attendants have access to the women's apartments. The ladies stand before the great man while he eats; and when he finishes, fresh dishes are brought in, and the ladies show their breeding by helping themselves with the finger and thumb only, and in not very voraciously swallowing the sweetmeats. After supper, small bottles of rosoglio are often produced; and of this liqueur, Mr. Madden, whose profession gave him frequent admittance to these sacred retreats, has seen the ladies take three or four glasses in the course of a few minutes. One of the first slaves generally presents the pipe on bis knee, and sometimes one of the wives brings the coffee, and kisses her lord's hand at the same time. The ceremonial is, perhaps, often loosely observed ; and Pouqueville must be mistaken, in asserting the Turks return to their harems without relaxing one particle of their gravity. The evening is often spent with all the levity and tumult of licentiousness, and roars of laughter are audible in adjoining houses. Mr. Madden even ascribes the gravity of the Turk, during the day, to the exhaustion of his spirits from previous excitement. In company with a French physician, he often dined with a young Effendi, who had no scruple about exhibiting his wives, who attended on the guests at table. He has seen a Turk reclining on the divans, smoking his long chibouque, and one of his wives, generally the favourite, shampooing bis feet with her soft fingers, and performing this operation for hours together. This must be supreme luxury. The most delightful of his reveries, when eating opium, a Turk assured him, was imagining himself thus shampooed by the dark-eyed houris of Paradise.

Mr. Madden has entered the penetralia of harems belonging to high and low, and, among the lowest, found no dearth of luxury or loveliness. In the harem of a pipe-manufacturer, who kept a stall in the bazaar, he was ushered into an apartment furnished with costly carpets and richly-covered divans. Among the women, he distinguished the pale Circassian, the languid Georgian, the slender Greek, and the voluptuous Ottoman. His skill and his patience were taxed by all, but only one, a Sciote girl just purchased, required his assistance. The malady of the poor girl was grief, and the burden of her complaints importunities to him to persuade her master to sell her, and get some Christian to redeem her; which eventually he accomplished, and had the pleasure of seeing the grateful Sciote return to her countrymen. She had cost the Turk three hundred dollars, while all the pipes on his stall were not worth fifty. But this was not the only case, in the matter of domestic expense, which surprised Mr. Madden. “There is hardly a Turk of my acquaintance,” says he, who does not lead a life of indolence, smoke his pipe all day, spend his time in sauntering from caffè to caffè, sport a splendid suit at the Beiram (Turkish Easter), and maintain three or four wives, and double the number of slaves; and yet has no ostensible means of living, no profession, no apparent income, no available resources. Such is the condition,” he adds, “ of two-thirds of Constantinople.” These cannot all subsist upon extortions from the Rayahs, as Mr. Madden apparently supposes; many of them are probably owners of Siams and Timares : but Turks will not talk of their affairs. If you ask a question, all the answer you get is, “God is great,”—which puts an extinguisher upon farther inquiry.

Turkish women, however high their rank, Mr. Madden affirms, can neither read nor write. Dr. Clarke must have mistaken the papers found in the Seraglio, for such as were probably written by the black eunuchs. In all his travels in the Turkish empire, Mr. Madden never found but one who could write, and that was at Damietta. She was a Levantine Christian, and her peculiar talent was regarded as something superhuman. Dr. Clarke describes the teeth of Turkish women as generally dyed black, which Mr. Madden de. nies, with a credat Judæus. To Mr. Madden, the women appear never to feel the constraint of confinement. They are gay and happy; they embroider, play on a rude sort of spinet, and sing interminable songs-voice and music equally execrable. They are the loveliest women in the world as to features, but their forms have no advantage of dress; they are kept in no shape, and to be fat is an object of passionate desire. Their complexion is carefully preserved-pale and transparent-and beautifully contrasted by

