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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 397

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business their nation may have with the Governor. His house was in all respects a palace, possessing the highest degree of Oriental magnificence. The apartments were not only spacious, but they were adorned with studied elegance ; the floors being furnished with the finest mats brought from Grand Cairo, and the divans covered with satin, set round with embroidered cushions. The windows of the rooms, as in all Oriental houses, were near the roof, aud small, although numerous, and placed close to each other. They had double case-ments, one being of painted glass, snrrounded by carved work, as in the old Gothic palaces of England. These perhaps derived their original form from the East, during the Crusades. So many instances occur to strengthen the opinion, that I may be liable to unnecessary repetition, when allusion is made to this style of building. The custom of having the floor raised in the upper part of a chamber, where the superiors sit, as in our old halls, is strictly Oriental ; it is the same in the tents of the .Tartars. We were permitted to view the Harem. This always consists of a summer and a winter apartment. The first was a large square room, surrounded by divans ; the last an oblong chamber, where the divans were placed parallel to each other, one on either side, lengthways; and at the upper extremity was the fire-place, resembling onr antient English hearths. About half an hour after our arrival, the worthy old Armenian came home; and throwing himself at full length upon the divan, began to fan himself with a bunch of coloured feathers, while his secretary opened and read to him our letters. Refreshments were instantly served, and pipes brought by his attendants; soon after this he proposed that we should accompany him to the Governor's. As we descended, he shewed us his beautiful garden, filled with standard apricot-trees laden with ripe fruit, and our wine, as he said, for dinner, already cooling in marble fountains, beneath the shade of orange, citron, lemon, fig, vine, and pomegranate trees. We entered the court-yard of the Governor's palace, and observed several beautiful horses, richly caparisoned, standing without any attendants, each fastened by a chain to its fore leg, and to a spike in the ground. This custom exists, as a kind of parade, in almost all the palace-yards of Pashas who are governors, and are called Musselim. We were conducted first into the chamber of the Dragoman, or interpreter, where we found a crowd of persons assembled upon business. Here again pipes were brought while onr firmans were examined, and some questions put concerning the state of affairs in Egypt, the death of the Emperor Paul, and the victory gained by Nelson over the Danes. We were then led through several passages, until we came to the Governor's apartment, who having heard our names and business, desired us to be seated upon the divan opposite to him. As this man affected all that haughtiness with which Franks were formerly received, in times when the English name was not quite so much respected as it is now in Turkey, 1 shall particularly specify' the ceremony attending our visit. The custom shewn in the reception of strangers, is the same over all the Ottoman empire; and in all countries the punctilios of hospitality are best exercised by proud men. It is only our equals who lay aside ceremony. The Governor of Cyprus was no Pasha, nor had he any other rank than what his wealth had procured in his temporary station at Nicotia ; an honour annually purchased of the Capndan Pasha, as before stated, by the highest bidder. One short year of dominion, whollj" dedicated to the exercise of a vain ostentation, and to unbounded rapacity, was there-fore all that awaited him, in return for the expenditure whereby the post had been obtained. It was truly amusing, therefore, to see the manner of displaying his new sovereignty. Oui* credentials were of a veiy superior nature ; because, in addition to our firman, we carried with us letters from the Capudan Pasha, and the Commander-in-chief, both of the tteet and of CLARK li. 387

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