soldiers marching at Vosnessensk

[101] THIS grand military spectacle at Vosnessensk, which I was fortunate enough to witness in all its details, naturally commanded my attention, and inspired me with respect. It was certainly no vulgar curiosity which had led me into this city of soldiers ; and after recovering from my first astonishment, I immediately began to represent to myself the extent of these terrible forces, and especially of those formidable bodies of cavalry, without their equal [102] in the world. To taw establishment of the military colonies must be attributed these admirable results : hence has arisen this imposing army. The number, discipline and well-being of the men, the rare beauty of the horses, and even the martial appearance of the squadrons, all proclaim the happy effects of this system, and its incontestible superiority.

Drummers at Vosnessensk

This is not the place for explaining at length the organisation of the colonies of cavalry. Professional men, moreover, know where they may obtain technical information upon this system, which has commanded the admiration of the highest military authorities and the most skilful soldiers. We have ourselves seen it described with great lucidity in a recent work by a French marshal, the Duke of Ragusa, an excellent judge in these matters. Under these circumstances, therefore, we shall merely state, in a few words, the principles upon which the institution of military colonies is based.

The military colonies of cavalry are established in certain tracts of country, watered by the Boug, the Dnieper, and the Siguiska—fertile regions, if ever there were such ; but which, remaining waste from want of hands, were thirty years ago in the possession of the crown. Families from Central Russia, Bulgarians, Moldavians, and the scattered remnants of the Zaporogue Cossacks—a tribe mice so formidable in these steppes– [1O3] flocked hither, forming a somewhat numerous population, encouraged by concessions and immunities of considerable magnitude. These vast tracts were in the first instance divided into arrondissements, then into villages, and the territory of each commune was divided into two parts : one part belonged to the inhabitants. Every family possessing a plough and cattle received a grant of land amounting to ninety deciatines*, and a house. The remaining part was reserved to the crown, and cultivated by these same peasants, on whom a tax was levied of forty-five days' labour per year. Each village, built upon an uniform plan, was constituted on the basis of one hundred and eighty ploughs. Each possessor of a plough had to furnish board and lodging for one horseman, so that each village quartered one hundred and eighty men, or a squadron ; and as a regiment of colonial cavalry consists of eight active squadrons and one reserved squadron, nine villages formed a regiment. In each village, houses were built for the reception of the staff, stables, stores, a hospital, a school and a church. Thus placed beyond the reach of all material cares, the trooper has no thought but of his duties. At the same time, and this is the strong point of the colonial system, the soldier always remains under the empire of social ties, and the influences of civil life, with which he continues mixed up while still remaining under arms : hence arises *This area is equivalent to 98 hectares, 39 ares, French. [104] an esprit de cops, followed by the happiest results, and constituting the immense moral power of these squadrons, or rather families of soldiers, like those cohorts of antiquity, wandering and armed families, of which history has transmitted the names.

But this handsome trooper must have his sweetheart– he must have his mate, and the colonies are not wanting in young and pretty girls, not to be scared away by a uniform. The military authorities are inclined to favour these matches, so that nearly a third of these men are fathers of a family. The male children of the community are carefully educated in the school of the colony, trained from an early age to the management of a horse, and moulded to habits of discipline ; at twenty they become soldiers, and form a valuable stock of non-commissioned officers and accomplished horsemen. This institution in itself would suffice to declare the excellence of the colonial system. By means of these sons of the troopers, and the young men who are recruited in equal numbers from the inhabitants of the villages, the contingent of the colonial regiments is kept up ; and if it should happen that the soldiers' children are not sufficiently numerous, the government makes up the deficiency by sending young men, educated at its cost in establishments of a similar character. Each province of the empire possesses a special school for the education of the sons of soldiers. In this school the children are received, [105] taught and kept with paternal solicitude. In addition to elementary instruction, they are taught the principles of those arts which may become advantageous to the service. All the musicians, veterinary surgeons, official writers, geometricians, and draftsmen in our army, are recruited among the military cantonists, as these young men are called, the number of whom in Russia is one hundred and fifty thousand. These sanie young men supply the ranks of the children of the cavalry colonies, whenever it happens that the regimental school is unable to furnish the annual contingent of from fifty to sixty youths of twenty demanded of it. It may be easily conceived, therefore, how much the regiment benefits from the good order, aptitude and discipline of these young men, educated in such admirable schools.

Such is the condition of the soldier in the military colonies. It remains now to say a word on the state of the inhabitants who receive the numerous squadrons quartered upon the territory. Nothing can be better calculated to exhibit, to their full extent, the benefits of the plan upon which these colonies have been designed, than the well-being of these industrious families of emigrants now settled upon the soil. The happy possessors of more lands than are necessary for their maintenance and that of the soldiers whom they support, the peasantry have witnessed every year an incredible [106] increase in the extent of the lands under cultivation, and the number of their live stock. At the same time, the productiveness of the crown lands, to which they devote one day's labour in nine, has increased in proportion. The granaries of the colonies accordingly are overflowing with agricultural produce, and more than once have come to the assistance of neighbouring countries in times of scarcity. Under an administration entirely distinct from the discipline regulating the military corps, the villages are governed by a staff independent of that of the squadron. A captain administers the affairs of each village, directs the school, regulates the labour exacted by the state, superintends the stores, the cattle and implements of the crown. At the same time, he maintains order, and establishes police regulations ; two lieutenants are attached to him, and afford him their assistance in the discharge of his municipal functions.

Civil justice is administered on the most paternal system. The chief of the squadron presides over the tribunal, which is called a committee, and is composed of a serjeant-major, the priest of the village, and three colonists, elected by their peers. Previous to entertaining the question under litigation, the reporter explains the case of the respective litigants. When this is done, forty-eight hours are allowed the parties to come to an amicable settlement, at the end of which the case [107] proceeds. There is an appeal to the committee of the regiment, in which the same guarantees are afforded by the presence of delegates, elected as a jury from the same class as that of the adverse parties. The decision of this committee is recorded and made public throughout the territory of the regiment. Lastly, there is a final appeal to the major-general (brigadier-general), who visits the cantonments every month. He presides, in his turn, over an inquiry into the case, the results of which are submitted to the lieutenant-general in com- mand of the corps d'armue, who, with the assistance of a council, pronounces supreme judgment, which is in- serted in the orderly book.

