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KING MISSIRIE.

THE traveller who, proceeding to Constantinople,
lands close to the mosque at Tophana,
should wend his steps up the hill that leads
to the European quarter and the embassies.
On the summit of this hill he will discover
the principal seat of the government that he
seeks. He will recognise it by a banner,
constantly displayed, bearing the simple
legend: Hotel d'Angleterre, par J. Missirie.

Disguises are natural to the East. Let no
rash stranger, therefore, presume to despise
Missirie on account of outward semblance,
or think to brave his power because he
follows the example of Haroun-al-Raschid.
Giafar and Mesrour are at hand: the mutes,
be sure, are in waiting with ready bowstring.
Cross the threshold of his abode with
humble gesture; wait for a propitious
moment before laying at his feet your petition
for leave to remain within the walls;
conciliate the queen-consort with honied and
flattering words; communicate to her the
last intelligence from the countries through
which you have travelled; render to her, as
a votive offering, a copy of the Illustrated
London News. Then, if the realm be tranquil,
and the subjects obedient; if the
entrance-lobby be not under martial law, nor
the dinner-room in a state of siege; if the
tyrant have breakfasted and be at ease; if
your face be not too round nor your
complexion too sallow; if your air be patient
and your language submissive;—it is just
possible that you may be granted a favourable
audience. It will ensure the enjoyment
of many comforts, as well as of sights
replete with interest and novelty.

Concerning the growth of Missirie's
despotism, there are scarcely any materials
for history. Tradition speaks of a period,
not very remote, when the house in Pera was
simply an hotel for the accommodation of
travellers; now it is the seat of an absolute
government. It is certain that the change
was to some extent gradual, and that the
present condition of things was ushered in
by a succession of small encroachments upon
the liberty and privileges of guests. At
what precise time the master-spirit threw off
the mask cannot now be ascertained, but I
remember when people might be seen,
mutinously gathered, by knots of three or four,
at the entrance or in the public room,
discussing some edict that they deemed oppressive.
When the Allies were leaving the
Crimea, even such faint insubordination had
become a memory of the past. Men as big
as Cornet Ames and as brave as Redan
Masseymen who had charged through the
iron hail of Balaklava and shared in the
fierce struggle of Inkermann, were powerless
against that which the author of Eöthen has
described, Missirie's strangely quiet energy.
Men belonging to the same mess, tiredO!
how heartily!—of war's alarms, weary of
huts and tents, looking forward to a snug
gossip at the table d'hôte, were ruthlessly
separated by a daily recurring act of tyranny,
scattered in all parts of the room by the
presiding genius, fluttered like doves by this
Constantinopolitan Coriolanus of the western
Volscians. Missirie, it was said, was proud
of the arrangement of his table; was a
student of the picturesque, a comparer of
colours, a critic of complexions, an observer
of heights, a luxuriator in light and shade.
The return of the army afforded him splendid
opportunities for appropriate grouping.
Unless, therefore, friends or brothers were
calculated to produce some particular
harmony or contrast that his soul desired,
whether in costume or in height, in tinge of
whisker or shape of beard, perhaps even in
facial outline, they were mercilessly torn
asunder. " You, sir, will sit there, and you
here," was a dictum from which there was
no escape. Damon's black coat was sent to
tone down a brilliant uniform; the red
jacket of Pythias to give warmth to a group
of riflemen. Rebellion was worse than
useless. A party of officers, who were among
the survivors of Tennyson's six hundred,
once tried the effect of a remonstrance, and
represented their determination to sit
together. What was said to them privately
never transpired, but it was effectual. On
that great day Missirie came late into the
dining-room, and it was observed, with a
thrill of consternation among the assembled
guests, that he carried a big stick in his
hand. Luckily, he had no occasion to
employ it: for the light cavalry men were
dispersed singly about the table, ruefully
regarding distant messmates. The face of

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