Full on the promised land at length we bore

We were favoured by Æolus. One might have supposed that Captain Robert
Binnacle had succeeded to the bag of wind which that airy monarch gave
to the wise and gentle king of Ithaca. Thus a few days more saw our
transport amid the Isles of Greece as she bore through the Archipelago.

One day it was Milo, with Elijah’s lofty peak, its smoky spring, and
hollow, sea-soaked rocks, that rose upon our lee; the next it was
Siphanto’s marble shore, where ireful Apollo flooded the golden mines;
rugged Chios—in pagan times the land of purity, in later days the land
of slaughter; then Mytilene, the most fertile of all the Ægean Isles,
where “burning Sappho loved and sung,” and where Terpander strung the
lyre anew. Now it was Lemnos, where Vulcan fell from heaven, and where
his forges blazed; and the next tack brought us to Tenedos, whose name
has never changed since Priam reigned in Troy—all names that recalled
alike our schoolboy labours, and the departed glories of the Grecian

Off Tenedos the _Himalaya_ steamed past us, with two thousand two
hundred souls in her capacious womb. Soon after we entered the
Hellespont, between the famous castles of the Dardanelles, where Sestos
and Abydos stood of old, and the cannon of Kelidbahar (the lock of the
sea) on the European side saluted us, while the Turkish sentinels yelled
and brandished their muskets; and amid the haze of a summer evening we
saw the harbour lights of Gallipoli rise twinkling from the waters of
the strait; and when the anchor was let go, the courses were hauled up,
and the transport swung at her moorings, we knew that we were hard by
the shores of Thrace.

“And where the blazes is this same Seblastherpoll?” asked Lanty O’Regan,
my Irish groom, who was taking a survey of the waters where Leander took
his nightly bath.

“That place we sha’n’t see, Lanty, for many a long and weary day,” said
his Scotch companion, Pitblado, with more foresight than some of us then

Few of us slept that night, and all were busy with preparations for
landing; for, with all its varieties, we were weary of the voyage, the
confinement of the transport, impatient for shore and for action. So
vague were the ideas our soldiers had of distance and locality, that
most of them expected to find themselves face to face with the Russians
at once.

Beverley and Studhome prepared their “disembarkation returns” for the
information of the adjutant-general; and these were so elaborate that
one might have supposed the worthy man’s peace of mind depended entirely
on their literary productions. The whole troop had their traps packed,
and were ready to start with the first boat, when the order came to
land; and almost with dawn next morning an aide-de-camp, sent by
Lieutenant-General the Earl of Lucan, commanding the cavalry division,
arrived with orders for our immediate disembarkation, as we were to be
posted in the Light Brigade, which already consisted of the 8th and 11th
Hussars, and the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons.

The news spread through the ship like wildfire, and the cheer which rose
above and below almost drowned the welcome notes of the warning trumpet,
as it blew “boot and saddle”—a sound we had not heard since the day we
marched from Maidstone.

“Gentlemen, welcome to Gallipoli!” said the staff officer, as he
clattered into the cabin, with his steel scabbard and spurs, and
proceeded forthwith to regale himself with a long glass of Seltzer,
dashed with brandy, for the morning breeze was chilly as it swept across
the Hellespont.

“It’s a queer-looking place, this Gallipoli,” said Beverley.

“And a queer-looking place you’ll find it, colonel,” added the
aide-de-camp, as we gathered round him. “You will be more given to
airing your clothes than your classics, and won’t be much enchanted with
your quarters in Roumania. In lack of space and cleanliness, and in the
liberal allowance of gnats and fleas, they are all up to Turkish

“Any society here?” asked Jocelyn, with his little affected lisp, as he
caressed his incipient moustache.

The aide burst into a hearty fit of laughter, and then replied—

“Plenty, and of the most varied and original character.”

“And how about the ladies?”

“Is it true that the Turks still regulate their establishments of
womenkind according to the Koran?” asked the paymaster, with a grin on
his long, thin Scotch face.

