-known fact that from the time he made her his lawful wife he has been perfectly faithful to her, although there was nothing in the laws to prevent his having mistresses as well. As an upholder of his religion and its rites he is most strict, being quite as anxious to extend his faith as to extend his empire. Considering his years (for he is now getting on for sixty) he enjoys good health, though it may be that his bad complexion arises from some lurking malady. There is a notion current that he has an incurable ulcer or cancer on his thigh. When he is anxious to impress an ambassador, who is leaving, with a favourable idea of the state of his health, he conceals the bad complexion of his face under a coat of rouge, his notion being that foreign powers will fear him more if they think that he is strong and well. I detected unmistakable signs of this practice of his; for I observed his face when he gave me a farewell audience, and found it was much altered from what it was when he received me on my arrival.

June was at its hottest when we began our journey; the heat was too much for me, and a fever was the consequence, accompanied by headache and catarrh. The attack, though mild and of an intermittent kind, was a lingering one, and I did not get rid of it till I reached Constantinople.

On the day of our departure the Persian Ambassador also left Amasia, setting out by the same road as ourselves; for, as I mentioned before, there is only one road by which the city can be entered or left, since the rugged character of the surrounding hills makes it difficult of access on every other side; the road shortly branches off in two directions, one leads eastward and161 the other westward; the Persians took the former and we the latter.

As we left Amasia we could see everywhere throughout the broad plains the lines of the Turkish camps crowded with tents.

There is no need for me to waste your time with a description of our return journey, since we traversed almost the same ground, and made nearly the same halts as we had done in coming, save that we travelled somewhat quicker, and occasionally got over two of our former stages in one day. Thus we reached Constantinople on June 24, and I will leave you to picture to yourself the wear and tear of the journey to one suffering like myself from a lingering fever. I returned worn to a shadow; however, after a time, having had some rest and gone through a course of warm baths, recommended by my physician Quacquelben, I soon recovered strength. He also soused me with cold water on leaving the bath; I cannot say it was pleasant, but it did me a great deal of good.

Whilst I was still at Constantinople a man who had come from the Turkish camp told me an anecdote which I shall be glad to include in my letter, as it illustrates the great dislike which the natives of Asia entertain to the religion141 and supremacy of the Otto162mans. He informed me that Solyman, as he was returning, was entertained by a certain Asiatic and spent the night in his house. When the Sultan had left, the man considering it to have been polluted and defiled by the presence of such a guest, had it purified with holy water, fumigation, and religious rites. When Solyman heard of this insult to himself he ordered the man to be executed, and his house razed to the ground. So he paid heavily for his dislike to the Turks and partiality for the Persians.

After a delay of fourteen days at Constantinople, for the purpose of recruiting my strength, I set out for Vienna. But the beginning of my journey was marked by an evil chance. Just as I left Constantinople I met some waggons of boys and girls who were being carried from Hungary to the slave market at Constantinople; this is the commonest kind of Turkish merchandise, and just as loads of different kinds of goods meet the traveller’s eye, as he leaves Antwerp, so every now and then we came across unhappy Christians of all ranks, ages, and sexes who were being carried off to a horrible slavery; the men, young and old, were either driven in gangs or bound to a chain and dragged over the road in a long file, after the same fashion as we take a string of horses to a fair. It was indeed a painful sight; and I could scarce check my tears, so deeply did I feel the woes and humiliation of Christendom.


If this is not enough to make you think that my path was crossed with evil, I have something more to tell. My colleagues had placed under my care some members of their retinue who were tired of being in Turkey, in order that I might take them back with me. Well, when I had been two days on the road, I saw the head man of this party, whom they called their Voivode, riding in a waggon. He was ill, and on his foot was the plague ulcer, which he kept uncovered in order to relieve the pain. This circumstance made us all very uncomfortable, since we were afraid that, this disease being contagious, more of us would be attacked.

On reaching Adrianople, which was not far off, the poor fellow’s struggles were terminated by death. Then, as if the peril were not sufficiently great, the rest of the Hungarians seized the dead man’s clothes; one took his boots, another his doublet, another, for fear anything should be lost, snatches up his shirt, and another his linen; though the risk was perfectly obvious, we could not stop them from endangering the lives of the whole party. My physician flew from one to another, imploring them for God’s sake not to touch articles, contact with which would bring about certain death, but they were deaf to his prophecies.

Well, on the second day after our departure from Adrianople, these same fellows crowded round my physician, asking him for something to cure their sickness, which they described as an attack of headache and general languor, accompanied with a feeling of deep depression; on hearing of these symptoms my physician began to suspect that this was the first stage of the plague. He told them that ‘he had not warned them without reason; they had done their best to catch the plague, and they had caught it. In spite164 of their folly he would do what he could for them; but what means had he of doctoring them in the middle of a journey, where no medicines could be procured.’

On that very day, when, according to my custom on reaching our lodgings for the night, we had set out for a walk in search of interesting objects, I came across a herb in a meadow which I did not recognise. I pulled off some leaves and putting them to my nose perceived a smell like garlic; I then placed them in the hands of my physician to see if he could recognise the plant. After a careful examination he pronounced it to be scordium,142 and raising his hands to heaven offered thanks to God for placing in his path, in the hour of our need, a remedy against the plague. He immediately collected a large supply, and throwing it into a big pot he placed it on the fire to boil; he told the Hungarians to cheer up, and divided the brew amongst them, bidding them take it, when they went to bed, with Lemnian earth143 and a diascordium144 electuary; he recommended them also not to go to sleep until they had perspired profusely. They obeyed his directions and came to him again on the following day, telling him that they felt better. They asked for another dose of the same kind, and after drinking it 165they became convalescent. Thus by God’s goodness we were delivered from the fear of that dreadful malady. But as if all this were not enough, we were not able to accomplish the rest of our journey without further misfortune.

After passing through the lands of the Thracians and Bulgarians, which extend as far as Nissa, we traversed the country of the Servians, which reaches from Nissa to Semendria, where the Rascians begin, and so arrived at Belgrade, the weather being intensely hot, as might be expected in the dog-days.

Whilst at Belgrade we were offered one fast-day a plentiful supply of excellent fish; among them were some fine fat carp caught in the Danube, which are considered a dainty. My men stuffed themselves with this fish, and in consequence many of them were attacked by fever, which was caused more or less by their greediness. This great supply of fish—enough to satisfy forty men—cost half a thaler, and almost everything else at Belgrade is equally cheap. Hay fetches absolutely nothing; everyone is allowed to take as much as he likes out of the rich meadows; he is only charged for the cutting and the carrying. All this, as we crossed the Save, made us admire still more the wisdom of the ancient Hungarians in choosing Pannonia, and thus securing for themselves a land of plenty, capable of producing every kind of crop. We had travelled far, through many a land both in Europe and Asia, and in all that long journey we had seen nothing but stunted crops of grass, barley, oats, and wheat, with the very life scorched out of them by the heat; but when we entered Hungary, the grass was so high that those in the carriage behind could not see the carriage in front—a good proof of the fertility of the soil.


After Semendria, as I told you, the Rascians begin, and occupy the land as far as the river Drave. They are great drinkers, and are considered treacherous. I cannot tell you how they got their name, or whence they sprang, but, at any rate, they were most anxious to do what they could for us.

After passing through some of their villages, which were of no particular interest, we came to Essek, which is often inaccessible by reason of the swamps in which it lies. This is the famous battle-field which witnessed the rout of Katzianer and the destruction of a Christian army.145 Here, in consequence of the excessive heat to which we were exposed whilst passing through the open plains of Hungary, I was seized with an attack of tertian fever.

After leaving Essek, we crossed the Drave, and arrived at Laszko. Whilst resting here, wearied with the journey and worn out by heat and sickness, I was visited by the officials of the place, who came to congratulate me on my arrival. They brought enormous melons, and pears and plums of different kinds; they also furnished us with wine and bread. Everything was most excellent, and I doubt whether the famous Campania itself, highly as it is praised by past and present writers for the fertility of its soil, could produce anything to surpass the fruits they brought us. A long table standing in my bedroom was filled with these gifts. My people kept the Hungarians to supper, and gave the state of my health as the reason for not introducing them to my room. On waking, my eyes fell on the table, and I could not tell whether I was awake or dreaming, for there before my eyes appeared the veritable Horn of Plenty! At last I asked my doctor, and he informed me that he had had them set 167out on the table, that I might at least have the pleasure of looking at them. I asked him if I might taste them. He told me I might do so, but it must only be a ‘taste.’ Accordingly all the fruits were cut, and I took a little morsel of each, to my great refreshment. On the next day the Hungarians came and paid their respects. After complaining of wrongs received from some of their neighbours, they asked for the King’s protection.

From this place we came to Mohacz,146 the fatal field on which Louis of Hungary fell. I saw not far from the town a small stream flowing between high precipitous banks, into which the unhappy young King was thrown with his steed, and so died. He was unfortunate, but he also showed great want of judgment in venturing, with a small force of raw troops and unarmed peasants, to make a stand against the numerous and highly disciplined forces of Solyman.

From Mohacz we came to Tolna, and from Tolna to Feldvar. Here I crossed over to an island in the Danube of no great size, inhabited by the Rascians, who call it Kevi. Crossing the Danube again at this point, I arrived at Buda on August 4, twelve days after our departure from Belgrade.

During this part of our journey we lost several horses from congestion, brought on by their eating the new barley and drinking water when it was too cold. I had also been in much danger from brigands, by whom this part of the country is infested; they are for the most part Heydons.147

I had evidence a little later of the risk I had run in the confession of some fellows who were executed by the Pasha of Buda. They admitted that they had hidden themselves in the gully of a broad watercourse, 168over which ran a crazy bridge, with the intention of starting up from this ambuscade and attacking us. It is the easiest thing in the world for a few men to cut off a party greatly outnumbering their own on a bridge of this kind. The bridges are in such bad condition, and so full of cracks and holes, that even with the utmost care it is impossible to traverse them without great danger of one’s horses falling; and so if there are brigands to meet the party in front, and others press them in the rear, while their flanks are galled by the fire of those who are in the gully, lurking in the underwood and reeds, there would be little chance of escape; and the whole party on the bridge being on horseback, and therefore scarce able to move, would be in a worse case than ever the Romans were in the Caudine forks, and at the mercy of the brigands, to be slain or captured at their pleasure. What deterred them I know not; possibly it was the number of our party. Again, it may have been the sight of the Hungarians who accompanied me, or the circumstance that we advanced in a long column, and were not all on the bridge at the same time. Whatever the reason may have been, by God’s mercy we came safe to Buda.

The Pasha was not in the city, having encamped opposite Buda, in the plains near Pesth, called Rakos,148 where, after the custom of the Hungarians, he was holding a muster of Turkish feudal militia. Several of the neighbouring Sanjak-beys were with him, but more were expected; and so when I asked for an audience, he put me off for three days, in order that he might have a greater assemblage of Sanjak-beys 169and soldiers. On receiving a summons, I crossed the Danube and came to his camp. He made many complaints of the outrages committed by certain Hungarians. There is one point in which the Turks and Hungarians have precisely the same way of proceeding, the latter being quite as bad as the former. When they have committed some outrage, they complain of their unfortunate victim as if he were the one in fault. The Pasha also added threats of reprisals, thinking, probably, that I should be intimidated by the presence of his army. I replied briefly that his charge against the Hungarians might with much better reason be brought against the Turks. I told him that, even on my way there, I had come across soldiers of his who were engaged in plundering and harrying the property of some unhappy Christian peasants who were subjects of his Royal Majesty (King Ferdinand), which was perfectly true. The Pasha replied that he had handed over to the soldiers certain rebellious Christians, who were the Sultan’s subjects, to be chastised and pillaged. After rejoinders of this kind, he dismissed me, more dead than alive, for this was the day on which my fever recurred.

On the next day we set out for Gran, under the escort of some Turkish horsemen. My intention was to cross the Danube, and spend the night in a village which lies on the opposite bank over against Gran, so that the next day I might reach Komorn at an earlier hour, and in this way lessen the effects of the fever, which I expected to recur on that day. Accordingly I requested our conductor to send some one forward to bring the ferry-bridge across to our bank, with a view to accelerating our passage. Although there were several reasons which rendered this plan scarcely feasible, still, partly from a wish to please me, and170 partly because he was anxious to announce my coming to the Sanjak-bey, he despatched a couple of men.

When the men had ridden forward for the space of one hour, they noticed four horsemen under the shade of a tree, which stood at a little distance from the road. As they were dressed in Turkish fashion, they took them for Turks, and rode up. On coming nearer, they inquired whether the country in that direction was fairly quiet. The four horsemen made no reply, but charged on them with drawn swords, and slashed one of the Turks over the face, cutting his nose nearly off, so that the greater part of it hung down on his chin. One of the Turks was leading his horse by the rein. This the horsemen seized, and one of them mounted on its back, leaving his own scurvy jade in its place. After this exchange of steeds they took to flight, while the Turks fell back to our party—the man whose face had been damaged bellowing lustily, and showing the horrid wound he had received. They told us to make ready for fighting our way through an ambuscade they had discovered. Even I got into the saddle, in the hope of encouraging my men. But we came too late; the battle was all over. The fellows, who were far more anxious to carry off their booty than to bandy blows, were already galloping back to Raab, a town which our people hold, and of the garrison of which they formed a part. The Turks pointed them out to us, as they rode across the neighbouring hills on their way to Raab.

After this adventure we came to Gran, where next day the Sanjak-bey, after giving me a hearty welcome, recommended me, amongst other things, not to forget the proof I had just received of how insolent Hungarian soldiers could be, and to remember that not even the respect due to the presence of his Royal171 Majesty’s ambassador had kept them from playing their old tricks. He requested me also to see that the horse which had been taken away was returned. Meanwhile, my friend the Turk who had been wounded was standing in a corner of the Sanjak-bey’s hall, with his head covered with bandages and his nose freshly sewn up. As he drew his breath there was a kind of hoarse, uncomfortable sound. He kept asking me for something to comfort him under his misfortune. I promised to give him that which should cure his wound, and presented him with two gold ducats. He wanted more, but the Sanjak-bey cut him short, and declared that it was enough, and more than enough, to cure him, reminding him that his misfortune must have been predestined, and therefore I could not justly be held responsible for it!

After this I was allowed to resume my journey, and on the same day reached Komorn. Here I waited patiently for my fever to come on at its regular time. At last I found that it had left me, and that the Turkish fever had not ventured to cross into Christian territory! Hereupon I gave thanks to God for delivering me, in one and the same day, both from sickness and also from the toils and troubles of a long and difficult journey.

Two days later I reached Vienna, but I did not find my most gracious master Ferdinand, King of the Romans, in the city. At present his place at Vienna is occupied by Maximilian, King of Bohemia, whose kindness has made me well nigh forget the hardships I have undergone; but I am still so reduced by loss of flesh and lack of care, and the inconveniences arising from travelling whilst sick, that many imagine I have been poisoned by the Turks. At any rate, the other day, when the Archduke Ferdinand was here and I bowed172 to him, on his asking one of his people who I was, the man replied, loud enough for me to hear, that ‘my looks might tell from what country I had come;’ probably intending to suggest that I had swallowed the same sort of mushroom as Claudius149 of old. But I am quite certain that I am suffering from nothing of the kind, and that after a little rest I shall recover my colour, my strength, and my general condition; indeed, I feel every day that there is a gradual change for the better.

In the meantime I have sent news of my return to the King of the Romans, informing him at the same time of the six months’ truce, and giving him a short account of the negotiations in which I have been engaged. When he returns from the Diet, in the affairs of which he is now engaged, I shall be able to give him a full report.

Many, who from fear or some other reason, shrank from accompanying me to Constantinople, would now give a handsome sum for the honour of having returned with me. Their case reminds me of the famous line in Plautus—

‘Let him who would eat the kernel crack the nut.’

A man has no right to ask for part of the profit, if he has not taken on himself part of the work.

You have now got an account of my journey to Amasia as well as the history of my journey to Constantinople; the yarn I have spun is rough and ready, just as I should tell it if we were chatting together. You will be bound to excuse the want of polish, inasmuch as I have complied with your request, and despatched my letter at an early date. In mere fairness


you cannot expect fine writing from a man who is hurried and overwhelmed with business. As to fine writing indeed, I do not believe I am capable of it, even if I had time to think and leisure to compose.

But while I own my deficiencies in this respect, I have the satisfaction of feeling that I can claim for my poor narrative one merit, compared with which all other merits are as nothing. It is written in a spirit of honesty and truth.

Vienna, September 1, 1555.150



Reasons for returning to Constantinople—Roostem restored to power—Negotiations—Busbecq’s nose and ears in danger—Bajazet—Account of Solyman’s family—Story of Prince Jehangir—Roxolana’s partiality for Bajazet—The temper of Mustapha’s partisans—Bajazet suborns a man to personate Mustapha—The impostor in Bulgaria—His artful address—Solyman’s appreciation of the crisis—The Sanjak-beys—Pertau Pasha—Seizure of the impostor—Tortured by order of the Sultan—The impostor’s revelations—Drowned at midnight—Danger of Bajazet—Roxolana’s intercession for her son—Bajazet’s visit to his father—The cup of sherbet—Bajazet more fortunate than Mustapha—Achmet Pasha—Various reasons assigned for his execution—Strange request to his executioner—Busbecq’s best friends.

I have received your letter, in which you tell me that you have heard of my departure for Thrace, while you wonder at the infatuation which has induced me to revisit a country destitute of civilisation, and notorious for deeds of cruelty.

Well, you wish me to tell you of my journey, the position of affairs when I arrived, my reception at Constantinople, etc.; in short, you want to know how I am, whether I am enjoying myself, and whether I have any immediate prospect of returning. You claim an answer to your questions on the score of our ancient friendship.

Here is my reply to your inquiries. First, the report which you heard of my return hither was quite correct, nor need you be surprised at my taking this step. My word was pledged, and having once undertaken the duty, I could not consistently draw back.

My position was this: I had been appointed by my most gracious master Ferdinand, King of the175 Romans, ambassador in ordinary to Solyman for several years. This appointment, however, and my acceptance of it, appeared to rest on the assumption that peace had been concluded; still, as the hope of an arrangement had not been altogether abandoned, I did not, until the matter was finally settled, one way or the other, feel justified in avoiding the toils and risks of my present position.

Accordingly though I was under no delusion as to the extent of the danger I was incurring, and should have much preferred to hand over the duty to another, still, since I could not find a substitute, I was obliged to obey the wish of my most kind and considerate Sovereign—a wish which to me was law. As soon as he had returned from the session of the Imperial Diet,151 and had given me an interview, in the course of which I informed him of the state of our negotiations with Solyman, he ordered me to hold myself in readiness to carry back his answer to the Sultan.

It was winter, and the weather was bad, being wet, cold, and windy, when I was ordered back to Constantinople with despatches which could hardly be acceptable to those to whom I went. Here you will exclaim at my infatuation in venturing a second time on such a risk. I cannot look on it in this light. It seems to me that what was the right course before must be the right course now. And surely the proper measure of the credit to be attached to an honourable act, is the amount of toil and danger involved in its accomplishment.

In the month of November I left Vienna to retrace my steps to the shores of the Euxine. I have no intention of abusing your patience by wearying you 176with a repetition of the trifling occurrences which befell me on my way, for I think you must have been so bored with the account of my former journey, as hardly yet to have recovered from its effects. Repetition is all the more needless, because we took almost identically the same route as before.

Early in January I reached Constantinople, after losing one of my companions from an attack of acute fever, brought on by the hardships of the road. I found my colleagues safe and sound, but a great change had taken place in the Turkish Government. Bajazet, the younger son of Solyman, had been delivered from a position of serious danger, and forgiven by his father. Achmet Pasha,152 the Chief Vizier, had been strangled; and Roostem restored to his former honours.

Of these things more anon. I will now tell you of the unfavourable reception I had from the Sultan, the Pashas, and the rest of the Turks.

In accordance with their usual practice before admitting an ambassador to the presence of their Sovereign, the Pashas desired me to tell them the purport of the answer with which I was entrusted; on learning that his Majesty declined to make any concession, and insisted on his right to the fulfilment of the treaty which he had fairly and honestly negotiated with the widow and son of John the Voivode153 (i.e. Governor) of Transylvania, the wrath and indignation of the Pashas knew no bounds. A long career of success has made the Turks so arrogant, that they consider their pleasure to be the sole rule of what is right and what is wrong.

At first they tried to frighten us, and enlarged on the danger of entering the Sultan’s presence with such despatches. When we were not to be intimidated, 177and again asked for an audience, they refused to involve themselves in our dangers by presenting us to their Sovereign. To use their own phrase, they asked us ‘how many spare heads we thought they had got, that we expected them to introduce us to their master’s presence with an answer of this kind? It was a downright insult on our part, and one which their master was not the man to pocket. He was in his capital, surrounded by his victorious troops; his successes against the Persians had raised his spirit and swelled his pride, while the son who had aspired to his throne had been put to death, from which last circumstance we might learn a lesson as to how far his wrath could go. What could possibly suit him better than a campaign in Hungary, where his war-worn soldiers might forget their hardships, and enjoy the plunder of a well-stocked country, while he annexed to his empire the remainder of that province, which in good sooth was not much? In short our wisest course was to keep quiet, and not arouse his anger; there was no need for us to hasten on the evil day; it would come quite soon enough without our interference.’ Such was the advice of the Pashas, nor was more comfort to be derived from the opinions expressed by the rest of the Turks; for the mildest punishment they threatened us with was, that two of us would be thrust into a noisome dungeon, while the third (your humble servant, to wit), would be sent back to his master, after being first deprived of his nose and ears. Moreover, we noticed that people, as they passed our lodging, scowled at us in a way that boded no good. From this time we met with harsher treatment, our confinement was closer, no one was suffered to visit us, our people were not allowed to go abroad; in short, although we were ambassadors, our lot was scarcely better than that of prisoners. This178 has been our position for the last six months, and what will be the end of it God only knows; we are in His hands, and whatever may befall us, whatever we may have to bear, we shall have the great comfort of feeling that there is nothing on our part of which we need be ashamed.

I will now proceed to answer your inquiries touching Bajazet, but in order to make my explanation clearer, I must give you further explanations about the Sultan’s family. Solyman has had five sons, the eldest of whom was Mustapha, whose unhappy end I have already described; he was the son of a woman who came from the Crimea; by a Russian154 woman, to whom he is legally married, he has had four sons—Mahomet, Selim, Bajazet, and Jehangir. Mahomet, after marrying a wife (for the Turks give the title of wife to concubines), died while still young. The surviving sons are Selim and Bajazet.

Jehangir, the youngest, is dead, and of his death I shall now proceed to give you an account. The news of Mustapha’s death, when it arrived at Constantinople, overwhelmed the young prince with terror and dismay. The poor lad, whose person was disfigured by a hump, had no strength of mind or body to enable him to resist the shock. The death of his brother reminded him of the fate in store for himself at no distant day. His father’s death would seal his doom. The consignment of the old Sultan to the tomb would mark at once the commencement of his successor’s reign, and the termination of his own life. Whoever that successor might be, it was certain he would regard all his brothers as rivals to his throne, who must be got rid of without delay; and of these brothers he was one. These sad thoughts took hold of him 179to such an extent, that an order for his instant execution could not have terrified him more. So great was his misery that it brought on an illness which terminated in his death.

Two sons, as I said, survive; one of whom, Selim, being the elder, is intended by his father to succeed him on the throne. Bajazet’s claims are warmly supported by his mother, who is devoted to him. Possibly his hopeless position may have excited her pity, or she may be influenced by his dutiful bearing towards herself; but whatever the reason may be, no one doubts that, if it depended on her, Bajazet would be placed on the throne to the exclusion of Selim. She must, however, yield to the father’s will, and he is thoroughly determined that, if the fates permit, no one but Selim shall succeed him. Bajazet, being aware how matters stand, is anxiously looking round for an opportunity of escaping the fate marked out for him, and exchanging a pitiless doom for a throne. Indeed the support of his mother and Roostem prevents his altogether despairing of success; and to fall fighting for the chance of empire seems to him a more honourable lot than to be butchered like a sheep by his brother’s hangman. Such were Bajazet’s feelings, and his difference with Selim was becoming more and more marked, when he discerned in the odium excited by the execution of Mustapha an opportunity of putting in motion the revolution he had long been planning.

So intense was the sorrow for Mustapha, that many after his death grew weary of life; all their prospects had been bound up in his fortunes, and what they most longed for was an opportunity of avenging his wrongs or sharing his fate. Some of his supporters were rendered so uneasy by their own fears, that they180 thought there could be nothing worse than their present position, and therefore were looking out for the means of bringing about a general revolution; all that was wanted was a leader; Mustapha indeed could not be recalled to life, but a pretender could be set up. Bajazet was on the watch, and the idea struck him as one admirably calculated for the furtherance of his design. At his instigation, some of his followers induced a fellow of low origin, but daring and resolute, to announce himself as Mustapha, and boldly personate the dead prince. In height, features, and general appearance he was not unlike that unhappy youth. Feigning to have escaped from the Sultan by flight, the pretender began to show himself first northward of Constantinople, on the slopes155 of the Balkan leading down to the Danube, not far from the provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia.

There were two reasons for choosing this locality; first, because the proximity of the above-mentioned provinces afforded a good opening for revolutionary schemes, and, secondly, because the whole country was full of Spahis, a branch of the service which had provided Mustapha with most of his followers. He landed there with a few attendants, pretending to be a traveller, who desired to escape notice. When his companions were questioned as to who he was, they made people think it was Mustapha by timid hints, rather than by downright statements; nor did their leader himself deny that such was the case. This cunning device made people still more anxious to see him. Hereon the pretender threw away all disguise; and after expressing his joy at his safe arrival among them, and thanking God for his preservation, proceeded to tell them the following story. He said that ‘when he 181was summoned,156 he had not ventured to enter into the presence of his offended father or trust himself in his hands, but that by the advice of his friends he had, by means of large promises, procured a man who resembled him to go in his stead, that he might learn his father’s disposition towards himself, at the risk of another man’s life: this man, before he was admitted to his father, or given any opportunity of pleading his case, had been cruelly strangled, and exposed in front of the Sultan’s tent; at the time there were many who had a sort of suspicion of the trick, but a still larger number, owing to the features of the wretched man being rendered undistinguishable by his agonising death, had been induced to believe that he himself had suffered. On learning this, he had felt that he must without loss of time fly for his life. Knowing that his safety depended on secresy, he had only allowed a few of his companions to share his flight; he had made his way along the north coast of the Black Sea through the tribes of the Bosphorus,157 and had come amongst them, because he felt that in their loyal protection lay his best chance of safety. He implored them not to fail him in the hour of trial, when he was suffering from the persecution of his wicked stepmother, or hold him of less account than they had been wont to do in the time of his prosperity; his object was to avenge his wrongs, and draw the sword in self-defence. What else remained to him? If he still lived, it was only because another had died in his stead; proof enough had been given of his father’s feelings towards him; to his parent’s mistake, not to his parent’s affection, he owed his life; all this misery arose 182from the sorceries of his mother-in-law; the poor old Sultan being hardly in his right mind, and madly devoted to his wife, she was able to sway him at her pleasure, and with Roostem’s assistance, to drive him to the commission of any crime she chose; but, thank God, he had true friends to help him out of his misfortunes, and inflict condign punishment on his enemies; he still had devoted followers, on his side were the Janissaries and the greater part of his father’s household, large forces would pour in when they heard of his standard being raised, and hosts of friends, who mourned his death, would rally round him when they found he still lived. He only asked them to receive him kindly as a guest, and protect him in the day of adversity, until such time as his supporters could be assembled.’

At first he used this language privately, but afterwards he harangued in a similar strain the inhabitants of the places he visited; the men who were supposed to have been the companions of his flight supported his assertions by similar narratives; while persons of considerable position, who had been suborned by Bajazet, made statements to the same effect. By this means a great number of people who had no connection with Bajazet, were drawn into the mistake. For the affair was so artfully managed that some who had known Mustapha during his life, and had recognised his body when it lay before his father’s tent, were nevertheless anxious to discredit their own senses, and allowed themselves to be persuaded that this was the true Mustapha. And though the intimate friends and dependants of Mustapha, on whose memories his features were imprinted, were in no wise deceived by the impostor, nevertheless, they were so blinded by fear and resentment, that they were among183 the first to give in their allegiance. There was nothing they were not willing to undergo sooner than live any longer without a Mustapha. Their adhesion prevented the rest from having any doubts as to his being the true Mustapha, and convinced them that the story of his execution was founded on a mistake. Nor was the impostor himself idle; for some he had fine words and promises, while on many he bestowed money and presents, purporting to be a remnant saved from the wreck of his former fortune (for Bajazet had taken care that there should be no lack of funds), and so, by one means or another, he managed to keep his followers together, and add to their number.

Accordingly, in a few days a large and daily increasing force had been collected; the muster had already assumed the proportions of a regular army, when Solyman was suddenly informed of the insurrection; letters and messengers came in hot haste from the neighbouring Sanjak-beys to tell him that the insurrection was rapidly gaining head, and the crisis had become serious.

The Sultan, rightly surmising that one or other of his two sons was privy to the conspiracy, considered it a most serious matter, and sent despatches severely reprimanding the Sanjak-beys for their remissness in allowing the insurrection to assume such formidable proportions, instead of nipping it in the bud; moreover, he threatened to punish them severely if they failed to send him the impostor in chains at the very earliest date possible, and with him all the other ringleaders in this monstrous treason. He told them that, in order to expedite matters, he was sending one of his Vizierial Pashas to their assistance (the name of this officer was Pertau, he is married to the widow of the Mahomet of whom I told you), and that he was accom184panied by a large force of household troops; but if they desired to clear themselves, they had better bring the matter to a conclusion with their own forces, before the reinforcements arrived.

Pertau’s command was not numerous, but it was composed of the most loyal of the Sultan’s troops; for Solyman had taken care to select his most faithful colonels, captains, and cavalry officers. There was, indeed, serious apprehension of Pertau’s forces being induced to go over to the enemy in a body, as it was impossible to say how far they had been tampered with, or to what length their party feeling might carry them. The rank and file of the Janissaries, excited by the idea of a revolution with Mustapha at its head, were well inclined towards the insurgents, and eager for the rising to become general. There were, therefore, serious reasons for anxiety.

On receiving Solyman’s commands, the Sanjak-beys felt the necessity of vigorous action, and, with many mutual exhortations, set to work in all haste to oppose and check the pretender’s plans, doing their utmost to cut off the bands that were coming up, and to break up the force which he had already collected, whilst they cowed the whole country side with threats of the Sultan’s vengeance.

Meanwhile, the column of Pertau Pasha was advancing towards the scene of insurrection. The effect produced by the approach of the regular troops was such as might have been expected. The raw levies of the pretender were panic-stricken when they saw that they were out-generalled and attacked on every side. At first small parties dropped away; after a while the whole army, throwing honour and obligation to the winds, deserted their leader, and scattered in every direction. The pretender, with his chief185 officers and advisers, attempted to follow the example of his men, but was stopped by the Sanjak-beys, and taken alive. They were all handed over to Pertau Pasha, and sent off to Constantinople with a guard of picked troops. On their arrival, Solyman had them carefully examined under torture. Their confession established the guilt of Bajazet, and made his father acquainted with his treasonable designs. He had intended, it appears, as soon as the forces of the insurgents had reached a certain size, to join them with a strong body of troops, and either to lead them straight against Constantinople, or to fall with all his strength upon his brother, according as circumstances might favour either attempt; but whilst he hesitated, his designs were nipped in the bud by the prompt action of his father. Solyman, having satisfied himself on these points, ordered them all to be drowned in the sea at dead of night, deeming it most inexpedient that any of these transactions should be noised abroad, and his family misfortunes become the gazing-stock of neighbouring princes. The Sultan, who was grievously displeased with Bajazet for this audacious attempt, was debating in his mind how he should punish him; but his wife being a clever woman, his intentions were not long a secret to her.

Having allowed a few days to elapse, in order to give time for his anger to cool, she alluded to the subject in Solyman’s presence, and spoke of the thoughtlessness of young men, quoting similar acts which had been done by his forefathers. She reminded the Sultan that ‘natural instinct teaches everyone to protect himself and his family, and that death is welcome to none; that the mind of a young man can easily be seduced from the right path by the suggestions of unscrupulous advisers. It was only fair,’ she said, ‘to pardon a first186 fault, and if his son came to his senses he would have saved him to his own great benefit as a father; but if Bajazet should go back to his former ways, it would then be time to punish him, as he deserved, for both his misdeeds. If he would not grant this mercy to his erring son, she implored him to grant it to a mother’s prayers. She begged for the life of the son she had borne, and entreated him to spare their common child. What must be her feelings,’ she continued, ‘if, of the two sons whom God had spared her, one should be reft away by his unrelenting father. He ought to control his wrath, and lean to mercy rather than severity, however just that severity might be; for the Deity, whose power and justice were infinite, did not clothe himself always in severity, but to a great extent allowed mercy to prevail, otherwise the human race could not suffice to supply victims for his vengeance. To whom ought a man to extend mercy, if not to his children? Henceforth Bajazet would be a dutiful son, and, freed by this great act of grace from his present fears, overflow with love and obedience towards his father; there was no surer bond for noble souls than kind and generous treatment; the recollection of the pardon he had received would prevent Bajazet from repeating his offence. She pledged her word for him, and undertook that he should henceforth be a good and dutiful son.’

By these words, accompanied as they were with tears and caresses, Solyman was softened; and being at all times too much under his wife’s influence, he changed his resolve, and determined to spare Bajazet, on condition of his coming and receiving his commands in person. The mother was equal to the occasion, and wrote secretly to Bajazet, telling him not to be afraid to come when he was sent for, he would be perfectly safe; she had obtained his restoration to his father’s187 favour, from whose mind all displeasure had been removed. On receiving this message his hopes rose, and he determined to trust himself in his father’s hands; but he was not without fears, as he thought every now and then of his brother Mustapha, whose fate testified pretty clearly to the magnitude of the danger he was incurring. Accordingly, he came to the place appointed for the conference, which was a public inn a few miles from Constantinople, called Carestran. This was in accordance with a rule of the Turkish Court, that no grown-up son of the Sultan should during his father’s lifetime set foot within the walls of Constantinople, lest he should tamper with the household troops, and endeavour to seize the throne. On dismounting, he found his father’s slaves waiting for him with an order to lay aside his sword and dagger. Nor was there anything unusual in this, as it is the general rule for those who are admitted to an audience with the Sultan; still it was a precaution which was not calculated to allay the fears of his conscience-stricken son. But his mother, foreseeing how frightened he would be when entering his father’s presence, had stationed herself in a chamber close to the entrance of the house, by which Bajazet must pass. As he went by, he could hear his mother calling to him through a little canvas-covered window, and saying, ‘Corcoma, oglan, corcoma’; i.e., Do not fear, my son, do not fear. These words from his mother gave Bajazet no little comfort. On entering, his father bade him take a seat by his side, and proceeded to lecture him most seriously on the rashness of his conduct in venturing to take up arms under circumstances which made it not improbable that he himself was the object of his attack; and granting that his attempt was directed only against his brother, it was even then an outrageous crime.


‘He had done what he could towards destroying the very foundations of the Moslem faith, by bringing to the verge of ruin through family feuds that which was nowadays its only support—the imperial power of the house of Othman; this consideration alone ought to prevent a true believer from entertaining such a design.

‘On the wrong and insult to himself,’ continued the Sultan, ‘he would not dwell, though he had attempted to seize the throne during his lifetime, and thus committed an unpardonable offence, for which no possible punishment could ever atone; in spite of all this, he had determined to spare him, and deal with him rather as a kind father than as a strict judge, in the hope that he would henceforward leave the care of the future in the hands of God; none of these matters depended on man’s pleasure, it was by God’s decree that kingdoms went and kingdoms came. If fate ordained that after his death he (Bajazet) should reign, the matter was settled, the realm would come to him without any effort on his part; no human means could avail to hinder that which was appointed from on high; but if God had decreed otherwise, it was mere madness to toil and strive against His will, and, as it were, to fight against God. In short, he must leave off fomenting disorders, cease to attack a brother who did nothing to provoke him, and refrain from troubling his aged father. But if he returned to his old courses, and stirred up another storm, it should break on his own head, and there should be no pardon for a second offence; in that case he would not find in him a gentle father, but a stern judge.’

When he had thus spoken, and Bajazet had made a short and judicious reply, apologising for his fault189 rather than palliating it, and promising submission for the future to his father’s will, Solyman ordered the national beverage to be brought in, and handed to his son—it was a compound of sugar and water, flavoured with the juice of certain herbs. Bajazet, longing, but not daring, to refuse it, drank as much as appearances required, with misgiving in his heart that this might be the last cup he should ever taste. But presently his father removed his anxiety by taking a draught from the same cup. Bajazet therefore was more fortunate than Mustapha in his interview with his father, and was allowed to return to his government.158

I have a few things to tell you about Achmet’s death. Some think he was accused of a secret leaning towards Mustapha, or at any rate of negligence in not detecting the conspiracy of the pretender and Bajazet till it was almost too late. Others think that he had long before been sentenced to death for robberies and depredations committed by him at a time when he was without official rank, and fighting for his own hand; and that this sentence, which, on account of his gallantry and military skill, had been postponed, though never actually remitted, was now to be put into execution. Others, again, think that the wish to restore Roostem to his old position was the one and only reason for putting Achmet to death. Solyman was believed to have promised Achmet never to deprive him of the seal of office so long as he lived. When circumstances necessitated the restoration of the seal to Roostem, he was obliged, in order to keep his 190pledge and avoid a breach of faith, to put Achmet to death, and hence the order for his execution. They declare also that Solyman said, it was better for him to die once than to die a thousand times, as would be the case, if he survived to be perpetually tormented with vain regret for the power that had been snatched from his hands and given to another. However that may be, one morning when he had gone to the Divan (which I have already explained to be the council chamber), without the slightest knowledge of what was about to happen, a messenger came to sentence him to death in the Sultan’s name. Achmet, being a man of marvellous courage, received the announcement with almost as much composure as if it were no concern of his. All he did was to repulse the hangman, who was preparing to perform his office, deeming it unfitting that one who had but lately held so exalted a position, should be touched by his polluted hands. Glancing round on the bystanders, he begged as a favour of a gentleman, with whom he was on friendly terms, to act as his executioner, telling him that it was a kindness he should greatly value, and the last he would ever be able to do to him; after many entreaties, his friend acceded to his request. When this was settled, Achmet enjoined him, after putting the bowstring round his neck, not to strangle him at the first pull, but to slacken it and allow him to draw one breath; after which he was to tighten the string until he was dead; this fancy of his was duly complied with. A strange wish, methinks, to pry at such a time into the mystery of death, and pay one visit to the threshold of the king of terrors before passing his portals for ever!

After his death the badges of his former office and the post of Chief Vizier were restored to Roostem. As to your inquiry about my return, I may answer191 in the words of the famous quotation, ‘Facilis descensus Averni.’ Well, He who guided me on my way hither will bring me back in His own good time. In the meanwhile, I shall console myself in my loneliness and troubles with my old friends, my books; friends who have never failed me hitherto, but have done their master true and loyal service by night and day. Farewell.

Constantinople, July 14, 1556.159



Introduction—Departure of Busbecq’s colleagues and preceding negotiations—Turkish hawking—Busbecq summoned to Adrianople—Earthquake there—Account of earthquake at Constantinople—Busbecq returns to Constantinople—Hires a house there—Is forced to go back to his former abode—Description of it—Anecdotes of animals in it—Busbecq’s menagerie—How Busbecq’s friend availed himself of the Turkish abhorrence of pigs—Stories of a lynx, a crane, a stag—Turkish mendicants—Turkish slaves—Busbecq’s kite-shooting—His tame partridges from Chios—Mode of keeping them—Artificial egg-hatching in Egypt—Turkish horses—Camels—Their use in war—Turkish commissariat—Turkish and Christian soldiers contrasted—Their clothing and equipment—Illustration from Cæsar of Turkish tactics—Turkish kindness to animals—Cats preferred to dogs—Mahomet and his cat—Narrow escape of a Venetian who ill-treated a bird—Turkish fondness for birds—Tame nightingales and goldfinches—Turkish women and marriage laws—Divorces—Baths for women—Extraordinary story of an old woman—Busbecq’s letters intercepted—Pashas puzzled by supposed cipher—Conversations with Roostem—Hungarian affairs—Ali Pasha appointed commander there—His character and appearance—Besieges Szigeth unsuccessfully—Turkish army preserved by advice of a Sanjak-bey—His subsequent treatment—Retreat and death of Ali Pasha—Capture of Gran—Skirmishes and raids in Croatia—Turkish and Persian dread of fire-arms—Story of Roostem’s corps of musketeers—Turkish opinion of duelling—Arslan bey—Account of the Mingrelians and their king—Busbecq’s life and occupations—Turkish archery—Turkish readiness to adopt foreign inventions and customs—Lemnian earth—Why some Turks have their children baptised—Parthian tactics of the Turks—Busbecq’s acquaintances of various nations—Rudeness of a Cavasse and Busbecq’s retaliation—Story of Roostem—Turkish treatment of ambassadors—Story of a Venetian ambassador—Emblematic present from Roostem—Beginning of Bajazet’s rebellion—Removal of him and Selim to new governments—Reluctance of Bajazet to obey—Selim marches on Ghemlik—Bajazet’s remonstrances and his father’s reply—Missions of Mehemet and Pertau Pashas to Selim and Bajazet—Reluctance of Solyman’s troops—The Mufti consulted—Message of Bajazet to Solyman—His preparations at Angora—Characters of the rival brothers—Address of Bajazet to his army—His defeat at Koniah and retreat to Amasia—Reputation he gains by 193his conduct—Solyman crosses to Asia—His motives—Busbecq a spectator of his departure—Description of the procession—Busbecq summoned to Solyman’s camp—Description of it—Turkish observance of Ramazan—Impression made on a Turk by the carnival—Why wine was forbidden by Mahomet—Turkish military punishments—Quarrel of Busbecq’s servants with some Janissaries—Light in which the Janissaries are regarded by the Sultan—Albert de Wyss—Bajazet’s proceedings at Amasia—Description of Persia—Characters of Shah Tahmasp and his son—Solyman’s policy towards Bajazet—Flight of Bajazet to Persia—Description of the celebration of Bairam by the army—Return of Busbecq to Constantinople—Incidents of Bajazet’s flight—Solyman is dissuaded from marching against Persia—Disaffection among his troops—Bajazet’s arrival in Persia—His reception by the Shah—Duplicity of the Shah—His probable motives—Bajazet’s troops separated and massacred in detail—He and his family are thrown into prison—Opinions as to his probable fate—Influence of these events on Busbecq’s negotiations—His course of policy—Conclusion.

Of course you have heard of the last arrangements. Well, my colleagues left me some time ago, and I am alone at Constantinople. A strange fancy, I think I hear you say. What on earth can have induced him to stay among savages, an exile from his dear native land? But while you exclaim at my choice, you do not forget to ask for every scrap of news I have to give, solemnly promising to accept it all—good, bad, and indifferent—just as it comes. You have other questions which you wish answered. What books am I reading? What am I doing? How do I get through the day? Do I ever go out? Come, come, what you are plaguing me for is, I see, not a letter but a diary. Again, you are specially anxious for information about Bajazet’s fortunes, touching which, you say, there are many rumours at home. You assert that I am under an engagement to give you news of him, and you demand heavy damages for breach of contract! I believe you intend dragging me into court, and are already preparing your pleadings! Pray do not be so hard! Restrain your passion, my friend; or if nothing else194 will serve, take the full sum; I will pay interest as well, in fact do or pay anything sooner than be brought into court, though indeed a demurrer would probably lie to your claim, for surely after so long an interval I might set up the Statute of Limitations.

When my colleagues, with whom my former letters have made you acquainted, saw that we had already wasted three years here, and that no progress had been made towards peace, or even towards an armistice of any duration, and there appeared hardly any hope of gaining anything if they stayed, they sought leave to return. Now I must tell you that it is easy enough to get here; the difficult thing is to get away!160 and they had much trouble before they could obtain Solyman’s consent. After this we had to decide whether we should all three leave, or I should remain behind, while my two colleagues, who had been longer at Constantinople, returned home. For this point Solyman had left for our decision, as he was afraid, if he kept one of us, that people would think that he was anxious for peace. My colleagues considered it was essential to the Emperor’s interest that one of us should remain. This was tolerably obvious; but, while I shared their opinion, I thought it politic to dissemble, and so, whenever the subject was mentioned in the presence of Turks, I took care to express my dissatisfaction with any arrangement which kept me at Constantinople. ‘Admitting that I had come to discharge the duties of an ambassador in ordinary, yet such a position implied that peace had been concluded. While this was uncertain, I did not see how I could remain at the Sul195tan’s court without disobeying my instructions, or at any rate going beyond them. The proper course,’ I added, ‘would be for one and all of us to receive our passports.’

I took this line in order to make them press me to stay, knowing that it would make a material difference in my position whether I remained at the request of the Turkish Government or of my own free will. I was fully alive to the fact that if none of us remained to represent his Majesty, there was a probability, or rather a certainty, of war; whereas if I stayed, the prospects of a peaceful arrangement would not be prejudiced. While communications were being exchanged between Vienna and Constantinople, a long time would elapse, in which many things might occur to improve our position. Finally, anything was better than needlessly to plunge into the horrors of war. These considerations did not blind me to the fact, that, as far as my own personal interest was concerned, I was acting imprudently in remaining behind. I foresaw the additional responsibility I must undertake, and the risks and dangers of the position I was to occupy, which, great as they must be in any case, would become extremely serious if the negotiations ended in war. But men who take upon themselves the onerous office of ambassador must not allow considerations of this kind to come between them and their duty to the State.

Roostem, in his excessive anxiety to keep me, played as it were into my hands. No doubt he understood how much the chances of peace would be diminished by our departure in a body, and the rupture of the negotiations which were pending. His chief reason for dreading an outbreak of hostilities was the effect it would probably have on Solyman’s sons, who would be sure to take up arms as soon as their father marched196 for Hungary. However quiet Selim might be, he knew that Bajazet would be certain to attack him; and the deep interest which he, his wife, and his mother-in-law took in the younger prince, made him anxious that nothing should occur to provoke a step on his part which he foresaw would be his destruction. Therefore, having summoned us to his house, he communicated at great length to my colleagues the considerations he wished to be brought before his Majesty to induce him to agree to the terms the Sultan offered. But he urged me to stay at my post, and to persevere in my efforts for the re-establishment of peace. There was no doubt, he said, that the course he recommended would meet with the Emperor’s approval, as he had never shown himself averse to peace. I, on the other hand, expressed annoyance at his proposals, and made objections to them, as far as I could do so with decency and safety. On this Roostem grew eager, and begged me not to take a step which must necessarily put an end to all prospect of peace, saying that his Emperor161 was eager to lead his army into Hungary, and would have done so long ago, if he himself had not through the influence of certain ladies162 (meaning his wife and mother-in-law) prevented him. To use his own expression, they had detained him by seizing the hem of his garment. He implored us not to go on teasing and provoking against ourselves the rage of a sleeping lion. I began to be less decided in my 197refusals, and to say that I would stay, did I not fear that the Pashas would be unreasonable in their treatment of me. I felt sure, I added, that if anything occurred to displease them they would hold me responsible for it, and make me the scapegoat, even for matters totally out of my power to prevent. Roostem told me not to be afraid, saying that whatever turn things might take, nothing should be laid to my charge; if I would only remain he would undertake to protect me, and, to use his own expression, would regard me as his brother. I replied that I would think it over, and so we departed.

The next day we were summoned to the Divan,163 or Council of State, where almost the same scene was enacted, except that Roostem, on account of the presence of the other Pashas was more guarded in his language. Before I finally agreed to remain, I deposited a protest with the Pashas, in which I put on record that I was remaining without knowing what my master’s wishes might be, and therefore reserved all questions for his decision without prejudice. I undertook nothing, and did not engage to be responsible for the result which God had foreordained. This protest was afterwards of great service to me when affairs looked gloomy, and the Pashas were inclined to treat me harshly. I have now given you my reasons for remaining.


The departure of my colleagues took place towards the end of August 1557. In the following winter the Sultan, according to his usual custom, removed to Adrianople, with the double object of making a demonstration against Hungary and of enjoying the good hawking and the bracing climate, which he thought were beneficial to his health. At the junction of the rivers near Adrianople are wide tracts of flooded lands, on which there are great quantities of wild ducks, geese, herons, eagles, cranes, and buzzards. To capture these he generally uses a small species of eagle; these birds are trained to seek their quarry in the clouds, and bring it down, or to seize it as it flies beneath them, and with one swoop dash it to the ground.164 I hear he has falcons so well trained that they can bring down a crane, striking it under the wing in such a way as to keep clear of its beak, on which they would otherwise be impaled. Their boldness, however, is not always successful, for if they make the least mistake, they immediately suffer for it; the crane’s beak goes through them like an arrow, and they tumble lifeless to the ground.

For the reasons I have mentioned, the Sultan makes a practice every year of repairing to Adrianople at the beginning of the winter, and of not returning to Constantinople till the frogs drive him away with their croaking.

Shortly after the departure of the Court, I received a letter from Roostem ordering me to follow. 199Some horsemen were attached to me as an escort, and also sixteen Janissaries, either as a mark of honour or to prevent my escaping. As I was directed to come with all speed, at first we travelled by long stages, but we had scarcely commenced our third day’s journey when the Janissaries began to grumble. It was winter, and they had to trudge along muddy roads, so our long marches were not at all to their liking; they declared that when they were campaigning with the Sultan they did not march more than half the distance, and said they could not stand it. This troubled me, as I did not wish to be hard on them. At last, while I was considering with my attendants what to do for them, one of them suggested that they were very fond of a sort of omelette, which my cook compounded of wine and eggs with plenty of sugar and spices. ‘Possibly,’ said he, ‘if they were served with this for breakfast every day, they would make fewer complaints of fatigue and be more obliging.’ Queer as the suggestion was, I determined to try it, and the result was a most complete success, for they were so charmed with the omelette, and so merry with the wine with which I plied them, that they were ready to start before the order came, and volunteered to follow me to Buda if I would always treat them so.

Travelling thus, I arrived at Adrianople, where I was obliged to listen to the complaints, not to say abuse, of Roostem about the raids and robberies of the Hungarians. To these, however, the answer was not far to seek, for I was able to tell him of the numerous wrongs which our people daily received from Turkish soldiers. He could not be surprised, I added, if the Christians retaliated.

I was enabled to answer him thus by the arrival of a courier with despatches from the Emperor, in which200 he narrated the outrages perpetrated every day by the Turks in our territory, in violation of the armistice which we had made for a fixed period on the departure of my colleagues; how they harried the miserable peasantry with their ceaseless raids, plundered their property, and carried off into captivity themselves, their wives, and their children.

I must not omit to mention that on the day of the courier’s arrival at Adrianople there was a great earthquake, à propos of which he related, that he had felt an earthquake, which he considered to be the same, at Nisch and Sofia, and many other places through which he had journeyed, so that the air enclosed in the caverns of the earth seemed to have run a race with him and to have travelled almost as fast as he had ridden. In confirmation of this theory, I must tell you that a similar earthquake was felt four days later at Constantinople; here are the data and you can make your own deductions.

I may remark that Constantinople is very subject to earthquakes, and I remember that once, a little after midnight, our lodging began to shake so violently that we thought the house would fall. I had been sound asleep, but when it woke me and I could see by my night-light books and cups tumbling about, laths and stones falling from the wall, and the whole room shaking violently, for a moment I was dumbfoundered and knew not what to make of it. At last, when it occurred to me that it was an earthquake, I jumped up and ran out, for fear the house should tumble in upon me. The same earthquake continued for some days, though the shocks were not so violent. All through the city, and especially in our lodging and in St. Sophia, even where the walls are most solid, may be seen huge cracks caused by settlements from earthquakes.


