Page images

sort of girl, he said, as the Sultan's wife was. “She is very obedient, but that is all. Pas moyen de lui faire comprendre la moindre chose !!* I asked if she was pretty. “No, quite the reverse,” he said. “Et puis vous savez qu'elle est tellement maigre—oui! elle est absolument un squelette.”+ This seems to be looked upon as an unpardonable fault among the Turks, and may probably be considered as just a ground for divorcing a wife as the habit of snoring or grinding their teeth in their sleep.

My neighbor was almost a skeleton himself, and had a very grave and sad expression. I afterward asked him to explain to me what their religion could have to do with their notions about dress, etc. He answered that though it was certainly looked upon as being contrary to their religion to dress otherwise than they did, this was all nonsense, “ for after all,” he said, “how little do we really observe our other religious laws and duties. We are ordered to pray five times a day, and many of us do not do it more than once a month, or even twice a year. Why not, then, rather change or break through laws which, till they are changed, must prevent the country from becoming civilized, and make it miserable ?”

* No possible means of making her understand the least thing.

† And then, you know, she is thin to such a degree-yes, she is an absolute skeleton !

Mr. Kellen.-Lunch with the Sultan. 175

Mr. and Mrs. Elliot, Sir A. and Lady Buchananwho had arrived from Petersburg, viå Odessa, last Monday, and had remained here on purpose to meet the Prince of Wales—Mr. Barron, and some others, dined with us. The Sultan's band played as usual during dinner, and after dinner his string-band performed some Turkish music, which I thought quite hideous. Mr. Kellen also came, and again played most beautifully on the piano.

The weather has become dull, damp, cold, and showery, and we have been obliged to return to our warm clothes and furs. In fact, we have arrived at Constantinople a full month too early.

April 10. We have a fine bright day, which we all rejoice in; for as it has been decided that the Princess shall accompany the Prince in his proposed visit to the Crimea, it is pleasant, after a whole week of heavy blowing weather, to have the prospect of a smooth passage over the Black Sea. We were to lunch with the Sultan, and to start immediately afterward.

At eleven a photographer came and took several photographs of our party in groups.

At two o'clock the Prince and Princess, with myself and Colonel Teesdale, went to our luncheon with the Sultan at the Dolma-Batchi Palace; the other gentlemen coming in afterward to take leave. The luncheon was not lively, which, indeed, it was impossible it should be, when you could only communicate by means of an interpreter. Scarcely a word was spoken, for the Turks dare not speak in presence of the Sultan, and the Sultan himself hardly uttered a word, even to the Princess.

Before we left we were taken to see a magnificent reception-room or hall, one of the largest and most beautiful rooms in the world. Groups of officers in the national costume were dotted all abont it-all standing in attitudes of the deepest humility, their eyes cast down, their arms crossed, and taking care always to face the Sultan in whatever part of the hall he might be! The abject manner in which even the highest officers carry themselves toward the Sultan-like slaves crouching before their master—is, to my mind, quite sickening, and I don't think I could live long here without becoming a Republican!

At half past four we took leave, and were conveyed in caïques on board the Ariadne, our 'Turkish gentlemen, and the English Embassador, with the mem bers of the Embassy, coming on board to see us off, and take leave of the Prince and Princess. And so ended our ten days at Constantinople, which, on the whole, have been very interesting, every thing possi

[blocks in formation]

ble having been done to make our stay pleasant. The gentlemen attached to the Prince were most gentlemanlike and attentive, and did every thing in their power to be of use to us.

H 2



HERE was a strong breeze when we got under

way to leave the Bosphorus, but it was a fine bright evening, and the sight as we started was very fine and picturesque. All the shipping was, as usual, dressed out with flags, their yards were manned, there was the customary firing of salutes on all sides, bands playing, etc., and altogether it was a bright and a gay


I had naturally been much interested in many things that I saw here, but I can not say that I left Constantinople with much regret. The situation of the town and the Bosphorus are exceedingly beautiful, and, of course, I admired it all, as every one must; but I must add, that I never saw a place I felt so little inclined to fall in love with. I am told, however, that I should learn to like it after a longer residence, and that those who live here any length of time get very fond of it.

Sir A. Buchanan goes with us to the Crimea.
At half past seven we entered the Black Sea. The

« PreviousContinue »