"On hearing that I came from the school at Fontainbleau, he made a wry face, and said, 'My lieutenant died yesterday.'—I understood that he meant to say, 'You are to replace him, and you are not able.' A sharp word rose to my lips, but I repressed it.
"The moon rose behind the redoubt of Cheverino, situate at twice cannon-shot from our bivouac. She was large and red, as is common at her rising; but that night she seemed to me of extraordinary size. For an instant the black outline of the redoubt stood out against the moon's brilliant disc, resembling the cone of a volcano at the moment of an eruption.
"An old soldier who stood near me, noticed the colour of the moon. 'She is very red,' he said; ''tis a sign that yon famous redoubt will cost us dear.' I was always superstitious, and this augury, just at that moment, affected me. I lay down, but could not sleep; I got up and walked for some time, gazing at the immense line of fires covering the heights beyond the village of Cheverino.
"When I deemed my blood sufficient cooled by the fresh night air, I returned to the fire, wrapped myself carefully in my cloak, and shut my eyes, hoping not to re-open them till daylight. But sleep shunned me. Insensibly my thoughts took a gloomy turn. I said to myself, that I had not one friend amongst the hundred thousand men covering that plain. If I were wounded, I should be in an hospital, carelessly treated by ignorant surgeons. All that I had heard of surgical operations returned to my memory. My heart beat violently; and mechanically I arranged, as a species of cuirass, the handkerchief and portfolio that I carried in the breast of my uniform. I was overwhelmed by fatigue, and continually fell into a doze, but as often as I did so, some sinister idea awoke me with a start. Fatigue, however, at last got the upper hand, and I was fast asleep when the reveille sounded. We formed up, the roll was called, then arms were piled, and according to all appearance the day was to pass quietly.
"Towards three o'clock an aid-de-camp arrived with an order. We resumed our arms; our skirmishers spread themselves over the plain; we followed slowly; and in twenty minutes we saw the Russian pickets withdraw to the redoubt. A battery of artillery took post on our right hand, another on our left, but both considerably in advance. They opened a vigorous fire upon the enemy, who replied with energy, and soon the redoubt of Cheverino disappeared behind a cloud of smoke.
"Our regiment was almost protected from the Russian fire by a ridge. Their bullets, which seldom came in our direction—for they preferred aiming them at the artillery—passed over our heads, or at most sent earth and pebbles in our faces.
"When we had received the order to advance, my captain looked at me with an attention which made me pass my hand two or three times over my young mustache, in the most cavalier manner I could assume. I felt no fear, save that of being thought to feel it. These harmless cannon-balls contributed to maintain me in my heroic calmness. My vanity told me that I ran a real danger, since I was under fire of a battery. I was enchanted to feel myself so much at my ease, and I thought with what pleasure I should narrate the capture of the redoubt of Cheverino in the drawing-room of Madame de B——, Rue de Provence.
"The colonel passed along the front of our company and spoke to me. 'Well!' he said, 'you will see sharp work for your first affair.'
"I smiled most martially, and brushed my coat-sleeve, on which a ball, fallen about thirty paces from me, had sent a little dust.
"It seems the Russians perceived how small was the effect of their round shot, for they replaced them by shells, which could reach us better in the hollow where we were posted. A tolerably large fragment of one of these knocked off my shako and killed a mail beside me.
"'I congratulate you,' said the captain, as I picked up my shako. 'You are safe for to-day.' I knew the military superstition which holds the maxim Non bis in idem to be as applicable on a battle-field as in a court of justice. I proudly replaced my shako on my head. 'An unceremonious way of making people bow,' said I, as gaily as I could. Under the circumstances, this poor joke appeared excellent. 'I congratulate you,' repeated the captain; 'you will not be hit again, and to-night you will command a company, for I feel that my turn is coming. Every time I have been wounded, the officer near me has received a spent ball, and,' he added in a low voice, and almost ashamed, 'all their names began with a P.'
"I affected to laugh at such superstitions. Many would have done as I did—many would have been struck, as I was, by these prophetic words. As a raw recruit I understood that I must keep my feelings to myself, and always appear coldly intrepid.
"After half an hour the Russian fire sensibly slackened; then we emerged from our cover to march against the redoubt. Our regiment was composed of three battalions. The second was charged to take the redoubt in flank on the side of the gorge; the two others were to deliver the assault. I was in the third battalion.
"On appearing from behind the sort of ridge that had protected us, we were received by several volleys of musketry, which did little harm in our ranks. The whistling of the bullets surprised me: I turned my head several times, thus incurring the jokes of my comrades, to whom the noise was more familiar. 'All things considered,' said I to myself, 'a battle is not such a terrible thing.'
"We advanced at storming pace, preceded by skirmishers. Suddenly the Russians gave three hurras, very distinct ones, and then remained silent, and without firing. 'I don't like that silence,' said my captain. 'It bodes us little good.' I thought our soldiers rather too noisy, and I could not help internally comparing the tumultuous clamour with the imposing stillness of the enemy.
"We rapidly attained the foot of the redoubt: the palisades had been broken, and the earth ploughed by our cannonade. With shouts of 'Vive l'Empereur!' louder than might have been expected from fellows who had already shouted so much, our soldiers dashed over the ruins.
"I looked up, and never shall I forget the spectacle I beheld. The great mass of smoke had arisen, and hung suspended like a canopy twenty feet above the redoubt. Through a gray mist were seen the Russian grenadiers, erect behind their half-demolished parapet, with levelled arms, and motionless as statues. I think I still see each individual soldier, his left eye riveted on us, the right one hidden by his musket. In an embrasure, a few feet from us, stood a man with a lighted fuse in his hand.
"I shuddered, and thought my last hour was come. 'The dance is going to begin,' cried my captain. Good-night.' They were the last words I heard him utter.
"The roll of drums resounded in the redoubt. I saw the musket muzzles sink. I shut my eyes, and heard a frightful noise, followed by cries and groans. I opened my eyes surprised to find myself still alive. The redoubt was again enveloped in smoke. Dead and wounded men lay all around me. My captain was stretched at my feet; his head had been smashed by a cannon-ball, and I was covered with his blood and brains. Of the whole company, only six men and myself were on their legs.
"A moment of stupefaction followed this carnage. Then the colonel, putting his hat on the point of his sword, ascended the parapet, crying 'Vive l'Empereur!' He was instantly followed by all the survivors. I have no clear recollection of what then occurred. We entered the redoubt, I know not how. They fought hand to hand in the middle of a smoke so dense that they could not see each other. I believe I fought too, for my sabre was all bloody. At last I heard a shout of victory, and, the smoke diminishing, I saw the redoubt completely covered with blood and dead bodies. About two hundred men in French uniform stood in a group, without military order, some loading their muskets, others wiping their bayonets. Eleven Russian prisoners were with them.
"Our colonel lay bleeding on a broken tumbril. Several soldiers were attending to him, as I drew near—'Where is the senior captain?' said he to a sergeant. The sergeant shrugged his shoulders in a most expressive manlier. 'And the senior lieutenant?' 'Here is Monsieur, who joined yesterday,' replied the sergeant, in a perfectly calm tone. The colonel smiled bitterly. 'You command in chief, sir,' he said to me; 'make haste to fortify the gorge of the redoubt with those carts, for the enemy is in force; but General C. will send you a support.'—'Colonel,' said I, 'you are badly wounded.'—'Foutre, mon cher, but the redoubt is taken.'"
"Carmen," M. Merimee's latest production, appeared a few months since in the Revue des Deux Mondes, which appears to have got the monopoly of his pen, as it has of many of the cleverest pens in France. "Carmen" is a graceful and animated sketch, in style as brilliant as anything by the same author—in the character of its incidents less strikingly original than some of his other tales. It is a story of Spanish life, not in cities and palaces, in court or camp, but in the barranca and the forest, the gipsy suburb of Seville, the woodland bivouac and smuggler's lair. Carmen is a gipsy, a sort of Spanish Esmeralda, but without the good qualities of Hugo's charming creation. She has no Djali; she is fickle and mercenary, the companion of robbers, the instigator of murder. She inveigles a young soldier from his duty, leads him into crime, deceives and betrays him, and finally meets her death at his hand. M. Merimee has been much in Spain, and—unlike some of his countrymen, who apparently go thither with the sole view of spying out the nakedness of the land and making odious comparisons, and who, in their excess of patriotic egotism, prefer Versailles to the Alhambra, and the Bal Mabille to a village fandango—he has a vivid perception of the picturesque and characteristic, of the couleur locale, to use the French term, whether in men or manners, scenery or costume, and he embodies his impressions in pointed and sparkling phrase. As an antiquarian and linguist, he unites qualities precious for the due appreciation of Spain. Well-versed in the Castilian, he also displays a familiarity with the Cantabrian tongue—that strange and difficult Vascuense which the Evil One himself, according to a provincial proverb, spent seven years of fruitless labour in endeavouring to acquire. And he patters Romani, the mysterious jargon of the gitanos, in a style no way inferior—so far as we can discover—to Bible Borrow himself. That gentleman, by the bye, when next he goes a missionarying, would find M. Merimee an invaluable auxiliary, and the joint narrative of their adventures would doubtless be in the highest degree curious. The grave earnestness of the Briton would contrast curiously with the lively half-scoffing tone of the witty and learned Frenchman. Indeed, there would be danger of persons of such opposite character falling out upon the road, and fighting a mortal duel, with the king of the gipsies for bottle-holder. The proverbial jealousy between persons of the same trade might prove another motive of strife. Both are dealers in the romantic. And "Carmen," related as the personal experience of the author during an archaeological tour in Andalusia the autumn of 1830, is as graphic and fascinating as any chapters of the great tract-monger's remarkable wanderings.
