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his pipe, every article within his reach on the little shelves around him.
At the hour of prayer he leaves his shop, without either closing it or placing a guard over his loose articles, and repairs for an hour to the nearest mosque.
Sometimes one, either from excessive indolence, or, perhaps, some corporeal infirmity, is seen performing his devotions upon his shopboard; and, whatever may be the inducement held out to him in the way of trading, he takes not the slightest notice of any one until he has performed the last of his hundred prostrations, and his last invocation to Allah. The busy Greek and plodding Armenian lose not a moment except on fête-days, while the ever-watchful Jew never lets an opportunity escape either to buy sheap or shell dear.
Apropos of Jews. There is a perambulating tribe of petty brokers or runners, whose business it is to know every dealer throughout the whole extent of these vast bazars, and to "keep the run" of his stock in trade; they appear also to know the contents of every khan without the walls, and of the shop of every outside dealer, however remote. Whenever a stranger enters the bazars for the first time, one of these sons of Levi, who first descries him, claims him as his prize, and follows him to the shop where he first attempts a purchase; there he sidles up to him, and, whatever may be the language of the foreigner, his ready tongue is skilled to utter it. Then, in a dialect unknown to the shopman, Moses warns the stranger against the imperfect wares of the rascally Greek, the avaricious Armenian, and the stubborn Turk, or the crafty Jew, as the case may be; and informs him that in some other op the article can be had better and cheaper, volunteering his disinterested services to point out all those places where bargains can be had. If his services are declined he does not retire, but remains at his post waiting patiently the time when they will be re
quired; for his experience has taught him that, even if the impatient and indignant Frank stranger, vexed at his perpetual interference in his affairs, should dismiss him with a kick, the next moment he would be recalled in order to perform some little errand or to give some desired information, which none can impart so readily as himself or one of his particular profession.
'Tis then that his bright Spanish eye kindles up and his cosmopolite tongue is let loose. "Venite di questa parte, signori; et je vous montrerai les plus belles choses de Constantinope; very cheap, and you give me what little backsee you please, gentlemens."
The first day we entered the bazars last year, although we had an accomplished Greek cicerone with us, we were beset by one of the tribe just mentioned, and, although our Greek drove him off as a poacher on his manor, we found him ever at our heels, and very soon had occasion for his multum in parvo talents; whenever the great dragoman was at fault, this keen jackal Jew would put the lion on the scent, and get his share of the pickings.
We found him extremely useful, and frequently employed him much to our satisfaction, and his own also, I suppose, for he found us out immediately on our return.
On the first day we visited the bazars this time, we had much difficulty in finding the precise article we wanted, and I said to the gentlemen, "What a pity it is that Solomon is not here; if we had him with us we should not be at a loss;" when, turning round, I beheld our quondam friend close behind me, and at the sound of his name he made a profound salaam, and welcomed us back to Stamboul. He has ever since been our faithful satellite whenever we have entered the precincts of the trading town, and many is the good bargain he has made for us, at the same time not forgetting his own backshee from both buyer and seller.
The contents of the shops are as multifarious as the prod
uce of every clime under the sun; and the diversity of the manufacturing industry carried on there is so great, that I could not now enumerate to you a hundredth part of what I have seen.
CONTENTS OF THE SHOPS.
A short catalogue of the various articles exposed to view in the immense avenues must suffice, or your patience will become exhausted.
The greatest display is made by the venders of ornamental slippers, which they sell from twenty-five cents to as many dollars the pair. They are principally made with cloth uppers, the inferior qualities worked with white and yellow tinsel, with silk tassels, and those of higher cost em. broidered with fine gold bullion and rosettes of pearls, enclosing various coloured stones at each instep. Those used in the hareems of the wealthy classes are embroidered with gold, and set with diamonds and precious stones; but such are not exposed in the public shops. After a long street of these shops is passed another succeeds, in which, among all sorts of Turkish and Frank foot-gear, the red and yellow slippers of the former predominate. A quarter of a mile of this show is succeeded by the stalls of those who vend nothing but the scarlet fez now so generally worn by the Turks.
