Skip to main content

Full text of "Visits to the monasteries of the Levant"

See other formats








U  / 


^  . 

t  /^^ 



3  oo,- 






BY    THE 


From  a  Sketch  I>y  It.  Curzon. 

Interior  of  the  Court  of  a  Greek  Monastery.  A  monk  is  calling  the  congregation  to 
prayer. by  beatinga  board  called  the  aimandro  (jiu«iJeo]  which  is  generally  used  instead 
of  bells. 





In  presenting  to  the  public  another  book  of  travels 
in  the  East,  when  it  is  already  overwhelmed  with 
little  volumes  about  palm-trees  and  camels,  and 
reflections  on  the  Pyramids,  I  am  aware  that  I 
am  committing  an  act  which  requires  some  better 
excuse  for  so  unwarrantable  an  intrusion  on  the 
patience  of  the  reader  than  any  that  I  am  able  to 

The  origin  of  these  pages  is  as  follows : — I  was 
staying  by  myself  in  an  old  country-house  belonging 
to  my  family,  but  not  often  inhabited  by  them,  and, 
having  nothing  to  do  in  the  evening,  I  looked  about 
for  some  occupation  to  amuse  the  passing  hours. 
In  the  room  where  I  was  sitting  there  was  a  large 
book-case  full  of  ancient  manuscripts,  many  of 
which  had  been  collected  by  myself,  in  various  out- 
of-the-way  places,  in  different  parts  of  the  world. 
Taking  some  of  these  ponderous  volumes   from 

their   shelves,    I   turned  over   their  wide   vellum 

a  3 


leaves,  and  admired  the  antiquity  of  one,  and  the 
gold  and  azure  which  gleamed  upon  the  pages  of 
another.  The  sight  of  these  books  brought  before 
my  mind  many  scenes  and  recollections  of  the 
countries  from  which  they  came,  and  I  said  to 
myself,  I  know  what  I  will  do ;  I  will  write 
down  some  account  of  the  most  curious  of  these 
manuscripts,  and  the  places  in  which  they  were 
found,  as  well  as  some  of  the  adventures  which  I 
encountered  in  the  pursuit  of  my  venerable  game. 

I  sat  down  accordingly,  and  in  a  short  time 
accumulated  a  heap  of  papers  connected  more  or 
less  with  the  history  of  the  ancient  manuscripts ; 
at  the  desire  of  some  of  my  friends  I  selected  the 
following  pages,  and  it  is  with  great  diffidence  that 
I  present  them  to  the  public.  If  they  have  any 
merits  whatever,  these  must  consist  in  their  con- 
taining descriptions  of  localities  but  seldom  visited 
in  modern  times ;  or  if  they  refer  to  places  better 
known  to  the  general  reader,  I  hope  that  the  pecu- 
liar circumstances  which  occurred  during  my  stay 
there,  or  on  my  journeys  through  the  neighbouring 
countries,  may  be  found  sufficiently  interesting  to 
afford  some  excuse  for  my  presumption  in  sending 
them  to  the  press. 


I  have  no  further  apology  to  offer.  These  slight 
sketches  were  written  for  my  own  diversion  when 
I  had  nothing  better  to  do,  and  if  they  afford  any 
pleasure  to  the  reader  under  the  same  circum- 
stances, they  will  answer  as  much  purpose  as  was 
intended  in  their  composition. 

*1Y  ^ 

IX       J 




EGYPT  IN  1833. 

Navarino  —  The  Wrecks  of  the  Turkish  and  Egyptian  Fleets  —  Alex- 
andria —  An  Arab  Pilot  —  Intense  Heat  —  Scene  from  the  Hotel 
Windows  —  The  Water-Carricrs  —  A  Procession  —  A  Bridal  Party  — 
Violent  mode  of  clearing  the  Road  —  Submissive  behaviour  of  the 
People  —  Astonishing  Number  of  Donkeys  —  Bedouin  Arabs ;  their 
wild  and  savage  appearance  • —  Early  Hours  ■ —  Visit  to  the  Pasha's 
Prime  Minister,  Boghos  Bey  ;  hospitable  reception  —  Kawasses  and 
Chaoushes  ;  their  functions  and  powers  —  The  Yassakjis  —  The  Minis- 
ter's Audience  Chamber  —  Walmas ;  anecdote  of  his  saving  the  life  of 
Boghos  Bey 3 


Rapacity  of  the  Dragomans  —  The  Mahmoudieh  Canal  —  The  Nile  at 
Atfoh  —  The  muddy  Waters  of  the  Nile  —  Richness  of  the  Soil  — 
Accident  to  the  Boatmen  —  Night  Sailing  —  A  Collision  —  A  Vessel 
run  down  —  Escape  of  the  Crew  —  Solemn  Investigation  —  Final 
Judgment  —  Curious  Mode  of  Fishing  —  Tameness  of  the  Birds  — 
Jewish  Malefactors — Moving  Pillar  of  Sand  —  Arrival  at  Cairo  — 
Hospitable  Reception  by  the  Cousul-General  —  History  of  Cairo     .  14 

a  5 



National  Topics  of  Conversation  —  The  Rising  of  the  Nile ;  evil  effects  of 
its  rising  too  high  ;  still  worse  consequences  of  a  deficiency  of  its  waters 

—  The  Nilometer  —  Universal  Alarm  in  August,  1833  -  The  Nile  at 
length  rises  to  the  desired  Height  —  Ceremony  of  cutting  the  Embank- 
ment  —  The  Canal  of  the  Khalidj  —  Immense  Assemblage  of  People  — 
The  State  Tent  —  Arrival  of  Habeeb  Effendi  —  Splendid  Dresses  of 
the  Officers  —  Exertions  of  the  Arab  Workmen  —  Their  Scramble  for 
Paras  —  Admission  of  the  Water  —  Its  sudden  Irruption  —  Excitement 
of  the  Ladies  —  Picturesque  Effect  of  Largo  Assemblies  in  the 
East Page  26 


Early  Hours  in  the  Levant  —  Compulsory  Use  of  Lanterns  in  Cairo  — 
Separation  of  the  different  Quarters  of  the  City  —  Custom  of  sleeping 
in  the  open  air  —  The  Mahomedan  Times  of  Prayer  —  Impressive 
effect  of  the  Morning  Call  to  Prayer  from  the  Minarets  —  The  last 
Prayer-time,  Al  Assr  —  Bedouin  Mode  of  ascertaining  this  Hour  — 
Ancient  Form  of  the  Mosques  —  The  Mosque  of  Sultan  Hassan  — 
Egyptian  Mode  of  "raising  the  Supplies"  —  Sultan  Hassan's  Mosque 
the  Scene  of  frequent  Conflicts  —  The  Slaughter  of  the  Mameluke  Beys 
in  the  Place  of  Roumayli  —  Escape  of  one  Mameluke,  and  his  subse- 
quent Friendship  with  Mohammed  Ali  —  The  Talisman  of  Cairo  — 
Joseph's  Well  and  Hall  —  Mohammed  Ali's  Mosque  —  His  Residence 
in  the  Citadel  —  The  Harem  — ■  Degraded  State  of  the  Women  in  the 
East 33 


Interview  with  Mohammed  Ali  Pasha  —  Mode  of  lighting  a  Room  in 
Egypt  —  Personal  Appearance  of  the  Pasha  —  His  Diamond-mounted 
Pipe  —  The  lost  Handkerchief —  An  unceremonious  Attendant  — 
View  of  Cairo  from  the  Citadel  —  Site  of  Memphis  ;  its  immense  extent 

—  The  Tombs  of  the  Caliphs  —  The  Pasha's  Mausoleum  —  Costume  of 

the  Hair  —  The  Veil  —  Mistaken  Idea  that  the  Egyptian  Ladies  are 
Prisoners  in  the  Harem  ;  their  power  of  doing  as  they  like  —  The  Veil 
a  complete  Disguise  —  Laws  of  the  Harem  —  A  Levantine  Beauty  — 
Eastern  Manners  —  The  Abyssinian  Slaves  —  Arab  Girls  —  Ugliness 
of  the  Arab  Women  when  old  —  Venerable  Appearance  of  the  old  Men 

—  An  Arab  Sheikh 44 



Mohammed  Bey,  Defterdar  —  His  Expedition  to  Senaar  —  His  Barbarity 
and  Rapacity  —  His  Defiance  of  the  Pasha  —  Stories  of  his  Cruelty 
and  Tyranny  —  The  Horse-shoe  —  The  Fight  of  the  Mamelukes  —  His 
cruel  Treachery  —  His  Mode  of  administering  Justice  —  The  stolen 
Milk  —  The  Widow's  Cow  —  Sale  and  Distribution  of  the  Thief— 
The  Turkish  Character  —  Pleasures  of  a  Journey  on  the  Nile  —  The 
Copts  —  Their  Patriarchs  —  The  Patriarch  of  Abyssinia  —  Basileos 
Bey  —  His  Boat  —  An  American's  choice  of  a  Sleeping-place  —  Letter 
from  Basileos  Bey Page  63 



Visit  to  the  Coptic  Monasteries  near  the  Natron  Lakes  —  The  Desert  of 
Nitria  —  Early  Christian  Anchorites  —  St.  Macarius  of  Alexandria  — 
His  Abstinence  and  Penance  —  Order  of  Monks  founded  by  him  — 
Great  increase  of  the  Number  of  ascetic  Monks  in  the  Fourth  Century 

—  Their  subsequent  decrease,  and  the  present  ruined  state  of  the 
Monasteries  —  Legends  of  the  Desert  —  Capture  of  a  Lizard — Its 
alarming  escape — The  Convent  of  Baramous  —  Night  attacks  —  Inva- 
sion of  Sanctuary  —  Ancient  Glass  Lamps  —  Monastery  of  Souriani 

—  Its  Library  and  Coptic  MSS.  —  The  Blind  Abbot  and  his  Oil-cellar 

—  The  persuasive  powers  of  Rosoglio  —  Discovery  of  Syriac  MSS.  — 
The  Abbot's  supposed  treasure 74 


View  from  the  Convent  Wall  —  Appearance  of  the  Desert  —  Its  grandeur 
and  freedom  —  Its  contrast  to  the  Convent  Garden  —  Beauty  and 
luxuriance  of  Eastern  Vegetation  —  Picturesque  Group  of  the  Monks 
and  their  Visitors — The  Abyssinian  Monks  —  Their  appearance  — 
Their  austere  mode  of  Life  —  The  Abyssinian  College  —  Description 
of  the  Library  —  The  mode  of  Writing  in  Abyssinia  —  Immense  Labour 
required  to  write  an  Abyssinian  book  —  Paintings  and  Illuminations 


—  Disappointment  of  the  Abbot  at  finding  the  supposed  Treasure-box 
only  an  old  Book  —  Purchase  of  the  MBS.  and  Books  —  The  most  pre- 
cious left  behind  —  Since  acquired  for  the  British  Museum  .     Pago  ST 



The  Convent  of  the  Pulley  —  Its  inaccessible  position  —  Difficult  landing 
on  the  bank  of  the  Nile  —  Approach  to  the  Convent  through  the  Rocks 
—  Description  of  the  Convent  and  its  Inhabitants  —  Plan  of  the 
Church  —  Books  and  MSS.  —  Ancient  excavations  —  Stone  Quarries 
and  ancient  Tombs  —  Alarm  of  the  Copts  —  Their  ideas  of  a  Sketch- 
book   100 



Ruined  Monastery  in  the  Necropolis  of  Thebes  —  "Mr.  Hay's  Tomb" 
—  The  Coptic  Carpenter  —  His  acquirements  and  troubles  —  He  agrees 
to  show  the  MSS.  belonging  to  the  ruined  Monastery,  which  are  under 
his  charge  —  Night  visit  to  the  Tomb  in  which  they  are  concealed  — 
Perils  of  the  way  —  Description  of  the  Tomb  —  Probably  in  former 
times  a  Christian  Church  Examination  of  the  Coptic  MSS.  —  Alarm- 
ing interruption  -  Hurried  flight  from  the  Evil  Spirits  —  Fortunate 
escape  —  Appearance  of  the  Evil  Spirit  —  Observations  on  Ghost 
Stories  —  The  Legend  of  the  Old  Woman  of  Berkeley  considered    110 




The  White  Monastery  —  Abou  Shenood  —  Devastations  of  the  Mamelukes 

—  Description  of  the  Monastery  —  Different  styles  of  its  exterior  and 
interior  Architecture  —  Its  ruinous  condition  —  Description  of  the 
Church  —  The  Baptistery  —  Ancient  Rites  of  Baptism  —  The  Library 

—  Modern  Architecture  —  The  Church  of  San  Francesco  at  Rimini  — 
The  Red  Monastery  —  Alarming  rencontre  with  an  armed  party  — 
Feuds  between  the  native  Tribes  —  Faction  fights  —  Eastern  Story- 
tellers —  Legends  of  the  Desert  —  Abraham  and  Sarah  —  Legendary 
Life  of  Moses  —  Arabian  Story-tellers  —  Attention  of  their  audi- 
ence                 ...     Page  121 



The  Island  ofPhiloe  —  The  Cataract  of  Assouan  —  The  Burial  Place  of 
Osiris  —  The  Great  Temple  of  Philoe  —  The  Bed  of  Pharaoh  —  Shoot- 
ing in  Egypt  —  Turtle  Doves  —  Story  of  the  Prince  Anas  el  Ajoud  — 
Egyptian  Songs  —  Vow  of  the  Turtle  Dove  —  Curious  fact  in  Natural 
History  —  The  Crocodile  and  its  Guardian  Bird  —  Arab  notions  re- 
garding Animals  —  Legend  of  King  Solomon  and  the  Hoopoes  — 
Natives  of  the  country  round  the  Cataracts  of  the  Nile  —  Their  Appear- 
ance and  Costume  —  The  beautiful  Mouna  —  Solitary  Visit  to  the 
Island  ofPhiloe  —  Quarrel  between  two  native  Boys  —  Singular  instance 
of  retributive  Justice 131 


PART     II. 



Journey  to  Jerusalem  —  First  View  of  the  Holy  City  —  The  Valley  of 
Gihon  —  Appearance  of  the  City  —  The  Latin  Convent  of  St.  Salva- 
dor —  Inhospitable  Reception  by  the  Monks  —  Visit  to  the  Church 
of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  —  Description  of  the  Interior  —  The  Chapel 
of  the  Sepulchre  —  The  Chapel  of  the  Cross  on  Mount  Calvary  —  The 
Tomb  and  Sword  of  Godfrey  de  Bouillon  —  Arguments  in  favour  of 
the  Authenticity  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  —  The  Invention  of  the  Cross 
by  the  Empress  Helena  —  Legend  of  the  Cross        .         .  Page  153 


The  Via  Dolorosa  —  The  Houses  of  Dives  and  of  Lazarus  —  The  Prison 
of  St.  Peter  —  The  Site  of  the  Temple  of  Solomon  —  The  Mosque  of 
Omar  —  The  Hadjr  el  Sakhara  ■ —  The  Greek  Monastery  —  Its  Library 

—  Valuable  Manuscripts  —  Splendid  MS.  of  the  Book  of  Job  —  Arabic 
spoken  at  Jerusalem  —  Mussulman  Theory  regarding  the  Crucifixion  — 
State  of  the  Jews  —  Richness  of  their  Dress  in  their  own  Houses  — 
Beauty  of  their  "Women  —  Their  literal  Interpretation  of  Scripture  — 
The  Service  in  the  Synagogue  —  Description  of  the  House  of  a  Rabbi 

—  The  Samaritans :  Their  Roll  of  the  Pentateuch  —  Arrival  of 
Ibrahim  Pasha  at  Jerusalem .167 


Expedition  t"  the  Monastery  of  St,  Sabbn  —  Reports  of  Arab  Robbers 

—  The  Valley  of  Jehoshaphat  —  The  Bridge  of  Al  Sirat  —  Rugged 
Scenery  —  An  Arab  Ambuscade  —  A  successful  Parley  —  The  Monas- 
tery of  St.  Sabba  —  History  of  the  Saint  —  The  Greek  Hermits  —  The 
Church  —  The  Iconostasis  —  The  Library  —  Numerous  MSS.  —  The 
Dead  Sea  —  The  Scene  of  the  Temptation  —  Discovery  —  The  Apple 
of  the  Dead  Sea  —  The  Statements  of  Strabo  and  Pliny  confirmed     178 



Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  —  Procession  of  the  Copts  —  The  Syrian 
Maronites  and  the  Greeks — Riotous  Behaviour  of  the  Filgrims  — 
Their  immense  numbers  —  The  Chant  of  the  Latin  Monks  —  Ibrahim 
Pasha  —  The  Exhibition  of  the  Sacred  Fire  — Excitement  of  the  Pil- 
grims —  The  Patriarch  obtains  the  Sacred  Fire  from  the  Holy  Sepulchre 
—  Contest  for  the  Holy  Light  —  Immense  sum  paid  for  the  privilege 
of  receiving  it  first  —  Fatal  Effects  of  the  Heat  and  Smoke  —  De- 
parture of  Ibrahim  Pasha  —  Horrible  Catastrophe  —  Dreadful  Loss  of 
Life  among  the  Pilgrims  in  their  endeavours  to  leave  the  Church  — 
Battle  with  the  Soldiers  —  Our  Narrow  Escape  —  Shocking  Scene  in 
the  Court  of  the  Church  —  Humane  Conduct  of  Ibrahim  Pasha  — 
Superstition  of  the  Pilgrims  regarding  Shrouds  —  Scallop  Shells  and 
Palm  Branches  —  The  Dead  Muleteer  —  Moonlight  view  of  the  Dead 
Bodies  —  The  Curse  on  Jerusalem  —  Sketch  of  the  Life  of  Ibrahim 
Pasha  —  Departure  from  the  Holy  City        ....    Page  197 



Albania  —  Ignorance  at  Corfu  concerning  that  Country  —  Its  reported 
abundance  of  Game  and  Robbers  —  The  Disturbed  State  of  the  Country 

—  The  Albanians  —  Richness  of  their  Arms  —  Their  free  use  of  them 

—  Comparative  Safety  of  Foreigners  —  Tragic  Fate  of  a  German 
Botanist  —  Arrival  at  Gominizza  —  Ride  to  Paramathia  —  A  Night's 
Bivouac  —  Reception  at  Paramathia  ■ —  Albanian  Ladies  —  Yanina  — 
Albanian  Mode  of  settling  a  Quarrel  —  Expected  Attack  from  Robbers 

—  A  Body-G  uard  mounted  — ■  Audience  with  the  Vizir  —  His  Views 
of  Criminal  Jurisprudence  —  Retinue  of  the  Vizir  —  His  Troops  — 
Adoption  of  the  European  Exercises  —  Expedition  to  Berat  —  Calm- 
ness and  Self-possession  of  the  Turks  —  Active  Preparations  for 
Warfare  —  Scene  at  the  Bazaar  —  Valiant  Promises  of  the  Soldiers    221 



Start  for  Meteora  —  Rencontre  with  a  Wounded  Traveller  —  Barbarity 
of  the  Robbers  —  Albanian  Innkeeper  —  Effect  of  the  Turkish  Lan- 
guage upon  the  Greeks  —  Mezzovo  —  Interview  with  the  chief 
Person  in  the  Village  —  Mount  Pindus  —  Capture  by  Robbers  — 
Salutary  effects  of  Swaggering  —  Arrival  under  Escort  at  the  Robbers' 
Head-Quarters  —  Affairs  take  a  favourable  turn  —  An  unexpected 
Friendship  with  the  Robber  Chief—  The  Khan  of  Malacash  —  Beauty 
of  the  Scenery  —  Activity  of  our  Guards  —  Loss  of  Character — 
Arrival  at  Mctcora Page  240 


Meteora  —  The  extraordinary  Character  of  its  Scenery  —  Its  Caves 
formerly  the  Resort  of  Ascetics  —  Barbarous  Persecution  of  the  Her- 
mits —  Their  extraordinary  Religious  Observances  —  Singular  Position 
of  the  Monasteries  — -  The  Monastery  of  Barlaam  —  The  difficulty  of 
reaching  it  —  Ascent  by  a  Windlass  and  Net,  or  by  Ladders  —  Nar- 
row Escape  —  Hospitable  reception  by  the  Monks  —  The  Agoumenos 
or  Abbot  —  His  strict  Fast  —  Description  of  the  Monastery  —  The 
Church  —  Symbolism  in  the  Greek  Church  —  Respect  for  Antiquity  — 
The  Library  —  Determination  of  the  Abbot  not  to  sell  any  of  the  MSS. 
—  The  Refectory  —  Its  Decorations  —  Aerial  Descent  —  The  Monas- 
tery of  Ilagios  Stephanos  —  Its  carved  Iconostasis  —  Beautiful  View 
from  the  Monastery  —  Monastery  of  Agia  Triada  —  Summary  Justice 
at  Triada  —  Monastery  of  Agia  Roserea  —  Its  Lady  Occupants  —Ad- 
mission refused 259 


The  great  Monastery  of  Meteora  —  The  Church  —  Ugliness  of  the  Por- 
traits of  Creek  Saints-  Greek  Mode  of  Washing  the  Hands  —  A 
Monastic  Supper  —  Morning  View  from  the  Monastery  —  The  Library 
—  Beautiful  MSS.  —  Their  Purchase  —  The  Kitchen  —  Discussion 
among  the  Monks  as  to  the  Purchase  Money  for  the  MSS.  —  The  MSS. 
reclaimed  —  A  last  Look  at  their  Beauties  —  Proposed  Assault  of  the 
Monastery  by  the  Robber  Escort    .......     275 



Return  Journey —  Narrow  Escape  —  Consequences  of  Singing  —  Arrival 
at  the  Khan  of  Malacash  —  Agreeable  Anecdote  —  Parting  from  the 
Robbers  at  Mezzovo  —  A  Pilau  —  Wet  Ride  to  Paramathia  —  Accident 
to  the  Baggage-Mule  —  Its  wonderful  Escape  —  Novel  Costume  —  A 
Deputation  —  Return  to  Corfu Page  287 

PART     IV. 


Constantinople  —  The  Patriarch's  Palace  —  The  Plague,  Anecdotes, 
Superstitions  —  The  Two  Jews  —  Interview  with  the  Patriarch  — 
Ceremonies  of  Reception  —  The  Patriarch's  Misconception  as  to  the 
Archbishop  of  Canterbury  —  He  addresses  a  Firman  to  the  Monks  of 
Mount  Athos  —  Preparations  for  Departure  —  The  Ugly  Greek.  Inter- 
preter —  Mode  of  securing  his  Fidelity 301 


Coom  Calessi  —  Uncomfortable  Quarters  —  A  Turkish  Boat  and  its  Crew 

—  Grandeur  of  theSccnery  —  Legend  of  Jason  and  the  Golden  Fleece  — 
The  Island  of  Imbros  —  Heavy  Rain  Storm  —  A  Rough  Sea  —  Lemnos 

—  Bad  Accommodation  —  The  Old  Woman's  Mattress  and  its  Contents 

—  Striking  View  of  Mount  Athos  from  the  Sea  —  The  Hermit  of  the 
Tower 316 


Monastery  of  St.  Laura  —  Kind  Reception  by  the  Abbot  — Astonishment 
of  the  Monks  —  History  of  the  Monastery  —  Rules  of  the  Order  of 
St.  Basil  —  Description  of  the  Buildings  —  Curious  Pictures  of  the 
Last  Judgment —  Early  Greek  Paintings;  Richness  of  their  Frames 
and  Decorations  —  Ancient  Church  Plate  —  Beautiful  Reliquary  — 
The  Refectory  —  The  Abbot's  Savoury  Dish  —  The  Library  —  The 
MSS.  —  Ride  to  the  Monastery  of  Caracalla  —  Magnificent  Scenery  328 



The  Monastery  of  Caracalla  —  Its  beautiful  Situation  —  Hospitable 
Reception  —  Description  of  the  Monastery  -  Legend  of  its  Founda- 
tion —  The  Church  ■ —  Fine  Specimens  of  Ancient  Jewellery  —  The 
Library  —  The  Value  attached  to  the  Books  by  the  Abbot  —  lie 
agrees  to  sell  some  of  the  MSS.  —  Monastery  of  Philotheo  —  The 
Great  Monastery  of  Iveron  —  History  of  its  Foundation  —  Its  Magni- 
ficent Library  —  Ignorance  of  the  Monks  —  Superb  MSS.  —  The 
Monks  refuse  to  part  with  any  of  the  MSS.  —  Beauty  of  the  Scenery 
of  Mmmt  Athos .  Page  346 


The  Monastery  of  Stavroniketa  — The  Library  —  Splendid  MS.  of  St. 
Clirysostom  —  The  Monastery  of  Pantocratoras  —  Ruinous  Condition 
of  the  Library  —  Complete  Destruction  of  the  Books  —  Disappointment 

—  Oration  to  the  Monks  —  The  great  Monastery  of  Yatopede  —  Its 
History  —  Ancient  Pictures  in  the  Church  —  Legend  of  the  Girdle  of 
the  Blessed  Virgin  —  The  Library —  Wealth  and  Luxury  of  the  Monks 

—  The  Monastery  of  Sphigmenou  —  Beautiful  Jewelled  Cross  — The 
Monastery  of  Kiliantari  ■ —  Magnificent  IMS.  in  Gold  Letters  on  White 
Vellum  —  The  Monasteries  of  Zographou,  Castamoneta,  Doeheirou, 
ami  Xenophou  —  The  Exiled  Bishops  —  The  Library  —  Very  fine 
MSS.  —  Proposals  for  their  Purchase  —  Lengthened  Negotiations  — 
Their  successful  Issue 358 


The  Monastery  of  Russico  —  Its  Courteous  Abbot  —  The  Monastery  of 
Xeropotamo  —  Its  History  —  High  Character  of  its  Abbot —  Excursion 
to  the  Monasteries  of  St.  Nicholas  and  St.  Dionisius  —  Interesting 
Relics  —  Magnificent  Shrine  — The  Library  —  The  Monastery  of  St. 
Paul  —  Respect  shown  by  the  Monks  —  Beautiful  MS.  —  Extra- 
ordinary Liberality  and  Kindness  of  the  Abbot  and  Monks  -  A  valua- 
ble Acquisition  at  little  Cost  —  The  Monastery  of  Simopetra  — 
Purchase  of  MS.  —  The  Monk  of  Xeropotamo  —  His  ideas  about 
Women  —  Excursion  to  Caricz  —  The  Monastery  of  Coutloumoussi  — 
The  Russian  Book-Stealer  ■ — History  of  the  Monastery  —  Its  reputed 
Destruction  by  the  Pope  of  Rome — The  Aga  of  Cariez  —  Interview 
in  a  Kiosk  —  The  She  Cat  of  Mount  Athos 37" 



Caracalla  —  The  Agoumenos  —  Curious  Cross  —  The  Nuts  of  Caracalla  — 
Singular  Mode  of  preparing  a  Dinner  Table  —  Departure  from  Mount 
Athos  —  Packing  of  the  MSS.  —  Difficulties  of  the  Way  —  Voyage  to 
the  Dardanelles  —  Apprehended  Attack  from  Pirates  —  Return  to 
Constantinople Page  397 


No.  I.— Syriac  MS.  of  the  date  a.d.  411,  in  the  British  Museum         .  409 
„  II. — Recipes  of  Turkish  Cookery 416 


The  costumes  are  from  drawings  made  at  Constantinople  by  a  Maltese  artist.  They 
are  all  portraits,  and  represent  the  costumes  worn  at  the  present  day  in  different 
parts  of  the  Turkish  Empire.  The  others  are  from  drawings  and  sketches  by  the 
Author,  except  one  from  a  beautiful  drawing  by  Lord  Eastnor,  for  which  the  Author 
begs  to  express  his  thanks  and  obligations. 

The  Monastery  op  Meteora,  from  the  Monas- | 

tery  op  Barlaam.      From  a   Drawing    by>  Frontispiece 
Viscount  Eastnor       .         .         .         .         .  I 

Interior  of  the  Court  of  a  Greek  Monastery  Title  Vignette 

Monastery  of  St.  Paul  .....  page  xxix 

Koord,  or  Native  of  Koordistan     ...  To  face  page     lii 

Negress  waiting  to  be  Sold    ....  ,,                  7 

Bedouin  Arab         ......  ,,                  8 

Egyptian  in  the  Nizam  Dress.        ...  „              45 

Interior  of  an  Abyssinian  Library         .         .  ,,                9:> 

Mendicant  Dervish „              129 

Plan  of  the  Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre, 

Jerusalem.         ......  ,,             15:! 

The  Monastery  of  St.  Barlaam       ...  „              221 

Tatar,  or  Government  Messenger  .         .         .  „             223 

Turkish  Common  Soldier         ....  „              235 

The  N.W.  View  of  the  Promontory  of  Mount 

Athos To  face  Part  IV.,  p.  301 

Greek  Sailor         ......  To  face  p.  324 

The  Monastery  of  Simopetra.        ...  ,,            387 

Circassian  Lady     ......  „             390 

Turkish  Lady  in  the  Yashmak  or  Veil    .         .  „              396 


A  more  enlarged  account  of  the  Monasteries  of  the  Levant 
would,  I  think,  be  interesting  for  many  reasons,  if  the 
task  was  undertaken  by  some  one  more  competent  than 
myself  to  do  justice  to  so  curious  a  subject.  In  these 
monasteries  resided  the  early  fathers  of  the  Church,  and 
within  the  precincts  of  their  time-hallowed  walls  were  com- 
posed those  writings  which  have  since  been  looked  up  to 
as  the  rules  of  Christian  life  :  from  thence  also  were  pro- 
mulgated the  doctrines  of  the  Heresiarchs,  which,  in  the 
early  ages  of  the  Church,  were  the  causes  of  so  much  dis- 
sension and  confusion,  rancour  and  persecution,  in  the  dis- 
astrous days  of  the  decline  and  fall  of  the  Roman  empire. 
The  monasteries  of  the  East  are  besides  particularly 
interesting  to  the  lovers  of  the  picturesque,  from  the 
beautiful  situations  in  which  they  are  almost  invariably 
placed.  The  monastery  of  Megaspelion,  on  the  coast  of 
the  Gulf  of  Corinth,  is  built  under  the  shade  of  an  over- 
hanging precipice.  The  monasteries  of  Meteora,  and  some 
of  those  on  Mount  Athos,  are  remarkable  for  their  posi- 
tions on  the  tops  of  inaccessible  rocks  ;  many  of  the  con- 
vents in  Syria,  the  islands  of  Cyprus,  Candia,  the  Archipel- 
ago, and  the  Prince's  Islands  in  the  Sea  of  Marmora,  are 
unrivalled  for  the   beauty  of  the  positions  in  which  they 


stand  ;  many  others  in  Bulgaria,  Asia  Minor,  Sinope,  and 
other  places  on  the  shores  of  the  Black  Sea,  are  most  curious 
monuments  of  ancient  and  romantic  times.  There  is  one  on 
the  road  to  Persia,  about  one  day's  journey  inland  from 
Trebizonde,  which  is  built  half  way  up  the  side  of  a  per- 
pendicular precipice  ;  it  is  ensconced  in  several  fissures  of 
the  rock,  and  various  little  gardens  adjoining  the  build- 
ings display  the  industry  of  the  monks  ;  these  are  laid 
out  on  shelves  or  terraces  wherever  the  nature  of  the  spot 
affords  a  ledge  of  sufficient  width  to  support  the  soil ;  the 
different  parts  of  the  monastery  are  approached  by  stairs 
and  flights  of  steps  cut  in  the  face  of  the  precipice,  leading 
from  one  cranny  to  another  ;  the  whole  has  the  appearance 
of  a  bas-relief  stuck  against  a  wall ;  this  monastery  par- 
takes of  the  nature  of  a  large  swallow's  nest.  There  are 
the  ruins  of  many  other  monasteries  and  hermitages  of 
this  description  among  the  awful  precipices  of  the  moun- 
tain of  Quarantina,  in  the  valley  of  the  Jordan.  But  it  is 
for  their  architecture  that  the  monasteries  of  the  Levant 
are  more  particularly  deserving  of  study ;  for,  after  the 
remains  of  the  private  houses  of  the  Romans  at  Pompeii, 
they  are  the  most  ancient  specimens  extant  of  domestic 
architecture.  The  refectories,  kitchens,  and  the  cells  of  the 
monks  exceed  in  point  of  antiquity  anything  of  the  kind  in 
Europe.  The  monastery  of  St.  Katherine  at  Mount  Sinai 
has  hardly  been  altered  since  the  sixth  century,  and  still 
contains  ornaments  presented  to  it  by  the  Emperor  Jus- 
tinian. The  White  Monastery  and  the  monastery  at  Old 
Cairo,  both  in  Egypt,  are  still  more  ancient.  The  monastery 
of  Kuzzul  Vank,  near  the  sources  of  the  Euphrates,  is,  I 
believe,  as  old  as  the  fifth  century.   The  greater  number  in 


all  the  countries  where  the  Greek  faith  prevails  were  built 
before  the  year  1000.  Most  monasteries  possess  crosses, 
candlesticks,  and  reliquaries,  many  of  splendid  work- 
manship, and  of  the  era  of  the  foundation  of  the  buildings 
which  contain  them,  while  their  mosaics  and  fresco  paint- 
ings display  the  state  of  the  arts  from  the  most  early  periods. 
It  has  struck  me  as  remarkable  that  the  architecture  of 
the  churches  in  these  most  ancient  monasteries  is  hardly 
ever  fine ;  they  are  usually  small,  being  calculated  only 
for  the  monks,  and  not  for  the  reception  of  any  other  con- 
gregation. The  Greek  churches,  even  those  which  are 
not  monastic,  are  far  inferior  both  in  size  and  interest 
to  the  Latin  basilicas  of  Rome.  With  the  single  ex- 
ception of  the  church  (now  mosque)  of  St.  Sophia,  there 
is  no  Byzantine  church  of  any  magnitude.  The  student 
of  ecclesiastical  antiquities  need  not  extend  his  architectu- 
ral researches  beyond  the  shores  of  Italy  :  there  is  nothing 
in  the  East  so  curious  as  the  church  of  St.  Clemente  at 
Rome,  which  contains  all  the  original  fittings  of  the  choir. 
The  churches  of  St.  Ambrogio  at  Milan,  of  Sta.  Maria 
Trastevere  at  Rome,  the  first  church  dedicated  to  the 
Blessed  Virgin  ;  the  church  of  St.  Agnese  near  Rome, 
the  first  in  which  galleries  were  built  over  the  side  aisles 
for  the  accommodation  of  women,  who,  neither  in  the  East- 
ern nor  Western  churches,  ever  mixed  with  the  men  for 
many  centuries  ;  all  these  and  several  others  in  Italy  af- 
ford more  instruction  than  those  of  the  East — they  are 
larger,  more  magnificent,  and  in  every  respect  superior  to 
the  ecclesiastical  buildings  of  the  Levant.  But  the 
poverty  of  the  Eastern  church,  and  its  early  subjection 
to  Mahomedan  rulers,  while  it  has  kept  down  the  size  and 


splendour  of  the  churches,  has  at  the  same  time  been  the 
means  of  preserving  the  monastic  establishments  in  all  the 
rude  originality  of  their  ancient  forms.  In  ordinary  si- 
tuations these  buildings  are  of  the  same  character  :  they 
resemble  small  villages,  built  mostly  without  much  regard 
to  any  symmetrical  plan,  around  a  church  which  is  con- 
structed in  the  form  of  a  Greek  cross ;  the  roof  is  covered 
either  with  one  or  five  domes  ;  all  these  buildings  are 
surrounded  by  a  high,  strong  wall,  built  as  a  fortification 
to  protect  the  brotherhood  within,  not  without  reason,  even 
in  the  present  day.  I  have  been  quietly  dining  in  a  mo- 
nastery, when  shouts  have  been  heard,  and  shots  have  been 
fired  against  the  stout  bulwarks  of  the  outer  walls,  which, 
thanks  to  their  protection,  had  but  little  effect  in  delaying 
the  transit  of  the  morsel  between  my  fingers  into  the  ready 
gulf  provided  by  nature  for  its  reception,  or  in  altering 
the  monotonous  cadence  in  which  one  of  the  brotherhood 
read  a  homily  of  St.  Chrysostom,  from  the  pulpit  provided 
for  that  purpose  in  the  refectory. 

The  architecture  of  all  Greek  monasteries,  ancient  and 
modern,  is  in  that  style  which  is  called  Byzantine.  As  there 
are  no  buildings  of  this  kind  in  northern  or  western  Europe, 
it  may  be  as  well  to  give  a  short  account  of  what  Byzantine 
architecture  is.  It  is  not  Romanesque,  it  is  not  Lombardic, 
or  Saracenic,  though  it  resembles  and  is  inferior  to  those 
styles  of  building  :  it  took  its  origin  in  the  decay  of  science 
in  the  latter  days  of  the  Christian  Empire  of  Constanti- 
nople, when  the  architects  were  no  longer  able  to  produce 
any  better  imitations  of  Roman  architecture.  What  we 
call  Byzantine  they  called  Roman  ;  and  their  clumsy  build- 
ings were  copied  by  their  blundering  architects  from  the 


examples  which  they  had  before  their  eyes  of  aqueducts, 
theatres,  and  more  particularly  baths,  which  had  been 
erected  in  the  earlier  and  better  days  of  the  Roman  Empire. 
Unable  to  produce  sculptures  which  displayed  any  de- 
gree of  graceful  form  or  artistic  finish,  they  made  use  of 
the  columns  and  capitals  which  they  found  scattered  in 
profusion  in  every  town  among  the  ruins  of  the  heathen 
temples  :  architraves  and  cornices  of  beautiful  Greek  work 
were  placed  as  ornaments  to  these  base  erections,  with 
little  regard  to  their  appropriateness  or  even  position ;  an 
old  column  was  generally  used  for  the  sill  of  the  door  ;  a 
piece  of  a  frieze  was  thought  to  look  well  in  a  blank 
wall ;  sometimes  they  turned  it  upside  down  for  a  change. 
Dedications  to  Pagan  deities  are  often  found  embedded  in 
the  wall  of  a  church,  merely  because  the  piece  of  marble 
on  which  they  were  engraved  came  in  handy  to  the  mason 
at  the  time.  Some  of  the  small  churches  at  Athens  are 
built  almost  entirely  of  ancient  sculptured  blocks.  The 
ancient  metropolitan  church  of  that  city  is  composed  almost 
entirely  of  antique  fragments  of  white  marble.  It  was  used 
to  contain  the  few  volumes  dignified  by  the  name  of  the 
public  library,  when  I  was  last  at  Athens.  This  curious 
church  was  built  in  the  sixth  century.  The  doors  of 
Byzantine  buildings  are  usually  square  topped,  but  they 
are  placed  under  an  arch  of  a  semicircular  form,  orna- 
mented with  columns  on  each  side  :  the  arches  above  the 
doors  and  windows  are  frequently  built  of  large  flat  tiles, 
although  the  buildings  may  be  of  stone.  The  porches  of 
many  buildings  consist  of  four  columns,  from  which  spring 
four  semicircular  arches  which  support  a  dome  ;  the  abut- 
ments of  these  arches  are  kept  together  by  an  iron  bar 



which  runs  from  the  summit  of  each  column  to  the  next. 
I  have  met  with  rings  running  on  these  bars,  as  if  curtains 
had  been  formerly  hung  upon  them. 

The  windows  are  always  very  small,  often  not  larger 
than  loop-holes :  they  have  semicircular  tops,  and  are 
frequently  filled  up  with  thin  slabs  of  white  marble,  per- 
forated with  one  perpendicular  row  of  round  holes,  which 
serves  instead  of  glass ;  no  tracery  was  ever  used  ;  and 
where  one  window,  or  one  row  of  windows,  was  not  sufficient 
to  light  the  interiors,  another  row  was  placed  above  them, 
in  preference  to  opening  a  larger  window.  In  parts  of 
the  church  of  St.  Sophia  there  are  three  or  four  rows  of 
diminutive  windows,  one  above  the  other. 

The  Christian  ceremonies  required  large  spaces  for  the 
assemblage  of  the  congregations,  which  was  not  the  case 
in  the  worship  of  the  heathen  gods.  The  temple  was  the 
shrine  of  the  image  of  the  deity  ;  the  sacrifices  were  usually 
offered  upon  altars  in  the  open  air,  which  stood  in  front  of 
the  temples ;  the  worshippers  were  sheltered  from  the  sun 
and  rain  under  the  colonnades  which  surrounded  the  en- 
closure in  which  the  temple  stood  ;  these  colonnades  have 
mostly  disappeared,  but  the  traveller  still  admires  their 
long  lines  of  marble  columns  round  the  sacred  precincts 
of  Palmyra  and  Jerash. 

In  the  West  the  earliest  churches  were  copied  from  the 
basilicas  or  courts  of  justice,  but  with  these  we  have  in 
the  Levant  but  little  to  do. 

The  Eastern  Christians  seem  to  have  taken  the  models 
of  their  churches  from  the  great  domed  halls  of  the  public 
baths.  If  a  Byzantine  architect  had  been  able  to  accomplish 
so  great  a  work,  it  is  probable  that  his  idea  of  perfection 


would  have  been  to  cover  an  amphitheatre  with  a  dome, 
in  so  far  as  the  exterior  elevation  is  concerned  ;  for  arches 
in  every  variety  form  the  type  of  Byzantine  architecture. 
In  good  Roman  architecture,  arches  were  not  placed  on 
columns,  but  on  piers  :  the  Byzantine  architect  not  being 
particular  as  to  rules  and  proportions,  always  placed  his 
arches  on  columns ;  and  if  one  column  was  not  tall  enough 
for  his  purpose,  he  placed  another  on  the  top  of  the  first : 
instances  of  this  may  be  seen  in  St.  Mark's  at  Venice, 
which  was  mostly  built  by  Greek  architects.  Another 
peculiarity  in  Byzantine  architecture  consists  in  the  square- 
ness of  their  buildings :  they  did  not  delight  in  vistas  ; 
the  exteriors  were  imposing  only  from  the  numerous  domes 
which  formed  the  roofs,  and  the  multitude  of  curves  and 
semicircular  arches  in  every  direction.  The  walls  in  most 
instances  have  bulged,  owing  to  the  architect's  ignorance 
of  the  effects  of  lateral  pressure  occasioned  by  the  domes ; 
and  they  have  been  supported  by  buttresses  of  all  sorts 
and  sizes,  to  prevent  the  roof  from  falling  in,  as  the  church 
of  St.  Sophia  did,  three  times  before  the  present  dome 
built  of  hollow  pots  was  completed.  These  buttresses  are 
evidently  after-thoughts  in  many  instances,  though  they 
would  seem  to  have  been  built  before  the  actual  termi- 
nation of  the  original  design.  The  rule  upon  which  the 
builders  went,  was  what  we  call  the  rule  of  thumb ;  but 
one  thing  is  to  be  said  in  praise  of  them — that  they  at- 
tempted to  build  their  domes  and  arches  on  geometrical 
principles :  they  were  built  of  honest  stone  and  brick  ;  they 
were  not  of  wood,  like  St.  Paul's,  nor  tied  together  with 
iron,  as  our  modern  buildings  are. 

The  most  remarkable  Byzantine  buildings  are  naturally 



to  be  found  at  Constantinople,  the  metropolis  of  the  Chris- 
tian empire.  The  most  important  are  the  churches  of  St. 
Irene  and  Kouchouk  aia  Sophia,  built  by  Constantine,  but 
restored  by  Justinian ;  the  great  aqueduct,  and  the  church 
of  St.  Sophia,  which  were  erected  by  Justinian  :  after  these 
are  to  be  enumerated  the  churches  of  St.  Sophia  near  Tre- 
bizonde,  Daphne  near  Athens,  the  building  at  Constan- 
tinople called  the  Palace  of  Belisarius,  the  ramparts  and 
the  churches  of  the  Virgin  and  St.  Nicholas  at  Mistra,  and 
the  larger  and  more  ancient  of  the  monasteries  of  the 

In  the  interiors  of  the  churches  ornament  was  displayed 
on  a  principle  diametrically  opposite  to  that  employed 
in  Greek  and  Roman  buildings,  in  which  the  genius  of 
the  architect  is  displayed  in  the  perfection  of  the  truly 
intellectual  beauties  of  proportion,  symmetry,  and  grace — 
three  qualities  apparently  unknown  to  British  architects 
of  the  present  day.  The  Byzantine  attempted  to  make 
up  for  good  taste  by  richness  of  colour ;  the  walls  were 
inlaid  with  precious  marbles,  porphyry  and  serpentine,  or 
else  they  were  painted  with  figures  of  the  saints  in  fresco  ; 
the  arched  and  domed  ceilings  were  also  painted,  where 
the  wealth  of  the  founder  could  not  afford  to  cover  them 
with  mosaic,  in  which  the  figures  were  always  on  a  gold 
back-ground,  and,  what  is  necessary  under  the  circum- 
stances, they  have  always  a  line  or  two  of  description  ex- 
planatory of  the  subject,  as  in  the  curious  Greek  engrav- 
ing on  the  opposite  page.  It  is  copied  from  one  of  the 
prints  given  to  pilgrims  who  visit  the  monasteries  of  Athos, 
and  gives  a  good  idea  of  the  appearance  of  a  Byzantine 
building,  and  the  character  of  Greek  art  in  modern  times. 

(  xxix  ) 


Excepting  on  the  churches,  but  little  architectural  taste 
seems  to  have  been  exercised  for  the  ornamental  forms 
and  decorations  of  buildings.  Though  the  kitchens  and 
refectories  described  in  the  following  pages  are  in  some 
degree  architectural  buildings,  the  great  outer  walls 
of  the  monasteries  display  no  architecture  at  all ;  they 
have  no  battlements,  cornices,  or  any  other  peculiarities. 
Upper  chambers,  built  of  wood  and  plaster,  are  often 
raised  upon  the  tops  of  the  stone  walls,  over  which 
their  projecting  windows,  called  in  Turkish  Shahneshin, 
appear  like  those  of  the  old  black  and  white  houses  of 
England.  Perhaps  the  most  imposing  of  all  their 
buildings  are  the  tall  square  towers  or  keeps,  built 
for  the  defence  of  the  monasteries,  not  as  belfries,  or 
in  any  way  answering  to  the  towers  and  steeples  of 
Gothic*  churches,  but  purely  as  fortresses  to  which  the 
monks  could  retire  with  their  most  precious  effects  in  any 
of  the  attacks  to  which  they  have  always  been  subject 
from  the  predatory  habits  of  their  unquiet  neighbours. 
These  towers  are  arched  in  every  story  ;  they  have  small 
windows,  scarcely  large  enough  to  peep  out  of ;  the  upper 
story  has  occasionally  larger  windows  opening  on  bar- 
tizans, supported  upon  plain  heavy  brackets  ;  the  parapets 
on  the  summit  of  the  towers  are  embattled,  the  tops  of 
the  battlements  being  indented  or  swallow-tailed,  as  we 
see  in  many  specimens  in  the  south  of  Italy,  built  by  the 

*  It  would  be  curious  to  ascertain  why  we  call  our  cathedrals,  &c.  Gothic. 
The  only  building  with  which  I  am  acquainted  that  was  perhaps  built  by 
the  Goths  is  the  tomb  of  Theodoric,  at  Ravenna;  it  is  bad  Roman,  almost 
Byzantine,  in  its  style,  and  is  covered  with  a  dome  hewn  out  of  a  single 
stone  3G  feet  in  diameter ;  it  has  no  similarity  whatever  with  what  we 
understand  by  Gothic  architecture. 


princes  of  the  Crusaders,  from  oriental  reminiscences.  Both 
domes  and  towers  are  usually  roofed  with  large  red  tiles, 
though  lead  is  used  where  the  cost  of  the  material  could 
be  afforded.  The  cities  of  the  15th  century,  London 
among  others,  Mere  generally  built  of  wood ;  a  mode  of 
construction  which  facilitated  the  efforts  of  the  soldiers  of 
Mohammed  the  Second  in  the  year  1452,  in  the  destruction 
of  many  palaces,  forums,  and  public  buildings  in  the 
metropolis  of  the  Greek  empire,  which  displayed  all 
the  gorgeous  barbarisms  of  their  peculiar  style.  The 
palace  of  the  Blakernal  must  have  been  a  most  curious 
and  singular  building,  full  of  gold,  jewels,  and  marble, 
but  almost  pitch  dark  within,  from  the  smallncss  of  the 
windows  and  thickness  of  the  walls  ;  its  exterior  was  pro- 
bably a  mass  of  halls,  domes,  and  colonnades  huddled 
together  without  plan  or  design,  with  little  courts  and 
gardens  interspersed  within  its  walls;  it  probably  bore 
great  resemblance  to  one  of  the  larger  monasteries  which 
still  remain,  particularly  as  it  boasted  of  several  lofty 
towers  which  shot  up  into  the  clear  air,  high  above  the 
clustered  buildings  underneath.  Here  watchmen  relieved 
guard,  night  and  day,  to  give  notice  of  the  fires  which 
were  continually  occurring  in  various  parts  of  the  city,  by 
signals  displayed  from  their  summits  on  that  side  where  the 
fire  was  observed,  as  is  still  practised  by  the  Turks  in  the 
tower  of  Galata  and  the  tower  of  the  Seraskier,  and  also  to 
afford  a  timely  warning  to  the  timid  emperor  of  the  ap- 
proach of  a  turbulent  mob,  belonging  to  the  green  or  blue 
factions  of  the  Hippodrome,  so  that  the  Varangian  guards 
mi  "-lit  bar  the  great  doors  of  bronze,  while  he  escaped 
in  his  galley  down  the  bright  waters  of  the  Golden  Horn. 


There  is  a  peculiarity  in  the  manner  in  which  houses  are 
still  built  at  Constantinople,  which  is  so  original,  that, 
perhaps,  it  may  have  been  derived  from  Byzantine  models ; 
the  common  houses  of  the  streets,  instead  of  standing  side 
by  side  as  ours  do,  with  their  fronts  presenting  a  con- 
tinuous line  to  the  street,  all  advance  one  shoulder,  as  it 
were,  \cS%^C\^:it\f^<:^\<:^^  winch  is  done 
for  the  purpose  of  getting  a  cross  light  from  the  corner 
window  of  the  front  room,  which  certainly  imparts  an 
additional  cheerfulness  to  the  apartments. 

I  must  mention  to  those  who  take  an  interest  in  naval 
architecture,  that  an  ancient  galley  of  the  15th  or  16th 
century  still  exists  in  the  Caique  Khane  of  the  seraglio, 
with  all  its  sails,  oars,  and  fittings  rotting  upon  its  deck. 
This  superb  old  vessel  is  painted  red  and  gold  outside  ; 
the  poop  is  ornamented  with  tortoise-shell,  mother-of- 
pearl,  and  silver  ;  it  is  about  100  feet  long ;  the  rowlocks 
of  the  oars  rest  upon  outriggers  on  each  side,  and  each 
was  worked  by  three  men :  this  galley  is  not  the  least 
curious  of  the  antiquities  of  Constantinople. 

I  have  been  induced  to  give  this  short  notice  of  the 
peculiarities  of  Byzantine  architecture,  because  I  believe 
that  its  form  and  appearance  are  not  generally  familiar  to 
English  readers. 

I  have  not  entered  into  more  details  on  a  subject  of 
great  interest  to  myself,  because  the  study  of  architecture 
is  one  which  is  not  appreciated  in  this  country, — witness 
the  pitiful  and  contemptible  buildings  for  which  John 
Bull  is  content  to  pay  immense  sums  of  money,  sufficient 
for  the  production  of  such  works  as  might  be  the  glory  of 
the  whole  earth. 


Without  drawings  and  plans  it  is  not  easy  to  understand 
descriptions  of  architectural  details  ;  for  it  is  only  by 
comparing  one  style  with  the  differences  it  bears  to  an- 
other, that  any  information  can  be  given  in  mere  writing, 
and  this  infers  so  great  a  general  knowledge  of  the  various 
forms  of  the  Roman,  Italian,  Arabian,  Saracenic,  and 
Lombardic  buildings  of  the  middle  ages,  that  the  reader, 
to  understand  my  bare  descriptions,  must  know  as  much 
as  I  do  of  the  subject,  and,  consequently,  has  nothing  to 
learn  from  what  it  is  in  my  power  to  tell  him. 

From  this  slight  glance  at  their  architecture  we  will 
proceed  to  the  Byzantine  school  of  painting. 

The  object  of  the  art  of  painting  is  divided  into  two 
distinct  and  separate  ends  :  one  kind  of  art,  both  of  poetry, 
sculpture  and  painting,  addresses  itself  to  the  intellect, 
the  other  to  the  passions. 

It  is  to  the  first  class  that  the  Greek  school  has 
always  adhered,  but  the  early  Greek  pictures  which  are 
still  in  existence  are  very  inferior  to  the  noble  works 
in  this  style  by  the  ancient  Italian  artists.  They  are  all 
painted  in  the  stiff,  conventional  manner  which  tradition 
has  handed  down  from  remote  antiquity.  No  one  who 
has  had  the  opportunity  of  improving  his  good  taste  by 
a  careful  study  of  these  ancient  works  of  art  can  fail  to 
appreciate  and  reverence  that  high  and  noble  spirit  which 
animated  the  pencils  of  those  saintly  painters,  and  irra- 
diates the  composition  of  their  sublime  conceptions  with 
a  dignity  and  grandeur  which  is  altogether  wanting  in 
the  beautiful  pictures  of  Rubens,  Titian,  Guido,  Dome- 
nichino,  and  other  great  artists  of  more  mundane  schools  : 
even  Raphael  in  his  later  days  lost  the  power  of  express- 


ing  that  angelic  beauty  which  is  to  be  found  in  his 
earlier  pictures  ;  the  purity  of  his  mind  was  sullied  ;  his 
dreams  no  longer  dwelt  on  those  celestial  forms  which 
alone  occupied  the  thoughts  of  Masaccio,  Pinturicchio, 
Angelico  of  Fiesole,  and  those  artists  who  did  not 
paint  for  money,  but  who  exercised  their  talents  ad 
majorem  Dei  gloriam — humble-minded  men,  who,  having 
little  gold  and  silver,  dedicated  the  gifts  tbey  had  re- 
ceived from  God  to  the  honour  of  the  church,  and  to  the 
praise  of  Him  whom  they  worshipped  in  their  works — 
these  high-minded  artists  painted  in  fresco  ;  they  rarely 
painted  easel  pictures,  and  were  little  versed  in  chiaro- 
oscuro ;  their  works  are  not  to  be  compared  to  those  of 
the  later  and  more  earthly  artists,  whose  depth  of  shading, 
rich  tone,  and  voluptuous  expression  are  precisely  the 
opposite  in  their  intentions  to  the  others :  these  latter 
works  are  far  superior  (some  of  them)  as  mechanical 
productions ;  they  are  the  works  of  men's  hands,  the  others 
of  the  minds  of  a  higher  class  of  men  :  but  even  as  me- 
chanical works,  the  first  display  great  merit.  A  very 
inferior  artist  can  copy  a  Vandyke ;  no  one  can  copy 
a  Perugino  or  a  Raphael  in  his  first  manner,  so  as  to 
deceive  one  who  is  conversant  with  pictures  for  a  moment. 
The  Greek  pictures  are  of  the  devotional  kind ;  but 
the  arts  fell  to  decay  in  the  Greek  Empire  in  the  15th 
century,  almost  before  they  arose  to  any  excellence  in  the 
West :  hence  the  conventional  forms  of  the  stiff  frescos, 
invariably  on  religious  subjects,  which  decorate  the  walls 
of  Byzantine  churches  and  refectories,  are  very  inferior 
to  the  admirable  productions  of  the  Italian  schools ;  but 
still  many  of  them  succeed  in  conveying  to  the  mind  of 


the  spectator  feelings  of  devotion  and  religious  awe, 
and  a  kind  of  grandeur  which  seems  to  be  beyond  the 
scope  of  modern  artists,  either  in  sculpture  or  painting, 
though  their  productions  are  superior  in  every  other 
respect.  The  Greek  artists  never  attempted  landscapes 
or  ornamental  and  furniture  pictures :  in  some  of  the 
convents  of  Mount  Athos  some  exceedingly  curious 
portraits  still  exist,  painted  in  a  stiff  and  highly  finished 
style.  In  the  prosperous  days  of  the  Greek  empire 
various  painters  of  note  existed  :  several  pictures  and 
illuminations  have  the  names  of  the  artist  appended  to 
them.  In  the  church  delle  Carceri,  at  Catania,  there  is 
a  painting  of  the  martyrdom  of  St.  Agatha,  painted  by 
Bemardus  Niger,  Grecus,  1388.  The  remains  of  the 
Christian  paintings  on  the  interior  walls  of  the  Parthenon, 
at  Athens,  which  are  certainly  of  considerable  antiquity, 
are  beautifully  done.  The  miniatures  in  a  volume  of  the 
Lives  of  the  Martyrs,  in  the  Vatican,  of  the  12th  century, 
which  were  painted  by  various  artists  of  the  day,  who 
have  put  their  names  to  their  works,  are  better  works 
of  art  than  those  of  Italian  painters  of  the  same  period. 
The  irruption  of  the  Turks  into  the  Christian  Empire 
put  a  stop  to  improvements  in  civilized  arts  ;  since  those 
days  no  improvements  have  been  made,  and  the  pictures 
of  the  Greek  school,  being  servile  copies  one  of  another, 
have  remained  without  anv  chamre  for  centuries,  either 
for  better  or  worse. 

In  the  early  ages  of  the  Christian  Church  nothing  was 
left  to  the  invention  or  imagination  of  the  painters  of 
religious  subjects :  few  people  could  read,  and  the  walls 
of  the  churches,  covered  with  frescos,  served  as  books 


to  insense  the  minds  of  the  unlearned  with  the  histories 
and  doctrines  of  the  faith,  which  were  explained  to  them 
in  homilies  and  conversations,  as  they  may  he  called, 
which  the  priests  held  with  their  congregations  after  the 
services,  in  the  porch  of  the  church. 

From  the  remotest  times  the  figures  of  the  saints  were 
drawn  after  a  recognised  form,  from  which  no  variation 
whatever  was  made  till  a  late  period  in  the  Latin  Church, 
and  which  continues  to  he  observed  in  its  original  exact- 
ness in  the  Greek  Church  to  the  present  day. 

The  changes  made  in  the  course  of  ages  in  the  Latin 
Church  were  not  of  great  importance,  but  they  took  liber- 
ties with  the  subject,  such  as  were  never  permitted  in  the 
East.  In  the  Rationale  of  Durandus,  book  i.,  cap.  3, 
the  author  quotes  the  verses  of  Horace, 

"  Pictoribus  atque  poetis 
Quidlibet  audendi  semper  fuit  aequa  potestas ;" 

for  it  is  the  practice  of  the  Roman  Church  to  adapt 
itself  in  matters  of  small  consequence  to  the  changes 
which  are  always  taking  place  in  the  habits  and  opinions 
of  different  nations.  An  account  of  the  changes  which 
were  made  in  the  great  emblem  of  the  Roman  Catholic 
religion,  the  crucifix,  will  explain  the  extent  to  which  the 
imagination  of  the  painters  and  sculptors  was  permitted 
to  extend  itself  in  the  Latin  Church. 

The  crucifix  was  not  known  before  the  5th  or  6th 
century,  though  the  cross  was  always  the  emblem  of 
the  Christian  faith. 

In  the  5th  or  6th  century  the  figure  of  our  Saviour  was 
first  attached  to  the  cross,  but  instances  of  this  are  very  rare. 


Before  the  11th  century  the  figure  was  always  clothed 
in  a  robe. 

In  the  1.1th  and  12th  centuries  the  robe  became  shorter, 
the  sleeves  ending  at  the  elbows,  and  the  skirt  about  the 

At  this  period  the  figure  was  usually  attached  to  the 
cross  by  four  nails. 

After  the  1 3th  century  the  figure  always  was  attached 
to  the  cross  by  three  nails  only,  and  the  robe  was  ex- 
changed for  a  cloth  around  the  loins.  This  cloth  was 
diminished  in  size  about  the  beginning  of  the  15th  century, 
since  when  the  crucifix  has  retained  the  appearance  which 
it  presents  at  this  day.  All  this  time  the  form  of  the 
cross  itself  underwent  no  change.  In  like  manner  slight 
changes  have  been  made  in  the  vestures  of  the  priests  of  the 
Roman  Church.  The  cope  has  lost  its  hood,  the  cha- 
suble is  diminished  in  bulk,  the  dalmatic  is  shortened. 
Some  modifications  have  taken  place  in  various  countries 
in  the  forms  of  these  vestures  :  the  chasuble  of  England 
was  pointed  in  front  and  at  the  back,  while  in  France 
and  Rome  it  was  round.  The  mitre  seems  to  be  a 
modern  invention,  dating  no  farther  back  than  the  9th 
or  10th  century.  The  crown  of  the  Greek  Bishops 
was  never  used  in  the  West,  but  this  head-dress  is  not 
to  be  found  in  the  most  ancient  mosaics  and  illumina- 
tions of  the  East.  The  pastoral  staff  of  the  Roman 
Church  is  not  used  by  the  Greek  bishops  and  patriarchs, 
though  the  shepherds  of  the  Morea  still  use  a  crook 
precisely  of  the  same  form.  It  is  from  his  knowledge 
of  the  periods  at  which  these  and  other  changes  were 
made,  that  the  European  antiquary  can  at  a  glance  per- 


eeivc  the  period  at  which  most  things  were  constructed, 
but  he  has  few  landmarks  of  this  kind  to  guide  him  in 
the  East.  The  vestures  and  ceremonies  of  the  Greek 
and  Sclavonic  Churches  have  remained  the  same  (as  I 
believe)  since  the  conversion  of  those  nations  to  Chris- 
tianity. Such  alterations  as  these  have  taken  place  in  the 
ceremonial  of  the  Latin  Church,  but  in  the  Greek  Church 
no  changes  whatever  seem  to  have  been  permitted. 

It  is,  or  should  be,  well  known  to  my  readers,  that  the 
traditional  likenesses  of  the  Saviour  and  some  of  the 
Apostles  have  been  handed  down  to  us  from  the  earliest 
ages :  the  types,  however,  are  a  little  different  in  the 
Eastern  and  Western  Churches.  I  will  instance  those  of 
the  great  Apostles  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul :  in  the  repre- 
sentations of  the  Latin  Church,  St.  Peter  is  always  a 
man  of  about  sixty  years  of  age,  with  a  thickish  figure  ; 
his  head  bald,  excepting  at  the  back,  where  he  has  short 
curling  hair  ;  his  beard  is  short  and  broad  ;  the  expres- 
sion of  his  face  majestic  ;  his  nostrils  somewhat  open  ;  the 
colour  of  his  hair  and  beard  light  grey. 

St.  Paul  is  a  smaller  man,  his  back  a  little  bent :  he  is 
about  fifty  years  of  age,  nearly  bald,  a  beard  about  six 
inches  long,  of  a  dark  grey  colour,  his  eyes  small  and 
quick,  a  determined  clever  expression,  quite  different 
from  that  of  St.  Peter. 

Both  Apostles  are  dressed  in  a  long  shirt,  with  rather 
full  open  sleeves,  over  which  the  toga  hangs  in  heavy 
folds ;  this  was  the  garment  without  seam,  a  piece 
of  woollen  cloth,  about  five  feet  six  inches  wide,  and 
twelve  feet  long ;  it  is  worn  to  the  present  day  by  the 
Bedouins   of  the   western   desert :    it   is  easy  to   show, 


but  difficult  to  explain,  the  manner  in  which  it  was 
worn.*  It  was  not  semicircular,  as  some  antiquarians 
assert;  several  perfect  togas  have  been  found  in  Egyptian 
tombs  of  the  period  of  the  Greek  and  Roman  dynasties. 

The  Greek  pictures  of  the  present  day  are  precisely  the 
same  as  those  of  the  earliest  times ;  their  authority 
for  this  exact  observance  of  ancient  usages  is  partly 
founded  on  a  canon  of  the  second  Council  of  Nice  : — 

"  Non  est  imaginum  structura  pictorum  inventio,  sed 
Ecclesia?  Catholicae  probata  legislatio  et  traditio.  Nam 
quod  vetustate  excellit  vencrandum  est,  ut  inquit  divus 
Basilius."  .  .  .  "Atqui  consilium  ct  traditio  ista 
non  est  pictoris  (ejus  enim  sola  ars  est),  verum  ordinatio 
et  dispositio  patrum  nostrorum,"  &c.  Accordingly 
we  find  in  Niccphori  Callixti  Ecclesiastica  Historia,  vol.  i., 
book  ii.  cap.  37,  folio,  Paris,  1630,  that  the  traditional 
likenesses  of  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul  were  handed  down 
from  the  earliest  times  : — "  Petrus  equidem  non  crassa 
corporis  statura  fuit,  sed  medioeri  et  quee  aliquanto 
esset  erectior,  facie  subpallida  et  alba  admodum. 
Capilli  ct  capitis  barbae  crispi  et  densi,  sed  non  admodum 
prominentes  fuere.  Oculi  quasi  sanguine  respersi  et  nigri ; 
supercilia  sublata.  Nasus  autem  longior  ille  quidem,  non 
tamen  in  acumen  desinens,  sed  pressus  imusque  majus. 

"  Paulus  autem  corpore  erat  parvo  et  contracto,  et  quasi 
incurvo,  atque  paululum  inflexo ;  facie  Candida,  annos- 
que  plures  prse  se  ferentc,  et  capite  calvo  ;  oculis  multa 

*  The  women  of  Nubia  wear  the  precise  dress  which  is  seen  in  statues 
of  Diana,  and  the  figures  of  the  Etruscan  vases.  It  is  composed  of  a 
piece  of  linen  or  woollen  cloth,  about  four  feet  wide,  and  five  long. 
Two  brooches  fasten  a  part  of  it,  which  is  doubled  dowrn  over  the  shoulders, 
and  a  snrdle  confines  it  round  the  waist. 


incrat  gratia ;  supercilia  deorsum  versum  vergebant. 
Nasus  pulchre  inflexus,  idemque  longior.  Barba  densior, 
et  satis  promissa  ;  eaque  non  minus  quam  capitis  coma 
canis  ctiam  respersa  erat." 

By  this  it  will  be  seen  how  very  much  the  traditions  of 
the  East  and  West  resemble  each  other  as  to  the  appear- 
ance of  the  two  apostles  ;  but  that  no  changes  or  differ- 
ences might  creep  in  in  the  lapse  of  time,  the  manner  in 
which  not  only  all  the  saints  and  personages,  but  the 
scenes  of  Holy  Writ  are  to  be  drawn,  is  exactly  described 
in  a  MS.  constantly  consulted  by  the  Greek  artists  ;  it  was 
compiled,  it  is  supposed,  in  the  10th  century  by  Dionisius 
the  Monk,  painter  to  the  convent  of  Fourna,  near  Agrapha, 
who  had  studied  the  famous  paintings  of  Panselinos.  From 
time  to  time  additions  have  been  made  to  this  curious 
book,  which  serves  as  a  manual  for  the  painters  employed 
to  this  day  to  ornament  the  walls  of  churches,  chapels, 
and  refectories  with  fresco  paintings  ;  a  translation  of  it 
has  been  published  in  French,  by  M.  Didron ;  it  is  called 
'Manuel  d'Iconographie  Chretienne,'  8vo.,  Paris,  1845. 

In  the  pages  of  this  book,  rules  are  laid  down  for  the 
manner  in  which  everything  is  to  be  treated,  as  to  form, 
colour,  and  expression,  to  the  minutest  particulars :  in 
addition  to  religious  personages,  we  are  taught  how  to 
portray  many  of  the  sages  of  antiquity.  Thucydides, 
Plutarch,  Plato,  Aristotle,  &c,  are  all  described ;  direc- 
tions are  given  how  to  paint  the  narthex  of  the  church, 
how  to  paint  the  dome  of  the  fountain,  how  to  paint  the 
refectory,  and  so  on ;  how  to  represent  such  and  such 
miracles,  parables,  &c.  ;  and  recipes  for  the  preparation  of 
the  plaster  on  the  walls,  the  colours,  gold,  and  varnishes  ; 


and  also  the  prayers  and  orisons  to  be  offered  up  by  the 
devout  painter  before  he  presumes  to  commence  his  work. 

In  the  sculptures  and  paintings  of  the  Latin  Church 
the  twelve  Apostles  are  represented  holding  the  instru- 
ments of  their  martyrdom,  and,  with  the  exception  of  St. 
John,  are  always  old  or  middle-aged  men. 

In  the  Greek  Church  the  Twelve  are  not  the  same  as  those 
mentioned  in  St.  Matthew,  c,  x.,  St.  Mark,  iii.;  or  St.  Luke, 
vi.,  but  they  are  represented  in  the  following  manner : — 

1.  St.  Peter.     An  old  man  with  a  rounded  beard.     He  holds  in 

his  hand  a  roll  of  his  Epistle,  on  which  is  written  "  Peter, 
the  Apostle  of  Jesus  Christ." 

2.  St.  Paul.     Bald,  with  a  longish  grey  beard.     He  holds  his 
twelve  Epistles  rolled  up  and  tied  together. 

3.  St.  John,  Theologos.     An  old  man,  bald,  with  a  large  thin 

beard.     He  holds  the  Gospel. 

4.  St.  Matthew,  the  Evangelist.     Old,  with  a  large  beard.     He 

holds  his  Gospel. 

5.  Luke,  the  Evangelist.     Young,  with  curling  hair,  little  beard. 

He  is  painting  the  Mother  of  God. 

6.  St.  Mark,  the  Evangelist.     Grey  hair,  rounded  beard.     He 

holds  his  Gospel. 

7.  St.  Andrew.     An  old  man,  grizzled  hair ;  his  beard  separated 

in  two ;  he  carries  a  cross,  and  a  roll  not  unrolled. 

8.  St.  Simon,  Zelotes.     Old  man,  bald,  rounded  beard. 

9.  St.  James  the  Less.     Young  man  with  a  small  beard. 

10.  St.  Bartholomew.     Young  man  with  a  small  beard. 

11.  St.  Thomas.     A  young  man  without  any  beard. 

12.  St.  Philip.     A  young  man  without  a  beard. 

The  above  account  will  be  sufficient  to  explain  why 
Greek  pictures  bear  so  great  a  resemblance  to  each  other, 
and  why  it  is  so  difficult  to  assign  any  precise  date  to  any 


of  those  which  have  no  name  of  their  painter,  or  the  year 
when  they  were  painted,  appended  to  them.  The  figures 
of  the  saints  are  painted  in  easel  pictures  on  gold  back- 
grounds, in  imitation,  perhaps,  of  the  mosaics  ;  the  fresco 
pictures  on  the  walls  have  no  backgrounds.  The  figures 
usually  hold  a  scroll  in  their  hands,  on  which  their  names 
are  written  ;  or  sometimes  a  sentence  from  Scripture,  ex- 
planatory of  the  acts  of  the  saint,  is  written  on  his  scroll. 
The  prodigious  quantity  of  these  curious  stiff  frescos  may 
be  imagined,  when  it  is  asserted  that  at  Athens,  even  in 
its  present  state,  there  are  80  small  churches ;  on  Mount 
Athos  there  are,  including  churches,  chapels,  hermitages, 
and  oratories,  935  places  of  worship  ;  every  large  convent 
in  Greece  and  Asia  contains  from  6  to  20  chapels,  and 
the  walls  of  all  these  are  covered  from  top  to  bottom  with 
fresco  paintings  on  religious  subjects.  Besides  these, 
every  church  has  paintings,  on  the  panels  of  the  iconostasis, 
of  the  Redeemer,  the  Virgin,  and  the  saint  to  whom  the 
building  is  dedicated;  and  usually  possesses  numerous 
small  pictures  hanging  against  the  walls  of  the  sanctuary, 
near  the  altar.  Many  of  these  are  of  extreme  antiquity, 
and  are  often  in  gold  or  silver  frames  of  most  curious 
workmanship.  I  may  conclude  these  observations  by 
mentioning  that  there  is  not  one  of  this  class  of  pictures 
in  the  National  Gallery,  and,  excepting  one  or  two  small 
ones  of  my  own  of  the  1 2th  century,  I  know  of  no  others 
in  any  collection  in  England, — those  usually  called  Greek 
pictures  being  the  works  of  modern  Russian  or  very  early 
Italian  artists. 

Among   the  various   commodities  which   are   carried 
abroad  by  an  Englishman  when  he  first  starts  on  his  travels 


in  foreign  lands,  are  a  good  store  or  outfit  of  prejudices, 
prepossessions,  and  convictions,  which  are  founded  on  the 
nature  of  his  education,  and  have  no  vulgar  reference  to 
facts.  Of  these  there  is  usually  to  be  found  the  notion 
that  monks  are  a  set  of  idle,  dissolute  drones,  either  fana- 
tical hypocrites,  or  sunk  in  ignorance  and  sloth.  My  own 
notion  of  a  monk  was  originally  compounded  from  the 
famous  account  of  Friar  Tuck  in  the  romance  of  Ivanhoe, 
and  the  fearful  histories  of  the  Dominican  familiars  of  the 
Inquisition,  and  those  who  some  people  supposed  were 
called  friars,  from  the  numerous  heretics  whom  they  fried 
alive  in  Smithfield. 

Probably  there  are  few  persons  living  who  have  been 
so  much  in  monasteries,  both  of  the  Latin  and  Greek 
Churches,  as  I  have ;  the  consequence  of  which  has  been, 
that  my  present  opinions  of  monks  in  general  are  the 
opposite  to  those  with  which  I  originally  started  from  my 
native  land. 

One  thing  must  be  kept  in  mind,  that  although  a  monk 
is  a  monk,  nothing  can  be  more  different  than  the  charac- 
ters of  the  different  monastic  orders  of  the  Latin  Church  ; 
for,  while  I  am  inclined  to  think  favourably  of  the  learned 
order  of  the  Benedictines,  who  built  most  of  those  beautiful 
abbeys  whose  ruins  in  our  fairest  valleys  attest  the  former 
wealth  and  magnificence  of  their  inhabitants,  I  consider 
that  the  Mendicant  orders  of  friars,  the  Dominicans, 
Franciscans,  and  Capucins,  are  useless  burthens,  if  they 
are  not  absolutely  injurious,  to  the  community  at  large  ; 
but  whatever  their  various  peculiarities  may  be,  I  have 
never  in  any  country  in  Europe,  Asia,  or  Africa,  met  with 
the  prototype  of  Friar  Tuck.     A  fat  monk  is  a  very  rare 


animal :  fat  priests  are  to  be  found,  but  I  do  not  remember 
having  ever  seen  a  monk  whom  a  New  Zealander  would 
think  worth  looking  at.  Quietness,  simplicity,  and  a  com- 
plete ignorance  of  the  world  are  the  usual  characteristics 
of  all  monks. 

Jesuits,  it  must  be  remembered,  are  not  monks ;  it  is 
not  the  Order,  but  the  Company,  of  Jesus.  But  as  the  monks 
of  the  various  orders  of  the  Latin  Church,  although  they 
are  all  founded  on  the  rules  of  St.  Benedict  or  St. 
Augustin,  differ  essentially  from  each  other  in  learning, 
in  character,  and  in  dress,  so  do  the  Greek  monks  differ 
in  most  respects  from  them. 

They  are  all  the  followers  of  one  rule,  and  belong  to 
the  ascetic  order  of  St.  Basil.  They  are  not  learned  and 
munificent  in  charity  and  education,  as  the  Benedictines 
are  ;  they  do  not  interfere  in  worldly  and  political  intrigues  ; 
neither  are  they  mendicants  who  live  by  the  sweat  of  other 
people's  brows. 

Their  observances  lead  to  a  complete  retirement  from  the 
world :  eight  hours  of  the  twenty-four  are  passed  in  prayer  ; 
they  eat  no  meat,  and  on  their  fast-days,  which  comprise 
one  third  of  the  year,  they  eat  no  animal  substance,  very 
little  of  anything,  and  that  only  once  a  day.  They  do  not  sit 
down  in  church,  but  rest  themselves  by  leaning  on  a  crutch. 

I  will  not  in  a  book  like  this  enter  into  any  observa- 
tion on  matters  of  religious  faith ;  on  this  subject  the 
Greek  Church  acknowledges  the  authority  only  of  the 
Bible  and  the  first  seven  general  councils.  So  entirely  do 
they  prohibit  all  private  opinion  of  these  subjects,  that  the 
Patriarch  of  Moscow,  in  the  reign  of  Peter  the  Great 
(the  Russian  Church  resembles  the  Greek  Church  in  all 


essential  matters),  banished  the  priest  of  Morum,  and 
several  other  priests,  and  sent  them  to  Siberia,  for  preach- 
ing sermons ;  asserting  that  "  the  Lord  had  always  operated 
through  his  mere  word,  and  had  thus  founded  his  church 
without  further  explaining  it,  and  therefore  it  was  not 
needful  for  his  clergy  to  do  so." 

The  hierarchy  of  the  Greek  Church  is  divided  into  three 
classes — the  parochial  clergy,  who  must  be  married  men  ; 
the  monks,  who  cannot  marry ;  and  the  bishops,  archbishops, 
patriarchs,  and  great  dignitaries  of  the  church,  who  cannot 
be  married,  and  who  are  chosen  from  the  monastic  order. 
Of  the  monks  there  are  several  divisions  with  respect 
to  the  positions  which  they  hold  in  their  monasteries — the 
Archimandrites,  or  Abbots ;  Hegumenoi,  or  superiors  of 
smaller  convents ;  Iero  monachoi  and  Iero  diachonoi, 
monks  in  holy  orders.  Of  the  simple  monks,  one  is  called 
ascetic,  or  aa-y.r,riy.os,  because  he  lives  apart  in  a  (mmr),  or 
cottage  ;  xw/xn-r/is-,  from  xw/xaj  a  village ;  avocy^uqran  an  an- 
chorite, from  <x.vv.%oj%zoj  to  retire  ;  and  lastly,  iaovzkqs  a  monk. 

The  government  of  the  monasteries  is  of  two  kinds. 
Some  monasteries  are  xoivofiioi ;  in  these  the  Hegumenos 
has  supreme  authority,  and  every  thing  is  at  his  disposal 
so  long  as  his  office  lasts. 

Other  monasteries,  and  these  are  more  numerous,  are 
called  ilioquQiAQi ;  these  have  more  resemblance  to  a 
republic  or  commonwealth.  The  monks  on  entering  pay 
a  certain  sum,  in  consideration  of  which  they  are  in  part 
proprietors  of  the  establishment,  and  nothing  of  importance 
can  be  done  without  general  consent,  which  often  infers  a 
general  quarrel  and  disturbance. 

In  both  kinds  of  monasteries  almost  all  the  clothes, 


carpentry,  and  other  works  are  conducted  by  the  monks 
themselves :  one  bakes,  another  makes  shoes,  another  dis- 
tils arrack.  They  have  usually  several  xocr/xixot  or  lay 
brothers,  who  often  become  monks  ;  these  attend  to  the 
cattle  and  to  out-of-doors  affairs,  and  assist  the  monks  in 
hewing  wood  and  drawing  water.  In  some  cases  these 
are  serf's,  who  are  bound  to  labour  for  the  abbots,  who 
are  their  feudal  lords.  The  Arab  tribe  of  Gebeli  are 
serfs  of  the  Abbot  of  Mount  Sinai,  the  ancestors  of  the 
herd  having  been  presented  to  the  convent  by  the  emperor 

The  monks  of  the  Greek  Church  have  diminished  in 
number  and  wealth  of  late  years  ;  their  monasteries  are  no 
longer  the  schools  of  learning  which  they  used  to  be  ;  few 
can  read  the  Hellenic  or  ancient  Greek  ;  and  the  follow- 
ing anecdote  will  suffice  to  show  the  estimation  in  which 
a  conventual  library  has  not  unusually  been  held.  A 
Russian,  or  I  do  not  know  whether  he  was  not  a  French 
traveller,  in  the  pursuit,  as  I  was,  of  ancient  literary 
treasures,  found  himself  in  a  great  monastery  in  Bulgaria, 
to  the  north  of  the  town  of  Cavalla ;  he  had  heard  that 
the  books  preserved  in  this  remote  building  were  remark- 
able for  their  antiquity,  and  for  the  subjects  on  which 
they  treated.  His  dismay  and  disappointment  may  be 
imagined  when  he  was  assured  by  the  agoumenos  or 
superior  of  the  monastery,  that  it  contained  no  library 
whatever,  that  they  had  nothing  but  the  liturgies  and 
church  books,  and  no  palaia  pragmata  or  antiquities  at 
all.  The  poor  man  had  bumped  upon  a  pack-saddle 
over  villainous  roads  for  many  days  for  no  other  object, 
and  the  library  of  which  he  was  in  search  had  vanished 


as  the  visions  of  a  dream.  The  agoumenos  begged  his 
guest  to  enter  with  the  monks  into  the  choir,  where  the 
almost  continual  church  service  was  going  on,  and  there 
he  saw  the  double  row  of  long-bearded  holy  fathers, 
shouting  away  at  the  chorus  of  xupiz  eXej<tov,  xptars  etenjw 
(pronounced  Kyre  eleizon,  Christe  eleizon),  which  occurs 
almost  every  minute,  in  the  ritual  of  the  Greek  Church, 
Each  of  the  monks  was  standing,  to  save  his  bare  legs 
from  the  damp  of  the  marble  floor,  upon  a  great  folio 
volume,  which  had  been  removed  from  the  conventual 
library  and  applied  to  purposes  of  practical  utility  in  the 
way  which  I  have  described.  The  traveller  on  examining 
these  ponderous  tomes  found  them  to  be  of  the  greatest 
value  ;  one  was  in  uncial  letters,  and  others  were  full  of 
illuminations  of  the  earliest  date  ;  all  these  he  was  allowed 
to  carry  away  in  exchange  for  some  footstools  or  hassocks, 
which  he  presented  in  their  stead  to  the  old  monks  ;  they 
were  comfortably  covered  with  ketche  or  felt,  and  were 
in  many  respects  more  convenient  to  the  inhabitants  of 
the  monastery  than  the  manuscripts  had  been,  for  many 
of  their  antique  bindings  were  ornamented  with  bosses 
and  nail  heads,  which  inconvenienced  the  toes  of  the  un- 
sophisticated congregation  who  stood  upon  them  without 
shoes  for  so  many  hours  in  the  day.  I  must  add  that  the 
lower  halves  of  the  manuscripts  were  imperfect,  from  the 
damp  of  the  floor  of  the  church,  having  corroded  and  eat 
away  their  vellum  leaves,  and  also  thatj  as  the  story  is 
not  my  own,  I  cannot  vouch  for  the  truth  of  it,  though, 
whether  it  is  true  or  not,  it  elucidates  the  present  state  of 
the  literary  attainments  of  the  Oriental  monks.  Ignor- 
ance and  superstition  walk  hand  in  hand,  and  the  monks 


of  the  Eastern  churches  seem  to  retain  in  these  days  all 
the  love  for  the  marvellous  which  distinguished  their 
Western  brethren  in  the  middle  ages.  Miraculous  pictures 
abound,  as  well  as  holy  springs  and  wells.  Relics  still 
perform  wonderful  cures.  I  will  only  as  an  illustration 
to  this  statement  mention  one  of  the  standing  objects  of 
veneration  which  may  be  witnessed  any  day  in  the  vicinity 
of  the  castle  of  the  Seven  Towers,  outside  of  the  walls  of 
Constantinople  :  there  a  rich  monastery  stands  in  a  lovely 
grove  of  trees,  under  whose  shade  numerous  parties  of 
merry  Greeks  often  pass  the  day,  dividing  their  time  be- 
tween drinking,  dancing,  and  devotion. 

The  unfortunate  Emperor  Constantine  Paleologus  rode 
out  of  the  city  alone  to  reconnoitre  the  outposts  of  the 
Turkish  army,  which  was  encamped  in  the  immediate 
vicinity.  In  passing  through  a  wood  he  found  an  old  man 
seated  by  the  side  of  a  spring  cooking  some  fish  on  a 
gridiron  for  his  dinner  ;  the  emperor  dismounted  from 
his  white  horse  and  entered  into  conversation  with  the 
other  ;  the  old  man  looked  up  at  the  stranger  in  silence, 
when  the  emperor  inquired  whether  he  had  heard  any- 
thing of  the  movements  of  the  Turkish  forces.  "  Yes," 
said  he,  "  they  have  this  moment  entered  the  city  of  Con- 
stantinople." "  I  would  believe  what  you  say,"  replied 
the  emperor,  "  if  the  fish  which  you  are  broiling  would 
jump  off  the  gridiron  into  the  spring."  This,  to  his 
amazement,  the  fish  immediately  did,  and,  on  his  turning 
round,  the  figure  of  the  old  man  had  disappeared.  The 
emperor  mounted  his  horse  and  rode  towards  the  gate  of 
Silivria,  where  he  was  encountered  by  a  band  of  the 
enemy  and  slain,  after  a  brave  resistance,  by  the  hand  of 
an  Arab  or  a  Negro. 


The  broiled  fishes  still  swim  about  in  the  water  of  the 
spring,  the  sides  of  which  have  been  lined  with  white  marble, 
in  which  are  certain  recesses  or  boudoirs  where  they  can 
retire  when  they  do  not  wish  to  receive  company.  The 
only  way  of  turning  the  attention  of  these  holy  fish  to  the 
respectful  presence  of  their  adorers  is  accomplished  by 
throwing  something  glittering  into  the  water,  such  as  a 
handful  of  gold  or  silver  coin ;  gold  is  the  best,  copper 
produces  no  effect ;  he  that  sees  one  fish  is  lucky,  he  that 
sees  two  or  three  goes  home  a  happy  man  ;  but  the  custom 
of  throwing  coins  into  the  spring  has  become,  from  its 
constant  practice,  very  troublesome  to  the  good  monks, 
who  kindly  depute  one  of  their  community  to  rake  out 
the  money  six  or  seven  times  a  day  with  a  scraper  at  the 
end  of  a  long  pole.  The  Emperor  of  Russia  has  sent 
presents  to  the  shrine  of  Baloukli,  so  called  from  the 
Turkish  word  Balouk,  a  fish.  Some  wicked  heretics  have 
said  that  these  fishes  are  common  perch :  either  they  or 
the  monks  must  be  mistaken,  but  of  whatever  kind  they 
are,  they  are  looked  upon  with  reverence  by  the  Greeks, 
and  have  been  continually  held  in  the  highest  honour  from 
the  time  of  the  siege  of  Constantinople  to  the  present  day. 

I  have  hitherto  noticed  those  monasteries  only  which 
are  under  the  spiritual  jurisdiction  of  the  Patriarch  of 
Constantinople,  but  those  of  the  Copts  of  Egypt  and  the 
Maronites  of  Syria  resemble  them  in  almost  every  par- 
ticular. As  it  has  never  been  the  custom  of  the  Oriental 
Christians  to  bury  the  dead  within  the  precincts  of  the 
church,  they  none  of  them  contain  sepulchral  monuments. 
The  bodies  of  the  Byzantine  emperors  were  enclosed  in 
sarcophagi  of  precious  marbles,  which  were  usually  de- 
posited in  chapels  erected  for  the  purpose — a   custom 


which  has  been  imitated  by  the  sultans  of  Turkey.  Of 
all  these  magnificent  sarcophagi  and  chapels  or  mausoleums 
where  the  remains  of  the  imperial  families  were  deposited, 
only  one  remains  intact ;  every  one  but  this  has  been  vio- 
lated, destroyed,  or  carried  away  ;  the  ashes  of  the  Caesars 
have  been  scattered  to  the  winds.  The  chapel  of  St.  Na- 
zario  e  Celso,  at  Ravenna,  was  built  by  Galla  Placidia,  the 
daughter  of  Theodosius ;  she  died  at  Home  in  440,  but 
her  body  was  removed  to  Ravenna  and  deposited  in  a 
sarcophagus  in  this  chapel ;  in  the  same  place  are  two 
other  sarcophagi,  one  containing  the  remains  of  Constan- 
tius,  the  second  husband  of  Galla  Placidia,  and  the  other 
holding  the  body  of  her  son  Valentinian  III.  These 
tombs  have  never  been  disturbed,  and  are  the  only  ones 
which  remain  intact  of  the  entire  line  of  the  Caesars,  either 
of  the  Eastern  or  Western  empires. 

The  tombstones  or  monuments  of  the  Armenians  deserve 
to  be  mentioned  on  account  of  their  singularity.  They 
are  usually  oblong  pieces  of  marble  lying  flat  upon  the 
ground ;  on  these  are  sculptured  representations  of  the 
implements  of  the  trade  at  which  the  deceased  had  worked 
during  his  lifetime ;  some  display  the  manner  in  which 
the  Armenian  met  his  death.  In  the  Petit  Champ  des 
Morts  at  Pera  I  counted,  I  think,  five  tombstones  with 
bas-reliefs  of  men  whose  heads  had  been  cut  off.  In 
Armenia  the  traveller  is  often  startled  by  the  appearance 
of  a  gigantic  stone  figure  of  a  ram,  far  away  from  any 
present  habitation :  this  is  the  tomb  of  some  ancient  pos- 
sessor of  flocks  and  herds  whose  house  and  village  have 
disappeared,  and  nothing  but  his  tomb  remains  to  mark 
the  site  which  once  was  the  abode  of  men. 



The  Armenian  monasteries,  with  the  exception  of  that 
of  Etchmiazin  and  one  or  two  others,  are  much  smaller 
buildings  than  those  of  the  Greeks  ;  they  are  constructed 
after  the  same  model,  however,  being  surrounded  with  a 
high  blank  wall.     Their  churches  are  seldom  surmounted 
by  a  dome,  but  are  usually  in  the  form  of  a  small  barn, 
with  a  high  pitched  roof,  built  like  the  walls  of  large 
squared  stones.     At  one  end  of  the  church  is  a  small 
door,  and  at  the  other  end  a  semicircular  apsis  ;  the  win- 
dows are  small  apertures  like  loop-holes.     These  buildings, 
though  of  very  small  size,  have  an  imposing  appearance 
from  their  air  of  massive  strength.     The  cells  of  the  Ar- 
menian monks  look  into  the  courtyard,  which  is  a  remark- 
able fact  in  that  country,  where  the  rest  of  the  inhabitants 
dwell  in  burrows  underground  like  rabbits,  and   keep 
themselves  alive  during  the  long  winters  of  their  rigorous 
climate  by  the  warmth  proceeding  from  the  cattle  with 
whom  they  live,  for  fire  is  dear  in  a  land  too  cold  for  trees 
to  grow.     The  monasteries  of  the  various  sects  of  Chris- 
tians who  inhabit  the  mountains  of  Koordistaun  are  very 
numerous,  and  all  more  or  less  alike.     Perched  on  the 
tops  of  crags,  in  these  wild  regions  are  to  be  seen  the 
monastic  fastnesses  of  the  Chaldeans,  who  of  late  have 
been  known  by  the  name  of  Nestorians,  the  seat  of  whose 
patriarchate  is  at  Julamerk.     They  have  now  been  almost 
exterminated  by  Beder  Khan  Bey,  a  Koordish  chief,  in 
revenge  for  the  cattle  which  they  were  alleged  to  have 
stolen  from  the  Koordish  villages  in  their  vicinity.     The 
Jacobites,  the  Sabaeans,  and  the  Christians  of  St.  John, 
who  inhabit  the  banks  of  the  Euphrates  in  the  districts  of 
the  ancient  Susiana,  all  have  fortified  monasteries  which 



are  mostly  of  great  antiquity.  From  Mount  Ararat  to 
Bagdad,  the  different  sects  of  Christians  still  retain  the 
faith  of  the  Redeemer,  whom  they  have  worshipped  ac- 
cording to  their  various  forms,  some  of  them  for  more 
than  fifteen  hundred  years ;  the  plague,  the  famine,  and 
the  sword  have  passed  over  them  and  left  them  still  un- 
scathed, and  there  is  little  douht  but  that  they  will  maintain 
the  position  which  they  have  held  so  long  till  the  now  not 
far  distant  period  arrives  when  the  conquered  empire  of 
the  Greeks  will  again  be  brought  under  the  dominion  of 
a  Christian  emperor. 

(     Iv     ) 


PART   I. 
EGYPT    IN    1833. 


EGYPT  IN   1833. 


EGYPT    IN    1833. 


Navarino  —  The  "Wrecks  of  the  Turkish  and  Egyptian  Fleets  —  Alexan- 
dria —  An  Arab  Pilot  —  Intense  Heat  —  Scene  from  the  Hotel  Win- 
dows —  The  Water-Carriers  —  A  Procession  —  A  Bridal  Party  — 
Violent  mode  of  clearing  the  Road  —  Submissive  Behaviour  of  the 
People  —  Astonishing  Number  of  Donkeys  —  Bedouin  Arabs ;  their 
■wild  and  savage  appearance  —  Early  Hours  —  Visit  to  the  Pasha's 
Prime  Minister,  Boghos  Bey ;  hospitable  reception  —  Kawasses  and 
Chaoushes;  their  functions  and  powers —  The  Yassakjis  — The  Minis- 
ter's Audience  Chamber  —  Walmas ;  anecdote  of  his  saving  the  life  of 
Boghos  Bey. 

It  was  towards  the  end  of  July,  1833,  that  I  took  a  pas- 
sage from  Malta  to  Alexandria  in  a  merchant- vessel  called 
the  Fortuna ;  for  in  those  days  there  were  no  steam-packets 
traversing  every  sea,  with  almost  the  same  rapidity  and 
accuracy  as  railway  carriages  on  shore.  We  touched  on 
our  way  at  Navarino  to  sell  some  potatoes  to  the  splendidly- 
dressed  and  half-starved  population  of  the  Morea,  numhers 
of  whom  we  found  lounging  about  in  a  temporary  wooden 
bazaar,  where  there  was  nothing  to  sell.  In  various  parts 
of  the  harbour  the  wrecks  of  the  Turkish  and  Egyptian 
ships  of  war,  stripped  of  their  outer  coverings,  and  looking 
like  the  gigantic  skeletons  of  antediluvian  animals,  gave 
awful  evidence  of  the  destruction  which  had  taken  place 

b  2 


not  very  long  before  in  the  battle  between  the  Christian 
and  Mahomedan  fleets  in  this  calm,  land-locked  harbour. 

On  the  31st  we  found  ourselves  approaching  the  castle 
of  Alexandria,  and  were  soon  hailed  by  some  people  in  a 
curious-looking  pilot-boat  with  a  lateen  sail.  The  pilot 
was  an  old  man  with  a  turban  and  a  long  grey  beard,  and 
sat  cross-legged  in  the  stern  of  his  boat.  We  looked  at 
him  with  vast  interest,  as  the  first  live  specimen  we  had 
seen  of  an  Arab  sailor.  He  was  just  the  sort  of  man  that 
I  imagine  Sindbad  the  Sailor  must  have  been. 

Having  by  his  directions  been  steered  safely  into  the 
harbour,  we  cast  anchor  not  far  from  the  shore,  a  naked 
dusty  plain,  which  the  blazing  sun  seemed  to  dare  any 
one  to  cross,  on  pain  of  being  shrivelled  up  immediately. 
The  intensity  of  the  heat  was  tremendous :  the  pitch 
melted  in  the  seams  of  the  deck  :  we  could  scarcely  bear 
it  even  when  we  were  under  the  awning.  Malta  was  hot 
enough,  but  the  temperature  there  was  cool  in  compari- 
son to  the  fiery  furnace  in  which  we  were  at  present  grilling. 
However,  there  was  no  help  for  it ;  so,  having  got  our 
luggage  on  shore,  we  sweltered  through  the  streets  to  an 
inn  called  the  Tre  Anchore — the  only  hotel  in  Africa,  I 
believe,  in  those  days.  It  was  a  dismal  little  place,  fre- 
quented by  the  captains  of  merchant-vessels,  who,  not 
being  hot  enough  already,  raised  the  temperature  of  their 
blood  by  drinking  brandy-and-v.'ater,  arrack,  and  other 
combustibles,  in  a  dark,  oven-like  room  below  stairs. 

We  took  possession  of  all  the  rooms  upstairs,  of  which 
the  principal  one  was  long  and  narrow,  with  two  windows 
at  the  end,  opening  on  to  a  covered  balcony  or  verandah  : 
this  overlooked  the  principal  street  and  the  bazaar.   Here 


my  companion  and  I  soon  stationed  ourselves  and  watched 
the  novel  and  curious  scene  below  ;  and  strange  indeed 
to  the  eye  of  an  European,  when  for  the  first  time  he  enters 
an  Oriental  city,  is  all  he  sees  around  him.  The  pictur- 
esque dresses,  the  buildings,  the  palm-trees,  the  camels, 
the  people  of  various  nations,  with  their  long  beards,  their 
arms,  and  turbans,  all  unite  to  form  a  picture  which  is  in- 
delibly fixed  in  the  memory.  Things  which  have  since 
become  perfectly  familiar  to  us  were  then  utterly  incom- 
prehensible, and  we  had  no  one  to  explain  them  to  us,  for 
the  one  waiter  of  the  poor  inn,  who  was  darting  about  in 
his  shirt-sleeves  after  the  manner  of  all  waiters,  never 
extended  his  answers  to  our  questions  beyond  "Si,  Signore," 
so  we  got  but  little  information  from  him ;  however,  we 
did  not  make  use  of  our  eyes  the  less  for  that. 

Among  the  first  things  we  noticed,  was  the  number  of 
half-naked  men  who  went  running  about,  each  with  some- 
thing like  a  dead  pig  under  his  arm,  shouting  out  "  Mo- 
ther !  mother !"  *  with  a  doleful  voice.  These  were  the 
sakis  or  water-carriers,  with  their  goat-skins  of  the  precious 
element,  a  bright  brass  cupful  of  which  they  sell  for  a 
small  coin  to  the  thirsty  passengers.  An  old  man  with  a 
fan  in  his  hand  made  of  a  palm  branch,  who  was  crumpled 
up  in  the  corner  of  a  sort  of  booth  among  a  heap  of  dried 
figs,  raisins,  and  dates,  just  opposite  our  window,  was  an 
object  of  much  speculation  to  us  how  he  got  in,  and  how 
he  would  ever  manage  to  get  out  of  the  niche  into  which 
he  was  so  closely  wedged.  He  was  the  merchant,  as  the 
Arabian  Nights  would  call  him,  or  the  shopkeeper  as  we 
should  say,  who  sat  there  cross  legged  among  his  wares 

*  Moyah — li  water." 


waiting  patiently  for  a  customer,  and  keeping  off  the  flies 
in  the  meanwhile,  as  in  due  time  we  discovered  that  all 
merchants  did  in  all  countries  of  the  East.  Soon  there 
came  slowly  by,  a  long  procession  of  men  on  horseback 
with  golden  bridles  and  velvet  trappings,  and  women 
muffled  up  in  black  silk  wrappers ;  how  they  could  bear 
them,  hot  as  it  was,  astonished  us.  These  ladies  sat  upon 
a  pile  of  cushions  placed  so  high  above  the  backs  of  the 
donkeys  on  which  they  rode  that  their  feet  rested  on  the 
animal's  shoulders.  Each  donkey  was  led  by  one  man, 
while  another  walked  by  its  side  with  his  hand  upon  the 
crupper.  With  the  ladies  were  two  little  boys  covered 
with  diamonds,  mounted  on  huge  fat  horses,  and  ensconced 
in  high-backed  Mameluke  saddles  made  of  silver  gilt. 
These  boys  we  afterwards  found  out  were  being  conducted 
in  state  to  a  house  of  their  relations,  where  the  rite  of 
circumcision  was  to  be  performed.  Our  attention  was 
next  called  to  something  like  a  four-post  bed,  with  pink 
gauze  curtains,  which  advanced  with  dignified  slowness, 
preceded  by  a  band  of  musicians,  who  raised  a  dire  and  fear- 
ful discord  by  the  aid  of  various  windy  engines.  This  was 
a  canopy,  the  four  poles  of  which  were  supported  by  men, 
who  held  it  over  the  heads  of  a  bride  and  her  two  brides- 
maids or  friends,  who  walked  on  each  side  of  her.  The 
bride  was  not  veiled  in  the  usual  way,  as  her  friends  were, 
but  was  muffled  up  in  Cashmere  shawls  from  head  to  foot. 
Something  there  was  on  the  top  of  her  head  which  gleamed 
like  gold  or  jewels,  but  the  rest  of  her  person  was  so 
effectually  wrrapped  up  and  concealed  that  no  one  could 
tell  whether  she  was  pretty  or  ugly,  fat  or  thin,  old  or 
young  ;  and  although  we  gave  her  credit  for  all  the  charms 

t'RORBSS    WAITING     I'd    BR    SOLD    IN    THE    SI.VVK    BAZAAR,    C'AIIK 

Chap.  I.    BLACK  SLAVES — LARGE  NUMBER  OF  DONKEYS.        7 

which  should  adorn  a  bride,  we  rejoiced  when  the  villainous 
band  of  music  which  accompanied  her  turned  round  a 
corner  and  went  out  of  hearing. 

Some  miserable-looking  black  slaves  caught  our  atten- 
tion, clothed  each  in  a  piece  of  Isabel-coloured  canvas 
and  led  by  a  well-dressed  man,  who  had  probably  just- 
bought  them.  Then  a  great  personage  came  by  on 
horseback  with  a  number  of  mounted  attendants  and 
some  men  on  foot,  who  cleared  the  way  before  him,  and 
struck  everybody  on  the  head  with  their  sticks  who  did 
not  get  out  of  the  way  fast  enough.  These  blows  were 
dealt  all  round  in  the  most  unceremonious  manner ;  but 
what  appeared  to  us  extraordinary  was,  that  all  these 
beaten  people  did  not  seem  to  care  for  being  beat.  They 
looked  neither  angry  nor  affronted,  but  only  grinned  and 
rubbed  their  shoulders,  and  moved  on  one  side  to  let  the 
train  of  the  great  man  pass  by.  Now  if  this  were  done 
in  London,  what  a  ferment  would  it  create  !  what  speeches 
would  be  made  about  tyranny  and  oppression  !  what  a 
capital  thing  some  high-minded  and  independent  patriot 
would  make  of  it !  how  he  would  call  a  meeting  to 
defend  the  rights  of  the  subject !  and  how  he  would  get 
his  admirers  to  vote  him  a  piece  of  plate  for  his  noble 
and  glorious  exertions  !  Here  nobody  minded  the  thing  : 
they  took  no  heed  of  the  indignity  ;  and  I  verily  believe 
my  friend  and  I,  who  were  safe  up  at  the  window,  were 
the  only  persons  in  the  place  who  felt  any  annoyance. 

The  prodigious  multitude  of  donkeys  formed  another 
strange  feature  in  the  scene.  There  were  hundreds  of 
them,  carrying  all  sorts  of  things  in  panniers  ;  and  some 
of  the  smallest  were  ridden  by  men  so  tall  that  they  were 


obliged  to  hold  up  their  legs  that  their  feet  might  not 
touch  the  ground.  Donkeys,  in  short,  are  the  carts  of 
Egypt  and  the  hackney-coaches  of  Alexandria. 

In  addition  to  the  donkeys  long  strings  of  ungainly- 
looking  camels  were  continually  passing,  generally  pre- 
ceded by  a  donkey,  and  accompanied  by  swarthy  men  clad 
in  a  short  shirt,  with  a  red  and  yellow  handkerchief  tied 
in  a  peculiar  way  over  their  heads,  and  wearing  sandals  ; 
these  savage-looking  people  were  Bedouins,  or  Arabs  of 
the  desert.  A  very  truculent  set  they  seemed  to  be, 
and  all  of  them  were  armed  with  a  long  crooked  knife 
and  a  pistol  or  two,  stuck  in  a  red  leathern  girdle.  They 
were  thin,  gaunt,  and  dirty,  and  strode  along  looking 
fierce  and  independent.  There  was  something  very  strik- 
ing in  the  appearance  of  these  untamed  Arabs  :  I  had 
never  pictured  to  myself  that  anything  so  like  a  wild  beast 
could  exist  in  human  form.  The  motions  of  their  half- 
naked  bodies  were  singularly  free  and  light,  and  they 
looked  as  if  they  could  climb,  and  run,  and  leap  over 
anything.  The  appearance  of  many  of  the  older  Arabs, 
with  their  long  white  beard  and  their  ample  cloak  of 
camel's  hair,  called  an  abba,  is  majestic  and  venerable.  It 
was  the  first  time  that  I  had  seen  these  "  Children  of  the 
Desert,"  and  the  quickness  of  their  eyes,  their  apparent 
freedom  from  all  restraint,  and  their  disregard  of  any  con- 
ventional manners,  struck  me  forcibly.  An  English 
gentleman  in  a  round  hat  and  a  tight  neckhandkerchief 
and  boots,  with  white  gloves  and  a  little  cane  in  his  hand, 
was  a  style  of  man  so  utterly  and  entirely  unlike  a  Bedouin 
Arab  that  I  could  hardly  conceive  the  possibility  of  their 
being  only  different  species  of  the  same  animal. 



After  we  had  dined,  being  tired  with  the  heat  and  the 
trouble  we  had  had  in  getting  our  luggage  out  of  the 
ship,  I  resolved  to  retire  to  bed  at  an  early  hour,  and  on 
going  to  the  window  to  have  another  look  at  the  crowd,  I 
was  surprised  to  find  that  there  was  scarcely  anybody  left 
in  the  streets,  for  these  primitive  people  all  go  to  bed 
when  it  gets  dark,  as  the  birds  do ;  and  except  a  few 
persons  walking  home  with  paper  lanterns  in  their  hands, 
the  place  seemed  almost  entirely  deserted. 

The  next  morning,  mounted  on  donkeys,  we  shambled 
across  half  the  city  to  the  residence  of  Boghos  Bey,  the 
Armenian  prime  minister  of  Mohammed  Ali  Pasha  ;  we 
were  received  with  great  kindness  and  civility,  and  as  at 
this  time  there  had  been  but  very  few  European  travellers 
in  Egypt,  we  were  treated  with  distinguished  hospitality. 
The  Bey  said  that  although  the  Pasha  was  then  in  Upper 
Egypt,  he  would  take  care  that  we  should  have  every 
facility  in  seeing  all  the  objects  of  interest,  and  that  he 
would  write  to  Habeeb  Effendi,  the  Governor  of  Cairo, 
to  acquaint  him  of  our  arrival,  and  direct  him  to  let  us 
have  the  use  of  the  Pasha's  horses,  that  kawasses  should 
attend  us,  and  that  the  Pasha  would  give  us  a  firman, 
which  would  ensure  our  being  well  treated  throughout 
the  whole  of  his  dominions. 

As  a  kawass  is  a  person  mentioned  by  all  Oriental 
travellers,  it  may  be  as  well  to  state  that  he  is  a  sort  of 
armed  servant  or  body-guard  belonging  to  the  govern- 
ment ;  he  bears  as  his  badge  of  office  a  thick  cane  about 
four  feet  long,  with  a  large  silver  head,  with  which  in- 
strument he  occasionally  enforces  his  commands  and 
supports  his  authority  as  well  as  his  person.    Ambassadors, 

b  3 


consuls,  and  occasionally  travellers,  are  attended  by 
kawasses.  Their  presence  shows  that  the  person  they 
accompany  is  protected  by  the  State,  and  their  number 
indicates  his  dignity  and  rank.  Formerly  these  kawasses 
were  splendidly  attired  in  embroidered  dresses,  and  their 
arms  and  the  accoutrements  of  their  horses  were  of 
silver  gilt :  the  ambassador  at  Constantinople  has,  I  think, 
six  of  these  attendants.  Of  late  years  their  picturesque 
costume  has  been  changed  to  a  uniform  frock-coat  of 
European  make,  of  a  whity-brown  colour. 

There  is  a  higher  grade  of  officer  of  the  same  descrip- 
tion, who  is  only  to  be  met  with  at 
Court,  and  whose  functions  are  nearly 
the  same  as  those  of  a  chamberlain  with 
us.  He  is  called  a  chaoush.  His 
official  staff  is  surmounted  by  a  silver 
head,  formed  like  a  Greek  bishop's 
staff,  from  the  two  horns  of  which  seve- 
ral little  round  bells  are  suspended  by  a  silver  chain. 
The  chaoush  is  a  personage  of  great  authority  in  certain 
things ;  he  is  a  kind  of  living  firman,  before  whom  every 
one  makes  way.  As  I  was  desirous  of  seeing  the  shrine 
of  the  heads  of  Hassan  and  Hussein  in  the  mosque  of 
Hassan  En,  a  place  of  peculiar  sanctity  at  Cairo,  into 
which  no  Christian  had  been  admitted,  the  Pasha  sent 
a  chaoush  with  me,  who  concealed  the  head  of  his  staff  in 
his  clothes,  to  be  ready,  in  case  it  had  been  discovered 
that  I  was  not  a  Mahomedan,  to  protect  me  from  the  fury  of 
the  devotees,  who  would  probably  have  torn  to  pieces  any 
unbeliever  who  intruded  into  the  temple  of  the  sons  of  Ali. 
Besides  these  two  officers,    the  chaoush  and  kawass, 

Chap.  I.  BOGHOS  BEY — WALMAS.  11 

there  is  another  attendant  upon  public  men,  who  is  of 
inferior  rank,  and  is  called  a  yassakji,  or  forbidder ;  he 
looks  like  a  dirty  kawass,  and  has  a  stick,  but  without  the 
silver  knob.  He  is  generally  employed  to  carry  mes- 
sages, and  push  people  out  of  the  way,  to  make  a  passage 
for  you  through  a  crowd  ;  but  this  kind  of  functionary  is 
more  frequently  seen  at  Constantinople  and  the  northern 
parts  of  Turkey  than  in  Egypt. 

We  found  Boghos  Bey  in  a  large  upper  room,  seated 
on  a  divan  with  two  or  three  persons  to  whom  he  was 
speaking,  while  the  lower  end  of  the  room  was  occupied 
by  a  crowd  of  chaoushes,  kawasses,  and  hangers-on  of  all 
descriptions.  We  were  served  with  coffee,  pipes,  and 
sherbet,  and  were  entertained  during  the  pauses  of  the 
conversation  by  the  ticking  and  chiming  of  half  a  dozen 
clocks  which  stood  about  the  room,  some  on  the  floor, 
some  on  the  side-tables,  and  some  stuck  on  brackets 
against  the  wall. 

One  of  the  persons  seated  near  the  prime  minister  was 
a  shrewd-looking  man  with  one  eye,  of  whom  I  was  after- 
wards told  the  following  anecdote.  His  name  was  Wal- 
mas ;  he  had  been  an  Armenian  merchant,  and  was  an 
old  acquaintance  of  Mohammed  Ali  and  of  Boghos,  before 
they  had  either  of  them  risen  to  their  present  importance. 
Soon  after  the  massacre  of  the  Mamelukes,  Mohammed 
Ali  desired  Boghos  to  procure  him  a  large  sum  of  money 
by  a  certain  day,  which  Boghos  declared  was  impossible 
at  so  short  a  notice.  The  Pasha,  angry  at  being  thwarted, 
swore  that  if  he  had  not  the  money  by  the  day  he  had 
named,  he  would  have  Boghos  drowned  in  the  Nile.  The 
affrighted  minister  made  every  effort  to  collect  the  re- 

12  ANECDOTE  OF  BOGHOS  BEY.  Chap.  I. 

quisitc  sum,  but  when  the  day  arrived  much  was  wanting 
to  complete  it.     Boghos  stood  before  the  Pasha,  who  im- 
mediately exclaimed,    "Well!  where   is  the  money?" 
"  Sir,"  replied  Boghos,  "  I  have  not  been  able  to  get  it 
all  !    I  have  procured  all  this,  but,  though  I  strained 
every  nerve,  and  took  every  measure  in  my  power,  it  was 
impossible  to  obtain  the  remainder."    "  What,"  exclaimed 
the  Pasha,  "  you  dog,  have  you  not  obeyed  my  com- 
mands ?     What  is  the  use  of  a  minister  who  cannot  pro- 
duce all  the  money  wanted  by  his  sovereign,  at  however 
short  a  notice  ?     Here,  put  this  unbeliever  in  a  sack,  and 
fling  him  into  the  Nile."     This  scene  occurred  in  the 
citadel  at  Cairo  ;  and  an  officer  and  some  men  immedi- 
ately put  him  into  a  sack,  threw  it  across  a  donkey,  and 
proceeded  to  the  Nile.     As  they  were  passing  through 
the  city,  they  were  met  by  Walmas,  who  was  attended  by 
several  servants,  and  who,  seeing  something  moving  in  the 
sack  which  was  laid  across  the  donkey,  asked  the  guards 
what  they  had 'got  there.     "Oh!"  said  the  officer,  "we 
have  got  Boghos,  the  Armenian,  and  we  are  going  to 
throw  him  into  the  Nile,  by  his  Highness  the  Pasha's 
order."     "  What  has  he  done  ?"  asked  Walmas.     "  What 
do  we  know  ?"   replied  the  officer ;    "  something  about 
money,  I  believe  :  no  great  thing,  but  his  Highness  has 
been  in  a  bad  humour  lately.     He  will  be  sorry  for  it 
afterwards.     However^  we  have  our  orders,  and,  therefore, 
please  God,  we  are  going  to  pitch  him  into  the  Nile." 
Walmas  determined  to  rescue  his  old  friend,  and,  assisted 
by  his   servants,  immediately  attacked  the   guard,  who 
made  little  more  than  a  show  of  resistance.     Boghos  was 
carried  off,  and  concealed  in  a  safe  place,  and  the  guards 


returned  to  the  citadel  and  reported  that  they  had  pitched 
Boghos  into  the  Nile,  where  he  had  sunk,  as  all  should 
do  who  disobeyed  the  commands  of  his  Highness.  Some 
time  afterwards,  the  Pasha,  overcome  by  financial  diffi- 
culties, was  heard  to  say  that  he  wished  Boghos  was  still 
alive.  Wahnas,  who  was  present,  after  some  preliminary 
conversation  (for  the  ground  was  rather  dangerous),  said 
that  if  his  own  pardon  was  insured,  he  could  mention 
something  respecting  Boghos  which  he  was  sure  would  be 
agreeable  to  his  Highness :  and  at  last  he  owned  that  he 
had  rescued  him  from  the  guards  and  had  kept  him  con- 
cealed in  his  house  in  hopes  of  being  allowed  to  restore 
so  valuable  a  servant  to  his  master.  The  Pasha  was 
delighted  at  the  news,  instantly  reinstated  Boghos  in  all 
his  former  honours,  and  Walmas  himself  stood  higher 
than  ever  in  his  favour ;  but  the  guards  were  executed 
for  disobedience.  Ever  since  that  time  Boghos  Bey  has 
continued  to  be  the  principal  minister  and  most  confidential 
adviser  of  Mohammed  Ali  Pasha. 



Rapacity  of  the  Dragomans  —  The  Mahmoudieh  Canal  —  The  Nile  at 
Atfeh  —  The  muddy  Waters  of  the  Nile  —  Richness  of  the  Soil - 
Accident  to  the  Boatmen  —  Night  Sailing  —  A  Collision—  A  Vessel 
run  down — Escape  of  the  Crew  —  Solemn  Investigation  —  Final 
Judgment  —  Curious  Mode  of  Fishing  —  Tameness  of  the  Birds  — 
Jewish  Malefactors  —  Moving  Pillar  of  Sand  —  Arrival  at  Cairo  — ■ 
Hospitable  Reception  by  the  Consul-General. 

So  long  as  there  were  no  hotels  in  Egypt,  the  process  of 
fleecing  the  unwary  traveller  was  conducted  on  different 
principles  from  those  followed  in  Europe.  As  he  seldom 
understands  the  language,  he  requires  an  interpreter,  or 
dragoman,  who,  as  a  matter  of  course,  manages  all  his 
pecuniary  affairs.  The  newly-arrived  European  eats  and 
drinks  whatever  his  dragoman  chooses  to  give  him  ;  sees 
through  his  dragoman's  eyes ;  hears  through  his  ears  ; 
and,  although  he  thinks  himself  master,  is,  in  fact,  only  a 
part  of  the  property  of  this  Eastern  servant,  to  be  used  by 
him  as  he  thinks  fit,  and  turned  to  the  best  account  like 
any  other  real  or  personal  estate. 

On  our  landing  at  Alexandria,  my  friend  and  I  found 
ourselves  in  the  same  predicament  as  our  predecessors, 
and  straightway  fell  into  the  hands  of  these  Philistines, 
two  of  whom  we  hired  as  interpreters.  They  were  also 
to  act  as  ciceroni,  and  were  warranted  to  know  all  about 
the  antiquities,  and  everything  else  in  Egypt ;  they  were 
to  buy  everything  we  wanted,  to  spend  our  money,  and  to 
allow  no  one  to  cheat  us  except  themselves.  One  of  these 
worthies  was  sent  to  engage  a  boat,  to  carry  us  down  the 

Chap.  II.  THE  NILE  AT  ATFEH.  15 

Mahmoudieh  Canal  to  Atfeh,  where  the  canal  is  separated 
from  the  river  by  flood-gates,  in  consequence  of  which 
impediment  we  could  not  proceed  in  the  same  boat,  but 
had  to  hire  a  larger  one  to  take  us  on  to  Cairo. 

