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THE ENGLISH GOVERNESS IN EGYPT. 



HAREl LIFE 



EGYPT AND CONSTANTINOPLK 



BY EMMELINJS MIT, 

. irOHUIIBl.1 OOTKSHEHa TO HIS BIGB^B THK 



FOV&TH EDITION. 




LONDON: 

mCHAKD BBNTLET, NEW BUBLINGTON STBEET. 

186». 

[1A< Right Iff IVansIatioll ta It<WTvtd:\ 



DEDICATED 



TO 



HIS HIGHNESS ISMAEL PACHA, 

VICEROY OF EGYPT, 

BY 

HIS HIGHNESSES HOST HUMBLE 

AND DEVOTED SEEVANT, 

THE AUTHOEESS. 

October^ 1865. 



VI PEEFACE. 

prominently as the precursor of civilisation in the 
^J^irkish dominions, and for whom a most brilliant 
future is in prospect^ — to obtain ingress. Her rank 
and position were the Telecem, "talisman," which 
tlirew open to her the heavy ponderous portals, 
drcjw back the massive double-bolted doors, and 
ffavo lior access to those forbidden "Abodes of 
HHsh" of the stolid, sensual, and indolent Blue 
Hoards of the East. 

Novortliclcss, her handsome train, Lady Am- 
busHudrcsH as she was, swept but across the splendid 
oftrj)oti.Hl floors of those noble Saloons of Audience, 
all of which had been, as is invariably the custom, 
woll "swept and garnished" for her reception. 
Tho interior of those Harems were to her Ladyship 
» ttftrtM incoffiii/a, and even although she passed 
thn>ugh those gaudy halls like a beautiful meteor, 
;ill w*j ctMcAwr de rose, and not the slightest oppor- 
ttmxty w^ permitted her to study the daily life of 
tae CVlaJisques. True, she had witnessed the 

^Stetttge iucsttauoQ of Eastern gorgeousness, reverie, and 



1^33: jtm;. « ^ bid not been allowed to penetrate 



PREFACE. 



Upwards of a century has rolled away since that 
graceful, unaflTected epistolary writer, the accom- 
plished and " charming Lady Mary Montague," 
accompanied her caro sposo, Mr. Edward Wortley 
Montague, to Constantinople, when he was ap- 
pointed Ambassador to the Sublime Porte. 

In the eighteenth century, that "Princess of 
Female Writers" published in her Letters an ac- 
count of her visits to some of the Harems of the 
elite of the Turks of that period. 

She had no need to propitiate that all-powerful 
Sovereign Prince of the Ottoman Empire, " Bak- 
sheesh," — who, whatever may be his demerits as a 
statesman, stands forth, in the present age, most 



VIU PREFACE. 

a concise yet impartial and sympathetic account of 
the daily life of the far-famed Odalisque^ of the 
nineteenth century-those mysterious impersonifi- 
cations of Eastern loveliness. With what success 
I have achieved this difficult task is left to the 
judgment of the public to determine. 

LoNBOK, December, 1865. 



*j 



HAEEM LIFE. 



CHAPTEE I. 

After a quick but tempestuous voyage from the busy port of 
Marseilles, on board the Peleuse, one of the fleetest steamers 
in the service of the Messageries Imperiales, I arrived in the 
land of the Pharaohs, at the harbour of Alexandria, in the 
month of April, 186 — . I proceeded to the Peninsular and 
Oriental Hotel, where I took up my quarters for a few days. 
As a host of travellers have minutely but yet not, according 
to my impressions, very accurately described that Liverpool of 
Egypt, Alexandria — for Egypt as it was and Egypt as it is are 
vastly different — nevertheless I shall not attempt to give any 
topographical account of that wonderfully improving country 
and its ancient capital, the whole length and breadth of which 
I was enabled to traverse during my residence with the vice- 
regal family. 

The Viceroy's agent in London had consigned me, " bag 
and baggage," to the care of an eminent banking firm at Alex- 
andria, who are also reported to be associated with Ismael Pacha 
in his private capacity as the billionaire Eastern merchant 
prince. 

Upon forwarding my bill of lading — letter of introduction 
— I received instructions to proceed to Cairo by the express 
train, and there to report myself, on arrival, to Mr. B., who, 
independently of being associated with the Viceroy in mercan- 
tile pursuits, also holds the lucrative, yet by no means sine- 



II HAEEM LIFE. 

cure, appointments of Keeper of the Privy Purse and Purveyor 
General of His Higbness's Households ; for it must be ob- 
served that the Viceroy maiutains numerous establishments, 
both at several palaces and harems. 

After having visited every nook and comer of " El Iskende- 
reeyeh^^ I proceeded to the railway-station, entered a first-class 
carriage, and was whirled away by the iron king en route for 
the capital. That journey has been so often described by abler 
pens than mine, that I shall merely give an account of my 
fellow-passengers and their conversation, which furnished me 
v^rith an insight into the characters of many individuals with 
whom it was my fate afterwards to be mixed up. 

Scarcely had I made myself comfortable in the carriage, when 
in stepped two gentlemen. Both were of middle age, most 
agreeable in manners, and rather chatty. The younger one 
was a G-reek merchant, of the name of Xenos, who resided 
in Alexandria, and who was proceeding to Cairo, and thence up 
the Nile, to purchase cotton, which at that period was realizing 
most fabulous prices both in England and Prance. The other 
was much his senior: he was of the Jewish persuasion, and a 
native of the good city of Prankfort. 

On our arrival at Tantah, where the annual fair was being 
held — and at which my two fellow-travellers assured me that 
slaves were sold in 186 — , notwithstanding that there existed a 
treaty abolishing the slave-trade — the train was shunted off the 
line, to admit of the Viceroy's private despatch train passing 
on its route. Here we were detained twenty minutes ; and as 
I watched that despatch train approach the terminus, thinking 
that I might be gratified with a glimpse of some of the Cabinet 
ministers, who I naturally concluded were seated in it, I was 
surprised at beholding the heads of several young ladies thrust 
out of the first-class carriage which was attached to the tender. 
My curiosity was considerably excited when I saw that their 
cast of countenance was either Levantine or German. They 
wore no bonnets ; long black veils were thrown carelessly over 
their heads ; and they were attired in black latarahs. 



HABEIC LIFE. 3 

Turning round to my fellow-passenger, Mr. Xenos— who 
sat, ruminating, perhaps, on the state of the cotton market, in 
the corner of the carriage nearest^ the main-line — -I inquired of 
him why that train was designated "the Viceroy's private 
despatches." He smiled, and said, " Well, I cannot exactly 
tell you ; but, in all probability, it is because it is always 
appropriated for the purpose of conveying all fair damsels 
who may chance to come on flying visits to Ismael Pacha ; and 
as foreign ladies are generally the very essence of intrigue, 
may it not be possible that they are the bearers of secret des- 
patches ? But as it is not my province to unfold the mysteries 
of the Viceroy's private despatches, all I can say upon the 
subject is, that I hope that that courteous prince will enjoy the 
pleasure of their society." 

The private despatch train rushed on at full speed, and we fol- 
lowed, about ten minutes afterwards, in its trail, at a snail's pace. 

The ice having been broken between myself and my fellow- 
travellers, the conversation naturally led to the purport of my 
visit to the " Land of Dates " and its merchant ruler. In 
reply to a few trivial questions I had put to the Greek mer- 
chant, Mr. Xenos very kindly explained to me that his twenty 
years' experience of life in Egypt led him to regard my position 
as one fraught with considerable perplexity ; and, as I after- 
wards found that his observations were perfectly correct, I 
shall give them in detail, as their purport bears directly on 
Harem Life and the intrigues of the Egyptian Star- Chamber. 

" But," added that amiable gentleman, " much depends upon 
the conduct of the Viceroy towards yourself, and that of his 
confidential advisers. Perhaps I err in using that expression, 
for His Excellency Ismael Reschid Pacha, who is his confi- 
dential adviser, and a near relative, is, I am prone to believe, 
an upright Turk, who always has his hands full in counteract- 
ing the plots and machinations of the favourites and reputed 
partners of the billionaire merchant prince ; for as Ismael Pacha 
receives you, so will His Excellency Reschid Pacha, his tried 
and faithful friend and relative, behave towards you. 



4 HAEEM LIFE. 

" K you can manage to keep on good terms with that min- 
ister, all will go well with you ; for no man in Egypt understands 
the difficulties of your position better than His Excellency, 
who has to combat in the day against all the arts and influences 
that are generally brought to bear upon the mind of the Vice- 
roy at the reputed orgies which takes place at the Palace at 
night, when His Excellency is safely housed within the precincts 
of his own * Abode of Bliss,' or very early in the morning, 
when Ismael Pacha — for he is up at the dawn of day — is 
steaming up the Nile at three or four o'clock, sitting on the 
sofa in the poop of one of his fairy-like yachts, smoking ciga- 
rettes, and sipping, not real Mocha, but fullbodied and refreshing 
Burgundy, though he be a true believer, 

" It is the demeanour of the clique about his Highness and 
the reputed co-partners towards you, that I would have you 
watch and scrutinise most carefully. Life in the Harems of 
the Egyptian rulers has never been faithfully described by any 
authors, for the simple reason that no unbeliever has as yet 
been domiciled therein ; to them it has been an unknown land, 
and one of myths ; their pen-drawings, however, are far from 
encouraging, and the late lamented Dr. Abbott, who collected 
the most unique, most valuable, and perfect museum of Egyp- 
tian curiosities which the Americans possess, has left a very 
clever work, in which he describes them as being in his day 

* the very focus of low intrigue, the scenes of profligacy of the 
most abhorrent nature, ah ! and of crimes of the deepest dye ;' 
but, thanks to the enlightenment of the age in which we live, 
a most wonderful and beneficial improvement has, I have been 
assured, taken place, even in those sacred places. 

" The signification of the word Harem is a perfect misnomer 
in our European acceptation of the expression, unless indeed 
we interpret it by its other and far more appropriate meaning, 

* interdicted,' since it is considered by all Moslems as implying 

* The Abode of Bliss,' and the type or model of that celestial 
paradise of houris, which the prophet Mahomet has inculcated 
into the minds of his followers will be their Kishmet, * fate,' 



HAEEM LIFE. 5 

when they shall enter the seventh heaven in the world to come. 
Hence the reason why those monsters of men, those spectres 
of their sex, the chief eunuchs, are styled Kislar jiff act, * the 
captain of the girls ;' and also Dar-us-seadet Agaci, * the guar- 
dian of the Abode of Bliss.' 

" Besides, many of the recent Viceroys of Egypt finished 
their education in FrancB, so that I am inclined to believe that 
a great amelioration has taken place of late years in their in- 
ternal m6naffe ; and Solyman Pacha the Magnificent introduced 
great innovations into the domestic habits and customs of the 
inmates of his Harem, as Ulso among the manners and customs 
of the Princes themselves ; and, if I am correctly informed, 
many of the late Pachas had not only their palaces furnished 
in the European style, but surrounded themselves with foreign 
attendants, and even had English nurses for their children. 
This is the case with Mustapha Pacha, the heir presumptive to 
the Viceroyship, who not only treats that person with respect, 
but contributes most liberally to all her wants and require- 
ments h la Europdenne ; but then the manners, language, and 
habits of those domestics could not have tended, in any bene- 
ficial degree, to ameliorate the characters of the children com- 
mitted to their care, and none of them have been intelligent 
-enough to give us an insight into Harem life. So I would fain 
trust that you will not find your position so unbearable as you 
may have led yourself to suppose. 

" At all events you must keep yourself clear of the petty 
intrigues of the court cabals. Watch with a careful eye the 
manner in which the three Princesses, his Highness's wives 
behave towards you. Endeavour to gain, not only their re- 
spect and good opinion, but, what is of primary importance, 
their confidence, especially that of the mother of the young 
Prince; but, as she is only the second wife, she is not the Lady 
Paramount, for the first Spouse claims that prerogative. 

** Sad tales of the jealousy of Princesses in the Egyptian 
Harems have been circulated, and accurately too, as I can vouch 
for the veracity of my informant ; so that it may be possible 



6 HABEM LIFE. 

that, should you find it necessary to battle with his High- 
nesses reputed associates to obtain European comforts about 
you, and to maintain your status as an English lady, the mere 
granting of those absolute necessaries for your individual com- 
fort, might arouse that green-eyed monster, jealousy, within 
their viceregal bosoms, as their entire ignorance of your habits 
will make them regard such trivial attentions on the part of 
their liege lord and master as signs of his too pointed wish to 
become on terms of familiar intimacy with you." 

"Well done!" interrupted Mr. . "You are giving 

Madam a most truthful account of her position ; but, my dear 
Xenos, you appear to forget that our fellow-traveller ought 
to learn to school her too-confiding mind to look upon the 
actions of all around her with the greatest distrust." 

Then, addressing' himself to me, he continued, ** 1 would 
have you. Madam, alive to the well-established fact, that the 
whole coterie into which you will be introduced is the very hot-^ 
bed of intrigue, jealousy, and corruption ; but yet, let me trust, 
not of profligacy. The chief eunuch is generally supposed to 
possess absolute powers within the Harem, even over the Prin- 
cesses ; but as that all-powerful Egyptian, Prince Baksheesh, is 
the actual ruler of Egypt, you may take my word for it that 
most important personage is himself the abject slave of his 
reputed associates, for as long as they can command the favours 
of that omnipotent prince, and bask in the sunshine of vice- 
regal smiles, to them is reported the sayings and doings of 
those * caged birds ' within the walls of the * Abodes of Bliss.' 

" I admit that your position as an English lady entitles you 
to receive every attention, yet at the same time you will be 
called upon to conform to many strange whims, fancies, and 
customs, which may appear most singular and outlandish to- 
your European notions ; nay, many may even seem quite re- 
pugnant to your naturally sensitive feelings ; but you will, I 
hope, by the influence of your example, be able to graft a few 
civilized customs on their Arab and Turkish manners. Tour 
apparent amiability of manner will, in all probability, cause you 



HAEEM LIFE. 7 

to be respected by the Viceroy, beloved by Grand Pacha 
Ibrahim, and esteemed by their Highnesses the three wives, 
and the Princesses their daughters. And no doubt your 
position will cause you to be feared by the slaves, among 
whom, I must caution you, commence those petty intrigues 
which have ruined favourites, gathered ruling concubines to 
their last accounts, led to the sudden disappearance, and, in 
many instances, most unaccountably strange deaths, of nu- 
merous viceroys, who have ftilsely been reported to have died 
suddenly of apoplexy ; to the unfastening of the bolts of the 
viceregal railway -trains ; the poisoning of the dates that infant 
nephews have handed to their viceregal uncles : all these, and 
many more equally atrocious deeds, have been connected with 
the magic circle of a band of Harem slaves." 

•* I deeply regret," continued Mr. Xenos, " that any English 
lady should have accepted the appointment you have ; and 
knowing, as I do, the strong antipathy that all Germans and 
Arabs entertain towards the English, I would strongly urge upon 
you, even at this the eleventh hour, the propriety of abandon- 
ing the idea of entering his Highness's service. 

" In support of this suggestion I shall merely explain to you 
that I have resided many years both in Egypt and Constanti- 
nople, and from my dearly-bought experience of Egyptian and 
Turkish life, I lament that any European lady should contem- 
plate domiciling herself within the influence of the viceregal 
Harem ; for be assured that you will lack all the conveniences, 
much more the agrements^ of a European residence. Ismael 
Pacha, Viceroy though he be, is a true merchant at heaijt, and 
squanders not away his paras in costly furniture for his wives. 
And yet you will find his palaces and yachts decorated in the 
most sumptuous style d, la Europdenne, 

" That is not the only drawback that awaits you. The pecu- 
liar diet of the * caged birds' of the Viceroy's Elysium is literally 
cuisine h VArabe, which will be most unpalatable to your taste, 
even if it does not (of which I entertain great fear^) prove 
most injurious to your health. The nature of the climate 



8 HAEEM LIFE. 

renders it; obligatory on Europeans to imbibe much greater 
quantities of stimulants — such as pale ale and wine — than 
they have been accustomed to partake of in their own colder 
climate ; and I do not imagine that those forbidden liquors, 
although quaffed so copiously by the Viceroy, will be provided 
for you. It is a well-known fact, that their Highnesses the 
wives drink quantities of Schiedam. Then again the entire 
atmosphere of the Harem and its grounds must necessarily be 
impregnated with the fumes of tobacco, into which powerful 
narcotics are introduced, so that the air which you will breathe 
Avill prove injurious to your constitution ; besides, the loose 
and uncleanly habits of the attendants, more particularly those 
of the Arab nurses, wlQ disgust you ; and the sad monotony of 
the daily life you will be called upon to lead will be of such a 
melancholy, convent-like nature, that in ,my opinion it were 
better far that you had immured yourself within the cell of a 
nunnery, than entered the precincts of a Harem." 

I listened most attentively to Mr. Xenos's account of the 
difficulties of my position, and almost repented of having ac- 
cepted the appointment ; still I could not help observing that 
I hoped he had overcoloured the picture. • 

" Believe me," interrupted Mr. , " my friend has only 

given you a faint outline of Harem life in Egypt, and if any- 
thing, that delineation, dark as it appears to you, is reaUy not 
overdrawn ; in fact, it falls short of the reality, even so far as 
we forbidden intruders into those castles of pleasure have 
hitherto been able to learn. Tou, who are about so soon to 
enter those ' sacred ' recesses of viceregal life, wUl have an op- 
portunity of judging of the correctness of my views on this 
head. 

"I would, however, above all things, impress upon your 
mind the actual value which all Turks, Egyptians, Levantines, 
and (it is with feelings akin to shame that I affirm it) even 
Europeans who have been domiciled some time in the Ottoman 
dominions, entertain of the fair sex. They regard women, my 
dear madam, of every nation and of all grades in society, as 



HABEM LIFE. 9 

the mere slaves to their sensual gratification. Hence the 
reason that they keep their wives, daughters^ and concubines, 
caged up in lattice- windowed houses ; protect them by eunuchs, 
those atoms of mankind, whom they deprive of all social inter- 
course with the male sex and the outer world, and treat as 
abject slaves. Many erudite writers on Oriental life have gone 
so far as to question whether they are properly so termed, for it 
is certain that many of these guardians of the beauties of the 
East have married the wives of their lords and masters, whom 
they had previously sent to that * bourne whence no traveller 
returns ' — and report adds, have even had large families by 
them. 

" These remarks are not, however, so applicable to Harem 
life in Constantinople, as in Egypt ; for, in the lovely-situated 
capital on the Bosphorus, the ladies of the Harems enjoy both 
carriage and caique airing daily, and revel in a degree of 
freedom altogether unknown in Egypt. In the East the male 
sex think, as Butler has po naively expressed it in his burlesque 
poem of Hudibras : — 

" * Women first were made for men, 
Not men for them. It follows, then, 
That men have right to every one, 
And they no freedom of their own.* 

'* In Pharaoh's land, that sex, formed by the Creator of the 
Universe to become the solace and companion of the fallen sons 
of Adam, is prized by the stronger sex, whose duty it most 
unquestionably ought to be to protect them, only for the 'price 
in gold that they give or can obtain for them ; they are viewed 
as marketable commodities, just as a chapman calculates the 
value of his bales of merchandize. Hence the reason why 
Turks and Egyptians will always remain semi-barbarians, until 
a radical change can be effected in their families by means of 
education, that slow but sure precursor of civilization. 

" But most unhappily for the speedy amelioration of such a 
deplorable state of things, even Europeans^ who have lived long 
in any part of the Ottoman dominions, imbibe the same laxity 



10 HAEEM LIFE. 

of morals and disreputable ideas." [Of the veracity of this 
assertion 1 had ample proof during my residence at Mr. B.'s, 
at Cairo, as there an acquaintance of that gentleman hesitated 
not to introduce into his apartment a person of most question- 
able character, at which I remonstrated, and threatened to 
return to Zech's Hotel, if such conduct was repeated.] " So 
that they hesitate not to tread in the footsteps of the votaries 
of the Koran, keep Harems, entrap European women into 
their clutches, and as calmly and coolly dispose of them, as 
if they had been born slaves. 

** Would time permit, I could also disclose to you many 
instances of blank cheques, bonds, heavy mortgages on estates, 
most of which have been foreclosed, nay, most lucrative 
offices, under the Ottoman and Egyptian Governments, having 
been bartered away by licentious Egyptian and Turkish princes 
and millionaires, to unprincipled Europeans, for gems of female 
dots of humanity, many of whom, to their everlasting shame 
and degradation be it stated, even now rank as the creme 
de la creme of European society in the Ottoman dominions. 
Many are the instances I could enumerate of men, the scum 
of the earth, rising to enormous wealth, and holding high posi- 
tions, both in Egypt and Turkey, by means of such infamy. 

" The Crimean war produced a most baneful influence on the 
morals of the different Levantine populations of all grades. 
The requirements of the vast armaments that were concen- 
trated there, brought untold sums of gold into the coffers of 
traders of all denominations. Prussian Jews, the very refuse 
of the good city of Erankfort, the Israelitish population of 
which is so celebrated for its craft, together with the scum of 
Italy, Spain, Prance, Malta, Greece, and the Levant, became 
suddenly enriched by that disastrous struggle. Many who at 
the commencement of that war were literally homeless, shoe- 
less, and penniless, are now millionaires in Egypt — where they 
now roll about in their carriages, keep large establishments, 
live in cuisine d, VArbe, and drink the choicest wines. Their 
tables, when laid out, would challenge the chef- de- cuisine of 




HARSH LIFE. 11 

Qunter to makfl a handartmer appearance: tbe mouth of a 
ffourmand vfou\d absolutely water at tlie sight of those inviting- 
looking t! an da. But be fuliy assured, kind reader, that the 
moment be tasted them, unless, indeed, he had been previously 
accustomed to Arab diet, bo would become perfectly disgusted 
with those filtiiy messes. They keep large establiBlinicnts, 
speculate in cotton, hold hundreds of bank, railway, and jnint- 
company shares, receive large deposits |froni Europeans, fo 
which they give from twenty-five to thirty per cent, interest ; 
and in 'short are the lludsons of iElgypt and tho Ottoman 
Empire. 

"Their banking operations are immense | the loans which 
they advance to tbe Arabs, who bury tbeir gains in their Ha- 
rems, instead of putting them out to interest, or using them to 
meet their current expenses, are most numerous and profitable. 
In short, these are the class of men who are all-powerful in 
Egypt; these art) tho reputed individuals who possess the con- 
tracts for every public work, from the opening of new railways 
down to the almost insignificant improvement of paving the 
roads of its ancient capital." 



■ 



CHAPTER II. 

"I itEiitn j-ou, my dear madam, complain of tbe manner in 
which you were jostled about on landiof; at Alexandria ; how 
roughly the Gustom-house officers examined your bag!j;age, not- 
withstanding that they knew tbe position you came to bold P" 
" Tes, indeed, I did, and can. endorse the veracity of tho 
statement made by a contributor to Once a Week, who most 
naively and truthfully OHserts that ' Tbe land of Ep;ypt is ruled 
over by twenty Princes ; one of whom is tiie Ticeroy, eighteen 
of the others are knowu as Consul a- General of European na- 
tions, but the twentieth is the most powerful of all, and hia 
came ia Baksheesh (" Gift, Presant, Bribery"). 



12 HAEEM LIFE. 

" * Very little, indeed, can be done without the aid or counte- 
nance of Baksheesh : he is the ruling power. Not a single 
package of a traveller's luggage (no, not «ven that belonging 
to the Governess of the Grand Pacha Ibrahim, the infant son 
of the Viceroj,) not a bale of goods can enter or be shipped 
out of the country without his leave ; not a handful of cotton 
can leave it without paying him tribute. 

" * Do you want to set up a steam-engine, to build a house, 
hire a lighter, to send goods off by train, to do something 
which you have no right to do, to get something which you 
have no right to 'get ? Why, then, invoke Baksheesh ; offer 
up a proper quantity of piastres on his shrine, and the thing 
is done. Imagine that you can get on without his aid, and you 
will soon find out your mistake. Put your faith in the most 
potent of his brother princes, and see how you will fare. 
Baksheesh will stop you in the corridor, as you approach the 
vice- regal presence, and if he frown, small profit will spring 
from your interview. Dodge past him, get your order, your 
permit, your judgment, concession, or what not, and the day 
of submission is but postponed. Tou can call spirits from the 
vasty deep, but will they come ? Can you put what you have 
gained into execution, without the aid of Baksheesh ? Not a 
bit of it. Let your own special " Prince" back up your pe- 
tition, let the Viceroy grant it, let the Minister of State draw 
up the order, let the highest personage in the department be 
charged to carry it out on your behalf, and what have you 
got ? Nothing — absolutely nothing. Get a firman from the 
sultan himself, and you are not any better off. 

" * Baksheesh has creatures, nominally filling some fifth-rate 
government post, any of whom can put a spoke in your wheel. 
Baksheesh is the very essence of bribery and corruption, and 
without his^aid nothing can be done. As the Nile water is to 
the land, so is bribery and corruption to the rulers and people 
of Egypt. Nothing is produced without it.' 

"Exactly so, madam," interrupted the Greek merchant, 
laughing most heartily. **That writer has hit the nail upon 



HABEM LIFE. 13 

tbe right head, and I stroDgly suspect that he must have had 
considerable experience in Her Britannic Majesty's court at 
Alexandria, so admirably and faithfully does he describe the 
state of things in Egypt in this the nineteenth century. But 

come, , as I am quite certain that sooner or later our fair 

traveller will be brought in contact with the firm of at 

Cleopatra's ancleut capital when next she returns thereto, if 
not with some of their partners at Cairo, pray give us a brief 
sketch of the autobiography of those reputed Bothschilds, as 
they have been, and most assuredly will be again, mixed up 
with many an intrigue of Harem Life." 

" Well, as I trust that you will pardon the prolixity of my 
sketches of Egypt as it is, I will use my best endeavours to 
give you as graphic a sketch as possible of the eminent finan- 
ciers of Egypt. They were born and bred in the pretty village 
of Oppenheim, on the banks of the far-famed Rhine. Eor years 
they struggled on, fighting the battle of life, and managed 
during the Crimean war to follow the occupation of suttlers 
in the British camp at Balaklava. There they drove a most 
lucrative trade, and greatly contributed to the comforts of our 
oflGlcers and soldiers. At a time when the British commissariat 
was in the most frightful disorder, the younger members of 
the firm might be seen driving their waggons about the camp 
in all directions ; hence the reason that they are such * good 
whips.' I remember a commissariat officer now resident in 
Egypt telling me that the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Eaglan, 
had rated him pretty handsomely because he had allowed 

waggons to blockade, as it were, the leading thorougV 

fare in the camp. There they accumulated vast sums by 
selling pale ale, wines, and spirits. 

" At the close of the Crimean war they hurried ofl:' to Egypt, 
and having been so fortunate as to attract the notice of Ismael 
Pasha, the Viceroy, that Prince is reported to have lent them 
a few thousands, and finding them thorough men of business, 
always intent upon making cent, per cent., they became his 
reputed associates in mercantile pursuits. The wealth which 



14 HABEM LIFE. 

they had accumulated soon gave them a standing in the 
European commercial world ; Egyptian loans were forced into 
the markets of London and Paris by their skill, tact, and ma- 
noBuvring ; that stock maintained its price. Then came the 
•cotton mania. Taking advantage of the American civil war, they 
induced the Yiceroy to plant cotton extensively ; and by means of 
His Highness's command of forced labour, railway and telegrapli 
communication, steam navigation on the Nile, taking forcible 
possession of the Nile boats, lighters, weighers ; having orders 
issued to the Sheiks to lay heavy impositions on the b'ghter- 
men, labourers, carmen, donkeymen ; depriving the steamboat 
agents of the labourers whom they had procured at most fabu- 
lous wages, to the detriment of the interest of the whole of 
the legitimate commercial community of Egypt, both native and 
European ; they raised the private fortune of Ismael Pasha 
from £600,000 per annum to upwards of two to two millions 
and a half pounds sterling. 

" Their success as His Highness's private financiers (for 
none of them hold any appointments under the Egyptian 
government, but inta the favour of all whose officials . they 
liave ingratiated themselves ; of course their propitiation of the 
sovereign ruler of Egypt, Prince Baksheesh, has tended to place 
them upon a friendly footing with all parties, except the mer- 
cantile community, with whom they are generally at * daggers 
drawn'), has been most amply rewarded, for they are reputed 
to be associated with His Highness not merely in his mercan- 
tile pursuits, but also to enjoy the benefit of the concessions 
that the Viceroy has made of railways, contracts for improving 
the city of Alexandria, the purchase of steam-boats, machinery, 
making roads, pavftig streets, forming steamboat navigation 
companies, forming existing railways, post offices, opening 
banks, &c,, in nearly all of which His Highness, as plain Is- 
mael Pacha, holds the greater number of shares. Indepen- 
dently of this, they are the purveyors to the Harems of all 
European condiments, and the miscellaneous medley of costly 
iirticles both of jewellery, china, clothing, &c., used therein, 



HABEII LIFE. 15 

a monopoly whicli is a fortune of itself. They have branch 
houses also all over the Continent. 

" The head of the firm, a gentleman of the Jewish persua- 
sion, is much respected in the circle in which he moves. He, 
however, takes but little interest in the business of the house, 
and may therefore be looked upon as a sleeping or travelling 
partner, as he is like a locomotive engine, always on the move. 
His soil, who generally resides in Alexandria, is the prop of 
the establishment. His manner is abrupt, curt, and anything 
but courteous to the fair sex, and he is an excellent man of 
business. Jle may most appropriately be termed the Viceroy's 
* civil' aido-de-camp, if I may be allowed to coin the expres- 
sion. He is disliked by the whole of the European mercantile 
community, whose interest he is continually thwarting. 

" The member of the firm who passes the greater portion of 
his time on the banks of the sapphire-looking Bosphorus, 
is one of the finest specimens of a Prussian Jew you can imagine. 
His look, shrewdness, and countenance, remind one most 
forcibly of 

* The Jew that Shakespeare drew.* 

He is the very impersonation of Shylock. Measure them all 
well by the standard I have given you ; for their aim is to 
make a profit out of everything, to turn to account every article 
and baggage that comes into their net. 

" These are the reputed associates of the Viceroy in his pri- 
vate capacity as Ismael Pacha, the merchant prince; and yet 
their influence is fortunately counteracted, in a slight degree, by 
the just and upright concessions of His Excellency Reschid 
Pacha, whose position is not a very enviable one, but on whom 
falls ALL the malignity that ought to be laid upon other 

shoulders. The , it is reported, have often aided the 

Viceroy in many private transactions when he was plain Ismael 
Pacha, and since his accession to the governmeat ; hence the 
reason of their possessing such influence over the son of the 



16 HAEEM LIFE. 

gallant Ibrahim Pacha, whose money-getting and avaricious 
propensities he inherits in a most remarkable degree. 

** As Mr. seldom or ever visits the Yiceroy, for why 

OP wherefore we know not, unless it is because he is of the He- 
brew persuasion, the abomination of the Turk, who will tolerate 
the intrusion of a Giaour, but not that of any Copek dog of 
an Israelite, in whose presence he feels himself defiled ; for 

though may think, like Shylock, and say ; * Hath not a Jew 

hands, organs, dimensions, affections, passions ? Ped with the 
same food, hurt with the same means, subject to the same dis- 
eases, healed by the same means, warmed^ and cooled by the 
same winter and summer as a Christian ?' — still His High- 
ness most unquestionably considers, as all orthodox Ottomans 
do, that * Dgehennum will be the portion of that accursed race, 
as there is but one Allah,' and therefore always kept his re- 
puted but tntsty friend and long-headed private counsellor at a 
respectful distance from him. 

"As you have a letter of introduction to Mr. , of 

Cairo, I will make you aufait with the position of that gentle- 
man. He is one of the Viceroy's oldest friends, but has, 
unfortunately, allowed his influence with His Highness to be 

supplanted by , and is therefore a mere tool in the hands 

of that clever young man. He is of Arab and Greek parentage ; 
avarice and parsimony are his characteristics ; and yet, had he 
been free from the thraldom of the firm I have mentioned, he 
would have been more respected." 

Just as Mr. had finished his description of His High- 

ness's associates, the collector opened the door of the carriage, 
took our tickets, and we alighted at the Cairo terminus. 
Thanking my two agreeable companions for their attention and 
information, I accepted their offer to accompany them to Zech's 
Hotel, which we soon reached, but experienced some difficulty 
in procuring the accommodation we required, as the whole 
establishment was in confusion, owing to rather an amusing inr 
cident which had just occurred there. 

It appeared that an elderly Prench gentleman^ whom I met 



HAEEM LIFE. 17 

afterwards at Pistoja, in Italy, had been staying there some 
time. During his sojourn, he had amused himself by travelling 
up the Nile, and into the interior of Egypt, in search of anti- 
quities. ^. 

On one of those excursions he fell accidentally into the 
company of an Italian and Arab commissioner, to whom he 
stated his desire to become possessed of a mummy, perfect in 
every respect. Both expressed their doubts as to the possibility 
of his being able to procure such a specimen of frail humanity ; 
but upon his offering them the magnificent sum of six hundred 
sovereigns, they replied, after a short deliberation, that they 
would do their best to accomplish his commission. 

It happened just at that time that an Italian apothecary, 
residing in the suburbs of Cairo, had died; and the two 
rogues, taking advantage of that event, hastily repaired to 
the abode of the defunct. They represented to the old house- 
keeper who had superintended his frugal menage that they had 
received instructions from his friends at Pisa — ^for he was the 
scion of an old noble family there — that he should be interred 
in the Catholic cemetery. By that means they gained pos- 
session of the body of the dispenser of drugs. They then 
procured the co-operation of a professional embalmer, who, 
steeping rags in those aromatic spices so well known to the 
Egyptians, bound the body up, and most skilfully formed it into 
a mummy. A case was then procured, on which was painted 
numerous hieroglyphics, facsimiles of those that are usually 
found on such antiquities. 

Leaving their ** treasure trove" at the residence of the de- 
ceased, they bent their way back to Cairo, proceeded to the 
hotel, and communicated to their unsuspicious dupe that they 
had discovered, in a village on the banks of the Nile, in Upper 
Egypt, a mummy, in a most perfect state of preservation, and 
which they had had transported to a hut in the village of 
G-eezeh ; at the same time offering to conduct the antiquarian 
to inspect the same, prior to the bargain being concluded. 
The antiquarian accompanied the two commissioners, quite de- 

2 



18 HABEM LIFE. 

lighted at the prospect of being able to obtain the prize lie 
had sought for with such research. 

On the party arriving at the hut, — for the morgue^ *' dead- 
house," could scarcely be deemed worthy of any other desig- 
nation, — Monsieur C, the antiquarian, examined the mumniy 
most minutely once or twice. It seemed to him that the 
body was wrapped in linen which, although naturally very 
much discoloured by the process of embalming, bore evident 
marks of modern manufacture; and, turning round to his 
companions, he remarked that the cloth seemed to have been 
but recently wrapped about the different parts that he had ex- 
amined. But they explained to him that it was always cus- 
tomary to re-wrap any parts off which the linen had fallen 
or decayed away, with new pieces steeped in newly-prepared 
aromatics. The antiquarian examined the fingers, then the 
toes, and next the head ; all of which members he found in a 
remarkably fine state of preservation. 

He then arranged that the commissioners should procure a 
case, have the mummy placed in it, and he would afterwards 
return with them, and see the treasure screwed down in its 
outer shell. Thus taking, as he imagined, every precaution 
that no deception could be practised upon him, by the substi- 
tution of any weighty substance being placed in the case in 
lieu of the " treasure-trove," he left the wily commissioners 
to arrange the matter ; and, after the lapse of a few hours, 
they all returned to the hotel at Cairo, where they sat down 
to a well-spread repast, quite delighted with the bargain each 
had made. 

Three days afterwards, the two crafty commissioners called 
upon the antiquarian, and informed him that the case was 
quite ready to be screwed down, and begged him to accom- 
pany them to Geezeh, which he did. Then he had the satis- 
faction to see the mummy placed in the case, securely locked, 
directed, corded, and placed in a country araba (cart), after 
which they returned to the hotel. 

In four days afterwards, the mummy was safely deposited 



HABEM LITE. 19 

in a spare room at Zech's, the six hundred sovereigns paid 
down in hard cash to the two rogues of commissioners, whom, 
the dupe regaled with a most sumptuous luncheon, with co- 
pious libations of sparkling iced champagne. 

Monsieur C. now amused himself bj visiting all the diffe- 
rent curiosities in Cairo, and as the time drew near for his 
departure for Pistoja, near Florence, he one morning en- 
tered the room in which the case was deposited, with the 
intention of nailing the address of his correspondent at Leg- 
horn upon it. His olfactory nerves were assailed with such an 
offensive effluvia on his entrance therein, that he became quite 
electrified ; at first he thought that the disgusting odour pro- 
ceeded from the bodies of some rats who might have been 
crushed to death in one of the drains. He approached the 
case, when the smell became much more offensive ; still, not 
thinking for a moment that it proceeded from the mummy, he 
unlocked it, but re-locked it in the twinkling of an eye, for 
the powerful and offensive effluvia gas emitted therefrom left 
him no doubt as to the fact that a recently deceased body had 
been embalmed in well-saturated aromatic rags ! and then he 
became fully alive to the trick that the two rogues of com- 
missioners had played him. 

It was bad enough to have been victimized of so large a sum, 
but he had no desire to become the laughing-stock of the 
Caireens, or to have the expense of interring the body, so he 
hastily locked the chamber, packed his ^^penates,** paid his 
*' note," told the head waiter (for Mr. Zech was absent at the 
time) that he should return in a few days, as he was only 
going to Alexandria for a week. He then put himself into 
the train and reached that port just in time to take his pas- 
sage by the Italian steamer bound for Ancona. Previous to 
his departure he forwarded a small parcel containing the key 
of the " morgue,* to Mr. Zech, who had to incur the expense 
of the Italian apothecary's interment. 

Through the kind attention of Mr. Xenos, I was shown 
up into an apartment. Hastily changing my travelling cos- 

2—2 



22 HABEM LIFE. 

I remained in the service of the Viceroy, none having ever 
been placed upon my table. 

My breakfast was served me in my own room, at twelve P.ic. 
and which, together with my dinner, at six p.m., consisted 
of the following carte : — 

Soup, made of mutton, with strings of vermicelli floating in 
it. Eice, boiled plain, and served up with tomato sauce. — 
Boiled mutton (for beef, lamb, or veal, was never served up to 
me), of which soup had been made. A dish composed of toma- 
toes, with the insides scooped out, and filled with boiled rice 
and minced mutton. Boiled chicory, chopped up in imitation 
of spinach d, la Frangaise, 

The whole of these dishes were absolutely swimming in 
fat. 

Boast mutton, dried up to a chip. 
No pastry, cheese, or malt liquor. 

The desert consisted of oranges, preserved and candied fruits . 
Sauterne and claret wines. 

Coffee was served up (I la Turque, in small transparent /wc/- 
jaus, china cups, as small as egg-cups, placed in silver zur/s. 

Of these refreshments I invariably partook alone, as Mr. 
B. never favoured me with his company, being generally occu- 
pied in business, or else from home in attendance on the 
Viceroy, who is almost invariably accompanied by one of 
his associates in commerce, whether steaming up the Nile, or 
lounging at any of his palaces, as the Harems are all situated 
at some distance from the Viceregal residences. 

After having submitted to this incarceration for several weeks 
I complained to Mr. B. of the diet ; but the only answer I 
received was, that he regretted his inability to effect any 
alteration. Finding that my health was suffering from it. 
and the want of proper exercise, I requested to be allowed 
carriage airing, which was granted me immediately the other 
English lady— who had arrived previous to my coming out 
to Cairo— had taken her departure for Europe. 
A few days after I had taken up my residence at the ban- 



HAEEM LIFE. 21 

significant gardens. The lower floor, or basement, was used 
as the bank and the upper part as the dwelling. The whole 
was furnished in the European style in an unostentatious yet 
comfortable manner. The banker's establishment was upon 
a very limited scale, and consisted of a Q-erman housekeeper, 
black page, Arab cook, coachman and grooms. His mistress 
was a short, thickset, ugly Arab slave girl, about sixteen years 
of age, named Fatima, whom he had purchased when she was 
very young. 

Mr. B. received me most courteously, apologized for having 
hurried me away from the hotel, but informed me that His 
Highness Ismael Pacha, the Viceroy, had requested that I 
should become his guest until the apartments were ready for 
my reception in the Harem. 

I remonstrated at this arrangement, as I did not think 
it quite prudent that I should remain in the house of a 
bachelor who had his mistress under the same roof, and urged 
the expediency of my being allowed to return to Zech's. 

This, however, Mr. B. overruled, by stating that, as he was 
a man of business and Seldom at home, I should be well cared 
for by his Qerman housekeeper, Clara, who would attend to all 
my requirements ; besides, the Viceroy had particularly re- 
quested him to desire me not to form any acquaintances in 
Cairo. I therefore yielded to his persuasions, and there I 
remained almost in durance vile for a month, during which 
period I received every attention and respect. 

Scarcely, however, had a few days passed, than I began to 
discover that my freedom of action was cui'tailed, and that I 
was as much a prisoner in my new abode as any subordinate 
ofl&cer is when his commanding officer has placed him under 
arrest. I must confess that I was quite taken aback at being 
BO unceremoniously deprived of my liberty. During the whole 
of that period I was obliged to vegetate en cuisine a VArabe, 
Fortunately, however, the kind Clara brought me a cup of 
coffee and a small roll early in the morning, but without any 
butter, which condiment I never tasted during the whole period 



22 HABEM LIFE. 

I remained in the service of the Viceroy, none having ever 
been placed upon my table. 

My breakfast was served me in my own room, at twelve p.m. 
and which, together with my dinner, at six p.m., consisted 
of the following carte : — 

Soup, made of mutton, with strings of vermicelli floating in 
it. Eice, boiled plain, and served up with tomato sauce. — 
Boiled mutton (for beef, lamb, or veal, was never served up to 
me), of which soup had been made. A dish composed of toma- 
toes, with the insides scooped out, and filled with boiled rice 
and minced mutton. Boiled chicory, chopped up in imitation 
of spinach d. la Frangaise, 

The whole of these dishes were absolutely swimming in 
fat. 

Roast mutton, dried up to a chip. 

No pastry, cheese, or malt liquor. 

The desert consisted of oranges, preserved and candied fruits. 

Sauterne and claret wines. 

Coffee was served up (I la Turque, in small transparent ^wc?- 
jaus, china cups, as small as egg-cups, placed in silver zur/s. 

Of these refreshments I invariably partook alone, as Mr. 
B. never favoured me with his company, being generally occu- 
pied in business, or else from home in attendance on the 
Viceroy, who is almost invariably accompanied by one of 
his associates in commerce, whether steaming up the Nile, or 
lounging at any of his palaces, as the Harems are all situated 
at some distance from the Viceregal residences. 

After having submitted to this incarceration for several weeks 
I complained to Mr. B. of the diet ; but the only answer I 
received was, that he regretted his inability to effect any 
alteration. Finding that my health was suffering from it, 
and the want of proper exercise, I requested to be allowed 
carriage airing, which was granted me immediately the other 
English lady — ^who had arrived previous to my coming out 
to Cairo — ^had taken her departure for Europe. 

A few days after I had taken up my residence at the ban- 



HAEEM LIFE. 23 

ker's, Mr. B. entered my room, and informed me, that if I 
would step out into the balcony about six o'clock, I should 
have an opportunity of catching a glimpse of the Viceregal 
family, as Ismael Pacha generally took a drive about that time. 
Peeling naturally anxious to see what kind of individuals 
the Viceregal party were, I moved the easy chair into the 
balcony at the hour named. Scarcely had I been seated 
there ten minutes, when I observed a handsome European- 
built carriage, drawn by four noble-looking English horses, 
with postilions on their backs, advancing towards the banker's. 
The blue silk blinds of the carriage-windows were only half 
drawn down, which enabled me to obtain a good view of the 
Viceregal party. Its occw pants consisted of the Viceroy, the 
Princess Epouse (the mother of the Prince), and the G-rand 
Pacha Ibrahim. 

As the cortege drew near Mr. B.'s, Ismael Pacha looked up 
at the balcony, smiled, and displayed his fine set of teeth. 
The Princess Epouse did likewise ; while my protig^ never 
moved his eyes off the packet of bonbons, out of which he was 
busily engaged in selecting those that pleased his palate best. 

As the glimpse I caught of the party was but momentary, I 
had not time to scrutinize their features. 



CHAPTEE IV. 

The next morning, Mr. B. introduced me to the Messrs. H., 
who, after having alluded to the vague contract that I had 
entered into with His Highness's agent in London, inquired 
of me if I were willing to enter the Harem ; to which I merely 
replied, " Most certainly, as my object in coming out to Egypt 
was to take charge of the young prince ; and I was quite pre- 
pared to enter on the duties of my appointment." 

" Well, then, madam," replied Mr. H., " I think it neces- 
sary that I should explain to you the reason why you were 



34 HABEM LIFE. 

spirited away, as it seemed to you, from Zech's. It was owing 
to another Englisli lady being resident there at the time. I 
cannot tell you exactly how it occurred, but Miss T. was so 
badly advised as to pay a visit to the Harem of Said Pacha, 
the late Viceroy ; which imprudence, having come to His 
Highnesses notice, he forthwith declined to allow her to take 
charge of the Prince, and requested our mutual friend, Mr. 
B., to have the kindness to give up a part of his residence for 
your accommodation ; as he did not wish that you should form 
any acquaintances at the hotel, or associate with a lady who 
had 80 far forgotten herself as to * peep and pry ' into other 
Harems. 

" Now, as that affair is finally disposed of, no further re- 
straint vdll be imposed upon you, and you are at liberty to take 
whatever carriage exercise you may think proper. My chief 
object, however, in calling upon you this morning, is to inform 
you what duties will be required of you. As you are neces- 
sarily ignorant of the manners and customs of Egypt, I must 
mention that the Viceroy labours under the delusion that he 
will be poisoned. 

"The young Prince will be placed entirely under your 
charge. Tou must never lose sight of him ; for it will un- 
doubtedly appear strange to your unorientalized mind, but, 
nevertheless, it is a fact, that apprehensions are also enter- 
tained that poison will be attempted to be administered to the 
boy, who is about five years old, in some form or other. So 
that he must never be left alone, nor be allowed to partake of 
any food which has not been previously tasted by the HeJcim 
JBachi, * Viceregal Doctor.' Besides, the Viceroy wishes that 
the lady, to whom he confides the charge of the Grand Pacha 
Ibrahim, should never quit the precincts of the Viceregal, 
domains, without His Highness's special permission. That, 
however, you must understand, is but a mere matter of form, 
as you will always be able to obtain leave of absence whenever 
you desire to visit Cairo. 

The Viceroy, with that forethought which characterizes him, 



HAEEM LIFE. 25 

has requested me to state, that as he considers his London 
agent has acted too parsimoniously in the matter of the pecu- 
niary recompence named in the contract, he suggests that the 
stipend be doubled ; that a fresh agreement should be drawn 
up ; that the period should be extended to three years, and 
that the sum advanced should be allowed you in part payment 
of your outfit.*' 

I replied, *'That I was quite sensible of His Highness' s 
kind offer ; but that I could not possibly think of binding 
myself for any longer period than two years ; and, besides, I 
requested that a clause should be inserted therein, so that, in 
ease of ill health, I might- be able to resign the appointment." 

" Most assuredly," replied Mr. H., " there cannot be the 
slightest objection to such an amendment ; and our mutual 
friend, Mr. B., will have the contract drawn up forthwith ; and 
as soon as the apartments in the Harem are ready for your 
occupation, he will kindly see you installed therein. As I am 
going to Constantinople, some members of my family there 
being rather seriously indisposed, I wish you good morning, 
trusting that I shall have the pleasure of seeing you on my 
return; or at Constantinople, should you accompany Her 
Highness the Princess Epouse to that city in the summer." 
Saying which, he, together with Mr. B., took their departure. 

Day after day passed away, and still I could learn no intel- 
ligence when it was probable that I should be installed in my 
office. The only reply that I could get to my inquiries was, 
that the apartments were not ready. The monotony of my 
daily life, the surveillance which was kept over all my actions, 
the want of a little social intercourse with Europeans, and the 
constant use of Arab diet, began to tell sadly upon my consti- 
tution ; and at times I felt half inclined to resign that post, 
the duties of which I had not even entered upon. 

After a great deal of perseverance I obtained a slight altera- 
tion in my diet, by the occasional change of boiled mutton for 
a little chicken broth, the chicken being served up whole after 
having been boiled in the soup ; some potatoes, most wretchedly 



26 HABEH LIFE. 

cooked, and a dish of mutton cliops burnlrup to a cinder, and 
as hard as leather, without a spoonful of gravy or sauce of any 
kind. Fortunately, I had taken the precaution to bring out 
with me a small library of books, and in the hurry of my de- 
parture had left a little needlework to be finished, or else I 
really must have died of ennui. 

For upwards of twenty days I was doomed to pass my exis- 
tence in that senseless, unprofitable manner. True it is, that 
in the cool of the evening I took carriage exercise, which gave 
me an opportunity of examining every nook and corner of 
Cairo and its immediate vicinity. At the end of about three 
. weeks another of the Messrs. H., whom I will designate as- 
Mr. C. II., called upon Mr. B., had an interview with me, and 
seemed quite surprised that the Viceroy had not sent for me 
to enter the Ilarem. In the conversation that he had with Mr. 
B. he went so far as to express his opinion that Ismael Pacha 
must have forgotten my cxiKtence ; and notwithstanding that 
Mr. B. informed him that His Highness was quite aware of 
my being his guest, and that my apartments were not yet 
fitted up, he flew off" at a tangent, went post-haste to the 
Viceroy, and on his return told mo that I must go then and 
there into the Ilarem. 

The abruptness and authoritative tone of his manner were 
something new to me. I had not been accustomed to receive 
such treatment at the hand of pcrKons of even exalted rank in 
my own country, about whose presence I had been brought up, 
and my sensitive feelings naturally rebelled at such behaviour. 
Stifling my anger, I coolly and calmly replied, that, as it was 
my Sabbath, I should most certainly not enter the Harem on 
that day, but that I would be ready to obey His Highness's 
behest on the morrow. 

I was sorry to quit the hospitable roof of the banker, where 
Ishould have been exceedingly comfortable had Mr.B. only taken 
the precaution to have had my meals served from Zech's Hotel, 
as then I could have lived on European and not Arab diet, to the 
constant use of which latter my health eventually succumbed. 



HABEM LIFE. 27 



CHAPTEE V 

I EOSE early on the morrow, and yet my spirits felt depressed. 
Mr. B. visited me, and expressed his deep regret that he was 
prevented from accompanying me to. the Palace, as he was 
obliged to proceed to Alexandria ; at the same time adding ; 
**I could not possibly have escorted you beyond the precincts 
of the chief eunuch's apartments. As you must necessarily 
be quite ignorant of the importance of those officials in the 
Harem, especially the Q-rand Eunuch, who, by virtue of his 
office, amasses most fabulous suijis of money, I will give you 
a brief account of them. 

" Many of them become most important personages in the 
country, hold high offices in the State, and even those who do 
not attain to such rank possess great influence. They are 
generally mounted upon richly-caparisoned Arab horses, the 
saddles and bridles of which are embroidered with gold. The 
horse wears round his neck, like an amulet, two silver wild- 
boar handspikes, with the points reversed, which form a cres- 
cent, and which are thought to possess the power of guarding 
the rider 'from the * Evil Eye /" They are remarkably proud 
and haughty in their bearing, even when only of inferior rank ; 
tenacious of the power they possess over the women of the 
Harems to which they are attached, and which authority they 
hesitate not to abuse or modify, according to their individual 
appreciation of each lady's merits or demerits, which they cal- 
culate according to the quantity of halcsheesh that each fair Peri 
hands them. They are exceedingly avaricious, and consider 
wealth must be acquired by any means, no matter however 
questionable; so that the majority of them are very rich. 
Their infirmity of body makes them despise all mortals, but 
especially women ; so that it is a source of gratification for 
them to tyrannize over them as despotically as they can. Still, 
their love of the ' mammon of unrighteousness,' their idolatry 



28 HABEM LIFE. 

of gold, makes them subservient to that all-potent sovereign. 
Prince Baksheesh. 

•' Their contempt for the whole race of mortals is proverbial, 
but especially for all * dogs of Christiana.' Tou must have 
remarked, as they ride along upon their prancing Arab steeds, 
with what disdain they look down upon all passers-by. No 
Asiatic prince could possibly treat his subjects with greater 
imperiousness. I remember your asking me, one day, the name 
of that stately eunuch whom you noticed ride past my house 
last week, on a beautiful milk-white Arab. I cannot do better 
than narrate his history to you. He is called Dafay, is free, 
and a millionaire ; but how he acquired his wealth may appear 
to you a mystery. I will enlighten you on that point. 

" There are exceptions to all rules, so that Dafay never was 
a woman-hater ; on the contra^v^ like manv of his race, he res- 
pects, nay, loves them. I know for certain that he has at the 
present time several female slaves in his service, one of whom 
ranks as his ikbal (* favourite '), and she is dressed and waited 
upon like a princess. She is the mistress of the Harem of 
her fond and jealous husband ; the apartments in which are 
furnished in grand style ; nay, quite equal to any of the private 
apartments of the Viceroy. 

*' Well, I now come to his antecedents. He belonged to a 
very rich Bey (Colonel), who, being partial to him, placed him 
at the head of his Harem. The Bey had two legitimate wives, 
who lived together in the most cordial manner, and contributed 
reciprocally to their master's happiness. Dafay fell violently in 
love with one of them, and what is still more extraordinary, his 
passion was returned. It was, therefore, very natural that he 
should show that wife most marked attention, and neglect or 
tyrannize over the other. It is not necessary that I relate 
their quarrels and peccadilloes ; suflBce it to add, that the eunuch 
and his inamorata laid a snare for the other wife, and then, as 
an excuse that she had committed adultery with one of the Bey's 
servants who had left, Dafav stabbed her ; but I have heard 
it stated that he actuallv allowed his chhe amie to have the 



HABEM LIFE. 29 

satisfaction of destroying her rival herself. "What the Bey 
said on his return home I never could learn. Certain, however, 
it is that the whole affair was hushed up, and that the eunuch, 
instead of losing his master's good graces, as might have been 
expected, rose higher in his favour. 

" Not long afterwards the Bey died, having made a will, in 
which he bequeathed all his property to his faithful Dafay. At 
the time of his decease, many ugly reports were circulated, al- 
though the will was perfectly legal, and the Bey's death very 
sudden. Many of the gossips of Cairo state, that the eunuch 
became jealous of his master ; that he coveted his wife, whom 
he loved most passionately ; and that, as he had already com- 
mitted one crime for her, he threatened to denounce her, unless 
she put her husband out of the way. An Asiatic's love stops 
at nothing, and he spares no cost to attain his ends. Tiie 
mysterious doings in the Harems are generally enveloped in im- 
penetrable darkness. It is utterly impossible for the Minister 
of Justice at any time to move in such delicate affairs. 

" Shortly afterwards Dafay married the widow, and disbursed 
the ' talaris ' (money) of the deceased with no niggardly hand. 
It is rumoured that he is fearfully jealous ; but not a syllable 
is ever uttered for or against his wife. They have a numerous 
family, and that fact speaks volumes with regard to all eunuchs." 

I found that the duties of the Viceregal Q-rand Eunuch were 
almost legion. Independent of his daily attendance upon their 
Highnesses, he read prayers to his staff of attendants and the 
whole corps of eunuchs ; the younger of whom he instructed, 
not only in their duties, but also in reading and transcribing 
the Koran. Many a time and oft I have heard him, when 
passing his apartment, as Dr. Herbelot has so admirably ex- 
pressed it, " reading the blessed Koran, with the seven different 
readings, and telling how seven different messengers were sent, 
at seven different times, to bring seven handfuls of seven differ- 
ent sorts of oil from seven different stages of the earth ; she 
(the earth) refusing all the seven messengers, for she said, * I 
consent not that Allah make so bad a thing as man.' " 



30 HAEEM LIFE. 

I found all these spectres of men most particularly anxious 
to obtain every information they could as to the manners and 
customs of us unbelievers ; for whom, however, in their hearts 
they have the most sovereign contempt ; and yet from all of 
them, but especially the Kislar Agaci^ I received the most 
marked attention,- courtesy, and respect. Not the slightest 
approach to any display of familiarity, or any overbearing 
behaviour, was manifested towards me. 

On the contrary, they w^ere ever ready to discharge my com- 
mands with alacrity and fidelity. And yet I never propitiated 
them with baksheesh, though I have seen my Princess put purses 
of sovereigns in the hands of the Grrand Eunuch, as their High- 
nesses had expressly forbidden me to place any offering on 
the shrine of that all-potent sovereign ruler of Egypt ; so that, 
instead of finding those phantoms of men the crabbed, dis- 
agreeable apparitions I had been led to believe them, I had 
the pleasure of experiencing from them every politeness and 
civility. 

So far as lie in their power and they could understand me, 
they supplied all my exigencies, notwithstanding that I was a 
Hawajee — a daughter of that accursed race, one of the banished 
Peris from their celestial Paradise, the Prophet's seventh heaven ; 
and yet that erudite German Orientalist, Kuckert, tells us 
that the true Moslem believes that 

" In the nine heavens are eight paradises ? 
Where is the ninth one ? In the human breast. 
Only the blessed dwell in the paradises, 
But blessedness dwells in the human breast. 
Created creatures are in the paradises, 
The uncreated Maker in the breast. 
Bather, O man ! want those eight paradises, 
Than be without the ninth one in thy breast. 
Given to thee are those eight paradises, 
When thou the ninth one hast within thy breast.*' 

All the inmates of the Harems believe that when young 
children die, they are turned into the flowers with which Para- 
dise is decorated, and that birds and all animals are the spirits 



HABEU DIFE. 

of their lost friends, — except dogs, which are spirits of the I 
departed Israelites and uabelievera ; hence the reason that they 
never allow them to caress tliem, or to become domiciled with 

Having returned the banker my most graidful tbauta for his 
kindness and otteotion, I entered his elegant broasham, and, 
accompanied by his page, who seated himself on the bos with 
the coachman, we proceeded along an excellont road to tbe 
bants of the Nile, opposite (ihezire. There I alighted, and was 
handed into one of the Viceregal barges by tlie coachman, at 
the stem of which was a small cabin, into which I descended 
by two steps ; around it was a divan, covered with rod and white 
damask. It was manned by twel^^e Arab boatmen, dressed like 
the ordiaary Arabs, but wearing turbans. The Viceregal stan- 
dard, the everlasting crescent, floated at the stem and stern. 
On they rowed most vigorously, and, in less than ten minntes, 
I was landed at the stairs of the Harem. 

The building is a very plaiu structure, the eiterior of which 
ia painted like the trunks of the trees at the Dutch model 
village of Broeck. In appearance ifc resembles the letter E, 
and is a large pile composed of five blocks of builduigs. Pro- 
ceediog to the one which faced the Nile, I entered The Harem 
("sacred"), passed through a small door — the grating sounds 
of whose hugo rusty hinges still seem to creak in my ears liito 
the grinding of the barrel-organ of an itinerant Italian or 
Savoyard — which led into a courtyard, at that time lined, not 
witli a corps of the Egyptian infantry, with their shrill brass 
band playing opera airs, but with a group of hard-working 
I'ellahs and Arabs, toiling away like labourers in the London 
docks, and rolling into that immense space hundreds of bales 
of soft Genoa velvets, the costliest Lyons silks, rich French 
satins, most elegantly designed muslins, fast, gaudy- coloured 
Manchester prints, stout Irish poplins, the finest Irish linens, 
Brussels, Mechlin, Valenciennes, Koniton, and imitation laces, 
Nottingham hoae, French silk stockings, French and Coventry 
ribbons, cases of the purest Schiedam, pipes of spirits of wine. 



32 HABEM LIFE. 

huge "cases of fasliionable Parisian boots, slioes, and dippers, 
immense chests of bonbons, in magnificent fancy-worked cases, 
boxes, and baskets, bales of tombeki^ and the bright golden- 
leaved tobacco of Istaipbol (Constantinople) ; Cashmere, India* 
French, and Paisley shawls, of the most exquisite designs; 
baskets of pipe-bowls, cases of amber mouth-pieces, cigarette 
papers, and a whole host of miscellaneous packages, too various 
to enumerate, of other commodities, destined for the use of 
the inmates of that vast conservatory of beauty — all supplied 
by His Highness' 8 partners. Por, be it known to you, gentle 
reader, that the Viceroy of Egypt may most appropriately be 
styled, par excellence, the Sinbad of the age, the merchant 
prince of the terrestrial globe ; but full well 

'* He knows he cannot his treasure with him take, 
When forced of hfe*8 bright feast an end to make ; 
His wealth then thus he gives away. 
To his lovely consorts day by day." 

Here I was received by two young eunuchs, one of whom 
was attired in a light drab uniform, embroidered with silk of 
the same colour. The other wore a similar costume, but of red. 
Both " sported" fezes. They salaamed me most respectfully 
in the Oriental manner, by putting their fingers to their lips, 
then to the heart, and finished by touching their foreheads. 

I was then ushered through another door, the portals of 
which were also guarded by a group of eunuchs, similarly 
attired, but whose uniforms were most costly embroidered. 
Their features were hideous and ferocious ; their figures corpu- 
lent, and carriage haughty. 

They also salaamed me in the most approved. Oriental style. 
Thence passing along a marble passage I entered a large stone 
hall, which was supported by huge granite pillars, which led 
me to the grand staircase, where I was received by the Chief 
Eunuch, who is called Kislar Agaci, " the captain of the girls," 
and sometimes Darus-seadet Agaci, " the guardian of the Man- 
sion of Bliss.", 

This giant spectre of a man (for he was upwards of six feet 



HABEH LIFE. 33 

high), who quite belied his caste, for he was a pleasing, 
affable, yet noble-lookiDg personage, having a most diminutive 
head, almost as tiny as that of the great master of English 
composition, De Quincey, the celebrated writer of " The Con- 
fessions of an Opium Eater" (and who, like that marvellous 
genius, I soon found out, had a mauia for eating and smoking 
narcotics), advanced towards me, made his salaam, and ushered 
me, the hated, despised G-iaour, into the noble marble hall of 
the Harem, which was then for the first time polluted by the 
footsteps of the unbeliever. The scene around me was so sin- 
gular and strange, that I paused to contemplate it. The hall 
was of vast dimensions, supported by beautiful porphyry pil- 
lars, and the marble floor was covered with fine matting. I 
was now handed over to the Lady Superintendent of the 
slaves — a very wealthy woman, about twenty-four years of 
age, with fine dark blue eyes, aquiline nose, large mouth, and 
of middle stature. 

She was attired in a coloured muslin dress and trousers, over 
which she wore a quQted lavender-coloured satin paletot. Her 
head was covered with a small blue gauze handkerchief, tied 
round it, and in the centre of the forehead, tucked up under it, 
a lovely natural dark red rose. She wore a beautiful large spray 
of diamonds, arranged in the form of the flower, " forget me 
not," which hung down like three tendrils below her ear on 
the left side. Large diamond drops were suspended from her 
ears, and her fingers were covered with numerous rings, the 
most brilliant of which were a large rose pink diamond, and a 
beautiful sapphire. Her feet were encased in white cotton stock- 
ings and black patent leather Parisian shoes. Her name was 
Anina ; she had formerly been an Ikbal, " favourite." Beside 
her were grouped a host of slaves, all of whom appeared to be 
Arabs, and whose condition approximates to that of domestic 
servants in Europe, with this difference, that they cannot quit 
the precincts of the Harem without permission, but which is 
often given to them to go shopping, which they do unaccom- 
panied by any of the eunuchs. 



34 HABEM LIFE. 

They are often sent to schools : some of them can read 
Arabic and Turkish — none, however, can write. As a general 
rule, they are condemned to celibacy ^ but it frequently happens 
that they are freed, given away in marriage, and, most Horrible 
to relate, instances have been known of their having been 
united to their own children. They amass great wealth, by 
dint of hoarding up the baksheesh which has been distributed 
to them on grand occasions. The black slaves, who are chiefly 
natives of Nubia and Ethiopia, are generally employed in the 
mean and laborious duties of the household. They never 
obtain their liberty, but pass their old age in a state of idle- 
ness. The nurses to the Yice-royal family are an exception, 
since they are invariably emancipated, and many of them often 
marry some of the slaves who are engaged in the out- door 
work. 

The Lady Superintendent now took me by the hand, led me 
up two flights of stairs, covered with thick rich Brussels carpet 
of a most costly description, and as soft and brilliant in colours 
as the dewy moss of Virginia Water. The walls were plain. 
Then we passed through a suite of several rooms, elegantly 
carpeted, in all of which stood long divans, some of which were 
covered with white and others with yellow and crimson satin. 
Over the doorways hung wide satin damask curtains, looped 
up with heavy silk cords and tassels to correspond, with richly 
gilded cornices over each, and the windows which overlooked 
the Nile had Venetian shutters attached to them outside. 
Against the walls were fixed numerous silver chandeliers, each 
containing six wax candles, with frosted coloured glass shades, 
made in the form of tulips over them. On each side of the 
room large mirrors were fixed in the wall, each of which rested 
on a marble-topped console table, supported by gilded legs. 
The only other articles of furniture that were scattered about 
the apartment were a dozen common English cane-bottom 
kursi, " chairs." 

Across one apartment a line was suspended, on which hung 
the Princess's jackets, wardrobes being totally unknown within 



HAHEM LIFE. 35 

the precincts of this " Enchanted Castle." Against the walls 
of another were piled up the beds, which heap was covered 
over with a rich silk coverlet. On the divan was placed a 
silver tray (as the use of both toilet tables and washhand- 
stands was totally unknown) containing the Princess's toilet 
requisites. These merely consisted of a plain black india- 
rubber dressing-comb, a white ivory -handled hair-brush, a very 
large-sized smalltooth-comb, two tooth-brushes, a glass box, 
containing tooth dentifrice from Paris, a small round silver 
bowl, into which poured the perfumed (rose) water with which 
Her Highness, the mother of the Gftind Pacha, dressed her 
hair, the substitute for oil or pomatum (neither of which is 
ever used by any of the Viceregal family), and a large bottle 
of essences, all of which were covered over with a transparent 
crimson silk gauze cloth, bespangled with gold crescents, and 
bordered with gold fringe an inch deep. 

In another apartment stood a large mahogany cupboard, 
containing the fumigating powders which are burnt in the 
rooms, dried fruits, soaps, essences, boots, shoes, quantities of 
cast-off wearing apparel. Her Highness's cash-box, a small 
black ebony casket inlaid with gold, packets of cigarette papers, 
tobacco, pipe-bowls, silver braziers, and dishes, zurfs, both in 
japan, china, and silver. Jewellery cases, candles, and a com- 
plete miscellany of sundry articles : in fact, it was a " curi- 
osity shop." 

At the extremity of those rooms I was led into a smaller 
apartment, where, on the divan (so called from the Persian" 
word dive, signifying "fairy, gem") which was covered with 
dirty, faded yellow satin, sat the Princess Epouse. She is a 
wee dwarf of a handsome blonde, with fine blue eyes, short 
nose, rather large mouth with a fine set of teeth, expressive 
countenance, but rather sharp and disagreeable voice ; her hair 
was cut in the Savoyard fashion, with two long plaits behind, 
which were turned round, over the small brown gauze hand- 
kerchief she wore round her head, in wliich were placed, like a 
band^ fid^en large diamond flies. 



36 HABEM LIFE. 

She was attired in a dirty, crumpled, light-coloured muslin 
dress and trousers, sat ci la Turque, doubled up like a clasped 
knife, without shoes or stockings, smoking a cigarette. Her 
waist was encircled with a white gauze handkerchief, having 
the four corners embroidered with gold thread. It was fastened 
round, so as to leave two ends hanging down like the lappet 
of a riding-habit. Her feet were encased in babouchea, " slip- 
pers without heels." 

By her side sat the Grand Pacha Ibrahim, her son, so styled 
after the manner adopted by the renowned Mahomet Ali with 
the Princess Nuzley, " Nuzley Hanem,'* He was dressed in 
the uniform of an officer of the Egyptian infantry. On his 
head he wore the fez ; across his shoulder hung a silver-gilt 
chain, from which was suspended a small silver square box 
beautifully chased with cabalistic figures of men, beasts, and 
trees, enclosed inside which was another smaller box made of 
cypress wood, which contained verses of the Koran. He was 
about five years old, of dark complexion, short Arab nose, and 
rather tall for his age, and looked the very picture of a happy, 
round-faced cherub. When I approached towards the divan, 
he gave full proof that his lungs were in a healthy state, as he 
set up a most hideous shriek, buried his black head in his 
mother's lap, who laughed most heartily at the strange recep- 
tion His Highness had thought proper to bestow upon his 
future governess. 

In front of the divan, behind, and on each side of me, stood 
a bevy of the ladies of the Harem, assuredly not the types of 
Tom Moore's " Peris of the East," as described in such glowing 
colours in his far-famed * Lalla E-ookh,' for I failed to discover 
the slightest trace of loveliness in any of them. On the con- 
trary, most of their countenances were pale as ashes, ex- 
ceedingly disagreeable ; fat and globular in figure ; in short, so 
rotund, that they gave me the idea of large full moons; nearly 
all were passie. Their photographs were as hideous and 
hag-like as the witches in the opening scene of Macbeth, 
which is not to be wondered at, as some of them had been 



HAEEM LIFE. 37 

the favourites of Ibrahim Pasha. But que voulez-vous ? It 
is their ^* Kismet^* to remaia for ever withia the four walla 
of the Harem. It has descended to them from primeval days 
— the days of the Patriarch Abraham. 

Some wore white linen dresses and trousers. Their hair 
and their finger-nails were dyed red with henna ; many of them 
looked like old hags, in the most extended acceptation of the 
expression. Some wore the tarboosh^ round which they bound 
coloured gauze handkerchiefs. They had handsome gold watches 
tucked into their waistbands, which were similar to that of 
Her Highness's, which hung suspended from their necks by 
thick, massive gold chains. Their fingers were covered with 
a profusion of diamond, emerald, and ruby rings ; in their ears 
were earrings of various precious stones, all set in the old 
antique style in silver; while others only wore plain gauze 
handkerchiefs round their heads. They had been favourites 
in their youth. Behind stood half-a-dozen white slaves, 
chiefly Circassians, attired in coloured muslins, their dress and 
trousers being of the same pattern. Their head-gear was 
similar to that of the ladies of the Harem, and the ornaments 
which adorned their persons were equally as costly. 

The Mistress Superintendent introduced me to the Prin- 
cess Epouse who kept me standing a considerable time, while 
she fixed her eyes stedfastly upon me and smiled. 



CHAPTEE VL 

The private installation having taken place, I was conducted by 
Anina, according to Her Highness's orders, down the flight 
of stairs by which we had ascended on a tour of inspec- 
tion through the Princess's suite of rooms. We pro- 
ceeded across a small garden, then along two large stone 
lialls, around which were ranged divans similarly covered with 
worsted damask, on which the slaves lounged about in the 
day and slept at night. A large deal table stood at each eiL<l. 



38 HAREM LIFE. 

On oacli side arc several rooms, in one of which is kept the 
drinking water. This is placed in large earthern jars, resem- 
bling, both in size and pattern, olive-jars ; the key of which is 
in the charge of a black slave, whose oflSce it is to dispense it 
daily. In another is made their Highnesses coffee. Another 
is appropriated as the dormitory of the Grerman laundry-maid 
and needlewoman. 

Thence we passed along a stone passage which leads to Her 
Highness's bath-room, a small apartment entered by a red-baize 
covered door studded with brass nails. The marble bath is 
both long and wide, with taps for cold and hot water. The 
water used for bathing actually boils, iuto which their High- 
nesses enter when taking their baths. This only occurs when 
they have visited the Viceroy, and not daily, or even at any 
other time, as so many authors have erroneously stated. The 
bath of the poets is a myth. 

They are attended by two white slaves, who soap their per- 
sons all over before they enter the bath, on retiring from which 
they are shampooed and highly perfumed. Leading out of the 
bath-room, is a small dressing-room, having a divan around it 
covered with red velvet. Here a slave holds a toilet-glass in her 
hand, while Her Highness seated, on the divan, dresses herself. 

