« PreviousContinue »
over the beautiful city, with the blue sky overhead, and the volcanic hills for a background, must have been something approaching the sublime: even now we cannot but regret that she, to whose affection it owed its birth, was denied the sight of its completed beauty.
It is much to be desired that these priceless relics of antiquity were more fittingly housed than in the ugly glass-sheds which at present shelter them. Scarcely ten years have elapsed since the British Museum was
cribbed, cabined, and confined. The Natural History collection is too crowded to be examined with any profit; the prints are, to all practical intents and purposes, buried; mineralogical specimens hidden away in drawers, while the cellars are overflowing with antiquities. Unless it is to degenerate into a gigantic curiosity-shop, it is high time something was done to remedy the evil, and we rejoice to hear that the trustees are about to bestir themselves energetically in the matter, and trust they may be enabled before
completed, and already there is not a single j long to render justice to the treasures of our department, save Mr. Panizzi's, that is not i national museum.
Burnt.—Can you inform me whether any etymology has ever been attempted of tliat infnutinc word for the rabbit " Bunny t" Many of these juvenile expressions arc difficult enough to trace up to their root*. M. Fodder.
[The original name is .Bun. In the Scotch language bun is equivalent to/«rf (a tail); and it is snid of n "mnukin," or hare, that she "cocks her bun," i.e. cocks her tail. Hence "Bun-rabbit," "Bun," and the "Bunnie" or "Bunny; " all equivalents, except that the last is a diminutive, and all referring to the animal's tail. Much in the same way a pun was sometimes put for the whole, in the use of our old English provincial word .- ni. Scut was properly tho tail of a hnro or rabbit; but was also employed to signify the hare itself.]—Notes and Queries.
Mottoes Of Regiments.—"Nee nspcra terrent" is the motto of that noble regiment the 3d (or King's Own) light dragoons. They have, or had, it npon every tiling; standards, plate, table-linen; even upon tho wine decanters; and I well remember, many years ago, dining at their mess, where an am-icnt gentleman, a guest, asked Cnptain Gubbius (a noble follow, killed shortly after at Waterloo, in tho 13th Dragoons) very gravely, "Pray, Captain Gubbins, what means this motto on your glass?" "It means, sir," said Gnbbins, with equal gravity, "Never mind how rough tho port is." This was before the mess-days of champagne nnd claret, which, amongst other regimental follies, have created a scarcity of cornets.—Notes and Queries.
A Vert curious disease tho Dry Rot in men, and difficult to detect the beginning of. It had carried Horace Kinch inside tho wall of the old King's Beach prison, and it had carried him out
with his feet foremost. lie was a likely man to look at, in the prime of life, well to do, as clever as he needed to be, and popular among many friends. He was suitably married, and had healthy and pretty children. But, like Soom fair-looking houses or fair-looking ships, he took the Dry Hot. The first strong external revelation of tho Dry Rot in men, is a tendency to lurk and lounge; to be at street-corners without intelligible reason: to be going anywhere when met; to be about many places rather than at any; to do nothing tangible, but to hare an intention of performing a variety of intangible datics to-morrow or the day after. When this manifestation of the disease is observed, the observer will usually connect it with a vaguo impression once formed or received, that the patient was living a little too hard. He will scarcely have had leisnrc to turn it over in his mint! and form the terrible suspicion "Dry Rot," when ho will notice n change for the worse in the patient's appearance; a certain slovenliness and deterioration, which is not poverty, nor dirt, nor intoxication, nor ill-health, bat simply Dry Rot. To this succeeds a smell as of strong waters in the morning; to that a looseness respecting money; to that a stronger smell of strong waters, at ail times; to that, n looseness respecting every thing; to that, n trembling in tho limbs, somnolency, misery, and crumbling to pieces. As it is in wood, so it is in men. Dry Rot advances at a compound nsury quite incalculable. A plank is found infected with il, and the whole structure is devoted. Thus it had been with tho unhappy Horace Kinch, lately buried by a small subscription. Those who knew him hud not nigh done saying, " So well off, so comfortably established, with such hope before him—antl vet, it is feared, with a slight touch of the Dry 1 !"i !' when lo! the man was all Dry Rot and dust.—All The Year Round.
From All The Year Round. TURKISH SHOPS AND SHOPKEEPERS.
I Am not going just yet to pronounce a talismanic text of the Koran as an " Open, Sesame!" and then plunge, boldly and adventurously, out of the fiery sun into the dim vaults of the Constantinople bazaars; I am merely going to stroll through the narrow, steep streets of the Sick Man's city, ShopPing).