The  banks  of  the  canal  being  high,  we  had  no  view  of 
the  country  as  we  passed  along ;  but  on  various  occasions 
when  I  ascended  to  the  top  of  the  bank,  while  the  men 
who  towed  the  boat  rested  from  their  labours,  I  saw 
nothing  but  great  sandy  flats  interspersed  with  large  pools 
of  stagnant  muddy  water.  This  prospect  not  being  very 
charming,  we  were  glad  to  arrive  the  next  day  on  the 
shores  of  the  Father  of  Rivers,  whose  swollen  stream, 
although  at  Atfeh  not  more  than  half  a  mile  in  width, 
rolled  by  towards  the  north  in  eddies  and  whirlpools  of 
smooth  muddy  water,  in  colour  closely  resembling  a  sea 
of  mutton -broth. 

In  my  enthusiasm  on  arriving  on  the  margin  of  this 
venerable  river,  I  knelt  down  to  drink  some  of  it,  and 
was  disappointed  in  finding  it  by  no  means  so  good  as  I 
had  always  been  told  it  was.  On  complaining  of  its  muddy 
taste,  I  found  that  no  one  drank  the  water  of  the  Nile  till 
it  had  stood  a  day  or  two  in  a  large  earthen  jar,  the  in- 
side of  which  is  rubbed  with  a  paste  of  bitter  almonds. 
This  causes  all  impurities  to  be  precipitated,  and  the 
water,  thus  treated,  becomes  the  lightest,  clearest,  and 
most  excellent  in  the  world.  At  Atfeh,  after  a  prodigi- 
ous uproar  between  the  men  of  our  two  boats,  each  set 
claiming  to  be  paid  for  transporting  the  luggage,  we  set 
sail  upon  the  Nile,  and  after  proceeding  a  short  distance, 
we  stopped  at  a  village,  or  small  town,  to  buy  some  fruit. 
Here  the   surrounding  country,  a  flat  alluvial  plain,  was 

16  NIGHT  SAILING  ON  THE  NILE.  Chap.  If. 

richly  cultivated.  Water-melons,  corn,  and  all  manner  of 
green  herbs  flourished  luxuriantly  ;  everything  looked 
delightfully  fresh  and  green  ;  flocks  of  pigeons  were  flying 
about ;  and  multitudes  of  white  spoonbills  and  other 
strange  birds  were  stalking  among  the  herbage,  and  rising 
around  us  in  every  direction.  The  fertility  of  the  land 
appeared  to  be  extraordinary,  and  exceeded  anything  I  had 
seen  before.  Numberless  boats  were  passing  on  the  river, 
and  the  general  aspect  of  the  scene  betokened  the  wealth 
and  plenty  which  would  reward  the  toils  of  the  agriculturist 
under  any  settled  form  of  government.  We  returned  to 
our  boat  loaded  with  fruit,  among  which  were  the  Egypt- 
ian fig,  the  prickly  pear,  dates,  limes,  and  melons  of  kinds 
that  were  new  to  us. 

Whilst  we  were  discussing  the  merits  of  these  refresh- 
ing productions,  a  board,  which  had  been  fastened  on  the 
outside  of  the  vessel  for  four  or  five  men  to  stand  on,  as 
they  pushed  the  boat  with  poles  through  the  shallow  water, 
suddenly  gave  way,  and  the  men  fell  into  the  river :  they 
could,  however,  all  swim  like  water-rats,  and  were  soon  on 
board  again  ;  when,  putting  out  into  the  middle  of  the 
stream,  we  set  two  huge  triangular  lateen  sails  on  our 
low  masts,  which  raked  forwards  instead  of  backwards, 
and  by  the  help  of  the  wind  made  our  way  slowly  towards 
the  south.  We  slept  in  a  small  cabin  in  the  stern  of  our 
vessel;  this  had  a  flat  top,  and  formed  the  resting-place 
of  the  steersman,  the  captain  of  the  ship,  and  our  servants, 
who  all  lay  down  together  on  some  carpets ;  the  sailors 
slept  upon  the  deck.  We  sailed  on  steadily  all  night ; 
the  stars  were  wonderfully  bright ;  and  I  looked  out  upon 
the  broad  river  and  the  flat  silent  shores,  diversified  here 

Chap.  II.  VESSEL  RUN  DOWN.  17 

and  there  by  a  black-looking  village  of  mud  huts,  sur- 
rounded by  a  grove  of  palms,  whence  the  distant  baying 
of  the  dogs  was  brought  down  upon  the  wind.  Sometimes 
there  was  the  cry  of  a  wild  bird,  but  soon  again  the  only 
sound  was  the  gentle  ripple  of  the  water  against  the  sides 
of  our  boat.  If  the  steersman  was  not  asleep,  every  one 
else  was ;  but  still  we  glided  on,  and  nothing  occurred 
to  disturb  our  repose,  till  the  blazing  light  of  the  morning 
sun  recalled  us  to  activity,  and  all  the  bustling  prepara- 
tions for  breakfast. 

We  had  sailed  on  for  some  time  after  this  important 
event,  and  I  was  quietly  reading  in  the  shade  of  the  cabin, 
when  I  was  thrown  backwards  by  the  sudden  stopping  of 
the  vessel,  which  struck  against  something  with  great 
force,  and  screams  of  distress  arose  from  the  water  all 
around  us.  On  rushing  upon  deck  I  found  that  we  had 
run  down  another  boat,  which  had  sunk  so  instantly  that 
nothing  was  to  be  seen  of  it  except  the  top  of  the  mast, 
whose  red  flag  was  fluttering  just  above  water,  and  to  which 
two  women  were  clinging.  A  few  yards  astern  seven  or 
eight  men  were  swimming  towards  the  shore,  and  our 
steersman  having  in  his  alarm  left  the  rudder  to  its  own 
devices,  our  great  sails  were  swinging  and  flapping  over 
our  heads.  There  was  a  cry  that  our  bows  were  stove  in, 
and  we  were  sinking ;  but,  fortunately,  before  this  could 
happen,  the  stream  had  carried  us  ashore,  where  we  stuck 
in  the  mud  on  a  shoal  under  a  high  bank,  up  which  we  all 
soon  scrambled,  glad  to  be  on  terra  firma.  The  country 
people  came  running  down  to  satisfy  their  curiosity,  and 
we  procured  a  small  boat,  which  immediately  rowed  off  to 
rescue  the  women  who  were  still  clinging  to  the  mast- 

18  VESSEL  RUN  DOWN'.  Chap.  II. 

head  of  the  sunken  vessel,  which  was  one  of  the  kind  called 
a  djerm,  and  was  laden  with  thirty  tons  of  corn,  besides 
other  goods.  No  one,  luckily,  was  drowned,  though  the 
loss  was  a  serious  one  to  the  owners,  for  there  was  no 
chance  of  recovering  either  the  vessel  or  the  cargo. 
Whilst  we  were  looking,  the  red  flag  to  which  the  women 
had  been  clinging  toppled  over  sideways,  which  completed 
the  entire  disappearance  of  the  unfortunate  djerm. 

Our  reis,  or  captain,  now  returned  to  the  roof  of  the 
cabin,  where  he  sat  down  upon  a  mat,  and  lighting  his 
pipe,  smoked  away  steadily  without  saying  a  word,  while 
the  wet  and  dripping  sailors,  as  well  as  the  ladies  belong- 
ing to  the  shipwrecked  vessel,  surrounded  him,  screaming, 
vociferating,  and  shouting  all  manner  of  invectives  into 
his  ears  ;  in  which  employment  they  were  effectively  joined 
by  a  number  of  half-naked  Arabs  who  had  been  cultivat- 
ing the  fields  hard  by.  To  all  this  they  got  no  answer, 
beyond  an  occasional  ejaculation  of  "  God  is  great,  and 
Mohammed  is  the  prophet  of  God."  His  pipe  was  out 
before  the  clamour  of  the  crowd  had  abated,  and  then,  all 
of  a  sudden,  he  got  up  and  with  two  or  three  others  em- 
barked in  the  little  boat  for  a  neighbouring  village,  to  re- 
port the  accident  to  the  sheikh,  who,  we  were  told,  would 
return  with  him  and  inquire  into  the  circumstances  of  the 

In  about  three  hours  the  boat  returned  with  the  local 
authorities,  two  old  villagers,  in  long  blue  shirts  and  dirty 
turbans,  who  took  their  seat  upon  a  mat  on  the  bank  and 
smoked  away  in  a  serious  manner  for  some  time.  Our 
captain  made  no  more  reply  to  the  fresh  accusations  of  the 
reassembled  multitude  than  he  had  done  before ;  but  lit 


another  pipe  and  asserted  that  God  was  great.  At  last 
the  two  elders  made  signs  that  they  intended  to  speak  ; 
and  silence  being  obtained,  they,  with  all  due  solemnity, 
declared  that  they  agreed  with  the  captain  that  God 
was  great,  and  that  undoubtedly  Mohammed  was  the 
prophet  of  God.  All  parties  having  come  to  this  conclu- 
sion, it  appeared  that  there  was  nothing  more  to  be  said, 
and  we  returned  to  our  boat,  which  the  sailors,  with  the 
help  of  a  rough  carpenter,  had  patched  up  sufficiently  to 
allow  us  to  sail  for  a  village  on  the  other  side  of  the  river. 

During  the  time  that  we  were  remaining  on  the  bank  I 
was  amused  by  watching  the  manoeuvres  of  some  boys, 
who  succeeded  in  catching  a  quantity  of  small  fish  in  a 
very  original  way.  They  rolled  together  a  great  quantity 
of  tangled  weeds  and  long  grass,  with  one  end  of  which 
they  swam  out  into  the  Nile,  and  bringing  it  back  towards 
the  shore,  numerous  unsuspecting  fish  were  entangled  in 
the  mass  of  weeds,  and  were  picked  out  and  thrown  on  the 
bank  by  the  young  fishermen  before  they  had  time  to  get 
out  of  the  scrape.  In  this  way  the  boys  secured  a  very 
respectable  heap  of  small  fry. 

We  arrived  safely  at  the  village,  where  we  stayed  the 
night ;  but  the  next  morning  it  appeared  that  the  bows  of 
our  vessel  were  so  much  damaged  that  she  could  not  be 
repaired  under  a  delay  of  some  days.  Indeed,  it  appeared 
that  we  had  been  fortunate  in  accomplishing  our  passage 
across  the  river,  for  if  we  had  foundered  midway,  not 
being  able  to  swim  like  the  amphibious  Egyptians,  we 
should  probably  have  been  drowrned.  It  was,  however,  a 
relief  to  me  to  think  that  there  were  no  crocodiles  in  this 
part  of  the  Nile. 


The  birds  at  this  place  appeared  to  be  remarkably 
tame :  some  gulls,  or  waterfowl,  hardly  troubled  themselves 
to  move  out  of  the  way  when  a  boat  passed  them  ;  while 
those  in  the  fields  went  on  searching  among  the  crops  for 
insects  close  to  the  labourers,  and  without  any  of  the  alarm 
shown  by  birds  in  England. 

While  we  were  dawdling  about  in  the  neighbourhood 
of  the  village,  one  of  the  servants,  an  old  Maltese,  disco- 
vered a  boat  with  ten  or  twelve  oars,  lying  in  the  vicinity. 
It  belonged  to  the  government,  and  was  conveying  two 
malefactors  to  Cairo  under  the  guardianship  of  a  kawass, 
who  on  learning  our  mishap  gave  us  a  passage  in  his  boat, 
and  to  our  great  joy  we  bid  adieu  to  our  silent  captain, 
and  were  soon  rowing  at  a  great  rate,  in  a  fine  new  canjah, 
on  the  way  to  Cairo.  The  two  prisoners  on  board  were 
Jews :  one  was  taken  up  for  cheating,  and  the  other  for 
using  false  weights.  They  were  fastened  together  by  the 
neck,  with  a  chain  about  five  feet  long.  One  of  the  two 
was  very  restless  ;  they  said  he  had  a  good  chance  of  being 
hanged  ;  and  he  was  always  pulling  the  other  unfortunate 
Hebrew  about  with  him  by  the  chain,  in  a  manner  which 
excited  the  mirth  of  the  sailors,  though  it  must  have  been 
anything  but  amusing  to  the  person  most  concerned. 

The  next  day  there  was  a  hot  wind,  and  the  thermometer 
stood  at  98"  in  the  shade.  The  kawass  called  our  attention 
to  a  pillar  of  sand  moving  through  the  air  in  the  desert 
to  the  south-east ;  it  had  an  extraordinary  appearance, 
and  its  effect  upon  a  party  travelling  over  those  burning 
plains  would  have  been  terrific.  It  was  evidently  caused 
by  a  whirlwind,  and  men  and  camels  are  sometimes  suf- 
focated and  overwhelmed  when  they  are  met  by  these 


columns  of  dry,  heated  sand,  which  stalk  through  the 
deserts  like  the  evil  genii  of  the  storm.  I  have  seen  them 
in  other  countries,  more  particularly  in  Armenia  ;  but  this, 
which  I  saw  on  my  first  journey  up  the  Nile,  was  the 
only  moving  pillar  which  I  met  with  in  Egypt  or  in  any  of 
the  surrounding  deserts.  We  passed  two  men  fishing 
from  a  small  triangular  raft,  composed  of  palm-branches 
fastened  on  the  tops  of  a  number  of  earthen  vases.  This 
raft  had  a  remarkably  light  appearance  ;  it  seemed  only 
just  to  touch  the  surface  of  the  water,  but  was  evidently 
badly  calculated  for  such  rude  encounters  as  the  one 
which  we  had  lately  experienced.  Soon  afterwards  the 
tops  of  the  great  Pyramids  of  Giseh  caught  our  admiring 
gaze,  and  in  the  morning  of  the  12th  of  August  we  landed 
at  Boulac,  from  which  a  ride  of  half  an  hour  on  donkeys 
brought  our  party  to  the  hospitable  mansion  of  the  Consul- 
General,  who  was  good  enough  to  receive  us  in  his  house 
until  we  could  procure  quarters  for  ourselves. 

Having  arrived  at  Cairo,  a  short  account  of  the  history 
of  the  city  may  be  interesting  to  some  readers.  In  the 
sixth  and  seventh  centuries  of  our  era  this  part  of  Egypt 
was  inhabited  principally  by  Coptic  Christians,  whose  chief 
occupation  consisted  in  quarrelling  among  themselves  on 
polemical  points  of  divinity  and  ascetic  rule.  The  deserts 
of  Nitria  and  the  shores  of  the  Red  Sea  were  peopled  with 
swarms  of  monks,  some  living  together  in  monasteries, 
some  in  lavras,  or  monastic  villages,  and  multitudes  hiding 
their  sanctity  in  dens  and  caves,  where  they  passed  their 
lives  in  abstract  meditation.  In  the  year  638  the  Arabian 
general  Amer  ebn  el  As,  with  four  hundred  Arabs  (see 
Wilkinson),  advanced  to  the  confines  of  Egypt,  and  after 

22  HISTORY  OF  CAIRO.  Chap.  II. 

thirty  days'  siege  took  possession  of  Pelusium.  which  had 
been  the  harrier  of  the  country  on  the  Syrian  side  from 
the  earliest  periods  of  the  Egyptian  monarchy:  he  advanced 
without  opposition  to  the  city  of  Babylon,  which  occupied 
the  site  of  Masr  el  Ateekeh,  or  Old  Cairo,  on  the  Nile ; 
but  the  Roman  station,  which  is  now  a  Coptic  monastery, 
containing  a  chamber  said  to  have  been  occupied  by  the 
Blessed  Virgin,  was  so  strong  a  fortress  that  the  invaders 
were  unable  to  effect  an  entrance  in  a  siege  of  seven 
months.  After  this,  a  reinforcement  of  four  hundred 
men  arriving  at  their  camp,  their  courage  revived,  and 
the  castle  of  Babylon  was  taken  by  escalade.  On  the  site 
of  the  Arabian  encampment  at  Fostat,  Amer  founded  the 
first  mosque  built  on  Egyptian  soil.  The  town  of  Babylon 
was  connected  with  the  island  of  Ilhoda  by  a  bridge  of 
boats,  by  which  a  communication  was  kept  up  with  the 
city  of  Memphis,  on  the  other  side  of  the  Nile.  The 
Copts,  whose  religious  fanaticism  occasioned  them  to  hate 
their  masters,  the  Greeks  of  the  Eastern  Empire,  more 
than  the  Mahomedans,  welcomed  the  moment  which  pro- 
mised to  free  them  from  their  religious  adversaries  ;  and 
the  traitor  John  Mecaukes.  governor  of  Memphis,  per- 
suaded them  to  conclude  a  treaty  with  the  invaders,  by 
which  it  was  stipulated  that  two  dinars  of  gold  should  be 
paid  for  every  Christian  above  sixteen  years  of  age,  with 
the  exception  of  old  men,  women,  and  monks.  From  this 
time  Fostat  became  the  Arabian  capital  of  Egypt.  In 
the  year  879  Sultan  Tayloon,  or  Tooloon,  built  himself  a 
palace,  to  which  he  added  several  residences  or  barracks 
for  his  guards,  and  the  great  mosque,  which  still  exists, 
with  pointed  arches,  between  Fostat  and  the  present  citadel 

Chap.  IL  HISTORY  OF  CAIRO.  23 

of  Cairo.     It  was  not,  however,  till  the  year  969  that 
Goher,  the  general  of  El  Moez,  Sultan  of  Kairoan,  near 
Tunis,  having  invaded  Egypt,  and  completely  suhdued 
the   country,   founded   a  new  city  near   the    citadel    of 
Qattaeea,  which  acquired  the  name  of  El  Kahira  from  the 
following  circumstance.     The  architect  having  made  his 
arrangements  for  laying  the  first  stone  of  the  new  wall, 
waited  for  the  fortunate  moment,  which  was  to  he  shown 
hy  the  astrologers  pulling  a  cord,  extending  to  a  consider- 
able distance  from  the  spot.     A  certain  crow,  however, 
who  had  not  been  taken  into  the  council  of  the  wise  men, 
perched  upon  the  cord,  which  was  shaken  by  his  weight, 
and  the  architect  supposing  that  the  appointed  signal  had 
been  given,  commenced  his  work  accordingly.     From  this 
unlucky  omen,  and  the  vexation  felt  by  those  concerned, 
the  epithet  of  Kahira  ("  the  vexatious  "  or  "  unlucky")  was 
added  to  the  name  of  the  city,  Masr  el  Kahira  meaning 
"the  unlucky  (city  of)  Egypt."*     Kahira  in  the  Italian 
pronunciation  has  been  softened   into   Cairo,  by  which 
name  this  famous  city  has  been  known  for  many  centuries 
in  Europe,  though  in  the  East  it  is  usually  called  Masr 
only.     From  this  time  the  Fatemite  caliphs  of  Africa,  who 
brought  the  bones  of  their  ancestors  with  them  from  Kai- 
roan, reigned  for  ten  generations  over  the  land  of  Egypt. 
The  third  in  this  succession  was  the  Caliph  Hakem,  who 
built  a  mosque  near  the  Bab  el  Nassr,  and  who  was  the 
founder  of  the  sect  of  the  Druses,  and,  as  some  say,  of  the 

*  In  the  description  of  Egypt  by  Aboulfeda,  Cairo  is  called  Masr  al 
Kahira,  &  J&l£jl  the  victorious.  The  story  told  above  is  probably  founded 
on  the  similarity  of  the  sound  of  the  word  <U.'^J)  Al  Kariha,  the  un- 
lucky; the  friends  or  enemies  of  the  city  applying  cither  epithet  to  its 


24  HISTORY  OF  CAIRO.  Chap.  II. 

Assassins.  Tn  the  year  1171  the  famous  Saladin  usurped 
the  throne  from  the  last  of  the  race  of  Fatema.  His 
descendant,  Moosa  el  Ashref,  was  deposed  in  his  turn,  in 
1250 ;  from  which  time  till  the  year  1543  Cairo  was 
governed  by  the  curious  succession  of  Mameluke  kings, 
who  were  mostly  Circassian  slaves  brought  up  at  the  court 
of  their  predecessors,  and  arriving  at  the  supreme  rule  of 
Egypt  by  election  or  intrigue. 

It  is  a  remarkable  fact  in  the  natural  history  of  man- 
kind, that  the  inhabitants  of  northern  climates,  though 
almost  always  the  conquerors  of  more  southern  regions, 
seldom  perpetuate  their  race  in  the  sunny  countries  which 
they  have  overcome.  The  Mamelukes,  natives  either 
of  Turkey,  Circassia,  or  Greece,  rarely  became  fathers 
of  families  in  Egypt,  and  if  they  had  any  children  these 
almost  always  died  in  infancy ;  the  exhausted  ranks  of 
the  brave  and  splendid  Mamelukes  were  supplied  by 
the  curious  expedient  of  purchasing  Christian  slaves, 
who  were  brought  up  as  adopted  sons  in  the  families  of 
their  masters.  In  Egypt  the  word  Abd,  as  in  Abdallah, 
Abderachman,  "  the  slave  of  God,"  "  the  slave  of  the 
powerful,"  is  considered  as  a  title  of  honour,  not  as  a 
reproach,  so  different  are  the  feelings  with  which  slavery 
is  regarded  in  the  East  and  West :  these  slaves  rose 
to  the  possession  of  the  highest  dignities.  Khosref 
Pasha,  the  Duke  of  Wellington  of  Turkey,  was  a  Circas- 
sian slave,  and  one  of  his  slaves  has  married  the  sister  of 
the  present  Sultan :  another  sister  of  the  Sultan  is  also 
married  to  a  slave.  The  failure  of  progeny  among  the 
English  servants  of  the  Company  is  well  known  to  those 
who  have  any  connexion  with  India,  for  their  children 

Chap.  II.  HISTORY  OF  CAIRO.  25 

wither  away  before  their  budding  youth  has  expanded  to 
maturity,  unless  they  are  brought  in  time  to  the  bracing 
climate  of  their  parents. 

It  is  curious  to  remark  that,  according  to  several  recent 
authors,  the  same  effect  is  produced  upon  strangers  by 
the  usual  manner  of  life  pursued  by  the  citizens  of  Paris ; 
it  is  said  that  a  country  family  leaving  their  own  healthy 
fields,  and  establishing  themselves  in  the  "  centre  de  la 
civilisation,"  seldom,  if  ever,  carry  on  their  name  to  the 
third  generation,  who  almost  invariably  die  childless  ;  so 
that,  like  Cairo  and  Alexandria,  the  population  has  to  be 
continually  recruited  by  the  importation  of  strangers. 

It  is  said  that  very  few  of  those  who  come  up  from  the 
provinces  return  as  they  do  in  England,  after  having  made 
their  fortunes,  to  reside  in  snug  whitewashed  houses  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  their  native  villages ;  for  the  road  to 
Paris  is  as  "  the  broad  and  open  way  which  leadeth  to 
destruction  ;"  and  in  like  manner  very  few  of  the  Circas- 
sians, Georgians,  and  Greeks  return  to  the  lands  of  their 
fathers  :  for,  with  their  religion  and  their  health,  they  have 
usually  lost  all  feeling  for  the  quiet  scenes  of  their  child- 
hood and  their  youth. 

Toman  Bey,  the  last  of  the  Mameluke  kings,  was 
defeated  by  Selim,  Emperor  of  the  Turks,  and  hanged  at 
Cairo,  at  the  Bab  Zooaley.  But  the  aristocracy  of  the 
Mamelukes,  as  it  maybe  called,  still  remained  ;  and  various 
beys  became  governors  of  Egypt  under  the  Turkish  sway, 
till  they  were  all  destroyed  at  one  blow  by  Mohammed 
Ali  Pasha,  the  now  all  but  independent  sovereign  of  Egypt. 

26  RISING  OF  THE  NILE.  Chap.  III. 


National  Topics  of  Conversation  —  The  Rising  of  the  Nile;  evil  effects 
of  its  rising  too  high  ;  still  worse  consequences  of  a  deficiency  of  its 
waters  —  The  Nilometer  —  Universal  Alarm  in  August,  1833  —  The 
Nile  at  length  rises  to  the  desired  Height  —  Ceremony  of  cutting  the 
Embankment  —  The  Canal  of  the  Khalidj  —  Immense  Assemblage  of 
People  —  The  State  Tent — Arrival  of  Ilabeeb  EfFendi  —  Splendid 
Dresses  of  the  Officers  —  Exertions  of  the  Arab  Workmen  —  Their 
Scramble  for  Paras  —  Admission  of  the  Water  —  Its  sudden  Irruption 
—  Excitement  of  the  Ladies —  Picturesque  Effect  of  large  Assemblies 
in  the  East. 

In  England  every  one  talks  about  the  weather,  and  all 
conversation  is  opened  by  exclamations  against  the  heat 
or  the  cold,  the  rain  or  the  drought ;  but  in  Egypt,  during 
one  part  of  the  year  at  least,  the  rise  of  the  Nile  forms 
the  general  topic  of  conversation.  Sometimes  the  ascent 
of  the  water  is  unusually  rapid,  and  then  nothing  is  talked 
of  but  inundations ;  for  if  the  river  overflows  too  much, 
whole  villages  are  washed  away  ;  and  as  they  are  for  the 
most  part  built  of  sunburned  bricks  and  mud,  they  are 
completely  annihilated ;  and  when  the  waters  subside, 
all  the  boundary  marks  are  obliterated,  the  course  of 
canals  is  altered,  and  mounds  and  embankments  are 
washed  away.  On  these  occasions  the  smaller  landholders 
have  great  difficulty  in  recovering  their  property  ;  for  few 
of  them  know  how  far  their  fields  extend  in  one  direction 
or  the  other,  unless  a  tree,  a  stone,  or  something  else 
remains  to  mark  the  separation  of  one  man's  flat  piece  of 
mud  from  that  of  his  neighbour. 

But  the  more  frequent  and  the  far  more  dreaded  cala- 

Chap.  III.  THE  NILOMETER.  27 

mity  is  the  deficiency  of  water.  This  was  the  case  in 
1833,  and  we  heard  nothing  else  talked  of.  "  Has  it 
risen  much  to-day  ?"  inquires  one. — "  Yes,  it  has  risen  half 
a  pic  since  the  morning."  "  What !  no  more  ?  In  the 
name  of  the  Prophet!  what  will  become  of  the  cotton?" 
— "  Yes  ;  and  the  doura  will  be  burnt  up  to  a  certainty 
if  we  do  not  get  four  pics  more."  In  short,  the  Nile  has 
it  all  its  own  way  ;  everything  depends  on  the  manner  in 
which  it  chooses  to  behave,  and  El  Bahar  (the  river)  is 
in  everybody's  mouth  from  morning  till  night.  Criers  go 
about  the  city  several  times  a  day  during  the  period  of  the 
rising,  who  proclaim  the  exact  height  to  which  the  water 
has  arrived,  and  the  precise  number  of  pics  which  are 
submerged  on  the  Nilometer. 

This  Nilometer  is  an  ancient  octagon  pillar  of  red  stone 
in  the  island  of  Rhoda,  on  the  sides  of  which  graduated 
scales  are  engraved.  It  stands  in  the  centre  of  a  cistern, 
about  twenty-five  feet  square,  and  more  than  that  in  depth. 
A  stone  staircase  leads  down  to  the  bottom,  and  the  side 
walls  are  ornamented  with  Cufic  inscriptions  beautifully 
cut.  Of  this  antique  column  I  have  seen  more  than  most 
people ;  for  on  the  28th  of  August,  1833,  the  water  was 
so  low  that  there  was  the  greatest  apprehension  of  a  total 
failure  of  the  crops,  and  of  the  consequent  famine.  At 
that  time  nine  feet  more  water  was  wanted  to  ensure  an 
average  crop  ;  much  of  the  Indian  corn  had  already  failed  ; 
and  from  the  Pasha  in  his  palace  to  the  poorest  fellah  in 
his  mud  hovel,  all  were  in  consternation  ;  for  in  this  coun- 
try, where  it  never  rains,  everything  depends  on  irrigation 
— the  revenues  of  the  state,  the  food  of  the  country,  and 
the  life  or  death  of  the  bulk  of  the  population. 

c  2 

28  CANAL  OF  THE  KHALIDJ.  Chap.  III. 

At  length  the  Nile  rose  to  the  desired  height ;  and  the 
6th  of  September  was  fixed  for  the  ceremony  of  cutting  the 
embankment  which  keeps  back  the  water  from  entering 
into  the  canal  of  the  Khalidj.  This  canal  joins  the  Nile 
near  the  great  tower  which  forms  the  end  of  the  aqueduct 
built  by  Saladin,  and  through  it  the  water  is  conveyed 
for  the  irrigation  of  Cairo  and  its  vicinity.  One  pecu- 
liarity of  this  city  is,  that  several  of  its  principal  squares 
or  open  spaces  are  flooded  during  the  inundation  ;  and, 
in  consequence  of  this,  are  called  lakes,  such  as  Birket  el 
Fil  (the  Lake  of  the  Elephant),  Birket  el  Esbekieh,  &c. 
Many  of  the  principal  houses  are  built  upon  the  banks  of 
the  Khalidj  canal,  which  passes  through  the  centre  of  the 
town,  and  which  now  had  the  appearance  of  a  dusty,  sunken 
lane  ;  and  the  annual  admission  of  the  water  into  its 
thirsty  bed  is  an  event  looked  forward  to  as  a  public  holiday 
by  all  classes.  Accordingly,  early  in  the  morning,  men, 
women,  and  children  sallied  forth  to  the  borders  of  the 
Nile,  and  it  seemed  as  if  no  one  would  be  left  in  the  city. 
The  worthy  citizens  of  Cairo,  on  horses,  mules,  donkeys, 
and  on  foot,  were  seen  streaming  out  of  the  gates,  and 
making  their  way  in  the  cool  of  the  morning,  all  hoping 
to  obtain  places  from  whence  they  might  catch  a  glimpse 
of  the  cutting  of  the  embankment. 

We  mounted  the  horses  which  the  Pasha's  grooms 
brought  to  our  door.  They  were  splendidly  caparisoned 
with  red  velvet  and  gold  ;  horses  were  also  supplied  for 
all  our  servants  ;  and  we  wended  our  way  through  happy 
and  excited  crowds  to  a  magnificent  tent  which  had  been 
erected  for  the  accommodation  of  the  grandees,  on  a  sort 
of  ancient  stone  quay  immediately  over  the  embankment. 


We  passed  through  the  lines  of  soldiers  who  kept  the 
ground  in  the  vicinity  of  the  tent,  around  which  was 
standing  a  numerous  party  of  officers  in  their  gala  uni- 
forms of  red  and  gold. 

On  entering  the  tent  we  found  the  Cadi ;  the  son  of  the 
sheriff  of  Mecca,  who  I  believe  was  kept  as  a  sort  of  host- 
age for  the  good  behaviour  of  his  father,  the  Defterdar, 
or  treasurer,  and  several  other  high  personages,  seated  on 
two  carpets,  one  on  each  side  of  a  splendid  velvet  divan, 
which  extended  along  that  side  of  the  tent  which  was 
nearest  to  the  river,  and  which  was  open.  Below  the  tent 
was  the  bank  which  was  to  be  cut  through,  with  the  water 
of  the  Nile  almost  overflowing  its  brink  on  the  one  side, 
and  the  deep  dry  bed  of  the  canal  upon  the  other  ;  a  num- 
ber of  half-naked  Arabs  were  working  with  spades  and 
pickaxes  to  undermine  this  bank. 

Coffee  and  sherbet  were  presented  to  us  while  we 
awaited  the  arrival  of  Habeeb  Effendi,  who  was  to  super- 
intend the  ceremony  in  the  absence  of  the  Pasha.  No 
one  sat  upon  the  divan  which  was  reserved  for  the  ac- 
commodation of  the  great  man,  who  was  vice-v\ceroy  on 
this  occasion.  I  sat  on  the  carpet  by  the  son  of  the  sheriff 
of  Mecca,  who  was  dressed  in  the  green  robes  worn  by 
the  descendants  of  the  Prophet.  We  looked  at  each 
other  with  some  curiosity,  and  he  carefully  gathered  up 
the  edge  of  his  sleeve,  that  it  might  not  be  polluted  by  the 
touch  of  such  a  heathen  dog  as  he  considered  me  to  be. 

About  9  a.m.  the  firing  of  cannon  and  volleys  of  mus- 
ketry, with  the  discordant  noise  of  several  military  bands, 
announced  the  approach  of  Habeeb  EfFendi.  He  was 
preceded  by  an  immense  procession  of  beys,  colonels,  and 

30  I1ABEEB  EFFENDI.  Chap.  III. 

officers,  all  in  red  and  gold,  with  the  diamond  insignia  of 
their  rank  displayed  upon  their  breasts.  This  crowd  of 
splendidly  dressed  persons,  dismounting  from  their  horses, 
filled  the  space  around  the  tent ;  and,  opening  into  two 
ranks,  they  made  a  lane  along  which  Habeeb  Effendi  rode 
into  the  middle  of  the  tent ;  all  bowing  low  and  touching 
their  foreheads  as  he  passed.  A  horseblock,  covered  with 
red  cloth,  was  brought  forward  for  him  to  dismount  upon. 
His  fat  grey  horse  was  covered  with  gold,  the  whole  of 
the  housings  of  the  Wahabee  saddle  being  not  embroi- 
dered, but  so  entirely  covered  with  ornaments  in  gold- 
smith's work,  that  the  colour  of  the  velvet  beneath  could 
scarcely  be  discerned.  The  great  man  was  held  up 
under  each  arm  by  two  officers,  who  assisted  him  to  the 
divan,  upon  which  he  took  his  seat,  or  rather  subsided, 
for  the  portly  proportions  of  his  person  prevented  his  feet 
appearing  as  he  sat  cross-legged  upon  the  cushions,  with 
his  back  to  the  canal.  Coffee  was  presented  to  him,  and 
a  diamond-mounted  pipe  stuck  into  his  mouth ;  and  he 
puffed  away  steadily,  looking  neither  right  nor  left,  while 
the  uproar  of  the  surrounding  crowd  increased  every  mo- 
ment. Quantities  of  rockets  and  other  fireworks  were 
now  let  off  in  the  broad  daylight,  cannons  fired,  and  volleys 
of  musketry  filled  the  air  with  smoke.  The  naked  Arabs 
in  the  ditch  worked  like  madmen,  tearing  away  the  earth 
of  the  embankment,  which  was  rapidly  giving  way ;  whilst 
an  officer  of  the  Treasury  threw  handfuls  of  new  pieces  of 
five  paras  each  (little  coins  of  base  silver  of  the  value  of  a 
farthing)  among  them.  The  immense  multitude  shouted 
and  swayed  about,  encouraging  the  men,  who  were  ex- 
cited almost  to  frenzy. 


At  last  there  was  a  tremendous  shout :  the  bank  was 
beginning  to  give  way  ;  and  showers  of  coin  were  thrown 
down  upon  it,  which  the  workmen  tried  to  catch.  One 
man  took  off  his  wide  Turkish  trousers,  and  stretching 
them  out  upon  two  sticks  caught  almost  a  handful  at  a 
time.  By  degrees  the  earth  of  the  embankment  became 
wet,  and  large  pieces  of  mud  fell  over  into  the  canal. 
Presently  a  little  stream  of  water  made  its  way  down  the 
declivity,  but  the  Arabs  still  worked  up  to  their  knees  in 
water.  The  muddy  stream  increased,  and  all  of  a  sudden 
the  whole  bank  gave  way.  Some  of  the  Arabs  scrambled 
out  and  were  helped  up  the  sides  of  the  canal  by  the 
crowd  ;  but  several,  and  among  others  he  of  the  trousers, 
intent  upon  the  shower  of  paras,  were  carried  away 
by  the  stream.  The  man  struggled  manfully  in  the 
water,  and  gallantly  kept  possession  of  his  trousers  till  he 
was  washed  ashore,  and,  with  the  assistance  of  some  of 
his  friends,  landed  safely  with  his  spoils.  The  arches  of 
the  great  aqueduct  of  Saladin  were  occupied  by  parties 
of  ladies  ;  and  long  lines  of  women  in  their  black  veils 
sat  like  a  huge  flock  of  crows  upon  the  parapets  above. 
They  all  waved  their  handkerchiefs  and  lifted  up  their 
voices  in  a  strange  shrill  scream  as  the  torrent  increased 
in  force ;  and  soon,  carrying  everything  before  it,  it 
entirely  washed  away  the  embankment,  and  the  water  in 
the  canal  rose  to  the  level  of  the  Nile. 

The  desired  object  having  been  accomplished,  Habeeb 
Effendi,  who  had  not  once  looked  round  towards  the  canal, 
now  rose  to  depart ;  he  was  helped  up  the  steps  of  the 
red  horseblock,  and  fairly  hoisted  into  his  saddle  ;  and 
amidst  the  roar  of  cannon  and  musketry,  the  shouts  of 


the  people,  and  the  clang  of  innumerable  musical  instru- 
ments, he  departed  with  his  splendid  train  of  officers  and 

Nothing  can  be  conceived  more  striking  than  a  great 
assemblage  of  people  in  the  East :  the  various  colours  of 
the  dresses  and  the  number  of  white  turbans  give  it  a 
totally  different  appearance  from  that  of  a  black  and 
dingy  European  crowd ;  and  it  has  been  well  compared 
by  their  poets  to  a  garden  of  tulips.  The  numbers  col- 
lected together  on  this  occasion  were  immense  ;  and  the 
narrow  streets  were  completely  filled  by  the  returning 
multitude,  all  delighted  with  the  happy  termination  of 
the  event  of  the  day  ;  but  before  noon  the  whole  of  the 
crowd  was  dispersed,  all  had  returned  to  their  own  houses, 
and  the  city  was  as  quiet  and  orderly  as  if  nothing  ex- 
traordinary had  occurred. 



Early  Hours  in  the  Levant — Compulsory  Use  of  Lanterns  in  Cairo  — 
Separation  of  the  different  Quarters  of  the  City  —  Custom  of  sleeping 
in  the  open  air — The  Mahomedan  Times  of  Prayer  —  Impressive 
Effect  of  the  Morning  Call  to  Prayer  from  the  Minarets  —  The  last 
Prayer-time,  Al  Assr  —  Bedouin  Mode  of  ascertaining  this  Hour  — 
Ancient  Form  of  the  Mosques  —  The  Mosque  of  Sultan  Hassan  — 
Egyptian  Mode  of  "raising  the  Supplies"  —  Sultan  Hassan's  Mosque 
the  Scene  of  frequent  Conflicts  —  The  Slaughter  of  the  Mameluke  Beys 
in  the  Place  of  Roumayli  —  Escape  of  one  Mameluke,  and  his  subse- 
quent Friendship  with  Mohammed  Ali  —  The  Talisman  of  Cairo  — 
Joseph's  Well  and  Hall —  Mohammed  Ali's  Mosque  —  His  Residence 
in  the  Citadel  —  The  Harem  —  Degraded  State  of  the  "Women  in  the 

The  early  hours  kept  in  the  Levant  cannot  fail  to  strike 
the  European  stranger.  At  Cairo  every  one  is  up  and 
about  at  sunrise  ;  all  business  is  transacted  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  some  of  the  bezesteins  and  principal  bazaars  are 
closed  at  twelve  o'clock,  at  which  hour  many  people 
retire  to  their  homes  and  only  appear  again  in  the  cool  of 
the  evening,  when  they  take  a  ride  or  sit  and  smoke  a 
pipe  and  listen  to  a  story-teller  in  a  coffee-house  or  under 
a  tree.  Soon  after  sunset  the  whole  city  is  at  rest.  Every 
one  who  then  has  any  business  abroad  is  obliged  to  carry 
a  small  paper  lantern,  on  pain  of  being  taken  up  by  the 
guard  if  he  is  found  without  it.  Persons  of  middle  rank 
have  a  glass  lamp  carried  before  them  by  a  servant,  and 
people  of  consequence  are  preceded  by  men  who  run 
before  their  train  of  horses  with  a  fire  of  resinous  wood, 
carried  aloft  on  the  top  of  a  pole,  in  an  iron  grating  called 

c  3 


a  mashlak.  This  has  a  picturesque  effect3  and  throws  a 
great  light  around. 

Each  different  district  of  the  city  is  separated  from  the 
adjoining  one  by  strong  gates  at  the  end  of  the  streets : 
these  are  all  closed  at  night,  and  are  guarded  by  a  drowsy 
old  man  with  a  long  beard,  who  acts  as  porter,  and  who 
is  roused  with  difficulty  by  the  promise  of  a  small  coin 
when  any  one  wants  to  pass.  These  gates  contribute 
greatly  to  the  peace  and  security  of  the  town ;  for  as  the 
Turks,  Arabs,  Christians,  Jews,  Copts,  and  other  religious 
sects  reside  each  in  a  different  quarter,  any  disturbance 
which  may  arise  in  one  district  is  prevented  from  extend- 
ing to  another  ;  and  the  drunken  Europeans  cannot  intrude 
their  civilization  on  their  quiet  and  barbarous  neighbours. 
There  are  here  no  theatres,  balls,  parties,  or  other  noc- 
turnal assemblies  ;  and  before  the  hour  at  which  London 
is  well  lit  up,  the  gentleman  of  Cairo  ascends  to  the  top 
of  his  house  and  sleeps  upon  the  terrace,  and  the  servants 
retire  to  the  court-yard  ;  for  in  the  hot  weather  most 
people  sleep  in  the  open  air.  Many  of  the  poorer  class 
sleep  in  the  open  places  and  the  courts  of  the  mosques,  all 
wrapping  up  their  heads  and  faces  that  the  moon  may  not 
shine  upon  them. 

The  Mahomedan  day  begins  at  sunset,  when  the  first 
time  of  prayer  is  observed  ;  the  second  is  about  two  hours 
after  sunset :  the  third  is  at  the  dawn  of  day,  when  the 
musical  chant  of  the  muezzins  from  the  thousand  minarets 
of  Cairo  sounds  most  impressively  through  the  clear  and 
silent  air.  The  voices  of  the  criers  thus  raised  above  the 
city  always  struck  me  as  having  a  holy  and  beautiful  effect. 
First  one  or  two  are  heard  faintly  in  the  distance,  then 


one  close  to  you,  then  the  cry  is  taken  up  from  the  minarets 
of  other  mosques,  and  at  last,  from  one  end  of  the  town  to 
the  other,  the  measured  chant  falls  pleasingly  on  the  ear, 
inviting  the  faithful  to  prayer.  For  a  time  it  seems  as  if 
there  was  a  chorus  of  voices  in  the  air,  like  spirits,  calling 
upon  each  other  to  worship  the  Creator  of  all  things. 
Soon  the  sound  dies  away,  there  is  a  silence  for  a  while, 
and  thence  commence  the  hum  and  bustle  of  the  awakening 
city.  This  cry  of  man,  to  call  his  brother  man  to  prayer, 
seems  to  me  more  appropriate  and  more  accordant  to 
religious  feeling  than  the  clang  and  jingle  of  our  European 

The  fourth  and  most  important  time  of  prayer  is  at 
noon,  and  it  is  at  this  hour  that  the  Sultan  attends  in 
state  the  mosque  at  Constantinople.  The  fifth  and  last 
prayer  is  at  about  three  o'clock.  The  Bedouins  of  the 
desert,  who,  however,  are  not  much  given  to  praying, 
consider  this  hour  to  have  arrived  when  a  stick,  a  spear,  or 
a  camel  throws  a  shadow  of  its  own  height  upon  the 
ground.  This  time  of  the  day  is  called  "  Al  Assr." 
When  wandering  about  in  the  deserts,  I  used  always  to 
eat  my  dinner  or  luncheon  at  that  time,  and  it  is  wonderful 
to  what  exactness  I  arrived  at  last  in  my  calculations 
respecting  the  time  of  the  Assr.  I  knew  to  a  minute 
when  my  dromedary's  shadow  was  of  the  right  length. 

The  minarets  of  Cairo  are  the  most  beautiful  of  any  in 
the  Levant ;  indeed  no  others  are  to  be  compared  to  them. 
Some  are  of  a  prodigious  height,  built  of  alternate  layers 
of  red  and  white  stone.  A  curious  anecdote  is  told  of  the 
most  ancient  of  all  the  minarets,  that  attached  to  the 
great  mosque  of  Sultan  Tayloon,  an  immense  cloister  or 

36  MOSQUES  OF  CAIRO.  Chap,  IV. 

arcade  surrounding  a  great  square.  The  arches  are  all 
pointed,  and  are  the  earliest  extant  in  that  form,  the 
mosque  having  been  built  in  imitation  of  that  at  Mecca, 
in  the  year  of  the  Hegira  265,  Anno  Domini  879.  The 
minaret  belonging  to  this  magnificent  building  has  a  stone 
staircase  winding  round  it  outside :  the  reason  of  its 
having  been  built  in  this  curious  form  is  said  to  be,  that 
the  vizier  of  Sultan  Tayloon  found  the  king  one  day 
lolling  on  his  divan  and  twisting  a  piece  of  paper  in  a 
spiral  form ;  the  vizier  remarking  upon  the  trivial  nature 
of  the  employment  of  so  great  a  monarch,  he  replied,  "  I 
was  thinking  that  a  minaret  in  this  form  would  have  a 
good  effect :  give  orders,  therefore,  that  such  a  one  be 
added  to  the  mosque  which  I  am  building."*  In  ancient 
times  the  mosques  consisted  merely  of  large  open  courts, 
surrounded  by  arcades ;  and  frequently,  on  that  side  of 
the  court  which  stood  nearest  to  Mecca,  this  arcade  was 
double.  In  later  times  covered  buildings  with  large  domes 
were  added  to  the  court ;  a  style  of  building  which  has 
always  been  adopted  in  more  northern  climates. 

The  finest  mosque  of  this  description  is  that  of  Sultan 
Hassan,  in  the  place  of  the  Roumayli,  near  the  citadel. 
It  is  a  magnificent  structure,  of  prodigious  height ;  it  was 

*  This,  the  first  mosque  built  at  Cairo,  is  said  to  have  been  paid  for  by 
Sultan  Tayloon  with  a  part  of  an  immense  treasure  in  gold,  which  he  found 
under  a  monument  called  the  Altar  of  Pharaoh,  on  the  mountain  of  Mo- 
kattam.  This  building  was  destroyed  by  Tayloon,  who  founded  a  mosque 
upon  the  spot  in  the  year  873,  in  honour  of  Judah,  the  brother  of  Joseph, 
who  resorted  there  to  pray  when  he  came  to  Egypt.  This  mosque  becom- 
ing ruined,  another  was  built  upon  the  spot  by  the  Emir  El  Guyoosh, 
minister  of  the  Caliph  Mostansir,  a.d.  1094,  which  still  remains  perched 
on  the  corner  of  a  rock,  which  is  excavated  in  various  places  with  ancient 


finished  about  the  year  a.d.  1362.  The  money  necessary 
for  its  construction  is  said  to  have  been  procured  by  the 
following  ingenious  device.  The  good  Sultan  Hassan 
was  determined  to  build  a  mosque  and  a  tomb  for  himself, 
but  finding  a  paucity  of  means  in  his  treasury,  he  sent  out 
invitations  to  all  the  principal  people  of  the  country  to  re- 
pair to  a  grand  feast  at  his  court,  when  he  said  he  would 
present  each  of  his  loving  subjects  with  a  robe  of  honour. 
On  the  appointed  day  they  accordingly  all  made  their 
appearance,  dressed  in  their  richest  robes  of  state.  There 
was  not  one  but  had  a  Cashmere  shawl  round  his  turban, 
and  another  round  his  waist,  with  a  jewelled  dagger  stuck 
in  it ;  besides  other  ornaments,  and  caftans  of  brocade 
and  cloth  of  gold.  They  entered  the  place  of  the  Rou- 
mayli  each  accompanied  by  a  magnificent  train  of  guards 
and  attendants,  who,  according  to  the  jealous  custom  of 
the  times,  remained  below ;  while  the  chiefs,  with  one  or 
two  of  their  personal  followers  only,  ascended  into  the 
citadel,  and  were  ushered  into  the  presence  of  the  Sultan. 
They  were  received  most  graciously  :  how  they  contrived 
to  pass  their  time  in  the  fourteenth  century,  before  the 
art  of  smoking  was  invented,  I  do  not  know,  but  doubtless 
they  sat  in  circles  round  great  bowls  of  rice,  piled  over 
sheep  roasted  whole,  discussed  the  merits  of  lambs  stuffed 
with  pistachio-nuts,  and  ate  cucumbers  for  dessert.  When 
the  feast  was  concluded  the  Sultan  announced  that  each 
guest  at  his  departure  should  receive  the  promised  robe 
of  honour  ;  and  as  these  distinguished  personages,  one  by 
one,  left  the  royal  presence,  they  were  conducted  to  a 
small  chamber  near  the  gate,  in  which  were  several  armed 
officers  of  the  household,  who,  with  expressions  of  the 


most  profound  respect  and  solicitude,  divested  them  of 
their  clothes,  which  they  immediately  carried  off.  The 
astonished  noble  was  then  invested  with  a  long  white  shirt, 
and  ceremoniously  handed  out  of  an  opposite  door,  which 
led  to  the  exterior  of  the  fortress,  where  he  found  his 
train  in  waiting.  The  Sultan  kept  all  that  he  found 
worth  keeping  of  the  personal  effects  of  his  guests,  who 
were  afterwards  glad  to  bargain  with  the  chamberlain 
of  the  court  for  the  restoration  of  their  robes  of  state, 
which  were  ultimately  returned  to  them— -for  a  consider- 
ation. The  mosque  of  Sultan  Hassan  was  built  with  the 
proceeds  of  this  original  scheme  ;  and  the  tomb  of  the 
founder  is  placed  in  a  superb  hall,  seventy  feet  square, 
covered  with  a  magnificent  dome,  which  is  one  of  the 
principal  features  of  the  city.  But  he  that  soweth  in  the 
whirlwind  shall  reap  in  the  storm.  In  consequence  of  the 
great  height  and  thickness  of  the  walls  of  this  stately 
building,  as  well  as  from  the  circumstance  of  its  having 
only  one  great  gate  of  entrance,  it  was  frequently  seized 
and  made  use  of  as  a  fortress  by  the  insurgents  in  the 
numerous  rebellions  and  insurrections  which  were  always 
taking  place  under  the  rule  of  the  Mameluke  kings. 
Stains  of  blood  are  still  to  be  seen  on  the  marble  walls 
of  the  court-yard,  and  even  in  the  very  chamber  of 
the  tomb  of  the  Sultan  there  are  the  indelible  marks  of 
the  various  conflicts  which  have  taken  place,  when  the 
guardians  of  the  mosque  have  been  stabbed  and  cut  down 
in  its  most  sacred  recesses.  The  two  minarets  of  this 
mosque,  one  of  which  is  much  larger  than  the  other,  are 
among  the  most  beautiful  specimens  of  decorated  Saracenic 
architecture.     Of  the  largest  of  these  minarets  the  follow- 


ing  story  is  related.  There  was  a  man  endued  with  a 
superabundance  of  curiosity,  who,  like  Peeping  Tom  of 
Coventry,  had  a  fancy  for  spying  at  the  ladies  on  the 
house-tops  from  the  summit  of  this  minaret :  at  last 
he  made  some  signals  to  one  of  the  neighbouring  ladies, 
which  were  unluckily  discovered  by  the  master  of  the 
house,  who  happened  to  be  reposing  in  the  harem.  The 
two  muezzins  (as  they  often  are)  were  blind  men,  and 
complaint  was  made  to  the  authorities  that  the  muezzins 
of  Sultan  Hassan  permitted  people  to  ascend  the  minarets 
to  gaze  into  the  forbidden  precincts  of  the  harems  below. 
The  two  old  muezzins  were  indignant  when  they  were  in- 
formed of  this  accusation,  and  were  determined  to  watch 
for  the  intruder  and  kill  him  on  the  spot,  the  first  time 
that  they  should  find  him  ascending  the  winding  staircase 
of  the  minaret.  In  the  course  of  a  few  days  a  good- 
natured  person  gave  the  alarm,  and  told  the  two  blind 
men  that  somebody  had  just  entered  the  doorway  on  the 
roof  of  the  mosque  by  which  the  minaret  is  ascended  ;  one 
of  the  muezzins  therefore  ascended  the  minaret,  armed 
with  a  sharp  dagger,  and  the  other  waited  at  the  narrow 
door  below  to  secure  the  game  whom  his  companion 
should  drive  out  of  the  cover.  The  young  man  was 
surprised  by  the  muezzin  while  he  was  looking  over  the 
lower  gallery  of  the  minaret,  but  escaping  from  him  he 
ran  up  the  stairs  to  the  upper  gallery :  here  he  was 
followed  by  his  enemy,  who  cried  to  the  old  man  at  the 
bottom  to  be  ready,  for  he  had  found  the  rascal  who  had 
brought  such  scandal  on  the  mosque.  The  muezzin 
chased  the  intruder  round  the  upper  gallery,  and  he 
slipped  through  the  door   and  ran  down  again  to  the 


lower  one,  where  he  waited  till  the  muezzin  passed  him 
on  the  stairs,  then  taking  off  his  shoes  he  followed  him 
lightly  and  silently  till  he  arrived  near  the  bottom  door, 
when  he  suddenly  pushed  the  muezzin  who  had  been  up 
the  minaret,  against  the  one  who  stood  guard  below ;  the 
two  blind  men,  each  thinking  he  had  got  hold  of  the 
villain  for  whom  he  was  in  search,  seized  each  other  by 
the  throat  and  engaged  in  mortal  combat  with  their 
daggers,  taking  advantage  of  which  the  other  escaped 
before  the  blind  men  had  found  out  their  mistake.  At 
the  next  hour  of  prayer,  their  well-known  voices  not  being 
heard  as  usual,  some  of  the  attendants  at  the  mosque 
went  up  on  to  the  roof  to  see  what  had  happened,  when 
they  found  the  muezzins,  who  were  just  able  to  relate  the 
particulars  of  their  mistake  before  they  died. 

It  was  in  the  place  of  the  Roumayli  that  the  gallant 
band  of  the  Mameluke  beys  were  assembled  before  they 
were  entrapped  and  killed  by  the  present  task-master  of 
Egypt,  Mohammed  Ali  Pasha.  They  ascended  a  narrow 
passage  between  two  high  bastions,  which  led  from  the 
lower  to  the  upper  gate.  The  lower  gate  was  shut  after 
they  had  passed,  and  they  were  thus  caught  as  in  a  trap. 
All  of  them  were  shot  except  one,  who  leaped  his  horse 
over  the  battlements  and  escaped.  This  man  became 
afterwards  a  great  ally  of  Mohammed  Ali,  and  I  have 
often  seen  him  riding  about  on  a  fine  horse  caparisoned 
with  red  velvet  in  the  old  Mameluke  style.  On  the  wall 
in  one  part  of  this  passage,  towards  the  inner  gate,  there  is 
a  square  tablet  containing  a  bas-relief  of  a  spread  eagle  : 
this  is  considered  by  the  superstitious  as  the  talisman  of 
Cairo,  and  is  said  to  give  a  warning  cry  when  any  cala- 

Chap.  IT,        Joseph's  well — Joseph's  hall.  41 

mity  is  about  to  happen  to  the  city.  Its  origin,  as  well  as 
most  things  of  any  antiquity  in  the  citadel,  is  ascribed  to 
Saladin  (Yousef  Sala  Eddin),  who  is  called  here  Yousef 
(Joseph)  ;  and  Joseph's  Well,  and  Joseph's  Hall,  are  the 
two  great  lions  of  the  place. 

The  well,  which  is  of  great  depth,  is  remarkable  from 
its  having  a  broad  winding  staircase  cut  in  the  rock 
around  the  shaft :  this  extends  only  half  way  down, 
where  two  oxen  are  employed  to  draw  water  by  a  wheel 
and  buckets  from  the  bottom,  which  is  here  poured 
into  a  cistern,  whence  it  is  raised  to  the  top  by  another 
wheel.  It  is  supposed,  however,  that  this  well  is  an 
ancient  work,  and  that  it  was  only  cleaned  out  by  Saladin 
when  he  rebuilt  the  walls  of  the  town  and  fortified  the 

The  hall,  which  was  a  very  fine  room,  divided  into 
aisles  by  magnificent  antique  columns  of  red  granite,  has 
unfortunately  been  pulled  down  by  Mohammed  Ali.  He 
did  this  to  make  way  for  the  mosque  which  he  has  built  of 
Egyptian  alabaster,  a  splendid  material,  but  its  barbarous 
Armenian  architecture  offers  a  sad  contrast  to  the  stately 
edifice  which  has  been  so  ruthlessly  destroyed.  It  is  in- 
deed a  sad  thing  for  Cairo  that  the  flimsy  architecture  of 
Constantinople,  so  utterly  unsuited  to  this  climate,  has 
been  introduced  of  late  years  in  the  public  buildings  and 
the  palaces  of  the  ministers,  which  lift  up  their  bald  and 
miserable  whitewashed  walls  above  the  beautiful  Arabian 
works  of  earlier  days. 

The  residence  of  the  Pasha  is  within  the  walls  of  the 
citadel.  The  long  range  of  the  windows  of  the  harem 
from  their  lofty  position  overlook  great  part  of  the  city, 


which  must  render  it  a  more  cheerful  residence  for  the 
ladies  than  harems  usually  are.  When  a  number  of  East- 
ern women  are  congregated  together,  as  is  frequently  the 
case,  without  the  society  of  the  other  sex,  it  is  surprising 
how  helpless  they  become,  and  how  neglectful  of  every- 
thing excepting  their  own  persons  and  their  food.  Eating, 
dressing,  and  talking  are  their  sole  pursuits.  It  is,  as  the 
Americans  say,  "  a  caution  "  to  hear  them  talk ;  they  have 
great  powers  of  conversation  : 

"  Loquuntur  Maria,  Sibilla,  et  ab  hoc,  et  ab  hac,  et  ab  ilia." 

If  there  be  a  garden  attached  to  the  harem,  they  take  no 
trouble  about  it,  and  at  Constantinople  the  ladies  of  the 
Sultan  tread  on  the  flower-beds  and  destroy  the  garden 
as  a  flock  of  sheep  would  do  if  let  loose  in  it.  A  Turkish 
lady  is  the  wild  variety  of  the  species.  Many  of  them  are 
beautiful  and  graceful,  but  they  do  not  appear  to  abound 
in  intellectual  charms.  Until  the  minds  of  the  women 
are  enlarged  by  better  education,  any  chance  of  ameliora- 
tion among  the  people  of  the  Levant  is  hopeless :  for  it 
is  in  the  nursery  that  the  seeds  of  superstition,  prejudice, 
and  unreason  are  sown,  the  effects  of  which  cling  for  life  to 
the  minds  even  of  superior  men.  However,  there  are 
hopes  that  some  improvement  may  take  place  in  course  of 
time,  even  in  that  stronghold  of  idleness  and  inanity,  a 
Turkish  harem.  The  schoolmaster  is  abroad^  education 
is  beginning  to  be  thought  of,  and  reading,  writing,  and 
even  the  languages  of  the  Giaours  have  in  one  instance 
at  least  been  studied,  by  the  condescension  of  the  fair 
inmates  of  the  Imperial  Seraglio.  They  are  getting  on 
evidently,  as  the  following  note  will  show  ;  and  their  re- 

Chap.  IV.  A  TURKISH  LADY'S  NOTE.  43 

markable  proficiency  in  English  will,  I  am  sure,  be  appre- 
ciated by  the  reader. 

Note  from  Adile  Sultana,  the  betrothed  of  Abbas  Pasha, 
to  her  Armenian  Commissioner. 

"  My  Noble  Friend,  "Constantinople,  1844. 

"  Here  are  the  featherses  sent.  My  soul,  my  noble  friend, 
are  there  no  other  featherses  leaved  in  the  shop  besides  these 
featherses  ?  and  these  featherses  remains,  and  these  featherses  are 
ukly.  They  are  very  dear ;  who  buyses  dheses  ?  And,  my  noble 
friend,  we  want  a  noat  from  yorself :  those  you  brot  last  tim, 
those,  you  sees,  were  very  beautiful ;  we  had  searched  ;  my  soul, 
I  want  featherses  again,  of  those  featherses.  In  Kalada  there  is 
plenty  of  feather.  Whatever  bees,  I  only  want  beautiful  feathers- 
es :  I  want  featherses  of  every  desolation,  to-morrow. 

" (Signed) 

"You  know  who." 



Interview  with  Mohammed  A!i  Pasha — Mode  of  lighting  ja  Room  in 
Egypt  —  Personal  Appearance  of  the  Pasha — His  Diamond-mounted 
Pipe—  The  lost  Handkerchief—  An  unceremonious  Attendant  —  View 
of  Cairo  from  the  Citadel  —  Site  of  Memphis;  its  immense  extent  — 
The  Tombs  of  the  Caliphs  —  The  Pasha's  Mausoleum  —  Costume  of 
Egyptian  Ladies  —  The  Cobcob  or  Wooden  Clog  —  Mode  of  dressing 
the  Hair  —  The  Veil  —  Mistaken  Idea  that  the  Egyptian  Ladies  are 
Prisoners  in  the  Harem  ;  their  power  of  doing  as  they  like  —  The  Veil 
a  complete  Disguise  —  Laws  of  the  Harem  —  A  Levantine  Beauty  — ■ 
Eastern  Manners  —  The  Abyssinian  Slaves  —  Arab  Girls  —  Ugliness  of 
the  Arab  Women  when  old  —  Venerable  Appearance  of  the  Old  Men 
—  An  Arab  Sheikh. 

It  was  in  the  month  of  February,  1834,  that  I  first  had 
the  honour  of  an  audience  with  Mohammed  Ali  Pasha. 
It  was  during  the  Mahomedan  month  of  Ramadan,  when 
the  day  is  kept  a  strict  fast,  and  nothing  passes  the  lips 
of  the  faithful  till  after  sunset.  It  was  at  night,  therefore, 
that  we  were  received.  My  companion  and  myself  were 
residing  at  that  time  under  the  hospitable  roof  of  the 
Consul-General,  and  we  accompanied  him  to  the  citadel. 
The  effect  of  the  crowds  of  people  in  the  streets,  all 
carrying  lanterns,  or  preceded  by  men  bearing  the  mash- 
lak,  blazing  like  a  beacon  on  the  top  of  its  high  pole,  was 
very  picturesque.  The  great  hall  of  the  citadel  was  full 
of  men,  arranged  in  rows  with  their  faces  towards  the 
south,  going  through  the  forms  and  attitudes  of  evening 
prayer  under  the  guidance  of  a  leader,  and  with  the 
precision  of  a  regiment  on  drill. 

Passing  these,  a  curtain  was  drawn  aside,  and  we  were 

> :;'#^Qv% 



ushered  at  once  into  the  presence  of  the  Viceroy,  whom 
we  found  walking  up  and  down  in  the  middle  of  a  large 
room,  between  two  rows  of  gigantic  silver  candlesticks, 
which  stood  upon  the  carpet.  This  is  the  usual  way  of 
lighting  a  room  in  Egypt : — Six  large  silver  dishes,  about 
two  feet  in  diameter  and  turned  upside  down,  are  first 
placed  upon  the  floor,  three  on  each  side,  near  the  centre 
of  the  room.  On  each  of  these  stands  a  silver  candlestick, 
between  four  and  five  feet  high,  containing  a  wax  candle 
three  feet  long,  and  very  thick.  A  seventh  candlestick, 
of  smaller  dimensions,  stands  on  the  floor,  separate  from 
these,  for  the  purpose  of  being  moved  about ;  it  is  carried 
to  any  one  who  wants  to  read  a  letter,  or  to  examine  an 
object  more  closely  while  he  is  seated  on  the  divan. 
Almost  every  room  in  the  palace  has  an  European  chan- 
delier hanging  from  the  ceiling,  but  I  do  not  remember 
having  ever  seen  one  lit.  These  large  candlesticks, 
standing  in  two  rows,  with  the  little  one  before  them, 
always  put  me  in  mind  of  a  line  of  life  guards  of  gigantic 
stature,  commanded  by  a  little  officer  whom  they  could 
almost  put  in  their  pockets. 

Mohammed  Ali  desired  us  to  be  seated.  He  was 
attended  by  Boghos  Bey,  who  remained  standing  and 
interpreted  for  us.  The  Pasha  at  that  time  was  a  hale, 
broad-shouldered,  broad-faced  man  :  his  short  grey  beard 
stuck  out  on  each  side  of  his  face  ;  his  nostrils  were  very 
much  opened  ;  and  with  his  quick  sharp  eye,  he  looked 
like  an  old  grey  lion.  The  expression  of  his  countenance 
was  remarkably  intelligent,  but  excepting  this  there  was 
nothing  particular  in  his  appearance.  He  was  attired  in 
the  Nizam  dress  of  blue  cloth.     This  costume  consists 


of  a  red  cap,  a  jacket  with  flying  sleeves,  a  waistcoat  with 
tight  sleeves  under  it,  a  red  shawl  round  the  waist,  a  pair 
of  trousers  very  full,  like  trunk  hose,  down  to  the  knee, 
from  whence  to  the  ankle  they  were  tight.  The  whole 
costume  is  always  made  of  the  same  coloured  cloth, 
usually  black  or  blue.  He  had  white  stockings  and 
yellow  morocco  shoes. 

When  we  were  seated  on  the  divan  we  commenced  the 
usual  routine  of  Oriental  compliments  ;  and  coffee  was 
handed  to  us  in  caps  entirely  covered  with  large  dia- 
monds. A  pipe  was  then  brought  to  the  Pasha,  but  not 
to  us.  This  pipe  was  about  seven  feet  long  :  the  mouth- 
piece, of  light  green  amber,  was  a  foot  long,  and  a  foot 
more  below  the  mouthpiece,  as  well  as  another  part  of 
the  pipe  lower  down,  was  richly  set  with  diamonds  of 
great  value,  with  a  diamond  tassel  hanging  to  it. 

We  discoursed  for  three  quarters  of  an  hour  about  the 
possibility  of  laying  a  railway  across  the  Isthmus  of  Suez, 
which  was  the  project  then  uppermost  in  the  Pasha's 
mind ;  but  the  circumstance  which  most  strongly  recalls 
this  audience  to  my  memory,  and  which  struck  me  as  an 
instance  of  manners  differing  entirely  from  our  own,  was, 
in  itself,  a  very  trivial  one.  The  Pasha  wanted  his  pocket 
handkerchief,  and  looked  about  and  felt  in  his  pocket  for 
it,  but  could  not  find  it,  making  various  exclamations 
during  his  search,  which  at  last  were  answered  by  an 
attendant  from  the  lower  end  of  the  room — "  Feel  in  the 
other  pocket,"  said  the  servant.  "  Well,  it  is  not  there," 
said  the  Pasha.  "  Look  in  the  other,  then."  "  I  have 
not  got  a  handkerchief,"  or  words  to  that  effect,  were 
replied  to  immediately, — "  Yes,   you   have  ;" — "  No,   I 

Chap.  V.        VIEW  OF  CAIRO  FROM  THE  CITADEL.  4  7 

have  not ;" — "  Yes,  you  have."  Eventually  this  attendant, 
advancing  up  to  the  Pasha,  felt  in  the  pocket  of  his 
jacket,  but  the  handkerchief  was  not  to  be  found ;  then 
he  poked  all  round  the  Pasha's  waist,  to  see  whether  it 
was  not  tucked  into  his  shawl :  that  would  not  do.  So 
he  took  hold  of  his  Sovereign  and  pushed  him  half  over 
on  the  divan,  and  looked  under  him  to  see  whether  he 
was  sitting  on  the  handkerchief;  then  he  pushed  him 
over  on  the  other  side.  During  all  which  manoeuvres  the 
Pasha  sat  as  quietly  and  passively  as  possible.  The 
servant  then,  thrusting  his  arm  up  to  the  elbow  in  one  of 
the  pockets  of  his  Highness's  voluminous  trousers,  pulled 
out  a  snuff-box,  a  rosary,  and  several  other  things,  which 
he  laid  upon  the  divan.  That  would  not  do  either  ;  so 
he  came  over  to  the  other  pocket,  and  diving  to  a  pro- 
digious depth  he  produced  the  missing  handkerchief  from 
the  recesses  thereof;  and  with  great  respect  and  gravity, 
thrusting  it  into  the  Pasha's  hand,  he  retired  again  to  his 
place  at  the  lower  end  of  the  hall. 

After  being  presented  with  sherbet,  in  glass  bowls  with 
covers,  we  took  our  leave,  and  rode  home  through  the 
crowds  of  persons  with  paper  lanterns,  who  turn  night 
into  day  during  the  month  of  Ramadan. 

The  view  from  that  part  of  the  bastions  of  the  citadel 
which  looks  over  the  place  of  the  Roumayli  and  the  great 
mosque  of  Sultan  Hassan  is  one  of  the  most  extraordinary 
that  can  be  seen  any  where.  The  whole  city  is  displayed 
at  your  feet ;  the  numerous  domes  and  minarets,  the 
towers  of  the  Saracenic  walls,  the  flat  roofs  of  the  houses, 
and  the  narrowness  of  the  streets  giving  it  an  aspect  very 
different  from  that  of  an  European  town.  You  see  the  Nile 
and  the  gardens  of  Ibrahim  Pasha  in  the  island  of  Rhoda  to 


the  left ;  and  the  avenue  of  Egyptian  sycamores  to  the 
right,  leading  to  the  Pasha's  country-palace  of  Shoubra. 
Beyond  the  Nile,  the  bare  mysterious-looking  desert, 
and  the  Pyramids  standing  on  their  rocky  base,  lead  the 
mind  to  dwell  upon  the  mighty  deeds  of  ancient  days. 
The  forest  of  waving  palm-trees,  around  Saccara,  stretches 
away  to  the  south-west,  shading  the  mounds  of  earth 
which  cover  the  remains  of  the  vast  city  of  Memphis,  in 
comparison  to  which  London  would  appear  but  a  se- 
condary town :  for  if  we  may  judge  from  the  line  of 
pyramids  from  Giseh  to  Dashour,  which  formed  the 
necropolis  of  Memphis,  and  the  various  mounds  and 
dykes  and  ancient  remains  which  extend  along  the  mar- 
gin of  the  Nile,  for  nearly  six-and-thirty  miles,  the  ex- 
treme length  of  London  being  barely  eight,  and  of  Paris 
not  much  more  than  four,  Memphis  must  have  been 
larger  than  London,  Paris,  and  ancient  Rome,  all  united ; 
and  judging  from  the  description  which  Herodotus  has 
given  us  of  the  enormous  size  of  the  temples  and  build- 
ings, which  are  now  entirely  washed  away,  in  consequence 
of  their  having  been  built  on  the  alluvial  plain,  which  is 
every  year  inundated  by  the  waters  of  the  Nile,  Memphis 
in  its  glory  must  have  exceeded  any  modern  city,  as 
much  as  the  Pyramids  exceed  any  mausoleum  which  has 
been  erected  since  those  days. 

The  tombs  of  the  Caliphs,  as  they  are  called,  although 
most  of  them  are  the  burial-places  of  the  Mameluke  Sul- 
tans of  Egypt,  are  magnificent  and  imposing  buildings. 
Many  of  them  consist  of  a  mosque  built  round  a  court, 
to  which  is  attached  a  great  hall  with  a  dome,  under 
which  is  placed  the  Sultan's  tomb.  These  beautiful 
specimens  of  Arabian  architecture  form  a  considerable 

Chap.  V.  TOMBS  OF  THE  CALIPHS.  49 

town  or  city  of  the  dead,  on  the  east  and  south  sides 
of  Cairo,  about  a  mile  beyond  the  walls.  I  was  astonished 
at  their  exceeding  beauty  and  magnificence.  Most  of 
them  were  built  during  the  two  centuries  preceding  the 
conquest  of  Egypt,  by  Sultan  Selim,  in  1517,  who  tor- 
tured the  last  of  the  Mameluke  Sultans,  Toman  Bey,  and 
hung  him  with  a  rope,  which  is  yet  to  be  seen  dangling 
over  the  gate  called  Bab  Zuweyleh,  in  front  of  which 
criminals  are  still  executed. 

The  mausoleum  of  Sultan  Bergook  is  a  triumph  of 
Saracenic  architecture. 

The  minarets  of  these  tombs  are  most  richly  orna- 
mented with  tracery,  sculpture,  and  variegated  marbles. 
The  walls  of  many  of  them  are  built  in  alternate  layers 
of  red  and  white  or  black  and  white  marble.  The  dome 
of  the  tomb  of  Kaitbay  is  of  stone,  sculptured  all  over  with 
an  arabesque  pattern  ;  and  there  are  several  other  domes 
in  different  mosques  at  Cairo  equally  richly  ornamented. 
I  have  met  with  none  comparable  to  them  either  in 
Europe  or  in  the  Levant.  It  is  strange  that  none  of  the 
Italian  architects  ever  thought  of  domes  covered  with 
rich  ornamental  work  in  stone  or  marble  ;  the  effect  of 
those  at  Cairo  is  indescribably  fine.  Unfortunately  they 
are  now  much  neglected  ;  but  in  the  clear  dry  air  of  Egypt 
time  falls  more  lightly  on  the  works  of  man  than  in  the 
damp  and  chilly  climates  of  the  north,  and  the  tombs  of 
the  Mameluke  sovereigns  will  probably  last  for  centuries 
to  come  if  they  are  not  pulled  down  for  the  materials,  or 
removed  to  make  way  for  some  paltry  lath  and  plaster 
edifice  which  will  fall  in  the  lifetime  of  its  builder. 

Besides  these  larger  structures,  many  of  the  smaller 


50  MOHAMMED  ALl's  MAUSOLEUM.  Chap.  V. 

tombs,  which  arc  scattered  over  the  desert  for  miles  under 
the  hills  of  Mokattam,  are  studies  for  the  architect. 
There  are  numerous  little  domes  of  beautiful  design, 
richly  ornamented  doors  and  gateways,  tombs  and  tomb- 
stones of  all  sorts  and  sizes  in  infinite  variety,  most  of 
them  so  well  preserved  in  this  glorious  climate  that  the 
inscriptions  on  them  are  as  legible  as  when  they  were 
first  put  up. 

The  Pasha  has  built  himself  a  house  in  this  city  of  the 
dead,  to  which  many  members  of  his  family  have  gone 
before  him.  This  mausoleum  consists  of  several  build- 
ings covered  with  low  heavy  domes,  whitewashed  or 
plastered  on  the  outside.  Within,  if  I  remember  right, 
are  the  tombs  of  Toussoun  and  Ismael  Pashas,  and  those 
of  several  of  his  wives,  grand-children,  and  relatives ; 
they  repose  under  marble  monuments,  somewhat  resem- 
bling altars  in  shape,  with  a  tall  post  or  column  at  the 
head  and  feet,  as  is  usual  in  Turkish  graves ;  the 
column  at  the  head  being  carved  into  the  form  of  the 
head-dress  distinctive  of  the  rank  or  sex  of  the  deceased. 
These  sepulchral  chambers  are  all  carpeted,  and  Cash- 
mere shawls  are  thrown  over  many  of  the  tombs,  while  in 
arched  recesses  there  are  divans  with  cushions  for  the  use 
of  those  who  come  to  mourn  over  their  departed  relatives. 

We  will  now  return  to  the  living ;  but  so  perfect  an 
account  of  the  Arabian  population  of  Cairo  is  to  be  found 
in  Mr.  Lane's  '  Modern  Egypt,'  that  there  is  little  left  to 
say  upon  that  subject,  except  that  since  that  work  was 
published  the  presence  of  numerous  Europeans  has  dimin- 
ished the  originality  of  the  Oriental  manners  of  this  city, 
and  numerous  vices  and   modes  of  cheating,  besides  a 

Chap.  V.  POPULATION  OF  CAIRO.  51 

larger  variety  of  drunken  scenes,  are  offered  for  the  obser- 
vation of  the  curious,  than  existed  in  the  more  unsophisti- 
cated times,  before  steamers  came  to  Alexandria,  and 
what  is  called  the  overland  journey  to  India  was  esta- 
blished. The  population  of  Cairo  consists  of  the  ruling 
class,  who  are  Turks,  who  speak  Turkish,  and  affect 
to  despise  all  who  have  never  been  rowed  in  a  caique  upon 
the  Bosphorus.  Then  come  the  Arabs,  the  former  con- 
querors of  the  land  ;  they  form  the  bulk  of  the  population 
— all  the  petty  tradesmen  and  cultivators  of  the  soil  are 
of  Arab  origin.  Besides  these  are  the  Copts,  who  are 
descended  from  the  original  lords  of  the  country,  the  an- 
cient Egyptians,  who  have  left  such  wonderful  monuments 
of  their  power.  After  these  may  be  reckoned  the  motley 
crew  of  Jews,  Franks,  Armenians,  Arabs  of  Barbary  and 
the  Hejaz,  Syrians,  Negroes,  and  Barabra  ;  but  these  are 
but  sojourners  in  the  land,  and,  except  the  Jews,  can  hardly 
be  counted  among  the  regular  subjects  of  the  Pasha. 
There  are  besides,  the  Levantine  Christians,  who  are  under 
the  protection  of  one  or  other  of  the  European  powers. 
Many  of  this  class  are  rich  and  influential  merchants  ; 
some  of  them  live  in  the  Oriental  style,  and  others  are 
ambitious  to  assume  the  tight  clothing  and  manner  of  life 
of  the  Franks.  The  older  merchants  among  the  Levan- 
tines keep  more  to  the  Oriental  ways  of  life,  while  the 
younger  gentlemen  and  ladies  follow  the  ugly  fashion  of 
Europe,  particularly  the  men,  who  leave  off  the  cool  and 
convenient  Eastern  dress  to  swelter  in  the  tight  bandages 
of  the  Franks  ;  the  ladies,  on  the  contrary,  are  apt  to  retain 
the  Oriental  costume,  which  in  its  turn  is  neither  so  be- 
coming nor  so  easy  as  the  Paris  fashions.     It  must  be  the 


52  POPULATION  OF  CAIRO.  Chap.  V. 

spirit  of  contradiction,  so  natural  to  the  human  race,  which 
causes  this  arrangement ;  for  if  the  men  kept  to  their  old 
costume,  they  would  be  more  comfortable  than  they  can  be 
with  tight  clothes,  coat-collars,  and  neckcloths,  when  the 
thermometer  stands  at  112°  of  Fahrenheit  in  the  coolest 
shade,  besides  the  dignity  of  their  appearance,  which  is 
cast  away  with  the  folds  of  the  Turkish  or  Arabian  dress. 
An  estimate  of  the  peculiar  qualities  of  some  of  these 
various  nations  may  be  found  in  the  following  calculation, 
which  may  be  relied  upon  so  far,  that  it  was  composed  by 
a  person  who  had  acquired  a  practical  knowledge  of  their 
capacities  by  'having  been  cheated  more  than  once  by  the 
countrymen  of  each  of  the  nations  mentioned  in  the  follow- 
ing table. 

It  takes  the  wits  of — 

4  Turks  to  overreach  one  Frank. 
2  Franks  to  cheat  one  Greek. 
2  Greeks  to  cheat  one  Jew. 
6  Jews  to  cheat  one  Armenian. 

Of  these  nations  it  is  only  the  Franks  or  Europeans  who 
deal  promiscuously  in  every  kind  of  merchandise,  cheat  all 
men,  and  apply  themselves  as  far  as  they  are  able  to  the 
advancement  of  every  art  and  science.  We  see  in  England 
but  two  races  who  apply  themselves  particularly  to  one 
trade ;  the  Gypsies  have  a  singular  faculty  for  tinkering, 
and  the  Jews  for  the  exchange  of  money  and  second-hand 
goods :  besides  these  it  will  be  observed  in  the  East,  that 
the  jewellers  and  silversmiths  are  always  Armenians,  the 
carpenters  Maltese,  and  the  descendants  of  Agamemnon 
tailors.  The  Turks  do  nothing  but  fight,  and  there 
are  some  other  nations  who  always  run  away :  however,  the 

Chap.  V.  TURKS  AND  JEWS.  53 

race  is  not  always  to  the  swift,  or  the  battle  to  the  strong ; 
and  though  the  catastrophe  was  melancholy,  I  cannot  resist 
recording  a  legend  or  tradition  of  a  Turk  having  once 
upon  a  time  actually  overreached  a  Jew.  There  was  a 
Turk  who  came  into  Constantinople  on  business  from  the 
country — a  good,  simple  man,  as  most  of  the  Turkish 
country  people  are.  He  had  occasion  very  frequently  to 
deal  with  a  Jew  who  kept  a  shop  for  all  sorts  of  things  in 
the  bazaar.  Every  day  when  the  Turk  brought  back  his 
purchases  to  Valide  Khan,  where  he  put  up  during  his 
stay  in  the  city,  he  invariably  found  that  some  how  or 
other  he  had  been  taken  in  :  he  was  sure  to  find  that  he  had 
been  cheated,  either  in  measure,  weight,  quality,  or  some- 
thing else.  His  companions,  when  they  sat  smoking  in  the 
shade  together  in  the  evening,  under  the  tree  by  the  little 
mosque,  in  the  middle  of  the  immense  quadrangle,  always 
had  a  laugh  against  their  friend  when  they  in  their  quiet, 
solemn  way  talked  over  the  piastres  and  paras  which  they 
had  laid  out  in  the  bazaar.  At  length  the  poor  Turk  began 
to  be  exasperated  ;  he  was  getting  sore  and  touchy  about 
the  matter  ;  and  the  more  he  was  fleeced  the  more  thin- 
skinned  he  became  on  the  subject  of  his  dealings  with  the 
Jew.  One  evening  in  desperation  he  consulted  an  old  Hadji, 
a  sly,  long-bearded,  grave  personage,  who  had  made  two 
pilgrimages  to  Mecca,  both  of  which,  from  the  judicious 
selection  of  the  merchandise  that  he  had  carried  with  him, 
had  turned  out  as  profitable  to  his  temporal  concerns  as  the 
throwing  three  stones  at  the  devil  and  seven  at  the  devil's 
sons  was  to  his  eternal  benefit.  "  Oh  !  Hadji,"  cried  the 
poor  bewildered  Turk,  "  in  the  name  of  the  Prophet  help 
me  in  this  thing  :  tell  me,  of  your  charity,  of  some  device 

51  TURKS  AND   JEWS.  Chap.  V. 

by  which  I  may  be  revenged  on  this  Chifoot,  this  Jew,  for 
the  shameful  way  in  which  he  has  continually  cheated  a 
true  believer  like  myself.  I  might  beat  him  certainly,  I 
might  make  him  eat  stick  ;  but  then  I  should  put  myself 
in  the  wrong,  I  should  get  into  trouble  with  the  Cadi,  and 
the  end  would  be  worse  than  the  beginning." 

Giving  out  slowly  a  long  whiff  of  smoke  from  his  pipe, 
the  Hadji,  who  was  a  man  of  few  words,  said,  "  My  son, 
return  again  to  the  Jew's  shop,  look  about  among  his  wares, 
and,  seizing  upon  some  insignificant-looking  old  thing,  ask 
eagerly  the  price,  holding  it  in  your  hand,  and  taking  out 
a  purse  of  gold  at  the  same  time  :  pay  him  down  upon  his 
counting  board  immediately  whatever  he  may  ask  ;  walk 
away  rapidly,  with  a  smiling  countenance :  do  this,  and  you 
will  be  revenged." 

The  Turkish  countryman  did  not  at  all  understand  the 
advice  which  had  been  given  :  he  thought  the  Hadji  must  be 
joking,  only  he  knew  that  the  Hadji  was  not  a  joker,  and 
had  never  made  a  joke  in  his  life.  Accordingly  he  set  off 
and  pounced  upon  a  little  old  box  in  the  Jew's  shop  worth 
perhaps  20  piastres  ;  the  Jew  asked  him  200.  His  great 
difficulty  now  was  to  pay  this  money  with  a  cheerful  coun- 
tenance, for  he  felt  that  he  was  being  cheated  again  :  how- 
ever, he  made  an  effort,  paid  the  200  piastres  with  a  smile, 
and  walked  off  with  the  shabby  little  box  with  the  air  of  a 
man  who  had  done  somethin0-  clever.  "  Well,"  said  the 
Hadji,  when  he  met  him  in  the  evening,  "  have  you  done 
what  I  said  ? — have  you  followed  my  advice  ?" — "  Yes,"  re- 
plied the  country  "gentleman,  "I  have  :  see,  here  is  a  box  ; 
what  is  it  worth  ?  ten  piastres  ?  Cursed  be  all  Jews !  what 
do  you  think  I  gave  for  it  ?    Blessed  be  the  Prophet,  Jews 

Chap.  V.  TURKS  AND  JEWS.  55 

have  no  chance  in  the  next  world  ;  that  is  some  comfort  any 
how  ;  but  how  am  I  revenged,  O  Hadji  ?  Tell  me,  O  father, 
do  not  laugh  at  my  beard,  for  the  son  of  abomination  is 
counting  my  200  piastres  at  this  moment :  may  his  soul  be 
grilled  and  made  into  200  skewers  of  kabobs.  Behold,  I  do 
not  see  how  I  am  to  be  revenged." — "  Yavash,  gently,  my 
son,"  said  the  Hadji,  "  yavash  ;  to-morrow,  Inshallah,  you 
will  see  ;"  and  he  went  on  smoking,  for  he  had  said  a  good 
deal  for  him  in  the  last  two  days,  and  so  he  smoked  his  pipe 
and  said  no  more. 

The  next  time  our  friend  walked  with  a  rueful  counte- 
nance through  the  bazaar  he  saw  that  the  Jew's  shop  was 
shut  up ;  and  observing  some  of  the  neighbours  talking 
together  in  the  street,  he  inquired  of  them  why  the  shop  was 
shut.  "  Oh,  sir,"  said  a  bystander,  "  oh,  aga,  be  it  known 
to  your  nobility  that  yesterday  a  merchant,  who  had  many 
dealings  with  this  Jew,  and  to  whom  he  was  as  it  were  an 
estate,  a  khasnadar,  a  treasurer,  from  the  profit  which  the 
Jew  made  out  of  him — this  merchant  bought  a  box  at  his 
shop  :  it  was  evidently  worth  nothing,  so  far  as  its  appear- 
ance went ;  but  the  merchant  having  paid  two  thousand 
piastres,  as  it  is  said,  rather  than  leave  this  mean-looking 
box,  a  thought  came  into  the  head  of  the  Jew — there  must 
have  been  a  diamond  in  it !  He  considered,  and  shutting  up 
his  shop  in  vexation  he  went  home  and  told  his  wife.  '  Per- 
haps it  was  a  talisman,'  she  said.  '  Oh  fool  !'  said  his 
wife's  mother,  '  miserable  dog  that  thou  art,  doubtless  it 
was  Solomon's  seal ;  for  otherwise  why  should  a  Turk  for- 
sooth give  such  a  sum  for  a  mean  box  worth  nothing  ?  Alas ! 
thou  fool,  what  hast  thou  done  ?  Thou  disgrace  to  our 
house,  hast  thou  kept  a  shop  in  the  bazaar  so  long  for  this  ? 


Oh  small  man,  a  woman  indeed  would  have  been  more 
awake.  Alas  that  we  have  married  our  daughter  to  an  ass ! 
Woe  is  me  !  Dost  thou  call  thyself  a  man  ? — a  man  ! 
where  are  thy  brains,  Oh  man  ? — say,  hast  thou  any  brains 
or  not  ?  hast  thou  ruined  thy  family  or  hast  thou  not  ? — 
what  dirt  hast  thou  been  eating  ?  Alas  !  alas  !  amaan, 
amaan,  amaan  ! '  The  poor  man  had  no  peace  ;  no  words 
were  spoken  to  him  by  his  family  but  the  words  of  contempt 
and  abuse  :  and  therefore,  Oh  Aga,  in  the  morning,  his 
life  being  a  burthen,  he  went  out  into  his  garden  and 
hanged  himself."  The  country  gentleman  was  much 
shocked  when  he  heard  of  the  unhappy  end  of  the  Jew,  but 
a  Persian  dealer  in  Kermaun  shawls  observed,  "  By  the 
name  of  Ali,  I  am  glad  that  the  Jew  hanged  himself,  but  I 
am  sorry  he  did  not  leave  me  the  '200  piastres  in  his  will." 

The  ladies  would  be  much  improved  by  the  artful  de- 
vices of  the  Parisian  modistes  ;  for  although,  when  young 
and  pretty,  all  women  look  well  in  almost  any  dress,  the 
elder  ladies  are  sometimes  but  little  to  be  admired  in  the 
shapeless  costumes  of  the  Levant,  where  the  richness  of 
the  material  does  not  make  up  for  the  want  of  fit  and 
gracefulness  which  is  the  character  of  their  dress.  This 
may  easily  be  imagined  when  it  is  understood  that  both 
men's  and  women's  dresses  may  be  bought  ready  made  in 
the  bazaar,  and  that  any  dress  will  fit  anybody  unless  they 
are  supernaturally  fat  or  of  dwarfish  stature. 

An  Egyptian  lady's  dress  consists  of  a  pair  of  im- 
mensely full  trousers  of  satin  or  brocade,  or  often  of  a 
brilliant  cherry-coloured  silk :  these  are  tied  under  the 
knees,  and  descending  to  the  ground,  have  the  appearance 
of  a  very  full  petticoat.     The  Arabic  name  of  this  gar- 


ment  is  Shintian.  Over  this  is  worn  a  shirt  of  transparent 
silk  gauze  (Kamis).  It  has  long  full  sleeves,  which,  as 
well  as  the  border  round  the  neck,  are  richly  embroidered 
with  gold  and  bright-coloured  silks.  The  edge  of  the 
shirt  is  often  seen  like  a  tunic  over  the  trousers,  and  has 
a  pretty  effect.  Over  this  again  is  worn  a  long  silk  gown, 
open  in  front  and  on  each  side,  called  a  yelek.  The 
fashion  is  to  have  the  yelek  about  a  foot  longer  than  the 
lady  who  wears  it ;  so  that  its  three  tails  shall  just  touch 
the  ground  when  she  is  mounted  on  a  pair  of  high  wooden 
clogs,  called  cobcobs,  which  are  intended  for  use  in  the 
bath,  but  in  which  they  often  clatter  about  in  the  house  : 
the  straps  over  the  instep,  by  which  these  cobcobs  are 
attached  to  the  feet,  are  always  finely  worked,  and  are 
sometimes  of  diamonds.  The  husband  gives  his  bride  on 
their  marriage  a  pair  of  these  odd-looking  things,  which 
are  about  six  or  eight  inches  high,  and  are  always  carried 
on  a  tray  on  a  man's  head  in  marriage  processions.  The 
yelek  fits  the  shape  in  some  degree  down  to  the  waist ;  it 
comes  up  high  upon  the  neck,  and  has  tightish  sleeves, 
which  are  long  enough  to  trail  upon  the  ground.  "  Oh  ! 
thou  with  the  long-sleeved  yelek  "  is  a  common  chorus  or 
ending  to  a  stanza  in  an  Arab  song.  Not  round  the 
waist  but  round  the  hips  a  large  and  heavy  Cashmere 
shawl  is  worn  over  the  yelek,  and  the  whole  gracefulness 
of  an  Egyptian  dress  consists  in  the  way  in  which  this  is 
put  on.  In  the  winter  a  long  gown,  called  Jubeh,  is 
superadded  to  all  this  :  it  is  of  cloth  or  velvet,  or  a  sort  of 
stuff  made  of  the  Angora  goat's  hair,  and  is  sometimes 
lined  with  fur. 

Young  girls  do  not  often  wear  this  nor  the  yelek,  but 



have  instead  a  waistcoat  of  silk  with  long  sleeves  like 
those  of  the  yelek.  This  is  called  an  anteri,  and  over  it 
they  wear  a  velvet  jacket  with  short  sleeves,  which  is  so 
much  embroidered  with  gold  and  pearls  that  the  velvet  is 
almost  hid.  Their  hair  hangs  down  in  numerous  long 
tails,  plaited  with  silk,  to  which  sequins,  or  little  gold 
coins,  are  attached.  The  plaits  must  be  of  an  uneven  num- 
ber :  it  would  be  unlucky  if  they  were  even.  Sometimes  at 
the  end  of  one  of  the  plaits  hangs  the  little  golden  bottle  of 
surmeh  with  which  they  black  the  edges  of  their  eyelids ; 
a  most  becoming  custom  when  it  is  well  done,  and  not 
smeared,  as  it  often  is,  for  then  the  effect  is  rather  like 
that  of  a  black  eye,  in  the  pugilistic  sense  of  the  term. 
On  the  head  is  worn  a  very  beautiful  ornament  called  a 
koors.  It  is  in  the  shape  of  a  saucer  or  shallow  basin,  and 
is  frequently  covered  with  rose  diamonds.  I  am  sur- 
prised that  it  has  never  been  introduced  into  Europe,  as 
it  is  a  remarkably  pretty  head-dress,  with  the  long  tresses 
of  jet  black  hair  hanging  from  under  it,  plaited  with  the 
shining  coins.  Round  the  head  a  handkerchief  is  wound, 
which  spoils  the  effect  of  all  the  rest :  but  a  woman  in 
the  East  is  never  seen  with  the  head  uncovered,  even  in 
the  house  ;  and  when  she  goes  out,  the  veil,  as  we  call  it, 
though  it  has  no  resemblance  to  a  veil,  is  used  to  conceal 
the  whole  person.  A  lady  enclosed  in  this  singular 
covering  looks  like  a  large  bundle  of  black  silk,  diversified 
only  by  a  stripe  of  white  linen  extending  down  the  front 
of  her  person,  from  the  middle  of  her  nose  to  her  un- 
gainly yellow  boots,  into  which  her  stockingless  feet  are 
thrust  for  the  occasion.  The  veils  of  Egypt,  of  which  the 
outer  black  silk  covering  is  called  a  khabara,  and  the 


part  over  the  face  a  boorkoo,  are  entirely  different  from 
those  worn  in  Constantinople,  Persia,  or  Armenia  ;  these 
are  all  various  in  form  and  colour,  complicated  and  won- 
derful garments,  which  it  would  take  too  long  to  describe, 
but  they,  as  well  as  the  Egyptian  one,  answer  their 
intended  purpose  excellently,  for  they  effectually  prevent 
the  display  of  any  grace  or  peculiarity  of  form  or  feature. 
There  is  no  greater  mistake  than  to  suppose  that  East- 
ern ladies  are  prisoners  in  the  harem,  and  that  they  are 
to  be  pitied  for  the  want  of  liberty  which  the  jealousy  of 
their  husbands  condemns  them  to.  The  Christian  ladies 
live  from  choice  and  habit  in  the  same  way  as  the  Ma- 
homedan  women :  and,  indeed,  the  Egyptian  fair  ones 
have  more  facilities  to  do  as  they  choose,  to  go  where 
they  like,  and  to  carry  on  any  intrigue  than  the  Euro- 
peans ;  for  their  complete  disguise  carries  them  safely 
everywhere.  No  one  knows  whether  any  lady  he  may 
meet  in  the  bazaar  is  his  wife,  his  daughter,  or  his  grand- 
mother :  and  I  have  several  times  been  addressed  by 
Turkish  and  Egyptian  ladies  in  the  open  street,  and  asked 
all  sorts  of  questions  in  a  way  that  could  not  be  done  in 
any  European  country.  The  harem,  it  is  true,  is  by  law 
inviolable :  no  one  but  the  Sultan  can  enter  it  unan- 
nounced, and  if  a  pair  of  strange  slippers  are  seen  left  at 
the  outer  door,  the  master  of  the  house  cannot  enter 
his  own  harem  so  long  as  this  proof  of  the  presence  of  a 
visitor  remains.  If  the  husband  is  disagreeable,  an  extra 
pair  of  slippers  will  at  all  times  keep  him  out ;  and  the 
ladies  inside  may  enjoy  themselves  without  the  slightest 
fear  of  interruption.  It  is  asserted  also  that  gentlemen, 
who  are  not  too  tall,  have  gone  into  all  sorts  of  places  under 

60  A  LEVANTINE  BEAUTY.  Chap.  V, 

the  protection  of  a  lady's  veil,  so  completely  does  it  con- 
ceal the  person.  But  this  is  not  the  case  with  the  Le- 
vantine or  Christian  ladies  :  although  they  live  in  a  harem, 
like  the  Mahomedans,  it  is  not  protected  in  the  same  way  : 
the  slippers  have  not  the  same  effect ;  for  the  men  of  the 
family  go  in  and  out  whenever  they  please  ;  and  relations 
and  visitors  of  the  male  sex  are  received  in  the  apartments 
of  the  ladies. 

On  one  occasion  I  accompanied  an  English  traveller, 
who  had  many  acquaintances  at  Cairo,  to  the  house  of  a 
Levantine  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Coptic  quarter.  Whilst 
we  were  engaged  in  conversation  with  an  old  lady  the 
curtain  over  the  doorway  was  drawn  aside,  and  there 
entered  the  most  lovely  apparition  that  can  be  conceived, 
in  the  person  of  a  young  lady  about  sixteen  years  old,  the 
daughter  of  the  lady  of  the  house.  She  had  a  beautifully 
fair  complexion,  very  uncommon  in  this  country,  remark- 
ably long  hair,  which  hung  down  her  back,  and  her  dress, 
which  was  all  of  the  same  rich  material,  rose-coloured 
silk,  shot  with  gold,  became  her  so  well,  that  I  have  rarely 
seen  so  graceful  and  striking  a  figure.  She  was  closely 
followed  by  two  black  girls,  both  dressed  in  light-blue 
satin,  embroidered  with  silver ;  they  formed  an  excellent 
contrast  to  their  charming  mistress,  and  were  very  good- 
looking  in  their  way,  with  their  slight  and  graceful 
figures.  The  young  Levantine  came  and  sat  by  me  on 
the  divan,  and  was  much  amused  at  my  blundering 
attempts  at  conversation  in  Arabic,  of  which  I  then  knew 
scarcely  a  dozen  words.  I  must  confess  that  I  was  rather 
vexed  with  her  for  smoking  a  long  jessamine  pipe,  which, 
however,  most  Eastern  ladies  do.     She  got  up  to  wait 


upon  us,  and  handed  us  the  coffee,  pipes,  and  sherbet, 
which  are  always  presented  to  visitors  in  every  house. 
This  custom  of  being  waited  upon  by  the  ladies  is  rather 
distressing  to  our  European  notions  of  devotion  to  the  fair 
sex :   and  I  remember  being  horrified  shortly  after  my 
arrival  in  Egypt  at  the  manners  of  a  rich  old  jeweller  to 
whom  I  was  introduced.     His  wife,  a  beautiful  woman, 
superbly   dressed  in   brocade,   with  gold  and  diamond 
ornaments,  waited  upon  us  during  the  whole  time  that  I 
remained  in  the  house.     She  was  the  first  Eastern  lady  I 
had  seen,  and  I  remember  being  much  edified  at  the  way 
she  pattered  about  on  a  pair  of  lofty  cobcobs,  and  the  artful 
way  in  which  she  got  her  feet  out  of  them  whenever  she 
came  up  towards  where  we  sat  on  the  divan,  at  the  upper 
end  of  the  apartment.     She  stood  at  the  lower  end  of  the 
room ;  and  whenever  the  old  brute  of  a  jeweller  wanted 
to  return  anything,  some  coins  which  he  was  showing  me, 
or  anything  else,  he  threw  them  on  the  floor;  and  his 
beautiful  wife  jumping  out  of  her  cobcobs  picked  them  up  ; 
and  when  she  had  handed  them  to  some  of  the  maids  who 
stood  at  the  door,  resumed  her  station  below  the  step  at 
the  farther  end  of  the  room.     She  had  magnificent  eyes 
and  luxuriant  black  hair,  as  they  all  have,  and  would 
have  been  considered  a  beauty  in  any  country ;  but  she 
was  not  to  be  compared  to  the  bright  little  damsel  in  pink, 
who,  besides  her  beauty,  was  as  cheerful  and  merry  as  a 
bird,  and  whose  lovely  features  were  radiant  with  arch- 
ness and  intelligence.     Many  of  the  Abyssinian  slaves  are 
exceedingly  handsome  :  they  have  very  expressive  counte- 
nances, and  the  finest  eyes  in  the  world,  and,  withal,  so  soft 
and  humble  a  look,  that  I  do  not  wonder  at  their  being 

62       VENERABLE  APPEARANCE  OF  THE  OLD  MEN.    Chap.  V. 

great  favourites  in  Egyptian  harems.  Many  of  them, 
however,  have  a  temper  of  their  own,  which  comes  out 
occasionally,  and  in  this  respect  the  Arab  women  are  not 
much  behind  them.  But  the  fiery  passions  of  this  burning 
climate  pass  away  like  a  thunderstorm,  and  leave  the 
sky  as  clear  and  serene  as  it  was  before. 

The  Arab  girls  of  the  lower  orders  are  often  very 
pretty  from  the  age  of  about  twelve  to  twenty,  but  they 
soon  go  oft';  and  the  astounding  ugliness  of  some  of  the 
old  women  is  too  terrible  to  describe.  In  Europe  we 
have  nothing  half  so  hideous  as  these  brown  old  women, 
and  this  is  the  more  remarkable,  because  the  old  men  are 
peculiarly  handsome  and  venerable  in  their  appearance, 
and  often  display  a  dignity  of  bearing  which  is  seldom  to 
be  met  with  in  Europe.  The  stately  gravity  of  an  Arab 
sheikh,  seated  on  the  ground  in  the  shade  of  a  tree,  with 
his  sons  and  grandsons  standing  before  him,  waiting  for 
his  commands,  is  singularly  imposing.  Painters  who  are 
wishing  to  illustrate  scenes  of  the  Patriarchal  times  of 
the  Old  Testament,  have  only  to  make  careful  sketches  of 
such  groups  as  these. 



Mohammed  Bey,  Defterdar — His  Expedition  to  Senaar  —  His  Barbarity 
and  Rapacity —  His  Defiance  of  the  Pasha  —  Stories  of  his  Cruelty  and 
Tyranny  —  The  Horse-shoe  —  The  Fight  of  the  Mamelukes  —  His 
cruel  Treachery  —  His  Mode  of  administering  Justice  —  The  stolen 
Milk  — The  Widow's  Cow  — Sale  and  Distribution  of  the  Thief— 
The  Turkish  Character  —  Pleasures  of  a  Journey  on  the  Nile  —  The 
Copts  —  Their  Patriarchs  —  The  Patriarch  of  Abyssinia  —  Basileos 
Bey  —  His  Boat  —  An  American's  choice  of  a  Sleeping-place. 

Just  before  my  arrival  in  Cairo  a  certain  Mohammed 
Bey,  Defterdar,  had  died  rather  suddenly,  after  drinking 
a  cup  of  coffee,  a  beverage  which  occasionally  disagrees 
with  the  great  men  in  Turkey,  although  not  so  much  so 
now  as  in  former  days.  This  Defterdar,  or  accountant, 
had  been  sent  by  the  Sultan  to  receive  the  Imperial 
revenue  from  the  Pasha  of  Egypt,  who  had  given  him  his 
daughter  in  marriage.  As  the  presence  of  the  Defterdar 
was  probably  a  check  upon  the  projects  of  the  Pasha,  he 
sent  him  to  Senaar,  at  the  head  of  an  expedition,  to 
revenge  the  death  of  Toussoun  Pasha,  his  second  son,  who 
had  been  burned  alive  in  his  house  by  one  of  the  exaspe- 
rated chiefs  of  Nubia.  This  was  a  mission  after  Moham- 
med Bey's  own  heart :  he  impaled  the  chief  and  several 
of  his  family,  and  displayed  a  rapacity  and  cruelty  unheard 
of  before  even  in  those  blood-stained  countries.  His 
talent  for  collecting  spoil,  and  valuables  of  every  descrip- 
tion, was  first-rate  ;  chests  and  bags  of  the  pure  gold  rings 
used  in  the  traffic  of  Central  Africa  accumulated  in  his 
tents ;  he  did  not  stick  at  a  trifle  in  his  measures  for  pro- 

64  THE  DEFTERDAR  DEFIES  THE  PASHA.        Chap.  VI. 

curing  gold,  pearls,  and  diamonds,  wherever  they  were  to 
be  heard  of;  streams  of  blood  accompanied  his  march,  and 
the  vultures  followed  in  his  track.  He  was  a  sportsman 
too,  and  hunted  slaves,  killing  the  old  ones,  and  carrying 
off  the  children,  whom  he  sent  to  Egypt  to  be  sold.  Many 
died  on  the  journey ;  but  that  did  not  much  matter,  as  it 
increased  the  value  of  the  rest. 

At  last,  after  a  most  successful  campaign,  the  Def- 
terdar  returned  to  his  palace  at  Cairo,  which  was  re- 
ported to  be  filled  with  treasure.  The  habits  he  had 
acquired  in  the  upper  country  stuck  to  him  after  he  got 
back  to  Egypt,  and  the  Pasha  was  obliged  to  express  his 
disapprobation  of  the  cruelties  which  were  committed  by 
him  on  the  most  trivial  occasions.  The  Defterdar,  how- 
ever, set  the  Pasha  at  defiance,  told  him  he  was  no 
subject  of  his,  but  that  he  was  an  envoy  from  his  master 
the  Sultan,  to  whom  alone  he  was  responsible,  and  that  he 
would  do  as  he  pleased  with  those  under  his  command. 
The  Pasha,  it  is  said,  made  no  further  remonstrance, 
and  continued  to  treat  his  son-in-law  with  distinguished 

Numerous  stories  are  told  of  the  cruelty  and  tyranny 
of  this  man.  One  day,  on  his  way  to  the  citadel,  he  found 
that  his  horse  had  cast  a  shoe.  He  inquired  of  his  groom, 
who  in  Egypt  runs  by  the  side  of  the  horse,  how  it  was 
that  his  horse  had  lost  a  shoe.  The  groom  said  he  did 
not  know,  but  that  he  supposed  it  had  not  been  well 
nailed  on.  Presently  they  came  to  a  farrier's  shop  ;  the 
Defterdar  stopped,  and  ordered  two  horseshoes  to  be 
brought ;  one  was  put  upon  the  horse,  and  the  other  he 
made  red  hot,  and  commanded  them  to  nail  it  firmly  to 


the  foot  of  the  groom,  whom  in  that  condition  he  compelled 
to  run  by  his  horse's  side  up  the  steep  hill  which  leads  to 
the  citadel. 

In  Turkey  it  was  the  custom  in  the  houses  of  the  great 
to  have  a  number  of  young  men,  who  in  Egypt  were 
called  Mamelukes,  after  that  gallant  corps  had  been  de- 
stroyed. A  number  of  the  Mamelukes  of  Mohammed 
Bey,  Defterdar,  driven  to  desperation  by  the  cruelties  of 
their  master,  beat  or  killed  one  of  the  superior  agas  of 
the  household,  took  some  money  which  they  found  in  his 
possession,  and  determined  to  escape  from  the  service  of 
their  tyrant.  His  guards  and  kawasses  soon  found  them 
out,  and  they  retired  to  a  strong  tower,  which  they  de- 
termined to  defend,  preferring  the  remotest  chance  of 
successful  resistance  to  the  terrors  of  service  under  the 
ferocious  Defterdar.  The  Bey,  however,  managed  to 
cajole  them  with  promises,  and  they  returned  to  his  palace, 
expecting  to  be  better  treated.  They  found  the  Bey 
seated  on  his  divan  in  the  Manderan  or  hall  of  audience, 
surrounded  by  the  officers  and  kawasses  whom  interest 
had  attached  to  his  service.  The  young  Mamelukes  had 
given  up  the  money  which  they  had  taken,  and  the  Bey 
had  it  on  the  divan  by  his  side.  He  now  told  them  that 
if  they  would  divide  themselves  into  two  parties  and  fight 
against  each  other,  he  would  pardon  the  victorious  party, 
present  them  with  the  bag  of  gold,  and  permit  them  to 
depart ;  but  that  if  they  did  not  agree  to  this  proposal  he 
would  kill  them  all.  The  Mamelukes,  finding  they  were 
entrapped,  consented  to  the  conditions  of  the  Bey,  and 
half  their  number  were  soon  weltering  in  their  blood  on 
the  floor  of  the  hall.     When  the  conquerors  claimed  the 

66  THE  STOLEN  MILK.  Chap.  VL 

promised  reward,  the  Defterdar,  who  had  now  far  superior 
numbers  on  his  side,  again  commanded  them  to  divide 
arid  fight  against  each  other.  Again  they  fought  in 
despair,  preferring  death  by  their  own  swords  to  the 
tortures  which  they  knew  the  merciless  Defterdar  would 
inflict  upon  them  now  that  he  had  got  them  completely  in 
his  power.  At  length  only  one  Mameluke  remained, 
whom  the  Bey,  with  kind  and  encouraging  words,  ordered 
to  approach,  commending  his  valour  and  holding  out  to 
him  the  promised  bag  of  gold  as  his  reward.  As  he  ap- 
proached, stepping  over  the  bodies  of  his  companions,  who 
all  lay  dead  or  dying  on  the  floor,  and  held  out  his  hands 
for  the  money,  the  Defterdar,  with  a  grim  smile,  made  a 
sign  to  one  of  his  kawasses,  and  the  head  of  the  young 
man  rolled  at  the  tyrant's  feet.  "  Thus,"  said  he,  "  shall 
perish  all  who  dare  to  offend  Mobammed  Bey." 

The  Defterdar  was  fond  of  justice,  after  a  fashion,  and 
his  mode  of  administering  it  was  characteristic.  A  poor 
woman  came  before  him  and  complained  that  one  of  his 
kawasses  had  seized  a  cup  of  milk  and  drunk  it,  refusing 
to  pay  her  its  value,  which  she  estimated  at  five  paras  (a 
para  is  the  fortieth  part  of  a  piastre,  which  is  worth  about 
twopence-halfpenny).  The  sensitive  justice  of  the  Defter- 
dar was  roused  by  this  complaint.  He  asked  the  woman 
if  she  should  know  the  person  who  had  stolen  her  milk 
were  she  to  see  him  aerain  ?  The  woman  said  she  should, 
upon  which  the  whole  household  was  drawn  out  before 
her,  and  looking  round  she  fixed  upon  a  man  as  the  thief. 
"  Very  well,"  said  the  Defterdar,  "  I  hope  you  are  sure 
of  your  man,  and  that  you  have  not  made  a  false  ac- 
cusation before  me.     He  shall  be  ripped  open,  and  if  the 

Chap.  VI.  THE  WIDOW'S  COW.  67 

milk  is  found  in  his  stomach,  you  shall  receive  your  five 
paras ;  but  if  there  is  no  milk  found,  you  shall  be  ripped 
up  in  turn  for  accusing  one  of  my  household  unjustly." 
The  unfortunate  kawass  was  cut  open  on  the  spot ;  some 
milk  was  found  in  him,  and  the  woman  received  her  five 

Another  of  his  judicial  sentences  was  rather  an  original 
conception.  A  man  in  Upper  Egypt  stole  a  cow  from  a 
widow,  and  having  killed  it,  he  cut  it  into  twenty  pieces, 
which  he  sold  for  a  piastre  each  in  the  bazaar.  The 
widow  complained  to  the  Defterdar,  who  seized  the  thief, 
and  having  without  further  ceremony  cut  him  into  twenty 
pieces,  forced  twenty  people  who  came  into  the  market 
on  that  day  from  the  neighbouring  villages  to  buy  a 
piece  of  thief  each  for  a  piastre ;  the  joints  of  the  robber 
were  thus  distributed  all  over  the  country,  and  the  story 
told  by  the  involuntary  purchasers  of  these  pounds  of 
flesh  had  a  wholesome  effect  upon  the  minds  of  the  cattle- 
stealers  :  the  twenty  piastres  were  given  to  the  woman, 
whose  cows  were  not  again  meddled  with  during  the  life- 
time of  the  Defterdar.  But  the  character  of  this  man 
must  not  be  taken  as  a  sample  of  the  habits  of  the  Turks 
in  general.  They  are  a  grave  and  haughty  race,  of  dig- 
nified manners  ;  rapacious  they  often  are,  but  they  are 
generous  and  brave,  and  I  do  not  think  that,  as  a  nation, 
they  can  be  accused  of  cruelty. 

Nothing  can  be  more  secure  and  peaceable  than  a 
journey  on  the  Nile,  as  every  one  knows  nowadays. 
Floating  along  in  a  boat  like  a  house,  which  stops  and 
goes  on  whenever  you  like,  you  have  no  cares  or  troubles 
but  those  which  you  bring  with  you — "  coelum  non  animum 

68  FACSIMILE  OF  THE  GOSPEL  OF  ST.  MARK.       Chap.  VI. 

mutant  qui  trans  mare  currunt."  I  can  conceive  nothing 
more  delightful  than  a  voyage  up  the  Nile  with  agreeable 
companions  in  the  winter,  when  the  climate  is  perfection. 
There  are  the  most  wonderful  antiquities  for  those  who 
interest  themselves  in  the  remains  of  bygone  days  ;  famous 
shooting  on  the  banks  of  the  river,  capital  dinners,  if  you 
know  how  to  make  the  proper  arrangements,  comfortable 
quarters,  and  a  constant  change  of  scene. 

The  wonders  of  the  land  of  Ham,  its  temples  and  its 
ruins,  have  been  so  well  and  so  often  described  that  I  shall 
not  attempt  to  give  any  details  regarding  them,  but  shall 
confine  myself  to  some  sketches  of  the  Coptic  Monasteries 
which  are  to  be  seen  on  the  rocks  and  deserts,  either  on 
the  banks  of  the  river  or  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  val- 
ley of  the  Nile. 

The  ancient  Egyptians  are  now  represented  by  their 
descendants  the  Copts,  whose  ancestors  were  converted  to 
Christianity  in  the  earliest  ages,  and  whose  patriarchs 
claim  their  descent,  in  uninterrupted  succession,  from  St. 
Mark,  who  was  buried  at  Alexandria,  but  whose  body  the 
Venetians  in  later  ages  boast  of  having  transported  to 
their  island  city.* 

*  A  fragment  of  the  Gospel  of  St.  Mark  was  found  in  the  tomb  which 
was  reputed  to  be  his.  Damp  and  age  have  decayed  this  precious  relic,  of 
which  only%some  small  fragments  remain  ;  but  an  exact  facsimile  of  it  was 
made  before  it  was  destroyed.  This  facsimile  is  now  in  my  possession  : 
it  is  in  Latin,  and  is  written  in  double  columns,  on  sixteen  leaves  of  vellum, 
of  a  large  quarto  size,  and  proves  that  whoever  transcribed  the  original 
must  have  been  a  proficient  in  the  art  of  writing,  for  the  letters  are  of 
great  size  and  excellent  formation,  and  in  the  style  of  the  very  earliest 


The  Copts  look  up  to  their  patriarch  as  the  chief  of 
their  nation :  he  is  elected  from  among  the  brethren  of 
the  great  monastery  of  St.  Anthony  on  the  borders  of  the 
Red  Sea,  a  proceeding  which  ensures  his  entire  ignorance 
of  all  sublunary  matters,  and  his  consequent  incapacity 
for  his  high  and  responsible  office  unless  he  chance  to  be 
a  man  of  very  uncommon  talents.  Like  the  Patriarch  of 
Constantinople,  he  is  usually  a  puppet  in  the  hands  of  a 
cabal  who  make  use  of  him  for  their  own  interested  pur- 
poses, and  when  they  have  got  him  into  a  scrape  leave 
him  to  get  out  of  it  as  he  can.  He  is  called  the  Patriarch 
of  Alexandria,  but  for  many  years  his  residence  has  been 
at  Cairo,  where  he  has  a  large  dreary  palace.  He  is  sur- 
rounded by  priests  and  acolytes ;  but  when  I  was  last  at 
Cairo  there  was  but  one  remaining  Coptic  scribe  among 
them,  whom  I  engaged  to  copy  out  the  Gospel  of  St.  Mark 
from  an  ancient  MS.  in  the  patriarchal  library  :  however, 
after  a  very  long  delay  he  copied  out  St.  Matthew's  Gospel 
by  mistake,  and  I  was  told  that  there  was  no  other  person 
whose  profession  it  was  to  copy  Coptic  writings. 

The  patriarch  has  twelve  bishops  under  him,  whose 
residences  are  at  Nagade,  Abou  Girge,  Aboutig,  Siout, 
Girge,  Manfalout,  Maharaka,  the  Fioum,  Atfeh,  Behenese, 
and  Jerusalem :  he  also  consecrates  the  Abouna  or  Pa- 
triarch of  Abyssinia,  who  by  a  specific  law  must  not  be  a 
native  of  that  country,  and  who  has  not  the  privilege  of 
naming  his  successor  or  consecrating  archbishops  or  bishops, 
although  in  other  respects  his  authority  in  religious  matters 
is  supreme.  The  Patriarch  of  Abyssinia  usually  ordains 
two  or  three  thousand  priests  at  once  on  his  first  arrival 
in  that  country,  and  the  unfitness  of  the  individual  ap- 

70  BASILEOS  BEY.  Chap.  VI. 

pointed  to  this  high  office  has  sometimes  caused  much 
scandal.  This  has  arisen  from  the  difficulty  there  has 
often  been  in  getting  a  respectable  person  to  accept  the 
office,  as  it  involves  perpetual  banishment  from  Egypt, 
and  a  residence  among  a  people  whose  partiality  to  raw 
meat  and  other  peculiar  customs  are  held  as  abominations 
by  the  Egyptians. 

