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features of the women, whom they described as possessing extraordinary beauty. Three of the four were Georgians, having dark complexions and very long dark hair ; but the fourth was remarkably fair ; and her hair, also of singular length and thickness, was of a flaxen colour : neither were their teeth dyed black, as those of Turkish women generally
The Swedish gentleman said, he was almost sure they suspected they were seen, from the address they manifested, in displaying their charms, and in loitering at the gate. This gave him and his friend po small degree of terror; as they would have paid for their curiosity with their lives, if any such suspicion had entered the miuds of the black eunuchs. He described their dresses as rich beyond all that can be ima. gined. Long spangled -robes, open in front, with pantaloong embroidered in gold and silver, and covered by a profusion of pearls and precious stones, displayed their persons to great advantage ; but were so heavy, as actually to encumber their motion, and almost to impede their walking. Their hair hung in loose and very thick tresses, on each side their cheeks ; falling quite down to the waist, and covering their shoulders behind. Those tresses were quite powdered with diamonds, not displayed accordiog to any studied arrangement, but as if carelessly scattered, by handfuls, among their flowing locks. On the top of their heads, and rather leaning to one side, they wore, each of them, a small circular patch or diadem. Their faces, necks, and even their breasts were quite exposed ; not one of them having any veil.
The german gardener, who had daily access to different parts of the seraglio, offered to conduct us not only over the gardens, but promised, if we would come singly, during the season of the Ramadan,* when the guards, being up all night, would be siupisied during the day with sleep and intoxication, to undertake the greater risk of showing us the interior of the charem, or apartments of the women ; that is to say, of that part of which they inhabit during the summer; for they were still in their winter chambers. We readily accepted his offer: I only solicited the further indulgence of being accompanied by a French artist of the name of Preaux, whose extraordinary promptitude in design would enable him to bring away * The Ramadan of the Turks answers to our Lent, as their Bairam, does to Easter. During the month of the Ramadan, they impose upon themselves the strictest privafion; avoiding even the use of tobacco, froni sunrise to sun set. They feast all night during this season, and are therefore generally asleep during the day.
sketches of any thing we might find interesting, either in the charem, or gardens in the seraglio. The apprehensions of Mousieur Preaux were, however, so great, that it was with the greatest difficulty I could prevail upon him to venture into the seraglio; and he asierward, either lost or secreted, the only drawing which his fears would allow him to make while he was there.
We left Para, in a gondola, about geven o'clock in the morning; embarking at Tophana, and steering toward that gate of the seraglio which faces the Bosporus on the southeastern side, where the entrance to the seraylio gardens and the gardener's lodge are situated. A bostanghy, as a sort of porter, is usually seated, with his attendants, within the por-, tal. Upon entering the seraglio, the spectator is struck by a wild and confused assemblage of great and interesting objects : among the first of these are, enormous cypresses, massive and lofty masonry, neglected and broken sarcophagi, high rising mounds, and a long gloomy avenue, leading from the gates of the garden between the double walls of the seraglio. This gate is the same by which the sultanas came out for the airing before alluded to; and the gardener's lodge is on the right hand of it. The avenue extending from it, toward the west, offers a broad and beautiful, although solitary, walk, to a very considerable extent, shut in by high walls on both sides. Di. rectly opposite this entrance of the seraglio is a very lofty mound, or bank, covered by large trees, and traversed by terraces, over which, on the top, are walls with turrets: On the right hand, after entering, are the large wooden folding doors of the grand signior's gardens; and near them fie many frag. ments of ancient marbles, appropriated to the vilest purposes; among others, a sarcophagus of one block of marble, covered with a simple, though unmeaning bas-relief. Entering the gardens by the folding doors, a pleasing coup d'ail of trelliswork and covered walks is displayed, more after the taste of Holland than that of any other country. Various and very despicable jets d'eau, straight gravel walks, and borders disposed in parallelograms, with the exception of a long greenhouse. filled with orange trees, compose all that appears in the small spot which hears the name of the seraglio gardens. The view, on entering is down the principal gravel walk; and all the walks meet at the central point, beneath a dome of the same trelliswork by which they are covered.
Small fountains spout a few quarts of water into large shells, or form parachutes over.
lighted bougies, by the sides of the walks. The trelliswork is of wood, painted white, and covered by jessamine; and this, as it does not conceal the artificial frame by which it is supported, produces a wretched effect. On the outside of the trelliswork appear small parterres, edged with box, containing very common flowers, and adorned with fountains. On the right hand, after entering the garden, appears the magnificent kiosk, which coustitutes the sultan's summer residence; and further on is the orangery before mentioned, occupying the whole extent of the wall on that side. Exactly opposite to the garden gates, is the door of the charem, or palace of the women belonging to the grand siguior; a building not unlike one of the small colieges io Cambridge, and inclosing the same sort of cloistered court. One side of this building extends across the upper extremity of the garden, so that the windows look into it. Below these windows are two small greenhouses, filled with very conimon plants, and a number of Caparybirds. Before the charem windows, on the right hand, is a ponderous, gloomy, wooden door ; and this, creaking on its massive hinges, opeos to the quadraogle, or interior court of the charem itself... We will keep this door shut for a short time, in order to describe the seraglio garden more minutely; and afterward open it, to gratify the reader's curiosity.