I stayed at Adrianople about three months, and then, after concluding a seven months’ armistice, I was taken back to Constantinople in March. As I was tired of being confined in the same lodging, I had recourse to the cavasse who acted as my keeper (for among the various duties which, as I have already told you, are assigned to men of this profession amongst the Turks, is the custody of ambassadors), and asked him to allow me, like other ambassadors, to hire a house with a little bit of garden or pleasure-ground, at my own expense. The cavasse made no objection, as it would be a saving for his master of 400 gold ducats a year if I took a house for myself, this being the price which the Sultan paid for my present lodgings; so I hired a house, or rather block of buildings, with some land about it, where I intended to lay out a garden, hoping by this means to divert my mind from the cares and anxieties of my position.

When, however, my cavasse found it was impossible to watch me in a house, which was furnished with several means of egress and lay in its own ample grounds, as strictly as in a caravanserai (a word with which I think my former letters have made you familiar), where all the windows were closely barred, and to which there was only one entrance, he changed his mind, and induced the Pashas, who had now returned from Adrianople, to shut me up once more within the walls of our old lodging. Thankful, indeed, was I that I did not get worse treatment, for some of the Pashas held that, now that I was alone, it was a needless extravagance to give me such a roomy lodging. The majority, however, of the council were more considerate, and I was allowed to return to my old prison-house.

I will take the opportunity of giving you a description of my abode. The house is situated on high ground202 in the most populous quarter of Constantinople. From the back windows there is a lovely view of the sea; though we are at some distance from the shore we can distinguish the gambols of the dolphins in the water, while the prospect is bounded by Mount Olympus in Asia, white with perpetual snow. On every side it is open to the breezes, and is on this account considered a peculiarly healthy residence. So airy a situation the Turks appear to think too good for foreigners, as they have not only put iron bars on our windows, to the discomfort of our eyes, but have built up parapets which prevent our getting fresh air or a good view. This was done to meet the complaints of our neighbours, who declared that their houses, which stood on lower ground, were completely exposed to the gaze of the Christians. In the centre there is a large open space or court in which is a well. No one lives on the ground-floor, but on the upper storey there is a verandah running round the court, out of which open the chambers which form the outer part of the building, and which consist of a great number of small rooms, all built after the same pattern, like the cells of a monastery. The front windows open on the public street leading to the palace; and from them the ambassadors have an opportunity, nearly every Friday (which answers to our Sunday) of seeing the Sultan on his way to his devotions. As he passes, the cavasse and Janissaries make their bow, or rather return his, for among the Turks it is the custom for the man of higher rank to bow first. In conformity with this rule, the Sultan himself does not wait for the people in the street to bow to him, but first bows himself, and they return his salute amid loyal shouts and blessings. The ground-floor of the edifice is intended for a stable. The vaulted roofs, which are universal throughout the203 building, render it safe from fire on the inside; while on the outside it is protected by a covering of lead.

While the house has many advantages, it must be allowed that it has corresponding inconveniences. Everything in it is constructed for use, and nothing for ornament or comfort; it has no beauty or novelty of design to render it attractive. It has no garden to take a walk in; not so much as a tree, or shrub, or patch of grass to refresh the eye, while it swarms with different kinds of vermin, such as weasels, snakes, lizards, and scorpions. Sometimes when a man goes to fetch his hat in the morning, he has the unpleasant surprise of finding a snake coiled round it. However, to let you into the secret of our diversions, we contrive to extract some amusement from these creatures. Sometimes a weasel has a battle-royal with a snake, with my whole household standing round, and in spite of its struggles drags it off in triumph to its hole; sometimes again a weasel changes its abode, and moves its young elsewhere. For instance, the other day, when my friends and I were still at dinner, one of them jumped down on the middle of the table from her nest in the roof with a young one in her mouth. On our pulling her away, she left it there, and stationed herself at the door to see what would happen to the cub. After amusing ourselves with the ugly little beast we placed it on the floor, whereupon the mother darted in, caught it up, and carried it off to its new home.

We also had an opportunity of inspecting a strange, reptile from the stables, which had been trodden on by the horses and killed; it was either a snake or a python. Its stomach appeared to be very much swollen, so I ordered my people to cut it open, and there we found three good-sized mice. I could not make out how an animal that crawled so slowly could catch such nimble204 creatures; nor could I understand how it contrived to swallow them whole, when its jaws were, as it seemed, so narrow. But my difficulty was solved by my finding another snake in the act of swallowing a toad or poisonous frog. It had seized it by the hind legs, and had already sucked them and a good part of its body down its throat. The toad was still alive, and kept endeavouring to get away from its enemy, struggling as hard as it could with its front feet. When I first saw it I was thoroughly puzzled. I thought the creature was some strange abortion, for it appeared to me to be a two-footed beast, with an enormous tail. When I saw what it was, I began beating it with a stick, and tried to make it release its victim. It was frightened, and did its best to disgorge its prey in order to escape; but it was some time before it could succeed in getting rid of the toad, for it had sucked it in so far that the creature stuck in its throat. At last, after much difficulty, it managed to disgorge; but then it could not shut its mouth, and gaped hideously with its open jaws until we killed it. My stick, if Pliny is to be believed, would be serviceable to women in childbirth.

Besides the creatures that breed in the building, I keep a good many animals, which furnish my people with employment and amusement. I am heartily glad to have something for them to do, as otherwise they would get terribly homesick. For what better resource is left us in our isolation than seeking to forget our cares in the society of animals? There is not much amusement to be had, I warrant you, in a great stone prison-house like ours. The chief favourites are the monkeys, on account of their strange tricks, which are very amusing. You may generally see round their cage a group of admiring bystanders, who watch their mischievous pranks with the keenest interest. I have205 also wolves, bears, broad-horned stags—which are frequently but incorrectly called fallow deer—and common deer, likewise gazelles, lynxes, ichneumons, and of the weasel kind the varieties called martens and sables; also, if you care to know, a pig as well, whose companionship I am told by my grooms is wholesome for horses. I certainly ought to have given him a place in my catalogue, as he attracts numbers of Asiatics to my lodging. They come to see this unclean animal, which the laws of their religion forbid their tasting. The beast is all the more interesting to them, because pigs are never kept, or even seen, in their country. Indeed, a Turk would as lief touch one of them as I would touch a man with the plague.

I will tell you a capital story of a friend of mine, who took advantage of this prejudice. He wished to send me a private parcel, so he got a little pig, and put it with the parcel in a sack, which he then told his servant to take to me. When he came to the door my cavasse met him, and asked him what he had got in the sack. The servant whispered in his ear, ‘It is a little pig, a present from a friend.’ The cavasse gave the sack a poke with his stick, on which the little pig began to squeak. The moment he heard it he made a hasty retreat, crying out, ‘Well, take your nasty dirty present in, if you must, and be hanged to you.’ Then, with a look of intense disgust, he turned to his fellow Mussulmans, and said, ‘How extraordinarily fond the Christians are of the flesh of that filthiest of animals; they positively cannot live without it.’ Thus the servant was admitted, and brought in the secret parcel.

I have also many kinds of birds, such as eagles, ravens, jackdaws, foreign kinds of ducks, Balearic cranes, and partridges. From this you will see that206 my house is full of animals, ‘A Noah’s ark, in short,’ as one of my friends observed.

Not only is the menagerie a great resource for my people by keeping them from fretting, but I also derive advantage from it myself, as I am able to verify the wonderful stories I have read in various authors of the great affection beasts are capable of entertaining towards human beings. I never ventured to accept these statements for facts, until I saw an Assyrian lynx so attach himself to one of my people after only a few days’ acquaintance, that one could only explain it by the theory that he had fallen in love with him. When he was present the lynx would give him many caresses that plainly showed his affection, hugging and all but kissing him. When he wished to go, the animal would try to detain him by placing its claws gently on the hem of his garment, and would cast wistful looks after him as he went away. During his absence the lynx was in a state of the deepest melancholy, constantly gazing at the door till the man returned; on which the creature, strange to say, recovered his spirits and welcomed his friend. When I took the man away with me to the Turkish camp across the water, the poor beast was inconsolable, refused its food, and after a few days pined away. I was much annoyed at this, for I had intended to make him, with a very tame ichneumon I had, a present to the Emperor, on account of the remarkable beauty of his coat; it was indeed so handsome, that if a common lynx were set by his side you would hardly think that they both belonged to the same species. It is in Assyria that the handsomest lynxes are found, and their skins are worth fifteen or sixteen golden crowns. I have no doubt that they are the same as the Babylonian skins considered so valuable in former days, which are men207tioned in the Digest in the chapter on Farmers of the Revenue.165

Here is another story, which relates to a bird. Among other cranes I have a Balearic one. This species is distinguished from the common kinds by a white tuft of feathers hanging down from either ear, and also by the black feathers which cover the front of its neck. These last the Turks are wont to stick in their caps. It also differs in size from common cranes. This Balearic crane I speak of showed most distinct signs of affection for a Spanish soldier, whom I ransomed from captivity, being so attached to him that it used to march beside him for many hours as he walked, to halt when he stopped, and to stay by him when he sat down; and it allowed itself to be stroked and patted by him, though it could not bear to be touched by any one else. When he was away, it used to go to his room and knock at the door with its beak. If it was opened, it pried about to see if it could find him. When it found itself disappointed, it used to go all over the house and disturb us all with cries so loud and shrill that we were obliged in self-defence to shut it up; but when he returned, it would run to meet him with outspread wings and queer comical gestures, as if it were practising some outlandish jig, or preparing to do battle with a pygmy.166 To be short, at last it made a custom of sleeping under his bed; and one day actually presented him with an egg.167


You have heard the marks of affection for men displayed by two animals. I will now give you an instance of an ungrateful beast, which proved itself both savage and treacherous. I had a tame stag which lived with us for many months and seemed quite domesticated. When the rutting season arrived, however, he suddenly became so frantic, that, forgetful of the ties of hospitality and kindness, he as it were declared war on us and treated us all like enemies, attacking with his horns everyone he met, so that we were obliged to shut him up. One night he broke out in spite of bars and bolts, and frightened the horses, which, after the Turkish fashion, were passing the night in the open air in the courtyard. When the grooms ran out to quiet the disturbance, and tried to drive the stag back to his prison, he not only refused to go in, but turned on the men and wounded several of them. Excited by this they drove the foe into the stable, which, as I said, was very spacious, and there with my permission attacked him with lances, hunting spears, and every weapon that came to hand. At first he made a gallant defence, but at last, overcome by numbers, he fell pierced with wounds in every limb; for more than forty men were arrayed against him, and he was all alone. Thus he atoned for his bad conduct to his hosts. All the ambassadors at Constantinople had a share of the fruits of that night’s chase, for I had the stag cut up and sent them each a present of venison.

The stag was one of very large size, like those that are in the habit of going up from Hungary to Austria at the beginning of autumn for the purpose of mating with their kind. I got him from beggars who made a profit of him. They went about collecting alms, and before asking for money they repeated a prayer, in209 which there was frequent mention of the name of God. As often as it occurred they bowed their heads, and they had trained the stag to do the same. By this the lower orders were led to imagine that the animal recognised the name of God, and gave many a penny to its owners. As the stag was an unusually fine specimen of its kind, I had intended bringing him to the Emperor.

Now that we are talking of Turkish beggars, I may as well give you some account of their ways. They are not so numerous as with us, and for the most part consist of religious impostors of one kind or another, wandering from place to place. Some feign madness or idiocy as an excuse for their begging, for lunatics and crazy folk are considered sure of salvation by the Turks, and therefore regarded as saints whilst still on earth. There are Arabs too among them, who carry about with them banners, under which they declare their ancestors fought to extend the Moslem religion. They do not beg indiscriminately or from everybody, but force upon the passers-by in the evening a tallow candle, a lemon, or a pomegranate, for which they expect double or treble its value, that so by a pretence of selling they may avoid the disgrace of asking.

But the people who among us are beggars among them are slaves, for when a slave has lost the use of his limbs his master is still bound to maintain him; besides, however feeble a slave may be, they manage to get some service from him. I remember ransoming a Spanish gentleman, who had been an officer in his own army. Though he was completely crippled by his wounds, yet the Turk who had bought him managed to make some profit of him. He took him over to Asia, where flocks of geese are kept, and hired210 him out as goose-herd, by which he turned a nice little penny.

I have my doubts as to whether the man who first abolished slavery is to be regarded as a public benefactor. I know that slavery brings with it various disadvantages, but these are counterbalanced by corresponding advantages. If a just and mild form of slavery, such as the Roman laws ordained, especially with the State for master, had continued, perhaps fewer gallows and gibbets would be needed to keep those in order who, having nothing but life and liberty, are driven by want into every conceivable crime. Freedom when combined with extreme poverty has made many a man a rascal; it causes temptation such as few can resist. Nature has denied to many the power of self-control, and the knowledge which is indispensable for acting aright; they need the support and guidance of a superior as the only means of stopping them in their career of vice. They are like savage animals, and require chains to prevent their becoming dangerous.

In Turkey the class which is likely to go astray is controlled by a master’s authority, while the master is supported by the slave’s labour. Both publicly and privately the Turks derive great advantages from this institution. Slave labour enables them to live both comfortably and economically; indeed they have a proverb to the effect that no one can be considered poor as long as he is master of a single slave. So also in the department of public works, if there is any building, removing, clearing, or breaking up to be done, there is a constant supply of slave labour to execute the work. We never attain the grandeur of the works of antiquity. What is the reason? Hands are wanting, or, in other words, slave labour. I need not mention what means of acquiring every kind of knowledge211 the ancients possessed in learned and educated slaves. Well, well, you must not put down all this as my serious opinion; it is a mere fancy which I should be sorry you should take in sober earnest.168

Slave-hunting is the chief source of profit to the Turkish soldier. If he brings back from a campaign nothing except one or two slaves, he may consider himself well repaid for his exertions, as the price of an ordinary slave is from forty to fifty crowns, and twice this sum may be obtained for a slave who is young or handsome or a skilful craftsman. This will give you a notion of the gain they make, when they carry off some five or six thousand prisoners from a town, and will show you how profitable their raids must be. I observe that the Romans also did not despise gains of this kind; nay, their own writers tell us how they sold by public auction the populations of entire cities, numbering 25,000 or 30,000 souls. The Turks would make of such a booty fifteen hundred thousand crowns more or less. They abstain, however, from exercising the rights of war over men of their own religion, and allow them to retain the status of freemen unimpaired.

But to return from this digression. As I have already spoken of my hunting, I must now tell you 212about my fowling. Kind as the Turks are to all animals, they are especially so to birds, and most of all to the kites, whom they regard as useful scavengers of their city. Accordingly these creatures, having neither snares nor missiles to fear, are to be found in numbers at Constantinople, and are wonderfully tame. They come at one’s whistle, and pounce on pieces of food which are thrown into the air. My plan is to order a sheep to be killed; the kites are then whistled for, and fragments of the offal are thrown into the air. In a moment some ten, twelve, or twenty appear, and presently they gather so thick as almost to overshadow the house. Some are so bold that they will snatch the meat from my people’s hands as they hold it out. Meanwhile I post myself behind a pillar with my crossbow,169 pick out a kite, and make my clay bullets rattle on its wings or tail, till I have brought down one or two. I am obliged to bolt my gates before indulging in this sport for fear of irritating the Turks.

Talking of birds, I must tell you about my partridges, so that you may have a full account of all my amusements, and may perhaps feel the same surprise about the habits of these birds that I did. I had some partridges from Chios with red beaks and red legs, so tame that they became quite tiresome. They were continually at my feet, beating the dust from my velvet slippers with their beaks to dust themselves with. They got so troublesome that I ordered them to be shut up in a room, where they grew so fat that they died after a few days’ confinement. At least this is the account my servants give, and the question is whether to believe 213them or Pliny, for the latter has a passage to the effect that hares and partridges never grow fat. So far you have no ground for surprise, but listen to the rest of the story. Chios abounds in birds of this kind, which live there in the houses. Almost every peasant keeps more or less of them, according to his means or inclination. At dawn the public herd summons them by a whistle, and they run out in crowds, and gather on the road. Then following their keeper, like sheep do with us, they go into the fields, where they feed and sun themselves all day long. Towards evening they are recalled by the same signal, and return home in a body to their several roosts. This habit is said to be formed by the peasants putting the birds, as soon as they are hatched, into their bosom inside their shirt, and so carrying them about and nursing them for a day or two, lifting them from time to time to their mouth and feeding them with spittle. They become attached to their masters by such kind treatment (for indeed almost every animal has a more lasting feeling of gratitude than man), and do not forget those who nursed them. One precaution only must be taken; they must not be allowed to pass the night in the fields, for if this should occur once or twice they readily return to their natural habits, and prefer a free life to the company of man. I am doing my best to secure one of these partridge-tamers for the Emperor, so as to introduce the art into our country. Although I have not seen with my own eyes this system in practice, yet its existence is established by witnesses so numerous and credible, that I place the same reliance on my ears that I should on my eyes. The same may be said of the following anecdote, which is here so commonly reported and so universally admitted, that any one, who ventures to throw doubt upon it, is thought214 an ignoramus. Those who come hither from Egypt, as many do every day, uniformly declare, that in that country eggs are not put under hens to be hatched in our fashion, but that in spring a sort of vast oven is made out of a big dunghill by certain men who carry on the trade. To this the whole neighbourhood far and wide bring their eggs, which are put in and quickened by the heat of the sun and the rotting dung. In due time the eggs produce chickens, which are distributed by the managers of the business to the people who brought the eggs, not by counting, for that would be too long a process, but by measure. I have less hesitation in telling you this, as there is a passage in Vopiscus quoting a letter of Adrian’s, in which he vents his wrath on the Egyptians in the following words:—‘I wish them nothing worse than to be fed on their own chickens, which are bred in a way too foul to speak of.’170 I have no doubt this was an old custom among the Egyptians, and I suspect it was on that account that Adrian reproached them with the foulness of their food, inasmuch as they lived on chickens hatched in dunghills. I may, however, be mistaken, and I leave the point for your decision.

I will now complete the catalogue of my amusements. I keep several thoroughbred horses, both Syrian, Cilician, Arabian, and Cappadocian, and also baggage camels, so as always to have cattle ready for my return journey. I do this, because I wish the Turks to believe that, having fulfilled all my master’s 215instructions, I am only waiting for the Sultan’s permission to depart; for this I have now been pressing for a long time past in very urgent terms, the truth being that, in consequence of their present discords and the civil war between the brothers, I do not despair of negotiating a peace on fair and reasonable terms.

I am particularly fond of watching my horses, when in the summer evenings they are led out from their stable one by one, and picketed in the courtyard to enjoy the night air, and take their repose in cooler quarters. They come prancing from their stalls with their necks arched, tossing their manes as if they appreciated the interest we take in them. Their fore-feet are hobbled, and one of their hind-feet is fastened by a rope to a peg. The Turkish horse is the gentlest creature in the world, and also the most capable of attachment to its master or groom. These qualities are the results of the kind treatment they receive from the Turks during their early training. I saw, when I was travelling to Cappadocia through Pontus or the part of Bithynia which is deservedly called Axylos171 (woodless), what care the peasants take of the foals while they are still quite young and tender, how they pet them, how they bring them into their rooms and almost to their tables, and how they handle them and stroke them. They seemed to regard them almost as their children. Round their neck all have a band like a necklace full of amulets against the evil eye, which is greatly dreaded. The grooms in whose care they are placed treat them with equal kindness, making them fond of them by continually stroking them, and never 216beating them cruelly with a stick unless they are absolutely compelled to do so. Being thus used they become extremely attached to men, and yet you will not find one which this treatment has made a kicker or a biter or refractory. Such vices are seldom met with in this country. But, good heavens, how different our system is from theirs! According to our method grooms think it essential to use the roughest words and loudest tones in talking to their horses, and to be for ever thrashing them. The consequence is that the horses quiver all over with terror on their entering the stable, and regard them with equal hatred and fear.172

The Turks like to have them trained to kneel down at command and so take up their rider, and to pick up from the ground in their teeth a stick, a mace, or a sword, and to give it to their master in the saddle. When they have learned to do these things, as an honour and a mark of their proficiency, they fit silver rings in their nostrils, to show that they have been thoroughly trained. I saw a horse who, when his master was thrown from the saddle, would stand by him without moving a step, and others who would go round their groom, as he stood at a distance, and halt at his bidding. I also saw some who, when their master was dining with me in a room upstairs, kept their ears pricked up to catch his voice, and neighed when they heard it. It is a peculiarity of these horses that they always come in at the end of their work with stiff and outstretched necks. Again, they cannot be pulled up or turned sharply, which I think


I may say is the fault of the bit, which is of the same kind and shape throughout Turkey, and is not, as among us, made more or less severe to suit the horse’s mouth. Their horses’ shoes are not so wide open in the middle as with us, but are almost solid and unbroken, so as to protect the feet more thoroughly.173 Turkish horses live much longer than ours, for you may see some twenty years old with as much spirit and strength as eight-year-olds have with us, and some, which for their great services were pensioned for life in the Sultan’s stables, are said to have lasted to their fiftieth year, and even longer. During the hot summer nights the Turks do not keep their horses under cover, but expose them, as I said, to the night air with horse-cloths over them, their litter being composed of dry dung. For this purpose all through the year they gather the horses’ droppings, and after drying them in the sun break them up into powder. This forms their horses’ bedding, and is the only kind of litter they have. They use no straw, not even for food, but diet their horses on a moderate portion of hay and a little barley. They prefer having them too thin to too fat, considering that in this condition they are fitter for travelling and work of every kind. They cover their horses with the rugs I mentioned, in summer just the same as in winter, but change them according to the season. They consider these coverings useful for producing a sleek coat, and also necessary as a protection against cold, for their horses are chilly and cannot stand exposure.

As I said, I enjoy looking at my horses when, towards sunset, they are being picketed out in the court. 218When I call them by their names of Arab or Caramanian, or whatever else it may be, they neigh in reply, and give me a look. I have taught them to know me by sometimes going down and giving them each a pumpkin skin. In truth I am glad of any employment to divert my thoughts from my troubles.

I have six she camels procured, nominally for the purpose of carrying baggage, but in reality that I may bring them to the royal family, as I think it not impossible that they may like to keep a stud of these useful animals. There are two things from which, in my opinion, the Turks derive the greatest advantage, namely, rice among grains and the camel among beasts of burden, both of which are exceedingly well suited for the distant campaigns they make. The first keeps well, affords a wholesome food for men, and a little of it goes a long way. Camels carry the heaviest weights, endure hunger and thirst, and require very little care. One driver can attend to six camels. They are, I may say, the most obedient creatures in the world, and they need no currycomb or scraper, but are groomed with brushes as clothes are with us. They lie, or, more correctly speaking, kneel on the bare ground to receive their loads. But if the load should be excessive, they give a grunt by way of protest and refuse to rise. If the weight be unduly heavy, it does not take much to rupture them, especially if the road be muddy or slippery. It is a pretty sight to see them kneeling in a circle with their heads together, and taking their food and drink out of the same bucket or manger without any quarrelling or discontent, though their fare be scanty. On an emergency, if food is scarce, they browse on brambles and thorns, and the more these make their mouths bleed the more they enjoy them. The Scythians supply some camels, but219 more are produced by Syria and Assyria, where they are kept in very large herds and are bred in great numbers. They are so cheap there, that sometimes a mare of good pedigree is bartered for a hundred camels. Yet in this perhaps it is not the cheapness of the camels that is so wonderful as the price asked and given for the mares, for such mares are valued so highly that the owner of one considers himself a rich man. The test of their excellence consists in their being ridden down the side of a steep and high mountain, and those that do not stumble in the descent are highly prized.

The Turkish monarch going to war takes with him over 40,000 camels and nearly as many baggage mules, of which a great part, when he is invading Persia, are loaded with rice and other kinds of grain. These mules and camels also serve to carry tents and armour, and likewise tools and munitions for the campaign. The territories, which bear the name of Persia, and are ruled by the Sophi, or Kizilbash as the Turks call him,174 are less fertile than our country, and even such crops as they bear are laid waste by the inhabitants in time of invasion in hopes of starving out the enemy, so that it is very dangerous for an army to invade Persia, if it be not furnished with abundant supplies. The invading army carefully abstains from encroaching on its magazines at the outset; as they are well aware that, when the season for campaigning draws to a close, they will have to retreat over districts wasted by the enemy, or scraped as bare by countless hordes of men and droves of baggage animals, as if they had been devastated by locusts; accordingly they reserve their stores as much as possible for this emergency. Then the Sultan’s magazines are opened, and a ration just sufficient to sustain life is daily weighed out 220to the Janissaries and other troops of the royal household.175 The rest of the army are badly off, unless they have provided some supplies at their own expense. And this is generally the case, for the greater number, and especially the cavalry, having from their long experience in war already felt such inconveniences, lead with them a sumpter horse by a halter, on which they carry many of the necessaries of life; namely, a small piece of canvas which they use as a tent, for protection against sun and rain, with the addition of some clothes and bedding; and as provisions for their private use, a leathern bag or two of the finest flour, with a small pot of butter, and some spices and salt, on which they sustain life when they are hard pressed. On such occasions they take out a few spoonfuls of flour and put them into water, adding some butter, and seasoning the mess with salt and spices; these ingredients are boiled, and a large bowl of gruel is thus obtained. Of this they eat once or twice a day, according to the quantity they have, without any bread, unless they have brought some biscuit with them. In this way they are able to support themselves from their own supplies for a month, or if necessary longer. Some fill a bladder with beef, dried and reduced to powder, which forms a highly nutritious food and expands greatly in the cooking, like the flour of which I spoke above. Sometimes too they have recourse to horseflesh; dead horses are of course plentiful in their great hosts, and such beasts as are in good condition when they die furnish a meal not to be despised by famished soldiers. I must not forget to tell you of 221the men who have lost their horses. When the Sultan moves his camp they stand in a long line by the side of the road with their saddles on their heads, as a sign that they have lost their steeds and need assistance for the purchase of others. An allowance is then made to them by the Sultan at his discretion.

From this you will see that it is the patience, self-denial, and thrift of the Turkish soldier that enable him to face the most trying circumstances, and come safely out of the dangers that surround him. What a contrast to our men! Christian soldiers on a campaign refuse to put up with their ordinary food, and call for thrushes, becaficos, and such like dainty dishes! If these are not supplied they grow mutinous and work their own ruin; and, if they are supplied, they are ruined all the same. For each man is his own worst enemy, and has no foe more deadly than his own intemperance, which is sure to kill him, if the enemy be not quick. It makes me shudder to think of what the result of a struggle between such different systems must be; one of us must prevail and the other be destroyed, at any rate we cannot both exist in safety. On their side is the vast wealth of their empire, unimpaired resources, experience and practice in arms, a veteran soldiery, an uninterrupted series of victories, readiness to endure hardships, union, order, discipline, thrift, and watchfulness. On ours are found an empty exchequer, luxurious habits, exhausted resources, broken spirits, a raw and insubordinate soldiery, and greedy generals; there is no regard for discipline, license runs riot, the men indulge in drunkenness and debauchery, and, worst of all, the enemy are accustomed to victory, we, to defeat. Can we doubt what the result must be? The only obstacle is Persia, whose position on his rear forces the invader to take222 precautions. The fear of Persia gives us a respite, but it is only for a time. When he has secured himself in that quarter, he will fall upon us with all the resources of the East. How ill prepared we are to meet such an attack it is not for me to say.

I now return to the point from which I made this digression. I mentioned that baggage animals are used in a campaign for carrying armour and tents. These for the most part belong to the Janissaries. The Turks take great care to have their soldiers in good health and protected against the inclemency of the weather. They must defend themselves from the enemy, for their health the State will undertake to provide. Therefore you may see a Turk better clad than armed. They are especially afraid of cold, and even in summer time wear three garments, of which the innermost one, or shirt, is woven of coarse thread and gives a great deal of warmth. For protection against cold and rain they are furnished with tents, in which each man is given just room enough for his body, so that one tent holds twenty-five or thirty Janissaries. The cloth for the clothes I referred to is supplied by the State, and is distributed after the following fashion. The soldiers at nightfall are summoned by companies to the office for the distribution of such stores, where parcels of cloth are ready in separate packets according to the number of men in each company. They march in, and take their chance in the dark, so that if any soldier’s cloth is of inferior quality to that of his comrades, he has nought to grumble at save his own bad luck. For the same reason their pay is not given them by tale, but by weight, to prevent anyone accusing the paymaster of giving him light or clipped coins. Moreover, their pay is always given them the day before it is actually due.


The convoy of armour, of which I spoke, is intended chiefly for the use of the royal horse-guards, as the Janissaries are lightly equipped, and generally do not fight at close quarters, but at a distance with muskets. Well, when the enemy is near, and a battle is expected, the stock of armour is produced, consisting for the most part of antiquated pieces picked up on the fields which have been the scene of Turkish victories; they are distributed to the royal horse guards, who at other times have only their light shield to protect them. Where so little pains is taken to provide each man with a suit that fits him, I need hardly tell you that they are but clumsily equipped. One man’s cuirass is too tight, another’s helmet too big; a third gets a coat of mail too heavy for him to bear; one way or another no one is properly accoutred. Yet they never grumble, holding that a man who quarrels with his armour must needs be a cowardly fellow, and are confident that they will make a stout fight of it themselves whatever their equipment may be. This feeling is the result of their great successes and military experience. In the same spirit they do not hesitate to turn their veteran infantry, who never have fought on horseback, into cavalry, for they are firmly convinced that a man who has courage and military experience will do brave service in whatever kind of fighting he may be engaged.

I think the Romans were of the same opinion, especially Julius Cæsar, who they relate was wont to say, ‘his soldiers even when perfumed would fight well.’176 For what should we consider to have been his 224intention, when, before he went to his conference with Ariovistus, he mounted the tenth legion? In my opinion it was that they might fight on horseback if necessary, a kind of fighting to which they were by no means accustomed. For we know that among the Romans the drill of the infantry was quite different from that of the cavalry. But if, in your opinion, Cæsar’s design was to transport the legion on horses and employ them on foot, we are driven to the conclusion that Cæsar involved his troops in a most hazardous operation. For the highly trained cavalry of Ariovistus were so close that they could annoy the Romans with stones; consequently, if they had suddenly charged, the legion would have had no time to dismount, send their horses to the rear, and form line of battle. According to our notions, such an arrangement would have been the height of folly. But, whichever of these explanations is the correct one, it was by confidence in their experience of arms, though with a training quite different from our system, that the Romans in ancient times brought their wars to a triumphant conclusion, and the same reason will account for the uniform successes of the Turks in modern days. But enough of this.

I now return to what I mentioned, namely, that the Turks behave kindly to every sort of animal. The dog 225among them is considered a foul and unclean animal, and therefore they keep it out of their houses; its place is taken by the cat, a creature endowed, as they think, with far more correct notions of propriety than the dog. For this preference they quote the example of Mahomet their lawgiver, who was so fond of his cat, that when she had fallen asleep on his sleeve as he sat at table, and the hour summoned him to the mosque to his devotions, he preferred to cut off his sleeve rather than disturb her sleep. Notwithstanding that such is their feeling about dogs, and though they are public property, not having masters, and watching special streets and wards rather than particular houses, and though they live on the refuse which is thrown out into the highways, yet if there should be in the neighbourhood a bitch with young, they go to her and pile round her bones and scraps of cakes and porridge, and this they think a charitable action. If, in conversation on this topic, I accused them of giving to a brute what they probably would not give to a rational being of their own nation, or at any rate would refuse to a Christian, they replied, that inasmuch as God has endowed man with reason, a noble organ for every purpose, so that no misfortune befalls him, which he has not brought on himself by his own misconduct, he therefore deserves less compassion; but that nothing has been granted to brutes by God except certain natural instincts and appetites, which they cannot help following, and, therefore, they have a claim upon us for sympathy and assistance. For this reason they are indignant if any beast be put to death by torture, or pleasure be sought in its slaughter, as a Venetian goldsmith lately found to his cost. He was amusing himself with bird-catching, and had taken among others a bird the size of a cuckoo, and almost the same colour;226 its beak was not large, but its throat could be expanded by force so as to receive the fist of a full-grown man. As he was naturally fond of a joke, and was struck by the strangeness of the phenomenon, he fastened the bird to the lintel of his door with its wings outspread and with its throat forced open by a peg, so as to show a huge orifice. The Turks who were passing by in crowds kept stopping and looking up, but when they perceived the bird was alive and moving, struck with compassion they exclaimed, it was a shame that a harmless bird should be so tortured, called the goldsmith out, seized him by the neck, and dragged him before the judge who tries capital charges, and he was near being bastinadoed, when a messenger came from the gentleman, who administers the law to the Venetians at Constantinople, and is called the Venetian Baily,177 to demand his release; the application was favourably received by the judge, and the goldsmith was dismissed, to the great indignation of the Turks who were present. Thus was he preserved. This goldsmith was a frequent visitor at my house, and I had a hearty laugh when he told me the whole story, and what a fright he had had. Moreover he brought the bird for my inspection. I have described its appearance, and it is said to fly at night and suck cows’ udders. I fancy it is the same as the goat-sucker of the ancients. This story will show you how merciful 227the Turks are to all kinds of animals, and especially to birds.178

Opposite our lodging there is a lofty plane tree remarkable for the extent of ground its branches cover, and the thickness of its foliage; here bird-catchers sometimes station themselves with a great number of small birds. Many people go to them and ransom their prisoners for a trifle, and then release them from their hands one by one. They generally fly up into the plane tree, where they clean themselves from the dirt of their cages, chirping all the while. Then the Turks who ransomed them say to each other: ‘Do you hear how yon bird congratulates himself on his freedom, and is thanking me for it?’

You will ask then, are the Turks such Pythagoreans that every animal is considered sacred among them, and that they eat no flesh? Far from it; on the contrary they usually abstain from nothing that may be set before them, whether boiled or roast. Indeed they say that sheep were born for slaughter, but they think it atrocious that people should seek to find pleasure in their agonies and torments. As for the smaller birds, who make the country places and fields resound with their song, some of the Turks cannot be induced to kill them, or even to keep them shut up in cages, thinking it a shame to rob them of their liberty. There are different opinions, however, among them on this subject. Some at any rate keep in their houses night228ingales, that sing very sweetly, and make a profit by hiring them out in the spring-time. I have seen people carrying about goldfinches so well trained, that, when a coin was shown them from a window above, they would fly to almost any distance to get it; and, if the holder did not let it be pulled away, they would perch on his hand and go with him from room to room, trying all the time to wrest the coin out of his hand; the moment they got it, they would fly back by the way they had come to their master, who was standing in the street and calling them back by ringing a bell, and would give him the coin, receiving some hemp-seed as a reward. But I must stop, or you will think that I wish to imitate Pliny or Ælian, and compose a history of animals.

Passing on to other topics, I will tell you about Turkish women and the manner in which they are guarded. The Turks are the most careful people in the world of the modesty of their wives, and therefore keep them shut up at home and hide them away, so that they scarce see the light of day.179 But if they have to go into the streets, they are sent out so covered and wrapt up in veils that they seem to those who meet them mere gliding ghosts. They have the means of seeing men through their linen or silken veils, while no part of their own body is exposed to men’s view. For it is a received opinion among them, that no woman who is distinguished in the very smallest degree by her figure or youth, can be seen by a man without his desiring her, and therefore without her receiving some contamination; and so it is the univer229sal practice to confine the women to the harem. Their brothers are allowed to see them, but not their brothers-in-law. Men of the richer classes, or of higher rank, make it a condition when they marry, that their wives shall never set foot outside the threshold, and that no man or woman shall be admitted to see them for any reason whatever, not even their nearest relations, except their fathers and mothers, who are allowed to pay a visit to their daughters at the Turkish Easter.180

On the other hand, if the wife has a father of high rank, or has brought a larger dowry than usual, the husband promises on his part that he will take no concubine, but will keep to her alone. Otherwise, the Turks are not forbidden by any law to have as many concubines as they please in addition to their lawful wives. Between the children of wives and those of concubines there is no distinction, and they are considered to have equal rights. As for concubines they either buy them for themselves or win them in war; when they are tired of them there is nothing to prevent their bringing them to market and selling them; but they are entitled to their freedom if they have borne children to their master. This privilege Roxolana, Solyman’s wife, turned to her own advantage, when she had borne him a son while still a slave. Having thus obtained her freedom, and become her own mistress, she refused to submit any longer to his will, unless, contrary to the custom of the Ottoman Sultans, she was made his lawful wife. The only distinction between the lawful wife and the concubine is, that the 230former has a dowry, while the slaves have none. A wife who has a portion settled on her is mistress of her husband’s house, and all the other women have to obey her orders. The husband, however, may choose which of them shall spend the night with him. He makes known his wishes to the wife, and she sends to him the slave he has selected. Hardly a pleasant task, one would fancy, for a wife, whatever the feelings of the other might be! Only Friday night, which is their Sabbath, is supposed to belong to the wife; and she grumbles if her husband deprives her of it. On all the other nights he may do as he pleases.

Divorces are granted among them for many reasons which it is easy for the husbands to invent. The divorced wife receives back her dowry, unless the divorce has been caused by some fault on her part. There is more difficulty in a woman’s getting a divorce from her husband. Among the reasons which are considered sufficient for granting a divorce are the deprivation of the necessaries of life by the husband, and certain kinds of ill treatment. In the latter case the woman goes before the judge, and makes a declaration that she is unable to remain any longer with her husband; when the judge asks the reason, she gives no answer, but takes off one of her shoes and turns it upside down. This the judge accepts as sufficient evidence that her husband has treated her improperly.

People of consideration with large harems appoint eunuchs to guard them. They also have baths at home, in which they and their women perform their ablutions, while people of smaller means patronise the public baths. They consider cleanliness of the body as even of more importance in a religious point of view than purity of the soul, which is the reason of their231 frequent ablutions. The great mass of women use the public baths for females, and assemble there in large numbers. Among them are found many girls of exquisite beauty, who have been brought together from different quarters of the globe by various chances of fortune; so cases occur of women falling in love with one another at these baths, in much the same fashion as young men fall in love with maidens in our own country. Thus you see a Turk’s precautions are sometimes of no avail, and when he has succeeded in keeping his wives from a male lover, he is still in danger from a female rival! The women become deeply attached to each other, and the baths supply them with opportunities of meeting. Some therefore keep their women away from them as much as possible, but they cannot do so altogether, as the law allows them to go there. This evil affects only the common people; the richer classes bathe at home, as I mentioned.

It happened that in a gathering of this kind, an elderly woman fell in love with a girl, the daughter of an inhabitant of Constantinople, a man of small means. When her courtship and flatteries were not attended with the success her mad passion demanded, she ventured on a course, which to our notions appears almost incredible. Changing her dress, she pretended she was a man, and hired a house near where the girl’s father lived, representing herself as one of the slaves of the Sultan, belonging to the class of cavasses; and it was not long before she took advantage of her position as a neighbour, cultivated the father’s acquaintance, and asked for his daughter in marriage. Need I say more? The proposal appearing to be satisfactory, the father readily consents, and promises a dowry proportionate to his means. The wedding-day was fixed, and then this charming bridegroom enters the chamber of the232 bride, takes off her veil,181 and begins to chat with her. She recognises at once her old acquaintance, screams out, and calls back her father and mother, who discover that they have given their daughter in marriage to a woman instead of a man. The next day they bring her before the Aga of the Janissaries, who was governing the city in the Sultan’s absence. He tells her that an old woman like her ought to know better than to attempt so mad a freak, and asks, if she is not ashamed of herself? She replies, ‘Tush! you know not the might of love, and God grant that you may never experience its power.’ At this the Aga could not restrain his laughter; and ordered her to be carried off at once, and drowned in the sea. Thus the strange passion of this old woman brought her to a bad end.

The Turks do not inquire very closely into secret vices, that they may not give an opportunity for false charges, but they punish severely open profligacy and crimes that are detected.

I am afraid your ears have been offended by my account of such an instance of wickedness; but, if I can, I will remove by a pleasanter story any disagreeable impressions the former may have left, for I am quite sure you will have a good laugh over what I am going to tell you.

There came lately during the disturbances in Hungary a courier from the Emperor. The Pashas desired that he should not as usual be brought directly to me, but first be taken to the Divan, their object being to know the contents of the Emperor’s letters before they were delivered to me, as they suspected that many things were suppressed, and that I did not give them 233a faithful account of the tenor of despatches. The courier, however, foreseeing what was coming, concealed the Emperor’s packet, and delivered only my private letters. The Pashas had been previously informed by their interpreter Ibrahim, who is by birth a Pole, that despatches which contained confidential instructions were not written in the usual characters, but in a new sort of letters; namely, in what we call cipher. As they were examining all the letters, they chanced to come upon one from a friend of mine, the Burgundian Secretary, which Ibrahim perceived was written on unusually thin paper, through which the letters could be seen when held to the light. He exclaimed, ‘I have found it,’ and told them to let the others be, saying this was the one that contained important matter. The Pashas, telling him to break the seal, read it, and translate it, assumed an attitude of attention and expectation. Ibrahim, however, declared that he could not make out a single letter. At this the Pashas were amazed, and asked him if he had never learnt, or had forgotten, Christian characters? to which Ibrahim replied, that this kind of writing was known only to the confidential secretaries of Sovereigns. As they did not clearly understand his answer, they said: ‘But if so, why do you delay? why don’t you hurry off at once to the Secretary of the Venetian or the Florentine Baily?’ Off flew Ibrahim in hot haste. Now the letter was written in such characters that a boy ten years old could have read it, but both the Secretaries, seeing it was addressed to me, after one glance returned it, declaring that without a knowledge of the private key it was impossible for anyone to decipher the writing. Ibrahim returned with this reply, and the Pashas then deliberated what was to be done. Then some one made the following suggestion:234 ‘There is in the city the Patriarch, who is acquainted with many kinds of characters; if he, being an old man and a Christian, cannot read them no one else can.’ They agreed to the proposal, but the Patriarch declared that he could not make out a single jot of them, for the characters were neither Greek, nor Latin, nor Hebrew, nor Chaldee. So they brought the letter back having had their trouble for nothing. Then, Ali Pasha, though on other occasions he showed that he was by no means a fool, turned to Roostem and said, ‘Cardassi (which means ‘brother’ in Turkish), I remember I had a slave, by birth an Italian, who knew all languages and characters. Were he still alive I feel no doubt that he could have read and interpreted these characters; but he died some time ago.’ Not knowing what further plan to adopt, they decided to send me the letters as they could make no use of them. When I had heard the whole story from Ibrahim (for it was impossible to conceal it), I made vehement complaints, and was very indignant at their having thus intercepted my letters, without paying any regard to international law, or to the Emperor from whom they had come; and I also told him to wait and hear some passages translated from them, that he might communicate them to the Pashas the next day.

On the morrow, when he appeared in the Divan, the Pashas asked him, ‘could I read those characters?’ ‘As easily,’ said Ibrahim, ‘as his own name;’ and at the same time proceeded to lay before them certain statements which I had desired him to communicate. Then Roostem remarked: ‘The Ambassador is a young man, and yet he understands what the old Patriarch cannot so much as read; he will certainly turn out a great man, if he attains old age.’

I do not know if it was in consequence of this235 occurrence, or of something else, that this same Roostem, in the course of a conversation I had with him some days afterwards on public business, began to throw off his usual reserve, and finally went so far as to ask me, ‘Whether I had any objection to be initiated into their religion, and to become a worshipper of the true God? If I should do so, Solyman, through his influence, was ready to confer on me great honours and great rewards.’ I replied that I was determined to remain in the religion in which I was born, and which was professed by my master. ‘Very well,’ said Roostem; ‘but what is to become of your soul?’ ‘For my soul too,’ I replied, ‘I have good hopes.’ Then, after a moment’s reflection, he said, ‘You are right; and I myself do not dissent from the doctrine that men who have passed this life in holiness and innocence will be partakers of eternal bliss, whatever religion they may have followed.’ Such views are entertained by some Turks, but they are thought heretical, and Roostem himself is not considered altogether orthodox. The Turks deem it their duty and an act of charity, to make one offer to a Christian of whom they have a good opinion, of partaking in their rites and religion, in the hope of saving, if they can, a man otherwise destined to eternal perdition, and think such an offer is to be considered the greatest possible honour and mark of kindness they can show.

I will now give you another conversation with Roostem, that you may understand how widely the Persians are separated from the Turks by religion.182 He once asked me if war was still going on between the Kings of Spain and France. On my replying that it was, ‘What right have they,’ said he, ‘to wage war on each other, when they are united by the ties of 236religion?’ ‘The same,’ said I, ‘as you have to fight with the Persians. There are cities, provinces, and kingdoms about which they are at variance.’ ‘It is quite a different case,’ said Roostem, ‘for we, you must know, hate the Persians worse, and consider them more impious than we do you Christians.’

I will now give you some news of events in Hungary, where, since my return, each side has met with chequered fortune in its enterprises. To write a full and particular account would be tedious and out of place.183 Isabella, the wife of King John, returned to Transylvania with her son, after repudiating the agreement and the treaties she had made with the Emperor Ferdinand, and from fear of the Turkish arms, the people of Transylvania again submitted to the old yoke. Even these successes did not satisfy the Turks, who appeared to be aiming at the acquisition of the whole of Hungary. Accordingly, among other operations they resolved to besiege the very strong position of Szigeth,184 which derives its name from the Hungarian word for island. For this enterprise they selected as general a man, whose successful career was calculated to inspire his troops with confidence and his enemies with fear. This was Ali Pasha, an Albanian, who had distinguished himself whilst governor of Hungary by his successes, the chief of which was his decisive victory over Sforzia Palavicini and the Bishop of Fünfkirchen. He was summoned from his distant command on the Persian frontier, and the greatest hopes were excited by his appearance in Constantinople. My colleagues were then still here, pressing for leave to return. The Pashas thought it well that we should see the man who, they considered, would be regarded by us as a very 237thunderbolt of war. He received us courteously, and addressed us at length, telling us that we ought to endeavour to make peace, and save Hungary from being wasted with fire and sword, by acceding to the terms which his Emperor185 proposed. We answered that peace was our first object, provided it was granted on such terms as were consistent with the honour of our Emperor; but that we were forbidden to agree to such a peace as would be contrary to the interests and dignity of his Majesty. So we departed, having been first entertained by him with eau sucrée.

Ali was a eunuch, but his spirit seemed to have gained what his body had lost. He was of short stature, bloated person, and yellowish complexion; the expression of his face was morose, his eyes had a fierce look, and his shoulders were high and broad. Between them his head was sunk and concealed. From his mouth projected two teeth like a boar’s tusks; his voice was discordant. To describe him in a word, he was a regular devil.

He set out the next day with a great train, and having reached Hungary, he spent some time in preparations; then, marching on Szigeth, he drove away the men who were rebuilding Babocsa—a fortress belonging to the Emperor. But his Majesty, who had already been informed of Ali Pasha’s designs, determined to send one of his three sons to encounter his onslaught, and do battle for Hungary. The young Archduke Ferdinand, on whom his choice fell, is equal in courage to any of the famous generals of ancient times. He took up a position against Ali’s army with a small body of picked cavalry. Turks who were there told me that it was a goodly sight to behold the splendour, discipline, and steadiness of our troops. 238The Pasha, whose army was much the largest, and who was naturally a man of fierce and haughty temper, could not brook that Christians should dare to face him. Some marshy ground, which could not be crossed without danger, lay between the two armies. Ferdinand, whose object was to relieve Szigeth and to raise the siege, had no need to cross; but Ali Pasha, on the contrary, was obliged to risk everything, as he had no choice between advancing and committing himself to an ignominious and hazardous retreat. He, therefore, seeing to what a strait he was reduced, decided to risk everything on the success of his movement, and was on the point of plunging with his steed into the marsh, when a Sanjak-bey who was among the bystanders, whose name I have forgotten, perceiving the greatness of the danger, leaped down from his horse, and, laying his hand on the Pasha’s rein, said, ‘My Sultan’ (for this is the title given by the Turks to men of high rank), ‘do you not see the peril into which you are wilfully bringing yourself and us? You do not sufficiently take into account the difficulty of crossing this quagmire. The Christians are waiting for us on the other side with stout hearts and strong lances, and their serried squadrons will charge down on our straggling column as soon as the vanguard has got clear of the marsh, while the rest are still struggling in the mud. They will take advantage of our rashness, and fight with the certainty of defeating us. Restrain your wrath, and recollect yourself. Preserve the lives of your gallant soldiers and your own for our Emperor’s186 service and for better days. God will be sure to give us an opportunity of mending this day’s work.’ At these words Ali recovered his senses, and restrained himself. Every Turk on the field admitted that the 239army had been saved by the advice of the Sanjak-bey. However, when news of the affair reached Constantinople, although not even the Vizierial (that is the chief) Pashas could deny that Ali’s army owed its safety to the prompt interference of the Sanjak-bey, and though they praised his loyalty and generalship in private, yet they were unwilling that such a breach of discipline should go unpunished, and thus become a precedent for the future. Accordingly, they removed him from office, recalled him to Constantinople, and they placed him on the list of those who had been dismissed the service, until, when they thought his fault had been sufficiently atoned for, they promoted him to a much better government than the one he had lost, which made it quite plain that he had been thus punished rather to preserve discipline than because he had done wrong.

Ali not long afterwards returned to Buda. During his retreat his troops were so harassed by the Hungarians that he lost a large part of his army. He arrived at the capital of Hungary a broken and dishonoured man, where he died shortly afterwards of grief and shame.

On the other hand, the Archduke Ferdinand returned to his father with well-earned laurels. His success will not only be of immediate advantage, but it will enhance for the future the prestige of our arms. The Turks have now had ample proof that, if they trouble the Emperor, he is one who has both soldiers and generals wherewith to chastise their insolence. This check has made the Turks on the borders a great deal quieter.

While Ali was still encamped before Szigeth, our soldiers took by escalade the city of Gran, with the adjoining citadel of the same name. They carried off some plunder, and also the inhabitants, who were240 mostly women and children. The messenger who brought the news to the Pasha came trembling, with dismay painted on his face. ‘Is all well?’ quoth the Pasha. ‘Why are you thus cast down?’ Thereon the man told him of the great disaster the Turks had sustained in the loss of Gran. ‘Disaster! loss!’ cried the Pasha. ‘Well, I know what disaster and loss mean; I can tell you it was a disastrous loss when they made me what I am.’ The Pasha was a eunuch, and he intended by this coarse joke on himself to divert the attention of the people round him from the loss which he was unable to repair.

In Croatia, too, and in the neighbouring regions, various forays went on upon both sides, and people, whether Turks or Christians, who were too venturesome and careless, were punished for their presumption. I will tell you an instance, and as it gave me reason to rejoice, I trust you also will find the story agreeable. True, it occurred a little before the affair of Szigeth which I have just related; but as it is a letter I am writing, I feel that the order of time need not be very strictly regarded. From those districts news was brought to Roostem of a feat performed by a certain Turk, for whom he professed great admiration and spoke of as his kinsman. He had swept down on a large party of Christians, who were celebrating a wedding without the slightest notion that there were any Turks in the neighbourhood. You may imagine what an unwelcome guest he was. His troops scattered the people, killing several, and carrying off many more as prisoners; amongst the latter was the unfortunate bridegroom, with her who was about to become his wife. Roostem was greatly elated, and kept boring everybody with his boasts of the wonderful success of his kinsman’s raid. So far, the story is one on which we must exchange241 condolences rather than congratulations. Well, it is the fortune of war. But retribution was close at hand to change Roostem’s merriment into tears and lamentation. There came not long afterwards from the same districts in hot haste a Dalmatian horseman with news of a great defeat. (The man belonged to a class whom the Turks call Delli, i.e. madmen, on account of their blind and reckless daring.) He said that several Sanjak-beys and other commanders of garrisons had united their forces and invaded the enemy’s territory; they had scoured the country for many miles, and had carried off much booty, but at last, advancing too far, they fell in with a Christian force, composed of musketeers on horseback, by whom they were put to flight and utterly routed with the loss of many men, among whom was that Achilles, Roostem’s kinsman, of whom he had just been speaking in such high terms. Roostem was overwhelmed on hearing the disastrous intelligence, and burst into tears. Richly did he deserve this misfortune in retribution for his former boastfulness.