The  usual  trade  and  occupation  of  the  Copts  is  that  of 
kateb,  scribe,  or  accountant ;  they  seem  to  have  a  natural 
talent  for  arithmetic.  They  appear  to  be  more  afflicted 
with  ophthalmia  than  the  Mohamedans,  perhaps  because 
they  drink  wine  and  spirits,  which  the  others  do  not. 

The  person  of  the  greatest  consequence  among  the  Copts 
was  Basileos  Bey,  the  Pasha's  confidential  secretary  and 
minister  of  finance.  This  gentleman  was  good  enough  to 
lend  me  a  magnificent  dahabieh  or  boat  of  the  largest 
size,  which  I  used  for  many  months.  It  was  an  old- 
fashioned  vessel,  painted  and  gilt  inside  in  a  brilliant 
manner,  which  is  not  usual  in  more  modern  boats ;  but- 
being  a  person  of  a  fanciful  disposition,  I  preferred  the 
roomy  proportions  and  the  quaint  arabesque  ornaments  of 
this  boat,  although  it  was  no  very  fast  sailer,  to  the  natty 
vessels  which  were  more  Europeanised  and  quicker  than 
mine.  The  principal  cabin  was  about  ten  feet  by  twelve, 
and  was  ornamented  with  paintings  of  peacocks  of  a 
peculiar  breed,  and  nondescript  flowers.  The  divans,  one 
on  each  side,  were  covered  with  fine  carpets,  and  the 
cushions  were  of  cloth  of  gold,  with  a  raised  pattern  of 
red  velvet.  The  ceilings  were  gilt,  and  we  had  two  red 
silk  flags  of  prodigious  dimensions  in  addition  to  streamers 
forty  or  fifty  feet  long  at  the  end  of  each  of  the  yard-arms  : 

Chap.  vi.  an  American's  choice  of  a  sleeping-place.  71 

in  short,  it  was  full  of  what  is  called  fantasia  in  the  Levant, 
and  as  for  its  slowness,  I  consider  that  rather  an  advantage 
in  the  East.  I  like  to  take  my  time  and  look  ahout  me, 
and  sit  under  a  tree  on  a  carpet  when  I  get  to  an  agreeable 
place,  and  I  am  in  no  hurry  to  leave  it;  so  the  heavy 
qualities  of  the  vessel  suited  me  exactly — we  did  nothing 
but  stop  everywhere.  But  although  I  confess  that  I  like 
deliberate  travelling,  I  do  not  carry  my  system  to  the 
extent  of  an  American  friend  with  whom  I  once  journeyed 
from  the  shores  of  the  Black  Sea  to  Hungary.  We  were 
taking  a  walk  together  in  the  mountains  near  Mahadia, 
when  seeing  him  looking  about  among  the  rocks  I  asked 
him  what  he  wanted.  "  Oh,"  said  he,  "  I  am  looking  out 
for  a  good  place  to  go  to  sleep  in,  for  there  is  a  beautiful 
view  here,  and  I  like  to  sleep  where  there  is  a  fine 
prospect,  that  I  may  enjoy  it  when  I  awake ;  so  good 
afternoon,  and  if  you  come  back  this  way  mind  you  call 
me."  Accordingly  an  hour  or  two  afterwards  I  came 
back  and  aroused  my  friend,  who  was  still  fast  asleep. 
"  I  hope  you  enjoyed  your  nap,"  said  I ;  "we  had  a  glorious 
walk  among  the  hills."  "  Yes,"  said  he,  "  I  had  a  famous 
nap."  "  And  what  did  you  think  of  the  view  when  you 
awoke  ?"  "  The  view  !"  exclaimed  he,  "  why,  I  forgot  to 
look  at  it !" 

Basileos  Bey  is  now  no  more,  but  I  take  pleasure  in  the 
remembrance  of  his  kind  and  friendly  disposition.  He 
offered  me  one  day  a  whole  herd  of  gazelles,  which  were 
frisking  about  in  his  garden  at  Cairo,  and  a  beast  called 
Baghar  el  Wall  (the  cow  of  the  oasis),  a  kind  of  antelope 
with  a  very  large  head,  and  great  splay  feet.    I  was  sorry 


afterwards  that  I  did  not  accept  this  creature,  as  I  was 
told  that  none  had  hitherto  been  seen  in  Europe. 

I  afterwards  sent  a  sword  set  with  turquoises  from  Con- 
stantinople, as  a  testimony  of  my  regard  for  one  from 
whom  I  had  received  many  kindnesses.  As  his  answer  to 
my  letter  is  a  curious  specimen  of  an  Oriental  epistle,  I 
annex  a  literal  translation  from  the  Arabic  original. 


To  the  gracious  and  bountiful  possessor  of  great  honour,  &c., 

Kobert  Curzon,  of  high  rank. 

May  the  gracious  and  bountiful  possessor  of  great  honour, 
endowed  with  a  disposition  which  endears  him  to  all,  his  Excel- 
lency of  high  rank,  Robert  Curzon,  live  for  ever. 

Since  I  wish  and  desire  greatly  to  behold  the  light  of  your 
countenance,  the  best  and  most  select  of  Selams  is  always  sunt 
to  your  high  quarter. 

In  addition  to  this,  your  friend  is  always  inspirited  and 
gladdened  by  conversing  on  the  sweetness  of  your  beautiful  dis- 
position, and  being  in  the  desire  of  receiving  news  of  your  good 
health.  The  letter  which  you  kindly  sent  having  come  to  our 
hands  in  a  happy  time  and  hour,  we  comprehended  each  and  all 
of  the  articles  of  its  contents. 

The  love  that  your  friend  bears  you  is  perhaps  one  thousand 
times  as  great  as  that  which  you  have  described  in  your  letter ; 
and  it  is  certain  that  this  love  will  not  be  changed  by  time  and 
distance  between  us. 

The  beautiful  present  that  you  have  deigned  to  send,  that  is 
to  say,  the  sword,  has  arrived  safely,  and  has  been  esteemed 
acceptable,  and  our  heart  has  been  gladdened  by  it ;  we  can  do 


nothing  but  offer  our  thanks  for  so  distinguished  a  favour.  May 
you  always  enjoy  health  and  long  life.  This  paper  has  been 
written,  and  sent  to  your  quarter  this  time,  to  express  our  plea- 
sure and  gratitude  and  to  ask  after  yourself. 

Hereafter  never  cease  sending  papers  to  your  friend's  quarter, 
and  if  at  any  time  you  have  need  of  anything,  you  will  do  him 
great  pleasure  to  acquaint  him  of  your  want. 


General  of  Brigade  and  Lord  High  Treasurer  of  Egypt. 

Dated  5  Jemay  el  eouel,  1258. 

74        MONASTERIES  NEAR  THE  NATRON  LAKES.       Chap.  VII. 



Visit  to  the  Coptic  Monasteries  near  the  Natron  Lakes  —  The  Desert  of 
Nitria  —  Early  Christian  Anchorites  —  St.  Macarius  of  Alexandria  - 
His  Abstinence  and  Penance  —  Order  of  Monks  founded  by  him  — 
Great  increase  of  the  Number  of  ascetic  Monks  in  the  Fourth  Century 
—  Their  subsequent  decrease,  and  the  present  ruined  state  of  the 
Monasteries  —  Legends  of  the  Desert  —  Capture  of  a  Lizard  —  Its 
alarming  escape  —  The  Convent  of  Baramous  —  Night  attacks  —  Inva- 
sion of  Sanctuary  —  Ancient  Glass  Lamps  —  Monastery  of  Souriani  — 
Its  Library  and  Coptic  MSS.  —  The  Blind  Abbot  and  his  Oil-cellar  — 
The  persuasive  powers  of  Rosoglio  —  Discovery  of  Syriac  MSS.  —  The 
Abbot's  supposed  treasure. 

In  the  month  of  March,  1837,  I  left  Cairo  for  the 
purpose  of  visiting  the  Coptic  monasteries  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  the  Natron  Lakes,  which  are  situated  in  the 
desert  to  the  north-west  of  Cairo,  on  the  western  side  of 
the  Nile.  I  had  some  difficulty  in  procuring  a  boat  to 
take  me  down  the  river — indeed  there  was  not  one  to  be 
obtained ;  but  two  English  gentlemen,  on  their  way  from 
China  to  England,  were  kind  enough  to  give  me  a  passage 
in  their  boat  to  the  village  of  Terrane,  the  nearest  spot 
upon  the  banks  of  the  Nile  to  the  monasteries  which  I 
proposed  to  visit. 

The  Desert  of  Nitria  is  famous  in  the  annals  of 
monastic  history  as  the  first  place  to  which  the  Anchorites, 
in  the  early  ages  of  Christianity,  retired  from  the  world 


in  order  to  pass  their  lives  in  prayer  and  contemplation, 
and  in  mortification  of  the  flesh.  It  was  in  Egypt  where 
monasticism  first  took  its  rise,  and  the  Coptic  monasteries 
of  St.  Anthony  and  St.  Paul  claim  to  be  founded  on  the 
spots  where  the  first  hermits  established  their  cells  on  the 
shores  of  the  Red  Sea.  Next  in  point  of  antiquity  are  the 
monasteries  of  Nitria,  of  which  we  have  authentic  accounts 
dated  as  far  back  as  the  middle  of  the  second  century ; 
for  about  the  year  150  a.d.  Fronto  retired  to  the  valleys 
of  the  Natron  Lakes  with  seventy  brethren  in  his  company. 

The  Abba  Ammon  (whose  life  is  detailed  in  the  '  Vitae 
Patrum '  of  Rosweyd,  Antwerp,  1628,  a  volume  of  great 
rarity  and  dulness,  which  I  only  obtained  after  a  long 
search  among  the  mustiest  of  the  London  book-stalls) 
flourished,  or  rather  withered,  in  this  desert  in  the 
bcginninig  of  the  fourth  century.  At  this  time  also  the 
Abba  Bischoi  founded  the  monastery  still  called  after  his 
name,  which,  it  seems,  was  Isaiah  or  Esa :  the  Coptic 
article  Pe  or  Be  makes  it  Besa,  under  which  name  he 
wrote  an  ascetic  work,  a  manuscript  of  which,  probably 
almost  if  not  quite  as  old  as  his  time,  I  procured  in  Egypt. 
It  is  one  of  the  most  ancient  manuscripts  now  extant. 

But  the  chief  and  pattern  of  all  the  recluses  of  Nitria 
was  the  great  St.  Macarius  of  Alexandria,  whose  feast- 
day — a  day  which  he  never  observed  himself — is  still  kept 
by  the  Latins  on  the  2nd,  and  by  the  Greeks  on  the  19th 
of  January.  This  famous  saint  died  a.d.  394,  after  sixty 
years  of  austerities  in  various  deserts :  he  first  retired 
into  the  Thebaid  in  the  year  335,  and  about  the  year  373 
established  himself  in  a  solitary  cell  on  the  borders  of  the 
Natron  Lakes.  Numerous  anchorites  followed  his  example, 


76       ORDER  OF  MONKS  FOUNDED  BY  MACARIUS.     Chap.  VII. 

all  living  separately,  but  meeting  together  en  Sundays  for 
public  prayer.  Self-denial  and  abstinence  were  their  great 
occupations  ;  and  it  is  related  that  a  traveller  having  given 
St.  Macarius  a  bunch  of  grapes,  he  sent  it  to  another 
brother,  who  sent  it  to  a  third,  and  at  last  the  grapes 
having  passed  through  the  hands  of  some  hundreds  of 
hermits,  came  back  to  St.  Macarius,  who  rejoiced  at  such 
a  proof  of  the  abstinence  of  his  brethren,  but  refused  to 
eat  of  it  himself.  This  same  saint  having  thoughtlessly 
killed  a  gnat  which  was  biting  him,  he  was  so  unhappy  at 
what  he  had  done,  that  to  make  amends  for  his  inad- 
vertency, and  to  increase  his  mortifications,  he  retired  to 
the  marshes  of  Scete,  where  there  were  flies  whose  power- 
ful stings  were  sufficient  to  pierce  the  hide  of  a  wild  boar  ; 
here  he  remained  six  months,  till  his  body  was  so  much 
disfigured  that  his  brethren  on  his  return  only  knew  him 
by  the  sound  of  his  voice.  He  was  the  founder  of  the 
monastic  order  which,  as  well  as  the  monastery  still 
existing  on  the  site  of  his  cell,  was  called  after  his  name. 
By  their  rigid  rule  the  monks  are  bound  to  fast  the  whole 
year,  excepting  on  Sundays  and  during  the  period  between 
Easter  and  Whitsuntide :  they  were  not  to  speak  to  a 
stranger  without  leave.  During  Lent  St.  Macarius  fasted 
all  day,  and  sometimes  ate  nothing  for  two  or  three  days 
together ;  on  Sundays,  however,  he  indulged  in  a  raw 
cabbage-leaf,  and  in  short  set  such  an  example  of  absti- 
nence and  self-restraint  to  the  numerous  anchorites  of  the 
desert,  that  the  fame  of  his  austerities  gained  him  many- 
admirers.  Throughout  the  middle  ages  his  name  is 
mentioned  with  veneration  in  all  the  collections  of  the 
lives  of  the  saints:  he  is  represented  pointing  out  the 


vanities  of  life  in  the  great  fresco  of  the  Triumph  of 
Death,  by  Andrea  Orcagna,  in  the  Campo  Santo  at  Pisa. 
In  his  Life  in  Caxton's  '  Golden  Legende,'  and  in  '  The 
Lives  of  the  Fathers,'  by  Wynkyn  de  Worde,  a  detailed 
account  will  be  found  of  a  most  interesting  conversation 
which  Macarius  had  with  the  devil,  touching  divers 
matters.  Several  of  his  miracles  are  also  put  into  modern 
English,  in  Lord  Lindsay's  book  of  Christian  Art.  I 
have  a  MS.  of  the  Gospels  in  Coptic,  written  by  the  hand 
of  one  Zapita  Leporos,  under  the  rule  of  the  great 
Macarius,  in  the  monastery  of  Laura,  about  the  year  390, 
and  which  may  have  been  used  by  the  Saint  himself. 

After  the  time  of  Macarius  the  number  of  ascetic  monks 
increased  to  a  surprising  amount.  Rufinus,  who  visited 
them  in  the  year  372,  mentions  fifty  of  their  convents ; 
Palladius,  who  was  there  in  the  year  387,  reckons  the 
devotees  at  five  thousand.  St.  Jerome  also  visited  them, 
and  their  number  seems  to  have  been  kept  up  without 
much  diminution  for  several  centuries.*  After  the  con- 
quest of  Egypt  by  the  Arabians,  and  about  the  year  967, 
a  Mahomedan  author,  Aboul  Faraj  of  Hispahan,  wrote  a 
book  of  poems,  called  the  '  Book  of  Convents,'  which  is 
in  praise  of  the  habits  and  religious  devotion  of  the 
Christian  monks.  The  dilapidated  monastery  of  St. 
Macarius  was  repaired  and  fortified  by  Sanutius,  Patriarch 
of  Alexandria,  at  which  good  work  he  laboured  with  his 
own  hands  :  this  must  have  been  about  the  year  880,  as 
he  died  in  881.  In  more  recent  times  the  multitude  of 
ascetics  gradually  decreased,  and  but  few  travellers  have 
extended  their  researches  to  their  arid  haunts.    At  present 

*  See  Quarterly  Review,  vol.  lxxvii.  p.  43. 

78  CAPTURE  OF  A  LIZARD.  Chap.  VII. 

only  four  monasteries  remain  entire,  although  the  ruins  of 
many  others  may  still  be  traced  in  the  desert  tracts  on 
the  west  side  of  the  line  of  the  Natron  Lakes,  and  the 
valley  of  the  waterless  river,  which,  at  some  very  remote 
period,  is  supposed  to  have  formed  the  bed  of  one  of  the 
branches  of  the  Nile. 

At  the  village  of  Terrane  I  was  most  hospitably 
received  by  an  Italian  gentleman,  who  was  superin- 
tending the  export  of  the  natron.  Here  I  procured 
camels ;  I  had  brought  a  tent  with  me  ;  and  the  next 
day  we  set  off  across  the  plain,  with  the  Arabs  to  whom 
the  camels  belonged,  and  who,  having  been  employed  in 
the  transport  of  the  natron,  were  able  to  show  us  the  way, 
which  it  would  have  been  very  difficult  to  trace  without 
their  help.  The  memory  of  the  devils  and  evil  spirits 
who,  according  to  numerous  legends,  used  formerly  to 
haunt  this  desert,  seemed  still  to  awaken  the  fears  of  these 
Arab  guides.  During  the  first  day's  journey  I  talked  to 
them  on  the  subject,  and  found  that  their  minds  were  full 
of  superstitious  fancies. 

It  is  said  that  tailors  sometimes  stand  up  to  rest  them- 
selves, and  on  that  principle  I  had  descended  from  my 
huge,  ungainly  camel,  who  had  never  before  been  used 
for  riding,  and  whose  swinging  paces  were  very  irksome, 
and  was  resting  myself  by  walking  in  his  shade,  when 
seeing  something  run  up  to  a  large  stone  which  lay  in  the 
way,  I  moved  it  to  see  what  it  was.  I  found  a  lizard, 
six  or  eight  inches  long,  of  a  species  with  which  I  was 
unacquainted.  I  caught  the  reptile  by  the  nape  of  the 
neck,  which  made  him  open  his  ugly  mouth  in  a  curious 
way,  and  he  wriggled  about  so  much  that  I  could  hardly 


hold  him.  Judging  that  he  might  be  venomous,  I  looked 
about  for  some  safe  place  to  put  him,  and  my  eye  fell 
upon  the  large  glass  lantern  which  was  used  in  the  tent ; 
that,  I  thought,  was  just  the  thing  for  my  lizard,  so  I  put 
him  into  the  lantern,  which  hung  at  the  side  of  the  baggage 
camel,  intending  to  examine  him  at  my  leisure  in  the 
evening.  When  the  sun  was  about  to  set,  the  tent  was 
pitched,  and  a  famous  fire  lit  for  the  cook.  It  was  in  a 
bare,  open  place,  without  a  hill,  stock,  or  stone  in  sight 
in  any  direction  all  around.  The  camels  were  tethered 
together,  near  the  baggage,  which  was  piled  in  a  heap  to 
the  windward  of  the  fire  ;  and,  as  it  was  getting  dark,  one 
of  the  Arabs  took  the  lantern  to  the  fire  to  light  it. 
He  got  a  blazing  stick  for  this  purpose,  and  held  up  the 
lantern  close  to  his  face  to  undo  the  hasp,  which  he  had 
no  sooner  accomplished  than  out  jumped  the  lizard  upon 
his  shoulder  and  immediately  made  his  escape.  The 
Arab,  at  this  unexpected  attack,  gave  a  fearful  yell,  and 
dashing  the  lantern  to  pieces  on  the  ground,  screamed  out 
that  the  devil  had  jumped  upon  him  and  had  disappeared 
in  the  darkness,  and  that  he  was  certain  he  was  waiting 
to  carry  us  all  off.  The  other  Arabs  were  seriously 
alarmed,  and  for  a  long  while  paid  no  attention  to  my 
explanation  about  the  lizard,  which  was  the  cause  of  all 
the  disturbance.  The  worst  of  the  affair  was  that  the 
lantern  being  broken  to  bits,  we  could  have  no  light :  for 
the  wind  blew  the  candles  out,  notwithstanding  our  most 
ingenious  efforts  to  shelter  them.  The  Arabs  were  restless 
all  night,  and  before  sunrise  we  were  again  under  way, 
and  in  the  course  of  the  day  arrived  at  the  convent  of 
Baramous.     This  monastery  consisted  of  a  high   stone 

80  NIGHT  ATTACKS.  Chap.  VII. 

wall,  surrounding  a  square  enclosure,  of  about  an  acre 
in  extent.  A  large  square  tower  commanded  the  narrow 
entrance,  which  was  closed  by  a  low  and  narrow  iron  door. 
Within  there  was  a  good-sized  church  in  tolerable  pre- 
servation, standing  nearly  in  the  centre  of  the  enclosure, 
which  contained  nothing  else  but  some  ruined  buildings 
and  a  few  large  fig-trees,  growing  out  of  the  disjointed 
walls,  Two  or  three  poor-looking  monks  still  tenanted 
the  ruins  of  the  abbey.  They  had  hardly  anything  to 
offer  us,  and  were  glad  to  partake  of  some  of  the  rice  and 
other  eatables  which  we  had  brought  with  us.  I  wandered 
about  among  the  ruins  with  the  half-starved  monks  fol- 
lowing me.  We  went  into  the  square  tower,  where,  in  a 
large  vaulted  room  with  open  unglazed  windows,  were 
forty  or  fifty  Coptic  manuscripts  on  cotton  paper,  lying  on 
the  floor,  to  which  several  of  them  adhered  firmly,  not 
having  been  moved  for  many  years.  I  only  found  one  leaf 
on  vellum,  which  I  brought  away.  The  other  manuscripts 
appeared  to  be  all  liturgies  ;  most  of  them  smelling  of 
incense  when  I  opened  them,  and  well  smeared  with  dirt 
and  wax  from  the  candles  which  had  been  held  over  them 
during  the  reading  of  the  service. 

I  took  possession  of  a  half-ruined  cell,  where  my  carpets 
were  spread,  and  where  I  went  to  sleep  early  in  the 
evening :  but  I  had  hardly  closed  my  eyes  before  I  was 
so  briskly  attacked  by  a  multitude  of  ravenous  fleas,  that 
I  jumped  up  and  ran  out  into  the  court  to  shake  myself 
and  get  rid  if  I  could  of  my  tormentors.  The  poor  monks, 
hearing  my  exclamations,  crept  out  of  their  holes  and 
recommended  me  to  go  into  the  church,  which  they  said 
would  be  safe  from  the  attacks  of  the  enemy.     I  accord- 


ingly  took  a  carpet  which  I  had  well  shaken  and  beaten, 
and  lay  down  on  the  marble  floor  of  the  church,  where 
I  presently  went  to  sleep.  Again  I  was  awakened  by  the 
wicked  fleas,  who,  undeterred  by  the  sanctity  of  my 
asylum,  renewed  their  attack  in  countless  legions.  The 
slaps  I  gave  myself  were  all  in  vain  ;  for,  although  I  slew 
them  by  dozens  in  my  rage,  others  came  on  in  their  place. 
There  was  no  withstanding  them,  and,  fairly  vanquished, 
I  was  forced  to  abandon  my  position,  and  walk  about  and 
look  at  the  moon  till  the  sun  rose,  when  my  villainous 
tormentors  slunk  away  and  allowed  me  a  short  snatch  of 
the  repose  which  they  had  prevented  my  enjoying  all 

There  were  several  curious  lamps  in  this  church  formed 
of  ancient  glass,  like  those  in  the  mosque  of  Sultan  Hassan 
at  Cairo,  which  are  said  to  be  of  the  same  date  as  the 
mosque,  and  to  be  of  Syrian  manufacture.  These,  which 
were  in  the  shape  of  large  open  vases,  were  ornamented 
with  pious  sentences  in  Arabic  characters,  in  blue  on  a 
white  ground.*  They  were  very  handsome,  and,  except 
one  of  the  same  kind,  which  is  now  in  England,  in  the 
possession  of  Mr.  Magniac,  I  never  saw  any  like  them. 
They  are  probably  some  of  the  most  ancient  specimens  of 
ornamental  glass  existing,  excepting,  of  course,  the  vases 
and  lachrymatories  of  the  classic  times. 

Quitting  the  monastery  of  Baramous,  we  went  to  that 
of  Souriani,  ,  where  we  left  our  baggage  and  tent,  and 
proceeded  to  visit  the  monasteries  of  Amba  Bischoi  and 

*  It  is  perhaps  more  likely  that  these  beautiful  specimens  of  ancient 
glass  were  made  in  the  island  of  Murano,  in  the  lagunes  of  Venice,  as  the 
manufactories  of  the  Venetians  supplied  the  Mahomedans  with  many 
luxuries  in  the  middle  ages. 



Abou  Magar,  or  St.  Macarius,  both  of  which  were  in  very 
poor  condition.  These  monasteries  are  so  much  alike  in 
their  plan  and  appearance,  that  the  description  of  one  is 
the  description  of  all.  I  saw  none  but  the  church  books 
in  either  of  them,  and  at  the  time  of  my  visit  they  were 
apparently  inhabited  only  by  three  or  four  monks,  who 
conducted  the  services  of  their  respective  churches. 

On  this  journey  we  passed  many  ruins  and  heaps  of 
stones  nearly  level  with  the  ground,  the  remains  of  some 
of  the  fifty  monasteries  which  once  flourished  in  the  wil- 
derness of  Scete. 

In  the  evening  I  returned  to  Souriani,  where  I  was 
hospitably  received  by  the  abbot  and  fourteen  or  fifteen 
Coptic  monks.  They  provided  me  with  an  agreeable 
room  looking  into  the  garden  within  the  walls.  My 
servants  were  lodged  in  some  other  small  cells  or  rooms 
near  mine,  which  happily  not  being  tenanted  by  fleas  or 
any  other  wild  beasts  of  prey,  was  exceedingly  comfortable 
when  my  bright-coloured  carpets  and  cushions  were  spread 
upon  the  floor ;  and,  after  the  adventures  of  the  two 
former  nights,  I  rested  in  great  comfort  and  peace. 

In  the  morning  I  went  to  see  the  church  and  all  the 
other  wonders  of  the  place,  and  on  making  inquiries  about 
the  library,  was  conducted  by  the  old  abbot,  who  was 
blind,  and  was  constantly  accompanied  by  another  monk, 
into  a  small  upper  room  in  the  great  square  tower,  where 
we  found  several  Coptic  manuscripts.  Most  of  these  were 
lying  on  the  floor,  but  some  were  placed  in  niches  in  the 
stone  wall.  They  were  all  on  paper,  except  three  or 
four.  One  of  these  was  a  superb  manuscript  of  the 
Gospels,  with  commentaries  by  the  early  fathers  of  the 


church ;  two  others  were  doing  duty  as  coverings  to  a 
couple  of  large  open  pots  or  jars,  which  had  contained 
preserves,  long  since  evaporated.  I  was  allowed  to  pur- 
chase these  vellum  manuscripts,  as  they  were  considered 
to  be  useless  by  the  monks,  principally  I  believe  because 
there  were  no  more  preserves  in  the  jars.  On  the  floor 
I  found  a  fine  Coptic  and  Arabic  dictionary.  I  was  aware 
of  the  existence  of  this  volume,  with  which  they  refused 
to  part.  I  placed  it  in  one  of  the  niches  in  the  wall ; 
and  some  years  afterwards  it  was  purchased  for  me  by  a 
friend,  who  sent  it  to  England  after  it  had  been  copied  at 
Cairo.  They  sold  me  two  imperfect  dictionaries,  which 
I  discovered  loaded  with  dust  upon  the  ground.  Besides 
these,  I  did  not  see  any  other  books  but  those  of  the 
liturgies  for  various  holy  days.  These  were  large  folios 
on  cotton  paper,  most  of  them  of  considerable  antiquity, 
and  well  begrimed  with  dirt. 

The  old  blind  abbot  had  solemnly  declared  that  there 
were  no  other  books  in  the  monastery  besides  those  which 
I  had  seen ;  but  I  had  been  told,  by  a  French  gentleman 
at  Cairo,  that  there  were  many  ancient  manuscripts  in 
the  monks'  oil  cellar  ;  and  it  was  in  pursuit  of  these  and 
the  Coptic  dictionary  that  I  had  undertaken  the  journey 
to  the  Natron  Lakes.  The  abbot  positively  denied  the 
existence  of  these  books,  and  we  retired  from  the  library 
to  my  room  with  the  Coptic  manuscripts  which  they  had 
ceded  to  me  without  difficulty  ;  and  which,  according  to 
the  dates  contained  in  them,  and  from  their  general  ap- 
pearance, may  claim  to  be  considered  among  the  oldest 
manuscripts  in  existence,  more  ancient  certainly  than  many 
of  the  Syriac  manuscripts  which  I  am  about  to  describe. 


The  abbot,  his  companion,  and  myself  sat  down  together. 
I  produced  a  bottle  of  rosoglio  from  my  stores,  to  which 
I  knew  that  all  Oriental  monks  were  partial ;  for  though 
they  do  not,  I  believe,  drink  wine,  because  an  excess  in 
its  indulgence  is  forbidden  by  Scripture,  yet  ardent  spirits 
not  having  been  invented  in  those  times,  there  is  nothing 
said  about  them  in  the  Bible ;  and  at  Mount  Sinai  and 
all  the  other  spots  of  sacred  pilgrimage  the  monks  comfort 
themselves  with  a  little  glass  or  rather  a  small  coffee  cup 
of  arrack  or  raw  spirits  when  nothing  better  of  its  kind  is 
to  be  procured.  Next  to  the  golden  key,  which  masters 
so  many  locks,  there  is  no  better  opener  of  the  heart  than 
a  sufficiency  of  strong  drink, — not  too  much,  but  exactly 
the  proper  quantity  judiciously  exhibited  (to  use  a  chemical 
term  in  the  land  of  Al  Cheme,  where  alchemy  and 
chemistry  first  had  their  origin).  I  have  always  found  it 
to  be  invincible ;  and  now  we  sat  sipping  our  cups  of  the 
sweet  pink  rosoglio,  and  firing  little  compliments  at  each 
other,  and  talking  pleasantly  over  our  bottle  till  some 
time  passed  away,  and  the  face  of  the  blind  abbot  waxed 
bland  and  confiding ;  and  he  had  that  expression  on  his 
countenance  which  men  wear  when  they  are  pleased  with 
themselves  and  bear  goodwill  towards  mankind  in  general. 
I  had  by  the  bye  a  great  advantage  over  the  good  abbot, 
as  I  could  see  the  workings  of  his  features  and  he  could 
not  see  mine,  or  note  my  eagerness  about  the  oil-cellar, 
on  the  subject  of  which  I  again  gradually  entered.  "  There 
is  no  oil  there,"  said  he.  "  I  am  curious  to  see  the  archi- 
tecture of  so  ancient  a  room,"  said  I ;  "  for  I  have  heard 
that  yours  is  a  famous  oil-cellar. "  "  It  is  a  famous  cellar," 
said  the  other  monk.     "  Take  another  cup  of  rosoglio," 


said  I.  "  Ah  !  "  replied  he,  "  I  remember  the  days  when 
it  overflowed  with  oil,  and  then  there  were  I  do  not  know 
how  many  brethren  here  with  us.  But  now  we  are  few 
and  poor ;  bad  times  are  come  over  us  ;  we  are  not  what 
we  used  to  be."  "  I  should  like  to  see  it  very  much," 
said  I ;  "  I  have  heard  so  much  about  it  even  at  Cairo. 
Let  us  go  and  see  it ;  and  when  we  come  back  we  will 
have  another  bottle  ;  and  I  will  give  you  a  few  more  which 
I  have  brought  with  me  for  your  private  use." 

This  last  argument  prevailed.  We  returned  to  the 
great  tower,  and  ascended  the  steep  flight  of  steps  which 
led  to  its  door  of  entrance.  We  then  descended  a  narrow 
staircase  to  the  oil-cellar,  a  handsome  vaulted  room, 
where  we  found  a  range  of  immense  vases  which  formerly 
contained  the  oil,  but  which  now  on  being  struck  returned 
a  mournful,  hollow  sound.  There  was  nothing  else  to  be 
seen :  there  were  no  books  here  :  but  taking  the  candle 
from  the  hands  of  one  of  the  brethren  (for  they  had  all 
wandered  in  after  us,  having  nothing  else  to  do),  I  dis- 
covered a  narrow  low  door,  and,  pushing  it  open,  entered 
into  a  small  closet  vaulted  with  stone  which  was  filled  to 
the  depth  of  two  feet  or  more  with  the  loose  leaves  of  the 
Syriac  manuscripts  which  now  form  one  of  the  chief 
treasures  of  the  British  Museum.  Here  I  remained  for 
some  time  turning  over  the  leaves  and  digging  into  the 
mass  of  loose  vellum  pages ;  by  which  exertions  I  raised 
such  a  cloud  of  fine  pungent  dust  that  the  monks  relieved 
each  other  in  holding  our  only  candle  at  the  door,  while 
the  dust  made  us  sneeze  incessantly  as  we  turned  over 
the  scattered  leaves  of  vellum.  I  had  extracted  four 
books,  the  only  ones  I  could  find  which  seemed  to  be 


tolerably  perfect,  when  two  monks  who  were  struggling 
in  the  corner  pulled  out  a  great  big  manuscript  of  a  brown 
and  musty  appearance  and  of  prodigious  weight,  which 
was  tied  together  with  a  cord.  "  Here  is  a  box,"  ex- 
claimed the  two  monks,  who  were  nearly  choked  with  the 
dust ;  "we  have  found  a  box,  and  a  heavy  one  too !" 
"  A  box !"  shouted  the  blind  abbot,  who  was  standing  in 
the  outer  darkness  of  the  oil-cellar — "  A  box  !  Where  is 
it  ?  Bring  it  out !  bring  out  the  box  !  Heaven  be  praised  ! 
We  have  found  a  treasure  !  Lift  up  the  box !  Pull  out 
the  box !  A  box !  A  box  !  Sandouk  !  sandouk  !"  shouted 
all  the  monks  in  various  tones  of  voice.  "  Now  then  let 
us  see  the  box !  bring  it  out  to  the  light !"  they  cried. 
"  What  can  there  be  in  it  ?"  and  they  all  came  to  help 
and  carried  it  away  up  the  stairs,  the  blind  abbot  follow- 
ing them  to  the  outer  door,  leaving  me  to  retrace  my 
steps  as  I  could  with  the  volumes  which  I  had  dug  out  of 
their  literary  grave. 



View  from  the  Convent  Wall  —  Appearance  of  the  Desert  —  Its  grandeur 
and  freedom  —  Its  contrast  to  the  Convent  Garden  —  Beauty  and 
luxuriance  of  Eastern  Vegetation  —  Picturesque  Group  of  the  Monks 
and  their  Visitors  —  The  Abyssinian  Monks  —  Their  appearance  — 

'  Their  austere  mode  of  life  —  The  Abyssinian  College  —  Description 
of  the  Library  —  The  mode  of  Writing  in  Abyssinia  —  Immense 
Labour  required  to  write  an  Abyssinian  book  —  Paintings  and  Illumi- 
nations —  Disappointment  of  the  Abbot  at  finding  the  supposed 
Treasure-box  only  an  old  Book  —  Purchase  of  the  MSS.  and  Book9 
—  The  most  precious  left  behind  —  Since  acquired  for  the  British 

On  leaving  the  dark  recesses  of  the  tower  I  paused  at  the 
narrow  door  by  which  we  had  entered,  both  to  accustom 
my  eyes  to  the  glare  of  the  daylight,  and  to  look  at  the 
scene  below  me.  I  stood  on  the  top  of  a  steep  flight  of 
stone  steps,  by  which  the  door  of  the  tower  was  ap- 
proached from  the  court  of  the  monastery  :  the  steps  ran 
up  the  inside  of  the  outer  wall,  which  was  of  sufficient 
thickness  to  allow  of  a  narrow  terrace  within  the  parapet ; 
from  this  point  I  could  look  over  the  wall  on  the  left 
hand  upon  the  desert,  whose  dusty  plains  stretched  out 
as  far  as  I  could  see,  in  hot  and  dreary  loneliness  to  the 
horizon.  To  those  who  are  not  familiar  with  the  aspect 
of  such  a  region  as  this,  it  may  be  well  to  explain  that  a 
desert  such  as  that  which  now  surrounded  me  resembles 
more  than  anything  else  a  dusty  turnpike-road  in  England 
on  a  hot  summer's  day,  extended  interminably,  both  as  to 
leno-th  and  breadth.     A  country  of  low  rounded  hills,  the 


surface  of  which  is  composed  entirely  of  gravel,  dust,  and 
stones,  will  give  a  good  idea  of  the  general  aspect  of  a 
desert.  Yet,  although  parched  and  dreary  in  the  extreme 
from  their  vastness  and  openness,  there  is  something  grand 
and  sublime  in  the  silence  and  loneliness  of  these  burning 
plains  ;  and  the  wandering  tribes  of  Bedouins  who  inhabit 
them  are  seldom  content  to  remain  long  in  the  narrow 
inclosed  confines  of  cultivated  land.  There  is  always 
a  fresh  breeze  in  the  desert,  except  when  the  terrible  hot 
wind  blows ;  and  the  air  is  more  elastic  and  pure  than 
where  vegetation  produces  exhalations  which  in  all  hot 
climates  are  more  or  less  heavy  and  deleterious.  The  air 
of  the  desert  is  always  healthy,  and  no  race  of  men  enjoy 
a  greater  exemption  from  weakness,  sickness,  and  disease 
than  the  children  of  the  desert,  who  pass  their  lives  in 
wandering  to  and  fro  in  search  of  the  scanty  herbage  on 
which  their  flocks  are  fed,  far  from  the  cares  and  troubles 
of  busy  cities,  and  free  from  the  oppression  which  grinds 
down  the  half-starved  cultivators  of  the  fertile  soil  of  Egypt. 
Whilst  from  my  elevated  position  I  looked  out  on  my 
left  upon  the  mighty  desert,  on  my  right  how  different 
was  the  scene !  There  below  my  feet  lay  the  convent 
garden  in  all  the  fresh  luxuriance  of  tropical  vegetation. 
Tufts  upon  tufts  of  waving  palms  overshadowed  the 
immense  succulent  leaves  of  the  banana,  which  in  their 
turn  rose  out  of  thickets  of  the  pomegranate  rich  with 
its  bright  green  leaves  and  its  blossoms  of  that  beau- 
tiful and  vivid  red  which  is  excelled  by  few  even 
of  the  most  brilliant  flowers  of  the  East.  These  were 
contrasted  with  the  deep  dark  green  of  the  caroub  or 
locust-tree ;    and   the   yellow    apples  of  the   lotus  vied 

Chap.  VIII.         GROUP  OF  MONKS  AND  VISITORS.  89 

with  the  clusters  of  green  limes  with  their  sweet  white 
flowers  which  luxuriated  in  a  climate  too  hot  and  sultry 
for  the  golden  fruit  of  the  orange,  which  is  not  to  be  met 
with  in  the  valley  of  the  Nile.  Flowers  and  fair  branches 
exhaling  rich  perfume  and  bearing  freshness  in  their  very 
aspect  became  more  beautiful  from  their  contrast  to  the 
dreary  arid  plains  outside  the  convent  walls,  and  this 
great  difference  was  owing  solely  to  there  being  a  well 
of  water  in  this  spot  from  which  a  horse  or  mule  was 
constantly  employed  to  draw  the  fertilizing  streams  which 
nourished  the  teeming  vegetation  of  this  monastic  garden. 
I  stood  gazing  and  moralizing  at  these  contrasted 
scenes  for  some  time ;  but  at  length  when  I  turned  my 
eyes  upon  my  companions  and  myself,  it  struck  me  that  we 
also  were  somewhat  remarkable  in  our  way.  First  there 
was  the  old  blind  grey-bearded  abbot,  leaning  on  his 
staff,  surrounded  with  three  or  four  dark-robed  Coptic 
monks,  holding  in  their  hands  the  lighted  candles  with 
which  we  had  explored  the  secret  recesses  of  the  oil-cellar ; 
there  was  I  dressed  in  the  long  robes  of  a  merchant  of  the 
East,  with  a  small  book  in  the  breast  of  my  gown  and  a 
big  one  under  each  arm ;  and  there  were  my  servants 
armed  to  the  teeth  and  laden  with  old  books ;  and  one 
and  all  we  were  so  covered  with  dirt  and  wax  from  top  to 
toe,  that  we  looked  more  as  if  we  had  been  up  the  chim- 
ney than  like  quiet  people  engaged  in  literary  researches. 
One  of  the  monks  was  leaning  in  a  brown  study  upon  the 
ponderous  and  gigantic  volume  in  its  primaeval  binding, 
in  the  interior  of  which  the  blind  abbot  had  hoped  to  find 
a  treasure.  Perched  upon  the  battlements  of  this  remote 
monastery  we  formed  as  picturesque  a  group  as  one  might 


wish  to  sec ;  though  perhaps  the  begrimed  state  of  our 
flowing  robes  as  well  as  of  our  hands  and  faces  would 
render  a  somewhat  remote  point  of  view  more  agreeable 
to  the  artist  than  a  closer  inspection. 

While  we  had  been  standing  on  the  top  of  the  steps,  I 
had  heard  from  time  to  time  some  incomprehensible  sounds 
which  seemed  to  arise  from  among  the  green  branches  of 
the  palms  and  fig-trees  in  a  corner  of  the  garden  at  our 
feet.  "  What,"  said  I  to  a  bearded  Copt,  who  was  seated 
on  the  steps,  "  is  that  strange  howling  noise  which  I  hear 
among  the  trees  ?  I  have  heard  it  several  times  when  the 
rustling  of  the  wind  among  the  branches  has  died  away 
for  a  moment.  It  sounds  something  like  a  chant,  or  a 
dismal  moaning  song :  only  it  is  different  in  its  cadence 
from  anything  that  I  have  heard  before."  "  That  noise," 
replied  the  monk,  "is  the  sound  of  the  service  of  the 
church  which  is  being  chanted  by  the  Abyssinian  monks. 
Come  down  the  steps,  and  I  will  show  you  their  chapel 
and  their  library.  The  monastery  which  they  frequented 
in  this  desert  has  fallen  to  decay ;  and  they  now  live  here, 
their  numbers  being  recruited  occasionally  by  pilgrims  on 
their  way  from  Abyssinia  to  Jerusalem,  some  of  whom 
pass  by  each  year ;  not  many  now,  to  be  sure ;  but  still 
fewer  return  to  their  own  land." 

Giving  up  my  precious  manuscripts  to  the  guardianship 
of  my  servantSj  and  desiring  them  to  put  them  down  care- 
fully in  my  cell,  I  accompanied  my  Coptic  friend  into  the 
garden,  and  turning  round  some  bushes,  we  immediately 
encountered  one  of  the  Abyssinian  monks  walking  with  a 
book  in  his  hand  under  the  shade  of  the  trees.  Presently 
we  saw  three  or  four  more  ;  and  very  remarkable  looking 


persons  they  were.  These  holy  brethren  were  as  black  as 
crows  ;  tall,  thin,  ascetic-looking  men,  of  a  most  original 
aspect  and  costume.  I  have  seen  the  natives  of  many 
strange  nations,  both  before  and  since,  but  I  do  not  know 
that  I  ever  met  with  so  singular  a  set  of  men,  so  com- 
pletely the  types  of  another  age  and  of  a  state  of  things 
the  opposite  to  European,  as  these  Abyssinian  Eremites. 
They  were  black,  as  I  have  already  said,  which  is  not  the 
usual  complexion  of  the  natives  of  Habesh  ;  and  they  were 
all  clothed  in  tunics  of  wash  leather,  made,  they  told  me,  of 
gazelle  skins.  This  garment  came  down  to  their  knees, 
and  was  confined  round  their  waist  with  a  leathern  girdle. 
Over  their  shoulders  they  had  a  strap  supporting  a  case 
like  a  cartridge  box,  of  thick  brown  leather,  containing  a 
manuscript  book  ;  and  above  this  they  wore  a  large  shape- 
less cloak  or  toga,  of  the  same  light  yellow  wash  leather 
as  the  tunic  ;  I  do  not  think  that  they  wore  anything  on 
the  head,  but  this  I  do  not  distinctly  remember.  Their 
legs  were  bare,  and  they  had  no  other  clothing,  if  I  may 
except  a  profuse  smearing  of  grease  ;  for  they  had  anointed 
themselves  in  the  most  lavish  manner,  not  with  the  oil  of 
gladness,  but  with  that  of  castor,  which  however  had  by 
no  means  the  effect  of  giving  them  a  cheerful  countenance  ; 
for  although  they  looked  exceedingly  slippery  and  greasy, 
they  seemed  to  be  an  austere  and  dismal  set  of  fanatics  : 
true  disciples  of  the  great  Macarius,  the  founder  of  these 
secluded  monasteries,  and  excellently  calculated  to  figure 
in  that  grim  chorus  of  his  invention,  or  at  least  which  is 
called  after  his  name,  "  La  danse  Macabre,"  known  to  us 
by  the  appellation  of  the  Dance  of  Death.  They  seemed 
to  be  men  who  fasted  much  and  feasted  little  ;  great  ob- 


servers  were  they  of  vigils,  of  penance,  of  pilgrimages,  and 
midnight  masses ;  eaters  of  hitter  herbs  for  conscience' 
sake.  It  was  such  men  as  these  who  lived  on  the  tops  of 
columns,  and  took  up  their  abodes  in  tombs,  and  thought 
it  was  a  sign  of  holiness  to  look  like  a  wild  beast — that  it 
was  wicked  to  be  clean,  and  superfluous  to  be  useful  in 
this  world  ;  and  who  did  evil  to  themselves  that  good 
might  come.  Poor  fellows !  they  meant  well,  and  knew 
no  better  ;  and  what  more  can  be  said  for  the  endeavours 
of  the  best  of  men  ? 

Accompanied  by  a  still  increasing  number  of  these  wild 
priests  we  traversed  the  shady  garden,  and  came  to  a 
building  with  a  flat  roof,  which  stood  in  the  south-east 
corner  of  the  enclosure  and  close  to  the  outer  wall.  This 
was  the  college  or  consistory  of  the  Abyssinian  monks, 
and  the  accompanying  sketch  made  upon  the  spot  will 
perhaps  explain  the  appearance  of  this  room  better  than 
any  written  description.  The  round  thing  upon  the  floor 
is  a  table  upon  which  the  dishes  of  their  frugal  meal  were 
set ;  by  the  side  of  this  low  table  we  sat  upon  the  ground 
on  the  skin  of  some  great  wild  beast,  which  did  duty  as  a 
carpet.  This  room  was  also  their  library,  and  on  my  re- 
marking the  number  of  books  which  I  saw  around  me  they 
seemed  proud  of  their  collection,  and  told  me  that  there 
were  not  many  such  libraries  as  this  in  their  country. 
There  were  perhaps  nearly  fifty  volumes ;  and  as  the  entire 
literature  of  Abyssinia  does  not  include  more  than  double 
that  number  of  works,  I  could  easily  imagine  that  what  I 
saw  around  me  formed  a  very  considerable  accumulation 
of  manuscripts,  considering  the  barbarous  state  of  the 
country  from  which  they  came. 


The  disposition  of  the  manuscripts  in  this  library  was 
very  original.  I  have  had  no  means  of  ascertaining  whether 
all  the  libraries  of  Abyssinia  are  arranged  in  the  same  style. 
The  room  was  about  twenty-six  feet  long,  twenty  wide, 
and  twelve  high ;  the  roof  was  formed  of  the  trunks  of 
palm  trees,  across  which  reeds  were  laid,  which  supported 
the  mass  of  earth  and  plaster,  of  which  the  terrace  roof 
was  composed  ;  the  interior  of  the  walls  was  plastered 
white  with  lime  ;  the  windows,  at  a  good  height  from  the 
ground,  were  unglazed,  but  were  defended  with  bars  of 
iron-wood  or  some  other  hard  wood;  the  door  opened 
into  the  garden,  and  its  lock,  which  was  of  wood  also,  was 
of  that  peculiar  construction  which  has  been  used  in  Egypt 
from  time  immemorial.  A  wooden  shelf  was  carried  in 
the  Egyptian  style  round  the  walls,  at  the  height  of  the 
top  of  the  door,  and  on  this  shelf  stood  sundry  platters, 
bottles,  and  dishes  for  the  use  of  the  community.  Under- 
neath the  shelf  various  long  wooden  pegs  projected  from 
the  wall ;  they  were  each  about  a  foot  and  a  half  long, 
and  on  them  hung  the  Abyssinian  manuscripts,  of  which 
this  curious  library  was  entirely  composed. 

The  books  of  Abyssinia  are  bound  in  the  usual  way, 
sometimes  in  red  leather  and  sometimes  in  wooden  boards, 
which  are  occasionally  elaborately  carved  in  rude  and 
coarse  devices  :  they  are  then  enclosed  in  a  case,  tied  up 
with  leather  thongs  ;  to  this  case  is  attached  a  strap  for 
the  convenience  of  carrying  the  volume  over  the  shoulders, 
and  by  these  straps  the  books  were  hung  to  the  wooden 
pegs,  three  or  four  on  a  peg,  or  more  if  the  books  were 
small :  their  usual  size  was  that  of  a  small,  very  thick 
quarto.     The  appearance  of  the  room,  fitted  up  in  this 


style,  together  with  the  presence  of  various  long  staves, 
such  as  the  monks  of  all  the  Oriental  churches  lean  upon 
at  the  time  of  prayer,  resembled  less  a  library  than  a 
barrack  or  guard-room,  where  the  soldiers  had  hung 
their  knapsacks  and  cartridge-boxes  against  the  wall. 

All  the  members  of  this  church  militant  could  read 
fluently  out  of  their  own  books,  which  is  more  than  the 
Copts  could  do  in  whose  monastery  they  were  sojourning. 
Two  or  three,  with  whom  I  spoke,  were  intelligent  men, 
although  not  much  enlightened  as  to  the  affairs  of  this 
world :  the  perfume  of  their  leather  garments  and  oily 
bodies  was,  however,  rather  too  powerful  for  my  olfactory 
nerves,  and  after  making  a  slight  sketch  of  their  library  I 
was  glad  to  escape  into  the  open  air  of  the  beautiful  gar- 
den, where  I  luxuriated  in  the  shade  of  the  palms  and 
the  pomegranates.  The  strange  costumes  and  wild  ap- 
pearance of  these  black  monks,  and  the  curious  arrange- 
ment of  their  library,  the  uncouth  sounds  of  their  singing 
and  howling,  and  the  clash  of  their  cymbals  in  the  ancient 
convent  of  the  Natron  Lakes,  formed  a  scene  such  as  I 
believe  few  Europeans  have  witnessed. 

The  labour  required  to  write  an  Abyssinian  book  is 
immense,  and  sometimes  many  years  are  consumed  in  the 
preparation  of  a  single  volume.  They  are  almost  all 
written  upon  skins  ;  the  only  one  not  written  upon  vellum 
that.I  have  met  with  is  in  my  own  possession  ;  it  is  on  charta 
bombycina.  The  ink  which  they  use  is  composed  of  gum, 
lampblack,  and  water.  It  is  jet  black,  and  keeps  its 
colour  for  ever :  indeed  in  this  respect  all  Oriental  inks 
are  infinitely  superior  to  ours,  and  they  have  the  additional 
advantage  of  not  being  corrosive  or  injurious  either  to  the 


pen  or  paper.  Their  pen  is  the  reed  commonly  used  in 
the  East,  only  the  nib  is  made  sharper  than  that  which  is 
required  to  write  the  Arabic  character.  The  ink-horn  is 
usually  the  small  end  of  a  cow's  horn,  which  is  stuck  into 
the  ground  at  the  feet  of  the  scribe.  In  the  most  ancient 
Greek  frescos  and  illuminations  this  kind  of  ink-horn  is 
the  one  generally  represented,  and  it  seems  to  have  been 
usually  inserted  in  a  hole  in  the  writing-desk  :  no  writing- 
desk,  however,  is  in  use  among  the  children  of  Habesh. 
Seated  upon  the  ground,  the  square  piece  of  thick  greasy 
vellum  is  held  upon  the  knee  or  on  the  palm  of  the  left 

The  Abyssinian  alphabet  consists  of  8  times  26  letters, 
208  characters  in  all,  and  these  are  each  written  distinctly 
and  separately  like  the  letters  of  an  European  printed 
book.  They  have  no  cursive  writing ;  each  letter  is 
therefore  painted,  as  it  were,  with  the  reed  pen,  and  as 
the  scribe  finishes  each  he  usually  makes  a  horrible  face 
and  gives  a  triumphant  flourish  with  his  pen.  Thus  he 
goes  on  letter  by  letter,  and  before  he  gets  to  the  end  of 
the  first  line  he  is  probably  in  a  perspiration  from  his 
nervous  apprehension  of  the  importance  of  his  undertaking. 
One  page  is  a  good  day's  work,  and  when  he  has  done  it 
he  generally,  if  he  is  not  too  stiff,  follows  the  custom  of  all 
little  Arab  boys,  and  swings  his  head  or  his  body  from 
side  to  side,  keeping  time  to  a  sort  of  nasal  recitative, 
without  the  help  of  which  it  would  seem  that  few  can 
read  even  a  chapter  of  the  Koran,  although  they  may 
know  it  by  heart. 

Some  of  these  manuscripts  are  adorned  with  the 
quaintest  and  grimmest  illuminations  conceivable.     The 


colours  are  composed  of  various  ochres.  In  general  the 
outlines  of  the  figures  are  drawn  first  with  the  pen. 
The  paint  brush  is  made  by  chewing  the  end  of  a  reed  till 
it  is  reduced  to  filaments  and  then  nibbling  it  into  a  pro- 
per form :  the  paint  brushes  of  the  ancient  Egyptians 
were  made  in  the  same  way,  and  excellent  brooms  for 
common  purposes  are  made  at  Cairo  by  beating  the  thick 
end  of  a  palm-branch  till  the  fibres  are  separated  from  the 
pith,  the  part  above,  which  is  not  beaten,  becoming  the 
handle  of  the  broom.  The  Abyssinian  having  nibbled  and 
chewed  his  reed  till  he  thinks  it  will  do,  proceeds  to  fill  up 
the  spaces  between  the  inked  outlines  with  his  colours.  The 
Blessed  Virgin  is  usually  dressed  in  blue  ;  the  complex- 
ion of  the  figures  is  a  brownish  red,  and  those  in  my 
possession  have  a  curious  cast  of  the  eyes,  which  gives 
them  a  very  cunning  look.  St.  John,  in  a  MS.  which  I 
have  now  before  me,  is  represented  with  woolly  hair,  and 
has  two  marks  or  gashes  on  each  side  of  his  face,  in 
accordance  with  the  Abyssinian  or  Galla  custom  of 
cutting  through  the  skin  of  the  face,  breast,  and  arms,  so 
as  to  leave  an  indelible  mark.  This  is  done  in  youth, 
and  is  said  to  preserve  the  patient  from  several  diseases. 
The  colours  are  mixed  up  with  the  yolk  of  an  egg,  and 
the  numerous  mistakes  and  slips  of  the  brush  are  cor- 
rected by  a  wipe  from  a  wet  finger  or  thumb,  which  is 
generally  kept  ready  in  the  artist's  mouth  during  the 
operation  ;  and  it  is  lucky  if  he  does  not  give  it  a  bite  in 
the  agony  of  composition,  when  with  an  unsteady  hand 
the  eye  of  some  famous  saint  is  smeared  all  over  the  nose 
by  an  unfortunate  swerve  of  the  nibbled  reed. 

It  is  not  often,  however,  that  the  arts  of  drawing  and 


painting  are  thus  ruthlessly  mangled  on  the  pages  of  their 
books,  and  notwithstanding  the  disadvantages  under  which 
the  writers  labour,  some  of  these  manuscripts  are  beauti- 
fully written,  and  are  worthy  of  being  compared  with  the 
best  specimens  of  calligraphy  in  any  language.  I  have  a 
MS.  containing  the  book  of  Enoch,  and  several  books  of 
the  Old  Testament,  which  is  remarkable  for  the  perfection 
of  its  writing,  the  straightness  of  the  lines,  and  the  equal 
size  and  form  of  the  characters  throughout:  probably 
many  years  were  required  to  finish  it.  The  binding  is  of 
wooden  boards,  not  sawn  or  planed,  but  chopped  appa- 
rently out  of  a  tree,  or  a  block  of  hard  wood,  a  task  of 
patience  and  difficulty  which  gives  evidence  of  the  enthu- 
siasm and  goodwill  which  have  been  displayed  in  the  pro- 
duction of  a  work,  in  toiling  upon  which  the  pious  man  in 
the  simplicity  of  his  heart  doubtless  considered  that  he 
was  labouring  for  the  honour  of  the  church,  ad  rnajorem 
Dei  gloriam.  It  was  this  feeling  which  in  the  middle 
ages  produced  all  those  glorious  works  of  art  which  are 
the  admiration  of  modern  times,  and  its  total  absence  now 
is  deeply  to  be  deplored  in  our  own  country. 

Having  satiated  my  curiosity  as  to  the  Abyssinian 
monks  and  their  curious  library,  I  returned  to  my  own 
room,  where  I  was  presently  joined  by  the  abbot  and  his 
companion,  who  came  for  the  promised  bottle  of  rosoglio, 
which  they  now  required  the  more  to  keep  up  their  spirits 
on  finding  that  the  box  of  treasure  was  olny  a  large  old 
book.  They  murmured  and  talked  to  themselves  between 
the  cups  of  rosoglio,  and  so  great  was  their  disappointment 
that  it  was  some  time  before  they  recovered  the  equilibrium 
of  their  minds.     "  You  found  no  treasure,"  I  remarked, 



"  but  1  am  a  lover  of  old  books ;  let  me  bave  tbe  big  one 
which  you  thought  was  a  box  and  the  others  which  I  have 
brought  out  with  me,  and  I  will  give  you  a  certain  number 
of  piastres  in  exchange.  By  this  arrangement  we  shall 
be  both  of  us  contented,  for  the  money  will  be  useful  to 
you,  and  I  should  he  glad  to  carry  away  the  books  as  a 
memorial  of  my  visit  to  this  interesting  spot."  "  Ah  !" 
said  the  abbot.  "  Another  cup  of  rosoglio,"  said  I ;  "  help 
yourself."  "  How  much  will  you  give  ?"  asked  the  abbot. 
"How  much  do  you  want?"  said  I;  "all  the  money  1 
have  with  me  is  at  your  service."  "  How  much  is  that  ?" 
he  inquired.  Out  came  the  bag  of  money,  and  the 
agreeable  sound  of  the  clinking  of  the  pieces  of  gold  or 
dollars,  I  forget  which  they  were,  had  a  soothing  effect 
upon  the  nerves  of  the  blind  man,  and  in  short  the  bottle 
and  the  bargain  were  concluded  at  the  same  moment. 

The  Coptic  and  Syriac  manuscripts  were  stowed  away 
in  one  side  of  a  great  pair  of  saddle-bags.  "  Now,"  said 
I,  "  we  will  put  these  in  the  other  side,  and  you  shall  take 
it  out  and  see  the  Arabs  place  it  on  the  camel."  We 
could  not  by  any  packing  or  shifting  get  all  the  books  into 
the  bag,  and  the  two  monks  would  not  let  me  make 
another  parcel,  lest,  as  I  understood,  the  rest  of  the  bre- 
thren should  discover  what  it  was,  and  claim  their  share 
of  the  spoil.  In  this  dreadful  dilemma  I  looked  at  each  of 
the  books,  not  knowing  which  to  leave  behind,  but.  seeing 
that  the  quarto  was  the  most  imperfect,  I  abandoned  it, 
and  I  have  now  reason  to  believe,  on  seeing  the  manuscripts 
of  the  British  Museum,  that  this  was  the  famous  book 
with  the  date  of  a.d.  411,  the  most  precious  acquisition 
to  any  library  that  lias  been  made  in  modern  times,  with 

Chnp.  VIII.  MS.   OF  EUSEIUUS.  W 

the  exception,  as  1  conceive,  of  some  in  my  own  collection. 
It  is,  however,  a  satisfaction  to  think  that  this  hook,  which 
contains  some  lost  works  of  Eusehius,  has  not  been  thrown 
away,  but  has  fallen  into  better  hands  than  mine.* 

*  For  a  more  ample  account  of  this  precious  MS.,  see  Appendix. 

F  2 

100  CONVENT  OF  THE  PULLEY.  Chap.  IX. 



The  Convent  of  the  Pulley  —  Its  inaccessible  position  —  Difficult  land- 
ing on  the  bank  of  the  Nile  —  Approach  to  the  Convent  through  the 
Rocks  —  Description  of  the  Convent  and  its  inhabitants  —  Plan  of 
the  Church  —  Books  and  MSS.  —  Ancient  excavations  —  Stone  Quar- 
ries and  ancient  Tombs  —  Alarm  of  the  Copts  —  Their  ideas  of  a 

The  Coptic  monasteries  were  usually  built  in  desert  or 
inaccessible  place?,  with  a  view  to  their  defence  in  troubled 
times,  or  in  the  hope  of  their  escaping  the  observation  of 
marauding  parties,  who  were  not  likely  to  take  the  trou- 
ble of  going  much  out  of  their  way  unless  they  had  assured 
hopes  of  finding  something  better  worth  sacking  than  a 
poor  convent.  The  access  to  Der  el  Adra,  the  Convent  of 
the  Virgin,  more  commonly  known  by  the  name  of  the 
Convent  of  the  Pulley,  is  very  singular.  This  monastery 
is  situated  on  the  top  of  the  rocks  of  Gebel  el  terr,  where 
a  precipice  above  200  feet  in  height  is  washed  at  its  base 
by  the  waters  of  the  Nile.  When  I  visited  this  monas- 
tery on  the  19th  of  February,  1838,  there  was  a  high 
wind,  which  rendered  the  management  of  my  immense 
boat,  above  80  feet  long,  somewhat  difficult ;  and  we 
were  afraid  of  being  dashed  against  the  rocks  if  we  ven- 
tured too  near  them  in  our  attempt  to  land  at  the  foot  of 
the   precipice.      The   monks,    who   were    watching   our 


manoeuvres  from  above,  all  at  once  disappeared,  and  pre- 
sently several  of  them  made  their  appearance  on  the 
shore,  issuing  in  a  complete  state  of  nudity  from  a  cave 
or  cleft  in  the  face  of  the  rock.  These  worthy  brethren 
jumped  one  after  another  into  the  Nile,  and  assisted  the 
sailors  to  secure  the  boat  with  ropes  and  anchors  from  the 
force  of  the  wind.  They  swam  like  Newfoundland  dogs, 
and,  finding  that  it  was  impossible  for  the  boat  to  reach 
the  land,  two  of  the  reverend  gentlemen  took  me  on  their 
shoulders  and,  wading  through  a  shallow  part  of  the  river, 
brought  me  safely  to  the  foot  of  the  rock.  When  we  got 
there  I  could  not  perceive  any  way  to  ascend  to  the 
monastery,  but,  following  the  abbot,  I  scrambled  over  the 
broken  rocks  to  the  entrance  of  the  cave.  This  was  a  nar- 
row fissure  where  the  precipice  had  been  split  by  some  con- 
vulsion of  nature,  the  opening  being  about  the  size  of  the 
inside  of  a  capacious  chimney.  The  abbot  crept  in  at  a 
hole  at  the  bottom  :  he  was  robed  in  a  long  dark  blue  shirt, 
the  front  of  which  he  took  up  and  held  in  his  teeth  ;  and, 
telling  me  to  observe  where  he  placed  his  feet,  he  began 
to  climb  up  the  cleft  with  considerable  agility.  A  few  pre- 
liminary lessons  from  a  chimney-sweep  would  now  have 
been  of  the  greatest  service  to  me  ;  but  in  this  branch  of  art 
my  education  had  been  neglected,  and  it  was  with  no  small 
difficulty  that  I  climbed  up  after  the  abbot,  whom  I  saw 
striding  and  sprawling  in  the  attitude  of  a  spread  eagle 
above  my  head.  My  slippers  soon  fell  off  upon  the  head 
of  a  man  under  me,  whom,  on  looking  down,  I  found  to 
be  the  reis,  or  captain  of  my  boat,  whose  immense  turban 
formed  the  whole  of  his  costume.  At  least  twenty  men 
were  scrambling  and  puffing  underneath  him,  most  of 


them  having  their  clothes  tied  in  a  bundle  on  their  heads, 
where  they  had  secured  them  when  they  swam  or  waded 
to  the  shore.  Arms  and  legs  were  stretched  out  in  all 
manner  of  attitudes,  the  forms  of  the  more  distant  climbers 
being  lost  in  the  gloom  of  the  narrow  cavern  up  which  we 
were  advancing,  the  procession  being  led  by  the  unrobed 
ecclesiastics.  Having  climbed  up  about  120  feet,  we 
emerged  in  a  fine  perspiration  upon  a  narrow  ledge  of 
the  rock  on  the  face  of  the  precipice,  which  had  an  un- 
pleasant slope  towards  the  Nile.  It  was  as  slippery  as 
glass ;  and  I  felt  glad  that  I  had  lost  my  shoes,  as  I  had 
a  firmer  footing  without  them.  We  turned  to  the  right, 
and  climbing  a  projection  of  the  rock  seven  or  eight  feet 
high — rather  a  nervous  proceeding  at  such  a  height  to 
those  who  were  unaccustomed  to  it — we  gained  a  more 
level  space,  from  which  a  short  steep  pathway  brought  us 
to  the  top  of  the  precipice,  whence  I  looked  down  with 
much  self-complacency  upon  my  companion  who  was 
standing  on  the  deck  of  the  vessel. 

The  convent  stands  about  two  hundred  paces  to  the 
north  of  the  place  where  we  ascended.  It  had  been  ori- 
ginally built  of  small  square  stones  of  Roman  workman- 
ship; but,  having  fallen  into  decay,  it  had  been  repaired 
with  mud  and  sunburnt  bricks.  Its  ground  plan  was 
nearly  a  square,  and  its  general  appearance  outside  was 
that  of  a  large  pound  or  a  small  kitchen  garden,  the  walls 
being  about  20  feet  high  and  each  side  of  the  square 
extending  about  200  feet,  without  any  windows  or  archi- 
tectural decoration.  I  entered  by  a  low  doorway  on  the 
aide  towards  the  cliff,  and  found  myself  in  a  yard  of  con- 
siderable size  full  of  cocks,  hens,  women,  and  children, 

Chap.  IX.  THE  CHURCH.  103 

who  were  all  cackling  and  talking  together  at  the  top  of 
their  shrill  voices.  A  large  yellow-coloured  dog,  who 
was  sleeping  in  the  sunshine  in  the  midst  of  all  this  din, 
was  awakened  hy  its  cessation  as  I  entered.  He  greeted 
my  arrival  with  a  growl,  upon  which  he  was  assailed  with 
a  volley  of  stones  and  invectives  by  the  ladies  whom  he 
had  intended  to  protect.  Every  man,  woman,  and  child 
came  out  to  have  a  peep  at  the  stranger,  but  when  my 
numerous  followers,  many  in  habiliments  of  the  very 
slightest  description,  crowded  into  the  court,  the  ladies 
took  fright,  and  there  was  a  general  rush  into  the  house, 
the  old  women  hiding  their  faces  without  a  moment's 
delay,  but  the  younger  ones  taking  more  time  in  the  ad- 
justment of  their  veils.  When  peace  was  in  some  mea- 
sure restored,  and  the  poor  dog  had  been  pelted  into  a 
hole,  the  abbot,  who  had  now  permitted  his  long  shirt  to 
resume  its  usual  folds,  conducted  me  to  the  church, 
which  was  speedily  filled  with  the  crowd.  It  was  interest- 
ing from  its  great  antiquity,  having  been  founded,  a& 
they  told  me,  by  a  rich  lady  of  the  name  of  Ilalane,  who 
was  the  daughter  of  a  certain  Kostandi,  king  of  lloum. 
The  church  is  partly  subterranean,  being  built  in  the 
recesses  of  an  ancient  stone-quarry  ;  the  other  parts  of  it 
are  of  stone  plastered  over.  The  roof  is  flat  and  is 
formed  of  horizontal  beams  of  palm  trees,  upon  which  a 
terrace  of  earth  and  reeds  is  laid.  The  height  of  the  in- 
terior is  about  25  feet.  On  entering  the  door  we  had  to 
descend  a  flight  of  narrow  steps,  which  led  into  a  side 
aisle  about  ten  feet  wide,  and  which  is  divided  from  the 
nave  by  octagon  columns  of  great  thickness  supporting 
the  walls  of  a  sort  of  clerestory.     The  columns  were  sur- 



Chap.  IX. 

1.  Altar. 

2.  Apsis,    apparently    cut   out    of  the 

3.  Two  Corinthian  columns. 

4.  Wooden  partitions   of  lattice-work, 
about  10  feet  high. 

5.  Steps  leading  up  to  the  sanctuary. 

6.  Two  three-quarter  columns. 

7.  Eight  columns.* 

8.  Dark     room     cut  out    of    the     rock 

(there  is   another  corresponding  to 
it  under  the  steps),  f 

9.  Steps  leading  down  into  the  church. 
10.  Screen  before  the  Altar. 

*  The  only  early  church  in  which  the  columns  are  continued  on  the  end 
opposite  to  the  altar,  where  the  doorway  is  usually  situated,  is  the  Cathe- 
dral of  Messina.  The  effect  is  very  good,  and  takes  off  from  the  bald- 
ness usually  observable  at  that  end  of  a  basilica.  The  early  Coptic 
churches  have  no  porch  or  narthex,  an  essential  part  of  an  original  Greek 

t  This  curious  old  sunken  oratory  bears  a  resemblance  in  many  points 
to  the  fine  church  of  St.  Agnese,  at  Rome,  where  the  ground  has  been 
excavated  down  to  the  level  of  the  catacomb  in  which  the  holy  martyr's 
body  reposes.  The  long  straight  flight  of  steps  down  to  the  lower  level 
are  als'  similar  in  these  two  very  ancient  churches,  although  the  Church 
of  Der  el  Adra  is  poor  and  mean,  whilst  that  of  St.  Agnese  is  a  superb 
edifice,  and  is  famous  for  being  the  first  basilica  in  which  a  gallery  is 
found  over  the  side  aisles.  This  gallery  was  set  apart  for  the  women,  as 
in  the  oriental  churches  of  St.  Sophia  at  Constantinople,  and  perhaps 
also  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  at  Jerusalem. 


mounted  by  heavy  square  plinths  almost  in  the  Egyptian 

As  I  consider  this  church  to  be  interesting  from  its 
being  half  a  catacomb,  or  cave,  and  one  of  the  earliest 
Christian  buildings  which  has  preserved  its  originality,  I 
subjoin  a  plan  of  it,  by  which  it  will  be  seen  that  it  is 
constructed  on  the  principle  of  a  Latin  basilica,  as  the 
buildings  of  the  Empress  Helena  usually  were ;  the 
Byzantine  style  of  architecture,  the  plan  of  which  partook 
of  the  form  of  a  Greek  cross,  being  a  later  invention ;  for 
the  earliest  Christian  churches  were  not  cruciform,  and 
seldom  had  transepts,  nor  were  they  built  with  any 
reference  to  the  points  of  the  compass.* 

The  ancient  divisions  of  the  church  are  also  more 
strictly  preserved  in  this  edifice  than  in  the  churches  of 
the  West ;  the  priests  or  monks  standing  above  the  steps 
(marked  No.  5),  the  celebrant  of  the  sacrament  only  going 
behind  the  screen  (No.  10)  ;  the  bulk  of  the  congregation 
stand,  there  are  no  seats  below  the  steps  (No.  5),  and  the 
place  for  the  women  is  behind  the  screen  marked  No.  4. 
The  church  is  very  dimly  lighted  by  small  apertures  in 
the  walls  of  the  clerestory,  above  the  columns,  and  the 

*  It  is  much  to  be  desired  that  some  competent  person  should  write  a 
small  cheap  book,  with  plates  or  wood-cuts,  explaining  what  an  early 
Christian  Church  was;  what  the  ceremonies,  ornaments,  vestures,  and 
liturgy  were  at  the  time  when  the  Church  of  our  Lord  was  formally 
established  by  the  Emperor  Constantino :  for  the  numerous  well-meaning 
authors  who  have  written  on  the  restoration  of  our  older  churches, 
appear  to  me  to  be  completely  in  the  dark.  Gothic  is  not  Christian 
architecture — it  is  Roman  Catholic  architecture  :  the  vestares  of  English 
ecclesiastics  are  not  restorations  of  early  simplicity — they  are  modern  in- 
ventions taken  from  German  collegiate  dresses  which  have  nothing  to  do 
with  religion. 

F  3 

10F>  BOOKS  AND  MSS.  Chap.  IX. 

part  about  the  apsis  is  nearly  dark  in  the  middle  of  the 
day,  candles  being  always  necessary  during  the  reading 
of  the  service.  The  two  Corinthian  columns  are  of  brick, 
plastered  ;  they  are  not  fluted,  but  are  of  good  proportions 
and  appear  to  be  original.  The  apsis  is  of  regular 
Grecian  or  Roman  architecture,  and  is  ornamented  with 
sir  pilasters,  and  three  niches  in  which  are  kept  the  books, 
cymbals,  candlesticks,  and  other  things,  which  are  used 
for  the  daily  service.  Here  I  found  twenty-three  manu- 
script books,  fifteen  in  Coptic  with  Arabic  translations, 
for  the  Coptic  language  is  now  understood  by  few,  and 
eight  Arabic  manuscripts.  The  Coptic  books  were  all 
liturgies :  one  of  them,  a  folio,  was  ornamented  with  a 
large  illumination,  intended  to  represent  the  Virgin  and 
the  infant  Saviour  ;  it  is  almost  the  only  specimen  of 
Coptic  art  that  I  ever  met  with  in  a  book,  and  its  style 
and  execution  are  so  poor,  that,  perhaps,  it  is  fortunate 
that  they  should  be  so  rare.  The  Arabic  books,  which, 
&*  well  as  the  Coptic,  were  all  on  cotton-paper,  consisted 
of  extracts  from  the  Now  Testament  and  lives  of  the 

I  had  been  told  that  there  was  a  great  chest  bound 
with  iron,  which  was  kept  in  a  vault  in  this  monastery, 
full  of  ancient  books  on  vellum,  and  which  was  not  to  be 
opened  without  the  consent  of  the  patriarch  ;  I  could, 
however,  make  out  nothing  of  this  story,  but  it  does  not 
follow  that  this  chest  of  ancient  manuscripts  does  not 
exist;  for,  surrounded  as  I  was  by  crowds  of  gaping 
Copts  and  Arabs,  I  could  not  expect  the  abbot  to  be  very 
communicative ;  and  they  have,  from  long  oppression, 
acquired  such  a  habit  of  denying  the  fact  of  their  having 


anything  in  their  possession,  that,  perhaps,  there  may 
still  be  treasures  here  which  some  future  traveller  may 

While  I  was  turning  over  the  books,  the  contents  of 
which  I  was  able  to  decypher,  from  the  similarity  of  the 
Coptic  to  the  Greek  alphabet,  the  people  were  very  much 
astonished  at  my  erudition,  which  appeared  to  them 
almost  miraculous.  They  whispered  to  each  other,  and 
some  said  I  must  be  a  foreign  Copt,  who  had  returned  to 
the  land  of  his  fathers.  They  asked  my  servant  all 
manner  of  questions  ;  but  when  he  told  them  that  he  did 
not  believe  I  knew  a  word  of  Coptic,  their  astonishment 
was  increased  to  fear.  I  must  be  a  magician,  they  said, 
and  some  kept  a  sharp  look-out  for  the  door,  to  which 
there  was  an  immediate  rush  when  I  turned  round.  The 
whole  assembly  were  puzzled,  for  in  their  simplicity  they 
were  not  aware  that  people  sometimes  pore  over  books, 
and  read  them  too,  without  understanding  them,  in  other 
languages  besides  Coptic. 

We  emerged  from  the  subterranean  church,  which, 
being  half  sunk  in  the  earth  and  surrounded  by  buildings, 
had  nothing  remarkable  in  its  exterior  architecture,  and 
ascended  to  the  terrace  on  the  roof  of  the  convent,  whence 
we  had  a  view  of  numerous  ancient  stone  quarries  in  the 
desert  to  the  east.  They  appeared  to  be  of  immense 
extent ;  the  convent  itself  and  two  adjoining  burial-grounds 
were  all  ensconced  in  the  ancient  limestone  excavations. 

I  am  inclined  to  think,  that  although  all  travellers  in 
Egypt  pass  along  the  river  below  this  convent,  few  have 
visited  its  interior.  It  is  now  more  a  village  than  a 
monastery,    properly   speaking,   as    it    is    inhabited    by 

108  ALARM  OF  THE  COPTS.  Chap.  IX. 

numerous  Coptic  families  who  are  not  connected  with  the 
monks.  These  poor  people  were  so  surprised  at  my 
appearance,  and  watched  all  my  actions  with  such  intense 
curiosity,  that  I  imagine  they  had  scarcely  ever  seen  a 
stranger  before.  They  crowded  every  place  where  I  was 
likely  to  pass,  staring  and  gaping,  and  chattering  to  each 
other.  Being  much  pressed  with  the  throng  in  the  court- 
yard, I  made  a  sudden  spring  towards  one  of  the  little 
girls  who  was  foremost  in  the  crowd,  uttering  a  shout  at 
the  same  time  as  if  I  was  going  to  seize  her  as  she  stood 
gazing  open-mouthed  at  me.  She  screamed  and  tumbled 
down  with  fright,  and  the  whole  multitude  of  women  and 
children  scampered  off  as  fast  as  their  legs  could  carry 
them.  Some  fell  down,  others  tumbled  over  them,  making 
an  indescribable  confusion ;  but  being  reassured  by  the 
laughter  of  my  party,  they  soon  stopped  and  began 
laughing  and  talking  with  greater  energy  than  before. 
At  length  I  took  refuge  in  the  room  of  the  superior,  who 
gave  me  some  coffee,  with  spices  in  it ;  and  soon  afterwards 
I  took  leave  of  this  singular  community. 

We  walked  to  some  quarries  about  two  miles  off  to  the 
north-east,  which  well  repaid  our  visit.  The  rocks  were 
cut  into  the  most  extraordinary  forms.  There  were  several 
grottos,  and  also  an  ancient  tomb  with  hieroglyphics 
sculptured  on  the  rock.  Among  these  I  saw  the  names 
of  Rameses  II.  and  some  other  kings.  Near  this  tomb  is 
a  large  tablet  on  which  is  a  bas-relief  of  a  king  making 
an  offering  to  a  deity  with  the  head  of  a  crocodile,  whose 
name,  according  to  Wilkinson,  was  Savak :  he  was  wor- 
shipped at  Ombos  and  Thebes,  but  was  held  in  such  small 
respect  at  Dendera  that  the  inhabitants  of  that  place  made 


war  upon  the  men  of  Ombos,  and  ate  one  of  their  prisoners, 
in  emulation  probably  of  the  God  he  worshipped.  Indeed, 
they  appear  to  have  considered  the  inhabitants  of  that 
city  to  have  been  a  sort  of  vermin  which  it  was  incumbent 
upon  all  sensible  Egyptians  to  destroy  whenever  they  had 
an  opportunity. 

In  one  place  among  the  quarries  a  large  rock  has  been 
left  standing  by  itself  with  two  apertures,  like  doorways, 
cut  through  it,  giving  it  the  resemblance  of  a  propylon  or 
the  front  of  a  house.  It  is  not  more  than  ten  feet  thick, 
although  it  is  eighty  or  ninety  feet  long,  and  fifty  high. 
Near  it  a  huge  slab  projects  horizontally  from  the  precipice, 
supported  at  its  outer  edge  by  a  single  column.  Some  of 
the  Copts,  whose  curiosity  appeared  to  be  insatiable,  had 
followed  us  to  these  quarries,  for  the  mere  pleasure  of 
staring  at  us.  One  of  them,  observing  me  making  a 
sketch,  came  and  peeped  over  my  shoulder.  "This 
Frank,"  said  he  to  his  friends,  "  has  got  a  book  that  eats 
all  these  stones,  and  our  monastery  besides.*'  "Ah!" 
said  the  other,  "  I  suppose  there  are  no  stones  in  his 
country,  so  he  wants  to  take  some  of  ours  away  to  show 
his  countrymen  what  fine  things  we  have  here  in  Egypt ; 
there  is  no  place  like  Egypt,  after  all.     Mashallah  !" 




Ruined  Monastery  in  the  Necropolis  of  Thebes  —  "Mr.  Hay's  Tomb  "  — 
The  Coptic  Carpenter  —  His  acquirements  and  troubles  —  He  agrees 
to  show  the  MSS.  belonging  to  the  ruined  Monastery,  which  are  under 
his  charge  —  Night  visit  to  the  tomb  in  which  they  are  concealed  — 
Perils  of  the  way  —  Description  of  the  Tomb  —  Probably  in  former 
times  a  Christian  Church  —  Examination  of  the  Coptic  MSS.  —  Alarm- 
ing interruption  —  Hurried  flight  from  the  Evil  Spirits  —  Fortunate 
escape  — ■  Appearance  of  the  Evil  Spirit  —  Observations  on  Ghost 
Stories  —  The  Legend  of  the  Old  Woman  of  Berkeley  considered. 

On  a  rocky  hill,  perforated  on  all  sides  by  the  violated 
sepulchres  of  the  ancient  Egyptians,  in  the  great  Necro- 
polis of  Thebes,  not  far  from  the  ruins  of  the  palace  and 
temple  of  Medinet  Habou,  stand  the  crumbling  walls  of 
an  old  Coptic  monastery,  which  I  was  told  had  been  in- 
habited, almost  within  the  memory  of  man,  by  a  small 
community  of  Christian  monks.  I  was  living  at  this 
period  in  a  tomb,  which  was  excavated  in  the  side  of  the 
precipice,  above  Sheikh  Abd  el  Gournoo.  It  had  been  ren- 
dered habitable  by  some  slight  alterations,  and  a  little  gar- 
den was  made  on  the  terrace  in  front  of  it,  whence  the  view 
was  very  remarkable.  The  whole  of  the  vast  ruins  of 
Thebes  were  stretched  out  below  it ;  whilst,  beyond  the 
mighty  Nile,  the  huge  piles  of  Luxor  and  Carnac  loomed 
dark  and  mysterious  in  the  distance,  which  was  bounded 

Chap.  X.  MR.  HAY'S  TOMB.  Ill 

by  the  arid  chain  of  the  Arabian  mountains,  the  outline 
of  their  wild  tops  showing  clear  and  hard  against  the  cloud- 
less sky.  This  habitation  was  known  by  the  name  of 
"  Mr.  Hay's  tomb."  The  memory  of  this  gentleman  is 
held  in  the  highest  honour  and  reverence  by  the  villagers 
of  the  surrounding  districts,  who  look  back  to  the  time  of 
his  residence  among  them  as  the  only  satisfactory  period 
of  their  miserable  existence. 

One  of  the  numerous  admirers  of  Mr.  Hay,  among  the 
poorer  inhabitants  of  the  neighbourhood,  was  a  Coptic 
carpenter,  a  man  of  no  small  natural  genius  and  talent, 
who  in  any  other  country  would  have  risen  above  the 
sphere  of  his  comrades  if  any  opportunity  of  distinguishing 
himself  had  offered.  He  could  read  and  write  Coptic  and 
Arabic ;  he  had  some  knowledge  of  astronomy,  and  some 
said  of  magic  also  ;  and  he  was  a  very  tolerable  carpenter, 
although  the  only  tools  which  he  was  able  to  procure  were 
of  the  roughest  sort.  In  all  these  accomplishments  he  was 
entirely  self-taught ;  while  his  poverty  was  such  that  his 
costume  consisted  of  nothing  but  a  short  shirt,  or  tunic, 
made  of  a  homespun  fabric  of  goat's  hair,  or  wool,  and  a 
common  felt  skull-cap,  with  some  rags  twisted  round  it 
for  a  turban.  With  higher  acquirements  than  the  gover- 
nor of  the  district,  the  poor  Copt  was  hardly  able  to  obtain 
bread  to  eat ;  and  indeed  it  was  only  from  the  circumstance 
of  his  being  a  Christian  that  he  and  the  other  males  of 
his  family  were  not  swept  away  in  the  conscription  which 
has  depopulated  Egypt  under  the  present  government 
more  than  all  the  pillage  and  massacres  and  internal  feuds 
of  the  followers  of  the  Mameluke  Beys. 

On  those  numerous  occasions  when  the  carpenter  had 

112  NIGHT  VISIT  TO  A  TOMB.  Chap.  X. 

nothing  else  to  do,  he  used  to  come  and  talk  to  me  ;  and 
endeavour  to  count  up,  upon  his  fingers,  how  often  he  had 
"  eat  stick ;"  that  is,  had  been  beaten  by  one  Turkish, 
officer  or  another  for  his  inability  to  pay  the  tax  to  the 
Pasha,  the  tooth-money  to  some  kawass,  the  forced  contri- 
bution to  the  Nazir,  or  some  other  expected  or  unexpected 
call  upon  his  empty  pocket, — an  appendage  to  his  dress, 
by  the  by,  which  he  did  not  possess  ;  for  haying  nothing 
in  the  world  to  put  in  it,  a  pocket  was  clearly  of  no  use 
to  him.  The  carpenter  related  to  me  the  history  of  the 
ruined  Coptic  monastery  ;  and  I  found  that  its  library  was 
still  in  existence.  It  was  carefully  concealed  from  the 
Mahomedans,  as  a  sacred  treasure  ;  and  my  friend  the 
carpenter  was  the  guardian  of  the  volumes  belonging  to 
his  fallen  church.  After  some  persuasion  he  agreed,  in 
consideration  of  my  being  a  Christian,  to  let  me  see  them  ; 
but  he  said  I  must  go  to  the  place  where  they  were  con- 
cealed at  night,  in  order  that  no  one  might  follow  our 
steps ;  and  he  further  stipulated  that  none  of  the  Maho- 
medan  servants  should  accompany  us,  but  that  I  should  go 
alone  with  him.  I  agreed  to  all  this  ;  and  on  the  appointed 
night  I  sallied  forth  with  the  carpenter  after  dark.  There 
were  not  many  stars  visible  ;  and  we  had  only  just  light 
enough  to  see  our  way  across  the  plain  of  Thebes,  or 
rather  among  the  low  hills  and  narrow  valleys  above  the 
plain,  which  are  so  entirely  honeycombed  with  ancient 
tombs  and  mummy  pits  that  they  resemble  a  rabbit  warren 
on  a  large  scale.  Skulls  and  bones  were  strewed  on  our 
path  ;  and  often  at  the  mouths  of  tombs  the  night  wind 
would  raise  up  fragments  of  the  bandages  which  the  sacri- 
legious hand  of  the  Frankish  spoilers  of  the  dead  had  torn 

Chap.  X.  NIGHT  VISIT  TO  A  TOMB.  113 

from  the  bodies  of  the  Egyptian  mummies  in  search  of 
the  scarabaei,  amulets,  and  ornaments  which  are  found 
upon  the  breast  of  the  deceased  subjects  of  the  Pharaohs. 

Away  we  went  stumbling  over  ruins,  and  escaping 
narrowly  the  fate  of  those  who  descend  into  the  tomb 
before  their  time.  Sometimes  we  heard  a  howl,  which 
the  carpenter  said  came  from  a  hyena,  prowling  like  our- 
selves among  the  graves,  though  on  a  very  different  errand. 
We  kept  on  our  way,  by  many  a  dark  ruin  and  yawning 
cave,  breaking  our  shins  against  the  fallen  stones  until  I 
was  almost  tired  of  the  journey,  which  in  the  darkness 
seemed  interminable ;  nor  had  I  any  idea  where  the  car- 
penter was  leading  me.  At  last,  after  a  fatiguing  walk, 
we  descended  suddenly  into  a  place  something  like  a 
gravel  pit,  one  side  of  which  was  closed  by  the  perpendi- 
cular face  of  a  low  cliff,  in  which  a  doorway  half  filled  up 
with  rubbish  betokened  the  existence  of  an  ancient  tomb. 
By  the  side  of  this  doorway  sat  a  little  boy,  whom  I  dis- 
covered by  the  light  of  the  moon,  which  had  just  risen,  to 
be  the  carpenter's  son,  an  intelligent  lad,  who  often  came 
to  pay  me  a  visit  in  company  with  his  father.  It  was  here 
that  the  Coptic  manuscripts  were  concealed,  and  it  was  a 
spot  well  chosen  for  the  purpose  ;  for  although  I  thought 
I  had  wandered  about  the  Necropolis  of  Thebes  in  every 
direction,  I  had  never  stumbled  upon  this  place  before, 
neither  could  I  ever  find  it  afterwards,  although  I  rode  in 
that  direction  several  times. 

I  now  produced  from  my  pocket  three  candles,  which 
the  carpenter  had  desired  me  to  bring,  one  for  him,  one  for 
his  son,  and  one  for  myself.  Having  lit  them,  we  entered 
into  the  doorway  of  the  tomb,  and  passing  through  a  short 

114  INTERIOR  OF  TOMB.  Chap.  X. 

passage,  found  ourselves  in  a  great  sepulchral  hall.     The 

earth  and  sand  which  had  been  blown  into  the  entrance 
formed  an  inclined  plane,  sloping  downwards  to  another 
door  sculptured  with  hieroglyphics,  through  which  we 
passed  into  a  second  chamber,  on  the  other  side  of  which 
was  a  third  doorway,  leading  into  a  magnificent  subter- 
ranean hall,  divided  into  three  aisles  by  four  square 
columns,  two  on  each  side.  There  may  have  been  six 
columns,  but  I  think  there  were  only  four.  The  walls  and 
columns,  or  rather  square  piers  which  supported  the  roof, 
retained  the  brilliant  white  which  is  so  much  to  be  admired 
in  the  tombs  of  the  kings  and  other  stately  sepulchres. 
On  the  walls  were  various  hieroglyphics,  and  on  the  square 
piers  tall  figures  of  the  gods  of  the  infernal  regions — 
Kneph,  Kbonso,  and  Osiris — were  portrayed  in  brilliant 
colours,  with  their  immense  caps  or  crowns,  and  the  heads 
of  the  jackal  and  other  beasts.  At  the  farther  end  of  this 
chamber  was  a  stone  altar,  standing  upon  one  or  two  steps, 
in  an  apsis  or  semicircular  recess.  As  this  is  not  usual 
in  Egyptian  tombs,  1  have  since  thought  that  this  had 
probably  been  altered  by  the  Copts  in  early  times,  and 
that,  like  the  Christians  of  the  West  in  the  days  of  their 
persecution,  they  had  met  in  secret  in  the  tombs  for  the 
celebration  of  their  rites,  and  had  made  use  of  this  hall  as 
a  church,  in  the  same  way  as  we  see  the  remains  of  chapels 
and  places  of  worship  in  the  catacombs  of  Rome  and 
Syracuse.  The  inner  court  of  the  Temple  of  Medinet 
llabou  has  also  been  converted  into  a  Christian  church  ; 
and  the  worthy  Copts  have  daubed  over  the  beautifully 
executed  pictures  of  Kameses  II.  with  a  coat  of  plaster, 
upon  which  they  have  painted  the  grim   figures  of  St. 

Chap.  X.  ANCIENT  COPTIC  BOOKS.  115 

George,  and  various  old  frightful  saints  and  hermits,  whose 
uncouth  forms  would  almost  give  one  the  idea  of  their 
having  served  for  a  system  of  idolatry  much  less  refined 
than  the  worship  of  the  ancient  gods  of  the  heathen,  whose 
places  they  have  usurped  in  these  gigantic  temples. 

The  Coptic  manuscripts,  of  which  I  was  in  search,  were 
lying  upon  the  steps  of  the  altar,  except  one,  larger 
than  the  rest,  which  was  placed  upon  the  altar  itself. 
They  were  about  eight  or  nine  in  numher,  all  brown  and 
musty  looking  books,  written  on  cotton  paper,  or  charta 
bombycina,  a  material  in  use  in  very  early  times.  An 
edict  or  charter,  on  paper,  exists,  or  at  least  did  exist 
two  years  ago,  in  the  museum  of  the  Jesuits'  College, 
called  the  Colleggio  Romano,  at  Rome  :  its  date  was  of 
the  sixtli  century  ;  and  I  have  a  Coptic  manuscript 
written  on  paper  of  this  kind,  which  was  finished,  as  ap- 
pears by  a  note  at  the  end,  in  the  year  1018  :  these  are 
the  oldest  dates  that  I  have  met  with  in  any  manuscripts 
on  paper. 

Having  found  these  ancient  books  we  proceeded  to 
examine  their  contents,  and  to  accomplish  this  at  our 
ease,  we  stuck  the  candles  on  the  ground,  and  the  car- 
penter and  I  sat  down  before  them,  while  his  son  brought 
us  the  volumes  from  the  steps  of  the  altar,  one  by  one. 

The  first  which  came  to  hand  was  a  dusty  quarto, 
smelling  of  incense,  and  well  spotted  with  yellow  wax, 
with  all  its  leaves  dogs-eared  or  worn  round  with  constant 
use :  this  was  a  MS.  of  the  lesser  festivals.  Another 
appeared  to  be  of  the  same  kind  ;  a  third  was  also  a  book 
for  the  church  service.  We  puzzled  over  the  next  two 
or  three,  which  seemed  to  be  martyrologies,  or  lives  of 


the  saints  ;  hut  while  we  were  poring  over  them,  we 
thought  we  heard  a  noise.  "  Oh  !  father  of  hammers," 
said  T  to  the  carpenter,  "  I  think  I  beard  a  noise  :  what 
could  it  be  ? — I  thought  I  heard  something  move." 
"  Did  you,  hawaja  ?"  (O  merchant),  said  the  carpenter ; 
"  it  must  have  been  my  son  moving  the  books,  for  what 
else  could  there  be  here  ? — No  one  knows  of  this  tomb  or 
of  the  holy  manuscripts  which  it  contains.  Surely  there  can 
be  nothing  here  to  make  a  noise,  for  are  we  not  here 
alone,  a  hundred  feet  under  the  earth,  in  a  place  where 
no  one  comes  ? — It  is  nothing :  certainly  it  is  nothing  ;" 
and  so  saying,  he  lifted  up  one  of  the  candles  and  peered 
about  in  the  darkness ;  but  as  there  was  nothing  to  be 
seen,  and  all  was  silent  as  the  grave,  he  sat  down  again, 
and  at  our  leisure  we  completed  our  examination  of  all 
the  books  which  lay  upon  the  steps. 

They  proved  to  be  all  church  books,  liturgies  for  dif- 
ferent seasons,  or  homilies  ;  and  not  historical,  nor  of  any 
particular  interest,  either  from  their  age  or  subject. 
There  now  remained  only  the  great  book  upon  the  altar, 
a  ponderous  quarto,  bound  either  in  brown  leather  or 
wooden  boards ;  and  this  the  carpenter's  son  with  difficulty 
lifted  from  its  place,  and  laid  it  down  before  us  on  the 
ground  ;  but,  as  he  did  so,  we  heard  the  noise  again. 
The  carpenter  and  I  looked  at  each  other  :  he  turned 
pale — perhaps  I  did  so  too  ;  and  we  looked  over  our 
shoulders  in  a  sort  of  anxious,  nervous  kind  of  way,  ex- 
pecting to  see  something — we  did  not  know  what.  How- 
ever, we  saw  nothing  ;  and,  feeling  a  little  ashamed,  I 
again  settled  myself  before  the  three  candle-ends,  and 
opened  the  book,  which  was  written  in  large  black  cha- 

Chap.  X.  RETREAT  FROM  THE  TOMB.  117 

racters  of  unusual  size.  As  I  bent  over  the  huge  volume, 
to  see  what  it  was  about,  suddenly  there  arose  a  sound 
somewhere  in  the  cavern,  but  from  whence  it  came  I 
could  not  comprehend  ;  it  seemed  all  round  us  at  the 
same  moment.  There  was  no  room  for  doubt  now  :  it  was 
a  fearful  howling,  like  the  roar  of  a  hundred  wild  beasts. 
The  carpenter  looked  aghast :  the  tall  and  grisly  figures 
of  the  Egyptian  gods  seemed  to  stare  at  us  from  the  walls. 
I  thought  of  Cornelius  Agrippa,  and  felt  a  gentle  perspi- 
ration coming  on  which  would  have  betokened  a  favour- 
able crisis  in  a  fever.  Suddenly  the  dreadful  roar  ceased, 
and  as  its  echoes  died  away  in  the  tomb,  we  felt  consider- 
ably relieved,  and  were  beginning  to  try  and  put  a  good 
face  upon  the  matter,  when,  to  our  unutterable  horror,  it 
began  again,  and  waxed  louder  and  louder,  as  if  legions 
of  infernal  spirits  were  let  loose  upon  us.  We  could 
stand  this  no  longer :  the  carpenter  and  I  jumped  up 
from  the  ground,  and  his  son  in  his  terror  stumbled 
over  the  great  Coptic  manuscript,  and  fell  upon  the  can- 
dles, which  were  all  put  out  in  a  moment ;  his  screams 
were  now  added  to  the  uproar  which  resounded  in  the 
cave :  seeing  the  twinkling  of  a  star  through  the  vista  of 
the  two  outer  chambers,  we  all  set  off  as  hard  as  we 
could  run,  our  feelings  of  alarm  being  increased  to  des- 
peration when  we  perceived  that  something  was  chasing 
us  in  the  darkness,  while  the  roar  seemed  to  increase 
every  moment.  How  we  did  tear  along  !  The  devil 
take  the  hindmost  seemed  about  to  be  literally  fulfilled  ; 
and  we  raised  stifling  clouds  of  dust,  as  we  scrambled  up 
the  steep  slope  which  led  to  the  outer  door.  "  So  then," 
thought  I,  "the  stories  of  gins,  and  ghouls,  and  goblins, 

118  APPEARANCE  OF  THE  EVIL  ONE.  Chap.  X. 

that  I  have  read  of  and  never  believed,  must  be  true  after 
all,  and  in  this  city  of  the  dead  it  has  been  our  evil  lot  to 
fall  upon  a  haunted  tomb  !" 

Breathless  and  bewildered,  the  carpenter  and  1  bolted 
out  of  this  infernal  palace  into  the  open  air,  mightily 
relieved  at  our  escape  from  the  darkness  and  the  terrors 
of  the  subterranean  vaults.  We  had  not  been  out  a  mo- 
ment, and  had  by  no  means  collected  our  ideas,  before 
our  alarm  was  again  excited  to  its  utmost  pitch. 

The  evil  one  came  forth  in  bodily  shape,  and  stood 
revealed  to  our  eyes  distinctly  in  the  pale  light  of  the 

While  we  were  gazing  upon  the  appearance,  the  car- 
penter's son,  whom  we  had  quite  forgotten  in  our  hurry, 
came  creeping  out  of  the  doorway  of  the  tomb  upon  hit 
hands  and  knees. 

"  Why,  father  !"  said  he,  after  a  moment's  silence,  "  if 
that  is  not  old  Fatima's  donkey,  which  has  been  lost  these 
two  days !  It  is  lucky  that  we  have  found  it,  for  it  must 
have  wandered  into  this  tomb,  and  it  might  have  been 
starved  if  we  had  not  met  with  it  to-night." 

The  carpenter  looked  rather  ashamed  of  the  adventure  ; 
and  as  for  myself,  though  I  was  glad  that  nothing  worse 
had  come  of  it,  I  took  comfort  in  the  reflection  that  I  was 
not  the  first  person  who  had  been  alarmed  by  the  pro- 
ceedings of  an  ass. 

I  have  related  the  history  of  this  adventure  because  I 
think  that,  on  some  foundation  like  this,  many  well-accre- 
dited ghost  stories  may  have  been  founded.  Numerous 
legends  and  traditions,  which  appear  to  be  supernatural 
or  miraculous,  and  the  truth  of  which  has  been  attested 


and  sworn  to  by  credible  witnesses,  have  doubtless  arisen 
out  of  facts  which  actually  did  occur,  but  of  which  some 
essential  particulars  have  been  either  concealed,  or  had 
escaped  notice  ;  and  thus  many  marvellous  histories  have 
gone  abroad,  which  are  so  well  attested,  that  although 
common  sense  forbids  their  being  believed,  they  cannot 
be  proved  to  be  false.  In  this  case,  if  the  donkey  had 
not  fortunately  come  out  and  shown  himself,  I  should 
certainly  have  returned  to  Europe  half  impressed  with  the 
belief  that  something  supernatural  had  occurred,  which 
was  in  some  mysterious  manner  connected  with  the  opening 
of  the  magic  volume  which  we  had  taken  from  the  altar 
in  the  tomb.  The  echoes  of  the  subterranean  cave  so 
altered  the  sound  of  the  donkey's  bray,  that  I  never  should 
have  discovered  that  these  fearful  sounds  had  so  undignified 
an  origin  ;  a  story  never  loses  by  telling,  and  with  a  little 
gradual  exaggeration  it  would  soon  have  become  one  of 
the  best  accredited  supernatural  histories  in  the  country. 
The  well-known  story  of  the  old  woman  of  Berkeley 
has  been  read  with  wonder  and  dread  for  at  least  four 
hundred  years  :  it  is  to  be  found  in  early  manuscripts ;  it 
is  related  by  Olaus  Magnus,  and  is  to  be  seen  illustrated 
by  a  woodcut,  both  in  the  German  and  Latin  editions  of 
the  '  Nuremberg  Chronicle,'  which  was  printed  in  the 
year  1493.  There  is  no  variation  in  the  legend,  which  is 
circumstantially  the  same  in  all  these  books.  Without 
doubt  it  was  partly  founded  upon  fact,  or,  as  in  the  case 
of  the  story  of  the  Theban  tomb,  some  circumstances 
have  been  omitted  which  make  all  the  difference ;  and  a 
natural  though  perhaps  extraordinary  occurrence  has 
been  banded  down  for  centuries,  as  a  fearful  instance  of 


the  power  of  the  evil  one  in  this  world  over  those  who 
have  given  themselves  up  to  the  practice  of  tremendous 

There  are  many  supernatural  stories,  which  we  are 
certain  cannot  by  any  possibility  be  true  ;  but  which 
nevertheless  are  as  well  attested,  and  apparently  as  fully 
proved,  as  any  facts  in  the  most  veracious  history.  Under 
circumstances  of  alarm  or  temporary  hallucination  people 
frequently  believe  that  they  have  had  supernatural  visita- 
tions. Even  the  tricks  of  conjurers,  which  have  been 
witnessed  by  a  hundred  persons  at  a  time,  are  totally- 
incomprehensible  to  the  uninitiated  ;  and  in  the  middle 
ages,  when  these  practices  were  resorted  to  for  religious 
or  political  ends,  it  is  more  than  probable  that  many 
occurrences  which  were  supposed  to  be  supernatural 
might  have  been  explained,  if  all  the  circumstances  con- 
nected with  them  had  been  fairly  and  openly  detailed  by 
an  impartial  witness. 

Chap.  XI.  THE  WHITE  MONASTERY.  121 



The/YVhitc  Monastery  —  Abou  Shenood  —  Devastations  of  the  Mamelukes 

—  Description  of  the  Monastery  —  Different  styles  of  its  exterior  and 
interior  Architecture  —  Its  ruinous  condition  —  Description  of  the 
Church  —  The  Baptistery  —  Ancient  Kites  of  Baptism  —  The  Library 

—  Modern  Architecture  —  The  Church  of  San  Francesco  at  Rimini  — 
The  Red  Monastery  —  Alarming  rencontre  with  an  armed  party  — 
Feuds  between  the  native  Tribes  —  Faction  fights  —  Eastern  Story- 
tellers —  Legends  of  the  Desert  —  Abraham  and  Sarah  —  Legendary 
Life  of  Moses  —  Arabian  Story-tellers  —  Attention  of  their  Audience. 

Mounting  our  noble  Egyptian  steeds,  or  in  other  words* 
having  engaged  a  sufficient  number  of  little  braying  don- 
keys, which  the  peasants  brought  down  to  the  river  side, 
and  put  our  saddles  on  them,  we  cantered  in  an  hour  and 
a  half  from  the  village  of  Souhag  to  the  White  Monastery, 
which  is  known  to  the  Arabs  by  the  name  of  Derr  abou 
Shenood.  Who  the  great  Abou  Shenood  had  the  honour 
to  be,  and  what  he  had  done  to  be  canonized,  I  could 
meet  with  no  one  to  tell  me.  He  was,  I  believe,  a  Ma- 
homedan  saint,  and  this  Coptic  monastery  had  been  in 
some  sort  placed  under  the  shadow  of  his  protection,  in 
the  hopes  of  saving  it  from  the  persecutions  of  the  faithful. 
Abou  Shenood,  however,  does  not  appear  to  have  done 
his  duty,  for  the  White  Monastery  has  been  ruined  and 
sacked  over  and  over  again.     The  last  outrage  upon  the 



unfortunate  monastery  occurred  about  1812,  when  the 
Mamelukes  who  had  encamped  upon  the  plains  of  Itfou, 
having  no  better  occupation,  amused  themselves  by  burning 
all  the  houses,  and  killing  all  the  people  in  the  neighbour- 
hood. Since  that  time  the  monks  having  returned  one 
by  one,  and  finding  that  no  one  took  the  trouble  to  molest 
them,  began  to  repair  the  convent,  the  interior  of  which 
had  been  gutted  by  the  Mamelukes ;  but  the  immense 
strength  of  the  outer  walls  had  resisted  all  their  efforts  tu 
destroy  them. 

The  peculiarity  of  this  monastery  is,  that  the  interior 
was  once  a  magnificent  basilica,  while  the  exterior  was 
built  by  the  Empress  Helena,  in  the  ancient  Egyptian 
style.  The  walls  slope  inwards  towards  the  summit, 
where  they  are  crowned  with  a  deep  overhanging  cornice. 
The  building  is  of  an  oblong  shape,  about  two  hundred 
feet  in  length  by  ninety  wide,  very  well  built,  of  fine 
blocks  of  stone ;  it  has  no  windows  outside  larger  than 
loopholes,  and  these  are  at  a  great  height  from  the  ground. 
Of  these  there  are  twenty  on  the  south  side  and  nine  at 
the  east  end.  The  monastery  stands  at  the  foot  of  the 
hill,  on  the  edge  of  the  Libyan  desert,  where  the  sand 
encroaches  on  the  plain.  It  looks  like  the  sanctuary,  or 
cella,  of  an  ancient  temple,  and  is  not  unlike  the  bastion 
of  an  old-fashioned  fortification ;  except  one  solitary 
doom  tree,  it  stands  quite  alone,  and  has  a  most  desolate 
aspect,  backed,  as  it  is,  by  the  sandy  desert,  and  without 
any  appearance  of  a  garden,  either  within  or  outside  its 
walls.  The  ancient  doorway  of  red  granite,  on  the  south 
side,  has  been  partially  closed  up,  leaving  an  opening 
just  large  enough  to  admit  one  person  at  a  time. 


The  door  was  closed,  and  we  shouted  in  vain  for  admit- 
tance. We  then  tried  the  effect  of  a  double  knock  in  the 
Grosvenor  Square  style  with  a  large  stone,  but  that  was 
of  no  use  ;  so  I  got  one  still  larger,  and  banged  away  at 
the  door  with  all  my  might,  shouting  at  the  same  time 
that  we  were  friends  and  Christians.  After  some  minutes 
a  small  voice  was  heard  inside,  and  several  questions 
being  satisfactorily  answered,  we  were  let  in  by  a  monk  ; 
and  passing  through  the  narrow  door,  I  found  myself 
surrounded  by  piles  of  ruined  buildings  of  various  ages, 
among  which  the  tall  granite  columns  of  the  ancient 
church  reared  themselves  like  an  avenue  on  either  side  of 
the  desecrated  nave,  which  is  now  open  to  the  sky,  and  is 
used  as  a  promenade  for  a  host  of  chickens.  Some  goats 
also  were  perched  upon  fragments  of  ruined  walls,  and 
looked  cunningly  at  us  as  we  invaded  their  domain.  I 
saw  some  Coptic  women  peeping  at  me  from  the  windows  of 
some  wretched  hovels  of  mud  and  brick,  which  they  had 
built  up  in  corners  among  the  ancient  ruins  like  swallows' 

There  were  but  three  poor  priests.  The  principal  one 
led  us  to  the  upper  part  of  the  church,  which  had  lately 
been  repaired  and  walled  off  from  the  open  nave ;  and 
enclosed  the  apsis  and  transepts,  which  had  been  restored 
in  some  measure,  and  fitted  for  the  performance  of  divine 
service.  The  half  domes  of  the  apsis  and  two  transepts, 
which  were  of  well-built  masonry,  were  still  entire,  and 
the  original  frescos  remain  upon  them.  Those  in  the 
transepts  are  stiff  figures  of  saints ;  and  in  the  one  over 
the  altar  is  the  great  figure  of  the  Redeemer,  such  as  is 
usually  met  with  in  the  mosaics  of  the  Italian  basilicas. 



These  apsides  are  above  fifty  feet  from  the  ground, 
which  gives  them  a  dignity  of  appearance,  and  leaves 
greater  cause  to  regret  the  destruction  of  the  nave,  which, 
with  its  clerestory,  must  have  been  still  higher.  There 
appear  to  have  been  fifteen  columns  on  each  side  of  the 
centre  aisle,  and  two  at  the  end  opposite  the  altar,  which 
in  this  instance  I  believe  is  at  the  west  end.  The  roof 
over  the  part  of  the  east  end,  which  has  been  fitted  up  as 
a  church,  is  supported  by  four  square  modern  piers  of 
plastered  brick  or  rubble  work.  On  the  side  walls,  above 
the  altar,  there  are  some  circular  compartments  containing 
paintings  of  the  saints  ;  and  near  these  are  two  tablets 
with  inscriptions  in  black  on  a  white  ground.  That  on  the 
left  appeared  to  be  in  Abyssinian  :  the  one  on  the  other 
side  was  either  Coptic  or  uncial  Greek ;  but  it  was  too 
dark,  and  the  tablet  was  too  high,  to  enable  me  to  make 
it  out.  There  is  also  a  long  Greek  inscription  in  red 
letters  on  one  of  the  modern  square  piers,  which  looks 
as  if  it  was  of  considerable  antiquity ;  and  the  whole 
interior  of  the  building  bears  traces  of  having  been 
repaired  and  altered,  more  than  once,  in  ancient  times. 
The  richly  ornamented  recesses  of  the  three  apsides  have 
been  smeared  over  with  plaster,  on  which  some  tremendously 
grim  saints  have  been  portrayed,  whose  present  thread- 
bare appearance  shows  that  they  have  disfigured  the  walls 
for  several  centuries.  Some  comparatively  modern  capi- 
tals, of  bad  design,  have  been  placed  upon  two  or  three  of 
the  granite  columns  of  the  nave  ;  and  others  which  were 
broken  have  been  patched  with  brick,  plastered  and 
painted  to  look  like  granite.  The  principal  entrance  was 
formerly  at  the  west  end  ;  where  there  is  a  small  vestibule, 


immediately  within  the  door  of  which,  on  the  left  hand,  is 
a  small  chapel,  perhaps  the  baptistery,  about  twenty-five 
feet  long,  and  still  in  tolerable  preservation.  It  is  a 
splendid  specimen  of  the  richest  Roman  architecture  of 
the  latter  empire,  and  is  truly  an  imperial  little  room. 
The  arched  ceiling  is  of  stone  ;  and  there  are  three 
beautifully  ornamented  niches  on  each  side.  The  upper 
end  is  semicircular,  and  has  been  entirely  covered  with  a 
profusion  of  sculpture  in  panels,  cornices,  and  every  kind 
of  architectural  enrichment.  When  it  was  entire,  and 
covered  with  gilding,  painting,  or  mosaic,  it  must  have 
been  most  gorgeous.  The  altar  on  such  a  chapel  as  this 
was  probably  of  gold,  set  full  of  gems ;  or  if  it  was  the 
baptistery,  as  I  suppose,  it  most  likely  contained  a  bath, 
of  the  most  precious  jasper,  or  of  some  of  the  more  rare 
kinds  of  marble,  for  the  immersion  of  the  converted 
heathen,  whose  entrance  into  the  church  was  not  permitted 
until  they  had  been  purified  with  the  waters  of  baptism  in 
a  building  without  the  door  of  the  house  of  God  ;  an 
appropriate  custom,  which  was  not  broken  in  upon  for 
ages ;  and  even  then  the  infant  was  only  brought  just 
inside  the  door,  where  the  font  was  placed  on  the  left  hand 
of  the  entrance  ;  a  judicious  practice,  which  is  completely 
set  at  nought  in  England,  where  the  squalling  imp  often 
distracts  the  attention  of  the  congregation ;  and  is  finally 
sprinkled,  instead  of  being  immersed,  the  whole  ceremony 
having  been  so  much  altered  and  pared  down  from  its 
original  symbolic  form,  that  were  a  Christian  of  the 
early  ages  to  return  upon  the  earth,  he  would  be  unable 
to  recognise  its  meaning. 

The  conventual  library  consisted  of  only  half-a-dozen 


well-waxed  and  well-thumbed  liturgies ;  but  one  of  the 
priests  told  me  that  they  boasted  formerly  of  above  a 
hundred  volumes  written  on  leather  (gild  razali),  gazelle 
skins,  probably  vellum,  which  were  destroyed  by  the 
Mamelukes  during  their  last  pillage  of  the  convent. 

The  habitations  of  the  monks,  according  to  the  original 
design  of  this  very  curious  building,  were  contained  in  a 
long  slip  on  the  south  side  of  the  church,  where  their  cells 
were  lit  by  the  small  loopholes  seen  from  the  outside.  Of 
these  cells  none  now  remain  :  they  must  have  been  famously 
hot,  exposed  as  they  were  all  day  long  to  the  rays  of  the 
southern  sun ;  but  probably  the  massive  thickness  of  the 
walls  and  arched  ceilings  reduced  the  temperature.  There 
was  no  court  or  open  space  within  the  convent ;  the  only 
place  where  its  inhabitants  could  have  walked  for  exercise 
in  the  open  air  was  upon  the  flat  terrace  of  the  roof,  the 
deck  of  this  ship  of  St.  Peter ;  for  the  White  Monastery 
in  some  respects  resembled  a  dismasted  man-of-war, 
anchored  in  a  sea  of  burning  sand. 

In  modern  times  we  are  not  surprised  on  finding  a 
building  erected  at  an  immense  expense,  in  which  the 
architecture  of  the  interior  is  totally  different  from  that 
of  the  exterior.  A  Brummagem  Gothic  house  is  fre- 
quently furnished  and  ornamented  within  in  what  is 
called  "  a  chaste  Greek  style,"  and  vice  versa.  A  Grecian 
house — that  is  to  say,  a  square  white  block,  with  square 
holes  in  it  for  windows,  and  a  portico  in  front — is  some- 
times inhabited  by  an  antiquarian,  who  fits  it  up  with 
Gothic  furniture,  and  a  Gothic  paper  designed  by  a  crafty 
paper-hanger  in  the  newest  style.  But  in  ancient  days 
it  was  very  rare  to  see  such  a  mixture.     I  am  surprised 

Chap.  XI.  THE  RED  MONASTERY.  127 

that  the  architect  of  the  enthusiastic  empress  did  not  go 
on  with  the  interior  of  this  building  as  he  had  begun  the 
exterior.  The  great  hall  of  Carnac  would  have  afforded 
him  a  grand  example  of  an  aisle  with  a  clerestory,  and 
side  windows,  with  stone  mullions,  which  would  have 
answered  his  purpose,  in  the  Egyptian  style.  The  only 
other  instance  of  this  kind,  where  two  distinct  styles  of 
architecture  were  employed  in  the  middle  ages  on  the 
inside  and  outside  of  the  same  building,  is  in  the  church 
of  St.  Francesco,  at  Rimini,  which  was  built  by  Sigismond 
Malatesta  as  a  last  resting-place  for  himself  and  his 
friends.  He  lies  in  a  Gothic  shrine  within ;  and  the 
bodies  of  the  great  men  of  his  day  repose  in  sarcophagi 
of  classic  forms  outside ;  each  of  which  stands  in  the 
recess  of  a  Roman  arch,  in  which  style  of  architecture 
the  exterior  of  the  building  is  erected. 

About  two  miles  to  the  north  of  the  White  Monastery, 
in  a  small  village  sheltered  by  a  grove  of  palms,  stands 
another  ancient  building  called  the  Red  Monastery. 

