Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

splendid, as were also the principal attendants of both.

The stirrups are a flat plate, widening at each end, with high sharp edges on the sides. They measure more than half a yard in length; the sides cut like a razor ; and those of the poor horse are frequently obliged to be dressed, when he arrives at his stable, in consequence of the wounds he has received from them.

If my reader be already weary of gold and jewels, silk and velvet, silver and embroidery, he will do well to pass the following chapter, in which there will be a repeated display of them all. Its contents are furnished by a lady, the sister of a British Consul *, who resided ten years at Tripoli, and was admitted to an intimacy with the ladies of the Bashaw's family, and those of some of his principal officers. The information thus obtained is curious, and could only be derived from such a

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

CHAPTER XXVIII.

DRESS AND DOMESTIC MANNERS OF THE LADIES OF

TRIPOLI.

FROM the gate of the castle at Tripoli the British Consul and his family entered a court which was crowded with guards. At the farther end of this, they passed through the hall in which the Kaiya, the chief officer of the Bashaw, sits during the whole of the day. In the next court, stood the hall of audience, finished on the outside with Chinese tiles, a number of which formed one entire painting. A flight of steps, of variegated marble led to the door. After this, the numerous buildings of the castle formed several streets, and beyond them was the bagnio where the Christian slaves were kept. Here the gentlemen of the party remained, not being allowed to proceed any farther ; while the ladies were conducted by eunuchs through long vaulted passages, so dark that they could scarcely see their way, to one of the courts of the horem. This court they found very gloomy; it being covered with a close, heavy, iron grating, and the galleries before the chambers were shut in by very small lattice.

The English ladies were introduced to the wife of the Bashaw, whose title is Lilla Kebeera, Greatest Lady. The cap of this lady was so richly embroidered that it looked as if formed of a solid plate of gold. Her shift was covered at

[blocks in formation]

the neck with gold embroidery. Her under waistcoat was of gold and silver tissue, and without sleeves; her upper waistcoat was of purple velvet, with gold lace, buttons of pearl and coral, and short sleeves with a gold band. The rest of the arm was covered with the wide loose sleeve of the shift, which was of transparent gauze, with stripes of gold, silver, and ribband. The barracan was of crimson gauze, with silk stripes of the same colour. The trowsers, and, by the way, a pair of trowsers to be handsome, must be seven yards wide, were of pale yellow and white silk, confined round the ancle by a band, three inches broad, formed of gold thread; and immediately below these were a pair of rings an inch and an half broad, and the same in thickness. Each of these rings weighs four pounds; and the gold is so fine that it is bent with one hand to the leg in putting on, and remains without any fastening, till it is opened, and taken off. A lady walks little, and with great caution, when she wears such fetters. The wife of the Bashaw had two rings through the bottom of each ear, and three through the top, all set with precious stones.

The apartment of Lilla Kebeera was hung with dark green velvet, with coloured silk damask flowers; and sentences from the Koran, in silk letters, formed a deep border at the top and near the bottom; the latter was finished with land. scapes on tiles. On the walls were large lookingglasses in frames of gold and silver. The floor was covered with curious matting, and this with rich carpets. Mattrasses and cushions, covered with velvet, and embroidered with gold and silver, served for seats.

VISITS TO THE CASTLE.

483

Coffee was served in very small china cups placed in fillagree cups of gold, and was brought in on a very large massive gold salver, by two eunuchs entirely covered with gold and silver, who carried it round between them to each of the company. Refreshments were afterwards placed on beautiful inlaid tables raised about a foot from the ground. Among the sherbets were the fresh juice of oranges and that of pomegranates squeezed through the rind. After the repast, slaves attended with napkins, with gold ends nearly half a yard deep, and with silver fillagree censers.

A slight morning repast at the castle consisted of curds and whey and Fezzan dates. These were placed on a gold waiter about three feet in diameter, and the waiter was placed on a table of the same size, of mother of pearl and silver.

During the stay of the English ladies at Tripoli, a daughter of the Bashaw was married. Among the articles sent on this occasion, were two hundred pair of shoes, one hundred pair of velvet boots, richly embroidered, and every other part of dress in the same proportion. These were all packed in square flat boxes, and would have been carried to the house of the bridegroom, but, as the princess was not to leave the castle, they were taken out at one gate, and brought in at another, with a long procession of guards, attendants, and hired women singing loo, loo, loo.

The bride sat on an elevated seat in the alcove of her apartment, to which her most confidentialfriends successively mounted by seven or eight steps, to pay

their court to her. She was covered with gold and jewels; but she was concealed from the ladies below by an embroidered silk veil, which

was thrown over her : those who were permitted to speak to her cautiously lifted up the veil that they might not expose any part of her person to the crowd below. Two slaves attended to support the two tresses of her hair behind, which were so loaded with jewels, and ornaments of gold and silver, that, if she had risen from her seat, she could not, herself, have supported their weight. While a bride occupies the bridal seat, she is not allowed to smile.

The visitors of the princess changed their dress three times, and each time for a richer than the former. After the first change, they threw the first money, as they term it; that is, they gave money to a favourite attendant, appointed to receive it, and dressed for the occasion. A lady of the first quality threw ten mahbûbs (a gold coin of about seven shillings value). When the company had changed their dresses a second time, they threw the second money, from thirty to forty mahbûbs each ; they then changed their dresses a third time, and sat down to a dinner for which they had sufficiently paid. Magnificent tables were covered with the choicest viands, and afterwards with the finest fruits and sweetmeats; cushions, with gold and silver embroidery, were laid around them for seats ; and the greatest lady, and her daughters, attended by black female slaves, almost covered with silver, waited on the guests. During the first seven days, the bride must eat alone.

The English ladies afterwards visited the eldest daughter of the Bashaw on the birth of a son. This princess was the wife of a Neapolitan renegado, who was once the slave of her father, though

« ZurückWeiter »