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Only I didn't want it to go on forever, situated as I was. I wanted the dancing to begin, and pretty soon, too. It didn't, however. Nothing begins soon in the Orient.
But by-and-by, when that songster had wailed for as much as a week, those high priests on the dancingfloor began to show signs of life. They moved a little; they got up; they went through some slow evolutions
-to limber themselves, perhaps—then they began to whirl.
The dance is a religious rite, and it is supposed to represent the planets revolving about the sun. The dancers serve an apprenticeship of one thousand and one days, and they can whirl and keep on whirling forever without getting dizzy. The central figure, who represents the sun, has had the most practice, no doubt, for he revolves just twice as fast as the planets, who are ranged in two circles around him. His performance is really wonderful. I did not think so much of the others, except as to their ability to stand upright. I thought I could revolve as fast as they did, myself, and I would have given four dollars for a little freedom just then to try it.
Would that constellation never run down? The satellites whirled on and on, and the high priest in the middle either got faster or I imagined it. Then at last they stopped-just stopped—that was all; only I let go of those two women then and clawed my way to fresh air.
We went to the bazaars after that. There is where the Kurfürster finds real bliss. He may talk learnedly of historic sites and rave over superb ruins and mosques and such things, when you drag him in carriages to see them. But only say the word bazaar to him and he will walk three miles to find it. To price the curious things of the East; to barter and beat down; to walk away and come back a dozen times; to buy at last at a third of the asking pricesuch is the passion that presently gets hold of the irresponsible tourist who lives on one ship and has a permanent state-room for his things.
You should see some of those state-rooms! Jars, . costumes, baskets, rugs, draperies, statuary—piled everywhere, hung everywhere, stowed everywherewhy, we could combine the stuff on this ship and open a floating bazaar that would be the wonder of the world.
The bazaars of Constantinople are crowded together and roofed over, and there are narrow streets and labyrinthine lanes. One can buy anything thereanything Eastern: ornaments, inlaid work, silks, curious weapons, picture postals (what did those Quaker City pilgrims do without them ?), all the wares of the Orient-he can get a good deal for a little if he is patient and unyielding—and he will be cheated every time he makes change. Never mind; one's experience is always worth something, and this particular tariff is not likely to be high.
We bought several things in Constantinople, but we did not buy any confections. The atmosphere did not seem suited to bonbons, and the places where such things were sold did not look inviting. Laura inspected the assortment and decided that the best Turkish Delight is made in America, and that Broad
way is plenty far enough east for nougat. In one bazaar they had a marvellous collection of royal jewels: swords with incrusted handles; caskets “worth a king's ransom”—simply a mass of rubies, emeralds, and diamonds-half a barrel of such things, at least, but we didn't buy any of those goods, either. We would have done so, of course, only they were not for sale.
We called at the bazaar of Far-away Moses, but he wasn't there. He died only a little while ago, and has gone to that grand bazaar of delight which the Mohammedans have selected as their heaven.
As usual, Laura and I were the last to leave. We were still pulling over some things when our driver, whom we call Suleiman because he has such a holy, villanous look, came suddenly to the entrance, waving frantically. We started then and piled into our carriage. The rest of our party were already off, and we set out helter-skelter after them, Suleiman probably believing that the ship had its anchors up ready to sail.
We were doing very well when right in front of a great arch one of our horses fell down. We had a crowd in a minute, and as it was getting dusk I can't say that I liked the situation. But Suleiman got the horse on his feet somehow, and we pushed along and once more entered that diabolical Street of Smells. It had been bad day by day, but nothing to what it was now. There were no lights, except an oil-lamp here and there; the place was swarming with humanity and dogs, general vileness permeating everything. The woman who thought she had died and gone to hell could be certain of it here.
It seemed that we would never get out of that street. We had to go slower, and the horrible gully was eternal in its length. How far ahead our party was we did not know. We were entirely alone in that unholy neighborhood with our faithful Suleiman, who looked like a cutthroat, anyhow. I wished he didn't look like that, and Laura said quietly that she never expected to see the light of another dawn.
Bumpety - bump — bark, howl, clatter, darkness, stench-rolling and pitching through that mess, and then, heavenly sight-a vision of lights, water, the end of the Galata bridge!
We made our way through the evening jam and the wild bedlam at the other end, crossing a crimson tide of fezzes, to reach the one clean place we have seen in Constantinople — that is, the ship. The ship is clean—too clean, we think, when we hear them scrubbing and mopping and thumping the decks at four o'clock in the morning, just about dog-howling time. Which brings me to a specimen of our ship GermanAmerican German-produced by a gentle soul named Fosdick, of Ohio. He used it on the steward after being kept awake by the ship-cleaning. This is what he said:
“Vas in damnation is das noise? How can I schlaff mit das hellgefired donner-wetter going on oben mine head?”
That is the sort of thing we can do when we get really stirred up. It is effective, too. There was no unseemly noise this morning.
LOOKING DOWN ON YILDIZ
LERETOFORE, during our stay here, whenever Tlany one happened to mention the less attractive aspects of Constantinople, I have said:
“Yes, the city is pretty bad, but I'll wager the country is a dream. Remember Algiers and her suburban villas? It will be the same here."
I do not say that any more, now that we have been to the country. We went over to Skutari (Asiatic Constantinople) this morning, and took carriages to Bulgurlu Mountain, which overlooks all the city and a vast stretch of country. It is a good view, but it should be, considering what it costs to get there—in wear and tear, I mean.
Of all villanous roads, those outside Skutari are the most depraved. They are not roads at all, but just washes and wallows and ditches and stone gullies. I have seen bad roads in Virginia-roads surveyed by George Washington, and never touched since—but they were a dream of luxury as compared with these of Turkey. Our carriages billowed and bobbed and pitched and humped themselves until I got out and walked to keep from being lamed for life.
And then the houses—the villas I had expected to see; dear me, how can I picture those cheap, ugly, unpainted, overdecorated architectural crimes? They