"'Mister Doughby,' says he, 'it's the George Washington,' says he—'hundred and twenty horse power,' says he.
"'Devil a hundred,' said I. 'You only say so because you are afraid to race him. And if he had two hundred horse power, what then? Shorten your stirrups and give your horse the spur,' say I.
"I saw that the captain's blood was getting up; his eyes were fixed on the old George as if he would have eaten it, and he became red and blue and green, all manner of colours, like a dolphin; his teeth chattered, and he bit his lips till the blood ran over his chin. On came the Washington quicker than ever, the paddles clattering, the steam hissing, the crew hurraing like mad.
"'Captain,' cried I, 'the Washington's passing you; it's all up with the honour of the Helen M'Gregor.'
"The captain stood there as if his face had been rubbed over with chalk, and the drops of sweat ran down his forehead. The five steamers that we had passed were now hurraing with delight to see that we should be humbled in our turn. 'Captain,' said I, 'will you let yourself be beaten out of the field without firing a shot? The Helen M'Gregor is a new ship—Crack on, man!'
"He could stand it no longer, but ran forward and screamed out to the stokers. 'More wood!' cried he, 'High pressure, high pressure!'
"'Blaze away, boys!' cried I, 'Blaze away, and hurra for the Helen M'Gregor!'
"And the fellows pitched whole cartloads of wood upon the fire, and stirred and poked away till they were wet through with perspiration, and our chimney began to whistle and sing, that it was a pleasure to hear it. We were just entering the Ohio, the Washington close upon our heels, when old Lambton and Emily came running upon deck in an almighty fright.
"'Mr Doughby, for heaven's sake! Mr Doughby—captain, for God's sake! Will you destroy yourself, and the steamer, and your fellow-citizens? Will you race with the George Washington?'
"'For God's sake, Mr Doughby!' cried the Miss.
"'Mr Doughby!' squealed the old Yankee, who had quite forgotten his stiffness, 'I demand and insist that you use your influence to prevent the captain from racing.'
"'Pshaw!' said I, 'it's nothing of the sort—ain't going to race—only want to see which ship goes quickest.'
"'That must not be. I protest against it—the safety of our fellow-citizens—our own. If the boiler bursts'——
"'Nonsense!' said I—'safety of our fellow-citizens! Our fellow-citizens are in safety. We don't mean to race, Mister Lambton,' says I; 'we are only trying for a minute which ship can go the fastest.'
"'Mr Doughby!' cried Emily, half beside herself—throwing her arms round me, and trying to drag me towards the engine—'Mr Doughby, if you have the smallest affection—regard I would say—for me, exert your influence, stop this horrid racing!'
"And then she left me and ran to the captain, who was standing beside the engineer.
"The Washington was close behind us—we, as I said before, were running slap into the mouth of the Ohio. There's no finer piece of water in the whole world for a race. The current of the Mississippi drives back that of the Ohio as far as Trinity, so that upon entering the river, the stream is in your favour. The two rivers are together four or five miles wide, and form a sort of circus, enclosed by the shores of Illinois, of Old Kentuck, and her daughter Missouri. We were nearest to the Illinois side, which gave us a small advantage over our opponent, who was more on the Kentucky side, end kept coming on faster and faster, with the other five boats, who had also clapped more steam on, a short distance behind him. Our Helen M'Gregor still kept the lead; who the devil could have helped racing? No one, of a certainty, except such a mackerel-blooded Yankee as old Lambton. All was heat and steam, rattle and clatter; the engines thumping, the water splashing, the fire blazing and roaring out of the chimneys, which sent out clouds of smoke and showers of sparks. The enemy was close upon us, Father George's honest face almost in a line with our stern.
"'Helen M'Gregor, hold your own!' cried I. 'Don't spare the wood, boys, lay it on thick, pile it up mountaineous; ten dollars for you when you've beaten him!'
"'Hurra!' cried the hundred passengers; 'hurra! The Washington loses, we are gaining ground.'
"Only the captain could not say a word; he stood there with his blue lips pressed hard together, looking more like a statue than a man. We were going our twenty knots, and keep it up we must if we did not want to fall back amongst the mob of the Huntress, the Ploughboy, and the rest of them. Every joint and hinge in the boat seemed to be cracking, the engine roared and groaned, the steam howled and hissed.
"'The Helen M'Gregor is a gallant lass!' cried I. 'A brave Scotchwoman! She has fire in her veins.'
"And so she really had. She stretched out like a racehorse that feels the spur in his flank for the first time; not steaming or swimming, but flying like a bird, rushing like a wild-cat or an elk that's been shot at; the waters of the Ohio flashing from her side in a white creamy foam. The Kentucky shores on our right, with their forests and cotton-trees, were flying away from us; on our left, the banks of Illinois seemed to dance past us, the big trees looking like witches scampering off on their broomsticks. Behind us, the high land of Missouri was rapidly disappearing, Colonel Boon's plantation getting smaller every second, till at last it appeared no bigger than a dovecot. Every thing around us seemed in motion, swimming, flying, racing. Hurras by thousands; seven steamers groaning, creaking, hissing, and rattling; a noise and a heat that made our heads dizzy, blinded our eyes, and took away our hearing. It was a gallopade, a race between giants.
"We were close to the wood below Trinity—the race as good as won, for Trinity was of course the winning post. Suddenly the captain cried out, 'He is passing us!' and, as he said the word, he looked as wild as a tortured redskin, and bit his lips more savage than ever, and caught hold of the quarterdeck railing as if he would have torn it down.
"'Captain,' said I, 'it's impossible—he is not passing us.'
"'Look yourself, Mr Doughby,' said he.
"The man was right. The old George is an almighty fast ship, that is certain. I saw that in two minutes we should be beaten. We had not even so long to wait.
"'By my soul he is passing us!' cried I.
"'He is passing us,' repeated the captain in a low voice. He was deadly white. I couldn't say a word; and as for him, he was obliged to support himself against the railing, or he would have fallen down. There was no help for it, however; the Washington's figure-head was already in a line with our stern—in ten seconds, a third of the vessel's length was parallel with us—another ten seconds, two-thirds, and in less than a minute he dashed proudly before us with a deafening hurra from crew and passengers, which was echoed from the other five steamers, till we heard nothing on all sides but hurras and hurras. I would have given a thousand dollars down to have reached Trinity two minutes sooner. Just then a number of voices cried out, 'The boiler's bursting! The boiler's bursting!' And there was a cracking noise, and then a loud rush. Here comes the hot bath, thought I, and wished myself a pleasant journey out of the world. But it was nothing; the cry came from a couple of negers, echoed by Miss Lambton and Mister Lambton, and the rest of the old women folk from the ladies' cabin. They had gone in a body to the engineer, and had so begged, and prayed, and bothered him, that he had given in, and opened the valve, and we only half a mile from Trinity. I am certain that if the cowardly rascal had not done that, we should have made a drawn race of it, for the Washington got in not two minutes before us. I fell upon the engineer, and if it had not been for the captain, and one or two old acquaintances, I should have leathered him upon the spot—ay, if it were to have cost me a thousand dollars; he deserved it well, the dishonourable scamp! We were now in Trinity, we had done five miles in less than twelve minutes; but Miss Lambton was so angry, and the old gentleman so bitter cold and stiff—a pair of fire-tongs is nothing compared to him—Couldn't be helped, however. Honor before every thing."
"But you really were too foolhardy," observed Richards.
"Foolhardy!" repeated Doughby, "foolhardy, when the honour of a ship was at stake!"
"Pshaw! The honour of a steam-boat!"
"Pshaw, do you say, Richards? Well, if I didn't know you to be a thoroughbred Virginian, hang me if I should not almost take you for one of those wishywashy Creoles. Pshaw, say you, the honour of a steam-boat! A steamer, let me tell you, is also a ship, and a big one too, and an American one, a thorough American one. It's our ship; we invented it, they'd have been long enough in the old country before finding such a thing out—Pshaw, do you say? And if Percy had said pshaw upon Lake Erie, or Lawrence on Champlain, or Rogers, or Porter, you might say pshaw to every thing—to the honour of a steamer, a ship, a country. But I tell you that the man who says pshaw when his ship is beaten in a race, will also say it when it is taken in a fight. In short, that sort of pride is emulation, and that emulation is the real thing."
"But the life of so many men?"
"I tell you, that of the hundred and twenty passengers that we had on board the Helen, there were not three besides that leathern old Yankee, Mister Lambton, and the women, who would have cared one straw if the boiler had burst, provided we had got to Trinity two minutes the sooner."