Criminal cases are in the jurisdiction of the local council of war, whether the culprit be a trooper, or belong to the class of villagers. The inspector-general of the colonised cavalry is invested with the immense privilege of sanctioning the execution of the sentences, or mitigating their severity, according to his pleasure. This high functionary may, in the discharge of his office, go so far as to suspend an officer, and bring him to judgment; and it is also at his sole suggestion that the emperor grants the promotion which may have been deserved among the colonists. An idea may thence be formed, of the almost despotic powers exercised by the inspector-general.


But this immense amount of power, these high and noble functions, could not have been placed in worthier hands than those of the general-in-chief, Count de Witt. It was he indeed who, if not the first inventor of the system of cavalry colonies, at least rendered its execution practicable. To him is due the wise combination of elements upon which this great institution is based. Accordingly, in Russia, to allude to the military colonies is at once to bring to mind the great share of credit due to Count de Witt, in the creation of this happily constituted establishment ; it is to recall all the zeal, energy, and experience, and all the high capacity in the discharge of his important functions, exhibited by this general during the last twenty years.

Russian Artillery In Action (Vosnessensk)

A great triumph for Count de Witt, and a worthy recompense for all his exertions, was that which awaited him at Vosnessensk. How glorious a moment to mar- shal forth, in proud array, upon the vast meadows, those splendid squadrons, sprung up fully equipped from that soil which, within this very century, had been a barren desert ; to find himself summoned to the honour of presiding over all these pomps, with the renown of which Europe resounded ; to receive, amidst the din and stir of war, in that camp, which was then equivalent to the most brilliant of cities, the visits and congratulations of the most enlightened, no less than the most [109] exalted judge —was this not a recompense, so splendid, that it lies not in the power of sovereigns to award a greater ? But let us return to the narrative of our stay at Vosnessensk.

A truly royal hospitality had welcomed us in our character of adopted children of Russia. We were participators in the fête, on an equal footing with the highest dignitaries of the army. We were admitted everywhere, and our eagerness to see and admire everything was abundantly satisfied. One day was devoted to visiting the cavalry encampment, and our long and interesting inspection extended for a space of fifteen versts beneath the clumps of trees along the banks of the Boug. At another time, we turned our delighted attention to the tents of the infantry. Twenty- eight battalions, stationed in symmetrical order, occupied an immense plateau near the gates of Vosnessensk in an airy position, and well protected from the moisture left in the meadows by the nightly storms of rain. We regarded with especial interest the veteran soldiers, composing reserve battalions, and on whose masculine faces was marked the entire history of a period when war was rough and murderous. Entering beneath one of the tents, we remarked an old warrior carefully cleaning several decorations, fixed, according to the custom of our troops, upon a little strip of card board, which is [110] made to fit into the uniform, without any other fastening. " Where could this old fellow have won all these ?" asked one of the persons accompanying me. The soldier, without uttering a syllable, bared his breast and arms, which were seamed in all directions with scars. It was a simple and touching answer, and required no commentary. How many episodes could we relate exhibiting the natural spirit of these excellent troops, so admirably disciplined, and consequently so intrepid ; to what excellent results could we point, had we leisure to enter into a consideration of those points which make the Russian army so rich in the elements of order and courage ! But, in the midst of this resounding din, and of these grand sights, our existence was so filled up, that one new impression succeeded another in rapid succession. However, among those reminiscences which never can, and never ought to fade, there is one of which M. Raffet was almost the hero. All who have seen the works of this young artist—horses galloping obedient to his word, battles lost and won upon paper—can well imagine his love for everything in the shape of a soldier. At the camp of Vosnessensk, Raffet's enthusiasm was at the highest, and his whole mind bent on sketching the brilliant squadrons passing and re-passing before him. One day, when he was busy sketching some of the most effective uniforms, he heard himself called by [111] name. The voice was undoubtedly that of one accustomed to command both men and things—fine, clear, and sonorous. At the sound of this voice the artist turned suddenly round, and beheld no less a personage than the Emperor! The Emperor, who had already learned his name, now spoke to him of the art he professed, and made himself, as it were, his introducer to the scene before him. The astonishment and confusion of the modest Raffet may be easily imagined. He strove to the utmost to withdraw himself from the glorious distinction thus conferred upon him, but from that moment he was treated by the entire army as a protégée of the Emperor.

This interview obtained our painter the honour of being invited to present himself to their Majesties ; and immediately after leaving the presence of the Emperor, he was accompanied by a distinguished officer of the Staff, Baron Hahn. This officer was instructed to provide him facilities for seeing everything, and exercising his talents upon all that should seem to him worthy of interest.

Did I not fear incurring the reproach so frequently urged against the classical epic f`or its minuteness in enumerating battalions, naming every chieftain, and accurately describing their arms and accoutrements, I should, perhaps, attempt, in this simple and truthful narrative to depict the grandest of the ceremonials [112] during this grand fête, which lasted thirteen days. I prefer confining myself to saying, that the general review of the cavalry took place on the 26th of August (7th September). The Emperor arrived in a simple droschski (H. H. the Grand Duke Michael was seated by the side of his august brother), vaulted in the twinkling of an eye on a fine black horse, and galloped towards the troops, standing silent and motionless, drawn out in immense lines. But these grand sights, which the eye beholds with delight, are not such as are capable of description. They lose all their majesty in the dry enumeration of a bulletin, or in the frigid lines of the most accurate delineation. It was on the plain of Vosnessensk that these thirty-six regiments should have been seen, formed into four solid groups, with their artillery standing apart. It was there those thousand trumpets should have been heard, bursting out in the distance into pompous flourishes, as the Emperor passed in the midst of a crowd of generals, and penetrated to the centre of the compact masses, along the ranks of all those regiments greeting his appearance with loud shouts. It is not uninteresting, as a point of national manners, to note what passes on these occasions between the sovereign and his soldiers. On arriving in front of a squadron, the Emperor, in a loud voice, pronounces these words, " Good-day, lads ! " and the [113] soldiers reply in two words, " Path Staratza," which is about equivalent to, " we will try to do well." The same words, or expressions of similar import, are exchanged between the Emperor and his troops during the march past. Some time after the arrival of the Emperor, a light carriage quietly made its appearance on the plain, escorted by a number of officers in foreign uniforms. In this carriage was the Empress and the Grand Duchess Maria—and their escort consisted of all the princes, generals and officers whom invitations from the Emperor, dispatched to every part of Europe, had summoned to be present at this military fête.