[B] It was a rule with the raffines not to commence a new quarrel so long as there was an old one to terminate.
HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE AND LIVE IN IT.
Having disposed of two grand categories of mistakes and absurdities in house-building, viz., lightness of structure and badness of material, we shall now address ourselves more particularly to the defects of Arrangement and Form, or, as an architect might term it, to the discussion of Plan and Elevation. The former task was ungrateful enough; for therein we had to attack the cupidity and meanness, and the desire for show and spurious display, which is the besetting sin of every Englishman who pays poor-rates; but, the present undertaking is hardly less hopeless, for we have to appeal to the intelligence, not only of architects and builders, but also of those who commission them.
Now, there is nothing drier and more unprofitable under the sun, nothing more nearly approaching to a state of addle, than a builder's brains. Your regular builders (and, indeed, not a few of your architects) are the sorriest animals twaddling about on two legs; mere vivified bags of sawdust, or lumps of lath and plaster, galvanised for a while, and forming themselves into strange, uncouth, unreasonable shapes. A mere "builder" has not two ideas in his head; he has only one; he can draw only one "specification," as he calls it, under different forms; he can make only one plan; he has one set of cornices always in his eye; one peculiar style of panel; one special cut of a chimney. You may trace him all through a town, or across a county, if his fame extends so far; a dull repetition of the same notion characterises all his works. He served his apprenticeship to old Plumbline, in Brick Lane; got up the Carpenter's Vade-Mecum by heart; had a little smattering of drawing from Daub the painter, and then set up in business for himself. As for Mr Triangle the architect, who built the grand town-hall here, the other-day, in the newest style of Egyptian architecture, and copied two mummies for door-posts, and who is now putting up the pretty little Gothic church for the Diocesan Church-and-Chapel-Building and Pew-Extension Society, with an east window from York, and a spire from Salisbury, and a west front from Lincoln—why, he is the veriest stick of a designer that ever applied a T-square to a stretching-board. He has studied Wilkins's Vitruvius, it is true, and he has looked all through Hunt's Tudor Architecture, but his imagination is as poor as when he began them; he has never in his life seen one of the good buildings he is pirating from, barring St Paul's and Westminster Abbey; he knows nothing finer than Regent Street and Pall-Mall, and yet he pretends to be a modern Palladio. It will not do, all this sham and parade of knowledge; we want a new generation, both of architects and builders, before we shall see any thing good arising in the way of houses—but as this new progeny is not likely to spring up within a few days, nor even years, we may as well buckle to the task of criticism at once, and find out faults, which we shall leave others to mend.
And, to lay the foundation of criticism in such matters once more and for ever, let us again assert that good common-sense, and a plain straight-forward perception of what is really useful, and suited to the wants of climate and locality, are worth all the other parts of any architect's education. These are the great qualities, without which he will take up his rulers and pencils in vain; without them, his ambitious facades and intricate plans will all come to nothing, except dust and rubbish. He may draw and colour like Barry himself; but unless he has some spark of the genius that animated old Inigo and Sir Christopher, some little inkling of William of Wickham's spirit within him, some sound knowledge of the fitness and the requirements of things, he had better throw down his instruments, and give it up as a bad job; he'll only "damn himself to lasting shame."
A moderate degree of science, an ordinarily correct eye, so as to tell which is straightest, the letter I or the letter S, and a good share of plain common-sense—these are the real qualifications of all architects, builders, and constructors whatsoever.
One other erroneous idea requires to be upset; the notion that our modern houses, merely because they are recent, are better built and more convenient than ancient ones. If there be one thing more certain than another in the matter, it is this, that a gentleman's house built in 1700, is far handsomer, stronger, and more convenient, than one built in 1800; and not only so, but if it had had fair play given it, would still outlive the newer one, and give it fifty years to boot;—and also that another house built in 1600, is stronger than the one raised in 1700, and has still an equal chance of survivorship; but that any veteran mansion which once witnessed the year 1500, is worth all the other three put together—not only for design and durability, but also for comfort and real elegance. Pick out a bit of walling or roofing some four or five centuries old, and it would take a modern erection of five times the same solidity to stand the same test of ages.
Let it not be supposed that our ancestors dwelt in rooms smaller, or darker, or smokier, than those we now cram ourselves into. Nothing at all of the kind; they knew what ease was, better than we do. They had glorious bay-windows, and warm chimney-corners, and well-hung buttery hatches, and good solid old oak tables, and ponderous chairs: had their windows and doors been only a little more air-tight, their comforts could not have been increased.
First of all, then, with regard to the plans best suited for the country residences of the nobility and gentry of England—of that high-minded and highly gifted aristocracy, which is the peculiar ornament of this island,—of that solid honest squirearchy, which shall be the sheet-anchor of the nation, after all our commercial gents, with their ephemeral prosperity, shall have disappeared from the surface of the land, and have been forgotten,—the plan of a house best suited for the "Fine old English Gentleman;" and we really do not care to waste our time in considering the convenience and the taste of any that do not rank with this class of men. It is absurd for any of the worthy members of that truly noble and generous class of men, to try to erect reminiscences of Italy, or any other southern clime, amid their own "tall ancestral groves" at home, here in old England. They have every right in the world to inhabit the palaces of Italy, which many a needy owner is glad to find them tenanting; they cannot but admire the noble proportions, the solid construction, the magnificent decorations, which meet their eyes on every side, whether at Genoa, at Verona, at Venice, at Florence, or at Rome. But it by no means follows, that what looks so beautiful, and is so truly elegant and suitable on the Lake of Como, will preserve the same qualities when erected on the banks of Windermere; those lovely villas that overlook the Val d'Arno, and where one could be content to spend the rest of one's days, with Petrarch and Boccacio, and Dante, and Michael Angelo, and Raffaelle, will not bear transplanting either to Richmond or Malvern. The climate and the sky and the earth of Tuscany and Piedmont, are not those of Gloucestershire and Warwickshire; what may be very harmonious in form and colour when contrasted with the objects of that country which produced it, may have the most disagreeable effect, and be excessively inconvenient, in another region with which it has no relation. Not that the proportions of style and the execution of detail may not be reproduced in England, if sufficient taste and money be applied,—but that all surrounding things are out of harmony with the very idea and existence of the building. The vegetable world is different: the external and internal qualities of the soil jar with the presence of the foreign-looking mansion. An English garden is not, nor can be, an Italian one; an English terrace can never be made to look like an Italian one; those very effects of light and shade on which the architect counted when he made his plans and elevations, are not to be attained under an English sky. The house, however closely it may be taken from the last Palazzo its noble owner lived in, will only be a poor-looking copy after all; and he will wonder, as he paces through its corridors and halls, or views it from every point of the compass on the outside, what can be the cause of such a failure of his hopes? He hoped for and expected an impossibility; he thought to raise up a little Italy in the midst of his Saxon park. Could the experiment end in any thing else than a failure?
Every climate and every country has its own peculiarities, which the inhabitants are found to consult, and which all architects will do well to observe closely before they lay down their plans. The general arrangement, the plan of a house, will depend upon this class of external circumstances more than on any other; while the architectural effect and design of the elevation will have an intimate relation to the physical appearance of the region, to the ideas, the pursuits, and the history of its people.
Thus it was with the ancient Greeks and Romans, as we find their domestic life revealed to us at Pompeii. In that delicious climate of Campania, where the sun shines with a whitening and ever unclouded splendour, and where winter's frosts may be said to be unknown, the great thing wanted was shady coolness, privacy, and the absence of all that might fatigue. Hence, in the arrangement of the Pompeian villas, windows were comparatively unknown: the rooms were lighted from above; the aperture for the light was open to the sky; whatever air could be procured was precious. Colonnades and dark passages were first-rate appendages of a fashionable man's habitation. His sleeping apartment was a dark recess impervious to the sun's rays, lighted only by the artificial glare of lamps, placed on those elegant candelabra, which must be admired as models of fitness and beauty as long as imitative art shall exist. He had not a staircase in all his house, or he would not have if he could help it. The fatigue of lifting the foot in that hot climate was a point of importance, and he carefully avoided it. The house was a regular frigidarium. It answered the end proposed. It was commodious, it was elegant—and it was therefore highly suitable to the people and the place. But it does not therefore follow that it ought to be imitated in a northern clime, nor indeed in any latitude, we would rather say in any country, except Italy itself. Few parts of France and Germany would admit of such erections—some portions of Spain and Greece might. In Greece, indeed, the houses are much after the same plan, but in Spain only portions of the south-eastern coast would allow of such a style of building being considered at all habitable.
