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THIRTY YEAES IN THE HAREM. 




THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM 



OR, THE 



AUTOBIOGKAPHY 



OF 



MELEK-HANUM WIFE OF H.H. KIBRIZLL 
MEHEMET-PASHA. 



LONDON: 
CHAPMAN AND HALL, 193, PICCADILLY. 

1872. 



BRADBURY, EVANS, AND CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFR1ARS. 




CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

My family My mother's marriage Extraordinary incident at my 

birth 3 



CHAPTER II. 

/ , 

My chool-days I am introduced to society I receive an offer of 

marriage My marriage My departure for Italy . , .11 



CHAPTER III. 

My return to Constantinople Residence in the harem of Haider- 
Effendi The Ramazan My intrigue with a Circassian lady : 
she takes me to the Seraglio- Her escape Character of Essemah- 
Sultan 23 



CHAPTER IV. 

My marriage with Mehemet-Pasha Gueuzluklti-Re'shid- Pasha asks 
me to find him a wife My proceedings The daughter of Hafuz- 
Pasha is bestowed upon him 33 



VI CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER V. 

PAGE 

Character of Sultan Abdul-Medjid History of Besme-Hanum 
Disgrace of Mehemet- Pasha ; my wretched condition after his 
degradation .......... 43 



CHAPTER VI. 

I resolve to petition Riza-Pasha in favour of my husband I obtain 
for him the command of Akiah Shortly afterwards, he is ap- 
pointed governor of Jerusalem Our journey from Akiah to 
that city ........... 60 



CHAPTER VII. 

Our entry into Jerusalem ; its inhabitants How I set about getting 
offers of presents^ Easter A Greek conspiracy I enter upon a 
speculation in the grain trade ...... 69 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Revolt of the Arabs of Khair-Ackman Deplorable condition of the 

Ottoman troops 86 



CHAPTER IX. 

I undertake a journey to visit the Druses and the Bedouins ; the 
reception they gave me On my return to Jerusalem I succeed 
in quelling an Arab emeute I find a husband for a Circassian 
Whom "I had : brought up ; the marriage ceremonies . .94 



CHAPTER X. 

Nazly-Hanum, daughter of Mehemet- Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, invites 
me to visit her My reception ; her character I visit Alexan- 
dria and Cairo 112 



CONTENTS. Vll 

CHAPTER XL 

PAGE 

Mehemet- Pasha is recalled The journey from Jerusalem to Con- 
stantinople My husband is appointed governor of Belgrad : we 
repair to that new post . . . . ' . . . .128 

CHAPTER XII. 

Residence at Belgrad Monotony of our 'existence there Revolt of 

the Serbians, and my visit to the Prince . . . . .138 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Recall of Mehemet- Pasha He is appointed Mushir Invitation from 

the Kadin-Effendi -Her History Condition of Slaves in Turkey 151 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Object of the honour done me by the Kadin-Effendi Intrigue of 

Said-Pasha against Reshid- Pasha Character of this Minister . 164 

CHAPTER XV. 

The promenades about Constantinople The Bai'ram Mehemet - 

Pasha is appointed Ambassador to England . . . .171 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Departure of the Pasha for London I remain at Constantinople 
My situation Sickness of Djehad-Bey My alarm Fatmah, 
my housekeeper Her counsels The borrowed infant Conduct 
of Fatmah and Beshir Their rivalry My proceedings Mur- 
der of Beshir . . 178 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Scene after the- murder The assassins are given up to justice Man- 
oeuvres of my enemies My imprisonment and trial : The Pasha 
is summoned to Constantinople Reshid's policy The Pasha's 
marriage Djehad's repudiation Noble conduct of the Sultan 
Confiscation of my goods My banishment ... 194 



viii CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

PAGE 

Life at Koniah Hospitality of Hafiz-Pasha Singular ideas of his 
wives I am invited to visit Tchelebi-Effendi, chief of the Der- 
vishes Description of this people Frederick's arrival Depar- 
ture of Hafiz-Pasha . ,211 



CHAPTER XIX. 

I take flight from Koniah Kutayeh I reach Constantinople Pro- 
tection is extended to me by Reshid-Pasha .... 224 



CHAPTER 

Political events Kibrizli- Pasha Grand- Vezir Marriage of Ali- 
Galyb-Pasha with the daughter of the Sultan Deplorable con- 
sequences of this union Rivalry between Reshid and Mehemet- 
Ali-Pasha 234 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Reshid-Pasha interferes between my husband and myself Proceed- 
ings before the Porte Reshid-Pasha is replaced by Ali-Pasha 
Oath taken My second imprisonment I am let off . .244 



CHAPTER XXII. 

I leave Constantinople, and go to reside at Jalova I meet a highway 
robber Unhappy condition of the inhabitants of the country- 
Tyranny of the Mudirs . . . . . . . . 253 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

Death .of Abdul-Medjid Kibrizli -Pasha raises Abdul- Aziz to the 
Throne Character of the new Sultan Consequences of the pro- 
tection afforded by the Consuls Disgrace of Mehemet-Pasha . 265 



CONTENTS. IX 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

PAGE 

Aisheh's condition Conduct of Ferideh Family education Family 

life 273 

CHAPTER XXV. 

Apprehensions of Ferideh Her manoeuvres Marriage scheme 

Choice of Shevket 288 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

Coronation of Abdul- Aziz Reception at the Seraglio Extraordinary 

custom Incident at the reception The lost jewel , , 298 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

Marriage schemes Betrothal Marriage festivals The apartment of 

the bride Wedding ceremony 814 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

Remarks on Aisheh's marriage Aisheh's sorrows I rejoin my 

daughter Crisis in the harem Aisheh's flight . . . 334 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

Consequences of Aisheh's flight Intrigues of Ferideh Policy of 
Kibrizli Manoeuvres of Shevket Our flight from Shevket 
Divorce of Aisheh , 851 



CHAPTER XXX. 

Efforts of Shevket Confiscation Law-suit Mahmud-Bey Pro- 
tracted hostilities My view of the case Aisheh's sentiments . 367 



X CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXXI. 

PAGE 

Departure for Egypt Abib-Pasha Arrival at Alexandria Beha- 
viour of the EgyptiansT-Departure for JMityJene We are taken 
by force Exile to Koniah 383 

CHAPTER XXXII. 

Route to Koniah Sojourn at Koniah Escape from Koniah We 
arrive at Mersine The* French Consul Arrival at Constanti- 
nople ...... 396 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

Arrival at Constantinople Our position Designs of the Turks 

We decide to fly to Europe My nephew Carlo Calix . . 411 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

Our flight- 1 We "disguise ourselves We get on board the mail- 
steamer Our departure Off at last for Europe .... 422 



THIKTY YEAES IN THE 
HAKEM. 



CHAPTER I. 

My family My mother's marriage. 

MY maternal grandmother, who was from the 
isle of Chios, married an Armenian, a banker pa- 
tronized by the then reigning Sultan Selim III. 
(1789 1807). He was very rich, and what is 
always a perilous matter in the East he was known 
to possess a fortune. 

The Janissaries were, at that time, the tyrants 
of the country. They were a source of universal 
terror, so resolutely did they devote themselves to 
the most shameless depredations to the most cruel 
measures of vengeance, and to acts the most 
arbitrary. 

My grandfather one day received a warning that 
the Janissaries had formed the design of paying a 
visit to his house in order to lay hands upon his 
treasures. Fear got the better of his courage ; his 

B 2 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

reason was disturbed. Ascending to the terrace-roof^ 
common to the generality of old houses, he pre- 
cipitated himself to the ground. When he was taken 
up, horribly mutilated, life was found to be extinct. 

The announcement which led to so lamentable a 
result was unquestionably false, for the widow, the 
son, and the three daughters of the deceased were 
left in peaceable possession of his effects. 

The family resided at Constantinople, in the 
suburb of Galata, between the quarter named Sail- 
bazar (the Tuesday bazaar) and Azdb-Capou (the 
Refuge). The house they lived in was of great 
antiquity. Built by the Genoese, it was the pro- 
perty of a celebrated physician, named Hadji- 
Mustapha. It was laid out in four flats, each 
comprising four or five bed-rooms and a spacious 
reception-room.. As it stood on a considerable 
elevation, an agreeable prospect was enjoyed, even 
from the first floor, ranging over the White Sea, 
the tower of Leander (called by the Turks the 
Maiden's Tower), and Scutari, with its forests of 
lofty cypress. 

The reason why the Turks call Leander 's Tower 
Kiz-kulesi, or the Maiden's Tower, is referable to a 
singular legend : 

A certain Sultan dreamt that his daughter would 



MY FAMILY. 5 

perish from the bite of a serpent. The muned-jims 
(soothsayers), when consulted as to the means of 
preserving the princess from the fatal calamity that 
menaced her, could suggest nothing better than to 
construct, out at sea, the tov/cr in question. The 
young Sultana was confined in this tower, with 
several of her ladies to bear her company. One 
day, whilst surrounded by her attendants, and 
seated upon the highest storey, she was amusing 
herself by watching the boats passing below, when 
she remarked in one of them some magnificent 
fruits, especially grapes, for which she had a great 
longing. In spite of the Sultan's prohibition, who 
had ordained that nothing whatever should be 
allowed access to his daughter, she purchased a 
basketful of the beautiful, fresh, and rosy grapes 
which she found so tempting. A cord, let down to 
the boatman, enabled the basket to be drawn up ; 
but scarcely had the princess laid her hand upon it 
when a serpent, gliding out, bit her in the arm. 
Every care was lavished upon her, but to no 
purpose ; she expired after a few moments. So 
-difficult is it to escape the destiny which is in store 
for us. 

My grandmother, as I have said before, was in 
easy circumstances ; so her house was tastefully 



6 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

furnished. On the three sides of each room other 
than that which contained the doorway, were 
ranged large divans of cloth or velvet, supplied 
with cushions. Ancient Turkey carpets covered 
the floor in winter ; [in the summer they were 
replaced by mats. Fresco paintings of flowers 
adorned the walls, and the air was cooled by vases 
of water placed in niches. Every room had a 
chimney ; whilst in modern houses people warm 
themselves solely by means of huge chafing-dishes 
resembling Eoman braziers, or by means of the 
tandour. 

This last-named system of warming is so pecu- 
liar as to be^deserving here of special mention. To 
make this original stove, a large iron foot-warmer is 
placed under a kind of flat, circular wooden chest, 
lined with sheet-iron, and about a foot-and-a-half 
high. It is pierced at intervals with holes suffi- 
ciently large] to allow persons sitting on it to pass- 
their legs underneath. , The whole is covered with 
stuffs moi e or less rich, according to the resources 
of the owner. In the centre is placed a circular 
table-cloth, or covering, of silk or cashmere. Before 
each of the persons who take their seats on this 
novel divan is a drawer, in which fruit and other 
things can be placed. 



MY FAMILY. 7 

The inmates, male and female, of the same house 
can all seat themselves in this fashion and remain 
for many hours, without perceiving any attack of 
cold. Their heads alone are visible, for their bodies, 
up to their shoulders, are under cover. When the * 
circle is composed of young girls they become ex- 
tremely animated, tease each other, throw fruit and 
nuts, and excite themselves by playful interchanges 
of kicks and blows. This kind of entertainment is 
sometimes attended with serious results, as the foot- 
warmer occasionally gets overturned, and sets fire to 
the house. Fires are of frequent occurrence at 
Constantinople, and their origin is often merely "the 
upsetting of a tandur, 

My two aunts and their brother were already 
married when my mother (who was named Con- 
stance), although twenty-five years of age, found 
herself still free, at a time when women in Turkey 
married at fourteen. 

It was not that numerous opportunities did not 
present themselves. Extremely intelligent, she had 
received but little education, as is customary in the 
East in the case of girls. She only knew her mother- 
tongue, Greek. Tall, and with magnificent black 
hair, her dark complexion and dauntless carriage 
gave her an air of energy which was not belied by 



8 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

her character. She had preferred to remain single 
sooner than put up with an unsuitable match. 

As my mother's house was situated in the native 
quarter, where very few Europeans made their 
appearance, those who did venture into that neigh- 
f bourhood could not fail to excite remark. A young 
European was frequently seen to pass, of tall stature 
and of graceful bearing, always armed with a long 
and slender sword. The ladies of that quarter 
amused themselves by looking at him through the 
wooden grating of their djumbd. One evening, 
when my mother had half opened the wicket con- 
trived in the thick lattice, in order to obtain a better 
view of the stranger, the latter stopped to survey her, 
and was struck with the beauty of her countenance. 
Next day he appeared again before the window, and 
threw my mother a note in French, in which he 
avowed his passion for her. She caused him to 
explain himself through the servant of a Marseilles 
merchant, who moreover told her that she knew the 
author of the letter to be a Frenchman, named 
Charles Dejean, living at Constantinople on the 
proceeds of a considerable quantity of valuables 
which he possessed, and which he was selling by 
degrees. 

Satisfied with these particulars, my mother replied 



MY MOTHERS MARRIAGE. 9 

in a note, which she sent him the next time he 
passed through the street, that she accepted his 
addresses, and that if he would demand her in mar- 
riage of my uncle, she was ready to marry him. 

Next day the Frenchman called on my mother's 
brother, who could speak a little Italian ; they came 
to an understanding, and my uncle being assured of 
his sister's consent, she was married to M. Dejean 
before the French consul. This occurred in 1810. 

I was the second daughter, issue of this marriage, 
and I was born three years after it, during the 
temporary absence of my father, who had been 
compelled to take a journey into Wallachia. He 
had been there only a short time when a pestilent 
epidemic, which was prevalent in that country 
carried him off in the course of a few days. Thus 
it happened that I never saw my father. 

My mother was a fervent Catholic, and had the 
reputation of being the most saintly woman at 
Constantinople. She had, however, very great 
trouble with me, on account of my resolute and 
wayward nature.. There was an extraordinary in- 
cident connected with my birth, and to which my 
mother attached great importance. A severe pesti- 
lence having broken out in Constantinople, and 
several of her relations having died of it, my mother 



10 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

became so alarmed that she removed from the city to 
the little village of Kandili, about two leagues off. 
The loss of her relatives and fear of the plague had 
such an effect on her that sudden and unexpected 
symptoms of maternity manifested themselves. She* 
knew no one, and there was no doctor in the 
place. In this sad state she sent her servant to 
seek a nurse, or some one to come to her aid. 
The servant had not gone far down the street when 
she saw an old woman hobbling along, and leaning 
on a stick. She stopped her, and asked if she 
knew of a nurse who would come to her mistress. 
The old woman instantly replied, " I will come 
directly." Without saying another word, she fol- 
lowed the servant back to the house, and was 
present at my birth. After muttering a great 
many prayers and benedictions over me, in an 
unknown tongue, she took her departure with 
that extraordinary taciturn -and prompt manner 
with which she had entered. On leaving the room, 
however, it was remarked that she took from two 
capacious pockets handfuls of wh^at, and strewed 
them on the floor as she walked ; she scattered 
the grain down the staircase and throughout the 
house. This was thought very strange ; however 
no questions were asked, as it was expected she 



EXTRAORDINARY INCIDENT AT MY BIRTH, 11 

would come back in the morning to be paid for 
her services. But she never returned, and my 
mother frequently sent all over the place, far and 
wide in the country, to search for the old crea- 
ture, but she could not be found ; in fact, it was 
denied that such a person had ever been seen or * 
heard of. My mother being very credulous, en- 
tertained the firm belief that her nurse was a good 
old fairy-midwife, who had kindly given her ser- 
vices. I believe corn and wheat are, in all coun- 
tries, emblematical of abundance and plenty ; if 
so, the kind intentions of the stranger (whether 
in the flesh or not) in the supernatural sprinkling 
of the grain have often failed to be faithfully 
accomplished. My poor mother, who had but too 
frequent cause to correct me for my wild doings, 
always ended her reprovals by saying, " I can do 
nothing with you ; I am certain that old woman 
bewitched you at your birth, for you are not like 
other children." I readily own to being of a very 
remarkable nature, endowed with a restless tem- 
perament and untiring energy qualities that have 
enabled ine to endure many hazardous events and 
vicissitudes that any ordinary mortal would cer- 
tainly have succumbed to. 

My sister, who was of a very gentle disposition, bora 



12 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

a strong personal resemblance to my mother ;. I differed 
entirely from both, of them, as well from a physical 
as from a moral point of view. I was told that my 
features and my character had much similarity with 
those of my father. 

All counted we were twelve children in my grand- 
mother's house. Though the youngest, I assumed a 
certain authority over all the others ; they listened 
to me, and obeyed me more readily than their own 
parents. 

From the age of eight years I was specially re- 
marked for my facility of learning and my high 
spirit. The master who came to teach us to read 
French and Greek, always questioned me last, 
although the youngest, and he seemed perfectly 
astonished to find that every day I knew my 
lessons better than did my elder companions. At 
the same time I was so boisterous that I could 
not be kept in order against my will ; so far did I 
carry my pranks that I would often come home with 
my dress all in rags, from climbing the very tallest 
of the trees in our garden. 

During the summer we left Constantinople to 
pass the season at Prince's Islands. It was in this 
semi-peaceful and semi-boisterous manner that my 
early years flowed on. 






CHAPTER II. 

My school-days I am introduced to society 1 receive an offer of 
marriage My marriage My departure for Europe. 

WHEN I was thirteen years old, my mother sent 
me to a school kept by a Madame Barbiani, to learn 
a little embroidery and the rudiments of a simple 
education, such as at that time was ordinarily 
given to girls in the East. Having little or no 
taste for study, I learnt next to nothing during my 
stay, which lasted two years, as my nature could 
ill brook restraint of any kind ; school discipline 
least of all. I was now a little more than fifteen, 
when one day my mother surprised me by saying 
she intended me to accompany her to an evening 
party. I was delighted at this, it being my first 
introduction into society. I must confess to a 
degree of vanity when I caught sight of myself 
attired for this grand occasion. How, indeed, could 
I be blind to the beauty I saw reflected in my 
mirror ? I felt quite satisfied with myself, and 



14 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

went off highly elated. A new life was about to 
open before me. 

That evening proved an eventful one. Amongst 
the guests there was a gentleman, lately arrived in 
Constantinople, who had been in the suite of Lord 
Byron during his sojourn in Greece. He was a 
tall, fine-looking man, of distinguished manners, 
intellectual, and a good linguist, speaking Greek 
almost like a native. Within a brief period, he 
asked my mother's consent to become my suitor. 
She at first hesitated, an account of his being a 
Protestant, but eventually, acceding to his repeated 
wishes, we were married soon afterwards by a 
priest of the Greek Church, my husband having a 
dislike to the ceremony being performed by a 
Catholic priest. This union, contracted so hastily, 
was not of long duration. There existed no sym- 
pathy between us, either in taste, temper, or habits. 
My husband was a serious, stern, and learned man, 
and I was a giddy, uneducated girl of fifteen ; the 
disparity in our respective ages also contributed 
towards estrangement, and at the expiration of five 
years we mutually agreed on being divorced. 

I left Constantinople soon after, and being 
desirous of visiting Europe, I placed my children 
under the care of an amiable relative residing in 






MY MARRIAGE. 15 

Eome ; and there I remained for several months, 
without feeling much change in the life compared 
with that I had been leading ; for, owing to the 
curious habits of my friends, who were strict de- 
votees, I spent the time in almost as utter seclusion 
as though I were in a Turkish harem. 

My desire to escape from such thraldom, there- 
fore, grew stronger every day, and the want of some 
fixed income on which I could depend in the future 
alone detained me. My husband at this time con- 
templated another marriage, and made overtures to 
me by which he hoped to obtain my acquiescence. 
I was informed that at Paris I would find deposited 
in the hands of a relative stipulations which, if I 
signed, would secure for me ample provision for my 
future maintenance, if I would consent 'to live in 
that capital ; and thither I went, with a heart full 
of joyful anticipations. My dreams of happiness, 
however, were cruelly dashed when I found the 
conditions attached to the agreement I was to 
sign totally repugnant to my feelings as a mother. 
In this extremity, the change from the seclusion at 
Eome to an equally dull lodging in Paris was not 
to be endured. At Eome I found society endurable, 
and even sympathetic, but in Paris I was* thrown 
amongst unfriendly strangers. I almost sunk under 



]"6 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

the weight of my difficulty. Then it was that the 
happy idea came into my head of laying my case 
before the Turkish Minister, and appealing to him 
for his aid and sympathy. 

At this period Fety-Pasha was Ambassador for 
Turkey at the court of Louis-Philippe. My cousin 
presented me to his Excellency, who received me 
very graciously. Fety-Pasha was a Turk of the old 
school an honest, good-hearted, and perfectly 
straightforward man. Such a one is rarely to be 
found now-a-days in Turkey. He was rather a 
fanatic, but I have no right to blame him on 
that account. In purity of mind and manners he 
was a bright example. He told me he was 
delighted to see me in Europe, and that he would 
do all in his power to render my stay in Paris 
agreeable. "But/ 7 he continued, "I shall not be here 
many months longer, as I intend returning to Con- 
stantinople, as I am going to marry a daughter of 
the Sultan Mahmud." 

A few days after my arrival, tli3 Ambassador 
sent me an invitation, by his secretary, to a ball at 
the hotel of the Minister for War. This was my 
first ball in Europe, and I was greatly charmed and 
astonishe'd at the elegance and brilliancy of the 
salle-de-danse : the dresses of the ladies absorbed 



VISIT TO PARIS. 17 

my attention, and above all I was puzzled at the 
stooping, extraordinary posture of the French 
gentlemen, who, hat in hand, advanced towards the 
ladies with such a strange gait that I imagined they 
were all rather lame and deformed. Great, how- 
ever, was my surprise and pleasure on seeing 
Keshid-Pasha, an old friend, talking to Fety-Pasha 
as they were seated side by side on the ottoman. 
As I knew Reshid-Pasha and his family intimately 
at Constantinople, I went up to speak to him ; he 
was very glad to see me, and told me he was going 
to London, where he was appointed Ambassador 
from the Porte. He added also, for my information, 
that he was very pleased at the idea of going to 
England, and that the young queen of that country 
was very pretty and clever. He then made me 
laugh very much by drawing my attention to the 
same peculiar gestures of the French gentlemen I 
had already noticed. "Look," said he, " Look at 
them, with their hats in their hands, going up 
to the ladies and entreating them to favour them 
by dancing with them. How different it is with 
us. "We Turks, on the contrary, remain seated on 
our divans, and expect the ladies to come and ask 
us to grant them the favour of a few words." " I 
hope," he went on to say, " that you will not be 



18 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

persuaded to dance, for you know we could not 
endure to see you do such a thing." I said I had 
no idea of doing so ; but as soon as Reshid and 
Fety had taken their departure I accepted every 
invitation for quadrilles, and even waltzes, and I 
must confess that I passed a most charming 
evening. I heard with sincere regret, some years 
afterwards, that poor Beshid-Pasha had been 
poisoned by some of his enemies at Constantinople. 
I have often lamented his loss, for in all my after 
troubles up to the time of that lamentable event, he 
was always my friend, and ever ready to afford me 
his good advice and commiseration. 

Soon after my first appearance in the salons of 
Paris I made the acquaintance of Kibrizli-Mehemet- 
Pasha, who was then military attache to the lega- 
tion. From our first interview the Pasha paid me 
great attention, and wherever we met in society he 
strove to make himself agreeable. These assiduities 
were soon followed by an offer of marriage, which I 
was rather disposed to accept, but I hesitated 
on account of my suitor's creed and nationality. 
I also felt a dread of the harem, the seclusion 
of which seemed to me an awful prospect. How- 
ever a second and third offer proved irresistible, for 
Kibrizli-Pasha had gained my affections. I there- 



STATE BALL. 19 

fore decided on accepting him, thinking that, with 
his love, it would be far better for me to be in the 
harem even to remaining in Paris. It must be re- 
membered that I was then only twenty-two years 
of age, with no experience of the world, and deprived 
of my natural protector. 

On the occasion of a grand bal-costum given at 
the palace of the Tuileries, I received an invitation, 
and had an opportunity of seeing the good Louis- 
Philippe and his interesting family. It was a very 
brilliant affair, and the diversity of costumes dazzled 
me greatly. I was, however, surprised to find that 
a description of the costume I appeared in had 
been given in the French journals the following 
day, and had been much admired. My English 
lady readers will perhaps like to know what it 
was like. It was a Greek costume, which I had 
brought from Constantinople, and consisted of a 
very full and rather short skirt of pink silk, 
embroidered with gold. A white Broussa silk 
waistcoat, trimmed with Turkish point lace and 
large hanging sleeves of the same material. A 
green velvet jacket embroidered with gold, and a 
crimson tarboosh, or Greek cap, embroidered with 
pearls and long pearl tassels. My hair drawn off 
the forehead and fastened with a diamond pin, I 



20 22 THIRTY YEAES IN THE HAREM. 

was allowed to fall in two long thick plaits. The 
ornaments consisted of a necklace and bracelets of 
diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, of Greek patterns. 
I was invited to dance several times, but of course 
was obliged to refuse in the presence of so many 
Turkish gentlemen ; so I contented myself with 
looking on. At last S.A. Le Due d'Orleans ad- 
vanced and asked me for a waltz, and as etiquette 
forbade me to decline this mark of favour, I rose 
and took a few turns with my royal partner. The 
conversation of the Duke was very amiable, and he 
did me the honour to admire my costume, telling 
me that it was the prettiest in the room. 

My stay in Paris was not of very long duration, 
for the departure of Fety-Pasha for Constantinople 
obliged me to follow the fortunes of my betrothed, 
who was the Pasha's aide-de-camp. I took with 
me a servant, a young negro, who had come from 
Bordeaux, and to whom I gave the name of 
Mustapha. 






CHAPTER III. 

My return to Constantinople Residence in the harem of Haider-Effendi 
The Ramazan My intrigue with a Circassian lady : she takes me to 
the Seraglio^Her escape Character of Essemah-Sultan. 

ON my arrival at Constantinople I waited on 
Fety-Pasha. He referred me to one of his friends, 
whose hospitality he had bespoken in my favour. 
I therefore took up my residence in the palace of 
Haider-Effendi, which was situated in the quarter 
of St. Sophia. 

In this palace resided fifteen or twenty ladies, * 
mothers, step-mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, step- 
sisters, and other relatives of the master of the 
house. It was a spacious abode, and luxuriously 
furnished. 

We passed the time very pleasantly together, in 
conversation, dancing, music, listening to and telling 
stories; in fact, seeking to entertain ourselves in 
every way we could imagine. 



24 THIRTY YEAKS IN THE HAREM. 

It was then the time of the Ramazan, the Mussul- 
* man Lent. During this season their religion forbids 
them to eat, drink, or smoke all day long. At 
midnight a crier goes through the streets, beating a 
large drum (daul), and rousing all the inhabitants. 
The women then make ready the repast, for it 
is allowable to eat and drink till day-break. Then 
another cry goes round, forbid ding them to take any- 
thing ; they rinse their mouths, and sleep till night- 
fall. As I did not at all like to take my meals at 

night and sleep in the day-time, I used to put 

. 
certain articles of nourishment on one side, and eat 

them secretly in the course of the day. This scheme 
was not my own invention, for very many people, in- 
cluding Pashas, do not scruple to provide for thern- 
* selves in secret. At the same time, when they 
appear in the streets by day they keep up the farce* 
and assume the languid and fainting air of one 
suffering from starvation. 

All through this month the rich keep open 
house. They receive all comers, and every 
poor person, after making his repast, is dismissed 
with a small present of money wrapped in a hand- 
kerchief. 

During the nights of the Kamazan, the Mussulman 
youth of both sexes spend their time in wandering 



JAMAZAN. 25 

through the streets of Stambul, visiting the 
mosques, and frequenting the cafe's and other places 
of amusement. They usually carry small lanterns 
of different colours green, red, blue, &c. The 
effect produced by these masses of lanterns, casting 
a mysterious glimmer, was extremely original and 
attractive. 

A Circassian lady, named Nazib-Hanum, the 
adopted daughter of the Sultan's sister, came on one 
of these nights to pay us a visit. She was of a 
spirited and playful disposition ; and, as for myself, 
I may venture to say, speaking for both, we were 
a good match. 

Turning to me, she said, " If you are willing, my 
dear, let us go and dress ourselves up like men (for 
women are not allowed to enter the mosques), and 
we will go together to St. Sophia, to see the festival 
which is held to-night." 

Putting on male apparel, and carrying small 
lanterns, we went to the mosque. On entering it 
we were completely dazzled. The columns were 
decked from top to bottom, with lustres of coloured 
glass ; the Sultan's band was performing ; and the 
crowd was so dense that it was almost impossible 
to get in. After remaining for some time prostrated 
like the celebrants themselves, we wished to retire, 



26 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

and tried to find the door by which we had entered, 
but as there were a great number, we found our 
way out by a different one from that which we were 
seeking. 

Presently, we heard two young men behind us 
call out, "Beyler ! beyler !" that is to say, "Gentle- 
men ! gentlemen ! don't go so fast ; come with us 
to a cafe, and take some refreshment." At these 
words, supposing that they had discovered our stra- 
tagem, we quickened our pace, without replying. 
They persisted, however, in following and speaking 
to us. 

Seriously alarmed, we hurried on faster and faster. 
" I fear, my dear," said my companion, " if we are 
pursued much longer I shall be obliged to stop. 
These men must have suspected our trick, and are 
now pursuing us in earnest." 

Wearied of this pursuit, we saw approaching us 
an old man of venerable appearance. We accosted 
him, and begged that he would escort us to the 
house where we were staying. Our followers 
asked him if he knew us. " They are stran- 
gers," he replied, "whom I am conducting to 
their home." When we returned we were worn 
out with fatigue. Nazib-Hanum stayed that 
night with me. In the morning she left, inviting 



AN INTRIGUE. 

me to visit her at the palace on the following 
day. 

I went, accordingly, and she showed me over the 
ladies' apartments and those of the Sultan. The 
divan in her chamber was of red velvet, embroidered 
with pearls. Afterwards she made me -seat myself 
in an immense room, and then Essemah-Sultan, the 
sister of the Sultan Mahmud, a lady already of 
considerable age, joined us. She was accompanied 
by several young ladies, one half of whom were 
dressed in male attire, and took her seat on a large 
gilded chair. 

Some of them began to dance, and the princess 
invited me to follow their example. I was dressed 
in a magnificent costume, and mingled with the 
other young women. Nazib-Hanum, who had 
introduced me, accompanied us, in the most en- 
chanting style, on a kind of guitar. Then there 
was a cry of " The Sultan ! " We were going to 
withdraw, when his sister invited us to remain, 
saying, " His Highness will be much pleased to see 
you thus/' 

Mahmud looked at us for some time, and then 
offered his hand to Nazib-Hanum, my chaperon, 
and took several turns about the room with her, 
conversing in the most animated manner. Keturning 



28 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to Essemah-Sultan, he told her that it would greatly 
oblige him if she would give him that young 
lady. She refused, saying that, if she gave him 
what he asked, he would keep to his new wife for 
three or four days, and then she would have to 
pass the rest of her life in a corner of the palace. 
He thereupon retired, and betook himself to his 
repast. 

He did not appear to be a long time over it, for 
almost immediately after his departure we had all 
the dishes brought us that had appeared at his table. 
I was not sorry for this, for I had tasted nothing 
since morning. 

When bed-time arrived Nazib showed me to her 
chamber, where a bed had been prepared for me 
beside her own. I was in bed, when I heard a 
knocking at the door. A young woman had come 
to ascertain whether she had found any letter. 
Opening a little wicket formed in the lattice of the 
window, she drew in a string, to which was attached 
a letter. She forthwith burst into peals of laughter, 
and quickly wrote another, which she fastened to 
the string and let down. 

Calling the treasurer, she said to her in great 
glee : " It is the little rascal whom we have met so 
often that has written to me. I have replied that 



NAZIB'S ESCAPE. 29 

I shall be happy to see him, and that he will see us 
to-morrow on the promenade, in the principal pas- 
sage of the Bazaar." 

On the morrow Nazib-Hanum took the princess's 
carriage, and I accompanied her, while two pretty 
little slaves dressed like men were following us on 
horseback. We soon saw a young gentleman ap- 
proaching, who threw into the carriage some flowers, 
and a note. The young Circassian alighted, fur- 
tively spoke a few words to him, and contrived to 
hand him a letter unobserved. 

This person was a Greek merchant of the 
Bazaar, of whom Nazib was enamoured. He was 
in no way remarkable for good looks, and as to 
money, he was a mere pauper, an adventurer who 
was seeking to make his fortune by marrying one 
of the court ladies. It must be said that Nazib 
was playing a dangerous game, for in selecting a 
Christian for a lover she ran the risk of being 
thrown into the Bosphorus in a sack weighted with 

_^) 

shot. 

Some time afterwards the news was spread that she 
had taken flight. This is how she managed it. She 
wrote to her lover to come to her, on a certain day, 
with a boat all ready before the palace, on the side 
nearest to the sea. Through some of the Greek women 




30 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

who are allowed into the harems to sell various ar- 
ticles to the inmates, she procured European clothing, 
including a thick veil to disguise her features. She 
took with her some diamonds and other valuables, 
which formed part of the marriage trousseau pre- 
sented to her by Essemah-Sultan, who had intended 
shortly to give her in marriage. Taking advantage 
of the circumstance that European ladies frequently 
paid visits at the palace, while their husbands 
waited for them outside, she passed rapidly before 
the guards, who remarked among themselves 
that she bore a strong resemblance to the 
adopted daughter of the Sultan's sister. With 
the utmost coolness she took the arm of him 
who was awaiting her ; they got into a boat, 
embarked on board a vessel that was moving 
off, and took their leave of Constantinople and of 
Turkey. 

The next day Essemah-Sultan sent for her 
protegee to go and pay homage to the Sultan 
Abdul-Medjid, her nephew, who had just come to 
the throne. In spite of all researches they were 
unable to discover the hiding-place of the young 
Circassian. It was only after a considerable interval 
that they learned she was married at Galatz to the 
lover who had carried her off. 



ESSEM AH-SULTAN. 3 1 

After her marriage with the Greek, Nazib- 
Hanum had to endure many vicissitudes. Her hus- 
band made away with all her treasures, and ended 
his career with his bankruptcy. The poor woman 
was left a widow with twelve children. Finding it 
impossible to live and support her large family, 
Nazib decided on seeking refuge among her former 
masters, and returned to Constantinople, an old 
woman and in rags. The Turks, instead of reproach- 
ing her for her conduct, received her kindly, and 
they furnished her with the means of subsistence up 
to the present day. 

The princess was a woman of strong passions, 
but, at the same time, of a most cruel disposition. 
She exercised great influence over her brother, the 
Sultan Mahmud. It is related of her that she ' 
used to amuse herself by collecting together in her 
presence ten young Greeks duly shaved and painted, 
and making them dance in female costume. On 
several occasions her brother, hearing of the de- 
bauches to which she gave herself up with these 
dancers, had them seized and put to death, whereat 
his sister seemed to be not in the least degree 
affected. 

Once, while taking a walk in the country, seeing 
a young peasant of prepossessing appearance, she 



32 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

invited him to come to the palace with some 
flowers, and other trifles. Once admitted, nothing 
more was ever heard of the unhappy youth : he was 
massacred, after having afforded a pastime to this 
capricious and cruel woman. 



CHAPTER IV. 

My marriage with Mehem et- Pasha - Gueuzluklu-Reshid-Pasha asks me 
to find him a wife My proceedings The daughter of Hafuz-Paslia 
is bestowed upon him. 

THE Ramazan once at an end, my lover, Kibrizli- 
Mehemet-Bey hastened to make the necessary pre- 
parations for the celebration of our marriage. Fety- 
Pasha, who had taken us under his protection, bore 
the greater part of the expense, and assisted us by 
every means in his power. 

It was now the day following the night called 
Kadir-Gedjessi, which precedes by three days the 
termination of the Ramazan. During this night 
the minarets are illuminated with blackened lustres, 
forming verses and other sentences from the 
Koran. The Sultan repairs, with great pomp, to 
one of the mosques, amid the glare of torches, 
escorted by troops, preceded by bands of music, and 
accompanied by the great officers of state. The 
Turkish ladies take advantage of this occasion to 



84? THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

go out, and to converse more freely than they 
could in the daytime with those who drew near 
to their carriages to pay them compliments, and 
present them with bouquets and bonbons. 

In the course of this day an old lady, the wife of 
the imam who was to celebrate our nuptials, called on 
me in her carriage and took me to the house of my 
future husband, which stood on an eminence over- 
looking Tophane. This building, surrounded by a 
garden, was very small ; it comprised only three 
bed-chambers and a reception-room, forming the 
harem, besides a small chamber for the use of the 
men, or selamliL From this elevation there was a 
magnificent view. At our feet was the Bosphorus, 
and in the far distance, on the opposite shore, the 
smiling hills of Scutari. The furniture in the 
Oriental fashion, was of the greatest simplicity. 

After accompanying the Sultan to the mosque, 
Kibrizli-Mehemet-Bey arrived, followed by a general 
and another officer of rank, and the imam or priest. 
The nuptial ceremony is very simple in the case of 
those who have been married before. The lady 
draws near to the door of the harem ; the bride- 
groom and the imam are on the other side. The 
latter asks each of the parties three times whether 
he or she respectively will take the other in 



MY MARRIAGE. 35 

marriage ; on receiving a response in the affirmative 
thrice repeated, he recites a few prayers, and retires 
after taking a glass of sherbet. The witnesses then 
take their leave, the husband enters the harem, offers 
his hand to his bride, and remains alone with her. 

In the morning the husband goes out, and his 
wife avails herself of his absence to bring forth her 
most beautiful attire. She adorns her head with a 
rich head-dress decked with brilliants, and placed 
over her loose-flowing locks, and dresses herself in 
long sweeping robes of silk embroidered with gold. 

Our establishment was limited to an old woman 
and a black slave. All the windows were guarded 
by wooden gratings, some of them having in addition 
small balconies surrounded with trellis work, called 
in the language of the country djumba. We could 
see out of these windows without being seen. I 
could perceive that our garden was very fine, and, 
moreover, that there were four small doors giving 
access to the houses of some of our neighbours. 

These doors presently opened, and admitted num- 
bers of ladies, young and old, accompanied by their 
children, both girls and little boys of from six to 
eight years old. They entered my chamber without 
ceremony, to see, as they said, the new comer. 

They made me the subject of their comments : 

D 2 



36 THIETY YEAES IN THE HAREM. 

" This lady is indeed beautiful, MashaUah!" said 
one. 

" Are you a Turk or a Circassian ? " enquired 
another, on coming near me. 

(t I am a Georgian/' I replied. 

" Have you not a sister?" asked a third; " because 
I have a son to whom I should be happy to give a 
wife such as you." 

" I have no sister." 

After each question they conversed together, 
either in Turkish or Circassian. As some of them left, 
others came in, and plied me with questions as idle 
as the preceding, without giving me a moment's truce. 

Seeing that they lived in the same quarter with 
myself, and that they were all the mothers or wives 
of officers, I treated them with due Consideration, 
and avoided giving them umbrage. I did not dare 
>to take any repose in their presence, and feared I 
should offend them if I begged them to retire. 
They only left me towards nightfall. 

Prudence constrained me to act in this manner. 
Indeed, the promotion of the officers is independent 
of any fixed rule ; favour and caprice dictate their 
selection ; the women also employ themselves 
actively in the matter, on behalf of their sons, their 
brothers, and their husbands. As they visit a good 



GUEUZLUKLU-PASHA. 37 

deal, they try to ingratiate themselves with the * 
wives of the ministers or the generals in chief, and 
these speak in favour of their protegees, when they 
find themselves alone with their husbands, and, by 
dint of importunity, obtain from them the steps 
which they desire. It is nothing unusual for a 
young man of five-and-twenty, who has never seei\ 
active service, to be nominated general of brigade \ 
or division, or promoted to some important naval or ! 
military post. It is easy to understand that, with / 
such an organisation, the Ottoman troops lose the / 
benefit of the personal valour of the soldiers who 
compose them. 

Soon after our marriage, my husband received, 
through the interest of Fety-Pasha, the title of l>ey> 
or colonel, and three or four months afterwards, that 
of liwa, or general of brigade. On this occasion he 
had the honour of a visit from his general of division, 
Gueuzluklu-Keshid-Pasha. After the customary 
salutations, the latter imparted to Mehemet-Bey his 
.determination to marry. He begged my husband to 
call me close to the door, so that, without being 
seen, I could hear what he had to say on this subject. 
Having no family connections, being a native of 
Georgia, he was desirous that I should take upon 
myself, in his behalf, those duties which, in the 



88 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

choosing of a wife, ordinarily devolve upon some 
female relative. 

As he had lived in Europe, he explained that he 
wished his wife to be tall and slender, as Europeans 
generally are, and that she should, moreover, have 
an agreeable expression of countenance. 

I immediately entered upon the campaign; I 
dressed myself to the best possible advantage, and 
went, in succession, amongst all the families of equal 
rank with that of the general. In conformity with 
established usage, I contrived my visits of this kind 
in the following manner : 

I presented myself at the door of a house where I 
knew there was a marriageable daughter. " What 
do you want, Madam ? " <( I wish to see your young 
lady/ 1 Forthwith I was introduced into the draw- 
ing-room, where I sat down on a divan, whi]st the 
young person was getting arrayed in her finest 
clothes. She made her appearance, saluted me with 
the handkerchief which she carried in her hand, 
and, with her eyes always fixed on the ground, 
proceeded to sit down on a seat placed in front of 
mine, and arranged expressly for her. Then coffee 
was brought in a small silver cup. The young lady- 
stays all the time while it is in course of drinking ; 
as soon as the cup is empty she withdraws ; so that 



GUEUZLUKLU-PASHA. 39 

it is taken as slowly as possible, in order to afford a 
thorough inspection of that which one has come 
to see. 

As soon as she has disappeared, one of her rela- 
tives, her mother or eldest sister, enters and inquires 
what one thinks of the young lady. To such a 
question one most naturally makes answer in the 
most eulogistic terms. Then the lady explains what 
the damsel is possessed of, both in clothes and 
jewelry, and states the amount of her dowry. 

However, it does not do to trust implicitly to ! 
these representations. It often happens that after 
promising more than they are able or willing to give, 
the parents, when once the marriage is concluded, 
furnish a provision greatly inferior to what was 
held out in the first instance. There are no means 
of compelling them to fulfil their promise, because a 
contract previous to marriage is a thing unrecognised, 
and contrary to all received usages. 

On taking my leave, I assured the family that I 
would explain everything to the person who had 
commissioned me, and that I would let them know 
if the match proved acceptable to him. 

Every evening I gave my husband an account of 
my visits, and he reported the same to Gueuzluklu- 
Ke'shid-Pasha, who showed himself very hard to 



40 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

please. In one case he found too many relations ; 
in another not sufficient fortune : this one was built 
on too large a scale, or had blue eyes, whereas he 
preferred black ; that one was too old. In fact, not 
one of them could secure his choice. For twenty 
days I ceased not to assail the houses of the ul6mas, 
the generals, the ministers and all the high digni- 
taries. 

Weary of so much going about, and such use- 
less applications, I resolved to speak, on behalf 
of the Pasha, to the very next damsel whom I 
happened to visit. He had sent me, with this 
view, a bouquet, enriched with a magnificent 
diamond. I entrusted it to a Circassian whom 
I took with me, and directed my steps to the 
palace of Hafuz-Pasha, situated at Stiniah, on 
the Bosphorus. His own wife came to receive me. 
Though about fifty years old, this lady had a 
magnificent arm and hand, of which I still pre- 
serve the recollection. She made me come into 
the drawing-room, where I found great delight in 
her conversation, on account both of the charming 
sweetness of her voice, and the spirit and brilliancy 
of her remarks. To hear and see the mother 
could not but dispose one favourably towards the 
daughter. 



GUEUZLUKLU-PASHA. 41 

The latter soon appeared. She was tall, full of 
health, with regular features, and fair complexion ; 
she had a hand and an arm as beautiful as her 
mother's, but her hair and eyebrows were red, and 
her eyes were of a light chestnut colour. This 
was by no means what Gueuzluklu-Be'shid-Pasha 
wanted, for he was seeking some one slight, and 
with black hair and eyes. 

Tired of having gone to no purpose into so 
many houses, I decided at once in favour of this 
young lady, whose fortune was, moreover, very 
considerable. I placed on her head the present I 
had brought her, saying that his Excellency took her 
for his wife. When I returned home I rendered an 
account of my embassy, taking care to say nothing 
about the red hair of the betrothed maiden. 

Some days after an apartment, superbly fur- 
nished, was prepared at the residence of Hafuz- 
Pasha for the future bride and bridegroom. I went 
to see the young lady, to ascertain whether she had 
procured suitable wedding attire. I took with me 
a skilled Greek woman, who died her hair, eye- 
brows, and eyelashes black, and this, added to the 
natural fairness of her skin, gave her a very agree- 
able appearance. 

In spite of this precaution I had some fear as to 



42 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

the result ; indeed Gueuzluklu-Kdshid-Pasha had 
threatened to discard his wife after the very first 
night, if he did not find her to his taste, and to 
make serious complaint of the matter both to my 
husband and myself. 

The next morning Gueuzluklu-Eeshid-Pasha came 
to the house, and, so far from making any complaint, 
highly commended my choice. He appeared well 
satisfied with the charms of his bride. 

Some time afterwards he was appointed to the 
command of a military expedition, sent out to 
reduce the Koords to submission. When he set 
forth on this enterprise he took his wife with him, 
and so pleased was he with her that he never 
cast her off, nor took any other wife in addition. 
On his death, which occurred at Bagdad in 1864, 
he left her a considerable fortune. 



CHAPTEE V. 

Character of Sultan Abdul-Medjid History of Besme-Hanum Disgrace 
of Mehemet-Pasha ; my wretched condition after his degradation. 

His former superior having departed, my hus- 
band had over him no longer a friend but an 
enemy, their political opinions being different. 
The chiefs successively in command belonged, in 
fact to a court clique, composed of worthless and 
corrupt individuals. There was first a son-in-law 
of the late Sultan Mahmud, Mehemet-Ali-Pasha, 
and then came Kiza-Pasha, formerly chamberlain to 
the late Sultan. Both of them hid the real state 
of affairs from Abdul-Medjid ; their sole care being 
to augment their fortunes. On the contrary, 
Mehemet -Pasha was contented with his rights, and 
tried by every means to ameliorate the condition of 
his country. 

Abdul-Medjid, when he came to the throne, had 
applied himself ardently to the furtherance of the 



44 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

civilizing movement inaugurated by his predecessor, 
Mahmud. He saw plainly that the old system 
threatened the empire with certain ruin. It was, 
in fact, entirely based upon the formidable mili- 
tia forces of the Janissaries men of indomitable 
courage, and of unbounded devotion to the interests 
of the nation, and whose authority kept the people 
in complete subjection. Unhappily they were not 
content to play a subordinate part to the Sultan ; 
they wished to be his masters, and it was this that 
worked their destruction. When once this militia 
was put down, means must be found of giving a 
new basis to the Ottoman organization. The Sultan 
thought that this could only be obtained through 
the reform of abuses. 

Of a character extremely gentle, and little formed 
for strife, Abdul-Medjid met with invincible resist- 
ance to the execution of his designs from the old 
Mussulman party, very numerous to this day, but 
at that time represented . by an immense majority, 
both amongst the government officials and the 
people, who believed the safety of the empire to 
consist in the rigorous application of Mohamedan 
principles, the abasement of infidels, and their ex- 
termination both at home and abroad. 

The Sultan, paralysed in regard to his projects 



ABDUL-MEDJID. 45 

relative to internal administration, was thrown into 
consternation at the progress which foreign policy 
was making at this epoch, in seeking to profit by- 
all the misdeeds of the Ottoman government to- 
wards Christian populations, by extending dominion 
over them. In utter despair he saw that his efforts 
would be powerless to retard the fall of the power 
of the Osmanlis. 

His ministers, far from endeavouring to revive 
his hopes, persuaded him to forget, in sensual 
delights, the sombre thoughts that assailed him. 
" You are our Sultan/' they would say ; "to you 
belong repose and pleasures ; the bustle and fatigue 
of public affairs are our portion." While speaking 
thus, they made it a rule to offer their master, as 
frequently as possible, the most sumptuous repasts, 
at which they induced him to drink copiously ; in 
this manner they habituated him to the immoderate 
use of wine and other strong drink, and led him to 
abandon to themselves the reins of government. 

They also endeavoured to distract him from 
public affairs, by favouring his natural taste for 
luxury and- dissipation. They provided him with 
as much money as he asked for, knowing that they 
could have their own way as long as the sovereign, 
confining himself to his palace, knew nothing of 



46 



THIKTY YEAPwS IN THE HAREM. 



what was passing out-of-doors, except through their 
own reports. 

f The Sultan's love for his wives and very numer- 
ous they were was ruining the country. They 
contrived at once to gratify their caprices, whatever 
might be their object. They availed themselves of 
it to obtain from him the most costly presents. 
Covered with diamonds, and attended by numerous 
slaves, almost as sumptuously attired as their mis- 
tresses, they drove out in carriages, each of which, 
with its equipments, costs about 900,000 piastres 
(8,000). Their apartments were constantly re- 
plenished with new furniture. In the space of two 
years the Seraglio was furnished about four times 
over. 

Far from recompensing their master for his kind- 
nesses by their fidelity, they were seen driving 
about, almost entirely unveiled, and conversing 
with the young men in the most lively manner. 
At night, sitting at their windows, they accosted 
the passers-by, and introduced them into the 
palace. Those who were without paramours formed 
quite the exception. Frequently the faveurs of one 
of the Sultan's wives, or odalisques, were attended 
with bounties and presents big enough to make the 
fortune of him who received it. In fact, these 



ABDUL-MEDJID. 47 

women were utterly regardless of the costliness of 
what they bestowed; it was a regular case of 
pillage. 

The Sultan, who was of a kindliness of disposi- 
tion carried to the very verge of weakness, refused 
to credit the reports that reached him, either against 
those whom he loved or any other lady. If he paid 
little attention to what was told him against his 
wives, he was so ready, on the other hand, to listen 
to the latter that he could deny them nothing. It was 
sufficient to be, or be acquainted with the favourite 
of one of the ladies of the Seraglio to arrive at 
wealth or one of the highest dignities. The Valide- 
Sultan, the mother of the sovereign, was the most 
powerful of all, and far surpassed all the other 
ladies of the palace by her libertinism and thirst for 
power. Judge what consequences such a system 
must produce throughout the whole range of 
administration. 

The way Abdul-Medjid behaved to Besme-Hanum, 
one of his wives, will show how far he pushed his 
weakness. Having gone one day to pay a visit to 
Missirli-Hanum, widow of the famous Ibrahim, 
Pasha of Egypt, he perceived a slave whose beauty 
made so lively an impression on his heart, that he 
had only one desire to gain possession of her. 



48 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

She, informed of the passion with which her 
charms had inspired him, refused to become the 
Sultan's concubine. She would not consent to 
hearken to his addresses unless he would take her 
to wife. At this reply the Padishah was greatly 
embarrassed. His power, great as it was, availed 
not to compel a slave to yield to his desires (the 
slaves are of much less consequence than might be 
supposed) ; on the other hand, a Sultan had never 
contracted marriage ; in taking a wife, he was vio- 
lating all established usages. 

His passion and his character coming to his aid, 
Abdul-Medjid decided on the pleasant course ; he 
consented to marry the object of his affections. 
Their nuptials were celebrated with dazzling magni- 
ficence, and a rare thing with an Ottoman sove- 
reign he proved faithful. He not only loved his 
wife but esteemed her. He went so far as to con- 
fide to her his own son, a boy of about seven years 
old, whose mother was dead. 

The Sultana, instead of responding to the pas- 
sionate love which had been testified for her, 
preferred to engage in intrigues with the humblest 
servants in the palace gardeners, porters, etc. 
Inspired with jealousy, she regarded with hatred the 
infant whose young age and rank she ought to have 



BESMti-HANUM. 49 

respected. She saw in him an insurmountable 
obstacle in this respect, that, if she gave birth to a 
son, her offspring could never reign. She inces- 
santly maltreated the young prince ; she went so 
far as to bite him severely in the arm. No one 
dared to inform his Majesty of what was taking 
place; enamoured as Abdul-Medjid was, he might 
refuse to believe what was told him, and then woe 
to the informer ! 

A faithful servant, however, found an opportunity 
of making known to his master the state of affairs, 
without compromising himself. Being occasionally 
employed to divert the Sultan with the entertain- 
ment called the Kara-Gheuz (theatre of Chinese 
shadows), he had the privilege of composing small 
pieces. He availed himself of this licence to repre- 
sent before his sovereign a kind of comedy, in which 
the leading characters were an amorous Sultan who 
marries a slave, and a Sultana who prostitutes her 
favours to the lowest servants of her household, and 
ill-treats the heir to the throne, ending by killing 
him, and being forgiven by her weak and infatuated 
husband. 

Abdul-Medjid understood the allusion. He sent 
for the young prince, questioned him, drew from 
him the avowal of his sufferings, and discovered on 



50 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

his person the marks of the cruel treatment which 
he had undergone. The reader, perhaps, supposes 
that, infuriated with jealousy, and indignant at the 
conduct of Besmd towards his son, he had her sewn 
up in a sack, and thrown into the sea. Far from it. 
Temperate even in his rage, he sent for the Valide- 
Sultan, and, without giving any motive for his 
conduct, he ordered her to have Besme'-Hanum, 
together with all the riches he had heaped upon her, 
sent away on the morrow, in a pleasure-galley 
which he had presented to her. 

Once outside the Seraglio, this woman continued, 
with revolting effrontery, the series of her misdeeds. 
Having openly formed intimate relations with a 
certain Tefik-Pasha, she succeeded in getting herself 
married to him, braving the displeasure of the 
Padishah. This is the first case recorded in Otto- 
man history where the wife of a Sultan has inter- 
married with an ordinary mortal. 

The Pasha in question, notwithstanding his very 
limited salary, passed his life in the midst of 
amusements, contracted debts, and swindled all who 
had any dealings with him. 

Tefik's rash conduct was naturally calculated to 
bring upon him the anger of Abdul-Medjid, and the 
scorn of his faithful subjects. It is true that the 



BESM6-HANUM. 51 

unhappy man was the victim of a violent passion, for 
he loved Besme to distraction ; but the Turks are 
inexorable towards treasonable offences. To take a 
woman to wife who had been kept by the repre- 
sentative of Mohamed is to them a kind of religious 
and political sacrilege. 

It was not long before Tefik-Pasha expiated his 
crime by a premature death. This capital penalty 
was exacted with all the ingenuity and circumspec- 
tion of which Oriental diplomacy is capable. 

At first Abdul-Medjid made a show of regarding 
with an indifferent eye the marriage of his former 
wife ; and he even carried the deception so far as to 
give up to Besme' one of the palaces belonging to 
the crown. Having thus succeeded in bringing 
about a change in public opinion, the Sultan, under 
an entirely futile pretext, exiled both Besme and 
her husband to Brussa. There Tefik would, un- 
doubtedly, have been made away with, but caution 
was necessary, and it was decided to make the un- 
happy Pasha return to Constantinople to drink 
hemlock. Tefik therefore received a pardon, and 
returned to Constantinople, where he died a few 
months afterwards. The former caresses and the 
latter pardon produced the desired effect, for no one 
ever suspected the cause of Tefik's death. Besme 

B 2 



52 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

was the object of the Imperial clemency, and her 
life was spared. 

At the period of my marriage Eiza-Pasha was 
Minister for War, and Mehemet-Ali-Pasha com- 
mander at Tophane ; my husband served under the 
latter. These two came to an understanding with 
several other officials of high rank, and induced the 
Sultan to accept an invitation to the Seraskeriate, 
the residence of the Minister for War. Their object 
was to prejudice their sovereign against Mehemet- 
Pasha and his political friends. " You ought," said 
they to his Highness, in the course of the entertain- 
ment, "to purge the army of certain incompetent 
officers, who occupy important posts without doing 
any service. Mehemet-Pasha, for instance, gives 
himself up to culpable idleness; and, more than 
that, his arrogance is most overbearing, and his 
character rude and obstinate. He sets an example 
of failure of respect towards his superiors, and we 
think that his degradation, and that of others like 
him, would be a wholesome example to the army ; 
it would afford an opportunity of replacing ineffi- 
cient officers by men of, more energy, and endued 
with the zeal and knowledge necessary for com- 
mand." 

As we have seen, the Ministers had habituated 



DISGRACE OF MY HUSBAND. 53 

their master to excess in drink. Whenever they 
wanted to get anything out of him, they took care 
to ply him with wine to such a degree that he was 
no longer in complete possession of his faculties. 
This plan they adopted at the banquet in question, 
so Abdul-Medjid replied that they had his entire 
confidence, and that he approved beforehand of the 
course they were going to take. 

