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Apropos to the Armenians, our return present to the great seraff of whom I wrote you last year (for the carpet which he so politely pressed my husband to accept), has arrived from Paris, in the shape of a beautiful inlaid rosewood writing-desk, with the name and title of the purse-holder engraved on a silver plate; the interior is replete with all the refined conveniences for which French ingenuity is so remarkable.
Should the seraff happen to run his head into the noose of the bowstring, this little testimony of our regard will find its way to the sultan's bureau, and by him be sent as backshee to some Eastern potentate.
I regret that this is to be the last letter I shall be able to indite to you from Constantinople, as are to set out in two or three days for Greece.
My notebook is full of memoranda of curious and inter. esting incidents and objects, which I find it impossible now even to allude to. Perhaps at a leisure time next winter, in France or Italy, I may revert to this subject, but until that time I shall be too much occupied with what is to come to look back upon the occurrences of the East.
We have not yet determined whether to go directly to Greece, and there brave the long quarantine and summer fevers, or to take steamers up the Danube to Vienna and thence to Italy, visiting Greece in the spring.
the East, but it is all
It is an easy matter to slide into up-hill work to get out of it again. Forty days of quarantine must be performed before one can be sufficiently purified to re-enter Western Europe. My next letter will inform you what will have been done in this perplexing affair; until then, farewell.
Athens.-Taming a Tyrant.-A Race with a Greek.-A perilous Situation. -An Escape.-Arrival at the Piræus.-An Athenian Armada.-The Long Walls.-Scenes in Athens,-Remains of ancient Athens.-The Acropolis.-Perfection of the Parthenon.-Hill of the Areopagus.-Lantern of Demosthenes.-Theatres of Athens.--The Academy.-Mr. and Mrs. Hill.-Sowing the good Seed.-Mr. King.-Society in Athens. Athens (Greece),
"HA! Athens," you exclaim, while your ready ears are preparing to receive my ecstasies, now that my feet are pressing the classic shores of Attica.
But I fear that you are doomed to disappointment; for, whatever may have been my feelings while riding at anchor in the harbour of the Piræus, with the tomb of Themistocles on one hand, proud Salamis on the other, and the mighty Acropolis afar, crowned with its majestic Parthenon; yet, when escaping from my floating prison, with breathless haste I flew to catch a nearer view of the Athenian wonders, I exclaimed with Byron,
""Tis Greece, but living Greece no more!"
Still, from the observations I have since made, I cannot agree with the same poet when he says,
"The iron storm
That darken'd from the realms of Asia pour'd
"We start, for soul is wanting there ;"
for I hold that the same soul which at Salamis and Thermopylæ animated the younger Greece when
is still existent; though, like that of the mighty Sesostris, it is now revolving in its cycle of transmigrations.
What though the Roman first, the Venetian next, then the Turk, and now the Bavarian, have each in his turn held in bondage the spirit of great Theseus, was not his of the VOL. II.-A A
elder Thebes first doomed to animate the ferocious clay of the Libyan lion, thence descending through a long categoof earth's most revolting creatures, until at last we see it inspiring the gorged hyena that sits on Egypt's throne? How distant soever may be the time when old Nilus's flood shall sweep to the ocean the corse of its last tyrant, and regenerated Egypt once more hail the reign of her own glorious Pharaohs, yet the period is near at hand when the present vampire rule in Greece, now tottering to its fall, shall be annihilated, as though a new deluge of Deucalion had swept the plains of Thessaly and Attica. The "soul is wanting here," forsooth, if we look no deeper than the surface of the moral ruin which covers this Grecian soil. That which is once more to call that soul into activity I will consider in another place; but, before I give you the little I have to say on Athens, I will return to where I last wrote you, and conduct you through Helle's strait to that
"Fair clime where every season smiles
thence crossing the Egean, I will anchor you in the har. bour of the Piræus; and, landing you on its mole, we will follow the ancient wall to the gates of Athens.
We were not long deciding which of the two to choose, the route by the Danube or the one we have taken; for, besides our repugnance to cross once more the "black Euxine's dangerous wave," we learned that the communication by the river was very irregular and not to be depended upon, and that, we might be thirty days in reaching Vienna.
We therefore immediately chartered a vessel to take us to the westward, and were soon on board, with all our effects.
She was a fine little English brig, mounting four small guns; had once been a pleasure yacht, and, until steamboats were established on the route, ran as a packet between Con
stantinople and Trebizonde. Her name was the Spitfire, an appellation better suited to her little testy John Bull commander, who, to use the minister's words, was "one of those characters who manage to convey British goods to different parts of the world, with the honesty and skill of a drayman, and about as much mind as his horse." In naval phraseology he is called "master;" in his own, the "captain."
TAMING A TYRANT.
Just as we were about casting off from the quai, we found that the captain had taken possession of a part of the premises which we had stipulated for as our own exclusive right. On remonstrating with him, he seemed to understand neither the meaning of fair words nor the use of them, judging from the Wapping vocabulary he employed when addressing the gentlemen on the subject of his "rights as captain of his own ship." A note was immediately sent to the owners of "the ship," who directed a message to the Jack tar, stating that he must accord to the travellers what he knew to be their rights, or be pleased to take his hat and walk up to the office. Moreover, if he put to sea, he must obey implicitly all the orders given to him by the gentlemen, and sail his vessel wherever they desired, and continue with them as long as they might require. This peremptory order softened down the mastiff tone of the little captain, and he was ever after as gentle as a spaniel.
Our little vessel was clipper-built, and in a very short time old Stamboul's towers were sunk beneath the eastern wave.
A lovely night on the Marmora compensated us for the terrors we experienced when crossing it last winter, and a beautiful morning caused "Hella's wave" to glide on as smooth as the summer clouds which floated above our heads.
The necessary formalities at the castle of the Dardanelles detained us but for a short time; and then, with flowing sheet, we launched into the open sea, having on our left
"The Dardan shore That once the imperial towers of Ilium bore;
And now, by Time's deep ploughshare harrowed o'er,
A contrary wind met us after we had lost sight of the mountains of Asia, and obliged us to beat about among the islands of the Archipelago for several days. At last the mountains of Greece rose from the waters directly ahead of us; and on the evening of the fourth day of our sailing we might have anchored in the Piraeus but for an accident that occurred to us, by which our lives were again put in the most extreme peril. It was where
"O'er the surge Colonna frowns on high,"
and where Falconer came near finding a watery grave, that we were within an ace of being shipwrecked. There was some romance about the affair of the British sailor, but there would have been little poetry in our being lost on Cape Colonna on a beautiful summer afternoon, without a cloud in the sky, or a flash of lightning to give effect to the disaster. I will briefly relate to you the circumstances, by which you will see what important consequences may often result from one false step, however insignificant it may appear to us when about to deviate from the path of prudence. Our lit tle vessel was a remarkably fast sailer, and well might her captain be proud of her. On the morning when we descried the coast of Greece, the wind was from the south, and we, in company with several fine Greek vessels, were aiming to double Cape Colonna; but, being a little to the north of it, we were obliged to lie very close to the wind, a point of sailing, however, which was our vessel's forte.
Our companions were to the south of us, and, consequently, to the windward, which gave them a chance to sail more free than we could. It was a beautiful sight to see the strife between Briton and Greek; and the morning passed away