“Upon the system of the 4th Veteran Battalion rather,” replied the

“Ah, and that——”

“Gave a wife to every private, and three to the adjutant.”

“Good Lord deliver us!” exclaimed Studhome, as he doubled his dose of
cognac and Seltzer.

“Is it a good country for hunting hereabouts?” asked Sir Harry Scarlett.

“Can’t say much for that,” replied our visitor, shrugging his shoulders.
“Besides, the Earl of Lucan will probably cut out other work for you
than riding across country; but for sportsmen there are plenty of hares,
partridges, and wild duck to keep one’s hand in till we see the
Russians, which I hope will not be long, for we are already all bored
and sick to death of Gallipoli.”

“How long have you been here?” asked Beverley.

“A month, colonel. Another troop has just been signalled off the mouth
of the Dardanelles.”

“The _Ganges_, with more of ours, perhaps.

“Likely enough; but they come in here every hour.”

“Any word yet of moving to the front—of taking the field?” asked

“No, nothing seems decided on yet. There are a thousand idle rumours;
but we are all in the dark as to the future—French and British alike.”

“A deuced bore!” exclaimed two or three together.

“Ah, you’ll find it when you have been a month or so under canvas at
Gallipoli. And now, Colonel Beverley, I need not suggest to so
experienced a cavalry officer how the horses are to be got on shore, but
for the time shall take my leave. Some of the cavalry divisional staff
have established a kind of clubhouse in a deserted khan, opposite the
old palace of the Bashaw, or Capudan Pacha, where we shall be glad to
see you, till we can make other arrangements; and so adieu. Should you
look us up, ask for Captain Bolton, of the 1st Dragoon Guards.”

In another minute the officer—a purpose-like fellow, in a well-worn blue
surtout, his steel scabbard and spurs already rusted—was down the ship’s
side, and being rowed ashore by eight marines in a man-of-war boat.

We experienced some difficulties in getting our horses slung up and
landed, as, to plunge them into the sea, after being so long in the
close and confined atmosphere of the hold, was not advisable; and after
they were all disembarked (with the assistance of some merry and singing
Zouaves of the 2nd Regiment, while a horde of lazy Turks of the Hadjee
Mehmet’s corps looked idly on), we had to give them a cooling regimen
and gentle exercise, as the best means of restoring them to their wonted
vigour, and preparing them for the strife and service that were to come.
The vessel that was reported as being in sight, proved really to be the
_Ganges_. We were at last on foreign soil, and Studhome, by a word and
a glance, reminded me that he had not forgotten what was to take place
between me and Berkeley; but immediately after landing, that personage
was reported on the doctor’s list, so we had to let the matter lie over
for a time. Troop after troop of ours arrived; and gradually Colonel
Beverley had again the whole regiment under his kindly and skilful

Studhome and I, who had frequently chummed together, when in India, had
the good luck to be quartered in the quiet and snug house of Demetrius
Steriopoli, the well-known and industrious miller, at a short distance
from the town. Eighteen thousand British troops were now in Gallipoli,
which, from being a quiet little den of Oriental dirt and Oriental
indolence, Moslem filth and fatuity, became instinct with European life
and bustle, by the presence of the soldiers of the allied armies. Those
who landed with no other ideas of the Orient than such as were inspired
by the “Arabian Nights,” and Byron’s poetry, were somewhat disappointed
on beholding the dingy rows of queer and quaint wooden, rickety and
dilapidated booths which composed the streets of this ancient Greek
episcopal city of Gallipoli.