On the morrow, the degradation of twelve generals 
was proclaimed, my husband being of the number. 
Before we had learnt anything of what was going 
on, the Seraskier sent to demand from Mehemet- 
Pasha the surrender of his sword, and his decoration 
in diamonds, the distinctive marks of his dignity. 
This was a terrible blow, which our enemies dealt 
him to effect the ruin of both of us. 

After some time we left the rented house which 
we had occupied, and purchased a new residence. 
One half of the price, about 20,000 francs (800Z.), was 
paid through the sale of what little property we had 
left. This house contained twenty-seven apartments, 
but required many repairs, having been built more 
than one hundred and twenty years before. The 
reception-rooms were lighted by fourteen windows, 
arranged in two rows, one above the other, the upper 
being filled with small stained glass. In the centre 



54. THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

of the largest room was a handsome fountain, open 
to the air, and entirely of white marble ; the spacious 
and magnificent bath, of the same material, had cost 
upwards of 40,000 francs (1,600?.). 

Our furniture was barely sufficient to furnish 
two chambers in the harem and one in the selamlik, 
or men's quarters. 

The garden, in which there was a pretty kiosque, 
was planted with abundance of shrubs, flowers and 
fruit trees, as various as they were rare. 

The purchase of this house had exhausted all our 
resources. Consequent on his degradation, Mehemet- 
Pasha's salary was reduced to 300 francs (12) a 
month ; all the ordinary allowances of fuel, rice, 
oats, bread, and other things which constitute the 
wealth of an officer's household, were stopped. We 
found ourselves exposed to the claims of workmen 
whom we had employed on improvements absolutely 
necessary to render some of the rooms habitable. 
All this placed us in a situation of great embarrass- 
ment, notwithstanding that two black slaves formed 
our entire domestic establishment. 

Claims became more and more pressing. We 
had no means of satisfying them, and they reached 
such a point that my husband was obliged to con- 
ceal himself whenever creditors presented their 



OUR SAD CONDITION. 55 

appearance at his door. As we lived in a some- 
what remote quarter, they generally came mounted 
on asses. As soon as the step of one of these 
animals was heard, Mehemet-Pasha shut himself up 
in a closet. The creditor, having asked to see the 
master of the house, and been told in reply that he 
was not at home, proceeded to seek for him all over, 
and to shout out demands for payment. We used 
to hear of course their abuses and harsh words, but 
we endured all these humiliations without a word. 

My sole consolation, under these annoyances, 
was in the society of the ladies of the neighbour- 
hood, who often paid me visits to soothe my vexa- 
tion. One of the most assiduous callers was the 
daughter of old Kauf-Pasha, who had been nine 
or ten times grand vezir. Barely three feet high, 
she had extremely small eyes, and, to crown her 
defects, her chin wagged incessantly. She told me 
her history, and I think I shall entertain my readers 
by relating it here : 

" My father married four wives in succession 
three Circassians and a Georgian; and they pre- 
sented him with a numerous family. But my 
mother (wife No. 1), never had any child but 
myself. She displayed great disappointment on 
seeing me grow up to be what I am, since all the 



66 THIRTY YEAES IN THE HAREM. 

rest of the Pasha's offspring were well-grown, and 
endowed with good looks. I have seen all my 
brothers and sisters united, one after another, to 
the families of ministers, generals and other high 
functionaries; it seemed impossible that I could 
ever find a husband. 

" In the meantime, however, a certain old 
governor died, leaving an only son, a very good- 
looking youth, named Mustapha-Bey, to whom he 
left nothing but a dilapidated mansion. He, find- 
ing himself bereft of all resources, resolved to marry 
some one whose family was in a position to further 
his career in public life. He therefore engaged the 
services of an old woman, who suggested to him 
that he should take me for his wife. When my 
father heard of this extravagant project he was 
greatly astonished at it, and could not refrain from 
expressing the scorn which he felt for the young man, 
who, from motives of ambition, was willing to take 
such a woman as myself. He declared that he 
would give nothing for such a marriage. 

" My mother, anxious to see me provided for, as 
were the daughters of her rivals, summoned her 
future son-in-law, and told him that her husband 
would grant no dowry to his daughter. As the 
suitor had not calculated on money, he agreed 



THE VEZIU'S DAUGHTER. 57 

without hesitation to take me to wife. Although 
no mystery had been made with him about my 
insignificant stature, he was far from suspecting 
that I was of such singular plainness as he beheld 
the moment he raised my veil. 

" Driven to desperation, he left me at home, and 
went off immediately to join the army. He had no- 
relation among the superior officers, but as they 
were aware that he was the son of a governor, 
and the son-in-law of a- Grand- vezir, they pro- 
moted him rapidly, thinking by that means to pay 
their court to the father-in-law. This young man 
had seen six months' service when the title of liey 
(colonel) was conferred upon him ; shortly after- 
wards he received his nominations as liwa (general 
of brigade) ; and scarcely three years had elapsed 
when he was promoted, first to the rank of ferik 
(general of division), and then to that of mushir 
(field-marshal). To earn all these distinctions he 
had nothing to do but to stay quietly at home, 
drinking, smoking, and sleeping. 

" Seeing that it was on account of his wife that 
such great advantages were accorded him, he be- 
came reconciled to me; we live on very good terms, 
and I am now quite satisfied with my lot. You 
see " (she added, to comfort me), " that after finding 



58 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

myself most wretched when my husband had de- 
serted me, I have now everything that I can wish 
for. Do not be discouraged ; perhaps your present 
embarrassments will be succeeded by an unlooked- 
for turn of fortune/' 

While speaking to me in these terms, the poor 
lady little suspected that the husband with whom 
she was so well pleased, had taken a house, where 
he used to go on the sly, and divert himself with 
the society of two young slaves whom he had 
purchased. 

In spite of the privations which our narrow 
circumstances imposed upon me, I was not so 
despondent as might be imagined ; my attachment 
to my husband sufficed to make me forget both our 
debts and our penury. 

As for Mehemet-Pasha, he was completely broken 
down ; his evil fortune so affected him that he fell 
ill, and though he recovered by slow degrees, his 
health was never completely re-established. 

Knowing what abrupt changes take place in 
Turkey, where the same caprice that has brought 
you low may replace you on the highest pinnacle of 
greatness, I endeavoured, but in vain, to console 
him. " Ojie day the privileges of which you have 
been deprived will be restored to you/' I said; "to- 



OUR SAD CONDITION. 59 

day our enemies triumph, but they will not be 
always in power. Take care of your health, and do 
not abandon yourself to these despairing thoughts, 
otherwise, when you are again received into favour, 
you will be suffering from the consequences which 
illnesses leave behind them, and then you will be 
unable to enjoy in peace the good things that for- 
tune will offer you." 

The master of the household was not the only one 
to disorder himself. The two black slaves, of one of 
whom I was extremely fond, and one of whom was 
an Abyssinian of great beauty, were so deeply 
touched at the sight of our sufferings that they con- 
tracted a fatal sickness which carried them off in 
the course of one and the same month. I remained 
alone with two young children whom I then had. 

Whilst my husband was confined to his bed by 
rheumatism, my little boy, Moharem-Bey, fell sick 
and died. His father felt such grief at his loss that, 
in his despair, he beat his head against the wall. 
For my part, I assumed a delusive tranquillity, and, 
concealing the agony I endured, I strove, to the 
utmost of my power, to raise my husband's spirits. 



CHAPTER VI. 

I resolve to petition Kiza-Pasha in favour of my husband I obtain for 
him the command of Akiah Shortly afterwards, he is appointed 
governor of Jerusalem Our journey from Akiah to that city. 

WE continued for two whole years in the unhappy 
condition which the degradation of my husband had 
brought about. At the end of this period I re- 
solved to call on Eiza-Pasha. "Your Highness," 
said I, "I am the wife of Mehemet-Pasha. For 
three years past he has been oppressed by claims of 
every description ; so great is his despair on seeing 
himself deprived of every resource, and rendered 
wholly incapable of supplying the wants of his 
family, that his life is in danger. I am come to 
demand from you the reason of such disgrace. If 
caprice has been the only motive, then a fresh 
exercise of good pleasure may restore to him the 
employment he has lost." " Madam," replied the 
Seraskier, " the recall of Mehemet-Pasha was caused 
by the insubordinate language, which he sometimes, 
indulged in, regarding certain persons in high 



PETITION TO KIZA-PASHA. 61 

station, of whom he should have spoken with great 
reserve/' " That/' I replied, " would scarcely have 
called for a punishment of from fifteen to twenty 
days, and certainly does not merit so great an inflic- 
tion as to be given up for two years to all the 
sufferings which poverty brings in its train. Your 
Excellency," I added, "it is in vain for you to 
conceal from me the true cause of my husband's 
disgrace. His enemies are enemies to me ; filled 
with hatred, they wished to destroy us because they 
saw us happy. It is on my account that my hus- 
band is persecuted, and for no other reason. If my 
enemies thirst for my blood, let them attack me 
openly and frankly ; but I must say that it is un- 
worthy of the Imperial Government to refuse its 
protection to a woman who has sought refuge be- 
neath the shadow of the throne. Pray, therefore, 
give my husband some situation which will allow 
him to meet his duties as father of a family : if, how- 
ever, your Excellency is determined not^to employ 
him, at least restore him to part of the salary which 
has been withdrawn. I am determined not to go 
hence until you have acceded to my demands." 

He returned me no answer ; I therefore remained 
at his house, in a chamber which his favourite wife, 
Seraili-Hanum, had provided for me in the suite 



62 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

reserved for herself. Morning and night I went to 
renew my application to Kiza-Pasha. In the mean- 
time I had left with my husband a personal friend 
to take care of him. On the tenth day the Seras- 
kier cried out, as soon as he saw me : "I see you 
are a determined woman, and it will -be impossible 
to escape from you. To satisfy you, I appoint 
Mehemet-Pasha governor of Akiah ( St. Jean 
d'Acre) ; he will receive his nomination without 
delay" (1843). 

The commission was sent us shortly afterwards, 
but we could not leave Constantinople without 
satisfying our creditors ; and, moreover, we wanted 
money for the journey. I went a second time to 
Kiza-Pasha, who granted us funds for the expenses 
of our departure and the payment of our debts. 
Still the amount allowed was very moderate ; and, 
after converting all our furniture into money, and 
paying our creditors, my husband had barely enough 
left for his own expenses, and found it impossible 
to take me with him. 

I remained, therefore, at Constantinople, at the 
house of one of his friends. At the end of eight 
months Mehemet-Pasha sent his cavasbaschi (chief 
of the cavas, or police) to escort me to his quarters, 
together with my daughter A'isheh, then two years 



AKIAH. 63 

old. I purchased a slave ; we set out for Beyrout, 
and on our arrival took a sailing vessel, which 
landed us at Akiah. The Pasha was waiting for us 
with an escort. 

The town, built entirely of mud (pise), presented 
a deplorable .aspect. The houses, low and covered 
with mats, looked like the ruins of a conflagration. 
That which was called the palace the governor's 
residence, also of mud, contained two chambers ; 
that on the upper storey was reached by means of a 
staircase outside the building ; when it rained the 
water soaked through the roof. Two other rooms, 
situated in the garden, served as my husband's 
government offices. 

The population was Arab. These creatures, 
naturally thieves and cheats, carried habits of 
uncleanliness to the most extreme degree. The only 
tolerable place in the whole town was the palace 
of Abdallah-Pasha, then away at Constantinople, 
the garden of which, planted with orange-trees, 
citron, olives, palms, and other Oriental trees, was 
the only promenade, and the most beautiful spot 
in the neighbourhood. As will readily be seen, the 
post, though defended by imposing fortifications, 
did not offer many advantages, nor many oppor- 
tunities of enjoyment. 



64 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

After we had been there three months a messen- 
ger, arriving at night, announced to my husband 
that he had been nominated to the command 
of Jerusalem, with the rank of Wali, or 
governor. We set off on our journey thither soon 
afterwards. 

In going from Akiah to Jerusalem, we had to 
traverse an extremely poverty-stricken country. 
The sheiks of the several villages came on horse- 
back, making profound bows as they raised them- 
selves in the stirrups, but none of them ventured 
to cast their eyes on the litter in which I was 
seated. This modesty, real or assumed, is one 
of the characteristics of Oriental etiquette and 
manners. 

While the sheiks were thus passing in review 
before us, their escorts received us with the sound 
of tamburois, amid various evolutions performed by 
the dehliSj or bravos of the troop. As for the 
lodging accommodation placed at our disposal, 
throughout our route, in the different villages, all 
I can say is that we were lodged in frightful 
hovels, infested with vermin. We were obliged to 
content ourselves with the food prepared for the 
inhabitants. It is impossible to mention what re- 
finement of nastiness formed a leading feature in 



JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM. 65 

this horrible cuisine. The ODly place at all suit- 
able that we met with on our route was Jaffa, f 
where we spent some days. 

"We stayed at the palace of the governor, Mus- 
tapha-Bey, who lodged us in his kiosque, which was 
surrounded by eight gardens planted with orange 
and other trees, that filled the air with their de- 
licious perfume. I remained there while my hus- 
band turned his time to account by visiting the 
neighbourhood ; for, in the capacity of Wall of 
Jerusa]em, he held command over the whole pro- 
vince, or vilayet , and the mudir of Jaffa was under 
his control. 

In the meantime, the neighbouring Arabs found 
out that the Pasha had gone from home, leaving 
his harem at Jaffa. My husband had given me for 
my protection two hundred misracks, or lancers 
of the irregular forces, commanded by a Dehly- 
baschi, literally "head of the mad-men." This 
officer, wearing red morocco boots, his loins enve- 
loped in a large shawl, and a gigantic turban on 
his head, always placed himself, on the march, at 
the head of his troop of horse. These two hundred 
men were encamped around the kiosque where I 
was living with my daughter, four female slaves, 
and a eunuch. One night a stone, passing through 



66 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

the opening in the roof (for the houses in this 
country were not closed in above), fell in the 
hall which surrounded our apartments. This was 
repeated twice ; I then got up, and told the eunuch 
to go and inform the Dehly-baschi of what had 
taken place. 

" Tell your mistress not to be alarmed," he 
replied ; " there is, in this garden the tomb of a 
holy personage who has an antipathy to the people 
of Constantinople ; every time they come into this 
kiosque he makes stones fall in this manner. This 
will continue all the time you are living here, but 
if you do not go into the hall these stones will not 
harm you." 

The eunuch having returned with this reply, I 
wrapped myself in a feradje, veiled myself with 
my yashmak, went in quest of the Dehly-baschi, and 
told him that I certainly did not believe it was a 
dead man who threw the stones, and that he must 
go the round, and see whether he could not discover 
some thief concealed on the premises. He took 
with him several of his men, and accompanied by 
the eunuch, we went over the gardens in every 
direction, without finding anything suspicious. 
Scarcely had I re-entered my kiosque when I was 
roused by another missile. From the manner in 



JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM. 67 

which it was sent, it must have been a man armed 
with a sling who had hurled it over the roof. 

In the morning I summoned the governor's wife, 
and told her that, being greatly afraid of dead men, 
I would stay there no longer. I wrote to my hus- 
band to inform him of what had taken place, and to 
ask him to come and take me away. He directed 
me to go and wait for him at Eamleh, and he 
would rejoin me there. 

Before I left Jaffa the mudir's wife sent me a 
present of a pair of ear-rings of brilliants and 
emeralds, and upwards of 3,000 francs (120) in 
gold. " If you refuse my trifling gifts," she said, * 
" I shall think you are dissatisfied with us, and that 
you design to send another governor to Jaffa." I 
thereupon accepted her offerings. 

Before we left Constantinople, Eesh id-Pasha, my 
husband's patron, whose sentiments he shared, had 
spoken to me in the following terms : " You are 
going to Arabia : do not, I beseech you, accept any 
present. We have promised upon oath that nothing 
more shall be received by the governors and other 
officials, on the part of their subordinates. I trust, 
therefore, that you will give no cause of complaint 
on that score." 

"Surely not," I replied; "my husband shall not 



68 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

receive any present, since you have forbidden him ; 
but you cannot oblige me to refuse what the ladies 
may choose to offer me ; that has nothing to do 
with politics or with the administration." 

" Of course not/' he rejoined, with a smile. 

Mehemet-Pasha therefore refused all the presents 
that were offered to him; and when this was ascer- 
tained they were always sent to me. 

Shortly after receiving the adieus of the family of 
the mudir of Jaffa, I left that place, and betook 
myself to Eamleh, where Mehemet-Pasha was 
awaiting me, with a numerous escort, formed of the 
authorities of various towns subject to his authority; 
and so we continued our journey to Jerusalem. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Our entry into Jerusalem ; its inhabitants How I set about getting offers 
of presents Easter A Greek conspiracy I enter upon a speculation 
in the grain trade. 

HALF a league from Jerusalem we were met by a 
regiment of infantry, headed by its band, and a 
crowd of inhabitants who had come to congratulate 
the new Pasha. We entered the city amid the roar 
of artillery, and proceeded to the palace, which con- 
tained only four or five chambers in the harem, 
and three for the selamlik, which was below the 
women's apartments. 

Facing our residence was the mosque called 
Harem-Scherif, in which is preserved the stone 
whereon Mohamed is said to have set his foot when 
the angels had transported him to Jerusalem on the 
night of his ascension to heaven. This stone, 
about twelve feet high, was raised aloft at the 
moment that the prophet left the earth, and it has 
remained suspended ever since. I have indeed seen 
it; but as it is quite close to the wall, and it is im- 



70 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

possible to get round it, it may very probably be 

, supported by some clever contrivance. At the back 
of this mosque is a street where they show you a very 
thick piece of marble, into which people assure you 
that the Virgin Mary was consigned immediately 
after her birth. 

In that locality is also to be seen the Golden 
Gate, through which, according to Moslem tradition, 
all men are to pass on the Eesurrection day. 

The town of Jerusalem consists of narrow, 
crooked, and dirty streets; it is only remarkable 

* for its antiquities. The climate is very agreeable; 
neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. 
It may be compared to that of Nice. 

The inhabitants, for the most part Arabs, are very 
troublesome to manage. They have no ]ack of in- 
telligence, as is shown by their countenances, but 
they are great cheats and robbers, and do not 
scruple to commit murder. When they think they 
have a favourable opportunity, they arrange their 
plans together, sally forth from the city, to the 
number of forty or fifty, and set to work, waylaying 
and robbing travellers, sacking villages, and com- 

* mitting other depredations. They are objects of 
abhorrence to the Turks, who regard them as 
miscreants ; instead of submitting quietly to the levy 



JERUSALEM. 71 

of taxes, and contributing readily, they only pay 
under the stimulus of the bastinado. 

As soon as they can secure a certain livelihood, 
they take three or four wives; the very poorest 
have at least two. They lead them wretched lives. 
Besides being excessively jealous, they are such 
violent characters that they are constantly beating 
their wives. It is true that three or four rivals, with 
their children, all living with one husband, in one 
room, huddled together like beasts, cannot be expected 
to exist on the best of terms with one another. 

There were three principal convents in Jerusalem 
at that period: .the Franciscan, the Greek, and the 
Armenian. No repairs, nor any change could be 
effected in either of them without the permission of 
the Pasha ; and he, having pledged himself to 
accept no presents, was never in a hurry to accede 
to their demands; so the good fathers adopted the 
expedient of applying to me, and endeavouring to 
secure my favour in their interest. One or other of 
these bodies would send me, sometimes a beautiful 
watch, sometimes a diamond pin or a pearl necklace ; 
in fact they seemed to be rivalling each other in 
their mania for making presents. 

The Franciscans, though such a thing had never 
been done before for any Turkish woman, invited 



7'2 THIRTY YEAES IN THE HAREM. 

me to a collation. I went; sixty young girls were 
drawn up in line at the door of the monastery. 
The fathers of the convent of the Holy Land came 
out to meet me; they laid before me a magnificent 
banquet; afterwards one of the priests played the 
organ, whilst the others accompanied him with their 
chants. 

The Jews, as natural, remained at the tail of the 
presents-offering multitude. The steward of our 
household, a man who knew the secret of extract- 
ing money from people's pockets, came one day to 
say that, if I pleased, he would find the means 
of getting me far more from the Jews than I had 
obtained from all the others. " Do whatever you 
think fit," I replied. 

He went upon this and told the rabbis that he 
warned them, in their own interest, the governor 
intended to make them take away an enormous heap 
of rubbish that impeded the traffic in the neighbour- 
ing streets, and had been accumulating, for probably 
forty years, at the back of one of their synagogues. 
" I fear," added the crafty steward, "that you will 
only be allowed one day to effect its removal." 

At this news the Jews were thrown into con- 
sternation. 

" Alas ! " they cried, " it is impossible to remove 



JERUSALEM. 73 

such a mass in less than several months' labour, and 
without great expense ; but, my friend," said they 
to their informant, " there is surely some means of 
appeasing your master/' 

" No," he replied; "he is inaccessible to every 
influence ; but, if you will listen to a friend, I will 
.tell you that the best intercessor with the Pasha is 
his wife." 

"Ah! what good advice you give us!" they ex- 
claimed ; "we know now how to escape from the 
fatal difficulty, which, no doubt, some enemy of 
ours has suggested to the governor." 

On the morrow they sent me a beautiful casket, 
containing several pearl necklaces, and 10,000 francs 
in gold: it need not be said that they never heard 
anything more about the nuisance, or its removal. 

On another occasion the same steward informed 
me that one of the judges had been guilty of 
numerous exactions, and that, with my approbation, 
he would squeeze him a little and obtain from him 
a present. 

" What will you do?" I asked. 

"Very little. It will be sufficient," replied. the 
steward, "to tell the judge that the governor desires 
to speak to him." 

Accordingly he called on the magistrate, who, 



71 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

feeling that his conscience was by no means clear, 
was greatly alarmed at such a summons. 

" Oh," he cried, " those who administer justice 
are sorely exposed to the risk of displeasing folks. 
I am sure that some one has been making mischief 
about me with his Excellency. What can I do to 
appease him ? " 

" You know," replied the smart steward, " that it 
is impossible to bend him ; but, if you are willing to 
believe me, and to charm away the danger that 
menaces you, address yourself to his wife. She 
alone has any influence over him." 

Next day the judge's wife hastened to pay her 
court to me, and laid at my feet a magnificent 
present, worth upwards of 40,000 francs. 

" Pray," said she, with a submissive air, " do me 
the favour to accept what I offer you; if you refuse 
me, I shall see that you desire my ruin; if, on the 
contrary, you keep this little present, that will be as 
much as to say that you approve of my humble ser- 
vice. I shall have no longer anything to fear from 
anyone, if you once grant me your protection." 

All this took place unknown to the governor. In 
a short time I amassed property to the value of up- 
wards of four hundred thousand francs, partly in 
specie, partly in jewellery and trinkets of every 




THE GREEK CONSPIRACY. 75 

description. This course of action was suggested by 
the remembrance of previous reverses. It appeared 
to me that, at any moment, we might find ourselves 
anew in the painful situation from which we had 
emerged so suddenly. In a country where one * 
has no recognised rights and no security, it is 
necessary to take precautions against the reverses of 
fortune. 

Not wishing to remain shut up in the town, I 
had a magnificent taktaravan, or palanquin, made for 
me, of red velvet fringed with gold. Accompanied 
by slaves and eunuchs, and escorted by a troop of 
about two hundred misrachs, I used to go out 
beyond the walls once a week, and pass the day on 
some elevated spot in the suburbs, from which I 
enjoyed a view of the country, while I occupied 
my time in reading or in some feminine handiwork. 
The muskets of the escort, piled like fascines in 
order around me, formed a barrier against the 
importunate attentions of the natives, who fre- * 
quently came in great numbers to look at me. 

I had formed a friendship with the wife of the 
Greek consul at Jaffa, who had come to pass the 
season at Jerusalem. She frequently visited me, 
and I conversed familiarly with her on all subjects 
in which I took an interest. Young, a native of 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Athens, and of lively temperament, I found great 
pleasure in seeing her, and in talking with her in 
the Greek language. This lady feeling highly 
honoured by the friendship which I displayed for 
her, plumed herself greatly on it before her husband, 
and warmly eulogised my spirit, and my readiness 
in speaking the Greek, Italian, Turkish, and French 
languages. 

The consul, a man of high spirit, like most 
Greeks, and, moreover, somewhat addicted to in- 
temperance, took a fancy to me from his wife's 
account, and conceived a violent desire to see me. 
The lady told me the state of affairs : " My 
husband," said she " despairs of finding an op- 
portunity of speaking to you; he is sometimes so 
furious on that account that he breaks everything 
in the house/' We both made merry and joked over 
this whim of the Consul, but the whim soon turned 
out a serious affair. 

One day, when, having gone beyond the walls 
of Jerusalem, I was seated on a neighbouring 
eminence, surrounded by the arms of my escort, I 
saw a Greek approaching, dressed in his national 
costume : high cap, jacket of red cloth, embroidered 
with gold and elegant fustanelle. It was the consul 
in question. 



THE GREEK CONSPIRACY. 77 

Addressing the Dehly-baschi, he said that, the 
Pasha being away, he desired to hand me an 
important document, which it was urgently neces- 
sary that my husband should receive. 

He was allowed to come within the barrier, and 
gave me the despatch. I at once replied that I 
would give it to my husband, and that he might 
withdraw. Seeing the numbers that were present, 
he did not dare to stay, ' and took his leave 
forthwith. I related to the Pasha all that had 
passed. 

For some time afterwards I saw no more of the 
Greek lady, and thought nothing further of her or 
her husband, when, one morning, I saw Mehemet- 
Pasha coming in a furious passion, holding in his 
hand an open letter, which he laid before me. It 
was from the consul's wife, informing him that her 
husband had conceived such a violent inclination 
for me that he was resolved to carry me off with 
the assistance of two hundred of his fellow-country- 
men resident at Jerusalem, who would think they 
were doing a praiseworthy action in rescuing a 
Christian woman from the hands of a Turk. Per- 
suaded that it was utterly impossible that such a 
project could be successful, and that it could not 
fail to bring great trouble upon its authors, and, 



78 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

above all, upon her husband, she had resolved, she 
said, to reveal the whole plot to the governor. 

The perusal of this letter afforded me the utmost 
surprise, but, without showing the least concern, I 
remarked to Mehemet-Pasha : " Well ; you know 
all about it ; it is this crazy Greek of whom I told 
you before." 

" Let him be as crazy as you please, he and 
his worthy accomplices shall learn of what I am 
capable/' 

For several days the Pasha treated me with 
excessive coldness. I was afraid that, on my 
account, he would take some fatal resolution, and that 
jealousy would prompt him to suspect that, being 
a Christian, I had formed an intrigue with an infidel. 

I reassured myself, however; for, shortly after- 
wards, I learnt that the goveroor's wrath was 
turned against the Greeks. He had committed to 
prison a great many of those resident in Jerusalem, 
and placed a seal upon their houses. Persons were 
sent to the country-house where the consul was 
staying, to keep watch over him. The charge was 
that of plotting against the Pasha. In his opinion, 
this scheme, set on foot by the Greek consul, was 
no other than a conspiracy, of which the principal 
authors were my enemies at Constantinople. It 



EASTER AT JERUSALEM. 79 

was natural that, finding I had become rich and 
powerful, they should be biting their nails with vexa- 
tion, and should have attempted to cause my ruin. 

The governor lodged a complaint in high quar- 
ters. It was only after the recall of the consul by 
the Court of Athens, and on the entreaty of the 
Greek Patriarch, that he consented to restore the 
prisoners to liberty. 

Easter was then approaching ; before this festival 
the Pasha was accustomed to send to all the Mus- 
sulmans in the neighbourhood, no matter whether 
they were highway robbers, assassins, or charged 
with other crimes, letters of safe-conduct to admit 
them into the city during the fete. He acted thus 
in order to make the number of Mussulmans pre- 
sent as large as possible, and to keep in subjection 
the Christians, who came in crowds to take part 
in the religious ceremonies pertaining to the season. 

On Palm Sunday I saw through my window- 
lattice the inhabitants of various villages in the 
neighbourhood marching past. Each township 
formed a kind of procession ; men playing on 
tamburas led the way, then followed the sheiks, 
clashing huge cymbals, and after them the popu- 
lace, both Mussulmans and Christians, bearing palm 
branches in their hands. 



80 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

It happened that year (1845) that the different 
religious communities celebrated Easter on the 
same day. The Turkish troops occupied the old 
church of the Holy Sepulchre, under the command- 
in-chief of the governor. From a gallery, protected 
by gratings, for the wives of the principal Mussul- 
man authorities, we could see all that took place 
in the basilica. In L a moment innumerable lamps 
illuminated with their dazzling lights every part of 
the edifice. 

In the first place the Catholics celebrated the 
sacrifice of the Mass ; then followed the Greeks. 
After the latter had terminated their religious 
chants, the priests made the circuit of the Holy 
Sepulchre. The moment the day broke, a fire shot 
up from beneath the tomb, and blazed for a while 
over it. The Greeks cried out that it was the Holy 
Spirit that caused those flames to appear ; and they 
lighted their candles at them. Men and women 
alike applied these candles to various parts of their 
bodies afflicted with any complaint, in the belief 
that they would thus heal themselves. Several 
were seriously burnt, but such was their fanaticism, 
that those who suffered most cried out the loudest 
that the heavenly fire could cause no pain. 

At this moment a violent quarrel arose between 



EASTER AT JERUSALEM. 81 

the Greeks and the members of another com- 
munion, who pretended that the former ought to 
leave the church, their time having expired. Both 
parties, seizing large tapers, dealt each other violent 
blows with these novel weapons. The cavas and 
the military interfered, and arrested fifty of the 
ringleaders. 

The Pasha, wishing to learn the real state of the 
case as to the apparition of the flames, threatened 
the priests that they should be excluded from the 
Holy Sepulchre, unless they would reveal to him 
the cause of this mysterious fire. They then 
showed him that a block of marble placed near the 
altar was raised, and that one of the priests, concealing 
himself in a cavity designed for the express purpose, 
lit up some vessels filled with spirits of wine, the 
flames from which passed through several fissures in 
the marble flooring. It was impossible to 'discover 
the mystery, as the priest only emerged from his 
hiding-place after everyone had gone. 

It may easily be imagined to what an excess of 
enthusiasm and frenzy such a proceeding can excite 
a superstitious people. 

A few days after the celebration, the Christians, 
both male and female, betake themselves to the 
Jordan, where they bathe, under the surveillance of 






82 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

the military. The popular tradition avers that, 
every year, one of the bathers is drowned, and that 
he or she is the most saintly of all the persons who 
perform that devotional ceremony. Those who 
have taken part in it preserve with care the garment 
that has been wetted in the waters of Jordan, and 
after death they are shrouded in it, and so laid in 
their coffins. 

On the same day the Mussulmans go in crowds 
to the mountain on which Moses died. Here they 
pay their devotions, while their food is cooking on 
the black and brilliant stones, which burn like 
coal. Of these stones beautiful cups are made, 
on which are inscribed sentences in Arabic ; it is 
said that to drink out of such cups confers health 
and happiness. 

During these fetes I remained in the palace, 
where tfte ladies of the principal dignitaries of the 
city came to call on me ; it is usual in the East to 
do so at the time of the chief solemnities of the 
year. My fair visitors belonged to the most diverse 
nationalities : Moors, with light hair and fair com- 
plexions ; Arabs, with their expression full of pride; 
Georgians and Circassians, with regular and pleasing 
features. All brought their narghile's or pipes ; 
they seated themselves in a circle round me, and we 



PROFITS AND TRADE. 83 

passed our time agreeably, chatting together with 
the utmost freedom ; for all etiquette is banished 
from conversations amongst women. 

Sometimes they spoke to me about their protege's. * 
" Could you not contrive," said one, " to procure 
my brother his exchange ? he is caimakam of a 
sandjak (department), and I am very anxious to 
have him appointed to a better post." " Perhaps," 
added another, " Madame will be able to get me the 
place of this caimakam, of whom such complaints 
are made." " It rests with you," observed the first 
speaker, " to do me this service ; I assure you that 
you won't find us ungrateful ; if you succeed we 
will give you a beautiful present." 

To all this I gave no answer ; but the next day * 
I would call the steward or the secretary, " Such 
a person," I would say, " has been recommended to 
me, and I have a promise that my good offices shall 
not go unrequited : do what you can to procure a 
favourable exchange, and you shall have your share 
of whatever I may receive." 

The official whom I thus addressed, knowing that 
his place depended upon me, would seize the first 
opportunity to speak to his master. " Your Excel- 
lency," he would say, " the caimakam of such and 
such a sandjak is giving cause for much com- 

G 2 



84 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

plaint ; he is said to be accessible to bribes, and to 
be careless in the discharge of his duties/' 

" I have heard some reports abo.ut him, but I did 
not think they were serious." 

" These reports are, unhappily, too well founded ; 
and, although they may be somewhat exaggerated, 
would it not be better to have, at so important a 
post, some person in whom you could place entire 
confidence ? I know, for example, some one of the 
greatest zeal in your Excellency's service ; he is 
thoroughly competent, and, if you will allow him to 
wait upon you, I feel assured that you will be 
pleased with him." 

The interview being held, and the Pasha satisfied, 
the exchange is effected, and I receive what has been 
promised me. In two years I disposed, in this 
manner, of more than fifteen important posts in 
favour of persons whom I had never even set 
eyes on. 

Another means of procuring funds for myself was 
by engaging in commerce, a thing expressly for- 
bidden to Pashas, but which I carried on in person, 
without the intervention of the governor in any 
respect. 

The inhabitants are bound to furnish horses, 
mules, or camels for the public service, and this 



PROFITS AND TRADE. 85 

without any remuneration. My agents demanded 
of the peasants, on my behalf, their beasts of burden ; 
and they fearing lest, by a refusal, they should draw 
upon themselves the anger of the Pasha, lent the 
animals, which were employed in conveying from 
Jaffa the corn I had purchased there. This was 
sold at Jerusalem at a considerable profit, although 
it was offered at a somewhat lower price than that 
asked by the merchants, who were obliged to defray 
the heavy expenses of transport. 

As may be seen, the promises which the ministers 
make to the European powers, and the orders which 
they give in consequence to the various authorities, 
are eluded, and all the more readily since the Porte 
has no real intention of making them respected. If 
a European consul had lodged any complaint at 
Constantinople about the trade in which I engaged, 
what answer would be returned? "What you 
complain of calls for no censure ; the merchants of 
Jerusalem sell grain to the people at exorbitant 
prices ; the governor's wife, in order to assuage the 
misery of the inhabitants, finds means to sell wheat 
at a reasonable rate, and the peasants associate 
themselves in this good work by lending their 
animals ; there is nothing to find fault with in 
that." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Revolt of the Arabs of Khair-Ackman Deplorable condition of the 
Ottoman troops. 

IN the meantime my husband was obliged to 
place himself at the head of his troops, to go and 
put down the Arabs of Khair-Ackman, a place 
about three days' march from Jerusalem, who had 
risen in resistance to the military levy. 

The rebels had taken refuge in a defile command- 
ing the entrance into their part of the country. 
The route which had to be followed in order to get 
at them commenced, towards the' plain, with an 
ascent, at first easy, and afterwards steep ; it passed, 
finally, over a chain of hills, encumbered with rocks 
and broken ground, behind which the insurgents 
had taken up their quarters. Their infantry skirted 
the line of march, and from their ambush behind 
thickets, rocks, and earthworks hastily thrown up, 
occupying the slopes and crest of the mountain, 



REVOLT OF THE ARABS. 87 

they received the Turkish troops with well-sustained 
and murderous volleys of musketry. 

Since morning, the repeated efforts and assaults ' 
of the Ottoman infantry had only succeeded in 
dislodging the enemy from their first line of en- 
trenchments that nearest to the plain. The heights 
were still defended by numerous sharpshooters, sup- 
ported by great masses of half-naked Arabs, who* 
offered a stubborn resistance. Night was drawing on, 
when the Pasha, taking counsel only of his courage, 
placed himself at the head of the half-discomfited 
infantry, which he formed in column. The soldiers, 
animated by the example of their general, vigorously 
attacked the enemy with the bayonet, and, in spite of 
their resistance, succeeded in attaining the summit of 
the range of hills on the right of the line of march. 
As soon as those who were still standing their 
ground saw the Ottoman standard floating on the 
height, they fled in disorder towards the villages. 
The Pasha's cavalry, launching themselves into the 
way that had been cleared for them, pursued the 
enemy, cutting them down with great carnage, to 
the gates of their principal hamlet, where they shut 
themselves up. 

At day-break, the rest of the Turkish forces 
effected their passage, and proceeded to encamp on 



88 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 



the other side of the defile which had been carried 
with so much difficulty. The artillery, drawn up 
by batteries before the village, after firing all day 
long, managed to throw down a great piece of the 
wall. The assault was made at once, but vigorously 
repulsed by the rebels. On the morrow the troops 
were again pressed forward, and found the breach 
abandoned ; on getting access into the principal 
street, they discovered the adjacent streets blocked 
by fallen timber, and the passages barred by gigantic 
barriers ; moreover, being received with a terrible 
fusillade from the roofs of the houses, they were 
compelled to retire with severe loss. 

The field-guns, for two days consecutively, were 
directed against the mud houses situated between 
the breach and the centre of the village ; when 
they had been nearly demolished, and the entire 
district presented the appearance of a heap of 
ruins, the Turks advanced afresh, and, in spite of 
the desperate efforts of the rebels, succeeded in 
making themselves masters of the place. A fright- 
ful massacre commenced. The Pasha's troops, exas- 
perated at the resistance they had encountered, 
gave no quarter ; the houses, having first been 
plundered, were given up to the flames, and their 
spoils removed to the camp and divided. 



EEVOLT OF THE ARABS. 89 

While the hamlet was being sacked, the 
Arab women, shut up in a large mosque, wit- 
nessed the extermination of their fathers, hus- 
bands, brothers, and children, and the ruin of 
their homes; they alone were spared by the con- 
queror. 

Eventually, fifteen days after the opening of the 
campaign, the revolted tribes sent to solicit aman 
(pardon), which was granted them ; they furnished 
hostages, raised the required contingent, and paid 
the expenses caused by the expedition. As a reward 
for ' his important services, the Pasha received, 
through the wall of Beyrout, a sword of honour ; he 
had also the rank of ferik, or general of division, 
conferred upon him. 

We soon saw the army return to the city. Nothing 
was more dismal than the appearance of the Ottoman 
troops ; preceded by monotonous music, their ragged 
garments barely covered frames of a leanness painful 
to behold. The officers themselves were as badly 
clothed as their men ; most of them had their 
shoes in holes or soleless. 

The uniform of the infantry consisted of trousers 
in the European mode, of white canvas in summer 
and blue cloth in winter ; the jacket is also of blue 
cloth ; the headdress is a red cap, or tarboosh, 



90 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 



ornamented with a blue tassel ; the shoulder-belts 
are white, worn cross- wise over the chest, support- 
ing the cartridge-box, and a sabre ; a musket and 
bayonet complete the equipment. 

The cavalry were attired in a like manner ; their 
arms consisted of a lance, and of a ridiculously short 
clumsy sabre suspended from a waistbelt. 

The causes of the deplorable state of the army 
were numerous. In the first place, all the contrac- 
tors made arrangements with the colonels and other 
commanding officers for the supply of clothes and 
materials of inferior quality. On the other hand, it 
usually happened that deliveries were retarded owing 
to the default of the treasury in payment of the 
storekeepers charged with keeping up the supplies. 
The funds were applied, in the first instance, to pay 
the salaries of the chief commanders : as for the 
soldiers, they seldom could touch their pay. It is not 
surprising that, under such a system, the soldiers are 
badly fed, badly clothed, and badly armed. It is a 
common occurrence for winter clothes to be delivered 
in the hottest of the summer months, and those 
suitable for summer wear in the depth of winter. 

The condition of the officers of inferior rank, up 
to the captain and the chef de bataillon himself, is 
if possible, more intolerable than that of the non- 



CONDITION OF THE TROOPS. 91 

commissioned officers and privates. They are all 
married, and have, for the most part, large families. 
Every month they have a right to an allowance of 
meat, rice, oil, and other matters. These rations 
are distributed with great irregularity, and the pay- 
ment of salaries is still more in arrear than the 
delivery of provisions. 

What, then, is the result ? The officer who has 
an immediate right to demand the goods necessary 
for his subsistence, and which are left in arrear, sees 
himself deprived of every resource ; and to save 
himself and his family from dying of hunger, he is 
obliged to negotiate advances with the money- 
lenders, and they buy for 150 francs the right to 
the delivery of goods to the value of 500 francs 
and upwards. This ruinous expedient naturally 
deprives the unhappy individuals who have recourse 
to it of two-thirds of their resources, already in- 
sufficient. 

Salaries often remain unpaid for six months. It 
is only at the last extremity, and when their clothes 
have reached such a degree of old age as to fall 
to pieces, that the claimants resolve to sell to 
the Jews their precious goods, which afford a 
very clear representation of the liberality of the 
government. 



92 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

These honest folks naturally take advantage of 
the urgent necessities of the borrowers to give 
them just the fourth of what they have to receive. 

It is more especially when they are on garrison 
duty in some remote province that the officers 
experience the most severe privations ; for then, not 
only are the payments indefinitely deferred, but the 
distributions of rations are made at such distant 
intervals, that they become quite illusory ; at the 
same time there is no longer the means of finding 
some one to negotiate their claims on the treasury. 
The commanding officers avail themselves of these 
circumstances to buy up, on terms still more onerous 
than those of the money-lenders, and through the 
medium of their stewards, the claims of their 
unhappy subordinates. 

It is not unusual to see officers going to seek the 
priest, and addressing him in the following lament- 
able terms : "I am married, and my wife and I are 
as well matched as possible, but I am in such a sad 
state of destitution that I cannot support her any 
longer. Separate us : she will be able to marry 
again, and find a husband who will preserve her 
from starvation." 

It is evident that troops placed in such a predi- 
cament do not offer a very effectual safeguard. The 



CONDITION OF THE TEOOPS. 93 

greatest bravery gives no chance of promotion ; it 
depends entirely on favour and intrigue. 

However, if all the posts, all the dignities, as well 
in the army as everywhere else, are -bestowed 
without any rule, on the other hand there is no 
hereditary aristocracy, keeping up its power from 
generation to generation, and closing every career to 
the multitude. It is a rare occurrence for a man 
in a high place to be the son of a father who has 
occupied a position even of moderate importance. 
The highest dignitaries are the sons of mere labourers, 
artisans, shopkeepers, or else they are Circassians, 
Poles, or Tartars, who have settled in Turkey. 

The sons of the Pashas receive a very imperfect 
education, and their morals are generally of a most 
depraved sort. Early given to all kinds of excesses, 
they quickly destroy their health, both of mind and 
body ; when their father dies they dissipate their 
wealth, and generally die in extreme poverty. 






CHAPTER IX. 

I undertake a journey to visit the Druses and the Bedouins ; the reception 
they gave me On my return to Jerusalem I succeed in quelling an 
Arab 6meute I find a husband for a Circassian whom I had brought 
up ; the marriage ceremonies. 

AVAILING myself of the governor's permission, 
I took with me my steward, and, escorted by a 
body of mounted Bashi-bazouks, I went on an ex- 
pedition to visit the Druses of the mountains and 
the Bedouins of the plain. 

The Druses (in the Turkish language Durzti) pro- 
fess a particular sect of Mohamedanism ; mounted 
on small but very active horses, they keep to the 
high mountain ranges, descending the steepest 
slopes, and re-ascending with extraordinary rapidity. 

As soon as they perceived my cortege they 
bounded down from the heights like flocks of goats. 
Armed with long muskets, they are clad only in a 
small piece of canvas, wrapped round their loins ; 
they dwell in mud huts covered with thatch, and 
secured by keys and bolts of wood. They eat with 
their fingers, without employing either knives, 



THE DRUSES. 95 , 

forks, or spoons. Their only furniture consists of a 
carpet spread on the ground, and cushions here and 
there. The cocks and hens are kept indoors, which 
makes it anything but pleasant, both on account of 
the dirt and the noise they keep up during the 
night, disturbing one's slumbers perpetually. 

The women, although the heat is very great, 
are remarkably fair-complexioned ; those who are 
married wear as a headdress a long coronet of cloth- 
of-silver, and all wear collars of the same material ; 
their heads are enveloped in a loose handkerchief of 
flowered muslin, falling over the shoulders ; they 
have chemisettes, with short sleeves, reaching very 
little below the shoulder, and leaving their bare 
arms covered with bracelets. Above these garments 
they have a small vest, tight-fitting and without 
sleeves; their wide trousers are covered with a 
short petticoat, coming down just below the knee. 

On the day of my arrival I was invited to supper 
at the house of one of the great men of the country. 
A young lamb was served up, so underdone that its 
flesh was quite red ; it was stuffed with rice, and 
covered with a kind of cream. It was impossible 
to eat of this dish, so I was offered rice, which 
my host kneaded in his hands into a ball ; to 
refuse his politeness was a delicate matter, so I 



96 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

reluctantly resigned myself to my fate. The next 
course was of cakes made of flour, sugar, and 
butter. The bread is baked in an oven of burnt 
clay, hollowed out of the ground in a circular form 
to the depth of two feet, and of double that width. 
This oven is called tandour. As soon as the embers 
have been taken out the dough is put in, and gets 
baked instantly : this bread, which is extremely crisp, 

* is as thin as a sheet of paper. Unhappily the oven 
is commonly used as a bath. I one day saw a 
woman draw out of it the water from which five 
or six children, of from five to eight years old, had 
just emerged, and pour it over the dough she was 
engaged in kneading. 

After supper I was shown at the window the 
horses belonging to my host, who invited me to 
choose whichever I preferred. As I knew nothing 
of horse-flesh, my steward pointed out to me the 
one I ought to select. At the different visits which 
I paid during this journey I was presented, in succes- 
sion, with forty-five horses, that followed in my train. 

9 The dwellings of the people are constructed so as to 
leave in the centre a large square court. When night 
came, and I and the ladies of the house were sitting 
at the window of the harem, the mountaineers 
brought torches of resin, which they planted here 



RECEPTION. 97 

and there to illumine the vast enclosure. The men, 
both of the neighbouring houses and those in the 
country round about, came, bearing cushions, on 
which they sat while they smoked their narghiles. 
Then came the musicians, followed by youths of 
from sixteen to eighteen years old, attired like 
women, who proceeded to dance in an entertaining 
manner to the sound of the music. These amuse- 
ments were prolonged well into the night. At 
every place I came to I took part each night in 
a similar demonstration. 

From the country of the Druses I descended into 
the plain inhabited by the Bedouins (Bedewya). 
They are in the habit of tattooing themselves in blue, 
on the edges of the lips, the neck, and the arms, 
from the wrists to the elbow, which produces a 
most unsightly effect upon their swarthy, and often 
black skins. 

They live in hovels underground, formed like 
gigantic hives, subsist on the produce of their flock, 
and are in a wretched condition. The sheiks alone 
wear the burnous, the rest of the people have no 
other clothing than wide linen drawers ; a few, 
however, wear a kind of shirt. The women go 
covered with a long wrapper of blue linen, falling 
from the shoulders, and secured by pins. On their 



98 THIETY YEAES IN THE HAEEM. 

head is a loose handkerchief, with which they veil 
themselves whenever they perceive a stranger. The 
greater part have black eyes, and eyebrows of re- 
markable beauty ; nearly all have teeth of brilliant 
whiteness. The richer persons attire- them- 
selves, over their blue habbara, in a kind of white 
petticoat, fastened round the loins and open on 
three sides. 

1 All these peoples, both Druses and Bedouins, like 
the Arabs in general, are greatly addicted to theft 
and rapine. No traveller would dare to pene- 
trate as far as I did without being well attended, 
otherwise he would run a great risk of being 
plundered, and even killed if he made a show of 
resistance. 

The Turkish government requires from these 
tribes no other mark of submission than the pay- 
ment of an impost arranged with each of them : 
amongst such a people the conscription is of course 
a dead letter. As the Arabs possess nothing that can 
easily be taken the flocks belonging only to a small 
number amongst them they oppose the most active 
resistance to the payment of the capitulation. 

When a village has not paid up the whole of the tax 
the inhabitants are arrested, and beaten severely on 
the soles of the feet with a scourge of elephant's hide, 



RECEPTION. 99 

called courbash. Seeing how wretched these people * 
are, it would be thought impossible that they could 
pay anything ; but after receiving, at times, some 
hundreds of blows without uttering any complaint, 
except the word Allah! (God), repeated with every 
stroke, it is astonishing to see them bring out gold, 
hidden, perhaps, in their mouths, perhaps in a little 
purse concealed under their arm-pits, or elsewhere 
about their persons. 

Since very few people, especially ladies, venture * 
to come amongst these people, I was the object of 
lively curiosity on their part. As soon as I arrived 
at any place, all the women, eager to see the go- 
vernor's wife, came out of their gourbis (hovels), 
and offered me little presents eggs, fruit, and other 
things of the kind, while others flourished huge 
fans of plaited straw, endeavouring to keep the air 
cool around me ; all were attentive, and solicitous 
of the honour of showing me hospitality. I was 
surprised, on entering on one occasion the residence 
of one of the principal sheiks, to see a European 
bedstead of iron, painted green, the fruit of some 
pillaging exploit. 

Finally, having visited a great number of villages 
and towns, I returned on my way to Jerusalem. 
In the course of my journey my cortege was aug- 



H 2 



100 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

mented by numerous mudirs and sheiks, who, in so 
honouring me, sought to dispose me favourably in 
their behalf. 

On my return I found the Pasha was absent, 
having gone to put down an armed dispute that 
had arisen between two Arab villages. 

One day, when I was quietly resting in the harem 
after the fatigue of my journey, I heard a great 
tumult in the court-yard of the palace, where the 
Pasha's court of justice and other offices were 
situated. My apartments communicated with this 
court-yard by a large staircase outside. I saw 
through the window a furious crowd of Arabs, 
raising terrible shouts. I inquired for the steward, 
the cavas-baschi, and the other officers, in order to 
ask them the cause of such a disturbance. They, 
fearing for their lives if they showed themselves to 
these people, had done their best to conceal them- 
selves. 

Seeing that, if the Arabs were allowed their own 
way they might proceed to extremities, I quickly 
made up my mind, and, half-covering my face with 
a shawl, presented myself at the head of the stair- 
case : 

" What is the matter, my friends, that you raise 
such an outcry ? Tell me what you want, and 



ARAB &MEUTE. 101 

although the Pasha is absent, I will do what I can 
to oblige you." 

"The matter ! " said one of them, who appeared 
to be one of the ringleaders. " They have lately es- 
tablished, at the gates of the city, a duty upon all 
the merchandise we bring in, in such a manner that 
we are obliged to pay before we have sold anything ; 
moreover, the licence to collect this tax has been 
conferred upon a Frenchman ; so that we are toiling 
to enrich an infidel. We wish the duty to be re- 
moved." 

" I am on your side," I answered; " I had pledged 
the Pasha not to impose this tax, but an order from 
the Sultan compelled him to do so, and he was 
forced to obey ; the Frenchman of whom you com- 
plain is not responsible. Moreover, we have 
written to Constantinople to ask for the suppres- 
sion of this levy ; in two or three days we shall 
receive a reply ; there is every reason to believe 
that the Padishah, who is a father to his subjects, 
will grant the abolition which we have solicited." 

At these words they all cried out, " God bless 
the wife of our governor ! Allah protect our 
Pasha ! Long live our Sultan ! Amin ! Amin ! " 

" In praying for your master, you do well," I 
replied ; " always continue to act thus, and you 



102 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

will obtain whatever is just. Eeturn to your 

homes, and as soon as the answer arrives it shall 

* 
be proclaimed." 

They withdrew, satisfied at the result of their 
proceeding. As for me, I was better pleased to see 
them depart than I cared to show. I returned 
to my apartments attended by their clamorous 
blessings. 

The next morning I summoned the cavas-baschi, 
and asked him the names of the principal authors 
of the disturbances of the day before. He named 
fifteen. I immediately directed him, as usual in such 
cases, to seize them ; an order which was executed 
before they left their homes. They were forthwith 
sent into exile, and were not permitted to return 
until their spirit had been completely subdued. It 
may be that some among them were innocent, but 
in such affairs it seems preferable to run the risk 
of inflicting some slight suffering both on the inno- 
cent and the guilty rather than to excite popular 
passions by proceeding in the regular course of 
justice, in order to apportion the blame attaching 
to each. In the East these nice distinctions are not 
attended to ; guilty and innocent are arrested, and 
chastisement inflicted upon them. 

For five or six years past, a young Circassian, whom 



MY YOUNG CIRCASSIAN. 103 

I had bought, had been growing up in my house. 
I had given her a certain educatioD, and, at the age 
of fourteen, she acted as governess to my daughter 
Aisheh, who was scarcely five years old. 

Although my husband was extremely good, and 
very affectionate towards me, there grew up in my 
mind a jealous thought ; I feared lest the Pasha, 
charmed with this young person, whose pleasing 
expression of countenance was relieved by a certain 
air of distinction, might wish to associate her with 
me in the capacity of a second wife, the Mussulman 
law allowing as many as four lawful wives. 

I determined to take advantage of the governor's 
absence, to rid myself of every ground of fear by 
removing this girl ; but I reflected in vain ; I could 
find no means of satisfying this desire without 
disclosing the feelings that influenced my conduct. 
One morning my attention was drawn to sundry 
groans and lamentations coming from the streets ; 
I perceived some hired mourners accompanying the 
funeral of the wife . of a caimakam (lieutenant- 
colonel). This sight distressed me, for I had known 
and loved the deceased ; but the circumstance sug- 
gested to me a sudden idea ; I resolved to give my 
Circassian maid in marriage to the officer who now 
found himself a widower. 



104 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

This project was quite capable of being realised ; 
the deceased, a Turkish lady of about forty-five, 
had her face pock-marked all over, and was conse- 
quently very plain ; her husband, of the same age, 
was still vigorous and well-preserved. As the men 
are not in the habit of remaining a long time 
deprived of a wife, and frequently remarry within 
the very week of their late wife's burial, I resolved 
to make short work of the matter; moreover the 
near return of the Pasha prompted me to haste. 

I sent my housekeeper to that of the colonel ; she 
talked with this woman about the match which I 
offered her master. It was accepted with en- 
thusiasm, for the officer could not find at Jerusalem 
any but Arab women, as ugly as they were dirty ; 
on the other hand, he was not ignorant that she 
who was proposed as his bride was beautiful, and, 
further, he thought himself highly honoured in 
having for a wife one brought up in the house of 
the Pasha, and through whom he might hope for 
advancement. He therefore showed himself quite 
favourable to the prompt conclusion of a marriage 
which I desired as ardently as he. 

Three days before that fixed for the ceremony, I 
sent the trousseau, which was my gift. The trunks 
containing the clothing, the beds, and every thing 



MARRIAGE CEREMONY. 105 

needful were placed on camels, magnificently capari- 
soned, and bearing collars with large bells. Scarves, 
presents for the camel-drivers, were tied to the 
necks of their animals. They were preceded by 
numerous servants, uniformly clad, bearing in their 
hands pieces of silver plate, and each with a scarf 
worn crossr-wise. Thus they proceeded to the house 
of the future husband ; the people, attracted by the 
sound of the bells, formed in line along the route of 
the procession, and wondered at the magnificence of 
the bride's dowry. That was all sent on the part of 
the young lady ; the only present that I was deemed 
to have made was a gold snuff-box on a silver stand. 
The porters were rewarded with trifling presents; 
these are generally small pieces of gold wrapped in 
flowered handkerchiefs. 

I next busied myself in getting ready the apart- 
ment where the ceremony was to take place, for the 
betrothed, out of respect for the memory of her 
whom he had recently lost, did not wish the mar- 
riage to be celebrated at his own house. I had the 
walls of one of the largest rooms in the palace hung 
with pieces of white silk, embroidered with gold ; 
over these were disposed cashmere shawls, relieved 
by rich scarves, and forming tapestry. In the 
centre of the room was placed a kind of throne, 



106 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

covered with velvet, on which the bride was to be 
seated. When the day arrived I had her magnifi- 
cently attired in the best that my store could afford, 
which I lent her for the occasion; this was an 
Arab costume. 

