Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 im- ' pressive 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.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

But once in and seated, it moves as silently and smoothly as a gliding star.

It was sunset, and the Golden Horn was true to its name. Ships at anchor, barges drifting up and down, were aglow with the sheen of evening—the water a tawny, molten flood, the still atmosphere like an impalpable dust of gold. Caiques carrying merchants to their homes somewhere along the upper shores were burnished with the aureate hue. Domes and minarets caught and reflected the wonder of it—the Galata bridge ahead of us had become such a span as might link the shores of the River of Peace.

Once more Constantinople was a dream of Paradise —a vision of enchantment-a city of illusion.

XXII

EPHESUS: THE CITY THAT WAS

IKE Oriental harbors generally, Smyrna from the L sea has a magic charm. When we slowly sailed down a long reach of water between quiet hills and saw the ancient city rising from the morning mist, we had somehow a feeling that we had reached a hitherto undiscovered port-a mirage, perhaps, of some necromancer's spell.

We landed, found our train, and went joggling away through the spring landscape, following the old highway that from time immemorial has led from Ephesus to Smyrna—the highway which long ago St. Paul travelled, and St. John, too, no doubt, and the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalen. For all these journeyed between Ephesus and Smyrna in their time, and the ancient road would be crowded with countless camel trains and laden donkeys then; also with the wheeled vehicles of that period-cars and chariots and cages of wild animals for the gamesand there would be elephants, too, gaudily caparisoned, carrying some rich potentate of the East and his retinue-a governor, perhaps, or a king. It was a mighty thoroughfare in those older days and may be still, though it is no longer crowded, and we did not notice any kings. We did notice some Reprobates—the ones we have

01.

always with us. They sat just across the aisle, engaged in their usual edifying discussion as to the identity of the historic sites we were supposed to be passing. Finally they got into a particularly illuminating dispute as to the period of St. Paul's life and ministrations. It began by the Apostle (our Apostle) casually remarking that St. Paul had lived about twenty-one hundred years ago.

It was a mild remark-innocent enough in its trifling inaccuracy of two or three centuries—but it disturbed the Colonel, who has fallen into the guidebook habit, and is set up with the knowledge thereof.

“Look here,” he said, “if I knew as little as you do about such things I'd restrain the desire to give out information before company.”

The Apostle was undisturbed by this sarcasm. He folded his hands across his comfortable forward elevation and smiled in his angel way.

“Oh, you think so," he said placidly. “Well, you think like a camel's hump. You never heard of St. Paul till you started on this trip. I used to study about him at Sunday-school when a mere child.”

“Yes, you did! as a child! Why, you old lobscouse" (lobscouse is an article on the Kurfürst bill of fare) “you never saw the inside of a Sunday-school. You heard somebody last night say something about twenty-one hundred years ago, and with your genius for getting facts mixed you saddled that date on St. Paul.”

The Colonel turned for corroboration to the HorseDoctor, who regarded critically the outlines of the

« PreviousContinue »