Another long gallery exhibits all kinds of embroidery on cotton, in gold and colours, principally dresses, napkins, and handkerchiefs, the latter worked at the corners only, one of which every Turkish dandy is seen to carry in his hand by the middle, so as to make the greatest display of the corners, as our own ladies are wont to do in Broadway with their Paris article.
Farther on one sees a suite of shops filled with ready. made fancy clothing, where an embroidered over-jacket may be obtained for from twenty-five cents to twenty-five dollars; the former of black or purple cotton velvet, worked with tinsel and bright colours, the latter of fine broadcloth, VOL. II.-Y
highly wrought with fine gold bullion and black silk braids; besides which, there is an endless variety of children's fancy dresses made of Turkish silks. A long street is occupied by the manufacturers of false and real bullion and ornaments, who also vend a bright scarlet cloth in the piece, wrought in the most elaborate and exquisite manner with high-raised gold-work. The art of making splendid goldembroidered royal dresses and tapestry, so much in vogue a century since in Europe, was no doubt carried from Constantinople, derived from the Byzantines, who obtained it from the far East. There is no end to the shops filled with Aleppo and Broussa fancy silks. Carpet warehouses and upholsterers abound. Besides these native productions, there are whole streets filled with the products of all the kshops of Europe, suitable to the wants of the people here and in the interior of Asia.
One quarter of the bazars is occupied by the Armenian gold and silver smiths; and here, seated on a little platform six feet square, is seen the well-dressed and respectable Armenian Christian, plying his hammer on a small anvil, with a little portable furnace beside him; he is either working out a ring or setting an amulet. He appears not to have any stock in trade; but, when a demand is made by one whom he has reason to think desirous of purchasing, then it is that his treasures are displayed, though only in small portions at a time; one little box after another is opened and shut. Every species of vessel used in the hareems of the East is here to be found in massive silver, richly embossed. The most elaborate work I have seen is on the little coffee-cup stand, several specimens of which I purchased. The wealth of this rtion of the bazar is immense; yet, to all outward appearnce, it contains nothing but a vast assemblage of petty tinkers, at work on trinkets and trifles. It would be a difficult matter for the Turkish authorities to discriminate between the smallest capitalist and the million
naire, such is the uniformity in the outward appearance of their Armenian subjects in their persons, shops, and houses.
The Jews occupy another quarter, where they deal, as usual with them all over the world, in everything. These, as well as the Armenians, are each restricted by law to a particular style of headdress and a particular colour for the slippers, they not being allowed to wear the same fashion with the Turks or with each other.
PECULIARITIES OF THE BAZARS.
Each one in the bazars appears to be attentive to his shop from morning until night, and to make the most of his time; and well he may, for he has only four working-days in seven. There are three Sabbaths every week. Friday for the Turks, Saturday for the Jews, and Sunday for the Greeks and Armenians. The Sabbath of one deranges the business of the other, and besides, each one is nothing loth to join the other in taking as much amusement as he can get, when so good an excuse is offered for indulgence.
The plodding Armenian, however, is seen six days in the week at his post, and thus, by patient industry and regular habits, grows rich, while the others are dissipating the proceeds of their four days' application. Yet there are exceptions to the general rule, and some of every nation are to be found in the bazars every day in the week, except their own peculiar Sabbath.
There is a street called the Egyptian Bazar, where all kinds of drugs, spices, and odours are sold in quantities.
During the greater part of the day the crowd in the bazars is immense, and, as in every other mart where finery is the order of the day, the number of female purchasers predominates.
There is a vast circular building attached to these premises, called the Arms Bazar, where the principal traffic is in second-hand arms of all nations under the sun.
The gentlemen were in pursuit of one of the veritable Damascus blades so difficult to be obtained, and I accompa