She wore large trousers of red silk, embroidered 
with gold; over them a robe of white gauze, striped 
with silk of the same colour; then came a vest of 
green velvet, embroidered with gold, with a trian- 
gular opening in front, so as to expose the bosom; 
the sleeves were narrow, cut open from the wrists 
to the middle of the forearm, and furnished with a 
great many small buttons. On her hair, which was 
cut square on the forehead, and arranged behind in 
long, hanging tresses, and adorned with golden 
sequins, was placed a rich tarboosh of red velvet, 
also garnished with sequins, and embroidered and 
adorned with pearls. On the forehead, the cheeks, 
and the chin, were written verses in praise of the 
husband, by means of spangles of gold, pasted on 
the face. 

The head was covered with a thick veil of gauze, 
worked in gold, formed of one piece, of w^hich half 
fell in front, the other half behind. 

I had sent my Kjaja-Kadun (housekeeper) to 
invite the laclies of the principal authorities of the 



MARRIAGE CEREMONY. 107 

country; for that purpose she left a little candle at 
the house of each. On the morning of the ap- 
pointed day they came in great numbers, and 
seemed charmed to find that the nuptials were to 
be celebrated after the fashion of their country. I 
allowed them to act, as they understood the matter. 
All, taking their seats in the chamber that had 
been prepared, began to smoke their narghiles, 
which they had brought for that purpose. The 
bride, throwing back her veil, went and kissed the 
hand of each, after which she placed herself on the 
raised throne assigned to her. 

Such an assemblage was an enchanting spectacle. 
There were about one hundred ladies, the greater 
part very dark-complexioned, young and pretty,- 
and all were clad in their finest costumes. Some 
were distinguished by their large tresses, adorned 
with sequins; others wore on their shoulders a kind 
of belt, formed of eight or ten large pieces of gold; 
some had tassels of large pearls, placed on each side 
of their faces; with them the principal extravagance 
was in gold and pearls, just as in Turkey diamonds 
constitute the most valued article of ornament. 
The singular noise that was heard at every move- 
ment they made; the gold they carried on their 
persons; the variety and brilliancy of the colours 



108 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

displayed in their costumes; the different shapes 
and sizes of their narghiles, some green, others red 
or blue, all contributed to the remarkable character 
of this assembly. 

One of the party commenced a song, accompanied 
by the Koudoum (an instrument composed of two 
small tambourines placed together on the ground, 
and beaten with two drumsticks), and the tar, or 
large tambourine. Two of the principal assistants 
began to dance; they stood facing each other at a 
certain distance, then they swayed themselves for- 
wards and backwards successively, following the 
time marked by the music. This dance allows no 
movement of the legs ; the feet scarcely stir. The 
performers balance themselves on their haunches, 
inclining their heads right or left, niake graceful 
gestures with their arms, and assume attitudes 
most charming and most impassioned; everything 
breathes in them, while dancing, an ardent yet 
restrained voluptuousness. 

The dancing was kept up until all, old and young, 
the wives of the cadi (judge), the nakib (first inter- 
preter of the law), the imam (priest), and of other 
officers, civil and military, of every rank, had 
successively taken part in it. 

After the ball, supper was served up. The 



MARRIAGE CEREMONY. 109 

attendants brought sofras (round thin planks or 
plates of wood, inlaid with mother of pearl, bronze, 
marble, and other materials), each of which was 
placed on a stool about a foot high. Eound each 
of these tables ten guests seated on cushions were 
accommodated. All the dishes were served at the 
same time; soup, meat, rice, dessert; everyone 
washed her hands before taking her seat, and helped 
herself with her fingers to whatever she fancied; 
there were neither plates, nor spoons, nor forks. * 

The supper over, all rise from table, and again 
seat themselves to take coffee and smoke narghiles. 
At sunset, all the ladies present wrap themselves in 
a long piece of white stuff, which conceals their 
costume, and with which they cover their faces, 
excepting the eyes. The bride does likewise; then 
they all issue forth to escort her to the house of her 
husband. Four of the guests bear over her head, 
by means of staves, a canopy of red cloth, shaped 
like a tent and open in front. The bridegroom, 
standing at the door of his house, welcomes the 
cortege, and scatters small pieces of money, whilst 
all the women cry lou y lou, lou! recite verses in 
honour of the bride, and loudly declare their good 
wishes in her favour. The bridegroom then goes out, 
whilst the whole assemblage enters the house; the 



110 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

bride takes her seat on the divan, and kisses the 
hands of the assistants as they severally withdraw. 
Two old female slaves then raise her veil, and give 
her some refreshment. 

At eight o'clock, at the time when the night's 
prayer is offered, the husband, leaving the mosque 
where the nuptial prayers have been said, comes 
accompanied by a numerous suite of acquaintances, 
carrying lighted candles or torches, and chanting 
prayers ; the priest pushes the newly-married man 
into his house by the shoulders, and, after drinking 
a glass of sherbet, they all retire. 

Then the husband goes up-stairs, and seats him- 
self on a chair, while his wife, accompanied by 
two old female slaves, each carrying a candle, 
presents herself before him, and all three dance ; 
they withdraw, change the bride's dress, and return 
to renew the dance. This performance is repeated 
until all the robes in the trousseau have been put 
on. The husband then takes his wife by the hand 
and enters the bedchamber with her. 

The next morning the newly-married husband, as 
was the custom, came to thank me. I made him a 
present of a beautiful Arab horse. 

Five or six days afterwards I was informed of 
the arrival of the governor. The caimakam went 



MARRIAGE CEREMONY. 



Ill 



to meet him, and kissed the hem of his robe, as soon 
as he accosted him. 

" What new thing has happened, that you should 
pay me this mark of deference V 

" I am the husband of the young lady who was 
brought up in your house." 

" Oh I" cried the Pasha ; " then you are my son- 
in-law." And they continued to converse familiarly 
until they reached the city. 

"When the Pasha entered the house I felt very 
uneasy as to the manner in which he would take 
the affair. 

" It appears that you have been celebrating 
certain nuptials during my absence. . . . Well, 
you have amused yourself, and you have done well." 

Seeing him in this frame of mind I was satisfied, 
both because my arbitrary conduct met with no 
reproach, and because I saw myself freed from all 
disturbing causes of jealousy. 



CHAPTER X. 

Nazly-Hanum, daughter of Mehemet-Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, invites me to 
visit her My reception ; her character I visit Alexandria and 
Cairo. 

ONE Friday that I received, as I did every week, 
the wives of certain subordinate officials, the eunuch 
in attendance came to tell me that an old lady, 
accompanied by a slave and a eunuch, had arrived, 
bringing a letter for me. I directed that she should 
be admitted into one of our finest apartments, until 
my reception was at an end. As soon as I was at 
liberty, I went to see what this person wanted. She 
was lady-in-waiting to the Princess Nazly-Hanum, 
daughter of Mehemet-Ali-Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt. 
She brought a letter from her mistress, in which 
the writer informed me that having heard me 
spoken of as a person of ability, and highly 
energetic, I should be conferring on her a great 
pleasure if I would spend a few days in Egypt with 
her. I was naturally obliged to offer hospitality to 



NAZLY'S MESSENGER. 113 

the messenger of her Highness, and to those who 
accompanied her. 

I acquainted my husband with this invitation, 
and asked permission to comply with the request of 
the Princess. " You are obliged to go to her," said 
he, " for an invitation coming from a person of 
such rank is a command." 

Taking with me my daughter Aisheh, two slaves 
and a eunuch, and accompanied by the messenger 
of the Princess, I went to Jaffa, and embarked for 
Alexandria, where I found the equipages and 
servants of her Highness in readiness. The car- 
riages were all fitted with red embroidered velvet ; 
instead of windows the two sides were furnished 

s 

with gilt trellis work, to admit the air. We im- 
mediately went to take up our residence with the 
Princess, at her palace of Mahmudieh, which 
situated near the Nile, in the centre of a magnificent 
garden, had quite the appearance of a European 
structure. The mosaics which were set in the floors 
of the inner apartments were remarkably fine. 

After getting out of the carriage in one of the 
courts, I entered a spacious vestibule, beyond which 
was a magnificent staircase leading to the upper 
rooms. On each side of the passages were drawn 
up lines of female slaves, dressed in silks of brilliant 



114 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

lines, and wearing necklaces, ear-rings, and bracelets 
of great value. To do me honour, other slaves, took 
me under the arms, as though to assist me up-stairs, 
while others again, and some eunuchs, supported the 
skirts of my feradje (a large mantle), sweeping the 
ground, closed in front, garnished with immense 
pagoda sleeves, and a tippet. I was received at the 
head of the stairs by the Princess's treasurer, who 
introduced me into a large hall, where she made me 
sit down and rest before being presented to her 
mistress. ^ 

Shortly afterwards the treasurer came to inform 
me that her Highness was waiting to receive me. 
I found her seated on a magnificent divan, and 
calmly smoking a long chibouk. On seeing me she 
rose, and, with a firm step, approached and bid me 
welcome. The Princess was of the middle height, 
and of a somewhat dark complexion ; her face bore 
the impress of a degree of energy and passion not 
commonly met with; her eye, penetrating and bold, 
denoted intelligence. I prostrated myself to the 
ground ; she graciously bowed in acknowledgment 
of my salutation, inviting me, by a motion of her 
hand, to take my seat on a divan placed opposite to 
her own. 

Around the apartment stood sundry old women, 



NAZLY'S RECEPTION. 115 

who were employed to entertain the Princess by 
relating stories. As soon as I had taken my place, 
a chibouk was brought me, and I began to smoke. 
The Princess then commenced the conversation, 
complimenting me at considerable length on the 
good reports she had heard of me. We then talked 
on various subjects. Nazly-Hanum gave proofs of 
a shrewd intellect, and an extensive knowledge of 
Eastern affairs. During our conversation glasses of 
sherbet were brought in, variously perfumed, and 
lastly coffee. After we had conversed for about 
half an hour, I took leave of the Princess, and 
retired to the apartments prepared for me. Like 
the rest of the rooms in the palace, they were 
magnificently furnished ; divans, cushions, hang- 
ings of embroidered velvet, were in every chamber. 
When the dinner-hour arrived, Nazly-Hanum 
dined alone with me. The table, covered with 
embroidered silk, was garnished with numerous 
dishes, served on silver plate of rare workmanship ; 
even the spoons were ornamented with precious 
stones. 

During the repast we talked, very little. Pre- 
sently we rose, and went to sit in the garden, where 
we all sat round a table smoking and taking coffee. 
Towards ten o'clock fruit was brought, and sherbet in 

i 2 



116 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

golden cups, adorned, together with their covers, with 
diamonds. The Princess began to drink both brandy 
and wine, and to talk familiarly with me ; then she 
permitted several of the oldest of her slaves to sit 
near us. One of them acted the part of her lover ; 
they both began talking about affairs of gallantry, 
and exciting themselves. Nazly, in fact, had formed 
in her youth many amorous intrigues ; but as she 
could only see her lovers by stealth, and for 
brief moments, she had adopted the plan of having 
all sorts of fun in the haxem. I was present at this 
scene, which became more animated in proportion as 
the two principal actresses got more intoxicated. In 
the meantime, some young slaves danced, accom- 
panying themselves with zaganets (castanets of 
copper), while others sang. Those whose duty con- 
strained them to remain standing round the room 
fell down with fatigue ; it could be seen from their 
appearance, that they were accustomed to pass the 
night without sleep. They were forced to endure 
this weariness without a sign of impatience, for if 
their mistress observed it, she would have had them 
beaten unmercifully ; many had even died from the 
ill-treatment they had suffered under such circum- 
stances. 

Eventually, being weary of such revolting scenes 



NAZLY'S CHARACTER. 117 

of debauchery and selfishness, towards midnight I * 
requested permission to retire. 

I was recon ducted to my apartments by the per- 
son who had called on me at Jerusalem. Out of 
compliment, I asked her to be seated for a short 
time near me. She began talking to me about Nazly. 

" You have seen our mistress : she passes all her 
nights as she has commenced this. She rises at 
noon, and spends her days in visiting, driving, 
drinking, and amusing herself. 

" Formerly, although the Egyptian ladies are far " 
more strictly confined than the Turks, she found 
means, thanks to the fear with which she inspired 
us, and the frequent absences of her husband, to 
introduce, with impunity, her lovers into the 
harem. She usually ensured their reticence by 
having them put to death ; but these murders 
having made some noise, she has given up that 
kind of pastime. 

"We are all very unhappy under her. She is 
excessively capricious and cruel. During her hus- 
band's lifetime, he having one day said to a slave who 
was pouring out water for him, ' Enough, my lamb;' 
this word, reported to his wife, put her into a fury. 
Forthwith she ordered the poor girl to be killed ; then 
she had the head stuffed with rice, cooked in an oven, 



118 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

and placed on a large dish surrounded with rice. 
When the Defterdar came to his dinner, his wife had 
this strange dish served up to him, saying, ' Help 
yourself to a piece of your lamb/ At this word he 
threw his napkin on the table, went away, never 
reappeared for a long time after, and had no longer 
any affection for his wife. If he did not separate 
from her, it was because he was bent upon keeping 
her riches, and remaining the son-in-law of Me- 
hemet-Ali. This jealousy extends to those of her 
slaves who minister to her passions ; at the least 
suspicion of infidelity she dooms them to die under 
the lash." 

She related many more instances of the violent 
character of her cruel and imperious mistress. " If 
she has induced you to come here," said this good 
old lady, " it is because she has heard you spoken 
of as one who has travelled in Europe and in Arabia, 
and who knows many things calculated to entertain 
her. However, her Highness is very generous, and 
you will have no cause to complain of her." This 
conversation was prolonged to a late hour. 

It was about ten o'clock next morning, and I had 
not yet risen, when the Princess entered my room, 
attended by two slaves. She had evidently got up 
earlier than usual. "What!" cried she, "you still 



NAZLY'S CHARACTER. 119 

in bed, my dear ? " Then coming up to me, she 
embraced me, and began to pay me a thousand 
compliments. Finally she withdrew, saying that 
she was going to wait for me. 

I was soon dressed, and found the Princess in- 
specting some designs for jewelry which she wished 
to have prepared. " Come," she exclaimed, " you 
shall give me your advice." We together proceeded 
to examine the designs. When we had made our 
selection, she sent for two caskets, each upwards 
of three feet long, and wide and deep in proportion. 
" Now," said she, " let us choose the stones. " These 
caskets were filled with an infinite number of dia- 
monds, emeralds, and other precious stones, the 
greater part very large, and altogether of incalculable 
value. She was on the point of locking them up 
again when she remarked all of a sudden, " I am 
going to make you a little present : here are two dia- 
monds ; get one made into a ring for yourself and 
the other for your husband." Each of these gems 
was worth upwards of five thousand francs. 

She then asked for a large casket. This was full 
of long bars of gold, 

" I intend," said Nazly, " to have these ingots 
made into plate. What is your opinion ? " 

" I think," replied I, " that vessels of massive gold 



120 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

would be extremely heavy ; those of silver are much 
lighter." 

" You are right. I will apply the contents of this 
box to another purpose." Then taking two or three 
of the bars, she cast them at the feet of a slave. 
" See, they are for thee," she said. 

At the invitation of her Highness, I went down 
into the garden. This was remarkably beautiful. 
The date-palms, orange-trees, flowers, and shrubs 
were arranged with a degree of art not often seen, 
especially in the East. The very walls were covered 
with verdure. Here and there elegant kiosques, in 
the midst of which graceful jets of water refreshed 
and cooled the air, contributed to the charm of the 
scene, I walked about for some time, accompanied 
by women, each of whom wore on her neck a white 
handkerchief, adorned with embroidered verses, the 
distinguishing mark of those who were in the good 
graces of their mistress. The latter presently made 
her appearance. 

" What do you think of my garden ? " said she. 
" Are you pleased with the climate of Egypt ? " 

" The garden and the climate are both very fine, 
and in every respect agreeable ; but how could I en- 
large upon their praises, when it is to you that such 
praises are due ? " 



NAZLY'S RECEPTION. 121 

She smiled at this compliment, and testified her 
satisfaction by gently pinching my cheek. "If 
you would like to see something of the country, let 
us go out," she said. We then each took aferadje, 
and over it a bourko, a kind of hood which com- 
pletely covers the head and neck, and admits the 
light through holes made in front of the eyes. The 
features of the women are nowhere concealed with 
so much care as in Egypt ; everywhere else they 
have their faces covered with a yashmak, a slight 
veil of silk gauze. We got into our carriage, the 
trellis of which was not so thick as to hinder us 
from seeing anything, and went to the palace of 
Ibrahim-Pasha, brother of Nazly-Hanum. We were 
both received with the same ceremony that had 
attended my arrival at the residence of the Princess. 
She introduced me to Ibrahim's wives, and praised 
me highly to them. I went over the palace, which 
was as richly furnished as that of my amiable 
hostess. The women who lived in it were all young, 
and far more beautiful than those of Nazly's esta- 
blishment. They all bore on their countenances the 
impress of fear and of ennui. An old slave, with a 
cheerful expression (for the old slaves are generally 
more gay than the young), conducted me all over. 
She told me that the Pasha was of a terribly jealous 



122 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

* disposition. "A black eunuch/ 7 said she, "becom- 
ing enamoured of a Circassian of rare beauty, of 
whom our master was passionately fond, was na- 
turally rejected by her, and resolved to effect her 
ruin. One day he placed, as though it had been 
forgotten, a man's cloak near the Circassian girl's 
door. When the Pasha, preceded by two eunuchs 
carrying torches, arrived at the door, and saw this 
garment, he was transported with rage. 

" ' What is this ? ' he cried. 

" ' My lord/ answered the wicked eunuch, ' no 
doubt it belongs to some one who has been with 
the Circassian, and has fled at your approach/ 
< " Ibrahim-Pasha knocked rudely ; the poor girl 
came to open the door ; at that instant our master, 
drawing his handjer (a short curved dagger), struck 
her dead. You may readily understand that with a 
master so suspicious, and so ready to believe calum- 
nies, we cannot be happy." 

I returned to Nazly, and we were served with a 
superb cold collation, after which we went into the 
garden, which was still more magnificent than that 
of the Princess. All the Pasha's wives accompanied 
us. They were Circassians and Greeks, of a gentle 
disposition, and generally beautiful, but badly 
educated. Then we went to the warm bath, while 



NAZLY'S RECEPTION. 123 

slaves sought to entertain us by dancing, and sing- 
ing to the derbouka a kind of mandoline. When 
night came we returned to her Highnesses palace. 

One of the tale-tellers then gave us one of the 
stories which they are accustomed to recite. There 
are about ten. Each woman knows one or two of 
them, which she repeats; when there is any poetry, 
she sings it. Those who go through recitations of 
this kind have no other employment. 

Next we were given a representation of Kara- 
gheuz, or Chinese shadows. Those who directed 
the movements of the marionettes introduced 
imaginary characters, whose dialogue was full of 
allusions to the acts of the Princess and of the various 
members of her establishment. In a general way, 
pantomimes, or tales revealed in the acting, are 
produced on this limited stage; it is the theatre of 
the Orientals. In Turkey it is often employed asX 
the means of communicating to the Sultan or some | 
other great personage what no one would dare 
tell them openly. 

On the morrow, taking with me Fatmah, the lady 
who was sent on the mission to me, we dressed 
ourselves like merchants' wives, and went to see 
the town. What most struck me was the horrible 
filth that prevailed everywhere. In the bazaar the 



124 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

female fellahs were covered from head to foot with 
a long surtout of blue linen. These women do not 
generally conceal their face. Their garments were in 
rags and threadbare. The fruit, the bread, the vege- 
tables, were literally covered with myriads of black 
or bluish flies, because the vendors did not give 
themselves the trouble of covering their wares. 
It surprised me that anyone could purchase such 
articles, offered by such filthy saleswomen. 
Swarms of squalid children, barely covered with 
miserable rags, infested the environs of the market; 
the streets leading to it were, so to speak, im- 
passible, on account of the heaps of filth that had 
accumulated. We went into several shops; it was 
just as bad. I could not possibly understand how 
these people could live amid such an atmosphere of 
stench. The merchants, dressed in long jubbehs 
(mantles with long sleeves), their heads covered 
with large turbans, and their feet bare, stood at the 
doors of their shops, which were left open to show 
what was sold, as they had neither sign nor stall. 
The streets, very narrow, and generally unpaved, 
were continually cut up, sometimes by carriages, 
before which ran a person clad only in a blouse of 
blue linen, reaching to the knee, and bandaged 
round the loins, sometimes by hired asses, preceded 



CAIRO. 125 

or followed by young boys, and mounted by men or 
women. 

These asses, very handsome, for Egypt is cele- " 
brated in that respect, are extremely convenient. 
For about two or three pence you can go all over 
the town on one, and two young conductors are at 
your service. If you stop anywhere, you fix the 
time when they are to return for you, and you pay 
only as for one taking up. 

Now and then we visited the cafe's, which were 
distinguished by benches placed out in the street 
where men sat, gravely occupied in smoking and 
drinking. Here and there we met Arab women 
singing maonals (couplets) to the sound of the tar, 
or tambourine. 

Finally we arrived at a quarter called the Course, 
where are to be seen houses built in the European 
style, and shops with glazed fronts, showing the 
goods tastefully arranged. The trees planted before 
the houses make this square resemble that of a 
town in the south of France. 

Shortly afterwards, taking with me Fatmah and 
several more of the Princess's women, I left for 
Cairo, in carriages belonging to her Highness. As 
soon as we got beyond the walls of Alexandria, it 
seemed as if we had entered a vast furnace. After 



126 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

suffering greatly from this excessive heat, we put 
up at the palace of Halim-Pasha, at Shoubrah. I 
went to visit the town of Cairo, which comprises a 
great number of palaces, surrounded by magnificent 
gardens and squares. The bazaars are numerous, 
and a different kind of merchandise is sold in each. 
Amongst the merchants, dealers in trinkets, jewellers, 
and others, are many Europeans. This town did not 
please me as much as Alexandria, which, refreshed by 
the sea-breezes, and the flowing waters of the Nile, 
was a most agreeable place to live in; whereas Cairo, 
on the contrary, only separated from the desert by the 
river, has an excessively hot climate. Many of the 
inhabitants suffer from ophthalmia. Another incon- 
venience is that there is no other water than that of 
the Nile, which is exceedingly brackish and un- 
pleasant to drink, even when filtered. The scorpions, 
the serpents, and the mosquitos add to t discom- 
forts of the country. 

After spending some time at Cairo I returned to 
Alexandria, where I stayed about a fortnight longer. 
I then took leave of the Princess, and embarked on 
a steam-vessel which conveyed me to Beyrout. This 
town is built in the form of an amphitheatre, on a 
hill, the base of which forms the port. It serves \as 
the residence of the Wall, or governor-general 



CAIRO. 



127 



Palestine. The houses are surrounded by immense 
gardens, planted with mulberry-trees. Water is 
very scarce, and is brought from a great distance. 
The population is largely employed in the manage- 
ment of silkworm nurseries. There are also exten- 
sive silk manufactories, and the dealers in satin 
damask are numerous. After resting two days in 
the palace of the Wall, I resumed, by road, my 
journey to Jerusalem. 



CHAPTER XL 

Mehemet-Pasha is recalled The journey from Jerusalem to Constan- 
tinopleMy husband is appointed governor of Belgrad : we repair 
to that new post. 

ABOUT three months after my return, there 
arrived from Constantinople an order recalling my 
husband, and appointing a new governor. 

In the East, when an official is recalled, he is 
accounted of less consideration than the lowest of 
the inhabitants. From all parts signs of discontent 
were displayed. The chief complaints lodged 
against us were that Mehemet-Pasha proceeded 
with too great severity against the Arabs, both 
those who had rebelled, and those accused of 
crimes, and that I was too greedy for money and 
presents. 

The Pasha resolved that I should take my depar- 
ture first, with our principal effects and our servants, 
before the arrival of his successor, and thus, being 
still in the possession of authority, he could be on 
his guard against the malevolent. He furnished 



JOURNEY TO BEYROUT. 129 

me with an escort of Bashi-bozouks, and told me to 
go and wait for him at Akiah, where he would meet 
me and take me to Constantinople. 

I followed a different route to that which we took 
on our former journey. On the second day, the 
commander of the escort was informed that a 
dispute had arisen between the inhabitants of a 
neighbouring village and those of the town through 
which we were going to pass, and they had come to 
blows that self-same day. Indeed, we heard the 
distant sound of the firing. What complicated the 
matter was the circumstance that both parties were 
equally hostile to my husband, who had severely 
chastised them for their repeated and sanguinary 
outbreaks. The Dehly-baschi was sorely embarrassed 
as to what he should do. 

" Believe me," I said, " there is only one way of 
avoiding the danger that threatens us and con- 
tinuing our journey in peace. Instead of going 
straightforward, we must make the circuit of the 
village which we have to pass, enter it by the gate 
which looks upon the road from Akiah, and you say 
to the inhabitants that I am the wife of the new 
governor, just arrived from Constantinople, and- 
whom you are escorting to Jerusalem." 

This stratagem, carried into effect, succeeded 



130 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

beyond all expectation. As soon as they learnt 
that the new governor's harem was approaching 
the combat ceased. The Arabs and their sheiks 
came to meet me, raising shouts in my honour. 
They conducted me, with great pomp, to the house 
of the wealthiest inhabitant in the place. The 
women received me with all the respect and all 
the good-will possible. They served up an excellent 
supper, and did their very best to make me com- 
fortable. 

" We are happy," said they, " to see you take the 
place of our late Pasha. He was so cruel that he 
punished by exile or imprisonment the least ap- 
pearance of rebellion. . One could never obtain any 
benefit from him, save by robbing oneself for the 
benefit of his wife." 

"We have heard that spoken of in Constan- 
tinople," I replied, " and for that reason it has 
been determined to send a new governor to Jerusalem, 
to repair the evils you have hitherto endured ; you 
will find the new Pasha as humane as the former 
showed himself rigorous, and I trust you will be 
satisfied with him/' 

I tranquilly passed the night amongst these good 
folks. In the morning, the sheik's wife came to 
offer me a ring, richly chased, which I was obliged 



JOURNEY TO BEYROUT. 131 

to accept for fear of exciting the displeasure or dis- 
trust of my entertainers. 

My escort having assembled, we again set out on 
our march, the Dehly-baschi and his men rejoicing 
greatly at the success of our trick. As they had 
given themselves out as Bashi-bozouks sent to Jeru- 
salem in charge of the harem of the new Pasha, 
they had been very well treated ; the greater part 
of the night had been spent in festivities on their 
account. We repeated, at the last halting-place, 
the performance that had proved so successful the 
day before, and so arrived without inconvenience at 
Akiah on the fourth day after setting out from 
Jerusalem. 

The governor of the town, formerly steward to 
the Wali of Beyrout, who had procured his nomina- 
tion to our post at Jerusalem, received me with 
great demonstrations of respect. Knowing that 
my husband had been sent for to Constantinople, 
and presuming that he might be nominated to a 
high post, he wished to secure his good graces by 
treating me to the best of his ability. On the 
night of my arrival he had me serenaded, and com- 
manded a superb exhibition of fireworks in my 
honour. 

This worthy governor was about fifty years old, 



K 2 



132 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

pock-marked, and extremely plain. Introduced to 
his wife, she received me very graciously. She was 
a person of about twenty-three, very pretty, the 
daughter of a merchant at Broussa. As soon as 
we had conversed for a moment, we discovered 
such mutual sympathy, that we soon became like 
two friends of ten years' standing. 

Next morning I was with her when her husband, 
going to the bath, sent to ask for some linen he 
required. 

" Carefully observe/' said she to the slave charged 
with this commission, " with whom the Pasha is 
going to the bath, and with whom he con- 



verses." 



" My dear friend/' said I, as soon as the slave 
had gone, "it seems to me that you have a very 
singular idea, in allowing yourself to be jealous of 
such a husband." 

"Ah !" she cried, "you don't know what a man 
he is. He has made me the mother of two children, 
aged respectively three and two years. I procured, 
to take charge of them, a woman of Chios, about 
forty years old, and pock-marked. I had full con- 
fidence in her, and was far from supposing that she 
could attract the attentions of my husband. A 
fortnight passed, and one morning I awoke early, 




JOURNEY TO BEYROUT. 133 

and did not find the Pasha by my side. In great 
distress, I put on my pelisse, and went to see what 
had become of him. I found him in the servant's 
bedroom with gold in his hand, which he was 
endeavouring to induce her to accept. At this 
sight I swooned away. Hearing me fall, my faith- 
less husband was greatly alarmed on seeing me 
there, and hurried away into the selamlik, leaving 
the partner of his guilt to reconduct me to my\ 
chamber. Indignant at such deceit, and resolved 
not to survive my shame and sorrow, for I dearly 
loved my husband, I swallowed a ball of opium 
which I had in the house. I soon began to manifest 
all the symptoms of poisoning. A doctor was 
called in, and he succeeded in counteracting the 
effects of the poison. In ten days I was beginning 
to get well again. As the Pasha and I have not yet 
made peace with one another, I fear he will make 
another attempt to 'have a talk with his Greek 
favourite. You see it is not without reason that I 
charge my slave to watch him." 

Such was the story told by this poor woman. I 
did my best to console her, telling her that, while 
becoming reconciled to her husband, she should 
insist on his slave being sold, and thereby she 
would have no further anxiety. 



134 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Mehemet-Pasha arrived soon after, and we re- 
mained two days at Akiah, and then went on to 
Beyrout. On our way we had to pass through an 
extremely mountainous district. Several times I 
was obliged to leave the taktaravan, or palanquin, 
and mount on horseback ; for the road, flanked by 
precipices, was so narrow that it was dangerous to 
remain in the palanquin. One of the horses might 
make a false step, and precipitate me down some 
ravine, whilst the size of the vehicle still further 
increased the danger. After resting one night at 
Beyrout, we took the steamer for Constantinople. 
As was customary, my husband had engaged the 
saloon for his harem. When a lady wishes to go 
on deck, she must put on the yashmak and the 
feradje, as when she goes out in a town. A 
pavilion of canvas is, moreover, arranged on the 
different packet-boats, to conceal the ladies from the 
eyes of Europeans who embark in the same vessel 
with them. 

We stayed at the same house where we had 
suffered so much before our appointment to Akiah. 
Thinking that we should not have to wait long 
before we got a new post, we only furnished two 
apartments, leaving the remainder of our effects 
packed up. As soon, as we arrived we had a visit 



APPOINTMENT TO BELGRAD. 135 

from my husband's capu-djohadar, the name 
given to a kind of agent, who goes to the Porte 
for dispatches on account of some two or three 
functionaries whom he represents, and solicits for 
them vacant offices superior to those which they are 
then enjoying. He came to tell us that there was a 
report abroad that the governorship of Belgrad was 
about to be conferred on Mehemet-Pasha, although 
he was only a mirimiran, or general of division, 
whereas this command is not generally given to 
anyone under the rank of a mushir, or field-marshal. 

This favour was owing to Eeshid-Pasha, the 
grand-vezir, the political friend and supporter of 
my husband. 

A fortnight had hardly elapsed when we heard 
several couriers hurrying to our house, and uttering 
shouts of joy. Thirty mefaers, or couriers, people 
who hang about the Porte to learn the news, came 
in fact to announce the nomination of Mehemet- 
Pasha as governor of Belgrad. 

After receiving numerous visits of congratulation, 
we left Constantinople to proceed to our new post. 
A packet-boat brought us to Varna, in abominable 
weather and over a frightfully rough sea. There 
we landed, and, after a short journey, embarked 
again on a steam-boat. As we were passing Widin, 



136 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

the governor invited us to stay. As it was night, lf 
he sent to meet us a great number of torchbearers, 
and also his carriages, and thus we were conducted 
to the palace. We were very kindly received, and 
I passed the night with the four wives of the 
Pasha, Turkish women, as ignorant and as old as 
wives of the time of the Sultan Mahmud could pos- 
sibly be. Aga-Hussein-Pasha had formerly been an 
aga of the Janissaries. He had participated in the 
massacre of that body by setting fire to one of their 
principal barracks, and so was promoted to the 
grade of mushir. A beautiful and sumptuous supper 
was placed before us. In the morning we re- 
embarked at four o'clock, but were soon obliged to 
leave the steam-boat, a dam preventing our passage 
higher up the river. We then had to avail our- 
selves of horrible flat boats, drawn by oxen, to clear 
that part of the Danube where the shallowness pre- 
sented an obstacle to the passage of steamers. I 
preferred to go ashore, and follow on foot the 
barges in which the baggage and the slaves were 
stowed. I thus enjoyed the prospect of the 
beautiful defile bordering on the river. We after- 
wards took a small steamer at the point where the 
stream again became navigable, and by that means 
arrived off Belgrad. Instead of landing on the 



JOURNEY TO BELGRAD. 137 

Turkish bank, the Pasha stopped at Semlin, on the 
Austrian side, to pay his compliments to the com- 
mander, who gave us a favourable reception, placed 
a house at our disposal, and sent a military band to 
play under my windows while he conferred with 
my husband. 



CHAPTEE XII. 

Residence at Belgrad Monotony of our existence there Revolt of the 
Serbians, and my visit to the Prince. 

THE following morning we crossed the Danube, 
and found the Turkish troops drawn up to receive 
us. They escorted us to the fortress, which stands 
on an elevation overlooking the town, which is 
built on an amphitheatre, stretching upwards along 
the river Sava. The palace is situated in the 
centre of the fort ; casemates are placed under the 
batteries to serve as a refuge in case of siege, and 
these gates must be passed before you reach the 
principal court-yard, on which the palace abuts. 

Eesidence at this place was not very agreeable. 
We had no garden, and I attempted to obtain some 
recreation by walks in the surrounding country, but 
it was utterly barren ; there was no verdure, and 
only a tree here and there at long intervals. The 
only herds or flocks I ever came across were com- 
posed exclusively of swine. The Serbian population 



RESIDENCE AT BELGRAD. 139 

being hostile to the Turks, I had no acquaintance 
except amongst the old wives of officials who were 
superannuated, and compelled by the government 
to reside on the spot. 

The Princess, wife of the reigning Prince Alex- 
ander, came to call upon me, and I received her at 
the foot of the staircase, a mark of attention which 
produced a great effect upon her, since none of the 
Turkish ladies who had preceded me had ever taken 
the trouble so to receive a Christian. They would 
remain sitting on their divans, and would never 
return the calls made on them. On the contrary, 
with the governor's permission, I went in a carriage, 
escorted by cavasses, to see the Princess. Her 
husband met me in the court-yard of his palace, and, 
by his orders, his guard was drawn up in a double 
line, through which I passed, while the band played 
the national Ottoman march. He took me by the 
hand and conducted me to his wife, who received me, 
attended by her two daughters, lovely girls of six- 
teen and fourteen respectively. All three were in 
the national Serbian costume : red cap, worn on the 
side of the head, with a tassel hanging over the 
shoulder ; plaited hair, the plaits being turned 
back on the forehead ; embroidered jacket, with 
large sleeves, inside which were other and falling 



140 THIRTY YEAKS IN THE HAEEM. 

sleeves of muslin ; and a short skirt reaching to the 
ankle. After exchanging a few words, I took my 
leave of their highnesses, and was reconducted to 
my carriage in the same ceremonious manner as that 
in which I had been received. 

Belgrad was then an ill-built town ; its streets 
were narrow, dirty, and ill-paved. The shops were 
numerous, but they offered no attractions. The 
Belgrad of that period, therefore, was a very dif- 
ferent place from what we see it now-a-days. At 
that time it contained about five hundred families 
of Turkish origin, supported solely by pensions, 
given them by the Ottoman Government in consi- 
deration of the prosperity they had formerly enjoyed, 
and which the Serbians had monopolised. The 
customs of this little colony differ, in some points, 
from those of Constantinople. Most of the girls 
have light hair, but when they marry they stain 
their hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows. They also paint 
themselves in an extraordinary manner : you may 
tell a married woman by this. Their dress is some- 
what different from that of other Ottoman women. 
They wear a tarboosh, over a loose flowing handker- 
chief, an embroidered jacket, with pendent sleeves, 
and wide trousers, embroidered at the sides. 

The climate of Serbia is extremely hot in summer, 






RESIDENCE AT BELGRAD. 141 

and fevers are prevalent ; in winter the cold is very 
severe, and there are heavy falls of snow. Every 
year the Danube freezes, which causes numerous 
accidents. At a day's notice, the boats are shut 
in by the ice ; whilst the break-up comes with 
equal suddenness, and they are shattered to pieces 
without the least chance of avoiding the cata- 
strophe. 

Deprived of the amusement of walking, and 
having intercourse with only a very limited number 
of people, I endeavoured to occupy myself in 
various ways. 

During the winter, the town is absolutely deprived 
of water, the river being frozen over. The ice is 
brought into the house in wooden buckets, and 
water procured by melting it. This mode of supply 
came very dear, so I purchased ten carts, and the 
requisite number of horses, and engaged men to 
take charge of them, and my steward employed 
them in carrying ice from house to house. This 
little speculation brought me in more than a thousand 
francs a month, a thing not to be despised in a post 
where we had no other income than the salary paid 
us by the Porte. One day the Pasha saw one of 
these carts. " Whoever took up that idea ought to 
realize a famous profit," said he to me. I took good 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

care not to let him know that the idea was my 
own. 

The want of a garden distressed me so much 
that I resolved to have one. I ordered my steward 
to procure fifty convicts, to whom I gave a small 
gratuity. Every morning, while the Pasha was 
absent on the duties of his office, the galley-slaves 
were employed in clearing a waste piece of land by 
the side of our palace. Afterwards they went for 
shrubs and plants, which I had demanded from the 
Turkish inhabitants, and brought them, together 
with the earth that surrounded them. In about 
three weeks' time I had a beautiful garden, embel- 
lished with an arbour covered with climbing plants. 

The labour over, I invited the Pasha to take a 
turn in the garden. 

"A turn in the garden V he cried. " Why we 
have none ! " 

" Very well ; then let us walk on the plot of 
ground there, close by the side." 

" As you please," said he ; " but I don't know 
what fancy you have for walking in that barren 
place." 

I leave my readers to conjecture his astonishment 
when he arrived at the place and saw the ground 
covered with shrubs, and with flowers already full- 



REVOLT OF THE SERBIANS. 14-3 

blown. He could scarcely believe that all this had 
been done in twenty days. 

After this I set about the realisation of a new 
project. I summoned twenty young native girls to 
come to my house, and proceeded to teach them to 
spin and weave silk, to embroider, and do other 
light work of the kind. I gave them suitable 
remuneration, whilst teaching them to work ; I 
gave them their meals also. It afforded me great 
diversion to see myself surrounded by these young 
folks, and so I passed all my days among them. 

An unlooked-for event suddenly forced us into 
quite another occupation. One night a Turk and a 
Serbian took to quarrelling. The dispute rose to 
such a height that the Christian was killed by the 
Mussulman. The latter, without awaiting the dis- 
covery of the crime, took refuge in the citadel. As 
a vessel was leaving for Constantinople next morn- 
ing, the governor made him embark in it, fearing 
that, if he kept him at Belgrad, he would be 
obliged to deliver up to the Serbians a man who 
had acted as* a true believer in taking the life of an 
infidel. 

When the corpse was discovered the whole town 
rose in indignation on learning that a member of 
the orthodox religion had been the victim of a 



144 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Mohamedan. The Turks resident in the town rushed 
in to ask our protection, bringing the most valuable 
of their effects, and pouring forth the terror of their 
souls in describing the excitement that prevailed. 
Soon we saw the populace in arms rushing towards 
the citadel, raising infuriated cries and demanding 
the culprit. They threatened to take the place by 
storm and massacre the whole garrison. The 
Pasha, having nearly two thousand men under 
his command, could not resist a prolonged siege, 
while he would infallibly have succumbed to the 
attack of an enemy ten times superior in numbers. 
For seven days we remained shut up in the fort, 
dreading every instant to see the attack commenced. 
A state of anxiety so prolonged became all the more 
unendurable as we had the prospect of famine, 
should the situation continue unaltered. No one, 
not even the governor himself, dared to venture 
beyond the entrenchments. 

Weary of seeing ourselves deprived of all com- 
munication with the outer world, I resolved to make 
an effort to change the posture of affairs, to go out 
of the citadel and call on the Prince. Without in- 
forming anyone of my intention, I had my carriage 
prepared, and ordered the cavasses to accompany me. 
This command struck them with amazement. They 



REVOLT OF THE SERBIANS. 1-ib 

thought they were marching to certain death. For 
my own part, I thought that the insurgents would 
respect me as a woman. It was not, however, 
without a certain feeling of apprehension, that I 
heard the vociferations which arose on all sides 
when the outer gate was opened. My carriage, 
meanwhile, advanced, surrounded by the reluctant 
cavasses. As soon as the Serbians perceived me they 
ceased their hostile demonstrations, ranged them- 
selves respectfully along the road, and escorted me 
as far as the Prince's palace. His Highness received 
me with perfect courtesy. The guards formed in 
lines on either side, and the military band struck up. 

" You are courageous," said the Prince, as he con- 
ducted me to his apartments, "but the Pasha has 
been, in some degree, the cause of what has occurred, 
in giving protection to a murderer. I could not 
repress the public indignation, without exposing my 
authority to misconstruction/' 

" Your Highness," I replied, " we are here to pro- 
tect the Turks; it was our duty to receive the man 
of whom you complain." 

" However," said the Prince, " it seems to me an 
unwarrantable thing that a crime like that should 
remain unpunished. It is necessary that a public 
offender should be surrendered to justice." 



146 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

" We are not invested with unlimited authority/' 
I rejoined in my turn, " we are bound to execute 
the commands of the Sultan, so we have written to 
Constantinople, to ask for instructions." 

" Well," cried Prince Alexander, " how do you 
propose that I should calm the populace, when I 
have no satisfaction to offer them?" 

" That is your affair," I answered. " It appears 
to me that we cannot do better than await the 
orders of the Imperial government. Your Highness 
must try in the meantime to appease the excitement 
of the population." The Prince having given me an 
assurance to that effect, I left and went back to the 
fortress accompanied by an escort. 

Soon afterwards the Prince issued a proclamation 
to the effect that the Pasha had demanded authority 
from the Porte to deliver the criminal up to justice; 
that an answ r er would be received ere long, which, 
it was to be hoped, would be a favourable one. 

The Serbians beginning to tire of their hostile 
attitude, and the body having been buried, they 
calmed down gradually and returned to their homes. 
In the course of a week or so after my visit to the 
prince, communication was re-established between 
the fort and the town. The governor then invited 
the Prince to come and look for the accused. It 



BANQUET, 147 

was impossible, he said, to give him up, inasmuch 
as, the very night on which the crime was com- 
mitted, he had escaped on board a vessel just putting 
out to sea. It was therefore useless to spend any 
more time over an affair the settlement of which 
was impracticable. " If," he added, " I have not 
sooner informed you how the matter stands, it is 
because I was unwilling to let you suppose that I 
feared the threats that were levelled against me 
when your subjects demanded the surrender of the 
Mussulman who has been the cause of these dis- 
turbances." The Prince pretended to believe what 
was told him, but remained convinced that the 
escape was the work of the governor. 

To confirm, however, the reconciliation, he asked 
the Pasha to accept, in my name, an invitation to a 
banquet which the Princess offered me. She would 
invite a certain number of Serbian ladies, and they, 
proud of the honour I did them, would forget, and 
make their husbands forget, the late dissensions. 

. To put an end to all further agitation on the sub- 
ject, the Prince gave out that the delinquent had 
been sent to Constantinople, there to expiate his 
crime. 

Desirous of responding to the polite attention 
shown me, I ordered some of the Turkish ladies 

L 9 



143 THIRTY YEAES IN THE HAREM. 

resident in the town to accompany me to the 
residence of the Princess of Serbia. They went with 
reluctance, having a horror of the pork and the wine 
that would certainly be found on the table of a 
Christian. Most of them being, as I said before, 
the wives or daughters of ex-officials, formerly in 
the service of the Sultan Mahmud, were very 
zealous followers of Mohamed. One was upwards 
of eighty years old. 

All the Turkish ladies placed themselves on the 
same side of an immense table with myself. Her 
highness and the Serbian ladies faced us. The 
banquet w r as on a truly princely scale. In order 
not to hurt the feelings of her Highness, I partook 
with indifference of the various dishes on the table. 
The other ladies imitated my example, thinking 
that I would never eat pork. Presently champagne 
was poured out for every one. I proposed a toast 
to the health of the Sultan, and another to that of 
Iskender-Bey (Prince Alexander of Serbia). The 
Turkish ladies, who had never before seen cham- 
* pagne, were not at all sure whether what they were 
drinking was wine or lemonade ; the sparkling of it 
seems to have puzzled them a bit. 

The Prince, to show how much he was pleased 
with me, sent me next morning a very handsome 



DJEHAD BEY'S BIRTH. 149 

ring and a pair of magnificent ear-rings. Thus 
terminated an affray, the beginning of which was 
as threatening as the issue was pacific. 

During my sojourn at Belgrad our home was 
rejoiced by the birth of an heir to the Pasha, whom 
his father named Mustapha Djehad Bey. Mustapha 
was the name of the Pasha's father, while the 
surname Djehad, which signifies " war/' was given 
because the infant came into the world in time of 
war the Hungarian war of 1847. 

The birth of an heir was for the Pasha an event 
which filled his heart with so much joy, that he 
celebrated it by means of festivals and fireworks. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Recall of Mehemet-Pasha He is appointed Musliir Invitation from the 
Kadin-Efiendi Her History Condition of Slaves in Turkey. 

AFTER remaining about a year at Belgrad, we 
were recalled home. As we expected, this time^ to 
reside there for a lengthened period, we furnished 
our Jiouse suitably. Scarcely had we got fairly 
settled when a mahbendji, or chamberlain of the 
Sultan, came, attended by a military band, bringing 
my husband the firman which appointed him to the 
rank of mushir, or field-marshal. The imperial 
warrant was enclosed in a cover of green silk, 
adorned with gold tassels. After placing it on the 
table, the chamberlain kissed the firman, raised it 
respectfully to his forehead, and read it in a distinct 
tone ; the band struck up a triumphal air, and all 
then retired. 

During the next few days, my husband received 
numerous congratulatory visits, while the ladies, on 
their part, came to pay their respects to me. The 
Kadin-effendi (second wife) of Mahmud, and 
mother of Merimah-Sultan, sister of Abdul-Medjid, 



THE KADIN-EFFENDI. 151 

sent her Kjdja-kadin to invite me to go and spend 
two or three days in her palace, situated at Tarla- 
Baschi, facing Dolma-Bagtche, a residence of the 
Sultan. 

Dressing myself in my best attire, I took with 
me a beautiful white slave, and a eunuch of good 
height, both designed as presents to my hostess. 
Another eunuch attended me as my servant I 
drove to the palace, and on arriving at the garden 
entrance was received by more than a hundred 
slaves drawn up on each side of my carriage, and 
lining the way to a magnificent marble stair- 
case, leading to the harem. Several of them, 
taking me under the arms, assisted me to ascend. 
The Hasnadar-Housta, or grand mistress, here met 
me, and conducted me to my apartments. These 
consisted of three rooms drawing-room, bed -room,; 
and dining-room. Eoses, white and red, adorned! 
the walls; the curtains were of beautiful striped 
cashmere; costly carpets covered the floors; splendid 
mirrors were arranged at intervals; golden cups, en- 
riched with precious stones, and filled with sweet- 
meats, were placed here and there, in case I should 
need any refreshment. Besides comfortable divans, 
there were arm-chairs of European manufacture, and 
lamps were disposed together with large massive 



152 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

silver candlesticks in the Oriental style, resembling 
those used for tapers in the churches in France. 
All the other rooms were furnished pretty much in 
the same fashion. 

I gave my yashmak, or veil, and my feradje, or 
mantle, to a servant, who placed them in the proper 
receptacle. After resting for about an hour, I was 
told that the Sultana awaited me. 

I found her seated on a tandur (above described), 
of red velvet embroidered with spangles. The cur- 
tains of her room were of flowered cashmere, and 
slaves stood round about. As soon as I entered, 
she congratulated me on the good taste of my toilet, 
and invited me to sit at her feet on a velvet cushion 
embroidered with gold. This was a great honour. 
We began to converse, and the Sultana displayed a 
vivacity of spirits, and a degree of intelligence 
-. which I have rarely met with in a Turkish woman. 
She was tall and fair-haired; and her skin, ex- 
tremely white, set off the freshness of her complexion. 

Knowing that I had been in Europe, she interro- 
gated me as to the manners and customs of the 
Christians, the way the towns were built, the balls, 
theatres, systems of lighting by gas, architecture of 
the palaces, and a thousand other matters unknown 
to Oriental women. I answered all these questions, 



HER HISTORY. 153 

and she seemed well pleased, and testified her satis- 
faction by recounting to me her troubles. 

"I was the adopted daughter/' said she, "of 
Behiye'-Sultan, sister of the Sultan Mahmud. The 
latter rarely visited her sister, but dreading lest 
I should take his fancy, knowing, as I did, how 
short would be the duration of his attachment, I 
hid myself every time he called. I would rather 
have preserved my liberty by marrying some Pasha 
than become the Sultan's wife. In the meantime, 
Mahmud had learnt that his sister had adopted me, 
and he was often surprised that he did not see me. 

" One day, Behiye-Sultan gave a grand banquet 
to her brother. I barricaded myself in my room, 
by placing a chest of drawers against the door, but 
the Sultan, who had a strong predilection for the 
fair sex, conceived a stratagem in order to get at 
me. ' Before supper/ said he to my mistress, ' I am 
going to pay a visit to your harem/ He entered, 
in succession, all the rooms. Seeing my door shut, 
he pushed against it so vigorously as to displace the 
chest of drawers, and discovered me concealed 
behind a divan. Offering me his hand, he con- 
ducted me to his sister, and presenting me to her, 
said, ' You see I have done well to visit your palace, 
for I have discovered a treasure/ 



154 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

" ' It is my adopted daughter/ replied Behiye- 
Sultan. 

" c I am so greatly enamoured of her/ rejoined 
Mahmud, ' that I cannot rest until you have given 
her to me/ 

" ' I can refuse you nothing,' she responded, 
1 because you are my master; but, as I have adopted 
this young lady, I will treat her as my daughter I 
will give her a dowry and send her to you as .a lady 
of good birth/ 

" My mistress some days after^ sent me to the 
seraglio, with great ceremony, and with magnificent 
presents, which she gave me as my dower. For ten 
days the Sultan was most assiduous in his atten- 
tions; after that period he showed himself no more. 
I had separate and sumptuous apartments, numerous 
slaves, as many ornaments as I wished for^ but I 
endured with impatience the monotony of my 
existence. I concealed my grief, and strove to 
make myself as agreeable as I possibly could to 
those who attended on me, I never left the palace; 
I never received a visit from anyone; every morn- 
ing I took my bath, said my prayers, and then 
shut myself up in my solitude. 

" The few days I had passed in the society of the 
Sultan resulted in my eventually giving birth to a 



HER HISTORY. 155 



daughter, Merimah-Sultan. When the time came 
to get lier a husband, I resolved that she should 
make her choice. I showed her the portraits of 
several young men, each worthy of her hand. She 
fixed upon Said-Pasha. 

" Very few months had elapsed, when my poor 
daughter, already enceinte, died, and with her my 
last solace disappeared. 

"The mother of Sultan Abdul-Medjid always 
regards me with a jealous eye. She will scarcely 
allow me to receive, once a month, a visit from 
Said-Pasha when he is at Constantinople. More- 
over, I am never allowed to hear my daughter 
spoken of." 

While uttering these words I saw the big tears 
start from her eyes. The spectacle of so lively a 
sorrow touched me, and I felt myself overwhelmed 
with sympathy for her. 

" Judge," continued this poor woman, " whether 
The Valideh-Sultan, the Sultan's mother, can regard 
me favourably. Whereas / was the adopted daughter 
of a Sultana, she served in the harem, and was 
engaged in the most menial occupations. One day 
when, her hair in disorder, she was carrying fuel to 
the bath, the Sultan saw her through a window, and 
took a sudden fancy for her. He bid her imme- 



156 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

4 

diately to lay down the bundle of firewood, and 
come with him to the bath. It is in this way 
that she became the mother of the present Sultan. 
This woman always shows herself my enemy. She 
sees with envy that her son, desirous of showing 
respect to his father, comes to see me sometimes." 

After conversing some time longer with the Sul- 
tana, I retired to my apartments, where an abundant 
supper was presently served. I stayed three days 
at the palace, and spent my time very agreeably. 
Sometimes I talked with the Sultana, at other times 
some of her principal slaves came to keep me com- 
pany, and told me the story of their flirtations. 

" We like," said one of them, " to drive out alone, 
now and then, in a hired carriage, to tease the 
young men, who amuse themselves by following us. 
One day, when four of us were in the same carriage, 
we saw two Pashas, still in their youth, approach us. 
They distinguished our features through our yash- 
maks" (these veils are of very thin silk gauze), 
" and drew near to the door of our conveyance. 

" They asked us, by signs, whether we would 
accept some fruit, to which we answered in the 
affirmative. After offering refreshment, they gave 
us a serenade, and then presented us with small 
purses full of gold, which we accepted. Em- 



SLAVES IN TURKEY. 157 

boldened on seeing that their gifts were welcome, 
they followed us to learn where we lived, and to 
know who we were. "What was their surprise when 
they saw our carriage direct its course towards the 
palace, and observed that we stopped before the 
great gate of the harem ! The poor fellows seemed 
overwhelmed with chagrin and wrath. To mock 
them, we waved our hands as a farewell salutation.'' 

It was thus these poor girls sought at times to 
entertain themselves. There is no doubt that the 
position of the slaves is not a very happy one. As 
the opportunity presents itself here, we will avail 
ourselves of it to say a few words on the condition 
of these victims of misfortune and jealousy. 

The greater number are poor Circassians ; the 
remainder comprise Arabs, Persians, and others. 
They are sold to the slave-merchants, either by 
agents, who have brought them up, or by the 
parents themselves. The latter look upon their 
daughters as a means of raising money ; they also 
think that by selling them they are contributing 
to their happiness. It is a fact that the women in 
Circassia spend anything but an agreeable existence, 
being employed in the most laborious field work, 
and looked upon as mere beasts of burden by their 
fathers and husbands. All the household duties 



158 THIETY YEAES IN THE HAEEM. 

also devolve upon them. The men would scorn to 
abase themselves by doing anything useful: they 
are warriors, and that is all. 

In Constantinople, the slave-merchants generally 
inhabit the district of Top-hane. When anyone 
wishes to buy a slave, he applies to these gentry, 
and they exhibit, for his selection, a band of young 
peasant-girls, scantily clad, who have only left their 
mountain homes a few months previously, and 
speak none other than the barbaric language of 
their tribes. They sell for various prices, according 
to the degree of beauty qualifying them for engage- 
ments as dancers, musicians, bath- women, femmes- 
de-chambre, or odalisques. The amount ranges 
from about four thousand up to twenty thousand 
francs, or thereabouts (160 to 800). They must 
be of extraordinary beauty to come up to the last- 
mentioned figure. If they are not good-looking, 
they are only employed in duties that do not neces- 
sitate their appearance in the presence of their 
masters, in which case their value does not exceed 
from fifteen hundred to two thousand francs. They 
are sold usually at about twelve or thirteen years of 
age, but there are cases of sales at the early age of 
six or seven. This happens, however, only where a 
lady wishes to bring them up as her slaves, either 



SLAVES IN TURKEY. 159 

to accustom them to her service, or to re-sell them 
at a profit when they are older. Their mistress 
makes them dress becomingly, teaches them to con- 
duct themselves properly, and to speak the Turkish 
language. Their attention is bestowed on the cul- 
tivation of the particular talent by which they are 
to distinguish themselves ; such as music, dancing, 
hairdressing, etc. If their charms seem to justify 
their aspiring to the dignity of odalisques, they 
learn to deck themselves gracefully ; to observe the 
usages recognised in Mussulman society ; to offer 
sherbet or coffee; to salute with greater or less 
formality, or to seat themselves higher or lower, 
according to the rank of the person paying or 
receiving a visit; to accompany their mistresses, etc. 

"When they have received this primary educa- 
tion, their value is proportionately augmented, and 
it is at this period that they are re-sold. The 
singers, the performers on the guitar, flute, tabour, 
or tambourine, the dancers and castanet-players, 
then enter the harems of great ladies, whom they 
are required to entertain. These are held in the 
highest estimation. They cost from six to eight 
thousand francs. 

If any lady possesses a pretty-looking slave, the 
fact soon gets known. The gentlemen who wish to 



160 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

buy an odalisque or a wife, make their offers. Many 
Turks, indeed, prefer to take a slave as a wife, as, 
in such case, there is no need to dread fathers, 
mothers, or brothers-in-law, and other undesirable 
relations. 

A girl can never be sold for a wife or an odalisque 
without her own consent. 