We could not help laughing at this Kentucky bull, but at the same time we were compelled to admit the truth of what Doughby meant to say. In spite of Uncle Sam's usual phlegm and nonchalance, there are occasions when he seems to change his nature; and in the anxiety to see his ship first at the goal, to forget what he does not otherwise easily lose sight of, namely, wife and child, land and goods; as to his own life, it does not weigh a feather in the balance. He becomes a perfect madman, setting every thing upon a single cast. And the yearly loss of five hundred to a thousand lives, sacrificed in these desperate races, does not appear to cure him in any degree of his mania.
"Well," continued Doughby, resuming his narrative, "it was as much as I could do to get a word from Miss Emily during the rest of the voyage. The time went terribly slow, and my patience was clean expended when we got to Louisville. We stopped at the Lafayette Hotel, and I was in my room before dinner, when the waiter brought me a letter from Mister Lambton. The old gentleman had the honour to inform me, in accordance with his daughter's wishes, that there did not exist sufficient harmony between my character and that of Miss Emily to render a union between us desirable. And, under these circumstances, he took leave to request of me that I would consider the projected marriage as entirely broken off; and, with his and his daughter's best wishes for my happiness, he had the honour to be my very humble servant. There was a deal more of it, but that was the pith. When I had read it, I burst out of my room like mad, either to throttle old Lambton or to throw myself at his daughter's feet, I didn't rightly know which. But the Yankee had been too cunning for me. He had left the hotel with his daughter, and gone off by the Cincinnati steamer. I went on board the next that was going, and got to Cincinnati three hours after him, but missed him again. He had taken a chaise and started for his estate at Dayton, near Yellow Springs. And all I have done since is no use. She won't hear of me, and I'm the most unhappy fellow alive."
And so saying, he threw his feet upon the table, crossed his arms, and remained in this position for a couple of minutes, staring earnestly at the ceiling. Suddenly he brought his legs down again, started up, and gazed through the cabin window.
"Hallo!" cried he, "here are your Red River bottoms. Will have a look at them—will go on deck? You may take away, steward. Come, Monshur Tonson, come with me, come, my dear little Frenchman! Nous parlons hansamble le Fransch."
And thereupon he struck up the favourite western ditty, "Let's go to Old Kentuck," seized young De Vergennes by the arm, and dragged him through the folding-doors and out upon deck.
"He's not the man to break his heart about a woman," said I to Richards.
"Hardly," replied my friend.
THE STAG HUNT.
We had sat for some time talking over Doughby's mishaps, when we were interrupted by a noise upon deck. Hurras and hellos were resounding off on every side and corner of the steamer. We hurried out to see what was the matter, and found the cause of the tumult to be a fallow deer, that had taken the water some two hundred yards from our steamer, and was swimming steadily across from the right to the left bank of the river. The yawl had already been lowered, and was pushing off from the side with five men in it, amongst whom Doughby of course took the lead.
"There he is again," cited Richards. "Of a certainty the man is possessed by a devil."
"Hurra, boys! Give way!" shouted Doughby, flourishing a rifle full six feet in length. The four oars clipped into the water, and the boat flew to the encounter of the deer, who was tranquilly pursuing his liquid path.
We were about entering one of those picturesque spreads, or bays of the Red River, which perhaps no other stream can boast of in such abundance, and on so magnificent a scale. The lofty trees and huge masses of foliage of the dense forest that covered the left bank, bent forward over the water, the dark green of the cypresses, and the silver white of the gigantic cotton-trees, casting a bronze-tinted shadow upon the dusky red stream, which at that point is full fifteen hundred feet broad; the right bank offering a succession of the most luxuriant palmetto grounds, with here and there a bean or tulip tree, amongst the branches of which innumerable parroquets were chattering and bickering. A pleasant breeze swept across from the palmetto fields, scarcely sufficient, however, to ruffle the water, which flowed tranquilly along, undisturbed save by the paddle of our steamer, that caused the huge black logs and tree-trunks floating upon the surface, to knock against each other, and heave up their extremities like so many porpoises. The steamer had just entered the bay when a boat shot out from under the wood on the left bank, and greatly increased the romantic character of the scene.
It was a long Indian canoe made out of the hollowed trunk of a cotton tree; a many-tined antler was stuck in the prow, and dried legs and haunches of venison lay in the fore part of the boat; towards the stern sat a young girl, partially enveloped in a striped blanket, but naked from the waist upwards, impelling the boat in the direction of the deer by long graceful sweeps of her oar; in front of her was a squaw of maturer age, performing a like labour. In the centre of the canoe were two children, queer guinea-pig-looking little devils, and near these lay a man in all the lazy apathy of a redskin on his return from on the hunting ground; but towards the stern stood a splendid Antinous-like young savage, leaning in an attitude of graceful negligence on his rifle, and evidently waiting an opportunity to get a blow or a shot at the stag. As soon as these children of the forest caught sight of the steamer and of Doughby's boat, they ceased rowing, only recommencing when encouraged by some loud hurras, and even then visibly taking care to keep as far as possible from the fire-ship. It was a picturesque and interesting sight to observe the two boats describing a sort of circle on the broad ruddy stream, while the steamer rounding to, formed in a manner the base of the operation, and cut off the stag's retreat. Presently a shot fired without effect from Doughby's boat, drove the beast over towards the canoe. The long slender bark darted across the animal's track with the swiftness of an arrow, and as it did so, the Indian who was standing up dealt the stag a blow that caused it to reel and spin round in the water, and change its course for the second time. When I again glanced at the canoe, the young Indian had disappeared.
"Here he comes" shouted Doughby, pointing to the deer, which was now swimming towards his boat. "Give way, boys! the Indians must learn of a Kentucky man how to strike a stag. Give way, I say!"
The noble beast had recovered from the severe blow it had received, and had now approached the steamer towards which it cast such a supplicating tearful look, that the hearts of the ladies were touched with compassion.
"Mr Doughby," cried half a score feminine voices, "spare the poor beast! Pray, pray let it go!"
"Spare a stag, ladies! Where did you ever hear of such a thing? Hurra, boys!" shouted he, as the boat came up with the deer, and clubbing his rifle, he delivered a blow with the but-end that split the stock in two, and threw the stunned animal upon the gunwale of the boat. Quick as thought, Doughty clutched the antlers with one hand, while with the other he reached for the knife which one of his companions held out to him. At that moment the deer threw itself on one side with a convulsive movement, the boat rocked, Doughby lost his balance, the stag, which was now recovering its strength, drew itself violently back, and in an instant the Kentuckian was floundering in the water, struggling with the deer, to whose horns he held on with the gripe of a tiger.
"Hallo, Mister Doughby in the Red River!"
The whole ship was now in an uproar, the ladies screaming, the men shouting directions and advice to those in the boat. We began to be somewhat anxious as to the result; for although these water hunts are by no means uncommon occurrences, they are often dangerous and sometimes fatal to the hunter. The deer had been severely stunned and hurt, but not killed, by the blow it had received, and it now strove fiercely against its powerful opponent, throwing him from side to side by violent tossess of its head. Doughby still held on like grim death, but his eyes began to roll and stare wildly, his strength was evidently diminishing, and he had each moment more difficulty in partially controlling the stag's movements, and preventing the furious beast from running its antlers into his body. It was in vain that the four men in the boat endeavoured to render assistance. Man and beast were rolling and twisting about in the river like two water snakes. The scene that had at first been interesting had now become painful to behold.
"Fire, Parker! Fire, Rolby!" shouted several voices from the steamer to the men in the boat.
"Knock the cussed redskin on the head!" was the unintelligible rejoinder of one of the latter.
The stag had now got Doughby close to a tree-trunk, against which it was making violent efforts to crush him. His life was in imminent peril, and a universal cry of horror and alarm burst from the spectators. Just then the head of the deer fell on its breast, the eyes glazing and the legs flinging out convulsively in the agony of death; at the same time, however, Doughby began to sink, and a bright streak of blood that rose to the surface of the water, and spread in a circle round the combatants, gave reason to fear that the mad Kentuckian had received some deadly hurt. At last the men in the boat succeeded in getting hold of Doughby and the stag, the former being seized by the hair of the head, while his hands still clung to the deer's antlers with the desperate grasp of a drowning man. A shout of triumph echoed from one end of the steam-boat to the other, and we all felt a sensation of relief proportionate to the painful state of suspense in which we had been kept.
Doughby sat for a short space doubled up in the bottom of the boat, gazing straight before him with a fixed unconscious sort of look. The grating of the boat against the side of the steamer seemed to rouse him from his apathy, and he slowly ascended the ladder.