On  our  return  to  Souhag  we  met  a  party  of  men  on 
foot,  who  were  armed  with  spears,  shields,  and  daggers, 
and  one  or  two  with  guns.  They  were  led  by  a  man  on 
horseback,  who  was  completely  armed  with  all  sorts  of 
warlike  implements.  They  stopped  us,  and  began  to  talk 
to  our  followers,  who  were  exceedingly  civil  in  their 
behaviour,  for  the  appearance  of  the  party  was  of  a  doubtful 
character ;  and  we  felt  relieved  when  we  found  that  we 
were  not  to  be  robbed,  but  that  our  friends  were  on  an 
expedition  against  the  men  of  Tahta,  who  some  time  ago 
had  killed  a  man  belonging  to  their  village,  and  they  were 
going  to  avenge  his  death.     This  was  only  one  detachment 


of  many  that  had  assembled  in  the  neighbouring  villages, 
each  headed  by  its  sheikh,  or  the  sheikh's  son,  if  the  father 
was  an  old  man.  The  numbers  engaged  in  this  feud 
amounted,  they  told  us,  to  between  two  and  three  hundred 
men  on  each  side.  Every  now  and  then,  it  seems,  when 
they  have  got  in  their  harvest,  they  assemble  to  have  a 
fight.  Several  are  wounded,  and  sometimes  a  few  are 
killed  ;  in  which  case  if  the  numbers  of  the  slain  are  not 
equal,  the  feud  continues ;  and  so  it  goes  on  from  gene- 
ration to  generation,  like  a  faction  light  in  Ireland,  or  the 
feudal  wars  of  the  barons  of  the  middle  ages, — a  style  of 
things  which  appears  to  belong  to  the  nature  of  the 
human  race,  and  not  to  any  particular  country,  age,  or 

Parting  from  this  warlike  band  with  mutual  compli- 
ments and  good  wishes,  and  our  guides  each  seizing  the 
tail  of  one  of  our  donkeys  to  increase  his  onward  speed, 
we  trotted  away  back  to  the  boat,  which  was  waiting  for 
us  at  Souhag.  There  we  found  our  boatmen  and  a  crowd 
of  villagers,  listening  to  one  of  those  long  stories  with 
which  the  inhabitants  of  Egypt  are  wont  to  enliven  their 
hours  of  inactivity.  This  is  an  amusement  peculiar  to 
the  East,  and  it  is  one  in  which  I  took  great  delight 
during  many  a  long  journey  through  the  deserts  on  the 
way  to  Mount  Sinai,  Syria,  and  other  places.  The  Arabs 
are  great  tellers  of  stories ;  and  some  of  them  have  a 
peculiar  knack  in  rendering  them  interesting  and  exciting 
the  curiosity  of  their  audience.  Many  of  these  stories 
were  interesting  from  their  reference  to  persons  and 
occurrences  of  Holy  Writ,  particularly  of  the  Old  Testa- 
■  ment.     There  are  many  legends  of  the  patriarch  Abraham 



and  his  beautiful  wife  Sarah,  who,  excepting  Eve,  is  said 
to  have  been  the  fairest  of  all  the  daughters  of  the  earth 
King  Solomon  is  the  hero  of  numerous  strange  legends ; 
and  his  adventures  with  the  gnomes  and  genii  who  weie 
subjected  to  his  sway  are  endless.  The  poem  of  Yous^f 
and  Zuleica  is  well  known  in  Europe.  And  the  traditiois 
relating  to  the  prophet  Moses  are  so  numerous,  that,  wiJh 
the  help  of  a  very  curious  manuscript  of  an  apocryphil 
book  ascribed  to  the  great  leader  of  the  Jews,  I  have  bem 
enabled  to  compile  a  connected  biography,  in  which  maiy 
curious  circumstances  are  detailed  that  are  said  to  haTe 
taken  place  during  his  eventful  life,  and  which  concludes 
with  a  highly  poetical  legend  of  his  death.  Many  of  tie 
stories  told  by  the  Arabs  resemble  those  of  the  Arabicn 
Nights;  and  a  large  proportion  of  these  are  not  ve*y 

I  have  often  been  greatly  amused  with  watching  be 
faces  of  an  audience  who  were  listening  to  a  well-tdd 
story,  some  eagerly  leaning  forward,  others  smoking  thar 
pipes  with  quicker  puffs,  when  something  extraordinary 
was  related,  or  when  the  hero  of  the  story  had  got  irto 
some  apparently  inextricable  dilemma.  These  story- 
telling parties  are  usually  to  be  seen  seated  in  a  circle  >n 
the  ground  in  a  shady  place.  The  donkey-boy  will  sbp 
and  gape  open-mouthed  on  overhearing  a  few  words  of 
the  marvellous  adventures  of  some  enchanted  prince,  and 
will  look  back  at  his  four-footed  companion,  fearing  lest 
he  should  resume  his  original  form  of  a  merchant  fnm 
the  island  of  Serendib.  The  greatest  tact  is  required  m 
the  part  of  the  narrator  to  prevent  the  dispersion  of  lis 
audience,  who  are  sometimes  apt  to  melt  away  on  Ms 



stopping  at  what  he  considers  a  peculiarly  interesting 
point,  and  taking  that  opportunity  of  sending  round  his 
boy  with  a  little  brass  basin  to  collect  paras.  I  know  of 
few  subjects  better  suited  for  a  painter  than  one  of  these 
story-tellers  and  his  group  of  listeners. 

Chap.  XII.  "ISLAND  OF  PHILCE.  131 



The  Island  of  Philoe  —  The  Cataract  of  Assouan  —  The  Burial  Place  of 
Osiris  —  The  Great  Temple  of  Philce  —  The  Bed  of  Pharaoh  —  Shoot- 
ing in  Egypt  —  Turtle-Doves  —  Story  of  the  Prince  Anas  el  Ajoud  — 
Egyptian  Songs  —  Vow  of  the  Turtle-Dove  —  Curious  fact  in  Natural 
History  —  The  Crocodile  and  its  Guardian  Bird  —  Arab  notions  re- 
garding Animals  —  Legend  of  King  Solomon  and  the  Hoopoes  — 
Natives  of  the  country  round  the  Cataracts  of  the  Nile  —  Their 
Appearance  and  Costume  —  The  beautiful  Mouna  —  Solitary  Visit  to 
the  Island  of  Philoe  —  Quarrel  between  two  native  Boys  —  Singular 
instance  of  retributive  Justice. 

Every  part  of  Egypt  is  interesting  and  curious,  but  the 
only  place  to  which  the  epithet  of  beautiful  can  be  cor- 
rectly applied  is  the  island  of  Philce,  which  is  situated 
immediately  to  the  south  of  the  cataract  of  Assouan. 
The  scenery  around  consists  of  an  infinity  of  steep 
granite  rocks,  which  stand,  some  in  the  water,  others  on 
the  land,  all  of  them  of  the  wildest  and  most  picturesque 
forms.  The  cataract  itself  cannot  be  seen  from  the  island 
of  Philce,  being  shut  out  by  an  intervening  rock,  whose 
shattered  mass  of  red  granite  towers  over  the  island, 
rising  straight  out  of  the  water.  From  the  top  of  this  rock 
are  seen  the  thousand  islands,  some  of  bare  rock,  some 
covered  with  palms  and  bushes,  which  interrupt  the 
course  of  the  river  and  give  rise  to  those  eddies,  whirlpools, 
and  streams  of  foaming  water  which  are  called  the  cata- 

132  GREAT  TEMPLE  OF  FHIL(E.  Chap.  XII. 

racts  of  the  Nile,  but  which  may  be  more  properly  desig- 
nated as  rapids,  for  there  is  no  perpendicular  fall  of  more 
than  two  or  three  feet,  and  boats  of  the  largest  size  are 
drawn  with  ropes  against  the  stream  through  certain 
channels,  and  are  shot  down  continually  with  the  stream 
on  their  return  without  the  occurrence  of  serious  accidents. 

Several  of  these  rocks  are  sculptured  with  tablets  and 
inscriptions,  recording  the  offerings  of  the  Pharaohs  to 
the  gods ;  and  the  sacred  island  of  Philoe,  the  burial- 
place  of  Osiris,  is  covered  with  buildings,  temples,  co- 
lonnades, gateways,  and  terrace  walls,  which  are  magnifi- 
cent even  in  their  ruin,  and  must  have  been  superb  when 
still  entire,  and  filled  with  crowds  of  priests  and  devotees, 
accompanied  by  all  the  flags  and  standards,  gold  and 
glitter,  of  the  ceremonies  of  their  emblematical  religion. 

Excepting  the  Pyramids,  nothing  in  Egypt  struck  me  so 
much  as  when  on  a  bright  moonlit  night  I  first  entered 
the  court  of  the  great  temple  of  Philoe.  The  colours  of 
the  paintings  on  the  walls  are  as  vivid  in  many  places  as 
they  were  the  day  they  were  finished :  the  silence  and 
the  solemn  grandeur  of  the  immense  buildings  around 
me  were  most  imposing ;  and  on  emerging  from  the  lofty 
gateway  between  the  two  towers  of  the  propylon,  as  I 
wandered  about  the  island,  the  tufts  of  palms,  which  are 
here  of  great  height,  with  their  weeping  branches,  seemed 
to  be  mourning  over  the  desolation  of  the  stately  palaces 
and  temples  to  which  in  ancient  times  all  the  illustrious 
of  Egypt  were  wont  to  resort,  and  into  whose  inner 
recesses  none  might  penetrate  ;  for  the  secret  and  awful 
mysteries  of  the  worship  of  Osiris  were  not  to  be  revealed, 
nor  were  they  even  to  be  spoken  of  by  those  who  were  not 

Chap.  XII.  BED  OF  PHARAOH.  133 

initiated  into  the  highest  orders  of  the  priesthood.  Now 
all  may  wander  where  they  choose,  and  speculate  on  the 
uses  of  the  dark  chambers  hidden  in  the  thickness  of  the 
walls,  and  trace,  out  the  plans  of  the  courts  and  temples 
with  the  long  lines  of  columns  which  formed  the  avenue 
of  approach  from  the  principal  landing-place  to  the  front 
of  the  great  temple. 

The  whole  island  is  encumbered  with  piles  of  immense 
squared  stones,  the  remains  of  buildings  which  must  have 
been  thrown  down  by  an  earthquake,  as  nothing  else 
could  shake  such  solid  works  from  their  foundations.* 
The  principal  temple,  and  several  smaller  ones,  are  still 
almost  entire.  One  of  these,  called  by  the  natives  the 
Bed  of  Pharaoh,  is  a  remarkably  light  and  airy-looking 
structure,  differing,  in  this  respect,  from  the  usual  cha- 
racter of  Egyptian  architecture.  On  the  terrace  over- 
hanging the  Nile,  in  front  of  this  graceful  temple,  I  had 
formed  my  habitation,  where  there  are  some  vaults  of 
more  recent  construction,  which  are  usually  taken  pos- 
session of  by  travellers  and  fitted  up  with  the  carpets, 
cushions,  and  the  sides  of  the  tents  which  they  bring  with 

Every  one  who  travels  in  Egypt  is  more  or  less  a 
sportsman,  for  the  infinity  of  birds  must  tempt  the  most 
idle  or  contemplative  to  go  "  a  birding"  as  the  Americans 
term  it.     I  had  shot  all  sorts  of  birds  and  beasts,  from  a 

*  "We  are  perhaps  not  entirely  acquainted  with  the  mechanical  powers 
of  the  ancients.  The  seated  statue  of  llameses  II.  in  the  Memnonium  at 
Thebes,  a  solid  block  of  granite  forty  or  fifty  feet  high,  has  been  broken 
to  pieces  apparently  by  a  tremendous  blow.  How  this^  can  have  been 
accomplished  without  the  aid  of  gunpowder  it  is  difficult  to  conjecture. 

134  STORY  OF  PRINCE  ANAS  EL  AJOUD.         Chap.  XII. 

crocodile  to  a  snipe  ;  and  among  other  game  I  had  shot 
multitudes  of  turtle-doves ;  these  pretty  little  birds  being 
exceedingly  tame,  and  never  flying  very  far,  I  sometimes 
got  three  or  four  at  a  shot,  and  a  dozen  or  so  of  them 
made  a  famous  pie  or  a  pilau,  with  rice  and  a  tasty  sauce  ; 
but  a  somewhat  singular  incident  put  an  end  to  my 
warfare  against  them.  One  day  I  was  sitting  on  the 
terrace  before  the  Bed  of  Pharaoh,  surrounded  by  a 
circle  of  Arabs  and  negroes,  and  we  were  all  listening  to 
a  story  which  an  old  gentleman  with  a  grey  beard  was 
telling  us  concerning  the  loves  of  the  beautiful  Ouardi, 
who  was  shut  up  in  an  enchanted  palace  on  this  very 
island  to  secure  her  from  the  approaches  of  her  lover, 
Prince  Anas  el  Ajoud,  the  son  of  the  Sultan  Esshamieh, 
who  had  married  seven  wives  before  he  had  a  son.  The 
first  six  wives,  on  the  birth  of  Anas  el  Ajoud,  placed  a  log 
in  his  cradle,  and  exposed  the  infant  in  the  desert,  where 
he  was  nursed  by  a  gazelle,  and  whence  he  returned  to 
punish  the  six  cruel  step-mothers,  who  fully  believed  he 
was  dead,  and  to  rejoice  the  heart  of  his  father,  who  had 
been  persuaded  by  these  artful  ladies  that  his  sultana  by 
magic  art  had  presented  him  with  a  log  instead  of  a  son, 
who  was  to  be  the  heir  of  his  dominions,  &c.  Prince 
Anas,  who  was  in  despair  at  being  separated  from  his 
lady  love,  used  to  sing  dismal  songs  as  he  passed  in  his 
gilded  boat  under  the  walls  of  the  island  palace.  These, 
at  last,  were  responded  to  from  the  lattice  by  the  fair 
Ouardi,  who  was  soon  afterwards  carried  off  by  the 
enamoured  prince.  The  story,  which  was  an  interminable 
rigmarole,  as  long  as  one  of  those  spun  on  from  night  to 
night  by  the  Princess  Sherezade,  was  diversified  every  now 

Chap.  XII.  EGYPTIAN  SONGS.  135 

and  then  by  the  fearful  squealing  of  an  Arab  song.  The 
old  story-teller,  shutting  his  eyes  and  throwing  back  his 
head  that  his  mind  might  not  be  distracted  by  any  exterior 
objects,  uttered  a  succession  of  sounds  which  set  one's 
teeth  on  edge.* 

*  For  the  benefit  of  the  reader  I  subjoin  two  of  these  songs  translated 
from  the  originals  ;  or  rather,  I  may  say,  paraphrased :  although  the  first 
of  them  has  the  same  rhythm  as  the  original.  The  notes  are  but  very  little, 
if  at  all,  altered  from  those  which  have  been  frequently  sung  to  me, 
accompanied  by  a  drum,  called  a  tarabouka,  or  a  long  sort  of  guitar  with 
only  two  or  three  strings.  It  must  be  observed  that  the  chorus,  Amaan, 
Amaan,  Amaan,  is  generally  added  to  all  songs— a  discretion — and  that 
the  way  this  chorus  is  howled  out  is  to  an  European  ear  the  most  difficult 
part  to  bear  of  the  whole  :— 


Thine  eyes,  thine  eyes  have  kill'd  me : 

With  love  my  heart  is  torn  : 
Thy  looks  with  pain  have  fill'd  me  : 

Amaan,  Amaan,  Amaan. 

Oh  gently,  dearest !   gently, 

Approach  me  not  with  scorn  : 
With  one  sweet  look  content  me  : 

Amaan,  Amaan,  Amaan. 

That  yellow  shawl  encloses 

A  form  made  to  adorn 
A  Peri's  bower  of  roses  : 

Amaan,  Amaan,  Amaan. 

The  snows,  the  snows  are  melting 

On  the  hills  of  Isfahan. 
As  fair,  be  as  relenting  ; 

Amaan,  Amaan,  Amaan. 

Let  not  her,  whose  eyelids  Bleep, 
Imagine  I  no  vigil  keep. 
Alas  !  with  hope  and  love  I  burn  : 
Ah  !  do  not  from  thy  lover  turn  ! 

136  EGYPTIAN  SONGS.  Chap.  XII. 

Whilst  the  old  gentleman  was  shouting  out  one  of  these 
amatory  ditties,  and  I  was  sitting  still  listening  to  these 


Patron  of  lovers,  Bedowi ! 

Ah  !  give  me  her  I  hold  most  dear ; 
And  I  will  vow  to  her,  and  thee, 

The  brightest  shawl  in  all  Cashmere. 

Ah !  when  I  view  thy  loveliness, 

The  lustre  of  thy  deep  black  eye, 
My  songs  but  add  to  my  distress  ! 

Let  me  behold  thee  once,  and  die. 

Think  not  that  scorn  and  bitter  words 

Can  make  me  from  my  true  love  sever ! 
Pierce  our  hearts,  then,  with  your  swords  : 

The  blood  of  both  will  flow  together. 

Fill  us  the  golden  bowl  with  wine  ; 

Give  us  the  ripe  and  downy  peach  : 
And,  in  this  bower  of  jessamine, 

No  sorrows  our  retreat  shall  reach. 

Masr  may  boast  her  lovely  girls, 

Whose  necks  are  deck'd  with  pearls  and  gold  : 
The  gold  would  fail ;  the  purest  pearls 

Would  blush  could  they  my  love  behold. 

Famed  Skanderieh's  beauties,  too, 

On  Syria's  richest  silks  recline  : 
Their  rosy  lips  are  sweet,  'tis  true  ; 

But  can  they  be  compar'd  to  thine  ? 

Fairest!  your  beauty  comes  from  Heaven  : 
Freely  the  lovely  gift  was  given. 
Resist  not,  then,  the  high  decree — 
'Twas  fated  I  should  sigh  for  thee. 

This  last  song  is  well  known  upon  the  Nile  by  the  name  of  its  chorus 
Doas  ya  kill. 

Chap.  XII. 









The      snow,  the  snow     is       melt    -     ing      on  the 







"air,    be    as     re- 

hills   of   Is  -  fa  -  han. 






lent    -    ing  :     Am  -  aan,      Am-aan,      Am  -  aan. 







heart-rending  sounds,  a  turtle-dove — who  was  probably 
awakened  from  her  sleep  by  the  fearful  discord,  or  might, 
perhaps,  have  been  the  beautiful  Princess  Ouardi  herself 
transformed  into  the  likeness  of  a  dove — flew  out  of  one 
of  the  palm-trees  which  grow  on  the  edge  of  the  bank, 
and  perched  at  a  little  distance  from  us.  We  none  of  us 
moved,  and  the  turtle-dove,  after  pausing  for  a  moment, 
ran  towards  me  and  nestled  under  the  full  sleeve  of  my 
benisch.  It  stayed  there  till  the  story  and  the  songs  were 
ended,  and  when  I  was  obliged  to  arise,  in  order  to  make 
my  compliments  to  the  departing  guests,  the  dove  flew  into 
the  palm-tree  again,  and  went  to  roost  among  the  branches, 
where  several  others  were  already  perched  with  their  heads 
under  their  wings.  Thereupon  I  made  a  vow  never  to 
shoot  another  turtle-dove,  however  much  pie  or  pilau 
might  need  them,  and  I  fairly  kept  my  vow.  Luckily 
turtle-doves  are  not  so  good  as  pigeons,  so  it  was  no  great 
loss.  Although  not  to  be  compared  to  the  Roman  bird, 
the  Egyptian  pigeon  is  very  good  eating  when  he  is  tender 
and  well  dressed. 

As  I  am  on  the  subject  of  birds,  I  will  relate  a  fact  in 
natural  history  which  I  was  fortunate  enough  to  witness, 
and  which,  although  it  is  mentioned  so  long  ago  as  the 
times  of  Herodotus,  has  not,  I  believe,  been  often  observed 
since ;  indeed  I  have  never  met  with  any  traveller  who 
has  himself  seen  such  an  occurrence. 

I  had  always  a  strong  predilection  for  crocodile  shooting, 
and  had  destroyed  several  of  these  dragons  of  the  waters. 
On  one  occasion  I  saw,  a  long  way  off,  a  large  one,  twelve 
or  fifteen  feet  long,  lying  asleep  under  a  perpendicular 
bank  about  ten  feet  high,  on  the  margin  of  the  river.     I 


stopped  the  boat  at  some  distance  ;  and  noting  the  place 
as  well  as  I  could,  I  took  a  circuit  inland,  and  came  down 
cautiously  to  the  top  of  the  bank,  whence  with  a  heavy 
rifle  I  made  sure  of  my  ugly  game.  I  had  already  cut 
off  his  head  in  imagination,  and  was  considering  whether 
it  should  be  stuffed  with  its  mouth  open  or  shut.  I  peeped 
over  the  bank.  There  he  was,  within  ten  feet  of  the  sight 
of  the  rifle.  I  was  on  the  point  of  firing  at  his  eye,  when 
I  observed  that  he  was  attended  by  a  bird  called  a  ziczac. 
It  is  of  the  plover  species,  of  a  greyish  colour,  and  as  large 
as  a  small  pigeon. 

The  bird  was  walking  up  and  down  close  to  the  croco- 
dile's nose.  I  suppose  I  moved,  for  suddenly  it  saw  me, 
and  instead  of  flying  away,  as  any  respectable  bird  would 
have  done,  he  jumped  up  about  a  foot  from  the  ground, 
screamed  "  Ziczac !  ziczac !  "  with  all  the  powers  of  his 
voice,  and  dashed  himself  against  the  crocodile's  face  two 
or  three  times.  The  great  beast  started  up,  and  imme- 
diately spying  [his  danger,  made  a  jump  up  into  the  air, 
and  dashing  into  the  water  with  a  splash  which  covered  me 
with  mud,  he  dived  into  the  river  and  disappeared.  The 
ziczac,  to  my  increased  admiration,  proud  apparently  of 
having  saved  his  friend,  remained  walking  up  and  down, 
uttering  his  cry,  as  I  thought,  with  an  exulting  voice,  and 
standing  every  now  and  then  on  the  tips  of  his  toes  in  a 
conceited  manner,  which  made  me  justly  angry  with  his 
impertinence.  After  having  waited  in  vain  for  some  time, 
to  see  whether  the  crocodile  would  come  out  again,  I  got 
up  from  the  bank  where  I  was  lying,  threw  a  clod  of  earth 
at  the  ziczac,  and  came  back  to  the  boat,  feeling  some 
consolation  for  the  loss  of  my  game  in  having  witnessed  a 


circumstance,  the  truth  of  which  has  been  disputed  by 
several  writers  on  natural  history. 

The  Arabs  say  that  every  race  of  animals  is  governed  by 
its  chief,  to  whom  the  others  are  bound  to  pay  obeisance. 
The  king  of  the  crocodiles  holds  his  court  at  the  bottom 
of  the  Nile  near  Siout.  The  king  of  the  fleas  lives  at 
Tiberias,  in  the  Holy  Land  ;  and  deputations  of  illustrious 
fleas,  from  other  countries,  visit  him  on  a  certain  day  in 
his  palace,  situated  in  the  midst  of  beautiful  gardens,  under 
the  Lake  of  Genesareth.  There  is  a  bird  which  is  common 
in  Egypt  called  the  hoopoe  (Abou  hood-hood),  of  whose 
king  the  following  legend  is  related.  This  bird  is  of  the 
size  and  shape  as  well  as  the  colour  of  a  woodcock ;  but 
has  a  crown  of  feathers  on  its  head,  which  it  has  the  power 
of  raising  and  depressing  at  will.  It  is  a  tame,  quiet  bird  : 
usually  to  be  found  walking  leisurely  in  search  of  its  food 
on  the  margin  of  the  water.  It  seldom  takes  long  flights  ; 
and  is  not  harmed  by  the  natives,  who  are  much  more 
sparing  of  the  life  of  animals  than  we  Europeans  are. 

In  the  days  of  King  Solomon,  the  son  of  David,  who, 
by  the  virtue  of  his  cabalistic  seal,  reigned  supreme  over 
genii  as  well  as  men,  and  who  could  speak  the  languages 
of  animals  of  all  kinds,  all  created  beings  were  subservient 
to  his  will.  Now  when  the  king  wanted  to  travel,  he  made 
use,  for  his  conveyance,  of  a  carpet  of  a  square  form. 
This  carpet  had  the  property  of  extending  itself  to  a  suffi- 
cient size  to  carry  a  whole  army,  with  the  tents  and 
baggage ;  but  at  other  times  it  could  be  reduced  so  as  to 
be  only  large  enough  for  the  support  of  the  royal  throne, 
and  of  those  ministers  whose  duty  it  was  to  attend  upon 
the  person  of  the  sovereign.     Four  genii  of  the  air  then 

Chap.  XII.  AND  THE  HOOPOES.  141 

took  the  four  corners  of  the  carpet,  and  carried  It  with  its 
contents  wherever  King  Solomon  desired.     Once  the  king 
was  on  a  journey  in  the  air,  carried  upon  his  throne  of 
ivory  over  the  various  nations  of  the  earth.     The  rays  of 
the  sun  poured  down  upon  his  head,  and  he  had  nothing 
to  protect  him  from  its  heat.     The  fiery  beams  were  be- 
sinninjr  to  scorch  his  neck  and  shoulders,  when  he  saw  a 
flock  of  vultures  flying  past.     "  Oh,  vultures  !"  cried  King 
Solomon,  "  come  and  fly  between  me  and  the  sun,  and 
make  a  shadow  with  your  wings  to  protect  me,  for  its  rays 
are  scorching  my  neck  and  face."     But  the  vultures  an- 
swered, and  said,  "  We  are  flying  to  the  north,  and  your 
face  is  turned  towards  the  south.     We  desire  to  continue 
on  our  way ;  and  be  it  known  unto  thee,  O  king !  that  we 
will  not  turn  back  on  our  flight,  neither  will  we  fly  above 
your  throne  to  protect  you  from  the  sun,  although  its  rays 
may  be  scorching  your  neck   and   face."     Then   King 
Solomon  lifted  up  his  voice,  and  said,  "  Cursed  be  ye,  O 
vultures  ! — and  because  you  will  not  obey  the  commands 
of  your  lord,  who  rules  over  the  whole  world,  the  feathers 
of  your  necks  shall  fall  off;  and  the  heat  of  the  sun,  and 
the  cold  of  the  winter,  and  the  keenness  of  the  wind,  and 
the  beating  of  the  rain,  shall  fall  upon  your  rebellious 
necks,  which  shall  not  be  protected  with  feathers,  like  the 
necks  of  other  birds.     And  whereas  you  have  hitherto 
fared  delicately,  henceforward  ye  shall  eat  carrion  and 
feed  upon  offal ;  and  your  race  shall  be  impure  till  the  end 
of  the  world."     And  it  was  done  unto  the  vultures  as 
King  Solomon  had  said. 

Now    it  fell  out    that  there  was  a  flock  of  hoopoes 
flying  past ;  and  the  king  cried  out  to  them,  and  said, 


"  O  hoopoes  !  come  and  fly  between  me  and  the  sun,  that 
I  may  be  protected  from  its  rays  by  the  shadow  of  your 
wings."  Whereupon  the  king  of  the  hoopoes  answered, 
and  said,  "O  king,  we  are  but  little  fowls,  and  we  are 
not  able  to  afford  much  shade ;  but  we  will  gather  our 
nation  together,  and  by  our  numbers  we  will  make  up  for 
our  small  size."  So  the  hoopoes  gathered  together,  and, 
flying  in  a  cloud  over  the  throne  of  the  king,  they  shel- 
tered him  from  the  rays  of  the  sun. 

When  the  journey  was  over,  and  King  Solomon  sat 
upon  his  golden  throne,  in  his  palace  of  ivory,  whereof 
the  doors  were  emerald,  and  the  windows  of  diamonds, 
larger  even  than  the  diamond  of  Jemshid,  he  commanded 
that  the  king  of  the  hoopoes  should  stand  before  his  feet. 
'*  Now,"  said  King  Solomon,  "  for  the  service  that  thou 
and  thy  race  have  rendered,  and  the  obedience  thou  hast 
shown  to  the  king,  thy  lord  and  master,  what  shall  be 
done  unto  thee,  O  hoopoe  ?  and  what  shall  be  given  to 
the  hoopoes  of  thy  race,  for  a  memorial  and  a  reward  ?" 
Now  the  king  of  the  hoopoes  was  confused  with  the  great 
honour  of  standing  before  the  feet  of  the  king;  and, 
making  his  obeisance,  and  laying  his  right  claw  upon  his 
heart,  he  said,  "  O  king,  live  for  ever !  Let  a  day  be 
given  to  thy  servant,  to  consider  with  his  queen  and  his 
councillors  what  it  shall  be  that  the  king  shall  give  unto 
us  for  a  reward."  And  King  Solomon  said,  "  Be  it  so." 
And  it  was  so. 

But  the  king  of  the  hoopoes  flew  away ;  and  he  went 
to  his  queen,  who  was  a  dainty  hen,  and  he  told  her  what 
had  happened,  and  he  desired  her  advice  as  to  what  they 
should  ask  of  the  king  for  a  reward  ;  and  he  called  to- 

Chap.  XII.  AND  THE  HOOPOES.  143 

gether  his  council,  and  they  sat  upon  a  tree,  and  they 
each  of  them  desired  a  different  thing.  Some  wished  for 
a  long  tail ;  some  wished  for  blue  and  green  feathers ; 
some  wished  to  be  as  large  as  ostriches ;  some  wished  for 
one  thing,  and  some  for  another ;  and  they  debated  till 
the  going  down  of  the  sun,  but  they  could  not  agree  to- 
gether. Then  the  queen  took  the  king  of  the  hoopoes 
apart  and  said  to  him,  "  My  dear  lord  and  husband, 
listen  to  my  words  ;  and  as  we  have  preserved  the  head 
of  King  Solomon,  let  us  ask  for  crowns  of  gold  on  our 
heads,  that  we  may  be  superior  to  all  other  birds."  And 
the  words  of  the  queen  and  the  princesses  her  daughters 
prevailed  ;  and  the  king  of  the  hoopoes  presented  himself 
before  the  throne  of  Solomon,  and  desired  of  him  that  all 
hoopoes  should  wear  golden  crowns  upon  their  heads. 
Then  Solomon  said,  "  Hast  thou  considered  well  what  it 
is  that  thou  desirest  ?"  And  the  hoopoe  said,  "  I  have 
considered  well,  and  we  desire  to  have  golden  crowns 
upon  our  heads."  So  Solomon  replied,  "  Crowns  of  gold 
shall  ye  have  :  but,  behold,  thou  art  a  foolish  bird ;  and 
when  the  evil  days  shall  come  upon  thee,  and  thou  seest 
the  folly  of  thy  heart,  return  here  to  me,  and  I  will  give 
thee  help."  So  the  king  of  the  hoopoes  left  the  presence 
of  King  Solomon,  with  a  golden  crown  upon  his  head. 
And  all  the  hoopoes  had  golden  crowns  ;  and  they  were 
exceeding  proud  and  haughty.  Moreover,  they  went 
down  by  the  lakes  and  the  pools,  and  walked  by  the 
margin  of  the  water,  that  they  might  admire  themselves 
as  it  were  in  a  glass.  And  the  queen  of  the  hoopoes  gave 
herself  airs,  and  sat  upon  a  twig;  and  she  refused  to 
speak  to  the  merops  her  cousin,  and  the  other  birds  who 


had  been  her  friends,  because  they  were  but  vulgar  birds, 
and  she  wore  a  crown  of  gold  upon  her  head. 

Now  there  was  a  certain  fowler  who  set  traps  for  birds ; 
and  he  put  a  piece  of  a  broken  mirror  into  his  trap,  and 
a  hoopoe  that  went  in  to  admire  itself  was  caught.  And 
the  fowler  looked  at  it,  and  saw  the  shining  crown  upon 
its  head  ;  so  he  wrung  off  its  head,  and  took  the  crown  to 
Issachar,  the  son  of  Jacob,  the  worker  in  metal,  and  he 
asked  him  what  it  was.  So  Issachar,  the  son  of  Jacob, 
said,  "  It  is  a  crown  of  brass."  And  he  gave  the  fowler 
a  quarter  of  a  shekel  for  it,  and  desired  him,  if  he  found 
any  more,  to  bring  them  to  him,  and  to  tell  no  man 
thereof.  So  the  fowler  caught  some  more  hoopoes,  and 
sold  their  crowns  to  Issachar,  the  son  of  Jacob ;  until  one 
day  he  met  another  man  who  was  a  jeweller,  and  he 
showed  him  several  of  the  hoopoes'  crowns.  Whereupon 
the  jeweller  told  him  that  they  were  of  pure  gold  ;  and 
he  gave  the  fowler  a  talent  of  gold  for  four  of  them. 

Now  when  the  value  of  these  crowns  was  known,  the 
fame  of  them  got  abroad,  and  in  all  the  land  of  Israel 
was  heard  the  twang  of  bows  and  the  whirling  of  slings  ; 
bird-lime  was  made  in  every  town  ;  and  the  price  of  traps 
rose  in  the  market,  so  that  the  fortunes  of  the  trap-makers 
increased.  Not  a  hoopoe  could  show  its  head  but  it  was 
slain  or  taken  captive,  and  the  days  of  the  hoopoes  were 
numbered.  Then  their  minds  were  filled  with  sorrow  and 
dismay,  and  before  long  few  were  left  to  bewail  their 
cruel  destiny. 

At  last,  flying  by  stealth  through  the  most  unfrequented 
places,  the  unhappy  king  of  the  hoopoes  went  to  the  court 
of  King  Solomon,  and  stood  again  before  the  steps  of  the 

Chap.  XII.  AND  THE  HOOPOES.  145 

golden  throne,  and  with  tears  and  groans  related  the  mis- 
fortunes which  had  happened  to  his  race. 

So  King  Solomon  looked  kindly  upon  the  king  of  the 
hoopoes,  and  said  unto  him,  "  Behold,  did  I  not  warn 
thee  of  thy  folly,  in  desiring  to  have  crowns  of  gold  ? 
Vanity  and  pride  have  hcen  thy  ruin.  But  now,  that 
a  memorial  may  remain  of  the  service  which  thou  didst 
render  unto  me,  your  crowns  of  gold  shall  be  changed 
into  crowns  of  feathers,  that  ye  may  walk  unharmed  upon 
the  earth."  Now  when  the  fowlers  saw  that  the  hoopoes 
no  longer  wore  crowns  of  gold  upon  their  heads,  they 
ceased  from  the  persecution  of  their  race  ;  and  from  that 
time  forth  the  family  of  the  hoopoes  have  flourished  and 
increased,  and  have  continued  in  peace  even  to  the  pre- 
sent day. 

And  here  endeth  the  veracious  history  of  the  king  of 
the  hoopoes. 

But  to  return  to  the  island  of  Philce.  The  neighbour- 
hood of  the  cataracts  is  inhabited  by  a  peculiar  race  of 
people,  who  are  neither  Arabs,  nor  negroes,  like  the 
Nubians,  whose  land  joins  to  theirs.  They  are  of  a  clear 
copper  colour ;  and  are  slightly  but  elegantly  formed. 
They  have  woolly  hair ;  and  are  not  encumbered  with 
much  clothing.  The  men  wear  a  short  tunic  of  white 
cotton  ;  but  often  have  only  a  petticoat  round  their  loins. 
The  married  women  have  a  piece  of  stuff  thrown  over 
their  heads  which  envelopes  the  whole  person.  Under 
this  they  wear  a  curious  garment  made  of  fine  strips  of 
black  leather,  about  a  foot  long,  like  a  fringe.  This 
hangs  round  the  hips,  and  forms  the  only  clothing  of  un- 
married girls,  whose  forms  are  as  perfect  as  that  of  any 



ancient  statue.  They  dress  their  hair  precisely  in  the 
same  way  as  we  see  in  the  pictures  of  the  ancient  Egyp- 
tians, plaited  in  numerous  tresses,  which  descend  about 
half  way  down  the  neck,  and  are  plentifully  anointed  with 
castor-oil ;  that  they  may  not  spoil  their  head-dresses, 
they  use,  instead  of  a  pillow  to  rest  their  heads  upon  at 
night,  a  stool  of  hard  wood  like  those  which  are  found  in 
the  ancient  tombs,  and  which  resemble  in  shape  the  handle 
of  a  crutch  more  than  anything  else  that  I  can  think  of. 
The  women  are  fond  of  necklaces  and  armlets  of  beads  ; 
and  the  men  wear  a  knife  of  a  peculiar  form,  stuck  into 
an  armlet  above  the  elbow  of  the  left  arm.  When  they 
go  from  home  they  carry  a  spear,  and  a  shield  made  of 
the  skin  of  the  hippopotamus  or  crocodile,  with  which  they 
are  very  clever  in  warding  oft*  blows,  and  in  defending 
themselves  from  stones  or  other  missiles. 

Of  this  race  was  a  girl  called  Mouna,  whom  I  had 
known  as  a  child  when  I  was  first  at  Philoe.  She  grew 
up  to  be  the  most  beautiful  bronze  statue  that  can  be 
conceived.  She  used  to  bring  eggs  from  the  island  on 
which  she  lived  to  Philce  :  her  means  of  conveyance  across 
the  water  was  a  piece  of  the  trunk  of  a  doom-tree,  upon 
which  she  supported  herself  as  she  swam  across  the  Nile 
ten  times  a-day.  I  never  saw  so  perfect  a  figure  as  that 
of  Mouna.  She  was  of  a  lighter  brown  than  most  of  the 
other  girls,  and  was  exactly  the  colour  of  a  new  copper 
kettle.  She  had  magnificent  large  eyes  ;  and  her  face 
had  but  a  slight  leaning  towards  the  Ethiopian  contour. 
Her  hands  and  feet  were  wonderfully  small  and  delicately 
formed.  In  short  she  was  a  perfect  beauty  in  her  way  ; 
but  the  perfume  of  the  castor-oil  with  which  she  was 


anointed  had  so  strong  a  savour  that,  when  she  brought 
us  the  eggs  and  chickens,  I  always  admired  her  at  a  dis- 
tance of  ten  yards  to  windward.  She  had  an  ornamented 
calabash  to  hold  her  castor-oil,  from  which  she  made  a 
fresh  toilette  every  time  she  swam  across  the  Nile. 

I  have  been  three  times  at  Philoe,  and  indeed  I  held  so 
great  an  admiration  of  the  place  that  on  my  last  visit, 
thinking  it  probable  that  I  should  never  again  behold  its 
wonderful  ruins  and  extraordinary  scenery,  I  determined 
to  spend  the  day  there  alone,  that  I  might  meditate  at  my 
leisure  and  wander  as  I  chose  from  one  well-remembered 
spot  to  another  without  the  incumbrance  of  half  a  dozen 
people  staring  at  whatever  I  looked  at,  and  following  me 
about  out  of  pure  idleness.  Greatly  did  I  enjoy  my  so- 
litary day,  and  whilst  leaning  over  the  parapet  on  the  top 
of  the  great  Propylon,  or  seated  on  one  of  the  terraces 
which  overhung  the  Nile,  I  in  imagination  repeopled  the 
scene  with  the  forms  of  the  priests  and  worshippers  of  other 
days,  restored  the  fallen  temples  to  their  former  glory, 
and  could  almost  think  I  saw  the  processions  winding 
round  their  walls,  and  heard  the  trumpets,  and  the  harps, 
and  the  sacred  hymns  in  honour  of  the  great  Osiris.  In 
the  evening  a  native  came  over  with  a  little  boat  to  take 
me  off  the  island,  and  I  quitted  with  regret  this  strange 
and  interesting  region. 

I  landed  at  the  village  of  rude  huts  on  the  shore  of  the 
river  and  sat  down  on  a  stone,  waiting  for  my  donkey, 
which  I  purposed  to  ride  through  the  desert  in  the  cool  of 
the  evening  to  Assouan,  where  my  boat  was  moored.  While 
I  was  sitting  there,  two  boys  were  playing  and  wrestling 
together ;  they  were  naked  and  about  nine  or  ten  years 

h  2 


old.  They  soon  began  to  quarrel,  and  one  of  them  drew 
the  dagger  which  he  wore  upon  his  arm  and  stabbed  the 
other  in  the  throat.  The  poor  boy  fell  to  the  ground 
bleeding  :  the  dagger  had  entered  his  throat  on  the  left  side 
under  the  jawbone,  and  being  directed  upwards  had  cut 
his  tongue  and  grazed  the  roof  of  his  mouth.  Whilst  he 
cried  and  writhed  about  upon  the  ground  with  the  blood 
pouring  out  of  his  mouth,  the  villagers  came  out  from 
their  cabins  and  stood  around  talking  and  screaming,  but 
affording  no  help  to  the  poor  boy.  Presently  a  young 
man,  who  was,  I  believe,  a  lover  of  Mouna's,  stood  up 
and  asked  where  the  father  of  the  boy  was,  and  why  he 
did  not  come  to  help  him.  The  villagers  said  he  had  no 
father.  "Where  are  his  relations,  then?"  he  asked. 
The  boy  had  no  relations,  there  was  no  one  to  care  for 
him  in  the  village.  On  hearing  this  he  uttered  some  words 
which  I  did  not  understand,  and  started  off  after  the  boy 
who  had  inflicted  the  wound.  The  young  assassin  ran 
away  as  fast  as  he  could,  and  a  famous  chase  took  place. 
They  darted  over  the  plain,  scrambled  up  the  rocks,  and 
jumped  down  some  dangerous-looking  places  among  the 
masses  of  granite  which  formed  the  background  of  the 
village.  At  length  the  boy  was  caught,  and,  screaming 
and  struggling,  was  dragged  to  the  spot  where  his  victim 
lay  moaning  and  heaving  upon  the  sand.  The  young  man 
now  placed  him  between  his  legs,  and  in  this  way  held 
him  tight  whilst  he  examined  the  wound  of  the  other, 
putting  his  finger  into  it  and  opening  his  mouth  to  see 
exactly  how  far  it  extended.  When  he  had  satisfied  him- 
self on  the  subject  he  called  for  a  knife ;  the  boy  had 
thrown  his  away  in  the  race,  and  he  had  not  one  himself. 


The  villagers  stood  silent  around,  and  one  of  them  having 
handed  him  a  dagger,  the  young  man  held  the  hoy's  head 
sideways  across  his  thigh  and  cut  his  throat  exactly  in 
the  same  way  as  he  had  done  to  the  other.  He  then 
pitched  him  away  upon  the  ground,  and  the  two  lay 
together  bleeding  and  writhing  side  by  side.  Their 
wounds  were  precisely  the  same ;  the  second  operation 
had  been  most  expertly  performed,  and  the  knife  had 
passed  just  where  the  boy  had  stabbed  his  playmate. 
The  wounds,  I  believe,  were  not  dangerous,  for  presently 
both  the  boys  got  up  and  were  led  away  to  their  homes. 
It  was  a  curious  instance  of  retributive  justice,  following 
out  the  old  law  of  blood  for  blood,  an  eye  for  an  eye,  a 
tooth  for  a  tooth. 



OF   ST.   SABBA. 





Journey  to  Jerusalem  —  First  View  of  the  Holy  City  —  The  Valley  of 
Gihon  —  Appearance  of  the  City  —  The  Latin  Convent  of  St.  Salva- 
dor —  Inhospitable  Reception  by  the  Monks  —  Visit  to  the  Church  of 
the  Holy  Sepulchre  —  Description  of  the  Interior  —  The  Chapel  of 
the  Sepulchre  —  The  Chapel  of  the  Cross  on  Mount  Calvary  —  The 
Tomb  and  Sword  of  Godfrey  de  Bouillon  —  Arguments  in  favour  of 
the  Authenticity  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  —  The  Invention  of  the  Cros9 
by  the  Empress  Helena  —  Legend  of  the  Cross. 

"  Ecco  apparir  Gerusalem  si  vede, 
Ecco  additar  Gerusalem  si  scorge, 
Ecco  da  mile  voce  unitamente, 
Gerusalemmc  salutar  si  sente. 

E  1'  uno  all'  altro  il  mostra  e  in  tanto  oblia, 
La  noja  e  il  mal  della  passata  via. 

Al  gran  piacer  che  quella  prima  vista, 
Dolcemente  spirb  nell'  altrui  petto, 
Alta  contrizion  succese,  mista, 
Di  timoroso  e  riverente  affetto, 
Ossano  appena  d'  inalzar  la  vista 
Ver  la  citta,  di  Christo  albergo  eletto  : 
Dove  mori,  dove  sepolto  fue, 
Dove  poi  rivesti  le  membra  sue." 

Tasso,  Gerusalemme  Liberata,  Canto  3. 

AVe  left  our  camels  and  dromedaries,  and  wild  Arabs  of 
the   desert,   at   Gaza ;    and   being   now   provided   with 

h  3 


horses,  and  a  tamer  sort  of  Yahoo  to  attend  upon  them, 
we  took  our  way  across  the  bills  towards  Jerusalem. 

The  road  passes  over  a  succession  of  rounded  rocky 
hills,  almost  every  step  being  rendered  interesting  by  its 
connexion  with  the  events  of  Holy  Writ.  On  our  left  we 
saw  the  village  of  Kobab,  and  on  our  right  the  ruins  of  a 
castle  said  to  have  been  built  by  the  Maccabees,  and  not 
far  from  it  the  remains  of  an  ancient  Christian  church. 

As  our  train  of  horses  surmounted  each  succeeding 
eminence,  every  one  was  eager  to  be  the  first  who  should 
catch  a  glimpse  of  the  Holy  City.  Again  and  again  we 
were  disappointed  ;  another  rocky  valley  yawned  beneath 
us,  and  another  barren  stony  hill  rose  up  beyond.  There 
seemed  to  be  no  end  to  the  intervening  hills  and  dales  ;  they 
appeared  to  multiply  beneath  our  feet.  At  last,  when  we 
had  almost  given  up  the  point  and  had  ceased  to  contend  for 
the  first  view  by  galloping  ahead,  as  we  ascended  another 
rocky  brow  we  saw  the  towers  of  what,  seemed  to  be  a 
Gothic  castle  ;  then,  as  we  approached  nearer,  a  long  line 
of  walls  and  battlements  appeared  crowning  a  ridge  of 
rock  which  rose  from  a  narrow  valley  to  the  right.  This 
was  the  valley  of  the  pools  of  Gihon,  where  Solomon  was 
crowned,  and  the  battlements  which  rose  above  it  were 
the  long-looked  for  walls  of  Jerusalem.  With  one  accord 
our  whole  party  drew  their  bridles,  and  stood  still  to  gaze 
for  the  first  time  upon  this  renowned  and  sacred  city. 

It  is  not  easy  to  describe  the  sensations  which  fill  the 
breast  of  a  Christian  when,  after  a  long  and  toilsome 
journey,  he  first  beholds  this,  the  most  interesting  and 
venerated  spot  upon  the  whole  surface  of  the  globe. 
Every  one  was  silent  for  a  while,  absorbed  in  the  deepest 

Cheap.  XIII.  VALLEY  OF  GIHON.  155 

contemplation.  The  object  of  our  pilgrimage  was  accom- 
plished, and  I  do  not  think  that  anything  we  saw  after- 
wards during  our  stay  in  Jerusalem  made  a  more  profound 
impression  on  our  minds  than  this  first  distant  view. 

It  was  curious  to  observe  the  different  effect  which  our 
approach  to  Jerusalem  had  upon  the  various  persons  who 
composed  our  party.  A  Christian  pilgrim,  who  had 
joined  us  on  the  road,  fell  down  upon  his  knees  and 
kissed  the  holy  ground  ;  two  others  embraced  each  other, 
and  congratulated  themselves  that  they  had  lived  to  see 
Jerusalem.  As  for  us  Franks,  we  sat  bolt  upright  upon 
our  horses,  and  stared  and  said  nothing ;  whilst  around 
us  the  more  natural  children  of  the  East  wept  for  joy, 
and,  as  in  the  army  of  the  Crusaders,  the  word  Jerusa- 
lem !  Jerusalem !  was  repeated  from  mouth  to  mouth  ; 
but  we,  who  consider  ourselves  civilized  and  superior 
beings,  repressed  our  emotions ;  we  were  above  showing 
that  we  participated  in  the  feelings  of  our  barbarous  com- 
panions. As  for  myself,  I  would  have  got  off  my  horse 
and  walked  bare-footed  towards  the  gate,  as  some  did,  if  I 
had  dared  :  but  I  was  in  fear  of  being  laughed  at  for  my 
absurdity,  and  therefore  sat  fast  in  my  saddle.  At  last  I 
blew  my  nose,  and,  pressing  the  sharp  edges  of  my  Arab 
stirrups  on  the  lank  sides  of  my  poor  weary  jade,  I  rode 
on  slowly  towards  the  Bethlehem  gate. 

On  the  sloping  sides  of  the  valley  of  Gihon  numerous 
groups  of  people  were  lying  under  the  olive-trees  in  the 
cool  of  the  evening,  and  parties  of  grave  Turks,  seated  on 
their  carpets  by  the  road-side,  were  smoking  their  long 
pipes  in  dignified  silence.  But  what  struck  me  most  were 
some  old  white-bearded  Jews,  who  were  holding  forth  to 


groups  of  their  friends  or  disciples  under  the  walls  of 
the  city  of  their  fathers,  and  dilating  perhaps  upon  the 
glorious  actions  of  their  race  in  former  days. 

Jerusalem  has  been  described  as  a  deserted  and  melan- 
choly ruin,  filling  the  mind  with  images  of  desolation  and 
decay,  but  it  did  not  strike  me  as  such.  It  is  still  a 
compact  city,  as  it  is  described  in  Scripture  ;  the  Sara- 
cenic walls  have  a  stately,  magnificent  appearance  ;  they 
arc  built  of  large  and  massive  stones.  Windsor  Castle 
multiplied  by  ten  would  have  very  much  the  appearance 
of  Jerusalem  as  seen  from  this  point  of  view.  The  square 
towers,  which  are  seen  at  intervals,  are  handsome  and  in 
good  repair  ;  and  there  is  an  imposing  dignity  in  the  appear- 
ance of  the  grim  old  citadel,  which  rises  in  the  centre  of 
the  line  of  walls  and  towers,  with  its  batteries  and  terraces 
one  above  another,  surmounted  with  the  crimson  flag  of 
Turkey  floating  heavily  over  the  conquered  city  of  the 
Christians.  I  wonder  whether  in  these  times  any  portion 
of  that  spirit  could  be  revived  which  animated  our  ances- 
tors in  the  romantic  days  of  the  Crusades.  I  longed  to 
tear  down  the  red  flag  with  its  white  crescent,  and  replace 
it  with  the  banner  of  St.  George.  Nothing  would  please 
me  more  than  to — 

"  Chase  these  pagans,  in  those  holy  fields, 
Over  whose  acres  walk'd  those  blessed  feet, 
Which,  eighteen  hundred  years  ago,  were  nail'd, 
For  our  advantage,  on  the  bitter  cross."* 

We  entered  by  the  Bethlehem  gate :  it  is  commanded 
by  the  citadel,  which  was  built  by  the  people  of  Pisa, 
and  is  still  called  the  castle  of  the  Pisans.     There  we 

*  Henry  IV.,  Part  I. 


had  some  parleying  with  the  Egyptian  guards,  and,  cross- 
ing an  open  space  famous  in  monastic  tradition  as  the 
garden  where  Bathsheba  was  bathing  when  she  was  seen 
by  King  David  from  the  roof  of  his  palace,  we  threaded 
a  labyrinth  of  narrow  streets,  which  the  horses  of  our 
party  completely  blocked  up ;  and  as  soon  as  we  could, 
we  sent  a  man  with  our  letters  of  introduction  to  the 
superior  of  the  Latin  convent.  I  had  letters  from  Car- 
dinal Weld  and  Cardinal  Pedicini,  which  we  presumed 
would  ensure  us  a  warm  and  hospitable  reception  ;  and 
as  travellers  are  usually  lodged  in  the  monastic  establish- 
ments, we  went  on  at  once  to  the  Latin  convent  of  St. 
Salvador,  where  we  expected  to  enjoy  all  the  comforts 
and  luxuries  of  European  civilization  after  our  weary 
journey  over  the  desert  from  Egypt.  We,  however, 
quickly  discovered  our  mistake  ;  for,  on  dismounting  at 
the  gate  of  the  convent,  we  were  received  in  a  very  cool 
way  by  the  monks,  who  appeared  to  make  the  reception 
of  travellers  a  mere  matter  of  interest,  and  treated  us  as 
if  we  were  dust  under  their  feet.  They  put  us  into  a 
wretched  hole  in  the  Casa  Nuova,  a  house  belonging  to 
them  near  the  convent,  where  there  was  scarcely  room  for 
our  baggage ;  and  we  went  to  bed  not  a  little  mortified 
at  our  inhospitable  reception  by  our  Christian  brethren, 
so  different  from  what  we  had  always  experienced  from 
the  Mahomcdans.  The  convent  of  St.  Salvador  belongs  to 
a  community  of  Franciscan  friars;  they  were  most  of 
them  Spaniards,  and,  being  so  far  away  from  the  superior 
officers  of  their  order,  they  were  not  kept  in  very  perfect 
discipline.  It  was  probably  owing  to  our  being  heretics 
that  we  were  not  better  received.     Fortunately  we  had 

158  CHURCH  OF  THE  HOLY  SEPULCHRE.       Chap.  XIII. 

our  own  beds,  tents,  cooking-utensils,  carpets,  &c. ;  so 
that  we  soon  made  ourselves  comfortable  in  the  bare 
vaulted  rooms  which  were  allotted  to  us,  and  for  which, 
by-the-bye,  we  had  to  pay  pretty  handsomely. 

The  next  morning  early  we  went  to  the  church  of  the 
Holy  Sepulchre,  descending  the  hill  from  the  convent, 
and  then  down  a  flight  of  narrow  steps  into  a  small  paved 
court,  one  side  of  which  is  occupied  by  the  Gothic  front 
of  the  church.  The  court  was  full  of  people  selling 
beads  and  crucifixes  and  other  holy  ware.  We  had  to 
wait  some  time,  till  the  Turkish  doorkeepers  came  to  un- 
lock the  door,  as  they  keep  the  keys  of  the  church,  which 
is  only  open  on  certain  days,  except  to  votaries  of  dis- 
tinction. There  is  a  hole  in  the  door,  through  which  the 
pilgrims  gave  quantities  of  things  to  the  monks  inside  to 
be  laid  upon  the  sepulchre.  At  last  the  door  was  opened, 
and  we  went  into  the  church. 

On  entering  these  sacred  walls  the  attention  is  first 
directed  to  a  large  slab  of  marble  on  the  floor  opposite 
the  door,  with  several  lamps  suspended  over  it,  and  three 
enormous  waxen  tapers  about  twenty  feet  in  height 
standing  at  each  end.  The  pilgrims  approach  it  on  their 
knees,  touch  and  kiss  it,  and,  prostrating  themselves 
before  it,  offer  up  their  adoration.  This,  you  are  told,  is 
the  stone  on  which  the  body  of  our  Lord  was  washed  and 
anointed,  and  prepared  for  the  tomb. 

Turning  to  the  left,  we  came  to  a  round  stone  let  into 
the  pavement,  with  a  canopy  of  ornamental  iron-work 
over  it.  Here  the  Virgin  Mary  is  said  to  have  stood  when 
the  body  of  our  Saviour  was  taken  down  from  the  cross. 

Leaving  this,  we  entered  the  circular  space  immediately 


under  the  great  dome,  which  is  about  eighty  feet  in  dia- 
meter, and  is  surrounded  by  eighteen  large  square  piers, 
which  support  the  front  of  a  broad  gallery.  Formerly 
this  circular  gallery  was  supported  by  white  marble  pillars  ; 
but  the  church  was  burnt  down  in  1808,  through  the 
negligence  of  a  drunken  Greek  monk,  who  set  a  light 
to  some  parts  of  the  woodwork,  and  then  endeavoured  to 
put  out  the  flames  by  throwing  aqua  vitse  upon  them, 
which  he  mistook  for  water. 

The  Chapel  of  the  Sepulchre  stands  under  the  centre 
of  the  dome.  It  is  a  small  oblong  house  of  stone,  rounded 
at  one  end,  where  there  is  an  altar  for  the  Coptic  and 
Abyssinian  Christians.  At  the  other  end  it  is  square, 
and  has  a  platform  of  marble  in  front,  which  is  ascended 
by  a  flight  of  steps,  and  has  a  low  parapet  wall  and  a  seat 
on  each  side.  The  chapel  contains  two  rooms.  Taking 
off  our  shoes  and  turbans,  we  entered  a  low  narrow  door, 
and  went  into  a  chamber,  in  the  centre  of  which  stands  a 
block  of  polished  marble.  On  this  stone  sat  the  angel 
who  announced  the  blessed  tidings  of  the  resurrection. 

From  this  room,  which  has  a  small  round  window  on 
each  side,  we  passed  through  another  low  door  into  the 
inner  chamber,  which  contains  the  Holy  Sepulchre  itself, 
which,  however,  is  not  visible,  being  concealed  by  an  altar 
of  white  marble.  It  is  said  to  be  a  long  narrow  excava- 
tion like  a  grave  or  the  interior  of  a  sarcophagus  hewed 
out  of  the  rock  just  beneath  the  level  of  the  ground.  Six 
rows  of  lamps  of  silver  gilt,  twelve  in  each  row,  hang  from 
the  ceiling,  and  are  kept  perpetually  burning.  The 
tomb  occupies  nearly  one-half  of  the  sepulchral  chamber, 
and  extends  from  one  end  of  it  to  the  other  on  the  right 

160  CHAPEL  OF  THE  CROSS.  Chap.  XIII. 

side  of  the  door  as  you  enter ;  a  space  of  three  feet  wide 
and  rather  more  than  six  feet  long  in  front  of  it  being  all 
that  remains  for  the  accommodation  of  the  pilgrims,  so 
that  not  more  than  three  or  four  can  be  admitted  at  a 

Leaving  this  hallowed  spot,  we  were  conducted  first  to 
the  place  where  our  Lord  appeared  to  Mary  Magdalen, 
and  then  to  the  Chapel  of  the  Latins,  where  a  part  of  the 
pillar  of  flagellation  is  preserved. 

The  Greeks  have  possession  of  the  choir  of  the  church, 
which  is  opposite  the  door  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre.  This 
part  of  the  building  is  of  great  size,  and  is  magnificently 
decorated  with  gold  and  carving  and  stiff  pictures  of  the 
saints.  In  the  centre  is  a  globe  of  black  marble  on  a 
pedestal,  under  which  they  say  the  head  of  Adam  was 
found  ;  and  you  are  told  also  that  this  is  the  exact  centre 
of  the  globe  ;  the  Greeks  having  thus  transferred  to 
Jerusalem,  from  the  temple  of  Apollo  at  Delphi,  the 
absurd  notions  of  the  pagan  priests  of  antiquity  relative  to 
the  form  of  the  earth. 

Returning  towards  the  door  of  the  church,  and  leaving 
it  on  our  right  hand,  we  ascended  a  flight  of  about  twenty 
steps,  and  found  ourselves  in  the  Chapel  of  the  Cross  on 
Mount  Calvary.  At  the  upper  end  of  this  chapel  is  an 
altar,  on  the  spot  where  the  crucifixion  took  place,  and 
under  it  is  the  hole  into  which  the  end  of  the  cross  was 
fixed :  this  is  surrounded  with  a  glory  of  silver  gilt,  and 
on  each  side  of  it,  at  the  distance  of  about  six  feet,  are  the 
holes  in  which  the  crosses  of  the  two  thieves  stood.  Near 
to  these  is  a  long  rent  in  the  rock,  which  was  opened  by  an 
earthquake  at  the  time  of  the  crucifixion.     Although  the 


three  crosses  appear  to  have  stood  very  near  to  each  other, 
yet,  from  the  manner  in  which  they  are  placed,  there 
would  have  been  room  enough  for  them,  as  the  cross  of 
our  Saviour  stands  in  front  of  the  other  two. 

Leaving  this  chapel  we  entered  a  kind  of  vault  under 
the  stairs,  in  which  the  rent  of  the  rock  is  again  seen  ;  it 
extends  from  the  ceiling  to  the  floor,  and  has  every 
appearance  of  having  been  caused  by  some  convulsion  of 
nature,  and  not  formed  by  the  hands  of  man.  Here  were 
formerly  the  tombs  of  Godfrey  de  Bouillon  and  Baldwin 
his  brother,  who  were  buried  beneath  the  cross  for  which 
they  fought  so  valiantly  :  but  these  tombs  have  lately  been 
destroyed  by  the  Greeks,  whose  detestation  of  everything 
connected  with  the  Latin  Church  exceeds  their  aversion 
to  the  Mahomedan  creed.  In  the  sacristy  of  the  Latin 
monks  we  were  shown  the  sword  and  spurs  of  Godfrey  de 
Bouillon ;  the  sword  is  apparently  of  the  age  assigned  to 
it :  it  is  double-edged  and  straight,  with  a  cross-guard.* 

In  another  part  of  the  church  is  a  small  dismal  chapel, 
in  the  floor  of  which  are  several  ancient  tombs  ;  one  of 
them  is  said  to  be  the  sepulchre  of  Joseph  of  Arimathea. 
Of  the  antiquity  of  these  tombs  there  cannot  be  the 
slightest  doubt ;  and  their  being  here  forms  the  best 
argument  for  the  authenticity  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  itself, 

*  This  sword  is  used  by  the  Reverendissimo,  the  title  given  to  the 
superior  of  the  Franciscans,  when  he  confers  the  order  of  Knight  of  the 
Holy  Sepulchre,  which  is  only  given  to  a  Roman  Catholic  of  noble  birth. 
The  Reverendissimo  is  also  authorized  by  the  Pope  to  give  a  flag  bearing 
the  Five  Crosses  of  Jerusalem  to  the  captain  of  any  ship  who  has  rendered 
service  to  the  Catholic  religion.  These  honours  were  first  instituted 
by  the  Christian  Kings  of  Jerusalem,  but  they  are  now  sold  by  the 
monks  for  about  forty  dollars  to  any  Roman  Catholic  who  likes  to  pay 
for  them. 


as  it  shows  that  this  was  formerly  a  place  of  Imrial,  not- 
withstanding its  situation  in  the  centre  of  the  ancient  city, 
contrary  to  the  almost  universal  practice  of  the  ancients, 
whose  sepulchres  are  always  found  some  short  distance  from 
their  cities  ;  indeed,  among  the  Egyptians,  whose  manners 
seem  to  have  heen  followed  in  many  respects  by  the  Jews, 
it  was  a  law  that  no  one  should  be  buried  in  the  cultivated 
grounds,  but  their  tombs  were  excavated  in  the  rocks  of 
the  desert,  that  the  agricultural  and  other  daily  pursuits 
of  the  living  might  not  interfere  with  the  repose  of  the 
dead.  It  is  mentioned  in  the  Bible  that  Christ  was  led 
out  to  be  crucified ;  but  it  is  not  quite  clear  from  the 
passage  whether  he  was  led  out  of  the  city  of  Jerusalem 
itself,  or  only  from  the  city  of  David  on  Mount  Zion, 
which  appears  to  have  been  the  citadel  and  place  of  resi- 
dence of  the  Roman  governor.  If  so,  the  site  of  the  Holy 
Sepulchre  may  be  the  true  one ;  and,  in  common  with  all 
other  pilgrims,  I  am  inclined  to  hope  that  the  tomb  now 
pointed  out  may  really  be  the  sepulchre  of  Christ. 

Descending  a  flight  of  steps  from  the  body  of  the 
church,  we  entered  the  subterranean  chapel  of  St.  Helena, 
below  which  is  another  vault,  in  which  the  true  cross  is 
said  to  have  been  found.  A  very  curious  account  of  the 
finding  of  the  cross  is  to  be  seen  in  the  black-letter  pages 
of  Caxton's  '  Golden  Legend,'  and  it  has  formed  the  sub- 
ject of  many  singular  traditions  and  romantic  stories  in 
former  days.  The  history  of  this  famous  relic  would  be 
tedious  were  I  to  narrate  it  in  the  obsolete  phraseology  of 
the  father  of  English  printing,  and  I  will  therefore  only 
give  a  short  summary  of  the  legend  ;  although,  to  those 
who  take  an  interest  in  monastic  traditions,  the  accounts 

Chap.  XIII.  THE  TRUE  CROSS.  163 

given  in  old  books,  which  were  read  by  our  ancestors 
before  the  Reformation  with  all  the  sober  seriousness  of 
undoubting  faith,  afford  a  curious  instance  of  the  prone- 
ness  of  the  human  intellect  to  mistake  the  shadow  for  the 
substance,  and  to  substitute  an  unbounded  veneration  for 
outward  observances  for  the  more  reasonable  acts  of 
spiritual  devotion. 

In  the  middle  ages,  while  the  worship  of  our  Saviour 
was  completely  neglected,  the  wooden  cross  upon  which 
he  was  supposed  to  have  suffered  was  the  object  of  uni- 
versal adoration  to  all  sects  of  Christians ;  armies  fought 
with  religious  enthusiasm,  not  for  the  faith,  but  for  the 
relic  of  the  cross ;  and  the  traditions  regarding  it  were 
received  as  undoubted  facts  by  the  heroes  of  the  crusades, 
the  hierarchy  of  the  Church,  and  all  who  called  themselves 
Christians,  in  those  iron  ages,  when  with  rope  and  fagot, 
fire  and  sword,  the  fierce  piety  even  of  good  men  sought 
to  enforce  the  precepts  of  Him  whose  advent  was  heralded 
with  the  angels'  hymn  of  "  peace  on  earth  and  good  will 
towards  men." 

It  is  related  in  the  apocryphal  Gospel  of  Nicodemus, 
that  when  Adam  fell  sick  he  sent  his  son  Seth  to  the  gate 
of  the  terrestrial  paradise  to  ask  the  angel  for  some  drops 
of  the  oil  of  mercy,  which  distilled  from  the  tree  of  life, 
to  cure  him  of  his  disease ;  but  the  angel  answered  that 
he  could  not  receive  this  healing  oil  until  5500  years  had 
passed  away.  He  gave  him,  however,  a  branch  of  this 
tree,  and  it  was  planted  upon  Adam's  grave.  In  after 
ages  the  tree  flourished  and  waxed  exceeding  fair,  for 
Adam  was  buried  in  Mount  Lebanon,  not  very  far  from 
the  place  near  Damascus  whence  the  red  earth  of  which 


his  body  was  formed  by  the  Creator  had  been  taken. 
When  Balkis,  Queen  of  Abyssinia,  came  to  visit  Solomon 
the  King,  she  worshipped  this  tree,  for  she  said  that 
thereon  should  the  Saviour  of  the  world  be  hanged,  and 
that  from  that  time  the  kingdom  of  the  Jews  should  cease. 
Upon  hearing  this,  Solomon  commanded  that  the  tree 
should  be  cut  down  and  buried  in  a  certain  place  in  Jeru- 
salem, where  afterwards  the  pool  of  Bethesda  was  dug, 
and  the  angel  that  had  charge  of  the  mysterious  tree 
troubled  the  water  of  the  pool  at  certain  seasons,  and  those 
who  first  dipped  into  it  were  cured  of  their  ailments.  As 
the  time  of  the  passion  of  the  Saviour  approached,  the 
wood  floated  on  the  surface  of  the  water,  and  of  that  piece 
of  timber,  which  was  of  cedar,  the  Jews  made  the  upright 
part  of  the  cross,  the  cross  beam  was  made  of  cypress,  the 
piece  on  which  his  feet  rested  was  of  palm,  and  the  other, 
on  which  the  superscription  was  written,  was  of  olive. 

After  the  crucifixion  the  holy  cross  and  the  crosses  of 
the  two  thieves  were  thrown  into  the  town  ditch,  or, 
according  to  some,  into  an  old  vault  which  was  near  at 
hand,  and  they  were  covered  with  the  refuse  and  ruins  of 
the  city.  In  her  extreme  old  age  the  Empress  Helena, 
making  a  pilgrimage  to  Jerusalem,  threatened  all  the 
Jewish  inhabitants  with  torture  and  death  if  they  did  not 
produce  the  holy  cross  from  the  place  where  their  ancestors 
had  concealed  it :  and  at  last  an  old  Jew  named  Judas, 
who  had  been  put  into  prison  and  was  nearly  famished, 
consented  to  reveal  the  secret ;  he  accordingly  petitioned 
Heaven,  whereupon  the  earth  trembled,  and  from  the 
fissures  in  the  ground  a  delicious  aromatic  odour  issued 
forth,  and  on  the  soil  being  removed  the  three  crosses 

Chap.  XJH.  THE  TRUE  CROSS.  165 

were  discovered ;  and  near  the  crosses  the  superscription 
was  also  found,  but  it  was  not  known  to  which  of  the  three 
it  belonged.  However,  Macarius,  Bishop  of  Jerusalem, 
repairing  with  the  Empress  to  the  house  of  a  noble  lady 
who  was  afflicted  with  an  incurable  disease,  she  was  im- 
mediately restored  to  health  by  touching  the  true  cross  : 
and  the  body  of  a  young  man  which  was  being  carried 
out  to  burial  was  brought  to  life  on  being  laid  upon  the 
holy  wood.  At  the  sight  of  these  miracles  Judas  the 
Jew  became  a  Christian,  and  was  baptized  by  the  name 
of  Quiriacus,  to  the  great  indignation  of  the  devil,  for, 
said  he, "  By  the  first  Judas  I  gained  much  profit,  but  by 
this  one's  conversion  I  shall  lose  many  souls." 

It  would  be  endless  were  I  to  give  the  history  of  all  the 
authenticated  relics  of  the  holy  cross  since  those  days ; 
but  of  the  three  principal  pieces  one  is  now,  or  lately  was, 
at  Etchmiazin,  in  Armenia,  the  monks  of  which  church 
are  accused  of  having  stolen  it  from  the  Latins  of  Jerusa- 
lem when  they  were  imprisoned  by  Sultan  Suleiman.  The 
second  piece  is  still  at  Jerusalem,  in  the  hands  of  the 
Greeks ;  and  the  third,  which  was  sent  by  the  Empress 
Helena  herself  to  the  church  of  Santa  Croce  di  Gerusa- 
lemme  at  Rome,  is  now  preserved  in  St.  Peter's.  There 
is  indeed  little  reason  to  doubt  that  the  piece  of  wood  ex- 
hibited at  Rome  is  the  same  as  the  Empress  sent  there  in 
the  year  326.  The  feast  of  the  "  Invention  of  the  Cross" 
continues  to  be  celebrated  every  year  on  the  3rd  of  May 
by  an  appropriate  mass. 

Besides  the  objects  which  I  have  mentioned,  there  is 
within  the  church  an  altar  on  the  spot  where  Christ  is 
said  to  have  appeared  to  the  Virgin  after  the  resurrection. 


This  completes  the  list  of  all  the  sacred  places  contained 
under  the  roof  of  the  great  church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre. 

I  may  remark  that  all  the  very  ancient  specimens  of  the 
relics  of  the  true  cross  are  of  the  same  wood,  which  has  a 
very  peculiar  half-petrified  appearance.  I  have  a  relic  of 
this  kind ;  the  shrine  in  which  it  is  preserved  being  of  the 
date  of  1280.  I  have  also  a  piece  of  the  cross  in  a  more 
modern  setting,  which  is  not  of  the  same  wood. 

Whether  all  the  hallowed  spots  within  these  walls  really 
are  the  places  which  the  guardians  of  the  church  declare 
them  to  be,  or  whether  they  have  been  fixed  on  at  random, 
and  consecrated  to  serve  the  interested  views  of  a  crafty 
priesthood,  is  a  fact  that  I  shall  leave  others  to  determine  ; 
however  this  may  be,  it  is  a  matter  of  little  consequence 
to  the  Christian.  The  great  facts  on  which  the  history  of 
the  Gospel  is  founded  are  not  so  closely  connected  with 
particular  spots  of  earth  or  sacred  buildings  as  to  be  ren- 
dered doubtful  by  any  mistake  in  the  choice  of  a  locality. 
The  main  error  on  the  part  of  the  priests  of  modern  times 
at  Jerusalem  arises  from  an  anxiety  to  prove  the  actual 
existence  of  everything  to  which  any  allusion  is  made  by 
the  evangelical  historians,  not  remembering  that  the  lapse 
of  ages  and  the  devastation  of  successive  wars  must  have 
destroyed  much,  and  disguised  more,  which  the  early  dis- 
ciples could  most  readily  have  identified.  The  mere  cir- 
cumstance that  the  localities  of  almost  all  the  events  which 
attended  the  close  of  our  Saviour's  ministry  are  crowded 
into  one  place,  and  covered  by  the  roof  of  a  single  church, 
might  excite  a  very  justifiable  doubt  as  to  the  exactness 
of  the  topography  maintained  by  the  monkish  traditions  of 

(Imp.  XIV.  THE  VIA  DOLOROSA.  167 


The  Via  Dolorosa  —  The  Houses  of  Dives  and  of  Lazarus  —  The  Prison 
of  St.  Peter  —  The  Site  of  the  Temple  of  Solomon  —  The  Mosque  ot' 
Omar  —  The  Hadjr  el  Sakhara  —  The  Greek  Monastery  —  Its  Library 

—  Valuable  Manuscripts  —  Splendid  MS.  of  the  Book  of  Job  —  Arabic 
spoken  at  Jerusalem  —  Mussulman  Theory  regarding  the  Crucifixion 

—  State  of  the  Jews  —  Richness  of  their  Dress  in  their  own  Houses  — 
Beauty  of  their  Women  —  Their  literal  Interpretation  of  Scripture  — 
The  Service  in  the  Synagogue  —  Description  of  the  House  of  a  Rabbi 

—  The  Samaritans  —  Their  Roll  of  the  Pentateuch  —  Arrival  of  Ibra- 
him Pasha  at  Jerusalem. 

Except  the  Holy  Sepulchre,  none  of  the  places  which  are 
pointed  out  as  sacred  within  the  walls  of  Jerusalem  merit 
a  description,  as  they  have  evidently  been  created  by  the 
monks  to  serve  their  own  purposes.  You  are  shown,  for 
instance,  the  whole  of  the  Via  Dolorosa,  the  way  by  which 
our  Saviour  passed  from  the  hall  of  Pilate  to  Mount 
Calvary,  and  the  exact  seven  places  where  he  fell  under 
the  weight  of  the  cross :  you  are  shown  the  house  of  the 
rich  man  and  that  of  Lazarus,  both  of  them  Turkish 
buildings,  although,  as  that  story  is  related  in  a  parable, 
no  real  localities  ever  can  have  been  referred  to.  Near 
the  house  of  Lazarus  there  were  several  dogs  when  I  passed 
by,  and,  on  my  asking  the  guide  whether  they  were  the 
descendants  of  the  original  dogs  in  the  parable,  he  said  he 
was  not  quite  sure,  but  that  as  to  the  house  there  could 
be  no  doubt.  The  prison  of  St.  Peter  is  also  to  be  seen,  but 
the  column  on  which  the  cock  stood  who  crowed  on  his 
denial  of  our  Lord,  as  well  as  the  steps  by  which  Christ 

1G8        MOSQUE  OF  OxMAR  — HADJR  EL  SAKHARA.   Chap.  XIV. 

ascended  to  the  judgment-seat  of  Pilate,  have  been 
carried  away  to  Rome,  where  they  are  both  to  be  seen  on 
the  hill  of  St.  John  Lateran. 

The  mosque  of  Omar  stands  on  the  site  of  the  ancient 
Temple  of  Solomon,  which  covered  the  whole  of  the  en- 
closure which  is  now  the  garden  of  the  mosque,  a  space  of 
about  1500  feet  long,  and  1000  feet  wide.  In  the  centre 
of  this  garden  is  a  platform  of  stone  about  600  feet  square, 
on  which  stands  the  octagonal  building  of  the  mosque  it- 
self, the  upper  part  being  covered  with  green  porcelain 
tiles  which  glitter  in  the  sun  :  below,  the  walls  are  panelled 
with  marble  richly  worked  and  of  different  colours  :  the 
dome  in  the  centre  has  a  wide  cornice  round  it,  ornamented 
with  sentences  from  the  Koran  :  the  whole  has  a  brilliant 
and  extraordinary  appearance,  more  like  a  Chinese  temple 
than  anything  else.  This  building  is  called  the  Acksa  el 
Sakhara,  from  its  containing  a  piece  of  rock  called  the 
Iladjr  el  Sakhara,  or  the  locked-up  stone,  which  is  the 
principal  object  of  veneration  in  the  place  :  it  occupies  the 
centre  of  the  mosque,  and  on  it  are  shown  the  prints  of 
the  angel  Gabriel's  fingers,  who  brought  it  from  heaven, 
and  the  mark  of  the  Prophet's  foot  and  that  of  his  camel, 
a  singularly  good  leaper,  two  more  of  whose  footsteps  I 
have  seen  in  Egypt  and  Arabia,  and  I  believe  there  is 
another  at  Damascus,  the  whole  journey  from  Jerusalem 
to  Mecca  having  been  performed  in  four  bounds  only,  for 
which  remarkable  service  the  camel  is  to  have  a  place  in 
heaven,  where  he  will  enjoy  the  society  of  Borak,  the 
prophet's  horse,  Balaam's  ass,  Tobit's  dog,  and  the  dog  of 
the  seven  sleepers,  whose  name  was  Ketmir,  and  also  the 
companionship  of  a  certain  illustrious  fly  with  whose  merits 
I  am  unacquainted. 


We  are  told  that  the  stone  of  the  Sakhara  fell  from 
heaven  at  the  time  when  prophecy  commenced  at  Jeru- 
salem. It  was  employed  as  a  seat  by  the  venerable  men 
to  whom  that  gift  was  communicated,  and,  as  long  as  the 
spirit  of  vaticination  continued  to  enlighten  their  minds, 
the  slab  remained  steady  for  their  accommodation  ;  but  no 
sooner  was  the  power  of  prophecy  withdrawn,  and  the 
persecuted  seers  compelled  to  flee  for  safety  to  other 
lands,  than  the  stone  manifested  the  profoundest  sympathy 
in  their  fate,  and  evinced  a  determination  to  accompany 
them  in  their  flight :  on  which  Gabriel  the  archangel 
interposed  his  authority,  and  prevented  the  departure  of 
the  prophetical  chair.  He  grasped  it  with  his  mighty 
hand  and  nailed  it  to  its  rocky  bed  by  seven  brass  or 
golden  nails.  When  any  event  of  great  importance  to 
the  world  takes  place  the  head  of  one  of  these  nails 
disappears,  and  when  they  are  all  gone  the  day  of  judg- 
ment will  come.  As  there  are  now  only  three  left,  the 
Mahomedans  believe  that  the  end  of  all  things  is  not  far 
distant.  All  those  who  have  faithfully  performed  their 
devotions  at  this  celebrated  mosque  are  furnished  by  the 
priest  with  a  certificate  of  their  having  done  so,  which  is 
to  be  buried  with  them,  that  they  may  show  it  to  the  door- 
keeper of  Paradise  as  a  ticket  of  admission.  I  was 
presented  with  one  of  these  at  Jerusalem,  and  found 
another  in  the  desert  of  Al  Arisch,  a  wondrous  piece 
of  good  fortune  in  the  estimation  of  my  Mahomedan 
followers,  as  I  was  provided  with  a  ticket  for  a  friend,  as 
well  as  a  pass  for  my  own  reception  among  the  houris 
of  their  Prophet's  celestial  garden. 

The  Greek  monastery  adjoins  the  church  of  the  Holy 


170  SPLENDID  MS.  OF  THE  BOOK  OF  JOB.     Chap.  XIV. 

Sepulchre.  It  contains  a  good  library,  the  iron  door  of 
which  is  opened  by  a  key  as  large  as  a  horse-pistol.  The 
books  are  kept  in  good  order,  and  consist  of  about 
two  thousand  printed  volumes  in  various  languages  ;  and 
about  five  hundred  Greek  and  Arabic  MSS.  on  paper, 
which  are  all  theological  works.  There  are  also 
about  one  hundred  Greek  manuscripts  on  vellum  :  the 
whole  collection  is  in  excellent  preservation.  One  of  the 
eight  manuscripts  of  the  Gospels  which  the  library  contains 
has  the  index  and  the  beginning  of  each  Gospel  written 
in  gold  letters  on  purple  vellum,  and  has  also  some 
curious  illuminations.  There  is  likewise  a  manuscript  of 
the  whole  Bible  :  it  is  a  large  folio,  and  is  the  only  one  I 
ever  heard  of,  excepting  the  one  at  the  Vatican  and  that  at 
the  British  Museum.  One  of  the  most  beautiful  volumes 
in  the  library  is  a  large  folio  of  the  book  of  Job.  It  is  a 
most  glorious  MS. :  the  text  is  written  in  large  letters, 
surrounded  with  scholia  in  a  smaller  hand,  and  almost 
every  page  contains  one  or  more  miniatures  representing 
the  sufferings  of  Job,  with  ghastly  portraits  of  Bildad  the 
Shuhite  and  his  other  pitying  friends  :  this  manuscript  is 
of  the  twelfth  century.  The  rest  of  the  manuscripts 
consist  of  the  works  of  the  Fathers,  copies  of  the  '  Antho- 
logia,'  and  books  for  the  Church  service. 

The  Arabic  language  is  generally  spoken  at  Jerusalem, 
though  the  Turkish  is  much  used  among  the  better  class. 
The  inhabitants  are  composed  of  people  of  different 
nations  and  different  religions,  who  inwardly  despise  one 
another  on  account  of  their  varying  opinions  ;  but  as  the 
Christians  arc  very  numerous,  there  reigns  among  the 
whole  no  small  degree  of  complaisance,  as  well  as  an 

Chap.  XIV.  STATE  OF  THE  JEWS.  171 

unrestrained  intercourse  in  matters  of  business,  amuse- 
ment, and  even  of  religion.  The  Mussulmans,  for  instance, 
pray  in  all  the  holy  places  consecrated  to  the  memory  of 
Christ  and  the  Virgin,  except  the  tomb  of  the  Holy 
Sepulchre,  the  sanctity  of  which  they  do  not  acknowledge, 
for  they  believe  that  Jesus  Christ  did  not  die,  but  that  he 
ascended  alive  into  heaven,  leaving  the  likeness  of  his 
face  to  Judas,  who  was  condemned  to  die  for  him  ;  and 
that,  as  Judas  was  crucified,  it  was  his  body,  and  not 
that  of  Jesus,  which  was  placed  in  the  sepulchre.  It 
is  for  this  reason  that  the  Mussulmans  do  not  perform  any 
act  of  devotion  at  the  tomb  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre,  and 
that  they  ridicule  the  Christians  who  visit  and  revere  it. 

The  Jews — the  "  children  of  the  kingdom  " — have  been 
cast  out,  and  many  have  come  from  the  east  and  the  west 
to  occupy  their  place  in  the  desolate  land  promised  to 
their  fathers.  Their  quarter  is  in  the  narrow  valley 
between  the  Temple  and  the  foot  of  Mount  Zion.  Many 
of  the  Jews  are  rich,  but  they  are  careful  to  conceal  their 
wealth  from  the  jealous  eyes  of  their  Mahomedan  rulers, 
lest  they  should  be  subjected  to  extortion. 

It  is  remarkable  that  the  Jews  who  are  born  in  Jerusalem 
are  of  a  totally  different  caste  from  those  we  see  in  Europe. 
Here  they  are  a  fair  race,  very  lightly  made,  and  particu- 
larly effeminate  in  manner ;  the  young  men  wear  a  lock 
of  long  hair  on  each  side  of  the  face,  which,  with  their 
flowing  silk  robes,  gives  them  the  appearance  of  women. 
The  Jews  of  both  sexes  are  exceedingly  fond  of  dress ; 
and,  although  they  assume  a  dirty  and  squalid  appearance 
when  they  walk  abroad,  in  their  own  houses  they  are  to  be 
seen  clothed  in  costly  furs  and  the  richest  silks  of  Damas- 



cus.  The  women  are  covered  with  gold,  and  dressed  in 
brocades  stiff  with  embroidery.  Some  of  them  arc 
beautiful ;  and  a  girl  of  about  twelve  years  old,  who  was 
betrothed  to  the  son  of  a  rich  old  rabbi,  was  the  prettiest 
little  creature  I  ever  saw  ;  her  skin  was  whiter  than  ivory, 
and  her  hair,  which  was  as  black  as  jet,  and  was  plaited 
with  strings  of  sequins,  fell  in  tresses  nearly  to  the  ground. 
She  was  of  a  Spanish  family,  and  the  language  usually 
spoken  by  the  Jews  among  themselves  is  Spanish. 

The  Jewish  religion  is  now  so  much  encumbered  with 
superstition  and  the  extraordinary  explanations  of  the 
Bible  in  the  Talmud,  that  little  of  the  original  creed 
remains.  They  interpret  all  the  words  of  Scripture 
literally,  and  this  leads  them  into  most  absurd  mistakes. 
On  the  morning  of  the  day  of  the  Passover  I  went  into 
the  synagogue  under  the  walls  of  the  Temple,  and  found 
it  crowded  to  the  very  door  ;  all  the  congregation  were 
standing  up,  with  large  white  shawls  over  their  heads  with 
the  fringes  which  they  were  commanded  to  wear  by  the 
Jewish  law.  They  were  reading  the  Psalms,  and  after  I 
had  been  there  a  short  time  all  the  people  began  to  hop 
about  and  to  shake  their  heads  and  limbs  in  a  most  extra- 
ordinary manner  ;  the  whole  congregation  was  in  motion, 
from  the  priest,  who  was  dancing  in  the  reading-desk, 
to  the  porter,  who  capered  at  the  door.  All  this  was  in 
consequence  of  a  verse  in  the  35th  Psalm,  which  says, 
"All  my  bones  shall  say,  Lord,  who  is  like  unto  thee?" 
and  this  was  their  ludicrous  manner  of  doing  so.  After 
the  Psalm  a  crier  went  round  the  room,  who  sold  the 
honour  of  performing  different  parts  of  the  service  to  the 
highest  bidder ;  the  money  so  obtained  is  appropriated  to 


the  relief  of  the  poor.  The  sanctuary  at  the  upper  end 
of  the  room  was  then  opened,  and  a  curtain  withdrawn, 
in  imitation  of  that  which  separated  the  Holy  of  Holies 
from  the  hody  of  the  Temple.  From  this  place  the  hook 
of  the  law  was  taken  ;  it  was  contained  in  a  case  of  em- 
bossed silver,  and  two  large  silver  ornaments  were  fixed 
on  the  ends  of  the  rollers,  which  stuck  out  from  the  top 
of  the  case.  The  Jews,  out  of  reverence,  as  I  presume, 
touched  it  with  a  little  bodkin  of  gold,  and,  on  its  being 
carried  to  the  reading-desk,  a  silver  crown  was  placed 
upon  it,  and  a  man,  supported  by  two  others,  one  on  each 
side  of  him,  chanted  the  lesson  of  the  day  in  a  loud  voice  : 
the  book  was  then  replaced  in  the  sanctuary,  and  the 
service  concluded.  The  women  are  not  admitted  into  the 
synagogue,  but  are  permitted  to  view  the  ceremonies  from 
a  grated  gallery  set  apart  for  them.  However,  they 
seldom  attend,  as  it  seems  they  are  not  accounted  equal 
to  the  men  either  in  body  or  soul,  and  trouble  themselves 
very  little  with  matters  of  religion. 

The  house  of  Rabbi  A ,  with  whom  I  was  ac- 
quainted, answered  exactly  to  Sir  Walter  Scott's  descrip- 
tion of  the  dwelling  of  Isaac  of  York.  The  outside  of 
the  house  and  the  court-yard  indicated  nothing  but  poverty 
and  neglect ;  but  on  entering  I  was  surprised  at  the  mag- 
nificence of  the  furniture.  One  room  had  a  silver  chan- 
delier, and  a  great  quantity  of  embossed  plate  was  dis- 
played on  the  top  of  the  polished  cupboards.  Some  of  the 
windows  were  filled  with  painted  glass ;  and  the  members 
of  the  family,  covered  with  gold  and  jewels,  were  seated 
on  divans  of  Damascus  brocade.  The  Rabbi's  little  son 
was  so  covered  with  charms  in  gold  cases  to  keep  off  the 

174  HOUSE  OF  A  RABBI.  Chap.  XIV. 

evil  eye,  that  he  jingled  like  a  chime  of  bells  when  he 
walked  along  ;  and  a  still  younger  boy,  whom  I  had  never 
seen  before,  was  on  this  day  exalted  to  the  dignity  of 
wearing  trousers,  which  were  of  red  stuff,  embroidered 
with  gold,  and  were  brought  in  by  his  nurse  and  a  number 
of  other  women  in  procession,  and  borne  on  high  before 
him  as  he  was  dragged  round  the  room  howling  and 
crying  without  any  nether  garment  on  at  all.  He  was 
walked  round  again  after  his  superb  trousers  were  put  on, 
and  very  uncomfortable  he  seemed  to  be,  but  doubtless 
the  honour  of  the  thing  consoled  him,  and  he  waddled  out 
into  the  court  with  an  air  of  conscious  dignity.  This 
young  gentleman  was  the  hero  of  another  scene,  in  which 
the  literal  manner  followed  by  the  Jews  in  some  of  the 
precepts  of  the  law  was  displayed  in  a  more  pleasing  way 
than  the  one  before  mentioned. 

The  family  of  the  Rabbi  assembled  in  solemn  conclave 
in  the  principal  room  of  the  house :  in  front  of  the  divan 
at  the  upper  end  of  the  apartment  a  square  table  was 
placed,  covered  with  a  strange-looking  table  cloth, 
which  was  embroidered  in  colours,  on  a  white  ground, 
with  Hebrew  letters,  a  prospect  of  the  Temple  of  Solomon, 
and  some  nondescript  trees  and  figures.  A  silver  lamp 
of  a  peculiar  form  was  hanging  from  the  ceiling,  and  all 
the  Hebrews  and  Shebrews,  servants  and  maids,  were  seated 
on  the  divans  clothed  in  sumptuous  raiment,  excepting 
the  lower  servants,  who  were  standing  near  the  door  at 
the  lower  end  of  the  room.  When  all  was  ready,  the 
little  boy  was  brought  in  and  placed  in  the  middle  of  the 
room,  his  nurse  turned  his  face  the  right  way  and  made 
him  take  his  finger  out  of  his  mouth,  and  after  sundry  in- 

Chap.  XIV,    LEARNING  OF  THE  RABBIS  AT  A  LOW  EBB.    175 

junctions  from  one  of  the  pretty  Jewesses,  and  smiles  from 
mama,  who  was  blazing  with  gold  and  embroidery  in  a 
comer  of  the  divan  and  looking  astonishingly  beautiful, 
the  small  child  lifted  up  his  voice  and  said  to  his  grand- 
father, who  occupied  the  seat  of  honour,  with  his  eternal 
white  cotton  nightcap  upon  his  head, 

"  What  mean  the  testimonies,  and  the  statutes,  and  the 
judgments  which  the  Lord  our  God  hath  commanded 

Then  the  old  man  answered  before  them  all : 

"  We  were  Pharaoh's  bondmen  in  Egypt,  and  the  Lord 
brought  us  out  of  Egypt  with  a  mighty  hand. 

"  And  the  Lord  showed  signs  and  wonders,  great  and 
sore,  upon  Egypt,  upon  Pharaoh,  and  upon  all  his  house- 
hold, before  our  eyes. 

"  And  he  brought  us  out  from  thence,  that  he  might  bring 
us  in,  to  give  us  the  land  which  he  sware  unto  our  fathers," 
&c. ;  following  literally  the  text  of  the  20th  and  succeeding 
verses  of  the  6th  and  7th  chapters  of  Deuteronomy. 

It  was  interesting  to  witness  such  a  ceremony  as  this, 
still  practised  by  the  fallen  descendants  of  the  chosen 
race,  whose  victorious  armies  trampled  on  the  necks  of 
the  ancient  possessors  of  the  land  of  Israel,  and  to  hear 
these  few  trembling  people,  huddled  together  in  the 
innermost  recesses  of  a  half-ruined  house,  recounting 
the  mighty  deeds  of  their  ancestors,  whose  legions 
were  irresistible,  for  they  were  led  by  the  God  of 

The  learning  of  the  Rabbis  is  now  at  a  very  low  ebb, 
and  few  of  them  thoroughly  understand  the  ancient 
Hebrew  tongue,  although  there  are  Jews  at  Jerusalem 


who  speak  several  languages,  and  are  said  to  be  well 
acquainted  with  all  the  traditions  of  their  fathers,  and  the 
mysterious  learning  of  the  Cabala. 

There  is  in  the  Holy  Land  another  division  of  the 
children  of  Israel,  the  Samaritans,  who  still  keep  up  a 
separate  form  of  religion.  Their  synagogue  at  Nablous 
is  a  mean  building,  not  unlike  a  poor  Mahomedan  mosque. 
Within  it  is  a  large,  low,  square  chamber,  the  floor  of 
which  is  covered  with  matting.  Round  a  part  of  the  walls 
is  a  wooden  shelf,  on  which  are  laid  above  thirty  manu- 
script books  of  the  Pentateuch,  written  in  the  Samaritan 
character  :  they  possess  also  a  very  famous  roll  or  volume 
of  the  Pentateuch,  which  is  said  to  have  been  written  by 
Abishai  the  grandson  of  Aaron.  It  is  contained  in  a 
curiously  ornamented  octagon  case  of  brass  about  two 
feet  high,  on  opening  which  the  MS.  appears  within,  rolled 
upon  two  pieces  of  wood.  It  is  sixteen  inches  wide,  and 
must  be  of  great  length,  as  each  of  the  two  parts  of  the 
roll  is  four  or  five  inches  in  diameter.  The  writing  is 
small  and  not  very  distinct,  and  the  MS.  is  in  rather  a 
dilapidated  condition.  The  Samaritan  Rabbi  Ibrahim 
Israel,  true  to  his  Jewish  origin,  would  not  open  the  case 
until  he  had  been  well  paid.  He  affirmed  that  in  this 
MS.  the  blessings  were  directed  to  be  given  from  Mount 
Ebal,  and  the  curses  from  Mount  Gherizim.  However 
this  may  be,  in  an  Arabic  translation  of  the  Samaritan 
Pentateuch,  which  is  in  my  own  collection,  the  12th  and 
13th  verses  of  the  27th  chapter  of  Deuteronomy  are  the 
same  as  the  usually  received  text  in  other  Bibles. 

Jerusalem  was  at  this  time  (1834)  under  the  dominion 
of  the  Egyptians,  and  Ibrahim  Pasha  arrived  shortly  after 


we  had  established  ourselves  in  the  vaulted  dungeons  of 
the  Latin  convent.  He  took  up  his  abode  in  a  house  in 
the  town,  and  did  not  maintain  any  state  or  ceremony  ; 
indeed  he  had  scarcely  any  guards,  and  but  few  servants, 
so  secure  did  he  feel  in  a  country  which  he  had  so  lately 
conquered.  He  received  us  with  great  courtesy  in  his 
mean  lodging,  where  we  found  an  interpreter  who  spoke 
English.  I  had  been  promised  a  letter  from  Mohammed 
Ali  Pasha  to  Ibrahim  Pasha,  but  on  inquiring  I  found  it 
had  not  arrived,  and  Ibrahim  Pasha  sent  a  courier  to 
Jaffa  to  inquire  whether  it  was  lying  there ;  however,  it 
did  not  reach  me,  and  I  therefore  was  not  permitted  to 
see  the  interior  of  the  mosque  of  Omar,  or  the  great 
church  of  the  Purification,  which  stands  on  the  site  of  the 
Temple  of  Solomon,  and  into  which  at  that  time  no 
Christian  had  penetrated. 


178  EXPEDITION  TO  ST.  SABBA.  Chap.  XT. 


Expedition  to  the  Monastery  of  St.  Sabba  —  Reports  of  Arab  Robbers  — 
The  Valley  of  Jehoshaphat  —  The  bridge  of  Al  Sirat  —  Rugged 
Scenery  —  An  Arab  Ambuscade  —  A  successful  Parley  —  The  Mo- 
nastery of  St.  Sabba  —  History  of  the  Saint  — The  Greek  Hermits  — 
The  Church  —  The  Iconostasis  —  The  Library  —  Numerous  MSS. 
—  The  Dead  Sea  -  -  The  Scene  of  the  Temptation  —  Discovery  — 
The  Apple  of  the  Dead  Sea  —  The  Statements  of  Strabo  and  Pliny 

As  we  wished  to  be  present  at  the  celebration  of  Easter 
by  the  Greek  Church,  we  remained  several  weeks  at 
Jerusalem,  during  which  time  we  made  various  excursions 
to  the  most  celebrated  localities  in  the  neighbourhood. 
In  addition  to  the  Bible,  which  almost  sufficed  us  for  a 
guide-book  in  these  sacred  regions,  we  had  several  books 
of  travels  with  us,  and  I  was  struck  with  the  superiority 
of  old  Maundrell's  narrative  over  all  the  others,  for  he  tells 
us  plainly  and  clearly  what  he  saw,  whilst  other  travellers 
so  encumber  their  narratives  with  opinions  and  disquisitions, 
that,  instead  of  describing  the  country,  they  describe  only 
what  they  think  about  it ;  and  thus  little  real  information 
as  to  what  there  was  to  be  seen  or  done  could  be  gleaned 
from  these  works,  eloquent  and  well  written  as  many  of 
them  are ;  and  we  continually  returned  to  Maundrell's 
homely  pages  for  a  good  plain  account  of  what  we  wished 
to  know.  As,  however,  I  had  gathered  from  various 
incidental  remarks  in  these  books  that  there  was  a  famous 
library  in  the  monastery  of  St.  Sabba,  in  which  one  might 


expect  to  find  all  the  lost  classics,  whole  rows  of  uncial 
manuscripts,  and  perhaps  the  histories  of  the  pre- Adamite 
kings  in  the  autograph  of  Jemshid,  I  determined  to  go 
and  see  it. 

It  was  of  course  necessary  for  every  traveller  at  Jeru- 
salem to  "do  his  Dead  Sea;"  and  accordingly  we  made 
arrangements  for  an  excursion  in  that  direction,  which 
was  to  include  a  visit  to  St.  Sabba  ;  for  my  companion 
kindly  put  up  with  my  aberrations,  and  agreed  to  linger 
with  me  for  that  purpose  on  our  way  to  Jericho,  although 
it  was  at  the  risk  of  falling  among  thieves,  for  we  heard 
all  manner  of  reports  of  the  danger  of  the  roads,  and  of  a 
certain  truculent  Robin  Hood  sort  of  person,  called  Abou 
Gosh,  who  had  just  got  out  of  some  prison  or  other. 

Abou  Gosh  was  vastly  popular  in  this  part  of  the 
country  :  everybody  spoke  well  of  him,  and  declared  that 
"  he  was  the  mildest-mannered  man  that  ever  cut  a  throat 
or  scuttled  ship ;"  but  they  all  hinted  that  it  might  be  as 
well  to  keep  out  of  his  way,  and  that,  when  we  went  can- 
tering about  the  country,  poking  our  noses  into  caves, 
and  ruins,  and  other  uncanny  places,  it  would  be  advisable 
to  keep  a  "  good  "  look-out.  For  all  this  we  cared  little : 
so,  getting  together  our  merry  men,  we  sallied  forth 
through  St.  Stephen's  gate.  A  gallant  band  we  were, 
some  five-and-twenty  horsemen,  well  armed  in  the  Egyptian 
style ;  with  tents  and  kettles,  cocks  and  hens,  and  cooks 
and  marmitons,  stowed  upon  the  baggage-horses.  Great 
store  of  good  things  had  we — vino  doro  di  Monte  Libano, 
and  hams,  to  show  that  we  were  not  Mahomedans  ;  and  tea, 
to  prove  that  we  were  not  Frenchmen ;  and  guns  to  shoot 
partridges  withal,  and  many  other  European  necessaries. 


We  tramped  along  upon  the  bard  rocky  ground  one 
after  the  other,  through  the  Valley  of  Jehoshaphat ;  and 
looked  up  at  the  corner  of  the  temple,  whence  is  to  spring 
on  the  last  day,  as  every  sound  follower  of  the  Prophet 
believes,  the  fearful  bridge  of  Al  Sirat,  which  is  narrower 
than  the  edge  of  the  sharpest  cimeter  of  Khorassaun,  and 
from  which  those  who  without  due  preparation  attempt  to 
pass  on  their  way  to  the  paradise  of  Mahomet  will  fall 
into  the  unfathomable  gulf  below.  Gradually  as  we 
advanced  into  the  valley,  through  which  the  brook  Kedron, 
when  there  is  any  water  in  it,  flows  into  the  Dead  Sea, 
the  scenery  became  more  and  more  savage,  the  rocks 
more  precipitous,  and  the  valley  narrowed  into  a  deep 
gorge,  the  path  being  sometimes  among  the  broken  stones 
in  the  bed  of  the  stream,  and  sometimes  rising  high  above 
it  on  narrow  ledges  of  rock. 

We  rode  on  for  some  hours,  admiring  the  wild  grandeur 
of  the  scenery,  for  this  is  the  hill  country  of  Judea,  and 
seems  almost  a  chaos  of  rocks  and  craggy  mountains, 
broken  into  narrow  defiles,  or  opening  into  dreary  valleys 
bare  of  vegetation,  except  a  few  shrubs  whose  tough  roots 
pierce  through  the  crevices  of  the  stony  soil,  and  find  a 
scanty  subsistence  in  the  small  portions  of  earth  which 
the  rains  have  washed  from  the  surface  of  the  rocks  above. 
In  one  place  the  pathway,  which  was  not  more  than  two 
or  three  feet  wide,  wound  round  the  corner  of  a  precipitous 
crag  in  such  a  manner  that  a  horseman  riding  along  the 
giddy  way  showed  so  clearly  against  the  sky,  that  it  seemed 
as  if  a  puff  of  wind  would  blow  horse  and  man  into  the 
ravine  beneath.  We  were  proceeding  along  this  ledge — 
Fathallah,  one  of  our  interpreters,  first,  I  second,  and  the 

Chap.  XV.  AN  ARAB  AMBUSCADE.  181 

others  following — when  we  saw  three  or  four  Arabs  with 
long  bright-barrelled  guns  slip  out  of  a  crevice  just  before 
us,  and  take  up  their  position  on  the  path,  pointing  those 
unpleasant-looking  implements  in  our  faces.  From  some 
inconceivable  motive,  not  of  the  most  heroic  nature  I  fear, 
my  first  move  was  to  turn  my  head  round  to  look  behind 
me  ;  but  when  I  did  so,  I  perceived  that  some  more  Arabs 
had  crept  out  of  another  cleft  behind  us,  which  we  had 
not  observed  as  we  passed  ;  and  on  looking  up  I  saw  that 
from  the  precipice  above  us  a  curious  collection  of  bright 
barrels  and  brown  faces  were  taking  an  observation  of 
our  party,  while  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  gorge,  which 
was  perhaps  a  hundred  and  fifty  yards  across,  every  frag- 
ment of  rock  seemed  to  have  brought  forth  a  man  in  a 
white  tunic  and  bare  legs,  with  a  yellow  handkerchief 
round  his  head,  and  a  long  gun  in  his  hand,  which  he 
pointed  towards  us. 

We  had  fallen  into  an  ambuscade,  and  one  so  cleverly 
laid  that  all  attempt  at  resistance  was  hopeless.  The 
path  was  so  narrow  that  our  horses  could  not  turn,  and  a 
precipice  within  a  yard  of  us,  of  a  hundred  feet  sheer 
down,  rendered  our  position  singularly  uncomfortable. 
Fathallah's  horse  came  to  a  stand-still :  my  horse  ran  his 
nose  against  him  and  stood  still  too ;  and  so  did  all  the 
rest  of  us.  "Well!"  said  I,  "  Fathallah,  what  is  this? 
who  are  these  gentlemen  ?"  "  I  knew  it  would  be  so," 
quoth  Fathallah,  "  I  was  sure  of  it !  and  in  such  a  cursed 
place  too  !  — I  see  how  it  is,  I  shall  never  get  home  alive 
to  Aleppo !" 

After  waiting  a  while,  I  imagine  to  enjoy  our  confusion, 
one  of  the  Arabs  in  front  took  up  his  parable  and  said, 

182  A  SUCCESSFUL  PARLEY.  Chap.  XV. 

"  Oh  !  oh  J  ye  Egyptians I"  (we  wore  the  Egyptian  dress) 
"  what  are  you  doing  here,  in  our  country  ?  You  are 
Ibrahim  Pasha's  men  ;  are  you  ?  Say — speak  ;  what  reason 
have  ye  for  being  here  ?  for  we  are  Arabs,  and  the  sons 
of  Arabs  ;  and  this  is  our  country,  and  our  land." 

"  Sir,"  said  the  interpreter  with  profound  respect — for 
he  rode  first,  and  four  or  five  guns  were  pointed  directly 
at  his  breast — "  Sir,  we  are  no  Egyptians ;  thy  servants 
are  men  of  peace  ;  we  are  peaceable  Franks,  pilgrims  from 
the  holy  city,  and  we  are  only  going  to  bathe  in  the  waters 
of  the  Jordan,  as  all  pilgrims  do  who  travel  to  the  Holy 
Land."  "  Franks  !"  quoth  the  Arab ;  "  I  know  the  Franks ; 
pretty  Franks  are  ye  !  Franks  are  the  fathers  of  hats,  and 
do  not  wear  guns  or  swords,  or  red  caps  upon  their  heads, 
as  you  do.  We  shall  soon  see  whether  ye  are  Franks  or 
not.  Ye  are  Egyptians,  and  servants  of  Ibrahim  Pasha  the 
Egyptian  :  but  now  ye  shall  find  that  ye  are  our  servants !" 

"  Oh,  Sir,"  exclaimed  I  in  the  best  Arabic  I  could  mus- 
ter, "thy  servants  are  men  of  peace,  travellers,  antiquaries, 
all  of  us.  Oh,  Sir,  we  are  Englishmen,  which  is  a  sort  of 
Frank — very  harmless  and  excellent  people,  desiring  no 
evil.  We  beg  you  will  be  good  enough  to  let  us  pass." 
"  Franks  !"  retorted  the  Arab  sheikh,  "  pretty  Franks  ! 
Franks  do  not  speak  Arabic,  nor  wear  the  Nizam  dress  ! 
Ye  are  men  of  Ibrahim  Pasha's ;  Egyptians,  arrant 
Cairoitcs  (Misseri)  are  ye  all,  every  one  of  ye  ;"  and  he 
and  ail  his  followers  laughed  at  us  scornfully,  for  we  cer- 
tainly did  look  very  like  Egyptians.  "  We  are  Franks, 
I  tell  you  !"  again  exclaimed  Fathallah  :  "  Ibrahim  Pasha, 
indeed  !  who  is  he,  I  should  like  to  know  ?  we  are  Franks  ; 
and  Franks  like  to  see  everything.     We  are  going  to  see 

Chap.  XV.  MONASTERY  OF  ST.  SABBA.  183 

the  monastery  of  St.  Sabba  ;  we  are  not  Egyptians  ;  what 
care  we  for  Egyptians?  we  are  English,  Franks,  every 
one  of  us,  and  we  only  desire  to  see  the  monastery  of  St. 
Sabba  ;  that  is  what  we  are,  O  Arab,  son  of  an  Arab 
(Arab  beni  Arab).  We  are  no  less  than  this,  and  no 
more  ;  we  are  Franks,  as  you  are  Arabs." 

Upon  this  there  ensued  a  consultation  between  this  son 
of  an  Arab  and  the  other  sons  of  Arabs,  and  in  process  of 
time  the  worthy  gentlemen,  knowing  that  it  was  impossi- 
ble for  us  to  escape,  agreed  to  take  us  to  the  monastery 
of  St.  Sabba,  which  was  not  far  off,  and  there  to  hear  what 
we  had  to  say  in  our  defence. 

The  sheikh  waved  his  arm  aloft  as  a  signal  to  his  men 
to  raise  the  muzzles  of  their  guns,  and  we  were  allowed 
to  proceed ;  some  of  the  Arabs  walking  unconcernedly 
before  us,  and  the  others  skipping  like  goats  from  rock  to 
rock  above  us,  and  on  the  other  side  of  the  valley.  They 
were  ten  times  as  numerous  as  we  were,  and  we  should 
have  had  no  chance  with  them  even  on  fair  ground  ;  but 
here  we  were  completely  at  their  mercy.  We  were 
escorted  in  this  manner  the  rest  of  the  way,  and  in  half 
an  hour's  time  we  found  ourselves  standing  before  the 
great  square  tower  of  the  monastery  of  St.  Sabba.  The 
battlements  were  lined  with  Arabs,  who  had  taken  pos- 
session of  this  strong  place,  and  after  a  short  parley  and 
a  clanging  of  arms  within,  a  small  iron  door  was  opened 
in  the  wall :  we  dismounted  and  passed  in ;  our  horses, 
one  by  one,  were  pushed  through  after  us.  So  there  we  were 
in  the  monastery  of  St.  Sabba  sure  enough  ;  but  under 
different  circumstances  from  what  we  expected  when  we 
set  out  that  morning  from  Jerusalem. 

184  HISTORY  OF  ST.  SABBA.  Chap.  XV. 

Fathallah  had,  however,  convinced  the  sheikh  of  the 
Arabs  that  we  really  were  Franks,  and  not  followers  of 
Ibrahim  Pasha,  and  before  long  we  not  only  were  relieved 
from  all  fear,  but  became  great  friends  with  the  noble 
and  illustrious  Abou  Somebody,  who  had  taken  possession 
of  St.  Sabba  and  the  denies  leading  to  it. 

This  monastery,  which  is  a  very  ancient  foundation,  is 
built  upon  the  edge  of  the  precipice  at  the  bottom  of 
which  flows  the  brook  Kedron,  which  in  the  rainy  season 
becomes  a  torrent.  The  buildings,  which  are  of  immense 
strength,  are  supported  by  buttresses  so  massive  that  the 
upper  part  of  each  is  large  enough  to  contain  a  small 
arched  chamber ;  the  whole  of  the  rooms  in  the  monastery 
are  vaulted,  and  are  gloomy  and  imposing  in  the  extreme. 
The  pyramidical-shaped  mass  of  buildings  extends  half-way 
down  the  rocks,  and  is  crowned  above  by  a  high  and  stately 
square  tower,  which  commands  the  small  iron  gate  of  the 
principal  entrance.  Within  there  are  several  small 
irregular  courts  connected  by  steep  flights  of  steps  and 
dark  arched  passages,  some  of  which  are  carried  through 
the  solid  rock. 

It  was  in  one  of  the  caves  in  these  rocks  that  the  renowned 
St.  Sabba  passed  his  time  in  the  society  of  a  pet  lion. 
He  was  a  famous  anchorite,  and  was  made  chief  of  all  the 
monks  of  Palestine  by  Sallustius,  Patriarch  of  Jerusalem, 
about  the  year  490.  He  was  twice  ambassador  to  Con- 
stantinople to  propitiate  the  Emperors  Anastasius  the 
Silent  and  Justinian  ;  moreover  he  made  a  vow  never  to 
eat  apples  as  long  as  he  lived.  He  was  born  at  Mutalasca, 
near  Ca-sarca  of  Cappadocia,  in  439,  and  died  in  532,  in 
the  ninety-fifth  year  of  his  age  :  he  is  still  held  in  high 

Chap.  XV.  THE  GREEK  HERMITS.  185 

veneration  by  both  the  Greek  and  Latin  ehurches.  He 
was  the  founder  of  the  Laura,  which  was  formerly  situated 
among  the  clefts  and  crevices  of  these  rocks,  the  present 
monastery  having  been  enclosed  and  fortified  at  I  do  not 
know  what  period,  but  long  after  the  decease  of  the  saint. 
The  word  laura,  which  is  often  met  with  in  the  histories 
of  the  first  five  centuries  after  Christ,  signifies,  when 
applied  to  monastic  institutions,  a  number  of  separate 
cells,  each  inhabited  by  a  single  hermit  or  anchorite,  in 
contradistinction  to  a  convent  or  monastery,  which  was 
called  a  ccenobiurn,  where  the  monks  lived  together  in 
one  building  under  the  rule  of  a  superior.  This  species 
of  monasticism  seems  always  to  have  been  a  peculiar  cha- 
racteristic of  the  Greek  Church,  and  in  the  present  day 
these  ascetic  observances  are  upheld  only  by  the  Greek, 
Coptic,  and  Abyssinian  Christians,  among  whom  hermits 
and  quietists,  such  as  waste  the  body  for  the  improvement 
of  the  soul,  are  still  to  be  met  with  in  the  clefts  of  the 
rocks  and  in  the  desert  places  of  Asia  and  Africa.  They 
are  a  sort  of  dissenters  as  regards  their  own  Church,  for, 
by  the  mortifications  to  which  they  subject  themselves, 
they  rebuke  the  regular  priesthood,  who  do  not  go  so  far, 
although  these  latter  fast  in  the  year  above  one  hundred 
days,  and  always  rise  to  midnight  prayer.  In  the  dissent, 
if  such  it  be,  of  these  monks  of  the  desert  there  is  a 
dignity  and  self-denying  firmness  much  to  be  respected. 
They  follow  the  tenets  of  their  faith  and  the  ordinances 
of  their  religion  in  a  manner  which  is  almost  sublime. 
They  are  in  this  respect  the  very  opposite  to  European 
dissenters,  who  are  as  undignified  as  they  are  generally 
snug  and  cosy  in  their  mode  of  life.     Here,  among  the 


followers  of  St.  Anthony,  there  are  no  mock  heroics,  no 
turning  up  of  the  whites  of  the  eyes  and  drawing  down  of 
the  corners  of  the  mouth  :  they  form  their  rule  of  life 
from  the  ascetic  writings  of  the  early  fathers  of  the 
Church :  their  self-denial  is  extreme,  their  devotion 
heroic ;  but  yet  to  our  eyes  it  appears  puerile  and  irra- 
tional that  men  should  give  up  their  whole  lives  to  a 
routine  of  observances  which,  although  they  are  hard  and 
stern,  are  yet  so  trivial  that  they  appear  almost  ridicu- 

I  have  forborne  in  these  pages  to  make  any  remarks  on 
matters  of  religious  faith,  for  I  consider  it  highly  improper 
for  any  one  to  speak  lightly  on  these  subjects,  although 
the  religion  of  which  they  treat  may  be  opposite  to  their 
own  convictions  of  the  truth. 

I  have,  however,  often  been  struck  at  Rome  and  other 
places  with  the  ignorance  displayed  by  my  Protestant 
countrymen  of  the  meaning  and  intentions  of  the  religious 
ceremonies  which  they  have  attended,  behaving  as  if  they 
were  not  in  a  church,  but  at  the  opera  or  any  other  ex- 
hibition, not  remembering  that  in  the  Old  Testament 
ceremonies  were  ordained  as  types  of  the  things  that 
were  to  come,  and  that  in  later  ages  they  have  always 
been  continued  as  commemorations  of  the  most  important 
events  which  have  occurred  in  the  history  of  mankind. 
It  is  common  to  hear  people  exclaim  against  what  they 
call  the  unmeaning  ceremonies  and  ridiculous  exhibitions 
of  priestly  mummery,  superstitious  observances  of  Papists, 
&c,  while  they  do  not  give  themselves  the  trouble  to  in- 
quire what  these  ceremonies,  which  have  endured  since 
the  days  of  Constantine,  may  mean. 


The  great  shoal  of  travellers  which  are  left  by  the 
steamers  high  and  dry  upon  the  shores  of  Italy  every 
year,  and  who  are  known  in  that  country  by  the  charming 
name  of  "  Roba  di  Vapore,"  are  very  apt  to  jeer  at  sacred 
things  which  they  do  not  understand,  to  the  great  scandal 
of  the  Italians,  who  believe  them  generally  to  have  no 
religion.  Curious  mistakes  have  been  made  sometimes 
on  the  subject  of  these  superstitions  and  ceremonies.  I 
will  not  give  any  instances  of  those  of  our  own  country- 
men, but  will  relate  a  short  anecdote,  which  was  told  me 
in  the  East,  of  the  impressions  of  a  native  of  a  less  civi- 
lised country,  who  had  witnessed  the,  to  him,  incompre- 
hensible ceremonies  of  an  English  church.  A  Persian 
servant,  who  had  accompanied  his  master  to  Europe  and 
England,  gave  the  following  account  of  the  religious  cus- 
toms of  those  nations  to  a  friend  on  his  return  to  his  own 

"  The  Franks,"  said  he,  "  of  this  part  of  Frangistaun, 
my  friend,  are  idolaters ;  they  are  an  unclean  race,  eaters 
of  the  unclean  beast,  and  even  preferring,  in  the  depth  of 
their  uncleanness,  the  hinder  quarters  of  this  dirty 
animal  salted,  to  the  other  parts  of  its  body.  These 
idolaters  worship  a  cross,  as  is  well  known ;  but  the  imam 
of  our  village  says,  and  I  think  with  reason,  that  they  are 
in  some  degree  akin  to  the  fire-worshippers,  or  Gebers, 
whose  ruined  temples  are  often  met  with  in  Persia ;  for 
they  always  keep  in  their  mosques  certain  lighted  candles 
and  lamps,  which  contain  a  perpetual  fire,  and  are  never 
put  out,  if,  indeed,  it  is  possible  to  do  so,  for  they  are 
hung  high  up  with  chains  from  the  roofs  of  the  buildings, 
and  as  the  smallness  of  their  flame  forbids  the  thought  of 

188      Persian's  visit  to  an  English  church,  chap.  XV. 

their  being  placed  there  for  the  purpose  of  affording  light, 
it  is  evident  that  they  are  objects  of  adoration  ;  and  1 
have  myself  seen  several  old  women  on  their  knees  before 
them  when  I  have  peeped  in  at  the  doors  of  these  mosques, 
as  I  passed  by,  on  my  daily  walks.  Leaving  this  country, 
we  got  on  board  a  ship,  and  traversed  a  sea  the  recol- 
lection of  which  alone  heaps  ashes  on  the  front  of  memory, 
and  tears  the  garments  of  unhappiness  with  the  rents  of 
woe.  This  sea  is  the  father  of  sickness,  and  the  livers  of 
those  who  sail  upon  it  are  turned  upside  down.  We 
landed  on  the  other  side,  upon  an  island,  belonging  to 
another  sort  of  idolaters,  who  are  also  magicians,  and 
likewise  unclean,  eaters  of  the  abomination,  and  practis- 
ing many  wicked  incantations.  Their  idol  is  different 
from  that  of  the  other  idolaters ;  it  is  much  larger,  and  is 
placed  in  a  high  place,  a  Bala  Khane,  in  their  mosques  ; 
it  has  horns  upon  its  head,  sometimes  more  than  two,  and 
upon  its  belly  it  has  stripes  of  pure  gold,  of  great  length 
and  inestimable  value.  I  went  into  one  of  the  idolatrous 
temples  (for  which  may  I  be  forgiven  !)  towards  the  end  of 
the  service,  which  these  idolaters  perforin  there  once  in 
seven  days  only.  There  I  saw  the  priest  in  a  mihrab, 
or  pulpit,  such  as  we  have  here  ;  for  they  have  imitated 
us  in  this  matter,  for  which  their  fathers  are  burning  ; 
and  this  priest  seemed  in  a  dreadful  agitation  of  mind : 
we  were  sorry  for  him,  my  friend,  and  wished  to  help 
him ;  when  of  a  sudden  he  stopped  in  his  cries,  and  con- 
cealed his  face  for  fear,  and  fear  also  came  over  us,  for 
the  idol  gave  a  loud  groan ;  we  stood  up,  intending  to 
depart,  and  every  one  in  the  place  did  so  too,  and  made 
for  the  door  ;  by  the  blessing  of  the  Prophet  we  escaped  ; 

chap.  xv.  Persian's  visit  to  an  English  church.      189 

the  unbelievers  also  poured  forth  in  a  stream,  and  de- 
parted with  rapidity,  not  looking  back ;  the  idol  was 
howling  and  swearing  fearfully  within  the  mosque  ;  my 
soul  became  as  water ;  but,  having  arrived  at  a  place  at 
some  distance,  we  remained  there,  looking  round  a  corner 
to  see  what  these  idolaters  would  do.  These  are  a  brave 
nation,  my  friend,  but  by  their  hurried  steps  their  alarm 
became  manifest.  Presently  we  saw  a  strong  man,  a 
roustam,  with  the  grandfather  of  hats  upon  his  head,  and 
a  large  face,  very  red,  and  of  a  fierce  appearance,  and  a 
spear  or  weapon  in  his  hand.  This  man  was  a  champion, 
and  fearless  altogether — an  eater  of  lions  :  for  he  went  of 
his  own  accord  into  the  doors  of  the  idolatrous  temple, 
and  shut  them  up,  defending  them  with  bars,  and  chains, 
and  bolts  of  steel  :  regardless  of  the  uproar  of  the  evil 
genie,  which  was  imprisoned  in  the  bowels  of  the  idol,  he 
made  the  gates  fast,  and  carried  away  the  key ;  by  this 
means,  undoubtedly,  did  this  noble  and  valorous  chieftain 
save  the  lives  of  all  those  who  dwelt  in  the  city  of  the 
idolaters ;  for  if  the  evil  genie  had  been  able  to  get  out, 
he  would  have  devoured  us  all  before  he  took  his  flight 
to  Jehanum,  or  the  mountains  of  El  Kaf.  Lahnet  be 
Sheitan  —  cursed  be  the  devil — poof!"  So  saying,  he  spat 
upon  the  ground  seven  times,  and  every  one  of  his  hearers 
did  so  too. 