When, at the close of this immense review, the Emperor on horseback, with the point of his sword lowered, had taken up his place next to H. M. the Empress, we beheld the marching past of three hundred and fifty squadrons of the finest men, in the best possible order, in uniforms of dazzling richness and variety, and mounted on carefully selected horses. These horses, of so superior a character, that the horse of a private might be mounted by a general officer, come of stallions of English breed, which they surpass in size, and are bred in the stables of the regiment. It may be asserted that all the horses of this body of cavalry are irreproachable; and the attention devoted to them has gone so far, as that the horses of each regiment should be carefully assorted according to colour. [114]

The juvenile Cantonists, of whom we have spoken, were planted over the entire field, in order to direct the march of the squadrons, and to mark out the limits to which the crowd might advance. All the carriages which we had seen filling the streets of Vosnessensk, were drawn up on the skirts of the meadow, and a picturesque assemblage of spectators were grouped upon them. The whole scene formed an animated picture, such as the sun of these regions had never before brightened ; nor had ever such sounds of mirth and festivity resounded over these steppes, for less than half a century since, the winds sweeping through the tall grass, and the clatter and rumbling of the thunder, were the only movement, the only sound to disturb the deep tranquillity of these unprofitable wastes.

A few days after, we quitted with regret this scene of marvels ; but we left Raffet behind us at Vosnessensk, for he found two many subjects of study amidst the motley tumult, to leave before these grand evolutions were concluded. The presence_ of the Emperor, the Imperial Family, the court, and all the various staffs, would shortly transfer the scene of pomps and festivities to Odessa ; but here they would be of a civil character. A young and great city, no older than the colonies themselves, was preparing to receive its sovereign.

And in truth, Odessa had made herself beautiful to [115] receive her illustrious guests, and her large houses shone with a bran new aspect. The palace of the governor, the public buildings, the theatre, the exchange, an elegant structure looking on the sea, the quays, the store-houses, the whole city in short, was under arms. The exchange was charged with the honour of welcoming the visitors in the name of the city, and most assuredly in a great commercial seaport, the exchange might be considered the common mansion. This beautiful palace, in the Greek style, had been converted into a series of magnificent saloons, in which preparations were being made for the banquet and ball, to which the presence of their Majesties was to be solicited. In every part of this fortune-favoured city, the inhabitants seemed inspired with the noblest zeal in preparing for the approaching festival. The few wooden huts, vestiges of the early settlement, which had yet remained erect in Odessa, on the day of the Emperor's visit—a day of entire regeneration— completely vanished. In a few hours forty of' these shells had been broken up and replaced, if not by complete houses (the time was insufficient), by elegant façades, which had sprung from out of the ground, and filled up the row like the scenes at a theatre. In a word, the emulation was general, and when we entered on the evening of the 8th of September, the whole town was in the heat of preparation. After too brief [116] a stay in this capital of the southern provinces, our expedition, already divided into several sections, experienced a further modification : some were called back to the Crimea to resume that wandering life which they had quitted with regret ; others, on the contrary, were induced to devote a certain time to local studies, which the industrial condition of Odessa rendered especially interesting. Our several places of rendezvous and dates of meeting having been duly agreed upon, I dispatched, by the land route to Simpheropol, two of my companions the most eager to proceed. The observations collected during this rapid excursion are here inserted, and I give them in the form in which I was enabled to note them down at a subsequent meeting.

We left Odessa on Tuesday morning, the 12th of September, the heat being already excessive, although it was not seven o'clock. Our equipage consisted of one of those capital but very rough Wallachian carriages purchased at Bukharest, which had already done such good service. We proceeded in this fashion somewhat at random, our three horses, harnessed abreast, galloping all the way. We knew nothing about the country, nor a word of the language. We had adopted the land route from necessity, and not from choice. The steamers, in which a great portion of the Imperial Court were conveyed to the Court of the Crimea, had already ceased [117] running from the port of Odessa, and we were obliged to renounce all thoughts of journeying by this easy mode of conveyance. Russia, however, is a marvellous country for safety, even on such a journey as would be hazardous everywhere else. With a padorojnaia in good order, and those two words in the language signifying, " horses directly," a foreigner may traverse the whole extent of the empire with no other risk than that of a long halt at the end of each stage.

Our outset deserves some notice, on account of the extreme severity of the search to be undergone from the Custom House officials on reaching the boundaries of the free port. In order to be allowed to pass from the favoured territory to that under taxation, it is necessary to prove that you have not about you one particle of that " franchise" which has raised Odessa to a rich and powerful city. Accordingly, all that lies beyond the wall is the steppe, with its atmosphere of dust, stifling the growth of a few young plantations of acacia trees.

The heat was becoming intense : our bearded coachman brought us by an abrupt circuit, during which we were not free from anxiety, right into the sea, in which he allowed the carriage to soak for a few minutes. This immersion was expected to have a favourable effect on the vehicle, if we may judge from the satisfied appearance of the man, as he alternately pointed to the sea [118] and to the sun. At the conclusion of this bath we galloped off again along the burning shore.

Our road, marked out by a beaten path through a cultivated plain, followed, for some time, the direction of the sea shore, and to our left lay a number of large lakes, which we rapidly passed. These lakes communicate with the sea by a number of narrow openings through the downs. These large collections of salt water, the first two of which seemed of very considerable extent, are said to be a great advantage to Odessa, owing to the quantity of fish taken in them. All these lakes are called limans, a word borrowed from the Turkish language, and signifying a sea-port. The same appellation is also given to the mouths of large rivers, navigable by ships. These limans, swollen by the accumulation of waters in certain rivers running down from the north, frequently overflow the natural barrier of the downs, and unite with the sea at the slightest overflow.

