7f, CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS ;
it was meant to exhibit the size of those cannon-balls with which the sultan intended to
attack the Christian capital, and so to strike terror into its defenders. The Austrians
immediately searched, and found a larger one, which they sent back in return—implying,
that the cannon of the besieged was still more powerful than that of their assailants.
The Turks were repulsed, and the truth of this emblematic communication verified.
But, besides fruits, flowers of all kinds are used at this day, as means of allegoric
communication, among a people so illiterate as the Turks. The rose is principally
prized, because the Moslems suppose it grew from the perspiration of Mahomet, and
they never suffer the petal of the flower to wither on the ground. In all emblematic
communications, it is deemed the representation of beauty and joy: the orange-flower
marks hope; the marigold, despair; the amaranth, constancy; the tulip, a reproach of
infidelity. It is thus that bouquets of flowers, called selams, supply the place of letters,
and the illiterate lover communicates to his mistress feelings and sentiments which the
most elaborate written language could not express. In this manner slaves hold tender
communication with their mistresses, even in the presence of their terrible master. The
captive Greek is generally employed as a gardener: by an ingenious arrangement of a
parterre of flowers, he holds mute and eloquent converse with her he loves, even while
his jealous rival and master is looking on, and his instant death would follow a discovery.
But, beside these modes of conveying ideas, there are scribes, who sit at the receipt
of custom, as at Naples, who live by writing down on paper what the Turk is not
able to do for himself. These clerks are found in bazaars, and at the corners of
streets, and are distinguished by a calomboyo, or a bright brass " inkstand and pen-
case," stuck in the girdle, where another carries his yatagan and pistols. His desk is
generally his hand, and his pen is a reed, like that of the Romans. This necessary
person writes for all occasions. Is a Turk going to law, he writes for him his arzuhal,
or the state of bis case—does he want a protector against any evil, he writes an amulet.
The Turks are exceedingly fond of amulets; they suppose them a sufficient safeguard
against disease, magic, the power of evil spirits, the malice of enemies, and the assault
of robbers. The scribe has power, by transcribing certain passages of the Koran, and
annexing certain mysterious ciphers, to give a paper to his customer which will protect
him against them all.
Our illustration represents an anxious mother obtaining such a protection for her
child: a favourite one for such an age is the Kef Marjam, or "hand of Mary," which is
either represented on blue glass, or inscribed on paper, and hung on the head or breast
of the child.