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multitude, filling even all the adjoining streets, remained still and motionless, so that even the most distant might catch the murmuring voices of the priests, who were reciting the service within the church; troops lined the streets to see that perfect quiet was maintained, but assuredly it was a needless precaution, for there was not one present who did not seem to share in a general feeling of gloom and depression, as though a heavy cloud were hanging over all things; and so complete was the realization of all that these ceremonies are intended to convey, that I am certain that the power of death, still so awfully manifest in these last tedious hours, was present with each one of them.
"As midnight approached, the archbishop, with his priests, accompanied by the king and queen, left the church and stationed themselves on the platform, which was raised considerably from the ground, so that they were distinctly seen by the people. Every one now remained in breathless expectation, holding their unlighted tapers in readiness when the glad moment should arrive, while the priests still continued murmuring their melancholy chant in a low half-whisper. Suddenly a single report of a cannon announced that twelve o'clock had struck, and that Easter Day had begun; then the old archbishop, elevating the cross, exclaimed in a loud, exulting tone, Christos anesti,'' Christ is risen!' and instantly every single individual of all that host took up the cry, and the vast multitude broke through and dispelled for ever the intense and mournful silence which they had maintained so long, with one spontaneous shout of indescribable joy and triumph,
Christ is risen! Christ is risen! At the same moment the oppressive darkness was succeeded by a blaze of light from thousands of tapers, which, communicating one from another, seemed to send streams of fire in all directions, rendering the minutest objects distinctly visible, and casting the most vivid glow on the expressive faces, full of exultation, of the rejoicing crowd; bands of music struck up their gayest strains; the roll of the drums through the town, and further on the pealing of the cannon, announced far and near these glad tidings of great joy; while from hill and plain, from the sea-shore and the far olive grove, rocket after rocket ascending to the clear sky, answered with their mute eloquence that Christ is risen indeed, and told of other tongues that were repeating those blessed words, and other hearts that leapt for joy; everywhere men clasped each other's hands, and congratulated one another,
and embraced with countenances beaming with delight, as though to each one separately some wonderful happiness had been proclaimed; and so in truth it was; and all the while, rising above the mingling of many sounds, each one of which was a sound of gladness, the aged priests were distinctly heard chanting forth a glorious old hymn of victory, in tones so loud and clear, that they seemed to have regained their youth and strength to tell the world how Christ is risen from the dead, having trampled death beneath his feet, and henceforth the entombed have everlasting life.'
"It is impossible to give any adequate idea of the effect of this scene."
In the month of April, 1845, the traveller and her party terminated their long residence in Athens, and embarked on board the Austrian steamer, which was to convey them to Syra. They quitted the Piræus on a fine summer's evening, and looked, it may be imagined, with some regret at the pillars of the "glorious old Parthenon," and those other objects which have an interest for every cultivated mind; but which for them were associated with the idea of the home of years. In the midst of the pathetic, however, flashes of humour occasionally break out; it is plain that the lady has somewhat of the Dickens quality of grouping her fellow-passengers into the grotesque, and dramatizing adventures into comedy. And, it must be owned, there was ample material for both. The young Englishman, just arrived from Jerusalem, who complained that he could not obtain so much as a neat pair of boots in the holy city!-the mad doctor, who insisted on half-poisoning all the passengers with his sovereign specific against sea-sickness-the French litterateur, who told so very good a story of Alexander Dumasall these, and numberless other characters, are passed in review before us, and skilfully made to contribute to our amusement.
The following casual incident is characteristic:
"The little cabin in which I was to pass the night was apart from the rest, but I found I was not to have it to myself, for as I went in, the curtain of one of the larger berths was gently drawn back, and displayed one of the very prettiest living pictures I had ever beheld. Two young girls, evidently Sciots from their costume, were reclining
together wrapt in one large Turkish pelisse, and from amongst this mass of furs, nothing was to be seen but two beautiful heads and a profusion of marvellously long fair hair, twisted round their little red caps. They looked timidly at me with their almond-shaped blue eyes, and then, probably, thinking I could not understand them, resumed their conversation. There is a degree of unsophisticated simplicity peculiar to those islanders, which is very pleasing. These young Sciots displayed much of it as they talked together, and counted the hours which must yet elapse before they could see Scio, which seemed to be for them the fairest of spots. Presently the cabin door opened a little way, and a pleasing, venerable face, surmounted by a great turban, looked wistfully in. The intruder evidently knew he had no business there, but as I was sitting reading, his fine old head was gradually followed by the rest of his person, clothed in flowing Turkish robes, which are still worn in many of the islands. This was evidently the father, and his question, "are you asleep, my children?" received a vehement negative from the two lively girls, who poured forth a number of questions, and seemed most unwilling to allow him to leave them again. He also manifested a degree of paternal fondness, which corresponded well with what I had heard of the warmth and depth of feeling displayed by these islanders in the common relations of life.
