CHAPTER IX. THROUGH EUROPEAN TURKEY.
On Sunday, July 12th, in company with an Englishman in the Turkish artillery service, I pay my first visit to Asian soil, taking a caique across the Bosphorus to Kadikeui, one of the many delightful seaside resorts within easy distance of Constantinople. Many objects of interest are pointed out, as, propelled by a couple of swarthy, half-naked caique- jees, the sharp-prowed caique gallantly rides the blue waves of this loveliest of all pieces of land-environed water. More than once I have noticed that a firm belief in the supernatural has an abiding hold upon the average Turkish mind, having frequently during my usual evening promenade through the Galata streets noted the expression of deep and genuine earnestness upon the countenances of fez-crowned citizens giving respectful audience to Arab fortune-tellers, paying twenty-para pieces for the revelations he is favoring them with, and handing over the coins with the business-like air of people satisfied that they are getting its full equivalent. Consequently I am not much astonished when, rounding Seraglio Point, my companion calls my attention to several large sections of whalebone suspended on the wall facing the water, and tells me that they are placed there by the fishermen, who believe them to be a talisman of no small efficacy in keeping the Bosphorus well supplied with fish, they firmly adhering to the story that once, when the bones were removed, the fish nearly all disappeared. The oars used by the caique-jees are of quite a peculiar shape, the oar-shaft immediately next the hand-hold swells into a bulbous affair for the next eighteen inches, which is at least four times the circumference of the remainder, and the end of the oarblade is for some reason made swallow-tailed. The object of the enlarged portion, which of course comes inside the rowlocks, appears to be the double purpose of balancing the weight of the longer portion outside, and also for preventing the oar at all times from escaping into the water. The rowlock is simply a raw-hide loop, kept well greased, and as, toward the end of every stroke, the caique-jee leans back to his work, the oar slips several inches, causing a considerable loss of power. The day is warm, the broiling sun shines directly down on the bare heads of the caique-jees. and causes the perspiration to roll off their swarthy faces in large beads, but they lay back to their work manfully, although, from early morning until cannon roar at 8 P.M. neither bite nor sup, not even so much water as to moisten the end of their parched tongues, will pass their lips; for, although but poor hard- working caique-jees, they are true Mussulmans. Pointing skyward from the summit of the hill back of Seraglio Point are the four tapering minarets of the world-renowned St. Sophia mosque, and a little farther to the left is the Sultana Achmet mosque, the only mosque in all Mohammedanism with six minarets. Near by is the old Seraglio Palace, or rather what is left of it, built by Mohammed II. in 1467, out of materials from the ancient Byzantine palaces, and in a department of which the sanjiak shereef (holy standard), boorda-y shereef (holy mantle), and other venerated relics of the prophet Mohammed are preserved. To this place, on the 15th of Ramadan, the Sultan and leading dignitaries of the Empire repair to do homage to the holy relics, upon which it would be the highest sacrilege for Christian eyes to gaze. The hem of this holy mantle is reverently kissed by the Sultan and the few leading personages present, after which the spot thus brought in contact with human lips is carefully wiped with an embroidered napkin dipped in a golden basin of water; the water used in this ceremony is then supposed to be of priceless value as a purifier of sin, and is carefully preserved, and, corked up in tiny phials, is distributed among the sultanas, grand dignitaries, and prominent people of the realm, who in return make valuable presents to the lucky messengers and Mussulman ecclesiastics employed in its distribution. This precious liquid is doled out drop by drop, as though it were nectar of eternal life received direct from heaven, and, mixed with other water, is drunk immediately upon breaking fast each evening during the remaining fifteen days of Ramadan. Arriving at Kadikeui, the opportunity presents of observing something of the high-handed manner in which Turkish pashas are wont to expect from inferiors their every whim obeyed. We meet a friend of my companion, a pasha, who for the remainder of the afternoon makes one of our company. Unfortunately for a few other persons the pasha is in a whimsical mood to-day and inclined to display for our benefit rather arbitrary authority toward others. The first individual coming under his immediate notice is a young man torturing a harp. Summoning the musician, the pasha summarily orders him to play "Yankee Doodle." The writer arrived in Constantinople with the full impression that it was the mosqne of St. Sophia that has the famons six minarets, having, I am quite sure, seen it thus quite frequently accredited in print, and I mention this especially, in order that readers who may have been similarly misinformed may know that the above account is the correct one, does not know it, and humbly begs the pasha to name something more familiar. "Yankee Doodle!" - replies the pasha peremptorily. The poor man looks as though he would willingly relinquish all hopes of the future if only some present avenue of escape would offer itself; but nothing of the kind seems at all likely. The musician appeals to my Turkish-speaking friend, and begs him to request me to favor him with the tune.