"For heaven's sake, Doughby," cried Richards, as the Kentuckian set his foot upon deck, "what demon is it that possesses you, and drives you to risk your neck at every turn?"
"The devil take you," retorted Doughby, "and your Red River water to boot! Brr, brr! d——d bad water your Red River water, say I! No, no, talk to me of Mississippi water. If I am to be drowned, it sha'n't be in the stinking Red River. I've a taste in my mouth as if I had swallowed saltpetre and sulphur, with a dash of prussic acid. But tell me," cried he to the passengers and sailors by whom he was surrounded, "who gave him his settler? The deer, I mean. Who finished him?"
"Who?" repeated every body, "why, who but yourself, Mister Doughby?"
"I!" replied Doughby, shaking his head, "I had something else to do besides knifing the stag. No, no, I had plenty to think of to keep away from the tree-trunk. Besides, I let the knife fall at the very moment the beast dragged me out of the boat. But see there, boys!" added he, pointing to the deer, which was at this moment hoisted upon deck.
The animal had a deep knife wound in the belly, and the tendons of the hind legs were cut right across.
"That's the Indian's handiwork," said Doughby.
"What Indian?" cried we all.
"The Indian whom Rolby was going to knock on the head."
"I thought he wanted to chouse us out of the deer," said Rolby; "I saw his bacon-face appear for a minute from behind the tree-trunk, and at first I took it for a log, but I soon saw it was a redskin. It wouldn't have been a great harm if I had sent a bit of lead through him. What business has an Injun to meddle, when gentlemen"——
"No great harm!" interrupted Doughby impatiently. "The Indian, I can tell you——d'ye hear? Ralph Doughby tells you——has more real blood in his little finger than ten such leather-chopped fellows as yourself in their whole bodies, making all allowance for your white hide and your citizenship, neither of which, by the way, are much better than they should be. Ten times more, I tell you, and, if you don't believe it, I'll let you know it. A fine fellow he is, that redskin. He saw that I was at a pinch, and he came to help me when none of my own friends were able. And now, see yonder, there he stands in his canoe again, just as if he had done nothing but the most natural thing in the world. Chouse us out of the deer, say ye; and who had a right to hinder him if he had? The beast was bred in his woods as well as ours; a fair field and no favour is our motto in old Kentuck. I tell you the Indian is a brave redskin, and the stag is his; but I'll buy it of him. Hallo, captain! a dozen bottles of rum into the boat! Howard, Richards, let me have half a dozen dollars, silver dollars, d'ye hear? I'll pay the Indian a visit on board his canoe, and thank him as he ought to be thanked."
No sooner said than done. The captain, however unwilling to lose any more time, could not resist the impetuosity of the good-natured scatterbrain, who sprang, dripping wet as he was, into the boat, a bottle in each hand, and a friendly hurra upon his lips. The Indians at first seemed alarmed and doubtful as to his intentions; but the signs and words of peace and encouragement that were given, and shouted to them from all sides, and above all, the sight of the bottles, soon removed their fears. In another minute or two we saw Doughby in their canoe, shaking hands with them, and putting one of the bottles to his mouth. A little more, and I believe they would all, men, women, and children, have begun the war-dance in the canoe, so delighted were they with the magnificent present of the rum and dollars. As it was, they shook and mauled Doughby till he was fain to jump back into his boat, and escape as well as he could from their wild caresses and demonstrative gratitude.
But we have been nearly twelve hours on the water, and the Alexandria is a noted fast steamer. Our course has lain for some time between banks covered with gigantic forests of live oak, cotton, bean, and cypress trees, with here and there a palmetto field, and on the north shore an occasional plantation, for the most part a mere log-hut, with a strip of tobacco, cotton, or Indian corn. We have seen numerous deer, who, on the appearance of our steamer, gallop back into the woods—swans, cranes, geese, and ducks, wild pigeons, turkeys, and alligators, are there by thousands. We now enter a broad part of the river, and are gliding along in front of a wide clearing, some half mile long, and surrounded by colossal evergreen oaks; a snug-looking house of greenish-white colour stands in the middle of the plantation, with orange gardens—that are to be—laid out and enclosed in front of it; one enormous live oak, that looks as if it had stood there since the flood, spreading its knotty limbs over the eastern side of the habitation. The windows on the balconies are open, the Venetian blinds drawn up, the sinking sun throws its mellow rays over the whole peaceful and pleasant scene. And see there! We are expected: a small variegated ball flies up to the top of the lightning conductor, and the banner of our Union flutters out, displaying its thirteen stripes and twenty-four stars, and the white American eagle, the thunder of Jupiter and the symbols of peace in his talons. At the same moment, Plato and Tully, two of my negroes, come rushing like demented creatures out of the house, one with a stick in his hand, the other bearing a pan of hot coals. They are closely pursued by Bangor, who seems disposed to dispute Tully's title to the embers. In the struggle the coals fly in every direction; of a surety, the dingy rascals will burn my house before my eyes. Now comes Philip, a fourth negro, and tries to snatch the stick from Plato's hand; but the latter is on his guard, and fetches his adversary a wipe over the pate, that snaps the stick—a tolerably thick one, by the way—in two. Both retreat a short distance, and lowering their heads like a couple of angry steers, run full tilt against each other, with force that would fracture any skulls except African ones. Once, twice, three times—at the third encounter, Plato the sage bites the dust before the hero of Macedon. Confound the fellows! My companions are laughing fit to split themselves, but I see nothing to laugh at. I shall have them in hospital for the next ten days. Tully, however, has picked up the pan and the embers, and is rushing towards a flag-staff near the shore, from which the Louisianian flag is waving. I see now what they are all at. They have brought down the Wasp and the Scorpion from on Menou's plantation, two four-pounders so named, which were taken last year on board a Porto Rico pirate, and which my father-in-law bought. Boum—boum—and at the sound the whole black population of the plantation comes flocking to the shore, capering and jumping like so many opera-dancers, only not quite so gracefully, and shouting out—"Massa come; hurra, massa come! Massa maum bring; hurra, massa!" and manifesting a joy that is probably rendered more lively by the hopes of an extra ration of rum and salt-fish. And now Monsieur Menou and his son hurry down to receive us; the steamer stops, the plank is thrown across, and amidst shaking of hands, and farewells, and good wishes, our party hurries on shore. Thank heaven! we are home, and settled at last.
Weep for the living! mourn no more Thy children slain on Moskwa's shore, Cut off from evil! want, and anguish, And care, for ever brooding and in vain; No more to be beguiled! no more to languish Under the yoke of labour and of pain! Their doom of future joy or woe For good or evil done below, The Judge of all the earth will order rightly! Flee winding error through the flowery way, To daily follow truth! to ponder nightly On time, and death, and judgment, nearer day by day! Bewail thy bane, deluded France, Vain-glory, overweening pride, And harrying earth with eagle glance, Ambition, frantic homicide! Lament, of all that armed throng How few may reach their native land! By war and tempest to be borne along, To strew, like leaves, the Scythian strand? Before Jehovah who can stand? His path in evil hour the dragon cross'd! He casteth forth his ice! at his command The deep is frozen!—all is lost! For who, great God, is able to abide thy frost?
Elate of heart, and wild of eye, Crested horror hurtles by; Myriads, hurrying north and east, Gather round the funeral feast! From lands remote, beyond the Rhine, Running o'er with oil and wine, Wide-waving over hill and plain, Herbage green, and yellow grain; From Touraine's smooth irriguous strand, Garden of a fruitful land, To thy dominion, haughty Rhone, Leaping from thy craggy throne; From Alp and Apennine to where Gleam the Pyrenees in air; From pastoral vales and piny woods, Rocks and lakes and mountain-floods, The warriors come, in armed might Careering, careless of the right! Their leader he who sternly bade Freedom fall; and glory fade, The scourge of nations ripe for ruin, Planning oft their own undoing! But who in yonder swarming host Locust-like from coast to coast, Reluctant move, an alien few, Sullen, fierce, of sombre hue, Who, forced unhallow'd arms to bear, Mutter to the moaning air, Whose curses on the welkin cast Edge the keen and icy blast! Iberia, sorrow bade thee nurse Those who now the tyrant curse, Whose wrongs for vengeance cry aloud! Lo, the coming of a cloud! To burst in wrath, and sweep away Light as chaff the firm array! To rack with pain, or lull to rest Both oppressor and oppress'd.