Now listen to the rest of the story, which affords still greater reason for rejoicing. When the Dalmatian horseman, who brought the news of the defeat I mentioned, was immediately afterwards asked by the Pashas in the Divan, ‘How many of you then were engaged?’ he replied, ‘Above 2,500.’ The Pashas proceeded, ‘Pray, what was the number of the Christians?’ to which he said, ‘he thought they were not above 500 that he could see, though there might have been some more lying in ambush, and for his part he thought there were, but he could take his oath that there was not more than that number of Christians actually engaged.’ Thereupon the Pashas got angry with him for not being more ashamed at the242 defeat of a regular army of Mussulmans by a handful of Christians. They thought it foul scorn that picked warriors, who had been deemed worthy of being numbered amongst Solyman’s household and of eating his bread, should thus disgrace themselves. The messenger most unblushingly replied, ‘You do not take a right view of the matter. Did you not hear that we were overcome by the force of fire-arms? it was fire that routed us, not the enemy’s valour. Far different, by heaven, would have been the result of the fight, had they met us like brave men. They called fire to their aid; by the violence of fire we were conquered; we are not ashamed; it is one of the elements and the fiercest of them, and what mortal man has such strength as to be able to resist the fury of the elements?’187 When he delivered this speech bombastically with Dalmatian magniloquence, the bystanders, notwithstanding the melancholy tidings, could with difficulty check their laughter.

This news cheered me not a little, coming as it did when I was still depressed by the recollection of the previous disaster. I could thereby learn that the Turks are much afraid of carbines and pistols, such as are used on horseback. The same, I hear, is the case with the Persians, on which account some one advised Roostem, when he was setting out with the Sultan on a campaign against them, to raise from his household servants a troop of 200 horse and arm them with fire-arms, as they would cause much alarm and do 243great execution in the ranks of the enemy. Roostem, in accordance with this advice, raised a troop of dragoons, furnished them with fire-arms, and had them drilled. But they had not completed half the journey when their guns began to get out of order. Every day some essential part of their weapons was lost or broken, and it was not often that armourers could be found capable of repairing them. So, a large part of the fire-arms having been rendered unserviceable, the men took a dislike to the weapon; and this prejudice was increased by the dirt which its use entailed, the Turks being a very cleanly people; for the dragoons had their hands and clothes begrimed with gunpowder, and moreover presented such a sorry appearance, with their ugly boxes and pouches hanging about them, that their comrades laughed at them, and called them apothecaries. So, since with this equipment they pleased neither themselves nor others, they gathered round Roostem, and showing him their broken and useless fire-arms, asked what advantage he hoped to gain from them when they met the enemy, and demanded that he should relieve them of them, and give them their old arms again. Roostem, after considering their request carefully, thought there was no reason for refusing to comply with it, and so they got leave to resume their bows and arrows.

The fighting on the Hungarian borders, which I mentioned above, reminds me to tell you what the Turks think of the practice of duelling, which we are accustomed to regard as the greatest proof of personal courage. There was in a part of Hungary which adjoins our frontier, a Sanjak-bey, famous for bodily strength, named Arslan Bey. None drew the bow with greater strength, no one’s sword pierced deeper, or was more formidable to the foe. Veli Bey, the244 governor of the next Sanjak,188 who coveted the same reputation, put himself forward as his rival. From this rivalry, and possibly other differences, there arose a deadly feud between the Sanjak-beys; they laid plots against one another, and bloodshed was the consequence. Whether it was for this or some other reason that Veli Bey was summoned to Constantinople is unknown to me; at any rate he came. The Pashas in the Divan, after putting many other questions to him, finally wished to hear about his feud with Arslan Bey. (Arslan in Turkish means Lion.) Then he narrated at great length the whole story of their quarrel, and to improve his case, he told them how it ended in Arslan Bey’s lying in wait for him and wounding him; there would have been no need, he continued, for Arslan Bey to act thus, had he chosen to show himself worthy of his name; since for his part he had never declined a fight with him, and indeed had many times challenged him to a duel. The Pashas,189 in indignation at this speech, exclaimed, ‘Did you dare to challenge your comrade to a duel? Were there no Christians for you to fight? Both of you live on the bread of our Emperor, but yet you were preparing to engage in mortal combat. By what law or precedent can you justify such conduct? Did you not know that whichever of you fell the Emperor would lose a soldier by his death?’ With these words they ordered him to be taken to prison, where he was made to do penance for several months, and then having with great difficulty obtained his discharge, was at last released with his reputation much impaired. Among us many who have never seen a public enemy are considered to be famous and distinguished characters, because they have drawn 245their swords on a fellow-citizen or fellow-soldier. What can you do when the sense of right is so perverted that vices usurp the place of virtues, and what deserves punishment is accounted a glory and an honour?

As you are eager for information of every kind, I must not deprive you of an account of the arrival here of the king of the Colchians.190 He reigns on the banks of the Phasis at the corner of the Euxine, not far from Mount Caucasus. His name is Dadian. He is a man of dignified appearance and commanding person, but at heart they say he is a mere savage. He was attended by a large but ragged retinue in poor and threadbare attire.

The Colchians are now called Mingrelians by the 246Italians. They are one of the tribes settled between the Caspian Gates, called by the Turks ‘Demit Capi,’ i.e., ‘Iron Gates,’ and the Black and Caspian Seas, which are now called Georgians, either from the sect of Christianity to which they belong, or because it is their ancient name, which last seems the more probable theory, among whom are also included the Albanians and Iberians (Imeritians).

The reason of Dadian’s coming is uncertain. Some suspect that he has been summoned by the Turks; for when the Turks are at war with the Persians, the Mingrelians and the other tribes of that region would, if friendly, be able to render important assistance. But the general and more probable version of the story is, that he has come to ask for the assistance of some galleys to help him against his neighbours the Imeritians; and that he is prepared to pay tribute to the Sultan in return for this favour. His father was killed by the Imeritians, with whom the Mingrelians have an ancient feud of long standing.

There is, however, an amusing story that, when on a certain occasion a conference to effect a union and a reconciliation had been arranged, and the Mingrelians on the one part and the Imeritians on the other had assembled in large numbers, they had a match to see who should have the honour of drinking the most; in which the Mingrelians were worsted, and fell dead drunk under the table. But the Imeritians behaved dishonourably, and putting the doughty Dadian, while he was sound asleep and snoring, into a carriage, carried him off as if they had taken him prisoner in fair fight, and shut him up in a lofty tower. To avenge this wrong and to recover their king, the Mingrelians collected men to the number of 30,000, commanded by the wife of the captive prince, a woman of high247 spirit, who could ride a horse and wield a sword. The chiefs of the army were equipped in cumbrous coats of mail, and carried swords and lances tipped with iron. There was also, you will be surprised to hear, a body of musketeers. The rest were without any armour, and fought with arrows, or stakes hardened in the fire, and great clubs of wood, and rode barebacked, nor was there any attempt at order among them. When this raw and undisciplined army drew near to the place where the king was confined, the enemy fired some cannon, at which they took to their heels, and ran away a full mile. Then they again plucked up courage and returned to the attack: the cannons were again discharged; off went the Mingrelians once more, and this scene was repeated over and over again. Dadian, however, seeing help near at hand, cut the sheets of his bed into strips, and letting himself down at night through a window, reached his troops in safety; an exploit, which has made him famous in those parts.

All the country of the Mingrelians is exceedingly rich in every kind of grain, except wheat and barley. The crops receive but little attention, and it is supposed that if a little care were taken, wheat and barley might also be grown. The people are incorrigibly lazy. Panic191 is sown in a slovenly way, but it grows with the greatest luxuriance, and produces such a crop that one harvest is sufficient for two years’ consumption. They have got accustomed to this grain, which they eat in large quantities, and do not wish for any better kind of corn. From vines planted at the foot of the tallest trees, they make a great deal of fair 248wine. These vines climb among the branches of the trees to which they are trained, and last for many years. Abundance of wax and honey may be obtained from the wild bees that work in the forests by anyone who will take the trouble to look for their hives. The woods also supply plenty of game, indeed the whole country is full of pheasants and partridges. The very pumpkins show the fertility of the soil, as they not only are of a delicious flavour, but are often quite three feet long.

They have very little money. Few among them are acquainted with silver coins, and still fewer with gold; hardly anyone possesses them. I am not sure that they ought not to be called fortunate on this account. The absence of money is the absence of that which is the chief incentive to crime; and yet, for my part, I have my doubts whether many of our friends at home would care for this blessing, which renders it impossible for anyone to grow rich! Yet silver is to some extent esteemed by them, for when any comes into the country in the course of trade—as is necessarily the case—they dedicate it to their churches, and it is recast into crosses, chalices, or other church ornaments. All these the king, when he thinks proper, melts down, and converts the bullion to his own uses. In dealing with each other, barter is their only form of trade. Everyone brings to market the commodity of which he has plenty, to exchange it for what he is in need of. Thus they do not feel the want of money, since its place is supplied by barter; nay, even the king’s tribute is paid to him in the produce of the soil. He receives an abundant supply of what is needful in the way of food and clothing. He has enough to eat, enough to drink, enough to clothe himself with, and also has the means of maintaining his household and249 rewarding his supporters. He has an inexhaustible store of provisions, both from tithes and other royalties and from the presents which he is continually receiving; yet he is no miser, and gives as freely and readily as he takes. His palace resembles a public storehouse, being crammed with supplies of every kind. From these stores rations are issued to all his subjects who need them. Any who are in want, or have fallen into poverty through the failure of their crops, are fed from the royal granary.

It is the custom for merchants on landing to make some present to the king; its value is unimportant, as he will accept whatever is offered, and they are then invited to a banquet. There is a vast hall with stables at each end, in which the king’s table is laid. It is a very long one; he sits at the head himself, and the others at a little distance from him. The table is loaded with game and other dishes, and wine is liberally supplied; indeed, the hardest drinkers are considered the most welcome guests. In the same banqueting-hall the queen likewise dines with her train of women, but at a separate table. I am afraid I cannot say much for the manners of the ladies. They behave quite as badly as the men, drinking, gesticulating, tittering, nodding, and winking, to such an extent as to make it plain that any of them would play the Medea if a Jason192 appeared. After the banquet the king with his guests goes off to the chase.

In this country you may see in the forests parties of the common people lying under the shade of spreading trees, and keeping holiday with wine and dances and songs. They stretch strings to a long pole, and strike them with a small stick in regular time. To the accompaniment of these rude harps they sing 250their love-songs and ballads in praise of heroes, among whom, if the stories that are told are true, the name of Roland frequently occurs.193 How it was conveyed there I cannot conjecture, unless it came across the sea with Godfrey de Bouillon. About this Roland they tell many marvellous tales, even more absurd than those of our own romances.

Where life is so easy and food so plentiful, morality suffers. A respectable woman is not often to be met with. A man who wishes to amuse his visitor and make his stay agreeable, introduces him to his wife or sister, and does not trouble himself as to how far their intimacy may go. On the contrary, they think that if their wives prove attractive it is a compliment to themselves. Unmarried women are allowed the same liberties, and behave just as badly as their married sisters. Cases are often pointed out of girls of ten years old who have got babies. When you express your surprise, and refuse to believe that such diminutive creatures can be mothers, they produce a baby not much bigger than a large frog, which is the more surprising, as the men and women are generally tall, and remarkable for the symmetry of their limbs. But they are so completely devoid of refinement and good manners that, among other customs, they think it a compliment to make a curious noise in the throat, something like a hiccough.

For one thing they certainly have talents, and that 251is stealing. Amongst them this art is held in high esteem, and a successful pilferer is a great man. He who is ignorant of the noble science of thieving is despised as a mere blockhead; indeed, they hardly think him worthy of life. So strong is this feeling, that if a man has a brother or son who cannot steal, he considers him a hopeless case and a disgrace to his family, and gives him away or sells him for a trifle to foreign traders to carry him to some distant land. An Italian merchant, who had been in that country, told me that one of their priests robbed him of his knife in church. He perceived the theft, but pretended not to do so, and, to show the priest he had been discovered, made him a present of the sheath as well, that he might have something to put the knife in!

When they enter a church they do not care much for the images of the Virgin, St. Peter, St. Paul, or other saints, but look about for a picture of St. George on horseback. Before this they prostrate themselves in adoration, and then kiss it all over, not omitting even the horse’s shoes. They say that St. George was a brave soldier of great renown, who fought several battles with the Evil Spirit on equal terms, and always beat him, or at the worst was able to hold his own.

I will now tell you something that will surprise you. Kings in the East expect presents from their visitors. Dadian brought Solyman a dish hollowed out of a ruby of such brilliancy that it would make the road by night as clear as if it were noonday. You will say, ‘I do not believe it.’ For the matter of that, I do not either, and what is more, I do not ask you to believe it. I only tell you there are plenty who do. More knowing people say it is a paten of garnet, and that it was252 stolen from a son of the King of Persia, who was wrecked on that coast as he was trying to escape to Constantinople. He likewise brought twenty white falcons, or hawks, which are said to be found in great numbers in Mingrelia. So much for my news about the Mingrelians and their manners.

You ask about my pursuits, and the general routine of my life, and whether I ever go out of my house. Well, I am not in the habit of going out, unless when despatches are received from the Emperor for me to present to the Sultan, or instructions come to remonstrate about the raids made and mischief done by the Turkish garrisons, and this happens only two or three times a year. Were I to express a wish to take a ride occasionally through the city with my keeper, it would in all probability be granted; but I do not care to have this made a favour of, as I want to make them think that my rigorous confinement is no punishment to me. Besides, what pleasure would it give me to ride about with Turks all round me, making their remarks or perhaps venting their abuse on me? The country and the fields are what I enjoy, and not a town; least of all one that is tumbling to pieces, and in which, with the exception of its magnificent site, no relic of its original splendour is left. The former rival of Rome is now crushed beneath the yoke of the most cruel slavery. Who could see this proud city and not pity her fall, while musing over the changes and chances of this fleeting world? Besides, who knows how soon her fate may be ours?

I keep at home, where I hold converse with my old friends, my books. They are at once my companions and my solace. For the sake of my health I have built a tennis-court, where I play before dinner. After dinner I practise the Turkish bow, in the use of253 which weapon people here are marvellously expert. From the eighth, or even the seventh, year of their age they begin to shoot at a mark, and practise archery ten or twelve years. This constant exercise strengthens the muscles of their arms, and gives them such skill that they can hit the smallest marks with their arrows. The bows they use are much stronger than ours, and being shorter, are also much more handy; they are made not of a single piece of wood, but of the sinews and horns of oxen fastened together with a quantity of glue and tow. A Turk in good practice can easily draw the string of the very stiffest of them to his ear. Without training, however, the strongest man could do nothing with a Turkish bow. Indeed, if a coin be set between the string and the bow close to the notch, none but an adept could pull the string so far as would suffice to liberate the coin. So sure is their aim, that in battle they can hit a man in the eye or in any other exposed part they choose. At the range where they are taught, you may see them shooting with so sure an aim that they surround the white on the target, which is generally smaller than a thaler, with five or six arrows, so that every arrow touches the margin of the white, but does not break it. They seldom use a range of more than thirty feet. On the thumb of the right hand they wear bone rings, on which the bowstring lies when they draw it, and the arrow is kept in its place by holding the left thumb in an upright position and joining it to the forefinger; so that their way of shooting is quite different from ours. The butt they use as a target is raised four feet more or less from the ground, and consists of a wooden frame filled with sand. Pashas and men with large households exercise their servants in this sort of practice at home, the more skilful being told off to act as254 teachers. Some of them at the feast of Easter194—for the Turks have an Easter (the feast of Bairam) like ourselves—assemble in the great plain beyond Pera, where, squatting on the ground in a line, with their legs crossed in the Turkish manner like tailors, they try who can shoot the furthest. I must mention that the contest, after the usual Turkish fashion, is prefaced by prayer. Great order and silence prevail throughout, however large the number of spectators. On these occasions they use special bows and arrows; the former are very short and stiff, and cannot be bent except by a man who has had a great deal of practice. An embroidered handkerchief, such as we use for wiping our faces, is the winner’s prize. The chief reward, however, is the reputation which the successful archer acquires. The range they attain with their arrows is almost incredible. The point reached by the arrow of the longest shot in the year is marked by a stone. Many such stones set up in former days are still standing, several paces beyond those which are now erected. These they firmly believe are the marks of their ancestors’ shots, to whose strength and skill, by their own admission, they cannot aspire. Moreover, in various streets and piazzas of Constantinople there are ranges of this sort, at which there assemble not merely boys and young men, but also those of more advanced age. A target-keeper is appointed, who has the charge of keeping it in order and watering the butt every day, which otherwise would get so dry that the blunt arrows which they use in practice would not stick in it. It is also the keeper’s business to stand by the target and draw out the arrows, and throw them back to the shooters after cleaning them. In return everyone gives him a fixed fee, which forms his salary. 255 The front of the target is like a small door, from which, perhaps, originated a proverb the Greeks have; when a man has wholly missed the mark, they say ‘he is shooting against a door.’ For I think the Greeks formerly used this sort of target, and the Turks adopted it from them. I am well aware, of course, that the use of the bow is very ancient among the Turks; but that does not seem to me any reason why they should not have gone on using the sort of target and butt which they found in the Greek cities when they took them. For no nation in the world has shown greater readiness than the Turks to avail themselves of the useful inventions of foreigners, as is proved by their employment of cannons and mortars, and many other things invented by Christians. They cannot, however, be induced as yet to use printing, or to establish public clocks, because they think that the scriptures—that is, their sacred books—would no longer be scriptures if they were printed, and that, if public clocks were introduced, the authority of their muezzins and their ancient rites would be thereby impaired.

Even in the case of other nations, it is their habit to pay great respect to ancient usages. This principle they carry so far as almost to infringe the precepts of their own religion. Remember, in saying this, I am speaking of the practice of the ordinary Turk. As an example, of course everyone knows that they have not the slightest sympathy with Christian worship, but notwithstanding, as the Greek priests have a custom of opening, as it were, the closed sea at a fixed time in spring by blessing the waters, before which the Greeks are afraid to trust themselves to the waves, even the Turks have some superstitious regard for this ceremony. Accordingly, as soon as they have made their preparations for a voyage, they go to the Greeks,256 and inquire if the waters have yet been blessed. It they say no, they put off their voyage; if they are answered in the affirmative, they embark and set sail.

It was also a custom among the Greeks that the cave in Lemnos from which is extracted the earth they call ‘goat’s seal,’195 should not be opened except on August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord. This custom the Turks observe to this very day; and they think it proper that a service should even now be performed there by a priest of the Greek Church in the same manner as it used to be, while they remain at a distance as spectators of the sacred rites in which they cannot join. But if one should ask why they do so, they reply that there exist many customs ordained of yore, the advantage of which is proved by long experience, though the reasons for them are unknown. The ancients, they say, knew more and saw further than they do, and what they had approved of ought not to be abolished. They prefer to keep such customs rather than run the risk of changing them. Some carry this way of thinking so far, that I have known instances of Turks who had their children secretly baptised; their notion being that there must be some advantage in this rite, or otherwise it would never have been instituted.

But, by the way, I must not fail, when speaking of Turkish drill, to mention a very ancient manœuvre which has been handed down from the time of the 257Parthians; namely, for the cavalry to pretend to fly, and to shoot down their unwary enemies when they attempt to pursue. The following is the method by which they acquire the art of rapidly executing this manœuvre. They put a brass ball on the top of a very high pole, erected on level ground, and galloping past it at full speed, they then turn suddenly, and bending back shoot an arrow at the ball, without drawing bridle; and by practising this exercise constantly they acquire such skill, that they can without any difficulty shoot behind them, and send an arrow into their enemy when he least expects it.

But it is time for me to return to our lodging, or my keeper will be angry with me! Whatever time I have left unoccupied by the exercises I mentioned, is spent in reading, or talking with the citizens of Pera, who are Genoese by origin, or with other friends; but for this the cavasses’ leave is necessary. Their temper is indeed somewhat uncertain, but they occasionally have lucid intervals, during which they prove more reasonable. Accordingly, when they are in a good humour, Ragusans, Florentines, Venetians, and sometimes also Greeks, and men of other nations come in numbers, either to pay a visit or on some business. Hither flock also men from yet more distant lands, whose conversation has great attractions for me. A few months ago there came an amber merchant of Dantzic, who had bought up the whole supply of amber. As a great quantity of this article is sent to Turkey, he was very curious to know what it was used for here, or if exported, to what country it was taken. At last he ascertained that it is conveyed into Persia, where it is highly prized, and where they ornament their rooms, cabinets, and shrines with it. He gave me a barrel of the beer they call Juppenbier (spruce258beer), which is certainly capital stuff. But I had a hearty laugh at my Greek and Italian guests, who, having never met with such a beverage, could not find a name for it. At last, as they heard from me that it was good for one’s health, they thought it a kind of medicine, and called it Sirup; and as they kept on asking for ‘a little more of the same mixture,’ by repeated tastings, like the lady in Terence,196 they finally finished my barrel at one sitting.

My cavasses are changed from time to time, and sometimes I have the good fortune to have men who are so considerate that they not only would not object to my going out, were I to desire it, but they actually invite me to take a ride. But, as I said, I make a point of refusing to leave my quarters to prevent their thinking that they have it in their power either to gratify or to annoy me. I excuse myself on the plea, that by such a long stay in the house I have grown a piece of the building, so that I can’t be torn away without risk of its falling! I tell them I will go out once for all, when permission shall be granted me to return home! I am glad my household are allowed their liberty, as it may help them to bear their long exile more patiently. In this, however, there is again the inconvenience that quarrels often occur when they meet with drunken Turks, especially if they are unattended by Janissaries; but even if they are at hand, they cannot always prevent blows being exchanged. All this causes me much annoyance, as I am obliged to answer the accusations which are continually trumped up against my people, though I must say that my cavasses in most cases save me the trouble, they are so particular about keeping the gates shut. Of this we had lately an instance, which I must tell you. There 259had been sent to me by the Emperor one Philip Baldi, an Italian, a man of about sixty, who had travelled too fast for a person of that age, and had consequently fallen ill.197 When the apothecary brought the clyster the doctor had ordered, the cavasse refused him admittance, and would not allow him to take it to the patient, treating him most uncivilly.

This cavasse had for a long while behaved kindly and courteously towards us, but he suddenly turned savage, and even threatened to beat my visitors with his stick. As I was much annoyed by his conduct, I determined to show him he was wasting his trouble in trying to intimidate us, as if we were a set of children. I ordered one of my servants to keep the door bolted, and to undo it for no one except by my orders. The cavasse came as usual in the morning to open the gates, but, as the key proved useless, he perceived they were bolted inside, and called out to my servant, whom he could see through the chinks between the folding-doors, to let him in. My servant refused, and the cavasse thereupon got angry, and began to abuse him and swear at him. My servant replied, ‘Bluster to your heart’s content; but neither you, nor any of your people shall get in here. Why should I open the door for you any more than you do for us? As you keep us shut in, we will keep you shut out. You may lock the door on the outside as tight as you please; I will take care to bolt it on the inside.’ Then the cavasse asked, ‘Is this done by the Ambassador’s orders?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘But let me at least put my horse in the stable.’ ‘I won’t.’ ‘At any rate give me hay 260and fodder for him.’ ‘There is plenty to be had in the neighbourhood, if you are willing to pay for it.’ I used to invite this cavasse to dine with me, or send him something from my table; this day, however, his luck was changed, and he was obliged to stay before the gate without breaking his fast, and tie up his horse to the plane-tree which stands opposite. The Pashas and most of the court officials pass this way on their return home from the palace, and when they saw the cavasse’s horse, which they knew well enough by its trappings, munching hay at the foot of the plane-tree, they asked him why he kept it there instead of in the stable, as he usually did? He then told them the whole story; viz., that because he had shut us in, we had shut him out, and not only himself but his horse, and that he got no food and his steed no forage. The story reached the ears of the other Pashas, and caused much laughter. From that time they could no longer doubt how utterly useless it was to lock me up, and with what contempt I treated such petty means of annoyance. Shortly afterwards the cavasse was removed, and the rigour of our confinement was somewhat relaxed.

This occurrence was noticed by Roostem a few days afterwards in a way that deserves to be recorded. A man of reverend years and great reputation for sanctity was paying him a visit, and asked him in the course of their conversation, why, when the discord between the Sultan’s sons was so apparent, and serious disturbances were expected to arise from it, nay were imminent, he did not make a regular peace with the Emperor, and so relieve Solyman of all anxiety in that quarter? Roostem replied, there was nothing he desired better, but how could he do it? The demands I made he could not concede; and, on the other hand,261 I refused to accept what he offered. ‘Nor does he yield,’ said he, ‘to compulsion. Have I not tried everything to make him agree to my terms? I have now for several years been keeping him immured, and annoying him in many ways, and treating him roughly. But what good am I doing? He is proof against everything. We do our best to keep him in the closest confinement, but not content with our locking him up, he actually bolts himself in. Thus all my labour is in vain; any other man, I believe, sooner than endure these annoyances would ere now have gone over to our religion; but he cares nothing for them.’ This was related to me by people who were present at the conversation.

The Turks are a suspicious nation, and have got it into their heads, that the Ambassadors of Christian princes have different instructions, to be produced or suppressed according to circumstances, and that they first attempt to get the most favourable terms they can, and, if they fail, gradually come down and accede to harder conditions. Consequently they think it is necessary to intimidate them, to flaunt war in their faces, to keep them shut up like prisoners, and to torment them in every way, as the best means of breaking their spirit and making them sooner produce the set of instructions, which specify the minimum they are empowered to accept.

Some think that this notion was much encouraged by the conduct of a Venetian Ambassador, when there was a dispute between the Venetians and Turks about restoring Napoli di Romania to the Sultan.198 The 262instructions he had received from the Venetian Senate directed him to do his best to make peace without giving up Napoli, but, if he failed, at last to agree to surrender the town, if he found war to be the only alternative. Now it happened that these instructions were betrayed to the Turks by certain citizens of Venice. The Ambassador, in total ignorance of this, intended to open negotiations by suggesting easier terms, and thus to sound the minds of the Pashas. When they pressed him to disclose all his instructions, he declared that his powers went no further; till at last the Pashas grew furious, and told him to take care what he was about, as their master was not accustomed to be trifled with, and also that he knew right well what his instructions were. Then they repeated accurately in detail the orders he had received from the authorities of Venice, and told him, that ‘If he did not at once produce them all, he would find himself in no small danger as a liar and impostor, while inevitable destruction would await the republic he represented, if his deceit should provoke Solyman’s wrath beyond all appeasing, and cause him to destroy them with fire and sword.’ They warned him that ‘he had not much time for deliberation; if he produced all his instructions, well and good; but if he persevered in his attempt to trifle with them, it would be too late afterwards to talk of peace and express his regret.’ They concluded by saying, that ‘Solyman was no man’s suppliant; since by God’s blessing he had the power to compel.’ The Ambassador knew not what to do, and 263thinking it useless to attempt to conceal what was perfectly well known, made a clean breast of it, and frankly confessed that what they stated as to his instructions was correct. This misadventure, however, made him very unpopular at home. From that time the Turks seem to have become much more suspicious, thinking it impolitic to enter into negotiations with an ambassador until his spirit is broken by long confinement. It was on this account that Veltwick,199 the ambassador of the Emperor Charles, was detained by them for eighteen months, and my colleagues for more than three years, and then dismissed without having accomplished anything. On me they have been putting pressure for a long time, as you know, and as yet I can see no prospect of my release.

But when Baldi, whom I was speaking of, arrived, the age of the messenger made them suspect that he brought fresh instructions, allowing us to accept harder conditions of peace, and these they were afraid of my misrepresenting on account of my knowledge of their domestic troubles. They thought it therefore politic to treat me with greater rigour, as the best means of making me produce forthwith the real instructions I had last received. For the same reason Roostem tried to intimidate me with threats of war, which he hinted at by the following pleasantry. What does he do but send me a very large pumpkin of the kind we call ‘Anguries,’ and the Germans ‘Wasser Blutzer’ (water-melons). Those grown at Constantinople are of excellent flavour, and have red seeds inside; they are called Rhodian melons because they come from Rhodes. They are good for allaying thirst when the weather is very hot. A great round one was sent me 264by Roostem through my interpreter, one very hot day, with the following message: ‘He hoped I should like a fruit which suited the season; there was no better antidote for the heat; but he wished me also to know that at Buda and Belgrade they had great store of such fruit, and indeed some larger specimens of it,’ by which he meant cannon balls. I sent back word that I was much obliged for his present and should enjoy it, but that I was not surprised at what he said about Buda and Belgrade, as there were at Vienna plenty of specimens of the fruit quite as big as the one he sent me. I made this answer because I wished Roostem to understand that I had noticed the point of his jest.

Now it is time I should relate the story of Bajazet, about which you especially beg for information.200 Doubtless you remember the circumstances under which Bajazet parted from his father a few years ago. He was pardoned on condition that he should not again make any movement against his brother or excite fresh disturbances, but should remain at peace and on friendly terms with him, as a brother ought to do.201 ‘Let him,’ said the Sultan, ‘remember the pledges he has given me, nor further disquiet my declining years. Another 265time I will not let him go unpunished.’ These warnings influenced Bajazet for a time, but only as long as his mother survived; indeed, he placed but little confidence on his brother’s affection or his father’s feelings towards him, and relied entirely on the love his mother bore him, and being anxious not to alienate her, he remained quiet during her lifetime. But, when she died two years afterwards, thinking that his case was desperate, and that he was no longer bound by any tie of filial duty, he began to resume his former designs, and to prosecute his old quarrel against his brother with more bitterness than ever. At one time he plotted secretly against his life, at another used open violence, and often sent his troops to make forays into his brother’s government, which bordered on his own, and if he could catch any of his servants he sentenced them to heavy punishments, intending thereby to insult their master; in short, as he could not strike at his brother’s life, he left nothing undone which he thought would impair his prestige.

At Constantinople he had some devoted partisans, and through them he tried to tamper with the Sultan’s bodyguard by every means in his power, and on some occasions he even ventured to cross over to Constantinople himself,202 concealing himself there among his accomplices and the men of his party.

The progress of the conspiracy was no secret to Solyman, who, besides his other channels of information, received accurate intelligence from Selim, who wrote despatches from time to time, warning his father to be on his guard against attack. ‘The Sultan was mistaken,’ said Selim, ‘if he thought that the impious designs which Bajazet was now rehearsing were not ultimately aimed at his own person. Bajazet cared 266neither for God nor man, provided he could reach the throne. His father was as great a barrier as his brother to the accomplishment of his ambitious hopes. Attacks on himself were aimed at Solyman’s life, a crime which Bajazet had planned long ago, and had lately been trying to carry into execution. He begged the Sultan to take care he did not fall a victim to these plots, and find himself a prisoner before news of his danger could be received or help sent to him. As to the personal wrongs he received from Bajazet, he could afford to disregard them, but he was troubled at the greatness of his father’s peril.’

By such insinuations fresh fuel was continually added to Solyman’s wrath against Bajazet. Accordingly he wrote letters reminding him of his duty, of the clemency with which he had treated him, and of his promises to himself, and bade him remember what he had said on a former occasion, viz., that he would not always find pardon, that he ought to turn over a new leaf, and not persist in provoking his brother and annoying his father.203 He added that he had but a short span of life left himself, and when he was dead Providence would determine what their several lots should be. In the meantime they should keep quiet, if they had any regard for the peace of their father and their country. But such arguments were all thrown away upon Bajazet, who had made up his mind to hazard everything rather than take the other alternative, and tamely wait till the time came for him to be butchered like a sheep, which would most assuredly be his fate, if Selim ascended the throne.

He replied, however, to his father’s commands in becoming terms, but his deeds did not correspond to 267his words, nor did he swerve in the least from the line of conduct he had resolved on.

When Solyman saw this, he felt that other measures were necessary, and that he must not allow his sons to remain so near each other. Accordingly he issued orders that before a certain day each should leave his government (Bajazet was Governor of Kutaiah, Selim of Magnesia), and that Bajazet should go to Amasia and Selim to Koniah. No fault could be found with Selim, and his favour with his father was unimpaired, but to prevent Bajazet from being hurried into rebellion, Solyman wished to make it appear that they were both being treated alike. In giving these orders he observed that the further apart they were in actual distance the closer they would be in spirit. Vicinity, he added, was often prejudicial to union, many faults being committed on both sides by mischievous officers and servants, the effect of which was to cause great irritation on the part of their masters. Let both of them be obedient to his commands. If either should hesitate to obey, he would expose himself to a charge of treason.

Selim made no delay, inasmuch as he knew that these orders were given chiefly in his interest. Bajazet kept making excuses, and halted after proceeding a short distance. He complained that he had been given the government of Amasia, that town of evil omen, which was still reeking with his brother’s blood,204 and said that he would be contented with any other government whatever, in place of that, in which the miserable end of his kinsfolk would ever be forcing itself on his eyes, and wounding his heart with its sad recollections. He asked that he might at least be permitted to pass the winter where he was, or at 268any rate in the place which his brother had left. To these remonstrances Solyman paid no attention; and Selim had already proceeded some days’ march with the troops, which his father had given him as an escort to protect him against any attack on the part of his brother, while Bajazet was still delaying and hesitating, when he suddenly turned and retraced his steps, and then making a circuit appeared in his brother’s rear, moving on Ghemlik, a Bithynian town, on the Asiatic coast opposite Constantinople. For this step he had the sanction of his father, who did not like Bajazet’s procrastination, for both father and son were alarmed at the thought of what might be the consequence both to the empire and themselves, if Bajazet should win over the Imperial guards and march on Ghemlik or even on Constantinople. As they were both threatened, the safest course seemed to be for Selim to take up such a position as would enable them to support each other. Selim had not as yet sufficient strength to make him certain of defeating his brother, who was now ready for any desperate step.

When Bajazet saw Selim in his rear, he felt that the only result of his own delay had been to ensure his brother’s succession to the throne, whenever his father should be carried off, an event which might be expected any day, as the Sultan’s health, which was generally bad, was at that time worse than usual. Accordingly he sent letters to his father, in which he accused his brother; he told him that Selim could have given no stronger proof of his undutiful and disloyal intentions than his march to Ghemlik; to which no other object could be assigned than an attempt on the throne, as it was a place from which he would have but a short passage to Constantinople, if he received the news he wished for, informing him of his father’s death.269 But if his father’s life should be prolonged, and the fulfilment of his wishes thus deferred, he would not hesitate to employ his tools for the attainment of his object, and would ascend the throne over his father’s murdered body. In spite of all this he could not help seeing that Selim, villain as he was, was his father’s darling, and was treated as if he were a pattern son; while he on the other hand, though he had always been a good son, and had never dreamt of such undutiful conduct, nay, more, had always strictly observed every indication of his father’s wishes, was nevertheless scorned and rejected. All that he requested was permission to decline a government, the traditions of which boded ill to its possessor. Next he had recourse to entreaties, and again implored his father to consent to his being appointed to a different government, whether it were the one his brother had left, or any other, provided it had not the dark history of Amasia. He concluded by saying he would wait for an answer to his petition at the place where he had halted, that he might not have further to return should his wish be granted, but if he should not obtain what he asked, he would then go wherever his father might order.

The complaints Bajazet made about Amasia were not altogether unreasonable, for the Turks are in the habit of forecasting important matters from trifling incidents. But this was not the view that Solyman took, for he knew what value to attach to his son’s bemoanings, and was convinced that his object was to obtain a situation more convenient for making a revolution, Amasia being too far from Constantinople. Thus Bajazet, pleading one excuse after another for delay, put off the hour for obeying his father’s wishes as long as he could, and went on increasing his forces270 by enlisting recruits, arming them, and raising money—in short, he made every preparation for defending himself and attacking his brother. These preparations were regarded by Solyman as directed against himself, but, nevertheless, he passed them over for the most part in silence. The cautious old man did not wish to render Bajazet desperate and thus drive him into open rebellion. He was well aware that the eyes of the world were fixed on the quarrel between his sons, and he was therefore anxious that these troubles should be left to the influence of time, and be allowed to die out as quietly as possible. He therefore replied to Bajazet in gentle language, saying, ‘He could make no change about the government, his decision on that point was final. They ought both to obey his commands and repair to their respective posts. As to the future he bade them be of good hope, as he would take care that everything should be so regulated as to prevent either of them having any ground for just complaints.’

Pertau, the fourth of the Vizierial Pashas, was selected to convey these commands to Bajazet, and to keep up an appearance of impartiality, Mehemet, the third of the Vizierial Pashas, was despatched to Selim with the same orders. Both were instructed not to leave the Princes before they reached their respective governments, as Solyman prudently intended to attach these important officers to his sons in order that they might be kept in mind of their duties. This Selim was ready to allow, but Bajazet refused, for, as his intention was to bring about a general revolution, he thought there could be no greater obstacle to his designs than to have one of his father’s counsellors ever at his side to criticise his words and actions. He therefore addressed Pertau courteously, and having given him such presents as he could, compelled him to271 return, in spite of his remonstrances, saying, that he wished to employ him as his defender and advocate with his father, as he had no one else to plead for him. He told him that he would not prove an ungrateful or a discreditable client. Further, he bade him tell his father that he would always regard his commands as law, if Selim would let him, but that he could not bear any longer the outrages of his brother, and his attacks upon his life.

The dismissal of Pertau in this manner made Solyman sure of his son’s intentions. Though Bajazet, to prevent the mission to him appearing to have been wholly ineffectual, kept pretending that he was on his way to Amasia, Solyman was not deceived, and continued to make his preparations for war with undiminished activity. He ordered the Beyler-bey of Greece, although he was suffering from an attack of gout, to hurry with his cavalry to Selim’s assistance, and on Mehemet Pasha’s return from his mission he despatched him into Asia with the most trusty of the Imperial guard on the same service. He also made his own preparations, and wished to make it appear that he was about to take the field in person, but the Imperial guard gathered to their standards with hesitation and reluctance, loathing a war between brothers as an accursed thing. ‘Against whom were they to draw their swords?’ they asked; ‘Was it not against the heir of the empire himself?’ ‘Surely,’ they argued, ‘some alternative might be found instead of plunging into war; it could not be necessary to compel them to dip their hands in the blood of their comrades, and to incur the guilt of slaughtering their fellow-soldiers. As to Bajazet’s attempts, they were, in their opinion, justified by the emergency.’

When these speeches reached Solyman’s ears he272 submitted the following questions to his Mufti, who, as you doubtless remember, is the chief authority among the Turks in religious matters, and like the oak of Dodona205 is consulted in cases of difficulty. ‘First, how ought he to treat a man who in his own lifetime raised men and money, attacked and captured towns, and troubled the peace of the empire? Secondly, what was his opinion of those who joined his standard, and assisted him in such an enterprise? Finally, what he thought of those who refused to take up arms against him, and justified his acts?’ The Mufti replied, ‘That such a man and his partisans, in his judgment, merited the severest punishment; and that those who refused to bear arms against him were wicked men, who failed to support their religion, and therefore deserved to be branded as infamous.’ This reply was made public, and transmitted through the chief of the cavasses to Bajazet.

A few days afterwards there returned to Constantinople a cavasse, who had been sent to Selim by Solyman, and had been captured on the way by Bajazet. By him he sent word to his father, that he had violated no obligation demanded by filial duty, he had never taken up arms against him, and was ready to obey his commands in everything. The quarrel was one between his brother and himself, and life and death depended on the issue of the struggle, as either 273he must fall by his brother’s sword or his brother by his. That both should survive was an impossibility. He had determined to bring matters to a conclusion, one way or the other, in his father’s lifetime; therefore he called on Solyman not to interfere in their contest, and to remain neutral. But if, as was rumoured, he should cross the sea to go to Selim’s assistance, he warned him not to hope that he would find it an easy task to get him into his power, as he had secured for himself a refuge in case of defeat. The moment Solyman set foot on the soil of Asia, he would lay the country waste with fire and sword as mercilessly as Tamerlane. Such a message caused Solyman no small anxiety. At the same time news arrived that the town of Akschehr, which was governed by Selim’s son as Sanjak-bey, had been taken by Bajazet, and, after a large sum of money had been exacted, had been ruthlessly sacked.

But when Selim, who had been afraid of his brother’s lying in wait for him on the road, heard that he was on his way to Amasia, and had already reached Angora, his suspicions were relieved, and he rapidly marched on Koniah,206 which was held for him by a garrison which had been thrown into it. For not the least of the anxieties which racked Solyman’s mind was, lest Bajazet should seize Koniah, and so make his way into Syria, and thence invade Egypt, a province which was open to attack and of doubtful loyalty, and which, having not yet forgotten the ancient empire of the Circassians or Mamelukes, was eager for a revolution.207 274Should Bajazet once establish himself there it would not be an easy task to dislodge him, especially as the neighbouring Arabs would readily adopt any cause which held out prospects of booty. From Egypt too if he were hard pressed, all the coasts of Christendom were within easy reach. For this reason Solyman took the utmost pains to bar the road which might be expected to be Bajazet’s last resource, orders having already been given to several of the governors in Asia Minor to hold themselves in readiness to take the field when Selim should give the signal. At the time of which I am now speaking, Selim had called them out and had encamped before the walls of Koniah, anxiously watching his brother’s movements. He determined to wait there for his fathers reinforcements, and not by a premature engagement to expose his life to the hazard of a battle.

Bajazet, on the other hand, was keenly alive to the magnitude of the enterprise he had undertaken. He had hired a body of Kurdish horsemen, who are, 275probably, descendants of the ancient Gordiæans.208 They have a great reputation for valour, and Bajazet felt confident that their assistance would ensure the success of his arms. The day they arrived at his camp they went through a sham fight on horseback, which was so like reality that several of them were slain, and more were wounded. He pitched his camp in the open country, near Angora, so as to have at his command the ample resources of that important town. In the citadel he placed his concubines with their children. From the wealthier of the merchants he raised a loan, on the terms of repaying them with interest if Providence should crown his hopes with success. From the same source he obtained the means of equipping and arming his forces. He had, after the fashion of Turkish nobles, a numerous retinue of servants; these were reinforced by the Kurds I mentioned, and by men whose interests had been advanced by his mother, his sister, or Roostem. To them were added many of the surviving retainers of Mustapha and Achmet, brave and experienced soldiers, who burned to risk their lives in avenging the cruel murders of their masters. Nor was there wanting a motley following of men, who were discontented with their actual condition, and were eager for a change. The motive of some was compassion for the unfortunate Bajazet, whose only remaining hope lay in an appeal to arms. They were attracted to the young man by his looks, which strongly resembled his father’s; while, on the other hand, Selim was totally unlike the Sultan, and inherited the face and manner of his unpopular mother. In gait he was 276pompous, in person he was corpulent, his cheeks were unnaturally red and bloated; amongst the soldiers he was nick-named ‘The stalled ox.’ He lived a lazy life, at the same time a sluggard and a sot. In the smaller courtesies of life he was singularly ungracious; he never did a kindness and he never gained a friend. He did not wish, he said, to win the favour of the people at the expense of his father’s feelings. The only man that loved him was his father. Everyone else hated him, and none so much as those whose prospects depended on the accession of a generous and warlike Sultan. The soldiers had been wont to call Bajazet Softi, which means a studious and quiet person, but when they saw him take up arms and prepare to fight to the uttermost for his own and his children’s preservation, they respected his courage and admired his conduct. ‘Why had the father,’ they murmured, ‘disowned a son who was the living image of himself? Why had he preferred to him that corpulent drone, who showed not a trace of his father’s character? To take up arms was no crime, when nothing else would serve the turn. ‘Twas nothing worse than what Selim, their grandfather, had done.209 That precedent would cover everything, as he had not only taken up arms against his brother, but also had been compelled by the force of circumstances to hasten his father’s end. Dreadful as the crime was to which he had been driven, still, by it he had won the empire for his son and grandsons. But if Solyman stood rightfully possessed of an empire, which had been won by such means, why should his son be debarred from adopting the same course? Why should that be so heavily punished in his case which Heaven itself had sanctioned in his grandfather’s? Nay, the conduct of Selim was 277far worse than that of his grandson Bajazet; the latter had taken up arms, but not to hurt his father; he had no desire for his death; he would not harm even his brother, if he would but let him live, and cease from injuring him. It had ever been held lawful to repel force by force. What fault could be found with a man for endeavouring to save himself from ruin when it stared him in the face?’

Such were the sentiments that made men daily flock to the standard of Bajazet. When his forces had well nigh attained the size of a regular army, Bajazet felt that he must forthwith attack his brother, and stake life and empire on the issue of the contest. That he might be defeated he was well aware, but even in defeat he felt that honour might be gained. Accordingly, he marched directly against Selim. His object was to effect a passage into Syria; if this should prove successful, the rest, he was confident, would be easy. Selim, having, with the assistance of his father, completed his armaments, awaited his brother under the walls of Koniah. He had large forces, and a numerous staff of experienced officers, who had been sent by the Sultan, and his position was strengthened by well-placed batteries of artillery.

By all this Bajazet was not one whit dismayed; when he came in sight of the enemy he addressed a few words of encouragement to his men, telling them to fight bravely. ‘This,’ he declared, ‘was the hour they had longed for, this was the opportunity for them to prove their valour. Courage on that day should secure a fortune at his hands. It rested with them to win or forfeit everything. Everyone who was discontented with his lot had now an opening for exchanging his former poverty for wealth and honour. They might expect from him, if they conquered, dignities, riches,278 promotion, and all the rewards that valiant men deserve. However extravagant their hopes, let them win this one victory, and those hopes should be satisfied. They had abundant means of gaining it in their gallant hearts and stout arms. Before them stood only his brother’s following, cowards more debased than their cowardly leader; it was through the ranks of these poltroons his men must cleave their way. As for his father’s troops, though in body they stood with his brother, in heart they were on his side. If Selim were out of the way, his safety was assured, and their fortunes were made; let them go and avenge themselves on the common enemy. Let them not fear,’ he repeated, ‘the multitude of their foe. Victory was won not by numbers but by valour. Heaven was on the side, not of the larger, but the braver army. If they bore in mind how cruel and how eager for their blood was the enemy they were to encounter, victory would not be hard to gain. Last of all’ said he, ‘I wish you to regard not my words but my deeds. Take my word for it, the day is yours, if you fight for my life, as you see me fighting for your profit.’

Having addressed his troops in such terms, he boldly ordered them to attack the enemy. He led the charge in person, and on that day proved himself alike a gallant soldier and a skilful leader, winning, by the courage he displayed, as much admiration from foes as from friends. The battle was fierce and bloody; for a long time neither party could gain any decisive advantage; at last victory inclined to the side which was stronger in arms, stronger in right, and stronger in generalship. Selim’s troops also received supernatural assistance, if one may believe the Turkish story, for they aver that a great blast came from the shrine of one of their ancient heroes, which stood hard279 by,210 and carried the dust into the faces of Bajazet’s soldiers, darkening the atmosphere and blinding their eyes. After great losses on both sides, Bajazet was obliged to give the signal for retreat, but he retired slowly and without disorder, as if he had won a victory instead of having sustained a defeat. Selim made no attempt to pursue. He was perfectly satisfied with the success he had gained in repelling his brother’s troops, and remained in his position as a quiet spectator of the retreating enemy.211

Bajazet had now committed an act of direct disobedience to his father’s orders, he had given the rein to his own inclinations, and he had been unsuccessful. He abandoned his project of marching into Syria, and set out for Amasia in good earnest.

About this time Solyman crossed into Asia, having, it is asserted, received news of the result of the battle in a marvellously short space of time. The Pashas held it to be impolitic for the Sultan to cross until intelligence of Bajazet’s defeat should be received, but at the same time were of opinion, that when news of it arrived no time ought to be lost, lest Bajazet’s misfortunes should provoke his secret partisans to declare themselves, and thus greater troubles ensue. They argued that nothing would be more effectual than the report of his crossing for cowing Bajazet and terrifying his friends. The victory, they urged, should be improved, and no opportunity be given to the prince of rallying from the blow he had received, lest he should follow in the steps of Selim, Solyman’s father, 280who became more formidable after defeat than ever he was before, and owed his final victory, in no small measure, to his previous failure.

The Pashas were perfectly correct in their view of the situation. For though Bajazet had been defeated, his conduct in the field marvellously increased his popularity and reputation. People spoke of how he had ventured with a handful of men to encounter the superior forces of his brother, supported as they were by all the resources of the Sultan. The strength of his brother’s position, and his formidable array of artillery, had failed to daunt him, while in this, his first field, his conduct would not have shamed a veteran general. Though fortune had not favoured him, yet he was the hero of the battle. Selim might go to his father, and vaunt his triumph, but what then? True, he had won it, but Bajazet had deserved it. To whatever cause Selim’s victory was due, it was certainly not to his valour that he was indebted for his success.

Such was the common talk, the effect of which was to increase Bajazet’s popularity, and at the same time to make his father more anxious than ever. His hatred was inflamed, and he began to long for his destruction. His determination remained unaltered. Selim was the elder, and had ever been a dutiful and obedient son, and he and no one else should be his heir; while Bajazet, who had been a disobedient son and had endeavoured to supplant him on the throne, was the object of his aversion. He was well aware that the peril of the situation was increased by the reputation Bajazet had gained, and the open support which he himself had given to Selim. For these reasons he had crossed the sea: his object was to give moral support to Selim by his presence in Asia, but he had no intention of marching up the country. He281 could not trust his troops, and if he ventured to lead them to the scene of action, they might at any moment declare for Bajazet.

He left Constantinople June 5, 1559, on which occasion, in spite of my cavasse, I managed to be among the spectators. But why should I not tell you of my two skirmishes after the fashion of the Miles Gloriosus of Plautus? At any rate, I have nothing better to do, unless worry counts for work. Under such circumstances letter-writing is a relief.

When it became generally known that the Sultan was about to cross the sea, and the day was fixed, I intimated to the cavasse my wish to see the Sultan’s departure. It was his habit to take charge of the keys every evening, so, when the time came, I bade him attend me early in the morning and let me out. To this he readily agreed. My Janissaries and interpreters, by my orders, hired for me a room commanding a view of the street by which the Sultan was to pass. When the day came I was awake before daybreak, and waited for the cavasse to open the gates. Time passed and he did not come. So I availed myself of the services of the Janissaries who slept at my gate and the interpreters who were waiting to obtain admittance, and despatched messenger after messenger to fetch the cavasse. I had, by the way, to give my orders through the chinks of the crazy old gates. The cavasse kept putting me off with excuses, at one time saying he was just coming, and at another that he had business which hindered him. Meanwhile it was getting late, and we knew, by the salutes fired by the Janissaries, that the Sultan had mounted his steed. Hereupon I lost patience, for I saw that I was being humbugged. Even the Janissaries on guard were sorry for my disappointment, and282 thought that I had been treated scurvily; so they told me that, if my people would push from the inside while they pulled from the outside, it would be possible to burst the locks of the gate, which was old and weak. I approved of the plan; my people pushed with a will, and the gate gave way. Out we rushed, and made for the house where I had hired a room. The cavasse had intended to disappoint me, not that he was a bad sort of fellow, but when he had informed the Pashas of my wishes they had refused consent, not liking that a Christian should be among the spectators on such an occasion. They did not wish me to see their Sovereign on his march against his son and at the head of a mere handful of troops, so they recommended him to put me off by courteous promises till the Sultan had embarked, and then to invent some excuse, but the trick recoiled on its author.

When we arrived at the house we found it barred and bolted, so that we had as much difficulty in getting in, as we had just had in getting out! When no one answered our knocks, the Janissaries came to me again, and promised, if I would undertake the responsibility, either to break open the doors or climb in through a window and let us in. I told them not to break in, but did not object to their entering by a window. In less time than I can tell it they were through the window, and had unbarred the doors. When I went upstairs, I found the house full of Jews, in fact, a regular synagogue. At first they were dumbfoundered, and could not make out how I had passed through bolts and bars! When the matter was explained, a well-dressed elderly lady, who talked Spanish, came up and took me roundly to task for breaking into the house. I rejoined that I was the aggrieved party, and told her that the landlady ought to have kept her bargain, and not tried to283 fool me in this way. Well, she would have none of my excuses, and I had no time to waste on words.