The purchase of a slave is transacted in the 
following manner : After having examined her 
from head to foot, the intending purchaser, male 
or female, agrees on the price. The bargain con- 
cluded, next day the girl is sent to his or her house, 
accompanied by an old woman, who never lets her 
out of her sight. She remains several days, in order 
that it may be ascertained whether or not she has 
any material defect. A mid-wife is called in to 
make sure that the newcomer has never previously 
had intercourse with anyone. It is after this exa- 
mination that the purchase-money is paid, and the 
sale legalised by a formal receipt, called petcheh. 

In every house which a slave enters she is nearly 
equally miserable. "Wives and odalisques comprise 
the superior class. If their master is rich, they 
enjoy all the refinements of luxury : carriages, 
excursions, banquets, servants of all kinds. But it 
frequently happens that, after being for some time 



SLAVES IN TURKEY. 161 

the only wife, the husband introduces another, as 
her associate in his affections. 

"Whatever may be her condition, slave or free, the 
new wife reduces the first to the second rank. If 
she be equally a slave, the on]y result is jealousy ; 
but if she be Avealthy, and of a family which the 
husband holds in respect, then the poor slave-wife has 
to put up with all the annoyances, all the humiliations 
that a jealous and all-powerful rival can invent. 
Her life is one long martyrdom, which frequently 
reaches a tragical termination. 

When a slave enters the harem of a lady of high \f 
rank, her situation is truly deplorable. As has been 
described in the establishment of Nazly-Hanum, 
she is usually compelled to spend her nights stand- 
ing, attendant on the riotous excesses of her mis- 
tress. From sheer caprice, they often find them- 
selves condemned to be scourged by eunuchs, armed 
with curbatches or whips of elephant's skin. , 

On the other hand, these unhappy creatures are 
often subjected at once to the desires of their 
master and the terrible jealousy of their mistress. 
Threatened with perpetual celibacy, excited by the 
idea of being chosen either as odalisques or as wives 
of the second grade, frequently taken advantage of by 
force, everything contributes to their downfall. As 



162 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

soon as their mistress has an inkling of any intrigue, 
all the vials of her fury are poured out. Her husband, 
his patience being at length exhausted, abandons his 
victim to the resentment of his wife, who proceeds 
to get rid of her rival forthwith, by selling her. 

If the unhappy girl finds herself enceinte, she 
cannot be sold while in that condition. Moreover, 
she cannot be sold if she gives birth to a son. Her 
mistress, therefore, takes her to a mid-wife, in order 
to procure abortion. 

Slaves, however, have occasionally a dismal kind 
of solace. They may please their mistress without 
attracting the attentions of their master. If they 
are in the Seraglio, or in some great house, they 
may become Kjfaja-Jcadin (first lady), or Haznadar- 
ousta (treasurer), in which case they have separate 
apartments, with carriages and servants at their 
disposal. These are great ladies. The treasurer to 
the Valideh-Sultan had more than two hundred 
slaves or eunuchs under her orders. 

I began to get tired of my residence in the 
palace. Accustomed to a quiet way of living, I was 
obliged, for fear of vexing those who attended on 
me, to partake of all the dishes placed on my table ; 
which seriously inconvenienced me. In the mean- 
time I could not take my leave ; such a proceeding 



I TAKE LEAVE OF THE SULTANA. 163 

would have been a breach against the etiquette of 
the Seraglio. I had to wait therefore till myferadje' 
and my yashmak were restored to me, and it was 
with real satisfaction that, on the fourth day, I saw 
the ladies in waiting bringing these articles. I sent 
the Sultana the eunuch and the young slave-girl, 
whom I had brought for her acceptance, and she 
sent me, in return, a present of a beautiful gold 
watch, green-enamelled, and set with brilliants, as 
was also the chain. She sent my daughter a piece 
of striped cachmere. 

As the Sultana had made presents of money to 
my eunuch, my coachman, and my other servants, I 
was obliged to return the compliment with respect 
to her household. I wrapped small gold coins in 
embroidered handkerchiefs corresponding in number 
to her servants, and remitted the whole to the 
treasurer, one of whose privileges it is to undertake 
distributions of this kind. If by accident, in making 
up my packets, I had overlooked any slave, it would 
not have been good manners on my part to go 
before repairing the omission, and, if I had not 
sufficient money left for the purpose, I should have 
been obliged to send and procure a fresh supply, 
before taking my departure. After satisfying every- 
body, I got into my carriage, and drove off. 

M 2 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Object of the honour done me by the Kadin-Effendi Intrigue of Said- 
Pasha against Reshid- Pasha Character of this Minister. 

THE invitation which the Kadin-Effendi had sent 
me was not altogether disinterested. Knowing that 
my husband was in favour with Keshid-Pasha, the 
then all-powerful Grand-vezir, she wished to secure 
my services in behalf of Said-Pasha, husband of her 
deceased daughter, then in exile at Castambolu. 

Said-Pasha, like all the partisans of the ancient 
Ottoman institutions, saw with jealousy the eleva- 
tion of a minister imbued with European ideas. As 
soon as any official whatsoever shows himself to be 
animated with ideas of progress ; decides, without 
respect of persons, all matters that come in question 
before him ; or gives proof of intelligence and edu- 
cation, the title ofj^/w^^s^mfidel) is conferred upon 
him. All things straightway conspire to bring 
about his fall. If he cannot be entrapped into some 
fault sufficiently grave to ensure his complete dis- 



INTRIGUE OF SAl'D-PASHA. 165 

grace, attempts are made to get him banished to a 
command in some semi-barbarous, frontier province, 
destitute of every resource, and where the most 
brilliant talents and the best intentions become un- 
productive of advancement ; exercised, as they are, 
in countries far removed from the eye of the master, 
by whom whatever takes place, good or bad, is 
regarded with equal indifference. 

At the period of which we are speaking, the 
policy of Kussia with regard to the Porte wis 
becoming more and more menacing, and war was 
imminent. The Grand-vezir saw that all was lost 
if he could not contrive to counterbalance the power 
of Russia by means of an alliance with the Western 
Powers. The Sultan viewed with repugnance the 
formation of alliances which, in case of war, would 
bring foreign troops to Constantinople. " Who 
knows," said he, "whether, when they have once 
gained admission, the Allies will consent to with- 
draw from a place which all European nations covet 
with about equal ardour \ " 

Riza-Pasha, Said-Pasha, Mehemet-Ali-Pasha, and 
all the other ministers attached to the old Turkish 
party, resolved to take advantage of the repugnance 
of Abdul-Medjid to European preponderancy. They 
spread a report that the Sadr-azam (Grand-vezir), 



166 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

only spoke of the intervention of the European 
Powers in order to realise the bargain which he had 
concluded with them. " He is about to sell to the 
Europeans," said they, " Constantinople, and all our 
possessions in Europe. Now he wishes to deliver 
up to them all they have bought of him, for its 
price in gold." 

Said-Pasha then addressed a memorandum to the 
Sultan, in which he called his Majesty's attention 
to the designs of Eeshid ; warning him that, if he 
was not on his guard, the French and English 
would be taking possession of his fairest provinces ; 
that the Eussians had an understanding with the 
other Powers as to their partition ; that the Mus- 
covite threats and the French and English offers 
were in furtherance of an adroit manoeuvre, de^ 
signed to trick the Porte through the concerted 
action of the several cabinets. 

The other ministers were to affix their seals to 
this document, which it was intended to present to 
the Padishah as the expression of the fears enter- 
tained by all. At the decisive moment, they in- 
duced Said-Pasha to make, in the first instance, a 
verbal communication to their master. " You are 
his brother-in-law ; what have you to fear ? If you 
find that you have a favourable hearing, you may 



INTRIGUE OF SAID-PASHA. 167 

reckon beforehand on our approval." The too-con- 
fiding minister listened to their counsels, went to 
the Sultan, skilfully turned to account the suspi- 
cions with which the prospect of a Western alliance 
had possessed him, and thought to convince him 
of the Grand-vezir's treason. 

Abdul-Medjid was naturally little addicted to 
forming violent resolves, and a reaction was at work 
in his mind. 

" All you tell me appears true/' he cried, " but, 
up to the present time, Eeshid-Pasha has served me 
faithfully. He has always given proof of great 
zeal, and I have never known him betray the interests 
of his country. You are bringing against him an 
accusation of the gravest possible character, and 
you stand alone in mentioning it to me. I hesitate 
to believe you, and to ruin, on mere suspicion, 
the most intelligent man in the empire." 

" I am not alone in my warnings/' replied Said- 
Pasha. " All the other ministers are in accord with 
me, and I am ready to give your Majesty a written 
proof to that effect." 

" If it is so, I yield/' said the Sultan. " Furnish me 
with this document, and I am resolved to take action 
on it," he added, as he dismissed his interlocutor. 

The latter hastened to his colleagues to announce 



168 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

the successful result of his undertaking, but he 
strove in vain to persuade them to sign the required 
document. They thought, and with reason, that 
their adversary would not fail to defend himself 
vigorously before his master. He would challenge 
his accusers to supply proofs of which they were 
devoid. They saw themselves, in prospect, exposed 
to the hatred of a vindictive and all-powerful 
minister. 

Eeshid-Pasha got to know of the steps taken 
before the Sultan, and of the insuperable difficulty 
which Said-Pasha had found in the way of his 
again presenting himself with the confirmatory 
evidence demanded of him. He decided, therefore, 
of ridding himself of Said and driving him into 
exile. 

' It was under these circumstances that the Kadin- 
Effendi invited me. She entreated me to speak to 
my husband, and get him to intercede with the 
Grand-vezir, in order to obtain the recall of the 
disgraced Pasha. I promised to exert all my zeal in 
his favour. 

Eeshid-Pasha made a pretence of pardoning. He 
recalled Said, and gave him the governorship of 

i Damascus. This was a clever scheme to effect his 
utter ruin. Damascus was one of the most trouble- 



INTEIGUE OF SAID-PASHA. 

some commands in the empire, on account of i 
mixed population. Arabs, Greeks, Turks, Mussul 
mans, Christians, Jews, found themselves side by 
side. Hence arose perpetual difficulties. 

The success of my husband's intervention made 
me none the less friends with Said-Pasha and his 
mother-in-law. 

That which the spiteful Eeshid foresaw came to 
pass. A Jew having committed a theft, the governor 
had him severely bastinadoed to make him confess 
his crime. The accused died next day. The Israel- 
ites were in rebellion, they despatched a deputa- 
tion to Constantinople, and brought to bear upon 
the Porte the whole weight of the Soeiete Israelite 
Universelle, and of Sir Moses Montefiore's diplo- 
matic ability. The Grand-vezir, content with the 
power of charging his enemy with murder, lost no 
time in degrading him, and sending him into exile 
at Koniah. His vengeance was satiated. 

Eeshid-Pasha, was a man endowed with superior 
intelligence, and who possessed, in addition, great 
strength of character. His expressive countenance 
indicated, at the same time, great determination and 
great subtlety. He could not, however, quite con- 
ceal an air of vindictiveness, which displayed itself 
especially when he fixed his glance on an adversary 



170 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

whom he had just received with exquisite courtesy, 
and who was withdrawing, convinced of the minis- 
ter's favourable intentions in his behalf. He was 
rather below the middle height ; dark complexioned, 
with black beard and very thick eyebrows ; while 
his broad shoulders and massive neck betokened the 
man of vigorous energy. 



CHAPTER XV. 

The promenades about Constantinople The Bairam Mehemet-Pasha is 
appointed Ambassador to England. 

LEAVING the palace of the Kadin-Effendi at an 
early hour, as it was a Thursday, ani as, at Con- 
stantinople, each day has its particular promenade, 
I directed my steps to the Sweet Waters. 

This is a spot to which people resort either on 
foot, in carriages, or in boats. The women keep on 
one side of a long alley winding along the bank of 
the stream ; the men on the other, but the inter- 
vening space is small, and readily available for 
purposes of flirtation. The gentlemen throw flowers, 
or little complimentary notes, to the ladies ; and 
the latter, if respectable, content themselves with 
acknowledging the attention by the gift of a flower, 
or a note of thanks, and the matter goes no further ; 
for no one would dare to follow a woman of decorum. 
It thus happens that young gentlemen and ladies meet 
one another every day for years without becoming 
acquainted ; but, on the other hand, it is through 



172 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

these interviews that women of indifferent character 
find opportunities of contracting intimacies with 
their admirers. They reply to the notes thrown to 
them, appointing a place of meeting, or giving their 
name and address, so that the suitor may employ 
an old woman, as a go-between, to arrange the 
affair. 

These promenades offer a very attractive scene at 
the times when they * are frequented. The 'ladies 
descend from their carriages, have a carpet spread 
on the grass, and seat themselves, with their slaves, 
to partake of a collation. They vie with each other 
in the luxuries of the table which are set forth on 
these occasions. Everywhere may be seen the 
glitter of gold and silver plate. Bands of music 
perform, sometimes on the ladies' side, sometimes 
on the opposite. Numberless skiffs are wafted along 
over the surface of the water. You may frequently 
see some lady of quality, seated with coquetry on 
a crimson cloth, fringed with gold, while her slaves 
sit opposite to her. The various colours of the 
feradjes, red, green, or blue ; the magnificence of 
the equipages ; the animation called forth by the 
strains of music, and the banquets enjoyed on the 
grass ; the arrivals and departures of carriages and 
pleasure-seekers on horseback and on foot ; the dif- 



THE BA1RAM. 1?3 

ferent costumes of the servants, eunuchs, and 
couriers ; the picturesque costumes of the coster- 
mongers ; all these afford a lively and agreeable 
spectacle. 

The Turkish ladies of rank never go out, on 
ordinary occasions, except in daytime. During the 
Eamazan, however, as before mentioned, they go 
out only in the evening, and seldom come home 
before midnight. Throughout that month it is 
customary for the men and the eunuchs to take part 
in a prayer called Teravi, which is offered at the 
close of each day, and lasts for about an hour and a 
half. Many ladies take advantage of this period to 
go out and have an interview with their sweet- 
hearts, under the pretext of visiting a female friend. 
No husband would dare, at the risk of making him- 
self an object of ridicule, to refuse his wife permis- 
sion to go out with an old woman slave, to a mosque, 
or to a female friend. 

Indeed one of the great sources of entertainment 
among the ladies, apart from the promenade, is the 
interchange of calls. It is not unusual to see at the 
house of a lady of some rank, as many as twenty or 
thirty visitors. They pass the time in gossiping, 
watching the slaves dance, listening to songs, drink- 
ing coffee or sherbet, and smoking. The ordinary 



174 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAKEM. 

townspeople often stay till after supper, and light 
themselves home with lanterns. 

The women are generally the first to learn and 
circulate news. The men often visit one another, 
but they are always reserved. They speak with less 
restraint to their wives, and tell them, for their 
entertainment, what they have heard, and what 
they think of doing. The wives of the high func- 
tionaries are on terms of close intimacy with other 
great ladies, and repeat to them what their husbands 
have said ; in this way the news is spread abroad 
with unheard-of rapidity. 

The Bairam now arrived, a three days' feast 
succeeding the Eamazan. This is the most memo- 
rable epoch of the Mussulman year. It comprises, 
in importance, both the Easter and Christmas of the 
Christians. 

On the first morning, every husband embraces 
his wife, the children come to kiss the hands of their 
parents, and friends and relatives exchange con- 
gratulations and embrace each other in the streets. 
Every Mussulman, from the poorest to the richest, 
dresses himself in his best. The ladies go to pay their 
compliments to those of higher rank than their own. 
The great ladies do not make their calls until eight 
days after the termination of the festival. The great 



THE BA1RAM. 175 

drum that, every night during the Kamazan, gave the 
signal to arise from slumber, now makes its appear- 
ance to offer the compliments of the season. The 
watchman who beats it, marches through the streets, 
followed by a crowd of children of both sexes. The 
ladies, looking out through the wickets in their 
lattices, give him pieces of money wrapped in 
muslin handkerchiefs. At the same time, the poor 
come round, offering oranges and sweetmeats, and 
generally receive in exchange clothes and small 
pieces of money. The men also pay visits to one 
another; those of inferior degree bringing presents 
of bonbons or fruit to their superiors. 

On the first day of the Bairam, the Sultan goes, 
on horseback, in great state, to the Mosque, accom- 
panied by all the ministers, and high state officials, 
the ladies of the Seraglio, the wives of the ministers 
and other dignitaries. On his return, the Sultan 
places himself under the cupola of the throne, and 
there receives the homage of his subjects. Every- 
one, on approaching his Majesty, kisses the edge of 
a scarf carried by the first chamberlain of the Court. 
The Grand-vezir is the first to perform this cere- 
mony ; then his musteshar (lieutenant), after kissing 
the scarf, salutes him, by raising his hand to his 
forehead, and then takes his place at his side. 



176 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Every high functionary, in the order of his degree, 
follows the example. 

The people celebrate the Bairam by tumultuous 
rejoicings. They go in crowds to the principal 
squares, where are to be seen itinerant musicians, 
mountebanks, fencers, exhibitors of magic lanterns, 
vendors of sweetmeats and pastry, in fact, all the 
tribe one is accustomed to meet with at the public 
fetes in Europe. 

Three months after the Bairam, following the 
Ramazan, comes the Kourban Bairam, which also 
lasts three days. Every man, no matter how poor, 
has two sheep allotted to him. Having uttered a 
prayer, he kills both the animals, one for himself, 
the other for his wife, as, according to the Mussul- 
man creed, the sheep that anyone kills in the year 
of his death will serve as a steed on which he may 
cross the bridge of Siraht that leads to the gate of 
paradise. The rich, instead of performing the 
sacrifice themselves, employ a butcher, and have 
not one only, but often as many as ten or fifteen 
sheep killed, according to their means. The animal 
is cut into a great number of pieces, and the owner 
sends a portion to each of his neighbours, and to all 
to whom he is desirous of paying a compliment. 

The three days of this festival is passed in enter- 



THE BAJLRAM. 177 

tainments, of which the poor have their full share, 
so that they avail themselves of the presents that 
have been made them, to provide for the present, 
and to put on one side whatever food they wish to 
keep during the winter. During these days the 
slaves and domestics are hard at work in the 
kitchen. Their chief occupation is that of prepar- 
ing the meat preserves. The method they employ 
is to fry and salt the meat ; this once done, they put 
it inside some big jar which is covered up to the 
top with an air-proof coating of grease. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Departure of the Pasha for London I remain at Constantinople My 
Situation Sickness of Djehad-Be5 T My Alarm Fatmah, my House- 
keeper Her Counsels The borrowed Infant Conduct of Fatmah 
and Beshir Their Rivalry My Proceedings Murder of Beshir. 

IT was in the month of Eamazan, in the year 
1848, that my husband was appointed ambassador 
to the English Court. This appointment was occa- 
sioned by the threatening attitude assumed by 
Eussia by her intervention in the Austro-Hungarian 
difficulty. The Porte, alarmed at the progress made 
by this Power, thought it necessary to form an 
alliance with the West, and particularly with Great 
Britain. This delicate mission was entrusted to 
Kibrizli-Mehemet-Pasha, who was intimately asso- 
ciated with Eeshid-Pasha, the promoter of this new 
policy. 

Independently of the political reasons which 
influenced this nomination, Eeshid had certain 
entirely private motives for the selection of my 
husband; he wished to secure the friendship and 
support of the Palmerston Cabinet, and to bring 



THE PASHA'S DEPARTURE. 179 



financial operations to bear upon the London 
market. In other words, he offered England com- 
mercial and financial advantages in exchange for 
the support which that Power would undertake to 
give to his own policy and personal control. The 
negotiations which preceded this appointment did 
not take place altogether unknown to me. On the 
contrary, my share in the transaction materially 
assisted its prosperous issue. "With this view I 
used my personal influence with the Grand-vezir, 
to induce him to nominate my husband to the post, 
in preference to any other candidate. Kibrizli- 
Pasha used immense exertions to achieve his object, 
but he thought it prudent to send me alone, in 
advance, as a negociator, for he feared lest he 
should compromise himself in vain. Experience 
had taught him that nothing was impossible to a 
woman. 

Indeed, some days before the Bairam, Keshid- 
Pasha's wife sent to inform me that my husband's 
nomination had been laid before his Majesty, and 
that, before long, the Imperial rescript would be 
forwarded to us. The publication of the firman of 
investiture having taken place shortly afterwards, 
the Pasha received the congratulations of the corps 
diplomatique, and the high dignitaries of the Porte. 



N 2 



JSO THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

These ceremonies concluded he made his prepara- 
tions for the voyage. 

Since religious prejudices and custom forbid 
Mussulman wives to accompany their husbands 
into a Christian country, I was, of course, unable 
to go with my husband to his embassy. He, conse- 
quently, took all the steps necessary to the main- 
tenance of his house. To this end he spared neither 
trouble nor expense, and left everything at my dis- 
posal, that I, my children, my slaves, and my 
domestics could possibly desire. 

Our farewell greetings were most affectionate and 
affecting. With tears in his eyes, the poor Pasha 
could scarcely tear himself away from me and his 
children. So strong was his grief that his voice was 
choked with convulsive sobs. This emotion was 
natural ; for it was the first time since we had 
become man and wife that we were to be separated. 

But these adieus were the last that we should ever 
exchange, little as we suspected it. A fatal destiny 
was soon to put an end to our happiness and that of 
our children. If a prophetic voice could have dis- 
closed the future, the poor Pasha would not have 
hesitated an instant in turning with disdain from 
grandeur and ambition ; never would he have con- 
sented to obtain them at the cost of what he valued 



1 REMAIN AT CONSTANTINOPLE. 181 

more than all the world beside. Destiny, however, 
whether cruel or pleasant, works its way in spite of 
our wishes or fears, and these adieus, as I said, were 
our last. 

It was long before I could find any solace for the 
grief that my husband's departure had occasioned 
me. Moreover, the solitary and monotonous life I 
led in my residence at Yuksek Caldirim could not 
but aggravate my sorrow, by rendering my very 
existence insupportable. I was principally occupiedX 
in silent contemplation of the beautiful view afforded 
from my window of the seven hills of Stambul, 
crowned with mosques, and surrounded by houses 
and gardens. The visitors who, from time to time, 
came to see me did something towards enlivening . 
the dreary sameness of my everyday life. Among 
these, the ladies of the palace and the eunuchs of 
the Seraglio afforded me most entertainment, and 
for this reason, that persons of this class are far 
more sprightly and unconstrained than the towns- 
people. Their manners are less affected, and conse- 
quently more sincere, and thus it is that their 
society is so agreeable, and brings such a charm to 
the spirit oppressed with the tedious routine of 
harem life. 

Amongst the eunuchs, moreover, I found friends t 



182 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

whose company gave me pleasure, in that some of 
them were accomplished poets and musicians. 
Ferhad-Agha, for example, combined both these 
qualities. He was a genuine troubadour, whose 
chivalrous sentiments and gaiety of heart repelled 
everything that was ignoble or that savoured of 
spleen. His besetting weakness, however, was a 
love of raJci ; but this was only natural: from all 
time, Bacchus and the Muses have dwelt together 
in harmony. Whenever, therefore, I could have my 
palace friends, I never failed to welcome them. As 
to the outdoor amusements offered in the public 
promenades, they were things for which I had little 
predilection ; besides, in Turkey, it is not etiquette 
for a lady to go much abroad in the absence of her 
husband. In proof of this, instances may be cited 
where ladies have refrained, for many years, from 
setting foot outside their houses, in order to testify 
thereby their love for their absent husbands. My 
horses, therefore, confined to their 'stables, had 
plenty of leisure to enjoy their good fare, and grow 
fat in their sloth. Whole months often passed and 
I cared not to cross my threshhold. 

It is clear that so retired and uneventful an 
existence could not but react upon my spirits, and 
afflict me with a sense of uneasiness which I should 



SICKNESS OF DJEHAD, 183 

find it difficult to describe. But, while thus 
tormented with enforced idleness and ennui, an 
unexpected and most serious event occurred to 
rouse me from my lethargy, and irrevocably to 
affect my future. 

My boy, Djehad-Bey, was naturally of a sickly 
and feeble constitution, so that he had always been 
a subject of great anxiety both to me and to his 
father. Soon after the Pasha left for London, 
Djehad's health grew worse from day to day, so 
that the physicians at length lost all hope of his 
recovery. This crowned my despair, for I knew 
that nothing could console his father for such a loss. 
The Pasha dearly loved this child, whom he regarded 
as his future heir. The death of his elder son, 
Moharem-Bey, had already caused him lively sorrow, 
and now, if Djehad died, he would be inconsolable. 
The moment, then, seemed to me to have arrived to 
carry out a plan agreed to between my husband and 
myself, before he quitted Constantinople, and which 
the delicate health of the boy had suggested. It 
was to replace him, in the event of his death, by 
another child, to be obtained secretly. Now, unless 
this scheme could be executed within a given number 
of weeks, so as to bring the factitious birth within a 
natural period since the Pasha's departure, I knew 



184 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

it would be impossible to attempt it. I kept him 
informed of the critical condition of Djehad, and 
received the Pasha's replies and consent to the pro- 
secution of our plan, without delay, should the 
necessity become imperative. But how to carry our 
plan into effect was a most perplexing question. 

The state of feverish excitability into which I 
was thrown could not be concealed from the eyes 
of my acquaintances, nor of those members of my 
household who frequented my presence. My house- 
1 keeper was one Fatmah, a native of Syria, to whom 
my husband had entrusted the management of the 
harem, and the supervision of the slaves. This 
person enjoyed a certain degree of importance, in 
consequence of the authority my husband had con- 
ferred upon her. Her position, and the attentions 
she lavished upon me, insured her free access to me, 
and warranted a certain familiarity which no one 
else would have dared to indulge in. She had ob- 
served the change that had come over me since the 
sickness of my son, and in no doubt as to its cause, 
sought to pry deeper into the secrets of my heart. 
Possessed of ability and tact, she was not slow in 
bringing them to bear upon the subject of the 
thoughts which were agitating my mind. No sooner 
had she succeeded to her heart's content, than this 



FATMAH'S COUNSEL. 185 

vile woman conceived the diabolical scheme of taking 
advantage of my confidence, by contriving a plot 
which would make me her victim and place me 
in her power. She had come to Constantinople 
to push her fortune as an adventuress, and all 
means of achieving her object were good in her 
eyes. 

Skilfully feigning to share my uneasiness and to 
take to heart my interests, while discussing the pro- 
babilities that might arise out of the death of my 
poor boy, this woman, far from striving to tran- 
quillize my spirits, sought to incite me to jealousy 
by the suggestion of suspicions regarding my hus- 
band's future course towards me, asserting that she, 
herself, knew, on good authority, that the Pasha had 
resolved to marry again, in case his son died. Such 
an event, she remarked, would inevitably bring 
about my destruction. I need scarcely say I never 
told her my husband and I were agreed. 

Having succeeded, by fair words and promises, in 
convincing me of her devotion and exciting in my 
breast the most violent emotions, Fatmah then pro- 
ceeded to give me advice, and to tell me that it was 
needless to give way to despair, for that, in this 
world, a remedy could be found for every ill. 
Pressed to explain herself more particularly, Fatmah 



186 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

added, as though she had read my thoughts : 
"Well, madam, you have only to buy a child of 
some unhappy creature, and to put him in the place 
of your own. The Pasha's absence affords a golden 
opportunity, which should not be lost." 

This counsel, harmonizing with my own plan, 
seemed to afford me the very opportunity I sought 
of executing it ; and although my acceptance of it 
involved me in a false position towards the Pasha, 
in the eyes of my accomplice, I was blind to the 
danger, so intense was my desire to contribute to 
my husband's happiness. Even now, when I reflect 
on the imprudence of which I was guilty, I cannot 
believe it amounted to crime, as the party principally 
concerned was privy to the deceit. 

To have recourse to a feigned confinement, in 
order to put forth as my own an infant that was 
the offspring of another, was a simple impossibility, 
for the very agents whom I should have to employ 
to execute such a piece of jugglery, would be the 
first to reveal the secret and compromise me before 
the world. 

But the phantom of that child's death that seemed 
to be pursuing me, and the dread I entertained of a 
catastrophe, so utterly blinded me, that I believed 
everything to be possible. And so, with incon- 



FATMAH'S COUNSEL. 187 

celvable simplicity, it appeared to me that nothing 
could be easier than to give oneself out to be 
enceinte, and to borrow an infant, just as one may 
borrow a costume, or set of jewels, or anything else. 
As for the agents whom it was necessary to employ 
in the performance of this precious trick, it never 
entered into my head that they would take the 
earliest opportunity of betraying me. 

And, in the meantime, I was the woman whose 
intellect was vaunted and admired by every one ; 
she whom all were ready to consult as if she were 
an oracle ! But such is the weakness of the human 
mind, which from the loftiest height may fall into 
the abyss of insanity and blind infatuation ! It is 
an acknowledged truth that the more brains one has, 
the more follies one commits. That my folly was 
morally inexcusable I admit, and this conviction 
has led me to endure with resignation the twenty 
years of suffering to which I have been con- 
demned. But this fault, which had its source in a 
feeling of love, very natural in a devoted wife, 
attained, thanks to the spite of my enemies, the 
proportions of an infamous crime. They who 
thirsted for my blood, transformed, I say, a simple 
fault into a crime, and punished me by social de- 
gradation, by exile, by the confiscation of every- 



188 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

thing I possessed, and by condemning me to a life 
of misery and shame. It is time, however, to take 
up the thread of my story at the point from which I 
have digressed. Fatmah succeeded in obtaining my 
consent, and all the needful measures were taken to 
prepare for the birth of the pretended infant. The 
critical period having arrived, Fatmah went in search 
of a child, and bought one from a poor woman, 
who was glad to get rid of what she found too 
heavy a burden. 

It must here be mentioned that Fatmah was not 
alone in the enterprise, for it would have been im- 
possible for her to accomplish her work without 
previously securing the aid of another agent. With 
this view, she thought fit to take into her confidence 
one of the eunuchs, named Beshir, in order that he 
might have a hand in the clandestine introduction 
of the infant. However, all the pains they took were 
absolutely useless, inasmuch as the sickness of my 
son Djehad, all of a sudden, took a favourable turn, 
and his recovery was not long delayed. And so, 
after all, the only result of this affair was that I 
found myself charged with an additional burden, 
and became the victim of those of whom I had 
been the accomplice. 

The blow once struck, its consequences were not 



CONDUCT OF FATMAH. 189 

slow in making their appearance. Fatmah and her 
confederate, elated by their success, assumed, all at 
once, the air of masters, and imposed their com- 
mands alike upon their fellow-servants and upon me. 
Seeing that my connivance in this sad affair ren- 
dered me mute and powerless, these two fiends 
threw the house into utter confusion. 

The slaves and servants, unable any longer to 
endure the insolence of these two tyrants, loudly 
called for my intervention ; but as their appeals 
were ineffectual, a revolt ensued. My impassible 
demeanour was, not unreasonably, interpreted as a 
proof of my connivance with the excesses committed 
by Fatmah and Beshir. In vain I attempted to 
promote tranquillity by liberally bestowing kind- 
nesses, now on one, now on another. Such treat- 
ment only served to light anew the fire of discord 
with redoubled force, for these sacrifices had no 
other'result than to excite the cupidity of the dis- 
affected. 

My patience quite worn out, and feeling justly 
alarmed at the menacing proportions that the spirit 
of sedition had assumed, I thought it necessary to call 
to my assistance the authority of our man of busi- 
ness, Keshid-Effendi, to endeavour to re-establish 
order in my household. As Fatmah and Beshir from 



100 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

associates had become sworn enemies to such a degree 
as to long to kill each other, I insisted that they 
should both be expelled from the house, as the only 
way of preventing a catastrophe ; for the two rivals 
made no mystery of their determination to take each 
other's life. Eeshid, however, treated the matter 
with an air of incredulity, and refused to interfere, 
saying that " it was only an affair between a woman 
and a eunuch/' 

This reply and the indifference displayed by 
Reshid-Effendi on this occasion did not contribute to 
my tranquillity, for I was in a better position than 
himself to judge of what passed before my eyes. 
Abandoned, then, to my own resources, I found no 
other alternative than to attempt one last experi- 
ment : that is to say, to separate the two rivals by 
dint of a pecuniary sacrifice. With this object, I 
entered into negociations with Fatmah, in order to 
induce her to leave the house. She consented to 
take her departure, but only after extorting from 
me a considerable sum. 

Delighted to have got rid of this wicked woman, 
I set to work to appease Beshir, who, seeing himself 
fawned upon, and satisfied with gaining a triumph 
over his rival, promised to conduct himself in 
a becoming manner. As to the matter of the 



MURDER OF BESHIR. 191 

adopted child, it was agreed that it should remain 
in abeyance, until the return of the Pasha, who 
would make such arrangements as he thought 
fit. 

A month had elapsed since the departure of 
Fatmah, when I had to give a reception to celebrate 
the first reading of the Koran, which was to be 
performed this year by my daughter Aisheh. It is 
customary among Mussulmans to celebrate this event 
with an eclat corresponding to the position and means 
of the parents of the pupil. Invitations were ac- 
cordingly sent to all our acquaintances, and no 
expense was spared to make the reception a sump- 
tuous one. 

In the meantime Fatmah had opened a corre- 
spondence with my enemies in the palace, and had 
been instigated by them to revenge herself both on 
me, who had discarded her, and on her mortal enemy 
Beshir, by every means in her power, not even 
excepting murder. She thought the best means of 
introducing herself into the house, and perpetrating 
the crime that she meditated, was to mingle with 
the crowd of guests, and make her entrance, unob- 
served in the confusion. Being informed that 
Fatmah was in the house I sent for her, and inquired 
her motives for making her appearance in a place 



192 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

where her presence was by no means desired. Her 
reply was dry and curt. 

" Madam/' she said, " am I to understand that 
I was expelled from your house ? have I no right 
to come to assist in the celebration of a f6te ? " 

As I saw clearly, by the tone of this response, that 
Fatmah would have no hesitation in creating a scene 
in the midst of the guests, I thought it prudent to 
retire ; not forgetting, however, to summon Beshir, 
and caution him to say nothing to the woman, for I 
did not wish to have a disturbance in the house. I 
gave him to understand that Fatmah would only 
stay a very short time, and consequently he need 
not think anything at all about her. 

Counting on the efficacy of the measures I had 
taken, I entered the room where my guests were 
assembled, and gave myself up to the duties of 
hospitality. 

But, while the company were regaling themselves 
with the charms of music and of song, Fatmah was 
engaged in the prosecution of her sanguinary designs. 
Skilfully evading observation, she proceeded gently 
to open the door that separated the selamlik from 
the harem, and admitted one of the servants, named 
Omer, who, as her lover, was to bear a hand in the 
contemplated assassination. Fatmah then succeeded, 



MURDER OF BESHIR. 193 

by a ruse, in inveigling Beshir into the bath-room ; 
there the two assassins sprang upon the unfortunate 
Arab, hurled him to the ground and suffocated him. 
Such was Fatmah's rage against her victim, that she 
resolutely took his life herself, by sitting on his face, 
while Omer contented himself by throwing hi 
down, and holding his hands. 



CHAPTEE XVII. 

Scene after the Murder The Assassins are given up to Justice Man- 
oeuvres of my Enemies My Imprisonment and Trial The Pasha is 
summoned to Constantinople Eeshid's policy The Pasha's Mar- 
riage Dj chad's repudiation Noble conduct of the Sultan Confisca- 
tion of my goods My Banishment. 

SCARCELY had Beshir heaved his last sigh when 
the doors of the harem were broken open, and an in- 
furiated crowd invaded the apartment, with cries of 
" Murder ! murder ! Vengeance ! vengeance ! " Ter- 
ror seized on every one. The guests took flight 
from the fury of the mob. The insurgents made 
their way to the room whither I had retired, with 
three or four of my slaves who had remained faith- 
ful to my cause. The wretches, on entering, did not 
scruple to bespatter me with the blood of Beshir, 
and to menace me with sabres, sticks, and other 
weapons which they brandished in the air. 

I must here pause to remark that amongst this 
swarm of invaders, there were not more than five or 
six members of my household ; the remainder, 
numbering, perhaps, thirty or thereabouts, were 



SCENE AFTER THE MURDER. 195 

strangers, whose presence at this moment is quite 
incomprehensible. It would appear as though they 
had been collected together in order to give a 
theatrical effect to the tragedy. 

Order could only be restored through the inter- 
vention of the police, who lost no time in appearing 
on the scene of the disaster. The police agents 
hastened to make out their official report, by sub- 
mitting the assassins to examination. When they 
came to inquire into the motives for the commission 
of the crime, a scene of violence ensued. On the 
one hand, those who sought my destruction boiste- 
rously called upon Fatmah and Omer to inculpate 
me alone ; on the other, these preserved an obsti- 
nate silence. This strife was carried on for some 
time without inducing the culprits to depose that it 
was solely by my orders that they had killed the 
eunuch. It was only through a hint that by this 
means alone could they hope to escape capital 
punishment, that the two murderers were induced 
to avow I had ordered them to put Beshir to death. 
As soon as the depositions were taken, the prisoners 
were conducted, under escort, to the office of the 
Minister of Police, to take their trial. 

During the course of these tragic events, my 
enemies, and those of my husband, tried their 



o 2 



196 THIRTY YEAES IN THE HAREM. 

utmost to achieve our ruin. My enemies were 
delighted to have, at last, found the means of 
crushing me for ever, and putting it out of my 
power to injure them. The political enemies of my 
husband, on their part, hastened to take advantage 
of the opportunity afforded them of separating us, 
and so destroying our combined action. Without 
* me, Mehemet-Pasha was a half-disabled foe, for it 
was well known what a part I had had in his pro- 
motion. It was through me that an understanding 
had been established between him and the Grand- 
vezir, and it was by my efforts that his nomination 
to the post of Minister for Foreign Affairs had been 
spoken of with favour. Such an event, his opponents 
well knew, would be a death-blow to them. These 
said enemies were the Valideh, the Sultan's mother ; 
Mehemet-Ali-Pasha ; Mehemet-Pasha, Minister of 
Police ; Eifaat, and a host of other Pashas more 
or less influential. 

Impelled by such motives, these people made as 
great an uproar as possible, and spread false reports 
of my alleged crimes and atrocities. The journals, 
native and foreign, were filled with stories designed 
to gratify public credulity, and to exhibit my cha- 
racter under the most revolting aspect. This was 
an easy task, for I had no one to take my part. 



MY IMPKISONMENT. 197 

Finding that, by such means, they had produced 
the desired effect, my enemies had recourse to legal 
proceedings, and procured my arrest. Four days, 
indeed, after Beshir's death, I received a summons 
to appear before the Minister of Police to answer 
the charges that had been brought against me. 
Tearing myself from my children, and from those 
about me who had remained faithful, I got into my 
carriage, and was driven to the office. I was then 
confined in a house which the Government had pre- 
pared and furnished for the occasion. My keepers 
were two female servants and a domestic, in the 
confidence of the minister, and upon whom he could 
rely. As to the treatment I had to undergo from 
them during my imprisonment, I may say that 
while, on the one hand, they affected to lavish on 
me those attentions which were due to a woman in 
my position, on the other hand they resorted to 
every means of intimidation. 

It was thought advisable, in order to overcome my 
obstinacy, to threaten me with the most exquisite 
tortures ; and, to show that they were not jesting, 
the police-agents busied themselves in recounting all 
the horrible cruelties of which their master was 
capable. They told me, amongst other things, that 
when the old Pasha was Governor of Cyprus he had 



198 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

a number of people impaled and burnt, in the most 
cold-blooded manne r imaginable. These threats and 
anecdotes could not but produce a painful impres- 
sion upon me, and the rather because I knew that 
the Valideh-Sultan and my other enemies were 
eagerly thirsting for my blood. 

There were moments, especially during the silent 
watches of the night, when my spirit succumbed, 
beneath the pressure of the moral torments I was 
condemned to suffer. At such a time, despair had 
full dominion over me, for I knew I could look for 
no mercy at the hands of enemies who had sworn to 
push their schemes of vengeance to the utmost limits. 
After subjecting me to threats and terrorism, the 
Minister of Police finally summoned me to his 
presence. A kind of sitting was held, in which the 
Minister himself, Kifaat^Pasha, and a secretary took 
part. This court was a regular hole-and-corner 
concern. The two Pashas proceeded there to give 
a cursory resume of the affair, after which they put 
questions to me, the object of which was to make me 
confess my participation in the murder of Beshir. 
My answer, from which I never swerved, was as 
follows : 

" I never gave any order of the kind, nor have I, 
in any way, been a party to the crime. Indeed," I 



MY TKIAL. 199 

said to the two Pashas, who were gazing at me in 
astonishment, "do you think that if I had wished to 
rid myself of Beshir, I should have been so stupid 
as to have him strangled in so public a manner, 
while with a few pennyworths of poison I could 
have made away with him quietly enough ? More- 
over, if I had made any choice between the two, I 
should have striven to get rid of Fatmah rather than 
of Beshir, for it is she to whom I owe all my 



sorrow." 



Seeing that their questioning was fruitless, the two 
Pashas did not repeat their sittings more than twice. 

In speaking of what happened to me while I was 
in prison, I ought to mention how the confiscation 
of my jewellery took place. Some days after my 
incarceration three police-officers made their appear- 
ance, and desired me to give up to them the casket 
containing my jewels. These consisted of a quantity 
of necklaces, girdles, chains, &c., all set with bril- 
liants, and their value would amount to about six 
or seven thousand pounds sterling. All these articles 
were counted over, one by one, after which the 
minister's seal was affixed to the casket. When this 
was done, the officers informed me that these jewels 
would remain in their custody until such time as I 
was set at liberty, and then they would be restored 



200 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to me untouched. "When I ventured to ask for a 
receipt for the jewels' I had entrusted to them, the 
only answer I could obtain was that their instruc- 
tions forbid them to comply with my request. 

It is needless to remark that from that moment 
my jewels were taken away from me altogether. On 
the arrival of my husband from London, the Govern- 
ment hastened to place them in his hands. This 
arbitrary act was a flagrant violation of the Mussul- 
man laws, which maintains respect for the property 
of a wife. 

While these things were going on in the office of 
the Minister of Police, intrigues outside were run- 
ning their free course. The enemies of Eeshid- 
Pasha's cabinet were making superhuman efforts to 
crush, at one blow, myself and my husband. Taking 
advantage of the prevalent public feeling, they en- 
deavoured to make my affair a ministerial question, 
and impeached Keshid-Pasha for shielding me. 

The Grand-vezir, indeed, saw that it was im- 
possible to save me from the hands of my enemies, 
for such a course would have been fatal to his 
administration. 

Compelled to yield before such a coalition, Eeshid 
found himself under the necessity of abandoning 
me to my fate. 



KESHID'S POLICY. 201 

However, he did his best to save Kibrizli-Pasha 
from being involved in my ruin ; for, by so doing, 
he neutralised the efforts of those who were seek- 
ing to disable one of his colleagues. With this 
object, therefore, he forthwith summoned my 
husband to Constantinople, held sundry long con- 
ferences with him, and succeeded in persuading him 
of the necessity of appeasing the clamours of the 
opposition by repudiating me. 

This sacrifice, as I learnt afterwards, cost the 
poor Pasha many tears, but political exigences pre- 
vailed over sentimental and all other considerations, 
and my husband was forced to bow to the will of 
his chief. My divorce was immediately notified to 
me by the emissaries of the Minister of Police, who 
handed me back my dowry, a mere trifle, and made 
me sign a receipt. My enemies, meanwhile, were 
not satisfied with this concession on the part of 
Kibrizli and Keshid, inasmuch as they suspected 
them of entertaining the idea* of restoring me to 
my former position, so soon as the temporary 
excitement should have calmed down. Under the 
influence of this suspicion they continued to 
clamour against me and to denounce Eeshid. 

The latter then formed the opinion that the best 
means of putting an end to these denunciations was 



202 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to get another wife for Kibrizli-Pasha, and thereby 
to separate him irrevocably from me. In fact no 
other guarantee could have satisfied those who 
wished to take advantage of existing circumstances 
to effect my irremediable ruin. 

This necessity, then, obliged Keshid to seek a 
wife for his colleague, and the choice of the Grand- 
vezir fell on a lady named Ferideh, the sister of one 
of his favourites. Thus Kibrizli-Pasha was compelled 
to marry a wife whom he had never set eyes on, 
and for whom he entertained no predilection. 

After remaining four months in prison, it was 
high time that I should be informed of the decision 
that had been come to with regard to the question 
of my guilt. One of the Minister's secretaries 
brought me the intelligence that Fatmah and Omer 
had been condemned to the galleys, and that I was 
to be banished to Asia Minor, whence, at the expi- 
ration of some months, they would allow me to 
return. This measure, he informed me, had been 
prompted by the necessity under which the admi- 
nistration found themselves of calming the mind 
and closing the mouth of the public. When the 
Minister of Police himself notified to me this deci- 
sion of the Government, I made him the following 
reply : 



DJEHAD'S REPUDIATION. 203 

" You have taken from me my husband, my 
children, all that I had in the world ; why not take 
my life also ? I have no longer anything that can 
lead me to desire to live ; kill me, and all will be 
over !"* 

In speaking these words, I had no doubt what- 
ever but that the cup of my sufferings was already 
full to overflowing. But I was to be subjected to 
yet another trial. Some days before I went into 
exile, the Minister of Police sent for me, and spoke 
as follows : 

" There is one question, madam, as to which we 
pray you to have the goodness to give an explana- 
tion before your departure, for neither the Pasha nor 
we can permit any doubt to remain on the matter. 
The infant whom you borrowed naturally throws 
some suspicion on the birth of Mustapha-Djehad- 
Bey ; for all the world will say that if one child has 
been borrowed, so, in all likelihood, has the other. 
As to your husband, he does not believe the boy 
belongs to him ; nevertheless, he wishes to have a 
deposition on your part, that he may know what to 
think and what to do." 

It did not require a very acute perception to see 
through the manoeuvre cloaked beneath these words. 
But, at the moment, I failed to account for it, and 



204 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to divine the true nature of the snare thus laid for 
me. From the circuitous language employed by the 
Minister, I could see that there was mischief in the 
case, but what it was I could not make out. To 
escape from this embarrassment without 1 * falling 
into the snare, I thought it necessary to reply 
in an evasive manner, which, while dispelling the 
intrigues of rny foes, would secure me liberty of 
action. 

Moreover, it appeared to me that an answer of this 
kind would be the best means of revenging myself 
on a man who had abandoned me without a word, 
for the sole reason that he feared to compromise his 
political interests. Clearly, for him, an evasive 
response would be equivalent to a disavowal or 
denial of the parentage of his son, for a simple 
doubt as to his birth would compel the Pasha to 
separate himself from him. But what above all 
induced me to follow such an unnatural course as 
that of denying my own child was the fear I enter- 
tained with respect to Djehad's safety. I could not 
consent to leave in the hands of my rival Ferideh 
a child who was her natural enemy, inasmuch as 
only by his death could she hope to lay hands on 
the whole inheritance. My reply, therefore, was 
couched in the following terms : 



DJEHAD'S REPUDIATION. 205 

" Is it possible that a man should not know his 
own child ? If the Pasha says that Djehad is not 
his child, that is a proof that he must have been 
borrowed also/' 

This answer puzzled the Minister of Police, and 
he did his best to extract a straightforward reply 
from me. For my part, I persisted in reiterating 
what I had already said, as though they were the 
last words I had to utter. 

My conduct actually produced the desired result. 
Kibrizli-Pasha having been informed that I had 
refused to proclaim distinctly the legitimacy of his 
son Djehad, found himself constrained to separate 
from him. 

After my return from exile, the question of 
Djehad's legitimacy was several times raised by 
Kibrizli-Pasha, who made me many advances and 
offers in order to induce me to make an explicit de- 
claration on the subject. However, as he, on his 
part, refused to accord me the satisfaction I de- 
manded, the matter remained in suspense. 

The penalty of exile decreed against me by virtue 
of an Imperial rescript was the finishing blow by 
which the Valideh-Sultan endeavoured to crush me. 
Abdul-Medjid, with that generosity for which he 
was distinguished, at first refused to affix his signa- 



206 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

ture to any such document. I have heard it said 
that the Sultan observed to his mother that, my parti- 
cipation in the murder of the Arab not having been 
substantiated, there were no grounds for punishing 
me. As to the affair of the borrowed infant, the 
Sultan was of opinion that it concerned no one ex- 
cept my husband. Seeing that her son refused to 
lend himself as the facile instrument of her will, the 
* Sultana had recourse to a theatrical demonstration 
in order to extort the much-desired signature. She 
called the chief of the eunuchs, and told him that 
the only means of getting me punished w^as for him 
to throw himself at the feet of his Majesty, and 
entreat him to execute justice on the guilty. That 
very night, the chief of the eunuchs awaited the 
Sultan near the door of the harem, and, on his enter- 
ing, threw himself at his Majesty's feet, crying with 
a loud voice, ." Your Majesty, take pity on us un- 
happy creatures, otherwise the women will murder 
us all ! " Next day the Sultan signed the decree, 
banishing me for an indefinite period. 

v' 

On the day fixed for my departure, the Minister 
of Police sent for me, and communicated to me the 
order banishing me to Asia Minor. He made a 
hypocritical pretence of feeling deeply touched at 
my fate, and entrusted me, with a show of the 



MY BANISHMENT. 207 

warmest interest, to the charge of an officer who was 
to escort me. With an excess of courtesy, he 
placed at my service his own. carriage, to convey 
me to the steam-packet about to start for Ismid 
(Nicomedia). 

I may add that, for some reason or other, it was 
thought advisable to conceal from me the place of 
my destination, which proved to be Koniah, in Cap- 
padocia. On leaving, I never dreamt of taking 
anything that might be of use to me. I got into 
the carriage, accompanied by a single slave, and with 
no means beyond about one hundred francs in small 
change, which I usually carried with me for trifling 
current expenses. 

On arriving at Ismid, I was courteously received 
by the governor, who came to meet me, and con- 
ducted me to the presence of his wives, in whose 
apartments a room had been prepared for my accom- 
modation. After a brief repose, I took some refresh- 
ment offered me by my host. While convers- 
ing with him, I noticed, every time he looked 
at me, that his face assumed a look of sadness 
and commiseration. I questioned him as to the 
cause. 

" I am grieved to think of the orders I have to 
comply with, as regards you, madam." 



208 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

" Indeed ! and what are those orders ? " I 
asked. 

" They are of such a character that I dare not 
inform you." 

" Don't be afraid. I am prepared for whatever 
may be my lot. You can tell me of nothing worse 
than death, and that I am ready to undergo." 

" I am commanded," said he, " to prepare an 
escort, and to send you to Koniah, a town distant 
from here a fortnight's journey." 

" Do your duty. As for me, I will go wherever 
they please to send me. Whether to this place or 
to that, it matters not." 

" Then to-morrow morning a palanquin shall be 
got ready for you, and I will make the necessary 
arrangement for your journey." 

"I do not require a palanquin. A horse will 
suffice for me." 

Next day, before setting out, I freed the slave 
who had attended me thus far, as I was unwilling 
to involve her in my misfortunes. I then com- 
menced my journey, in bitterly cold weather, 
escorted by some ten or twelve cavasses. The 
indifference I manifested produced a greater im- 
pression upon them than the most violent demon- 
strations of despair could have done. I saw big 






MY BANISHMENT. 209 

tears rolling down their cheeks when I mounted my 
horse. " Is it possible," they remarked to each 
other, " that, on account of a wretched negro, they 
should thus persecute a woman. Why make such 
a fuss about a negro who was bought for a few 
piastres ? He was her property, and our law lays 
down no punishment for those who take the lives of 
their own slaves." 

" What you say, my good friends, is of no use. 
I must obey without a word, since complaint would 
be vain." 

Everywhere I passed, the governors of the towns 
and the sheiks of the villages endeavoured, by every 
means in their power, to alleviate the fatigues I had 
to endure. They welcomed me with their utmost 
hospitality ; gave me their best rooms ; and spread 
before me most beautiful repasts. The mudirs, or 
commanders of the small towns, would pass the 
night under a canopy, in order to give up to me 
their only bed. The further I advanced, the more 
severe became the cold. I had to cross lofty moun- 
tain ranges covered with snow, in which our horses 
frequently sank up to the girths. I was sometimes 
obliged to rein in my horse to prevent him from 
being suffocated by the thick masses of snow that 
lay in the path we had to follow. My conductors 



210 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

themselves were astonished at the vigour I dis- 
played. The fact is, every depressing thought had 
been banished from my mind. I had so resolutely 
fixed my determination, that I would bear, without 
impatience, whatever happened to me. 



CHAPTEK XVIII. 

Life at Koiriah Hospitality of Hafiz-Pasha Singular Ideas of his Wives 
I am invited to visit Tchelebi-Effendi, chief of the Dervishes Des- 
cription of this People Frederick's arrival Departure of Hafiz-Pasha. 

AT length we reached Koniah, and I was left in 
a house without casements to the windows, and 
falling into ruins. The sorrows I had experienced, 
the fatigues of so long a journey, as well as the 
cold, to which I had not been habituated, seriously 
affected my health. I fell ill on the very day of my 
arrival. The woman in charge of the house and a 
Greek doctor she called in took care of me, and 
succeeded in effecting my recovery. 

I was especially anxious to learn whether the 
Government had given the necessary orders to 
provide me with the means of subsistence. In the 
meantime, the mushir invited me to call on him. 
I found him to be animated by the most kindly 
feelings towards me, and asked him whether he had 
received any authority to supply me with the funds 
necessary to meet my expenses. 



212 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

" I have received no instructions in the matter," 
lie answered ; " but your situation moves my com- 
passion. I see that you are persecuted. If you 
like, you shall come and live with my wives ; you 
will have no expenses ; and I will give you five 
hundred piastres a month, which is just what I 
allow them for their little amusements." 

As I was not acquainted with the governor, I was 
afraid to go and reside in his house, but I accepted 
his offer of money, and received it without trouble 
for a whole year. At the end of this period, Hafiz- 
Pasha came to take the place of the preceding 
mushir in the command of the garrison of Koniah. 
The new governor was a worthy old man of nearly 
sixty, who had known me at my uncle's house when 
I was quite a child. Some days after his arrival I 
went to pay my compliments, when he received me 
with truly paternal affection. 

" How happy I am, my daughter, to meet you 
here. I am told that you live in a house by your- 
self. You are thereby incurring the risk of being 
carried off by brigands, or other lawless characters. 

v -' 

I Come and stay with me. You will be well received 
*> by my wives ; you will not have to dream of any 

expense; and I will give you whatever I afford 

them." 



HAFIZ-PASHA. 213 

I eagerly accepted so benevolent an offer, and 
took up my residence in his harem, which was well 
provided, for he had four wives who cherished him 
as though he were a spoilt child. These were not 
the only wives he had taken in the course of his 
matrimonial career. It was said that Hafiz was a 
regular Bluebeard, who had had at least a dozen. 
But, for all these rumours, he was a virtuous man, 
who did nothing beyond what the Koran sanctioned : 
he had never had more than four wives at a time ; 
but as soon as a vacancy occurred, Hafiz-Pasha 
hastened to fill up the gap by taking a new wife. In 
presenting me to his wives, the Pasha sought to 
interest them in my favour by language which, 
showed the purity of his thoughts, and the generosity 
of his heart. 

" Whichever of you loves me the best/ 7 said he, 
" will prove her affection by the care she takes of 
this bird that has come to seek shelter beneath our 
roof." 

These poor women, though simple and ill-educated, 
did not the less endeavour to make themselves agree- 
able to me in every particular. They discharged all the 
duties of hospitality in a most praiseworthy manner ; 
they gave up to me the best room in the harem ; 
one took charge of my clothing ; another conducted 



214 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

me to the batli ; a third assisted me in my toilette ; 
a fourth put my room to-rights ; one would say, on 
seeing how they conducted themselves, that my 
power over them was that of a mistress over her 
slaves. These noble women, accustomed to humble 
themselves to give pleasure, could conceive of no 
other means of testifying their friendship than by 
the performance of almost servile duties, whilst 
they proved their true affection by banishing every 
thought of jealousy on my account. Although they 
were all jealous of one another, yet they had full 
confidence in me ; I was the confidante of their 
troubles and their desires, and we became inse- 
parable companions. What they wished for beyond 
everything else was to please their husband ; but 
they knew of no artifice by which they could effect 
this object. " You are so good and so clever," said 
one of them to me one day, " that I am sure you 
will consent to make me a charm (talisman) to 
inspire the Pasha with love for me." 

" Oh," I replied, " you think me a great deal 
wiser than I am. How should I know how to 
compose so powerful a charm ? " 

" If you choose," she insisted, " you certainly will 
be able." 

