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Iage. Our janizary had bound over his eye, which was much inflamed, a piece of empty honey-comb, and the yolk of a boiled egg, but neither receipe had relieved his torture. Our mariners, except one or two, were employed in rowing the boat to Chomkali, the town by the Asiatic castle; the place, where we had landed, being exposed to winds, and insecure from the force and rapidity of the current. Some Turks of Chomkali visited our companions. Their conversation, as was evident, turned on us, our dress, manners, and pursuits, which must have appeared to them strange and unaccountable. They were fond of hearing us repeat the words of their language, which we had learned, and called for this display of our talents so often, that we began to think them troublesome and impertinent.
From the brow by the church we had in view several barrows, and a large cultivated plain, parched, and of a russet colour, excepting some plantations of cotton. On it were flocks of sheep and of goats; oxen unmuzzled treading out corn; droves of cattle and horses, some feeding, others rolling in the wide bed, which receives the Scamander and Simois united. Near the mouth was lively verdure, with trees; and, on the same side as Sigeum, the castle and Chomkali. By the water many women were employed, their faces muffled, washing linen, or spreading it to dry; with children playing on the banks. It is proper here to inform the reader, that Ilium or New Troy, stood above the junction of the two streams; and that the Simois, which has been mistaken for the Scamander, was the river next Sig6um and Cape Baba or Lectos.
When the heat of noon had subsided, a moor or black, who was known to our janizary, with one of our Turks, armed, was ready to attend us. We descended from the church into the plain, and crossing the river above the women, to avoid giving offence, walked about two hours up into the country. We saw in this ramble some villages consisting of a few huts; and were worried more than once by the dogs, which are kept to guard the flocks and herds from wild beasts. They were very fierce, and not easily repelled by our mussulmen. The ground, in many places, appeared to have been swampy, and had channels in it worn by floods and torrents. The Turkey wheat standing in the fields had the ears turned yellow, and seemed ripe. Pieces of marble and broken columns lay scattered about. The bed of the river was very wide, the banks steep, with thickets of tamarisk growing in it. We saw small fish in the water, and on the margin found a live tortoise, the first I had seen. I passed the stream several times without being wet-shod. We had advanced in sight of some barrows, which are beyond the Scamander, and of a large conical hill, more re^ mote, at the foot of Mount Ida, anciently called Calicollone, when the sun declining apace, to my great regret, we were obliged to go back.
A rumour had prevailed that the consul, after parting from us at Tenedos, had been attacked by robbers in his way to Gallipoli. At our return to the village we found this intelli-. gence confirmed, and our Jews in affliction. He had gone with company in a boat from the Dardanell. They landed to dine, as usual, ashore; when the banditti rushed suddenly down upon them, and soon overcame them. The consul, as we were told, ran into the water up to his chin, where they still fired at him, and he was much hurt.
We had purposed tarrying a few days at Giaurkioi, and af» ter recovering from our late fatigue, to traverse and examine the plain minutely; and to penetrate to the sources of the Si^ mois and Scamander in the recesses of Mount Ida; but now we had danger to apprehend from the desperate parties ranging about the country: our conductor was desirous to get back without delay to the distressed family of his brother, where his presence was required, and the indisposition of our janizary, which increased, made our compliance with his wishes as necessary as it was reasonable.
Our cottage was not far from the brow of the hill, on which the church stands, and we repaired thither to enjoy again, before sun-set, the delightful prospect. A long train of low carriages, resembling ancient cars, was then coming as it were in procession from Mount Ida. Each was wreathed round with wicker work, had two wheels, and conveyed a nodding load of green wood, which was drawn through the dusty plain by yoked oxen or buffaloes, with a slow and solemn pace, and with an ugly screaking noise.
Early in the morning we descended the slope, on which Sigeum stood, going to our boat, which waited at Chomkali, distant about half an hour from Giaurkioi by land. After walking eight minutes, we came between two barrows, standing each in a vineyard or inclosure. One was that of Achilles and Patroclus; the other, which was on our right hand, that of Antilochus, son of Nestor. This had a fragment or two of white marble on the top, which I ascended; as had also another on our right hand, not far off, which, if I mistake not, was that of Penelcus, one of the leaders of the Boeotians, who was slain by Eurypylus. We had likewise in view the barrow of Ajax Telamon; and at a distance from it on the side next Lectos, that of vEsyetes, mentioned in Homer. From thence the road was between vineyards, cotton-fields, pomegranate, and figtrees; the verdure and freshness about the mouth of the river contrasted with the parched naked plain surrounding it, and was as agreeable as striking.
The town of Chomkali appeared to advantage after the wretched places, in which we had lately been; but is mean, and not large. We tarried there at a coffee-house, while our men purchased the necessary provisions. We saw in the street two capitals of columns excavated, and serving as mortars to bruise wheat in. The water-cisterns are sarcophagi or ancient coffins, with vents. On one was a Greek inscription, not legible; the stone rough. All these have been removed from adjacent ruins; for even the site of Chomkali and its castle is of modern origin.
Land in the Chersonese—A panegyris, or general assembly of Greeks—Their musicians—Their church—Arrive at the inner castle—Character of our Turks.
We had intended to return by the coast of Asia, hoping it might afford us something worthy observation; but, when we came to the wherry, the rais or master refused, preferring the European side of the Hellespont, because, as he urged, the stream there is less violent. This point being settled, not much to our satisfaction, we were rowed over to the Chersonese, where we landed above Eleus, within a point nearly parallel to Mastusia, and its castle, and at the mouth of the hollow bay Coelos, which lies between them, and has been mentioned before. We could discern some buildings among trees at the bottom of the bay, with piers of an aqueduct; and on the rock near us were vestiges of a fortress.
We had not been long on shore, before our attention was engaged by the appearance of many boats, on the Hellespont, steering towards us, and full of people. The passengers landing, as they arrived, ascended a ridge near us in a long train, men and boys, women with infants, and persons decrepit from age. On enquiry, we were informed, that this-was a great holiday among the Greeks, none of whom would be absent from the panegyris or General Assembly. The Feast of Venus and Adonis by Sestos did not occasion a more complete desertion of the villages and towns, on both sides the Hellespont, when Leander of Abydos first beheld, and became enamoured with his mistress Hero.
It is the custom of the Greeks, on these days, after fulfilling their religious duties, to indulge in festivity. Two of their musicians, seeing us sitting under a shady tree, where we had dined, came and played before us, while some of our Turks danced. One of their instruments resembled a common tabour, but was larger and thicker. It was sounded with two sticks, the performer beating it with a slender one underneath, and at the same time with a bigger, which had a round knob at the end, on the top. This was accompanied by a pipe with a reed for the mouth-piece, and below it a circular rim of wood, against which the lips of the player came. His cheeks were much inflated, and the notes so various, shrill, and disagreeable, as to remind me of a famous composition designed for the ancient Aulos or flute, as was fabled by Minerva.* It was an imitation of the squalling and wailing, made by the serpent-haired Gorgons, when Perseus maimed the triple sisterhood, by severing from their common body the head of Medusa.
* See Pindar, tp