THE fuliginous and anti-picturesque mechanism of the steam-engine has certainly an impressive grandeur of its own, but the progress of electricity and of ballooning permits us to hope that it will prove to be only a transitory invention. This hope seems particularly consoling when we find that we have to enter the Golden Horn through a thick cloud of foul coal-smoke, vomited forth in gigantic spirals from the chimneys of innumerable steamers. It is disappointing to contemplate for the first time the fairy city of Constantine as it were through darkly smoked glasses. Alas ! the mysterious and meditative life of the East is no longer refractory to the hasty activity of the West. So-called barbarism is vanishing, and with it are vanishing the splendors of a world which was more concerned with beauty than with convenience. However, by a slight effort of imagination, one can eliminate the smoke, the shrieking steam-whistles, and a few hideous barrack-like buildings dotted here and there on the hills, and then Constantinople appears before us so beautiful and so brilliant that we can hardly believe it to be real. It seems more like a magnificent scene painted by some Titanic artist for a theatre of Babylonian immensity. And this first impression is exact, in a way, for closer acquaintance will show that Constantinople is a city of apparent and ephemeral gorgeousness, which one feels may some day suddenly disappear at the signal of a mighty and unknown scene-shifter.

Before the anchor was cast, the Ceres was surrounded by caiques and small boats of all kinds, and picturesque-looking watermen and hotel touts offered their services in all the languages of the earth; shouting each other down, and bewildering the stranger with the babel of their voices. Finally we stopped in midstream ; with a crash and a whirr the anchor fell, and in a second the deck swarmed with porters, who had scaled the sides of the ship without waiting for the companion ladders to be lowered. Under the guidance of the tout of the Hôtel d’Angleterre I was conducted ashore, and, having an absolute minimum of luggage, I faced the custom-house officers boldly, laid my valise on the muddy pavement, showed them my spotless linen and my inoffensive change of shoes, and assured them that I had no books. The Turkish authorities are peculiarly keen in searching for books, which they generally seize and send to the censorship for examination; and the censor, if he does not confiscate them, tears out or obliterates any remarks they may contain disparaging to Turkey or to Turkish institutions. Even the Divine Comedy is prohibited in the Sultan’s dominions, because Dante has spoken in unflattering terms of Mahomet. I may observe, once for all, that the Turks seem to do all in their power to discourage travelers from visiting their country, while Turkish officials of all classes look upon the foreigner as legitimate prey, and upon bagchich as a sure source of revenue, which Providence has given them to compensate for the irregularity of the payments of their empty national treasury. Traveling, like life itself, is a perpetual sacrifice ; but one soon gets accustomed to its inconveniences and irritating extortions even in Turkey, where they pass all measure. It is useless to grumble. At a French watering-place where I once spent the summer, there was amongst the visitors a portly gentleman, who was always complaining of the accommodation, of the cooking, of the service, of everything. “ From what you say, monsieur,” said the head-waiter to him one day, " you must live very comfortably in your own home, and your domestic arrangements must be perfection.” “ Mon Dieu ! yes,” answered the murmuring guest, unsuspectingly. “ Then why do you come to live here ? ” asked the waiter. Evidently, one does not go traveling over the face of the earth in search of the comforts of home, and therefore I shall beg leave to say no more about the discomforts of Constantinople.

Delivered from the hands of the custom-house officers, I followed my guide through the narrow and tortuous streets of Galata ; ascended the heights of Péra by the tunnel railway ; demanded hospitality at the Hotel d’Angleterre, — one of the dearest and most comfortless inns I have yet discovered ; and, after a sort of breakfast, I started out to explore the city, taking with me a long-legged and intelligent guide, whose name was Perikles, and whose services were most valuable. The foreigner who speaks neither Greek nor Turkish cannot well dispense with a guide.

Péra is the Frankish quarter of Constantinople, — a long, narrow, irregular street, lined with European shops, and traversed along the upper part by a tramway. Yes, there is a tramway at Constantinople. Alas ! there are tramways everywhere, nowadays, even at Bagdad, the capital of the Caliph Abdallah Haroun Alraschid. There are European cafés in the Grande Rue de Péra. and Tauchnitz editions in the windows of the bookstores. It is a mongrel, cosmopolitan quarter, comparatively clean, well built, and uninteresting. Let us away, Perikles, and over the water to old Stamboul.

No ; not by the tunnel. Enough of steam and progress and Western civilization. On foot we will go ; and, first of all, to the Petit Champ, to the old Turkish cemetery, part of which has been converted into a public garden. A little way up Péra Street, turn to the left, and here we are on the brow of the hill that slopes down from Péra to the Golden Horn, and before us is Stamboul, with its mosques and minarets. At our feet the slope is dotted with sable cypresstrees and marble stakes surmounted by turbans, on which may still be seen traces of color. These stakes, which are tombstones, lean at all angles, — some to the right, some to the left, while others lie flat on the ground, half buried and broken in fragments by their fall. This cemetery has long been abandoned by the Mussulmans, who will not bury their dead in such close vicinity to the giaours ; and gradually the living are reconquering the territory, and wooden houses and gardens are springing up on the hillside, and roads traverse the field of the dead; and behold the inevitable tramway clattering along under the shade of the funereal cypress !

Beyond this foreground of cypresses and tombstones, we see the brown roofs and red houses of the quarter of Kassim Pacha ; beyond this belt of habitations are the blue waters of the Golden Horn, — that long gulf which stretches from the Bosphorus up to the sweet waters of Europe ; while the background of the picture is occupied by the amphitheatre of undulating hills on whose slopes Stamboul is built. Beneath the pure blue sky and in the clear white light of the morning sun, the magnificent line of the horizon extends from the Seven Towers to the heights of Eyoub, varied by the brown domes of the bazaars and baths, the white minarets of the mosques, the arches of the old aqueduct of Valens, the tufts of cypress and plane trees that spring here and there from amidst the rose and blue masses of the roofs, and, at the extremities, by the suburban houses, whose smiling gardens embroider the old ramparts of the Palæologi. To the extreme left is the palace of SeraïBournou, with its white battlemented walls, its trellised kiosks, its shady gardens ; the mosque of Sultan Achmet, with its majestic cupola guarded by six snow-white minarets ; Saint Sophia resting its dome heavily on its solid props of confused masonry, surmounted by four minarets ; the mosque of Bayezid, with its fluttering canopy of pigeons. Then come the Yeni-Djami, the buildings of the war department, and the immense column of the Seraskier tower, from whose summit the watchman scans the combustible city day and night, to signal the smoke of the commencing fires. To the right is the Arabian finesse and elegance of the Suleimanieh, and other minor mosques which rise with lesser splendor towards Balata. And all this panorama is reflected in the silvery mirror of the Golden Horn, and seems to be painted with the colors of a dream, — roseate, opaline, lustred, delicate, and caressing, like the colors of orchids, those dream-flowers. It is true, the marvelous picture requires certain conditions of light and perspective ; and we have only to cross the bridge, to climb those tortuous and narrow streets, and to come close to those fragile palaces, in order to convince ourselves that the splendor of Constantinople is as unreal as the splendor of the architectural fictions of the scene-painter. Nevertheless, the fact of our having been admitted to the dusty coulisses does not authorize us to deny the sublimity of the spectacle.


