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A Trip to the Orient - The Story of a Mediterranean Cruise
by Robert Urie Jacob
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From the parapets of this place a magnificent and interesting view of the harbor was obtained. Not far away, but hundreds of feet below us, the Moltke lay, encircled by the white awning-covered boats. Eight large battleships and a dozen cruisers and gunboats, all painted black, were lying peacefully at anchor. Steamships and sailing vessels at the docks were discharging cargoes, or were lying in the bay awaiting their turn to unload. Steam launches were busily flying from one point to another, and little ferry boats were constantly crossing and re-crossing the bay. The harbor was surrounded by high cliffs and old gray fortifications. At the entrance to the bay stood a tall lighthouse and a frowning fortress, the one for guidance, the other for protection. Through the entrance a ship with spread sails was entering, and beyond, the sunlight shone on the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean.



The streets of Valetta were full of life that day. In reply to inquiries we were informed that on the following day, the Sunday preceding Lent, a festa, or carnival, lasting three days, would begin. During the festa, business would be suspended, and the people, disguised in masks and fanciful costumes, would engage in most ludicrous and extraordinary antics and play all manner of practical jokes on one another, showering the passers-by gently with confetti and flowers, or pelting them stingingly with dried peas and beans. Many children, impatient for the morrow to come, were already parading the streets arrayed in their costumes.

Attractive stores line the "Strada Reale," the main shopping street. In these stores laces, gold and silver filagree work, jewelry, and embroidered muslins were the principal wares sought by the tourists. The ladies of our party were particularly anxious to secure pieces of Maltese lace, a special hand-made product noted for the excellence of its quality, the making of which gives employment to thousands of the inhabitants. In trading with the Maltese merchants, we soon found that the prices asked by the dealers were about twice the amount the customer was expected to pay, and that bargaining was as necessary in Malta as in Algiers.

Almost all the costumes we saw on the streets were of the English style, but the varied uniforms of soldiers and the distinctive garments of Greeks, Turks, Spaniards, and Arabs added color and interest to the scene. The Maltese women wear immense bonnets, called faldettas. These peculiar bonnets have long skirts which reach to the waist and are totally black without color or ornament. As the majority of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, we saw many priests and monks who wore black robes and very broad-brimmed black hats turned up at the sides.

The Maltese are lovers of flowers, which are raised in profusion. At the corners of the principal streets were small fanciful buildings, a few feet in diameter, in which dark eyed brunettes offered flowers and bonbons for sale. The people also love music. In the Opera House, an elaborate structure, which, we were told, cost a quarter of a million dollars, Grand Opera is given three times a week for six months in the year.

We visited the old church of St. John, which was built three centuries ago and lavishly adorned out of the proceeds of plunder that had been taken from infidels and pirates. The tower above the church contains a chime of ten bells, and the clock on the tower has a triple face, one face showing the hour of the day, one showing the day of the week, and the third, the day of the month. The heavy doors were open, but a curtain of matting hung over the entrance. A ragged, barefoot boy ran before us, and, drawing aside the matting that we might enter, extended his hand for a penny. We walked over the beautiful inlaid mosaic marble floor, and beheld handsomely painted ceilings with life-size figures overhead, and richly decorated walls and pillars around us. A priest with pride pointed out the famous paintings on the walls, the bronze and the marble statues around the sides, and, in the various chapels, the three huge iron keys which opened the gates of Jerusalem, Acre, and Rhodes, and the gates of solid silver in front of the richly decorated altar. As we stood before the silver gates our guide told us his little story:

"When the French captured Malta in 1798 they carried away as booty the most valuable possessions of the church in the form of precious jewels, silver statues, golden vessels, valuable vestments, and works of art. The Emperor Napoleon with his own hand took a most valuable diamond from the finger of the jeweled glove which covered the sacred relic, the hand of St. John, and placed it on his own finger. The Emperor also took the diamond mounted sword, which had been carried by Valette, and buckled it to his side. These silver gates, too, would have been carried away but for the forethought of a priest who painted them black and so concealed their value."



In the nave of this church we tramped over hundreds of marble slabs which have been placed among the mosaics in the floor as memorials of the knights and nobles who are buried underneath. These flat tombstones are adorned with representations of coats-of-arms, musical instruments, angels, crowns, palms, skeletons, and other odd devices. But in the crypt underneath, whither we were next conducted, majestic monuments of elaborate design mark the resting places of the most noted Grand Masters of the Order, the tomb of Grand Master Cottoner being one of the most imposing. In the sacristy we gazed at, but were not permitted to touch, the beautifully illuminated missals, the finely woven pieces of ancient embroidery, and the splendid robes of former Grand Masters.

"The tapestry of the Lord's Supper and many other wonderful tapestries are locked in that chamber," said the priest, pointing to a closed door, "and are only exhibited in June each year."

At one of the altars in a side chapel worshipers knelt before a piece of the true cross; but the relics regarded as most precious in the custody of the Church of St. John, a thorn from the Savior's crown, portions of the bones of three apostles, one of the stones cast at St. Stephen, the right foot of Lazarus, and a fragment of the cradle of the infant Jesus, are guarded with great care and rarely exposed to the gaze of curious eyes.

In the Governor's Palace the tourists spent a short time. The walls of the Council Chamber are hung with rare tapestry which has retained its color and beauty for nearly three centuries. The dining room and corridors are decorated with paintings of grim-faced Grand Masters of the past; and the gorgeous ball room contains a throne on which these same rulers sat in state surrounded by pomp and splendor. In the great hall of the Armory are rows of figures clad in the antique armor worn by the Knights, together with steel gloves, helmets, and coats of mail, inlaid with gold and silver; and around this hall are arranged the crossbows, arquebuses, spears, pikes, swords, battle axes, and old battle flags. There with the treasures are the old silver trumpet that sounded the retreat from Rhodes, and the faded parchment manuscript, or Papal edict, which sanctioned the gift of the island by Charles V. of Germany to the Knights; and among the trophies are the jeweled coat of mail and weapons of a famous Algerine corsair, a cannon curiously constructed of a copper tube wound with tarred rope, and many torn and blood-stained, crescent-mounted standards which in the hand-to-hand conflicts had been captured from the Turks.

"What soldier of the present day could march or even ride any distance so encumbered with steel?" remarked one of the tourists as we stood before an emblazoned suit of mail that had been worn by one of the Grand Masters of the Knights. "To handle these heavy battle axes or long spears for stroke after stroke or thrust after thrust during the long hours the battle raged must have required muscles of steel and wonderful powers of endurance."



"These breastplates and helmets and shields, which were worn by the Knights to protect them from the arrows and spears of their enemies," said one of the ladies, as she looked at the old armor, "enable me to understand better what St. Paul meant when he wrote to the Ephesians: 'Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,' and 'all the fiery darts of the wicked.' The old monk-soldiers must have interpreted that command literally when they went out to fight the infidels."

After completing our sight-seeing in the city of Valetta, a little train of cars on a narrow-gauge railroad carried us a distance of six miles to the older city of Citta Vecchia. The land along the way as far as we could see was divided into small plots ranging from about half an acre to two acres in size. Each plot was surrounded by stone walls from six to ten feet in height, many of which were broken and dilapidated. We were told that, although the climate of the island is quite mild, violent winds frequently blow over it, and these walls were erected to protect the fig, orange, lemon, and other fruit trees from destruction. Protected from the high winds, these trees yield abundantly; and, in the fertile soil of these plots, two or three crops of vegetables are raised each year. Much of the land was rocky and uncultivated. Very few trees were seen and those were dwarfed. One species of evergreen tree, called the Carob, grew only ten feet in height, but spread to three times that in breadth. In some neglected spots the prickly pear grew in rank masses. The houses along the way, built of yellow or gray stone, had a weather-beaten look, and the yards around them were enclosed with high walls. The small square windows in the houses and the flat stone roofs with enclosing parapets reminded us of pictures of the houses in Bible stories.

In Citta Vecchia the two principal attractions were the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Grotto of St. Paul. The Cathedral is said to be built on the site of the house of Publius, the governor of the island, who entertained and lodged St. Paul for three days after he was ship-wrecked on this island, which in the Bible is called Melita. The Grotto is said to have been occupied by St. Paul during his three months' stay on the island. About four miles from the Cathedral is the bay of St. Paul, where the apostle was wrecked while on his way to Rome. There is the little creek in which the sailors tried to guide the storm-tossed vessel and the shore to which they escaped "on boards and on broken pieces of the ship."