Is it the wind from tower to tower Low-murmuring at midnight hour? Athwart the darkness light is stealing, Portentous, red with unrelenting ire, Inhuman deeds, and secrets dark revealing! Ye guilty, who may quench the kindled fire! Fall, city of the Czars, to rise Ennobled by self-sacrifice, Than tower and temple higher and more holy! The wilful king appointed o'er mankind To plague the lofty heart, and prove the lowly, Is fled!—Avenger, mount the chariot of the wind! Be thine, to guide the rapid scythe, To blind with snow the frozen sun, Against th' invader doomed to writhe, To rouse the Tartar, Russ, and Hun! Bid terror to the battle ride! Indignant honour, burning shame, Revenge, and hate, and patriotic pride! But not the quick unerring aim Of volley'd thunder winged with flame, Nor famine keener than the bird of prey, Nor death—avail the hard of heart to tame! Blow wind, and pierce the dire array, Flung, drifted by thy breath, athwart the frozen way!
Before the blast as flakes of snow Drive blindly, reeling to and fro, Or down the river black and deep Melt—so the mighty sink to sleep! Like Asshur, never more to boast! Or Pharaoh, sunk with all his host! So perish who would trample down The rights of freedom, for renown! So fall, who born and nurtured free Adore the proud on bended knee! Roll, Beresina, 'neath the bridge Of death! rise Belgium's fatal ridge! Rise, lonely rock in a wide ocean, To curb each haughty mad emotion! To prove, while force and genius fail, That truth is great, and will prevail!
The hour is coming—seize the hour! Divide the spoil, the prey devour! Howl o'er the dead and dying, cry All ye that raven earth and sky! With beak and talon rend the prey, Track carnage on her gory way, To chide o'er many a gleamy bone The moon, or with the wind to moan! Benumb'd with cold, by torture wrung, To winter leave the famine-clung, O thou for whom they toil and bleed, Deserted in their utmost need! Hear, hear them faithful unto death Invoke thee with the fleeting breath, And feel (for human still thou art) Ruth touch that adamantine heart! Survive the storm and battle-shock, To linger on th' Atlantic rock!
From ghastly dream, from death-like trance Awake to woe, devoted France! To care and trouble, toil and pain, Till glory be acknowledged vain, And martial pomp a mere parade, And war, the bravo's bloody trade! A beacon o'er the tide of time Be thou, to point the wreck of crime! The spoiler spoil'd, from empire hurl'd, The dread and pity of the world!
O then, by tribulation tried, Abjuring envy, hate, and pride, Warn'd of the dying hour foretold Of earth and heaven together roll'd, Revering each prophetic sign Of judgment and of love divine, Bow down, and hide thee in the dust, And own the retribution just; So may contrition, prayer, and praise, Preserve thee in the latter days!
A RAMBLE IN MONTENEGRO.
Few nations of Europe have been less known than the Montenegrians, and the name even of their country is seldom found on maps. Surrounded by great empires, they have always preserved the independence of their rugged mountains, and have even succeeded in wresting several rich plains from the sway of Turkey. With this power hostilities seldom cease; but such is the system with which her resources are managed, that while the Montenegrians are at peace with one pasha, they are enabled to concentrate their force against another—and all the while the Sublime Porte does not condescend to interfere. Not many years ago, they possessed the reputation of being a horde of robbers; and, in all probability, the pilgrim who ventured among them would have returned, if at all, as shirtless as themselves. But the breath of the spirit of the age, though faintly wafted to their mountains, has softened something of their character, without destroying in the least their independence or nationality. Bold, hardy, and free, ready and eager for the foray and the fray, a stranger is now as safe among them as in any part of her Majesty's kingdom.
Whoever wishes to make the acquaintance of this primitive people, will do well to embark on board the Austrian Lloyd's Company's steamer from Trieste to Cattaro. They will be well accommodated, at reasonable charges, and have an opportunity of seeing the principal towns of Dalmatia, a country little frequented by travellers. Such was the case with ourselves, (an English lady and gentleman,) who quitted Trieste on the 5th of November 1843. The voyage commenced pleasantly, and we had the good-luck to have the ladies' cabin to ourselves. The captain was a very gentlemanlike person, the steward attentive, and the passengers full of politeness. Zara, the capital of Dalmatia, where we stopped a day and a night, is a walled town of moderate extent, said to contain 8000 inhabitants. It possesses some antiquities. Over the gates of this, and all other of the Dalmatian seaports, the Lions of Saint Mark yet remain. It is best known for the excellence of its rosoglio. The next town we arrived at was Sebenico, now much decayed, and Spalatro, the most interesting of all, where the badness of the weather, during the short time we stayed, prevented our landing to see the extensive Roman remains. After anchoring off Curzola for a night, we came to Ragusa, where we stopped two days. At Zara and Sebenico we had opportunities of seeing the Morlaccian race. These are the rural inhabitants of Dalmatia, speaking a Sclavonic dialect, while in the towns they pride themselves on their Venetian origin and language. Amongst these peasants were the noblest specimens of the human kind I have ever seen. Of stature almost gigantic, and of the amplest development of chest, their symmetry of limb and elasticity of step would have called forth notice in a Scottish Highlander. Nor could a somewhat manifest omission to cares of the toilet disguise complexion and features almost faultless, and in which an expression of frankness and good-nature left one nothing to fear from their armed numbers. I speak not of a few among a crowd, but of nearly all I saw. It was from amongst these that the French, during their occupation, chose their finest grenadiers; but at present, in consequence of the scantiness of the population, the humanity of the Austrian government has suspended all conscription. Still it is possible, that, in the hour of danger, Austria might profit more from the devoted loyalty of this armed and stalwart peasantry, than if her ranks were filled with its forced recruits. Their dress consists of a coarse brown jacket, and a waistcoat of red cloth, both ornamented on the edges, and made to sit close on the shoulders, without any collar, and which advantageously display their well put on head and neck. They wear a small red skull-cap, round at top; but, when married, they usually surround this with a white turban. Their pantaloons are of blue, and fit close from the knee to the ankle, and below they wear the opunka—a species of sandal, made of sheepskin, and bound with thongs, which, as may be seen from their elastic step and upright carriage, are well fitted to their country; round their waist is a red sash, and in front a leather belt, in which is placed a yataghan and a smaller knife, and exhibiting usually the handsome pommels of silver or brass-mounted pistols. Over all is a long brown cloak, open in front, and fastening over the chest, forming a dress which, with their free and martial bearing, gives them the appearance of ready-made soldiers. The women are, comparatively, inferior to the men; but their countenances are cheerful, and a white napkin gracefully put on the head, had a very classical appearance. For the rest, they wore a coarse shirt—over that a coarser, without arms, neither coming much below the knee—a party-coloured apron and stockings, with opunkas, like the men. Near Zara is a small colony of Albanians, who still retain their national manners and dress, though settled time out of mind.
Ragusa—of old a republic, with its doge and senate—is a city whose glory has departed. This little state—consisting of the town, the promontory of Sabioncello, the island of Melida, with a few smaller ones—numbering about forty thousand inhabitants, had never been subject by Venice, and was governed on the most aristocratic principles. At the time of the late war, the inhabitants of the city owned about four hundred large vessels—and observing the profiting by neutrality, they traded every where, and acquired great wealth. But they were not destined to escape the storm which overthrew so many mightier states. In 1809 they became compulsory allies of the French. Their nominal independence lasted about two years longer. During the time the French occupied it, the city was attacked by the combined forces of the Russians and Montenegrians; the former by sea, while the latter conducted the operations on land. Luckily they failed to take it; but they burned and destroyed, without exception, every one of the numerous villas by which it was surrounded. Since the loss of her independence, the trade of Ragusa has ceased, and her wealth has departed; while many of her once haughty nobility have no other subsistence than a scanty pension, which the bounty of the government affords them. The town is interesting, and some of its buildings ancient and peculiar, though hardly to be called handsome—the scale being small. Of the country houses desolated by the Montenegrians, not one in twenty has been repaired; and they remain roofless and blackened, a lasting memorial of the ferocity of that people. The neighbourhood is beautiful, and appears more so after the stony desolation which the rest of Dalmatia exhibits. Though the houses still remain in ruins, the gardens continue to be cultivated. Olives, vines, figs, and carruba trees grow in them, and the tops of the hills are covered with stone pines and delightful evergreens, of heaths, junipers, cypress, and other plants, which at home we coax to grow in our greenhouses.