I am not about to say that London walking is dull walking, when to me, well as I know, j»nd much as I love the pure green country, Fleet street is always fairy-land, and Kegent street enchanted ground; but still, I think, English shops are not to be compared to those of Stamboul, in their power of affording pleasure and amusement to the itinerant traveller and poetical or artistic vagabondizcr, for reasons 1 will disclose anon. London shops, particularly your cork-leg shop, your glass-eye shop, your Christmas toy shop, your seal engraver's shop, furnish pretty material to the thoughtful humorist (and who can be a real humorist without being thoughtful); but then you have to blunt your nose against glass, already opaquely steamed with youthful breath, or to sneak about doorways, at the iuiinineiit risk of being suspected as a swell mobsinan, or a cracksman, whereas in the Orient shops, all is open air life. The shops have the lids off; they are pies without crust The goods are laid out on sloping slabs, such as our English fishmongers use to display their ichthyological specimens upon; they are small bulkheads, or, more generally, narrow open stalls, without doors or windows, and with limited platform counters, upon which robed and turbaned Turks sit, as if they had been acting stories from the Arabian Nights in private theatricals the night before, and had not yet had time to change their clothes. Those grave and reverend seigniors are always to ue seen sitting crosslegged, generally smoking (AH Baba or Mustapha), and half dozing, taking a quiet, unhurried, kind, and contemplative view of life. Donkeys may pass and bump against the door-posts, thieves may run by (as I have seen them), pursued by angry soldiers with drawn and flashing sabres, the Sick Man himself may ride past, sad, and hopeless, and felonfaced, with the ambassadors he is so sick of —mortally sick of—at his elbows, still, nothing moves our friend in the decent, unruffled mushroom button of a white or green turban. If a Job's messenger were to come in and say that his thirty-third wile was dead, or that fire from Allah had burnt down his villa at Buyukdere, the most Mustapha would do would be to fill his pipe rather quicker than usual, and pufliug a little faster than* usual,
to tell his beads, and curse the infidels all over the world. »
A Turkish shopkeeper's goods never project into the road; he has no outside counter, like our vendors of old books; he has no old clothes and regimentals fluttering obtrusively in a bankrupt, suicide way at his outer doors. His little quiet shop is Hush with the, roadside trail, and, sell he mouthpieces of pipes, clogs for the bath-room, or fez caps, they are all kept inside the little bin of a shop, on the floor of which, and at the entrance of which, sits the Turk, the master, with his red slippers before him.
Tired of travellers' generalities, and really wishing to paint truly, brightly, and minutely what 1 sec, I yet know scarcely how to convey a thorough impression of Turkish shops. Whether 1 will or not, I must do it partly by I negatives. They are not enormous clearcdjout ground floors of dwelling houses, as in i London, but rather, cobbler-like, one-storied covered stalls, where lurks a turbancd quiet man, aided by a black-eyed Greek, or fat brown Armenian boy, who, to prevent the good phlegmatic man using lib legs, get down from shelves, or from the inner vaulted bin, the striped silks, the sandal-wood beads, the aloes wood, the hippopotamus-hide whips, the spongy bath towels, or whatever it may be you want.
You could, I found, hardly imagine a man going to cheat you who was in no hurry to get down his gold striped cloths, who requested you to tuck up your legs on his counter, who sent out for lemonade or sherbet, or called for pipes and coffee. I used always to think, when I coiled myself up to buy some small trifle (a little red pipe bowl, or a pair of slippers, starred with seed pearl), that Mustapha treated me more like some bearded Arabian merchant who had come to spend a month with him, than a "loafing" infidel, who was in a burning hurry, and had only a sovereign or two to spend. But when that venerable and majestic Turk, sitting with his red slippers before him, began to ask me exactly two hundred times the worth of that pipe and those slippers, my respect for the trading instincts of the patriarchal old bearded humbug increased tremendously, though I knew he longed to spit in my coffee, and to football my unshorn head up and down the knubbly street.
