« EdellinenJatka »
which had two heads : it lived with him several days, and would have lived longer, had he not neglected it.
On his approach to Nice, which happened near midnight, he was surprised by a great noise, like that of men mocking and insulting :
“I enquire what it is; whether the sailors (for we were near · Lake Ascanius) were laughing at us, because, contrary to the custom of the country, we were travelling so late at night : they inform me it is the howling of animals, which the Turks call jackalls. They are larger than foxes, but smaller than wolves; in voracity and gluttony, however, equal to them ; gregarious; harmless to men and flocks, seeking their food rather by craft than violence. From the disposition of these animals, the Turks call fraudulent and crafty persons, especially Asiatics, jackalls (ciacales.) They enter the tents, and even the houses of the Turks by night: whatever eatables they find, they devour: if they find none, they gnaw at shoes, boots, the sheaths of swords, or any thing of leather. In this enterprize, they display their natural cunning, which, however, is defeated by their own fault; for while one is within, stealing or devouring, if any of his companions that are without begin to howl, the delinquent does the same, and thus betrays himself.”
Busbequius supposes, that his abode, during the day he remained at Nice, was in the very hall where the celebrated council of Nice was held.
Not far from a village called Otmanlik, he was shewn the strong hold of that Othoman, who first rendered the family of the Othomans illustrious and powerful. Hitherto, from Nice, the road passed through a mountainous district; but now they traversed extensive and fertile places : on these, were feeding flocks of those goats, from whose wool or hair (ne de lana caprina mihi controversia sit) the watered stuffs are made. The fleece is very fine and shining, reaching even to the ground: it is not shorn, but combed off: in the feel and appearance, it is little inferior to silk. The goats are frequently washed in the rivers : the herbage of the plains in which they are kept, is delicate and dry. This, undoubtedly, is the cause of the peculiar excellence of the fleece; for it deteriorates whenever the pasture is changed.
Having learnt that these fleeces, after being spun by the women of the country, are carried to Ancyra, a town of Galatia, where they are dyed and made into watered stuffs, he made a point, when he arrived at that place, of going to witness the process. From his description of it, it appears to be exactly that which is most commonly followed in this country in making watered stuffs and silks; namely, the application of a press to them, after they have been sprinkled with water. The process,
evidently, was new to our author. We know not whether our manufacturers derived their knowledge of it from the Turks; but on a small scale, and for domestic purposes, it has been produced in the highlands of Scotland, and, probably, in other parts of the kingdom, for a great length of time. Whether the undulata toga of Varro, and the undulata vestis of Pliny, . designate the same kind of stuffs, and if they do, whether they were made in the same manner, we are ignorant ;* but, with these stuffs, must not be confounded, the water-works of the writers of the middle ages. The names are similar, but the objects designated are very different. Water-work is canvass painted in water-colours; it was used instead of tapestry, by those who could not afford the latter.
Busbequius informs us, that those watered stuffs were in the highest estimation which had received, and exactly retained, the most regular undulations; on the other hand, if the undulations were indistinct or unequal, though the colour and the material were the same, the stuff sold at a much inferior price. Watered stuffs were chiefly worn by old men of rank. Soliman was very partial to them, and seldom appeared in any other dress but watered stuff of a green colour.
Black is regarded by the Turks as a mean and ill-omened colour; and for a person to be seen in a black garment is sufficient to mark him as unclean and unlucky. The Beys made a serious complaint, on one occasion, when Busbequius visited them in a black dress. Purple is a favorite colour, except in the time of war, when it is worn as a token of defeat. The most lucky colours are white, drab, sky-blue, violet and mouse colour. Such is the superstitious regard of the Turks to omens, and lucky and unlucky circumstances and objects, that the Beys are removed from their situations, if their horses chance to stumble, that being regarded as the forerunner of some great calamity, which, by such removal alone, can be averted from the nation, and fixed on the individual himself.
On the same plains where the fine-haired goats were grazing, there were numerous flocks of sheep of that species by far the most common in this district, whose tails are so immensely fat and weighty: they generally weigh 3 or 4, sometimes 8 or 10 pounds; and, in the older sheep, they attain such a magnitude and weight, that it is necessary to support them on a kind of platform that runs on two wheels. Perhaps,” our author adds, “ you will not believe this: it is true, however. But though these tails supply a
* It is probable, that the discovery of water-stuffs was accidental, from water having been spilt on parts of the stuff just before it was subjected to the action of the callender or press.
great quantity of fat, the flesh, to my taste, is much inferior, in tenderness and flavour, to that of our sheep.” The shepherds who attend these flocks live, night and day, in the fields ; and, along with their wives and children, move about in a kind of waggon, the only kind of habitation they have: sometimes, however, they erect tents. Their journeys with their flocks are, frequently, to a considerable distance, sometimes to the plains, sometimes to the hills, as the season and the pasture require. In the plains, where the goats and sheep were feeding, Busbequius met with several birds unknown to him; among others, a species of duck, whose noise exactly resembled that of a horn, when it is sounded in an army at the commencement of a march.