Still faciug the charem on the left hand, is a paved ascept, leading, through a handsome gilded iron gate, from the lower to the upper garden. Here is a kiosk, which I shall presently describe. Returving from the charem to the door by which we first entered, a lofty wall on the right hand supports a terrace with a few small parterres : these, at a considerable height above the lower garden, constitute what is now called the upper garden of the seraglio; and, till within these few years, it was the only one.
Having thus completed the tour of this small and insignificant spot of ground, let us now enter the kiosk, which I first mentioned as the sultan's summer residence. It is situated on the sea shore, and commands one of the finest views the eye erer beheld, of Scutary and the Asiatic coast, the mouth of the canal, and a moving picture of ships, gondolas, dolphins, birds, with all the floating pageantry of this vast metropolis, such as no other capital in the world can pretend to exhibit. The kiosk itself, fashioned after the airy fantastic style of eastern architecture, presents a spacious chamber, covered by a dome, from which, toward the sea, advances a raised platform sur
rounded by windows, and terminated by a divau.* On the right and left are the private apartments of the sultan and his ladies. From the centre of the dome is suspended a large lustre, presented by the English ambassador. "Above the raised platform bangs another lustre of a smaller size, but more ele. gant. Immediately over the sofas constituting the divân, are mirrors engraved with Turkish inscriptions; poetry, and pas. sages from the Korân. The sofas are of white satin, beautifully embroidered by the women of the seraglio.
Leaving the platform, on the left hand is the sultan's private chamber of repose, the floor of which is surrounded by couches of very costly workmanship. Opposite to this chamber, on the other side of the kiosk, a door opens to the apartment in which are placed the attendant sultanas, the sultan mother, or any ladies in residence with the sovereign. This room corresponds exactly with the sultan's chamber, except that the couches are more magnificently embroidered.
A small staircase leads from these apartments, to two chambers below, paved with marble, and as cold as any cellar. Here a more numerous assemblage of women are buried, as it were, during the heat of summer. The first is a sort of antechamber to the other; by the door of which, in a pook of the wall, are placed the sultan's slippers, of common yellow morocco, and coarse workmanship. Having entered the marble chambers immediately below the kiosk, a marble bason pre. sents itself, with a fountain in the centre, containing water to the depth of about three inches, and a few very small fishes. Answering to the platform mentioned in the description of the kiosk, is another, exactly of a similar nature, closely latticed, where the ladies sit during the season of their residence in this place. I was pleased with observing a few things they had carelessly left upon the sofas, and which characterized their mode of life. Among these was an English writing box, of black varnished wood, with a sliding cover, and drawers; the drawers containing coloured writing paper, reed peps, perfumed was, and little bags made of embroidered satin, jo which their billets-doux are sent, by negro slaves, who are both mutes and eunuchs. That liqueurs, are drunk in these secluded chambers is evident ; for we found labels for bottles, neatly cut out with scissars, bearing Turkish inscriptious, with the words, “ Rosoglio,” “Gollen Water,” and “ Water of Life.” Having now seen every part of this building, we returned to the garden, by the entrance which admitted us to the kiosk.
* The divan is a sort of couch, or sofa, common all over the Levant, surrounding every side of a room, except that which contains the entrance. It is raised about mixteen inches from the floor. When a divan is held, it means nothing more than that the persons composing it are thus seated.
Our next and principal object was the examination of the CHAREM ; and, as the undertaking was attended with danger, we first took care to see that the garden was cleared of bostanghies, and other attendants: as our curiosity, if detected, would, beyond all doubt, have cost us our lives upon the spot. A catastrophe of this nature has been already related by Le Bruyn.
Haviog inspected every alley and corner of the garden, ire advanced, ball breathless, and on tiptoe, to the great wooden door of the passage which leads to the ipper court of this mysterious edifice. We succeeded in forcing this open; but the noise of its grating hinges, amidst the profound silence of the place, went to our very hearts. We then entered a small quadrangle, exactly resembling that of Queen's College, Cambridge, filled with weeds. It was divided into two parts, one raised above the other; the principal side of the court containing an open cloister, supported by small white marble columus. Every thing appeared in a weglected state. The women only reside here duriog summer. Their winter apartments may be compared to the late Bastile of France; and the decoration of these apartments is even inferior to that which I shall presently describe. From this court, forcing open a small window near the ground, we climbed into the building, and alighted upon a long range of wooden beds, or couches, covered by mats, prepared for the receptiou of a hundred slaves: these reached the whole extent of a very long corridor. From hence, passing some narrow passages, the floors of which were also matted, we came to a staircase leading to the upper apartments. Of such irregular aud confused architecture, it is difficult to give any adequate description. We passed from the lower dormitory of the slaves to another above: this was divided into two tiers; so that one half of the numerous attendants it was designed to accommodate, slept over the other, upon a sort of shelf or scaffold near the ceiling. From this second corridor we entered into a third, a long matted passage ; on the left of this were small apartments for slaves of higher rank ; and upon the right a series of rooms looking toward the sea. By continuing along this corridor, we at last entered the great chamber of audience, in which the sultan mother receives visits of ceremony, from the sultanas, aod other distinguished ladies of the charem.