In  one  of  the  courts  of  the  monastery  there  is  a  palm- 
tree,  said  to  be  endowed  with  miraculous  properties,  which 
was  planted  by  St.  Sabba,  and  is  to  be  numbered  among 
the  few  now  existing  in  the  Holy  Land,  for  at  present  they 
are  very  rarely  to  be  met  with,  except  in  the  vale  of 
Jericho  and  the  valley  of  the  Jordan  and  the  Dead  Sea, 

190  CHURCH  OF  ST.  SABBA.  Chap.  XV. 

in  which  localities,  in  consequence  of  their  being  so  much 
beneath  the  level  of  the  rest  of  the  country,  the  tempera- 
ture is  many  degrees  higher  than  it  is  elsewhere. 

The  church  is  rather  large  and  is  very  solidly  built. 
There  are  many  ancient  frescos  painted  on  the  walls,  and 
various  early  Greek  pictures  are  hung  round  about :  many 
of  these  are  representations  of  the  most  famous  saints,  and 
on  the  feast  of  each  his  picture  is  exposed  upon  a  kind  of 
desk  before  the  iconostasis  or  wooden  partition  which 
divides  the  church  from  the  sanctuary  and  the  altar,  and 
there  it  receives  the  kisses  and  oblations  of  all  the  wor- 
shippers who  enter  the  sacred  edifice  on  that  day. 

The  movoaraa-is  is  dimly  represented  in  our  older 
churches  by  the  rood-loft  and  screen  which  divides  the 
chancel  from  the  nave :  it  is  retained  also  in  Lombard y 
and  in  the  sees  under  the  Ambrosian  rule;  but  these 
screens  and  rood-lofts,  which  destroy  the  beauty  of  a 
cathedral  or  any  large  church,  are  unknown  in  the  Roman 
churches.  They  date  their  origin  from  the  very  earliest 
ages,  when  the  "discipline  of  the  secret"  was  observed, 
and  when  the  ceremonies  of  the  communion  were  held  to 
be  of  such  a  sacred  and  mysterious  nature  that  it  was  not 
permitted  to  the  communicants  to  reveal  what  then  took 
place — an  incomprehensible  custom  which  led  to  the  pro- 
pagation of  many  false  ideas  and  strange  rumours  as  to 
the  Christian  observances  in  the  third  and  fourth  centu- 
ries, End  was  one  01  the  causes  which  ied  to  several  oi  tiic 
persecutions  of  the  Church,  as  it  was  believed  by  the 
heathens  that  the  Christians  sacrificed  children  and  com- 
mitted other  abominations  for  which  they  deserved  exter- 
mination ;  and  so  prone  are  the  vulgar  to  give  credence 

Chap.  XV.  THE  LIBRARY — MSS.  191 

to  such  injurious  reports,  that  the  Christians  in  later  ages 
accused  the  Jews  of  the  very  same  practices  for  which 
they  themselves  had  in  former  times  been  held  up  to 

In  one  part  of  the  church  I  observed  a  rickety  ladder 
leaning  against  the  wall,  and  leading  up  to  a  small  door 
about  ten  feet  from  the  ground.  Scrambling  up  this  ladder, 
I  found  myself  in  the  library  of  which  I  had  heard  so 
much.  It  was  a  small  square  room,  or  rather  a  large 
closet,  in  the  upper  part  of  one  of  the  enormous  buttresses 
which  supported  the  walls  of  the  monastery.  Here  I  found 
about  a  thousand  books,  almost  all  manuscripts,  but  the 
whole  of  them  were  works  of  divinity.  One  volume  in 
the  Bulgarian  or  Servian  language  was  written  in  uncial 
letters  ;  the  rest  were  in  Greek,  and  were  for  the  most 
part  of  the  twelfth  century.  There  were  a  great  many 
enormous  folios  of  the  works  of  the  fathers,  and  one  MS. 
of  the  Octoteuch,  or  first  eight  books  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment. It  is  remarkable  how  very  rarely  MSS.  of  any  part 
of  the  Old  Testament  are  found  in  the  libraries  of  Greek 
monasteries  ;  this  was  the  only  MS.  of  the  Octoteuch  that 
I  ever  met  with  either  before  or  afterwards  in  any  part  of 
the  Levant.  There  were  about  a  hundred  other  MSS.  on 
a  shelf  in  the  apsis  of  the  church  :  I  was  not  allowed  to 
examine  them,  but  was  assured  that  they  were  liturgies 
and  church-books  which  were  used  on  the  various  high 
days  during  the  year. 

I  was  afterwards  taken  by  some  of  the  monks  into  the 
vaulted  chambers  of  the  great  square  tower  or  keep,  which 
stood  near  the  iron  door  by  which  we  had  been  admitted. 
Here  there  were  about  a  hundred  MSS.,  but  all  imperfect ; 

192  THE  DEAD  SEA.  Chap.  XV. 

I  found  the  '  Iliad  '  of  Homer  among  them,  but  it  was  on 
paper.  Some  of  these  MSS.  were  beautifully  written  : 
they  were,  however,  so  imperfect,  that  in  the  short  time  I 
was  there,  and  pestered  as  I  was  by  a  crowd  of  gaping 
Arabs,  I  was  unable  to  discover  what  they  were. 

I  was  allowed  to  purchase  three  MSS.,  with  which  the 
next  day  I  and  my  companion  departed  on  our  way  to  the 
Dead  Sea,  our  friend  the  sheikh  having,  from  the  moment 
that  he  was  convinced  we  were  nothing  better  or  worse 
than  Englishmen  and  sightseers,  treated  us  with  all  manner 
of  civility. 

On  arriving  at  the  Dead  Sea  I  forthwith  proceeded  to 
bathe  in  it,  in  order  to  prove  the  celebrated  buoyancy  of 
the  water,  and  was  nearly  drowned  in  the  experiment,  for, 
not  being  able  to  swim,  my  head  got  much  deeper  below 
the  water  than  I  intended.  Two  ignorant  pilgrims,  who 
had  joined  our  party  for  protection,  baptized  each  other  in 
this  filthy  water,  and  sang  psalms  so  loudly  and  discord- 
antly that  we  asked  them  what  in  the  name  of  wonder 
they  were  about,  when  we  discovered  that  they  thought 
this  was  the  Jordan,  and  were  sorely  grieved  at  their  dis- 
appointment. We  found  several  shells  upon  the  shore 
and  a  small  dead  fish,  but  perhaps  they  had  been  washed 
down  by  the  waters  of  the  Jordan  or  the  Kedron :  I  do 
not  know  how  this  may  be. 

We  wandered  about  for  two  or  three  days  in  this  hot, 
volcanic,  and  sunken  region,  and  thence  proceeded  to 
Jericho.  The  mountain  of  Quarantina,  the  scene  of  the 
forty  days'  temptation  of  our  Saviour,  is  pierced  all  over 
with  the  caves  excavated  by  the  ancient  anchorites,  and 
which  look  like  pigeons'  nests.     Some  of  them  are  in  the 

Chap.  XV.  THE  APPLE  OF  THE  DEAD  SEA.  193 

most  extraordinary  situations,  high  up  on  the  face  of 
tremendous  precipices.  However,  I  will  not  attempt  to 
detail  the  singularities  of  this  wild  district ;  we  visited  the 
chief  objects  of  interest,  and  a  big  book  that  I  brought 
from  St.  Sabba  is  endeared  to  my  recollections  by  my 
having  constantly  made  use  of  it  as  a  pillow  in  my  tent 
during  our  wanderings.  It  was  somewhat  hard,  undoubt- 
edly ;  but  after  a  long  day's  ride  it  served  its  purpose  very 
well,  and  I  slept  as  soundly  as  if  it  had  been  read  to  me. 

At  two  subsequent  periods  I  visited  this  region,  and 
purchased  seven  other  MSS.  from  St.  Sabba  ;  among  them 
was  the  Octoteuch  of  the  tenth,  if  not  the  ninth,  century, 
which  I  esteem  one  of  the  most  rare  and  precious  volumes 
of  my  library. 

We  made  a  somewhat  singular  discovery  when  travel- 
ling among  the  mountains  to  the  east  of  the  Dead  Sea, 
where  the  ruins  of  Amnion,  Jerash,  and  Adjeloun  well 
repay  the  labour  and  fatigue  encountered  in  visiting  them. 
It  was  a  remarkably  hot  and  sultry  day  :  we  were  scramb- 
ling up  the  mountain  through  a  thick  jungle  of  bushes  and 
low  trees,  which  rises  above  the  east  shore  of  the  Dead 
Sea,  when  I  saw  before  me  a  fine  plum  tree,  loaded  with 
fresh  blooming  plums.  I  cried  out  to  my  fellow-tra- 
veller, "  Now,  then,  who  will  arrive  first  at  the  plum- 
tree  ?  "  and  as  he  caught  a  glimpse  of  so  refreshing  an 
object,  we  both  pressed  our  horses  into  a  gallop  to  see 
which  would  get  the  first  plum  from  the  branches.  We 
both  arrived  at  the  same  moment ;  and,  each  snatching  at 
a  fine  ripe  plum,  put  it  at  once  into  our  mouths  ;  when,  on 
biting  it,  instead  of  the  cool  delicious  juicy  fruit  which  we 
expected,  our  mouths  were  filled  with  a  dry  bitter  dust, 


194  THE  APPLE  OF  THE  DEAD  SEA.  Chap.  XV. 

and  we  sat  under  the  tree  upon  our  horses,  sputtering,  and 
hemming,  and  doing  all  we  couid  to  be  relieved  of  the 
nauseous  taste  of  this  strange  fruit.  We  then  perceived, 
and  to  my  great  delight,  that  we  had  discovered  the  famous 
apple  of  the  Dead  Sea,  the  existence  of  which  has  been 
doubted  and  canvassed  since  the  days  of  Strabo  and  Pliny, 
who  first  described  it.  Many  travellers  have  given  de- 
scriptions of  other  vegetable  productions  which  bear  some 
analogy  to  the  one  described  by  Piiny  ;  but  up  to  this 
time  no  one  had  met  with  the  thing  itself,  either  upon  the 
spot  mentioned  by  the  ancient  authors,  or  elsewhere.  I 
brought  several  of  them  to  England.  They  are  a  kind  of 
gall-nut.  I  found  others  afterwards  upon  the  plains  of 
Troy,  but  there  can  be  no  doubt  whatever  that  this  is  the 
apple  of  Sodom  to  which  Strabo  and  Pliny  referred.  Some 
of  those  which  I  brought  to  England  were  given  to  the 
Linnean  Society,  who  published  an  engraving  of  them, 
and  a  description  of  their  vegetable  peculiarities,  in  their 
'  Transactions  ;'  but  as  they  omitted  to  explain  the  pecu- 
liar interest  attached  to  them  in  consequence  of  their 
having  been  sought  for  unsuccessfully  by  so  many  travel- 
lers, they  exeited  little  attention ;  though,  as  the  evidence 
of  the  truth  of  what  has  so  long  been  considered  as  a 
vulgar  fable,  they  are  fairly  to  be  classed  among  the  most 
curious  productions  which  have  been  brought  from  the 
Holy  Land. 


It  has  been  constantly  affirmed  both  from  passages  of 
Scripture  and  the  writings  of  classic  authors,  as  well  as 
from  traditional  accounts,  that  there  existed  trees  in  the 

Chap.  XV.  THE  APPLE  OF  THE  DEAD  SEA.  1 95 

neighbourhood  of  the  Dead  Sea  which  bore  a  fruit  of  a 
fresh  and  pleasant  aspect,  but  which  contained  within 
nothing  but  a  dry  and  bitter  dust.  The  gourds  of  the 
colchicum,  Solanum  Melongena — a  sort  of  cotton  plant, 
called  Abeschaez — the  Oskar  plant,  from  the  silky  fila- 
ments of  which  the  Arabs  make  matches  for  their  match- 
lock guns — and  several  other  bitter  fruits  have  been  by 
some  thought  to  be  the  one  in  question,  but  hitherto  no 
traveller  has  met  with  any  fruit  or  apple  which  answers 
to  the  description  of  the  ancient  writers. 

It  is  first  mentioned  in  Deuteronomy,  cap.  xxxii.  v.  32 : — 
"  For  their  vine  is  of  the  vine  of  Sodom,  and  of  the  fields 
of  Gomorrah :  their  grapes  are  grapes  of  gall,  their  clus- 
ters are  bitter." 

Tacitus  says  in  the  History,  cap.  v. : — "  Terrain  ipsam 
specie  torridam,  vim  frugiferam  perdidisse,  nam  cuncta 
sponte  edita,  aut  mane  sata,  sive  herba  tenus  aut  flore 
seu  solitam  in  speciem  adolevere,  atra  et  inania  velut  in 
cinerem  vanescunt." 

The  following  description  occurs  in  Josephus  de  Bello 
Judaico,  fol.  (Latine),  Verona,  1480,  Lib.  v. : — "  Denique 
adhuc  in  ea  reliquias  ignis  et  oppidorum  quinque  videre 
licet  imagines :  et  renascentes  in  fructibus  cineres :  qui 
colore  quidem  sunt  et  lilii  similes  carpentium  vero  manibus 
in  fumum  dissolvuntur  et  cinerem." 

Syr  John  de  Mandcville's  Travayles,  MS.  saec.  xiv. : — 
"  And  ther  groweth  trees  y*  bereth  frute  of  fayre  color, 
semyth  rype,  &  whan  men  brekith  hit  thay  fyndeth  yem 
nozt  but  ashis  or  colys,  in  tokenyng  yat  through  vengeans 
of  God  yos  citees  were  brent  w'  fyre  of  belle." 

Maundrell,  the  best  of  all  the  travellers  in  the  Levant, 


196  THE  APPLE  OF  THE  DEAD  SEA.  Chap.  XV. 

says  he  could  neither  see  nor  hear  of  any  of  the  apples  of 
Sodom,  "  which  induces  me  to  believe  that  there  may  be 
a  greater  deceit  in  this  fruit  than  that  which  is  usually 
reported  of  it;  and  that  its  very  being,  as  well  as  its 
beauty,  is  a  fiction  ;  only  kept  up,  as  my  Lord  Bacon  ob- 
serves many  other  false  notions  are,  because  it  serves  for 
a  good  allusion,  and  helps  the  poets  to  a  similitude." 

However,  this  curious  fruit  has  been  re-discovered,  and 
if  the  worthy  Maundrell  had  taken  as  large  a  mouthful 
of  it  as  I  did,  he  would  have  had  little  doubt  of  its  peculiar 

I  think  this  apple  is  mentioned  both  by  Pliny  and 
Strabo,  but  I  cannot  find  the  passages.  The  accompany- 
ing woodcuts  show  the  form  of  this  interesting  fruit  or 
gall-apple,  with  a  leaf  of  a  kind  of  Ilex  on  which  it 
grows.  The  woodcut  of  the  insect  which  produces  the 
gall-apple  is  of  the  size  of  nature  ;  the  fruit  itself  is  about 
two  inches  long. 

Chap.  XVI.        CHURCH  OF  THE  HOLY  SEPULCHRE.  197 


Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre  —  Procession  of  the  Copts  —  The  Syrian 
Maronites  and  the  Greeks  —  Riotous  Behaviour  of  the  Pilgrims  — 
Their  immense  numbers  —  The  Chant  of  the  Latin  Monks  —  Ibrahim 
Pasha  —  The  Exhibition  of  the  Sacred  Fire  • —  Excitement  of  the 
Pilgrims  —  The  Patriarch  obtains  the  Sacred  Fire  from  the  Holy 
Sepulchre  —  Contest  for  the  Holy  Light  —  Immense  sum  paid  for  the 
privilege  of  receiving  it  first  —  Fatal  Effects  of  the  Heat  and  Smoke 

—  Departure  of  Ibrahim  Pasha  —  Horrible  Catastrophe  —  Dreadful 
Loss  of  Life  among  the  Pilgrims  in  their  endeavours  to  leave  the 
Church  —  Battle  with  the  Soldiers  —  Our  Narrow  Escape  —  Shocking 
Scene  in  the  Court  of  the  Church  —  Humane  Conduct  of  Ibrahim  Pasha 

—  Superstition  of  the  Pilgrims  regarding  Shrouds  —  Scallop  Shells  and 
Palm  Branches  —  The  Dead  Muleteer  —  Moonlight  View  of  the  Dead 
Bodies  —  The  Curse  on  Jerusalem  —  Sketch  of  the  Life  of  Ibrahim 
Pasha  —  Departure  from  the  Holy  City. 

It  was  on  Friday,  the  3rd  of  May,  that  my  companions 
and  myself  went,  about  five  o'clock  in  the  evening,  to  the 
church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre,  where  we  had  places 
assigned  us  in  the  gallery  of  the  Latin  monks,  as  well  as 
a  good  bed-room  in  their  convent.  The  church  was  very 
full,  and  the  numbers  kept  increasing  every  moment.  We 
first  saw  a  small  procession  of  the  Copts  go  round  the 
sepulchre,  and  after  them  one  of  the  Syrian  Maronites. 
I  then  went  to  bed,  and  at  midnight  was  awakened  to  see 
the  procession  of  the  Greeks,  which  was  rather  grand. 
By  the  rules  of  their  Church  they  are  not  permitted  to 
carry  any  images,  and  therefore  to  make  up  for  this  they 
bore  aloft  a  piece  of  brocade,  upon  which  was  embroidered 
a  representation  of  the  body  of  our  Saviour.     This  was 


placed  in  the  tomb,  and,  after  some  short  time,  brought 
out  again  and  carried  into  the  chapel  of  the  Greeks,  when 
the  ceremonies  of  the  night  ended ;  for  there  was  no 
procession  of  the  Armenians,  as  the  Armenian  Patriarch 
had  made  an  address  to  his  congregation,  and  had,  it  was 
said,  explained  the  falsity  of  the  miracle  of  the  holy  fire, 
to  the  excessive  astonishment  of  his  hearers,  who  for 
centuries  have  considered  an  unshakeable  belief  in  this 
yearly  wonder  as  one  of  the  leading  articles  of  their  faith. 
After  the  Greek  procession  I  went  quietly  to  bed  again, 
and  slept  soundly  till  next  morning. 

The  behaviour  of  the  pilgrims  was  riotous  in  the 
extreme ;  the  crowd  was  so  great  that  many  persons 
actually  crawled  over  the  heads  of  others,  and  some  made 
pyramids  of  men  by  standing  on  each  other's  shoulders, 
as  I  have  seen  them  do  at  Astley's.  At  one  time,  before 
the  church  was  so  full,  they  made  a  race-course  round 
the  sepulchre ;  and  some,  almost  in  a  state  of  nudity, 
danced  about  with  frantic  gestures,  yelling  and  scream- 
ing as  if  they  were  possessed. 

Altogether  it  was  a  scene  of  disorder  and  profanation 
which  it  is  impossible  to  describe.  In  consequence  of  the 
multitude  of  people  and  the  quantities  of  lamps,  the  heat 
was  excessive,  and  a  steam  arose  which  prevented  your 
seeing  clearly  across  the  church.  But  every  window  and 
cornice,  and  every  place  where  a  man's  foot  could 
rest,  excepting  the  gallery — which  was  reserved  for 
Ibrahim  Pasha  and  ourselves — appeared  to  be  crammed 
with  people  ;  for  17,000  pilgrims  were  said  to  be  in 
Jerusalem,  almost  the  whole  of  whom  had  come  to  the 
Holy  City  for  no  other  reason  than  to  see  the  sacred  fire. 

Chap.  XVI.  IBRAHIM  PASHA.  199 

After  the  noise,  heat,  and  uproar  which  I  had  witnessed 
from  the  gallery  that  overlooked  the  Holy  Sepulchre,  the 
contrast  of  the  calmness  and  quiet  of  my  room  in  the 
Franciscan  convent  was  very  pleasing.  The  room  had  a 
small  window  which  opened  upon  the  Latin  choir,  where, 
in  the  evening,  the  monks  chanted  the  Litany  of  the 
Virgin  :  their  fine  voices  and  the  beautiful  simplicity  of 
the  ancient  chant  made  a  strong  impression  upon  my 
mind ;  the  orderly  solemnity  of  the  Roman  Catholic 
vespers  showing  to  great  advantage  when  compared  with 
the  screams  and  tumult  of  the  fanatic  Greeks. 

The  next  morning  a  way  was  made  through  the  crowd 
for  Ibrahim  Pasha,  by  the  soldiers  with  the  butt-ends  of 
their  muskets,  and  by  the  Janissaries  with  their  kourbatches 
and  whips  made  of  a  quantity  of  small  rope.  The  Pasha 
sat  in  the  gallery,  on  a  divan  which  the  monks  had  made 
for  him  between  the  two  columns  nearest  to  the  Greek 
chapel.  They  had  got  up  a  sort  of  procession  to  do  him 
honour,  the  appearance  of  which  did  not  add  to  the 
solemnity  of  the  scene :  three  monks  playing  crazy 
fiddles  led  the  way,  then  came  the  choristers  with  lighted 
candles,  next  two  Nizam  soldiers  with  muskets  and  fixed 
bayonets ;  a  number  of  doctors,  instructors,  and  officers 
tumbling  over  each  other's  heels,  brought  up  the  rear : 
he  was  received  by  the  women,  of  whom  there  were 
thousands  in  the  church,  with  a  very  peculiar  shrill  cry, 
which  had  a  strange,  unearthly  effect.  It  was  the  mono- 
syllable la,  la,  la,  uttered  in  a  shrill  trembling  tone,  which 
I  thought  much  more  like  pain  than  rejoicing.  The 
Pasha  was  dressed  in  full  trousers  of  dark  cloth,  a  light 
lilac-coloured  jacket,  and  a  red  cap  without  a  turban. 


Sung  by  the  Friars  of  St.  Salvador  at  Jerusalem. 








O-   ra 

Sane  -  ta        Ma  -  tcr   Do  -  mi   -    ni — 




"Of Ot" 







pro        no   -     bis. 

Sane  - ta 

De    - 















~i    <  * 

Ge  -   ni  -  trix- 

O   -   ra        pro      no    -     bis. 










— <=»»-^I 

Sancta  Maria— Ora  pro  nobis. 
Sancta  Virgo  Virginum — Ora  pro  nobis. 
Imperatrix  Keginarum — Ora  pro  nobis. 
Laus  sanctarum  animarum — Ora  pro  nobis. 
Vera  salutrix  earum— Ora  pro  nobis. 

Chap.  XVI.       EXHIBITION  OF  THE  SACRED  FIRE.  201 

When  he  was  seated,  the  monks  brought  us  some 
sherbet,  which  was  excellently  made ;  and  as  our  seats 
were  very  near  the  great  man,  we  saw  everything  in  an 
easy  and  luxurious  way ;  and  it  being  announced  that 
the  Mahomedan  Pasha  was  ready,  the  Christian  miracle, 
which  had  been  waiting  for  some  time,  was  now  on  the 
point  of  being  displayed. 

The  people  were  by  this  time  become  furious ;  they 
were  worn  out  with  standing  in  such  a  crowd  all  night, 
and  as  the  time  approached  for  the  exhibition  of  the  holy 
fire  they  could  not  contain  themselves  for  joy.  Their 
excitement  increased  as  the  time  for  the  miracle  in  which 
all  believed  drew  near.  At  about  one  o'clock  the  Patriarch 
went  into  the  ante-chapel  of  the  sepulchre,  and  soon  after  a 
magnificent  procession  moved  out  of  the  Greek  chapel. 
It  conducted  the  Patriarch  three  times  round  the  tomb  ; 
after  which  he  took  off  his  outer  robes  of  cloth  of  silver, 
and  went  into  the  sepulchre,  the  door  of  which  was  then 
closed.  The  agitation  of  the  pilgrims  was  now  extreme : 
they  screamed  aloud  ;  and  the  dense  mass  of  people  shook 
to  and  fro,  like  a  field  of  corn  in  the  wind. 

There  is  a  round  hole  in  one  part  of  the  chapel  over 
the  sepulchre,  out  of  which  the  holy  fire  is  given,  and  up 
to  this  the  man  who  had  agreed  to  pay  the  highest  sum 
for  this  honour  was  conducted  by  a  strong  guard  of  sol- 
diers. There  was  silence  for  a  minute ;  and  then  a 
light  appeared  out  of  the  tomb,  and  the  happy  pilgrim 
received  the  holy  fire  from  the  Patriarch  within.  It  con- 
sisted of  a  bundle  of  thin  wax-candles,  lit,  and  enclosed 
in  an  iron  frame  to  prevent  their  being  torn  asunder  and 
put  out  in  the  crowd :  for  a  furious  battle  commenced 




immediately  ;  every  one  being  so 
eager  to  obtain  the  holy  light,  that 
one  man  put  out  the  candle  of  his 
neighbour  in  trying  to  light  his  own. 
It  is  said  that  as  much  as  ten  thou- 
sand piastres  has  been  paid  for  the 
privilege  of  first  receiving  the  holy 
fire,  which  is  believed  to  ensure 
eternal  salvation.  The  Copts  got 
eight  purses  this  year  for  the  first 
candle  they  gave  to  a  pilgrim  of 
their  own  persuasion. 
This  was  the  whole  of  the  ceremony  ;  there  was  no 
sermon  or  prayers,  except  a  little  chanting  during  the 
processions,  and  nothing  that  could  tend  to  remind  you 
of  the  awful  event  which  this  feast  was  designed  to  com- 

Soon  you  saw  the  lights  increasing  in  all  directions, 
every  one  having  lit  his  candle  from  the  holy  flame  :  the 
chapels,  the  galleries,  and  every  corner  where  a  candle 
could  possibly  be  displayed,  immediately  appeared  to  be 
in  a  blaze.  The  people,  in  their  frenzy,  put  the  bunches 
of  lighted  tapers  to  their  faces,  hands,  and  breasts,  to 
purify  themselves  from  their  sins.  The  Patriarch  was 
carried  out  of  the  sepulchre  in  triumph,  on  the  shoulders 
of  the  people  he  had  deceived,  amid  the  cries  and  ex 
clamations  of  joy  which  resounded  from  every  nook  o 
the  immense  pile  of  buildings.  As  he  appeared  in  a  faint- 
ing state,  I  supposed  that  he  was  ill ;  but  I  found  that  it 
is  the  uniform  custom  on  these  occasions  to  feign  insen- 
sibility, that  the   pilgrims  may  imagine  he  is  overcome 


with  the  glory  of  the  Almighty,  from  whose  immediate 
presence  they  believe  him  to  have  returned. 

In  a  short  time  the  smoke  of  the  candles  obscured 
everything  in  the  place,  and  I  could  see  it  rolling  in  great 
volumes  out  at  the  aperture  at  the  top  of  the  dome. 
The  smell  was  terrible ;  and  three  unhappy  wretches, 
overcome  by  heat  and  bad  air,  fell  from  the  upper  range 
of  galleries,  and  were  dashed  to  pieces  on  the  heads  of 
the  people  below.  One  poor  Armenian  lady,  seventeen 
years  of  age,  died  where  she  sat,  of  heat,  thirst,  and  fatigue. 

After  a  while,  when  he  had  seen  all  that  was  to  be 
seen,  Ibrahim  Pasha  got  up  and  went  away,  his  numer- 
ous guards  making  a  line  for  him  by  main  force  through 
the  dense  mass  of  people  which  filled  the  body  of  the 
church.  As  the  crowd  was  so  immense,  we  waited  for 
a  little  while,  and  then  set  out  all  together  to  return  to 
our  convent.  I  went  first  and  my  friends  followed  me, 
the  soldiers  making  way  for  us  across  the  church.  I  got 
as  far  as  the  place  where  the  Virgin  is  said  to  have  stood 
during  the  crucifixion,  when  I  saw  a  number  of  people 
lying  one  on  another  all  about  this  part  of  the  church, 
and  as  far  as  I  could  see  towards  the  door.  I  made  my 
way  between  them  as  well  as  I  could,  till  they  were  so 
thick  that  there  was  actually  a  great  heap  of  bodies  on 
which  I  trod.  It  then  suddenly  struck  me  they  were  all 
dead  !  I  had  not  perceived  this  at  first,  for  I  thought 
they  were  only  very  much  fatigued  with  the  ceremonies 
and  had  lain  down  to  rest  themselves  there ;  but  when 
I  came  to  so  great  a  heap  of  bodies  I  looked  down 
at  them,  and  saw  that  sharp,  hard  appearance  of  the  face 


which  is  never  to  be  mistaken.  Many  of  them  were  quite 
black  with  suffocation,  and  farther  on  were  others  all 
bloody  and  covered  with  the  brains  and  entrails  of  those 
who  had  been  trodden  to  pieces  by  the  crowd. 

At  this  time  there  was  no  crowd  in  this  part  of  the 
church ;  but  a  little  farther  on,  round  the  corner  towards 
the  great  door,  the  people,  who  were  quite  panic- 
struck,  continued  to  press  forward,  and  every  one  was 
doing  his  utmost  to  escape.  The  guards  outside, 
frightened  at  the  rush  from  within,  thought  that  the 
Christians  wished  to  attack  them,  and  the  confusion  soon 
grew  into  a  battle.  The  soldiers  with  their  bayonets 
killed  numbers  of  fainting  wretches,  and  the  walls  were 
spattered  with  blood  and  brains  of  men  who  had  been 
felled,  like  oxen,  with  the  butt-ends  of  the  soldiers'  mus- 
kets. Every  one  struggled  to  defend  himself  or  to  get 
away,  and  in  the  melee  all  who  fell  were  immediately 
trampled  to  death  by  the  rest.  So  desperate  and  savage 
did  the  fight  become,  that  even  the  panic-struck  and 
frightened  pilgrims  appear  at  last  to  have  been  more 
intent  upon  the  destruction  of  each  other  than  desirous 
to  save  themselves. 

For  my  part,  as  soon  as  I  perceived  the  danger  I  had 
cried  out  to  my  companions  to  turn  back,  which  they  had 
done ;  but  I  myself  was  carried  on  by  the  press  till  I 
came  near  the  door,  where  all  were  fighting  for  their  lives. 
Here,  seeing  certain  destruction  before  me,  I  made  every 
endeavour  to  get  back.  An  officer  of  the  Pasha's,  who 
by  his  star  was  a  colonel  or  bin  bashee,  equally  alarmed 
with  myself,  was  also  trying  to  return  :  he  caught  hold  of 


my  cloak,  or  bournouse,  and  pulled  me  down  on  the  body 
of  an  old  man  who  was  breathing  out  his  last  sigh.  As 
the  officer  was  pressing  me  to  the  ground,  we  wrestled 
together  among  the  dying  and  the  dead  with  the  energy 
of  despair.  I  struggled  with  this  man  till  I  pulled  him 
dow-n,  and  happily  got  again  upon  my  legs — (I  afterwards 
found  that  he  never  rose  again) — and  scrambling  over  a 
pile  of  corpses,  I  made  my  way  back  into  the  body  of 
the  church,  where  I  found  my  friends,  and  we  succeeded 
in  reaching  the  sacristy  of  the  Catholics,  and  thence  the 
room  which  had  been  assigned  to  us  by  the  monks.  The 
dead  were  lying  in  heaps,  even  upon  the  stone  of  unction  ; 
and  I  saw  full  four  hundred  wretched  people,  dead  and 
living,  heaped  promiscuously  one  upon  another,  in  some 
places  above  five  feet  high.  Ibrahim  Pasha  had  left  the 
church  only  a  few  minutes  before  me,  and  very  narrowly 
escaped  with  his  life ;  he  was  so  pressed  upon  by  the 
crowd  on  all  sides,  and  it  was  said  attacked  by  several  of 
them,  that  it  was  only  by  the  greatest  exertions  of  his  suite, 
several  of  whom  were  killed,  that  he  gained  the  outer 
court.  He  fainted  more  than  once  in  the  struggle,  and  I 
wras  told  that  some  of  his  attendants  at  last  had  to  cut  a 
way  for  him  with  their  swords  through  the  dense  ranks  of 
the  frantic  pilgrims.  He  remained  outside,  giving  orders 
for  the  removal  of  the  corpses,  and  making  his  men  drag 
out  the  bodies  of  those  who  appeared  to  be  still  alive  from 
the  heaps  of  the  dead.  He  sent  word  to  us  to  remain  in 
the  convent  till  all  the  dead  bodies  had  been  removed, 
and  that  when  we  could  come  out  in  safety,  he  would 
again  send  to  us. 

We  stayed  in  our  room  two  hours  before  we  ventured 

206  SCENE  IN  FRONT  OF  THE  CHURCII.       Chap.  XVI. 

to  make  another  attempt  to  escape  from  this  scene  of 
horror ;  and  then  walking  close  together,  with  all  our 
servants  round  us,  we  made  a  bold  push  and  got  out  of 
the  door  of  the  church.  By  this  time  most  of  the  bodies 
were  removed ;  but  twenty  or  thirty  were  still  lying  in 
distorted  attitudes  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Calvary  ;  and 
fragments  of  clothes,  turbans,  shoes,  and  handkerchiefs, 
clotted  with  blood  and  dirt,  were  strewed  all  over  the 

hi  the  court  in  the  front  of  the  church,  the  sight  was 
pitiable  :  mothers  weeping  over  their  children — the  sons 
bending  over  the  dead  bodies  of  their  fathers — and  one 
poor  woman  was  clinging  to  the  hand  of  her  husband, 
whose  body  was  fearfully  mangled.  Most  of  the  sufferers 
were  pilgrims  and  strangers.  The  Pasha  was  greatly 
moved  by  this  scene  of  woe  ;  and  he  again  and  again  com- 
manded his  officers  to  give  the  poor  people  every  assistance 
in  their  power,  and  very  many  by  his  humane  efforts  were 
rescued  from  death. 

I  was  much  struck  by  the  sight  of  two  old  men  with 
white  beards,  who  had  been  seeking  for  each  other  among 
the  dead  ;  they  met  as  I  was  passing  by,  and  it  was  af- 
fecting to  see  them  kiss  and  shake  hands,  and  congratulate 
each  other  on  having  escaped  from  death. 

When  the  bodies  were  removed,  many  were  discovered 
standing  upright,  quite  dead ;  and  near  the  church  door 
one  of  the  soldiers  was  found  thus  standing,  with  his 
musket  shouldered,  among  the  bodies,  which  reached  nearly 
as  high  as  his  head  ;  this  was  in  a  corner  near  the  great 
door  on  the  right  side  as  you  come  in.  It  seems  that  this 
door  had  been  shut,  so  that  many  who  stood  near  it  were 


suffocated  in  the  crowd ;  and  when  it  was  opened,  the 
rush  was  so  great,  that  numbers  were  thrown  down  and 
never  rose  again,  being  trampled  to  death  by  the  press 
behind  them.  The  whole  court  before  the  entrance  of 
the  church  was  covered  with  bodies  laid  in  rows,  by  the 
Pasha's  orders,  so  that  their  friends  might  find  them  and 
carry  them  away.  As  we  walked  home  we  saw  numbers 
of  people  carried  out,  some  dead,  some  horribly  wounded 
and  in  a  dying  state,  for  they  had  fought  with  their  heavy 
silver  inkstands  and  daggers. 

In  the  evening  I  was  not  sorry  to  retire  early  to  rest  in 
the  low  vaulted  room  in  the  strangers'  house  attached  to 
the  monastery  of  St.  Salvador.  I  was  weary  and  depressed 
after  the  agitating  scenes  of  the  morning,  and  my  lodging 
was  not  rendered  more  cheerful  by  there  being  a  number 
of  corpses  laid  out  in  their  shrouds  in  the  stone  court- 
beneath  its  window.  It  is  thought  by  these  superstitious 
people  that  a  shroud  washed  in  the  fountain  of  Siloam 
and  blessed  at  the  tomb  of  our  Saviour  forms  a  complete 
suit  of  armour  for  the  body  of  a  sinner  deceased  in  the 
faith,  and  that  clad  in  this  invulnerable  panoply  he  may 
defy  the  devil  and  all  his  angels.  For  this  reason 
every  pilgrim  when  journeying  has  his  shroud  with  him, 
with  all  its  different  parts  and  bandages  complete  ;  and  to 
many  they  became  useful  sooner  than  they  expected.  A 
holy  candle  also  forms  part  of  a  pilgrim's  accoutrements. 
It  has  some  sovereign  virtue,  but  I  do  not  exactly  know 
what :  and  they  were  all  provided  with  several  long  thin 
tapers,  and  a  rosary  or  two,  and  sundry  rosaries  and  orna- 
ments made  of  pearl  oyster-shells — all  which  are  defences 
against  the  powers  of  darkness.     These  pearl  oyster-shells 


are,  I  imagine,  the  scallop-shell  of  romance,  for  there  are 
no  scallops  to  be  found  here.  My  companion  was  very 
anxious  to  obtain  some  genuine  scallop-shells,  as  they 
form  part  of  his  arms ;  but  they,  as  well  as  the  palm 
branches,  carried  home  by  all  palmers  on  their  return 
from  the  Holy  Land,  are  as  rare  here  as  they  are  in 
England.  This  is  the  more  remarkable,  as  the  medal 
struck  by  Vespasian  on  the  subjection  of  this  country 
represents  a  woman  in  an  attitude  of  mourning  seated 
under  a  palm-tree  with  the  legend  "  Judaea  capta  :"  so 
there  may  have  been  palms  in  those  days.  I  was  going 
to  say  there  must  have  been  :  but  on  second  thoughts  it 
does  not  follow  that  there  should  have  been  palms  in 
Judaea  because  the  Romans  put  them  on  a  medal,  any 
more  than  that  there  should  be  unicorns  in  England 
because  we  represent  them  on  our  coins.  However,  all 
this  is  a  digression :  we  must  return  to  our  dead  men. 
There  were  sixteen  or  seventeen  of  them,  all  stiff  and  stark, 
lying  in  the  court,  nicely  wrapped  up  in  their  shrouds, 
like  parcels  ready  to  be  sent  off'  to  the  other  world  :  but 
at  the  end  of  the  row  lay  one  man  in  a  brown  dress ;  he 
was  one  of  the  lower  class — a  muleteer,  perhaps,  a  strong, 
well-made  man  ;  but  he  was  not  in  a  shroud.  He  had 
died  fighting,  and  there  he  lay  with  his  knees  drawn  up, 
his  right  arm  above  his  head,  and  in  his  hand  the  jacket 
of  another  man,  which  could  not  now  be  released  from  his 
grasp,  so  tightly  had  his  strong  hand  been  clenched  in  the 
death-struggle.  This  figure  took  a  strong  hold  on  my 
imagination  ;  there  was  something  wild  and  ghastly  in  its 
appearance,  different  from  the  quiet  attitude  of  the  other 
victims  of  the  fight  in  which  I  also  had  been  engaged. 

Chap.  XVI.         MOONLIGHT  VIEW  OF  THE  DEAD.  209 

It  put  me  in  mind  of  all  manner  of  horrible  old  stories  of 
ghosts  and  goblins  with  which  my  memory  was  well  stored  ; 
and  I  went  to  bed  with  my  head  so  occupied  by  these 
traditions  of  gloom  and  ignorance  that  I  could  not  sleep, 
or  if  I  did  for  awhile,  I  woke  up  again  and  still  went  on 
thinking  of  the  old  woman  of  Berkeley,  and  the  fire-king, 
and  the  stories  in  Scott's  '  Discovery  of  Witchcraft,'  and 
the  '  Hierarchy  of  the  Blessed  Aungelles,'  and  Caxton's 
'  Golden  Legende  ' — all  books  wherein  I  delighted  to  pore, 
till  I  could  not  help  getting  out  of  bed  again  to  have 
another  look  at  the  ghastly  regiment  in  the  court  below. 

I  leant  against  the  heavy  stone  mullions  of  the  window, 
which  was  barred,  but  without  glass,  and  gazed  I  know 
not  how  long.  There  they  all  were,  still  and  quiet ;  some 
in  the  full  moonlight,  and  some  half  obscured  by  the 
shadow  of  the  buildings.  In  the  morning  I  had  walked 
with  them,  living  men,  such  as  I  was  myself,  and  now  how 
changed  they  were!  Some  of  them  I  had  spoken  to,  as 
they  lived  in  the  same  court  with  me,  and  I  had  taken  an 
interest  in  their  occupations :  now  I  would  not  willingly 
have  touched  them,  and  even  to  look  at  them  was  terrible  ! 
What  little  difference  there  is  in  appearance  between  the 
same  men  asleep  and  dead !  and  yet  what  a  fearful 
difference  in  fact,  not  to  themselves  only,  but  to  those  who 
still  remained  alive  to  look  upon  them  !  Whilst  I  was 
musing  upon  these  things  the  wind  suddenly  arose,  the 
doors  and  shutters  of  the  half-uninhabited  monastery 
slammed  and  grated  upon  their  hinges  ;  and  as  the  moon, 
which  had  been  obscured,  again  shone  clearly  on  the 
court  below,  I  saw  the  dead  muleteer,  with  the  jacket 
which  he  held  waving  in  the  air,  the  grimmest  figure  I 


ever  looked  upon.  His  face  was  black  from  the  violence 
of  his  death,  and  he  seemed  like  an  evil  spirit  waving  on 
his  ghastly  crew  ;  and  as  the  wind  increased,  the  shrouds 
of  some  of  the  dead  men  fluttered  in  the  night  air  as  if 
they  responded  to  his  call.  The  clouds  passing  rapidly 
over  the  moon,  cast  such  shadows  on  the  corpses  in  their 
shrouds,  that  I  could  almost  have  fancied  they  were  alive 
again.  I  returned  to  bed,  and  thanked  God  that  I  was 
not  also  laid  out  with  them  in  the  court  below. 

In  the  morning  I  awoke  at  a  late  hour  and  looked  out 
into  the  court ;  the  muleteer  and  most  of  the  other  bodies 
were  removed,  and  people  were  going  about  their 
business  as  if  nothing  had  occurred,  excepting  that  every 
now  and  then  I  heard  the  wail  of  women  lamenting  for 
the  dead.  Three  hundred  was  the  number  reported  to 
have  been  carried  out  of  the  gates  to  their  burial-places 
that  morning  ;  two  hundred  more  were  badly  wounded, 
many  of  whom  probably  died,  for  there  were  no  physicians 
or  surgeons  to  attend  them,  and  it  was  supposed  that 
others  were  buried  in  the  courts  and  gardens  of  the  city 
by  their  surviving  friends  ;  so  that  the  precise  number  of 
those  who  perished  was  not  known. 

When  we  reflect  in  what  place  and  to  commemorate  what 
event  the  great  multitude  of  Christian  pilgrims  had  thus 
assembled  from  all  parts  of  the  world,  the  fearful  visita- 
tion which  came  upon  them  appears  more  dreadful  than 
if  it  had  occurred  under  other  circumstances.  They  had 
entered  the  sacred  walls  to  celebrate  the  most  joyful  event 
which  is  recorded  in  the  Scriptures.  By  the  resurrection 
of  our  Saviour  was  proved  not  only  his  triumph  over  the 
grave,  but  the  truth  of  the  religion  which  He  taught ;  and 


the  anniversary  of  that  event  has  been  kept  in  all  succeed- 
ing ages  as  the  great  festival  of  the  Church.  On  the 
morning  of  this  hallowed  day  throughout  the  Christian 
world  the  bells  rang  merrily,  the  altars  were  decked  with 
flowers,  and  all  men  gave  way  to  feelings  of  exultation 
and  joy ;  in  an  hour  everything  was  turned  to  mourning, 
lamentation,  and  woe ! 

There  was  a  time  when  Jerusalem  was  the  most 
prosperous  and  favoured  city  of  the  world  ;  then  "  all  her 
ways  were  pleasantness,  and  all  her  paths  were  peace  ;" 
"  plenteousness  was  in  her  palaces ;"  and  "  Jerusalem 
was  the  joy  of  the  whole  earth." 

But  since  the  awful  crime  which  was  committed 
there,  the  Lord  has  poured  out  the  vials  of  his  wrath 
upon  the  once  chosen  city  ;  dire  and  fearful  have  been 
the  calamities  which  have  befallen  her  in  terrible  suc- 
cession for  eighteen  hundred  years.  Fury  and  desolation, 
hand  in  hand,  have  stalked  round  the  precincts  of  the 
guilty  spot ;  and  Jerusalem  has  been  given  up  to  the 
spoiler  and  the  oppressor. 

The  curse,  however,  is  not  always  to  endure :  many 
Jews  every  year  repair  to  the  city  of  their  fathers,  some 
only  in  the  hope  of  dying  there,  and  being  buried  in  the 
valley  of  Jehoshaphat ;  others  trusting  that  perhaps  in 
their  days  the  happy  hour  may  arrive  when  "  God  will 
save  Zion,  and  build  the  cities  of  Judah :  that  men  may 
dwell  there,  and  have  it  in  possession. 

"  The  posterity  also  of  his  servants  shall  inherit  it :  and 
they  that  love  his  name  shall  dwell  therein." — Ps.  lxix. 

The  day  following  the  occurrences  which  have  been 

212  TRICK  OF  THE  HOLY  FIRE  Chap.  XVI. 

related,  I  had  a  long  interview  with  Ibrahim  Pasha,  and 
the  conversation  turned  naturally  on  the  blasphemous 
impositions  of  the  Greek  and  Armenian  patriarchs,  who, 
for  the  purposes  of  worldly  gain,  had  deluded  their 
ignorant  followers  with  the  performance  of  a  trick  in 
relighting  the  candles  which  had  been  extinguished  on 
Good  Friday  with  fire  which  they  affirmed  to  have 
been  sent  down  from  heaven  in  answer  to  their  prayers. 
The  Pasha  was  quite  aware  of  the  evident  absurdity 
which  I  brought  to  his  notice,  of  the  performance  of  a 
Christian  miracle  being  put  off  for  some  time,  and  being 
kept  in  waiting,  for  the  convenience  of  a  Mahomcdan 
prince.  It  was  debated  what  punishment  was  to  be 
awarded  to  the  Greek  patriarch  for  the  misfortunes  which 
had  been  the  consequence  of  his  jugglery,  and  a  number 
of  the  purses  which  he  had  received  from  the  unlucky 
pilgrims  passed  into  the  coffers  of  the  Pasha's  treasury. 
I  was  sorry  that  the  falsity  of  this  imposture  was  not 
publicly  exposed,  as  it  was  a  good  opportunity  of  so  doing. 
It  seems  wonderful  that  so  barefaced  a  trick  should 
continue  to  be  practised  every  year  in  these  enlightened 
times  ;  but  it  has  its  parallel  in  the  blood  of  St.  Januarius, 
which  is  still  liquefied  whenever  anything  is  to  be  gained 
by  the  exhibition  of  that  astonishing  act  of  priestly 
impertinence.  If  Ibrahim  Pasha  had  been  a  Christian, 
probably  this  would  have  been  the  last  Easter  of  the 
lighting  of  the  holy  fire  ;  but  from  the  fact  of  his  religion 
being  opposed  to  that  of  the  monks,  he  could  not  follow 
the  example  of  Louis  XIV.,  who  having  put  a  stop  to 
some  clumsy  imposition  which  was  at  that  time  bringing 


scandal  on  the  Church,  a  paper  was  found  nailed  upon 
the  door  of  the  sacred  edifice  the  day  afterwards,  on 
which  the  words  were  read — 

"  De  part  du  roi,  defense  a  Dieu 
De  faire  miracle  en  ce  lieu." 

The  interference  of  a  Mahomedan  in  such  a  case  as 
this  would  only  have  heen  held  as  another  persecution  of 
the  Christians  ;  and  the  miracle  of  the  holy  fire  has  con- 
tinued to  be  exhibited  every  year  with  great  applause, 
and  luckily  without  the  unfortunate  results  which  ac- 
companied it  on  this  occasion. 

Ibrahim  Pasha,  though  by  no  means  the  equal  of 
Mohammed  Ali  in  talents  or  attainments,  was  an  enlight- 
ened man  for  a  Turk.  Though  bold  in  battle,  he  was 
kind  to  those  who  were  about  him  ;  and  the  cruelties 
practised  by  his  troops  in  the  Greek  and  Syrian  wars 
are  to  be  ascribed  more  to  the  system  of  Eastern 
warfare  than  to  the  savage  disposition  of  their  com- 

He  was  born  at  Cavalla,  in  Roumelia,  in  the  year 
1789,  and  died  at  Alexandria  on  the  10th  of  November, 
1848.  lie  was  the  son,  according  to  some,  of  Mohammed 
Ali,  but,  according  to  others,  of  the  wife  of  the  great 
Viceroy  of  Egypt  by  a  former  husband.  At  the  age  of 
seventeen  he  joined  his  father's  army,  and  in  1816  he 
commanded  the  expedition  against  the  Wahabees — a 
sect  who  maintained  that  nothing  but  the  Koran  was 
to  be  held  in  any  estimation  by  Mahomedans,  to  the 
exclusion  of  all  notes,  explanations,  and  commentaries, 
which  have  in  many  cases  usurped  the  authority  of  the 
text.     They  called  themselves  reformers,  and,  like  King 


Henry  VIII.,  took  possession  of  the  golden  water-spouts 
and  other  ornaments  of  the  Kaaba,  burned  the  books  and 
destroyed  the  colleges  of  the  Arabian  theologians,  and 
carried  off  everything  they  could  lay  hold  of,  on  religious 
principles.  An  eye-witness  told  me  that  some  of  the  fol- 
lowers of  Abd  el  Wahab  had  found  a  good-sized  looking- 
glass  in  a  house  at  Sanaa,  which  they  were  carrying 
away  with  great  difficulty  through  the  desert,  the  porters 
being  guarded  by  a  multitude  of  half- naked  warriors, 
who  had  neglected  all  other  plunder  in  the  supposition 
that  they  had  got  hold  of  the  diamond  of  Jemshid,  a  pre- 
Adamite  monarch  famous  in  the  annals  of  Arabian  his- 
tory. Some  more  of  these  wild  people  found  several  bags 
of  doubloons  at  Mocha,  which  they  conceived  to  be  dol- 
lars that  had  been  spoiled  somehow,  and  had  turned 
yellow,  for  they  had  never  seen  any  before.  A  "  smart" 
captain  of  an  American  vessel  at  Jedda,  who  was  con- 
sulted on  the  occasion,  kindly  gave  them  one  real  white 
dollar  for  four  yellow  ones — an  arrangement  which  per- 
fectly satisfied  both  parties.  After  three  years'  campaign, 
Ibrahim  Pasha  retook  the  holy  cities  of  Mecca  and 
Medina;  and  in  December,  1819,  he  made  his  tri- 
umphant entry  into  Cairo,  when  he  was  invested  with 
the  title  of  Vizir  and  made  Pasha  of  the  Hedjaz  by  the 
Sultan — a  dignity  more  exalted  than  that  of  the  Pasha  of 

in  1824  he  commanded  the  armies  of  the  Sultan  which 

were  sent  to  put  down  the  rebellion  of  the   Greeks  :  he 

sailed    from    Alexandria    with    a   fleet   of    1G3    vessels, 

16,000   infantry,    700    cavalry,    and    four   regiments  of 

artillery.     Numerous  captives  were  made  in  the  Morea, 


and  the  slave-markets  were  stocked  with  Greek  women 
and  children  who  had  heen  captured  by  the  soldiers  of 
the  Turkish  army.  The  battle  of  Navarino,  in  1827, 
ended  in  the  destruction  of  the  Mahomedan  fleets ;  and 
thousands  of  slaves,  who  were  forced  to  fight  against  their 
intended  deliverers,  being  chained  to  their  guns,  sunk  with 
the  ships  which  were  destroyed  by  the  cannon  of  the 
allied  forces  of  England,  France,  and  Russia. 

In  1 83 1  Mohammed  Ali  undertook  to  wrest  Syria  from 
the  Sultan  his  master.  Ibrahim  Pasha  commanded  his 
army  of  about  30,000  men,  under  the  tuition,  however,  of 
a  Frenchman,  Colonel  Seve,  who  had  denied  the  Christian 
faith  on  Christmas-day,  and  was  afterwards  known  as 
Suleiman  Pasha.  The  Egyptian  troops  soon  became 
masters  of  the  Holy  Land  ;  Gaza,  Jaffa,  Jerusalem,  and 
Acre  fell  before  their  victorious  arms  ;  and  on  the  22nd 
of  December,  1832,  Ibrahim  Pasha,  with  an  army  of 
30,000  men,  defeated  60,000  Turks  at  Koniah,  who  had 
been  sent  against  him  by  Sultan  Mahmoud,  under  the 
command  of  Rescind  Pasha. 

Ibrahim  had  advanced  as  far  as  Kutayeh,  on  his  way 
to  Constantinople,  when  his  march  was  stopped  by  the 
interference  of  European  diplomacy.  The  Sultan,  having 
made  another  effort  to  recover  his  dominions  in  Syria, 
sent  an  army  against  Ibrahim,  which  was  utterly  routed 
at  the  battle  of  Negib,  on  the  24th  of  June,  1 839. 

This  defeat  was  principally  owing  to  the  Seraskier  (the 
Turkish  general)  refusing  to  follow  the  counsels  of 
Jochmus  Pasha,  a  German  officer,  who,  in  distinguished 
contrast  to  the  unhappy  Suleiman,  retained  the  religion 
of  his  fathers  and  the  esteem  of  honest  men. 


His  career  was  again  checked  by  European  policy, 
which,  if  it  had  any  right  to  interfere  at  all,  would  have 
benefited  the  cause  of  humanity  more  by  doing  so  before 
Egypt  was  drained  of  nearly  all  its  able-bodied  men, 
and  Syria  given  up  to  the  horrors  of  a  long  and  cruel 

The  great  powers  of  England,  Austria,  Russia,  and 
Prussia  now  combined  to  restore  the  wasted  provinces  of 
Syria  to  the  Porte ;  a  fleet  menaced  the  shores  of  the 
Holy  Land ;  Acre  was  attacked,  and  taken  in  four  hours 
by  the  accidental  explosion  of  a  powder  magazine,  which 
almost  destroyed  what  remained  from  former  sieges  of  the 
habitable  portion  of  the  town.  Ibrahim  Pasha  evacuated 
Syria,  and  retired  to  Egypt,  where  he  amused  himself 
with  agriculture,  and  planting  trees,  always  his  favourite 
pursuit :  the  trees  which  he  had  planted  near  Cairo  have 
already  reduced  the  temperature  in  their  vicinity  several 

In  1846  he  went  to  Europe  for  the  benefit  of  his 
health,  and  extended  his  tour  to  England,  where  he  was 
much  struck  with  the  industry  that  pervaded  all  classes, 
and  its  superiority  in  railways  and  works  of  utility  to  the 
other  countries  of  Europe.  "  Yes,"  said  he  to  me  at 
Mivart's  Hotel,  "  in  France  there  is  more  fantasia ;  in 
England  there  is  more  roast  beef."  I  observed  that  he 
was  surprised  at  the  wealth  displayed  at  one  or  two  parties 
in  some  great  houses  in  London  at  which  he  was  present. 
Whether  he  had  lost  his  memory  in  any  degree  at  that 
time,  I  do  not  know  ;  but  on  my  recalling  to  him  the 
great  danger  he  had  been  in  at  Jerusalem,  of  which  he 
entertaiued  a  very  lively  recollection,  he  could  not  remem- 


ber  the  name  of  the  Bey  who  was  killed  there,  although 
he  was  the  only  person  of  any  rank  in  his  suite,  with  the 
exception  of  Selim  Bey  Selicdar,  his  swordbearer,  with 
whom  I  afterwards  became  acquainted  in  Egypt. 

In  consequence  of  the  infirmities  of  Mohammed  Ali, 
whose  great  mind  had  become  unsettled  in  his  old  age, 
Ibrahim  was  promoted  by  the  present  Sultan  to  the  Vice- 
royalty  of  Egypt,  on  the  1st  of  September,  1848.  His 
constitution,  which  had  long  been  undermined  by  hard- 
ship, excess,  and  want  of  care,  gave  way  at  length,  and 
on  the  10th  of  November  of  the  same  year  his  body  was 
carried  to  the  tomb  which  his  father  had  prepared  for  his 
family  near  Cairo,  little  thinking  at  the  time  that  he 
should  live  to  survive  his  sons  Toussoun,  Ismail,  and 
Ibrahim,  who  have  all  descended  before  him  to  their  last 

In  personal  appearance  Ibrahim  Pasha  was  a  short, 
broad-shouldered  man,  with  a  red  face,  small  eyes,  and  a 
heavy  though  cunning  expression  of  countenance.  He 
was  as  brave  as  a  lion ;  his  habits  and  ideas  were  rough 
and  coarse ;  he  had  but  little  refinement  in  his  composi- 
tion ;  but,  although  I  have  often  seen  him  abused  for  his 
cruelty  in  European  newspapers,  I  never  heard  any  well- 
authenticated  anecdote  of  his  cruelty,  and  do  not  believe 
that  he  was  by  any  means  of  a  savage  disposition,  nor 
that  his  troops  rivalled  in  any  way  the  horrors  committed 
in  Algeria  by  the  civilized  and  fraternising  French.  He 
was  a  bold,  determined  soldier.  He  had  that  reverence 
and  respect  for  his  father  which  is  so  much  to  be  admired 
in  the  patriarchal  customs  of  the  East ;  and  it  is  not  every 
one  who  has  lived  for  years  in  the  enjoyment  of  absolute 



power  uncontrolled  by  the  admonitions  of  a  Christian's 
conscience  that  could  get  out  of  the  scrape  so  well,  or 
leave  a  better  name  upon  the  page  of  history  than  that  of 
Ibrahim  Pasha. 

After  the  fearful  catastrophe  in  the  church  of  the  Holy 
Sepulchre,  the  whole  host  of  pilgrims  seem  to  have  be- 
come panic  struck,  and  every  one  was  anxious  to  escape 
from  the  city.  There  was  a  report,  too,  that  the  plague 
had  broken  out,  and  we  with  the  rest  made  instant  pre- 
paration for  our  departure.  In  consequence  of  the  num- 
bers who  had  perished,  there  was  no  difficulty  in  hiring 
baggage-horses  ;  and  we  immediately  procured  as  many 
as  we  wanted :  tents  were  loaded  on  some ;  beds  and 
packages  of  all  sorts  and  sizes  were  tied  on  others,  with 
but  slight  regard  to  balance  and  compactness;  and  on 
the  afternoon  of  the  6th  of  May  we  rejoiced  to  find  our- 
selves once  more  out  of  the  walls  of  Jerusalem,  and  riding 
at  our  leisure  along  the  pleasant  fields  fresh  with  the 
flowers  of  spring,  a  season  charming  in  all  countries,  but 
especially  delightful  in  the  sultry  climate  of  the  Holy 






(221  ) 



Albania  —  Ignorance  at  Corfu  concerning  that  Country  —  Its  reported 
abundance  of  Game  and  Robbers  —  The  Disturbed  State  of  the 
Country  —  The  Albanians  —  Richness  of  their  Arms  —  Their  free  use 
of  them  —  Comparative  Safety  of  Foreigners  —  Tragic  Fate  of  a  Ger- 
man Botanist — Arrival  at  Gominizza — Ride  to  Paramathia — A 
Night's  Bivouac  —  Reception  at  Paramathia  —  Albanian  Ladies  — 
Yanina  —  Albanian  Mode  of  settling  a  Quarrel  —  Expected  Attack 
from  Robbers  —  A  Body-Guard  mounted  —  Audience  with  the  Vizir 

—  His  Views  of  Criminal  Jurisprudence  —  Retinue  of  the  Vizir  —  His 
Troops  —  Adoption  of  the  European  Exercises  —  Expedition  to  Berat 

—  Calmness  and  Self-possession  of  the  Turks  —  Active  Preparations 
for  Warfare  —  Scene  at  the  Bazaar  —  Valiant  Promises  of  the  Sol- 

Corfu,  Friday,  Oct.  31,  1834. — I  found  I  could  get  no 
information  respecting  Albania  at  Corfu,  though  the  high 
mountains  of  Epirus  seemed  almost  to  overhang  the 
island.  No  one  knew  anything  about  it,  except  that  it 
was  a  famous  place  for  snipes  !  It  appeared  never  to  have 
struck  traveller  or  tourist  that  there  was  anything  in 
Albania  except  snipes  ;  whereof  one  had  shot  fifteen  brace, 
and  another  had  shot  many  more,  only  he  did  not  bring 
them  home,  having  lost  the  dead  birds  in  the  bushes. 
There  were  some  woodcocks  also,  it  was  generally  believed, 
and  some  spake  of  wild  boars,  but  I  had  not  the  advan- 
tage  of  meeting  with   anybody  who   could    specifically 

222  RICHNESS  OF  ALBANIAN  ARMS.         Chap.  XVII. 

assert  that  he  had  shot  one  :  and  besides  these  there  were 
robbers  in  multitudes.  As  to  that  point  every  one  was 
agreed.  Of  robbers  there  was  no  end  :  and  just  at  this 
particular  time  there  was  a  revolution,  or  rebellion,  or 
pronunciamiento,  or  a  general  election,  or  something  of 
that  sort  going  on  in  Albania  ;  for  all  the  people  who  came 
over  from  thence  said  that  the  whole  country  was  in  a 
ferment.  In  fact  there  seemed  to  be  a  general  uproar 
taking  place,  during  which  each  party  of  the  free  and 
independent  mountaineers  deemed  it  expedient  to  show 
their  steady  adherence  to  their  own  side  of  the  question 
by  shooting  at  any  one  they  saw,  from  behind  a  stone  or  a 
tree,  for  fear  that  person  might  accidentally  be  a  partizan 
of  the  opposite  faction. 

The  Albanians  are  great  dandies  about  their  arms  : 
the  scabbard  of  their  yataghan,  and  the  stocks  of  their 
pistols,  are  almost  always  of  silver,  as  well  as  their  three 
or  four  little  cartridge  boxes,  which  are  frequently  gilt, 
and  sometimes  set  with  garnets  and  coral ;  an  Albanian 
is  therefore  worth  shooting,  even  if  he  is  not  of  another 
way  of  thinking  from  the  gentleman  who  shoots  him.  As 
I  understood,  however,  that  they  did  not  shoot  so  much 
at  Franks  because  they  usually  have  little  about  them 
worth  taking,  and  are  not  good  to  eat,  I  conceived  that  I 
should  not  run  any  great  risk ;  and  I  resolved,  therefore, 
not  to  be  thwarted  in  my  intention  of  exploring  some  of 
the  monasteries  of  that  country.  There  is  another  reason 
also  why  Franks  are  seldom  molested  in  the  East — every 
Arab  or  Albanian  knows  that  if  a  Frank  has  a  gun  in  his 
hand,  which  he  generally  has,  there  are  two  probabilities, 
amounting  almost   to   certainties,    with   respect  to  that 



weapon.  One  is,  that  it  is  loaded ;  and  the  other  that, 
if  the  trigger  is  pulled,  there  is  a  considerable  chance  of 
its  going  off.  Now  these  are  circumstances  which  apply 
in  a  much  slighter  degree  to  the  magazine  of  small  arms 
which  he  carries  about  his  own  person.  But,  beyond  all 
this,  when  a  Frank  is  shot  there  is  such  a  disturbance 
made  about  it !  Consuls  write  letters — pashas  are  stirred 
up — guards,  kawasses,  and  tatars  gallop  like  mad  about 
the  country,  and  fire  pistols  in  the  air,  and  live  at  free 
quarters  in  the  villages  ;  the  murderer  is  sought  for  every- 
where, and  he,  or  somebody  else,  is  hanged  to  please  the 
consul ;  in  addition  to  which  the  population  are  beaten 
with  thick  sticks  ad  libitum.  All  this  is  extremely  disa- 
greeable, and  therefore  we  are  seldom  shot  at,  the  pastime 
being  too  dearly  paid  for. 

The  last  Frank  whom  I  heard  of  as  having  been  killed 
in  Albania  was  a  German,  who  was  studying  botany. 
He  rejoiced  in  a  blue  coat  and  brass  buttons,  and  wandered 
about  alone,  picking  up  herbs  and  flowers  on  the  moun- 
tains, which  he  put  carefully  into  a  tin  box.  He  continued 
unmolested  for  some  time,  the  universal  opinion  being 
that  he  was  a  powerful  magician,  and  that  the  herbs  he 
was  always  gathering  would  enable  him  to  wither  up  his 
enemies  by  some  dreadful  charm,  and  also  to  detect  every 
danger  which  menaced  him.  Two  or  three  Albanians 
had  watched  him  for  several  days,  hiding  themselves  care- 
fully behind  the  rocks  whenever  the  philosopher  turned 
towards  them  ;  and  at  last  one  of  the  gang,  commending 
himself  to  all  his  saints,  rested  his  long  gun  upon  a  stone 
and  shot  the  German  through  the  body.  The  poor  man 
rolled  over,  but  the  Albanian  did  not  venture  from  his 

224  GOMINIZZA — RTDE  TO  PAR  AM  ATI!  IA.   Chap.  XVII. 

hiding-place  until  he  had  loaded  his  gun  again,  and  then, 
after  sundry  precautions,  he  came  out,  keeping  his  eye 
upon  the  body,  and  with  his  friends  behind  him,  to  defend 
him  in  ease  of  need.  The  botanizer,  however,  was  dead 
enough,  and  the  disappointment  of  the  Albanians  was 
extreme,  when  they  found  that  his  buttons  were  brass  and 
not  gold,  for  it  was  the  supposed  value  of  these  precious 
ornaments  that  had  incited  them  to  the  deed. 

I  procured  some  letters  of  introduction  to  different 
persons,  sent  my  English  servant  and  most  of  my  effects 
to  England,  and  hired  a  youth  to  act  in  the  double  capa- 
city of  servant  and  interpreter  during  the  journey.  One 
of  my  friends  at  Corfu  was  good  enough  to  procure  me 
the  use  of  a  great  boat,  with  I  do  not  know  how  many 
oars,  belonging  to  government ;  and  in  it  I  was  rowed 
over  the  calm  bright  sea  twenty-four  miles  to  Gominizza, 
where  I  arrived  in  five  hours.  Here  I  hired  three  horses 
with  pack-saddles,  one  for  my  baggage,  one  for  my  servant, 
and  one  for  myself;  and  away  we  went  towards  Para- 
mathia,  which  place  we  were  told  was  four  hours  off. 
Paramathia  is  said  to  be  built  upon  the  site  of  Dodona, 
although  the  exact  situation  of  the  oracle  is  not  ascer- 
tained ;  but  some  of  the  finest  bronzes  extant  were  found 
there  thirty  or  forty  years  ago,  part  of  which  went  to 
Russia3  and  part  came  into  the  possession  of  Mr.  Hawkins, 
of  Bignor,  in  Sussex,  where  they  are  still  preserved. 

Our  horses  were  not  very  good,  and  cur  roads  were 
worse ;  and  we  scrambled  and  stumbled  over  the  rocks, 
up  and  down  hill,  all  the  afternoon,  without  approaching, 
as  it  seemed  to  me,  towards  any  inhabited  place.  It  was 
now  becoming  dark,  and  the  muleteers  said  we  had  six 

Chap.  XVII.  A  NIGHT'S  BIVOUAC.  225 

hours  more  to  do;  it  was  then  seven  o'clock,  p.m.;  we  could 
see  nothing,  and  were  upon  the  top  of  a  hill,  where  there 
were  plenty  of  stones  and  some  low  bushes,  through  which 
we  were  making  our  way  vaguely,  suiting  ourselves  as  to 
a  path,  and  turning  our  faces  towards  any  point  of  the 
compass  which  we  thought  most  agreeable,  for  it  did  not 
appear  that  any  of  the  party  knew  the  way.  We  now 
held  a  council  as  to  what  was  best  to  be  done ;  and  as  we 
saw  lights  in  some  houses  about  a  mile  off,  I  desired  one 
of  the  muleteers  to  go  there  and  see  if  we  could  get  a 
lodging  for  the  night.  "  Go  to  a  house  ?"  said  the  mu- 
leteer, "  you  don't  suppose  we  could  be  such  fools  as  to 
go  to  a  house  in  Albania,  where  we  know  nobody  ?" 
"  No  !  "  said  I,  "  why  not  ?  "  "  Because  we  should  be  mur- 
dered, of  course,"  said  he  ;  "  that  is  if  they  thought  them- 
selves strong  enough  to  venture  to  undo  their  doors  and 
let  us  in  ;  otherwise  they  would  pretend  there  was  nobody 
in  the  house,  or  fire  at  us  out  of  the  window  and  set  the 

dogs  at   us  ;  or "  "  Oh  !"  I  replied,  "  that  is  quite 

sufficient ;  I  have  no  desire  to  trouble  your  excellent 
countrymen,  only  I  don't  precisely  see  what  else  we  are 
to  do  just  now  on  the  top  of  this  bill.  How  are  they  off 
for  wolves  in  this  neighbourhood  ?"  "  Why,"  quoth  my 
friend,  "  I  hope  you  understand  that  if  anything  happens 
to  my  horses  you  are  bound  to  reimburse  me ;  as  for  our- 
selves, we  are  armed,  and  must  take  our  chance ;  but  I 
don't  think  there  are  many  wolves  here  yet ;  they  don't 
come  down  from  the  mountains  quite  so  soon :  though 
certainly  it  is  getting  cold  already.  But  we  had  better 
sleep  here  at  all  events,  and  at  dawn  we  shall  be  able, 
perhaps,  to  make  out  a  little  better  where  we  have  got 


226  PARAMATHIA.  Chap.  XVII. 

to."     There  being  nothing  else  for  it,  we  tied  the  horses' 
legs  together,  and  I  lay  down  on  a  travelling  carpet  by 
the  side  of  my  servant,  under  the  cover  of  a  bush.     Aw- 
fully cold  it  was  :   the  horses  trembled  and  shook  them- 
selves every  now  and  then,  and  held  their  heads  down, 
and  I  tried  all  sorts  of  postures  in  hopes  of  making  myself 
snug,  but  every  change  was  from  bad  to  worse  ;  I  could 
not  get  warm  any  how,  and  a  remarkable  fact  was,  that 
the  more  sharp  stones  I  picked  out  from  under  the  carpet 
the  more  numerous  and  sharper  were  those  that  remained  : 
my  only  comfort  was  to  hear  the  muleteers  rolling  about 
too,  and  anathematizing  the  stones  most  lustily.    However, 
I  went  to  sleep  in  course  of  time,  and  was,  as  it  appeared 
to  me,  instantaneously  awakened  by  some  one  shaking  me, 
and  telling  me  it  was  four  o'clock  and  time  to  start.     It 
was  still  as  dark  as  ever,  except  that  a  few  stars  were 
visible,  and  we  recommenced  our  journey,  stumbling  and 
scrambling  about  as  we  had  done  before,  till  we  came  to 
a  place  where  the  horses  stopped  of  their  own  accord. 
This  it  seemed  was  a  ledge  of  rock  above  a  precipice, 
about  two  hundred  feet  deep,  as  I  judged  by  the  reflection 
of  the  stars  in  the  stream  which  ran  below.     The  dimness 
of  the  light  made  the  place  look  more  dangerous  and 
difficult  than  perhaps  it  really  was.     It  seems,  however, 
that  we  were  lucky  in  finding  it,  for  there  was  no  other 
way  off  the  hill  except  by  this  ledge,  which  was  about 
+.,^Ur0  fr.r>t  hrnarl      Wp  or)t  off  our  horses  and  led  them 
down  ;  they  had  probably  often  been  there  before,  for  they 
made  no  difficulty  about  it,  and  in  a  few  hundred  yards, 
the  road  becoming  better,  we  mounted  again,  and  after 
five  hours'  travelling  arrived  at  Paramathia.     Just  before 


entering  the  place  we  met  a  party  on  foot,  armed  to  the 
teeth,  and  all  carrying  their  long  guns.  One  of  these 
gentlemen  politely  asked  me  if  I  had  a  spare  purse  ahout 
me,  or  any  money  which  I  could  turn  over  to  his  account ; 
hut  as  I  looked  very  dirty  and  shabby,  and  as  we  were 
close  to  the  town,  he  did  not  press  his  demand,  but  only 
asked  by  which  road  I  intended  to  leave  it.  I  told  him 
I  should  remain  there  for  the  present,  and  as  we  had  now 
reached  the  houses,  he  took  his  departure,  to  my  great 

On  inquiring  for  the  person  to  whom  I  had  a  letter  of 
introduction,  I  found  he  was  a  shopkeeper  who  sold  cloth 
in  the  bazaar.  We  accordingly  went  to  his  shop  and 
found  him  sitting  among  his  merchandise.  When  he  had 
read  the  letter  he  was  very  civil,  and  shutting  up  his 
shop,  walked  on  before  us  to  show  me  the  way  to  his 
house.  It  was  a  very  good  one,  and  the  best  room  was 
immediately  given  up  to  me,  two  old  ladies  and  three  or 
four  young  ones  being  turned  out  in  a  most  summary 
manner.  One  or  two  of  the  girls  were  very  pretty,  and 
they  all  vied  with  each  other  in  their  attentions  to  their 
guest,  looking  at  me  with  great  curiosity,  and  perpetually 
peeping  at  me  through  the  curtain  which  hung  over  the 
door,  and  running  away  when  they  thought  they  were 

The  prettiest  of  these  damsels  had  only  been  married 
a  short  time :  who  her  husband  was,  or  where  he  lived,  I 
could  not  make  out,  but  she  amused  me  by  her  anxiety 
to  display  her  smart  new  clothes.  She  went  and  put  on 
a  new  capote,  a  sort  of  white  frock  coat,  without  sleeves, 
embroidered  in  bright  colours  down  the  seams,  which 

228  PARAMATHIA.  Chap.  XVII. 

showed  her  figure  to  advantage  ;  and  then  she  took  it  off 
again,  and  put  on  another  garment,  giving  me  ample  op- 
portunity of  admiring  its  effect.  I  expressed  my  surprise 
and  admiration  in  bad  Greek,  which,  however,  the  fair 
Albanian  appeared  to  find  no  difficulty  in  understanding. 
She  kindly  corrected  some  of  my  sentences,  and  I  have 
no  doubt  I  should  have  improved  rapidly  under  her  care, 
if  she  had  not  always  run  away  whenever  she  heard  any 
one  creaking  about  on  the  rickety  boards  of  the  ante-room 
and  staircase.  The  other  ladies,  who  were  settling  them- 
selves in  a  large  gaunt  room  close  by,  kept  up  an  inter- 
minable clatter,  and  displayed  such  unbounded  powers  of 
conversation,  that  it  seemed  impossible  that  any  one  of 
them  could  hear  what  all  the  others  said ;  till  at  last  the 
master  of  the  house  came  up  again,  and  then  there  was  a 
lull.  He  told  me  that  I  could  not  hire  horses  till  the 
afternoon,  and  as  that  would  have  been  too  late  to  start, 
I  determined  to  remain  where  I  was  till  the  next  morning. 
I  passed  the  day  in  wandering  about  the  place,  and  con- 
sidering whether,  upon  the  whole,  the  dogs  or  the  men  of 
Paramathia  were  the  most  savage  :  for  the  dogs  looked 
like  wolves,  and  the  men  like  arrant  cut-throats,  swagger- 
ing about,  idle  and  restless,  with  their  long  hair,  and  guns, 
and  pistols,  and  yataghans ;  they  have  none  of  the  com- 
posure of  the  Turks,  who  delight  to  sit  still  in  a  coffee- 
house and  smoke  their  pipes,  or  listen  to  a  story,  which 
saves  them  the  trouble  of  thinking  or  speaking.  The 
Albanians  did  not  scream  and  chatter  as  the  Arabs  do, 
or  as  their  ladies  were  doing  in  the  houses,  but  they 
lounged  about  the  bazaars  listlessly,  ready  to  pick  a  quarrel 
with  any  one,  and  unable  to  fix  themselves  down  to  any 

Chap.  XVII.  YANINA.  229 

occupation  ;  in  short  they  gave  me  the  idea  of  being  a  very 
poor  and  proud,  and  good-for-nothing  set  of  scamps. 

November  2nd. — The  next  morning  at  five  o'clock  I 
was  on  horseback  again,  and  after  riding  over  stones  and 
rocks,  and  frequently  in  the  bed  of  a  stream,  for  fourteen 
hours,  I  arrived  in  the  evening  at  Yanina.  I  was  disap- 
pointed with  the  first  view  of  the  place.  The  town  is 
built  on  the  side  of  a  sloping  hill  above  the  lake  ;  and  as 
my  route  lay  over  the  top  of  this  hill,  I  could  see  but 
little  of  the  town  until  I  was  quite  among  the  houses, 
most  of  which  were  in  a  ruinous  condition.  The  lake 
itself,  with  an  island  in  it  on  which  are  the  ruins  of  a 
palace  built  by  the  famous  Ali  Pasha,  is  a  beautiful 
object ;  but  the  mountains  by  which  it  is  bounded  on  the 
opposite  side  are  barren,  yet  not  sufficiently  broken  to  be 
picturesque.  The  scene  altogether  put  me  in  mind  of  the 
Lake  of  Genesareth  as  seen  from  its  western  shore  near 
Tiberias.  There  is  a  plain  to  the  north  and  north-west, 
which  is  partially  cultivated,  but  it  is  inferior  in  beauty 
to  the  plains  of  Jericho,  and  there  is  no  river  like  the 
Jordan  to  light  up  the  scene  with  its  quick  and  sparkling 
waters  as  it  glistens  among  the  trees  in  its  journey  towards 
the  lake. 

I  went  to  the  house  of  an  Italian  gentleman  who  was 
the  principal  physician  of  Yanina,  and  who  I  understood 
was  in  the  habit  of  affording  accommodation  to  travellers 
in  his  house.  He  received  me  with  great  kindness,  and 
gave  me  an  excellent  set  of  rooms,  consisting  of  a  bed 
room,  sitting  room,  and  ante-room,  all  of  them  much 
better  than  those  which  I  occupied  in  the  hotel  at  Corfu : 
they  were  clean  and  nicely  furnished ;  and  altogether  the 

230  YANINA.  Chap.  XVII. 

excellence  of  ray  quarters  in  the  dilapidated  capital  of 
Albania  surprised  me  most  agreeably. 

The  town  appears  never  to  have  been  repaired  since 
the  wars  and  revolutions  which  occurred  at  the  time  of 
Ali  Pasha's  death.  The  houses  resemble  those  of  Greece 
or  southern  Italy  :  they  are  built,  some  of  stone,  and  some 
of  wood,  with  tiled  roofs.  On  the  walls  of  many  of  them 
there  were  vines  growing.  The  bazaars  are  poor,  yet  I 
saw  very  rich  arms  displayed  in  some  mean  little  shops, 
or  stalls,  as  we  should  call  them ;  for  they  are  all  open, 
like  the  booths  at  a  fair.  The  climate  is  rainy,  and 
there  is  no  lack  of  mud  in  wet  weather,  and  dust  when  it 
is  dry.  The  whole  place  had  a  miserable  appearance, 
nothing  seemed  to  be  going  on,  and  the  people  have  a 
savage,  hang-dog  look. 

I  had  a  good  supper  and  a  good  bed,  and  was  awakened 
the  next  morning  by  hearing  the  servants  loud  in  talk 
about  the  news  of  the  day.  The  subject  was  truly  Alba- 
nian. A  man  who  had  a  shop  in  the  bazaar  had  quarrelled 
yesterday  with  some  of  his  fellow-townsmen,  and  in  the 
night  they  took  him  out  of  his  bed  and  cut  him  to  pieces 
with  their  yataghans  on  the  hill  above  the  town.  Some 
people  coming  by  early  this  morning  saw  various  joints  of 
this  unlucky  man  lying  on  the  ground  as  they  passed. 

I  occupied  myself  in  looking  about  the  place ;  and 
having  sent  to  the  palace  of  the  Vizir  to  request  an 
audience,  it  was  fixed  for  the  next  day.  There  was  not. 
much  to  see ;  but  I  afforded  a  subject  of  uninterrupted 
discussion  to  all  beholders,  as  it  appeared  I  was  the  only 
traveller  who  had  been  there  for  some  time.  I  went  to 
bed  early  because  I  had  no  books  to  read,  and  it  was  a 


bore  trying  to  talk  Greek  to  my  host's  family ;  but  I  had 
not  been  asleep  long  before  I  was  awakened  by  the  intel- 
ligence that  a  party  of  robbers  had  concealed  themselves 
in  the  ruins  round  the  house,  and  that  we  should  probably 
be  attacked.  Up  we  all  got,  and  loaded  our  guns  and 
pistols :  the  women  kept  flying  about  everywhere,  and, 
when  they  ran  against  each  other  in  the  dark,  screamed 
wofully,  as  they  took  everybody  for  a  robber.  We  had 
no  lights,  that  we  might  not  afford  good  marks  for  the 
enemy  outside,  who,  however,  kept  quiet,  and  did  not 
shoot  at  us,  although  every  now  and  then  we  saw  a  man 
or  two  creeping  about  among  the  ruins.  My  host,  who 
was  armed  with  a  gun  of  prodigious  length,  was  in  a  state 
of  great  alarm ;  and,  having  sent  for  assistance,  twenty 
soldiers  arrived,  who  kept  guard  round  the  house,  but 
would  not  venture  among  the  ruins.  These  valiant  heroes 
relieved  each  other  during  the  night ;  but,  as  no  robbers 
made  their  appearance,  I  got  tired  of  watching  for  them, 
and  went  quietly  to  bed  again. 

November  4th. — At  nine  o'clock  in  the  morning  I  paid 
my  respects  to  the  Vizir,  Mahmoud  Pasha,  a  man  with  a 
long  nose,  and  who  altogether  bore  a  great  resemblance 
to  Pope  Benedict  XVI.  I  stayed  some  hours  with  him, 
talking  over  Turkish  matters ;  and  we  got  into  a  brisk 
argument  as  to  whether  England  was  part  of  London,  or 
London  part  of  England.  He  appeared  to  be  a  remark- 
ably good-natured  man,  and  took  great  interest  in  the 
affairs  of  Egypt,  from  which  country  I  had  lately  arrived, 
and  asked  me  numberless  questions  about  Mohammed  AH, 
comparing  his  character  with  that  of  Ali  Pasha,  who  had 
built  this  palace,  which  was  in  a  very  ruinous  state,  for 

232  TURKISH  VIEWS  OF  Chap.  XVII. 

nothing  had  been  expended  to  keep  it  in  repair.  The 
hall  of  audience  was  a  magnificent  room,  richly  decorated 
with  inlaid  work  of  mother-of-pearl  and  tortoiseshell :  the 
ceiling  was  gilt,  and  the  windows  of  Venetian  plate-glass, 
but  some  of  them  were  broken  :  the  floor  was  loose  and 
almost  dangerous ;  and  two  holes  in  the  side  walls,  which 
had  been  made  by  a  cannon-ball,  were  stopped  up  with 
pieces  of  deal  board  roughly  nailed  upon  the  costly  inlaid 
panels.  The  divan  was  of  red  cloth  ;  and  a  crowd  of  men, 
with  their  girdles  stuck  full  of  arms,  stood  leaning  on 
their  long  guns  at  the  bottom  of  the  room,  listening  to 
our  conversation,  and  laughing  loudly  whenever  a  joke 
was  made,  but  never  coming  forward  beyond  the  edge  of 
the  carpet. 

The  Pasha  offered  to  give  me  an  escort,  as  he  said  that 
the  country  at  that  moment  was  particularly  unsafe  ;  but 
at  length  it  was  settled  that  he  should  give  me  a  letter  to 
the  commander  of  the  troops  at  Mezzovo,  who  would 
supply  me  with  soldiers  to  see  me  safely  to  the  monasteries 
of  Meteora.  When  I  arose  to  take  my  leave,  he  sent  for 
more  pipes  and  coffee,  as  a  signal  for  me  to  remain ;  in 
short,  we  became  great  friends.  Whilst  I  was  with  him 
a  pasha  of  inferior  rank  came  in,  and  sat  on  the  divan  for 
half  an  hour  without  saying  a  single  word  or  doing  any- 
thing except  looking  at  me  unceasingly.  After  he  had 
taken  his  departure  we  had  some  sherbet ;  and  at  last  I 
got  away,  leaving  the  Pasha  in  great  wonderment  at  the 
English  government  paying  large  sums  of  money  for  the 
transportation  of  criminals,  when  cutting  off  their  heads 
would  have  been  so  much  more  economical  and  expeditious. 
Incurring  any  expense  to  keep  rogues  and  vagabonds  in 


prison,  or  to  send  them  away  from  our  own  country  to  be 
the  plague  of  other  lands,  appeared  to  him  to  be  an  ex- 
traordinary act  of  folly  ;  and  that  thieves  should  be  fed 
and  clothed  and  lodged,  while  poor  and  honest  people 
were  left  to  starve,  he  considered  to  be  contrary  to  com- 
mon sense  and  justice.  I  laughed  at  the  time  at  what  I 
thought  the  curious  opinions  of  the  Vizir  of  Yanina ;  I 
have  since  come  to  the  conclusion  that  there  was  some 
sense  in  his  notions  of  criminal  jurisprudence. 

In  the  afternoon,  as  I  was  looking  out  of  the  window  of 
my  lodging,  I  saw  the  Vizir  going  by  with  a  great  number 
of  armed  people,  and  I  was  told  that  in  the  present  dis- 
turbed state  of  the  country  he  never  went  out  to  take  a 
ride  without  all  these  attendants.  First  came  a  hundred 
lancers  on  horseback,  dressed  in  a  kind  of  European 
uniform ;  then  two  horsemen,  each  with  a  pair  of  small 
kettle-drums  attached  to  the  front  of  his  saddle.  They 
kept  up  an  unceasing  pattering  upon  these  drums  as 
they  rode  along.  This  is  a  Tartar  or  Persian  custom  ; 
and  in  some  parts  of  Tartary  the  dignity  of  khan  is  con- 
ferred by  strapping  these  two  little  drums  on  the  back  of 
the  person  whom  the  king  delighteth  to  honour ;  and 
then  the  king  beats  the  drums  as  the  new  khan  walks 
slowly  round  the  court.  Thus  a  thing  is  reckoned  a 
great  honour  in  one  part  of  the  world  which  in  another  is 
accounted  a  disgrace  ;  for  when  a  soldier  is  incorrigible, 
we  drum  him  out  of  the  regiment,  whilst  the  Tartar  khan 
is  drummed  into  his  dignity.  After  the  drummers  came 
a  brilliantly  dressed  company  of  kawasses,  with  silver 
pistols  and  yataghans ;  then  several  trumpeters ;  and 
after  them  the  Vizir  himself  on  a  fine  tall  horse  ;  he  was 

234  THE  VIZIR'S  RETINUE.  Chap.  XVII. 

dressed  in  the  new  Turkish  Frank  style,  with  the  usual 
red  cap  on  his  head  ;  but  he  had  an  immense  red  cloth 
cloak  sumptuously  embroidered  with  gold,  which  quite 
covered  him,  so  that  no  part  of  the  great  man  was  visible, 
except  his  eyes,  his  nose,  and  one  of  his  hands,  upon 
which  was  a  splendid  diamond  ring.  Two  grooms  walked 
by  the  sides  of  his  horse,  each  with  one  hand  on  the  back 
of  the  saddle.  Every  one  bowed  as  the  Vizir  went  by  ; 
and  I  became  a  distinguished  person  from  the  moment 
that  he  gave  me  a  condescending  nod.  The  procession 
was  closed  by  a  crowrd  of  officers  and  attendants  on  horse- 
back in  gorgeous  Albanian  dresses,  with  silver  bridles  and 
embroidered  housings.  They  carried  what  I  thought  at 
first  were  spears,  but  I  soon  discovered  that  they  were 
long  pipes ;  there  was  quite  a  forest  of  them,  of  all 
lengths  and  sizes.  When  the  Vizir  was  gone  and  the 
dust  subsided,  I  strolled  out  of  the  town  on  foot,  when  I 
came  upon  the  troops,  who  were  learning  the  new  Euro- 
pean exercise.  Seeing  a  man  sitting  on  a  carpet  in  the 
middle  of  the  plain  I  went  up  to  him  and  found  that  he 
was  the  colonel  and  commander  of  this  army ;  so  I 
smoked  a  pipe  with  him,  and  discovered  that  he  knew 
about  as  much  of  tactics  and  military  manoeuvres  as  I 
did,  only  he  did  not  take  so  much  interest  in  the  subject. 
We  therefore  continued  to  smoke  the  pipe  of  peace  on 
the  carpet  of  reflection,  while  the  soldiers  entangled  them- 
selves in  all  sorts  of  incomprehensible  doublings  and 
counter-marches,  till  at  last  the  whole  body  was  so  much 
puzzled,  that  they  stood  still  all  of  a  heap,  like  a  cluster 
of  bees.  The  captains  shouted,  and  the  poor  men  turned 
round  and  round,  trod  on  each  other's  heels,  kicked  each 

TI'llKlbll    (OMJIO.N    SOLDIER. 


other's  shins,  and  did  all  they  could  to  get  out  of  the 
scrape,  but  they  only  got  more  into  confusion.  At  last  a 
bright  thought  struck  the  colonel,  who  took  his  pipe  out 
of  his  mouth,  and  gave  orders,  in  the  name  of  the  Prophet, 
that  every  man  should  go  home  in  the  best  way  he  could. 
This  they  accomplished  like  a  party  of  schoolboys,  running 
and  jumping  and  walking  off  in  small  parties  towards  the 
town.  The  officers  wiped  the  perspiration  from  their 
foreheads,  and  strolled  off  too,  some  to  smoke  a  pipe 
under  a  tree,  and  some  to  repose  on  their  divans  and 
swear  at  the  Franks  who  had  invented  such  extraordinary 

In  the  evening,  among  the  other  news  of  the  day,  I 
was  told  that  three  men  had  been  walking  together  in  the 
afternoon  ;  one  of  them  bought  a  melon,  and  his  two 
companions,  who  were  very  thirsty,  but  had  no  money, 
asked  him  to  give  them  some  of  it.  He  would  not  do  so  ; 
and,  as  they  worried  him  about  it,  he  ran  into  an  empty 
house,  and,  bolting  the  door,  sat  down  inside  to  discuss 
his  purchase  in  quiet.  The  other  two  were  determined 
not  to  be  jockeyed  in  that  manner,  and,  finding  a  hole  in 
the  door,  they  peeped  through,  and  were  enraged  at 
seeing  him  eating  the  melon  inside.  He  jeered  them,  and 
said  that  the  melon  was  excellent ;  until  at  last  one  of 
them  swore  he  should  not  cat  it  all,  and,  putting  his 
pistol  through  the  hole  in  the  door,  shot  his  friend  dead ; 
they  then  walked  away,  laughing  at  their  own  cleverness 
in  shooting  him  so  neatly  through  the  hole. 

November  5th. — The  next  day  I  went  again  to  the 
citadel  to  see  the  Vizir,  but  he  could  not  receive  me,  as 
news  had  arrived  that  the  insurgents  or  robbers — they 


had  entitled  themselves  to  either  denomination — had 
gathered  together  in  force  and  laid  siege  to  the  town  of 
Berat.  There  had  been  a  good  deal  of  confusion  in 
Yanina  before  this,  but  now  it  appeared  to  have  arrived 
at  a  climax.  The  courtyard  of  the  citadel  was  full  of 
horses  picketed  by  their  head-and-heel  ropes,  in  long 
rows ;  parties  of  men  were,  according  to  their  different 
habits,  talking  over  the  events  of  the  day — the  Albanians 
chattering  and  putting  themselves  in  attitudes ;  the 
Arnaouts,  or  Mahomedans  of  Greek  blood,  boasting  of  the 
chivalric  feats  which  they  intended  to  perform ;  and  the 
grave  Turks  sitting  quietly  on  the  ground,  smoking  their 
eternal  pipes,  and  taking  it  all  as  easily  as  if  they  had 
nothing  to  do  with  it.  Both  before  and  since  these  days 
I  have  seen  a  great  deal  of  the  Turks  ;  and  though,  for 
many  reasons,  I  do  not  respect  them  as  a  nation,  still  I 
cannot  help  admiring  their  calmness  and  self-possession 
in  moments  of  difficulty  and  danger.  There  is  something 
noble  and  dignified  in  their  quietness  on  these  occasions  : 
I  have  very  rarely  seen  a  Turk  discomposed  ;  stately  and 
collected,  he  sits  down  and  bides  his  time ;  but  when  the 
moment  of  action  comes,  he  will  rouse  himself  on  a 
sudden,  and  become  full  of  fire,  animation,  and  activity. 
It  is  then  that  you  see  the  descendant  of  those  conquerors 
of  the  East,  whose  strong  will  and  fierce  courage  have 
given  them  the  command  over  all  the  nations  of  Islam. 

Although  I  could  not  obtain  an  audience  with  the 
Vizir,  one  of  the  people  who  were  with  me  managed  to 
send  a  message  to  him  that  I  should  be  glad  of  the  letter, 
or  firman,  which  he  had  promised  me,  and  by  which  I 
might  command  the  services  of  an  escort,  if  I  thought  fit 


to  do  so.  This  man  had  influence  at  court ;  for  he  had  a 
friend  who  was  chiboukji  to  the  Vizir's  secretary,  or  prime 
minister — a  sly  Greek,  whose  acquaintance  I  had  made 
two  days  before.  The  pipe-bearer,  propitiated  by  a 
trifling  bribe,  spoke  to  his  master,  and  he  spoke  to  the 
Vizir,  who  promised  I  should  have  the  letter ;  and  it  came 
accordingly  in  the  evening,  properly  signed  and  sealed, 
and  all  in  heathen  Greek,  of  which  I  could  make  out  a 
word  here  and  there  ;  but  what  it  was  about  was  entirely 
beyond  my  comprehension. 

Whilst  waiting  the  result  of  these  negotiations  I  had 
leisure  to  notice  the  warlike  movements  which  were 
going  on  around  me.  I  saw  a  train  of  two  or  three 
hundred  men  on  horseback  issuing  out  from  the  citadel, 
and  riding  slowly  along  the  plain  in  the  direction  of 
Berat.  They  were  sent  to  raise  the  siege ;  and  other 
troops  were  preparing  to  follow  them.  As  I  watched 
these  horsemen  winding  across  the  plain  in  a  long  line 
with  the  sun  glancing  upon  their  arms,  they  seemed  like 
a  great  serpent,  with  its  glittering  scales,  gliding  along  to 
seek  for  its  prey  ;  and  in  some  respects  the  simile  would 
hold  good,  for  this  detachment  would  be  the  terror  of  the 
inhabitants  of  every  district  through  which  it  passed. 
Rapine,  violence,  and  oppression  would  mark  its  course  ; 
friend  and  foe  would  alike  be  plundered  ;  and  the  villages 
which  had  not  been  burned  by  the  insurgent  klephti 
would  be  sacked  and  ruined  by  the  soldiers  of  the 

As  I  descended  from  the  citadel  I  passed  numerous 
parties  of  armed  men,  all  full  of  excitement  about  the 
plunder  they  would  get,  and  the  mighty  deeds  they  would 


perform ;  for  the  danger  was  a  good  way  off,  and  they 
were  all  brim-full  of  valour.  In  the  bazaar  all  was 
business  and  bustle  :  everybody  was  buying  arms.  Long 
guns  and  silver  pistols,  all  ready  loaded,  I  believe,  with 
fiery-looking  flints  as  big  as  sandwiches,  wrapped  up  first 
in  a  bit  of  red  cloth,  and  then  in  a  sort  of  open  work  of 
lead  or  tin,  were  being  handed  about ;  and  the  spirit  of 
commerce  was  in  full  activity.  Great  was  the  haggling 
among  the  dealers.  One  man  walked  oft  with  a  mace  : 
another,  expecting  to  perform  as  mighty  deeds  as  Richard 
Ca)ur  de  Lion,  bought  an  old  battle-axe,  and  swung  it 
about  to  show  how  he  would  cut  heads  off  with  it  before 
long.  Another  champion  had  included  among  his  warlike 
accoutrements  a  curious,  ancient-looking  silver  clock, 
which  dangled  by  his  side  from  a  multitude  of  chains. 
It  was  square  in  shape,  and  must  have  been  provided 
with  a  strong  constitution  inside  if  it  could  go  while  it 
was  banged  about  at  every  step  the  man  took.  This 
worthy,  I  imagine,  intended  to  kill  time,  for  his  purchase 
did  not  seem  calculated  to  cope  with  any  other  enemy. 
He  had,  however,  two  or  three  pistols  and  daggers  in 
addition  to  his  clock.  An  oldish,  hard-featured  man  was 
buying  a  quantity  of  that  abominably  sour,  white  cheese 
which  is  the  pride  of  Albania,  and  a  quantity  of  black 
olives,  which  he  was  cramming  into  a  pair  of  old  saddle- 
bags, whilst  his  horse  beside  him  was  quietly  munching 
his  corn  in  a  sack  tied  over  his  nose.  There  was  a  look 
of  calm  efficiency  about  this  man,  which  contrasted 
strongly  with  the  swaggering  air  of  the  crowd  around 
him.  He  was  evidently  an  old  hand ;  and  I  observed 
that  he  had  laid  in  a  stock  of  ball-cartridges — an  article 


in  which   but  little  money  was  spent  by  the  buyers  of 
yataghans  in  silver  sheaths  and  silver  cartridge-boxes. 

"  Hallo !  sir  Frank,"  cried  one  or  two  of  these  gay 
warriors,  "  come  out  with  us  to  Berat :  come  and  see  us 
fight,  and  you  will  see  something  worth  travelling  for." 

"  Ay,"  said  I,  "  it's  all  up  with  the  enemy :  that's 
quite  certain.  They  will  be  in  a  pretty  scrape,  to  be  sure, 
when  you  arrive.  I  would  not  be  one  of  them  for  a  good 
deal !" 

"Sono  molto  feroce  questi  palicari,"  said  my  guide. 

"  Oh  !  yes,  they  are  terrible  fellows  !"  I  replied. 

"  What  does  the  Frank  say?"  they  asked. 

"  lie  says  you  are  terrible  fellows." 

"  Ah !  I  think  we  are,  indeed.  But  don't  be  afraid, 
Frank  ;  don't  be  afraid  !" 

"  No,"  said  I,  "  I  won't ;  and  I  wish  you  good  luck  on 
your  way  to  Berat  and  back  again." 

This  night  the  people  had  been  so  much  occupied  in 
purchasing  the  implements  of  death  that  I  heard  no 
accounts  of  any  new  murders.  In  fact  it  had  been  a  dull 
day  in  that  respect ;  but  no  doubt  they  would  make  up 
for  it  before  long. 

240  START  FOR  iMETEORA.  Chap.  XVIII. 


Start  for  Mcteora  —  Rencontre  with  a  Wounded  Traveller —  Barbarity  of 
the  Robbers  —  Albanian  Innkeeper  —  Effect  of  the  Turkish  Language 
upon  the  Greeks  —  Mezzovo  —  Interview  with  the  chief  person  in  the 
Village  —  Mount  Pindus  —  Capture  by  Robbers  ■ —  Salutary  effects  of 
Swaggering  —  Arrival  under  Escort  at  the  Robbers'  Head-Quarters  — 
Affairs  take  a  favourable  turn  —  An  unexpected  Friendship  with  the 
Robber  Chief — The  Khan  of  Malacash  —  Beauty  of  the  Scenery  — 
Activity  of  our  Guards —  Loss  of  Character  —  Arrival  at  Meteora. 

November  6th. — I  had  engaged  a  tall,  thin,  dismal-look- 
ing man,  well  provided  with  pistols,  knives,  and  dagger*, 
as  an  additional  servant,  for  he  was  said  to  know  all  the 
passes  of  the  mountains,  which  I  thought  might  be  a 
useful  accomplishment  in  case  I  had  to  avoid  the  more 
public  roads — or  paths,  rather — for  roads  there  were 
none.  I  purchased  a  stock  of  provisions,  and  hired  five 
horses — three  for  myself  and  my  men,  one  for  the 
muleteer,  and  the  other  for  the  baggage,  which  was  well 
strapped  on,  that  the  beast  might  gallop  with  it,  as  it 
was  not  very  heavy.  They  were  pretty  good  horses — 
rough  and  hardy.  Mine  looked  very  hard  at  me  out  of 
the  corner  of  his  eye  when  I  got  upon  his  back  in  the  cold 
grey  dawn,  as  if  to  find  out  what  sort  of  a  person  I  was. 
By  means  of  a  stout  kourbatch — a  sort  of  whip  of  rhi- 
noceros hide  which  they  use  in  Egypt — I  immediately 
gave  him  all  the  information  he  desired  ;  and  off  we 
galloped  round  the  back  part  of  the  town,  and,  un- 
questioned by  any  one,  we  soon  found  ourselves  trotting 


along  the  plain  by  the  south  end  of  the  lake  of  Yanina. 
Here  the  waters  from  the  lake  disappear  in  an  extra- 
ordinary manner  in  a  great  cavern,  or  pit  full  of  rocks 
and  stones,  through  which  the  water  runs  away  into  some 
subterranean  channel — a  dark  and  mysterious  river,  which 
the  dismal-looking  man,  my  new  attendant,  said  came  out 
into  the  light  again  somewhere  in  the  Gulph  of  Arta. 
Before  long  we  got  upon  the  remains  of  a  fine  paved  road, 
like  a  Roman  way,  which  had  been  made  by  Ali  Pasha. 
It  was,  however,  out  of  repair,  having  in  places  been 
swept  away  by  the  torrents,  and  was  an  impediment 
rather  than  an  assistance  to  travellers.  This  road  led  up 
to  the  hills  ;  and,  having  dismounted  from  my  horse,  I 
began  scrambling  and  puffing  up  the  steep  side  of  the 
mountain,  stopping  every  now  and  then  to  regain  my 
breath  and  to  admire  the  beautiful  view  of  the  calm  lake 
and  picturesque  town  of  Yanina. 

As  I  was  walking  in  advance  of  my  company,  I  saw  a 
man  above  me  leading  a  loaded  mule.  He  was  coming 
down  the  mountain,  carefully  picking  his  way  among  the 
stones,  and  in  a  loud  voice  exhorting  the  mule  to  be 
steady  and  keep  its.  feet,  although  the  mule  was  much 
the  more  sure-footed  of  the  two.  As  they  passed  me  I 
was  struck  with  the  odd  appearance  of  the  mule's  burden  : 
it  consisted  of  a  bundle  of  large  stones  on  one  side,  which 
served  as  a  counterpoise  to  a  packing-case  on  the  other, 
covered  with  a  cloth,  out  of  which  peeped  the  head  of  a 
man,  with  his  long  black  hair  hanging  about  a  face  as 
pale  as  marble.  The  box  in  which  he  travelled  not  being 
more  than  four  feet  and  a  half  long,  I  supposed  he  must 
be  a  dwarf,  and  was  laughing  at  his  peculiar  mode  of 



conveyance.  The  muleteer,  observing  from  my  dress 
that  I  was  a  Frank,  stopped  his  mule  when  he  came  up 
to  me,  and  asked  me  if  I  was  a  physician,  begging  me  to 
give  my  assistance  to  the  man  in  the  box,  if  1  knew  any- 
thing of  surgery,  for  he  had  had  both  his  legs  cut  off  by 
some  robbers  on  the  way  from  Salonica,  and  he  was  now 
taking  him  to  Yanina,  in  hopes  of  finding  some  doctor 
there  to  heal  his  wounds.  My  laughter  was  now  turned 
into  pity  for  the  poor  man,  for  I  knew  there  was  no  help 
for  him  at  Yanina.  I  could  do  nothing  for  him  ;  and  the 
only  hope  was,  as  his  strength  had  borne  him  up  so  far  on 
his  journey,  that  when  he  got  rest  at  Yanina  the  wounds 
might  heal  of  themselves.  After  expressing  my  commi- 
seration for  him,  and  my  hopes  of  his  recovery,  Ave  parted 
company  ;  and  as  I  stood  looking  at  the  mule,  staggering 
and  slipping  among  the  loose  stones  and  rocks  in  the  steep 
descent,  it  (mite  made  me  wince  to  think  of  the  pain  the 
unfortunate  traveller  must  be  enduring,  with  the  raw 
stumps  of  his  two  legs  rubbing  and  bumping  against  the 
end  of  his  short  box.  I  was  sorry  I  had  not  asked  wh\ 
the  robbers  had  cut  off  his  legs,  because,  if  it  was  their 
usual  system,  it  was  certainly  more  than  I  bargained  for. 
I  had  pretty  nearly  made  up  my  mind  to  be  robbed,  but 
had  no  intention  whatever  to  lose  my  legs ;  so  I  sat  down 
upon  a  rock,  and  began  calculating  probabilities,  until  my 
party  came  up,  and  I  mounted  my  horse,  who  gave  me 
another  look  with  his  cunning  eye.  We  continued  on  Ali 
Pasha's  broken  road  until  we  reached  the  summit  of  the 
mountain,  where  we  made  a  short  halt,  that  our  horses 
might  regain  their  wind ;  and  then  began  our  descent, 
stumbling,  and  sliding,  and  scrambling  down,  until  we 


arrived  at  the  bottom,  where  there  was  a  miserable  khan. 
In  this  royal  hotel,  which  was  a  mere  shed,  there  was  no- 
thing to  be  found  except  mine  host,  who  had  it  all  to 
himself.  At  last  he  made  us  some  coffee  ;  and  while  our 
horses  were  feeding  on  our  own  corn,  we  sat  under  the 
shade  of  a  walnut-tree  by  the  road-side.  Our  host,  hav- 
ing nothing  which  could  be  eaten  or  drank  except  the 
coffee,  did  not  know  how  in  the  world  he  could  manage 
to  get  up  a  satisfactory  bill.  I  saw  this  very  plainly  in  his 
puzzled  and  thoughtful  looks  ;  but  at  last  a  bright  thought 
struck  him,  and  he  charged  a  good  round  sum  for  the 
shade  of  the  walnut-tree.  Now  although  I  admired  his 
ingenuity,  I  demurred  at  the  charge,  particularly  as  the 
walnut-tree  did  not  belong  to  him.  It  was  a  wild  tree, 
which  everybody  threw  stones  at  as  he  passed  by,  to  bring 
down  the  nuts  : — 

"Nux  ego  juncta  visa,  cum  sim  sinecrimine  vita;, 
A  populo  saxis  prsetcreuntc  petor." — Ovid. 

Little  did  the  unoffending  walnut-tree  think  that  its  shade 
would  be  brought  forward  as  a  cause  of  war ;  for  then 
arose  a  fierce  contest  between  Greek  oaths  and  Albanian 
maledictions,  to  which  Arabic  and  English  lent  their  aid. 
Though  there  were  no  stones  thrown,  ten  times  as  many 
hard  words  were  hurled  backwards  and  forwards  as  there 
were  walnuts  on  the  tree,  showing  a  facility  of  expression 
and  a  redundance  of  epithets  which  would  have  given  a 
lesson  to  the  most  practised  ladies  of  Billingsgate. 

When  the  horses  were  ready  the  khangee  came  up  to 
me  in  a  towering  passion,  swearing  that  I  should  pay  for 
sitting  under  the  tree.  "  Englishman,"  said  he,  "  get  up 
and  pay  me  what  I  demand,  or  you  shall  not  leave  this 

m  2 


place,  by  all  that  is  holy."  "  Kiupek  oglon,"  said  I,  with- 
out moving  from  the  ground,  "  Oh,  son  of  a  dog !  go  and 
get  my  horse,  you  chattering  magpie  I"  These  few  words 
in  the  language  of  the  conqueror  had  a  marvellous  effect 
on  the  khangee.  "  What  does  his  worship  say?"  he  in- 
quired of  the  dismal-faced  man.  "  Why,  he  says  you  had 
better  go  and  get  his  excellency's  worship's  most  respect- 
able horse,  if  you  have  any  regard  for  your  life  :  so  go  ! 
be  off!  vanish  !  don't  stay  there  staring  at  the  illustrious 
traveller.  "Pis  lucky  for  you  he  doesn't  order  us  to  cut 
you  up  into  kabobs  ;  go  and  get  the  horse  ;  and  perhaps 
you'll  be  paid  for  your  coffee,  bad  as  it  was.  His  excel- 
lency is  the  pasha's,  his  highness's,  most  particular  inti- 
mate friend  ;  and  if  his  highness  knew  what  you  had  been 
saying,  why,  where  would  you  be,  O  man  ?"  The  khan- 
gee, who  had  intended  to  have  had  it  all  his  own  way,  was 
taken  terribly  aback  at  the  sound  of  the  Turkish  tongue  : 
he  speedily  put  on  my  horse's  bridle,  gave  his  nosebag  to 
the  muleteer,  tightened  up  his  girths,  helped  the  servants, 
and  was  suddenly  converted  into  a  humble,  submissive 
drudge.  The  way  in  which  anything  Turkish  is  respected 
among  the  conquered  races  in  Syria  or  in  Egypt  can 
scarcely  be  imagined  by  those  who  have  not  witnessed  it. 
Leaving  the  khangee  to  count  his  paras  and  piastres, 
with  which,  after  all,  he  was  evidently  well  satisfied,  we 
rode  on  down  the  valley  by  the  side  of  a  brawling  stream, 
which  we  crossed  no  less  than  thirty-nine  times  during  our 
day's  journey.  Our  road  lay  through  a  magnificent  series 
of  picturesque  and  savage  gorges,  between  high  rocks. 
Sometimes  we  rode  along  the  bed  of  the  stream,  and 
sometimes  upon  a  ledge  so  far  above  it  that  it  looked  like 

Chap.  XVIII,  MEZZOVO.  245 

a  silver  ribbon  in  the  sun.  Every  now  and  then  we  came 
to  a  cataract  or  rapid,  where  the  stream  boiled  and  foamed 
among  the  rocks,  tossing  up  its  spray,  and  drowning  our 
voices  in  its  noise.  In  the  course  of  about  eight  hours  of 
continual  scrambling  up  and  down  all  sorts  of  rocks,  we 
found  ourselves  at  another  wretched  shelty  dignified  with 
the  name  of  khan.  Here,  after  a  tolerable  supper,  we  all 
rolled  ourselves  up  in  the  different  corners  of  a  sort  of 
loft,  with  our  arms  under  our  heads,  and  slept  soundly  un- 
til the  morning. 

November  1th. — This  day  we  continued  along  the 
banks  of  a  stream,  in  the  direction  of  its  source,  until  it 
dwindled  to  a  mere  rivulet,  when  we  left  it  and  took  to 
the  hills  at  the  base  of  another  mountain.  We  rode  some 
way  along  a  rocky  path  until,  turning  round  a  corner  to 
the  left,  we  found  ourselves  at  the  town  or  village  of 
Mezzovo.  As  Mahmoud  Pasha  had  supplied  me  with  a 
firman  and  letters  to  the  principal  persons  at  the  several 
towns  on  my  route,  I  looked  out  my  Mezzovo  letter,  with 
the  intention  of  asking  for  an  escort  of  a  few  soldiers  to 
accompany  me  through  the  passes  of  Mount  Pindus,  which 
were  reported  to  be  full  of  robbers  and  cattiva  gente  of 
every  sort  and  kind,  the  great  extent  of  the  underwood 
of  box-trees  forming  an  impenetrable  cover  for  those  mi- 
nions of  the  moon. 

Most  of  the  population  of  Mezzovo  turned  out  to  see 
the  procession  of  the  Milordos  Inglesis  as  it  entered  the 
precincts  of  their  ancient  city,  and  defiled  into  the  market- 
place, in  the  middle  of  which  was  a  great  tree,  under 
whose  shade  sat  and  smoked  a  circle  of  grave  and  reve- 
rend seignors,  the  aristocracy  of  the  place  ;  whereupon, 


holding  the  Pasha's  letter  in  ray  hand,  I  cantered  up  to 
them.  On  seeing  me  advance  towards  them,  a  broad- 
shouldered  good-natured  looking  man,  gorgeously  dressed 
in  red  velvet,  embroidered  all  over  with  gold,  though 
something  tarnished  with  the  rain  and  weather,  arose  and 
stepped  forward  to  meet  me.  "  Here  is  a  letter,"  said  I, 
"from  his  highness  Mahmoud  Pasha,  Vizir  of  Yanina,  to 
the  chief  personage  of  Mezzovo,  whoever  he  may  be,  for 
there  is  no  name  mentioned  ;  so  tell  me  who  is  the  chief 
person  in  this  city  ;  where  is  he  to  be  found,  for  I  desire 
to  speak  with  him  ?"  "  You  want  the  chief  person  of  Mez- 
zovo ?"  replied  the  broad-shouldered  man  ;  "  well,  I  think 
I  am  the  chief  person  here,  am  I  not  ?"  he  asked  of  the 
assembled  crowd  which  had  gathered  together  by  this 
time.  "  Certainly,  malista,  oh  yes,  you  are  the  chief  per- 
son of  Mezzovo  undoubtedly,"  they  all  cried  out.  "  Very 
well,"  said  he,  "  then  give  me  the  letter."  On  my  giving 
it  to  him,  he  opened  it  in  a  very  unceremonious  manner  ; 
and,  before  he  had  half  read  it,  burst  into  a  fit  of  laughing. 
"  What  are  you  laughing  at ?"  said  I :  "Is  not  that  the 
Vizir's  letter?"  "  Oh  !"  said  he,  "  you  want  guards,  do 
you,  to  protect  you  against  the  robbers,  the  klcphti  ?" 
"  Yes,  I  do  ;  but  I  do  not  see  what  there  is  to  laugh  at  in 
that.  I  want  some  men  to  go  with  me  to  Meteora :  if 
you  are  the  captain  or  commander  here,  give  me  an  escort, 
as  I  wish  to  be  off  at  once  :  it  is  early  now,  and  I  can 
cross  the  mountains  before  dark." 

After  a  pause,  he  said,  "  Well,  I  am  the  captain  ;  and 
you  shall  have  men  who  will  protect  you  wherever  you 
go.  You  are  an  Englishman,  are  you  not  ?"  "  Yes," 
I  said,  "  I  am."     "  Well,  I  like  the  English  ;  and  you 


particularly."  "  Thank  you,"  said  I :  and  after  some 
more  conversation,  he  tore  off  a  slip  from  the  Vizir's 
letter  (a  very  unceremonious  proceeding  in  Albania),  and, 
writing  a  few  lines  on  it,  he  said,  "  Now  give  this  paper 
to  the  first  soldiers  you  meet  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Pindus, 
and  all  will  be  right."  He  then  instructed  the  muleteer 
which  way  to  go.  I  took  the  paper,  which  was  not  folded 
up  ;  but  the  badly-written  Romaic  was  unintelligible  to  me, 
so  I  put  it  into  my  pocket,  and  away  we  went,  my  new 
friend  waving  his  hand  to  us  as  we  passed  out  of  the 
market-place  ;  and  we  were  soon  trotting  through  the 
open  country  towards  the  hills  which  shoot  out  from  the 
base  of  the  great  chain  of  Mount  Pindus. 