Narrow, dirty, and tortuous, they were scattered without order on the
slope of a round stony hill; the thoroughfares were made of large round
pebbles, from which the foot slipped ever and anon into the mud, or
those stagnant pools whence the hordes of lean and houseless
dogs—houseless, because declared unclean by the Prophet—slaked their
thirst in the sunshine. Over these brown, discoloured hovels rose the
tall white minarets of a few crumbling mosques, with cone-shaped roofs
and open galleries, where the muezzin’s shrill voice summons the
faithful to prayer. A leaden-covered dome of the great bazaar, and the
old square fortress of Badjazet I., with a number of windmills on every
available eminence, were the most prominent features of the view, which
could never have been enchanting, even in its most palmy days—even when
the vaults of Justinian were teeming with wine and oil; for the Emperor
John Palæologus consoled himself for the capture of Gallipoli by the
Turks with saying, “I have only lost a jar of wine and a nasty sty for

But now its muddy streets of hovels were swarming with redcoats: the
Scottish bagpipe, the long Zouave trumpet, and the British bugle-horn,
rang there for parade and drill at every hour—even those when the
followers of the Prophet bent their swarthy foreheads on the mosaic
pavement of their mosques; and daily we, the light troops of the cavalry
division, were exercised by squadrons, regiments, and brigades, near
those green and grassy tumuli which lie on the southern side of the
city, and cover the remains of the ancient kings of Thrace. Now the
waters of the Hellespont were literally alive with war vessels and
transports, belonging to all the allied powers. They were of every
size, under sail or steam; and amid them, with white pinions outspread,
the swift Greek polaccas sped up or down the strait, which always
presented a lively and stirring scene, with the hills of Asia Minor,
toned down by distance, seeming faint and blue, and far away. Parade
over, it often amused me to watch the varied groups which gathered about
the doors of the bazaar, the wine and coffee-houses. There were the
grave Armenian of Turcomania, with his black fur cap, and long, flowing
robe; the black-eyed Greek, in scarlet tarboosh and ample blue breeches;
the dirty, hawk-visaged Jew, attired like a stage Shylock, waiting for
his pound of flesh; the kilted Highlander, in the “garb of old Gaul;”
the smart Irish rifleman; the well-fed English guardsman, _blasé_,
sleek, and fresh from London; the half savage-like Zouave, in his short
bluejacket and scarlet knickerbockers; the bronzed Chasseur d’Afrique;
the rollicking British man-o’-war’s man, in his guernsey shirt and wide
blue collar; the half-naked Nubian slave; the pretty French vivandière,
in her short skirt and clocked stockings, looking like Jenny Lind in
“The Daughter of the Regiment,” only twice as piquante and saucy; even a
Sister of Charity, sombre, pale, and placid, would appear at times,
crossing herself as she passed a howling dervish, when seeking milk or
wine for the sick; and amid all these varied costumes and nationalities
were to be seen such heedless fellows as young Rakeleigh, Jocelyn,
Scarlett, Wilford, and Berkeley, of ours, in wideawake hats, all-round
collars, with Tweed shooting suits and flyaway whiskers, hands in
pockets, and cheroot in mouth, as they quizzed and “chaffed” the great
solemn Turk of the old school, with his vast green turban and silver
beard, which steel had never profaned, or drank pale ale with his son of
the new school, in the military fez and frogged surtout, with varnished
boots and shaven chin, who, in his double capacity of a true believer
and a mulazim (or subaltern of Hadjee Mehmet’s regiment), deemed himself
at full liberty to use his whip without mercy among the camel-drivers
and lazy galiondjis (or boatmen), eliciting shrieks, yells, and curses,
which Berkeley, in his languid drawl, considered to be “aw—doocid good

Many of those smart youths of ours, and other fast Oxford men, had their
constitutional and national conceit somewhat taken out of them before
the war was ended.

“There is nothing more disgusting,” says a distinguished writer, with
pardonable severity, “or more intolerable, than a young Englishman
sallying forth into the world, full of his own ignorance and
John-Bullism, judging of mankind by his own petty, provincial, and
narrow notions of fitness and propriety—a mighty observer of effects and
disregarder of causes, and traversing continent and ocean, at once
blinded and shackled by the bigotry and prejudices of a limited and
imbecile intellect.”

