+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

rumours flying about which heightened the
excitement. The Sultan's troops, it was said,
had been routed by the insurgents in Epirus;
the fort of Arta had surrendered to the
patriots; part of the British garrison of
Corfu had sailed for Prevesa. All these
rumours, though devoid of substance, were
nevertheless believed. Curses were heaped
upon the English, curses upon the French,
because they would not suffer the Russians
to come to Constantinople, there to
regenerate the Greek empire. " Dangerous
times these," added the gentleman who gave
us the information, " most dangerous times;
for whenever the Greeks turn patriots, they
have an ugly habit of plundering their
neighbours of their property."

After receiving so much information we
went for our dinner to a Greek hotel, and
there met with some other passengers
of the Meerschaum, with whom we ate
our dinner; amidst many insults and
slights from the landlord and the waiters.
Some Greek merchants too dropped in one
after another, evidently for the purpose of
looking at, and pumping us. They all seemed
to understand English, and one of them spoke
it very fluently. This gentleman desired to
know how many troops there were at Malta,
and in what direction they were going ? To
which one of our set rather incautiously replied,
that some were going to the Danube, some to
Constantinople, and some to Athens. At this
statement all the Greeks fired up. Could any
Englishman, worthy of the name, unblushingly
avow that Great Britain intended to
oppress the Greeks in favour of the Turks ?
Were Christians to fight against Christians
for the benefit of the Infidels?

We were fairly in a quandary, for the Greeks
screamed and gesticulated with great violence,
and their rage did certainly not decrease when
our incautious friendone of your argumentative
mensubmitted that this was not a
war of religion, but of politics; that the Greeks
were perfectly aware of the position which
the allied powers were taking against Russia,
and that, if they chose to side against us, they
must take the consequences. Dark eyes
flashed as with fire; voices were raised to a
discordant pitch, and hands were elevated
with the whole fury of hatred. We kicked
and pushed our reasonable man until he held
his tongue. A few of the more important
personages among the Greeks had, in the
mean time, adjourned to a small room at the
back of the dining-room; where they formed
themselves into a committee, evidently for
the purpose of deciding what was to be done
with us. We anticipated the result of their
conference by a prompt retreat, and, returning
to the ship, took, from a safe distance, our last
look at Syra.

The town, as far as we could see it, hardly
deserves description. It is built in terraces
like Valetta, but they are irregular, and without
stairs. Narrow, ill-paved, winding streets,
led up from one level to another. The houses
are all of wood and are wretched and filthy in
appearance. Filth abounds in the streets,
and also on the persons of the Syriotes,
whose gaudy dress were all brown with dirt.
The whole population smelt of garlick.

The upper half of the town, occupied by
the Armenian population, is separated from
the lower by a broad belt of land that was
at one time meant to be a public garden, but
which has been left a miserable waste. There
was need of the separation, since Armenian
and Greek Christians hate each other.
Practical irreligion and religious fanaticism go
hand in hand among the Christians of the east.

The Armenian part of Syra, is, however,
much better built and paved, and not, by a
great deal, so dirty as the Greek town. It is
surmounted by a chapel, which stands on the
summit of the mountain. The view down
from the chapel to the sea is glorious, and so
is the view from the sea up to the chapel.

When we awoke in the morning we were
coasting it along the shores of Asia Minor.
In the afternoon we saw the plain of Troy,
and the tomb of Achilles. Just before sunset
we passed the Dardanelles. This was a
piece of good fortune; because vessels that
arrive after the evening gun has been fired
lay-to during the night, that they may give
an account of themselves in the morning.
Now, in the confusion of war, or for some
other cause, the watch at the Dardanelles is
no longer kept up with any strictness.

Shortly after our arrival at Constantinople,
vessels were allowed to pass unchallenged
and unquestioned from the Archipelago
into the Sea of Marmora at every hour of the
night. Among the first vessels which profited
by this new license was a Russian war-
steamer which had come out from Trieste,
and which boldly steamed through the
Dardanelles and up the Bosphorus into the Black

Early next day the Meerschaum dropped
its anchor off the corner of the Serai. We
had reached Constantinople.

On Saturday the Twelfth of August, will be published,
in Household Words, the Twentieth Portion and


Amounting to Nine and a Half Pages.

The NINTH VOLUME of Household Words, price
5s. 6d., will be published on the 16th of August.

On Monday, the Seventh of August, will be published,
carefully revised and wholly reprinted,



BRADBURY and EVANS, 11, Bouverie Street.