Quitting Ragusa, after having been once driven back by the badness of the weather, we at length entered the Bocca of Cattaro, after a passage of about nine hours. Both in its general and immediate position, few spots can be imagined so cut off from the rest of the world as Cattaro. Standing close on the sea, with stupendous mountains overhanging it on each side, it is deprived even of the light of the sun for the greater part of the day; and, towards the end of November—this is no boon. By land the Dalmatian coast-road (the only one, I believe, in the country) passes through it, but it would prove indifferent, I should think, to any but the pedestrian; and there is also the mountain-path, of three hours' ascent, which leads into Montenegro, and issues up from the gates of the town in a zigzag form, till it appears lost in the clouds. Any one wishing to quit Cattaro, has indeed, like the country waiter in England, but "three desperate alternatives." He must wait for the next steamer, a whole month if in winter, and return the way he came. Or he may attempt to pass through Albania to Greece or the islands, which would in all likelihood prove the last attempt he would ever make. Or he may hire one of the country trabacolos to take him where he likes. They are neither fast in their sailing nor luxurious in their accommodation—the price being any thing but cheap. In one thing the traveller has no difficulty, which is to discover the first hotel, as their number is strictly limited. Consequently in about half an hour, during which the steamer had taken her departure, we found ourselves the inmates of the principal salon in the Locanda della Corona. It is ever a comfort, when expectation is not at its highest, to find things better; and happy the mind that seeks it!
The house was not very dirty, the landlady was full of kindness, and not destitute of good looks. After her first paroxysms of welcome and surprise had passed, then succeeded admiration, then a general presentation to all friends and relations of the family that could be summoned on a short notice, with many fervent blessings and prayers for our welfare, and at length, which pleased us as much as any thing, a very eatable dinner. During that day, and part of the ensuing week, I improved my acquaintance with Cattaro—an acquaintance which, before final separation, became very intimate indeed. It contains several small squares or places, with some churches and other public buildings. There is a respectable cafe, which is frequented by the officers of the garrison, and on the whole it is rather a neat little town. The population may be about three thousand. It is fortified, having two gates to the land and one to the sea. Perched above, at a great height, is the castle, said to be of considerable strength. In the late war Cattaro was taken from the French by Sir William Hoste, Bart., and afterwards garrisoned by the Vladika of Montenegro, since which time an Englishman has hardly been seen by the people within their gates. Consequently their ideas of robbing the stranger are faint and barbarous; here, as throughout Dalmatia, should you give a man money, and the sum be not even more than twice the value of the obligation, the poor ignoramus is delighted, and thanks and blesses you most fervently. The climate of Cattaro is not considered healthy. The inhabitants die of consumption in the winter, and fever in the summer, and they generally have a sickly appearance. There are smart silversmith shops, and many ornaments are wrought with much neatness. There are several also devoted to the sale of arms, as the Montenegrians here buy and repair the principal weapons they use. Pistols, guns, and yataghans are mounted in silver and mother-of-pearl, coral and other stones, with skill and taste. The population are as remote in appearance from that of any town in western Europe, as in the most primitive part of the East. The town's-people wear a black jacket of cloth or velvet, with silver basket buttons, a small cap, and wide drawers of the same cloth, with black stockings or high boots, and a red sash. The costumes of some of the villages along the shores of the Bocca are very pretty. The women from Dulcinea wear a body petticoat and jacket of scarlet, with silver buttons and buckles, and a white covering tastefully enfolding the head and shoulders. The peasantry to the south wear the Montenegrian dress; the poorer ones, in extreme scantiness. These profess, like that people, the tenets of the Greek church, and in appearance and dialect do not differ from them. A bolder look, however, and an air of independence, usually mark the Montenegrian. Between Cattaro and Montenegro there is no quarantine or restriction of intercourse. Without the latter the former would cease to exist—without the former life would be burdensome in Montenegro. Three times a-week a bazar is held outside each of the land gates, to which the Montenegrians descend, themselves loaded with arms and independence, and their women and mules with the richest products of their country. Of these, mutton hams of peculiar excellence, potatoes that cannot be imitated in these parts, salt fish from the lake of Scutari, (to be caught, I fear, no more,) a root which looks yellow, and dyes to match, with hides, poultry, and pigs, form the principal. One of the chief articles which they seek is salt, with which some of the above luxuries are compounded. This being a government monopoly, is sold at the office in the town, and an animated scene takes place on its opening, each striving to be served first, and, as a matter of course, all speaking at once.
Having in a few days almost exhausted the varieties of Cattaro, and the weather assuming a more favourable aspect, it became time to execute our intended journey up the mountain. Times were stirring in Montenegro. The nation was at war with two pashas, and the Vladika had taken the field in person. Rumours were numerous; we could not have come at a better time, and our trip promised to be one of interest. His highness's postmaster, a gigantic warrior, waited on us to furnish mules and guides. Cesarea Petrarca, gentleman, of Cattaro, hairdresser, auctioneer, and appraiser, ex-courier, formerly chef de cuisine to the Vladika—an "homme capable," as he not unaptly styled himself, attended us to cook and interpret; and we started for Cettigna on the 17th of November, about nine o'clock. I may here say a few words concerning the state of politics then existing in Montenegro. For the last half century or more, under the auspices of the late revered bishop, so highly sainted in soul, and so beautifully preserved in body, the Montenegrians, backed secretly by an influential power in the north, have been pursuing a system of territorial encroachment as well as internal improvement. Anciently their domain consisted of but a range of gloomy and barren rocks, which would alike oppose the footsteps and extinguish the hopes of the invader; since which various fertile pianuras have been gained on the side of Herzigovina and Bosnia. In 1781 Kara Mahmoot, hereditary bey of Scutari, marched with a great army into Montenegro. Advancing towards Cettigna, he was attacked in a narrow defile by the Vladika. This was a great day for Montenegro. The Albanians were utterly routed, and Black Mahmoot, being taken prisoner, surrendered his glory and his head to his priestly conqueror, and it remains there among the trophies of the Episcopal dwelling. The present Vladika is not unworthy of his martial uncle. He is truly the flower of the house of Petrowitch. On his first arrival from St Petersburg to assume the government, his appearance was that of a Frank gentleman, and his habits those of a priest; but he discovered before long that the dress of his native mountains better became his manly form, while the troubles in which his state was so constantly engaged, soon made him exchange the crosier for the sword, and become as ardent a warrior as his predecessor. Ever since the beginning of the summer, war had been waged with Osman Pasha of Mostar, concerning a disputed territory. On one occasion the opposed forces were in sight for a week. The Montenegrians consisted of seven thousand foot—the Turks (I write according to my information) of forty thousand horse. (!) Every day they fought, sometimes for two, sometimes four hours and upwards, as fancy dictated. About fifty persons had been more or less injured in this pastime, but their ardour was rather increasing than diminishing, when the pasha of Scutari, without notice or warning, seized on the islands of Vranina and Lessandro, at the head of the lake of Scutari. The Montenegrians had there a post of about twenty men, but they were overpowered, several killed, and the rest sent captive to Scutari. Not satisfied with this, he fortified Lessandro in such a manner that no Montenegrian could fish in the lake with any kind of pleasure or comfort. This was a vital blow. Visions of the market of Cattaro rose before the eyes of the nation. Peace with Osman Pasha was concluded at any sacrifice, and the Vladika instantly hastened to concentrate his energies toward the recovery of the lost islands.