Proceeding along a stone passage we passed into another 
pile of buildings, the basement of which was used as the laundry, 
in which stood numerous wooden tanks placed on the stones, 
as the slaves, who wash everything in cold water, perform that 
operation squatting on the floor. After the clothes have 
been rinsed, but without blue being mixed in the water, they 
are hung up on lines in a large stone yard. On Sundays the 
Viceroy's clothes are washed. Mondays are appropriated for 
Her Highness the first wife's linen. Tuesday for that of Her 
Highness the Prince Epouse (the second wife). "Wednesday 
for Her Highness the third wife's. Thursday for that of the 
G-rand Pacha Ibrahim. Eriday being the Turkish and Egyp- 
tian Sabbath, because their prophet Mahomet was conceived on 
that day, is kept holy. On Saturday the linen of the ladies 



1 



HAEEM LIFE. 39 

of the Harem, the children, and the domestic slaves is washed. 
The ironing and getting-up of the linen takes place in the hall 
on the deal tables ; but I shall have occasion hereafter to enter 
into a minute detail of that process. 

After we had inspected these apartments, I was led up a 
noble marble staircase covered with gaudy coloured oilcloth, 
into the suite of apartments appropriated to the use of my 
pupil, the Q-rand Pacha Ibrahim, who was, it will be observed, 
not domiciled in the Harem; although I must inform my readers, 
it was formerly the custom both in Egypt as well as at Constan- 
tinople, to have all the Princes brought up in a part of that 
isolated apartment in the Harem called Cafeas, " Cage," which 
was surrounded by lofty walls. 

There the Princes were kept from their cradle, without hold- 
ing any communication with the outer world, or any officers of 
the palace, in order that every ambitious and magnanimous 
thought might be radically extirpated in the society of those 
Thugs of the Ottoman Empire — the mutes ; those phantoms 
of humanity, the eunuchs (who now act the part formerly 
played by the mutes, as there are but one or two in the palace 
at Constantinople, and not one in Egypt) ; hags of women — 
most lascivious and disgusting harridans ; and lewd, intriguing 
and aspiring slaves. Thus both sultans and viceroys had no 
cause of fear. 

From this gilded dungeon, for in fact it was no better, the 
successor to the throne issued upon the death of the reigning 
sultan, of course in utter ignorance, with no knowledge of 
men and of affairs, and quite prepared to vegetate upon the 
throne, as it was too late for him to learn anything ; and the 
filothfulness in which he had been brought up too deeply 
rooted in his mind to be eradicated. So that many of them 
became cruel, others besotted, while the rest of the Princes 
continued to vegetate for the remainder of their existence in 
the cage, where they were taught, as an antidote against melan- 
choly madness, some mechanical art. Many were employed iu 
learning turnery, others in making bows and arrows '^ aoiftft 



40 HABEM LIFE. 

in carving tortoise-sbell and ebony, embroidering morocco 
leather or muslin. Tbe cleverest generally amused them- 
selves by transcribing the Koran and other canonical works. 

Whenever it happened (which, however, was of rare occur- 
rence) that any of tbem were called upon to hold any distin- 
guished post, tbey passed, as it were, from darkness into light 5 
were generally overawed by the despotism of those around 
them ; and when they managed to shake off that thraldom, they 
became steeped in cruelty and brutal lust, of which the erudite 
Dr. Abbott, in his work on Egypt, has left most painful yet 
faithful records. 

I was then conducted into the Princesses' suite of apart- 
ments, which consisted of two large saloons, covered with mag- 
nificent Brussels carpet, but completely besprinkled, as it 
were, with spots of white wax, which had been suffered to fall 
fron;i the candles which the slaves carry about in their fingers. 
Around them were placed divans covered with red satin damask ; 
the windows and door hangings of the same materials : a very 
large mirror, reaching down from the ceiling, which was painted 
with flowers and fruits, with the crescent, and numerous war- 
like instruments, and music placed in each comer, to the top 
of a marble table supported on gilded legs, on each of which 
stood a silver chandelier containing eight wax candles, with red- 
coloured glass shades covered with painted flowers. 

Out of each of these rooms doors opened into seven others, 
which are the dormitories of the young Princesses the daughters 
of the Viceroy, and the ladies of the Harem . 

On the right hand side of the first room was the small bed- 
room which was assigned to me as my apartment, and which was 
to serve me, like 

" The cobbler's stall, 
For chamber, drawing-room, and all," 

and into which my guide conducted me. It was carpeted, 
having a divan covered with green and red striped worsted 
damask, which stood underneath the window, which commanded 



ft 



HABEM LIFE. 41 

a fine eoup-d^csil of the gardens attached to the Palace and the 
Viceroy's pavilion. The hangings of the double doors and 
windows were of the same material. The furniture consisted 
of a plain green painted iron bedstead, the bars of which had 
never been fastened, and pieces of wood, like the handles of 
brooms, and an iron bar, were placed across, to support the two 
thin cotton mattresses that were laid upon it. There were 
neither pillows, bolsters, nor any bed-linen ; but as substitutes 
were placed three thin flat cushions ; not a blanket, but two old 
worn-out wadded coverlets lay upon the bed. Not the sign of 
a dressing-table or a chair of any description, and a total absence 
of all the appendages necessary for a lady's bedroom — not even 
a vase. Certes, there stood within that narrow cupboard-like 
uncomfortable-looking chamber a Parisian chest of drawers 
(rather a wonder, for the Turkish and Egyptian ladies invariably 
place their body-linen, <fec., in the youh, cupboards constructed 
in the walls of their rooms), having a marble top, and a shut- 
up washhand-stand, to correspond with an elegantly-painted 
ewer and basin of porcelain. 

I gazed at the accommodation assigned to me with surprise ; 
and yet, what could I have expected, as every apartment 
which I had passed through was totally destitute of everything 
that ought to have been placed therein? Not a footstool, no 
pianos, nor music-stools ; not a picture adorned the walls. 
Being "The Bower of Bliss" of a descendant of the formid- 
able Mahomet Ali, who so boldly repudiated the Prophet 
Mahomet's doctrine, " that pictures were an abomination," it 
was but natural for me to imagine that I should find some 
beautiful paintings decorating the principal apartments. But 
no, none hung there. Not a single article of vertu graced 
the rich console tables. 

In short, not any of the splendid rooms of the Enchanted 
Palace of the Croesus of the nineteenth century contained 
anything, either for ornament or use, except the bare decora- 
tions. In fact, the whole of them seemed to me nothing 
more than places in which to lie down and in whicli to ^e^tai^^ 



{ 



42 HAREM LIFE. 

aided by eatables and drinkables, and sleep. They were even 
destitute of soofras, "tables," whose shapes are very rude, 
height about a foot, breadth as vnde as a plate ; just large 
enough to hold a Turkish coffee-cup, "y?«</;flr," or' the bowl 
of a pipe, and, although inlaid with some variegated pieces of 
Diother-of-pearl, are only pretty, not having anything rich or 
elegant about them ; still, none were to be seen. Accustomed 
to the elegant manner in which drawing-rooms of the nobility 
of my own country are set off with elegant /auteuiU, superb 
occasional chairs, recherchd nicknacks, as well as a whole host 
of most costly things, they presented a most beggarly and empty 
appearance. The whole of the Harem looked like a house only 
partially furnished ; in short, like a dwelling which either the 
poverty or the niggardness of its proprietor had prevented 
from being properly furnislied. 

At first I thought this proceeded from parsimony ; for well 
do we know that a miser — and the Viceroy, like his strange 
character of a father, Ibrahim Pacha, who was one of the most 
notorious usurers of his day — loves bright golden sovereigns as 
dearly as his life ; but I afterwards learned that it was d, la 
mode Turqucy for elegance is quite eschewed by all true Otto* 
mans. 

It most decidedly evinces a great superiority in remark- 
able characters, who have revelled in the midst of profusion, 
to be able — like that departed warrior of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, Arthur, Duke of Wellington, who expired in his small 
apartment at Walmer Castle, plainly fitted up with that camp 
furniture which had been his only luxury throughout his most 
memorable campaigns — to resign, without a murmur, almost 
every luxury and convenience. It exhibits a healthy inde- 
pendence of externals ; but it is a state of things that brings 
women down to the level of the brute. 

Eetracing our footsteps Anina led me into that vast, regal- 
looking chamber, the Hall of Audience of the Castle of Indo- 
lence ; for it was much more spacious and loftier than the Long 
Room in the Custom House in London. The floor was beau- 



HABEH LIFE. 43 

tifully enamelled, as it were, witli that native product of the 
East, the glowing alphabet of that mystic code of signals, the 
language of flowers, woven on the finest carpeting which the 
looms of Belgium ever wrought. The lofty ceiling was as 
exquisitely painted with Egyptian landscapes as the Imperial 
saloons of Versailles, and an immense gilt chandelier hung 
suspended from the rich corniced roof. The walls were 
papered with floral designs, all in unison with that lovely bou- 
quet, that blossomed, as it were, beneath the impious footsteps 
of my unbelieving self. The hangings of the lofty doors and 
noble windows, overlooking those perfumed gardens which 
had never before been trodden by any '* dog of a Christian," 
were of the most costly description. They were composed 
of rich yellow satin damask curtains, overtopped with elabo- 
rately-gilded cornices, and looped up with massive silk cords 
and heavy bullion tassels. Erom the walls projected silver 
chandeliers, ornamented with coloured tulip-shaped shades, 
the transparent wax candles in which, when lighted, threw 
forth a most agreeable pink shade over the vzhole of this 
superb and princely reception saloon. Long divans, covered 
with rich satin damask, bespangled with the eternal gold and 
silver crescents glittering about in all directions, like stars 

" In the ethereal firmament on high," 

were placed under the whole length of the windows. 

Here, indeed, might be seen a few signs of elegance and 
refinement, as numerous richly iulaid console tables, which, in 
point of beauty of workmanship and design, might vie in 
splendour with those in the Pitti Palace at Elorence, supported 
on richly-gilded legs, were scattered about, on which stood 
several beautifully-painted Sevres and Japan china vases, filled 
with most lovely nosegays ! 

Ah ! gentle reader ! they were bouquets such as the hand 
of no European court florist could possibly bave arranged ; 
they were, in fact, mosaics of petalled gems, works of art. 



44 HABEH LIFE. 

touches of genius, brillant gewgaw, toy-like bouquets, which 
would outvie the far-famed taste of the flower-girls of lovely 
Florence, with all nature's fair charms at their command to 
construct, which only the fingers of the ladies of the Harem 
(for that is one of the special duties they perform) could pos- 
sibly mingle together. The harmonious blending of the bril- 
liant colours, the amalgamation of the delicious fragrance 
of their powerful perfumes produced nosegays which, while 
they charmed the eye, emitted forth a fragrance that quite 
intoxicated the senses. Between them were placed handsomely- 
painted Japan china transparent drinking-cups, similar in 
shape to cordial vessels, standing in saucers as large as dessert 
plates. 

In the centre stood mechanical Parisian gilt time-pieces, 
under large glass shades, marking Turkish time, which is 
counted from sunrise to sunset, and which are daily regulated 
by the timepiece at the Grand Mosque at Cairo, which is also 
set according to the setting of the sun. They played tunes in 
lieu of striking the hours, or chiming the quarters and half 
hours. Immense gilt mirrors reached from the top of the 
ceiling down to the floor. 

But, oh ! horror of horrors ! the European innovation of a 
dozen common English cane-bottomed chairs, on which I 
afterwards beheld some of the ladies of the Harem endeavour 
to establish themselves, and at which exhibition not only 
myself, but the Viceroy and the Grand Pacha could not 
refrain from laughing outright ! as one of their legs hung down, 
looking most miserably forlorn, while the other sought in vain 
for room to double itself up upon the chair like a hen at roost. 
This was not, most assuredly, in keeping with the magnificent 
decorations of this palatial hall ; and this constituted all the 
furniture. It looked bare, vacant, and miserably empty. 

Upon re-entering the apartment, I beheld the Princess 
Epouse (the second wife), and whom I designated, in contra- 
distinction to the other two wives, my Princess, as I was at- 
tached to her suite, seated on the Divan, doubled up like a 



HABEM LIFE. 45 

clasp-knife, attired in Turkish costume, very plainly dressed, 
wearing the gauze handkerchief wound round her head, and 
fastened with a band, containing seven (the Moslem's magical 
number, as they believe there are no less than seven heavens) 
large diamond pins, forming as many of those scourges of 
Egypt, flies. 

She was smoking a cigarette, for cigarettes have of late years 
almost superseded the use of pipes in this Elysium of Love. 
Perhaps the expense of those costly amber-mouthed and jewel- 
studded stems used by the ^lite of the Turkish and Egyptian 
ladies of rank, may have contributed in no slight degree to that 
innovation — for economy in the East appears to be the order 
of the day. Her Highness was smoking it most cleverly : she 
really seemed to puff away at it as if it were her amusement, 
and so it evidently was ; but yet I soon discovered that my 
Princess, like the generality of all honourable Turks, was the 
slave to tobacco in the form of cigarettes. I cannot help 
thinking that such constant use of the weed vitiates their 
character, and renders stagnant the small stock of stability 
with which the Almighty has endowed the Ottomans of both 
sexes. Well, there she sat, just like oue of the porcelain 
figures which ornament the chimney-pieces in Germany. Not 
a muscle did she move — she looked like wax-work, and her 
figure would have made an excellent addition to Madame 
Tussaud's celebrities. 

How much did I regret that I had not been taught the art 
of taking photographs, for then I could have daguerreotyped 
the whole of the inmates of the Harems of Egypt and Con- 
stantinople. It was an opportunity missed of portraying, from 
life, the caged beauties of the East. This is much to be re- 
gretted, as no other European lady is ever again likely to have 
the chance. By her side sat the darling of her soul, the Grand 
Pacha Ibrahim, his person unadorned by any jewel, except the 
blue turquoise bead in the tassel of his fez. 

Several of the young Princesses, the daughters of their 
Highnesses the first and second wives, sat close to her. The 



46 HAEEH LIFE. 

eldest of these was about sixteen years of age. Her name was 
Niemour ; she was tall and slendour in figure, of dark com- 
plexion, brown eyes, short nose, and was attired in white linen ; 
her feet were encased in light-coloured Erench boots, her hair 
was bundled up, uncombed, into a dark net, and round her 
head she wore a circlet of blue velvet, with a plume of red 
feathers hanging over the left side of her face. She wore no 
ornaments. 

Around this group of the Viceregal family stood about fifty 
slaves, in the form of a semi-circle. There Arabs, Abyssinians, 
Ethiopians, and Nubians, wore all mingled indiscriminately 
together, dressed in different coloured muslins, all wearing 
handkerchiefs on their heads, and attired in satin, stuff, and 
silk paletots of almost every colour in the rainbow ; in short 
they formed a complete kaleidoscope. Their hands and ears 
were most profusely ornamented. On the former they wore 
numerous rings of diamonds, and other valuable stones ; in 
the latter, large brilliant earrings, which were tied from ear to 
ear at the back of the head, with a piece of twisted coloured 
cord, so as to prevent them from losing them — as they are 
placed ill the ear without rings, and hang down upon a piece 
of twisted gold wire, in shape like a watch-hook. All had 
valuable gold watches, which were suspended from their necka 
by thick massive gold chains stuck in their waistbands. 

As I approached, the Princess Epouse rose from the divan ^ 
motioned to me to occupy her seat, and thus was I officially 
installed as governess to the Grand Pacha Ibrahim, the infant 
son of Ismael Pacha, Viceroy of Egypt. 



CHAP TEE VII. 

As soon as the Princess Epouse had quitted the oda^ "apart- 
ment," I was surrounded by the entire motley group of 
slaves, both black and white. Most of them assumed singular 
gestures ; some knelt and kissed my hands, others my knees,. 



HAEEM LIFE. 47 

and many of them squatted down at my feet. The ladies of 
the Harem patted me on the back, a sign of their pleasure at 
seeing me ; and almost all kissed my cheeks. 

All of a sudden I was electrified at hearing upwards of fifty 
voices exclaiming simultaneously, "Koneiis/ Qui-yis! Ko^ 
neils .'" *• Pretty ! Pretty !" While a whole chorus shouted 
forth, " Gurzel I Gurzel r " Beautiful ! Beautiful !" 

Some of them took up the black straw-hat which I had 
taken ofi" and laid down upon the divan at my side. This they 
passed from hand to hand, gazing with pleasure and delight at 
that specimen of English manufacture. After this they ex- 
amined the whole of my costume from head to foot. What 
seemed to attract their notice the most was the crinoline I wore, 
which was by no means a large-sized one ; and yet many Turkish 
and Egyptian ladies of the present day may be seen in the 
streets of Alexandria and Constantinople walking about in 
that appendage. 

At the earnest request of some of the ladies of the Harem, 
I rose from my seat, and walked up and down that noble hall,, 
in order that they might see how European ladies generally 
paced up and down their rooms. 

Anina, thinking that I must require some refreshment after 
my journey from Cairo, clapped her hands, which is the Turkish 
and Egyptian manner of calling domestics, when two white 
slaves left the room, but soon returned, accompanied by two 
other black slaves, who carried in their hands a silver tray, on 
which was placed a kebab, a small piece of mutton on a silver 
skewer, which had been broiled upon charcoal almost to a 
cinder. It was highly spiced and sugared. A flat cake of 
white Arab bread, as salt as brine, was placed by it. There 
were no cruets, nor sauce, nor gravy of any kind, but a knife 
and plated fork. This they placed upon a soo/ra, at the side 
of the divan. 

While I was endeavouring to partake of this specimen of 
viceregal hospitality — for I had been so surfeited with food 
cooked a VArabe at the banker's, that my heart turned against 



48 HABEM LIFE. 

it — the J kept gazing at me in as much astonishment as a child 
looks at the wild beasts at their feeding time in the Zoological 
Gardens in the Eegent's Park, and watched the manner in 
which I used my knife and fork and ate mv unpalatable refresh- 
ment, as if I had been a wild animal out of the depths of an 
Indian forest. 

After I had partaken of a few mouthful s, I made a sign that 
I had finished, for at that time I was unacquainted either with 
the Arabic or Turkish languages, both of which, however, I 
picked up in a very short space of time. Then a findjan, a 
small cup, of the finest Mocha coffee in a gold zarf^ was served 
me, and a handful of cigarettes, made of the golden leaf tobacco 
of Stamboul, handed to me on a silver tray. Not having as 
yet acquired the fashionable habit, for it has become one on 
the Continent, even among the American, Eussian, and English 
ladies (who in that respect appear of late years to have 
fraternized with the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese ladies), of 
smoking, I so far committed a breach of Oriental etiquette as 
to decline the fragrant weed, notwithstanding that Her High- 
ness •* my Princess" had sent them to me. 

The Grand Pacha, who had now become accustomed to me, 
sat quietly enough by my side, playing with the charms that 
hung suspended from my watch-guard ; for, knowing that I 
should find the meanest of the slaves bedecked with jewels of 
costly price, I had made up my mind not to wear my jewellery, 
and to dress as neatly and simply as my position would admit. 

Soon His Highness became tired of those toys, rose from his 
seat, took me by the hand, with his left hand, while one of his 
little sisters clasped the other tightly in hers. They led me 
down-stairs, saying that they would take me for a benich, 
'* promenade," as they termed it. We accordingly proceeded 
across the small garden, to the hard, sandy promenade on the 
banks of the Nile. 

I was now styled the Cocana, **lady,'* and was attended by 
the two usual male attendants of the Grand Pacha, one of 
whom was a Turk, named Eeschid, and the other a Greek, 



HARElf LIFE. 49 

Spiraki by name, a man about fifty years of age, wbo had 
originally been a merchant, and was in the eervice of the late 
Viceroy, Said Pacha. Both were dressed in black frock coats 
buttoned up to the chin, and wore fezes on their heads. 
These, who walked behind myself and the Viceregal children, 
were followed by two soldiers, who kept at a respectful 
distance. 

Scarcely, however, had I reached the promenade, when 
Spiraki, who spoke most wretched bad French, approached me, 
salaamed, and informed me that, as my /j^^za^e^ had been placed 
in my chamber, I could return, as he would take charge orthe 
Grand Pacha, and the little Princess his sister. 

Consequently I retraced my steps alone, and passed into the 
reception hall ; but scarcely had I entered my chamber, when 
His Highness's nurse, dada^ whose name was Shaytan, bounced 
into the apartment. She was an Ethiopian, as black as ebony, 
having the usual negro features, with very large broad lips. 
Her hair, which was like wool itself, was cut short, plaited into 
rows round her head, over which she wore a coloured hand- 
kerchief. Her face was scarred with three large incisions on 
each cheek. Her countenance was one of the most artful, 
cunning, and malicious it is possible to conceive : she was, in 
fact, an admirable type of the lowest caste negress to be found 
in Ethiopia. She was afficted with a most ungovernable 
temper. Bevenge and hatred seemed to be depicted in her face, 
and it was an enigma to me how the Viceroy, or my Princess, 
could possibly have selected such a creature to nurse my pupil. 

She was accompanied by half-a-dozen black slaves, certainly 
not very prepossessing creatures, but at all events rather more 
sightly than her hideous self. It appeared that they had been 
employed in placing my luggage in the room. Upon seeing 
me the whole of them stood by while I arranged my things, 
staring at both myself and luggage as if I had just been im- 
ported from the Gold coast. Assuredly both myself, habili- 
ments, manners, habits, and customs were a source of great 
novelty and amusement to them, so that I made all due allow- 



50 HABEM LIFE. 

ance for their curiosity, and took their inquisitiveness in 
good part. 

After having satisfied their innate desire of peeping and 
prying into every trunk, and handling some of the apparel I 
had unpacked, they salaamed and lefb me to myself, for which 
kindness I really felt thankful. 

I can scarcely describe my disgust and disappointment on 
finding that, although I held the responsible office of institutrice 
to a prince, the only legitimate son of the wealthiest prince in 
the universe, the sole accommodation afforded me was a small 
wretchedly-furnished dormitory, such a chamber as the lady's- 
maid of any of the wives of our wealthy commoners would not 
have slept in two nights. There I was, without a chair to sit 
upon, or a table to write on, with barely room to dress in, and 
totally destitute of anything to make myself comfortable — not 
even the convenience of what the French term a vase. 
' It was such a very different reception to what I had looked 
forward to, that, when I thought of the comfortable home I 
had left in mv own native land, and the kind attention I had 
received at Mr. B.'s, at the hands of himself and his German 
housekeeper, I could not help giving vent to my feelings, as I 
threw myself upon my hard pallet. Ah ! gentle reader, it was 
as hard as a board, and would have disgraced the meanest 
cottage of our humblest peasant ; and I wished a thousand 
times that I had never set foot within the precincts of the 
Harem. 

It had just struck six, European tiilie, when Shaytan,the 
head-nurse, entered my room most unceremoniously, and in- 
formed me that the Princess Epouse desired me to take the 
Grand Pacha for a wjilk into the garden. 

Tired, vexed, and annoyed as I was, I hastily attired myself, 
proceeded into the reception-hall, and, taking the little prince 
by his left hand, I descended to the promenade, accompanied 
by the usual retinue. Hence we passed through a small 
wooden gate, then across a garden, all railed in with light iron 
fences, to another gate which led into the garden, par excellence^ 



HAREM LIPE. 51 

in which was a square sheet of water, also railed round with iron 
fencing, having in its centre a wooden pagoda, encircled with a 
terrace, which is ascended by three broad marble steps, with 
four large lions at each comer of the structure, from the moufchs 
of whidh issued forth volumes of water. A pleasure-boat was 
at anchor on it ; black and white swans were sporting about, 
searching for small fry ; ducks and waterfowls, much more rare 
and beautiful than those that are to be seen in St. James's 
Park, were swimming about in all directions. 

On the roof of the pagoda sat a number of birds ; among 
which were several fine specimens of Egyptian crows, of black 
and grey plumage, which had there built their* nests. 

At one end of the water stood a beautiful white marble 
kiosk, haviug handsome damask cushions placed all round the 
inside. At each of the four comers of the raised marble- 
terraced walk around the sheet of water stood large vases, 
filled with odoriferous flowering shrubs and interspersed with 
beautiful blooming exotics ; and at the sides of the comers 
were placed painted china cushions, so exquisitely finished 
that they had all the appearance of being real silk-covered 
cushions, having also china tassels suspended at each comer. 

Pour broad steps led down into the garden close to a plain 
white marble- columned gate, on the top of which stood out in 
bold relief the statues of two huge life-sized lions. As we 
proceeded along the path to the left, I examined attentively 
the different male and female statues that were dotted about 
among the orange-trees and myrtle hedges. Here and there 
were scattered rose-trees, the brilliancy of whose variegated 
colours and the perfume of their flowers were delightfully re- 
freshing. Geraniums, of almost every hue, — jessamine, whose 
large white and yellow blossoms were thrice the size of those 
in England — and a variety of indigenous and Eastern plants, 
shrubs, and flowers, were so thickly studded about that they 
rendered the coup d'oeil extremely picturesque, and perfumed 
the air gratefully to the senses. Verbena trees, as large as or- 
dinary fruit trees ; other plants^ bearing large yellow flowers^ 



52 HABEM LIFE. 

as big as teacups, with most curious leaves ; cactuses, and a 
complete galaxy of botanical curiosities, whose names the ge- 
nius of a Faxtoa would perhaps be puzzled to disclose, orna- 
mented these Eljsian grounds. 

At the end of this garden we entered a maze formed of^ 
myrtle hedges, then in full bloom ; thence we passed along a 
path on the right-hand side, and came upon a "merry. go- 
round," on which the little prince took great delight in seating 
himself, 



" Many a time and oft," 

while I whirled him round for many a half-hour. It was simi- 
larly constructed to those I had seen in the Champs Elys^es 
in Paris. 

Close by was a large marble basin of water, in the centre of 
which, supported by four life-sized angels, from whose mouth 
played forth ^e^s cTeau, sprung forth, as it were, another basin ; 
and in the middle stood the colossal figure of the goddess 
Ceres, bearing on her head an open-worked basket of carved 
marble fruit and flowers, beautifully coloured in imitation of 
nature ; while in her exquisitely -wrought hand she held a cor- 
nucopia, filled with eai*s of com and bunches of white and 
black grapes. The water that spouted forth from the mouths 
of the four cherubim was thrown up by means of an hydraulic 
pump, into the horn of the Goddess of Plenty, from whence 
it trickled down most gracefully. The lower basin was sur- 
rounded by a marble-paved verandahed walk, or terrace, inter- 
spersed with light iron fancy chairs, couches and tables. It 
was completely sheltered from the rays of the scorching sun 
by immense willow-trees planted round the basin, and numer- 
ous marble statues were scattered between their graceful 
drooping foliage. 

Passing along another path, we reached the swings, which 
Tom Moore, in his * Lalla Eookh,' describes as being " always 
a favourite pastime with the Orientals," which were erected in 
the shape of old-fashioned barouche carriages. They were all 



HABEM LIFE. 53 

fitted up with handsome cushions, wound up with a key, swung 
alone by aid of machinery, but were in a most dilapidated 
state. 

Leaving these neglected sources of amusement, we proceeded 
along a path to the right, passed through a most superb mar- 
ble-paved hall, the ceiliug of which is in fresco and gold. It 
is supported upon twenty-eight plain pink- coloured marble 
columns, surmounted by richly-gilded Indian wheat, the leaves 
of which hang down most gracefully. On each side of which, 
and also above (all of which are now finished — they were then 
in course of construction) are some very handsome lofty rooms, 
the ceilings of which are also in fresco, with superb gilded 
panels and richly- decorated cornices all round. 

In the centre of this regal saloon hangs a magnificent glass 
chandelier capable of holding two hundred wax-lights. Thence 
we passed through a door which led us into another garden, 
at the extremity of which stands the Viceroy Ismael Pacha's 
pavilion. For we have all along been describing the Harem 
Q-ardens, in which, however, strange to state, their Highnesses 
the Princesses seldom if ever promenaded. Why or wherefore 
I am unable to say ; perhaps indolence was the primary cause; 
but I strongly surmise that one of the chief reasons was, their 
Highnesses' dislike to be attended by any suite, especially 
their guardians the eunuchs. Therefore they refrained from 
roaming about this almost earthly paradise ; for it is impossi- 
ble to conceive any idea of their beauty, and the skill with 
which they have been laid out. 

The grounds of Frogmore, the Crystal Palace, St. Cloud 
Versailles, the Duke of Devonshire's far-famed Chatsworth, 
and our national pride, Kensington Gardens, and Windsor 
Home Park, exquisite, beautiful, and rural as they are, most 
assuredly partake of the grand and magnificent ; but then they 
all lack the brilliant display of exotics which thrive here in 
such luxuriance. The groves of orange trees, the myrtle 
hedges, the beautiful sheets of water, the spotless marble 
kiosks, the artistic statuary, are all so masterly, blended to- 



54 HAREM LITE. 

getber witH sucH exquisite taste, that these gardens, the execu- 
tion of which was 'carried out under the personal inspection 
of that strangest of characters, the gallant Ibrahim Pacha, 
after his return from bis tour in Europe, completely outvie 
them. 

Then we came upon an immense lake, the sides and bottom 
of which are paved with stone, which is covered over with 
marble cement ; the water, by means of large pipes laid down, 
is supplied from the Nile. 

Passing along the marble walk we soon reached the Vice- 
roy's pavilion — 

*' Where in gay splendour and luxurious state 
Mehemet All's proud descendant, on the Nile's shore, 
"Near old Cairo, populous and great, 
Holds his hright court . . . .*' 

Murray, in his * Handbook for Egypt,' states that " none 
of the Viceregal palaces are worth visiting." I must beg to 
differ, and to explain that no travellers have as yet been able to 
inspect those on the banks of the Lower and Upper NUe, se- 
veral of which are not only situated in most picturesque spots, 
but fitted up in the most luxurious regal style. In short, I 
hardly think it probable that sight-seers would obtain access 
to them, as in most cases the Harems adjoin them, and for 
that reason they would be inaccessible 

I shaU now proceed to describe the one we were approach- 
ing. It is a long two-storied, white- marble structure, most 
admirably erected on a highly-polished black marble terrace, 
and reached by a flight of three marble steps. A broad 
verandah runs along the whole length, shaped like a Chinese 
pagoda, and supported by sixteen red, green, and black por- 
phyry columns ; between which stand square blocks of beauti- 
fully-polished variegated marble, on which are antique-looking 
vases, having large rams' heads with horns as handles, 'and 
these are all fiUed with the choicest exotics. Suspended from 
the roof of the verandah hung numerous gilt lamps of ex- 
quisite desis:n. 



HABEM LIFE. 55 

Entering the interior at the rigbt-nand side, we passed into 
one of the finest saloons I had ever entered. The floor was 
covered with an elegant carpet, the pattern of which repre- 
sented the most lovely moss imaginable, the brilliancy of 
whose shades rivalled those of the exotics in the grounds. 
The ceiling is most exquisitely painted in frescOj in squares, in 
each of which were represented groups of various kinds, such 
as men, women, and animals. Some contained unique 
sketches of Egyptian landscape, views of Alexandria, Cleopa- 
tra's Needle, Cairo, as seen from the citadel, the prettiest spots 
up the binks of the Lower and Upper Nile, Nubia, Ethiopia, 
Karnac, Thebes, Constantinople, Pera, the lovely Bosphorus, 
and the Cataracts. The walls were hung with costly ta- 
pestry,— 

** Where was inwoven many a gentle tale, 
Such as of old the rural poets sung." 

It was b'glited by four enormously large, stained glass windows 
of the richest colours imaginable, and also by an immense 
cupola-dome. The hangings of the doors and windows were^of 
elegant floivered white satin, the exotics on which, especially the 
colours of !;he variegated selection of roses, were most exquisitely 
finished. The chairs and sofas — foi' divans were excluded from 
this luxurious, apartment — were of white, ormolu and gold ; 
the seats and footstools covered with the same material, as 
also the couches. Large mirrors hung down from the ceiling 
to the flocr ; in short, the walls were almost like a glass cur- 
tain. In the centre stood a superb round inlaid mosaic table, 
supported on massive gilded feet. 

On the brown and red marble mantelpiece stood a handsome 
large modem timepiece, supported by gilt figures, on either 
side of which were placed two massively- chased candelabras, 
each containing twelve transparent coloured wax-candles. 

Entering the small drawing-room adjoining, which was fur- 
nished in a similar manner, only with blue satin drapery 
and covers to the furniture in lieu of white, we passed into the 



56 HABEM LIPE. 

dining-room, which was very long. It was covered with a 
thick green carpet, studded with ndsed moss-roses. In the 
centre stood a long carved oak dining-table, capable of accom- 
modating thirty or forty guests. The seats of the chairs (which 
were of carved oak, and, most singular to add, mtYr^-shaped) 
were covered with green velvet, and studded with gilt nails. 
The walls were of oak panels, also carved in mitre-shape, which 
would most assuredly have shocked the orthodoxy of any mufti, 
if such personages have ever entered its precincts, whieh Ivory 
much doubt. 

The roof was of stained glass, from which was suspended a 
large gilt chandelier, containing no less than a hundied trans- 
parent coloured wax candles. Against the sides of :he walls, 
and at the extremities of the room, were fixed several silver 
branch candelabras, each containing twelve similar lights. The 
hangings of the doors and windows were of green velvet, lined 
throughout with white satin, looped up with gold billion tas- 
sels. Leaving which we entered another apartment. This was 
covered with a crimson and black carpet, the walls and ceiling 
similar to those of the drawing-room, having likewise silver 
candelabras fixed to the walls, and a most magniGlcent gilt 
chandelier hanging from the centre of the ceiling. The chairs 
were rosewood, covered with crimson satin, as also the divans. 
The hangings of the doors and windows were of the same rich 
material, looped up with heavy silk cords and tassds of the 
same colour. It was furnished with handsome ebony cabinets, 
inlaid with precious stones, on which stood elegant gilt cases 
of stuffed birds, the choicest selection of Egyptian^ Indian, 
and American ornithology which could possibly be selected. 

In the corners of this apartment stood several stuTed ani- 
mals with glass eyes, which were rolling about by means of 
mechanism. In front of the fireplace lay crouched a fill sized 
stuffed tiger, at the sight of which, the doors being open, the 
Grand Pacha Ibrahim screamed so violently that I coidd not 
pacify him, nor could I persuade him to enter the apartment. 
On several other occasions when I visited this pavilion, where I 



HABEM LIFE. 57 

often passed much of my time,'^ the Prince Ibrahim never 
could be induced even to walk by the windows of that to him 
most terrible ** chamber of horrors," until he had seen the at- 
tendant carefully lock the door and draw down the transparent 
coloured silk blinds before his face. Often have I smiled as I 
saw the little grandson of the renowned Ibrahim Pacha stand 
like a mute peering at the windows until his guard of honour 
had stationed themselves at the comer of each window. 

Continuing my inspection alone of this elegant yet strangely 
arranged room, I walked across to the other end of it, where 
stood a large white polar bear. A small but most beautifully- 
marked tiger-cat lay crouching down at its side, and close by 
was a fine group of cranes. Upon examining these animals, I 
found that they all could be put in motion by means of the 
mechanical power attached to them. But what rendered it 
more singular, was the fact that their natural powers of arti- 
culation could be made to issue forth from their mouths, so 
that, literally speaking, I found myself in a den of wild 
beasts ; and I thought of Sir David Baird, and Tippoo Saib 
and his tigers — but in the case of the Mysorean Prince the 
animals were alive, and chained to a pillow near his Harem. 

It is a well-known fact that Ibrahim Pacha was of a cruel 
and brutal disposition, and it is most probable that he had 
these animals collected together and set in motion whenever 
he had commanded the attendance of any Turkish or Arab 
dignitary from whom he desired to extort money, for avarice 
was one of his predominant vices. This vice was, however, of 
rather a refined nature, as from the immense wealth he had 
accumulated he must have been perfectly aufait in the art of 
turning his talaris, " money," to the best advantage, which 
tact Ismael Pacha, the present Viceroy, inherits in a most re- 
markable degree. 

As soon as I had joined the little prince, who waited pa- 
tiently while I explored the chamber, we opened a door on the 
right hand, passed through a small marble- paved hall in which 
stood four life-size statues, each holding gilt lam^a iel tfc&\sL 



58 HABEM LIFE. 

bands, whicli led us into the Viceregal bedchamber. It was a 
noble-looking room, covered 'with a handsome Brussels carpet, 
with black ground and thickly studded with bouquets of varie- 
gated flowers of almost every hue. The whole was scrupu- 
lously clean. The gilt-iron bedstead was surmounted with 
gilded knobs, as also the foot and head plates. The musquito 
curtains were of fine crimson silk, gauze bespangled vnth gold 
crescents. The washhand-stand was of pure white marble^ 
with ewer, basin, and the other usual appendages of beauti- 
fully painted Sevres china, the bouquets on which were artisti- 
cally executed, and matched the carpet admirably. A large 
pier-glass hung down from the ceiling. The divan (which was 
rather diminutive in comparison to those generally placed in 
the apartments of Turkish dwellings), and chairs were covered 
with crimson silk bespangled with gold crescents. The toilet- 
table, on which were placed His Highness's toilet requisites, 
all of solid gold, inlaid with most valuable precious stones, 
was covered with a similar cloth. 

The ebony cabinet was inlaid with gold and costly jewels, on 
each side of which stood two silver branch candelabras, holding 
a dozen transparent coloured wax-candles ; and in the centre 
was placed His Highness's jewel casket, a perfect gem of the 
same material, richly inlaid. The walls were covered with 
crimson paper, embossed with gold crescents. The ceiling was 
beautifully painted with Turkish and Egyptian landscapes. 
The chimneypiece was of white marble, and the handsome, 
elegant bronze stove on the spotless white marble hearth was 
constructed in the form of a kiosk. 

Then we proceeded through a door that was left wide open, 
into another chamber, similarly fitted up, except that the 
furniture was of yellow satin bespangled with silver crescents, 
which was invariably occupied by that Ihhal^ ** favourite," whom 
the Viceroy from time to time delighted to honour. This was 
the guests' chamber, and the history of its occupants would 
form a singular addition to the annals of Egyptian history. 



HABEM LIFE. 5& 

The beds in both of these rooms were encased in richly-figured 
satin, which matched the hangings of each apartment. 

Passing out of the Pavilion by the same way we had entered, 
we turned to the left, and proceeded across a garden intersected 
with cuttings filled with the water of the Nile, by which means 
the grounds were irrigated. These extensive gardens are com- 
pletely flooded, night and morning, by means of the river water 
which is allowed to pass through large pipes and is turned on 
by taps and sluice gates. 

Crossing several of those cuttings, as also deep dykes in 
different places, which were bridged over with wide planks, we 
reached the barracks situated at the back of the pavilion. 
These consist of a long wooden shed raised upon piles, and the 
walls are constructed of mud. The roof and Venetian shutters 
(for there are no windows) are of wood, the latter of which 
are closed at night. They are divided off into two or three 
rooms, which are iperely furnished with wooden divans, on 
which the soldiers sit by day, and sleep on the floors at night, 
rolled up in their dark brown blankets. In a straight line with 
these rooms are the officers' quarters, erected in the shape of a 
Chinese pagoda. They are ascended by a flight of wooden 
steps, and consist of two rooms in each compartment. They 
are furnished with divans, the cushions of which are covered 
with common chintz. The floor is matted. The walls and 
ceiling are whitewashed. The sentries on guard presented 
arms to His Highness and myself. 

As I passed the windows, or more properly speaking, the 
openings (for, as I have before observed, there were none, as 
the openings are destitute of frames and glass), I observed both 
officers and men lolling out of their respective loop-holes ; the 
former were in undress, but the latte^ I can scarcely describe. 
They never undress themselves, but sleep in their clothes, which 
are never taken off their backs, except on f(^te days, and at the 
Turkish f&te of the Bairam ! On that occasion they receive 
new uniforms. Many of them were eating onions, cucumbers, 
and other vegetables in their crude state. On another occasion, 



60 HABEM LIFE. 

when passing by these wretched quarters, I heard one of the 
soldiers singing " The Turkish Sentinel's Eefrain," of which 
the following is a translation : — 

** I am a native of Bhoda, and since my birth I have beheld the Nile 
inundate my paternal lands no less than seven times. 

There lived a man of the name of Abderahman, next door to me, who had 
a daughter, whose countenance had never been gazed upon by any other 
being than myself. 

The beauty and symmetry of Eatima were absolutely incomparable. 

Her eyes were as large as coffee cups, ^Jindjans* Her figure was stout 
and well made. 

We loved each other, and we were waiting to be united in the bonds of 
wedlock ; 

When the Recruiting Sergeant, * Fiachef^ whom the devil take, hand- 
cuffed me, and lugged mo off by the scurf of the neck, with fifty others, 'to 
the camp. 

As both myself and neighbour were very poor, we were unable to give 
the Sergeant sufficient baksheesh to satisfy him, and may the devil take him ! 

The sound of the drums, trumpets, and fifes so bewildered my senses, 
that I soon forgot my peaceful hut, my goats, and my watermill ; but I 
have never ceased to think of the joy of my heart — my beautiful Fatima. 

Soon I had a gun, uniform, and wallet given to me ; then I was drilled to 
turn my head to the right, then to the left, to hold my leg up in the air, 
stand upright, afterwards to shoidder arms, present arms, and many other 
manoeuvres. 

Soon I was ordered away with my regiment at Mecca, 

When I gazed upon the Kaaba^ * Mahomet's Tomb.* 

We bivouacked in the desert, in the rocks, in the mountains ; 

We slew the euemies of the prophet, and then I returned a Hadje 
* Pilgrim,' from Mecca. May God be thanked ! 

I was soon made a corporal ; and after three years' active service, we 
embarked on board a man-of-war, and returned to the country watered by 
the far-famed Nile. 
. There we encamped, and I longed to return once again to Bhoda, and 
behold my Fatima. 

' Still I was afraid to ask leave of absence, lest I should find things 
fearfully changed. 

Then the fever seized me, and I became an inmate of the Hospital at 
Cairo, where the Hekim Frandje, 'Christian doctors,' prevented me from 
eating, and treated me much more cruel than sickness itself. 

I was obliged to sell my Tairif * rations.' May the devil take them. » 

Every day I became weaker and more sorrowful. I was on the point of 
death. 



HABEM LIFE. 61 

• 

One morning the doctors brought mo a medicme— the smell of which 
made me shudder — and I became worse. I had just raised the cup up to my 
lips, when I fancied_that I heard a voice from without — the sound of which 
pierced my very heart — call to me, Mustafa, Mustafa, in enui / * Oh, my eyes 1* 

I threw the cup at the apothecary's nose ; my strength seemed restored to 
me, and the blood circulated in my veins. I rose up quite convalescent, 
and those fools of doctors thouglit that it was their physic which had cured 
me. My discharge! said I. They gave it to me, and I rushed into the 
arms of my Eatima, who had been most anxiously awaiting my release. 

After we had embraced each other, she related to me how she had be- 
come acquainted with my return, and how she manage d to enter the camp. 

When I attempted to enter, said she, a black presented the point of his 
bayonet to my breast, crying out douvj ^ stop.' As she did not understand 
the^meaning of the word dour, * stop,' so she did not answer, and the black 
fellow, crying out still \ more lustily, advanced toward s her, when the 
Turkish officer came out and asked her what she wanted ? 

I wanted my Mustafay replied she ; my affianced, whom I have not seen 
for these three years. And then the Officer, turning his back upon her, 
exclaimed, I know nothing of him ! The poor girl retired quite broken- 
hearted ; but having met the sister of one of the sergeants, Your lover, 
said that noble woman, is lying at the hospital so ill that he is at the 
point of death. 

Swifter than the fleetest gazelle, that dearest angel of my life, drawing 
near to the window of the hospital, exclaimed Mustafa, Mustafa, in enui ! 
* Oh, my eyes !* 

Intoxicated with joy, I bore her in triumph though the camp. I pointed 
her out, like a madman, to my Colonel, my Commandant, my Captain, my 
Lieutenant, and my sergeant ; and, liaving obtained a furlough, we went to 
Bhoda to get married, where tlie good old Abderahman was waiting to 
bestow his blessing upon us. May G-od be praised, God is great." 

As His Highness the Grand Pacha Ibrahim began to com- 
plain of being tired, and I have no doubt that bis little legs 
must have ached, we turned our footsteps towards the Harem. 

I was rather taken aback after we had proceeded a short 
distance by observing the atmosphere become all at once dark 
and gloom J ; but turning round I perceived dense volumes of 
black smoke issuing forth from a huge, tall chimney towerin,g 
in the distance up to the sky. It raised its dark head a little 
beyond the whitewashed barracks. I inquired of Spirake, the 
Greek attendant, the name of the building, when he informed 
me that ifc was His Highness the Viceroy's sugar refinery. I 



62 HABEM LIFE. 

then learned that immense quantities of sugar were manu- 
factured from the cane which grew on His Highness Ismael 
Pacha's estates near Minich, which produce yields the billionaire 
merchant prince a most lucrative return, for the sale of sugar 
throughout the wholei length and breadth of Egypt is monopo- 
lized by His Highness the Viceroy. 

The refinery that we had seen towering in the distance yields 
upwards of 30,000 quintals annually, and there coal is used to 
clarify the sugar in lieu of bullock's blood. This explanation 
fully accounted for the huge pile of black diamonds that I 
had observed piled up on the sides of the landing-place when 
I first approached the gates of the Harem. 

On my return I thanked His Highness the Grand Pacha 
Ibrahim for the very attentive and kind manner in which he 
had shown me all the lions of the Harem gardens, the Viceroy's 
pavilion and the barracks. 



CHAPTEE VIII. 

As soon as I reached the Prince's suite of apartments, I found 
the head-nurse waiting to conduct His Highness to his supper, 
as it was about half-past seven, European time. I then proceeded 
with my pupil downstairs, then across the small garden into 
a large room on the ground-floor, which was usually occupied 
in the daytime by several of the ladies of the Harem. The 
floor was covered with a handsome Brussels carpet ; the walls 
papered with a simple pattern ; the ceiling was painted. The 
curtains of the windows and doors Ivere of red damask ; a 
divan extended along one side. 

The five youthful slaves who formed His Highness's staff of 
domestics entered the room soon after we had seated ourselves. 
One carried the soofra (a kind of very low table), while the 
others bore the viands, of which the following is la carle : — 

Soup, made from sheep's shanks or fowls, having rice and 



HASEM LIFE. 63 

forcemeat balls (made of the crumbs of bread left on the 
trays) in it. 

Legs of mutton (which are as small as the lamb of Italy), 
roasted, and stuffed with the kernels of ground-nuts, onions, 
raisins, spice, and sugar. 

Tomatoes, scooped out and filled with meat, rice, and spice. 

Cucumbers, dressed in a similar manner. 

Boiled cucumbers, small vegetable-marrows, onions, and 
pieces of fowl, all mixed up together. 

Broad beans, boiled in their shells, from which the bean is 
removed at table, and then eaten. 

Boiled chicory, chopped up very fine, and then re-boiled 
in fat. 

Cutlets, fried in syrups with spice. 

Boiled fowls. 

Pickles; salads, dressed with lamp-oil and water; onions, 
in their crude state ; undressed cucumbers. 

Lemons, sweetmeats, syrups. 

Confectionery most tastefully formed into numerous devices, 
some like Banbury cakes, but which, in lieu' of being made 
with jam in the centre, contained a quantity of whey, as salt 
as brine. 

Jelly, with strawberries placed whole in it. 

P&stry, consisting of batter fried, then opened, and sour milk 
poured into it. 

Batter-balls, fried in syrups; hard bread balls, similarly 
cooked. 

Large patties, filled with eggs and sour milk. 

Pancakes, fried in grease, and eaten with syrups. 

Bowls of sour milk ; sour milk, with slices of crude cucumber 
swimming in it. 

Thick rice-milk with sugar and jams, eaten with milk. 

The dessert consists of all the various fruits in season ; and 
the only beverage was water and sherbet, which the Prince and 
the other children drank out of silver mugs, each having one 
appropriated for his exclusive use. ^ 



64 HABEH LIFE. 

' The Grand Pacha was fed by Sh%y tan, who, squatting herself 
down upon the ground by his side, took the morsels out of 
china dishes and put them into his mouth. She used a spoon 
for the pilau, but broke the bread, dipped it into the liquid 
viands, and placed it into his mouth. At the same time the 
other Viceregal children sat in children's chairs round the 
soofra, and each was fed by the under-nurses in a similar 
manner. 

If a piece of bread happens to fall upon the ground, it is 
picked up immediately, the word Bismillah ! is repeated several 
times, the bread is kissed, and then placed up to the forehead ; 
but if crumbs only fall, instead of leaving them to be swept up 
as Europeans are accustomed to do, they pick them up one by 
one and eat them. But should any pieces that have fallen be 
dirty, they are placed on the statues in the small garden, for 
the birds to eat. All the broken bread at the meals is carried 
away to the kitchen, where it is moistened with milk, squeezed 
by the hands into balls, and then fried in batter and sugar. 
Of those, however, I never partook. 

The whole of tlie slaves are supplied with the dark Arab 
bread, and it not unfrequently happened that botk myself and 
the German maids were kept on very short commons. In fact, 
time after time, I have actually been without any bread' at all, 
as the slaves, who are all most adroit thieves, would, whenever 
they could find an opportunity, steal the European bread with 
which we Europeans were alone provided ; for their Highnesses 
. the Princesses, the Viceroy's wives, invariably partook of white 
Arab bread, which was also as salt as the briny ocean. The 
inmates of the Harem have a perfect horror of dropping bread, 
and I have often heard them scream with dismay as apiece fell 
from their hands. 

After the Grand Pacha had finished his supper, a large silver 
basin, shaped like a glass goblet, which had been brought into 
the room with the viands and placed upon the carpet, was 
raised up by a young slave, who knelt down and held it before 
the Prince. The head-nurse then took a piece of rag (not a 



HAREH LIFE. 65 

towel, soaped it with a ball of white soap (which, together 
with a piece of linen, is always placed in the centre of the 
strainer that stands bj the side of the basin), and washed his 
face. After this she wrung the rag, and wiped him with it ; 
then she held his hands over the basin, and water was poured 
upon them out of the silver ewer, which is shaped like an old- 
fswhioned coffee-pot, but having a long spout, curved downwards. 
The same ceremony was observed by the under- nurses with the 
other children, each of whom had separate basins and ewers. 

It is hardly possible to give an accurate description of the ap- 
pearance of the tray after their Highnesses had partaken of their 
meals. It looked just as if the whole contents of a few of those 
plate-baskets which are used in the kitchens of the first-class Lon- 
don hotels to place the pieces in collected off the plates that come 
down from the several dinner-tables had been emptied on to it. 

Here and there lav morsels which had been torn asunder 
from the joint or bird, and, being unsuited to the palate of the 
guest, had been thrown down, after having been mauled about 
in their fingers ; pieces of broken bread, crumbs of pastry, the 
remains of vegetables, both cooked and crude ; in short, it pre- 
sented a sight that would make the stomach of a cook-shop 
carver heave again. It was one of the most disgusting sights 
I had ever witnessed, and this was the scene enacted daily. 
Then the ladies of the Harem had their meals off it, just as it was. 

After the Viceregal children had partaken of their repast 
then the nurses, who in their turn were waited upon by their 
Highnesses* little slaves (for each Princess has two slaves 
to wait upon her, and act as her playmates), helped themselves. 

When they had finished, then the group of little slaves (who, 
as I shall hereafter show, are near relations of the Grand Pacha) 
cleared the things away : and carrying them into the Stone 
Hall, placed them on the basement floor, and there squatted 
themselves down, and regaled themselves, like the beggars of 
old, on the crumbs which had fallen, as it were, from the table 
of their superiors. These sometimes were very scanty, as no 
separate table was ever provided for them. 



66 HABEH LIFE. 

After supper was finished a little slave acted as marsbal and 
led the way, holding a silver-gilt lantern, in which was placed 
a large wax-candle. Then Shaytan carried the Prince up into 
his reception-room, which at that time presented a most singular 
and novel scene. It appeared that during supper-time a number 
of other slaves had been busily engaged in removing out of the 
" Bed Store-room " the beds that had remained piled up there 
during the daytime, and had placed them upon the carpet. 
Each of the Viceregal children and their nurse had two mat- 
tresses assigned them, which were encased in cotton covers. 

OnHisHighness'sbedwaslaid asheet, thenthreeflat cushions, 
also encased in muslin, the ends of which were embroidered in 
red worsted and tied with ribbons, for his head to rest upon, 
in lieu of pillows ; and over the whole were placed two dark- 
coloured wadded coverlets, under which the Prince slept. On 
one side were ranged the beds of his little sisters, and by the 
side of them those of the nurses, and on the other side that 
of the head-nurse. 

The Prince and his little slaves played about for a short time 
amidst this " one full-swelling bed ;" after which Shaytan un- 
dressed him, which she did in the following manner : first she 
removed his trousers, then the little coat and dayshirt, and 
then re- dressed him in his night- attire, which consisted of a 
pair of calico trousers, fastened round his waist by a long strip 
of muslin, with embroidered ends run through the broad hem, 
not unlike a pair of Indian ^^pyjama^,'^ over which was placed a 
a cotton dressing-gown, open all up the front, and over that a 
blue quilted cashmere paletot. His waist was girded with a 
silk handkerchief; his head was covered with a white cotton fez, 
with strings which were tied under his chin. His sisters were 
also similarly attired. 

As soon as he was dressed in his night-clothes a silver 
brazier, filled with charcoal, was brought into the room. In it 
was thrown a quantity of wood of aloes, aromatic gum, and 
lumps of crystallized sugar. Then the head-nurse lifted up his 
Highness in her powerful arms, and swung him round it nine 



HABEH LIFE. 67 

times, while she counted that number aloud in Turkish ; but 
why that number was used I was unable to learn. After this 
she exclaimed Allah ! Alia I Bismillah ! (" Q-od ! Q-od ! — in the 
name of the most merciful Q-od!'*) The same ceremony was 
performed by each of the other nurses with their Highnessea 
the little Princesses ; then he was laid down in his bed. 

The nurses then took it in turns to repeat stories, or else 
sang himself and his sisters to sleep ; their everlasting mono- 
tonous chant consisting of Babay Ni-na I Baba^ Nl-na I 
** father, mother ;" Nina ! Nina ! " mother," in different toDes 
of voice. 

During the whole of this preparation for retiring to rest, the 
Prince Epouse sat upon the divan smoking cigarettes. All tho 
nurses sat at the side of the beds, or else at the door. Those 
who were not engaged in telling stories were employed at 
needlework, which they executed with their left hands, until 
they retired to rest, which all did about ten o'clock, European 
time. At that hour the Keslar Agaci, Grand Eunuch, Captain 
of the girls, accompanied by several of his attendants, like the 
matron of an English house of correction, 

" Goes his nightly rounds," 

locks the outer gates of the " Abode of Bliss," and then the 
guardians of the enchanted palace all repair to their respective 
apartments to smoke their pipes, and enact the farce of " High 
Life Below Stairs," which I shall subsequently show they did 
to perfection. 

Above the whole of that most motley group, which was as- 
sembled together in the Eeception Hall, hung suspended an 
enormous large coloured muslin mosquito- curtain, made in the 
form of a canopy, similar to that which is daily seen carried in 
Catholic countries over the head of the dignitary, who walks 
along the streets when the Host is being carried to a dying 
person. Attached to the four corners of the square flat top piece, 
were sewn four large gilt rings, through each of which was run 
the crimson cord, which was fastened to the large brass hooks 



68 HABEM LIFE. 

that were driven into the walls. It was then looped up to them ; 
the long ends hanging down to the floor and being tucked 
underneath the mattresses, left the whole group of children and 
nurses snugly ensconced within its ample folds. 

A large silver-gilt lantern, containing two lighted transparent 
wax- candles, as long as those used by mourners in Catholic 
countries, was left burning upon the floor all night. 

This scene, which brought to my mind the encampment of a 
party of gipsies on the stage, appeared to me most singular and 
novel, and it was some time before I could bring my mind to 
look upon it as a reality. At moments, when I gazed upon the 
group, I thought it was the idle phantom of a dream ; but I was 
soon awakened from that delusion by the entrance of Clara, the 
German laundrymaid, who came to announce that my own 
supper was ready. 

Retiring from that noble apartment, now so strangely meta- 
morphosed into the Viceregal nursery, I followed the German 
maid downstairs into the Stone Hall on the basement floor, 
which had but recently served as the dining hall of the little 
slaves, and there, to my disgust and astonishment, I beheld the 
little slaves bringing in the same carte as had been served up 
for the Viceregal childreja. I stared again in astonishment, 
and looking at the maid Clara, I found that she had seated her- 
self at the table, and was prepared to hobnob it with me. 

This was treatment I had never expected to receive. How- 
ever, there was no help for it, and as neither knife nor fork had 
been provided for me, I was obliged to accept the German's [ 

otfer to lend me those indispensable articles. Fatigue, disgust 
and vexation at the accommodation which had been provided 
for me, had almost taken away all my appetite ; but at the sight 
of the Arab dishes I turned quite sick, and contented myself 
with partaking of a " kebab " — some bread, a little fruit, and a 
"zarf" of coffee — as nothing but water was permitted to be 
drunk, which latter I found exceedingly acceptable. I hastily 
retired to my miserable pallet in the chamber which had been 
assigned me. 



HABEH LIFE. 69 

I can scarcely describe my feelings when I was alone. Being 
at that time totally ignorant of the apathy and absolute in- 
difference with which the Turks, Arabs, and Egyptians treat all 
Europeans with whom they come into contact, I was at a loss 
to conceive why I had been subjected to such an indignity. 
The position I occupied about the Prince ought most assuredly 
to have saved me from such an insult. 

I had inspected the Viceroy's pavilion tl^t very day ; and I 
remembered how accurately my intelligent fellow-travellers, 
Mr. Xenos and Mr — — , had described what would in all pro- 
bability be my position and reception in this Mansion of DiS" 
comfort, I had seen a considerable display of European 
habits, in the manner in which his own private retiring-rooms 
had been arranged — everything bespeaking that His Highness 
was thoroughly Europeanized. At that I was not in the least 
surprised, for I knew that he had been sent to Erance in 
1846, along with his brother, Achmet Bey, and his uncles Has- 
sam Bey and Halim Bey, and this made me more annoyed, 
as I was confident that if either Messrs H. or Mr. B. had 
merely taken the precaution they could easily have done, to 
let the good old German housekeeper enter the Harem and see 
what accommodation had been provided for me, that kind 
creature would have taken care to send in everything there for 
my convenience ; and as she had been accustomed to wait upon 
ladies in her own country, she would have at once explained 
to her countrywoman the laundry maid, how she might have 
conducted herself towards me. 

But no. I was bundled into the Harem like a bale of mer- 
chandise, and left, as Mr. C. H.'s sister explained to me before 
my departure from England to " fight my own battle," — no 
easy matter among such a semi-barbarous set. 

Now I was perfectly aware that I should have to vegetate on 
nothing but Arab diet. My health had begun to give way be- 
neath the effect of that most unpalatable cuisine when at the 
banker's, and I was quite certain that it would be utterly impos- 
sible for me to keep body and soul together with such nourish- 



70 HABEM LIFE. 

ment, with only water and coffee as drinkables. It was reallj 
unpardonable and unfeeling in the extreme ; there was no ex- 
cuse to be made. I had already remonstrated with Mr. B. 
upon the subject of my diet ; and as the Viceroy had a staff of 
French cooks and attendants, there could not have been any 
difficulty or objection to my meals being prepared by them. 
Of this His Highness's civil aid-de-camp and associate in com- 
merce was fully aware ; but no — he was a Prussian, and as he 
hated the English, what had I to expect ? 

The entire blame must be attached to the hasty and incon- 
siderate manner in which Mr. C. H. overruled Mr. B.'s objec- 
tion, who, knowing full well that nothing had been prepared 
for my reception, was anxious to postpone my departure from 
his hospitable roof until my apartment had been properly fur- 
nished. To such straits was I put that I was obliged to place 
different articles of body-linen as substitutes for bed-linen ; for- 
tunately, however, I had provided myself with a stock of Turkish 
bath towels. My room, as I have previously explained, led off 
from that of the Grand Pacha's. I had scarcely arranged my 
bed for as yet not a slave had been appointed to wait upon me, 
when I heard the ponderous bolts and bars of the lower doors 
at the foot of the marble staircase drawn into their sockets, and 
the huge keys — for they are no less than nine inches in length 
—turned in the weighty wards, as the eunuchs locked the doors, 
let fly the secret springs, and then retired to enjoy their pipes 
in their own apartments. 

Those grating sounds startled me ; I could not for an in- 
atant realize my position ; I thought I must be the inmate of 
some prison in a foreign land, and not a guest within the pre- 
cincts of a prince's palace. My position was anything but 
^enviable. Although I was conversant with several continental 
languages, still, strange to add, not any of the Princesses' 
ladies of the Harem, or slaves, could speak anything but 
Arabic and Turkish ; and the German laundry maid had only 
just begun to pick up a few words of those languages. "Well^ 
L there I was, among a crowd of nearly one hundred women, 



HABEH LIFE. 71 

without being able to speak a word of their language, or to 
understand what they said to me. Then did I experience the 
worst of all loneliness, 

*' Solitude in a crowd." 

So that when I found myself alone in my own chamber, I 

could not help ezclaimlDg, 

" Ah ! why did Fate my steps decoy, 
In foreign lands to roam." 

"Wishing, however, to divert my mind as much as possible, 
I resolved to keep a diary. But how was that to be accom- 
plished, since I had no table in my chamber upon which I 
could arrange, my writing materials ? The top of my French 
chest of drawers had already been turned into a toilet-table, 
and even if I had removed my dressing-case and all the appen- 
dages thereon, even then I had no chair. Thinking that the 
slave who had arranged my chamber might, in the hurry of 
the moment, have forgotten both those necessary articles of 
furniture (as I had seen tables, and even English cane-bottom 
chairs in the apartments), I resolved to appropriate some to 
my o.wn use ; but, when attempting to do so, I was point- 
blank told by the eunuchs that I must not touch or take any- 
thing which had not been expressly given me. Thus I was 
checkmated, and powerless even to move a chair for my own 
accommodation. This was a kind of domestic tyranny I could 
not endure. 

I abandoned the idea of making any substitutes for them 
the first night; but finding upon inquiry that I was not 
to be provided with either, I had no alternative but to tax my 
ingenuity. 

So, placing two of my largest square trunks upon one 
another, for a table, which I covered with my travelling-rug, 
and for a chair laying my travelling-cloak upon another box, 
and turning a larger one upright, I placed it at the back ; 
which gave me a support for my back ; and thus did I begin 
to dot down these incidents of my experience of Harem life in 
Egypt. 



72 HABEH LIFE. 



CHAPTEE IX. 

The following day I was informed by the German laundry- 
maid that I was expected to clean my own room, and wash my 
own linen, both of which I resolutely refused to do. Upon 
which the Princess Epouse ordered a slave to arrange my 
apartment, and the Greek slave, Spiraki, to find a laundress 
at Cairo, as none of the slaves would wash the linen of an un- 
believer ; and it was with the greatest reluctance that any of 
the youngest slaves could be forced to act as, what is termed 
in the caste phraseology of India, the Muhtur, " sweeper,*' to 
empty slops, &c. 

After these arrangements had been made, I had a most ex- 
cellent opportunity of making myself au fait with domestic 
life in the Harem. 

At five o'clock the next morning, the eunuchs, who carry 
their bunch of keys about with them like the warders of an 
English prison, came round and unlocked all the doors of the 
outer rooms leading to the grand and back staircases. Then 
they called up all the slaves and the ladies of the Harem. The 
former, as soon as they were dressed (pardon me, kind reader, 
but I err in using that expression, for all Turkish and Egyp- 
tian women, as well as their slaves, never undress, but lie 
down with their clothes on, though they often change them in 
the daytime), took up and rolled their beds which they carried 
into the bed storeroom, and there piled them up in a comer, 
as I have previously described. Then they proceeded to sweep 
the rooms, each using the set of brooms and dust-pans which 
had been assigned her. 

After this portion of the household work had been performed 
the members of the Viceregal family were called, and the 
nurses began to dress the ^children. The head-nurse. Shay tan, 
lifted the Prince out of his bed, sat him down upon the side, 
having previously had the mosquito-curtain looped up to the 
rings attached to the walls, tucked up \m pyjamas as far as 



HABEH LIFE. 73 

his knees, then water was poured over a piece of rag, placed 
in a deep silver dish, with which she soaped and washed his 
legs and feet. On each of the calves of his little legs there 
were nine incisions just above the top of the sock, some cabal- 
istic superstition that I never had explained to me, but per- 
haps it was that he was considered as eligible for the ninth 
heaven, as Biickert, the Orientalist, has described as many. 
Then she removed his drawers, and began by putting on his 
stockings, then his boots, after which she washed his hands 
and face (his arms and neck never being touched), and his 
flannel shirt was removed. 

Around his neck he wore, first, a thin black cord, to which 
was attached a small black silk pad, which lay upon his ab- 
domen, that is never removed from off his person ; then another 
one, on which were strung six black, carved cypress wooden 
acorns, which are supposed to be a teleam, " talisman," to keep 
evil spirits away from his august person. Then his flannel 
vest was put on him ; after that a thin net one, then a linen 
shirt, all the ends of which were tucked inside his trousers; 
after which his coat was put on. 

Around his neck he wore a small ribbon tie, and across his 
shoulders a silver-gilt chain, attached to which hung a small 
square silver box, about an inch thick, having a sliding lid, in 
which is enclosed a little cypress-wood box, containing verses 
of the Koran, and pieces of the coffin of the prophet Mahomet. 
The box is elegantly chased with palm-leaves, elephants, and 
numerous other animals. 

His head was washed with perfumed water, and his fez 
placed on it ; in the tassel of which is fastened a small thin 
black silk cushion, or bag, containing some grains of a black 
seed, which are said to possess the power of warding off" fits ; 
also a piece of pink coral, shaped like a shell, which is worn to 
preserve His Highness from attacks of ophthalmia. At the 
top of the tassel is sewn a large turquoise, to guard him from 
all accidents. 

The other nurses then proceeded to dress the young Prin- 



I 



74 HABEU LIFE. 

cesses, who had narrow plaits of hair in front. They all wore 
the same charms, except the coral, hlack bag, and turquoise. 

Their beds were then rolled up, i-emoved into the bed store- 
room, and the Eeception Hall " swept and garnished." Then 
one of the eunuchs brought in a cotton sack, or bag, contain- 
ing symmets, "buns made in the shape of rings, about the 
circumference of a tea-saucer," which the Grand Pacha 
counted, and allotted out a certain number to each of the 
little Princesses for their two daily meals, breakfast and 
supper. 

If any had been purloined, or a mistake make in the count- 
ing of them. His Highness invariably bundled them all into 
the sack, made the eunuch take it away, and return with the 
proper number ; and until that was done, the Prince stormed 
and raved like a maniac. It was utterly impossible to pacify 
him.. 

K, however, I happened to jest with him, by secreting one 
or two of the buns, he would then calmly and quietly continue 
his distribution of them, without uttering a word of complaint. 
As soon as all the Viceregal children had assembled in the 
saloon, the brazier filled with live charcoal was brought in, and 
the same process gone through as had been practised the pre- 
vious night when they retired to rest. 

I - As the kitchen is situated at some distance from the Harem, 
in the vicinity of the Sugar Eefinery, the dishes aire all placed 
upon a large wooden tray, and covered over with th ick white 
cloths, carried on men's heads into the small garden which 
separates the Harem from the Grand Pacha Ibrahim 's suite of 
apartments ; there they are laid down upon the path, and the 
fihriU cry of the eunuchs exclaiming, Dustoor I Dustoor ! " Out 
of the way ! out of the way !" resounds from all quarters. 

Then the slaves begin to run into their rooms ; but should 
Miy of them linger about, then the cry of Allah I Allah I 
** God ! God !" is shouted forth in stentorian tones, and the 
courbache, " whip made of bullock's hide," falls heavily upon 
their shoulders. 



HASEH LIFE. 75 

After the men have placed the trays down, and disappeared, 
tlien commences one of the most ludicrous scenes imaginable ; 
for, as I have previously explained, no regular meals are pr o- 
vided for the slaves, or, in fact, anybody else but the Viceregal 
family. They are necessarily obliged to purloin whatever they 
can lay their hands upon before the dishes are served up to 
their Highnesses the Princesses, or the Grand Pacha Ibrahim ; 
hence they are accustomed, like hungry wolves, to rush down 
into the garden, and make a selection of what dishes they can, 
without fear of detection, and withhold them from the Vice- 
regal repast. 

It not unfrequentlj happened that the Princess Epouse 
would enter the Stone Hall, while the slaves were enjoying 
their purloining; then the cups, saucers, and gold spoons 
would be thrust into a pail, which a slave, who was always 
kept on the qui vive, and acted as sentinel, would wisk out of 
the room as if by magic. At'other times Shaytan, the head- 
nurse, would be squatted very comfortably on the floor of the 
Grand Pacha's apartment, with a large flat patty, about twice 
the size of a Cheshire cheese, composed of vermicelli, fat, 
cheese, sugar, and spice — a most favourite dish in the Harem 
— which she had stolen off His Highness's tray, together with 
several large glass dishes full of strawberries, cherries, green- 
gages, apples, pears, oranges, and lemons, all piled up like 
pyramids; also a dish of powdered sugar. The latter she 
generally hid away until night, but the former being hot, she 
usually began to partake of as soon as she had purloined it. 

Sometimes the Princess would enter the room softly, and 
then the vermicelli pasty was pushed away under the divan out 
of sight ; and in that case it frequently happened that another 
slave carried it off and consumed it . 

"Whenever the Princess caught any of them purloining the 
viands, she boxed their ears most soundly, and made them carry 
the dishes back again. 

I cannot refrain from bearing testimony to their kindness 
and attention towards myself, as they isi^^x\aJ^^ ssa^^^^cc^'^*^^ 



76 HABEM LIFE. 

go downstairs, and select my own dishes prior to any being 
served up to their Highnesses the Princesses ; and this spon- 
taneous act of their good will and sympathy towards me was 
not caused by any baksheesh that I had been in the habit of 
distributing among them, for I never gave them any, having 
been requested by my Princess not to propitiate them in that 
manner. It was their own attention towards me, and I always 
felt grateful to them for it, and never failed to grant them any 
little indulgence they required at my hands, or to do them a 
service in return. 

The children's morning toilet being finished, the little slaves 
brought in the ^* soofray^ which they covered with a yellow 
satin cover, bespangled with silver crescents. On it they 
placed a round -rimmed green-painted tray, upon which they 
laid a white china soup-tureen of boiled milk, into which was 
put pieces of Arab bread. 

Each child dipped its spoon iiito it, and helped herself; but 
if any one of tbem should so far forget herself as to place her 
fipoon in the tureen before the Grand Pacha had helped him- 
self, by taking the first spoonful,^ then His Highness would 
cast, nay, throw his spoon into the tureen, as well as those of 
all the Princesses, and order the slaves to move it away in- 
stanter. Child as he was, his word was law, and nobody dared 
disobey him. 

The next course consisted of a small tureen containing a 
pigeon served up swimming in soup thickened with rice and 
flour ; each one of the family party helped themselves to a 
spoonful of it. Then the head-nurse took the pigeon in her 
fingers, tore it to pieces, and then commenced a regular battle, 
as each of the children desired to have a leg, which ended on 
the morning in question, as was generally the case, in the 
separated bird making its exit without being touched. The 
Orand Pacha never partook of this dish, why or wherefore I 
was unable to learn. 

Then followed a dish of mutton-chops, broiled quite dry, 
but highly spiced ; afterwards some pigeons cooked in a similar 



HAEEM LIFE. 77 

manner, minus the spice. Each child took up a pigeon in her 
fingers, tore it to pieces, and ate whatever part she fancied. 
A salad, consisting of cucumher cut into slices and dressed 
with water and oil (for vinegar they never used), was then 
served up. Then followed a glass dish filled with jam ; fried, 
greasy, pastry-like pancakes, literally swimming in fat and 
honey, and this completed the carte. The usual ablution fol- 
lowed as previously described as having taken place after His 
Highness's supper. 

I lost no time in remonstrating with the Princess Epouse 
upon the impropriety of being obliged to take my meals with 
the German maid, and although unacquainted with her verna- 
cular, still I managed to make Her Highness sensible that it 
was a degradation to me. Accordingly my breakfast was 
served up to me in my own room. It consisted of a cup of 
coffee, a small tureen of boiled milk, sweetened almost to a 
syrup, and a roll of European bread, but without any butter 
or eggs, of neither of which did I ever partake during my resi- 
dence in the Harems. After I had partaken of that refresh- 
ment, I dressed, and proceeded, accompanied by my pupil, into 
the Harem. 