Much of this was the secret spring of our Indian mutiny, and is the
cause that we are hated and shunned on the Continent. There are, of
course, exceptions, for in the East I have seen local prejudices so far
respected that we formed an escort when the British colours of the Sepoy
infantry were marched into the _Ganges_, to consecrate them in the eyes
of the Bengalese—the same pampered ruffians who slaughtered our women
and children at Cawnpore and Delhi.

We looked in vain for pretty women, and the reader may be assured that
some of our researches were of the most elaborate description. Not a
trace of the boasted Grecian beauty was to be found in those
oddly-dressed females, whose costume seemed a mere oval bale of clothing
(the feridjee), surmounted by a white linen veil, and ending in boots of
yellow leather, as they flitted like fat ghosts about the public wells,
or the gates of the great bazaar. All were, indeed, plain even to
ugliness, save in one instance—pretty little Magdhalini, the daughter of
the miller, Steriopoli. I remember a charming vivandière, who belonged
to the 2nd Zouaves, for I saw her frequently under circumstances that
could never be forgotten—in fact, under fire, at the head of the
regiment. She was a smart little Parisienne, possessed of great beauty,
with eyes that sparkled like the diamonds in her ears. She wore a
pretty blue Zouave jacket, braided with red, over a pretty chemisette,
and had her black hair smoothly braided under a scarlet kepi, which bore
the regimental number. The first time I saw Sophie she was simply
maintaining a flirtation with one of the corps, to whom she gave a
mouthful of brandy from her barrel, as he stood on sentry under my
window, and their banter rather interfered with the composition of a
letter which I was writing to my cousin Cora.

“Ah, Mademoiselle Sophie,” said the Zouave, in his most dulcet tone,
“you—_mon Dieu_—you look so lovely that——”

“That what—what—Jules?”

“Well, so lovely this morning that I am quite afraid——”

“To kiss me—is it not so, Monsieur Jolicoeur?”


“_Très bien_. Take courage, _mon camarade_.”

“Mademoiselle Sophie, you quiz me!”

“A Zouave, and afraid,” exclaimed the vivandière; and then followed a
little sound there was no mistaking.

“You are indeed beautiful, Sophie. There is not a vivandière in the
whole French army like you.”

“Yet I may die an old maid,” said she demurely.


“Yes, Jules.”

“Then it will be your own fault, _ma belle coquette_, and not the fault
of others.”

“_Parbleu_! I sha’n’t marry a Zouave, at all events.”

“Don’t speak so cruelly, Sophie. When I look on your charming face, I
always think of glorious Paris. Paris! Ah, _mon Dieu!_ shall we ever
see it again?”

“Why did you leave it, Jules, and your studies at the Ecole de Médecin,
to fight and starve here?”

“Why?” exclaimed the student.

“Yes, _mon ami_.”

“The old girl at the wheel, Madame Fortune, proved false to me. I lost
my last money, fifty Napoleons, at the rouge-et-noir table in the Palais
Royal. I was ruined, Sophie; and as I had no wish to jump into the
Seine, and then to figure next morning on the leaden tables of the
Morgue, like a salmon at the fishmonger’s, I joined the 2nd Zouaves in
the snapping of a flint, and so—am here.”

“You will return with your epaulettes and the cross, Jules.”

“I don’t think so. Kiss me, at all events, _ma belle_.”

“Well, camarade, if it will console you——”

Here I tried to close the window, on which Jules “carried arms,” and
looked very unconscious; while the pretty vivandière gave me a military
salute, and tripped laughingly away, singing—

Vivandière du régiment,
C’est Catin qu’on me nomme, &c.

Daily more troops arrived from Britain and France; daily the camps
extended in size, and, notwithstanding the season, we suffered much from
cold, while, so bad were the commissariat arrangements, that, in some
instances, officers and soldiers were alike without beds or bedding, few
having more than a single blanket; so, for warmth, they reversed the
usual order, by dressing in all their spare clothes to go to bed.

Gallipoli became so crowded at last that some of the troops were
despatched towards Constantinople and Scutari. There the Highland
regiments, beyond all others, excited astonishment and admiration, not
unmixed with fear, their costume seemed so remarkable to Oriental eyes;
and many may yet remember the anecdote current in camp concerning them.

