By a lucky chance I got on to the idea that the citadel ought to be lit with electric light since the water power produced by the torrent below could work a dynamo at very low cost if properly engineered. This was so much in my thoughts that as we went through the barracks and buildings in the fort, I kept pointing out how easily and inexpensively places might be wired and lit. And I gradually persuaded him that it was a matter that he should take up and suggest to his superior.
Finally, when he had seen almost everything, my friend remarked: “I don’t suppose you would care to see inside the arsenal, it is so much like many others you must have seen before.” But I assured him that it would interest me very much; in fact, it was rather essential to forming any approximate estimate for the lighting; and so he took me in.
There was gallery after gallery filled with racks of arms, all beautifully kept, and over the door of each room was the name of the tribe and the number of men who could be mobilised in the event of their being required, and the number of arms and the amount of ammunition that was available for each.
After taking me through two or three rooms, he said: “There are many more like this, but you have probably seen enough.” But I eagerly exclaimed that I must see the others in order to judge of this electric lighting scheme. If there were many more rooms it might necessitate an extra sized dynamo, therefore a greater expense, but I hoped that by due economy in the number of lamps to be able to keep down to the original estimate which I had thought of.
So we went steadily through all the rooms, looking at the places where lamps might be most economically established, and I made calculations with pencil and paper, which I showed him, while I jotted on my shirt cuff the names of the tribes and the other information required by my superiors at home—which I did not show him.
The armament of native auxiliaries and their organisation and numbers were thus comparatively easily found out—thanks to that little stroke of luck which I repeat so often comes in to give success whether in scouting or spying.
But a more difficult job was to ascertain the practical fighting value of such people.
Reports had got about that some wonderful new guns had been installed in one of the forts on the Bosphorus and that a great deal of secrecy was observed in their being put up. It became my duty to go and find out any particulars about them.
My first day in Constantinople was spent under the guidance of an American lady in seeing the sights of the city, and when we had visited almost all the usual resorts for tourists she asked whether there was anything else that I wanted to see, and to a certain extent I let her into my confidence when I told her that I would give anything to see the inside of one of these forts, if it were possible.