Our party consisted of ourselves and two mules, one being for the luggage—Cesarea Petrarca, in the full pride of office, and armed for our protection with a very small sword and a very small gun—a woman who had charge of the mules—and Spiro Martinowitch, an old and respectable Montenegrian, with Milo his son, to act as guides. We began the ascent about ten o'clock. Close outside the walls was pointed out a village, the residence of a race of valiant butchers, who have ever been at feud with the Montenegrians, by whom their numbers have been much reduced. A tale was related of three having defended themselves against four hundred of the enemy. After following the steep but otherwise good road for about two hours, we arrived at a stone with different species of eagles on two sides, which marks the boundary of the respective territories. The road instantly degenerates into an indifferent mule-track. It took another hour to gain the principal ascent, then, pursuing our way along the high land, we reached a small hamlet, where we stopped a few minutes to comfort ourselves with what could be procured. The path from hence to Cettigna passes over a country which, at any season, must appear barren and inhospitable. The peaks of the highest mountains in Montenegro rise immediately above it. The ground was now covered with about an inch of snow, and the air extremely cold. A few stunted bushes of beech underwood, which serves for fuel, seemed to be the only vegetation. Every thing else, grey rocks, sharp and rugged, to the smallest fragment. We passed on our way the village of Negusi, the paternal seat of the family of Petrowitch. Here the present Vladika was born, in a mansion which was pointed out to us. It is a long-shaped hut, built of loose stones, without windows or upper story. A somewhat better dwelling is the property of the bishop's uncle, who governs the village and adjacent district. Passing on by the hamlets of Bayitzi and Donikrai, we arrived at the Episcopal residence about half-past five in the evening, and immediately took up our quarters in the first hotel. I will not say that the decorations of the chief apartment were in the highest style of magnificence; but the bed was clean, and to find any thing clean in these parts may be considered a victory gained. Our hostess was from Cattaro, the seat of every refinement to the ideas of a Montenegrian; and our host was a kind civil man, speaking both French and Italian, and had been formerly engaged in the great war. For the present he found it convenient to remain in Montenegro, having been lately concerned in an "unfortunate affair" near Budua, where certain tenements were harried and burned. Cattaro, therefore, and its delights, were denied him for the present; but it was hoped that the temporary bad odour would soon pass away. The village was nearly deserted; few remained that night in Cettigna but ancient men. The Vladika was on and away. He had departed that morning, his brother remaining to take charge of the place. To-morrow the assault of the fortress was to commence, or, some said, it had already begun. We felt we had arrived at a good moment, and were prepared to hasten in the morning to the scene of action, thirsting with excitement. It was thought not unlikely that a battle might take place. The evening was cold and wet, and we therefore took up our position over the kitchen fire. In these regions this is placed in the middle of the room, and the smoke gets out how it can, or not at all. A peculiar sensation in the eyes will present itself to the mind as the result of such an arrangement. The kitchen, however, besides being the warmest, was by far the gayest place. Here we watched our dinner cooked, and ate it afterwards; heard of wars and rumours of wars; listened to heroic ballads, chanted by a warrior, and accompanied by a species of one-stringed fiddle; and made the acquaintance of two very fashionable young men. One was the bishop's nephew, a handsome lad about seventeen, who was, on account of his youth, very shy and modest, and acted as cavaliero servente to the kitchen-maid. The other was a remarkably good-looking and well-dressed young man, whom I had observed on entering the place, and set down to be somebody. He was, alas! but a tailor from Bosnia, who had come on a speculation to Cettigna. A barren profession his, where fashions remain the same summer and winter, and a suit lasts till it drops off. He was an accomplished musician, as well, on the one-stringed instrument; boasted of a white pocket-handkerchief, and his Italian, added to our Servian, made up about twelve words in common; so that the evening passed very sociably, and we retired to rest full of hope for the morrow. But when that morrow came, one melancholy prospect of rain and mist presented itself. The white clouds hung on the mountain-tops immediately above. Not a breath of wind was stirring, and the rain descended in torrents. There seemed not a chance of its clearing, nor did it during the whole day. It was not, therefore, considered prudent to proceed, where no bed was to be found, and where the chance of even shelter was any thing but certain. Add to which, my companion in arms was taken with a violent cold; so we felt obliged to restrain our military ardour for one day, and proceeded to seek such recreation as the metropolis afforded. Cettigna, the seat of the government of Montenegro, and residence of the Vladika, is yet a city of no great magnitude. It is situated prettily enough on a little plain, around which the rocky summits of the mountains rise in the form of an amphitheatre; not to any great height, however—the elevation of the plain itself being very great. The most ancient building, indeed the only one which seems not to have been erected within these few years, is the monastery. This was till very lately the residence of the Vladika and his predecessors, and it was here the King of Saxony lodged when he visited Montenegro in 1836. It is situated on the side of the rocks which bound the plain, and consists of several buildings of different periods joined together. The oldest has two rows of arched passages, or cloisters, in front, one above the other. Behind the convent, a wall runs up the hill, and encloses a small circuit of rocky ground. The whole is in a very uncertain state of repair. On the summit of a small rock immediately above, is a round tower, built apparently for ornament at no very ancient date, but never finished or roofed. It does not owe its decorations to the hand of the architect. They are of a rarer kind. From the ends of poles fastened into the top of the wall, two or three dozen heads, in all stages of decay, overlook the residence of a Christian bishop. These are Turks or Albanians who have fallen in different encounters, or possibly in cold blood, as the Montenegrians never spare the life of a prisoner. It was with somewhat doubtful feelings that I contemplated these trophies. Around, the earth was strewed with skulls and other relics of humanity. It was said that no head had been put up for nearly two years. Certain it is, that the Lord Vladika did not cause to be placed there the heads of eighteen Turkish commissioners, who, in the August previous, entered Montenegro to discuss a boundary question. But why should I tell tales? I was hospitably received, and treated, me and mine, with civility and kindness, not only by the Vladika, but by every individual I met, and returned with my head undisturbed by the trip. Some of the countenances still bore traces of good looks, though withered by the sun and storm of years. It was a severe test for beauty; but the head of one young man certainly stood the trial. Fine features, of a cast frequently seen towards the north of Albania, and a set of the best teeth, (this is very general,) showed that he might have once been more prosperous in love than he proved to be in war. I thought of a relic, and took up a skull, the best I could find, but it was full of red earth, and seemed damp and unpleasant; so I put it down again. I next discovered a beautiful tooth; this would have surpassed the former in elegance and convenience, but I fancied it not either, and came away, trusting to my mind for a remembrance of the spot. From hence I made a sketch of the present residence of the bishop, the second among the remarkable edifices of Cettigna and its environs. It was built within these five years, under the auspices of no less than my trusty attendant Petrarca. The style is not, strictly speaking, imposing. Perhaps this arose from suggestions of economy, or possibly from the mind of the architect being at that moment unprepared with any other. Simplicity in design and execution characterize it throughout. It consists of a long single building of one low story, containing two rows of about twenty windows on each side. There is a door in the middle, and at each end a small wing placed crosswise, and a very little higher than the rest, containing a window above and a door below. Both before and behind, a large court is enclosed by a low wall of loose stones, with little turrets at the corners, and two doorways in the principal. In the front court are some old brass and iron cannon, lying dismounted—trophies of Turkish war. Behind is an attempted kitchen garden. The remainder of Cettigna is small, hardly worth mentioning—six or seven houses with an upper floor, and about twice as many ordinary huts. This forms the metropolis of Montenegro. But small as it is, I doubt if there be a bigger village in the country, the population, though sufficiently numerous, dwelling in small scattered hamlets. The better houses act as hostelries when called on, which may be the case when Parliament is sitting; but apart from the bishop's officials and retainers, the place does not probably contain a hundred souls. It being now noon, and the rain unabated, we determined to see all the sights of the city. His highness's residence was first visited. It contains the Chamber of Deputies, a printing establishment, and various apartments for the accommodation of friends and relatives. Entering one of these we found the Vladika's brother, whom I have previously alluded to, and had the honour of a presentation. He is a very ordinary-looking personage; and, as the powers of language were wanting to express our feelings, we soon took leave. The bishop's rooms for public and private reception, consist of a billiard-room no bigger than is necessary for the due performance of the game, at which he is a great adept, a small anteroom and bedroom. His valet and chamberlain, a well-dressed Montenegrian, did the honours. In the billiard-room the walls are hung with arms, though some of these were now absent on service. I observed some fine Turkish swords, some of an ancient date, presents to different Vladikas; some Albanian daggers, straight, with a triangular blade, resembling the ancient Venetian misericordes; and a handsomely mounted and antique Servian sword, the blade with the wolf-mark, so well known in the Highlands and other parts of Europe. There were some handsome fire-arms; and, among others, a splendid pipe lately presented by Osman Pasha of Mostar. In the anteroom I remarked with pleasure a small three-legged stand, with a basin and towel; and I have heard that other contrivances for the purification of the Episcopal person are not wanting, though no such met my eye. In the bedroom, where the odour of tobacco still remained unmitigated, was a cabinet, which, when opened, displayed objects well worthy the attention of