I found that they were in a great fright at the notion of the steamer going on through the night, when the sailors could not possibly see their way, I overcame the reserve, which makes the English, when abroad, neglect many acts of kindness we would otherwise perform, and began to speak to them.
Their father then left them quite relieved, and we became fast friends with that degree of rapidity with which friendships are made in those countries, and strange to say, are often very true and lasting. They told me their whole history, and talked merrily half the night -they had passed their lives in Scio, and never left till their mother died, a few months before, when their father took them to Syra for change of scene; now they were returning home to leave it no more, and fervently did they long for the first sight of their own dear island. When they found I had not yet seen it, they gave me a most poetic description of Scio, and of the life they led there; it was, without question, the most beautiful spot in the world, they said; to be sure they had never seen any other place, excepting Syra, yet still, nothing could be so charming as Scio; there were such vineyards and
gardens, so full of orange-trees and abundant streams of water; that it was delightful in the cool evening to go down and dance the Romaica on the sea-beach, and watch the fishermen at work by torchlight. They pitied me very much for not being a Sciot. I asked them if they had ever heard of Homer, and they said they had not; then one recollected that there was a Monsieur Homero, who had died there last year, and they did not doubt this was my friend; and so they rambled on, till the rocking of their rough cradle lulled them to rest, and then rolling themselves up in their great pelisse, they went snugly to sleep.'
This set the lady ruminating, during which they arrived off Scio :
"My reflections were interrupted by the two pretty Sciots, who came take leave of me, with many vehement expressions of regret and regard. This would be considered extremely absurd after a twelve hours' acquaintance anywhere else; but amongst the natives of the burning East, the quick vivid feelings are soon aroused, and their glowing imagination carries them on readily to bestow their strong passionate affections, without dreaming of pausing, as we in the chilly north would do, to calculate prudently if the object be worthy of them. One may, doubtless, make many philosophical reflections on the certainty that sentiments so rapidly awakened, will be as evanescent as they are prompt; but not the less, this readiness of sympathy and warmth of expression do in truth cast a glow over life, and make this selfish world seem far less of a peopled wilderness, where all are mingling together, and yet each is most utterly alone, than it really is."
The Danube has been already ascended and descended by so many intelligent tourists, that there is little remaining to be added to our stock of knowledge respecting the external features of that great river. But the personal narrative of every traveller must be new each individual sees from a different centre, and has things presented to the eye at a different angle. Some incidents, indeed, in the case of the book before us, must be novel, from the circumstance of the traveller's sex. Of these,
a visit to the harem" of the Pacha of Widdin, one of the principal and most populous towns in Bulgaria, is, perhaps, the most curious. A doctor who was on board had, it seems, some interest with this powerful Pacha, and exerted
it, on this occasion, to obtain permission for the lady to visit the sultana in her harem. Accordingly she proceeded from the palace, accompanied by the doctor, through a court in the midst of which a fountain was playing, to what seemed to be a separate building; and there the latter stopped, not even daring to cross the threshold, telling the lady at the same time that two negroes who presented themselves were to beher guides
"I did not half like being left alone in this strange-looking place, and would have remonstrated against his leaving me, but he looked perfectly terrified when I proposed it, and disappeared the moment the door was opened. The
two slaves walked before me in silence, their eyes bent on the ground, through several passages, till we reached the foot of a stair, where they in their turn consigned me to two women who were waiting for me. One of these was the interpreter, a remarkably pretty woman, though immensely fat; and the other was, without exception, the most hideous old woman I ever beheld, whom I rightly guessed to be the duenna of the harem. They received me with the highest delight, and as though I were conferring a great honour upon them, fervently kissing my hands and the hem of my dress, in return for which I could only wish that they might live a thousand years, and never see a 'bad hour.' Seizing me by the hands, they dragged me in triumph up the stairs, and through several rooms to the audiencechamber of her Highness the Sultana. Like that of the pasha, it was furnished with a long divan, over which were spread two of the most splendid cashmere shawls I ever saw; several cushions were ranged on the floor, and the windows were all hermetically closed by the fatal screens of which we had heard so much. They are a sort of wooden lattice, but the open spaces are so very small that one can scarcely discern anything without.
"The women made me sit down; and when I placed myself in the usual European manner, they begged me in a deprecating tone, not to remain in that constrained position, but to put myself quite at my ease as if I were in my own house. How far I was at my ease, installed à la Turque on an immense pile of cushions, I leave to be imagined by any one who ever tried to remain five minutes in that posture. The interpreter now left me alone with the old woman, who crouched down on a cushion at my feet, and with the help of a few
words of Turkish, with which I was ac quainted, she managed to give me quite as much information as I wished for, on the domestic life of Eiredeen Pasha's large family.