I saw that if I continued to refuse I should only 



SINGULAR IDEAS OF THE WIVES. 215 

succeed in alienating her affection, without con- 
vincing her of the folly of her request. 

" Very well, my dear/' said I ; " I will endeavour 
to comply with your wishes." 

Accordingly, next day, I took some powdered 
sugar, mixed with it some salt, and put the whole 
into a small bag of silk, fastened with string tied 
into sundry very complicated knots. " Here/' said 
I, handing her the bag, "this is the charm you 
asked me for. To-night, when the Pasha is sitting 
smoking in the midst of you, do you silently 
unfasten the string, and suddenly throw the 
contents into the chafing-dish." She did as I 
recommended. 

" What is the meaning of this noise and this 
smoke ? " cried the Pasha, hearing the crackling of 
the salt in the fire, and seeing the smoke of the 
burnt sugar. 

"It is doubtless the slave who has put some bad 
coals into the brazier," said the poor wife, all in a 
tremble. 

The Pasha, observing her demeanour, guessed 
what she had been about, but made no sign. He 
resolved to fulfil her desire, and to keep her with 
him all that night. I leave to conjecture whether 
or not she remained convinced of the efficacy of my 



216 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

witchcraft. "When I had once gained the reputation 
of being a skilled sorceress, each wife, in her turn, 
came to ask me for some magic means of increasing 
the love of her husband. One of them, more am- 
bitious, implored me persistently for a long time to 
teach her some charm by which she might become 
a mother, promising me, in return, a very consider- 
able sum. I gave her a large bag of ground potash, 
recommending her to go frequently to the bath, and 
every time put into it a spoonful of this compound, 
which was of singular potency for effecting the 
desired result. As luck would have it, she became 
enceinte shortly afterwards. To tell what caresses 
she lavished upon me would be an impossibility. 
All these women were thus thoroughly convinced of 
my profound knowledge of the occult sciences, to 
my great amusement. 

All Eastern women are persuaded of the .efficacy 
of talismans, charms, philtres, and all the ridiculous 
tricks of sorcery. A great number of women and 
men (for the latter engage in it also) live by this 
means on the credulity of their fellow-creatures. 
But it is not so amusing to learn that through the 
ignorance, or occasionally the malevolence of sor- 
cerers and sorceresses, serious consequences ensue ; 
frequently even death, through swallowing, under 



THE KONIAH DEKVISHES. 217 

the advice of these wretches, some most incongruous 
mixture or other. 

During my stay at the house of Hafiz-Pasha I 
was invited by Tchelebi-Effendi to spend some days 
at his palace. He was chief of the Mevlevih 
Dervishes, and the last descendant of the Abassides, 
who would be heirs to the Ottoman throne if the 
race of the now reigning Sultans should become 
extinct. This personage enjoys the privilege of 
girding on the Sultan's sword on the day of his 
proclamation. At Koniah and elsewhere, he is held 
in boundless consideration ; the mushir, the cadi, 
the nakib, and all the other dignitaries of the town, 
although completely independent of his authority, 
nevertheless show him such respect that their power 
appears insignificant compared to that which he 
exercises over people's consciences. No one would 
presume to sit down in his presence. All through- 
out the East, the dervishes maintain a great number 
of religious houses, where they receive, without dis- 
tinction, all travellers, poor and rich. The latter by 
no means consider it beneath them to avail them- 
selves of the simple and cordial hospitality of these 
holy men, who afford food and lodging for three 
days, without ever accepting the slightest remune- 
ration. 



218 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

The Mevlevih Dervishes go through a singular 
exercise in the mosques, consisting of a peculiar 
dance. They join hands in a circle, facing out- 
wards, and whirl rapidly round, raising at intervals 
a guttural cry, very like a bark. They sometimes 
keep it up for several hours with surprising velo- 
city, and without showing any sign of fatigue or 
giddiness. 

Tchelebi-Effendi received me with marked kind- 
ness, and made me take a place on the divan beside 
him. He seemed greatly touched at my fate ; 
offered to intercede for me at Constantinople, and 
confided to me the troubles he had with his wives. 
I remained several days in his palace, and did my 
best to reconcile the ladies to one another ; an 
attempt in which I succeeded ; after which I 
returned to Hafiz-Pasha. 

As Tchelebi-EiFendi had said, he addressed a peti- 
tion to the Divan in my favour, which was supported 
by the dignitaries residing at Koniah. Several times 
was this application renewed, but always without 
effect. I subsequently found that all these petitions 
had been suppressed on their arrival by the ministers 
who had been the cause of my troubles. 

Months, years passed away without any change 
in my situation, which would have been sad and 



FREDERICK'S ARRIVAL. 219 



wearisome in the extreme, but for the generous hos- 
pitality of the worthy governor. 

I need scarcely say that during my stay at 
Koniah, the mental depression which weighed upon 
me as an exile could not be alleviated, either by the, 
sympathy or generous kindness which the good 
Hafiz-Pasha and his family bestowed on me. I can 
say that, though exiled in body, my spirit was at 
Constantinople with the objects of my affection, my 
children and my husband. Day and night my 
thoughts carried me to my native land, and I felt^ 
almost inconsolable ; frequently, in a fit of despair, 
I turned my eyes to heaven, and cried, " My God, 
when will my afflictions cease ? when shall I find 
peace ? The fervency of my prayers brought about 
my deliverance in an almost miraculous way, for the 
Almighty sent me a protector in my son Frederick, 
who came unexpectedly to my assistance, comforting 
me in my sorrow, and reviving me in the midst of 
my enemies. 

The reader will remember my stating at the be- 
ginning how I had left at Rome my daughter Eve- 
lyn and Frederick, my eldest son. Since my mar- 
riage with Kibrizli-Pasha I had entirely lost sight 
of these dear children, who had been placed in con- 
vents, and brought up under the care of their aunt. 



220 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

It happened, however, that Frederick on his re- 
turn to Constantinople, hearing of my persecution 
and exile, determined on joining his fate to mine. 
Driven almost to madness by the love of a mother 
he had scarcely seen, he threw himself at the feet of 
Mehemet-Ali-Pasha, the then Minister of War, 
1854, and implored him to allow him to join his 
mother, she to whom he owed his existence. 

The Pasha, touched by this proof of filial affec- 
tion, acceded to his prayer, and immediately issued 
the orders necessary to enable him to proceed to 
Koniah. Mehemet-Ali also gave him out of his 
private purse the sum of thirty pounds to provide 
him with the funds for the journey. 

I had gone one day to visit one of my friends, 
who lived near to the tomb of the patron saint of 
Koniah, and was resting myself near a window, 
when we heard a knock at the door. My friend 
hastened to ascertain who it was, but, instead of 
coming back to me, she remained talking in a low 
voice with the stranger, whoever it might be. 

Animated by a feeling of curiosity, I looked to- 
wards the door, and all at once saw an elegant 
looking young man, dressed in uniform, who 
suddenly walked into the room and up to the 
place where I was sitting. 



FREDERICK'S ARRIVAL. 221 

This strange apparition, and the boldness shown 
by the youth alarmed me, and involuntarily I re- 
coiled and was about to rise from my seat, when 
the stranger threw his arms round my neck, crying 
out, 

" Don't you know me, mother ? I am Frederick." 

These words quite overcame me, for at that 
moment of supreme excitement I could scarcely 
believe my eyes, or trust my ears. Frederick, whom 
I had left almost an infant, and whom I considered 
as lost to me for ever, could it possibly be the 
handsome young fellow before me ? Was it a 
dream, the past thirteen years, or was it reality ? 

My poor boy, enraptured by the sight of a mother 
upon whom he could at last gaze, kissed me over 
and over again, holding me in his arms, and seemed 
never tired of looking at me. He took out his 
purse, containing his whole wealth, and placed it in 
my hands, saying, 

:< Take it, mother ; you are poor, but I love you." 

From that moment the fairest prospects seemed 
opening before me ; I was no longer a desolate and 
deserted woman without a defender or helper. The 
news of my dear son's arrival produced a great sen- 
sation at Koniah, all my friends sharing in my joy. 

Frederick, who had assumed the name of Osman- 



222 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Bey, remained with me a month, and on his return 
to Constantinople did his best in order to have me 
recalled from exile. It was owing to intelligence I 
received from him that decided me on endeavouring 
to make my escape, so as to join him at Constanti- 
nople, or wheresoever else he might be, and this 
without delay. 

Before my departure from Koniah, an incident 
occurred which brought great trouble on the town, 
and was the cause of much dissension. A married 
man had gone as a soldier, leaving his wife at home. 
While engaged on a certain expedition, he disap- 
peared, and was believed to be dead. As often hap- 
pened in these provinces, the towns of which are 
encircled by desert plains, on which the inhabitants 
pasture immense flocks, the wife was carried off by 
a miscreant, who took her with him to a remote 
part, and when she informed him of the disappear- 
ance of her husband, he married her. 

Presently the husband returned, discovered his 
wife, and wished to take her back, but her paramour 
refused to restore her, pretending that, according to 
his version of the Mussulman law, the former had 
been absent a sufficient time to permit of his wife's 
re-marrying. The complainant answered that she 
might perhaps have been able, of her own accord, 



DEPARTURE OF HAFIZ-PASHA. 223 

to contract a second marriage, but she had not, in 
this case, been a free agent. The Pasha was disposed 
to order the restoration of the wife to her former 
husband, but the other magistrates, holding to the 
text of the law, maintained the validity of the second 
marriage. Of a most determined character, the 
governor, instead of yielding in a matter that had so 
little interest for him, envenomed the dispute to 
such a degree that he soon came to an open rupture 
with the ulemas and other authorities. His position 
became insupportable, and one morning he set off, 
incognito, for Constantinople, leaving his wives 
behind him. Very soon after his arrival in the 
capital he obtained the government of Trebizond, 
and then sent for his harem ; nevertheless, he con- 
tinued the pension he had allowed me while I was 
living under his roof. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

I take flight from Koniah Kutayeh I reach Constantinople Protection 
is extended to ine by Eeshid- Pasha. 

ABOUT four years had now elapsed since I went 
into exile, and no answer had ever been returned to 
the various applications addressed on my behalf to 
Constantinople. I had every reason to believe that 
I was to remain, for an indefinite period, in a 
country where, since the departure of Hafiz-Pasha, 
I felt myself in anything but a safe position. I 
therefore presented myself before the authorities 
who were in charge, pending the arrival of a succes- 
sor to the late governor, and asked for a passport to 
enable me to return to the capital. 

" I am not under the burden of any condemna- 
tion; I was ordered to be transported hither, and 
here I have been for four years. As you have not 
been forbidden to let me go, I am come to demand 
the necessary documents to afford me a free and 
safe passage." 



MY FLIGHT. 225 

" If you were a person of ordinary condition, we 
would comply with your request," they replied; 
"but you are the wife of a minister, and we might 
compromise ourselves by giving you leave to go." 

" I have done my duty in warning you of my 
intention, and I have nothing more to add." So 
saying, I withdrew. 

Taking what little I had saved out of the libe- 
rality of Hafiz-Pasha, I came to terms with two of 
the inhabitants, who engaged, for four thousand 
piastres (about 40), to conduct me, by devious 
paths, to the vicinity of Constantinople. In order 
not to arouse suspicion, I went one night, accom- 
panied by a single servant, to a farm situate beyond 
the walls, to which I often used to go, the pro- 
prietor being one of the richest persons in the 
country, who had always shown me the greatest 
kindness. 

I had given my guides notice of the rendezvous, 
and they were waiting for me, with horses for them- 
selves, for me, and my servant. We set out at once 
to traverse the immense plains of Caramania, travel- 
ling night and day, through the most deserted 
places, carefully avoiding the towns and villages, 
and taking only such rest as was absolutely neces- 
sary to prevent ourselves and our horses from break- 



226 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

ing down with fatigue. We had to cross steep and 
dangerous mountains ; and finally, after a journey 
of four days, and without meeting with any mis- 
hap, we reached Kutayeh, on leaving which the 
country became more inhabited and safer. We could 
not go on from thence to Constantinople without an 
authority from the governor of the place. 

Not well knowing how I should manage to get 
the requisite authority, I, with my companions, put 
up at the house of a lady, named Aish-Bey, a sort 
of muscular woman who used to carry on mercantile 
pursuits between Constantinople and Kutayeh. On 
alighting I represented myself to her as the wife 
of a colonel who had died in the Crimea. I had 
not been long in bed when my hostess, knocking 
at the door, came to inform me that the Pasha's 
secretary wanted to speak to me. The visit of 
this official at such an hour foreboded no good, and 
it was not without considerable trepidation that I 
saw him presently enter the room. His face, how- 
ever, wore an expression of courtesy that augured 
favourably. 

" His Excellency the Pasha," said he, " takes it 
very much amiss that you have not thrown yourself 
on his hospitality instead of taking up your quarters 
here. He has sent me, therefore, to express his 



MY FLIGHT. 227 

regret on this account, and to request your kind per- 
mission to call and pay his respects to you to- 



morrow." 



I answered, as in duty bound, that I should be 
most happy to be honoured by such a visit, and 
I thanked the governor for his kind attention in 
giving me notice of the proposed compliment. 

The secretary then withdrew, leaving me several 
boxes of sweetmeats and other delicacies, sent by 
the Pasha's wives. 

My attendants had been so imprudent as to let 
out that I had come from Koniah, and, as my escape 
had been talked of on all sides, the governor at 
once knew perfectly well who I was ; but, since he 
had been acquainted with me for a long time, he 
was unwilling, by arresting me, to lend himself to 
the evil designs of my persecutors. For this reason 
he had the delicacy to notify his good feelings to- 
wards me, fearing lest I should be led to commit 
some imprudence through uncertainty as to his 
intentions. 

On the morrow he made his appearance magnifi- 
cently attired, and respectfully saluted me by kissing 
the hem of my robe. He consented, after a polite 
show of resistance, to seat himself on the same 

divan with myself. After conversing on various 

Q - 



228 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

unimportant subjects, he questioned me about my- 
self, and the motives for my journey. I told him 
that I was returning to Constantinople, and requested 
him to furnish me with the necessary pass, to 
enable me to proceed on my way. Satisfied with 
the result of our conversation, in which he had 
displayed the most courteous and obliging dis- 
position, he promised to give me the authority I 
required, and withdrew, giving me an invitation, 
which I accepted, to pass the remainder of the day 
at his house. 

This delay caused me some uneasiness, for I 
dreaded every moment lest I should see the arrival 
of messengers from Koniah sent in pursuit of me ; 
an event that would have seriously complicated the 
situation. My two guides, filled with alarm, secreted 
themselves in the stable when they saw the governor 
approaching. " It is all over with us," they said 
to each other. "In return for the pay we have 
received, we shall be prevented from ever return- 
ing to our wives and children. The lady whom 
we have conducted thus far is the wife of 
a great personage, and it is certain that they 
have come to arrest us forthwith and carry us off 
to prison." Fearing to excite suspicion, they dare 
not leave by daylight, for their strange appearance 



KUTAYEH. 

could not fail to attract attention. I boldly went 
to the Pasha's house, and he welcomed me at the 
head of the stairs, introduced me to his wives, who 
received me very kindly, and gave me quite a ban- 
quet by way of supper. 

Desirous of fulfilling his promise in a manner 
altogether noble and generous, he sent for his secre- 
tary, and instructed him to make out the pass in 
whatever terms I should dictate. 

" Write," said I, " that all commanders of troops 
and way-wardens are commanded to pass and to 
give protection and assistance to Fatmah-Hanum, 
of Kutayeh, returning to Constantinople on busi- 
ness, and intending to stay there about two 
months." 

The passport was made out accordingly, and the 
governor, in order to arrange everything with still 
greater muuificence, gave me a purse full of gold, 
to help to defray the expenses of the journey, and 
moreover granted me an escort of four cavasses. 

When I returned to my hostess, I found my 
guides more dead than alive : they were expecting 
every moment to be taken bodily and dragged 
before the Pasha. Summoning them forthwith, I 
made them read the paper that had been drawn up 
for me, and they could not believe their eyes. Next 



230 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

morning I set off at daybreak, and after three days' 
good riding I reached the Gulf of Nicomedia at a 
point called Dil-bash ; from there a sort of barge 
conveyed me straight to Constantinople, by the side 
of the custom-house. I then rewarded the cavasses 
and guides who had attended me thus far, and 
intrusted them with a letter of thanks to their 
master. 

On approaching the town I was accosted by 
an official, who demanded my papers. "If we 
are so unusually exacting," said he, "it is because 
the wife of a Minister of State has escaped from 
Koniah, and we have received very strict orders 
as regards ladies returning to Constantinople. 
Fatmah-Hanum of Kutayeh," he added, reading my 
passport ; "she is a merchant of my acquaintance " 
(here he looked fixedly at me). " I have heard her 
spoken of frequently. She is not travelling on 
business to-day for the first time." Whereas the 
beginning of his speech filled me with terror, the 
conclusion strongly tempted me to laugh, but 1 
restrained myself. 

Instead of seeking the hospitality of some person 
of high position, in which case my arrival would 
have created a sensation, I went to the dwelling 
of an old woman, whom, in the days of my pro- 



I REACH CONSTANTINOPLE. 231 

sperity, I was accustomed to employ to amuse me 
with her stories. I gave her what was necessary to 
furnish me a room, and then wrote to Fety-Pasha, 
who, as ambassador in Paris, had received me so 
kindly in time past, to ask if any harm could come 
to me in case of my retreat being discovered. He 
hastened to send me his secretary Yusuf with 
assurances that I had absolutely nothing to fear. 
Yusuf was at the same time bearer of a stock of 
linen and dresses besides a round sum of money, 
which his Highness put at my disposal. 

I sent the woman at whose house I was lodging 
to find out the state of public affairs, for I knew 
not to whom I could apply for protection with any 
certainty. She could not obtain any positive infor- 
mation, and I then intrusted her with a letter to 
Fehim-Effendi, one of my husband's relatives, 
who had always shown himself animated by bad 
feelings towards me, begging him to come and see 
me, without letting him know who I was. 

He came accordingly, and was profoundly as- 
tonished when he saw me. 

" How came you here ? " he cried. " It is impos- 
sible that you can have found your way from 
Koniah, without meeting anyone to stop you. The 
roads were all carefully watched." 



232 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

As I was anxious not to compromise anyone by 
disclosing how I had come, I replied 

"Nothing was easier. My husband sent me a 
passport/' 

" I dare say," he answered ; " for when I told him, 
recently, that you had escaped from Koniah, he 
smiled maliciously ; but/' he added, " what do you 
intend to do here ? " 

" I intend," said I, " to apply to Eeshid-Pasha, 
and beg him to request Mehemet-Pasha to restore 
my property/' 

" Don't do that," he cried with alarm ; " he is 
now your husband's deadliest enemy." 

" Oh, very well," I rejoined, " since they are at 
variance, there can be no question of writing to 
him/' 

He then told me that if I would only remain 
quiet, Mehemet-Pasha would like nothing better 
than to give me, from time to time, a small sum, to 
assist me in supporting myself, and that, he said, 
was the best thing I could do. I pretended to 
enter into his views, and dismissed him, delighted 
to have learnt from him that I should have in 
Eeshid-Pasha a protector as energetic as he was 
influential, and well-disposed towards me. 

Desirous of finding out what had taken place 



RESHTD PROTECTS ME. 233 

during my absence, and what was the present state 
of affairs, I applied for information to everyone with 
whom I came in contact, and the result of my 
investigations shall be mentioned in the ensuing 
chapter. 



CHAPTER XX. 

Political events Kibrizli- Pasha Grand-Vezir Marriage of Ali-Galyb- 
Pasha with the daughter of the Sultan Deplorable consequences of 
this Union Rivalry between Reshid and Mehemet-Ali- Pasha. 

SINCE my departure for Koniah, Kibrizli-Pasha 
had been appointed Governor of Aleppo, a place 
rendered extremely dangerous by the perpetual dis- 
sensions that existed between the Mussulmans and 
the Christians. In sending him to Arabia, it was 
hoped that he would perish ; but, contrary to ex- 
pectation, he succeeded in repressing both factions 
with such rigour, imprisoning, executing, and 
refusing all presents, that tranquillity was soon 
re-established. Seeing this, the Sultan appointed 
him to the command at Damascus. 

He did not remain long in Syria, for he was soon 
afterwards appointed Grand- vezir. The circum- 
stances that led to this appointment were as fol- 
lows : 

Abdul-Medjid's daughter was of a marriageable 
age, and the sons of some of the most exalted per- 



KIBBIZLI GRAND-VEZIR. 235 

sonages aspired to the hands of the young princess. 
Keshid-Pasha, and more especially his wife, who was 
excessively proud, were particularly anxious that 
their son, Ali-Galyb-Pasha, should become the Sul- 
tan's son-in-law. The other Ministers wished to 
please the Grand-vezir, and tried to induce their 
master to give the hand of the princess to the son 
of their colleague. 

After much pressing, the Sultan consented to the 
proposed union. However, Keshid-Pasha feared 
that if this marriage took place while he was Grand- 
vezir, the people would murmur. Indeed, there 
were not wanting remarks to the effect that the 
Padishah did everything his vezir wished, and had 
so little will of his own, that he could refuse him 
nothing, not even his daughter. He, therefore, 
sent in his resignation, and had Kibrizli-Pasha 
nominated in his stead. 

The latter exerted his utmost efforts to promote 
the match that his predecessor had so greatly at 
heart, and the nuptials were accordingly celebrated 
with great pomp. The person best pleased was the 
mother of the youthful bridegroom. The widow of 
a certain Ali-Pasha, one of the cruellest and bravest 
of the Turks who so greatly distinguished themselves 
in the war with Greece ; the wife of an illustrious 



236 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

vezir, and now become the mother-in-law of a 
princess, she saw herself one of the greatest ladies 
in the Empire. 

But the marriage so eagerly desired had not those 
favourable results that were anticipated by its most- 
ardent promoters. 

^ The husbands of Sultanas are almost the slaves of 
their wives. They cannot enter their presence un- 
invited. If the wife does not send for her husband, 
he must remain in the selamlik and not venture 
into the harem. He may spend the night, for a 
whole fortnight or more, sleeping on a divan in the 
men's apartments. 

Now the young Pasha, although very intelli- 
gent and fondly attached to the Princess, failed to 
win her good graces. In the course of a month, 
he scarcely passed two nights in the harem, a 
state of things that was a source of bitter grief to 
him. 

A most unwelcome discovery crowned his trou- 
bles, he found that his wife had a liking for the 
son of an old Minister. The two corresponded toge- 
ther, and the poor husband had his suspicions on 
the subject, but knew nothing for certain. One day, 
when he was supposed to be out, an eunuch arrived 
with a letter, but seeing the master of the house, 



ALI-GALYB-PASHA. 237 

retreated hastily, without delivering it. The young 
man at once went off to his father, and told him 
what proof he now had of the reality of his unhappy 
condition, of which hitherto he had been willing to 
doubt. Guess what the grief of his parents must 
have been. The father hastened, without a moment's 
delay, to the palace, presented himself before the 
Sultan, and disclosed to him the manner in which 
his daughter was making her husband miserable. 

Abdul-Medjid, instead of blaming his daughter, 
inveighed against Keshid-Pasha. "How is this?" 
he cried. " You beset me with entreaties in order 
to bring about this marriage, and now you come 
with complaints, and you invent I know not what 
accusations against the Sultana. Begone, if you do 
not wish to expose yourself to the full weight of my 
resentment." 

The poor father, overcome by a reception that he 
had not anticipated, returned home in a state of utter 
consternation. The way his sovereign had treated 
him and the disappointment of his son plunged him 
into despair, and conduced, with other causes we 
shall speak of presently, to hasten his end. 

His wife displayed a lively sense of indignation. 
All her affection was lavished on her son. She 
strove to console him by every means in her power. 



238 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

He came to pass several hours of each day in her 
company, endeavouring to forget the troubles that 
his wife had brought upon him. 

Nearly three months had elapsed since his 
father died, and for nearly three weeks the Sul- 
tana had not sent for him. In order to seek 
some recreation, the young man determined to go 
and pass the evening at the country-house of a 
wealthy Jew, named Camondo. He accordingly 
went on board a boat, and spent his time agreeably 
in the company of the banker and his other guests. 

When night came he re-embarked, and was 
making his way homewards, when a steam-boat, 
suddenly appearing, bore down upon and shattered 
to pieces the frail vessel in which he was ; two 
slaves endeavoured to save their master, and 
perished with him. 

On the morrow, his mother not seeing her son as 
usual, waited anxiously for his arrival. Noticing 
an unusual excitement in the house, the slaves and 
eunuchs talking together in a low voice and keeping 
silence when she drew near, she suspected the fatal 
intelligence and fainted away. "When she opened 
her eyes again it was found that she had gone mad. 
She spent the remainder of her existence confined 
to her room, and bound hand and foot. 



ALI-GALYB- PASHA. 239 

The Sultana, when she heard of her husband's 
death, displayed real grief. She fell ill, and her 
recovery was but slow. Although she had never 
shown any love for the Pasha, she had, nevertheless, 
a certain friendly feeling towards him. Abdul- 
Medjid, always kind, came several times to console 
her. The young man who was the prime cause of 
all these sorrows, asked the Sultan for the hand of 
his daughter, but he never would accede to this 
union. He married the princess to another suitor, 
and her conduct was thenceforth irreproachable. 
Seeing the consequences of her former intrigue, she 
had no desire to engage in any fresh ones. 

In order not to interrupt the recital of the fatal 
consequences of the marriage of Ali-Galyb-Pasha, 
we have neglected to speak of other events that 
occurred since the celebration of that alliance, and 
previous to the death of Keshid-Pasha. 

After the appointment of Mehemet- Pasha as 
Grand- vezir, at the recommendation of Keshid, his 
friend and protector, his new wife began to entertain 
a dislike for the wife of the old Minister. The latter, 
who was extremely proud, was much hurt at the 
proceedings of a parvenue who owed her elevation 
to her. Hence arose a coldness between them, which 
developed soon into open hostility. The two wives 



240 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

having quarrelled, the intimacy between their hus- 
bands was affected. Mehemet-Pasha began to 
follow with less docility the counsels of his prede- 
cessor, and presently told the latter that he intended 
to exercise his functions according to his own ideas, 
and not in conformity with the instructions of a 
patron, who exacted, as the price of his support, an 
obedience incompatible with the dignity of the chief 
Minister of the Empire. 

From this moment, Eeshid-Pasha, without mani- 
festing open dislike, desired nothing more than 
the ruin of his former protege. An opportunity 
shortly offered itself for the execution of his designs. 

The Sultan's brother-in-law, Mehemet-Ali-Pasha, 
had borrowed, at different times, very large sums from 
his banker, Djezairli-oghlu. The Orientals, by way of 
a signature, instead of writing their names, merely 
affix their seals. Each time the Pasha received a sum 
he put his seal on the receipt. The banker, wishing 
to be repaid, presented to Mehemet-Ali-Pasha a 
certain number of receipts for which he demanded 
payment. The Pasha objected that the seal which 
appeared on the greater part of them was not his 
own, and that he had no intention of paying any 
but those that bore the right impression. The banker 
then pretended that his debtor had sometimes em- 



RESHID AND MEHEMET-ALI-PASHA. 24-1 

ployed a different seal to that which he generally 
used, and claimed the protection of Reshid-Pasha, 
who was the avowed enemy of Mehemet-Ali-Pashu, 
with whom the Grand-vezir had become intimately 
associated since he had refused to conform any 
longer to the orders of his too exacting pre- 
decessor. 

The old Minister determined to take advantage 
of the occasion to strike down at one blow, both his 
former protege, and the latter's new friend. He 
went to Kibrizli-Pasha and handed him the receipts 
in question. 

"By virtue of your office," said he, "you are 
obliged to make justice prevail amongst the subjects 
of the Sultan. Here are documents which show 
that Mehemet-Ali-Pasha has received from a seraf 
(banker) very considerable sums of money. This 
day he denies his own seal an abuse which you 
ought to put a stop to." 

" This seal/' replied the Grand-vezir, " was never 
that of Mehemet-Ali. The banker has committed a 
fraud by affixing to the receipts you show me, the 
seal that you pretend is that of his debtor. Besides, 
I know Mehemet-Ali-Pasha to be incapable of doing 
an injury to anyone, above all to a man who has laid 
him under obligations." 



242 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Keshid-Pasha could not have wished for a better 
answer. He at once went to the Sultan. 

" Mehemet-Ali-Pasha, your Majesty's brother-in- 
law/' said he, " has been borrowing money of a mer- 
chant. Knowing that it would probably be difficult 
to refund the large sums he has received, he has affixed 
to the receipts sometimes his ordinary seal, sometimes 
another which he now ignores. Mehemet-Pasha, 
your Grand- vezir and his friend, refuses to do justice 
to the lender, alleging as an excuse that the prince 
is incapable of denying his own seal, and still more 
of using a false one. He adds that the documents 
in dispute have been forged by the merchant. This, 
in my opinion, shows a degree of partiality much to 
be regretted. It would be an evil example to allow 
persons of rank to abuse their position by cheating 
private individuals. Since Mehemet-Ali-Pasha is 
allied to the Imperial family, he ought not to be a 
judge in his own cause. If a man of his rank is to 
be permitted to refuse to answer in a court of justice 
the demand of a merchant, others will imitate his 
example, and we shall soon see all state officials 
pleading their high position as an excuse for appro- 
priating to their own use the goods of merchants. 
If you will be influenced by me, you will summon 
Mehemet-Ali-Pasha to appear before the Divan, to 



RESHID AND MEHEMET-ALI-PASHA. 243 

make good his plea. If he refuses to obey this order, 
you will know what steps to take to vindicate your 
sovereign authority." 

The Sultan, moved by the reasons advanced in 
support of this measure of policy, immediately signed 
a firman summoning Mehemet-Ali-Pasha to appear 
before the Porte, to defend his cause against the 
banker. 

As soon as Kibrizli-Pasha learnt what had oc- 
curred, and knew of the firman addressed to his 
friend, he returned the official seals, the insignia of 
his dignity, and the Sultan at once conferred 
them on Reshid-Pasha. 



R 2 



CHAPTEE XXL 

Reshid-Pasha interferes between my husband and myself Proceedings 
before the Porte Reshid-Pasha is replaced by Ali-Pasha Oath 
taken My second imprisonment I am let off. 

SUCH was the state of affairs when I returned 
from Koniah. I called on the new Grand-vezir, 
and begged him to have justice done me at the 
hands of Mehemet-Pasha. This was a fresh oppor- 
tunity for harassing his rival, so he gave me a 
favourable reception. He asked whether I wished 
to return to my husband, or to demand the restitu- 
tion of my property. I replied that, as Mehemet- 
Pasha had taken a new wife, no reconciliation 
between us was possible ; I therefore demanded the 
return of my fortune. 

" Very well," said the Minister : " cite him to 
appear before the Porte. If he refuses to go, do 
you come back to me." With these words he 
handed me a purse full of gold, to support me 
pending the decision of my cause. 

Several times did I send the messengers of the 



RESHID'S INTERFERENCE. 245 

court. They were brutally repulsed by the servants 
of Mehemet-Pasha. I was thereupon obliged once 
more to go to the Minister, to whom the citations 
also were sent. The G-rand-vezir informed the 
Sultan of what had happened, and got him to sign 
a firman, ordering my former husband to reply to 
the demand which I had presented against him 
before the Porte. The Imperial rescript was con- 
veyed to the defendant by one of his Highnesses 
chamberlains. 

It would be impossible to say what trouble 
reigned in the house of Mehemet-Pasha on the 
reception of the royal mandate. The Pasha's new 
wife, the Pasha himself, Bessim-Bey, his brother-in- 
law, who had flattered himself that he had appeased 
me by his delusive promises, all were thrown into 
consternation, and thought themselves lost. Next 
day, Fehim-Effendi, one of my husband's relatives, 
came to me, and, in a most obsequious tone, offered 
to give me all I was pleased to demand. I had 
only to present my statement of claims, when he 
would, immediately discharge them. 

"As soon as you are satisfied," said he, "you 
shall give me a declaration to the effect that you 
have no further claim. He can present it to the 
Divan when he makes his appearance there." 



246 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

After the zeal that Eeshid-Pasha had displayed 
in my favour, I could not do him so ill a turn as to 
cause it to be supposed that he had induced his 
master to sign a firman without any object ; which 
could not fail to be believed to be the case if 
Mehemet-Pasha, on appearing in obedience to the 
decree, had handed in a document such as that 
which -he wished to obtain from me. It might 
follow that the Grand-vezir would be dismissed 
from office owing to such an incident ; but whether 
he preserved his power or lost it, none the less 
should I be exposed to the just resentment of a man 
who had shown himself full of kindness towards 
me. I therefore rejected the proposals that had 
been made to me. 

The cause was called on, and, through my advo- 
cate, I put in a statement of the jewels, diamonds, 
articles of vertu, furniture, carriages, etc., consti- 
tuting my personal property, and comprising both 
what I had of my own, and the presents that had 
been made me ; the whole amounting to upwards 
of four million piastres (forty thousand pounds). In 
spite of all the subterfuges that my husband's 
agent could employ, his client was ordered to make 
over to me everything I claimed. When the deci- 
sion was pronounced, I only required, in order to 



LAW PROCEEDINGS. 247 

secure its execution within three days, the approval 
of the Sheik-ul-Islam, or supreme religious digni- 
tary, as decisions in civil matters are given by 
interpretation of the Koran. 

But at this stage of the proceedings a political 
turmoil sprang up which overthrew my fair pro- 
spects and gave the upper hand to my adversaries. 
Within forty-eight hours, from a, triumphant suitor, 
I was reduced to the condition of a victim of y 
despotism. 

Eeshid-Pasha, satisfied at having administered 
this severe check to my husband, resolved to deal a 
blow against his other rival, Mehemet-Ali, whose 
case with the banker was still pending. The latter, 
notwithstanding the Imperial firman laying the 
commands of the Sultan upon him, had not made 
his appearance before the Porte to answer the 
claim lodged against him by his banker, Djezairli- 
oghlu. The Grand- vezir hastened to inform the 
Sultan of this circumstance, representing the Prince's 
disobedience as an act of rebellion of most dan- 
gerous example against tke supreme authority of 
the Padishah, and obtained an order of banishment 
against Mehemet-Ali-Pasha, who was on the point 
of retiring to rest when his attendants came to 
inform him that the palace was surrounded by 



248 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

troops, and an officer was inquiring for him on the 
part of the Sultan. He went down, was arrested, 
roughly dragged away, and hurried on board a 
steamer, which only waited for him to put out 
to sea. 

The Sultan's sister went next morning to the 
palace, but her brother refused to see her. Know- 
ing how little able he was to refuse anything to the 
ladies, he feared to run the risk of listening to the 
supplications of the Princess. She was not dis- 
couraged, but set in operation all the means of 
influence she had at her disposal, and before the 
end of the day obtained from the Sultan, who was 
indignant at the manner in which his authority had 
been abused, and the hatred displayed by his 
Grand-vezir, the dispatch of a vessel appointed to 
bring back Mehemet-Ali-Pasha. 

On hearing this news Keshid-Pasha resigned 
office. Ali-Pasha, friend of the exile of a day 
and of my husband, was chosen to fill the place of 
the retiring Grand-vezir, and Mehemet-Pasha was 
appointed president of . the Tanzimat, a supreme 
court of appeal lately established at the request of 
the European Powers. 

The Sheik-ul-Islam, seeing these changes, refused 
to ratify the decision pronounced in my favour 



OATH TAKEN. 249 

under the fallen Grand- vezir. I was obliged to recom- 
mence the proceedings ; but the defendant, Kibrizli, 
by a privilege attaching to his rank, was entitled 
to be believed on his oath respecting my demand. He 
declared himself ready to swear that nearly the 
whole of what belonged to me was the property of 
my daughter, then eight years old. He did not 
acknowledge my claim to more than thirty thousand 
piastres (about three hundred pounds). 

On the day that the oath was to be taken I was 
brought to the house of the Pasha, where the highest 
dignitaries of the Empire were assembled, to be 
present at the taking of the oath. On a table were 
laid out numerous documents and a copy of the 
Koran on which the Pasha was going to swear. 
When I entered, instead of acknowledging by a bow 
the presence of Kibrizli, who stood now as my adver- 
sary, I merely saluted the bystanders, and took my 
place fating him. When invited to state my 
claim, I rose and sharply reproved' Mehemet- 
Pasha for the perjury which he was ready to 
commit. 

"I should never have thought," I exclaimed, 
" that one who occupies your high position would 
come to-day to take an bath respecting the poor 
ornaments of a woman. How can you lower yourself 



250 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to the pretence that necklaces, bracelets, robes, and 
ear-rings belong to you ? " 

At these words the Pasha, overcome with rage, 
rose and rushed upon me, while shouting : 

" Bring me my sword ; I will kill this wretch who 
dares thus to insult me ! " 

" Do not hesitate," said I, without displaying any 
emotion. " To complete your conduct it only re- 
mains to assassinate me." 

Numerous persons then threw themselves upon 
him and held him back. 

" Let him alone," I added. " He has aban- 
doned me in a cowardly manner, but he would not 
dare to commit a cowardly action in my presence." 

This scene of violence came to an end by the 
interference of the Sheik-ul-Islam, who had us both 
removed out of each other's reach. 

Next day, about sunrise, my house at Sari-Guzel 
was surrounded by a detachment of police, who 
forced an entrance and compelled me to follow 
them. A carriage conveyed me straight to the 
office of the Minister of Police, where I was im- 
prisoned. The reason they gave me for the com- 
mission of this arbitrary act was that, it was a 
punishment for the want "of respect I showed for a 
vezir of the Sultan. 



MY SECOND IMPRISONMENT. 251 

My imprisonment lasted five or six days, and 
the way it ended was sufficiently whimsical. The 
Minister's employe's gave me to understand that the 
only means of obtaining my liberty was to sign a 
declaration renouncing all my effects, and accepting 
the conditions my husband imposed upon me. 

" Mind what you are about," they told me ; " if 
you show any obstinacy, the Pasha will have you 
packed back again to Koniah." 

" I am in your hands," I retorted, "you can do 
with me what you like." 

Accordingly, on the ninth day of my imprison- 
ment I was conducted under escort to the Court, 
and there I was compelled to sign a mandate, in 
virtue of which I acknowledged to have thankfully 
accepted whatever the Pasha had consented to give. 
This signature once extorted, the agent of police left 
the Court, thus setting me at liberty. 

The Shiek-ul-Islam sent me that day what had 
been awarded to me by a decision without appeal ; 
that is to say, three hundred pounds, and the ex- 
tremely modest pension that it had pleased my hus- 
band to allow me only two pounds sterling, per 
annum ! 

I must here say, however, that jealousy more than 
meanness incited Kibrizli-Pasha to refuse me my 



252 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAKEM. 

rights. He dreaded that once in possession of my 
property I should leave for Europe. The idea that 
I should show my face to the Ghiaurs made him 
mad. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

I leave Constantinople, and go to reside at Jalova I meet a Highway 
Robber Unhappy condition of the Inhabitants of the Country- 
Tyranny of the Mudirs. 

AFTER my litigation had been disposed of in the 
manner above mentioned, I went to live at Jalova. 
It was very pleasant, after all the troubles I had 
undergone, to remove to some little distance from 
the scene of my sufferings. Separated from a hus- 
band for whom I had vowed unbounded affection, 
parted for ever (as I thought) from a beloved 
daughter, deprived of fortune, and fallen from u 
position of the highest rank, I found retirement 
necessary for me. 

Jalova is a town situated on the Gulf of Ismid, 
only three hours' voyage by steamboat from Con- 
stantinople. I bought a house and four horses, and 
engaged a woman to manage the first, and a man- 
servant to groom the horses and attend on me. 
In the neighbourhood, which was agreeably diver- 
sified by hills of most charming aspect, were several 



254 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

villages, which I proposed to visit. Attended by 
my servant, I travelled without fear, by night as 

/ well as by day. The warnings of the mudirs, who 
endeavoured to make me more circumspect, by 
telling me how greatly the country was infested by 
robbers, did not restrain me in the least. Exercise 
was indispensable to drive away the thoughts of 
despair which, without it, would have been the 
death of me. 

In my retirement I always kept up some inter- 
course with the capital. Eeshid-Pasha, and, after 
his death, the ministers of his party, frequently 
wrote to me. An old lady also took care to give 
me news of my daughter, as to whose lot I had 
great uneasiness, given up, as she was, to a woman 

* who could not but hate her, and who seemed to 
dread my vigilance to such a degree that, she had 
taken the most rigorous measures to deprive me of 
the possibility of seeing my child, to whom she 
passed me off as dead. 

Hitherto my life had been passed in the highest 
spheres. Except on my excursion to the Druses 
and Bedouins, I had rarely come in contact with 
the people. It was, therefore, an entire novelty to 
me to find myself in the heart of the country, and 
to observe the inhabitants. I visited in succession 



THE HIGHWAY ROBBER. 255 

all the different villages in the neighbourhood ; 
sometimes I remained for twenty days without re- 
turning home. I was everywhere received with a 
degree of cordiality and respect that were quite 
touching. These good people, knowing who I was, 
did their best to be accommodating. My arrival 
in any place was announced beforehand, and the 
wealthiest inhabitants disputed the honour of re- 
ceiving me. Wherever I presented myself, I always 
found a lodging and a repast prepared for me. 

Notwithstanding the fears with which it had been 
attempted to inspire me, I was never attacked by 
any evil - disposed persons. It would, however, 
have been a profitable undertaking to have robbed 
me, for I usually carried the greater part of my 
remaining property in a bag hooked on to my saddle. 
One night, as I was going to Sulus, a village, the 
charms of which I had heard highly spoken of, I 
climbed a mountain, on the other side of which was 
the spot I was going to visit. My servant was 
obliged to dismount and lead my horse, and it was 
with difficulty that he could get him to make the 
ascent. Suddenly there appeared before us a horse- 
man, wearing a large turban, with a gun in his 
hand, his belt furnished with pistols, and a sabre at 
his side. Of the middle height and thick-set, his 



56 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

face covered with a black, bushy beard, and his 
limbs powerfully formed, everything about this man 
betokened more than common strength. At this 
sight, my attendant began to tremble from head to 
foot, and could scarcely continue to guide my horse. 
For my part, I attributed his demeanour to the 
effect of a long and troublesome journey. The 
horseman of whom I spoke drew near to us, looked 
attentively at me, and readily saw by my dress that 
I was a stranger to the country. 

"Welcome, madam!" he exclaimed in a loud 
voice. 

" God protect you," I replied. " It would appear 
that you are an inhabitant of this neighbourhood. " 

" Yes/' said he, " I live on this mountain ; but it 
seems to me that you don't belong to the country." 

"No," I rejoined; "I am from Constantinople, 
and some time ago I came to take up my abode at 
Jalova ; but Sulus has been so highly commended 
to me, that I am on my way to that place. The 
night, however, is so dark, that I don't know whether 
I shall be able to reach it easily." 

" If you will suffer me to accompany you," said 
my strange interlocutor, " I know a Greek priest in 
this village, to whom I propose to conduct you." 

J accepted his offer ; he led the way, and we soon 



THE HIGHWAY ROBBER. 257 

arrived at our destination. My guide knocked 
violently at the door, and the priest at once came to 
open it. 

" Father, here is a lady whom I have brought to 
you. Take care of her ; I insist upon it," he added 
in a menacing tone. 

The poor priest asked us in, gave me his best 
room to sleep in, woke his wife and daughters and 
ordered them to prepare dinner, while he himself 
took our horses to the stable. 

" Madam," cried my servant as soon as he was 
alone with me, " I don't understand your object in 
giving yourself into the hands of a robber. If you 
wish to perish, that is your own look-out ; but you 
ought not to get me into such scrapes." 

" Take courage," said I. "I don't know whether 
or not that man is what you think him ; but if he 
had any bad intentions, he would have executed 
them already. There is nothing to fear from 
him." 

Soon afterwards our host came in. " How came 
you, madam," he asked, " to fall in with the man 
who brought you here ? " 

" He accosted us on the mountain," I answered ; 
' v and on my telling him that I wished to make my 
way to Sulus, he conducted us to your house." 



258 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

" You little know/' said the priest, " that this 
man is our ruin. He lives in a den in the neigh- 
bourhood, and comes unexpectedly, from time to 
time, to the house of one or other of the inha- 
bitants, and makes a demand for whatever he pleases 
money, oil, or silk. As he is known to be a 
desperate character, they hasten to satisfy him. 
Many times the authorities have sent troops after 
him, but they have never been able to seize him, 
He has an astonishing scent to escape a meeting 
with the Zapties when, his depredations having 
passed all bounds, they have been sent in quest of 
him. As soon as they are withdrawn, he exercises 
most atrocious vengeance on those whom he suspects 
to have made complaints of his misdeeds." 

I partook of the repast which my host's daughters 
prepared for me, and then came my brigand friend. 

"Are you satisfied with the reception that has 
been given you ? Have you any complaints to 
make ? " he asked. 

" On the contrary/' said I, " I am quite satisfied, 
and know not how to thank you for having con- 
ducted me to the society of such obliging people." 
He then sat down near me and began to converse as 
follows : 

" I live on the summit of the mountain, with a 



THE HIGHWAY ROBBER. 259 

young girl whose mother refused her to me, and 
whom I carried off five years ago. We are very 
happy and comfortable ; she has made me the fathar 
of several children. I have a beautiful garden, and 
when you are pleased to set out on your travels I 
hope you will pay me the honour of a visit. I 
assure you that you will not repent it ; I will display 
all my possessions, and you shall take away what- 
ever you please. Will you come and see me to- 
morrow ? " 

" I cannot come so soon," I replied. " It is known 
where I am. I have sent word to Jalova that I shall 
return to-morrow, and if I delay they will at once 
send out in search of me ; but when I come again 
into this neighbourhood I will pay you a visit." 

I used this language in order to excite his alarm, 
lest the police should be sent in pursuit if he ven- 
tured to attack me. He did not press the invita- 
tion, but withdrew. 

Early next morning I mounted on horseback, and, 
after admiring the beauty of certain cascades which 
fell down the mountain-side with considerable noise, 
I followed the sea-coast on my way back to Jalova. 
When I saw myself near the water I was not free 
from uneasiness, for if the idea occurred to my 
obliging robber of assailing me at that spot, he could 

8 2 



260 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

easily kill me, plunder and throw me into the sea. 
It was with considerable satisfaction that I returned 
safe home again. 

I did my best to make myself agreeable to the 
villagers near whom I lived. I voluntarily inter- 
posed between them and the mudirs before whom 
they were summoned. These functionaries, know- 
ing the terms I was on with some of the Ministers, 
stood in awe of me, and complied with all my re- 
quests. They even went so far as to send me pre- 
sents of considerable value, from fear of my invoking 
some superior authority to take cognisance of their 
doings. 

The usual grounds of my interference were the 
prosecutions entered against the people for the re- 
covery of imposts, and I generally compelled their 
prosecutors to grant them reasonable time for pay- 
ment. 

The two principal branches of industry to which 
the inhabitants devote themselves are the culture 
of the olive and extraction of the oil ; the rearing 
of silkworms and winding off the cocoons. The 
two products are ready for the market at about the 
same time of year, following by a fortnight or a 
month the period when imposts are payable. The 
well-disposed mudirs wait patiently for the sale of 



ABUSES OF THE ADMINISTRATION. 26 L 

the stocks, before demanding from the tax-payers 
their dues to the mahlieh (treasury). Those who act 
thus are beloved by those under their jurisdiction, 
but they find themselves reduced solely to their 
salaries, and therefore they are rarely to be met 
with. 

The great majority of these officials conduct 
themselves in the following manner: As soon as 
the oil has been extracted, and before it is suffi- 
ciently clarified to be offered for sale, and when tlie 
cocoons are ready to be unwound, they send their 
cavas with an order for immediate payment. The 
poor creatures upon whom this demand is made, 
having just then none of their resources realised, see 
their products seized, and sold by auction, at an 
absurdly inadequate price, to usurers who have an 
understanding beforehand with the mudir as to 
making a profit out of these executions. These 
miscreants promise that official a fixed sum, in 
order to induce him to bring about these iniquitous 
sales. They agree among themselves to have no 
competition, and they are well assured that the 
people of the country, being very poor, have no 
money available for the redemption, by process of 
law, of that of which they cannot prevent the 
seizure. There are even officials so monstrously un- 



262 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

just as to bring to sale everything, including the 
furniture, stewpans, and agricultural implements 
belonging to the poor, thus reducing them to 
beggary. 

The tax-payers cannot get the superior authorities 
to listen to them. In the vicinity of Constantinople 
the mudirs are all servants, secretaries, or grooms of 
Ministers in office, who put them in these places to 
recompense their services. The complaints of the 
inhabitants receive no attention from the Ministers, 
who are naturally disposed to favour their old ser- 
vants, and are maintained in this disposition by 
constant supplies of butter, silk, fruits, and vege- 
tables, extorted from the peasants. In the provinces 
distance is an additional obstacle, to which must be 
added the circumstance that the applications, to 
reach the ears of the Ministers, must go through the 
valis, who are all more inclined to favour their 
subordinates than the complainants. 

I sometimes amused myself, after the evening 
repast, by sitting in a rustic dwelling, before the huge 
fire round which the rough but peaceable country 
folks assembled, while they offered me hospitality. It 
was on such an occasion that they expressed, with 
charming simplicity, the sufferings they had to 
endure from their oppressors. 



ABUSES OF THE ADMINISTRATION 2C3 

" We see perfectly well," said my host (a well- 
to-do agriculturist and indefatigable workman), 
" that we have nothing to hope for. The Padishah 
desires only the welfare of his people, but he is sur- 
rounded by subordinates who rob us of the gold that 
is drawn from our tears and our toil." 

" It will not do to lament over all that," replied a 
brave and robust woodman, named Hussein. " Some- 
thing worse may happen. The ghiaurs (Christians) 
may come and take possession of our country." 

" Well ! and do you think they will treat us worse 
than we are ? On the contrary, fearful of a revolt 
on our part, they will endeavour to conciliate our 
good-will, and will govern us far more gently than 
we are governed now." 

" But," said another, who was a confirmed Mussul- 
man and a pilgrim at Mecca, " they will try to make 
us Christians, and will persecute us on account of 
our religion." 

"It is true that they hold our creed in abhor- 
rence," observed my host, "but they know that 
our faith is everything to us. They will dread to 
make themselves our mortal enemies by attacking 
what we have most at heart. You see that the 
English allow their Mussulman subjects to practise 
their rites unmolested; the Russians, also, never 



264 THIRTY YEAES IN THE HAKEM. 

attempt to convert the Tcherkesses (Circassians) and 
other Mussulmans within their dominions." 

I was much astonished, as may readily be sup- 
posed, to find these peasants reasoning in such a 
manner on subjects to which I had thought they 
would have been strangers ; but the desire to ame- 
liorate one's condition tends to enlighten the most 
limited capacities. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

Death of Abdul- Medjid Kibrizli-Pasha raises Abdul- Aziz to the Throne 
Character of the new Sultan Consequences of the protection 
afforded b^y the Consuls Disgrace of Mehemet-Pasha. 

I HAD been five years at Jalova, or in its vicinity, 
when I heard that the Sultan, Abdul-Medjid, was ill. 
Kibrizli-Mehemet-Pasha, my husband, was Grand- 
vezir, and it was feared that a revolution would 
break out on the death of the Sultan. The discarded 
Ministers got up an agitation in order to bring to the 
throne the Prince Mourad-Effendi, son of Abdul- 
Medjid. They thus acted in defiance of the Mussul- 
man law, which conferred the sovereignty on the 
brother of the dying Sultan, viz., the Prince Abdul- 
Aziz, whose favourable disposition towards Mehemet- 
Pasha and his party were well known. 

I returned to Constantinople, in order to be in a * 
position to take advantage of the new state of affairs 
which a fresh reign could not fail to produce. Mehe- 
met-Pasha, meanwhile, took his measures to secure 
the rights of the legitimate heir. The chamberlains 



266 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

were devoted to him. Very few persons could con- 
trive to penetrate to the chamber of the sick man, 
whose state was much more serious than was allowed 
to be known. The new Valideh- Sultan, mother of 
Abdul- Aziz, was apprised of it, and the Prince, her 
son, kept himself prepared for any emergency. It 
was towards evening when the Padishah breathed 
his last, and the news was kept secret all that night. 
Next morning the public only learnt the fact from 
hearing the funeral chants given out by the muez- 
zins from the tops of the minarets and seeing the 
Prince Abdul-Aziz going to the Mosque to be pro- 
claimed Sultan. 

The new Sultan, on ascending to power, showed 
himself animated by the best intentions. He 
desired to remedy those abuses that had deeply 
affected him while he was only a private individual. 
His accession was hailed as the presage of an era of 
prosperity for Turkey. He was known for his 
kindness, without ever carrying it to the verge of 
weakness, as did his predecessor. It was known 
that he had led a retired life ; that he had married 
only one wife, whom he had promised he would 
never take any other but herself; that his tastes 
were simple, and his expenditure moderate, without 
avarice ; and after the excessive prodigality of 



CHARACTER OF THE NEW SULTAN. 2fi7 

AMul-Medjid this latter quality was especially 
appreciated. It was believed that he would occupy 
himself independently with the interests of his 
people, without yielding to the influence of the 
Seraglio. His mother, the Valideh-Sultan, had a 
profound dislike to business, and he regarded all 
women with equal indifference. 

He began by lodging in the Old Seraglio all his 
predecessor's wives, and put a stop to their disorderly 
conduct; and next he busied himself with improving 
the condition of the troops. He wished to see the 
distribution of stores punctually performed ; the 
salaries paid when they became due ; the soldiers' 
clothes made of good materials ; the bread and 
other provisions of good quality. All the Ministers 
were in a state of consternation. They saw the 
contractors, with whom they had private agree- 
ments to sanction waste, compelled faithfully to 
execute their contracts with the Government. 

Some time after his accession to the throne, 
however, his sister having made him a present 
of a young slave, Abdul-Aziz could not refuse such 
a gift, for he would have gained a deadly enemy 
by so doing. Subsequently being struck with the 
charms of another slave, he made her also his 
odalisque. At present he has three wives : this is 



268 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

not much, compared to the brilliant and crowded 
Seraglio kept by' his predecessor. However, the 
Sultan's wives and odalisques lead very simple 
lives ; their luxury does not much exceed that of the 
Ministers' wives. Abdul- Aziz finds his chief plea- 
sure in taking trips on board a steam-boat. Twice 
a month, he goes to pass two or three days alone in 
a small country-house of his own, on the sea-coast, 
two or three leagues from the capital, which affords 
him the gratification of making a short voyage. 
When he was only heir to the throne, he used to 
spend nearly all his time on board a pleasure yacht, 
on which he frequently took a voyage of several 
days' duration. 

As is usual on taking possession of the throne, 
Abdul- Aziz had his palaces refurnished. This fur- 
nishing on such a scale is an important undertaking, 
and must produce an outlay of several hundreds of 
thousands for the benefit of those employed in the 
work, or those whose duty it is to procure the 
furniture. This incident affords an opportunity of 
pointing out by what means Europeans contrive, 
under the protection of their ambassadors and 
consuls, to make a rapid fortune in the East. 

"Whoever offers the largest sum to the Minister 
who has the control of the work obtains the con- 



PROTECTION GIVEN BY THE CONSULS. 269 

tract. It is usually signed without being read ; his 
Excellency looking to one thing only how much 
he is to receive. The furniture, of the value of 
five or six hundred thousand francs, is purchased at 
Paris or Lyons, on account of the Sultan, by the 
contractor; and the latter presents a bill for four 
or five millions, which is approved by the Minister. 

The contractor obtains, by dint of continued 
applications, the payment of instalments, amounting 
to seven or eight hundred thousand francs pro- 
bably the cost price of the furniture and the allow- 
ance to the august signatory. The latter refuses to 
pay more ; alleges the poverty of the treasury 
that to pay such a large sum as claimed would 
compromise him that by-and-by he will be able 
to make up further instalments, etc. The contractor 
then waits for a change of Ministers. As soon as a 
new vezir is appointed he calls upon him, and 
demands payment of the balance. His Excellency 
flies into a passion ; declares that he who allowed 
such Un account has participated in a most iniquitous 
robbery. " It is impossible," says he, " to pay so 
enormous a sum as that claimed for a thing of so 
little value as the furniture supplied." 

