Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Still pleased, my solace I impart,

Where brightest hopes are scattered dead; 'Tis mine-sweet gift !to charm the heart,

Though all its other joys are fled !

Time, that withers all beside,
Harmless past me loves to glide;
Change, that mortals must obey,
Ne'er shall shake my gentle sway:
Still, 'tis mine all hearts to move,
In eternity of love!

A TURKISH LADY.

PERHAPS as you make your difficult way through a steep and narrow alley, which winds between blank walls, and is little frequented by passers, you meet one of those coffin-shaped bundles of white linen which implies an Ottoman lady. Painfully struggling against the obstacles to progression which are interposed by the many folds of her clumsy drapery, by her big mud boots, and especially by her two pairs of slippers, she waddles along full awkwardly enough—but yet there is something of womanly consciousness in the very labour and effort with which she tugs and lifts the burthen of her charms. She is close followed by her women slaves. Of her very self you see nothing except the dark luminous eyes that stare against your face, and the tips of the painted fingers depending like rose-buds from out the blank bastions of the fortress. She turns, and turns again, and carefully glances around her on all sides to see that she is safe from the eyes of Mussulmans, and then suddenly withdrawing the yashmak, she shines upon your heart and soul with all the pomp and might of her beauty. And this, which so dizzies your brain, is not the light changeful grace which leaves you to doubt whether you have fallen in love with a body or only a soul; - it is the beauty that dwells secure in the perfectness of hard downright outlines, and in the glow of generous colour. There is fire though too_high courage and fire enough in the untamed mind, or spirit, or whatever it is, which drives the breath of pride through those scarcely-parted lips.

INTERVIEW WITH A TURKISH PASHA.

SOME people had come down to meet us with an invitation from the Pasha, and we wound our way up to the castle. At the gates there were groups of soldiers, some smoking, and some lying flat like corpses upon the cool stones. We went through courts, ascended steps, passed along a corridor, and walked into an airy, white-washed room, with a European clock at one end of it, and Moostapha Pasha at the other. The fine old bearded potentate looked very like Jovelike Jove, too, in the midst of his clouds, for the silvery fumes of the narguilè hung lightly circling round him.

The Pasha received us with the smooth, kind, gentle manner that belongs to well-bred Osmanlees; then he lightly clapped his hands, and instantly the sound filled all the lower end of the room with slaves; a syllable dropped from his lips which bowed all heads, and conjured away the attendants like ghosts. Their coming and their going was thus swift and quiet because their feet were bare, and they passed through no door, but only by the yielding folds of a purder. Soon the coffee-bearers appeared, every man carrying separately his tiny cup in a small metal stand; and presently to each of us there came a pipe-bearer, who first rested the bowl of the tchibouque at a measured dis

nce on the floor, and then on this axis wheeled round the long cherry-stick, and gracefully presented it on half-bended knee. Already the well kindled fire was glowing secure in the bowl, and so, when I pressed the amber lip to mine, there was no coyness to conquer : the willing fume came up, and answered my slightest sigh, and followed softly every breath inspired, till it touched me with some faint sense and understanding of Asiatic contentment.

Asiatic contentment! Yet scarcely, perhaps, one

hour before, I had been wanting my bill, and ringing for waiters in a shrill and busy hotel.

In the Ottoman dominions there is scarcely any hereditary influence except that which belongs to the family of the Sultan; and wealth, too, is a highly volatile blessing, not easily transmitted to the descendants of the owner. From these causes, it results that the people standing in the place of nobles and gentry are official personages; and though many (indeed the greater number) of these potentates are humbly born and bred, you will seldom, I think, find them wanting in that polished smoothness of manner, and those well undulating tones, which belong to the best Osmanlees. The truth is, that most of the men in authority have risen from their humble stations by the arts of the courtier, and they preserve in their high estate those gentle powers of fascination to which they owe their success. Yet unless you can contrive to learn a little of the language, you will be rather bored by your visits of ceremony; the intervention of the interpreter, or dragoman, as he is called, is fatal to the spirit of conversation. I think I should mislead you if I were to attempt to give the substance of any particular conversation with Orientals. A traveller may write and say that “the Pasha of so and so was particularly interested in the vast progress which has been made in the application of steam, and appeared to understand the structure of our machinery—that he remarked upon the gigantic results of our manufacturing industry--showed that he possessed considerable know

ledge of our Indian affairs, and of the constitution of the company, and expressed a lively admiration of the many sterling qualities for which the people of England are distinguished.” But the heap of common-places thus quietly attributed to the Pasha will have been founded perhaps on some such talking as this :

Pasha.- The Englishman is welcome; most blessed among hours is this, the hour of his coming.

Dragoman (to the traveller).- The Pasha pays you his compliments.

Traveller.—Give him my best compliments in return, and say I'm delighted to have the honour of seeing him.

Drayoman (to the Pasha).—His Lordship, this Englishman, Lord of London, Scorner of Ireland. Suppressor of France, has quitted his governments. and left his enemies to breathe for a moment, and has crossed the broad waters in strict disguise, with a smal but eternally faithful retinue of followers, in order thai he might look upon the bright countenance of the Pasha among Pashas—the Pasha of the everlasting Pashalik of Karagholookoldour.

Traveller (to his Dragoman).- What on earth have you been saying about London? The Pasha will be taking me for a mere cockney. Have not I told you always to say that I am from a branch of the family of Mudcombe Park, and that I am to be a magistrate for the county of Bedfordshire, only I've not qualified, and that I should have been a deputy-lieutenant, if it had not been for the extraordinary conduct of Lord

« ElőzőTovább »