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first impressions, immediately exclaimed, with a kind of enthu siasm, "long live our new master." Mr. Eton, pleasantly and accurately enough, compares the general behaviour of a Turk to a Christian, with that of a German baron to his vassal. But if a Turk, as not unfrequently happens, rises above the prejudices and institutions of his country, he then, in his commerce with infidels, divests himself of his predominant passions, and exercises towards them the same virtues which regulate his transactions with men of his own religion.
The external manners of good breeding among the Turks entirely differ from those established in the other countries of Europe. The uncovering of the head, which with us is considered as the expression of reverence and respect, is ridiculed or reprobated among them, as an act of folly, or as indicating a contempt of propriety and decency. These and similar opinions are universal; and hence the Turks are more strongly attached to the observance of their own peculiar customs.
Their usual form of salutation is natural and graceful. In greeting an equal, they put the hand on the heart: in addressing a superior, they apply the right hand first to the mouth, and then to the forehead: when a Turk presents himself before a man of rank and dignity, he makes a profound inclination of his body, extends his right hand first towards the ground, and then raises it to his mouth and forehead: in the presence of the sovereign, he must even touch the ground before lifting the hand to the head. The air of gravity and decorum of exterior, which are common to the Ottomans, give considerable dignity to this ceremonious expression of homage or civility; and its effect is further improved by the grandeur of their ample and flowing garments. Children and subalterns express submission to their parents, and chiefs, by kissing their robe: if the superior withdraws his robe and presents his hand, and more especially the palm of his hand, it is received as a mark of distinguished favour. The kiss of religious fraternity is interchanged only at the two festivals of baïram. At other times, they figuratively express parental or filial affection, by extending the hand toward the chin or the beard of the person, and then applying it to their own mouths. The father of a family, and the man of elevated rank, never rise from their seats to receive either their children, or inferiors; and by parity of reasoning, no Mussulman rises to salute an infidel whatever be his situation in life: a guest of distinction, is received at the foot of the stairs by two officers of the household, who support him under the arms as far as the entrance of the visiting chamber, where the master of the house advances to meet him, if his rank entitles him to such marks of respect. At his departure, the master of the house rises with him, and accompanies
him to the door of the apartment, walking, not on his right or left side, but a few paces before him. After exchanging compliments, the stranger is reconducted by the pages to the horse or his barge.
Every traveller must have noticed, (though Dumont appears to be the first who has recorded the observation), that the Turkish usages contrast in a singular manner with our own. This dissimilitude, which pervades the whole of their habits, is so general, even in things of apparent insignificance, as almost to indicate design rather than accident. The whole exterior of the Oriental is different from ours. The European stands firm and erect, his head drawn back, his chest protruded, the point of the foot turned outwards, and the knees straight. The attitude of the Turk is less remote from nature, and in each of these respects approaches nearer to the models which the ancient statuaries appear to have copied. Their robes are large and loose, entirely concealing the contour of the human form, encumbering motion, and ill adapted to manly exercise. Our close and short dresses, calculated for promptitude of action, appear in their eyes to be wanting both in dignity and modesty. They reverence the beard as the symbol of manhood and the token of independence, but they practise depilation of the body from motives of cleanliness. In performing their devotions, or on entering a dwelling, they take off their shoes. In inviting a person to approach them, they use what with us is considered as a repulsive motion of the hand. In writing they trace the lines from right to left. The master of a house does the honours of his table by serving himself first from the dish he drinks without noticing the company, and they wish him health when he has finished his draught. They lie down to sleep in their clothes. They affect a grave and phlegmatic exterior: their amusements are all of the tranquil kind: they confound with folly the noisy expression of gayety: their utterance is slow and deliberate: they even feel satisfaction in silence: they attach the idea of majesty to the slowness of motion: they pass in repose all the moments of their life, which are not occupied in serious business: they retire early to rest; and they rise before the sun.
The Turks of the capital are somewhat removed from the simplicity of nature in their mode of clothing their new born infants, whom they bind and swaddle, so as necessarily to obstruct the motion of the principal organs of life, and to exhaust them with excessive perspiration; but they do not attempt by art or dress to correct or improve the human shape: the clothes of persons of both sexes and of all ages, though more in quantity than the climate seems to require, are free from ligatures. They neither confine the neck nor the waist, the wrist, the knees, nor the feet;
and though their clothes may encumber them in quick motion, yet they sit easily and gracefully upon them when walking with their usual gravity, or when reclining on the sopha. The turban, is, however, a part of the Turkish dress which is not recommended by any convenience. It is apt to overheat the head by its bulk and weight; and its form is exceedingly inconvenient to a people, whose chief exercise and diversion are in horsemanship.
The use of the warm bath is universal among persons of both sexes, and all classes, as well for the purposes of purification from worldly and carnal stains, as for health and cleanliness. Some writers are of opinion, that it induces, among the women, a habit of too great relaxation. But in the men, it certainly developes and invigorates the powers of the body. The Russians have the custom of plunging themselves into cold water, immediately on coming out of the hot bath; which I have seen them do (and I must confess with some degree of astonishment) in the severest rigour of the winter, and exposed to a bleak north east wind. Busbequius's physician, an Hungarian, used the same as a medicine at Constantinople; but such custom, if at all practised among the Turks, is unusual.
