« AnteriorContinua »
STEAMER TO EGYPT FROM CONSTANTINOPLE.
Never was morning more beautiful than that in which we prepared to leave the harbor of the Golden Horn, at Constantinople. The thousand varied and beautiful views on all sides, from the "valley of sweet waters," and the mosquecrowned heights of Eyaub, to Galata's tower and the gardens of the Seraglio, left a series of pictures impressed on the memory which will long be a source of pleasure.
The Turkish passengers crowd on board, and the cabins are filled with the wives of the Grand Pacha, Fuchtar Effendi, of two tails, whom the Sultan has recently appointed Governor of Mecca. Finally, his Pacha friends crowd around in their boats to wish him adieu. With them are some European envoys, among whom is a Russian. What a group on this steamer's deck! The Pacha and his two attendants; gentlemen, with about forty servants; cawasses, eunuchs, &c.; Kurds, Tartars, with their shawled caps, Persians, Copts, Greeks, Armenians, Jews—in fact, all the specimens of Mohammedanism to be found in the Turkish Empire; and, save the engineer (an Englishman) I am the only Anglo-Saxon.
The Pacha's young and favorite wife, I have once seen distinctly. She is very beautiful. He is a man of noble presence, with the brow and features of a statesman and a 6 STEAMER TO EGYPT FROM CONSTANTINOPLE.
great man. Nobler never could have belonged to the Prophet himself. Some of the Pachas who rushed to bid him farewell bent to kiss his feet. Hark! the gun. The Sultan is in that steamboat, returning from the launch of a vessel of war. All along up the Bosphorus the ships of war are manned to their topmast yards, and the flags flying. I had recently witnessed a still more magnificent scene, where the Sultan embarked at his palace on the Bosphorus to go to mosque.
Hark ! there is another gun. It is sunset, and the Moslems have all washed, and are kneeling in prayer, with their faces, as ever, turned toward Mecca. What religionists in the world observe the duties of their faith more praiseworthily than these? The old Pacha, too, so devout! He prays as if it were praying that had given that noble dignity to his face.
It is over, and now we are under way. Farewell to Pera, and all its varied and picturesque population, romantic environs and its Armenian girls. Farewell to Galata, and its miserable streets of Greek fishermen, where I have so often lost my way amidst the throng of traders from every clime; where the cannie Scotchman from Greenock strikes bargains with the Persian of the Caucasus. Farewell to the beautiful Bosphorus and the distant Symplegades, whose blue forms it must suffice to see afar off, without running Jason's risk. Farewell to the gorgeous Sultan's palace ; Bebek and its lovely bay, the castle of Venetian splendor; Therapia, and its Greek maidens; Buyukdere, and its beauties; and the Asiatic shore! the "sweet waters," the beautiful valley, and the Sultan's lovely, dark-eyed Circassians! Farewell to Scutari, and the old cypresses of the cemeteries, and Stamboul, that strange compound, so grand at a distance, so filthy within. In its old STEAMER TO EGYPT FROM CONSTANTINOPLE. 7
Seraglio, I would fain yet linger amid the crumbling capitals built by the Greek Emperors, and the chambers filled with the Caliph's works; the libraries of rare books, the portraits of the Sultans—every one of whom rose by the murder of some father or brother; the beds glittering with gems in the dark old Saracenic chambers, where many a Sultan has been strangled; the halls, where the tyrant would only show himself through a steel grating. Farewell to all these: we are now for the land of Egypt to study its lore, as did the Grecian scholars of old, when they left the cool shades of the Academy for the priestly colleges of Sais and Heliopolis. Will it make us Christian, like Alciphron, or unbelieving, like the infidels of France 1
VOYAGE UP THE NILE.
The Nile has become nearly as much travelled by Americans as the Rhine; it requires but a moderate income to jump to Athens, Cairo, Jerusalem; many an American flag meets the traveller beneath Luxor's old temple; hundreds of New-York and Boston names, and those of every city in our States, greet his eye in the tombs of the Remeses, and throughout the mighty wrecks of Thebes. Several go to the Nile as they go up the Clyde or Hudson, to see a change of manner, primitive enjoyments, and to enjoy a dry, pure air, and the sweetest of water. And yet, notwithstanding burlesque travels, and "Punch on the Pyramids," there are those to be found, who still regard Egypt with the mysterious awe of their earlier days, and in her monuments find the most material evidence in existence of the truth of divine revelation;—who turn from the unsatisfactory juggleries and traditions of the Holy Land, to the chiselled and painted memorials of the Pharaohs' artists, which give us now the authentic records of early Egyptian dynasties, in almost the same condition as when Diodorus saw them two thousand years ago.
By one of those extraordinary artifices which creates excitement by manufacturing opinion, it has been fashionable with a certain class to slight the continued, palpable evidence deduced from the monuments and deciphered language of