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ped at the same instant, like the wheels of a machine, and, what is more extraordinary, all in one circle, with their faces invariably toward the centre, crossing their arms on their breasts, and grasping their shoulders as before, bowing together with the utmost regularity, at the same instant, almost to the ground. We regarded them with astonishment, not one of them being in the slightest degree out of breath, heated, or having his countenance at all changed. After this they began to walk, as at first; each following the other within the railing, and passing the superior as before. As soon as their obeisance had been made, they began to turn again. This second exhibition lasted as long as the first, and was similarly concluded. They then began to turn for the third time; and, as the dance length. ened, the music grew louder and more animating. Perspiration became evident on the features of the dervishes; the extended garments of some among them began to droop; and little accidents occured, such as their striking against each other : they nevertheless persevered, until large drops of sweat falling from their bodies upon the floor, such a degree of friction was thereby occasioned, that the noise of their feet rubbing the floor was heard by the spectators. Upon this, the third and last signal was made for them to halt, and the dance ended.
This extraordinary performance is considered miraculous by the Turks. By their law, every species of dancing is prohibited; and yet, in such veneration is this ceremony held, that an attempt to abolish it would excite iusurrection among the people.
There is still another instance of the most extraordinary superstition perhaps ever known in the history of mankiod, full of the most shameless and impudent imposture: it is the exhibition of pretended miracles, wrought in consequence of the supposed power of faith, by a sect who are called the howling dervishes of Scutary. I have before alluded to their orgies, as similar to those practised, according to sacred scripture, by the priests of Baal; and they are probably a remnant of the most ancient heathen ceremonies of eastern nations. The Turks hold this sect in greater veneration than they do even the danciog dervishes.
We passed over to Scutary, from Pera, accompanied by a janissary, and arrived at the place where this exhibition is made. The Turks called it a mosque; but it more resembled. a barn, and reminded us of the sort of booth fitted up with loose planks by mendicant conjurors at an Eoglish fair. This resemblance was further increased, by our finding at the en
trapce two strange figures, who, learning the cause of our visit, asked if we wished to have the fire and danger business,' introduced among the other performances. We replied, by expressing our inclination to see as much of their rites as they might think proper to exhibit: lipon this, we were told that we must pay something more than usual, for the miracles. A bargain was therefore made, upon condition that we should see all the miracles. We were then permitted to enter the mosque, and directed to place ourselves in a small gallery, raised two steps from the floor. Close to one extremity of this gallery, certain of the dervishes were employed in boiling coffee upon tvo braziers of lighted charcoal: this was brought to us in small cups, with pipes, and stools for seats. At the other extremity of the gallery, a party of Turks were also smoking, and dripkiag coffee. Upon the walls of the mosque were suspended daggers, skewers, wire scourges, pincers, and many other dreadful instruments of torture and penance. It might have been supposed a chamber of inquisition, if the ludicrous mummery around had not rather given it the air of a conjurer's booth. It was a long time before the ceremony began. At length, the principal dervish, putting on his robe of state, which consisted of a greasy green pelisse with half-worn fur, appareatly a second-hand purchase from the rag market, opened the business of the exhibition. At first, they repeated the ordinary prayers of the Turks; in which our janissary joinerl, after having washed his head, feet, and hands. All strangers afterward withdrawing to the gallery, a most ragged and filthy set of derFishes seated themselves upon the floor, forming a circle round their superior.
These nien began to repeat a series of words, as if they were ulteriog sounds by rote; smiling, at the same time, with great complacency upon each other : presently, their smiles were converted to a laugh, seemingly so unaffected and so liearty, that we sympathetically joined in their mirth. Upon this, our janissary and interpreter became alarmed, and desired us to use more caution; as the laughter we noticed was the result of religious emotion, arising from the delight experienced in repeating the attributes of the Deity. During a full hour the dervishes continued laughing and repeating the same words, inclining their heads and bodies, backward and forward. Then they all rose, and were joined by others, who were to act a very conspicuous part in the ceremony: These were some time in placing themselves; and frequently, after they had
taken a station, they changed their post again, for purposes, 10 us unknown. Finally, they all stood in a semicircle before the superior, and then a dance began: this, without any notion of the feet or hands, consisted of moving in a mass from side to side, against each other's shoulders, repeating rapidly apd continually the words Ullah, hoo Ullah! and laughing as before, but no longer with any expression of mirth; it seemed rather the horrid and intimidating grimace of madness. In the mean time the superior moved forward, until he stood in the midst of theni, repeating the same words, and marking the measure of utterance, by beating his hands, accompanied with a motion of his head. At this time another figure made his appearance, an old man, very like the represeutations Spagnolet painted of Diogenes, and quite as ragged. Placing binself on the left of the semicircle, with his face toward the dervishes, he began to howl the same words, much louder, and with greater animation than the rest, and, beating time with all the force of his arm, encouraged them to exertions they were almost incapable of sustaining. Many of them appeared almost exhausted, tossing their heads about, while their laugh presented one of the most horrible convulsions of feature the human countenauce is capable of assuming. Still the oscillatory motion and the howling continued, becoming every instant more violent; and the sound of their voices resembled the grunting of expiring hogs; until at length one of them gave a convulsive spring from the floor, and, as he leaped, called loudly and vehemently“ Mohammed!” No sooner was this perceived, than one of the attendants taking him in his arms, raised him from the floor, and turned him three times round. Then a loud hissing noise, as of fire, proceeded from his mouth, which ceased on the superior placing his hand upon his lips. The same person then taking the skip of his throat between the finger and thumb of his left hand, pierced it through with an iron skewer he lield in his right, and left him standing exposed to view in that situation, calling loudly upon Mohammed.