very black hair, and eyes as soft and dark as the gazelles. « Their eyes are full of sleep, and their hearts full of passion.” The larger the eye, and the more arched the brow, the greater the charm. The frequent use of the bath softens and smooths the complexion, but renders it more sensible to the insi. dious approaches of time. Personal attractions are, of course, all in all with Turkish women, and every art is used to enhance them. Cosmetics abound, and Mr. Madden got into high favour with one lady by suggesting a substitute for something, the use of which she disliked. The surme, a sort of pigment, is used not to elevate the arch of the brow, but to extend it; the beauty of the eye depends on the elongation, and the Turkish ladies have made the discovery. They stain their nails and finger-tops yellow, and some even the toes. Women of a lower rank use rouge, but others only paint the lips. Amulets are worn in abundance, for various purposes to make them fat, or fruitful, or to avert an evil eye, or the devil. A triangular piece of paper is worn to preserve the lustre of the eye, and a bag with mummy-dust for something else. Notwithstanding their size, they are graceful in their movements-easy, and even elegant, in their manners; and, “ strange as it may sound,” says Mr. Madden, with some enthusiasm, “ I have often thought there was as much elegance of attitude displayed in the splendid arm of a Turkish beauty, holding her rich chibouque, (the ladies smoke,) and seated on her Persian carpet, as even in the form of a lovely girl at home, bending over her harp, or floating along with the music of the waltz.”

The confinement to the walls of the harem is neither so close nor so irksome, continues Mr. Madden, as most people imagine. “ The women visit one another frequently; and once a-week they revel in the bath, which is the terrestrial paradise, the Italian opera, in Turkey, of a Mahometan lady. They pass the entire day there; breakfast, dine, and sup in the outer apartment, and are as happy as possible. They have plenty of looking-glasses, and lots of sugar-plums. Lady M. W. Montague's description of the bath would be excellent, if it were correct; but her Ladyship has certainly overlooked the features of her beauties too much, and has exhibited truth, though in puris naturalibus, in too attractive forms. Here, whatever intrigue is practised, is usually carried on through the medium of female emissaries; but I believe it to be less than in any large city in Christendom—the penalty is death! The detection of a single imprudent act, every woman knows, leads to a short consultation with the Cadi, and that summary process to the Bosphorus, through the intervention of a eunuch and a sack. The ladies are therefore extremely circumspect."

Mr. Madden was present at a Turkish feast, given by a Bey of Anatolia, a patient of his; a Byn Bashi and a Cadi were among the guests, and of course all the refinement of Constantinople was practised. The entertainment of the evening consisted of a series of cruelties, under the name of practical jokes, played off upon a hired buffoon. It was the wretch's trade, and he bore marks enough of the effects on his cicatrized visage. Powder was exploded in his pipe, which drove the tube against the palate with great violence, and bathed the lips in blood, the sight of which excited roars of merriment. A plate was then filled with flour, and in the flour were stuck twenty short pieces of lighted candle. The buffoon and his companion, placed on their knees in the centre of the room, opposite each other, held the plate with their teeth, and at a signal, blew the particles of Aour through the flame into each other's faces. The slowest performer of course suffered most; the victim was severely burnt in the upper part of the face and brows; but this was all the fun, and shouts of savage laughter rose, as the miserable fellow smeared oil over his face to allay the pain.

Rum and rakee are drunk as freely as Europeans might drink small-beer. Mr. Madden himself gave a dinner to five respectable Turks, one a merchant of large property. He provided three bottles of rum, and three of strong Cyprus wine. The rum was exbausted before the second course. Though two of them were very tipsy, it did not prevent their joining in the Mogrebprayer. Their host had some difficulty in jeeventing one of the party from hooting a Greek at an opposite window.

The tenure of land, according to Mr. Madden, is not a whit more secure than the honour of office, which sanctions the rapacity of the holder. The first and best security in Turkey is the settlement called Vacuf, by virtue of which, property, whether money, land, or houses, .is given in reversion to some mosque. This is inviolable; the Sultan cannot touch a paras of it: at the death of the possessor, the property goes to the next heir; and in default of heirs, falls to the mosque. The Vacuf is thus gradually absorbing the whole property of the country. There are, in cases of litigation, several courts of justice, and the plaintiff, it seems, chooses as he pleases. This choice is represented as an advantage, because he gives the first bribe; but this, surely, may as well be regarded as favourable to the defendant, for when he knows what the plaintiff has done, he has only to bid above him. For a few piastres you may get witnesses to swear any thing; and for a little more you may have your adversary decoyed into a caffè, treated with opium and tobacco, and seduced into the admission of any thing you please. No Christian evidence is admissible against a Turk; but then the Christian has only to purchase Moslem evidence, which may be had on easy terms. “It is difficult to do justice, said one conscientious Cadi to another, where one of the parties is rich, and the other poor.”—“No!” replied his less scrupulous friend; “I find no difficulty in such case, I always decide for the rich; the difficulty is when both are rich !”.

