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At five o'clock, there are three of us who dine together. My fellow boarders are Mr. B. an English traveller, and a Wallachian merchant. With this latter gentleman I often compare the Latin and Wallachian languages, and find there are so many words in common, that through the medium of those languages only, we could converse on ordinary subjects. This modern Latin, as it might almost be called, owes its origin to the Roman military colonies which were planted in that country.
Our dinner consists of soup; meats, boiled, stewed and roasted; to which succeed preserves or fruit, and coffee. For these accommodations, and they are the cheapest which can be found, I pay a dollar a day. A short time since, the only two other houses, where a Frank could board, charged twice this sum. The great exposedness to the plague, and the habits of the country, discourage boarding houses. Travellers who make much stay, (and this course I find was pursued by Mr. Hartley, an English missionary, who has just left,) take lodgings, and hire a servant to cook for them. In that way I am satisfied I can live more economically, and I am thinking when I know a little more of the languages, to buy some furniture and keep house during the summer. An able bodied man may be hired for from two to four dollars a month, to which he expects to add some perquisites from your table and wardrobe. Our brethren at Malta however, complain bitterly, as you might expect, of the difficulty of obtaining honest servants. Indeed honesty in the Levant is a thing out of the question, and with all their New England character, the missionaries have sustain. ed some serious losses among these knavish people.
Besides the family of the British chaplain, I have also made the acquaintance of Mr. S. an English merchant, on whom I have letters of credit. His lady, who is a native of Constantinople, so far conforms to the usages of the country, that when I call, she does me the honor to present the sweetmeats with her own hand, leaving the servant however to bear the coffee. She smiled, when I said in my still broken Italian, that I should write — how I was received. The original meaning of this almost universal practice, is said to have been, an implied pledge from the fair hand that presents it, that no poison is mingled in the cup. Nor if common report be true, would such a pledge, in every instance, be even now unnecessary. Mr. Wolff, the Jewish missionary, supposed when here that an attempt was made to poison him, in one of the villages of his countrymen. Oriental hospitality might have been expected to revolt at this, but religious prejudices seem to have surpassed in bitterness the other evils of plague and oppression, to which this miserable land is subject.
Feb. 24.- I need not say that the recent destruction of the Japissaries, has greatly changed the state of society here. From Constantinople and its suburbs, at least fifty thousand of these lawless men and their adherents, are said to have been banished or put to death. Instead of the crowds which were formerly met in every street, with their girdles thrust full of pistols, ataghan and scimetar, and ready to insult or rob you, you see none but laborers, females or unarmed soldiers, passing along in quietness. It is said that considerable discontent prevails in different parts of the empire, and it would not be singular if the great increase of taxes for carrying on the war with the Greeks, should cause some uneasiness. Judging however from the respectable degree of discipline which has been introduced among the many thousands of the new soldiery in the city and its vicinity; and the well known energy of the Sultan and the Seraskier, his principal agent; we may consider the new order of things pretty firmly established. Certain it is that this is very popular with the Franks, whose mouths are filled with praises of Sultan Mahmoud and the Seraskier. The latter officer was known not many years ago, as a common porter in the streets of the city
The unhappy dissensions among the Greeks continue as violent as ever. It is hoped however, that the Russian ambassador, who has just arrived, will succeed, in conjunction with Mr. Canning, the English ambassador, in obtaining the virtual independence of Greece.
Feb. 26.–For some days past it has been observed that many funerals of soldiers were taking place during the day, and that the number of fresh graves multiplied during the night. In the villages also we heard of several accidents, as deaths by the plague are called, and strangers began taking new precautions against this wasting pestilence. At present, however, the alarm appears to be subsiding, but in anticipation of what the warm weather may soon bring, I am casting around for a summer's residence on the Bosphorus, or in the Princes’ Islands. '
I was walking, not long since, with my fellow boarder, in the cemetery, without Pera, which is the favorite and almost the only promenade. We saw a number of open graves, towards one of which a party of soldiers were hastily bearing their comrade. We got on the windward side, as a security against infection, and stood behind a cluster of cypresses, to observe the ceremonies of interment. One of the police coming up ordered us away, but the curiosity of my companion being much excited, we only withdrew a short distance in a different direction. Upon this, seeing us still lingering, he took up stones and threw at us. Whether his conduct was owing to the ordinary prejudices of the people, or to any recent command, we could not determine.
Its situation-Harbor of the Golden Horn_Constantinople proper
-Extent,Walls-Royal mosques—Mausoleums—The Atmeidan—The djerid-Other antiquities--Cisterns--Aqueducts, fountains and baths—Bazars-Manufactures—Castle of Seven Towers—Mosque of Ejoub-Seraglio.
Constantinople, March 12, 1827. You will better understand my situation here, if you suffer me first to refresh your memory, with some general notices of this great Mohammedan capital. Take your globe then, and follow round your own parallel of latitude, until you have counted off nearly one hundred degrees to the east. Or if you prefer to trace my route, you may stretch a line across the Atlantic, of thirty five hundred miles; and thence another of fifteen hundred or two thousand more, through
the Mediterranean and the islands of the Archipelago; the Dardanelles and the sea of Marmora, to where it receives the waters of the Black Sea by the outlet of the Bosphorus, or straits of Constantinople. The Bosphorus, like the straits of the Dardanelles, is to be regarded as a rapid river, rather than a canal as it is usually called. Its breadth varies from one to three miles, and its length is not far from twenty. On the European side, just at the point of opening into the Marmora, an arm or rather horn of the strait, extends six or eight miles.into the land, curving upon itself towards the Black Sea. Its greatest breadth is about a mile. At its tip, two small streams discharge themselves, whose course is nearly parallel with the Bosphorus. Cover this singular body of water with thousands of the gay kirlangishes or swallow boats, and cluster around its banks hundreds of richly freighted merchant vessels, and it becomes the celebrated harbor of the golden horn.
Constantinople properly so called, is the triangular space, enclosed on two sides by the Marmora and the golden horn, and on the land side by a triple wall and ditch. It is customary however, to include under the same general name, the suburbs of Galata, Pera, Tophana and others, which are contained within the curve of the horn, and the Bosphorus. Some also add Scutari, and the suburbs on the Asiatic side of the strait, though the channel is here three miles over.
Confining ourselves then, for the present to Constantinople proper, let us first fix on some localities. Con. sidering the land side as the base of the triangle, we have the castle of the Seven Towers near the angle which it forms with the Marmora, and the mosque of