34 CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS,'
scatter dust upon it. Such is the general description of every salaamlik, or hall of
salutation, of which this imperial one is a model.
The edifice is appropriated to the Asme Sultana, or sister of the reigning sovereign.
The former tenant, for whom it was erected by Selim, was one of whom the scandalous
chronicles of Pera reported many delinquencies: she was said to be of a perverse and
implacable character, very different from her gentle brother; she was in the habit of
fixing her affections on every one who struck her fancy, and allowed no restraint upon her
will, which it was equally fatal to refuse or comply with. It was the agreeable recreation of
all classes, Turks, Rayas, and Franks, to proceed either by land or water to some of
the lovely valleys opening on the Bosphorus, and pic-nic on the grass; here she used
to repair, and her approach among the various groups was described to be like the
appearance of some bird of prey among the feeble flocks of smaller fowl. Every man
trembled, lest she should fix her ominous glance on him. A dragoman of the English
mission, who possessed a comely face, one day attracted her notice : a slave notified
to him that a lady wished to speak with him, and he followed her, nothing loth.
When arrived at where a group of Turkish women were seated, he recognized with
horror the too-wrell-known countenance of the sultan's sister, through the disguise
with which she had covered it. After some refreshments, which were handed to
him, he retired, but was followed by the slave, who intimated to him to repair, at a
certain hour at night, to her palace: instead of doing so, the dragoman immediately left
the city, and proceeded to Smyrna, where he concealed himself. Meantime the rage of
the disappointed lady became furious: suite and pursuite were made after him by her
emissaries; nor was it till another object had attracted her volatile regards, that he
ventured to return to his employment; and even then he lived in considerable anxiety.
Another instance occurred soon after, which justified his apprehension. A man in the
humble rank of a musician, attached to a band who were occasionally sent for to play at
the seraglio, attracted her notice, and was selected as the fated object of her regard; he
afterwards, in some way, incurred her displeasure, and he, and the whole company to which
he belonged, were sacrificed. A caique was sent for them from the seraglio to the
Princess' Islands, where they resided, and they went as usual, without apprehension ; the
next day the caique returned without them, but brought back their clothes to their
distracted families ; it was then learned that they had been all cut to pieces for the
imputed offence of one man, and their bodies cast into the sea.
The sister of Sultan Mahmoud, the Asme Sultana, who now possesses the palace,
and occasionally visits it, is the widow of an officer of high rank, and conducts herself
with discretion : she regulates her domestic affairs with strict propriety, and affords
a protection to her dependents, which even her terrible brother, the sultan, dared not
violate. Among the young ladies of her establishment was one who, without any high
degree of personal charms, had attracted the notice of Mahmoud in one of his visits, and
he immediately proposed to receive her into his harem ; to his astonishment, this flattering
proposal was declined by the girl. She resisted his offers, and preferred an humble
attachment founded on mutual affection, to all the splendour that awaited her in the