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way as he can through forests and over sandy wastes, and through the eternal filth and poverty of the Jewish tractiers or inns. Sometimes his horses are knee-deep in mud-sometimes his carriage sticks fast and becomes immoveable without the assistance of a posse comitatus. Towards the town of Brailaw, the country, however, is more open and cheerful, and the roads are more tolerable.
'August 31st.-A fine morning, and the roads still good; we travel very fast, and make up for the time lost in changing horses, which is very considerable at some stations. The highways in this country are distinguished from the fields only, by having a ditch on each side; they are from sixty to seventy yards wide, and from the time they are first made never undergo any repair; the soil is a complete mould, and when wet, is like fine cement. By six, A. M., we crossed the river Boug, which is not more than sixty yards wide here; we soon afterwards arrived at the town of Brailaw. The next stage, across a very steep hill, brought us to the provincial town of Toultchin; it has a much superior aspect, before entering, than we really found it afterwards. Having passed the barrier, and traversed the principal street of the town, we arrived at a German inn, where we found every thing very clean and plentiful. The population is principally Jewish, and far exceeds that of any other town we have passed since entering Russia; the Jews appear to enjoy all the privileges of the Russian inhabitants. It was a fair day, and the various costumes of the peasantry, who came with their produce to market, contrasting with the dress of the inhabitants, had a very pleasing effect.
We experienced in this case, as in many others, the degrading practises of the lower order of the Jews, who, without distinction, take advantage of every traveller fortune may throw in their way: before we had scarcely refreshed, we were annoyed by numbers of them, all anxious to change money or supply us with horses; knowing, at the same time, that we could not be furnished with the latter from the post-house, on account of the numerous government couriers on the road. Being anxious to proceed with as little loss of time as possible, we were compelled to take their horses for the following stage.
The country beyond Toultchin, for upwards of eighty versts, is better cultivated, and possesses a much greater population; every six or ten versts brings us to a village, or some few houses on the road-side; the scenery is pretty, and various petty hills and small lakes are seen. On the borders of the latter are found some neat villages; the cottages being white-washed, are distinguished at a great distance, and have a very lively appearance. In passing one of these hamlets, we witnessed a Russian dance by the peasantry, who were celebrating a marriage festival; the women were all collected on one side, whilst the men kept at a respectful distance on the other; in the centre was a group dancing without music, it was not unlike the Highland Fling, as performed in the northern parts of Scotland. It was a droll sight-a picture of union for life-a mixture of pleasure and pain.
After crossing some very high hills, and travelling over a fertile country, we arrived at the straggling town of Olgopol; previous to entering which, we passed a considerable supply of provisions for the army. Not finding any inn here, we entered a Jew's dwelling, and partook of some hard-boiled eggs and black bread.
From hence we had eight horses to our calash, to climb the steepest hill I ever remember to be obliged to cross en voiture; the descent was equally difficult, and night closed on us ere we could reach the bottom; the lights in the villages, and scattered houses, had a curious appearance, as we came crawling down upon them, from the clouds, as it were. second stage was hilly, and we found it unpleasant travelling, frequently over a rough road, at the rate of from ten to fifteen versts an hour. During the night we heard the drums of some troops on their march.
'September 1st.-This morning, by day-break, we found ourselves at the commencement of an open uninhabited country, in some places hilly; at first sight, it reminded me of the downs in Hampshire, but then I looked for trees or houses, and found none; the roads were, in appearance, formed over these wilds, according to the fancy of the traveller, who is left to choose the nearest, and pick that he likes best. Hitherto, we had had, for a distance of four hundred versts, young trees planted on each side of the road, with the addition of a ditch, which not only makes it more lively for the traveller, but acts as a guide during the heavy falls of snow in the winter; but now the Steppe of Russia commences-an ocean of waste.
Most of the post-houses have two rooms on a floor; one is occupied by the postillions, who all sleep round a stove which has been heated during the day; the other is for the clerk, and the use of travellers; here is found nothing else, in the eating line, but black bread, salt, and water. The steppe not being woody, the peasants have recourse to a weed, called kisch, which they use invariably, as the only fuel to be procured in the country.