The habitual use of the vapour bath is peculiar to that great Scythian family, from the Tartar branch of which the Turks derive their origin. The Greeks and Romans, whose language, from its resemblance to the modern Russian in terms essential to the very existence of society, proves a preceding relationship, used the warm bath, as it is still used in the Russian and Turkish empires, from the northern extremities of Europe to the neighbourhood of the tropic; while the Gothic families who overspread and settled in the western empire, suffered the vapour baths to fall into disuse. But the custom itself is certainly derived from the north; the inhabitants of the temperate climates, and still more those in the southern latitudes, would naturally prefer the refreshment of cold bathing. The Turks, however, whether they adopted or inherited the custom, found it established in the eastern empire, and perpetuated the use of it.
The public baths are elegant and noble structures, built with hewn stones; the inner chambers are capacious, and paved with slabs of the rarest and most beautiful marble. Savary has described the luxuries of an Oriental bath with an enthusiasm, which nothing that I have experienced enables me to account for. A very comfortable sensation is communicated during the continuance in the heated rooms, and it is heightened into luxury, when the bather reposes himself on a couch after the ablution. But delicious repose, though the highest gratification to a Turk, can be considered by the European only as a rest from pain. and can never excite the raptures of actual pleasure.
A Turkish bath consists of several apartments; the entrance is into a spacious and lofty hall, lighted from above: round the sides are high and broad benches, on which mattresses and cushions are arranged; here the bather undresses, wraps a napkin about his waist, and puts on a pair of wooden sandals, before going into the bathing rooms.
The first chamber is but moderately warm, and is preparatory to the heat of the inner room, which is vaulted, and receives light from the dome. In the middle of the room is a marble astrade, elevated a few inches: on this the bather stretches himself at full length, and an attendant moulds or kneads the body with his hand for a considerable length of time. After this operation the bather is conducted into one of the alcoves or recesses, where there is a basin, supplied by pipes with streams of hot and cold water; the body and limbs are thoroughly cleansed by means of friction with a horse-hair bag, and washed and rubbed with a lather of perfumed soap. Here the operation ends: the bather stays a few minutes in the middle chamber, and covers himself with dry cotton napkins: thus prepared he issues out into the hall, and lies down on his bed for about half an hour.
The Turk, stretched at his ease in his pavilion on the banks of the Bosphorus, glides down the stream of existence without reflection on the past, and without anxiety for the future. His life is one continued and unvaried reverie. To his imagination the whole universe appears occupied in procuring him pleasure. The luxuriance of nature, and the labours of a tributary people spread out before him whatever can excite or gratify the senses; and every wind wafts to him the productions of the world, enriched by the arts, and improved by the taste, of the industrious Europeans.
The luxuries of a Turkish life would sink, however, in the estimation of most people, on a comparison with the artificial enjoyments of Europe. Their houses are built in contempt of the rules of architecture: their gardens are laid out without order, and with little taste: their furniture is simple, and suited rather to the habits of a military or vagrant people, than to the usages of settled life: their meals are frugal, and neither enlivened by wine nor conversation. Every custom invites to repose, and every object inspires an indolent voluptuousness.-Their delight is to recline on the soft verdure under the shade of trees, and to muse without fixing their attention, lulled by the tinkling of a fountain, or the murmuring of a rivulet, and inhaling through their pipe a gently inebriating vapour. Such pleasures, the highest which the rich can enjoy, are equally within the reach of the artisan or the peasant. Under their own vines and their own fig-trees, they equally feel the pride of independence, and the uninterrupted sweets of domestic comfort. If they enjoy not the
anxieties of courtship, and the triumph over coyness and modesty, their desires are inflamed and their passions are heightened, by the grace of motion, the elegance and suppleness of form, and the beautiful symmetry of shape and features. The education and modes of life of their women, though certainly too confined and too limited to domestic objects, for the cultivation of talents, which exercise and invigorate the powers of the mind, yet leave them all the charms which can result from nature, and sentiment, and truth.
The Turks particularly delight in conversation; and their colloquial intercourse is ornamented with all the graces of a manly and polished style. Nothing can convey a more favourable idea of Turkish urbanity, than to observe the natural and becoming gravity, the decent raillery, the sprightly turns of expression, and the genuine wit, with which they carry on discourse. In the long evenings of a Ramazan a meddhé, or professed story-teller, will entertain a large company in private assemblies, or in coffee-houses, with histories, which sometimes are pleasingly marvellous, as those of the Arabian Nights, sometimes a ludicrous representation of foreign or rustic manners, and sometimes political satire. Even the common people listen to them with pleasure, and criticise with taste and judgment the construction of the fable, the intricacy and development of the intrigue, the style and sentiments, the language and the elocution.
The standard of delicacy varies so much in different countries, and even among the same people at different times, that it may be unfair to judge of past ages, or of foreign manners, by a strict comparison with our own established maxims. The Ombres Chinoises, which in Turkey supply the want of dramatic exhibitions, are chiefly reserved for the entertainment of retired leisure. I have also seen them sometimes from the window of a coffeehouse in a public street; though I confess I did not partake of the satisfaction which the populace so repeatedly expressed, at indecencies too ludicrously absurd to excite any other feeling than derision or disgust.-Young men, born in the Greek islands of the Archipelago, exercise the infamous profession of public dancers; they chiefly perform in the wine houses in Galata; but they, as well as public gladiators, who attack and defend themselves with a sword and a shield, are frequently hired to enliven the entertainment given at a marriage or a circumcision. The female dancers are Turkish women, of whom I know nothing but from description, and the imitation of their manner by other women.
Of other public amusements, of which the Turks are willing spectators, the chief is wrestling.-Sandys describes this game, as he saw it at Acre in Syria." Here wrastle they in breeches of oyled leather, close to their thighs: their bodies naked and