Odessa was soon out of sight, and we began to enter upon the steppes in real earnest. We do not find here, as in Bessarabia, those valleys, looking like long waves of land : the steppe of Southern Russia is level, smooth, free from irregularities, stretching out, without any visible variation, till its horizon is blended with that of the sea. A few long lines of khourgans, those conical [119] elevations of which we have already spoken, communicate with each other across this dull and dreary waste. In vain do you hope that, travelling so rapidly, you will soon see the end of the great disc which surrounds you : the prospect is ever the same—bare, parched and desolate : the flowers, which in the spring bloom over these uncultivated tracts, had long since disappeared beneath the withering breath of a burning summer ; and we might have said with Rubruquis, the traveller, who crossed these plains in the 15th century—nulla est sylva, nullus mons, nullus lapis—not a tree, not a hill, not even a stone ! Even these deserts, however, had experienced the effects of the Emperor's arrival : the sands awaited his presence no less than the cities ; in some parts the road had been levelled, and the ruts and hollows filled up. The post houses were resplendent with a fresh coat of whitewash, and in the absence of turf, the newly-raked ground in front of the doors completed the holiday appearance. Add to this an immense number of horses dispersed over the plain in the neighbourhood of each station, and you will have an idea of the extraordinary animation pervading the steppes. Between the stages posts are seen carefully erected at the end of every verst. These posts are painted with the colours of the empire. On one side is inscribed the number of versts from the last station; on [120] the other, the number to the next. Nothing can give a better idea of the strange and monotonous level of the steppe than the fact that almost always, from our low carriage, we could see two of these posts in front of us and two behind, making a league (or four versts) as the diameter of the circle described around us by this unchanging horizon. The slight car, which we had found tolerably easy over the moist turf lands of Wallachia, had become perfectly insupportable on this hard and parched ground. Nor was this the only infliction under which we suffered. If you should happen to be tormented with thirst (and how avoid it, with at least 28 degrees of heat and clouds of dust?) the people in the villages have nothing to offer you but stinking water, grown putrid in the very barrel in which it is brought, Heaven knows from what distance ! Nothing can be duller or more mournful in appearance than the few villages to be met with along these roads. But of what advantage is it to these inhabitants to live in the midst of fertile lands, when they are deprived of every necessary of life ? Without shelter against the sun, with no other comfort than a tolerably solid house, though lost in the midst of this immense space, at the cost of how much toil and suffering must they procure the bread which they oat, the putrid water they drink, and the scanty fragments of stubble and mud which [121] warm them in the winter? Alas ! to such as these, life is indeed hard ! But heaven, which has refused them so many benefits, has given them the courage to endure every evil.

About mid-day our route began to incline away from the sea, and we struck across the plain in a north-easterly direction, towards the great city of Nikolaieff, which is at the same time a port, and a justly renowned military arsenal. Towards five o'clock we came upon the bank of a large canal, supplied by the united waters of the Boug and the Ingoul—these rivers joining on the opposite bank, a little above the spot where we stood. Exactly at the confluence of the two streams, of very unequal breadth, stands Nikolaïeff, which was still two versts from the place where we intended to disembark.

A number of carts drawn by oxen were waiting their turn to be carried over; and we were three quarters of an hour crossing the liman of the Boug, by means of a very primitive contrivance. A rope made fast to the bank, on either side, continually dips in the water ; the men weigh upon the rope, and thus the slow machine advances. The bank on which Nikolaïeff stands is on a higher level, and presented the prospect of a number of beautiful gardens, the property of the crown, filled with tall poplars. These trees were planted for the Empress Catherine, by Prince Potemkin, at the time she resolved to visit, her new provinces. The landing [122] place is protected by a war schooner in perfect order. On reaching the shore, we found ourselves in the midst of a crowd of soldiers, women, and German colonists, recognisable at once by their good-natured tranquil faces. The cause of this assemblage was no less a circumstance than the landing of a cargo of pastecs, the favourite refreshment of the people of this country. The Germans had just brought several cart loads of them. We halted, at last, in the yard of an inn of respectable appearance, situated in one of the principal streets of Nikolaïeff.

Its appearance was the only thing we could approve of in this inn. While awaiting our supper, which did not appear likely to make its appearance very rapidly, we strolled through the handsome and spacious town we had just entered. At the first glance, everything has an imposing and grand appearance. The streets, planned upon a gigantic scale, as in all Russian towns, are suitably furnished with houses, but the grandeur of their architecture promises more than it performs ; palaces without, they are hovels within. The immense width of the streets (a silent stricture, though exaggerated, on the cities of the West) leaves the inhabitant too much exposed to the sun, the wind, the dust, and the mud. As for the public squares, on which a battle might be fought, no one would think of crossing them, except during the fine season. Not-, [123] withstanding this pardonable exaggeration in the size of its streets, Nikolaïeff, we repeat, presents a very majestic appearance, and is well worthy of its position as a naval arsenal. The town is not yet completely finished ; in more than one quarter, a few scattered houses rather indicate than carry out the plan of the streets. The population of this port amounts to about five thousand inhabitants, and consists, as may be supposed, chiefly of individuals connected with the naval service. The naval establishment, of which we were only enabled to judge from a very pretty promenade, on a height overlooking the mouth of the Ingoul, appears very advantageously situated for its purposes. With the necessary outlay, several large ships might be built at the same time in its docks, which, when launched, could now easily float out of this natural harbour, the entrance to which, formerly too shallow, has of late years been made deeper. Before this important improvement, vessels were brought into the liman of the Boug by means of those cumbrous machines called camels, first introduced, we believe, by the Venetians. In the present day, ships of one hundred guns even are launched from the dock-yard at Nikolaïeff, whence they proceed to Sevastopol to be fitted, without any extraneous assistance whatever.

It is impossible to conceive a building yard better [124] adapted for its purposes than this is. Nikolaïeff is sufficiently protected against any attack by its situation, so far inland, and at the extremity of a tortuous liman. Nor is it less favoured, as regards the supply of materials. Although the Boug, whose course is obstructed by cataracts, is not suited to the floating of timber, Nikolaieff receives timber, hemp and tar by the Dnieper, which flows, together with the Boug, into the deep bay called the liman of the Dnieper. This bay, sheltered from the waves of the open sea, if not from the winds, is navigable by the large rafts which peacefully descend the course of the Dnieper.

In a word, the position of Nikolaïeff does honour to the keen glance of Potemkin, the institutor of so many great things in this empire, of which he understood all the capabilities. It was impossible, in truth, to find a more suitable spot for the establishment of a building yard, or one so favourably situated in connection with the docks of Sevastopol. These two ports, formed by the hand of nature, perfected by human skill, and bound together by community of interests, must have been embraced in the plans of the great Empress, who felt the importance of a powerful navy upon the Black Sea. We were informed that the hidden enemy of the shipping in the bay of Sevastopol, the devouring worm which eats into all timber beneath [125] the surface of the waves, was not less destructive to vessels built and launched at Nikolaïeff. We do not assert this, however, as a fact, our informant not being a professional man ; but it is right to observe that this unfavourable character given to the port of Nikolaïeff would seem to be borne out by certain observations formerly published relative to this interesting locality.