We  rode  along,  getting  nearer  and  nearer  to  the 
mountains ;  and  at  length  we  began  to  climb  a  steep 
rocky  path  on  the  side  of  a  lofty  hill  covered  with  box- 
trees.  This  path  continued  for  some  distance  until  we 
came  to  a  place  where  there  was  a  ledge  so  narrow  that 
two  horses  could  not  go  abreast.  Here,  as  I  was  riding 
quietly  along,  I  heard  an  exclamation  in  front  of  "  Rob- 
bers !  robbers  !"  and  sure  enough,  out  of  one  of  the 
thickets  of  box-trees,  there  advanced  three  or  four  bright 
gun-barrels,  which  were  speedily  followed  by  some 
gentlemen  in  dirty  white  jackets  and  fustanellas  ;  who, 
in  a  short  and  abrupt  style  of  eloquence,  commanded  us 
to  stand.  This  of  course  we  were  obliged  to  do  ;  and  as 
1  was  getting  out  my  pistol,  one  of  the  individuals  in 
white  presented  his  gun  at  me,  and  upon  my  looking  round 
to  see  whether  my  tall  Albanian  servant  was  preparing 
to  support  me,  I  saw  him  quietly  half-cock  his  gun  and 
sling  it  back  over  his  shoulder,  at  the  same  time  shaking 


his  head  as  much  as  to  say,  "  It  is  no  use  resisting  ;  we 
are  caught;  there  are  too  many  of  them."  So  I  bolted 
the  locks  of  the  four  barrels  of  my  pistol  carefully,  hoping 
that  the  bolts  would  form  an  impediment  to  my  being 
shot  with  my  own  weapon  after  I  had  been  robbed  of  it. 
The  place  was  so  narrow  that  there  were  no  hopes  of 
running  away,  and  there  we  sat  on  horseback,  looking 
silly  enough,  I  dare  say.  There  was  a  good  deal  of 
talking  and  chattering  among  the  robbers,  and  they  asked 
the  Albanian  various  questions  to  which  I  paid  no  atten- 
tion, all  my  faculties  being  engrossed  in  watching  the 
proceedings  of  the  party  in  front,  who  were  examining 
the  effects  in  the  panniers  of  the  baggage  mule.  First 
they  pulled  out  my  bag  of  clothes,  and  threw  it  upon  the 
ground  ;  then  out  came  the  sugar  and  the  coffee,  and 
whatever  else  there  was.  Some  of  the  men  had  hold  of 
the  poor  muleteer,  and  a  loud  argument  was  going  on 
between  him  and  his  captors.  I  did  not  like  all  this,  but 
my  rage  was  excited  to  a  violent  pitch  when  I  saw  one 
man  appropriating  to  his  own  use  the  half  of  a  certain  fat 
tender  cold  fowl,  whereof  I  had  eaten  the  other  half  with 
much  appetite  and  satisfaction.  "  Let  that  fowl  alone, 
you  scoundrel  1"  said  I  in  good  English  ;  "  put  it  down, 

will  you  ?  if  you  don't,  I'll !"     The  man,  surprised 

at  this  address  in  an  unknown  tongue,  put  down  the  fowl, 
and  looked  up  with  wonder  at  the  explosion  of  ire  which 
his  actions  had  called  forth.  'c  That  is  right,"  said  I, 
"  my  good  fellow,  it  is  too  good  for  such  a  dirty  brute  as 
you."  "  Let  us  see,"  said  I  to  the  Albanian,  "  if  there 
is  nothing  to  be  done  ;  say  I  am  the  King  of  Eng- 
land's  uncle,    or    grandson,    or   particular   friend,   and 


that  if  we  are  hurt  or  robbed  he  will  send  all  manner  of  ships 
and  armies,  and  hang  everybody,  and  cut  off  the  heads  of  all 
the  rest.  Talk  big,  O  man  !  and  don't  spare  great  words  ; 
they  cost  nothing,  and  let  us  see  what  that  will  do." 

Upon  this  the  Albanian  took  up  his  parable  and  a  long 
parleying  ensued,  for  the  robbers  were  taken  aback  with 
the  good  English  in  which  I  had  addressed  them,  and 
stood  still  with  open  mouths  to  hear  what  it  all  meant. 
In  the  middle  of  this  row  I  thought  of  the  paper  which 
had  been  given  me  at  Mezzovo.  "  Here,"  said  I,  "  here 
is  a  letter  ;  read  it,  see  what  it  says."  They  took  the 
paper  and  turned  it  round  and  round,  for  they  could  not 
read  it :  first  one  looked  at  it,  and  then  another ;  then  they 
looked  at  the  back,  but  they  could  make  nothing  of  it. 
Nevertheless,  it  produced  a  great  effect  upon  them,  for 
here,  as  in  all  other  countries  of  the  East,  any  writing  is 
looked  upon  by  the  uneducated  people  as  a  mystery,  and 
is  held  in  high  respect ;  and  at  last  they  said  they  would 
take  us  to  a  place  where  we  should  find  a  person  capable 
of  reading  it.  The  thing  which  most  provoked  me  was 
that  the  fellows  seemed  not  to  have  the  slightest  fear  of 
us ;  they  did  not  even  take  the  trouble  to  demand  our 
arms  :  my  much-cherished  "  patent  four-barrelled  travel- 
ling pistol "  they  evidently  considered  too  small  to  be 
dangerous  ;  and  I  felt  it  as  a  kind  of  personal  insult  that 
they  deputed  only  two  of  their  number  to  convoy  us  to 
the  residence  of  the  learned  person  who  was  to  read  the 
letter.  They  managed  matters,  however,  in  a  scientific- 
way  :  the  bridles  of  our  horses  were  turned  over  their 
heads  and  tied  each  to  the  horse  that  went  before  ;  one  of 
our  captors  walked  in  front  and  the  other  behind ;  but 

m  3 


just  when  I  thought  an  opportunity  had  arrived  to  shake 
off  this  yoke,  I  perceived  that  the  whole  pass  was  guarded, 
and  wherever  the  road  was  a  little  wider  or  turned  a  cor- 
ner round  a  rock  or  a  clump  of  trees,  there  were  other 
long  guns  peeping  out  from  among  the  bushes,  with  the 
bearers  of  which  our  two  conquerors  exchanged  pass- 
words. Thus  we  marched  along,  the  robber  who  went 
first  apparently  caring  nothing  about  us,  but  the  one  in  the 
rear  having  his  gun  cocked  and  ready  to  shoot  any  one  of 
us  who  should  turn  restive.  The  road,  which  ascended 
rapidly,  was  rather  too  dangerous  to  be  agreeable,  being 
a  narrow  path  cut  on  the  side  of  a  very  steep  mountain  ; 
at  one  time  the  track  lay  across  a  steep  slope  of  blue 
marl,  which  afforded  the  most  insecure  footing  for  our 
horses :  all  mountain-travellers  are  aware  how  much 
more  dangerous  this  kind  of  road  is  than  a  firm  ledge  of 
rock,  however  narrow. 

We  had  now  got  very  high,  and  the  ground  was 
sprinkled  with  patches  of  ice  and  snow,  which  rendered 
the  footing  insecure ;  and  frequently  large  masses  of 
the  road,  disturbed  by  our  passing  over  it,  gave  way 
beneath  our  feet,  and  set  off  bounding  and  crashing 
among  the  box-trees  until  it  was  broken  into  powder  on 
the  rocks  below. 

In  process  of  time  we  got  into  a  cloud  which  hid 
everything  from  us,  and  going  still  higher  we  rose  above 
the  cloud  into  a  region  of  broken  crags  and  rocks  and  a 
dark  wood  of  tall  pine-trees,  through  the  interstices  of 
whose  thick  and  matted  boughs  the  sun  could  only  pene- 
trate in  fitful  beams  :  the  ground  under  them  was  bare, 
and  strewn  with  broken  stones,  upon  which  the  clanking  of 

Chap.  XVIII.  THE  ROBBER  CHIEF.  251 

the  horses'  shoes  and  the  tramp  of  our  silent  captors  caused 
the  only  sounds  which  rose  to  our  ears  in  this  grand  and 
lonely  grove.  Now  I  had  in  a  certain  bag  which  hung 
to  the  cantle  of  my  saddle  among  other  matters  a  little 
Dante  (printed  upon  vellum),  and  the  solemn  words  of  the 
opening  to  the  '  Inferno'  occurred  to  me  forcibly  : — 

"  Nel  mezzo  del  cammin  di  nostra  vita 
Me  retrovai  per  una  selva  oscnra. 
Che  la  diritta  via  era  smarrita : 
E  quanto  a  dir  qual'  era,  6'  cosa  dura, 
Questa  selva  salvaggia,  et  aspra  e  forte, 
Che  nel  pensier  rinnuova  la  paura." 

At  last  we  came  up  to  the  front  of  a  large  wooden  house 
or  shed.  It  seemed  all  roof,  and  was  made  of  long  spars 
of  trees  sloping  towards  each  other,  and  was  very  high, 
long,  and  narrow.  As  we  approached  it  several  men 
made  their  appearance  armed  at  all  points,  and  took  our 
horses  from  us.  At  the  end  of  the  shed  there  was  a  door 
(per  me  se  va  nella  cattiva  gente)  through  which  we  were 
conducted  into  the  interior  by  our  two  guards,  and  placed 
all  of  a  row,  with  our  backs  .against  the  wall,  on  the  right 
side  of  the  entrance.  Towards  the  other  end  of  this 
sylvan  guard-room  there  was  a  large  fire  on  the  ground, 
and  a  number  of  men  sitting  round  it  drinking  aqua  vitae 
out  of  coffee  cups,  and  talking  loud  and  laughing.  In  the 
farthest  corner  I  saw  a  pile  of  long  bright-barrelled  guns 
leaning  against  the  wall,  while  on  the  other  side  of  the 
fire  there  were  some  boards  on  the  ground  with  a  mat  or 
an  old  carpet  over  them,  whereon  a  worthy  better  dressed 
than  the  rest  was  lounging,  apart  from  every  one  else 
and  half  asleep.     To  him   the  paper  was  given,  and  he 


leant  forward  to  read  it  by  the  light  of  the  blazing  fire, 
for  though  it  was  bright  sunshine  out  of  doors,  the  room 
was  quite  dark.  This  was  one  of  the  most  picturesque 
scenes  that  it  has  been  my  fortune  to  witness.  I  was 
delighted  with  it,  and  though  I  did  not  feel  quite  sure 
that  I  was  not  going  to  be  hanged,  my  principal  cause  of 
vexation  was,  that  I  was  not  endowed  with  the  genius  of 
Rembrandt  or  Salvator  Rosa,  to  hand  down  to  posterity  a 
picture  so  worthy  of  the  pencils  of  those  artists.  As  I 
looked  at  the  rueful  faces  of  my  servants,  I  almost  laughed 
to  think  what  a  sorry  appearance  we  were  making  in  this 
goodly  company.  I  felt  that  I  particularly,  in  a  white 
jacket  and  skimpy  trousers,  must  have  been  looking  so 
very  little  and  mean  in  the  eyes  of  these  splendid  gentle- 
men. The  captain  was  evidently  a  poor  scholar,  and  he 
spelt  and  puzzled  over  every  word.  At  last  a  thought 
struck  him  :  shading  his  eyes  with  his  hand  from  the 
glare  of  the  fire  he  leant  forward  and  peered  into  the 
darkness,  where  we  were  awaiting  his  commands.  Not 
distinguishing  us,  however,  he  jumped  up  upon  his  feet 
and  shouted  out  "  Hallo  !  where  are  the  gentlemen  who 
brought  this  letter  ?  What  have  you  done  with  them  ?" 
At  the  sound  of  his  voice  the  rest  of  the  party  jumped  up 
also,  being  then  first  aware  that  something  out  of  the 
common  had  taken  place.  Some  of  the  palicari  ran' 
towards  us  and  were  going  to  seize  us,  when  the  captain 
came  forward  auu  in  a  civil  tone  said,  "  Oh,  there  you 
are  !  Welcome,  gentlemen ;  we  arc  very  glad  to  receive 
you.  Make  yourselves  at  home  ;  come  near  the  fire  and 
sit  down."  I  took  him  at  his  word  and  sat  down  on  the 
hoards  by  the  side  of  the  fire,  rubbing  my  hands   and 


making  myself  as  comfortable  as  possible  under  the  cir- 
cumstances. My  two  servants  and  the  muleteer  seeing 
what  turn  affairs  had  taken,  became  of  a  sudden  as  loqua- 
cious as  they  had  been  silent  before,  and  in  a  short  time 
we  were  all  the  greatest  friends  in  the  world. 

"So,"  said  the  captain,  or  whatever  he  was,  "you  are 
acquainted  with  our  friend  at  Mezzovo.  How  did  you 
leave  him  ?     I  hope  he  was  well  ?" 

"  Oh,  yes,"  I  said  ;  "  we  left  him  in  excellent  health. 
What  a  remarkably  pleasing  person  he  is  !  and  how  well 
he  looks  in  his  red  velvet  dress  !" 

"  Have  you  known  him  long  ?"  he  asked. 

"  Why,  not  very  long,"  replied  my  Albanian ;  "  but 
my  master  has  the  greatest  respect  for  him,  and  so  has  he 
for  my  master." 

"  He  says  you  are  to  take  some  of  our  men  with  you 
wherever  you  like,"  said  our  host. 

"  Yes,  I  know,"  said  the  Albanian  ;  "  we  settled  that 
at  Mezzovo,  with  my  master's  friend,  his  Excellency  Mr. 

"  Well,  how  many  will  you  take  ?" 

"  Oh  !  five  or  six  will  do  ;  that  will  be  as  many  as  we 
want.  We  are  going  to  Meteora,  and  then  we  shall 
return  over  the  mountains  back  to  Mezzovo,  where  I  hope 
we  shall  have  the  pleasure  of  meeting  your  general  again." 

Whilst  we  were  talking  and  drinking  coffee  by  the  fire, 
a  prodigious  bustling  and  chattering  was  going  on  among 
the  rest  of  the  party,  and  before  long  five  slim,  active, 
dirty-looking  young  rogues,  in  white  dresses,  with  long 
black  hair  hanging  down  their  backs,  and  each  with  a  long 
thin  gun,  announced  that  they  were  ready  to  accompany 

254  ROBBER  ESCORT.  Chap.  XVIII. 

us  whenever  we  were  ready  to  start.     As  we  had  nothing 
to  keep  us  in  the  dark,  smoky  hovel,  we  were  soon  ready 
to  go ;  and  glad  indeed  was  I  to  he  out  again  in  the  open 
air  among  the  high  trees,  without  the  immediate  prospect 
of  dangling  from  one  of  them.     My  party  jumped  with 
great  alacrity  and  glee  upon  their  miserable  mules  and 
horses ;  all  our  belongings,  including  the  half*  of  the  cold 
fowl,  were  in  statu  quo ;  and  off  we  set — our  new  friends 
accompanied   us   on   foot.     And   so   delighted  was  our 
Caliban  of  a  muleteer  at  what  we  all  considered  a  for- 
tunate escape,  that  he  lifted  up  his  voice  and  gave  vent 
to  his  feelings  in  a  song.     The  grand  gentleman  in  red 
velvet  to  whom  I  had   presented  the  Pasha's  letter  at 
Mezzovo,  was,  it  seems,  himself  the  captain  of  the  thieves 
— the  very  man  against  whom  the  Pasha  wished  to  afford 
us  his  protection  ;  and  he,  feeling  amused  probably  at  the 
manner  in  which  we  had  fallen  unawares  into  his  clutches, 
and  being  a  good-natured  fellow  (and  he  certainly  looked 
such),  gave  us  a  note  to   the  officer  next  in  command, 
ordering  him  to  protect  us  as  his  friends,  and  to  provide 
us  with  an  escort.     When  I  say  that  he  of  the  red  velvet 
was  captain  of  the  thieves,  it  is  to  be  understood,  that 
although  his  followers  did  not  excel  in  honesty,  as  they 
proceeded  to  plunder  us  the  moment  they  had  entrapped 
us  in  the  valley  of  the  box-trees,  yet  he  should  more 
properly  be  called  a  guerilla  chief  in  rebellion  for  tin1, 
time  being,  against  the  authorities  of  the  Turkish  govern- 
ment, and  I  being  a  young  Englishman,  he  good-naturedly 
gave  me  his  assistance,  without  which,  as  I  afterwards 
found,   it  would  have    been  impossible    for  me  to  have 
travelled  with  safety  through  any  one  of  the  mountain 

Chap.  XVIII.  KHAN  OF  MALACASH.  255 

passes  of  the  Pindus.  I  was  told  that  this  chief,  whose 
name  I  unfortunately  omitted  to  note  down,  commanded 
a  large  body  of  men  before  the  city  of  Berat,  and  certainly 
all  the  ragamuffins  whom  I  met  on  my  way  to  and  from 
the  monasteries  of  Meteora  acknowledged  his  authority. 
I  heard  that  soon  afterwards  he  returned  to  his  allegiance 
under  Mahmoud  Pasha,  for  it  appears  that  the  outbreak, 
during  which  I  had  inadvertently  started  for  a  tour  in 
Albania,  did  not  last  long. 

Late  in  the  evening  we  arrived  at  a  small  khan  some- 
thing like  an  out-building  to  a  farmhouse  in  England  ; 
this  was  the  khan  of  Malacash :  it  was  prettily  situated 
on  the  banks  of  the  river  Peneus,  and  contained,  besides 
the  stable,  two  rooms,  one  of  which  opened  upon  a  kind 
of  verandah  or  covered  terrace.  My  two  servants  and  I 
slept  on  the  floor  in  this  room,  and  the  four  robbers  or 
guards  (as  in  common  civility  I  ought  to  term  them)  in 
the  ante-chamber.  I  gave  them  as  good  a  supper  as  I 
could,  considering  it  advisable  to  make  friends  with  the 
mammon  of  unrighteousness,  and  I  soon  succeeded  in  my 
endeavours.  It  was  almost  dark  when  we  arrived  at  this 
place,  but  the  next  morning  when  the  glorious  sun  arose 
I  was  charmed  with  the  beautiful  scenery  around  us.  On 
both  sides  banks  of  stately  trees  rose  above  the  margin 
of  a  rippling  stream,  and  the  valley  grew  wider  and  wider 
as  we  rode  on,  the  stream  increasing  by  the  addition  of 
many  little  rills,  and  the  trees  retiring  from  it,  affording 
us  views  of  grassy  plains  and  romantic  dells,  first  on  one 
side  and  then  on  the  other.  The  scenery  was  most  lovely, 
and  in  the  distance  was  the  towering  summit  of  the  great 
Mount  Olympus,  famous  nowadays  for  the  Greek  monas- 


teries  which  are  built  upon  its  sides,  and  near  whose  base 
runs  the  valley  of  Tempe,  of  which  we  are  expressly  told 
in  the  Latin  Grammar  that  it  is  a  pleasant  vale  in  Thessaly ; 
and  if  it  is  more  beautiful  than  this  part  of  the  valley  of 
the  Peneus,  it  must  be  a  very  pleasant  vale  indeed. 

I   was  struck  with  the  original  manner  in  which  our 
mountain  friends  progressed  through  the  country  :  some- 
times they  kept  with  us,  but  more  usually  some  of  them 
went  on  one  side  of  the  road  and  some  on  the  other,  like 
men  beating  for  game,  only  that  they  made  no  noise;  and 
on  the  rare  occasions  when  we  met  any  traveller  trudging 
along  the  road  or  ambling  on  a  long-eared  mule,  they 
were  always  among  the  bushes  or  on  the  tops  of  the  rocks, 
and  never  showed  themselves  upon  the  road.     But  despite 
all  these  vagaries  they  were  always  close  to  us.     They 
were  wonderfully  active,  for  although  I  trotted  or  galloped 
whenever  the  nature  of  the  road  rendered  it  practicable, 
they  always  kept  up  with  me,  and  apparently  without 
exertion  or  fatigue  ;  and  although  they  were  often  out  of 
my  sight,  I  believe  I  was  never  out  of  theirs.     Altogether 
I  was  glad  that  we  were  such  friends,  for,  from  what  I 
saw  of  them,  they  and  their  associates  would  have  proved 
very  awkward  enemies.     They  were  curious  wild  animals, 
as  slim  and  as  active  as  cats :  their  waists  were  not  much 
more  than  a  foot  and  a  half  in  circumference,  and  they 
appeared  to  be  able  to  jump  over  anything.     Their  white 
dresses  and  short  petticoats  or  fustanellas  gave  them  much 
the  appearance  of  a  party  of  young  ladies  who  had  escaped 
from  the  ballet  of  the  opera,  and  were  running  wild  among 
the  rocks.    The  thin  mocassins  of  raw  hide  which  they  wore 
enabled  them  to  run  or  walk  without  making  the  slightest 


noise.  In  fact,  they  were  agreeable,  honest  rogues  enough, 
and  we  got  on  amazingly  well  together.  I  had  a  way  of 
singing  as  I  rode  along  for  my  own  particular  edification, 
and  from  mere  joyousness  of  heart,  for  the  beautiful  scenery, 
and  the  fine  fresh  air,  and  the  bright  stream  delighted  me, 
so  I  sang  away  at  a  great  rate  ;  and  my  horse  sometimes 
put  back  one  of  his  ears  to  listen,  which  I  took  as  a  personal 
compliment :  but  my  robbers  did  not  like  this  singing. 

"  Why,"  they  said  to  the  Albanian,  "  does  the  Frank 
sing  r 

"  It  is  a  way  he  has,"  was  the  reply. 

"  Well,"  they  said,  "this  is  a  wild  country ;  there  is  no 
use  in  courting  attention — he  had  better  not  sing." 

Nevertheless  I  would  not  leave  off  for  all  that.  Can- 
tabit  vacuus  coram  latrone  viator ;  so  I  went  on  singing 
rather  louder  than  before,  particularly  as  I  was  convinced 
that  my  horse  had  an  ear  for  music ;  and  in  this  way, 
after  travelling  for  seven  hours,  we  came  within  sight  of 
the  extraordinary  rocks  of  Meteora. 

Just  at  this  time  we  observed  among  the  trees  before 
us  a  long  string  of  travellers  who  appeared  to  be  convoying 
a  train  of  baggage  horses.  On  seeing  us  they  stopped, 
and  closed  their  files ;  and  as  my  thieves  had  bolted,  as 
usual,  into  the  bushes  some  time  before,  my  party  consisted 
only  of  four  persons  and  five  horses.  As  we  approached 
the  other  party,  a  tall,  well-armed  man,  with  a  rifle  across 
his  arm,  rode  forwards  and  hailed  us,  asking  who  we  were. 
We  said  we  were  travellers. 

"  And  who  were  those  that  left  you  just  now  ? " 
said  he. 

"  They  are  some  of  our  party  who  have  turned  off  by 
a  short  cut  to  go  to  Meteora,"  replied  my  Albanian. 


"  What !  a  short  cut  on  both  sides  of  the  road !  how  is 
that  ?     I  suspect  you  are  not  simple  travellers." 

"  Well,"  he  replied,  "  we  do  not  wish  to  molest  you. 
Go  on  your  way  in  peace,  and  let  us  pass  quietly,  for  you 
are  by  far  the  larger  party." 

"  Yes,"  said  the  man,  "  but  how  many  have  you  in  the 
bushes  ?     What  are  they  about  there  ?" 

"  I  don't  know  what  they  are  about,"  said  he,  "  but 
they  will  not  molest  you  [one  of  them  was  peeping  over  a 
bush  at  the  back  of  the  party  all  the  while,  but  they  did 
not  see  him]  ;  and  we,  I  assure  you,  are  peaceable  tra- 
vellers like  yourselves." 

Our  new  acquaintance  did  not  seem  at  all  satisfied, 
and  he  and  all  his  party  drew  up  along  the  path  as  we 
passed  them,  with  evident  misgivings  as  to  our  purpose  ; 
and  soon  afterwards,  looking  back,  we  saw  them  keeping 
close  together  and  trotting  along  as  fast  as  their  loaded 
horses  would  go,  some  of  them  looking  round  at  us  every 
now  and  then  till  we  lost  sight  of  them  among  the  trees. 

The  proverb  says — you  shall  know  a  man  by  his  friends, 
and  my  character  had  evidently  suffered  from  the  ap- 
pearance of  the  company  I  kept,  for  the  merchants  held 
me  as  little  better  than  a  rogue  ;  there  was,  however,  no 
time  for  explanations,  and  it  was  with  feelings  of  indignant 
virtue  that  I  left  the  forest,  and  after  crossing  the  river 
Peneus  at  a  ford,  my  merry  men  and  I  continued  our 
journey  along  the  grassy  plain  of  Meteora. 



Meteora — The  extraordinary  Character  of  its  Scenery  —  Its  Caves 
formerly  the  Resort  of  Ascetics  —  Barbarous  Persecution  of  the  Her- 
mits —  Their  extraordinary  Religious  Observances  —  Singular  Position 
of  the  Monasteries  —  The  Monastery  of  Barlaam  —  The  difficulty  of 
reaching  it  —  Ascent  by  a  "Windlass  and  Net,  or  by  Ladders  —  Narrow 
Escape  —  Hospitable  Reception  by  the  Monks  —  The  Agoumenos,  or 
Abbot  —  His  strict  Fast  —  Description  of  the  Monastery  —  The  Church 
—  Symbolism  in  the  Greek  Church  —  Respect  for  Antiquity  —  The 
Library  —  Determination  of  the  Abbot  not  to  sell  any  of  the  MSS.  — 
The  Refectory  —  Its  Decorations  —  Aerial  Descent  —  The  Monastery 
of  H agios  Stephanos  —  Its  Carved  Iconostasis  —  Beautiful  View  from 
the  Monastery  —  Monastery  of  Agia  Triada  —  Summary  Justice  at 
Triada  —  Monastery  of  Agia  Roserea  —  Its  Lady  Occupants  —  Admis- 
sion refused. 

The  scenery  of  Meteora  is  of  a  very  singular  kind.  The 
end  of  a  range  of  rocky  hills  seems  to  have  been  broken 
off  by  some  earthquake  or  washed  away  by  the  Deluge, 
leaving  only  a  series  of  twenty  or  thirty  tall,  thin,  smooth, 
needle-like  rocks,  many  hundred  feet  in  height ;  some 
like  gigantic  tusks,  some  shaped  like  sugar-loaves,  and 
some  like  vast  stalagmites.  These  rocks  surround  a 
beautiful  grassy  plain,  on  three  sides  of  which  there  grow 
groups  of  detached  trees,  like  those  in  an  English  park. 
Some  of  the  rocks  shoot  up  quite  clean  and  perpendicularly 
from  the  smooth  green  grass  ;  some  are  in  clusters  :  some 
stand  alone  like  obelisks  :  nothing  can  be  more  strange 
and  wonderful  than  this  romantic  region,  which  is  unlike 
anything  I  have  ever  seen  either  before  or  since.     In 

260  HERMIT-HUNTING.  Chap.  XIX. 

Switzerland,  Saxony,  the  Tyrol,  or  any  other  mountainous 
region  where  I  have  heen,  there  is  nothing  at  all  to  be 
compared  to  these  extraordinary  peaks. 

At  the  foot  of  many  of  the  rocks  which  surround  this 
beautiful  grassy  amphitheatre,  there  are  numerous  caves 
and  holes,  some  of  which  appear  to  be  natural,  but  most 
of  them  are  artificial ;  for  in  the  dark  and  wild  ages  of 
monastic  fanaticism  whole  flocks  of  hermits  roosted  in 
these  pigeon-holes.  Some  of  these  caves  are  so  high  up 
the  rocks  that  one  wonders  how  the  poor  old  gentlemen 
could  ever  get  up  to  them ;  whilst  others  are  below  the 
surface  ;  and  the  anchorites  who  burrowed  in  them,  like 
rabbits,  frequently  afforded  excellent  sport  to  parties  of 
roving  Saracens ;  indeed,  hermit-hunting  seems  to  have 
been  a  fashionable  amusement  previous  to  the  twelfth 
century.  In  early  Greek  frescos,  and  in  small,  stiff 
pictures  with  gold  backgrounds,  we  sec  many  frightful 
representations  of  men  on  horseback  in  Roman  armour, 
with  long  spears,  who  are  torturing  and  slaying  Christian 
devotees.  In  these  pictures  the  monks  and  hermits  are 
represented  in  gowns  made  of  a  kind  of  coarse  matting, 
and  they  have  long  beards,  and  some  of  them  are  covered 
with  hair ;  these  I  take  it  were  the  ones  most  to  be 
admired,  as  in  the  Greek  church'  .sanctity  is  always  in 
the  inverse  ratio  of  beauty.  All  Greek  saints  are 
painfully  ugly,  but  the  hermits  are  much  uglier,  dirtier, 
and  older  than  the  rest ;  they  must  have  been  very  fusty 
people  besides,  eating  roots,  and  living  in  holes  like  rats 
and  mice.  It  is  difficult  to  understand  by  what  process 
of  reasoning  they  could  have  persuaded  themselves  that, 
by  living  in  this  useless,  inactive  way,  they  were  leading 


holy  lives.  They  wore  out  the  rocks  with  their  knees  in 
prayer  ;  the  cliffs  resounded  with  their  groans  ;  sometimes 
they  banged  their  breasts  with  a  big  stone,  for  a  change  ; 
and  some  wore  chains  and  iron  girdles  round  their 
emaciated  forms ;  but  they  did  nothing  whatever  to 
benefit  their  kind.  Still  there  is  something  grand  in  the 
strength  and  constancy  of  their  faith.  They  left  their 
homes  and  riches  and  the  pleasures  of  this  world,  to  retire 
to  these  dens  and  caves  of  the  earth,  to  be  subjected  to 
cold  and  hunger,  pain  and  death,  that  they  might  do 
honour  to  their  God,  after  their  own  fashion,  and  trusting 
that,  by  mortifying  the  body  in  this  world,  they  should 
gain  happiness  for  the  soul  in  the  world  to  come ;  and 
therefore  peace  be  with  their  memory ! 

On  the  tops  of  these  rocks  in  different  directions  there 
remain  seven  monasteries  out  of  twenty-four  which  once 
crowned  their  airy  heights.  How  anything  except  a  bird 
was  to  arrive  at  one  which  we  saw  in  the  distance  on  a 
pinnacle  of  rock  was  more  than  we  could  divine  ;  but 
the  mystery  was  soon  solved.  Winding  our  way  upwards, 
among  a  labyrinth  of  smaller  rocks  and  cliffs,  by  a 
romantic  path  which  afforded  us  from  time  to  time 
beautiful  views  of  the  green  vale  below  us,  we  at  length 
found  ourselves  on  an  elevated  platform  of  rock,  which  I 
may  compare  to  the  flat  roof  of  a  church  ;  while  the 
monastery  of  Barlaam  stood  perpendicularly  above  us,  on 
the  top  of  a  much  higher  rock,  like  the  tower  of  this 
church.  Here  we  fired  off  a  gun,  which  was  intended  to 
answer  the  same  purpose  as  knocking  at  the  door  in  more 
civilized  places  ;  and  we  all  strained  our  necks  in  looking 
up  at  the  monastery  to  see  whether  any  answer  would  be 

2(52  ASCENT  BY  A  WINDLASS  AND  NET.        Chap.  XIX. 

made  to  our  call.  Presently  we  wore  hailed  by  some  one 
in  the  sky,  whose  voice  came  down  to  us  like  the  cry  of  a 
bird  ;  and  we  saw  the  face  and  grey  beard  of  an  old  monk 
some  hundred  feet  above  us  peering  out  of  a  kind  of 
window  or  door.  He  asked  us  who  we  were,  and  what 
we  wanted,  and  so  forth  ;  to  which  we  replied,  that  we 
were  travellers,  harmless  people,  who  wished  to  be 
admitted  into  the  monastery  to  stay  the  night ;  that  we 
had  come  all  the  way  from  Corfu  to  see  the  wonders  of 
Meteora,  and,  as  it  was  now  getting  late,  we  appealed  to 
his  feelings  of  hospitality  and  Christian  benevolence. 

"  Who  are  those  with  you  ?"  said  he. 

"  Oh  !  most  respectable  people,"  we  answered  ;  "gen- 
tlemen of  our  acquaintance,  who  have  come  with  us  across 
the  mountains  from  Mezzovo." 

The  appearance  of  our  escort  did  not  please  the  monk,  and 
we  feared  that  he  would  not  admit  us  into  the  monastery  ; 
but  at  length  he  let  down  a  thin  cord,  to  which  I  attached 
a  letter  of  introduction  which  I  had  brought  from  Corfu  ; 
and  after  some  delay  a  much  larger  rope  was  seen  descend- 
ing with  a  hook  at  the  end  to  which  a  strong  net  was 
attached.  On  its  reaching  the  rock  on  which  we  stood 
the  net  was  spread  open :  my  two  servants  sat  down  upon 
it ;  and  the  four  corners  being  attached  to  the  hook,  a 
signal  was  made,  and  they  began  slowly  ascending  into 
the  air,  twisting  round  and  round  like  a  leg  of  mutton 
hanging  to  a  bottle -jack.  The  rope  was  old  and  mended, 
and  the  height  from  the  ground  to  the  door  above  was, 
we  afterwards  learned,  37  fathoms,  or  222  feet.  When 
they  reached  the  top  I  saw  two  stout  monks  reach  their 
arms  out  of  the  door  and  pull  in  the  two  servants  by  main 


force,  as  there  was  no  contrivance  like  a  turning-crane  for 
bringing  them  nearer  to  the  landing-place.  The  whole 
process  appeared  so  dangerous,  that  I  determined  to  go 
up  by  climbing  a  series  of  ladders  which  were  suspended 
by  large  wooden  pegs  on  the  face  of  the  precipice,  and 
which  reached  the  top  of  the  rock  in  another  direction, 
round  a  corner  to  the  right.  The  lowest  ladder  was  ap- 
proached by  a  pathway  leading  to  a  rickety  wooden  plat- 
form which  overhung  a  deep  gorge.  From  this  point  the 
ladders  hung  perpendicularly  upon  the  bare  rock,  and  I 
climbed  up  three  or  four  of  them  very  soon  ;  but  coming 
to  one,  the  lower  end  of  which  had  swung  away  from  the 
top  of  the  one  below,  I  had  some  difficulty  in  stretching 
across  from  the  one  to  the  other ;  and  here  unluckily  I 
looked  down,  and  found  that  I  had  turned  a  sort  of  angle 
in  the  precipice,  and  that  I  was  not  over  the  rocky  platform 
where  I  had  left  the  horses,  but  that  the  precipice  went 
sheer  down  to  so  tremendous  a  depth,  that  my  head  turned 
when  I  surveyed  the  distant  valley  over  which  I  was  hang- 
ing in  the  air  like  a  fly  on  a  wall.  The  monks  in  the 
monastery  saw  me  hesitate,  and  called  out  to  me  to  take 
courage  and  hold  on  ;  and,  making  an  effort,  I  overcame 
my  dizziness,  and  clambered  up  to  a  small  iron  door, 
through  which  I  crept  into  a  court  of  the  monastery,  where 
I  was  welcomed  by  the  monks  and  the  two  servants  who 
had  been  hauled  up  by  the  rope.  The  rest  of  my  party 
were  not  admitted  ;  but  they  bivouacked  at  the  foot  of  the 
rocks  in  a  sheltered  place,  and  were  perfectly  contented 
with  the  coffee  and  provisions  which  we  lowered  down  to 
My  servants,  in  high  glee  at  having   been  hoisted  up 

264  THE  AGOUMENOS,  OR  LORD  ABBOT.         Chap.  XIX. 

safe  and  sound,  were  busy  in  arranging  my  baggage  in 
tbe  room  which  had  been  allotted  to  us,  and  in  making  it 
comfortable  :  one  went  to  get  ready  some  warm  water  for 
a  bath,  or  at  any  rate  for  a  good  splash  in  the  largest  tub 
that  could  be  found  ;  the  other  made  me  a  snug  corner  on 
the  divan,  and  covered  it  with  a  piece  of  silk,  and  spread 
my  carpet  before  it ;  he  put  my  books  in  a  little  heap, 
got  ready  the  things  for  tea,  and  hung  my  arms  and  cloak, 
and  everything  he  could  lay  his  hands  on,  upon  the  pegs 
projecting  from  the  wall  under  the  shelf  which  was  fixed  all 
round  the  room.  My  European  clothes  were  soon  pitched 
into  the  most  ignominious  corner  of  the  divan,  and  I 
speedily  arrayed  myself  in  the  long,  loose  robes  of  Egypt, 
so  much  more  comfortable  and  easy  than  the  tight  cases 
in  which  we  cramp  up  our  limbs.  In  short,  I  forthwith 
made  myself  at  home,  and  took  a  stroll  among  the  courts 
and  gardens  of  the  monastery  while  dinner  or  supper, 
whichever  it  might  be  called,  was  getting  ready.  I  soon 
stumbled  upon  the  Agoumenos  (the  lord  abbot)  of  this 
aerial  monastery,  and  we  prowled  about  together,  peeping 
into  rooms,  visiting  the  church,  and  poking  about  until  it 
began  to  get  dark  ;  and  then  I  asked  him  to  dinner  in  his 
own  room ;  but  he  could  eat  no  meat,  so  I  ate  the  more 
myself,  and  he  made  up  for  it  by  other  savoury  messes, 
cooked  partly  by  my  servants  and  partly  by  the  monks. 
He  was  an  oldish  man.  He  did  not  dislike  sherry,  though 
he  preferred  rosoglio,  of  which  I  always  carried  a  few 
bottles  with  me  in  my  monastic  excursions. 

The  abbot  and  I,  and  another  holy  father,  fraternised, 
and  slapped  each  other  on  the  back,  and  had  another  glass 
or  two,  or  rather  cup,  for  coffee-cups  of  thin,  old  porcelain, 


called  fingians,  served  us  for  wine-glasses.  Then  we  had 
some  tea,  and  they  filled  up  their  cups  with  sugar,  and  ate 
seaman's  hiscuits,  and  little  cakes  from  Yanina,  and 
rahatlokoom,  and  jelly  of  dried  grape-juice,  till  it  was  time 
to  go  to  bed  ;  when  the  two  venerable  monks  gave  me 
their  blessing  and  stumbled  out  of  the  room ;  and  in  a 
marvellously  short  space  of  time  I  was  sound  asleep. 

November  *dth. — The  monastery  of  Barlaam  stands  on 
the  summit  of  an  isolated  rock,  on  a  flat  or  nearly  flat 
space  of  perhaps  an  acre  and  a  half,  of  which  about  one- 
half  is  occupied  by  the  church  and  a  smaller  chapel,  the 
refectory,  the  kitchen,  the  tower  of  the  windlass,  where 
you  are  pulled  up,  and  a  number  of  separate  buildings  con- 
taining offices  and  the  habitations  of  the  monks,  of  whom 
there  were  at  this  time  only  fourteen.  These  various 
structures  surround  one  tolerably  large,  irregularly-shaped 
court,  the  chief  part  of  which  is  paved  ;  and  there  are 
several  other  small  open  spaces.  All  Greek  monasteries 
are  built  in  this  irregular  way,  and  the  confused  mass  of 
disjointed  edifices  is  usually  encircled  by  a  high  bare  wall ; 
but  in  this  monastery  there  is  no  such  enclosing  wall,  as 
its  position  effectually  prevents  the  approach  of  an  enemy. 
On  a  portion  of  the  flat  space  which  is  not  occupied  by 
buildings,  they  have  a  small  garden,  but  it  is  not  cultivated, 
and  there  is  nothing  like  a  parapet-wall  in  any  direction  to 
prevent  your  falling  over.  The  place  wears  an  aspect  of 
poverty  and  neglect ;  its  best  days  have  long  gone  by  ; 
for  here,  as  everywhere  else,  the  spirit  of  asceticism  is  on 
the  wane. 

The  church  has  a  porch  before  the  door,  vx%9v>Z,  sup- 
ported by  marble  columns,  the  interior  wall  of  which  on 


266  THE  CHURCH.  Chap.  XIX. 

each  side  of  the  door  is  painted  with  representations  of  the 
Last  Judgment,  and  the  tortures  of  the  condemned,  with 
a  liberal  allowance  of  flames  and  devils.     These  pictures 
of  the  torments  of  the  wicked  are  always  placed  outside 
the  body  of  the  church,  as  typical  of  the  unhappy  state  of 
those  who  are  out  of  its  pale  :  they  are  never  seen  within. 
The  interior  of  this  curious  old  church,  which  is  dedicated 
to  All  Saints,  has  depicted  on  its  walls  on  all  sides  por- 
traits of  a  great  many  holy  personages,  in  the  stiff,  con- 
ventional,  early   style.       It   has   four 
columns  within,  which  support  the  dome  ; 
and  the  altar  or  holy  table,  aytx  rqa- 
it^ta,  is  separated  from  the  nave  by  a 
wooden  screen,  called  the  iconostasis, 
on  which  are  paintings  of  the  Blessed 
Virgin,  the  Redeemer,  and  many  saints.     These  pictures 
are  kissed  by  all  who  enter  the  church.     The  iconostasis 
has  three  doors  in  it ;  one  in  the  centre,  before  the  holy 
table,  and  one  on  each  side.     The  centre  one  is  only  a 
half-door,  like  an  old  English  buttery  hatch,  the  upper 
part  being  screened  with  a  curtain  of  rich  stuff,  which, 
except  on  certain  occasions,  is  drawn  aside,  so  as  to  afford 
a  view  of  the  book  of  the  Gospels,  in  a  rich  binding,  lying 
upon  the  holy  table  beyond.     A  Greek  church  has  no 
sacristy  ;  the  vestures  are  usually  kept  in  presses  in  this 
space   behind  the  iconostasis,  where  none  but  the  priests 
and  the  deacon,  or  servant  who  trims  the  lamps,  are  al- 
lowed to  enter,  and  they  pass  in  and  out  by  the  side  doors. 
The  centre  door  is  only  used  in  the  celebration  of  the 
holy  mass.     This  part  of  the  church  is  the  sanctuary,  and 
is  called,  in  Romaic,  ay  to  Bn/j.o,  or  ©r/pio.     It  is  typical 


of  the  holy  of  holies  of  the  Temple,  and  the  veil  is  repre- 
sented by  the  curtain  which  divides  it  from  the  rest  of  the 
church.     Everything  is  symbolical  in  the  Eastern  Church  ; 
and  these  symbols  have  been  in  use  from  the  very  earliest 
ages  of  Christianity.     The  four  columns  which  support 
the  dome  represent  the  four  Evangelists  ;  and  the  dome 
itself  is  the  symbol  of  heaven,  to  which  access  has  been 
given   to  mankind  by  the   glad  tidings  of  the  Gospels 
which  they  wrote.     Part  of  the  mosaic  with  which  the 
whole  interior  of  the  dome  was  formerly  covered  in  the 
cathedral  of  St.  Sophia  at  Constantinople  is  to  be  seen  in 
the  four  angles  below  the  dome,  where  the  winged  figures 
of  the  four  Evangelists  still  remain.    Luckily  for  the  Greek 
Church  their  sacred  buildings  are  not  under  the  authority 
of  lay  churchwardens — grocers  in  towns,  and  farmers  in 
villages — who  feel  it  their  duty  to  whitewash  over  every- 
thing which  is  old  and  venerable,  and  curious,  and  to  op- 
pose the  clergyman  in  order  to  show  their  independence. 
The  Greek  Church,  debased  as  it  is  by  ignorance  and 
superstition,  has  still  the  merit  of  carefully  preserving  and 
restoring  all  the  memorials  of  its  earlier  and  purer  ages. 
If  the  fresco  painting  of  a  saint  is  rubbed  out  or  damaged 
in  the  lapse  of  time,  it  is  scrupulously  repainted,  exactly 
as  it  was  before,  even  to  the  colour  of  the  robe,  the  aspect 
of  the  countenance,  and  the  minutest  accessories  of  the 
composition.     It  is  this  systematic  respect  for  everything 
which  is  old  and  venerable  which  renders  the  interior  of 
the  ancient  Eastern  churches  so  peculiarly  interesting. 
They  are  the  unchanged  monuments  of  primaeval  days. 
The   Christians   who  suffered  under  the  persecution  of 
Dioclesian  may  have  knelt  before  the  very  altar  which  we 


268  REFUSAL  TO  SELL  THE  MSS.  Chap..  XIX. 

now  see,  and  which  was  then  exactly  the  same  as  we  now 
behold  it,  without  any  additions  or  subtractions  either  in 
its  form  or  use. 

To  us  Protestants  one  of  the  most  interesting  circum- 
stances connected  with  these  Eastern  churches  is,  that  the 
altar  is  not  called  the  altar,  but  the  holy  table,  as  with 
us,  and  that  the  Communion  is  given  before  it  in  both 
kinds.  Besides  the  principal  church  there  is  a  smaller 
one,  not  far  from  it,  which  is  painted  in  the  same  manner 
as  the  other.  I  unfortunately  neglected  to  ascertain  the 
dates  of  the  foundation  of  these  two  edifices. 

The  library  contains  about  a  thousand  volumes,  the  far 
greater  part  of  which  are  printed  books,  mostly  Venetian 
editions  of  ecclesiastical  works,  but  there  are  some  fine 
copies  of  Aldine  Greek  classics.  I  did  not  count  the  number 
of  the  manuscripts  ;  they  are  all  books  of  divinity  and  the 
works  of  the  fathers ;  there  may  be  between  one  and  two 
hundred  of  them.  I  found  one  folio  Bulgarian  manu- 
script which  I  could  not  read,  and  therefore  was,  of 
course,  particularly  anxious  to  purchase.  As  I  saw  it 
was  not  a  copy  of  the  Gospels,  I  thought  it  might  possibly 
be  historical ;  but  the  monks  would  not  sell  it,  The  only 
other  manuscript  of  value  was  a  copy  of  the  Gospels,  in 
quarto,  containing  several  miniatures  and  illuminations  of 
the  eleventh  century  ;  but  with  this  also  they  refused  to 
part,  so  it  remains  for  some  more  fortunate  collector.  It 
was  of  no  use  to  the  monks  themselves,  who  cannot  read 
either  Hellenic  or  ancient  Greek  ;  but  they  consider  the 
books  in  their  library  as  sacred  relics,  and  preserve  them 
with  a  certain  feeling  of  awe  for  their  antiquity  and  in- 
comprehensibility.   Our  only  chance  is  when  some  worldly- 


minded  agoumenos  happens  to  be  at  the  head  of  the 
community,  who  may  be  inclined  to  exchange  some  of  the 
unreadable  old  books  for  such  a  sum  of  gold  or  silver  as 
will  suffice  for  the  repairs  of  one  of  their  buildings,  the  re- 
plenishing of  the  cellar,  or  some  other  equally  important 
purpose.  At  the  time  of  my  visit  the  march  of  intellect 
had  not  penetrated  into  the  heights  of  the  monastery  of 
St.  Barlaam,  and  the  good  old-fashioned  Agoumenos  was 
not  to  be  overcome  by  any  special  pleading ;  so  I  told 
him  at  last  that  I  respected  his  prejudices,  and  hoped  he 
would  follow  the  dictates  of  his  conscience  equally  well  in 
more  important  matters.  The  worthy  old  gentleman 
therefore  pitched  the  two  much-coveted  books  back  into 
the  dusty  corner  whence  he  had  taken  them,  and  where 
to  a  certainty  they  will  repose  undisturbed  until  some 
other  bookworm  traveller  visits  the  monastery  ;  and  the 
sooner  he  comes  the  better,  as  mice  and  mildew  are  ac- 
tively at  work. 

In  a  room  near  the  library  some  ancient  relics  are  pre- 
served in  silver  shrines  or  boxes,  of  Byzantine  workman- 
ship :  they  are,  however,  not  of  very  great  antiquity 
or  interest ;  the  shrines  are  only  of  sufficient  size  to 
contain  two  skulls  and  a  few  bones ;  the  style  and  execu- 
tion of  the  ornaments  are  also  much  inferior  to  many 
works  of  the  same  kind  which  are  met  with  in  ecclesiasti- 
cal houses. 

The  refectory  is  a  separate  building,  with  an  apsis  at 
the  upper  end,  in  which  stands  a  marble  table  where  the 
sacred  bread  used  by  the  Greek  church  is  usually  placed, 
and  where,  I  believe,  the  agoumenos  or  the  bishop  dines 
on  great  occasions.     The   walls  of  this  room  are  also 

270  LEAVE  MONASTERY  OF  BARLAAM.        Chap.  XIX. 

painted ;  not,  however,  with  the  representations  of  cele- 
brated eaters,  but  with  the  likenesses  of  such  thin, 
famished-looking  saints  that  they  seem  most  inappropriate 
as  ornaments  to  a  dining-room.  The  kitchen,  which 
stands  near  the  refectory,  is  a  circular  building  of  great 
antiquity,  but  the  interior  being  pitch  dark  when  I  looked 
in,  and  there  coming  from  the  door  a  dusty  cold  smell, 
which  did  not  savour  of  any  dainty  fare,  I  did  not  ex- 
amine it. 

The  monks  and  the  abbot  had  now  assembled  in  the 
room  where  the  capstan  stood.  Ten  or  twelve  of  them 
arranged  themselves  in  order  at  the  bars,  the  net  was 
spread  upon  the  floor,  and,  having  sat  down  upon  it  cross- 
legged,  the  four  corners  wrere  gathered  up  over  my  head, 
and  attached  to  the  hook  at  the  end  of  the  rope.  All 
being  ready,  the  monks  at  the  capstan  took  a  few  steps 
round,  the  effect  of  which  was  to  lift  me  off  the  floor  and 
to  launch  me  out  of  the  door  right  into  the  sky,  with  an 
impetus  which  kept  me  swinging  backwards  and  forwards 
at  a  fearful  rate  ;  when  the  oscillation  had  in  some  mea- 
sure ceased  the  abbot  and  another  monk,  leaning  out  of 
the  door,  steadied  me  with  their  hands,  and  I  was  let 
down  slowly  and  gently  to  the  ground. 

When  I  was  disencumbered  of  the  net  by  my  friends 
the  robbers  below,  I  sat  down  on  a  stone,  and  wraited 
while  the  rope  brought  down,  first  my  servants,  and  then  the 
baggage.  All  this  being  accomplished  without  accident, 
I  sent  the  horses,  baggage,  and  one  servant  to  the  great 
monastery  of  Meteora,  where  I  proposed  to  sleep ;  and, 
with  the  other  servant  and  the  palicari,  started  on  foot 
for  a  tour  among  the  other  monasteries. 

Chap.  XIX.     MONASTERY  OF  HAG  108  STEPHANOS.  271 

A  delightful  walk  of  an  hour  and  a  half  brought  us  to 
the  entrance  of  the  monastery  of  Hagios  Stephanos,  to 
which  we  gained  access  by  a  wooden  drawbridge.  The 
rock  on  which  this  monastery  stands  is  isolated  on  three 
sides,  and  on  the  fourth  is  separated  from  the  mountain 
by  a  deep  chasm  which,  at  the  point  where  the  drawbridge 
is  placed,  is  not  more  than  twelve  feet  wide.  The  interior 
of  this  building  resembles  St.  Barlaam,  inasmuch  as  it 
consists  of  a  confused  mass  of  buildings,  surrounding  an 
irregularly-formed  court,  of  which  the  principal  feature 
is  the  church.  The  paintings  in  it  are  not  so  numerous 
as  at  St.  Barlaam,  but  the  iconostasis,  or  screen  before 
the  altar,  is  most  beautifully  carved,  something  in  the 
style  of  Grinlin  Gibbons  :  the  pictures  upon  it  being  sur- 
rounded with  frames  of  light  open  work,  consisting  of 
foliage,  birds,  and  flowers  in  alto  relievo,  cut  out  of  a 
light-coloured  wood  in  the  most  delicate  manner.  I  was 
told  that  the  whole  of  this  beautiful  work  had  been 
executed  in  Russia,  and  put  up  here  during  the  reign 
of  Ali  Pasha,  who  had  the  good  policy  to  protect  the 
Greeks,  and  by  that  means  to  ensure  the  co-operation  of 
one  half  of  the  population  of  the  country. 

In  this  monastery  there  were  thirteen  or  fourteen  monks 
and  several  women. .  On  my  inquiring  for  the  library, 
one  of  the  monks,  after  some  demurring,  opened  a  cup- 
board door  ;  he  then  unfastened  a  second  door  at  the  back 
of  it  which  led  into  a  secret  chamber,  where  the  books  of 
the  monastery  were  kept.  They  were  in  number  about 
one  hundred  and  fifty  ;  but  I  was  disappointed  at  finding 
that  although  thus  carefully  concealed  there  was  not  a 
single  volume  amongst  them  remarkable  for  its  antiquity 


or  for  any  other  cause :  in  fact,  they  were  not  worth  the 
trouble  of  turning  over.  The  view  from  this  monastery 
is  very  fine :  at  the  foot  of  the  rock  is  the  village  of 
Kalabaki,  to  the  east  the  citadel  of  Tricala  stands  above 
a  wide  level  plain  watered  by  the  river  which  we  had  fol- 
lowed from  its  sources  in  Mount  Pindus  ;  beyond  this  a 
sea  of  distant  blue  hills  extends  to  the  foot  of  Mount 
Olympus,  whose  summit,  clothed  in  perpetual  snow, 
towers  above  all  the  other  mountains.  The  whole  of  this 
region  is  inhabited  by  a  race  of  a  different  origin  from 
the  real  Albanians  ;  they  speak  the  Wallachian  language, 
and  are  said  to  be  extremely  barbarous  and  ignorant.  Ob- 
serving that  the  village  of  Kalabaki  presented  a  singularly 
black  appearance,  I  inquired  the  cause  :  it  had,  they 
said,  been  recently  burned  and  sacked  by  the  klephti  or 
robbers  (some  of  my  friends,  perhaps),  and  the  remnant 
of  the  inhabitants  had  taken  refuge  in  the  two  monasteries 
of  Hagios  Nicholas  and  Agia  Mone,  which  had  been 
deserted  by  the  monks  some  time  before.  The  poor 
people  in  these  two  impregnable  fastnesses  were,  they  told 
me,  so  suspicious  of  strangers  and  in  such  a  state  of  alarm, 
that  there  was  no  use  in  my  visiting  them,  as  to  a  cer- 
tainty they  would  not  admit  me  ;  and  as  it  appeared  that 
everything  portable  had  been  removed  when  the  caloyeri 
(the  monks)  had  departed  from  their  impoverished  homes, 
I  gave  up  the  idea. 

I  then  proceeded  along  a  romantic  path  to  the  monas- 
tery of  Agia  Triada,  and  on  the  way  my  servants  enter- 
tained, me  by  an  account  of  what  the  monks  had  told  them 
of  their  admiration  of  the  Pasha  of  Tricala,  whom  they 
considered  as  a  perfect  model  of  a  governor ;  and  that  it 


would  be  a  blessing  for  the  country  if  all  other  pashas 
were  like  him,  as  then  all  the  roving  bands  of  robbers, 
who  spread  terror  and  desolation  through  the  land,  would 
be  cleared  away.  There  is,  it  seems,  a  high  tower  over 
the  gate  of  the  town  of  Tricala,  and  when  the  Pasha 
caught  any  people  whom  he  thought  worthy  of  the  dis- 
tinction, he  had  them  taken  up  to  the  top  of  this  tower 
and  thrown  from  it  against  the  city  walls,  which  his  pro- 
vident care  had  furnished  with  numerous  large  iron  hooks, 
projecting  about  the  length  of  a  man's  arm,  which  caught 
the  bodies  of  the  culprits  as  they  fell,  and  on  which  they 
hung  on  either  side  of  the  town  gate,  affording  a  pleasing 
and  instructive  spectacle  to  the  people  who  came  in  to 
market  of  a  morning. 

Agia  Triada  contains  about  ten  or  twelve  monks,  who 
pulled  me  up  to  the  entrance  of  their  monastery  with  a 
rope  thirty-two  fathoms  long.  This  monastery,  like  the 
others,  resembles  a  small  village,  of  which  the  houses 
stand  huddled  round  the  little  painted  church.  Here  I 
found  one  hundred  books,  all  very  musty  and  very  unin- 
teresting. I  saw  no  manuscripts  whatever,  nor  was  there 
anything  worthy  of  observation  in  the  habitation  of  the 
impoverished  community.  Having  paid  my  respects  to 
the  grim  effigies  of  the  bearded  saints  upon  the  chapel 
walls,  I  was  let  down  again  by  the  rope,  and  walked  on, 
still  through  most  romantic  scenery,  to  the  monastery  of 
Hagia  Roserea. 

The  rock  upon  which  this  monastery  stands  is  about  a 
hundred  feet  high  ;  it  is  perfectly  isolated,  and  quite  smooth 
and  perpendicular  on  all  sides,  and  so  small  that  there  is 
only  room  enough  for  the  various  buildings,  without  leav- 


'274:  MONASTERY  OF  HAGIA  ROSEREA.         Chap.  XIX. 

ing  any  space  for  a  garden.  In  fact,  the  buildings,  al- 
though far  from  large,  cover  the  whole  summit  of  the 
rock.  When  we  had  shouted  and  made  as  much  noise  as 
we  could  for  some  time,  an  old  woman  came  out  upon  a 
sort  of  wooden  balcony  over  our  heads ;  another  woman 
followed  her,  and  they  began  to  talk  and  scream  at  us 
both  together,  so  that  we  could  not  understand  what  they 
said.  At  last,  one  of  them  screaming  louder  than  the 
other,  we  found  that  the  monks  were  all  out,  and  that 
these  two  ladies  being  the  only  garrison  of  the  place  de- 
clined the  honour  of  our  visit,  and  would  not  let  down 
the  rope  ladder,  which  was  drawn  half  way  up.  We  used 
all  the  arguments  we  could  think  of,  and  told  the  old 
gentlewomen  that  they  were  the  most  beautiful  creatures 
in  the  world,  but  all  to  no  purpose ;  they  were  not  to  be 
overcome  by  our  soft  speeches,  and  would  not  let  down 
the  ladder  an  inch.  Finding  there  were  no  hopes  of 
getting  in,  we  told  them  they  were  the  ugliest  old  wretches 
in  the  country,  and  that  we  would  not  come  near  them  if 
they  asked  us  upon  their  knees ;  upon  which  they  screamed 
and  chattered  louder  than  ever,  and  we  walked  off  in  high 



The  great  Monastery  of  Meteora  —  The  Church  —  Ugliness  of  the  Por- 
traits of  Greek  Saints  —  Greek  Mode  of  "Washing  the  Hands  —  A 
Monastic  Supper  —  Morning  View  from  the  Monastery —  The  Library 
—  Beautiful  MSS.  — Their  Purchase — The  Kitchen — Discussion 
among  the  Monks  as  to  the  Purchase  Money  for  the  MSS.  ■ —  The  MSS. 
reclaimed  —  A  last  Look  at  their  Beauties  —  Proposed  Assault  of  the 
Monastery  by  the  Robber  Escort. 

As  the  day  was  drawing  to  a  close  we  turned  our  steps 
towards  the  great  monastery  of  Meteora,  where  we  arrived 
just  before  dark.  The  vast  rock  upon  which  it  is  built  is 
separated  from  the  end  of  a  projecting  line  of  mountains 
by  a  widish  chasm,  at  the  bottom  of  which  we  found  our- 
selves, after  scrambling  up  a  path  which  wound  among 
masses  of  rock  and  huge  stones  which  at  some  remote 
period  had  fallen  from  above. 

Having  reached  the  foot  of  the  precipice  under  the 
monastery,  we  stopped  in  the  middle  of  this  dark  chasm 
and  fired  a  gun,  as  we  had  done  at  the  monastery  of  Bar- 
laam.  Presently,  after  a  careful  reconnoitring  from 
several  long-bearded  monks,  a  rope  with  a  net  at  the  end 
of  it  came  slowly  down  to  us,  a  distance  of  about  twenty- 
five  fathoms  ;  and  being  bundled  into  the  net,  I  was  slowly 
drawn  up  into  the  monastery,  where  I  was  lugged  in  at 
the  window  by  two  of  the  strongest  of  the  brethren,  and 
after  having  been  dragged  along  the  floor  and  unpacked, 
I  was  presented  to  the  admiring  gaze  of  the  whole  reverend 
community,  who  were  assembled  round  the  capstan.     This 

27G  THE  CHURCH.  Chap.  XX. 

is  by  far  the  largest  of  the  convents  in  this  region  ;  it  is 
also  in  better  order  than  the  others,  and  is  inhabited  by  a 
greater  number  of  cayolers ;  I  omitted  to  count  their 
number,  but  there  may  have  been  about  twenty :  the 
monastery  is,  however,  calculated  to  contain  three  times 
that  number.  The  buildings  both  in  their  nature  and 
arrangement  are  very  similar  to  those  of  St.  Barlaam, 
excepting  that  they  are  somewhat  more  extensive,  and 
that  there  is  a  faint  attempt  at  cultivating  a  garden  which 
surrounded  three  sides  of  the  monastery.  Like  all  the 
other  monasteries,  it  has  no  parapet  wall. 

The  church  had  a  large  open  porch  before  it,  where 
some  of  the  caloyers  sat  and  talked  in  the  evening ;  it 
was  painted  in  fresco  of  bright  colours,  with  most  edify- 
ing representations  of  the  tortures  and  martyrdoms  of 
little  ugly  saints,  very  hairy  and  very  holy,  and  so  like 
the  old  caloyers  themselves,  who  were  discoursing  before 
them,  that  they  might  have  been  taken  for  their  portraits. 
These  Greek  monks  have  a  singular  love  for  the  devil, 
and  for  everything  horrible  and  hideous.  I  never  saw  a 
picture  of  a  well-looking  Greek  saint  anywhere,  and  yet 
the  earlier  Greek  artists  in  their  conceptions  of  the  per- 
sonages of  Holy  Writ  sometimes  approached  the  sublime  ; 
and  in  the  miniatures  of  some  of  the  manuscripts  written 
previous  to  the  twelfth  century,  which  I  collected  in  the 
Levant,  there  are  figures  of  surpassing  dignity  and 
solemnity  :  yet  in  Byzantine  and  Egyptian  art  that  purity 
and  angelic  expression  so  much  to  be  admired  in  the 
works  of  Beato  Angelico,  Giovanni  Bellini,  and  other 
early  Italian  masters,  are  not  to  be  found.  The  more 
exalted  and  refined  feeling  which  prompted  the  execu- 

Chap.  XX.  A  MONASTIC  SUPPER.  277 

tion  of  those  sublime  works  seems  never  to  have  existed 
in  the  Greek  Church,  which  goes  on  century  after  century, 
even  up  to  the  present  time,  using  the  same  conventional 
and  stiff  forms,  so  that  to  the  unpractised  eye  there  would 
be  considerable  difficulty  in  discovering  the  difference 
between  a  Greek  picture  of  a  saint  of  the  ninth  century 
from  one  of  the  nineteenth.  The  agoumcnos,  a  young 
active  man  with  a  good  deal  of  intelligence  in  his  counte- 
nance, sent  word  that  the  hour  of  supper  was  at  hand, 
previously,  however,  to  which  I  went  through  the  process 
of  washing  my  hands  in,  or  rather  over  a  Turkish  basin 
with  a  perforated  cover  and  a  little  vase  in  the  middle 
for  the  piece  of  fresh-smelling  soap  in  common  use,  which 
is  so  very  much  better  than  ours  in  England  that  I  won- 
der none  has  been  as  yet  imported,  a  venerable  monk  all 
the  while  pouring  the  water  over  my  hands  from  a  vessel 
resembling  an  antique  coffee-pot.  I  then  dried  my  fingers 
on  an  embroidered  towel,  and  sat  down  with  the  agou- 
menos  and  another  officer  of  the  monastery  before  a  metal 
tray  covered  with  various  dainty  dishes.  We  three  sat 
upon  cushions  on  the  floor,  and  the  tray  stood  upon  a 
wooden  stool  turned  upside  down,  according  to  the  usual 
fashion  of  the  country :  no  meat  had  entered  into  the 
composition  of  our  feast,  but  it  was  very  savoury  never- 
theless, and  our  fingers  were  soon  in  the  midst  of  the 
most  tempting  dishes,  knives  and  forks  being  considered 
as  useless  superfluities.  When  my  right  hand  was 
anointed  with  any  oleaginous  mixture,  which  it  was  very 
frequently  indeed,  if  I  wanted  to  drink,  a  monk  held  a 
silver  bowl  to  my  lips  and  a  napkin  under  my  chin,  as 
you  serve  babies ;  after  which  I  began  again,  until  with 


a  sigh  I  was  obliged  to  throw  myself  back  from  the  tray, 
and  holding  my  hands  aloft,  the  perforated  basin  and  the 
coffee-pot  made  their  appearance  again.  A  cup  of  piping 
hot  coffee  concluded  the  evening's  entertainment,  and  I 
retired  to  another  room — the  guest  chamber — which  opened 
upon  a  narrow  court  hard  by,  where  all  my  things  had 
been  arranged.  A  long,  thin  candle  was  placed  on  a 
small  stool  in  the  middle  of  the  floor,  and  having  winked 
at  the  long  rays  which  darted  out  of  it  for  some  time,  I 
rolled  myself  into  a  comfortable  position  in  the  corner, 
and  was  asleep  before  I  had  settled  upon  any  optical 
theory  to  account  for  them  ;  nor  did  the  dull,  monotonous 
sound  of  the  mallet,  which,  struck  on  a  suspended  board, 
called  the  good  brethren  to  midnight  prayer,  disturb  me 
for  more  than  a  moment. 

Nov.  10. — Just  before  the  dawn  of  day  I  opened  the 
shutters  of  the  unglazed  windows  of  my  room  and  sur- 
veyed the  scene  before  me  ;  all  still  looked  grey  and  cold, 
and  it  was  only  towards  the  east  that  the  distant  outline 
of  the  mountains  showed  clear  and  distinct  against  the 
dark  sky.  By  degrees  the  clouds,  which  had  slept  upon 
the  shoulders  of  the  hills,  rose  slowly  and  heavily,  whilst 
the  valleys  gradually  assumed  all  their  soft  and  radiant 
beauty.  It  seemed  to  me  as  if  I  should  never  tire  of 
gazing  at  this  view.  In  the  course  of  time,  however, 
breakfast  appeared,  and  having  rapidly  despatched  it,  I 
went  to  look  at  the  buildings  and  curiosities. 

The  church  resembles  that  of  St.  Barlaam.  but  is  in 
better  order ;  and  the  paintings  are  more  brilliant  in  colour 
and  are  more  profusely  decorated  with  gold.  There  is  a 
dome  above  the  centre  of  the  church,  and  the  iconostasis 

Chap.  XX.  THE  LIBRARY.  279 

or  screen  before  the  altar  is  ornamented  with  the  usual 
stiff  pictures  and  carving,  but  the  latter  is  not  to  be  com- 
pared to  that  in  the  monastery  of  St.  Stephanos.  There 
were  some  silver  shrines  containing  relics,  but  they  were 
not  particularly  interesting  either  as  to  workmanship  or 
antiquity.  The  most  interesting  thing  is  a  picture  ascribed 
to  St.  Luke,  which,  whatever  may  be  its  real  history,  is 
evidently  a  very  ancient  and  curious  painting. 

The  books  are  preserved  in  a  range  of  low-vaulted  and 
secret  rooms,  very  well  concealed  in  a  sort  of  mezzanine : 
the  entrance  to  them  is  through  a  door  at  the  back  of  a 
cupboard  in  an  outer  chamber,  in  the  same  way  as  at  St. 
Stephanos.  There  are  about  two  thousand  volumes  of 
very  rubbishy  appearance,  not  new  enough  for  the  monks 
to  read  or  old  enough  for  them  to  sell ;  in  fact  they  are 
almost  valueless.  I  found,  however,  a  few  Aldines  and 
Greek  books  of  the  sixteenth  century,  printed  in  Italy, 
some  of  which  may  be  rather  rare  editions,  but  I  saw  none 
of  the  fifteenth  century.  I  did  not  count  the  number  of 
the  manuscripts ;  there  are,  however,  some  hundreds  of 
them,  mostly  on  paper  ;  but,  excepting  two,  they  were  all 
liturgies  and  church  books.  These  two  were  poems.  One 
appeared  to  be  on  some  religious  subject,  the  other  was 
partly  historical  and  partly  the  poetical  effusions  of  St. 
Athanasius  of  Meteora.  I  searched  in  vain  for  the  manu- 
scripts of  Ilesiod  and  Sophocles  mentioned  by  Biornstern  ; 
some  later  antiquarian  may,  perhaps,  have  got  possession 
of  them  and  taken  them  to  some  country  where  they  will 
be  more  appreciated  than  they  were  here.  After  looking 
over  the  books  on  the  shelves,  the  librarian,  an  old  grey- 
bearded  monk,  opened  a  great  chest  in  which  things  be- 


longing  to  the  church  were  kept ;  and  here  I  found  ten 
or  twelve  manuscripts  of  the  Gospels,  all  of  the  eleventh 
or  twelfth  century.  They  were  upon  vellum,  and  all, 
except  one,  were  small  quartos  ;  but  this  one  was  a  large 
quarto,  and  one  of  the  most  beautiful  manuscripts  of  its 
kind  I  have  met  with  anywhere.  In  many  respects 
it  resembled  the  Codex  Ebnerianus  in  the  Bodleian 
Library  at  Oxford.  It  was  ornamented  with  miniatures 
of  the  same  kind  as  those  in  that  splendid  volume,  but 
they  were  more  numerous  and  in  a  good  style  of  art ;  it 
was,  in  fact,  as  richly  ornamented  as  a  Romish  missal, 
and  was  in  excellent  preservation,  except  one  miniature 
at  the  beginning,  which  had  been  partially  smeared  over 
by  the  wet  finger  of  some  ancient  sloven.  Another  volume 
of  the  Gospels,  in  a  very  small,  clear  hand,  bound  in  a 
kind  of  silver  filagree  of  the  same  date  as  the  book,  also 
excited  my  admiration.  Those  who  take  an  interest  in 
literary  antiquities  of  this  class  are  aware  of  the  great 
rarity  of  an  ornamental  binding  in  a  Byzantine  manuscript. 
This  must  doubtless  have  been  the  pocket  volume  of  some 
royal  personage.  To  my  great  joy  the  librarian  allowed 
me  to  take  these  two  books  to  the  room  of  the  agoumenos, 
who  agreed  to  sell  them  to  me  for  I  forget  how  many 
pieces  of  gold,  which  I  counted  out  to  him  immediately, 
and  which  he  seemed  to  pocket  with  the  sincerest  satis- 
faction. Never  was  any  one  more  welcome  to  his  money, 
although  I  left  myself  but  little  to  pay  the  expenses  of  my 
journey  back  to  Corfu.  Such  books  as  these  would  be 
treasures  in  the  finest  national  collection  in  Europe. 

We  looked  at  the  refectory,  which  also  resembled  that 
at  Barlaam.     The  kitchen,  however,  merits  a  detailed  de- 

Chap.  XX.  THE  KITCHEN.  281 

scription.  This  very  ancient  building,  perched  upon  the 
extreme  edge  of  the  precipice,  was  square  in  its  plan,  with 
a  steep  roof  of  stone,  the  top  of  which 
was  open.  Within,  upon  a  square 
platform  of  stone,  there  were  four 
columns  serving  for  the  support  of 
the  roof,  which  was  arched  all  round, 
except  in  the  space  hetween  the  tops  of 
the  columns,  where  it  was  open  to  the  sky.  This  plat- 
form was  the  hearth,  where  the  tire  was  lit,  whilst  smaller 
fires  of  charcoal  might  be  lit  all  round  against  the  wall, 
where  there  were  stone  dressers  for  the  purpose,  so  that 
in  fact  the  building  was  all  chimney  and  fireplace  ;  and 
when  a  great  dinner  was  prepared  on  a  feast-day  the 
principal  difficulty  must  have  been  to  have  prevented  the 
cook  from  being  roasted  among  the  other  meats.  The 
whole  of  the  arched  roof  was  thickly  covered  with  lumps 
of  soot,  the  accumulations  probably  of  centuries.  The 
ancient  kitchens  at  Glastonbury  and  at  Stanton  Harcourt 
are  constructed  a  good  deal  upon  the  same  plan,  but  this 
is  probably  a  much  earlier  specimen  of  culinary  architec- 
ture. The  porch  outside  the  church  is  larger  than  ordi- 
nary, and  extends,  if  I  remember  rightly,  along  the  side 
of  that  building  which  stands  in  the  principal  court,  and  is 
not,  as  is  usually  the  case,  attached  to  the  end  of  the 
church,  over  the  principal  door. 

Having  seen  all  that  was  worthy  of  observation,  I  was 
waiting  in  the  court  near  the  door  leading  to  the  place 
where  the  monks  were  assembled  to  lower  me  down  to  the 
earth  again.  Just  as  I  was  ready  to  start  there  arose  a 
discussion  among  them  as  to  the  distribution  of  the  money 


which  I  had  paid  for  the  two  manuscripts.  The  agou- 
menos  wanted  to  keep  it  all  for  himself,  or  at  least  for  the 
expenses  of  the  monastery  ;  but  the  villain  of  a  librarian 
swore  he  would  have  half.  The  agoumenos  said  he  should 
not  have  a  farthing,  but  as  the  librarian  would  not  give 
way  he  offered  him  a  part  of  the  spoil  ;  however,  he  did  not 
offer  him  enough,  and  out  of  spite  and  revenge,  or,  as  he 
protested,  out  of  uprightness  of  principle,  he  told  all  the 
monks  that  the  agoumenos  had  pocketed  the  money  which 
he  had  received  for  their  property,  for  that  they  all  had  a 
right  to  an  equal  share  in  these  books,  as  in  all  the  other 
things  belonging  to  the  community.  The  monks,  even  the 
most  dunderheaded,  were  not  slow  in  taking  this  view  of 
the  subject,  and  all  broke  out  into  a  clamorous  assertion 
of  their  rights,  every  man  of  them  speaking  at  once.  The 
price  I  had  given  was  so  large  that  every  one  of  them 
would  have  received  several  pieces  of  gold  each.  But  no, 
they  said,  it  was  not  that,  but  for  the  principles  of  justice 
that  they  contended.  They  did  not  want  the  money,  no 
more  did  the  librarian,  but  they  would  not  suffer  their 
rules  to  be  outraged  or  their  rights  to  be  trampled  under 
foot.  In  the  monasteries  of  St.  Basil  all  the  members  of 
the  society  had  equal  rights — they  ate  in  common,  they 
prayed  in  common,  everything  was  bought  and  sold  for 
the  benefit  of  the  community  at  large.  Tears  fell  from 
the  eyes  of  some  of  the  particularly  virtuous  monks  : 
others  stamped  upon  the  ground,  and  showed  a  thoroughly 
rebellious  spirit.  As  for  me,  I  kept  aloof,  waiting  to  sec 
what  might  be  the  result. 

The  agoumenos,  who  was  evidently  a  man  of  superior 
abilities,  calmly  endeavoured  to  explain.     He  told  the 

Chap.  XX.  THE  MSS.  RECLAIMED.  283 

unruly  brethren  exactly  what  the  sum  was  for  which  he  had 
sold  the  books,  and  said  that  the  money  was  not  for  his 
own  private  use,  but  to  be  laid  out  for  the  benefit  of  all, 
in  the  same  way  as  the  ordinary  revenues  of  the  monastery, 
which,  he  added,  would  soon  prove  quite  insufficient  if  so 
large  a  portion  of  them  continued  to  be  divided  among 
the  individual  members.  He  told  them  that  the  monast- 
ery was  poor  and  wanted  money,  and  that  this  large  sum 
would  be  most  useful  for  certain  necessary  expenses. 
But  although  he  used  many  unanswerable  arguments,  the 
old  brute  of  a  librarian  had  completely  awakened  the 
spirit  of  discord,  and  the  ignorant  monks  were  ready  to 
be  led  into  rebellion  by  any  one  and  for  any  reason  or 
none.  At  last  the  contest  waxed  so  warm  that  the  sale 
of  the  two  manuscripts  was  almost  lost  sight  of,  and  every 
one  began  to  quarrel  with  his  neighbour,  the  entire  com- 
munity being  split  into  various  little  angry  groups,  chat- 
tering, gesticulating,  and  wagging  their  long  beards. 

After  a  while  the  agoumenos,  calling  my  interpreter, 
said  that  as  the  monks  would  not  agree  to  let  him  keep 
the  money  in  the  usual  way  for  the  use  of  the  monastery,  he 
could  have  nothing  to  do  with  it ;  and  to  my  great  sorrow  I 
was  therefore  obliged  to  receive  it  back,  and  to  give  up  the 
two  beautiful  manuscripts,  which  I  had  already  looked  upon 
as  the  chief  ornaments  of  my  library  in  England.  The 
monks  all  looked  sadly  downcast  at  this  unexpected 
termination  of  their  noble  defence  of  their  principles,  and 
my  only  consolation  was  to  perceive  that  they  were  quite 
as  much  vexed  as  I  was.  In  fact  we  felt  that  we  had 
gained  a  loss  all  round,  and  the  old  librarian,  after  walk- 
ing up  and  down  once  or  twice  with  his  hands  behind  his 

284  LAST  LOOK  AT  THE  MSS.  Chap.  XX. 

back  in  gloomy  silence,  retreated  to  a  hole  where  he  lived, 
near  the  library,  and  I  saw  no  more  of  him. 

My  bag  was  brought  forward,  and  when  the  books  were 
extracted  from  it,  I  sat  down  on  a  stone  in  the  court-yard, 
and  for  the  last  time  turned  over  the  gilded  leaves  and 
admired  the  ancient  and  splendid  illuminations  of  the 
larger  manuscript,  the  monks  standing  round  me  as  I 
looked  at  the  blue  cypress-trees,  and  green  and  gold  pea- 
cocks, and  intricate  arabesques,  so  characteristic  of  the 
best  times  of  Byzantine  art.  Many  of  the  pages  bore  a 
great  resemblance  to  the  painted  windows  of  the  earlier 
Norman  cathedrals  of  Europe.  It  was  a  superb  old  book  : 
I  laid  it  down  upon  the  stone  beside  me  and  placed  the 
little  volume  with  its  curious  silver  binding  on  the  top  of 
it,  and  it  was  with  a  sigh  that  I  left  them  there  with  the 
sun  shining  on  the  curious  silver  ornaments. 

Amongst  other  arguments  it  had  been  asserted  by  some 
of  the  monks  that  nothing  could  be  sold  out  of  the  monas- 
tery without  the  leave  of  the  Bishop  of  Tricala,  and,  as  a 
forlorn  hope,  they  now  proposed  that  the  agoumenos 
should  go  to  some  place  in  the  vicinity  where  the  bishop 
was  said  to  be,  and  that,  if  he  gave  permission,  the  two 
books  should  be  forwarded  immediately  by  a  trusty  man 
to  the  khan  of  Malacash,  where  I  was  to  pass  the  night. 
I  consented  to  this  plan,  although  I  had  no  hope  of 
obtaining  the  manuscripts,  as  in  the  present  unsettled  state 
of  the  cuuntry  the  bishop  would  naturally  calculate  on 
the  probability  of  the  messenger  being  robbed,  and  on 
the  improbability  of  his  meeting  me  at  the  khan,  as  it 
would  be  absolutely  necessary  for  me  to  leave  the  place 
before  sunrise  the  next  day. 

Chap.  XX.  PROPOSED  ASSAULT.  285 

All  this  being  arranged  I  proceeded  to  the  chamber  of 
the  windlass,  was  put  into  the  net,  swung  out  into  the  air, 
and  let  down.  They  let  me  down  very  badly,  being  all 
talking  and  scolding  each  other  ;  and  had  I  not  made  use 
of  my  hands  and  feet  to  keep  myself  clear  of  the  projecting 
points  of  the  rock  I  should  have  fared  badly.  To  increase 
my  perils,  my  friends  the  palicari  at  the  bottom,  to  testify 
their  joy  at  my  reappearance,  rested  their  long  guns 
across  their  knees  and  fired  them  off,  without  the  slightest 
attention  to  the  direction  of  the  barrels,  which  were  all 
loaded  with  ball-cartridge  :  the  bullets  spattered  against 
the  rock  close  to  me,  and  in  the  midst  of  the  smoke  I 
came  down  and  was  caught  in  the  arms  of  my  affectionate 
thieves,  who  bundled  me  out  of  my  net  with  many  extra- 
ordinary screeches  of  welcome. 

When  my  servants  arrived  and  informed  them  of  our 
recent  disappointment,  "  What !"  cried  they,  "  would  they 
not  let  you  take  the  books  ?  Stop  a  bit,  we  will  soon  get 
them  for  you !"  And  away  they  ran  to  the  scries  of 
ladders  which  hung  down  another  part  of  the  precipice  : 
they  would  have  been  up  in  a  minute,  for  they  scrambled 
like  cats  ;  but  by  dint  of  running  after  them  and  shouting 
we  at  length  got  them  to  come  back,  and  after  some  con- 
siderable expenditure  of  oaths  and  exclamations,  kicking 
of  horses,  and  loading  of  guns  and  saddle-bags,  we  found 
ourselves  slowly  winding  our  way  back  towards  the  valley 
of  the  Peneus. 

After  all,  what  an  interesting  event  it  would  have  been, 
what  a  standard  anecdote  in  bibliomaniac  history,  if  I  had 
let  my  friendly  thieves  have  their  own  way,  and  we  had 
stormed  the  monastery,  broken  open  the  secret  door  of  the 

286  PROPOSED  ASSAULT.  Chap.  XX. 

library,  pitched  the  old  librarian  over  the  rocks,  and 
marched  off  in  triumph,  with  a  gorgeous  manuscript  under 
each  arm !  Indeed  I  must  say  that  under  such  aggra- 
vating circumstances  it  required  a  great  exercise  of  for- 
bearance not  to  do  so,  and  in  the  good  old  times  many  a 
castle  has  been  attacked  and  many  a  town  besieged  and 
pillaged  for  much  slighter  causes  of  offence  than  those 
which  I  had  to  complain  of. 



Return  Journey  —  Narrow  Escape  —  Consequences  of  Singing —  Arrival 
at  the  Khan  of  Malacash — Agreeable  Anecdote  —  Parting  from  the 
Robbers  at  Mezzovo  —  A  Pilau  —  Wet  Ride  to  Paramathia  —  Accident 
to  the  Baggage-Mule  —  Its  wonderful  Escape  —  Novel  Costume  —  A 
Deputation  —  Return  to  Corfu. 

We  made  our  way  from  the  plain  and  rocks  of  Meteora 
by  a  different  path  from  the  one  by  which  we  had  arrived, 
and  travelled  along  the  north  side  of  the  valley  of  the 
Peneus ;  we  kept  along  the  side  of  the  hills,  which  were 
covered  sometimes  with  forest  and  sometimes  with  a  kind 
of  jungle  or  underwood. 

During  the  afternoon  of  this  day,  as  I  was  singing  away 
as  usual  in  advance  of  my  party,  some  one  shouted  to  me 
from  the  thicket,  but  I  took  no  notice  of  it.  However, 
before  I  had  ridden  on  many  steps  a  man  jumped  out  of 
the  bush,  seized  hold  of  my  horse's  bridle,  and  proceeded 
to  draw  his  pistol  from  his  belt,  but  luckily  the  lock  had 
got  entangled  in  the  shawl  which  he  wore  round  his  waist. 
I  pushed  my  horse  against  him,  and  in  a  moment  one  of 
us  would  have  been  shot ;  when  the  appearance  of  three 
or  four  bright  gun-barrels  in  the  bushes  close  by  stopped 
our  proceedings.     My  men  now  came  running  up. 

"Hallo!"  said  one  of  them;  "is  that  you?  You 
must  not  attack  this  gentleman.  He  is  our  friend  ;  he  is 
one  of  us." 

"  What !"    said  the   man  who  had  stopped  me  ;  "  is 


that  you,  Mahommed  ?  Is  that  you,  Hassan  ?  What  are 
you  doing  here  ?  How  is  this  ?  Is  this  your  friend  ?  I 
thought  he  was  a  Frank." 

In  short,  they  explained  what  kind  of  brotherhood  we 
had  entered  into,  where  we  had  been,  and  where  we  were 
going,  and  all  about  it.  I  did  not  understand  much  of 
their  conversation,  and  in  the  midst  of  it  the  Albanian 
came  up  to  me  with  a  reproachful  air  and  told  me  that 
they  said  my  being  stopped  was  owing  to  my  singing,  and 
making  such  a  noise.  "  Why,  Sir,"  he  added,  "  can't  you 
ride  quietly,  without  letting  people  know  where  you  are  ? 
Why  can't  you  do  as  others  do,  and  be  still,  like  a — " 

"Thief,"  said  I. 

"  Yes,  Sir  ;  or  like  a  quiet  traveller.  In  such  trouble- 
some times  as  these,  however  honest  a  man  may  be,  he 
need  not  try  to  excite  attention." 

I  felt  that  the  advice  was  good,  and  praetised  it 
occasionally  afterwards. 

In  seven  hours'  time  we  arrived  at  the  khan  of  Mala- 
cash,  where  I  had  slept  before ;  and  my  carpet  was 
spread  in  my  old  corner.  I  heard  my  companions  talking 
earnestly  about  something,  and  on  asking  what  it  was,  I 
was  told  that  they  could  not  make  out  which  room  it  was 
where  the  people  had  been  murdered — this  room  or  the 
outer  one. 

"  How  was  that  ?"  I  inquired. 

Why,  some  time  ago,  they  said,  a  party  of  travellers, 
people  belonging  to  the  country,  were  attacked  by  robbers 
at  this  khan.  One  of  the  party,  after  he  had  been 
plundered,  had  the  imprudence  to  say  that  he  knew  who 
the   thieves  were.     Upon  this   the  gang,  after  a  short 


consultation,  took  the  party  out,  one  by  one,  and  cut  all 
their  throats  in  the  next  room  ;  and  this  was  before  the 
present  disturbed  state  of  the  country.  Nevertheless,  I 
slept  very  soundly,  my  only  sorrow  being  that  no  tidings 
came  of  the  two  manuscripts  from  Metcora. 

November  11th. — In  our  journey  of  this  day  we  crossed 
the  chain  of  the  Pindus  by  a  different  pass  from  the  one 
by  which  we  had  traversed  it  before  ;  and  in  the  evening 
we  arrived  at  Mezzovo,  where  I  was  lodged  by  a  school- 
master who  had  a  comfortable  house.  The  ceiling  of  the 
room  where  we  sat  was  hung  all  over  with  bunches  of 
dried  or  rather  drying  grapes.  Here  I  presented  each  of 
my  escort  with  a  small  bundle  of  piastres.  We  had 
become  so  much  pleased  with  each  other  in  the  few  days 
we  had  been  together,  that  we  had  quite  an  affecting 
parting.  Their  chief,  the  red  velvet  personage  from 
whom  I  had  received  the  letter  which  gained  me  the 
pleasure  of  their  company,  was  gone,  it  appeared,  towards 
Berat ;  but  they  had  found  some  of  their  companions, 
with  whom  they  intended  to  retire  to  some  small  place  of 
defence,  the  name  of  which  I  did  not  make  out,  where 
in  a  few  days  they  expected  to  be  told  what  they  were 
to  do. 

"  Why  won't  you  come  with  us  ?"  said  they.  "  Don't 
go  back  to  live  in  a  confined,  stupid  town,  to  sit  all  day  in 
a  house,  and  look  out  of  the  window.  Go  back  with  us 
into  the  mountains,  where  we  know  every  pass,  every  rock, 
and  every  waterfall  :  you  should  command  us ;  we  would 
get  some  more  men  together :  we  will  go  wherever  you 
like,  and  a  rare  jolly  life  we  will  lead." 

"  Gentlemen,"  said   I,   "  I   take  your  kind  offers  as 


2  90  MEZZO VO — A  PILAU.  Chap.  XXI. 

highly  complimentary  to  me  ;  I  am  proud  to  think  that  I 
have  gained  so  high  a  place  in  your  estimation.  When 
you  see  your  captain,  pray  assure  him  of  my  friendship, 
and  how  much  I  feel  indebted  to  him  for  having  given  me 
such  gallant  and  faithful  guards." 

The  poor  fellows  were  evidently  sorry  to  leave  me : 
one  of  them,  the  most  active  and  gay  of  the  whole  party, 
seemed  more  than  half  inclined  to  cry  :  so,  cordially 
shaking  hands  with  them  before  the  door  of  the  school- 
master of  Mezzovo,  we  parted,  with  expressions  of  mutual 

"  Thank  goodness  they  are  gone !"  said  the  little 
schoolmaster  ;  "  those  palicari  are  all  over  the  country 
now  ;  some  belong  to  one  chief,  some  to  another ;  some 
are  for  Mahmoud  Pasha,  and  some  against  him ;  but  I 
don't  know  which  party  is  the  worst ;  they  are  all  rogues, 
every  one  of  them,  when  they  have  an  opportunity — 
scamps !  sad  scamps !  These  are  hard  times  for  quiet, 
peaceably-disposed  people.  So  now,  Sir,  we  will  come  in, 
and  lock  the  door,  and  make  up  the  fire,  for  the  nights 
are  getting  cold." 

The  schoolmaster  had  a  snug  fireplace,  with  a  good 
divan  on  each  side  of  it,  of  blue  cloth  or  baize.  These 
divans  came  close  up  to  the  hearth,  which,  like  the  divans, 
was  raised  two  feet  above  the  floor.  The  good  man 
brought  out  his  little  stores  of  preserves  and  marmalade. 
He  was  an  old  bachelor,  and  we  soon  made  ourselves  very 
comfortable,  one  on  each  side  of  the  fire.  We  had  a 
famous  pilau,  made  by  my  "artist"  and  the  schoolmaster 
gave  us  raisins  to  put  in  it — not  that  they  are  a  necessary 
part  of  that  excellent  condiment,  but  he  had  not  much 

Chap.  XXI.  YANINA.  291 

else  to  give ;  so  we  flavoured  the  pilau  with  raisins,  as  if 
it  had  been  a  lamb,  which,  by  the  by,  is  the  prince  of 
Oriental  dishes,  and  when  stuffed  with  almonds,  raisins, 
pistachio  nuts,  rice,  bread-crumbs,  pepper  and  salt,  and 
well  roasted,  is  a  dish  to  set  before  a  king. 

The  schoolmaster,  judging  of  me  by  the  company  I 
kept,  never  suspected  my  literary  pursuits,  and  was 
surprised  when  I  asked  him  if  he  knew  of  anything  in 
that  line,  and  assured  him  that  I  had  no  objection  to  do  a 
little  business  in  the  manuscript  way.  He  said  he  knew 
of  an  old  merchant  who  had  a  great  many  books,  and 
that  to-morrow  we  would  go  and  see  them.  Accordingly, 
the  next  day  we  went  to  see  the  merchant's  house ;  but 
his  collection  was  good  for  nothing ;  and  after  returning 
for  an  hour  or  two  to  the  schoolmaster's  hospitable 
mansion,  we  got  into  marching  order,  and  defiled  off  the 
village  green  of  Mezzovo. 

After  fording  the  river  thirty-nine  times,  as  we  had 
done  before,  our  jaded  steeds  at  last  stood  panting  under 
the  windows  of  the  doctor  at  Yanina,  whose  comfortable 
house  we  had  left  only  a  lew  days  before.  I  stayed  at 
Yanina  one  day,  but  the  Pasha  could  not  see  me  to  hear 
my  account  of  the  protection  I  had  enjoyed  from  his  fir- 
man. A  messenger  had  arrived  from  Constantinople, 
and  the  report  in  the  town  was  that  the  Pasha  would  lose 
his  head  or  his  pashalic  if  he  did  not  put  down  the  dis- 
turbances which  had  arisen  in  every  part  of  his  govern- 
ment. Some  said  he  would  escape  by  bribing  the  minis- 
ters of  the  Porte  ;  but  as  I  was  no  politician  I  did  not 
trouble  myself  much  on  the  subject.  His  Highness,  how- 
ever, was  good  enough  to  send  me  word  that  he  would 

o  2 

292  RIDE  TO  PARAMATHIA.  Chap.  XXI. 

give  me  any  assistance  that  I  needed.  Accordingly,  I 
asked  for  a  teskere  for  post-horses ;  and  the  next  day  gal- 
loped in  ten  hours  to  Paramathia.  All  day  long  the  rain 
poured  down  in  torrents,  and  I  waded  through  the  bed  of 
the  swollen  stream,  which  usually  served  for  a  high-road, 
I  do  not  know  how  many  times.  I  was  told  the  distance 
was  about  sixty  miles  ;  and  it  was  one  of  the  hardest  day's 
riding  I  ever  accomplished  ;  for  there  was  nothing  de- 
serving the  name  of  a  road  any  part  of  the  way  ;  and  the 
entire  day  was  passed  in  tearing  up  and  down  the  rocks 
or  wading  in  the  swollen  stream.  The  rain  and  the  cold 
compelled  us  and  our  horses  to  do  our  best :  in  a  hot  day 
we  could  never  have  accomplished  it. 

Towards  the  afternoon,  when  we  were,  by  computation, 
about  twenty-five  miles  from  Paramathia,  as  we  were 
proceeding  at  a  trot  along  a  narrow  ledge  above  a  stream, 
the  baggage-horse,  or  mule  I  think  he  was,  whose  halter 
was  tied  to  the  crupper  of  my  horse,  suddenly  missed  his 
footing,  and  fell  over  the  precipice.  He  caught  upon  the 
edge  with  his  fore-feet,  the  halter  supported  his  head, 
and  my  horse  immediately  stopping,  leant  with  all  his 
might  against  the  wall  of  rock  which  rose  above  us, 
squeezing  my  left  leg  between  it  and  the  saddle.  The 
noise  of  the  wind  and  rain,  and  the  dashing  of  the  torrent 
underneath,  prevented  my  servants  hearing  my  shouts  for 
assistance.  I  was  the  last  of  the  party  ;  and  I  had  the 
pleasure  of  seeing  all  my  company  trotting  on,  rising  in 
their  stirrups,  and  bumping  along  the  road  before  me, 
unconscious  of  anything  having  occurred  to  cheek  their 
progress  towards  the  journey's  end.  It  was  so  bad  a  day 
that  no  one  thought  of  anything  but  getting  on.     Every 


man  for  himself  was  the  order  of  the  day.  I  could  not 
dismount,  because  my  left  leg  was  squeezed  so  tightly 
against  the  rock,  that  I  every  moment  expected  the  bone 
to  snap.  My  horse's  feet  were  projected  towards  the 
edge  of  the  precipice,  and  in  this  way  he  supported  the 
fallen  mule,  who  endeavoured  to  retain  his  hold  with  his 
chin  and  his  fore-legs.  There  we  were — the  mule's  eye- 
balls almost  starting  out  of  his  head,  and  all  his  muscles 
quivering  with  the  exertion.  At  last  something  cracked  : 
the  staple  in  the  back  of  my  saddle  gave  way ;  off  flew 
the  crupper,  and  I  thought  at  first  my  horse's  tail  was 
gone  with  it.  The  baggage-mule  made  one  desperate 
scrambling  effort,  but  it  was  of  no  use,  and  down  he  went, 
over  and  over  among  the  crashing  bushes  far  beneath, 
until  at  length  he  fell  with  a  loud  splash  into  the  waters 
of  the  stream.  Some  of  the  people  hearing  the  noise 
made  by  the  falling  mule,  turned  round  and  came  back 
to  see  what  was  the  matter ;  and,  horse  and  men,  we  all 
craned  our  necks  over  the  edge  to  see  what  had  become 
of  our  companion.  There  he  was  in  the  river,  with  nothing 
but  his  head  above  the  water.  With  some  difficulty  we 
made  our  way  down  to  the  edge  of  the  torrent.  The 
mule  kept  looking  at  us  very  quietly  all  the  while  till  we 
got  close  to  him,  when  the  muleteer  proceeded  to  assist 
him  by  banging  him  on  the  head  with  a  great  branch  of 
a  tree,  upon  which  he  took  to  struggling  and  scrambling, 
and  at  last,  to  the  surprise  of  all,  came  out  apparently 
unhurt,  at  least  with  no  bones  broken.  The  men  looked 
him  over,  walked  him  about,  gave  him  a  kick  or  two  by 
way  of  asking  him  how  he  was,  and  then  placing  his  load 
upon  him  again,  we  pursued  our  journey. 

294  PARAMATTIIA.  Chap.  XXI. 

Before  dark  we  arrived  at  Paramathia,  and  went 
straight  to  the  house  where  we  had  been  so  hospitably 
received  before.  We  crawled  up  like  so  many  drowned 
rats  into  the  upper  rooms,  where  we  were  met  by  the 
whole  troop  of  ladies  giggling,  screaming,  and  talking,  as 
if  they  had  never  stopped  since  we  left  them  a  week 
before.  When  the  baggage  came  to  be  undone,  alas ! 
what  a  wreck  was  there !  The  coffee  and  the  sugar  and 
the  shirts  had  formed  an  amalgam  ;  mud,  shoes,  and  cam- 
bric handkerchiefs  all  came  out  together ;  not  a  thing  was 
dry.  The  only  consolation  was  that  the  beautiful  illumi- 
nated manuscripts  of  Meteora  had  not  participated  in  this 
dirty  deluge. 

I  was  wet  to  the  skin,  and  my  boots  were  full  of  water. 
In  this  dilemma  I  asked  if  our  hosts  could  not  lend  me 
something  to  put  on  until  some  of  my  own  clothes  could 
be  dried.  The  ladies  were  full  of  pity  and  compassion  ; 
but  unfortunately  all  the  men  were  from  home,  not  having 
returned  from  their  daily  occupations  in  the  bazaar,  and 
their  clothes  could  not  be  got  at.  At  last  the  good-hu- 
moured young  bride,  seeing  that  wherever  I  stood  there 
was  always,  in  a  couple  of  minutes'  time,  a  puddle  upon 
the  floor,  entered  into  an  animated  consultation  with  the 
other  ladies,  and  before  long  they  brought  me  a  shirt,  and 
an  immense  garment  it  was,  like  an  English  surplice,  em- 
broidered in  gay  colours  down  the  seams.  The  fair  bride 
contributed  the  white  capote,  which  I  remembered  on  my 
former  visit,  and  a  girdle.  I  soon  donned  this  extempore 
costume.  My  wet  clothes  were  taken  to  a  great  fire, 
which  was  lit  for  the  purpose  in  another  room,  and  I  pro- 
ceeded to  dry  my  hair  writh  a  long  narrow  towel,  its  ends 

Chap.  XXI.       NOVEL  COSTUME — A  DEPUTATION.  295 

heavy  with  gold  embroidery,  which  one  of  the  ladies 
warmed  for  me,  and  twisted  round  my  head  in  the  way 
usual  in  the  Turkish  bath — a  method  of  drying  the  head 
well  known  in  most  Eastern  towns,  and  which  saves  a  great 
deal  of  trouble  and  exertion  in  rubbing  and  brushing 
according  to  the  European  method. 

I  had  ensconced  myself  in  the  comer  of  the  divan, 
having  nothing  else  in  the  way  of  clothes  beyond  what  I 
have  mentioned,  and  was  employed  in  looking  at  one  of 
my  feet,  which  I  had  stuck  out  for  the  purpose,  admiring 
it  in  all  its  pristine  beauty,  for  there  were  no  spare  slippers 
to  be  had,  when  the  curtain  was  suddenly  lifted  from  over 
the  door,  and  my  servant  rushed  in  and  told  me  with  a 
troubled  voice,  that  the  authorities  of  Paramathia,  grieved 
at  their  remissness  on  the  former  occasion,  had  presented 
themselves  to  compliment  me  on  my  arrival  in  their  town, 
and  had  brought  me  a  present  of  tobacco  or  something,  I 
forget  what,  in  testimony  of  their  anxiety  to  show  their 
good-will  and  respect  to  so  distinguished  a  personage  as 
myself.  "  Don't  let  them  in  I"  I  exclaimed.  "  Tell  them 
I  will  receive  them  to-morrow.  Say  anything,  but  only 
keep  them  out."  But  this  was  more  than  my  servants 
could  accomplish.  My  friends  at  Corfu  had  sent  letters 
explaining  the  prodigious  honour  conferred  upon  the 
whole  province  of  Albania  by  my  presence,  so  that  nothing 
could  stop  them,  and  in  walked  a  file  of  grave  elders  in 
long  gowns,  one  or  two  in  stately  pelisses  of  red  cloth 
embroidered  with  gold  and  lined  with  fur,  which  I  envied 
them  very  much.  They  took  very  little  notice  of  me,  as 
I  sat  screwed  up  in  the  corner,  and  all,  ranging  them- 
selves upon  the  divan  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  room, 


sat  in  solemn  silence,  looking  at  me  out  of  the  corners  of 
their  eyes,  whenever  they  thought  they  could  do  so  with- 
out my  perceiving  it. 

My  servant  stood  in  the  middle  of  the  room  to  interpret ; 
and  after  he  had  remained  there  a  prodigious  while,  as  it 
seemed  to  me,  the  most  venerable  of  the  old  gentlemen 
at  last  said,  "I  am  Signor  Dimitri  So-and-so;  this  is 
Signor  Anastasi  So-and-so ;  this  gentleman  is  uncle  to 
the  master  of  the  house ;  and  so  on.  We  are  come  to 
pay  our  respects  to  the  noble  and  illustrious  Englishman 
who  passed  through  this  place  before.  Pray  have  the 
goodness  to  signify  our  arrival  to  his  Excellency,  and  say 
that  we  are  waiting  here  to  have  the  honour  of  offering 
him  our  services.  Where  is  the  respected  milordos  ?" 
Although  I  could  not  speak  Romaic,  yet  I  understood  it 
sufficiently  to  know  what  the  old  gentleman  was  saying  ; 
and  great  was  their  surprise  and  admiration  when  they 
found  that  the  unhappy  and  very  insufhciently-clothed 
little  fellow  in  the  corner  was  the  illustrious  milordos 
himself.  The  said  milordos  had  now  to  explain  how  all 
his  baggage  had  been  upset  over  a  precipice,  and  that  he 
was  not  exactly  prepared  to  receive  so  distinguished  a  party. 
After  mutual  apologies,  which  ended  in  a  good  laugh  all 
round,  pipes  and  coffee  were  brought  in.  The  visit  of 
ceremony  was  concluded  in  as  dignified  a  manner  as 
circumstances  would  permit ;  and  they  went  away  con- 
vinced that  I  must  be  a  very  great  man  in  my  own 
country,  as  I  did  not  get  up  more  than  a  few  inches  to 
salute  them,  either  on  their  entry  or  departure — a  most 
undue  assumption  of  dignity  on  my  part,  which  I  sincerely 
regretted,  but  which  the  state  of  my  costume  rendered 
absolutely  necessary. 

Chap.  XXI.  RETURN  TO  CORFU.  297 

November  15th. — The  morning  of  the  following  day 
was  bright  and  clear.  I  procured  fresh  horses,  and 
galloped  in  six  hours  to  the  sea  at  Gominizza.  A  small 
vessel  was  riding  at  anchor  near  the  shore,  whose  captain 
immediately  closed  with  the  offer  of  four  dollars  to  carry 
me  over  to  Corfu.  I  was  soon  on  board  ;  and,  creeping 
into  a  small  three-cornered  hole  under  the  half-deck,  to 
which  I  gained  access  by  a  hatchway  about  a  foot  and  a 
half  square,  I  rolled  myself  up  upon  some  ropes,  and  fell 
asleep  at  once.  It  seemed  as  if  I  had  not  been  asleep  an 
instant,  when  my  servant,  putting  his  head  into  the  square 
aperture  above,  said,  "  Signore  siamo  qui."  "Yes," 
said  I,  "  but  where  is  that  ?  What !  are  we  really  at 
Corfu  ?"  I  popped  my  head  out  of  the  trap,  and  there 
we  were  sure  enough — my  fatigue  of  the  day  before  having 
made  me  sleep  so  soundly  that  I  had  been  perfectly  uncon- 
scious of  the  duration  of  the  voyage  ;  and  I  landed  on  the 
quay  congratulating  myself  on  having  accomplished  the 
most  dangerous  and  most  rapid  expedition  that  it  ever 
was  my  fortune  to  undertake. 








Constantinople  —  The  Patriarch's  Palace  —  The  Plague,  Anecdotes,  Su- 
perstitions—  The  two  Jews — Interview  with  the  Patriarch — ■  Cere- 
monies of  Reception  —  The  Patriarch's  Misconception  as  to  the  Arch- 
bishop of  Canterbury  —  He  addresses  a  Firman  to  the  Monks  of  Mount 
Athos  -  -  Preparations  lor  Departure  —  The  Ugly  Greek  Interpreter  — 
Mode  of  securing  his  Fidelity. 

I  had  been  for  some  time  enjoying  the  hospitality  of  Lord 
and  Lady  Ponsonby  at  the  British  palace  at  Therapia, 
when  I  determined  to  put  into  execution  a  project  I  had 
loner  entertained  of  examining  the  libraries  in  the  monas- 
teries  of  Mount  Athos.  As  no  traveller  had  been  there 
since  the  days  of  Dr.  Clarke,  I  could  obtain  but  little 
information  about  the  place  before  I  left  England.  But 
the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  was  kind  enough  to  give 
me  a  letter  to  the  Patriarch  of  Constantinople,  in  which 
he  requested  him  to  furnish  me  with  any  facilities  in  his 
power  in  my  researches  among  the  Greek  monasteries 
which  owned  his  sway. 

Armed  with  this  valuable  document,  one  day  in  the 
spring  of  the  year  1837  I  started  in  a  caique  with  some 
gentlemen  of  the  embassy,  and  proceeded  to  the  palace  of 
the  Patriarch  in  the  Fanar — a  part  of  Constantinople 
situated  between  the  ancient  city  wall  and  the  port  so  well 


known  by  its  name  of  the  Golden  Horn.  The  Fanar  does 
not  derive  its  appellation  from  the  word  fanar,  a  lantern 
or  lighthouse,  but  from  the  two  words  fena  yer,  a  bad 
place ;  for  it  is  in  a  low,  dirty  situation,  where  only  the 
conquered  Greeks  were  permitted  to  reside  immediately 
after  the  conquest  of  their  metropolis  by  the  Sultan  Mo- 
hammed II.  The  palace  is  a  large,  dilapidated,  shabby- 
looking  building,  chiefly  of  wood  painted  black  ;  it  stands 
in  an  open  court  or  yard  on  a  steep  slope,  and  looks  out 
over  some  lower  houses  to  the  Golden  Horn  and  the  hills 
of  Pera  and  Galata  beyond.* 

After  waiting  a  little  while  in  a  large,  dirty  ante-room, 
during  which  time  there  was  a  scuffling  and  running  up 
and  down  of  priests  and  deacons,  who  were  surprised  and 
perhaps  a  little  alarmed  at  a  visit  from  so  numerous  a 
company  of  gentlemen  belonging  to  the  British  embassy, 
we  were  introduced  into  a  large  square  room  furnished 
with  a  divan  under  the  windows  and  down  two  sides  of  the 
chamber.  This  divan  was  covered  with  a  rough  sacking 
of  grey  goats'  hair — a  stuff  which  is  said  not  to  be  sus- 
ceptible of  the  plague  ;  and  people  sitting  on  it,  or  on  the 
bare  boards,  are  not  considered  to  be  "compromised" — a 
word  of  fearful  import  when  that  awful  pestilence  is  raging 

*  On  another  occasion  some  years  afterwards,  I  was  waiting  in  the  same 
place,  when  I  wandered  into  the  new  Patriarchal  church  which  opens  on 
this  court :  while  I  stood  there,  a  corpse  was  brought  in  on  a  bier,  fol- 
lowed by  many  persons,  who  I  suppose  were  the  relations  and  friends  of 
the  deceased.  After  the  funeral  service  had  been  read  by  a  priest,  every 
person  in  the  church  went  up  to  the  bier  and  kissed  the  dead  man's  hand 
and  forehead:  this  is  the  usual  custom,  and  an  affecting  one  to  see  when 
friends  bid  friends  a  last  farewell.  But  this  man  had  died  of  some  fear- 
ful and  horrible  disease,  perhaps  the  plague,  which  through  this  horrid 
means  may  have  been  distributed  to  half  the  congregation. 


in  this  neglected  city.  When  any  person  is  compromised, 
he  is  obliged  to  separate  from  all  society,  and  to  place 
himself  in  strict  quarantine  for  forty  days,  at  the  end  of 
which  period,  if  the  fright  and  anxiety  have  not  brought 
on  the  plague,  he  is  received  again  by  his  acquaintances. 
Dealers  in  oil,  and  persons  who  have  an  open  issue  on 
their  bodies,  are  considered  secure  from  the  plague  as  far 
as  they  themselves  are  concerned  ;  but  as  their  clothes  will 
convey  the  infection,  they  are  as  dangerous  as  others  to 
their  neighbours. 

There  was  an  old  Armenian,  who,  whether  he  consi- 
dered himself  invulnerable,  or  whether  poverty  and  mis- 
fortune made  him  reckless,  I  do  not  know  ;  but  he  set  up 
as  a  plague-doctor,  and  visited  and  touched  those  who 
were  stricken  with  the  pestilence.  Whenever  he  came 
down  the  street,  every  one  would  start  aside  and  give 
him  three  or  four  yards'  space  at  least.  Sometimes  he 
had  men  who  walked  before  him  and  cried  to  the  people 
to  get  out  of  the  way.  As  the  old  man  moved  on  in  his 
long,  dark  robes,  shunned  with  such  horror  by  all,  the 
mind  was  awfully  impressed  with  the  fearful  nature  of 
the  disease ;  for  if  the  Prince  of  Darkness  himself  had 
made  his  appearance  in  the  face  of  day,  no  one  could 
have  shown  greater  alarm  at  his  approach  than  they  did 
when  the  men  cried  out  that  the  Armenian  plague-doctor 
was  coining  down  the  street. 

One  peculiarity  of  the  disease  is  the  disinclination 
which  is  always  shown  by  those  who  are  plague-stricken 
to  confess  that  they  are  so,  or  even  to  own  that  they  are 
ill.  They  invariably  conceal  it  as  long  as  possible  ;  and 
even  when  burning  with  fever  and  in  an  agony  of  pain, 

304  THE  PLAGUE — SUPERSTITIONS.         Chap.  XXII. 

they  will  pretend  that  they  are  well,  and  try  to  walk 
about.  But  this  attempt  at  deception  continues  for  a  very 
short  period,  for  they  soon  become  either  delirious  or 
insensible,  and  generally  are  unable  to  move.  There  is 
a  look  about  the  eye  and  an  expression  of  anxiety  and 
horror  in  the  face  of  one  who  has  got  the  plague  which  is 
not  to  be  mistaken  nor  forgotten  by  those  who  have  once 
seen  them.  One  day  at  Galata  I  nearly  ran  against  a 
man  who  was  sitting  on  the  ground  on  a  hand-bier,  upon 
which  some  Turks  were  about  to  carry  him  away  ;  and 
the  look  of  the  unfortunate  man's  face  haunted  me  for 
days.  The  expression  of  hopeless  despair  and  agony  was 
indeed  but  too  applicable  to  his  case  ;  they  were  going  to 
carry  him  to  the  plague  hospital,  from  whence  I  never 
heard  of  any  one  returning.  It  would  have  been  far 
more  merciful  to  have  shot  him  at  once. 

There  are  many  curious  superstitions  and  circumstances 
connected  with  the  plague.  One  is,  that  when  the 
destroying  angel  enters  into  a  house  the  dogs  of  the 
quarter  assemble  in  the  night  and  howl  before  the  door ; 
and  the  Greeks  firmly  believe  that  the  dogs  can  see  the 
evil  spirit  of  the  plague,  although  it  is  invisible  to  human 
eyes.  Some  people,  however,  are  said  to  have  seen  the 
plague,  its  appearance  being  that  of  an  old  woman,  tall, 
thin,  and  ghastly,  and  dressed  sometimes  in  black,  some- 
times in  white :  she  stalks  along  the  streets — glides 
through  the  doors  of  the  habitations  of  the  condemned — 
and  walks  once  round  the  room  of  her  victim,  who  is  from 
that  moment  death-smitten.  It  is  also  asserted  that, 
when  three  small  spots  make  their  appearance  upon  the 
knee,  the  patient  is  doomed — he  has  got  the  plague,  and 

Chap.  XXII.  THE  PLAGUE.  305 

his  fate  is  sealed.  They  are  called  the  pilotti — the 
pilots  and  harbingers  of  death.  Some,  however,  have 
recovered  after  these  spots  have  shown  themselves. 

T  had  at  this  time  a  lodging  in  a  house  at  Pera,  which 
I  occupied  when  anything  brought  me  to  Constantinople 
from  Therapia.  On  one  occasion  I  was  sitting  with  a 
gentleman  whose  filial  piety  did  him  much  honour,  for  he 
bad  attended  his  father  through  the  horrors  of  this  illness, 
and  he  had  died  of  the  plague  in  his  arms,  when  we 
beard  the  dogs  baying  in  an  unusual  way.*  On  looking 
out  of  the  window  there  they  were  all  of  a  row,  seated 
against  the  opposite  wall,  howling  mournfully,  and  looking 
up  at  the  houses  in  the  moonlight.  One  dog  looked 
very  hard  at  me,  I  thought :  I  did  not  like  it  at  all,  and 
began  to  investigate  whether  I  had  not  some  pain  or 
other  about  me  ;  and  this  comfortable  feeling  was  not 
diminished  when  my  friend's  Arab  servant  came  into  the 
room  and  said  that  another  person  who  lodged  in  the 
house  was  very  unwell ;  it  was  said  that  he  had  had  a 
fall  from  his  horse  that  morning.  The  dogs,  though  we 
escaped  the  plague  ourselves,  were  right ;  the  plague 
bad  got  into  one  of  the  houses  close  to  us  in  the  same 
street ;  but  how  many  died  of  it  I  did  not  learn. 

It  was  about  this  time  that  two  Jews — extortioners, 
poor  men,  whom  consequently  nobody  cared  about — were 
walking  together  in  a  narrow  street  at  Galata,  when  they 
both  dropped  down  stricken  with  the  plague  :  there  they 
lay  upon  the  ground  ;  no  one  would  touch  them  ;  and,  as 

*  All  Eastern  cities  are  infested  with  troops  of  half-wild  dogs,  who  act 
the  part  of  scavengers,  and  live  upon  the  refuse  food  which  is  thrown  into 
the  streets. 


the  street  was  extremely  narrow,  no  one  could  pass  that 
way ;  it  was  in  effect  blocked  up  by  the  two  unhappy 
men.  They  did  not  die  quickly.  "  The  devil  was  sure 
of  them,"  the  charitable  people  said,  "  so  he  was  in  no 
hurry."  There  they  lay  a  long  time — many  days ;  and 
people  called  to  them,  and  put  their  heads  round  the 
corner  of  the  street  to  look  at  them.  Some,  tenderer- 
hearted  than  the  rest,  got  a  long  pole  from  a  dyer's  shop 
hard  by,  and  pushed  a  tub  of  water  to  them,  and  threw 
them  some  bread,  for  no  one  dared  approach  them.  One 
Jew  was  quiet :  he  ate  a  little  bread  and  drank  some 
water,  and  lay  still.  The  other  was  violent :  the  pain  of 
his  livid  swellings  drove  him  wild,  and  he  shouted  and 
raved  and  twisted  about  upon  the  ground.  The  people 
looked  at  him  from  the  corner,  and  shuddered  as  they 
quickly  drew  back  their  heads.  He  died  ;  and  the  other 
Jew  still  lay  there,  quiet  as  he  was  before,  close  to  the 
quiet  corpse  of  his  poor  friend.  For  some  time  they  did 
not  know  whether  he  was  dead  or  not ;  but  at  last  they 
found  he  drank  no  more  water  and  ate  no  more  bread  ; 
so  they  knew  that  he  had  died  also.  There  lay  the  two 
bodies  in  the  way,  till  some  one  paid  a  hamal — a  Turkish 
porter — who,  being  a  stanch  predestinarian,  caring  neither 
for  plague,  nor  Jew,  nor  Gentile,  dead  or  alive,  carried 
off  the  two  bodies  on  his  back  ;  and  then  the  street 
was  passable  again. 