"We were interrupted by the arrival of some fifteen or sixteen young slaves, who came running into the room, laughing and talking like a party of school girls, each one pausing at the door to make me the usual salutation, and then clustering together in groups to gaze at me with the most eager interest. They all wore the same dress, and certainly it looked on them most singularly graceful, as they stood in a sort of languishing, indolent attitude, with their arms folded, and their long almond-shaped eyes half closed. It consisted of a loose silk jacket, reaching to the waist, another underneath of a different colour falling below the knee, and finally, a pair of enormously wide trousers, either wholly red, or a mixture of gay colours, which almost covered their little yellow slippers. A silk handkerchief and various other ornaments were twisted in their hair, with quite as much genuine coquetry as is to be found in more civilized countries. Of all the number only three struck me as having any great claim to beauty; but certainly creatures more lovely than they were could nowhere have been seen. Two of them were Circassians, with long fair hair, and soft brown eyes; the other was, I think, a Georgian, very dark, with beautiful features, and the most haughty expression of countenance. It was evident that she was held in great respect, as the mother of a fine little boy whom she had in her arms. All of them had their nails dyed with that odious henna, with which they disfigure their hands and feet.
"Presently there was a strange shuffling noise heard without, a prodigious rustling of silk and satin, and the interpreter hurrying in, announced the sultana. The slaves fell back, and ranged themselves in order. I rose up, and her highness entered, preceded by two negro boys, and followed by half-a-dozen women. She was a tall, dignified-looking person, of some five-and-thirty, and far from handsome. Nothing could be more splendid than her dress, or more perfectly ungraceful. She wore a pair of light-blue silk trousers, so excessively large and wide, that it was with the greatest difficulty she could walk; over these, a narrow robe of red cashmere, covered with gold embroidery, with a border of flowers, also worked in gold, at least six inches wide. This garment was about five yards long, and open at the two sides as far as the knee, so that it swept on the ground in all directions.
Her waist was bound by a cashmere scarf, of great value; and from her shoulders hung an ample pelisse, of brown satin, lined with the most beautiful zibelline fur. Her head-dress was a silk handkerchief, embroidered with gold; and to complete her costume, she was literally covered with diamonds.
She received me in the most amiable manner, though with great stateliness and dignity; and when I begged the interpreter to tell her highness how greatly I felt the honour she had done me in inviting me to visit her, her features relaxed into a smile, and dragging herself and her load of finery to the divan, she placed herself upon it, and desired me to sit beside her. I obeyed, and had then to recommence all the compliments and salutations I had gone through at the pasha's, with still greater energy; for I could see plainly that both herself and her slaves, who stood in a semicircle round us, were very tenacious of her dignity, and that they watched most critically every movement I made.
"I was determined, therefore, to omit nothing that should give them a high idea of my 'savoir vivre,' according to their own notions, and began by once more gravely accepting a pipe. At the pasha's, I had managed merely to hold it in my hand, occasionally touching it with my lips, without really using it; but I soon saw that, with some twenty pairs of eyes fixed jealously upon me, I must smoke here-positively and actually smoke or be considered a violator of all the laws of good breeding. The tobacco was so mild and fragrant, that the penance was not so great as might have been expected; but I could scarcely help laughing at the ludicrous position I was placed in, seated in state on a large square cushion, smoking a long pipe, the other end of which was supported by a kneeling slave, and bowing solemnly to the sultana between almost every whiff.
"Coffee, sweetmeats, and sherbet (the most delightful of all pleasant draughts), were brought to me in constant succession by the two little negroes, and a pretty young girl, whose duty it was to present me the richly-embroidered napkin, the corner of which I was expected to make use of as it lay on her shoulder, as she knelt before me. These refreshments were offered to me in beautiful crystal vases, little gold cups, and silver trays, of which, for my misfortune, they seemed to possess a large supply, as I was obliged to go through a never-ending course of dainties, in order that they might have an opportunity of displaying them all.