To reach Stamboul, you cross the bridge of boats which stretches over the Golden Horn from Top-hané to the other side. To approach this bridge, you pass through the commercial quarter of Galata, where there are shops that remind one of the shops in the Bowery at New York, a Bourse, and a profusion of money-changers’ stalls, where you change your good gold for heavy silver medijiehs and dirty paras, whose base alloy is stamped with decorative Turkish characters. All over the city the money-changers have their tables, which they set up in doorways and at street-corners, like the Auvergnats, who sell roasted chestnuts, and ensconce their portable ovens under the portes-cochères of Paris. The word “ table,” although consecrated by Scripture, is not quite exact, for these tables are in the shape of glass show-cases, in which are displayed, safe from the grasp of too nimble fingers, the various currencies of the Levant and of all the other countries of the earth, intermingled often with jeweled arms, precious stones, or gold ornaments.

After paying a para to one of the tollkeepers who stand at the entrance of the bridge, we found ourselves in a new atmosphere. While passing through the narrow streets of Galata, I had been so deafened and bewildered by the noise and movement that I had gathered nothing but a confused impression of a motley crowd of men and dogs and vehicles, and of a babel of sounds, above which rose the shrill cries of the street venders and the repetition of the warning guarda, uttered by the muleteers and drivers. On the bridge, — which is built of roughly hewn beams laid crosswise, worn by tramping hoofs into cavities and ruts, and always under repair, — pack-horses, mules, asses, carriages, and bullock-carts jolt and rumble along ; from time to time the stylish coupé of some pacha or high official dashes past, with the clatter of a discharge of artillery ; amidst the vehicles and on the sidewalks, there is a constant going to and fro of representatives of all the nations of the earth, clad in all the costumes of the East and of the West ; on each side the bridge are the landingstages for the local steamers which ply up and down the Golden Horn and along the Bosphorus ; darting in and out, under the bridge, are caïques and row-boats ; and all around, whichever way we look, are mosques and minarets and domes, — the panorama of Constantinople, the white fairy seated in calm majesty on her throne of seven hills.

Leaving the bridge, and crossing the market on the quay, radiant with pyramids of watermelons, we arrive at Stamboul : eis ten polin, as the Greeks used to say ; Istamboul, as the Turkish ear caught the sounds. Now first of all, good Perikles, guide me to the bezestin, to the khans, to the bazaar, so that I may see in what conditions the Sultan of Casgar’s purveyor sold his rich stuffs to the favorite Zobeide, in the days of the Caliph Haroun Alraschid.

” But Haroun Alraschid lived at Bagdad, kurie,” objects Perikles.

Bagdad, Damascus, Balsora, the island of the Old Man of the Sea, — the place matters little ; all over the East the bezestin is similar. Lead on, Perikles ! Are not these men in black, tall fezes Persian merchants ? Is not the first bazaar we shall come to the Egyptian bezestin ? ”

In a few minutes we enter an immense gallery, which at first seems almost dark in comparison with the bright light of the street which we have just left. Is it a gallery or a tunnel ? Straight ahead the obscurity grows more opaque, until the eye distinguishes, in the far distance, a luminous patch, the exit at the other end of the gallery. The pavement, laid centuries ago, and sloping gently towards a central gutter, is composed of irregular stones, separated by interstices of varying dimensions ; indeed, sometimes the interstices dominate, and the stones have disappeared. Then, on each side are the stalls of the merchants, and the merchandise displayed in heaps or in open sacks, — henné, sandal-wood, cinnamon, ambergris, benzoin, mastic, opium, hachich, sulphur, ginger, antimony, powder of aloes, and mountains of aromatic drugs, which exhale a penetrating exotic odor that seems to stupefy the grave merchants, who sit dreamy and motionless, awaiting the customer’s call.

At the end of this gloomy gallery a lateral alley is devoted to the cotton market, and there the activity appears greater, and operations of weighing and bargaining are going on.

We continue our route through a narrow street, occupied by the copper and tin smiths, who are manufacturing pots and pans with a deafening clatter of hammers ; and so we enter the grand bazaar. This name must not mislead the reader. The exterior aspect of the great bezestin has nothing monumental ; the brownish-gray blank walls, without windows, are surmounted by flattened domes, and attached to these walls, like lichens and fungi around the trunk of a tree, are innumerable sheds, and stalls, and parasitic structures, occupied by minor industries.

