« ElőzőTovább »
and gauzes, we tear ourselves away. For a time exit is impossible, but a string of donkeys, laden with grapes, at length clears the way. We follow the last elaborately plaited tail, and thus reach the open street. Every arch and aperture even here frames a brilliant Eastern picture, where merchants sit and smoke over their costly bales in the dim interior, or drowsy groups doze in the dusky shadows, while the hot sun blazes on street and pave
A large building, brilliantly lighted from within, attracts attention; we enter a deep porch, to find ourselves within the Jewish synagogue, crowded with worshippers, singing Hebrew psalms to a wild melody as they rock to and fro, having so far imported Mahometan custom into the Hebrew creed. Reverence is at a discount; men talk and laugh, and a crowd of boys chatter and knock each other about, unreproved by the rabbi, who conducts the service from a desk beneath a sevenbranched candlestick filled with twinkling lights. The women occupy a latticed gallery, themselves unseen. We are warmly welcomed in fact, the service stops until we are accommodated with armchairs, evidently intended for some Hebrew dignitaries but the position is too conspicuous, and the gravity of the juvenile Hebrew too easily upset for our equanimity to be undisturbed; so with a pantomime of thanks to the chief rabbi we take our departure, amid a general titter from the very indevout congregation. It is the eve of a great Jewish feast, and the whole population of the Hebrew quarter seems contained in the synagogue, for we walk through perfectly empty streets to the main thoroughfare of the city. We afterwards visit the sulphur-baths of Broussa, which are famous throughout Asia Minor, and differ curiously from the bathing establishments of Europe. Through spacious halls, of varying degrees of heat, we walk over shoe-tops in warm water to the domed chamber containing the great central spring of boiling sulphur. These numerous fountains of mineral-charged water point to the prehistoric times when Olympus was a volcano containing those terrible forces which have receded so far beneath the earth's crust as to become beneficent agencies, restoring health instead of destroying life. The choking sulphur-fumes fill the hall with a dense fog. Entrance is impossible for those not gradually prepared by baths of increasing heat and vapor for an atmo
sphere which is otherwise insupportable; but through the curling smoke we see crowds of women and children standing or lying about in all directions. The costume, elementary and sketchy in the other departments, has here become nil. The only variety seen is in the different shades which go to make up human complexions. A few negresses, and some ladies of bright copper hue, form the deeper tones of color, which shows every shade of orange, yellow, brown, and white. Some drink coffee and loll on divans, twisting a red scarf or an orange kerchief round their hair to protect it from the discoloring sulphur. Others sit on the brim of the sulphur-springs or paddle about on the wet stone floors. The ladies in the inner sanctum eagerly invite us to enter. All are quite unconcerned by our presence and their own déshabille, and a merry crowd rushes forward with intense amusement at the choking of our unaccustomed lungs in the suffocating steam, trying to prevent our hasty departure.