If the creditor is a Frenchman, he goes to his 
ambassador or consul, who communicates with the 



270 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAKEM. 

government of the Porte, and protests against the 
course taken by the new Minister. " It is impossible 
to admit," says the diplomatic agent, " that a claim 
is to be rejected under the pretext that it has been 
approved by a vezir who is not now in office. Such 
a proceeding is robbery. The cabinet which I 
represent cannot suffer the Porte to treat with such 
contempt the interests of the French who are 
established in Turkey." In spite of all his efforts, 
the Ottoman Minister is obliged to yield, and to 
satisfy a claim advanced in so peremptory a fashion. 
Of course the affair ends at last d I' amiable, and 
both the Minister and the dragoman get out of it 
their little pourboire. 

Abdul- Aziz had now held sway for two months, 
and was still animated by an ardent zeal for the 
repression of abuses. Kiza-Pasha, Minister for War 
in the previous reign, was charged with numerous 
frauds ; moreover, he had made every effort to get 
the Prince Mourad appointed in succession to his 
father, to the detriment of the new sovereign.* The 
Sultan called upon him to make restitution of 
sundry large sums, of which he told him the 
amount. Eiza-Pasha shut himself up in his house, 
and refused to pay anything. The Sultan there- 
upon appointed him Governor of Smyrna, as a 



DISGRACE OF K1BBIZLI. 271 

means of removing the culprit to a distance from 
Constantinople, where his wealth had gained him a 
great number of friends or accomplices interested in 
supporting him, and well able to give trouble if any 
attempt were made to gain forcible possession of the 
person of their patron. 

Kiza-Pasha was obliged to obey, but he went 
away very unwillingly. He had not resided for 
many days at Smyrna, when he received the order 
to go into exile ; instead of submitting to it, he took 
refuge on board a French frigate. The Sultan de- 
manded his extradition from the French government, 
whose protege he was. The reply was, that the 
prisoner would be given up, but only upon the con- 
dition that prosecutions were to be instituted against 
all the former Ministers, as Kiza-Pasha had only 
acted in conformity with their usual proceedings. 

Very shortly afterwards, the enemies of Mehemet- 
Pasha succeeded in depriving him of the high posi- 
tion which he had hitherto occupied. Insinuations 
were made to the Sultan that his Grand-vezir con- 
sidered himself to be the real master of Turkey. 
If he were listened to, it was said, one would suppose 
that it was to him alone the Sultan owed his throne, 
and that he would be quite unable to retain it with- 
out the powerful support of his servant. Fuad- 



272 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Pasha, who was the originator of these reports, suc- 
ceeded to the inheritance of the individual whose 
disgrace he had procured. 

The Sultan, perpetually haunted by the dread of 
a conspiracy, was determined not to leave to Me- 
hemet-Pasha the possibility of joining himself with 
the discontented factions. He intimated to him the 
order to repair immediately to Adrianople. Under 
Abdul-Medjid these orders were rarely carried into 
actual execution ; it was considered sufficient if the 
individual who received one confined himself to his 
own palace, and was careful not to mix himself up 
in any political intrigue ; if he strictly adhered to 
this line of conduct, he was left in peace. The new 
Sultan, accidentally passing before the palace of 
Mehemet-Pasha, two days after the order had been 
given for his departure, w r as very indignant at seeing 
that it was still inhabited. He sent a message to 
the disgraced Minister, that on the day after the 
morrow a steamboat would be in readiness to receive 
him. The Pasha was compelled to obey ; he took 
with him his wife, but left behind my daughter 
A'isheh, whom he had married to Shevket-Pasha, the 
son of my rival. This exile to Adrianople lasted 
two years. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

Aisheh's condition Conduct of Ferideh Family education Family life. 

As I have already had occasion to narrate, in the 
course of this history, when I was separated from 
my husband, I had left with him a son and a 
daughter. My daughter was called Aisheh-Ha- 
num ; when the catastrophe occurred which parted 
us, she was in her eighth year. Her lot was as cruel 
as my own, I may even say that it was worse ; for 
I, though in exile and poverty, still enjoyed a certain 
liberty of action. My unfortunate Aisheh fell into 
the hands of a mother-in-law, whose cruelty and 
malice far exceeded what is universally attributed to 
mothers-in-law in general. This quintessence of 
evil qualities was called Ferideh-Hanum ; her first 
husband had been a certain Reshid-Effendi, a re- 
nowned writer, notorious for his drunkenness. The 
malice of the one, and the drunkenness of the other, 
rendered any agreement bet ween this ill-assorted couple 
impossible : they in consequence sought to recover 



274 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

liberty and tranquillity by a divorce. By this hus- 
band Ferideh had a son called Shevket, who accom- 
panied her to her new home ; she endeavoured to have 
him recognised as the adopted son of his Highness. 
Ferideh, once installed in my husband's house, 
sought by every possible means to establish her 
authority in it. She was entirely deficient in the 
ordinary grace and beauty of her sex ; in default of 
these she had recourse to all kinds of intrigue, and 
brought into play every influence which she could 
command. She availed herself of the protection 
accorded to her by the Grand-vezir Eeshid-Pasha, 
and the numerous friends and relatives of her own 
brother, Bessim-Bey. By a clever employment of 
these means, the shrewd and cunning woman suc- 
ceeded in obtaining complete ascendancy over 
Kibrizli-Pasha, who was compelled to submit to the 
yoke imposed on him by all these tricksters who 
surrounded him. Sometimes it was the wife who 
had him in hand, sometimes it was Bessim ; some- 
times their slaves, or the relatives who took up the 
game. In the midst of all these intrigues the un- 
happy Pasha grumbled, became irritated, but in the 
end he was always either worked upon by flattery 
or cajoled by intrigue into yielding. In every dif- 
ference, in every struggle which took place, it was 



SUFFERINGS OF AlSHEH. 275 

always he who was in the wrong, and who was in 
consequence compelled to give way. But so adroit 
and skilful wore those who pulled the strings, that 
Kibrizli never saw through their game, and, whilst 
obeying them implicitly, believed that he was acting 
according to his own will. So great is the power of * 
intrigue in the private circles of Oriental society ! 

Ferideh, who aspired to universal rule, looked with 
an evil eye on the presence of my daughter Aisheh 
in her harem. Aisheh was the daughter of her 
rival, and was the one strong link that bound the 
heart of the Pasha to mine. She was, in conse- 
quence, the natural enemy of her mother-in-law, 
the one standing menace against her happiness 
and against the realization of her dreams of com- 
plete power and of complete absorption of the 
Pasha's property. 

From the first moment that Ferideh set foot 
in my husband's house, she strove, by every pos- 
sible means, to separate the daughter from the 
father, so as gradually to weaken the bonds of affec- 
tion which united them. With this object in view, 
she took most particular care to place every obstacle 
in the way of any meeting between father and 
child, and carefully endeavoured to prevent any 
tete-d-tete, the consequences of which she dreaded. 



T '2 



270 THRITY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

To that effect, she confined Aisheh to a distant apart- 
ment, where she remained surrounded by slaves and 
out of sight of all comers. For years my daughter 
continued to be completely forgotten, and it was only 
by accident that any visitors at the house ever 
observed her. 

A girl, who was thus entirely neglected in regard 
to all the ordinary details of family interests, would, 
of necessity, be brought up in the grossest general 
ignorance. The Turks, as a rule, have a dislike for 
educated persons ; they prefer those who are ill- 
informed and ignorant, for they feel sure of being 
able to manage them and to mould them to their will. 
Ferideh perfectly understood what she was about, and 
it was with good reason that she determined to bring 
up my unfortunate Aisheh in the most profound 
ignorance. It thus happened that, during the eight 
or nine years which preceded the marriage of my 
daughter, she had been taught nothing but to read 
the Koran, to be able to scrawl a sort of writing, 
and to do the sewing which is indispensable in a 
household. The remainder of her time was passed, 
as is not unusual in a harem, in gossip, always use- 
less, and not unfrequently hurtful. 

My readers will, I am sure, with difficulty believe 
that a girl belonging to one of the princely families 



FAMILY EDUCATION. 277 

of Turkey, the daughter of a man who had in his 
own person experienced the advantage of a European 
education, could have been so completely neglected 
as regards instruction. Nevertheless, this pheno- 
menon would be easily intelligible to any one who 
was acquainted with the disposition and character 
of Kibrizli-Pasha, and with the habits and manners 
of the highest classes in Constantinople. It is true 
that Kibrizli had received a certain education, of 
which a part had been acquired in Turkey and a 
part in France ; but this education consisted of a 
thin surface of knowledge veneered over a thick 
mass of ignorance. 

Kibrizli resembled the greater number of those 
who have been sent to Europe to be educated, 
in having only acquired a smattering of learning, 
and having just mustered sufficient of the rudi- 
ments to enable him to pass through the indis- 
pensable formalities of an examination. He had 
never advanced sufficiently far to acquire any real 
love for science, or to enable him to recognize the 
positive necessity and importance of instruction. 

Besides this, he had never been able to shake off 
the ideas which are innate in all Turks, and which 
lead them to believe that there is no such paramount 
requirement of knowledge amongst women as to 



278 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

make its requisition a necessity. Kibrizli had pre 
served below the varnish of civilization the stamj 
of the old Turk ; as such he looked down on womei 
as inferior beings. He was one of those who, when 
ever speaking of women, would exclaim with an ai: 
of self-sufficiency, " Oh ! women have long hair anc 
short wits." 

And yet no man was ever so thoroughly unde: 
the thumb of women as himself, as between mysel 
and Ferideh we did with him what we liked. 

From this tendency of opinion arose the indif 
erence which was one of the causes of my unfor 
tunate daughter's education being so lamentabh 
neglected. But independently of the small value 
which his Highness himself attached to instruc 
tion, the customs and habits prevalent amongs 
Turkish grandees, as those already observed 
exercised in this matter a most pernicioui 
influence. 

Family life is, in reality, unknown amongst th( 
Turks. The law of the Koran, which divides man 
kind into two distinct classes, men and women, 
does not admit of the existence of a family in whicl 
each member can live the same life and form a par 
of one harmonious whole. In Mussulman societ} 
the men have separate ideas, habits, and interests 



FAMILY LIFE. 279 

whilst, on the other hand, the women have others, 
which belong exclusively to them. Thus persons 
who pretend to form a part of one and the same 
family, have, in reality, nothing common amongst 
themselves, neither apartments, nor goods, nor fur- 
niture, nor friends, nor even the same hours for 
taking rest. The selamlik (the apartments of the 
men) and the harem are, in consequence, two sepa- 
rate establishments, placed side by side, where each 
one does what pleases him or herself, the men on 
one side, the women on the other. The authority of 
the head of the family, when he is in a position to 
exercise any at all, is the only connection and bond 
of union between these two halves of the same 
household. 

This separate system, upon which Mussulman 
family life is based, acted upon by the paramount 
law of self-interest, gives rise to a singularity which 
cannot escape remark by an attentive observer. It 
becomes evident that the degree of separation which 
exists in Turkish households between the men and 
the women can be measured by the greater or less 
amount of affluence in which the family lives. A 
poor Mussulman has only one or two rooms for 
himself and his family ; he is compelled to study 
economy, and on this account he, like a good father 



280 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

of a family, eats, drinks, and sleeps with his wife 
and children. The well-to-do middle-class man 
establishes his household after a much more or- 
thodox fashion, and begins by drawing a more 
palpable line of demarcation between himself and 
his harem. Two or three rooms are completely 
divided off from the remainder of the house ; these 
form the selamlik the apartment for men and 
place of reception ; the remainder of the house con- 
stitutes the harem, the forbidden ground. 

If we now go to the rich to the Pasha with 
three tails or to the minister with a portfolio, we 
shall find his palace installed in grand style, and 
the separation between men and women more 
complete. The selamHk of a grandee comprises 
an entirely separate building, and the harem 
has the proportions of a colossal palace, with 
iron gates, grated windows, and a garden sur- 
rounded by high walls. The men and women 
shut up in these two divisions of the house- 
hold remain completely isolated from each other, 
and have no means of communication except 
through the eunuchs, or through the female Chris- 
tian servants who are attached to the harem. The 
Pasha, his sons, and near relations, who alone have 
the privilege of free entry into the harem, can only 



FAMILY LIFE. 281 

enter it by a sort of bridge, enclosed with iron 
gratings a kind of secret passage, which is traversed 
under the escort and charge of a eunuch. 

This complete separation between the harem and 
the selamlik gratifies the vanity, and satisfies the 
pride, of the grandees of Constantinople. The 
higher they rise in station, the more absurd they 
make themselves in taking useless precautions, and 
in enforcing ridiculous formalities as means of ele- 
vating their wives by withdrawing them from the 
eyes of the lower orders. The natural results of 
this complete separation of the two establishments 
is the existence of diverging habits of life. The 
women on their side have their own private affairs, 
their own household management, and their own 
intrigues ; they entertain their friends, have their 
receptions, and amuse themselves in their own 
fashion. In the selamlik the Pashas, with their 
friends and domestics do the same thing ; there 
they receive their visitors and guests, and spend 
their time intriguing and gossiping, or in setting 
themselves up as puppets to be admired by their 
parasites and flatterers. 

If on the one side the men are spendthrifts, and 
dissipate their means, on the other the women fail 
not to do the same. The efforts made on both sides 



282 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to get the upper hand, and to surpass each other in 
magnificence, give rise to a sort of rivalry between 
the two elements. The master of the house Pasha 
or Effendi, whichever he may be generally plays 
the part of moderator between the different mem- 
bers of the seraglio ; but this part, originating 
rather in egotism than in any real wish for modera- 
tion, is generally confined to two points to assure 
to himself the full enjoyment of the harem and to 
maintain the splendour of the selamlik. If the 
Pasha obtains his aim in the enjoyment of the one, 
and in satiety of the other of these worldly plea- 
sures, he makes light of all else, and shuts his eyes 
to the robberies committed by his domestics, and 
to the extravagance and excesses of his wives. 

The Pashas, caring for nothing but their own 
pleasures and gratification, leave the entire manage- 
ment of their households in the hands of an intend- 
ant k'iaiah, who does much for himself, and very 
little for anyone else, and often ends in plunging 
the Pasha into debt up to his neck. Those Pashas 
who are shrewd hold the opinion that it is much 
more advantageous to occupy themselves with rob- 
beries on a large scale in the administration of affairs 
than to trouble their heads with the petty thefts in 
detail made by their intendants and domestics. 



FAMILY LIFE. 

Thus a sort of tacit understanding grows up between 
master and servant, by which each robs to the best of 
his ability the one wholesale, the other retail. 

A Pasha, having thus disembarrased himself of 
all care and trouble as regards his private esta- 
blishment, becomes, so to say, a mere guest in his 
own home. During the day he generally passes his 
time at the Porte, where he discusses questions of 
justice and politics with all comers ; then he makes 
his rounds in the town, visits his friends and parti- 
sans, and stretches the lines which are to form the 
nets of his political intrigues. Towards the evening, 
at five or six o'clock, his Excellency makes a solemn 
entry into his palace, accompanied by his aides-de- 
camp and the gentlemen of his suite. Arrived at 
the top of the staircase, he does not enter his own 
apartments, but without loss of time turns towards 
the great gate which gives entrance into the harem. 
A eunuch, who stands as sentinel at the door, 
throws it open with all the requisite ceremonials, 
and introduces the Pasha into the Dwelling of Bliss. 
In the hall of the harem he is received by his wife, 
or by the directress or superintendent of the harem, 
and to her belongs the honour of introducing him 
into the inner chamber. 

The Pasha, as a general rule, does not remain 



284 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

more than a quarter of an hour in the harem ; that 
is to say, the precise time necessary to undress him- 
self, and to put on his dressing-gown and pelisse of 
ermine fur. In this costume, which is not wanting 
in elegance or comfort, he again returns to the 
apartments of the men, and proceeds to occupy his 
customary place on the divan. He has hardly had 
time to install himself here before the entry of a 
procession of his friends, his flatterers, and of per- 
sons who desire to ask favours of him ; these, one 
after the other, kiss the hem of his robe, and take 
their places in line before him. 

Surrounded by these people, the Pasha drinks 
his bottle of raki, eats some dried raisins and 
filberts, and smokes several pipes. When the hour 
of dinner arrives, his Excellency places himself at 
the head of the hungry troop around him, and con- 
ducts them to the dining-hall. All who have the 
honour of sharing his repast do not fail to give 
loud expression to their gratitude ; and at each 
mouthful which they swallow they never omit to 
make a profound reverence. The great man, on his 
part, seeing how injurious his august presence is to 
the satisfactory digestion of his guests, does not cease 
during the repast to encourage them, and urge 
them on by the powerful stimulus of his voice. 



FAMILY LIFE. 285 

With this view, at each occasion of a new dish 
appearing, he never fails to request them to attack 
it in earnest, crying out continually in a- loud and 
sonorous voice, " Bmurun, bumrun "- " ~Eiai, my 
friends, eat." 

When the dinner is concluded, the Pasha and 
his friends return and place themselves in the 
same seats which they occupied before it com- 
menced ; then begins a course of coffee and pipes, 
and a renewed course of social and political gossip. 
Sometimes, but rarely, as a variation, cards are 
played ; but tric-trac is more in vogue : the great 
world at Constantinople have a preference for this 
kind of diversion. The Pasha and his circle spend 
their evenings in this fashion amongst themselves, 
without caring what their wives may do in the 
harem. These, on their part, endeavour to amuse 
themselves as best they can, by assembling round 
them their friends and all the gossips of the neigh- 
bourhood, and with these companions they laugh, 
they feast, they play games, and sometimes have a 
little music with tambours tef. 

It is generally half-past eleven before the Pasha 
definitively retires for the night to the harem ; he is 
received at the threshold by the eunuch, who waits 
his approach, standing with lights in eacli hand, 



286 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

and who precedes him through the entrance-hall to 
the apartment of his wife. 

At the time of rising in the morning, the Pasha 
is attended by slaves, who assist at his toilet and 
ablutions ; when these are completed, and he is ready 
to leave his room, he remains a few minutes and 
talks with the members of the harem on any subjects 
which may interest them. It is usually at this early 
levee that his daughters and female relatives take 
the opportunity of presenting themselves and en- 
joying his society. When this short space of time 
has elapsed, he hastily takes his departure, in order 
that he may not keep too long in suspense the crowd 
of worshippers who are waiting for a sight of his 
august countenance. 

The description which I have now given of life 
amongst the Turkish grandees sufficiently explains 
the kind of intercourse which exists between mem- 
bers of the same family, and what little care parents 
take of their children. It is true that for boys the 
case is different, because the latter have the power 
of going out, and can enter the harem when they 
please ; and, besides, as their education is much 
more cared for, the separation from their father has 
not such a disastrous effect. The daughters are 
those who really suffer from this entire absence of 



FAMILY LIFE. 287 

family life and of a father's care, whom they do not 
see, perhaps, more than once or twice in a month. 
Confined entirely to their own apartments, they 
depend solely on their own resources, having no 
society but that of slaves and old women, who sur- 
round them, and amuse and manage them as they 
please. 

My poor Aisheh was not treated with greater dis- 
tinction than the ordinary children of a family, 
either as regards instruction or in the general tenour 
of her life. If any exception was made, it was 
decidedly to her disadvantage, as every means 
and trick was employed in order to withdraw 
her as much as possible from the eye of her father 
and of the world, and to keep a constant watch over 
her. The cunning Ferideh was well aware that she 
was much beloved by her father. Influenced by an 
ignoble feeling of jealousy, she constantly interposed 
between them, never ceased to spy on my child, and 
took unceasing precautions to prevent any acci- 
dental meeting with him. 



CHAPTER XXY. 

Apprehensions of Ferideh Her manoeuvres Marriage scheme Choice of 
Shevket. 

THE complete isolation to which Aisheh was 
condemned, and the strict surveillance to which 
she was subjected, had for their object the pre- 
vention of the development of her intellectual 
faculties, and it was hoped thereby to retain 
her in a permanent state of mental degrada- 
tion. But even if this object had been fully 
attained, it would not have satisfied this savage 
mother-in-law, whose jealousy and cupidity knew 
no bounds. By keeping the daughter of her rival 
in a brutalizing state of ignorance, she succeeded 
wonderfully in her designs, for a brute is never to 
be feared ; but a brute has a heart, and knows what 
the love of a mother is. This notion flashed across 
Ferideh's mind, causing her serious apprehen- 
sions, and making her fear that filial love would 
find a response in the heart of the unfortunate 
Aisheh. 



MANOEUVRES OF FERIDEH. 289 

"Never," said she, "never! Aisheh is in my 
power. She must belong body and soul to me 
alone. If the voice of nature calls upon her, I 
will stifle it ; for I and my rival can never be on an 
equality. Aisheh must forget even the very name 
of her mother." 

Impelled therefore by blind passion and a bound- 
less jealousy, the mother-in-law set to work to attain 
her aim, which was to cause every trace of me to 
disappear from her mind. For this purpose she 
took care to surround the girl with people who were 
devoted to her wishes ; and in addition to them she 
began a systematic attack, in order entirely to drive 
away any remains of filial love which might still 
remain in her heart. There was no atrocity or 
calumny which could be devised against me which 
these people did not repeat to Aisheh, enlarging on 
and bringing them forcibly before the tender spirit 
of my unfortunate daughter. 

These clever tactics, as I had foreseen, did not 
fail to obtain a complete success ; for, sharp as she 
was, poor Aisheh was forced to feel all the influences 
which they brought to bear upon her. So, by dint 
of lies and continual efforts, the clever emissaries of 
Ferideh succeeded in making my daughter believe 
all sorts of absurdities against me, and impressed 



200 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

her with the idea that, like the mythological beings, 
she was the child of a monster in flesh. 

Having succeeded in poisoning and perverting 
Aisheh's mind, the wily Ferideh thought it would be 
better to endeavour to efface every trace of her rival 
from the daughter's mind ; by this means she fancied 
she would remain absolute mistress of her destiny. 
In causing the last vestiges of a past domination to 
disappear, she calculated to consolidate her own. 
An order was .therefore given to the people about 
the house that they were to spread the report of my 
death, and never to mention my name again. The 
same order was also given to those who came to the 
house, so that none should mention the name of 
Melek-Hanum in the presence of the girl. Further, 
as a precautionary measure, all those who had fre- 
quented the house in my time, and who knew me, 
were dispensed with. Ferideh evidently feared lest 
kindly disposed or indiscreet persons should reveal 
the truth to her whom she desired so ardently to 
deceive and mystify. Amongst the persons who 
were excluded can be enumerated Atidjeh, Hanum- 
Effendi, Zekieh-Hanum, the Hanum Sultanas, and 
several others. 

Owing to these plots and endless intrigues, 
Ferideh and her worthy brother, Bessim-Bey, a 



MARRIAGE SCHEMES. 291 

downright scoundrel, made my poor daughter 
their slave, only allowing her to see what they 
liked, and hear what suited them. Aisheh had to 
submit to this slavery in the midst even of 
her family and under her father's eye for seven 
years, until she had attained her sixteenth year. 
Having reached this age, when girls in the East are 
considered marriageable, Aisheh began to excite 
notice, owing to the freshness and beauty of her 
face and her youth. Aisheh's charms, at the same 
time that all remarked them, equally impressed 
Ferideh, who, in her quality of mother-in-law, had 
to think of her future. What will be the fate of 
this girl ? is a question which Ferideh and her 
accomplices must often have put to each other. 
Owing to every sort of intrigue, they had succeeded 
up to that time in doing what they liked, and in 
keeping her in the most complete dependence. 

In Turkey, girls of good family usually marry at 
sixteen, and that because aspirants to obtain the 
hand of a great Pasha's daughter are never wanting. 
This grand question, namely, to know to whom would 
be intrusted my daughter's future, became the topic 
and question to which all the policy of Ferideh and 
her clique had resort. This question became a fixed 

idea for them in the day-time and a nightmare dur- 

u 2 



292 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

ing the night ; but a real and tangible nightmare, 
for they were forced to decide one way or another. 
In fact, the question which arose before them, like 
an insurmountable mountain, was truly one of the 
most difficult which a set of scoundrels and rogues 
had ever to solve. 

Two courses presented themselves to Ferideh's 
and Bessim/s consideration, by which to resolve the 
problem of marriage. Either they had to give the 
girl to a young man who was able to keep her 
in the ease and comfort to which her birth en- 
titled her, or they had to seek a suitable parti, who 
would be admitted to the house in the capacity of 
son-in-law to his Highness Kibrizli-Mehemet-Pasha. 

The first of these two aspirants did not suit 
Ferideh at all, and that because the idea of separat- 
ing herself from Aisheh and giving her her liberty 
made her tremble with fright. "How," said she, 
" can I allow this girl to leave the house, away from 
my superintendence, in leaving her to the care of 
the first comer whom it would be folly to fight 
against, and who would kiss my hand to-day that 
he might betray me the next ? No, that cannot be ! 
And if, unluckily, my rival, on hearing that her 
daughter is free and settled, should find her out and 
unfold to her our misdoings how we separated her 




MARRIAGE SCHEMES. 293 

from her father how we despoiled her of all she 
possessed how we declared she was dead, the better 
to assure her death, if this were to happen, I am 
lost for ever ! But what am I saying ? The union 
of the daughter with the mother would inevitably 
lead to the union of the husband. Eh ! eh ! eh ! 
that is a fearful dream, a dream to make my hair 
standfc on end ; and if his Highness, drawn into 
their midst, should see once again the woman he so 
loved . . . and whom he loves still, the triumph 
of my rival is certain, and I should be for ever 
lost ! " 

Terrified by such a terrible occurrence, Ferideh 
turned her attention to another method which still 
remained for her to dispose of Aisheh, which was to 
marry her to a man of her choice, who would keep 
her under the paternal roof. This was the only 
means which offered a certain guarantee, and it was 
to this that the perfidious mother-in-law had re- 
course. But, even whilst deciding on this last, 
Ferideh's troubles appeared only to increase ; the more 
she surmounted, the more appeared to arrive. Being 
determined not to let go of her prey, she sought for a 
husband a sort of make-believe husband an 
ignoble being, who would lend himself to play the 
role of accomplice, and who would be transformed 



294 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

into the jailer and even the executioner of his 
victim. 

Amongst people who wish to make their fortune 
at one stroke by marrying a girl, there are some of 
all sorts ; thus Ferideh had not far to go before she 
found the individual who would suit her, had she 
been simple enough to rely on the first rogue who 
presented - himself as suitor. But Ferideh wste too 
cunning to trust too indiscriminately to anyone. 
She sought for a sure husband, one who would be 
proof against all exterior influence and romantic 
sentiment, one who would be hired to do anything. 
To judge by the absurd requirements and preten- 
sions advanced by this mother-in-law, one would 
have decidedly thought she was choosing a husband 
for herself and not for another. 

And yet all this was simply mere play-work, but 
serious play-work too, by means of which the players 
sought to blind everybody, more especially Kibrizli, 
the father, in whose eyes they threw dust. Whilst 
Ferideh, Bessim, and the rest appeared to be con- 
sidering the future of Aisheh, and were carrying on 
all sorts of intrigues, they had already passed sen- 
tence on their victim, and were considering the 
means by which they could put it into execution. 
Kibrizli had no other issue but two daughters ; one 



CHOICE OF SHEVKET. 295 

was Aisheh, my child, and the other by his second 
marriage. These two daughters were therefore the 
successors to his fortune ; for at his death his pos- 
sessions were to be equally divided between them. 
It was evident that at the death of the Pasha, with 
the remainder of this fortune Aisheh would have 
acquired her own portion, which she would have 
been able to dispose of as she liked, even to 
sharing it with me, her mother. 

To prevent this, and further to render it impossible * 
for her to share and enjoy it with me, Ferideh and 
her relations decided on taking possession both of 
Aisheh and her fortune. But this could only be done 
by keeping the unfortunate girl to themselves 
marrying her, in fact, to one of their relations. 

As often happens amongst rogues, several of 
Ferideh's relations who had come forward as 
suitors fought between themselves and intrigued 
to obtain the girl and her fortune. Each thought 
he was the favoured individual, and did his best 
to keep in the good graces of, and conciliate 
himself with, Ferideh and the father of the 
girl Ferideh had, however, already chosen her 
man, which she concealed all the more carefully 
because she feared lest anything should compromise 
her success. The handful of suitors which the 



296 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

mother-in-law kept by her, included three principal 
ones, Bessim-Bey, her eldest, Shakir, her youngest 
brother, and Shevket, her son by Sarosh-Eeshid. 
The two former were only lay-figures : the latter 
was, as it were, the trump card by which she hoped 
to win the game. 

Having made up her mind to drag Aisheh into 
her family, Ferideh began insensibly to alter her 
manner towards her, by taking her out of the soli- 
tude in which she had been left. Thus the unfor- 
tunate girl was subjected to the trial of a complete 
transformation, for her usual habits and surroundings 
were suddenly changed, and she was drawn, as if 
by enchantment, out of the cell where she had been 
kept. By Ferideh's orders, her wardrobe was imme- 
diately filled with rich clothes, her apartments were 
luxuriously furnished, the number of her servants 
and slaves was augmented, whilst several carriages 
and horses were put at her disposal. 

Thus at the age of fifteen my daughter was with- 
drawn from this prison, where her intelligence and 
bodily health had languished for the long period of 
seven years, and she made her first appearance in 
the society of ladies. Having been gilded by the 
rays of Ferideh's favour, from that time Aisheh 
became the object of the adulations and attention 



TED TO ABDUL-AZIZ. 297 

of all the acquaintances and friends of the house. 
The guests, who came in great numbers to solicit 
the patronage of his Highnesses wife, began to turn 
their steps towards the apartments of the Pasha's 
daughter, whose goodwill they also desired to 
obtain. 

From this time, whenever Ferideh wished to go 
out paying official calls, or, better still, ceremonious 
ones, she took care to be accompanied by Aisheh, 
whose beauty only added brilliancy to the cortege. 
After having exhibited her in the houses of the dif- 
ferent ministers and nobles of the empire, the 
mother-in-law took her with her when she was 
received into the Imperial palace, and on this occa- 
sion she did not fail to present her to Abdul- Aziz, 
who at this time was on the throne. 

The description of the ceremonial, and the curious 
incidents which took place on the occasion of this 
reception, such as they were repeated to me by my 
daughter, offer such a striking interest that I cannot 
refrain from giving an account of it here. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

Coronation of Abdul- Aziz Reception at the Seraglio Extraordinary 
custom Incident at the reception The Lost Jewel. 

As it may be remembered, Kibrizli-Mehemet- 
Pasha, the father of my child, was at the head 
of the Ottoman cabinet, at the death of the late 
Sultan, Abdul-Medjid. In his capacity as head of 
the government, like a sort of ad interim Sultan, 
it was he who had the upper hand in affairs during 
the interregnum. It is to him, too, that the empire 
is indebted for the inauguration of the new reign, 
and the installation of Abdul- Aziz on the Imperial 
throne ; for the fidelity and energy of Kibrizli con- 
tributed enormously to the maintenance of order 
and respect for the laws and dynastic traditions. 

This period (1862) was assuredly the most bril- 
liant epoch of the political career of Kibrizli-Pasha, 
for Providence had reserved for him the role of 
supreme umpire, who, on the one hand, could consign 
the mortal remains of a Sultan to the tomb, and 
with the other, aid his successor to gird on the sword 



CORONATION OF ABDUL- AZIZ. 

of Osman. Being first amongst the vezirs, he ral- 
lied them all around the throne, and his voice was 
law from one end of the empire to the other. His 
power and authority, which threw their rays over all, 
were shared to a certain extent by the woman who 
served him as companion, and that was Ferideh. 
Notwithstanding the complete separation of the two 
sexes in the East, the woman who shares her life 
with the man ends by also sharing, to some extent, 
his power and honours ; bound together as they are 
by common fate, this division becomes inevitable. 

Ferideh was then, at this time, the first amongst 
her fellow- women, the grand vezir of the women as 
her husband was amongst the men. She was at 
the head of the vezir's wives, surrounded by the 
highest class of women, for her protection and good 
graces were sought after by all those who found any 
allurement in her power. 

At the period of the inauguration of the new 
reign, Kibrizli's wife also played a part, and, being 
the first amongst the women, she considered it her 
duty to be present at the ceremonies, fetes, and re- 
ceptions which were given to celebrate the succession 
of Abdul- Aziz to the throne. On the occasion of 
the official reception, which took place at the palace 
of the Dolma-Bagtcheh, Ferideh presented herself at 



300 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

the head of the feminine branch of diplomacy to 

swear fidelity and congratulate his Imperial Majesty 


on his accession to the throne. 

Accompanied by my daughter Aisheh, and sur- 
rounded by a numerous suite of ladies in waiting 
and slaves, who vied with each other in the beauty 
of their faces, the elegance of their figures, and the 
magnificence of their jewels, in the midst, I say, of a 
brilliant staff, Ferideh approached the golden doors 
and marble staircases which, on the shores of the 
Bosphorus, give access to the interior of the Imperial 
harem. 

Hardly was the arrival of the caique signalled 
which bore the harem of the Grand-vezir, than a 
crowd of guards and eunuchs in full dress arranged 
themselves in two lines, so as to render the honour 
due to the wife of him who held in his hands the 
seal of the Padishah. Supported under her arms 
and elbows by numerous masters of the ceremonies, 
Ferideh had to walk the whole distance between 
the banks and the entrance-door, trampling under 
her feet the rich shawls which had been spread out 
the length of the quay in her honour. 

Once arrived at the entrance-door, Kibrizli- 
Pasha's wife was received by the first mistress of 
the ceremonies of the Imperial harem, who awaited 




RECEPTION AT THE SERAGLIO. 301 

her standing ; with the ladies and slaves of her 
retinue. 

As separate chambers had been prepared for each 
of the guests, where they were to remain during the 
reception, the mistress of ceremonies hastened to 
show Ferideh into the room which had been re- 
served for her ; after which she and her suite 
were regaled with splendid refreshments, including 
Eastern sherbets and Neapolitan ices. The refresh- 
ments were served during the interval which was 
accorded to the ladies to arrange their toilettes and 
make themselves worthy of the Imperial glance. 

The mistresses of ceremonies having announced 
the time was come for the ladies to pass into the 
reception-room, the whole number of guests arose 
with measured tread, and took the attitude required 
by the court ceremonial, crossing their hands before 
them. This attitude or position is known to the 
Turks under the name of " pencheh-divan," and it is 
in this posture that the women pray. On present- 
ing themselves before the Sultan, who is a man and 
a .mortal like any other, Ferideh and her com- 
panions were not veiled. 

This incident demands a moment's pause and also 
a little explanation, for my readers wiU feel natu- 
rally curious to know how it is that the Turks allow 



302 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

their wives to appear before any one with, their faces 
uncovered. " Decidedly/' they will say, " that must 
be a sign of progress amongst the Turks." My 
readers must beware of arriving at premature con- 
clusions on the faith of such an occurrence. The 
Turks may change, it is true, but never will they 
change on the point of jealousy : the most refined 
Turk, he who passes for a Europeanized being, once 
returned to his home, is certain to eclipse all his 
compatriots on that one point of jealousy. As 
regards woman, the Turk is jealous of his own shadow ; 
he would never allow a profane gaze to fall on her. 
But, at the same time, the Turk is a curious being, 
with whom contrasts of every description are possible. 
For example, the Turk who would shudder to hear 
his wife's name on the lips of another man, the same 
irascible, quarrelsome and jealous being, consents, 
with a light heart, to let his wife present herself 
unveiled before the Sultan. 

One can trace to two distinct causes this apparent 
contradiction this act which, for the Turk, is an act 
contrary to nature and the divine law : the first is 
religious sentiment ; the second, a servile mind. 
Keligious feeling is that which compels a Turk to 
commit an action which the Koran condemns most 
decidedly : in his opinion, the Sultan is a being 



EXTRAORDINARY CUSTOM. 

placed above all mortals ; he is the Prophet's Vicar, 
the shadow of God upon earth " Zil-ullah" 
These divine attributes evidently raise the Sultan 
above human creatures, and elevate him to that 
height, that none can think of putting him on the 
same footing as the rest of created beings. 

Such a profound respect for the sacred person of 
the Padishah, clearly explains how the Turks put 
aside their jealousy, and how they ever consent to 
allow their wives to appear unveiled before a mortal. 
Thus, since the Sultan has taken the title of Ma- 
homet's Vicar, the Turks have tacitly accorded 
him the privilege of looking on the wives of his sub- 
jects. One thing which I do not know, and which 
I am very curious to understand, is, owing to what 
theological effort the Ulemas can reconcile the laws 
of the Koran upon marriage with the right of cayte 
Uanche allowed to the Sultans. According to the 
Koran, the moment that a Mussulman woman shows 
her face to a stranger, the marriage instantly becomes 
null and void. 

Servitude is the second cause to which must be 

iilmtrd the existence of this privilege in favour 

of the Sultans. In fact, the marked disposition 

-wn by the Turks in making themselves the 

very humble and obedient servants of those who 



304 THIRTY YEARS IN .THE HAREM. 

govern, added to the total absence of independent 
feeling, are reasons which can explain the extra- 
ordinary abnegation of the Turk towards Mahomet's 
Vicar and the reigning power. In the struggle be- 
tween the ruling passions of his soul, fanaticism and 
covetousness bear the palm, and jealousy remains 
powerless : then he consents that his wife shall pre- 
sent herself in all her beauty and attractions before 
'the Sultan. " Padishaha yassak yok dur " (" to the 
Sultan nothing is forbidden"), says the Turk, shaking 
his head ; and upon that he permits his wife to go. 

It must be allowed that if subjects, on their 
side, give such a signal proof of their loyalty and 
veneration for the sovereign, on the other hand, the 
Sultans have never abused the confidence placed in 
them. 

At the request of the grand mistress of cere- 
monies, all the ladies who were going to be pre- 
sented, with Ferideh at their head, advanced towards 
the throne-room. On entering the hall, she and 
my daughter were conducted close to the Sultan, 
who stood upright and looked with surprise at the 
number of his faithful subjects. In accordance with 
the etiquette used at such ceremonies, Ferideh knelt 
down, and, bending forwards, kissed the feet of his 
Imperial Majesty. Aisheh, and all the other ladies 



INCIDENT AT .THE RECEPTION. 305 

or girls who followed her, imitated the example 
which the Graud-vezir s wife had set them. Having 

T 

achieved this act of adoration, they retreated, walk- 
ing backwards, so as not to turn their backs on the 
Sultan, and then they ranged themselves in a linfe 
along the w^all. 

This latter ceremony was succeeded by a prome- 
nade, which the Sultan made round the hall a sort 
of review, in fact, which gave him an occasion to 
address a few words and compliments to the wives 
of his Ministers. Ferideh, who had precedence 
over the others, was the first to whom Abdul- Aziz 
spoke. When the Sultan came near her, he said 
graciously, "Madame, I am highly satisfied with 
your husband, and the whole nation appreciates his 
high merit/' 

After this Abdul-Aziz continued his promenade 
without failing to speak a few words to the wives 
of Ali and Fuad Pasha, besides other high digni- 
taries of the land. 

From what I have heard my daughter say, it 
would appear that her mother-in-law completely 
lost all presence of mind when once she was con- 
fronted with Mohamed's representative. But when 
the Sultan spoke to her, it was all over with 
Ferideh : the poor woman was seized with such a 



306 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

palpable convulsion that her head nearly sunk within 
the huge mass of her shoulders. When once the 
Sultan had passed, Ferideh became more tranquil, 
and, taking courage, determined to repair the bad im- 
pression she must have given him. She decided, 
therefore, on making an ample apology by a master- 
stroke, which would put her on a level with her 
position. From this resolution of hers there arose 
an incident which unfortunately made her fall from 
the sublime to the ridiculous, and which proved 
very annoying to her husband. Such things often 
happen to persons who insist on occupying a posi- 
tion for which they are not intended, and, in seek- 
ing to repair a fault, they end by making a much 
graver one. 

On quitting the throne-room the great ladies of 
the Ottoman aristocracy were conducted to the 
Valideh-Sultan, who, under the title of Empress- 
Mother, occupies a very high position. The ladies 
received a very courteous reception from the 
Sultana, and each took the place on the divan 
which was assigned to her. Ferideh, at the head 
of the troop, sat cross-legged near the Yalideh, to 
whom she hastened to address a few respectful 
words. After having congratulated her on the 
accession of her son to the throne, Ferideh thought 



INCIDENT AT THE RECEPTION. 307 

it time to conciliate the favour of her Majesty by 
making the following speech : 

' Your Majesty, no doubt, is aware how Kibrizli- 
Pasha, my husband, has been ever one of the most 
devoted servants and sincere partisans of your 
august son, our lord. It is owing to his efforts and 
fidelity that the nation has to-day the happiness of 
celebrating Abdul- Aziz's accession to the throne." 

The Valideh-Sultan could not refrain from re- 
ceiving, with visible signs of coolness this doubtful 
compliment, in which the speaker clearly informed 
her that her son and herself were indebted to Feri- 
deh's husband for the throne which they had begun 
to occupy. The Sultana, however, restrained herself, 
and with much presence of mind and good taste 
sought to turn the subject. 

But Ferideh, with her usual want of tact, did not 
notice the effect which the first part of her speech 
had produced on the Sultana. Absorbed by poli- 
tical pre-occupations, she continued in the same 
strain, and began to unfold the programme of the 
reforms which she and her husband intended to put 
into execution. 

" Yes," said she, " it is time to put an end to the 
abuses, the thieves, and wickedness which made the 
last reign one of infamy. The Pasha is determined 



308 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to put a stop to such a state of things. All thieves 
must be summarily dealt with, the abuse of the 
Imperial harem must be reformed, and Mussulman 
society must be remodelled according to the pre- 
cepts of our most holy prophet and the primitive 
laws of Islam/' 

The effect of such a tirade can be imagined on 
the Valideh's mind. No doubt at first she felt un- 
decided whether to laugh or be angry; for such 
language could only belong to an insolent or a 
foolish creature. However, the Sultana gave her the 
latter preference ; and she justly appreciated her, for 
one must be truly mad to dream of making such 
wounding speeches, concerning the honour of the 
Imperial family, before the mother even of the 
Sultan, and to pry into strictly private affairs whose 
solution only depends on the good pleasure and will 
of the sovereign. The Valideh, having estimated 
the speaker for what she was worth, contented her- 
self with simply turning her back on her and be- 
ginning a conversation with the other wives of the 

different Ministers. 



No sooner was this done than Ferideh opened her 
eyes ; but that only caused her to measure the gulf 
which she had made between the Imperial family 
and her husband. On her return to her home she 



INCIDENT AT THE RECEPTION. 309 

found that this unlucky incident had already gone 
round the town, and had even reached Kibrizli's 
ears. Several scenes were naturally the consequence, 
in the midst of which the Pasha could not refrain 
from saying to his wife, "When God gave fools 
mouths, it was not that they might talk, but eat." 

This diplomatic failure of Ferideh's was enough 
to cause her many bitter regrets, and to take from 
her any further wish to meddle in politics. But, 
like a philosophical woman, she resigned herself 
to her fate, and decided on taking things as they 
came. 

It is an ancient custom in the Ottoman court to 
give gifts to those who are present at the official 
receptions. These presents are given to the guests 
when they are about to leave. As a rule they con- 
sist of rich brooches and other ornaments in dia- 
monds, the beauty and value of which vary accord- 
ing to the importance and position of the people for 
whom they are destined. 

Thus, at this reception, the Ottoman court did 
not derogate from its traditional liberality and 
munificence, for care is taken to satisfy all the 
guests by the quantity and value of the gifts which 
were bestowed on them. 

Ferideh, in her position of wife of the Grand- 



310 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

vezir, received the lion's share, which ought to 
have satisfied her. The ornaments presented to her 
from his Imperial Majesty were all in brilliants to 
the value of one hundred thousand francs. Other 
similar things were also given to the ladies of her 
suite ; and my daughter Aisheh received a costly 
parure, which was barely inferior to that of her 
mother-in-law. Contented and joyful on account of 
the reception, and still more so because of the pre- 
sents which they took away with them, the mother- 
in-law, daughter, and attendant ladies returned to 
their home. Once there, they barely gave them- 
selves time to take off their veils than they rushed 
up to Ferideh to obtain possession and revel in the 
sight of the jewels which belonged to them. 

They pushed each other about in their impatience, 
and on all sides arose cries of " Where are my orna- 
ments ? where are my jewels ? " 

By degrees all these exclamations ceased, each 
one received what belonged to her, and all, wild 
with excitement, contemplated with avidity their 
rich presents. 

But, in the midst o this general excitement, 
there was one who clamoured in vain, and who had 
all the trouble in the world to make herself heard. 
That one was Aisheh, my daughter, who had vainly 



THE LOST JEWEL. 311 

endeavoured to get possession of her jewels and 
could not find them. 

On finding that her case was not there, they 
began to search for it everywhere, and to question 
everybody, but without any success. 

Fear and suspicion seized them all, and they 
began to say aloud, " How could the ornaments and 
their case both disappear ? " 

And this occurrence threw alarm and perturba- 
tion into the harem, as much amongst the strangers 
as its inmates. 

But whilst they were searching everywhere, a 
voice made itself heard, it was Ferideh's, who called 
out in somewhat troubled tones, " Here is the case ! 
Come, come, I have found it ! " 

The haste with which every one ran up can be 
imagined, and the impatience with which they 
pressed round her who said she had discovered the 
lost object. 

But on opening the case, what was the surprise of 
every one to see it empty ? It was difficult to be- 
lieve one's eyes, and the case became an enigma to 
them all. 

" Where is the ornament ? "Where did it fall ? " 

Such were the questions which arose on every 
side, without any one's being able to answer them. 



312 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Up to this day the case incident has remained a 
mystery. 

As for my poor Aisheh, a few tears were shed 
and then she forgot all about it. 

What is assuredly worthy of remark, is the fact' 
that this occurrence of the stolen jewels is similar 
to what happened on a subsequent occasion. 

At the time of the marriage of Mustapha-Bey, 
brother of Kibrizli-Pasha, who was consequently 
uncle to my daughter, the Sultan Abdul- Aziz sent 
as wedding-present a rich set of brilliants destined 
for the bride. The jewels were placed, by the 
chamberlain to his Majesty, in the hands of Ferideh 
who had taken upon herself the office of god- 
mother. 

The beauty of these jewels, the light which burst 
forth from this mass of brilliants, the exquisite taste 
of the setting, all produced on Ferideh an effect so 
bewildering, that it is not wonderful that she should 
have lost her head whilst contemplating it. After 
that she was no longer mistress of herself, and the 
giddiness which seized her was such, that the good 
woman on going to visit her future sister-in-law, 
instead of the superb ornaments she ought to have 
taken, brought another set, without being aware of 
her mistake. It was true that the parure of jewels 






THE LOST JEWEL. 313 

she gave her sister-in-law was very inferior to that 
sent by the Sultan, but when a mistake has been 
made it must be supposed that the value of the 
objects exchanged has nothing to do with the mis- 
take. Nevertheless, Mustapha-Bey was not of this 
opinion at first, as he decided on rectifying the 
error ; the fear, however, of troubling his brother 
made him keep silent on the subject. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Marriage schemes Betrothal Marriage festivals The apartment of the 
bride Wedding ceremony. 

A YEAR was thus passed in receptions and visits of 
all sorts, in which my daughter Aisheh took part in 
order to become initiated in the habits and customs 
of society at Constantinople. But whilst she was 
thus engaged, Ferideh had her own plans, and 
paved the way towards the realization of the dream 
she cherished more than all else in the world, and 
this was the marriage of Aisheh with her son 
Shevket. The first step she took towards forwarding 
this project was to present to the Pasha her eldest 
brother, Bessim-Bey, and, immediately afterwards, 
Shakir ; but on the refusal of her husband to listen 
to such aspirants for the hand of his daughter, 
Ferideh raised her mask and proposed her own son. 
It is averred that Kibrizli at first absolutely refused 
the proposition, for the reason that the two young 
people having been brought up together as brother 



MARRIAGE SCHEMES. 315 

and sister, he could not consent to their being united 
by conjugal ties. 

This first rebuff did not discourage the woman, 
who, to obtain her ends, did not hesitate to put the 
Pasha in a very difficult position. In fact, Ferideh 
managed things so skilfully, that she led him to 
think that having confiscated all my property, there 
was no alternative left for them but to keep my 
daughter also. For if Aisheh should ever get be- 
yond their surveillance, all the chances were in 
favour of a meeting between me and my daughter, 
and, if so, the question of the confiscation of my 
property would inevitably have come on the tapis. 
The marriage with her son Shevket would render 
such an hypothesis impossible, for not only w^ould 
the girl remain under their direct surveillance, but 
also she would never be able to hear or know any- 
thing of her mother. 

With such arguments, and thanks to the skilful 
intrigues of Ferideh's coterie, she succeeded in ob- 
taining the hand of Aisheh for her son. As for the 
poor girl, no one troubled themselves to obtain her 
consent. In Turkey, it is the parents who arrange 
all these matters ; if the parents think the parti a 
good one, the girls can only bow their heads. 

Thus one fine day the Pasha and his wife called 



316 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

my daughter into their presence, and notified to her 
their intention of giving her in marriage. On 
leaving the chamber, the slaves surrounded the un- 
fortunate girl, drew her into another apartment, and 
there attired her in robes of ceremony, and covered 
her head and neck with jewels. The preparations 
for the betrothment finished, they conducted Aisheh 
into the middle of a large room, where were assem- 
bled the wives of the Ministers and the aristocracy 
of the country. Before the ceremony commenced 
they. laid at the feet of the betrothed cashmere 
shawls and embroidered carpets of great value. 

The ceremony had nothing in itself worthy of 
interest ; for it consisted only of a prayer that the 
Imam read in a loud voice, and which was fol- 
lowed by the reading of a deed before witnesses of 
the conditions of the matrimonial contract. In the 
middle of the reading of this deed the witnesses 
sent by the future husband require the consent of 
the fiancee. But this consent, which the law of 
the Koran requires, is in reality only a pure and 
simple farce, for as the witnesses and ihejiancee are 
separated by a large folding-door, they could never 
know who the person was who uttered the fatal Yes. 

The last act of this comedy was the crowning of 
my daughter by her step-mother, who was now 



BETROTHAL. 317 

about to exchange that title for the sweeter one of 
mother-in-law. Thejinale of all this ceremony (as 
is the custom nearly everywhere) was the magnifi- 
cat, for no sooner is the fiancee crowned than the 
guests immediately attack the refreshments, sweets, 
and sherbets that are placed before them. 

Four months passed between the betrothal and 
the celebration of the marriage. This period was 
much longer than usual in the generality of cases. 
It appears that the resistance of the girl, and her 
aversion to the proposed union, was the cause of 
this delay. Nevertheless, by means of menaces and 
cajoleries they succeeded in overcoming her and 
fixed the day for the marriage. 

I was at this time at Kadjik, a village in the 
vicinity of Constantinople, situated on the borders 
of the gulf of Nicomedia at the foot of Olympus. 
I had gone there in order to find amongst the good 
and simple shepherds of Bithynia that repose of 
mind and body that the hatred of my enemies in 
the capital so greatly troubled. 

Whilst all these plots were becoming developed, 
with a broken heart I was, as I have said, retired 
from the world, and keeping a strict neutrality as 
regards all that concerned the interests and future 
of my daughter. In my deserted position, deprived 



318 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

as I was of all means, it was the best thing I could 
do ; for any effort of mine, with the object of inter- 
fering in favour of my daughter, would have had 
no other result than that of making her position 
still more difficult. 

Kesigning myself, therefore, to inaction and 
silence, I had but one consolation in my solitude 
the thought that the animosity of my enemies 
would lead one day to a crisis that would deliver 
my daughter from their hands, and re-unite us for 
ever. Until this moment should arrive I considered 
it my duty in nowise to trouble the tranquillity of 
my child by revealing to her that, contrary to what 
had been told her, I was still alive, and that I was 
not even far from her. 

Such a proceeding would have brought about 
complications that I had no desire to provoke. 
Whilst desiring ardently the well-being and liberty 
of my daughter, I did not wish to attain this end by 
upsetting the whole of my husband's establishment. 
Besides, the course followed by her mother-in-law 
and her associates showed clearly that a crisis 
was inevitable, and that the emancipation of my 
daughter was only a question of time. 

My enemies, on their side, took courage from my 
silence and inactivity ; and brought things to a 



MARRIAGE FESTIVALS, 319 

conclusion by the celebration of the marriage, which 
took place without once asking my consent, or even 
acquainting me of it. 

The marriage of my daughter Aisheh with 
Shevket took place in the autumn of the year 1857. 
The wedding was not celebrated, however, with all 
the pomp that the public of Constantinople expected 
to have seen on the occasion of the marriage of the 
daughter of his Highness Kibrizli-Mehemet-Pasha. 
This circumstance did not fail to raise murmurs 
amongst the population, and comments of all kinds 
were circulated, from which one could learn that 
the sympathies of the public were not for this union. 
They thought that the two did not make a pair, 
and that a daughter of Kibrizli might have found 
a husband more worthy of her than Shevket, whose 
exterior was far from attractive, and who, besides, 
was penniless. 

In Turkey the mass of spectators do not spare 
their remarks on the bridegrooms ; for, as they are 
exposed to the gaze of the public, everyone picks 
them to pieces, and points out all their defects. If 
a pretty girl falls to the ]ot of an ugly fellow, the 
spectators show him no mercy, and from one end 
of the town to the other they denounce him as 
being a monster. The Turkish lower classes are 



320 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

very unruly as regards this matter, and if they 
once take an aversion to anyone they do not easily 
change. Thus, in this case, the public hoped to bless 
with its sympathy the newly-married couple. 

On the day of the marriage, the apartments and 
gardens of the summer residence of his Highness at 
Gheuk-su were decorated and put in gala costume, 
in order to receive the guests who came to attend 
the wedding. The guests of the Pasha and his son- 
in-law were received in the selamlik, which is the 
apartment of the men ; there, at midday, the tables 
were prepared, on which were arranged all the most 
delicate and expensive dishes, the finest wines and 
the best raki. Troops of musicians, seated under the 
shadow of the trees, made the air resound with their 
pathetic songs, and thus encouraged the merriment 
at which Bacchus presides. Between Mohamed and 
Bacchus the last prevails, for after the third or 
fourth glass, the guests give themselves up, without 
reserve, to a wild and disorderly mirth. 

But let us leave the men in the middle of their 
joy and drunkenness, and turn our steps towards 
the harem, where since the morning many interest- 
ing scenes had taken place. Marriages are, after 
all, fetes for the women, and it is only just that 
they play the most important part, in them. What 



THE APARTMENT OF THE BRIDE. 321 

I say is true for all countries in the world, but still 
more so in the East, where for the woman the 
wedding day is the one on which her future de- 
pends whether it be for good or evil. As for the 
man, the day of his marriage does not occupy so 
important a place in his life ; if a first marriage 
does not turn out well, he can repeat the experiment 
as often as he pleases. 

Thus the position of the woman is the reason that 
in a marriage she attracts the attention of everyone, 
and is an object of pre-occupation to all, and con- 
sequently all that occurs in a harem on a wedding 
day is a subject of general interest. 

Several weeks previous to the celebration of the 
marriage, preparations on a vast scale had been made 
in order to decorate and furnish the bridal chamber 
in a manner worthy of the daughter of a Grand- 
vezir. The arrangements made to this effect were 
such that nothing was omitted, neither trouble or 
expense, in order to show to the public an apart- 
ment that might truly be called sumptuous. 

In the nuptial chamber the divan with its cushions 
were all in rich red velvet, embroidered in gold from 
one end to the other ; besides which, the cushions 
had at each corner tassels composed of pearls. The 
windows and doors were ornamented with rich silk 



322 . THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

curtains^ the fringe of which was also of gold. The 
carpet was one of those rich and soft gobelins whose 
design and colour surpassed everything that could 
be made of this kind in the East. 

The reader will have remarked in this description 
of the nuptial chamber that no mention has been made 
of chairs, sofas, and the furniture which in the pre- 
sent day is considered indispensable even in Turkey. 
The fact is, that chairs and tables are excluded from 
the nuptial chambers; for, according to custom in this 
chamber, there is nothing else but the divan and a 
curious article of furniture that they call the aski. 

This aski is a thing which requires some explana- 
tions, and even detailed explanations, for this article 
of furniture belongs to the bride, and it only re- 
mains there during the ceremony of the marriage. 
The aski is neither more or less than the throne of 
the bride, the throne on which she is placed to re- 
ceive the homage of the crowd. They give the 
name of aski to a sort of tent or canopy of rose- 
coloured net, which being suspended from the ceil- 
ing descends gracefully on to the floor ; this canopy 
is sprinkled with gold stars, and surmounted with a 
wreath of flowers which reach to the bottom in the 
shape of festoons. It is in this fairy-like niche that 
(as I have said) the young bride is seated to receive 



THE APARTMENT OF THE BRIDE. 323 

the homage and congratulations of the inquisitive 
crowd. The day after the marriage the aski naturally 
disappears, in order to make way for more useful 
furniture. 