The bazaar covers an immense tract of ground, and forms a sort of subterranean town within a town, having its streets, and squares, and cross-roads, and fountains, its restaurants and bath-houses, surmounted by cupolas, where men and women go at all hours of the day to submit their bodies to the delights of massage and shampooing ; the whole composing a labyrinth of sombre galleries, where a stranger can with difficulty find his way, even after many visits. The streets are long, vaulted passages, and the light falls from the roof through windows reserved in the summit of those little cupolas which we saw from the Péra heights, — a soft, vague, and suspicious light, more favorable to the seller than to the buyer. The walls and ceiling of these lofty galleries are whitewashed or tinted, and relieved with garish ornaments in blue or red ; and on each side are stalls ; and behind the stalls are inner shops, where the more precious objects are kept. In this gallery are piles of gaudy Manchester cotton goods and all kinds of mercery ; other galleries are devoted to shoeshops ; in others are arms, silks from Broussa, Indian and Persian cashmeres, dolmans stiff with gold embroidery, caftans, gandouras, and other vestments of exquisite colors ; in another gallery are the sellers of rosewater, cosmetics, perfumes, chaplets of amber, jade, ivory, and fruit-stones ; here are the spinners of gold and silver thread for embroidering slippers, tunics, cushions, and uniforms. Ignoring or disdaining machines, the spinners sit barefooted, and, with the end of the strands attached to their big toe, they twist delicate cords of supple metal, as they smoke interminably cigarettes of perfumed tobacco. Here, in a bare and cold-looking gallery, are the diamond merchants and dealers in precious stones, who hide in their miserable stalls incredible riches, over which they keep watch, like the others, smoking cigarettes or nargilehs. And all day long the bazaar seems to be full of people. The dealers are Turks, Jews, Armenians, Persians, Greeks ; the buyers are of equally miscellaneous nationality ; and amidst the crowd, rendered so picturesque by the variety and color of the costumes, there circulate itinerant venders of fruit, of water, of bread and cheese, of kebabs, and of sweet cakes and bread-rings sprinkled over with crushed almonds. Here and there you come to a little café, where groups of men may be seen sitting crosslegged, and pulling away at hubble-bubbles. There, through an open door, you get a glimpse of the first chamber of a bath-house, where you see men with shaven crowns standing about wrapped in white peignoirs, or lounging on divans. Suddenly you hear a horrible sound of monotonous and piercing howling, and a tall figure, clad in rags, is seen towering above the crowd. It is a blind beggar, who, with his palms held open behind his ears, is shrieking at the top of his voice, or, as he would say, singing. During my stay in Constantinople my favorite amusement of an afternoon was to go over to Stamboul. accept the kind invitation of some merchant to take coffee in his shop, and sit there for an hour, gossiping and watching the movement of the bezestin. Such an invitation may be readily accepted, and you may even inspect a merchant’s whole stock without buying anything, and yet he will not grudge you his hospitality and the savory cup of coffee. It is not the splendor of the bazaar that strikes one ; indeed, as we have seen, the bazaar is a dirty, ill-lighted, and cheap-looking place. It is not the aspect of multifarious merchandise, — rich stuffs, and all the fabulous luxury of the East, — for, after all, there is little but paltry and current goods in the bazaar nowadays, and our Western dealers, and even such establishments as the Louvre, the Bon Marché, and the other grand bazaars of London and Paris, can boast a finer stock of stuffs, carpets, and Oriental arms than any of the dealers of Constantinople. The routes of commerce have changed, and the traveler who goes to Stamboul thinking to come back laden with treasures is doomed to disappointment. If he does happen to find something exceptional, he will inevitably pay dearer for it than he would pay in other parts of Europe ; and that, too, after having had to go through the disagreeable process of bargaining and beating down, which is the beginning and end of Oriental ideas of business. My experience in the bezestin revealed to me the fact that, as a rule, the dealers ask for any object, even for a pair of babouches, just five times the price they are willing to accept. Nor did they ask me this price because I was a Frank and a giaour, but because such is their habit, whether they are dealing with Franks, or Mussulmans, or Zoroastrians. No ; to my mind the interest of the bazaar is in the general aspect. The bazaar forms a sort of neutral ground, where you can observe the Turk, and the Persian, and all the other people who meet there, without their resenting your curiosity; it is a place where curiosity is legitimate, and where everybody indulges freely in the satisfaction of that sentiment. Above all, the bazaar is an Oriental institution, which has remained unchanged except in the character of the goods sold. It is true, one sees there bales of Manchester cottons, rolls of English cloth, cargoes of Russian hollow-ware ; but this fact does not prevent one seeing at every moment details of life and customs which are precisely noted in that inimitable mixture of fancy and realism, the stories of Scheherazade. It is a perpetual charm to the eyes to see this living exhibition of costume ; to note here a dervish, there a turbaned Turk who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, there a grave Persian, and there a swarthy eunuch who cannot find diamonds big enough for his vanity. It is amusing, too, to watch the coquettish ladies of the middle classes, who come in groups of two or three, followed by their children and their negresses, the latter carrying big bags, into which their mistresses pass their purchases. For, although Moslem jealousy does not allow women to keep shop, and although in the whole quarter of Stamboul you will not see a single woman of any nationality engaged in commercial occupations, there are no more active buyers and no keener bargainers than the Turkish ladies. Draped in their long feridjis, and with their faces and heads enveloped in the white yachmach, they spend hours and hours in the bazaars ; chattering like magpies, and lavishing torrents of abuse on the “ dog of a Christian,” on the “ son of a father who is roasting in hell,” on the giaour who dares to look too fixedly into their beautiful flashing eyes. Sometimes, also, but then under the guard of an eunuch, you see in the bazaar women of higher rank, — perfumed flowers of the harem, whose white and delicate visage the sun has never tarnished, but who, like their less favored sisters, seem to dream only of dress and sugar-plums.

I confess that this contempt of the Franks, which the Turks do not disguise, gave me much pleasure. They at least, among all the nations of the earth, have not bowed the knee before the idol of progress. Firm in the faith of their fathers, they calmly ignore Western civilization ; and if they do recognize the existence of the Occidental, it is only to despise him, and not to ape him, and thereby lose their own personality, which has been the fate of so many nations who have become the victims of Western propagandism and Western ideas. At Constantinople, or, at least, in Stamboul, you feel that you, a Frank, do not exist in the eyes of the Turk. You may wear the largest check suit that a London tailor can produce, and yet the Turk will pass without deigning even to look at you. At the public fountains he will go through all his religious ablutions in your presence as if you were miles away. He will spread out his carpet, turn his face towards Mecca, and say his prayers while you are looking on ; and, so mean are you in his estimation that he ignores you. For this dignity and stability of character I respect the Turk ; and I am grateful to him for procuring me a sensation which is not common in foreign travel, in Europe at any rate, — the sensation that I am an intruder, a contemptible dog, a person worthy only to be spat upon and killed. Happily, the diplomatic relations which the Sublime Porte still entertains with the Western world guarantee the material security of the traveler in the Sultan’s dominions. But everything in Constantinople tells us that the Turk, although he has now been living in Europe for centuries, is still a nomad in nature and a conqueror by inclination. In Constantinople the Turks camp rather than dwell, and were they to be driven out of the city to-morrow, they would leave behind them no monument of their genius but tottering tombstones and tumble-down wooden houses.