The manners and customs of Asia are certainly somewhat primitive, but Eve in the early days of Paradise could not be more unconscious of her lack of garments than these simple and childlike natives of the East. From the baths we go to the silk-factories, which form the great local industry. The lovely silks and gauzes seen in the bazaar are woven on the spot, for Broussa abounds in mulberry-groves and silkworms. Every stage of the silkweaving may be seen in the factories, from the washing of the cocoons and the winding of the soft, yellow masses of silk, to the production of those fairy fabrics of which Oriental looms alone seem to know the secrets. The women, with their bright robes and dark, glowing faces, lend a touch of romance even to the prosaic routine of a factory, as their slender brown hands dart with lightning swiftness among the golden silks of varying shades from deepest orange to palest primrose. One fears that the all-pervading influence of Europe must soon destroy the picturesque surroundings of local manufactures; for even in far-away Broussa an Italian colony is already establishing itself, and gradually appropriating the silk trade. Eastern indolence and Western energy play into each other's hands, and Europe is quick to receive what Asia is so slack to retain. The famous wines of Broussa are also falling into foreign hands, and the fruitful vineyards which climb the terraced hills are becoming the property of prosaic
Western speculators. High farming and machinery will soon reduce the charms of Broussa to that dead level of uniformity which has already done so much to blight the beauty of the world, and it is a matter of self-gratulation to have seen the lovely city before the change begins. From the fort above the town the crimson sunset lights up plain and mountain. Olympus changes from blue to amethyst, and from amethyst to indigo. Pink clouds lie like a shower of rose-leaves on the snowy summit, and the city beneath us reflects the afterglow in the golden hues which steal over mosque and minaret. From the wooden balcony of a vinewreathed café we look down on the shifting color of the winding streets. The Turkish governor rides past on a caracoling charger. Some veiled ladies are carried after him in a curtained litter, accompanied by running footmen in glittering livery. The rank and fashion of Broussa come out to breathe the evening air. An adventurous Englishman, surrounded by a strong guard of Turkish soldiers — a necessary escort to Olympus attracts evident admiration as he rides up the street on his return from the brigand-haunted mountain. The song of the muleteers and the tinkling of camel-bells float upwards, as the evening call to prayer resounds from the countless minarets. The stolid frequenters of the little café pause for a moment from their occupations of coffee-drinking, smoking, and playing draughts, and a murmur of "Allah-ilAllah" breaks their usual silence. We seem transported into a world far distant from that which we usually inhabit, and the unanswerable question recurs to mind as to the compensating gains of our higher civilization for the loss of so much that is beautiful in the form and color of primitive life.
From All The Year Round SMOLLETT IN THE SOUTH.
THAT sunny side of the European garden wall, stretching eastward from Marseilles along the seacoast, has become, in these latter days, such a favorite haunt for those blessed with money and leisure enough to enable them to take flight and escape the rigors of such a winter and spring as we have endured, and are enduring, that it seems hard to imagine a time when a visit to it might not form a portion of the season's round. In the last century a limited number of the golden youth went the grand tour; but this was, for most of them, an affair of seeing the manners and cities of all sorts and conditions of men; a progress, and not a settling down for the winter in some secluded, sunny nook, after the fashion of the wiser of our modern winter pilgrims. Certain of the more opulent invalids, who had lost faith in Bath and Cheltenham, journeyed in search of health to Tours or Montpelier cities of consideration where society was to be found, and where most of the wants of the valetudinarian could be supplied - but the people who ventured on a sojourn at Nice were very few until times comparatively recent. One record, however, exists of a stay there of a year and a half's duration; the one contained in Smollett's most interesting letters from abroad during 1763 and the following year.
He was at that time suffering from an obstinate attack of asthma, and, like many other invalids was ordered to try the climate of Montpelier, a town standing in the direct path of the mistral in its withering course from the Alps to the Mediterranean, and about as favorable a haunt for the invalid as his native Scotland. Smollett's first experiences of foreign travel might stand side by side with those of many a traveller of to-day; and, indeed, as long as we are in his company it is impossible to avoid the reflection how little the humors and accidents of travel are altered by the flight of years.
Long before the sun rises in the eastern heavens, we leave the towers and cupolas of Broussa far behind us. The clear sky is full of the white light of earliest dawn, and the heavy dew weighs down olive- The farther south he gets-though in bough and fig-tree as though drenched Languedoc all articles of housekeeping are with days of rain. A delicious breeze fans cheaper than in any other part of France us with its balmy breath, and, as we turn the higher he finds the price of accomfor a last glimpse of the city and its guar-modation. And why? Simply because dian mountain, the roseate clouds stretch he is nearing that country where the Enlike wings across the clear azure of the glish travellers most do congregate. The sky, and the rising sun bathes dome and air, he further informs us, is counted saluminaret, wall and tower, in a flood of car-tary in "catarrhous consumption," from mine glory, as though an enchanted wand its dryness and elasticity, but is too sharp had been waved over the scene to give us for cases of "pulmonary imposthumes." a farewell vision of magic beauty by which to remember our visit to Broussa.
