From Venice to Assos

IN the course of the year 1881, —the first of three during which archæological investigations were carried on at Assos, in the southern Troad, — there were in all ten young Americans present at various times upon the ground, and more or less directly concerned in the work. One was a boy under the charge of the heads of the expedition, and returned to America early in the summer. The two chiefs were the salaried agents of the Institute of Archæology. They had some previous acquaintance with the site, acquired during a yachting cruise in Greek waters, and they continued during the whole three years in charge of the excavations. It is no part of my present plan, nor indeed within the powers of any but professional archæologists, to give any account, even in outline, of their achievements. They have already made their report, in part, with pencil and pen; and the monumental work which is to embody all the important results of the expedition will no doubt eventually see the light.

The rest of us had at least one bond of sympathy in our ludicrous and helpless ignorance of land, people, and language, and of the work we proposed to do. We had all seven volunteered at a uniform monthly salary of 0 medjids, 0 metalliques (Turkish currency, one medjid = 80 metalliques = about 80 cents), with moderate rations of native food and Lesbian wine while in active service. Not all this number were ever Assos at one time, and the extraordinary size of the staff was largely due to accidental causes. Nearly all of us closed our connection with the work in that year, as we and the Institute both found it a relation too expensive to be maintained longer.

Two of the seven. M. W. and C. H. W., were young architects, intimate friends of our junior chief, F. H. B. No one who knows him will wonder that they followed to the world’s end for love of adventure and of his companionship. J. S. D. was a most indefatigable geologist, who, both in 1881 and 1882, made summer trips to the Troad from his German university. J. H., a Williams graduate and ex-teacher, had accompanied that nineteenth-century paladin, William J. Stillman, to Crete, where their excavations were prevented and their stay cut short on account of a perverse belief on the part of the Turks that wherever Stillman did the subsoiling something younger and more explosive than archaic pottery was sure to appear. This comrade had learned the art of photography from his former chief, and if any apparatus had arrived for him would have been the photographer of the expedition. In fact, he acted in that capacity the next year, during vacations from his professorial duties at Roberts College, Constantinople. Lastly there were three Harvard graduates : E. R. and C. W. B. fresh from college, while the writer had spent five or six years in the exposition of the Æneid and Iliad Alpha Beta Gamma in a high-school class-room.

Any one of my comrades could unfold quite as varied and curious a tale of experience as mine, and it is to be hoped that the survivors will some day do so. A few of my own reminiscences, especially so far as they illustrate the educational effects of such a tour, are presented in this article, chiefly in journal form. Some of our rambles in Lesbos, the Troad, and other parts of Asia Minor may form the subjects of one or two subsequent papers. The author spent very little time in active service at Assos. He was usually either windbound or recovering from malarial fever in Mitylene, or else engaged in excursions about the Troad.

April 24, 1881.

In the window of the Albergo Aurora, on the Riva, Venice.

Five years have hardly left a trace on the gray swan of the lagoons. The same struggle with the gondolier at the station, ending, of course, as of old, in the imposition of a second oarsman, and their utter refusal to follow the windings of the Grand Canal through the city. The coasting vessels, with their faded gay sails and swarthy chattering crews, still line the Riva beneath our window. The rosy-faced urchins still alternately turn “ cartwheel ” along the hot stone pavement, and come up, cringing and drawing a doleful face, with dirty paw outstretched to the passers-by: “ No father nor mother ! Nothing to eat for three days! For the Lord’s love, a penny! ”

The Fräulein has prospered. The tiny parterre front, where our half dozen from Bohemia, breakfasting a la carte, made the only rush in Antonio’s easy day, is but the reading-room now, and the London Times and Punch intimate that the Milordi have dispossessed us even in this little hostelry.