I was accommodated with a window at the back of the house, commanding a view of the street by which the Sultan was to pass. From this I had the pleasure of seeing the magnificent column which was marching out. The Ghourebas and Ouloufedgis rode in double, and the Silihdars and Spahis in single file. The cavalry of the Imperial guard consists of these four regiments, each of which forms a distinct body, and has separate quarters.212 They are believed to amount to about 6,000 men, more or less. Besides these, I saw a large force, consisting of the household slaves belonging to the Sultan himself, the Pashas, and the other court dignitaries. The spectacle presented by a Turkish horseman is indeed magnificent.213 His high-bred steed generally comes from Cappadocia or Syria, and its trappings and saddle sparkle with gold and jewels in silver settings. The rider himself is resplendent in a dress of cloth of gold or silver, or else of silk or velvet. The very lowest of them is clothed in scarlet, 284violet, or blue robes of the finest cloth. Right and left hang two handsome cases, one of which holds his bow, and the other is full of painted arrows. Both of these cases are curiously wrought, and come from Babylon, as does also the targe, which is fitted to the left arm, and is proof only against arrows or the blows of a mace or sword. In the right hand, unless he prefers to keep it disengaged, is a light spear, which is generally painted green. Round his waist is girt a jewelled scimitar, while a mace of steel hangs from his saddle-bow. ‘What are so many weapons for?’ you will ask. I reply for your information, that he is trained by long practice to use them all. You will ask again, ‘How can a man use both bow and spear? will he seize the bow after he has cast or broken his spear?’ Not so; he keeps the spear in his grasp as long as he can, but when circumstances require that it should be exchanged for the bow, he thrusts the spear, which is light and handy, between the saddle and his thigh, so that the point sticks out behind, and by the pressure of his knee keeps it in this position for any length of time he chooses. But when he has need of the spear, he puts the bow into its case, or slings it on his left arm across his shield. It is not, however, my object to explain at length their skill in arms, which is the result of long service and constant drilling. The covering they wear on the head is made of the whitest and lightest cotton-cloth, in the middle of which rises a fluted peak of fine purple silk. It is a favourite fashion to ornament this head-dress with black plumes.

When the cavalry had ridden past, they were followed by a long procession of Janissaries,214 but few of whom carried any arms except their regular weapon, 285the musket. They were dressed in uniforms of almost the same shape and colour, so that you might recognise them to be the slaves, and as it were the household, of the same master. Among them no extraordinary or startling dress was to be seen, and nothing slashed or pierced.215 They say their clothes wear out quite fast enough without their tearing them themselves. There is only one thing in which they are extravagant, viz., plumes, head-dresses, &c., and the veterans who formed the rear guard were specially distinguished by ornaments of this kind. The plumes which they insert in their frontlets might well be mistaken for a walking forest. Then followed on horseback their captains and colonels, distinguished by the badges of their rank. Last of all, rode their Aga by himself. Then succeeded the chief dignitaries of the Court, and among them the Pashas, and then the royal body-guard, consisting of infantry, who wore a special uniform and carried bows ready strung, all of them being archers. Next came the Sultan’s grooms leading a number of fine horses with handsome trappings for their master’s use. He was mounted himself on a noble steed; his look was stern, and there was a frown on his brow; it was easy to see that his anger had been aroused. Behind him came three pages, one of whom carried a flask of water, another a cloak, and the third a box. These were followed by some eunuchs of the bed-chamber, and the procession was closed by a squadron of horse about two hundred strong.

Having had a capital view of the whole spectacle, which I thoroughly enjoyed, my only anxiety was to appease my hostess. For I heard that the lady, who had addressed me in Spanish at my entrance, was 286on very intimate terms with Roostem’s wife, and I was afraid that she might tell tales about me in his family, and create an impression that I had not behaved as I ought. I invited my hostess to an interview, and reminded her of her breach of contract in bolting the door in my face, when she had for a fixed sum agreed to leave it open; but told her that, however little she might have deserved it, I intended to keep my part of the engagement, though she had neglected hers, and not only to pay her in full, but to give her a little extra douceur as well. I had promised seven pieces of gold, and she should receive ten, to prevent her regretting my having forced my way into her house. When she saw her hand filled with more gold than she had hoped for, she suddenly altered her tone, and overwhelmed me with thanks and civilities, while the rest of her Hebrew friends followed suit. The lady also, whom I mentioned as being intimate with Roostem’s family, echoing the praises of my hostess, thanked me profusely in her name. Some Cretan wine and sweetmeats were then produced for my refreshment. These I declined, and hurried home as fast I could, followed by the good wishes of the party, planning as I went a fresh battle with my cavasse, to whom I should have to answer for having broken open the doors in his absence.

I found him sitting disconsolately in the vestibule, and he at once assailed me with a long complaint, saying, I ought not to have gone out without his consent or have broken the doors. He declared that it was a breach of the law of nations, &c. I answered shortly that had he chosen to come in time, as he had promised, there would have been no need for me to burst the doors; and I made him understand that it was all his fault for not keeping his word, and for trifling with287 me. I concluded by asking whether they considered me an ambassador or a prisoner? ‘An ambassador,’ he answered. ‘If a prisoner,’ I rejoined, ‘it is useless employing me to make peace, as a prisoner is not a free agent; but if you consider me an ambassador, why am I not at liberty? Why am I prevented leaving my house when I please? It is usual,’ I repeated, ‘for prisoners to be kept shut up, but not for ambassadors. Indeed the freedom of ambassadors is a right recognised by the law of nations.’ I told him also to remember that he had been attached to me, not as a jailor or policeman, but, as he was always saying himself, to assist me by his services, and to take care that no injury was done to myself or my servants. He then turned to the Janissaries, and began quarrelling with them for giving me advice, and helping my men to open the doors. They said that I had not needed their advice, I had ordered them to open the doors and they had obeyed. They told him, with perfect truth, that in doing this but little exertion had been required, as the bars had given way under very slight pressure, and that nothing had been broken or injured. Thus the cavasse’s remonstrances were stopped whether he would or no, and nothing more was heard of the matter.

A few days later I was summoned across the sea myself. They considered it politic that I should pass some time in their camp, and be treated courteously as the ambassador of a friendly prince. Accordingly, a very comfortable lodging was assigned me in a village adjoining the camp. The Turks were encamped in the neighbouring fields. As I stayed there three months, I had opportunities of visiting their camp, and making myself acquainted with their discipline. You will hardly be satisfied if I do not give you a few288 particulars on the subject. Having put on the dress usually worn by Christians in those parts, I used to sally out incognito with one or two companions. The first thing that struck me was, that each corps had its proper quarters, from which the soldiers composing it were not allowed to move. Everywhere order prevailed, there was perfect silence, no disturbances, no quarrels, no bullying; a state of things which must seem well nigh incredible to those, whose experience is limited to Christian camps. You could not hear so much as a coarse word, or a syllable of drunken abuse. Besides, there was the greatest cleanliness, no dunghills, no heaps of refuse, nothing to offend the eyes or nose. Everything of the kind is either buried or removed out of sight. Holes are dug in the ground, as occasion requires, for the use of the men, which are again filled in with earth. Thus the whole camp is free from dirt. Again, no drinking parties or banquets, and no sort of gambling, which is the great fault of our soldiers, are to be seen. The Turks are unacquainted with the art of losing their money at cards and dice.

A little while ago I came across some soldiers from the borders of Hungary, amongst whom was a rough fellow, who, with a woe-begone face, sang or rather howled, to the accompaniment of a melancholy lyre, a lugubrious ditty, purporting to be the last words of a comrade dying of his wounds in a grassy meadow by the bank of the Danube. He called upon the Danube, as he flowed to the country of his kinsfolk, to remember to tell his friends and clansmen that he, while fighting for the extension of his religion and the honour of his tribe, had met with a death neither inglorious nor unavenged. Groaning over this his companions kept repeating, ‘O man, thrice happy and289 thrice blessed, how gladly would we exchange our lot for thine!’ The Turks firmly believe that no souls ascend to heaven so quickly as those of brave heroes who have fallen in war, and that for their safety the Houris daily make prayers and vows to God.

I had a fancy also to be conducted through the shambles where the sheep were slaughtered, that I might see what meat there was for sale. I saw but four or five sheep at most, which had been flayed and hung up, although it was the slaughter-house of the Janissaries, of whom I think there were no fewer than four thousand in the camp. I expressed my astonishment that so little meat was sufficient for such a number of men, and was told in reply that few used it, for a great part of them had their victuals brought over from Constantinople. When I asked what they were, they pointed out to me a Janissary, who was engaged in eating his dinner; he was devouring, off a wooden or earthen trencher, a mess of turnips, onions, garlic, parsnips, and cucumbers, seasoned with salt and vinegar, though, for the matter of that, I fancy that hunger was the chief sauce that seasoned his dish, for, to all appearance, he enjoyed his vegetables as much as if he had been dining off pheasants and partridges. Water, that common beverage of men and animals, is their only drink. This abstemious diet is good both for their health and their pockets.

I was at the camp just before their fast, or Lent216 as we should call it, and thus was still more struck with the behaviour of the men. In Christian lands at this season, not only camps, but even orderly cities, ring with games and dances, songs and shouts; everywhere are heard the sounds of revelling, drunkenness, and delirium. In short, the world runs mad. It is 290not improbable that there is some foundation for the story, that a Turk, who happened to come to us on a diplomatic mission at one of these seasons, related on his return home, that the Christians, on certain days, go raving mad, and are restored to their senses and their health by a kind of ashes, which are sprinkled on them in their temples. He told his friends that it was quite remarkable to see the beneficial effects of this remedy; the change was so great that one would hardly imagine them to be the same people. He referred of course to Ash Wednesday and Shrove Tuesday. His hearers were the more astonished, because the Turks are acquainted with several drugs which have the power of rendering people insane, while they know of few capable of speedily restoring the reason.

During the days which immediately precede the season of abstinence, they do not alter their former mode of life, or allow themselves any extra indulgence in the way of food and drink. Nay rather, on the contrary, by diminishing their usual allowance they prepare themselves for the fast, for fear they should not be able to bear the sudden change. Their fast recurs every twelve months; and, as twelve lunar months do not make up a year, it annually comes some fifteen days earlier. Hence it follows that, if the fast is at the beginning of Spring, six years later it will be kept at the commencement of Summer. The Turks limit their fast to the period of one lunar month, and the most severe fasts are those which fall in summer, on account of the length of the days. Inasmuch as they keep it so strictly as to touch nothing, not even water—nay, they hold it unlawful even to wash out the mouth—till the stars appear at even, it follows of course that a fast which occurs when the days are longest,291 hottest, and most dusty, is extremely trying, especially to those who are obliged to earn their livelihood by manual labour. However, they are allowed to eat what they please before sunrise, or to speak accurately, before the stars are dimmed by the light of that luminary, the idea being that the Sun ought to see no one eating during the whole of the fast. On this account the fast, when it falls in winter, is not so hard to bear.

On a cloudy day of course some mistake might be made about sunset. To meet this difficulty the priests, who act as sacristans, put lighted paper lanterns on the pinnacles of the minarets. (It is from these minarets that they utter the loud cry which summons the people to prayer, and they therefore answer to our belfries.217) These lights are intended to remove all doubt as to the time being come when food may be taken. Then at last, after first entering a mosque and reciting their customary prayers, they return to supper. On summer days I remember seeing them making in crowds from the mosque to a tavern, opposite our abode, where snow was kept for sale (of which, by the way, there is an unfailing supply from Mount Olympus, in Asia), and asking for iced water, which they drank, sitting cross-legged, for the Turks have a scruple about eating or drinking standing, if they can help it. But as the evening was too far gone for me to be able to see what they were squatting down for, I got some of my acquaintance, who understood Turkish customs, to enlighten me, and found that each took a great draught of cold water to open a passage for their food, which otherwise would stick in their throats, parched as they were by heat and fasting, and also that their appetite was stimu292lated by the cold drink. No special kinds of food are appointed to be eaten during the fast; nor does their religion prescribe abstinence during that season from anything which they are allowed to eat at other times. Should they happen to have any illness which prevents their observing the fast, they may disregard it, on condition, however, of making up, when they get well, the number of fasting days which their health has compelled them to miss. Likewise, when they are in an enemy’s country and an engagement is apprehended, they are ordered to postpone their fast to some other time, lest they should be hungry and faint on the day of battle. If they hesitate to do so, the Sultan himself takes food publicly at midday before the eyes of the army, that all may be encouraged by his example to do the same. But as at other times of the year they are forbidden, by their religion, to drink wine, and cannot taste it without committing a sin, so they are most scrupulous in observing this rule all the days of the fast, and even the most careless and profligate people not only abstain from wine, but shun the very smell of it.

I remember that, after I had made many enquiries as to the reason why Mahomet had so strictly forbidden his followers to drink wine, I was one day told this story. Mahomet happened to be travelling to a friend, and halted on his way at midday at a man’s house, where a wedding feast was being celebrated. At his host’s invitation he sat down with them, and greatly admired the exceeding gaiety of the banqueters and their earnest demonstrations of affection—such as shaking of hands, embraces, and kisses. He asked his host the reason, and was informed that such feelings were the consequence of wine. Accordingly on his departure he blessed that beverage as being the cause of293 such affection among mankind. But on his return the day after, when he entered the same house, a far different sight was presented to his eyes; on all sides were the traces of a cruel fight, the ground was stained with gore and strewn with human limbs; here lay an arm and there a foot; and other fragments were scattered all about. On his asking what had been the cause of so much mischief, he heard that the banqueters he had seen the day before had got maddened with wine and quarrelled, and that a fearful butchery had been the consequence. On this account, Mahomet changed his opinion and cursed the use of wine, making a decree for all time that his followers should not touch it.

So, drinking being prohibited, peace and silence reign in a Turkish camp, and this is more especially the case during their Lent. Such is the result produced by military discipline, and the stern laws bequeathed them by their ancestors. The Turks allow no crime and no disgraceful act to go unpunished. The penalties are degradation from office, loss of rank, confiscation of property, the bastinado, and death. The most usual is the bastinado, from which not even the Janissaries themselves are exempt, though they are not subject to capital punishment. Their lighter faults are punished with the stick, their graver with dismissal from the service or removal to a different corps, a penalty they consider worse than death, by which indeed such a sentence is almost always followed. For when the Janissaries are stripped of their uniform, they are banished to distant garrisons on the furthest frontiers, where their life is one of ignominy and disgrace; or if the crime is so atrocious as to render it necessary to make an example of the culprit, an excuse is found for putting him to death in the place to which he has294 been banished. But the punishment of death is inflicted on him not as a Janissary, but as a common soldier.

The endurance of the Turks in undergoing punishment is truly marvellous. They often receive more than a hundred blows on their soles, ankles, and buttocks, so that sometimes several sticks of dogwood are broken on them, and the executioner has to say repeatedly, ‘Give me the other stick.’218 Although remedies are at hand, yet it sometimes happens that many pounds of gangrened flesh have to be cut off from the places which have been beaten. They are obliged notwithstanding to go to the officer by whose orders they have been punished, and to kiss his hand and thank him, and also to pay the executioner a fixed fee for every stroke. As to the stick with which they are beaten, they consider it a sacred thing, and are quite convinced that the first bastinado stick fell down from the same place from which the Romans believed their sacred shields descended, I mean from heaven. That they may have some consolation for such pain, they also believe that the parts, which have been touched by the stick, will after this life be safe from the fires of purgatory.

In saying that the camp was free from quarrels and tumults, it is necessary to make one exception, for some trouble was caused by my people. A few of them had gone out of the camp to stroll along the shore without Janissaries, having only taken with them some Italian renegadoes. Among the various advantages which such renegadoes enjoy, the greatest perhaps is the power of ransoming prisoners. They go to the people who have possession of the captives, 295and pretend that they are their relations or connections, or at any rate their fellow-countrymen. After speaking of the great pain it gives them to see their friends in such a position, they ask the masters to take their value and emancipate them, or else to make them over to themselves. To such a request the masters make no difficulty in agreeing; whereas, if a Christian were to ask the same favour, they would either refuse it or demand a much higher price. To return to my subject, when my men had gone out they came upon some Janissaries, who, by way of performing their ablutions, had taken a swim in the sea. They had left their turbans behind, and their only head-dress was a piece of linen roughly folded. The Janissaries seeing my men were Christians began to abuse them. For the Turks not only consider it lawful to call Christians by insulting names and otherwise abuse them, but even think it meritorious, on the ground that they may possibly be shamed into changing their religion for the faith of the Turks, when they see what insults they are exposed to on its account. My men, when thus assailed, abused them in return, and at last from words they came to blows, the Italians I mentioned taking the side of my men. The end of it was, that the head-wrapper of one of the Janissaries was lost in the scuffle, how or where I cannot say. The Janissaries, having traced my people to my quarters, went to their commanding officer and charged them with having caused this loss. The officer ordered them to summon my interpreter, who had been present at the skirmish. They seized him, as he was sitting at the door, while I was looking down from the verandah above. I felt that this was a very gross insult; here was one of my people being carried off without my permission, and not only so, but carried off, as I296 knew right well, having heard of the affair from my servants, to receive a flogging. This was certain to be his fate, for he was a Turkish subject. I went down and laying my hand on him told them to let him go, which they did; but they went off to their commander more savage than ever. He directed them to take some more men, and bring before him the renegade Italians I mentioned, charging them at the same time to be careful not to use violence to me or the house where I was staying. Accordingly they came again making a great uproar, and standing on the road demanded the surrender of the men with loud cries and threats. But the Italians foreseeing what would happen, had already crossed the Bosphorus to Constantinople. This went on for a long time with much bad language on both sides, till at last the cavasse I was then employing, an old man on the brink of the grave, becoming nervous at the uproar, thrust into their hands, without my knowledge, some pieces of gold as the price of the lost head-wrapper, and thus our peace was made.

One reason for telling you this adventure is, that it gave me an opportunity of learning from Roostem himself the light in which the Janissaries are regarded by the Sultan. For when he heard of this disturbance he sent a man warning me, to use his own words, ‘to remove every cause of offence which might occasion a quarrel with those atrocious scoundrels. Was I not aware, that it was war time, when they were masters, so that not even Solyman himself had control over them, and was actually himself afraid of receiving violence at their hands?’ These were no random words of Roostem’s; he knew what he was talking about, for his master’s anxieties were no secret to him. What the Sultan dreaded most in the world was secret disaf297fection among the Janissaries; disaffection which would lie hidden for a time, and then break out at a critical moment when he had no power to counteract it. His alarm is certainly not without foundation; for while there are great advantages to a Sovereign in the possession of a standing army, there are on the other hand, if proper precautions be not taken, considerable disadvantages. The greatest of all is, that the soldiers have it in their power to depose their Sovereign and place another on the throne; and the fear of a revolution of this kind must be ever present to the minds of the masters. Striking instances might be quoted of Sovereigns who were dethroned by their own troops; but it is by no means impossible to guard against such occurrences.

During my stay at the camp, Albert de Wyss,219 a gentleman and a good scholar, arrived. If I am not mistaken, he is a native of Amersfort. He brought as presents from the Emperor to the Sultan some gilded cups and a clock of skilful workmanship, which was mounted like a tower on the back of an elephant, and also some money for distribution among the Pashas. Solyman desired me to present these gifts to him in the camp, in the sight of the army, as a fresh proof to his subjects that he and the Emperor were firm friends. He was anxious that such an idea should prevail, and also that an impression should be produced, that no warlike movement on the part of the Christians was likely to take place.

I now return to the point from which I began this digression, namely to Bajazet, who had retreated from the battle field of Koniah to Amasia, his own government, apparently with the resolution of remaining quiet there, if his father should allow him to do so. He had 298obeyed the dictates of his passion and his youthful ambition; now he seemed to intend for the future to play the part of a dutiful son. He continually endeavoured to ascertain his father’s disposition by letters and agents. Solyman did not show himself averse to a reconciliation. At first he made no difficulty in giving the messengers audience, read the letters and did not answer them harshly, so that a report was prevalent throughout the camp that the father would be reconciled to the son, and pardon his youthful indiscretion, on his promising to be loyal for the future. But in reality the crafty old man was playing a very deep game suggested to him by the Pashas, he was deluding Bajazet with hopes of forgiveness until the toils should be prepared, and he should be ready to seize his prisoner alive. For it was apprehended that, if he was driven to despair, he would make his escape to the territory of the King of Persia, which was his only refuge, before the governors of the intervening country had time to guard and watch the roads. Solyman kept sending messenger after messenger to them, urging them not to leave any loophole however small for Bajazet to escape to Persia. Meanwhile anyone suspected of a leaning towards Bajazet who fell into the Sultan’s hands was secretly executed, after being questioned by torture. Among them were some whom Bajazet had sent to clear his character.

The kingdom of Persia, though Solyman has torn away from it much territory by war, namely Babylonia itself, Mesopotamia, and part of Media, includes at the present time all the tribes that dwell between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, with some portion of Greater Armenia. The Sovereign of this country is Shah Tahmasp, who, besides the territory I mentioned, reigns over regions still more remote, as far as299 the dominions of the Prince who is called by the Turks Humayoum Padischah.220 The father of the present Shah was defeated many years ago by Selim in a great battle on the plains of Tschaldiran,221 and from that time 300the fortunes of Persia have been declining, under the powerful attacks of the Emperor Solyman, for Tahmasp has defended himself with but little vigour and in no way displayed the spirit of his father. At the present time he is said to be leading the life of a mere voluptuary; he never leaves his harem, where he divides his time between dallying with his favourites and forecasting the future by means of lots. Meanwhile he neglects to enforce the laws or to administer justice, and consequently, brigandage and outrages of every kind prevail throughout the different tribes that are subject to his sway, and so the poor and helpless throughout Persia are suffering every kind of oppression at the hands of the strong, and it is useless for innocence to resort to the King for protection. This culpable neglect of his duty as a ruler has so little impaired either his influence or the superstitious veneration with which his person is regarded, that they think that a blessing falls on those who have kissed the doorposts of his palace, and they keep the water in which he has washed his hands as a sovereign cure for divers diseases. Of his numerous offspring one son is called Ismael after his grandfather, and on him has also descended his grandfather’s spirit. He is extremely handsome, and is a deadly enemy of the house of Othman. They say that when he first entered the world his baby hand was found to be full of blood, and this was commonly regarded by his countrymen as a sign that he would be a man of war. Nor did he belie the prediction, for hardly had he grown up to manhood when he inflicted a bloody defeat on his Turkish 301enemies. One of the articles of the treaty between his father and Solyman was, that he should not be allowed to attack the Turks, and in accordance with this stipulation he was sent to a distance from the frontier and there confined in prison. He is, however, the person marked out by the aspirations of the nation as successor to the throne on his father’s decease.

Accordingly Solyman was afraid that the Shah, who, by the way, is better known to us as the Sophi, would have a keener recollection of their ancient quarrels than of the peace which he had been recently compelled to make, and that consequently, if his son should escape into Persia, he would not allow him to be taken away without a great deal of trouble, and that possibly a long and harassing war would be the result. He therefore took the utmost pains to apprehend Bajazet, before he should escape thither. He remembered that the support, which, a few years before, he himself had given to Elkass, the brother of Tahmasp, who had taken refuge with him,222 had been the cause of many years of annoyance and anxiety to Tahmasp, and his conscience told him that this would be an opportunity for the latter to retaliate, and perhaps to make an attempt to recover the territory which he had lost in war.

Although the designs of Solyman were kept very secret, they were not unobserved by Bajazet’s friends, who repeatedly warned him not to trust his father, to be on his guard against plots, and to take betimes the best measures in his power for his safety. A little matter is often the immediate cause of a very serious step, and so it was in this case. What drove him to take his friends’ advice was, as I have heard, the circumstance that one of his spies, who was arrested in the camp, was by Solyman’s orders publicly executed 302by impalement, on the pretext that he had been enlisted by Bajazet after he had been strictly forbidden to enroll any more soldiers. When informed of his follower’s execution, Bajazet immediately felt that his only chance was to fly for his life. Solyman, on the other hand, thinking he had now made certain of his not escaping, or perhaps to deceive him the more, ordered his army to return to Constantinople the day after the festival of Bairam.

At Amasia, on the very day of the feast, as soon as the usual ceremonies were finished, Bajazet ordered his baggage to be packed up and began his ill-starred journey to Persia; he knew right well that he was going to the ancient enemy of the house of Othman, but he was fully resolved to throw himself on any one’s mercy rather than fall into his father’s hands. Every man marched out who was capable of bearing arms; none but women and children unequal to the fatigues of a long journey were left behind. Among the latter was a newly born son of Bajazet, with his mother; his father preferred to leave the innocent babe to his grand-father’s mercy, rather than take him as a companion of his anxious and miserable flight. This child Solyman ordered to be taken care of at Broussa, feeling as yet uncertain what his father’s fate might be.

I should have returned to Constantinople on the day before the Bairam,223 had I not been detained by my wish to see that day’s ceremonies. The Turks were about to celebrate the rites of the festival on an open and level plain before the tents of Solyman; and I could hardly hope that such an occasion of seeing them would ever present itself again. I gave my servants orders to promise a soldier some money and so get me a place in his tent, on a mound which com303manded a good view of Solyman’s pavilions. Thither I repaired at sunrise. I saw assembled on the plain a mighty multitude of turbaned heads, attentively following, in the most profound silence, the words of the priest who was leading their devotions. They kept their ranks, each in his proper position; the lines of troops looked like so many hedges or walls parting out the wide plain, on which they were drawn up. According to its rank in the service each corps was posted nearer to, or farther from, the place where the Sultan stood. The troops were dressed in brilliant uniforms, their head-dresses rivalling snow in whiteness. The scene which met my eyes was charming, the different colours having a most pleasing effect. The men were so motionless that they seemed rooted to the ground on which they stood. There was no coughing, no clearing the throat, and no voice to be heard, and no one looked behind him or moved his head. When the priest pronounced the name of Mahomet all alike bowed their heads to their knees at the same moment, and when he uttered the name of God they fell on their faces in worship and kissed the ground. The Turks join in their devotions with great ceremony and attention, for if they even raise a finger to scratch their head, their prayer, they think, will not be accepted. ‘For,’ say they, ‘if you had to converse with Pashas would you not do so with your body in a respectful attitude? how much more are we bounden to observe the same reverence towards God, who is so far above the highest earthly eminence?’ Such is their logic. When prayers were finished, the serried ranks broke up, and the whole plain was gradually covered with their surging masses. Presently the Sultan’s servants appeared bringing their master’s dinner, when, lo and behold! the Janissaries laid their hands on the304 dishes, seized their contents and devoured them, amid much merriment. This licence is allowed by ancient custom as part of that day’s festivity, and the Sultan’s wants are otherwise provided for. I returned to Constantinople full of the brilliant spectacle, which I had thoroughly enjoyed.

I have a little more news to give you about Bajazet and then I will release you, as you are probably as tired of reading as I am of writing. Bajazet, as you have heard, having started from Amasia with his escort in light marching order, travelled with such speed that his arrival almost everywhere anticipated the tidings of his approach, and many who had been ordered to look out for his passage were taken by surprise, before their preparations were completed. He gave the Pasha of Siwas the slip by the following stratagem. There were two roads, of which the Pasha had occupied the one which was of importance to Bajazet; the latter, however, sent some pretended deserters to tell the Pasha that he had already passed by the other road. As the Pasha thought this not improbable, he left his position on the road he had occupied, and hastily led his forces across to the other road, by which he believed Bajazet to be going, and so left him a free passage.

He likewise imposed on the Pasha of Erzeroum by a somewhat similar stratagem. When he was not far off and knew there was much danger awaiting him in his passage through that Pashalik, he had recourse to the following device; he sent messengers to salute him, and told them to relate his misfortunes in the most pathetic manner, in hopes of exciting his sympathy. They were to conclude their appeal by asking permission to get shoes for the horses, telling the Pasha, the Prince’s troops were quite worn out by the hard305ships of the march, and that he intended remaining a day or two where there was plenty of fodder, in order to rest his horses, and to put new shoes on them. The Pasha courteously replied that he did not forbid him to take what he wanted; whether he was influenced by pity for Bajazet’s misfortunes, or by inclination to his party, as some people thought, I cannot say; perhaps, after all, his design was to throw Bajazet off his guard and so take him prisoner, or time may have been needed to concentrate his troops, who had been surprised by Bajazet’s rapid march. He also sent him some small presents as a compliment, and congratulated him on his safe arrival; but Bajazet, instead of making any halt, pressed on, allowing his troops no rest by day and only a short one by night.

When the Pasha of Erzeroum became aware that Bajazet was hurrying on, he quickened his movements and joined the other Pashas who were following in pursuit, for, as soon as it was known that Bajazet had left Amasia, Solyman sent several Sanjak-beys and Pashas after him, threatening them with the loss of their heads if they did not bring him back, alive or dead. But this was all in vain on account of Bajazet’s hasty departure, and also because the fugitive’s speed was greater than that of his pursuers. But after all, Bajazet’s flight cost none more dear than the above-mentioned Pasha of Erzeroum, who was removed from his Pashalik by Solyman, and put to death by Selim, with his two young sons, after they had first been horribly ill-treated. Meanwhile, both Selim and Mehemet Pasha and the Beyler-bey of Greece, although a long way behind, continued their pursuit of Bajazet.

His departure came upon Solyman as a very heavy blow, for he surmised correctly that Bajazet was making for Persia; he could scarcely be kept from306 marching, with the whole Imperial guard, both foot and horse, and making a demonstration against the King of Persia. But his rash impetuosity was moderated by his counsellors, who pointed out what danger might arise from the disaffection of the soldiery. There was also the risk of Bajazet’s marching round by the North of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azoff, and suddenly making a desperate attack on Constantinople; it would then be in his power to create an army by offering their freedom to the slaves and the recruits whom they call Agiamoglans,224 and to penetrate into the deserted capital. By such warnings they induced Solyman to abandon his design. Moreover, Bajazet left notices on the doorposts of the mosques, wherever he passed, promising to give double pay to any soldiers who went over to his side. These proclamations made the officers anxious, as they felt they could not trust their men, and this feeling was increased by the fact that remarks were constantly heard in the ranks, which showed a strong tendency in Bajazet’s favour.

At last Bajazet reached the river Araxes, which divides the Turkish territory from Persia. Even after 307he had passed it he did not feel secure, and, to prevent the Sanjak-beys, who were in pursuit, from crossing, he placed on the bank of the river, as guards, some of his men who had volunteered for that duty. They were, however, easily routed by the Sanjak-beys, who penetrated a considerable distance beyond the Persian frontiers, till they met Persian officers with a large body of cavalry, who demanded what they meant and what they wanted in foreign territory. The Turks replied that they were trying to recover the runaway son of their Sovereign. The Persians retorted that the Turks were violating the treaty by crossing the frontier with arms in their hands. There was peace and friendship, they said, between Shah Tahmasp and their master, and this state of things ought to be respected. The Shah’s decision about Bajazet would be one worthy of himself, and he would loyally fulfil his obligations. Meanwhile they would do well if they departed from a country in which they had no right to be. By these arguments the Turks were induced to return.

Soon afterwards there came to Bajazet envoys sent by the Persian King to salute him and enquire the reason of his coming, and also to ascertain what forces he brought with him.225 Bajazet told them that he had been driven from his country by his brother’s wrongful acts and his father’s partiality, and had fled to the protection of the King of Persia, as the only sanctuary he had left, and expressed his hope that the Shah, remembering the uncertainties of human fortune, would not refuse the prayers of a suppliant who had no one else to help him. In reply to this appeal he 308received a message from the Shah, saying that he had acted but inconsiderately in coming to him, as he knew that there was peace and friendship between himself and his father, and also that they had agreed to hold each other’s friends and foes as their own, which terms he felt bound to observe. However, as circumstances had taken this course, he bade him come in God’s name, give him his hand and become his guest; he promised that he would leave nothing undone to restore him to favour with his father.

Accordingly Bajazet paid a visit to the Shah,—a visit which was destined to be his ruin. At first everything presented an aspect of welcome, the Shah’s countenance wore a cheerful and friendly expression, gifts were exchanged as between host and guest, and they had frequent interviews and feasted at the same table, but these courtesies only served as screens for their secret intentions. A marriage alliance was also spoken of, one of the daughters of the Persian King being betrothed to Orchan, Bajazet’s son, and Bajazet’s hopes were confirmed that the Shah would not rest till Solyman had given him the Pashalik of Mesopotamia, Babylonia, or Erzeroum. The Shah represented the advantages of these governments in glowing terms, telling him that he could live there without any fear, since he would be at a distance from his brother and father, while, if he was threatened with any danger, his retreat was secured, as he could depend on the protection of his son’s father-in-law, who would defend him and keep him safe from every possible peril.

The object of such language on the part of the Shah was, in all probability, to prevent Bajazet’s perceiving the danger he was incurring. Indeed he believed himself so sure of Tahmasp’s goodwill, that, when the latter was sending an ambassador to Soly309man at Constantinople for the purpose, as was generally believed, of effecting a reconciliation between him and his son, he desired the envoy to tell Solyman, that though he had lost one father in Turkey he had found another in Persia. Whether, however, the Persian King was sincere in his efforts to restore Bajazet to his father’s favour by means of the numerous ambassadors he sent, may be reasonably doubted. For my own part, I consider it more probable that in all this the Shah’s concern for Bajazet’s welfare was pretended rather than genuine, and that his real object was to sound Solyman’s intentions; for in the meantime there was no pause in making all the preparations for his destruction. When they were sufficiently advanced, it was artfully suggested that his present quarters were too small for such a number of men, that provisions were getting scarce, and that it was advisable to distribute them among the neighbouring villages; this arrangement, it was urged, would be a more convenient one in many ways, and especially with regard to the supply of provisions. Shah Tahmasp, who had not his father’s courage, was indeed dreadfully alarmed, fancying that he was cherishing a serpent in his bosom. This is my own opinion, though there are people who maintain that it was not the Shah’s original intention to destroy Bajazet, but that he was forced to do so by the monstrous wickedness of some of the latter’s friends, who, forgetful of the benefits they had received and the ties of hospitality, urged Bajazet to rob him of his kingdom; that unmistakable proofs of such intentions were detected, nay, that an atrocious speech made by one of Bajazet’s chief officers was brought to the King’s ears; namely, ‘What are we about, and why do we hesitate to kill this heretic and seize his throne? Can any one doubt that through his treacherous310 plots we are in imminent danger of destruction?’ This it was, they say, that induced Shah Tahmasp to stoop to an expedient dictated by necessity rather than by honour.

Though the forces Bajazet had were not large, yet they were warlike, and among them were many brave men who were ready for any adventure; the Persian King was afraid of them, and not without reason either. He knew that his dynasty was one of recent origin, and that it had obtained the throne under the pretence of religion.226 Who could guarantee that among the numerous nations which owed him allegiance there would not be many persons who were dissatisfied, and consequently ripe for revolution? For them nothing more opportune could occur than Bajazet’s arrival, as he was a bold and vigorous man in the flower of youth, and had the most important qualification for a leader; namely, that his position was desperate. Hitherto, the Shah reflected, he seemed to be more in Bajazet’s power than Bajazet in his. A change must be made, and he must no longer treat him as a guest, but chain him like a wild beast. Nor would this be difficult to accomplish, if his troops were first dispersed, and he were then surprised and seized himself, when none of his men could help him. It was obvious that he could not be captured in open fight without much bloodshed. The Persian troops were enervated by a long peace, and were not concentrated; Bajazet’s, on the other hand, were on the spot, ready for action, and well drilled.

Accordingly it was suggested to Bajazet that he should separate his troops, and all the arguments in 311favour of such a course were pressed upon him. He felt that the appeal was unanswerable, though some gallant men in his service had the sagacity to see that the proposed arrangement wore a most suspicious appearance. But how could he refuse in his helpless position, when he had no other hope left, when his life was at the mercy of the Shah,—indeed he might deem himself lucky to be alive at all,—and when to doubt his host’s honour might be taken as a sign of the most treacherous intentions? So the poor fellows, who were never to meet again, were conducted to different villages and quartered where the Persians thought fit. After waiting a few days for a favourable opportunity, these scattered detachments were each surrounded by greatly superior forces, and butchered. Their horses, arms, clothes, and all their other effects became the booty of their murderers. At the same time Bajazet was seized while at the Shah’s table, and was thrown into chains. Some people think this violation of the laws of hospitality greatly aggravated the baseness of the act. His children likewise were placed in confinement.

You wished to have the latest news of Bajazet, so here it is for you. As to what is in store for him in the future, I think no one would find it easy to predict. Opinions vary; some people think he will be made a Sanjak-bey, and as such will be given Babylonia or some similar province, on the most distant frontiers of the dominions of the two monarchs. Others place no hope either in Tahmasp or Solyman, considering it all over with Bajazet, who, they think, will either be sent back here for execution, or perish miserably in prison. They argue that the Persian King, when he used force against Bajazet, did not do so without much consideration, fearing no doubt that if that active and312 high-spirited young man, who was a far better soldier than his brother, should succeed his father on the throne, much mischief would be thereby caused to his kingdom and himself. It would be much more to his advantage, if Selim, who is naturally inclined to gluttony and sloth, should become Sultan, since in that case there is good hope of peace and quiet for many a year. They are of opinion that for these reasons the Shah will never let Bajazet escape alive out of his hands, but will prefer to kill him in his prison; giving out a story, which no one could consider improbable, that the young man’s spirit had given way under confinement, and that he had died from mental depression. However that may be, it is in my judgment impossible for him to hope that one, whom he has so deeply injured, will ever be his friend.

You see different people have different opinions; I consider myself, that, whatever the end of the business may be, it will be a complicated one, as indeed I wish it may, for the success of our negotiations is closely connected with the fortunes of Bajazet. They will not be inclined to turn their arms against us till they see their way out of this difficulty. Even now they are trying to force on me for transmission to the Emperor despatches, and I know not what proposals for peace, which, they want me to believe, are very nearly in accordance with his wishes, but they do not give me any copy of them according to the usual practice, and this omission makes me suspect that they are not sincere. On this account I make a rule of resolutely refusing to forward despatches to the Emperor, without the purport of them being previously communicated to me. But, if after presenting me with a copy they should still deceive me, then I should be in possession of a document, which would at once free me313 from all responsibility, and convict them of dishonesty. In this course I am determined to persevere, and so to relieve my master from the difficulty of replying to their quibbling despatches, for he will accept no terms of peace that are not honourable. But you will say that by refusing proposals of peace, whatever their nature may be, a step towards war seems to be taken. Well, for my part, I consider it better policy to wait and see what will happen, without committing ourselves to any engagements. Meanwhile I will take the blame of not forwarding the despatches upon myself, and if the Turkish negotiators are disappointed in their hopes with regard to Bajazet’s speedy death, I do not think I shall find much trouble in clearing myself of it. In the other alternative, I shall have somewhat greater difficulties to overcome, but I consider that I shall have very good explanations to offer, and shall be able to assign adequate reasons for all I have done. The Turks are not in the habit of showing resentment towards those who they see are taking pains to manage their master’s affairs to the best of their ability. Besides, the Sultan is getting old, which is another point in my favour, as in the opinion of the Pashas he requires rest, and ought not to be exposed unnecessarily to the hardships of war. As regards myself, the policy I have sketched out must of course involve me in further trouble and vexation; but I feel that I am right, and if matters turn out as I hope, I shall have no reason to regret the sacrifice I am making.

Now you have got a book, not a letter. If I am to blame for this, you are equally so; you imposed the task; the labour bestowed on this despatch was taken at your desire. Complaisance is the only thing I can be blamed for, and yet this between friends is often considered a ground for commendation. I have some314 hopes however that you will find pleasure in reading what I found pleasure in writing. After I had once commenced my letter I was tempted to spin it out. For whilst writing to you I found that I felt free once more, and fancied myself to be enjoying your society in a far-distant land; you must therefore consider any trifling passages in my letter as the casual chit chat of a crony by your side. A letter has always been thought entitled to the same allowances as conversation. Neither ought to be closely criticised. Amongst friends you may say what first comes uppermost, and the same rule holds good when one is writing to intimate friends; to weigh one’s expressions would be to abandon one’s privileges. Just as public buildings require the perfection of workmanship, while nothing of the sort is expected in domestic offices, so this letter of mine does not pretend to be a work of general public interest, but simply some unpretentious jottings for the benefit of yourself and the friends to whom you may care to show it. If it only pleases you, I for my part am content. My Latin, some one might say, would bear improvement, and also my style. Well, I never said they would not. But what more can you expect of a man than his best? It is my ability, not my will, that is in fault. Besides it is absurd to expect scholarship from this land of barbarism. In fine, you must agree, if you do not despise my present letter, to receive an account of my remaining adventures till I return to Vienna, if, indeed, I ever do return; but whether I shall or not, I will now end and trouble you no further. Farewell.

Constantinople, June 1, 1560.



Introduction—Great disaster of the Christians at Djerbé—Their fleet surprised by Pialé Pasha—Flight of the Duke of Medina to Sicily—Arrival of the news at Constantinople—Exultation of the Turks—Unsuccessful attempt of Don Alvaro de Sandé to cut his way out, followed by the surrender of the garrison—Their hardships during the siege—Triumphal return of the victorious fleet to Constantinople—Solyman’s demeanour—Treatment of the prisoners—Busbecq rescues the royal standard of Naples—Fate of the Duke of Medina’s son—De Sandé brought before the Divan and then imprisoned in the Castle of the Black Sea—Busbecq’s efforts to relieve the prisoners—Complaints of the ingratitude of some of them—Charity of Italian merchants—One notable exception—Religious scruples of the Sultan—He prohibits the importation of wine to Constantinople—Exemption of Busbecq and his household—Story of some Greeks—Busbecq’s request to leave his house on account of the plague refused by Roostem, but granted by Ali, his successor—Death of Roostem—Busbecq’s physician dies of the plague—Description of the Princes’ Islands—Fishing there—Pinnas—Franciscan Friar—Death rate from the plague at Constantinople—Turkish notions of Destiny—The Metropolitan Metrophanes—Return to Constantinople—Characters of Ali Pasha and Roostem contrasted—Anecdote of Roostem—The Emperor presents Busbecq with the money intended for Roostem—Busbecq’s interview with Ali—Accident of the latter—Incursion of John Basilicus into Moldavia—Conversation with Ali on the subject—Imprisoned pilgrims released by the intervention of Lavigne, the French ambassador—His character—Story of him and Roostem—Account of the Goths and Tartars of the Crimea—Gothic vocabulary—Turkish pilgrim’s account of China and of his journey thither—Extraordinary feats of Dervishes—Strictness of Busbecq’s imprisonment relaxed—His troubles in consequence of the quarrels between his servants and the Turks—Story given as an example—Annoyance of the Porte at the Treaty of Cateau Cambrésis—Ibrahim, the first dragoman of the Porte, degraded from office through Lavigne’s, and restored to it through Busbecq’s, influence—Failure of Salviati’s attempt to procure the release of the Spanish prisoners—By Ibrahim’s advice Busbecq intervenes and obtains their release—The Mufti’s opinion—Continuation of the story of Bajazet—Persian ambassadors—Open 316house kept by Pashas before Ramazan—Story of a Khodja at a Pasha’s table—Solyman’s negotiations for Bajazet’s surrender—Strong feeling of the army in his favour—Hassan Aga and the Pasha of Marasch sent to the Shah, who gives leave for Bajazet’s execution—He and his sons are executed in prison—Touching account of the death of the youngest at Broussa—Argument between Busbecq and his cavasse about predestination—Peace negotiations unfavourably affected by Bajazet’s death—Further difficulties apprehended on account of the defection of some Hungarian nobles from John Sigismund to Ferdinand—Terms of peace previously settled adhered to notwithstanding the remonstrances of John Sigismund’s ambassadors—The dragoman Ibrahim selected to return with Busbecq—Ali’s presents to Busbecq—Busbecq’s farewell audience of Solyman—He starts on his return—At Sophia Leyva and Requesens part company and go to Ragusa—Pleasant journey home of Busbecq and de Sandé—Quarrel at Tolna between the Janissary stationed there and one of Busbecq’s servants—Arrival at Buda after meeting Turkish fanatics—Arrival at Gran, Komorn, Vienna—Busbecq learns that the Emperor is at the Diet at Frankfort—He proceeds thither with Ibrahim and is graciously received—Coronation of Maximilian—Peace ratified—Busbecq longs for home—His bad opinion of courts—His preference for a quiet country life—Panegyric of Ferdinand—His Fabian tactics against the Turks justified—His private life—Animals and curiosities brought back by Busbecq—Balsam—Lemnian earth—Coins—MSS.—Dioscorides—Conclusion.

I must first acknowledge the kind and cordial manner in which you congratulate me on my return. Next, as regards your request for a narrative of my experiences during the latter part of my embassy, and for any pleasant stories I may have heard, I beg to assure your Excellency that I am fully sensible of the obligation I have undertaken. I have not forgotten it, and have no intention of defrauding so obliging a creditor as yourself. So here at your service are the events that followed my last letter, whether trifling, amusing, or serious. I intend, as in my other letters, to jot things down as they occur to me, though in this case I shall have to begin with a most disheartening tale.

I had scarcely recovered from the bad news of Bajazet’s misfortunes and imprisonment, when we were overwhelmed by a piece of intelligence, which was317 equally unfavourable. Tidings were then expected at Constantinople of the result of the expedition of the Turkish fleet, which had been summoned to Meninx by the reports of the Spanish successes on that island, which is now called Djerbé.227 Solyman was deeply 318 hurt at hearing that this island had been taken by the Christians, new outworks added to the citadel, and a garrison thrown into the place; as master of a great empire in the full tide of prosperity, he felt that he must avenge the insult. For this reason he determined to assist a nation which was attached to him by the ties of a common faith, and despatched an army and fleet to their assistance under the command of the Admiral Pialé Pasha, who had manned his ships with a numerous body of picked soldiers. The men, however, were anxious, dreading the length of the voyage, and being cowed by the prestige which the enemy had acquired. The great successes gained by the Spanish arms both in ancient and modern times, had made a deep impression on the minds of the Turks. They remembered the Emperor Charles, and heard every day of his son King Philip, who had inherited both the valour and the realms of his father. Hence great anxiety prevailed, and many, under the idea they were bound on a desperate service, made their wills before leaving Constantinople, like men convinced they were fated to return no more. Thus the whole city was distracted by various apprehensions, and everyone, whether he embarked or not, suffered keenly from the strain caused by the uncertainty of the result of the war.

But the winds were favourable to the Turkish fleet; our men were taken by surprise, and such a panic ensued, that they had neither the courage to fight nor the sense to fly; some galleys that were ready for action sought safety in flight; the remainder 319ran aground, and were either miserably wrecked on the shoals, or surrounded and taken by the enemy. The Duke of Medina, the commander of the expedition, retreated into the citadel with John Andrew Doria, the admiral. Favoured by the darkness, they embarked early in the night in a small boat, and boldly steering through the enemy’s blockading squadron, reached Sicily in safety.

Pialé sent a galley here with news of this victory, and, to proclaim more openly the tidings she brought, she trailed in the water from her stern a large flag, on which, according to the account the Turks gave, was embroidered a representation of our Saviour Christ on the Cross. When she entered the harbour, the report of the Christian defeat ran through the whole city, and the Turks began congratulating each other on their great success. They gathered in crowds at my door, and asked my men in mockery, had they any brother, kinsman, or relation in the Spanish fleet? ‘If so,’ said they, ‘you will soon have the pleasure of seeing them.’ They were loud moreover in extolling the valour of their people, and expressing their scorn at the cowardice of the Christians. ‘What power,’ they asked, ‘had we left that could resist them, now that the Spaniard was vanquished?’

My men were obliged to listen to these speeches to their great sorrow, but they had to bear them, as God had so ordered it, and it could not be changed. One thought alone sustained us, the hope that the defence of the citadel, which the Spaniards still held with a strong garrison, could be made good, till winter or some accident should compel the enemy to raise the siege. We had not much hope, however, as we knew that success was far more likely to attend the victors than the vanquished, and so indeed it proved, for the320 besieged being hard pressed and in great want of everything, especially water, at last surrendered the citadel and themselves.

Don Alvaro de Sandé, who commanded the troops, a man of great courage and reputation, when he saw they could hold out no longer, attempted to sally out of the citadel with a few attendants, and seize a small ship, and so cross to Sicily; hoping thus to save the high character he had earned as a soldier from the disgrace which accompanies a surrender, however unavoidable; for he was determined that, whoever might have to bear the responsibility, it should not rest on his shoulders.

The result of his attempt was that the citadel fell into the hands of the enemy, for the soldiers opened the gates, which they could no longer defend, in the hope of appeasing the enemy by a voluntary surrender. Don Juan de Castella refused to leave the outwork entrusted to his charge, but fought against the enemy with his brother at his side, till he was wounded at last, and taken prisoner.

The citadel had been defended by the Spaniards with great resolution for more than three months, though almost every necessary, and—worst of all—even the hope of relief, had failed them. In that burning climate nothing was more trying to the troops than the want of water. There was only one reservoir, and though it was large and well supplied with water, it was not sufficient for such a number. Accordingly a fixed allowance was distributed to each man, just sufficient to sustain life. Many eked out their ration by adding sea-water, which had been purified of most of its salt by distillation. This expedient had been imparted to them, when they had sore need of it, by a skilful alchemist; however, it was not everyone321 that had the necessary apparatus, so that many were to be seen stretched on the ground at the point of death with their mouths gaping, and continually repeating the one word ‘water.’ If anyone had compassion on them and poured a little water into their mouths, they would get up and raise themselves to a sitting posture, till, when the good effect of the draught was exhausted, they would fall back on the same spot, and at last expire of thirst. Accordingly, besides those who were slain, and those who died from sickness and the want of medical attendance on that desolate spot, numbers perished in the manner I have described from want of water.

In the month of September the victorious fleet returned to Constantinople, bringing with it the prisoners, the spoils, and the galleys they had taken from our people, a sight as joyful for the eyes of the Turks, as it was grievous and lamentable for us.

That night the fleet anchored off some rocks near Constantinople, as they did not wish to enter the harbour till morning, when the spectacle would be more striking, and there would be a greater crowd of spectators. Solyman had gone down to the colonnade close to the mouth of the harbour, which forms part of his gardens, that he might have a nearer view of his fleet as it entered, and also of the Christian officers who were exhibited on the deck. On the poop of the admiral’s galley were Don Alvaro de Sandé and the commanders of the Sicilian and Neapolitan galleys, Don Berenguer de Requesens and Don Sancho de Leyva. The captured galleys had been stripped of their oars and upper works and reduced to mere hulks, in which condition they were towed along; and thus made to appear small, ugly, and contemptible compared with those of the Turks.


Those who saw Solyman’s face in this hour of triumph failed to detect in it the slightest trace of undue elation. I can myself positively declare, that when I saw him two days later on his way to the mosque, the expression of his countenance was unchanged: his stern features had lost nothing of their habitual gloom; one would have thought that the victory concerned him not, and that this startling success of his arms had caused him no surprise. So self-contained was the heart of that grand old man, so schooled to meet each change of Fortune however great, that all the applause and triumph of that day wrung from him no sign of satisfaction.

A few days afterwards the prisoners were conducted to the Palace. The poor fellows were half dead from the privations they had undergone. The greater part could scarcely stand on their feet; many fell down from weakness and fainted; some were actually dying. They were insulted and hustled on the way, and compelled to wear their armour with the front turned to the back like so many scarecrows.

Around them were heard the voices of the Turks, who taunted them, and promised themselves the dominion of the world. For now that the Spaniard had been conquered, they said, what enemy was left that could be feared?

There was in that expedition a Turkish officer of the highest rank, with whom I was acquainted. The first or royal standard of the Neapolitan galleys, bearing the arms of all the provinces of the Kings of Spain quartered with the Imperial Eagle, had fallen into his hands. When I heard that he meant to present it to Solyman, I determined to make an effort to anticipate him and get possession of it. The matter was easily arranged by my sending him a present of two323 silk dresses. Thus I prevented the glorious coat-of-arms of Charles V. from remaining with the enemy as a perpetual memorial of that defeat.