After having described the bridal chamber, we 
must pass to the other room which is also the apart- 
ment of the bride. This one is the chamber for the 
trousseau, which the Turks call djeiss-odassi ; it is 
here where the exhibition of all the riches which 
belong to the bride takes place. These riches consist 
of all sorts of things, such as toilette-table, massive 
silver dinner-service, linen embroidered in gold, 
mirrors, slippers, and cups covered with diamonds 
and other precious stones, clocks, and costly velvets. 
All these articles were in this instance spread out 
with much care and art, for in all Turkish houses 
they make a point of dazzling the eyes of the public 
by the display of the riches they possess. 

All Turkish women without exception pride them- 
selves so much on the subject of the riches that were 
exhibited in their honour on the day of their mar- 
riage, that one frequently hears old women boasting 
that on the day of their wedding the crowd remained 
wonderstruck in contemplating the splendour of 
their trousseaux. These good old creatures forget 
thirty or forty years of their existence, and their 

T 2 



324 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

misery ; but it is impossible that they should forget 
the diamonds, the bijoux, and the silver services that 
* were displayed the day of their marriage. I have 
met some who had even forgotten their husbands ; 
but none who forgot the djeiss-odassi, the chamber of 
the trousseau. 

It is needless to say that great precautions are 
taken to prevent pilfering. A gilt railing is arranged 
in the chamber at a sufficient distance from the 
trousseau, and by this means they succeed in pro- 
tecting the property of the bride from the effects of 
too indiscreet admiration. This precautionary mea- 
sure is supported by a system of efficacious surveil- 
lance, which is rendered all the more necessary, 
because on this day the doors of the harem are open 
to all sorts of people. Following the ancient cus- 
tom, a wedding day is a day of universal hospitality, 
and all women who wish to see the bride, and ad- 
mire her trousseau, are free to enter without invi- 
tation. 

Thus, on each occasion of a wedding, numbers of 
women flock from all sides to see the spectacle. 
There are some women who seem to have a sort of 
madness after weddings ; there is no fear of their 
remaining at home when they once hear that there 
is a wedding anywhere. With or without invita- 



THE KHENAH GUIEDJESI. 325 

tion, they rise, dress themselves, and run straight to 
the house where the celebration of the marriage 
takes place. Once there, the poor things content 
themselves by making remarks on the bride, criti- 
cising her toilette and her trousseau, eating pilaf 
and some sweets, and return home to recount to 
their neighbours all they have seen. 

Let us take up again the narrative of what took 
place at the marriage of my daughter, and thus will 
be seen in what manner they celebrate marriages in 
Turkish high life. 

On the eve of the marriage a grand reception was 
held in the harem, at which were present all my *- 
daughter's friends and acquaintances. The name 
given to this reception is that of Khenali guiedjesi, 
for the reason that the fiancee is conducted that 
night to the bath by her friends, who paint the 
tips of her fingers and the extremity of her feet 
with the Khenah. 

By this festival the bride is meant to give a sign 
of the joy she feels at the approach of her marriage. 
The friends and acquaintance of the bride then con- 
duct her with lighted candles in their hands all 
round the harem, making her at the same time ' 
a sort of ovation. A good supper completes the 
evening. 



326 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAJREM. 

I must here make a remark on the singularity of 
Turkish customs. The evening of the Khenah 
which precedes the marriage has been instituted to. 
mark the passage of the bride from celibacy to the 
matrimonial state. It is on this evening that she 
quits the friends and customs of childhood to enter 
into a new existence. 

But this fete which precedes the marriage has its- 
counterpart in the receptions given on the day 
following the marriage. On this occasion the bride- 
makes her entry into the society of married women 
as one of themselves. 

On the morning of the great day my daughter 
was attired in a long dress embroidered with gold, 
and trimmed round the skirt with heavy fringe ; 
this dress had two long trains, which were held up 
by two Circassian slaves, remarkable for their beauty 
and grace. Aisheh was then crowned with a heavy 
diadem of diamonds. It is useless to speak here of 
the necklaces, bracelets, ear-rings, etc., with which 
they ornamented her, it suffices to say that her 
shoes were embroidered with gold, pearls and dia- 
monds. Evidently this profusion of diamonds and 
precious stones were intended to dazzle the girl and 
astonish the crowd, for they only figured provi- 
sionally during the solemnity, for immediately it 



WEDDING CEREMONY. 327 

was over all these gems were locked up in the 
treasure chamber. 

Attired in this manner, Aisheh was conducted 
into the presence of her father. According to 
custom she knelt down to kiss his feet, but the 
Pasha raising her gave her his blessing, and placed 
round her waist a belt of diamonds^ a symbol of the 
dignity of a married woman to which she was about 
to be raised. 

With the Turks, a woman must not wear this belt 
before the day of her marriage ; and the act of clasp- 
ing the belt is a species of investiture that the father 
ought to confer on his child ; it is the symbol of 
womanhood. This custom is also used for young 
men, for in former times it was usual amongst the 
Turks to buckle the sabre on to the young warriors. 
The investiture of the sabre was made with a pomp 
not inferior to the celebration of a marriage. This 
institution is even in the present time occasionally 
used; thus when a Sultan ascends the throne, 
instead of being crowned, according to the cus- 
tom adopted in the East, he receives the investi- 
ture of the sabre, the emblem of authority and 
force. 

In ornamenting the waist of his daughter with 
the nuptial belt, the father invokes the protection 



328 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

of heaven on her, and prays that she may be 
fruitful and happy. In receiving the belt a 
daughter ceases from that moment to depend on 
the paternal authority. This ceremony is the last 
adieu that the father makes to his daughter, when 
she is on the point of entering into the marriage 
state. 

The moment Aisheh left her father a shower of 
gold and silver money fell on the heads of the 
female spectators, who tumbled one over the other 
* in their anxiety to catch some of it. This money 
is held in great consideration in Turkey amongst 
superstitious people, of whom there are many ; it is 
said that these coins bring happiness, consequently 
they are kept as long as possible by their fortunate 
possessors, so as not to let their good luck leave 
them. 

As for the master of the house, who distributes 
this metallic manna, he is more than convinced that 
in throwing away money in this fashion, he brings 
good luck on the purse of his daughter. 

On leaving her father the bride was again brought 
into the presence of her mother-in-law, who gave 
the finishing touches to her toilette fastening on 
to Aisheh's forehead, cheeks, and chin diamond stars 
and flowers. This done, there only remained to 



WEDDING CEREMONY. 329 

cover her face with a rose-coloured veil, which com- 
pletely concealed her features. 

Enveloped in this manner, my daughter was 
conducted to the top of the stairs, there to await 
the arrival of Shevket. Naturally he soon made his 
appearance, and presenting her with his arm, they 
directed their steps to the bridal chamber. Once 
there, he handed her to her place under the aski, 
which I have already described. 

After having installed her under the canopy, 
Shevket left the chamber, without having dared to 
raise the veil from the face of his bride. As will 
be seen further on, the veil is only raised in the 
evening after the benediction of the Imam. 

The bride, after her husband's departure, remains 
seated in her niche, while the inquisitive crowd 
press round her on all sides, and shoals of admirers 
stand open-mouthed before her trousseau. 

As the bride could not remain exposed to the 
gaze of the crowd for any length of time, after one 
or two hours of this martyrdom they generally 
allow her to retire into the guest-chamber. Here 
the bride mixes with the rest of the society, and 
partakes with them of the repast which is served in 
the harem. 

A\e must now endeavour to give an account of 



330 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

what takes place amongst the men. After twelve 
o'clock they meet in the salons of the selamlik, 
where, as I have said, they pass their time in 
tasting ot the delights of the table, and the charms 
of music. The hour for evening prayer and 
the voice of the Imam all at once terminates 
the orgies, and interrupts the songs. Everyone 
hastens to take his place in the ranks of the faithful 
who go to invoke the heavenly benediction on those 
who this day are united by the sacred tie of mar- 
riage. 

In the first line was Kibrizli, the father of 
the bride ; by his side were several Pashas and 
people intimately connected with his Highness. In 
the second line was the bridegroom, Shevket, and 
by his side were his relatives and friends. The 
other line was composed of invited guests of less 
importance and the members of the household, and 
all who wished to offer prayers like true and good 
Mussulmans. 

When the prayer was ended, all the company rose 
and formed a circle round the Imam, who, turning 
towards the bridegroom, recited a short prayer in 
order to invoke the divine blessing on the union he 
was about to make. But scarcely were the last, 
words of the prayer finished, before the bride- 



WEDDING CEREMONY. 331 

groom slid away from the midst of all the guests, 
and quickly ran towards the door of the harem. 
Many of his companions followed him, and being 
quicker than he was, they overtook him and adminis- 
tered to him several blows on the back. These blows 
are the last adieux that young men make to a com- 
rade who is about to enter on married life. This is 
a very ancient custom with the Turks ; sometimes, 
however, instead of giving the bridegroom blows 
on the back, they throw old slippers after him. 

At the door of the harem the bridegroom was re- 
ceived by a eunuch, who, with a torch in his hand, 
conducted him to the nuptial chamber. When there, 
however, the bridegroom has by no means finished 
with the ceremonies and formalities that custom 
imposes. He sees his bride, who, covered with her 
veil, awaits him at the end of the divan ; he gazes 
at her, and, full of impatience, desires to approach 
her; but behold ! to augment the troubles of Tantalus 
the mistress of the ceremonies of the nuptial cham- 
ber (yeiifjliieh-kadin) makes her appearance, and 
spreads In-fore the bridegroom a praying carpet, 
embroidered in gold. The bridegroom, obeying this 
invitation, recites a prayer, which is very short, for 
in this supreme moment each minute appears to him 
to be a century. 



332 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

This short prayer finished, and the mistress of 
the ceremonies having taken her departure, the 
bridegroom approaches his bride. It is not the 
custom for the bridegroom to raise his bride's veil 
without a good deal of ceremony and finesse. 
Oriental manners do not tolerate that the husband 
should be guilty of rudeness. It is true that he 
has now become absolute master, and that the 
woman is there to obey his will ; nevertheless, a 
delicate and romantic sentiment imposes on him 
respect for the woman he has made his wife. It is 
only, therefore, after praying and beseeching, that 
the bridegroom succeeds in overcoming the modesty 
of the bride, and that he obtains the favour of 
admiring her countenance for the first time. 

Having repeated his petition three times conse- 
cutively, the bridegroom raises her veil, and hastens 
to show his recognition of the favour he has received 
by fastening a diamond pin in her hair. Custom 
makes this present obligatory, for the husband has 
to pay for the happiness of seeing his bride's face : 
Yuz-gurumluk is the name the Turks give to the 
present that a girl requires for showing her face. 

It must be understood that it is only girls who 
have the right to demand a price for showing their 
faces ; women who marry for the second time are 



WEDDING CEREMONY. 333 

not allowed to have this privilege. On the contrary, 
if a woman who has already been married unites 
herself with a person who enters for the first time 
into the married state, it is she who has to make a 
present to her bridegroom as the price of seeing his 
face. 

The day after the wedding is also a day of 
solemnity. On leaving the nuptial chamber, 
Shevket went, according to custom, to kiss the 
hand of his father-in-law, who gave him a beau- 
tiful diamond ring and an Arab horse. The mother- 
in-law, on her side made the bride a present when 
she went to pay her respects, and acknowledge her 
as being her mother-in-law. 

Towards noon, the banquet of legs of mutton 
took place, at which the bride and the married 
women, friends of the family, took part. As for the 
legs of mutton, it must be said that on such occa- 
sions they are very recherche by the Turks, who 
attribute to them hygienic and exceptional qualities. 

The fete of the legs of mutton (patcliak-guiunu) 
is the counterpart of the fete given on the eve of 
the marriage. By the former the girl made her 
adieu x to the companions of her childhood : by this 
one she is introduced officially to the society of 
matrons. 



CHAPTEK XXVIII. 

Remarks on Aisheh's marriage Aisheli's sorrows I rejoin my daughter 
Crisis in the harem Aisheh's flight. 

THE account I have just given of the fetes which 
took place to celebrate the marriage of my daughter, 
suggests to the mind reflections which can only 
sadden my heart. How can persons who have 
taken upon themselves the grave responsibility oi 
insuring the future of an innocent creature, make 
her contract an alliance in which everything con- 
spires towards discord and unhappiness \ Never- 
theless, to render the farce complete, they do not 
hesitate to fete with all possible pomp and cere- 
mony the sacrifice of their victim ! While they 
purposely neglect everything really necessary to 
make her a worthy wife, they throw away handfuls 
of gold and diamonds in order to dazzle the eyes of 
the crowd with puerile and fantastic ceremonies. 

And in fact this marriage was only a derisive 
fiction, an atrocious deed. By this marriage nothing 
was changed in my daughter's position, who continued 



REMARKS OX THIS MARRIAGE. 335 

to remain dependent on her father and mother-in- 
law. The husband they had given her was only 
used as an intermediary to keep up this servitude ; 
in other words, this husband was nothing but a 
sham, who had neither position, fortune, or per- 
sonal charms of which he might boast; his only 
value consisted in his falling in with all the designs 
and inspirations of those who employed him as their 
alter-ego. It is generally understood that the 
woman plays an important part in the matrimonial 
state ; in this case, however, the unhappy Aisheh 
was considered of no account in the matter; she 
was simply to serve the interests and good pleasure 
of those who had her fate at their disposal. 

A marionette has but one string by which it is 
put in motion ; my daughter on her entry into 
conjugal life found herself influenced by three sepa- 
rate sources of motion ; the string of one of the 
sources was in the hands of the Pasha ; the second 
was in the hands of the mother-in-law, and the 
third was held by the husband. It was not neces- 
sary to possess any extraordinary amount of foresight 
to prophesy the downfall of an edifice which rested 
on a foundation as little firm as that on which the 
establishment of my daughter was based. 

From the earliest period of her married life she 



336 



THIRTY YEAES IN THE HAREM. 



found herself placed at the mercy of the caprices of 
a mother-in-law, who pretended to dictate her con- 
duct in every point. The constant grumblings and 
complaints which arose from these caprices, left the 
unhappy bride a prey to continual changing and 
mischievous impulses. Tossed about by conflicting 
interests, placed in the midst of intrigues and plots 
of all kinds, she no longer knew what to say or 
what to do. 

Continually exposed to discomforts and the most 
wearying annoyances, Aisheh made desperate efforts 
to set herself free, and to place herself on a level 
with women of her position in life. But all her 
endeavours proved useless, for both husband and 
mother-in-law were there to stop the road, using 
paternal authority as their weapon. Had this autho- 
rity been employed sparingly, Aisheh would have 
yielded, for she loved her father, and nothing in 
the world would have induced her to displease 
him. 

Meantime, this continued struggle, which went 
on between the woman who wished to secure her 
just rights and those persons who desired to impose 
their authority upon her, at length resulted in a 
crisis, which took place in the following manner : 

Aisheh, seeing herself at the mercy, and subject 



AISHEH'S SORROW. 337 

to the caprices of everyone, began in her despair to 
consider how she could obtain her deliverance, and 
from whom she could hope to receive aid and pro- 
tection. To count upon her father was useless, for 
he himself, being a prisoner in the hands of Ferideh 
and of her numerous relatives and adherents, was 
in no state to offer any succour to his daughter ; it 
was, in fact, from him that most was to be feared, 
for the wily Ferideh did with him what she 
chose. 

My unhappy daughter, being thus deprived of all 
hope, naturally turned her eyes elsewhere. But 
whither could she look when she was in the last 
agony of despair, but to her mother? A mother 
who, as she well knew, had tenderly loved her; 
and from whom she had been by a cruel destiny 
separated. 

" I am despised, trodden in the dust, tyrannised 
over, and no one will protect me ! Where is my 
mother ?" 

Something of this kind Aisheh must have said 
in the midst of her tribulations. The mere name 
"mother"' must, in her moments of desperation, 
have appeared to be the one plank to which she 
could cling for safety from shipwreck in that stormy 
sea, in which she was being tossed ; and having 



338 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

once uttered the name of mother, my child's me- 
mory would naturally turn to the happy days of 
her early childhood, when she was the object of con- 
stant tenderness and caresses ; her mother's image 
must have appeared like a living reality before her 
eyes, and with sobs and tears she must have recalled 
the bitter consequences of our separation. 

" Where are you, mother, where are you ? Shall 
I in my life ever see you again .?" 

It is easy to conceive, that when her thoughts had 
for some time taken this direction, the poor child 
would have her eyes opened to the state of cruel 
and deceitful usage to which she had hitherto been 
subjected. 

In uttering those words, " Shall I ever see her 
again?" Aisheh conceived a doubt of the truth of 
what had been told her respecting my death. The 
enmity and ill-will showed to her by her mother-in- 
law had naturally filled her with distrust, and this 
distrust instigated her now to make inquiries. The 
experience of the past having taught her that she 
should not believe one word in a hundred of those 
that were spoken to her, it was only natural that 
she should say to herself, " They tell me that my 
m other is dead ; have they not deceived me in this, 
also?" 



I REJOIN MY DAUGHTER. 339 

When this suspicion had once entered Aisheh's 
mind, she could not rest until she had caused in- 
quiries to be made, in order to satisfy herself 
whether I was really dead, and to discover traces of 
me if I was alive. The person to whom she applied 
to carry out this delicate mission was a woman who 
had long been in her confidence. But how great 
was her surprise when she heard this good creature 
announce to her with a timid voice, "Your mother 
is still living, my child." 

These words made Aisheh's heart bound with a 
mad joy, which her ardent and affectionate tempera- 
ment could not control. Her first excited emotion 
had scarcely passed before she had entreated this 
woman to commence her search for me at' once, to 
find out my abode, and to place her in communica- 
tion with me. The woman did in fact seek me in 
my place of retreat ; she communicated to me my 
daughter's message^ and gave me a detailed state- 
ment of her position. - At the same time the mes- 
senger brought me an invitation from my child, 
who was awaiting me in a retired part of her park, 
for she felt she could no longer live without seeing me. 

The meeting which took place between my 
daughter and myself in a sequestered portion of the 
:, situated behind the residence of his Highness, 

z 2 



340 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

is one of those scenes which it is impossible for me 
to describe. The emotion which I felt on embracing 
my child after so many years made me quite beside 
myself. The account which my daughter then gave 
me of her own sufferings nearly broke my heart. 
Nevertheless I considered it my duty to try to 
soothe the irritated condition she was in, by show- 
ing her what the consequences would be if she were 
to oppose the will of those on whom her future 
prospects depended. 

These counsels which I gave my daughter were 
the counsels of a mother who has at her heart the 
happiness of her child. Unfortunately, these coun- 
sels came too late, and when the alarm had already 
been given to those who wished for our destruction. 
Having been informed of what had passed between 
my daughter and myself, Ferideh and her accom- 
plices suspected that a secret understanding would 
take place between the daughter-in-law and their 
rival. The fear of this made them alter their 
tactics. 

Up to this time, these people had nourished the 
hope that by giving Aisheh to their Shevket, they 
secured for themselves in a lump the inheritance of 
Kibrizli-Mehemet-Pasha's property. But suddenly 
they discovered they were brought face to face with 



CRISIS IN THE HAREM. 341 

obstacles whose possibility they had not foreseen 
even, and which were the ever-increasing resistance 
made by Aisheh and also her renewed acquaintance 
with myself. Thus, believing their project would 
get noised abroad, that project whose realization had 
cost them so many intrigues and troubles, Ferideh 
and her relations said to themselves : 

" In appropriating for ourselves the fortune, we 
should have been wilh'ng to spare Aisheh ; but since 
she will not have anything to do with us, well, she 
also must be sacrificed." 

From that very day sentence of death was passed 
on Aisheh ! 

With implacable hatred, Ferideh and her asso- 
ciates then began to persecute the poor girl by dis- 
playing a refined and subtle art. Concealing them- 
selves from view, these people employed agents of 
different kinds, so as to compromise Aisheh before 
her father, while they secretly excited the fierce 
anger of the latter. These designs did not fail to 
meet with the results which they expected. 

Profiting by the inexperience and want of tact 
of the young wife, her enemies circulated all sorts 
of rumours about her, and sought to put her in a 
false position with her father. His mind having 
been poisoned and excited by all kinds of evil 



342 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

reports, violent quarrels followed, in the midst of 
which the Pasha's anger blinded his good sense. 
On one occasion things went so far, that he, in a 
passion, seized his daughter and struck her several 
times. This most deplorable incident was caused 
by a rumour which attributed to Aisheh the design 
of escaping and coming to me. The rumour having 
taken a firm hold, the Pasha declared that to prevent 
such a catastrophe, he would not hesitate to bind his 
daughter to a tree and have her beaten till she died. 

" I would far rather mourn her death for forty 
days than live dishonoured for the remainder of my 
life." 

Such were the words which, in a moment of rage, 
they say, escaped from his mouth. 

Whether these words really came from the Pasha 
is a point on which there are some doubts ; but 
whichever way it may be, whether the Pasha pro- 
nounced such a threat or not, the fact is that the 
unfortunate girl was terrified and fancied herself on 
the eve of a bloody catastrophe. Seeing herself, as 
it werey between life or death, Aisheh decided on 
finding a refuge by flight ; gaining from her despair 
and delirium almost supernatural strength, she did 
not hesitate to risk everything sooner than fall 
beneath the blows of her enemies. 



AISHEH'S FLIGHT. 

The violent emotion, the fear, the panic which 
seized on Aisheh caused her terrors, to which the 
silence of the night gave more strength and inten- 
sity. Her bewildered imagination made her think 
of her end as inevitable, amidst tortures and cruel 
sufferings. But if, on the one hand, -her excited 
imagination disordered her reason, on the other she 
could not be deluded as to the instigations of her 
enemies, who wished to provoke acts of violence, 
whose consequences would be fatal to her and her 
father. These instigators had nothing to lose by 
such a catastrophe ; by these means the whole heri- 
tage of Aisheh must fall wholly into their hands. 
They did not care how much misery befell either 
the daughter or the father. At first they had 
sought to appropriate the daughter and her large 
fortune by means of a farce of marriage ; now they 
wished to attain the same aim by sacrificing her 
who would not do as they wished. 

Those terrible words, " If she died, I should 
mourn her loss, but at least I should not be dis- 
honoured," made Aisheh believe that it was only 
by flight she could prevent a catastrophe whose 
consequences would have been terrible for her and 
her father. Having thus resolved on seeking 
her safety in flight, my daughter decided on her 



344 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

plan of evasion, a plan in the execution of which 
she met with every description of dangers. First, 
she had to decide on the easiest method of escape ; 
then she had to think of some way in which to 
deceive the vigilance of the guardians and slaves 
of the harem. 

In order to deceive the latter, Aisheh decided 
to flee towards the dawn of the day, for at this 
time everyone is sound asleep, and none were 
spying out her movements; besides the darkness 
was also favourable to her after she had made her 
escape, whilst she was wandering about the neigh- 
bourhood. An attractive young woman, and bear- 
ing the stamp and the manners of a lady of conse- 
quence, would naturally have attracted the notice 
of the sentinels and patrols who wandered about 
during the twilight. 

As the easiest place from which to make her 
escape, Aisheh chose a window opening on to the 
roof of a wing of the harem, where the eunuchs and 
the guardian lived ; this roof ended in a boundary 
wall, by which one could drop himself down into 
the street. The height of this wall was about 
fifteen feet. 

Towards four in the morning Aisheh arose 
quietly, avoiding the least sound, gave a last kiss 



AISHEH S FLIGHT. 345 

to the child she was abandoning, took the few. 
diamonds she possessed, and climbed unperceived 
on to the roof. Once on the wall she did not 
hesitate, but sprang into the road, without consider- 
ing the risk she ran of being lamed for life. 

Fortunately the jump succeeded wonderfully 
well, and Aisheh, finding herself free, began to run 
in the direction of the Eau Douces (gheuk-su). 
AYhen she passed through this smiling plain the first 
glimmer of dawn was making its appearance, and 
the song of the birds announced the awakening of 
nature. On the other side of the plain was a 
barque, which served to maintain communication 
with the village of Anadolu-Hissar. It was on this 
barque that Aisheh traversed the small river of the 
Eau Douces d'Asie, and it was by the little door, 
with its iron chains, that she managed to penetrate 
into the interior of the old chateau. In this village 
lived one of his Highness's slaves, who had been 
married to one of the villagers. Aisheh, not know- 
ing to whom to turn or how to procure a barque, 
decided on going to her, and imploring her help and 
succour. 

She went straight to the house of the slave, and 
after having knocked at her door several times, 
succeeded in making her jump half-frightened out 



346 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

of bed. One can imagine what an impression th( 
sudden apparition of her master's daughter, at such 
an early hour, made on the slave ; also her pitiable 
condition, without servants or slaves. Her face 
even was in a fearful condition, for Aisheh, after, 
having jumped from the wall,. had rubbed mud and 
dust over her face. This excessive precaution she 
had considered necessary so as not to attract the 
attention of any one. 

Once informed of the details of this adventure, 
the slave and her husband believed it their duty to 
counsel the fugitive, by making her understand the 
gravity of the step she had taken. Seeing, how- 
ever, that their words were of no avail, and also 
that the time for advice was passed for ever, hus- 
band and wife offered their services to the unfortu- 
nate girl, and put her into a barque which was 
going down the Bosphorus. Owing to the strength 
of the current the distance between Anadolu-Hissar 
and Stambul does not take very long : in about 
three-quarters of an hour one can accomplish this 
voyage and arrive at Un-kapan, the nearest port for 
those who wish to visit the centre of Stambul. It 
was towards this part that Aisheh turned, for she 
counted on going on from thence to Balat, where 
she knew I lived when I was in the town. In fact, 



AISHEH'S FLIGHT. 347 

when she disembarked, she got into one of those 
carriages called in the country coutchi, and told the 
driver to take her quickly to Balat. That also was 
the only thing she could say, for she was ignorant 
of my address, and in her precipitate flight she had 
not been able to learn it. Evidently her mind was 
so unsettled that she had never given a thought to 
the danger she was running in throwing herself into 
the streets without knowing quite where to go, or 
to whom to address herself. Whilst Aisheh, seated 
in her carriage, was wandering about the streets of 
Stambul, a strange coincidence occurred which led 
her to the door of the house where I was staying. 
This was such an extraordinary event that it cannot 
be accounted for in any other way than as a striking 
instance of Divine assistance. 

Now it happened that hardly had they perceived 
in his Highness's harem the flight of the daughter, 
than the alarm was given so that the fugitive might 
be found, and brought back to the bosom of her 
family. Not only were numerous police agents put 
on to her traces, but Shevket, the husband, at the 
head of valets and house servants set off in pursuit 
of her whom he was pleased to call his rebellious wife. 

Provided with peremptory orders, all these people 
began to rush about the town and its suburbs, 



34-8 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

searching every place where they thought it likely 
their master's daughter might be concealed. My 
house was naturally the first to be visited by these 
zealous emissaries, for they knew well that in her 
misfortune A'isheh would not have implored other 
protection than that of her mother. 

In fact Mustapha, the valet de chambre of his 
Highness, accompanied by two or three other indi- 
viduals, presented themselves at my door and ques- 
tioned me on the subject of my daughter. As may 
well be imagined, the unexpected apparition of all 
these people, and the news they brought, caused me 
great uneasiness. Being in complete ignorance of 
what was going on in the house of the Pasha, I did 
not know how to account for this unexpected 
event. 

" How did it happen ? For heaven's sake, tell me, 
what my poor daughter will do ? " 

Such were the exclamations with which I replied 
to the search made by Mustapha and his companions, 
exclamations which made them perceive that they 
must go elsewhere to fulfil the mission with which 
they had been charged. 

Mustapha having $een that my daughter was not 
there, sent away those who accompanied him, giving 
them instructions to pursue their researches else- 



AISHEH'S FLIGHT. 349 

where, and himself went towards the port, and the 
most frequented portion of the town, hoping to learn 
by so doing if any of the others had succeeded in 
hearing anything about the fugitive. 

But whilst he was walking towards the sea, he 
saw a closed carriage approaching, from the interior 
of which a voice proceeded who called " Mustapha ! 
Mustapha ! " There could be no doubt, the voice was 
certainly that of Aisheh, who signed to him to draw 
near, and then begged him to lead her to my abode. 
Nothing could have been more imprudent than 
this step, taken in such a critical moment by Aisheh. 
It is true that not knowing how to find me out, she 
was constrained to take this means, and to show 
herself to Mustapha ; but in doing so she played a 
hazardous game on which her fate depended. What 
guarantee had she that the valet de chambre on per- 
ceiving her would not employ force to reconduct 
her to her step-mother. Aisheh, however, did not 
act on this occasion without discretion, for she well 
knew with whom she had to deal, and she was sure 
that Mustapha would never betray her. 

In fact, Mustapha was the only man in the house 
of his Highness who was attached to our cause after 
my fall. In my time he had been my valet de 
chambre, and the kindness which I had shown him 



350 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 



had made him remember me well. But indepen- 
dently of these bonds which attached him to our 
cause, other reasons prevented him from lending 
himself as a servile instrument to the designs of 
^people who were capable of everything. These were 
his honesty and chivalrous sentiments. For nothing 
in the world would the brave man have consented 
to betray a woman, the daughter of his late mis- 
tress, who implored his succour at such a moment. 
The worthy Mustapha, on seeing the unfortunate 
girl in such a condition, turned to the driver and 
told him to go to my dwelling. He began to follow 
the carriage, and reached the door at the same time 
as Aisheh ; once there, he turned and hastened to 
inform the Pasha of what had taken place. 

This act of kindness cost Mustapha his situation. 
As soon as it was known in the harem how the meet- 
ing had taken place between him and Aisheh, the 
old servant was treated as a traitor, and told to leave 
immediately. According to them, Mustapha ought 
to have seized the girl with the help of the police, 
and given her over, bound hand and foot, to those on 
whom her fate depended. 



CHAPTEE XXIX. 

Consequences of Aisheh's Flight Intrigues of Ferideh Policy of Kibrizl 
Manoeuvres of Shevket Our flight from Shevket Divorce of Aisheh. 

As may well be believed, the news of the flight of 
Kibrizli-Pasha's daughter soon spread, and produced 
great sensation amongst the Mussulman world. 
Everybody talked about it, and the strangest ver- 
sions were said to be authentic. Our enemies did 
not hesitate to seize on this occasion to circulate the 
most scandalous tales on the subject of my daughter 
and myself. But the Pasha's friends and ours 
expressed their regrets on the subject of these piti- 
able scenes, which rendered the incompetence of his 
Highness in his private affairs so visible. 

Amongst these colleagues of the Minister, there 
was not one voice which was not raised in blame 
against the conduct of Kibrizli, whojpermitted family 
quarrels to attain the proportions of a public scandal. 
Fuad-Pasha and Ali-Pasha, who were his rivals, 
found these tales and scandals very useful in darken- 
ing KibrizliV reputation, and making him lose the 



352 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

prestige and moral force which rendered him re- 
doubtable. 

From the manner in which the public regarded 
my daughter's flight and party feeling, there resulted 1 
a state of things which were favourable to the in- 
terests of Aisheh, and which saved her from the 
hands of her enemies. 

In Turkey, as in every other country where the 
'arbitrator takes the place of the law, society is at 
the mercy of the powerful and of the greedy. In 
.such countries everything is permitted to those 
.who have power. The divine law, public opinion, 
all are nil ; the only recognized law is the caprice 
of those who govern. 

My daughter's flight, according to the Koran, was 
a perfectly legal act ; for by that a married woman 
cannot be compelled to live in the society of other 
women with whom she refuses to associate. The 
woman in such a case has the right to demand of 
her husband a separate dwelling, and she can forbid 
the entry into it to anyone. Further, the woman 
recognizes no other authority than that of her hus- 
band ; she can renounce her father, mother, and 
certainly therefore her mother-in-law. 

On escaping from the paternal roof, Aisheh had 
only protested against the oppressive authority im- 



CONSEQUENCES OF AlSHEH's FLIGHT. 353 

posed on her by her mother-in-law, who made use 
by turns of her husband's or father's name to enforce 
it. This protest gave her the right to be installed 
by her husband in a house to herself, where she 
would be allowed to do as she liked independently 
of her mother-in-law. But in insisting on that, 
Aisheh put herself in open hostility with her father's 
wife, who would not relinquish the power she pos- 
sessed over her ; for she knew that once removed 
from her sight, Aisheh would associate with whom 
she liked, and naturally with me, her own mother. 
It was just this that the malicious Ferideh wished at 
any price to prevent, by instigating Aisheh's husband 
to make an abuse of the paternal authority. 

The motives of Ferideh's hostility against any 
arrangement which would have rendered Aisheh 
mistress of herself and household, are of such a de- 
scription that they merit being disclosed. Such a 
revelation is all the more necessary since it serves 
to reveal the secrets of family life in the East. 

All Ferideh's reasons and motives arose from the 
instinct of her own preservation ; that of covetous- 
ness was only secondary. It was the instinct of 
preservation which made her fear a separation from 
her daughter-in-law; for, according to her ideas, 
this separation could only be the prelude to her loss. 



A A 



354 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Ferideli foresaw that combined action on our part 
would have for result the estrangement of her hus- 
band and her expulsion from the home into which 
she had succeeded in insinuating herself. 

Her fears were only too well founded on this point. 
In fact it was plain, that Aisheh once established, 
it would become impossible for her father and mother 
not to meet some time or other. Thus the daughter's 
house would have been transformed by force of cir- 
cumstances into a species of rendezvous, where her 
rival and her husband would be able to meet and 
indulge in affectionate tete-cl-tetes. 

The bare idea of these meetings was enough to 
make Ferideh tremble with jealousy. One such was 
enough to give her the coup-de-grace, for as the 
divorce between his Highness and myself was of 
the first degree, it only needed a simple encounter 
of a few seconds to renew the marriage and do 
away with Ferideh. 

Divorce with the Turks is, as I have just said, of 
three sorts ; the first degree of divorce is the 
weakest, for the husband who wishes to do away 
with it has only to recite a formula, and pass his 
hand over his wife's head to render the marriage 
valid again. The second and third degrees of divorce 
demand special formalities and ceremonies in order 






^RIGUES OP FERIDEH. 

to renew the marriage. I must also add that the first 
degree of divorce may suddenly become irrevocable. 
This happens when the husband showers upon the 
wife a battery of three combined divorces, which he 
rapidly discharges upon the woman's head ; then it 
becomes very difficult to renew the matrimonial bond. 

The divorce by which I had been separated from 
his Highness was not of this dreadful description, 
stigmatised by the Koran under the name of Telaki- 
salisseli ; it was a simple divorce, which a spark 
would have sufficed to re-kindle. And this is ex- 
plained by the fact that this divorce was not 
actuated by internal disputes, but by the wiles of * 
those who wished to destroy me at any cost. In 
other words, the Sultan's mother, her eunuchs and 
servants, with my husband's political enemies fell 
upon, and obliged the Pasha to separate from me. 
The Pasha, over-ruled by his enemies, made the 
sacrifice demanded of him ; but this divorce was 
only a mere formality, his sentiments really remain- 
ing unchanged towards me. 

Ferideh who had nominally taken my place, could 
not deceive herself on this point; her tranquillity 
and happiness depended on keeping Aisheh to her- 
self. A'isheh's flight was therefore a mortal stroke 
to her, which she sought to parry on all sides, even 

A A 2 



356 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

by means of brute force. Happily for us, but un- 
fortunately for Ferideh, the employment of strength 
was out of the question, for an essay of that descrip- 
tion would have had sorry consequences for her and 
her husband. 

The Pasha was not in full possession of power, 
and that suffices to explain the moderation which 
he had to show under these circumstances. 

Fuad and Ali-Pasha had the real direction of 
affairs. Kibrizli at this epoch was a minister with- 
out a portfolio, an unenviable position, which only 
left him a very limited influence. Independently 
of that the relations between these high personages 
bore a certain stamp of coldness and bitterness, for 
Kibrizli was far from wishing Fuad and Ali over- 
much, happiness, and the latter well knew he con- 
sidered them as rivals. 

Such being the relative relations of the parties, 
it is not difficult to understand that any illegal 
attempt or false step would have seriously com- 
promised the position and reputation of Kibrizli- 
Pasha and his associates. His political adversaries 
would have been enchanted to find an opportunity 
of compromising and paralysing him for ever. They 
would have fallen upon him, making use of his 
wives' quarrels and family scandals. They would 



MANOEUVRES OF SHEVKET. 357 

not have hesitated to say that Mussulman society 
was tired of the endless gossip and squabbles which 
were taking place in Kibrizli-Pasha's house. 

The force of circumstances, therefore, obliged 
the enemies of Aisheh to set to work softly and 
with circumspection. Every coercive measure being 
out of the question, they decided on winning over 
the rebel by ruses and wiles. The first measure 
which Ferideh and the Pasha thought fit to adopt 
was that of entering into conversation with us, to 
try and find out our designs, to know whether they 
were to look upon my daughter's flight as a protest 
against her father or husband's authority. In other 
words, they wished to find out whether my daughter 
had decided on getting rid of her make-believe 
husband, Shevket. This point once clearly defined, 
they would have decided on the part they wanted to 
take ; for if Aisheh appeared to desire to live under 
the matrimonial yoke, Shevket would then have 
served as spy to watch over Ferideh/s interests ; if, 
on the contrary, Aisheh wanted to break off 
with her husband, they could have pursued her by 
bringing forth the conjugal rights invested in the 
son. 

From the second day of Aisheh/s flight negocia- 
tioiis were set on foot. Emissaries of the Pasha 



358 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

presented themselves to us in the hope of obtaining 
a categorical answer on the subject of her husband, 
and to assure themselves whether my daughter was 
disposed to submit to his authority. Having re- 
ceived a satisfactory answer to this cardinal ques- 
tion, the negociators took a further step, and invited 
Aisheh to Hadji-Bekir's house, where her husband 
would rejoin her. 

This proposition gave us some cause for reflection 
a refusal would have hastened the crisis, whilst 
by accepting it we should have placed ourselves 
completely in the power of our adversaries. 
Situated in such a dilemma, I did not hesitate to 
accept a proposition which could not compromise 
materially my daughter's interests. I therefore 
informed the envoys that my daughter would go to 
the rendezvous which had been agreed upon to meet 
her husband. This having put an end to the nego- 
ciations, the emissaries joyfully returned to their 
master, being the bearers of what they believed to^ 
be good news. 

But hardly had they left than I hastened to enter 
into a treaty with the ministry, to inform them of 
the state of things, and solicit their protection. 
Evidently, by entering the house of one of the 
Pasha's domestics we were risking our lives, it 



MANOEUVRES OF SHEVKET. 359 

was as though we had put our hands bound in 
those of our enemies. It will, therefore, be under- 
stood that these precautionary measures were not 
altogether superfluous. My overtures were received 
with kindness by Fuad, who assured me that we were 
under his protection. This assurance was followed 
up by secret instructions sent to the head of the 
police department, ordering us to be guaranteed 
against any attempt which might be made to take 
us away from Hadji-Bekir's house. 

Having thus done all that he could to prevent us 
falling into the snares of our enemies, we went to 
Hadji-Bekir's house, where we found Shevket, who 
was impatiently waiting for us. After having ex- 
changed a few words, Shevket told us he was the 
first to regret what had recently occurred, and that 
in spite of his mother he had resolved on living 
apart with his wife. Further, he informed us that 
his Highness, ceding to his wishes, had authorized 
him to choose a house and furnish it in a manner 
worthy of his daughter. The Pasha, continued 
Shevket, was resigned to such a sacrifice in the hope 
that his daughter would understand how much he 
desired her happiness, and that she should continue 
to live with her husband. Then, turning towards 
me, he said affectionately, that he could not permit 



360 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

me, his mother-in-law, to live anywhere but with 
my daughter. 

From the next clay, in fact, all the necessary 
measures were taken to find a convenient house, 
and decide on the necessary furniture required for 
it. The house on which Shevket's choice fell wa& 
one opening on to Shekh-zadeh's mosque ; its posi- 
tion offered certain strategical advantages, one, for 
example, being that it was surrounded by the 
friends and abettors of Shevket and his mother 
another, equally great, was that on the side of the 
mosque it was easy to attempt a master-stroke a 
forcible abduction. By scaling the house on the 
court side during the night it would be easy to carry 
off any number of women without the neighbours 
on the right or left being at all the wiser. 

Pleased at having found such a house, Shevket 
hastened to finish furnishing it. Everything having 
been arranged, he invited Aisheh to install herself in 
the new residence which her father had provided. 

This new household, as may be seen, was only a 



clever device by which they could better destroy 
their adversary : we were not once deceived about 
it. An arrangement situated on such a volcano 
had no chance of lasting long; each side under- 
stood the intentions of the other, and yet feigned 



OUR FLIGHT FROM SHEVKET. 361 

ignorance. We each held the tinder in our hands 
fearing to set fire to the mine ; as for myself I did 
not dare to hasten a separation whose responsibility 
would fall on myself. 

From the first days of our residence at Shekh- 
zade-bashi, Slievket altered his manner, and became 
cold and distant ; his prayers were changed into 
peremptory commands ; nothing pleased him ; and 
the slightest incident was enough to cause alterca- 
tion and disagreement. One week was enough to 
disgust Shevket, and make him hasten his designs. 

In fact, on the eighth day, the first act of the 
master-stroke was disclosed beneath the form of a 
supreme decree, in virtue of which the entry to the 
harem was forbidden to all who were not possessed 
of a previous authorization. At the same time he 
adopted this measure, Shevket provided himself 
with a reinforcement to aid him at the given 
moment. This reinforcement consisted of an over- 
seer, Hadji-Ibrahim, and of five or six individuals,, 
sbires and bandits, used by the Pashas to do any 
decisive deed. 

But the most dreadful of all these preparations 
was the attempt made by Shevket to imprison us by 
closing all the issues which might have favoured our 
flight. There was one small door which served to 



362 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

afford communication between the harem-kitchen 
and the stables. Shevket understood that it was an 
important point which must be guarded at any risk. 
He, therefore, ordered some masons to come and 
close it up, and raise in its place a small wall. 
After having made the personal inspection of these 
places, Shevket went away, enjoining his people to 
keep in readiness for the evening. 

He was much deceived, however, in his calcula- 
tions, for he might have known that some women 
have more perspicuity than men give them credit 
for. In fact, since I had put my foot inside the 
prison which had been prepared for us, I had never 
once been deceived on the subject of Shevket's in- 
tentions. I instinctively knew that we were living 
on a volcano as it were, on the bosom of which 
violent eruptions might be expected. Thus, during 
these seven days of worry, I was continually on 
the qui vive, ready, like a sentry, to seize on the 
slightest sound or index. 

The lucky star which presided over my birth, so 
arranged that the very day when the masons began 
to dig the foundations of the walls, I went down to 
the kitchen to see what was going on. Hardly had 
I been there for a few seconds than the sound of 
workmen struck my ear. Having been informed of 



OUR FLIGHT FROM SHEVKET. 363 

what they were doing, it only needed a few minutes' 
reflection for me to see through Shevket's designs 
and decide on what measure to take in order to 
upset them. Evidently the only thing was to 
escape before the iron circle closed in on us. With 
a heavy and beating heart I ran to my daughter, 
told her what I had seen, and declared that there 
was no time to be lost, for if we waited till the 
evening we certainly should be done for. Where- 
upon my daughter and myself set to work to collect 
everything we could in the way of silver or jewels. 
We made it up into large packets, and we filled our 
pockets with everything that could be carried con- 
veniently. 

I must here observe that the feradjehs (mantles 
worn by Turkish women) are very useful for such 
purposes : for when wrapped in one of these 
mantles it is easy to conceal a quantity of mer- 
chandise. This was what my daughter and myself 
took care to do on this occasion. We well knew 
that everything would be taken from us, and that it 
was folly to leave Shevket what we could adroitly 
conceal. Besides, both legally and morally, we had 
more right than he had to consider everything in 
the house as belonging to ourselves. 

Once these preliminary measures taken, I had to 



364 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

have recourse to some cunning in order to disarm 
any suspicions amongst the slaves of the harem. As 
I could not conceal our clandestine sortie by the 
small door, I said that as we had no money in the 
house we had decided on selling some of our things, 
and that with the results we should buy what we 
most needed. In order the better to conceal my 
game, I promised them each beautiful silks and 
pretty presents. These promises did not fail to 
take effect, for the slaves entered into our designs, 
and helped us in our flight and in getting out of 
the little door. 

Whilst all these events were passing in the 
harem our guardians were outside smoking and 
chatting. Hadji-Ibrahim, their chief, amused him- 
self by giving {instructions to his subordinates on 
the way in which they were to watch over us. He 
had been heard to say 

" Our master is resolved to make those people 
behave." 

On leaving the house my daughter and myself got 
into a carriage and went straight to one of the court 
ladies, who was a friend of ours, and she put her 
house at our disposal. Once in safety, we hastened 
to send a message to Shevket, in which my daughter 
declared that she no longer consented to live with 



DIVORCE OF AlSHEH. 

him, for she was tired of him, his mother, and their 
intrigues. 

This move on her part was the result of the con- 
viction she felt that in their midst she should 
vainly search for tranquillity or happiness. Several 
years of experience only confirmed her in this con- 
viction. 

Towards evening, Shevket returned to the house, 
the bearer of fresh instructions which his mother 
and the Pasha had given him in the conference he 
had held with them during the day. But barely 
had he entered than our messenger, Eessim-Bey, 
approached and informed him of the letter of which 
he was the bearer. This announcement quite over- 
came Shevket ; he was thunderstruck ; for if, on the 
one hand, lie resented the humiliation of the r61e 
which had been imposed on him, on the other he 
trembled at seeing himself for ever compromised in 
the eyes of his mother and of the Pasha. 

Shevket was the pulley by which they sought to 
keep my child under their control, and that explains 
all the importance they attached to him. Unfor- 
tunately Shevket did not sustain the attack with 
that courage which might have been expected from 
him ; for on learning his wife's flight he lost every 
vestige of the sang froid for which he had been 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAEEM. 

famed. Furious at finding himself so humiliated 
and debased, Shevket sought to forget in drunken- 
ness the insult which had been offered to him. 

Turning to his servants he bade them bring arrack, 
and the accessories which charm the drinkers of this 
chosen beverage. Then surrounded by his boon 
companions, Shevket got so drunk that he lost 
every sentiment of honour, and the respect he owed 
to himself and the daughter of his benefactor. It 
was in the midst of this orgie that Shevket ' pro- 
nounced the formula of divorce according to the 
Mussulman law Shart olsun. 

Barely were the words uttered than emissaries 
were sent to inform both ourselves and his High- 
ness. This news was the very best we could have 
had, whilst in the Pasha's palace and the harem it 
caused sorrow and consternation. Shevket was dis- 
graced, for neither his mother nor the Pasha could 
forgive his having betrayed their interests. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

Efforts of She vket Confiscation Law-suit Mahmud- Bey Protracted 
hostilities My view of the case Ai'sheh's sentiments. 

THE first excitement produced by the news that 
Aisheh was at last free having been appeased, 
agents were immediately sent in the hope of regain- 
ing the ground lost and enticing Aisheh once again. 
These agents were the bearers of propositions and 
counter propositions whose aims were to renew the 
marriage. They sought to touch my daughter's 
heart by relating the agony and distress felt by 
Shevket when, on coming to his senses, he understood 
the harm he had done. He was inconsolable, and 
his repentance was sincere and in earnest they said. 
For the future he was determined to allow his wife 
to do as she pleased, and neither his mother" nor the 
Pasha should meddle in their affairs. 

As may be well imagined, after what we had 

suffered from the hands of our adversaries, such 

. proposals and words were far from touching us in 

the le. The only reply vouchsafed to these 

envoys was a decided refusal to pay any attention 



368 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to the proposals, menaces, or promises of Shevket 
and his associates. This ultimatum was the sig- 
nal for the commencement of hostilities, which con- 
tinued during a period of seven years. This new 
miniature seven years' war only terminated with 
the death of his Highness, the 9th September,, 
1871. 

The first thing done on receiving Aisheh's refusal 
to accept for the second time a husband she never 
cared for, was to empty Shekh-Zade's house of all 
the furniture which had been given to her. Two . 
days after the divorce had taken place, a crowd 
of domestics were sent to empty the house of every, 
thing, even the clothes and linen belonging to the 
unfortunate Aisheh. To render this cruel act still 
more insulting, they took care to send her a few old 
dresses shut up in an old broken box. 

I must here observe that this dastardly act of 
vengeance was further a violation of the law and 
established customs. According to Mussulman law 
and Turkish usages, the effects and furniture given 
to a girl at the time of her marriage become her 
unalienable property. Now, at the period of Aisheh's 
marriage, half her trousseau had only been given . 
her. The Pasha, on furnishing her house, had only 
acted as he ought to have done before. 






CONFISCATION. 309 

So every thing employed in furnishing the house 
belonged by rights to his Highnesses child, and even 
he had no right to seize upon it. According to the 
Mussulman law, this act was equivalent to a con- 
fiscation. But it did not only end with Aisheh's 
furniture and clothes, for her money underwent the 
same treatment. My daughter had some time before 
bought a large farm in the neighbourhood of Aleppo ; 
this property belonged to her in her name, and the 
title-deeds were in the hands of Shevket, who kept 
them. 

Eminent economists, like Stuart Mill, have brought 
forward a theory, according to which it appears that 
women's rights are better established under the 
Mussulman than under the European law. When 
one considers that, according to the law of the 
Sheriaht, a woman is not for a moment sure of 
what she likes best in the world, her husband and 
children, of what use to her are the few posses- 
sions she may have ? But if from the written law 
we turn to the living one, from theory to practice, 
it is there one sees of what little use for the woman 
are her pretended rights. 

The confiscation of goods made by Kibrizli-Pasha 
and Shevket was one of those deeds carried out every 
day by th^se who feel powerful enough to execute 



370 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

them. Now, where are women's rights amongst this 
fight between the strong and the weak ? 

My daughter having failed in her attempt to re- 
gain possession of her furniture, there was nothing 
left for us to do but to settle at our own cost 
somewhere. We sold our valuables and jewels, 
and the few thousand pounds they realized permitted 
us to face the expenses of re-settling and leaving a 
little reserve. 

I must here say that this sort of arrangement did 
not receive my approbation, for the initiative in 
money affairs * remained entirely with my daughter. 
Prudence, therefore, recommended the strictest eco- 
nomy, for the clouds were dark and the tempest 
imminent. My daughter did not believe in a storm, 
and she hoped still that her father would relent and 
furnish her with the means of subsistence. Truly 
one might have said 'that the mother's experience 
ought to have dissipated the daughter's illusions, 
but, unfortunately, a feeling of delicacy prevented 
my taking the law into my own hands. I did not 
wish her or any one else to reproach me with having 
profited by the abandoned position of my child in 
compelling her to submit to my will in money 
matters. 

The house we hired in the suburbs of Scutari for 



LAW-SUIT. 

the summer of 1864 was a beautiful residence, 
admirably situated, offering the advantages of a 
charming view over the Bosphorus and a garden 
full of oranges and lemon trees. Our existence in 
the midst of this beautiful scenery ought to have 
been very pleasant ; but the charms of the country 
were spoilt by the ceaseless worry caused us by our 
adversaries. Our door was literally besieged by 
emissaries, men as well as women, sent in the hope 
of preventing us feeling a moment's repose. Now 
it was the Pasha who sent to find out some means 
of bringing us under his domination ; now the ex- 
husband Shevket who sent women to plague us ; 
then agents, who came to spy upon us on the part of 
the tribunal and to annoy us in every way. 

The law-suit we were obliged to bring against 
Shevket in order to reclaim the property and mar- 
riage-portion of Aisheh was our principal occupation 
during our stay at Scutari. Aisheh could not obtain 
any of her goods or property, for the Cadi or Judge 
told her openly that he was not powerful enough to 
compel her husband to give up what he had taken. 
As for her marriage portion, no obstacle was raised 



to oblige her husband to refund the sum he owed ; 
yet, when the question of paying the nafakah, or 
the husband's marriage present, came, Shevket 

B B 2 



372 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

turned Jew, and the tribunal helped him to play 
this part. 

The nafakah, or its equivalent in money, is what 
the husband ought to give for his wife's maintenance- 
during the three months following after the divorce. 
The amount which the husband ought to give his 
wife is agreed on by the tribunal, which takes inta 
consideration the social position and means of the 
parties concerned, as well as the price of food, and 
such primary matters. Where the lower classes are 
concerned, the divorced woman is only allowed for 
nafakah two or three piastres a day. There are often 
even people who refuse to give as much to their 
wives, under the pretext that their means do not 
allow them to be extravagant ; then they merely 
give them bread and a candle a day. In such cases 
they take care to leave the candle and bread before 
the woman's door, by which means they escape all 
legal pursuit. 

Amongst the middle classes the husbands allow 
their wives something like two or three hundred 
francs a month ; whilst in the higher classes it is 
generally agreed upon to give either a good round^ 
sum or nothing at all. We came to a compromise 
of this sort with Shevket; he never attempted to give 
a farthing, and we never mentioned the nafakah. 



LAW-SUIT. 373 

With autumn the charms of the country begin to 
depart, and the approach of winter is the signal for 
the flight of those who like the luxuries of Stam- 
bul. At the close of the season we hastened there- 
fore to re-enter the town, and for this purpose hired 
a house in the part of Stambul called Jussuf-Pasha. 
This house was large and spacious, but time and 
poverty had reduced it to the condition of a dilapi- 
dated palace. Formerly it had belonged to a Grand- 
vezir, Selim-Mehemet-Pasha, who, having been sent 
to quell the revolt at Damas, was killed by the 
insurgents. This Selim was the same who had been 
famous for the carnage he had made amongst the 
Janissaries, in company with Agha-Hussein of 
Viddin and Kara-Djehenem. Selim had escaped 
the reign of terror at the time of his vezierate, but 
at Damas he had to pay his debt to the revolted 
population. 

These events happened in 1824. Before his 
departure for Damas, Selim had built the house 
we had hired. He did not neglect anything which 
might render this residence worthy of a Grand- 
vezir : large halls and kiosques, grotesquely orna- 
mented, marble baths, in fact nothing was omitted 
which could please his family in the comforts and 
luxuries of Oriental life. At his death all this dis- 



374 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

appeared as if by magic. Selim's riches, honours, 
and property were divided amongst his friends and 
attendants; as for his heirs, they only got what 
the others could not take from them, which was 
their father's house and a small amount to live 
on. 

This is truly Selim's history and that of his descen- 
dants, but by changing the name to that of Mehemet 
or Mustapha, it would be equally that of every great 
family in Turkey. The father may have been Grand- 
vezir, but the sons and daughters do not inherit 
much. I can truly say that in Turkey there are not 
more than four or five great families who count over 
sixty years of nobility. The greater number of soi- 
disant noble families only date back one generation ; 
in fact they are noble so long as the person who 
elevated them exists ; at his death his sons maintain 
themselves for a few years and then disappear ; and 
by the third or fourth generation the name of 
Yezir, which ennobled the family, is completely 
forgotten. 

The constitution of Mussulman society and the 
Turkish system of government are the causes of 
such a state of things. As amongst Mussulmans 
society is composed of several families, only dis- 
tinguishable the one from the other by their proper 



MAHMUD-BEY. 375 

names, it so happens that a family is first repre- 
sented by Hassan, then by Mehemed, his son, and 
after by a Mahmud or Selim. These heads of fami- 
lies having thus no family name to transmit to each 
other, their proper names fall into oblivion, and their 
genealogy is forgotten. The Arabs endeavour to 
remedy this organic defect in their society by means 

of a genealogical tree, which they religiously pre- 

. 

serve in their families. The Turks do not attach 
any importance to blue blood : they consider the 
Sultan and his dynasty as alone being noble ; the 
rest are plebeians. Their system of government is 
also incompatible with the aristocratic system and 
the maintenance of noble families. 

The actual proprietor of our house was 
Mahmud-Bey, s6n of the Grand-vezir, Selim- 
Pasha ; he was a little fellow, whose exterior did 
not reveal his high birth. Mahmud had a face, on 
which was visible the traces left by great trials and 
suffering ; his sorrowful and gloomy appearance was 
the reflection of an over-burdened spirit, whilst his 
worn and mended clothes were the heritage of a 
Grand-vezir. Whether owing to misfortune or pro- 
digality I know not, but the fact was that Mahmud- 
Bey was at his last farthing. All the property left 
by his father had disappeared, except the house, 



876 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

which was left because the deceased Selim had had 
the good idea of making it an entailed property. 

