Journal of a tour in the Levant, Volume 1 (Google eBook)

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John Murray, 1820 - Middle East - 480 pages
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Page 2 - The town is about three quarters of a mile long, and half a mile broad, and its first appearance pleased me greatly. It was neat and clean, the houses being universally whitewashed, and its ramparts afforded an agreeable walk, commanding a view of the harbour, but they were paved with light-coloured stone, and this mass of white was painful to the eye in a place exposed to ;a hot sun.
Page 82 - Amid the novelties that strike the European on his arrival, nothing surprises him more than the silence that pervades so large a capital. He hears no noise of carts or carriages rattling through the streets, for there are no wheeled vehicles in the city, except a very few painted carts called arabahs drawn by buffaloes, in which women occasionally take the air in the suburbs, and which go only a foot's pace. The only sounds he hears by day, are the cries of bread, fruits, sweetmeats, or sherbet,...
Page 83 - ... that it requires practice to be able to sleep in spite of their noise. This silence is occasionally and frequently disturbed by a fire, which is announced by the patrole striking on the pavement with their iron-shod staves, and calling loudly Yangenvar,
Page 83 - There is a fire," on which the firemen, (mostly Janizaries) assemble, and all the inhabitants in the neighbourhood of the conflagration are immediately on the alert. If it be not quickly subdued, all the ministers of state are obliged to attend, and if it threaten extensive ravages, the Sultan himself must appear, to encourage the efforts of the firemen.
Page 45 - ... northerly of the castles) against such a current; and higher up or lower down, the strait widens so considerably, that he would save little labour by changing his place of starting. I therefore treat the tale of Leander's swimming across both ways, as one of those fables, to which the Greeks were so ready to give the name of history.
Page 180 - ... government.", to whom, indeed, the selling of impunity or of pardon was a common source of emolument. A Zantiotc nobleman not long ago, on his deathbed, pistolled his own brother; another administered a slow poison to the only son of a rival, as the most bitter vengeance he could take on the father. The poor boy survived, but is to this day a wretched object from its effect. In short it would be equally impossible and needless to enumerate their crimes. There are only two classes, the very rich...
Page 84 - He must not even smoke or take snuff. This injunction falls easy on the rich, who pass nearly all the day in bed or in idleness, and thus ward off the assaults of hunger and thirst. Yet even these look very wretched, sitting on their divan or at their doors without their favourite pipe in their mouths, and having no other occupation than turning with their fingers a chaplet of beads, which almost every inhabitant of the country, in easy circumstances, carries in his hand to amuse himself, by passing...
Page 59 - His turban was surmounted by a splendid diamond aigrette and feather ; his pelisse was of the finest silk, lined with the most valuable sable fur, and his girdle was one mass of diamonds. I thought him the handsomest Turk I had seen : his features were regular, his eyes piercing, and his countenance bore the character of fierce determination, which has since marked his conduct...
Page 39 - Each gushing fount a marble cistern fills, Whose polish'd bed receives the falling rills; Where Trojan dames (ere yet alarm'd by Greece) Wash'd their fair garments in the days of peace.
Page 83 - The contrast between Constantinople and a European city is still more strongly marked at night. By ten o'clock every human voice is hushed...

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