But I cannot describe Turkish shops and enable readers to decide what age of civilization they belong to, unless I also describe the streets that lead to them and from them, that face them, that back them, that bring them customers, that lame the said customers they take away. In like manner, as the nineteenth century Turk is one and the same with the Turk of the seventeenth century, so are the Stamboul streets of 1860 much what the Stamboul streets must have been in 1660. Drive the Turk back to-morrow to his Asian tent, and he would be as fit for it as ever he was. Turn him out to-morrow from the city he stole from Christianity, and you will find the same streets that you would have found when Busbequius or Grelot visited Turkey— no better, no worse. In fact, tramp a Moslem in Paris boots till corns spring out all over them, pinch his brown fists in Jouvin's white kid gloves, squeeze him in invisible green Yorkshire cloth, scent him, eye-glass him, grease him, uniform him as you like, the Turk will still remain the unimprovable Chinaman of the world, his religion a dangerous lie, his polygamy detestable, every country he governs a dunghill or a desert I longed to tell Mustapha so, when he used to sit stolid and divinely contemptuous if I came in a hurry for some tufted Broussa bath towels, upon which I know he would have bowed and wished me peace, believing that I was complimenting him in my own tongue. I never could have been angry, however, with Mustapha, unless he had actually struck me or called me "dog," because, however cheating he is, he is such a gentleman, with his mildness and his courtesy; he never does any thing ludicrous, or gauche, or intrusive, or fussy, or vulgar; he is never pert, never pompous, but looks like Abraham and Jonah, and Isaac and Jacob, and King Solomon, all in one. He seems to be incapable of fret or worry, and when he dies it will be, I am sure, without a struggle, for he was never fully awake yet.
As to the streets that lead to other shops than Mustapha's. In the first place, they are as narrow as Shoe lane, yes, even that Hepent street of Constantinople which leads to St. Sophia, or the Piccadilly that branches on to the Hippodrome, is a mere rough path; and Stamboul being, like Rome, a city of seven hills, half its lanes are five tunes as steep as Holborn hill, London. They have no smooth slabs of side pavement, no kerbs, no lamps, no names, no guarding side-posts. They are covered with what is merely a jolting mass of boulder stones thrown down loose as when uncarted, or if sound trottoir for a few yards, in another step or two, ground into holes or crushed into something like a stonemasons' yard, or a pebbly sea-beach bristly with geological specimens. If a barricade had just been pulled down, and not yet levelled, so would it look; if it were the street of a mountain village, so would it be. As in the days of Adam, and before Macadam was thought of, so are the streets still.
To ladies impossible, to men terrible, imagine, plus, these torrent beds of streets,
mountain defiles, after an innndation, or a, landslip avalanche of shingle; a continuous stream of ox-carts, water-carriers and oil-carriers, ass drivers, bread sellers, carriages with Turkish ladies, pashas and their mounted retinue, pack-horses, children, and Circassian loungers. Then, on every vacant spot, strew praying dervishes, sleeping, coucbant, or rampant wild dogs, melon-stalls and beggars, [brow up above a ball-of solid fire and call it the sun, and you have some small idea of the delight of walking in the Dying Man's city.
But let us stroll down this street, where the planes toss their green jagged leaves over those gratings, and through winch I see the stone turbans of tombstones, with, below, bluc-and-gilt verses from the Koran; and let us get to this slovenly, downhill lane, leading towards the bazaars. In it wo shall find nearly every class of Turkish trade. Those Armenian porters, with their knots and ropes on their backs, seem smilingly to promise as much, when they offer to carry home the English sultan's purchases for him; and as for that, I believe they would carry home a house on their back, if it only had handles.
"Way there! "—what a howl of " Guardia I Guard-diahl" Just as I am stopping for a cup of water at a gilded fountain, 1 am driven into a mastic shop by eight Armenian porters, four behind and four in front, who are staggering up-hill with a gigantic gteelbound bale, considerably larger than a chest of drawers, out of which ooze some yellow webs of silk; the load vibrates on two enormous lance-wood poles, thin at the ends and thick in the middle. Now, for a moment, those brawny men stop to rest the burden, and wipe their brown, nigged, beaded foreheads. Honor the sturdy industry of the honest Armenian hammals, who stop for Do one, not even the Sultan himself, who pass howling out a rapid caution, through weeping funeral or laughing wedding procession, marching soldiers, any thing, any one; and who, for a few pence, unapplauded, perform the labors of Hercules in the Sick Man's city.
Attentive to trade interests, as well as to the rights of hospitality, the Turk in the shop where I have taken refuge, points to the heaps of mastic upon his counter, and I buy a little to chew, because I have heard that Turkish ladies spend the greater part of their lives in this harmless, but unintellectual occupation. Mastic resembles gum Arabic; it is crystally cracked, yellow in color, like a pale Hawed topaz, and has no taste at all to mention. It produces no effect, opiate or otherwise, and for all I could see, I might as well Imvc spent my time sucking a little pebble, as school boys do when they are going to run a race, and want to improve their " wind." It lasted me about half an hour, till I got to the square of Bajazct. At the end of that time, I got alarmed, and taking it out of my mouth and looking at it, I found it changed to a sodden opaque lump of a dull white color, which tasted like chewed india-rubber; sol flipped it at a street dog in disgust, and the street dog swallowed it immediately, as he •would have done, no doubt, had I thrown him a shoeing-horn or a pair of old braces.