Place, then, a Pompeian villa at Highgate or Hampstead—build up an Atrium with an Impluvium, add to it a Caldarium if you please, and a Viridarium, too,—and omne quod exit in um: but you will not thereby produce a good dwelling-house; far from it, you will have a show-box fit for Cockneys to come and gape at: but nothing else.
Now, if we would only follow the same rule of common sense that the Greek or Roman architect did on the shores of the Parthenopoean Gulf, we should arrive at results, different indeed, but equally congruous to our wants, equally correct and harmonious in idea. What is it that we want in this foggy, damp, and cloudy climate of ours, nine days out of every ten? Do we want to have a spacious colonnade and a portico to keep off every ray of a sun only too genial, only too scorching? Is the heavens so bright with his radiance that we should endeavour to escape from his beams? Are we living in an atmosphere of such high temperature that if we could now and then take off our own skins for a few minutes, we should be only too glad to do so? As far as our own individual sensations are concerned, we would that things were so; but we know from unpleasant experience that they are far otherwise.
We believe that every rational householder will agree with us, that the first thing to be guarded against in this country is cold, next wet, and thirdly darkness. A man who can really prove that he possesses a thoroughly warm, dry, and well-lighted house, may write himself down as a rerum dominus at once: a favoured mortal, one of Jove's right-hand men, and a pet of all the gods. He is even in imminent danger of some dreadful calamity falling upon him, inasmuch as no one ever attains to such unheard-of prosperity without being visited by some reverse of fortune. He is at the top of the fickle goddess's wheel, and the least impulse given to one of its many spokes must send him down the slippery road of trouble. Nevertheless, though difficult to attain, these three points are the main ones to be aimed at by every English builder and architect; let him only keep them as the stars by which he steers his course, and he will come to a result satisfactory in the end.
One other point is of importance to be attended to as a fundamental one, and indeed as one of superstruction too. From the peculiarly changeable nature of our climate, and from the provision that has to be made for thoroughly warming a house, there is always a danger of the ventilation and the drainage being neglected. Not one architect in a hundred ever allows such "insignificant" points as these to disturb his reveries. All that he is concerned in is his elevation, and his neatly executed details; but whether the inhabitants are stifled in their beds with hot foul air, or are stunk out of their rooms by the effluvia of drains, are to him mere bagatelles. No trifles these, to those who have to live in the house; no matter of insignificance to those who have an objection to the too frequent visits of their medical attendant.
In the first place, then, a gentleman's country house (we are adverting here to country residences alone—to those in the metropolitan haunts of men we shall return hereafter) should be thoroughly warm. Now, of course a man may make a fire-place as big as Soyer's great range at Crockford's—poor dear Crocky's, before it was reformed—and he may burn a sack of coals at a time in it; and he may have one of these in each apartment and lobby of his house—and a pretty warm berth he will then have of it; but it would be no thanks to his architect that he should thus be forced to encourage his purveyor of the best Wallsend. No: either let him see that the walls are of a good substantial thickness—none of the thin, hollow, badly set, sham walls of the general run of builders; but made either of solid blocks of good ashlar stone, with well-rammed rubble between, and this rubble again laid in an all-penetrating bed of properly sanded mortar with plenty of lime in it, and laid on hot, piping, steaming hot, if possible—and the joints of the stones well closed with cement or putty; or else let the walls be made of the real red brick, the clay two years old or more, well laid in English bond, and every brick in its own proper and distinct bed of mortar, as carefully made as before, and the joints cemented into the bargain. Nor let any stone wall be less than thirty-six, nor any brick wall than thirty inches thick; whereas, if the house exceeds two stories in height, some additional inches may yet be added to the thickness of the lower walls. These walls shall be proof against all cold, and, if they be not made of limestone, against wet also.
"But all this is horridly expensive! why, a house built after this fashion would cost three times the amount of any one now erected upon the usual specifications!" Of course it would. Materials and labour are not to be had gratuitously; but then, if the house costs three times as much, it will be worth three times more than what it would otherwise fetch, and it will last more than three times as long. "But what is the use of building for posterity? what does it matter whether the house is a good one in the time of the next possessor but six? Why not 'run up' a building that will have a handsome appearance in the present, my own life-time, and if my descendant wishes for a better one and a warmer one, why let him build another for himself? Add to which it will grow so dreadfully old-fashioned in fifty years hence, that it is a hundred to one if it is not voted a nuisance, and pulled down as an eyesore to the estate." Such is the reasoning commonly used when any architect more honest, more scientific, and more truly economical in his regard for his employer's means, ventures to recommend the building of a mansion upon principles, and with dimensions, which can alone fully satisfy the exigencies of his art. We take leave, however, to observe, that such ought not to be the reasoning of an English nobleman or gentleman. In the first place, what is really erected in a proper and legitimate style of architecture, be it classical or mediaeval, can never become "old-fashioned" or ugly. Is Hampton Court old-fashioned and ugly? is Audley End so? are Burghleigh and Hatfield so? If they are, go and build better. Is Windsor Castle so? yes, a large portion of it is, for its architecture is not very correct; and though it has been erected only so few years, in another fifty the reigning sovereign—if there be a sovereign in England in those days—will pull down most of it, and consider it as sham and as trumpery as the Pavilion has at length been found out to have been all along. True; if you build houses in a false and affected and unreal style of architecture, they are ugly from the very beginning; and they will become as old-fashioned as old Buckingham House or Strawberry Hill itself, perhaps in the life-time of him who owns them; or else, like Fonthill, they will crumble about your ears, and remain as monuments of your folly rather than of your taste. But go and build as Thorpe, or Inigo Jones, or Wren used to build. Or even, if you will travel abroad for your models, take Palladio himself for your guide, or Phillbert Delorme, or Ducerceau, or Mansard; and your erections shall stand for centuries, and become each year more and more harmoniously beautiful.
Next, your house should be dry; do not, then, go and build it with a slightly-framed low-pitched roof, nor place it in that part of your grounds which would be very suitable for an artificial lake, but not for your mansion. Do not be afraid of a high roof; but let it tower up boldly into the air; let there be, as the French architects of old used to term it most expressively, a good "forest" of timber in its framing; cover it with lead, if you can—if not, with flag-stones, or else, if these be too dear, with extra thick slates in as large slabs as can be conveniently worked, and as may be suitable to the framing,—least of all with tiles.
"But, good Lord! what ideas you have got of expense! Why, sir, do you know that such a house would cost a great deal of money! and besides this, I am almost certain that in ancient Rome, the houses had quite flat roofs, and even in Italy, at the present day, the palaces have remarkably low-pitched roofs!" Rome and Italy go to the —— Antipodes! Did you not stipulate that the house should be dry? do you think that the old Italians ever saw a good shower of rain in all their lives? did they? "Nocte pluit tota," is all very well in the poet's fugitive inscription; but did they ever see a six-weeks' rain, such as we have every autumn and spring, and generally in June and July, to say nothing of January and February, in Devonshire? My dear sir, if you wish to lie dry in your bed, and all your family, too, to the seventh generation, downwards, make your roof suited to the quantity of rain that falls; pitch up its sides not less steeply than forty-five degrees, and do not be afraid if it rises to sixty, and so gives you the true mediaeval proportion of the equilateral triangle. Do you consider it ugly? Then we will ornament it; and we will make the chimney-stalks rise with some degree of majesty, into an important feature of the architectural physiognomy of the building. Are you grumbling at the expense, as you did just now about that of the walls? What then! are you a Manchester manufacturer, some dirty cotton-spinner? have you no faith in the future? have you no regard for the dignity and comfort of your family? are you, too, bitten with the demoralising commercial spirit of the age? are you all for self and the present? have you no obligations towards your ancestors? and are you unwilling to leave a name to be talked of by your posterity? Why, to be sure it may tighten you up for five or six years; but then do not stop quite so long in London: make your season there rather shorter, and do not go so often to Newmarket, and keep away from White's or Boodle's, and do not be so mad as to throw away any more of those paltry thousands in contesting the county. Let the Parliament and the country take care of themselves; they can very well spare an occasional debater like yourself; the "glorious constitution" of old England will take no harm even if you do not assist in concocting the hum-bug that is every year added to its heterogeneous mixture. Lay out your money at home, drain your land, build a downright good house for yourself; do not forget your poor tenants, set them a good example, and let us put a proper roof on Hambledown Hall.