Ah, yes, there is a grand table d’hôte up-stairs, and the Fräulein’s round, ruddy face beams down through a long double line of Teutons to where I sit, at the “ parting of the ways; ” for all to the right are English or American, opposite is the only French family, and over my shoulder the gondolier of the hotel, in his blue and white uniform, now begirt with waiter’s apron, lets fall in my ear his soft, caressing “ Comanda, Signore ? ”

I succeeded in securing a Greek teacher, and have taken a few lessons during the week spent here. Our first interview occurred in his school-room, in the presence of half a dozen roguish Venetian urchins, who did not conceal their delight at so novel an interruption, and at the efforts of the blonde Inglese to make known his wishes in their native speech. It was easy to imagine myself in the Venice of live or six centuries ago, and in the presence of one of those Hellenic exiles of that day, who brought to the Occident the first dim knowledge of ancient Greek. The learned Professor Triantofillis — thin, nervous, keeneyed, and not opulent — is a Bœotian, and has devoted less time to teaching me the rudiments of Romaic than to a thunderous defense of his countrymen against the slanders of Herodotos and the prejudice of all historians since. His own epoch-making work will show conclusively that the common people of Thebes fought gallantly against Xerxes under other standards than their own, and that only the oligarchs “ medized.” He grew red and furious over this patriotic harangue in Italian, our only common language.

The professor introduced me to his " most diligent pupil, " a short, stout, lugubrious little Venetian of twenty Novembers. He has clung to me ever since, courteously suffering me to pay his boatfares, entrance-fees, etc., all over Venice, though he too is a professor, lives in a picturesque palace on the Grand Canal, and has published a volume of verses. These bear the fitting title of Cosuccie (Wretched Little Things), and are full of “sighs,” “tears,” “melancholy,” “mother’s kiss,” “darksome night,” etc. They have been read or recited to me day by day and eke by night, in a longdrawn, high-pitched tremolo, until at last, this afternoon, sitting on the sand at the Lido, I mustered all my Italian, and freed my heart to him.

It is insufferable that young Italians, for whose chief benefit all the great wars of the century have been fought out, who see their country, free and united, waiting for them to make her strong and pure, must spend their efforts in love-sick canzones and mock-melancholy. It seems as if they were all at it, except those too sensual to seek any intellectual life at all. Real melancholy is a disease, which every sufferer had best keep secret; and this maudlin literary pretense of it is sickening indeed ! Who can spare the time nowadays to hear a fellow-mortal drawl his rhymes about his sensations on a foggy night ?

But my damnatory remarks were received in half - tearful resignation, as merely one more fated blow upon the long - suffering, misunderstood poetic soul!

Venice revisited has somehow lost its veil of romance. One is painfully conscious that all its inhabitants are keeping shop for us, and trading upon a sentiment which they neither share nor understand. Only the pictures of Tiziano and the glorious eyes of the native women, still dreaming of the vanished splendor of their city, do not disappoint the memory.

May 2d, 8 P. M.

On board the Narenta, in the harbor of Corfù.

At Trieste, looking back over the Adriatic to the far “ snow-roofed Apennine,” the beaten tracks of Europe seem already closed behind us, and the gates of the East are opening wide. And yet I never walked along the quay, crowded with shipping, without expecting a hail from some sailor cousin or playmate from New Bedford, just arrived in “ Try-east.”

The distant Albanian mountain peaks on our left have been marching southward all day with us, and we are already in Hellenic waters. The Adriatic has been as tranquil as if we were steaming between the Elizabeth Islands, or crossing Vineyard Sound. The water is of a remarkably deep blue, and seems singularly opaque.

Among the half dozen cabin passengers are two Greeks : a young widow, returning to Athens after five years’ absence, and a merchant from Trieste, a graduate of the Athenian university. They chat glibly together in Romaic by the hour, but the most painful attention fails to distinguish and recognize a single word. They are both glad to assist me in my struggles with the little Romaic grammar of Vincent and Dixon, but do not agree very well as to what is good or vulgar new-Greek. Thus Madame told me to-day that the genitive has wholly supplanted the dative, — that, for example, everybody says dós mou, not dós moi ; and again, that in nouns like gérōn (an old man) the accusative plural form, gérontas, is always used for the nominative singular. Soon afterward, the young merchant, seeing my grammar in which I had written in these changes, assures me I am grossly misinformed; that he should think himself a barbarian, utterly ignorant of his own language, if he ever said dós mou or o gérontas.

There seemed to be no opening between Corfù and the mainland as we approached, but a sudden turn brought us very quickly to the harbor. There is a dismantled fortress on the promontory upon the north side of the entrance, and another structure, apparently of recent origin, on a high rock facing it from the southern side. I was told that the Greeks were compelled to destroy the former defenses, and to promise that they should not be rebuilt, when England ceded the Ionian Islands to the kingdom of the Hellenes. In the rosy sunset light, the port and island are quite lovely enough to have been the Scheria of Odysseus’ wanderings ; though that has always seemed to me to be an isle of enchantment in the wide seas of dreamland, as far beyond recovery as Calypso’s or Circe’s dwelling-place.

