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they are not perhaps making the lively
impression that they too fondly believe. For
the Pera belle is a strange, odd, angular,
unsexed sort of lady, full of Greek sarcasm
and politics; who discourses chiefly about the
wrongs of the oppressed Christians. They
will lead the officers lately in the service of
the King of Candy a singular, perhaps a
weary dance; but there it will end, much
to the bewilderment of those magnificently
moustached geniuses.

The audience in the gallery is indecorous,
to say the least of it. The sailors and soldiers
from the coffeehouse next door have come in,
and are giving a private vocal entertainment
of their own. The noises heard in the
theatres of Portsmouth and Toulon are
echoing briskly; and I have twice heard the
opening stanzas of Will Watch the bold
smuggler. Suppose we retire to the back
of the box and sit down, cross-leggeda
merry company of smokers. Most of us have
a short clay in our pockets, according to the
fashion of modern times; and we shall only
be doing as folks are doing in the other
boxes, whence the frequent crack of lucifer
matches comes so refreshingly. Then we
shall go behind the scenesnot because
there is any pleasure in doing so, but
because it is also the fashion, and a very
violent fashion in Pera. Highly connected
young gentlemen (mostly from the
neighbourhood of Sloane Street or Putney)
belonging to Her Majesty's Commissariat,
here display their acquaintance with the
elegant dissipations of London and Paris,
and the dainty airs of courtly indifference
acquired during a previous life (of course)
brimful of the intoxicating sweets of
aristocratic pleasure. An improper elderly
French banker, who has been admitted
to the intimacy of many generations of
autumnal Pera primè donnè, and who has
been the only fast young man in Pera any
time these forty years, finds himself quite
cut out on his own groundrouted
ignominiouslyand he looks at the buttony
waistcoats and amazing studs of his rivals with sour
and envious glances. As for the ex-officers
of the King of Candy, their caps and jackets
are hardly noticed, and their conversation
with respect to the mysterious wealth of the
young gentlemen before mentioned is more
pungent and forcible than complimentary: "That
young puppy," says General Slasher
(Imperial Ottoman service) to Colonel Crasher
in the same army—"that young puppy, all
studs and buttons, there, is the son of one of
my uncle's bagmen; you know Sir John
Stuffs and Co. of Manchester. He set up for
himself, and failed. Old Stuffs, who has
three votes in the House of CommonsI
wish I hadgot one of the young cubs into
the commissariat; and now I find him here,
swelling it at the rate of a couple of thousand
a year, riding thorough-breds, giving dinners,
and coming out strong with theatre people.
Put this and that together, and I think you'll
agree with me, Crasher, my boy, that the
commissariat wants looking after."

There is a row at the doors. Mr.
William Sykes, the Adonis of Galata, is
threatening to punch the head of a meek
gentleman in jean boots, whom he has never
seen before; and then bellows out that he
has made a mistake, but that he will
nevertheless punch the head of some person or
persons unknown, who have in some way
incurred his displeasure. A disagreeable
threat where there is no police.

A crowd of humanity-mongers are talking
with their usual authoritative pomp,
even here; but startlingly ready to listen to
invitations to dinner, nevertheless. Here are
adventurers with doubtful commissions from
the Foreign Office, who have learned already
the bullying of Oriental diplomacy, and are
prepared to ride rough-shod over everything
and everybody. There stands a man wildly
asking people to champagne and trufflesto
get contracts for the army, and a very good
business too. Near him is a Russian spy,
adroitly pumping some man in office;
perhaps the butler of the British Embassy.

Let us make a night of it. Let us go to
the roguish pastrycook, who has established
a sort of English club, which we shall find
full of middys, who have just received a "tip"
from home, and our golden young friends
from the theatre, who belong naturally to all
places of Pera revelry. Everybody will be
talking together, and there will be an
immense consumption of cold game pies, price
four shillings each, and bottled beer at a
shilling. There will also be some bets about
the taking of Sebastopol, and some vainglory.
But we need not stop long. We can go
plashing with our lantern through the sloppy
streets, back to the Palace of Silence, when
we will. The stave of the rheumatic watchman
will smite the wet dark pavement with
a clanking sound, and he will shout his
night-cry through a cold hoarsely. But we
must not be too hard on him; exactly the
same kind of functionary wandered through
the streets of London not a generation ago.


On the Third of February will be published,
for greater convenience, and cheapness of binding,
Price of the Set, thus bound in Five Double
instead of Ten Single Volumes, £2 10s. 0d.

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