But in any case it did not suit Smollett's complaint. And one is not surprised at
prisoner of war, taken in battle with some Sallee or Tunis rover. To most people it would seem that these gentry might well have been swung at the yardarm at once; but Smollett talks, in a strain which reminds one of the contemporary sentimentalist, about the iniquity of mixing them up with common criminals and banditti. The condition of the convicts was very shocking. They lay in indescribable filth, chained day and night to their benches. A few were knitting stockings; but the greater part lay in stupefied idleness, though at this time the road from Nice to Villafranca was scarce passable on horseback, and might have been made fit for carriages by the labor of these convicts in the course of a few months.
erty. Their food was the refuse of the garden, and their hogs lived better than their children. They were all thieves and beggars; but, in spite of this, serious crime was very rare, nor was there any drunkenness or riot. He finds another gauge of the prevalent misery in the condition of the domestic animals. The horses and mules were mere skeletons, and the cats and dogs dangerously rapacious through hunger. Birds were hardly ever seen on account of the incessant shooting them for sale as game.
At San Remo and Noli, and at every other point of stoppage, the same evidences of poverty were apparent. The inns were filthy, and the landlords churlish and extortionate. Where the railway and the road now run, there was a rocky path, practicable only to the inhabitants; the Republic of Genoa, for some reason or other, being unwilling to encourage settlement in that part of its dominions. Considering what the discomforts of the voyage must have been, it is wonderful that Smollett should have kept so well the even temper which, with a few slight exceptions, characterizes his remarks, and have found opportunity of giving so much valuable and interesting information as to the social condition of the countries he traversed. His description of the Roman remains at Fréjus, and Cimiés, and Turbia is full and scholarly, while a large proportion of the English who now rush past them, intent on a spell of gambling or winter tennis, have never heard of their existence, being, one and all, too busy with their idleness to spare a moment for the consideration of these problems, which are just as susceptible of interesting treatment now as they were in Smollett's time.
Our traveller's northern Protestantism was somewhat affronted by the prevalence of religious superstition, reigning under the darkest shades of ignorance. In Nice he found that the churches were sanctuaries for all kinds of criminals - robbers, smugglers, fraudulent bankrupts, being received with open arms, and never given up till their pardon had been arranged. At the present time there is a legend that an influx of a similar character sets towards Nice every autumn; but as none of its members are ever seen inside a church, it is to be inferred that the privilege of sanctuary has been withdrawn. Many of them live royally, and pay their way like honest men; and, having carefully mastered the details of the laws of extradition, are able to face the police with an untroubled brow. Smollett complains that the English were greatly overcharged at Nice, just as at Montpelier, for all they bought in the shops; and characterizes the shopkeepers themselves as greedy and over-reaching, many of them bankrupts of Marseilles and Genoa, and other countries, who had fled from their creditors to Nice, which, being a free port, afforded an asylum to foreign cheats and sharpers of every deEPIGRAMS, KINDLY AND STINGING. nomination. They must, however, have been clever men of business, for he re- MR. SEDLEY TAYLOR has done well in marks that the Jews of Nice were very vindicating his friend the late master of poor. Indeed, the picture he draws of Trinity from the accusation that he almost the poverty of the laboring classes at every always used his wit to tomahawk those point he touched during his journey along who were the subjects of it, and in prothe coast to Genoa, is a terrible one. ducing one or two of his bright sayings There was not even a mule-path on land, which were as genial as they were bright. so he hired a felucca and halted at Mo- Dr. Johnson defined the word "epigram) naco, Mentone, San Remo, Noli, Savona, as "a short poem terminating in a point." and many other towns, and his remarks We have long ago given up the limitation are all in the same key. Round about of epigram to verse, though undoubtedly Nice he found the laborers diminutive, verse lends an extra beauty and polish meagre, withered, and dirty; half naked, to the point in which epigrams should and bearing all the signs of extreme pov- end. But the mere reminder that a per
From The Spectator.