About eight, A. M., we passed upwards of three thousand infantry and artillery, with thirty-six pieces of cannon, on their way to Brailaw; they had been marching all night. The numbers of baggage-waggons, drawn by oxen, were crowded with lame and fatigued soldiers; they had a pitiful appearance; the horses of the artillery seemed to feel the effects of long marching less than the men; the gun-carriages and powder magazines are of light workmanship, though very strong, and the whole are painted of a light green colour. At nine we arrived at the prettily-situated town of Novo Dou Bazar, close to which flows the river Dnieper, which divides the province of Kherson from Bessarabia. Bender, so well known in the history of Charles XII., is near to this. We put up at a clean German inn, where we were fortunate enough to get some sort of a Christian breakfast, for the first time since we had left Brody. The stir and bustle seen in every part of this town may convey some idea of the result of war; couriers to and from Odessa and the head-quarters of the army were continually pouring in; one I conversed with, who had just left the army, near Bucharest, told me they were in a very sickly state, and, for the want of supplies and reinforcements, were completely at a stand; he said the Emperor was expected every day, to join the army before Varna.
The troops we had passed this morning came to a halt on the steppe, outside the town; camps are putting up, and every one is on the look out for rest and refreshment. Three officers, who came into the town, found their way to our inn, and asked for eatables; on enquiring how long they had been on their route, I was astonished, on their answering, "eleven weeks continually." One of the young men, a native of Poland, spoke French fluently; he was very chatty; they all seemed as anxious for information from the camp, as I was eager to hear about their march. The soldiers
were far from animated, and when we consider the fatigue of long and forced marches, over the dreary steppe, there is every excuse for their drowsy appearance; they did not relish the news of a disease or plague, now raging amongst the army they were on the eve of joining.
From this we proceeded on our journey; at three miles from the town we passed the quarantine, which is immediately in the neighbourhood of the river; on this side it is an assemblage of low unattached houses, with a boundary of white-washed walls; close to it is the passage of the river, over a bridge of boats. I observed upwards of two hundred carts, laden with provisions for the army, in the act of passing.
'We here arrived on the ridge of a steppe, which continues for fifty versts to Teraspol. Previous to arriving, we witnessed a cloud of those destructive insects, the locusts; we had to encounter them as they flew across the steppe, by millions; some of them alighted on our carriage. I took one of them, it measured about three inches long, and was two inches broad from the points of the wings. The postillion told us they had devoured every article of vegetation that fell in their way-whole fields of corn are devastated in a few days by these destructive creatures.
'I heard of a method resorted to frequently by the peasantry near the sea, when the wind is favourable; they collect with shovels, pans, fire-arms, &c., keeping up a horrible noise, advancing in a line as the locusts retreat, which are frequently driven from the land to seek an asylum in the bosom of the deep.
The quantities of windmills, forming a barrier, as it were, before entering Teraspol, have a singular effect; all appeared at work, no doubt grinding corn, for the supplies wanted in the provinces of Bessarabia and Wallachia.
'This last stage of fifteen versts performed in forty-four minutes, may convey some idea of the rapidity of travelling on the steppe; were it not for the great loss of time in changing horses, nothing could equal the Russian posting, for expedition. During the short time we remained here, I tasted some fish (a kind of sturgeon) which had been caught in the Dnieper, where abundance is found; it is an excellent food, and much in repute; they run from three to four feet long, and weigh, very frequently, fifty or eighty pounds.
Leaving the town of Mills, we journeyed with night, for it became dark almost as soon as the sun went down; the roads proved good and level for the following two stages. During the night, we passed considerable supplies going towards Odessa, for exportation.
2nd.-Morning broke in upon us calmly, when we found ourselves still on the steppe; our approach to the Black Sea became evident by the quantity of sea-fowl and curious-coloured birds. I noticed the ring-tailed dove and speckled hoppoe, having been acquainted with them before while in Egypt; our approach to Odessa had a wild and dreary aspect. Oceans of steppe appeared everywhere, without a vestige of cultivation or wood. At the last post-station I was somewhat alarmed, on descending from our carriage to pay for the horses, when I found my legs and feet completely useless and benumbed, having been in a cramped position, with the exception of three nights, during a journey of thirteen days.
'At five, A. M., we passed the barrier and free limits of Odessa, which is guarded by a party of Cossacks. We were half an hour traversing the
environs and streets of the town, before we arrived at the Hôtel du Nord, (kept by a Greek), where we alighted, and were fortunate in procuring appartments, the town being much thronged with military.'-pp. 18-25.