In almost all the villages he passed through, he found marbles with Greek and Latin inscriptions, but much broken and defaced by the Turks. “My great delight was, as soon as I reached the place where I was to remain, even for a short time, to inquire after ancient inscriptions, or Greek and Roman medals, or rare plants.” The Turks were at the trouble of bringing large stones from a distance, when they could not procure them near at hand, to place over their graves. They believe that the evil demon of the deceased summonses him from the grave, and accuses him of all the faults and vices he has committed, while, on the other hand, his good genius appears to defend them; and the stone is for the dead man to sit upon, that he may be more at his ease while his cause is pleading, and be ready to answer the questions put to him. Large stones are placed over the graves, also, to protect the dead bodies from the wild beasts, especially the hyena. This animal, which abounds, digs into the graves, drags out the carcases, and carries them to its den, near where may always be seen heaps of human and other bones. The hyena is rather lower in stature than the wolf, but as long: its skin is like that of the wolf, except that it is rougher, and marked with large black spots: its head joins its back-bone without any joints in the neck, so that, when it wishes to look back, it is obliged to turn its whole body: instead of separate teeth, its mouth is said to be one continued tooth. The Turks, like the ancients, regard it as of great efficacy in love potions : hence, though there were two at Constantinople, while Busbequius was there, he could not purchase them, the Sultaness retaining them for herself, in order to make philtres, by which she might retain the affections of her husband.
In this part of his journey, our author obtained a great number of medals, chiefly those of the late Emperors Constantine, Valens, Valentinian, Probus, Tacitus, &c. In many places, the Turks used them as weights; they call them Giaour
manguri, that is, the money of the Infidels. There were, likewise, medals of the Asiatic cities, Amysis, Synope, Amasia, &c. In this last city, a coppersmith greatly moved our author's ire : inquiring if he had any medals, he told Busbequius that, a very few days before, he had a room-full, but he had made kettles and caldrons of them, thinking them of no use or value in their original state.
Busbequius, in giving a detail of some of the marvellous stories of the Turks, mentions a certain river, the waters of which, they said, conferred immortality, and adds, “ in what part of the globe this river is, they do not inform us; unless, perhaps, it is in Utopia.” This is one of the earliest proverbial references to Sir Thomas Moore's celebrated political romance, that we are acquainted with.
While he was at Amasia, some Persians, in an official character, arrived there, to whom Halli Bey, the second in rank of the Viziers, gave a splendid feast: of this, Busbequius was enabled to obtain a full view. Halli Bey was a man of elegant mind, a Dalmatian; and, what was rare among the Turks, a man of humanity and information. He, and the other Beys, sat along with the principal Persian under a large veil which shaded the table. One hundred young men attended upon them, all dressed exactly in the same manner. The banquet was thus served up: the hundred young men first placed themselves each at equal distances from the other, from the table to the kitchen, and then putting their hands on their thighs, and bowing their beads, made their obeisance to the guests. This being done, he, who was next the kitchen, delivered the dishes, one by one, to his neighbour: this one to the third ; and so on, successively, till the dish reached the person who was close to the table. From his hand, it was ta-. ken by the head butler and placed on the table; thus, upwards of 100 dishes flowed (influebant), if the expression may be allowed, gently, and without the least noise or confusion, to the table. As soon as this was done, the young men, again making their obeisance, retired; he who was nearest the door, first; and he who was nearest the table, last.
These Persians, who came to negociate a peace with Soliman, were not long in obtaining their object; whereas, Busbequius, and his companions, could not make any progress in the business on which they had come. At last, a truce for six months was agreed upon, and, in that interval, Busbequius was to carry letters from Soliman to his sovereign, and return with an answer, if it should be deemed necessáry, Before his departure, he was introduced to Soliman. On this occasion, he was obliged to submit to put on two splendid robes, very wide and reaching to his heels, so heavy, that he could scarce walk
under them: his servants were clothed with silken garments of various colours.
“ I proceed in all this pomp, as if I were about to act the part of Agamemnon, in a tragedy; and take my leave of the Sultan after having received his letters, sealed and covered with cloth of gold : such of my servants as were of higher station, were admitted, also, to salute him. Leave having been taken of the Beys in a similar manner, I depart from Amasia. You will, of course, be curious to learn some particulars respecting Soliman: he is now rather in the decline of life; his countenance, and his whole form, indicating a man well fitted to govern such a large and powerful empire: frugal and temperate in his habits, even while he was young, being, at that period of his life, addicted neither to wine nor to those vices for which the Turks are so infamously celebrated. Even his enemies can reproach him with no fault, except that of being rather uxorious. His conduct respecting Mustapha's death was, indeed, blameable; but that is generally attributed to the love potions administered to him by his wife. As soon as he made her his lawful wife, he was steadily faithful to her, although the laws permitted him to have concubines. He is extremely strict in enforcing and performing all the ceremonies of his religion; indeed, the propagation of it seems with him, as important and favorite an object as the extension of his empire. His health, considering his age, for he is now near 60, is good, except that his complexion indicates some lurking malady. It is reported, that he has an incurable ulcer in his leg. The unhealthiness of his complexion he endeavours to conceal, by the use of paint and cosmetics, whenever he is desirous of leaving on the minds of foreign ambassadors an impression that he is strong and likely to live long."
Busbequius left Amasia in June. The extreme heat, and the fatigue of the journey, rendered him so feeble, and gave him so much the appearance of labouring under a mortal disease, that, when he arrived at Vienna, the emperor and his friends were persuaded that the Turks had administered to him some slow and subtle poison : he assured them that they were mistaken, and that rest, and a better climate, would soon renovate his strength, and restore his looks; and so it proved. The first letter, from which we have selected these particulars, is dated Vienna, September, 1594.
In his next letter, he begins the account of his second embassy. On his arrival at Constantinople, he found Rustan restored to favour. The particular causes and circumstances attending this event, as well as the details respecting Mustapha and Bajazet, though we agree in opinion with Gibbon, that “they are told with the spirit and dignity of an historian," we shall omit; and as these forro by far the greatest part of the second letter, we shall pass on to the third, which will afford selections better suited to our purpose.