The passage of the Esterel Mountains was safely accomplished, the fierce banditti which in times comparatively recent had frequented them, having been exterminated. There are some who would dispute this last statement, and maintain the leaders' descendants still exist, and prosperously, too, in the immediate neighborhood, having exchanged the carbine and the knife for the baccarat-table and the roulette-wheel; while others, sprung, peradventure, from the first lieutenants, lay down, near their caves, courts for a certain game of ball, and subscribe liberally to foreign journals, and even subsidize heretical places of worship as lures for the traveller worth fleecing. Beyond the Esterels the doctor found at last the summer of which he was in search. On one side of the post-house, where he halted to dine, was winter, bare and bleak, and on the other, the slopes of the mountains were covered with oranges, and myrtles, and sweet juniper, and all manner of fragrant and lovely flowers. The next night was passed at Cannes, a little fishing town agreeably situated on the head of the sea; and there he heard report of a certain Monsieur Nadeau d'Etrueil, a former governor of Guadeloupe, who was condemned, like another famous, or infamous officer of more recent times, to imprisonment for life in the island prison of Saint Marguerite. At the Var, the frontier of France was passed, and there the doctor's luggage underwent a customs visitation as terrible as that which now awaits the modern traveller's farther east at Vintimiglia. The same methods, however, which will now pass any number of Saratoga trunks unopened through the Custom House at the last-named place, was then sufficient to frank the doctor's luggage into the country of Nice. He counsels all travellers to be free with their coin at such junctures, and, as a somewhat singular comment on his late policy at Muy, to put up with the extortions of innkeepers with a smiling face.
rapid than that of the rent of apartments. The inhabitants must have been a hardy race; for he speaks of the houses of the humbler sort having windows filled only with paper. The bourgeois, however, were already falling into sybaritic ways, and fitting their windows with glass.
Nowadays, many home-abiding people receive from friends on the Riviera boxes of cut flowers at a time when the dearth of English bloom makes the present doubly acceptable. When the box is not smashed they praise the post-office; and if they have never travelled on its system, say kind things of the Paris, Lyons, and Mediterranean Railway for thus speeding to them this floral gift, which will serve to make the drawing-room bright for a week with anemones and violets, and generally remark that this is a wonderful age that we are living in. Hear what Smollett says in 1764:
"I must tell you that presents of carnations are sent from hence, in the winter, to Turin and Paris, nay, sometimes as far as London, by the post. They are packed up in a wooden box, without any sort of preparation, one pressed upon another. The person who receives them cuts off a little bit of the stalk and steeps them for two hours in vinegar and water, when they recover their full bloom and beauty. Then he places them in water-bottles in an apartment where they are screened from the severities of the weather, and they will continue fresh and unfaded the best part of a month."
The horror of the Barbary corsairs evidences of which the visitors of to-day may mark in the massive fortifications of Eza, Auribeau, and many others of the coast villages - was yet real and active in Smollett's time; but, according to his showing, France, England, and Holland had entered into a sort of informal partnership with these pirates, by keeping them well supplied with arms and ammunition, and even granting them subsidies, so as to enable them to maintain a continual
At Nice, Smollett found the inns detest-war against Spain and the other Catholic able, and, as no ready-furnished lodgings were to be had, he hired a ground floor at the rate of twenty pounds a year, which he calls an extortionate sum. The good doctor would surely have a fit, were he now on earth and wanting to hire a similar apartment on the Promenade des Anglais. He found the town dirty and malodorous; and those who have perambulated the town in the old quarters - the Nice of Smollett's day-will agree that the increase of sanitary science has been less
Mediterranean powers. Thus these latter, fearing to trade in their own vessels, were forced to employ the maritime powers as carriers. It is not pleasant to be reminded that the mighty stream of British commerce should ever have been swelled by such unclean affluents as Smollett here hints of. In the harbor of Villafranca, where now one generally sees a trim American corvette lying at anchor, Smollett found two Sardinian galleys filled with criminals, with here and there a quasi
and the cats and dogs dangerously rapacious through hunger. Birds were hardly ever seen on account of the incessant shooting them for sale as game.