In Citta Vecchia we were shown the mosaic pavement and the decorated frieze of an old Roman house supposed to be over two thousand years old, which had been uncovered at a considerable distance below the surface while an excavation was being made. Notwithstanding their age the old mosaic pavement and frieze were in good condition.

An interesting day of sight-seeing closed with a drive in Valetta through the humbler part of the city and down a long inclined street which led to the docks. At nightfall as our steamship moved eastward the lights of Malta's stronghold gradually faded from our sight, but the gleam of its lighthouse followed us for many a mile.



CHAPTER VII

ATHENS AND THE ACROPOLIS.

The sun was just appearing in the east as we approached the seaport of the Grecian capital.

Through the mists of the dawning day we could make out dimly, ahead of us, only bleak bare hills. As the Moltke steamed through the straits we saw a lighthouse and a few buildings on the shore and over the low hill on our right the tops of masts; but when the vessel had entered through a narrow passage between the moles extending from either side, and had anchored in the centre of the well protected and commodious harbor of Piraeus, we gazed on a scene of animation and activity. The bay was filled with shipping and the shore lined with warehouses where the stevedores were already busily engaged in lading or discharging cargoes. On each side of the Moltke, little more than a stone's throw away, lay gray battleships, cruisers, torpedo boats, destroyers, and other naval craft.

"What war vessels are those?" was the question asked eagerly by many passengers.

"The white flag with the blue St. Andrew's cross floating over that warship is the Russian national emblem," patiently replied one of the officers of our steamer, "and so I conclude that these vessels compose the Russian Mediterranean squadron."

A band on the flagship began to play and the Russian sailors in clean white suits were seen forming in lines on the decks of the vessels, evidently for inspection or morning roll-call. On the rigging above the sailors' heads, swaying in the breeze, were hundreds of white suits, washed and hung out to dry.



Soon fifty or more large row boats were plying around our steamer in readiness to convey us to the railroad station at the upper end of the harbor about a mile away. As we approached the shore in these boats we saw on the wharf at Piraeus a motley crowd of dirty-handed, bare-footed, ill-clothed men and boys. It seemed as if all the idle and vagabond population of the city had assembled to lounge lazily in the sun, hoping, perhaps, to obtain some small coins from the tourists during the transfer from boat to cars. If this was their hope they were disappointed. All arrangements for the welfare of the Moltke tourists had been carefully made in advance, and, as there was no baggage to be carried, the services of the dirty-handed men were not required.

"Are these vagabonds and tramps the descendants of the noble Greeks whom we have honored all our lives?" sadly remarked a minister in our boat. "Can these be the offspring of the great orators who electrified their hearers, or of the famous architects and artists whose names are immortal? Are these swarthy-faced, plain-featured idlers the representatives of the Greek beauty of form and feature?"



In preparation for a visit to these historic shores we had filled our minds with tales of heroism and visions of the beautiful; now the sight of this bare-footed throng, so different from the pictures we had formed in our minds, was a severe shock to our imagination.

"These vagabonds do not represent the Greek race," responded another who had traveled in that country before; "they are merely the dregs of the people, a class that may be found in any large city and especially in the seaports."

The distance from Piraeus to the city of Athens is but five miles. From the windows of the little cars we could see that the valley through which we passed was a succession of well cultivated fields, vineyards, and gardens. A white road, almost parallel to the railroad, traversed the valley. Gray-green trees in the distance indicated a district of olive orchards.

At a station on the outskirts of the city we left the train and followed an old guide to visit the Theseum, or Temple of Theseus, a large edifice built in simple Doric style. The plain columns and unadorned pediments express strength and simplicity rather than beauty. Notwithstanding the fact that twenty-four centuries have passed since its erection, this temple is noted as being the best preserved of all the ancient buildings of Greece. A short time, however, sufficed for a view of the plain exterior and an entrance into the gloomy interior.



Then proceeding along a fine modern road, built over the ruins of the ancient city, traces of which were seen in adjacent excavations, we passed, on our right, an open plateau on the rocks where an audience of eight or ten thousand might assemble. This was the Pynx of ancient times, a gathering place of the people. A flight of steps hewn in the stone at one side of this plateau leads up to a platform cut in the rock. From this rock, named the Platform of Demosthenes, great orators addressed the multitude, stirring their countrymen to deeds of valor. Beyond the Pynx, a cave with gates of rusty grated iron was pointed out as the prison in which the noble Socrates was incarcerated before being condemned to drink the fatal hemlock.



Farther up the slope the guide pointed to a small rock elevation on our left and said: "That is the Areopagus, or Mars Hill, from which the Apostle Paul made his appeal to the idolatrous Athenians. He probably ascended those sixteen steps that you see hewn in the rock. Where we are standing now, the people stood to listen. From that elevation Paul could view the avenues leading to the Acropolis, avenues adorned with statues in honor of gods and goddesses and famous heroes."



As we stood there, we could almost hear Paul's words:

"Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld the gods that ye worship, I found an altar with this inscription, 'To the Unknown God.'—God dwelleth not in temples made with hands.—We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device." The altar to the unknown god to which Paul referred may have been one of the many altars within sight of the elevation on which he stood.

After we left Mars Hill a few minutes' walk brought us to the foot of a long flight of ruined steps, at the top of which stood broken marble columns. Before us was the Acropolis, the highest point of the city, a rocky eminence with inaccessible cliffs on three sides. The only approach to its summit, which is about two hundred feet above the level of the modern city, is on the southwest side, being reached by the avenues we had followed up the gradual slope past Mars Hill.

"On this height," said the guide, "the Athenians, during the reign of Pericles in the golden age of Greece, erected a temple to their patron deity, Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. And to this goddess, named also Athena, who, as they asserted, sprang from the brain of Jupiter a mature woman in complete armor, they looked for protection. For her they offered their choicest gifts, yet they did not neglect the multitude of other gods whom they feared to offend."

The old guide was well informed, but his English was rather difficult to understand. He was interrupted a number of times until one of the tourists, a college professor, undertook the task of assisting him in the story.

"These dilapidated stone steps," said the professor, "formed once the magnificent marble staircase that led to the gateway of the Acropolis. The staircase was seventy feet in width; in the centre was a sloping carriageway up which chariots could be driven. It was built by Pericles four hundred years before the Christian era. Statues of wonderful beauty, by famous sculptors, were arranged along the steps. At times of great rejoicing, as after a victory, triumphal processions ascended these flights to present offerings to the gods, or to deposit in the treasury of the temple the spoils taken from their enemies and to offer sacrifices and worship to their protecting goddess. The Propylaea, or grand entrance hall and gateway to the Acropolis, stood at the head of the stairway; these broken columns are all that remain of one of the most imposing structures of that golden age."



"Keep close to the professor and never mind the guide," urged one of our companions. We followed her suggestion.

"This small building on our right with four graceful Ionic columns in front," continued the professor, "is the Temple of the Wingless Victory, so called because it was erected by the Athenians in honor of Nike, the goddess of Victory. The statue of Nike which they placed within the temple, bore in her hand the palm of victory and upheld the wreath of laurel, but lacked the customary wings. The Athenians hoped that without wings victory might never depart from the shores of Greece."

"The building to our left," said the professor as we moved on, "was named the Erechtheum after the Attic hero Erechtheus, and once contained a seated figure of the goddess Athena. These six gigantic statues of women upholding the cornice of the porch are the Caryatides and deserve a careful examination; for, although carefully prepared casts of the Caryatides may be seen in some of the large museums, no cast can be a perfect representation of the original. One of these figures, as you may easily see, is only a copy, the original having been carried away to England by Lord Elgin and given to the British Museum. The marble columns on the other side of the Erechtheum are considered the best examples in existence of the Ionic style of architecture."



Near the Erechtheum we passed the foundation on which had stood a colossal bronze figure of Athena, sixty feet in height, holding in her hand a spear tipped with gold, the point of which could be seen by the ancient mariners far out at sea. Making our way across the summit of the Acropolis around pieces of broken columns, trampling over fragments of decorations, and passing foundations of missing statues, we stood in front of the Parthenon, the temple which had been erected to the patron deity of the Athenians. We thought that the professor might weary of answering questions, but he seemed glad to voice the thoughts that were arising in his mind.