The Grand Pacha, according to his usual custom, went to 
visit their Highnesses, the three wives, in their bedchambers. 
He first walked into the apartment of Her Highness the Lady 
Paramount (the first vife), who takes precedence of all, and 
without whose orders none of the other wives can interfere in 
the general internal arrangements of the Harem, save and 
except in their own apartments, and over their own slaves 
and families, with whom they act as they please. Her name 
was Ipsah ; she was tall, stout, had a pleasing mouth, sinister 
expression of countenance, large blue eyes, but possessed a 
most violent temper ; cruelty seemed to be marked in every 
lineament of her features. 

When we entered she was dressing her hair. One slave 
held a looking-glass in her hand, another Her Highnesses 
toilette -tray with its appendages, and a third stood by to hajidL 



78 HABEM LIFE. 

her whatever she might require. She was not, as was her 
usual custom, squatted like a clasped knife, hut sat on a cotton 
-covered divan, attired in a dirty, crumpled, muslin wrapper, 
which had served her as her night hahiliments. Her feet and ^ 
legs were hoth stocking and shoeless, and hung down from the 
divan. 

The Pnnce drew near to her, took hold of her right hand, 
which was jewelless, as also were her ears ; for none of their 
Highnesses ever wore jewels except on grand occasions. He 
pressed her hand to his lips and forehead, then salaamed her, 
after which hoth of us left the room. 

On reaching the chamher of the Princess Epouse (his 
mother), the Prince mounted the divan, saluted, as he had 
done the first wife, and then insisted upon having a cup of 
coffee. As soon as he had partaken of it, he asked the Prin- 
cess to give him baksheesh, when she handed him a large packet 
of silver piastres, each valued at twopence halfpenny. His 
mother took him on her lap, made a few inquiries of him in 
Turkish^ which I did not understand, and asked him to go and 
fetch her a cigarette. Then we passed on into the chamber of 
the third wife, who is childless, but who has adopted a slave as 
her daughter, whom the Grand Pacha, on his visit to Constan- 
tinople two years ago, purchased for her. It was then nine 
o'clock, so making our salaams, we proceeded into the gardens. 

"We had not walked far, before the Prince espied one of the 
Arab gardeners, whom he requested to make him a bouquet. 
Three of the under-gardeners rushed off immediately to cull 
some flowers, but as they were, according to His Highness's 
idea, too dilatory (for like all Turks, whenever they require a 
thing, it must be brought to or done for them instantly), the 
little Prince put himself into a most violent passion. At length 
the head gardener came forward and presented him with tte 
bouquet. His Highness scarcely" deigned to look at it ; threw 
it on the ground, stamped his little feet upon it, and then, in 
the paroxysm of his passion, after a slave had picked it up and 
handed it to him, he deliberately amused himself by tearing it 



HAREM LIFE. 79 

to pieces. While thus giving vent to his anger, lie kept scold- 
ing the gardeners for not having assorted the colours in a pro- 
per manner. 

Turning round to the eunuchs who had accompanied the 
attendants, he ordered them, then and there, to cut sticks from 
off one of the trees, and to give the three gardeners a thrash- 
ing. Those spectres of men obeyed His Highness's instruc- 
tions, and the three Arabs were laid down upon the path by- 
some black slaves, and the eunuchs set to beating them. This 
they continued doing for some time ; but as the Prince made 
no sign to them to discontinue the chastisement, I began to 
remonstrate with him at such a display of his ungovernable 
temper.and in an authoritative tone exclaimed, " Bess ! BessP^ 
** Enough ! Enough !" when the eunuchs ceased. The morning 
was extremely sultry, and the perspiration poured down the 
faces of the eunuchs. 

This incident clearly gave me an insight into the Prince's 
character, which was evidently as cruel, overbearing, and 
brutal, as that of his grandfather, Ibrahim Pacha, whose pri- 
vate life Avas disgraced by the most barbarous pastimes ; but I 
had satisfactory evidence, by his conduct in the pavilion, that 
he did not inherit that courage which obtained his grandfather 
such renown. 

On our return to the Harem a novel scene presented itself 
in the noble Audience Hall. On the divan sat their High- 
nesses the Princesses, the Viceroy's three wives. They were 
elegantly attired in beautiful new muslin dresses, and very 
full trousers of the same material, with quilted satin jackets, 
of gaudy colours. Their heads were ornamented with large 
diamond pins ; and ail rose up from off their seats as a middle- 
sized gentleman, in a dressing-gown and slippers ct la Turque, 
entered the room, holding a white pocket-handkerchief in his 
hand, which was so large that I mistook it for a towel. 

The Princesses formed a kind of semicircle round him ; all 
salaamed him, to which he responded by an affable smile, 
patted the Grand Pacha on the cheek, and passed through 



80 HAEEM LIFE. 

without uttering a syllable. I followed the example set me 
by the Princesses, curtseyed to him, which salutation he re- 
turned by bowing. 

As I had not yet been introduced to His Highness, Ismael 
Pacha, the Viceroy, I innocently enough considered that this 
gentleman must be the Viceregal barber. 

The little Prince partook of his breakfast as usual at twelve 
o'clock, after which he amused himself by playing about the 
room with some of the English toys which I had presented to 
him. 

While engaged in that occupation, one of the female slaves, 
whom I afterwards found was his half-sister, that is, the Vice- 
roy's daughter by a slave (for his staff was composed of little 
girls and boys), offended him. He immediately seized hold of 
her by both her arms, pinched them most violently, and like 
a tiger bit them until he drew blood, after which he put his 
fingers into the poor little creature's mouth, and tore both 
sides of it, until the blood streamed down her chin like water. 
I scolded him well for such brutality, when His Highness 
burst into tears and walked away into anoither apartment. 

Scarcely had the little Prince proceeded a few paces, when 
he was met by the Princess Epouse, who inquired the cause of 
his grief, as it appears that all Turks and Egyptians have a 
perfect horror of seeing any person in tears. 

The facts were explained to Her Highness, who made the 
poor little slave who had been so barbarously treated by her 
son, first kiss the skirts of his coat, and then the carpet. But 
when I pointed out to Her Highness that the slave was not to 
blame, the Princess merely laughed, exclaiming, ^' Malesch, 
Madame,** "it. does not matter." Then the Prince became 
pacified, and resumed his amusements. Soon afterwards a 
middle-aged woman named Rhoda, the mother of the Harem, 
who was about fifty years of age, entered the apartment, ac- 
companied by four women much older than herself. 

This important personage, who acts as midwife, doctor, 
friend, and counsellor, is present in the bridal-chamber when 



HABEM LIFE. 81 

any of His Highness's daughters or slaves are married. She is 
one of the most powerful and influential of the whole of the in- 
mates of the Harem. To her is confided all the political 
changes which are hatched within its walls ; for it is the very 
focus of intrigue ; as it is but natural to suppose that their 
Highnesses the Viceroys, when enjoying their dolce far niente^ 
throw off all restraint, and chatter away as much as Turks are 
ever prone to do (and that is never very much) to their wives 
as to the sayings and doings of their ministers, associates in 
commerce, and favourites. But Ismael Pacha places his trust 
in and confides his secrets to the care of the Princess Valide, 
his august mother, the clever intriguing widow of that sin- 
gular Prince the late Ibrahim Pacha. StiU, all the Princesses 
belonging to the other members of the Viceregal family of 
Egypt, both widows, wives, and daughters, pay occasional visits 
to their Highnesses the three wives, with whom they generally 
pass the day ; and their conversation, brief and curt though it 
be, naturally turns upon the plans and actions of their liege 
lords, and then the Harem becomes the arena of 

" That vermin slander, bred in abject minds." 

She was attired in white linen, was inclined to embonpoint, of 
agreeable countenance, and short nose retrousse. She inquired of 
me in Arabic whether I spoke Italian, and receiving a reply in 
the affirmative, she then asked if I were married ? how long I 
had been so ? where I had lived ? what my parents were ? and 
a number of other commonplace questions. Having satisfied 
her queries, she asked me to have the kindness to show her my 
wardrobe. 

Conducting her into my room, into which I was followed by 
a whole bevy of white and black slaves, I placed in her hands 
several articles of wearing apparel, such as dresses, bonnets, 
hats, &c. She passed them over to the slaves, and coolly 
walked off with them into the Eeception Hall, and there ex- 
hibited them to the Princess Epouse, who admired them, and 
seemed particularly pleased with the hats and bonnets, all of 



82 HABESf LIFE. 

which she requested me to put on, so that Her Highness 
might see how they became me. 

After she had amused herself in that manner, the Princess 
retired to her chamber to take her siesta, I then went down 
into the Stone Hall, where I partook of what was to me my 
luncheon, and was again subjected to the mortification of 
having the German laundrymaid as my companion, notwith- 
standing that I had already complained to Her Highness of 
such treatment. 



• I 



CHAPTEE X. 

His Highness the Grand Pacha partook of his supper at half- 
past five, after which we again promenaded in the gardens 
until half-past seven, when I took him in, and handed His 
Highness over to the care of the head-nurse. Then I retired 
to my own chamber, changed my dress, and descended into the 
Stone Hall to partake of my dinner, which was similar to that 
which had been served up to me on the first day of my en- 
trance into the Harem, and so it continued till the day of my 
quitting the Viceroy's service. 

While I was sipping my coffee, the little slave who had been 
appointed to wait upon me let the china vase containing the 
sherbet fall, and broke it to pieces. It was immediately re- 
placed by another, which was handed me by an elder slave. 
Upon making inquiry of the head-nurse, who happened at that 
moment to enter the room, what had become of the Kaduyah, 
for that was the name of the slave who had broken the elegant 
china vase, she told me that I should not see her again for some 
days, as she had just undergone the usual punishment always 
inflicted upon all slaves who broke anything. 

Eeader, will you credit it ? — the poor creature had actually 
been seared on her arms with a red-hot iron ! And then Shay- 
tan went on to explain that all the black slaves in the Harem 
bore their characters about them. 



HABESf LIFE. 83 

I had previously observed that there was not a single one 
who had not undergone that punishment ; and, in short, many 
of their arms were literally covered with scars arising from 
such brutal treatment. All the black slaves were marked with 
three scars on their faces. The Viceregal brand being three 
marks distinguished them from those of private individunls, 
who were only marked with two scars. Singular to add, not 
any of the nurses were branded. 

'" Just as I had risen from the deal table, a young Arab 
woman entered the room ; she was dressed in coloured muslin, 
wore a red gauze handkerchief wrapped round her head ; beau- 
tiful diamond earrings hung from her ears, a handsome gold 
hunting-watch suspended from her neck by a thick massive 
gold chain, having also a rich Albert chain attached thereto, 
was tucked into her waistband. Her fingers were covered 
with superb diamond rings, the value of which would have 
been almost a fortune to any European lady. 

She was the Prince's Dadu-nina, wet-nurse, who had come 
to pay her respects to me. She remained but a very few 
minutes, asked several trivial questions, told me that she was 
married, that her husband lived at Cairo, that she was about to 
leave the service of the Viceroy to return to her home. 

I was just on the point of entering my chamber, when 
Khoda, the mother of the Harem, met me, and led me into 
the saloon occupied by the ladies of the Harem. There were 
about six or seven of them attired in different coloured muslins 
sitting d. la Turque, on cushions on the floor, which was covered 
with a rich Brussels carpet, playing at dominoes, their most 
favourite pastime ; others were amusing themselves smoking 
cigarettes, and listening to the tales which each in their turn 
had been relating. 

One of them, named Emina, rose from her seat and offered 
me a cigarette, which, however, I declined with thanks ; and, 
knowing full well that I never smoked, she did not feel in the 
slightest degree offended at my breach of Turkish etiquette, 
but returned to her cushion. 



84 HAEESf LIFE. 

As soon as I had seated myself in the divan, Rhoda related 
the following incident of the manner in which marriages are 
frequently arranged in Turkey : — 

" Some years ago, on one occasion," began the mistress of the 
Harem, " when I accompanied the Princess the Lady Para- 
mount to Constantinople, I became acquainted with a Turkish 
family, who had an only daughter, named Sarata. She had 
just turned eleven ; had been affianced when in her fifth year 
to a young man of the name of Eeschid, who was then about 
sixteen, and to whom she was on the point of being united. 

" Eeschid had never seen her since they were children to- 
gether ; so that he had no recollection of ner features. Sarata 
had also lost all idea of the photograph of her betrothed. She 
therefore entreated her mother to allow her to have an oppor- 
tunity of seeing him before the marriage took place. 

** The old lady, who was a very indulgent parent, so arranged 
it, one day when Eeschid was paying a visit to the father, 
that Sarata should conceal herself behind a macharabieh, and 
thus she obtained a full view of her future husband's features. 
Curiosity prompted her to remain some time in her hiding- 
place ; and she heard her father say, in reply to a question 
that Eeschid had put to him, respecting the day on which they 
were to be married, * Quail im ' (* I give my sanction '), and 
the day was named. 

•* It now only wanted about eight days to the period when 
Sarata, who was then called Kutchuh Hanem (miss, or little 
lady), would be addressed by the lonf^-covetod title of Bruich 
Hanem (mistress, or great lady). 

" Singular to add, Eeschid also expre8S'-,d to his mother a 
desire to obtain a peep at the features of his future better 
half, for, as she was continually lauding the beauty of his little 
bride, he felt rather dubious whether he ought to believe all 
that his parent had said in her favour. Her anxiety to hasten 
the match made him dubious as to the personal appearance of 
Sarata. 

" Determined, if possible, to gratify his desire, he had re- 



HABEM LIFE. 85 

course to a Levantine Jewess, who was in the habit of supply- 
ing many of the harems of the 4lite with jewellery. She was 
an old, cunning creature ; and knowing how completely she 
was the slave to that sovereign ruler of the Ottoman do- 
minions. Prince Baksheesh, he endeavoured to persuade her to 
introduce herself into the hall of the Harem in which Sarata 
was domiciled, in order that she might be able to give him an 
accurate delineation of the features and appearance of his 
betrothed. 

** The sly faggot of a maid of Israel returned to his residence 
two days afterwards, and ga^e him a most flattering account 
of Sarata, whom she designated as the * Star of Beauty ' — com- 
pared her teeth to pearls, her eyes to stars, and the arches of 
her eyebrows to the arc-en-ciel (rainbow). 

" It appeared that she had been in the habit of taking quan- 
tities of jewellery into that Harem on several occasions, and 
that, on that very morning, she had visited Sarata for the pur- 
pose of calling for some watch-charms, keys, &c., that required 
to be repaired. And it is no uncommon occurrence, where 
valuable ornaments are taken away by such individuals out of 
the Harems, that some of less value are substituted for them, 
or else they are purloined. 

"It happened only at the latter end of last year that 
Hawwaia Hanem, a member of the late Viceroy Abbas Pacha's 
Harem, brought an action in the British Consular Court at 
Cairo, before Albany Fonblanque, Esq., H. M. late Vice-Consul, 
against Barbara Maggi and Luigi Maggi, to recover a valuable 
ornament, c&lled ffirlandu, worth 2,500/., which she had entrusted 
to the defendants to repair. 

" The bride had found great fault with the quality of those 
articles, for, like a great portion of the modern bijoux generally 
sold to the inmates of many of the Harems by those kind of 
women, they were perfect rubbish, being neither more nor less 
than metal covered with a thick plate of gold, and for which the 
slaves pay almost fabulous sums. 



86 HABEH LIFE. 

" Eeschid, thinking himself extremely fortunate in the selec- 
tion that his mother had made for him, exclaimed, ^Allaha 
chuhurelhamduhillahpkh eyou urC (Very well; God be thanked!'), 
and at the same time handed her a packet of gold. He also 
gave her several pretty boxes of fruit and bonboDs, and two 
handsome vases, filled with artificial flowers^ to present to his 
bride. 

" As soon as the marriage contract was signed, the costly 
bridal^ presents were sent. They consisted principally of a 
parcel of rich silks and jewellery, a dressing-glass, and a pair of 
slippers for the bath-room, which latter is always considered an 
indispensable article. 

" Reschid, in return, received from Sarata's parents a quantity 
of body-linen, napkins fringed with gold, silver, and silk. Then 
each of the parents exchanged presents among themselves. 

"A considerable period elapsed between the signing of the 
marriage contract and the bridal day, during which time 
Reschid was occupied in getting together the amount of the 
settlement, while the bride's parents were preparing her 
trousseau, 

*' At length the joyful day arrived, and the festivities lasted 
four days— that is from Monday morning until sunset on 
Thursday. The marriage night was fixed for Priday, which is 
considered the most propitious day, on account of that being 
the day on which Mahomet the Prophet was conceived, hence 
the reason why it is our [the Turkish] sabbath. 

" The bridal ceremony was celebrated by both families, the 
women according to their manner, and the men in theirs. The 
rejoicings consisted chiefly in grand banquets, during the 
intervals of which large quantities of coffee, sherbet, preserves, 
perfumes, pipes, and cigarettes were used. 

** A most lively hilarity characterized these reunions, which 
were at one time varied by the feats of jugglers and dancers, 
and at others by the exhibition of Kara-kioz, the Turkish Punch. 
The parents and their acquaintances passed twenty-four hours 



HABEM lAFE. 87 

in each other's residence ; and so numerous were they that the 
divans in the rooms and the Harems were their seats bj day 
and their couches by night. 

"Each day had its peculiar ceremony. On the Tuesday 
Sarata*s trousseau was carried in state to the bridegroom's house. 
On Wednesday evening the bride was led to the bath-room, and 
there underwent the luxury or torture of a bath. For to my 
idea and feelings it is nothing more nor less than a punishment 
to be scalded with boiling water like a dead pig, and then to be 
kneaded about like a lump of dough until your whole body 
looks like a mummy. The hands of the slaves who soap your 
person and rub you are shrivelled up like those of washerwomen 
just taken out of the scalding suds, and in that state they 
remain. Then an incredible number of cosmetics, salves, dyes, 
&c., are used, my utter abomination (for my mother's daughter 
has never used anything but healthy cold water), which they 
apply before quitting the bath-room, where the whole of the 
lady guests and the poor women of the locality were assembled 
to meet her. 

" The latter had divested themselves of their rags, which they 
left in the hall, and attired themselves in new garments which 
had been bought for the occasion out of the sum appropriated 
for the festival. Early the next afternoon, Sarata, accompanied 
by her mother, sisters, and suite, left her parental roof for that 
of her husband. Then the parents, the guests who had been 
invited by both families, the men and the women belonging to 
both Harems, all assembled there. The festivities lasted the 
whole day, and ended with a grand supper. 

''At the silent hour of midnight, Eeschid, after having taken 
leave of his father, whose hand he kissed, as also those of his 
brothers and relatives, repaired to his own Harem, into which 
he glided more like a snake than a human being. There 
he found Sarata, closely veiled, seated on a divan, await- 
ing his arrival. The mother of the Harem, who stood in one 
corner of the room, introduced him, as was her office, to his 
bride, who on his entrance rose up off her seat^ aaajL ^s^ V^ 



88 HABEM LIFE. 

advanced to take liold of her hand, seized his and kissed it as a 
token of submission. Resehid then lifted up the mysterious 
veil. The old mother of the Harem still occupied the corner, 
as motionless as a statue in its niche. 

" * I must send that baggage away,' thought B.eschid to him- 
self; but this was more easily said than managed. * Here,' 
said he, drawing forth from his pocket a silk purse, * are two 
hundred piastres, take them and begone.' 

'* The old hag did not move a muscle. 

" * Take any one of these ! ' exclaimed the bridegroom, holding 
out his hand, in which lay several purses, some with five, six, 
eight, and ten hundred piastres. 

" Still the old creature did not budge an inch. Sarata was 
smiling all this time beneath her mask, yclept veil. 

*• At length, Eeschid, thinking that it was quite time to put 
an end to this farce, pushed the old hag out of the chamber. 
Then he turned round and looked upon Sarata's face for the 
first time. But, alas ! he was most wofuUy disappointed ; for 
Sarata was not the beauteous Peri the crafty Jewess, who had 
taken baksheesh from all parties, had led him to believe." 

As soon as Ithoda had thus finished this reminiscence of her 

visit to Stamboul, I regained my chamber, and added a few 

pages to my journal. It was a most lovely night. I sat on my 

box by the open window, but my reverie was soon disturbed by 

the sound of the beating of ^muffled^ drums falling on my ears, 

which brought to my mind the " Dead March in Saul " when. 

played at a soldier's funeral. Leaning out of the window, and 

glancing in the direction of His Highness's pavilion, I perceived 

a female figure enveloped in a large black hubarah, shuffling (for 

no Turkish or Egyptian woman can walk) along towards the 

gate that leads into the pavilion gardens. She was preceded by 

two eunuchs ; then followed several boy eunuchs beating their 

muffled drums, which I was afterwards in the habit of hearing 

of a night, almost as frequently as the beating of the tattoo in 

India, and 

" I hated its mournful and discordant sound, 

Parading round, and round, and round." 



HABEM LIFE. 89 

I looked wifch astonishment at this midnight march. Eor 
some moments my glance was riveted upon the procession, it 
had such a novel and singular appearance ; but turning mj 
eyes towards His Highness's pavilion I beheld it lighted up • 
Then, looking through my achromatic opera-glass, and at the 
same time placing my ear down on the window-sill, I 

" Heard through the pavilion melodious music steal, 
And self-prepared the splendid banquet stands ; 
Self-poured the champagne sparkles in the bowl ; 
The lute and viol, touched by unseen hands, 
And the soft voices of the choral bands." 

Then full well did I know that Ismael Pacha, the Viceroy, was 
giving a fete that evening : and the idea struck me, as after- 
wards proved to be the fact, that the veiled figure was one of 
His Highness's " ikbals " (favourite slaves), who had gone to 
pass the night in the far-famed "guest's chamber," in the 
Pavilion. I afterwards learned that whenever the Viceroy 
required the presence of any of the favourites, they invariably 
proceeded to his presence in that manner ; and proud, indeed, 
were they whenever His Highness delighted to have their 
society. 

A few nights afterwards, about eleven o'clock, when I had 
closed my window, and had sat down to continue my journal, 
I was disturbed by the sounds of loud revelry. At first I was 
at a loss to conceive whence the noise issued, as I knew that 
the eunuchs always locked the outer doors leading down to the 
staircases at ten o'clock. Still, as the rompir^ and laughing 
appeared to come from near the Harem gardens, at first I 
thought that, perhaps, some of the Viceroy's guests had become 
rather jovial, and had rambled about in the Pavilion gardens, 
in the vicinity of the Harem. 

Listening, however, for a few moments, I heard the well- 
known laugh of one of my own slave attendants. Bising from 
my seat, I extinguished the wax-lights, opened the window 
softly, peeped out into the grounds, and, lo ! there^ tQ tssi^xsi^^fist 



90 HABEM LIFE. 

amazement, I beheld a motley group of black female slaves. 
Moving about them were figures closely resembling the soldiers, 
when muffled up in their cloaks, who usually mounted guard 
at the outside gates of the Harem. Looking through my 
opera-glass, I immediately discerned several of the eunuchs 
" tripping along the verdant green ; " others were dancing and 
singing as merrily as if they were an " elfin band." 

I had heard much, and read a great deal about the impossi- 
bility of men entering the Harems of the East, considered so 
" sacred " . by all Moslems, that no true believer has ever been 
known to visit the "Abode of Bli^s " of a true Mussulman. But 
now that I had seen the female slaves of the Viceregal Harem 
rambling about at night with the eunuchs, ** the guardians of 
those girls,'* and other muffled figures, I could not help giving cre- 
dence to the assertion of a celebrated writer on Oriental life, that, 
crabbed and cross-grained as the eunuchs may be, still there are 
manyof them who bow the knee to that sovereign ruler of Egypt, 
Prince Baksheesh, and that golden keys do sometimes throw 
back the rusty hinges of the doors they guard ; or else how 
came the slaves and their partners, those muffled figures, 

" To be dancing on the verdant lawn, 
In the bright moonlight." 

Tdien I remembered Mr. B.'s narrative of the eunucb, Dafay, 
whose wife had a numerous family ; and having myself witnessed 
several of these spectres of mankind " toying and wooing " 
with the black female slaves, I doubted their infirmity of body, 
and kept a watchful eye over them. I would never allow any 
of the female slaves to sleep within my chamber, the door of 
which I both locked and bolted within nightly. 

I had an excellent opportunity of remarking the immense 
sums of money squandered away in the Viceregal Harems of 
G-hezire and Alexandria. The annual supply of the richest 
silks, satins, velvets, laces, muslins, an d numerous articles of 
female attire, together with boots, shoes, slippers, confec- 
tionery, bonbons, golden-leaved tobacco, Schiedam, perfumes, 



HABEM LIFE. 91 

and a whole host of miscellaneous European articles, could 
not have cost less than 100,000/. per annum. The amount 
that their Highnesses expended in jewels alone averaged 
SflOOL per annum ; the sum saciificed upon the altar of Prince 
Baksheesh cannot fall far short of 70,000/. per annum, and 
the hare expenses of the household must amount to 44i,000/. 
per annum ; so that it may he estimated the Viceregal Harem 
costs the Viceroy no less a sum than 250,000/. to 300,000/. 
per annum, or 250/. to 300/. per head; and this is, 1 feel 
assured, considerahly within hounds, hecause it must he home 
in mind that their Highnesses the Princesses distrihute 
baksheesh, and a supply of hoth plain and costly attire, to 
those around them with no sparing hand. 

The census of the Harem is 150 to 200 slaves and eunuchs 
included ; aud the profits of those who supply the Harem 
must be enormous ; for every commodity is purchased in bulk, 
at wholesale prices, and charged to the Viceroy at the market- 
able rates. 



CHAPTEE XL 

One morning when I was quitting the Grand Pacha's Eecep- 
tion Saloon, accompanied by my pupil, to take our usual 
ramble in the gardens, one of the eunuchs approached, and 
after having made his ordinary salaam, informed me that the 
Viceroy Ismael Pacha requested me to take the Prince on 
hoard his beautiful yacht. The Crocodile, and that I should 
find the Grand Pacha's yacht, the elegant Fairy, lying off the 
Harem landing-place, which would convey us on board His 
Highness's steamer, which had proceeded farther up the Nile. 

Eetuming to my chamber, I attired myself in a silk walk- 
ing-dress, while Sbaytan took the Prince into his room, and 
dressed him in grand tenue as a Turkish General. 

His uniform consisted of a pair of grey trousers, fastened 
round his knees with a strap, patent leather knickerbockers^ 



92 HAEEM LIFE. 

laced up outside, a grey cloth kilt, buckled round his waist bj 
a broad white web band, over which was placed a jacket of the 
same colour, most richly embroidered with silver lace and 
silver buttons. Then a black silk velvet paletot, trimmed with 
gold lace and gold buttons, and lined with crimson satin, the 
skirts of which were drawn back by a strap of gold lace 
fastened behind to the waist with a gold button, completed his 
dress. On his shoulders he wore two gold epaulets. In his 
pockets were placed two handkerchiefs, one of red silk and the 
other of finest lawn, each corner of which was embroidered 
with white silk and gold thread, neither of which he ever used. 
They were never washed, but when crumpled, ironed out. 

Leading the G-rand Pacha by the hand, I took him down 
stairs, proceeded across the garden into the Harem, and passed 
forthwith into the room occupied by the ladies of the Harem. 
There I found their Highnesses the Princesses, the three wives, 
congregated together, each of whom took hold of the Prince, 
kissed him several times, and gave him messages to deliver to 
the Viceroy. 

As soon as the Grand Pacha had bid them adieu, I pro- 
ceeded with him to the landing-place, where we embarked on 
board the Fairy, accompanied by his usual attendants, and the 
yacht steamed away up the Nile. The Prince, as soon as he 
went on board, where he was received with the usual honours, 
hurried down the stairs into the saloon, and most kindly took 
me all over the yacht. 

The saloon was most elegantly fitted up. On its gilded 
panels were painted several pleasing landscapes of Alexandria 
and its suburbs. The ceiling was painted white, with gilded 
beading and cornices. The floor was covered with a rich Brus- 
sels carpet. The sofa was of ormolu and gold, covered with 
figured white satin. Large mirrors reached down from the 
ceiling to the floor. Ormolu tables, with marble tops, were 
placed about in different parts, as also cane chairs. The 
cushions of the divans were of white figured satin, trimmed 
with brilliant massive gold tassels. Some black satin cushions, 



HABEM LIFE. 93 

ornamented with gold thread and pearls, also lay upon the 
floor 

The six plate-glass windows on each side, which reached 
from the ceiling down to the floor, were fixed in rosewood 
frames, that could, as well as the wooden jalousies, if neces- 
sary, be drawn over those openings when the glass windows 
were drawn back into the sides. 

At the farther extremity were two immense glass mirrors, 
which formed, as it were, folding-doors, and when these were 
drawn back the whole appeared as one immense saloon. 

The doors haying been pushed back, I entered the other 
compartment, which I found similarly furnished to that I had 
just quitted. Proceeding along it, I reached a mirror that 
formed a door on the right-hand side, and pushing this back, I 
discovered that it led me into a lavatory. Opposite to it was 
the water-closet — not d V Anglaise^ but d la Turque — ^which 
consisted of a marble floor, in which was a hole cut, in the 
shape of a carpenter's plumb-line. I had seen similar ones at 
Troyes, in Prance, on the line from Paris to Basle. In one 
comer stood a silver ewer filled with water. At the farthest 
extremity of the saloon were two immense mirrors, reaching 
down from the ceiling to the floor, which formed folding-doors, 
and on sliding them back into their sockets, both myself and 
my pupil walked out on to the semicircular poop-deck, which 
was carpeted and covered with an awning, and encircled by a 
gilt rail. 

After steaming up the river some distance, the tender, 
as the Fairj/ wqs often called, soon reached the Viceroy's 
yacht. The Crocodile ^ and was hailed by the Captain Bachi, to 
bring-to. 

A long narrow rowing boat then approached the yacht. It 
was covered with an awning, manned by fourteen rowers, 
having crimson velvet- cushioned seats on both sides, the bottom 
being matted and richly carpeted. 

At the stern, which was raised, sat the captain and four of 
the crew, holding the cords of the red satin awnin^^Vvc^^^^^^^isJ^s. 



94 HABEM LIFE. 

white satin and trimmed with gold fringe. We both entered 
it, seated ourselves under the awning, and were rowed along- 
side The Crocodile. 

As the boat neared His Highness's yacht, the band of the 
regiment on board (for Ismael Pacha, who may be said, like 
the Chinese, to live the greater part of his time on the water, 
always carries a band with him), struck up the Sultan's March 
as the Grand Pacha and myself ascended the ladder, which 
was covered with crimson cloth. The officers then advanced, 
saluted him, and the soldiers presented arms.* 

As the Viceroy had visitors, we proceeded into the first or 
audience saloon, on the panels of which were exquisitely 
painted several scenes of the most interesting places on the 
Nile. Between these were let in, as it were, in richly gilded 
frames, peacocks with their magnificent tails spread out at full 
length, and several other specimens of the varied ornithology 
of Egypt, all formed of precious stones. Also numerous 
bouquets of flowers and clusters of fruit. The ceiling was 
painted white, having a beautiful centre-piece representing a 
battle-scene, one of Ibrahim Pacha's victories in Syria ; the 
most conspicuous objects in which were several wild-looking 
horses, held by Arabs. It was edged with gild beading and 
ornamented with rich cornices. 

The floor was covered with matting, over which was placed 
a rich-looking drab- ground carpet, interspersed with rose and 
large blue convolvuluses. The divan in which His Highness 
sat is covered with red and white silk and gold thread, which 
gives it a most gorgeous appearance. The framework of the 
chairs were gold, and the seats covered with the same mate- 
rial as the divan, as also were the hangings of the doors and 
windows. In the centre stood a superb round inlaid table. 
Mirrors were placed on each side of the entrance, and also 
behind the divan, which was ranged across the saloon on which 
the Viceroy generally sat, so that he could see every person as 
they approached. Passing through a panel door, which was 
painted with a fine view of the cataracts up the Nile, we 



HABEM LIFE. 95 

entered another saloon, whose sides, ceiling, and carpet were 
similar to those of the compartment through which the Prince 
and myself had just passed, except that between the painted 
panels were placed gilded frames containing figures of wild 
animals and birds, all haying jewelled eyes. 

The seats to the chairs, &c., were covered with red satin, 
the framework, chairs and sofas were of ormolu and gold, the 
hangings and doors were of the same material as the covers of 
the furniture. In the centre stood a square sliding dining- 
table, covered with a crimson cloth richly embroidered with 
gold thread, fringed with a deep border of bullion, and at the 
corners were the everlasting crescent and star. Mirrors 
reached from the ceiling, on which was painted an Egyptian 
landscape, down to the floor. 

Then I pushed back the folding glass-doors into their 
sockets, and we walked out on to the poop -deck, which was 
covered with a handsome thick carpet. Large easy rosewood 
chairs and footstools, covered with green velvet, were scattered 
about. It was protected from the rays of the burning sun by 
a snow-white canvas awning, under which was placed a square 
one of thick crimson silk, lined with white satin and trimmed 
with bullion fringe, with curtains of the same material hanging 
down from a gilt rod. Having remained for some momenta 
enjoying the refreshing breeze which had sprung up, and which 
at that season of the year was a luxury, we descended into the 
saloon, opened a door on the right hand and walked into the 
Viceroy's bedchamber. The ceUing was richly gilded and 
beautifully painted in fresco ; and the panels were of rosewood 
highly polished, between which hung in superb gilded frames 
figures of numerous animals. This constant display of figures 
of the inhabitants of the forest impressed me with an idea that 
the whole of the descendants of Mehemet Ali with whom I 
had not as yet come into contact, were naturally cruel, over- 
bearing, and even brutal in their tastes. In short, barbarity 
appeared to be a legacy which had descended to them, as I had 
abeady seen the Gfxand Pacha manifest the utmost indifference- 



96 HABEM LIFE. 

to human sufferings, and take delight in the exercise of wanton 
cruelty towards his inferiors and the companions of his daily 
pastimes. 

The floor was covered with a crimson carpet interspersed 
with white Japan roses. The gilded iron bedstead was sur- 
mounted with gilded knobs ; on the top in the centre stood a 
large gilt crescent. The hangings, which slid upon gilded 
rods, were of rich crimson silk. The coverlet was of white 
corded silk superbly embroidered witbgold thread and trimmed 
with bullion fringe. At the foot, resting on an ormolu table 
on which was placed a magnificent Sevres toilette service, 
stood a large mirror. At one side of the chamber was placed 
a superb inlaid ebony wardrobe, and opposite to it stood a rich 
cabinet to match. The latter was a most exquisite piece of 
workmanship, a perfect gem. On this day it so attracted the 
notice of the Grand Pacha, who must have observed it " many 
a time and oft," that he stopped to examine every part of it. 
On this morning, however, its golden key had been left in the 
lock, and the Prince's curiosity to examine its interior was so 
intense that I could not restrain His Highness from unlock- 
ing it, who immediately commenced rummaging its contents. 
Among numerous other objects of rare vertu which attracted 
the little Prince's attention, was a gold-clasped red morocco 
book, about the size of an ordinary note letter blotter. Tak- 
ing it up and handing it to me he requested that I would open 
it for him. 

Acting according to his commands I turned the elegantly- 
chased gold key that was fastened to its handle, in the Bramah- 
like wards, and then handed the book over to the Prince. He 
took it in his tiny hands, turned it over and over again, ad- 
mired the elegant manner in which its covers were embossed, 
opened it, turned the leaves over, apparently expecting to find 
that it contained some pictures or photographs. 

Great, however, was his disappointment, when he found 
only a few pages covered over with what he termed characters 
a la Franca, Placing that precious ** Eed Book," which, 



HAREM LIFE. 97 

though not the Egyptian Court Guide, might most api)ro- 
priately have been termed, minus its colour, the Viceroy 
Ismael Pacha's ^' Blue Book," into my Jiand, I scanned the 
pages, and — guess my utter astonishment, when I saw that it 
contained a list of the " eighteen other Princes ** who govern 
Egypt. 

I could scarcely believe my eyesight. It appeared to me as 
if I were under the delusion of a mirage. Again I ran my eye 
down that list. Then I became convinced that it was a 
reality ; for at the head of the first page loomed forth, in a 
bold, clear handwriting, the title of that sovereign ruler of 
Egypt, Prince Baksheesh, and underneath, in regular order, 
were placed the names, at full length, of all those special 
Princes and their subordinates ; and opposite to each, in the 
red-ink column, commencing with that of my own special 
Prince, were placed sums beginning with 3,000i. down to 300/., 
and at the bottom the significant words "^er awwMm." Then 
I fully understood the force of the expression of that clever 
contributor to * Once a Week,' when he states, " Let your 
own special Prince back up your petition," &c., and what 
have you got ? Nothing ! I repeat, that at that moment I 
only understood the force of that expression, but I can now 
affirm that I have lived to experience its veracity. 
' I relocked that valuable souvenir. Kind reader, it is indeed a 
precious volume ! for no less a sum than 17,000/. was offered for 
its abstraction. I then explained to H. H. the Grand Pacha 
that it contained an account of the baksheesh which I sup- 
posed the Viceroy was either accustomed to, or else intended 
to, distribute to those Europeans whom "he delighted to 
honour," and safely lodged it in its place. I had held a for- 
tune in my hands ; but as " honesty is the best policy," I left 
the tempter, and walked away from the cabinet — a wiser, al- 
though decidedly not a richer woman. 

On the top of this matchless cabinet stood a most magnifi- 
cently inlaid square ivory box, which also attracted the Prince's 
attention ; but finding that it was locked, he turned round to 

n 



98 HABEM LIFE. 

the Viceroy's Tchiboukdji, *' pipe-bearer," who maj be termed 
His Highnesses factotum. The individual holding this office is 
one of the most influential persons about his person, since he 
possesses the power to refuse all admittance to the Viceregal 
presence, and can at all times command the ear of his august 
liege. In short, it may be remarked, that he seldom or never 
quits the Viceregal presence by night nor day. 

I have often been with His Highness, Ismael Pacha, when 
the world may have thought that we were "all alone, all 
alone ! ** but you may take it for granted that, as my footsteps 
approached towards the Viceregal sanctorum, the Tchiboukdji 
vanishes, Asmodeus-like, out of sight, undoubtedly exclaim- 
ing to himself, like Oberon in the 'Midsummer's Night 
Dream/ — 

'* Bat who comes here ? I am inyisible, 
And I will oyerhear their conference ;" 

and snugly ensconced himself behind the hangings of either the 
doors or windows, as was his wont. Had that drapery been 
drawn aside, there would that faithful being have been found 
standing as motionless and breathless as the spectre in ' Don 
Giovanni;' so that you may believe me when I say that, 
shrouded as it were in his invisibility, he is ever present at all . 
interviews which take place between His Highness and his 
male favourites, associates in commerce, ministers, ah! and 
even when *' our own Prince," or any of the other seventeen 
Princes who govern Egypt obtain audiences. 

Thus does he become the depository of both private and 
state secrets. His smile to all about the Viceregal person is 
like the " new born day," but his frown is like the impene- 
trable darkness of night. The Grand Eunuch is his bosom 
friend, and when smoking their golden-coloured tobacco to- 
gether (rendered still more acceptable by the addition of a 
mite of opium) is it not possible that he may have exclaimed, 
in the beautiful language of the Prince of Poets — 



HABEM LIFE. 09 

" But that I am forbid t 

To tell the secrets of the prison-house, 
I would a tale unfold, whose lightest word 
Would harrow up tliy soul, freeze thy young blood j 
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from thoir tphoros ; 
Thy knotted and combined locks to part, 
And each particular hair to stand on end, 
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.*' 

The Tchihoukdji immediately produced a small key and opoued 
the box. 

The Grand Pacha gazed with delight upon the contents of 
both the compartments. The top one contained numerous 
small purses filled with Egyptian silver paroB, and sovereigns, 
both Egyptian, English, and Turkish, Erench napoleons, and 
gold ten and five-franc pieces. Lifting up the tray, the second 
compartment was filled with jewelled hilts for swords, buckles, 
inlaid with crescents and stars of diamonds, which had evidently 
been used for sword-belts, many of which must from their an- 
tique settings, have belonged to the renowned Mehemot All 
and the gallant Ibrahim Pacha. 

There was another tray filled with an immense quantity of 
large loose precious stones of great value, of which the little 
Prince took up a handful, seated himself upon the divan, and 
began to play with them. After ho had amused himself for a 
considerable time in that harmless manner, he made the Tchi- 
boukdji hand him all the large purses of money which stood in 
the top compartment, one by one, while he emptied thoir con- 
tents on to the divan, and then set to playing at keeping a 
bank, his most favourite pastime. Thus early did he develop 
that he inherited his father's genius of understanding ^^ the art 
of making money produce a proper return/' 

As soon as he became tired of that amusement, ho rose up, 
leaving to the Tchiboukdji, who was of an amiable dinpositiori, 
the trouble of re-sorting all the different coins, and putting 
them back into their respective purses. 

After we had examined the whole of this princely yacht^ 



100 HABEM life: 

we proceeded into the grand saloon, where we now found 
Ismael Pacha, the Viceroy, who had been closeted with BKs 
Excellency Reschid Pacha on our arrival, alone, dressed a la 
EuropSenne, sitting on a divan ; and whom I now discovered, 
to my discomfiture, to be no other than the individual whom 
I had mistaken in the Harem to be the Viceregal barber. I 
curtseyed and remained standing, until he motioned me to be 
seated on the divan on his right side. 

His Highness, who is most affable both in his manners and 
deportment, has a pleasing yet thoughtful expression of coun- 
tenance, an excellent type of honhommie, and yet the very 
picture of the celebrated Eothschild when leaning against the 
pillar on 'Change, minus the Jewish cast of contour. He 
scanned my lineaments and attire from head to foot, and, as is 
his custom, "he slily lifted his eye's blue windowlet," and 
looked intently at me for a considerable time. Then he placed 
the little Prince on his left hand, and despatched the Tchu 
boukdji^ who had now entered the apartment, to fetch a purse 
of paraSy which generally contained about 51., the contents of 
which he emptied into the Grand Pacha's pockets to distribute 
as baksheesh among his attendants, the whole of which I was 
surprised to see on our return to the Harem was taken pos- 
session of by the head-nurse, wbo handed the greater portion 
to myself. At first I declined to accept any of the coins, but 
being informed that it was the custom to receive such, I always 
afterwards took whatever pieces of money Shay tan handed to 
me ; the rest, as a matter, of course, she kept to herself. 

The Viceroy then turned round to me, and inquired if I 
would like to make an excursion up the Nile. Eeplying in 
the aflfirmative, and thanking Ismael Pacha for his attention, I 
curtseyed and retired with the Prince, who salaamed his father, 
as was his usual custom. 

On descending the gangway we were rowed alongside an- 
other yacht, called the " Ibis," on board of which we were 
received with the customary honours, and passed the day 
steaming up and down the Nile, during which excursion we 



HABEM LIFE. 101 

passed within sight of the palaces of Kasr Diibarra, Kasr El 
Ainee, and the celebrated island of Ehoda, at the southern ex- 
tremity of which stands the ISTilo meter, at the point where the 
river branches off into two streams, one of which passes by 
Grhiseh, and the other by Old Cairo. A portion of the island 
was at that time covered with the slime of the Nile, through 
which, however, several shrubs had thrust, as it were, their 
branches ; white ibises were on the surface, dipping their 
beaks into it in search of prey ; huge sycamores spread their 
grateful shade around. 

Those beautiful gardens, the delight of Ibrahim Pacha, 
which stand on its northern extremity, were at that season of 
the year just bursting forth in all their splendour. There the 
stately palm-trees of the Antilles waved their lofty, slender 
branches ; the gigantic Indian bamboos, upwards of ten feet 
high, grow as luxuriantly as if they reared their heads in the 
jungles of Bengal. There also were to be seen specimens of 
foliage quite foreign to the soil, but cut in most singular 
fashion, as also fruit-trees, whose forms are as peculiar as the 
taste of their fruit, all of which give a most curious and unique 
aspect to those exquisite gardens, which are interspersed with 
long and wide shady avenues, and surrounded by almost im- 
penetrable masses of masonry. There flower-beds flourish 
filled with brilliant exotics, and emerald spots irrigated with 
streams of clear water, and large patches of vegetable-gardens 
in the highest state of cultivation. A small white marble 
kiosk reared its tapering roof above the dark green foliage of 
the sycamores, and a stone bank stood by the river-side. 

The next morning, as soon as the Prince had returned from 
his usual walk, I obtained permission from the Princess 
Bpouse to pay a visit to Mr. B.'s, at Cairo. Orders were ac- 
cordingly given by the Grand Eunuch for a state barge to be 
prepared to convey me across the Nile, and a messenger was 
despatched to Cairo, to order a carriage to be sent down to 
the landing-place, on the Cairo side, as there are no carriages 
or horses kept at the Harem or Pavilioiv. 



102 HAEEM LIFE. 

After I had been kept waiting several hours, I embarked in 
the barge, landed on the other side of the Nile, entered the 
Viceregal carriage, and forthwith proceeded to the banker's. 

Fortunately I found Mr. B. at home. He received me 
very kindly, and listened attentively to my description of the 
inconveniences to which I had been subjected. 

As I found it utterly impossible to adopt any regular sys- 
tem as to the educational surveillance ctf the Grand Pacha, I 
deemed it prudent to explain in detail to Mr. B. the difficul- 
ties which I had to encounter. 

The irregularity which prevailed in the domestic arrange- 
m'ents of the Harem had totally frustrated all my endeavours 
to carry out any regular system. Sometimes I received orders 
from the Grand Eunuch which were issued at the caprice of 
the Princess Epouse, who, as a matter of course, was perfectly 
ignorant as to the manner adopted in Europe of training up 
young children, to take the Grand.Pacha out walking at six o'clock 
in the morning ; on other occasions at seven, eight, and nine 
o'clock. And when once the little Prince was in the gardens, 
it was exceedingly difficult to get him to return. His will was 
law ; and no matter how singular and unreasonable his whims 
were, still he must be indulged in them. 

I drew up a scheme for his education, and endeavoured to 
obtain the Viceroy's sanction to its execution ; but that Prince 
explained to me that he did not wish the Prince to be taught 
from books or toys, as he would pick up English quickly 
enough by being constantly with me ; so that I abandoned all 
idea of educational training. 

Then I explained to Mr. B. the numerous degradations to 
which I was subjected, and called his attention to the fact that 
I was unprovided with either chairs or tables ; that I was ob- 
liged to use my trunks as substitutes for such necessaries, which 
were liable to, and actually did, before I retired from His 
Highness's service, produce spinal complaint. 

Again and again, as I had previously done, when remaining as 
a guest, nay, I should rather add as a caged bird, under his hospi- 



HABEM LIFE. 103 

* 

table roof, I pointed out to him that not only did I find the Arab 
diet so nauseous to my taste as to oblige me to Hve chiefly upon 
dry bread and a little pigeon or mutton, but that, owing to the 
want of more nourishing food, and especially European cook- 
ing, I found my strength gradually sinking day by day ; and 
that the constant use of coffee, and the total deprivation of 
those stimulants, such as malt liquor and wine, to which I had 
always been accustomed, and of which it is absolutely necessary 
that Europeans should partake in warm countries to counter- 
act the hostile debilitating effects of the climate, would, I fear, 
soon throw me on a bed of sickness. 

Besides, I was constantly being sent out with the Prince' 
into the gardens during the intense heat of the day, the ther- 
mometer often ranging from 99° to 100° ; it really seemed as 
if the Princess Epouse considered that I had been thoroughly 
acclimatized before I entered the Harem. 

Then the very atmosphere that I breathed was continually 
impregnated with the fumes of tobacco, into which large quan- 
tities of opium and other deleterious narcotics were infused, 
which so affected my constitution that my spirits began to flag, 
and I felt a kind of heavy languid apathy come over me, that 
scarcely any amount of energy on my part was able to shake 
off. 

The irksome monotony of my daily life had produced a most 
unpleasant feeling in my mind. Not only had I lost much of 
my wonted energy, but a kind of a lethargy seemed to have 
crept over me ; a most indefinable reluctance to move about 
had imperceptibly gained ascendancy over my actions ; — to 
walk, to speak (and here I must not forget to mention that my 
voice had become extremely feeble) — to apply myself to draw- 
ing, reading, or in fact, to make the slightest exertion of any 
kind whatever, had become absolutely irksome to me. 

It was not the feeling of what we Europeans call ennui which 
I experienced, for that sensation can always be shook off by a 
little moral courage and energy ; but it was a state bordering on 
that frightful melancholy, that muat, if Tiot ^«^^^^^ ^^'^s^^ 



104 HABEM LIFE. 

insanity. And my experience of sucli feelings is not to be 
wondered at, if my position in the Harem is thoroughly 
examined. 



CHAPTEE XII. 

"Well, kind reader ; there I was, totally unacquainted with 
either the Turkish or Arabic tongues ; unaccustomed to the 
filthy, manners, barbarous customs, and disgusting habits of all 
around me s deprived of every comfort by which I had always 
been surrounded ; shut out from all rational society ; hurried 
here and there, in the heat of a scorching African sun, at a 
moment's notice ; absolutely living upon nothing else but dry 
bread and a little pigeon or mutton, barely sufficient to keep 
body and soul together. Compelled to take all my meals but 
my scanty breakfast (a dry roll and a eup of coffee) in the 
society of two clownish disgusting Q-erman peasant servants ; 
lacking the stimulants so essentially necessary for the preser- 
vation of health in such a hot climate; stung almost to death 
with mosquitoes, tormented with flies, and surrounded with 
beings who were breeders of vermin ; a daily witness of manners 
the most repugnant, nay, revolting, to the delicacy of a Euro- 
pean female — for often have I seen, in the presence. x)f'iny, little 
Prince, . ^-!, >?■. 

" A lady of the Harem, riot more forward than all the rest, • 
Well versed in Syren's arts, it must be confessed, 
Shuffle off her garments, and let lier figure stand revealed, 
Like that of Venus who no charms concealed ! " 

Surrounded by intriguing Arab nurses, who not only des- 
pised me because I was a Howadji, but hated me in their 
hearts because, as a European lady, I insisted upon receiving, 
and most assuredly I did receive, so far as the Viceroy and the 
Princesses, the three wives, were concerned, proper respect. 
The bare fact of my being allowed to take precedence of all the 



HAEEM LIFE. 105 

inmates of the Harem, even of the IkbaU, " favourites," galled 
them to the quick ; and there is no doubt that they wei'e at 
that time inwardly resolved to do their utmost to render my 
position as painful as possible, nay, ev'en untenable. Then my 
only companions were the ladies of the Harem, whose appear- 
ance I have already described as bein^ totally at variance with 
that glowing myth-liko picture that Tom Moore gives of retired 
beauty, so erroneously supposed to be caged within the ^tq* 
cineta of the Abodes of Bliss, in his exquisite poemof *Lalla 
Eookh,' for therein I failed to find 

*' Oh, what a pure and sacred thing 
Is beauty curtained from the siglit • 

Of the gross world, illumining 
Onp only mansion with her light." 

They were composed of the old Ikbals, favourites of Ibrahim 
Pacha, and some of those who had ceased to rank as such, or as 
the slaves emphatically termed it, to please the " Baba Efen- 
dimir." 

I was struck with their use of the expression, ** please the 
Viceroy," for it was one that had been used to me, when I 
had an interview in London with Mr. C. H.'s sister prior to 
my leaving for Egypt, by that lady. At that time I did not 
heed the expression ; now that the Ikbals had used it I under- 
stood their significance of its meaning, and I was perfectly con- 
vinced in my own mind, that, taking it in that sense, they 
meant that I should not please His Highness, no matter how 
long I remained in the Viceregal service. 

Many were very old, as no woman is ever ejected from this 
supposed type of the Mahometan Paradise, as poor Hagar was 
repudiated of old ; except when the " green-eyed monster," 
jealousy or envy, sends her to her "long account with all the 
imperfections on her head." When she is doomed, however, 
with calm resignation, 

" She hears the fatal news — no word — no groan ; 
She speaks not, moves not, stands transfixed to stone \* 



106 HAEEM LIFE. 

but how she went, or when, no one within that mystic Castle of 
Indolence dare tell ; and yet the depths of the slimy Nile, 
could they but speak, ** would many a tale unfold." When 
questioned all shake their heads, and utter that significant 
Arab expression Malesch I Malesch ! " No matter, no matter !" 

White slaves and black were mingled indiscriminately ; 
the former, though young, were not beautiful. Black slaves 
were there, disgusting-looking negresses with low foreheads, 
sure sign of cunning, malice, deceit, and treachery, sunken 
over the eyebrows, not unlike those hideous-looking beings the 
Cretins, with large, rolling, heavy, inexpressive eyes, the mark 
of want of intelligence which renders women almost akin to 
animals ; flat, misshapen noses, wide mouths, projecting jaw- 
bones, black broad lips, long-fingered hands, filbert nails, 
orange- coloured by the use of henna, spindle legs, projecting 
heels, and not very large but flat feet. The colour of their 
skin varied considerably. Some had bright glossy black, others 
rather brown, and all possessing bad teeth, a rare thing with 
the regular negress ; and to sum up all, their tout ensemble 
was very repulsive. 

Their occupation during the best portion of the day consisted 
in lolling or rolling about the divans and mattresses which lay 
upon the ground, or squatting upon all fours, doubling them- 
selves up like snips upon their boards, or clasped knives, which 
pose plasttque I was for ever doomed to behold. These were 
proceedings far more appropriate to beasts than human beings. 

Then my head ached again with the incessant clattering of 

the tongues of upwards of two hundred women and children, 

jabbering away like monkeys — some in Arabic, others in 

Turkish ; while the Ethiopian, Nubian, and Abyssinians were 

constantly hooping and hallooing out most indecent language 

in their own vernacular, since they do not, like Europeans 

consider that 

" Immodest words admit of ho defeuce, 
For want of decency is want of sense ; " 

but made such a hubbub that it was like " Bedlam let loose." 



HABEM LIFE. 107 

Pray, kind reader, just picture yourself surrounded by such 
a motley group of beings, gabbling, chattering to me in their 
unknown tongues (for at that moment I did not understand 
either Arabic or Turkish), and making grimaces like monkeys 
from four o'clock in the morning until ten at night incessantly ; 
and then you may form some idea of life in the Harem — that 
myth-like Elysium of the fertile imagination of both western 
and eastern poets. 

My conduct in this " Mansion of Bliss " had to be marked 
with the greatest circumspection, in order not to awaken the 
jealousy of the Princesses, the Three Wives, and the Viceroy's 
Ikbals, favourite slaves. Their Highnesses watched my actions 
and movements with the closest interest ; I should rather add 
with alarm, lest the Viceroy should bestow upon me what they 
in their total ignorance of European manners and customs might 
be led to construe with attention too marked. 

All were Arabs, and many of the favourites Nubians ; and 
well did I remember the account that Warburton has given of 
the revenge taken by that Nubian, Malek of Shendy, surnamed 
" The Tiger," who burnt His Highness's uncle, Ismael Pacha, 
Mehemet All's second son, on a funeral pyre, because that 
young prince struck him with his pipe across the face, and 
yelled triumphantly vvith delight when he heard his dying 
screams. 

I had also heard the slaves in the Harem talk of the sudden 
disappearance of a favourite slave some short time before I 
entered that *• Castle of Pleasure ; " and as I had been parti- 
cularly instructed by one of the Viceroy's " partners " (as the 
ladies of the Harem styled him) not to allow His Highness to 
partake of anything that had not been previously examined by 
the ^^ Hekim BachV (Viceregal doctor), lest he should be 
poisoned, I very naturally kept a sharp look-out, in case an 
attempt should be made to remove me by similar means. 

I knew that the head-nurse hated me, simply because more 
respect was paid to me than was shown to herself. On one 
occasion that negress offered me an apple \ but locik\a% ^<ssxs^ 



108 HABEM LIFE. 

I perceived a slave, who had been one of the Viceroy's favourites 
fix her large blue eyes upon the nurse, who changed colour — 
for, " although black as ebony as she was," still she blushed — 
and recalling to my mind the circumstance, as told me in the 
Harem, of the little nephew handing a Viceroy the poisoned 
dates, I declined the fruit, and after that Shay tan ever after- 
wards abstained from offering me any more. The vile wretch 
had betrayed herself by her own countenance, and henceforth I 
was on my guard. 

I soon became aware of the dangerous position I occupied, 
and resolutely determined, by tact and prudence, to gain not 

only the esteem but the confidence (as Mr. had advised 

me) of their Highnesses the Princesses ; and I can say, with 
feelings of satisfaction, that, after I had fought " the battle " 
on my first entrance into the Harem, I was esteemed by the 
Viceroy and his three wives, beloved by my Prince, and 
respected, yet feared, by the whole of the inmates of the Harem, 
from the Grand Eunuch down to the meanest slave ; yet I never 
propitiated them with that sovereign ruler of Egypt, Prince 
Baksheesh. 

No attempt was ever made by Mr. B. or the Messrs. H.'s to 
ameliorate my position. Mr. C. H. termed my complaints fas- 
tidious, and added that **we English people never would 
accommodate ourselves to circumstances." But, Prussian as 
he was, I can assure you he very much resembled a first-rate 
Parisian exquisite. One thing which I can vouch for is, that 
at the Hotel du Rhin, at Paris, and in his own house in Alex- 
andria — for I had visited it — ^he took special care to have 
everything provided for his own convenience, as in all probabi- 
lity he had, in the capacity of a Crimean sutler, like his 
partners, roughed it in the war, where he had reaped the first 
fruits of his wealth from the purses of the English officers, 
whose countrymen he so thoroughly despised, not feeling (to 
use his own expression) " disposed to accommodate themselves 
to circumstances." I think he would have shown much better 
taste had he allowed the Viceroy's orders to have been carried 



HAEEM LIFE. 109 

out; for the Prince, whom I had heard styled by that immaculate 
Prussian as a " barbarian," perfectly understood 

" That when a lady is in the case, 
Everything else gives phice.'* 

It is due also to the Princess Epouse to state it was through 
her kindness and attention that I was supplied with a chair and 
table, and night commode'; had a slave appointed to attend upon 
me, and the Viceroy sent me a case of claret, a chest of tea, 
soup from his own table when I was ill, ordered his Ilehim 
JRachi, " Doctor," to attend upon me, and ])laced a carriage at 
my disposal to take airings with the G-rand Pacha. Orders 
were given to supply all my wants. But His Highness's 
partners stepped in, and, like one of Prince Baksheesh's 
creatures, "put a spoke in my wheel," and I got nothing. 
Absolutely nothing ! 

His Hjghness the Viceroy learning that I had complained of 
my diet, with thorough kindness of heart sent to Europe for a 
cook ; and a Q-erman from Erankfort — the most accommodating 
of all foreign cities— was engaged. She arrived on the eve of 
my departure for Constantinople, so that I derived no benefit 
from her gastronomic services, as she remained in the Harem 
at Alexandria, and Lwas the only European who accompanied 
the Viceregal family to Istamboul. 

The next mominglwas surprised by the G-erman laundrymaid 
entering my room, after breakfast, and asking me if I would do 
her the favour to speak to the Princess Epouse, and obtain 
permission for her to visit Cairo ; but as I had been cautioned 
not to interfere or meddle in the slightest degree with the 
domestic arrangements of the Harem, I declined, at the same 
time advising her to apply to the Lady Paramount, to whose 
suite she belonged. After that I was never troubled with any 
more applications, except to read the contracts which had been 
entered into by herself and sister, who afterwards came into the 
Harem as needlewomen. Their duties coi\&\^\fc^SxO«.^^^5«^%,'^^ 



110 HABEM LIFE. 

linen of the Viceroy, and that of the Grand Pacha, in order. 
TThese contracts were drawn up by a gentleman in the office of 
one of His Highness*s partners, and then I learned, to my 
astonishment, that their stipends were nearly double the amount 
which had been assigned to me in the vague contract that I had 
entered into in London, and that circumstance at once conveyed 
to me the appreciation in which English ladies are held in the 
eyes of this Frankfort clique. 

The offices of these two German maids were perfect sinecures, 
as they were not employed more than two, or at the most, three 
days in the week ; but the airs and graces which they gave 
themselves were most unbearable, and I was often obliged to 
reprove them for the free and easy, nay disrespectful manner in 
which they intruded themselves into the presence of their High- 
nesses the Princesses. 

One morning when I entered the reception-hall with the 
Prince, I was informed by the grand eunuch, that the barge 
was waiting at the landing-place to convey us to the other side 
of the Nile, where a carriage would take us to pay a visit to 
the Harem occupied by the widow of the late Viceroy, Said 
Pacha. 

After having been rowed across the Nile, we landed, entered 
one of the Viceregal carriages, and, attended by an escort of 
cavalry, proceeded to the Gate of Bab-el-Hadid ; then we 
passed across the bridge erected over the canal, and proceeded 
through a beautiful avenue of sycamore-trees. They were 
originally planted by the French, but through the fertility of 
the soil, have grown up to an enormous size, so that they 
closely resemble a dense forest ; forming a most agreeably 
shady avenue, assuredly the prettiest promenade, to a Euro- 
pean's taste, in the vicinity of Cairo ; and yet it is by no means 
so fashionable as that leading to Boulac and old Cairo. When 
we had proceeded halfway down, as the day was extremely 
sultry, we stopped at an old cafe to let the horses draw breath. 

This drive afforded me an opportunity of seeing a little of 
the suburbs of the capital, which are very interesting. Among 



HAEEM LIFE. Ill 

many other objects we caught a glimpse of the fort which that 
unfortunate French General, Kleber, erected ; it is prettily- 
situated amidst several unique country houses. Soon after- 
wards we approached that magnificent palace built by Mehemet 
Ali. Alighting from the carriage I took the Grand Pacha by 
the left hand, as the Viceroy had explained to me that such 
was their custom, as the right hand was left at liberty to 
salaam with. 

Our path lay through some very pretty but by no means very 
extensive gardens. They are arranged in the European style, 
and scarcely partake of anything like Orientalism, except the 
foliage and exotics. A German gardener keeps them in a high 
state of perfection. They are intersected with straight walks, 
some of which have a most singular appearance, being paved 
with mosaics. 

The myrtle and jasmine hedges are very pretty, and in the 
grounds there is a greater variety of sweet-scented roses — ^the 
perfume of which is almost overpowering — ^than is to be found 
in any other part of Egypt. Here grows the banana beside the 
orange, the golden narcissus hides its tender head from the 
scorching sun, the Mexican tuberose germinates as well as in 
its native soil, and impregnates the atmosphere with its deli- 
cious odour. Here bloom the odoriferous lemon-trees, and 
the lofty acacia Nilotica rears its head amidst the numerous 
fountains. 

In the centre of the gardens stands an elegant octagonal 
kiosk, and what is singular, of European architecture. It has 
beautiful stained-glass windows, over which hang rich yellow 
satin curtains, handsomely arranged with unique European 
furniture to correspond. Proceeding farther on we reached 
the Grand Kiosk, an elegant, highly-finished, modern structure. 
It has a large white marble basin, with huge sculptured lions 
couchant at each corner, from which spouted forth streams of 
clear water. The fountain, decidedly the real lion of the place, 
is roofless; but a covered gallery, supported by elegant alabaster 
columns, extends all around it, and leads into the a\^axt\sisx>ivs^* 



112 HAEEM lilPE. 

These are fumished in truly regal stylo cL la Europeene, hut 
having handsome divans extending underneath tte windows a 
la Turque, 

Numerous very pretty kiosks hang, as it were, over tte water, 
and yet the entire structure has the semblance of being neither 
more nor less than a facsimile of some other Oriental building. 
The singular style of its architecture, which is only partly 
Eastern, renders it a most interesting object to gaze upon, 
although it then contained neither baths nor odalaks. Its 
pleasing effect is considerably diminished by the walls being 
covered witb some very mediocre Italian frescoes, which would 
be utterly unworthy of notice, were it not that the subjects are 
of a very interesting nature. 

Here it was that a celebrated Prench artist most admirably 
painted the portrait of its celebrated founder, Mehemet Ali, who 
passed almost all his leisure time at this agreeable retreat ; and 
here it was too that, when pointing to that full-length portrait 
that now adorns the apartment in the palace of Ras-el-Tin, at 
Alexandria, the venerable octogenarian regenerator of Egypt 
delighted to amuse his guests by impressing upon their minds 
how boldly he had set at nought that ridiculous prohibition of 
the Prophet, who forbade every Mussulman to sit for his portrait 
or to hang up pictures of figures in their dwellings. 

Murray states, in his ' Handbook of Egypt,' that the foun- 
tain " had gas lamps, and that such was actually in use here 
long before any part of Paris was lighted with it," but I failed 
to perceive any. The kiosk called El Gehe\ " the HiU," is 
most commandingly situated, and affords a superb vista of the 
whole grounds, the Nile, the lovely terraces, all studded with 
fragrant exotics, and the distant verdant hills. 

"We soon entered the Palace, a large but rather indifferently- 
built structure. 

Passing through the gates of the Harem, which were imme- 
diately closed after us, and the massive bolts drawn, we 
traversed a small court-yard. Then the eunuch unlocked a 
email door, and we ascended a broad staircase, the steps of 



HAEEM LIFE. 118 

which were covered with fine matting, which led us into a 
large apartment, covered with a thick variegated-coloured 
Persian carpet. The ceiling was ornamented with well-executed 
arabesque designs, the walls were whitewashed, and the lower 
part had a skirting, from four to five inches deep, round it, of 
Dutch tiles. 

The windows, which were in the French style, reached down 
to the floor. The hangings both of them and the doors were of 
rich coloured silk and muslin, looped up with massive bullion 
cords and tassels. In the centre stood an elegant inlaid 
coloured marble fountain, whose waters spread a delightful and 
refreshing coolness all around, for the thermometer then stood 
at 120°. 

Her Highness, the widow of Said Pacha, one of the hand- 
somest women I had yet seeii in , any of the Harems, sat 
reclining on a divan, smoking cigarettes. She was of middle 
stature, her full brown eyes were lustrous and still full of 
expression — for she was rather advanced in years — ^her features 
regular and of the Circassian type. She wore no corset, 
although rather stout, but her carriage was erect. Her dress 
was composed of a very long maroon- coloured silk dress, which 
trained upon the ground, very full bright crimson silk trousers, 
over which costume she wore a chocolate-coloured velvet jacket. 

Her head was covered with a dark silk handkerchief, a plume 
of ostrich feathers hung down over the right ear, and a beautiful 
artificial damask-rose, highly perfumed, drooped down, as it 
were, on the left. 

A black spot was painted in the centre of her forehead. In 
her small ears hung magnificent diamond drops; and her 
alabaster-looking neck was encircled with a necklace of bril- 
liants. Her small hands were as white as snow ; her finger- 
nails were tinged with henna ; and several large diamond rings 
of the finest water sparkled on the little fingers of each hand. 

Her Highness sat quite motionless as we were ushered into 
the room. I curtseyed to her, while the G-rand Pacha salaamed 
her in his usual manner. She motioned to ua to b^ «^^^ '^J^^ 



114 HAEEH LIFE. 

Prince, whom sbo kissed several times, sat on her right hand, 
and I on the left. A whole bevy of slaves, both white and 
black, stood about Her Highness, in the form of the everlasting 
crescent, awaiting the orders of their mistress, who still main- 
tained an almost interminable silence. After a lapse of about 
ten minutes the Princess inquired of me, how long I had been 
in Egypt ? How many sisters I had ? And whether I liked 
Cairo ? To which interrogatories I replied briefly, yet with the 
greatest politeness. She then asked the Grand Pacha whether 
he liked me, upon which he replied in the aflBrmative. 

The semicircle of slaves now i-eceded a little, as a number of 
black ones entered the room bearing silver trays, which they 
handed to some of the white ones. On the trays were placed 
small glass dishes filled with Turkish and Egyptian sweetmeats, 
having three small gold spoons in each.- These were handed to 
the Princess and ourselves. Other slaves served us with glasses 
filled with iced water. After this we partook of coffee, which 
was handed to us in elegant small zarfs or transparent Japan 
china, egg-shaped, footless cups, inlaid with diamonds and other 
precious stones, which stands they held between the thumb and 
fingers of their right hands. 

While we were indulging ourselves with that refreshing 
beverage, light, beautifully cut-glass cups with covers, similar 
to those used in Europe for custards, only having two handles 
to them, placed in small saucers filled with different kinds of 
sherbet, were passed round on frosted silver trays of exquisite 
workmanship, over which were negligently thrown embroidered 
rose-pink silk napkins which the slaves removed as they drew 
near to us. 

In conformity with Oriental etiquette, we drank about two- 
thirds of that deliciously cool beverage. This refreshment being 
over, the Circassian slaves then knelt down and presented each 
of us with a gold salver, on which was placed a fine embroidered 
muslin napkin, fringed with a deep border of gold lace, with 
which we just touched our lips according to the custom of the 
country. 



HAEEM LIFE. 115 

Then commenced a short running conversation between Her 
Highness and myself, which simply embraced a few common- 
place questions as to my opinion of the country and the newest 
fashions, the details of which seemed to afford the Princess 
much pleasure, as all Oriental ladies of rank take great delight 
in learning how European ladies attire themselves. 

After the lapse of half-an-hour the Princess rose from the 
divan and took me on a tour of inspection through the whole 
apartments. The Circassian and G-reek slaves followed us at a 
respectful distance, while the black ones grouped together and 
brought up the cortege. All the rooms were very meagrely 
furnished ; I should rather add, that they contained absolutely 
nothing more than elegant divans. 

Betuming to the audience saloon which we had quitted, 
Her Highness seated herself on the divan, and motioned for 
us to do likewise. She then clapped her hands, when the Cir- 
cassian slaves brought the veil and habarah which 1 had worn ; 
for European ladies when paying visits to any of the Viceregal 
Princesses, out of respect invariably adopt that portion of the 
Turkish costume, and fail not to attire themselves in a black 
silk habarah, and wear a muslin veil, doubled at the upper part 
over their face, which had been laid on a small rose-pink 
coloured Cashmere shawl, richly fringed with a deep border of 
bullion lace. 

When I was attired in, to me, my hal masquS costume, 1 
touched my lip and forehead with Her Highnesses dress, who 
pressed my hand, saluted me on the cheek, lowered her right 
hand, then touched her lips and forehead, and graciously de- 
scended the staircase leading into the first courtyard, walked 
across the yard to the suspended coloured Egyptian mat that 
hung before the door of the Harem'like a curtain, which was then 
lifted up by the eunuch in attendance. Her Highness having 
retired, we found the Q-rand Eunuch standing upon the raised 
stone platform at the grand entrance awaiting our arrival. 

The Prince bestowed baksheesh upon him« and we entered 
the carriage, re-crossed the Nile, and returned to th^ Hioissai., 



116 HABEM LIFE. 

I was very glad that I had this opportunity of visiting Her 
Highness the widow of Said Pacha, and from the conyersation 
which I had with that Princess I came to the belief that Miss 
T.'s visit to that lovely creature had not been the real cause of 
her not having been, as Mr. C. H. stated, allowed to enter the 
Viceroy's service. Erom all that I had heard and seen, it ap- 
peared to me that she had actually been in the Viceregal 
Harem, but why or wherefore she did not enter upon her en- 
gagement is a mystery that I cannot solve, especially as my own 
**jSpecial Prince" told me " that she was well remunerated." 
Hence there must have been some fracas^ or how could he 
have known anything about her contract ? But perhaps, like 
myself, she had occasion to call at the British Consular Court 
at Alexandria to obtain her passport, which document is taken 
from all foreigners when they enter the Ottoman dominions, 
and being questioned by the English Vice-consul or his subor- 
dinates, as to the purport of her visit to Egypt, she at once 
entered into a full explanation of her position, and was called 
upon to pay a fee of five shillings for registering herself as a 
British subject, a monstrous imposition, when the Eoreign 
Office passport fully proved her nationality. 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

A MOST erroneous impression has been drawn by authors as to 
the manner in which the inmates of the Harem pass their 
social life. It is certainly true that the greater portion of the 
day is spent in doubling themselves up on divans. Not attired 
in costly silks of China looms, nor bedizened with gems of G-ol- 
conda's mines, the Peris within the Viceregal " Castle of 
Indolence" generally wore dirty, filthy, crumpled muslin 
dresses, just as one might imagine the greatest slatterns in the 
back slums of St. Giles's would be seen walking about in when 
all their finery had been pledged. 



ha:bem life. 117 

There they were to be seen smoking their Tchibouks, or 
cigarettes, and drinking coffee h Id Turque, as dark as porter, 
but yet most delicious. 

I was quite astonished to find that their Highnesses were 
about and stirring as early as four o'clock in the morning, 
which was indeed matinal, as 1 have before mentioned that the 
Turks count their time from the setting of the sun, and it was 
then only a little after daybreak. 