the next pasha who may visit Cettigna. Russian orders and snuff-boxes uncountable, set in the choicest brilliants; presents from the Emperors of Austria of no mean value; a remembrance or two of the King of Saxony, &c. &c. All these were opened by the cameriere to our free inspection; but not for this, nor the trouble we afterwards gave him when exhibiting the sacerdotal robes, keeping him above half the day, would he accept the smallest remuneration. This completed the public rooms, (his highness is reported on occasions to give grand entertainments, but the whereabouts was not manifest,) and we proceeded to the ancient convent. This, formerly the Episcopal dwelling, is still the residence of the chief officials attached to the Vladika. The first among these is the vicar—(his other avocations having only permitted the Vladika to officiate on two occasions)—"no baron or squire or knight of the shire," &c. Truly on this occasion the holy father had not been unmindful of himself; and, considering the early hour and dreary state of the weather; was as jovial as the heart could desire. A peculiar leer and frequent ebullitions of laughter, from mysterious causes, showed the frame of mind he was in. After coffee, and a glass of aniseed brandy, we viewed his priestly robes, which were of cloth of gold and very handsome. We then proceeded to make the acquaintance of the other officials, going the round of the convent. We were most cordially received; indeed, we appeared to be a godsend to these poor people. There was a Dalmatian schoolmaster, a very intelligent young man, who superintended the branch of national education; his highness's secretary, an Italian; and a woman from Cattaro, the wife of another now absent at the camp, and the only example of female aristocracy in Montenegro. At the apartment of each of the inmates, coffee, invariably excellent, and glasses of brandy, were handed round. These the holy personage in our company always emptied to the uttermost, and then would romp and wrestle with the schoolmaster, and perform all kinds of frolics. He was a Hungarian by birth. When our German or his Italian respectively failed, then Latin assisted our communications; and, what with the wet weather and the coffee, we all became very sociable and chatty. After an hour or two so spent, we took our way to the chapel. It is very small; not capable, I should say, of accommodating above twenty or thirty persons. There, embalmed, are the remains of the late Vladika. The vicar removed the lid of the coffin, and he there appeared attired in full canonicals. His face, however, was hidden, and the covering was not removed. The limbs appeared to be much shrunk. The holy man took the hand of the deceased, and, kissing it with the most solemn devotion, burst into a wild laugh, and closed the lid. A small trifle pro salute animae was expected in a box adjoining it. We next went to the robe-room, passing along a series of mouldy and rat-eaten floors to a small room, such as might be found in a dilapidated stable-loft; there, from old dingy boxes, were drawn forth such garments as created astonishment—the richest damask and cloth of gold of all colours—their weight enormous—so massive that they would almost stand alone. I have never seen any thing so splendid; and the effect of such upon the fine form of the Vladika must be worth beholding. In another chest were deposited the crowns of different Vladikas. They are of a shape resembling the ancient Russian diadem, being not of the form of any kind of coronet, but a cap all covered or entire, globular at top, and diminishing towards where they fit the head. Perhaps there were half a dozen or more. They were richly ornamented with precious stones—the present Vladika's the most so. I understand they are presents from St Petersburg. By nine next morning the rain had somewhat cleared, and the weather was mild and promising. We started, therefore, hoping that night to reach the quarters of the Vladika, though no one could speak positively to the place. We made some enquiries as to the chance of finding shelter, as the nights were singularly cold; but it was of course apparent that time alone could decide. None of our friends from the monastery, who had been so warlike the day before, made their appearance; so we started without any addition to our party. The road was nearly all on the descent, and usually so stony and rough as to make riding the mule a matter of difficulty. We passed by Dobro Skorsello, one of the richest communes of Montenegro; there figs, vines, and olives are grown: a wild species of mulberry occurs, and large trees of it frequently appeared before a hut or hamlet. These are wide-spreading and ancient, but not tall. This district furnishes seven thousand fighting men. Here we met the wife of one of the principal senators among a troop of females with bundles of wood upon their head. We now had the first intelligence from the camp. Descending into a little plain we met about two hundred men returning to celebrate a village fete, as their services were not just then required. They passed in single file; wild, active-looking fellows they certainly were. In about half an hour after, we encountered forty or fifty others. These were peculiarly warm in their friendship, and slapped me so hard on the back that it required my utmost force to return the compliment with any thing like cordiality. They took it into their heads that I was a certain long-expected bombardier who was to direct their artillery against Lessandro, and they loaded me with compliments and good wishes. I almost, at the moment, regretted my want of knowledge in the art. About one o'clock we descended upon the Nariako river, then a rapid clear green stream, which conducts the torrents of the upper mountains to the lake of Scutari; and, in another hour, reached the village of that name, which is known also by the Italian one of Fiumara. We trusted here to procuring a boat which would convey us the remainder of the journey; but the natives of this free country are seldom in a hurry, and in fact it was necessary that we should be made popular idols for a certain space; nor had we the means of keeping each other in countenance. I was hurried off, accompanied by Petrarca, to the house of the captain of the district, a senator, I understood, and eminently brave; while my unfortunate companion, without any one to help, was taken possession of by a lady of rank, a Cattarese by birth, but who had nearly forgotten her native tongue, and in a short time was surrounded by all the females and olive branches of the place. The usual brandy, with coffee and pipes, was served to our party. The houses, or little dirty huts rather, have in front a small balcony covered at top, and raised about four or five feet from the ground; here Spiro, Petrarca, and myself were seated, with my host and several others. While the lady of the house brought in the pipes and refreshments, I made some very sensible observations, which Petrarca clothed in Servian, and the replies seemed in every way equal; notwithstanding, in about an hour the liveliness of the scene began somewhat to wear off, and I took the first opportunity of hastening to rescue the other sufferer. Here I discovered the object of public attention seated on a bench with her host and hostess, one on each knee as it were, and the room thronged with spectators; women and children were squatted or perched on every conceivable spot. The harmony of the party had, however, undergone for a moment a trifling disorder; for, while all the rest had been full of compliment and courtesy, one elderly lady had thought proper to express herself in a manner contradictory to the general feeling, and in the strongest terms, going even the length of shaking her fist at the occupant of the post of honour. She was, however, bundled out most unceremoniously, neck and crop, as the phrase is. After further delays, and declining a most uninviting dormitory, a boat was got ready; four warriors were in her, and we departed amid the cheers of the population and a promiscuous discharge of fire-arms. This was warmly responded to by our party; nor did I much regret when these demonstrations had ceased, as a Montenegrian considers it quite etiquette to discharge his heavy-loaded piece any where in the immediate vicinity of the head, so long as the muzzle just clears the honoured individual. In a few minutes we were gliding down the beautiful stream. The absence of all wild animals is peculiarly observable in the mountains. A woodcock or red-legged partridge are occasionally seen; but few quadrupeds are met with, and the larger and fiercer kinds are rarely known to occur. This deficiency, however, in the general zoology, is amply compensated by the birds which frequent the Fiumara river. As we proceeded, muffled up in the bottom of the boat, for it was very cold, the fitful exertions of our warlike crew disturbed quantities of aquatic birds. The river widened greatly, the mountain banks disappearing, till at length the shores became obscure in the distance, and thus it imperceptibly enters and forms the lake of Scutari. Cormorants and ducks passed over in flocks; noble herons got up screaming on every side. One of these was the milk-white aigrette; superior in size to the common heron. The kingfishers had a beautiful appearance. I never saw this bird elsewhere in such multitudes. I did not request any of my crew to try their skill, as I had had enough of firing for the time being, nor did I take a fancy to do so myself. The large bore and light metal of their arms, added to the weight of the charge, spoke of a recoil any thing but pleasing, and which I hear usually takes place. Next day, however, I asked the captain of the boat to show me a shot; he took aim at a diver which kept appearing a-head; he fired when nothing but the neck was visible above water, and the ball completely divided it, the head barely hanging by a bit of skin. The bird was distant about fifty yards, and the boat moving, while he stood on the bow. At some longer shots he was not so successful. We passed a village at a small distance, and lay on our oars to hear the news. Most of the people were absent; but one, a great man, was seated on the hut-top, with a few idlers round him. This was the chief president of the senate—the speaker of the house, in short; and undoubtedly, if stentorian lungs are of any use for that office in a Montenegrian parliament, he was most amply qualified. For twenty minutes this eminent man conversed with us—the distance at first being about a quarter of a mile, and probably it might be three miles or more before he was finally out of hearing. The Turkish fortress of Dzabiack now appeared perched on a steep isolated hill rising from the marsh. It seemed, as we passed it about two miles off, to be in a very dilapidated condition. The Montenegrians, however, had at present no designs upon it; and its garrison maintained a peaceful neutrality. They have on several occasions destroyed this fortress, which has been occupied again by the Turks. It gives then little annoyance, being distant, I should think, five miles from the head of the lake. All was now water, but the principal channels above were passable, the rest being overgrown with weeds. At several of these, long consultations occurred as to our best route. It began to rain a little, and the place of our destination seemed doubtful. At length we emerged on the broad beautiful lake, and our progress was easy. We soon came in sight of the beleaguered island