An old Turkish pasha, who had brought the ladies of his harem in a
_caïque_, closely veiled in their _yashmacs_, to see our troops land,
was intensely horrified by the bare brawny legs of the 93rd foot; but
after surveying them, he said, with a sigh, to an English officer—”Ah!
if the Sultan had such fine soldiers as these, we should not need your
aid against the Russians.”

“Well, _effendi_,” observed the Englishman, who was quizzing, “would it
not be advisable to propagate the species in this country?”

“_Inshallah!_ (please God!) it will be done, whether we advise it or
not,” said the old Turk, sighing again, as he ordered his boatload of
_Odalisques_ to shove off for Istamboul with all despatch.

Amid the novelty of our new life at Gallipoli, a week or two passed
rapidly away, ere rumours were heard of our probable advance to Varna;
but, as I do not mean to repeat the well-known details of so recent a
war, rather confining myself to my own adventures, and those of my
regiment, I shall close this chapter by relating an episode which will
serve to illustrate the brutal and lawless character of the Turk, and
the slavery to which ages of conquest and degradation have reduced the
wretched Greek. I have said that Jack Studhome and I were quartered in
the house of a Greek miller, named Demetrius Steriopoli. His chief
worldly possessions were a melon-garden, and two ricketty old windmills,
which whirled their brown and tattered sails on the breezes that came
from the Hellespont. In the basement of these edifices, and in the
walls of his dwelling-house, were—and I have no doubt still are—built
many exquisitely-carved fragments of some old Grecian temple; for there
triglyphs, sculptured metopæ, the honeysuckle, and so forth, with
portions of statues, all of white marble, were used pell mell among the
rough rubble masonry.

These edifices—to wit, the house and mills—stood on an eminence a little
way beyond the ruins of the old wall of Gallipoli, on the side of the
road that leads across the isthmus towards the Gulf of Saros.

His dwelling was picturesque, and that which is better, it was clean and
airy; thus, while Beverley and others of ours were nightly devoured by
gnats and other entomological torments, we slept each in a separate
kiosk, or bedroom, as comfortably as if quartered in the best hotel of
Dover or Southampton—so much for the housewifery of the little
Magdhalini. Steriopoli was by birth a Cypriote Greek—a handsome and
fine-looking man, about eight-and-thirty, and when armed with sabre,
pistol, and yataghan, had rather more the aspect of a marauder than a
peaceful miller, especially as his attire usually consisted of a scarlet
fez, a large loose jacket of green cloth, a silk sash round his waist, a
capacious pair of blue breeches, his legs being further encased in
sheepskin hose, and his feet in sandals of hide. When the merciless
Turkish troops massacred twenty-five thousand persons in Cyprus,
destroying seventy-four once happy and industrious villages, with all
their monasteries and churches, seizing the young women as slaves, and
casting the male children into the sea, it was his fate, when disposed
of in the latter fashion, to be picked up by the boat’s crew of a
British man-of-war. Torn from the arms of his shrieking mother, he had
been tossed into the harbour of Larneca, which was filled with the
corpses of poor little infants. On board the British ship he had been
kept for a time as a species of pet among the sailors. Hence his regard
for us was great; and his open trust in us was only equalled by his
secret abhorrence of the Turks. He was a widower, and his family
consisted only of his daughter and a few servants, male and female—the
latter being his assistants at the mills.

