WITH THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA MINOR. 73
In these representations, he passes from grave to gay with a singular and happy facility,
seemingly unattainable by the dulness and limited capabilities of a Turk. The volatile
Greek at his strokes of pathos or humour sheds tears, or bursts out into uncontrollable
laughter—the grave Armenian, incapable of higher excitement, looks sad, or smiles—
while the phlegmatic Turk, though profoundly attentive to the various passions so admirably depicted by his countryman, scarcely alters a feature of his face.
The place where the Medak exhibits is usually a coffee-house. He generally has a
small table, placed before him, which he either stands behind or sits on. His cuffs are
turned up, and he holds generally a small stick in his hand. If he illustrates a proverb,
he gives it out as a text, and then commences his story. He introduces individuals of all
sects and nations, and imitates with admirable precision the language of each. But he
is particularly fond of introducing the Jews, whose imperfect pronunciation of every language which they attempt to utter, presents him with a happy subject of caricature.
Thus he imitates the multifarious tones of all the varieties of people in the Turkish
empire, with a happy selection of all their characteristic expressions.
Our illustration presents the most distinguished story-teller of the capital, who may
be considered the Matthews of Constantinople. He is called Kiz-Achmet, or " Achmet the
Girl," as we have noticed before. He keeps a coffee-house himself, and adds to his profits by entertaining his company; but at festivals he is invited to others, and paid liberally for his exhibition. There stood opposite the gate of the British palace, before the
district was consumed by fire, one of the most celebrated and frequented coffee-houses in
Pera. During the Bairam he continued telling stories here without intermission, and
with unabated skill, till after midnight, to an unwearied audience, sitting on joint-stools
in the street before the coffee-house. His auditors indulge as usual in coffee and tobacco,
during his recitations, but sometimes his details are so interesting, that even this luxury
is suspended while they listen with profound attention. It is only when he pauses, and
descends with a coffee-cup to collect paras, that the click of flints is heard, chiboques
are lighted, and refreshments served, when he remounts, and pursues his tale to his
A STREET IN THE SUBURBS OF ADRIANOPLE.
This capital of Thrace is one of the many towns erected by the emperor Hadrian in
the East, and who, from his strong propensity for building, acquired the name of K-i^g, or
" the architect." His travels were marked by memorials of this kind, and his progress is
to be traced, not like that of other conquerors, by the ruins, but by the erections he left
behind him; and several towns, both in Asia and Europe, still retain his " image and superscription." He selected for his Thracian city the banks of the classic Hebrus, and for
many centuries it continued a flourishing town under the Greek empire. When the Turks
passed into Europe in 1362, they seized on it, and, transferring the seat of empire from