Russia was within the wind, I believed. The breath of the steppes was wandering afar to hunt—what? The breath of the desert? The good mosque confronted it, Islam erect, and now darkish, forbidding underneath the darkening sky. Even the minarets had misplaced their delicate purity, had change into fierce, prayers calling down destruction on unbelievers. And all of the cries of Stamboul appeared to assemble themselves collectively in my ears, keening over the ocean above which I stood —voices of many countries; of Turks, Arabs, Circas-sians, Persians, of males from the wilds of Asia and the plains of India; voices of bashi-bazouks and of slaves; even, skinny excessive voices of eunuchs. From the quays to proper and left of the bridge crowds of individuals rose to my sight and hurried away; to them crowds of individuals descended, sinking out of my sight.
Troopers and hamals handed, upright and armed, bending beneath the load of unimaginable masses. Calls of Albanian boatmen got here up from the ocean. From the town of carefully packed fishermen’s vessels rose right here and there little trails of smoke. On their decks dim figures crouched about wavering fires. A gnarled beggar pushed me, muttering, then whining uncouth phrases. Alongside the curving shore, towards the cypress-crowned top of Eyub, lights had been strung out, marking the waterside. Behind me tall Pera started to sparkle meretriciously. The Greek barbers, I knew, had been standing* impudently earlier than the doorways of their little saloons, watching the night pageant because it surged slowly by means of the Grande Rue and towards the Taxim Backyard. Diplomats had been driving house from the Elegant Porte in victorias. The “cinemas” had been gathering of their mobs. Tokatlian’s was thronged with Levantines whispering from mouth to mouth the present lies of the day. Beneath, close to the ships, the enterprise males of Galata had been speeding out of their banks, previous the massive round-browed Montenegrins who stand on the steps, out of their workplaces and outlets, like a mighty swarm of disturbed bees. The lengthy shriek of a siren from a steamer close to Seraglio Level tore the gloom. I went on, regardless of menacing Valide Sultan, 1 misplaced myself within the great maze of Stamboul.
Stamboulnear the waterside is filled with contrasts so sharp
Stamboul close to the waterside is filled with contrasts so sharp, so unusual that they bewilder and attraction, and typically render uneasy even one who has wandered alone by means of many cities of the East. Sordid and filthy, there’s but one thing grandiose in it, one thing hostile and threatening within the watchful crowds which are ceaselessly passing by. Between the homes the sea-wind blows up, and also you catch glimpses of water, of masts, of the funnels of steam-ers. Above the cries of the nations rise the long- drawn wails and the hootings of sirens. The visitors of the streets is made extra complicated by your fixed consciousness of the visitors of the ocean, embraced by it, nearly mingling with it. Water and wind, mud and mud, cries of coachmen and seamen, of motor-cars and steamers, and troopers, troopers, troopers passing, at all times passing. By way of a window-pane you catch a glitter of jewels and a glitter of Armenian eyes gazing stealthily out.