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like--and these in turn used to look up at Murad's window; which things in time came to Abdul Hamid's ears. Then Abdul decided that this indulgence was not good for Murad-nor for the people. Thirty-two years was already too long for that sort of thing. So Murad's face disappeared from the window, and it was given out that he had died—the bulletin did not say what of, but merely mentioned that it had been a "general death”—that is to say, a natural death, under the circumstances—the kind of death a retired Sultan is likely to die. And Abdul mourned for Murad many days, and gave him a costly funeral.
That was Abdul's way. He was always a good brother—always a generous soul-according to a guide-book published in Constantinople during the time when there were twenty thousand secret agents inspecting such things. The author of that book wanted those twenty thousand secret agents to tell Abdul how good and gentle the book said he was; otherwise, the modest and humble Abdul might not remember. Besides, that author did not wish to disappear from among his friends and be sewed up in a sack and dropped into the Bosporus some quiet evening. But I wander—I always wander.
Abdul Hamid is said to be affectionate with his family—all his family—and quick-very quick—that is to say, impulsive. He is a crack shot, too, and keeps pistols on his dressing-table. One day he saw one of his little sons-or it may have been one of his little daughters (it isn't always easy to tell them apart, when they are so plentiful and dress a good deal alike), but anyway this was a favorite of Abdul's-he saw
this child handling one of his pistols, perhaps playfully pointing it in his direction.
Hamid didn't tell the child to put the weapon down, and then lecture him. No, he couldn't scold the child, he was too impulsive for that-and quick, as I have mentioned. He drew a revolver of his own and shot the child dead. There were rumors of plots floating around the palace just then, and Hamid wasn't taking any chances. It must have made his heart bleed to have to punish the child in that sudden way.
But by-and-by the times were out of joint for sultans. A spirit of discontent was spreading—there was a cry for freer government. Enver Bey and Niazi Bey, those two young officers whose names are being perpetuated by male babies in every Turkish household, disguised themselves as newsboys or bootblacks, and going among the people of the streets whispered the gospel of freedom. Then one day came the upheaval of which all the world has read. Abdul Hamid one morning, looking out of his window in Yildiz Palace, saw, lying in the Bosporus just below, the men-of-war which all the years of his reign had been turning to rust and wormwood in the Golden Horn.
Abdul did not believe it at first. He thought he was just having one of those bad dreams that had pestered him now and then since spies and massacres had become unpopular. He pinched himself and rubbed his eyes, but the ships stayed there. Then he sent for the Grand Vizier. (At least, I suppose it was the Grand Vizier—that is what a sultan generally sends for in a case like that.) When he arrived the Sultan was fingering his artillery and looking dangerous.
“What in h- that is, Allah be praised, but why, sirrah, are those ships lying down there?” he roared.
The G. V. was not full of vain knowledge.
“I–I really don't know, Your Majesty,” he said, soothingly. “I will go and see.”
He was standing near the door and dodged as he went out. He did not come back. When he had inquired about the ships he decided not to seek Abdul himself, but to send a man—a cheap man-to tell him about it. This was just a dull fellow with not much politeness and no imagination.
“The ships are there by the order of the Minister of Marine, Your Majesty," he said.
Abdul was so astonished that he forgot to slay the fellow.
“Bring the Minister of Marine!” he gasped, when at last he could catch his breath.
The Minister of Marine came—a new minister-one of the Young Turk Party. He was polite, but not upset by the Sultan's emotion. When Abdul demanded the reason why the old ships had been furbished up and brought down into the Bosporus, he replied that they were there by his orders, and added:
“We think they look better there, Your Majesty, as in the old days.”
“But, by the beard of the Prophet, I will not have them there! Take them away!”.
“Your Majesty, it grieves me to seem discourteous, not to say rude, but those ships are to remain at their present anchorage. It grieves me still further to
appear to be firm, not to say harsh, but if there is any show of resistance in this neighborhood they have orders to open fire on Your Majesty's palace.”
Abdul took a chair and sat down. His jaw dropped, and he looked at the Minister of Marine a good while without seeming to see him. Then he got up and tottered over to the window and gazed out on those ships lying just below, on the Bosporus. By-and-by, he went to a little ornamental table and took a pen and some paper and wrote an order in this wise:
Owing to my declining years and my great burdens of responsibility, it is my wish that in future all matters pertaining to the army and navy be under the supervision of the Secretary of War and the Minister of Marine.
ABDUL HAMID, KAHN II.
At all events, that was the purport of it. In reality, it was a succession of wriggly marks which only a Moslem could read. Never mind, it was a graceful surrender.
There is a wonderful old Moslem cemetery near Bulgurlu-one of the largest in the world and the most thickly planted. It is favored by Moslems because it is on the side of the city nearest Mecca, and they are lying there three deep and have overflowed into the roads and byways. Their curiously shaped and elaborately carved headstones stand as thick as grain-some of them crowned with fezzessome with suns—all of them covered with emblems and poetry and passages from the Koran. They are tumbled this way and that; they are lying every
where along the road; they have been built into the wayside walls.
I wanted to carry away one of those tombstonesone of the old ones—and I would have done it if I had known enough Moslem to corrupt the driver. A thing like that would be worth st-adding to one's collection, I mean. The palace was full of great cypresses, too—tall, funereal trees—wonderfully impressive and beautiful.
We drove back to Skutari and there saw our driver Suleiman for the last time. I had already tipped him at the end of each day, but I suppose he expected something rather unusual as a farewell token. Unfortunately, I was low in fractional currency. I scraped together all I had left-a few piastres-and handed them to him and turned quickly away. There came a sudden explosion as of a bomb. I did not look to see what it was—I knew. It was the bursting of Suleiman's heart.
Up the Golden Horn in the afternoon, as far as the Sweet Waters of Europe. It is a beautiful sail, and there is a mosque where the ceremony of conferring the sword on a new Sultan is performed; also, a fine view across the Sweet Waters, with Jewish graveyards whitening the distant hills. But there was nothing of special remark-we being a little tired of the place by this time-except the homecoming.
There were caiques lying about the little steamerlanding when we were ready to return, and Laura and I decided to take one of these down the Horn to the ship. The caique is a curiously shaped canoe-sort of a craft, and you have to get in carefully and sit still.