At the dawn of day the Princess partook of coffee and 
smoked cigarettes : then they remained quite motionless, ap- 
parently in a dreamy state, as they never uttered a syllable. 
About seven o'clock they received a visit from the Grand 
Eunuch. A crowd of old and young ladies of the Harem, and 
slaves wearing fashionable Parisian coloured satin shoes down 
at heel, and stockings almost heeUess and footless, were squatted 
on the floor, like snips on their boards, in the form of a semi- 
circle facing their Viceregal mistresses, while others had gone 
and shut themselves up in their own apartments, which they 
invariably did when affected with any ailment however trivial, 
as they considered solitude to be Nature's best nurse and the 
body's safest physician. The former had been arranging bou- 
quets, which are fresh gathered every morning, as they are never 
placedjn water, and the latter had been occupied in house- 
hold duties, sweeping, dusting, carrying water, and arranging 
the apartments. 

The morning toilette began by the slaves bringing into the 
Orand Pacha's room several small silver pans, not deeper than 
soup-plates but considerably wider, as also several small pieces 
of rag and balls of soap. Their Highnesses now squatted them- 
selves upon the floor and tucked up their trousers (I and the 
Head Eunuch being also present), and began to wash their own 
feet, as they will not allow a slave to touch them under any 
ijircumstances whatever, and they wiped them with towels. 
After which silver ewers and basins, similar in shape and size to 
that which has already been described as being used by the 
bead-nurse when dressing the Prince, were bro\i^t vq.\s^ '^^ 



118 HASEM LIFE. 

Blaves. !I3ien they washed their faces with pieces of rag, which 
they had preyiously well soaped. 

The slaves then held basins before each of them, while others 
poured water from the ewers over their hands as they kept 
soaping them ; after which each held basins before them, into 
which water was poured, and which fluid they threw, or more 
properly speaking jerked, into their mouths, and then cleansed 
their teeth (whicKwere not only irregular but much discoloured) 
with tooth-brushes and powder of French manufacture. 

They only combed their hair (which was full of yermin) once 
a week, on Thursdays, the eve of their sabbath (Friday, 
BjoumS), when it is well combed with a large small- tooth 
comb ; and pardon me, but " murder wiU. out," the members of 
the vermin family which were removed jfrom it were legion I 
It was afterwards well brushed with a hard hair-brush well 
damped with strong perfumed water. The tail at the back was 
plaited and turned up round over the handkerchief with which 
each covered her head, and fastened with small black dressing- 
pins to the handkerchief. Their Highnesses never wore stock- 
ings in the morning, nor did they change any of their attire till 
the afternoon. 

On Mondays they employed themselves in cutting out pan- 
taloons, dressing-gowns, &c., for their liege lord, which were 
then given to the Q-erman needlewoman to make up ; and the 
slaves made up flannel things for themselves, sitting on 
cushions laid down upon the carpet. The Princesses attended 
to the domestic occupations of their own slaves, over all of 
whom they possess the power of life and death, but with whom 
they live on terms of the greatest familiarity, and yet are at 
times most imperious and overbearing to them, so that their 
motto seems to be 

" Nemo me impune lacessitJ* 

With the cuisine they had nothing to do, for, as we have pre- 
vioasly explained, it was situated near the barracks, and only 
men were employed therein. The Grand Eunuch waited upon 



HABEM LIFE. 119 

them in the morning to know^ if they had any orders ; but that 
was a mere matter of form, as I scarcely ever remarked any 
particular change in their diet or in the number of dishes 
served up, during the whole period of my residence at the 
Palace. 

Those who performed the duties of washerwomen were oc- 
cupied daily in their avocation, except on their sabbath, 
Tridays, But that was not very laborious work, since neither 
bed, table, nor chamber linen are used. Thus they were engaged 
until twelve, when their Highnesses partook of their breakfast 
separately. It was served up on a large green lackered tray 
fiinus table cloth, knives and forks, but with a large ivory 
tablespoon having a handsome coral handle, the evident emblem 
of their rank as Princesses. It was placed upon the *oq/r«, 
" a low kind of stool," covered vdth a handsome silk cloth. 
The courses were similar to those I have already described as 
having been placed before the G-rand Pacha. That repast 
occupied about twenty minutes. Then Khanum Khaleouns^ 
" pipes," into which are placed small pills of opium, or more 
ofben cigarettes and coffee, were handed to them, and each 
Princess retired to her own apartment. Thus they became con- 
firmed opium smokers, which produced a kind of intoxication, 
but in a less brutal or offensive form than that of drunken- 
ness, yet of a much more powerful nature. 

Oftentimes after the Princesses had been indulging too freely 
in that habit, to which they had become slaves, their coun- 
tenances would assume most hideous aspects ; their eyes glared, 
their eyebrows were knit closely together, no one dared to 
approach them. In fact, they had all the appearance of mad 
creatures, while at other times they were gay and cheerful. In 
short, all depended whether, during their krf^^ dolcefar niente,*^ 
they had been transported in imagination into the seventh 
heaven of their paradise, and had enjoyed the bliss of delightful 
visions. 

Then they drank off the contents of a glass, apparently filled 
with water. The Princess Epouse had often asked me to taate 



120 HABEM LIFE, 

it ; in truth, she had so frequently solicited me to do so, that 
one day I complied with her request, as I was fearful she would 
feel offended if I did not. I took the proffered beverage, and 
when I put it to my lips, guess my utter astonishment at find- 
ing that it was not water but wine. Yes, actually and truly 
the veritable beverage so expressly forbidden by the Prophet. 

I could hardly believe my senses, but did not utter a syllable, 
neither did I attempt to express any surprise, but told Hei 
Highness that it was very good — and thanked her. But sub- 
sequently, when I visited Constantinople, I learned that it wa« 
Camabat wine ; the Khismet^ " fate," of that extract, not to be 
drunk by Mussulmans, and yet of which the Turks swallow 
most copious draughts. 

Then the Princesses took their siesta, as also did the ladies of 
the Harem and the slaves, who went and hid themselves in the 
most out-of-the-way places imaginable. Shaytan, the head 
nurse, who had no idea of being disturbed from her " dreams of 
bliss," generally laid herself down in the bed store-room, and 
sinking down, literally, on her ** downy couch," fell off into the 
arms of Morpheus most happily. 

One day, however, the Princess Epouse happened to enter 
the Prince's apartment, clapped her hands several times, but 
receiving no response to her Viceregal summons, became im- 
patient, and passed into my apartment. Then we both began 
to hunt everywhere for the head-nurse. At length I bethought 
myself of the bed store-room, and leading Her Highnesses up 
to the pile of mattresses, showed her " the Sleeping Beauty " 
in her " Bower of bliss." But the Princess, who was an Arab, 
thinking in all probability that it was a pity the " Sleeping 
Beauty " should lack the ** Beast," rushed at the nurse like a 
Tigress, pulled her by the ears, and boxed her cheeks until her 
hands tingled again. 

Shaytan jumped up affrighted, and looked at me with such an 
evil eye, as if she meant to say 

" But nevfir shalt thou know, destroyer of my sleep 
What I alone can tell, my hiding-places keep." 



HABEM LIFE. 121 

Having taken their siesta, the Princesses rose at five in the 
afternoon, and performed their evening toilet, which consisted in 
merely changing their outer-garments, and attiring themselves in 
new muslin dresses, as thej never wear them after they have been 
washed ; for when crumpled or soiled, they are ironed out, and 
when too faded, they use them as morning-wrappers. The 
slaves also adopted the same plan, hence the consumption of 
clothing of every description was enormous. For even the 
.Princesses, as well as both the ladies of the Harem and the 
slaves, lacking wardrobes, are obliged to keep them in their 
saratSy " trunks," or youhs, " cupboards in the walls," or else 
hang them up suspended on lines across the rooms ; like a 
laundress drying her linen in the laundry when the weather 
will not admit of its being hung out in the open air. Silk 
coverlets are, however, thrown over them. 

At six o'clock they partake of their supper, which consists 
of I the same courses, with the addition of crude vegetables, 
which they eat like beasts of the field, and it is served up in 
the same manner as the breakfast. 

Then their Highnesses sometimes took a promenade in the 
small garden which separates ^the Grand Pacha's apartments 
from the Harem ; after which coffee, poured mio findjans placed 
in zarfi studded with diamonds and other precious stones, 
cigarettes, and tchibouks, " pipes," were served them. 

At half-past seven the Princesses amused themselves by 
playing at dominoes, and passed the remainder of the evening 
in having tales related to them, which often comprise incidents 
which had transpired in the Harems of the late Viceroys and 
their widows or daughters, by the ladies of the Harem, who 
generally select the most lascivious about women and their im- 
moralities. Listening to these stories may be seen the then 
demure and solemn-looking slaves, sitting, or more properly 
speaking, squatting, down in the form of a crescent, during 
which they are constantly sipping zarfs of pure Mocha coffee, 
of which they drink no less than twenty-four daily (but then it 
must be borne in mind that the Jindjana are not larger thaiL^s^ 



122 HABEM LIFE. 

egg-cup) ; munching awaj at bonbons, fruit, and most luscious 
sweetmeats, and smoking cigarettes. 

Almost every slave has her daily occupation assigned her, for 
each Princess employs one in arranging the cigarette papers, 
another in preparing the tobacco, a third in making the 
cigarettes, a fourth hands them on a silver tray, and a fiftli 
attends vdth the light, which consists of a piece of live char- 
coal held between a pair of silver tongs. 

At ten they retire to rest ; but I have known them to remain 
as late as eleven, when the Princess Epouse would, at my re- 
quest, make some of the Ethiopian slaves sing their own 
melodies. To use a vulgar expression, the London itinerant 
Ethiopian serenaders are fools to them ; their gesticulations 
were so comic and original, that none but the writer of a 
comedy with the pencil of Hogarth could possibly have da- 
guerreotyped them, and they would have afforded Mrs. Howard 
Paul a most excellent subject for imitation. 

One Tuesday as I was passing through the Stone Hall on 
the basement-floor of the Grand Pacha Ibrahim's apartments 
I was surprised by the appearance of that apartment, which 
served as servant's hall, the governess's dining-room, and dor- 
mitory of the black slaves — who are all huddled indiscrimin- 
ately together as in an hospital- ward. It presented a scene which 
beggars all description ; for there they lay upon mattresses on 
the marble floor, with a large silver-plated lantern standing in 
the middle, in which burnt a thick wax taper. For the Vice- 
roy does not allow what us Europeans term plate to be used at 
his Viceregal '* Mansion of Bliss," at least I never saw anything 
of the kind except the salvers which are used for the service of 
their Highnesses the three wives. There they pass half the night 
in smoking cigarettes, and chattering away like magpies, and 
telling stories to each other ; some talking Arabic, others 
Turkish, and by far the greater portion their own vernacular, 
especially the G-reeks, Circassians, Nubians, Abyssinians, and 
Ethiopians. It is a perfect " confusion of tongues," and it 
would puzzle the most learned European polyglot to interpret 



HASEM LIFE. 12^ 

their conyersation. The echo of their gabbling has often, night 
after night, thrown me into a nervous fever. 

Well, on the day in question, that most useful apartment 
was converted into the Viceregal laundry, in which I stopped a 
considerable period, looking at the G-erman laundrjmaid and 
her half-dozen slave-assistants ironing. 

On the floor a square piece of matting was laid down, and a 
large piece of calico as big as two ordinary sheets was placed 
over it. Kneeling down on it were eight slaves with two roll- 
ing-pins, similar in length and thickness, not an inch larger 
than those used by cooks for making pastry. After having 
first damped the pieces of washing, they folded them, then 
polled them tight round one of the rolling-pins, which they laid 
down upon the sheet, and with the other rolling-pin in their 
hands, they kept rolling the end of it. Por they held it straight 
up in their hands like a stick against the other one round which 
they twisted the linen. This process, which they called mang- 
ling, being finished, the German maid began ironing the Vice- 
roy's and the Q-rand Pacha*s body-linen. 

At eleven o'clock the Lady Paramount (the first wife) under 
whose superintendence the whole of the household arrange- 
ments were carried on, entered the laundry. She smiled at 
seeing me and the Q-rand Pacha watching the slaves at their 
work. 

She was both shoeless and stockingless ; but her feet were 
incased in a pair of polished wooden clogs, standing as it were 
upon two wooden bridges, like the strings of a fiddl e. The 
parts on which she rested her feet were lined with red velvet, 
the ties were of the same material, and the clogs were studded 
all round with silver-headed nails. 

Her hair, hanging loosely about, was tucked under the 
handkerchief bound round her head ; and the sleeves of her 
dirty cotton wrapper were turned up to the shoulders, and 
there tied. 

And thus behold Her Highness, the first wife of Ismael 
Pacha, the richest Prince in the universe, awr^ "Etx^ tsss^'ecssSiii. 



124 HABEM LIFE. 

Majesty the Emperor of All the Eussias, in her domestic 
circle. 

Here Her Highness 'remained all the livelong day every 
Tuesday, merely leaving the laundry to partake of her meals 
and to indulge in a short siesta, 

l^ot a slave is allowed to utter a syllable. Her Highness en- 
forces the silent system most admirably. 

On that same afternoon, while I was passing through the hall 
on my return from our ramble in the Pavilion gardens, I had 
just time to preserve the life of my Prince. It appears a slave 
had been very refractory, and would not refrain from chatter- 
ing. So, making no more fuss about it, the Prince took up a 
shovel full of burning charcoal, and flung it into the poor 
creature's face, which almost killed her, several pieces of it fall- 
ing upon the Prince's coat and setting him in a blaze. For- 
tunately, I had presence of mind to seize hold of a flannel pet- 
ticoat, which was hanging over one of the washing-tubs or 
troughs, and wrapping it round His Highness, I extinguished 
the flames, with no other damage than the burning of his uni- 
form in several places. Had it not been a very sultry day, or 
had the evening breeze set in from the Nile, the Grand Pacha 
would have fallen a victim to the silent system. 

The Lady Paramount often scolded the German maid be- 
cause she did not act in the same barbarous manner ; but I am 
glad to bear record that that " bore of a peasant," as she was, 
still possessed a little more of the milk of human kindness than 
did her Viceregal mistress. 

None of the other Princesses ever entered^the laundry, or 
superintended the repasseuses. Each of the young Princesses the 
Viceroy's daughters by his wives (for there are no less 
than twelve of the children in the Harem who justly 
claim Ismael Pacha as their b aba, soad who have themselves 
openly told me so), with the assistance of their slaves 
get up their linen in their own apartments, where a rug is laid 
down on the floor, over which is placed a sheet. There they 
squat down on the carpet, and both mangle, in the manner I 



HABEM LIFE. 125 

have previously described, and iron their own linen, following 
the maternal example set them. 

The irons used are very large, made in the shape of an 
English box-iron, with a spout at the back of the handle, in 
which live charcoal is placed, which has this advantage, that 
they are kept hot a very much longer time than in the Euro- 
pean constructed box-irons. 

Whatever may be said about religious toleration in Egypt, 
certain it is that, while the inmates of the Harem always ob- 
served their religious rites, so as to abstain from work on Fri- 
day (their Sabbath), yet, when first I entered therein, I was 
not permitted to enjoy rest on my Sabbath. 



CHAPTEE XIV. 

I HAD to battle for the privilege to attend Divine worship ; as, 
being ignorant of the Turkish habits, no stipulation had been 
inserted in my contract that I should not labour on my Sab- 
bath-day (which Europeans now take the precaution to have 
done) ; but I eventually gained it. GKheir Highnesses never 
thought that " the unbeliever of Hawajee " would require this ; 
since, according to the doctrine of their creed, I had no para- 
dise assigned to me in heaven. But yet, woman like, their 
curiosity was excited to learn how I prayed ; and what my 
Bible (Koran, as they termed it) was like. When I performed 
my devotions before them, and read aloud the Holy Scriptures, 
upon me was fixed many a sly eye, but on the whole they be- 
haved most decorously ; not a smile, not a syllable was uttered. 
But when I had finished, a whole chorus of voices exclaimed, 
*' Quiyia ! quiyisr (Pretty ! pretty !) "Ouzel! guzel !" (Beauti- 
ful ! beautiful !) They seemed surprised that I did not use 
any tusbee (rosary) like themselves and the Eomanists. 

When in Cairo, they had often passed all the European 
places of worship, and a most singalaiY \d»a» Vwis^^^ *»Ci^^>x: 



126 HAEEM LIFE. 

imagination. They insisted that, unlike their own "call" to 
Evening prayer, the bells, the hated Giaours' call to prayer, 
was the summons of the Shay tan (devil). 

At first I was quite at a loss to interpret the meaning of 
their conversation ; gradually, however, I began to understand 
them, but still the expression Shay tan perplexed me, especially 
as that was the patronymic of the Prince's head-nurse. 

Her Highness the Princess Epouse,perceiving my embarrass- 
ment, sent Anina, the superintendent of the slaves, into my 
chamber, who quickly returned, bringing with her my little 
silver hand-bell, which I had brought out from Europe with 
me, and which stood upon one of my trunks which I had con- 
verted into a table, since it was not until the eve of my depar- 
ture for Constantinople that I was supplied with that neces- 
sary appendage. Then about fifty slaves shouted forth Shay- 
tan J Shay tan! Batala ! Batala ! ** The Devil ! The Devil ! Bad ! 
Bad ! — that is our abomination." I was absolutely astonished 
at the energetic manner in which they shouted out, and the 
demoniacal gestures they made ; but by maintaining my usual 
equanimity I calmly and coolly replied, that we Europeans 
always summon our domestics by ringing a bell, just as Orientals 
call their slaves by clapping their hands. 

It is almost impossible to imagine the celerity with which 
their Highnesses the Princesses, the whole of the ladies of the 
Harem, and the slaves, even down to the lowest scullery-girl, 
effect their transformation from slatterns to "Peris of the 
East," the instant that substitutes for the wires of the electric 
telegraph in the Harem announce the approach of Ismael Pacha. 
It seemed like a pantomimic feat ; as if harlequin with his 
magic wand had touched them all with his galvanic battery, 
for in the twinkling of an eye their dirty, soiled, and crumpled 
muslins, their Monmouth Street and Petticoat Lane finery was 
exchanged for gorgeous silks and glittering diamonds. The 
transformation was not effected like that of harlequin, colum- 
bine, pantaloon, and clown, by a total change of garments, 
but by placing them over their habiliments. 



HABEM LIFE. 127 

The scene was acted most inimitably ; it would have been an 
excellent study for Hogarth, one to which his pencil would 
have done ample justice ; and the clever inventor of that chair- 
trick, so admirably placed on the stage of the Princess's 
Theatre, during Charles Kean's able management, would have 
represented it capitally in a pantomime. 

I had the pleasure one evening of witnessing such a scene, 
on the occasion of the Viceroy having informed his wives of his 
intention to pay them a visit. Of this, according to Turkish 
etiquette, he was obliged to give them timely notice, lest any 
of their female acquaintances should happen to be in the Harem, 
or visitors expected, as no Turk ever enters his own " Abode 
of Bliss," if his wives have visitors with them. 

It has always been asserted that no Turk has entered the 
Harem of his brother Mussulman, but I know an instance of 
an exception to that rule. On my return to Alexandria, pre- 
vious to leaving for Constantinople, I was located in the 
Harem facing His Highness's Palace of Eas-el-Tin, where I 
found great difficulty in persuading any of the young'slaves to 
go about when it became dusk. They assured me that there 
were fritz, " spirits," in that Harem, and, as an instance, related 
to me that at the time His Majesty the present Sultan visited 
Egypt after his accession to the Throne, one evening, when the 
Viceroy was in the Harem with his three wives around him, a 
Perindjee, for it was His Majesty the Sultan, dressed in Euro- 
pean costume ! was seen sitting by his side. All the inmates 
of the Harem were astonished, yet none dare say a word. The 
appearance of that ^host, as the little slaves. His Highness*s 
daughters by his concubines, called His Majesty the Sultan 
{for it could be no other personage), so brightened them that 
they have never forgotten the circumstance, and in all probabi- 
lity never will ; and the sudden disappearance of a pretty slave 
soon afterwards left no doubt but that she was spirited away 
to Constantinople. The Sultan intended to do them the hon- 
our of partaking of their hospitality, f/clept to dine, in the 
Harem, an event of some moment, as such occurceosift.^ ^<8«k 



128 HABEM LIFE. 

previous to my arrival, "Like angel's visits, few and far 
between.*' 

On this, as on all occasions when their Highnesses had to 
dress to receive visitors, or any particular festivals, such as the 
Bairam, (when they were attired in magnificent courtly cos- 
tumes, and wore jewels that would have been the ransom of an 
Empress), they asked my opinion of their costume, the manner 
in which they had adorned themselves with those priceless 
jewelled " gems of art, which they never wore except on such 
occasions, and when the " Baba " came to visit them, the 
ladies of the Harem and slaves, as on this evening. 

They are well trained in the art of hoarding, for they~aro 
extremely careful of their wardrobes, and those I have al- 
ready described as shuffling about on ordinary occasions in 
such crumpled gaudy-coloured finery (as we are accustomed 
in England to see strolling actresses bedizen themselves at the 
theatres at country fairs), make themselves beautiful with cos- 
metics, they use of which they understand quite as well as any 
Madame Eachael of London celebrity. They wore the most 
costly silks, richest satins, and softest velvets ; adorned them- 
selves with the treasures of their jewel caskets, so that their 
persons were one blaze of precious stones. That crescent of 
females (for they always ranged themselves in the form of the 
Turkish symbol) was then a parterre of diamonds, amethysts, 
topazes, turquoises, chrysoberyls, sapphires, jaspers, opals, 
agates, emeralds, corals, rich carbuncles, and rubies. 

In short, the profusion of diamonds with which the latter 
adorned their persons from day to day, became so sickening to 
me, that my eyes were weary at the sight of those magnifi- 
cent baubles, to which all women are so passionately attached. 

It seemed to me quite a monstrosity, an absolute sin, that- 
such immense wealth should be expended on those brilliant 
gewgaws, merely to sparkle on the tawny and ebony skins of 
slaves, many of whom were repulsive in their looks ; and whose 
habits, manners, customs^ and appearance in general were- 
totally repugnant to European feelings. 



HAREM LIFE. 129 

It was bad enough in all conscience to behold the white 
oustas, " slaves," bedecked with gems of almost priceless 
value, many of whose sarats, " trunks," contained parures far 
more valuable than most of the elegant gems of art which or- 
nament the jewel-cases of the noblest and wealthiest of the 
lovely beauties of the European Courts ; but to know that up- 
wards of from 30,000/. to 40,000/. was annually expended by 
the billionaire of the world, who much of his surplus wealth 

" For Cupid's sake he gave awa;^ , 
For bagrt of gold came to the Harem every day,*' 

in jewels for distribution among such a motley group was in- 
deed monstrous. 

As all gallant knights were excluded from the precincts of 
this Castle of Indolence, such a lavish profusion of wealth I 
could not unriddle, except that they were offered up as sacri- 
fices on the altar of that immaculate sovereign ruler Prince 
Baksheesh. I could perfectly well understand the pleasure 
which Ismael Pacha felt ' in expending vast sums in the pur- 
chase of those valuables which the collectors of precious stones, 
the wealthy diamond merchants of Constantinople, and the 
expert divers for pearls had procured ; because, at his death, 
those priceless ** gems of art," into which the genius of man 
had converted those valuable stones (small caskets filled with 
them being treasured up by almost every member, both young and 
old, of the Viceregal family), constitute the sole private fortune 
of their possessors, except the quantity oi paras, as they term 
the packets of Napoleons, Turkish, Egyptian, or English sove- 
reigns. The latter of these they prefer, for the best of all 
reasons, because they are the weightiest. And I can under- 
stand why His Highness displays such liberality to his con- 
sorts, for no one knows better than the Viceroy Ismael Pacha 
how the families of defunct rulers of Egypt have been despoiled 
both of their personal property and hereditary possessions. 
But I never could see why such ^valuables were presented to 
the slaves of all denominations. 



130 HABEM LIFE. 

I will now describe tte Viceregal dinner-party. The courses 
were the same as those partaken of by their Highnesses when 
alone, with the addition of a roast turkey, soup extremely rich, 
entremets, and some pastry. It was laid out in the Viceroy's 
private sitting-room in the "Abode of Bliss," which was similarly 
decorated and furnished as that in the pavilion. In the centre 
stood a moderately-sized dining-table, which was covered with 
a tablecloth, the first and only time that I ever saw such an ap- 
pendage used in the Harem. White slaves, dressed en grande 
toilette, brought the dishes up on large silver trays, placed them 
upon the floor, then handed them to their Highnesses the Prin- 
cesses according to their rank. The Lady Paramount taking 
precedence set the first dish on the table ; all of them stood in 
attendance upon Ismael Pacha, while I and the G-rand Pacha 
snt upon a divan playing at dominoes. 

After the Viceroy had finished his repast, to which he ap- 
peared to do ample justice, being a hon vivant, the Princesses 
set themselves down upon cushions which had been placed upon 
the carpet, and partook of their dinner separately off soojras. 
Ismael PacJia then amused himself by smoking cheroots and 
playing at dominoes with whichever of his wives he took it 
into his head to select ; coffee, sweetmeats, and sherbet being 
handed round, as is customary, the Grand Pacha and I sa- 
laamed the Viceroy, and I retired. 

A few days, afterwards the little Prince having complained of 
a violent headache, I informed Her Highness that it would be 
advisable to send for the hairdresser to cut his hair. 

*^Male8ch! Mcdesch! Madam," replied the Princess, "you 
can easily do it yourself." 

FoUowiDg her instructions I cut the Prince's hair, every 
single atom of which was most carefully picked up off the 
ground, placed in a large sheet of white paper with a quantity 
of white pebbles, and cast from a window into the Nile, where 
an Arab, standing up in a boat knocked it three times under the 
water, exclaiming each time, Bismillah ! Bismiliah I " In the 
name of the merciful God!" " In the name of the merciful 



HAREM LIFE. 131 

God !" If it floats, which it did not, owing to the stones tied 
up in the paper, which had also been well saturated in 
water, evil is prognosticated to the boy ; if it sinks (which as 
a matter of course it did), then it is looked upon as a good 
omen. 

It was often quite ludicrous to behold their Highnesses the 

• Princesses, who could neither read nor write, the Ladies of 

the Harem, and slaves, as they came shuffling into my small 

room, and which was frequently crammed full of them, to ask 

my opinion of nearly everything they received. 

If the Princesses had opened anyboxesof new dress-piecesthey 
had had brought up into the Audience Hall, they handed them 
to me, at the same time appealing to my taste to decide whether 
they were quij/is, "pretty," or bfftal, **ugly," and my verdict 
was final. The instant that any of the slaves received presents 
from their Highnesses, they came and showed them to me, 
almost stunning me with the same interrogatories. If, as fre- 
quently happened, I examined the dress-pieces and found them 
damaged (for many of the boxes contained the last year's 
fashions), some of the pieces soiled, and others deficient in 
quantity (for having been purchased in that condition they had 
been obtained at cheap rates), I condemned them, when the 
recipients returned them to the Princesses, who bestowed others 
upon them. 

In short, the whole of the inmates of the Harem soon began 
thoroughly to appreciate my European ways and habits in many 
respects. If they were taken ill they consulted me, followed 
my remedies, and did their best, poor ignorant, deluded, and 
neglected creatures, to abandon any habits which I explained 
to them were repugnant to delicacy, especially when I told 
them that such were not ct la Franca, " European." They had 
all become so attached to me before I left for Constantinople 
that, from their Highnesses the Princesses down to the very 
Mihlur, " sweeper," all treated me with the greatest kindness, 
attention, and respect, which enabled me to gain that insight 
into their sayings and doings, without whick ^ ^wi^^V'&j^'^ 



IS-l HASEM LIFE. 

the commencement of the hot season, one of His Highness's 
daughters, who resided with the Valid6 Princess, his mother, 
the widow of the gallant Ibrahim Pacha, died ; and owing to 
her demise the whole of the Viceregal family shut themselves 
up in their own private apartments for three days. During 
this period they received no visitors, and would not allow even 
their own children nor any of the slaves to approach them. 
Their meals were placed at the doors of their rooms, of which 
they hastily partook, and then retired into their solitude. 

The divans were covered with lavender-coloured satin, 
fringed with a deep border of silver lace, the cushions of 
which had black gauze handkerchiefs, bespangled and fringed 
with silver lace thrown over them. On their heads they wore 
black handkerchiefs. Their persons were attired in lavender 
satin quilted jackets, and white linen dresses. 

When the sad intelligence of the young Princess's death 
reached their Highnesses the Princesses, the three wives, to- 
gether with the whole of their establishments, squatted them- 
selves down upon the floor, and absolutely set to howling like 
wild beasts. 

At first I thought they had all gone demented. The G-rand 
Pacha, who was almost frightened out of his senses by the up- 
roar, in his haste to see what was the matter, tripped up 
against one of the little female slaves belonging to his staff. 
This slave I subsequently learnt was also one of the daughters 
of the Viceroy, who has no less than fourteen children, four of 
whom are sons, the eldest being about twelve years old. 
These children reside at another place, under the care of a 
Prench tutor, but my Prince was the only legitimate one. 
The Prince fell sprawling on the carpet. A glass of water 
was immediately brought in by the head-nurse, who sprinkling 
some over his face exclaimed, " Bismallah ! Bismallah .'" (" in 
the name of the most merciful Grod !") and then threw the con- 
tents of the glass upon the spot where His Highness had fallen. 

Singular to add, the Viceroy, whose presence in the Harem 
had not, contrary to Turkish etiquette, been announced, en- 



HABEM LIFE. 133 

Viceroy with creatures of their own. Of course this was done 
from private as well as political motives, for when did Prussians 
ever lose the opportunity of supporting English influence ? 

It was not long before I had the opportunity of witnessing 
the First Wife at her orisons. Just at that moment of sunset 
I and the Prince entered Her Highness's chamber. She was 
engaged spreading a very large handsome Persian carpet, or, 
more properly speaking, rug, in the centre of the room. Then 
she knelt down, turned her face towards Mecca, and repeated 
her Namaz, " prayers." On her head she wore a long white 
muslin scarf; in her hand she held a string of large gold beads, 
here and there interspersed with several diamond ones, which 
preciousf ones count as two, and which she counted like a monk 
telling off his rosary, exclaiming all the while, " Allah ! Allah ! 
Illah-as-la-Illah il Allah !" " There is no deity but God," but 
being a Princess she never performed the Souddond, the bowing 
of the head on the ground. 

The Grand Pacha, whose powers of imitation are wonder- 
fully acute, frequently interrupted Her Highness, who, smiling 
good-humouredly at him, threatened to box his ears ; at which 
the little Prince only laughed, and kept kneeling on the rug, 
bowing his head to the floor in genuine Moslem style. 

It was with the greatest difficulty that I could refrain from 
being guilty of a breach of decorous propriety. Fortunately, 
however, the Princess did not remain long at her Namuz, 
After she had finished she folded up her rug, and placing the 
scarf and beads in it, put them into a sarat. Then a slave 
handed her a superbly ornamented tchihouk. The mouthpiece 
was of clear, transparent amber, and the rosewood stem was 
thickly encrusted with precious stones of great value. It must 
have been worth from 1,000/. to 1,500/. The bowl was filled 
with golden leaf tobacco, and a small piece of some narcotic, 
the name of which I never learnt, of a bright rose-pink colour, 
was placed in ib, which Her Highness continued to smoke with 
considerable zest. 

A short time previous to our de^attAvc^ icyc K\fe^'!KCiSvxv^^ ^ 



134 HASEM LIFE. 

the commencement of the hot season, one of His Highness's 
daughters, who resided with the Valid6 Princess, his mother, 
the widow of the gallant Ibrahim Pacha, died ; and owing to 
her demise the whole of the Viceregal family shut themselves 
up in their own private apartments for three days. During 
this period they received no visitors, and would not allow even 
their own children nor any of the slaves to approach them. 
Their meals were placed at the doors of their rooms, of which 
they hastily partook, and then retired into their solitude. 

The divans were covered with lavender-coloured satin, 
fringed with a deep border of silver lace, the cushions of 
which had black gauze handkerchiefs, bespangled and fringed 
with silver lace thrown over them. On their heads they wore 
black handkerchiefs. Their persons were attired in lavender 
satin quilted jackets, and white linen dresses. 

When the sad intelligence of the young Princess's death 
reached their Highnesses the Princesses, the three wives, to- 
gether with the whole of their establishments, squatted them- 
selves down upon the floor, and absolutely set to howling like 
wild beasts. 

At first I thought they had all gone demented. The Grand 
Pacha, who was almost frightened out of his senses by the up- 
roar, in his haste to see what was the matter, tripped up 
against one of the little female slaves belonging to his staff. 
This slave I subsequently learnt was also one of the daughters 
of the Viceroy, who has no less than fourteen children, four of 
whom are sons, the eldest being about twelve years old. 
These children reside at another place, under the care of a 
Prench tutor, but my Prince was the only legitimate one. 
The Prince fell sprawling on the carpet. A glass of water 
was immediately brought in by the head-nurse, who sprinkling 
some over his face exclaimed, " Bismallah ! Bismallah /" (" in 
the name of the most merciful Grod !") and then threw the con- 
tents of the glass upon the spot where His Highness had fallen. 

Singular to add, the Viceroy, whose presence in the Harem 
had not, contrary to Turkish etiquette, been announced, en- 



HABEM LIFE. 135 

tered the Audience Hall, and, looking round at the little Prince 
burst out into a hearty laugh at the child's discomfiture and 
my endeavours to pacify him ; but seemed highly amused at 
the solemn manner in which Shaytan performed her super- 
stitious observance. 



CHAPTEE XV. 

I 3AYE already given an instance that Ismael Pacha is a 
Prince who acts upon the spur of the moment, and does not 
Adhere to the ri gidity of Turkish etiquette, as he very often 
entsred the Harem without giving any notice of his approach. 

One day, after I had returned from my morning walk with 
the Q-rand Pacha, I inquired of the Princess Epouse where I 
couid find the Lady Paramount. Upon being told that Her 
Hi^ness was in the bath-room, the atmosphere of which was 
alniDst suffocating, I proceeded thither, knocked at the door, 
and entered, but almost as quickly drew back ; not until, how- 
eve:, I had perceived the Viceroy, seated on a divan, dressed 
in his pyjamas^ " drawers." 

He was attended by a complete bevy of women ; for, like 
the Sultan, females always assist at his toilette when he visits 
the Harem. Her Highness, the first wife, and several of his 
ikbilsy " favourite slaves," were acting as his valets : they also 
put on his shoes or boots, stockings, fan away the mosqui- 
toes, and watch him as he slumbers, for no others can attend 
upon him. Of them he may have as many as he likes ; but 
were he to take a fancy to any of the slaves belonging to 
either of his wives, even though 

" Her eyes were sapphires set in snow," 

the Princesses could obtain a divorce, and marry again. For 
among the Ottomans, the prince as well as the peasant is 
amenable in this respect to the la ws laid down in the Koran 
in which the injunction respecting a plurality of mve«» T»3ca. 



136 HABEM LIFE. 

thus : ** You may, if you like, marry two, three, and eyen four 
women." And that favourite's life would not be worth an 
hour's purchase. This has lately been clearly shown by thft 
fact, that a princess, one of the near relatives of His Majesty 
the Sultan, having suspected — ^nay, discovered — ^that her hus- 
band had had an intrigue with one of her slaves, had the un- 
fortunate creature's head cut off by her Grand Eunuch, placed 
it upon a dish, covered it over with a cloth of gold, and served 
it up to him. 

As she was of royal blood, her husband was in point of rsnk 
her slave, so that Her Highness did not wait upon him at his 
meals. 

As soon as he sat down at the zoofra, he drank off a cu) of 
sherbet, as was his custom, which had been poisoned ; ind 
when the dish was uncovered, he stared wildly at the pory 
head, and dropped down dead. Nothing was done to Hep 
Highness the Princess ; and I can affirm that any Turkish 
woman would have recourse to that expedient, upon receiving 
the same amount of provocation. It is dangerous, as the Tro- 
verb says, " to play with edged tools,'* but doubly so wiihin 
the mysterious walls of a Viceregal Harem. 

Well, to continue my description of His Highness in his 
bath-room, all I saw was, that the Lady Paramount and 
several IkbaU were drying his Viceregal person with l)ath 
towels. His Highness smiled, exclaimed ^'Jpprochez, appro- 
cheZf madame.** But I let go the Grand Pacha's hand, vho 
advanced towards his august parent, then curtseyed, and 
retired. 

That same day, when the Grand Pacha returned from the 
bath-room, the head-nurse, according to her habitual custom 
took him into his apartment to change his uniform ; upon 
which occasion she rifled his pockets and reaped a golden 
harvest, as the Viceroy had emptied several purses of small 
gold Egyptian coins into his pockets, telling him that there 
was plenty of baksheesh for him to give his gov^ness. 

I should have taken no notice of this circumstance, and, in 



HABEM LIFE. 137 

fact, have known nothing about it, bad not Sbajtan asked me 
to give her my tin cash-box, which was a moderate-sized one 
such as is generally used by ladies when residing on the Con- 
tinent. 

I was rather astonished at her presumption in making such 
a demand. However, being anxious to learn what had caused 
her to make that request, I asked her what she wanted it for. 
Leading me into her room, she opened her saraty ** trunk,*' 
and, guess my surprise, when she took out an English work- 
box, all the compartments of which had been removed, and I 
saw it was as full as ever it could hold of napoleons, half- 
napoleons, gold five-franc pieces, Turkish, Egyptian, and Eng- 
lish sovereigns ; in short, she had the greatest difficulty in lift- 
ing it out of the trunk. It was fastened or bound with thin 
cord, was very heavy, and must have contained several hundred 
pounds ; in short it was so full that it could contain no more. 
All was packed in rolls closely together. 

Then she showed me several hundreds of the smallest gold 
Egyptian coins which have ever been put in circulation. They 
were about the size of an ordinary gold pencil-case seal, and 
as thin as a wafer cut into two slices. As they were all new, 
I inquired of her by what means she became possessed of 
them ; and then I learned the trick she had played me. 
Taking no notice, for baksheesh had always been her perqui- 
site prior to my arrival in the Harem, I declined to give her 
my cash-box, which I could not conveniently spare, but 
handed her a tin tooth-powder box out of my dressing-case, 
into which she placed her purloinings, and salaamed me for 
the gift. 

This circumstance naturally led me to inquire what became 
of the slaves' hoards after their decease ; and I was told (but 
I can scarcely believe it) that it was expended in what they 
term giving them "a grand funeral; that is, in paying for 
torches and hiring a vast concourse of professional mourners, 
as is customary in Egypt, to cry most bitterly over the body 
at the interment. But I should leather think that the bulk of 



138 HABEM LIFE. 

their savings found its way into the coffers of the Eialar 
Ayaci*s iron chest, as he has to superintend their obsequies. 

Scarcely had this little incident occurred than the G-raad 
Eunuch entered the apartment, and informed me that I was to 
accompany the Grand Pacha ou board the Ibis yacht, as the 
Viceroy had placed that steamer at the disposal of the Prin- 
cesses to convey them on an excursion up the Nile. 

Hurrying on my hat and cloak, I took the Q-rand Pacha 
down to the landing-place, where we all embarked in barges, and 
were quickly rowed to the yacht, whose steam was up. There 
I found their Highnesses assembled on the deck, under the' 
spacious awning, squatting on the divans, smoking cigarettes, 
and looking the very picture of delight at the idea of enjoying 
a pic-nic on the bosom of the far-famed Nile. 

Soon I found that it was ta be a general treat ; for, on looking 
round, I found that the whole of the inmates of the "Abode 
of Bliss," ladies of the Harem, and slaves, even to the meanest, 
were on board. Their meals were prepared for them, just as 
if they had been in their gilded cage. There they smoked, 
sipped their coffee, enjoyed their kef, and appeared to pass 
their time most agreeably. And I should have enjoyed the. 
trip myself, had I not been frightened at the manner in which 
the captain of the steamer (a Turkish officer, who spoke 
English very well) gratified the singular whim of my Prince, 
the Grand Pacha Ibrahim, who on this occasion, as on several 
others I have already mentioned, evinced an innate cruelty of 
disposition which appears to characterize the descendants of 
the renowned Mehemet Ali. Still, I cannot but think that he 
might have been taught to be merciful, had not bad example 
been set him. 

I remember, when first taking charge of him, that I had 
great difficulty to make him mind me when checking any of 
his bad propensities. One day, when Her Highness, his 
mother, was sitting on the divan, and he would not obey me in 
something, she took hold of his hand, and then taking a 
diamond pin out of her hair, she pricked him gently with it, 



\ 



HABEM LIFE. 139 

at the same time explaining to me that that was the manner 
in which I was to punish. I looked at her, said not a word, 
but nodded my head. Thus the Prince himself was taught to 
be cruel to others, which may, in some degree, account for 
that characteristic in him. 

I never did correct His Highness in that manner, but one 
day, when I requested him to discontinue a very bad habit he 
had of forcing, as it were, his fingers up his nose, which caused 
it to swell, and which would, if persisted in, have made his 
nasal organ unseemingly wide, he rose up from the cushion 
upon which he was seated, stood quite upright, as if he had 
been on drill, and drawing his figure to its full height, he 
stamped his little foot upon the floor, exclaiming, ** Grand 
Facha, madame ! Grand Pacha, madame ! " as much as to tell 
me that he was the Grand Pacha Ibrahim, and that I was not 
to order him to do anything that he disliked. 

I desired him to do as I bid him, but to no purpose. Know- 
ing that it was necessary that the Prince should learn to obey 
me, I bethought me of the Princess's instructions ; so I walked 
up to him, took hold of his tiny hand — not, kind reader, with 
the slightest intention of hurting him — then took a hair-pin 
out of my hair, placed the points on it, and the Prince with- 
drew it, at the same time exclaiming, " EcvSt, madame I EvvSty 
madame P^ " Yes, madame ! Yes, madame !" and that was 
the first and last time that I ever tried the Princess's mode of 
punishment, for it produced a lasting impression on the Grand 
Pacha's mind ; and yet His Highness was not angry with me. 
But I knew, as a positive fact, that Shaytan the head-nurse, 
used to pinch him until His Highness shrieked again with 
pain ; and I did all in my power to prevent her from acting in 
that cruel way, and had, prior to my departure, put a stop to 
it altogether. 

The young Prince, who had often witnessed from the win- 
dows of his apartments some of the sailors belonging to the 
Viceroy's yacht, the Crocodile, plunge into the Nile, and whose 
agility in swimming had afforded him much amusement, hap- 



IW HABEM LIFE. 

pened, as lie stood on the poop-deck, to perceive several 
crocodiles basking in the sun on the low banks which shelved 
down to the river : he ran up to the captain, and told him to 
order a young slave, who was passing by at that moment, to 
be thrown into the river. 

I did all in my power to prevent this order from being 
carried out ; but as His Highness put himself into a passion, 
and the captain assured me that the slave could swim, to use 
his own expression, " like a water- fowl," I let him act upon his 
own responsibility. 

Two sailors then laid hold of the lad, and plunged him into 
the Nile, not on the side, however, on which the formidable 
crocodiles were enjoying themselves ; and I had the heartfelt 
satisfaction to see the slave swim to the boat which was hang- 
ing to the rope at the stern. 

The Prince laughed heartily at the lad's acuteness in getting 
into the boat, and again ordered him to be cast into the river, 
which was done, but the boat was sent adrift. The cunning 
slave swam to it, jumped into it, and was soon alongside the 
yacht, which had just heaved- to in order to return off the 
Harem stairs. 

I gave the lad a handful o^ paras as baksheesh^ who salaamed 
me and went away to join his companions, quite delighted 
with his prize. Poor fellow ! had it not been for the humanity 
of the captain he would have been swallowed up by the croco- 
diles ; for had he been flung on their side of the stream, no- 
thing could possibly have saved him. 

The sad monotony of my daily life was often relieved by the 
pastimes of the Grand Pacha, a merry little boy, who, had he 
been left alone with me away from all the disgusting manners 
of the ladies of the Harem and the slaves, might have been 
" made a man of," and even a gentleman, like his illustrious 
parent, whose manners are courtly and amiable. 

I had been interdicted from affording him any instruction 
through the medium of books, except so far as to teach him 
the alphabet, which I did by means of an illustrated primer 



HAEEM LIFE. 141 

and a box of toys. I tberefore took a lively interest in his 
games and amusements. I found that he possessed most 
excellent abilities, dull and heavy-looking boy as he appeared 
to be ; nevertheless the prominent features of his disposition 
were three of the worst vices that a child could possibly de- 
monstrate, namely, cruelty, avarice, and greediness. 

He had been accustomed, as soon as he could talk and 
toddle about, to have his pockets filled with paras, " silver 
coins," by the Viceroy, which, as I have previously related, 
were purloined by the head-nurse, who doled out milea of 
them, as it were, to the undernurses ; hence the manner in 
which she had accumulated her treasure. That practice being 
constantly before the Prince's eyes, it had engendered in him 
the vice of avarice, which a distinguished author has most 
accurately described as " begetting more vices than Priam did 
children, and which, like Priam, survives them all." 

It is a passion full of paradox ; a madness full of method. 
Its votary falls down and worships the god of this world, but 
will have neither its pomps, its vanities, nor its pleasures for 
his trouble. He kept constantly urging me to play at bank- 
ing with him. One day we were both seated on cushions 
upon the carpet in the Audience Hall, and after he had 
finished cutting up (for he was particularly fond of handling a 
pair of scissors) some cardboard into a number of middling- 
sized and small circular pieces, he piled them up in parcels of 
twenty, as if they had been sovereigns, then placed them in 
rows upon a cushion which was opposite to him ; beside them 
were several empty packets. Then squatting himself down in 
imitation of the Arab money-changers, who are to be found at 
almost every comer of the streets in the Egyptian towns and 
large villages, he began to personate the character of a banker, 
or, more properly speaking, the money-changer. 

The peculiar manner in which he so inimitably set, as it 
were, his features to represent those of the stolid, calculating 
^* dealer in rupees," as the Indian ruler so emphatically desig- 
nates a banker, was a fine piece of acting. 



142 HABEM LIFE. 

I sat down facing him, as he had removed his " stock in 
trade" to his right-hand side. He then gave me several 
packets of the cardboard pieces he had cut, at the same time 
telling me that I was to count them as English sovereigns. 
I then stood up before him and asked for change. 

As soon as I had done so he looked at the counter I had 
handed him, poised it in his tiny hand to see that it was full 
weight, turned it over and over again, to examine whether it 
were cut or cracked, said not a syllable, placed it on the 
cushion beside him, and began counting the paras, as he 
termed the change, in English, for he had soon acquired a 
knowledge of the numbers in my vernacular, and then handed 
a number of small cardboard counters to me, by simply placing 
them in piles upon the cushion before him. 

I took them out and counted them, but I found that he had 
not given me the proper change, even after having deducted a 
few paras for the exchange. I looked at him full in the face. 
His countenance still retained its rigidity of expression — not 
a smile, not a muscle had he moved ; ho looked the very im- 
personation of a usurer ; his close resemblance at that moment 
to the portrait of his grandfather, which hangs in the palace at 
Bas-el-Tin at Alexandria, was very striking. There sat the pro- 
totype of that Viceregal usurer who so thoroughly understood 
the art of making money to yield its best value, a gift which 
has descended to his descendants. 

I remonstrated with him, and told him that he had charged 
me too much for the exchange. His Highness wishing to gain 
as much as he could, and having no desire to part with the 
paras now that he had once fingered them, held rather a long 
argument with me, for a Turk seldom talks much, as to the 
scarcity of change. When he found that I was not satisfied 
with his explanation, he demurely stroked his chin, as if it 
were his beard, and left me to walk away and put up with my 
loss. The Grand Pacha Ibrahim laughed most heartily, and 
chuckled within himself to think how cleverly he had mulcted 
me of a few paras. ♦ 



HABEM LIFE. 143 

** Now then, Madame," said His Highness, as he rose up off 
his cushion, at the same time taking due care to remove close 
to him that which contained his treasure, " Tou must take my 
seat, and act the money-changer." 

According to his instructions I repaired to the seat he had 
vacated, at the same time placing my cushion with the 
counters by my side. As soon as I had arranged myself, the 
Prince, who had cunningly clipped the corners off several of 
the counters, probably with the intention of placing them 
among those that he had given to me at first, handed me one of 
those pieces. I examined it, pointed out to His Highness that 
it had been cut, and therefore was deficient in weight, and 
refused to change it, except at a considerable reduction ; but 
he would not agree to that agreement. Then he put himself 
into a towering passion, threw himself upon the floor, screamed 
out most hideously, -and brought the whole staff of the estab- 
lishment, princesses, ladies of the Harem, slaves and eunuchs, 
into the apartment, to see what was the matter with the Grand 
Pacha; for at the very sound of his voice the whole of the 
establishment was always on the alarm. 

The head-nurse took him up, and began performing her 
superstitious observances, by sprinkling water on the floor, as 
a slave had attended her with a silver basinful, naturally 
thinking that His Highness had met with some accident. 

When the matter was explained to the Princess Epouse, 
she laughed most heartily, and exclaimed, " Malesh I Malesh .'" 
and retired from the apartment, accompanied by the whole 
retinue. 

The Viceroy, Ismael Pacha, happening to be in an adjoining 
apartment, entered the room a few minutes after I had man- 
aged to pacify the little torment, who had set himself down, 
and was once again quietly playing with me at the same pas- 
time. I was not aware of His Highness's presence ; but as I sat 
counting out some paras on a cushion on the floor, I suddenly 
felt the breath of some person fan, as it were, my cheek. 
Thinking that it was Shay tan, I raised up my hand, with the 



144 HABEM LIFE. 

intention of boxing her ears, as I thought that, according to 
her custom, she had slipped into the apartment unperceived, 
and was watching us at play. 

Suddenly, however, I saw the Grand Pacha smile, and, 
turning round, I perceived the Viceroy, bending, as it were, over 
my shoulder. I sprung to my feet, blushed, curtseyed to His 
Highness, who smiled, and playfully exclaimed, ** Pray, 
Majlame, as I am a poor man," — and the marked emphasis 
with which the billionaire of the world uttered that expression 
was so peculiar that I shall never forget it (for the tone of 
voice was that of a professional money-lender), — ** allow me 
to take possession of your stock-in-trade." Saying which, 
His Highness seated himself on the cushion I had just va- 
cated, and began to play with his darling son. 

After having amused himself for some time, His Highness 
rose up, approached me, for I was standing at one of the win- 
dows looking out into the garden, and thanked me for the 
judicious manner in which I had managed to amuse his re- 
fractory heir, and then left the apartment. 

I had flattered myself that when he rose up from the bank- 
ing department, the Viceroy would have left some packets of 
golden paras on the cushion. None, however, were deposited 
there ; for, like his son, he was reported, and I believe the fact, 
to be fond of accumulating treasure as a means to happiness, 
and, by a common but morbid association, he continued to 
accumulate it as an end. This attachment to wealth must 
always be a growing and progressing attachment, since misers 
and usurers are not slow in discovering that those same ruth- 
less years which detract so sensibly from their bodies and 
their minds serve only to augment and consolidate the strength 
of their purse. 

Sometimes His Highness the Prince would order all his 
young slaves to come into his apartment, when he would 
make them go through the whole military exercise (many of 
whom were girls, and his half-sisters too) just as efficiently as 
if they were battalions of infantry. He gave the words of 



HAREM LIFE. 145 

command in a most clear and distinct voice, and made tbem go 
through their manoeuvres as admirably as if he had been a drill- 
sergeant. If any one of them did not stand up or march properly, 
he immediately ordered the eunuch who was in attendance upon 
him to give the refractory private several strokes of the cour- 
hache (a whip made of buffalo hide) ; and if the offender 
repeated the offence, he ordered him treble punishment, which 
was immediately inflicted. 

Thus, while the Prince displayed a strong passion for mili- 
tary glory, like his renovmed ancestor, Mehemet Ali, he also 
demonstrated his possession of that vice, cruelty, which had so 
often sullied the fair name, not only of the regenerator of 
Egypt, but which had also tarnished the renown of his cou- 
rageous grandsire, Ibrahim Pacha ; both of whom we^e neither 
more nor less than most remorseless tyrants. 

At other times, the Prince would make his retinue sit down 
on cushions on the floor, which he had arranged in rows ; aod 
then he commanded them to imitate the boatmen rowing boats 
on the Nile. If any one of them did not move their hands 
and arms in unison with the rest, he would order them to be 
bastinadoed upon the soles of their feet. 

His powers of imitation and mimicry, as I have previously 
stated, were very great, and his favourite pastime consisted in 
imitating the Mussulmans at their prayers in the mosques. 
In the first place, he went himself and fetched a Persian rug 
from one of the rooms, which he placed on the carpet, close by 
the elder slaves, who were busy cutting out their dresses, &c. 
Sometimes, however, he would have it laid in the centre of 
the room ; then he took the silk coverlets off the beds out 
of the bed store-room, and placed them on each side of the 
room. ' 

Personating the Mufti, which he did to perfection, he knelt 
down on the rug and made all the little slaves kneel down by 
his side on the coverlets. After which he began muttering 
some words, which I did not understand, but which the slaves 
repeated after him. Then he bowed his forehead down on the 



146 HABEM LIFE. 

rug, the slaves following his example. After this he stood 
with his face towards Mecca, put his two little hands together, 
bowed his head down to the ground, and continued repeating 
such gestures for upwards of fifby times, the slaves imitating 
him. Then he placed his thumbs behind his ears with his 
fingers, and extended them upwards to the ceiling, in a devo- 
tional attitude, exclaiming at different times, " Allah ! Allah ! 
Amin ! Amin ! " " God ! God ! Amen ! Amen ! " He then 
bowed his head and smoothed down his chin, in imitation of 
the Turk stroking his beard. 

At other times Sis Highness would collect a number of 
small pieces of wood out of his toy closet, in which were stored 
toys of the most costly and varied description, for it is almost 
impossible to estimate the sums which had been expended in 
this manner. During my sojourn with him, upwards of 500L 
worth arrived from Paris of the latest novelties, and I am sure 
upwards of 400/. were already in the Palace on my arrival. 
Yet, most oddly enough, those of the most simple kind, and 
which are most commonly in use among European boys, had 
not been provided for him. Hoops, skipping-ropes, trap, bat 
and ball, football, and more especially a rocking horse, had 
been omitted ; but as to drums, fifes, whistles, and those of 
the noisiest, their names were legion. The majority were, 
however, most costly mechanical inventions. I presented him 
with a small pistol, with percussion caps, rather a noisy 
though harmless weapon, but the use of it was prohibited, lest 
he should hurt himself, which was impossible. All gymnastic 
amusements had been neglected. But in making the slaves 
pretend to be carpenters, he himself acted as foreman and 
taskmaster, an office in which, like the Egyptians of old in the 
time of Pharoah and the Israelites, he was a proficient. 
Many a time and oft did he turn bricklayer himself, by getting 
flat pieces of wood, with which he made the slaves scrape the 
walls, while to others he gave long sticks, and, pretending to 
mix up mortar, he placed the pieces of paper moistened with 
water upon flat pieces of wood instead of hods, and made the 



HAEEM LIFE. 147 

slaves carry it to those who were engaged in erecting his tem- 
porary palace. 

At other times he would enact the pilgrims going to Mecca* 
Then he made the little slaves take their handkerchiefs, one of 
which they bound over their faces, concealing the whole of 
their countenances except the eyes, and spreading the other 
open, they placed it over their heads. Then, taking the thin 
coverlets, they made habaraha of them, in which they attired 
themselves. Their handkerchiefs were then converted into 
wallets, into which he placed paper to represent their pro- 
visions, and cardboard counters for their money. This being 
done, he started them off down the apartment two by two, 
while he himself attended one of the little Princesses, who was 
carried on the shoulders of some of the slaves, seated in a 
chair, the substitute for a palanquin (for, singular to add, none 
are ever used in Egypt), and then the procession moved up 
and down the apartment, while several of the other slaves 
kept beating their drums in the most discordant manner. 
Sometimes His Highness would imitate the HammaU, 
" porters," by making the slaves carry the cushions of the 
divans on their shoulders, he himself walking in front of them, 
holding a long and rather thick stick in his hand, at the same 
time hallooing out. Hum I Hum ! Allah I Allah ! hout it/am, 
*' God be thanked for this daily burthen," which all the slaves 
were obliged to repeat under penalty of receiving several 
knocks with his stick. Occasionally he would also personate 
the Hekim Bachi, ** Viceregal Doctor," and then he made one 
of the little slaves run before him, shouting forth, Allah ! 
Allah ! Dustoor ! Dmtoor ! " God ! God ! Move away ! Move 
away ! " when the slaves, both young and grown up, many of 
whom mingled in his pastimes, covered their heads with their 
dresses, or with anything that they might be making up for 
themselves, which made him laugh most heartily. 

Then he walked up and down the room, accompanied by a 
little slave, looked at the hands of the female slaves, some of 
whom were obliged to pretend that they were ill, and had bad 



148 HAEEM LIFE. 

fingers or wounded legs. Then he gave orders to his little 
assistant to bind up the part affected, and administered bread 
pills to them for medicine, but to those who were his Ikbals, 
" favourites," he gave bonbons, as immense baskets filled with 
them are monthly imported from Paris by one of His High- 
nesses partners there for exclusive distribution in the Harems. 
I repeat Harems, because his Highness the Viceroy has several 
others up the Nile both in Lower and Upper Egypt, besides 
that in which I resided with the Prince. 



CHAPTEE XVI. 

While dilating upon the admirable manner in which His 
Highness enacted the physician, I may as well mention that 
His Highness the Viceroy has a staff of medical men, chiefly 
Italians. When I fell ill at Cairo, His Highness Ismael Pacha 
sent his own physician extraordinary to visit me ; but it ap- 
peared evident to me that, from his treatment of myself, they 
do not understand the constitutions of Englishwomen. They 
are seldom or never called into the Harems, except to attend 
upon the Prince. 

The mothers of the Harem are skilled in the practice of 
midwifery ; they are generally old, ugly women, who bend the 
knee to that sovereign ruler of Egypt, Prince Baksheesh, and 
are ever ready to commit any crime or forward any intrigue, as 
the annals of Egyptian history ever since the rule of Mehemet 
Ali testify. They have all kinds of narcotics at their com- 
mand, are well versed in the use and abuse of the deadliest of 
vegetable poisons ; are skilled in making up philtres, some- 
times administered as draughts or powders, and which they 
affirm have the power to produce love or hatred. 

One of their principal charms is Hasckachir, HascMsch, 
which has been known to have the most extraordinary effects 
on the brain. When taken it causes violent palpitations, fol- 
lowed by excruciating pangs and qualms, which produce an 



HABEM LIFE. 149 

hallucinatioa of the senses that makes the mind fancy all kinds 
of improbable things. 

If taken at night, even if the darkness be ever, so intense, it 
often causes the patients who are under its influence to fancy 
that they see a most brilliant sunset. If the chamber is as 
silent as the grave, moat singular noises are heard ; sometimes 
the ringing of bells, the Moslem's abomination, although none 
are used in the East except in the dwellings of the Europeans, 
and in their places of worship ; the striking of clocks ; at other 
times the chanting in the distance of beautiful sacred music 
by sweet and melodious voices. And yet, what is most cu- 
rious, the individual who is under its pernicious influence is 
perfectly aware that those distortions of the imagination are 
but the effects of the HcLschisck^ which gives the mind, as it 
were, a double existence. Even the taste and smell seem 
affected by it, for the nostrils imbibe, as it were, perfumes 
which do not impregnate the atmosphere, and the palate fla- 
vours that exist not. 

Should the individual be taking a promenade, when under 
its influence, the thoroughfare through which he is passing 
seems to have no outlet, and every object around appears 
double, and to assume the most grotesque shapes and forms. 
At times his memory becomes impaired, and he sinks into a 
deep lethargy, which feeling I experienced myself during my 
illness at Constantinople. He loses all idea of time ; a minute 
seems to him an hour. He is consumed with a burning thirst, 
which nothing seems to assuage. 

In order to experience these effects, or many other most 
singular delusions, it is only necessary to take half a tea- 
spoonful of it, drink a cup of pure Mocha coffee, partake of a 
meal afterwards, and the potion will soon begin to operate. 

The Haschachir, like the Ban^ drunk by the Sepoys in India, 
is said to be distilled from the leaf of a kind of hemp called 
Konnab Hindi, "Fakir's Weed," or " Fakir's Keff," hence the 
derivation of the Turkish word Keff, or Kef. 

These harridans attribute great efficacy to tW \£ia2«L^'^ ^ 



150 HABEM LIFE. 

the ostrich, or portions of a dried hippopotamus, when it is 
powdered and taken by their patients in that manner. But 
their forte lies in procuring abortion. European physicians 
are not unfrequently conducted into the Harems, but the 
greatest precautions are taken to prevent them from seeing 
the faces of their patients, as the whole of the face, except the 
eyes, is covered with a haharah whenever they enter the 
palace, and the eunuchs cry out with most stentorian luogs, 
Allah ! Allah ! Dmtoor I Dustoor ! " G-od ! God ! Away ! 
Away ! " when all the women run into their rooms, in the 
twinkling of an eye. It really is most amusing to see the sin- 
gular manner in which they managed to let the Hekim Bachiy 
** Viceregal doctor," examine the diseased part. 

Once an operation had to be performed on a slave, and then 
the face was most carefully concealed. At another time the 
tongue had to be examined, and that was thrust out of the 
mouth, the lips being covered over. One day, it happened 
that a slave was at the point of death, and it was necessary to 
see her face, which was managed by a thin coloured gauze 
being thrown over it. I know an instance of an Italian doctor 
being called upon to attend a young married Turkish woman, 
who did not seem to have much the matter with her. 

*'^ Hekim effendV* (Doctor), said she to him, "I want to 
know what ails me." 

The peculiar manner in which she made that interrogatory, 
gave the doctor the key to what she wanted. He assumed a 
very serious countenance, and after a few moments' delibera- 
tion, exclaimed, ^^HanerrC* (Lady), said he, " you do not appear 
to be very unwell ; but there is one thing . . . ." 

** What is that ?" inquired the lady, hurriedly. 

" Hanem, you are as ladies wish to be who love their lords." 

" Pek-ein I " (Very well !) said the young lady's mother, who 
was present, as was usual, at the consultation. •' But how 
long has that been the case ? Pray tell us, I beg of you." 

After a few moments* pause, and by the aid of some indica- 
tions which had been revealed to him^ the doctor told her that 



^ HABEM LIFE. 151 

the Hanem bad been enceinte about four months. He then 
thought that his visit was ended ; but the mother pressed the 
Hehim to tell them whether the child would be a boy or a girl. 

Anj other medical man but that Italian physician would 
have burst out into a fit of laughter ; but he, without moving 
a muscle, looked intently at the Hanem, stroked down his beard 
several times, and then replied in a firm tone of voice : 

" Inch Allah ! »' (By the blessing of God !) " the chUd will 
be a boy, and the very picture of his father.*' 

" God grant you a long life, Hekim effendi,^^ exclaimed both 
the women; and the doctor left the apartment loaded with 
blessings and a purse full of Turkish sovereigns. 

One of His Highness's favourite pastimes was playing at 
dominoes, which he did with great skill. When he became 
wearied of that amusement cards were introduced, and he 
played numerous Turkish games with his little playmates. At 
other times he would have a fantasia enacted. Then he ordered 
the slaves to pile up several cushions, which he called a Musnud^ 
" throne," on which he seated himself with the little Princesses, 
his legitimate sisters, arranged on each side. The young slaves 
sat about him in the form of a semicircle, and a slave named 
Eosetta commenced singing in a very pretty manner the follow- 
ing verses in Turkish : — 

*' The complexion of my love is like the freshnesa of the velvet-looking 
jasmine ; her face is as resplendent as the bright, bright moon ; her lips 
were as rosy as the choicest Burgundy, and her lily white bosom the fairest 
and softest-looking that an amorous youth ever beheld. 

'* Oh ! beauteous creature, the perfume of whose breath is like the grate- 
ful odour of the musk rose, allow me to sip sweets from thy ruby lips, and 
pour forth into thy ear the passion that consumes my heart." 

All the slaves joined in the chorus, and sang the last verse. 
Their Highnesses the Princesses encored; then the Grand 
Pacha, quite elated at his success as director of the fantasia, 
ordered another slave, named Damietta, to approach the mus- 
nud, and the little girl poured forth, in a plaintive voice, the 
following strain : — 



152 HABEM LIFE. 

" My mistress wears a beautiful gold embroidered dress ; her wide 
trousers are of azure blue silk ; her waistband is a costly cashmere shawl 
wortli two hundred Egyptian sovereigns. All the richness of her attire i» 
nothing in comparison to the beauty of her face ! 

" There is nothing either in heaven or earth half so lovely as her beauti- 
ful sparkling orbs.** 

At other times he would give orders [for a banquet. Then 
two slaves were ordered to fetch all the soofras they^could find, 
which thej placed down the whole length of the apartment. 
Then His Highness commanded them to ask the eunuchs to give 
them a number of the prettiest bonbon cases, filled with those 
condiments, which they brought up into the room. Emptying 
their contents into one of the silk coverlets, the Prince mixed 
them all together, replaced them in some of the handsomest 
baskets at hand, and ordered the slaves to hand them round to 
the Princesses, the wives, and to his little sisters ; also to his 
ikbaly " favourite," for he had one, young as he was. 

She was a slave who had been purchased at Constantinople, 
and was placed in the Harem to be educated with His High- 
ness. Had that plan been followed out, some good results 
might have been produced ; but like most others adopted by 
many of the Viceregal family, it was abandoned. The only 
distinction which was made between this child and the young 
Princesses was that she was obliged to eat her meals with an 
iron spoon. Upon this occasion, imitating the example set 
him by his Viceregal parent, he took it into his head to honour 
her that day, and therefore ordered the slaves to hand every 
basket to her first, after they had served their Highnesses the 
Princesses, the wives. She was distinguished from the other 
slaves by wearing a fez ; which was not on account of the po- 
sition she would probably be called upon to take, but simply 
from the fact that the cleanliness of her hair had been so much 
neglected, that she had not only lost the greater portion of it, 
but that the vermin had eaten sores into her skull I 

After this sherbet was served. 

The entertainment, however, did not pass off without one of 



HABEM LIFE. 153 

the Prince's favourite slaves having purloined a basket of 
bonbons. The Princess Epouse, upon being informed of it, 
ordered tbe girl to be punished ; but the G-rand Pacha put 
himself into such a paroxysm of rage, that he lay upon the floor 
and foamed at the mouth, exclaiming at intervals that she 
should not be punished, except by himself: and nothing would 
satisfy him until his mother had countermanded the order. 
When that was done, he took up a small cane which was close 
at hand, laid it lightly across her shoulders, and thus ended 
the affair. 

It afforded me considerable pain to observe that His High- 
ness always evinced, at these feasts, the utmost greediness, by 
setting apart for himself the largest basket of bonbons ; and 
if any of the slaves (and several of them were in the habit of 
doing so) teased him by exchanging their own baskets, cakes, 
&c., for his, he would break up the entertainment instanter, 
have all the soofras, &c., removed immediately, send the slaves 
away, and dismiss the company. 

One day, when it was too hot for the Prince to take his 
usual morning walk in the garden, I was playing with him at 
football, the ball being a middle-sized India one, enclosed in 
network; the hangings of the doors being looped back to 
admit of a free circulation of air. His Highness happened to 
kick it with rather more force than usual, it bounded into the 
corridor, and rolled into a room, the door of which I had never 
seen open before, and disappeared. 

The Prince followed in pursuit ; but hearing him halloo out, 
I hastened to his assistance, and, entering the unexplored 
chamber, I found that the tails of his little coat had been 
caught in the leg of a Broad wood's grand piano. I instantly 
liberated the little captive, who, as soon as he had snatched 
up the ball, threw it into my hands, which were extended to 
catch it, and proceeded (as he was exceedingly curious) to ex- 
amine every nook and corner of that room, which was to him 
an undiscovered region. 
Hand-in-hand, we proceeded to take an inventory of the 



154 . HABEM LIFE. 

miscellajieous articles which were huddled up together in that 
" Old Antiquev and Modern Curiosity Shop." I cannot do 
better than compare it to the show-room of an extensive fur- 
niture-warehouse, with half-a-dozen parlours, of "Wardour- 
street vertH dealers. 

There we found beautifully executed full-length portraits of 
Her Majesty the Queen, the late Prince Consort, Napoleon 
III., the Empress Eugenie, and many other of the crowned 
heads of Europe ; elegant gilt time-pieces, large bulky rolls of 
handsome carpet, marqueterie tables, spring easy-chairs, sofas, 
ornaments for mantelpieces of the most costly description; 
clocks, with birds which, as I wound some of them up, began 
singing, instead of striking the hours. Some had fish swim- 
ming round and round the dials, which stood in the centre on 
imitation lakes ; all of them were most artistically inlaid, with 
large figures on the tops. There was one far more beautiful 
than the others which attracted my attention, which had the 
figure of Venus in a shell drawn by swans : it was a magnificent 
piece of workmanship. Others had chariots drawn by wild 
horses — one with Mazeppa and the wild horses. There were 
stood up against the wall suits of old armour, beautifully in- 
laid. On lines hung quantities of old clothes, consisting of 
suits of uniforms which had belonged to Mehemet Ali, Ibra- 
him Pacha, Ismael Pacha, the Viceroy's uncle, and other 
defunct Egyptian princes. Saddles, bridles, silver bits, and 
stirrups ; immense mirrors, evidently of English manufacture ; 
superb large glass lustres, services of old Sevres china ; fire- 
irons, richly gilt ; children's toys in abundance, of the most ex- 
pensive kind, all fitted with mechanical movements ; musical 
instruments, and a host of miscellaneous articles that it would 
take a catalogue of twenty pages to enumerate. 

It was a very large apartment (not in the Harem) and hap- 
pened to be open on that day, as the Viceroy's Tchihoukdji was 
standing there, while several slaves were dusting it. I then 
determined to ask the Viceroy, when an opportunity offered, 
to allow me to have the furniture which was in it (for therein 



HABEH LIFE. 155 

I had found everything that even a European lady of rank 
could desire to make her rooms comfortable) placed in the 
rooms above it, which would have enabled me to keep the 
Prince apart from the host of slaves, whose disgusting ways 
tended to counteract my best endeavours to bring him up in 
European habits and manners. 

But, most unfortunately, our sudden departure for Alex- 
andria prevented me from carrying out that beau projet, as 
also did my subsequent illness at Constantinople, which 
obliged me to repair to Europe. I never again returned to 
the Harem, for which I was not sorry. 

On my return to the Prince's reception-hall, into which His 
Highness had hastened some time before me, I found one of the 
little eunuchs (for there were then eight of them in the Harem, 
whose ages averaged from four to ten years) who were to ac- 
company us to Constantinople as presents to His Majesty the 
Sultan, crying most bitterly. 

Upon making inquiries, I found that he had been dread- 
fully frightened by the Prince with a snow-white lamb, a toy, 
who bleated by mechanism, and had run his horns against his 
private parts. The blow had so exasperated the little eunuch 
that he rushed on the Grand Pacha, who, doubling up his fist 
a V Anglais, had struck him in the same part near the abdo- 
men, and sent him sprawling on the floor. The head-nurse 
had rushed in, and performed her incantations, and the mother 
of that little " spectre of a man " was tending that offspring 
whom she had sold for filthy gold, like a farmer sells his 
sheep. 

When I had complained to Mr. B. and the Messrs. H. of 
the scanty accommodation of one tiny little room, not more 
than twelve feet long by twelve feet broad, and about fourteen 
high, I was met with the reply that His Highness had no 
other accommodation to give me. Now I had found out the 
contrary, and learned that not the slightest efforts had been 
made by the Viceroy's partners to contribute to my comfort. 
But as I was one of mother Eve's daughters, all of whom they 



156 HABEM LIFE. 

looked upon as handmaids and slaves, born to be bought and 
sold, anything was good enough for me ; for I had found a 
whole suite of noble rooms unoccupied, and plenty of useful 
elegant European furniture to adorn and befit them for the 
occupation of His Highness and his Governess, close by my 
own chamber. 