Mr. Madden contrasts the characters of the Greek and Turk, and sums up nearly in these terms. The Turks are generally considered to be honester than the Greeks, and perhaps they are, or at least they appear so. If they are not so ready at lying, it is because they are too stupid to lie with dexterity. Their probity depends, not on any moral repugnance to deceit, but solely on their want of talent to deceive. “I never," says he, “ found a Turk who kept his word when it was his interest to break it ; but then, I never knew a Greek who was not superfluously and habitually a liar. He is subtle in spirit, insidious in discourse, plausible in his manner, and indefatigable in dishonesty. He is an accomplished scoundrel; and beside him, the Turk, with all the desire to defraud, is so gauche in knavery, that, to avoid detection, he is constrained to be honest."

Mr. Madden will not deny the bravery of the Turks; but of course, every body knows how to fight best behind stone walls. He gives a ludicrous, and perhaps not very exaggerated account of an engagement between them and the Greeks. This is the spectacle :-“ After the dreadful note of preparation has long been heard, the two armies appear in the field, at a convenient distance from each other the Greeks, the most religious people in the world, posted, probably, behind a church; the Ottomans, the best soldiers in the world for a siege, affording their lines the shelter of a wood, or perhaps a wall. Instead of the thunders of the artillery, comes a parley, on the classic ground, and in Homeric style; the Moslems magnanimously roaring, ‘Come on, ye uncircumcised Giaours, we have your masters for our slaves! May the birds of Heaven defile your fathers' heads! Come on, ye Caffres !'' The descendants of Themistocles, not a whit intimidated, vociferate in return, • Approach, ye turbaned dogs! come, and see us making wadding of your Koran! Look at us, trampling on your faith, and giving pork to your daughters!' Then follow two or three-hundred shots, the armies meanwhile invisible to each other; and, when ammunition fails, a few stones fly. At night, when the carnage ceases, the dead prove to amount to half-a-dozen a-side, most of them from the bursting of guns. The Greeks wrangle over the bodies of their own men for the shirts, and the Turks cut off the ears of their fallen friends, to send to Constantinople as trophies from the heads of the rebels. At Napoli, the Greek chants a Te Deum for his victory over God's enemies; and at Constantinople, the Turk glorifies the Prophet for the defeat of the Infidels ; at home, the · Times' exults on the great victory achieved by the struggling Greeks, and the · Courier' tells of the signal defeat the Greek rebels have just sustained. Such is the arrogance of the Turks, the effrontery of the Greeks, and the cowardice of both. Lector judicet!"


Lord Byron.Sir Walter Scott at Brussels. I must not omit, in my recollections, to mention the high gratification I had in passing a few days in the society of the illustrious Byron. In his transit to Italy in August, 1816, he visited Brussels (where I was residing) accompanied by Dr. Polidori. The moment I heard of his arrival, I waited on him, and was received with the greatest cordiality and kindness. “He had no pleasure,” he said, “ equal to that of meeting a friend of his mother's, and of his early age.” I had not seen him for fourteen years, when he was at Harrow, at the age of fifteen. ' I found much less change in his appearance than there generally is from youth to manhood; the general expression of his countenance had become very like his mother's—a beautiful, mild, and intelligent eye, fringed with long and dark lashes; an expansive and noble forehead, over which hung in thick clusters his rich brown natural curls. What a living representation of Beattie's minstrel! He looked the inspired poet! None of the many prints I have seen of him are either like, or do him justice.