Besides the officers I have mentioned, there were among the prisoners two gentlemen of high birth, namely, Don Juan de Cardona, the son-in-law of Don Berenguer, and Don Gaston, the son of the Duke of Medina; the latter, though hardly yet arrived at manhood, had held a high post in his father’s army. Don Juan had cleverly managed, by promising a large sum, to get himself left at Chios, which is still occupied by its ancient Genoese inhabitants.228 Pialé had concealed 324Gaston in hopes of getting a great price for his ransom. But this trick proved well nigh fatal to its contriver. For Solyman, having by some means or other got wind of it, was extremely displeased, and at Roostem’s instigation made diligent search for Gaston’s hiding-place, intending to produce him in evidence of Pialé’s guilt, and thereby justify the execution of the latter.229 But the plan failed through Gaston’s death. Some believe he died of the plague, but it is more probable that Pialé had him murdered, for fear of anything transpiring against himself. At any rate, he could not be traced, though the agents of his father, the Duke of Medina, spared no pains to find him. One may well suspect that Pialé had no scruple in securing his own safety by the murder of Gaston. Notwithstanding, he lived a long time in great fear, and avoiding Constantinople, on various pretexts kept coasting about the islands of the Ægean with a few galleys. He was afraid to come into the presence of his offended master, feeling sure that he would be forthwith manacled, tried, and condemned. At last Solyman was softened by the entreaties of the chief of the eunuchs of his bedchamber, and of his son Selim, and gave him his royal pardon, the very words of which I am glad to be able to repeat. ‘As far as I am concerned let him enjoy pardon and impunity for his terrible crime; but after 325this life may God, that most just avenger of evil deeds, inflict on him the punishment he deserves.’ So rooted is his conviction, that no evil deed ought to go unpunished.

Fortune was more favourable to Don Juan de Cardona. Luckily for him his amiable sister is the wife of a distinguished Austrian Baron, Adam von Dietrichstein,230 who, after a great deal of trouble, got him sent back to Spain, on my becoming surety for his ransom.

When de Sandé was brought into the Divan, or Assembly of the Pashas, and Roostem asked him, ‘What had put it into his master’s head to attack the territories of others when he could not defend his own?’ he replied, ‘This was no matter for him to decide; his duty was to be faithful in executing his master’s orders to the utmost of his ability. He had done his best and had been unfortunate.’ Then kneeling down he entreated the Pashas to intercede with Solyman for his life, saying, that he had a wife and a young family at home, and he entreated them to spare his life for their sake. Roostem replied, ‘His Emperor was of a clement disposition, and he had good hopes of obtaining mercy for him.’


So de Sandé was ordered to be taken to the fortress they call Caradenis, which means ‘of the Black Sea,’ but he had not gone far when he was recalled. The only reason for his being sent for again was, that the chief of the bedchamber eunuchs, whom I mentioned before, and who has great influence with the Sultan, had not yet seen him, and wished to do so. It was noticed that as he came back his nerves, usually so strong, appeared to be shaken, and he seemed to be afraid that the Pashas had altered their decision, and were bringing him back for execution.

The other prisoners of importance were confined in the Tower of Pera, or Galata, as it is sometimes called. Among them were Don Sancho de Leyva, with his two bastard sons, and also Don Berenguer.

After I had been informed of their condition and the great privations they were undergoing, I felt it my duty to come to their relief. I therefore sent visitors to express my sympathy, and assure them of my readiness to give them such assistance as lay in my power. From that time my house was the general rendezvous of all the prisoners, nor was I ever backward in giving them help as far as my means allowed.

The Turks consider they have made ample provision for their prisoners, if they have bread and water enough. As to what the age of each prisoner, his habits and state of health, or the season of the year may demand, they take no account, and treat all in the same way, whether they are sick or well or just recovering from illness, strong or delicate, old or young. I had, therefore, a wide field for the exercise of my charity, inasmuch as each case required special treatment. A great multitude of the sick were lying in a mosque in Pera, the town situated opposite Byzantium, immediately across the bay. About them the Turks did327 not think it worth while to take any more trouble, indeed they considered them as good as dead. Many of them died from want of proper nourishment, either during the illness itself or during convalescence; for they had no bowl of soup or dainty dish to tempt their feeble appetite, and thus enable them gradually to regain their strength. Being informed of this, I commissioned a citizen of Pera, who was a friend of mine, to buy some sheep every day, boil them at home, and divide them among the prisoners, giving meat to some and broth to others, as each man’s case happened to require, and this was of service to not a few. This I did for the sick; those who were well required help of another kind.

My house from early morning till evening was filled with a crowd of those who sought assistance for their different troubles. Some, who had been accustomed to sumptuous tables, could not digest their daily ration of dry black bread, and required the means of procuring some relish to eat with it. There were others whose stomachs could not endure perpetual water-drinking, and wanted a little wine to mix with it. Some needed blankets, as they had nothing but the bare ground to sleep on, and therefore suffered from cold at night; one was in want of a cloak, another of shoes. The most numerous requests were for the means wherewith to fee their jailers, and thus render them more merciful.

To cure all these troubles money was the only remedy, so that a day never passed without several pieces of gold being thus expended.

But this evil was endurable and not fatal; another and a more ruinous one was impending from the persons who demanded that larger sums should be lent them, or wanted me to be surety for the amount328 of their ransom. None of them lacked some plausible pretext for puffing himself off, and maintaining that his own case had the best claim on my bounty. One put forward his high rank and his powerful relations or connections, another his long service and his captain’s commission, a third his great wealth at home and his ability to pay the debt without delay. Some too boasted of their own valour, and their glorious exploits in war. All, in a word, thought they had a fair claim for assistance on some ground or other. If a question was asked as to their credit and whether they would remember to pay, they told me to make myself perfectly easy; for what, said they, could be more unjust than to involve the man who had done them this great service in pecuniary difficulties and losses, when they owed to him their freedom and their lives, and had been rescued by him as it were from the very jaws of death?

And indeed it was most grievous for me to hear, ‘Unless I have this moment in ready money two hundred pieces of gold, it is all over with me; I shall be taken over into Asia, or sent I know not whither as a galley-slave,231 without any hope of ever recovering my freedom or seeing my home again. There is a merchant, who will not refuse to supply goods sufficient to raise the sum, if you will only go security.’ Such statements were the only warranty they generally gave me; but I could not help being influenced by them when I reflected that what they said was true. Unless they were assisted, a large part of them must inevitably perish by various calamities, and there was no one on 329the spot, who had greater means of helping them than myself, or on whom they had a stronger claim.

But you will say against me, I know, ‘No one is to be trusted;’ but who in the world could suppose that anyone would be such a monster of ingratitude as not to repay the money, which had been advanced to save his life? Suppose one or two lacked, not the will, but the means. Well, I must risk it, and after all what is spent in doing a good turn to a good man is never really lost. The majority at any rate will act honestly.

I was induced by such considerations to pledge my credit for many thousand crowns, and to plunge myself into such a deep abyss, that I do not know how I am to get out of it; indeed I am afraid that in getting them out of prison I have got myself into it. I have been explicit on this subject, as I wish to clear myself of blame for want of judgment in being too ready to lend. I must admit that the neglect to repay in certain cases has made me suspect that I shall not get out of the business without heavy loss. Nay, I have been already obliged to pay the money for which I went security for some of them, and I remember that remarks of certain among them came to my ears, who, though they had been saved by my good offices, yet made a joke of my extreme readiness in complying with their requests, and dubbed me for my pains a scatter-brained fool. From this I can gather how some of them will treat their obligations. But all this is in God’s hands. However it may turn out, I do not see why I should regret having done a kindness to many.

Ipsa sibi virtus semper pulcherrima merces.

I look for no extraordinary recompense for myself, and wish no honours, no statue voted me. All I ask is, that they should carry their gratitude so far as to330 repay honestly what I have spent to save their lives. I do not despair of this from so gallant a nation as the Spaniards.

I am glad to say that I not only did my part in contributing, but also by my example was the means of inducing many others to come forward and give valuable assistance. There are among the citizens and residents of Pera many Italian merchants, and these displayed extraordinary zeal in assisting the prisoners. There was, however, one exception, and I shall never forget his reasoning on the matter, it was so absurd. He was an Italian Greek, i.e., both in birth and manners half Greek and half Italian. When all his countrymen were doing their utmost to forward the good work, he never could be induced to spend a farthing on any of the prisoners. When he was accused on that score, he defended himself thus, in broken and barbarous Italian, for Greek was more familiar to him. ‘I do not know what sort of people these are, but I can easily guess they have not been brought into this misery except by the just judgment of God. I will not run counter to the Divine Will; as far as I am concerned, let them stay in the place where God has chosen them to be. I shall not be surprised if you, who so daringly come between them and the decrees of Providence, have reason to repent of it hereafter. No one shall persuade me to lay out on them as much as a single penny.’ Such was his view of the matter. So much for this foolish prognosticator.

This naval defeat of the Christians, coupled with Bajazet’s disaster, caused me great anxiety; I was afraid that I should find the Turks elated by success, and consequently more exacting in my negotiations for peace. Besides the public misfortunes, I also sustained a personal loss; the plague invaded my house,331 carrying off one of my most faithful servants, and causing a panic among the other members of my household.

Of this I will speak a little later, when I have mentioned another trouble that befell us, which, though less than the former, caused me considerable anxiety. The Sultan is becoming every day more scrupulous in religious matters, or in other words, more superstitious. He used to enjoy hearing a choir of boys, who sang to the accompaniment of stringed instruments. But all this has been done away with by the interposition of some old hag, renowned for her profession of sanctity, who threatened him with heavy punishments hereafter if he did not give up this amusement. Alarmed by her denunciations, he broke up all his musical instruments and threw them into the fire, though they were of excellent workmanship, and adorned with gold and jewels.

Some one found such fault with him for eating off silver plate, that he has used nothing but earthenware ever since.

Then some one appeared who blamed the Sultan for allowing wine to be used so freely in the city, and so made him feel conscientious scruples at neglecting Mahomet’s directions on this head. Therefore proclamation was made that thenceforth no wine should be imported into Constantinople, not even for the Christians or the Jews. This proclamation concerned me and mine not a little, as we were by no means accustomed to drinking water. For where could we get wine, if it was not allowed to enter the walls of the city? Long home-sickness and the continued uncertainty about the result of our negotiations had already told upon our strength, and this compulsory change in our diet was, in consequence, likely to be very pre332judicial to our health. I commissioned my interpreters to make strong representations to the Pashas in the Divan, and to maintain our ancient privileges. There opinions were divided. Some thought we ought to be content with drinking water, for what would the neighbourhood say, demurred they, if they saw we had wine brought into our house? Why, that while they were strictly forbidden its use, Christians in the midst of Constantinople were swilling away to their hearts’ content, and polluting the city far and wide with the fumes of their liquor. Nay, even Mussulmans who came to me went away reeking with wine. These considerations proved well nigh fatal to our suit. However, the opinion of the Pashas who took special charge of our interests, finally prevailed. They declared that we were not able to stand such a change of diet, and warned the Divan that sickness and death would in many cases be the consequence. The end of it was, that we were allowed the choice of one night, on which we might have as much wine as we wished conveyed to the sea-gate, this being the most convenient point for us. There we had carts and horses to meet it, and bring it into the house with as little noise as possible, and so we retained our rights.

Some members of the Greek nation did not fail to put the Sultan to the test in the following fashion. Having ascertained that he was about to pass through a district which was planted with numerous vineyards, they assembled in great numbers, and began tearing up the vines by the roots. Some of them commenced to block the road with the vine stocks, and others to load carts with them. When the Sultan came to the place, he stopped, wondering what the matter could be, and calling to him the nearest of the men, inquired what they were about. They answered, that as by his pro333clamation they were forbidden to drink wine, they were rooting up the vines for firewood, as they would be useless for the future. Then Solyman replied, ‘You are wrong, and have not understood my intentions, as you ought to have done. If I enjoined abstinence from wine, I did not therefore prevent anyone’s eating grapes. Grapes are to be reckoned among the most excellent of the fruits which God has granted to man. There is nothing to hinder you from enjoying their juice while fresh, so long as you do not put it up in casks, and turn it to a wrong use by your pernicious art. Do you think pear-trees and apple-trees ought to be rooted up because they do not produce wine? Leave off, you fools, and spare the vines, which will bear you excellent fruit.’ Thus the Greeks took nothing by their scheme.

I now return to the plague, which, as I told you, had attacked our house. When it broke out, I sent to Roostem to ask for permission to remove to some place that was free from infection. I did so with hesitation, as I was acquainted with his character; still I could not incur the imputation of neglecting my own health and that of my servants. Roostem answered, he would lay my request before the Sultan, and the next day sent me back word that his master had made this reply: ‘What did I mean, or where did I think of flying? did I not know that pestilence is God’s arrow which never misses its mark? where in the world could I hide myself, so as to be shielded from the stroke of His weapons? If He ordained that the pestilence should strike me, neither flight nor concealment would be of any avail. To try to escape from the inevitable was a vain attempt. His own palace was not at that very moment free from the plague, but nevertheless he stayed there, and it was likewise my duty to334 remain where I was.’ Thus I was obliged to await my doom in that plague-stricken house.

But not long afterwards it came to pass that Roostem was carried off by an attack of dropsy.232 He was succeeded by Ali, who was then the second of the Vizieral Pashas, the most courteous and sagacious statesman I ever met among the Turks.233 When I sent him a valuable silken robe with my congratulations on his promotion, I received a gracious reply, for he asked me to treat him as a friend on every occasion, and not to hesitate to apply to him if necessary, and indeed he was as good as his word.

The first occasion on which I experienced his kindness was, when the plague broke out afresh in my house, and, besides attacking other members of my household, carried off the excellent gentleman, who, under God, had been our chief support in time of sickness. I sent to Ali Pasha to ask the same permission I had formerly asked of Roostem. He replied that he could give me leave to go where I pleased, but it would be more prudent to ask that of the Sultan as well, for fear that if he should happen to fall in with my men going about at large, he should be angry at my being outside my lodgings without his knowledge. Everything, he said, depended on the way in which a matter was brought to the Sultan’s notice, and that he would lay the subject before him in such a manner as to leave no doubt of his assent. Soon afterwards he informed me that I had permission to go wherever I thought proper.

The island they call Prinkipo234 appeared to be the most convenient place for my retirement. It is four 335hours’ sail from the city, and is the most agreeable of the numerous little islands which are in the neighbourhood of Constantinople, for the others have only one village or none at all, but this has two.

As to what I said, that the person on whose skill we had chiefly relied had been taken away from us by death, this was none other than my most excellent and faithful companion during my long sojourn abroad, our doctor, William Quacquelben.

I had ransomed a man, who (though I did not know it at the time), proved to be stricken with the plague. While William was endeavouring to treat him for the disease, being not sufficiently careful of himself, he got infected with the plague poison. On this point he did not agree with the rest of his profession, but declared that, when the plague was rife there was more panic than real danger; his opinion being that, at such times there is about the average amount of different kinds of illness, and that people are then so nervous, that they think most of them are the plague, and that consequently every sort of ulcer or pimple is then regarded as a plague boil, and treated accordingly. And so, although he was already sickening of the plague, he never suspected what was the matter with him, until the sickness, which had been increased by his concealing it, broke out with violent paroxysms. He all but died in the hands of those who ran to support him, and not even then could he be induced to believe it was an attack of the plague. When I sent, the day before he died, to make inquiries, he replied he was better, and asked me to come to him, if I could spare the time. I sat with him a long time, and he told me how very ill he had been. All his senses, he said, and especially his sight, had been so impaired that he could recognise no one. He was336 now better in this respect and had the command of all of them; the phlegm only continued, which interfered with his breathing, and if this were relieved he would be well at once. As I was leaving him, I said, I heard he had some sort of abscess on his breast. He admitted that such was the case, and throwing back the bed-clothes showed it me, saying, there was nothing bad about it, he had got it from the knots of a new doublet he had put on, which was too tight.

In the evening, according to the rules of my house, two of my servants went to attend him for the night, and were preparing to change his shirt. When he was stripped, he noticed on his body a purple spot which they said was a flea-bite, and then he saw more and bigger ones. ‘These are no flea-bites,’ said he, ‘but messengers to tell me my death is near. Let us therefore profit by this warning.’ From that moment he devoted the whole of the night to prayer, pious meditation, and listening to the Scriptures being read, until as morning broke, he departed this life with full assurance of God’s mercy.235

Thus I lost a very dear friend and excellent fellow-worker, while the loss to the literary world was not less than mine. He had seen, learnt, and taken note of many things, and intended sooner or later to publish the results of his observations, but death cut short the work he had so admirably planned. So highly did I appreciate his loyalty and his tact, that, if the state of my negotiations had permitted, and I had been granted permission to return, I should not have hesitated to leave him as my deputy at Constantinople. From that time it appeared as if my labours were doubled, and 337now that I have returned home, I seem to have left a portion of myself behind in my dear friend’s grave at Constantinople. May peace be with his blessed spirit! His virtues are recorded on the monument, which I erected to his memory.

But to return to my islands,236 on which I lived very pleasantly for three months. I enjoyed the greatest privacy, there was neither crowd nor noise. There were a few Greeks on the island in whose houses we lodged, but there was no Turk to act the jailer and dog my footsteps when I wanted to amuse myself; for the Turkish servants, to whom I had grown accustomed, did not interfere with me, and I was allowed to wander freely where I would, and to coast about the numerous islands as I pleased.

Every place there is full of plants of different sorts, cottonweed, narrow-leaved myrtle, knapweed, and many others. The sea abounds with fish of every kind, which I caught sometimes with a hook and sometimes with a net. Boats were to be had with Greek fishermen, whom we employed to help us.

I used to cross to any spot that presented an agreeable view, or held out good hopes of sport. Sometimes, where the water was clear and shallow, I took a fancy to carry on open warfare by spearing with a trident a crab or a lobster as he scuttled along, and so pulling him into the boat. But the mode of fishing, which was at once the most pleasant and the most profitable, was that with a seine or drag-net.

I had a place, which the fishermen thought likely, surrounded with a drag-net, and, by making use not only of the net itself but also of the long ropes with which 338its two ends were dragged ashore, we managed to enclose a very considerable space. Round these ropes the sailors twined a quantity of green boughs to scare the fish and prevent their escaping into deep water. So, when the ends of the net on either side were drawn to land, the fish were driven into a narrow space; they then began to get frightened and did their best to escape, each following its natural instinct. Some tried to avoid the danger by a bold leap over the net. Others, on the contrary, by burrowing in the sand endeavoured to save themselves from being entangled. Some tried to gnaw through the meshes, though they were made of very coarse twine; these were mostly of the shark tribe, which are armed with powerful teeth. These creatures have such instinct that when they have bitten away twine enough to open a passage for one, the whole shoal follows where the first has got out, and leaves not one for the fisherman. As I was afraid of this trick, of which I had been warned beforehand, I stood in the bows holding a pole with which I kept striking their noses as they gnawed at the net, much to the amusement of my attendants. My efforts were rewarded with only partial success; a few were caught, but a great many got away. So you see that even a fish, when hard put to it, can turn cunning. However, we took plenty of other fish to console us for the loss of some of the sharks—such as sea bream, sea scorpions, weavers, char, rock-fish, and ruffs. Their variety made them a pretty sight, and I greatly enjoyed making out their names and habits. So at night I returned to my camp with my bark wreathed with laurels, and laden with booty and prisoners. The next day I shared my spoils with Ali Pasha and his major-domo, who returned me their grateful thanks, and said the present was very acceptable.


I sometimes took a fancy to capture pinnas, for which I used a pole and iron contrivance made for the purpose, with which I pulled them up from the bottom. They are very plentiful in that sea, so much so that they seem to have been artificially laid down. I found in them the pinna-guards, celebrated by Cicero, Pliny, and Athenæus, which were usually in pairs, a male and a female, but sometimes in larger numbers. I am afraid, however, that the other statements made about them by the above authors are not altogether to be trusted. That they are interesting, I admit; the question is, are they based on fact. They relate that the pinna with its shells wide open lies in wait for tiny fishes, but that, as it is a blind and senseless lump of flesh, it would not know when they are inside its fortalice, if it were not warned by a bite from the pinna-guard; then it closes its shells, and shares with the pinna-guard the fishes that are shut in. For the shape of the pinna, you may consult Belon.237 It fixes the sharper of its two ends into the bottom of the sea, and fastens itself by a tuft of hair or thread, so firmly, that one might think it was planted there. By these threads it sucks up its nutriment, which is clearly proved from the fact that, if torn up from its place, it dies from want of nourishment, like vegetables and plants when severed from their roots. But it is probable the pinna-guard chooses this home in order to have a strong defence against the violence of ravenous fishes and a quiet haven when the sea is boisterous, from which it 340can sally out when it likes, and retreat again in safety. I should not, however, wish in saying this to be suspected of intending to detract at all from the authority of such great men; my object is simply to draw the attention of others to the subject in the hope of its being investigated more thoroughly.238 We used to have no difficulty in filling our boat with pinnas; they are not good eating, and you would soon get tired of them, being coarse and tasting like mussels. But the fisherman told us to pick out the pinna-guards, of which a dish was made, that was alike agreeable to the palate and wholesome for the stomach.

Among the rest there is a small island, which is uninhabited. Close to it I recollect capturing monstrous and extraordinary creatures, such as starfishes, razorshells, clusters of cuttlefish eggs, sea-horses, enormous snails, and some yellow balls like oranges, but no fishes, except one skate or sting-ray, which is capable of inflicting a serious wound with its sting. It tried to strike us, and in so doing impaled itself and was caught.

When the weather kept us from the sea, I amused myself on shore in looking for rare and new plants. Sometimes by way of exercise, I walked round the island, dragging with me a Franciscan friar, a capital young fellow, but, though young, very fat and unaccustomed to exertion. He had gone with me as a companion from the monastery at Pera. One day, as I was walking fast to warm myself, he followed me with difficulty, puffing and blowing, ‘What need is there,’ he would cry, ‘for such a hurry? We are not running for our lives or chasing anybody! Are we postmen charged with letters of importance?’ This went on till the sweat broke out in his back through 341his clothes in a great round patch. When we returned to our lodging, he made the house echo with his groans and lamentations, and threw himself on his bed, crying out he was done for. ‘What harm,’ he exclaimed, ‘have I ever done you that you should try to kill me before my time?’ And it was only by dint of much pressing that we could induce him to come to supper.

Occasionally friends from Constantinople and Pera and some Germans of Ali’s household paid us a visit. When I asked them ‘Whether the plague was abating?’ one of them replied, ‘Yes, in a marked degree.’ ‘What is the daily death-rate then?’ quoth I, ‘About five hundred,’ said he. ‘Good God,’ I exclaimed, ‘do you call this the plague abating? How many used to die when it was at its height?’ ‘About a thousand or twelve hundred,’ he answered.

The Turks imagine that the time and manner of each man’s death is inscribed by God on his forehead, and that therefore they have no power of avoiding the fatal hour, and that till that time there is no need for fear. This belief renders them indifferent to the dangers of the plague, but does not secure them against its attacks. And so they handle the clothes and sheets in which plague-stricken people have expired, while they are still reeking with their death-sweat, and even rub their faces with them. ‘If God,’ say they, ‘has decreed that I shall die thus, it must happen; if not, it cannot injure me.’ This of course is just the way to spread contagion, and sometimes whole households perish to a man.

While I lived in the islands I made friends with the Metropolitan239 Metrophanes, who was abbot of a 342monastery in Chalcis, one of the islands, a polite and well-educated man, who was very anxious for a union of the Latin and Greek Churches. In this he differed from the views entertained by Greeks generally, for they will hold no communion with members of the Latin Church, which they consider an impure and profane sect. This shows how strong is each man’s conviction of the truth of his own faith.

When I had spent about two months in the island, some of the Pashas became suspicious of my long stay, sought an interview with Ali, and told him that they considered it would be more convenient if I were recalled to the city. For what if I should escape? I had ships at my command, and everything that was needful to facilitate my flight, should I be so inclined. Ali told them to set their minds at ease, saying, he had the most perfect confidence in me. He sent me, notwithstanding, a cavasse to tell me of this. The man, after examining everything, without appearing to do so, and finding nothing to indicate an intention of running away, returned with a message from me to Ali Pasha not to be afraid; I would do nothing which would give him cause to repent of his confidence in me. I took care, by the way, to give the cavasse a douceur. So my holiday was prolonged into the third month, and I returned to the city, at my own time, without being recalled.

From that time forward Ali Pasha and I became firm friends, and were for ever interchanging views with the object of re-establishing peace. He is a Dalmatian by birth, and the only polished gentleman I came across among the Turkish savages. He is of a quiet and gentle disposition, courteous, and extremely intelligent, possesses great capacity for business, and has had much experience both as general in the field and343 statesman in the cabinet. For he is now advanced in life, and the posts he has held have always been important ones. He is above the average height, and, while his habitual expression is grave and serious, it has about it an ineffable charm. To his master he is deeply attached, and he shows it by his anxiety to arrange a peace, for he feels that the Sultan’s health and years require rest. The end which Roostem had sought to bring about by rudeness and intimidation he endeavoured to compass by courtesy and moderation;—in short, Ali treated me like a friend.

Roostem was always sour, always overbearing, and meant his word to be law. It was not that he was ignorant of how matters stood. He knew right well what the condition of the times and the Sultan’s advancing years required, but he was afraid that, if any word or act of his should betoken a milder mood, he would be suspected of hankering after a bribe, for his master had no confidence in his integrity in this respect. For this reason he did not desist from his usual rudeness, although he was desirous of patching up a peace. Accordingly, when anything was said that did not please him, he refused to listen to me, and showed me the door, so that every conference I had with him ended in his losing his temper; though I cannot be sure that his anger was not sometimes assumed.

On one occasion, I remember, when I had been treating with him on matters concerning the peace, and he had rejected my propositions as inadmissible, and had told me to be off, if I had no other proposals to make, I immediately rose and went home, having first said that it was not in my power to go beyond my instructions. As he thought I had done this with unusual warmth, he called back my interpreter and asked him344 if I was displeased. When the interpreter replied in the negative, ‘I want your opinion,’ said Roostem; ‘if I were to obtain from my master the terms he has mentioned to me, do you think he would be as good as his word and pay me down the present he has promised me?’ When the interpreter said he felt no doubt that I would most faithfully perform whatever I had promised, Roostem replied, ‘Go home and ask him.’ I had by me in ready money 5,000 ducats, which are equivalent to 6,000 crowns. With these I loaded my interpreter, and ordered him to tell Roostem to keep them as a proof of my good faith and as a first instalment, saying, that the rest would follow when the business was concluded (for I had promised him a still larger sum), I was not in the habit of breaking my word. Roostem was delighted to see the money, fingered it, and then gave it back to the interpreter, saying, ‘I do not doubt his good faith; but as to the peace there are difficulties of no ordinary kind in the way; I cannot give him any positive assurance about it, indeed I do not yet know my master’s intentions. Go, take the money back to the Ambassador that he may keep it for me, till it is certain what turn the business will take. In the mean time he must be my banker.’

So I saved my money after all, Roostem himself being carried off by death some months afterwards.

I must now tell you of the goodness of our most gracious Emperor. When there seemed no object in keeping this sum any longer, after giving due notice to the Emperor, I applied it to meet a year’s expenditure (for our annual outlay amounted to 6,000 crowns). I afterwards repented of this, when I began to reflect on the number of years and the great labours and dangers this embassy had cost me already; I thought I had not done myself justice, inasmuch as though I knew345 the money was but my due, and I had a most excellent and generous master, a most just judge of everyone’s deserts, I had forgotten to avail myself of the opportunity, and had made no effort to secure for myself the money which had been saved, beyond all hope, like a lamb snatched from the very jaws of the wolf. There are many at court who have obtained far greater rewards for far smaller services. I determined to call the Emperor’s attention to the case, admit my error, and ask him to restore the entire sum, and to set right with his usual princely generosity the mistake I had committed through my carelessness. I had no difficulty in making out my case before so considerate a judge; he ordered the six thousand pieces of gold to be repaid me out of his treasury. If I shall ever allow my master’s great generosity to fade from my memory, I shall account myself unworthy to live.

But to return to my subject; there was a striking contrast between the characters of the Pashas Ali and Roostem. The career of the former had been such as to place his integrity in money matters above all suspicion. Consequently he was under no apprehension that courtesy or kindness on his part would injure him with his master. But Roostem, on the contrary, was always grasping, always mean, and one who made self-interest and money his first consideration.240 Roostem used to have very short interviews with me, but Ali would purposely keep me for several hours, and make my visit pleasant by his great civility. Meanwhile the Turks, who had come either to call or on business, kept murmuring because they were detained so long waiting for their audience, while the Pasha was closeted with me. I confess I got very hungry at these interviews, for he used to summon me to him in 346the afternoon, and I did not care to eat before I went, as I wished to have my brain as clear as possible for my conference with this able statesman. In these conversations he strenuously urged, that we should each advise our own master to take the course we considered most for his interests. ‘He was well aware,’ he said, ‘that his master required nothing more urgently than repose, as his course was nearly run, and he had had his fill of military glory; on the other hand, he felt that there was no need to prove to me that peace and quiet would be likewise to my master’s interests. If he desired to consult the safety and tranquillity of his subjects, he ought not to rouse the sleeping lion, and provoke him once more to enter the lists. Just as mirrors, which are naturally empty, take the reflections of whatever objects may be placed before them, even so the minds of Sovereigns,’ he argued, ‘are blanks, which receive what may be called impressions of what is presented to them, and therefore we ought to put before our masters’ minds what would be most conducive to their advantage. Also we ought,’ said he, ‘to imitate good cooks, who do not season their dishes to suit the palate of this person or that, but consult the general taste; in like manner we, in settling the terms of peace, ought to regulate them so as to attain results which would be agreeable and honourable to both parties alike.’

He used very sensibly to repeat these and many similar arguments, and whenever an opportunity presented itself, displayed his good will towards me, and if in turn I showed him any sign of attention, he received it with marked gratitude.

About this time he met with an accident. He was returning home from the Divan, and had arrived at the turn of the road, where it was his habit to bid his347 colleagues farewell. There he chanced to wheel his horse round too sharply, and, while engaged in giving them a parting salute, bowed low with his whole weight on his steed’s neck. The horse, which had not yet got its foothold, being unequal to the weight, fell with its rider to the ground.

When I heard of this, I ordered my servants to visit him and inquire if he had received any harm from the accident. He was gratified by the attention, and after thanking me replied, ‘he was nowhere injured, and it was not strange if an old worn-out soldier was liable to fall.’ Then turning to the bystanders, he said, ‘I cannot tell you how much kindness that Christian always shows me.’

Sometimes he used to tell me that riches, honour, and dignities had fallen in abundance to his lot, and that now his only object in life was to show kindness to every one, and thus to hand down to posterity a grateful recollection of his name.

When we had been already engaged for some time in peace negotiations, and I was in great hopes of obtaining the result I desired, an accident occurred, which might have upset and ruined everything.

A Greek by birth, whom they honoured with the title of Despot,241 invaded Moldavia, under the protec348tion of the Emperor’s troops who were guarding the Hungarian frontier, and occupied it, after driving out the 349Voivode, who was then in possession of that country. The Turks were greatly disturbed by this event, which was serious enough in itself, and might, they feared, be only the first step to further enterprises, but they deemed it wise to conceal their anxiety, and not to make bad worse by unseemly alarm. But Ali thought he ought not to let it pass without communicating with me, and ascertaining my views. I received information from one of his domestics that in the course of a few hours I should be summoned to him about this affair. I must confess I was seriously alarmed by this message. Our negotiations were well nigh completed, in fact we were like players who are about to conclude their piece, of which only the last act remains. I was in great fear that this new event would disturb everything, and carry us away again from the harbour which was just in sight. I was summoned to Ali Pasha, as I had been warned. He received me with his usual politeness, and conversed with me on various topics, 350especially those relating to the conclusion of peace, without showing either in his words or expression any change from his usual demeanour, till I was just preparing to go, and had risen to bid him farewell. Then, as if he had just recollected the subject of Moldavia, he told me to sit down again and said, just as one does when some trifle has come into one’s head, ‘Indeed I had almost forgotten one thing I wanted to tell you. Have you heard that your Germans have come into Moldavia?’ ‘Into Moldavia!’ said I; ‘no, indeed I have not, and what is more, it seems to me most improbable. For what could Germans have to do with so distant a country as Moldavia?’ ‘Yet it is true,’ said he, ‘and you will find it to be so.’ He then began to repeat at greater length what he had told me, and to assure me that the news which had arrived was certain. ‘To conclude,’ said he, ‘to prevent your having any doubt about it, we will catch a German and send him to you that you may find out the truth from him.’ I then took the line of saying, that in any case I felt quite certain that nothing had been done by the Emperor’s orders or authority. The Germans were a free nation, and in the habit of taking foreign service. Perhaps some of those who had served under the Emperor’s generals had after their discharge enlisted as mercenaries under some one who required such troops, and in my judgment he would not be far wrong in attributing the cause of this disturbance to the neighbouring Hungarian magnates, who, wearied of the wrongs which were heaped on them every day by the Turks, had planned to pay them back in their own coin, and if I might express what I felt, ‘I do not see,’ said I, ‘on what ground they can be blamed, if, when harassed so often and goaded on by their wrongs, they remembered they were men and ventured to retaliate.351 Is there anything that your soldiers have not for many years past thought they might not perpetrate in Hungary? What species of outrage or what acts of hostility are there that they have abstained from inflicting on the Emperor’s subjects? Here indeed hopes of peace are put forward, but there war in all its worst forms is to be found. I have now been detained here as a prisoner for many years, and no one at home knows for certain whether I am alive or dead. The men who have borne your insults so long deserve, in my opinion, praise, not blame, if they avail themselves of any opportunity of revenge that presents itself.’

‘Be it so,’ said Ali; ‘let them do their worst, provided they keep within the borders of Hungary itself or the adjoining districts; but that they should invade Moldavia, which is only a few days’ journey from Adrianople, that indeed is more than we can put up with.’

I replied, ‘Men accustomed to war, and more experienced in wielding arms than in law, should not be expected to make nice or fine-drawn distinctions. They seized the first opportunity that offered, and thought it was not for them to consider where or how far they had leave to go.’ Thus I left him without his being at all angry, as far as I could judge; and in fact he did not show himself on the following days a bit more hard to deal with in the peace negotiations.

While we were in the midst of this business, I received a great kindness, for so I interpret it, from the Ambassador of the most Christian King (the King of France). There were in the Sultan’s prisons at Constantinople thirteen men, most of them young, including some of noble birth, partly Germans and partly Netherlanders, who had been reduced to that state by a curious accident. They had embarked at Venice352 in the ship, by which pilgrims to the holy city of Jerusalem are conveyed every year to Syria with passports from the Republic of Venice. Some were making the pilgrimage from religious motives, and others were travelling for pleasure; the journey, however, was destined to be disastrous to all. They landed at a most unfortunate time, as the knights of Malta had just made a descent upon that part of the coast of Palestine, and had carried off many prisoners. The Syrians, whose parents, children, and relations had been kidnapped, finding that they had no other means of revenging themselves and recovering their friends, laid hands on the travellers who were under the protection of Venetian passports, and accused them of belonging to the pirates, saying, ‘You must either get our kinsfolk restored to us, or like them be reduced to the condition of slaves.’ They showed their passports from the Venetian government, they appealed to the treaties and engagements of the Porte. It was all of no use; might proved stronger than right, and they were carried off to Constantinople in chains. Their youth also was much against them, as it prevented even the Pashas thinking it likely that they were bonâ fide pilgrims, because, as a general rule, it is only the older Turks who make religious pilgrimages.

When I obtained information of these events, I left no stone unturned to deliver them from their miserable condition; but my endeavours were wholly unsuccessful. The Venetian Baily242 was appealed to, because they were under the protection of his Republic when they had fallen into misfortune. He frankly admitted their claim to his assistance, but pointed out the difficulty of his doing them any service when he had to deal with such insolent barbarians as the Turks. 353Meanwhile I did what I could to lighten their misfortunes. However, to my great surprise and joy they one day came to me in a body and told me they were sent home, thanks to the Ambassador of the most Christian King; through his good offices they had obtained their freedom. I was indeed delighted at this unhoped-for event, and had my warmest thanks conveyed to the Ambassador. The said Ambassador, Lavigne, being about to leave, had managed, when he was having a farewell audience of Solyman and was kissing his hand according to the established etiquette, to thrust into it a paper, in which he asked that those men, whose calamity had been caused by their undertaking a pilgrimage, should be granted their liberty as a favour to his King. Solyman complied with his request and ordered them to be instantly released.243 I provided them with means for their journey, and having put them on board ship, sent them to Venice, and thence to their own country.

This Lavigne had at first made himself troublesome to me in many ways, and, whenever he could, tried to impede my negotiations, and did his best, without any fault of mine, to prejudice the Pashas against me. He used to say I was a subject of the King of Spain, as I was born in the Netherlands, and was as much that 354King’s servant as the Emperor’s. He told them King Philip was informed through me of everything that went on at Constantinople; that I had suborned men for that purpose, who disclosed to me all the greatest secrets, among whom Ibrahim, the first dragoman of the Sultan, about whom I shall speak later on, played the principal part. All this had happened before peace had been made between the Kings of Spain and France; and when peace was concluded he seems to have sought an opportunity to make amends for what he had done.

Lavigne was a man of a rude and brutal frankness; he always said what was uppermost in his mind, quite regardless of the feelings of his hearer. The consequence was that Roostem himself shrank from meeting him, although other people were afraid of conversing with Roostem on account of the rudeness of his language. Lavigne would send his dragomans to demand an audience for himself; Roostem would make excuses, and tell him to communicate what he wanted through them, and spare himself the trouble, assuring him that it could be done just as well without his coming. But this used to be all in vain, for he would presently come and say such things as seldom failed to give offence to Roostem. To take an instance, he one day complained that they did not have as much regard for his master as they ought to have. ‘For what is your opinion?’ said he; ‘perhaps you think Buda, Gran, Stuhlweissenburg, and the other towns of Hungary were taken by your valour, but you are quite mistaken. It is through us you hold them. For had it not been for the quarrels and perpetual wars, which have existed between our Kings and those of Spain, you would have been so far from being able to get possession of those towns, that scarcely at Constantinople itself would you have been safe from Charles V.’ Roostem bore this355 no longer, but burst into a violent passion, and exclaimed, ‘Why do you talk to me of your Kings and those of Spain? Such is the power of my master that, if all your Christian princes were to unite their forces and make war on him at once, he would not care a straw for it, and would win an easy victory over them all.’ With these words he retreated to his chamber in a rage, after ordering the Ambassador to leave.

I cannot here omit what I learnt about a tribe244 which still dwells in the Crimea, which I had often heard showed traces of a German origin in their language, customs, and lastly in their face and habit of body. Hence I had long been eager to see one of that tribe, and, if possible, to procure from them something written in that language; but in this I was unsuccessful. However, at last an accident in some measure satisfied my wishes, as two men had been sent to Constantinople from those parts, to lay before the Sultan some complaints or other in the name of that tribe. My dragomans fell in with them, and recollect356ing my orders on the subject, they brought them to me to dinner.

One of them was about the middle height, and had an air of superior breeding—you might have taken him for a Fleming or Batavian; the other was shorter, more strongly built, and of a dark complexion, being by birth and language a Greek, but by having traded there for some time he had acquired a fair acquaintance with their tongue; while the other man had lived and associated so much with the Greeks that he had picked up their language and forgotten his own. When questioned about the nature and customs of these people he answered my inquiries in a straightforward manner. He said the tribe was warlike, and even now inhabited numerous villages, from which the chief of the Tartars raised, when expedient, 800 infantry, armed with fire-arms, the mainstay of his army. Their chief towns are called Mancup and Scivarin.

He told me also much about the Tartars and their barbarism, among whom, however, he said a good many men of remarkable ability might be found. For when asked about matters of importance they answered shortly and to the purpose. On this account the Turks, not without reason, say that all other nations have their wisdom written in books, but the Tartars have devoured their books, and so have it stored up in their breasts, and consequently are able to bring it out when needful, and talk like men inspired. They are very dirty in their habits; if any broth is served at table they require no spoons, but use instead the palm of the hand. They devour the flesh of slaughtered horses without cooking it in any way; all they do is to spread the pieces under their horses’ saddles, this warms them slightly, and they then proceed to eat the meat, as if it had been dressed after357 the most dainty fashion. The chief of the nation eats off a silver table. The first and also the last dish served is a horse’s head, as among us butter is honoured with the first and last place.

Now I will write down a few of the many German words, which he repeated, for the form of quite as many was totally different from ours, whether because this is due to the genius of that language, or because his memory failed him, and he substituted foreign for the native words. To all words he prefixed the article ‘tho’ or ‘the.’ The words which were the same as ours, or only a little different, were these:245

Rinck or RingoRingRing
SchietenTo shootSchieten
SchlipenTo sleepSlapen
KommenTo comeKomen
SinghenTo singZingen
LachenTo laughLachen
CritenTo cryKryten
GeenTo goGaen
BreenTo roastBraên

Knauen Tag meant good day. Knauen signified good, and he used many other words which did not agree with our tongue, for example:

Iel, life or healthStap, a goat
Ieltsch, alive or well  Gadeltha, beautiful
Iel uburt, be it wellAtochta, bad
Marzus, marriageWichtgata, white
Schuos, a brideMycha, a sword
Baar, a boyLista, too little
Ael, a stoneSchedit, light
Menus, fleshBorrotsch, a wish
Rintsch, a mountainCadariou, a soldier
Fers, a manKilemschkop, drink up your cup
Statz, the earthTzo warthata, thou didst
Ada, an eggIes varthata, he did
Ano, a henIch malthata, I say
Telich, foolish 

Being told to count he did so thus: Ita, tua, tria, fyder, fyuf, seis, sevene, precisely as we Flemings do. For you men of Brabant, who pretend you talk German, are, on this point, in the habit of lauding yourselves to the skies, and ridiculing us on account of what you are pleased to call our abominable pronunciation of that word, which you pronounce seven. He went on thus: athe, nyne, thiine, thiinita, thunetua, thunetria. Twenty he called stega, thirty treithyen, forty furderthien, a359 hundred sada, a thousand hazer. He also repeated a song in that language, which began as follows,

Wara, wara ingdolou;
Scu te gira Galizu
Hæmisclep dorbiza ea.

Whether they are Goths or Saxons I cannot decide. If Saxons, I think they were transported thither in the time of Charlemagne, who dispersed that nation through various regions of the world, as the cities in Transylvania,246 which are to this day inhabited by Saxons, bear witness. And perhaps it was decided that the bravest of them should be removed yet further, as far as the Tauric Chersonese, where, though in the midst of enemies, they still retain the Christian religion. But if they are Goths, I am of opinion that even in ancient times they occupied those tracts, which adjoin the Getæ. And perhaps one would not be wrong in thinking that the greatest part of the country which lies between the island of Gothland and what is now called Perekop was at one time inhabited by Goths.

Hence came the various clans named Visigoths and Ostrogoths; hence they started on their career of victory, all over the world; this was the vast hive of that barbarian swarm. Now you have heard what I learnt about the Tauric Chersonese from these men of Perekop.

Now listen to what I heard from a Turkish pilgrim about the city and country of Cathay (China). He belonged to the sect who hold it a religious duty to wander through distant regions, and to worship God on 360the highest mountains and in wild and desert places. He had traversed almost the whole of the East, where he had made acquaintance with the Portuguese; and then, excited by the desire of visiting the city and kingdom of Cathay, he had joined some merchants who were setting out thither, for they are accustomed to assemble in large numbers, and so journey in a body to the frontiers of that realm. Few reach their destination safely, as the risk is great. There are many intervening tribes who are treacherous to travellers, and whose attacks are to be feared every moment.

When they had travelled some distance from the Persian frontier, they came to the cities of Samarcand, Bokhara, and Tashkend, and to other places inhabited by Tamerlane’s successors. To these there succeeded vast deserts or tracts of country, sometimes inhabited by savage and inhospitable clans, and sometimes by tribes of a more civilised description; but everywhere the country is so poor that there is great difficulty in getting provisions. On this account every man had provided himself with food and the other necessaries of life, and great numbers of camels were loaded with these supplies. A large party of this kind is called a caravan.

After many months of toil they arrived at the passes, which may be termed the keys of the kingdom of Cathay (for a great part of the dominions of the King of Cathay is inland, and surrounded by wild mountains and precipitous rocks, nor can it be entered except by certain passes which are held by the King’s forces). At this point the merchants were asked, what they brought, where they came from, and how many of them there were? This information the King’s garrison troops transmit by smoke in the day time, and361 by fire at night, to the next beacon, and that in turn to the next, and so on, till news of the merchants’ arrival is forwarded to the King of Cathay, which otherwise could not be done for the space of several days. In the same manner and with equal speed he sends back word what his pleasure is, saying whether he chooses them all to be admitted, or part of them to be excluded, or their entrance delayed. If admitted, they are conducted by appointed guides by halting-places established at proper stages, where the necessaries of food and clothing are supplied at a fair price, till they reach Cathay itself. Here they first declare what each of them has brought, and then, as a mark of respect, present the King with whatever gift they think proper. In addition to receiving the gift, he has also the right of purchasing at a fair valuation whatever articles he pleases.

The rest they sell or barter as they choose, a day for their return being fixed, up to which they have the power of carrying on business, for the Cathayans do not approve of foreigners sojourning too long, for fear their national customs should be corrupted by foreign manners. They are then courteously sent back by the same stages by which they came.

The same pilgrim described that nation as very ingenious, and said they were civilised and well governed. They have a religion of their own, distinct from Christianity, Judaism, or Mahomedanism, but more like Judaism without its ceremonies. For many centuries back the art of printing has been in use among them, as is sufficiently proved by the books printed in that country. For this purpose they use paper made of silkworms’ cocoons, so thin, that it will only bear the impression of the type on one side; the other is left blank.


There are numerous shops in that city which sell the scent they call musk. It is the secretion of a beast the size of a kid.

No article of merchandise is more prized among them than a lion; this beast being uncommon in those countries is exceedingly admired, and nothing fetches a higher price.

These statements about the kingdom of Cathay I learned from the mouth of this wanderer, for which their author must be responsible. For indeed it is quite possible, that, when I was asking him about Cathay, he might have been answering me about some other neighbouring country, and according to the proverb, when I was asking for a sickle, have answered me about a spade.

When I heard this story from him, I thought it well to ask, whether he had brought from any place he had visited any rare root, or fruit, or stone. ‘Nothing at all,’ said he, ‘except that I carry about this root for my own use, and if I chew and swallow the least particle of it, when I am suffering from languor or cold, I am stimulated and get warm.’ As he spoke he gave it me to taste, warning me at the same time that it must be used very sparingly. My physician, William Quacquelben, who was at that time still alive, tasted it, and from the heat with which it inflamed his mouth, pronounced it to be true Napellus or Aconite.247

This, I think, is the proper place to tell you of the miracle wrought by another Turkish pilgrim and monk. He went about in a shirt and white mantle reaching down to the feet, and let his hair grow long, so that he resembled the apostles as they are usually depicted by our painters. Under an engaging appearance was concealed the mind of an impostor; but the Turks vene363rated him as a man famous for his miracles. They urged my dragomans to bring him to me that I might see him. He dined with me, behaving soberly and modestly, and then went down into the courtyard of the house, and returned soon afterwards carrying a stone of enormous weight, with which he struck himself on his bare breast several blows that had well nigh felled an ox. Then he laid his hand on an iron which had been made white hot in a fire lighted for the purpose. He put this into his mouth, and turned it about in every direction so that his saliva hissed. The iron he took into his mouth was oblong, but thicker at either end and rectangular, and so heated by the fire that it was just like a glowing coal. When he had done this, he put the iron back in the fire and departed, after bidding me farewell, and receiving a present.

My servants, who were standing around, were astonished, except one who thought himself cleverer than the rest. ‘And why,’ said he, ‘you stupid fellows, do you wonder at this? Do you believe these things are done in reality; they are mere feats of legerdemain and optical delusions?’ Without more ado he seized the iron by the part that stood a good way out of the fire, to prove it could be handled without injury. But no sooner had he closed his hand, than he drew it back, with the palm and fingers so burnt that it was several days before he was well; an accident which was followed by great laughter from his fellow-servants, who asked him, ‘Whether he now believed it was hot, or was still incredulous?’ and invited him to touch it again.

The same Turk told me at dinner, that his abbot, a man renowned for the sanctity of his life and for his miracles, was accustomed to spread his cloak on the364 lake which adjoined his monastery, sit down on it, and so take a pleasant sail wherever he liked.248 He also was in the habit of being tied to a sheep, which had been flayed and dressed, with his arms fastened to its fore, and his legs to its hind quarters, and being thrown in this condition into a heated oven, where he stayed till he gave orders for himself and the sheep to be taken out, when it was well roasted and fit to eat, and he none the worse.249

I don’t believe it, you will say; for the matter of that, neither do I! I only tell you what I heard; but as to the white hot iron, I saw it with my own eyes. Yet this feat is not so astonishing after all, as no doubt while he pretended to be looking for a stone in the court yard, he fortified his mouth against the fierceness 365of the fire by some medicament, such as you know have been discovered.250 For I remember seeing a mountebank in the Piazza at Venice handle molten lead, and as it were wash his hands in it without injury.

I mentioned already that a few days before Roostem’s death the severity of my prison rules was relaxed. This was exceedingly agreeable to me, on account of the liberty of access to me which was thus granted to men of foreign and distant nations, from whom I received much information that amused me; but this pleasure was counterbalanced by an equal inconvenience, because my servants abused the privilege given them of going abroad, and often wandered about the city unescorted by Janissaries. The consequences were quarrels and disturbances with the Turks, which gave me a great deal of trouble; and, out of the many that happened, I will relate one as a specimen, from which you can imagine the others, that you may know everything about us.

Two of my servants crossed over to Pera without Janissaries, either because they were all out, or because they did not think they required their escort. One of them was my apothecary and the other my butler. Having finished their business in Pera, they hired a boat to return to Constantinople; but scarcely had they taken their seats in it, when there came a boy from the judge, or cadi, of that place, who ordered 366them to get out, and give up the boat to his master. My servants refused, and pointed out there were boats enough about for the cadi to cross in, and told him this one had already been engaged by them. However, he persevered, and tried to get them out by force. My men resisted, and that right stoutly, so that they soon came to blows. As all this was going on before the eyes of the judge, who was approaching, he could not restrain himself from running down to help the boy, who was a great favourite with him for reasons that need not be explained. But while he was carelessly rushing down the steps leading to the sea, which were slippery with ice (for it was winter), he missed his footing and would have tumbled into the sea—his feet were already wet with the water—had not his companions assisted him. The Turks gathered from all Pera, and an outcry was raised that Christians had laid violent hands on the judge, and all but drowned him in the sea. They seized my servants, and with great tumult dragged them before the voivode, or judge who tries capital charges. The sticks were got ready and their feet were inserted in the posts, for the purpose of administering the bastinado. One of my men, who was an Italian, being in a furious passion, never stopped shouting the whole time ‘Vour, chiopecklar, vour. Strike us, you dogs, strike us! ‘Tis we who have been wronged, and we have deserved no punishment. We are servants of the Emperor’s Ambassador. You will be punished by your Sultan when he knows of this.’ All this, in spite of his speaking in broken Turkish, his hearers could quite understand. One of the Turks among the rioters was amazed at his boldness and exclaimed, ‘Do you think this one-eyed fellow a human being?’ (for he had lost one eye), ‘believe me, he is no such thing, but belongs to the race of one367eyed Genies.’ The voivode however, who was himself struck by such courage, that he might not do more or less than was right, decided on sending them to Roostem unhurt. They went to him, accompanied by a great crowd of false witnesses, who had been procured to crush by their evidence those innocent men. The Turks think it an act of great piety to bear witness against a Christian; they do not wait to be asked but come unbidden, and obtrude themselves of their own accord, as happened on this occasion. Therefore they all exclaimed with one voice, ‘These robbers have dared to commit a most atrocious crime, and have knocked the judge down with their fists, and if they had not been stopped, they would have thrown him into the sea.’ My men denied these charges, and said they were accused unjustly, and then declared they were my servants. Roostem soon perceived that it was a case of false accusation; but to divert the anger of the excited multitude, he assumed a stern expression, and saying that he would punish them himself, ordered them to be taken to prison. The prison served as a fortress to my servants against the violence of the raging mob. Roostem then heard the evidence of those whom he considered worthy of credit, and found my servants were innocent, and that it was the judge that was to blame.