and fortress of Lessandro. The cannonade, which we had heard during the earlier part of the day, had long ceased, and all seemed quiet. It was still twilight, but the place to which our people had determined on going, lay beyond the foot of a mountain which projected to a nearer approach with the island. This was the very mountain on the top of which the Vladika had placed his batteries. They considered it prudent, therefore, to wait till dark, before passing within point-blank range of the enemy's guns. We, therefore, hauled the boat up, and waited under lee of the point. As soon as the light had failed, we moved forward, passing stealthily along the shore to within about three hundred yards of the fort. The previous garrulity of our party was now hushed, and they exhibited the most laudable prudence. I observed, however, that they had all their guns cocked and ready, as if they intended to have returned any compliment from the fortress; but no such contingency was at hand. The Albanians were engaged in chanting martial choruses, possibly to maintain their own valour as well as dismay their opponents, and show what excellent health and spirits they possessed after the two days' siege. At any rate, they made too much noise to hear any thing but themselves. As we went along shore, we were several times challenged by those on the look-out, and long explanations passed in low yet distinct tones. At length the danger was passed, and we went a-head for about two miles along the lake; then, turning off up a deep sluggish stream, we came in sight of our quarters. A large fire blazed in the principal of three huts, and by its light numerous persons were seen around it. Landing with our baggage and equipage, we soon joined the circle; about a dozen warriors were here assembled. They were very civil to us, and glad to see our party. They gave us the best place at the fire, where, spreading our plaids, we were soon occupied with such dainties as the place or our own providence supplied. When it came to be bed-time, the fighting part of the community good-naturedly suffered themselves to be persuaded to go to the other end of the room, by which means we were enabled to lie down by the fire. There they rolled themselves up, and, in the shortest possible time, were in a state of oblivion. I may observe that the people in general, men or women, have seldom any beds. They lie down any where on the floor, ensconced in a capote or cloak, removing perhaps their opunkas, but scarcely ever any other garment. We should have been pretty comfortable but for the minute hosts that peopled the apartment. Late at night, too, the extreme cold compelled several parties to seek refuge by the fire who had no right or little thereto—as the house-cat and her two kittens; she would take no denial, however often repelled. Whenever one awoke, there she would be with her interesting offspring close nestled under one's chin. The family dog, too, suffered severely from cold; he was, as often as he entered, kicked out by his master in a way that did the heart good; and his murmurs of complaint and resentment would last for a full ten minutes. But the door would not fasten, and he always found his way in again, trampling over, in his way to the fire, the recumbent forms of the sleepers, in a manner far from conducive to good-humour. It was, therefore, not to be wondered at that our slumbers were not prolonged to a late hour. I set forth at break of day to find a clear-looking place in the river: for as I was to be presented to his highness, I could not afford to forego any advantages. The ice was on the side of the pools; but with the aid of a small box I carried under my arm, I soon had all the requisites of an elaborate dressing-room. Several of the Montenegrians were also on the alert, rubbing their faces with the muddy water on the edge of the lake; but whether to make them cleaner or dirtier did not appear. Breakfast was soon dispatched. Already the cannonade had commenced, and we hastened to the scene of action. Lessandro is a small low islet, perhaps a hundred yards long by forty or fifty wide; at one end was the principal, at the other, a minor fort. The first consisted of a thick round tower, flat at top, where their largest gun was mounted. This was surrounded by a low wall, with two small bastions at different angles; the other was a square building, with a bastion at one corner, containing, I believe, the stores. All over the island were the tents of the soldiers—that of the commander distinguished by a red flag. I think I counted about forty. The Montenegrians declared they had in the island five hundred men. Not one was visible however, the whole day. Under the lee of the chief fort was anchored a small gun-boat from Scutari. On one side of Lessandro rises, in immediate proximity, the mountainous island of Vranina. It was here that the Vladika at first wished to have taken up his position; but boats, it was said, were wanting to transport his men and munitions. Had he attempted this, a serious encounter would probably have taken place; but he had given up the idea, and it was as in consequence of this that we had met the men returning home the day before. The spot he fixed on was a mountain directly opposite Vranina, but at a greater distance from the object of attack. He had not with him altogether above fifty men. This time we had once more to pass within a quarter of a mile of the fort; and as we were a boat-load of armed men hastening to headquarters, I somewhat expected they might have condescended to notice us. Such, however, was not the case; and we landed and ascended the hill to where the battery was placed. We had not been there long before the Vladika, who was on a higher part of the ground, having heard of our arrival, came down to meet us. I felt for a moment rather modest, and began to wonder what business I had there. However, we advanced with all boldness, and soon distinguished the chieftain from his attendants by his giant stature. No bishop's cassock covered his towering form. Clothed in scarlet and gold, he descended the hill with the true Albanian strut. His manner was frank and cordial; and on his invitation we all three sat down on the grass to partake of a camp luncheon. The Vladika was then in the thirty-fifth year of his age. In truth, he was a goodly man—a very Saul among his people. His height I should think very nearly midway between six and seven feet. He was not fat, but the breadth and massiveness of his chest and limbs was extraordinary. His figure was very finely proportioned, and his movements free and active. His face was somewhat broad, with good features, and his voice peculiarly soft and pleasing. His hair and beard black, and, after the fashion of the Greek clergy, uncut. He wore a Turkish pelisse of scarlet, coming nearly to the knee, and trimmed with gold and sable, a large fur cap, and the usual blue drawers and opunkas of the Montenegrians. A pair of plain European pistols were in his belt—the only arms he wore. The place where we sat was in a most picturesque situation. The Turkish balls kept whizzing past, forming, as his highness remarked, beautiful music. Indeed, it seemed to me we were very nearly in the line a well-directed shot ought to have taken; but, of course, it was not my place to speak. Our fare consisted of cold meat carved in slices with the yataghan, and rum out of the mouth of the same bottle. He conversed in French fluently, and various courteous speeches showed it was not the first time he had encountered female society. He seemed excited when relating the misdeeds of his enemies, and his usually languid voice assumed a little asperity, as he described the way in which, while he made war in Bosnia, "ces diables des Turcs" had surprised his garrison at Lessandro. My knowledge of gunnery was not extensive, still I could not be ignorant of the chance he had, with three short twelve-pounders, of injuring any building whatever, when firing at it at a distance of eight hundred yards, in an almost perpendicular direction. The fort, besides, seemed very sturdy and solid, and I could not flatter him with hopes of success. He did not, however, appear to be without hope. Certainly, had he chosen to risk an assault with some trifling loss, the place might have been in his possession; but boats were not at hand in sufficient numbers, and besides, such a proceeding might not have been popular with amateur soldiers. He asked me if I had brought any letters to him; I frankly owned I had not. "Ah!" he said, "you came from curiosity, that you might talk in the gay circles of London, of having seen the Vladika of Montenegro." I did not say, that were I to do so, I should talk very unintelligibly to a great many of my hearers. After our collation was finished, we rose and proceeded to the battery, if it could be honoured with such a name. But had its power been as extensive as the view from it, it would have amply sufficed. The day was now most beautiful and spring-like, and various flowers, with sportive butterflies and other insects, enlivened the mountain side. The broad blue lake lay beneath, and in the extreme distance the position of Scutari itself could be distinguished. Three ranges of mountains were visible, rising one above the other, till the snowy chains of Bosnia bounded the horizon. The cannonade, as there was little to be apprehended, added to the beauty and interest. The wreathing of the white smoke on the Turkish tower, and the report borne along in the calm air, and echoed a dozen times by the distant mountains—the gradual approach and whizzing of the balls, and the shot from our guns, as it hit the buildings, or occasionally bounded along the water, were all interesting novelties. I made a sketch, to the best of my ability, of every object of interest in the vicinity of this lovely spot. As regards matters purely military, we had three guns in operation—short twelves, as I have already mentioned; a rampart was before them, formed of earth, bound with stakes, and about three feet thick. I was told this had only been struck four times. Few people were about. Nor could gunners of fame have been in plenty, for I soon discovered Petrarca pointing the cannon. The shot also was of different sizes—any that could be got, as Austria does not favour the importation of warlike materials into Montenegro; and to this disparity of metal may be ascribed the constant difficulty which the Montenegrian gunners experienced in hitting even the island. Still they kept the game alive, the Turks not giving one shot for three. They appeared to have four guns, but their biggest was on the platform of the chief tower, a screen of masonry protecting it from lying entirely open to our position on the hill. They fired also several shells, but they did no damage, exploding high in the air. At length the Vladika approached the best cannon, anxious to display his skill. He took a long aim, and then fired, exulting greatly when the ball struck the stone screenwork at top of the tower. This was just where he aimed, and it was the best shot by far that I had seen. A little dust seemed to fly, but no further damage. The reply of the Turks came promptly, but his highness did not honour their skill by even ducking below the rampart. It lodged in the side of the hill several feet below us. We remained, enjoying the interesting scene and beautiful day, till about one o'clock, when the Montenegrian batteries suspended operations from a temporary failure of ammunition. Being desirous of passing the night in less