Providing, however, that the worthy squire actually consents to pull out a few more hundreds, for the sake of having walls of proper thickness and roofs of right pitch, it does not quite follow that his ground-floor rooms will be dry, unless the mansion is well vaulted underneath, and well drained, to boot. We have known more than one ancient manor-house, built in a low dead flat, with a river running by, and the joists of the ground floor resting on the soil, and, yet the whole habitation as dry as a bone; but still more numerous are the goodly edifices which we have witnessed, built on slopes, and even hills, where not a spoonful of water, you would say, could possibly lodge, and yet their walls outside all green with damp, and within mildew, and discoloured loose-hanging paper, telling the tale of the demon of damp. When you are seriously bent on building a good house, put plenty of money under ground; dig deep for foundations, lay them better and stronger even than your super-structure; vault every thing under the lower rooms—ay, vault them, either in solid stone or brick, and drain and counter drain, and explore every crick and cranny of your sub-soil; and get rid of your land springs; and do not let the water from any neighbouring hill percolate through your garden, nor rise into a pleasing jet-d'eau right under the floor of your principal dining-room. If you can, and if you do not mind the "old-fashioned" look of the thing, dig a good deep fosse all round your garden, and line it with masonry; and have a couple of bridges over it; you may then not only effectually carry off all intruding visits of the watery sprites, but you may keep off hares from your flower-beds, two-legged cats from your larder, and sentimental "cousins" from your maids. You may thus, indeed, make your hall or mansion into a little fortified place, with fosse and counter-scarp, and covered way, and glacis; or at any rate, you may put a plain English haw-haw ditch and fence all round the sacred enclosure; and depend upon it that you will find the good effects of this extra expense in the anti-rheumatic tendencies of your habitation.
And now for the plan of your mansion, for the Ground Plan—the main part of the business, that, on the proper proportioning and arranging of which the success of your edificative experiment entirely depends. Here take the old stale maxim into immediate and constant use, "Cut your coat according to your cloth;" and, if you are a man of only L2000 a-year, do not build a house on a plan that will require L10,000 at least of annual income to keep the window-shutters open. Nor, seeing that you are living in the country, attempt to cramp yourself for room, and build a great tall staring house, such as would pass muster in a city, but is exceedingly out of place in a park. As a matter of domestic aesthetics, do not think of giving yourself, and still less any of your guests, the trouble of mounting up more than one set of stairs to go to bed, but keep your reception and principal rooms on the ground floor, and your private rooms, with all the bed-chambers, on the floor above. Since, however, you have determined on going to the expense of a proper roof, do not suppose that we are such bad architectural advisers as to recommend that the roof should be useless. No; here let the female servants and the children of the family, perhaps, too, a stray bachelor friend or two, find their lodging; and above all, if you are a family man, if you have any of those tender yearnings after posterity, which we hope you have, introduce into the roof a feature which we will remind you of by and by, and for which, if we could only persuade people that such a very old and useful idea were a new one, and our own, we would certainly take out a patent.
There should, then, be only two stories in a gentleman's country residence, and a dormer or mansard story if we may so term it, in the roof;—we will not be so vulgar as to call it a garret,—nor yet so classical as to resort to the appellation of an attic. If, therefore, you require a large house, take plenty of ground, and lay out all your rooms en suite. Let all the offices, whence any noise or smell can arise, be perfectly detached from the dwelling part of the mansion:—such as the kitchens, sculleries, laundries, &c. They should all be collected into a court with the coach-houses and stables on the outside, and the whole range of the domestic offices on the other. Never allow a kitchen to be placed under the same roof as your dining-room or drawing-room: cut it off completely from the corps de logis, and let it only communicate by a passage;—so shall you avoid all chance of those anticipatory smells, the odour of which is sufficient to spoil your appetite for the best dressed dinner in the world. If you would have any use for the vault under your house, keep all your cellar stores, and all your "dry goods" there;—it will be a test of your house being well-built if they do not show any effects of damp after a few months' stowage below the level of the soil, yet in aere pleno. We do not mean to say that we would put one of our best and newest saddles, nor our favourite set of harness, in one of the lower vaults, to judge of the dampness of the house; but depend upon it, a pair or two of old shoes form excellent hygrometers; and you may detect the "dew-point" upon them with wonderful accuracy.
"But only look at how you are increasing the cost of the house by thus stretching out the house, and really wasting the space and ground!"—What! still harping on the same string—that eternal purse-string!—still at the gold and the notes? If you go on at this rate, my good sir, you will never do any thing notable in the house-line. Take a lesson from Louis XIV. when he built Versailles;—that sovereign had at least this one good quality,—he had a supreme contempt for money;—it cost him a great deal no doubt, but it is "Versailles," nec pluribus impar;—why, it is a quarter of a mile long, and there is, or rather was, room in it to have lodged all the crowned heads of Europe, courts, ministers, guards, and all. Never stint yourself for space; the ground you build on is your own; it is only the extra brick and mortar;—the number of windows is not increased by stretching the plan out, the internal fittings are not an atom more expensive. Be at ease for once in your life, and cast about widely for room.
And now, dear sir, if you can but once remove this prejudice of cost from your mind, you may set at defiance all those twaddling architects who come to you with their theories of the "smallest spaces of support," and who would fain persuade you that, because it is scientific to build many rooms with few materials, therefore you ought to dwell in a house erected on such principles,—and that they ought to build it for you. You may send them all to the right-about with their one-sided contracted notions: is the house to be built for your sake or for theirs? who is going to inherit it—you or they? who is to find out all the comforts and discomforts of the mansion—the owner or the architect?—If you, then keep to your two stories and to the old English method of building your house round one or more courts. Go upon the old palatial, baronial, or collegiate plan; no matter what may be the style of architecture you adopt, this plan will be found suitable to any. The advantages of it are as follows: first of all, it gives you the opportunity of having your rooms all en suite, and yet not crowded together; next, it is more sociable for the inmates of a large country mansion to have the windows of their apartments looking partly inwards, as it were to the centre of the house, and partly outwards to the surrounding scenery: and thirdly, it requires and it gives the opportunity of having that most admirable and most useful appendage of any large mansion,—a cloister, or covered gallery, running round the whole interior of the court, either projecting from the plane of the walls—and, if so, becoming highly ornamental; or else formed within the walls, and, if so, giving an unusual degree of warmth and ventilation. In this damp and uncertain climate of ours, just consider how many days there are in the course of the year, when the ladies and the children of a family cannot stir out of doors, not even into the gardens; and then think of what a comfort it would be to have a dry and airy and elegant promenade and place of exercise within their own walls. Then the children may scamper about, if it be, a proper cloister external to the house, and make that joyous noise which is so essential to their health, without any fear of annoying even the most nervous of mammas. Within an instant they may all be under her own personal inspection, and yet they may have their perfect freedom. Here may the ladies of the family walk for hours on a wet day, and enjoy themselves without trouble, and with the facility of being at home again in a minute. If the court is well laid out as a flowery parterre, and the green-house is made to contribute its proper supply of plants to the cloister, it becomes converted into a kind of conservatory, and forms of itself an artificial or winter garden. Both a cloister, and an internal corridor with windows opening into the former, may very appropriately be constructed together, and then the accommodation of this plan is complete.
Whoever has lived in a cloistered and court-built house will know the convenient and comfortable feature we would here point out:—it is especially suited to the climate of England, and to the domestic habits of English families; it is one of the most ornamental features a house can possess; it gives great facilities to the waiting of the servants; it makes the house warm rather than cold; and it adds greatly to the comfort of the whole. As for the additional cost—let the cost be——! have we not entered our caveat against all such shabby pleas? Take this along with you, good sir,—do the thing well, or don't do it at all.
A TURKISH WATERING-PLACE.
Ten days ago, when snowed up by winter, recurrent for the third time this season, I could not compel myself to the recollection of my Adalian experiences. Now that I am sitting with window thrown wide open, and with fire raked out, the spirit of the scene encourages memories of my visit to that very hot emporium of Caramania.
