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down the adjacent houses. If the owner was sufficiently liberal in his offers for insurance, they seldom failed to preserve his dwelling. On an alarm of fire, the Kehaya Bey, Stamboul Effendi, Reis Effendi, and Grand Vizier immediately make their appearance, and if it continue long, the Sultan comes himself, to encourage the firemen by money and promises. In Galata and Pera, the Franks have begun to build stone houses of late. Under a Christian government the use of stone, might easily become universal. In the country around Constantinople, compact limestone might be quarried to any extent, and the island of Marmora, which is in sight, would furnish an inexhaustible store of more valuable materials.
Turkish currency-Weights and measures-Summer's employment-Hopeful Armenian youth—Turkish women and Rayahs -Slight illness-Fruits and provisions.
Prinkipos, May 20, 1827. UNDER the seal I have placed a para, which shall serve as an introduction to the money, weights and measures of Turkey. It is of impure silver; less than a half dime as you will see, and scarcely one twelfth of its weight. The Sultan's name is stamped upon it in Turkish characters, as upon the larger coins. Small as is the para, (the accent is on the last syllable,) the asper, now no longer current, was still smaller; three aspers making but one para. Forty paras are reckon. ed to the piastre, which like the asper, no longer cir
culates in Turkey. When the Sultan wishes to debase or change the currency, he forbids the circulation of the old. In Greece, the piastre and several heavy sil. ver coins are still common. Spanish dollars, are the most valuable money for the Levant, but foreign gold is current. Almost the only Turkish money now in circulation, besides the para, is of gold. The fondook or dodecaria, as it is called from the Greek, is the most common coin, and is equivalent to twelve piastres or a Spanish dollar. It is as large as the eighth of a dollar, and is more convenient than silver, for the traveller. There are also, halves and quarters of the same. Occasionally, too, you meet with five, and two and a half piastre pieces, also of gold. Mahmoudie is a new coin of the present Sultan. Its value is between two and three dollars. A purse is an imaginary value of 500 piastres. The tribute to the government is reckoned by purses. The common mode of carrying small sums is in a fold of the girdle. For counting out paras, every shop-keeper has a board, with its sides secured by a moulding. They tell them off by fives, with great rapidity, and then pour them into your hand from the narrow end which is left open. It is a currency convenient for no other purpose, than to satisfy a throng of beggars, four hundred and eighty, being reckoned to the dollar. Nothing is more variable in form and value than Turkish money, so that new statements are required from every traveller. There is a constant and rapid depreciation in the value of the piastre, and of property in Turkey.*
* Already since the beginning of the Russian war, the dodecaria has increased from twelve to fourteen piastres.
The oke, is the most common Turkish weight. It is equal to four hundred Turkish drachms, or about two and three quarter pounds avoirdupois. A Turkish drachm is thus not far from nine fifths of an English drachm. Liquids are commonly sold by the oke. The principal measure of capacity is the kilo, which is nearly equal to the Winchester bushel. The pic, which is twenty seven English inches, is the common measure of length. The hour is the oriental measure of distance, and is usually estimated at three miles. Of course it varies much with the nature of the road. In Syria not more than two miles and a half should be reckoned to the hour, on account of the greater slowness of a loaded camel. In
ats and measures generally, considerable diversity exists in different parts of the empire. All the people of the country begin their computation of time from sunset, when it is twelve o'clock, and again twelve hours afterwards. Hence, the variation in the length of the days causes irregularity in their time pieces, and much inconvenience to foreigners.
June 16.—I am already beginning to feel myself somewhat domesticated among this people of strange languages, and stranger manners. Besides considerable medical practice, my principal employment still continues to be the study of languages. I am also drawing around me a little circle of Greeks and Armenians, who are desirous of reading the Scriptures, and conversing on religious subjects. I wish I could shew you one of the latter, who comes to teach me Turkish, in exchange for the English. He is a lad but fourteen years of age; wears a loose robe of fine olive colored kerseymere; a tunic or close gown of striped gingham,
with a brazen inkstand fastened in its girdle; double, slippers of dark morocco, and the phes, or red cap with its tassel of blue silk, fitting close to his head. I have seldom seen a sweeter countenance, and when he enters my door, or passes me in the street, he lays his hand on his breast, with the gracefulness of a courtier and the simplicity of a child. I do assure you that the thought of finding access for the gospel among his countrymen, through such a medium, comes over my spirit in times of weariness, as refreshing as the soft dews of an oriental evening.
No doubt you would like a particular introduction to some of the ladies of this country, but I fear you will hardly accept the offer of my weary pen. The Turkish and Armenian women you may recognize by their corpulence; their shawls of gay colors; their yellow or red slippers; and especially by their white handkerchiefs, (not veils,) with which the whole head is enveloped, excepting the eyes. Even these at Smyrna are concealed by a bandage of black gauze. If I may form an opinion from what I occasionally see of their features, their reputation for beauty suffers no loss by this practice. Sometimes they are so obliging when you meet them, as to let fall their veile. You can judge for yourself whether these are the fairest specimens of Turkish beauty. Once when walking through the Turkish quarter in Smyrna, some one from the door of a house which we had passed, cried out aloud, you have seen me; you have seen me." Looking back we discovered a lady still unveiled; but whether she wished to attract our notice, or was disturbed by what she thought a violation of the rules of propriety, we could not be certain. We all concluded
however, if the latter was the motive, her personal charms did not justify so much ado.
I have mentioned the Turkish and Armenian women together, for they have many points of resemblance not only in their style of dress, but in the custom of staining their nails red with the henna, smoking, and the like. The former are more secluded than the latter, but yet they are far less so than I had been led to anticipate. You meet them every where in Constantinople, usually in companies of three or four, unattended by a servant. The bazars, in particular, are full of them, and a pleasant morning is as sure to be improved by them in shopping as by the ladies of any country. The practice of concealing their fea. tures, one would think must be rather uncomfortable, yet accustomed as they are to it, from an early period, and regarding it as one of the proprieties of life, it ceases in a great degree, doubtless, to be irksome. It is not practised in early childhood, and travellers speak of villages where all the women are unveiled.* It is not the usage, nor would it perhaps be safe, to enter the door of a Turk uninvited. Should
in passing a village, wish to purchase articles of provision not found in the market, you would stand without in the streets and call aloud. A vcice through the lattice work of the window, might give you an answer, or a child be sent out with the article wanted.
We often hear it said that females are believed by Mahometans to have no souls nor entrance into
* We hear the present summer that the wives of the Sultan, and other ladies of rank, have 'appeared in public, dressed entirely after the French fashions. It seems probable that for some time past, a gradual improvement has been taking place in the condiz tion of Turkish women.