After the plain-looking women of Gallipoli, the beauty of the little
Greek maid, Magdhalini, proved an agreeable surprise for us; and within
doors she always laid aside the hideous _yashmac_ which concealed her
features when abroad. She was not much over fifteen, but already fully
developed; she was lively in manner, and graceful in deportment; and her
picturesque costume—a crimson jacket, with short, wide sleeves, open at
the throat, and embroidered at the bosom, her skirt of various colours,
and her hair ornamented with gold coins, all added to the piquancy of
her beauty. Her features were remarkably regular; her forehead low and
broad; her rich, thick hair was of a bright auburn hue; but her eyes
were of the deepest black. In the latter, when contrasted with the pale
purity of her complexion, the form of their delicate lids and curled
lashes, I saw—or fancied so—a resemblance to Louisa, which gave the girl
a deeper interest to me; and her appearance frequently recalled to me
Byron’s description of Haidee:—

“Her hair, I said, was auburn; but her eyes
Were black as death; their lashes the same hue,
Of downcast length, in whose silk shadow lies
Deepest attraction; for when to the view
Forth from its raven fringe the full glance flies,
Ne’er with such force the swiftest arrow flew.
* * * * *
Her brow was white and low; her cheek’s pure dye
Like twilight rosy still with the set sun;
Short upper lips—sweet lips! that make us sigh
Ever to have seen such.”

In stature she was a foot less than Louisa Loftus; but her form, her
delicate hands, small feet, and rounded arms, might have served as
models for the best sculptors of the old Greek days. On one occasion I
showed her Louisa’s miniature, and she clapped her hands, and begged
permission to kiss it, like a child, as she was in some respects. She
was very curious to know why Studhome and I did not wear crucifixes or
holy medals, like all the Christians she knew—even the Russians; and
when I told her that such was not the custom in my country, she shook
her head sadly, and expressed sorrow for its somewhat benighted

I found a smattering of Italian which I possessed most useful to me now,
for, next to the language of the country, it proves the most available
in Greece or Turkey. The _divan hanée_, or principal apartment of the
house (from which the doors of all the kiosks and other chambers open),
was handsome, lofty, and airy. Its lower end was lined by a screen of
trellised woodwork, containing arched recesses, or cupboards for vases
of sherbet, cool water, or fresh flowers. In the central recess a
miniature fountain spouted from a white marble basin, and a landscape
was painted on the wall beyond. Curtains covered each of the doorways,
and round the room—on three sides, at least—was a long sofa, or
cushioned divan, the height of the window-sills, in the Turkish fashion;
but, as Steriopoli was a Greek, his dwelling had more European
appurtenances, such as a dining-table and chairs; and on its walls were
various coloured prints of Greek saints and bishops, while above the
door of each sleeping kiosk hung a crucifix of carved wood. In the
divan we took our meals, and there, greatly to our host’s annoyance, we
were joined at times by the Colonel Hadjee Mehmet, who commanded a
battalion of the Turkish line at Gallipoli—an individual with whom
Studhome had become acquainted through some transaction about the
purchase of horses for some of our dismounted men, an affair in which,
though worthy Jack would never admit it, this hook-nosed and keen-eyed
follower of the Prophet jockeyed him and Farrier-sergeant Snaffles as
completely as any groom might have done at Epsom or the Curragh. Now
Demetrius Steriopoli, though he seemed not to care whether Studhome or
I, or any of our brother officers who visited us, saw his daughter,
manifested great uneasiness and irritation when she caught the wicked
and licentious eyes of the Hadjee Mehmet, whose character he knew, whose
power he dreaded, and whose nation and religion he detested; and thus
she had standing orders to seclude herself whenever he came, which was
pretty often now, to smoke his chibouque and drink brandy and water in
secret, though the Prophet only forbade wine. He was a fat, bloated,
and wicked-looking man, past fifty years of age. He wore a blue frogged
surtout, scarlet trousers, and a scarlet fez, with the broad, flat,
military button. He wore also a crooked Damascus sabre and beard, in
virtue of his rank, as straight swords and shaven chins indicate the
subaltern grades of the Turkish army, whose officers are the most
contemptible in Europe. In boyhood they are generally the pipe-bearers
or carpet-spreaders of the pashas. In this instance the Hadjee Mehmet
(so named because he had performed the pilgrimage to Mecca, and kissed
the Holy Kaaba) had begun life as a tiruaktzy, or nail-bearer, in the
household of Chosrew Mehmet Pasha, who was the seraskier, or
generalissimo of the forces, and who was supposed to be the gallant
Hadjee’s father, though that honour was usually assigned to a Janizary
who escaped the massacre of that celebrated force by concealing himself;
and by Chosrew he was speedily advanced to the rank of mire-alai, or
colonel of infantry.