Anything comparable to the paltriness and fifth of the streets of Stamboul it would be difficult to find ; and yet nothing can be more interesting than a ramble in the maze of narrow alleys which branch out in all directions around the bezestin, and cover the slope, which is crowned by the Seraskier tower, with a close network of humble but busy workshops. In these streets you are always going up-hill or down-hill ; the pavement is of indescribable irregularity, and at every few yards’ distance it sinks, and in the hole thus formed you find a litter of puppies, on which you must beware of treading unless you wish to provoke the anger of the mother ; in the middle of the road, in the gutter, along the narrow curbstone, in the sun, in the shade, everywhere and at every turn, you see scores of yellow, mangy, wounded, and mutilated dogs, — some with three legs, some minus their nose, some with their ears torn into fringe, all scored over with scars, — who go foraging about, or lie in the sun wherever they please, undisturbed by any one. At Constantinople the men get out of the way of the dogs, and not the dogs out of the way of the men. Nay, more : at Péra, and in the lower part of Stamboul, where there is a tramway, I have seen a car stop, and heard the driver use, not the lash, but soft and persuasive words, in order to induce a mangy cur to remove his hind-quarters from the rail across which he lay dozing in the sun. But in the labyrinthine streets on the slope of Stamboul, and, in fact, in most of the streets on that side of the water, carriages, and much more tramcars, are impossible, so narrow and so steep is the roadway ; and so, if you cannot walk, you must ride on a horse, while the owner of the horse runs behind. But the observer will prefer to walk, and, with the aid of extra thick boots, you can brave the pitiless pavement and perambulate with some ease. Then you will find yourself wending your way amidst crowds of men, women, and children, ascending and descending, elbowed by a throng of hawkers bellowing out their wares, and roughly pushed to the wall by the leader of a string of pack-horses, which clatter steadily along, laden with sacks of flour, bundles of firewood, and every imaginable burden. On each side are little cafés, and money-changers, and water-sellers, who attract attention by a hydraulic mechanism which causes a clapper to revolve and clink against a number of glasses placed in a ring around it. At every ten steps you find sellers of grapes, and cakes, and sweets, and restaurants where the savory kebabs — little cubes of mutton interfoliated with bay leaves à la brochette — are seen roasting at the open window, on perpendicular spits before a fire of charcoal contained in a narrow, upright iron basket. The Turk, it may be remarked, if not a great eater, is a perpetual eater, and all day long he is nibbling something, if he is not smoking or playing with the chaplet of beads which not only the Turks, but all the Levantine peoples, seem to carry as a plaything and a countenance-giver. As for the shops, in these streets in the vicinity of the bazaars they go by quarters ; in one quarter, the narrow streets, picturesquely arranged with trailing vines crossing overhead from side to side, are occupied by butchers’ shops ; in other streets are cobblers, in others tailors, in others the makers of pipestems of cherry-wood or jessamine, in others the turners of amber, in others the coopers. And all these industries are practiced with biblical simplicity and in the most primitive manner, coram populo and en famille. You see the father and the son working side by side at the front of the open stall ; at the back, in the luminous shadow, are the objects already finished ; on the floor, amidst the refuse, a family of cats is playing ; at the door reclines a wolfish - looking street dog ; while, as they pass, the neighbors stop to talk, and take their leave with the name of Allah on their lips. In every street the picture is, in general outlines, the same. At Stamboul you feel that you are really in the East, and that all you see is characteristic of the East, and of the East unimproved and unexpurgated, in all its splendor of color, its brilliant sunlight, its primitiveness, its dirt, and its perfidy. My experience showed me that the sooner the visitor has done with the few obligatory sights of Constantinople the better ; for the ordinary traveler the beginning and end of Constantinople is the streets, the people, the life, the details of manners, the general aspect, the marvelous panorama of the city seen from afar.


It is not my intention, in these pages, to write a guide or vade mecum for the visitor to Constantinople, or even to relate all that I saw there, but rather to sum up the impressions which I received most strongly, and the impressions which I should seek to renew on the occasion of any future visit. To speak frankly, I found most of the special sights, curiosities, and monuments mentioned in the guide-books of very slight interest. This was, of course, not the case with the mosque of Saint Sophia. I had heard and read so much about this famous monument that even when I had reached the entrance, one morning, I hesitated before going in, and rested at a café under the trees opposite and smoked a nargileh, in order to compose my thoughts and calm my nerves before taking this long - anticipated joy. While sitting at this café, on a low rushstool, with my cup of coffee on a similar stool, and my nargileh on the floor, I saw a sight which threw some light on the relative cleanliness of the foul streets of Constantinople, in spite of the absence of scavengers and drains. The café was under a sort of arcade, raised about three feet from the level of the square, and from this shady vantagepoint I was watching the movement of the place : the fruiterers plunging their knives into the roseate flesh of watermelons, and offering for sale strange forms of gourds and colocynths; the open-air cafés under the trees, with their picturesque groups of smokers and talkers ; the barbers operating in the open air, and thus affording the stranger the only occasion he has of seeing the cranial conformation of the Mussulman ; while in front of me stood the white and silent mosque of Saint Sophia, with its dome and its minarets rising heavily from amidst a green girdle of ancient plane-trees and sycamores. My immediate attention had been attracted for the moment by the picturesque figure of a young dervish, wearing a conical cap of gray felt, who stood near the entrance of the mosque and counted his beads with sanctimonious air, when, just in front of the arcade where I was sitting, I heard a thud and a crash of pottery. It was a menial who had deposited a heap of refuse in the gutter. Now, a donkey, with panniers on his back, which happened to be standing hard by, spied this heap, approached and smelt it, and picked out of it some rinds of watermelons and other fragments of green stuff ; then came a street dog, who found something to his liking ; then followed a cat, who also found something ; next a flock of pigeons alighted and devoured the watermelon seeds ; and when the pigeons left the heap, there remained nothing but a fragment of broken crockery and a patch of moisture on the ground, which the sun dried up immediately. Thus in less than five minutes the whole heap of refuse, except the fragment of crockery which would become amalgamated with the pavement, disappeared, without the intervention of brooms, or dust - carts, or any other costly applications of hygienic science.

But it is time to return to Saint Sophia. The exterior of this famous mosque is an absolute deception : the dome seems flat, the minarets have not the elegance of the Persian and Arab minarets, and the mosque itself is so encumbered with parasitical buildings — schools, baths, shops, and storerooms — that one cannot distinguish its real form. The interior, on the contrary, is grand, but grand by reason of its vastness, its proportions, and its form and lines alone, for all the rest is ruin and desecration : the mosaics of the dome have disappeared beneath a coat of whitewash ; the mosaics of the lateral arcades exist only in patches ; all the ornamentation and all the movable splendor of the church can scarcely be said to exist any longer except in souvenir. Ah ! when we appeal to the souvenir of history, and consider the Saint Sophia of the present day from that point of view, there are volumes to be written about it in addition to the volumes which it has already inspired. On the bronze entrance door we can still distinguish the trace of the Greek cross ; in the lateral gallery an incised inscription marks the traditional spot where the Empress Theodora sat to worship ; at the end of the sanctuary, beneath the whitewash, we can follow vaguely the outline of a colossal figure of divine Wisdom, or rather holy Wisdom, —Agia Sophia, the patron saint of the church ; those pillars of gigantic girth and those enormous lustral urns were taken from the temple of Diana at Ephesus, from the temple of the Sun at Palmyra, and from the ruins of ancient Pergamos. And, as we contemplate these venerable and gigantic relics of the past, memory carries us back to Justinian and his empress, while at the same time an examination of the mosque throws light upon many questions which wanderings in Spain and elsewhere have suggested.