Meanwhile we were well pleased to eke out the evening beneath the trees of the long walk to which chance had led our steps ; the moon had risen calm and brilliant, and her magic light was spread over the great harbour, and illuminated several fine ships of war, anchored close in shore, and almost at our very feet. Summoned back to our hostelry by the lateness of the hour, and more especially by a most energetic appetite, we found the expected meal awaiting us, consisting of one dish, which we shall describe, because, notwithstanding its German origin, it appeared to us to have became completely naturalised in Russia, where it is met with somewhat too frequently. This culinary production, which takes a longer time to prepare than our most complicated dishes, consists, under the wrongfully usurped title of beefsteaks, or the German name of carbonades, of a compound of various fresh meats chopped up together, and made into little flat cakes, cut out into [126] suitable shapes. This preparation is cooked in an oven, and forms the sole substantial basis of all dinners served up to the traveller, supposing his lucky star to have led him into a town possessing an inn, which is an extremely rare occurrence. That which he will invariably meet with on the other hand, every where, and at all times, is a cup; or rather a glass of excellent tea. In every Russian house, even the poorest, there is an article of furniture in frequent use, which, by an easy process, produces in a few minutes the fragrant infusion of the Chinese shrub. The samowar is, without gainsay, the most characteristic utensil to be found in the country. The species of kettle which bears this name, consists of a shining copper vase, a foot and-a- half high, resembling in form the ancient Greek vase. At its lower part it is furnished with a cock ; through the inside a vertical iron tube passes, filled with lighted charcoal, kept burning by a draft of air through an opening at the foot of the vase. The samowar is the emblem of Russian hospitality : it greets you as you cross the threshold, and seems to kindle of its own accord at your arrival. No sooner have you entered the house, than it pours forth the boiling stream, whose aroma cheers and soothes the jaded limbs. If some settlement of German farmers be at hand, you may make sure of a few slices of the purest white bread, [127] and a fragment or so of excellent butter: rejoice, look upon it as a supper, and make the best of the chance ; for twenty-four hours may pass, and seventy-five leagues of steppe slip away beneath your rapid wheels, ere a similar piece of good fortune befal you.

The reader will forgive these brief digressions, and accompany us once more across the barren steppe towards Kherson. The road to this city descends in a south-easterly direction. Although we had ordered our horses at Nikolaleff for four o'clock in the morning, we were unable to obtain them till an hour and-a-half after that time ; the day was already half spent when we approached Kherson, amidst clouds of dust so thick and stifling, that it was difficult to draw one's breath, to say nothing of the smarting pain caused in the eyes. This disagreeable character of the atmosphere prevents one from embracing at a glance the prospect presented by the city, which is very extensive, and filled with edifices of considerable magnitude. What struck us most, next to the fine outlines of the fortress, rising triumphantly through a haze of dust, was an innumerable quantity of windmills, with six sails, all turning together on the top of a small height, and producing a most extraordinary and confused picture. We entered at length the broad streets of Klierson. Being provided with a letter of introduction for a French gentleman, [128] long established in the country, where he has set up works for wool cleansing, we were already looking forward to the pleasures of a halt, of which we were greatly in want ; but alas, it was a difficult matter, in our complete ignorance of the simplest Russian words, to discover the residence of our fellow countryman. It is true that certain Jews, whom we interrogated in German, replied without hesitation ; for what Jew, in whatever quarter of the globe he be, does not understand German? But their imperfect directions only served to lead us further astray in this large town ; and we continued to wander from door to door, under a raging sun, followed by our mournful equipage. Entering, at last, a court-yard of a satisfactory appearance, we were received at the house door by a young lady, of whom we endeavoured, in every language in the world, to ask for the required residence. German, English, Italian had been repelled by the hopeless, ne ponimaiou (I don't understand). One last desperate venture in the modern Greek had left us entirely discouraged, when the lady said, in what was undoubtedly an agreeable voice, but which to us appeared a strain of celestial melody : " Par hazard, Messieurs, parleriez-vous Français ?" 0 fortunate chance ! we had lighted upon a country-woman ! and when we had thanked her for her information, which turned out correct, we could not help recalling the [129] chapter in Rabelais, where his fantastic hero, after having spoken several different languages, receives precisely the same answer as we lost travellers, amidst the plains watered by the Dnieper.

Our French host received us with cordiality; we found in his house a young chamberlain of the Emperor, with whom we had become acquainted at Yalta, and M. Vassal, an owner of lands in the neighbourhood of Perecop, who, by his speculations in the improvement of the breed of sheep, has rendered immense services to this part of the country, at the same time that he has increased his private fortune. The sheep farms of M. Vassal, the wool from which is chiefly disposed of at Kherson, have brought about a remarkable improve- ment in this class of produce, for which the countries adjacent to the Crimea have, from a remote period, always been famed ; above all, they have given a remarkable development to the export trade of the port of Kherson, so long crushed by the privileges of Odessa. After the departure of these two travellers, we resigned ourselves, not without considerable comfort to the outward man, to the hospitable care of our fellow countryman, M. Moulins. When our repast was over, we accompanied the host, who had given us so hearty a welcome, to his washing establishment, which is situated on a large island in the Dnieper, and is composed of a number of [130] wooden buildings, covering a large extent of ground. The first story is divided into large workshops, in which women are employed shredding the wool, after it has been cleansed, and sorting it according to its different qualities. On the ground floor are a number of com- partments for the reception of the various classes of wool ; and here, too, is the press for packing the bales. It consists simply of a screw worked by horizontal levers, and is, of course, far from effecting the marvellous results of the hydraulic press. Our visit to the cleansing works made us witnesses of a scene no less singular than it was picturesque, and so characteristic of the habits of the country, that we cannot omit mentioning it. The vats in which the wool is cleansed are placed in a row upon large rafts. Two hundred young women, of from eighteen to twenty years of age, are employed for this purpose, under the superintendence of several women of a maturer age. The hour of our visit coincided with the leisure time immediately following the dinner ; at this season the young work-women, according to the universal custom of the country, devote this period of recreation to bathing. Accordingly the raft was almost entirely deserted, while the waters in the vicinity were peopled with troops of swarthy bathers, who had studiously left on the shore all that could impede their joyous evolutions in the water. The picture, [131] however, was by no means new or strange to us. In these countries, the custom of bathing together in numbers has nothing in it startling to the sense of propriety of either sex; and we had already seen at Sevastopol the narrowest spaces shared by men and women enjoying this salutary diversion. When we returned to Kherson, two of the young bathers donned a portion of their garments to conduct us to the bank in which the town is situated : trade was busy in all its streets, and on all sides arose the din of workmen, porters, and busy folk of every description. Here, as in every other part of the country, the extraordinary demand for water melons occasioned the collection of eager and often quarrelsome crowds. A little above this spot the stream is covered with large coasting vessels ; these had come to take in cargoes of the agricultural produce brought down in great abundance to Kherson by the Dnieper, not to mention the salt which is brought by caravans from the eastern coast of Taurida.