Through my dragomans I demanded the surrender of my servants. Roostem thought the matter important enough to be laid before the Council, saying he was afraid, that, if the Sultan should hear of it, he would suspect it was through the influence of money that the wrong the judge had sustained had been passed over. Already there existed some intimacy between me and Ali Pasha; and I expostulated with him in strong terms, through the same dragomans, and de368manded that an end should be put to the persecution of my servants. Ali undertook the case and told me to set my mind at ease, as this trouble would soon be at an end. Roostem, however, was still shilly-shallying; he was always afraid to do me a kindness for fear of being suspected of receiving a bribe; on that account he would have preferred having the business settled on such terms, that the judge should be left no cause for complaint. He sent me word that it seemed to him to be the wisest plan to appease the judge by giving him some pieces of gold as a sop, and that five and twenty ducats would be enough for the purpose. I replied that I was obliged to him for his advice. If he told me, as a personal favour to himself, to throw fifty ducats into the sea, I would do so at once; but here it was not a question of money but of precedent, that was at stake. For if it were laid down as a rule, that whoever had injured my men, should, instead of being punished, be actually paid for doing so, I should soon come to the end of my purse. Whenever anyone’s dress began to get worn or torn, he would resolve to do my servants some harm, inasmuch as he would feel sure of getting paid for his trouble, and thus obtaining a new dress at my expense. Nothing could be more disgraceful than this or more injurious to my interests. Accordingly my servants were sent back, thanks, in a great measure, to the advocacy of Ali Pasha. But when the Venetian Baily251 heard of it he sent for one of my dragomans, and begged him to tell him how much I had paid to settle the affair. ‘Not a penny,’ he replied. Then the Baily said, ‘If we had been concerned, I warrant you we should hardly have got out of it for 200 ducats.’ The man whom it cost most dear was this model of a judge, who was removed from 369office, because, according to their notion, a man is disgraced who has received a thrashing from a Christian, and this, by his own admission, had been the case with him.

You ask for news about the Spanish generals, telling me that there is a report in your neighbourhood that they owe their liberty to me. They were the following, viz., de Sandé, the commander of the land forces, and Leyva and Requesens, the admirals of the Neapolitan and Sicilian fleets. I will give you a short account of how I managed it.

The Turks were much annoyed at the conclusion of peace between the Kings of Spain and France, which was by no means favourable to their interests;252 especially as they found the treaty was not such as they had believed it to be at first, for they had been convinced that they would have been high in the list of those entitled to enjoy the benefits of the same peace. Accordingly, when they found themselves passed over, thinking that a bad return had been made them, though they dissembled their vexation, they sought an opportunity to give some hint that their feelings were no longer so friendly as they had been. Solyman had written to the King of France to say he approved of the peace, but at the same time desired the King to remember that old friends do not easily become foes, or old foes friends.

The offence the Turks felt on these grounds was not a little favourable to my negotiations, and I was aided in addition by Ali Pasha’s kindly feeling towards me, and Ibrahim’s great desire of proving his gratitude.

You remember I mentioned previously that when Lavigne was calumniating me, he at the same time 370used to accuse Ibrahim, implying that he betrayed to me all the designs of the Turks.

This Ibrahim, the Sultan’s first dragoman (the Turkish word for interpreter), was a Pole by birth; he was hated by Lavigne, because he thought that Ibrahim, in a deadly quarrel between himself and de Codignac, his predecessor in the embassy, had taken de Codignac’s part too strongly. I need not trouble you with the whole story, as it has not much to do with our subject. Lavigne, recollecting this, was always Ibrahim’s bitter enemy; and whenever he had an opportunity of addressing the Pashas, every other word he spoke was abuse of Ibrahim. At last he got him degraded from office and reduced to a private position.

This concerned me but little, as there had never been any friendship between Ibrahim and myself, but on the contrary a somewhat hostile feeling, as I had often found him on the side against us. I was sorry however that the story should get abroad that it was for my sake he had been removed from office. While Ibrahim was living in this condition, deeply humiliated by the loss of his post, as indeed is usually the case with men who have ceased to be what they were, I tried to lighten his misfortunes by any attentions in my power, and on several occasions, when there was a press of business in the course of the peace negotiations, I employed him as an extra dragoman, and made him a medium of communication with the Pashas. This was readily allowed by Ali from his good feeling towards me, and because he was well aware that Ibrahim had been wrongfully degraded. At last I effected his restoration to his former position and dignity. From these circumstances he became much attached to me, so that his great desire was to find some means of proving his gratitude for my ser371vices. Most loyally did he plead my cause in every question; and did his best to obtain for me the favour of all whom he could influence. This was an easier task for him from their disgust at the recent peace, on account of which, as I said, the Turks were secretly angry with the French, so that, when a gentleman named Salviati came to Constantinople to obtain de Sandé’s freedom in the name of the King of France, his errand was a complete failure. De Sandé had for some time been eagerly looking forward to this embassy, hoping thereby to procure his liberty, and, feeling certain that this was the only chance of recovering his freedom, had gone to great expense in providing presents to do honour to the Pashas and the Sultan himself, according to the usual custom. And now, to make a long story short, all was over, Salviati had taken his departure, and his embassy had proved a failure.

The servants whom de Sandé had employed as his agents, terrified by this, came to me, and confessed they did not venture to inform him of such a disappointment; he had entirely depended on his hopes from this mission, and now they were afraid he would become desperate, and not only lose his health, but also his life; they therefore asked me to give them my assistance and to write to him myself.

I was inclined to refuse, as I had neither arguments nor language to console a man who had received such a cruel blow. De Sandé was a man of great spirit and exceedingly sanguine temperament, and did not know what fear was. But when men, whose temper inclines them to hope that everything they wish will come about, find everything taking an adverse turn and going against their wishes, there is generally a great reaction, and their spirits become so depressed that it is no easy matter to raise them to a proper level.


While our business was at a standstill from this difficulty, the dragoman Ibrahim most fortunately called on me, and when in the course of conversation mention was made of the Spanish prisoners, he told me in so many words, that, if I were to request their release, it would not be refused. He knew what he was saying and had it on good authority.

He had indeed been previously in the habit of throwing out rather obscure hints, calculated to make me hope they might be liberated if I were to intercede; but I did not take much heed of what he said, for how could I venture to make such an attempt when I was not yet sure of peace? I was also restrained by the fear that I should do no good myself, if I interfered at an unfavourable moment, and might perhaps also hinder Salviati’s negotiations. But when, after his departure, I heard Ibrahim, who was closely attached to me, make such a declaration, there seemed to be something in it, and I began to pay more attention to his words, cautioning him, however, at the same time not to place me in a false position, and expose his friend to ridicule. This would certainly be my fate if I were to undertake unsuccessfully a task which was generally supposed to be hopeless, and in which there had already been an adverse decision. He persevered notwithstanding, and told me that I might rely on what he said; and that he would absolutely guarantee my success.

Relying on his assurances I wrote to de Sandé, and informed him of the result of Salviati’s negotiations, but told him not to despair, for, unless all Turks were liars, there was hope in store for him, and then I related what I had heard from Ibrahim. Having taken this step, I next consulted certain friends of mine who had great experience in Turkish affairs. They replied that they wished me success in my undertaking, but373 they did not see how I could obtain what had just been denied to the Ambassador of a King who was an old friend, especially while the result of our negotiations for peace was still doubtful; and they pointed out that all precedents showed how difficult it was to prevail on the Turks to liberate important prisoners. However, I wrote to the Emperor, and acquainted him with the hopes that had been held out to me, at the same time earnestly entreating him to ask Solyman to release the prisoners.

To make a long story short, after large presents had been promised the Pashas, if they should show themselves gracious and favourable to their liberation, on the eve of St. Laurence’s day (August 9), they were all taken out of prison and conducted to my lodging.

De Sandé and Leyva hated each other worse than if they had been brothers! for which reason it was necessary to have a table laid separately for the latter, with whom Requesens dined. De Sandé sat at the same table with myself. At dinner there came in a steward from the chargé d’affaires of the King of France, bringing me some notes which had come into his hands. De Sandé asked him if he knew him. ‘I think,’ said he, ‘you are Don Alvaro.’ ‘I am indeed,’ said he, ‘and you will convey my best compliments to your master, and tell him how you saw me here a free man, thanks to the Ambassador before you.’ ‘I see it indeed,’ he replied, ‘but yet I can hardly believe my own eyes.’ This was done by de Sandé because the chargé d’affaires, though in other respects an excellent fellow, was one of the persons who could not be convinced that Solyman would liberate the prisoners as a favour to the Emperor Ferdinand.253


But before they were released from prison, the Mufti, the head of the Turkish religion, was consulted on the question, if it were lawful to exchange a few Christians for a larger number of captive Turks? for I had promised that not fewer than forty Turkish prisoners, who, however, might be common people of no rank, should be given in exchange. The Mufti replied that there were two authorities on the point, and that they held different opinions, one approving of the exchange and the other not. The Pashas, however, adopted the more liberal opinion.254


I have still to tell you of Bajazet’s final catastrophe, for I know you are expecting to hear the rest of his story. You will remember that he was thrown into prison by Shah Tahmasp. From that time many messengers went backwards and forwards from the King of Persia to the Sultan, some of whom held the title of Ambassador, bringing presents of the usual kind, such as tents of exquisite workmanship, Assyrian and Persian carpets, and a Koran, the book which contains their holy mysteries;255 amongst other gifts, rare animals were sometimes sent, for example there was an Indian ant,256 as large as a fair-sized dog, and extremely fierce and snappish, which, I remember, they were said to have brought.

The ostensible reason for their arrival was to reconcile Bajazet and his father; great honours were paid them, and they were entertained magnificently by the Pashas. Ali made me a partaker in one of these banquets by sending me eight large porcelain dishes of sweetmeats. The Romans used to send something from their table to their friends, a custom which the Spaniards retain to this day. The Turks, on the other hand, carry off dainties from the banquet for themselves, but generally only intimate friends do so, who have wives and children at home. They usually 376carried home from my table handkerchiefs full of fragments of eatables, and were not afraid of soiling their silk robes with drops of gravy, although they consider cleanliness of the highest importance. When I mention this, it recalls to my memory an amusing incident, which I shall not be sorry to tell you. You will have a hearty laugh over it, I am sure, as I had myself; and is not laughter worth cultivating? Is it not man’s peculiar attribute, and the best recipe in the world for tempering human misfortunes? Besides, we are no Catos.

The Pashas observe the custom of giving dinner for a few days before their fast, which answers to our Lent, to all who choose to come, and no one is excluded. However, the people who come are generally neighbours, friends, or recognised dependants. A leather tablecloth, which is loaded with a crowd of dishes, is laid on the ground over an oblong mat. Such a table will hold a large company. The Pasha himself sits in the chief place, and about him those of higher rank, and then in a long row the guests who belong to inferior families, till no more room remains for anyone, and many are left standing, for the table cannot hold all at once. However, as they eat with great moderation and do not talk, it is not long before the first party have appeased their hunger, they then conclude their meal with a draught of water sweetened with honey or sugar, and, after bidding the master of the feast farewell, make room for others who have not yet sat down; these again are succeeded by another set, till in a short space many are satisfied off the same table, the attendants in the meantime washing the plates and dishes, and supplying fresh ones as fast as they are emptied.

A Pasha who was giving one of these entertain377ments at his house had invited a Sanjak-bey, who happened to have come there, to sit by him. The second place from him was occupied by an old man of the class the Turks call Khodjas, which means Scholars. As he saw before him a great mass of various eatables, and wished, having had his fill, to take something away for his wife, he began looking for his handkerchief to put it in; but found he had left it at home. He was, however, equal to the emergency, and like a good general was able to extemporise a plan on the field of battle. He seized the bag of a turban which was hanging down behind him257 (which, however, was not his own as he thought, but the Sanjak-bey’s). This he crammed as full as he could, finishing with a good slice of bread by way of a stopper to prevent anything slipping out. When he was bidding his host farewell, in accordance with the Turkish fashion, he had to salute his superiors by placing his hands on his breast or thighs. Having paid his respects he gathered up the bag again, but this time took his own, and when he left the dining-room, he felt it carefully all over and, to his utter amazement, found it empty. But what was he to do? He went home in disgust.

Not long afterwards the Sanjak-bey also rose, and after saluting the Pasha was going away, in happy ignorance of the load that was hanging behind him. But soon the bag began to deliver itself of its contents; every step the Sanjak-bey took, something fell out, and his progress was marked by a long line of fragments. Every one began to laugh; he then looked back, and his face grew crimson, when he saw his bag disgorging pieces of food.

Then the Pasha, who had guessed the truth, called 378him back, told him to sit down, and ordered the Khodja to be summoned; and turning to him said, ‘As you are a neighbour and old friend of mine, and have a wife and children at home, I wonder why you did not carry away something for them from my table, where there was enough and to spare.’ The Khodja replied, ‘This happened, sir, from no fault of mine, but from the anger of my guardian angel. For, as I had carelessly left my handkerchief at home, I stuffed the remains of my dinner into the bag of my turban, but lo and behold, when I left the dining room, it proved to be empty, but how this came to pass is more than I can tell.’ So the Sanjak-bey’s character as a gentleman was re-established, and the disappointment of the old Khodja, and the oddness of the accident, furnished the bystanders with food for another merry laugh.

But I will return to my subject. Bajazet’s hopes were at a low ebb, for his merciless father was demanding that he should be given up alive for execution; to this the King of Persia refused to agree and pretended to act as his protector, while all the time he intended to betray him.

Solyman at one time tried persuasion on the Shah, reminding him of the treaty, by which he had agreed they should both have the same friends and enemies, and at another, endeavoured to frighten him with menacing language and threatened him with war, if Bajazet were not surrendered. He had placed strong garrisons in all his towns on the Persian frontier, and filled Mesopotamia and the bank of the Euphrates with soldiers, who were taken for the most part from the Imperial guard, and the troops he had employed against Bajazet. These forces were commanded by Mehemet Pasha, the third of the Vizierial Pashas, and the Beyler bey of Greece, for Selim had soon returned379 home. He also sent frequent messages to the tribes they call Georgians, who dwell between the Caspian and the Black Sea, and border on Media, urging them to take up arms against the King of Persia. They sagaciously replied that ‘they had not sufficient confidence in their own strength to venture to attack Shah Tahmasp by themselves; let Solyman only come with his army and they would know, when they saw him on the spot, what they ought to do. In that case they would be wanting neither in counsel nor in courage.’

In another direction are still to be found five Turkoman chiefs descended from Tamerlane; and these also were invited to join their arms against the common foe.

Solyman wished it to be believed that he himself was going to Aleppo, a city of Syria on the banks of the Euphrates,258 and that he intended from that base to make war on the King of Persia. Nor was the latter free from apprehension, as he had too often experienced the might of Solyman’s arm. But the angry Sultan was completely checked by the opposition of the soldiers and the reluctance they felt to engaging in such a war. They shrank from an unnatural contest, and began to desert. A great number of them, especially of the cavalry, returned to Constantinople, without orders from their commanders, and when bidden to return to the camp without delay, though they obeyed, they did so in such a way as to leave it evident how little they could be relied on, if any accident or change should occur.

For this reason, when it became sufficiently clear to Solyman that the King of Persia would not surrender Bajazet, pleading that he was afraid of delivering him up alive, lest by any chance he should escape, and 380live to take vengeance for the wrongs he had received, he decided, as the next best course, to get him executed in Persia. He had great hopes of prevailing thus far on the Shah; for in the last letter he had received from that monarch, the latter had expressed his surprise at his careless method of managing such an important affair; observing that he had several times sent ambassadors to him, but he, on the contrary, had sent him nothing but letters and messengers, conduct, which made him doubt if he were really in earnest. ‘Let him,’ said the Shah, ‘send noblemen of high authority and name, with whom the negotiations might be carried on and concluded in a way that befitted their importance. The Sultan was much in his debt; Bajazet’s coming had been a great injury to him, and he had incurred great expense before he had got him into his power. It was just that these circumstances should be taken into account.’

Solyman saw that money was his object, and so, rather than involve himself in an unnecessary war, for which he was unfitted by his years, he determined to follow the Pashas’ advice, and to fight the King of Persia with money, instead of arms.

Hassan Aga, one of the chiefs of the eunuchs of the bed-chamber, was first selected as ambassador to Persia, and the Pasha of Marasch, a man of venerable years, was ordered to accompany him. About the middle of winter they started with the fullest powers; they travelled, in spite of the difficulties of the road, with the utmost speed, and at last, after losing many of their suite, arrived at Casbin, where the King of Persia was.

They first asked leave to see Bajazet, and found him so disfigured by the dirt and filth of his prison, and with his hair and beard so long that they could381 not recognise him. They were obliged to have him shaved, and it was only then that Hassan was able to identify the features of the prince. He had been brought up with him from his earliest years, and it was especially for that reason that Solyman had committed this office to him.

It was agreed that the King of Persia should be indemnified for the loss he said he had sustained, and should receive in addition a present commensurate with the importance of the business, and that then Solyman should be allowed to put Bajazet to death.

Hassan hurried back and told his master of the arrangement he had concluded. The present was prepared, along with the sums demanded as expenses, and was conveyed, under the protection of a Turkish guard, to the frontiers of the Persian dominions. Hassan, too, came again as the unfortunate Bajazet’s appointed executioner, for Solyman had specially ordered that he should put him to death with his own hands. Accordingly the bow-string was put round Bajazet’s neck, and he was strangled to death. He is said to have asked one boon before his death, namely, to be allowed to see his children and share his kisses among them as a last token of affection; but this he asked in vain, being told ‘There was other business which required his immediate attention.’259

Such was the end of Bajazet’s ill-starred designs, whose ruin was precipitated by the very efforts he made to avoid it. His four sons shared their father’s fate.

I mentioned that one, who had been lately born, had been left at Amasia when his father fled, and that he had been removed by his grandfather to Broussa, where he was being brought up; but, when the Sultan 382knew it was all over with Bajazet, he sent a eunuch, whom he trusted, to Broussa to kill him. As the eunuch’s own disposition was too tender, he took with him one of the doorkeepers, a hard-hearted ruffian who was capable of any atrocity, to be the child’s murderer. When the doorkeeper entered the room, and was fitting the cord to the child’s neck, it smiled at him, and, raising itself as much as it could, threw up its little arms to give him a hug and a kiss. This so moved the cruel fellow that he could not bear it, and fell down in a swoon. The eunuch, who was waiting outside, wondered that he was so long, and at last going in himself, found the doorkeeper lying senseless on the ground. He could not afford to let his mission be a failure, and so with his own hands he stopped for ever the feeble breath of that innocent child.

From this it was clear enough that the grandson had been spared till then, not from the mercy of his grandfather, but from the Turkish superstition of referring all successful enterprises, whatever may have been the motive from which they were undertaken, to the instigation of God. On this account, as long as the issue of Bajazet’s attempts remained doubtful, Solyman determined to do no violence to the child, for fear that if afterwards Bajazet’s fortunes should take a turn for the better, he should be found to have been striving against the will of God. But now that he had perished, and thus had, as it were, been condemned by the sentence of God, he thought there was no reason for sparing Bajazet’s son any longer, that according to the proverb, not an egg of that mischievous crow might be left.

I once had a long argument with my cavasse on this subject, when I was in the islands I told you about. As I was returning from one of my more distant excur383sions, it happened that I could not double a projecting point, the wind being contrary. After striving for some time in vain, we were obliged to disembark and dine there, for in case of such an accident I used always to take about with us in the boat some cooked provisions. Several Turks, who had been forced to land there from the same cause, followed my example. My table was laid in a green meadow. The cavasse and dragomans sat down along with me. Bajazet happening to be mentioned, the cavasse began to inveigh against him without mercy for taking up arms against his brother. I on the other hand said, I thought he was to be pitied, because he had no choice except to take up arms or submit to certain death. But when the cavasse went on abusing him in as strong terms as before, I said, ‘You are making out Bajazet guilty of a monstrous atrocity, but you do not charge Selim, the father of the present Sultan, with any crime, though he took up arms not merely to resist his father’s will, but against his very person.’260 ‘And with good reason,’ replied the cavasse, ‘for the issue of his enterprise showed clearly enough that he did what he did by prompting from above, and that it had been predestinated by Heaven.’ I answered, ‘On this principle you will interpret whatever has been undertaken, although from the most wicked motives, if it proves successful, to be done rightly, and will ascribe it to God’s will; and will thus make out God to be the author of evil, nor will you reckon anything to have been done well or the contrary, except by the result.’

We continued our argument for some time, each of us defending his position with great spirit and in a high tone of voice. Many texts of Scripture were cited on either side, ‘Can the vessel say to the potter, why hast 384thou formed me thus?’ ‘I will harden Pharaoh’s heart,’ ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,’ and others, as they came into our heads.

The Turks, who were a little way off, wondered what we were arguing about; so, after we had risen and the table had been removed, the cavasse went straight to his countrymen. They all came round him, and he appeared to be haranguing them, while they listened with the utmost attention. Then, as it was just noon, they kept silence and worshipped God after their manner with foreheads bowed to the ground. The time seemed long to me till the cavasse came back, as I was anxious to know what had been the subject of his earnest conversation with his countrymen. I felt a little afraid that he had repeated something I had said, and given it an unfavourable turn, although I had had sufficient proofs of his honesty.

At last, when the wind had gone down, and it was time to embark, we went on board again, and set out once more. Then the first thing I did was to ask the cavasse what he had been talking about so earnestly with his countrymen. He replied with a smile, ‘I will honestly confess to you what it was. They wanted to know from me what the subject was, on which we had been arguing so hotly. I said, “Predestination,” and repeated to them the texts, both those which you had cited on your side and those which you had recognised when quoted by me. Hence I argued that it was certain you had read our books, and were well acquainted with Holy Scripture, and that you wanted nothing to secure eternal happiness, except being initiated into our religion. Accordingly we exhorted each other to pray that God would bring you to the true faith; and these were the prayers you saw us making.’


When the news of Bajazet’s death was brought to Constantinople, I was seized with great alarm for the issue of our negotiations. We were indeed in a good position and there seemed to be a prospect of the end we desired; but our anxiety was renewed by Bajazet’s misfortune, for fear the Turks should become more haughty, undo what had been done, and call on us to accept less favourable terms. We had successfully got past numerous rocks, among them the defeat at Djerbé, Bajazet’s imprisonment, and the unlucky accident of the expulsion of the Voivode from Moldavia, yet two formidable ones remained, namely, Bajazet’s death, of which I have spoken, and another besides, of which I shall speak presently.

Ali had been the first to communicate the news to me, by a domestic slave, in these words, ‘Know for certain that Bajazet is dead. You cannot now go on trifling with us any longer in reliance on his making a diversion in your favour. Remember that an old friendship can be restored between two princes who share the same faith more easily than a new one can be cemented between two Sovereigns of different religions. Take my word for it, it is not safe for you to go on shuffling any longer and raising unreal difficulties.’

Such a message made a deep impression on my mind. But, as the news came from a suspicious quarter, I sent round to my friends to enquire if any certain intelligence of Bajazet’s death had arrived, and all to a man replied, that there remained no doubt about it. I then understood I must shorten sail. There was no possibility of aspiring to better terms; I ought to be contented if I could maintain the position I had gained, and if no change for the worse should be made in the conditions. They had now been before the Sultan for386 some time, and he had not been averse to them, subject to a few additions or omissions, among which however there were some things I was sorry to lose. Certain points were expressed too obscurely, so as to leave room for controversy hereafter, if any one were to place an unfair construction on them. I used my utmost efforts to get these either removed or altered to our advantage. The conditions had been once or twice sent to my Emperor for his perusal, and he had graciously approved of them; but I felt dissatisfied myself, and was always wishing to obtain some further concession, when, in the midst of my negotiations, the news I mentioned came upon me like a thunderbolt.

But previously also a serious difficulty had arisen in consequence of the revolt of certain Hungarian nobles from the Voivode of Transylvania to the Emperor, or, to speak correctly, in consequence of their return from error to the path of duty. They brought over with them the forts and castles which they held.261

This startling event was calculated to upset all the steps towards peace that had been taken. For the Turks were thus supplied with a plausible argument: ‘No change ought to have been made while negotiations about the terms of peace were going on. If you are really anxious for peace you ought to restore the advantage which you have unfairly gained. The deserters are at liberty to do as they please, but let the places they hold remain in the hands of the Voivode, our dependant and vassal.’

However, not only was no such claim asserted by Ali, but when I expressly put down in the articles of peace that these matters should remain as they were, he willingly approved of their ratification.

But the ambassadors, who had then recently arrived 387from the Voivode, did their utmost to chafe that sore, and filled the court with their outcries, exclaiming that their unfortunate young master was being betrayed, the rights of friendship profaned, and enemies preferred to old friends. These remonstrances had indeed some effect upon the other Pashas, but not on Ali. So at last it was agreed to adhere to the terms of peace, as they had been already settled.

Although there could be no doubt about the wishes of my master, yet, as I remembered that among the attendants of princes there never is any lack of people ready to blacken the good deeds of others, however worthy they may be, especially if they are foreigners, I decided that everything, as far as it could be managed, should be left as open as possible for his decision. Therefore I negotiated with Ali in such a way as to point out that, although the proposed conditions did not altogether answer my Sovereign’s expectations, yet I was confident he would agree to them, provided that some one was sent with me who could explain the points that were obscure, or which might in any way be made a subject of dispute, saying that Ibrahim seemed the best person for the service, as he could report to them the Emperor’s desire for peace. He readily agreed to this proposal, so the last touch was thus put to these protracted peace negotiations.

It is the custom for the Pashas to invite to their table in the Divan an ambassador who is in favour when he leaves. But as I wished to make it appear that everything remained undecided and uncertain till a reply was brought back from my master, this honour was not paid me, the want of which however did not trouble my peace of mind.262

I was anxious to take with me some well-bred 388horses, and therefore had charged my servants to go about the market frequently on the chance of being able to find any to suit. When Ali heard of this, he had a capital thorough-bred of his own brought out as if for sale. My men hurried up to bid for him, 120 ducats was named as the price, and they offered eighty, without knowing who was the owner. The people who had charge of the horse refused to let him go for such a low price. But a day or two afterwards, the same horse, with two others every bit as good, was sent as a present by Ali Pasha, one of them being a beautifully shaped palfrey. When I thanked him for his present, he asked me if I did not think the horse, which my men had wanted to buy in the market for eighty ducats, was not worth more. I replied, ‘Much more, but they had a commission from me not to go beyond that price, that I might not incur too great a loss, if they should, without knowing it, purchase some likely looking animal, which should afterwards prove unsound. Such things do sometimes happen in the horse-market.’ He then told me how Turkish horses are fed at the beginning of a journey, namely, with a very small allowance of food, and advised me to travel by very short stages, till the horses had got accustomed to the work, and to divide the journey to Adrianople into nine or ten days, which usually took only five. He presented me also with an exceedingly elegant robe interwoven with gold thread, and a casket full of the finest theriac of Alexandria,263 and lastly added a glass bottle of balsam, which he highly commended, saying, ‘The other presents he had given me he did not think much of, 389as money could buy them, but this was a rare gift and his master could give no greater present to a friendly or allied prince. He had been governor of Egypt for some years, and thus had an opportunity of procuring it.’ The plant produces two sorts of juice; there is the cheap black extract made from the oil of the boiled leaves, while the other kind flows from an incision in the bark. This last, which is yellow and is the true balsam, was the one he gave me.264

He wished some things sent him in return, namely, a coat of mail large enough to fit him, as he is very tall and stout, and a powerful horse, to which he could trust himself without being afraid of a fall, for being a heavy man he has great difficulty in finding a horse equal to his weight, and lastly a piece of curled maple or some other wood similarly marked, with which our countrymen veneer tables.

No presents were given me by Solyman, except the ordinary ones of the kind usually given to every am390bassador on taking leave, such as I had generally received in former years.

At my farewell audience he curtly inveighed against the insolence of the Heydons and the soldiers of the garrison of Szigeth. ‘What use,’ said he, ‘has it been for us to make peace here, if the garrison of Szigeth will break it and continue the war?’ I replied, ‘I would lay the matter before the Emperor, and I hoped he would do what was needful.’

Thus auspiciously, towards the end of the month of August, I commenced my wished-for journey, bringing with me as the fruit of eight years’ exertions a truce for eight years, which however it will be easy to get extended for as long as we wish, unless some remarkable change should occur.

When we arrived at Sophia, from which there is a road not only to Belgrade but to Ragusa, whence it is only a few days’ passage to Venice, Leyva and Requesens asked my leave to go by Ragusa, which was their shortest way to Italy, for the purpose of discharging at the earliest possible date their obligations to the Pashas, and paying off the debts they had incurred at Constantinople for various purposes. They said they would give me letters to the Emperor to thank him for the recovery of their freedom, which they would have preferred to do in person, if they had not been hindered by the considerations I have mentioned. I complied with their wishes without hesitation, and the death of Requesens, which happened soon after, gave me less cause to regret having done so, for before he reached Ragusa he died, being a very old man. I am glad I granted him the favour, as a refusal might have been thought to have been partly the cause of his illness.

De Sandé and I accomplished the rest of the journey very merrily, without meeting with any serious391 inconvenience. De Sandé was a pleasant fellow, and always making jokes, being quite capable, when it was necessary, of concealing his anxiety and assuming a cheerfulness he did not feel. The daily occurrences of our journey furnished us with many a merry jest. Sometimes we had a fancy to leave our carriages, and try which of us could walk the longest. In this, as I was thin and had no load of corpulence to carry, I easily beat my friend, who was stout and too fat for walking, not to mention that the effects of his confinement still made him incapable of much exertion. Whenever our road lay through a village, it was amusing to see Ibrahim, who followed us very gravely on horseback with his Turks, riding up and entreating us by all we held most dear to get into our carriages again, and not to disgrace ourselves utterly by allowing the villagers to see us travelling on foot, for among the Turks this is considered a great dishonour. With these words he sometimes prevailed on us to re-enter our carriages, and sometimes we laughed at him and disobeyed.

Now listen to one of de Sandé’s many witty sayings. When we left Constantinople, not only was the heat still overpowering, but I was in a languid state from the late hot weather, so that I had hardly any appetite for food, or at any rate, was satisfied with very little. But de Sandé, being a strong man and accustomed to a great deal of food, of which he always partook with me, used to devour rather than eat his meals, exhorting me from time to time to follow his example, and eat like a man. In this however he was unsuccessful, until, about the beginning of October, we were approaching the borders of Austria. There, partly from the nature of the country, and partly from the time of year, I was refreshed by the cooler climate, and began to be better in health and also to eat more freely than before.392 When this was observed by de Sandé, he exclaimed, ‘He was amply rewarded for his trouble, the pains and training he had spent on me had not been thrown away, inasmuch as, thanks to his teaching and instruction, I had learnt at last how to eat, though I had lived so many years without acquiring any knowledge of, or practice in, this most needful art. Let me consider him as much in my debt as I pleased for delivering him from a Turkish prison; I was no less indebted to him, as it was from him I had learnt how to eat!’

Amusing ourselves in this manner we arrived at Tolna, where we came in for a certain amount of annoyance. De Sandé used to stay under the same roof with me, where my quarters consisted of several rooms; but where there was only one he used to lodge at an adjoining house, that he might not inconvenience me. Accordingly at Tolna he ordered the Janissary, whom I took with me from Constantinople to Buda as my attendant, to look out for quarters for him. One of my servants and a Spanish doctor of medicine, who had been ransomed at de Sandé’s expense at Constantinople, accompanied the Janissary. They happened to go into a house near us, which belonged to a Janissary who had been entrusted with the charge of the town. For it is the custom of the Turks, in order to protect the Christians from the outrages of travellers, to appoint in each of the wealthier villages or small towns one or two Janissaries,265 who take advantage of the position in which they are thus placed, and turn it to their own profit in many ways. This Janissary had committed some fault for which he had deserved to lose his office; and the fear of such a punishment hanging over his head had made him crusty, and completely soured his temper. Our people inspected his house 393without opposition, went all over it, and began to retreat, as they did not like it. My Janissary was going first, the servant was following, and the doctor was last. Meanwhile, the Janissary who lived there, and who was then in his garden, was told that Christians were looking for a lodging in his house. Mad with rage he hurried up with a stick that might have served Hercules for a club, and without a word brought it down with all his might on the doctor’s shoulders, who flew out of the house for fear of a repetition of the blow. My servant looked back, and saw behind him the Janissary on the point of giving him a similar greeting, his stick being already raised for the blow; but this servant of mine, who was carrying a small hatchet in his hand, as people generally do in that country, seized the blade of it with one hand, and the end of the handle with the other, and holding it cross-wise over his head parried several blows without injury. As the other, however, did not stop striking, the handle of the hatchet began to give way, so my servant was obliged to alter his tactics, and closing with the Janissary aimed a blow at his head, but the latter did not like this change in the mode of fighting, and forthwith took to his heels. As my servant could not reach him, he flung the hatchet at his back as he ran away. The Janissary was wounded by the blow and fell; and so our people escaped.

In the meantime the doctor was rousing the neighbourhood with his cries, exclaiming that it was all over with him, he was as good as dead, and all his bones were broken.

De Sandé, when he heard the story, was both vexed and amused. He was unaffected by the doctor’s exclamations, thinking he was more frightened than hurt. But he was tormented by a terrible anxiety, fearing that he would be recalled to Constantinople, and could394 not be persuaded that there was not some treachery at the bottom of the affair. The Pashas, he thought, had sought an opportunity of pretending to do me a favour, and would soon show their real intentions, and find an excuse for dragging him back to Constantinople, where he must lie rotting in a filthy jail to the end of his days. He was therefore much vexed at the behaviour of my servant, who, instead of expressing any sorrow at the severe wound he had inflicted on the Janissary, swore that he was exceedingly sorry to hear he was still alive. Accordingly, he addressed him as follows, ‘My good Henry (for that was his name), I beg you to control your anger. This is no place for displaying your courage or avenging your wrongs; in our present situation it is no mark of cowardice to pocket an affront. Whether we will or no, we are in their power. Pray, remember how much mischief this ill-timed passion of yours may bring on us; we may in consequence be all brought back to Constantinople, and everything that has been done may be undone, or at any rate, unsettled, the result of which will be fresh worries and endless trouble. I beg you another time, if you have no regard for your own safety, for my sake at any rate, to control yourself more.’

But his remonstrances fell on deaf ears. Henry was a man of obstinate disposition, and when angered, most unreasonable. ‘What would it have mattered to me,’ he answered, ‘even if I had killed him? Had he not resolved to murder me? if but one of all the blows he aimed at my head had reached me, he had butchered me like a sheep. The idea of my being guilty for slaying a man, who was endeavouring to kill me! I am desperately sorry for one thing, and that is, that I do not feel quite sure that he will not recover from my blow.’ Then he swore he would spare no395 Turk, who wanted to wound him, but would, at all hazards, do his best to kill him. De Sandé did not approve of these sentiments.

The Janissary, having received the wound I mentioned, made it out to be worse than it was. Two Jews, who were acquainted with the Spanish tongue, came to me, saying that the Janissary was in great danger; I must give him some compensation, or else I should hear more of it; much trouble was in store for me on this account. I replied as I thought politic.

But as I knew the Turkish habit of bringing false accusations, I considered it better to be beforehand with them. I immediately asked Ibrahim, through a servant, to lend me one of his suite, to escort one of my men to Constantinople, saying that the case was urgent. Ibrahim wondered what the reason could be, and came to me at once. I said that I must ask Ali Pasha to have more trustworthy precautions taken for my safety on the journey, otherwise I could not feel confident of reaching the borders of my country uninjured, as two of my suite had been within an inch of being murdered. I then told him what had happened. Ibrahim understood how closely the affair concerned himself, and asked me to have the patience to wait a few moments, and immediately went across the road to the Janissary, whom he found in bed. He rated him soundly for behaving in such a way to my people; saying ‘we were returning, after peace had been concluded, in high favour with Solyman and all the Pashas. None of my requests had been denied me, and many concessions had been made unasked; he himself had been attached to me as my companion on the journey to take care that proper respect was paid to me everywhere. The Janissary had been the first person found to do us any injury, and that I wished396 to send to Constantinople to complain about it. If this were done, the Janissary well knew what the consequences would be.’

By this speech not only was the Janissary’s comb cut, but it was now his turn to be frightened.

On the following day we pursued our journey towards Buda, the doctor being as nimble as before in spite of his terrible bruises. When we were just in sight of Buda, by order of the Pasha some of his household came to meet us, along with several cavasses; a crowd of young men on horseback formed the most remarkable part of our escort on account of the strangeness of their attire, which was as follows. They had cut a long line in the skin of their bare heads, which were for the most part shaved, and inserted in the wound an assortment of feathers; though dripping with blood they concealed the pain and assumed a gay and cheerful bearing, as if they felt it not. Close before me were some of them on foot, one of whom walked with his bare arms a-kimbo, both of which he had pierced above the elbow with a Prague knife. Another, who went naked to the waist, had stuck a bludgeon in two slits he had made in his skin above and below his loins, whence it hung as if from a girdle. A third had fixed a horse’s hoof with several nails on the top of his head. But that was old, as the nails had so grown into the flesh, that they were quite immovable.

With this escort we entered Buda, and were conducted to the Pasha, who conversed with me for some time about the observance of the truce, with de Sandé standing by. The company of young men, who showed such strange proofs of their indifference to pain, took up a position inside the threshold of the court-yard, and when I happened to look in that direction, the Pasha asked me what I thought of them.397 ‘Capital fellows,’ I replied, ‘save that they treat their skin in a way that I should not like to treat my clothes!’ The Pasha laughed and dismissed us.

On the next day we came to Gran, and proceeded from there to Komorn, which is the first fortress of his Imperial Majesty, and stands on the river Waag. On either bank of the river the garrison of the place with the naval auxiliaries, who are there called Nassadistas, was awaiting us. Before I crossed, de Sandé embraced me and thanked me once more for the recovery of his freedom, disclosing at the same time the anxiety he had so long kept a secret. He told me frankly, that up to this time he had been under the belief that the Turks could not be acting in good faith in the business, and therefore had been in perpetual fear that he would have to go back to Constantinople, and end his days in a dungeon. Now at last he felt that he was not to be cheated of the liberty he owed me, for which he would be under the deepest obligations to me to his last breath.266

A few days afterwards we reached Vienna. At that time the Emperor Ferdinand was at the Diet of the Empire with his son Maximilian, whose election as King of the Romans was then proceeding. I informed the Emperor of my return and of Ibrahim’s arrival, asking his pleasure concerning him, for he was anxious to be conducted to Frankfort.

The Emperor at first replied, that he thought it more advisable that the Turks should await his return at Vienna, deeming it impolitic that men of so hostile a nation should be conducted all the way from Vienna to Frankfort through the heart of the Empire.

But it was tedious to wait, and might have given 398the Turks many grounds for suspicion, and there was no cause for alarm, if Ibrahim with his suite should travel through the most flourishing part of the Empire; on the contrary, it was desirable that he should thereby form a just estimate of its strength and greatness, and, most of all, that he should see at Frankfort how unanimous the chief princes of the Empire were in electing Maximilian as his father’s successor.

When I had laid these arguments before the Emperor, he gave his consent to Ibrahim and his attendants being conducted to Frankfort. So we set out on our journey thither by Prague, Bamberg, and Wurzburg.

Ibrahim was unwilling to pass through Bohemia without paying his court to the Archduke Ferdinand; but the Archduke did not think fit to give him an audience, except incognito.

When I was only a few days’ journey from Frankfort, I decided to precede the Turks by one or two days, that I might, before they arrived, inform the Emperor about certain matters connected with my embassy. I therefore took post, and arrived at Frankfort the eve of the day, on which seven years before I had commenced my second journey from Vienna to Constantinople. I was received by my most gracious Emperor with a warmth and indulgence which was due not to my own poor merits, but to the natural kindness of his character. You may imagine how much I enjoyed, after so many years, seeing my Master not only alive and well, but also in the utmost prosperity. He treated me in a manner betokening his high satisfaction at the way in which I had discharged the duties of the embassy, thanked me for my long services, expressed his complete approval of the result of my negotiations, loaded me with tokens of his esteem, and, in short, bestowed on me every possible mark of favour.


On the day before the coronation (November 29, N.S.), Ibrahim arrived at Frankfort very late in the evening, after the gates of the town had been shut, which according to ancient custom are not allowed to be opened the whole of the following day. But his Imperial Majesty gave express orders that the gates should be opened for the Turks the next day. A place was assigned them from which they could see the Emperor elect passing, with the whole of the show and procession. It appeared to them a grand and magnificent spectacle, as indeed it was. There were pointed out, among the others who accompanied the Emperor to do him honour, three Dukes, those of Saxony, Bavaria, and Juliers,267 each of whom could, from his own resources, put a regular army in the field; and many other things were explained to them about the strength, dignity, and grandeur of the Empire.

A few days afterwards Ibrahim had an audience of the Emperor, related the reasons of his coming, and presented to him such gifts as are considered the most honourable among the Turks. After the peace had been ratified, the Emperor honoured him with magnificent presents, and sent him back to Solyman.

I am still detained here by my private affairs, though longing to fly from the court and return home. For, indeed, the life of a court is by no means to my liking. Full well do I know its cares. Beneath its gaudy show lurk endless miseries. In it deceit abounds, 400and sincerity is rare. There is no court which is not haunted by envy, in which it is not vain to seek for friendship that can be trusted, and in which there is not cause to fear a change of favour and a sudden fall. For even monarchs themselves are human. I have seen a man, who had entered the palace escorted by a hundred friends, return home with hardly a single companion, on account of the Sovereign’s displeasure. A court does not recognise real merit till too late, but is guided by mere shadows, such as rumour, outward appearances, intrigues and popular mistakes, so that I should not hesitate to call those fortunate, who have been granted a speedy and happy release from its annoyances. To be able to live for oneself and literature, and to grow old in some quiet country nook, with a few honest friends, is indeed an enviable lot. If there is any true life to be found in this earthly pilgrimage, surely it must be this. Far too often in a court is a buffoon of rank valued more highly than a man of merit; indeed a picture of an ass among monkeys gives an excellent notion of the position of an honest man among courtiers.

It is of ordinary courts that I speak. For I freely admit that many courts, and especially this one, derive lustre from the presence of men of distinction in every walk of life, who shed around them a glorious light. Be this as it may, I prefer a peaceful retired life, with plenty of time for reading, to the throng and tumult of a court. But, though I long to depart, I am afraid my most gracious Sovereign may detain me, or at any rate summon me back, when I have reached my retirement at home. He has consented to my departure, it is true, but only on condition of my returning if recalled. But if this occurs (for who could refuse the courteous request of a Sovereign who is able to command, and to whom one owes so much?) then one consolation401 will be left me, namely, that it will be granted me to gaze upon the most Sacred Person of my Emperor, or, to express it better, upon the living image of real virtue.

For I assure you my master is the noblest prince on whom the sun ever shone. His character and his virtues give him a claim to empire such as few have ever possessed. Supreme power must everywhere command respect, even when held by unworthy hands, but to deserve supreme power and to be fit to wield it, is, in my judgment, a far more glorious thing.

I speak not therefore of his birth, nor of his illustrious ancestors; his greatness requires no extraneous support, but can stand on its own merits; it is his personal virtues and his personal fitness for his high station that strike me most forcibly.

There have been many bad Emperors, who did not deserve to be elevated to such a pinnacle of power; but, of all the Emperors that ever lived, not one has merited that dignity more than my master.

Again, how many originally upright and faultless characters when raised to power, have been quickly corrupted by their freedom from restraint and by the temptations of a court, and have plunged headlong into every form of vice. They forgot they were mortal, and conceiving arrogant thoughts beyond the limits of human ambition, they claimed to be elevated to heaven, and ranked among the gods, while all the time they were unworthy to be reckoned among men.

But few men’s necks can bear the load of an exalted lot; many sink beneath it, and when placed in a high position forget themselves. It is a hard trial to have unlimited power, and yet to curb one’s desires.

There is none whose eyes have been less dazzled than my master’s by the splendour of high position, and no one has kept a firmer hold on virtue, or guarded402 more diligently against his naturally upright disposition being corrupted by the temptations to which royalty is exposed. He has always felt, that those who shine before men in the glory of exalted rank ought to influence their minds to good by the purity of their lives.

He is most zealous for religion, and piously serves and worships God, always living as if he were in His immediate presence, measuring all his actions by His law, and thereby governing his whole life. Whether in prosperity or adversity, he recognises the Hand which gives and takes away. In short, while still on earth he leads a life such as saints in heaven may lead.

He feels intensely the seriousness of his position. All his words and actions have the common weal for their object, and he ever makes his personal interests subordinate to his subjects’ welfare. So much is this the case that some people accuse him of sacrificing the legitimate claims of his household and his children to the welfare of the state.

To those about him he shows every possible kindness, and treats us all as if he were responsible for our welfare, and, in fact, were the father of every member of his vast household. Who is there who has implored his protection in vain, when he needed assistance, or has not had proof of his generosity? He thinks every day lost in which he has not benefited some one; and, while he welcomes every one with the greatest affection, towards the members of his household he is especially gracious. Among them there is no one who can complain of being neglected or passed over; he knows by heart the life, habits, merits, and even the name, of everyone, however low his rank may be. Mighty prince as he is, when he sees them leading careless and unbecoming lives, he does not hesitate, at a fitting opportunity, to remind them of their duty and403 rebuke them; and, if they reform, to praise and reward them. Therefore, when they leave his presence, they declare that they find the Emperor not a master, but a father.

It is also his constant practice, when he has punished their errors by his displeasure for some days, after he has pardoned them, to restore them to exactly their former position, blotting out from his memory all recollection of their fault.

He lays down the law most uprightly, and as strictly for himself as for others. For he does not think he has the right of disregarding himself the rules he prescribes for others, or of allowing himself a license which he punishes in them.

He keeps his passions under control, and confines them within the limits of reason. Hatred, anger, and harsh language are strangers to him. No man alive has heard him disparage another; not even those whom he knows to be unjust to himself. He has never said a harsh word of any one, nor does he ever speak ill of people behind their backs.

Beneath his protection goodness is secure; malice, violence, deceit, dishonesty, all vices in a word, fly from his presence, and crimes and outrages receive the punishment they deserve.

The Romans had their censors appointed to regulate morals, and to keep the nation firm in the path of duty and the customs of their sires, but among us no censor is required, as the life of our Sovereign supplies his place. His bright example shows us what to follow and what to avoid.

He is extremely kind towards men of worth and learning, who are trained in the pursuits which do the State good service. In dealing with men of this description he lays aside his royalty and treats them, not404 as a master, but as an intimate friend on a footing of perfect equality, as one who would be their companion and rival in striving after what is right, making no distinction between those who owe their high position to the credit they derive from the glory of their ancestors, and those who have been elevated by their own merits and have proved their worth. With them he enjoys passing the time he has to spare from business, which, however, is but little. These are the men he values, holding, as he does, that it is of great public importance that merit should occupy the position which is its due.

He is naturally eager for information, and desirous of knowing everything worthy of a human being’s attention, and therefore always has some subject about which he wishes to hear the opinion of men of learning, from time to time interposing some shrewd and pointed observation of his own, to the great admiration of his hearers. Thus he has acquired no mean store of useful information, so that it is impossible to ask him a question on any subject with which he is wholly unacquainted.

He knows several languages. Spanish, as his mother tongue, takes the first place, then come French, German, Latin, and Italian. Although he can express anything he means in Latin, yet he has not learnt it so accurately as not to infringe, at times, the rules of grammar, a fault to be blamed in a man of letters, but not, in my humble judgment, to be hardly criticised in an Emperor.268


No one will deny that what I have said so far is true, but perchance some will regret that he has not paid more attention to warlike enterprises, and won his laurels on the battle-field. The Turks, such an one will say, have now for many years past been playing the tyrant in Hungary, and wasting the land far and wide, while we do not give any assistance worthy of our name. Long ago ought we to have marched against them, and allowed fortune by one pitched battle to decide which was to be master. Such persons, I grant, speak boldly, but I question if they speak prudently. Let us go a little deeper into the matter. My opinion is that we should judge of the talents of generals or commanders rather from their plans than from results. Moreover, in their plans they ought to take into account the times, their own resources, and the nature and power of the enemy. If an enemy of an ordinary kind, with no great prestige, should attack our territories, I frankly confess it would be cowardly not to march against him, and check him by a pitched battle, always supposing that we could bring into the field a force equal to his. But if the enemy in question should be a scourge sent by the wrath of God (as was Attila of yore, Tamerlane in the memory of our grandfathers, and the Ottoman Sultans in our own times), against whom nothing can stand, and who levels to the ground every obstacle in his way; to oppose oneself to such a foe with but scanty and irregular troops would, I fear, be an act so rash as to deserve the name of madness.

Against us stands Solyman, that foe whom his own and his ancestors’ exploits have made so terrible; he 406tramples the soil of Hungary with 200,000 horse, he is at the very gates of Austria, threatens the rest of Germany, and brings in his train all the nations that extend from our borders to those of Persia. The army he leads is equipped with the wealth of many kingdoms. Of the three regions, into which the world is divided, there is not one that does not contribute its share towards our destruction. Like a thunderbolt he strikes, shivers, and destroys everything in his way. The troops he leads are trained veterans, accustomed to his command; he fills the world with the terror of his name. Like a raging lion he is always roaring around our borders, trying to break in, now in this place, now in that. On account of much less danger many nations, attacked by superior forces, have left their native lands and sought new habitations. When the peril is small, composure deserves but little praise, but not to be terrified at the onset of such an enemy, while the world re-echoes with the crash of kingdoms falling in ruins all around, seems to me to betoken a courage worthy of Hercules himself.269 Nevertheless, the heroic Ferdinand with undaunted courage keeps his stand on the same spot, does not desert his post, and stirs not an inch from the position he has taken up. He would desire to have such strength that he could, without being charged with madness and only at his own personal risk, stake everything on the chance of a battle; but his generous impulses are moderated by prudence. He sees what ruin to his own most faithful subjects and, indeed, to the whole of Christendom would attend any failure in so important an enterprise, and thinks it wrong to gratify his private inclination at the price of a disaster ruinous to the state. He reflects what an unequal contest it would be, if 25,000 or 30,000 407infantry with the addition of a small body of cavalry should be pitted against 200,000 cavalry supported by veteran infantry. The result to be expected from such a contest is shown him only too plainly by the examples of former times, the routs of Nicopolis and Varna, and the plains of Mohacz, still white with the bones of slaughtered Christians.270

A general must be a novice indeed, who rushes into battle without reckoning up his own strength or that of the enemy. And then what follows when too late? Why, simply that excuse, unpardonable in a general, which is ushered in by the words, ‘But I never thought’271....

It makes an enormous difference what enemy we have to encounter; I should not ask you to accept this assertion if it were not supported by the evidence of the greatest generals. Cæsar, indeed, the greatest master of the art of war that ever existed, has abundantly demonstrated how much depends on this, and has ascribed to the good fortune of Lucullus and Pompey that they met with such cowardly enemies, and on this account won their laurels at a cheap and easy rate. On the only occasion that he met with such a foe in Pharnaces, speaking as if in jest of an exploit, which had cost him no pains, and therefore deserved no praise, 408he showed the easiness of his victory by his despatch, ‘Veni, vidi, vici.’ He would not say the same thing if he were now-a-days to wage war with those nations; in his time they were enervated and made effeminate by luxury, but now they lead a frugal and hardy life, are enured to hunger, heat, and cold, and are trained by continual toil and a rigorous system of discipline to endure every hardship and to welcome every danger.