The inhabitants at the present day are said to be quite generally trilingual, as they are largely of Italian stock, and have now learned Greek without forgetting their English. But the voracious swarm of boatmen and hotel-runners, who were upon us the instant the anchor was dropped, were apparently gifted with all the tongues known to men since the great tower was builded in the plain of Shinar. We did not venture to land, as our steamer was to proceed in the night.

SMYRNA, May 5th.

Our voyage was a most tranquil and uneventful one. We passed close to the bare, rocky island of Ithaca, running between it and Kephallenia, in the early morning after we left Corfù. Zante, or Zakynthos, remains in the memory as a lovely picture, and indeed is famed as the garden of the Levant, — “ Zante, Fior del Levante,”the most beautiful of all Greek islands. The same afternoon we passed the Strophades, mere naked brown rocks, three or four in number and a few acres each in extent, whence even the Harpies must have been starved out long ago. The coast of the Pelopennesos, during the afternoon, was often very bold, with far-away mountains, doubtless the sentinels of the great Arcadian tableland. In general the mainland appeared bare and desolate, contrasting painfully with the rich vegetation and frequent villages of Corfù and Zante. The same evening we passed Cape Matapan. How strangely has the world’s life shifted and changed since this was the westernmost bulwark of civilization,—the days when the Ionian mariner was bidden ” all hope abandon,” as he steered by the promontory toward the settingsun, and, doubling the cape on his return, thanked the gods for his safe arrival once more in the Ægean, where the enlightening worship of Apollo taught the duties of gentleness and hospitality to the savage hearts of men !

Upon going on deck, next morning, we found that the steamer was already approaching Attica. What we ought to have seen and recognized is charmingly detailed in the opening chapter of Mahaffy s Rambles and Studies in Greece ; but in truth our Romaic fellow-passengers were almost as ignorant of the details of the panorama as the barbarian stranger, and we were hardly sure of a single height until the Acropolis of Athens came into view. We had only a few hours in the harbor of Piræus before a steamer started for Smyrna; and the hurried flight through Athens, with a small party of fellow-voyagers of various nationalities, left an impression almost as dreamy and unreal as did Tito Melema’s moonlight visit, though we feared only the sailing of our galley, and were safe from his dread of capture by the Turks.

At Corfù, C. W. B., who had been staying over for a few days upon the island, came on board the Narenta; and in the harbor of Athens we were joined by E. R. and his bride, who had arrived there by a different route. Together we enjoyed the sail across the Ægean, while the islands, which had been of old the stepping-stones of Phœnicians and lonians from continent to continent, rose up before us, one after another, through the luminous haze. During a very brief stop in the harbor of Chios we could see the tents of the inhabitants, who are encamped in the cemeteries and open fields ; the city having been almost completely destroyed by the earthquake, a few weeks ago. Here we saw a number of islanders in the picturesque native costume, with long black hair falling over their foreheads from beneath the heavy drooping fez.

When we anchored here, we were at once besieged by boatmen, guides, interpreters, and hotel-runners, far more numerous and rapacious even than at Corfù or Athens. It appears to be a regular Levantine custom for steamers to anchor in mid-harbor, or even outside the bar, leaving the passengers free to reach the shore as best they may.

Our hotel windows look upon the broad promenade on the water-front, where men of all the nations of the earth seem to be passing in endless succession. To-morrow morning we are to devote to the bazaars, the afternoon to the dervishes.

SMYRNA, May 6th.

Our persistent little volunteer guide, the “ geborener Hamburger,” was lying in wait, for us near the hotel, this afternoon, when we sallied forth again after lunch, and, coolly appropriating our party, carried us off in triumph, remarking that we were just in time to see the dervishes. As we plodded over the rough stones, through the hot and narrow streets, files of camels glided noiselessly by us, half a dozen lashed together, the last perhaps with a tinkling bell. The countless dogs have a lean, wild, wolfish look. The little Turkish girls, the most angelic-looking children we have ever seen, clatter about fearlessly upon wooden sandals or clogs, in their gauzy, bright-colored dresses. The red fez is so nearly universal here that our European hats seem grotesquely out of place. The endless diversity of costume, the babel of tongues, the wealth of color, of which we have read in every book upon Eastern life, remain indescribable.