Perhaps had I been a Frankfort lady, or a denizen of the 
lovely village of Oppenheim, on the banks of the beautiful 
Rhine, my comforts would have been better cared for, and I 
should have found my position much more endurable ; but I 
was Kopek, ** a dog " of an Englishwoman, a Howadjee, an 
unbeliever, a Pariah, whom both Moslems and Jews despised 
and spat at, and therefore, as I was told before I quitted my 
own dear bright land of liberty, "I must fight my own 
battle", I determined to do it, my motto being, *^ coUte qui 
coUte'' 



CHAPTER XVIL 

NoTWiTHSTANDiNa the suddou demise of Ismael Pacha's 
daughter, and the intense heat of the season, we passed the 
festival of the Grand Bairam (Courban), held in celebration of 
the three days' pilgrimage to Mecca, in the Harem at Gehzire. 
I should have observed that there are two festivals called 
Bairam ; the other, named A'idfitr, corresponds to our New 
Tear's Day. On the former occasion, and the festival I am 
about to describe, all the shops kept by Turks are invariably 
closed, and both they and the Egyptians dress themselves in 
new attire, feast most immoderately, sacrifice lambs (the scraps 
of which, after they have finished their repast, are given to the 
poor), pay visits to one another, as also do the inmates of the 
Harems. 

"Well, this festival, so anxiously looked forward to by the 
Peris of the Viceregal Harem, began on the Monday, and con- 



HAEEM LIFE. 157 

tinned until the following "Wednesday until sunset; during 
tbe whole of which period the sound, the sight, of fez, girdle, 
robe, and scimitar, and tawny skins awoke contending thoughts 
of surprise, astonishment, and wonder in my mind. 

On the Sunday night, three large &t sheep, which would 
have done credit to the show of cattle in Baker Street at 
Christmas time, with their horns gilded and blue ribbons tied 
round their necks, were brought into the court-yard of the 
Harem. Early on the Monday morning, between three and 
four o'clock, they were killed, and their blood besprinkled on 
the posts and thresholds of every outer door. The sight made 
my heart heave again. Then they were cut up and cooked, 
the greater portion of them being cut into steaks, and broiled 
upon live charcoal, portions of which were distributed to every 
person in, about, and in the vicinity of the Harem. 

At the doors of each apartment were placed Sevres china 
bowls of sour milk, and custards on trays, when every one as 
they entered took some of them, and helped themselves to the 
Turkish sweetmeats, bonbons, cakes, fruit, <&c. 

In fact, the whole time from morning to night was one con- 
tinual scene of gourmandizing and paying visits. At five 
o'clock in the morning the inmates of the Harem arrayed 
themselves en grande toilette, and went to pay their Highnesses 
the Princesses, the three wives, a visit, at the same time pre- 
senting each with a gift, the value of which they returned 
tenfold by bestowing baksheesh, in the shape of sums of money, 
jewellery, and dresses, upon them. When dresses were given 
they invariably comprised three muslins and a silk one. TJpon 
this occasion I took the Grand Pacha with me into, theic High- 
nesses' rooms, when they all saluted me with the expression, 
'' Bairum Madame,*^ and each handed me a small packet of 
paras, gold coins, as baksheesh. 

Her Highness the Lady Paramount wore upon this occasion 
a pink satin robe, trimmed with black lace and silver thread 
ribbon, with full trousers of the same material. Around her 
head was a white gauze handkerchief embroidered with ^XjL. 



^ 



158 HABEM LIFE. 

On her forehead she wore a tiara of large pansies in diamonds ; 
round her neck was a costly necklace of the same flowers with 
emerald leaves, and pear-shaped pearl drops, as big as pigeons' 
eggSj were suspended from the centre. Her arms were orna- 
mented with two massive gold bracelets, on one of which, con- 
trary to the express command of Mahomet, their Prophet, was 
the portrait of the Viceroy Ismael Pacha, dressed in his rich 
Turkish uniform with fez, set in brilliants, which she very 
kindly took off and handed to me. I looked at them some 
time, and when I returned them His Highness inquired of me 
now I liked them ? To which I replied that they were Guzel f 
Guzelf "Beautiful! beautiful!'' 

Her armlets were of large pear-shaped opals, which hung 
suspended like drops, between which was set a large diamond. 
On her little finger on the right hand, she wore a magnificent 
sapphire ring, about the size of a walnut, and on the same 
finger of the left was a rose pink diamond ring. Her waist 
was encircled with a gold band fastened with diamond clasps, 
into which was tucked her gold watch encrusted with brilliants, 
the Albert chain of which, an inch broad, was composed of 
diamonds and emeralds. The watch was fastened to the side 
of the gold band by a gold watch hook, attached to which was 
a very small silk bag, studded with brilliants, containing the 
keys of her cash-box and jewel-cases, with which she never 
parted by night or day. Her feet were encased in pink silk 
stockings and high-heeled embroidered white satin shoes. In 
her left hand she carried a richly gold embroidered muslin 
handkerchief, and in her right hand she held a pink satin 
purse, more like a bag than anything else, richly embroidered 
with pearls, containing small gold Egyptian coins for bak- 
sheesh. 

I must here observe that I have often seen their Highnesses 
amuse themselves by sticking a number of these coins all over 
the Pacha's face, and then sending him laughing out of their 
apartment, and, as a matter of course, they were eagerly picked, 
off by the head nurse, whose perquisites they became. 



HABEH LIFE. 159 

Her Higliness the Princess Epouse, the mother of my 
.Prince, was attired in a rich blue figured silk robe, trimmed 
with white lace and silver thread, with a long train; full 
trousers of the same material, high-heeled embroidered satin 
shoes bo match the dress. On her head she had a small white 
crape handkerchief, elegantly embroidered with blue silk and 
silver, and round it was placed a tiara of May blossoms in 
diamonds. She wore a necklace to correspond, having large 
sapphire drops hanging down on her neck. Her arms were 
ornamented with three bracelets composed of diamonds and 
sapphires, and an armlet entirely of sapphires of almost price- 
less value. This was 'par excellence^ the veriest hijou I had 
yet seen amidst all the galaxy of jewellery of precious stones 
which adorned any of their Highnesses' persons, although at 
times my eyes, when looking at the bedizened Peris arrayed 
in all their gems, have become as dim as if I had been fixing 
them on the gorgeous noonday sun in any eastern clime. In 
her bosom she wore a brooch containing the Viceroy's portrait 
in European costume, with — ^hear it not, ye Moslems ! — a hat 
on, having two circles of diamonds aroiind it. Upon looking 
at it, it recalled to my recollection Ben Jonson's celebrated 

lines : — 

^* This figure that thou here seest put, 

It is for Ismael Pacha cut ; 

Wherein the graver had a strife 

With Nature to outdo the life : 

O could he but have drawn his wit 

As well in brass, as he hath hit 

His face, the portrait would then surpass 

All that was ever writ in brass ; 

But since he cannot, reader, look 

Not on his picture, but in this book." 

On the little finger on her right hand she wore a large bright 
yellow diamond ring, of almost untold value, and on that of the 
left an enormous white diamond. Her waist was encircled with 
an elastic gold band, having as clasps two crocodile heads in dia- 
monds and emeralds. * Her gold watch, encircled with brilliants, 



160 HABEH LIFE. 

had appended to it an Albert chain composed of sapphires and 
diamonds ; to it was attached a small gold bag, containing the 
keys of her cash-box and jewel-cases, and in her left hand she 
held a small sky-blue satin bag embroidered with pearls, con- 
taining the gold coins which she purposed distributing as bak- 
sheesh. The third wife was attired in a similar manner, except 
in a robe of different colour, as also were the young Princesses, 
but all were resplendently ornamented with precious jewels. 
/ The ladies of the Harem, and the whole of the slaves, were 
dressed in the richest silks, and were adorned with jewels, almost 
as costly as those of their Highnesses. 

It was to me rather a novel sight, to observe that the German 
laundrymaid and needle- woman had, upon this occasion, dressed 
themselves up as Turkish houris. .It is almost impossible to 
conceive the nondescript figures they cut in their bal masque cos- 
tume ; as, being naturally very bad shapes, they looked more like 
the scarecrow figures one is accustomed to see placed in corn- 
fields, to keep the crows away ; and their awkward manner of 
imitating the Turkish shuffle was ludicrous in the extreme. 

After I had paid my respects to them, T returned with the 
Grand Pacha, and handed him over to Shaytan, who proceeded 
to dress him en grande tenue. He wore black trousers, striped 
with red, with a narrow slip of gold-lace down each side. His 
coat was black, richly embroidered with gold-lace and orna- 
mented gold buttons. I then placed on each of his shoulders 
a massive gold epaulette, buckled around his waist a gold band, 
which was fastened with a diamond clasp, in the shape of a 
crescent, from it dangled a diamond-hilted sword. In the heels 
of his patent-leather boots, were fastened gold spurs ; and in 
each of his pockets was placed a purse, filled with jparas, for 
baksheesh, which was invariably called sish by the inmates of the 
Harem. 

I then led him into the Grand Eunuch's apartment, which 
was fitted up on that occasion as the Grand Audience Hall ; the 
hangings of the doors and windows being of crimson silk ; and 
the chairs and divans covered with the same material. There 



HABEH LIFE. 161 

the Grand Pacha held a levee of the Ministers of State, 
the Consuls General, at which were present the most distin- 
guished military and naval officers, as well as a host of the elite 
of Turkish and Egyptian noblesse and the European com- 
munity. 

His Highness, the Prince Ihrahim, was seated on a divau, 
while I sat by his side, on the left, plainly attired, as not the 
slightest intimation had been given me that I should be called 
upon to take part in this ceremony, which was extremely 
fatiguing. All the Ministers of State, the highest in rank 
taking precedence, advanced towards His Highness, kissed his 
right hand, then placed their foreheads upon it ; the next in rank 
kissed both his hands, and then, likewise, placed their foreheads 
upon it. To their Highnesses, the Princesses, Jindjans of the 
finest Japan china, placed in gold filigree zarfs, encrusted with 
precious stones, and filled with coffee, were handed round, and 
pipes were presented to those distinguished guests. 

When this Besa los manos, for it was tantamount to that cere- 
mony at the court of Spain, was over, the Grand Pacha Ibrahim, 
attended by myself, the illegitimate sons of the Viceroy, and 
the Ministers of State, proceeded with a brilliant escort of in- 
fantry and their band, to receive the Viceroy Ismael Pacha, at 
the landing-place of the Harem. Immediately on our arrival , 
the band struck up the Sultan's March, and the Viceroy 
landed from his yacht. 

On the promenade, facing the Harem stairs, close to the 
edge of the hill, stood the Prince, myself, and His Boyal High- 
nesses illegitimate sons, on the right hand, with a host of 
attendants behind, while the Ministers, <&c., lined the left side. 
As the Viceroy passed up this line, he took the little Prince 
by his left hand, and saluted the Ministers with his right, 
then, dropping the Grand Pacha's hand, I took hold of it, and 
we walked by the side of the Viceroy Ismael Pacha, up to the 
entrance gate of the Harem, when the Ministers and officials 
saluted, and went their way. 

Entering the Harem, the Viceroy stopped at the outer gate 



162 HABEM LIFE. 

to take a few bonbons out of the gold filigree-basket, in whick 
they were placed, as also did the Prince and myself, as it i» 
customary for all visitors on that occasion to partake of some- 
thing on entering the precincts of the Harem. 

Then the Grand Eunuch and his corps, dressed in new 
richly-embroidered uniforms, threw open the doors of the 
Stone Hall, that most useful of all the rooms in this '' Mansion 
of Bliss," and there stood, ranged in double lines, like files 
of infantry, the whole retinue of slaves, much more superbly 
attired than has been already described in the transformation 
scene, on His Highness's first visit to the Harem after my 
arrival. In short, they constituted two such dazzling and 
brilliant lines of sparkling jewels, as perhaps it never fell to 
the lot of an European lady to behold. There stood upwards 
of two hundred women, with their persons decorated with the 
most resplendent precious stones which the mineral kingdom 
had produced, and then to have a photographic sketch of the 
appearance of these houris of the East. And as the Yiceroy 
walked slowly on, according to his custom, between them, 
with the Prince and myself, all salaamed him, at the same 
time exclaiming, Bairam Efendimiz ! " Bairam your Majesty!'* 
at which His Highness smiled, and waved his hand. 

The Viceroy was received at the foot of the staircase by the 
Princesses, thcj three wives, to each of whom he presented his 
right hand, which they kissed. The steps of the grand-stair- 
case were lined oA '^ach side by the ladies of the Harem ; and 
Ikbals, who also sialaamed the Viceroy as he ascended, and the 
Princesses as they followed. On his Highness reaching the 
Audience Saloon, he sat down on the Divan, dL la Europeenne, 
while the Prince stood at his knee. 

I had been particularly struck, on my first introduction 
into the Harem, with the repugnance which the Gfand Pacha 
Ibrahim invariably manifested when called upon to make visits 
to the Baba^ ** father," as the Viceroy was familiarly termed 
in the Harem. Notwithstanding that His Highness showed 
him the greatest kindness and affection, still the Prince did 



HAKEM LIFE. 163 

not appear to return it. I repeat appear^ for, Turks are never 
very demonstrative, it is almost impossible to know when they 
are pleased or vexed, so that their sayings and doings are like 
those diplomatic avalanches which are constantly taking place 
in all parts of the Ottoman dominions. Whenever he ap- 
proached his august parent, he cast his eyes down upon the 
carpet. Sometimes the little Prince would hand things to 
him from oft' the soofraSf at others nothing could induce him 
to do so. Whenever he addressed the Viceroy, he called him 
F/emdimiz, ** Monseigneur," but the Baba designated his son 
as plain Ibrahim. 

Between the Grand Pacha and his sisters there also existed 
a kind of restraint ; as owing to the Prince being the legiti- 
mate son, the heir to the billionaire's vast wealth, but not to 
the Viceroyalty (as that honour passes in a direct line to the de- 
scendants of Mahomet Ali, and therefore would fall to the lot 
of Mustapha Pacha, the Viceroy's brother, the surviving son 
of Ibrahim Pacha), he made the little Princesses show proper 
deference to him, in the demonstration of which His Highness 
was most exacting. 

In a comer of the divan, but at some distance from the 
Viceroy, sat the Lady Paramount; and on another divan, 
opposite to the Baba, sat the other two wives. 

Then their Highnesses rose, and offered him coffee, sweet- 
meats, sherbet, and cheroots, which the white slaves had 
handed to them, after which the eunuchs entered the room, 
bearing several trays, covered with cloth of gold, containing 
His Highnesses's presents of gold coin and jewellery, of the 
most costly description, to the Viceregal family. After this a 
grand repast took place, at which the Princesses, according to 
their precedence in rank, received the dishes from the hands of 
the slaves, and placed them on the table, which was elegantly 
laid on that occasion in the European style. Then the Viceroy, 
and Lady Paramount, accompanied by two of his daughters, 
went through the muayed4, that is, proceeded in state to the 
Mooaky, 

W— ^ 



164 HABEM LIFE. 

On the return of the Viceregal partj, the Princesses went 
and paid visits to other members of the Viceregal family, who 
resided in the different Harems. 

On the Tuesday following, at six o'clock in the morning, the 
Grand Pacha and myself, both dressed en grande tenue, pro- 
ceeded to the Harem. The Viceroy had not yet risen : but, 
after waiting a short time, the Baba passed through the recep- 
tion-room, into his dressing-room, attended by his two Ikbals^ 
and several other slaves, who assisted at his toilet. They had 
been preceded by the Lady Paramount, who has the privilege 
of handing the Baba his sword, (which is similar to that worn 
by the Grand Pacha, only of full size, and more thickly en- 
crusted with diamonds,) and placing the broad blue ribbon 
that His Highness wears across his shoulder. 

The toilette of the Viceroy being finished, he re-entered the 
apartment. He was dressed in full uniform, and appeared one 
mass of gold lace. When Ismael Pacha entered the Audience 
Hall, the Lady Paramount was standing conversing with me, 
holdingjthe Viceroy's sword in her hand. At this moment 
the Ikbal, the reigning favourite of the day, came out of the 
dressing-room, pushed rudely up against the Princess, and 
touched her on the arm (their Highnesses have a perfect horror 
at being touched by any of the slaves) ; upon which she became 
crimson with passion, stamped her feet, and exclaimed. 
Wallah I Wallak-el-Azeem ! " By the most merciful God !" 
(the Arabs' mode of swearing, for she was an Arab,) and raised 
the sword, with the intention of striking her down to the 
earth. 

Fortunately the Baba^ whether designedly or not, had moved 
towards her, girded with his trusty steel, and the blade, for 
Her Highness had drawn it, fell mechanically into its glittering 
scabbard; while the Ikhal, with a smile beaming upon her 
countenance, which was not unlike that of an ordinary-looking 
English peasant girl, went her way unscathed, not disconcerted 
in the least by this display of Arab mettle. The appearance 
of the Ikbal was so totally different to that of any other of 



HABEM LIFE. 165 

tbe slaves, that it struck me she might be of European origin, 
if not a European herself. I had seldom or ever heard her 
speak, and then it was in Turkish ; but there was a bold, 
defiant, don't-care manner about her, that did not savour of 
Asiatic parentage. 

A few days afterwards, when I was standing on the landing- 
place, arranging the Prince's sword, as we were going to take 
a promenade with the Viceroy, the Ikbal came running (for 
she walked much better than any of the others) out of the 
Eeception Hall, and rushed by me, in the same unceremonious 
manner in which she had passed by the Lady Paramount. 
But just as she approached, the Baba via.\ed his hand, reproved 
her, point blank ordered her to return, exclaiming, "The 
G-rand Pacha and Madame are always to take precedence." 
After that we had no more scenes, and she was amiable enough 
to me ever afterwards. 

Then Her Highness, the first wife, whose peculiar privilege 
it was to wait upon her liege lord on this grand occasion, 
hastily snatched out of the belt of the slave who ofiiciated as 
light bearer, a small: pair of silver tongs, similar in size to 
a pair of grape- scissors, as used at dessert in Europe, quitted 
the room, but returned almost in a moment, holding between 
them a piece of live charcoal, which she held up to the Viceroy, 
who lit his cheroot with it. After the lapse of a few minutes, 
the Baba made a move, and, attended by the G-rand Pacha and 
myself, left the Harem, unaccompanied by any suite, proceeded 
on board the yacht, which landed us at the Palace at Boulac, 
which is a magnificent structure, superbly furnished, but still 
in an unfinished state. Here it is that audience is generally 
given, as was done on this occasion, to the Ministers, Foreign 
Consuls- General, and where His Highness's men of business 
privately arrange all commercial matters with the Baba. 

On our disembarkation a double file of troops was drawn 
up, through which we passed into the Grand Audience Hall, 
while the band played the Sultan's March. There all the 
officers stood ranged in two rows, who presented arms to Hia 



166 HABEH LIFE. 

Highness, at the same time exclaiming, ** Allah umerlez were 
Effendimir ! " May God grant our Lord a long life !" Upon 
receiving the announcement that His Highness the Grand 
Pacha's carriage was drawn up, I, together with the Prince, 
salaamed. The Viceroy left the Palace, and we were driven 
along at a most furious pace through the narrow streets of 
Cairo, lined with old, dilapidated. Oriental-looking houses, 
having wooden halconies and projecting windows, ahsolutely 
encrusted with dust, near one of which the horses kicked a 
poor Arab off his donkey : but whether he was killed or not I 
know not, as the carriage dashed along at a most terrific rate. 
Soon afterwards we entered the gates of the Harem in the 
citadel, the residence of Her Highness the Valide Princess, 
the Vicerov's mother. 

There we were received by seven eunuchs, who conducted 
us through a small stone hall covered with matting, which led 
into a marble-paved walk, open on the side facing the gardens. 
It was covered with a verandah which formed the winter pro- 
menade, at the extremity of which we were ushered into a 
large stone hall also covered with matting, and having divans 
ranged around it. Then we passed up four steps covered with 
matting, and entered a large uncarpeted apartment, containing 
no other furniture than a divan covered with faded straw- 
coloured satin, ranged under the three large windows overlook- 
ing the lovely, well-kept gardens. After this we descended 
some steps, and entered into another uncarpeted room on the 
right-hand side, quite destitute of furniture. All presented 
the picture of misery and discomfort ; all looked most discon- 
solate and empty ; just such rooms as you would imagine the 
widow of a usurer, who, by discounting bills, exacting most 
exorbitant rates of interest, and thoroughly understanding the 
art of buying and selling rupees, would delight to occupy. 

A divan was ranged underneath the windows ; but seated 
on a cushion on the floor was a lady dressed in Turkish cos- 
tume, whom I immediately recognized as a European, and 
when her history was subsequently told to me in Italy, near 



HABEH LIFE. 167 

Pistoja, by a gentleman who knew her, it brought to my recol- 
lection those Europeans whom I had passed at Tantab, looking 
out of His Highness the Viceroy's private despatch train ; and 
I could not help wondering to myself how many more Euro- 
pean women were " caged up'* in the chambers of the Baha^s 
other Harems situated on the banks of the Upper Nile. I 
learned that she was a Belgian, that her name was Caroline, 
and that she was the mother of the illegitimate sons of the 
Viceroy ; and it is not improbable but that the Princes?, 
whose death I have narrated, was also her daughter. 

She was a very handsome woman, rather stout, and between 
thirty and forty years of age, and dressed in black, d, la Turque^ 
but unveiled, as all are when within the Harem. "When we 
entered she was smoking a Tchibouk, She rose off the divan, 
took the Prince by the hand, placed him by her side, kissed 
him, bowed to me, then clapped her hands, and handed the 
Grand Pacha over to the slave, who had responded to her call, 
to carry him about. Then we all proceeded up the broad stair- 
case, which was covered with matting, at the top of which, on 
the landing, as it were, we found several of their little High- 
nesses, his sisters, who had preceded us, in charge of the 
eunuchs, sitting down (squatting would be the most correct 
expression) awaiting his arrival, dose to the door of the cham- 
ber of the Valide Princess, She was a Princess by birth, the 
mother of Ismael Pacha, the widow of the gallant yet avari- 
cious Ibrahim Pacha, and who, by some deep researches into 
-the genealogical records of the sultanas of Turkey, has lately 
discovered that she is closely related to the Valide Sultana, 
'the mother of His Majesty Abdul Aziz, the present Sultan. 



CHAPTEE XVni. 

Her Highness, who takes precedence of all the wives, who 
: stand in awe of her, had not yet risen from her downy couch, 
.and so there the young Princesses waited like a band of slaves 



168 HABEM LIFE. 

until their imperious grandmother had fbiished her toilette, as 
she never would receive them in her chamber. Why or where- 
fore I know not. Perhaps there were other visitors there, 
whom it did not suit the Valide Princess to allow her grand- 
daughters to see ; perhaps her Grand Eunuch, a shrewd, cun- 
ning, crafty individual, who was a very sinister looking per- 
sonage, but who appeared thoroughly to understand the ways 
of his Viceregal mistress, was closeted with Her Highness, 
communing with her on aftairs of state, or private matters. 
At all events there I found them squatting down at the door- 

BiU. 

But His Highness the Grand Pacha (who was her pet — ^her 
Ibrahim — the very prototype of her lamented husband, the 
gallant yet cruel Ibrahim Pacha,) broke through all ceremony ; 
and I soon found that this " dot of humanity's" word was law 
here as well as at Ghezire ; for, passing by the Princesses, he 
exclaimed, " Come along, Madame," pulled aside the dismal, 
funeral -looking, black curtain,'ornamented with a silver crescent 
in the centre, which hung across the doorway, and bounded 
like a gazelle into the apartment, where he remained some time 
with the Valide Princess, as I did not presume to enter her 
presence. 

I stood talking to the young Princesses, all of whom were 
rather intelligent, tractable, and amiable girls, and would, had 
we remained longer together, have become considerably 
Europeanized, as I found them anxious to learn, and particu- 
larly attached to me, poor, dear, neglected creatures ! a circum- 
stance not to be wondered at, as, extraordinary as it may appear, 
neither Turkish fathers nor mothers seem to like having a 
posse of daughters. Perhaps it is from avaricious motives ; 
for with them they are obliged to give dowries suitable to their 
position in society ; whereas boys, so to speak, are made to 
shift for themselves. Thus the Viceroy, or their mother, the 
Lady Paramount — whose first child was a son, who had been 
dead many years, but who would have been eighteen years 
old had he lived (for they were her children) — took not the 



HASEM LIFE. 169 

slightest interest in them. Consequently they were allowed 
to grow wild and uncared for ; but as I thought it was a pity 
that such noble females should be brought up in that barbarous 
manner, I took an interest in them, and began to teach them 
English, and to cause them to adopt many European modes 
and customs. 

As soon as the Viceroy's mother had finished her morning 
toilette, she came forth out of her chamber. She was a short 
elderly person, a most courtly dame, and perfect lady in the 
fullest acceptation of the term, with grey hair and large 
piercing black eyes, but commanding in her manner, often too 
imperious and stately in her carriage. Her manners were 
courtly, at which I was surprised ; in short, I never beheld 
anything but what was ladylike in her behaviour. She ap- 
peared to have sprung from quite a different stock to that of 
the Baha^s three wives. Perhaps she was brought up at the 
Imperial court of Is-tam-bol, ** Constantinople ;" but I never 
could learn anything reliable about her history, except that 
Ibrahim Pacha, when desperately in love with her, wrote some 
beautiful verses to her at the old palace of Bebek, a copy of 
which I have given elsewhere. That perhaps may account for 
the Sultan naming the Palace of Bebek as that Princess's resi- 
dence during her visit to the imperial Court in 1864, and which 
was considered by her as a very great compliment. About 
these grounds she must have rambled with infinite delight, but 
perhaps mingled with sorrow for the loss of Ibrahim Pacha, to 
whom she was devotedly attached ; all appeared to be mystery, 
doubt, and conjecture. All I know is that at first I found 
her exceedingly imperious towards me ; she even went so far 
as to expect that I should kneel at her feet and squat down at 
her door like a slave. 

I had often, when a child, been found by Her Most Q-racious 
Majesty the Queen and the late Prince Consort playing about 
in the private grounds at Erogmore and Windsor; and when 
I had encountered the royal pair, who took fiowers from my 
basket which I had gathered in the grounds and smiled, I had 



170 HAREM LIFE. 

stepped aside, stood still, and curtseyed — ^no more. I did the 
same to the Valide Princess of Egypt, and I thought that was 
quite sufficient respect to show her, and I never did anything 
more ; nay, I positively refused to do more. 

Gradually, as we became better acquainted with each other, 
her haughtiness diminished; still there was a lack of that 
amiability and suavity of manner about her which most cer- 
tainly characterized their Highnesses, the three wives, always 
making you uncomfortable in her presence. She was a fitting 
partner for such a prince as Ibrahim Pacha. She possessed 
great intellectual activity ; hence there is no doubt but that 
«he meddled indirectly in the weightiest affairs of the State ; 
weightiest, I repeat, because I suppose Her Highness consi- 
dered, in her eyes, the relations between the Sultan and the 
Viceroy to be such ; in those matters she appeared at home, as 
I shall afterwards have occasion to explain. 

She was extremely penurious — nay, mean would be the more 
appropriate expression — and as an illustration, I need only 
adduce the fact of her Harem being the most beggarly arranged 
of any I ever entered. Her staff of attendants was very 
limited ; her habits were frugal ; her attire, upon ordinary oc- 
casions, extremely plain, while on grand ones it was regal and 
queenlike. She was avaricious to a degree, imperious in her 
manner, and exacting in the extreme. 

The finest trait in her character was her devoted affection 
for her son, the Viceroy, which was truly reciprocal. She 
loved the G-rand Pacha with the same enthusiasm, and spoilt 
and indulged him in every way possible. As regards myself, 
when Her Highness began to understand my European ways 
better, she treated me with respect. I never received a pre- 
sent, or baksheesh, of any kind from her, although to others 
«he distributed gold and jewels with no sparing hand; but 
when illness overtook me, she manifested great sympathy — in 
short, did everything in her power to contribute to my comfort, 
«o far as she understood how, and, Heaven knows, that was 
little enough ! about our European ways and habits ; for she 



HAREM LIFE. 171 

had never been in England, although Ibrahim Pacha, when he 
visited London, took with him some women. They were Ar- 
menians, and not Turkish, whom European travellers, because 
the former adopt at pleasure that mask, the veil, always take 
for the latter, a most common error. 

The Valide Princess was attired in a robe of white satin on 
this occasion (for be it remembered that it was the Bairam, 
the Turks' greatest festival), having a breadth in front and be- 
hind, about two yards longer than the rest of the dress, which 
was on this day, being a state occasion, held up by four of the 
ladies of the Harem, or four of her IkhaU, but which, on 
ordinary times, is turned back like a three-cornered handker- 
chief, one of the comers being tucked in the waist-belt. Over 
that was placed a blue satin paletot, trimmed with sable fur. 
On her head she wore a small handkerchief; and in the centre 
of the forehead was a large diamond fly. In her hand she 
carried her small gold watch, encircled with diamonds ; and 
her feet were encased in white satin shoes. 

When she reached the landing-place, the young Princesses 
and myself salaamed her. Her Highness then descended the 
staircase (the slaves holding up her train in front and behind) 
which led into the room where we had found the Belgian lady, 
passed between two rows of the ladies of her Harem (many of 
whom were very aged,) and then walked majestically through 
four rows of slaves, and sat herself down in the centre of the 
divan, under the window (the Belgian lady had vacated the 
apartment). Then she took her darling pet, the Prince, placed 
him beside her on the right hand, while on the left sat a lady 
whom I was afterwards informed was the widow of Said Pacha, 
the late Viceroy. By the side of the Grand Pacha sat his sis- 
ters, and then, lower down, a bevy of Princesses belonging to 
other members of the Viceregal family. 

After all were seated in due order, according to their rank, 
each of the ladies of the Harem approached this viceregal 
dame. Those of the highest rank kissed her right hand, and 
bowed their foreheads upon it, exclaiming, *^Allaha emanet 



172 HASEM LIFE. 

olounP* "May Gk)d be with you!" The others kissed the 
hem of her robe ; upon which all the slaves bowed their fore- 
heads. 

After this ceremony had been gone thr<5'ugh, coffee and pipes 
were handed round (to the Princesses only) by six slaves, 
dressed in black cloth jackets, wearing black trousers, em- 
broidered shirts, like men, and black silk neckties, over which 
were turned white collars. Their heads were covered witb 
fezes ; their feet were encased in patent leather sboes, with 
bows of black ribbon. All were of the same height, and, what 
was singular, their complexions were nearly alike. 

The Grand Pacha then kindly took me on a tour of in- 
spection through the whole suite of apartments. They were 
large, noble, lofty rooms, but all carpetless, and destitute of 
every kind of furniture, except divans ; having suspended from 
the centre of the ceilings chandeliers, quite as large and elegant 
as that which hangs from the roof of the Italian Opera House, 
in London. 

Before the Grand Pacha took his leave, Her Highness fiUed 
his pockets with several packets of gold coin, as baksheesh; 
of which he was despoiled by the head-nurse, on his return 'to 
the Harem, who on that occasion must have pocketed upwards 
of twenty to thirty pounds. 

This visit to the Harem in the citadel had initiated me into 
some of the secrets of Harem life, and I failed not to profit by 
them. I learned that the Messrs. H. were the Inan divan end, 
the Genii of those "Abodes of Bliss," and that Madame Caro- 
line had been, at one time, the three wives' Karagueuz, (" Evil 
Eye"). 

I now looked upon Egypt as a strange country. I regarded 
my own position as a dangerous one. I had to guard against 
being looked upon by the Princesses as an "Evil Eye;" for 
although the Viceroy only treated me with that consideration 
which my position entitled me to receive, still, as one European 
woman had supplanted them in the Baha^s affection for a time, 
I had no desire that a similar mark of his favour (honour, all 



HABEM LIFE. 173 

in the Harem consider it to be) should be shown to me. I 
had been engaged to take charge of the heir presumptive to all 
his wealth, as I had been led to suppose, to educate the Prince, 
and prepare him for a preceptor. I had thought it rather 
singular when the Viceroy and his reputed partners had told 
me not to care about his instruction ; but now I thought it 
more so than ever. I resolved to keep my standing in that 
character. I trusted that my own habitual reservedness of 
manner would save me from any advances being made, and 
•determined not to become a loadstone of attraction to the 
Viceroy. 

I had remarked how dull, melancholy, ah ! and even dejected, 

Madame Caroline looked when I glanced at her, and my 

curiosity was naturally wakened to know what really were her 

feelings at being " caged up," as it were, in the Harem of the 

Citadel. 

Had she been entrapped, " caught," bought or sold like a 
parrot ? If so, who were the white slave-dealers ? Thereby 
hung a tale. In after times I obtained, at Constantinople, a 
solution of all these queries which now floated on my imagina- 
tion ; and now I believe that Turks, Jews, and Europeans, who 
have become domiciled in the East, are not only traffickers in 
every kind of merchandise, but also in live as well as dead stock. 
Did she ever think of her European home ? What a dull, 
monotonous life she must have led there ! Poor creature ! I 
wondered how the Valide Princess treated her and her sons, 
noble intelligent European-looking boys, also called Princes. 
I recall to mind the imperious look of that haughty dame. I 
longed to know her antecedents, her manners were so stately 
and court-like. 

Above all other beings in the world, I, who had always been 
accustomed to have my ovm will, and to enjoy my liberty, 
should not have liked to be at her beck and call. Oh ! no, 
indeed; 1 had, before I saw Her Highness ''at home," 
iKritnessed enough of the proud Valide Princess. 

I had no idea of being treated like an abject slave, by the 



176 HAEEM LIFE. 

Eunuch to procure them ; nay, it would not have been much 
trouble for him to have sent them himself by one of his own 
servants. Then he was an Italian, and troubled his head very 
little about any of the patients within the Harem, except the 
Orand Pacha. I was a " poor governess," and a foreigner, 
besides an Englishwoman. I [know not why, but my country- 
women are not, as a general rule, very great favourites with any 
foreigners, especially those residing in the East, unless they have 
a well-lined purse. I could not help thinking what a deep 
debt of gratitude the British Army owes to those bright orna- 
ments^of my sex. Miss Nightingale and her staff of nurses, who 
tended their heroes with such unremitting attention. 

I Their Highnesses the Princesses frequently visited me, and 
asked me what I required ; but although I explained to them 
that all my illness arose from the bad and poor diet which had 
been provided for me, they knew not how, and, therefore, could 
not alter it. They might have sent the German laundrymaid 
into the city of Cairo to have procured me what I needed ; but 
then they had at all times the utmost repugnancerto allow even 
myself to have free ingress and egress, so that was quite out of 
the question — consequently I had to trust to chance. God be 
praised, however, I recovered sufficiently to be able to travel to 
Alexandria. 

As soon as orders had been given to the Grand Eunuch to 
hasten the departure 'of the Viceregal family to Alexandria, 
and that their Highnesses knew it was time to depart, there 
was bustle all day long. 

One morning, when I returned from the gardens into which 
I had been strolling for a short time, I entered the Grand 
Pacha's reception room, and there I beheld one of the most ex- 
traordinary scenes imaginable. It was one of those nondescript 
tableaux to which only a Hogarth could have done justice. 
My feeble pen-drawing must necessarily fall very short of the 
original; for there were their Highnesses the Princesses, 
squatted on the carpet amidst a whole pile of trunks, most of 
which were much deeper than carriage imperials — ^a host 



HAREM LIFE. 175- 

Harem in time for the Grand Pacha's supper, and my dinner 
— a, most frugal meal, consisting of the everlasting kebab and 
dry bread; but now, thanks to Ismael Pacha's courtesy, 
washed down with a glass of his own imported, full-bodied 
claret. 



CHAPTEE XIX. 

When the hot season began to set in, I fell sick, and was 
assailed by frequent attacks of intermittent fever and cholera];, 
but, having providentially taken the precaution to bring a 
medicine chest with me, I began to doctor myself. The weak 
state of my constitution, owing to the want of proper nourish- 
ment (for I had been living upon Arab diet ever since my 
arrival in Egypt), naturally gave way, and the Viceroy sent his 
Physician Extraordinary to attend upon me. 

He did not prescribe for me, as he found that I had literally 
"cured myself; " however, instead of leaving me some stimu- 
lants, which any other European medical man would have done,, 
to restore my strength, he very coolly told His Highness that I 
had taken all that was needful. The Viceroy, from his knowledge 
of our habits, knowing that we drank tea, and as the " Valide " 
Princess also partook of that beverage, very kindly made me a 
present of a small chest of gunpowder tea, and a few loaves of 
sugar from his refinery, and frequently sent me soup from his 
own table. Finding however, that I did not get much better^ 
orders were given to hasten the departure of the Viceregal 
family to Alexandria, whither they always proceed to pass the 
hot season, as the palace of Eas-el-Tin and the Harem are 
situated on the Mediterranean, the breezes from which are very 
refreshimg at that time of the year. 

Of this I was extremely glad, as I had no nurse to attend 
upon me, and was totally unable to obtain the most simple diet, 
such as gruel, arrowroot, or beef-tea, although they could all have 
been purchased, at the English Italian warehouse in Cairo, had 
the Hekim Bachi only taken the trouble to order the Grand 



176 HAEEM LIFE. 

Eunuch to procure them ; nay, it would not have been much 
trouble for him to have sent them himself by one of his own 
servants. Then he was an Italian, and troubled his head very 
little about any of the patients within the Harem, except the 
Orand Pacha. I was a " poor governess," and a foreigner, 
besides an Englishwoman. I [know not why, but my country- 
women are not, as a general rule, very great favourites with any 
foreigners, especially those residing in the East, unless they have 
a well-lined purse. I could not help thinking what a deep 
debt of gratitude the British Army owes to those bright orna- 
ments^of my sex. Miss Nightingale and her staff of nurses, who 
tended their heroes with such imremitting attention. 

: Their Highnesses the Princesses frequently visited me, and 
asked me what I required ; but although I explained to them 
that all my illness arose from the bad and poor diet which had 
been provided for me, they knew not how, and, therefore, could 
not alter it. They might have sent the German laundry maid 
into the city of Cairo to have procured me what I needed ; but 
then they had at all times the utmost repugnancerto allow even 
ZDyself to have free ingress and egress, so that was quite out of 
the question — consequently I had to trust to chance. God be 
praised, however, I recovered sufficiently to be able to travel to 
Alexandria. 

As soon as orders had been given to the Grand Eunuch to 
hasten the departure 'of the Viceregal family to Alexandria, 
and that their Highnesses knew it was time to depart, there 
was bustle all day long. 

One morning, when I returned from the gardens into which 
I had been strolling for a short time, I entered the Grand 
Pacha's reception room, and there I beheld one of the most ex- 
traordinary scenes imaginable. It was one of those nondescript 
tableaux to which only a Hogarth could have done justice. 
My feeble pen-drawing must necessarily fall very short of the 
original; for there were their Highnesses the Princesses, 
squatted on the carpet amidst a whole pile of trunks, most of 
which were much deeper than carriage imperials — a host 



HAEEM LIFE. 177 

of portmanteaus and carpet bags, of small and large dimensions 
— jewel cases and immense red leather sacks capable of holding 
from six to eight mattresses. 

They were all attired in filthily dirty crumpled muslins, 
shoeless and stockingless, their trousers were tucked up above 
their knees, the sleeves of their paletots pinned up above their 
elbows, their hair hanging loosely about their shoulders, as rough 
as a badger's back, totally unencumbered with nets or handker- 
chiefs, but, pardon me, literally swarming with vermin ! no 
Russian peasants could possibly have been more infested with 
live animals. 

In short, their tout ensemble was even more untidy than that 
of hardworking washerwomen at the tubs ; nay, almost akin to 
Billingsgate fishwomen at home, for their conversation in their 
own vernacular was equally as low. They all swore in Arabic 
at the slaves most lustily, banged them about right and left 
with any missUe, whether light or heavy, which came within 
their reach. 

Well, there they were, doubled up like clasped knives, sort- 
ing and packing up their penafes, jewellery, pipes, sar/s, find- 
jaus, large gold and silver salvers on feet, together with nume- 
rous other displays of Viceregal magnificence. I had never 
beheld before sets of gold vegetable dishes, each of the wives 
having a set for her separate use, pipe-stems encrusted with 
diamonds and other precious stones, most valuable amber 
mouth-pieces, all ornamented with gold tassels. These were 
counted over before the Eunuchs, then packed in boxes and 
delivered over to their care. Between whiles they sipped y?nc?- 
jaus of cofibe, and all the time kept puffing away at cigarettes. 
It was highly amusing to see the slaves bundling their High- 
nesses' beds into the large thick red leathern sacks, and much 
more ludicrous did the scene become when they attempted to 
remove them out of the apartment, as it was found that they 
were too large to pass through the doors. So that, when the 
Princesses (as they very often did) hit them rather sharply 
with anything they might happen to have in their hands at the 



178 HABEM LIPE. 

time, exclaiming. " Destour, destour, yu mobaraJcee /" — ^** Get 
in, you fool !" — the slaves cried out most lustily, and hastened 
to take all the beds out of the cases. Then they carried them 
one by one into the Harem's small garden, and there replaced 
them in the huge red sacks. Close by sat the Ikbal of the 
period, superintending the packing up of the beds and bed- 
ding of her Viceregal liege lord. 

The whole of the reception rooms, as well as the spacious 
hall, looked as if the Sinbad of the nineteenth century had 
given orders for the shipment of his cargo to some distant 
land, or that the magic wand of harlequin had instantaneously 
changed the scene into Tilbury furniture and luggage ware- 
house in Marylebone Street. Por it is no exaggerated state- 
ment to affirm, that ** within those marble halls" were piled 
up hundreds of bales, boxes, trunks, portmanteaus, carpet 
bags, jewel and pipe cases, &c., &c. Yet amidst that m^Ue 
there sat not *' the rough mariner who had weathered many a 
storm," with bronzed countenance, but the Prince of mer- 
chants par excellence, the billionaire of the world, Ismael 
Pacha, the Viceroy of Egypt, in his shirt sleeves, looking 
quite as fagged, not through over bodily exertion, but on ac- 
count of the heat of the thermometer, which was then at 110® 
in the shade. His Highness has become very stout of late. 
He was as " dead beat" as the packer of a Bread Street ware- 
houseman, when about to ship his costly ventures to Alexandria 
or Constantinople ; not casting up the pounds, shillings, and 
pence columns of an invoice (which he so well knows how to 
do, as long as the taxed bill of a chancery suit solicitor, nor 
calculating the probable golden returns that those bales, bad 
they but been of fine Egyptian cotton, would have brought 
into his coffers), but playing dominoes with one of his lovely 
wives, and laughing fit to crack his sides, and puffing away at 
some of the choicest Havannahs that a Pontet had ever im- 
ported from the far-famed Cuba Isles with all the good-humour 
imaginable, and evidently quite at home amidst that com- 
mercial-like bustle and turmoil, delighted beyond measure at 



HAfiEH LIFE. 179 

the gaucherie of the slaves, and particularly amused at the 
ludicrous manner in which those oustas bobbed their heads, 
and dodged round the trunks and bales to avoid being struck 
by the missiles which were aimed at them, right and left, by 
Princesses. \ 

I too, ill as I was, had to pack up my own traps ; but 
scarcely had I done so when, although at that time suffering: 
xvom. attacks of spasmodic cholera, I was awoke at half-past 
one in the morning (for weary and faint I had fallen down 
upon my bed exhausted with pain and suffering) and was 
ordered to get up immediately, as the slaves wanted to take 
and pack up my bed. I opened the door, let them carry it 
away, and threw myself down upon the divan, where I re- 
mained, not sleeping — for that was utterly impossible — as the 
slaves were hurrying to and fro all the livelbng night ; some 
carrying their beds, others bales, boxes, &c., many running 
about with wix candles between their fingers ; others lying on 
the floor dead tired, snoring away like great grampuses, whom 
nothing could possibly awaken from their dreams of bliss. 

At five o'clock in the morning, the whole household were 
about and stirring. Then was enacted a truly comic scene. 
Many of the slaves, it then turned out, had sent away the 
attire which they required to wear ; so that they were obliged 
to borrow some things from one and some from another, which 
^rendered them, when dressed, the most extraordinary looking 
beings imaginable. It was fortunate, indeed, that they were 
able to dress themselves at all decently. 

The young Princesses began their morning toilet by throw- 
ing the whole of their things at the slaves. After they were 
tired of that amusement, they sat upon their divans and com- 
menced crying and bellowing away like town bulls, kicking 
each other, and screaming as if they had gone demented. 
"When they became a little more reasonable, they soon finished 
dressing themselves by simply placing their silk dresses over 
their dirty crumpled habiliments, and enveloped themselves in 
their habarahs. 



180 HABEM LIFE. 

I partook of iny usual breakfast very early. At seyen 
o'clock the whole of the juvenile members of the Viceregal 
family had proceeded down to the landing-place, and there 
they embarked on board a yacht, which steamed down to 
Boulac, and at eight o'clock we all entered the Viceregal state 
railway carriages at the back of the palace. The state saloon 
carriage was occupied by the Q-rand Pacha, myself, the young 
Princesses, the Mother of the Harem, the nurses, and the 
Prince's usual attendants. The carriage was divided into three 
compartments, consisting of one large and two small saloons. 
The former was fitted up with easy spring chairs, carpet divans 
covered with brocaded silk, and mirrors ; the latter was simi- 
larly furnished, but covered with green velvet and brown 
morocco. The windows were of plate glass, with moveable 
net wire blinds ; the former were taken out on this occasion, 
but the latter remained. 

As soon as the train started, the Mother of the Harem 
threw herself down upon the carpet, and placed one of her 
bundles under her head as a pillow ; for, singular as it may 
seem, all Turkish women, even the Princess, when travelling, 
have almost everything, even silver ewers, basins, and " vases" 
(which latter appertain only to the children, as the Princesses 
never use such indispensable appendages) packed in bundles 
formed of a round piece of cloth or silk, hemmed all round 
with a cord run in it, which when drawn tight forms a round 
bag not unlike a seaman's clothes-bag. Even when " at home," 
after every toilette their things are packed up in square pieces 
of thick wadded cotton. 

As soon as the eunuchs had seated themselves in their 
carriage, all the Princesses and slaves threw off their habaraha, 
unveiled, took off their silk dresses, all of which they piled up 
in a heap in one comer of the saloon, removed the wire blinds, 
and then put their heads out of the open windows. 

At half-past ten the train stopped at Benha, when break- 
fast was served up just as if they had been in the Harem, for 
the cooks and whole staff of domestics and batteries de cuisine 



HABEH LIFE. 181 

had been placed in the train. During that repast several tin 
stands holding porous claj water-jars, having gold stoppers, 
which had been placed in the saloon, were replenished ; the 
eunuchs taking the precaution to taste the water in every jar, 
lest any should have been poisoned. Then the whole party 
squatted themselves down upon the carpet, and as neither 
plates nor soofras had been provided, they tore the meat with 
their fingers like a set of cannibals, which was served them on 
metal trays similar to those used by the trattorie in Italy ; 
and after the Princesses had partaken of what they fancied, 
the remnants in the trays were handed over to the slaves for 
their breakfast. 

The Princesses asked me to partake of some of their 
entremets ; but I declined, first, because my health would not 
Allow me to eat Arab diet ; and, secondly, because it would 
have been utterly impossible for any European lady to have 
felt the slightest inclination to partake of the refreshment in 
such a barbarous style. 

During the journey, the young Princesses made their 
toilettes no less than half-a-dozen times, putting on one dress 
and then another. Then they ornamented their heads, by 
tying a piece of ribbon round their foreheads, and placing 
crimson and blue feathers around them in bands, and encircled 
their waists with broad and long ribbon sashes. After they had 
finished attiring themselves, each began to dress up. their 
favourite slave, as if they had been dolls. 

The Yalide Princess on this occasion unloosed her purse- 
strings, and bestowed baksheesh of gold watches and chains 
upon all the European engineers, drivers, and stokers, who 
were employed on the train in which she travelled. The three 
wives went into another carriage, and did not start at the 
«ame time as we did. 

The Princesses were most disgusting in their habits, and so 
totally devoid of decency, that they did not hesitate to empty 
the contents of their " vases " out of the window, as the train 
-was passing along. I thought their manners bad enough in nil 



182 HASEM LIFE. 

conscience at home ; but now I have seen them abroad^ and I 
never wished to have the honour of travelling with them again. 
Then they laid themselves down on the carpet, and fell fast 
asleep, like wild beasts after a gorge. 

About four o'clock in the afternoon the Viceregal party, 
after having been no less than eight hours in their transit, only 
a distance of a hundred and thirty miles, on account of the 
Viceregal children being afraid of preceding at express rate, 
reached their destination. During which period the whole 
traffic on the line was interrupted, to the great inconvenience 
of the mercantile community. 

When we arrived at the terminus of Alexandria, we met 
with a most regal reception. The platform was covered with 
crimson carpet, and decorated with flowers and flags. The 
Grand Eunuch, who had preceded us by three days, met our 
party here. He handed the G-ratid Pacha and myself out of 
the carriage, and conducted us to the waiting-room, which was 
also covered with crimson carpet ; while the band played ** The 
Sultan's March." The troops who lined the platform presented 
arms as we walked across it. 

The Ministers of State paid their respects to the Prince, and 
accompanied us to the Viceregal state-carriage, which was in 
attendance. It was drawn by eight fine grey horses. Three 
outriders preceded us in front ; sais, " grooms," ran on before 
to clear the way, and also by each side of the carriage ; we 
were also attended by an escort of Cavalry to the Palace of 
Ras-el-Tin, situated on the ancient Isle of Pharo, which was 
built by Mehemet Ali, and where that celebrated prince held 
his court much oftener than at Cairo, which latter city he dis- 
liked. There we alighted and passed into the Harem, which 
stands facing it, and from which it is only separated by a 
large court-yard. In short, much more respect and ceremony 
was shown to the little Prince on this occasion than is generally 
shown to his illustrious " Baba,** 

The Princesses had led me to believe that^there I should find 
everything arranged for my convenience; but alas! I was 



HABEM LIFE. 183 

doomed to be most wofully disappointed. On entering the 
gates of the Harem, so replete with many an historical remi- 
niscence, we passed through three spacious marble halls ; then 
proceeded up the grand staircase into His Highness's apart- 
ment. It was a very spacious three-windowed room, over- 
looking a large marble-paved court-yard, around which were 
situated the Princesses' rooms. It was excessively dirty ; the 
windows and frames were nearly all broken ; totally destitute 
of hangings, with the exception of pieces of white calico, which 
were nailed up at each window as substitutes for blinds, with 
a'piece of cord hanging down in the centre, by which they were 
drawn up or down. The floor was covered with common 
country matting ; the walls and ceiling were whitewashed. It 
was totally destitute of furniture, with the exception of a divan 
which stood under the three windows, covered with cotton chintz. 

** Well," thought I to myself, " if this is all the arrangement 
which has been made for the comfort of my Prince, what can 
I expect has been made for me ? " I soon had an opportunity 
of seeing this as I was shown into my chamber, which cer- 
tainly was a large room. It was one consolation, after the 
cupboard in which I had been cooped up at Ghezire, which at 
best was only fit for a lumber-room, in such a hot place, with 
the thermometer standing at 110°. It was filthily dirty, 
lighted by three windows, at which were hung up six tattered 
brown calico curtains, and three dirty calico blinds. The walls 
and ceiling were whitewashed, the floor matted ; and the furni- 
ture consisted of a divan, as damp as if it *had been soaked in 
water, covered with brown cotton, to match the window- hang- 
ings: this was placed underneath the three windows. And 
there, kind reader, you have an accurate description of my 
lady's chamber ! 

I was tired, suflering from attacks of my recent illness, and 
weary after my journey, and this was the apartment in which 
I had to vegetate, after having entered Cleopatra's capital, in 
viceregal splendour. I really was quite disgusted with Harem 
life ; and I will lead you to imagine what were my feelings to 



184 HAEEM LIFE. 

find that there was nothing whatever for my convenience, not 
even a bed to lie upon, for it was utterly impossible that I 
could sleep upon that damp, mildew-covered divan. 

I sought to lie down upon the floor, but that was equally- 
impracticable, for it was only matted, and as damp as the deck 
of any of those wooden walls I beheld from its windows, as 
they commanded a good view of the roadstead, in which many 
vessels were at anchor, and among which I espied two or three 
Egyptian frigates. I looked round my apartment and longed 
to possess Harlequin's magic wand or Aladdin's Wonderful 
Lamp, that I might bid some fair spirit to transport even the 
few conveniences I had left behind me at Ghezire; but alas!' 
neither were there, and so I had to put up with it. 

When the Superintendent of this Harem, who was a great 
tall hoarse godmother of a black, most meanly attired, entered 
to pay her respects to the Prince, I inquired where I was to 
sleep ? Her answer was, ** On the divan ;" and at the same 
time she told me that she was quite surprised that I should feel 
dissatisfied, as I had the same accommodation which had been 
provided for the Grand Pacha. I had no idea of being treated 
in that manner, so I walked down into the marble paved hall, 
where some of the baggage had arrived,' and made the slaves, 
nolens volens, carry up my bed and bedding into my apartment 
and lay it upon the matting. 

At eight o'clock I clapped my hands, and Zenana, a Turkish 
girl about fifteen years of age, not very prepossessing in 
appearance, and most assuredly not gifted with more sense 
than she knew what to do with, responded to my summons, as 
she had been newly appoiated at G-hezire to attend upon me. 
I ordered her to fetch my dinner, but she soon returned and 
very coolly informed me (it will hardly be credited, but it is a 
fact), that there was neither European bread nor any meat in 
the Harem, so that, sick as I was, and aiter travelling from 
seven in the morning until seven at night (for it was about 
that time when we reached Eas- el-Tin), I had not had a meal 
provided for me. Then I was obliged to content myself with 



HAREM LIFE. 185 

what I could get within this ** Mansion of Discomfort" of the 
billionaire of the world, the wealthy scion of the usurer, Ibra- 
him Pacha. 

"Well did I verify the truth of the old saying that ** hunger 
requires no sauce ;" so I sat down on my pallet, not " on the 
cold flinty rock," but upon the damp matted floor, and there 
I selected a meal from the cart — a piece of Arab bread as salt 
as brine, and some salad, which consisted of a lettuce dressed 
with oil and water, without either pepper, salt, or vinegar, and 
a slice of boiled fowl, of which the soup had been made which 
had been served up to the young Princesses, who had already 
partaken of their supper, and d^findjan of coffee; and that con- 
stituted my repast. Then I was obliged to give the Grand 
Eunuch money out of my own pocket to purchase me an ewer, 
basin, and vase, and in this manner I installed myself on 
that memorable day in the Harem at Alexandria. There, 
seated at the window, my thoughts naturally wandered over 
the reminiscences of all the varied scenes I had beheld, and 
the inconveniences to which I had been subjected ever since 
" I trod tho soil of Egypt's pestilential shore." 

Then I recalled to mind the day of my arrival at the Pacific 
and Oriental Hotel, where I had found excellent accommoda- 
tion, plain auherge though it was, and gladly would I have 
returned to it again. Tor although I was an inmate of the 
stately marble halls of a Viceregal Palace, the residence of the 
Croesus of the East, I had been unable to procure a crumb of 
European bread, though loaves in abundance might have been 
procured in the city almost within a stone's throw of the 
Harem, and everything was at hand ; yet not any of the con- 
veniences enjoyed by the meanest villager in my own country 
had been provided for me. "With whom did the fault rest ? 
Surely not with that good-humoured, jovial Prince H. H. 
Ismael Pacha, whom I had left not many hours before in his 
splendid palace at Burlac, surrounded by every luxury that 
wealth could command, who had said, " Madame, whatever 
you want, ask for and you shall have it." 



186 HAREM LIFE. 

I had taken the Yiceroy at his word, I had asked for — mine 
had not been a very unreasonable request — ^bread to satisfy 
the cravings of hunger, but I could not procure even bread. 

I exclaimed to myself as I then remembered the words of 
the writer on Egypt in Once a Weeh, " You may call spirits 
from the vasty deep, but will they come ?" I had tried the 
experiment, and found that they would not respond. "Was I 
then to consider that H. H'.s words were to use a very signi- 
ficant Turkish (but of late years turned into English slang) 
word, boshf and meant nothing, absolutely nothing? How 
little did His Highness imagine that the companion, guardian, 
and instructress of his heart's idol was actually wanting bread 
to eat, and was lying on the floor in a damp room, absolutely 
destitute of every comfort; sick, weary, and uncared for? 
And yet these were the luxuries that I had been told I ought 
to be thaukful for ; I had been treated like a princess. My 
reply was, " Like what kind of a princess ?" Perhaps their 
Highnesses might at one time have considered what I termed in- 
conveniences as luxuries, but I did not. I had learned much of 
the antecedents and doings of the whole of Mehemet Ali's 
family and his descendants. 

Well did I know that only a few short years had elapsed 
since that very room in which I lay was furnished with every 
luxury which the most fastidious dame could have required. 
Ah I and even later than that, for Said Pacha was a prince of 
great taste, whatever may have been his demerits as a ruler ; 
and there his lovely Princess had resided with every regal 
luxury around her. I soon became weary of lying down. It 
was a lovely night : the sight of the placid ocean as the bright 
moon cast her reflection on il brought to my recollection 
^outhey's beautiful lines in his * Thalaba.' 

" How beautiful is night ! 
A dewy freshness fills the silent air ; 
No mist obscures, nor cloud, nor speck, nor stain, 
Breaks the serene of heaven. 
In full orb'd glory, yonder moon divine, 
Bolls through the dark blue depths." 



EABEH LIFE. 1H7 

I rose up, walked to the window, aod gazed at the calia 
scene around me. I noticed that the depth of the sea there 
would even admit of ships of war Bailing close up to it, and 
wondered what tales, could it but speak, that depth could toll, 
what bodies it could eaat up to it, were they once again "(illed 
with the breath of life!" the doomed victims of a licentious 
and cruel wanton of a Turkish Princesa — that bold, cunning, 
and subtle NukIj Hanein Effendi. 

I remembered that that beautiful Princess (and if she had 
been only as handsome as the little daughter of Said Pacha is, 
she must indeed have been iiioU angelic — for that little Prin- 
cess is the only being I have yet seen in the East who could 
be termed " to come up to " Tom Moore's deeoriptiou of a 
Feri), the right hand of her astute father, Meheraet Aii, had 
often sat where I then stood gazing intently on that fleet, tlio 
command of which had been held by Ibrahim Pacha, when he 
went to seek glory in the Morea. I had visited the palace 
which she occupied in the vicinity of Cairo, and tho old 
Frenchwoman, who had been in her service, and who now 
lived within this Harem, where she paseea her timo in taking 
care of H, H. the Viceroy's wardrobe, when he ia at JlM-el-Tiu. 
She related to me the following strange, yet true incident, in 
the life of that extraordinary PHnceas : — 

" It appears that Nuzly llanein was very intimate with a 
Levantine lady, whose husband was in Mehemet Ali's service. 
A young Italian nobleman, whose couuteaance and manners 
were very efl'eminate, off'ered tliat Levantine a iarge sum of 
money, if she would assist him to visit the interior of the Pria- 
cess's Harem at Cairo, which he had heard was most superbly 
furnished. 

" Accordingly, it was arranged that Madame Otto should 
inform Her Highness that a lady of rank, who was on a pil- 
grimage to Jerusalem, and wiio had been most highly recom- 
mended to her from Europe, was extremely onsious to see her 
Harem, of the splendour of ivhich she had heard so much when 
in Italy, and pay her respects to a princess whose n 
spread all over the world. 



J 



188 HABEM LIFE. 

" * You must ask her,' added Count Luigi, ' to give the lady 
an audience ; you will be sure to ohtain permission, and when 
the appointment is made, you must lend me one of your richest 
dresses, which I am certain will fit me admirably. Ton must 
superintend my toilette, and then I am sure that I shall pass 
muster, and that the keenest eye will be unable to recognize 
my sex under that disguise.' " 

I could not help exclaiming to myself, as the old french- 
woman, for she was an octogenarian, related the Count's con- 
versation, " Silly, silly young man, how little did he know the 
power of an Arab, or Turkish woman's eye, or how quickly 
they can detect any imposture of that kind." "Well, to con- 
tinue the narrative : — 

" Saying which, the Count, who was then sitting in Madame 
Otto's boudoir, added, * Come, let us try how I should look,* 
and hastily metamorphosed himself as one of the fair sex, with 
the aid of one of the fair Levantine's dresses. The disguise 
was so complete, that Madame Otto could not keep her eyes 
off him, and seemed quite bewildered at the Count's first debut 
in female character. 

" Soon, however, she became more accustomed to his meta- 
morphosis, and then burst into a fit of laughter at the droll 
idea which he had taken into his head, and which she looked upon 
as a most dangerous enterprise, knowing as she did the formid- 
able character of that Grand Lady, as the Egyptians call her to 
this day ; for after that title of Grand bestowed upon her by 
Mehemet Ali, all the eldest sons of the Viceroy are styled Grand 
Pachas, Madame Otto again burst out laughing. However, 
in a short time, she accorded the Count her co-operation. 

" It is certain that the lovely Levantine did not possess 
much firmness of character, for even the Count's mad whim, 
which, however, had method in it, was wisdom itself, when 
compared with many of that volatile lady's vagaries. She car- 
ried out all the Count's instructions to the very letter, and hep 
embassy proved as successful as he desired. The audience 
was granted, and the day appointed, on which occasion she 



HAEEM LIFE. 189 

acted as lady's maid, with such taste and tact that the Count, 
when he looked in his mirror, was really unable to recognize 
himself. He acknowledged that he had the vanity to think 
that he really looked like a very pretty woman. The success 
of this rehearsal gave them both great hopes that the attempt 
itself would realize their most sanguine wishes. 

" The Count, who related the adventure to me," added the 
old Erenchwoman, " did it so naively, that I cannot do better 
than repeat his own words.* * I wore,' said he, * for I can still 
remember it as plainly as if it w^'e only yesterday, a very 
pretty white chip hat, a rich crape bertha covered my thin 
shoulders, and an ample merino velvet dress, trimmed with 
deep rows of Mechlin lace, which helped to conceal any defect 
that I might have otherwise shown in my mean and slender 
figure. My transformation was. performed with the greatest 
secrecy ; no mortal being, except our two selves, haviug been 
entrusted with our secret. My male attire was carefully con- 
cealed, and when my toilet was finished, I availed myself of 
the absence of all the domestics, whom the Levantine lady had 
sent out on some distant errands, to take my place in the 
drawing-room, as if I had been a stranger, who had come ta 
pay her a visit. 

" * A handsome carriage which I had hired for the occasion,^ 
together with two footmen, to whom I was unknown, were 
waiting for me at the door. It would, perhaps, have been fistr 
better if I could have prevailed upon my charming hostess to 
accompany me; but all my entreaties to do so proved un- 
availing. I really felt that I should never be able to keep my 
countenance, and the semblance of a smile, however slight, 
' might place both our lives in jeopardy. I waived that point ; 
for, to tell you the truth, I did not care much about her com- 
pany on that occasion. Although I had planned the whole 
affair without having any particular object in view, my mind 
was agitated with many a foolish hope and romantic idea. 
Hence I preferred being alone ; for, perhaps, had the charming 
Levantine accompanied me, I should not have had a tete-a-t^te 



190 HABEM LIFE. 

conversation with the Grand Princess. I promised to make 
some excuse for her ; to acquaint Her Highness that she had 
heen taken suddenly ill ; to tell Her Highness any falsehood 
which came uppermost in my mind at the moment. 

" ' My dear friends, I can assure you that Signora Sosina 
(for that was the name of the Levantine) had never before ap- 
peared so lovely in my eyes. She almost overwhelmed me with 
precautions. " Take care, above all things, to beware of the 
snares and captivating manners of that most formidable of 
syrens." I remarked to her that she need not entertain the 
sHghtest jealousy, since I had now become a woman ; and if it 
should unfortunately happen that the Princess were to en- 
tertain the least suspicion, she might be certain that she would 
sooner have me empaled than fall in love with me. " "Who can 
tell ?" replied she, as she shook me affectionately by the hand ; 
"for that woman is of such a whimsical disposition." 

" * Preceded by two handsome sais, with their flowing gar- 
ments, who ran nimbly along before the horses, I soon reached 
the Esbekieh, in which quarter the Princess's new palace was 
situated. To say that I did not experience considerable tre- 
pidation when I found myself on the threshold of that princely 
dwelling, would be untrue ; on the contrary, my heart palpi- 
tated very much. Like the hunter, I could not behold the 
tigress in her den without experiencing considerable alarm ; 
for I remembered that if that was the Grand Princess's palace, 
it was also the residence of her husband, the cruel and merci- 
less Defterdar. 

" When far away from its precincts, I had only thought of 
the wife ; but now that I found myself within it, my thoughts 
naturally dwelt upon the husband, and the remembrance of his 
bloody exploits awakened anything but pleasing reminiscences 
in my mind. I had forgotten that, being much inferior in rank 
to his wife, he was, according to the Oriental custom, her 
slave rather than her liege lord and master, and that she alone 
possessed sovereign power within her domain. I had also 
overlooked the fact, that a husband, no matter who he may 



HAEEM LIFE. 191 

be, never enters the Harem when his lady has visitors, and 
that the eunuchs, or grooms of the chamber, who always stand 
at the door, are placed there expressly to say to him, " You 
must not enter." Therefore it was, morally speaking, quite im- 
possible that 1 could beard the lion in his den, or awaken his 
suspicions. 

" * I was evidently expected. On alighting from the carriage 
I was received by about half-a-dozen fierce-looking eunuchs, 
black as ebony, wearing the fez, and richly clad. The younger 
■ones wore red jackets, embroidered down the shoulders at the 
back and front, which terminate in a point at the centre of the 
back, at the waist ; and the others large flowing white muslin 
robes. With the exception of one or two, who were very 
handsome, all of these " phantoms" of men were stout, paunch- 
bellied, and puffed up ; their eyes betokening haughtiness and 
cunning of the deepest dye. 

" * I was conducted by them through a courtyard ; then we 
passed into a second one, which opened into a large octagonal 
vestibule, paved with beautiful white marble, where I was 
handed over to six white slaves, all of whom were young, well 
made, and extremely pretty. They wore on their heads small 
velvet richly embroidered fezes ; and their dark jet hair hung 
in flowing ringlets down their backs. They were attired in 
wide trousers, hemmed at the bottom, through which ran a 
string drawn up and fastened round the leg just above the 
^nkle, like a garter. The trousers were then pulled down over 
the feet (which they concealed) ; they are made of the stoutest 
and richest blue and red silk, between which and the bottom 
lining rolls of muslin are placed. It is that weight which 
causes that shujffling manner of moving about they have, for 
their carriage hardly deserves the name of walking. Their 
waists were encircled with costly Cashmere shawls ; they wore 
long jackets, beautifully embroidered with gold thread and 
lace, which were open at the chest, but reached down to their 
hips ; their small feet were encased in elegant Oriental slip- 
pers ; their wrists were ornamented with most costly golden 



192 HABEM LIFE. 

bracelets, in whicli were set many almost priceless diamonds, 
some white, others pink, yellow, and black. 

** Escorted by them, I ascended the beautiful staircase, on the 
landing of which stood ten other slaves ready to receive me : 
they were all white, and in the same costume. There my shoes 
were removed from off my feet, and a pair of handsome Turkish 
boots replaced them. Then I was muffled up, I hardly know 
how, but believe it was in a superb Cashmere shawl ; and, thus 
swathed, I was led through three or four saloons, each one 
, more spacious than the last, and more superbly decorated ; 
but the style partook more of European than of Oriental 
luxury. The mirrors, the lace curtains, and the hangings were 
of Parisian workmanship. The divans, which were covered 
with the richest damask, embroidered with gold and studded 
with pearls, were alone of Oriental craft ; and as to the carpet, 
it was perhaps, one of the finest ever woven in Persia. "When 
the Princess left it for any other residence, all the carpets were 
taken up, the curtains unfastened, the divans covered, and 
everything turned topsyturvy. 

" Thence we proceeded into a small room, but much more 
cozy, more congenial to my ideas than the others, because it 
was more frequently occupied. There I was requested to be 
seated to await the Princess, who soon made her appearance. 
I was highly delighted to have a few moments to prepare my- 
self for the dangerous interview and the perilous adventure in 
which I had engaged. The fresco of the ceiling of that room ^ 
was wretchedly painted; the chairs were European, covered 
with red morocco, but very shabby. Double deep scarlet cur- 
tains hung over the open windows which looked into the 
beautiful gardens, and cast a dark. shade upon my person. 

"Here were assembled several other slaves ; some of whom, 
from their dark ebony complexions and regularity of features, 
were evidently Abyssinians. Their costume resembled that of 
the white slaves, except that they were not so rich. Several 
of the latter were attired in robes open at the sides, all of 
whom were bedizened with emeralds, topazes, turquoises, and 



HAEEM LIFE. * 193 

several other precious gems of great value. Some of them 
wore plumes of feathers ; others, butterflies made of dia- 
monds, whicli, as they moved their heads, flitted about, as it 
were, sparkled and seemed as if they were on the wing. 

"There was no mistaking the Greorgian, Circassian, and 
Greek white slaves. And yet you must not imagine that the 
black ones were ugly : this was by no means the case, as many 
of them were extremely well made, nay, handsome, and pos- 
sessed pleasing countenances. There was even something rather 
attractive in the variety of the colour of their complexions. 
Besides, the eye soon becomes accustomed to those beautiful 
ebony skins of the slaves, when their features are regular and 
their forms faultless. Nearly all their black orbs were fixed 
steadly upon me ; but if my presence there attracted the curi- 
osity of those lovely creatures, I was equally struck with theirs. 

" I shall not attempt to describe to you all the old women, 
as well as the other slaves and harridans of the Harem, who, 
as they stood grouped together, alone formed a pleasing out- 
line in that interesting scene. The quick and searching 
glances of those /fl^c« caused me considerable annojauco ; but 
in the twinkling of an eye my attention was riveted upon the 
Grand Princess, who had just entered the room. If I use the 
expression grand when speaking of her, I merely do so out of 
etiquette, and because that was the title which had been given 
to her, for that appellation could not be applied to her person ; 
as the Princess Nuzly was of small stature, though beautifully 
made. 

** As to her costume, I remember it as well as if she now stood 
before me. She wore, over a pair of bright amaranthus- 
coloured silk trousers, a large white cashmere dress, the loose 
sleeves of which displayed her well-formed arms, and which, 
being open in front, made her a train a yard and a half in 
length. A waistband of splendid large pearls, fastened with 
two large diamond clasps, encircled her waist. Her tiny feet 
were incased in a pair of satin slippers, almost as small as 
those of a child, embroidered with costly pearls. Her head- 

13 



194 HABEM LIFE. 

dress consisted of a large fillet of golden-coloured crape Cash- 
mere, which were twisted very prettily around her head. Her 
long hlack hair, neatly plaited, was rolled up hehind and 
fastened with large diamond pins. Her hracelets consisted of 
strings of enormous pearls ; her necklace was composed of some 
of the finest pearls imaginahle, which fell negligently on her 
clear alabaster skin, and half disclosed her bust. This en- 
chanting figure did not shuffle, but glided rather than walked, 
towards a red satin divan, on which she threw herself down. 



CHAPTEE XX. 

" "When persons visit each other in the East it is the custom 
for them, on entrance, to observe the strictest silence. It also 
appears to be the same with the women, for the Princess was 
a long time before she addressed me, and etiquette prevented me 
from taking the initiative. Tou can well imagine how nar- 
rowly I scanned* her features. How incomparably beautiful 
she appeared ! How haughty and tapered was her nose ; what 
a sweet, pretty mouth ; what pearly white teeth ; the whole of 
her lineaments were perfection itself! 

" I fell desperately in love with her at first sight. Her eye- 
brows were painted in the true Oriental style, just as they are 
delineated in the Holy Scriptures, and as Eacine describes 
Queen Jezebel to have used antimony to conceal the ravages 
of age. Her filbert nails, I mean those of the Princess Nuzly, 
not those of Jezebel, (although in features both those women 
bore a close resemblance to each other,) were stained red with 
henna. But her eyes, my friends, ah ! what eyes ! They were 
the most piercing I had ever beheld ; at one glance they 
seemed to scan me from head to foot, to read my thoughts, and 
cause my heart to palpitate most violently. In short, they 
shot through the very innermost recesses of my mind. Every 



HABEM LIFE. 195 

time that her penetrating glance was fixed upon me I felt my 
countenance change, and I could have sunk into the earth. Is 
it possible, thought I, that those scrutinizing orbs can read the 
audacious lie that I had framed ? 

" In the mean time the slaves had brought into the room, 
according to custom, two pipes with amber mouth-pieces, 
encircled with gold and ornamented with a broad ring of mag- 
nificent diamonds. They handed one to the Princess and the 
other to me, and while a slave knelt down and lighted Her 
Highness's, another, a beautiful Circassian girl, performed the 
same office for myself. Theil coffee was served us in beautiful 
thin Japanese cups (findjani), placed in golden filigree zarfs, 
and each time we sipped it the Oriental salutation of placing 
the hand to the forehead was performed. It is generally whilst 
partaking of that beverage that the conversation begins, by 
passing compliments to each other and inquiries touching the 
health of the visitors. 