The existence of the port of Kherson does not date farther back than half a century ; it was Potemkin, whose name is associated with every great establishment in these regions, who laid its foundations. According to the views of its founder, Kherson was called to the fulfilment of a high destiny; and, indeed at the first glance, its position seems exactly suited for an entrepôt [132] of all the merchandise floated down by the Dnieper, from the very centre of the empire to its extremities. Accordingly, from its origin, it became a vast and wealthy city. It was called by a Greek name, Kherson, recalling the ancient and flourishing colony of the Heracleotic peninsula, and the etymology of which is the adjective Khersos, signifying deserted, barren, waste.

All went on well till the establishment of Odessa : the rapid growth and the immunities which favoured this new port, checked the rising prosperity with which Kherson had seen itself crowned from its origin. The ships from the Mediterranean found it more advantageous to anchor in the roads of Odessa, as by resorting to this open roadstead, they frequently avoided a lengthened struggle against the rapid currents and the shifting sand banks in the liman of.the Dnieper. From the coln.- mencement of this century, the decline of Kherson became visible ; and in 1802 several travellers testified to the decay of this great city, which had looked forward, on just grounds, to a rapid aggrandisement.

The freedom granted to the port of Odessa, struck the last blow at the fortunes of the great entrepôt of the Dnieper. From that time Kherson almost ceased to receive in its waters any but those vessels which, after unloading their cargoes of western merchandise at Odessa, proceed thither to take in, from a point [133] nearer their source, the wool and grain which the vast estuary of the Dnieper is enabled, in all respects, to supply on easier conditions. The streets of Kherson, now too spacious for their traffic, are filled with clouds of devouring dust ; those quarters which at one time were filled with well-stored shops, present now only a row of fronts closed to all trade ; a few rusty black gowns, the Jewish garment, are seen here and there at the doors of these deserted bazaars, and suggest the image of greedy crows scenting out destruction. And yet, for what great and noble results had the founder of this city, the object of his affections, paved the way.

A glance at the imposing ramparts of the fortress, and the still existing though neglected establishment of the admiralty of Kherson, will give an idea of the intentions of Potemkin, who had fixed upon this spot as the key of the great southern stream. It is at Kherson that the remains of this prince are buried. Snatched away by an unexpected death, on the spot to which we have referred, while crossing the steppe of Bessarabia, Potemkin, the most powerful of European ministers, was laid in the modest church of Kherson.

In the present day, Kherson is the capital of one of the governments forming part of the general government of New Russia, and bearing the same name. A recent census allows us to rate the amount of its [134] population at twenty thousand ; it is asserted that the city, the extent of which is enormous, contains, in the four quarters of which it is composed, no less than three thousand six hundred houses.

We had intended to proceed from Kherson to Alechki by water, along the scattered branches of the Dnieper ; the length of the journey is reckoned at 17 versts, and it is stated to be remarkably picturesque in some parts, where the traveller makes his way through tall reeds, surrounding him like a wall. At Alechki we expected to find a road that would lead us to Perecop. The timely counsel of M. Vassal diverted us from attempting this route, now no longer practicable. The post-houses throughout the extent of the journey had been pulled down, and the horses taken to swell the supply for the government relays at Kherson, in anticipation of the numerous travellers daily expected. We were accordingly compelled to take the route, ascending the stream as far as Berislaff, one that was certainly far longer, and would cause us a delay of several hours.

Before sunset we had reached the banks of the Ingouletz. This river, a tributary of the Dnieper, runs between banks of considerable height, not far from which are found several deposits of kaolin. We arrived at the ferry by which the river is crossed, through a long avenue of thickly-leaved willow trees [135] arching over our heads. The place was a complete forest, in comparison with the ever-dismal steppe which we had just crossed, and which we again encountered, and found more gloomy than ever ; for night was slowly advancing. At this hour of the day, in these solitary plains, it is impossible to guard against an involuntary feeling of melancholy : the darkness, which grows on the traveller, and will soon envelop him, renders. the sense of isolation more complete ; it deprives him of the only spectacle which can cheer him on such a road, that of the light.

Towards eight o'clock we reached a station ; here we obtained, at the hands of a landlady who spoke German, the daily cup of tea and its slender acces- saries. From this point we travelled in company with a general officer ; he was returning from Vosnessensk, and, like ourselves, proceeding to the Crimea ; our two equipages travelled at an equal , pace. At midnight we traversed the streets of Berislaff, beneath the veiled beams of the moon ; on reaching the posthouse, kept by a Jew, we found the whole Israelite family sleeping in the open air, in a little court-yard. With a degree of luxurious refinement worthy the days of Sybaris, each had adopted for his couch one of those post télègues, whose joltings on the rough road are so unendurable. Ere we could awaken this [136] assembly of sleepers, one old woman especially, whose commands were supreme, a considerable time elapsed ; and before we could resume our journey, we were fairly done to death by a long rigmarole,' in the most horrible Jew German with which Christian ears can be scarified.

We are unable to speak as to the importance of Berislaff, which we thus passed through at night, or rather only in part traversed, returning afterwards on our steps. It is situated on a fine plateau, commanding the northern bank of the Dnieper. The streets are straight and regularly planned, as is the case in all the best cities of modern Russia. Berislaff dates its foundation in the glorious days of the Empress Catherine, at the time when that great sovereign was desirous of fortifying her command over the newly conquered territory, by a line of garrisons, which should secure her in its tranquil possession. Kisilkerman, or the Red Fort, was the Tatar name of the little military post commanding the passage of the stream, ere the new town was built. Five important roads meet in Berislaff, and render its existence precisely on that spot a matter of necessity. By the road from the south, or from Perecop, large quantities of salt are brought within its walls. Two roads, in the direction of the north-eastern provinces, [137] lead to the government of Ekaterinoslaff and towards the Cossacks of the Don ; another, running due north, cuts through the immense desert stretching towards Poltawa and the Slobodians of the Ukraine. Lastly, the fifth road by which we had been journeying, is the same which opens a communication with the western countries of Europe, by Kherson, Nikolaïeff, and Odessa.

From the plateau on which the town stands, the road descends by a steep declivity to the river bank, where a floating bridge is found, forming a slight curve across the rapid current of the stream. While our horses were advancing with cautious steps along the yielding floor, we began to contemplate the vast expanse of grey waters before us, reflecting the clouds drifting before the wind. Once more we were gazing on the Borysthenes of the ancient geographers, whose graphic name denoted the prevalence of tempestuous winds. This splendid, stream, so often the subject of history in the time of the Scythians, has lost its noble appellation, to the great injury of the language of poetry : in the same way has the Tyras of the Greeks given place to the Dniester ; the Hypanis yielded to the Boug, and the harmonious Tanaïs become lessened to the Don. The Greeks, beautiful in speech, poets even in the slightest words of that language which Homer discovered, little dreamed [138] that that refined harmony of syllables, of which they were so proud, would thus be swallowed up by the rugged idiom of the north.