By this time, some of the others, apparently quite spent, affected to be seized in the same way, and were turned round as the other had been. The person who turned them supported them afterward in his arms, while they reclined their faces upon his right shoulder, and evidently were occupied in rincing their mouths with something concealed beneath his garments. The same process took place respecting their lands, which were
secretly fortified in a similar way, by some substance used to prevent the effect of fire upon the skio.*
We now observed the attendants busied, on our right hand, below the gallery, heating irons in the brasiers used for boiling the coffee. As soon as the irous were red hot, they carried them glowing among the dervishes, who, seizing them with violence, began to lick them with their tongues. While we were occupi. ed in beholding this extraordinary sight, our attention was suddenly called off to one of them, who was stamping in a distant part of the mosque, with one of the irons between his teeth.This was taken from him by the superior; and the man falling into apparent convulsions, was caught by an attendant, and placed upon the floor, with his face to the earth. Some of the rest then jumped about, stabbing themselves in different parts of their bodies.
A noise of loud sobbiog and lamentation was pow heard in a Jatticed gallery above, where we were told women were stationed, who doubtless, being completely duped by the artifices which had been practised, were sufficiently alarmed. As we vere already disgusted with such outrages upon religion, under any name, we descended from the gallery, and prepared to walk out; when the superior, fearing that his company might give him the slip, instantly put an end to the léger-de-main, and demanded payment. While this took place, it was highly amusing to see all the fire eaters, and the dagger.bearers, recover at once from their fainting and convulsions, and walk abont, talking with each other in perfect ease and indifference.t
If what has been here stated is not enough to prove the contemptible imposture practised upon these occasions, a circumstance that occured afterward will put the matter beyood all doubt.
A Swiss gentleman, acting as goldsmith and jeweller to the grand signior, invited us, with a large party of English, to dine at his house in Constantinople. When dinner was ended, one of the howling dervishes, the most renowned for miraculous powers, was brought in, to amuse the company as a common conjurer. Taking his seat on a divan at the upper end of the
* It is the same used by conjurers in England, who pretend to be fire eaters. In the selections which have appeared from the Gentleman's Magazine, this nostrum is made public; it is prepared from sulphur.
It has been deemed proper to insert this circumstance, because Mr. Dallaway has stated, that, “ totally exhausted by pain and fatigue, they fall to the ground in a senseless trance, when they are removed to their chambers, and pursed with the greatest eare until their recovery enables them to repeat so severe a proof of their devotion." Eu Constantinople, Ancient and Modern, 82 by Dallaway, p. 129.
room, lie practised all the tricks we had seen at the mosque, with the exception of the hot irous, for which he confessed he was not prepared. He affected to stab himself, in the eyes and cheeks, with large poignards; but, upon examination, we soon discovered that the blades of the weapons were admitted by springs into their handles, like those used upon the stage in our theatres. A trick which he practised with extraordinary skill and address, was that of drawing a sabre across his naked body, after having caused the skin of the abdomen to lapse over it. ..
As soon as his exhibition ended, we were told by our host that the dervish should now bear testimony to a miracle on our part; and, as he had no conception of the manner in which it was brought about, it was probably never afterward forgotten by him. A large electrical apparatus stood within an adjoin. ing apartment; the conductors from which, passing into the room, as common bell wires, had been continued along the seat occupied by the dervish, reaching the whole length of the divan. As soon as he began to take breath, and repose himself from the fatigue of his tricks, a shock from the electrical machine was communicated, that made him leap higher than ever he had done for the name of Mohammed. Seeing no person near, and every individual of the company asfecting the ut. most tranquillity and upconcern, he was perfectly panic struck. Ashaned, however, that an inspired priest, and one of the guardians of the miracles of Islamism, should betray cause. less alarm, he ventured once more to resume his seat; whence, as he sat trembling, a second shock sent him fairly out of the house ; nor could any persuasion of ours, accompanied by a promise of explaining the source of his apprehension, prevail upon him to return, even for the payment which was due to him. · A few cursory observations will now conclude almost all that remains of the notes made during the author's first resideuce in Constantinople.
Every thing is exaggerated that has been said of the riches and magnificence of this city. Its inbabitants are ages behind the rest of the world. The apartments in their houses are always small. The use of coloured glass in the windows of the mosques, and in some of the palaces, is of very remote date: it was introduced into England, with other refinements, by the crusaders; and perhaps we may attribute to the same people the style of building observed in many of our most ancient