"In the harmonious proportions of this stately edifice," he said, "the peerless genius of the architect Ictinus, who designed the structure, is revealed, and in the delicate finish of the smallest details of the sculptured work, the wonderful skill of the artists who carried out the master's design is shown. We hardly know which to admire more, the matchless genius of the designer, or the marvelous skill of the artists. Our poet Emerson truly says:

"Earth proudly wears the Parthenon As the best gem upon her throne."

During a pause for critical examination of the front of the temple, the amateur photographers of the party placed their cameras in position.

"Place a group of people in the foreground," suggested the professor. "You see that the marble steps are nearly two feet in height, and without some object for comparison, these steps in a picture will appear to be only of ordinary size, thus an adequate idea of the size of the temple will not be given. When you see any picture of the Parthenon notice the truth of my suggestion.

"There were, as you see at this end now," continued our instructor, "eight white marble columns at each end and seventeen columns along each side. The columns on the sides are mostly broken now or altogether gone, and the color has changed from white to this soft golden yellow tint. The carved marble frieze, which, over five hundred feet in length, extended around the building, was the work of Phidias and has never been surpassed in beauty by any sculpture of the kind in the world. And these fluted columns are, in grace and proportion, the noblest examples of the Doric style of architecture."

"But, in the interior," said the professor, becoming more enthusiastic, "surrounded by statues and works of art in marble, bronze, ebony, ivory, and gold, stood the crowning glory of the Parthenon, the famous colossal statue of the goddess Athena Parthenos, Athena the Virgin, forty feet in height, made of ivory and gold under the direction of Phidias. The Caryatides as we looked at them awhile ago appeared gigantic in size, but they are only eight feet in height. The height of the statue of Athena was equal to five Caryatides one above the other. Let me read you the description of the statue by an old Greek historian, Pausanias."

The professor, drawing a note book from his pocket, read as follows: "The image itself is made of ivory and gold. Its helmet is surmounted in the middle by the figure of a sphinx, and on either side of the helmet are griffins wrought in relief. The image of Athena stands upright, clad in a garment that reaches to her feet; on her breast is the head of Medusa wrought in ivory. She holds a Victory about four cubits high in one hand, and in the other hand a spear. At her feet lies a shield, and near the spear is a serpent."

"The Victory referred to by Pausanias," said the professor, replacing his note book, "was an image of the goddess of Victory half the height of the Caryatides, which we refer to for comparison. The size of the statue held in Athena's hand helps us to realize the height of the colossal figure."

"The Parthenon contained also a treasury in which the Athenians deposited the immense treasures and spoils taken from their enemies. In the course of centuries, however, the growing wealth and power of Athens incurred the jealousy and wrath of other nations. The city was conquered and ravaged many times. The Persians ingloriously failed in their attempt, but the Romans, victorious under Nero, despoiled this temple and carried away hundreds of bronze statues and works of art to grace the Emperor's triumphal entry into Rome. Other Roman conquerors, following Nero's example, exhibited to the applauding multitudes in the streets of Rome long trains of spoils, consisting of the rarest paintings, ornaments, and bronzes torn from the Parthenon. Goths, Normans, Franks, Venetians, and Vandals successively plundered the city, stripping away the decorations of gold and silver from columns and walls, and breaking from their foundations the statues that adorned the plateau of the Acropolis. The Turks carried off shiploads of marble and bronzes to Constantinople. England also enriched the British Museum with many choice marbles from the Acropolis—to preserve them, Lord Elgin explained."



The professor paused for a moment and his hearers made use of the time to express some very decided opinions with reference to Lord Elgin.

"But the culminating disaster to the Parthenon occurred in the year 1687," continued the professor, resuming his story with as much sadness in his voice as if the disaster had been a personal loss. "Greece was then under the rule of the Sultan, and the Parthenon was used by his army as a powder magazine. The Venetians at war with the Turks, besieging Athens, bombarded the city. A shell descended into the Parthenon, and in a moment's time the most magnificent architectural structure of ancient times, the pride of centuries, lay shattered in the ruins we see before us."

"The Parthenon in twenty-four centuries has seen many religious changes. Built first as a temple of idolatry, it became under the Romans a Roman Catholic Cathedral, under the Greeks again a Greek Christian Church, and then under the Sultan's rule a Mohammedan Mosque."



The professor wished to apologize for detaining us with the length of his explanations but he was overwhelmed with expressions of appreciation for his kindness.



"Why," said one of the tourists, "we have sailed half way around the world to see these ruins, and yet some of us have so neglected history and mythology that, we are ashamed to say, our knowledge of the history of Greece and the stories of its heroes is extremely limited. I am indeed grateful and trust that you will be patient with our ignorance."



After walking through the small museum on the Acropolis where a number of interesting relics are on exhibition, we lingered awhile on a little platform at the northeast corner of the Acropolis from which an excellent view of the city may be obtained. As seen from this view-point the predominating color of the city is yellow. The buildings erected of stone, and plastered or frescoed, are white, or yellow, or light pink, or combinations of yellow and white, and the roofs appear to be covered with yellow tiles. Below us to the right we saw the ruined columns of the Temple of Jupiter, and the white palace and the royal gardens of the king. Across the valley beyond the city we could see the prominent steep rock named Lycabettus with the chapel of St. George on the summit, and ten miles away we could make out dimly Mt. Pentelicus, from which all the white marble for the temples was quarried, and Mt. Hymettus, in a region noted for the excellent quality of its honey.

Descending from the heights of the Acropolis we entered the ruins of the Odeon of Herodus Atticus which lay at the base of the Acropolis. This theatre had a stone floor, a stone stage, and tiers of stone seats capable of seating an audience of six thousand, and was covered with a cedar roof. Now the roof is completely gone and the seats are in partial ruin. Beyond this smaller theatre are the ruins of a larger one called the Theatre of Bacchus. Here the masterpieces of Eschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, in the golden days of Grecian glory, gave delight to great audiences. This theatre, accommodating thirty thousand spectators, contained a semi-circle of marble seats built up against the cliff of the Acropolis, and was open to the sky. The large stage was built of marble and the front of it was carved with grotesque figures. The lower tiers of seats nearest the stage were marble chairs reserved for priests and other dignitaries. The names of the men who occupied the chairs were carved in the marble, and some of these names are yet visible. While resting for a short time in these official chairs, we tried to imagine that we were viewing on the marble stage the performance of an old Greek tragedy by actors in the graceful flowing robes of those ancient times. A few minutes later we were grouped at the side of the columns which are all that remain of the glory of the Temple of Jupiter.



The professor, responding to our request for information, said: "The Olympieum was the Temple erected in honor of Zeus, the supreme deity of the Greeks. As the Roman name for the supreme deity was Jupiter or Jove, the temple was called the Temple of Zeus by the Greeks, and the Temple of Jupiter by the Romans. The Athenians began the construction of the edifice two centuries before the birth of Christ, but the work was interrupted by wars and lack of funds and remained unfinished for three hundred years. Then the Roman Emperor Hadrian, having conquered Greece, completed the work and claimed for himself all the honor and glory for the erection of the temple. The Temple of Zeus, next to that erected to Diana by the Ephesians, was the largest of the temples of antiquity. It was built in the Corinthian style of architecture and had a triple row of eight columns each at the ends, and a double row of twenty columns each at the sides. Now you see only these fifteen huge columns remaining. In the interior of the temple was a colossal statue of Jupiter overlaid with ivory and gold. Beside the statue of the god stood a companion figure of equal size representing the Emperor Hadrian. The grounds around the temple were filled by Hadrian with hundreds of statues, many of which represented himself."

Carriages which had been ordered by the managers of the excursion awaited here to take us rapidly to other points of interest. As we crossed a bridge over a little stream on our way to the Stadium, the guide said: "This river appears small, perhaps, in your eyes, but it is great in the history and legends of Greece. It is the river Ilissus."

"The Stadium," said the professor as we entered the structure, "is the immense athletic field of Athens. It was constructed about the year 350 B.C. Five hundred years later the sixty tiers of seats capable of seating fifty thousand spectators were covered with white marble. Centuries afterwards in evil times athletic sports were neglected, the place fell into disuse, and the marble was converted into lime. In modern times the Stadium has been restored, perhaps not so large as before, and again the tiers of seats have been covered with white marble. In international athletic contests held in the restored Stadium, Americans have competed successfully for the laurel crown."