We, however, return to our bridge, and to the inundated approaches of the Dnieper. Ascending the left bank of the river, we proceeded for a considerable space upon a yielding soil covered with water ; after another change of horses at a station within a short distance of Berislaff, we turned suddenly off to the south, proceeding in a direct line to Perecop and the narrow isthmus of Taurida.

At the end of this monotonous route, of which, for lack of sleep, we had to endure all the tedium, we arrived on the 14th of September in the town, or rather large village, which is the portal of the Crimea, and is called Perecop. Before Taurida became a Russian province, this village bore a name replete with Eastern grandiloquence, Or-Gapy, the Royal Gate. It was thus that the Tatars designated the sufficiently insignificant entrance to an entrenchment dividing the isthmus, and uniting the two seas. After crossing a bridge over the deep but much dilapidated ditch, which is still in existence, the traveller is in Perecop. It consists of one single street, which, from its breadth, might be called a square. To the right and to the left may be seen a tolerable number [139] of houses, standing at wide distances from each other, the most salient of which consists of no more than a ground floor, covered with a roofing of planks or reeds ; yet, notwithstanding its wretched appearance, the advantages of its position give to this village a special degree of importance. Perecop is the entrance gate to the government of Taurida, and the entrench- ment by which the peninsula is closed and isolated. Its present name, derived from a Russian word, signifying a trench between two seas, exactly describes its position in the geography of Taurida. Perecop is also a central customs station, where an active regulative influence is exerted on the immense exportation of salt from the neighbouring seas and the lakes of the peninsula. All these administrative functions, however, tend in no way to relieve the melancholy of the surrounding salt-impregnated steppe, which still retains the evidences of its submersion at some remote period. Herodotus, Strabo, and Pliny have expressed the opinion, that iii former ages Taurida was separated from the continent : and the character of the soil of the isthmus is not repugnant to this hypothesis. Its level is so low, that from the centre of the passage across it, which is as much as seven versts in length, one might fancy one's-self below the level of the two seas. The Sivache threatens [140] you on the east, and the Black Sea on the west. A glance at the position of the peninsula on a .map will suffice to perceive the striking difference between the outlines of the sea and of the lake. The putrid lake, whose waves sink powerless upon a low beach, exhibits, in the outline of its shores, a thousand fantastic and varying contortions. The Black Sea, on the contrary, lying in a deep bed, presents a steady and more even line of coast.

Perecop is inhabited chiefly by the servants of the government and by a great number of Jews, who abandon themselves with delight to all their native uncleanliness. We should be much astonished to be told that this was one of the most commendable situations in a sanitary point of view. The viscous sea lying so close to the village, constantly heated to the very bottom of its slimy bed, gives forth, according to certain travellers, a miasma, injurious to the quality of the surrounding atmosphere. In the inestimable work of M. Montandon, already quoted by us, we find, however, a contrary opinion expressed. This writer points out Perecop as a particularly healthy spot, in the teeth of all contrary prejudice. That which is certainly true, without entering into a discussion as to its deleterious effects, is, that this putrid sea is, for the whole of this country, a great source of trade and movement. On its shores, and on those of the neighbouring [141] lakes, a considerable quantity of salt is gathered, constituting an important item of revenue to the government. This produce, which is collected during the summer, is conveyed in every direction, even to the centre of the Empire, by long caravans, of which we never saw a greater number, or any more plentifully laden and picturesque in appearance, than in the narrow isthmus of Perecop : they are the four-wheeled fleets of the steppe. There is a custom peculiar to the Tatars, which consists in harnessing their dromedaries to their waggons. These animals are of an admirable breed, and grow to a very large size ; they appear, for the most part, obedient to the voice of their masters. Some cases, however, are related, in which dromedaries have become infuriated with rage, and have almost devoured their drivers. This species of team has an imposing appearance : the two powerful animals advance at a slow and measured pace, drawing, without apparent effort, the heavily laden madgiars of the Tatars. The vehicle so called, is on four wheels ; its sides are of solidly constructed hurdles, and the whole is covered with a kind of thick felt, made of camels' hair. The austere and primitive forms of this simple car would lead one to conjecture that its antiquity is remote, and that it may have been handed down from the nomadic Seythians, who lived in such vehicles—itinerant [142] dwellings—quorum plaustra vugas rite trahunt domes, says Horace. In the present day this is practised by the Nogais, who prefer, in their vagrant mode of life, the covering of the madgiar to the permanent shelter of a house.

From Perecop, the route advances rapidly towards the south, and almost on starting a considerable town is met with. Armianskoï-Bazar, as its name denotes, is a market held by Armenians. Every article of utility to the carriers, who come to obtain salt, all appurtenances and necessaries of the wheelwright and harness maker, are found collected together in this entrepôt of industry, and the inevitable demand for them must render them a certain source of profit. Passing this spot, the road continues over the steppe, and the traveller begins to inquire where in the world can be that Taurida, whose picturesque beauties it is impossible to speak of, but an allusion to rustic Helvetia, and to fair Italy, will perforce creep into the laudatory phrase. The fact is, that the portion of the peninsula, renowned for its beautiful scenery, lies quite in a remote region, on either slope of its rich and picturesque border of mountains. The northern slope, rising more gently than the other, is replete with beautiful spots ; but the southern declivity, of a more abrupt character, presents within a space narrowly confined by the sea, all the beauties of [143] the finest and most graceful scenery. Without adopting the somewhat satirical view of the English traveller, who compares the Crimea to a cloak spread out, and its beautiful gardens in the south to a narrow border of lace, we will say, that though the portion of her splendours which nature has allotted to it be scanty, it is nevertheless complete. It is as though she had placed at the extremity of these interminable plains this enchanting chain of rocks and verdure, in order to show to those who flock hither from afar, for once in their lives, forests, sparkling springs, and all the romantic beauty of mountain scenery.