"I have omitted to explain to you that Providence had 
endowed me with a wonderful facility for acquiring languages. 
Having already resided at Constantinople, and formed an inti- 
macy with several members of the Turkish Embassy in Paris, 
I could speak Turkish sufficiently well when I arrived in Egypt 
to be able to keep up a conversation, and as Turkish is the 
language of the conquerors of Egypt, it is generally spoken 
at Cairo, but more especially by the government officials and 
the beau monde, 

*• Mehemet Ali knew no other. I therefore naturally thought 
that no other ought to be spoken in his daughter's palace, who 
being Turkish like her father, was very proud of being thought 
so ; so I presumed, perhaps it was rather too presumptuous on 
my part, to dispense with the services of an interpreter, and 
at once enter into conversation with my viceregal hostess. As 
soon as the usual compliments had been exchanged, and. 
Heaven be praised ! they did not last long, I conveyed to Her 
Highness the fair Levantine's deep regret that her sudden 
indisposition had prevented her from accompanying me. I 

13—2 



196 HABEM LIFE. 

told her that she was extremely ill,' almost in the last agonies 
of death, and I am really astonished that I did not even go so 
far as to state that she was dead. 

" When once we begin to tell lies we hardly ever know 
where to stop. The excuses that I made for that lady's 
absence were graciously accepted by the Grand Princess, and 
our conversation passed on to other subjects. 

" * Have you any family ?' 

" That is always the first question which an Oriental lady 
asks her visitor. I answered as a matter of course, in the 
negative. 

** * Therefore I suppose you are journeying to Jerusalem to 
pray to your prophet to give you some ?' added the Princess. 

•* * Tour Highness, with singular aptitude, has guessed the 
object of my journey.' 

** * May Allah grant you your desire ! for then your husband 
will love you more affectionately. Does he go with you ?' 

** * No, your Highness, business detains him in Europe.' 

** * I am sorry for that : for it must be very dull to have to 
travel all that long way alone. Por when a woman has to 
endure loneliness it is almost as wretched as death !' 

" Her Highness' s language was very impressive ; an appro- 
priate gesture accompanied every sentence. Tou must allow 
my dear friends, that the subject which she had mooted was a 
very delicate one for me to answer ; so that I endeavoured to 
turn the conversation upon some other topic. But to do so 
was no easy task, as that of all the daughters of the Prophet 
is always of a very mediocre nature. Thus the interchange of 
visits among themselves is scarcely anything more communi- 
cative than pauses, of interminable silence. But Mehemet's 
daughter was, fpr a Turkish lady, a very superior person : she 
appeared to possess something more than a mete smattering of 
general knowledge. Dearly beloved by her extraordinary 
father, possessing his unlimited confidence, she had, literally 
speaking, been the companion of his misfortunes and active 
life, and, therefore, had become quite a politician. 



HAREM LIFE. 197 

" It very seldom happens that women in the East meddle 
with politics, but especially the Princesses ; nevertheless she 
had become quite an fait with them, and her beautiful mouth 
often uttered both very pleasing and terrible truths. I gathered 
this outline of her character from the hints which she let fall 
about some very serious affairs which had happened at that 
time, showing me clearly how well and deeply she had studied 
the art of government. No topic appeared to come amiss to 
her. Notwithstanding, however, that politics had always been 
my own peculiar /or ^e, still it was evident that I ought not to 
appear to take much interest in the subject, seeing that I 
myself was then but a woman. 

" Wishing to act my new character to perfection, I turned 
the conversation as skilfully as I could, and began to display 
my feminine weakness by praising, in the most fulsome Oriental 
style possible, the lovely pearls, large diamonds, and jewellery, 
with which the G-rand Princess had adorned her person, at the 
same time taking care to assure her that her taste in those 
matters had been the theme of general admiration in Paris and 
in London ; and I expressed to her how great would be my 
delight if she would so far honour me as to let me see her 
casket of jewels. 

" Alas ! how little did she suspect that the brightest jewel 
she possessed, in my estimation, was her own lovely self ! But 
I dare not for worlds have expressed those sentiments to her. 
I found out, however, at a later period, that I had been guilty 
of an act of very great indiscretion in asking Her Highness 
to show me her jewels. But she did not express any astonish- 
ment at my rudeness ; for she was above taking offence at such 
a slight infringement of etiquette by a stranger. Therefore 
making a signal to an old Abyssinian slave, who probably held 
the office of * Keeper of the Jewels,' she left the room imme- 
diately. 

" She re-entered it shortly afterwards, accompanied by several 
other slaves of the same caste, who came loaded with an im- 
mense iron chest, covered over with Ted satin, richly spangled 



198 HABEM LIFE. 

with gold. It was opened, and the jewels were taken out of 
the cases. 

" It is impossible to describe their magnificence and splen- 
dour! My sight was actually almost as much dazzled bj 
looking at them'as if I had been fixing my eyes upon a glaring 
midday tropical sun, for blindness seemed suddenly to have 
come upon me. Aladdin's wonderful lamp, I am quite sure, 
could never have given its fortunate possessor a sight of any- 
thing like those precious gems. Among them were pearls as 
large as pigeons' eggs, topazes as big as fowls' eggs, emeralds 
as large as pears, rubies, diamonds, and — I really cannot enu- 
merate the names of half the other uncut precious stones ; 
but there were quite enough of them to fill a bushel measure. 
How many countless millions of pounds sterling in jewels did 
that chest contain ! Just picture to yourself a superb chain 
of diamonds, mounted transparently, all of the same size, with- 
out spot or blemish, and as big as large Barcelona nuts. Tou 
can imagine a beautiful full-blown rose, with its blossoms, 
buds, and leaves all composed of diamonds ; a very large one 
formed the heart of that queen of flowers, which was only fitted 
to have been plucked by a fairy from the garden of the Peri. 

** Then I was shown a splendid waistband, about half a foot 
wide, and of good length, and so heavy that my hands trem- 
bled beneath its weight. Do you wish to know what rendered 
it so heavy ? "Well, my dear friends, it consisted of diamonds, 
and such diamonds that it actually appeared as if it were one 
solid piece. It is utterly impossible for me to describe to 
you all the head-dresses, bracelets, clasps, rings, and smaller 
articles contained in that chest. 

**As to the quantity of gold and less valuable precious 
stones, all of which would have made the eyes of a London 
belle of the season sparkle with delight, they were countless^ 
although scarcely any slave in that Harem would have con- 
sidered any of them worth her acceptance. I cannot omit 
stating the fact, however unpalatable such may be to the 
Prench nation, that within that iron coffer were to be seen a 



HABEM LIFE. 199 

superb crown of diamonds and several most costly trinkets 
which had formerly belonged to that amiable Empress Josephine, 
Napoleon the Great's consort ; but by what chance they had 
become buried, as it were, within the precincts of an Egyptian 
Harem, I was unable to learn. 

" The Q-rand Princess, at a latter period, I believe, presented 
them to one of the little Princesses, so that the costly Imperial 
crown passed away into the hands of a less worthy and less 
distinguished personage. Now it is the property of the Valid^ 
Princess of Egypt, and she wore it on her last visit to Con- 
stantinople. The Princess Nuzly hardly deigned to bestow a 
glance upon all these priceless treasures. 

** * Tour Highness,' inquired I, after having greatly extolled 
the beauty and workmanship of these wonders of art and 
nature, * does not often wear them ?' 

" * Never,' replied she, very curtly. * No, never ; they are 
too heavy ; and of what use would it be for me to adorn my 
person with them ?' 

" Then there was a long pause : the silence at length be- 
came so painful, that my embarrassment was extreme, more 
especially as the Princess never removed her eyes from off my 
face. 

" Not daring to presume to break the silence, for fear I 
might be considered too loquacious, I endeavoured to conceal 
my perplexity, by smoking a little, and drinking coffee; a 
slave, the same who had attended upon me on my entrance 
into the room (for each has her office allotted to her), that 
handsome Circassian, of whom I have already spoken, kept 
continually replenishing my pipe. 

** * I have been told that you have a great desire to visit my 
Harem ; your request shall be gratified.' Upon a sign being 
given, I was immediately surrounded by half-a-dozen slaves, 
all equally pretty, who took me with them. They were pre- 
ceded by an older one, who led me into the interior of the 
apartments. 

•*The Mother of the Harem, who wore a large diamond 



200 HABEM LIFE. 

necklace, appeared to have supreme command over all the 
others ; she was a funny, jovial creature, as nearly all the old 
slaves generally are; theyouug ones, on the contrary, appeared 
sad, vrith downcast eyes, like weak plants, which have been 
kept away from the bud, nay, even shut up from the fresh air, 
and doomed never to enjoy either liberty or love. 

"We ascended a marble double staircase, protected by 
wooden banisters, which gave access to the smaller apart- 
ments. The latter were composed of a great number of 
rooms, similar to each other, and separated by thick velvet and 
silk curtains, which, although considerably smaller than the 
others, were all furnished alike. A number of beautiful cas- 
kets, silver fountains, embroidered handkerchiefs, numerous 
vases of all shapes and sizes, a number .of pretty little objects 
used by the women of the East, lay scattered about in all 
directions, which showed that these apartments were constantly 
occupied. In vain did I look around to find a book, not even 
an embroidery frame was to be seen ; so that I naturally con- 
cluded that these distinguished persons considered it quite 
derogatory of them to do any single thing with their fingers. 
Thus it is almost impossible to conceive the ennui which those 
lovely beings must endure in these gilded cages; a most dreadful 
monotony, because the windows looked out on to blank walls. 

" Truth compels me to affirm, that most outrageous incon- 
gruities met the eye at every step we took in those splendid 
suites of rooms. Thus, for instance, scanty calico curtains 
were hung up at several windows, rush-bottom and cane chairs 
were placed side by side with some of the most beautiful in- 
laid drawing-room chairs, and the richest divans. The Euro- 
pean chairs, in the Princess's drawing-room, were anything but 
in keeping with the magnificent decorations of the apartment. 
And I considered myself lucky even in finding a marble floor, 
where I expected to see but deal planks. 

" The bad taste of modernizing had even been carried so far, 
as to paint the freestone of the outside, as is now the case 
with the palace of His Highness the present Viceroy, at Old 



HABEM LIFE. , 201 

Cairo. There were no signs of any bedchambers, as the in- 
mates sometimes slept in one room, and sometimes in another. 
Mattresses, which are encased in satin cases, and piled up in 
an empty chamber in the daytime, were laid down upon the 
carpets, or on the top of long flat cushions, at night, on which 
the slaves sleep, ready dressed. Mosquito-curtains were sus- 
pended from hooks driven into the walls, over those occupied 
by the ladies of the Harem, which are removed in the day- 
time, when a bouquet of artificial flowers 'conceals the hooks 
from sight. There were no toilet- tables, or signs of any of the 
usual appendages ; they sat upon the divans, and thus made 
their toilettes. 

**The Princess's bath-room was large and well- arranged. 
The first room, or entrance into it, was furnished with a plain 
divan, where Her Highness reclined on leaving the bath. 
Marble baths were fixed in the second, or bath-room ; and in 
the third one were taps of hot and cold water, combs, brushes, 
essences, scents, and the usual requisites of an Oriental lady's 
toilette. All these apartments were lighted by cupolas from 
the top. On entering, I observed several long marble tables, on 
which were placed a collection of small slippers, and plain yellow 
leather habouches (half-boots), appropriated for the use of the 
slaves. The Princess did not accompany me in this inspec- 
tion, but every room showed signs of her personal surveillance, 
especially the bath-room, and consequently for me they had a 
peculiar attraction. 

" Having thus run through the whole suite, I was conducted 
back again to the apartment which I had quitted with my 
cicerone. There I resumed my place near Her Highness, and 
my pipe was again replenished, and cofiee handed to me, by 
the beautiful Circassian slave. A short time afterwards, three 
white slaves sat themselves down, just as adroitly as if they 
had been Europeans, at the further end of the room, upon push- 
bottom chairs — yes, upon wretched-looking rush-bottom chairs! 
One of them took up the oud (a kind of guitar, the strings of 
which she struck with a piece of shell ; another played a long 



202 HABEM LIFE. 

flute, resembling in shape that which the ancient painters al- 
ways sketch Cecilia as placing to her lips ; while the third one 
passed her small hand upon a tar (similar to a tambourine, but 
rather larger), which she beat hurriedly. The whole of these 
three instruments were out of tune, -so that it was extremely 
difficult to catch any harmony, for the whole produced a most 
dull and monotonous, but yet not unpleasing sound. A fourth 
slave, the melody of whose voice Her Highness had much 
praised, ought to have sung to that accompaniment ; but, I 
cannot tell how, the poor girl had been so imprudent as to 
' catch a cold ; so that it was utterly out of her power to sing 
a single note. She blushed deeply with confusion, trembled 
with fear, evidently foreseeing the storm that was about to 
break over her head; for she came and cast herself at the 
Princess's feet. How I longed to take her place ! and kiss 
Nuzly's pretty little feet, to obtain pardon for the fault of 
which the slave had so unintentionally been guilty. 

" But what right had a slave to catch a cold — to lose that 
voice which did not belong to her, but which was the sole pro- 
perty of her who had bought her? What an abominable 
crime ! The haughty Princess, whom this untoward accident 
had greatly disconcerted, more especially as it had disarranged 
the fantasia that her Highness had prepared for a foreign 
visitor, frowned most darkly at the prostrate girl ; her eye- 
brows almost met, and her countenance assumed an expression 
of fiendish cruelty. Then well did I see that she was a fitting 
consort for the Nero-like Defterdar. *May thy voice,' said she 
to the poor slave, in a threatening tone, as she kicked her from 
her, * remain for ever dumb !' She clapped her hands twice ; 
then two eunuchs appeared, and led away the poor innocent 
victim of her malevolence. 

" "Whether it was my imagination or reality I know not, 
but it seemed to me that I soon after heard stifled cries and a 
cracking of the courbache (or native whip, made from strips of 
buffalo hides) ; but those mournful shrieks were soon drowned 
by the discordant sounds of the instruments. -The coimtenance 



HABEM LIFE. 203 

of the Princess, which had borne such a sombre aspect, now- 
appeared all radiant with smiles. 

** After the concert was terminated, then the ballet began. 
Pour dancers glided into the apartment, holding copper saga* 
nets (castanets), from which vibrated a complete rush of sono- 
rous notes. All four of them had recently been sent as a pre- 
sent to the Princess from Constantinople. They were attired 
in red silk trousers, trimmed with gold, and elegant blue 
damask jackets, open at the chest, and which set off their fine 
figures to the greatest advantage. Their black raven hair 
hung down their backs in long curls, like that of the other 
slaves ; but one of them was quite fair, and her hair was cut 
in the Savoyard fashion. The most beautiful of the four, a 
charming creature of about twenty years of age, led the dance 
h la mode Taglioni. NcJthing could possibly surpass the agi- 
lity, nimbleness, and grace of all her attitudes; her whole 
contour was the personification of elegance itself. Her head 
was thrown back, her small mouth half open, the eyes half 
closed, as she bounded about the room like a graceful gazelle ; 
and every time that her artistic enthusiasm led her in front of 
one of the immense mirrors which reached from the ceiling 
down to the floor, she glanced coquettish ly at her own figure — 
most assuredly excusable in so lovely a creature ; for it was 
ii^possible to conceive a more exquisite specimen of feminine 
beauty and symmetry. 

^, ** The ballet was the * lion' of the fantasia, and its represent- 
ation took place amidst a breathless silence, only broken at 
intervals by the clinking of the saganets, and it occupied a 
whole hour. 

"The Princess scarcely bestowed any attention upon an 
amusement which was no novelty to her, and with which she 
had entertained me as being a foreigner of distinction. As 
Her Highness reclined indolently on her divan, her red lips 
were placed from time to time to the beautiful amber mouth- 
piece of her chibouk, from which she puffed forth light clouds 
of perfumed smoke. Occasionally she seemed as if lost in 



204 HABEK LIFE. 

deep thought ; but thoae piercing dark orbs of hers never took 
their glance off me ; and even when they were withdrawn, I 
still felt their fascinating influence upon me, for the very mar- 
row in my bones appeared to become frozen within me. 

"The slaves who were unemployed stood at the end of the 
saloon, but many of them kept constantly moving about ; and 
from the number that I saw that day, I should think that Her 
Highness must have had not less than a hundred white, and a 
much greater number of black ones. Some of them were not 
more than six years old. While the dancing was going on, 
several of them were employed in handing us violet, jasmine, 
and rose sherbet, with various kinds of confectionery, but es- 
pecially that of Rahat'loukoun (so much prized by the Turks, 
and which had been sent to Her Highness from Constanti- 
nople, where it is made in perfection), which was served up in 
beautifully embossed silver vases. 

** Still that lovely, tall, graceful Circassian kept kneeling 
and handing me sweetmeats in silver-gilt spoons, and sherbet 
in large gold cups encrusted with diamonds. I drank it very 
slowly, which gave me an opportunity of gazing upon her 
beautiful featiu-es ; and when I had drunk it, she presented me 
with a fine Indian muslin napkin, fringed round with a very 
•deep border of gold and silk, of which a European lady would 
have made a head-dress for the opera or masquerade. During 
which, and, in fact, all the time my visit lasted, Abyssinian 
slaves, with their white ivory teeth, kept constantly fanning 
me with large ostrich plumes. 

" I think I have already mentioned that some other strangers 
came to visit the Grand Princess during the time that I was 
with her. Two Coptic ladies, dressed in deep mourning, 
mother and daughter, the former a widow, passed through 
the saloon, with slow, theatrical carriage, like two spectres. 
As soon as they had reached Her Highness, they knelt down, 
kissed her slipper, and then sat themselves down at the bottom 
of the room near the slaves. Ten minutes after they had 
seated themselves, they returned, faced the Princess, and again 



HASEX LIFE. 205 

went tlurough the same salutation ; after which they retired 
with the same solemnitj aa thej had entered. 

^* The Princess did not even deign to exchange words with 
them ; consequently she had not the trouble of replying to any 
questions, and the most deathlike silence followed that cere- 
monial introduction. This is the manner in which all official 
visits are paid in the East. My reception, as I have already 
described, was of a very different character ; but then I was a 
foreigner, a stranger of rank, in the East ! for here, as else- 
where, such individuals are always received with marks of 
great distinction. 

" Although my visit had been prolonged the greater part of 
the day, still it seemed to me but a second, and I was quite 
delighted to think that my adventure had hitherto been so 
successful. Everything has its end, but especially lucky ad- 
ventures. 

" At length the hour of departure arrived. Accordingly I 
submitted With the best grace possible to the final ceremony, 
which terminate^ all visits to distinguished personages in the 
East. Two slaves advanced towards me ; one held in her 
hands an incense-burner (in which was burning the wood of 
aloes), with which she wafted the smoke into my nostrils, and 
perfumed me as if I had been a holy person : the other held a 
small silver urn, pierced with small holes, filled with rose- 
water, which she sprinkled over my whole person. 

*'I received this double attention in the most impassable 
manner possible, and thus, anointed with strong perfumes, I 
slightly touched with the tips of my fingers the Princess's 
hand, and then put them respectfully to my lips ; which is the 
mode in which persons of rank take leave of distinguished 
Orientals. The Princess bowed gracefully to me ; then rising 
up all at once, just as I had reached the door, she advanced 
towards me : — 

" * Stop,' said she to me, ' I must show you my garden. 
And I will accompany you myself.' 

" We passed through the reception room, then descended a 



206 HABEM LIFE. 

staircase, passed through a hall into a beautiful kiosk, but as 
empty and unadorned as a Dutch Protestant church, but de- 
lightfully cooled by a large marble fountain, which played ia 
the centre. Then we passed into the garden. A whole troop 
of eunuchs preceded and also followed us ; while the group of 
black and white slaves kept at a respectful distance. I re- 
mained by the side of the Princess, whose long robe trained 
along the ground. Her Highness took hold of my hand as we 
descended the staircase, and lucky was it for me that I had a 
very small hand, totally unlike that of a man, or else it would 
have betrayed me. 

** "While I was seated on the divan, I maintained my new 
character extremely well ; but when I began to walk, I ex- 
perienced considerable embarrassment, and although I pos- 
sessed the features, the height, and even a most feminine 
voice, as I have already explained, still I had not the shuffling 
deportment. I endeavoured, as well as I could, to take short 
steps, so as to avoid treading upon my elegant long velvet 
dress, which I held up, as a sapper does his leather apron. 

" Fortunately, the Orientals, being naturally of sedentary 
habits, do not shuffle along very quickly, unless when in a 
passion, and then they glide about as swiftly and noiselessly as 
serpents ; and I imagine that there could not be anything so 
peculiar in my walk, awkward as it must have been, to have 
excited the slightest suspicion of my sex. The advanced 
guard of eunuchs, and that of the slaves who followed us, kept 
at such a respectful distance from us that it was utterly im- 
possible for them to overhear our conversation ; we, however, 
maintained an interminable silence, but it would have been all 
the same if we had been conversing with each other. 

" The gardens into which we had entered, might be denomi- 
nated very beautiful ; but I confess that I was so dreadfully 
agitated, that' I am quite unable to give any description of 
them ; I was so entirely occupied in taking short steps, and so 
fearful \e»t I should catch a sunstroke, that I did not bestow the 
slightest attention upon the flowers, flower-beds, or fountains 



HAEEM LIFE. 207 

which were scattered about, and which played into marble 
basins. All that I remember is, that we walked for some time 
along, very slowly, under a very shady avenue of sycamore 
trees, and where I must have been least noticed. 

** The silence that both I and the Princess observed towards 
each other at length became unbearable. So at last I took upon 
myself to break it, and began to praise, in as pure Turkish 
as I was master of, the perfume of the flowers, which I had 
neither noticed nor smelt ; the gentle murmuring of the waters, 
that I had not listened to ; and was proceeding in the same strain, 
when the Princess interrupted me rather sharply, without the 
least allusion to the eff'usions of my poetical rhapsody : — 

" * I hope that you do not for a moment imagine I am your 
dupe ?" said she, in a curt manner, at the same time letting 
fall my hand, which she had held in hers up to that moment. 
*If my husband, Defterdar, whose anger knows no bounds, 
had seen you, and had had but the slightest inkling of your 
audacity in thus presenting yourself before me, he would have 
had you empaled upon the spot, and most assuredly you would 
have deserved it.' 

" ' I flatter myself,' said I, * that I have shown you, and I 
will prove to you again shortly, that I possess no fear, and 
that I am no coward.' 

" Nevertheless, I cannot but confess that those words gave 
me such an electric shock, that the whole of my limbs shivered 
and trembled violently. The bare idea of empalement is far 
from being agreeable at any time. I was so thunderstruck 
that I remained speechless. Portunately, the Princess gave 
me no time to offer any reply. 

*" But luckily for you,' replied she, in a more subdued 
voice, * my terrible husband is not at home, and I cm as much 
mistress of my own actions as a woman can possibly be in any 
Mussulman's country. Adventurous ' mortals are far from 
being displeasing to me ; I admire courage, no matter what 
form it takes ; even if it borders on temerity or rashness. If 
then you are as brave and bold as the enterprise which you 



208 HAEEM LIFE. 

have now undertaken makes me give you credit for, you will 
come to the Mogreb to-morrow, to the Elfy Gate; a tall negro, 
dressed in red, will pass you, touch you on the left shoulder, 
as he walks along. Polio w that slave if you wish to know 
anything more.' 

" Saying which she again took hold of my hand as if nothing 
had happened, and led me on without uttering another syl- 
lable to the foot of the staircase. There she took leave of m© 
in the most cordial and graceful manner imaginable, saying, in 
a loud tone, so that all present might overhear her, that she 
was exceedingly grateful at having had the pleasure of con- 
versing with such a ladylike specimen of my countrywomen, 
all of whom she trusted resembled me both in manners and 
habits. 

" Preceded by the eunuchs, and followed by the slaves, I wa» 
led to the outer gate of the palace with the same ceremony as 
had been observed on my arrival. A devil of a tall black, 
armed with a most formidable-looking courbacJie, was present 
as sentry at the gate as I took my departure, for fear lest any 
of the slaves, should take it into their heads to take Prench- 
leave and quit the palace. I propitiated that sovereign of 
Egypt, Prince Baksheesh, by handing the Q-rand Eunuch 
several purses of gold coins. Entering my carriage, perhaps a 
little more hastily than ladies generally do, I was driven 
straight to the residence of my charming friend, the lovely 
Levantine, in whose clothes I was dressed ; there I exchanged 
my habiliments and put on my own attire. She had been very 
uneasy during my absence as to the result of my daring and 
dangerous exploit. I assured her that my success had even 
been far greater than I had anticipated, and that I had satis- 
fied my curiosity very easily. But true it is, that I did not 
think it prudent to let her into the secret of the manner in 
which my stratagem had terminated. When I say terminated, 
I am in error, for it was scarcely in its zenith, and the actual 
finale of it was at that moment quite enveloped in mystery. 

" Ton are not young, it is true, but you were so once ; con- 



HABElf LIFE. 209 

sequentlj you will believe .me when I affirm that I never closed 
my eyes the whole of the following night. My brain kept 
thinking of all the good and bad reports which I had heard 
about the Princess Nuzly, and my mind became extremely 
uneasy. Was it really a meeting or a snare ? "Was I to be 
the hero of some good fortune or the victim of vengeance ? 
My position appeared to be of a most embarrassing nature, 
especially as I well knew* the reputed character of that Prin- 
cess, and the dreadful things which were recounted of her. 
Q-ood fortune does not shield us from vengeance, nor vengeance 
from our enjoyment of it ; the question was, if it were pos- 
sible to avoid the one and to enjoy the other. My mind was 
employed in trying to solve that difficult enigma. The finale 
of my adventure, however, will give you a key to the solution 
at which I arrived. You must also bear in mind that I was 
then only twenty years of age. 

"Early in the morning I repaired to Khan-el-Khalyly; there 
I purchased at the shop of one Barakat, who knew me inti- 
mately, an excellent Damascus scimitar, as fine as a hair, and 
which was so highly tempered that it would have cut an eider- 
down pillow in half. This I concealed beneath my cloak, — for 
I now wore my male habiliments — this was my life protector ; 
and placing a six-barrelled revolver in my pocket, I walked up 
and down the Mogreb in front of the Elfy Gate. 

" It was not long before the negro clad in red made his ap- 
pearance and touched me on the shoulder as he passed. As 
that gate of Cairo is one of the most frequented, I did not 
attract the curiosity of any of the passers-by as I turned round 
and followed him. This I did and continued to do at about 
twenty paces' distance, still keeping him always in sight. 
"Walking at first in the direction of Boulac, my guide soon 
proceeded along a path to the' left, and after having taken 
several windings which always led nearer to the banks of the 
Nile, he stopped short, which I did also, at the foot of a high 
wall which seemed to block up our passage. 

^^ As night had suddenly closed in I did not at first perceive 

14 



210 HASEK UFE. 

the small low door, which had all the appearance of heing the 
postern gate of some old castle, of which the negro possessed 
the key. While he was in the act of stooping down, for he 
was full six ^eet high, I scanned the height of the wall, and 
kept thinking whether, in case of need, it were possible for me 
to scale it by dint of a gigantic feat. That is what is called, 
in military parlance, taking a reconnoitre in case of emerg^icy. 
I was just on the point of measuring it more accurately with 
my eye, not having any instruments with me, when the tall 
slave interrupted my calculations by touching me on the 
shoulder as a token that the door was open. I crossed the 
threshold with a firm step, at the same time feeling that my 
revolver was safe in my pocket, and my Damascus blade by my 
side. The slave quickly shut the door after me, and I con- 
tinued to follow him. He passed across a long garden, which 
I shall not stop to describe, for the best of all reasons that the 
darkness of the night prevented me from being able to discern 
how it was laid out. My guide maintained an imperturbable 
silence. 

** I really believe (may God forgive me !) that he was a 
mute, and I will not swear but that he was deaf also, for he 
did not reply to a single question which I put to him. The 
grating of our footsteps echoed on the hard sandy paths of the 
avenues as we passed along. After making several detours, 
we at length reached the door of a kiosk concealed beneath 
some large trees, which must have formed a most grateful re- 
treat in the daytime. My mute of a guide did not enter 
therein, but pushed me rather than introduced me into it, and 
there I was within that mysterious retreat alone in the dark, 
and without being able to grope my way. My first care was 
to find out my position as best I could. All that I was enabled 
to discover was that I trod on a thick carpet, strewn with the 
softest cushions, and that the hangings were of silk. It was 
surrounded with a large divan. I had just finished taking tli{|v 
inventory of the penates when I felt something clasp my neiaik. 
Do not be alarmedi my friends, it was not the classic £&Iken 



HABEK LIFE. 211 

cords of the mutes of the Seraglio : it was only the two soft 
arms of a lovely woman. 

" This mode of reception was adopted to banish all my fears. 
I returned the embrace as any young man would naturally 
have done, without waiting to identify the person of the indi- 
vidual who had thus honoured me with a private interview, 
and my approaches were returned with a corresponding alac- 
rity. It was not long before I knew perfectly well who my 
unknown Venus was. 

" Now I must beg that you will allow me to draw the cur- 
tain upon the scene which followed. 

'^ The night passed away as rapidly as if it had been but a 
few seconds ; the stars were stiU shining most brilliantly, when 
that awful word, * Farewell,' was pronounced by the sweetest 
lips I had ever pressed, and by a woman who was much more 
mistress of her own actions than I was of mine. I felt half 
inclined to have translated for her edification that beau- 
tiful balcony scene in Shakspeare's 'Bomeo and Juliet* 
into the purest Turkish that I could command; but she 
appeased my regrets by breathing into my ear the fond hope 
that I would come again to-morrow, at the same hour, and 
in the same manner; and then, embracing me, the lovely 
phantom vanished, in the twinkling of an eye, like an ethereal 
being. 

" I did not remain long alone ; a heavy hand was placed 
upon my shoulder and I hastily retreated. My safety, how- 
ever, was not yet secured. I was not long in discovering that, 
instead of returning by the way he had conducted me, my 
guide, stni the same black, dressed in red, took me in quite a 
different direction. He walked strait towards the Nile, which 
lay before us, as the creaking of the aakias, ' water-wheels,' 
confirmed. 

" * Good,' said I, as my heart beat with its usual promp- 
titude. ' This is like having passed a quarter of an hour as 
Eabelais did. Now comes the forfeit. I am doomed to pay 
for the happiness I have enjoyed.' And all the dreadful tales 

14—2 



212 HABEM LIFE. 

-which I had heard of the baseness and treachery of the Prin- 
cess Nuzly presented themselves to my imagination. 

" When a collegian my tutors taught me to believe that 
Queen Cleopatra possessed such charms, that many thought 
themselves happy in passing an evening alone with her even at 
the sacrifice of their lives. I remembered that I was ia 
Egypt, and if I had not quitted the presence of a Queen, I 
had at least left the arms of a Princess, who, if she were not 
equally beautiful, seductive, and powerful, still was quite as 
inhuman. The only difference was that I had not given her 
any right to take possession of my person, and most assuredly 
I was not fool enough to sacrifice it for the love I bore her 
beauteous orbs. 

" But how and by what means was I to escape from the 
snare into which she had entrapped me ? This second Margaret 
of Burgundy's black Orsini was six feet high, his frame Her- 
culean, and I should have stood but little chance had I wrestled 
with such an antagonist. That Goliath would have crushed 
me with his thumb, and I possessed not the prowess of David. 

" It is true that I was armed with one of the keenest of 
Damascus blades ever made, and a six-barrelled revolver ; but 
then the report of fire-arms would have brought a legion of 
eunuchs to his rescue, and as to the scimitar, well-tempered 
as it was said to be, I placed no confidence in it, as I had never 
used such a warlike weapon before. If my blow had missed 
I was a dead man ; and yet I was obliged to adopt some plan ; 
time pressed, or else in a few short moments all would be over 
with me, and I should never again drive or walk along the 
Cascine at Florence. 

" The creaking of the sakias became more distinct ; the 
^ile was evidently not far from us. The first dawn of the 
day, which gives such a very indistinct light in the East, 
hardly allowed me to distinguish any more than the lofty wall 
beyond the trees, which on that as well as on the other sides 
encircled the garden. Soon afterwards I saw the gate which 
opened on to the river, and you may rest assured that I was 



HAEEM LIFE. 213 

taken aback when I saw that it was guarded bj three tall 
phantoms, three devils of blacks, placed there most unques- 
tionably to seize hold of me and to cast me into the Nile, like 
a kitten, as they had done many a European before. 

" At the sight of those formidable opponents, I resolved to 
put into execution the project I had been meditating. Slacken- 
ing my pace, I took advantage of an angle of masonry- work, 
which concealed me from observation, to rush upon my guide 
with the agility of a man who struggles for his life, and to 
plunge my Damascus blade up to its very hilt into his body. 
My trial stroke proved a chef-d'oeuvre. It must have pierced 
bis heart, as the poor devil dropped down dead instantaneously 
without uttering a groan. I then rifled his pockets, expecting 
to find there the key of the gate by which I had entered the 
grounds. I was fortunate enough to put my hand upon it, 
and leaving others to bury his body, I turned about quickly 
and ran along as fast as my legs could carry me. 

" In a few minutes I reached the opposite wall ; the same 
the height of which I had taken the precaution to measure. 
On arriving there I found to my dismay that I had overrated 
my gymnastic abilities, and was baffled. A squirrel could not 
have bounded over it. I was then obliged to seek for the gate, 
which I was unable to discover. Was it on the right hand or 
the left ? I could not tell. By mere chance I proceeded to 
the right, that side appearing the most likely ; and, Heaven 
be praised ! I had hardly gone thirty steps before I found the 
gate which had been anxiously sought for. 

" Scarcely, however, had I put the key into the lock, when 
three tall black eunuchs, who had concealed themselves behind 
the opposite door, and who had given chase after me, came 
suddenly upon me from different directions. They were the 
same three eunuchs whom I had seen mounting guard at the 
door to which the defunct negro was proceeding. The first 
one who approached me brandished a tremendous large sabre, 
a blow from which would have cleft my body in twain, but the 
first ball from my revolver laid him prostrate on the ground. 



i 



214 HABEM LIPE. 

It liad, however, only broken his arm, but that was quite 
enough for the moment, as it was his right arm, and his sabre 
fell from it. That slight chastisement for his insolence pro- 
duced a most salutary effect upon his companions, who thought 
that they would receive a similar correction, as they were also 
armed with formidable scimitars. As they drew back I passed 
through the door, and in so doing fired at them two farewell 
shots, without stopping to see what mischief I had done. But 
it is most probable that they were killed, as I proceeded quietly 
on my way, and reached my own house safe and sound before 
sunrise. 

" I assure you, however, that I hastened to quit Cairo as 
soon as possible, as I knew not what might be the result of 
my adventure, especially as I had killed a eunuch. But it 
was passed over in silence, for people in Egypt are not so par- 
ticular when a murder is committed as in Europe. The East 
is the land of silence as it is also of mystery. 

" Soon afterwards I proceeded on my journey to Jerusalem, 
and on my return to Cairo I called upon my charming 
Levantine friend, when she informed me that during my pil« 
grimage to the Holy Sepulchre, H. H. the Q-rand Princess 
had invited her to see her ; on which occasion she had treated 
her most graciously, and made numerous inquiries about me, 
* her amiable friend,' as Her Highness termed me. The Q-rand 
Princess, who had no wish' that the adventures in the Harem 
and the Kiosk should be bruited about, very quietly pocketed 
the trick which had been played her, and nothing more was 
said about it." 

Then I pondered in my own mind, how many lovers, in that 
apartment in which I then stood, had paid the penalty of 
their audacity by their being plunged into the Nile, or allured 
to meet a watery grave, perhaps beneath those very windowa 
from which I then beheld the lovely moon shining so brightly, 
and had thus been sent to their *' last account with all their 
imperfections on their head !" It was natural that my imagi- 
nation should dwell upon such thoughts; not because the 



HAEEM LIFE. 215 

old Prenchwomen had related the above incidents to me, on 
whose veracity I might have placed some doubt, had I not 
heard the ladies of the Harem and slaves repeat to me many a 
time and oft similar histories not only of the Grand Princess, 
but of other Egyptian Harem celebrities, that had made 

" My hair stand on end, like quills upon the fretful porcupine." 

which fully proved to me what a mysterious abode a Harem is. 

CHAPTEE XXL 

The next morning I was awoke at four o'clock by the three 
Q-ermaos, the laundrymaid, needle- womao, and cook (the latter 
of whom had only arrived at G-hezire a short time previous to 
oui departure, and had not as yet been able to enter on her 
duties, there being no kitchen in that Harem, or any hatterie 
de cuisine for her use) knocking at the door of my room, as 
the J had only just arrived from Cairo. 

Upon making inquiries of them, it appeared that they did 
not Jeave the Harem at G-hezire until nine o'clock at night, 
although their beds, &c., had been taken away from them at 
the time all the others were packed and sent away. I learned 
that they had also been treated most shamefully; and had 
their fellow-countryman, Mr. C. H. (his Eoyal Highness's 
civil aide-de-camp), been present when they rushed into my 
chamber, he would have learned how little they were disposed 
" to accommodate themselves to such circumstances," pressing 
though they were. 

Q-etting up, I hastily enveloped myself in my flannel dress- 
ing-gown, unbolted my door, and gave them admittance. I 
shall never forget their gesticulations when they looked at my 
pallet on the floor, and the large empty space around. They 
held up their hands in perfect amazement : — " Mdn Gott ! 
Mein Gott ! was mUszen toir thun ? " " My God ! My Qod ! 
what must we do ? " The despair, the horror, which was de- 
picted on their countenances I shall never forget. They all 



216 HABEM LIFE. 

burst into tears, and cried most bitterlj. I endeavoured to 
soothe their feelings, but to no purpose. 

Then I inquired of them why they had come there to disturb 
me (knowing that I was powerless to help them), instead of 
staying in their own room ? You may guess my surprise when 
they told me they were all ordered to take up their quarters 
in my room ; which, in short, was to be not the hospital as yet^ 
but the European ward. Now I really became annoyed ; for I 
could not possibly imagine for a moment that the English 
governess in the family of a "Viceregal prince of Egypt ought 
to submit to such an indignity as to have her chamber turned 
into a ''nightly refuge '* for Ismael Pacha's domestics. Thanks 
to the legislators of English jurisprudence, a poor governess is 
not a menial (drudge though she too often is made to be) : and 
one thing is quite certain, and that was that no English fanily 
ever treated a Prussian institutrice as a domestic servant, al- 
though had I not battled against it, the Prussian millionaire in 
Egypt would have had me served and held in no better estima- 
tion than a slave ! 

Well, what could I do for those poor creatures, who hac not 
had food between their lips from the hour I had left Ghazire 
on the previous day ? Nothing — absolutely nothing ! No pro- 
pitiation on the altar of that all-powerful sovereign ruler of 
Egypt, Prince Baksheesh (for my heart bled for them, and 
I tried it in spite of the Princess's orders), at that hour in the 
morning, could procure them a crust. 

I told them that they could lie upon the divan, but that it 
was very damp. They asked — nay, they positively cried to me 
for bread (hated Englishwoman as I was), poor helpless crea- 
tures ! and yet the laundrymaid, who spoke Turkish very well 
and had been in Egypt much longer than myself, ought to 
have taken the precaution, as I did, to have had their break- 
fast and dinner before they left. True, I had only been enabled 
to obtain the former meal, but then I found that a great sup- 
port to me in my present state of health. 

I then despatched them down to the eunuchs, with bak- 



HABEM LIPE. 217 

sheesh in their liands^ in quest of some refreshment ; and soon 
afterwards they returned, bringing with them some Arab bread, 
and a small tin-pot of coffee, of which they partook most voraci- 
ously, after which they threw themselves down upon the divan, 
damp as it was, and fell fast asleep. 

Rising at five o'clock (for I could not sleep after the 
G-ermans had disturbed me), I summoned the slave, Senana, to 
take away my bed into the bed store-room (for it will be recol- 
lected that in every Harem there is such a repository) ; then 
partook of my breakfast, which consisted of Arab bread, as no 
European had yet been provided for me, and several findjans 
of coffee. 

Having heard the salutes fired announcing the arrival of the 
Viceroy, I ordered the head-nurse to dress the Grand Pacha ; 
and, beiDg desired by their Highnesses the Princesses (who had 
arrived late at night in company with the "Valid e Princess) to 
take the little Prince early in the morning to visit his illus- 
trious Baha, Bas-el- Tin, I walked across the courtyard into the 
palace of " Cape of Pigs." 

As we entered the grand entrance, it reminded me at that 
time of the floral arcade adjoining the Italian Opera, at Covent 
Garden, except that it was much more diminutive in size, and nar- 
rower in compass. It was now all arranged for the grand ball, 
the " lion " of the season, which the Viceroy was about to give 
to the Turkish noblesse and the elite of the European popula- 
tion of Alexandria and Cairo, who were assembled there on 
account of the excessive heat at the Capital. 

The basement was covered with sawdust, over which was 
laid a handsome Brussels carpet. Coloured globular lamps 
were suspended from the glass roof, which was concealed from 
the eye of the spectator by white lace and crimson silk 
curtains, interlaced and looped up together in the centre by a 
crimson silk rosette, in the centre of which were placed artifi- 
cial bouquets of flowers. On each side, raised in the sawdust 
floor, was an imitation ^ar^erre of blooming exotics, the fragrance 
of whose perfume was delightfully grateful to the senses. 



218 HABEM LIFE. 

• 

A great variety of small coloured illumination lamps were 
hung in festoons suspended from the gvlded pillars. Large, 
handsomely-gilded mirrors hung down »the sides, in which the 
exotics were reflected. At the bottom, on each side, were two 
pure white marble fountains, whose waters, as they played, 
formed representations of peacocks, with their superb tails. 
Around them were placed variegated evergreens and pretilly- 
constructed rockeries. Over the door of the entrance to the 
palace hung a very handsome crimson cloth curtain, embroid- 
ered with gold crescent, and fringed with a deep gold border. 
At the top of the door were placed the Sultan's arms, and two 
standards with gilt spears. 

We then descended two marble steps, which led us into a 
small marble-paved hall, which, owing to the large orange-trees 
and shrubs and exotics it contained, presented a very sombre 
appearance, but which, when lighted up by means of the 
superb lustre that hung suspended from the ceiling, which was 
dome- shaped and most beautifully painted and gilded, gave it 
a truly fairylike coup d'ceil. 

It was such an entrance into a palace as the polishing of 
Aladdin's wonderful lamp might really have produced, but 
not outvied ; in short, an Arabian Night-like creation. It was 
covered with mirrors which reached from the ceiling down to the 
floor, between all of which hung white lace and crimson silk 
curtains, with gave them the appearance of windows. 

Upon numerous gilt brackets stood white marble vases, filled 
with moss and artificial flowers. Between the evergreens stood 
several marble statues, some bearing coloured globes in their 
hands, and others bouquets of flowers. Here and there were 
placed gilded chairs, the cushions being covered with crimson 
velvet. 

The effect, as the spectator entered, was extremely pleasing, 
and the gentle trickling of the water from the fountains in 
it produced a most delightful sensation. 

Then we passed into an immense marble-paved hall, having 
raised banks all around it covered with beautiful velvet-looking 



HABEM LIFE. 219 

green moss, interspersed with natural and artificial flowers most 
tastefully blended together. The walls were hung with large 
mirrors, which reached half-way down them and rested on the 
raised banks, and a hanging terrace of flowers ran round the 
apartment on the top of the mirrors. On the banks were 
placed vases of the rarest exotics, interspersed with statues, on 
whose heads were placed rustic carved baskets of blooming 
flowers, each holding in his hand coloured globular lamps. 
Down the entire centre of the room ran a huge bank covered 
with moss interspersed with flowers, creepers, and orauge- 
trees, amidst which, dotted about, stood numerous statues, and 
which divided the apartment into a double promenade, at each 
end of which was a pure white marble fountain, bordered with 
flowers. The ceiling was magnificently painted, surmounted 
with a deep gilt beading. The room was lighted with twelve 
huge silver candelabras, fixed in the sides of the walls. Here 
and there rout-seats were scattered about, all covered with crim- 
son '^velvet to match the hangings, which were of crimson silk. 

Then we proceeded into another apartment similarly ar- 
ranged, but having a double marble staircase covered with fine 
Brussels carpeting. The banisters were richly gilded. On 
the first landing stood two statues holding coloured globular 
lamps in their hands, and a basket of flowers on their heads. 
Behind them were superb gilt mirrors, reaching from the top 
of the ceiling, which was also richly gilded, and elegantly 
painted down to the floor. G^e walls were covered with rich 
crimson satin-paper, ornamented with a broad gilt beading both 
at top and bottom. All up both the sides were placed boxes 
of blooming flowers. 

Then we ascended seven stairs, and soon reached the top of 
the second landing, on which stood two veiled, life-size statues 
holding gilt branch candelabras in their hands. There the 
rooms branched off right and left, but I and the Q-rand Pacha 
first proceeded into those facing the staircase. 

The flrst apartment that we entered was an immense round 
drawing-room, which commanded a most extensive marine view. 



j320 HAEEM LIFE. 

The floor was of highly-polislied brown and white marqueterie, 
the ceiling beautifully painted, having in its centre a battle- 
«cene, commemorating one of Mehemet AU's victories, and very 
pretty vignettes of other warlike engagements in squares. A 
magnificent lustre was suspended from the centre. The walls 
were covered with crimson satin-paper, against which hung 
several rich cut-glass lustres. The hangings were of crimson 
«ilk and white lace, looped up with heavy bullion cords and 
tassels. The chairs and sofas were of ormolu and gold, covered 
with crimson satin. Mirrors hung from the ceiling down to 
the floor. In the centre stood a large round mosaic-table on 
gilded legs. 

Opening a door on the left we passed into the Blue Drawing- 
room, ^furnished in a similar manner, but the hangings and fur- 
niture were of sky-blue satin. This led us into the Pink 
Drawing-room, the hangings and furniture of which were of 
pink and white satin. 

Opening a door we entered the dining-room, a very heavy- 
looking apartment with green velvet hangings and black ebony 
furniture covered with velvet to correspond. 

In the centre stood a long highly-polished ebony dining- 
table. The floor was of the same material, in black and white 
chequers, and as slippery as glass. Thence we proceeded into 
another apartment, similarly arranged, only with crimson hang- 
ings, and the coverings of the furniture to match. In the 
centre stood an inlaid-mosaic table, with gilt legs, and here and 
there stood several console-tables. The flooring was arranged 
in red and white chequers. 

Passing out of it we entered the Viceroy, Ismael Pacha's bed- 
chamber. The walls were covered with plain white satin-paper, 
with a roseate hue. The ceiling was painted and gilt ; the 
flooring was arranged in brown and white chequers, with a 
strip of Brussels carpet down the centre, and also across the 
bottom, at the foot of the sofa, the frame of which was gilt, and 
the squabs were covered with red-flgured silk. 

On the left-hand side stood the gilt iron bedstead, with rods 



HAREM LIFE. 221 

and poles to correspond. The hangings consisted of crimsoa 
Persian silk mosquito-curtains. At the foot were placed hand- 
some thick Persian rugs. The bed was arranged ct la EuropSenne, 
with bolsters, pillows, and covered with the usual linen. The 
Turks and Egyptians never use but one wadded coverlet, and 
nothing else on their beds, the coverlet being lined vdth thin 
white calico, which, when 'dirty, is unpicked, replaced by a clean 
one, while the soiled one is sent to be washed. 

On the right hand stood a black ebony chest of drawers, 
with a cabinet to correspond, and those two articles, with a few 
chairs, constituted all the furniture. True it is, however, that 
the Viceroy does not reside much at this Palace, as he is a Prince 
who cannot endure to be annoyed with state affairs, and prefers 
spending his time on board his yacht, steaming up and down the 
Nile, as then he is free from the unwelcome visits of those 
" other eighteen Princes who govern Egypt," whose calls are 
not always of the most agreeable kind. 

Leading out of this room, we entered the dressing-room,, 
then the bath-room, the floors of both of which were of mar- 
queterie. In it were two large marble baths, one being for fresh, 
and the other for sea-water. Pacing these were the suite of 
apartments used by the Ministers of State, and Ismael Pacha's 
suite. 



CHAPTEE XXII. 

LBATiNa these apartments we passed along a marqueterie cor- 
ridor of brown and white chequers, and entered that memorable 
apartment, in which Mehemet Ali, in March, 1811, determined, 
on the extirpation of the Mamelukes, whose powerful influence 
had thwarted his plans of aggrandizement. 

It was an immense room, supported in the centre by three 
colossal green agate pillars, against the first of which stood a 
double marble fountain ; round the second pillar was placed a 



222 HABEM LIPE. 

tier-ed conversational sofa. At the third pillar was a beautiful 
cascade, where the water fell trickling over the rocks, inter- 
spersed with large white and yellow water-lilies, ice-plants, 
violets, and beautiful ferns, amidst which was that species 
called " MaiderCa hair^'* all then in blossom, which had origi- 
nally been brought from the Island of Arran, and numerous 
other exotics, in full blossom. 

Along one side was a gallery formed by twelve small white 
Corinthian pillars, on which were alternately placed silver can- 
delabras and vases. Eound the bottoms of them were ranged 
baskets of flowers, the tendrils being twirled round the plQars 
in imitation of creepers entwining themselves around forest- 
trees. The gallery was entirely festooned with yellow silk and 
white lace curtains, having in their centres bouquets of flowers 
with large blue satin streamers banging down from them. 
This apartment extended along the whole facade of the palace 
on one side, and contained about twelve immense wide win- 
dows, all looking on to the Mediterranean. It forms the "Vice- 
regal promenade in the winter season, and here it was that 
Mehemet Ali gave his Kehia Bey (Mohammed Laz) his in- 
structions for the decimation of the Mamelukes, which took 
place after he had at Cairo invested his son Tussoom (Tussam) 
Pacha with the command of the Egyptian army, when on the 
eve of its departure for Arabia. 

On the left-hand side of it stood a yellow satin sofa and a 
few chairs covered with the same material. It also contained 
two large mirrors, one placed at the top and the other at the 
bottom, in which were reflected both the cascade and fountain, 
on each side of which hung the full-length portraits of the 
renowned founder of the present "Viceregal dynasty, and his 
cruel and subtle son, or adopted son (for his parentage has 
never to this day been clearly explained), Ibrahim Pacha, the 
present "Viceroy's father, both allowed by alJ old Turks and 
Egyptians to be most striking likenesses. One thing is certain, 
and that is, that they are beautifully executed. 

It is a most regal apartment, replete with highly interesting 



*# 



HABEM LIFE. .223 

historical reminiscences ; and as I stood therein, holding bj the 
hand my prince, the grandson of that remarkable man, I could 
not help looking intently at the child, and wondering what his 
future destiny will be. There he stood, that little " dot of 
humanity," the heir to almost countless wealth, (whose guar- 
dians, in case of his illustrious Baba's death prior to his ma- 
jority, I hope may not be any of the clique belonging to the 
Prussian Jews' fraternity,) endowed with talents which if pro- 
perly cultivated would carve for him a name in the annals of 
Egyptian history, inheriting most unfortunately the combined 
vices of the founder of his dynasty and those of his grandsire, 
and spoilt, petted, humoured, and inflated with pride. 

His probable chance of succeeding to the Viceroy alty is at 
the present time very remote ; but the Viceroy and the Valid^ 
Princess would, or I am much mistaken, both give every para 
they possess to every slave and dependent in their suite, 
whether Turk, Moslem, or Christian, and shed, too, the last 
drop of blood which flows in their veins, if they could but in- 
duce Her Sovereign Majesty to nominate the Q-rand Pacha to 
be the next Viceroy {Gouvemeur de VEgypte). Then like 
another Jacob he would supplant his brother (but not by the 
same mother), Mustapha Pacha. It has been, and still is, 
" their thought by day, their dream by night ;" and presently, 
when I come to describe the visit of the Croesus-like viceregal 
family in 1864 to Sultan Abdul Aziz, " the Poor,'* my readers 
will regard with peculiar interest the following clause in the 
Pirman of Investiture, dated May 22nd, 1841, under which 
the Pacha of Egypt rules— 

** Henceforth, when the post shall be vacant, the Q-ovemment of Egypt 
■shall descend in a direct line, from the elder to the elder in the male race 
among thy sons and grandsons. As regards their nomination, that shall be 
made by my Sublime Porte." 

Continuing the historical reminiscences of this gallery, I 
must add that it was from that spot that Mehemet Ali re- 
viewed that formidable fleet which he sent forth to the Morea, 
and which afterwards almost rotted in the roadstead, when he 



221* HABEK LIFE. 

Imd nurtured in Iiis ambitious mind the vain idea tliat he would 
bo abh) to make himself the independent sovereign of E^iypt. 

On tlie right Iiand are three doors, the first of which leads 
into a very pretty and tastefully-arranged boudoir. It was 
formerly the favourite cabinet of Mehemet Ali, and here he 
held his private Council. This consisted of his wife, who died 
at Constantinople in 1864, in her sixty-seventh year, at the 
palace of her daughter Zeneb Hanum, wife of Kiamil Pacha, 
President of the Grand Council, to whom she bequeathed her 
almost unrivalled collection of jewels and aU her vast estates 
in Egypt, and the beautiful, wanton, gifted, but cruel Princess 
Nuzly, who acted as her aged father's Bach-Kiatibi, " Private 
Secretary." 

Here it was that the better and cooler judgment of this able 
Turkish female politician often checked many a dire scheme of 
her ambitious parent. 

The second was fitted up as a buffet on the occasion of the 
grand state ball on the 8th of June, 1864i ; and here it was 
that the Kopecs, " dogs" of Christians, drank freely of those 
choice wines which the quondam Crimean suttlers knew so well 
how to select, and to charge for too. At the time we visited 
it, it was arranged for that forthcoming fite. In the centre 
stood a long table; in each corner a case of stuffed birds. 
Chairs covered with plain crimson morocco were placed in a 
row down each side. 

We then proceeded to the ball-room, a circular apartment, 
which is well lighted by a handsome stained-glass cupola. The 
floor was of red and white marqueterie, highly polished. The 
walls were covered with white satin-paper, having a roseate 
hue. White lace and pink silk curtains hung in festoons from 
the cupola, fastened with bouquets and white and pink silk 
rosettes, having long streamers attached. The windows were 
similarly arranged. Most magnificent cut-glass lustres hung 
down from each side of the cupola, and several lustre cande- 
labras were fixed te the walls. A semicircular orchestra, 
covered with crimson cloth, occupied one-half of the circum- 



HABEM LIFE. 225 

ference, which, as well as the whole of the apartment, was 
decorated with vases filled with real and artificial flowers. 

The artist who had fitted up these apartments for this state 
ball, happened to be in the Palace as we were making our tour 
of inspection, and he presented both myself and H. H. the 
G-rand Pacha with several artificial flowers and bouquets of 
most fragrant exotics. 

Here it was, that on the 8th of June, 1864, the Viceroy Is- 
mael Pacha gave the grand state ball. On that occasion the 
whole line of the route leading from the Place de Consuls to 
the Palace was most brilliantly illuminated with thousands of 
flambeaux, and the police arrangements were admirably con- 
ducted. My pen-drawing must necessarily fall very short of 
the splendid tout ensemble of the f^te, par excellence^ of the 
Alexandrian season. Still, I cannot but observe, that as the 
powerful rays of those torches fell upon the well-appointed 
equipages which rolled along to the festive scene, they brought 
out in bold relief the animated countenances of their fair, 
elegantly-dressed female occupants, whose hair was ornamented 
with many a lovely spray and brilliant tiara of diamonds, which 
formed a most becoming addition to their well-selected yet 
variegated coloured costumes and elaborate toilettes. 

I have not of late years amused myself by a perusal of any 
of the numerous beautifully illustrated editions of the * Arabian 
^Nights' Entertainments' which have been published, although 
I must plead guilty to having been a resident within those 
" gilded cages," where such are narrated nightly, and believed 
in most scrupulously. Yet, as I gazed on the busy turmoil 
(for on that day I took no official part in that festivity), as it 
was being rapidly whirled past me, I almost fancied that I had 
been carried away by some genii, and was at that moment an 
inhabitant of one of those spots, that the " rubbing up" of 
Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp is sdid to have the gift to call into 
existence. 

I have already described the decorations of those splendid 
suites of apartments as I walked through them in the daytime ; 

15 



236 HABEK LIFE. 

but when I entered them on this night, the coup d'ceil that 
buret upon my sight as I most carefully walked up and down 
that beautiful mosaic pavement, was magnificently imposing. 
The stewards, quite ignorant of their duties as masters of the 
ooremonies, had forgotten one of the most essential precautions 
in a ball-room, but most especially where the flooring is of 
highly -polished marqueterie — to have it strewn with finely- 
powdered perfumed chalk. 

1 observed a good-natured smile cross the fine features of 
the Viceroy Ismael Pacha, as he graciously received the homage 
of his ministers and brilliant staff, closely attended by that 
small circle of Europeans yclept the clique who have the entree 
at Court. His condescending salaam was given with all that 
grace of deportment and suavity of manner which we should 
only have expected to see displayed by a Prince who had been 
educated in the school of the/r«^ gentleman of Europe (Q-eorge 
the Pourth of England), when he received the presentations of 
that bevy of European ladies (kopeks^ " dogs" of Christian 
women), who were presented to him by their own ** Special 
Princes," many of whom officiated as masters of the cere- 
monies. 

This f^te will ever be remembered as a most remarkable 
occurrence in the annals of Egyptian history, as it is the first 
time that any Mussulman Prince gave audience to the fair 
daughters of Christendom. "We did not perceive any of the 
dark- eyed daughters of Israel, although there was a pretty 
fair sprinkling of members of the Hebrew persuasion. 

His Highness the "Viceroy acknowledged the attendance of 
such a numerous body of his European population with much 
apparent satisfaction, walked about the rooms, showed con- 
siderable attention to the officers of the United States frigate. 
Constellation, and appo inted them some attendants to escort 
them about the Palace ; seemed much pleased at the entente 
eordiale which appeared to exist among the different classes 
and nations of Europeans ; expressed his entire approbation of 
the whole of the araao^pMBeiita. tbi* had been made to cany 



HABEM LIFE. 227 

out his princely hospitality ; and remained until a late hour, 
evidently gratified and amused most thoroughly at the dancing 
and hilarity of his guests. 

I was credibly informed that this entertainment cost no less 
a sum than 40,000/. to 50,000/. A few days afterwards the 
"Viceroy visited the vessels in the port of Alexandria belonging 
to the Pacific and Oriental Company, and the Messageries Im- 
periales, and presented the officers and crews with rings and 
baksheesh respectively; but his crowning and princely gifts 
were a tiara of diamonds^ each valued at 1200/., to each of the 
wives of the agents of these companies, Mrs. B. and Madame 
L., in consideration of the polite personal services rendered to 
His Highness by their husbands. 

The morning after the state ball, their Highnesses the Prin- 
cesses ordered me to take the Q-rand Pacha to see his illustrious 
Baba, On our arrival at the palace we had to wait a con- 
siderable period, as the Viceroy had not yet risen. Assoonas 
His Highness had dressed we were ushered into his bed- 
chamber, which I have already described ; there we remained 
a considerable period. The Viceroy was sitting on the sofa 
smoking a cigar, the Prince approached and salaamed. I 
curtseyed and was on the point of leaving the apartment, 
when ffis Highness exclaimed, ** Approachez ! approachez I 
madameJ* 

I did so, took my station in the centre of the rooip, and 
there remained, leaving the hangings of the door drawn aside, 
which gave the officials in attendance an opportunity to over- 
hear aU that transpired ; and luckily I did so, for I soon found 
on my return to the Harem that the inmates had already 
begun to make " mountains of mole-hills.'* The little Prince 
soon became tired ; for singular to add, as I have previously 
stated, he never liked remaining long with the Baha. The 
Grand Pacha salaamed the Viceroy, I curtseyed, and we both 
returned to the Harem. As soon as I reached the Prince's 
apartment I was surrounded by a whole host of ladies of the 
Harem, Ikbals^ and slaves exclaiming, ''Oh, madame! oh, 

15—2 



228 HABEM LIFE. 

madame! you have been in the Baba^s bedchamber. Now 
you must ask this, and this, and this, for me," namiog all 
their requests simultaneously together. 

I listened very coolly to them, and neither smiled nor said 
a syllable ; but at length, when their hubbub had subsided and 
they were silent, I replied, '* Well ! and what of that ?" 

" What of that !" repeated the whole body in a chorus, 
" You are the Baba's IkbaV 

" No, indeed," added I : " you are mistaken, I have no 
desire to please the "Viceroy in that manner ; that is an honour 
I do not covet ; so I cannot and will not ask any favours either 
for myself or for any of you." 

They stared again at me; they believed me, yet could 
scarcely credit their senses; all were amazed and dumb- 
founded. Shortly afterwards their Highnesses the Princesses 
sent for mo. On entering the apartment, which was quite as 
miserable in appearance as that of the G-rand Pacha's, they 
inquired of me. 

** Where was the "Viceroy ? Was he dressed ? What was 
he doing ? What did he say ? When was he coming over to 
see them ?" 

To all these interrogatories I replied most truthfully, " In 
his bed chamber. Yes, dressed and sitting on the sofa. 
Smoking a cigar. He told me to draw near to him. He is 
coming over here at one o'clock." 

Their Highnesses had previously questioned the little Prince. 
He was truthful, a virtue which he inherits from his mother 
the Princess Epouse, who always spoke the truth, and had 
already given them the same information. They smiled, sent 
me some coffee, sweetmeats, and a bundle of cigarettes. I par- 
took of the former but declined the latter. 

Their hitherto restless fiery orbs resumed their habitual calm- 
ness. The crisis had passed. I had been tried and found to 
be faithful and trustworthy, and from that hour their confi- 
dence,f esteem, and respect for me rose to par. Had I but 
yielded to the opportunity that presented itself for me to make 



HABEM LIFE. 229 

— ^perhaps my fortune — what should I have gained ? most as- 
suredly only what the cunning creature does who is well up in 
the knowledge of this world,' " who dodges past Prince Bak- 
sheesh in the antechamber of the Viceroy." Nothing ! abso- 
lutely nothing! Indeed, I should have acquired something 
more lasting — the jealousy of their Highnesses the Princesses 
the three wives, and the mortal hatred of all the ladies of the 
Harem, Ikhals and slaves. And my life, what would ib have 
been worth ? A few brief hours' purchase, perhaps not even 
long enough to have made my peace with my Maker ! 

God be praised that was the first and last time that I ever 
entered the precincts of the bedchamber of Ismael Pacha, the 
Viceroy of Egypt. For although His Highness behaved to me 
on that occasion with the same respect with which he had 
always treated me, still the effect that the telegraphic an- 
nouncement (for no sooner had I crossed the sill of that apart- 
ment than the fact was known all through the Harem) pro- 
duced on the minds of their Highnesses the Princesses, placed 
me in so painful a position that my life was jeopardized, and 
its preservation or forfeiture hung, as it were, upon a thread 
— the truthfulness of a mere child of barely five years old. 

"When I retired to my chamber, I returned thanksgiving to 
the Almighty, who had so wonderfully instilled into my Prince 
the virtue of truth, and I prayed that I might never again be 
thrown into such a dilemma. 

G-od be praised ! my prayers were granted ; for I was never 
again placed in a similar position, and I felt the full force of 
the Turkish expression, ** Whatever is written is written." 



230 HABEM LIFE. 



CHAPTEE XXIII. 



On the evening prior to the departure of their Highnesses the 
Valide Princess, the Princess Epouse, and the Grand Pacha 
(as none of the other Princesses accompanied them) for Con- 
stantinople, the whole of the ladies of the Harem and slaves 
were up all night. 

I had been on a visit for three days at the Peninsular and 
Oriental Hotel to some friends who arrived from Europe ; and 
in the morning of that day, when in company with one of 
them, I had met Mr. B. of Cairo, near the British Post-office, 
and then told him that I protested against being sent to Constan- 
tinople, as it was a violation of my contract, which simply speci- 
fied that my services were for Egypt only, and not for any 
other part of the Ottoman dominions. 

He replied, ** But, madam, you must go, as we have no time 
to procure anybody else." 

I replied, " No, no ! " 

" But you will return to the Harem this evening ?*' 

My answer was, ** Yes ! " and that was the last time I had 
the pleasure of conversing with the banker ; although when I 
afterwards returned to Alexandria, broken down in mind and 
body, I frequently saw him pass my Hotel, as I was sitting in 
the balcony to inhale the fresh sea-breeze. 

Between three and four o'clock in the morning, the bed- 
scene, similar to that which had taken place on our departure 
from Cairo, was enacted, and the beds, bedding, and baggage 
were shipped on board the steam-tenders, and then transferred 
to the Mehemet Ali frigate. 

At five o'clock an eunuch came and called me, as he wanted 
to have my bed, &c., packed up. I arose, dressed myself, and 
admitted him. When I came to inquire for my breakfast I 
was met by the reply, " Malesch, Madam ! Malesch, Madam ! 
Tou shall have it in an hour's time." I perfectly understood 
what that meant, and I obtained nothing — ^no, not even a crust 
of bread, nor a cup of coffee ! 



HABEM LIFE. 231 

Shortly afterwards the barber came into the G-rand Eunuch's 
Toom, and cut the Prince's hair, which was picked up and 
thrown out of the window into the Mediterranean Sea, as the 
other had been into the Nile, and with the same ceremony. It 
was a most imprudent act, but done at the express desire of the 
Viceroy, and was the cause of the Q-rand Pacha falling ill soon 
after his arrival at Constantinople. 

As soon as the perruquier had quitted the palace, we were 
Lurried upstairs to put on our things; and on our return into the 
Grand Eunuch's room, I found all the Ministers of State wait- 
ing, ert grande tenue^ to pay their respects to the little Prince. 

As soon as this hesa los manos was finished, the Grand 
Einuch came and told me that I was to accompany the Prince 
^n board the frigate. I was astounded — nay, electrified — at 
receiving such an intimation. I declined to go. I requested 
to 30 allowed to proceed into my chamber to fetch my travel- 
ling-bag, keys, and parasol, which I had left on the divan. But 
no : that " spectre of a man" told me that his orders were im- 
perative not to leave me until he had seen us safely on board 
the frigate ; and thus, without having had anything between 
my lips since I quitted the salle h manger at the Peninsular 
and Oriental Hotel on Saturday evening, and although it was 
my Sabbath, still, nolens volens, I was forced to go on board 
the Egyptian frigate. I had fully expected that when the 
lev^ was over I should have found my breakfast in my room ; 
but I was egregiously deceived. 

" Well," thought I to myself, " if this is a speciioaen of the 
treatment I am to expect on my voyage, and during my sojourn 
at Constantinople, I shall be heartily glad when I have finished 
out the term of my contract with the Viceroy !" which was, 
however, much nearer its conclusion than I then dreamt of. 

Entering the carriage in the courtyard, we drove round to 
the Viceroy's bath-room, from which a marble-paved corridor 
led us on to the palace landing-stairs ; there we embarked on 
board a small steam-tender, under a salute of five guns for the 
'Orand Pacha. 



232 HABEM LIFE. 

There we were received with the usual honours. I inquired 
for my breakfast, but no kind genius came to administer to the 
cravings of my hunger, although the G-rand Fiacha had, pre- 
viously to leaving his head-nurse, been well supplied with 
symmets and boiled milk. 

The whole of the quarter-deck was partitioned off by a thick 
canvas screen, which prevented the officers and crew fron 
being able to catch a glimpse of ai^y of the females. No ! not 
eveU; as they ascended the gangway ladder, the sides of which 
were closely covered in with similar material. 

About twenty minutes after we had reached the frigate, the 
Princess Epouse, accompanied by the other two wives, came 
alongside, attended by their suite. They were all closely veiled. 

Ten minutes later, the Valide Princess embarked in Her 
Highnesses small yacht, under a Viceregal salute of eleven guns 
from the fort and frigates, the yards of which were dressed 
and manned as she ascended the gangway-ladder. The bind 
of the regiment on board struck up the '* Sultan's march,'* one 
of Donizetti's noisiest pieces. She remained on deck, chatiing 
to their Highnesses the Princesses, while her suite went below 
and arranged her berth and their own. 

Twenty minutes afterwards, Ismael Pacha, the Viceroy, cime 
on board to take leave of those members of his family ?7ho 
were going on a visit to the Sultan. It is utterly impossible 
for nly feeble pen- drawing to sketch with fidelity this parting 
scene ; still I will do my best to convey to my readers a deli- 
neation of its leading incidents. 

The Viceroy, who was received with the usual honours (a 
salute of twenty guns) on reaching the frigate, proceeded into 
the saloon. He was soon followed by his illustrious mother, 
the three wives, the Grand Pacha, and myself, the ladies of the 
Harem, Ikbals, and slaves. Then began a blubbering scene ; 
for the whole of the women, from the highest to the lowest, 
commenced, not crying, but absolutely howling. Had they 
been the professional mourners at a Caireen's obsequies, they 
could not have enacted their parts better. 



HABEM LIFE. 233^ 

His Higlmess the Baha took it very coolly, and, if I might 
judge from his countenance, which is rather a difficult thing to 
do, as Turks seldom or ever show whether they are pleased or 
vexed, I should say that this scene did not affect him in the 
least. 

After their Highnesses had given vent to their chagrin, the 
Baba rose up, approached his mother, kissed and embraced 
her most affectionately. He then kissed the Grand Pacha, 
patted him on the back, as also Her Highness, the Princess 
Epouse (who was crying most bitterly), wished her good-bye, 
exclaimed, " Oh, Zeneh-Nina ! Zeneb-Nina .'" and when Her 
Highness turned away, sobbing as if her heart would break. 
His Highness turned towards me, looked intently at me, and 
as I caught the glance of his eye, he smiled most courteously, 
nodded to me, again looked at their Highnesses, turned round 
once more, appeared bewildered at beholding the scene before 
him, and left for the shore. 

Soon this scene of woe and grief was changed into a marine 
picnic for /nflj;a/i« of coffee, sweetmeats, and cigarettes. These 
were handed round to their Highnesses, who partook of the 
former but sparingly, yet smoked away at the latter with 
great gusto. 

Again I sallied forth, not like Coelebs in " Search of a wife ;" 
nor Dr. Syntax in quest of " The Picturesque ;** but like a Bor- 
deaux kopek, " dog" (for was I not looked upon as such in 
the eyes of the true believers around me ? for the G-ermans 
were left behind, and I was the only unbeliever among this 
Moslem freight), who takes his morning rounds to find his 
d^je&ner ; for many a time and oft have I sat in the balcony 
of my residence in the Cours d* Albert, at that birthplace- 
of our unfortunate sovereign, Eichard II., watching les chiens^ 
de cettejolie ville, rummaging among the heaps of offal, that 
are daily placed in the road, and selecting their dainty morsels f 
but, like many of them, who sniffed at the inviting mounds 
and found nothing to suit them. 

On my return I found that the ladies of the Harem, and 



elaves, had stolea • 
hunters tbemselve 
half-past eight u'> 
roadftciid of AiciEii 
on board of an 1' 
with such a precio' 

with a motley cr- 
having a regiment 
fitting escort for a 
those most moral 1 
wiali nevor to epi' > 

The upper >l':i 
awning over it, il 




L 



Highncsien luui 
Botas and eHsj-i-li^ 
lolled about onci 
Grand Paylia Ibrali.. 

The saloon was 
side eix smaller i-alt 
of the Harem, in ;■ 
the other two wfi. 
of tholittlis Prill., 
carpeted aud furrM,. 
growing exotica, tnli 
top of the paueld lix. 

At the jiterii-i'i. i 
which waa apiJi'.j..^ 
from which atop I.. 
a large divan, 

Thepoop-salooii '.; 
which were made tn 
afdxed iron. Bhattnrf 

Ik ; branch silver . 

The smaller ca!..ii.. 





HABEM LIFE. 235 

tsaloons, boxes of Huntley and Palmer's biscuits, to which 
the slaves helped themselves ; and large baskets of bonbons, 
besides two earthenware bottles, filled with water, with gold 
stoppers. 

His Highness the Prince, together with his little sister, 
slept on the floor of the end saloon, surrounded, as I have 
already described him at Ghezire, by his slaves and nurses. 
Descending a staircase, I proceeded to the lower deck, which 
was so dark, that it was requisite to light it day and night. 