The Slav Oupravda, who took the name of Justinian, and was sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire for forty years (A. D. 527-565), may have adopted a mistaken general policy, as historians now maintain; but there is one merit which cannot be denied him, — that of having been an active patron of art. Justinian was a great builder, and his chronicler and calumniator, Procopius, has devoted a special treatise to an account of the buildings raised by order of the emperor. Happily, we are not reduced to the text of Procopius alone ; many of the monuments of the epoch of Justinian exist still, and amongst these the most celebrated is Saint Sophia, which, both in architecture and in decoration, was the type par excellence of Byzantine art, and became in turn a constructive type for Persian and Arab religious architecture. On the other hand, in the history of Christian art there exists no church of greater importance than Saint Sophia. Notre Dame at Paris had rivals even in neighboring provinces ; St. Peter’s at Rome is wanting in originality, and is Christian in little more than its destination; Saint Sophia, on the contrary, has the double advantage of marking the evolution of a new style, and of attaining at once proportions which have never been exceeded in the East.

From the time of Constantine there had existed on the present site a temple in honor of Agia Sophia, which had been twice burnt down when Justinian resolved to rebuild it in such a manner that it would surpass in splendor all that had been reported about the most celebrated edifices of antiquity, and in particular about the temple of Solomon. The richest materials, gold, silver, ivory, and precious stones, were employed with incredible profusion ; enormous sums were spent, and new taxes and arbitrary measures had to be imposed in order to continue the works ; furthermore, Justinian wrote to his functionaries and governors to send him materials already fashioned, and the governors accordingly pillaged the monuments of pagan antiquity. The prætor Constantine sent from Ephesus eight columns of verd-antique ; other columns arrived from the Troad, the Cyclades, and Athens ; Marcia, a Roman widow, sent eight columns of porphyry taken from the temple of the Sun. This fact explains the great diversity of stone and marble of all colors, which is so remarkable in this wonderful church.

The two chief architects were Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus, who, it will be remarked, both come from those Asiatic provinces where architecture flourished with so much originality in the fourth and fifth centuries, as has been recently shown by the explorations of M. de Vogüé in Syria. M. de Vogue has found the cupola and spherical vaultings, the dome supported by pendentives, in these Syrian ruins, dating as far back as the third century. But the architects who constructed these monuments seem only to have reproduced forms used centuries before in the antique edifices of Nineveh and Babylon. Recent researches, and above all the very complete studies of M. Marcel Dieulafoy, the excavator of ancient Susa, would seem to show that Byzantine as well as Gothic architecture is to be traced back ultimately to the art of the Assyrians, the Medes, and the Persians, which was itself influenced by Greek art, as will be eloquently proved when the discoveries made by M. Dieulafoy at Susa shall have been placed under the eyes of the public, in the new gallery now being prepared in the Louvre Museum. Whatever may be the history and origin of the dome supported by pendentives, it is clear that the architects of Saint Sophia sought new inspiration in Asiatic sources, and we are almost justified in regarding them as continuators of forgotten masters who raised millions of bricks in vaults and lofty domes over the heads of Sargon and Nebuchadnezzar. In future, it will not be permissible to declare broadly that the Arabian, the Persian, and the Moorish styles are derived directly from the Byzantine.

But did not Saint Sophia serve as a type for the Mussulman mosque ? Yes, and yet not, perhaps, so absolutely as some have stated, but rather accidentally and by force of curious circumstances. The mosque, as is well known, differs from the pagan temple in certain main points, namely : it has no cella, from which a carefully concealed divinity communicated with the worshipers through the intermediary of a priest ; nor does it contain any graven images of human form, which might lead into idolatry ignorant persons gifted with a too impressionable imagination. Mahomet intended that the mosque should be a place of meeting accessible unto all, and a house of prayer ; for prayer was imposed upon the faithful as the chiefest duty towards God. The first religious edifice of the Arabs — who before Mahomet scarcely knew how to build at all, being by nature nomads and dwellers in tents — was a simple rectangular court surrounded by covered galleries or porticoes, the walls and roofs of which were of wood. In this court was a sanctuary ; in the middle of the central nave was the niche, or mihrab, in the direction of Mecca, and a menber, or pulpit ; near the entrance door were high platforms, whence the priests summoned the faithful to prayer five times a day ; the lateral hypostyle porticoes were reserved for rest and reflection. In building these primitive mosques, the Arabs, probably at the suggestion of Byzantine architects, utilized the pillars of the pagan temples which they destroyed. The finest specimen we have of this primitive mosque is that of Cordova, a forest or quincunx of 1200 monolithic columns, now reduced to 850, which supported the low roof. These pillars were taken from Roman buildings at Nimes, Narbonne, and Seville, and from various temples at Carthage and other African towns ; so true is it that the Moslem was the thief of antiquity, and that the materials of his edifices were rarely extracted by him from the quarry.

But in this primitive mosque, it will be remarked that the dome does not exist. It is not until the fourteenth century that the dome appears in Mussulman monuments, when Sultan Hassan sends his architects to Mesopotamia, whence they bring back the secret of the cupola, and build the mosque of Hassan at Cairo. Then, in the fifteenth century, Mahomet II. enters Saint Sophia, and is so struck with its splendor that he proclaims that it shall be in future the model of all Moslem temples, although in its grand lines it contains the forms of the cross, — the enemy and rival of the crescent. And so strong has been the influence of this model that on the plans of all the fine mosques of Constantinople and of Cairo the interior pillars describe the branches of the Greek cross. As for the court in front of the mosques, it is simply a reproduction of the atrium of the old basilicas. The ablution fountains and the minarets alone betray the Mussulman sanctuary, and these are in truth very minor accessories. Thus it happens that if the Franks were to drive the Turks out of Constantinople to-morrow, the Christian priests could at once celebrate mass in all the mosques of Stamboul just as correctly and naturally as they could in the church of Saint Sophia, if it were restored to its original destination.

In historical interest the mosque of Saint Sophia is inexhaustible, and you return to it again and again to receive that impression of massive grandeur and imposing majesty which its gigantic pillars and its colossal dome convey. But after all, it is not the ideal mosque of Stamboul. There are three others more perfect exteriorly and interiorly, namely, the Suleimanieh, the mosque of the Sultan Bayezid, and the mosque of the Sultan Achmet, which has six minarets. The latter is a model of elegance. While the dome of Saint Sophia rests directly on the walls of the building, that of the Sultan Achmet’s mosque is raised on a sort of drum, and springs up majestically in the midst of several minor cupolas and of its six slender minarets encircled by balconies whose ornamentation has the fineness and intricacy of jewelers’ work. The mosque is preceded by a courtyard, around which are columns, with black and white capitals and bronze basements, forming a quadruple cloister or portico. In the middle of the courtyard is a beautiful fountain, rich with arabesques and covered in with a cage of golden trellis work, to preserve the purity of the lustral water. White, silent, and scintillating in the sunlight, the elegant silhouette and graceful proportions of the mosque of Sultan Achmet challenge comparison with the finest monuments of Persian art.