He was very careful always to style us “effendi,” such being the prefix
for all who are deemed educated; and, as he sat cross-legged on the
divan, with his paunch protruding before him, his ample and well-dyed
beard half hiding the frogged lace of his surtout, the amber mouthpiece
of his long chibouque between his thick lips, with his little scarlet
fez, and sleepy, half-leering black eyes, he seemed the very beau-ideal
of a used-up and sensual Osmanlee.

“_Ev-Allah!_” (praise God!) he said, on one occasion, “I have now seen
all the world.”

“Indeed, colonel, I knew not that you had travelled,” said I.

“Yes, and I would not give a grush (piastre) to see it again.”

“_All_, do you say?” queried I.

“Yes; Mecca, Medina, Bassora, Damascus, Cairo, and Iskandrich—there is
no more to see; and of all the women I have ever beheld,” he added, with
one of his wicked little leers, “who can equal the Cockonas of
Bucharest? Not even the golden-haired Tcherkesses.”

“And what think you of the Greeks, colonel?” asked Studhome, rather in a
blundering manner, for Steriopoli’s brows knit unpleasantly.

“_Backallum_” (we shall see), was his reply, as he gave a stealthy
glance at Magdhalini, who was superintending the tandour, the substitute
for a fireplace, consisting of a wooden frame, in which there is placed
a copper vessel, full of charcoal, the whole being covered by a wadded
coverlet, and closely reminding one of the brasseros of the Spaniards.
Swift though the glance, it was not unseen by Steriopoli, whom the
ominous remark which accompanied it sufficiently alarmed, and, with
unwonted abruptness of manner, he requested his daughter to retire and
assume her veil.

On the following day it chanced that he had to visit Alexi (which is
about twenty miles distant from Gallipoli), as he had some flour to
dispose of, and would be absent all night. Whether our Turkish visitor
was aware of this circumstance I cannot say, but in the forenoon I came
suddenly upon him and Magdhalini, whom he had surprised or waylaid in
the pathway near the windmills. He grasped one of her hands, and she
was struggling to release herself. I had my sword under my arm, but as
a fracas with a Turkish officer was by no means desirable, I lingered
for a moment before interfering.

“Girl,” I heard him say, with a dark scowl, while he grasped her slender
wrist, “for the third time I tell thee not to bite the finger that puts
honey into thy mouth.”

“Nonsense, Hadjee; let me go, I say,” replied Magdhalini, laughing,
though she was partly frightened.

“I should like to make my home in thy heart, Magdhalini, even as the
bulbul buildeth her nest in the rose-tree,” panted the fat Hadjee.

“Oh, thou owl, thou crow of bad omen!” exclaimed the lively Greek girl,
as she wrenched her hand free, and, darting a bright and merry glance at
her enraged and perspiring admirer, drew her yashmac close, and sprang
away, blushing because I had witnessed the scene.

That night Studhome and I had been supping with Beverley at his quarters
near the palace of the Capudan Pasha, and were returning late to the
house of Steriopoli. The sky was clear and starry; thus we could see
distinctly several Turkish soldiers loitering about near the house and
windmills, and though the hour was an unusual one for them to be absent,
that we deemed no concern of ours, and on entering we retired to our
kiosks, or rooms, and were both soon sound asleep—so sound that we
failed to hear a loud knocking shortly after at the front door.
Magdhalini and two female servants promptly responded to the unusual
summons, but declined to open without further inquiry, on which the door
was beaten in by a large hammer, and a chiaoush, or sergeant, and
several soldiers, all in Turkish uniform, seized Magdhalini, bound,
gagged, and carried her off, despite her cries and resistance. Roused
by the sudden noise, and suspecting we knew not what, Studhome and I
dragged on our trousers, and came forth both at the same moment, each
with drawn sword and cocked revolver; but before lights were procured,
and ere the terrified servants could make us understand the real state
of affairs, and the catastrophe which had taken place, our pretty Greek
hostess was gone beyond recovery.

