The Emigrants

No one, he writes, could conceive of such a city.  So many different kinds of buildings, so many different greens.  The crowns of pines high aloft.  Acacias, cork, oaks, sycamores, eucalypts, junipers, laurels, a paradise of trees, shady slopes and groves with tumbling streams and springs.  Every walk full of surprises, and indeed of alarm.  The prospects change like the scenes in a play.  One street lined with palatial buildings ends at a ravine.  You go to a theatre and a door in the foyer opens into a copse; another time, you turn down a gloomy back street that narrows and narrows till you think you are trapped, whereupon you take one last desperate turn round a corner and find yourself suddenly gazing from a vantage point across the vastest of panoramas.  You climb a bare hillside forever and find yourself once more in a shady valley, enter a house gate and are in the street, drift with the bustle in the bazaar and are suddenly amidst gravestones.  For, like Death itself, the cemeteries of Constantinople are in the midst of life.  For every one who departs this life, they say, a cypress is planted.  In their dense branches the turtle doves nest.  When night falls they stop cooing and partake of the silence of the dead.  Once the silence descends, the bats come out and flit along their ways.  Cosmo claims he can hear every one of their cries.


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