You enter this mosque through a bronze door, having of course previously shod your profane feet with protecting babouches ; and then you are free to examine and admire. The first feature that strikes you is four enormous pillars, which might be compared to four fluted towers, and which support the weight of the principal cupola. The capitals of these pillars are carved into the form of a mass of stalactites, a style of ornament which may be observed in many fine Persian monuments ; and half-way up they are encircled by a band covered with inscriptions in Turkish characters. The strength and simplicity of these four pillars, which at once explain to the eye the constructive system of the building, give a striking impression of robust majesty and imperishable stability. Sourates, or verses from the Koran, form bands of running ornament around the great cupola and the minor domes and the cornices. From the roof are suspended, to within eight or ten feet of the ground, innumerable lustres, composed of glass cups full of tallow, set in a circular iron frame, and decorated with balls of crystal, ostrich eggs, and silk tassels, as in Saint Sophia and all the other mosques. The mihrab, which designates the direction of Mecca, — the niche where rests the sacred book, the Koran, the “ noble book taken from a prototype kept in heaven,” — is inlaid with lapis-lazuli, agate, and jasper. Then there is the usual menber, surmounted by a conical sound-board; the mastachés, or platforms supported by colonettes, where the muezzins and other clergy sit. As in all the mosques, the side aisles are encumbered with trunks and bales of merchandise, deposited by pious Mussulmans under divine safeguard; and finally, the floor is covered with fine matting in summer and carpets in winter.

While I was lost in wonderment at the splendor of this mosque, several Moslems came in to pray, with the usual prostrations and beard - stroking and yawning. Two or three women also came to pray, clad in feridjis of brilliantly striped silks, — rose and white, azure and white, yellow and red,—and they, too, kneeled on the matting, and bowed and touched the ground with their brows ; and their little baby girls, with their fine eyes and white veils wrapped round their heads, stood patient and motionless beside them, not being yet old enough to pray, or perhaps not strong enough on their legs to prostrate themselves without irremediably losing their balance. Some of these little baby girls seemed as beautiful as fresh flowers, and reminded one of the fair dreams of rosy childhood which we find in the pictures of the French painter Diaz. Then, in odd corners of the mosque, were boys learning the Koran under the direction of old turban ed priests, and others learning all alone, squatting cross-legged, with the sacred book open before them on a reading-stand in the shape of an X. These queer little boys produced the monotonous and melancholy sounds which alone reëchoed in the vast silence of the mosque; and in the immensity of the place, dotted as they were here and there, near the mihrab and the mastachés, they looked like big black fungi that had sprung up through the pale straw-colored matting. Huddled up into a sort of sphere with a flat base, these boys, each one acting independently, would rock themselves rapidly backwards and forwards, while they read aloud, in a sharp, nasal voice, a verse from the Koran. Then they would stop, look round, remain silent for a minute or two, and then begin rocking and reading again. Sometimes a single voice would be heard, to which another voice would seem to respond. Another time, two or three voices would be heard together, and the immense vaults would receive and reverberate the sounds, which composed a kind of monotonous and shrill music ; for the Koran is full of rhythmic prose, similar to that of which we find specimens in the Pentateuch and the psalms.

In all the mosques the general aspect of things is the same, so that there is no need to describe any of the others. The visitor, however, must not forget to visit the courtyard of the mosque of Sultan Bayezid, and to buy a measure of millet from the old Turk who stands in the cloister, in the midst of a swarm of beggars. Cast the millet on the pavement, and in a second you will see thousands of pigeons descend from the domes, the minarets, the roofs and cornices of the surrounding buildings, and flutter round you with a whirlwind of wings, settle on your shoulder, and feed out of your hand, like the pigeons of Saint Mark’s at Venice. At this mosque, which is near the bazaars, the observer will notice many interesting details of life, for the mosque is the centre around which all Moslem life gravitates. Under the arcades of the mosque the homeless sleep, undisturbed by the police, for they are the guests of Allah ; in the mosque the faithful pray, the women dream, the sick come to be healed; around the mosque are schools and baths and kitchens where the poor find food, —for in the East real life is never separated from religious life.


The Atmeidan, or Hippodrome, of Constantinople is little more than a bare site, which memory and documents alone can once more cover with its ancient splendor of monuments and artistic treasures. On this vast open space stand almost all the relics of ancient Byzantium that remain above ground, and these relics are three : the obelisk of Theodosius, the serpentine column, and the mural pyramid of Constantine Porphyrogenetes, which was formerly covered with bas-reliefs and ornaments of gilt bronze, and was so magnificent that the historians of the time compared it to that wonder of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rhodes. Now it is simply a shapeless pillar of crumbling stones. The serpentine column, formed of three serpents twisted rope-wise into a spiral shaft, has lost the triple head, on which used to rest, if tradition may be believed, the golden tripod which the grateful Greeks offered to Phœbus Apollo, who had helped them to defeat Xerxes at the battle of Platæa. Although one may have been warned by the narratives of travelers that it is impossible to form an idea of old Constantinople except from the description of mediæval writers, one still feels violent disappointment at finding that the ancient city has so completely disappeared. What! this deserted waste is all that remains of the Hippodrome which was the centre of the popular life of New Rome ? Was it really on this spot that the greatest events of Byzantine history were enacted ? Was it here, à propos of a question of charioteers, that Justinian saw a tempest rise, which might have overthrown his power and his dynasty, had it not been for the courage of the pantomime whom he had made his empresswife ? Was it here that Justinian, second of the name, made prisoner by his rebellious subjects, had his nose and ears cut off? Was it here that the same Justinian, triumphantly returned from exile, donned the purple and walked over the heads of his vanquished foes, while the inconstant mob cried out, “ Thou shalt walk on the aspic and on the basilisk ” ? And where is the Augustæon celebrated by the mediæval travelers, — that famous Forum surrounded on four sides with porticoes enriched with statues, the spoils of ancient Greece ? Where is the circular Forum of Constantine, peopled with statues of pagan divinities ? Where is the porphyry column on the summit of which Apollo, ravished from his temple in Phrygian Heliopolis, his head crowned with golden rays, consented to be renamed, and to represent the person of the Christian founder of the city ? Where is that imperial palace which was a town of itself, and from whose windows the autocrat could see his fleets sailing forth to the conquest of Italy, Asia, and Africa, and the vessels of his merchants entering the Golden Horn, laden with the rarest riches of distant lands ? Where are those thousands of statues that were brought from the East and from the West, from Athens and from Sicily, from Chaldæa and from Antioch, from Crete and from Rhodes, to augment the splendor of the parade of tlie Byzantine emperor, who appeared in the eyes of men like a god upon the earth ?