The Emperor Nicholas and his consort were at Odessa when our travellers arrived there. Armstrong speaks of the Emperor's equipages, when setting out en poste for the army, with the utmost superciliousness. They were very simple. The whole turn-out,' he says, 'seemed rather to belong to a second-rate commoner, than to the emperor Nicholas.' 'The shabby appearance of the carriages,' he adds, with true English fastidiousness, the clumsy manner in which they were packed, and, withal, the dirty appearance of the imperial domestics, (who would not be allowed to enter some stables in England,) was [were] what it would be difficult to meet with in any other country than Russia.' The Emperor,' he adds, ‘is a tall, handsome, soldier-like personage, with a fine manly countenance, possessing an air dégagé. He was dressed in the plainest manner, in a dark green double-breasted frock, with red collar and cuffs, a cap of the same cloth, with red band, and a grey military cloak thrown loosely over him. All eyes were anxiously fixed upon him, whose appearance amongst his troops was only required to give them energy, and (as it was thought) determine the fate of Varna.' At Odessa, no repose was to be found for poor Armstrong or his companions; they were three nights without sleeping, so insufferable was the familiarity with which they were treated by certain descriptions of insects. One day the weather stiffened them with cold, the next it dissolved them with heat, which was the more disagreeable, as Odessa had no trees to shelter them. Three steamboats were employed between that port, Varna and Sevastopol. The Empress was very popular. A school was established at her expense, for the education of the young Odessan ladies.
Armstrong's patrons seemed, in fact, to care little where they went; getting tired of their inactivity, in a few days they galloped off to Tifflis. On their way over the Scythian steppe, they lighted upon the village of Troitskoye, the inhabitants of which, about three hundred in number, are slaves, and the property of an English gentleman, who has been forty years in the service of the Emperor, and has attained the rank of a general; he is now a rich sheep-owner, and is like a governor in his village, with a troop of Cossacks at his command.' This fine fellow rejoices in the name of General Copley. We suppose he is some relative of the Lord Lyndhurst. At the pretty town of Nicholaef, called by the author the Plymouth of Russia, his masters and he were entertained for two days by another Englishman, who was employed as an engineer in the Emperor's service. At Kherson, on the Dnieper, they were equally fortunate in meeting with a countryman named Crisp, who was the principal conductor of the extensive rope-works in that nursery for the navy of the Black Sea. A pretty large nursery that navy must want, by the way, if it be true, as the
author states, that the ships of Russia are destroyed in a very few years, by an insect, the extermination of which has hitherto been found impossible. In crossing the Dnieper, the travellers passed some boats full of Turkish prisoners, on their way from the fortress of Anapa, which had been taken by Admiral Greig. The poor wretches were amusing themselves by playing on a reed, such as that used by the Arabs of the Nile.
At Simpheropole, the capital of the Crimea, Armstrong enjoyed the luxury of a sleep. Our apartments,' he says, though rather dirty, were not infested with vermin, as was the case at Odessa.' The pride of Simpheropole is its weekly fair, at which, variety of costume, and odd equipages, to which our courier pays marked attention, may be seen in abundance. Here,' he exclaims with astonishment, you will meet the German driving a pair of oxen, with a horse as a leader; Tartar carts, drawn by dromedaries; and horsemen, covered with Circassian bourkas. I actually saw a French doctor, in ill health, leave this place for Theodosia, in a light phaeton drawn by a pair of immense camels'! The nerves of Mr. Armstrong must indeed have been shocked at such a spectacle!
Nothing but wonders now awaited him. At Kertch, after crossing a small arm of the Bosphorus, his eyes were gladdened by the sight of several English prints, representing the Sorrows of Werter; at four versts from this place he saw a mud volcano!— and at Taman, he beheld grass growing upon the roofs of the houses, and calves feeding upon them!! Hastening along the banks of the Kouban for some days, the party crossed the Terek, and, by way of protection against Circassian depredators, joined a caravan of Georgian, Armenian, and Russian merchants, with whom they crossed the Caucasus. The winter was already setting in.
'31st. The morning was cold, the mountains frightfully high on each side of us, with the rapid Terek running at one side; little or no verdure was visible, and every object wore a winterly and wild appearance. As we proceeded, the valley became narrow, and, at one place, there was scarcely room for the river and the road. The pass of Dariel is grand, picturesque, and dangerous in the extreme: one of the carriages, having the hood up, had it broken to pieces passing under a projecting rock. An Ossetinian cart, we were in the act of passing, upset on the brink of a frightful and narrow descent, hanging over the river; this circumstance placed the whole line of carriages in eminent danger-we all rendered our assistance to set the cart upright, and were fortunate enough to succeed, and arrived safe at the bottom.
We made a short halt at a military station, where our guards were relieved by others; it is opposite the ruins of the Castle of Dariel. From this we had some steep and narrow ascents to pass, before we arrived at the village of Kasbek, where begins the country of Georgia; this is considered the finest position for a view of Kasbek, with the monastery on the summit of another mountain immediately underneath it. One of the neatest