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ments about it. This is the selamlik, “place of salutation.” It corresponds to the American reception room. Before one of the curtained doorways the guards, or “curtain keepers to his majesty” are stationed. Their presence indicates where the Sultan of Sultans will be found. The accredited visitor entering this room finds the lineal descendant of Osman, seated on a wide Turkish sofa, with a desk before him, a graceful chibouk or Turkish pipe, with amber mouthpiece, studded with diamonds lying carelessly at his side. A word from the sovereign, attendants appear as if by magic, and stand in a row with folded hands before him.
No one is ever seated in the presence of the Sultan. On the presentation of an ambassador, the event is so contrived that the Sultan enters at one door at the moment that the diplomat enters at another. This is done that the distinguished guest may be received by the Sultan standing, with out that dignitary condescending to rise.
Like all cities, particularly all old cities, Constantinople has its quarters. Near the Seraglio Point, so named from the palaces of the Sultan, which, as we have seen, are located there, is the landing place for vessels, and this is the quarter for the native shops or “bazaars." Here one must keep a sharp lookout both upon the quality of the article he would purchase and the price he shall pay. With the Musselman to get the best of the bargain has no possible moral significance, and is merely an intellectual feat. Unlike the foreign trader, he never solicits your patronage, but receives your approaches to trade with the quiet dignity of a superior doing a favor. The goods are for sale, however, and a shrewd Yankee may get a good bargain by being persistent in demanding cut rates. It will take him longer, however, to buy a scarf or shawl than it would take to transfer a house and lot at home.
An Oriental bazaar is a mart of luxury and expense, a vast shop of wonders--an eternity of curiosities which has always been a source of interest and entertainment to those who are strangers to eastern life. Here the babbling rills of life flow hither and thither. All antagonistic races, creeds and tongues, with every shade of complexion, in an infinite variety of costumes, are here mixed and mingled-not as we see them at international expositions, but in the full swing of real life. Semitic Jews are here, as they are everywhere, with their short stature and long attenuated countenances. Bronze-colored Arabs with keen coal-black eyes, in their flowing robes and loose trousers, singularly contrast with the Mongolian negroes with curly hair and black round faces. The Aryan group is represented by Armenians and many Europeans, with their well-bred, dignified carriage and uniformity of dress. Persians in their sheep-skin caps; keen-eyed Greeks, cadaverous and proud, with the steady, stalwart sons of Uncle Sam, complete the motley congregation, except, indeed, for its predominant element,the redfaced, lofty Turk. The babel of languages, the rush and crush of carriages, dogs and busy people, do not affect his cool, calm disposition, or quicken his steps, for Mohammed has said “to hasten is devilish." So he walks under his turban, his head filled with a feeling of pride, that this great pot-pouri of commerce and scenic enchantment is in some tense his.
Every avenue of the bazaar is appropriated to a particular branch of commerce, called a bezaustein. There are, for instance, the shoe bazaar, the confectionery bazaar, the armory bazaar, where weapons of almost every period and nation are exposed for sale, each occupying a separate avenue or bezaustein. The avenue of money-changers and bankers, a trade almost entirely monopolized by Armenians, is a glittering scene, where jewels, torquoises, pearls, brilliants and the most costly gems in the world are in store. The embroidery and shawl bazaars present a most gay and novel appearance, where hang Broussa silks, Genoa velvets, European satins, hangings of Tyrian tapestry, shawls from the goats of Thibet, Koran-inscribed Damascus sabres and rich scarfs, from the costly looms of Persia and Mecca, vieing with each other in beauty of design and richness of color. These, of all the bazaars, have an air the most Oriental. Let us approach this one midway, where the stuffs seem particularly rich. Ah! the aristocratic tradesman has already a customer-an American, certainly, from the particularly frank and natural bearing, a westerner, I should say, from the attire-perhaps a Chicagoan. Here are the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries face to face. The Oriental, who of all Orientals, has never emerged from the middle ages, the Occidental, who of all his brethren has his foot most firmly planted on the threshold of a new era.
In the one to sell is a stilted, etiquetical ceremony, in the other to buy is a necessary act, to be performed with the same freedom and naturalness as eating or breathing."
“How much will you take for that shawl?"
Often the sharks apply titles of distinction to American purchasers, knowing only too well how susceptible they are to this subtle form of Aattery. If they ever “talk shops" at home, however, I have no doubt they confess it works best with the women.
“I mean that reddish buck-colored thing, here, this!” pulling it down rather unceremoniously.
"Your lordship will observe that it is very delicate.”
“I don't think it will wear very well, but what do you ask for it?"
“It has lasted already more than a century. It is still fresh. The gentleman's great-grand-daughter should most certainly wear it.”'
“Not married, my good friend, it's for a sister you know. What's the price of it? Is it really a hundred years old?”
Again the wily Turk has touched a weak spot, for the newest of nations has proverbially the greatest fondness for old things.
“Oh! your lordship is from a new country. I have
carpets here that have been slept on by ten generations of noble blood. Will the gentleman look at this rug of Bokhara ?"
“Not now," says the pertinacious Yankee, “How much is this shawl?"
The Oriental sees it will not answer to delay any longer naming a startling price, so he says indifferently, "$900.00 is a small sum, your lordship.”
The Turkish trader guesses your nationality at a glance, and is always ready to deal with you in your own coin, and to talk in its figures. His friend, the money changer, will make that all right for you, and at a better rate of discount, too, than you will find anywhere in the city.
* $900.00!" exclaims the westerner; "you might as well say $9000.00.
Oriental dignity is offended at this. The turbaned Turk draws himself up proudly, and turns to arranging his other wares, saying quietly, “The gentleman may take the shawl. It is his-a free gist."
Then the Yankee tries his game, too. As if tired of dickering for the shawl, he picks up a Damacus blade lying beneath a pile of tumbled silks.