Alas! the chronicler Villehardouin will answer our questions only too completely. When the Latins arrived before Constantinople, in 1203, he says : “ You must know that those who had never seen it looked at Constantinople very much ; for they could not believe that it was possible for so rich a town to exist in all the world, when they saw those high walls and those rich towers which inclosed it all around, and those rich palaces and those lofty churches of which there were so many that it was incredible, and the length and the breadth of the town, which amongst all other towns was sovereign. And know that there was not a man of them so bold that his flesh did not shudder.” But soon the disasters began, and a whole series of fires destroyed a part of the town. “ The barons of the army were sad at this, and had great pity to see those fine churches and rich palaces fall and sink into ruins, and those grand commercial streets burn with ardent flames ; ” and at one time, “ there were more houses burnt than there are in the three greatest cities of the kingdom of France.”

It was still worse when the Crusaders took possession of the town, pillaged the palaces, sacked the churches, and destroyed this city of cities, this imperial centre of a brilliant civilization. The Crusaders did their work of devastation so completely that, after their melancholy triumph, there was little left for the nomad Turks to destroy. Constantinople was a city of ruins, and now even these ruins have disappeared beneath the dust of ages, and there remains of old Constantinople nothing but an obelisk, a crumbling pillar, a broken column of twisted bronze, and below the surface a dry cistern built by Constantine, where some poor Jews and Armenians live like gnomes or kobolds, spinning silk in the subterranean obscurity of its icy vaults.


Traveling is truly perpetual sacrifice. One cannot see everything, nor, on the other hand, can one describe everything one sees. The bazaars, the mosques, the Hippodrome, the Seraglio, the Sultan’s palaces, the Sweet Waters of Europe and of Asia, and all the other curiosities of modern Constantinople are certainly interesting ; but the real interest of them is inferior to the reputed interest, and therefore I return to my primitive and final impression, that the wisest thing for the visitor at Constantinople to do is to content himself with a rapid inspection of the monuments, and to spend most of his time in wandering about the streets, observing men and manners, and returning again and again to the marvelous panorama of the ensemble of the city, seen now from the Seraskier tower, now from the Galata tower, now from the heights of Eyoub, and now from Mount Boulghourou, on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. This excursion will enable him to visit Scutari and its cemetery, and to hear the howling dervishes officiate. As for the whirling dervishes, who perform at Constantinople, I consider them to be comparatively unattractive; their evolutions remind one of those of the Parisian frotteurs, who put brushes on their feet in order to polish the waxed parquet floors. The turning dervishes achieve absolutely the same result, only they work barefooted.

One morning, as I was wending my way to the steamer, I saw at Top-hané a cargo of young Circassian girls landed, under the charge of a dealer in human flesh. These girls were clad in indescribable drapery ; they were dirty ; they were thin and bony ; and they did not seem to possess any elements of beauty. In reply to my inquiries, I was told that these girls would be kept six months or so ; washed, combed, anointed, and fattened ; and that then they would be ready to enter a pacha’s harem. This information was consoling, and in accordance with the biblical account of Esther, and of the preliminary proceedings of Hegai, the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women of Ahasuerus, who had many maidens gathered in his house, and who was expert in all preparations for beautifying the flesh. Esther, it will be remembered, was not presented to the king until “ after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odors, and with other things for the purifying [beautifying] of women).” It was no small satisfaction to me, in this skeptical and progressist nineteenth century, to find that these Circassian young ladies were about to be subjected to processes of beautification which had received the approbation of such a respected authority as Hegai, the king’s chamberlain; and accordingly I went on board the Kadi-Keui steamer in a good humor, and with the feeling that the day’s sightseeing had begun auspiciously.

At the village of Kadi-Keui, always with the aid of Perikles, I hired a victoria, drawn by two scraggy ponies, and driven by an eagle-faced ruffian, clad in many-colored rags and wearing a red fez. And so I began to make acquaintance with the roads of Asia Minor, for we were now no longer on the European continent. The streets of Constantinople had hitherto appeared to me to have achieved the summum of foot-torturing badness, but they are smoothness itself in comparison with the roads on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, which seem to have been the scene of Titantic battles in the stone age, and still remain strewn with the boulders and pointed blocks which the giants flung at each other. However, the ponies trotted and galloped and walked, and the carriage bounded from boulder to boulder ; and we went up and down, between gardens and wooden chalets with closely grated windows, through fertile valleys, across dusty wastes, past silent villages, until at last we reached a mountain top, some seven hundred feet above the point from which we had started. On the summit of this windy mountain, sitting on low stools, under the welcome shade of a gnarled old cypresstree, we rested and drank some coffee, provided by an enterprising Turk, who keeps a refreshment shed for the accommodation of tourists. Then, having lighted a cigarette, I proceeded to contemplate at my ease the panorama of surpassing magnificence which was spread out before my eyes. To the left, in the valley, the caravan road to Bagdad wound along the solitary, houseless tract like a colossal yellow serpent, losing itself amidst the low hills that rose in tiers, one behind the other, until they vanished from sight in the blue haze of the distant perspective, or dwindled away into the sparkling wavelets of the Sea of Marmora. I could have wished to see a caravan trailing along this famous road : mules laden with khourdjines and mafrechs, — those carpet sacks in which the Orientals stow their provisions and luggage, — camels bearing bales of precious merchandise, merchants, pilgrims, drivers, and all the diverse elements of the picturesque procession. Unfortunately, it was the season of the summer heat, and not the moment for caravan traveling. There was no help for it, and so. with regret, I turned my eyes from this impressive spectacle of the calm and vast plains of Asia Minor, and admired the smiling landscape of the Bosphorus, with its water-side palaces and hill-climbing villages, zigzagging its way between the mountains towards the Black Sea. Then finally I turned once more, and behold, the sea, and beyond the point of San Stefano, and then Stamboul with its mosques and minarets, and Balata. and Phanar, and Péra, and Galata, — all the seven hills of the city, embroidered with mosques and palaces reflected by the crystal waters of the Golden Horn. And all this marvelous ensemble of Constantinople glistened in the brilliant sunlight, and the waters looked like green and silver glass, and the domes and minarets stood out like brilliant points in this colossal fairy jewel.