We finally entered at a stone gateway, and crossed a small court, along one side of which, behind an iron fence, was a row of gravestones with Turkish inscriptions, several of them surmounted by a carved fez, colored red. We turned into a paved alley, on the right of which we could look into the mosque windows, while on the left were three rooms with open doors. Within these sat the dervishes, cross-legged, on divans against the wall, smoking and drinking coffee. Mr. and Mrs. E. R, accepted an earnest invitation to come in, and were offered coffee and cigarettes.

After fifteen or twenty minutes our guide told us it was time for the service to begin; so we passed around to the mosque door, took off our shoes, and climbed a steep, narrow staircase on the left of the entrance to a rough wooden gallery. Here we crouched on sheepskins, and leaned over a railing a foot high. The mosque was about as large as a New England village church. On a low dais opposite the door the priests were taking up their positions, bowing to earth, then kneeling upon leopardskins. A circle of leopard, panther, and sheep skins extended quite about the area, and the worshipers, gradually dropping in, took their places upon them. There was the utmost variety of costume and apparent rank, but evidently all were equal here. One handsome gray-bearded gentleman was, as we thought, an officer in the Turkish army. Next him was a wild-looking Arab, with gay turban and his brown legs bare. Each one bowed to earth before seating himself. Opposite us was a close lattice, behind which a few women came in to look on. Near the door, an archway opened into a little chapel or shrine, a step or two higher than the mosque floor, and within were two catafalques, as we imagined. High up on the mosque walls were a series of texts in gilt on circular black panels within yellow rings. Over our heads was a small, very low dome, from which a glass chandelier, filled with candles, hung by a green iron chain.

After a few minutes’ sombre chanting by the chief priest, all began to repeat together, over and over,

“ La illáh il Alláh ! La illáh il Alláh! ”

This continued nearly half an hour. The chief priest, in black robes, his fez bound about with a white turban, held a long black rosary, and from time to time interrupted with a few words and set a more rapid movement. The other priests were in various colors. One was in coarse brown, like a Capuchin, with bare brown feet.

As the chant grew faster and louder, the worshipers rocked to and fro, still in their kneeling posture. Two, who had places just below the dais, occasionally shrieked out in most discordant tones; but neither these nor a responsive chant of the priests checked the monotonous rush of the ever-repeated prayer. These two we designated as the " old and the young fanatic.” Our guide told us afterward that these were the second priest and his son. The elder one became so excited that he would sometimes beat the time with his hands, but all the rest kept theirs placidly folded in their laps.

Around the door gathered a group of the lovely little girls, with bare feet, wondering eyes, flowers in their hair, their soft robes of green and yellow clinging about them, and gazed in at the swaying, moaning worshipers. Among them we saw one black child, crouched upon the step, with her chin in her hand. Beyond the children we could see one or two of the quaint gravestones, and some bright green shrubbery with yellow flowers.

Just beside us a boy of four or so, in Turkish dress, was sitting looking over the gallery rail. Presently one of the little girls, who had been leaning like a graceful statue against the doorway, with hands clasped behind her head, clambered up the stairs, and called him softly. The boy, passing down the staircase with her, left her at the door, and touched on the shoulder one of the men, who made room for him in the ring of worshipers. Here he also began to sway and chant with inaudible baby voice !

A moment later all rise, and join hands in a circle, within which stand seven priests. They step backward and forward, as they slowly revolve. The child is in the outer circle, and imitates the long steps of his elders as well as he can. The “ old fanatic” is also among the twenty common worshipers of the outer circle, and His strange, wild cries ring out occasionally above the monotonous chant.

Now the two circles fuse into one. Each man has his right arm about a neighbor’s waist, and the left hand over the shoulder of his comrade on the other side. A tall young barefoot boy, who just now comes in, seeing he has taken a place in the ring between two gentlemen, bows down to kiss each one on the breast. One after another the priests pass within the circle, until again there are seven, and among them stands the child. The chant is like a deep, hoarse bark. They clasp each other’s hands, and swing them together.