"One arduous duty I felt it was quite
necessary I should perform, and this was, to bestow as much admiration on the sultana's dress as I knew she would expect me to feel; I therefore exhausted all my eloquence in praise of it, to which she listened with a pleased smile, and then, to my surprise, rose up and left the room. I was afraid I had offended her; but a few minutes after she returned, in a new costume, equally splendid and unbecoming, and I once more had to express my enthusiasm and delight, which seemed greatly to gratify her. She then returned the compliment, by minutely inspecting my own dress; and the slaves, forgetting all ceremony in their curiosity, crowded eagerly round
My bonnet sadly puzzled them; and when, to please them, I took it off, they were most dreadfully scandalized to see me with my hair uncovered, and could scarcely believe that I was not ashamed to sit all day without a veil or handkerchief; they could not conceive, either, why I should wear gloves, unless it were to hide the want of henna, with which they offered to supply me.They then proceeded to ask me the most extraordinary questions-many of which I really found it very difficult to answer. My whole existence was as incomprehensible to this poor princess, vegetating from day to day within her four walls, as that of a bird in the air must be to a mole burrowing in the earth. Her life consisted, as she told me, of sleeping, eating, dressing, and bathing. She never walked further than from one room to another; and I can answer for her not having an idea beyond the narrow limits of her prison. It is a strange and most unnatural state to which these poor women are brought, nor do I wonder that the Turks, whose own detestable egotism alone causes it, should declare that they have no souls.
'Her highness now sent for her children to show them to me, which proved that I was rapidly advancing in her good graces; and, as I luckily knew well that I must not look at them without pronouncing the wish that they might live for ever, in case I should have an evil eye, she was well disposed to receive all my praises of them, and to allow me to caress them. She had four fine little children, and the eldest of them, a boy of six years old, was so perfect a miniature of his father, that it was quite ludicrous. He was dressed exactly in the same way, wearing even a little sword; and he came in bowing with so precisely the same dignified manner, that I really should as soon have thought of offering bons-bons to the
pasha himself, as to this imposing little personage.
"My attention to the children quite won the heart of the sultana, and she desired the interpreter to tell me that we were henceforth to be sisters;' and I was obliged to receive this addition to my family connexions with becoming delight; she also wished me to be informed that she had once seen a Christian at Constantinople, and that she was not at all like me. I thought this very likely; but I was growing very anxious to terminate my visit, which had lasted, with its interminable ceremonies, nearly two hours. The sultana was very unwilling to let me go; but when I insisted, for I thought the patience of my companions must be quite exhausted, she once more rose and left the room; in a few minutes the interpreter returned, and kneeling down, kissed my hand, and then passed a most beautiful diamond ring on my finger, which she said the sultana begged me to keep, though it was quite unworthy of her sister.' I was much shocked at the idea of taking it, for it was a ring of very great value; and though I ought to have known that in Turkey it was an insult to refuse a present, I could not help remonstrating.
The sultana came in herself to bid me farewell, and I endeavoured to return it to her, but she frowned in a way which really frightened me, and commanded the slave to tell me that doubtless it was not good enough for me, and that since I wished for something better, a more valuable present should be found. This settled the question, of course, and I put on the ring, and went to take leave. She had seated herself, and received my parting compliment in great state; her last speech was to beg that I would tell the people of England always to recollect that if they came to Widdin, it would suffice that they were my countrymen to ensure their having a friend in Eiredeen pasha. I then touched her hand, and passed out of the room without turning my back to her, whilst the slaves kissed my hands again and again."
To revert once more to our main topic. It is of importance for many reasons, practical and political as well as moral, that a just estimate should from time to time be afforded of the value to be attached to commonly-received notions respecting countries with which we are not in immediate contact, and which are in a state of national transi
tion and progress. Of such countries
the most remarkable on every account is Greece. And to obtain such views
we must turn, not to the hasty statements of travellers, who enter ignorantly upon a scene to them full of novelty and romance, and who are liable to have their vision distorted by every false medium; but to the testimony of those who have had the leisure and opportunity to obtain accurate information, with the ability to draw general conclusions from it, and form an opinion on just and adequate grounds. The writer of this volume laboured from the first to disabuse her own mind of vague and pre-conceived impressions, and has investigated in a liberal spirit the institutions, manners, and creed of a country wherein she was so long a resident; and as she has arrived at some conclusions in a measure subversive of popular notions, it will be well to recapitulate some of these, in order to set the public mind right on the subject.
It must be remembered that she took up her sojourn in Greece at a period when that country had but just rescued itself from the degrading thraldom that had erased the name of Hellas from the catalogue of the nations. It was some time before the emancipated captive could shake off the moral stupor in which he had so long existed; and it was with intense interest that the first faint efforts of freedom were observed the growing consciousness of independence the habituation of a people to think, feel, and act for itself. Prejudices gave way in the observer's mind-conviction was forced upon itthe truth became manifest; and the final impression left was, that if Greece had fair play, it would yet work out a noble destiny.
I. In the first place, the society of Greece has acquired in an incredibly short space of time a polish and refinement, which is universally acknowledged as one of the characteristic evidences of a growing civilization. The youthful Grecians travel, mix with the world, seek education where it is best to be had; and bring back to their country an amount of knowledge and experience which obliterates every local peculiarity except the love of country, and enthusiasm in her