Descending from the Boulghourou mountain, we passed through clumps of tumble-down wooden Turkish houses and through clouds of dust, until we entered the Turkish burial-ground at Scutari, an interminable forest of immense cypresstrees and tombstones crowned with fezes and turbans, — a most neglected, lugubrious, and yet not desolate spot ; for in the middle of the cemetery is a leper-house, on the borders are dwellings and cafés, and through the centre passes the highroad. On this road we met a whole colony of Roumelians, who were emigrating with all their goods and chattels, and a curious sight it was. Imagine, in the midst of this cemetery, with its endless perspective of tombstones leaning at all angles, and of cypress-trees whose black foliage glistened like jet in the blazing sun, a bend in the road ; and as we approached this bend, a tall peasant appeared, stalking barefoot between the heads of a yoke of white oxen harnessed to a low four-wheeled wagon, under whose mouse-gray awning, stretched over low wooden hoops, were huddled, pell-mell, veiled women, babies, calves, crockery, provisions, bird-cages, agricultural implements, carpets, and miscellaneous utensils of all kinds. And this peasant, and this yoke of white oxen, and this primitive wagon and its varied load, was followed by other peasants, other white oxen, and other wagons to the number of one hundred and thirty, gliding in Indian file, slowly and steadily, through the cemetery. These poor emigrants, who were leaving their settlements in order to escape from the persecution of the Bulgarians, looked weary and sad, and as the wagons passed, in the midday heat, not a word, not a sound, rose from any of them. The women sat motionless amidst their children and household goods ; the men guided the oxen by gentle touches with a slender wand. It seemed almost like a phantom procession gliding through a sombre corner of dreamland.

When we reached the extremity of the cemetery, we dismissed our ramshackle carriage, and entered the precincts of a cafe, in front of which was a fountain and a fine trellis-work arbor, grown over with vines and jessamine. Under this trellis, on cushions laid on high benches, we sat, cross-legged, in the centre of an admiring and friendly ring of mangy, leprous, and flea-bitten dogs, on whose coats the vermin visibly abounded. Here we ordered coffee and hubble-bubbles, and rubbed elbows with a lazy, lounging, ragged set of young and old Turks, who were smoking their nargilehs, and, like ourselves, waiting for the howling dervishes to begin their exercises.

The house of these dervishes, a sort of monastery, stands near the café, at the end of the main street of Scutari. It is a wooden house, surrounded by a garden and by the private graveyard of the dervishes. In front is a little courtyard, shaded by trailing vines, with on the right an old well, and beside it a bench, where we rested and waited until the preliminary prayers were over, when the curtain of the entrance door was raised, and we giaours were admitted to the sanctuary. This is a large square room, with galleries on three sides, and one of these galleries is fenced in with fine lattice-work, and forms the seraglio where the Mohammedan women go to see without being seen. The remaining galleries are open to ordinary spectators. On the ground-floor, beneath the galleries, is a promenade, part of which is reserved for Turks and part for Franks ; and this promenade is separated from the rest of the floor by a low balustrade, within which are the dervishes. The floor is smooth and waxed, and on it are strewn sheepskin rugs. At one end, in the direction of Mecca, is a mihrab, above and on each side of which are hung on the wall various emblems, inscriptions from the Koran, skewers, chains, spikes, knives, daggers, maces, prickly chains, and various instruments of torture, with which the dervishes sometimes wound themselves on days of very frantic enthusiasm. Under the balustrade of the galleries are hung large tambourines. The walls are of a warm gray color ; the ceiling and all the woodwork are painted a pale æsthetic grcen, and picked out with threads of café-aulait. Through the open window the sun shines in ; you see the vines and fruittrees waving in the breeze in the garden. The general aspect of the room is gay and charming, and above all it is delightfully soft and delicate in tone.

At the moment when we giaours were admitted, the chief dervish and fifteen other dervishes were prostrated, with their heads on the ground in the direction of the mihrab, and for nearly half an hour they continued kneeling, praying and bowing, rocking to and fro, and reciting the Koran in a twanging, nasal tone. Their costume was not uniform. The chief, the iman, wore an ample black gown and a black turban rolled round a drab fez, while his four acolytes wore turbans and robes of different colors, — carmine, green, puce, yellow ; the other dervishes wore a white underrobe, a black caftan, and a black and white cap in the form of a turban. From the point of view of a colorist, the effect of the groups was very pleasing.

After the prayers were finished, one of the acolytes, seated in the middle of the floor, put his right hand to his cheek, as if he were suffering from excruciating toothache, and howled forth a kind of litany, to which the dervishes ranged in line responded in unison, swaying their bodies to and fro more and more violently, and shouting, “ Allah-hou ! Allah-hou ! ” The swaying and howling continued thus for half an hour, until all the dervishes were in a violent perspiration. Then there was a pause, and a fat acolyte in a puce robe came and gave each dervish a white cotton skull-cap in exchange for his turban. Then the man with the toothache began to howl the litany once more, and the dervishes started a series of more violent gymnastic exercises. They stood up in a row, shoulder to shoulder, swayed their bodies towards the ground, then backwards, then to the right hand and then to the left, their heads swinging loosely, their eyes closed for the most part. This exercise in four movements grew more and more rapid as the ecstasy of the dervishes became more complete ; the floor shook with the dull thud of their heels, as they executed all together the backward swing ; from time to time, one of the spectators, hypnotized by the sound and the rhythmic movement, stepped into the inclosure and joined the ranks, and soon the incessant cry of “ Allah-hou ! ” developed into a furious roar, exactly like the roaring of a cageful of hungry lions. During a whole hour these dervishes swayed and roared, producing sounds such as no other human lungs could produce, lurching and swinging their bodies in unison, till their thin faces became livid with ecstasy and sweat. The noise was literally terrifying ; one expected the whole room to fall in under this horrible clamor, as the walls of Jericho fell at the sound of Israel’s trumpets. The faces of the dervishes grew convulsed, epileptic, illuminated with strange smiles. An odor of perspiration, reminding one of the odor of a menagerie, filled the room. And meanwhile the iman, with his delicate, ascetic face, remained calm and impassible, his lips moving in silent prayer, his hands encouraging the enthusiasts with pious gestures. At the end of an hour’s uninterrupted howling and gymnastics, the excitement of the dervishes was at its height. Every moment you expected to see one fall exhausted. But no ; they continued to quicken their movements as their cries became hoarser and more inarticulate. Then children were brought in and laid on the floor, three or four at a time, side by side, and the iman walked over them. Then grown men threw themselves down on the floor, and the iman walked over them ; and they arose and departed joyously, believing that this salutary imposition of feet would cure them of their ills. After that, babes were carried in, and the iman walked over their frail bodies, supported this time by two of his acolytes, in order to render the pressure light. Finally, at a sign from the iman, the dervishes ceased howling and swaying, and began to wipe their perspiring faces, while a final prayer was recited. Then all walked calmly to their rooms in the monastery, and the ceremony was over. I never saw a spectacle more savage, strange, and exciting, and I never saw faces more calm, dignified, and even majestically beautiful, than the faces of some of these howling dervishes of Scutari. Theodore Child.