Once more there is a change. The barking has become a strange, eager panting. The circular dance ceases ; the ring is broken. The priests gradually approach the altar, hut stand quietly, facing the door. The lay worshipers gather into a line near the door, looking toward the priests. The rhythmic moan or panting grows still wilder and faster. The air is heavy and hot. One or two can hardly stand, and sway mechanically with closed eyes. The weird cries of the “ old fanatic ” are answered by short choruses from the priests. The child is still kneeling in the centre of the mosque floor. One priest runs up and down before the line of weary moaners, and beats time by clapping his hands.

Now there is a long, solemn solo. All kneel. Suddenly the service is at an end. With a prostration to earth, as at the beginning, the devotees slip quietly out. A few tarry before the shrine which we noticed beside the door, bowing twice before it, kneeling in two rows, and chanting.

We are glad to hurry out into the sunshine, and find we have all been much affected and excited by the ceremony.

MITYLENE,Tuesday, May 10th.

Last Saturday afternoon, leaving E. R. and his wife at the hotel in Smyrna, C. W. B. and I took the Constantinople steamer, which stops here on her way north. It was dark and stormy when we approached Lesbos, and as the steamer stops but a few minutes outside the harbor, and we are still quite unable to understand any spoken Greek, we were in a state of growing anxiety and trepidation. However, as soon as the anchor-chain ran out, a young Greek clambered nimbly aboard, and, approaching us with a confident look in his soft dark eyes, uttered a laborious “ How-do, gen’l’men,” and presented a letter of introduction : “ This is George : good boy, George. F. H. B.” In the boat alongside we were affectionately welcomed by the young chief himself, in command of the queer little two-sticker, Mezethra (Cream-Cheese), with a crew of one, his slave boy Costanti. The curious name of the Americans’ boat excites much mirth and wonderment among the Greeks. It is a tribute to the chief delicacy we have as yet discovered in Mitylene.

Upon landing, we trudged sleepily through one or two rough, stony streets, and stumbled up a flight of stone steps into a small house, whose chief furniture seemed to be hammocks and trunks. The first words we heard were a doleful “ Hundred ’n’ ninety-one, hundred ’n’ ninety-two ! ” from the inner room, in the familiar tones of the youngest member of the party. We did not long need any explanation as to the nature of the game he was pursuing. The evening meal was not especially memorable, but we were “ at supper,” Polonius-like, all night, and every night under that roof.

The chief is in Smyrna, and will go from there to Constantinople, where it is hoped the firman, including permission to excavate, will soon be secured. Until then no digging can be done, and the only work now going on, or likely to be done soon, is the survey and large map of Assos, upon which the two engineers have been busy for some weeks. Mitylene is their base of supplies, though thirty miles away, and the Mezethra returned loaded this morning to Assos, where M. W. had meanwhile been left alone in charge. F. H. B. is at a loss to know why we three Harvard men have been hurried across Europe, and says he can make no earthly use of us. C. W. B. and E. N. have returned north to-day with him, but by his advice I have remained here to devote all my energies to Romaic Greek, as his greatest lack at present is an interpreter.

MITYLENE, May 19th.

The Mezethra arrived again last Sunday, the 15th, under command of Captain Maxwell Wrigley, — stately, straight, and jolly, six feet two, architect, artist, banjoist, yachtsman, bicyclist, and prince of good fellows, — and manned by the sturdy Mitylenæan boy Costanti, barelegged, curly-headed, and sun-browned. The latter is fast bound to the Assians by written contract for a term of months, and is to be paid only for faithful service to the end of that time.

The boat is already loaded with provisions, a keg of wine, etc., and Costanti mounts guard over it by day, while Max and I sleep soundly in it at night, despite the chatter and singing of the Greek sailors and boatmen all about us. The Etesian winds are blowing steadily “ dead ahead,” and the Mezethra will not sail against the wind, as she blows off to leeward rather more than she gains on her tacks ; so we linger reluctantly from day to day.

We are both very fond of children. Max’s banjo and sketch-book draw all our little neighbors to the steps of our palace. We had a lawn-party there this afternoon, having issued informal invitations to Kalliópe, Eriphyle, Chairékleia, and several other little maids whose illustrious Hellenic names we have not yet the privilege of knowing. I am trying vainly, with the aid of unlimited oranges and very limited Greek, to approach our artist musician in popularity, but the daughters of Sappho are still true to the nobler arts of life.