These  porters  are  famous  for  their  honesty,  being  conti- 
nually intrusted  with  sums  of  money  and  valuable  parcels, 
which  they  always  deliver  safely  to  their  direction.  Two 
Greeks  in  a  coffee-house  got  drunk  and  quarrelled,  when 
one  knocked  the  other  down,  and  there  he  lay  upon  the 


ground  stunned  and  insensible.  Being  alarmed  at  what 
he  had  done,  the  first  Greek  called  a  porter  who  was  pass- 
ing by,  and  telling  him  that  his  friend  was  stricken  with 
the  plague,  he  gave  him  a  beshlik  (five  piastres)  to  carry 
the  patient  off  to  the  plague  hospital.  The  porter  accord- 
ingly tied  up  his  burden  with  a  piece  of  rope,  slung  him 
over  his  shoulder,  and  trudged  away  with  him  towards  the 
hospital.  When  he  had  got  half  way  the  jolting  woke  up 
the  drunken  Greek,  who  could  not  imagine  where  he  was, 
or  what  he  was  doing  on  a  man's  back,  or  where  he  was 
being  carried  so  uneasily.  "  Hallo  1"  says  he.  "  Hallo  I" 
says  the  hamal.  "  What  are  you  doing  with  me — where 
are  you  taking  me  ?"  cried  the  Greek.  "  Why,"  says 
the  hamal,  "your  friend  says  you  have  got  the  plague, 
and  I  am  carrying  you  to  the  plague  hospital ;  so  sit  still 
and  don't  kick,  for  we  have  a  long  way  to  go  still." 
The  poor  Greek,  who  well  knew  that  there  was  no  escape 
from  that  ghastly  abode  of  human  misery  to  which  he 
was  being  taken,  when  once  its  doors  had  closed  upon 
him — for  there  he  would  be  murdered  for  his  watch,  his 
chain,  or  his  clothes,  even  if  he  had  not  got  the  plague, 
or  perhaps  only  locked  up  with  a  few  of  those  who  were 
dead  or  dying  of  the  pestilence,  when  he  would  be  sure 
to  catch  the  horrible  disease— expostulated  energetically 
with  the  hamal,  swearing  he  was  as  well  as  ever  he  had 
been  in  his  life,  and  that  he  had  no  single  symptom  of  the 
plague.  "  I  don't  care,"  said  the  stout  hamal  (not 
slackening  his  pace  or  the  ropes  with  which  the  Greek 
was  securely  tied  on  to  the  pad  on  his  shoulders),  "  whether 
you  have  got  the  plague  or  not ;  that  is  your  affair  :  I  only 
wish  you  would  be  still,  and  not  hollow  and  twist  about  in 


that  way.  I  have  been  paid  a  beshlik  ;  my  honour  is  con- 
cerned ;  and  I  must  carry  you  safely  to  the  plague  hos- 
pital." "  I  will  give  you  five  beshliks  to  set  me  down," 
said  the  Greek.  "Be  quiet,"  said  the  hamal.  "Ten," 
cried  he.  "  No,  my  friend,"  replied  the  honest  man, 
"  I  have  been  paid  the  fare,  and  T  must  carry  you,  as  I 
agreed,  to  the  plague  hospital ;  I  would  not  fail  in  my 
agreement  for  all  the  beshliks  in  the  Sultan's  treasury." 
When  they  arrived  near  the  dreaded  end  of  their  journey, 
a  lucky  thought  struck  the  terrified  Greek  :  "  You  was 
not  told  to  take  me  into  the  hospital,  only  to  the  hospital," 
inquired  he  ?  "  No,"  said  the  hamal,  "  to  the  hospital :  I 
think  it  will  do  if  I  carry  you  to  the  door."  "  Well  then," 
said  the  poor  Greek,  when  he  was  set  down,  "  now  as  I  am 
tired  with  the  journey,  I  will  give  you  another  beshlik  to 
carry  me  back  again."  "All  right,"  replied  the  hamal ; 
and  shouldering  his  freight  once  more,  he  trudged  sturdily 
back  with  him,  and  at  length  deposited  him  safely  in  the 
coffee-house  from  which  he  started  at  first. 

The  Turks  have  a  touching  custom  when  the  plague 
rages  very  greatly,  and  a  thousand  corpses  are  carried 
out  daily  from  Staraboul  through  the  Adrianople  gate  to 
the  great  groves  of  cypress  which  rise  over  the  burial- 
grounds  beyond  the  walls.  At  times  of  terror  and  grief, 
such  as  these,  the  Sheikh  Ul  Islam  causes  all  the  little 
children  to  be  assembled  on  a  beautiful  green  hill  called 
the  Oc  Maidan — the  Place  of  Arrows — and  there  they 
bow  down  upon  the  ground,  and  raise  their  innocent 
voices  in  supplication  to  the  Father  of  Mercy,  and  implore 
his  compassion  on  the  afflicted  city. 

But  the  grey  goats'  hair  divan  of  the  Patriarch's  hall 


of  audience  has  led  me  a  long  way  from  the  Patriarch 
himself,  who  entered  the  chamber  shortly  after  our 
arrival,  lie  appeared  to  be  rather  a  young  man, 
certainly  not  more  than  thirty-five  years  of  age,  with  a 
reddish  beard,  which  is  uncommon  in  this  country.  He 
was  dressed  in  purple  silk  robes,  like  a  Greek  bishop,  and 
took  his  seat  in  the  corner  of  the  divan,  and  said  nothing, 
and  stroked  his  beard  as  a  pasha  might  have  done. 

When  we  had  made  our  "  temenahs,"  that  is,  salutations, 
and  little  bows,  &c,  and  were  still  again,  the  curtain  over 
the  doorway  was  pushed  aside,  and  various  priestly 
servants,  all  without  shoes  or  stockings,  came  in,  one  of 
them  bearing  a  richly  embossed  silver  tray,  on  which  were 
disposed  small  spoons  filled  with  a  preserve  of  lemon- peel ; 
each  of  us  took  a  spoonful,  and  returned  the  spoon  to  the 
dish.  Then  came  various  servants — as  many  servants  as 
guests ;  and  one  presented  to  each  of  us  a  cut-glass  cup 
with  a  lid,  full  of  fresh  spring-water,  holding  the  saucer 
belonging  to  it  under  our  chins  while  we  drank.  Then 
these  disappeared  ;  and  others  came  in  bearing  pipes  to 
each  of  us — a  separate  servant  always  coming  in  for  each 
person  of  the  company.  After  we  had  smoked  our  pipes 
for  a  short  time,  a  mighty  crowd  of  attendants  again  en- 
tered at  the  bottom  of  the  room,  among  whom  was  one 
with  a  tray,  which  was  covered  over  with  a  satin  shawl  or 
cover  as  richly  embroidered  with  gold  as  was  possible  for 
its  size,  and  with  a  deep  gold  fringe.  Another  servant 
took  off  this  covering,  and  placed  it  over  the  left  shoulder 
of  the  tray-bearer,  who  stood  like  a  statue  all  the  while. 
Now  appeared  a  man  with  a  silver  censer  suspended  by 
three  silver  chains,  and  having  a  coffee-pot  standing  upon 


the  burning  coals  within  it.  Another  man  took  off  the 
cups  which  were  upon  the  tray,  filled  them  with  coffee ; 
and  then  various  servants,  each  armed  with  a  coffee-cup 
placed  on  its  silver  zarf  or  saucer,  which  he  held  in  his 
left  hand  with  his  thumb  and  forefinger  only,  strode 
forward  with  one  accord,  and  we  all  at  the  same  moment 
were  presented  with  our  diminutive  cup  of  coffee ;  the 
attendants  received  the  empty  cups  with  both  hands,  and, 
walking  backwards,  disappeared  as  silently  as  they  came. 
All  this  is  a  scene  of  every-day  occurrence  in  the  East, 
and,  with  more  or  less  of  display,  takes  place  in  the  house 
of  every  person  of  consideration. 

"When  we  had  smoked  our  pipes  for  awhile,  and  all  the 
servants  had  gone  away,  I  presented  the  letter  of  the 
Archbishop  of  Canterbury.  It  was  received  in  due  form  ; 
and,  after  a  short  explanatory  exordium,  was  read  aloud 
to  the  Patriarch,  first  in  English,  and  then  translated 
into  Greek. 

"And  who,"  quoth  the  Patriarch  of  Constantinople, 
the  supreme  head  and  primate  of  the  Greek  Church  of 
Asia — "who  is  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury?" 

"  What?"  said  I,  a  little  astonished  at  the  question. 

"  Who,"  said  he,  "  is  this  Archbishop  ?" 

"  Why,  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury." 

"  Archbishop  of  what  ?"  said  the  Patriarch. 

"  Canterbury"  said  I. 

"  Oh,"  said  the  Patriarch.  "  Ah !  yes !  and  who  is 

Here  all  my  English  friends  and  myself  were  taken 
aback  sadly  ;  we  had  not  imagined  that  the  high-priest 
before  us  could  be  ignorant  of  such  a  matter  as  the  one 


in  question.  The  Patriarch  of  the  Greek  Church,  the 
successor  of  Gregory  Nazianzen,  St.  John  Chrysostom, 
and  the  heresiarch  Nestorius,  seemed  not  to  be  aware 
that  there  were  any  other  denominations  of  Christians 
besides  those  of  his  own  church  and  the  Church  of  Rome. 
But  the  fact  is  that  the  Patriarch  of  Constantinople  is 
merely  the  puppet  of  an  intriguing  faction  of  the  Greek 
bankers  and  usurers  of  the  Fanar,  who  select  for  the  office 
some  man  of  straw  whom  they  feel  secure  they  can  rule, 
and  whose  appointment  they  ohtain  by  a  heavy  bribe  paid 
to  the  Sultan ;  for  the  head  of  the  Christian  Church  is 
appointed  by  the  Mahomedan  Emperor. 

We  explained,  and  said  that  the  Archbishop  of  Canter- 
bury was  a  man  eminent  for  his  great  learning  and  his 
Christian  virtues ;  that  he  was  the  primate  and  chief  of 
the  great  reformed  Church  of  England,  and  a  personage 
of  such  high  degree,  that  he  ranked  next  to  the  blood- 
royal  ;  that  from  time  immemorial  the  Archbishop  of 
Canterbury  was  the  great  dignitary  who  placed  the 
crown  upon  the  head  of  our  kings  — those  kings  whose 
power  swayed  the  destinies  of  Europe  and  of  the 
world ;  and  that  this  present  Archbishop  and  Primate 
had  himself  placed  the  crown  upon  the  head  of  King 
William  IV.,  and  that  he  would  also  soon  crowrn  our 
young  Queen. 

"  Well,"  replied  the  Patriarch,  "but  how  is  that?  how 
can  it  happen  that  the  head  of  your  Church  is  only  an 
Archbishop?  whereas  I,  the  Patriarch,  command  other 
patriarchs,  and  under  them  archbishops,  archimandrites, 
and  other  dignitaries  of  the  Church?  How  can  these 
things  be  ?  I  cannot  write  an  answer  to  the  letter  of  the 
Archbishop  of — of — " 


"  Of  Canterbury." 

"  Yes  !  of  Canterbury  ;  for  I  do  not  see  bow  be  wbo  is 
only  an  arcbbisbop  can  by  any  possibility  be  the  bead  of 
a  Christian  hierarchy ;  but  as  you  come  from  the  British 
embassy  I  will  give  my  letters  as  you  desire,  which  will 
ensure  your  reception  into  every  monastery  which  acknow- 
ledges the  supremacy  of  the  orthodox  faith  of  the  Patriarch 
of  Constantinople." 

He  then  sent  for  his  secretary,  that  I  might  give  that 
functionary  my  name  and  designation.  The  secretary 
accordingly  appeared ;  and,  although  there  are  only  six 
letters  in  my  name,  he  set  it  down  incorrectly  nearly  a 
dozen  times,  and  then  went  away  to  his  hole  in  a  window, 
where  he  wrote  curious  little  memoranda  at  the  Patriarch's 
dictation,  from  which  he  drew  up  the  firman  which  was 
sent  me  a  few  days  afterwards,  and  which  I  found  of  great 
service  in  my  visits  to  various  monasteries.  As  few  Pro- 
testants have  been  favoured  with  a  document  of  ibis  sort 
from  the  Primate  of  the  Greek  Church,  1  subjoin  a  trans- 
lation of  it.  It  will  be  perceived  that  it  is  written  much 
in  the  style  of  the  epistles  of  the  early  patriarchs  to  the 
archbishops  and  bishops  of  their  provinces.  To  the  requi- 
sitions contained  in  this  firman  it  was  incumbent  upon 
those  to  whom  it  was  addressed  to  pay  implicit  obe- 

*  Direction. — "To  the  blessed  Inspectors,  Officers,  Chiefs,  and  Re- 
presentatives of  the  Holy  Community  of  Monte  Santo,  and  to  the 
Holy  Fathers  of  the  same,  and  of  all  other  sacred  convents,  our 
beloved  Sons. 

"We.  Gregorios,  Patriarch,  Archbishop  Universal,  Metropolitan  of 
Constantinople,  &c.  &c.  &c. 

"  Blessed  Inspectors,  Officers,  Superiors,  and  Representatives  of  the 
community  of  the  Holy  Mountain,  and  other  Holy  Fathers  of  the 

Chap.  XXII.       TAKE  LEAVE  OF  THE  PATRIARCH.  313 

My  business  being  thus  happily  concluded  with  this 
learned  personage,  we  all  smoked  away  again  for  a  short 
time  in  tranquil  silence ;  and  then  the  Universal  Patri- 
arch— for  so  he  styles  himself — clapped  his  hands,  and  in 
swarmed  the  whole  tribe  of  silent,  bare-footed  priestly 
followers,  bringing  us  sherbet  in  glass  cups.  Whilst  we 
drank  it,  their  reverences  held  the  saucer  under  our  chins  ; 
and  when  we  had  had  enough,  those  who  chose  it  wiped 
their  lips  and  moustaches  on  a  long,  narrow  towel,  richly 
embroidered  at  the  two  ends  with  gold  and  bright-coloured 
silks.  I  prefer  on  these  occasions  my  pocket-handkerchief, 
as  the  period  at  which  these  rich  towels  are  washed  is  by 
no  means  a  matter  of  certainty.  We  took  our  leave  with 
the  numerous  bows  and  compliments,  and  went  on  our  way 

My  preparations  for  my  expedition  were  soon  made.     I 

same,  and  of  the  other  Holy  and  Venerable  Convents  subject  to 
our  holy  universal  Throne.     Peace  be  to  you. 

"The  bearer  of  the  present,  our  patriarchal  sheet,  the  Honourable 
Robert  Curzon,  of  a  noble  English  family,  recommended  to  us  by  most 
worthy  and  much-honoured  persons,  intending  to  travel  and  wishing  to 
be  instructed  in  the  old  and  new  philology,  thinks  to  satify  his  curiosity 
by  repairing  to  those  sacred  convents  which  may  have  any  connexion 
with  his  intentions.  We  recommend  his  person,  therefore,  to  you  all ; 
and  we  order  and  require  of  you,  that  you  not  only  receive  him  with  every 
esteem  and  every  possible  hospitality,  in  each  and  in  the  several  holy 
convents ;  but  to  lend  yourselves  readily  to  all  his  wants  and  desires, 
and  to  give  him  precise  and  clear  explanations  to  all  his  interrogations 
relative  to  his  philological  examinations,  obliging  yourselves,  and  lending 
yourselves,  in  a  manner  not  only  fully  to  satisfy  and  content  him,  but  so 
that  he  shall  approve  of  and  praise  your  conduct. 

"  This  we  desire  and  require  to  be  executed,  rewarding  you  with  the 
Divine  and  with  our  blessing. 

"  (Signed)        Gkecorios,  Universal  Patriarch. 

"Constantinople,  1  (13)  July,  1837." 


314  GREEK  SERVANT.  Chap.  XXII. 

hired  a  Greek  servant,  whom  I  intended  should  serve  as 
interpreter  and  factotum.  He  was  a  sharp,  active  man — 
as  most  Greeks  are ;  and  he  had  an  intelligent  way  of 
doing  things,  which  pleased  me  :  but  he  was  an  ugly,  thin, 
little  fellow,  and  his  right  eye  had  a  curious  obliquity  of 
vision,  which  was  not  particularly  calculated  to  inspire 
confidence.  As  nobody  else  was  to  accompany  me,  I 
made  various  inquiries  about  him,  and,  although  I  did 
not  hear  any  particular  harm  of  him,  yet  I  failed  to  become 
acquainted  with  any  good  actions  of  his  performance  ;  and 
as  I  was  going  into  a  country  which  at  that  time  was 
almost  entirely  unknown,  and  which  had  moreover  an  un- 
pleasant celebrity  for  pirates,  klephti,  and  other  sorts  of 
thieves,  I  felt  that  the  moral  character  of  my  new  follower 
was  an  important  consideration  ;  and  that  if  I  could  prop 
up  his  honesty  and  fidelity  by  any  artificial  means,  I  might 
not  be  doing  amiss. 

In  a  few  days  the  firman  or  letter  of  the  patriarch 
arrived,  and  I  packed  my  things  and  got  ready  to  start. 
Unknown  to  my  servant  I  had  caused  a  belt  of  wash- 
leather  to  be  made,  in  which  were  numerous  little  divisions 
calculated  to  hold  a  good  many  pieces  of  gold  without 
their  jingling,  and  it  had  a  long  flap  which  buttoned  down 
over  the  series  of  compartments.  I  had  besides  a  large 
ostentatious  purse,  in  which  was  a  small  sum  for  the 
expenses  of  the  journey,  and  as  I  wished  to  have  it  supposed 
that  I  had  but  little  cash,  I  made  my  Greek  buy  various 
things  for  me  out  of  his  own  money.  All  being  ready, 
we  started  in  a  caique  very  early  in  the  morning,  and 
went  down  the  Bosphorus  from  Therapia  to  Stamboul, 
where  we  got  on  board  a  steamer.     On  handing  up  the 


things,  my  servant  found  that  his  box,  in  which  were  his 
new  clothes  and  valuables,  was  missing — his  bag  only  had 
come.  "  Good  gracious !"  said  I,  "  was  that  the  box  with 
two  straps  ?"  "  Yes,"  said  he,  "  a  handsome  brown  box, 
about  so  large."  "Well,"  said  I,  "it  is  a  most  unfor- 
tunate thing ;  but  when  I  saw  that  box  in  my  room  this 

morning  I  locked  it  up  in  the  closet  and  told  H not 

to  give  up  the  key  of  the  door  to  anybody  till  I  returned 
to  the  embassy  again.  How  very  unlucky  !  however,  we 
shall  soon  be  back,  and  you  have  biancheria  enough  in 
your  bag  for  so  short  a  journey  as  the  one  before  us." 
We  were  soon  under  way,  and  passing  the  Seraglio  Point 
stood  down  the  swift  current  in  the  Sea  of  Marmora,  our 
luggage  encumbering  but  a  very  small  space  upon  the 




Coom  Calessi  —  Uncomfortable  Quarters—  A  Turkish  Boat  and  its  Crew 

—  Grandeur  of  the  Scenery  —  Legend  of  Jason  and  the  Golden  Fleece 

—  The  Island  of  Imbros  —  Heavy  Rain  Storm  —  A  Rough  Sea  —  Lem- 
nos  _  Bad  Accommodation  —  The  Old  "Woman's  Mattress  and  its  Con- 
tents —  Striking  View  of  Mount  Athos  from  the  Sea  —  The  Hermit  of 
the  Tower. 

On  landing  at  Coom  Calessi,  the  European  castle  of  the 
Dardanelles,  I  found  that  there  was  no  inn  or  hotel  in  the 
place  ;  hut  it  appeared  that  the  British  consul,  who  lived 
on  the  top  of  the  hill  two  miles  off,  had  built  a  new  house 
in  the  town  for  purposes  of  business,  and  upon  the  payment 
of  a  perquisite  to  the  Jew  who  acted  as  his  factotum,  I 
was  presently  installed  in  the  new  house,  which,  as  houses 
go  in  this  country,  was  clean  and  good,  but  not  a  scrap  of 
furniture  was  there  in  it,  not  even  a  pipkin  or  a  casserole — 
it  was  as  empty  as  any  house  could  be.     I  sent  my  man 
out  into  the  bazaar  and  we  got  some  kabobs  and  yaourt 
and  salad,  and  various  flaps  of  bread,  and  managed  so  far 
pretty  well,  and  then  we  went  to  the  port,  and  after  much 
waste  of  time  and  breath  I  engaged  a  curious-looking  boat 
belonging  to  a  Turk,  who  by  the  by  was  the  only  Turkish 
sailor  I  ever  had  anything  to  do  with,  as  the  seamen  are 
generally  Greeks ;  and  then  I  returned  to  my  house  to 
sleep,  for  we  were  not  to  set  out  on  our  voyage  till  sunrise 
the  next  morning.     The  sleeping  was  a  more  difficult  affair 


than  the  dinner,  for  after  the  beds  at  the  embassy  the 
boards  did  seem  snpernaturally  hard  ;  but  I  spread  all  my 
property  on  the  floor,  and  lying  down  on  it  flat  on  my  back, 
out  of  compassion  to  my  hips,  I  got  through  the  night  at 

All  men  were  up  and  about  in  the  Turkish  town  of 
Coom  Calessi  as  soon  as  the  sun  tinged  the  hills  of 
Olympus,  and  the  gay  boat  in  which  I  was  to  sail  was 
bounding  up  and  down  on  the  bright  transparent  waves  by 
the  sandy  shore.  The  long-bearded  captain  sat  on  a  half 
deck  with  the  tiller  under  his  arm ;  he  neither  moved  nor 
said  a  word  when  I  came  on  board,  and  before  the  god  of 
day  arose  in  his  splendour  over  the  famous  plains  of  Troy 
my  little  boat  was  spreading  its  white  wings  before  the 
morning  wind.  Every  moment  more  and  more  lovely 
scenes  opened  to  my  delighted  eyes  among  the  rocky  and 
classic  islands  of  the  Archipelago.  How  fair  and  beautiful 
is  every  part  of  that  most  favoured  land  !  how  fresh  the 
breezes  on  that  poetic  sea !  how  magnificent  the  great 
precipices  of  the  rocky  island  of  Samotraki  seemed  as  they 
loomed  through  the  decreasing  distance  in  the  morning 
sun  !  But  no  words,  no  painting  can  describe  this  glori- 
ous region. 

I  had  hired  my  grave  sailors  to  take  me  to  Lemnos, 
but  the  wind  did  not  serve,  so  we  steered  for  Imbros, 
where  we  arrived  in  the  afternoon.  My  boat  was  an 
original-looking  vessel  to  an  English  eye,  with  a  high  bow 
and  stem  covered  with  bright  brass  ;  over  the  rudder  there 
hung  a  long  piece  of  network  ornamented  with  blue  glass 
beads :  flowers  and  arabesques  were  carved  on  the  boards 
at  each  end  of  the  vessel,  which  had  one  low  mast  with  a 


single  sail.  It  is  the  national  belief  in  England  that 
ugliness  is  the  necessary  concomitant  of  utility,  but  for 
my  own  part  I  confess  that  I  delight  in  redundant  orna- 
ment, and  I  liked  my  old  boat  the  better  and  was  convinced 
that  it  did  not  sail  a  bit  the  worse  because  it  was  pleasing 
to  the  eye. 

We  rowed  away  towards  Imbros,  and  passed  in  our 
course  a  curious  line  of  waves,  which  looked  like  a  straight 
whirlpool,  if  such  an  epithet  may  be  used  ;  for  where  the 
mighty  stream  of  the  Dardanelles  poured  forth  into  the 
Egean  Sea,  the  two  waters  did  not  immediately  mix 
together,  but  rolled  the  one  over  the  other  in  a  long  line 
which  seemed  as  if  it  would  suck  down  into  its  snaky 
vortex  anything  which  approached  it.  It  was  not  danger- 
ous, however,  for  we  rowed  along  it  and  across  it ;  but  still 
it  had  a  look  about  it  which  made  me  feel  rather  glad 
than  sorry  when  we  had  lost  sight  of  its  long,  straight, 
curling  line  of  waves. 

As  I  sat  in  my  beautifully-shaped  and  ornamented 
boat,  which  looked  like  those  represented  in  antique 
sculptures,  with  its  high  stern  and  lofty  prow,  I  thought 
how  little  changed  things  were  in  these  latitudes  since  the 
brave  Captain  Jason  passed  this  way  in  the  good  ship  Argo  ; 
and  if  an  old  author  who  wrote  on  the  Hermetic  philosophy 
may  be  taken  as  authority,  that  worthy's  errand  was  much 
the  same  as  mine ;  for  he  maintains  that  the  golden  fleece 
was  no  golden  fleece  at  all,  "for  who,"  says  he,  like  a 
sensible  man,  "ever  saw  a  sheep  of  gold?"  But  what 
Jason  sought  was  a  famous  volume  written  in  golden  letters 
upon  the  skins  of  sheep,  wherein  was  described  the  whole 
science  of  alchemy,  and  that  the  man  who  should  possess 


himself  of  that  inestimable  volume  should  conquer  the  green 
dragon,  and  being  able  by  help  of  the  grand  magisterium 
to  transmute  all  metals,  and  draw  from  the  alembic  the 
precious  drops  of  the  elixir  vita?,  men  and  nations  and 
languages  would  bow  down  before  him  as  the  prince 
of  the  pleasures  of  this  world. 

In  the  afternoon  we  arrived  at  the  island  of  Imbros. 
The  Turkish  pilot  would  go  no  farther,  for  he  said  there 
would  be  a  storm.  I  saw  no  appearance  of  the  kind,  but 
it  was  of  no  use  talking  to  him ;  he  had  made  up  his 
mind,  so  we  drew  the  boat  up  on  the  sand  in  a  little 
sheltered  bay,  and  making  a  tent  of  the  sail,  the  sailors 
lit  a  fire  and  sat  down  and  smoked  their  pipes  with  all 
that  quietness  and  decorum  which  is  so  characteristic  of 
their  nation.  I  wandered  about  the  island,  but  saw 
neither  man  nor  habitation.  I  shot  at  divers  rock-part- 
ridges with  a  rifle  and  hit  none ;  nevertheless  towards 
evening  we  cooked  up  a  savoury  mess,  whereof  the  old 
bearded  Turk  and  his  grave  crew  ate  also,  but  sparingly  : 
I  then  curled  myself  up  in  a  corner  inside  the  boat  under 
the  sail,  and  took  to  reading  a  volume  of  Sir  Walter 
Scott's  poems. 

I  was  deep  in  his  romantic  legends  when  of  a  sudden 
there  came  a  roar  of  thunder  and  such  quick  bright  flashes 
of  sharp  lightning  that  the  mountains  seemed  on  fire. 
Down  came  the  rain  in  waterfalls,  and  in  went  Walter 
Scott  and  all  his  chivalry  into  the  first  safe  hiding-place 
1  could  find.  The  crew  had  got  under  a  projecting  rock, 
and  I  had  the  boat  to  myself;  the  rain  did  not  come  in 
much,  and  the  rattle  of  the  thunder  by  degrees  died  away 
among  the  surrounding   hills.     The  rain   continued  to 

320  LEAVE  IMBROS.  Chap.  XXIII. 

pour  down  steadily  and  the  fire  on  the  beach  went  out, 
but  my  berth  was  snug  enough,  and  the  dull  monotonous 
sound  of  the  splashing  rain  and  the  dashing  of  the  breakers 
on  the  shore  soon  lulled  me  to  sleep,  and  I  was  more 
comfortable  than  I  had  been  the  night  before  in  the  bare, 
empty  house  at  Coom  Calessi. 

Very  early  in  the  morning  I  peeped  out ;  the  rain  was 
gone  and  the  sun  shone  brightly  ;  all  the  Turks  were  up 
smoking  their  eternal  pipes,  so  I  asked  the  old  captain 
when  we  should  be  off.  "  There  is  too  much  wind,"  was 
his  laconic  reply.  We  were  in  a  sheltered  place,  so  we 
felt  no  wind,  but  on  the  other  side  of  a  rocky  headland 
we  could  see  the  sea  running  like  a  cataract  towards  the 
south,  although  it  was  as  smooth  as  glass  in  our  bay.  We 
got  through  breakfast,  and  for  the  sake  of  the  partridges 
I  repented  that  I  had  brought  no  shot.  At  last  the  men 
began  righting  the  boat  and  getting  things  ready,  doing 
everything  as  quietly  and  deliberately  as  usual,  and 
scarcely  saying  a  word  to  each  other.  In  course  of  time 
the  captain  sat  himself  down  by  the  rudder,  and  beckoning 
to  me  with  his  hand  he  took  the  pipe  out  of  his  mouth 
and  said  "Gel"  (come).  I  came,  and  away  we  went 
smoothly  with  the  help  of  two  or  three  oars  till  we  rounded 
the  rocky  headland,  and  then  all  at  once  we  drifted  into 
the  race,  and  began  dancing,  and  leaping,  and  staggering 
before  the  breeze  in  a  way  I  never  saw  before  nor  since. 
Like  the  goats,  from  whom  this  sea  is  said  to  have  been 
named,  we  leaped  from  the  summit  of  one  wave  to  that  of 
the  next,  and  seemed  hardly  to  touch  the  water.  We 
had  up  a  small  sail,  and  we  sat  still  and  steady  at  the 
bottom  of  the  vessel.     Never  had  I  conceived  the  possi- 

Chap.  XXIII.  LEMNOS.  321 

bility  of  a  boat  scampering  along  before  the  wind  at  such 
a  rate  as  this.  My  man  crossed  himself.  I  looked  up  at 
the  old  pilot,  but  he  went  on  quietly  smoking  his  pipe 
with  his  finger  on  the  bowl  to  keep  the  ashes  from  being 
blown  away.  It  was  a  marvel  to  me  with  what  exactness 
he  touched  the  helm  just  at  the  right  instant,  for  it  seemed 
as  if  we  had  sixty  narrow  escapes  every  minute,  but  the 
old  man  did  not  stir  an  inch.  Gallantly  we  dashed,  and 
skipped,  and  bounded  along.  What  a  famous  lively  little 
boat  it  was,  yet  it  was  carved  and  gilt  and  as  pretty  as 
anything  could  be !  We  were  soon  running  down  the 
west  coast  of  Lemnos,  where  the  surf  was  lashing  the 
precipice  in  fury  with  an  angry  roar  that  resounded  far 
out  to  sea :  then  of  a  sudden  we  rounded  a  sharp  point 
and  shot  into  such  smooth  water  so  instantaneously  that 
one  could  scarcely  believe  that  the  blue  waves  of  the  Holy 
Sea,  Aytos  7T£Xayo<r,  as  the  Greeks  call  it  still,  could  be 
the  same  as  the  furious  and  frenzied  ocean  out  of  which 
we  had  darted  like  an  arrow  from  a  bow. 

We  had  a  long  row  in  the  hot  sun  along  the  sheltered 
coast  till  we  landed  at  a  rotten  wooden  pier  before  the 
chief  city  or  rather  the  dirty  village  of  the  Lemnians.  I 
had  a  letter  to  a  gentleman  who  was  sent  by  a  merchant 
of  Constantinople  to  collect  wool  upon  this  island  ;  so  to 
him  I  bent  my  way,  hooted  at  by  some  Leinnian  women, 
the  worthy  descendants  probably  of  those  fair  dames  who 
have  gained  a  disagreeable  immortality  by  murdering 
their  husbands.  Here  it  was  that  Vulcan  broke  his  leg, 
and  no  wonder,  for  a  more  barren,  rocky  place  no  one 
could  have  been  kicked  down  into.  My  friend  of  the 
woolpacks,  who  was  a  Frenchman,  was  very  kind  and 


322  MYRIADS  OF  FLEAS.  Chap.  XXIII. 

civil,  only  he  had  nothing  to  offer  me  beyond  the  hare 
house,  like  the  consul's  Jew  at  the  Dardanelles,  so  I  walked 
about  and  looked  at  nothing,  which  was  ail  there  was  to 
see,  whilst  my  servant  hired  a  little  square-rigged  brig  to 
take  me  next  day  to  Mount  Athos. 

After  dinner  I  made  inquiries  of  my  host  what  he  had 
in  the  way  of  bed.  His  answer  was  specific.  There  was 
no  bed,  no  mattress,  no  divan ;  sheets  were  unknown 
things,  and  the  wool  he  did  not  recommend.  But  at  last 
I  was  told  of  a  mattress  which  an  old  woman  next  door 
was  possessed  of,  and  which  she  sometimes  let  out  to 
strangers;  and  in  an  evil  hour  I  sent  for  it.  That 
treacherous  bed  and  its  clean  white  coverlet  will  never  be 
forgotten  by  me.  I  laid  down  upon  it  and  in  one  minute 
was  fast  asleep — the  next  I  started  up  a  perfect  Marsyas. 
Never  until  that  day  had  I  any  idea  of  what  fleas  could 
do.  So  simultaneous  and  well  conducted  was  their  attack 
that  I  was  bitten  all  over  from  top  to  toe  at  the  first 
assault.  They  evidently  were  delighted  at  the  unexpected 
change  of  diet  from  a  grim,  skinny  old  woman  to  a  well- 
fed  traveller  fresh  from  the  table  of  the  embassy.  I 
examined  the  white  coverlet — it  was  actually  brown  with 
fleas.  I  threw  away  my  clothes,  and  taking  desperate 
measures  to  get  rid  of  some  myriads  of  my  assailants,  I 
ran  out  of  the  room  and  put  on  a  dressing-gown  in  the 
outer  hall,  at  the  window  of  which  I  sat  down  to  cool 
the  fever  of  my  blood.  I  half  expected  to  see  the  fleas 
open  the  door  and  march  in  after  me,  as  the  rats  did 
after  Bishop  Hatto  on  his  island  in  the  Rhine ;  but  fortu- 
nately the  villains  did  not  venture  so  far  from  home.  The 
mattress  was,  I  am  inclined  to  believe,  entirely  stuffed  with 


fleas.  How  so  large  a  party  could  be  provided  with  regular 
meals  it  is  difficult  to  conjecture  :  they  could  not  have  had 
board  as  well  as  lodging  in  the  old  lady's  house,  or  she 
would  have  been  eat  up  long  ago ;  whatever  their  diet 
usually  was,  the  sharpness  of  their  appetites  proved  that 
they  were  in  excellent  health.  There  I  sat,  fanning  my- 
self in  the  night  air  and  bathing  my  face  and  limbs  in 
water  till  the  sun  rose,  when  with  a  doleful  countenance 
I  asked  my  way  to  a  bath.  I  found  one,  and  went  into 
the  hot  inner  room  with  nothing  on  but  a  towel  round  my 
waist,  and  one  on  my  head,  as  the  custom  is.  There  was 
no  one  else  there,  and  when  the  bath  man  came  in  he  started 
back  with  horror,  for  he  thought  I  had  got  that  most 
deadly  kind  of  plague  which  breaks  out  in  an  eruption 
and  carries  off  the  patient  in  a  few  hours.  When  it  was 
explained  to  him  how  I  had  fallen  into  the  clutches  of 
these  Lemnian  fleas,  he  proceeded  to  rub  me  and  soap  me 
according  to  the  Turkish  fashion,  and  wonderfully  sooth- 
ing and  comforting  it  was. 

As  there  was  a  rumour  of  pirates  in  these  seas,  the 
little  brig  would  not  sail  till  night,  and  I  passed  the  day 
dozing  in  the  shade  out  of  doors ;  when  evening  came  I 
crept  down  to  the  port,  went  on  board,  and  curled  myself 
up  in  the  hole  of  a  cabin  among  ropes  and  sails,  and  went 
to  sleep  at  once,  and  did  not  wake  again  till  we  arrived 
within  a  short  distance  of  the  most  magnificent  mountain 
imaginable,  rising  in  a  peak  of  white  marble  ten  thousand 
feet  straight  out  of  the  sea.  It  was  a  lovely  fresh  morn- 
ing, so  I  stood  with  half  of  my  body  out  of  the  hatchway 
enjoying  the  glorious  prospect,  and  making  my  toilette 
with  the  deck  for  a  dressing-table,  to  the  great  admiration 


of  the  Greek  crew,  who  were  a  perfect  contrast  to  my 
former  Turkish  friends,  for  they  did  nothing  but  lounge 
about  and  chatter,  and  give  orders  to  each  other,  every 
one  of  them  appearing  unwilling  to  do  his  own  share  of 
the  work. 

We  steered  for  a  tall  square  tower  which  stood  on  a 
projecting  marble  rock  above  the  calm  blue  sea  at  the 
S.E.  corner  of  the  peninsula  ;  and  rounding  a  small  cape 
we  turned  into  a  beautiful  little  port  or  harbour,  the  en- 
trance of  which  was  commanded  by  this  tower  and  by  one 
or  two  other  buildings  constructed  for  defence  at  the  foot 
of  it,  all  in  the  Byzantine  style  of  architecture.  The 
quaint  half-Eastern  half- Norman  architecture  of  the  little 
fortress,  my  outlandish  vessel,  the  brilliant  colours  of  the 
sailors'  dresses,  the  rich  vegetation  and  great  tufts  of 
flowers  which  grew  in  crevices  of  the  white  marble,  formed 
altogether  one  of  the  most  picturesque  scenes  it  was  ever 
my  good  fortune  to  behold,  and  which  I  always  remember 
with  pleasure.  We  saw  no  one,  but  about  a  mile  off 
there  was  the  great  monastery  of  St.  Laura  standing 
above  us  among  the  trees  on  the  side  of  the  mountain, 
and  this  delightful  little  bay  was,  as  the  sailors  told  us, 
the  scaricatojo  or  landing-place  for  pilgrims  who  were 
going  to  the  monastery. 

We  paid  off  the  vessel,  and  my  things  were  landed  on 
the  beach.  It  was  not  an  operation  of  much  labour,  for 
my  effects  consisted  principally  of  an  enormous  pair  of 
sn ddle-bags,  made  of  a  sort  of  carpet,  and  which  are 
called  khourges,  and  are  carried  by  the  camels  in  Arabia  ; 
but  there  was  at  present  mighty  little  in  them  :  neverthe- 
less, light  as  they  were,   their  appearance  woidd  have 

(iiiKKK    SAII.Oli. 

Chap.  XXIII.  MOUNT  ATHOS.  325 

excited  a  feeling  of  consternation  in  the  mind  of  the  most 
phlegmatic  mule.  After  a  brisk  chatter  on  the  part  of 
the  whole  crew,  who,  with  abundance  of  gesticulations, 
all  talked  at  once,  they  got  on  board,  and  towing  the 
vessel  out  by  means  of  an  exceeding  small  boat,  set  sail, 
and  left  me  and  my  man  and  the  saddle-bags  high  and 
dry  upon  the  shore.  We  were  somewhat  taken  by  sur- 
prise at  this  sudden  departure  of  our  marine,  so  we  sat 
upon  two  stones  for  a  while  to  think  about  it.  "  Well," 
said  I,  "  we  are  at  Mount  Athos ;  so  suppose  you  walk 
up  to  the  monastery,  and  get  some  mules  or  monks,  or 
something  or  other  to  carry  up  the  saddle-bags.  Tell 
them  the  celebrated  Milordos  Inglesis,  the  friend  of  the 
Universal  Patriarch,  is  arrived,  and  that  he  kindly  intends 
to  visit  their  monastery  ;  and  that  he  is  a  great  ally  of 
the  Sultan's,  and  of  all  the  captains  of  all  the  men  of 
war  that  come  down  the  Archipelago  :  and,"  added  I, 
"  make  haste  now,  and  let  us  be  up  at  the  monastery 
lest  our  friends  in  the  brig  there  should  take  it  into  their 
heads  to  come  back  and  cut  our  throats." 

Away  he  went,  and  I  and  the  saddle-bags  remained 
below.  For  some  time  I  solaced  myself  by  throwing 
stones  into  the  water,  and  then  I  walked  up  the  path  to 
look  about  me,  and  found  a  red  mulberry-tree  with  fine 
ripe  mulberries  on  it,  of  which  I  ate  a  prodigious  number 
in  order  to  pass  away  the  time.  As  I  was  studying  the 
Byzantine  tower,  I  thought  I  saw  something  peeping  out 
of  a  loophole  near  the  top  of  it,  and,  on  looking  more 
attentively,  I  saw  it  was  the  head  of  an  old  man  with  a 
long  grey  beard,  who  was  gazing  cautiously  at  me.  I 
shouted  out  at  the  top   of  my  voice,  "  Kalemera  sas. 

326  A  GENUINE  HERMIT.  Chap.  XXIII. 

ariste,  kalemera  sas  (good  day  to  you,  sir)  ;  ora  kali  sas 
(good  morning  to  you)  ;  tov  $a7z-o//,ei/3o/xEvos- ;"  he  answered 
in  return,  "  Kaios  orizete  ?"  (how  do  you  do  ?)  So  I 
went  up  to  the  tower,  passed  over  a  plank  that  served  as 
a  drawbridge  across  a  chasm,  and  at  the  door  of  a  wall 
which  surrounded  the  lower  buildings  stood  a  little  old 
monk,  the  same  who  had  been  peeping  out  of  the  loop- 
hole above.  He  took  me  into  his  castle,  where  he  seemed 
to  be  living  all  alone  in  a  Byzantine  lean-to  at  the  foot  of 
the  tower,  the  window  of  his  room  looking  over  the  port 
beneath.  This  room  had  numerous  pegs  in  the  wall,  on 
which  were  hung  dried  herbs  and  simples ;  one  or  two 
great  jars  stood  in  the  corner,  and  these  and  a  small 
divan  formed  all  his  household  furniture.  We  began  to 
talk  in  Romaic,  but  I  was  not  very  strong  in  that  lan- 
guage, and  presently  stuck  fast.  He  showed  me  over 
the  tower,  which  contained  several  groined  vaulted  rooms 
one  above  another,  all  empty.  From  the  top  there  was  a 
glorious  view  of  the  islands  and  the  sea.  Thought  I  to 
myself,  this  is  a  real,  genuine,  unsophisticated  live  her- 
mit ;  he  is  not  stuffed  like  the  hermit  at  Vauxhall,  nor 
made  up  of  beard  and  blankets  like  those  on  the  stage  ; 
he  is  a  genuine  specimen  of  an  almost  extinct  race. 
What  would  not  Walter  Scott  have  given  for  him  ?  The 
aspect  of  my  host  and  his  Byzantine  tower  savoured  so 
completely  of  the  days  of  the  twelfth  century,  that  I 
seemed  to  have  entered  another  world,  and  should  hardly 
have  been  surprised  if  a  crusader  in  chain-armour  had 
entered  the  room  and  knelt  down  before  the  hermit's 
feet.  The  poor  old  hermit  observing  me  looking  about 
at  all  his  goods  and  chattels,  got  up  on  his  divan,  and 


from  a  shelf  reached  down  a  large  rosy  apple,  which  he 
presented  to  me ;  it  was  evidently  the  best  thing  he  had, 
and  I  was  touched  when  he  gave  it  to  me.  I  took  a 
great  bite  :  it  was  very  sour  indeed  ;  but  what  was  to  be 
done  ?  I  could  not  bear  to  vex  the  old  man,  so  I  went 
on  eating  a  great  deal  of  it,  although  it  brought  the 
tears  into  my  eyes. 

We  now  heard  a  holloing  and  shouting,  which  por- 
tended the  arrival  of  the  mules,  and,  bidding  adieu  to 
the  old  hermit  of  the  tower,  I  mounted  a  mule ;  the 
others  were  lightly  loaded  with  my  effects,  and  we  scram- 
bled up  a  steep  rocky  path  through  a  thicket  of  odorife- 
rous evergreen  shrubs,  our  progress  being  assisted  by  the 
screams  and  bangs  inflicted  by  several  stout  acolytes,  a 
sort  of  lay-brethren,  who  came  down  with  the  animals 
from  the  convent. 

328  MONASTERY  OF  ST.  LAURA.  Chap.  XXIV. 


Monastery  of  St.  Laura  —  Kind  Reception  by  the  Abbot  —  Astonishment 
of  the  Monks  —  History  of  the  Monastery  —  Rules  of  the  Order  of 
St.  Basil  —  Description  of  the  Buildings  —  Curious  Pictures  of  the 
Last  Judgment  —  Early  Greek  Paintings ;  Richness  of  their  Frames 
and  Decorations  —  Ancient  Church  Plate  —  Beautiful  Reliquary  — 
The  Refectory  —  The  Abbot's  Savoury  Dish  —  The  Library  —  The 
MSS.  —  Ride  to  the  Monastery  of  Caracalla  —  Magnificent  Scenery. 

We  soon  emerged  upon  a  flat  piece  of  ground,  and  there 
before  us  stood  the  great  monastery  of 


It  appeared  like  an  ancient  fortress,  surrounded  with 
high  blank  walls,  over  the  tops  of  which  were  seen  nume- 
rous domes  and  pinnacles,  and  odd-shaped  roofs  and 
cypress-trees,  all  jumbled  together.  In  some  places  one 
of  those  projecting  windows,  which  are  called  shahneshin 
at  Constantinople,  stood  out  from  the  great  encircling 
wall  at  a  considerable  height  above  the  ground ;  and  in 
front  of  the  entrance  was  a  porch  in  the  By- 
zantine style,  consisting  of  four  marble  columns, 
supporting  a  dome ;  in  this  porch  stood  the 
agoumenos,  backed  by  a  great  many  of  the 
brethren.  My  servant  had,  doubtless,  told 
him  what  an  extraordinarily  great  personage  he  was  to 
expect,  for  he  received  me  with  great  deference ;  and 
after  the  usual  bows  and  compliments  the  dark  train  of 

Chap.  XXIV.  THE  CHURCH.  329 

Greek  monks  filed  in  through  the  outer  and  two  inner 
iron  gates,  in  a  sort  of  procession,  with  which  goodly 
company  I  proceeded  to  the  church,  which  stood  in  the 
middle  of  the  great  court-yard.  We  went  up  to  the 
screen  of  the  altar,  and  there  everybody  made  bows,  and 
said  "Kyrie  eleison,"  which  they  repeated  as  quickly 
and  in  as  high  a  key  as  they  could.  We  then  came  out 
of  the  church,  and  the  agoumcnos,  taking  me  by  the 
hand,  led  me  up  divers  dark  wooden  staircases,  until  we 
came  into  a  large  cheerful  room  well  furnished  in  the 
Turkish  style,  and  having  one  of  the  projecting  windows 
which  I  had  seen  from  the  outside.  In  this  room,  which 
the  agoumcnos  told  me  I  was  to  consider  as  my  own,  we 
had  coffee.  I  then  presented  the  letter  of  the  patriarch  ; 
he  read  it  with  great  respect,  and  said  I  was  welcome  to 
remain  in  the  monastery  as  long  as  I  liked ;  and  after 
various  compliments  given  and  received  he  left  me ;  and 
I  found  myself  comfortably  installed  in  one  of  the  grand 
— and,  as  yet,  unexplored — monasteries  of  the  famous 
sanctuary  of  Mount  Athos  :  better  known  in  the  Levant 
by  the  appellation  of  Ay iov  O$os,  or,  as  the  Italian  hath 
it,  Monte  Santo. 

Before  long  I  received  visits  from  divers  holy  brethren, 
being  those  who  held  offices  in  the  monastery  under  my 
lord  the  agoumenos,  and  there  was  no  end  to  the  civilities 
which  passed  between  us.  At  last  they  all  departed,  and 
towards  evening  I  went  out  and  walked  about ;  those 
monks  whom  I  met  either  opening  their  eyes  and  mouths, 
and  standing  still,  or  else  bowing  profoundly  and  going 
through  the  whole  series  of  gesticulations  which  are 
practised  towards  persons  of  superior  rank ;  for  the  poor 


monks  never  having  seen  a  stranger  before,  or  at  least  a 
Frank,  did  not  know  what  to  make  of  me,  and  according 
to  their  various  degrees  of  intellect  treated  me  with  re- 
spect or  astonishment.  But  Greek  monks  are  not  so 
ill-mannered  as  an  English  mob,  and  therefore  they  did 
not  run  after  me,  but  only  stared  and  crossed  themselves 
as  the  unknown  animal  passed  by. 

I  will  now,  from  the  information  I  received  from  the 
monks  and  my  own  observation,  give  the  best  account  I 
can  of  this  extensive  and  curious  monastery.  It  was 
founded  by  an  Emperor  Nicephorus,  but  what  particular 
Nicephorus  he  was  nobody  knew.  Nicephorus,  the  trea- 
surer, got  into  trouble  with  Charlemagne  on  one  side, 
and  Ilaroun  al  Raschid  on  the  other,  and  was  killed  by 
the  Bulgarians  in  811.  Nicephorus  Phocas  was  a  great 
captain,  a  mighty  man  of  valour  ;  who  fought  with  every- 
body, and  frightened  the  Caliph  at  the  gates  of  Bagdad, 
but  did  good  to  no  one  ;  and  at  length  became  so  dis- 
agreeable that  his  wife  had  him  murdered  in  969.  Nice- 
phorus Botoniates,  by  the  help  of  Alexius  Comnenus, 
caught  and  put  out  the  eyes  of  his  rival  Nicephorus 
Bryennius,  whose  son  married  that  celebrated  blue- 
stocking Anna  Comnena.  However,  Nicephorus  Boto- 
niates having  quarrelled  with  Alexius  Comnenus,  that 
great  man  kicked  him  out  and  reigned  in  his  stead,  and 
Botoniates  took  refuge  in  this  monastery,  which,  as  I 
make  out,  he  had  founded  some  time  before.  He  came 
here  about  the  year  1081,  and  took  the  vows  of  a  kalo- 
yeros  or  Greek  monk. 

This  word  kaloyeros  means  a  good  old  man.  All  the 
monks  of  Mount  Athos  follow  the  rule  of  St.  Basil :  in- 

Chap.  XXIV.        RULES  OF  THE  ORDER  OF  ST.  BASIL. 


deed,  all  Greek  monks  arc  of  this  order.  They  are 
ascetics,  and  their  discipline  is  most  severe  :  they  never 
eat  meat,  fish  they  have  on  feast-days ;  hut  on  fast-  days, 
which  are  above  a  hundred  in  the  year, 
they  are  not  allowed  any  animal  substance 
or  even  oil ;  their  prayers  occupy  eight 
hours  in  the  day,  and  about  two  during  the 
night,  so  that  they  never  enjoy  a  real  night's 
rest.  They  never  sit  down  during  prayer, 
but  as  the  services  are  of  extreme  length 
they  are  allowed  to  rest  their  arms  on  the 
elbows  of  a  sort  of  stalls  without  seats, 
which  are  found  in  all  Greek  churches,  and 
at  other  times  they  lean  on  a  crutch.  A 
crutch  of  this  kind,  of  silver,  richly  orna- 
mented, forms  the  patriarchal  staff:  it  is 
called  the  patritza,  and  answers  to  the  cro- 
sier of  the  Roman  bishops.  Bells  are  not 
used  to  call  the  fraternity  to  prayers,  but' 
a  long  piece  of  board,  suspended  by  two 
strings,  is  struck  with  a  mallet.  Some-  vvrpwa.. 
times,  instead  of  the  wrooden  board,  a  piece  of  iron,  like 
part  of  the  tire  of  a  wheel,  is  used  for  this  purpose. 
Bells  are  rung  only  on  occasions  of  rejoicing,  or  to  show 
respect  to  some  great  personage,  and  on  the  great  feasts 
of  the  church. 

The  accompanying  sketches  will  explain  the  forms  of 
the  patriarchal  staff,  the  board,  and  the  iron  bar.  The 
latter  are  called  in  Romaic  wixxvlpos,  a  word  derived  from 
ar)iJioc<7oy.Tou/xat,  to  gather  together. 

According  to  Johannes  Comnenus,  who  visited  Mount 



TOK/xaK,  a  hammer,  in  Turkish. 

Athos  in  1701,  and  whose  works  are  quoted  in  Mont- 
faucon,  '  Paleographia  Grseca,'  page  452,  St.  Laura  was 
founded  by  Nicephorus  Phocas,  and  restored  by  Nea- 
gulus,  Waywode  of  Bessarabia.  The  buildings  consist 
of  a  thick  and  lofty  wall  of  stone,  which  encompasses  an 
irregular  space  of  ground  of  between  three  and  four 
acres  in  extent ;  there  is  only  one  entrance,  a  crooked 
passage  defended  by  three  separate  iron  doors ;  the  front 
of  the  building  on  the  side  of  the  entrance  extends  about 
five  hundred  feet.  There  is  no  attempt  at  external 
architecture,  but  only  this  plain  wall ;  the  few  windows 
which  look  out  from  it  belong  to  rooms  which  are  built  of 
wood  and  project  over  the  top  of  the  wall,  being  sup- 
ported upon  strong  beams  like  brackets.  At  the  south- 
west corner  of  the  building  there  is  a  large  square  tower, 
which  formerly  contained  a  printing  press  ;  but  this  press 
was  destroyed  by  the  Turkish  soldiers  during  the  late 
Greek  revolution  ;  and  at  the  same  time  they  carried  off 
certain  old  cannons,  which  stood  upon  the  battlements, 
but  which  were  more  for  show  than  use,  for  the  monks 


had  never  once  ventured  to  fire  them  off  during  the  long 
period  they  had  been  there ;  and  my  question,  as  to  when 
they  were  brought  there  originally,  was  answered  by  the 
universal  and  regular  answer  of  the  Levant,  "  ti  t'^svpo 
(pronounced  exeuro) — chi  sa  ? — who  knows  ?"     The  in- 
terior of  the  monastery  consists  of  several  small  courts 
and  two  large   open  spaces  surrounded  with  buildings, 
which  have  open  galleries  of  wood  or  stone  before  them, 
by  means  of  which  entrance  is  gained  into  the  various 
apartments,  which  now  afford  lodging  for  one  hundred 
and  twenty  monks,  and  there  is  room  for  many  more. 
These  two  large  courts  are  built  without  any  regularity, 
but  their  architecture  is  exceedingly  curious,  and  in  its 
style  closely  resembles  the  buildings  erected  in  Constan- 
tinople between  the  fifth  and  the  twelfth  century  :  a  sort 
of  Byzantine,  of  which  St.  Marc's  in  Venice  is  the  finest 
specimen  in  Europe.     It  bears  some  affinity  to  the  Lom- 
bardic  or  Romanesque,  only  it  is  more  Oriental  in  its 
style ;  the  chapel  of  the   ancient  palace  of  Palermo  is 
more  in  the   style  of  the  buildings  on  Mount  Athos  than 
anything  else  in  Christendom  that  I  remember ;  but  the 
ceilings  of  that  chapel  are  regularly  arabesque,  whereas 
those   on    Mount   Athos   are  flat    with   painted    beams, 
like    the    Italian    basilicas,   excepting    where    they   are 
arched  or  domed ;  and  in  those  cases  there  is  little  or 
no   mosaic,   but  only  coarse   paintings    in  fresco  repre- 
senting saints  in  the  conventional  Greek  style  of  super- 
lative ugliness. 

In  the  centre  of  each  of  these  two  large  courts  stands 
a  church  of  moderate  size,  each  of  which  has  a  porch 
with  thin  marble  columns  before  the  door :  the  interior 


walls  of  the  porches  are  covered  with  paintings  of  saints 
and  also  of  the  Last  Judgment,  which,  indeed,  is  con- 
stantly seen  in  the  porch  of  every  church.  In  these 
pictures,  which  are  often  of  immense  size,  the  artists 
evidently  took  much  more  pains  to  represent  the  un- 
couthness  of  the  devils  than  the  beauty  of  the  angels, 
who,  in  all  these  ancient  frescos,  arc  a  very  hard-favoured 
set.  The  chief  devil  is  very  big ;  he  is  the  hero  of  the 
scene,  and  is  always  marvellously  hideous,  with  a  great 
mouth  and  long  teeth,  with  which  he  is  usually  gnawing- 
two  or  three  sinners,  who,  to  judge  from  the  expression 
of  his  face,  must  be  very  nauseous  articles  of  food.  He 
stands  up  to  his  middle  in  a  red  pool  which  is  intended 
for  fire,  and  wherein  numerous  little  sinners  are  disport- 
ing themselves  like  fish  in  all  sorts  of  attitudes,  but  with- 
out looking  at  all  alarmed  or  unhappy.  On  one  side  of 
the  picture  an  angel  is  weighing  a  few  in  a  pair  of  scales, 
and  others  are  capering  about  in  company  with  some 
smaller  devils,  who  evidently  lead  a  merry  life  of  it. 
The  souls  of  the  blessed  are  seated  in  a  row  on  a  long 
hard  bench  very  high  up  in  the  picture ;  these  are  all  old 
men  with  beards ;  some  are  covered  with  hair,  others 
richly  clothed,  anchorites  and  princes  being  the  only  per- 
sons elevated  to  the  bench.  They  have  good  stout  glories 
round  their  heads,  which  in  rich  churches  are  gilt,  and 
in  the  poorer  ones  are  painted  yellow,  and  look  like  large 
straw  hats.  These  personages  are  severe  and  grim  of 
countenance,  and  look  by  no  means  comfortable  or  at 
home ;  they  each  hold  a  large  book,  and  give  you  the 
idea  that  except  for  the  honour  of  the  thing  they  would 
be  much  happier  in  company  with  the  wicked  little  sin- 
ners and  merry  imps  in  the  crimson  lake  below.     This 


picture  of  the  Last  Judgment  is  as  much  conventional  as 
the  portraits  of  the  saints  ;  it  is  almost  always  the  same, 
and  a  correct  representation  of  a  part  of  it  is  to  be  seen 
in  the  last  print  of  the  rare  volume  of  the  Monte  Santo 
di  Dio,  which  contains  the  three  earliest  engravings 
known  :  it  would  almost  appear  that  the  print  must  have 
been  copied  from  one  of  these  ancient  Greek  frescos.  It 
is  difficult  to  conceive  how  any  one,  even  in  the  dark 
ages,  can  have  been  simple  enough  to  look  upon  these 
quaint  and  absurd  paintings  with  feelings  of  religious 
awe  ;  but  some  of  the  monks  of  the  Holy  Mountain  do 
so  even  now,  and  were  evidently  scandalized  when  they 
saw  me  smile.  This  is,  however,  only  one  of  the  num- 
berless instances  in  which,  owing  to  the  differences  of 
education  and  circumstances,  men  look  upon  the  same 
thing  with  awe  or  pity,  with  ridicule  or  veneration.* 

The  interior  of  the  principal  church  in   this  monastery 
is  interesting  from  the  number  of  early  Greek  pictures 

*  Ridiculous  as  these  pictorial  representations  of  the  Last  Judgment 
appear  to  us,  one  of  them  was  the  cause  of  a  whole  nation's  embracing 
Christianity.  Bogoris,  king  of  Bulgaria,  having  written  to  Constanti- 
nople for  a  painter  to  decorate  the  walls  of  his  palace,  a  monk  named 
Methodius  was  sent  to  him— all  knowledge  of  the  arts  in  those  days 
being  confined  to  the  clergy.  The  king  desired  Methodius  to  paint  on  a 
certain  wall  the  most  terrible  picture  that  he  could  imagine;  and,  by  the 
advice  of  the  king's  sister,  who  had  embraced  Christianity  some  years 
before  whilst  in  captivity  at  Constantinople,  the  monastic  artist  produced 
so  fearful  a  representation  of  the  torments  of  the  condemned  in  the  next 
world,  that  it  had  the  effect  of  converting  Bogoris  to  the  Christian  faith. 
In  consequence  of  this  event  the  Patriarch  of  Constantinople  despatched 
a  bishop  to  Bulgaria,  who  baptized  the  king  by  the  name  of  Michael  in 
the  year  805.  Before  long  his  loyal  subjects,  following  the  example  of 
their  sovereign,  were  converted  also;  and  Christianity  from  that  period 
became  the  religion  of  the  land. 

Sec  '  Art  de  verifier  les  Dates' — History  of  Bulgaria. 


which  it  contains,  and  which  are  hung  on  the  walls  of 
the  apsis  behind  the  altar.  They  are  almost  all  in  silver 
frames,  and  are  painted  on  wood ;  most  of  them  are 
small,  being  not  more  than  one  or  two  feet  square  ;  the 
back-ground  of  all  of  them  is  gilt ;  and  in  many  of  them 
this  back-ground  is  formed  of  plates  of  silver  or  gold. 
One  small  painting  is  ascribed  to  St.  Luke,  and  several 
have  the  frames  set  with  jewels,  and  are  of  great  anti- 
quity. In  front  of  the  altar,  and  suspended  from  the  two 
columns  nearest  to  the  imma-raais — the  screen  which,  like 
the  veil  of  the  temple,  conceals  the  holy  of  holies  from 
the  gaze  of  the  profane — are  two  pictures  larger  than  the 
rest :  the  one  represents  our  Saviour,  the  other  the  Blessed 
Virgin.  Except  the  faces  they  are  entirely  covered  over 
with  plates  of  silver-gilt ;  and  the  whole  of  both  pictures, 
as  well  as  their  frames,  is  richly  ornamented  with  a  kind 
of  coarse  golden  filigree,  set  with  large  turquoises,  agates, 
and  cornelians.  These  very  curious  productions  of  early 
art  were  presented  to  the  monastery  by  the  Emperor 
Andronicus  Paleologus,  whose  portrait,  with  that  of  his 
Empress,  is  represented  on  the  silver  frame.  ' 

The  floor  of  this  church,  and  of  the  one  which  stands 
in  the  centre  of  the  other  court,  is  paved  with  rich 
coloured  marbles.  The  relics  are  preserved  in  that 
division  of  the  church  which  is  behind  the  altar  ;  their 
number  and  value  is  much  less  than  formerly,  as  during 
the  revolution,  when  the  Holy  Mountain  was  under  the 
rule  of  Aboulabout  Pasha,  lie  squeezed  all  he  eould  out 
of  the  monks  of  this  and  all  the  other  monasteries. 
However,  as  no  Turk  is  a  match  for  a  Greek,  they  ma- 
naged to  preserve  a  great  deal  of  ancient  church  plate, 


some  of  which  dates  as  far  back  as  the  days  of  the  Roman 
emperors,  for  few  of  the  Christian  successors  of  Constan- 
tine  failed  to  offer  some  little  bribe  to  the  saints  in  order 
to  obtain  pardon  for  the  desperate  manner  in  which  they 
passed  their  lives.  Some  of  these  pieces  of  plate  are 
well  worthy  the  attention  of  antiquarians,  being  probably 
the  most  ancient  specimens  of  art  in  goldsmith's  work 
now  extant ;  and  as  they  have  remained  in  the  several 
monasteries  ever  since  the  piety  of  their  donors  first  sent 
them  there,  their  authenticity  cannot  be  questioned,  be- 
sides which  many  of  them  are  extremely  magnificent  and 

The  most  valuable  reliquary  of  St.  Laura  is  a  kind  of 
triptic,  about  eighteen  inches  high,  of  pure  gold,  a  present 
from  the  Emperor  Nicephorus,  the  founder  of  the  abbey. 
The  front  represents  a  pair  of  folding-doors,  each  set 
with  a  double  row  of  diamonds  (the  most  ancient  speci- 
mens of  this  stone  that  I  have  seen),  emeralds,  pearls, 
and  rubies  as  large  as  sixpences.  When  the  doors  are 
opened  a  large  piece  of  the  holy  cross,  splendidly  set 
with  jewels,  is  displayed  in  the  centre,  and  the  insides  of 
the  two  doors  and  the  whole  surface  of  the  reliquary  are 
covered  with  engraved  figures  of  the  saints  stuck  full  of 
precious  stones.  This  beautiful  shrine  is  of  Byzantine 
workmanship,  and,  in  its  way,  is  a  superb  work  of  art. 

The  refectory  of  the  monastery  is  a  large  square  build- 
ing, but  the  dining-room  which  it  contains  is  in  the  form 
of  a  cross,  about  one  hundred  feet  in  length  each  way ; 
the  walls  are  decorated  with  fresco  pictures  of  the  saints, 
who  vie  with  each  other  in  the  hard-favoured  aspect  of 
their  bearded  faces  ;  they  are  tall  and  meagre  full-length 



figures  as  large  as  life,  each  having  his  name  inscribed  on 
the  picture.  Their  chief  interest  is  in  their  accurate  re- 
presentation of  the  clerical  costume.  The  dining-tables, 
twenty-four  in  number,  are  so  many  solid  blocks  of  ma- 
sonry, with  heavy  slabs  of  marble  on  the  top  ;  they  are 
nearly  semicircular  in  shape,  with  the  flat  side  away  from 
the  wall  ;  a  wide  marble  bench  runs  round  the  circular 
part  of  them  in  this  form.  A  row  of 
these  tables  extend  down  each  side  of 
the  hall,  and  at  the  upper  end  in  a 
semicircular  recess  is  a  high  table  for 
the  superior,  who  only  dines  here  on 
great  occasions.  The  refectory  being  square  on  the  out- 
side, the  intermediate  spaces  between  the  arms  of  the 
cross  are  occupied  by  the  bakehouse,  and  the  wine,  oil, 
and  spirit  cellars ;  for  although  the  monks  eat  no  meat, 
they  drink  famously ;  and  the  good  St.  Basil  having 
flourished  long  before  the  age  of  Paracelsus,  inserted 
nothing  in  his  rules  against  the  use  of  ardent  spirits, 
whereof  the  monks  imbibe  a  considerable  quantity,  chiefly 
bad  arrack  ;  but  it  does  not  seem  to  do  them  any  harm, 
and  I  never  heard  of  their  overstepping  the  bounds  of 
sobriety.  Besides  the  two  churches  in  the  great  courts, 
which  are  shaded  by  ancient  cypresses,  there  are  twenty 
smaller  chapels,  distributed  over  different  parts  of  the 
monastery,  in  which  prayers  are  said  on  certain  days. 
The  monks  are  now  in  a  more  flourishing  condition  than 
they  have  been  for  some  years  ;  and  as  they  trust  to  the 
continuance  of  peace  and  order  in  the  dominions  of  the 
Sultan,  they  arc  beginning  to  repair  the  injuries  they 
suffered  during  the  revolution,  and  there  is  altogether 

Chap.  XXIV.        NO  FEMALES  ON  MOUNT  ATHOS.  339 

an  air  of  improvement  and  opulence  throughout  the 

I  wandered  over  the  courts  and  galleries  and  chapels 
of  this  immense  building  in  every  direction,  asking  ques- 
tions respecting  those  things  which  I  did  not  understand, 
and  receiving  the  kindest  and  most  civil  attention  from 
every  one.  In  front  of  the  door  of  the  largest  church  a 
dome,  curiously  painted  and  gilt  in  the  interior,  and 
supported  by  four  columns,  protects  a  fine  marble  vase 
ten  feet  in  diameter,  with  a  fountain  in  it ;  in  this  mag- 
nificent basin  the  holy  water  is  consecrated  with  great 
ceremony  on  the  feast  of  the  Epiphany.* 

I  was  informed  that  no  female  animal  of  any  sort  or 
kind  is  admitted  on  any  part  of  the  peninsula  of  Mount 
Athos ;  and  that  since  the  days  of  Constantine  the  soil  of 
the  Holy  Mountain  had  never  been  contaminated  by  the 
tread  of  a  woman's  foot.  That  this  rigid  law  is  infringed 
by  certain  small  and  active  creatures  who  have  the  auda- 
city to  bring  their  wives  and  large  families  within  the 
very  precincts  of  the  monastery  I  soon  discovered  to  my 
sorrow,  and  heartily  regretted  that  the  stern  monastic 
law  was  not  more  rigidly  enforced  ;  nevertheless,  I  slept 
well  on  my  divan,  and  the  next  morning  at  sunrise  received 
a  visit  from  the  agoumenos,  who  came  to  wish  me  good 

*  In  the  early  ages  of  the  Greek  Church  the  Epiphany  was  a  day  of 
very  great  solemnity ;  for  not  only  was  the  adoration  of  the  Magi  cele- 
brated on  the  6th  of  January,  but  also  the  changing  of  the  water  into 
wine  at  the  marriage  at  Cana,  the  baptism,  and  even  the  birth  of  our 
Lord.  On  this  day  the  holy  water  is  blessed  in  the  Greek  Church  by 
throwing  a  small  cross  into  it,  or  otherwise  hy  holding  over  it  the  cross, 
with  a  handle  attached  to  it,  which  is  used  by  the  Greek  clergy  in  the  act 
of  benediction. 

Q  2 

340  A  SAVOURY  MESS.  Chap.  XXIV. 

day.  After  some  conversation  on  other  matters,  I  inquired 
about  the  library,  and  asked  permission  to  view  its  con- 
tents. The  agoumenos  declared  his  willingness  to  show 
me  everything  that  the  monastery  contained.  "But  first," 
said  he,  "  I  wish  to  present  you  with  something  excellent 
for  your  breakfast ;  and  from  the  special  good  will  that  I 
bear  towards  so  distinguished  a  guest  I  shall  prepare  it 
with  my  own  hands,  and  will  stay  to  see  you  eat  it ;  for 
it  is  really  an  admirable  dish,  and  one  not  presented  to 
all  persons/'  "  Well,"  thought  I,  "  a  good  breakfast  is 
not  a  bad  thing ;"  and  the  fresh  mountain-air  and  the 
good  night's  rest  had  given  me  an  appetite  ;  so  I  expressed 
my  thanks  for  the  kind  hospitality  of  my  lord  abbot,  and 
he,  sitting  down  opposite  to  me  on  the  divan,  proceeded 
to  prepare  his  dish.  "  This,"  said  he,  producing  a  shal- 
low basin  half-full  of  a  white  paste,  "  is  the  principal  and 
most  savoury  part  of  this  famous  dish  ;  it  is  composed  of 
cloves  of  garlic,  pounded  down,  with  a  certain  quantity 
of  sugar.  With  it  I  will  now  mix  the  oil  in  just  propor- 
tions, some  shreds  of  fine  cheese  [it  seemed  to  be  of  the 
white  acid  kind,  which  resembles  what  ,is  called  caccia 
cavallo  in  the  south  of  Italy,  and  which  almost  takes  the 
skin  off  your  fingers,  I  believe]  and  sundry  other  nice 
little  condiments,  and  now  it  is  completed  !"  He  stirred 
the  savoury  mess  round  and  round  with  a  large  wooden 
spoon  until  it  sent  forth  over  room  and  passage  and  cell, 
over  hill  and  valley,  an  aroma  which  is  not  to  be  de- 
scribed. "  Now,"  said  the  agoumenos,  crumbling  some 
bread  into  it  with  his  large  and  somewhat  dirty  hands, 
"  this  is  a  dish  for  an  emperor !  Eat,  my  friend,  my 
much-respected  guest :  do  not  be  shy.     Eat ;  and  when 

Chap.  XXIV.  A  DREADFUL  SCRAPE.  341 

you  have  finished  the  howl  you  shall  go  into  the  library 
and  anywhere  else  you  like  ;  but  you  shall  go  nowhere 
till  I  have  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you  do  justice  to 
this  delicious  food,  which,  I  can  assure  you,  you  will  not 
meet  with  everywhere." 

I  was  sorely  troubled  in  spirit.  Who  could  have  ex- 
pected so  dreadful  a  martyrdom  as  this  ?  The  sour  apple 
of  the  hermit  down  below  was  nothing — a  trifle  in  com- 
parison !  Was  ever  an  unfortunate  bibliomaniac  dosed 
with  such  a  medicine  before  ?  It  would  have  been  enough 
to  have  cured  the  whole  Roxburghe  Club  from  meddling 
with  libraries  and  books  for  ever  and  ever.  I  made  every 
endeavour  to  escape  this  honour.  "  My  Lord,"  said  I, 
"  it  is  a  fast ;  I  cannot  this  morning  do  justice  to  this  de- 
licious viand  ;  it  is  a  fast ;  I  am  under  a  vow.  English- 
men must  not  eat  that  dish  in  this  month.  It  would  be 
wrong  ;  my  conscience  won't  permit  it,  though  the  odour 
certainly  is  most  wonderful  !  Truly  an  astonishing 
savour  !  Let  me  see  you  eat  it,  O  agoumenos !"  con- 
tinued I  ;  "  for  behold,  I  am  unworthy  of  anything  so 
good."  "  Excellent  and  virtuous  young  man  !"  said  the 
agoumenos,  "  no,  I  will  not  eat  it.  I  will  not  deprive 
you  of  this  treat.  Eat  it  in  peace ;  for  know,  that  to 
travellers  all  such  vows  are  set  aside.  On  a  journey  it  is 
permitted  to  eat  all  that  is  set  before  you,  unless  it  is 
meat  that  is  offered  to  idols.  I  admire  your  scruples : 
but  be  not  afraid,  it  is  lawful.  Take  it,  my  honoured 
friend,  and  eat  it :  eat  it  all,  and  then  we  will  go  into  the 
library."  lie  put  the  bowl  into  one  of  my  hands  and  the 
great  wooden  spoon  into  the  other  :  and  in  desperation  I 
took  a  gulp,  the  recollection  of  which  still  makes  me 

342  MONASTERY  OF  ST.  LAURA.  Chap.  XXIV. 

tremble.  What  was  to  be  done  ?  Another  mouthful 
was  an  impossibility  :  not  all  my  ardour  in  the  pursuit  of 
manuscripts  could  give  me  the  necessary  courage.  I  was 
overcome  with  sorrow  and  despair.  My  servant  saved  me 
at  last ;  he  said  "  that  English  gentlemen  never  ate  such 
rich  dishes  for  breakfast,  from  religious  feelings,  he  be- 
lieved ;  but  he  requested  that  it  might  be  put  by,  and  he 
was  sure  I  should  like  it  very  much  later  in  the  day." 
The  agoumenos  looked  vexed,  but  he  applauded  my  prin- 
ciples ;  and  just  then  the  board  sounded  for  church.  "  I 
must  be  off.  excellent  and  worthy  English  lord,"  said  he  ; 
"  I  will  take  you  to  the  library,  and  leave  you  the  key. 
Excuse  my  attendance  on  you  there,  for  my  presence  is 
required  in  the  church."  So  I  got  off  better  than  I  ex- 
pected ;  but  the  taste  of  that  ladleful  stuck  to  me  for  days. 
I  followed  the  good  agoumenos  to  the  library,  where  he 
left  me  to  my  own  devices. 

The  library  is  contained  in  two  small  rooms  looking  into 
a  narrow  court,  which  is  situated  to  the  left  of  the  great 
court  of  entrance.  One  room  leads  to  the  other,  and  the 
books  are  disposed  on  shelves  in  tolerable  order,  but  the 
dust  on  their  venerable  heads  had  not  been  disturbed  for 
many  years,  and  it  took  me  some  time  to  make  out  what 
they  were,  for  in  old  Greek  libraries  few  volumes  have 
any  title  written  on  the  back.  I  made  out  that  there 
were  in  all  about  five  thousand  volumes,  a  very  large  col- 
lection, of  which  about  four  thousand  were  printed  books  ; 
these  were  mostly  divinity,  but  among  them  there  were 
several  fine  Aldine  classics  and  the  editio  princeps  of  the 
Anthologia  in  capital  letters. 

The  nine  hundred  manuscripts  consisted  of  six  hundred 

Chap.  XXIV.  THE  LIBRARY.  343 

volumes  written  upon  paper  and  three  hundred  on  vellum. 
With  the  exception  of  four  volumes,  the  former  were  all 
divinity,  principally  liturgies  and  books  of  prayer.  Those 
four  volumes  were  Homer's  '  Iliad  '  and  Hesiod,  neither 
of  which  were  very  old,  and  two  curious  and  rather  early 
manuscripts  on  botany,  full  of  rudely  drawn  figures  of 
herbs.  These  were  probably  the  works  of  Dioscorides ; 
they  were  not  in  good  condition,  having  been  much 
studied  by  the  monks  in  former  days :  they  were  large, 
thick  quartos.  Among  the  three  hundred  manuscripts 
on  vellum  there  were  many  large  folios  of  the  works  of 
St.  Chrysostom  and  other  Greek  fathers  of  the  church  of 
the  eleventh  and  twelfth  centuries,  and  about  fifty  copies 
of  the  Gospels  and  the  Evangelistarium  of  nearly  the 
same  age.  One  Evangelistarium  was  in  fine  uncial  * 
letters  of  the  ninth  century  ;  it  was  a  thick  quarto,  and 
on  the  first  leaf  was  an  illumination  the  whole  size  of  the 
page  on  a  gold  background,  representing  the  donor  of  the 
book  accompanied  by  his  wife.  This  ancient  portrait  was 
covered  over  with  a  piece  of  gauze.  It  was  a  very  re- 
markable manuscript.  There  were  one  quarto  and  one 
duodecimo  of  the  Acts,  Epistles,  and  Apocalypse  of  the 
eleventh  century,  and  one  folio  of  the  book  of  Job,  which 
had  several  miniatures  in  it  badly  executed  in  brilliant 
colours  ;  this  was  probably  of  the  twelfth  century.  These 
three  manuscripts  were  such  volumes  as  are  not  often  seen 
in  European  libraries.  All  the  rest  were  anthologia  and 
books  of  prayer,  nor  did  I  meet  with  one  single  leaf  of  a 
classic  author  on  vellum.     I  went  into  the  library  several 

*  Initial  or  capital  letters.    All  early  MSS.  are  written  in  uncial  letters, 
without  any  divisions  or  stops  between  the  words. 

344  LEAVE  ST.  LAURA.  Chnp.  XXIV. 

times,  and  looked  over  all  the  vellum  manuscripts  very 
carefully,  and  I  believe  that  I  did  not  pass  by  unnoticed 
anything  which  was  particularly  interesting  in  point  of 
subject,  antiquity,  or  illumination.  Several  of  the  copies 
of  the  Gospels  had  their  titles  ornamented  with  ara- 
besques, but  none  struck  me  as  being  peculiarly  valuable. 

The  twenty-one  monasteries  of  Mount  Athos  are  sub- 
jected to  different  regulations.  In  some  the  property  is 
at  the  absolute  disposal  of  the  agoumenos  for  the  time 
being,  but  in  the  larger  establishments  (and  St.  Laura  is 
the  second  in  point  of  consequence)  everything  belongs  to 
the  monks  in  common.  Such  being  the  case,  it  was 
hopeless  to  expect,  in  so  large  a  community,  that  the 
brethren  should  agree  to  part  with  any  of  their  valuables. 
Indeed,  as  soon  as  I  found  out  how  affairs  stood  within 
the  walls  of  St.  Laura,  I  did  not  attempt  to  purchase 
anything,  as  it  was  not  advisable  to  excite  the  curiosity 
of  the  monks  upon  the  subject ;  nor  did  I  wish  that  the 
report  should  be  circulated  in  the  other  convents  that  I 
was  come  to  Mount  Athos  for  the  purpose  of  rifling  their 

I  remained  at  St.  Laura  three  days,  and  on  a  beautiful 
fresh  morning,  being  provided  by  the  monks  with  mules 
and  a  guide,  I  left  the  good  agoumenos  and  sallied  forth 
through  the  three  iron  gates  on  my  way  to  the  monastery 
of  Caracalla.  Our  road  lay  through  some  of  the  most 
beautiful  scenery  imaginable.  The  dark  blue  sea  was  on 
my  right  at  about  two  miles  distance  ;  the  rocky  path 
over  which  I  passed  was  of  white  alabaster  with  brown 
and  yellow  veins  ;  odoriferous  evergreen  shrubs  were  all 
around  me ;  and  on  my  left  were  the  lofty  hills  covered 


with  a  dense  forest  of  gigantic  trees,  which  extended  to 
the  base  of  the  great  white  marble  peak  of  the  mountain. 
Between  our  path  and  the  sea  there  was  a  succession  of 
narrow  valleys  and  gorges,  each  one  more  picturesque 
than  the  other ;  sometimes  we  were  enclosed  by  high  and 
dense  bushes ;  sometimes  we  opened  upon  forest  glades, 
and  every  here  and  there  we  came  upon  long  and  narrow 
ledges  of  rock.  On  one  of  the  narrowest  and  loftiest  of 
these,  as  I  was  trotting  merrily  along,  thinking  of  nothing 
but  the  beauty  of  the  hour  and  the  scene,  my  mule 
stopped  short  in  a  place  where  the  path  was  about  a  foot 
wide,  and,  standing  upon  three  legs,  proceeded  delibe- 
rately to  scratch  his  nose  with  the  fourth.  I  was  too  old 
a  mountain  traveller  to  have  hold  of  the  bridle,  which  was 
safely  belayed  to  the  pack-saddle ;  I  sat  still  for  fear  of 
making  him  lose  his  balance,  and  waited  in  very  consider- 
able trepidation  until  the  mule  had  done  scratching  his 
nose.  I  was  at  the  time  half  inclined  to  think  that  he 
knew  he  had  a  heretic  upon  his  back,  and  had  made  up 
his  mind  to  send  me  and  himself  smashing  down  among 
the  distant  rocks.  If  so,  however,  he  thought  better  of  it, 
and  before  long,  to  my  great  contentment,  we  came  to  a 
place  where  the  road  had  two  sides  to  it  instead  of  one, 
and  after  a  ride  of  five  hours  we  arrived  before  the  tall 
square  tower  which  frowns  over  the  gateway  of  the 
monastery  of  Caracalla. 

q  3 



The  Monastery  of  Caracalla  —  Its  beautiful  Situation  —  Hospitable  Re- 
ception —  Description  of  the  Monastery  —  Legend  of  its  Foundation 
—  The  Church  —  Fine  Specimens  of  Ancient  Jewellery  —  The  Library 
■ —  The  Value  attached  to  the  Books  by  the  Abbot  —  He  agrees  to  sell 
some  of  the  MSS.  —  Monastery  of  Philotheo  —  The  Great  Monastery 
of  Iveron  —  History  of  its  Foundation  —  Its  Magnificent  Library  — 
Ignorance  of  the  Monks  —  Superb  MSS.  —  The  Monks  refuse  to  part 
with  any  of  the  MSS.  —  Beauty  of  the  Scenery  of  Mount  Athos. 

The  monastery  of  Caracalla  is  not  so  large  as  St. 
Laura,  and  in  many  points  resembles  an  ancient  Gothic 
castle.  It  is  beautifully  situated  on  a  promontory  of 
rock  two  miles  from  the  sea,  and  viewed  from  the  lofty 
ground  by  which  we  approached  it,  the  buildings  had  a 
most  striking  effect,  with  the  dark  blue  sea  for  a  back- 
ground and  the  lofty  rock  of  Samotraki  looming  in  the 
distance,  whilst  the  still  more  remote  mountains  of  Rou- 
melia  closed  in  the  picture.  As  for  the  island  of  Samo- 
traki, it  must  have  been  created  solely  for  the  benefit  of 
artists  and  admirers  of  the  picturesque,  for  it  is  fit  for 
nothing  else.  It  is  high  and  barren,  a  congeries  of 
gigantic  precipices  and  ridges.  I  suppose  one  can  land 
upon  it  somewhere,  for  people  live  on  it  who  are  said  to 
be  arrant  pirates ;  but  as  one  passes  by  it  at  sea,  its  in- 
terminable ribs  of  grey  rock,  with  the  waves  lashing 
against  them,  are  dreary-looking  in  the  extreme ;  and 
it  is  only  when  far  distant  that  it  becomes  a  beautiful 


I  sent  in  my  servant  as  ambassador  to  explain  that  the 
first  cousin,  once  removed,  of  the  Emperor  of  all  the 
Franks  was  at  the  gate,  and  to  show  the  letter  of  the 
Greek  patriarch.  Incontinently  the  agoumenos  made 
his  appearance  at  the  porch  with  many  expressions  of 
welcome  and  goodwill.  I  believe  it  was  longer  than  the 
days  of  his  life  since  a  Frank  had  entered  the  convent, 
and  I  doubt  whether  he  had  ever  seen  one  before,  for  he 
looked  so  disappointed  when  he  found  that  I  had  no  tail 
or  horns,  and  barring  his  glorious  long  beard,  that  I  was 
so  little  different  from  himself.  We  made  many  speeches 
to  each  other,  he  in  heathen  Greek  and  I  in  English, 
seasoned  with  innumerable  bows,  gesticulations,  and 
temenahs  ;  after  which  I  jumped  off  my  mule  and  we 
entered  the  precincts  of  the  monastery,  attended  by  a 
long  train  of  bearded  fathers  who  came  out  to  stare  at 

The  monastery  of  Caracalla  covers  about  one  acre  of 
ground ;  it  is  surrounded  with  a  high  strong  wall,  over 
which  appear  roofs  and  domes ;  and  on  the  left  of  the 
great  square  tower,  near  the  gate,  a  range  of  rooms, 
built  of  wood,  project  over  the  battlements  as  at  the 
monastery  of  St.  Laura.  Within  is  a  large  irregular 
court-yard,  in  the  centre  of  which  stands  the  church,  and 
several  little  chapels  or  rooms  fitted  up  as  places  of 
worship  are  scattered  about  in  different  parts  of  the  build- 
ing among  the  chambers  inhabited  by  the  monks.  I 
found  that  this  was  the  uniform  arrangement  in  all  the 
monasteries  of  Mount  Athos  and  in  nearly  all  Greek 
monasteries  in  the  Levant.  This  monastery  was  founded 
by  Caracallos,  a  Roman :  who  he  was,  or  when  he  lived, 


I  do  not  know ;  but  from  its  appearance  this  must  be  a 
very  ancient  establishment.  By  Roman,  perhaps,  is 
meant  Greek,  for  Greece  is  called  Roumeli  to  this  day ; 
and  the  Constantinopolitans  called  themselves  Romans  in 
the  old  time,  as  in  Persia  and  Koordistan  the  Sultan  is 
called  Roomi  Padischah,  the  Roman  Emperor,  by  those 
whose  education  and  general  attainments  enable  them  to 
make  mention  of  so  distant  and  mysterious  a  potentate. 
Afterwards  Petrus,  Authentes  or  Waywode  of  Moldavia, 
sent  his  protospaithaire,  that  is  his  chief  swordsman  or 
commander-in-chief,  to  found  a  monastery  on  the  Holy 
Mountain,  and  supplied  him  with  a  sum  of  money  for 
the  purpose ;  but  the  chief  swordsman,  after  expending 
a  very  trivial  portion  of  it  in  building  a  small  tower  on 
the  sea-shore,  pocketed  the  rest  and  returned  to  court. 
The  waywode  having  found  out  what  he  had  been  at, 
ordered  his  head  to  be  cut  off;  but  he  prayed  so  earnestly 
to  be  allowed  to  keep  his  head  and  rebuild  the  monastery 
of  Caracalla  out  of  his  own  money,  that  his  master  con- 
sented. The  new  church  was  dedicated  to  St.  Peter  and 
St.  Paul,  and  ultimately  the  ex-chief  swordsman  prevailed 
upon  the  waywode  to  come  to  Caracalla  and  take  the 
vows.  They  both  assumed  the  same  name  of  Pachomius, 
and  died  in  the  odour  of  sanctity.  All  this,  and  many 
more  legends,  was  I  told  by  the  worthy  agoumenos,  who 
was  altogether  a  most  excellent  person ;  but  he  had  an 
unfortunate  habit  of  selecting  the  most  windy  places  for 
detailing  them,  an  open  archway,  the  top  of  an  external 
staircase,  or  the  parapet  of  a  tower,  until  at  last  he 
chilled  my  curiosity  down  to  zero.  In  all  his  words  and 
acts  he  constantly  referred  to  brother  Joasaph,  the  second 

Chap,  XXV.  THE  CHURCH — THE  LIBRARY.  349 

in  command,  to  whose  superior  wisdom  lie  always  seemed  to 
bow,  and  who  was  quite  the  right-hand  man  of  the  abbot. 

My  friend  first  took  me  to  the  church,  which  is  of 
moderate  size,  the  walls  ornamented  with  stiff  fresco 
pictures  of  the  saints,  none  of  them  certainly  later  than 
the  twelfth  century,  and  some  probably  very  much  earlier. 
There  were  some  relics,  but  the  silver  shrines  containing 
them  were  not  remarkable  for  richness  or  antiquity.  On 
the  altar  there  were  two  very  remarkable  crosses,  each  of 
them  about  six  or  eight  inches  long,  of  carved  wood  set  in 
gold  and  jewels  of  very  early  and  beautiful  workmanship  ; 
one  of  them  in  particular,  which  was  presented  to  the 
church  by  the  Emperor  John  Zimisces,  was  a  most  curious 
specimen  of  ancient  jewellery. 

This  monastery  is  one  of  those  over  which  the  agou- 
menos  has  absolute  control,  and  he  was  then  repairing 
one  side  of  the  court  and  rebuilding  a  set  of  rooms  which 
had  been  destroyed  during  the  Greek  war. 

The  library  I  found  to  be  a  dark  closet  near  the 
entrance  of  the  church ;  it  had  been  locked  up  for  many 
years,  but  the  agoumenos  made  no  difficulty  in  breaking 
the  old-fashioned  padlock  by  which  the  door  was  fastened. 
I  found  upon  the  ground  and  upon  some  broken-down 
shelves  about  four  or  five  hundred  volumes,  chiefly  printed 
books  ;  but  amongst  them,  every  now  and  then,  I  stumbled 
upon  a  manuscript :  of  these  there  were  about  thirty  on 
vellum  and  fifty  or  sixty  on  paper.  I  picked  up  a  single 
loose  leaf  of  very  ancient  uncial  Greek  characters,  part 
of  the  Gospel  of  St.  Matthew,  written  in  small  square 
letters  and  of  small  quarto  size.  I  searched  in  vain  for 
the  volume  to  which  this  leaf  belonged. 


As  I  had  found  it  impossible  to  purchase  any  manu- 
scripts at  St.  Laura,  I  feared  that  the  same  would  be  the 
case  in  other  monasteries  ;  however,  I  made  bold  to  ask 
for  this  single  leaf  as  a  thing  of  small  value. 

"  Certainly  !"  said  the  agoumenos,  "  what  do  you  want 
it  for?" 

My  servant  suggested  that,  perhaps,  it  might  be  useful 
to  cover  some  jam  pots  or  vases  of  preserves  which  I  had 
at  home. 

"  Oh  !"  said  the  agoumenos,  "  take  some  more  ;"  and, 
without  more  ado,  he  seized  upon  an  unfortunate  thick 
quarto  manuscript  of  the  Acts  and  Epistles,  and  drawing 
out  a  knife  cut  out  an  inch  thickness  of  leaves  at  the  end 
before  I  could  stop  him.  It  proved  to  be  the  Apocalypse, 
which  concluded  the  volume,  but  which  is  rarely  found  in 
early  Greek  manuscripts  of  the  Acts :  it  was  of  the 
eleventh  century.  I  ought,  perhaps,  to  have  slain  the 
tomecide  for  his  dreadful  act  of  profanation,  but  his 
generosity  reconciled  me  to  his  guilt,  so  I  pocketed  the 
Apocalypse,  and  asked  him  if  he  would  sell  me  any  of 
the  other  books,  as  he  did  not  appear  to  set  any  particular 
value  upon  them. 

"  Malista,  certainly,"  he  replied  ;  "  how  many  will  you 
have  ?  They  are  of  no  use  to  me,  and  as  I  am  in  want 
of  money  to  complete  my  buildings  I  shall  be  very  glad 
to  turn  them  to  some  account." 

After  a  good  deal  of  conversation,  finding  the  agou- 
menos so  accommodating,  and  so  desirous  to  part  with 
the  contents  of  his  dark  and  dusty  closet,  I  arranged  that 
I  would  leave  him  for  the  present,  and  after  I  had  made 
the  tour  of  the  other  monasteries,  would  return  to  Cara- 


calla,  and  take  up  ray  abode  there  until  I  could  hire  a 
vessel,  or  make  some  other  arrangements  for  my  return 
to  Constantinople.  Satisfactory  as  this  arrangement  was, 
I  nevertheless  resolved  to  make  sure  of  what  I  had 
already  got,  so  I  packed  them  up  carefully  in  the  great 
saddlebags,  to  my  extreme  delight.  The  agoumenos 
kindly  furnished  me  with  fresh  mules,  and  in  the  after- 
noon I  proceeded  to  the  monastery  of 


which  is  only  an  hour's  ride  from  Caracalla,  and  stands 
in  a  little  field  surrounded  by  the  forest.  It  is  distant 
from  the  sea  about  four  miles,  and  is  protected,  like  all 
the  others,  by  a  high  stone  wall  surrounding  the  whole  of 
the  building.  The  church  is  curious  and  interesting ;  it 
is  ornamented  with  representations  of  saints,  and  holy 
men  in  fresco,  upon  the  walls  of  the  interior  and  in  the 
porch.  I  could  not  make  out  when  it  was  built,  but 
probably  before  the  twelfth  century.  Arsenius,  Philo- 
theus,  and  Dionysius  were  the  founders,  but  who  they 
were  did  not  appear.  The  monastery  was  repaired,  and 
the  refectory  enlarged  and  painted,  in  the  year  1492,  by 
Leontius,  o  fia.cH'ksus  Kst%E-not/,  and  his  son  Alexander. 
I  was  shown  the  reliquaries,  but  they  were  not  remark- 
able. The  monks  said  they  had  no  library  ;  and  there 
being  nothing  of  interest  in  the  monastery,  I  determined 
to  go  on.  Indeed  the  expression  of  the  faces  of  some  of 
these  monks  was  so  unprepossessing,  and  their  manners 
so  rude,  although  not  absolutely  uncivil,  that  I  did  not 
feel  any  particular  inclination  to  remain  amongst  them, 

352  MONASTERY  OF  IVEltON.  Chap.  XXV. 

so  leaving  a  small  donation  for  the  church,  I  mounted  my 
mule  and  proceeded  on  my  journey. 

In  half  an  hour  I  came  to  a  beautiful  waterfall  in  a 
rocky  glen  embosomed  in  trees  and  odoriferous  shrubs, 
the  rocks  being  of  white  marble,  and  the  flowers  such  as 
we  cherish  in  greenhouses  in  England.  I  do  not  know 
that  I  ever  saw  a  more  charmingly  romantic  spot. 
Another  hour  brought  us  to  the  great  monastery  of 


(the  Georgian,  or  Iberian,  Monastery.) 

This  monastic  establishment  is  of  great  size.  It  is 
larger  than  St.  Laura,  and  might  almost  be  denominated 
a  small  fortified  town,  so  numerous  are  the  buildings  and 
courts  which  are  contained  within  its  encircling  wall.  It 
is  situated  near  the  sea,  and  in  its  general  form  is  nearly 
square,  with  four  or  five  square  towers  projecting  from 
the  walls.  On  each  of  the  four  sides  there  are  rooms  for 
above  two  hundred  monks.  I  did  not  learn  precisely 
how  many  were  then  inhabiting  it,  but  I  should  imagine 
there  were  above  a  hundred.  As,  however,  many  of  the 
members  of  all  the  religious  communities  on  Mount 
Athos  are  employed  in  cultivating  the  numerous  farms 
which  they  possess,  it  is  probable  that  not  more  than  one- 
half  of  the  monks  are  in  residence  at  any  one  time. 

This  monastery  was  founded  by  Theophania  (Theo- 
dora ?),  wife  of  the  Emperor  Romanus,  the  son  of  Leo 
Sophos,*  or  the  Philosopher,  between  the  years  919  and 

*  The  Emperor  Leo  the  First  was  crowned  by  the  Patriarch  of 
Anatolia  in  the  year  459.  He  is  the  first  prince  on  record  who  received 
his  crown  from  the  hands  of  a  bishop. 

Chap.  XXV.  THE  LIBRARY.  353 

922.  It  was  restored  by  a  Prince  of  Georgia  or  Iberia, 
and  enlarged  by  bis  son,  a  caloyer.  The  church  is  dedi- 
cated to  the  "  repose  of  the  Virgin."  It  has  four  or  five 
domes,  and  is  of  considerable  size,  standing  by  itself,  as 
usual,  in  the  centre  of  the  great  court,  and  is  ornamented 
with  columns  and  other  decorations  of  rich  marbles, 
together  with  the  usual  fresco  paintings  on  the  walls. 

The  library  is  a  remarkably  fine  one,  perhaps  alto- 
gether the  most  precious  of  all  those  which  now  remain 
on  the  Holy  Mountain.  It  is  situated  over  the  porch  of 
the  church,  which  appears  to  be  the  usual  place  where 
the  books  are  kept  in  these  establishments.  The  room  is 
of  good  size,  well  fitted  up  with  bookcases  with  glass 
doors,  of  not  very  old  workmanship.  I  should  imagine 
that  about  a  hundred  years  ago,  some  agoumenos,  or 
prior,  or  librarian,  must  have  been  a  reading  man ;  and 
the  pious  care  which  he  took  to  arrange  the  ancient 
volumes  of  the  monastery  has  been  rewarded  by  the  ex- 
cellent state  of  preservation  in  which  they  still  remain. 
Since  his  time,  they  have  probably  remained  undisturbed. 
Every  one  could  see  through  the  greenish  uneven  panes 
of  old  glass  that  there  was  nothing  but  books  inside,  and 
therefore  nobody  meddled  with  them.  I  was  allowed  to 
rummage  at  my  leisure  in  this  mine  of  archaeological 
treasure.  Having  taken  up  my  abode  for  the  time  being 
in  a  cheerful  room,  the  windows  of  which  commanded  a 
glorious  prospect,  I  soon  made  friends  with  the  literary 
portion  of  the  community,  which  consisted  of  one  thin 
old  monk,  a  eleventh  man,  who  united  to  many  other 
offices  that  of  librarian.  He  was  also  secretary  to  my 
lord  the  agoumenos,  a  kind-hearted  old  gentleman,  who 


seemed  to  wish  everybody  well,  and  who  evidently  liked 
much  better  to  sit  still  on  his  divan  than  to  regulate;  the 
affairs  of  his  convent.  The  rents,  the  long  lists  of  tuns 
of  wine  and  oil,  the  strings  of  mules  laden  with  corn, 
which  came  in  daily  from  the  farms,  and  all  the  other 
complicated  details  of  this  mighty  ccenobium, — over  all 
these,  and  numberless  other  important  matters,  the  thin 
secretary  had  full  control. 

Some  of  the  young  monks,  demure  fat  youths,  came 
into  the  library  every  now  and  then,  and  wondered  what 
I  could  be  doing  there,  looking  over  so  many  books  ;  and 
they  would  take  a  volume  out  of  my  hand  when  I  had 
done  with  it,  and,  glancing  their  eyes  over  its  ancient 
vellum  leaves,  would  look  up  inquiringly  into  my  face,  say- 
ing, "  n  sivxi  ?  (pronounced  ene) — what  is  it  ? — what  can 
be  the  use  of  looking  at  such  old  books  as  these  ?  "  They 
were  rather  in  awe  of  the  secretary,  who  was  evidently,  in 
their  opinion,  a  prodigy  of  learning  and  erudition.  Some, 
in  a  low  voice,  that  they  might  not  be  overheard  by  the  wise 
man,  asked  me  where  I  came  from,  how  old  I  was,  and 
whether  my  father  was  with  me  ;  but  they  soon  all  went 
away,  and  I  turned  to,  in  right  good  earnest,  to  look  for 
uncial  manuscripts  and  unknown  classic  authors.  Of 
these  last  there  was  not  one  on  vellum,  but  on  paper 
there  was  an  octavo  manuscript  of  Sophocles,  and  a 
Coptic  Psaltery  with  an  Arabic  translation — a  curious 
book  to  meet  with  on  Mount  Athos.  Of  printed  books 
there  were,  I  should  think,  about  five  thousand — of  ma- 
nuscripts on  paper,  about  two  thousand ;  but  all  religious 
works  of  various  kinds.  There  were  nearly  a  thousand 
manuscripts  on  vellum,  and  these  I  looked  over  more 

Chap.  XXV.  THE  LIBRARY.  355 

carefully  than  the  rest.  About  one  hundred  of  them 
were  in  the  Iberian  language  :  they  were  mostly  immense 
thick  quartos,  some  of  them  not  less  than  eighteen  inches 
square,  and  from  four  to  six  inches  thick.  One  of  these, 
bound  in  wooden  boards,  and  written  in  large  uncial 
letters,  was  a  magnificent  old  volume.  Indeed  all  these 
Iberian  or  Georgian  manuscripts  were  superb  specimens 
of  ancient  books.  I  was  unable  to  read  them,  and  there- 
fore cannot  say  what  they  were  ;  but  I  should  imagine 
that  they  were  church  books,  and  probably  of  high  anti- 
quity. Among  the  Greek  manuscripts,  which  were  prin- 
cipally of  the  eleventh  and  twelfth  centuries — works  of 
St.  Chrysostom,  St.  Basil,  and  books  for  the  services  of 
the  ritual — I  discovered  the  following,  which  are  deserving 
of  especial  mention : — A  large  folio  Evangelistarium 
bound  in  red  velvet,  about  eighteen  inches  high  and  three 
thick,  written  in  magnificent  uncial  letters  half  an  inch 
long,  or  even  more.  Three  of  the  illuminations  were  the 
whole  size  of  the  page,  and  might  almost  be  termed  pic- 
tures from  their  large  proportions  :  and  there  were  several 
other  illuminations  of  smaller  size  in  different  parts  of 
the  book.  This  superb  manuscript  was  in  admirable 
preservation,  and  as  clean  as  if  it  had  been  new.  It  had 
evidently  been  kept  with  great  care,  and  appeared  to  have 
had  some  clasps  or  ornaments  of  gold  or  silver  which  had 
been  torn  off.  It  was  probably  owing  to  the  original 
splendour  of  this  binding  that  the  volume  itself  had  been 
so  carefully  preserved.  I  imagine  it  was  written  in  the 
ninth  century. 

Another  book,  of  a  much  greater  age,  was  a  copy  of 
the  four  Gospels,  with  four  finely-executed  miniatures  of 


the  evangelists.  It  was  about  nine  or  ten  inches  square, 
written  in  round  semi-uncial  letters  in  double  columns, 
with  not  more  than  two  or  three  words  in  a  line.  In 
some  respects  it  resembled  the  book  of  the  Epistles  in  the 
Bodleian  Library  at  Oxford.  This  manuscript,  in  the 
original  black  leather  binding,  had  every  appearance  of 
the  highest  antiquity.  It  was  beautifully  written  and 
very  clean,  and  was  altogether  such  a  volume  as  is  not  to 
be  met  with  every  day. 

A  quarto  manuscript  of  the  four  Gospels,  of  the 
eleventh  or  twelfth  century,  with  a  great  many  (perhaps 
fifty)  illuminations.  Some  of  them  were  unfortunately 
rather  damaged. 

Two  manuscripts  of  the  New  Testament,  with  the 

A  very  fine  manuscript  of  the  Psalms,  of  the  eleventh 
century,  which  is  indeed  about  the  era  of  the  greater 
portion  of  the  vellum  manuscripts  on  Mount  Athos. 

There  were  also  some  ponderous  and  magnificent  folios 
of  the  works  of  the  fathers  of  the  Church — some  of  them, 
I  should  think,  of  the  tenth  century  ;  but  it  is  difficult,  in 
a  few  hours,  to  detect  the  peculiarities  which  prove  that 
manuscripts  are  of  an  earlier  date  than  the  twelfth  cen- 
tury. I  am,  however,  convinced  that  very  few  of  them 
were  written  after  that  time. 

The  paper  manuscripts  were  of  all  ages,  from  the  thir- 
teenth and  fifteenth  centuries  down  to  a  hundred  years 
ago  ;  and  some  of  them,  on  charta  bombycina,  would  have 
appeared  very  splendid  books  if  they  had  not  been  eclipsed 
by  the  still  finer  and  more  carefully-executed  manuscripts 
on  vellum. 

Chap.  XXV.  SPLENDID  VIEW.  357 

Neither  my  arguments  nor  my  eloquence  could  prevail 
on  the  obdurate  monks  to  sell  me  any  of  these  books,  but 
my  friend  the  secretary  gave  me  a  book  in  his  own  hand- 
writing to  solace  me  on  my  journey.  It  contained  a  his- 
tory of  the  monastery  from  the  days  of  its  foundation  to 
the  present  time.  It  is  written  in  Romaic,  and  is  curious 
not  so  much  from  its  subject  matter  as  from  the  entire 
originality  of  its  style  and  manner. 

The  view  from  the  window  of  the  room  which  I  occu- 
pied at  Iveron  was  one  of  the  finest  on  Mount  Athos. 
The  glorious  sea,  and  the  towers  which  command  the 
scarricatojos  or  landing-places  of  the  different  monasteries 
along  the  coast,  and  the  superb  monastery  of  Stavroniketa 
like  a  Gothic  castle  perched  upon  a  beetling  rock,  with 
the  splendid  forest  for  a  back-ground,  formed  altogether 
a  picture  totally  above  my  powers  to  describe.  It  almost 
compensated  for  the  numberless  tribes  of  vermin  by  which 
the  room  was  tenanted.  In  fact,  the  whole  of  the  scenery 
on  Mount  Athos  is  so  superlatively  grand  and  beautiful 
that  it  is  useless  to  attempt  any  description. 



The  Monastery  of  Stavroniketa  —  The  Library  —  Splendid  MS.  of  St. 
Chrysostom  —  The  Monastery  of  Pantocratoras  —  Ruinous  Condition 
of  the  Library  —  Complete  Destruction  of  the  Books  —  Disappoint- 
ment ■ —  Oration  to  the  Monks  —  The  Great  Monastery  of  Vatopede  — 
Its  History  —  Ancient  Pictures  in  the  Church  —  Legend  of  the  Girdle 
of  the  Blessed  Virgin  —  The  Library  —  Wealth  and  Luxury  of  the 
Monks  —  The  Monastery  of  Sphigmenou  —  Beautiful  Jewelled  Cross 

—  The  Monastery  of  Kiliantari  —  Magnificent  MS.  in  Gold  Letters  on 
White  Vellum  —  The  Monasteries  of  Zographou,  Castamoneta,  Do- 
cheirou,  and  Xenophou  —  The  Exiled  Bishops  —  The  Library  —  Very 
fine  MSS.  —  Proposals  for  their  Purchase  —  Lengthened  Negotiations 

—  Their  successful  Issue. 

An  hour's  ride  brought  us  to  the  monastery  of 

which  is  a  smaller  building  than  Iveron,  with  a  square 
tower  over  the  gateway.  It  stands  on  a  rock  overhanging 
the  sea,  against  the  base  of  which  the  waves  ceaselessly 
beat.  It  was  to  this  spot  that  a  miraculous  picture  of  St. 
Nicholas,  archbishop  of  Myra  in  Lycia,  floated  over,  of  its 
own  accord,  from  I  do  not  know  where  ;  and  in  conse- 
quence of  this  auspicious  event,  Jeremias,  patriarch  of 
Constantinople,  founded  this  monastery,  of  "  the  victory 
nf  +},o  holvcoss"  about  the  vear  152^  Tl:«  i*  tho 
account  given  by  the  monks ;  but  from  the  appearance 
and  architecture  of  Stavroniketa,  I  conceive  that  it  is  a 
much   older  building,  and  that  probably  the  patriarch 

Chap.  XXVI.  THE  LIBRARY.  359 

Jeremias  only  repaired  or  restored  it.  However  that 
may  be,  the  monastery  is  in  very  good  order,  clean,  and 
well  kept ;  and  I  had  a  comfortable  frugal  dinner  there 
with  some  of  the  good  old  monks,  who  seemed  a  cheerful 
and  contented  set. 

The  library  contained  about  eight  hundred  volumes,  of 
which  nearly  two  hundred  were  manuscripts  on  vellum. 
Amongst  these  were  conspicuous  the  entire  works  of  St. 
Chrysostom,  in  eight  large  folio  volumes  complete ;  and 
a  manuscript  of  the  Scala  Perfections  in  Greek,  contain- 
ing a  number  of  most  exquisite  miniatures  in  a  brilliant 
state  of  preservation.  It  was  a  quarto  of  the  tenth  or 
eleventh  century,  and  a  most,  unexceptionable  tome,  which 
these  unkind  monks  preferred  keeping  to  themselves  in- 
stead of  letting  me  have  it,  as  they  ought  to  have  done. 
The  miniatures  were  first-rate  works  of  Byzantine  art. 
It  was  a  terrible  pang  to  me  to  leave  such  a  book  behind. 
There  were  also  a  Psalter  with  several  miniatures,  but 
these  were  partially  damaged ;  five  or  six  copies  of  the 
Gospels ;  two  fine  folio  volumes  of  the  Menologia,  or 
Lives  of  the  Saints ;  and  sundry  o^oikoyoi  and  books  of 
divinity,  and  the  works  of  the  fathers.  On  paper  there 
were  two  hundred  more  manuscripts,  amongst  which  was 
a  curious  one  of  the  Acts  and  Epistles,  full  of  large  minia- 
tures and  illuminations  exceedingly  well  done.  As  it  is 
quite  clear  that  all  these  manuscripts  are  older  than  the 
time  of  the  patriarch  Jeremias,  they  confirm  my  opinion 
that  he  could  not  have  been  the  original  founder  of  the 

It  is  an  hour's  scramble  over  the  rocks  from  Stavroni- 
keta  to  the  monastery  of 



This  edifice  was  built  by  Manuel  and  Alexius  Conme- 
nus,  and  Johannes  Pumicerius,  their  brother.  It  was 
subsequently  repaired  by  Barbulus  and  Gabriel,  two 
Wallachian  nobles.  The  church  is  handsome  and  curious, 
and  contains  several  relics,  but  the  reliquaries  are  not  of 
much  beauty,  nor  of  very  great  antiquity.  Among  them, 
however,  is  a  small  thick  quarto  volume  about  five  inches 
square  every  way,  in  the  handwriting,  as  you  are  told,  of 
St.  John  of  Kalavita.  Now  St.  John  of  Kalavita  was  a 
hermit  who  died  in  the  year  450,  and  his  head  is  shown 
at  Besancun,  in  the  church  of  St.  Stephen,  to  which  place 
it  was  taken  after  the  siege  of  Constantinople.  Howbeit 
this  manuscript  did  not  seem  to  me  to  be  older  than  the 
twelfth  century,  or  the  eleventh  at  the  earliest.  It  is 
written  in  a  very  minute  hand,  and  contains  the  Gospels, 
some  prayers,  and  lives  of  saints,  and  is  ornamented  with 
some  small  illuminations.  The  binding  is  very  curious  : 
it  is  entirely  of  silver  gilt,  and  is  of  great  antiquity.  The 
back  part  is  composed  of  an  intricate  kind  of  chainwork, 
which  bends  when  the  book  is  opened,  and  the  sides  are 
embossed  with  a  variety  of  devices. 

On  my  inquiring  for  the  library,  I  was  told  it  had  been 
destroyed  during  the  revolution.  It  had  formerly  been 
preserved  in  the  great  square  tower  or  keep,  which  is  a 
grand  feature  in  all  the  monasteries.  I  went  to  look  at 
the  place,  and  leaning  through  a  ruined  arch,  I  looked 
down  into  the  lower  story  of  the  tower,  and  there  I  saw 
the  melancholy  remains  of  a  once  famous  library.  This 
was  a  dismal  spectacle  for  a  devout  lover  of  old  books — a 


sort  of  biblical  knight  errant,  as  I  then  considered  myself, 
who  had  entered  on  the  perilous  adventure  of  Mount 
Athos  to  rescue  from  the  thraldom  of  ignorant  monks 
those  fair  vellum  volumes,  with  their  bright  illuminations 
and  velvet  dresses  and  jewelled  clasps,  which  for  so  many 
centuries  had  lain  imprisoned  in  their  dark  monastic  dun- 
geons. It  was  indeed  a  heart-rending  sight.  By  the 
dim  light  which  streamed  through  the  opening  of  an  iron 
door  in  the  wall  of  the  ruined  tower,  I  saw  above  a  hun- 
dred ancient  manuscripts  lying  among  the  rubbish  which 
had  fallen  from  the  upper  floor,  which  was  ruinous,  and 
had  in  great  part  given  way.  Some  of  these  manuscripts 
seemed  quite  entire — fine  large  folios ;  but  the  monks 
said  they  were  unapproachable,  for  that  floor  also  on 
which  they  lay  was  unsafe,  the  beams  below  being  rotten 
from  the  wet  and  rain  which  came  in  through  the  roof. 
Here  was  a  trap  ready  set  and  baited  for  a  bibliographical 
antiquary.  I  peeped  at  the  old  manuscripts,  looked  par- 
ticularly at  one  or  two  that  were  lying  in  the  middle  of 
the  floor,  and  could  hardly  resist  the  temptation.  I  ad- 
vanced cautiously  along  the  boards,  keeping  close  to  the 
wall,  whilst  every  now  and  then  a  dull  cracking  noise 
warned  me  of  my  danger,  but  I  tried  each  board  by 
stamping  upon  it  with  my  foot  before  I  ventured  my 
weight  upon  it.  At  last,  when  I  dared  go  no  farther,  I 
made  them  bring  me  a  long  stick,  with  which  I  fished  up 
two  or  three  fine  manuscripts,  and  poked  them  along 
towards  the  door.  When  I  had  safely  landed  them,  I 
examined  them  more  at  my  ease,  but  found  that  the  rain 
had  washed  the  outer  leaves  quite  clean  :  the  pages  were 
stuck  tight  together  into  a  solid  mass,  and  when  I  at- 



tempted  to  open  them,  they  broke  short  off  in  square  bits 
like  a  biscuit.  Neglect  and  damp  and  exposure  had  de- 
stroyed them  completely.  One  fine  volume,  a  large  folio 
in  double  columns,  of  most  venerable  antiquity,  particu- 
larly grieved  me.  I  do  not  know  how  many  more  manu- 
scripts there  might  be  under  the  piles  of  rubbish.  Per- 
haps some  of  them  might  still  be  legible,  but  without 
assistance  and  time  I  could  not  clean  out  the  ruins  that 
had  fallen  from  above  ;  and  I  was  unable  to  save  even  a 
scrap  from  this  general  tomb  of  a.  whole  race  of  books.  I 
came  out  of  the  great  tower,  and  sitting  down  on  a  pile  of 
ruins,  with  a  bearded  assembly  of  grave  caloyeri  round 
me,  I  vented  my  sorrow  and  indignation  in  a  long  oration, 
which  however  produced  a  very  slight  effect  upon  my  au- 
ditory ;  but  whether  from  their  not  understanding  Italian, 
or  my  want  of  eloquence,  is  matter  of  doubt.  My  man 
was  the  only  person  who  seemed  to  commiserate  my  mis- 
fortune, and  he  looked  so  genuinely  vexed  and  sorry  that 
I  liked  him  the  better  ever  afterwards.  At  length  I  dis- 
missed the  assembly  :  they  toddled  away  to  their  siesta, 
and  I,  mounted  anew  upon  a  stout  well-fed  mule,  bade 
adieu  to  the  hospitable  agoumenos,  and  was  soon  occupied 
in  picking  my  way  among  the  rocks  and  trees  towards  the 
next  monastery.  In  two  hours'  time  we  passed  the  ruins 
of  a  large  building  standing  boldly  on  a  hill.  It  had  for- 
merly been  a  college  ;  and  a  magnificent  aqueduct  of 
fourteen  double  arches — that  is,  two  rows  of  arches  one 
above  the  other — connected  it  with  another  hill,  and  had 
a  grand  effect,  with  long  and  luxuriant  masses  of  flowers 
streaming  from  its  neglected  walls.  In  half  an  hour  more 
I  arrived  at 

<  bap.  XXVI.     MONASTERY  OF  VATOPEDE.  363 


This  is  the  largest  and  richest  of  all  the  monasteries  of 
Mount  Athos.  It  is  situated  on  the  side  of  a  hill  where 
a  valley  opens  to  the  sea,  and  commands  a  little  harbour 
where  three  small  Greek  vessels  were  lying  at  anchor. 
The  buildings  are  of  great  extent,  with  several  towers 
and  domes  rising  above  the  walls :  I  should  say  it  was 
not  smaller  than  the  upper  ward  of  Windsor  Castle.  The 
original  building  was  erected  by  the  Emperor  Constantine 
the  Great.  That  worthy  prince  being,  it  appears,  much 
afflicted  by  the  leprosy,  ordered  a  number  of  little 
children  to  be  killed,  a  bath  of  juvenile  blood  being  con- 
sidered an  excellent  remedy.  But  while  they  were 
selecting  them,  he  was  told  in  a  vision  that  if  he  would 
become  a  Christian  his  leprosy  should  depart  from  him : 
he  did  so,  and  was  immediately  restored  to  health,  and 
all  the  children  lived  long  and  happily.  This  story  is 
related  by  Moses  Chorensis,  whose  veracity  I  will  not 
venture  to  doubt. 

In  the  fifth  century  this  monastery  was  thrown  down 
by  Julian  the  Apostate.  Theodosius  the  Great  built  it 
up  again  in  gratitude  for  the  miraculous  escape  of  his 
son  Arcadius,  who  having  fallen  overboard  from  his 
galley  in  the  Archipelago,  was  landed  safely  on  this  spot 
through  the  intercession  of  the  Virgin,  to  whose  special 
honour  the  great  church  was  founded :  fourteen  other 
chapels  within  the  walls  attest  the  piety  of  other  in- 
dividuals. In  the  year  862  the  Saracens  landed,  destroyed 
the  monastery  by  fire,  slew  many  of  the  monks,  took  the 
treasures  and  broke  the  mosaics ;  but  the  representation 



of  the  Blessed  Virgin  was  indestructible,  and  still  re- 
mained safe  and  perfect  above  the  altar.  There  was  also 
a  well  under  the  altar,  into  which  some  of  the  relics  were 
thrown  and  afterwards  recovered  by  the  community. 