In our conversation of three hours, he went over the pranks and adventures of his boyish days. Till the age of seven, he lived at Banff with his mother. My eldest son, of nearly the same age, was his schoolfellow, and he was frequently invited by my brother, the pastor of the town, with whom my boy was living, to pass a holiday at the parsonage : all this he perfectly recollected, and of a tumble he got from a plum-tree, into which he had climbed to get at some pears on a wall.“ The minister's wife," said he, “ blabbed 10 my mother, thinking I might have been hurt; and the old red nosed doctor, whose name I have forgotten, was sent for, who insisted on bleeding me, in spite of screams and tears, which I had at command, for I was a complete spoiled child, as I dare say you know. At last he produced the lancets, of which I had a great horror, having seen them used to bleed my nurse, and I declared if he touched me I would pull his nose. This, it seems, was a tender point with the Doctor, and he gave the bleeding up, condemning me to be fed on water-gruel, and to be put to bed; these orders I disposed of by throwing the medicine out of the window, and as soon as the Doctor had taken his departure I got out of bed and made my appearance in the parlour. My mother, finding that there was nothing the matter with me, gave me tea and brea, and butter, which I preferred to brochan :-you see, I have not forgot all my Scotch.”

He put me in mind of what he called my kindness in lending him a pretty pony, and of my accompanying him to ride in Hyde Park. “ That,” said his Lordship, “ was fourteen years ago, when I came to town to spend the holidays with my poor mother. I remember your pony was very handsome, and a fast galloper, and that we raced, and ihai I beat you, of which I was not a little proud. I have a wonderful recollection of the little events of my early days, and a warm feeling for the friends of my youth.”

He told me that he was desperately in love with Miss M D ., when he was pine years old, “ and we mer,” he said " at the dancing

school,” she made many inquiries about her, and if she was still as handsome). “She is a year older than I; I saw her only once after I left Aberdeen, when I was about fourteen, and on my way to the Highlands with my mother; for I had a cough, and I was sent to drink goat's whey on the banks of the Dee. The first verses I ever wrote were in praise of her beauty. I know she is happily married, which I rejoice at." All this he said with much feeling. · This conversation was so interesting that, on my returning home, I put it on paper. As he proposed visiting Waterloo on the following morning, I offered my services as his cicerone, which were graciously accepted, and we set out at an early hour, accompanied by his compagnon de voyage. The weather was propitious, but the poet's spirits seemed depressed, and we passed through the gloomy forest of Soignies without much conversation. As the plan of the inspection of the field had been left to me, I ordered our postilion to drive to Mont St. Jean, without stopping at Waterloo. We got out at the Monuments. Lord Byron gazed about for five minutes without uttering a syllable; at last, turning to me, he said—“ I am not disappointed. I have seen the plains of Marathon, and these are as fine. Can you tell me,” he continued, “ where Picton fell? because I have heard that my friend Howard was killed at his side, and nearly at the same moment.”

The spot was well known, and I pointed with my finger to some trees near it, at the distance of one hundred and fifty yards : we walked to the spot. “Howard," said his Lordship with a sigh, “ was my relation and dear friend; but we quarrelled, and I was in the wrong: we were, however, reconciled, at which I now rejoice.” He spoke these words with great feeling, and we returned to examine the monument of Sir Alexander Gordon, a broken column, on which he made some criti. cisms, bestowing great praise on the fraternal affection of his brother, who had erected it. He did not seem much interested about the positions of the troops, which I pointed out to him; and we got into our carriage and drove to the Chateau Goumont, the poet remaining silent, pensive, and in a musing mood, which I took care not to interrupt.

The gallant defence of this post seemed to interest him more, and I recapitulated all the particulars I knew of the attack. From the bravery displayed by the handful of troops (the Guards) who defended it, it has acquired its reputation. Though they were reinforced more than once, the number never exceeded twelve hundred; and notwithstanding the enemy having, by battering down the gate of the farm-yard, and setting fire to the straw in it, got possession of the outer works, in the evening attack, they could make no impression on the strong hold, the garden —

“Whose close pleach'd walks and bowers have been

The deadly marksman's lurking screen.” They reaped no advantage by these assaults ; on the contrary, they sacrificed a great many brave men without any purpose. It was a most important post ; for had they succeeded in getting possession of it, and driving out our troops, their guns would have enfiladed us, and we should have been obliged to change our front. The pompous title of chateau gives a little additional importance to this position, though it is only a miserable dwelling of two stories, somewhat resembling the ba

« ElőzőTovább »