The old woman from whom the palace is hired lives next door, — or rather, she and her half dozen daughters live in the yard between the two houses ; weaving, spinning, washing, and knitting from dawn till dusk. They welcome cordially any attempt to practice upon them the Romaic absorbed in the long daily conferences with George, but it is very slow and uncertain work as yet, despite their ingenuity in pantomime and their merry perseverance.

Our neighbors are all Greeks, and nearly all very poor. Of the men we see little. The women sit in groups upon rocks in the middle of the steep, narrow streets, knitting and chatting. Just a few steps up the hill is a marble fountain at the wayside, and all day the girls and women come in long procession, bringing upon their shoulders jars which have not changed in the least from the shapes of twenty-five centuries ago.

George shows toward us a devotion and deference not unlike the behavior of an intelligent animal. Very soon alter the noon meal he comes puffing and perspiring up the hill, in the hot sun ; and it there are no errands to run for us in the town, and no one will talk or read with him, he coils down in the shade and goes to sleep.

He is the pharmacist at the Greek hospital, and devotes his mornings to duty there : the rest of the day to his dear Americans. He is working away patiently at his Ollendorff, in the hope that he may some time understand our talk. He is a native of a village in the interior of the island, and in the rude two-room cottage which is his official residence he makes a home for his small brother, Aristides, and for an earnest, manly little hunchback from the same hamlet. This crippled boy is the best pupil in the excellent Greek gymnasium here, and hopes eventually to earn a hundred medjids a year as a country schoolmaster in some Greek community of Lesbos.

It is wonderful to see how much the Rayahs are doing for their own education and improvement, despite all the oppression and exactions of their Moslem masters. The local church, schools, hospital, and other charities are all apparently well sustained.

Mr. and Mrs. E. R. are very pleasantly settled here, in a comfortable house at the top of the hill, above the Entomological Palace. There is an understanding with their host that any of their friends may have a shake-down ” upon the sitting-room floor whenever they desire. Our traps are gradually ascending the hill, as we intend to abandon the palace. From the veranda of the upper house there is a clear view of the city, of the broad channel which divides us from Asia, and of the mountains in the Troad and Mysia. Nearest of all, and just below us, lies the basin of the southern harbor. The northerly one is little used, and the ancient breakwater which protected it is fallen into decay. We have not discovered any trace of the canal which once united the two ports. The point of the peninsula between the harbors is occupied by the picturesque little Genoese fortress, whose Turkish garrison now holds the wealthy and numerous Rayah population in easy subjection.

The Mussulman quarter is on the further side of the town, nearer the northern harbor. We occasionally saunter through their principal street. The Turks sit smoking their nargilehs before the shop doors. Their heavy, expressionless faces, the few half-grunted words, the faded brilliancy of their turbans and robes, make an effect totally different from the throng of spare, alert, “glancing-eyed ” Greeks who chaffer and laugh about the busier harbor.

The Rayahs curse the Turks in a general way under their breath, and nearly every one with whom we become acquainted quotes a stanza whose origin we have not discovered : —

“Oπου Tουρκος, ουτϵ ϕυσις Oυτϵ κοινιɑ θɑλλϵι. Tòν Пɑρɑϵıσον ϵις Aδην Tò θηριον μϵταβáλλϵι ! “ Where the Turk is neither nature
Nor society can flourish :
Paradise into a Hades
By the beast is metamorphosed ! ”

And yet Rayah and Ottoman often hobnob together pretty freely in the cafés and at the shop doors. In many cases, such apparent friendship may be only the fawning of the supple, quick-witted Hellenes upon their duller masters, but we do not think there is a very fierce hatred toward the individual Mussulman. Of course the Greeks feel bitterly that the revenue extorted from their rich island is mere tribute, for which no pretense of any benefit in return is offered. No portion of the taxes is devoted to the material or moral welfare of the Christian population. The Turk never even builds roads, and the harbor is rapidly filling up, and will soon be useless.

Our days here are all very much alike; full only of reading and study, of chats among ourselves and chaffering with the natives. There is a dreamy charm about our life in this glorious climate, this clear, dry, luminous air, through which Ida and the peaks of Mysia stand forth in firm outlines, and seem only a league or two away.