We had been kept on the Smyrna station till we pretty well knew it under every changing phase of season. Through the rigour of winter we had been brought now to the very flagrance of the dog-star, to the time when human nature can pretend no opposition to the mood of the lordly sun. Even late in the autumn, these clear skies afford so little interruption to the tide of sunbeams, that one is not quite exempt from risk of coup de soleil. Indeed this is perhaps the very time when the untutored stranger is particularly exposed to this danger. It is the only time of the year when travelling can be pursued as a serious occupation; or when one of the pale-faced Occidentals can venture forth sub dio at mid-day, without positive madness. During the months that, on the admission of the indigenous, do duty as summer, the state of things is so evidently beyond a joke, that no idea of trifling therewith enters into the most unsophisticated mind. Life is reduced to something very like a resignation of the sturdy substance of the day, and a diligent employment of the two fag-ends. The intervening hours must be slept away, or read away, or somehow employed without the requisition of corporeal activity. And, considering that these are the hours during which musquitoes vex not, and lesser tormentors of the rampant kind are inactive, it is no slight boon to have such an interval, during some part of which you may sleep in peace. As for the night, you may use it for eating ices, or strolling on the Marina, or pulling out on the phosphorescent waters of the bay; but unless you be very fresh, you will hardly think of using that as the time for turning in. And thus are rendered grateful those slumbers which are induced by the prevailing spirit of noon. Of course, under such conditions of existence, there is no great probability that much risk will be encountered by any one gifted with the ordinary instinct of self-preservation. Should any one be foolhardy enough to dare for himself the experiment, he would scarcely find a surridgi to furnish animals, or a guide willing to pilot him. And should he even make a start of it, am I not the very man to know what a lesson he would get in the course of the first six hours of his march; and to predict that he would, should any brains be then remaining to him, turn back on the strength of that same sample? It is only a very young, and somewhat foolish person, who would be at all likely to be found in this predicament. The dissuasion of the indigenous is so earnest, and so without exception, that, considering their knowledge of the facts, a prudent stranger must perceive in them the substance of reason. The Asiatics, perhaps, carry a little too far the dread of exposure to the atmospheric influences of summer; for they are careful to shut out even the cool breezes of night, and dread the odour of freshness that a shower calls forth from the earth. This delightful exhalation they affirm to be the producer of fever. But indeed we may concede to them the entertaining of some whimsies on this subject, as being the necessary contingencies on their fatal experiences of marsh malaria.
Happy we Englishmen and Scotsmen, who know not what this malaria means! The worst story on the subject that I remember was a personal adventure of my friend Beard. The scene of this adventure is a little out of the way of Adalia, but it may serve to illustrate the style of thing prevailing generally in this direction any where within hail of a marsh. Beard was engaged in that (to those who like it) delightful, but occasionally perilous duty of surveying. This involves the being sent away in the boats for weeks at a stretch, during which time you go groping along the coast, or threading out-of-the-way channels between islands. It is easy to conceive that with fine weather, and healthy shores, this must be a welcome duty to a young officer, full of zeal, and unaccustomed to command. But sometimes the course will lie along deadly shores, past which you must creep, and snatch hydrographical facts from the teeth of death. Beard, poor fellow—and yet, considering that he lives to tell the tale, we should rather congratulate than pity—Beard was in command of a party of seven. Any one who knows the service, knows that an officer accustomed to command a particular boat, if he be a good fellow, acquires a strong fellow-feeling for and with his men. This is but human nature, seeing that they are subject to frequent and long isolations from the rest of the ship's company. I have felt this influence strongly myself, and am persuaded that a sailor is never so amiable a being as when away from his ship and from civilisation, on some scrambling boat-expedition. He then puts off altogether that selfishness of bearing which it often suits his humour while on board to affect. Beard was one who entered fully into the spirit of these expeditions; indeed he might have led one to suppose that he would willingly have agreed to pass his life in a boat. On this particular occasion they were coasting along Thessaly—those shores so beautiful to look at, but of which the beauty, when the mists of night descend upon them, reek with the breath of death. They proceeded cautiously; and as their labours were protracted into new days and weeks, and none of their little band had been stricken, they began to hope, and perhaps to believe themselves seasoned and safe. The time for them to rejoin the ship at last arrived, and not a man had been ill. One man did indeed complain in the morning, but he laid in his oar, and they hoped would soon be better. Presently another was forced to claim the same exemption, and another. In short, they reached the ship with great difficulty, and as by miracle, and not one of the party could mount the side. They were all hoisted in, and in a few hours the only man of the party who lived was my friend. In the pretty island of Sciathos is a tomb, wherein sleep the whole party save that one. I have stood by this, and read in the sad story of its inscription a sufficient warning on the subject of marsh malaria. Once or twice I have come in its way, but never willingly, and happily always without calamitous result. Once only I have slept within its problematical range, and that was off that pestiferous bit of coast near Epidaurus, and I fancy at a season when the marshes had not their steam up.
We had among us a lesson, but not of this melancholy character, on the absurdity of attempting to brave the daylight heat of summer. It is so natural for an Englishman to look upon the mere natives of any place to which he may come in his travels, as cheats and ignoramuses, that we, as a matter of course, and most complacently, admitted the natives en masse and every where to that rating. In the course of our vagaries we stumbled on the pretty island of Mytilene, in the very piping hours of summer. Very cool and pleasant did it look to us shipmen, hanging down its umbrageous olive groves nearly to the water's edge—and very pleasant should we have found it to be, had we been content to defer our landing till the authorised hour of eventide. But besides that the place looked so inviting, we felt bound to give way to a little enthusiasm at this approach to the birthplace of the lady who gave Horace the model of
"Jam satis terris nivis atque dirae" &c.
so nothing could hold us in from immediate disembarkation, and a cross country ride. We went right across from one harbour to another—for it has two, which between them nearly bisect the island. But so frightful was the heat, that nothing but youth and English blood exempted us from the penalty of fever. Some of the party were very nearly knocked up mid-way; and we should scarcely any of us have managed to get back to the ship as we did, had it not been our fortune to meet a resting-place in the village of Loutri. Such attempts as this are the causes of the sad casualties that we occasionally find happening to Eastern travellers. How many have paid with their lives the penalty of an unseasonable journey in Syria, especially on the coast between Beyrout and Jerusalem. Only choose well your time, and you may proceed in perfect security, so far as the dangers of nature are concerned. Any attempt at forcing a journey is a folly; and a folly of which the correction will come with the first experiment, if it leave to the person any future opportunity of sublunary conduct.
But no one should mention Mytilene without saving a word or two in praise of its beauty. All shrivelled up as we were by the heat—for we were almost past the sudatory stage—we drank in some refreshment from the scenery. Port Olivet has quite the appearance of a lake, and it is only when quite at the spot that you perceive the real nature of the locality. The hills around are finely shaded; and the masses of olive-trees assumed, in the then lurid glare of sky and water, that shadowy appearance that we used to see in Turner's pictures. They are very famous for the production of a fine oil from their olives, which is the staple commodity of the island, and of which they export considerable quantities. By all accounts, nature, unassisted, may claim the praise of this produce, for they are said to be careless manufacturers. We went into one or two of the [Greek: ergasteria] to witness the process of compression, but could not take it upon our veracity to utter an opinion anent them. At least they seem in a fair way to improve their wares; for the new consular agent of France (whom, by the way, we took to his Barataria) is especially knowing in this line, and hopes to produce, in a short time, oil that shall be equal to that of France or Lucca.
After all this talk about the impossibility of travelling in the summer, it augurs ill for our account of Adalia, to say that it was the very heat and rage of summer when we landed there. But as we were not volunteers on the occasion, we did not choose our own season. Like the fifty thousand Cossacks who marched off to the East Indies, not because they liked it, but because they were sent, we were saved all the trouble of deliberation; and once arrived at the spot, we were sufficiently old stagers to adapt ourselves to the ways and means of the place. I remember that we were delighted at the start: catching at the prospect of change, as at the hope of improvement. Certainly things were bad enough with us in Smyrna bay at that time. The pitch was boiling in the seams, the water was hissing along-side; the sky seemed an entire sun, so truly were the fiery rays rendered back from every part of the glowing concave. The sea-breeze, one's only solace under such circumstances, was continually forgetting to come. In spite of the common profession, that without the sea-breeze it would be impossible to live hereaway, we continued to pant through days of breezeless existence. At this time it was that I arrived at the conclusion which is now established in the code of my economics, that the endurance at Calcutta or Port Royal is a joke compared with what one has to undergo in these milder latitudes. The dweller in Anatolia has no such range of Fahrenheit to alarm him into defensive measures, and thus he falls comparatively unprepared into the conflict with the dog-days. Your Bengalee mounts defences of tattees and punkahs that cool down a hot wind, or whistle air into presence in a trice. Whereas in this part of the world, as the Sirocco blows, so it must steal into your room, parching your face, and covering you all over with a clammy stickiness, through which you may distinctly feel the subdolent shudder of incipient ague. When he has darkened his room, and spread cool mats on the floor, the poor Smyrniot has nothing farther that he can do. And if such be the case of those who dwell within the mansions of Ismir, who have at least thick walls between them and the sun, what is likely to be the state of those disgraziatos, who people the busy town of ships in the bay?—the rash men
"—digitos a morte remotos Quatuor aut septem."