Leaving the Stadium, we drove around the Royal Gardens through streets shaded by graceful pepper trees, caught glimpses of palms, orange, and ornamental trees within the gardens, and stopped a few minutes in front of the extensive white marble palace of the king. As we passed through the residential portion of the city we were impressed with the cleanliness of the well swept streets and with the purity of the soft creamy yellow and pink colorings of the buildings. Fortunately we saw no great manufacturing establishments belching forth volumes of blackening smoke to soil these delicate shades.

We halted before the University, a majestic building occupying a block on a wide boulevard, and before the Academy of Science, another large white marble edifice adjoining the University, a building much more elaborate than its neighbor, with Ionic porticoes, a facade enlivened by bright coloring and gilding, and pediments adorned with statues.



"What odd-looking costumes those men wear. They look like ballet girls arrayed for the stage," said one of the ladies in our carriage, pointing to a group on the sidewalk. The men wore tights, low shoes with pompons on the toes, black garters with tassels, blue jackets ornamented with many brass buttons, red skull caps with large black tassels, and very full skirts. The guide said that these men were soldiers of the king's guard and though their uniforms might appear peculiar to our eyes they did not seem more strange than the tartans of Scotch Highlanders were to the Greeks. The king's guard, he told us, is composed of men from the mountain regions of Greece, who dress in the ancient military costume of that section. The uniforms of the regular Greek soldiers are very similar to those worn by the soldiers of our own country. The officers we met were handsome men and especially well uniformed. The well-to-do and middle class Athenian people whom we saw on the streets were dressed in modern English style.



The National Archaeological Museum has a valuable collection of antiquities that would require much time for examination. Perhaps the most interesting to us were the old tombs from Mycenae with their resurrected contents of skeletons, gold masques, ornaments, and weapons; the reduced copy of the gold and ivory statue of Athena Parthenos; the marble figure of a man in stooping position lately found in the sea; the statue of the god Hermes; and the large and beautiful vases recovered from the excavations. On the vases scenes of ancient Greek life or legend were represented.

"It was a pastoral scene of love-making carved on a Grecian vase that inspired the poet Keats to write his noted poem, 'Ode on a Grecian Urn,'" said one of our friends. "Let me tell you my favorite stanza," and, with an eloquence that brought out their meaning, she repeated the beautiful lines:

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd, Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

On both days while in Athens we lunched at one of the hotels facing Constitution Square and ate of the delicious honey from Mt. Hymettus, returning to the Moltke in the harbor in time to have a late dinner and to spend the night. In the public park in front of the hotel the trees were laden with oranges. Beyond the park through the green foliage could be seen the white palace of the king.

While rambling through the streets we saw a funeral procession. First came many banners and symbols of the Greek Church, carried by church officials; then followed the casket borne by men, the casket open and the pale face of the dead exposed to the gaze of the onlookers; a man came next carrying the lid of the coffin filled with flowers; then priests in black robes, men and women in black, and girls in white holding wreaths and flowers. The people along the way removed their hats and crossed themselves, muttering prayers as the procession passed by.

The modern religion of Greece is that of the Greek church, a religion of many ceremonies. The priests, long-haired, heavy-bearded men, wear long flowing black robes and black hats resembling our silk dress hats turned upside down with the brim at the top. They, the guide informed us, are men of influence; their hands are kissed by their people; their advice is sought, and their opinions received with deference by the members of their church.

The stores for the sale of candles to be burned on ceremonial occasions made an interesting display. There were candles of all sizes, ranging from six feet in height, beautifully decorated, which only the wealthy could afford, down to the small unadorned dip that the smallest coin might purchase.

"These candles," said the guide while we were pricing some of the decorated ones, "are used for the rejoicings at baptisms, at the festivities on wedding occasions, and for lightening the gloom around the caskets of the dead. They are given as penance to the church, or as votive offerings to brighten the altars of the Virgin or patron saints."

Eikons, the sacred memorials which the Greek Christians hang in their homes, representing the Virgin Mary holding the infant Christ in her arms, were also for sale in great numbers. Some of these were merely painted boards or silvered or gilded metal; others were of expensive material, incrusted with jewels. In all the Eikons, either cheap or dear, the painted faces and heads of the Virgin and child were visible through openings in the metal or board.

"At Easter time," said one of the dealers in ecclesiastical wares, "we sell thousands of candles for the great midnight celebration of the lighting of the candles. Just as the Easter day is ushered in, the Patriarch from his platform makes the announcement, 'Christ is risen.' The people repeat it over and over, the candles are lighted, then raised and lowered three times in honor of the Trinity, and we return to our homes to break the three days' fast by a feast of rejoicing."



When returning from the wharf to the steamer in the evening some of the tourists were conveyed in a tug and others in row boats. The oarsmen to save the labor of rowing cast their lines to the tug and the dancing of the little boats on the waves as they were drawn swiftly down the bay in the wake of the larger craft caused some anxiety on the part of the more timid of the occupants.



On the evening of Tuesday, the twenty-fourth of February, just as the silver-toned bells on the Russian warships were telling the hour of five, the anchor of the Moltke was drawn up and the vessel almost imperceptibly moved around and headed for the narrow outlet between the breakwaters. As we slowly steamed away from the Russian vessels, our band played the Russian national hymn and the Russian flag was elevated to the top of the Moltke's mast in a farewell salutation. Immediately the crowds of Russian sailors on the warships removed their hats and remained bareheaded until the music ceased. Then, in response, the Russian band played our national hymn, and as we sailed away, the strains of the music became fainter and fainter until they died away in the distance.

Looking backward after leaving the harbor we saw clearly defined, in the golden evening light, the towering Acropolis and the Parthenon crowning its summit, and, as we sailed away from the city which was once the centre of culture, refinement, and wealth, we tried to recall the stories of her glorious past. The figures of legend, myth, and history,—mighty warriors, celebrated heroes, eloquent orators, illustrious painters, renowned architects, great historians, immortal poets, and wonderful deities; Spartan mothers, Thermopylae defenders, and Persian invaders; beautiful Helen, muscular Hercules, crusty Diogenes, deformed AEsop, silver-tongued Demosthenes, fleet-footed Mercury, drunken Silenus, stately Juno, and lovely Venus,—a confused procession of mortals and immortals rushed across the brain.

"Look," said the professor with note book in hand interrupting our dreams of the past, "that strait to the left behind us is the entrance to the bay of Salamis where the Persian fleet of one thousand sail encountered the smaller fleet of only three hundred Grecian vessels in the year 480 B.C. The rocky brow of the hill on the farther side of the strait is the place where the haughty Xerxes sat in his silver-footed chair to gloat over the expected annihilation of Greek power. I want to read to you, before we go to our evening meal, the vivid description of the conflict from the tragedy of 'The Persians.' It was written by the poet Eschylus, who himself was one of the heroes in the fight."



CHAPTER VIII.

CONSTANTINOPLE AND SANTA SOPHIA.

On Wednesday morning, February twenty-fifth, the ladies donned winter wraps and the gentlemen heavy overcoats for their morning promenades on deck. All night the Moltke had steamed northward and the region of palms and orange trees had been left behind. By referring to the large atlas of the world in the library, we found that we were in the same latitude as that of New York City.

As we approached the entrance to the Strait of Dardanelles, the ancient Hellespont, which connects the AEgean Sea with the Sea of Marmora, the Turkish fortifications crowning the hills on both sides of the channel were plainly visible. Under the great guns of the fortresses the Moltke anchored.

"Why do we stop here?" inquired one of the tourists of the surgeon, who was standing near watching the shore.

"This is the quarantine station," replied the doctor, "and we must wait here for the official inspection. According to Turkish regulations, the passage of foreign warships through the Dardanelles is absolutely prohibited at any time and merchant vessels are not allowed to enter during the night. Every vessel arriving here must undergo inspection before receiving a permit to proceed. The Sultan guards this gateway to the most vulnerable part of his dominion, not only to prevent the entrance of a hostile fleet, but to protect his people from the incursions of that insidious foe, the plague, which sometimes ravages the Eastern countries. There come the officials now in response to our signals," he added as a yacht steamed out from the shore. "I must go with the captain to welcome them at the head of the gangway."