prisoner of war, taken in battle with some erty. Their food was the refuse of the Sallee or Tunis rover. To most people garden, and their hogs lived better than it would seem that these gentry might their children. They were all thieves and well have been swung at the yardarm at beggars; but, in spite of this, serious once; but Smollett talks, in a strain which crime was very rare, nor was there any reminds one of the contemporary senti- drunkenness or riot. He finds another mentalist, about the iniquity of mixing gauge of the prevalent misery in the conthem up with common criminals and ban-dition of the domestic animals. The ditti. The condition of the convicts was horses and mules were mere skeletons, very shocking. They lay in indescribable filth, chained day and night to their benches. A few were knitting stockings; but the greater part lay in stupefied idleness, though at this time the road from At San Remo and Noli, and at every Nice to Villafranca was scarce passable other point of stoppage, the same evion horseback, and might have been made dences of poverty were apparent. The fit for carriages by the labor of these inns were filthy, and the landlords churlish convicts in the course of a few months. and extortionate. Where the railway and Our traveller's northern Protestantism the road now run, there was a rocky path, was somewhat affronted by the prevalence practicable only to the inhabitants; the of religious superstition, reigning under Republic of Genoa, for some reason or the darkest shades of ignorance. In Nice other, being unwilling to encourage he found that the churches were sanctu- settlement in that part of its dominions. aries for all kinds of criminals — robbers, | Considering what the discomforts of the smugglers, fraudulent bankrupts, being voyage must have been, it is wonderful received with open arms, and never given that Smollett should have kept so well the up till their pardon had been arranged. even temper which, with a few slight exAt the present time there is a legend that ceptions, characterizes his remarks, and an influx of a similar character sets towards have found opportunity of giving so much Nice every autumn; but as none of its valuable and interesting information as to members are ever seen inside a church, it the social condition of the countries he is to be inferred that the privilege of sanc- traversed. His description of the Roman tuary has been withdrawn. Many of them remains at Fréjus, and Cimiés, and Turbia live royally, and pay their way like honest is full and scholarly, while a large propormen; and, having carefully mastered the tion of the English who now rush past details of the laws of extradition, are able them, intent on a spell of gambling or to face the police with an untroubled brow. winter tennis, have never heard of their Smollett complains that the English were existence, being, one and all, too busy greatly overcharged at Nice, just as at with their idleness to spare a moment for Montpelier, for all they bought in the the consideration of these problems, which shops; and characterizes the shopkeepers are just as susceptible of interesting treatthemselves as greedy and over-reaching, ment now as they were in Smollett's time. many of them bankrupts of Marseilles and Genoa, and other countries, who had fled from their creditors to Nice, which, being a free port, afforded an asylum to foreign cheats and sharpers of every denomination. They must, however, have EPIGRAMS, KINDLY AND STINGING. been clever men of business, for he re- MR. SEDLEY TAYLOR has done well in marks that the Jews of Nice were very vindicating his friend the late master of poor. Indeed, the picture he draws of Trinity from the accusation that he almost the poverty of the laboring classes at every always used his wit to tomahawk those point he touched during his journey along who were the subjects of it, and in prothe coast to Genoa, is a terrible one. ducing one or two of his bright sayings There was not even a mule-path on land, which were as genial as they were bright. so he hired a felucca and halted at Mo- Dr. Johnson defined the word "epigram naco, Mentone, San Remo, Noli, Savona, as "a short poem terminating in a point." and many other towns, and his remarks We have long ago given up the limitation are all in the same key. Round about of epigram to verse, though undoubtedly Nice he found the laborers diminutive, verse lends an extra beauty and polish meagre, withered, and dirty; half naked, to the point in which epigrams should and bearing all the signs of extreme pov- end. But the mere reminder that a per
From The Spectator.