Custom, they say, may bring a man to any thing, as it did M. Chabert to the power of living in an oven; to which achievement, by the way, I should not wonder if the first step had been the passing of a hot summer on board ship in harbour. You may any day see, at some of our gigantic iron-works, custom bringing men to such a pass, that they can endure to stand before a fire that would be the death and cooking of an ox. And so I suppose it was by force of custom that we were able to undergo a style of thing that ought to have been the stewing of any ordinary flesh and blood. But it was a stupid and languid life that we were leading, scarcely venturing on deck even beneath the awning, and not dreaming of shore except quite in the evening. Sometimes a morning's interest would be excited by some story of plague in the Lazaretto, and a proposed adjournment of the ship to Vourlah, to be out of harm's way; and such speculations, though not exactly pleasurable, were at least anti-stagnative in character. In any thing like decent weather it is not bad fun to get down to Vourlah for a time, and to fly from the gaieties of the metropolis to the pleasures of the chasse at Rabbit Island. It must ever be soothing to a spirit that has not quite forgotten "the humanities," to walk upon the turf which witnessed the infant gambols of Anaxagoras; and besides that, the locality is pretty, and worthy of being visited on its own account. The town is at the distance of some miles from the Scala, which last is the grand watering-place for the ships on this station. Some few years ago, when the two fleets, French and English, were here, an extempore town was devised on the beach, for the benefit of the thousand and one hangers-on who are always found in such neighbourhoods. This was a stretch of luxury on their part; for generally these nautical suttlers need no other shelter than that of the boat which contains their wares. They are always ready for a start, and glad to be allowed to follow almost any whither in the wake of a ship. I should think they might be rated amongst the most honest of their compatriots, as they certainly may amongst the most hard-working and courageous.
But no such luck had been ours, as to be assigned so pleasant an adjournment. The longest cruise we had any of us managed to steal, was perhaps in one of the cutters, as far as what we Englishmen persist in calling St James's castle—a strange name for Turks to give a place, and which, in fact, we have devisedly corrupted from their word sandjeak.
At last, one happy day—happy in its result, not in the complexion it bore at its opening—we positively did receive orders for a start, and this is the way it came about: The representative of sultanic dignity at the somewhat retired watering-place of Adalia, was a man prone, like the greater number of his countrymen, to judge of things altogether in the concrete. The idea of power could by him be deduced only from present violence; and without some such sensible manifestations, it became to him like one of Fichte's "objects," i.e. all moonshine. With regard to foreign powers, they existed for him, and influenced his government, only so far as they sent occasionally a ship of war with its suggestive influence of a frowning broadside to look in his way. They have no very distinct idea, these gentlemen, of geography, nor of political science; all thus are sadly out in their estimation of the relative importance of places. To them the seat of their government is the world; or at least the place in it of importance second to Constantinople. If they be passed over in the distribution of our corps de demonstration, they are apt to ascribe the omission to a want of power on our part. Now, with all their excellencies, it call hardly be denied that they are sadly apt to presume on any want of power in a neighbour. So it happens that the unfortunate consuls who are stowed away in the obscurer establishments, are apt to suffer from their caprice. Should it so happen that the particular flag over whose interests the consul is appointed inspector, should not have been displayed in the neighbourhood lately by any ship of war, the short memory of a pasha is in danger of forgetting that nation's claim to respect; for any thing that he knows, it may have been revolutionised or sunk by an earthquake,—at least he cannot bear the trouble of imagining any other reason for the non-appearance of its executive ministers, than the obvious one of its having no ships to send. Thus, in matters of precedence, consuls are apt sometimes to get snubbed—a point on which, of all others, they are tender: or in matters of justice, their clients will find themselves ousted, in spite of the proverbial integrity of the Turkish judges. Perhaps the readiest way of stumbling on a grievance, is the kind of thing that gave rise to our visit, where some of the populace presume on your want of protection, and commit some aggression on your rights as a man and a brother. This being referred to the authorities, will be apt to be viewed by them in the light of that consideration which they happen to be lending at that moment to your nation. Poor fellows! we must not be hard upon them; nor will we doubt the sound foundation of the panegyrics which many travellers have pronounced on their honesty. They are honest, no doubt, so far as they understand the doctrine of the thing; but the fact is, they do not seem to understand the subject in the abstract. They have no idea of judging a foreigner's cause, without reference to considerations of his nationality and personal importance; and to pronounce readily a decision in favour of one against whom should lie the preponderance in these particulars, would be to them an absurdity. We have had occasion lately to be struck with the tone in which certain writers have spoken on the subject of Mussulman morals. The first notability about such accounts is, that they are very different from the reports of their predecessors—of such an accurate man as Burkhardt for instance; and the second notability, so far as most of us are concerned, is, that they are contrary to the general consent of travellers. That there are excellent men, and honest among them, is a fact; and it is a fact, that in general matters of bargaining, you may trust to them. But when the idea of probity is carried out, so far as to imply a view of things comparatively disparaging to Christian morals, it mounts to an anti-climax, and falls over into the province of nonsense. The Koran has provided them with much ethical guidance, of which individual Turks, of any pretence to religion, must be in some degree observant. But it is not true that the history of such cases, in their administration of justice, as might have occurred in the court of the old [Greek: polemarchos], will allow us to conclude that they are in possession of a rule coercing them to be just and brotherlike towards the unprotected stranger, abstractly and for justice's sake. Now, with us you may find many individual rogues, but never a roguish court, nor tolerated roguish public body. And of this difference between us Christians and them Turks, it will not be difficult for any one to supply the reason, who will give himself the trouble to think about it.
But as I was saying, at Adalia,—the town I mean, not the province,—lived, with the authority of local governor, a personage styled a Caimacan. This is a person inferior to a regular pasha, having in fact a sort of acting rank. One remembers this style and title well, because it puts us in mind of the nicest thing eatable that the Levant affords—Caimac, which is something very like Devonshire cream, only better. This Caimacan, being a sort of great man's great man, is apt not to bear his honours meekly. At the precise time of which I speak, the Sultan was raising considerable levies in different parts of his dominions, for the benefit of good order among the Albanians. Near Adalia was a military rendezvous for the forces raised in that neighbourhood, and the command pro tempore of the new levies was assigned to the Caimacan. So that the poor man was labouring under an accession of dignity.
At Adalia also lived a certain Ionian—from the Seven Islands, friend, not from Asia—who had been led thither by a speculation in the soap trade. To judge by the evident want of the article, would have been to pronounce a most favourable opinion as to the probable result of such speculation. In fact the man succeeded only too well; he boiled so successfully, and sold so cheaply, that all the native competitors were beaten out of the field. The true believers were, of course, indignant at this conduct of an infidel and a stranger; and as they could not weather on him in the fair way of trade, they determined to try if they could not "choke his luff" by a practical expedient. Paying him a visit one day, they spoiled his stock in trade, broke his gear, gave him a good thrashing, and told him to take that as a gentle hint of what they would do if he did not behave himself for the future. The poor fellow appealed to the Caimacan for satisfaction for the injury done, and for security against future violence. From this person he received no assistance, and was left to fight it out as he best could against his opponents.
Those dear Ionians! creditable fellow-countrymen are they for us, and profitable. No people assert more unflinchingly their privilege of national relationship with ourselves, and thus do we get the credit of all the rows which they may kick up throughout the Mediterranean. It is highly amusing to see the style in which they will declare themselves to be Englishmen, not merely as allies and protected for the time being, but with the implication of a claim to identity of race. A son of Ithaca or Zante will talk as if he were a true Saxon. Certainly, the Turks seem to make little distinction between the races. That the men are under British protection, is for them sufficient reason for esteeming them to be Englishmen. Sometimes their classification of races shows an amusing ignorance of, and indifference to the whole set of national distinctions among Franks. I remember that all who attended the services of the British chaplaincy at Smyrna, were called English, though among them were many who could speak scarcely a word of the language; and so all who went to the dissenting meeting-house (for they have one there) were called Americans.
Our poor soap-boiler being reduced to extremity, having lost his goods, and being afraid to make a fresh start of it, betook himself for assistance to the English vice-consul. The office was at that time filled by a very efficient person—one, moreover, who had for many years resided in the country, and understood well the language and national genius. But it so happened that just then a long time had elapsed since any of our men-of-war had paid a visit to the road-stead and consular dignity was in a condition of proportional depreciation. The consul, however, as in duty bound, paid his visit of remonstrance, and laid before the great man the wrong done within his jurisdiction; whereupon the Caimacan behaved like any thing but a gentleman, and, far from promising to remedy the ill done, gave him to understand that he did not care sixpence for soap-boiler or consul either. Mr —— had sufficient knowledge of the people to know that this declaration of opinion was strictly true, and that the only plan to correct it, would be to prove himself able to summon an armed force to his assistance. Till they saw this, nothing would be able to persuade the Adalians that he was not either deserted by his country, or that his country had not lost the power to assist him.
