0Tuesday. 15th [May 1877]—Therapia
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15 May 1877 — Therapia
Tuesday. 15th [May 1877]. Walked after breakfast in garden with Henry. At 11 dressed & Henry & I started in the 10 oared caique and we rowed to Orta keui where the carriage & cavass met us & we drove to Yildiz the kiosque & gardens where the Sultan is now staying. We were met by a stout old party who walked us thro’ the gardens showed us the aviaries & finally led us to a small kiosk where he sent for chairs & bade us sit down in the shade & ordered coffee. He & Henry conversed in Turkish wh Henry said he evidently adapted to the foreigner as in Dickens novel when the Englishwoman says to the Italian “We hope your leg soon well.” After some time Saïd Pasha joined us, the head of the Sultan’s household. He took us a walk to another kiosk called the Malta kiosk & said H.M. had ordered lunch to be served but not being well &c &c he was afraid he could not see us &c &c Henry at once said that as he had come on purpose he hoped H.M. would not disappoint him of an interview at wh Said seeing he could not get out of it sent a message to the Sultan. The gardens are lovely—the trees not very old—there are all kinds of ducks swans geese &c & gazelles– The kiosks are built so as to have fine views over the Bosphorus. The Malta kiosk is so called from the stone it is built of. In the vestibule is a marble basin & fountain– Luncheon was prepared for us & was very well served– We had cutlets & cold meat & dolmans of rice in vine leaves—very good cheese of the country & splendid strawberries wh Said made me eat with sugar & strawberry preserved. We had coffee & the zarfs were a mass of diamonds set in silver. While the gentlemen were smoking the Sultan sent to say he was ready to see us & we were taken upstairs to a large room over the vestibule below & the Sultan was in a side room. He bowed & then put out his hand & shook hands & begged me to sit in an armchair near him & Henry next me & Said on a chair. He sat himself in front of us. He was dressed in European fashion but wore a fez. He is short & then his eyes are sunk in his head. He wears a beard & mustache & is dark. Said had to interpret for us & H.M. had a long talk with Henry on affairs—& H asked for the release of the Bulgarians &c. H.M. seemed gentle & nervous—his nails were bitten down to the quick but he seemed full of intelligence & the desire to do right & every now & then his eye flashed with merriment when anything amused him. We stayed nearly 2 hours—when Henry made a move. The windows behind us being open Henry sat in a draught & felt the cold– H.M. asked once if I minded it but it was then too late & we were just going. The Sultan invited me to go one day next week to see his harem & said he would let me know when it should be. We walked down to the tower gate where the carriage was & took leave of Saïd & drove down to rejoin the caique. We got back home to Therapia abt 6 ½ & were glad of some tea for altho’ the heat going to Yildiz was very great on the Bosphorus coming back it was chilly. Mr Smijth & Mr Baring dined with us. Henry went to write directly after dinner.

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