My Turk now wanted me to buy some henna powder for the ladies of my harccm, but I declined, upon which he clapped his hands, ns if Jo call a negro boy, and in bounded a bushy white cat that he had died a rose pink to prove the excellence of his drugs; but even this did not induce me to buy any thing, for a clog-shop next door then allured me, and I stopped to see the apprentices with short adzes cleaving the wood, with which they fashioned the wooden sole, anil the stilted supports of the "chopines," on which the Turkish ladies clatter across the cold marble floor of their fountain-sprinkled bath-rooms into the inner cells, where they disappear in a cloud of hot steam, from which merry laughing and splashing of water is heard at intervals. This is quite a West end shop for Turkey, and they fell all kinds of bath clogs here, from the plain wooden to the rich polished pairs, that are lozengcd and starred with mother of pearl, in a style fit for Zobeide herself.
How quiet and industrious the workmen are! twice as vigorous as Spaniards, and patiently enjoying the labor, with scarcely even an eye for passing scenes in the street. No plate-glass here, no varnished brackets, no pattern dwarf-boot, or skeleton bone foot; nothing but chips and shavings, and split, split, hammer, hammer; a man at work behind, with some curious glue, is inserting the patterns of pearl into the wooden slabs cleverly enough.
A pipe-shop next. One Nubian and three young Turks, with a patriarch watching them, while he docs the finer work himself. One turban and three scarlet fezes, all crosslegged, and the Nubian holding his work between his bare feet, for his toes are handier than many men's fingers. Good-natured, like all his race, a chronic grin of unctuous content is on his face. A worse specimen of a slave for platform and inflammatory purposes could not be found. The shop is not much bigger than six cobblers' stalls thrown into one, and the wall at the back is lined •with pipe-stems, that rest against it like so many javelins. They are surely old Arab spear-shafts, pierced for new and more peaceful purposes. The dark-red ones are cherry Ki'.'jiti from Asia Minor; the rough light-brown
ones, jasmin saplings from Albania. They arc about five feet long, and form the real chibouk that the Turk loves when it is finished off with a small red tea-cup of a bowl, and this bowl is crammed with the choicest tobacco of Salonica. But what are those colored coils, like variegated eels, that twine and curl on the floor —for this is not a serpent charmer's? Those, innocent Frank, making a Guy of thyself with that bandaging of white muslin around thy wide-awake, are the tubes of narghiles, that the Turks love even more than the chibouk to smoke, because it is handier for small rooms, and docs not require an orbit of five feet to each puffer. Look opposite at that coffee-shop, which is the Turkish tavern: see those four men. They are mere poor men, but they come in to lunch off a farthing cup of coffee, without milk or sugar, and a puff of a narghile. How dignified they sit, till the globular bottles with the tubes coiled round them, are brought, the tobacco burning red above on its little cup of charcoal. See, only a dozen puffs, and a pure water from the fountain yonder is polluted in the bottles to a lemonade color by the smoke it softens, and its bubble and gurgle is soothing to listen to! Miles of that tubing, red, green, blue, and crimson, are made annually in Constantinople. See how nattily the men bind the tubes with fine wire, to make them at once flexible and endurable. A Roman alderman once wished he had a throat three yards along. The Turkish epicure of smoke has realized the wish by making his pinch of tobacco go further than any one else's. Now, having bought ten yards of narghile" tube, with a fringed end, do you want an amber mouthpiece for your chibouk? Old Turks think they make the smoke bitter and harsh, and therefore prefer the plain cherry-wood pur et simple, sucking the smoke through it, and not putting the pipe between their lips at all; but tastes differ.
Here is the shop. Cases on the counter; within them, rows of mouthpieces, looking like sucked barley sugar, golden and transparent. The amber is of all shades of yellow, from opaque lemon to burnt saffron. Some of those more shiny ones are only glass, the dearer ones have little fillets of diamonds round their necks, and are worth a purse full of piastres. Then there are dull green ones for cheap pipes, and meerschaum cigarct holders for the cursed Frank, who hail better take care he is not made a fool of, for greasy Turkish bank-notes are all alike, except for the numeral, which it require practice to read; and then there are old and new notes, and bad gold Medjids, and heaven knows what cheatings, in this scorpions' nest of foreign rogues and schemers. Do you want rosaries? Here are talismans made of chips of red cornelian, and aloes wood for incense. But here a ruder shop, not matted nor cushioned, arrests us. Plain beaten earth floor, rude counter. It looks more like a deserted blacksmith's shop than any thing else. It belongs to a maker of vermicelli. The owner, ghostly white in face, is brushing a huge tin tray round ami round. The brush must be of wire, or be grooved or toothed, for I sec the caked material under which the fire is, is drawn and cut into tubed threads, and he draws it out as it dries, like so much carded flax, dexterously indeed. I sec that he knows when it is done by its threads snapping and springing up, crisp and loose, from the tin shield. Goodnatured people that the Turks are! He smiles and nods to me, quite pleased at the interest, the wandering, spying out Giaour takes in his performance.
