« PreviousContinue »
to one of the dogs of their neighborhood group. A day or two later she set out for a walk, carrying her parasol, holding it downward. Suddenly she felt it taken from her hand. Looking down, she saw a dog walking by her side, carrying it. It was the favored animal, trying to make return to any one who came out of that heavenly house.
She told me how in the winter the dogs pile up in pyramids to keep warm, and how those underneath, when they have smothered as long as they can, will work out and get to the top of the heap and let the others have a chance to get warm and smothered too.
Once, when some excavations were going on in her neighborhood the dogs of several bands, made kin by a vigorous touch of nature, cold, had packed themselves into a sort of tunnel which the workmen had made. One dog who had come a little late was left outside. He made one or two efforts to get a position, but it was no use. He reflected upon the situation and presently set up a loud barking. That was too much for those other dogs. They came tumbling out to see what had happened, but before they had a chance to find out, the late arrival had slipped quietly in and established himself in the warmest place.
Once a pasha visited a certain neighborhood in Pera, and the dogs kept him awake. In his irritation he issued an order that the dogs of that environment should be killed. The order was carried out, and for a day and a night there was silence there. But then the word had gone forth that a section of rich territory had been vacated, and there was a rush for it that was like the occupation of the Oklahoma strip,
There was trouble, too, in establishing the claim and electing officers. No such excitement and commotion and general riot had ever been known in that street before. It lasted two days and nights. Then everything was peaceable enough. Captains had fought their way to a scarred and limping victory. Claims had been duly surveyed and distributed. The pasha had retired permanently from the neighborhood.
It is against the law for the ordinary citizen to kill one of the dogs. They are scavengers, and the law protects them. One may kick and beat and scald and maim them, and the Turk has a habit of doing these things; but he must not kill them-not unless he is a pasha. And, after all, the dogs own Constantinople the pariah dogs, I mean; there are few of the other kind. One seldom sees a pet dog on the streets. The pariah dogs do not care for him. They do not attack him, they merely set up a racket which throws that pet dog into a fever and fills him with an abiding love of home. But I am dwelling too long on this subject. I enjoy writing about these wonderful dogs. They interest me.
Perhaps the “Young Turks” will improve Constantinople. Already they have made the streets safer; perhaps they will make them cleaner. Also, they may improve the Turkish postal service. That would be a good place to begin, I should think. Constantinople has a native post-office, but it isn't worth anything. Anybody who wants a letter to arrive sends it through one of the foreign post-offices, of which each European nation supports one on its own account. To trust a letter to the Turkish post-office is to bid it a
permanent good-bye. The officials will open it for money first, and soak off the stamp afterward. If you inquire about it, they will tell you it was probably seditionary and destroyed by the sultan's orders. Perhaps that will not be so any more. The sultan's late force of twenty thousand spies has been disbanded, and things to-day are on a much more liberal basis. Two royal princes came aboard our vessel to-day, unattended except by an old marshal -something which has never happened here before.
These princes have been virtually in prison all their lives. Until very recently they had never left the palace except under guard. They had never been aboard a vessel until they came aboard the Kurfürst, and though grown men, they were like children in their manner and their curiosity. They had never seen a type-writer. They had never seen a steamengine. Our chief engineer took them down among the machinery and they were delighted. They greeted everybody, saluted everybody, and drove away at last in their open victoria drawn by two white horses, with no outriders, no guards, no attendants of any kind except the old marshal—a thing which only a little while ago would not have been dreamed of as possible.
Perhaps there is hope for Turkey, after all.
ABDUL HAMID GOES TO PRAYER
IT was on our second day in Constantinople that we I saw the Selamlik—that is, the Sultan Abdul Hamid II. on his way to prayer. It was Friday, which is the Mohammedan Sunday, and the sultan, according to his custom, went to the mosque in state. The ceremony was, in fact, a grand military review, with twenty-five thousand soldiers drawn up on the hillside surrounding the royal mosque, and many bands of music; the whole gay and resplendent with the varied uniforms of different brigades, the trappings of high officials, the flutter of waving banners, the splendor of royal cortége—all the fuss and fanfare of this fallen king.'
For Abdul Hamid is no longer monarch except by sufferance. A tyrant who in his time has ordered the massacre of thousands; has imprisoned and slain members of his own family; has sent a multitude to the Bosporus and into exile; has maintained in this
Note-a year later.—The Selamlik here described was among the last of such occasions. A few weeks later, in April, 1909, Abdul Hamid regained a brief ascendancy, ordered the terrible massacres of Adana, and on April 27th was permanently dethroned. He was succeeded by his brother, Mehmed V., who attends mosque with little or no ceremony. Abdul meantime has retired to Salonica, where he is living quietly-as quietly as one may with seventeen favorite wives and the imminent prospect of assassination.
enlightened day a court and a rule of the Middle Ages-he is only a figurehead now, likely to be removed at a moment's warning.
The Young Turk is in the saddle. Hamid's force of twenty thousand spies has been disbanded. Menof-war lie in the Bosporus just under Yildiz, ready to open fire on that royal palace at the first sign of any disturbance there. The tottering old man is still allowed his royal guard, his harem, and this weekly ceremonial and display to keep up a semblance of imperial power. But he is only a make-believe king; the people know that, and he knows it, too, best of all. . We had special invitations from the palace and a
special enclosure from which to view the ceremony. We had cakes, too, and sherbet served while we waited—by the sultan's orders, it was said—but I didn't take any. I thought Abdul might have heard I didn't care for him and put poison in mine. That would be like him.
I was tempted, though, for we had driven a long way through the blinding dust It was hot there, and we had to stand up and keep on standing up while all that great review got together and arranged and rearranged itself; while officials and black Nubian eunuchs, those sexless slaves of the harem, ran up and down, and men sanded the track—that is, the road over which his majesty was to drive—and did a hundred other things to consume time.
One does not hurry the Orient-one waits on it. That is a useful maxim-I'm glad I invented it. I said it over about a hundred times while we stood there waiting for Abdul Hamid, who was dallying