The Turkish quarantine physician in red fez and handsome fur overcoat, accompanied by his assistants and the inspector, came on board. Madam Rumor whispers that a good sized tip sometimes obviates tedious personal examinations and insures prompt issuance of a clean bill of health without exasperating delays. However it was, the quarantine physician, after consulting with the ship physician, quickly found the health conditions satisfactory, and the inspector of cargoes granted his permit. The pilot who was to guide the vessel through the swiftly flowing current of the Hellespont joined us here, and with him came the dragoman or chief guide who had been engaged by the managers to take special charge of the sight-seeing excursions of our party while in Constantinople.

Proceeding slowly on our way, we noticed half a dozen Turkish warships lying in the stream near by. One who claimed to know said that the Turkish naval vessels had been gathering barnacles and mussels for four years and were unfit for active service. But the fortresses guarding the strait, he said, were in excellent condition and well equipped with batteries of modern make.

The Strait of Dardanelles, for a distance of forty miles separating the continent of Asia from that of Europe, varies in width, narrowing to less than one mile at some places and broadening out to four miles at others. By referring to the steamer's atlas, consulting guide books, exchanging historical knowledge, and questioning good-natured officials, the tourists obtained information about the various points of interest that they were passing. Beyond the entrance, at the narrowest point of the strait, the place was pointed out where the Persian king Xerxes with his vast army crossed the channel on a bridge of boats for the invasion of Europe in the year 480 B.C.

"Little then," remarked a tourist, "did that imperious invader dream that within a year, in humiliation and defeat, and with only a poor remnant of that great army, he would recross that strait to Asia again."

At the same place in the channel, we were informed, Alexander the Great with his Greek legions crossed from Europe in the year 334 B.C. and continued his victorious march until all the then known portion of Asia was subdued to his rule.

"Then," said another tourist, "when flushed with victory, he wept for other worlds to conquer. To me the saddest part of Alexander's history is that he was himself conquered by his own appetite and never returned to his native shore."

Another tragic tale connected with that place is the story of Hero and Leander. Across that mile of swiftly flowing current, the story says, Leander nightly swam from Abydos to the tower on the opposite shore to visit his beloved Hero, the priestess of Venus. In one of his nightly excursions the swimmer was drowned in a storm, and Hero, after hearing of Leander's death, despairingly threw herself into the sea to share his sad fate.

"There is the height from which Hero cast herself," said an official, "and this is the place where Lord Byron, in emulation of Leander, performed the same difficult feat of swimming the channel."

To the right, on the Asian shore not far away, was the plain of Troy where Dr. Schlieman won fame by making the excavations and discoveries which led to the location of the lost city of Troy. In this ancient city of Troy, according to Homer, the beautiful Grecian princess Helen, abducted by Paris, the son of the King of Troy, was detained for ten years. The enraged Greeks under Ulysses and Ajax, seeking to rescue the princess, besieged the city and finally succeeded in entering its gates and accomplishing their purpose by means of the stratagem of a huge wooden horse.

After sailing through the length of the Sea of Marmora, about one hundred and ten miles, we arrived at five o'clock in the evening within sight of the domes and minarets that crown the promontory at the entrance to the Strait of Bosporus. From the time we caught our first glimpse of a distant minaret, until the anchor of our steamer was dropped in the channel, every tourist was intent on the picturesque views which presented themselves. While the Moltke was steadily moving onward and our point of view continually changing, the dragoman at intervals pointed out the various places of interest, now on one side, now on the other.



"The Strait of Bosporus, which we are now approaching, is here a little over a mile in width," said he. "The part of the city you see on the headland on the north shore of the Strait is the oldest part of Constantinople, and is called Stamboul. It is occupied principally by Turks, Greeks, Armenians, and Jews. The most celebrated mosques, and also the great bazaars in which tourists delight to wander, are in Stamboul."

"That dome with six minarets surrounding it, partially hidden by the intervening trees and buildings, is the Mosque of Ahmed, one of the most interesting in the city. Beyond it you can see the dome and four minarets of the more famous St. Sophia. The name of this is probably familiar to you, for almost every visitor whom I have escorted has told me that he had heard of the Mosque of St. Sophia."

"And that is Scutari," he continued, calling our attention to the city on the Asiatic shore of the strait. "The great square yellow building so prominent on that side is the military barracks. The large structure nearer us is the military hospital where the English lady nursed the soldiers during the war with Russia fifty years ago. Perhaps you have heard of the lady?"

We informed the dragoman that the noble work of Florence Nightingale during the Crimean war was well known to the American people, and her name held in high honor by them.

"The point beyond us on the left," said the guide a few minutes later, "is called Seraglio Point. The portion of the city on the promontory, extending along the Bosporus, is about one mile in length and half a mile in width and is called the Seraglio. In these extensive grounds are the well guarded Treasury buildings containing the accumulated treasures of centuries, the Imperial Museum of Antiquities, and many other public edifices. There also are the palaces, kiosks, and gardens, which were occupied by the Sultans and their families until the present Sultan changed his residence to another part of the city.

"The stream of water to our left," he added as our steamer rounded Seraglio Point, "is called the Golden Horn, so named on account of its curved shape. This inlet of the Bosporus, not over one-third of a mile in width, separates the older Stamboul from old Galata and newer Pera. Over the two bridges across this inlet streams of people pass constantly. Galata is the business section of the city which includes the wharves, steamship offices, and wholesale establishments. Pera, situated on the heights above Galata, contains the residences of the wealthier class, as well as hotels, modern stores, and the residences of the ambassadors and consuls."

After passing the mouth of the Golden Horn, the Moltke slackened speed and anchored in the Bosporus apposite Galata, a little way from the shore. Prominent on the shore at the water's edge, not far from our anchorage, stood a small but beautiful white mosque with delicate minarets, and just beyond it a snow white palace of magnificent size.

"The white marble building that you see extending for some distance along the Bosporus," said the guide, "is the Dolmah Bagcheh Palace of the Sultan, one of the magnificent palaces which he does not occupy. Once or twice a year he holds a reception there. In the distance along the water is the Cheraghan Palace where the imprisoned ex-Sultan Murad, the elder brother of the present Sultan, for many years had every luxury but liberty. And on the heights just beyond those grounds is Yildiz Kiosk, the palace where now lives the present ruler of Turkey, his Imperial Majesty, Sultan Abdul Hamid. Strangers are not permitted to enter its gates, but we have obtained his Imperial Majesty's permission to take your party through the Dolmah Bagcheh Palace."



Our steamer had barely anchored when a steam yacht flying the emblem of Turkey, a red flag with a white crescent and star, appeared alongside. Several red-fezzed Turkish officials, on whose green frock coats dangled medals and badges, mounted the stairway to receive the report of the vessel and examine and vise the passports of the passengers. The stewards collected the passports and handed them to the Sultan's officers, who afterwards returned them stamped in queer-looking characters with the official seal of the Turkish government.

"Captain, can you not send us ashore?" requested some of the tourists after the evening dinner was over.

"I would gladly send you ashore if I considered it safe for you to go," replied the Captain, "but I advise you to remain on board. There is little to be seen after sunset in this unlighted city. Although the principal streets are lighted with gas, many of the streets depend upon the moon and stars and so on cloudy nights are left in utter darkness. Strangers may with safety wander around the city during the day, but it is dangerous for them to do so at night. The lower part of the city along the wharves is infested with thieves who have little regard for the life of an infidel, and who under cover of darkness would cut one's throat and cast the body into the stream in order to secure a few valuables."

The Captain's advice was taken and the evening was delightfully spent on the vessel. The American Consul and his wife came on board to meet some friends and to welcome all the Americans. Then, according to a plan which had been made by the managers of the tour, a resident of the city delivered an instructive address on the history of Constantinople. The lecturer told of Constantine the Great, first Christian emperor and founder of the city; of Justinian, the imperial legislator and builder, and his empress Theodora, the beautiful comedian who became a queen; of the heroic warrior Belisarius and his emperor's ingratitude; of the Greek girl Irene who rose to supreme power; of the bloody religious riots and theological disputes; of the Nicene Council and adoption of the Nicene creed; and of the pillage of Constantinople by the ruthless Crusaders. He told also of the marriage ceremonies, of the art and commerce, and of the places of interest about the city. His remarks about the former trade and literature of the city were most interesting.