There are hardly any remains of antiquity to be seen here. The famous theatre has been robbed of its stone for the benefit of the modern city, until little more is visible than a curving hollow in the hillside. The ruins of one temple, of late and coarse construction, have been unearthed in the town, and drums, capitals, etc., from it are lying about neglected in the street. The Greek inhabitants could undoubtedly point out the exact location of some classical structures which they have hit upon in digging cellars and sinking wells, but to make them known under present conditions would entail a probable loss of property, and possibly a forfeiture of life or liberty, to gratify the avarice of some powerful Turk. The bit of ancient art we most desire to carry off with us is a little bas-relief from a dog’s grave, with a poetical tribute to the virtues of the dead pet. This stone was discovered and is owned by a well-to-do miller in the suburbs, who says he will not part with it unless to give it to the museum in Athens.

The Assos party has been enabled to transact business here chiefly by the eager helpfulness of M. Photion, until lately the American consular agent at Mitylene, an honorary office which he hopes soon to regain. He speaks French, and some English. The pioneers of our party have denominated him Photion the Great (ο μϵγɑς), to distinguish him from a young Greek friend at Assos, Photion or Photiades the Good (ο κɑλος)' of whom they tell incredible tales. They say he makes no attempt to learn English nor to teach them Greek ; that he comes in to leave flowers for them early in the morning, and slips away unseen ; that they frequently discover favors which he has done them, and which were never intended to come to their knowledge.

Assos, May 25th.

Yesterday morning, we — J. H., who arrived a few days ago, E. R., who goes to visit Assos for a few days, and myself — determined to embark with our gallant captain and his crew, and to head for Assos, even if we had to row the whole thirty miles against this unceasing Tramontana. We pulled out of Mitylene harbor at 10.30. It was hot and calm, hardly a ripple upon the water. Though we hoisted sail, we scarcely stirred for two hours, drifting about within a stone’s-throw of the little ruined tower on the point. The water was wonderfully clear, and many yards beneath us we frequently saw stones which looked precisely like fragments of architectural carving. A slight breeze finally sprang up, not quite contrary to our course, and by dark we had made nearly twenty miles. Laying to behind some little islands on the Lesbian shore, we slept soundly, wrapped in our blankets, in the bottom of the boat, under the stars.

At seven this morning we were up and starting again, and all the morning the stately rock of Assos, the acropolis of all the southern Troad, rose before us higher and higher above the sparkling blue waters.

This afternoon we have taken a hasty scramble among the ruins. The classic city was built upon terraces, connected by flights of steps, on the hillside facing the sea. The chief temple crowned the great hill, seven hundred feet, at least, above the water’s edge. From the temple site the vessels in the little port seem almost at our feet, for the average descent is more than twenty degrees. The great gate of the city opened to the westward, and the road outside it is still piled with numberless sarcophagi of immense size, which were once arranged upon several terraces lining the highway. The theatre is quite stripped of stone, the orchestra being occupied by a cow-yard, and looks like a mere hole in the hillside. The most striking remains now above ground are the Hellenic walls, large portions of which are yet standing.

The wretched little Turkish town Bechram is on the northern slope of the ridge, looking down into the valley of the Touzla, or Satnioeis, which flows through a fertile plain close behind the Acropolis. The Americans, however, are lodged in one of the three or four warehouses which compose Bechram Seala, the little landing-place at the water s edge. We occupy two rooms in the newest of the buildings. The Acropolis is shut from our view by a cliff of red clayey rock, just above our heads, but we can look across the strait to the mountains of northern Lesbos, nine miles away, with a white village or two clinging to their sides.

The port is merely a small, shallow basin surrounded by a long pile of stones, but affords shelter to the coasting vessels which carry cargoes of acorns to the Smyrna market. Among and around the warehouses there is hardly more than room enough to walk about comfortably between cliff above and sea below. The fountain of the hamlet is under our window, — a tiny rill flowing from a hole in the rock. Just now thousands of locusts are drowning in the little rock basin beneath it, and every inch of ground is brown with them. Dogs and chickens are all about, and a long file of camels have crowded in to discharge their load of acorns and spend the night. So with all these, the half dozen Americans, the few Greeks and many Turks, this bit of earth clinging to the foot of the great cliff is covered to overflowing with living creatures to-night.

William Cranston Lawton.