About  the  year  1300  St.  Athanasius  the  Patriarch 
persuaded  Nicholaus  and  Antonius,  certain  rich  men  of 
Adrianople,  to  restore  the  monastery  once  more,  which 
they  did,  and  taking  the  vows  became  monks,  and  were 
buried  in  the  narthex  or  portico  of  the  church.  I  may 
here  observe  that  this  was  the  nearest  approach  to  being 
buried  within  the  church  that  was  permitted  in  the  early 
times  of  Christianity,  and  such  is  still  the  rule  observed 
in  the  Greek  Church :  altars  were,  however,  raised  over 
the  tombs  or  places  of  execution  of  martyrs. 

This  church  contains  a  great  many  ancient  pictures  of 
small  size,  most  of  them  having  the  background  overlaid 
with  plates  of  silver-gilt :  two  of  these  are  said  to  be 
portraits  of  the  Empress  Theodora.  Two  other  pictures 
of  larger  size  and  richly  set  with  jewels  are  interesting  as 
having  been  brought  from  the  church  of  St.  Sophia  at 
Constantinople,  when  that  city  fell  a  prey  to  the  Turkish 
arms.  Over  the  doors  of  the  church  and  of  the  great  re- 
fectory there  are  mosaics  representing,  if  I  remember 
rightly,  saints  and  holy  persons.  One  of  the  chapels,  a 
separate  building  with  a  dome  which  had  been  newly 
repaired,  is  dedicated  to  the  "  Preservation  of  the  Girdle 
of  the  Blessed  Virgin,"  a  relic  which  must  be  a  source  of 
considerable  revenue  to  the  monastery,  for  they  have 
divided  it  into  two  parts,  and  one-half  is  sent  into  Greece 
and  the  other  half  into  Asia  Minor  whenever  the  plague 
is  raging  in  those  countries,  and  all  those  who  are  afflicted 


with  that  terrible  disease  are  sure  to  be  cured  if  they 
touch  it,  which  they  are  allowed  to  do  "for  a  considera- 
tion." On  my  inquiring  how  the  monastery  became 
possessed  of  so  inestimable  a  medicine,  I  was  gravely  in- 
formed that,  after  the  assumption  of  the  Blessed  Virgin, 
St.  Thomas  went  up  to  heaven  to  pay  her  a  visit,  and 
there  she  presented  him  with  her  girdle.  My  informant 
appeared  to  have  the  most  unshakeable  conviction  as  to 
the  truth  of  this  history,  and  expressed  great  surprise 
that  I  bad  never  heard  it  before. 

The  library,  although  containing  nearly  four  thousand 
printed  books,  has  none  of  any  high  antiquity  or  on  any 
subject  but  divinity.  There  are  also  about  a  thousand 
manuscripts,  of  which  three  or  four  hundred  are  on 
vellum ;  amongst  these  there  are  three  copies  of  the 
works  of  St.  Chrysostom  :  they  also  have  his  head  in  the 
church— that  golden  mouth  out  of  which  proceeded  the 
voice  which  shook  the  empire  with  the  thunder  of  its 
denunciations.  The  most  curious  manuscripts  are  six 
rolls  of  parchment,  each  ten  inches  wide  and  about  ten 
feet  long,  containing  prayers  for  festivals  on  the  anni- 
versaries of  the  foundation  of  certain  churches.  There 
were  at  this  time  above  three  hundred  monks  resident  in 
the  monastery ;  many  of  these  held  offices  and  places  of 
dignity  under  the  agoumenos,  whose  establishment  re- 
sembled the  court  of  a  petty  sovereign  prince.  Alto- 
gether this  convent  well  illustrates  what  some  of  the 
great  monastic  establishments  in  England  must  have  been 
before  the  Reformation.  It  covers  at  least  four  acres  of 
ground,  and  contains  so  many  separate  buildings  within 
its    massive   walls   that   it   resembles   a   fortified   town. 


Everything  told  of  wealth  and  indolence.  When  I 
arrived  the  lord  abbot  was  asleep  ;  he  was  too  great  a 
man  to  be  aroused  ;  he  had  eaten  a  full  meal  in  his  own 
apartment,  and  he  could  not  be  disturbed.  His  secretary, 
a  thin  pale  monk,  was  deputed  to  show  me  the  wonders 
of  the  place,  and  as  we  proceeded  through  the  different 
chapels  and  enormous  magazines  of  corn,  wine,  and  oil, 
the  officers  of  the  different  departments  bent  down  to  kiss 
his  hand,  for  he  was  high  in  the  favour  of  my  lord  the 
abbot,  and  was  evidently  a  man  not  to  be  slighted  by  the 
inferior  authorities  if  they  wished  to  get  on  and  prosper. 
The  cellarer  was  a  sly  old  fellow  with  a  thin  grey  beard, 
and  looked  as  if  he  could  tell  a  good  story  of  an  evening 
over  a  flagon  of  good  wine.  Except  at  some  of  the 
palaces  in  Germany  I  have  never  seen  such  gigantic  tuns 
as  those  in  the  cellars  at  Vatopede.  The  oil  is  kept  in 
marble  vessels  of  the  size  and  shape  of  sarcophagi,  and 
there  is  a  curious  picture  in  the  entrance  room  of  the  oil- 
store,  which  represents  the  miraculous  increase  in  their 
stock  of  oil  during  a  year  of  scarcity,  when,  through  the 
intercession  of  a  pious  monk  who  then  had  charge  of  that 
department,  the  marble  basins,  which  were  almost  empty, 
overflowed,  and  a  river  of  fine  fresh  oil  poured  in  torrents 
through  the  door.  The  frame  of  this  picture  is  set  with 
jewels,  and  it  appears  to  be  very  ancient.  The  refectory 
is  an  immense  room  ;  it  stands  in  front  of  the  church  and 
has  twenty-four  marble  tables  and  seats,  and  is  in  the 
same  cruciform  shape  as  that  at  St.  Laura.  It  has  fre- 
quently accommodated  five  hundred  guests,  the  servants 
and  tenants  of  the  abbey,  who  come  on  stated  days  to 
pay  their  rents  and  receive  the  benediction  of  the  agou- 


menos.  Sixty  or  seventy  fat  mules  are  kept  for  the  use 
of  the  community,  and  a  very  considerable  number  of 
Albanian  servants  and  muleteers  are  lodged  in  outbuild- 
ings before  the  great  gate.  These,  unlike  their  brethren 
of  Epirus,  are  a  quiet,  stupid  race,  and  whatever  may  be 
their  notions  of  another  world,  they  evidently  think  that 
in  this  there  is  no  man  living  equal  in  importance  to  the 
great  agoumenos  of  Vatopede,  and  no  earthly  place  to 
compare  with  the  great  monastery  over  which  he  rules. 

From  Vatopede  it  requires  two  hours  and  a  half  to  ride 
to  the  monastery  of 


which  is  a  much  smaller  establishment.  It  is  said  to 
have  been  founded  by  the  Empress  Pulcheria,  sister  of 
the  Emperor  Theodosius  the  younger,  and  if  so  must  be 
a  very  ancient  building,  for  the  empress  died  on  the  18th 
of  February  in  the  year  453.  Her  brother  Theodosius 
was  known  by  the  title  or  cognomen  of  xaXXtypz^of,  from 
the  beauty  of  his  writing :  he  was  a  protector  of  the  Nes- 
torian  and  Eutychian  heretics,  and  ended  his  life  on  the 
20th  of  October,  400. 

This  monastery  is  situated  in  a  narrow  valley  close  to 
the  sea,  squeezed  in  between  three  little  hills,  from  which 
circumstance  it  derives  its  name  of  <y<ptyfxsvos,  "  squeezed 
together."  It  is  inhabited  by  thirty  monks,  who  are 
cleaner  and  keep  their  church  in  better  order  and  neat- 
ness than  most  of  their  brethren  on  Mount  Athos.  Among 
the  relics  of  the  saints,  which  are  the  first  things  they 
show  to  the  pilgrim  from  beyond  the  sea,  is  a  beautiful 
ancient  cross  of  gold  set  with  diamonds.     Diamonds  are 


of  very  rare  occurrence  in  ancient  pieces  of  jewellery  :  it 
is  indeed  doubtful  whether  they  were  known  to  the 
ancients,  adamantine  being  an  epithet  applied  to  the 
hardness  of  steel,  and  I  have  never  seen  a  diamond  in 
any  work  of  art  of  the  Roman  or  classical  era.  Besides 
the  diamonds  the  cross  has  on  the  upper  end  and  on  the 
extremities  of  the  two  arms  three  very  fine  and  large 
emeralds,  each  fastened  on  with  three  gold  nails  :  it  is  a 
fine  specimen  of  early  jewellery,  and  of  no  small  intrinsic 

The  library  is  in  a  room  over  the  porch  of  the  church  : 
it  contains  about  1500  volumes,  half  of  which  are  manu- 
scripts, mostly  on  paper,  and  all  theological.  I  met  with 
four  copies  of  the  Gospels  and  two  of  the  Epistles,  all  the 
others  being  books  of  the  church  service  and  the  usual 
folios  of  the  fathers.  There  was,  however,  a  Russian  or 
Bulgarian  manuscript  of  the  four  Gospels  with  an  illu- 
mination at  the  commencement  of  each  Gospel.  It  is 
written  in  capital  letters,  and  seemed  to  be  of  considerable 
antiquity.  I  was  disappointed  at  not  finding  manuscripts 
of  greater  age  in  so  very  ancient  a  monastery  as  this  is  ; 
but  perhaps  it  has  undergone  more  squeezing  than  that 
inflicted  upon  it  by  the  three  hills.  I  slept  here  in  peace 
and  comfort. 

On  the  sea-shore  not  far  from  Sphigmenou   are  the 

ruins  of  the  monastery  of  St.  Basil,  opposite   a   small 

rocky  island  in  the  sea,  which  I  left  at  this  point,  and 

striking  up  the  country  arrived  in  an  hour's  time  at  the 

monastery  of 


or  a  thousand  lions.     This  is  a  large  building,  of  which 


the  ground  plan  resembles  the  shape  of  an  open  fan.     It 
stands  in  a  valley,   and  contained,  when  I  entered  its 
hospitable  gates,  about  fifty  monks.     They  preserve  in 
the  sacristy  a  superb  chalice,  of  a  kind  of  bloodstone  set 
in  gold,  about  a  foot  high  and  eight  inches  wide,  the  gift 
of  one  of  the  Byzantine  emperors.     This  monastery  was 
founded  by  Simeon,  Prince  of  Servia,  I  could  not  make 
out  at  what  time.     In  the  library  they  had   no  great 
number  of  books,  and  what  there  were  were  all  Russian 
or  Bulgarian :  I  saw  none  which  seemed  to  be  of  great 
antiquity.     On  inquiring,  however,  whether  they  had  not 
some  Greek  manuscripts,  the  Agoumenos  said  they  had 
one,  which  he  went  and  brought  me  out  of  the  sacristy  ; 
and  this,  to  my  admiration  and  surprise,  was  not  only  the 
finest  manuscript  on  Mount  Athos,  but  the  finest  that  I 
had  met  with  in  any  Greek  monastery  with  the  single  ex- 
ception of  the  golden  manuscript  of  the  New  Testament 
at  Mount  Sinai.     It  was  a  4to.  Evangelistarium,  written 
in  golden  letters  on  fine  white  vellum.     The  characters 
were  a  kind  of  semi-uncial,  rather  round  in  their  forms, 
of  large  size,  and  beautifully  executed,  but  often  joined 
together  and  having  many  contractions  and  abbreviations, 
in  these  respects  resembling  the  Mount  Sinai  MS.     This 
magnificent  volume  was  given  to  the  monastery  by  the 
Emperor  Andronicus  Comnenus  about  the  year  1184;  it 
is  consequently  not  an  early  MS.,  but  its  imperial  origin 
renders  it  interesting  to  the  admirers  of  literary  treasures, 
while  the  very  rare  occurrence  of  a  Greek  MS.  written  in 
letters  of  gold  or  silver  would  make  it  a  most  desirable 
and  important  acquisition  to  any  royal  library  ;  for  besides 
the  two  above-mentioned  there  are  not,  I  believe,  more 



than  seven  or  eight  MSS.  of  this  description  in  existence, 
and  of  these  several  are  merely  fragments,  and  only  one 
is  on  white  vellum  :  this  is  in  the  library  of  the  Holy 
Synod  at  Moscow.  Five  of  the  others  are  on  blue  or 
purple  vellum,  viz.,  Codex  Cottonianus,  in  the  British 
Museum,  Titus  C.  15,  a  fragment  of  the  Gospels  ;  an 
octavo  Evangelistarium  at  Vienna ;  a  fragment  of  the 
books  of  Genesis  and  St.  Luke  in  silver  letters  at 
Vienna ;  the  Codex  Turicensis  of  part  of  the  Psalms  ; 
and  six  leaves  of  the  Gospels  of  St.  Matthew  in  silver 
letters  with  the  name  of  God  in  gold  in  the  Vatican. 
There  may  possibly  be  others,  but  I  have  never  heard  of 
them.  Latin  MSS.  in  golden  letters  are  much  less  scarce, 
but  Greek  MSS.,  even  those  which  merely  contain  two  or 
three  pages  written  in  gold  letters,  are  of  such  rarity  that 
hardly  a  dozen  are  to  be  met  with ;  of  these  there  are 
three  in  the  library  at  Parham.  I  think  the  Codex  Eb- 
nerianus  has  one  or  two  pages  written  in  gold,  and  the 
tables  of  a  gospel  at  Jerusalem  are  in  gold  on  deep 
purple  vellum.  At  this  moment  I  do  not  remember  any 
more,  although  doubtless  there  must  be  a  few  of  these 
partially  ornamented  volumes  scattered  through  the  great 
libraries  of  Europe.* 

From  Kiliantari,  which  is  the  last  monastery  on  the 
N.E.  side  of  the  promontory,  we  struck  across  the  penin- 
sula, and  two  hours'  riding  brought  us  to 

*  It  has  been  lately  found  by  Mr.  Teschendorf,  '  Monumenta  Sacra 
Inedita,'  Lipsiae,  1846,  page  11,  that  the  purple  MSS.  of  the  Vatican., 
Vienna,  and  the  British  Museum,  are  parts  of  the  same  volume— an 
additional  proof  of  the  extreme  rarity  of  this  description  of  book  :  they 
are  written  in  silver  letters  on  purple  vellum  ;  the  names  of  the  Deity  and 
that  of  Christ  are  written  in  gold  letters. 



through  plains  of  rich  green  grass  dotted  over  with 
gigantic  single  trees,  the  scenery  being  like  that  of  an 
English  park,  only  finer  and  more  luxuriant  as  well  as 
more  extensive.  This  monastery  was  founded  in  the 
reign  of  Leo  Sophos,  by  three  nobles  of  Constantinople 
who  became  monks  ;  and  the  local  tradition  is  that  it  was 
destroyed  by  the  "  Pope  of  Rome"  How  that  happened 
I  know  not,  but  it  was  rebuilt  in  the  year  1502  by  Ste- 
phanus,  Waywode  of  Moldavia.  It  is  a  large  fortified 
building  of  very  imposing  appearance,  situated  on  a  steep 
hill  surrounded  with  trees  and  gardens  overlooking  a  deep 
valley  which  opens  on  the  gulf  of  Monte  Santo.  The 
MSS.  here  are  Bulgarian,  and  not  of  early  date  ;  they 
had  no  Greek  MSS.  whatever. 

From  Zographou,  following  the  valley,  we  arrived  at  a 
lower  plain  on  the  sea  coast,  and  there  we  discovered  that 
we  had  lost  our  way  ;  we  therefore  retraced  our  steps,  and 
turning  up  among  the  hills  to  our  left  we  came  in  three 
hours  to 


which,  had  we  taken  the  right  road,  we  might  have 
reached  in  one.  This  is  a  very  poor  monastery,  but  it  is 
of  great  age  and  its  architecture  is  picturesque :  it  was 
originally  founded  by  Constantine  the  Great.  It  has  no 
library  nor  anything  particularly  well  worth  mentioning, 
excepting  the  original  deed  of  the  Emperor  Manuel  Pa- 
leologus,  with  the  sign  manual  of  that  potentate  written 
in  very  large  letters  in  red  ink  at  the  bottom  of  the  deed, 
by  which  he  granted  to  the  monastery  the  lands  which  it 


still  retains.  The  poor  monks  were  much  edified  by  the 
sight  of  the  patriarchal  letter,  and  when  I  went  away  rang 
the  bells  of  the  church  tower  to  do  me  honour. 

At  the  distance  of  one  hour  from  hence  stands  the 
monastery  of 


It  is  the  first  to  the  west  of  those  upon  the  south-west 
shore  of  the  peninsula.  It  is  a  monastery  of  great  size  > 
with  ample  room  for  a  hundred  monks,  although  inhabited 
by  only  twenty.  It  was  built  in  the  reign  of  Nicephorus 
Botoniates,  and  was  last  repaired  in  the  year  1578  by 
Alexander,  Waywode  of  Moldavia.  I  was  very  well 
lodged  in  this  convent,  and  the  fleas  were  singularly  few. 
The  library  contained  two  thousand  five  hundred  volumes, 
of  which  one  hundred  and  fifty  were  vellum  MSS.  I 
omitted  to  note  the  number  of  MSS.  on  paper,  but 
amongst  them  I  found  a  part  of  Sophocles  and  a  fine  folio 
of  Suidas's  Lexicon.  Among  the  vellum  MSS.  there  was 
a  folio  in  the  Bulgarian  language,  and  various  works  of 
the  fathers.  I  found  also  three  loose  leaves  of  an  Evan- 
gelistarium  in  uncial  letters  of  the  ninth  century,  which 
had  been  cut  out  of  some  ancient  volume,  for  which  I 
hunted  in  the  dust  in  vain.  The  monks  gave  me  these 
three  leaves  on  my  asking  for  them,  for  even  a  few  pages 
of  such  a  manuscript  as  this  are  not  to  be  despised. 

From  Docheirou  it  is  only  a  distance  of  half  an  hour  to 


which  stands  upon  the  sea  shore.  Here  they  were  build- 
ing a  church  in  the  centre  of  the  great  court,  which,  when 
it  is  finished,  will  be  the  largest  on  Mount  Athos.    Three 


Greek  bishops  were  living  here  in  exile.  I  did  not  learn 
what  the  holy  prelates  had  done,  but  their  misdeeds  had 
been  found  out  by  the  Patriarch,  and  he  had  sent  them 
here  to  rusticate.  This  monastery  is  of  a  moderate  size  ; 
its  founder  was  St.  Xenophou,  regarding  whose  history 
or  the  period  at  which  he  lived  I  am  unable  to  give  any 
information,  as  nobody  knew  anything  about  him  on  the 
spot,  and  I  cannot  find  him  in  any  catalogue  of  saints 
which  I  possess.  The  monastery  was  repaired  in  the 
year  1545  by  Danzulas  Bornicus  and  Badulus,  who  were 
brothers,  and  Banus  (the  Ban)  Barbulus,  all  three  nobles 
of  Hungary,  and  was  afterwards  beautified  by  Matthgeus, 
Way  wode  of  Bessarabia. 

The  library  consists  of  fifteen  hundred  printed  books, 
nineteen  MSS.  on  paper,  eleven  on  vellum,  and  three 
rolls  on  parchment,  containing  liturgies  for  particular 
days.  Of  the  MSS.  on  vellum  there  were  three  which 
merit  a  description.  One  was  a  fine  4to.  of  part  of  the 
works  of  St.  Chrysostom,  of  great  antiquity,  but  not  in 
uncial  letters.  Another  was  a  4to.  of  the  four  Gospels 
bound  in  faded  red  velvet  with  silver  clasps.  This  book 
they  affirmed  to  be  a  royal  present  to  the  monastery ;  it 
was  of  the  eleventh  or  twelfth  century,  and  was  peculiar 
from  the  text  being  accompanied  by  a  voluminous  com- 
mentary on  the  margin  and  several  pages  of  calendars, 
prefaces,  &c,  at  the  beginning.  The  headings  of  the 
Gospels  were  written  in  large  plain  letters  of  gold.  In 
the  libraries  of  forty  Greek  monasteries  I  have  only  met 
with  one  other  copy  of  the  Gospels  with  a  commentary. 
The  third  manuscript  was  an  immense  quarto  Evangelist- 
arium  sixteen  inches  square,  bound  in  faded  green  or  blue 


velvet,  and  said  to  be  in  the  autograph  of  the  Emperor 
Alexius  Comnenus.  The  text  throughout  on  each  page 
was  written  in  the  form  of  a  cross.  Two  of  the  pages  are 
in  purple  ink  powdered  with  gold,  and  these,  there  is 
every  reason  to  suppose,  are  in  the  handwriting  of  the 
imperial  scribe  himself;  for  the  Byzantine  sovereigns 
affected  to  write  only  in  purple,  as  their  deeds  and  a 
magnificent  MS.  in  another  monastic  library,  of  which  I 
have  not  given  an  account  in  these  pages,  can  testify : 
the  titles  of  this  superb  volume  are  written  in  gold,  cover- 
ing the  whole  page.  Altogether,  although  not  in  uncial 
letters,  it  was  among  the  finest  Greek  MSS.  that  I  had 
ever  seen — perhaps,  next  to  the  uncial  MSS.,  the  finest  to 
be  met  with  anywhere. 

I  asked  the  monks  whether  they  were  inclined  to  part 
with  these  three  books,  and  offered  to  purchase  them  and 
the  parchment  rolls.  There  was  a  little  consultation 
among  them,  and  then  they  desired  to  be  shown  those 
which  I  particularly  coveted.  Then  there  was  another 
consultation,  and  they  asked  me  which  I  set  the  greatest 
value  on.  So  I  said  the  rolls,  on  which  the  three  rolls 
were  unrolled,  and  looked  at,  and  examined,  and  peeped 
at  by  the  three  monks  who  put  themselves  forward  in  the 
business,  with  more  pains  and  curiosity  than  had  probably 
been  ever  wasted  upon  them  before.  At  last  they  said  it 
was  impossible,  the  rolls  were  too  precious  to  be  parted 
with,  but  if  I  liked  to  give  a  good  price  I  should  have  the 
rest ;  upon  which  I  took  up  the  St.  Chrysostom,  the  least 
valuable  of  the  three,  and  while  I  examined  it,  saw  from 
the  corner  of  my  eye  the  three  monks  nudging  each  other 
and  making  signs.     So  I  said,  "  Well,  now  what  will  you 


take  for  your  two  books,  this  and  the  big  one  ?"  They 
asked  five  thousand  piastres ;  whereupon,  with  a  look  of 
indignant  scorn,  I  laid  clown  the  St.  Chrysostom  and  got 
up  to  go  away ;  but  after  a  good  deal  more  talk  we  re- 
tired to  the  divan,  or  drawing-room  as  it  may  be  called, 
of  the  monastery,  where  I  conversed  with  the  three 
exiled  bishops.  In  course  of  time  I  was  called  out  into 
another  room  to  have  a  cup  of  coffee.  There  were  my 
friends  the  three  monks,  the  managing  committee,  and 
under  the  divan,  imperfectly  concealed,  were  the  corners 
of  the  three  splendid  MSS.  I  knew  that  now  all  de- 
pended on  my  own  tact  whether  my  still  famished  saddle- 
bags were  to  have  a  meal  or  not  that  day,  the  danger 
lying  between  offering  too  much  or  too  little.  If  you  offer 
too  much,  a  Greek,  a  Jew,  or  an  Armenian  immediately 
thinks  that  the  desired  object  must  be  invaluable,  that  it 
must  have  some  magical  properties,  like  the  lamp  of 
Aladdin,  which  will  bring  wealth  upon  its  possessor  if  he 
can  but  find  out  its  secret :  and  he  will  either  ask  vou  a 
sum  absurdly  large,  or  will  refuse  to  sell  it  at  any  price, 
but  will  lock  it  up  and  become  nervous  about  it,  and 
examine  it  over  and  over  again  privately  to  see  what  can 
be  the  cause  of  a  Frank's  offering  so  much  for  a  thing 
apparently  so  utterly  useless.  On  the  other  hand,  too 
little  must  not  be  offered,  for  it  would  be  an  indignity  to 
suppose  that  persons  of  consideration  would  condescend 
to  sell  things  of  trifling  value — it  wounds  their  aristocratic 
feelings,  they  are  above  such  meannesses.  By  St.  Xeno- 
phou,  how  we  did  talk !  for  five  mortal  hours  it  went  on, 
I  pretending  to  go  away  several  times,  but  being  always 
called  back  by  one  or  other  of  the  learned  committee.     I 


drank  coffee  and  sherbet  and  they  drank  arraghi ;  but  in 
the  end  I  got  the  great  book  of  Alexius  Comnenus  for 
the  value  of  twenty-two  pounds,  and  the  curious  Gospels, 
which  I  had  treated  with  the  most  cool  disdain  all  along, 
was  finally  thrown  into  the  bargain ;  and  out  I  walked 
with  a  big  book  under  each  arm,  bearing  with  perfect 
resignation  the  smiles  and  scoffs  of  the  three  brethren, 
who  could  scarcely  contain  their  laughter  at  the  way 
they  had  done  the  silly  traveller.  Then  did  the  saddle- 
bags begin  to  assume  a  more  cornel v  and  satisfactory 

After  a  stirrup  cup  of  hot  coffee,  perfumed  with  the 
incense  of  the  church,  the  monks  bid  me  a  joyous  adieu  ; 
I  responded  as  joyously  :  in  short  every  one  was  charmed, 
except  the  mule,  who  evidently  was  more  surprised  than 
pleased  at  the  increased  weight  which  he  had  to  carry. 



The  Monastery  of  Russico  —  Its  Courteous  Abbot  —  The  Monastery  of 
Xeropotamo  —  Its  History  —  High  Character  of  its  Abbot  —  Excur- 
sion to  the  Monasteries  of  St.  Nicholas  and  St.  Dionisius  —  Interesting 
Relics  —  Magnificent  Shrine  —  The  Library  —  The  Monastery  of  St. 
Paul  —  Respect  shown  by  the  Monks  —  Beautiful  MS.  —  Extraordinary 
Liberality  and  Kindness  of  the  Abbot  and  Monks  —  A  valuable  Acqui- 
sition at  little  Cost  —  The  Monastery  of  Simopetra  —  Purchase  of 
MS.  —  The  Monk  of  Xeropotamo  —  His  Ideas  about  Women  —  Ex- 
cursion to  Cariez  —  The  Monastery  of  Coutloumoussi  —  The  Russian 
Book-Stealer  —  History  of  the  Monastery  —  Its  reputed  Destruction 
by  the  Pope  of  Rome  —  The  Aga  of  Cariez  —  Interview  in  a  Kiosk  — 
The  She  Cat  of  Mount  Athos. 

From  Xenophou  I  went  on  to 


where  also  they  were  repairing  the  injuries  which  different 
parts  of  the  edifice  had  sustained  during  the  late  Greek 
war.  The  agoumenos  of  this  monastery  was  a  remark- 
ably gentlemanlike  and  accomplished  man ;  he  spoke 
several  languages  and  ruled  over  a  hundred  and  thirty 
monks.  They  had,  however,  amongst  them  all  only  nine 
MSS.,  and  those  were  of  no  interest.  The  agoumenos 
told  me  that  the  monastery  formerly  possessed  a  MS.  of 
Homer  on  vellum,  which  he  sold  to  two  English  gentle- 
men some  years  ago,  who  were  immediately  afterwards 
plundered  by  pirates,  and  the  MS.  thrown  into  the  sea. 
As  I  never  heard  of  any  Englishman  having  been  at 
Mount    Athos  since   the  days   of  Dr.  Clarke   and   Dr. 

378  MONASTERY  OF  XEROPOTAMO.         Chap.  XXVII. 

Carlyslc,  I  could  not  make  out  who  these  gentlemen 
were :  probably  they  were  Frenchmen,  or  Europeans  of 
some  other  nation.  However,  the  idea  of  the  pirates 
gave  me  a  horrid  qualm ;  and  I  thought  how  dreadful  it 
would  be  if  they  threw  my  Alexius  Comnenus  into  the 
sea  ;  it  made  me  feel  quite  uncomfortable.  This  monas- 
tery was  built  by  the  Empress  Catherine  the  First,  of 
Russia — or,  to  speak  more  correctly,  repaired  by  her — 
for  it  was  originally  founded  by  Saint  Lazarus  Knezes, 
of  Servia,  and  the  church  dedicated  to  St.  Pantelecmon 
the  Martyr.     A  ride  of  an  hour  brought  me  to 


where  I  was  received  with  so  much  hospitality  and  kind- 
ness that  I  determined  to  make  it  my  head-quarters 
while  I  visited  the  other  monasteries,  which  from  this 
place  could  readily  be  approached  by  sea.  I  was  fortu- 
nate in  procuring  a  boat  with  two  men — a  sort  of  naval 
lay  brethren — who  agreed  to  row  me  about  wherever  I 
liked,  and  bring  me  back  to  Xeropotamo  for  fifty  piastres, 
and  this  they  would  do  whenever  I  chose,  as  they  were 
not  very  particular  about  time,  an  article  upon  which 
they  evidently  set  small  value. 

This  monastery  was  founded  by  the  Emperor  Romanus 
about  the  year  9"20 ;  it  was  rebuilt  by  Andronicus  the 
Second  in  1 320 ;  in  the  sixteenth  century  it  was  thrown 
down  by  an  earthquake,  and  was  again  repaired  by  the 
Sultan  Selim  the  First,  or  at  least  during  his  reign — that 
is,  about  1515.  It  was  in  a  ruinous  condition  in  the  year 
1701 ;  it  was  again  repaired,  and  in  the  Greek  revolution 
it  was  again  dismantled ;  at  the  time  of  my  visit  they 


were  aetively  employed  in  restoring  it.  Alexander, 
Waywode  of  Wallachia,  was  a  great  benefactor  to  this 
and  other  monasteries  of  Atlios,  which  owe  much  to  the 
piety  of  the  different  Christian  princes  of  the  Danubian 
states  of  the  Turkish  empire. 

The  library  over  the  porch  of  the  church,  which  is 
large  and  handsome,  contains  one  thousand  printed  books 
and  between  thirty  and  forty  manuscripts  in  bad  condi- 
tion. I  saw  none  of  consequence  :  that  is  to  say,  nothing 
except  the  usual  volumes  of  divinity  of  the  twelfth 
century.  In  the  church  is  preserved  a  large  piece  of  the 
holy  cross  richly  set  with  valuable  jewels.  The  agou- 
menos  of  Xeropotamo,  a  man  with  a  dark-grey  beard, 
about  sixty  years  of  age,  struck  me  as  a  fine  specimen  of 
what  an  abbot  of  an  ascetic  monastery  ought  to  be ; 
simple  and  kind,  yet  clever  enough,  and  learned  in  the 
divinity  of  his  church,  he  set  an  example  to  the  monks 
under  his  rule  of  devotion  and  rectitude  of  conduct ;  he 
was  not  slothful,  or  haughty,  or  grasping,  and  seemed  to 
have  a  truly  religious  and  cheerful  mind.  He  was  looked 
up  to  and  beloved  by  the  whole  community  ;  and  with 
his  dignified  manner  and  appearance,  his  long  grey  hair, 
and  dark  flowing  robes,  he  gave  me  the  idea  of  what  the 
saints  and  holy  men  of  old  must  have  been  in  the  early 
days  of  Christianity,  when  they  walked  entirely  in  the 
faith,  and — if  required  to  do  so — willingly  gave  themselves 
up  as  martyrs  to  the  cause :  when  in  all  their  actions 
they  were  influenced  solely  by  the  dictates  of  their  re- 
ligion. Would  that  such  times  would  come  again  !  But 
where  every  one  sets  up  a  new  religion  for  himself,  and 
when  people  laugh   at  and  ridicule  those  things  which 

380  MONASTERY  OF  ST.  NICHOLAS.        Chap.  XXVII. 

their  ignorance  prevents  them  from  appreciating,  how  can 
we  hope  for  this  ? 

Early  in  the  morning  I  started  from  my  comfortable 
couch,  and  ran  scrambling  down  the  hill,  over  the  rolling- 
stones  in  the  dry  bed  of  the  torrent  on  which  the  mo- 
nastery of  the  "  dry  river  "  (^npoTroToc/xou — courou  chesme 
in  Turkish)  is  built.  We  got  into  the  boat :  our  carpets, 
some  oranges,  and  various  little  stores  for  a  day's  journey, 
which  the  good  monks  had  supplied  us  with,  being 
brought  down  by  sundry  good-natured  lubberly  y.a.Ta.Kv- 
[xevot — religious  youths — who  were  delighted  at  having 
something  to  do,  and  were  as  pleased  as  children  at  having 
a  good  heavy  praying- carpet  to  carry,  or  a  basket  of 
oranges,  or  a  cushion  from  the  monastery.  They  all 
waited  on  the  shore  to  see  us  off,  and  away  we  went  along 
the  coast.  As  the  sun  got  up  it  became  oppressively  hot, 
and  the  first  monastery  we  came  abreast  of  was  that  of 
Simopetra,  which  is  perched  on  the  top  of  a  perpendicular 
rock,  five  or  six  hundred  feet  high  at  least,  if  not  twice  as 
much.  This  rather  daunted  me :  and  as  we  thought 
perhaps  to-morrow  would  not  be  so  hot,  I  put  off  climb- 
ing up  the  precipice  for  the  present,  and  rowed  gently  on 
in  the  calm  sea  till  we  came  before  the  monastery  of 


the  smallest  of  all  the  convents  of  Mount  Athos.  It  was 
a  most  picturesque  building,  stuck  up  on  a  rock,  and  is 
famous  for  its  figs,  in  the  eating  of  which.,  in  the  absence 
of  more  interesting  matter,  we  all  employed  ourselves  a 
considerable  time ;  they  were  marvellously  cool  and 
delicious,  and  there  were  such  quantities  of  them.     We 

Chap.  XXVII.        MONASTERY  OF  ST.  DIONISIUS.  381 

and  the  boatmen  sat  in  the  shade,  and  enjoyed  ourselves 

till  we  were  ashamed  of  staying  any  longer.     I  forgot  to 

ask  who  the  founder  was.     There  was  no  library  ;  in  fact, 

there  was  nothing  but  figs ;  so  we  got  into  the  boat  again, 

and  sweltered  on  a  quarter  of  an  hour  more,  and  then  we 

came  to 


This  monastery  is  also  built  upon  a  rock  immediately 
above  the  sea ;  it  is  of  moderate  size,  but  is  in  good 
repair.  There  was  a  look  of  comfort  about  it  that 
savoured  of  easy  circumstances,  but  the  number  of  monks 
in  it  was  small.  Altogether  this  monastery,  as  regards 
the  antiquities  it  contained,  was  the  most  interesting  of 
all.  The  church,  a  good-sized  building,  is  in  a  very 
perfect  state  of  preservation.  Hanging  on  the  wall  near 
the  door  of  entrance  was  a  portrait  painted  on  wood, 
about  three  feet  square,  in  a  frame  of  silver-gilt,  set  with 
jewels ;  it  represented  Alexius  Comnenus,  Emperor  of 
Trebizonde,  the  founder  of  the  monastery.  He  it  was, 
I  believe,  who  built  that  most  beautiful  church  a  little 
way  out  of  the  town  of  Trebizonde,  which  is  called  St. 
Sophia,  probably  from  its  resemblance  to  the  cathedral  of 
Constantinople.  He  is  drawn  in  his  imperial  robes,  and 
the  portrait  is  one  of  the  most  curious  I  ever  saw.  He 
founded  this  church  in  the  year  1380;  and  Neagulus 
and  Peter,  Waywodes  of  Bessarabia,  restored  and  re- 
paired the  monastery.  There  was  another  curious  portrait 
of  a  lady  ;  I  did  not  learn  who  it  was :  very  probably  the 
Empress  Pulcheria,  or  else  Roxandra  Domna  (Domina  ?), 
wife  of  Alexander,  Waywode  of  Wallachia  ;  for  both 
these  ladies  were  benefactors  to  the  convent. 

382  MONASTERY  OF  ST.  DIONISIUS.        Chap.  XXVII. 

I  was  taken,  as  a  pilgrim,  to  the  church,  and  we  stood 
in  the  middle  of  the  floor  hefore  the  ixovoaraajy,  whilst  the 
monks  brought  out  an  old-fashioned  low  wooden  table, 
upon  which  they  placed  the  relics  of  the  saints  which  they 
presumed  we  came  to  adore.  Of  these  some  were  very  in- 
teresting specimens  of  intricate  workmanship  and  superb 
and  precious  materials.  One  was  a  patera,  of  a  kind  of 
china  or  paste,  made,  as  I  imagine,  of  a  multitude  of  tur- 
quoises ground  down  together,  for  it  was  too  large  to  be 
of  one  single  turquoise ;  there  is  one  of  the  same  kind, 
but  of  far  inferior  workmanship,  in  the  treasury  of  St. 
Marc.  This  marvellous  dish  is  carved  in  very  high  relief 
with  minute  figures  or  little  statues  of  the  saints,  with  in- 
scriptions in  very  early  Greek.  It  is  set  in  pure  gold, 
richly  worked,  and  was  a  gift  from  the  Empress  or  im- 
perial Princess  Pulcheria.  Then  there  was  an  invaluable 
shrine  for  the  head  of  St.  John  the  Baptist,  whose  bones 
and  another  of  his  heads  are  in  the  cathedral  at  Genoa. 
St.  John  Lateran  also  boasts  a  head  of  St.  John,  but  that 
may  have  belonged  to  St.  John  the  Evangelist.  This 
shrine  was  the  gift  of  Neagulus,  Waywode  or  Hospodar 
of  Wallachia :  it  is  about  two  feet  long  and  two  feet 
high,  and  is  in  the  shape  of  a  Byzantine  church ;  the 
material  is  silver-gilt,  but  the  admirable  and  singular 
style  of  the  workmanship  gives  it  a  value  far  surpassing 
its  intrinsic  worth.  The  roof  is  covered  with  five  domes 
of  gold  ;  on  each  side  it  has  sixteen  recesses,  in  which  are 
portraits  of  the  saints  in  niello,  and  at  each  end  there  are 
eight  others.  All  the  windows  are  enriched  in  open-work 
tracery,  of  a  strange  sort  of  Gothic  pattern,  unlike  any- 
thing in  Europe.     It  is  altogether  a  wonderful  and  pre- 

Chap.  XXVII.        MONASTERY  OF  ST.  DIONISIUS.  383 

cious  monument  of  ancient  art,  the  production  of  an 
almost  unknown  country,  rich,  quaint,  and  original  in 
its  design  and  execution,  and  is  indeed  one  of  the 
most  curious  objects  on  Mount  Athos ;  although  the 
patera  of  the  Princess  Pulcheria  might  probably  be 
considered  of  greater  value.  There  were  many  other 
shrines  and  reliquaries,  but  none  of  any  particular  in- 

I  next  proceeded  to  the  library,  which  contained  not 
much  less  than  a  thousand  manuscripts,  half  on  paper  and 
half  on  vellum.  Of  those  on  vellum  the  most  valuable 
were  a  quarto  Evangelistarium,  in  uncial  letters,  and  in 
beautiful  preservation  ;  another  Evangelistarium,  of  which 
three  fly-leaves  were  in  early  uncial  Greek  ;  a  small 
quarto  of  the  Dialogues  of  St.  Gregory,  &j«Xoyo»  Tcsyopiou 
rou  QaoXoyov,  not  in  uncial  letters,  with  twelve  fine  minia- 
tures ;  a  small  quarto  New  Testament,  containing  the 
Apocalypse ;  and  some  magnificent  folios  of  the  Fathers 
of  the  eleventh  century ;  but  not  one  classic  author. 
Among  the  manuscripts  on  paper  were  a  folio  of  the  Iliad 
of  Homer,  badly  written,  two  copies  of  the  works  of 
Dionysius  the  Areopagite,  and  a  multitude  of  books  for 
the  church-service.  Alas  !  they  would  part  with  nothing. 
The  library  was  altogether  a  magnificent  collection,  and 
for  the  most  part  well  preserved :  they  had  no  great 
number  of  printed  books.  I  should  imagine  that  this 
monastery  must,  from  some  fortunate  accident,  have  suf- 
fered less  from  spoliation  during  the  late  revolution  than 
any  of  the  others ;  for  considering  that  it  is  not  a  very 
large  establishment,  the  number  of  valuable  things  it  con- 
tained was  quite  astonishing. 

384  MONASTERY  OF  ST.  PAUL.  Chap.  XXVII. 

A  quarter  of  an  hour's  row  brought  us  to  the  scarica- 

tojo  of 


from  whence  we  had  to  walk  a  mile  and  a  half  up  a  steep 
hill  to  the  monastery,  where  building  repairs  were  going 
on  with  great  activity.  I  was  received  with  cheerful  hos- 
pitality, and  soon  made  the  acquaintance  of  four  monks, 
who  amongst  them  spoke  English,  French,  Italian,  and 
German.  Having  been  installed  in  a  separate  bed-room, 
cleanly  furnished  in  the  Turkish  style,  where  I  subse- 
quently enjoyed  a  delightful  night's  rest,  undisturbed  by 
a  single  flea,  I  was  conducted  into  a  large  airy  hall. 
Here,  after  a  very  comfortable  dinner,  the  smaller  fry  of 
monks  assembled  to  hear  the  illustrious  stranger  hold 
forth  in  turn  to  the  four  wise  fathers  who  spoke  unknown 
tongues.  The  simple,  kind-hearted  brethren  looked  with 
awe  and  wonder  on  the  quadruple  powers  of  those  lips  that- 
uttered  such  strange  sounds :  just  as  the  Peruvians  made 
their  reverence  to  the  Spanish  horses,  whose  speech  they 
understood  not,  and  whose  manners  were  beyond  their 
comprehension.  It  was  fortunate  for  my  reputation  that 
the  reverend  German  scholar  was  of  a  close  and  taciturn 
disposition,  since  my  knowledge  of  his  scraughing  language 
did  not  extend  very  far,  and  when  we  got  to  scientific  dis- 
cussion I  was  very  nearly  at  a  stand  still ;  but  I  am  inclined 
to  think  that  he  upheld  my  dignity  to  save  his  own ;  and 
as  my  servant,  who  never  minced  matters,  had  doubtless 
told  them  that  I  could  speak  ninety  other  languages,  and 
was  besides  nephew  to  most  of  the  crowned  heads  of 
Europe,  if  a  phoenix  had  come  in  he  would  have  had  a 
lower  place  assigned  him.     I  found  also  that  in  this — as 

Chap.  XXVII.  MONASTERY  OF  ST.  PAUL.  385 

indeed  in  all  the  other  monasteries — one  who  had  per- 
formed the  pilgrimage  to  the  Holy  Land  was  looked  upon 
with  a  certain  degree  of  respect.  In  short,  I  found  that 
at  last  I  was  amongst  a  set  of  people  who  had  the  sense 
to  appreciate  my  merits ;  so  I  held  up  my  head,  and 
assumed  all  the  dignified  humility  of  real  greatness. 

This  monastery  was  founded  for  Bulgarian  and  Servian 
monks  by  Constantine  Biancobano,  Hospodar  of  Wal- 
lachia.  There  was  little  that  was  interesting  in  it,  either 
in  architecture  or  any  other  walk  of  art ;  the  library  was 
contained  in  a  small  light  closet,  the  books  were  clean,  and 
ranged  in  order  on  the  new  deal  shelves.  There  was  only 
one  Greek  manuscript,  a  duodecimo  copy  of  the  Gospels 
of  the  twelfth  or  thirteenth  century.  The  Servian  and 
Bulgarian  manuscripts  amounted  to  about  two  hundred 
and  fifty  :  of  these  three  were  remarkable  ;  the  first  was  a 
manuscript  of  the  four  Gospels,  a  thick  quarto,  and  the 
uncial  letters  in  which  it  was  written  were  three  fourths 
of  an  inch  in  height :  it  was  imperfect  at  the  end.  The 
second  was  also  a  copy  of  the  Gospels,  a  folio,  in  uncial 
letters,  with  fine  illuminations  at  the  beginning  of  each 
Gospel,  and  a  large  and  curious  portrait  of  a  patriarch  at 
the  end ;  all  the  stops  in  this  volume  were  dots  of  gold ; 
several  words  also  were  written  in  gold.  It  was  a  noble 
manuscript.  The  third  was  likewise  a  folio  of  the  Gospels 
in  the  ancient  Bulgarian  language,  and,  like  the  other 
two,  in  uncial  letters.  This  manuscript  was  quite  full  of 
illuminations  from  beginning  to  end.  I  had  seen  no  book 
like  it  anywhere  in  the  Levant.  I  almost  tumbled  off  the 
steps  on  which  I  was  perched  on  the  discovery  of  so  extra- 
ordinary a  volume.    I  saw  that  these  books  were  taken  care 


386  MONASTERY  OF  ST.  PAUL.  Chap.  XXVII. 

of,  so  I  did  not  much  like  to  ask  whether  they  would 
part  with  them ;  more  especially  as  the  community  was 
evidently  a  prosperous  one,  and  had  no  need  to  sell  any 
of  their  goods. 

After  walking  about  the  monastery  with  the  monks,  as 
I  was  going  away  the  agoumenos  said  he  wished  he  had 
anything  which  he  could  present  to  me  as  a  memorial  of 
my  visit  to  the  convent  of  St.  Paul.  On  this  a  brisk  fire 
of  reciprocal  compliments  ensued,  and  I  observed  that  I 
should  like  to  take  a  book.  "  Oh  !  by  all  means  !"  he 
said ;  "  we  make  no  use  of  the  old  books,  and  should  be 
glad  if  you  would  accept  one."  We  returned  to  the 
library  ;  and  the  agoumenos  took  out  one  at  a  hazard,  as 
you  might  take  a  brick  or  a  stone  out  of  a  pile,  and  pre- 
sented it  to  me.  Quoth  I,  "  If  you  don't  care  what  book 
it  is  that  you  are  so  good  as  to  give  me,  let  me  take  one 
which  pleases  me ;"  and,  so  saying,  I  took  down  the  illu- 
minated folio  of  the  Bulgarian  Gospels,  and  I  could 
hardly  believe  I  was  awake  when  the  agoumenos  gave  it 
into  my  hands.  Perhaps  the  greatest  piece  of  imperti- 
nence of  which  I  was  ever  guilty,  was  when  I  asked  to 
buy  another  ;  but  that  they  insisted  upon  giving  me  also  : 
so  I  took  the  folio  copy  of  the  Gospels  mentioned 
above.  I  felt  almost  ashamed  at  accepting  this  last 
book ;  but  who  could  resist  it,  knowing  that  both 
were  utterly  valueless  to  the  monks,  and  were  not 
saleable  in  the  bazaar  at  Constantinople,  Smyrna,  Sa- 
lonica,  or  any  neighbouring  city  ?  However,  before  1 
went  away,  as  a  salvo  to  my  conscience  I  gave  some 
money  to  the  church.  The  authorities  accompanied 
me  beyond  the  outer  gate,  and  by  the  kindness  of  the 

a  a  3 

iS-4!   "I., 


Krran  a  Sk«lcb  l.y  H.  ('„ 

TAKKN    PROM    THF.    SKA    SHOItK. 


agoumenos  mules  were  provided  to  take  us  down  to  the 
sea-shore,  where  we  found  our  clerical  mariners  ready 
for  us.  One  of  the  monks,  who  wished  for  a  passage  to 
Xeropotamo,  accompanied  us ;  and,  turning  our  boat's 
head  again  to  the  north-west,  we  arrived  before  long  a 
second  time  below  the  lofty  rock  of 


This  monastery  was  founded  by  St.  Simon  the  Anchorite, 
of  whose  history  I  was  unable  to  learn  anything.  The 
buildings  are  connected  with  the  side  of  the  mountain  by 
a  fine  aqueduct,  which  has  a  grand  effect,  perched  as  it  is 
at  so  great  a  height  above  the  sea,  and  consisting  of  two 
rows  of  eleven  arches,  one  above  the  other,  with  one  lofty 
arch  across  a  chasm  immediately  under  the  walls  of  the 
monastery,  which,  as  seen  from  this  side,  resembles  an 
immense  square  tower,  with  several  rows  of  wooden  bal- 
conies or  galleries  projecting  from  the  walls  at  a  prodigious 
height  from  the  ground.  It  was  no  slight  effort  of  gym- 
nastics to  get  up  to  the  door,  where  I  was  received  with 
many  grotesque  bows  by  an  ancient  porter.  I  was  ushered 
into  the  presence  of  the  agoumenos,  who  sat  in  a  hall, 
surrounded  by  a  reverend  conclave  of  his  bearded  and 
long-haired  monks ;  and  after  partaking  of  sweetmeats 
and  water,  and  a  cup  of  coffee,  according  to  custom, 
but  no  pipes — for  the  divines  of  Mount  Athos  do  not 
indulge  in  smoking — they  took  me  to  the  church  and  to 
the  library. 

In  the  latter  I  found  a  hundred  and  fifty  manuscripts, 
of  which  fifty  were  on  vellum,  all  works  of  divinity,  and 
not  above  ten  or  twelve  of  them  fine  books.     I  asked  per- 



mission  to  purchase  three,  to  which  they  acceded.  These 
were  the  '  Life  and  Works  of  St.  John  Climax,  Agoumenos 
of  Mount  Sinai,'  a  quarto  of  the  eleventh  century  ;  the 
'  Acts  and  Epistles,'  a  noble  folio  written  in  large  letters, 
in  double  columns :  a  very  fine  manuscript,  the  letters 
upright  and  not  much  joined  together :  at  the  end  is  an 
inscription  in  red  letters,  which  may  contain  the  date,  but 
it  is  so  faint  that  I  could  not  make  it  out.  The  third  was 
a  quarto  of  the  four  Gospels,  with  a  picture  of  an  evan- 
gelist at  the  beginning  of  each  Gospel.  Whilst  I  was 
arranging  the  payment  for  these  manuscripts,  a  monk, 
opening  the  copy  of  the  Gospels,  found  at  the  end  a  hor- 
rible anathema  and  malediction  written  by  the  donor,  a 
prince  or  king,  he  said,  against  any  one  who  should  sell 
or  part  with  this  book.  This  was  very  unlucky,  and  pro- 
duced a  great  effect  upon  the  monks  ;  but  as  no  anathema 
was  found  in  either  of  the  two  other  volumes,  I  was  al- 
lowed to  take  them,  and  so  went  on  my  way  rejoicing. 
They  rang  the  bells  at  my  departure,  and  I  heard  them 
at  intervals  jingling  in  the  air  above  me  as  I  scrambled 
down  the  rocky  mountain.  Except  Dionisiou,  this  was 
the  only  monastery  where  the  agoumenos  kissed  the  letter 
of  the  patriarch  and  laid  it  upon  his  forehead  :  the  sign 
of  reverence  and  obedience  which  is,  or  ought  to  be,  ob- 
served with  the  firmans  of  the  Sultan  and  other  oriental 

The  same  evening  I  got  back  to  my  comfortable  room 
at  Xeropotamo,  and  did  ample  justice  to  a  good  meagre 
dinner  after  the  heat  and  fatigues  of  the  day.  A  monk 
had  arrived  from  one  of  the  outlying  farms  who  could 
speak  a  little  Italian  ;  he  was  deputed  to  do  the  honours 


of  the  house,  and  accordingly  dined  with  me.  He  was 
a  magnificent-looking  man  of  thirty  or  thirty-five  years 
of  age,  with  large  eyes  and  long  hlack  hair  and  beard. 
As  we  sat  together  in  the  evening  in  the  ancient  room, 
by  the  light  of  one  dim  brazen  lamp,  with  deep  shades 
thrown  across  his  face  and  figure,  I  thought  he  would 
have  made  an  admirable  study  for  Titian  or  Sebastian 
del  Piornbo.  In  the  course  of  conversation  I  found  that 
he  had  learnt  Italian  from  another  monk,  having  never 
been  out  of  the  peninsula  of  Mount  Athos.  His  parents 
and  most  of  the  other  inhabitants  of  the  village  where  he 
was  born,  somewhere  in  Roumelia — but  its  name  or  exact 
position  he  did  not  know — had  been  massacred  during 
some  revolt  or  disturbance.  So  he  had  been  told,  but  he 
remembered  nothing  about  it ;  he  had  been  educated  in 
a  school  in  this  or  one  of  the  other  monasteries,  and  his 
whole  life  had  been  passed  upon  the  Holy  Mountain ; 
and  this,  he  said,  was  the  case  with  very  many  other 
monks.  He  did  not  remember  his  mother,  and  did  not 
seem  quite  sure  that  he  ever  had  one  ;  he  had  never  seen 
a  woman,  nor  had  he  any  idea  what  sort  of  things  women 
were,  or  what  they  looked  like.  He  asked  me  whether 
they  resembled  the  pictures  of  the  Panagia,  the  Holy 
Virgin,  which  hang  in  every  church.  Now,  those  who 
are  conversant  with  the  peculiar  conventional  representa- 
tions of  the  Blessed  Virgin  in  the  pictures  of  the  Greek 
church,  which  are  all  exactly  alike,  stiff,  hard,  and  dry, 
without  any  appearance  of  life  or  emotion,  will  agree 
with  me  that  they  do  not  afford  a  very  favourable  idea 
of  the  grace  or  beauty  of  the  fair  sex ;  and  that  there 
was  a  difference  of  appearance  between  black  women, 


Circassians,  and  those  of  other  nations,  which  was,  how- 
ever, difficult  to  describe  to  one  who  had  never  seen  a 
lady  of  any  race.  He  listened  with  great  interest  while 
I  told  him  that  all  women  were  not  exactly  like  the 
pictures  he  had  seen,  and  that  they  differed  consider- 
ably one  from  another,  in  appearance,  manners,  and 
understanding ;  but  I  did  not  think  it  charitable  to 
carry  on  the  conversation  farther,  although  the  poor 
monk  seemed  to  have  a  strong  inclination  to  know  more 
of  that  interesting  race  of  beings  from  whose  society  he 
had  been  so  entirely  debarred.  I  often  thought  after- 
wards of  the  singular  lot  of  this  manly  and  noble-looking 
monk  :  whether  he  is  still  a  recluse,  either  in  the  monas- 
tery or  in  his  mountain-farm,  with  its  little  moss-grown 
chapel  as  ancient  as  the  days  of  Constantino  ;  or  whether 
he  has  gone  out  into  the  world  and  mingled  in  its  plea- 
sures and  its  cares. 

I  arranged  with  the  captain  of  a  small  vessel  which 
was  lying  off  Xeropotamo  taking  in  a  cargo  of  wood,  that 
he  should  give  me  a  passage  in  two  or  three  days,  when 
he  said  he  should  be  ready  to  sail ;  and  in  the  mean  time 
I  purposed  to  explore  the  metropolis  of  Mount  Athos, 
the  town  of  Cariez ;  and  then  to  go  to  Caracalla,  and 
remain  there  till  the  vessel  was  ready.  Accordingly,  the 
next  morning  I  set  out,  the  agoumenos  supplying  me 
with  mules.  The  guide  did  not  know  how  far  it  was  to 
Cariez,  which  is  situated  almost  in  the  centre  of  the 
peninsula.  I  found  it  was  only  distant  one  hour  and  a 
half;  but  as  I  had  not  made  arrangements  to  go  on,  I 
was  obliged  to  remain  there  all  day.  Close  to  the  town 
is  the  great  monastery  of 




the  most  regular  building;  on  Mount  Athos.  It  contains 
a  large  square  court  with  a  cloister  of  stone  arches  all 
round  it,  out  of  which  the  cells  and  chambers  open,  as 
they  do  in  a  Roman  Catholic  convent.  The  church 
stands  in  the  centre  of  this  quadrangle,  and  glories  in  a 
famous  picture  of  the  Last  Judgment  on  the  wall  of  the 
narthex,  or  porch,  before  the  door  of  entrance.  The 
monastery  was  at  this  time  nearly  uninhabited  ;  but,  after 
some  trouble,  I  found  one  monk,  who  made  great  diffi- 
culties as  to  showing  me  the  library,  for  he  said  a  Russian 
had  been  there  some  time  ago,  and  had  borrowed  a  book 
which  he  never  returned.  However,  at  last  I  gained  ad- 
mission by  means  of  that  ingenious  silver  key  which  opens 
so  many  locks. 

In  a  good-sized  square  room,  filled  with  shelves  all 
round,  I  found  a  fine,  although  neglected,  collection  of 
books ;  a  great  many  of  them  thrown  on  the  floor  in 
heaps,  and  covered  all  over  with  dust,  which  the  Russian 
did  not  appear  to  have  much  disturbed  when  he  borrowed 
the  book  which  had  occasioned  me  so  much  trouble. 
There  were  about  six  or  seven  hundred  volumes  of 
printed  books,  two  hundred  MSS.  on  paper,  and  a  hun- 
dred and  fifty  on  vellum.  I  was  not  permitted  to  ex- 
amine this  library  at  all  to  my  satisfaction.  The  solitary 
monk  thought  I  was  a  Russian,  and  would  not  let  me 
alone,  or  give  me  the  time  I  wanted  for  my  researches. 
I  found  a  multitude  of  folios  and  quartos  of  the  works  of 
St.  Chrysostom,  who  seems  to  have  been  the  principal  in- 
structor of  the  monks  of  Mount  Athos,  that  is,  in  the 


days  when  they  were  in  the  habit  of  reading — a  tedious 
custom,  which  they  have  long  since  given  up  by  general 
consent.  I  met  also  with  an  Evangelistarium,  a  quarto 
in  uncial  letters,  but  not  in  very  fine  condition.  Two  or 
three  other  old  monks  had  by  this  time  crept  out  of  their 
holes,  but  they  would  not  part  with  any  of  their  books : 
that  unhappy  Russian  had  filled  the  minds  of  the  whole 
brotherhood  with  suspicion.  So  we  went  to  the  church, 
which  was  curious  and  quaint,  as  they  all  are ;  and  as  we 
went  through  all  the  requisite  formalities  before  various 
grim  pictures,  and  showed  due  respect  for  the  sacred  cha- 
racter of  a  Christian  church,  they  began  at  last  to  believe 
that  I  was  not  a  Russian  ;  but  if  they  had  seen  the  con- 
tents of  the  saddle-bags  which  were  sticking  out  bravely 
on  each  side  of  the  patient  mule  at  the  gate,  they  would 
perhaps  have  considered  me  as  something  far  worse. 

Coutloumoussi  was  founded  by  the  Emperor  Alexius 
Comnenus,  and,  having  been  destroyed  by  "  the  Pope  of 
Rome"  was  restored  by  the  piety  of  various  hospodars 
and  waywodes  of  Bessarabia.  It  is  difficult  to  understand 
what  these  worthy  monks  can  mean  when  they  affirm  that 
several  of  their  monasteries  have  been  burned  and  plun- 
dered by  the  Pope.  Perhaps  in  the  days  of  the  Crusades 
some  of  the  rapacious  and  undisciplined  hordes  who  ac- 
companied the  armies  of  the  Cross — not  to  rescue  the 
Holy  Sepulchre  from  the  power  of  the  Saracens,  but  for 
the  sake  of  plunder  and  robbery — may  have  been  at- 
tracted by  the  fame  of  the  riches  of  these  peaceful  con- 
vents, and  have  made  the  differences  in  their  religion  a 
pretext  for  sacrilege  and  rapacity.  Thus  bands  of  pirates 
and  brigands  in  the  middle  ages  may  have  cloaked  their 

Chap.  XXVII.  CARIEZ.  393 

acts  of  violence  under  the  specious  excuse  of  devotion 
to  the  Church  of  Rome  ;  and  so  the  Pope  has  acquired 
a  bad  name,  and  is  looked  upon  with  terror  and  ani- 
mosity by  the  inhabitants  of  the  monasteries  of  Mount 

Having  seen  what  I  could,  I  went  on  to  the  town  of 
Cariez,  if  it  can  properly  be  called  such  ;  for  it  is  diffi- 
cult to  explain  what  it  is.  One  may  perhaps  say  that 
what  Washington  is  to  the  United  States,  Cariez  is  to 
Mount  Athos.  A  few  artificers  do  live  there  who  carve 
crosses  and  ornaments  in  cypress-wood.  The  principal 
feature  of  the  place  is  the  great  church  of  Protaton, 
which  is  surrounded  by  smaller  buildings  and  chapels. 
These  I  saw  at  a  distance,  but  did  not  visit,  because  I 
could  get  no  mules,  and  it  was  too  hot  to  walk  so  far. 
A  Turkish  aga  lives  here :  he  is  sent  by  the  Porte  to 
collect  the  revenue  from  the  monks,  and  also  to  protect 
them  from  other  Turkish  visitors.  He  is  paid  and  pro- 
vided with  food  by  a  kind  of  rate  which  is  levied  on  the 
twenty-one  monasteries  of  ayjov  oqos,  and  is  in  fact  a  sort 
of  sheep-dog  to  the  flock  of  helpless  monks  who  pasture 
among  the  trees  and  rocks  of  the  peninsula.  On  certain 
days  the  Agoumenoi  of  the  monasteries  and  the  high 
officers  of  their  communities  meet  at  the  church  of  Pro- 
taton for  the  transaction  of  business  and  the  discussion 
of  affairs.  I  am  sorry  I  did  not  see  this  ancient  house  of 
parliament.  The  rooms  in  which  these  synods  or  convo- 
cations are  held  adjoin  the  church.  Situated  at  short 
distances  around  these  principal  edifices  are  numerous 
small  ecclesiastical  villas  such  as  were  called  cells  in 
England  before  the  Reformation :  these  are  the  habita- 



tions  of  the  venerable  senators  when  they  come  up  to 
parliament.  Some  of  them  are  beautifully  situated ;  for 
Cariez  stands  in  a  fair,  open  vale,  half-way  up  the  side 
of  the  mountain,  and  commands  a  beautiful  view  to  the 
north  of  the  sea,  with  the  magnificent  island  of  Samotraki 
looming  superbly  in  the  distance.  All  around  are  large 
orchards  and  plantations  of  peach-trees  and  of  various 
other  sorts  of  fruit-bearing  trees  in  great  abundance,  and 
the  round  hills  are  clothed  with  greensward.  It  is  a 
happy,  peaceful-looking  place,  and  in  its  trim  and  sunny 
arbours  reminds  one  of  Virgil  and  Theocritus. 

I  went  to  the  house  of  the  aga  to  seek  for  a  habitation, 
but  the  aga  was  asleep  ;  and  who  was  there  so  bold  as  to 
wake  a  sleeping  aga  ?  Luckily  he  awoke  of  his  own  ac- 
cord ;  and  he  was  soon  informed  by  my  interpreter  that 
an  illustrious  personage  awaited  his  leisure.  He  did 
not  care  for  a  monk,  and  not  much  for  an  agoumenos ; 
but  he  felt  small  in  the  presence  of  a  mighty  Turkish 
aga.  Nevertheless,  he  ventured  a  few  hints  about  the 
kings  and  queens  who  were  my  first  cousins,  but  in  a 
much  more  subdued  tone  than  usual ;  and  I  was  received 
with  that  courteous  civility  and  good  breeding  which  is  so 
frequently  met  with  among  Turks  of  every  degree.  The 
aga  apologised  for  having  no  good  room  to  offer  me  ;  but 
he  sent  out  his  men  to  look  for  a  lodging,  and  in  the 
mean  time  we  went  to  a  kiosk  :  this  one  was  a  place  like 
a  large  birdcage,  with  enough  roof  to  make  a  shade,  and 
no  walls  to  impede  the  free  passage  of  the  air.  It  was 
built  of  wood,  upon  a  scaffold  eight  or  ten  feet  from  the 
ground,  in  the  corner  of  a  garden,  and  commanded  a  fine 
view  of  the  sea.     In  one  corner  of  this  cage  I  sat  all  day 


long,  for  there  was  nowhere  else  to  go  to ;  and  the  aga 
sat  opposite  to  me  in  another  corner,  smoking  his  pipe,  in 
which  solacing  occupation  to  his  great  surprise  I  did  not 
partake.  "  You  are  a  dervish  ?"  said  he,  inquiringly  ;  for 
dervishes  in  the  East  refuse  to  smoke  occasionally,  out  of 
sanctity,  just  as  some  of  the  unco  good  will  not  whistle 
on  Sunday  in  our  country.  "  Ilosh  geldin,"  said  he — you 
are  welcome  ;  upon  which  I  touched  my  forehead  with  my 
hand.  "  Kef  enis  eyi? — is  your  kef  good?"  I  inquired, 
after  an  interval  of  about  an  hour.  "  Peki,"  said  he — 
it  is  good.  This  word  kef  or  kaif  is  a  very  expressive 
term :  kef  is  your  capability  of  enjoyment  in  a  quiet 
way;  to  be  in  good  health  is  kef;  to  sit  under  a  tree 
on  a  carpet  by  a  bright  stream  is  kef  on  a  hot  day  ; 
and  going  out  with  a  party  to  a  pretty  place,  where 
you  sit  still  in  the  shade,  and  count  your  beads, 
and  drink  sherbet,  and  do  nothing,  is  great  kef.  We 
had  cups  of  coffee  and  sherbet  every  now  and  then, 
and  about  every  half-hour  the  aga  uttered  a  few  words 
of  compliment  or  welcome,  informing  me  occasionally 
that  there  were  many  dervishes  in  the  place,  "  very 
many  dervishes,"  for  so  he  denominated  the  monks. 
Dinner  came  towards  evening.  There  was  meat,  dolmas, 
demir  tatlessi,  olives,  salad,  roast  meat,  and  pilau,  that 
filled  up  some  time  ;  and  shortly  afterwards  I  retired  to 
the  house  of  the  monastery  of  Russico,  a  little  distance 
from  my  kiosk  ;  and  there  I  slept  on  a  carpet  on  the 
boards  ;  and  at  sunrise  was  ready  to  continue  my  journey, 
as  were  also  the  mules.  The  aga  gave  me  some  break- 
fast, at  which  repast  a  cat  made  its  appearance,  with 
whom  the  day  before  I  had  made  acquaintance ;  but  now 

396  A  SHE-CAT  ON  MOUNT  ATHOS  !        Chap.  XX VII. 

it  came,  not  alone,  but  accompanied  by  two  kittens. 
"  Ah !''  said  I  to  the  aga,  "  how  is  this  ?  Why,  as  I 
live,  this  is  a  she  cat !  a  cat  feminine  !  What  business 
has  it  on  Mount  Athos  ?  and  with  kittens  too  !  a  wicked 
cat !" 

"  Hush !"  said  the  Aga,  with  a  solemn  grin  ;  "  do  not 
say  anything  about  it.  Yes,  it  must  be  a  she-cat :  I 
allow,  certainly,  that  it  must  be  a  she-cat.  I  brought  it 
with  me  from  Stamboul.  But  do  not  speak  of  it,  or  they 
will  take  it  away  ;  and  it  reminds  me  of  my  home,  where 
my  wife  and  children  are  living  far  away  from  me/' 

I  promised  to  make  no  scandal  about  the  cat,  and  took 
my  leave  ;  and  as  I  rode  off  I  saw  him  looking  at  me  out 
of  his  cage  with  the  cat  sitting  by  his  side.  I  was  sorry 
I  could  not  take  aga  and  cat  and  all  with  me  to  Stamboul, 
the  poor  gentleman  looked  so  solitary  and  melancholy. 

J  •  ' 

LADY,    IN    THE    YASHMAK,    Oft    VEIL. 

Chap.  XXVIII.         MONASTERY  OF  CARACALLA.  397 


Caracalla  —  The  Agoumenos  —  Curious  Cross  —  The  Nuts  of  Caracalla 
—  Singular  Mode  of  preparing  a  Dinner  Table  —  Departure  from 
Mount  Athos  —  Packing  of  the  MSS.  —  Difficulties  of  the  Way  — 
Voyage  to  the  Dardanelles  —  Apprehended  Attack  from  Pirates  — 
Return  to  Constantinople. 

It  took  me  three  hours  to  reach  Caracalla,  where  the 
agoumenos  and  Father  Joasaph  received  me  with  all  the 
hospitable  kindness  of  old  friends,  and  at  once  installed 
me  in  my  old  room,  which  looked  into  the  court,  and  was 
very  cool  and  quiet.  Here  I  reposed  in  peace  during  the 
hotter  hours  of  the  day ;  and  here  I  received  the  news 
that  the  captain  of  the  vessel  which  I  had  hired  had  left 
me  in  the  lurch  and  gone  out  to  sea,  having,  I  suppose, 
made  some  better  bargain.  This  caused  me  some  tribu- 
lation ;  but  there  was  nothing  to  be  done  but  to  get 
another  vessel ;  so  I  sent  back  to  Xeropotamo,  which 
appeared  to  be  the  most  frequented  part  of  the  coast,  to 
see  whether  there  was  any  craft  there  which  could  be 

I  employed  the  next  day  in  wandering  about  with  the 
agoumenos  and  Father  Joasaph  in  all  the  holes  and  cor- 
ners of  the  monastery  ;  the  agoumenos  telling  me  inter- 
minable legends  of  the  saints,  and  asking  Father  Joasaph 
if  they  were  not  true.  I  looked  over  the  library,  where 
I  found  an  uncial  Evangelistarium ;  a  manuscript  of  De- 
mosthenes on  paper,  but  of  some  antiquity ;  a  manuscript 


of  Justin  (\qvo-tiwv)  in  Greek;  and  several  other  manu- 
scripts,— all  of  which  the  agoumenos  agreed  to  let  me 

One  of  the  monks  had  a  curiously  carved  cross  set  in 
silver,  which  he  wished  to  sell ;  hut  I  told  the  agoumenos 
that  it  was  not  sufficiently  ancient:  I  added,  however, 
that  if  I  could  meet  with  any  ancient  cross  or  shrine  or 
reliquary,  I  should  he  delighted  to  purchase  such  a  thing, 
and  that  I  would  give  a  good  price  for  it.  In  the  after- 
noon it  struck  him  suddenly  that  as  he  did  not  care  for 
antiquities,  perhaps  we  might  come  to  an  arrangement ; 
and  the  end  of  the  affair  was  that  he  gave  me  one  of  the 
ancient  crosses  which  I  had  seen  when  I  was  there  before, 
and  put  the  one  the  monk  had  to  sell  in  its  place  ;  certain 
pieces  of  gold  which  I  produced  rendering  this  transac- 
tion satisfactory  to  all  parties.  This  most  curious  and 
beautiful  piece  of  jewellery  has  been  since  engraved,  and 
forms  the  subject  of  the  third  plate  in  Shaw's  '  Dresses 
and  Decorations  of  the  Middle  Ages,'  London,  1843.  It 
had  been  presented  to  the  monastery  by  the  Emperor 
John,  whom,  from  what  I  was  told  by  the  agoumenos,  I 
take  to  have  been  John  Zimisces.  It  is  one  of  the  most 
ancient  as  well  as  one  of  the  finest  relics  of  its  kind  now 
existing  in  England. 

On  the  evening  of  the  second  day  my  man  returned 
from  Xeropotamo  with  the  information  that  he  had  found 
a  small  Greek  brig,  and  had  engaged  to  give  the  patron 
or  captain  eleven  hundred  piastres  for  our  passage  thence 
to  the  Dardanelles  the  next  day,  if  I  could  manage  to 
be  ready  in  so  short  a  time.  As  fortunately  I  had  pur- 
chased all   the  manuscripts  which  I  wished  to  possess, 

Chap.  XXVIII.         HAZEL-NUTS  OF  CARACALLA.  399 

there  was  nothing  to  detain  me  on  Mount  Athos ;  for  I 
had  now  visited  every  monastery  excepting  that  of  St. 
Anne,  which  indeed  is  not  a  monastery  like  the  rest,  but 
a  mere  collection  of  hermitages  or  cells  at  the  extreme 
point  of  the  peninsula,  immediately  under  the  great  peak 
of  the  mountain.  I  was  told  that  there  was  nothing 
then;  worth  seeing ;  but  still  I  am  sorry  that  I  did  not 
make  a  pilgrimage  to  so  original  a  community,  who  it 
appears  live  on  roots  and  herbs,  and  are  the  most  strict 
of  all  the  ascetics  in  this  strange  monastic  region. 

All  of  a  sudden,  as  we  were  walking  quietly  together, 
the  agoumenos  asked  me  if  I  knew  what  was  the  price 
of  nuts  at  Constantinople. 

"  Nuts?"  said  I. 

"  Yes,  nuts,"  said  he  ;  "  hazel-nuts  :  nuts  are  excel- 
lent things.  Have  they  a  good  supply  of  nuts  at  Con- 
stantinople ?" 

'•'  Well,"  said  I,  "  I  don't  know ;  but  I  dare  say  they 
have.  But  why,  my  Lord,  do  you  ask  ?  Why  do  you 
wish  to  know  the  price  of  hazel-nuts  at  Constantinople  ?" 

"  Oh !"  said  the  agoumenos,  "  they  do  not  eat  half 
nuts  enough  at  Stamboul.  Nuts  are  excellent  things. 
They  should  be  eaten  more  than  they  are.  People  say 
that  nuts  are  unwholesome  ;  but  it  is  a  great  mistake." 
And  so  saying,  he  introduced  me  into  a  set  of  upper 
rooms  that  I  had  not  previously  entered,  the  entire  floors 
of  which  were  covered  two  feet  deep  with  nuts.  I  never 
saw  one-hundredth  part  so  many  before.  The  good 
agoumenos,  it  seems,  had  been  speculating  in  hazel-nuts ; 
and  a  vessel  was  to  come  to  the  little  tower  of  the  scari- 
catojo  down  below  to  be  freighted  with  them  :  they  were 


to  produce  a  prodigious  profit,  and  defray  the  expense  of 
finishing  the  new  buildings  of  Caracalla. 

"  Take  some,"  said  he  ;  "  don't  be  afraid  ;  there  are 
plenty.  Take  some,  and  taste  them,  and  then  you  can 
tell  your  friends  at  Constantinople  what  a  peculiar  flavour 
you  found  in  the  famous  nuts  of  Athos ;  and  in  all  Athos 
every  one  knows  that  there  are  no  nuts  like  those  of 
Caracalla I" 

They  were  capital  nuts ;  but  as  it  was  before  dinner, 
and  I  was  ravenously  hungry,  and  my  lord  the  agou- 
menos  had  not  brought  a  bottle  of  sherry  in  his  pocket,  I 
did  not  particularly  relish  them.  But  there  had  been 
great  talking  during  the  morning  between  the  agoumenos 
and  Pater  Joasaph  about  a  famous  large  fish  which  was 
to  be  cooked  for  dinner ;  and,  as  the  important  hour  was 
approaching,  we  adjourned  to  my  sitting-room.  Father 
Joasaph  was  already  there,  having  washed  his  hands  and 
seated  himself  on  the  divan,  in  order  to  regulate  the  pro- 
ceedings of  the  lay  brother  who  acted  as  butler.  The 
preparations  for  the  banquet  were  made.  The  lay  brother 
first  brought  in  the  table-cloth,  which  he  spread  upon  the 
ground  in  one  corner  of  the  room ;  then  he  turned  the 
table  upside  down  upon  the  table-cloth,  with  its  legs  in 
the  air :  next  he  brought  two  immense  flagons,  one  of 
wine,  the  other  of  water ;  these  were  made  of  copper 
tinned,  and  were  each  a  foot  and  a  half  high  ;  he  set 
them  down  on  the  carpet  a  little  way  from  the  table- 
cloth ;  and  round  the  table  he  placed  three  cushions  for 
the  agoumenos,  Pater  Joasaph,  and  me :  and  then  he 
went  away  to  bring  the  dinner.  lie  soon  re-appeared, 
bringing  in,  with  the  assistance  of  another  stout  cate- 


chumen,  the  whole  of  the  dinner  on  a  large  circular  tray 
of  well-polished  brass  called  a  sinni.  This  was  so  formed 
as  to  fix  on  the  sticking-up  legs  of  the  subverted  table, 
and,  with  the  aid  of  Pater  Joasaph,  it  was  soon  all  tight 
and  straight.  In  a  great  centre-dish  there  appeared  the 
big  fish  in  a  sea  of  sauce  surrounded  by  a  mountainous 
shore  of  rice.  Round  this  luxurious  centre  stood  a  circle 
of  smaller  dishes,  olives,  caviare,  salad  (no  eggs,  because 
there  were  no  hens),  papas  yaknesi,  and  several  sweet 
things.  Two  cats  followed  the  dinner  into  the  room,  and 
sat  down  demurely  side  by  side.  The  fish  looked  excellent, 
and  had  a  most  savoury  smell.  I  had  washed  my  hands, 
and  was  preparing  to  sit  down,  when  the  Father  Abbot, 
who  was  not  thinking  of  the  dinner,  took  this  inopportune 
moment  to  begin  one  of  his  interminable  stories. 

"  We  have  before  spoken,"  he  said,  "  of  the  many 
kings,  princes,  and  patriarchs  who  have  given  up  the 
world  and  ended  their  days  here  in  peace.  One  of  the 
most  important  epochs  in  the  history  of  Mount  Athos 
occurred  about  the  year  1336,  when  a  Calabrian  monk, 
a  man  of  great  learning  though  of  mean  appearance, 
whose  name  was  Barlaam,  arrived  on  a  pilgrimage  to 
venerate  the  sacred  relics  of  our  famous  sanctuaries.  He 
found  here  many  holy  men,  who,  having  retired  entirely 
from  the  world,  by  communing  with  themselves  in  the 
privacy  of  their  own  cells,  had  arrived  at  that  state  of 
calm  beatitude  and  heavenly  contemplation,  that  the 
eternal  light  of  Mount  Tabor  was  revealed  to  them." 

"  Mount  Tabor  ?"  said  I. 

"  Yes,"  said  the  agoumenos,  "  the  light  which  had 
been  seen  during  the  time  of  the  Transfiguration  by  the 


apostles,  and  which  had  always  existed  there,  was  seen  by 
those  who,  after  years  of  solitude  and  penance  and  ma- 
ceration of  the  flesh,  had  arrived  at  that  state  of  abstrac- 
tion from  all  earthly  things  that  in  their  bodies  they  saw 
the  divine  light.  They  in  those  good  times  would  sit- 
alone  in  their  chambers  with  their  eyes  cast  down  upon 
the  region  of  their  navel  ;  this  was  painful  at  first,  both 
from  the  fixedness  of  the  attitude  required,  with  the  head 
bent  down  upon  the  breast,  and  from  the  workings  of  the 
mind,  which  seemed  to  wander  in  the  regions  of  darkness 
and  space.  At  last,  when  they  had  persevered  in  fasting 
day  and  night  with  no  change  of  thought  or  attitude  for 
many  hours,  they  began  to  feel  a  wonderful  satisfaction  ; 
a  ray  of  joy  ineffable  would  seem  to  illuminate  the  brain ; 
and  no  sooner  had  the  soul  discovered  the  place  of  the 
heart  than  it  was  involved  in  a  mystic  and  ethereal 
light."  * 

"  Ah,"  said  I,  "  really  !  " 

"  Now  this  Barlaam,  being  a  carnal  and  worldly- 
minded  man,  took  upon  himself  to  doubt  the  efficacy  of 
this  bodily  and  mental  discipline  ;  it  is  said  that  he  even 
ventured  to  ridicule  the  venerable  fathers  who  gave  them- 
selves up  so  entirely  to  the  contemplation  of  the  light  of 
Mount  Tabor.  Not  only  did  he  question  the  merits  of 
these  ascetic  acts,  but,  being  learned  in  books,  and  being 
endowed  with  great  powers  of  eloquence  and  persuasion, 
he  infused  doubts  into  the  minds  of  others  of  the  monks 
and  anchorites  of  Mount  Athos.  Arguments  were  used 
on  both  sides  ;  conversations  arose  upon  these  subjects ; 
arguments  grew  into  disputations,  conversations  into  con- 

*  Mosheim's  '  Ecclesiastical  History ;'  Gibbon. 


troversies,  till  at  last,  from  the  most  peaceful  and  regular 
of  communities,  the  peninsula  of  the  Holy  Mountain  be- 
came from  one  end  to  the  other  a  theatre  of  discord, 
doubt,  and  difference ;  the  flames  of  contention  were  lit 
up ;  everything  was  unsettled  ;  men  knew  not  what  to 
think  ;  till  at  last,  with  general  consent,  the  unhappy 
intruder  was  dismissed  from  all  the  monasteries ;  and, 
flying  from  the  storm  of  angry  words  which  he  had  raised 
on  all  sides  around  him,  he  departed  from  Mount  Athos 
and  retired  to  the  city  of  Constantinople.  There  his 
specious  manners,  his  knowledge  of  the  language  of 
the  Latins,  and  the  dissensions  he  had  created  in  the 
church,  brought  him  into  notice  at  court;  and  now 
not  only  were  the  monks  of  Mount  Athos  and  Olympus 
divided  against  each  other,  but  the  city  was  split  into 
parties  of  theological  disputants :  clamour  and  acri- 
mony raged  on  every  side.  The  Emperor  Andronicus, 
willing  to  remove  the  cause  of  so  much  contention,  and 
being  at  the  same  time  surrounded  with  difficulties  on  all 
sides  (for  the  unbelieving  Turks,  commanded  by  the 
fierce  Orchan,  had  with  their  unnumbered  tribes  overrun 
Bithynia  and  many  of  the  provinces  of  the  Christian  em- 
peror), he  graciously  condescended  to  give  his  imperial 
mandate  that  the  monk  Barlaam  should  [here  the  two 
cats  became  vociferous  in  their  impatience  for  the  fish]  be 
sent  on  an  embassy  to  the  Pope  of  Rome ;  he  was  em- 
powered to  enter  into  negotiations  for  the  settlement  of 
all  religious  differences  between  the  Eastern  and  Western 
churches,  on  condition  that  the  Latin  princes  should 
assist  the  emperor  to  drive  the  Turks  back  into  the  con- 
fines of  Asia.     The  Emperor   Andronicus  died  from  a 


fever  brought  on  by  excitement  in  defending  the  cause  of 
the  ascetic  quietists  before  a  council  in  his  palace.  John 
Paleologus  was  set  aside ;  and  John  Cantacuzene,  in  a 
desperate  endeavour  to  please  all  parties,  gave  his 
daughter  Theodora  to  Orchan  the  Emperor  of  the  Os- 
manlis ;  and  at  his  coronation  the  purple  buskin  of  his 
right  leg  was  fastened  on  by  the  Greeks,  and  that  of  his 
left  leg  by  the  Latins.  Notwithstanding  these  conces- 
sions, the  embassy  of  Barlaara,  the  most  important  with 
which  any  diplomatic  agent  was  ever  trusted,  failed  al- 
together from  the  troubles  of  the  times.  The  Emperor 
John  Cantacuzene,  who  celebrated  his  own  acts  in  an 
edict  beginning  with  the  words  'By  my  sublime  and 
almost  incredible  virtue,'  gave  up  the  reins  of  power,  and 
taking  the  name  of  Josaph,  became  a  monk  of  one  of  the 
monasteries  of  the  Holy  Mountain,  which  was  then  known 
by  the  name  of  the  monastery  of  Manganc,  while  the 
monk  Barlaam  was  created  Bishop  of  Gerace,  in  Italy." 

By  the  time  the  good  abbot  had  come  to  the  conclusion 
of  his  history,  the  fish  was  cold  and  the  dinner  spoilt ;  but 
I  thought  his  account  of  the  extraordinary  notions  which 
the  monks  of  those  dark  ages  had  formed  of  the  duties  of 
Christianity  so  curious,  that  it  almost  compensated  for  the 
calamity  of  losing  the  only  good  dinner  which  I  had  seen 
on  Mount  Athos. 

What  a  difference  it  would  have  made  in  the  affairs  of 
Europe  if  the  embassy  of  Barlaam  had  succeeded!  The 
Turks  would  not  have  been  now  in  possession  of  Con- 
stantinople ;  and  many  points  of  difference  having  been 
mutually  conceded  by  the  two  great  divisions  of  the  church, 
perhaps  the  Reformation  never  would  have  taken  place. 

Chap.  XXVIII.         SCENERY  OF  MOUNT  ATHOS.  405 

The  narration  of  these  events  was  the  more  interesting  to 
me,  as  I  had  it  from  the  lips  of  a  monk  who  to  all  intents 
and  purposes  was  living  in  the  darkness  of  remote  antiquity. 
His  ample  robes,  his  long  beard,  and  the  Byzantine  archi- 
tecture of  the  ancient  room  in  which  we  sat,  impressed  his 
words  upon  my  remembrance ;  and  as  I  looked  upon  the 
eager  countenance  of  the  abbot,  whose  thoughts  still  were 
fixed  upon  the  world  from  which  he  had  retired,  while  he 
discoursed  of  the  troubles  and  discords  which  had  invaded 
the  peaceful  glades  and  quiet  solitudes  of  the  Holy  Moun- 
tain, I  felt  that  there  was  no  place  left  on  this  side  of  the 
grave  where  the  wicked  cease  from  troubling  or  where  the 
weary  are  at  rest.  No  places,  however,  that  I  have  seen 
equal  the  beauty  of  the  scenery  and  the  calm  retired  look 
of  the  small  farm-houses,  if  they  may  so  be  called,  which 
I  met  with  in  my  rides  on  the  declivities  of  Mount  Athos. 
These  buildings  are  usually  situated  on  the  sides  of  hills 
opening  on  the  land  which  the  monastic  labourers  cul- 
tivate ;  they  consist  of  a  small  square  tower,  usually 
appended  to  which  are  one  or  two  little  stone  cottages, 
and  an  ancient  chapel,  from  which  the  tinkling  of  the  bar 
which  calls  the  monks  to  prayer  may  be  heard  many  times 
a  day  echoing  softly  through  the  lovely  glades  of  the  pri- 
maeval forest.  The  ground  is  covered  in  some  places  with 
anemones  and  cyclamen ;  waterfalls  are  met  with  at  the 
head  of  half  the  valleys,  pouring  their  refreshing  waters 
over  marble  rocks.  If  the  great  mountain  itself,  which 
towers  up  so  grandly  above  the  enchanting  scenery  below, 
had  been  carved  into  the  form  of  a  statue  of  Alexander 
the  Great,  according  to  the  project  of  Lysippus,  thoupti  a 
wonderful  effort  of  human  labour,  it  could  hardly  have 

406  DEPARTURE  FROM  MOUNT  ATHOS.       Chap.  XXVI  I. 

added  to  the  beauty  of  the  scene,  which  is  so  much  ii- 
creased  by  the  appearance  of  the  monasteries,  whose  lof.y 
towers  and  rounded  domes  appear  almost  like  the  pajacts 
we  read  of  in  a  fairy  tale. 

The  next  morning,  at  an  early  hour,  mules  were  waiting 
in  the  court  to  carry  me  across  the  hills  to  the  harboir 
below  the  monastery  of  Xeropotamo,  where  the  Greek 
brig  was  lying  which  was  to  convey  me  and  my  treasures 
from  these  peaceful  shores.  Emptying  out  my  girdle,  L 
calculated  how  much,  or  rather  how  little  money  would 
suffice  to  pay  the  expenses  of  my  voyage  to  the  Asiatic 
castle  of  the  Dardanelles,  feeling  assured  that  from  thence 
I  could  get  credit  for  a  passage  in  the  magnificent  steamtr 
The  Stamboul,  which  ran  between  Smyrna  and  Constan- 
tinople. With  the  reservation  of  this  sum,  I  gave  the 
agoumenos  all  my  remaining  gold,  and  in  return  he  pro- 
vided rne  with  an  old  wooden  chest,  in  which  I  stowed 
away  several  goodly  folios ;  for  the  saddle-bags,  although 
distended  to  their  utmost  limits,  did  not  suffice  to  carry 
all  the  great  manuscripts  and  ponderous  volumes  that 
were  now  added  to  my  store.  Turning  out  the  corn  from 
the  nosebags  of  the  mules,  I  put  one  or  two  smaller  books 
in  each ;  and,  after  all,  an  extra  mule  was  sent  for  to 
convey  the  surplus  tomes  over  the  rough  and  craggy  ridge 
which  we  were  to  pass  in  our  journey  to  the  other  sea. 
Although  the  stories  of  the  agoumenos  were  too  windy 
and  too  long,  I  was  sorry  to  part  from  him,  and  I  took  an 
affectionate  leave  also  of  Pater  Joasaph  and  the  two  cats. 
Unfortunately,  in  the  hurry  of  departure,  I  left  on  the 
divan  the  MS.  of  Justin,  which  I  had  been  trying  to  de- 
cipher, and  forgot  it  when  I  came  away.     It  was  a  small 


thick  octavo,  on  charta  bombycina,  and  was  probably 
kicked  into  the  nearest  corner  as  soon  as  I  evacuated  the 

Our  ride  was  a  very  rough  one.  We  had  first  to  ascend 
the  hill,  in  some  places  through  deep  ravines,  and  in  others 
through  most  glorious  forests  of  gigantic  trees,  mostly 
planes,  with  a  thick  underwood  of  those  aromatic  flower- 
ing evergreens  which  so  beautifully  clothe  the  hills  of 
Greece  and  this  part  of  Turkey.  When  we  had  crossed 
the  upper  ridge  of  rock,  leaving  the  peak  of  Athos  tower- 
ing to  the  sky  on  our  left,  we  had  to  descend  the  dry  bed 
of  a  torrent  so  full  of  great  stones  and  fallen  rocks,  that  it 
appeared  impossible  for  anything  but  a  goat  to  travel  on 
such  a  road.  I  got  off  my  mule,  and  began  jumping  from 
one  rock  to  another  on  the  edge  of  the  precipice  ;  but  the 
sun  was  so  powerful,  that  in  a  short  time  I  was  com- 
pletely exhausted  ;  and  on  looking  at  the  mules,  I  saw 
that  one  after  another  they  jumped  down  so  unerringly 
over  chasms  and  broken  rocks,  alighting  so  precisely  in 
the  exact  place  where  there  was  standing-room  for  their 
feet,  that,  after  a  little  consideration,  I  remounted  my 
mule ;  and  keeping  my  seat,  without  holding  the  bridle, 
we  hopped  and  skipped  from  rock  to  rock  down  this  extra- 
ordinary track,  until  in  due  time  we  arrived  safely  at  the 
sea-shore,  close  to  the  mouth  of  the  little  river  of  Xero- 
potamo.  My  manuscripts  and  myself  were  soon  embarked, 
and  with  a  favouring  breeze  we  stood  out  into  the  Gulf  of 
Monte  Santo,  and  had  leisure  to  survey  the  scenery  of  this 
superb  peninsula  as  we  glided  round  the  lofty  marble  rocks 
and  noble  forests  which  formed  the  background  to  the 


strange  and  picturesque  Byzantine  monasteries  with  every 
one  of  which  we  had  become  acquainted. 

Being  a  little  nervous  on  account  of  the  pirates,  of 
whom  I  had  heard  many  stories  during  ray  sojourn  on 
Mount  Athos,  I  questioned  the  master  of  the  vessel  on 
this  subject.  "  Oh,"  said  he,  "  the  sea  is  now  very  quiet : 
there  have  been  no  pirates  about  the  coast  for  the  last 
fortnight."  This  assurance  hardly  satisfied  me.  How 
terrible  it  would  be  to  see  these  precious  volumes  thrown 
into  the  sea,  like  my  unhappy  precursors'  MS.  of  Homer ! 
It  was  frightful  to  think  of !  We  were  three  days  at  sea, 
there  being  at  this  fine  season  very  little  wind.  Once  we 
thought  we  were  chased  by  a  wicked-looking  cutter  with 
a  large  white  mainsail,  which  kept  to  windward  of  us  ;  but 
in  the  end,  after  some  hours  of  deadly  tribulation,  during 
which  I  hid  the  manuscripts  as  well  as  I  could  under  all 
kinds  of  rubbish  in  the  hold,  we  descried  the  stars  and 
stripes  of  America  upon  her  ensign  ;  so  then  I  pulled  all 
the  old  books  out  again.  This  cutter  was,  I  suppose,  a 
tender  to  some  American  man-of-war.  On  the  evening 
of  the  third  day  we  found  ourselves  safe  under  the  guns 
of  Roumeli  Calessi,  the  European  castle  of  the  Darda- 
nelles ;  and,  after  a  good  deal  of  tedious  tacking,  we 
got  across  to  the  Asiatic  castle  of  Coom  Calessi,  where 
I  landed  with  all  my  treasures.  Before  long,  the  Smyrna 
steamer,  The  Stamboul,  hove  in  sight,  and  I  took  my 
passage  in  her  to  Constantinople. 

(     409     ) 


No.  I. 

Syriac  Manuscript  of  the  date  a.d.  411,  in  the  British  Museum. 
[Page  99.] 

The  history  of  this  invaluable  manuscript  is  so  curious  that, 
with  the  permission  of  my  friend  Mr.  Cureton,  I  have  made 
a  short  abstract  of  its  history  from  his  own  account  of  it  and 
from  other  sources,  for  the  information  of  such  as  may  take 
an  interest  in  this  precious  addition  to  the  treasures  of  the 
British  Museum. 

To  the  Duke  of  Northumberland  and  Mr.  Linant  is  due 
the  honour  of  being  the  first  discoverers  of  the  vault  beyond 
the  oil-cellar  in  the  convent  of  Souriani,  where  the  collection 
of  fragments  of  the  ancient  Syriac  library  had  been  thrown 
away.  I  was  the  first  who  made  any  researches  among  the 
great  mass  of  loose  leaves  which  I  found  there,  for  the  purpose 
of  ascertaining  whether  there  were  any  perfect  MSS.  to  be  dis- 
covered among  them.  I  have  narrated  in  the  present  volume 
how  I  dug  out  this  ancient  book,  and  left  it  behind  in  the 
convent,  because  it  was  so  much  less  perfect  than  the  others 
whicli  I  brought  away.  Another  account  of  this  occurrence 
will  be  found  in  the  'Quarterly  Review,' No.  CLIII.,  Dec.  1845. 
The  whole  of  the  library  was  purchased  for  the  country  by 
Dr.  Tattam  in  1842;  but  the  monks  cheated  him,  and  kept 
back  about  half  of  the  books  and  leaves,  which  were  fortu- 


410  APPENDIX. 1. 

nately  recovered,  and  purchased  by  Mr.  Paclio,  from  whom 
they  were  bought  by  the  Lords  of  the  Treasury,  and  presented 
to  the  Museum,  on  the  11th  of  November,  1847.  Mr. 
Cureton,  with  wonderful  labour  and  perseverance,  had  sorted 
the  multitudes  of  loose  leaves,  and  put  together  a  great  many 
volumes  ;  of  which  about  GO  exhibited  dates  the  most  ancient 
in  existence,  from  the  year  464  down  to  1292  ;  of  these,  12 
were  transcribed  in  the  6th  century,  the  first  in  509,  the  last 
in  the  year  600.  The  whole  number  of  MSS.,  perfect  and 
imperfect,  amount  to  about  1000  volumes;  a  collection  which 
adds  considerably  to  the  importance  of  the  national  library. 

The  manuscript  in  question  is  a  large  thick  quarto  volume. 
written  in  the  Syriac  character,  in  three  columns.  It  contains 
the  '  Theophania  '  (or  Divine  Manifestation  of  our  Saviour), 
by  Eusebius,  Bishop  of  Cassarea  ;  the  '  Recognitions '  of  St. 
Clement;  the  treatise  of  Titus,  Bishop  of  Bosra,  in  Arabia, 
against  the  Manicheans  ;  the  book  of  Eusebius  on  the  Martyrs 
of  Palestine,  and  his  Oration  in  Praise  of  the  Martyrs.  The 
value  of  the  book  is  considerably  enhanced  from  the  fact  that 
the  original  Greek  text  of  the  '  Theophania'  is  lost.  The 
Syriac  text  of  this  work  has  been  published  by  Dr.  Lee,  with 
an  English  translation,  8vo.,  Cambridge,  1843. 

The  work  of  Titus,  of  which  a  considerable  portion  has 
been  lost  in  the  original  Greek,  is  here  found  entire  ;  and  the 
work  of  Eusebius  on  the  Martyrs  is  exhibited  in  a  more 
extended  state  than  that  usually  inserted  in  the  Greek  edition 
of  his  Ecclesiastical  History. 

Tiie  Greek  text  of  the  'Recognitions'  of  Clement  is  also 
lost ;  and  in  the  Latin  translation  of  Bufinus,  Presbyter  of 
Aquileia,  several  passages  are  omitted,  which  the  translator 
says  lie  did  not  perfectly  comprehend.  The  present  Syriac 
version  seems  to  contain  a  different  recension  from  that  which 
Rufinus  followed. 


The  manuscript  T  have  said  was  imperfect,  wanting  many 
leaves  :  but  on  its  examination  in  England  by  Mr.  Cureton, 
he  found  on  leaf  238.  in  the  treatise  of  the  Martyrs  of  Palestine, 
a  marginal  note,  in  Syriac,  of  whieh  the  following  is  the 
translation  :• — 

"  Behold,  my  brethren,  if  it  should  happen  that  the  end  of 
this  ancient  book  should  be  torn  off  and  lost,  together  with 
the  writer's  subscription  and  termination,  it  was  written  at  the 
end  of  it  thus,  viz.,  '  This  book  was  written  at  Orrhoa,  a  city 
of  Mesopotamia,  by  the  hands  of  a  man  named  Jacob,  in  the 
year  seven  hundred  and  twenty-three.  In  the  month  Tishrin 
the  latter  it  was  completed.'  And  agreeably  to  what  was 
written  there,  I  have  written  also  here,  without  addition  ;  and 
what  is  here  I  wrote  in  the  year  one  thousand  and  three 
hundred  and  ninety -eight,  of  the  era  of  the  Greeks." 

These  dates,  reduced  to  our  era,  give  a.d.  411  for  the  time 
of  the  original  transcription  of  the  book,  and  a.d.  1086  for 
that  of  the  note.  It  is  much  to  be  regretted  that  the  ancient 
antiquarian  who  wrote  this  interesting  note,  and  who  seems  to 
have  had  so  great  a  respect  for  the  even  then  venerable  age  of 
this  grand  old  book,  did  not  append  his  signature  to  his  mar- 
ginal annotation,  that  his  careful  reverence  for  the  objects  of 
his  study  might  be  handed  down  for  the  regard  of  future 
bibliographers.  This,  however,  is  quite  in  character  with  the 
humble,  self-denying  habits  of  the  old  ascetic  monks,  who  were 
not  desirous  of  earthly  glory,  but,  absorbed  in  the  study  of  the 
works  of  the  Fathers  and  the  text  of  Holy  Scripture,  passed 
their  lives  in  retirement  and  contemplation,  in  caves  and  dens, 
or  in  solitary  convents  in  the  arid  wilderness,  trusting,  or  at 
least  hoping,  that  they  would  in  the  next  world  be  rewarded 
openly,  for  that  which  they  had  done  in  secret  here  below. 
Little  did  the  old  hermit,  think,  as,  seated  in  his  quiet  cell  in  the 
convent  of  the  desert  of  Nitria,  he  penned  the  lines  which  have 

T  2 

412  APPENDIX. — I. 

become  so  interesting  after  a  lapse  of  800  years,  that  his  book 
would  have  become  imperfect  as  he  prophesied,  that  the  lost 
parts  of  it  would  be  recovered,  that  it  would  be  dug  out  by 
travellers  from  the  shores  of  a  far  distant  island,  from  the 
subterranean  vaults  where  it  had  lain  for  centuries,  and  be 
carried  away  across  seas  and  continents,  to  the  most  noisy, 
and  crowded,  and  bustling  of  the  cities  of  the  earth  ;  where 
the  crash  of  carriages,  and  the  trampling  of  horses,  the  roar 
of  steam,  and  the  din  and  tumult  of  two  millions  of  men, 
crowded  into  a  narrow  space,  almost  drown  the  voice  and 
stun  the  ear — that  there  his  words  would  be  read  by  the 
inhabitants  of  a  land  which  was  in  his  days  almost  un- 
known, that  it  would  be  commented  on  in  a  language 
which  had  not  then  its  origin,  and  that  books  would  be 
written  on  the  subject,  upon  paper  not  then  invented,  and 
printed  by  a  process  not  even  dreamt  of,  for  500  years  after 
his  death. 

Orrhoa,  where  the  manuscript  was  originally  written,  was 
the  Ur  of  the  Chaldees,  the  Edessa  of  the  Greeks  and  Romans, 
and  is  now  called  Orfa. 

In  1843  Mr.  Cureton  found,  among  the  loose  leaves  and 
fragments  of  the  Nitrian  manuscripts  in  the  British  Museum, 
parts  of  two  additional  leaves  of  "  the  end  of  that  ancient 
book  which  had  been  torn  off  and  lost." 

I  will  now  quote  his  own  words  for  the  account  of  his  dis- 
covery of  other  parts  of  this  MS.  from  page  xxi.  of '  The  Fes- 
tal Letters  of  Athanasius,'  London,  1848  : — 

"'When  I  first  had  the  gratification  of  examining  that  portion 
of  the  library  of  the  Nitrian  monastery  which  arrived  in  Eng- 
land in  1847,  I  immediately  recognised  numerous  fragments 
of  volumes  which  were  familiar  to  me;  and  not  more  than  a 
few  minutes  passed  before  I  had  the  pleasure  of  finding  one 
entire  leaf,  and  soon  afterwards  another,  belonging  to  that  pre- 


cious  book,  the  peculiarity  of  whose  features  was  so  deeply 
impressed  upon  my  mind.  The  second  leaf  was  not  only  com- 
plete in  itself,  but  had  also  attached  to  it  a  small  fragment  of 
the  corresponding  leaf  in  the  same  quire,  both  of  which  had  been 
formed  of  one  piece  of  vellum,  of  folio  size  folded  into  quarto. 
The  back  of  this  fragment  I  observed  had  been  left  blank  ;  I 
thus  ascertained  that  it  must  have  belonged  to  the  last  page  of 
the  volume,  and  consequently  to  that  which  had  contained  the 
original  subscription  of  Jacob,  the  scribe  of  Orrhoa.  I  now 
felt  that  I  might  even  venture  to  indulge  the  hope  of  finding 
the  very  subscription  itself,  and  I  anxiously  looked  forward 
to  the  time  when  I  should  have  an  opportunity  of  opening  and 
examining  at  leisure  about  twenty  small  bundles,  which  were 
pointed  out  to  me  as  containing  fragments  only  of  leaves, 
which  had  been  swept  from  the  floor  of  the  room  in  which  the 
manuscripts  had  reposed  for  ages.  Not  many  days  later,  when 
these  with  the  rest  of  the  collection  were  transferred  to  the 
British  Museum,  this  opportunity  was  afforded  me.  One  by 
one  I  untied  the  bundles,  and  diligently  and  eagerly  examined 
their  contents.  As  I  opened  the  fourth,  I  Mas  delighted  at 
recognising  two  pieces  belonging  to  one  of  the  leaves  of  this 
precious  book :  in  the  next  I  found  a  third :  and  now, 
reader,  if  thou  hast  any  love  for  the  records  of  antiquity,  if 
thou  feelest  any  kindred  enthusiasm  in  such  pursuits  as 
these — if  thou  hast  ever  known  the  satisfaction  of  having  a 
dim  expectation  gradually  brightened  into  reality,  and  an 
anxious  research  rewarded  with  success — tilings  that  but 
rarely  happen  to  us  in  this  world  of  disappointment — I  leave 
it  to  thine  own  imagination  to  paint  the  sensations  which  I  ex- 
perienced at  that  moment,  when  the  loosing  of  the  cord  of  the 
seventh  bundle  disclosed  to  my  sight  a  small  fragment  of  beau- 
tiful vellum  in  a  well-known  hand,  upon  which  I  read  the 
following  words: — 

T  3 

414  APPENDIX. — I. 

"  '  There  are  completed  in  this  volume  three  books— Titus, 
and  Clement,  and  He  of  Cresarea. 

"  'Glory  to  the  Father  and  to  the  Son  and  to  the  Holy- 
Ghost  ;  now  and  at  all  times  and  for  ever.  Amen  and 

"  '  This  volume  was  completed  in  the  month  Tishrin  the 
latter,  in  the  year  seven  hundred  and  twenty-three,  at  Orrhoa, 
a  city  of  Mesopotamia.'  *         *  * 

"  No  more,  indeed,  of  this  inscription  remains,  but  this  was 
enough  to  repay  me  for  the  labour  of  my  research,  and  to  con- 
firm and  verify  the  fxcts  connected  with  it. 

"  The  first  of  these  sentences  is  written  in  red,  the  second  in 
yellow,  and  the  third  in  black. 

<:  Among  all  the  curiosities  of  literature,  I  know  of  none  more 
remarkable  than  the  fate  of  this  matchless  volume.  Written  in 
the  country  which  was  the  birth-place  of  Abraham,  the  father 
of  the  faithful,  and  the  city  whose  king  was  the  first  sovereign 
that  embraced  Christianity  (Abgarus),  in  the  year  of  our 
Lord  411,  it  was  at  a  subsequent  period  transported  to  the 
Valley  of  the  Ascetics  in  Egypt,  probably  in  a.d.  931,  when 
250  volumes  were  collected  by  Moses  of  Nisibis  during  a  visit 
to  Bagdad,  and  presented  by  him,  upon  his  return,  to  the  mo- 
nastery of  St.  Mary  Deipara,  over  which  he  presided.  In 
a.d.  1086,  some  person  with  careful  foresight,  fearing  lest 
the  memorial  of  the  transcription  of  so  valuable,  beautiful, 
and  even  at  that  remote  period  '  so  ancient  a  book,'  should 
be  lost,  in  order  to  secure  its  preservation,  took  the  precaution 
to  copy  it  into  the  body  of  the  volume.  At  how  much  earlier 
a  period  the  fears  which  lie  had  anticipated  became  realised 
I  have  no  means  of  ascertaining  ;  but  in  1837  '  the  end  of  the 
volume  had  been  torn  off,'  and  in  that  state,  in  a.d.  1839,  it 
was  transferred  from  the  solitude  of  the  African  desert  to  the 
most  frecpaented  city  in  the  world.     Three  years  later  two  of 


its  fragments  followed  the  volume  to  England ;  and,  in  1847, 
I  had  the  gratification  of  recovering  almost  all  that  had  been 
lost,  and  of  restoring  to  its  place  in  tins  ancient  book  the 
transcribers  own  record  of  the  termination  of  his  labours, 
which,  after  various  fortunes  in  Asia,  Africa,  and  Europe, 
has  already  survived  a  period  of  one  thousand  four  hundred 
and  thirty-six  years." 

The  discovery  of  two  other  manuscripts  in  this  curious 
library,  of  the  Syrian  Epistles  of  Ignatius,  in  addition  to  the 
one  above  mentioned,  all  of  them  being  more  ancient  by  many 
centuries  than  any  Greek  or  Latin  versions  now  in  existence, 
has  enabled  Mr.  Cureton  to  detect  many  spurious  passages 
which  had  been  interpolated  in  the  works  of  that  father,  and 
to  restore  to  their  genuine  state  the  writings  of  one  of  the 
most  famous  of  the  disciples  and  companions  of  St.  John. 
Mr.  Cureton's  researches  have  been  the  subject  of  much  dis- 
cussion and  controversy  in  the  theological  world,  from  the 
importance  attached  to  the  doctrines  of  one  who  flourished  in 
the  lifetime  of  the  Apostles,  and  who  was  one  of  the  earliest 
of  the  Christian  martyrs.  The  results  of  his  discoveries  have 
been  given  in  the  '  Corpus  Ignatianum,'  which  has  been 
recently  published. 

The  collection  in  the  Uritish  Museum,  which  once  formed 
the  library  of  the  convent  on  the  Natron  Lakes,  contains  two 
other  volumes  which  deserve  very  honourable  mention  :  one 
is  a  Syriac  treatise  of  Severus  of  Antioch  against  Gramma- 
ticus,  MS.  of  the  eighth  or  ninth  century,  but  under  this 
writing  are  the  words  of  a  much  more  ancient  MS.,  com- 
prising 4000  verses  of  Homer,  and  nearly  the  whole  Gospel  of 
St.  Luke,  in  uncial  Greek,  of  the  highest  antiquity,  and  a 
fragment  of  Euclid  in  Greek,  not  quite  so  ancient;  the 
other  volume  is  a  copy  of  the  four  Gospels,  imperfect, 
written  about  the  beginning  of  the  fifth  century,  in  Syriac, 


the  Gospel  of  St.  Matthew  being  an  unknown  recension,  in 
the  language  in  which  it  is  supposed  to  have  been  originally 
written,  and  is  certainly  one  of  the  most  ancient  MSS.  of  any 
part  of  the  New  Testament  extant. 

No.  II. 

And  now,  gentle  reader,  if  you  have  read  all  the  way  through 
this  book,  and  have  arrived  safely  to  the  end  thereof,  you 
will  have  met  with  some  incidental  passages  in  which  you 
may  perhaps  have  learned  something  that  you  did  not  know 
before.  I  hope  that  some  pages  may  have  afforded  amusement, 
and  carried  you  easily  through  the  desert  spaces  of  an  idle 
hour;  but  as  it  is  natural  to  mankind  to  criticise  and  find 
fault  with  most  things,  and  as  in  the  present  instance  this 
inclination  may  have  been  gratified  with  the  greater  ease 
from  the  absence  of  anything  worthy  of  praise,  you  have  no 
doubt  found  numerous  lines  which  take  a  different  view  of 
the  subject  from  your  own  notions,  and  with  which  you  en- 
tirely disagree  :  some  parts  of  the  book  you  have  found  to 
be  dry,  and  some  things  there  may  be  which  you  cannot  very 
easily  digest.  From  a  consideration  of  these  circumstances,  I 
have  thought  that  it  may  be  as  well  to  end  the  volume  with 
something  palatable  ;  and  therefore  I  have  appended  certain 
recipes  of  Eastern  cookery,  translated  from  the  words  of 
Karabet  Akhtgi,  my  Armenian  cook,  a  person  of  great  worth 
and  consideration  in  my  estimation,  and  one  whose  services 
I  should  recommend  to  any  ladies  and  gentlemen  who  may 
be  projecting  a  tour  to  Mount  Ararat,  Lake  Van,  or  any 
fashionable  localities  in  that  neighbourhood. 

The  first  and  foremost  of  all  Eastern  dishes,  which  takes 
the  place  of  the  traditional  roast-beef  of  old  England,  the 


frogs  of  France,  and  the  olla  of  Spain,  is  known  to  the  world 
by  the  title  of  pilau.  This  dish  is  made  in  many  various 
ways,  but  the  soul  of  it  consists  in  the  flavour  of  the  sauce, 
which  belongs  to  the  stewed  meat,  over  which  plain  boiled 
rice  is  poured  in  a  great  heap,  looking  clean  and  white  till  it 
is  stirred  up  with  the  fist  of  the  hospitable  Arab,  Persian, 
Turk,  or  Indian,  or  other  hungry  Oriental. 


Sometimes,  instead  of  rice,  a  substance  called  boorgoo  is 
used.  This  boorgoo  is  malt  made  of  wheat,  instead  of  barley  : 
it  may  be  kept  for  some  time,  and  when  it  is  to  be  used  in 
cookery,  it  is  boiled  in  the  same  manner  as  rice,  and  used  in 
the  same  way  ;  but  only  in  savoury,  and  not  in  sweet  dishes. 
I  am  surprised  that  this  has  not  hitherto  been  introduced  into 
European  cookery,  as  it  is  an  excellent  substitute  for — anything 


Take  tender  meat,  such  as  mutton,  kidneys,  or  sweetbread  ; 
cut  it  into  pieces  the  size  of  a  nut ;  stick  one  piece  on  an  iron 
skewer,  then  a  piece  of  fat,  then  a  piece  of  some  vegetable, 
such  as  onion,  tomata,  or  potato,  then  another  piece  of  meat, 
and  so  on  till  the  skewer  is  full.  Add  pepper  and  salt,  and 
roast  by  the  side  of  the  fire.  When  it  is  roasted,  cut  open  a 
new  roll,  or  flat  piece  of  new  bread  ;  take  the  kebabs  off  the 
skewers,  and  put  them  inside  the  bread ;  pour  some  gravy 
over  this,  and  serve  it  very  hot. 

Sometimes  the  meat  is  steeped  for  an  hour  in  red  wine 
before  it  is  put  on  the  skewers. 

Yaourt,  a  kind  of  sour  milk,  may  be  poured  over  this  dish 
for  sauce ;  it  is  also  occasionally  covered  over  with  salad, 
chopped  small. 

418  appendix. — ii. 

Tenge're"  Kebab. 

Take  a  piece  of  meat ;  fry  it  till  it  is  half-done  in  butter, 
put  it  into  a  stewpan  (tengere)  with  lemon-peel,  a  glass  of 
red  wine,  a  small  quantity  of  spieps,  pepper  and  salt,  and 
cover  it  up  close  ;  stew  it  for  four  hours  over  a  small  charcoal 


Mince  mutton,  with  onions  and  rice;  with  this  stuff  cucum- 
bers, gourds,  vegetable  marrow,  or  the  fruit  of  the  egg-plant ; 
stew  them  in  broth. 

Mix  some  of  the  broth  with  the  yolk  of  an  egg  and  lemon- 
juice  ;  pour  this  over  the  dolmas  for  sauce. 

Dolma  of  Vine-Leaves. 

Put  the  vine-leaves  in  boiling  water  for  a  moment,  or 
throw  boiling  water  over  them  ;  put  a  small  quantity  of 
mince-meat  and  rice  into  each,  and  wrap  it  up  in  the  leaf; 
stew  them  in  broth. 

Tomata  Patties. 

These  are  made  of  anything  of  which  patties  are  usually 
made ;  but  instead  of  pastry,  the  meat  is  to  be  put  into  to-- 
matas,  of  which  the  insides  have  been  taken  out,  and  fried  in 
butter,  or  baked. 


Pound  meat  and  suet  in  a  mortar,  with  onions  half-boiled, 
parsley,  and  eggs,  pepper,  salt,  and  a  little  water.  Make  this 
into  small  balls,  throw  Hour  ovei  them,  and  fry  them. 


Squeeze  the  water  out  of  a  vegetable  marrow,  grate  it 
small,  grate  some  new  cheese,  add  eggs  and  a  small  quantity 


of  fried  onions  and  pistachio  nuts,  make  this  into  a  paste,  and 
beat  it  well  up  together.  Then  take  some  slices  of  vegetable 
marrow,  or  the  fruit  of  the  egg  plant,  spread  the  paste  upon 
them  rather  thickly,  having  first  put  a  little  butter  on  the 
slices.     Bake  in  a  slow  oven  for  half  an  hour. 

Roast  Lamb. 

Take  the  smallest  lamb  that  you  can  get.  Stuff  him  inside 
with  rice,  bread  crumbs,  suet,  sultana  raisins  which  have  no 
stones,  pistachio  nuts,  onion,  and  a  few  almonds.  Roast  it  in 
the  usual  way. 

This  is  a  famous  dish,  and  is  often  mentioned  in  the  Ara- 
bian Nisrhts. 



Turn  some  milk  sour  with  leaven.  Take  a  spoonful  of  this, 
and  with  it  turn  some  other  milk,  mix  it  well  together,  and 
eat  it  with  powdered  sugar,  or  with  preserved  currants.  This 
is  said  to  be  wonderfully  wholesome  and  refreshing  to  the 
blood;  people  usually  become  very  fond  of  it.  In  some  parts 
of  the  East  it  is  made  of  mares'  milk,  but  usually  of  sheep's 


This  is  the  same  as  Devonshire  cream,  only  it  is  not  so  well 
made  in  the  East  as  it  is  in  England ;  it  is  eat  with  praserves 
all  over  Turkey. 

Taouk  Geukseu. 

Take  the  meat  of  chickens'  breasts,  boil  it  a  little,  put  it 
into  cold  water,  and  pull  it  into  fine  shreds,  letting  the  shreds 


drop  into  cold  water  also.  Take  it  out  of  the  water,  dry  it, 
and  mix  it  with  rice  flour.  Put  milk  and  sugar  into  a  pot 
upon  the  fire,  stir  the  paste  into  it ;  when  it  is  as  thick  as 
honey  it  is  done  ;  serve  it  up  cold.  This  is  like  blanc  mange. 
Strew  a  little  cinnamon  powder  and  rose  water  over  it. 

Ekmek.  Cadaif. 

Take  a  thickish  slice  of  the  crumb  of  stale  bread,  fry  it  in 
butter,  but  not  so  as  to  make  it  very  hard.  Then  put  it  into 
a  pot  of  hot  sirop,  and  take  it  out  when  the  sirop  is  just 
going  to  boil.  Take  it  out  of  the  pot,  and  lay  it  on  a  plate,  pour 
over  it  some  caimac,  and  a  few  drops  of  rose  water,  or  otto  of 
roses.     This  is  eaten  either  hot  or  cold. 


Boil  milk  and  sugar,  pour  into  it  gradually  some  rice  flour, 
stirring  it  all  the  while  over  the  fire,  till  it  is  as  thick  as 
honey ;  turn  it  out  upon  a  plate,  let  it  get  cold,  sprinkle  it 
with  powdered  cinnamon  and  sugar  candy,  add  a  few  drops  of 
rose  water,  or  any  perfume. 


London:  Printed  by  W.  Clowes  and 'Sons,  Stamford-street. 


Cell  /=.  &. 


'\& ■.' '  u^e. 



V\   v     - ■-  /     / 

■  \  ;l  -v-^  t^  ^ 


3  3125  00950  9700 


THE     L  E  V A  N 

i  4  j