"During the earlier centuries of the Eastern Roman Empire," said the lecturer, "Constantinople, the capital, was a great centre of trade, an exchange market for the products of the world. Caravans brought the treasures of the East to the storehouses here to be bartered for the cargoes of produce which came in ships from the West. This exchange brought wealth and prosperity to the city. In later centuries the Venetians and Genoese succeeded in transferring much of this business to Venice and Genoa and the trade of Constantinople declined. In modern days steamships and the Suez canal have completely changed the route of commerce.

"Constantinople, not only was a centre of trade, but in the Twelfth and Thirteenth centuries it was the centre of literature. During the dark ages, when the study of literature was generally neglected in other places, the lamp of learning burned brightly in this city. Libraries were established and manuscripts accumulated; but at the time of the Turkish invasion a multitude of the most valuable documents were destroyed. When the Renaissance brought new life to the western shores, the centre of literature moved to Italy, and printed books took the place of manuscripts."



When we thought of the present standing of Turkey among the nations of the world, it was difficult to realize that for centuries Constantinople was the commercial centre and the brilliant capital of the world. It was even more difficult to realize that the country which now prohibits the importation of foreign books and papers was at one time the patron of art, literature, and learning, the collector of great libraries of illuminated manuscripts, theological discourses, and legal documents. But that was centuries ago.

Thursday morning ushered in a bright, clear, cool day. We were up early, eager for sight-seeing, and little boats soon carried us to the custom house pier on the Galata side. Open carriages drawn by wiry Turkish horses and driven by Turkish drivers were there in readiness to carry us across the Golden Horn to explore the sights of Stamboul. As our carriages rattled over the plank pontoon bridge with its drawbridge in the center, we passed through a crowd of people more varied as to nationality and costume than can be seen at almost any other place on the globe. The Turks, of course, predominated, their nationality being indicated by the national head-gear,—the red fez. The wealthier Turks wore the English style of clothing and the red fez. The costumes of the other classes varied according to their occupation. On the bridge as our driver guided his team through the throng, we saw Turkish soldiers in blue uniforms and red fez; Moslems wearing a green sash around the fez to indicate that they had performed a pilgrimage to Mecca; stately-looking bearded Greek priests in black robes and peculiar hats; Nubians with black glistening skins and tattooed faces; Moslem priests with pure white turbans, and Moslem priests with high green turbans; Russian or Hungarian peasants with coats of sheep skin, the fleecy sides of which were turned inward; Dervishes in brown mantles, and high-coned brown hats without brims; Hebrews in long yellow coats and little curls at the sides of their heads; Turks in gold embroidered trousers and jackets and long flowing blue sleeves; Turkish women with faces closely veiled, and negro women who concealed their features behind white veils in the same manner as the Turkish women.



"Those cakes looked so good, I was almost tempted to take one off the tray," said one of the occupants of our carriage, as a peddler carrying on his head a table filled with cakes and pastry passed so closely that his wares were within reach.

"Oh, how could you think of doing such a thing," hastily exclaimed her companion, horrified at the thought, "we should all be placed in a dungeon and our pleasure ended."

Peddlers of dates, bearing their stock of fruit in huge baskets on their backs and carrying scales in one hand, held up a sample of dates towards us with the other hand; dealers in nuts in the same manner carried and offered their wares to the passers-by; peddlers of "Turkish delight" and other sweetmeats arranged the candies on their trays in an attractive manner; and the sherbet sellers called attention to the pink liquid in large glass bottles suspended on their backs. At each end of the bridge were half a dozen toll collectors in long white overshirts who stood in line across the way collecting the toll of ten paras, or one cent, from each person that crossed.

"How clearly that dome and the two minarets stand out against the sky," exclaimed one of the party, pointing to a great dome and two delicate minarets with tapering peaks which rose above the buildings directly in front of us on the other side of the bridge.



"That is the Mosque where the Sultans and their families went to prayer when they resided in the Seraglio near by. We will not stop at this Mosque but will go directly to the Mosque of St. Sophia."

"Professor," said the lady who in Athens had confessed her ignorance of history, "please give us some information about the church of St. Sophia while we are grouped here together in front of the building."

The professor expressed his willingness to do so, provided we were willing to take the time to listen.

"In the year 532 A.D.," said he, "Justinian, the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, decided to erect in Constantinople a church that should be a glory to the city and an honor to his name. His desire was to build one 'such as since Adam has never been seen,' a structure differing in design from any Christian temple previously constructed and surpassing in magnificence any temple that afterwards might be built. The empire was then at the height of its power and glory, and Justinian, in emulation of Solomon, made demands on all the countries under his dominion for contributions of ivory, cedar, gold, silver, precious stones, and the rarest marbles.

"In order to attain his ambitious design, the monarch robbed the Temple of the Sun at Baalbek of columns of porphyry, despoiled the Temple of Diana of Ephesus of its finest pillars, took columns of pure white marble from the Temple of Minerva at Athens, and divested the shrines of Isis and Osiris in Egypt of their choicest granite columns. He called upon the quarries of Italy, Greece, and the AEgean Isles for marbles of every hue produced by them, so that, when completed, the temple should contain the most beautiful marbles the world could yield, and these he ordered to be highly polished and artistically arranged. To hasten the construction, ten thousand workmen under the direction of one hundred architects were employed, and in less than six years the immense structure, 'the great Church of Santa Sophia, or Heavenly Wisdom,' one of the most famous churches of the world, was ready for dedication.

"The great altar was built of silver and gold, the seven chairs of the bishops were plated with silver, the crosses and crucifixes were composed of pure gold, and the altar cloth and vestments were encrusted with precious stones. Jeweled images of saints, sacred paintings of fabulous value, and holy relics to be adored by kneeling worshipers, were arranged around the walls of the building. The huge doors of the temple were made of cedar, ivory, amber, and silver; the ceiling glistened with golden mosaics; the walls shone with polished marbles: and the capitals of the columns were laced with delicate carvings inset with mother-of-pearl, silver, and precious stones.

"On the day of the dedication of the temple a jubilant procession of patriarchs, bishops, priests, and people, in admiring wonder, entered the completed building with songs and rejoicings. The Emperor, at the head of the procession, overcome with pride and joy in the glorious consummation of his purpose, threw himself upon the floor and exultingly exclaimed: 'Glory to God who has deemed me worthy to accomplish so great a work. O Solomon, I have surpassed thee!'

"In this sanctuary for over nine centuries the people worshiped God according to the Christian faith in great pomp and with much ceremony. The bishops officiated at the golden altar reading from golden lettered manuscripts, and were assisted in the service by scores of richly robed priests and hundreds of selected musicians, while the air was filled with the fragrance of rising incense. But during the latter part of the Middle Ages while the power and glory of the Roman Empire was gradually declining, the rival Mohammedan Turkish Empire in Asia was rapidly ascending to a dominant position. Finally, in the year 1453 A.D., the Sultan of Asiatic Turkey, Muhammed II, determined to obtain possession of Constantinople and make the city the capital of his empire. His army besieged the decadent city and captured it after a struggle of fifty-three days. When the Turkish troops entered in triumph they tore the emblems of Christianity from their places and, instead of the cross of the Christian, they raised the crescent of the Moslem.

"In the church of St. Sophia the conquerors tore down the golden altar, melted the silver plates, removed the images of saints, painted over the sacred pictures, and took away the jewels and precious stones, changing the interior to suit the simpler worship of the followers of Mahomet. The name of the building was changed and it was thereafter known as the Mosque of Saint Sophia. For four hundred and fifty years the Mosque has been in possession of the Turks. Its doors are open at all times for Moslems to enter freely; but the entrance is carefully guarded to keep Christian or foreign visitors from intruding. The latter, however, may gain admission by paying an entrance fee of forty cents, and removing their shoes at the door or lacing over their shoes the loose slippers that are provided for this purpose."



On the porch of the Mosque we put our feet into the loose slippers, a Moslem attendant tied them on as carefully as the clumsy things could be tied, and then, accompanied by him, we entered the building. The immense floor, an acre in size, was covered with handsome heavy rugs. As we slid, rather than walked, over the soft Turkish carpets, our turbaned guide, with sharp, piercing, black eyes, watched carefully to see that our slippers did not become unfastened and drop off, and our infidel shoes profane the holy enclosure. And when one of the visitors laughed within the sacred edifice, the attendant's black eyes flashed with anger.

