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222

EXTERIOR OF SANTA SOPHIA.

marking its unhallowed use, and all round the church are thrown large buttresses. On the western side is an outer court built of brick, but ornamented internally with marble and mosaic work; in the centre of this stood a. stone vase for water. This court is now oCcupied by the dwellings of the Imaums, which are built in among the old columns and walls. In place of the ancient holy water vase is the fountain for the Turkish

ablutions.

The old baptistery stood at the south-west angle of the church; it was octagonal, with eight windows and a vaulted roof. It was first converted by the Turks into a storeroom for oil, and then at the death of Sultan Mustapha was made his tomb; there also his brother was buried. It is still used as the tomb of the Sultans, and its memory as the Christian baptistery was utterly lost till Monsieur Salzenberg, in his researches, rescued it

ST. JOHN'S ORATORY.

223

from oblivion.* On the south of Santa Sophia also stood the oratory of St. John the Baptist; this was built previous to the time of Justinian.

* In the account of the details of Santa Sophia, I have drawn somewhat largely from the work of the learned Monsieur Salzenberg, Alt Christliche Bandenkmale von Constantinople, feeling sure that as this valuable work is difficult of access in England any information from it would be acceptable, more especially as Monsieur Salzenberg enjoyed opportunities of pursuing his researches in Santa Sophia which will probably during the period of its restoration by Signor Fossati again be afforded in our generation.

CHAPTER XIV.

News from Balaclava-Condition of the hospital there

The huts the Sisters lived in-Death of one of the Sisters—The corps of civil orderlies—A few facts concerning the Sisters—Determination to retain Koulali barracks as a British hospital-Preparations for departure-Final farewells—Malta—ValettaDress of the Maltese women- -Traces of the Knights of Malta-The church of St. John the BaptistThe chapel of the Blessed Sacrament—The Lady chapel—Tombs of the Grand Masters-History of the order—The English, French, Italian, and German chapels—The oratory-Various churches in Valetta-The church of an Publius-Remarkable scene in the square in front of it-Citta Vecchia

- The catacombs-The governor's gardens-The ruins of the Phænicean city-The fête of St. Andrew --Gibraltar—The galleries of the fortifications-St. George's Hall-Rough weather-Arrival in England.

From the time the Sisters of Mercy left us we looked anxiously for letters, and took the

THE HOSPITAL AT BALACLAVA.

225

deepest interest in their affairs. Every one who came down from Balaclava was eagerly questioned concerning them and their work, and all spoke of their exertions in the highest terms.

On their arrival at Balaclava they were lodged in huts built of planks, through the chinks of which the winds whistled cheerlessly. The hospital consisted partly of huts, partly of a stone building. Many civilians were nursed in these huts, men from the transport corps, muleteers, &c., who did not receive even the attention paid to the soldiers.

The huts in which the Sisters lived were so bare and unfurnished that they looked like Indian wigwams, but every hardship seemed but to increase the good Sisters' cheerful zeal, they were so delighted at having plenty of work. They found the character of the work very different from that at Koulali, from patients coming in at all hours, and in a state of acute disease. Cholera prevailed to some

VOL. II.

226

DEATH OF A SISTER.

extent in October; the Sisters immediately began night work, and partly owing to the incessant watching many cholera patients recovered.

They had not been many weeks at Balaclava when a sad trial befell them : this was the death of one of the Sisters, the first of their community whom they had lost. After one day's illness with cholera Sister Winifred departed; her death was very peaceful, her Sisters knelt around her bed while the priest recited the prayers for the agonizing; they changed into a requiem, and that was the first token to those who watched that the spirit had fled. Next day, a Sunday afternoon, they bore her to her grave; for this a craggy spot on the hills in view of the huts where the Sisters lived was selected. Priests bearing the cross and chanting led the procession; the coffin was carried by the soldiers for whose sake she had been content to die; the long train of Sisters in white cloaks and

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