In order to satisfy his most urgent needs, Mahmud 
had cleared his house of everything, so that nothing 
but the four walls were left ; at last he w T as com- 
pelled to let it, for it would have been foolish to 
stay in a large house, which he could neither fill 
nor furnish. Mahmud-Bey retired, therefore, with 
his family into a distant part of the harem, which 
was his last stronghold against utter misery. There 
he meditated on the vicissitudes of human life and 
on fate, whilst strong doses of arak served to 
soothe the despondency arising from poverty and 
'vant. 

The winter which we spent with Mahmud-Bey 
passed somewhat sadly, and in the- midst of all sorts 
of torments and worries. Kibrizli-Pasha did not 
cease to impose Shevket again upon us, and we did 
not feel disposed to accept his conditions. Things 
were pushed to such an extent, that they sought to 
buy over and corrupt our servants and slaves, so 
that they might make scenes and scandals in the 
house. Our coachman got drunk one day and 
brought back with him two or three scoundrels, 
who made a great noise before the door of our house 
and caused much scandal in that part of the town. 




PROTRACTED HOSTILITIES. 377 

These people evidently did this under the instiga- 
tion of those who were endeavouring to defame our 
house and worry us. They tried every way in 
which they could find some pretext to exile us from 
Constantinople. Ferideh trembled with passion 
when she saw her rival going about in her equipages 
and with her servants. When she heard us called 
by our names, as the wife and daughter of Kibrizli- 
Pasha, she shook with rage and spite. 

Therefore she sought to compromise us, and for 
that purpose every means seemed good. One must 
have lived, as I have, amidst the Turks to form any 
idea of their anger and vengeance. Thus our 
enemy, Ferideh, thought of nothing but how to 
defame and despoil us of the little we possessed, and 
to exile us from Constantinople. Seeing that her 
husband's authority was not enough, she began to 
work upon his Highness and try to make him solicit 
the favour of Fuad-Pasha. This step, as may be 
imagined, cost Kibrizli very dear : for no earthly 
consideration would he have wished to humiliate 
himself before his rivals. That his self-respect and 
interests must have suffered there could be no doubt, 
for the role of chief of the opposition forbade him 
to make any advances to those in authority. Be- 
sides, the cause which he pleaded had something 



378 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

repulsive about it ; for in begging the Government to- 
help him in his troubles with his wife and daughter, 
Kibrizli played a pretty part, which could only 
spoil his reputation amongst his colleagues and with 
the public. 

But Kibrizli-Pasha (or his counsellors) put such 
scruples aside, and showed themselves ready to carry 
it out at the price even of political concessions. 
As for Fuad, it can be understood that he did not 
disdain to negotiate on the basis of a quid pro quo. 

For us, we only needed such ail understanding 
between Kibrizli and the Grand-vezir to place us in. 
a most critical position. Imprisonment, exile, even 
death was to be feared, for our enemies had reached 
to such a pitch of exasperation that nothing could 
appease them but our ruin. When I was informed 
of what was passing, I had no doubt as to the 
gravity of our position, and we took counsel 
together on the best way to escape the hostile 
intentions of our enemies. 

My plan was to go straight to Europe, leaving the 
Turks to their jealousies and intrigues. "Fleeing 
the pleasures which were mixed up with fears," as 
the saying is : this forcibly struck me amidst the 
dangers in which we were placed. In fact, of what 
use to us was a seductive climate, hospitable people, 






MY VIEW OF THE CASE. 379 

and the luxuries our means allowed us, when our 
enemies treated us like wild beasts ? It was use- 
less, after what had passed, to think of any com- 
promise with them. 

The Pasha said that the marriage with Shevket 
must be renewed ; the woman, on her side, pre- 
ferred death rather than to consent to such an 
arrangement. Neither side would yield ; therefore 
a collision was inevitable, and this shock could have 
no other result than my ruin and that of my child, 
as I never would have consented to leave her with 
those who were conspiring against her life. To flee 
from Constantinople was naturally the first thing 
which came into our minds ; but where to go \ 
That was the question on which we had to think 
seriously before undertaking any further steps. 
There was no place in Turkey which could shelter 
us ; for if Constantinople could not, the provinces 
were certainly still less likely to do so. Egypt 
offered certain advantages ; for its internal govern- 
ment served us as a guarantee against any persecu- 
tion. Long experience had taught me the wiles of 
Eastern policy, and I knew that in this policy there 
is one chapter called that of Betrayal. An arrange- 
ment like that which had just been established, 
occurring between the Ministers at Constantinople, 



380 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 



would have sufficed to place us in the underground 
prisons. 

Europe was the country which alone could shelter 
us, for there neither the Padishah nor his vezirs would 
be able to reach us. In Germany or France our 
enemies might mock at us, but we should soon for- 
get envy and persecutions amidst civilized races. 
The small property which still remained to us would 
have assured to my child a peaceful and happy 
existence. Unfortunately, my daughter could in 
no wise comprehend the importance of the counsels 
I gave her, and my efforts to overcome her opposi- 
tion ended in nothing. The reasons which prevented 
Aisheh from resolving on a flight into Europe were 
the following : 

Aisheh, like other Turkish children, had been 
educated amidst the most absurd doctrines, of 
which the principal taught her was that the Mussul- 
mans are the elect race, and that other peoples are a 
mass of impure and filthy beings. Imbued with 
these ideas, the Turks feel an insurmountable repug- 
nance towards Christians, towards their habits and 
their persons. This repugnance is so strong, that if 
one asked a Turkish woman as a joke whether she 
would consent to become the wife of a Christian, 
she would hasten to show her horror and disgust by 



AISHEH'S SENTIMENTS. 381 

spitting upon her own clothes. Aisheh had a simi- 
lar horror of Christians, and the idea of going to 
live amongst them produced a resistance that I could 
not overcome. 

The love she bore her father was another reason 
which prevented her adopting this plan. In fact, 
when I pressed my arguments upon her, and showed 
her that in her position she had no other choice, she 
sighed from the very bottom of her heart and said, 
" No, I love my father too well ; I could not cause 
him such a sorrow in his old age. If I went among 
the Ghiaurs, he would die of a broken heart." 

My child's noble sentiments imposed silence upon 
me ; for there are moments when affection carries 
away all before it. That in this circumstance my 
previsions were just, the future will prove. My 
readers will soon see how Aisheh herself decided on 
taking refuge in a Christian country, and abandon- 
ing for ever the country of her birth. But, to arrive 
at such a climax, she had to be reduced to the last 
extremity, and, as one might say, almost to have 
the knife at her throat. 

We finally agreed upon a flight into Egypt. 
Egypt has from all time been the polar star of the 
unfortunate, the country which offered them an 
asylum, and protected them from the hatred and 



332 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

persecutions of their enemies. In our days also, any 
one who wishes to ameliorate his position finds in 
Egypt a hospitable country. Let us therefore tak 
flight into Egypt ; for once there our enemies woulc 
find it difficult to seize us, and the people of th 
country would surely have pity upon two unfortu 
nate women. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

Departure for Egypt Abib-Pasha Arrival at Alexandria Behaviour of 
the Egyptians Departure for Mityleiie We are taken by force 
Exile to Kouiah. 

OUR preparations for departure were concealed 
with care until the day we started for Alexandria. 
Towards evening our small caravan, which consisted 
of six or seven persons, comprising slaves and do- 
mestics, directed their steps towards the steamer 
which leaves the Golden Horn at seven o'clock. 
During the voyage between Constantinople and 
Alexandria, nothing occurred worthy of remark, if 
it were not a meeting with a certain Abib-Pasha, a 
friend of our enemies, who was going to Egypt to 
get some money out of the Viceroy. This sort of 
operation is much in vogue amongst the Turkish 
Pashas, who fly to Egypt every time they find 
themselves penniless. In the time of the Romans, 
Egypt was the granary of the empire ; at the 'present 
time the Turks have converted it into a mint, where 
everybody runs to fill their purses. 



384 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Abib-Pasha was a good fellow : his career was 
a singular one. He had commenced by being a 
writer, but soon changed his vocation to that of a 
buffoon. His buffoonery procured him several pa- 
trons, amongst others Bessim, the brother of my rival, 
Ferideh. It was Bessim who in a fit of drunkenness 
made his buffoon a Pasha, and sent him to govern 
Croatia, Macedonia, and some other provinces. But, 
though a Pasha, Abib did not find himself any better 
off, because he would continue to be Pasha and buf- 
foon both at the same time. The truth is, that no- 
amount of money was sufficient for his extravagances, 
and he was over head and ears in debt. Neverthe- 
less, his debts were the least of his anxieties ; for, 
with surprising good humour, he fancied he could 
pay his debts with the same money that he employed 
to gain his patrons, that is to say, by means of his 
buffoonery. But his creditors would not let him off 
with such payment, for they strenuously opposed 
the departure of his Excellency, and would not let 
him leave Travink or Drama until they had placed 
his wife and secretaries in security as pledges. 

Abib, on his arrival at Constantinople, went every- 
where beseeching his patrons to raise the money for 
their release, and succeeded in doing so. He then 
took a voyage to Egypt, where he hoped to get into 



ABIB-PASHA. 385 

favour with Farahon, whose generosity he hoped 
would soon fill his pockets. Abib was not altogether 
a bad fellow, and showed us every attention and 
kindness during the voyage. On our arrival at Alex- 
andria, Abib-Pasha hastened to warn the Egyptian 
authorities, and gave them information regarding 
us which was not, however, inspired by hostile sen- 
timents. This was all the more honourable to Abib * 
that in the East it is the custom to turn the back, 
and even to kick those who are persecuted or in any 
misfortune. 

In all countries, it is true, the wretched are 
shunned like a pestilence ; but in Turkey this is 
done without the least reserve or delicacy, and in 
such a manner that one need not be surprised if one 
receives a box on the ears from him who the even- 
ing before had kissed your slipper. 

The moment Hafiz-Pasha, Governor of Alexan- 
dria, heard that the wife and daughter of Kibrizli- 
Pasha was on board, he hastened to send us a 
carriage, with an invitation to alight at the hotel 
that the Egyptian government places at the dis- 
position of travellers of distinction. .This establish- 
ment is called the Muscifir-Khaneh ; it contains 
apartments sumptuously furnished, where persons 
of rank who visit Egypt are lodged. They gave 



C 



386 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 



us the first floor of the hotel, and twice every day 
they served us with an exquisite repast in the* 
Eastern fashion, with patties, sweets, and every-V 
thing that one required. 

But the attentions and zeal that the Egyptians 
displayed, in order to render our visit to Egypt 
agreeable, soon gave place to an unexpected cool- 
ness, which suddenly manifested itself the fourth 
clay after our arrival. Our friends at Constanti- 
nople, having learned that we had left for Egypt, 
sent, without loss of time, a despatch to the Vice- 
roy, to let him know that his Highness Kibrizli- 
Pasha having disgraced and disowned us, he felt 
wounded by the attentions that had been shown 
us. 

Having had my suspicions of what was passing, 
I asked for an interview with the governor, Hafiz- 
Pasha, in order to assure myself of his intentions 
regarding us. Hafiz made me understand the 
bearings of the instructions that had been sent 
him, and informed me that his Government, whilst 
offering us hospitality, did not desire to offend his 
Highness by giving him, or the authorities at Con- 
stantinople, any cause for annoyance ; and he 
wound up his remarks by counselling my daughter 
and myself to do everything in our power, and by 



BEHAVIOUR OF THE EGYPTIANS. 387 

any sacrifices to endeavour to regain the favour of 
his Highness. 

The diplomatic and reserved style employed by 
Hafiz-Pasha sufficed to reveal the intentions of 
his Government on our behalf, and to show me 
the danger which menaced us. A plain and sim- 
ple language, without compliment, would have 
inspired me with confidence ; whilst this enig- 
matical manner of speaking proved that the Egypt- 
ians were not people on whom one might count 
Evidently they would not have hesitated, had they 
been pressed from Constantinople, to handcuff us, 
and send us into the subterranean prisons, from 
which we should never have escaped. 

Terrified by the ideas that the interview with 
Hafiz-Pasha had suggested to me, I hastened, on my 
return to the hotel, to give the alarm to my daughter, 
notifying to her my intention of returning to Turkey 
by the first steamer. I made her understand that, 
if we were once imprisoned in a distant country, I 
should never be allowed to return again ; for the 
Turks were so angry with me personally, that they 
would lose no time in getting rid of me once for all. 
It was true that, in going back to Turkey, we were 
both of us in danger; but we should also have 
there some chances of safety. Being in Turkey, w,e 

c c 2 



388 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

could rely on the sympathy of the people, and at 
the worst find means to escape. In Egypt and in 
the Sudan we should have no one to help us, and, 
once there, we should most likely have to remain 
for the rest of our lives. 

It did not require much persuasion to convince 
Aisheh that my fears were but too well founded, 
and the same day she decided on returning to Con- 
stantinople. Nevertheless, during the few days 
which preceded our departure we set ourselves 
to think what we should do after our arrival at 
Constantinople, and endeavoured to trace out a 
line of conduct which would assure to us the 
advantages of a retired life, and protect us from, 
violence. 

It was impossible to disguise from ourselves the 
fact that, in going to Constantinople, we placed 
ourselves in an abnormal position ; for it could not 
be in the proximity of our adversaries, who hunted 
us everywhere, that we could hope to find that 
tranquillity and security which we longed for. 
Besides, from an economical point of view also, 
the capital was not exactly the place where 
one could dream of economising : the name of 
our family, the expensive habits of my daughter, 
the example of others, were so many obstacles 



DEPARTURE FOR MITYLENE. 889 

which would prevent our leading a quiet and 
retired life. 

After having considered various projects, we at 
length agreed on a plan which appeared full of the 
required conditions. I had heard it said that the 
island of Mitylene was a charming place, where 
the inhabitants passed their lives in the midst of 
enjoyment and plenty. From the accounts I had 
received, house-rent was at a relatively low rate, 
food was abundant, whilst the gardens and country 
offered all the pleasures that nature could procure ; 
and, besides, it was said that the trade in corn and 
olives prospered there. 

The information that I acquired at Alexandria on 
the subject of our safety, taught me that the diffe- 
rent Powers had consuls residing in the town, the 
chief place of the island. This fact was of a nature 
to encourage and reassure us, for it is well known 
that everywhere, where there are foreign consuls, 
the Turkish authorities are circumspect, and a cer- 
tain restraint is placed on their arbitrary actions. 
In a place like Mitylene they would not dare to 
touch us with impunity, for public opinion would to 
a certain extent protect us. 

The decision which we adopted was, then, that 
we should first go to Constantinople, from whence, 



390 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

after having 'realised the money which we required, 
and after having made the necessary preparations, 
we should leave for Mitylene, 

Our arrival at Constantinople greatly surprised 
our adversaries, and this surprise on their part 
favoured the execution of our project. Whilst the 
Pasha and the Ministry discussed amongst them- 
selves the coercive measures that they proposed to 
decree, we had plenty of time to make our arrange- 
ments for the voyage, and to start for Mitylene. 

On our arrival at Mitylene we at once occupied 
ourselves with getting a house, and procuring all 
that was necessary for our subsistence. The house 
we hired was a beautiful residence, situated on a 
height, from which we had a magnificent view of 
the port and of the mountains which surround it. 
Our nearest neighbours were the consuls of Italy 
and Greece, whilst in our immediate neighbourhood 
the consuls of the other Powers and the Greek 
Archbishop of Mitylene resided. We had, indeed, 
as may be seen, neglected no precautions, and our 
position, in the midst of the diplomatic corps, was, 
one might almost say, unattackable. Nevertheless, 
these very precautions hastened the catastrophe. 

Some days after our arrival in the island, I 
thought of entering on some speculations, of the 



WE ARE TAKEN BY FORCE. 391 

.sort which were most in vogue amongst commercial 
people, with the aim of increasing the small amount 
of capital we still had at our disposal. The specu- 
lation which I entered upon was that of importing 
flour from Salonica, in order to sell it to the inha- 
bitants of the island at an opportune moment. To 
this effect I associated myself with a Greek mer- 
chant, and I ordered a large cargo of flour, which 
was warehoused. 

These commercial operations, the administration 
of which I left to an overseer, a man called Hadjii, 
did not prevent my entering on friendly relations 
'with my neighbours, for in our position it Was an 
advantage that everyone should know us, and that 
we should know everyone. When one has nothing 
to conceal, and can carry the head high, 'one has 
everything to gain by being sociable and mixing 
with one's equals. Thus we frequently visited the 
Italian consul, M. Marinucci, M. Delaporte, the 
Greek consul, as also other families on the island ; 
but the society which charmed us more than all the 
-others was that of Monseigneur the Archbishop of 
Mitylene, a venerable old man, full of goodness and 
courtesy. 

The archbishop had a magnificent garden, where 

lie ivnred with the greatest ' care the rarest flowers 



THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

and shrubs, amongst which the oranges and lemons 
were so numerous that they formed a thick forest, 
the scent of which perfumed the air. In this 
garden my daughter and I used frequently to 
walk and enjoy the freshness of the evening, and 
the amiable society of the archbishop. One day, 
whilst seated near the kiosque in company with 
the archbishop and his attendant priests, our 
servant Abdullah entered the garden, and with a 
terrified air informed us that the soldiers had sur- 
rounded our house, and were seeking us every- 
where. 

This unexpected news, coming into the midst of 
the circle of friends in which we found ourselves, 
threw consternation amongst us all, and, as was but 
natural in a case of such a critical nature, the old 
archbishop and his attendants surrounded us at 
once to offer their counsels and good offices. To 
the kindness of these worthy priests I replied by 
thanking them in my own and daughter's name for 
all the attentions they had shown us, and prayed 
them to be witnesses before God and men of the 
barbarous acts that were about to be committed 
against women. Turning then towards my daughter, 
I endeavoured to raise her spirits by exhorting her 
not to be afraid ; for if our last hour was come, it 



EXILE TO KONIAH. 

would not be remedied by our showing ourselves 
cowardly. 

Having said these few words, I turned towards 
the garden door ; but scarcely were we outside, 
when the gendarmes, who were waiting for us, 
seized us and led us away to an old fortress, situated 
about two miles from the town. The gendarmes 
who conducted us remained taciturn the whole way, 
and did not say a word as to what was going to be 
done with us ; only in reply to an observation of 
mine that I supposed it was owing to the receipt of 
an order from my husband that they acted in this 
manner towards us, the commandant of the detach- 
ment said dryly, 

" You know it, Madame ; well, then, march." 

When we reached the fortress, they made us pass 
through three small iron doors, and led us into a 
vaulted room, only partially lighted by an opening 
close to the roof. This dark and damp prison had 
for its sole furniture two wretched beds with a 
woollen coverlet. No sooner had we entered 
when the guards, locking us in, left us to medi- 
tate on our position and on the fate which 
awaited us. 

Whilst the orders that the Ministry had sent from 
Constantinople were being executed on our persons, 



394 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Our house and goods were seized by the detachment 
which were charged with this operation. Amongst 
all our property and furniture, our clothes were the 
only things given over to us ; everything else, com- 
prising the flour and other merchandise that we 
kept warehoused, and also our ready cash, was con- 
fiscated, and passed into the hands of persons greedy 
for plunder. 

The three days we passed in the fortress were days 
of misery and anguish ; each time the door of our 
prison was opened, or that we heard a noise from the 
outside, we fancied that our last moment had arrivedj 
und that the executioners were come to strangle us. 
This dread which seized us was not the result of an 
excited imagination or terrified mind, but it was 
caused by the conviction that our enemies, Ferideh 
and Bessim, were persons who would not draw back 
from any enormity in order to get rid of us. It 
was their inability alone which had paralysed them ; 
but now that the authorities appeared to lend them 
assistance in their aims, we might expect every- 
-thing from them. 

Nevertheless, at the end of the third day of our 
detention, one of the officials of the government of 
the island came to inform us that we were to be 
exiled to Koniah in Asia Minor, and in consequence 



ROUTE TO KONIAH. 



395 




we should heave to embark on board the steamer 
which was to leave that same night for Smyrna. 

e Pasha's officer did not fail to give us some 
words of consolation, and made many excuses on 
the part of his master, who, he said, greatly re- 
gretted having had to perform so sad a duty, but, 
as a servant of the State, he could not do otherwise 
than obey the orders that had been sent him. 

Thus again escorted by gendarmes we were con- 
ducted on board, just as though we had been 
condemned to the galleys, or like people who had 
conspired against the life of the Padishah and the 
safety of the country. Our arrest took place in the 
beginning of December, 1865. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

lloute to Koniah -Sojourn at Koniah Escape from Koniah "We arrive 
at Mersine The French Consul Arrival at Constantinople. 

ON our arrival at Smyrna, we were conducted 
under an escort to a Turkish house, where we were 
kept for three more days under strict surveillance. 
The preparations for our journey being then termi- 
nated, we were placed on horses, and took the road 
which leads from Smyrna to Koniah by way of Sparta. 
Our escort at this time was not a very formidable 
one ; it only consisted of two gendarmes. Evi- 
dently the Smyrna authorities did not fear our 
attempting flight during the journey. Besides, with; 
bad horses, bad cavalry saddles, and the snow which 
covered the mountains of Aidin, we had need to be 
men of exceptional strength instead of women, in 
order to attempt such a flight. 

Poor unfortunate creatures as we were, we had 
barely strength to keep ourselves on our saddles, for 
we shivered with the cold, which almost deprived us 
of the use of our limbs. Aisheh, who never ought 



ROUTE TO RON I AH. 397 

to have been exposed to such trials, had to undergo 
some great hardships ; her condition was truly 
pitiable. The privations and sufferings to which 
she was exposed told upon her strength with greater 
force, owing to her mind and spirit being so crushed, 
and being deprived of all the comforts and luxuries 
to which she had been accustomed in her father's 
house ; but what rendered her more inconsolable 
than all besides, was the knowledge that she owed 
all this dreadful treatment to a father whom she 
tenderly loved. 

The sufferings of my daughter, and the state of 
the roads, did not permit us to take long marches, 
or to enjoy any of the pleasures of the journey. 
Our stages were generally from three to four hours 
a day, so that it took us a fortnight to reach 
Koniah, the place of our destination. On the way 
we rested in many towns and villages : the most 
important places we saw were Aidin, the country of 
the famous Zeibecks, the troubadour warriors of 
Asia Minor. Aidin, or Guzel-Hissar, must bo a 
charming place in summer time, as it is surrounded 
by gardens and orchards, and offers a beautiful view 
of the adjacent plain. Sparta is another town 
whose smiling appearance somewhat enlivened the 
dreariness of our journey. This place, like Aidin, 



398 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

commands a fine view over a valley covered with 
fine plane trees : the waters flow plentifully through 
the beds of the streams and torrents ; while the 
houses seemed to us elegantly and well built in the 
midst of gardens. 

But in the midst of our sufferings, seeing our T 
selves exiles and outcasts, the beauties of nature 
and the sight of towns and villages could not pro- 
duce any great effect upon us ; so that it often 
happened that we entered inside a place and came 
out again without even thinking to ask our gen^ 
darmes or the country people any questions about 
it. In the midst of our anxiety the predominant 
thought which engrossed our minds was, " AncU 
what next ? What will they do with us when once 
we reach Koniah ?" 

After a march of fifteen days, we at last arrived 
at Koniah, which is situated in the middle of a 
vast plain. I will not say anything here on the 
subject of Koniah, of its houses, its mosques, and 
the gardens which constitute its suburbs ; for, as the 
reader will remember, I have already made mention 
of this town, in speaking of my first exile here. 
Nevertheless I do not hesitate to say that in ap r 
proaching the town I could not prevent feeling a 
lively desire to see it again, and to meet my old 



SOJOURN AT KONIAH. 399 

friends and acquaintances once more. It seemed to 
me at this moment that in all misfortunes there is a 
charm, and that the recollection of a sad past has, 
in it also something to soothe and please the mind. 

Our arrival at Koniah did not fail to produce a, 
lively sensation amongst all classes of the popula- 
tion, amongst the men as well as in the harem, 
They were astonished to see a daughter sent by her 
father into exile in the midst of ice and snow. The 
Pasha- Governor was a certain good and fat old man, 
called Izzet-Pasha : when the gendarmes placed in 
his hands the Jlrman which condemned us to exile, 
the poor Pasha remained stupified, and, seizing his 
long beard, cried out 

" Tchok shell Tchok shei! bunudah giurduk!" 
signifying, " Zounds ! one must live to my age to 
see such things as these/' 

Izzet-Pasha took care to settle us in a house, 
where we were no sooner installed than we were 
besieged by a mass of visitors. Every one who had 
formerly known me came at once to see me ; some 
of my friends hastening to express their regrets for 
the misfortunes that had befallen me and my 
daughter, whilst my most intimate friends could not 
conceal their joy at seeing me again in their midst. 

The wives of the Mollah-Unkiar. as also those 



400 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

of several dervishes, hastened to send us hot dishes 
and sweetmeats, as a proof of their cordiality. In 
our private conversations as between mother and 
daughter as regarded our position, we came to the 
conclusion that it would be folly to think of return- 
ing, at least for some time, to our own country, and 
that for the moment we could not do better than 
resign ourselves to our fate, and to try and render 
our exile as agreeable as we could possibly make it. 

Evidently the only hope we could entertain of 
returning to our home was based on the possibility 
that the voice of nature might make itself heard in 
the heart of him who had not hesitated to persecute 
his wife and child. Nevertheless, Providence, which 
watched over us, had in its hidden designs ordered 
otherwise ; for without our knowledge, or even 
thinking of it, it was about to open the road of our 
deliverance. 

Three months had scarcely elapsed since our 
arrival at Koniah, when one fine day a certain 
Hadji-Kadin, the mother of a dervish, came to visit 
us. In the course of conversation the worthy woman 
said, that if she had been placed in a similar posi- 
tion to ours, she should have escaped and returned 
to Constantinople. 

"You have not committed any crime," added 



ESCAPE FROM KONIAH. 401 

Hadji-Kadin. " What do you suppose they can do 
to you ? If I were in your place, as Allah is my 
witness, I would not remain a minute longer here." 

These exhortations produced an extraordinary 
effect on me and my daughter ; for we felt our 
courage and strength reviving at every word. The 
question of our flight was then fully discussed, and 
between us three we talked over the means we must 
employ to carry out our enterprise successfully. 
Hadji-Kadin offered with the best good-will to pro- 
vide us with horses for the journey, and proposed 
that her son, Dervish Ahmet, should accompany us 
in secret outside the town, and put us on the road 
which leads to Mersiue. The plan to be followed 
in our evasion having been decided on, it only 
remained to make the necessary arrangements. 

Before relating the circumstances attending our 
flight from Koniah, 1 must give a few explanations 
m this event ; for the explanations will throw a 
on the causes which brought about our exile 
and our flight. 

I must commence by saying that both our exile 
and our flight were neither more nor less than 
political farces, that the Ministry and Kibrizli- 
Pasha played one against the other. In the midst 
of these intrigues, it was we, poor unfortunates, who 

D D 



402 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

had to suffer. According to information which I 
gleaned on our return to Constantinople, which 
also bore out what I heard Fuad-Pasha himself say 
on the occasion of my interview with him at Nice, 
a short time before his death, I will now relate 
what the circumstances were which brought about 
our exile and our flight. 

My readers will no doubt recollect what I have 
previously said on the subject of the instigations of 
our enemies, who, by their tricks and wiles, induced 
the Pasha to commit acts of violence on the persons 
of his wife and daughter. But Kibrizli, who was 
no longer in the Ministry, had no other means of 
satisfying the clamour of the people of his house- 
hold, than that of asking the Ministers to aid him 
by means of their authority. The Ministers at first 
hesitated to give Kibrizli their support ; for the 
intestine warfare which ravaged the family of a 
pretendant to the grand-vezirat, accorded com- 
pletely with the wishes and interests of Fuad and 
of Ali Pasha. 

The good-will which the Ministers at first showed 
us, and their refusal to lend themselves as in- 
struments of vengeance, sufficiently explains their 
policy, during the first period of the conflicts which 
were carried on between Kibrizli-Pasha and our- 



ESCAPE FROM KONIAH. 403 

selves. But an unexpected change in the aspect of 
affairs caused Fuad and Ali to alter their plans. 
Kibrizli having resolved at any cost to prevail over 
us and his political adversaries, presented an ulti- 
matum to the Ministry by which he declared that if 
they persisted in refusing the arm. of authority 
against his daughter, he would go straight to the 
Sultan, and get from his Majesty the firman he 
desired to have. 

Seeing that Kibrizli would get the victory in spite 
of themselves, Fuad and Ali changed their tactics, 
by giving way to the demands of their adversary, 
in according him the firman for our arrest and 
exile. In acting in this manner, these two states- 
men took into consideration our safety and interests ; 
for it was evident that if Kibrizli-Pasha, Ferideh, 
Bessim, and our other enemies could have succeeded 
in procuring a firman according to their own wishes, 
our destruction would have been inevitable. 

In giving therefore this firman, the Ministry, 
without our knowledge, rendered us a signal service. 
Nevertheless, as nothing is done in political matters 
without a motive, thus Fuad and Ali only consented 
to grant the firman with the aim of preserving the 
advantages that they could gather in the midst 
of our domestic quarrels. They both thoroughly 

D D 2 



404 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

well understood that it would be easy to annul a 
firman which emanated from themselves, whilst it 
would have been much more difficult to revoke a 
firman emanating from the Sultan himself. Briefly, 
Fuad and Ali said to themselves, "Let us give 
Kibrizli the firman he asks for ; afterwards it will 
not be difficult to get the women back again, and 
things will go on in the same way as before." 

This is exactly what they did in sending us two 
emissaries, such as Hadji-Kadin and Dervish Ahmet, 
her son. That these people acted from instructions 
received from head-quarters there can be no doubt ; 
for if it was not the case, how can one explain these 
facts, that during our stay at Koniah no measure 
of surveillance was adopted on our behalf, and that 
afterwards, on our arrival at Constantinople, the 
Ministry took no notice of our escape ? 

Evidently they only wanted to shut Kibrizli 
Pasha's mouth by giving him the firman, whilst, in 
allowing us to escape, they wished to create new 
difficulties. 

According to the plan we had laid down, 
Dervish Ahmet came and knocked at our door 
towards the dawn of day, accompanied by two 
guides and horses, which we had to mount. With- 
out loss of time, we three, Aisheh, myself and my 



ESCAPE FROM KONIAH. 405 

m, Djehad, took our places on our saddles, and 
3gan to trot across the fields and solitary paths 
that Dervish Ahmet had charged himself with the 
duty of showing us. When at some distance from 
Koniah, Dervish Ahmet confided us to the care of 
the two guides, at the same time wishing us good- 
by and a prosperous journey. 

Now that I see things in a different light to what 
I did at that time, I can but regret that they did 
not spare us the fear, the agitation, and the fatigue 
that this flight from Koniah caused us. If the 
Ministry had decided on making us return to Con- 
stantinople to play out their game, for myself I 
would have promised to play it out to perfection, 
without any one guessing it and without causing us 
real torments. But the complete ignorance in which 
we were kept on the subject of what was passing 
behind the scenes made us escape with all the 
gravity and fear of dangerous consequences. At 
every step we looked behind to see if any one was 
following us. Instead of going along tranquilly, 
we galloped like maniacs, and not being able to 
sit well on our saddles, we fell off at least twenty 
times. 

As for my daughter, she displayed a great deal of 
courage ; she astonished us by the skill which she 



406 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

shewed in the management of her horse. Neverthe- 
less, she also" fell off several times, but this did not 
occur till the moment when her strength failed her, 
and she felt herself worn out with fatigue and want 
of sleep. 

Between Koniah and Karaman there is a distance 
of twenty hours' ride; we did the whole of it in 
two stages, and halted in a meadow on the banks of 
a rivulet. The truth is, that after a march of twelve 
or fourteen hours we were so knocked up that we 
could not .go on without taking some rest. Leaving 
our horses to graze in the meadow, w^e and our 
guides lay down on the banks of the stream, and in 
a few moments fell fast asleep. 

At daybreak Aisheh woke : alarmed by the danger 
we ran in prolonging our halt in a place infested by 
Turkish marauders, she made us get up and continue 
our march. In fact, we were in a most dangerous 
position, for if evil-disposed people had presented 
themselves, we could not have offered them any 
resistance ; our caravan only consisted of two armed 
men, and they slept quite tranquilly on the grass. 
If thieves had made their appearance, they could 
easily have carried us all off men and women and 
horses. 

We continued our journey towards Karaman, but 



ESCAPE FEOM KONIAH. 407 

not able to enter it before sunset, on account 
>f the by-ways we had to take, so as to avoid the 
most frequented paths. As I have already said, all 
these troubles and annoyances might have been 
spared us, if they had only hinted that we might 
escape by the public road and take our time about 
it. 

After spending the night at Karaman, we con- 
tinued our journey, following the valleys and keep- 
ing along by the sides of the mountains of Cilicia 
(the Ak-dagh). Before crossing this chain, our 
caravan passed the night at Khan, a small town 
situated on the road to Mersine. From Khan, on 
the following day, we mounted to the summit of the 
chain of mountains whose culminating peak the 
country people call Dunbelek-dagh. The road was 
a succession of zig-zags through the wooded sides of 
the mountains. The view was unexceptionably 
picturesque and grand. 

The third night of our march we halted at a 
village on the other side of the mountain, and on 
the fourth day, late in the afternoon, we arrived 
safe and well at Mersine. As we feared lest the 
authorities of the town should take notice of our 
arrival, and in consequence raise difficulties and per- 
haps prevent our departure, we immediately on our 



408 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

arrival went to the French Consul, in order to put 
ourselves under his protection. 

The Consul was absent at his country place, 
for in Cilicia, when the spring-time is much 
advanced, the inhabitants are in the habit of 
going for the month of March to their country 
residences, so as to enjoy the most agreeable season 
of the year. This tiresome circumstance necessi- 
tated our going in search of the Consul, and to 
have another half hour's ride. The concierge at the 
Consulate was gallant enough to offer himself as our 
guide, and walked at the head of our horses till we 
reached the Consul's door. The Consul's house was 
picturesquely situated in the midst of rocks, and 
commanded a large and beautiful vineyard, sur- 
rounded by fig and palm trees. 

Having been apprised of our arrival, the Consul 
hastened in person to offer us the hospitality of his 
house, and, with an exquisite courtesy, assisted us 
off our horses, and did us the honours of his house- 
M. Geoffroy was a young man, about thirty years of 
age, of an agreeable exterior, and with manners 
which revealed high birth, and choice education. 

The kindness which the chivalrous Consul showed 
us greatly surpassed the ordinary limits of hospitality 
and etiquette. According to Oriental custom, he 



THE FRENCH CONSUL. 409 

placed his bath at our disposal, and requested his 
mother to see that nothing was neglected for our 
comfort. M. Geoffroy hastened, the first moment 
we put foot in his house, to assure us that no one 
shoud molest us whilst we remained with him, and 
he would also give us a safe-conduct to put us on 
board the steamer. 

We remained for two days the guests of the 
Consul, who charmed us by his manners, as also by 
the attentions with which he overwhelmed us. But 
what pleased me more than all was the service he 
did for us in giving us as a friend his best advice 
and counsels on the subject of my daughter and 
her father. M. Geoffroy, who thoroughly under- * 
stood the character of the Turks, did not hesitate to 
say that, from what he had heard from us about 
our affairs, our return to Constantinople was, under 
the circumstances, an act of utter madness. As for 
the hope of bringing about a reconciliation with the 
Pasha and our adversaries, it was an illusion that 
the antecedents entirely contradicted. According 

him there were but two courses open : either * 
my daughter must decide on a complete submission, 
or else she must seek for safety in a foreign country. 

In this M. Geoffroy and myself were of the same 
opinion ; but unfortunately Ai'sheh would not listen 



410 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to the counsels of her mother or a friend, for she 
still cherished the hope of arranging matters by 
means of a mezzo termine. 

On the arrival of the steamer we took leave of 
M. Geoffroy and his mother, and went to take our 
places on board. As the vessel touched at the 
different ports along the coast, such as Rhodes, 
Smyrna, the Dardanelles, it took three days for us 
to reach the Golden Horn. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

Arrival at Constantinople Our position Designs of the Turks We 
decide to fly to Europe My nephew Carlo Galix. 

Oufi arrival did not fail to produce a certain 
effect on the mass of the populace of Con- 
stantinople ; but this sensation was not alone 
the result of surprise, for they knew that we 
were not women who would allow ourselves to 
be easily ruled. The news of our arrival naturally 
vexed our adversaries ; as for the Ministry, they 
rejoiced, for they knew the struggle was about 
to begin again between us and our enemies. 

It will not have escaped my reader's notice that, 
whilst I do not hesitate to qualify Kibrizli, Ferideh, 
&c., by the name of adversaries, I take care not to call 
the people in authority our friends : in fact, what 
title could I give Fuad and Ali-Pasha, who, whilst 
making use of us to attain their own political aims, 
nevertheless left us to the mercy of the strongest, 
and showed themselves totally indifferent to our 
sufferings and anguish 1 If these people had had 



412 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

really our welfare at heart, what they should have 
done was very simple. They ought first to have 
allowed us a sum of money for our subsistence, and 
at once have intimated to our adversaries to keep 
quiet, or otherwise the Government would interfere 
in our favour. 

Fuad and Ali took care not to follow such 
a line of conduct, for they knew that by this 
means an end would soon be put to our quarrels. 
Naturally, if L they had let us live in peace, 
and if they had allowed us some thousands 
of francs for our maintenance, we should never 
have troubled ourselves about Ferideh and her com- 
panions ; we should have left them perfectly tranquil. 

Wishing to put an end to a state of things in 
which we had nothing to gain and everything to 
lose, immediately on my arrival at Constantinople, 
I begged my daughter to endeavour to regain her 
father's good- will and favour. With this object in 
view, A'isheh went to see a Khodja, who was the 
spiritual director of his Highness a pious person 
of great repute amongst the grandees of Constan- 
tinople, as well as the poorer classes of the people. 
The Khodja, by name Ibrahim-Effendi, received 
Ai'sheh with every mark of kindness and considera. 
tion. He expressed his regret for the misfortunes 



OUR POSITION. 413 

which had befallen us, and did. not conceal from 
her that he disapproved of the acts of violence from 
which we had suffered. Ibrahim-Effendi did not 
hesitate to say that he had remonstrated on this 
subject with his Highness, but that unfortunately 
he had not been attended to. The Khodja, in con- 
clusion assured Ai'sheh that he would not fail to 
seize the first favourable opportunity to intercede in 
her behalf ; but he added, that we must keep very 
quiet, and avoid giving the least annoyance to the 
Pasha. 

But whilst Ibrahim-Effendi preached these ser- 
mons to Aisheh, and sent her away with fine words, 
we were rapidly hastening towards a crisis. 

The fact is, we were reduced to the last extremity, 
having no other alternative before us than to sur- 
render at discretion, or else to make a path for our- 
selves through the enemies' lines. Like a garrison 
which has used up its provisions, we were compelled 
either to lower our arms or to make a sortie. 

Our means were entirely exhausted. Of the 
hundred thousand francs which my daughter had 
brought away with her in her flight from her father's 
house there only remained a few thousands. All 
this money had run through our fingers under one 
pretext or another. A part of it was expended by 



414 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

Aisheh in frivolities which she declared she could 
not do without ; another portion was confiscated at 
Mitylene, or else was absorbed by the expenses of 
our exile and flight. Briefly, as I have said, all 
had been spent in one way or another, and two or 
three thousand francs was all we possessed in this 
solemn moment. 

Under these circumstances it was impossible to 
think of continuing the struggle, or even to remain 
in the capital in which my daughter had been ac- 
customed to lead a luxurious life. The only chance 
that was left us was to go and live in the country, 
where a small property which I possessed would 
have served us as a shelter, and would have saved 
us from the imminent danger of our dying from star- 
vation. But after having solved the economical part 
of the question, the next thing to be considered was 
that of our personal safety. Should we be safe there 1 
And if our enemies sent anyone to illtreat us, who 
was there to protect us ? In the impossibility 
of solving this problem in a satisfactory manner, 
I bethought myself of a flight into Europe, in 
order to see if this course offered me more chance, 
or even a shadow of hope. But it was not neces- 
sary to rack one's brains to be able to understand 
that in our position it would have been madness to 



DESIGNS OF THE TURKS. 415 



dream of a flight. I well knew that two women 
who dared to venture into Europe without money 
might expect everything, even death itself. 

But whilst we waited with anxiety the result of 
our negotiations, and strove to come to a decision 
on the subject of what was best to be done, an 
incident occurred which decided our fate. We had 
a friend, a certain Hussein-Pasha, who was ac- 
quainted with Bessim, Shevket, and all that set. 
Hussein learnt, God knows how, that Kibrizli-Pasha 
and his counsellors had decided on getting rid of us 
at any cost, and with this end in view they intended 
transporting us to the fortress of Demitoka, from 
whence we could never hope to escape. The for- 
tress of Demitoka is situated in Thracia, and it is 
there that the Porte sends those it wishes to be rid 
of. There is no place in Turkey more gloomy or 
where the surveillance is so strict as at Demitoka ; 
this explains why this place is proverbially known as 
a sort of hell upon earth. 

Hussein, on learning the intentions of our ene- 
mies, hastened to send us a secret emissary, to warn 
us of the danger which threatened us. The import- 
ance of this information could not be doubted, for 
after what had occurred to us at Mitylene, it was 
evident there was no outrage that our enemies were 



416 THIRTY YEARS IX THE HAREM. 

not capable of. As for doubting the veracity of the 
message sent us by Hussein- Pasha, this was quite 
out of the question, for we knew that Hussein cor- 
dially detested our enemies ; and if it was not 
entirely out of regard to us, at any rate his enmity 
to the others made him desire to be useful. 

This news greatly alarmed us, but myself the most, 
for clearer than my daughter I could see that a 
gloomy future lay open before us. Aisheh, on her side 
a prey to a consternation which bordered on delirium, 
implored me to leave for Europe, saying she pre- 
ferred to die of hunger rather than fall living into 
the hands of her enemies. I did my best to calm 
her, and in this supreme moment to raise her 
spirits by making her understand that she must 
on no account despair of the future, for affairs had 
not yet reached the point she imagined, and that 
in some way or another we should obtain support 
and protection. 

But all my prayers and exhortations were of no 
avail, she turned a deaf ear to them, for her terror- 
was such that the unfortunate girl had lost all con- 
trol over herself. After having fixed her wild eyes 
on the door, Aisheh remained immovable for some 
seconds, then, turning suddenly to me, she said, in 
a terrified voice, " If you will go with me, well ; if 



WE DECIDE TO FLY TO EUROPE. 417 

not, I will go immediately to the sea, and embark 
in the first European ship I can find, for here I will 
not stay." 

Having already had a hundred proofs of what 
Ai'sheh was capable of, when once she had taken 
anything strongly to heart, and knowing that, in 
her excited state, she might even destroy herself, I 
.gave way to her entreaties. Besides, a mother's 
feelings are apt to carry her away from the path of 
reason and common sense, and I felt as if a whirl- 
wind was drawing me with my child into its vortex. 
I, therefore, at once promised to take her to Europe, 
and to place her in safety from those who conspired 
against us ; at the same time I recommended Ai'sheh 
to keep our intentions quite secret, for, if any one 
got the least suspicion of it, we should lose our 
lives. 

In order to give the reader an idea of the dangers 
in the midst of which we found ourselves, I must 
mention that what Kibrizli-Pasha and the Turks 
most dreaded was, that we should escape into 
Europe. Fanaticism and jealousy are the two ' 
sentiments which predominate with the Turks ; 
these sentiments are so violent, that no Turk can 
hear that a woman has escaped to the Ghi'aurs 
without trembling with rage. 



E E 



841 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM 

It is quite possible that the Turk who hears the 
dreadful news may neither know the woman or her 
family, or even her country : these things are per- 
fectly indifferent to him ; the mere fact that the 
daughter of a Mussulman has fallen into the hands 
of the Gh'iaurs, and that these latter can look upon 
her features, is enough to make his blood boil, and 
make him rave. Should it happen, however, that 
the woman who has escaped is no unknown person 
of low extraction, but the daughter of one of the 
princes of Islam, the Turks are ready to declare in a 
body that such a fact is a national disaster ; some 
of them may in consequence even die of a stroke of 
apoplexy. 

My daughter Aisheh was the daughter of a Grand- 
vezir, of one who had three times held in his hand 
the seal of the Padishah ; besides this, she was an 
Esseideh, Emir, a descendant of the race of Moha- 
med... One can understand that the very idea that 
such a woman could escape, and be exposed to the 
unclean gaze of the Ghiaurs, would make the Turks 
furious to that degree that they would prefer to 
confine us for life in the fortress of Demitoka, or 
have us strangled, rather than cover Islam with 
so lasting a disgrace. 

It is a grave error to suppose that jealousy 



OUR PRECAUTIONS. 419 

and fanaticism were extinguished at the epoch of 
the destruction of the Janissaries, for even at this 
date the young persons who have been sent to 
Europe for their education take the infection of 
these diseases on their return to their homes. 
Fu ad-Pasha made an exception to the general rule ; 
as regards Ali-Pasha, I can form no opinion, inas- 
much as I am not acquainted with his ideas and 
sentiments. No one could ever guess what this 
man really thought or felt ; Ali was a real genius 
in hypocrisy. 

But to return to our flight. I must mention that 
the precautions which I took whilst I made my 
preparations were in conformity with the gravity 
of the circumstances, and of the risks which we 
ran. After having turned several projects over in 
my mind, I finally decided upon the only one 
which seemed to offer any chance of success ; this 
was, in the first place, to discover some one amongst 
the Europeans at Pera who would procure dresses 
for us in the European fashion petticoats, bonnets, 
mantles, and so on and who would undertake to 
secure places for us on one of the mail packet-boats 
that sailed for Marseilles. - 

Under these circumstances it was natural that 
I should turn my eyes towards my own relations 



E E 



420 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

at Pera ; for to whom could I apply in a matter 
so dangerous and delicate, if not to my own 
sister ? The Perotes are so notoriously venal, that 
I had good reasons for fearing to confide in any 
of them ; there was a great risk that allured by the 
hope of making their fortunes, they would betray me 
to the Turks, who would readily have given an 
enormous sum for information respecting our plans. 
To say the truth, I for some time even hesitated to 
confide in my own sister, and for the reason, that her 
son Carlo Calix, was purveyor to the Imperial Court, 
and in consequence intimately connected with the 
Turks. " God knows/' I said to myself, " how far 
money interests may prevail over family ties ; and 
Carlo Calix, who gains thousands and thousands by 
the Turks, may possibly betray his aunt, whom he 
scarcely knows." 

But the honest Carlo proved the falsehood of my 
suspicions and fears ; no one in the world could have 
acted more nobly ; he took on himself, at his own 
cost and risk, to provide our means of escape. In 
fact, when I went to Madame Calix and confided to 
her our design of escaping to Europe, she imme- 
diately summoned her son Carlo, and we three held 
a consultation, in which we discussed the project in 
all its phases, and we decided on the plan of action 



CARLO CALIX. 421 

which appeared most favourable. The eagerness 
which Carlo displayed in aiding us in this dangerous 
business took me quite by surprise, for I had no 
reason to expect it. 

" Aunt," said Carlo, " as I see things, the only 
hope of safety for you and Ai'sheh is in flight. By 
escaping to Europe, not only do you place yourself 
in safety, but you take a signal revenge on the 
Turks, who have ill-treated and tyrannized over 
you, and who now seek to destroy you. 

"Sacre-bleu, leave us to act, and to-morrow every- 
thing will be ready for your departure." 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

Our flight "We disguise ourselves "We get on board the mail steamer 
Our departure Off at last for Europe. 

EVERYTHING having been made ready for our 
departure, we hurried to be off by the very first 
mail ; which was to start for France that week. Our 
anxiety, our apprehensions may be, in a measure, 
imagined, but never fully realised. On the one 
hand we had already experienced the terrors of 
pursuit, the horrors of re-capture, the long torments 
of seclusion. A worse fate awaited us if our pre- 
sent project failed: an underground dungeon for 
life. On the other hand our success depended upon 
our taking advantage of the very first opportunity 
of attempting our escape. Should we be fortunate 
now ? This was the momentous question the 
attempt could alone determine. 

At Constantinople the Government and the police 
exercise a rather severe control over the passports of 
departing travellers. In the first instance, the docu- 



OUR FLIGHT. 423 

ments must be vised ; they are then presented at 
the office of the Messageries, and are only returned 
to the travellers a few moments before their de- 
parture. Now these formalities threatened to be 
for us a most serious business, for this simple 
reason that we had no passports, and had no means 
of procuring any. But if our being without pass- 
ports exposed us to the risk of being stopped by 
the local police ; on the other hand the imminent 
danger we were in, from the revengeful fury of my 
husband, left us no alternative but to incur the risk 
of being arrested by the local police, the chance of 
bribing whom still remained to us. 

Fully aware, therefore, of the immense advantage 
to us of using diligence, we accomplished impossi- 
bilities in these two days, in order to complete our 
preparations. Carlo hastened to bring us dresses, 
prepared our trunks, and ordered the sedan-chairs 
which were to take us through the streets of Pera 
and from Galata to the place of embarkation. I 
for my part hurried off to tell Ai'sheh that our 
departure was fixed for the following day. 

It was necessary to assign some reason for our 
proceedings to our own household and neighbours. 
We therefore gave them to understand that we were 
only going to the quarter of the Ghiaurs to make 



424- THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

purchases. Our adieux were the last which we ever 
made to them the last which my daughter made 
to her country, and to everything that was dear to 
her in the world. As for me, I made my last adieu 
to Mussulman society, in the midst of which I had 
passed thirty years a whole existence. 

On our arrival at Pera we went straight to 
Madame Calix, who was impatiently expecting us, 
for everything was ready for our departure. In 
such moments, when one is on the point of taking 
a final decision, a feeling of strong agitation must 
seize on all concerned, be they actors, accomplices, 
or witnesses ; and accordingly, on this occasion 
when we entered the house, we found my sister and 
Carlo in a great state of agitation, caused no less by 
the grave responsibility which rested on them, than 
by the decisive and irrevocable step which they 
knew we were about to take. 

With the hurry and excitement which are inevitable 
on such occasions, we laid aside our Turkish dress, 
and put on the petticoats which are worn by Euro- 
peans. Aisheh, with that light-heartedness which 
was the charm of her youth, did not appear to be 
much preoccupied with either responsibility or dan- 
ger ; she was entirely absorbed in the operation of 
transforming herself from a Hanum -into a lady. 



WE DISGUISE OURSELVES. 425 

The idea of approaching freedom made her forget the 
dangers which threatened her very life. When our 
toilet was ended, we bade adieu to my sister and 
her daughters, and went out into the street where 
the sedan-chairs were waiting for us. Carlo helped 
us in, advising us to be very careful to conceal our 
features by lowering our veils, and when everything 
was ready gave the order to start. 

We passed through the most crowded streets of 
Pera and Galata ; whilst our chairs doubtless pushed 
against many who would not have hesitated to 
attack us, if they had only suspected that we were 
the individuals concealed behind those curtains. 

Carlo followed in the distance, carefully watching 
our progress ; as soon as we arrived at the stairs, he 
joined us again, in order to give his assistance at the 
difficult office of embarking. The stairs to which 
we had gone were close to the custom-house at 
Galata, and not much frequented ; it was a spot 
admirably chosen for our embarkation, and here 
Carlo had stationed a Maltese boat under the English 
flag, which was to convey us to the steamer. On 
leaving our chairs, we bid adieu to Carlo, with heart- 
felt thanks for all that he had done for us, and took 
our places in the boat. 

The Maltese boatmen rowed us in a few moments 



426 THIRTY YEARS IN THE HAREM. 

to the steamer, and took us alongside. There was 
a crowd of Turkish boats and caiques before the 
ladder, which had carried merchants and merchan- 
dise to the steamer ; amongst the caiques were two 
or three that were there to watch the embarkation, 
and in each of these was a police officer. The gen- 
darmes looked hard at us, made an inspection of 
our luggage, and allowed us to pass ; had they but 
known that one of these travellers was nothing less 
than the daughter of the Grand-vezir, who can say. 
what they would have done to us ? Probably we 
should have been made to measure the depth of the 
Bosphorus. 

As soon as we got on board, we at once de- 
scended to one of the cabins reserved for ladies, 
and there we placed ourselves out of sight. It is 
a most astonishing fact, that none of the officers of 
the ship asked to see either our tickets or passports ; 
the clerk merely inquired how far we were going, 
and seeing that we had no tickets, he gave us the 
requisite number. 

These were the circumstances under which we 
quitted Constantinople, in the autumn of 1866; 
arid here I must conclude that .portion of the narra- 
tive of my life, of which so large a part was passed 
in the harem. 



OFF AT LAST FOR EUROPE. 427 

The six years we have since spent in Europe, 
have been so many years of martyrdom. We have 
endured hunger, penury, abject misery. We have 
suffered persecutions of every kind, conducted with 
an ingenuity meriting the epithet of diabolical, and 
prosecuted with a degree of perseverance which 
indicates the intensest hatred. The object has 
been to discredit us everywhere ; to isolate us 
from society ; to drive us to despair even to 
death. 

Our vicissitudes in Europe, however, and they 
have been of a most extraordinary kind, must 
form the subject of a sequel to the present recital 
of our experiences and misfortunes in the East. I 
fervently thank God He has so mercifully preserved 
me thus far from my enemies, and I re]y upon His 
good Providence to enable me finally to overcome 
them, and to obtain justice for myself and my 
children. 



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THE 

FOKTNIGHTLY KEYIEW, 

Edited by JOHN MORLEY. 



niHE object of THE FORTNIGHTLY EEVIEW is to become an organ 

J_ for the unbiassed expression of many and various minds on topics of general 
interest in Politics, Literature, Philosophy, Science, and Art. Each contribution 
will have the gravity of an avowed responsibility. Each contributor, in giving his 
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Six Months. 



The following are among the Contributors : 



J. S. MILL. 
PROFESSOR HUXLEY. 
PROFESSOR TYNDALL. 
DR. VON SYBEL. 
PROFESSOR CAIRNES. 
EMILE DE LAVELEYE. 
GEORGE HENRY LEWES. 
FREDERIC HARRISON. 
WALTER BAGEHOT. 



PROFESSOR BEESLY. 
A. C. SWINBURNE. 
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI. 
HERMAN MERIVALE. 
EDWARD A. FREEMAN. 
WILLIAM MORRIS. 
F. W. FARRAR. 
PROFESSOR HENRY MORLEY. 
J. HUTCHISON STIRLING. 



W. T. THORNTON. 
PROFESSOR BAIN. 
PROFESSOR FAWCETT. 
HON. R. LYTTON. 
ANTHONY TROLLOPE. 
JOSEPH MAZZINI. 
THE EDITOR. 



&c. &c. 



&c. 



Contents for November. 
SECOND EDITION. 

CONTAINS : 

JOHN STUART MILL ON BERKELEY'S LIFE AND WRITINGS. 
PROFESSOR HUXLEY ON ADMINISTRATIVE NIHILISM. 

HENRY FAWCETT, M.P., ON THE PRESENT POSITION OF THE GOVERNMENT. 
WALTER H. PATER ON THE POETRY OF MICHAEL ANGELO. 
JULES ANDRIEU ON THE PARIS COMMUNE : A CHAPTER TOWARDS ITS THEORY 

AND HISTORY. 
ANTHONY TROLLOPE'S THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS. 

Contents for December. 

SPECIALISED ADMINISTRATION. By HERBERT SPENCER. 

CHURCH AND STATE IN ITALY. By J. W. PROBYN. 

THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS. Chapters XXI. to XXIV. By ANTHONY TROLLOPE. 

PHYSICS AND POLITICS. IV. NATION-MAKING. By WALTKR BAGEHOT. 

THE NEW ATTACK ON TOLERATION. By HELEN TAYLOR. 

LYRICAL FABLES (Conclusion). By the Hon. ROBERT LYTTON. 

THE IRISH UNIVERSITY QUESTION. By H. Dix BUTTON. 

Contents for January. 

THE POSITION AND PRACTICE OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS. By LORD HOUGHTON. 

THE CLOUD CONFINES. By DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI. 

HOME RULE. By W. O'CONNOR MORRIS. 

CHAUMETTE. By A. REGNARD. 

PHYSICS AND POLITICS. V. THE AGE OF DISCUSSION. By WALTER BAGEHOT. 

NEW THEORIES IN POLITICAL ECONOMY. By PROFESSOR CAIRNES. 

ST. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, By J. C. MORISON. 

THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS. Chapters XXV. to XXVIII. By ANTHONY TROLLOPE. 

FORSTER'S LIFE OF DICKENS. 



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Melek Hanim 

Thirty years in the harem 

1872