Let us not boast ourselves over the sages who had the misfortune of living too soon. It would be falling into the same blunder Macaulay ascribed to Johnson in alleging that the philosopher thought the Athenian populace the inferiors of Black Frank his valet, because they could not read and Frank could. Our heads are apt to be turned by our success in throwing together iron, timber, stone and other dead matter. Let us remember that we are still at school, with no near prospect of graduating. Many of our contemporary nations, to say nothing of those who are to come after us, claim the ability to teach us, as their being here proves. The assumption speaks from the stiff British chimneys, the pert gables of the Swedes and the laboriously wrought porticoes of the Japanese. This is well. It would be a bad thing for its own future and for that of general progress could any one people pronounce itself satisfied with what it had accomplished and ready to set the seal to its labors.
GLIMPSES OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
We sailed from Trieste in the Venus, one of the Austrian Lloyds, with a very agreeable captain, who had been all over the world and spoke English perfectly. There were very few passengers—only one lady besides myself, and she was a bride on her way to her new home in Constantinople. She was a very pretty young Austrian, only seventeen, but such an old “Turk of a husband” as she had! Her mother was a Viennese, and her father a wealthy Englishman: what could have induced them to marry their pretty young daughter to such a man? He was a Greek by descent, but had always lived in Constantinople. Short, stout, cross-eyed, with a most sinister expression of countenance, old enough to be her father, the contrast was most striking. His wife seemed very happy, however, and remarked in a complacent tone that her husband was quite European. So he was, except that he wore a red fez cap, which was, to say the least, not “becoming” to his “style of beauty.”
We had a smooth passage to Corfu, where we touched for an hour or two. N—— and I went on shore, climbed to the old citadel, and were rewarded with a glorious view of the island and the harbor at our feet. We picked a large bouquet of scarlet geraniums and other flowers which grew wild on the rocks around the old fortress, took a short walk through the town, and returned to our boat loaded with delicious oranges fresh from the trees. Several fine English yachts lay in the harbor. We passed close to one, and saw on the deck three ladies sitting under an awning with their books and work. The youngest was a very handsome girl, in a yacht-dress of dark-blue cloth and a jaunty sailor hat. What a charming way to spend one’s winter! After our taste of the English climate in February, I should think all who could would spend their winters elsewhere; and what greater enjoyment than, with bright Italian skies above, to sail over the blue waters of the Mediterranean, running frequently into port when one felt inclined for society and sight-seeing, or when a storm came on! for the “blue Mediterranean” does not always smile in the sunlight, as we found to our sorrow after leaving Corfu.