Thus, then, as far as the environs of Sympheropol, or for nearly two-thirds of the breadth of the Crimea, from north to south, we have the same extent of plain as before, only if possible, more level still, traversed by endless caravans, dotted with a few villages, and lined over to a greafer extent than in any previous instance, by numerous khourgans, arranged in an order evidently denoting some system of correspondence. For instance, some rows may be observed, comprising from four to seven of these tumuli forming lines, each taking a peculiar direction. We are not aware whether the skilful engineers who constructed the recent map of Russia, called the ordnance map—an excellent work, and worthy in all particulars the distinguished merits [144] of that corps of officers--have taken notice of all these khourgans which must frequently have come into use in the course of their surveying operations. A special map, showing the situation and capricious arrangement of these innumerable elevations, which are found so closely ranged together, from the plateaux of the Don to the regions in the neighbourhood of Taurida, and which branch off thence like distant sentinels, as far as the banks of the Danube, the confines of Poland, and the north of Russia, would undoubtedly present an ample field for study and speculation. Whether these tumuli are simple tombs, or whether, in the remote times from which they are handed down, they served some now unknown purpose, it is nevertheless a fact, that on the steppe of the Crimea, their utility is still recognised. The herds, when they have to call together the horses and dromedaries under their charge, station themselves upon their sûmmits to command a view of the surrounding plain, and within a recent period, a line of telegraphic communication has been established across the peninsular, taking advantage of these ancient observatories.

We were approaching the end of our solitary journey, the southern range of mountains were marked in outline in the distance, and we could already recognize features previously observed by us. In our interrupted course [145] we had greatly distanced all the travellers we met with on the road, and though we had sometimes to put up with considerable delay in changing horses—a grievance of which, it is true; we never heard any one complain, and which seemed to be a custom generally adopted and patiently endured—it must be confessed that the postillions, stimulated by an encouragement expressed in an universal language, whirled us over the ground with a speed which sometimes grew alarming. We expected every moment, in spite of precautions renewed at the end of each stage, to see the wheels of our light carriage burst out into a flame. Towards five o'clock, the first tufts of foliage greeted us from the little valley of the Salghir ; in a few minutes after, we crossed the almost dried up bed of the diminutive river, and entered the streets of the new town of Sympheropol by a road formed at the expense of the surrounding meadows. The streets of this town seem as though they had been built for giants : they all lead up to a church of an ambitious style of architecture, though the materials of which it is built seem any thing but solid. The same sort of trouble we had experienced at Kherson was repeated here ; it was with the greatest difficulty that we at last found a miserable inn, kept by a German. We had the same supper as gat ~likol üe11's except that this time we had [146] scanty repast, and when our appetites were satisfied, we sought repose on a narrow wooden sofa, which had originally been stuffed with hay. Let it be understood, once for all, that this is the invariable treatment at inns bearing the perfidious sign designated tractir throughout the Crimea.

Friday, September 3-15, was the day fixed for the general gathering of our wandering party. This rendezvous had been agreed upon at Yalta, at the time when we broke up into separate sections, and the place appointed was the port of Eupatoria or Kosloff, on the western coast. This spot appeared a favourable one for sending off our collections by sea, and our naturalists had already been there some days. Accordingly we took the road towards that port without delay, and leaving our equipage in the capital of Taurida, in an entirely disabled condition, we adopted the still rougher mode of conveyance by a telegue. From Sympheropol to the town to which we were proceeding, the distance is reckoned to be sixty-two versts, the road lying across a barren plateau, rising gently at about two-thirds of the way. For a space of eight versts, or two leagues, the road to Perecop is followed ; you then turn in a westerly direction, at a branch road marked by a tall pillar, erected when Catherine II. visited these countries. In the same manner that the distances are marked [147] upon posts throughout the empire, these mile stones are erected at the end of every ten versts, throughout the entire road over which the Empress travelled on her journey to the coast of the Crimea.

We had started with impetuous velocity, and experienced a renewal of the accident mentioned by us in a previous page. A wheel having come off, we were carried along some distance before the postillion, entirely absorbed in his shouts of excitement, could be made to understand that every thing was not exactly as it should be behind ; in fact, that his vehicle was travelling along upon its side. At the summit of the plateau, we found the most wretched of hamlets, composed of clay huts ; these ill-constructed hovels are erected over holes in the ground. We proceeded hence, down to the salt lakes of Sak, between which the road runs. These lakes bear a high reputation in a sanatory point of view. The most salutary agency is attributed to the greasy, loamy mud at the bottom and sides of them. During the period between the 15th of July and the 15th of August, a number of invalids, suffering under rheumatic and paralytic affections, repair to the borders of these lakes, and daily subject themselves to a foretaste of the grave, by lying in ditches, the sides of which are plastered over with this black mud, heated by the sun's rays. The head alone is exempt from this inhumation, said to be [148] of marvellous efficacy. As the miserable life led by the invalids in the neighbouring village of Sak, a wretched Tatar hamlet, would be likely to counteract the effects of the mud-bath, a house has been built for the reception of those bathers, who, from the state of their health, could not be easily moved. At the time of our visit, the fine days were beginning to become scarce, and all we saw round the lakes of Sak were heaps of salt, collected during the past season. Beyond the lakes, the road turns to the North, keeping throughout along the sea-shore. The suburbs of Kosloff, which is now close at hand, consist of a multitude of mills, with eight sails. Among these mills we remarked a great number constructed on a horizontal system, and moved by sixteen vertical sails, which receive the wind, and act upon a central shaft. A large and handsome mosque arrested our attention, but all it has retained of its past magnificence is a dome, still majestic, in spite of its dilapidated condition, its beautiful minarets having been demolished. Continuing our way along a quay, which the action of the waves is daily reducing in width, we halted before it house, the sign-board of which, bearing the inscription " Auberge d'Eupatorie," sufficiently denoted the absence of all competition. Those whom we sought were assembled in the spacious apartments of this building. A billiard table was the ,omnwn resting place, and all the [149] members of the expedition shared alike this humble couch, which conjured up comfortless reminiscences of Wallachia. We found our companions in the midst of the labours their daily acquisitions had prepared for them. The inn was converted into a perfect laboratory, in which fishes, birds. plant: and minerals were undergoing all sorts of operations necessary to preserve them for the benefit of science. These proceedings somewhat astonished our host, a Greek, with a wily countenance, who pretended to be quite up to what was going on ; but our Tatar visitors were positively thunder-struck ; and, notwithstanding their natural impassibility, could not refrain, at the sight of this chaos of created things, from gravely uttering a little clucking sound with their tongues, as much as to say, " Allah is great, but these arc strange folk."

Thus, then, we were once more united. and our first care was to discuss the plan of our future journey.


[Page 150 is a Blank Page.]

Text Archive Home | Book Details | Table of Contents