Now, moving on, I get into a strata of edibles, for here, at a window, lolls an immense hide full of white cheese, looking like stale cream cheese, become dry and powdery. It comes from Odessa, I am told, or is made of buffalo's milk, and is brought by camels from the interior of Anatolia, for butter and milk are all but unknown in Turkey. At the next stall are dried devil-fish, looking horrible with their hundred leathery arras; but here, where sword-fish were once a favorite dish, and the people are very poor, what can one expect?
Who shall say the Turks are bigoted and intolerant, when here, next door to a baker's, is a shop with coarse Greek prints, representing Botzaris, the Greek hero, putting to death heaps of Turks, and here arc tons of illustrations, in which the Turk is always getting the worst of it. There was a time when to even delineate a human being was death in Turkey, but now
It was hard times for the bakers twenty years ago, when you could hardly be a week in Constantinople without seeing one of the tribe groaning with a nail through his ear, fastening him to his own shop door. That was the time when women were drowned in sacks in broad daylight, and when the sight of a rebel pasha's head, brought in in triumph, • has taken away the appetite of many an Englishman breakfasting with a Turkish minister. But there he (the baker) is now, floury, ghostly, and serious as ever, groping in that black cave of an oven at the back of his shop, or twisting ringsof bread with all (he unction of a feeder of mankind and a well-paid philanthropist.
The fez shops are very numerous in the Sick Man's city, for turbans decrease, though slowly. They are of a deep crimson, and have at the top a little red stalk, to which the heavy blue tassel is tied, and which always, to prevent entanglement, is kept in stock with a sort of ornament of paper cut
into a lace pattern round it. The blocks, too, for fezes to be kept on, are sold in disj tinct shops. You see them round as cheeses ranged in front of a Turk, who watches them as if expecting them to grow. Sometimes you could hardly help thinking they were pork-pies, were it not tor the barelegged boy in the background, who, pushing the block with the flexible sole of his foot, keeps it even upon the lathe.
Stationers and booksellers hardly show at all in Stamboul but in the bazaar, and there in a very limited way, and in a way, too, that makes the Englishman wish they were away altogether. The tailor, too, does not figure largely, though you see Turks busy in their shops sewing at quilted gowns and coverlids stuiled with down ; and you seldom pass down a street without seeing a man with a bow, such as the Saracen of Snowhill could scarcely have drawn, bowing cotton, with the twang and flutter peculiar to that occupation, the slave behind halt' buried in flock, or emerging from a swausdown sea of loose white feathers.
The jewellers (frequently Jews) are chiefly in the uazaars, both for safety and convene cncc. There they sit, sorting great heaps of seed pearl, like so much rice, squinting through lumps of emerald, or weighing filigree eai>rings, with veiled ladies looking on, and black duennas in yellow boots in waiting; but still there are also a few outsiders who sell coarse European watches with unseemly French cases, and large bossy silver cases for rosewater, or some such frivolous use, shaped like huge melons, and crusted with patterning, much watched over by the Turkish police, who, in blue tunics,' red fezes, and white trousers, sneak about rather inglorioualy, saving for the ornamented hostler at their belt, in which their pistols lurk.
It is not possible to go up a Turkish street, if it contain any shops, without also finding among them a furniture shop, where Chineselooking stools and large chests are sold, their whole surface diced over with squares of mother-of-pearl, frequently dry and loose with extreme age. They are now, we believe, rather out of fashion in the palaces on the Bosphorus.
But these are the first-rate streets in the lower alleys. Round the gates of the Golden Horn side of the city, down by the timber stores and the fish-market, the shops are mere workshops, and alternate with mere sheds, and with rooms full to the very door with shining millet or sesame, which looks like caraway seed; with charcoal stores, and fruitstands where little green peaches are sold, the true Turk preferring raw fruit to ripe.
In these lower Thames-street sort of neighborhoods—in winter knee-deep in mud, and in summer almost impassible for traffic, to