It is not without reason that Livy argues, that Alexander of Macedon would have made war with far different results, if he had had the Romans for enemies, instead of the Persians or the unwarlike Indians. It is one thing to make war with warlike nations, and another to fight with peoples ruined by luxury or unaccustomed to arms. Among the Persians mere numbers were much thought of, but in dealing with those same Persians it proved to be more trouble to slaughter than to conquer them. I consider Hannibal’s three victories, at the Trebia, Lake Thrasimene, and Cannæ, are to be placed far above all the exploits of Alexander. Why so? the former won his successes over famous warriors, the latter had the effeminate nations of Asia to contend with.

Fabius Maximus had no less courage than T. Sempronius, C. Flaminius, or Varro, but more sagacity. That prudent general knew that he must not rashly hazard everything against an enemy brought up in the camp, whose whole life had been passed in arms, who had been trained in the school of great commanders, who was distinguished by so many trophies, and attended by some extraordinary destiny or good fortune; delay and opportunity were absolutely necessary to make his defeat a possibility. When he had to contend with such an enemy, the only hope he had409 left was to avoid a battle, until there was a chance of fighting with success. Meanwhile he had to stand up against the foe, keep him in check, and harass him. In this Fabius was so successful, that perhaps he is entitled to quite as much credit for defeating Hannibal as Scipio himself, although the latter won the final victory. For who can tell whether Scipio would have had an opportunity of conquering at Zama, if Fabius had not checked Hannibal’s victorious career? Nor should a victory won by strategy be thought less of than one gained by force. The former has nothing in common with animals, the latter has.

The Emperor Ferdinand’s plan was the same as that of Fabius Maximus, and accordingly, after weighing his own strength and that of Solyman, he came to the conclusion that it would be the height of bad generalship to tempt fortune, and encounter in a pitched battle the attack of so mighty an enemy. There was another course open to him, namely, to endeavour to check his inroad by the same means as we should use to stay the overflow of a swollen stream, and accordingly he directed all his energies to the construction of walls, ditches, and other fortifications.

It is forty years, more or less, since Solyman at the beginning of his reign, after taking Belgrade, crushing Hungary, and slaying King Louis, made sure of obtaining not only that province but also those beyond; in this hope he besieged Vienna, and renewing the war reduced Güns, and threatened Vienna again, but that time from a distance. Yet what has he accomplished with his mighty array of arms, his boundless resources and innumerable soldiery? Why, he has not made one single step in Hungary in advance of his original conquest. He, who used to make an end of powerful kingdoms in a single campaign, has won, as410 the reward of his invasions, ill-fortified castles or inconsiderable villages, and has paid a heavy price for whatever fragments he has gradually torn off from the vast bulk of Hungary. Vienna he has certainly seen once, but as it was for the first, so it was for the last time.272

Three things Solyman is said to have set his heart on, namely, to see the building of his mosque finished (which is indeed a costly and beautiful work),273 by restoring the ancient aqueducts to give Constantinople an abundant supply of water, and to take Vienna. In two of these things his wishes have been accomplished, in the third he has been stopped, and I hope will be stopped. Vienna he is wont to call by no other name than his disgrace and shame.

But I return to the point from which I made this digression, namely, that I do not hesitate to claim for Ferdinand a foremost place among generals, inasmuch as, with resources wholly inadequate to the occasion, he has never quailed, but for many a long year has, with marvellous fortitude, sustained the attacks of a foe of no ordinary kind. He has preserved a large portion of Hungary for better days; a greater feat in my eyes than many a triumph won under favourable circumstances over conquered kings and vanquished nations. The greater his need at the critical hour, the brighter his courage shone. Of course I cannot expect those to appreciate his conduct who think that everything ought to be risked in a single action, without the slightest regard to the time, the circumstances, or the 411strength of the foe. But to anyone else it must seem well nigh miraculous, that a realm so open and exposed as that of Hungary, and one so torn by civil war, should be capable of being defended so long, and should not have altogether passed under the yoke of its powerful assailant. That so much has been done is wholly owing to God’s special mercy, and under Him to the ceaseless toil and anxious care of this most prudent monarch.

In this task what difficulties had he not to encounter, each more grievous than the preceding! The enemy was in sight, his friends were far off; the succours his brother Charles sent came from a distance and arrived too late; Germany, although nearest to the conflagration, was weary of supplying aid; the hereditary states were exhausted by their contributions; the ears of many Christian princes were deaf to his voice when he demanded assistance; though the matter was one of vital importance to them, it was about the last they were likely to attend to. And so at one time, by his own valour, with the forces he could gather from Hungary, Austria, and Bohemia, at another, by the resources of the Empire, at another, by hiring Spanish or Italian troops, he held his ground, though at vast cost. By a line of garrisons he has protected the frontiers of Hungary, which extend for fifteen days’ journey, for he is obliged always to keep some troops embodied, even during a time of truce. For at times there are truces; and he condescends, when there is fear of the Sultan’s attack, and he has no other means of stopping him, to send ambassadors and presents to appease his wrath, as the best chance of saving the necks of the unfortunate Hungarians from the coming storm.

It is ridiculous to suppose that a man thus engaged can enjoy a good night’s rest. For the benefit of the412 state he must forego sleep. Affairs so weighty demand continual watchfulness, and great anxiety. You may think it is a panegyric I am composing, but I am writing my letter with strict historical accuracy.

To manage these affairs he has ministers, few indeed, but good. The leading men among them, whom perhaps you have heard of, are John von Trautson and Rodolph von Harrach,274 both of whom are persons of singular loyalty and prudence.

I will conclude with a few details of his private life. He rises at five, even in the severest winter months, and after prayers and hearing mass retires to the council chamber, where he devotes himself to public business until it is time for dinner. He is occupied the same way in the afternoon till supper. When I say supper, I mean, not his own, but that of his councillors, for he never touches supper himself, and does not take food more than once a day and then sparingly; nor does he indulge more freely in drinking, being content to finish his dinner with two draughts of wine. Since he lost his wife, no other woman has been allowed to take her place. He does not care for jests and the amusements by which many are attracted. Fools, jugglers, buffoons, parasites, the darlings, but also the curses, of ordinary courts, are banished from his palace. He avoids leisure, and is never idle. If, which is an unusual event, he has any time to spare from business, he devotes it, as I previously mentioned, to conversations with men of worth and learning, which he greatly enjoys. In particular, 413they stand by him at dinner, and talk with him on various topics.

You may be sure that not many of his subjects would wish to change their mode of life for his, which is so frugal and severe. For how rarely can you find a man who does not devote some fraction of his life to pleasure? Who would cheerfully endure the loss of all his amusements? Who would not be disgusted at spending his last years in the midst of unceasing business and anxieties—a condition which more resembles slavery than sovereignty? But the Emperor is of a different opinion, and when talking with his friends is wont to say, that ‘it is not for his own sake that he has been appointed by God to so important an office; the helm of empire has not been entrusted to him that he may wallow in pleasures and amusements; the terms on which private fortunes are inherited are far different from those which regulate the succession to kingdoms and empires. No one is forbidden to use and enjoy the advantages of his patrimony, but all these numerous nations have been committed by God to his charge, that he may take care of them and bear the toil, while they enjoy the fruits of his labours; that he may endure the burden and heat of the day, while rest and peace are secured for them.’

Hunting is the only amusement of which he ever partakes, and that not so much for the sake of pleasure as of health. For, when he feels his mind and body require bracing after a long spell of sedentary work, he chooses a day to refresh himself by out-of-door exercise and plenty of fresh air. On such occasions, very early in the morning, in summer at daybreak, in winter some hours before sunrise, he goes out to hunt, whatever the weather may be. Sometimes, however, only the afternoon is devoted to this occupation. I remember once414 hearing him say, when I was standing by him at dinner, ‘I have done all my work, I have finished all my business, I have come to the bottom of my despatch-box, there is nothing left in the chancery to keep me; the rest of the day I will spend in bodily exercise.’ And so he returns home, when the night is already advanced, delighted at having killed a boar, or a stag, or, sometimes, even a bear, and without taking any food or drink, composes himself to sleep, all wearied by his various exertions.

It is absurd, therefore, for anyone to look back with regret on Trajan, Verus, and Theodosius, and to wish that such wonderful Emperors were living in our times. I seriously and solemnly declare, that I believe there is more real merit in my master than in the three of them put together.

But my admiration for so great a man is carrying me away too far. It is not my design to speak of his merits as they deserve; that would require a volume, not a letter, and would call for talents and faculties that are far beyond me, but, as I have narrated my other adventures to you, I wished that you should not remain in ignorance of the character of the Emperor I serve. I shall conclude with that which is the universal prayer with regard to the saint and champion of our age—‘Serus in cœlum redeat.

As to your inquiries about Greek books and your writing that you hear I have brought back many curiosities and some rare animals, there is nothing among them that is much worth mentioning. I have brought back a very tame ichneumon, an animal celebrated for its hatred to the crocodile and asp, and the internecine war it wages with them. I had also a remarkably handsome weasel, of the kind called sables, but I lost him on the journey. I also brought415 with me several beautiful thoroughbred horses, which no one before me has done, and six she-camels. I brought back some drawings of plants and shrubs, which I am keeping for Mattioli,275 but as to plants and shrubs themselves I have few or none. For I sent him many years ago the sweet flag (Acorus calamus276) and many other specimens. Carpets too, and linen embroidered in Babylonian fashion, swords, bows, and horse-trappings, and many nicknacks elegantly made of leather, which is generally horse leather, and other trifling specimens of Turkish workmanship I have, or rather, to speak more correctly, I 416ought to say, I had. For, as in this great assemblage of Sovereigns, both male and female, here at Frankfort, I give, of my own accord, many presents to many people as compliments, and am ashamed to refuse many others who ask me, what I have left for myself is but little. But, while I think my other gifts have been well bestowed, there is one of which I regret having been so lavish, namely, the balsam,277 because physicians have thrown doubts on its genuineness, declaring that it has not got all the properties which according to Pliny mark the true balsam, whether because the strength of the very old plants, from which it flows, has been in some degree impaired by age, or for some other reason. This much, at any rate, I know for certain, that it flowed from the shrubs which are cultivated in the gardens of Matarieh, near Cairo.278

Before I left Constantinople I sent a Spanish physician, named Albacar, to Lemnos, that he might be there on August 6, at the digging out of that famous earth,279 and so might write us a full and certain account of its position and source, and the mode of extracting it and preparing it for use; which I do not doubt he would have done, had he not been prevented by circumstances over which he had no control. For a long time I wanted to cross over there, that I might be an eye-witness myself. As the Turks did not allow me to do so, I took pains to make myself, at least, an ear-witness, if I may say so.

I am also bringing back a great medley of ancient coins, of which I shall present the most remarkable to my master.

I have besides, whole waggonfuls, whole shiploads, 417of Greek manuscripts. There are, I believe, not much fewer than 240 books, which I sent by sea to Venice, to be conveyed from there to Vienna, for their destination is the Imperial Library. There are some which are not to be despised and many common ones. I ransacked every corner to collect, in a sort of final gleaning, all that remained of such wares. The only one I left at Constantinople was a copy of Dioscorides,280 evidently a very ancient manuscript, written throughout in uncial characters and containing drawings of the plants, in which, if I am not mistaken, there are also some fragments of Cratevas and a treatise on birds. It belongs to a Jew, the son of Hamon, who was Solyman’s physician, and I wanted to buy it, but was deterred by the price. For he demanded 100 ducats, a sum suiting the Imperial purse, but not mine. I 418shall not leave off pressing the Emperor till I induce him to ransom so famous an author from such foul slavery. The manuscript is in very bad condition from the injuries of age, being so worm-eaten on the outside that hardly anyone, if he found it on the road, would take the trouble of picking it up.

But my letter is too long already; expect to see me in person very shortly; if anything remains to be told, it shall be kept for our meeting. But mind you invite men of worth and learning to meet me, so that pleasant company and profitable conversation may serve to rub off the remains of the rust I have contracted during my long sojourn among the Turks. Farewell.

Frankfort, December 16, 1562.


1 See Prescott, Philip II., book iv. chap. i.

2 The Society of Sciences, Agriculture, and Arts at Lille has for several years been offering a prize for an essay on Busbecq’s life.

3 See Appendix, List of Editions.

4 Mêlanges à Histoire et de Littérature, vol. i. p. 48, edition of 1702. The author is Noel d’Argonne, who wrote under the assumed name of de Vigneul-Marville.

5 The sweet or aromatic flag.

6 See Fourth Turkish letter ad finem.

7 Monsieur Rouzière being a complete stranger to the neighbourhood, Monsieur Jean Dalle, the present Maire of Bousbecque, acted as his cicerone. Before going away, Monsieur Rouzière selected an old house in Comines to which he attached his legend; this house is now shown as the birthplace of the Ambassador, on the authority of a man who could have had no acquaintance with the traditions of the place. On the other hand, Monsieur Dalle’s family have resided in the neighbourhood from time immemorial, and Monsieur Dalle himself has for the last twenty years taken the keenest interest in the subject. He tells us that there is not the slightest evidence connecting the house with Busbecq, and that no one ever heard of the story till after the publication of Monsieur Rouzière’s brochure in 1860.

8 That the name of Busbecq’s father was George—and not, as usually supposed, Gilles (Ægidius)—is established by the deed of legitimation, a copy of which is given in the Appendix.

9 See letter to Boisschot, appended to the Elzevir edition of Busbecq’s letters from France.

10 See Appendix, Patent of knighthood.

11 Ogier is the name of an old Norse hero, who figures prominently in the Carlovingian epic cycle. Jean Molinet says of some Burgundian archers, who displayed great courage at a critical moment, ‘Et n’y avoit celui d’entre eux qui ne montrast mine d’estre ung petit Ogier.’ (Molinet, chap. xxx.) It was Latinised into Augerius, hence some write Auger.

12 Bousbecque takes its name from a tributary of the Lys, which is still called Becque des bois.

13 For this and other documents quoted in this section see Monsieur Dalle’s Histoire de Bousbecque.

14 Some few traces, showing the high position of the early Seigneurs, are still to be found in Bousbecque; among these is the beautiful cross, of which we have been enabled by the kindness of Monsieur Dalle to give a representation in the frontispiece of the Second Volume. Monsieur Dalle considers it to be ‘la croix d’autel mobile qui était sans pied et sans hampe, qui l’on portait de la sacristie à l’autel au moment du saint sacrifice, et qui se plaçait sur un pied préparé d’avance.’—Histoire de Bousbecque, chap. xxxviii.

15 For the pedigree of the Ghiselins see Monsieur Dalle’s Histoire de Bousbecque, chap. iv. In consequence of there being several seigneurs of the same name it will be necessary to speak of them as Gilles Ghiselin I., &c.

16 Marie, daughter of Gilles Ghiselin I., became Abbess of Messines. The following is an extract from L. Guicciardini’s Description de tout le Païs Bas, Antwerp, 1567. ‘Messine ha une tres-bonne et tres-ample Abbaye de femmes, de laquelle l’Abbesse est Dame du lieu, et de sa jurisdiction, tant au temporel qu’au spirituel.

17 Jeanne de la Clite was married to Jean Halluin (Halewin), Seigneur of Halluin, the relation and near neighbour of the Busbecqs of Bousbecque. The families had been connected from a very early date by the marriage of Roger Halluin to Agnes de Bousbecque; it will be noticed that the grandmother of George and Gilles Ghiselin was also a Halluin; moreover in consequence of this alliance the Busbecqs quartered the Halluin arms. We should have been afraid, however, to state positively that a relationship existed between them and Jean Halluin, husband of Jeanne de la Clite, had not Monsieur Leuridan, who is the chief authority on genealogies in the North of France, most kindly investigated the question for us. The result of his researches has placed the matter beyond doubt; Jean Halluin and George and Gilles Ghiselin had a common ancestor in Jacques Halluin, Seigneur of Halluin in the fourteenth century. As far as mere cousinship is concerned they were but distant relations, still it is easy to understand that two seigneurs, in the fifteenth century, living within two miles of each other, would value and appreciate any blood relationship however slight.

18 For this battle see Philippe de Comines, book vi. chap. 5, and Molinet, chap. lxvi. Jean Molinet was chronicler to the Court of Burgundy from 1474 to 1506. He is a most painstaking writer, and of great value on account of the graphic details to be found in his narratives. Unfortunately for his reputation as an annalist, he here and there inserts chapters of pedantic nonsense, in which frequent references are made to the saints of the calendar and the heroes of mythology. But it is only fair to observe that the quantity of wheat to be found is greatly in excess of the chaff, and that he keeps his wheat and chaff separate and distinct. In his historical chapters he never indulges in these vagaries. Possibly the court fashion required him to write such pieces, for Molinet was by no means blind to the faults and errors of his patrons, and could also see the humorous side of their misfortunes. The following description of Maximilian’s imprisonment in Bruges, is to be found in Recollection des merveilles advenues en nostre temps, written by Molinet.

Les moutons détentèrent
En son parc le berger,
Les chiens qui le gardèrent
Sont constraint d’eslonger.
Le berger prist figure
D’aigneau, mais ses brebis,
Dont il avait la cure,
Devindrent loups rabis.’

19 See Molinet, chap. clxii.

20 See Molinet, chap. clxiii.

21 See Molinet, chap. clxiv.

22 See De Barante, Histoire des Ducs de Bourgogne, vii. 428.

23 The Flemings having objected to the introduction of German troops into their country this order was most impolitic.

24Le bourreau, qui volontiers entendit ces mots pour son gaing, et afin que la chose ne demourast à faire pour faulte de lui, monta soudainement sur le hourd où se firent les executions, et en attendant sa proie, estoit sorti d’espées et de bandeaux.’—Molinet, chap. clxvii.

25 Those called up were Jehan van Ninove Wautergrave, Victor hoste de la Thoison, Peter d’Arincq et deux autres. Molinet, chap. clxix. A comparison of this list with the names of those brought out for execution will show that the two others (deux autres) were George Ghiselin and Bontemps.

26 Many expressions used by Philippe de Comines, which are supposed to be obsolete, are simply the idioms of Comines and its neighbourhood, where the historian spent the early part of his life, and may still be heard at Bousbecque, Wervicq, Halluin, and other villages on the banks of the Lys.

27 ‘Nul prince ne le passa jamais de désirer nourrir grans gens et les tenir bien reglez.’—Philippe de Comines, book v. chap. 9.

28 See Molinet, chap. i.

29 The reader will remember Scott’s description of the battle of Nancy in Anne of Geierstein; the Burgundians were surprised in the night and cut to pieces by the Swiss.

30 Another memorial of Gilles Ghiselin II. is to be found in the inscription on the beautiful Bousbecque Chasse, considered by antiquarians to be the work of the twelfth or thirteenth century. ‘En ceste fiertre a de le sainte vraie crois et biaucop d’autres dimtes, laquelle a faict réparer noble homme Gilles Gisselins: proés pour lui.

31 For an account of Jeanne de la Clite see page 27.

32 For an account of the office of écuyer trenchant see page 59.

33 Leonora (as she is called by Busbecq), otherwise Eleanor, was married, 1519, to Emanuel, King of Portugal, and was left a widow with only one daughter in 1521. She married Francis I., King of France, in 1530, lost her second husband, 1547, and died February 1558.

34 Elizabeth, or Isabella, married Christian II. of Denmark in 1515, and died 1526.

35 An interesting document is given by Dupont (Mémoires de Philippe de Comines, iii. 180), which connects George Halluin with Philippe de Comines. The latter had been the ward of George Halluin’s great grandfather, but the accounts as regards the administration of his property had never been closed. This no doubt was owing to Philippe de Comine’s desertion, and the disturbed state of Flanders, but on July 7, 1519, George Halluin paid over the balance due, after deducting the expenses of his education, and received an acquittance for the same.

36 These particulars as to the family of Philippe de Comines, Jeanne de la Clite, and George Halluin, we owe to the kindness of Monsieur Leuridan, Archiviste of Roubaix. The accounts hitherto published contain manifest errors. For instance, Dupont represents Jeanne de Wazières as Dame de Comines et de Halewin, and when the property comes to Jeanne de la Clite she is only Dame de Comines, and as such marries the Seigneur of Halewin (Halluin). Monsieur Leuridan’s account of the Seigneurs of Comines will appear shortly in the fourteenth volume of the Bulletin de la Commission historique du Nord, under the title of Recherches sur les Sires de Comines.

37 De Barante, Histoire des Ducs de Bourgogne, xi. 196.

38 Philippe de Comines, book vi. chap. 2.

39 Molinet, chap. lix.

40 The Halluins formed a numerous and powerful family, of which the Seigneur of Halluin was the head. At the battle of Gavre, 1453, Jean Halluin, husband of Jeanne de la Clite, is said to have brought forty-four knights on to the field, every one of the blood and every one of the name of Halluin. Le Glay, Catalogue descriptif des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque de Lille, preface, xviii.

41 Jeanne de la Clite had been created Vicomtesse de Nieuport.

42 George Halluin was sent on one occasion as Ambassador extraordinary to Henry VIII. of England. Like Veltwick (see p. 54) he was, it would appear, the joint envoy of the brothers Charles V. and Ferdinand. Foppens, in his Bibliotheca Belgica, says he was sent by the Emperor. With this statement compare the following extract of a letter from Lord Berners to Wolsey dated Calais, June 29, 1524. ‘On this Wednesday, the 29th, there came to Calais, Mons. de Halwyn from the Archduke of Ostrych (Ferdinand) with 20 horse.’ Halluin asks Berners to inform the Cardinal of his arrival, and intends crossing as soon as he can obtain a safe conduct. See Brewer’s Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., vol. iv. part 1, p. 191.

43 Published at Strasburg, 1512.

44 The following inscription was placed over the tomb of Despauteres in the church of Comines:—

Epitaphium doctissimi viri JOHANNIS DESPAUTERII,
quondam hujus oppidi ludi-magister.
Hic jacet unoculus visu præstantior Argo,
Flandrica quem Ninove protulit et caruit.
Obiit 1520. Requiescat in pace.

The following is a free translation of his epitaph somewhat amplified.

Underneath this stone doth lie
The famous master of one eye,
That eye it served him for a hundred,
To catch his scholars when they blundered.
His birthplace is at Ninove seen,
His fame and glory in Comines.

45 The famous Ἐγκώμιον Μωρίας, dedicated to Sir Thomas More. George Halluin published a French translation of the work.

46 This visit to Erasmus at Louvain is mentioned in Strauss’s Life of Ulrich von Hutten, English translation, p. 215.

47 These notes are still preserved in the library of the cathedral at Arras.

48 See Monsieur Dalle, Histoire de Bousbecque, chap. vi.

49 See page 141.

50 The object of this statement is to show that Daniel de Croix had no intention of attacking Desrumaulx. The account is evidently drawn up so as to represent the young Seigneur’s case in the most favourable light possible.

51 De Lickerke, after the capture of Courtrai (see page 17), slew the Seigneur of Heulle, who had seized the castle while the former was engaged in superintending an execution. Jean Molinet is greatly moved at the thought of his dying before he could be confessed. ‘Lui féru d’une espée trois cops en la teste, tellement qu’il morut illec sans confession, qui fut chose piteuse et lamentable.’—Molinet, chap. clxiii.

52 This was not the first time that a Ghiselin of Bousbecque had ventured to differ with his Count. See page 25.

53 A copy of the deed is given in the Appendix.

54 The monuments in Bousbecque Church show that after Busbecq’s death the Hespiels were in fairly good circumstances; one of them was burgomaster of the village. From this Monsieur Dalle concludes that Busbecq was not forgetful of his mother’s family.—Histoire de Bousbecque, chap. xxvii.

55 See Motley’s Rise of the Dutch Republic, i. 6.

56 ‘Guere loing de Messine sur la Lisse est le village de Commines, avec un bon chasteau, ou y ha une tres-belle et tres-noble librairie, rassemblee par George, Seigneur de Hallewin et de Commines, gentilhomme tres-docte, lequel entre ses autres œuvres plus dignes et louables entretenoit et carressoit continuellement gens doctes et vertueux.’—L. Guicciardini, Description de tout le Païs bas, page 311.

57 An attempt is here made to give the views of Erasmus as they would present themselves to such a mind as George Halluin’s. The ideas are in a great measure adopted from Nisard’s Renaissance et Réforme, to which a little local colouring has been added, and are offered as an explanation of Busbecq’s neutrality with regard to the religious differences, which sent his countrymen into opposite camps.

58Le moine est inquiet, furieux, au milieu de cette universelle renaissance des lettres et des arts; il baisse sa lourde paupière devant la lumière de l’antiquité resuscitée, comme un oiseau de nuit devant le jour.’—Nisard, Renaissance et Réforme, i. 55. ‘Le génie de l’antiquité chassant devant lui les épaisses ténèbres de l’ignorance.’—Renaissance et Réforme, i. 66.

59Mais ce qui rendit surtout Érasme odieux aux moines ce fut son rôle littéraire, si brillant et si actif. Chose singulière, il excita peut-être plus de haines par ses paisibles travaux sur l’antiquité profane, que par ses critiques des mœurs et des institutions monacales, ses railleries contre l’étalage du culte extérieur, ses insinuations semi-hérétiques contre quelques dogmes consacrés même par les chrétiens d’une foi éclairée. A quoi cela tient-il? Est-ce que la science fait plus peur à l’ignorance que le doute à la foi? Est-ce que la foi des moines, extérieure, disciplinaire, pour ainsi dire, mais nullement profonde, était plus tolérante que leur ignorance? Enfin, y avait-il moins de péril pour eux dans le tumulte des dissensions religieuses, que dans l’éclatante lumière répandue par les lettres sur le monde moderne, rentré dans la grande voie de la tradition?’—Renaissance et Réforme, i. 63-4.

60 Erasmus was by nature extremely timid, ‘animo pusillo,’ as he describes himself to Colet (Ep. xli.). When writing to George Halluin he seems delighted at his having translated the Ἐγκώμιον Μωρίας, but he was by no means willing to stand the odium which arose on the publication of his satire in French. He shifts the responsibility entirely on to his friend. No doubt he thought that the shoulders of the Seigneur of Comines were broader than his own. (See Ep. cclxxxiv. to Abbot Antony de Berges.) ‘Post hæec accepi a nonnullis, quod me vehementer commovit, te mihi nescio quid subirasci, opinor ob Moriam, quam vir clarissimus Georgius Haloinus, me dehortante ac deterrente, fecit Gallicam, hoc est, ex meâ suam fecit, additis detractis et mutatis quæ voluit.’ December 13, 1517.

61 See Appendix. Legitimation of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. The Patent is dated November 24, 1540. It is interesting to know that just before that date Charles had been making a progress throughout the neighbourhood of Bousbecque. He was at Ghent November 1, at Oudenarde on the 2nd, at Courtrai on the 3rd, at Tournai on the 5th, at Lille on the 7th, and at Ypres on the 9th. (Journal des Voyages de Charles Quint. Par J. de Vandenesse.) Probably Ogier’s father took advantage of the opportunity to procure from the Emperor the grant of Legitimation.

62 One of the most remarkable applications of this theory is with regard to the military art. Busbecq wrote a treatise on the Art of Warfare against the Turks. In it he constantly quotes as his authorities the great captains of Greece and Rome; some may smile on reading his work, and imagine that the tactics of Cæsar and Alexander are out of place in the days of gunpowder and cannon balls, but the following passage will show how one of his countrymen successfully followed out the principle, which he may possibly have taken in the first instance from Busbecq’s work. ‘Lewis William of Nassau had felt that the old military art was dying out, and that there was nothing to take its place. He had revived in the swamps of Friesland the old manœuvres, the quickness of wheeling, the strengthening, without breaking the ranks or columns, by which the ancient Romans had performed so much excellent work in their day, and which seemed to have passed entirely into oblivion. Old colonels and ritt-masters, who had never heard of Leo the Thracian or the Macedonian phalanx, smiled and shrugged their shoulders ... but there came a day when they did not laugh, neither friends nor enemies.’—Motley, United Netherlands, iii. 4; see also United Netherlands, iv. 34.

63 His contemporary, L. Guicciardini, says of him in his book, published 1567, ‘Il est homme sage et prudent: a cause dequoy il ha este envoyé plusieurs fois ambassadeur par les Princes en divers endroicts, pour tres-grans affaires et mesmes par l’Empereur Fernand, a Soliman Empereur des Turcs, ou il traicta, par l’espace de huict ans continuels les affaires de la Chrestienté, avec telle fidelité et loyauté que outre le gré qu’il acquit empres de son Seigneur, fut surnommé par les Turcs mesmes, Homme de bien.’—Description de tout le Païs bas, p. 311.

64 On his way to Constantinople some of his escort complained of his servants not paying proper respect to paper—an unpardonable offence in the eyes of a Turk. Another might have argued the question, but Busbecq thoroughly appreciated the men he was dealing with. He tacitly admitted the heinousness of the offence; ‘but,’ added he, ‘what can you expect of fellows who eat pork?’ This argument was in their eyes unanswerable.

65 Roostem once sent a fine melon to Busbecq, telling him that there was plenty of such fruit at Belgrade; the melon was supposed to represent a cannon-ball, and the message was tantamount to a threat of war. Busbecq thanked him warmly for his present, and at the same time took the opportunity of observing that the Belgrade melons were very small compared to those produced at Vienna!

66 Don Pedro Lasso de Castilla was grandson of Don Pedro de Castilla, who claimed to be descended from an illegitimate son of Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile. The grandfather married Catalina Lasso, and was living at Madrid in 1494. His son, Don Pedro Lasso de Castilla, married a lady of the noble family of Haro, and three of their children were in the service of Ferdinand and his son. Francisco was Mayor-domo Mayor of Maria the wife of the Emperor Maximilian, and accompanied his daughter, Anne of Austria, to Spain in 1570. Diego was at one time Ferdinand’s ambassador at Rome, while Pedro served Ferdinand from his childhood, and accompanied him to Germany, when he left Spain after the death of his grandfather Ferdinand. He became his Master of Horse, and governor to his son Maximilian, in whose household he subsequently held the post of Mayor-domo Mayor. He was created a Knight of the Order of Santiago, at Brussels, by a Patent dated March 26, 1549. (See Quintana, Historia de Madrid.) This account has been given at greater length because it has been frequently stated that Busbecq’s chief was Pierre Lasso, a native of Lille; we can find no trace of any such person.

On the other hand, Ferdinand’s ambassador is frequently spoken of in the Calendar of State Papers of the reign of Mary (vol. ii. pp. 78, 90, 94, &c.), as Don Pedro Lasso de Castella (Castilla). See also Viage de Felipe Segundo á Inglaterra by Muñoz. This rare work, written by a contemporary, was republished at Madrid 1877, under the supervision of Don Pascual de Gayangos, to whose kindness we are indebted for the reference.

67 See Calendar of State Papers of the reign of Mary, vol. ii. p. 90.

68 See page 75.

69 This letter is dated Dover, October 6, 1554. See Calendar of State Papers of the reign of Mary, vol. ii. p. 125.

70 See Appendix. Sketch of Hungarian History; see also Itineraries.

71 See Sketch of Hungarian History.

72 Compare the pardon of Jean Dael in the Appendix with the story of the Greek steward and the snails, page 122.

73 L. Guicciardini says of the Netherlanders, ‘La pluspart des gens ont quelque commencement de Grammaire, et presque tous, voire jusques au villageois, sçavent lire et escrire.’—Description de tout le Païs bas, p. 34.

74 Quacquelben means fowler, or bird trapper; the name is still common at Courtrai.

75 We take this opportunity of explaining how it comes to pass, that in this Life of Busbecq, in which so much space is assigned to an account of his relations, so small a portion comparatively is devoted to the man himself. Busbecq’s letters are to a great extent an autobiography. It would be impossible to anticipate their contents without robbing them of their freshness.

76 See Appendix Itineraries.

77 He was Ambassador for the two Queens, i.e., Mary Queen of Hungary and Leonora Queen of Portugal and France, sisters of Charles V. and Ferdinand, who after their widowhood lived together in the Netherlands till the abdication of Charles V., when they accompanied their brother to Spain.

78 Ecuyer (escuier) trenchant. The first of these words supplies the derivations for two English titles (1) squire, (2) sewer; the first being the equivalent of écuyer, and the second of écuyer trenchant. The office of sewer (écuyer trenchant) is alluded to by Milton, Paradise Lost, ix., where the poet speaks of

Marshall’d feast
Served up in hall by sewers and seneschals.

‘Here,’ says Todd in his note, ‘is an allusion to the magnificence of elder days; the marshal of the hall, the sewer and the seneschal having been officers of distinction in the houses of princes and great men. From Minshew’s Guide into Tongues it appears that the marshal placed the guests according to their rank, and saw they were properly arranged, the sewer marched in before the meats and arranged them on the table, and the seneschal was the household steward, a name of frequent occurrence in old law books, and so in French “le grand Seneschal de France,” synonymous with our “Lord High Steward of the King’s household.”’ Busbecq himself held the offices of sewer and seneschal. See Appendix, Sauvegarde &c., where Parma gives him the title of ‘Grand maistre d’hostel de la Royne Isabelle.’

79 See page 9.

80 See Lipsius’ Letters, Centuria i. 5: ‘Prandium mihi hodie apud heroem nostrum (non enim virum dixerim) Busbequium. Post prandium longiusculæ etiam fabulæ; sed de litteris ut apud eum solet.’ Vienna, June 13, 1572. It was at Vienna that Lipsius first made Busbecq’s acquaintance (Lipsius, Cent. iii. 87); they afterwards corresponded with each other (Cent. i. 17, 18, 34, 63). Lipsius felt his death deeply, and wrote of him in the strongest terms of affection and regret. (Cent. ii. ad Belgas, 78). The following inscription is from his hand:—

In Augerii Gisleni Busbequii tristem mortem et situm.

Augerius istic est situs Busbequius.
Quis ille? Quem virtutis et prudentiæ,
Habuêre carum, gratiâ, ipsi Cæsares.
Hunc aula eorum vidit, aula et extera
Asiæ Tyranni. Quæ viri felicitas!
Probavit hæc et illa: in omni tempore,
In munere omni, Nestorem se præbuit
Linguâ atque mente. Jam quies eum sibi
Et patria hæc spondebat; ecce sustulit
Viam per ipsam miles incertum an latro.
Sed sustulit, simulque sidus Belgicæ,
Quod nunc choreas fulget inter astricas.
Justus Lipsius magno amico exiguum
monumentum P.

81 Busbecq’s letters to Maximilian appear to have altogether escaped the notice of historians and biographers. They are printed only in one rare book, Howaert’s second edition of Busbecq’s letters from France, 1632. In the same edition are to be found five more letters to Rodolph, written during the wars of the League. It seems impossible to suppose that Motley knew of them, for they contain some of those striking details which the historian of the Netherlands would certainly have appropriated—for example, the chain shot, the musket balls joined together with copper wire, and the fences of rope, with which Parma prepared to encounter the cavalry of Henry of Navarre.

82 It is impossible to regard Motley as fair in his treatment of Matthias. The historian of the Netherlands evidently considers that he holds a brief for William of Orange; if the great patriot fails to act wisely and rightly, some justification must be made out! Matthias accordingly is treated as a meddlesome interloper, for venturing to accept the invitation of a large body of the leading men of the Netherlands—amongst whom were some of Orange’s friends—to come amongst them as their governor. And yet Matthias was a descendant of their last native sovereign, Mary of Burgundy, and brother of the head of that Empire of which the Low Countries formed part. Motley cannot call in question his courage, his humanity, or his honourable conduct, but he damns him with faint praise, dismissing him with these words: ‘It is something in favour of Matthias that he had not been base, or cruel, or treacherous.’—Rise of the Dutch Republic, part vi. chap. 4.

83 See Fourth Turkish Letter.

84 The deed by which this transfer was effected is dated December 18, 1587. It will be found in the Appendix.

85 No doubt the garden was such as Erasmus loved. See Nisard: ‘Au sortir de table, on va s’asseoir dans le jardin, au milieu des fleurs étiquetées, portant des inscriptions qui indiquent leurs noms et leurs qualités médicinales.’—Renaissance et Réforme, i. 60.

86 Elizabeth of Austria having died January 22, 1592, Busbecq’s duties as her seneschal had come to an end, but he was still acting as Rodolph’s representative. It is probable that he took his holiday as soon as he had wound up the affairs of his late mistress.

87 Large sums were paid on this occasion; the accounts are still preserved among the archives of Bousbecque.

88 The word used by Busbecq is ‘iter,’ the best equivalent to which in English is perhaps ‘itinerary.’ This first letter was originally published by itself as an itinerary, under the title Itinera Constantinopolitanum et Amasianum. The writing of itineraries, which were generally in Latin Verse, was a special feature among the students of Busbecq’s days; for an account of them, see Appendix Itineraries.

89 These letters were written to Nicolas Michault. See page 58.

90 The wedding took place at Winchester, July 25, 1554. The ambassador was Don Pedro Lasso de Castilla, a Spaniard, who held a high post in Ferdinand’s household. ‘Ajour d’huy (June 26, 1554) sont arrivez en ceste ville (London) dom Pietro Lasso et dom Hernando Gamboa, ambassadeurs de la part des roys des Romains et de Bohesme, lesquelz ont esté saluez de l’artillerie de la Tour, ce quel’on a trouvé fort estrange comme fabveur qui ne fust oncques faicte à aultres ambassadeurs.’—Noailles, iii. 262. See also p. 52.

91 The Busbecq family had a magnificent hotel at Lille; his grandmother, Agnes Gommer, had lived there after the death of her husband, and his aunt, Marie Ghiselin, was probably living there at this time.

92 Veltwick (Velduvic) went as ambassador to Constantinople A.D. 1545. An account of his embassy is given in the Iter of Hugo Favolius. See Appendix Itineraries.

93 For an explanation of these transactions, see Sketch of Hungarian History.

94 Here and elsewhere Busbecq calls Ferdinand ‘Cæsar.’ He was not Emperor till 1558, but the title of Cæsar belonged to him as King of the Romans; so also at the end of the Fourth Turkish Letter Maximilian is spoken of as ‘Cæsar’ on his election as King of the Romans.

95 Busbecq’s miles are German Stunden, each equal to about 2-1/2 English miles.

96 Busbecq’s explanation is correct. The word may possibly be a corruption of the Latin signum. It is now applied to the district which was formerly governed by a Sanjak-bey, i.e., Lord of the standard. Busbecq writes the word Singiaccus, Von Hammer uses the form Sandjak, while Creasy prefers Sanjak.

97 See Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap. ii.: ‘The name of Yeni Tscheri, which means “new troops,” and which European writers have turned into Janissaries, was given to Orchan’s young corps by the Dervish Hadji Beytarch. This Dervish was renowned for sanctity; and Orchan, soon after he had enrolled his first band of involuntary boyish proselytes, led them to the dwelling-place of the saint, and asked him to give them his blessing and a name. The Dervish drew the sleeve of his mantle over the head of one in the first rank, and then said to the Sultan, “The troops which thou hast created shall be called Yeni Tscheri. Their faces shall be white and shining, their right arms shall be strong, their sabres shall be keen, and their arrows sharp. They shall be fortunate in fight, and shall never leave the battle field save as conquerors.” In memory of that benediction the Janissaries ever wore as part of their uniform a cap of white felt like that of the Dervish, with a strip of woollen hanging down behind, to represent the sleeve of the holy man’s mantle, that had been laid on their comrade’s neck.’ See also Gibbon, chap. lxiv.

98 At Mohacz, A.D. 1526. See Sketch of Hungarian History.

99 The Princes of Servia were styled Despots in Greek, and Cral in their native idiom. See Gibbon, chap. lxiii. note.

100 ‘A little below Orsova the Danube issues from the Iron Gate, and at a village called Severin, where it expands to a width of 1,300 yards, the foundations of the piers, corresponding in number with the statement of the historian, have been seen when the water was more than usually low. Here, then, as is now generally agreed, stood the bridge of Trajan’s architect, Apollodorus.’—Merivale, History of the Romans, chap. lxiii.

101 Galen, the great physician, who flourished in the second century of our era. Busbecq’s allusion to him is quite in accordance with the fashion of his day. See Ranke’s Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, chap. xix. ‘Peter de la Ramée wished to forsake in all things the path hitherto trodden, to alter the entire system of doctors and professors in the university, and to make the works of the ancients the immediate text-books of the different branches of study,—the codex of the civil law in jurisprudence, Galen and Hippocrates in medicine, and in theology the Old and New Testaments.... Physicians arose who brought into practice once more the deserted rules of Hippocrates; and it soon went so far, as Ambrose Paré, the reformer of surgery, said, that people were not content with what they found in the ancients, but began to regard their writings as watch-towers, from which more might be discovered.’ For Busbecq’s application of these principles see the Life.

102 An ‘aspre’ or ‘asper’ is still the lowest coin in Turkey. At the present rate of exchange a penny is worth nearly 100 aspres, but in Busbecq’s time the Turkish coinage had a considerably higher value.

103 See Ranke’s Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, chap. xiv. ‘As he (the Prince of Condé) had distinguished himself by his bravery in the field, he now desired to shine through his versatility, by taking part in the knightly festivities of the court, in which it was the fashion to represent the heroic fables of the Greeks.’ It would seem that it was the fashion in high circles to appear on certain occasions in the dress and character of Greek heroes and heroines.

104 John Cantacuzenus became Emperor 1341, and abdicated 1354. His son Matthew was associated with him. His descendants have given many princes to Moldavia and Wallachia. The Palæologi held the Empire 1282-1453 (see Gibbon, chap. lxii., and following chapters). Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, when banished from his kingdom became a schoolmaster at Corinth.

105 See Freeman’s Essays, Series iii. p. 418. ‘The Bulgarian land on the Volga—Great Bulgaria—kept its name long after the New or Black Bulgaria arose on the Danube. It remained Turanian; it became Mahometan; it flourished as a Mahometan state, till in the 15th century, it yielded to the advance of Russia, and gave the Russian Czar one of his endless titles.’ Mr. Freeman here quotes ἡ πάλαι καλουμένη μεγάλη Βουλγαρία from Theophanes. This is an oversight, the words are not taken from Theophanes, though he uses a similar expression, but from Nicephorus of Constantinople.

106 Baldwin, tenth Count of Flanders, was elected Emperor 1204, and taken captive by Bulgarians 1205. He died a prisoner, but that he was put to death is by no means certain. He was succeeded by his son Baldwin, eleventh Count and second Emperor of that name. See Gibbon, chap. lxi. Busbecq would naturally take great interest in the Sovereign of his ancestors.

107 The Rascians and Servians were distinct tribes in Busbecq’s time and long afterwards; see page 165, where he notices that at Semendria the Servians leave off and the Rascians begin; they are now both included under the name of Servians.

108 This pass is commonly known as ‘Trajan’s Gate,’ or the ‘pass of Ichtiman.’ It is a point on the frontier between Bulgaria and East Roumelia.

109 For an account of Selim, who at last succeeded in dethroning his father, see Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap. vii., and Von Hammer, book xxi. He was father of the Sultan to whose court Busbecq was accredited. His successful rebellion against his father has an important bearing on the events of which Busbecq was about to be a spectator.

110 Buyuk Tchekmedjé and Kutchuk Tchekmedjé. The bridges were constructed by Solyman.

111 Of the two women mentioned here, one is called Bosphorana by Busbecq and the other Roxolana. Bosphorana means a native of the kingdom of the Bosphorus—not the Thracian Bosphorus near Constantinople, but the Cimmerian Bosphorus, now called the straits of Caffa—which included the Crimea and the Caucasus. Roxolana means Russian; she was always spoken of by contemporaneous Venetian ambassadors as ‘la Rossa,’ and Creasy in a note (p. 182), says that ‘La Rossa’ was euphonised into Roxolana; the mistake is obvious, for Roxolana is the classical equivalent for a Russian woman (see Smith’s Classical Dictionary, s.v. Roxolani), and it is to Busbecq that she owes the name by which she has become famous. Her real name was Khourrem, i.e., ‘the joyous one.’ See Von Hammer, book xxxi. vol. v. p. 538. A curious story is told of how Roxolana prevailed on Solyman to make her his wife. Having borne a son to the Sultan, she became entitled, according to the Mahometan law to her freedom; this she claimed, and then refused to allow Solyman the rights of a husband unless he married her. She cleverly pointed out to the Sultan, that though she had lived with him as a slave without the bond of marriage, as a free woman she could not feel justified in doing so any longer. Solyman, as Busbecq’s letters will show, was the very man to be influenced by such an argument, and being unwilling to give her up, he consented to her taking the position of a lawful wife.

112 See Creasy, Ottoman Turks, chap. iii., Von Hammer, book vii., and Gibbon, chap. lxv. Tamerlane is a corruption of Timour lenk, i.e., Timour the lame.

113 During the Russo-Turkish war, 1877-8, a paragraph appeared in a paper published at Constantinople, professing to give an account of Mr. Gladstone, late Prime Minister of England. It described him as originally ‘a pig-driver.’ This created great amusement in England, but to the countrymen of Roostem there seemed no inherent absurdity in the statement.

114 Busbecq is in error here, for Solyman was encamped at Eregli, in Karamania, about 250 miles from Amasia. Von Hammer takes our author to task for laying the scene at Amasia; but Busbecq nowhere commits himself to this statement.

115 Ghemlik, on the Sea of Marmora, called Prusias by Busbecq. It was originally called Kios, and about B.C. 200, Prusias, King of Bithynia, gave it his own name. See Strabo, 563-4.

116 The legend of Orpheus being torn to pieces by the women of Thrace was a favourite with the ancients. See Virgil, Georgic IV., &c.

117 See Tacitus, Annals, xii. 63. Herodotus, iv. 144.

118 The bronze serpents, which are still on the same site, are three, and not two in number. See Gibbon, chap. xvii., where he describes these serpents, and proves that they form the serpent pillar mentioned by Herodotus, ix. 81; on it was placed the golden tripod, made of part of the spoil taken at the battle of Platæa B.C. 479, and dedicated to Apollo. It was removed from Delphi to Constantinople by order of Constantine.

119 ‘The centre of the Forum was occupied by a lofty column, of which a mutilated fragment is now degraded by the appellation of the burnt pillar. This column was erected on a pedestal of white marble 20 feet high, and was composed of ten pieces of porphyry, each of which measured about 10 feet in height and about 33 in circumference. On the summit of the pillar, above 120 feet from the ground, stood the colossal statue of Apollo. It was of bronze, and had been transported either from Athens or a town in Phrygia, and was supposed to be the work of Phidias. The artist had represented the god of day, or, as it was afterwards interpreted, the Emperor Constantine himself, with a sceptre in his right hand, the globe of the world in his left, and a crown of rays glittering on his head.’ Gibbon, chap. xvii.

120 A similar story is told of the obelisk in front of St. Peter’s at Rome.

121 The battle of Tschaldiran, August 23, A.D. 1514. See Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap. viii.; Von Hammer, book xxii.

122 Busbecq is alluding to the then recent conquests of Mexico and Peru. When he penned these lines only thirty-four years had elapsed since Cortez conquered Mexico, and twenty-four since Pizarro made himself master of the kingdom of the Incas; the tide of adventurers was still pouring into those unhappy lands.

123 Busbecq is evidently referring to the exploits of his countrymen in the days of the Crusades. ‘At the same time’ (A.D. 1200), says Gibbon (chap. lx.), ‘Baldwin, Count of Flanders, assumed the Cross at Bruges, with his brother Henry, and the principal knights and citizens of that rich and industrious province.’ See also page 105.

124 Properly, the name of the islet at Alexandria on which the lighthouse stood; hence the name was given to any lighthouse.

125 A Dalmatian fortress captured by the Spaniards in the autumn of A.D. 1538, and recaptured by the Turks in the following August. Von Hammer, book xxix.

126 ‘The straits of the Bosphorus are terminated by the Cyanean rocks, which, according to the description of the poets, had once floated on the face of the waters. The deception was occasioned by several pointed rocks alternately covered and abandoned by the waves. At present there are two small islands, one towards either shore; that of Europe is distinguished by the pillar of Pompey.’ Gibbon, chap. xvii.

127 P. Gilles (or Gyllius) was born at Albi in 1490. He was sent by Francis I. to the Levant; the remittances he expected having miscarried, he was obliged to enlist in Solyman’s army and served against the Persians. In 1549 he received money from his friends, with which he purchased his discharge. He returned home in 1550, and died at Rome in 1555, the year that Busbecq wrote this letter. Besides other works he published three books on the Thracian Bosphorus, and four on the Topography and Antiquities of Constantinople. Gibbon quotes him frequently, and speaks of his learning with great respect.

128 This passage appears to be founded on a mistranslation of Herodotus, iii. 104.

129 ‘In the deep gullies and broad plateaus of Angora is bred the finest species of the mohair goat; its long silky and lustrous fleece is the principal export of the country, so much so that it is a common saying that “mohair is the soul of Angora,” without which it would have become a desert long ago. The mohair is forwarded on mule and camel back (in its raw state) to Constantinople, and thence, per steamer, to Liverpool; it all finds its way to Bradford to be manufactured. The export in this article alone was valued at 462,550l. for the year 1877, and in years of greater prosperity and higher values, this amount has been nearly doubled.’ Extract from the letter of the correspondent to the Standard newspaper, dated, Angora, October 1, 1878.

130 The province of Angora occupies almost the same area as the ancient Galatia.

131 See Herodotus, iii. 113. These sheep are very common in Asia and Africa. Great numbers are to be found at the Cape of Good Hope, whence they are called ‘Cape sheep.’

132 Pierre Belon (Bellonus) was a contemporary of Busbecq’s, having been born about 1518. He travelled in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Palestine, and Asia Minor. By profession a physician, he devoted himself to the pursuit of Natural Science. He published several books, and is generally considered to have been the founder of the science of Comparative Anatomy. Busbecq corrects Belon, but his own account of the hyena is wrong. It has vertebræ in the neck, and also an array of teeth. If he had been able to procure a specimen we should have had an accurate description. The Sultana, therefore, is indirectly responsible for the errors.

133 The Kanûns formed a kind of Domesday Book, drawn up by the direction of Solyman, who thence received the name of Solyman Kanûni.

134 A full account of the inscription is to be found in Merivale’s History of the Romans, chap. xxxviii. ‘Augustus employed the next few months in compiling a succinct memorial of his public acts to be preserved in the archives of the state, a truly imperial work, and probably unique of its kind. The archives of Rome have long mouldered in the dust, but a ruined wall in a remote corner of her empire, engraved with this precious document, has been faithful to its trust for eighteen hundred years, and still presents us with one of the most curious records of antiquity. The inscription, which may still be read in the portico of a temple at Ancyra, attests the energy, sagacity, and fortune of the second Cæsar in a detailed register of all his public undertakings through a period of fifty-eight years,’ &c. In a note Dr. Merivale states that it was first copied by Busbecq in 1544. This is incorrect; Busbecq had it copied by his servants, and the date should be 1555.

135Reges amici atque socii, et singuli in suo quisque regno, Cæsareas urbes condiderunt; et cuncti simul ædem Jovis Olympii, Athenis antiquitus inchoatam, perficere communi sumptu destinaverunt, genioque ejus dedicare.’—Suetonius, Octavius, chap. lx. Augustus directed a decree granting especial privileges to the Jews to be inscribed ἐν ἐπισημοτάτῳ τόπῳ γενηθέντι μοι ὑπὸ τοῦ κοινοῦ τῆς Ἀσίας ἐν Ἀγκύρῃ.—Josephus, Antiquities, xvi. 6.

136 Menin (near Bousbecque) and its neighbourhood were famous for their capons. See L. Guicciardini, Description de tout le Païs bas, p. 311.

137 There are different versions of this story, see Von Hammer, book v. and Gibbon, chap. lxiv. Creasy says that Amurath was killed by a Servian noble, Milosch Kabilovitsch. Being mortally wounded, Amurath died in the act of sentencing Lazarus, Despot or Cral of Servia, to death.