This saloon was uncarpeted, and contained a deal table, a few 
wooden stools, and some rush-bottom chairs. On each side 
of it were ranged six berths, each of which was fitted up with 
a three-feet bare board, having two cotton coverlets placed 
thereon, not a mattress, or any other kind of bedding, or toilet 
utensils of any description. One of these most comfortless 
berths was appropriated to me ; so that I found, while steaming 
on the bosom of the Mediterranean, I^ was deprived of the 
order of precedence which had been assigned me in Egypt on 
the banks of the Nile, which promotion was given to the ladies 
of the Viceregal Harems, while I took up my place among the 
lowest slaves on board (except the coffee and cigarette makers 
and scullery maids), as the low-caste black slaves occupied the 
other eleven berths. 

This was a change of position and scene I hfid not contem- 
plated ; however I held my peace. I knew that, cooped up in 
that wooden barrack, I had no chance of redress ; so that I 
abided my time. Still I could not help thinking that my visit 
to the Viceroy in his bedchamber, although their Highnesses, 
the wives, sent me there at that early hour, well knowing that 
the Baba could not have risen, as he had scarcely arrived more 
than two hours from Cairo, and the presence of that over- 
bearing dame, Ibrahim Pacha's widow, had something to do 
with this rude treatment. 

At the end of this (the second saloon) a flight of steps led 
up on to the deck. About half-past eleven o'clock the eunuchs 
brought the Princesses' breakfast to the door of the saloon ; 



236 HABEM LIFE. 

but as they were all suffering from La Maladie de Mer, as also 
the whole of their retinue, it was removed. I made another 
attempt to get some refreshment, but all in vain ; and, unwell 
and fatigued, I retired to my miserable berth, rolled up my 
paletot, placed it under my head for a pillow, and laid my 
weary limbs down upon the wadded coverlet, having then been 
no less than sixteen hours fasting. Thus, though the table of 
the Princesses was covered with Arab and Turkish delicacies, 
I was left without anything. 

There I lay, with numbers of slaves snoring like grampuses 
around me, until nine o'clock at night, when the eunuchs came 
down to lock up the hatches, just as if we had been a band of 
slaves on a voyage across the middle passage. I then appealed 
to the humanity of that phantom of the stronger sex, who, 
possessing a little of the milk of human kindness within his 
breast, brought me a cordial cup filled with chicken broth, and 
a piece of European bread, so stale, that it was almost as hard 
as a stone, with a cup of bad- tasted water ; and this was my 
feast after a fast of more than twenty- four hours ! I think on 
that occasion I can safely say I had accommodated myself to 
circumstances. The fast I had been obliged to endure, added 
to my bad state of health, confined me to my almost unbear- 
able berth (situated close to the chain of the rudder) the whole 
of the following day. 

Her Highness the Princess Epouse now visited me, and after 
expressing her surprise at finding me so ill, inquired if all the 
" d /a Franca " ladies suffered in that manner. 

The doctor, who was an Italian, attended me, advised me to 
make an effort to rise, which I did, and went on deck. My 
usual refreshments while on board that detestable frigate 
chiefly consisted of a cup of tea in the morning, without any 
milk, a piece of dry bread, and a few Palmer's biscuits, which 
the Grand Eunuch had the kindness to send me. 

In the middle of the day I had a little chicken-broth, thick- 
ened with rice, and the fowl, of which it had been made, served 
up with it, and a little &uit ; and at six o'clock similar rations 



HABEM LIFE. 237 

were given me for my diDner. Then did I wish I could have 
eent a Mektouh, " letter," to the Viceroy, in which I should 
have appealed to his feelings as a Prince and a gentleman ; for 
Ismael Pacha, into whose service I had entered, finished his 
education in Prance, was courteous in his general deportment 
towards me, and well knew what were the requirements of a 
European lady ; for had he not one " caged up " in the Harem 
in the citadel, with whom I had conversed ? Besides, there 
was a chef de cuisine, and staff about him, and, had His High- 
ness himself adopted proper means, that intelligeut French- 
man, or his assistants, would have gone on board the frigate 
before our embarkation, and have arranged everything for my 
comfort, but it was all Boosh ! Boosh ! But the clique were 
endeavouring to supplant them, and as an exodus of French 
attendants took place after my departure from Alexandria, in 
all probability they have been replaced by Frankfort Dienatlo- 
ten, " servants," and Deutsche Kuche, " German cookery." 

There was an under-current in motion as regards myself, 
but neither the source nor mouth of it could I as yet discover; 
later, however, both were clearly developed. Had I but then 
been able to send forth a missive by the hands of a trusty mes- 
senger — I always had one at hand in the Harem (one over 
whom Prince Baksheesh had no power, and with whose actions 
that Sovereign Prince of Egypt dare not and could not inter- 
fere), my Prince — the Grand Pacha Ibrahim would not have 
left me in this state. 

As I was constantly perambulating the frigate from stem to 
stern, I had an opportunity of seeing the ample provisions 
that had been laid in for the creature-comforts of their High- 
nesses and suite, who were sumptuously served every day. It 
was only the Nazarani kelb, **the creeping Christian dog." my 
unbelieving self, that was left to feed off the crumbs that fell 
from the daughters of the Prophet's table, at which, however, 
my heart turned sick, and I found the scanty diet I had pre- 
scribed myself more palatable. 

Daily did the Prince run up and down the deck. One day 



238 HAS^M LIFE. 

I had observed that seyeral of the port-holes were left opeD^ 
and that the Prince had approached close to them. By them 
were sitting the two Grand iBunuchs, smoking their Tchihouks^ 
I told them to order them to be closed — they only smiled. 
Nevertheless, I insisted upon its being done, for weU did I 
know that if that ''dot of humanity '' had fallen into the sea^ 
neither my life, nor that of the G-rand Eunuchs, were wortb 
ten minutes* purchase after that event had taken place. I had 
now gathered such an insight into the mysteries of Harem life, 
and tlie manner in which, in this the nineteenth century. Vice- 
roys of Egypt and Egyptian Princes had been launched into 
eternity, that I kept, as the sailors say, **my weather eye 
open," and the Grand Pacha was hale and sound when I took 
my leave of him in the old Palace at Bebek, in 1864. If the 
port-holes had been left open with any sinister purpose, Alla^ 
ha chukur, " God be praised," the fish gained not their prey. 
What is written, is written, Bismillah ! Bismillah I 

Often did the Prince stop and amuse himself by looking at 
the almost countless number of fowls, pigeons, turkeys, quails,, 
and sheep being fed. He had a perfect mania, as aU the in- 
mates of the Harem seem to have, for eating crude vegetables,. 
BO that he looked most wistfully at the basket-loads of vege- 
tables, gourds (which were actually piled up like cannon-balls), 
bushels of onions, hundreds of lettuces, thousands of cucumbers 
and lemons, of which they were particularly fond, baskets of cher- 
ries, sour green plums, green tamarinds, strawberries, cans of 
sour milk, and immense lumps of ice. It is almost impossible 
for me to give an estimate of the immense quantities of all the 
above eatables which were consumed by the Viceregal party. 

Close to the caboosh, ** kitchen,'* were ranged several wooden 
benches, on which the cooks were engaged daily, arranging 
their fruits and pieces of melon in glass dishes, as their High- 
nesses the Princesses, and in fact all Arabs, have a particular 
penchant for them, and will consume the contents of six of 
them daily, although each is as large as the round part of a 
common-sized crockery pan. 



HABEM LIFE. 239' 

Their HigHnesses amused themselves by stuffing and gor- 
mandizing (especially munching fruit and crude vegetables) 
from four o'clock in the morning until twelve at night. The 
crew and soldiers were frequently in a state of inebriety, which 
was caused by the quantity of araki, ** a spirit distilled from 
dates," that they drank. This rather surprised me, as I had 
always understood that it was contrary to the Mahometan, 
religion for Moslems to imbibe spirituous liquors — that is what 
they termed their kef, "dolce far niente." Sometimes they 
would amuse themselves by singing their favourite Bacchana- 
lian song. 

During the whole of our voyage, which lasted seven days^ 
when it might easily have been accomplished in four, a depu- 
tation of women, consisting indiscriminately of both rich and 
poor, from the numerous places at which we stopped, came off, 
bringing with them large baskets filled with fruit of every 
kind then in season, especially oranges, lemons, gourds, cher- 
ries, plums, sweetmeats, cucumbers, cakes, jams, candied 
fruits, besides presents of ^native earthen jars, toys (some of 
which were very ingeniously made), superb open- worked silk 
stockings, native stuffs, shawls, gums in large jars, the greater 
portion of which were filled with the " Turkish Delight," the 
Lentiscus, or "gum mastic," of Scio (the sale or traffic in 
which is " a monopoly, and is a fruitful source of illegal ac- 
tion and crime in many a form ") ; also a kind of porridge 
made of flour, water, sugar, almonds, both green and blanched, 
limepips, <&c., which was, for I often tasted it, as sweet as 
syrup. 

"When we arrived off the island of Scio, their Highnesses 
the Princesses, who were imveiled, were in the saloon, amusing 
themselves by looking at silk stockings and various other arti- 
cles that had been presented to them by some of the deputa- 
tion. A number of boats put off from the shore, most of them 
full, among whom were the Governor and his officials, as also 
hucksters, who had brought things off for sale. 

So intent were their Highnesses looking at les nouveaufe*,. 



240 HABEM LIFE. 

that I did not heed the approach of the boats. I was standing 
near the windows of the saloon (which, as previously explained, 
had been drawn back), when I noticed a number of boats glide 
round and round the frigate. All at once they approached so 
near that the men, had they felt disposed, could have put their 
hands in the openings and have jumped in. I observed the 
Valide Princess- and the Princess Epouse smile, when they 
looked at the occupants in the boats, and kept asking whether 
I did not think some of them " Guzel*^ and others ** Batal ? " 
But as the men (perhaps thinking that they were only some of 
the ladies of the Harem, or slaves) drew nearer, the Princess 
Epouse shrieked out and drew back; the Valide Princess 
jumped up on a divan, and then, placing myself before them 
while they played *' bo-peep," and, acting according to their 
orders, I returned the salaam of the men in the boats, 
who all placed their oars upright and salaamed me. This 
afforded the Princesses great amusement, as they enjoyed 
the sport amazingly, and every now and then kept asking me 
if I did not think it great fun, as they were sure that those 
officials would go back and report that they had seen their 
Highnesses the Princesses, when they had only been salaamed 
by the Grand Pacha's governess. 

I only smiled ; but it is a fact that those individuals had 
gazed upon their Highnesses, and that, too, when they were 
(believe it whether you like it or not, ye sons of the Py)phet, 
Moslems and true believers) unveiled / 

The moment that the Princess Epouse screamed, the farce 
was ended, for down rushed the eunuchs and drew the curtains 
across the opening, while those on deck with drawn swords, 
warned the intruders off. How little did they suspect that 
the Peris of the Harem had been gazed upon by other eyes 
than theirs and those of their liege Lord and Prince ! For, 
had they but known it, the boats and their live freights would 
have been fired upon by the frigate's guns until they had gone 
to their last account. One old Turk, thinking that I was one 
of the Peris destined for the seventh heaven, seemed quite in 



HABEM LIFE. 241 

ecstasy when I returned his salaam by the Princess's orders, at 
which his Highness smiled ; but as he was well advanced in 
years she exclaimed, " Batal, Madame I Ihtyar^ Madame /" 
" He is ugly, he is old, Madame." 

The Princesses accepted of such presents as took their fancy, 
in return for which they gave baksheesh of gold Egyptian 
coins. 

Often and often did I think that I should never leave that 
cockpit of an Egyptian frigate, and vowed if ever the Almighty 
vouchsafed that I should land on the lovely shores of the 
Bosphorus, nothing should induce me ever again to tread the 
decks of the Mehemet AH frigate. At that time I often glanced 
in the mirrors of their Highnesses* splendid saloon, at my 
attenuated frame, sunken eyes, and blanched cheeks, and 
thought of the misery and discomfort I had suffered, but little 
dreamt that I had yet to endure much more before I was 
released from my unprofitable, irksome, and thankless task. 
I had, however, found out the utter worthlessness of my 
" Special Prince's'* assertion, that, if the Viceroy Ismael Pacha 
was polite to me, I had but to ask, and nothing would be 
refused me. Well, the last time I had the honour to see the 
Viceroy (which was, as I have already stated, on board that 
detested frigate) he was polite to me ; and, acting up to the 
advice of one of those " Eighteen other Princes" who govern 
Egypt, I have asked for my just rights since my return to 
Europe, but they have not been accorded to me. 

So beautiful beyond conception is the approach to Constan- 
tinople (the Byzantium of the ancients, the Eis-tin-polin of 
the Greeks, and the h-tam-boul of the Turks) that I dare not 
attempt a pen-and-ink drawing of the wonderful panorama 
displayed to me in all directions. That prince of French 
writers of travels, Theophile G-autier, has painted that varied 
landscape with fidelity, when he states that ** never did outline 
more magnificent display its undulations and indentations 
between sea and sky. It is one of the favourite spots of the 

16 



242 HABEM LIFE. 

world's history ; another scene in which she loves to engrave, 
in perishable matter, imperishable words." 

As soon as the frigate reached Bebek, '* Babec," it came to 
anchor off the Sultan's palace at that village, which is beauti- 
fully situated on the water's edge. Then salutes were fired 
by the Turkish frigate that lay off it. There we remained 
full two hours, during which time the Valide Princess received 
the deputation sent by the Valide Sultana. It consisted of 
twelve ladies of the Imperial Harem, who came off in three 
caiques, unattended, however, by any eunuchs. They were by 
no means beautiful in appearance, and were attired in different 
coloured silk dresses. Their feet were encased in white cotton 
stockings, which hung down about their heels, over which 
some wore yellow boots, and others babouches. Bound their 
faces was wrapped one end of a piece of white net, and the 
other was passed over their heads, which it quite enveloped, bo 
that the whole of their features were distinctly visible. On 
their shoulders they wore coloured stuff cloaks, with sleeves, 
and two large capes. 

Leaving their shoes at the door of the saloon-stairs, they 
descended into the saloon. On entering, they salaamed the 
Valide Princess, after which coffee and cigarettes were handed 
round. They did not remain much longer than a quarter of 
an hour. 

After they had taken their departure a whole bevy of ladies 
from the different Harems of the Imperial family, as well as 
those of the Ministers of State and nobility, came on board ; 
and after they were gone, a host of females belonging to the 
Turkish merchants and Imperial shopkeepers, bringing with 
them numerous rich and costly presents, and some of the most 
curious description. After these receptions had taken place, 
the Sultan's Grand Eunuch, dressed H la Europ^enne, and wear- 
ing one of the most superb diamond rings perhaps ever seen, 
valued at 125,000/., on the little finger of his right hand, 
came on board. He descended into the cabin of the Valide 
Princess's Grand Eunuch ; there, in company with the Princess 



HABEM LIFE. 243 

Epouse*8 Grand Eunuch, he sat down, smoked a pipe, and 
sipped 2Lfindjan of coffee. 

Scarcely, however, had he finished this refreshment when 
was heard the cry, " Men overboard !*' for seven of the Vice- 
roy's soldiers, who were being lowered into a caique from the 
side of the frigate, were upset into the Bosphorus. Fortu- 
nately they were soon picked up, and sustained no bodily harm, 
but were much frightened at their ducking, which is not to be 
wondered at, as the clear blue waters of that lovely river 
swarm with sharks. After tranquillity had been restored on 
board, the Sultan's Grand Eunuch proceeded into the saloon 
to pay his respects to the Valide Princess and her Viceregal 
Highness. There that important functionary was received 
with all the honours due to his rank and position. Findjans 
of coffee, served in elegant gold filigree zar/s, encrusted with 
precious stones, placed upon a gold salver and covered with a 
violet- col cured silk velvet cloth, one mass of gold embroidery ; 
and a kanum kaloun, filled with fragrant gold-leaved tobacco, 
was then served him, which he remained smoking until their 
Highnesses were ready to land. 

In the mean time three caiques had been drawn up to the 
gangway ladder, which, as well as the whole of the deck, had 
been covered with fine Brussels carpeting. All being ready 
the Sultan's Grand Eunuch rose up off the sofa and led the 
Princess Valide to the gangway. He took hold of the front 
of her robe, on one side walked her own tall stately sinister- 
looking Creole of a Grand Eunuch, and on the other our own 
noble Grand Eunuch, who was followed by the Princess Epouse. 
Behind walked three of our other Eunuchs, dressed h la 
EuropSenne in black, as they all doffed their Egyptian costume 
while in Turkey, holding drawn swords in their hands. 

On each side of the gangway stood the naval and military 
officers. Behind the Princess Epouse walked the ladies of 
both those princesses, who, on reaching the gangway, funned 
themselves into a double line. 

Then the two Princesses descended into the Viceregal caiques, 

16—2 



244 HABEM LIFE. 

each of which were about ten yards long, pointed at the stern 
and prow, of very deep build, drawin g a considerable depth of 
water. At the bottom of the caique were placed several mat- 
tresses covered with satin, which, as also the cushions that were 
placed round it, and which formed a divan, were covered with 
violet velvet cloth richly embroidered with gold. Their High- 
nesses seated themselves in the centre, near the prow. On a 
raised deck was placed a piece of carpet, on which knelt the 
eunuchs, who had divested themselves of their patent leather 
overshoes, in which silver spurs were fixed, those of the Q-rand 
Eunuchs being of gold, as whenever the Princesses take carriage 
exercise they ride by the side on horseback. 

All of them had swords belted round their waists ; those of 
the G-rand Eunuchs being gold hilted, with crimson velvet 
scabbards inlaid with gold. The Turkish standard floated at 
stern and prow. 

Each caique was manned by four caidjis, attired in white 
crape silk open- worked shirts, blue silk trousers, which reached 
a little below the knee, sky-blue velvet jackets, embroidered in 
gold, and wore fezes on their heads. The Caidji Bachi, a very 
old, grey-headed man, sat in the stem and steered the Viceregal 
party. 

Then I and the Ghrand Pacha and the young Princess, his 
sister, attended by his suite, descended into our caiques, which 
were similarly fitted up to that of the Valide Princess, only 
that they were furnished with crimson drapery, and the caidjis 
being dressed in crimson. After us the Grand Eunuch d escended, 
holding in his hand a large black silk velvet bag completely 
covered with silver, which contained the jewels of the Valide 
Princess. He was attended by another eunuich, carrying her 
Highness's cash box, which was similarly covered. It had a 
silver handle in the centre. Both of these caskets were carried 
in a separate caique, and covered with a cloth of gold. 

The yards of the frigate were dressed and manned, the band 
struck up the Sultan's March, and a Viceregal salute was 
fired. Then the water procession commenced: the caique 



HABEM LIFE. 245 

containing their EEighnesses the Princesses led the way, and 
our own followed in its wake. After them the ladies of the 
Viceregal Harem descended into six caiques, which were fitted 
up with red silk ; then followed in other caiques the whole of 
the slaves, and all were rowed to the steps of the grand en- 
trance of the Sultan's palace at Bebek, 

This is an immense long two-storied stone structure, facing 
the Bosphorus, of which it commands most extensive and 
beautiful views, having pavilions at each end, which are occu- 
pied by the eunuchs. In the centre is the grand entrance, 
which is reached by a flight of marble steps. The portico is 
supported by four Corinthian pillars, at each end of which are 
two large gilded lamps. 

The centre of the palace projects considerably forwards, 
over which run three square balconies. The promenade be- 
fore it, which is paved with stone, forms (oddly enough, as it 
destroys the privacy of the place) the fashionable rendezvous 
of the ^lite of Bebek, a very pretty village, and its suburbs ; 
and on which hundreds of persons also land from their caiques, 
and lounge up and down in the evening. 



CHAPTEE XXIV. 

Hebe we landed, and were received with full honours, the 
military band playing at a distance the Sultan's March, and 
the frigates booming away their Viceregal salute; while, 
drawn up in double line, stood a host of the ladies of the Im- 
perial Harem, who on that occasion were richly clad in silk 
robes, wearing a profusion of diamonds and other precious 
stones. Their hair hung down their backs in two long plaits, 
like Polish women, and the ends tied with broad rich ribbons 
of various colours. Then their Highnesses the Princesses 
passed through an immense marble hall, the floor of which 
was covered with matting, with long strips of handsome 



246 HABEM LIFE. 

Brussels carpet laid over it in the form of a square. The 
walls were papered. Erom the ceiling, which was beauti- 
fully painted with views of Egyptian and Turkish scenery, 
and bordered with the representation of numerous musical 
instruments, hung suspended several magnificent chan- 
deliers. 

Ascending a flight of marble stairs, similarly covered, we 
entered the G-rand Beception-room. The floor was matted, 
having pieces of Brussels carpet laid [down along the sides, 
and across the top and bottom. The walls were painted in 
drab colour ; a large chandelier hung suspended from the 
ceiling, which was also painted with landscapes. 

In the centre stood a long, narrow, plain white marble 
table, standing on gilded legs, on which was placed a superb 
beautiful Sevres china painted vase, with jugs to match, 
similar to those used as ale tankards in England, but as large 
as ordinary toilet ewers ; also a small bottle containing otto of 
roses ; two cordial cups, with lids and saucers, which are used 
to contain water, and serve the purpose of glasses ; and two- 
very elegant damask napkins, richly embroidered in gold, with 
deep bullion fringe. 

Opposite to it, but against the wall, stood a similar table, 
on which rested a large mirror. In the centre stood an enor- 
mous vase, on each side of which were placed coloured fancy 
wickerwork baskets, lined with crimson and blue silk, filled 
with bonbons. They were covered over with pieces of silk of 
the same colour, which were looped up at the handles with 
bunches of ribbon and artificial flowers. On each side stood 
silver candelabra. 

On the opposite side, facing it, stood another table similarly 
arranged. At the bottom of the room was a divan, covered 
with stamped red velvet, ornamented with gold leaves, ranged 
underneath the four great windows that looked into the 
garden, very small, and anything but cheerful-looking, which 
also commanded a view of the lovely heights. 

On a fancy table was placed a superbly-gilded musical-clock,. 



HABEM LIFE. 247 

indicating Turkish time, which played tunes instead of striking 
the hours, half-hours, and quarters. 

About half-a-dozen chairs, covered to match the sofa, were 
placed about in various parts. At the top stood another divan, 
having cushions as large as mattresses at each end (on which 
squatted the ladies in attendance), much smaller than that 
which we had previously described, but similarly covered. 
This was arranged under the three large windows, from which 
the tnucharabiehs were removed, and overlooked the Bosphorus, 
commanding one of the finest views the eye ever looked 
upon. 

Out of this large room branched off four corridors, two 
leading to the right hand, and two to the left. One of the 
rooms on the latter was appropriated to the Valide Princess, 
as her private sitting-room. And here I may as well remark, 
that I was extremely fortunate in having accompanied their 
Highnesses ; for, otherwise, I should never have had the op- 
portunity of entering the Imperial Harems, this being the 
first time in the annals of Turkish history that any Egyptian 
Princess had had the honour of having one of the Imperial 
Palaces appropriated for her reception, and of a Nazarani 
kelb, ** Christian dog," having defiled them with her presence. 

Why such a mark of favour was shown to the widow of 
Ibrahim Pacha, I know not, unless, indeed, it was that the 
poor sovereign, who on his flying visit to Egypt, on his acces- 
sion to the throne, had looked with a jealous eye upon the 
riches of his CroBsus of a vassal; for then, if report speaks 
truth, His Majesty urged that wealthy Prince to give him 
more tribute. That request was met with a most courteous 
negative ; and the expediency of which was based upon the 
following clause of the Firman of May, 1841 — viz. : — 

'^ As each of the conditions settled as above is annexed to 
the privilege of hereditary succession, if a single one of them 
is not executed, that privilege of hereditary succession shall 
forthwith be abolished and annulled," so Ismael Pacha, Viceroy 
of Egypt, had no idea of acting contrary to the letter of that 



24S HABEX LIFE. 

docament. TTe know that large presents were made to the Sultan 
at that time ; and there is not a shadow of a doubt but the 
Valide Princess, whom His Majesty Abdul Aziz on this occasion 
** delighted to honour/* was inrited as an Imperial guest from 
political as well as personal motires ; but what they were, 
time will, no doubt, disclose. 

Well, to continue our description of the Viceregal guests' 
apart meuts. The hangings were of yellow stamped velyet, 
embossed with several leaves and flowers. The furniture of 
the divans and chairs corresponded. The floor was matted, 
and covered with the usual pieces of Brussels carpet. The 
walls were covered with embossed velvet of the same kind ; 
the ceiling, which was very lofty, and from which hung sus- 
pended a massive silver chandelier, was beautifully painted. 
In the centre of the room stood a round inlaid table, sup- 
ported on gilded legs ; on each side were ranged two similar 
ones, on one of which stood a superb gilt clock, that chimed 
the hours : and each side of it was similarly ornamented to 
that which we have previously described as being in the Q-rand 
Eeception-room, with the exception that a large mirror, 
reaching down from the ceiling, rested on each table. 

Crossing the G-rand Beception-room, and passing into the 
second corridor, we entered, on the right hand, Her Majesty's 
bedchamber. The floor was matted with the usual carpeting. 
The gilded iron bedstead was ornamented with sky-blue silk 
hangings, bespangled with silver crescents ; at the foot and 
sides were gilded crescents, holding plumes of ostrich feathers. 
!Rich Persian rugs were placed at the sides of the bed, and 
by that of the divan, which stood underneath the three large 
windows which overlooked the garden and heights. The divan, 
chairs, and cushions were covered with sky-blue satin, fringed 
with silver. A small inlaid console-table stood on one side 
of the room, on which rested a large mirror, and on the top 
of the table were placed three inlaid caskets on gold legs, the 
largest of which contained Her Highness's treasure, and the 
others, jewellery, essences, and narcotics. On another table, 



HABEM LIFE. 249 

facing the foot of the bed, stood a handsome gilt clock, haying 
on each side a small elegantly-painted Sevres china jug and 
basin, used for holding the perfumed water which is poured 
over the hands. 

Then we passed into the room on the left hand, which was 
assigned to Her Highness's Lady of the Bedchamber, whose 
office it was to relate tales to her, rub or shampoo her limbs, 
until she fell off to sleep, which operation had a mesmeric effect 
upon the Valid^ Princess. 

In the row of rooms that led straight along on the left-hand 
side, were placed the ladies of Her Highness's suite. The 
room on the right-hand side, adjoining that of Her Highness's, 
contained her wardrobe. Her wardrobe-women slept in it, 
and there were ironed out daily the crumpled dresses, linen, 
&c. belonging to the Princess and her retinue. 

The bath-room, which was fitted up with a marble bath, 
arranged with taps for cold and hot water, was situated oppo- 
site Her Highness's chamber. A small door opening out of it 
led into the boudoir, which was a moderate-sized room. Out 
of that a door led into the cabinet d^aisance, arranged ct la 
Turque, having a small marble fountain in the centre ; on a 
table stood two silver basins, one empty, and the other filled with 
small calico napkins, fringed with gold thread, and on a silver 
rod hung several towels embroidered with gold. Passing along 
the other corridor on the same side, we entered the Princess 
Epouse's apartments. The sitting-room was similarly fitted 
up to the Grand Eeception-room, the folding-doors in which 
led into another sitting-room similarly arranged, only having 
the hangings and furniture covered with pink satin. Then we 
passed into the bedchamber, arranged like that of Her High- 
ness the Valide Princess, the hangings and furniture of which 
were of crimson silk bespangled with gold stars and crescents. 
The cases of all the beds, which were left in the bedsteads 
without any coverlets, were of blue satin interwoven with 
bouquets of flowers. 

Then we entered the Grand Pacha Ibrahim's sitting-room. 



250 

The hanging and f urnitur e were of red emboaeed aatin witb 
white lace curiaiiiB. Ot^ the doora and windowa were elegant 
gilded comioea. The floor waa ooTered with matting, and 
round the sides were placed pieces of Brussels carpet. In it 
stood an English fireplace with a bright steel roistered atoTe ; 
on the chimneypiece, which waa of white marble, rested a large 
mirror, and at each end stood a large silrer branch candelabra. 
In the centre was placed a large el^antlj painted Sevres jng^ 
on each side of which stood two essence-bottles and drinking- 
cups of the same materiaL The walls were covered with red 
embossed paper. On the ceiling was painted Mazeppa and 
the wild horse, and beautiful vignettes of the fine arts filled up 
the comers. 

Half-a-dozen elegant light fancy gilded occasional chairs, of 
English manufacture, as also twelve rosewood ones, covered 
with embossed crimson satin, corresponding with the musHueU 
which fitted up each comer of the room, were scattered about 
the apartment. In the centre stood a round marble table. 

Then we passed into the Hall of Audience, which waa 
lighted with ten immense windows. The floor was matted, the 
walls plainly painted, as also the ceiling, from which was sus- 
pended a large chandelier. A marble table stood in the 
centre; and two dozen heavy-looking square-seated chairs, 
covered with silk and ornamented with figured gilt-headed 
nails. In a square recess stood three marble fountains, used 
for ablutional purposes, and up to which the slaves climbed as- 
the sun set, and washed their feet. Leading out of it was a 
double staircase, covered with matting, which led down into 
another hall running parallel to it. Passing into a corridor 
having rooms on both sides, like the saloon of an American 
steam-packet, (which were appropriated for the use of the 
upper slaves,) we entered at its extremity another spacioua 
hall, and crossing that proceeded into other corridors. 

The first on the right hand led into my chamber, and here, 
as had elsewhere been my fate, one of the worst furnished 
rooms in the palace was set apart for me. In fact, the apart- 



HAREM LIFE. 251 

ment was similar in every respect to those occupied bj the 
ladies of the Sultan's Harem, who were attached to the suite 
of their Highnesses the Egyptian Princesses, some of whom 
might, for aught I knew to the contrary, be His Majesty's 
ikbaU, So that I should most unquestionably have been called 
&8tidiou8, since I murmured at being treated as if J were one 
of the Sultan's favourites, which, Dieu merci ! I was not ; al- 
though, perhaps, for many reasons, they might have wished I 
had been. But, as Harem life had no charms for me, there 
was no more chance of my pleasing "the Sovereign of 
Sovereigns, the Light of the World," than there had been of 
my pleasing the Viceroy Ismael Pacha, in the sense that the 
sister of His Highness's civil aide-de-camp evidently meant. 

The floor was matted, and the ceiling painted. The hangings 
of the doors and the two large windows which overlooked the 
Bosphorus, together with the furniture, were of brown and 
black cotton, giving it a most dismal appearance. Everything 
European was excluded from it, as it was furnished with a 
divan, and on the floor lay two thin mattresses covered with 
the same fabric. These, with the addition of two large silver- 
gilt candlesticks with glass shades, constituted all the eflects ; 
and, as usual, I had to do battle for the deflciencies, which I 
did, and came off victorious. 

Proceeding across the hall, and facing my apartment, were 
the chambers of the ladies belonging to the Sultan's Harem, 
the floors of which were matted, and the walls and ceilings 
painted. The hangings of the doors and windows, which over- 
looked the Bosphorus, were of figured cotton. The only fur- 
niture in each were two mattresses laid on the floor, which 
served them as divans by day and beds by night. 

We then returned to the double staircase from whence we 
had descended. Opening a door on the left hand, we passed 
through a large room, then through another on the right, and 
thence down a long corridor ; then we ascended six stairs, and 
entered the apartments occupied by the Yalide Princess's 
Grand Eunuch, which comprised a sitting-room, the floor of 



252 HABEM LIFE. 

which was covered with matting, and the walls and ceiling 
whitewashed. The hangings of the windows and doors were of 
white and crimson striped satin, the divans and chairs were 
covered with the same costly material. 

At the side stood a marhle console-table, on which was placed 
a handsome gilt clock, two beautiful Sevres china jugs, two 
essence-bottles, and two drinking- cups to match, and two silver 
branch candelabras ; leaving which we passed along another cor- 
ridor to the right, the first door in which opened into the Q-rand 
Eunuch's bedchamber. The floor was matted, and had strips 
of Brussels carpet laid down around the sides. In it stood a 
gnt iron bedstead with crimson silk hangings, on which was 
laid a wadded coverlet of the same material, and at each side 
was spread a fine Persian rug, a crimson figured satin divan, 
chairs with gilded backs covered with the same material, an 
ebony chest of drawers with white marble top, on which stood 
an elegant gilt clock and two large silver candelabras, a mar- 
ble-top washing-stand with Sevres china toilette service, two 
water-bottles, and drinking-cups to correspond. 

Quitting this apartment we entered that of Khoorshid 
Pacha, the Valide Princess's Chamberlain's bedchamber, simi- 
larly arranged, and opening the door opposite, we walked into 
his sitting-room. The floor was covered with matting, the 
walls papered, and the ceiling beautifully painted. The divan 
and chairs, which were of ormolu and gold, were covered with 
faded blue satin, and the console-table was similarly fitted up 
to that in the G-rand Eunuch's room. 

Then descending down a flight of steps we reached the pro- 
menade, proceeding along which we entered the apartments of 
the Princess Epouse's G-rand Eunuch's house, which was 
detached from the Palace, the basement floor of which was oc- 
cupied by the officers belonging to the Sultan's household, who 
were in attendance on their Highnesses the Princesses and the 
Grand Pacha. 

Ascending a flight of stairs, we entered the sitting and bed- 
rooms of our Grand Eunuch, which were similarly arranged to 



HAEEM LIFE. 253 

those of the Yalide Princess's G-rand Eunucb, except that the 
furniture and hangings were of plain red satin. The other 
rooms, both on the right and left, were occupied bj the other 
eunuchs and male attendants. 

Leaving this house, we ascended a steep, chalky hill, and 
opening a large pair of gates, we entered the grounds belong- 
ing to the Harem, which consist of a long walk lined with 
avenues of plane-trees, under which were placed two square 
marble baths, and at the extremity of the walk we passed into 
a large neglected kitchen-garden, which is situated upon the 
heights, and commands a view of the Palace, and one of the 
finest views of the Bosphorus and the city of Constanti- 
nople. 

Then descending a noble avenue, we entered a small garden 
adjoining the Palace, in which stood two marble baths. It 
contained an immense number of lime, orange, almond, and 
tamarind trees; also beds of double-headed poppies. Then 
descending down a noble flight of marble steps, we crossed 
a large courtyard covered with sand like shingles. Then 
ascending another flight of steps, we re-entered the Palace by 
the grand entrance hall. 

As soon as the Grand Pacha and myself had finished our 
inspection of the royal Palace and grounds, we returned to 
Her Highness's sitting-room, where I found dinner served up 
upon a large round tray with a silver rim. It contained the 
usual viands, but was placed upon a large table, at which the 
whole party was seated. This comprised not only the Vice- 
regal children, but also the black nurses, all of whom made 
a most ludicrous group ; for they were seated on chairs with 
their legs cocked up like hens at roost, the seats not being 
wide enough to admit of their doubling themselves up like 
clasped knives, a VArahe, Had the chairs, however, been as 
large as those which the late Viceroy Said Pacha was accus- 
tomed to sit in, they might have indulged in that mode, for all 
of them are of an enormous size. Kow and then the slaves 
kept swinging one leg about, and after the lapse of a few 



{ 



254 HABEM LIFE. 

minutes, they wound it round the leg of the chair, but becom- 
ing tired of that operation, they all rose up and changed their 
legs, sat down again, and then resumed their hen-roost 
postures. 

The little Prince and myself could not help bursting out into 
a fit of laughter at their gaucherie. The table not being fur- 
nished with either knives, forks, or spoons, the whole of the 
party, except the Viceregal children (whose spoons, Ac., had 
been unpacked) set to work at their dinner like savages, dip- 
ping their fingers into the dishes, helping themselves to what- 
ever they liked, and then conveying those tit-bits to their 
mouths in a disgusting manner. 

After I had witnessed these barbarians partake of their 
meal, I waited to see what had been provided for me, and, on 
inquiry, was told nothing! that I must **pig" it with the 
nurses in that manner, '' sans fourchette, sans couteau, sans 
rien." 

I quitted the room in absolute disgust, nay, in anger. I 
could not but think that this insult must have been premedi- 
tated, for there were about us the same domestics as we had 
had in Egypt. The Grand Eunuch was with us, the nurses 
all knew how I had been treated in the Palace at Ghezire — how 
my meals had been served up to me — what complaints I had 
made at being obliged to sit down at table with the European 
menials ; and therefore there really was no excuse for my being 
placed upon a par, and made to hob-nob it with black nurses 
of the lowest caste. 

As I have stated before, I knew that there had been an 
under-current at work ; still it worked steadily on ; but my 
patience was not exhausted, and I was resolved to stem against 
it. I perceived that the impetuosity of its course was becom- 
ing much more rapid since my arrival in what is styled, p(tr 
excellence, the Ottoman dominions, and now I resolved to 
crush this hydra on the head, if possible. Leaving the room, 
I proceeded to the Princess Epouse, to whom I complained 
most bitterly, and point-blank told Her Highness that I could 



HASEM LIFE. 255 

not, and would not, partake of mj meals in that disgusting 
manner. 

At first the Princess began to remonstrate with me, alleging 
that the slaves had not had time to unpack my luggage ; for 
all the glass, china, plate, &c., which had been provided for 
me in the Harem at G-hezire had been sent on in the other 
frigate that had accompanied us, and therefore J must put up 
with it ; and as to my viands, why no others could be cooked, 
and I must partake of the leavings of those slaves. " Malesh, 
Malesh /** " Madame, what does it matter ! — what does it 
matter !" 

But I now knew the character of the individual with whom 
I had to deal, so I replied, " Mafesh, Mafeah^ hanem Effendi /" 
^' Nonsense, nonsense, your Highness !" and as I still insisted, 
orders were instantly given to have the knives, <fcc., unpacked, 
and other viands served up to me ; and at the same time she 
instructed the slaves to go and fetch my dinner, and place it 
upon the table, and never again to attempt to take their meals 
until I had finished. 

I salaamed, and lefb Her Highness ; but not until she had 
given orders that the G-rand Eunuch should go and purchase 
me articles of the same furniture that I had had provided for 
me at Cairo, all of which had been left behind ; and when I 
obtained them, my chamber soon assumed a European aspect. 

Her Highness was, as I have already shown, ever ready to 
do her utmost to contribute to my comfort — she did all that 
lay in her power ; so that it was not she who set the under- 
current in motion (oh, no, not she, indeed ! — I had been tried, 
and found **true as steel," and she placed the greatest confi- 
dence in me), but it was the clique about Ishmael Pacha who 
had been setting it running all this time, and, ignoramuses as 
they were, they thought I had not sense enough to know it; 
It was to them that I was indebted for all my sufierings, 
both mentally and bodily, while an inmate of the Harems of 
Egypt and Constantinople. 

Cai bono ? Woman is an enigma, and so I proved to them. 



258 HABEM LIFE. 

At twelve o'clock we returned to the Palace, then partook 
of dinner, the Prince dining with me, to the utter horror of 
the nurses, who did all in their power to prevent, as they 
termed it, such an abomination, as the believer and the unbe- 
liever eating together. But the Princess Epouse's Malesch ! 
Malesch ! frightened them out of their superstitious horror, 
and so far enlightened them, that they were obliged ever 
afterwards to look upon such as being perfectly orthodox, 
which perplexed and puzzled them not a little; and then 
they thought that wonders would never cease, and would 
often exclaim, " What is written, is written ! " Bismillah ! 
Bismillah ! "In the name of the most merciful Gk)d ! " Allah ! 
it Allah ! Mahomet Beaoul Allah ! " There is but one God, 
and Mahomet is His prophet ! '* 



CHAPTEE XXV. 

One day, after the G-rand Pacha had dined, he told the Grand 
Eunuch to send up into his apartment an immense chest, 
which had just arrived in a caique. Upon being opened, it 
was found to contain some magnificent toys mechanically 
constructed, the value of which must have been upwards of 
lOOZ. I did not learn the name of the donor, but I think they 
were presents from one of His Highness's reputed partners. 
With these the little Prince often amused himself in the after- 
noons. 

At five o'clock he supped; after which, we again sallied 
forth, sometimes on the promenade, and at others we went for 
a row in a caique on the beautiful Bosphorus. 

At eight o'clock we returned ; but it was quite impossible 
to get His Highness to retire to rest at any stated period, so 
that I was obliged to request the Hehim Bachi, the Physician 
to the Viceregal family, who, unknown to the Viceroy, was 
also the medical attendant on Mustapha Pacha's family, to 



HABEM LIFE. 257 

Our daily life at Bebek was not quite so monotonons as it 
bad been at G-bezire, and, but for my falling ill, it would bave 
passed away most agreeably ; for tbe Viceroy had sent a pony 
for tbe Prince, and a sweet pretty Arab steed for myself; both 
of which were never used during my sojourn at Istamboul. 

We rose (I am speaking of myself and the Prince) at six 
in the morning ; when, through the kind attention of one of 
the ladies of the Sultan's Harem, whom I will call Selina, I 
was serred with a bottle of new milk, and a salver of symmets, 
'* rings of milk-bread," like that which is so delicious in Italy, 
but having seeds on them, which taste like fresh pork. 

At half-past seven we breakfasted, and at nine we went for 
a walk on the promenade, then, passing along a road on the 
left hand, we proceeded through a large gate, which led ns 
into the Palace grounds, which were laid out as a fruit and 
kitchen- garden. They were kept in a high state of cultivation, 
and being, in fact, neither more nor less than a part of the 
Heights, presented a most picturesque appearance, many of 
those elevations being covered with strawberry beds. 

Here we used to purchase for a few paras, a plentiful supply 
of fresh-gathered fruit every morning from the bostafidji, 
"gardener," as those grounds did not, as I first imagined, 
belong to the Sultan. Here, seated on mats, on which the 
hostandji laid Persian rugs, which, when he knew that our 
visits were almost diurnal, he procured from the Grand 
Eunuch, I often passed many hours with the Prince, he 
playing, and enjoying his fruit by my side. 

After we had partaken of what the Q-rand Pacha called his 
Torton CilSky "Strawberry Feast," we wandered about the 
Heights, on the top of which stood a small Q-reek ca/e, which 
commanded an extensive and lovely view of the Bosphorus, 
and the cluster of picturesque villages which stood on its 
banks — there we rested. 

"We afterwards passed on to a market-place, which was in a 
most filthy and dilapidated condition ; but in rambling about 
it the Grand Pacha took great delight. 

17 



258 HABEM UFE. 

At twelve o'clock we returned to the Palace, then partook 
of dinner, the PriQce dining with me, to the utter horror of 
the nurses, who did all in their power to prevent, as they 
termed it, such an abomination, as the believer and the unbe- 
liever eating together. But the Princess Epouse's Malesch ! 
Malesch ! frightened them out of their superstitious horror, 
and so far enlightened them, that they were obliged ever 
afterwards to look upon such as beiug perfectly orthodox, 
which perplexed and puzzled them not a little; and then 
thej thought that wonders would never cease, and would 
often exclaim, " What is written, is written ! *' Bismillah ! 
Bismillah ! "In the name of the most merciful God ! " Allah ! 
il Allah ! Mahomet Resoul Allah ! *' There is but one Gk>d, 
and Mahomet is His prophet ! " 



CHAPTEE XXV. 

One day, after the Ghrand Pacha had dined, he told the Grand 
Eunuch to send up into his apartment an immense chest, 
which had just arrived in a caique. Upon being opened, it 
was found to contain some magnificent toys mechanically 
constructed, the value of which must have been upwards of 
lOOZ. I did not learn the name of the donor, but I think they 
were presents from one of His Highness's reputed partners. 
With these the little Prince often amused himself in the after- 
noons. 

At five o'clock he supped; after which, we again sallied 
forth, sometimes on the promenade, and at others we went for 
a row in a caique on the beautiful Bosphorus. 

At eight o'clock we returned ; but it was quite impossible 
to get His Highness to retire to rest at any stated period, so 
that I was obliged to request the HeUm Bachi, the Physician 
to the Viceregal family, who, unknown to the Viceroy, was 
also the medical attendant on Mustapha Pacha's family, to 



HABEM LIFE. 259 

give the Grand Eunuch instructions that the little Prince 
should retire at nine o'clock. 

These pleasant and agreeable times, however, soon came to 
an end ; for, as I had foreseen, when the Baba had ordered his 
hair to be cut, when on the eve of the departure of the Vice- 
regal party from Alexandria, the Prince caught a slight cold 
during the voyage. This could have been easily cured had I 
been permitted, as I suggested, to give him a cordial-cup full 
of arrow-root at night, and a warm bath before retiring to 
rest. To this however the Princess Epouse would not consent, 
but called in the Hekim Bachi, who immediately placed him on 
starving diet, and ordered him to live on chicken broth, bread, 
and milk. He then gave me a packet of tasteless powders, 
some magnesia, and a bottle of syrup, with strict injunctions 
not to give the Prince more than a teaspoonful at a time ; to 
put his feet in hot water, to let him have a basin of arrow-root 
when he retired to rest, and to have his chest and back rubbed 
with green oil. 

The Hekim Bachi was a strange character ; it was only of 
late years that he had resumed his professional pursuits ; for, 
finding that medicine did not bring sufficient "grist to the 
mill," he had turned his attention to farming. He was a clever 
man, but considered " the germs " of a disease quite beneath 
his treatment. In desperate cases he was extremely skilful ; 
but he was not a proper person to be called in to attend upon 
any person with whose constitution he was unacquainted. 
How he managed to hold the appointment of Hekim Bachi to 
the Viceroy's Harem, while he was the medical adviser to 
Mustapha Pacha, the brother of Ismael Pacha (between whom 
there existed at that time a most deadly animosity) I am at a 
loss to know. 

Preparatory to retiring to rest, Shaytan undressed him, 
and the Princess Epouse, accompanied by the ladies of both 
Harems, and a host of old crones, entered the room. Then a 
large brass basin was brought into the room by several slaves. 

On one side of the foot of the Prince's bed sat his illus- 

17—2 



260 HABEM LIFE. 

trious mother, the G-rand Pacha sittiDg in the centre, and on 
the other side was the governess. A slave then advanced and 
cast some fuller's earth into the brass basin, while the whole 
assembly exclaimed, Bismillah! Bismillah! Then hot water 
was poured upon it, after which a thick wadded coverlet was 
drawn over the whole party, and thus they had the pleasure of 
nothing more nor less than a vapour bath, while His Highness 
kept sipping some lime-flower tea ; then his feet and legs, 
which had remained in hot water for some time, were taken 
out, and rolled up in the coverlet, which had served the pur- 
pose of a vapour-bath. After this a brazier of live charcoal 
was brought in, into which some ground coffee was thrown, 
white candied sugar, aloe-wood, myrrh, some peculiar aromatic 
resin and gum, the fumes of which were wafted into the 
Prince's face by the Princess Epouse, and bis night attire was 
held over it. Some large pieces of cotton wadding were now 
held over the brazier until they became thoroughly impreg- 
nated with its fumes, and then placed on his chest and back ; 
and in that state His Highness was put to bed. The whole of 
the spectators present kept continually exclaiming, Biahmillah I 
Bishmillah ! Biahmillah ! which brought to my recollection 
the celebrated incantation scene in Weber's opera of *Der 
Preyschutz.' 

The next day Shaytan, the head-nurse, contrary to the 
strict injunctions of the governess, carried the Prince down 
into the apartment of one of the black slaves, where he caught 
a fresh cold, owing to the windows being open. As soon as I 
entered my chamber T missed the Grand Pacha, and proceeded 
down the grand entrance-hall, in quest of the Prince. That 
vestibule at the moment looked as if harlequin with his magic 
wand in a Christmas pantomime had been at his handiwork; 
for there stood huge bales of the most costly silks, rich satins, 
soft velvets, fine French merinoes, nets, lawns, linen, calicoes, 
muslins, both white and coloured, India and Cashmere shawls, 
silk stockings, huge bales of Parisian boots and shoes of 
almost every size and description. There were rich chased 



HABEM LIFE. 261 

caskets, whose contents comprised tiaras of magnificent dia- 
monds, almost priceless in value, earrings, bracelets, belts, 
clasps, chains, rings, necklaces, sword-hilts, amulets, zarfs of 
unparalleled beauty, encrusted with most precious jewels, and 
numerous other gems of art, the brightest and most elegant 
of which the Grand Eunuch kindlj handed to me to feast my 
eyes upon. All of them were most unique specimens of the 
handicraft of man and of the mineral kingdom. In short, not 
being an artiste, I cannot give pen-and-ink drawings of them. 

Boxes covered with silks, containing Japan china findjans, 
gold filigree zar/s, most richly encrusted with diamonds and 
precious stones, gold salvers, silver ewers and basins, caskets 
of jewels, and a host of magnificent miscellaneous objects of 
vertu. In short, the sight of them made me think that I stood 
on fairy ground. It seemed as if the Viceroy Ismael Pacha 
had suddenly become the master of Aladdin's "Wonderful 
Lamp, which he must have found in one of the newly-excavated 
caves on the banks of the Nile, and, having rubbed it as the 
genii of old did, had become possessed of untold wealth, and 
thinking perhaps that His Majesty the Sultan Abdul Aziz 
ought at least to have a share of the treasure-trove, he des- 
patched the precious coin dug out of the bowels of the earth 
of Egypt to England, Fraqce, Italy, in short, all over the 
continents of Europe and Asia, which enabled this Sinbad of 
the nineteenth century to collect together the most costly 
manufactures of the world, and had sent them as presents to 
his suzerain the poor Sultan, from his Croesus of a vassal — for 
the estimated value of them, now a well-established fact, was 
upwards of half a million of English pounds sterling. It is, 
indeed, no fiction when I say that were it possible to strike 
the spades upon the right spots, the whole sod of Egypt would, 
if turned up by manual labour, become a rival to California— 
for the cotton mania has sent such heaps of gold into the 
land of the Pharaohs, which the Arabs have buried in the 
earth, that it may be said to be coated with that precious 
metal. 



262 HAREM LIFE. 

The supposed object of these valuable presents was not an 
ostentatious desire to display the prosperity of Egypt under 
the paternal administration of the Viceroy Ismael Pacha, but 
to manifest that prince's paternal solicitude that His Majesty 
Sultan Abdul Aziz, " the light of the world, the sovereign of 
sovereigns," would take into his holy keeping (for is he not 
the Commander of the Eaithful ? the Pacha, the Head of the 
Mahometan religion!) that "dot of humanity," the Grand 
Pacha, and bestow upon him the coveted nomination to the 
Viceroy ship. 

All these commodities had been shipped in Alexandria on 
board the frigate Ibrahim, that had accompanied us. The 
Prince I found busy examining several beautiful articles ; and 
holding up some elegant diamond branches, made in the shape 
of small parasite plants, to me, he exclaimed. Ay, Madame, 
Guzel! Guzel ! Ay, Madame! "Beautiful, Madame! 
Beautiful, Madame !" I kissed him on the cheek, but scolded 
him for having left his rooip, which imprudent act of the head- 
nurse rendered him an invalid to the time that I quitted the 
Old Palace. 

The domestic life of the odalisques in this palace commenced 
at four o'clock in the morning, when the ladies of the Sultan's 
Harem left their couches, repeated their namuz, which they 
did every two hours during the livelong day, (for all of them 
were fanatics and most religiously inclined,) partook of Jindjans 
of coffee, and smoked cigarettes. At five, the whole of the in- 
mates rose ; at six our Grand Eunuch (I call him such in con- 
tradistinction to that cunning, crafty " spectre of a man," the 
Valide Princess's) said prayers to the ladies of all the three 
Harems, touched the centre of their foreheads with his finger, 
in which kohl had been placed, which left a small black spot 
upon it like a piece of sticking-plaster. One morning when he 
drew near towards me, for I had risen much earlier than usual^ 
and happened to be present in the room with the Prince, he 
was on the point of bestowing upon me the caste-mark of the 
believer, but I drew back : he smiled and passed on. It was 



HABEM LIFE. 263 

always after she had attended this prayer meeting that Selina, 
the lady of the Harem to whom I have already alluded, like a 
charitable geni came with new milk and hot buns, exclaiming, 
" Eat and drink, in every bit and drop life's essence burns." 
At seven the Grand Ffu;ha» his sister, and myself, breakfasted 
together. At eight we took a promenade, but generally re- 
turned at ten. Sometimes we walked up and down the Es- 
planade, where we amused ourselves by gazing at the hundreds 
of pretty caiques that passed up and down the river freighted 
with numberless beautiful odalisques, wealthy merchants, well- 
to-do shopkeepers, bustling Europeans, calculating Ichondis, 
** Jews," and crafty Armenians. Steamers passed along, with 
their decks covered with passengers of all classes and nations, 
steaming along at a rapid rate towards the different Scales^ 
landing-places, of the Turkish Babel. Mashallah! Mashal- 
lah ! " How wonderful is the wisdom of Gk)d," exclaimed the 
little Prince, clapping his hands with delight, as he stood still 
every now and then gazing upon the animated scene before 
him. 

Once when he saw a caique upset its living freight into the 
river, and caught a good view of the occupants drenched to the 
skin, who had jumped into it again, he cried out, " Allah is 
great !" then he added in Arabic, ^^ Allah ! il Allah ! Mahomet 
Resoul AllaK^ — '* There is but one God, and Mahomet is His 
prophet." Then we saw many a well- trimmed Sandul dash 
along full of odalisques, whose lovely dark orbs were fixed 
upon the little Prince as he stood near to the edge of the azure 
water of the lovely Bosphorus. And often, ah ! too often to 
be pleasing to the sight, baskets came floating past, most of 
which, gentle reader, in all probability contained the heads, 
and many of them the trunks, of human bodies. Eor it is no 
uncommon sight in Turkey, *' where women always pay the 
penalty of their misdeeds" by a most severe and summary 
punishment, which, horrible to say, is privately enforced. 
Their bodies then are invariably placed in large baskets or 
sacks, which are thrown into the lovely sapphire- looking river 



264 HABEM LIFE. 

to feed the fish, which swarm here in shoals, ac;ainst the catch* 
ing of which there is an Imperial edict. 

Maj not that injunction of the Padishahs have been occa- 
sioned bj their Majesties' knowledge that the depths of that 
clear, bright stream is but too often converted into an immense^ 
city of the dead ? And yet both I and the Prince had often 
watched with intense interest the singular manner in which 
the Moslems catch those forbidden tenants of the dreaded 
Bosphorus. Their mode of taking them is by smearing a 
piece of calico about the size of a table-cloth with the roe of 
some fish, then launching it into the river, and after the lapse 
of a few moments hauling up a most miraculous draught of 
fishes. But Europeans eschew them as they do the prawns 
out of the Ghinges, which feed on the corpses cast into it, and 
which float past the ghauts at Calcutta as the wicker baskets 
do down the Bosphorus. 

When the Grand Pacha saw those baskets float rapidly by 
the edge of the Promenade, he inquired of me what they con- 
tained? I informed His Highness that they contained the 
corpses of culprits (but what culprits I did not mention) who 
had been killed, as I supposed, for some crimes that they had 
committed. • And yet most likely many of those baskets con- 
tained the murdered bodies of persons perhaps almost as 
innocent as the little Prince himself. 

The basket and the sack in Turkey contain the victims of 
jealousy, which the handiwork of the Eunuchs has sent to 
their last account! for these spectres of men are, like the 
Thugs in India, adepts at strangulation. It is no uncommon 
thing in the Harems to hear them relate to each other, if not 
their own exploits, at least those of their predecessors in office, 
and I have often seen the elder ones give their fellow-phantoms 
illustrations of the manner in which those deeds have been 
accomplished. This they do with the utmost sangfroid, while 
the spectators exclaim, Aferin ! Aferin ! " Well done ! well 
done!" 

The little Prince also took great delight in looking at the 



HABEM LIFE. 265 

Kachamhaa as they glided along filled with galiondji, " eailors" 
belonging to some of the different European vessels at anchor 
off Galata ; for, contrary to the general custom of the Turks, 
he did not possess such a hatred for all who differed from him 
in point of faith. He did not dislike the Franks, but he 
abhorred tliose unclean beasts ! those misbelieving dogs ! — the 
Jews ; and on one day, when he pointed his little hand to a 
headless corpse that we saw floating by a caique which lay at 
anchor in the stream, he inquired of me, if that were not the 
body of a kopek, " dog of an Israelite ?" I replied that I did 
not know. Basham itchiam, " By my head !" jehenum, " Hell" 
" will be the portion of that accursed band, as there is but one 
Allah," added the little Pacha, clapping his tiny hands. 

Time after time, barges passed close to the promenade, filled 
with arahiy " corn-brandy," and freighted with that harmless- 
looking white colourless liquid, the wine of Carnabat, for 
which Carnabat merchants find a ready market, and many a 
cask of which is kept lodged in the well-secured cellars of 
wealthy Turks, although it was the Kishmet of that extract not 
to be drunk by all good Mussulmans. 

After that we went and climbed up to the Greek cafe, and 
there we sat gazing with wonder and delight on the surpassing 
loveliness of the picturesque scenery by which it is surrounded. 

At noon their Highnesses the Princesses dined; but if 
(which frequently happened) they went out in the morning in 
caiques or carriages, and did not return until late, none of the 
ladies of the Harem were allowed to partake of either dinner 
or supper, as the case might be, until their return. If they 
were absent much beyond the usual dinner-hour, the ladies of 
the Harem would pay a visit to the governess (cocana, " lady," 
as they termed her), and ask her to allow them to partake of 
her dinner, which being cooked ct VArabe, they enjoyed with 
much ffusto ; and then the Grand Pacha's and my own slaves 
had short commons. 

I am always ready to bestow praise where praise is due, and 
must acknowledge that while a guest within the precincts of 



268 HABEM LIFE. 

sometimes to pay visits to the different Harems, and at others 
they accompanied their visitors to their Harems. (The Valide 
Princess very seldom went out in the evening, but often sent 
for the governess and the Grand Pacha.) At eight o'clock 
they supped. 

The ladies of the Sultan's Harem were much more civilized 
than those of the Viceroy's ; for they amused themselves of au 
evening singing songs to their own accompaniments on castanets; 
while others sat quietly in a group, not like the dames of olden 
times, plying at their distaffs and spindles, but industriously 
employed in useful needlework, repairing their own garments j 
others again played at cards and dominoes ; — all smoking, and 
sipping ^wrf/a/w of coffee out of zarfs of gold, encrusted with 
diamonds. 

At ten o'clock our Grand Eunuch, who appeared to have 
taken upon himself the oflSce of Mufti ever since our arrival 
at Bebek, shouted forth the call to prayer ; ** and down upon 
the fragrant sod kneels with his forehead to the east, lisping 
the eternal name of Q-od." After that the Harem's gates and 
doors were locked. 

One morning, soon after our arrival at Bebek, and when the 
Viceregal children were suffering from severe colds, they were 
playing in the Grand Pacha Ibrahim's apartment, which was 
filled with white and black slaves, both of the upper and lower 
class, some running about the room like mad creatures, others 
squatting down in dirty crumpled muslin dresses, of the in- 
troduction of which heterogeneous assembly into His High- 
ness's room I had already complained to the Princess Epouse, 
but without effect, as it was always stated that they came to 
pay their respects to the Grand Pacha. 

After the young slaves had been romping about for some 
time, one of them came running up to me, and informed me 
that the large diamond in the waistband of the little Princess, 
which had only been fastened on a few moments before, by 
her own nurse, was missing. That seemed to me rather a 
singular incident, as the Princess had never quitted the apart- 



HABEM LIFE. 267 

His HigliDess the Prince and myself dined punctuallj at 
twelve o'clock, at which repast we were waited upon bj slaves 
belonging to the Sultan's Harem. The Valide Princess always 
took her meals alone, and the ladies of her Harem and her 
suite regaled themselves off the scraps. Sometimes the 
Princess Epouse would invite some of the aged ladies of the 
Harem to dinner ; but the ladies of her Harem and slaves 
were also fed with the scraps. So that as regards " the table" 
(to use a sea-phrase), there was but one, which showed that 
strict economy was the order of the day in the Imperial as 
well as the Viceregal household. 

It was highly amusing to see the ladies of the Harem and 
slaves squat themselves down upon the floor in a circle, hold- 
ing most elegant Sevres china cups and saucers, with gold 
spoons, in their hands ; while the freezing pail of lemon ice 
stood in the centre, into which they dipped their spoons, filled 
their cups, and even their saucers (as most undoubtedly they 
thought that it was impossible to have too much of a good 
thing), with that refreshing condiment, and handed them 
round to each other ; and ever and anon they dipped the gold 
spoons into the pail, and regaled themselves to their hearts' 
content. 

Their Highnesses, both before and after dinner, went out 
for an airing, either in caiques or carriages, down to Stamboul, 
each attended by their respective Grand Eunuch, and other 
attendants. Sometimes they were accompanied by a few of 
the ladies of the Harem ; they then went shopping. At other 
times they would receive visitors, both rich and poor ; give 
audiences to their dressmakers, to whom all their dress-pieces 
were sent from Egypt to be made up ; and also to their boot- 
maker's wife. At four o'clock they lay down, after having 
smoked their pipes. 

" Then their pure hearts to transport given, 
Swell like the wave, and glow like heaven." 

At six o'clock they rose, dressed themselves in their evening 
toilette, and went out in caiques on the beautiful Bosphorus'; 



268 HABEM LIFE. 

sometimes to pay visits to the different Harems, and at others 
they accompanied their visitors to their Harems. (The Valide 
Princess very seldom went out in the evening, but often sent 
for the governess and the G-rand Pacha.) At eight o'clock 
they supped. 

The ladies of the Sultan's Harem were much more civilized 
than those of the Viceroy's ; for they amused themselves of au 
evening singing songs to their own accompaniments on castanets; 
while others sat quietly in a group, not like the dames of olden 
times, plying at their distaffs and spindles, but industriously 
employed in useful needlework, repairing their own garments ; 
others again played at cards and dominoes ; — all smoking, and 
^iipping Jlndjans of coffee out of zarfs of gold, encrusted with 
diamonds. 

At ten o'clock our G-rand Eunuch, who appeared to have 
taken upon himself the oflSce of Mufti ever since our arrival 
at Bebek, shouted forth the call to prayer ; ** and down upon 
the fragrant sod kneels with his forehead to the east, lisping 
the eternal name of Q-od." After that the Harem's gates and 
doors were locked. 

One morning, soon after our arrival at Bebek, and when the 
Viceregal children were suffering from severe colds, they were 
playing in the Grand Pacha Ibrahim's apartment, which was 
filled with white and black slaves, both of the upper and lower 
class, some running about the room like mad creatures, others 
squatting down in dirty crumpled muslin dresses, of the in- 
troduction of which heterogeneous assembly into His High- 
ness's room I had already complained to the Princess Epouse, 
but without effect, as it was always stated that they came to 
pay their respects to the Grand Pacha. 

After the young slaves had been romping about for some 
time, one of them came running up to me, aud informed me 
that the large diamond in the waistband of the little Princess, 
which had only been fastened on a few moments before, by 
her own nurse, was missing. That seemed to me rather a 
singular incident, as the Princess had never quitted the apart- 



HABEM LIFE. 269 

ment. Search was immediately made for the elmas, *' diamond/' 
but it could nowhere be found. The matting and carpets 
were removed, the divans, chairs (their cushions), tables, cor- 
ners, crevices, and every place were examined, and the room 
swept, but still no traces of it could be discovered. The slaves 
were questioned, but denied all knowledge of it. 

The head-nurse. Shay tan, with all the effrontery in the world, 
walked up to me, and with one of the cunningest leers imagin- 
able, inquired of me whether I had taken it ? I replied, very 
coolly, " No ! I have not ! and what is more, I have never set 
eyes on it to-day, as I did not see the little Princess after her 
nurse had dressed her." 

Her Highness the Princess Epouse was sent for, and as soon 
as she became aware of the loss, she burst into a flood of tears, 
for that elmas had been the gift of the Viceroy to her before 
they were married, and therefore she prized it greatly, and not 
for its intrinsic value, which was, however, estimated at 500/. 
The Grand Eunuch was sent for, and then another search was 
made, but with no better success. At length it was given up 
as a bad job. 

The little Princess's nurse, who was an honest, upright 
woman, cried most bitterly ; upon seeing which, the Grand 
Eunuch approached her, exclaiming, Malesch ! Malesch ! But 
the poor creature continued to weep, as she well knew that if 
it were not found she would be most frightfully branded. 
Shaytan looked most artfully at her, but uttered not a 
syllable. 

At length the Princess put herself into a towering passion, 
and told the eunuch, that if it was not forthcoming on her 
return (for she was then on the eve of her departure, to ac- 
company the Yalide Sultana in her yacht), she would have the 
whole of the nurses and slaves flogged. 

Then, a slave approached the Princess, and handed her a 
zarf, with 9kfindjan of coffee. She sipped it, but not relishing 
the taste of it, or else not having overcome her passion, she 
spat into it, as was invariably her custom when she disliked 



270 HABEM LIFE. 

anything, threw the beautiful Japsji findjan with its contents 
on the floor, and stamped her feet upon it, which broke it into 
a thousand pieces, which the slaves quickly removed. 

I was quite aware in my own mind that Shaytan had 
wrenched the diamond off the band. I said not a word, as 
that would have been dangerous to myself ; but told the Prin- 
cess's nurse, that she had better watch an opportunity, and 
look into the head-nurse's saratf " trunk," when she found it 
open. Poor thing, she cried for days and nights, most pite- 
ously. About two days before I left the Palace, the Princess's 
nurse made another search, " swept and garnished " the apart- 
ments, and lo and behold! by the side of Shay tan's saratf there 
lay the diamond, just as if it had been dropped there by pure 
accident. The artful Shaytan, not feeling inclined to undergo 
a flogging, for she knew that the Princess Epouse always kept 
her word, whether for good or evil, had disgorged her prize. 
But it is impossible for me to describe the excessive delight of 
the Princess's nurse when she found it — then indeed did she 
"weep for joy." 

Another day we sauntered up the flower-enamelled heights,, 
and the lovely view which I there beheld will never be effaced 
from my memory. As I scanned the horizon, at one moment 
I caught sight of the Muezzins on the balconies of the mina- 
rets, taking their Asmodeus-like observations of the doings of 
the denizens who were perambulating about the three cities ; 
for they are the most arrant spies and busybodies alive, scarcely 
any thing or object escaping their observation. This know- 
ledge they are ever ready to turn to the most profitable 
account, for they are devout worshippers of the Sovereign 
Prince Baksheesh, who here reigns as dominant as in Egypt. 

Here I gazed on the crowds of people embarking in caiques 
from the numerous scales^ now and then several arobasy " co- 
vered carts," drawn by bulky buUocks, ascending the various 
steep, elevated ascents ; I saw also closely-veiled figures, flit- 
ting about the Cities of the Silent, to which I observed nume- 
rous processions depart from the scale of the Meit Iskellese^ 



HABEM LIFE. 271 

'' Ladder of the Dead." Then, listening to the various sounds 
that yibrated on the clear atmosphere, I heard the improvisa- 
tori chanting of the cackdjis, one of which commenced with — 

" My childhood's home was 'mid the isles 
That gem the bright ^gean sea ;'* 

then the rude singing of the sailors hauling up the anchors of 
their ships, at the mast-heads of which floated the Blue Peter, 
that signal of departures to distant lands ; the buzzing of the 
dense population of the bay's three cities (Stamboul, Pera, and 
Galata) ; the howling of the legion of mongrels that prowled 
about in all directions ; the booming of distant cannon ; the 
sofb music of the military bands at the different barracks, 
floating on the rippling waters ; the hallooing of the HamalU, 
as they wended their way with their heavy loads up the steep 
ascents ; the bleating of the sheep grazing hard by; the tramp- 
ling of horses' hoofs ; the words of command, as the troops 
were being drilled on the parade-grounds ; and now and then 
the stentorian howling of those incorrigible beggars, the Howl- 
ing Dervishes, with whom it is almost as dangerous for a Frank 
to trust himself alone (unless well armed), as it now is for a 
tourist to perambulate about the environs of Naples, lest he 
fall into the hands of the Italian banditti. 

Sometimes the Prince partook of his supper at five o'clock, 
as he was not made to conform to the rule laid down by the 
precept of the Suna : " Eat not till the planet of the fourth 
heaven, the all-beneficent sun, hath hidden his rays behind the 
mountain Kaf." When that was the case, we sallied forth for 
an evening ramble on the Esplanade, which was generally 
thronged with loungers at that period of the evening. But 
whenever their Highnesses the Princesses and Kadines (" the 
ladies of the Sultan's Harem") thought proper to frequent it, 
then the Kislar Agaci, and his formidable guard, with their 
drawn scimitars, stationed themselves on the heights, and no 
individual was allowed to approach there, which was on other 
occasions a public promenade. Sometimes they entered one of 



272 HABEM LIFE. 

tLe caiques, and took an excursion on the Thracian Bosphorus, 
when the beautiful moonbeams reflected their soft light on the 
sparkling waves. 

At other times they visited the lovely shores of Beshic-Tach, 
and its palace ; Istenia, with its beautiful suburbs ; Therapia, 
and the splendid palaces of the foreign ambassadors ; nor did 
they omit to wander about Buyuk-Deri. 

We often entered some beautiful and large gardens belong- 
ing to some of the wealthiest Turks, which were laid out in the 
Oriental style ; and as it was summer-time, the air was im- 
pregnated with the delicious and powerful odours of citrons, 
roses, myrtles, jasmines, azalias, lovely passion-flowers, almond- 
flowers, rose laurels, pomegranates, cedars, &c. The well-kept 
avenues were refreshingly shaded with large bananas, lofty 
palms, tall cypress, and the banian-spreading tchinars (plane- 
trees). Dotted about were several gilded aviaries, full of birds 
of most superb plumage, and lively songsters ; and here and 
there the air was cooled by the flowing of the waters which 
were spurted forth from numerous elegantly- sculptured foun- 
tains. While gazing upon this scene, the Prince prattled 
away, asking me the names of the exotics that bloomed around 
them, and inquiring if I had such lovely flowers in my own 
country. 

At times he would go and seat himself in one of the kiosks, 
in which he generally found a crimson satin cushion, which 
the owner, who had watched the little Prince at the time of 
his first visit to his pleasure-garden, had ordered to be placed 
there, as also one for the Khartum Inglese, " English lady," as 
he designated me. 

On the last occasion when he went there, a short time be- 
fore he fell sick, he found a basketful of strawberries, and por- 
celain cups filled with iced sherbet, in his favourite kiosk. 
Then he ran up to me, exclaiming, " Oh, madam, pray do not 
laugh at me, but only see ! My dffin, * spirit,' fairy-like, has 
laid luncheon for us in the kiosk ; and I have placed all the 
chocolate buttons, that you are so fond of, on a plate for you !" 



HABEM LIFE. 273 

Upon which I followed His Highness ; and, true enough, there 
I found the frugal repast, of which we both most cheerfully 
partook. 

Frequently we were rowed in a caique, which transported us 
to the beautiful Asiatic shores, where His Highness loved to 
sit down upon his Persian rug, beneath the wide-spreading and 
luxuriant tchinars, at Hunkiar Eskellesi ; and often under the 
shade of the noble tchinara, " plane-trees," I also sat and con- 
templated the beauties of nature as well as the Grand Pacha, 
Ibrahim; for, young as he was, he possessed that inherent 
characteristic of his race, the study of Nature in all her pris- 
tine loveliness, and which was here presented to his gaze in 
most variegated shapes and forms. 

Sometimes we selected the Yalley of the Grand Seignior as 
our retreat, and then the banian-like foliage of the great wal- 
nuts afforded us most grateful shelter. Now and then he 
would climb the Giant's Mountaio, which commands one of 
the most incomparable panoramas ever beheld ; and when he 
caught sight of the tapering miuarets of the white marble 
mosques, on the balconies of which stood the muezzins, ready to 
chant the Esan, " call to prayer," then, in an ecstasy of delight, 
he would clap his tiny hands, and exclaipi, " Oh, madam, look ! 
the mesjed ! — the mosque !" Calling attention to the steamers 
on the river, he would begin to imitate the captains, and shout 
out, *' Aivali ! Aivali ! Di ! Imote .'" " Bravo, boy ! Cou- 
rage ! Go on !" 

At other times he would look up at the cloudless sky, and 
then inquire of me if I did not think that the heavenly Para- 
dise Mahomet had promised to the faithful must not indeed 
be " Pek quiyis ! peh quiyis ! Mashallah ! Allah karim .'" 
" Yery pretty ! very pretty ! How wonderful is the wisdom 
of God ! God is merciful !" But then added His Highness, 
"No kopek (dog) of a Jew can enter there;" for he had an 
abomination of the Hebrew race. 

One day the Grand Pacha took it into his head to have the 
whole of his little female slaves dressed in male attire, and, 

18 



274: HABEM LIFE. 

