National Geographic : 1915 May
Photo by H. G. Dwight ALBANIANS IN CONSTANTINOPLE The resident population today can be but little less than one million. Like the audience that listened to St. Peter on the day of Pentecost, they are "out of every nation under heaven" (see page 459). distinct and more exact details than any table of statistics, however elaborate and dry. In the polyglot multitude, he who speaks but a couple of languages is con sidered ignorant and is often helpless. The common handbills and notices are usually printed in four. The sign over a cobbler's shop may be painted in the lan guages of six different nations, and the cobbler on his stool inside may in his daily talk violate the rules of grammar in a dozen or more. Still the resident who is possessed of four languages will almost always be comfortable and at ease. First in importance is his own ver nacular; then French, for intercourse with the high Ottoman officials and for general society; then Turkish, for deal ing with the humbler classes; and Greek, as an open sesame among the native Christian population. Howsoever many additional languages one can speak Italian, Russian, English, German, Ara bic, Armenian, Persian, or a dozen be sides-they are not superfluous, and on occasion each will be of advantage and use. A DISAPPOINTING CLIMATE The only disappointing thing at Con stantinople is the climate. Only rarely does it correspond to the city's natural loveliness. Constantly it contradicts those conceptions wherein imagination pictures the East: "The land of the cedar and vine, Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine; Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, And the voice of the nightingale never is mute; Where the tints of the earth and the hues of the sky, In color, though varied, in beauty may vie,"