« ForrigeFortsett »
over their malady. The larger and more repulsive the dose, the better they think their chances of recovery. They can not understand what good a few drops or a sugar-coated pill can do. They do not apply for a doctor until the sick is about to give up the ghost; in fact, the practice of medicine is not generally recognized as a distinct profession among ignorant villagers, but whoever has travelled and seen much of the world is supposed to know best what should be done in case of sickness. All intellectual foreigners, therefore, are considered to be doctors, and are constantly importuned day and night to treat their sick. Quacks, however, have their hands full. They give, for instance, the dust of the earth, plain white paper which would be soaked in water and administered in teaspoonful doses, or colored water to be applied in various forms, all of which pleads with mute eloquence for the medical missionary to save the bodies as well as the souls of those who have yet to learn that God's natural laws are as imperative as the moral code. Physicians have found that the natural vigorous constitutions of the people respond readily to scientific treatment when the quacks can be kept away.
All the relatives and friends of the sick are gathered around the bed of the sufferer, where they keep up a loud conversation, smoking their long pipes, laughing loudly, thus trying to divert the mind of the sufferer, while in a corner of the room the young boys play, spout and fight. By such soothing processes the patient is sometimes lulled to slumber, often the slumber of death! No wonder the grave-yards are numerous and thickly populated.
Diseases vary, as elsewhere, according to locality and the occupations of the people. Smallpox makes sad ravages among the people at times, causing great loss of life. Pasteur's system of inoculation by virus has long been understood and practised here. Mothers are known to protect their infants from the virus of serpents and scorpions by giving them the diluted poison in infancy. Such children can be seen handling scorpions with impunity. Thus it would seem that Asia Minor was the cradle of modern applied science, as well as of the human race.
When death knocks at any door, that house is the scene of the wildest demonstrations of grief. Frequently the stillness of the night is so disturbed by the zealous mourners that sleep in the neighborhood is almost impossible. They cry aloud bewailing their loss. Sometimes they tear their hair, embrace the lifeless body, proclaiming his virtues if he had any; if not, then they create them. The burial follows with swift rapidity upon death. Soon the body is taken out into the yard, washed, wrapped tidily, placed in an open bier which is carried upon the shoulders of friends and neighbors, first to a church where the service for the dead is chanted, then to the cemetery, where it is placed in a shallow grave. The cemetery is often one huge common grave. Mohammedans, however, do not bury twice in the same place, which makes their cemeteries much larger than those of Christians. Among them, immediately after death, the body is removed to the porch of the mosque. After the usual noon-day worship, the congregation comes out to the yard of the mosque, standing up line by line in a silent and pious manner. As the holy man's powerful voice comes from the sacred schrine, the entire congregation take off their shoes, throw them on the ground and stand erect, putting their hands to their ears. At the second call all the hats are removed, and all heads are bowed down to the ground in rapt devotion; at the third call, the entire congregation, wearing their shoes and fezes, follow the corpse to the cemetery, where it is taken from the coffin and buried without any further ceremony. Then the coffin is taken back to the mosque to await another victim. Every nationality and creed have their own cemeteries at a distance from human habitations.
Individual graves of the Armenians have interesting monuments. Designs indicating the occupation or profession of him who reposes beneath are carved upon them. Those who suffered matyrdom have the fact indicated with a cross. A blacksmith's grave is, for instance, designated with the insignia of his calling.
In the Armenian provinces of Asia Minor, the oldest gravestones are very striking, from the fact that they are in the form of crouching rams, the inscriptions being cut on the sides of these elaborate monuments.
Mohammedan memorials are free from the desecrations too commonly seen in Christian cities of the dead. The headstone is a large monolith with inscriptions. At the foot of the grave is another of almost equal size. The space between is built up with marble slabs to resemble a chest or casket.
In large cities sepulchral forests of cypress trees make a profound impression upon the mind, as the coniferous tree casts its deepening shadows of mourning over the lonely grave. In his description of these cemeteries, how graphic are the words of Byron when he speaks of
"—the place of a thousand tombs
That shine beneath, while dark above
And withers not, though branch and leaf
Like early unrequitted love."
IN THE RURAL DISTRICT.
If you have leisure and fondness for rustic beauty, let us, in the bracing freshness of the air, mount on horse-back or on little donkeys, so numerous in the country, for outings. Let us seek a village and step within the threshold of a real oldfashioned Turkish house. On our way to the rural districts, as we pass joyously through leafy and flowery glories of the summer, giving and returning the salutations of peace and welcome, we should find much that is excellent and interesting both in objects and scenery. How our ears delight in the gentle rippling of the water intersecting our path, or the strains of the birds as we pass under the arching trees! How our eyes are greeted with lovely hillsides and dales, embellished by fragrant beds of wild flowers or by a vast extent of waving fields of grain, stretching away to the horizon as a clear ocean, farther than the eye can reach ! Gaze yon der at the mountain side, dotted with log houses, with the slowly moving caravans of gaily caparisoned