It was not the regular hour for prayer in the mosque, but a number of worshipers were devoutly kneeling at different places in the interior, with faces turned toward a black stone in the south wall, which indicated the direction of the holy city of Mecca. Others, squatting on their bare heels, were reading or reciting in monotonous tones parts of the Koran. There are no benches or chairs in the building; Moslem worshipers do not require seats while at their devotions. The great dome, over one hundred feet in width, rises in grandeur one hundred and eighty feet overhead, supported by four huge columns each seventy feet in circumference. A circle of windows, forty-four in number, around the dome illumines the golden mosaics which cover the ceiling. A mosaic picture in the dome representing the Almighty, has been obliterated by the Turks and covered with green linen cloth. A verse from the Koran, in gilt Arabic characters almost thirty feet long, is painted on this cloth. The sentence, as translated, begins: "God is the light of heaven and earth," and ends, "God alone sheddeth His light on whomsoever He pleaseth."



"If the Moslems believe in the Bible and in God as a supreme being, why did they destroy the mosaic representation of God on the ceiling?" inquired one of the visitors.

"The Moslems do believe in the Bible and in one Supreme God," was the reply, "and it was this very belief that led them to paint out the picture of God and to destroy all the images and paintings of saints; for God's command is: 'Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.'"

"The Moslems," continued the guide, "regard Mahomet as the Prophet of God, and the Koran as written by him under the inspiration of God; but they do not worship Mahomet or any image or picture of him."

We paused to admire the four green marble columns taken from the Temple of Diana, and the polished shafts brought from the Temple of the Sun, relics of those two magnificent cities, Ephesus and Baalbek, of whose grandeur nothing now remains but broken stones. We gazed upward at the eight immense green shields covered with Arabic characters, high above our heads on the walls. But we doubted the miraculous healing power of a small hole that is always damp in a bronze-covered pillar, and hesitated also to accept the tradition that the apparent imprint of a bloody hand in the marble wall was made by the Sultan Muhammed II when he rode into St. Sophia after the capture of the city.

"On Fridays," said the guide, as we stood at the foot of the marble steps that led to the elevated pulpit, "the priest, clad in a long red robe, reads a prayer for the Sultan, and, while doing so, holds in one hand the Koran and in the other a drawn sword to indicate that this temple was captured from the Christians by force."

"That prayer rug," he continued pointing to a beautiful carpet hanging on the wall near by, "was the personal prayer rug of the great conqueror Muhammed II. There is so much more to be seen," he added, "that we could spend the whole day here, but the dragoman is beckoning and we must go on."

We shook the slippers from our feet in the porch and were driven through narrow streets to the Grand Bazaar.

"The Grand Bazaar," said the guide, "covers several acres. It has one hundred entrances. There are twelve hundred narrow streets or passages under roof within the bazaar and on these streets are four thousand little shops."

The Grand Bazaar, we decided, was the enormous department store of Stamboul; but we noticed that each little shop had its own proprietor. To many of the visitors, this Bazaar was the most interesting place in Constantinople; for here were found the most tempting bargains in Oriental wares, in its narrow passages were seen the native people in their most picturesque costumes, and in its maze of dimly lighted corridors some tourists were lost for awhile and met with novel adventures.

The store of Far-Away-Moses was one of the largest and most popular of the shops in the Bazaar and that genial trader did a thriving business. There seemed to be a magnetic power that drew the guides in the direction of certain shops, an unseen influence that urged them to recommend certain places, and one of these places was Moses' emporium. Some of the ladies found that when they slipped away and entered a shop without a guide a better bargain could be secured.

The price named for articles in the bazaar shops by the fezzed or turbaned dealers was generally three times the price that they would accept before losing a sale; but much tact was required on the part of the purchaser, and much valuable time was occupied in the diplomatic struggles between the acute Yankees and clever Moslems. When, however, the battle was won and the desired article secured at one-half or one-third the price at first demanded, the joy of the purchaser was doubled. The person, who, after an hour's dickering, bought a bronze ornament for twenty piasters, or one dollar of American money, was just as happy over the bargain as the one who succeeded in purchasing a magnificent silk rug for twenty thousand piasters. The money drawers of the Moslem traders were swollen with their contents but their shelves were less crowded when the Americans left the bazaar.

When we returned to the vessel we found that during our absence the decks had been converted into a rival bazaar. The tourists who had failed to obtain souvenirs had another opportunity to buy them; for here were displayed silk rugs ranging in price from three thousand piasters downward, exquisite embroideries, rare silks, delicate fans, gold-laced shawls, fragrant attar of roses, and a multitude of articles in bronze, silver, and gold.

"How restful it is to recline lazily in our comfortable steamer chairs rolled up in a rug, dreaming or talking over the events of the day, without any cares or worries to disturb our thoughts," remarked one of our friends as we sat upon the deck in the later evening hours watching the glimmering lights on the shore.

"Yes," said another, "there seems to be nothing to disturb the serenity of the night; even the distant barking of the dogs appears to be in harmony with the soft lapping of the waves against the vessel. I feel that I shall rest to-night in my berth, as Shakespeare says, in a 'sleep that knits the ravel'd sleeve of care,' after the exertion of a full day of sight-seeing."



CHAPTER IX.

THE SELAMLIK AND THE TREASURY.

One dark night in the faraway past, so the story runs, the barking of dogs in the outskirts of Constantinople wakened the sleeping garrison in the city, warning them of the approach of a crafty foe who sought to surprise and capture the place. At the same time, the young moon, coming out from under a cloud, revealed the position of the enemy. The barking of the dogs and the light of the crescent moon enabled the garrison to frustrate the designs of their foes and save the capital from capture. Since then the nightly howlings of the dogs have been tolerated by the Turkish people and the crescent has had a place of honor on the Turkish banner. To kill a dog is an unpardonable offense. The dogs, however, are not well fed, well groomed pets, fondled, kissed, collared, and blanketed, as in some other countries; but are ownerless, homeless creatures roaming at night in great numbers through the streets and sleeping by day on the thoroughfares and sidewalks regardless of passers-by. The people step over or go around the sleeping animals and do not disturb them. The dogs seem to know their privileges, for they will not move out of the way.

The city is noted for its dogs, not on account of their beauty or breed, for they are a disreputable lot of mongrel curs and bear the marks of many nightly brawls, but on account of the legions of them and their usefulness as scavengers. At nightfall the residents of Stamboul empty their garbage cans in the streets and the dogs, howling and fighting, dispose of every scrap before daylight. When a Turk desires to express the utmost contempt for a person he calls him a dog.



"If you wish to avoid trouble while in this city," cautioned the dragoman, "neither disturb a sleeping dog in the highways,—for the dog will resent the interference with his slumbers,—nor call a Turk a dog, for the anger of a Turk thus reviled is uncontrollable until the offender who called him by that vilest of epithets is severely punished."

A drive of one and a half miles along the Grand Rue de Galata, one of the wider thoroughfares in Galata parallel to the Bosporus, carried the tourists from the custom house pier to the gates of the Dolmah Bagcheh Palace. The entrance to the grounds of the palace is through a gateway of marble, beautiful in design and richly ornamented with elaborate Corinthian columns and delicate carvings of garlands, wreaths, and urns.

While we gazed at the carvings, the officer in charge of the guard carefully examined our permit. Then the massive gates were swung open for our entrance. Within the palace we ascended a magnificent wide marble staircase, the balusters of which were made of clear glass. We admired the intricately carved alabaster bath-rooms and wondered if their neatness had ever been disturbed. We passed through a multitude of richly decorated chambers and salons where every article was arranged in perfect order, and walked on carpet strips laid for visitors' feet around the beautiful ball-room, not daring to tread on the highly polished hard-wood floor. Every apartment of the palace was immaculate, and resplendent in marble, porcelain, inlaid woods, and golden mosaics. The largest mirror in the world reflected the passers-by and costly paintings attracted the eyes of the visitors. The dark green malachite and the rich blue lapis lazuli harmonized pleasingly with yellow gold and white marble. And yet this grand show palace is unoccupied except by the hundreds of care-takers required to keep it in order. Its quiet is disturbed only by sight-seers who pay for the privilege of inspecting the stately apartments, and, on rare occasions, by imperial receptions which are held in the throne room. This immense apartment surpasses all the others in the elegance of its adornment. The dome overhead and the walls and the Corinthian columns which surround the room are richly decorated with oriental designs in white and gold. From the centre of the dome hangs a crystal chandelier noted for its size and beauty.