And thus it was that Mr —— wrote to his chief at Smyrna a description of the ticklish state of circumstances, and explained that unless English commercial interests at Adalia were to be suffered to go altogether to the wall, some strong preservative must be sent thither in the shape of a stout ship, with a goodly array of long thirty-twos. And so was it that word came to the good ship Falcon, which thereupon spread forth her wings, or, in plain language, hoisted her topsails, and set forth on her conciliatory expedition. Besides that we were delighted to get away in any direction from the stagnation of Smyrna—a stagnation affecting air, sea, and society,—it was a recommendation of the cruise in this particular direction that none of us had ever been there before. There is little reason why in a general way it should be visited from one year's end to another,—I mean in the way of business, at least the business of those who have to distribute their attention throughout these seas for the interests of general pacification. The place, as we afterwards found, is not without commerce; but there are no merchants of our nation except the vice-consul. The advantages of this place as a trading station, more especially as being a station where he would find no competitors, had induced him to settle here. And the prestige lent by the consular name, afforded sufficient inducement for the undertaking of an office, which, if it be not very lucrative, at any rate involves the responsibility of no very serious duties. Though now and then a man in office may forget himself, yet in the long run a consul is sure to be treated with deference, and to reap considerable commercial advantages from his position. Be it understood, that here there are other merchants,—but the indigenous, chiefly Turco-Greek. Besides a single gentleman who acted as assistant to the vice-consul in his various duties, we did not find a Frank resident. We heard, indeed, that there was also an Austrian, but we did not see him, so I suppose that he could hardly have been of much consequence.
The weather at first beguiled us with symptoms of a change for the cooler, and lent to our sails some pleasant breezes as we passed out of the Gulf of Smyrna. As we sped onward, things became even better, and especially delighted us with their aspect off Rhodes. It is a singular fact, well known to those who know the locality, that the day scarcely occurs in the year when this island is afflicted with a calm. For some reason it so happens that, pass when you will, you are pretty sure to find a stiff breeze blowing. One of the points of the island, which thrusts out into the sea a long and low promontory, shows that the natives here know how to turn this physical provision to good effect. This point is in the most curious way studded with windmills, and from this its garniture has received its name in our geography. These poor machines rarely know an hour's quiet, but continually throw about their long arms in what, from a little distance, seems to be a mere confusion of material. Past this exquisitely beautiful island, of whose strand the recollection is fraught with associations of unfeverish existence, we sped rapidly before the breeze, which almost made us regret the land we were leaving. Truly should we have regretted it, had we but known the breezeless condition on which we were about to enter! For some four-and-twenty hours before we arrived at our port, the weather changed eminently for the worse. The feathery vanes stirred not, and the canvass flapped against the mast, as the old girl rolled lumpingly in the swell. She was a dear old ship as ever floated, but like all other things sublunary, animate, or inanimate, was not without her faults. Of these the worst, nay, the only one to speak of, was the habit of rolling about most viciously whenever she had a chance. The sun poured upon us such a flood of heat, that awnings became a joke. Things were so thoroughly heated during the day, that the night scarcely afforded sufficient hours to cool them down, for a fresh start next morning. We began almost to question whether we had not changed bad for worse; and very soon made up our minds that without any mistake we had. We arrived at this conclusion, as the port of our destination hove in sight. It was towards evening that we crept in to our anchorage, through an atmosphere scarcely sufficiently alive to give us motion, and so almost glowing that it seemed to burn us as we passed. The place was wrapped in breathless stillness: no boats came forth to try a market with us, or to gratify their curiosity; and no sounds issued from the shore, which might have been deemed almost unhaunted of men.
When daylight revealed the features of the place, we perceived the pretensions of Adalia in the way of the picturesque to be of a high order. Neither was there wanting matter of admiration even in the night, though we were suffering too much discomfort to be easily pleased by mere pictures. The shore, in its way, afforded an unusual spectacle. The town stands on high ground, and on both sides the line of coast is formed by lofty cliffs, stretching far away into the distance. What of the beauties of these depended on the light of day for development, were reserved for our edification on the morrow. But the good people had ornamented their country just then in a fashion more appropriate to embellish the night than the day. Enormous fires were blazing on the cliffs, which skirted the bay up which we were advancing,—if we may apply so familiar a word to the conflagrations that met our sight. The most active spirit of incendiarism had been afloat, for entire woods were seen in a state of burning. We never discovered whether this destruction was by accident, or of set purpose: if it were done by way of obtaining charcoal, the price of that article one would think must have fallen in the market. But as these fires blazed away in the clear dry air of the night, they lit up the bay, and almost threw upon the waters the dark shadow of our masts and yards. At first, when at some distance, we had been disposed to account for the lurid appearance of the heavens, by supposing that distance and refraction had effected a cheat upon our senses. When we came nearer, the only thing we could suppose was, that the whole country, was in the course of destruction. It is hard to say whether the distance at which we anchored from the shore was not too great to allow of the production on us of any sensible effect from these fires: that we had any misgiving on the subject may serve to show that they were enormous. I know that at the time we made up our minds, that to their agency was to be attributed some portion at least of the heat that oppressed us. The wind came off in gusts of overpowering heat; not with that tepid influence that grumblers sometimes denounce as a hot wind, but with the full sense of having come from a baker's oven. At least we had a grand sight for our pains, and therefrom reaped some consolation as we clustered panting on the deck.
I remember to have seen something in this way before, though on a smaller scale, and that was in the island of Euboea. Once in my life, I had a very near view of the recent scene of such a conflagration in one of the smaller Greek islands. It was in taking, according to our custom, a ramble right across the land, that we came on no less a collection of embers than the debris of an entire forest, which lay smouldering at our feet. I know that, having commenced from curiosity the work of picking our way through the ashes, we found the undertaking more arduous than we quite fancied, and that our trowsers and shoes would afterwards have fetched but little in Monmouth-street. The Greeks, it is understood, light up their bonfires, partly by way of amusing themselves, and partly by way of hinting displeasure at things in general. Of course, it is quite obvious, that any party who wish to prove a minister's rule to be calamitous, assists their argument by increasing the sum of calamity.
But night with its miseries at length was passed. During its course, the thermometer did not get below 90 deg. What it reached in the daytime it boots not to record—and signifies less, because when the sun is above us, we bargain for a hot day in summer. But oh! those nights, when by every precedent we should have had cooling dews, and refreshing air!
However, the sun rose, and the people on shore rose too. There was no tumultuous rushing forth in boats to have a look at the new comers, as there is so apt to be on the arrival of a man-of-war. A quiet little dingy would steal out, manned by three or four mongrel-looking Greeks, and row round us at a respectful distance. The fact is, that the people had got scent of the reason of our coming: and as a reclamation of right is by them supposed to be incompatible with any thing but an angry mood, they were afraid to approach us. The town itself we perceived to be a most ill-conditioned looking place. Harbour there is none—at least none available in a breeze from seaward. A heavy sea sets right in, and must strand any thing found anchored here. We were afterwards told, that in the bad weather of the winter before our coming, the sea had washed some vessels right up into the town. This want of a harbour is the most serious drawback to the commerce of Adalia. It is, in every respect except this, adapted to serve as the general emporium of the interior. Even at present, notwithstanding its disadvantages, a good deal of business is done here: but ships can never lie before the town in peace, nor commence loading and unloading, with the confidence that they shall be able to get through their work without having first to slip cable and be off. But the town must be in other hands before so arduous a work is likely to be undertaken.
A most unserviceable rumble of a fort mounted guard over the town, in a position little likely to be of use in repelling an attack by sea. Perhaps it might have been available as a maintainer of good order in the town, should the spirit of insubordination haply spring up therein: but we could hardly have credited the walls as possessed of sufficient stability to stand the shock of a report. We saw the artillery-men, busy as bees, at their guns—evidently standing by to return the salute which we were expected to give. But this would have been far too civil treatment for them, while matter of dispute between us remained. We maintained a dignified silence.
It was not long before Mr —— found his way off to us, and put us up to the actual state of affairs. It seemed that little Pedlington was in an uproar. The whole of the Adalian public were in a state of lively commotion. Of course, as they had bullied loudly, they were abject in concession. Those more immediately concerned in the outrage on the soap-boiler, would have infallibly absconded, had not the strong arm of the law laid an embargo upon them, and laid them by as scapegoats in the first instance. The prevailing opinion about us was, that we should certainly blow the town about their ears, but that still all must be essayed to conciliate us. The Caimacan himself, the great man who had given rise to the remonstrance on our part, had taken himself off, and left his deputy in command. This was professedly to look after some troops that he was recruiting in the neighbourhood, but we gave him the credit of practising a dodge to get out of the way of an awkward business. A striking peculiarity of the business was, that no doubt seemed any longer to be maintained as to the issue of the negotiation. The question of right and wrong was no longer considered as being open; but the verdict was already presumed to be given against those whom we challenged as offenders.
