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in question, is under the government of the Servian Prefect of Belgrade.
We now turned into a curious old street, built quite in the Turkish fashion, and composed of rafters knocked carelessly together, and looking as if the first strong gust of wind would send them smack over the water into Hungary without the formality of a quarantine; but many of the shops were smartly garnished with clothes, haberdashery, and trinkets, mostly from Bohemia and Moravia; and in some I saw large blocks of rock-salt.
Notwithstanding the rigmarole construction of the quarter on the water's edge, (save and except at the custom-house,) it is the most busy quarter in the town: here are the places of business of the principal merchants in the place. This class is generally of the Tsinsar nation, as the descendants of the Roman colonists in Macedonia are called; their language is a corrupt Latin, and resembles the Wallachian dialect very closely.
We now ascended by a steep street to the upper town. The most prominent object in the
first open space we came to is the cathedral, a new and large but tasteless structure, with a profusely gilt bell-tower, in the Russian manner; and the walls of the interior are covered with large paintings of no merit. But one must not be too critical: a kindling of intellectual energy ever seems, in most countries, to precede excellence in the imitative arts, which latter, too often survives the ruins of those ruder and nobler qualities which assure the vigorous existence of states or provinces.
In the centre of the town is an open square, which forms a sort of line of demarcation between the crescent and the cross. On the one side, several large and good houses have been constructed by the wealthiest senators, in the German manner, with flaring new white walls and bright green shutter-blinds. On the other side is a mosque, and dead old garden walls, with walnut trees and Levantine roofs peeping up behind them. Look on this picture, and you have the type of all domestic architecture lying between you and the snow-fenced huts of Lap
land; cast your eyes over the way, and imagination wings lightly to the sweet south with its myrtles, citrons, marbled steeps and fragrancebearing gales.
Beside the mosque is the new Turkish coffeehouse, which is kept by an Arab by nation and a Moslem by religion, but born at Lucknow. One day, in asking for the mollah of the mosque, who had gone to Bosnia, I entered into conversation with him ; but on learning that I was an Englishman he fought shy, being, like most Indian Moslems when travelling in Turkey, ashamed of their sovereign being a protected ally of a Frank government.
I now entered the region of gardens and villas, which, previous to the revolution of Kara Georg, was occupied principally by Turks. Passing down a shady lane my attention was arrested by a rotten moss-grown garden door, at the sight of which memory leaped backwards for four or five years. Here I had spent a happy forenoon with Colonel H--, and the physician of the former Pasha, an old Hanoverian, who, as surgeon
to a British regiment had gone through all the fatigues of the Peninsular war. I pushed open the door, and there, completely secluded from the bustle of the town, and the view of the stranger, grew the vegetation as luxuriant as ever, relieving with its dark green frame the clear white of the numerous domes and minarets of the Turkish quarter, and the broad-bosomed Danube which filled up the centre of the picture; but the house and stable, which had resounded with the goodhumoured laugh of the master, and the neighing of the well-fed little stud (for horse-flesh was the weak side of our Esculapius), were tenantless, ruinous, and silent. The doctor had died in the interval at Widdin, in the service of Hussein Pasha. I mechanically withdrew, abstracted from external nature by the memory of joys that were past, pleasant and mournful to the soul.”
I then took a Turkish bath; but the inferiority of those in Belgrade to similar luxuries in Constantinople, Damascus, and Cairo, was strikingly apparent on entering. The edifice and the furniture were of the commonest description. The
floors of the interior of brick instead of marble, and the plaster and the cement of the walls in a most defective state. The atmosphere in the drying room was so cold from the want of proper windows and doors, that I was afraid lest I should catch a catarrh. The Oriental bath, when paved with fine grained marbles, and well appointed in the departments of linen, sherbet, and narghilé, is a great luxury; but the bath at Belgrade was altogether detestable. In the midst of the drying business a violent dispute broke out between the proprietor and an Arnaout, whom the former styled a cokoshary, or hen-eater, another term for a robber; for when lawless Arnaouts arrive in a village, after eating up half the contents of the poultry-yard, they demand a tribute in the shape of compensation for the“ wear and tear of their teeth while consuming the provisions they have forcibly exacted.