"In this throne room," said the guide, "five thousand persons can stand. On the day after the close of the Fast of Ramazan, which is the first day of the Feast of Bairam, the Sultan drives here from Yildiz Palace, along a road lined with soldiers, and holds a State reception. Several thousand of the nobility assemble in this room and the Sultan, seated on that crimson and gold sofa, receives the homage of his officials. The generals of the army in gorgeous uniforms, the heads of the religious orders, holy men, and state officials approach according to their rank and make their obeisance to his Imperial Majesty. They reverently kiss the hem of his Majesty's garment, press the hem to their foreheads as a seal of their declaration of loyalty to his person, and then retire backward from his presence. During the reception every face in the assembly is turned toward the Sultan. To turn one's back to his Majesty, even for a moment, is unpardonable. That day after Ramazan is a great day in the city; cannons thunder, the bands play, the mosques are illuminated at night, and the people feast and rejoice."



"What is the Fast of Ramazan and when does it occur?"

"The Fast of Ramazan," replied the guide, "is kept through the whole month of Ramazan, which corresponds to your month of September. For thirty days the Moslems do not eat bread nor drink water during the hours between sunrise and sunset. After sunset they may refresh themselves. The Prophet commanded that one specially named day in the month of Ramazan should be kept as a fast day; but the date of that particular day was somehow lost, and now, in order to make sure of keeping the fast on the day appointed, the Moslems keep every day in that month as a fast day. The Feast of Bairam immediately follows the end of the fasting. This festival consists of three days of feasting and festivities."

Friday is the Mohammedan Sabbath, but we could not see that it made much difference in the traffic of the city. We asked the guide if the Turkish bazaars would be closed.

"No," he replied, "but more of the faithful attend mosque on Friday than on other days, and on Friday each week the Sultan goes to his special mosque with great ceremony."

The Sultan's weekly visit to prayer is called the Selamlik or Sultan's Procession to Mosque. Our guide obtained a good position for our carriage in an open square near the mosque from which to see the procession. The parade was not to occur until one o'clock, but in order to secure the place we were there at eleven. The time of waiting was not tiresome as there was much of interest going on around us all the time. Carriages of other visitors assembled in the open square; cabs containing invited dignitaries rolled up to the ruler's palace, which was within sight about one block away; guards drove the crowds from the streets; regiments of red-fezzed infantry tramped by and formed in lines along the street between the palace and the mosque; mounted lancers with flying pennons trotted to their positions; and the bands took their place near the palace. Uniformed policemen and spies in plain clothes circulated among the carriages and sight-seers, watching closely for suspicious characters, and listening to remarks made by visitors. We were advised by our dragoman not to mention the name of the Sultan.

"How the Turks do enjoy their coffee," said an occupant of our carriage, calling attention to a group squatting on the ground with cups in hand.

Near our carriage a Turk was making coffee on a portable stove and selling the beverage to thirsty customers; an itinerant barber placed his portable stool beside our carriage wheel, opened his kit of tools and was soon busy lathering and shaving dusky faces; a water peddler with his jar on his back played a tune on tumblers by rubbing them with his fingers; a cake peddler's table was upset by passing dragoons and he mournfully picked up the fragments. The trays of the Turkish peddlers of candies and cakes were clean and the articles offered appeared fresh and appetizing. We yielded to temptation and bought some "Turkish delight" and some light flaky biscuit, and, after eating the dainties, wished for more.



"It is nearly one o'clock," said the guide looking at his watch.

The street cleaners were hastily giving a final polish to the roadway over which the Sultan would drive between the lines of soldiers. A dozen carts filled with clean sand that had been standing near us were hurried up the hill and the white sand was spread over the Sultan's path. The bands ceased playing; the soldiers stood at attention; the Muezzin called to prayer; a trumpet sounded from the gates; and from the palace on the hill carriages emerged containing the veiled wives of the ruler attended by black eunuchs on horseback. A long line of military officers in handsome uniforms followed on foot; then a shout arose from the assembled troops, and a carriage appeared drawn by a very handsome pair of horses in gold-mounted harness. In the carriage the Sultan sat alone. The huzzas of the troops continued until his Majesty entered the mosque. Then all was silent, for the Sultan was at his prayers alone. His wives and his officials had been left at the entrance. No person was permitted to enter. The Iman, or priest in charge, and the Sultan were the only occupants of the mosque.

Without waiting for the ruler's return the visitors hastened away, the carriages raising such a cloud of dust that it was difficult to see across the road. A hasty luncheon in a Pera restaurant followed, and then we turned toward Stamboul. As we drove again across the Galata bridge through the ever interesting throng of humanity that crowds over it, our attention was called to the manner in which merchandise is conveyed through the narrow streets of the city. Wagons are rarely used, but men carry the merchandise on their backs and shoulders. These men passed us laden with immense bales of hides, huge bundles of carpets and rugs, large boxes of dry-goods, great crates of fruits or vegetables, piles of trunks, barrels and sacks of groceries, and cans of oil. The ponderous burdens were heaped upon wooden frames fitted to the backs and strapped to the shoulders of the carriers. When the load was too heavy for one man to carry, it was suspended on poles and carried by two or more of the bearers.



A high wall surrounds the old Seraglio grounds. Before visitors may enter a permit must be obtained. A permit including the necessary fees to the keepers costs small parties of visitors about five dollars each; the permit and fees for the Molkte party, so it was rumored, cost the managers two hundred dollars. The captain of the guard at the gate scrutinized our permit and kept us waiting until an official was summoned to act as our conductor. When we arrived at the Treasury building the huge door was opened with impressive ceremony and the uniformed officials kept the tourists under close surveillance while they were within.

Among the many curiosities that attracted attention in the first room of the Treasury was a throne captured from one of the Shahs of Persia four hundred years ago. This Persian throne is made of beaten gold inlaid with rubies and emeralds, and is said to be of fabulous value. Arranged in glass cases in another room a row of figures represents the Sultans of past ages clothed in the royal attire worn by them. The white turbans of these effigies are ablaze with jewels. The mantles which cover them are of Oriental brocade wrought in gold and silver patterns, and the belts, swords, and daggers are adorned with sparkling gems. A suit of chain armor worn by one of the Sultans of olden times is ornamented with gold and diamonds. On the second floor of the Treasury, to which we ascended by a narrow stairway, the most carefully guarded treasure is a throne used by a former Turkish ruler. This Turkish throne is made of precious wood inlaid with tortoise shell, mother of pearl, and gold and silver traceries, and is set with turquoises. A canopy overspreads the throne, and beneath the canopy, suspended by a golden cord, hangs an enormous pear-shaped emerald. In cases around the various rooms, crowns, sceptres, simitars, swords, daggers, and talismans, scintillate with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.

"Many of the highly valued treasures stored in these rooms," said our friend, the professor, "are trophies of the times when Crusader knight, Persian prince, and Saracen warrior went forth to battle arrayed in costly apparel, and encamped under silken canopies or in tents of cloth of gold. Then jeweled balls suspended from golden cords adorned the tent poles of the warriors, and luxury and opulence abounded underneath the canopies. The royalty of kings and princes moved with them to the field of war. Under pavilions of Oriental weave, silken carpets were spread over the turf for royal feet to tread, and thrones erected from which the sovereigns issued their commands. Retinues of retainers rendered obeisance and executed the mandates of their lords. Caravans of camels laden with robes of royalty and chests of treasure moved from camp to camp.

"Knights and warriors vied with each other in the splendor of their equipage. The trappings of their war steeds were embroidered in silk and gold; the breastplates and helmets which protected their bodies were embossed with silver or traced with gold; the scabbards and hilts of their weapons were encrusted with precious stones; and their mantles were clasped with fastenings and buckles adorned with jewels. In battle the body of a dead knight gave much booty to the slayer; the capture of a canopy enriched the captors; and the defeat of an army and seizure of its camp gave to the victors a train of spoils.

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