It was thought advisable to pay some attention to appearances on the occasion of our interview with the governor. No suit prospers with them, in a general way, unless backed by good personal appearance. For this reason we mustered a strong party of officers, in imposing costume; and by way of evincing our determination, proceeded with as little delay as possible to the divan. The usual motley group of starers gathered round us at the landing, and escorted us up the rugged street to the palais de justice. They all seemed to be affected with the spirit of fear, except our partisans, who were in a state of exultation from the like cause. Two individuals in particular were amusingly and palpably possessed with the spirit of triumph, and they were the two attendants of the vice-consul. These men were worthy of notice on other accounts, but singularly remarkable in respect of the effectual manner in which they seemed to have divested themselves of national prejudices. They were enthusiastic fellows, who had not merely let out their services to the representative of England, but seemed fairly to have made over to him the allegiance of heart and head; retaining no sympathy with their own countrymen. Thus did they seem to rejoice eminently in our coming, and the consequent humbling of the local authorities. They were two strapping fellows—as janissaries, to be any thing worth, should always be—and marshalled us the way in grand style.
The unhappy rabble seemed to be suffering the pangs of most cruel privation when the cortege arrived at the residence of justice, and they found themselves left in the lurch at the threshold. In such mood you see a London mob flattening their noses against the panes of a chemist's window, or hanging outside of a replete magistrate's office. One comfort is, that the economy of a Turkish menage perfectly admits of the establishment of a line of scouts, even from the very presence-chamber: so that earliest intelligence may be conveyed to the gentlemen without. Mr —— gave us by the way a few hints as to etiquette, and engaged to prompt us as occasion might demand. I have said already that he was perfectly up to conversation in the native language and might have well played the part of interpreter. One might might have supposed that this would have been taken by the people rather as a compliment; and that it would have been considered creditable to a foreign agent to have acquired a knowledge of the vernacular of the people with whom he had constantly to treat. But the contrary is the fact. To speak for one's self is far too simple a mode of conducting business: and he who would preserve his dignity in any consideration, must retain the services of a dragoman. To conduct an important interview without the intervention of this functionary would convey to the Turks an idea of slovenly negligence. A good thing is it when the agent, commercial or diplomatic, possesses sufficient knowledge of the language to enable him to check the version of the interpreter, who otherwise is apt to take liberties with his text. However, we were in this case quite safe: first, in the assurance of Mr —— that he would risk his life on his dragoman's veracity; and next, because it was clear that no word could pass which was not likely to be reinterpreted to us.
We marched into the room, and made our salaams-some of us inconsiderable ones very truculently, for we were very irate; and on all such occasions a man's indignation rises in exact proportion to the degree in which he has nothing to say to the matter. The deputy Caimacan was sitting on a divan at the top of the room, and rose politely as we entered. There were too many of us to find room in the divan, so we were scattered about as best we could light on places. The main difficulty was to get a place that looked clean enough to sit upon; for a dirtier palace I never saw, nor a more, beggarly. One cannot say whether the head governor had taken all his traps with him when he went a-soldiering; but if what we saw really was his establishment, it is likely enough that he had gone away to avoid exposing his poverty.
"Hosh Gueldin," said the Turk; "you are welcome."
And now was to be seen a fine contrast between Oriental apathy and British energy. The Turk sank back on his seat, as if disengaged from all care, and not quite up to the trouble of entertaining his morning visitors. The English Captain sat bolt upright, "at attention," and opened the business of the seance at once.
"Tell the Governor—"
"Stop a moment," said Mr ——, "that's not the way to begin."
"What is the way then?"
"First, you must smoke a pipe—there's one coming this way. You would shock all their notions of propriety by entering abruptly on business. We must have first a little talk about things in general."
Just then the Governor roused up, and addressed to the Captain, through the dragoman, some observation on the weather or the crops. Then came a servant with a chibouque and coffee: and the head negotiators were soon co-operatively engaged.
And no bad way of beginning business either; especially in cases where there may be a little awkward rust to rub off. The only objection to the amusement in this case was, that it was not general—pipes being afforded only to the heads of departments. This was a style of treatment so different from all our experience, that it left me more fully persuaded than ever that the Caimacan had walked off with his goods and chattels, not forgetting his pipes.
This fumatory process proceeded for some time, almost in silence. It afforded the several parties opportunity to settle the speeches they intended to make, and certainly must have been useful in the way of allaying the angry passions of their several minds. We, who had none of the business on our consciences, and had come merely to make up the show, employed this interval in taking cognizance of the localities. The household appointments were sadly inferior to those we had been accustomed to see; and especially must this condemnation fall on the servants, who were a most dirty, ill-conditioned set. They stood clustered about the doorway in groups, looking furtively at us, and whispering counsel.
"Halloo!" said Mr ——, "they have determined to be prepared for contingencies. There are the culprits, I see, in waiting for the bastinado, if such should be your demand."
And there, sure enough, they had the poor fellows just outside, waiting to be scourged for the propitiating of our wrath. Evidently they were little aware that the affair had changed altogether its complexion; and that the culpability had in our eyes been transferred from the original rioters to the protectors of the riot.
When, eventually, the signal was given for commencing business, it was a fine thing to see how beautifully submissive the deputy had become. He began by declaring that he could not arrange the matter, but must refer it to his chief, and wanted much to put off the discussion till that functionary should arrive. On this it was hinted to him, that it would have been polite and proper had that gentleman remained in the way to settle the row, which had occurred by his own fault, but that we could not await his return. Either must they undertake at once to make full reparation for the wounded dignity of the Consul, and for the injurious treatment of the Ionian, or they would see what they should see. It needed little pressing on our part to break down the feint which had been set up by way of opposition. The deputy soon declared that all should be as we wished. He still stuck to his declaration, that the actual settlement of the business was beyond his province, and that he must wait for the sanction of his commanding officer. But meanwhile he took upon himself to declare the terms on which things might be considered virtually settled; and they were, that we were to have everything our own way. This result was obtained by us without recourse had to any thing like bullying; and we were able, in this instance, to behave in a more civilised manner, because we were backed by so much real authority, and show of present power. But little doubt is there, that, however unfavourable the inference with respect to Turkish sense and honesty, the mode most commonly to be recommended in dealings with them, is by in terrorem proceeding. They cannot understand the co-ordinate existence, of power and moderation. Very good fun will sometimes be enacted by the knowing for the cowing of a pasha; and in almost any case the only fear of echouance is where there may exist too much modesty. But only bully hard, and you are tolerably sure to gain your point. It is by no means necessary that your arguments should carry the cogent force of soundness. Appearances are what weigh chiefly with those whose habits of thinking do not dispose them to discuss argument. One sharp-witted fellow that I knew brought to successful issue a decisive experiment on the readiness of pashas to be taken in by mere sound. He went into the vice-regal presence, attended by a dragoman whom he had previously instructed in the subject-matter to be propounded—some question of redress for grievance. It was necessary that he should say something on the occasion, and afford the appearance of telling the dragoman what to say: but as this person already knew his lesson, it was not necessary that what he said should be to him intelligible. Nothing occurred to him as likely to be more effective in delivery than the celebrated speech of Norval about the Grampian hills; which accordingly he recited with due emphasis, standing up to give the better effect to the scene. The end desired was fully attained. The pasha opened wide eyes, as the actor grew excited, and was visibly affected by the assumption of towering passion. He soon began to try to pacify him, and beg him to be easy. "Inshalla! all should be as he wished." The upshot of our argument with the deputy Caimacan was, that he would send immediately to his chief, for a confirmation of the pacification between us, and that meanwhile we were to amuse ourselves as well as we could. But for all we saw, amusement was one of the good things not easily to be had at Adalia. It is so deeply retired in uncivilisation, and so wanting withal in the excitements of energetic barbarism, that human life is there tamed down to the most passionless condition. It was, too, notwithstanding the season, a time of unusual commercial enterprise just then. It was the year of the murrain in Egypt, which destroyed so enormous a proportion of their cattle; and Mehemet Ali was sending in all directions to purchase horses, asses, and kine. A large corvette of his came in while we were there, on this service. She had landed her guns, and was filling her deck with livestock. There was also a deal of business going on just then in the timber line. But little evidence of this brisk state of the markets was given by the people. A good many visitors certainly came off to see us; but that was rather a reason why we should have accused the populace of idleness. We were struck with the appearance of many of the old fellows who honoured us with visits. They retained, without exception, the orthodox dress and beard of the old school. Among them were a great number of the green turbans, which mark the sacred person of the "Hadji." Such a clustering of these distinguished characters made us fancy at first that Adalia itself must be invested with the idea of some peculiar sanctity. But we found that these gentlemen were merely en route, tarrying at Adalia, a great point of embarkation, for opportunity to pursue their journey. The place is in one of the great high roads to the Hedjaz: and of the swarms who pass through it every year, many pilgrims have not sufficient funds to defray the expense of travelling either way. It then becomes a work of charity for the more opulent of the faithful to speed them on the journey. But that they depend on such means of travelling is reason sufficient to account for long in their line of locomotion, and for their congregating here in considerable numbers. Of all places likely to maintain the constant infection of plague, this must be one of the first: for notoriously among no people is the disease so rife as among the pilgrims.