138 The permanent corps of paid cavalry in the Turkish army was divided into four squadrons, organised like those which the Caliph Omar instituted for the guard of the Sacred Standard. The whole corps at first consisted of only 2,400 horsemen, but under Solyman the Great (Busbecq’s Sultan), the number was raised to 4,000. They marched on the right and left of the Sultan, they camped round his tent at night, and were his bodyguard in battle. One of these regiments of Royal Horseguards was called the Turkish Spahis, a term applied to cavalry soldiers generally, but also specially denoting these select horseguards. Another regiment was called the Silihdars, meaning ‘the vassal cavalry.’ A third was called the Ouloufedgis, meaning ‘the paid horsemen,’ and the fourth was called the Ghourebas, meaning ‘the foreign horse.’ See Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap. ii.

139 Evelyn, who no doubt took the hint from Busbecq, induced Charles II. to adopt the Eastern dress. Diary, p. 324.

140 See page 102 and note 1.

141 See Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap. viii.: ‘The schism of the Sunnites and the Schiis (the first of whom acknowledge, and the last of whom repudiate the three immediate successors of the Prophet, the Caliphs Abubeker, Omar, and Othman) had distracted the Ottoman world from the earliest times. The Ottoman Turks have been Sunnites. The contrary tenets have prevailed in Persia; and the great founder of the Saffide dynasty in that country, Shah Ismael, was as eminent for his zeal for the Schii tenets, as for his ability in council, and his valour in the field. The doctrine of the Schiis had begun to spread among the subjects of the Sublime Porte before Selim came to the throne; and though the Sultan, the Ulema, and by far the larger portion of the Ottomans, held strictly to the orthodoxy of Sunnism, the Schiis were numerous in every province, and they seemed to be rapidly gaining proselytes. Selim determined to crush heresy at home before he went forth to combat it abroad, and in a deliberate spirit of fanatic cruelty he planned and executed a general slaughter of such of his subjects as were supposed to have fallen away from what their sovereigns considered to be the only true faith.’ This massacre took place in 1513. The Selim here mentioned was the father of Solyman. See Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap. viii. There was not much to choose between Philip of Spain in the West and Selim in the East! See Motley, Dutch Republic, part iii. chap. 2.

142 Scordium, or water germander, is mentioned in Salmon’s Herbal as a sudorific, &c.; he notices that it has a smell of garlic, and that it is a specific against ‘measles, small-pox, and also the plague or pestilence itself.’ The plague is a form of blood poisoning; a medical friend whom we consulted considered that the symptoms indicated only a mild form of the disease; he also entirely approved of the physician’s treatment of the case.

143 See note page 254.

144 An electuary is a medicine of a pasty consistence composed of various ingredients. The one mentioned in the text was invented by the celebrated physician Frascatorius. It contained scordium, from which its name is derived. The prescription for it may be found in Larousse’s Dictionnaire Universel, vii. 3117. Evelyn went to see the severall ‘drougs for the confection of Treacle, Diascordium, and other electuaries.’—Diary, p. 262.

145 See Sketch of Hungarian History.

146 See Sketch of Hungarian History.

147 See page 90.

148 Rakos is the name of a plain near Pesth; the greater extraordinary Hungarian Diet used to assemble on this plain after the manner of the Polish Diet which met near Warsaw. The Turks continued to use the place for mustering their militia.

149 The Emperor Claudius was murdered by his wife Agrippina, who gave him poison in a dish of mushrooms. Tacitus, Annals, xii. 67.

150 In all the Latin editions of Busbecq the date is given as September 1, 1554. This is manifestly wrong, as may be shown by internal evidence, as for example the date of the marriage of Philip and Mary, July 25, 1554. Busbecq was present at this marriage, and was not summoned to Vienna till November 3, 1554, see page 77. He must, therefore, have returned in 1555.

151 At Augsburg.

152 See page 190.

153 See Sketch of Hungarian History.

154 Roxolana, see note, page 111.

155 I.e., the modern Bulgaria.

156 See page 115.

157 I.e., the Crimea and adjacent countries, the birthplace of Mustapha’s mother, see page 111.

158 The Turkish historians do not mention Bajazet’s connection with the attempt of the Pseudo-Mustapha. Busbecq’s account, therefore, fills an important gap. Von Hammer would discredit all statements that are not confirmed by Eastern writers, but surely the evidence of the Austrian Ambassador deserves as much consideration as that of Ottoman Ali. See note 1, page 264.

159 All the Latin editions have July 14, 1555. See note, page 173.

160 ‘The regular answer of the ancient Sultans, when requested to receive an embassy, was, “The Sublime Porte is open to all.” This, according to the Turkish interpretation, implied a safe conduct in coming, but gave no guarantee about departing.’—Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap. xviii.

161 ‘The intruding Ottoman himself, different in faith as well as in blood, has more than once declared himself the representative of the Eastern Cæsars, whose dominion he extinguished. Solyman the Magnificent assumed the name of Emperor, and refused it to Charles V.’—Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire, p. 407.

162 Compare Johnson’s Vanity of Human Wishes:—

‘Condemned a needy suppliant to wait,
While ladies interpose and slaves debate.’

163 The great Council of State was named the Divan; and in the absence of the Sultan the Grand Vizier was its president. The other Viziers and the Kadiaskers, or chief judges, took their stations on his right; the Defterdars, or treasurers, and the Nis-chandyis, or secretaries, on his left. The Teskeredyis, or officers charged to present reports on the condition of each department of the State, stood in front of the Grand Vizier. The Divan was also attended by the Reis-Effendi, a general secretary, whose power afterwards became more important than that of the Nis-chandyis, by the Grand Chamberlain, and the Grand Marshal, and a train of other officials of the Court. (Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap. vi.)

164 ‘The Sultan (Bajazet I.) had at this time 7,000 falconers, and as many huntsmen. You may suppose from this the grandeur of his establishments. One day in the presence of the Count de Nevers, he flew a falcon at some eagles; the flight did not please him, and he was so wroth, that, for this fault, he was on the point of beheading 2,000 of his falconers, scolding them exceedingly for want of diligence in their care of his hawks, when the one he was fond of behaved so ill.’—Froissart, iv. 58.

165 The reference is to the Digest or Pandects of Justinian, liber xxxix. titulus 4, De Publicanis et Vectigalibus et Commissis, where ‘Babylonicæ pelles’ are mentioned in a catalogue of taxable articles.

166 See Homer’s Iliad, iii. 2-6, and compare Milton, Paradise Lost, i. 575:

‘That small infantry
Warred on by cranes.’

167 These stories of the lynx and crane are quoted by Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy.

168 Gibbon’s reference to this passage is not fair. He says (chap. lxviii. note), ‘Busbequius expatiates with pleasure and applause on the rights of war, and the use of slavery among the ancients and the Turks.’ In the first place Busbecq merely throws out a suggestion, which he would be sorry for his friend to take in sober earnest. Secondly, we must remember the evils existing in Busbecq’s days, which slavery would have remedied; (i.) it was the common practice to put to death all prisoners of war, who could not pay ransom; e.g. see Busbecq’s letter of November 13, 1589, to Rodolph. Slavery in this case would be a mitigation of their fate, (ii.) At that time death or mutilation were the punishments for almost every offence. Busbecq’s project is an anticipation of the more merciful system of modern times which has introduced penal servitude, which is really ‘a just and mild form of slavery.’

169 Shooting with the crossbow has been a custom at Bousbecque from very early times. The village had a guild of crossbowmen in the times of Charles V., which was reconstituted in 1715. A society of the kind still exists there. See Histoire de Bousbecque, p. 170.

170 This passage occurs in the life of Saturninus, who uses it in support of an invective against the Egyptians. The quotation is from a letter of Hadrian’s preserved in the works of his freedman Phlegon. (Vopiscus, in Historiæ Augustæ Scriptores, ii. 719, in the Leyden edition of 1671.) The Egyptians still hatch chickens in ovens, but the heat is supplied by a fire, and not by the hot-bed mentioned in the text. The process is described in Wilkinson’s Ancient Egyptians, ii. 450.

171 Axylos, a woodless tract in Asia Minor, ‘northward of the region of lakes and plains, through which leads the road from Afioum Karahissar to Koniah, a dry and naked region, which extends as far as the Sangarius and Halys.’—Leake, Asia Minor, p. 65.

172 Evelyn narrates how he went to see some Turkish horses captured at the siege of Vienna; he admired their spirit, and says they were, ‘with all this, so gentle and tractable as called to mind what I remember Busbequius speaks of them to the reproch of our groomes in Europe, who bring up their horses so churlishly as makes most of them retain their ill habits.’—Evelyn, Diary, p. 461, Chandos Edition.

173 ‘They were shod with yron made round and closed at the heele with a hole in the middle about as wide as a shilling. The hoofes most intire.’—Evelyn, Diary, p. 462.

174 See note 2, page 299.

175 Cyrus, in his expedition against his brother Artaxerxes, took with him 400 waggons loaded with barley and wine that, in case provisions should be very scarce, he might have the means of supplying the Greeks, who were the flower of his army.—Xenophon, Anabasis, i. 10.

176 The quotation is from Suetonius, Life of Julius Cæsar, chap. 67. Suetonius observes that sometimes Cæsar, after a great victory, relaxed the strict rules of discipline, and allowed his army to abandon themselves to the utmost license, boasting that ‘his soldiers, even if perfumed for a banquet, would fight well.’ The conference with Ariovistus is described in Cæsar de Bello Gallico, i. 43-45, and in Merivale, chap. vii.: ‘Each was attended by a squadron of cavalry of equal numbers. Cæsar had no Roman cavalry, nor could he safely confide in his Gaulish auxiliaries: yet he would not reject the arrangement proposed by his adversary, nor betray any appearance of distrust or dread. He caused a party of Gauls to dismount, and placed upon their horses the infantry of his favourite legion’ (the tenth). The conference was interrupted by the impatience of the German horse, who suddenly assailed the Romans with stones and arrows. See also pages 48 and 49.

177 The Venetian ambassador to the Porte bore the title of Bailo or Baily. This title was probably given to him on account of the protection and jurisdiction he exercised with regard to the persons and goods of all Venetian subjects, who lived and traded in all the factories of the Levant. He, with the ambassadors of the Pope and the Emperor, took precedence of all other ambassadors. On account of the importance of the post, appointments to it were not made by the Senate, but by the Great Council. Marc Antonio Barbaro, the subject of Yriarte’s interesting work, La Vie d’un Patricien de Venise, was appointed to this office in 1568.

178 This story is referred to by Bacon, Essays, XIII.: Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature. ‘The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man; insomuch that if it issue not towards man, it will take unto other living creatures; as it is seen in the Turks, a cruel people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give alms to dogs and birds; insomuch as Busbechius reporteth, a Christian boy in Constantinople had like to have been stoned for gagging in a waggishness a long-billed fowl.’ Bacon, in his Essays, also alludes to Jehangir, Solyman’s son, to Roxolana, to Selim, and to the fate of Mustapha.

179 Busbecq’s countrywomen enjoyed great liberty. ‘Les femmes, oultre ce qu’elles sont de belle et excellente forme, sont de beau maintien et gracieuses; car elles commencent dés leur enfance, selon la coustume du païs, à converser librement avec un chacun.’—L. Guicciardini, Description de tout le païs bas, p. 38.

180 The festival called by Busbecq the Turkish Easter was that of Bairam. It succeeds Ramazan, the month of abstinence, which he terms their Lent. It lasts three days, and seventy days later is the Kourban Bairam, or Feast of Sacrifice, which lasts four days.

181 See Thirty Years in a Harem for a description of taking off the veil.... It was the conclusion of the marriage, and the Bridegroom made a present to the Bride on the occasion.

182 See note, page 161.

183 See Sketch of Hungarian History.

184 Ten years later Solyman died while besieging this place.

185 See note 1, page 196.

186 See note 1, page 196.

187 The Turks could hardly object to the use of ‘villainous saltpetre’ as by its aid Solyman’s father, Selim I., had been enabled to crush the Mamelukes. See Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, chap. viii. After the battle ‘Koort Bey poured forth a brilliant eulogy on the valour of the Mamelukes, and spoke with contempt and abhorrence of guns which, he said, killed so cowardly, and so like an assassin.’

188 Arslan was Sanjak-bey of Stuhlweissenburg and Veli of Hatwan.

189 Compare Brantôme, Discours sur Duels, vi. p. 151.

190 Of the nations mentioned in this passage the Mingrelians live along the coast from the Turkish frontier to Sukhum Kaleh; the Iberians correspond to the modern Imeritians, while the ancient Albanians lived in what is now the part of Georgia that borders on the Caspian and in Daghestan, the country of the Lesghians. According to Mr. Bryce (Transcaucasia and Ararat, p. 99) the modern Mingrelians correspond to Busbecq’s description of their ancestors. ‘They are the ne’er-do-wells of the Caucasian family. All their neighbours, however contemptible a Western may think them, have a bad word and a kick for the still more contemptible Mingrelian. To believe them, he is lazy, sensual, treacherous and stupid, a liar and a thief. Lazy the Mingrelian certainly is, but in other respects I doubt if he is worse than his neighbours; and he lives in so damp and warm a climate that violent exercise must be disagreeable.’ According to Malte Brun, ‘the Prince of Mingrelia assumes the title of Dadian or Master of the Sea, though he possesses not even a fishing-boat: he generally moves about with his suite from place to place, and his camp is the scene of licentiousness as well as poverty.’ The Caspian Gates mentioned in the text are probably the Dariel Pass. ‘There were three passes, between which boundless confusion has arisen: first, the Dariel, sometimes called the Caucasian, sometimes the Caspian, sometimes the Iberian Gates; second, the pass between the mountains and the sea near Derbend, where is the wall of Gog and Magog, called sometimes the Caucasian, sometimes the Caspian, sometimes the Albanian Gates; third, a pass somewhere on the south coast of the Caspian, which was really visited and fortified by Alexander the Great.’—Bryce, Transcaucasia and Ararat, p. 76.

191 ‘A plant of the millet kind, differing from it in the disposition of the flower and seeds, which grow in a close thick spike. It is sown in parts of Europe as corn for the sustenance of the inhabitants.’—Johnson’s Dictionary.

192 Medea was a Colchian, i.e. Mingrelian.

193 M. Génin, in the introduction to his edition of the Song of Roland, the most famous hero of the Carlovingian epic cycle, speaking of the wide-spread popularity of the legend, quotes this passage. He also mentions that Bellonus, or Belon (see note, page 140), states that the Turks preserved at Broussa the sword of Roland, who, they declared, was one of their countrymen. This illustrates what Busbecq in his first letter says of the way in which the Turks identified St. George with one of their own legendary heroes. Godfrey de Bouillon was one of the leaders of the first Crusade, and the first Christian King of Jerusalem.

194 See note, page 229.

195 The chief production cf Lemnos was a red earth called Terra Lemnia, or sigillata, which was employed by the ancient physicians as a remedy for wounds and the bites of serpents, and which is still much valued by the Turks and Greeks for its supposed medicinal virtues. It is dug out of a hill, made into small balls, and stamped with a seal which contains Arabic characters. Mattioli, in his letter to Quacquelben (see note 1, page 415), asks him for information about this earth, and requests him to procure some for him. See also page 416.

196 The reference is to Terence, Heauton timorumenos, 3. 1. 48.

197 This was before March 13, 1559, as Verantius, in a letter of that date, mentions that Hooz, Busbecq’s secretary, had been taken prisoner with his Turkish escort by some Hungarians and brought to Kaschau, and that he had said that Baldi was then on his way back.—Katona, Historia Regum Hungariæ, xxiii. 227.

198 In 1540, Luigi Badoer was sent as ambassador to treat for peace on the basis of the status quo ante bellum, and the payment of 30,000 ducats, but was forbidden in any case to cede Malvasia and Napoli di Romania. Such were the instructions of the Senate, but the Council of Ten gave him in addition secret instructions, empowering him to surrender these places, if he found it impossible to obtain a peace on easier terms. The brothers Cavezza, of whom one was secretary to the Senate, and the other to the Council of Ten, betrayed the secret, probably through a French diplomatist, to the Porte. The consequences are described in the text. See Daru, Histoire de Venise, book xxvi. p. 82, Von Hammer, book xxix., and Charrière, Négociations de la France dans le Levant, i. 548.

199 See page 79.

200 Some further details as to the intrigues which caused Bajazet’s ruin may be gathered from the history of Ottoman Ali, who had been secretary to Lala Mustapha. The latter was a protégé of Achmet, the Grand Vizier, and was on that account hated by Roostem, who, knowing he was a friend of Bajazet’s, hoped to ensure his ruin by getting him appointed Governor of Selim’s household. Lala saved himself by betraying his former master. With Selim’s approval he encouraged the unfortunate Prince to attack his brother, and caused some of the Sultan’s messengers to be murdered in such a manner as to make it appear that Bajazet was responsible for the crime, and thus widen the breach between him and his father. It is the evidence of the secretary of this double-dyed traitor that Von Hammer prefers to Busbecq’s. He may have had more information than our writer; the question is, was he as likely to speak the truth? See Von Hammer, book xxxii.

201 See page 189.

202 This was a very serious step. See page 187.

203 See page 188.

204 See page 116.

205 The allusion is to the ancient and famous oracle of Zeus at Dodona in Epirus, which is mentioned in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The god, according to one legend, was said to dwell in an ancient oak tree, and to give oracles by the rustlings of the branches. These ‘talking oaks’ are alluded to by Æschylus in the Prometheus Vinctus, and by Sophocles in the Trachiniæ. Busbecq’s Latin, ‘A quo in rebus dubiis responsa petuntur,’ is suggested by Virgil’s lines—

Hinc Italæ gentes omnisque Œnotria tellus
In dubiis responsa petunt.
Æneid, vii. 85.

206 Koniah was the ancient Iconium.

207 The Arabic word Memlook or Mameluke means a slave. The first caliphs formed their body-guard of slaves, and in the decadence of the caliphate these slaves, like the Roman prætorians, played a principal part in the numerous revolutions that occurred. It was in Egypt, however, that the Mamelukes attained their highest power. They were Sovereigns of that country for more than 250 years, from the fall of the dynasty of Eyoub to the Ottoman conquest, and even after that event were the real rulers of Egypt till their massacre in the present century by Mehemet Ali. They were composed of three bodies, the Mamelukes, properly so-called, who were of pure Circassian blood; the Djelbans, who were mostly composed of Abyssinian slaves, and the Korsans, an assembly of mercenaries of all nations. They were governed by twenty-four beys, over whom was a Sultan. Their dominion extended over Egypt and Syria with the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and the adjacent parts of Arabia. Selim I., Solyman’s father, after his victorious campaign against Shah Ismael attacked the Mamelukes, defeated and killed their Sultan, Kausson Ghawri, near Aleppo (Aug. 24, 1516), and, marching into Egypt, defeated Touman Bey, the new Sultan, at Ridania (January 22nd), and added Syria and Egypt to his empire. When in Egypt, he induced the last of the Fatimite caliphs, who had been a puppet in the hands of the Mamelukes, to transfer that dignity to himself and his successors. It is in virtue of this transaction that the present Sultan and his predecessors since the time of Selim have claimed to be the head of the Mahommedan faith throughout the world. See Von Hammer, book xxiv.

208 The Kurds are descended from the Carduchi or Gordiæans of the ancients. (See Xenophon, Anabasis, iv.) They have gradually advanced from their original mountain homes into the plains in the south-east of Armenia and the north of Mesopotamia. They are a warlike race, and much addicted to brigandage.

209 See note, page 108.

210 ‘The most remarkable building in Koniah is the tomb of a saint, highly renowned throughout Turkey, called Haznet Mevlana, the founder of the Mevlevi Dervishes. His sepulchre, which is the object of a Mussulman pilgrimage, is surmounted by a dome, standing upon a cylindrical tower of a bright green colour.’—Leake, Asia Minor, p. 50.

211 May 29, 1559, was the date of the battle.

212 See note 2, page 153.

213 Compare the account of the Turkish horses and equipments seen by Evelyn in 1684:—

‘It was judged by the spectators, among whom was the King, Prince of Denmark, Duke of York, and several of the Court, that there were never seene any horses in these parts to be compar’d with them. Add to all this, the furniture, consisting of embroidery on the saddle, houseings, quiver, bow, arrows, scymetar, sword, mace or battle-axe à la Turcisq, the Bashaw’s velvet mantle furred with the most perfect ermine I ever beheld; all which, yron-worke in common furniture, being here of silver, curiously wrought and double-gilt, to an incredible value. Such and so extraordinary was the embrodery, that I never saw anything approching it. The reins and headstall were of crimson silk, cover’d with chaines of silver gilt. There was also a Turkish royal standard of an horse’s taile, together with all sorts of other caparisons belonging to a general’s horse, by which one may estimate how gallantly and magnificently those infidels appeare in the field, for nothing could be seene more glorious.’—Evelyn, Diary, p. 461.

214 See note, page 87.

215 In Busbecq’s time it was the fashion in Europe to wear clothes with slashes or eyelet-holes. Compare page 155.

216 See note, page 229.

217 See page 101.

218 ‘Cedo alteram,’ the original Latin, is a quotation from Tacitus. (Annals, i. 23).

219 See Sketch of Hungarian History.

220 The Persian dominions were bounded on the east by the country now known as Afghanistan, which then formed part of the empire of the Mogul Emperors, or Padischahs, of Delhi, the second of whom was Humayoum, the father of the famous Akbar. During his life of forty-nine years Humayoum experienced extraordinary changes of fortune, losing his throne, and being obliged, after undergoing the greatest hardships and dangers in his flight through the desert, to take refuge with Shah Tahmasp. Eventually he regained his dominions, and at his death in 1556 was the ruler of Cabul and Candahar, and also of the Punjaub, together with Delhi and Agra and the adjoining parts of India.

221 Shah Ismael was the founder of the dynasty of the Sofis or Saffis, so called from Sheik Suffee-u-deen of Ardebil, a devotee renowned for his sanctity, from whom Shah Ismael was the sixth in descent. His father, Hyder, on the death of his uncle and father-in-law Uzun Hussun, the prince of the dynasty of the White Sheep, invaded Shirwan at the head of a body of partisans. He made his troops wear red turbans, whence, according to one account, comes the name of Kizilbash (Red Heads), by which the Persians were known among the Turks. Hyder was killed in battle, and his sons were thrown into prison, but they afterwards escaped. The eldest was killed in battle, the second died in Ghilan, Ismael, the youngest, in 1499, at the age of fourteen, took the field against the Turkomans, who were then in possession of the greater part of Persia, and in the course of four campaigns succeeded in establishing his authority throughout the country. His family claimed descent from the seventh Imaum, and their great ancestor, Ali, was the special object of their reverence. The very name of Schiah, which means a sectary, and which Ismael’s enemies had given him as a reproach, became a title in which he gloried. When Sultan Selim I. massacred his co-religionists (see note page 161), the natural consequence was a war between Turkey and Persia. The Turkish army advanced through Kurdistan and Azerbijan on Tabriz, which was then the Persian capital. They were much embarrassed by want of provisions, as the Persians retired, laying waste the country in their retreat. A threatened mutiny among the Janissaries was quelled only by Selim’s presence of mind and resolution. Ismael at last abandoned his Fabian tactics, and took up a position in the valley of Tschaldiran, some 30 miles south-east of Bayezid. A bloody and fiercely contested battle (August 23, 1514) ended in the complete victory of Selim, which he owed mainly to his artillery and the firearms of the Janissaries. This success was followed by the occupation of Tabriz, but Selim was obliged by the discontent of his troops to return homewards. The acquisition of Diarbekir and Kurdistan was, however, the result of this campaign. Apart from his defeat by Selim, Ismael reigned with unbroken success till his death in 1523. He was succeeded by his son Shah Tahmasp.—See Malcolm, History of Persia, i. ch. 12.

222 See Sketch of Hungarian History.

223 See note, page 229.

224 ‘The youths among the Christian tribute children most conspicuous for birth, talent, and beauty were admitted into the inferior class of agiamoglans or the more liberal rank of ichoglans, of whom the former were attached to the palace and the latter to the person of the prince.’—Gibbon, ch. lxv. Busbecq, in his Art of War against the Turks, gives an account of the method by which the Turkish army was recruited from the children of Christians. Every year the Sultan sent to his different provinces, and took one out of every three or four of the boys. When they arrived at Constantinople, the handsomest and cleverest were placed in the households of the Sultan and Pashas. Of the rest some were hired out to farmers, &c., and the remainder employed in public works. The former were fed and clothed by their masters, till they grew up, when they were drafted into the ranks of the Janissaries, as vacancies occurred. Those who were placed in the Sultan’s household often rose to the highest offices of the state. The last of these levies of Christian children was made in 1638.—Von Hammer, book xlviii. tome ix. p. 325.

225 In the account of the Shah’s dealings with Bajazet, we have followed the readings given in all the editions prior to the Elzevir. See Appendix, List of Editions.

226 ‘The Persians dwell with rapture on the character of Ismael, deeming him not only the founder of a great dynasty, but the person to whom the faith they glory in owes its establishment as a national religion.’—Malcolm, History of Persia, i. p. 328. On his accession Ismael declared Schiism to be the national religion. See also note 2, p. 299 and note p. 161.

227 For a fuller account of the siege and capture of Gerba or Djerbé or Gelves the reader is referred to Prescott’s Philip II., vol. ii. book iv. chap. 1, and Von Hammer, book xxxiii. The Spanish historians cited by Prescott are so conflicting that he defies the reader to reconcile them, but Busbecq’s narrative, as far as it goes, may be considered of the highest authority, as no doubt it was founded on what he heard from his friend Don Alvaro de Sandé, who commanded the garrison. In the spring of 1559 the Duke of Medina Celi, the Viceroy of Sicily, was ordered to fit out an expedition against Tripoli and its corsairs, to which Tuscany, Rome, Naples, Sicily, Genoa, and Malta furnished contingents. John Andrew Doria, nephew of the great Andrew Doria, commanded the Genoese forces. The fleet consisted of more than 100 sail, including 54 galleys, and had 14,000 troops on board. The armament assembled at Syracuse, from which they sailed in November. They met with such bad weather, however, that they were forced to put into Malta, where they stayed more than two months refitting. So much time had now been lost, that they gave up the attempt on Tripoli as hopeless, and attacked Djerbé instead. They took it without much difficulty on March 14, and spent two months there fortifying it, and placed in it a garrison of 5,000 men, commanded by Don Alvaro de Sandé. As the troops were preparing to re-embark, news was brought of the approach of the Turkish fleet. A council of war was held, in which opinions were divided; but the arrival of the Turkish fleet under the command of Pialé, which included 86 galleys, each with 100 Janissaries on board, saved them the trouble of deciding (May 14). The Christians were seized with panic. Many of their ships were sunk, and many more surrendered. A few took refuge under the guns of the fortress. The Duke of Medina Celi and Doria were among those who escaped, and they took advantage of the darkness of the following night to fly to Sicily in a frigate. Next morning Pialé commenced the siege. After a breach had been made, he assaulted the fortress, but was repulsed with great loss, and several other attacks of the Turks met with the same fate. The siege lasted nearly three months, although at the end of six weeks provisions and water had begun to fail. On July 31, 1560, two hours before dawn, Don Alvaro, accompanied by hardly 1,000 men, sallied out and tried to cut his way through, with the intention of seizing a vessel and escaping, but the attempt proved unsuccessful, and the same day the rest of the garrison surrendered. On September 27 the victorious fleet returned to Constantinople, as described in the text. Don Alvaro lived to take ample vengeance for all he had suffered. When the Spaniards raised the siege of Malta in 1565 Don Alvaro, as second in command, again encountered his old opponent Pialé. The gallant Spaniard was in the thick of the fighting, had a horse killed under him, and was one of those who contributed most to the defeat of the Turks.

228 Chios was first brought under the immediate dominion of the Sultan by Pialé Pasha in 1566, though it had previously acknowledged his suzerainty and paid tribute. It had been conquered by the Genoese admiral, Simon Vignoso, in 1346. The form of government was so peculiar as to deserve some notice. It is the first example of the territorial administration of a mercantile company of shareholders exercising in a distant country all the duties of a sovereign. Of this form of government the East India Company is the best known specimen. The Genoese treasury in 1346 was so exhausted that the funds for fitting out the twenty-nine galleys of Vignoso’s fleet were raised by private citizens, who subscribed the money in shares. The Republic promised to secure them against all loss, and pledged a portion of its annual revenue to pay the interest. After the conquest of Chios, Vignoso, in virtue of the full powers with which he was invested, established a committee of the subscribers, who administered the Government of Chios, and collected the revenues under the sovereignty of the Republic of Genoa. The contributors had formed themselves into a joint-stock company, according to the established usage at Genoa; and this society or maona assumed the name of the Maona of Scio. The Republic being unable to repay the advances, a convention was concluded between the State and the Maona, by which the shareholders were recognised as the lawful proprietors and administrators of Chios, subject to the terms on which the Greek population had capitulated, for a term of twenty years, during which the Republic reserved the right of resuming possession of the island on repayment of the sum advanced. This, however, the Republic was never able to do, so the arrangement became permanent. The greater part of the shares passed into the hands of the family, or, more correctly speaking, the firm of the Justiniani, and the Joint-Stock Company of Scio was generally called the Maona of the Justiniani. For further details as to the Government of Scio while held by this company, see Finlay, History of Greece, vol. v. ch. ii., from which this note is taken. It must, however, be added that the Government of the company, notwithstanding its defects, was for a long period the least oppressive in the Levant.

229 Petremol, the French chargé d’affaires, mentions some Spanish slaves being brought to Constantinople from Chios. The Sultan, it was said, did not intend to keep them in servitude, but wished to see whether Roostem’s contention was true, namely, that Pialé had stolen all the prisoners of high rank, and had presented to the Sultan, under the names of the different officers, common soldiers who could pay no ransom. Charrière, Négotiations de la France dans le Levant, ii. 671.

230 Adam von Dietrichstein was born in 1527. He accompanied Maximilian on his journey to Spain, when he went to marry his cousin, the Infanta Maria. In 1561 he was sent by Maximilian to the Pope as ambassador. Maximilian appointed him his High Chamberlain in 1563, and sent him to conduct his sons to Spain as head of their household. Busbecq therefore served under him on this mission (see page 61). About the same time Ferdinand appointed him his ambassador to Spain, and after Ferdinand’s death he remained there as Maximilian’s representative. In this post he had the delicate task of keeping the bigoted Philip and the tolerant Maximilian on friendly terms. In 1573 he escorted the Archdukes home, and was appointed Privy Councillor and Governor of Rodolph’s household. He died in 1590, and was buried at Prague, at the feet of his master Maximilian. He married in 1555 Margaret, daughter of Don Antonio de Cardona.

231 In Wervicq Church, about a mile from Busbecq’s home, stands a life-size figure of a galley-slave, with this inscription: ‘Vrais Chrétiens, soyez touchés de cœur à faire charité aux esclaves Chrétiens.’ The utter, hopeless misery there depicted illustrates the force of this appeal.

232 July 8, 1561.

233 See page 157.

234 One of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmora, where the British Fleet was stationed during the spring of 1878.

235 We have here a good description of a serious attack of the plague. Compare pages 163-4.

236 Busbecq went there in the beginning of August 1561. He was accompanied by a cavasse, and twenty Janissaries as a guard. Charrière, Négotiations de la France dans le Levant, ii. 668-9.

237 These references are to Cicero, De Naturâ Deorum, ii. cap. 48, and De Finibus, iii. cap. 19; Pliny, Natural History, ix. cap. 66, and Athenæus, iii. p. 93. For descriptions and figures of the pinna and pinnophylax or pea-crab, see Wood’s Natural History, pages 422 and 588. They are frequently found in the shells of bivalves. The real reason for this habit is not certainly known. For an account of Belon, see note, page 140.

238 This passage illustrates the statement in the Life, pages 50, 51.

239 In ancient times, and now in the English Church, the title of Metropolitan (Archbishop) was confined to the chief bishop of a province; but in the Greek Church at the present day the title is given to many ordinary bishops.

240 See pp. 113, 114.

241 After the Spaniards, in 1533, abandoned the fortress of Coron in the Morea, some Greeks, who had taken their part, fled with them to Charles V. Among them was one James Heraclides, whose ancestors had been Despots, or Lords, of Samos and Paros. In his suite was a lad named John Basilicus, the son of a ship-captain in Crete. He took a fancy to the young man, and had him educated, and for some years he worked as a copyist in the Vatican library. On the death of his patron, John persuaded his household to acknowledge him as the nephew of their deceased master by allowing them to take possession of the property left by him, only keeping for himself all the diplomas, title-deeds and other documents he could find. Many years afterwards he repaired to Charles V. in his retirement at Yuste, and obtained from him an acknowledgment that he was nephew and heir of Heraclides, and as such was recognised by him as Despot of Samos and Paros. Charles V. also acknowledged the good service he had done while in the Albanian light cavalry attached to the Spanish army, and according to some accounts gave him the right of conferring the degree of Doctor and creating Notaries and Poet-Laureates. Armed with these credentials he repaired to Wittenberg, where he became acquainted with Melancthon, published an historical work in Latin, and with the Emperor’s consent exercised his powers by creating some Poet-Laureates. At Lubeck he assumed the character of a prince banished by the Turks, and thence repaired to the courts of Denmark and Sweden, and next went by Dantzic to Albert of Brandenberg, the first Duke of Prussia. He then visited Nicholas Radzivill at Wilna, who introduced him to Sigismund, King of Poland. To gain Radzivill’s favour he professed himself a Protestant. In Poland he heard of the disturbed state of Moldavia, and found that the wife of the Hospodar Alexander was a kinswoman of his pretended uncle. Armed with letters of recommendation from Radzivill and the King, he entered Moldavia, assumed the name of James Heraclides, and on the strength of a forged pedigree, passed himself off as a descendant of the ancient Moldavian dynasty of that name. He applied himself to learn the language and to gain the affections of the nobles. Thereon Alexander, who at first had received him well, tried to poison him, but he escaped to Upper Hungary; here he obtained the assistance of Albert Laszky and would have invaded Moldavia through Ruthenia, if the Palatine had not stopped him by the King of Poland’s orders. He then retired to Kaschau, where he gained the confidence of Busbecq’s old colleague Zay, then Governor of Upper Hungary. Having come to an understanding between themselves, they wrote to Ferdinand, who entered into a secret agreement to assist Basilicus with money, and allow him to levy troops in his dominions. To lull the suspicions of Alexander, a report of Basilicus’s death was circulated, and his funeral was actually performed by Laszky at Kesmark, the capital of the County of Zips. His second invasion proved more successful. In November, 1561, he defeated Alexander near Suczawa, who fled to Jassy, and thence to Constantinople. There he endeavoured to prejudice the Sultan against him, and spread reports that he was about to invade Thrace with his German mercenaries. Though Solyman was much annoyed at these events, and had commenced to assemble an army to attack the Despot, yet he deemed it wiser to dissemble his vexation, and, yielding to the representations of the Despot’s envoys, which were supported by a judicious administration of bribes, he conferred on him the vacant dignity. The Despot, however, soon made himself unpopular by raising the taxes, which he was obliged to do in order to provide the increased tribute he had agreed to pay, Alexander having carried off all the money in the treasury. Moreover, to save expense he dismissed his German and Italian troops, retaining only Hungarians. The priests and common people were alienated by his religious innovations, especially as they could not refute his arguments, ‘having learnt to worship God with more zeal than knowledge.’ He declared his intention of abolishing vain ceremonies and false doctrines, and introduced Calvinist preachers from Poland, who ridiculed the mass-books, expressed their abhorrence of all ceremonies, destroyed images, and, in the words of the episcopal historian, had the arrogance to affirm that their doctrines agreed with the testimony of the Scriptures. He began to plunder the churches of their treasures, plate, &c., which made the priests fear their turn would come next. His crowning act of sacrilege was to melt down certain silver crosses, venerable both from their age and the relics they contained, and to coin them into pieces bearing his image and superscription. The nobles were further estranged by his projected marriage with the beautiful Christina, daughter of Martin Zborowski, Castellan of Cracow, a man of great influence in Poland, and the leader of the Protestant party. Accordingly, they conspired against him, treacherously surprised and killed most of his foreign guards, his other partisans, and his infant child, and besieged him in Suczawa. After three months his Hungarian troops mutinied and surrendered the fortress, and he was cruelly murdered by Tomza, the leader of the conspirators.

242 See note, page 226.

243 The farewell audience took place on the Tuesday before September, 10, 1559. Apparently, however, it was on June 6 that Lavigne procured the release of the prisoners. The Baily, Marini di Cavallo, was much annoyed at the favour, which had been refused to his entreaties and bribes, being granted to Lavigne. ‘Et il ne s’est peu tenir, tout saige et cavallo qu’il est, de se faire cognoistre fol et asino: car usant de paroles magnifiques et de ceste bonne créance de Realto contre moy, au lieu de me louer et vous faire remercier par sa seigneurie d’une si bonne œuvre qu’il n’eust jamais sceu mectre à fin, soubz main il a tasché de faire dresser les commandements desdits pellerins en son nom, et de corrompre l’ambassadeur du roy des Romains (Busbecq) affin qu’il escripvit à l’empéreur que c’estoit à la requeste de ladicte seigneurie qu’ils avoient esté déliverez.’—Charrière, Négociations &c., ii. 584.

244 It is curious to find that some Goths still existed in the Crimea so late as Busbecq’s days. They occupied the south coast from Balaklava to Sudak, and the mountains north of the latter, and the Genoese officer who governed this coast in the fifteenth century, bore the title of Capitanus Gotiæ. They are mentioned by the monk Rubruquis, who was sent in 1253 by Saint Louis to the Great Khan, and also by Marco Polo, (book iv. c. 24, Yule’s edition, ii. p. 421 and note). The traveller Pallas, at the end of the last century, could find no traces of them or of their language, so that he thinks (Travels, vol. ii. p. 358), that Busbecq’s belief in their existence must have arisen from some German, Swedish, or other captives being found in the Crimea. Busbecq, however, is not the only writer who notices these Goths, and it is not difficult to understand that the tribe may have disappeared before the time of Pallas in the numerous wars which devastated the Crimea. The ruins of Mancup still remain, four leagues south of Simferopol, and nearly due east of Sebastopol. It is an almost inaccessible fortress, on a high isolated rock. Pallas describes the ruins of it in the second volume of his Travels. One of Gibbon’s numerous references to Busbecq is found in a note to Chapter xl., where he alludes to ‘these unambitious Goths.’

245 The Flemish is not given by Busbecq, but has been taken by the translators from an article on Busbecq in Les Voyageurs Belges, ii. p. 30, by the Baron de Saint-Génois,

246 This is a mistake on Busbecq’s part. The first German immigrants came to Transylvania at the invitation of Geisa II., king of Hungary, in the times of Conrad III. and Frederick Barbarossa, i.e., about the middle of the twelfth century. Most of them came from the Lower Rhine. They still form distinct communities, marrying only among themselves, and are known as Saxons.

247 See note 1, page 415.

248 A similar legend is told of St. Raymond, a Spanish saint, who lived in the thirteenth century. He was confessor to Don James, King of Aragon. In the words of Mrs. Jameson (Legends of the Monastic Orders, p. 421), ‘the latter’ (the King) ‘had but one fault; he was attached to a certain beauty of his court from whom Raymond in vain endeavoured to detach him. When the King summoned his confessor to attend him to Majorca, the saint refused unless the lady were left; the King affected to yield, but soon after their arrival in Majorca, Raymond discovered that the lady was also there in the disguise of a page; he remonstrated; the King grew angry; Raymond intimated his resolution to withdraw to Spain; the King forbad any vessel to leave the port, and made it death to any person to convey him from the island. The result is thus gravely related: St. Raymond, full of confidence in God, said to his companion, “An earthly King has deprived us of the means of escape, but a heavenly King will supply them!” Then walking up to a rock which projected into the sea, he spread his cloak on the waters, and setting his staff upright and tying one corner to it for a sail, he made the sign of the cross, and boldly embarked in this new kind of vessel. He was wafted over the surface of the ocean with such rapidity that in six hours he reached Barcelona. This stupendous miracle might perhaps have been doubted, if five hundred credible witnesses had not seen the saint land on the quay at Barcelona, take up his cloak, which was not even wetted by the waves, throw it round him, and retire modestly to his cell; more like an humble penitent than one in whose favour Heaven had so wonderfully wrought.’

249 This feat is by no means impossible. See Hone’s Everyday Book, ii. p. 771-9.

250 A receipt by which this feat may be accomplished is given in the Booke of Secrets of Albertus Magnus, imprinted at London by H. Jackson. ‘Take the juice of Bismalua, and the white of an egge, and the seed of an herb called Psillium, also Pulicarius herba, and break it into powder, and make a confection, and myxe the juice of Radysh with the white of an egge. Anoynt thy body or hand with this confection, and let it be dryed, and after anoynte it againe; after that thou mayest suffer boldely the fire without hurt.’ (See Hone’s Everyday Book, ii. p. 774.) Similar feats were performed before Evelyn. (Diary, p. 370.)

251 See note, page 226.

252 Treaty of Cateau Cambrésis, concluded between France and Spain, April 3, 1559.

253Alvaro de Sandé fit tres bien à la bataille de Gerbes, là où combattant vaillamment il fut pris et mené à Constantinople en signe de triumphe et presenté au grand Solyman, qui le fit garder fort curieusement et estroictment, en faisant serment sur son grand dieu Mahom(!) qu’il ne luy feroit jamais plus la guerre, et qu’il vieilliroit et mourroit en prison sans le vouloir jamais mettre à rançon; car il sçavoit bien que le roy d’Espagne son maistre le rechapteroit de beaucoup. Enfin, voyant que pour or ny argent il ne le pouvoit faire rançonner ny avoir, il envoya prier avec grande suplication le roy Charles, son beau et bon frere, par le moyen de ceste bonne Reyne d’Espaigne sa sœur, d’envoyer une ambassade vers le Grand Seigneur pour le luy demander et le luy donner; dont le Roy (comme je le vis moy estant lors à la Cour) despescha aussitost M. le chevalier de Salvyaty, qui a esté depuis premier escuyer de la reyne de Navarre, homme fort digne pour ceste charge, et fort habile, qu en fit l’ambassade, avec danger de sa vie, pourtant qu’il courut par les chemins, me dict il à son retour. Le Grand Seigneur du commancement en fit un peu de refus à ce qu’il me dict; mais vaincu par prieres du Roy, il ne l’en voulut refuser, et le luy accorda pour la premiere demande qu’il luy avoit faicte, parce que c’estoit son avenement à la couronne: outre plus, luy envoya les plus belles offres du monde. Par ainsy ledict chevalier s’en retourna libre avec son prisonnier, qui ne pensoit rien moins à cela devoir à nostre Roy sa vie et sa liberté.’—Brantôme, i. 218.

It is needless to point out the absurdities and gross inaccuracies of this account, which is given by Salviati’s friend. It is contradicted by the despatches of the French representative at Constantinople, which show that Salviati’s mission was a complete failure: ‘Solyman ne se souvenant plus de ses parolles et de ce qu’il avoit escrit au roy dernièrement par M. le chevalier Salviati, que sa foy ne permettoit point de délivrer les chrestiens pris en bataille, accorda la délivrance desdits trois chevaliers espagnols, à la premiere requeste et instance que Ferdinand luy en a faicte soubz ombre de cent cinquante esclaves turcqs qu’ilz ont promis dellivrer.’—Charrière, Négotiations de la France dans le Levant, ii. 704.

254Quant à l’aultre point des chevalliers espagnols délivrez, Ali me dit que certainement leur foy ne permettoit point délivrer les chrestiens pris en bataille, mais que le Grand Seigneur ayant remis ce pesché sur ses bassats, ils avoient trouvé par leur loy que pour eschange d’esclaves en tel nombre que les Espagnols promettent, et faire un bien public comme la paix, leur foy, comme par une indulgence spécialle, permettoit ladite délivrance.’—Charrière, ii. 706.

255 See page 156.

256 These ants are mentioned first by Herodotus, iii. c. 102, where he gives an account of the stratagem by which the Indians steal the gold thrown up by them as they burrow. The most plausible conjecture is that which identifies this animal with the Pangolin or Ant-eater. See Blakesley’s and Rawlinson’s notes on the passage, in the latter of which the statement in the text is referred to.

257 This headdress must have resembled that of the Janissaries Busbecq saw at Buda. See p. 87 and note.

258 Aleppo is really a considerable distance from the Euphrates.

259 The date of Bajazet’s death was September 25, 1561.

260 See note, page 108.

261 See Sketch of Hungarian History.

262 Compare page 159.

263 Theriac, the original form of the word treacle, is derived from θηρίον, i.e. a venomous serpent (see Acts xxviii. 4). It originally meant a confection of vipers’ flesh, which was popularly believed to be the most potent antidote to vipers’ poison. Hence the word came to mean any antidote against poison.

264 The value of this balsam is illustrated by the amusing account of the adventures in Ireland of Jean de Montluc, Bishop of Valence, given by Sir James Melville in his Memoirs (page 10, Bannatyne Club edition). Like his friend Busbecq (see vol. ii. p. 34, Letter to Maximilian, XI.) he had been ambassador at the Turkish Court, and was afterwards sent in the same capacity to Scotland. On his return he paid a visit to Ireland to intrigue with the chieftains who were hostile to England. Melville, then a boy of fourteen, was sent back with him by Mary of Guise, the Queen Regent, to be a page to her daughter Queen Mary. They landed on Shrove Tuesday, 1550, in Lough Foyle, and were taken to Odocarte’s house. A woman, who had been brought to entertain the bishop, and was kept quietly in his chamber, ‘found a little glass within a case standing in a window, for the coffers were all wet by the sea waves that fell in the ship during the storm. But she believed it had been ordained to eat, because it had an odoriphant smell; therefore she licked it clean out; which put the bishop in such a rage that he cried out for impatience.... But the Irishmen and his own servants laughed at the matter, for it was a phial of the only most precious balm that grew in Egypt, which Solyman the great Turk had given in a present to the said bishop, after he had been two years ambassador for the King of France in Turkey, and was esteemed worth two thousand crowns.’

265 See p. 86.

266 Here we part from the gallant Spaniard. For his future career see note p. 317. He was finally Governor of Oran, ‘où il a finy ses jours fort vieux et cassé.’—Brantôme, i. 219.

267 The then Duke, or rather Elector, of Saxony, was Augustus the Pious, who succeeded his brother, the famous Maurice, in 1553, and died in 1586. The Duke of Bavaria was Albert III., surnamed the Magnanimous, who reigned from 1550 to 1579. His wife was a daughter of Ferdinand. William the Rich was then Duke of Juliers, Cleves and Berg, &c. He reigned from 1539 to 1592, and he also had married a daughter of Ferdinand. He was younger brother of Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII.’s fourth wife.

268 Ferdinand might have defended himself by the example of his predecessor Sigismund. See the story in Carlyle’s Frederick the Great, i. 187, of his speech at the Council of Constance. “‘Right Reverend Fathers, date operam ut illa nefanda schisma eradicetur,’ exclaimed Sigismund, intent on having the Bohemian schism well dealt with,—which he reckons to be of the feminine gender. To which a Cardinal mildly remarking, ‘Domine, schisma est generis neutrius (Schisma is neuter, your Majesty),’ Sigismund loftily replies, ‘Ego sum Rex Romanus et super grammaticam (I am King of the Romans, and above Grammar)!’”

269 An allusion to Horace, Odes, iii. 3, 1-10.

270 In the battle of Nicopolis, A.D. 1396, Bajazet defeated Sigismund, King of Hungary (afterwards Emperor), and a confederate army of 100,000 Christians, who had proudly boasted that if the sky should fall, they would uphold it on their lances. Among them was John, Count of Nevers, son of Philippe-le-Hardi, Duke of Burgundy, afterwards the Duke known as Jean Sans-Peur, who led a contingent of French knights. In the battle of Varna, A.D. 1444, Ladislaus, King of Hungary and Poland, was defeated, and killed by Sultan Amurath II. For Mohacz, see Sketch of Hungarian History.

271 Compare Camoens: ‘Eu nunca louvarei o general que diz “Eu não cuidei.”—I will never praise the general who excuses himself by saying, “I thought not.”’

272 See Sketch of Hungarian History.

273 The Suleimanyeh, or mosque of Solyman, is the most glorious masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. It is built after the pattern of St. Sophia, and was intended to surpass it. As regards the regularity of the plan, the perfection of the individual parts, and the harmony of the whole, that intention appears to have been fully attained. It was begun in 1550 and finished in 1555.

274 Johann Trautson von Matray, Freiherr von Sprechenstein, &c., descended from an ancient Tyrolese family, was Governor of the Tyrol, and Privy Councillor and Lord High Chamberlain to Ferdinand, who created him a Baron. Leonard von Harrach, a member of an ancient Bohemian family, Privy Councillor and Court Chancellor of Ferdinand, is probably the person meant.

275 Mattioli or Matthioli, an Italian physician, was one of the founders of modern botany. He was born at Siena in 1500, and died at Trent in 1577. He was educated at Venice and Padua, and afterwards lived at Siena and Rome, but was compelled by the sack of the latter city to retire to Trent, from which he removed to Goritz. In 1562 he was summoned by Ferdinand to his Court, where for ten years he was first physician to Maximilian. His most celebrated work is his Dioscorides and his Commentary on that author. In this he made especial use of two MSS. discovered at Constantinople by his intimate friend Busbecq, one of which is presently mentioned in the text.

Mattioli in his Commentaries, continually refers to the specimens and information he had received from Quacquelben, Busbecq’s physician. He gives a figure and description of the Acorus, the plant mentioned in the text, which Busbecq had had collected for him from the Lake of Nicomedia, and also mentions the Napellus under the head of Aconite. Apparently there were two species known by that name, one of which was extremely poisonous. Mattioli gives instances of experiments tried with it upon condemned criminals, some of which proved fatal. Mattioli also describes and gives figures of the horse-chestnut and lilac, taken from branches and seed sent him by Busbecq.

Quacquelben took advantage of the return of Busbecq’s colleagues in August 1557, to send Mattioli a box of specimens accompanied by a long letter, which, with Mattioli’s reply, is printed among the letters of the latter.

276 The sweet or aromatic flag was used as a medicine in cases of bites from mad dogs, &c. See Salmon’s Herbal. It was also used for scenting rooms, and for ornamental purposes. See Evelyn’s description of Lady Clarendon’s seat at Swallowfield: ‘The waters are flagg’d about with Calamus aromaticus, with which my lady has hung a closet that retains the smell very perfectly,’ Diary, p. 490. See also Syme’s English Botany, vol. ix. p. 11.

277 See page 389.

278 Matarieh, a village near Cairo, occupies the site of the ancient On or Heliopolis, where Cleopatra’s Needles originally stood.

279 See page 256 and note.

280 This MS. was purchased by the Emperor, and is still preserved at Vienna. It is one of the most ancient and remarkable MSS. in existence. It was written at Constantinople, towards the end of the fifth century, for Juliana Anicia, daughter of the Emperor Olybrius, who died A.D. 472. On the second and third pages are two miniatures, each representing seven famous botanists and physicians assembled in consultation. Among those represented in the second are Dioscorides himself and Cratevas. On the fifth page is a picture of Dioscorides engaged in the composition of his work. Visconti considers that the resemblance of the two portraits of Dioscorides proves that they were taken from a real original, and are not imaginary. On the sixth page is a picture of Juliana Anicia seated on a throne between two allegorical figures of Wisdom and Magnanimity. A winged Cupid, above whom is written ‘The Love of the Creator of Wisdom,’ is presenting her with an open book, while a kneeling figure entitled Gratitude is kissing the feet of the princess. Engravings of these pictures, which, apart from their antiquity, are remarkable as works of art, are given by Visconti, Iconographie Grecque, vol. i. ch. 7, and by Montfaucon, Palæographia Græca, bk. iii. ch. 2. Throughout the MS. the description of each plant is illustrated by a figure.

Dioscorides was a famous botanist and physician, who wrote a celebrated treatise on Materia Medica. Cratevas was a Greek herbalist, who is supposed to have lived about the beginning of the first century B.C. The great work of Busbecq’s friend, Mattioli (see note 1 page 415), was his edition of Dioscorides.