I shall willingly hurry over all that followed in this strange episode
of social life in the East.

Poor Steriopoli came back next day to a desolate house—a degraded and
broken home! He was full of rage and despair, for his daughter was the
pride, the idol of his heart; and suspecting justly the Hadjee Mehmet,
he discovered that this celebrated warrior had gone to Alexi, the very
town from which he, Steriopoli, had returned.

There he traced his daughter, only to find that she had been most
cruelly and shamefully treated. She was lodged in the house of the
cole-agassi, or major of Mehmet’s regiment—a wretch who had originally
been a channator aga, or chief of the black eunuchs; and on the pretext
that she had renounced Christianity and embraced Islamism, he refused to
give her up. In compliance with the wish of her sorrowing father, and
the indignant old Bishop of Gallipoli, she was brought before the
vaivode of the district. She appeared the wreck of her former self,
and, though not present, I afterwards heard that a most affecting scene
took place.

On beholding Steriopoli, whose once coal-black hair was now thickly
seamed with grey, she broke away from the Turkish slaves who held her,
and cast herself into his arms, in a passion of grief, exclaiming—

“My father! oh, my father! after what has taken place, I am no longer
worthy to be in your house, or to pray at my mother’s grave. We can no
longer be anything to each other.”

“Oh, Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy)!” groaned the unfortunate Greek.

Despite her solemn protests that she was still a Christian, the vaivode
would not yield her to her father; but opening the Koran, closed the
case by reading a passage from the sixteenth chapter thereof—a passage
revealed to the Prophet at Medina:—”O Prophet! when unbelieving women
come unto thee, and plight their faith unto thee, that they will not
associate anything with God, nor steal, nor commit sin, nor kill their
children, nor come with a calumny which they have forged between their
hands and feet, nor be disobedient to thee in that which shall be
reasonable: then do plight thy faith unto them, and ask pardon for them,
of One who is inclined to forgive and be merciful. O true believers!
enter not into friendship with a people against whom God is incensed;
they despair of pardon and the life to come, even as infidels despair of
the resurrection of those who dwell in the grave.”

“La-Allah-illah-Allah-Mohammed resoul Allah!”[*] shouted the people.

[*] “There is but one God, and Mahomet is his Prophet.”

The poor miller and his daughter were torn asunder, and the former was
driven by blows from the house of the vaivode; while Magdhalini, whom he
was never more permitted to see, was taken again to the house of the
cole-agassi. By Turkish law, such as it is, any commissioned officer
who kills a man is liable to five years’ slavery in chains, and service
as a private hereafter; but the abduction of a Greek girl, though a
rajah, or Christian subject of the Porte, was a very trivial affair—much
less than stealing a terrier in the streets of London. The foreign
Consuls took up the matter, and redress was sought of the Stamboul
effendi, or chief of the police at Constantinople, but sought in vain.
The Bishop of Gallipoli applied to the Skeik Islam, also without avail.

The Sheik is a very awful personage, who combines in his own person the
greatest offices of religion, together with the supreme power of the
civil law. Every new measure, even to naming the streets and numbering
the houses of filthy Stamboul, requires his sanction. The Sultan alone
has the power of life and death over the Sheik Islam, who can neither be
nobly bowstrung, nor ignobly beheaded, and he enjoys the peculiar
prerogative of being pounded to death in a mortar. A word from the Sheik
would have restored Magdhalini to her father; but Hadjee Mehmet, the
ex-tiruaktzy, had once operated on his holy nails, so a deaf ear was
turned to the prayer of the infidel Bishop, who was seeking the dove in
the net of the fowler long after we had taken our departure for Varna;
and, until the memorable day of Balaclava, I saw no more of the infamous
Hadjee Mehmet.