BCD ding for the Sidtan's ^erzi-t/^, "tailor," lie ordered him to 
take their measures for two suits. After that was done, he 
had his own taken for half-a-dozen private suits, and for all the 
uniforms of Tarious regiments in the Sultan's service, the pat- 
terns of which were placed hefore him. Then his male attend- 
ants underwent the same ordeal. 

The Valide Princess's Grand Eunuch heing in the apart- 
ment at the time, hut not understanding French, could not 
speak to the terzi-ile, so he requested me to have the kindness 
to hecome the interpreter, and to explain that he required him 
to make him several suits of clothes, also a mantle, which he 
wanted to wear on the approaching state occasion of his having 
to attend the Valide Princess on her visit to the Sultan. I 
accordingly made the tailor understand that the Grand Eunuch 
had seen the portrait of the late Prince Consort, dressed in his 
Eield-Marshal's uniform, and wearing the hlue mantle of the 
Knights of the Garter, and that he desired to have one of a 
similar shape, only of crimson instead of hlue velvet ; and, it 
should be added, the terzi-ile executed the order with great 
ability. 

After His Highness had amused himself by looking atten- 
tively at the minuteness with which the ** Schneider" used his 
tape-measure, he turned round to me, and entreated me also 
to be measured for a suit ; then coming up close to my side, 
and looking into my face with a most winning smile, he added, 
" Do, madam ; you will look so guzel ! pek guzel ! Q pretty ! 
very pretty!') in a richly-embroidered male attire." But I 
declined the honour he intended me, with many thanks. 

One morning I was surprised, on entering His Highness's 
room, to find that the ceremony of breaking bread over His 
Highness's head was being performed. In a basket were 
placed about a hundred small loaves (similar in size to the five- 
centesimi loaves sold in Italy) of European bread, nine of 
which were broken by Shaytan — that very impersonification of 
the Angel of Darkness — over the Grand Pacha's head ; the 
head-nurse counting their number in Arabic aa they were 



HABEM LIFE. 275 

broken up. Only seven were broken over the head of Her 
Highness the little Princess. This ceremony was performed 
with European bread, because no Arab bread was ever pro- 
vided in the Sultan's palace ; but I was unable to learn the 
origin of that superstitious rite. 

One day His Highness the Prince perceived a very pretty 
small gold ring which I wore on my little finger. It was 
twisted in the shape of a serpent, having two rubies placed in 
the head for the eyes, and the scales were exquisitely eua- 
melled. His Highness took a fancy to it, upon which I took 
it off my finger, made him bokshalik, "a present" of it, and 
placed it on the second finger of his right hand, with which 
he salaams. 

Her Highness the first wife having admired it, owing to its 
being in the form of a serpent (as such is valued by the Arabs 
as a token of immortality, because snakes shed their skin an- 
nually), offered to give me a superb diamond ring, valued at 
600/., off her own finger, if the little Prince would let Her 
Highness have it ; but that he most positively refused to do, 
at which his mother, the Princess Epouse, smiled. The head- 
nurse. Shay tan, having seen me place it upon the G-rand 
Pacha's finger, and hearing that her Highness the Lady Para- 
mount had coveted it, as soon as she took him into his bed- 
room, under pretence of changing his pantaloons, began to 
wrench the ring off his finger, as it fitted tight, and His High- 
ness was reluctant to part with it. In the struggle to accom- 
plish her vile object of stealing the ring, she tore away a piece 
of his flesh, as she lacked the sense to moisten his hand with 
water, in order to slip it off easily, and he shrieked out most 
lustily, which brought myself, the ladies of the Harem, Grand 
Eunuch, and slaves, into his apartment. 

As soon as I looked at his finger, I perceived that the ring 

was missing, when I immediately desired her to produce it. 

The Princess Epouse, who had by this time entered the room, 

glanced most angrily at the head-nurse, who then handed me 

the ring, which the Princess took into her own keeping, and 

18—2 



276 HASEM LIFE. 

erer afber it remained in her jewel-case, and was only worn by 
the Grand Pacha on grand occasions, but is highly prized on 
acconnt of its shape, for anything in the form of a crocodile is 
considered by the Egyptians as a very lucky omen. Hence so 
many of the doors at Cairo have figures of that animal sculp- 
tured over them. 



CHAPTEE XXVL 

LoKO before break of day, on the morning after the loss of 
the Elmos, the whole of the inmates of the Harem at Bebek 
were up and stirring, as their Highnesses the Yalide Princess 
and the Princess Epouse were going to pay their state visit to 
the Yalide Sultana (the Sultan's mother), at the Sultan's 
Palace, as the Imperial Harem, at which the Yalide Sultana 
was then staying, is situated within the palace. It is entered 
by two most exquisitely-gilded bronzed gates, the portals of 
which are strictly guarded by several eunuchs, who will not 
even allow the Kislar Agaci to enter therein without the 
express orders of His Sublime Majesty. 

It is almost impossible to describe the hurry and confusion 
that reigned in the whole establishment. At five o'clock 
upwards of fifty caiques, of various descriptions, were ranged 
about the palace landing-place, and two regiments of soldiers, 
in full-dress uniforms, mounted guard. Then commenced the 
loading of the heavy caiques with those costly treasures of 
which I have previously given a description, as having been 
shipped on board the frigate at Alexandria. 

Her Highness the Yalide Princess wore on this grand 
occasion a most magnificently rich white satin robe, elaborately 
embroidered with gold thread, pearls, diamonds, and various 
coloured silks. Her long train was trimmed with flounces of 
very deep point lace and flowers, and the bodice was orna- 
mented with a rich lace bertha and gold ribbons. The 
stomacher was composed of large diamonds, sapphires, and 



HASEM LIFE. 277 

rubies, which matched the rich embroidery of the dress most 
admirably. 

Her head was covered with a beautiful pink gauze handker- 
chief, around which was placed a splendid tiara of costly 
diamonds, composed of crescents, stars, and palm-leaves, form- 
ing the Sultan's crest. Her arms were ornamented with 
beautiful sapphire and spotless opal bracelets. Her feet were 
encased in white silk stockings, white satin shoes, embroidered 
with coloured silks, pearls, gold and silver thread, with high 
gold heels, over which she wore a pair of yellow morocco 
boots. Her waist was encircled with a belt of sapphires. On 
her fingers she wore several diamond rings, many of the stones 
of which were almost as large as the celebrated Koi-i-noor 
diamond, since it has been cut. Her cloak was of rich sky- 
blue satin, lined with white satin, and over her face she wore 
a superb Brussels veil, one end of which was placed over the 
head; and the other crossed over the mouth and nose, then 
passed round the back of the neck and tucked down under the 
cloak. 

She carried in her hand a very handsome blue silk parasol, 
lined with white satin trimmed with rich bullion fringe, and 
having a gold handle, encrusted with agates, amethysts, corals, 
diamonds, emeralds, hyacinths, jaspers, opals, pearls, rubies, 
topazes, and turquoises. 

Her Q-rand Eunuch carried over her head a rich sky-blue 
silk umbrella, with a mother-of-pearl handle, quite as large as 
those used for carriages in Europe. Her eyelids were black- 
ened with kohl, and on her forehead was the sectarian kohl spot. 

Her Highness the Princess Epouse wore a most supert 
thick white moire -antique silk robe, with a long train, trimmed 
with handsome point Alen9on lace, having rich ruches of tulle 
and pink artificial daisies all round it. The body and sleeves 
were also trimmed with silver ribbon and daisies. The bertha 
was composed of rich lace, ribbons, and daisies. Her slender 
waist was encircled with a ceinture composed of sapphires and 
diamonds. 



278 HABEM LIFE. 

On her arms she wore diamond bracelets. Around her neck 
was clasped a superb diamond necklace. Her head was 
adorned with a tiara of diamonds, arranged in the shape of 
Indian wheat, the weight of which was verj great. An- 
immense branch, forming a geranium flower in full blossom, 
composed of opals, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, amethysts, 
formed the stomacher of her dress. A pink satin Turkish 
cloak, with sleeves and cape, was placed on her shoulders. 
Her face was covered with a rich Brussels lace veil, one end of 
which was placed over the head, and the other end crossed 
over the mouth and nose, passed round the back of the neck 
and tucked down behind the cloak. Her feet were encased in 
white silk stockings, white satin shoes, richly embroidered 
^ with coloured silks, pearls, and gold and silver thread, with 
high gold heels, over which she wore a pair of yellow morocco- 
papoo8he8, " slippers." 

In her hand she held a rich pink silk parasol, lined with 
white satin, trimmed with a deep silver fringe, with a gold 
handle, inlaid with a great variety of precious stones. On her 
fingers were a large yellow diamond and a beautiful sapphire 
ring. Her Grand Eunuch held over her head a handsome 
large pink silk umbrella. 

I assisted at Her Highness's toilette, and when she was 
dressed, she turned round and asked me if her costume was 
a la Franca, and like those worn by any of our European 
Princesses. It is almost impossible for me to give a correct 
pen-and-ink drawing of the splendour of the costumes of these- 
Princesses, who looked the impersonification of 

"BloomiDg May and bright September," 

for the appearance of the Princess Epouse was that of 

" A beauty for ever unchangingly bright, 
Like the long sunny lapse of summer day's light, 
Shining on, shining on, by no shadow made tender, 
Till love falls asleep in its sameness of splendour ;" 



HAEEM LIFE. 279 

while that of Her Highness the Validfe Princess, the idol of 
Ibrahim Pacha's devoti6n, was 

*' Like the light upon autumn's soft shadowy days, 
Now here, and now there, giving warmth as it flies 
From the lip to the cheek, from the cheek to the eyes ; 
Now melting in mist and now breaking in gleams, 
Like the glimpses a saint hath of Heaven in his dreams.*' 

These two beauteous courtly dames were " the Stars of 
Egypt." 

When their Highnesses entered the Grand Reception-room, 
prior to taking their departure, they were joined by the ladies 
of both the Sultan's and Viceregal Harems, to whom 

*' They turned, and as tliey spoke, 
A sudden splendour all around them broke," 

for the whole of them were dressed in most magnificent varie- 
gated coloured brocaded silks of the costliest kind, wearing 
large Turkish cloaks, /eriVf^e*, of the same materials. 

Their heads were covered with small coloured gauze band- 
kerchiefs ; their faces veiled with superb Brussels net veils ; 
their foreheads were ornamented with tiaras of diamonds, 
emeralds, rubies, sapphires, turquoises, pearls, and other pre- 
cious stones ; their arms, fingers, and ears were ornamented 
with diamond bracelets, rings, earrings, and their waists and 
necks were encircled with ceintures of precious stones and 
diamond necklaces. Gold watches hung at their waistbands, 
suspended from massive gold chains. Many of them wore 
two chains attached to them, all of which marked the Turkish 
time. Their fingers were tinged with the scarlet henna, their 
eyelids dyed with kohl, and the sectarian kohl spot was on 
their foreheads. Their feet were encased in white silk stock- 
ings, and embroidered white satin slippers, over which they 
wore a pair of yellow morocco papooshes. 

Each carried in her hands a coloured silk parasol to match 
her dress, with gold ferrules and mother-of-pearl handles, 



280 HABEM LIFE. 

inlaid with precious stones. There, as they stood, they looked 
like a galaxy of beauteous sprites, the denizens of a fairy land, 
and the attendants of two fairy queens. 

At ten o*clock their Highness's caiques, with the Turkish 
standards floatiog at the prow and stern, were hauled along 
the side of the landing place, the whole length of which, from 
the threshold of the grand entrance, was covered with rich 
Brussels carpet. Tbe Caidjis who rowed the Princesses were 
dressed in richly-embroidered sky-blue silk velvet jackets, 
trimmed with silver buttons, and white silk trousers. They 
wore on their fingers beautiful diamond rings, their baksheesh 
from their Highnesses, and sat on cushions of blue satin, 
fringed with gold, and ornamented with gold tassels. 

At the grand entrance two regiments of infantry were drawn 
up in full dress uniforms, and as their Highnesses descended 
the staircase and passed out on to the landing-place (which 
was covered over with an awniog), attended by their elegantly 
attired suites, the band struck up the Sultan's March, the 
soldiers presented arms, and shouted ** Long live the Princess 
Valide Kanum Effendi, the Princess Epouse !" 

Her Highness the Valide Princess entered her caique first, 
then Her Highness the second wife followed. They were both 
attended by their Head Eunuchs, who were dressed in 
European costume, each wearing over his shoulders, a large 
crimson velvet cloak, embroidered with gold, lined with white 
satin, trimmed with ermine, and fastened round the throat 
with bullion tassels and cord, the tassels hanging over the 
right shoulder, similar in shape and form to that worn by the 
Knights of the Garter, wearing their diamond-hilted swords 
sheathed in gold scabbards, hanging from gold belts fastened 
with diamond clasps. Each had a pair of gold epaulets upon 
his shoulders. They took with them no less than ten different 
suits of habiliments, each suit having gold cords and tags to 
correspond, in order that they might appear in a new uniform 
daily during the Viceregal visit to the Sultan's Harem. They 
were also accompanied by their attendants. They knelt in the 



HABEM LIFE. 281 

stern, each holding the large umbrellas over their Highnesses' 
heads. Then followed the ladies of the Harem, four of whom 
occupied a caique. 

Then followed a caique with four officers, two Turks and two 
Arabs, holding drawn swords in their hands. The rear guard 
of this river procession was brought up bj numerous other 
caiques containing the guard of infantry and the attendant 
slaves. The Princesses and attendants also took with them 
upwards of ten different kinds of new dresses, all of which 
were worn during their visit. 

Then they proceeded to the Sultan's palace, the new one, 
or Palace of the Bosphorus, as it is called par excellence. It 
is an immense pile of buildings, the marble steps by which it 
is entered bathing in the sapphire and rapid-flowing river. It 
is of plateresco style of architecture, and resembles a huge 
model of the finest workmanship of a Lisbon goldsmith. Its 
windows, balconies, pilasters, festooned frames, sculpture and 
arabesque work, remind one of the beautiful Palazzo Doria 
of Venice, except that the former is a large, stately structure, 
and the latter but a diminutive model. The hybrid composite 
front is rich and elegant in appearance, and to sum up all, it 
is, as that gifted author Qautier has stated, '^ a palace which 
might be the work of an ornamentist who was not an archi- 
tect, and who spared neither the hand, nor labour, nor time, 
nor yet expense." 

The wings of this enormous building are neither so lofty, 
nor in unison with the centre piece. A noble terrace runs 
along the whole extent, " bordered on the side toward the 
river with a line of columns, linked to each other by an elegant 
rich wrought-iron balustrade railing, in which the iron curves 
and twines in a thousand arabesques and flowers, like the 
figures which a bold penman traces with free hand upon the 
paper." 

Landing on this terrace their Highnesses were received with 
all the honours due to their exalted rank. The steps were 
covered with Brussels carpet, a guard of honour consisting of 



282 HABEM LIFE. 

eunuchs lined the approach, and their band struck up the 
Sultan's March as they landed and proceeded across a spacious 
marble hall, the floor of which was covered with matting and 
strips of carpet, the ceiling was beautifully painted in fresco, 
as also the walls. 

Proceeding up the grand staircase they were ushered by the 
Kislar Jgaci into the Grand Eeception Saloon of the Sultana 
Valide, which is a lofty room looking upon the Bosphorus. 
The ceiling is in elegant and fresh coloured fresco, and is, a» 
Gautier has most naively and accurately described it, " a 
perfect marvel of elegance and ingenuity ; for now they are 
skies of turquoise, streaked with light clouds, that form depths 
of inconceivable profundity in their intervals ; then immense 
veils of lace of marvellous design ; next, a vast shell of pearl 
irradiated with all the hues of the prism, or imaginary flowers 
hanging their leaves and tendrils through trellises of gold.'* 
The floor was covered with handsome Brussels carpet, the 
walls hung with immense mirrors, which reached from the 
ceiling down to the floor. The whole of the furniture, which 
is ormolu and gold, is of French manufacture ; the covers of 
the chairs and sofas are of white satin, embroidered with gold 
crescents and bees. The hangings of the doors and curtains 
correspond, and are lined with rose-pink silk. The tables are 
similarly ornamented to those in the palace at Babek (Bebek). 

Her Highness the Yalide Sultana, who was richly but plainly 
dressed in a pink satin robe elegantly trimmed, and wearing a 
profusion of diamonds and other precious ornaments, received 
the homage (for here the Viceroys of Egypt have only the rank 
of Viziers, and their mothers and wives are placed on a foot- 
ing of equality with those of the other Viziers) of the " Stars 
of Egypt," and pointing to them to be seated on the divan on 
each side of her. She is rather handsome, about the same age 
as the Valide Princess of Egypt, equally as shrewd in character, 
and bearing a family resemblance to her. Then the usual 
refreshments were handed round, and pipes smoked. After 
the Princesses had remained here some time sipping coffee, 



HABEM LIFE. 283 

eating bonbons, ** Turkish sweetmeats/* and puffing awaj at 
their pipes, the Sultana Valide rose up, and followed by her 
Viceregal guests and staff of attendants, passed into another 
reception- chamber, which Q-autierhas most accurately described 
as being " a casket, the jewels of which are spread about in 
picturesque disorder; necklaces, whose pearls have broken 
from their chain, and rolled forth like drops of hail, while a 
perfect flood of diamonds, sapphires, and rubies forms the 
basis of the decoration. Censers of gold painted upon the 
cornices, send forth the blue or clouded smoke of their per- 
fumes, and cover one ceiling with the varying tints of their 
transparent vapour.*' 

There they were received by the Sultana of the year, who 
was doubled up on the divan like a clasped knife; by her side 
lay the ivory sceptre, the emblem of her rank. She pointed 
to her guests to be seated ; the Valide Sultana occupied the 
seat of honour, and the ** Stars of Egypt" sat on the other 
side. 

In this apartment were assembled the Ladies of the Harem, 
who are divided into five classes. Those of the highest rank, 
who are called Kadens, chiefly natives of Salonica and Circassia, 
are the Sultan's mistresses ; close by stood the Odalisques^ 
about seventy in number, all of whom attend upon the Sultan, 
and form, as it were, his personal staff. The favourite of the 
period is termed the Ikbal, who, if she became enceinte, is 
raised to the rank of a Kaden, and behind them were a whole 
host of Oustas, "upper domestic slaves," who form the 
Valide Sultana and the Harem's household staff. A little in 
advance of them stood the Dadas, " nurses," with the children, 
and bringing up the rear were the Ghez-Metkian, " the lower- 
caste slaves," who perform all the drudgery in the household. 

The census of the Imperial Harem must be about three 
hundred souls, the majority of whom are of Circassian, Greek, 
Caucasian, Egyptian, and Ethiopian origin. Most of them are 
totally unacquainted with their parentage, or even the land of 
their nativity. They are all subservient po the Kadens, who ia 



284: HABEM LIFE. 

their turn pay implicit obedience to the commands, whims, 
and caprices of the Sultana of the year, **the lady with the 
ivory sceptre," whose exalted position is by no means an envi- 
able one, as the other Odalisques adopt all kinds of intrigues, 
plots, and often have recourse even to poison to supplant her ; 
but the moment that she becomes enceinte, all their vile ma- 
chinations cease, and they bow their knees before her with 
submission and respect. 

The usual refreshments, pipes, and cigarettes were served 
round to their Highnesses. I then accompanied one of the 
Ladies of the Harem into one of the large corridors, and en- 
tered her apartment, the door of which, like those of all the 
others, led into it like the cells of nuns in a convent, and at 
the end of each corridor were the eunuchs' quarters. 

Then we passed into another reception-room, where Phingari 
bursts through the opening of the cloud, and displays the 
silver bow, so dear to the Moslem ; Aurora tinges with blushes 
a morning sky ; or farther on, a piece of embroidery, glowing 
with light, shows its golden texture, confined by a clasp of 
carbuncles. Arabesques with countless interlacements, sculp- 
tured caskets, masses of jewels, wildernesses of flowers, vary 
these subjects in innumerable ways, totally beyond the reach 
of description. In short, it is impossible that my feeble pen- 
and-ink drawings can give the imagination of the reader a 
correct idea of the gorgeous and fairy-like magnificence dis- 
played here. 

Amidst the luxury of this regal splendour, and the enjoy- 
ment of profuse hospitality, their Highnesses the Princesses and 
the numerous suites whiled away a fortnight. The time was 
passed in paying visits, making excursions on the Bosphorus 
in caiques, promenading about the gardens, and shopping; 
for the reader must know that the ladies in Turkey go about 
freely, and are not caged up in Harems as they are in Egypt. 

All the Ladies of the Harem soon fraternized together, and 
accompanied their Highnesses the Princesses in their peram- 
bulations. 



HAREM LIFE. 285 

I and the Prince soon took our leave, and returned to the 
Palace at Bebek, and on mj arrival I was informed that I 
must get ready to accompany the Q^rand Pacha and his suite 
to pay their state visit to the Sultan. Next morning I was 
rather surprised at the Grand Eunuch entering my room very 
early. He apologized to me, and hoped that I would not feel 
offended, but I was not to accompany their Highnesses to the 
Sultan's, as he would take charge of them, and I was to go 
alone to pay my respects. 

Very early the next morning, the Grand Eunuch came into 
the reception-room for their Highnesses. He was in one of 
his best humours, and amused me very much by the droll 
manner in which he attempted to salute the Prince according 
to our European mode. He advanced close to him, then 
bowed most respectfully, at the same time exclaiming, " Gud 
mourning, gud mourning, your High — ness, your High — ness" 
— drawing back until he reached the door. 
' Another eunuch, the second in rank, and who would be- 
come the Grand Eunuch should that official die or retire, had 
picked up a few words of English, and he also saluted the 
Prince in the same manner, at which he was quite pleased ; 
but he had that morning been guilty of a breach of etiquette, 
for which I reproved him. The fact was, that in the hurry of 
the moment he had forgotten to leave his overshoes at the 
door, so I sent him back, knowing full well that no European 
should ever allow a native to show less respect to him than he 
is obliged to show to persons of rank in his own country, or 
he would abuse his calling, and treat him contemptuously, if 
not with positive disrespect. It was, however, quite -an over- 
sight on the part of this eunuch, whose name was Southcote, 
for he always behaved most kindly to me. 

In a few moments Shaytan entered the room with the Grand 
Pacha, who was dressed in the splendid uniform of a Grand 
Pacha of the highest rank. He wore a dress black coat, the 
front of which was completely covered with one mass of gold 
embroidery, trimmed with gold buttons. The corners of the 



286 HABEM LIFE. 

tails were richly embroidered, having two gold buttons fastened 
behind at the waist. It was buttoned up close to the neck, 
the collar also being embroidered with gold. His trousers 
were of black cloth, decorated with strips of gold lace down 
each side ; his feet were encased in silk stockings and patent- 
leather boots, with high heels and gold spurs ; on his shoulders 
were placed two gold epaulets, his small diamond-hilted sword 
was sheathed in a gold scabbard encrusted with diamonds, and 
girded round his waist by a gold belt, fastened with a diamond 
clasp in the shape of a crescent. 

A small diamond star hung on his breast, attached to a blue 
ribbon, which was placed across his left shoulder. His head was 
covered with a/<?2, and on his forehead was placed the secta- 
rian black spot, which was not made of Jcohly as it ought 
properly to have been done, for the head-nurse, not having 
any of that pigment by her, was obliged — oh ! " say it not in 
Gath, tell it not in Ascalon !" — to make it with the black ink 
taken out of the Dog of a Christianas inkstand, miscreant 
" Giaour,'^ though she was. ' His overcoat was of black velvet, 
lined with crimson silk. 

He was accompanied by the young Princess, his sister, who 
wore a white satin dress, with a long train richly embroidered 
with gold leaves ; round her waist was a gold belt, fastened 
with a diamond clasp in the form of a crescent ; her tiny feet 
were encased in white satin embroidered shoes with gold heels, 
like those of their Highnesses the Princesses, over which she 
wore ^^ papooshes'^ of yellow morocco. Her head was covered 
with a small sky-blue velvet /ez, encircled with a band com- 
posed of small pearls, diamonds, and gold thread, the tassels 
being made of similar stones. Their cloaks were of light 
mauve-coloured silk, lined with pale green satin. In her hand 
she carried a parasol of the same material with a pearl handle, 
studded with pearls and diamonds. Her beautiful jet black 
hair hung down her back in long curls. 

She was accompanied by her own young slaves, and the 
Prince's attendants, all of whom were dressed in male attire. 



HABEM LIFE. 287 

made expressly for the occasion by the Sultan's turzi-ile. The 
female slaves were attired in most costly silks of various 
colours. Then they descended into the grand entrance-hall, 
and I accompanied them down to the terrace, where I saw 
them safely seated in their caiques. 

Upon their Highnesses* arrival at the Sultan's palace they 
alighted at the terrace, were received with due honours, and 
then ushered by the Grand Eunuch into the Sultan's apart- 
ments. These are all superb rooms, and furnished in the most 
costly modem manner, in imitation of those at ^Versailles, only 
considerably Orientalized. The whole of the ceilings are 
painted in fresco, and from them hung suspended magnificent 
gilt chandeliers : the floors are covered with rich carpets, the 
walls decorated with beautiful mirrors, the tables in the rooms 
are all inlaid with mosaics, and similarly arranged to those in 
the Palace of Bebek, but with richer ornaments. The doors 
and framework of the windows, the hangings of which are of 
rich silk to correspond with the furniture, and fine white lace 
curtains, are of the finest cedar, violet, ebony, and mahogany 
woods, beautifully carved, and the shutters are handsomely 
gilded. But the view is the most beautiful that has ever glad- 
dened the sight of man, the picturesqueness of the panorama 
is unsurpassed in the whole universe. . r 

Looking out of those immense windows we behold the 
Asiatic coast looming from amidst a mass of superb dark cy- 
presses ; then Scutari comes forth with all its pretty objects ; 
the rapid azure waters of the dreaded. Bosphorus flowing 
swiftly on, bearing on its sapphire-looking bosom vessels of all 
denominations, from a caique to a steamer, above which, poised 
up in the balmy air, are seen flights of albatrosses, gulls, 
mews, &c. Then, as we stretch forward, a fine view of both 
ahores is obtained, lined with pretty country-seats, kiosks in 
almost all the hues of the rainbow. Over those terraces of 
fairy palatial structures the most singular rays are cast, both 
by the sun in the day and the lovely moon at night, which 
** lend enchantment to the view." 



288 HABEM LIFE. 

As Abdul Aziz was closeted with some of bis ministers 
tbeir Higbnesses bad to wait for tbeir audience, and in tbe 
mean time tbe Grand Eunucb undertook to escort tbem 
tbrougb several of tbe otber apartments. At first be led tbem 
into the Bed-glass Saloon, wbicb is witbout exception tbe most 
extraordinary apartment in tbe wbole pile, and wbicb sbould 
be seen as Q-autier saw it : " Wben tbe sun streams tbrougb 
tbis dome of ruby, tben all tbings witbin blaze with strange 
ligbt; tbe air seems to be on fire, and you almost imagine 
yourself breatbing flame ; tbe columns sbine like lamps, tbe 
marble pavement reddens like a floor of lava, a fiery glow 
devours tbe walls, and tbe wbole wears the aspect of tbe 
reception-ball of a palace of salamanders, built of metals in a 
state effusion.*' 

The pictorial " hell " of a grand opera, or tbe glare of a mas& 
of Bengal lights, can alone convey an idea of tbis strange and. 
startling effect ; and in order that tbe visitor sbould behold 
everything in keeping, it only wants tbe owner of tbis most 
singular-looking apartment, the Sultan, to be seated there on 
the magnificent divan, when, like Zamiel in Weber's opera of 
*Der Preyscbutz' (and which is tbe custom in Turkey) tbe 
scarlet-clad odalisque with her flaring red turban glides alone,, 
and lifts up the flaming coloured hangings of tbe doorway, 
standing like a phantom before him. Her visit warns " the 
ligbt of tbe world " that the lugubrious cry of Stamboul hiangiu 
var ! " Constantinople is on fire," resounds from street ta 
street, and that he must do his duty and proceed to assist at 
extinguishing the flames. Then, indeed, it might well be de- 
signated " tbe palace of the prince of salamanders." 

Their little Higbnesses were not in tbe least frightened at 
tbe singular appearance of this chamber; on the contrary, 
they appeared delighted at it. Tben that good-natured func-^ 
tionary took them into what has been considered by some 
writers, who went over tbis noble pile of buildings when in 
course of construction, as the hijou of tbe place (such, how- 
ever, is not my opinion, now that the whole of tbe rooms are 



HABEM LIFE. 289 

occupied), the bath-room. Theophile Q-autier has described 
this so accurately that I shall quote his account of it. '' It is 
in Moresque style, built of veined Egyptian alabaster, and 
seems as if carved out of a single precious stone, with its 
colonnades, its pillars, with graceful, overhanging capitals ; and 
its arch, starred with eyes of crystal which sparkle like 
diamonds. It is in those transparent flags, shining like agates, 
that * the sovereign of sovereigns ' surrenders up his frame to 
the, to him, delicious and skilful manipulations of the tellaks, 
* rubbers,' surrounded the while by a cloud of perfumed vapour, 
and beneath a gentle rain of rose-water and benzoin ! " 

Then the G-rand Eunuch, leading their Highnesses by the 
hand, retraced his steps back to the apartment into which he 
had first introduced them. There they found the Sultan Abdul 
Aziz seated a la Turque on a divan, attended by a whole host 
of Houris, who were most assuredly no Peris of loveliness. 

He was about the same age as the Viceroy, a noble-looking 
personage, of middle height, piercing dark eyes, but most 
courteous and amiable in his manners. His costume was 
simplicity itself; it consisted of a frock coat of dark blue, 
almost black ; white trousers ; pate at leather boots ; and a fez 
in which the imperial aigrette of heron's feathers was fastened 
by a large button, formed of diamonds of the first water. He 
received the homage of their little Highnesses with a smile, 
and pointed to the G-rand Eunuch to seat them by his side on 
the divan. Then coffee and sweetmeats were served, but not 
pipes, as both their Highnesses were as yet too young to 
indulge in the luxury of the weed. The Sultan, however, 
puffed away at his pipe. 

At the end of an hour their Highnesses took their leave, 
salaamed, and were conducted by the Grand Eunuch into the 
Harem, where they found the Valide Sultana, together with 
their Viceregal grandmother and mother squatting on the 
divan, puffing away at their cigarettes, while a whole host of 
Kadens, Odalisques, Ladies of both the Viceregal Harems, 
Oustas, Dadas, and low-caste slaves were ranged about the 

19 



290 HABEM LIFE. 

apartment in the form of a crescent. Then thej went and 
fraternized with the bevy of little children, whose relationship 
to the late or present Sultan I was unable to ascertain ; they 
appeared to have formed on that day, at least, a joyous group. 

At eight o'clock at night their little Highnesses returned to 
the Palace of Bebek. As to myself, after I had witnessed the 
departure of their water pageantry, as it glided swiftly in the 
basin of the Bosphorus, I roamed about the beautiful heights, 
then rested myself on the green sward near the G-reek caf6, 
gazed in raptures at the picturesque and extensive views before 
me, and, as evening drew near, returned to my solitary chamber, 
pondering on my strange position, and wondering how soon I 
should be released from my gilded cage. 

The scene I had witnessed put one in mind of the Lord 
Mayor's procession on the Thames on the ninth of November, 
only with this difierence, that the lovely sky was azure bright, 
the river of a sapphire colour, and the weather warm and 
cheerful. 



CHAPTEE XXVII. 

Aftee the lapse of ten days, their Highnesses the " Stars of 
Egypt " and suite returned to the Palace at Bebek, with the 
same pageantry as they had left it. The G^rand Pacha was 
still suffering from a severe cold, brought on, as I have 
previously stated, by having his hair cut, and considerably 
increased by the dampness of the rooms in which we were 
located, as the Palace, being of stone, was always damp. In 
short, the furniture had become quite covered with mildew, 
and the divans and sofas were spotted all over with it. 

The Hekim Bachi ordered the Prince to be removed to the 
Old Viceregal Palace, which stood further up the Bosphorus, 
and orders were given for our immediate departure. "Well, 
thought I, so then the Old Palace is to be our dwelling ! and 
those words tell me enough of misery, as I fully expected to 



HAEEM LIFE. 291 

enter another "mansion of discomfort;" and not feeling in 
good health myself, I regretted our removal. 

Before the necessary preparations for our flight were com- 
pleted, I fell sick, and finding that the Hekim Bachi, whom the 
Princess h{(4 sent to attend upon me, did not treat me properly, 
I became alarmed, and informed the Princess Epouse that I 
must quit my post. Her Highness having told the Yalid^ 
Princess of my determination, the latter, contrary to all pre- 
cedent, sent for His Excellency Khoorshid Pacha, the Cham- 
berlain, who entered the Harem, and proceeded to have a 
conversation with the widow of Ibrahim Pacha. I add con- 
versation, because His Excellency did not see that Princess, 
for she held the door of the room ajar, and keeping in the 
background gave him her instructions. Her Highness being 
Lady Paramount here. 

His Excellency informed me that Her Highness wished me 
to have every attention shown me, and asked me to remain ; 
saying that when we removed to the Old Palace I should soon 
recover, as the place would not be so damp. 

I yielded to Her Highness' s remonstrances, although I felt 
quite convinced that, lacking the necessary "creature com- 
forts " (for even in Constantinople I had been obliged to live 
upon bread, &uit, and a little pigeon or fowl, those being the 
only eatables that approached to anything like European diet), 
her kindness and sympathy would avail but little, and that the 
change to the Old Palace would not benefit my health, what- 
ever it might do that of the G-rand Pacha. He would have 
remained in robust health, had I been allowed to treat him as 
I wanted to do ; but no, the Hekim Bachi thought that was a 
capital opportunity to reap a golden harvest, and so he made 
the most of that accommodating disease^a cold. 

Many a time and oft woidd the Valid^ Princess come into 
my chamber, sit upon my couch, and do all she could to cheer 
me. One day she ordered her jewel keeper to fetch her jewel 
caskets, and showed me all the costly presents that the Sultau 
had sent her. They were most beautiful ; some of them 

19—2 



292 HABEM LIFE. 

superb tiaras of diamonds, consisting of large sprays of the 
lotus flower ; magnificent stomachers, made in the shape of 
jasmine, myrtle, and rosebuds. Then she would place before 
me her trays of rings, which comprised sapphires, diamonds, 
opals, emeralds, rubies, &c. • 

At length I managed to leave my bed, and then I began to 
pack up my penates, for removal to the Old Palace. 

About six o'clock the next morning I was awoke by the 
eunuchs, who had brought several slaves to my room to remove 
the furniture, bed and bedding, out of the chamber. I was in 
so weak a state, that I requested them to let them remain a 
few hours longer ; but, as they explained to me that the G-rand 
Pacha would leave at eight o'clock, I dressed myself as quickly 
as possible, and let the slaves enter, who stripped the apart- 
ment of everything except the divan, and left it in the same 
state as I had entered it on my arrival from Alexandria. Soon 
afterwards Zenana brought me my breakfast ; but as spoons, 
knives, &c., were all packed up, I dipped my bread in the 
coffee, and partook of it in that manner. 

Looking out of my window, I beheld a complete fleet of 
sailing-boats at anchor off the Palace landing-place, into which 
I watched the slaves put the penates of the Princess Epouse, 
the G-rand Pacha, and the Princess, his sister, and the whole 
of mi/ Princess's suite. The Valid^ Princess did not accom- 
pany us, but remained behind at Bebek, until she returned to 
Egypt, which did not take place for some time after I had 
quitted Constantinople. 

Scarcely had the boats been loaded, when the wind began to 
rage with great fury, the clouds lowered, the hitherto sapphire- 
looking Bosphorus assumed the dark, indigo- coloured tinge of 
the angry ocean ; and yet, amidst the warring of the eternal 
elements, the flashing of the forked lightning, and the rolling 
of terrific thunder, the hardy galiondjis weighed anchor. 

The storm continued to rage for many hours with unabated 
fury, so that the Viceregal party had to remain at Bebek until 
six o'clock in the evening before they could start for the Old 



HABEM LIFE. 293 

Palace. I had just descended the landing-stairs, and was on 
the point of entering the caique in which I had placed K. H. 
the G-rand Pacha, when I had to stand hack and allow His 
Excellency the Chamherlain (who had just come out from 
Egypt), to take my place, as he wished to accompany the 
Prince. I therefore entered another caique, and, after a smart 
row of twenty minutes, the whole party arrived in front of the 
Old Palace. 

It is a most singular-looking, tumble-down structure, closely 
resembling in its exterior appearance an old English gable- 
ended farm-homestead, minus the thatched roof; for it was 
slated. The caiques came to an anchor off a dingy-looking 
wooden pier, about 14 feet long by 10 feet wide, lined with 
lofty iron palisades, the spikes of which were richly gilded. 
It was entered by the everlasting iron prison-gates, richly 
ornamented with gilded crescents, which led to the grand 
entrance. 

It must be confessed that a kind of shudder thrilled through 
my veins as I gazed upon that mean, common-looking, wooden 
bam of a place. It looked like the den of a miser. It was 
composed of two long-storied tenements, the interior of which 
was admirably in keeping with the exterior, which was in a 
most dilapidated condition. It evidently looked more fit to be 
burnt down to the ground, which I afterwards most fervently 
wished it had been before I had ever set my feet within its 
miserable walls. 

Opposite to it lay at anchor a noble-looking new screw 
Turkish frigate, her port-holes bristling with heavy guns, the 
salute from which always shook the rickety old- palace — oh, 
what a misnomer ! " barn" would have been the proper appel- 
lation — to its very foundation. 

Landing on the pier, we entered an immense door, or gate- 
way (not unlike the Traitor's G-ate, in the Tower of London, as 
it was thickly studded with huge nails) ; then we passed into 
a magnificent marble-paved hall, lined on both sides with 
rooms. The apartment on the right-hand was appropriated as 



294 HABEM LIFE. 

the Grand EunucVs reception-room, ever memorable, as the 
reader will presently learn, as the hall in which I was forced 
by one of the Viceroy's reputed partners to sign the resignation 
of my appointment, in order to gain my liberty, not from " a 
gilded cage," but from this old barn. 

The only furniture it contained was a divan and a large 
table. The floor, like that of all the other rooms, was matted, 
and the windows (which commanded a full view of the pier, 
and its prison-looking gates) were, together with the doors, 
hung with dark-brown curtains. 

On the left hand were the rooms appropriated to the use of 
His Excellency the Chamberlain, his secretaries, the officers, 
and male attendants on their Highnesses the Princesses and 
the Grand Pacha. 

Turning round an angle in the hall, we approached a door- 
way, just like the entrance to a cellar, but so low that the 
men were obliged to stoop to pass through it. Then, de- 
scending two steps, we passed into a long underground apart- 
ment, in which were located the male attendants, who were 
obliged to remain almost bent double, on account of the low- 
ness of the ceiling. It was so dark, that a lighted lamp hung 
suspended from the roof both day and night. 

This subterraneous vault reminded me most forcibly of the 
underground cavern into which the banditti led Gil Bias. It 
had evidently been used in olden times as a dungeon ; for 
chains and iings were still hanging to the walls. It looked 
like the careen of the palace of an Italian nobleman, in the 
days of the Medici. The very sight of it was enough to give 
the spectator the horrors. 

Facing the grand entrance was a noble flight of marble 
stairs, covered with new matting, and the walls had been 
freshly whitewashed. Ascending the stairs, we approached a 
large door^ at which we were obliged to knock for admittance. 
On its being opened, it led us into the grand entrance of the 
noble marble hall of the Harem, along which ran a corridor, 
the entire length of which faced the Bosphorus. 



HABEM LIFE. 295 

It was lighted bj five spacious windows, all of which com- 
manded views of the sapphire-looking river, and the lovely 
heights on the opposite side, dotted about with trees, from 
out of which peered forth the white tapering minarets of 
many a beautiful mosque and the variegated roofs of pretty 
country-houses. In the centre stood a large marble fountain ; 
at each end rooms branched off both right and left. 

On the right-hand of the entrance were the Q-rand Pacha's 
suite of rooms, and those of his little sister. They were all 
most wretchedly furnished (the noble reception-room was the 
only apartment carpeted) ; the walls and ceilings were white- 
washed ; the hangings of both the doors and windows were 
of blue and white cotton chintz, as was also the divan, which 
was placed under the windows that looked into a very tiny 
garden. Such parsimony and meanness in the furnishing of 
this palace was totally incompatible with the dignity of 
Ismael Pacha, as Viceroy of Egypt ; but I am fain to believe 
that he thought that the Grand Pacha's visit to Constanti- 
nople was an excellent opportunity for him to learn an apt 
lesson in practical political economy. 

On the left hand were the attendants' apartments, all des- 
titute of furniture except divans. On the right hand was the 
Princess Epouse's sitting-room, which was covered with mat- 
ting. In it stood a divan covered with old worn-out faded 
crimson damask. A door led into the bedchamber, which was 
furnished with a plain iron bedstead, with crimson mosquito- 
curtains, a large mirror, and a divan covered with dark-brown 
chintz. The hangings of the doors and windows were of the 
same material, with the addition of white muslin curtains ; no 
other furniture of any kind. 

It is almost impossible to imagine the bare and miserable 
appearance of this barn, or the parsimony displayed in the 
arrangements in this " Mansion of Wretchedness." The ac- 
commodation that had been afforded to us in the palace at 
Bebek, where merely necessary comforts for the Egyptian 
Princesses, and plenty of discomforts for the miscreant of a 



296 HASEM LIFE. 

Christian, had been provided, was superfluous compared with 
the fitting-up and manage arrangements of this Turkish work- 
house for the Egyptians. And this, reader, was the Elysium, 
the Abode of Bliss, which was to restore health to my shat- 
tered constitution, and prove a sanatorium to His Highness 
the G-rand Pacha. 

At the extremity of the hall was a large apartment, used as 
Her Highnesses wardrobe-room, in which the ^^ Kaftandji 
Ou^ta^^ " Mistress of the Wardrobe," slept. Across it hung 
several lines on which were placed the Princess's jackets, 
dresses, &c. It was matted, and contained a divan covered 
with faded damask. Opening a door on the right, we entered 
another large room similarly fitted up. Passing through it I 
reached my own miserable chamber ; it was, like all the others, 
the worst in the whole building, except the subterraneous 
cavern. It was of very small dimensions, not a quarter of the 
size of that I had occupied at Bebek, about 12 feet long by 12 
feet wide, having four windows all destitute of hangings, but 
with cotton blinds. The floor was matted, the walls white- 
washed, and it contained an old worn-out divan, covered with 
washed-out chintz. 

The furniture which had been supplied me at Bebek stood 
outside the door, and when it was placed therein I found it 
very difficult to move about, especially when I was attired • in 
a walking-dress with a moderate-sized crinoline on. Two of 
the windows faced the door, and looked into a square piece of 
a wilderness of a garden, which divided the two tenements 
forming the palace. Among the weeds were grazing two very 
old lanky-looking sheep, perfect skeletons, who now and then 
found shelter beneath the shade of the sycamore and cherry- 
trees which stood therein. 

Privacy was out of the question in that chamber ; for one 
of the two windows looked into the corridor, and the other 
into another room. When I first put my feet in it, I enter- 
tained some slight misgiving that I should not find the com- 
fort and repose the Princess Epouse had promised me, as I 



HABEM LIFE. 297 

soon found that everybody had to pass by both my door and 
windows, so that the constant flitting to and fro of human 
forms past the double frames of the windows, (the old ones 
being broken were left, and the new ones placed over them,) 
together with the trampling of the heavy feet of the attend- 
ants, increased instead of lessening the nervous fever under 
which I was then labouring, and which made me much 
worse. 

Passing along a short passage,! entered the room into which 
one of my windows looked, which was similarly furnished to 
the others, but having in the centre a marble fountain, with 
water laid on to it. Then turning to the right I proceeded 
along an extensive corridor, having numerous rooms leading 
off from it on the left-hand, in several of which I observed 
piled up quantities of beds, coverlets, iron bedsteads, &c., and 
at the extremity of this was another chamber, the door of 
which led into a short corridor. 

Passing along this I entered a noble-looking reception-room 
in the second tenement, as it were, of the palace. It was 
similarly furnished to the others, only having two or three 
console-tables, and branch candelabras standing on them. 
Other rooms branched off both right and left. In the centre 
stood the grand staircase, which was well lighted by a hand- 
some stained-glass cupola ; and in the corridor, round which 
stood several marble fountains, the windows were decorated 
with dark-brown hangings. 

Descending this marble staircase, which was matted, we 
entered a large hall. On the right we passed into the most 
singular apartment in the whole palace ; the atmosphere of 
which, on entering it, struck so icy cold, that I turned round 
to the little Princess's Greek attendant who had accompanied 
me, and asked him what made it feel so cold. He then, as he 
had visited this palace before, warned me that some of the 
marble slabs with which it was paved were removable at plea- 
sure, like the flooring at Sadler's Wells Theatre. This proved 
correct. One day, when I was in that room with some of the 



298 HABEM LIFE. 

eunuchs, I asked them to show me how the water was let in, 
when South cote pressed the springs, slid the bolts back, and 
then one of the largest marble slabs sank down, as it were, 
into the river. This, however, was not the case, as it rested 
upon a marble flooring, so that all persons standing on the 
sunken slab found themselves suddenly let down into an im- 
mense room of marble, like a swimming-bath, filled with the 
water of the Bosphorus, which flowed into it through the five 
upright iron gratings outside, which are fastened hy bolts, and 
if those bolts were drawn back, the indiriduals bathing, if 
they were not expert swimmers, would be carried away into 
the dreaded Bosphorus, and inevitably drowned. 

I stared vacantly at that abyss, wondering how many a 
beautiful slave, the victim of jealousy or treachery, had in 
that manner found a watery grave. I was then suffering from 
nervous fever, and my imagination became troubled and 
diseased. I remembered the sad fate of poor Amy Bobsart 
in Sir Walter Scott's beautiful novel of * Kenilworth ' — how 
she had crossed the treacherous planks and had been sud- 
denly launched into eternity. My blood ; curled in my veins, 
my debilitated frame shook like an aspen-leaf, and it was 
several moments before I could recover strength of mind to 
know that it was a reality — that the yawning water-abyss lay 
at my feet. But there it was, sure enough. 

Becovering my self-possession, I remembered the story a 
Bussian nobleman had related to me, of his having been in- 
veigled into a palace on the Bosphorus, and after having passed 
some hours with a Princess, had been let down into the river 
by means of a similar trap, but being a good swimmer had es- 
caped unhurt. Then I thoroughly understood that I was an 
inmate of one of those old yet mysterious palaces whose rooms 
are built over the Bosphorus, and down which river I had seen 
sacks and baskets floating almost daily. I hastily returned to 
my own chamber, and a kind of presentiment came over me 
that I must quit that palace as soon as I could gain strength 
enough to enable me to do so. I had been advised by the 



HABEM lilPE. 299 

Hekim Bacbi to take baths, but I declined, for I bad seen 
quite enougb of tbe bathing establisbments of the Viceregal 
Palace. I conversed witb some of the aged women of tbe 
Harem, and when I told them of tbe marble slab, tbey shook 
their beads, and uttered tbat significant word, *^ Malesch, 
Madame, Malesch^ Madame ;*' and they told me horrible tales 
of tbat room, into whicb none of them would ever venture. It 
was suggested tbat the Grand Pacha and I should bave our 
meals laid there, as it was so cool, but I refused to allow tbe 
Prince to do so, and would never permit him to enter tbat 
apartment unless I was witb him, and we were accompanied 
by tbe Grand Eunuch. 

One day, prior to my taking to my bed, I took a walk, ac- 
companied by tbe Grand Pacba. We passed the subterra- 
neous dungeon I bave previously described, and there I saw 
through tbe dark iron- grated windows congregated togetber 
the Grand Eunuch, not, reader, witb bis band of forty tbieves, 
but bis corps of forty " spectres of men " like himself, to whom 
he was reading tbe Koran as was his daily custom. Then we 
proceeded along a covered- in stone passage, and shortly after- 
wards we entered tbe gate of a small flower-garden, most beau- 
tifully arranged, in whicb stood a square marble bath. At tbe 
further extremity was another large square marble bath, and 
also an immense shed (boat-bouse), under wbicb were moored 
the caiques, up to whicb tbe river flowed. 

Adjoining was a large kiosk and a lofty pair of gates, whicb 
constituted tbe back entrance to tbis palace, as tbe attendants 
and slaves embarked in tbe caiques from the fligbt of stone 
steps that lead down from it into the river. Botb sides of the 
walk down it were pleasantly sbaded witb a great variety of 
beautiful trees, and one side was lined witb a number of ar- 
bours, baving small divans around tbem, and soofras in tbe 
centre. Tbey reminded me of tbe tea-gardens in England, 
especially those at the Spaniards' Inn, on Kampstead Heatb. 

Traversing tbe grounds, we ascended tbe lofty bill, at the 
top of wbicb stood a pair of large lofty gates, and tbese being 



•300 HAEEM LIFE. 

open I passed through and entered the stables, which contained 
accommodation for fourteen horses. There were also several 
loose boxes and two immense carriage-houses. 

At the side of the outer gates stood a large well-built modern 
house, in which the coachmen, grooms, and helpers lived. The 
stable-yard led into the Stamboul Eoad, which was down hill, 
but one of the most execrable imaginable, much worse than 
that from Haverfordwest to St. David's, full of ruts, loose 
stones, and clods of hard mud, up and down which the car- 
riages were constantly bumping, so that the Viceregal family 
but seldom traversed it. The rides and drives about the vici- 
nity were exceedingly picturesque, as all of them commanded 
most lovely and extensive views of the Bosphorus. 



CHAPTEE XXVin. 

The morning after my arrival at the Old Palace I found my- 
self so weak as to be obliged to lay myself down upon my bed 
on attempting to unpack my trunks. In short, I was obliged 
to get Zenana, the slave who waited upon me, to do it. Pre- 
vious to placing my body-linen in the chest of drawers, she 
laid it upon the divan, from which I had only a few moments 
before risen up, and when she went to remove it, she found the 
whole completely covered with a family of the Browns, who 
rejoice in the patronymic of bug. Not only were the pieces ot 
linen the slave held in her hand covered with them, but the 
whole of the divan swarmed with them. It put me in mind of 
an ant-hill in the interior of India, and if the reader has ever 
been the tenant of a mud-built hut in any of the suburbs of 
Bombay, Madras, or Calcutta, he will be able to form some 
idea of the spectacle which was presented to my sight. 

Like most people I have a most intolerable aversion to all 
the members of that disgusting family. Fortunately I had 



HAEEM LIFE. 301 

taken the precaution to provide myself with several tin cases 
of Keating's Insect Powder, which I strewed upon the divan, 
and after having left it there a few moments I had the 
satisfaction to find that it had so stupefied them that Zenana 
was enabled to sweep them away in her dust-pan. When- 
ever I began to write a letter, the whole of the paper was co- 
vered with them. To sum up all, I was never free from them 
all the time I remained there. Their Highnesses the Prin- 
cesses were equally tormented. Glancing at my mosquito- 
curtains, which were as white as the driven snow when put up, 
I found them perfectly brown, as the bugs clung to them as 
tenaciously as a miser does to his gold, and the slaves were 
obliged to sweep them off into pan after pan. 

One night the whole of the Palace was besieged by them, 
and their Highnesses, who could not sleep for them, ordered a 
regular hunt, which the slaves continued until daybreak, using 
their dust pans to take them up and slop-pails to drown them 
in. The nejt morning, after we had all been employed in that 
manner, we were doomed to be completely besieged by them ; 
for, owing to its being the anniversary of the accession of the 
Sultan to the throne, it was a gala day ; in honour of which 
the frigate fired a royal salute, when down came the whole race 
of Browns like a flight of locusts — rooms and persons were' all 
covered with them. It was a sight I never shall forget were I 
to live for a hundred years. Their Highnesses shuffled about 
the place as if they were mad, and the poor slaves worked, as 
the expression is, " like niggers." 

Preparations had been made for several weeks for the illu- 
mination, which took place that evening. It was a most lovely 
sight. The whole of the iron palisades and gates of the land- 
ing-place was covered with innumerable variegated coloured 
lamps ; scaffoldings were erected in front of the Palace, which 
being ornamented with various Turkish devices, all lighted up 
with those lamps in festoons, gave it a beautiful appearance. 
On the iron palisades, which extended along the whole length 
of both tenements, hung coloured glass lanterns, lighted with 



302 HABEM LIFE. 

wax candles, many of which were knocked down into the Bos- 
phorus by the two old lanky sheep which grazed in the small 
garden by my room ; for not being able to reach their usual 
provender, the vine -leaves, they butted their heads against the 
lanterns and sent a score of them into the river, scattering the 
debris of several others about in all directions. 

Facing us lay the frigate, which was one mass of light, for 
she was decorated and festooned with variegated lamps up to 
her royal mast-head. The military bands playfed the Sultan's 
March, polkas, and other noisy airs, the officers and crew were 
all en grande fenue, and on the other side the palace of the 
Sultan's nephew, which was most brilliantly illuminated, gave 
enchantment to the scene, as it was beautifully reflected in the 
river. 

The scene up and down the Bosphorus all day long was ex- 
ceedingly enlivening, but at night grand and picturesque, for 
there on its azure blue bosom lay thousands of caiques, 
with lamps at prow and stem, all flUed with elegantly- dressed 
Turkish ladies. The steamers, brilliantly illuminated, were 
plying up and down, decorated with flags ; bands of music 
played on their decks, which were thronged with crowds of 
well-dressed persons. It was a brilliant sight. 

I have omitted to mention that the Sultan passed up early 
in the course of the day in his elegant yacht. He was stand- 
ing on the deck, and the Prince and I being at the pier had' a 
good view of His Sublime Majesty as the boat drew very near 
to the Palace. As soon as I perceived the Padishah, I made 
the Grand Pacha salaam His Majesty three times, and I 
curtseyed to him. He most graciously returned it by waving 
his band several times, a mark of very great honour, as the 
Sultans are seldom in the habit of returning any salutations. 
The frigate, which was dressed and decorated, fired a royal 
salute and manned yards, and the band played the Sultan's 
March, and the whole of the crew vociferated with stentorian 
lungs, " May he live a thousand years, and may he see his 
grandson's hairs as white as the driven snow." Late at night 



HABEM LIFE. 303 

the Old Palace pier was absolutely swarming with caiques full 
of musicians, who serenaded their Highnesses, from whom 
they received baksheesh. The Princess Epouse, attended by a 
bevy of the ladies of the Harem, and accompanied by the 
Grand Eunuch, went in caiques down the river to witness the 
illumination, which is the sight par excellence of the year, and 
were thoroughly gratified at that display of Turkish patriotism, 
if I may be allowed the expression. 

The next day, happening to be in the reception-room where 
we had had such a levee of the Browns when the frigate fired 
the royal salute, I saw Her Highness give the G-rand Eunuch 
a handful of sovereigns, which I perfectly understood was 
baksheesh for having accompanied her to see the illumina- 
tion. 

And now I must explain to my readers, that it is almost 
impossible for them to understand the power the Chief Eunuch 
of every Harem possesses, whether he belong to the Viceregal 
or to a plebeian one. The whole of the women. Princesses, 
ladies of the Harem, and slaves, are entirely under his control. 
His word is law, his smile sunshine ; and that is always obtain- 
able by bestowing a proper amount of baksheesh. Well do I 
know it, for often and often have I seen the Kislar Agaci 
salaam their Highnesses the Princesses, smile, and hold out 
his hands to them, exclaiming, Sish ! Sish ! " baksheesh," 
when they invariably sent for their cash-box, and, opening it, 
placed handfuls of bright new sovereigns into his hands. 

His frown, however, is dark as a stormy cloud ; for if he 
declines to allow them to go out, either into the grounds, in 
the caique, or carriage, they have no remedy, but must, like 
all poor prisoners, submit to his will and pleasure. As regards 
myself, they are almost powerless ; I repeat almost, because 
on my wishing to return to my chamber in the Harem at 
Eas-el-Tin, when on the eve of my departure for Alexandria, 
he positively refused to allow me to do so ; and again I ex- 
perienced «the force of their power when in the Old Palace, as 
I shall presently have occasion to relate. 



304 HABEM LIFE. 

They all had orders given them by the Viceroy to allow me 
to do as I liked, and I shall not soon forget the astoDishment 
of some of the inferior eunuchs, when one day the Viceroy 
ordered the G-rand Eunuch belonging to the Harem at Eas- 
el-Tin to have a carriage ready for me to take the Grand Pacha 
out for an airing ; whereupon that functionary turned round 
to His Highness, and inquired if it were to be a close one^ 
whether the blinds were to be drawn down, if the governess 
(meaning myself) was to sit outside on the box with the Arab 
coachman, while he himself sat within ? The Viceroy looked 
at him for some time, then burst out into a fit of laughter, 
and told him very curtly, " No, you are not to accompany 
them ; never to interfere with Madame ; the carriage is to be 
an open one, and whenever it is a close one, the blinds are not 
to be pulled down, unless Madame orders them.** 

It was utterly impossible to obtain any candles in the 
Harem on the evening after the illumination, as the whole 
quantity in store had been consumed in the lanterns, so that 
the Prince and myself had to burn whatever few pieces could 
be collected out of the lanterns. Not a drop of oil was to be 
had, and, extraordinary as it may appear, all the sugar had been 
consumed, so that even the Princess Epouse had to sip her 
'findjans of coffee minus that condiment, for the slaves, being 
on the alert, had taken advantage of the fete, and had pur- 
loined all they could lay their hands on. 

The menage in His Majesty the Sultan's Palace at Bebek 
was admirably conducted, but here it was carried out in the 
most harum-scarum manner imaginable; there was neither 
order nor regularity ; all was discomfort, confusion, and dis- 
order. There were times when neither bread, meat, coffee, 
sugar, candles, nor oil could be obtained ; and then everybody, 
even from the Princesses, the Prince, and myself, down to the 
slaves, had to go without whatever articles were deficient, 
until an arrival of bum-caiques — for caiques plied at the palace 
gates with almost every article of consumption, from a sheep 
down to a lemon, so many times weekly (which put me in. 



HAEEM LIFE. 305 

mind of the bum-boats at Portsmouth) — from whose owners 
the Grraud Eunuch made purchases. 

Here we partook of our daily meals at * the same hours as 
we had done in Egypt. The Princess squatted herself down 
upon the divan, made the slaves do needlework, and partook of 
cigarettes and coffee, refreshed herself with her siesta, enjoyed 
her kef, went out on the river in her caique, paid visits to the 
Valide Princess at Bebek, and to numerous other Harems. 

Soon after the illumination was over I fell so ill as to be 
obliged to take to my bed. The Hekim Bachi was called in 
by the Princess Epouse to attend me, but I gradually became 
worse. A thorough prostration of body, loss of appetite, 
spinal complaint, and nervous fever had all preyed upon me, 
until I was reduced to a mere skeleton, and I found myself 
sinking fast. The Hekim Bachi either did not know how, or 
would not treat me properly. When the Princess asked him 
what ailed me, he replied, ** Nothing; that it was only a cold." 
I then asked Her Highness to allow me three months' leave oi 
absence, promising to return as soon as my health was re- 
establisbed. This Her Highness granted me, and accordingly 
I began to prepare for my departure for Alexandria, whither 
I purposed returning, in order to place myself under the care 
of Dr. Ogilvie, Physician to H.B.M. Consulate. 

One day, prior to my departure, as I was dressing. Her 
Highness, accompanied by the Grand Eunuch and a lady, 
came and knocked at my chamber-door. I opened it; but 
being at that time en deshabille, Her Highness did not enter 
my room, but stood at the door. Then the lady in question 
asked me if I would return at the expiration of that time ? to 
which I replied in the affirmative. Soon afterwards, that lady 
left the corridor, without showing the Princess the slightest 
respect as she marched away before Her Highness, and left her 
close to my door ; but that I prevented, as I took hold of it 
myself, and that was the last time I had the pleasure of seeing 
my Princess, that kind lady who had always treated me like a 
sister, for the next morning she went in the Sultan's yacht to 

20 



306 HABEM LIFE. 

his summer palace at Ismid, in company with the Valide Prin- 
cess, the Valide Sultana, and attended by the Grand Eunuch. 

Ill as I was, I rose early the next day, packed up my penates^ 
resting every now and then ; and when I had finished I de- 
scended into the G-rand Eunuch's room, and ordered one of 
the eunuchs to fetch me a caique. I asked, but asked in vain 
-;— none came, not a eunuch stirred. This was the second, but 
it was the last time that any of those spectres of their race 
had shown me their teeth. At length I was quietly told that 
I could not leave the Palace until His Excellency the Cham- 
berlain came from Bebek ; that they had sent for him, and 
that he would soon arrive ; and thus I was checkmated ; but 
not for long, however. After the lapse of a considerable 
period, Khoorshid Pacha made his appearance, accompanied 
by the Hekim Bachi and Mr. H., the Viceroy Ismael Pacha's 
reputed partner; now I knew that the under-current was 
flowing rapidly towards its mouth. To sum up all, ^Mr. H. 
positively refused to let me leave the palace, unless I would 
resign my post. So to save my life and release myself from 
perpetual imprisonment I signed, under protest made to my 
own " Special Prince " at Constantinople, the form of resig- 
nation that Mr. H. himself drew up, glad to escape from 
Harem life; and proceeded to Alexandria, where I placed 
myself under the treatment of Dr. Ogilvie, who gave me a 
medical certificate, although the Hekim Bachi, who attended 
the Harem at the Old Palace, had said in my presence, before 
His Excellency, that there was nothing the matter with me. 
Yet he had previously told me in my own chamber, that I 
wanted rest and good European diet, and had himself been 
prescribing for me. Dr. Ogilvie ordered me to Europe as 
soon as I was in a fit state to undertake another sea voyage. 

All my attempts to lay a statement of the treatment I had 
received before His Highness the Viceroy failed during my 
sojourn at Alexandria. 1 petitioned His Highness for redress, 
since my resignation was not a free, but a coerced one, brought 
about by " one of those diplomatic manoeuvres which occur 



HAEEM LIFE. 307 

nowhere so Buddenl^, nor bo fatally aa in tLe East," and I am 
up to this moment ignorant of the result. 

BrilliaQt as are the pen-and-ink sketches that our poets have 
painted of Harem life, I have visited and resided in three ol' 
them, which ought to have teen, and most undoubtedly arc, 
the most magnificent of all those gilded cages, and I have no 
desire to visit or live in a fourth. I did not eet my foot in the 
second with the same interest which my ignorance of daily 
life therein had inspired me oa entering the first. 

I found, when 1 became acquainted with their language, 
that the conversation of the Odalisques was most indelicate, 
and when bearable, was directed principally to external matters. 
I soon discovered that it would be most impolitic for me to 
ask any questions ; but, as I have previously stated, I learned 
by indirect means all that I required to know, and everything 
that interested me. Their conversation, which becomes abso- 
lutoly tiresome, continuing from hour to hour, invariably 
touched upon things which in Europe are regarded as criminal, 
abominably indecent, SIthy, and disgusting. 

It is almost impossible to conceive how dif&cult it is to talk 
with individuals, who usually contemplate the world only from 
behind grated windows, or the curtains of carriages, or caiqueM, 
and who so fur from being re moved from worldly interests, are, 
to all inteots and purposes, living in, and stirring in them. 
I'or here even more tban the body is the female mind immured. 
Eaistence in the Harems becomes frightfully monotonous; 
it engenders melancholy madness ; an utter careloHBuesa of 
worldly thiuga creeps over the senses, a total indifference to 
everything around jou, and a lethargic stupor enshronds the 
mind. From what else can this arise, but from breathing an 
atmosphere redolent with the perfume of tobacco, and the 
powerful narcotics with which the air is impregnated ? 

I have minutely detailed ttieir daily social and domestic life. 
They did not seem to experience any ennui in their monoto- 
nous Beelusion, which robbed them of all participation in tlie 
life of their liege lo"" They knew very little of 

20—2 



308 HABEM LIFE. 

his daily life. And His Higliness shared nothing with them, 
but yet they shared him with his slaves — of which sensual 
iDtercourse the Ikbals, " favourites," made no secret, for they 
would very coolly approach and inform me whenever they were 
commanded to attend His Highness the Viceroy in his pavilion 
— which they considered a great honour. 

The Princesses never took the slightest notice, nor made any 
allusion to me about such visits ; but I have already explained 
how I knew when they took place. If I had asked them if 
they were weary to death of so degrading an existence, they 
would have answered, Ma/esch, Madame ! Mafeach) Madame ! 
" What does it matter ! What does it matter ! " 

True it is that they have at their command that succedaueum 
of all women who lack interest in life, that which European 
society avails itself of as readily as do the inmates of the 
Turkish and Egyptian Harems, — I mean, intrigue ; which in 
the East, and especially within the halls of the " Enchanted 
Castles," in which I have been lately immured, commences 
below stairs," among the slaves; but within these secret 
institutions for the corruption of women, a hundred, nay, a 
thousand by-ways and cross-roads are taken to secure the 
object in view, even if it be the supplanting of an Ikbal ; espe- 
(jially if such occurs within the splendid halls of the Imperial 
** Bower of Bliss," where no fair Sultana reigns paramount for 
a longer period than a year, for the Sovereign of Islam has no 
consort. The Sultan's mistre|ses are but purchased slaves — 
(he is himself the son of a slave) — the more fortunate of whom 
by beauty, intrigue, or the birth of sons, raise themselves ta 
be IkbaUy " favourites ; " or, as it often happens, the single 
favourite has, many a time and oft, governed the Empire. 

Petticoat-government, as history tells us, is nothing new 
here. And not only under weak governments and in times of 
decline, as for example, under Murad III., who had for his 
mistress, the charming Venetian, Baffa; and under Achmet 
I., whose favourite was the high spirited Greek, Kosseus — 
women who, in the seventeenth century, misused and abused 



HABEM LIFE. 309 

their power — botli were strangled in insurrection : but when 
Suliraan I. the Great, the conqueror, the lawgiver, was so 
completely in the chains of his beloved and darling French 
actress, lloxalana, that he murdered his two sons by another 
slave, in order to secure the throne to those of Eroxalana. 

The downfall of a Minister, the spoliation of the goods and 
chattels of an Egyptian Prince, the removal of a hated rival, 
the substitution of one infant for another, the sending of an 
heir apparent to his last home, the poisoning of the reigning 
Sultan or Viceroy, in short all crimes are hatched in the lower 
regions. It is probable, that the very condition of slavery 
renders the practice of trickery, subtlety, and artifice, un- 
avoidable, and makes easy the science of weaving nets which 
cannot be broken through ; that dreadful science not so well 
understood where the relations of mankind are more free. 
In all this you may be satisfied that the women of the Harem 
evince the same deep interest in the private affairs of their 
neighbours, as we in civilized society are accustomed to feel. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

It is very easy to understand how Harems become the very 
hotbeds of every wicked quality, the seeds of which are already 
slumbering in the heart of woman. The inmates are sur- 
rounded by rivals, always watched, for the surveillance sur- 
passes even that of the secret police in Russia, where the 
very walls have ears, and spies, most emphatically termed by 
our neighbours the French les mouches, buzz about as thick as 
mosquitoes in India and Egypt. They are encompassed by 
those cunning, shrewd, and merciless monsters of humanity, 
the eunuchs ; and being always without any profitable or 
suitable occupation, jealousy, envy, asperity, hatred, an innate 
love of intrigue, a boundless desire to please, inflamed with 
sensual passion, must blaze up like flames. One will vanquish 
a hated rival, either by a display of personal charms, the 



310 HABEM LIFE. 

poisoned cup, or hy the all-powerful influence of baksbeeBh 
over the human spectres that guard those " Castles of In- 
dolence/' and who, as I have shown, like the once dreaded 
Thugs of India, are adepts at strangulation. 

Is not all this natural to tlie heart of Eastern women ? es- 
pecially in marble halls, where many a Lucretia Borgia abides 
her time to turn to account her intuitive knowledge of poisons 
and acts of cruelty. And say as often as you please that 
Eastern Houris are accustomed to the Harem, and that " cus- 
tom makes all things tolerable," nay, light and easy, I look 
upon the assertion as one of the many threadbare phrases 
which are current. Yes, reader, they come under the yoke of 
the Harem, and they are by degrees habituated to its form ; 
but against the essence their very instinct revolts. I cannot 
say their conscience, for that may sleep in all but a very few, 
but their untameable and all-powerful instinct. 

Since there is no culture of the intellect or soul to restrain 
or regulate its aspirations, how is it possible that there should 
not be violent outbreaks, shameless coarseness, great bar- 
barity ? And this is the opinion I have formed, after having 
witnessed both Egyptian and Turkish women at home, and 
their deportment towards each other and strangers. I have 
taken part in their daily life ; observed their bearing towards 
each other, and how far the dominion of lawful wives (for with 
the exception of the Sultan, every Turk has one or two) 
extends over the female slaves, which amounts over their own 
to life and death, but over those belonging to their liege lords 
none, absolutely none. They, in like manner, possess no con- 
trol over theirs, with whom they must not attempt to intrigue, 
except at the penalty of a divorce, ah ! and perhaps the cer- 
tainty of being sooner or later the victims of their own 
audacity (as has but lately been the case at Constantinople) 
and the instant disappearance of that slave who has so boldly 
coveted the honour of becoming the Ikbal of her lord, and so 
heedlessly attempted to supplant her mistress in her lord's 
affection. 



HABEM LIFE. 311 

It is an incontrovertible fact that the walls of the Harems 
have, and still do conceal, sad and terrible secrets. One most 
wretched fruit which has grown out of the Harems, and 
mainly contributed to the decadence of the Ottoman do- 
minions, is the result of the neglected education of the 
Princes, or, properly speaking, their very existence in the 
State. To sum up all, the wings by which we are enabled to 
raise ourselves from the dust, and to develop which is, or 
ought to be, the end and aim of all culture and of all education, 
are crippled by the Turk. 

Turkish history shows us that no Sultan brought up by 
Turkish Thugs (the mutes), intriguing lewd women, and those 
spectres of mankind, the eunuchs, in or out of the Princes' 
Cage ever attained to that development which at the same 
time discerns and wills. And the same will be the result with 
all Egyptian Princes nurtured within the baneful influence of 
the Harems, even in this the nineteenth century. 

It is true that heavenly gifts, the free grants of Qod, are 
chiefly needed for such consummation, and that the regene- 
rating genius of a Prince depends as little upon inclination, 
caprice, and education, as the genius of a financier, or artist, 
or any other character : nevertheless, having lived in the 
Harems, I am satisfied that the soil is capable of producing 
only crippled plants, and we know that almost all the Sultans 
and heirs presumptive to the Viceroy ship vegetate upon it 
until they are called from that noxious atmosphere to the 
throne ; and although the Egyptian Princes quit that institu- 
tion for the corruption of women and young princes at ten or 
twelve years of age, still the recollection of the indelicate 
scenes in which they daily took a part have become too deeply 
rooted in their minds ever to be eradicated. 

But if their Highnesses were removed at the tender age of 
four years old from the Harem, and placed, together with 
their Moslem nurse, under the care of a European with a 
European staff of attendants about them, and had an estab- 
lishment suitable to their rank and position assigned them» 



312 HABEM LIFE. 

then we might look forward to such a course producing more 
healtliy plauts, from which, in each succeeding generation, 
would spring lasting benefit ; but until some such measures 
are adopted, all hope for the future regeneration of the Sultans 
or Viceroys of Egypt is vain. 

The same observation is applicable to the whole of the noblesse 
of both those countries. Most of the great functionaries of 
both Egypt and Turkey are, at least their forefathers wei*e, 
but purchased slaves. A slave, we know has no fatherland, 
and can have none. He lives for himself, as all the Moslems 
do. He must in some degree keep himself within the circle 
of his obligations ; but whence shall he obtain the incitement 
to activity and efficiency which refuses to be bound within the 
old beaten track ? If the wheels of the state machine, which 
for so many years have kept affairs in motion, should, through 
age, be tottering and feeble, not turning with due regularity 
and vigour, he takes good care to leave them as they are. If, 
in addition to this, you consider that the population of Turkey 
diminishes every year, as is always the case in all ill-governed 
countries ; and here it is positively alarming, partly from 
polygamy, and partly from infanticide — (for women in the 
Harems who have had one or two confinements, and have 
grown tired of childbearing, as they soon do, especially if they 
have been daughters, think it no sin to destroy their unborn 
offspring), for I have known even Princesses to leave their 
only sons when they were dying to the care of Moslem nurses 
for a whole week together, while they went out visiting ; — if 
you consider this, I say, does it not become natural to ask, 
How is it possible for future hopes to knit themselves to young 
branches, to fresh roots, when the pith of the tree has lost all 
its vital powers ? 

THE END. 



BILLING, PBINTF.R, OUILDFOBD. 



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