94 CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS ;
depravity of Lydian manners, and forms a sequel to the story of Gyges. The number
and wealth of the girls of bad fame in Sardis were so great, that they raised, at their own
expense, assisted by some of the lower classes, this magnificent tomb of their king, and
monument of their own infamy. The remains of it at the present day, exactly correspond with the description of Herodotus, who saw and described it nearly five hundred
years before the Christian era. The base of masonry still traceable, extends for six
stadia or three-quarters of a mile. The superstructure on this is a truncated cone, now
covered, like the rest, with grass very rich and verdant. On ascending the summit, a
singular and characteristic view presents itself. Round its base are the smaller monuments,
extending in various directions. From thence the still and placid surface of the lake
spreads itself, penetrating into many solitary recesses, as if avoiding human research,
and in perfect keeping with a place intended for the repose of the dead. What adds to
the deep interest excited by this venerable relic of antiquity, is, that its origin and history
is of undoubted authority. The traveller who visits it sees a monument as vast and ancient
as a pyramid of Egypt, but whose history is much more certain and authentic.
Our illustration presents the perfect character of this place: the solitary stillness of
the lake—the luxuriance of its aquatic vegetation—the vast flocks of its feathered inhabitants—its conical tombs appearing over the neighbouring elevations, and marking the
cemetery in which the remote kings of Lydia slumber in solitary magnificence.
GARDENS OF THE SERAGLIO.
An error has long and universally prevailed in western Europe, as to the degree of
liberty which Turkish ladies enjoy, and their supposed subjection to their husbands
has excited the pity of Christian wives; but, if freedom alone constitute happiness, then
are not only the wives and the odaliques, but the female slaves in Turkey, the happiest
of the human race. They visit and are visited without exciting jealousy, or being subjected to resentment; the most gorgeous apartments, the most beautiful pleasure grounds
of every palace, are devoted solely to their use; and the gardens of the seraglio at Constantinople, with their orange groves, rose beds, geraniums, and marble fountains,
afford an admirable illustration of some scene of enchantment in an Arabian tale.